Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Kisses for Cooper


Gotta love these moments!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

YUM



So we made these cookies and used this recipe for the frosting.....DELICIOUS!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Felt...oh how I love thee TUTORIAL

The other day I was thinking about the church I grew up in. I was remembering the felt board my teacher used to teach us the stories of Jesus. Who didn't want to be the one who was called to place baby Jesus in the manger or put the crown on Jesus' head?

Anyways...felt was fun! And it still can be fun!

I thought about making my own portable felt boards. You know, so the kids can bring them to the doctors office or to a restaurant. We also do a lot of traveling over the holiday's and we are always looking for car ride entertainment. And don't forget Christmas gifts! I have a number of small people in my life who would love to play with some felt!

So here it is...my little portable felt board tutorial!

Supplies:
Felt in all sorts of colors (I bought it by the yard because it was %50 off and MUCH cheaper)
scissors (regular and crafty ones)
cookie cut outs
ribbon

Step one: Cut out your background. Mine is about 12X12. Then make scenes to go with it. I made water and hills for the boys and hills and rocks for the girls.
Step two: Find your fancy cookie cutters. I got this whole bin on a giveaway table at church and pick out some fun shapes. Trace on felt and cut out.

Step three: You can either make a small little pouch for your felt pieces or just get a baggy for them. Roll up your background and tie with a ribbon...





Step three: Find a small person to play with it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The tale of three children

Once upon a time, there lived a family whom we shall call the Riedl's. They lived in a little house in the quiet country where they raised three beautiful children.

Although, the country was quiet, the Riedl kids were not so quiet. They were often times heard loudy playing in the yard, or seen streaking around the house. The neighbors stayed away from these "loud" children as they were not familiar with those of the louder breed.

Want to hear about those precious little children?

Chapter 1
Kylie the great

The eldest of the Riedl's, Kylie, was a musical little one. She did not enjoy toys very much and would much rather be dancing and singing! She was also quite independent and loved to tell others how to perform in her "shows".

On a cold winter day, Kylie was up to her usual "dancing tactics" when she put in some old tunes. Today's performance would be to Carrie Underwood's Jesus Take the Wheel. She got dressed up and put her "stage lights on" while her brother and sister waited patiently to see the show. To their surprise, they were not welcome at today's performance. Instead, she would be having a "dress rehearsal". She started the music and made sure NO ONE was watching.

Well, little did she know she had one tricky mama who was hiding around the corner. Today, the mama heard something different...she heard nothing BUT Carrie Underwood. No Kylie at all! When she looked, she realized Kylie's mouth was moving but no words were to be heard. Kylie had one hand in the air with her eye's closed with a microphone in the other. The mama let out of little chuckle at her 5 year old's cuteness and instantly was caught. Kylie stormed out of the room, telling the mom how much she had embarrassed her and RUINED the performance...her LIFE! Good thing the mama had a good sense of humor and decided to write a story about it instead of getting mad....if only one could have seen the look on her face.



Chapter 2
No Cooper, No!

Although one could tell stories of this handsome, blond haired boy for hours, in this chapter you will hear of the most resent.

It was an early morning (as it was every morning). The cute little dimple faced boy burst into his daddy and mama's room only to announce that, "HE DID IT". What did he do you ask? Well, you see this little boy does not need to sleep. He only needs a quick little recharge and he ready to go! But I digress... You see on this particular morning, Cooper actually slept until the ripe hour of 6 am. It was a miracle I tell you and we rejoiced together.

A little later that morning, Cooper had an announcement to make. "MOM...my farts smell like really, really, REALLY bad rotten eggs and I think you need to smell them". To the mom's dismay, she quickly redirected the conversation and corrected the term *fart* and instructed the little boy to use the term *toot* instead. Cooper just laughed...and laughed...and said, "fart, fart, FART". At this point the mama decided to do some planned ignoring only to hear, "Addy, smell my farts....Kylie, that was a bad one". The mama threw her hands up and said, "Cooper, we do NOT say *fart* in our house". The response you ask? "Mom, boys cannot say toot. Toot is for girwls (girls) becaws (because) it is just girwly (girly). Boy's say FART!". The mama backed down and decided it was a hopeless cause. You see, boys are boys and they will just be smelly boys forever!

Chapter 3
Addy goes fishing

Addison (otherwise none as Addy), was the baby of the family. And boy did she make it known. She was a spitfire from birth and did what she wanted to do when she wanted to do it. Now don't get me wrong, this little pig tailed beauty was the sweetest little thing too. She loved to give hugs and kisses and couldn't get enough of her mama! But none the less, she was persistent.

One day, Miss Addy decided she was ready to potty train. Although the mama wasn't familiar with children who potty trained before they could even really talk, that little one was persistent. She would rip off her diaper and sit on the potty and most often time would actually go to the bathroom. She quickly realized she got an M&M for the above stated action and would try over and over and OVER again.

As you can imagine, there was a new fascination with the potty. It was a big, huge bowl of water and what little kid could resist it! There were days of "No, no, Addy! Don't touch the potty!." But Miss Addy did not care what the mama said and did what she wanted to (remember..she was a persistent little cutie).

One snowy evening, the Riedl's were heading out to the annual Christmas walk in town. The mama was running around the house trying to get everyone in their snow attire and herself ready as well. Little Addy had another idea. It was brilliant I tell you! She was thirsty, yes I said thirsty after talking about the big bowl of water! She was given a little bowl of gold fish to "hold her over" while the mama did the above stated activities. "Why not dip those little sucker in the potty so they can swim...and then I will catch them and eat them! YUM!" thought Addy. To make matters worse, there was some "leftover" waste in the potty from a previous child. While the mama gagged, the little girl laughed and was proud of herself for succeeding at her mission.

And that is the end of today's tale of three children. Make sure you stay tuned for more great adventures of the Riedl clan!

*No children were injured during the events described in these stories

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas fun with your kiddos

Every other day, my kids and I do some "learning" together. We sit in a circle and sing songs, talk about what day it is, the weather, and then do some activities together. When Kylie is home, she joins us but most days it is just Cooper, Addy and I.

Anyways, I am always looking for new and creative ways to teach my kids. It's always fun during the holidays to come up with new crafts and activities for the kids. BUT...sometimes, I forget about all of the crafts we did as kids. It is also difficult to find activities for all of my kids. Kylie will come home from school and ask to do a "project" so I like to have some handy for her (preferably one I did with the others earlier in the day).

I figured I would share a few crafts with you all that you can use for ALL your children.
  • The hand wreath...
Yes, some of us did this as kids but it is just fun....

  • The Teeny Tiny Book of Christmas Alphabet for your preschooler
  • Christmas Reindeer Craft

    Directions: Make a reindeer by shaping the pipe cleaner into a V shape and gluing it to the top, back of the stick; glue on wiggle eyes and nose, and draw a mouth. You can make this a gift tag by writing To: and From: on it; you can use the ribbon and make it an ornament; or you can make it a magnet.

  • Egg Carton Tree

    Directions: Cup the egg cartons so you have one row of 6 cups, one row of 5 cups, and so on to 1 cup. Paint
    the outside of the egg cup green. When the paint is dry, glue them on a large sheet of paper as follows: Glue the 6 cup row on the bottom of the paper, just above that glue the 5 cup row, and so on until you have used all the cups. It should look like a triangle when you are done. Decorate with misc. craft items
  • Christmas Necklace

    Directions: Cut 2-3 feet of cling wrap and lay flat on table. Starting on one end, place candy in the center of the cling wrap. Do this the whole length of the cling wrap, leaving 2-3 inches between each candy. Fold the cling wrap over a few times - the long way- to seal the candy. Tie a piece of curling ribbon around the cling wrap in between each piece if candy. Tie the ends together to make a necklace.

  • Santa Hat

    Directions: Cut out a large triangle out of red construction paper. Glue on the cotton balls to make a white ball on one of the triangle tips, and glue cotton balls along the
    bottom edge to form the brim. You can also cut out two triangles
    and tape or staple them together to make a hat to fit the child's head.

Enjoy.....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's a masterpiece

We woke up this morning to this...


As Cooper would say, "that is God's masterpiece mom".

Boy was he right!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Super cute santa hat


Have I mentioned that I love Christmas?

I do!!!

Yes, my house is semi decorated already and there are plans of getting all my Christmas houses out this week.

In the mean time, I found this awesome pattern for a Santa hat. It was very quick and easy...and just plain old cute.

Cooper decided he didn't want one (too girly he said) so I made one for Kylie and am modifying the pattern to fit Addy right now. When I figure it out, I will post the modified directions for the toddler size.

Happy crocheting girls...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Got to get motivated



Christmas is coming which means I need to get working on some major projects! What to know what they are??? Well, I cannot share them all because I know for a fact many of my family members read my blog so I wouldn't want to ruin any surprises...BUT...I can share with you some gifts I am giving to the kiddos in my life...

A) PJ's. I LOVE little kids in their Christmas PJ's. So I thought, why not start a new tradition here at the Riedl house...homemade PJ's from Mommy!! Super quick...super easy! Along with the pants, I am making them shirts. At first I was going to sew on letters and the year but a friend told me I should just embroider it. We will see how it all turns out!

B) SOCKS! As a kid my grandmother made me socks all the time. I didn't value them at the time because, seriously, socks? But I still have those socks and I LOVE THEM! So for all my little people (nephews included), I will be making socks! Crocheting that is...

C) Robe. I will post my progress on this. I searched for a free robe pattern and found none so I am creating my own! Not the whole tie robe but one where she can velcro up the front. She never uses it for anything other than to stay warm in the morning anyways! So if it turns out alright, I will be making one for Cooper too!

D) Slippers...they are going to be adorable...little eyes on them and all! If you have been to my house, you know it is cold!!! We USE our slippers..A LOT!

I will post pictures as I complete all my projects!! AND..I know it's not far, but you will have to wait until after Christmas for all my adult presents!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What to do with soup bones?

We purchase a half of a cow about once every year and a half from my Brother in Law. We are super grateful for Jeff and all the hard work he puts into providing for the WHOLE family. Anyways...these cows are DELICIOUS! After eating our first piece of steak, (never frozen and freshly prepared THAT morning) we vowed to never buy store bought beef again (unless we ran out that is).

Anyways, we always get soup bones with our cow. I have always just kept them in the freezer thinking that someday I will figure out what to do with them. Well..I figured it out!

As you know, I strive to be healthy! I think it's just the way I am wired. I want to do what is best for my family nutritionally and am always looking for ways to keep us healthy. So...did you know what soup bones can do? They can treat lots and lots and LOTS of things like
inflammation, hypertension, fatigue, depression, hyper activity, and food sensitivities. You know how? Well soup bones (when they are cooked down to broth) have cartilage and collagen in them, both of which are powerful healing tools for our bodies. Cartilage supplementation stimulates immune cells while collagen is healing in coating to the stomach and digestive track in general, making it easier to digest foods! They also contain things such as, Glycine, Hyaluronic acid, Chondroitin sulfate, and minerals!

WOW! A herbal pharmacy has been waiting to be cooked in MY freezer for a few years now! Who knew?

So here is the deal! Our family needs to eat more broth...period! Here is a little recipe I found to make a delicious broth. Add in ANYTHING you want...make it a minestrone soup, bean soup, or whatever you like. JUST USE THE BROTH!

So, put your bones in your stockpot and cover with fresh cold water. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar (to help extract the minerals from the bone). Now simmer forEVER...anywhere from 2 to 24 hours. After it has simmered enough, strain out the bones ( and vegetables you have added) and divide the broth into usable potions. It will stay
good in the fridge for about 5 days (about 10 days if you boil it again after 5 days) and in the freezer for months.

Happy broth days my friends!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm Famous...again

Go check out The Frugal Mama's blog today! She wrote all about...you guessed it...me! She has a pretty cool blog too and talks about all of the things I love...especially saving money! Check it out!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My beef with schools

We all know that I really thought about homeschooling Kylie. Although the idea still crosses my mind often, at this point she is still in Kindergarten and actually likes it.

But that is not the point to this post.

Today I had the privilege of eating lunch with Miss Kylie along with Coop and Addy. As soon as I sat down, a boy from her class came right up to me and sat next to me. I have seen this boy before. When I went to the pumpkin patch with Kylie, this same boy sat next to me and talked my ear off. Kylie has also made mention of this boy (we will call him "the boy") and referred to him as "the boy who gets in trouble...A LOT". I know on one occasion the class was asked who wanted to sit with the boy in art class and my sweet Miss Kylie volunteered. She even got a sticker for sitting with him (more on that later). I have watched him squirm and jump around when asked to sit still and I have heard him apologized for his impulsiveness a number of times.

How sad!

How sad that a little boy has to apologize for being a little boy. No, he is not always behaving properly. In fact, I would bet to say he probably doesn't "follow the rules" 80% of the time. Many of those times, he is actually just being plain old naughty and other times, he is just getting the "ants out of his pants".

As I sat with Kylie today, this boy tried to engage almost every student at the table. He would try to get eye contact and then laugh or make a funny face. If no one payed attention to him, he would sit on the floor or do something that would require a lunch monitor to come and redirect his behavior. At one point, the monitor moved another boy away from the boy (whom wasn't paying any attention to the boy) and said, "let me move you over here so 'the boy' doesn't get you in trouble too". We sat there for 25 minutes. The kids were told they couldn't move..breath for that matter. They have to sit on their little butts and talk quietly (as quietly as a 5 year old can). I could see this little boy getting more and more frustrated. His little body NEEDED to move! He tried everything to get in control..I could see it but he just couldn't sit there any longer. He got up and did something naughty and got caught pretty quickly. Guess what his "punishment" was....you guessed it...he had to sit out at recesses!

All I could think was how ridiculous that is. A) he is 5 B) he is a boy and C) HE NEEDS TO MOVE! So his punishment was actually probably going to get him into more trouble later in the day.

So the problem you ask...schools require our kids to sit for too long. Yes, they have made major modifications and I believe Kylie's teacher does a lot to get the kids moving during the day. BUT the expectations of a 5 year old are just too high. This little boy shows his behaviors in school but I know many other kids will hold it together until they get home and then blow (my Miss Kylie being one of them). It just isn't fair to make them sit and concentrate for 6.5 hours a day. Seriously...To top things off, Kylie told me that yesterday they couldn't even run at recess because someone was running and got hurt. Therefore, no one was allowed to run for the rest of the day AND they couldn't play on the playground...just the blacktop. Hmmmmmm??!!!

My heart went out to this little boy. Maybe it was the mom in me. Maybe it was the social worker in me. I don't know, but I do know something needs to change. Schools need to be more creative with teaching their students and letting them be kids. Kids need to move and they need to move often. Sitting still at lunch (free time) is just crazy. Yes, they need to stay at the table but why can't they play a clapping game or laugh for crying out loud. And adults need to realize children understand when they are labeled the "bad kid". I am sure this little boy didn't feel so great when the lunch monitor thanked me for sitting with the boy and I am sure he felt lonely when no one would sit with him in art and the teacher needed to bribe kids to sit next to him. He is only 5 and already is wearing the scarlet letter.

Just wanted to make it clear that I don't have a particular problem with the school my child attends...it is just the entire school system that has it's flaws.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We have already established that I am crazy.



Christmas....

I hear you all saying, "seriously??!!" BUT, I do need to get my butt in gear.

I am already getting questions about what the kids might want for Christmas this year and I know some has already been purchased. That being said, I don't want to end up with a houseful of the same toys or items they don't need. I also have some strong opinions about how much they should actually get but that is besides the point.

Creativity has been a strength of mine in the past. You know, I am always saying, "what if you did this?" and everyone says "wow..I didn't think of that" (at least that is the way it went down in my head). This year, I am lacking some major creativity. I am at a loss as to what my kids actually need or even want for that matter. Yes, I can throw magazines in front of them and tell me what they want but only a mom knows what will be used and what will be discarded within a month.

So here is where you, my fellow blog friends, come in...

I need some creative Christmas ideas to share with the family. My kids already know that Santa only brings 2 to 3 presents and they need to think long and hard about what they might REALLY want or need. But what do I tell all the others who ask what they want?? Come on friends...help me out here!

As an incentive, I may just have to send out a loaf of bread to the winner of the best idea...your choice as to what kind ;)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vote for Cooper

We all know Cooper is a cutie, so go VOTE for him...


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tell me she ain't cute



The end of an era

I turned 30 today!

I swear I did. At approximately 5:56 am I hit the big three zero.

Do I feel older you ask. No, I don't! Well, not exactly. I have been stressing about the big 30 for a while now. Not the real kind of stress where you have butterfly's all the time and feel like you might tear you hair out. You know, the kind where when someone mentions it you think, "for real". So I thought about it...and thought...and thought some more and decided it's not so bad after all.

For one, I have accomplished quite a bit for being 30...got my masters, married with 3 kids, own my own home...etc. really, I'm not bragging. And overall, I love my life and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Now I will say I am not looking forward to those things that come with aging...you know, gray hair (not like I have any yet or maybe just a few) , wrinkles, aches and pains, and forgetfulness. But I will embrace them as they come...seriously, I will.

I have also learned that IT ISN'T THE END! An old dog CAN learn new tricks. For one, I started running this year and have stuck with it. For those of you who know me, I hate running. I was athletic in high school that's debatable but never really did much after college. I would do the occasional Elliptical workout or take a Zumba class here and there but never really stuck with anything. When I finally looked in the mirror after having 3 kids in 4 years, I realized I needed to do something and QUICK, so I did. Anyways, I ran my first 5K this summer and am hoping to run a 10K in November! Not to mention I have lost a total of 35 pounds this year. WOW! I am in better shape than I have EVER been in at 30! Who would have thought...

So to sum it up, I would say yes, this is the end of an era but the start of a new:)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

There's a fly in my room

It was a gloomy day. The kind of day where a nap is necessary. I had already been awake for almost 8 hours and it was only noon. So I waited patiently for nap time to arrive with the idea of putting my children down and taking a quick nap myself. The numbers on the clock flashed 12:00 and it was time. Addy went down fairly easy and Cooper marched right up to his room and into bed. It couldn't have gone any smother. I then closed the curtains, turned on the fan, shut the ringer off, and found the most comfortable, warm blanket to snuggle up with. I laid down, shut my eyes and slowly drifted off.

Approximately 10 seconds later I heard the pitter patter of little feet and then a toy firetruck loudly honking it's horn.

Deep breaths, deep breaths...

After calmly threatening no TV for eternity putting Cooper back in bed, I laid back down. Again, my eye's shut and the world was quiet.

For about 10 more seconds...

I was suddenly awakened by a quick buzzing noise in my right ear. I waved my hand without opening my eyes in hopes of scaring the pest off. But no...there is was again! This time I sat up and looked around, waiting patiently for it to land. I swung hard at it once, then twice with no success. My hope was to put some fear in that little fly. You know, the kind of fear that only an overtired mama can bring about. Again, I shut my eyes. ZAP, right up my nose! I muttered not so nice words to the gross little fly. I even told it to go down in the kitchen as I was most certain there was a pile of cheerios under the highchair or a piece of stale bread on the floor. I am sure if he looked hard enough, he may even find a rotten apple hidden under the couch. Why did I put such faith in a little fly. I believe it's goal in life was to annoy me, keep me from sleeping. I decided to ignore the pest. Fly's are attracted to motion right? I laid motionless for a few more seconds. He may have even taken a tour of the bathroom in this time because I drifted off. Then, I felt a tickle on my forehead. AHHHHHH! I swatted at it again with no success and thought to myself, "we really need a fly swatter". I had visions of slowly taking the fly's wings off and watching it suffer (not really...) as that is what it was doing to me!

I then had an idea! I would hide under a pillow! Genius! So I propped a decorative pillow over the right side of my head and slowly drifted off again.

Well that fly was smart I tell ya. It CRAWLED under the pillow and buzzed right in my ear. I violently threw that nice warm, comfortable blanket off and again said some not so nice things to the fly and surrendered.

No nap for me and go figure my kids are taking a long nap. STUPID FLY!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The secret is out...

After the MOPS meeting, a few women asked for some of my recipes. I realized I haven't posted my everyday whole wheat bread recipe on my blog! WOW! Anyways, this is from my dad (the master bread maker) and has to be the best bread eva!

Yields 3 loafs

Ingredients:
2T yeast
1T salt
3T sugar (raw if you have it)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4c butter-melted
3 3/4 cups of warm water
6 cups wheat flour
3 cups of white flour (I use a high gluten flour and occident flour blend)
More flour for kneading

In a LARGE bowl combine yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let sit for a few minutes (it will get a bit bubbly). Then add remaining ingredients except the flour. Combine well. Add flours slowly and form into a ball. Knead for 8-10 minutes on a floured surface adding flour to eliminate stickiness. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a towel. Let rise 1 hour until doubled.

Punch down and divide into thirds. Place in 3 pans and let rise until doubled (about 30 mins)

Heat oven to 375 and back 30-35 minutes.

So go bake yourself some bread!!!

Eating well on a budget

Today I had the privilege of speaking at MOPS with my homemakin' sistah Sarah. We both tackled different topics revolving around eating well.

Anyways, I thought I would share some of our "secrets" about how to eat well and stay within your budget. Here are my notes from today's meeting.

How often do you go to your pantry only to find stale cookies/crackers/chips?

How many leftovers do you put in the fridge only to throw out the next week?

How often do you throw out moldy bread or spoiled milk?

~ 27 percent of the food available for consumption is throw away. That is about 25.9 million tons and about 30 billion worth of food.

~costs the U.S. around $1 billion every year just to dispose of all its food waste. Rotting food releases toxins that need to be regulated.

Think about how much money your family spends on groceries each week/month that is wasted? And now think about what your husband would say if you told him 25% of the food that you buy is wasted!

Now that you have the picture, what can I do about it???

1) set a dollar amount of what you want to pay for groceries each month. Start with a practical number and then work your way down.

a. My husband has set up a separate account which he puts $ in each month for groceries. That way, I don’t really have to keep tract of how much I spend.

2) Make a menu

a. Make a master list of your families favorite meals/healthy meals/ meals you want to try. (you can always add to this)

b. Get a menu planner (mine is from the dollar section of target)

c. From your list, make out a meal for each day. You can do this for all three meals a day or just dinner. (I do just dinner…will explain more on that later)

i. TIP: look for meals that include similar meats. Chicken fajitas one night, roasted chicken breast another (so you only need one item)

3) Start your grocery list

a. Do this in your kitchen so you can look for the ingredients you need for each meal and add ones you don’t have.

b. After this add breakfast and lunch items that you DON”T have in the house

c. I also add 1 to 2 snacks for the week (pretzels, tricuits) You can even ask your kids what they want.

4) Stick to your list!

a. If it isn’t on the list, don’t buy it!

Money saving tips

1) Make a lot of your own food.

a. Bread (super easy and MUCH cheaper and healthier) I have some recipes if you would like (50 cents per loaf)

b. Yogurt

c. Granola for breakfast

d. Fruit leather

e. Trail mix

f. Smoothies

g. Kefir

h. Peanut butter

2) Avoid buying packaged/processed food

a. Do you need to buy frozen waffles?

b. Premade meals are extremely expensive and can just as easily be made before hand.

c. My rule: If you great great grandmother couldn’t buy it, Don’t buy it!

3) When cooking a meal, make double and freeze the rest

a. Baked ziti, casseroles, bread (that way if you cannot make a scheduled meal, you have a back up plan)

4) Make meals with other moms

5) Buy certain things in bulk and freeze

a. Chicken $1.99 per pound, ground beef (half a cow)

6) Find a bulk food store

a. I get my flours, nuts, dried fruits

7) Find stores that have good deals

a. Sometimes it is cheaper to buy closer to home than to waste gas on driving to the “cheap” store

8) Buy in season fruits/veggies and can/freeze them

a. It’s a lot easier than you think…I can jams (blueberry/strawberry) apple sauce, pie filling, butter, pickles, sauce, salsa. Freeze beans, carrots, corn.

9) Grow your veggies

10) Compost!

Do I do this all the time? I do menu plan each week but there are days I don’t stick to it..sick kid, sick mama, just don’t want to! And yes, I do buy take out every now and then!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Never ending

HOUSEWORK!

It is one of those things that is NEVER ending. As soon as you feel a slight bit of accomplishment, WHAM, it's all gone.

Even so, I still do it. Regularly as a matter of fact. Some days you would seriously think I sat on my butt all day eating bon bon's (well I actually don't care for them..maybe some dark chocolate) but I really don't.

I tend to get overwhelmed easily with the amount of things required of me on a daily basis. I am SUPER sensitive when someone my hubby mentions something that needs organizing or cleaning. Sometimes, cleaning (folding laundry, organizing, dejunking, cooking) becomes my priority over spending time with God or my children. So I have decided I need to take a step back and re-prioritize.

God is #1! I NEED to spend time with Him each day. For me this is during nap time because all is quiet in the house and I can just focus on Him.

My family is #2. If someone needs a little "mommy time", I will STOP what I am doing (or finish) and spend some time with them. Cooper is doing preschool at home this year and needs much more one on one attention than Kylie ever did. It is perfectly fine, just something I need to get use to.

Housework #3. I do believe we should have a welcoming home. An environment that is warm and somewhat picked up. Therefore, I need to assign ONE task per day that needs to be accomplished. Along with this one task, I need to do the daily things...laundry, cooking, sweeping. Whatever else doesn't get done...well that's for tomorrow. I have also come to realize that NO ONE really cares if you have freshly moped floors and sparkling windows. It is a no win situation for me. I wash things, my kids spill things. I vacuum, someone dumps a bowl of popcorn on the rug. I do laundry, there is another load waiting to go in. I also don't like walking into houses (especially with my kids) that are perfectly organized. I'm afraid I will mess something up (or my kids will spill, break, or barf on something). I like a house that has toys out and laundry waiting to be folded!

So there it is friends...and I case you were wondering, here is what is on the list today.

For starters I will be spending time with God around 12:00 today!

1) Major task: Organize Addy's room. Put 12 month close into ONE bin and get rid of the rest (anyone need any?) Hang up those pictures that have been on her dresser for a while year. AND put away the laundry basket that has been sitting in her room for 3 days now.

2) Work on the letter "B" with Cooper today and read some stories to both Addy and Cooper.

3) Fold all of the laundry I washed yesterday and put away.

4) Wrap gifts that need to be distributed this weekend to my brother and sister (Happy birthday Shawna and BJ)

5) Prep dinner

6) RUN...seriously, this clears my head.

7) If I have time...wipe down the bathrooms!

Okay..now I need to get off of the computer and get to work! Have a great Friday everyone!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oh no I didn't...

I love the holiday's....and by holiday's I mean, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. This use to include my birthday as well but now that I am getting older, I am not to fond of that day.

As you remember from last year, we make most of our Christmas presents so I NEED to get into making mode...

I have a few new things this year and a few neat tutorials I will share with you all in the near future.

But, I will leave you with this!


Christmas Countdown - Christmas Layouts



Happy Holiday's

Friday, September 24, 2010

My most favorite time of the year

As you all know, I am a fan of fall.

I love the SMELL, crisp air and all the bright colors. (although today it feels more like summer).

You know one thing I REALLY like to do in the fall....yup, pick apples. So we took the kiddos to Johnny Appleseed last weekend to pick tons of apples. In the past we have gone to other orchards..you know, the ones that put on a show but we figured we would stick close to home this year. I am so glad we did. This has to be one of the best orchards. Plus, it was beautiful.

Cooper couldn't reach yet...he said, "maybe one more year".

Addy tasted EVERY apple in the orchard and screamed for more
Kylie's funny apple
Are you feeling the love?

AND...it was super cheap. $10 per bushel!!

AND..we have been back to pick more already because we like ourselves some applesauce, apple butter, apple pie, and apple crisp!

With that being said, I want to share with you a recipe I found for canned apple pie filling. Now, I did make some changes to the recipe. I added a bit more sugar and a few more apples than it calls for. I also added a lot more cinnamon and some nutmeg and it turned out GREAT!

So go pick some apples and make some yummy apple things!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I am slacking!

Yes, I know I haven't posted much lately...

As you have read, my baby girl is now off to Kindergarten and we are ALL just getting a routine down.

After I pick her up, I have devoted all my focus to her (at least now) so there is not much time for blogging!

Hopefully in the next few weeks I will be able to catch you all up on the happenings here at the crazy house!

For now, I will leave you a picture...if only you knew the conversations before hand....

Kylie: I don't want my picture taken.
Me: I don't care..mommy wants a picture
Kylie: Nope not doing it
Me: Yes you will..or else...
Kylie: Fine..whatever!
Cooper: I no want to stand hewre
Me: Cooper...NOW
Addy: whine, whine, WHINE
Me: Zach, hurry up and take the picture already...
Zach: Chill out
Me: EVERYONE SMILE NOW
Everyone: Cheeeessseeee
Me: that wasn't good enough
Everyone: Whine...we don't want to do this..
Me: One more time...or else...
The End...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

And she's off....


Yup, my baby is officially a Kindergartner!

She was so nervous these past few weeks about it so I was expecting a mild crisis this AM

BUT...

She did great!

Cannot believe my little girl is off to school....

Missing her already!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

We are famous

So my friend Jen is the worlds BEST photographer. Everything I have EVER learned about photography, I learned from her. Anyways...look who is featured on her blog today!!!

Go look around and see what AWESOME pictures this lady takes....AMAZING! Oh and then give her a call to do some shots of YOUR family!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Is it really September?

September?

Seriously?

Apples, pumpkins, school buses, and crunchy leaves already?

Although I am sad to see the summer go, I am excited to see what this fall holds for us.

For starters, Zach and I (and Addy) are heading to Charlotte, NC on Friday to visit my sister and her fiance! Lots of fun things planned as we will be two kids down for the weekend.

Kylie will be starting school (hold on, I need a Kleenex) a week from tomorrow. My baby, my little fat baby, will be riding the school bus and going to class WITHOUT her mommy holding her hand. She will love it, I know she will. And I know this is what God wanted for her...even though I wish it were different.

Cooper will now be the "big kid" in the house. It is time for him to get some more attention from mommy. We will be starting our preschool "learning" time next week as well. He is super excited to have his own pencil box and area to do "his work".

Addison just changes each day. She is a busy little girl, always looking to get into something new. Her new thing is when she is doing something naughty (like climbing the stairs or playing in the potty) I will hear her say, "no, no, no". It's kinda handy... She will also be getting a little more mommy time. We plan on reading lots and lots of books and stacking lots and lots of blocks. By the end of September she will be a toddler genius...Really!

September is also a month of canning for me. Yes, I did can all summer...blueberry and strawberry jam and pickles are a few of my favorites. But fall is my busy time...APPLES. My family LOVES apples! We will be making applesauce, apple butter, spiced apple butter, apple pie filling, and maybe a little apple juice! Fun times.

Happy September friends!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Awesome giveaway


SO I know that not everyone loves getting books...BUT

This one is so worth it!

Even if I, myself, do not win this book, I am TOTALLY buying it!!! I think it is worthy of a book study my friends....anyone want to do it with me???

Check it out!

By the way...please browse around the Heavenly Homemakers blog! It is truly inspiring.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Foto" Friday...okay, I know it's Saturday!

Love these kids! I am so happy that my BFF and I have kids the EXACT SAME AGE (within a few months of course). And you know what is even better...They actually love each other.

Cade and Cooper hanging out at the Genesee Country Museum while the girls where at camp.

They girls loving each other (I know Kylie looks sad but she was seriously loving on Brilyn). I just loved their little outfits for the week!

LOVE IT!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Help, fellow Blogger friends...

I moved things around. I tend to do that when I am itching for a change. AND, if you read my post on simplicity, you know I said I wanted to use my Hoosier more. Now I have an empty wall with pictures that use to be next to my hoosier and I NEED help deciding how to decorate it.

Here is the room...see my pretty Hoosier! I used to be in the far left corner of the room but now it is right smack dab in the middle of the room!! Now, when you walk in, you see my hoosier instead of the wall. AND, I put all of my flours in it and all of my recent can goods.


Now here is where it was. I need to do something here friends...Thinking it needs some paint...


Ideas friends?????

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Love one another...

I know you all have people in your life who drive you NUTS! You know, that person who wants you to watch her kids ever other day or that neighbor who is emotionally needy. That person who is just sooo-harrrdd-toooo-LLOOOVVEEE!

I struggle with this. Really, I do. Certain people tend to annoy me and I find myself distancing myself from them. Honestly, they really haven't done anything wrong. It's not like they harmed me in any way or said anything that hurt my feelings. They just plain old annoy me. (I case you are wondering, I am NOT speaking about anyone in particular ...just describing a type of person).

You know what is even worse...when God convicts us of this.

I don't know about you, but I tend to "find" a verse in the Bible which "supports" my decision to "shun" certain people. You know..like, "guard you heart and soul for it is the wellspring of life" .
Or make an excuse, such as, my kids need me more than YOU need me.

But is this true?

Today I read this devotional and it made me think...

Least but not last, as Christians we are told to love our neighbors (Matthew 22:39). This is a commandment that many of us (including myself) fail time and time again. We as Christians try not to boast about the works we do, but at the same time we hold a prideful feeling, or a feeling of how good we are to do these things. And yet, how often do we turn people away who need help? How often do we let people struggle simply because we do not have the "time," the "energy," or the "resources" to help them.

Perhaps the greatest danger with being foolish is that we only end up tricking ourselves. We try to convince ourselves of how good we are, or that we have done enough already. We try to tell ourselves that we are right in our thinking and that contradicting verses are simply a translational error, or interpreted incorrectly.

BAM...that is the sound of my face being smacked by God (in a good way of course).

Sometimes, not matter how much I want to love others, I still fail. Being a mom takes so much out of me some days and there just isn't much left over.

Then I realized that I was right. YES, I, KARA, do NOT have the energy to help or love the unlovable. But guess who does....you got it..GOD! And God lives in me and the Holy Spirit CAN love others! He CAN give me patience. He CAN show me love.

So today my prayer is that God would place people in my life that challenge me to show his love. AND that the Holy Spirit would help me to love them. Because we all know that we are CALLED to love our neighbors.


*on a side note, I believe there are situations where one needs to take a passive role in loving someone. For example, in an abusive relationship or in a relationship which doesn't glorify God. In those situations, I recommend you pray for that person who has harmed you and know that God loves them too!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Simplicity

This has been a CRAZY week for me. Okay so let me clarify..it hasn't been THAT crazy but at times it has felt totally overwhelming.

Kylie is participating in a camp at the Genesse Country Museum this week in Rochester. She was SUPER pumped for this and has literally been planning her trip for months. Well.... she still loves it but let me tell you it has been sweltering hot here. I know it isn't in the 100's but it has felt like it is. The heat is one thing but the humidity is the icing on the cake. And when you have A/C at home and are not staying in a non A/C home, you feel it even more. Fortunately, my parents have a pool...but the mosquitoes..

But I digress

Although we are a bit on the edgy side, I am trying to see the upside of things...Like today!

Today I got the opportunity to go to one of my favorite places (I just wish it was a favorite when I actually lived in Rochester). I seriously love the Genesse Country Museum. Really...I do. When I am there, I feel simplicity. I love the way of life and strive for it. One house we visited was built by a man with lots and lots of money. Well, he also had 11 children. They let the kids play with toys in the kitchen while the mamas learned a little more. Oh how I wish we had a wood burning stove to cook on, or fewer toys, or a big kitchen table, or just a case iron pan. But then I realized that I was AGAIN wishing for things.

Isn't it funny how when we strive for simplicity, we sometimes tend to want more?

So I thought about what I can do to live more simply WITHOUT wanting things. Here is what I came up with.
1. GET RID OF TOYS: We have way to many and they totally overwhelm me. I just want toys that stimulate my children's imagination.
2. GET RID OF EXCESS KITCHEN CRAP ITEMS: I am going to go through my cupboards and pull out things that haven't been used in a while...or ever. Seriously, how many mixing spoons do you needs? It's not like I am running a restaurant!
3. LIMIT TV TIME (for myself) and READ MORE: I love my tv shows. I have tried and tried to break myself of a few and have failed. Well, maybe not but I still watch too much. Books are good. Did you know that? So I am going to start reading at night before bed instead of watching shows the whole time. I do still have a few I like and sometimes I need brainless tv time but at least I am striving...
4. USE MY HOOSIER: Yes, I have a beautiful hoosier that my husband bought me 4 years ago. And it sits in my dinning room for storage. SO...I need more counter space and I have a HUG HOOSIER...hmmmmm! I am going to try and move it so I can use it more.

Those are just a few things I am going to do to start. I am hoping to find someone to watch my kids one morning next week so I can go through and de-clutter.

Some things I already do that you may be interested (or not) in doing yourself.
1. Use cloth diapers (that is if you have children that age)
2. Line dry as much as possible
3. Make your food. Yes, make it all! From scratch...like bread, yogurt, kefir, granola, cheese, etc.
4. Make a menu each week and only by what is on it.
5. Make sure you plan meals which are made from only ingredients your great-grandparents could buy at the grocery store. So NO Hamburger helper!
6. Have a daily schedule for your home and STICK TO IT.
7. Limit TV time for you children to one hour a day or less (especially in the summer)
8. Only have clothes that you need. Don't have a closet full of useless stuff..give it away.

Okay I will add more as I think of them.

So go LIVE SIMPLY and take your kids to the Genesse Country Museum in Rochester!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Good old fashion English Muffin bread





So I have been totally craving some english muffins lately. I just love english muffins with some good homemade strawberry jam. So I figured I should make me some good bread (I guess I will share with the others).

Here it is friends.

INGREDIENTS
6 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 Tablespoon of yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
1/2 cup warm water (120 to 130 degrees F)
Cornmeal

DIRECTIONS
Heat milk and water in a saucepan until bubbly. set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda. Add warm milk and water. Stir together good. Stir in remaining flour (batter will be stiff). Do not knead. Grease two loaf pans. Sprinkle pans with cornmeal. Spoon batter into the pans and sprinkle cornmeal on top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans immediately to cool on wire racks.

So go make some strawberry jam and bread and have a great breakfast...or lunch..or dinner...or whenever! ENJOY!

*This recipe was totally taken from my girl Jocelyn over at Tillaboro Orchard!

new blogs I heart!

Just in case you were wondering, I have a new favorite blog to read....

Well, two, I guess

Check them out!

http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/

www.passionatehomemaking.com

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What's cooking?

It's hot!

My husband would say it's too hot for a roast but in my opinion, it is never to hot for a roast. Okay well maybe if the roast is in you oven but in crockpot is just fine with me!

So here is what is for dinner tonight...

Ingredients:
roast of your choice ( I had an arm roast in my freezer for our recent cow purchase)
diced tomatoes (either fresh or canned...about 1 cups worth)
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
teaspoon of fresh Oregano
other herbs of your choice ( I used some chives)

Place all ingredients in your crock pot on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Then cook up some potatoes. Now I do not like crockpot potatoes. They are just too mushy and taste like meat. Potatoes are suppose to taste like potatoes, not meat. So I chop them up, put them in a 8x8 pan sprinkle them with olive oil and some garlic salt and broil them until they are brown. YUM.

So there you have it...an easy dinner for a busy mom.

on a side note: while chopping the onions, Addy decided she wanted a taste (I think she thought it was an apple). I gave her a pice and now she is in love with raw onion..yuck!

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm going to miss this

As difficult as it is to be a mother of a 5, 3, and 1 year old, I realized today that I WILL in fact miss this time.

Today is a good day! The kids are all adjusting back to their routine very well and have had a great time playing with each other. They wanted to have a picnic together so they gathered up a blanket and headed for a shaded part in the yard. I even got the, "this is a kid only picnic, but if you want to come mom, you can". So I made some hot dogs and cut up some cucumber. While doing so, I looked out at them. They were just laying in the yard, snuggling, watching the clouds and counting the number of cars that rolled past (for you information it was only 2...we live in the country people). It made me start thinking about how much they really love each other. Cooper just adores his older sister...he wants to do everything she does. Kylie loves being the big sister and bossing everyone around (in a good way..sometimes). And Addy...well, she is just starting to play with the older ones. Outside, I laughed at some really not funny jokes and just enjoyed their company. Who would have known that I would be sentimental type?

Then it hit me...

Kylie is going to Kindergarten in the fall. What will Cooper do without his playmate?

So I promised myself that we will make the most out of this last month that Kylie is home on a daily basis with us. We will play, and play, and play, and just spend time together.

The past five years have been filled with craziness and I never thought I would be this sad about sending Kylie to school (remember my homeschooling dilemma?)

They grow up to fast...WAY TO FAST!

I came across this post a few days back about how our children are our disciples. How true! It is MY JOB to raise these kids according to God's word. To teach them what is right and what is wrong. Instead of feeling guilty for all of the things I think I haven't taught my kids yet, I took it as a challenge to continue to teach them the right way. How fortunate have I been to be able to stay home with my three little ones? They are my daily blessing!

Now I am off to be a mom...

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Back to reality



We had a great time up at the cottage! It has to be the most beautiful, relaxing (well as relaxing as it can be with 3 kids under 5) place in the world. The simplicity of being there is amazing...no TV (well DVD's on rainy days), no internet, very limited phone access, and not a lot of the every day things I depend on. I actually love it! Really..not to be distracted by facebook or reading up on someone's blog. It was great. Anyways..here are a few highlights from our trip..

1. Addison's 5 attempts to empty her stomach on the car ride down (I guess that wasn't a highlight but makes it a little more entertaining).
2. Cooper sailing with his Poppy a few times (even fell asleep once)
3. Kylie winning a medal at the cottage kids day.
4. READING A BOOK
5. Dutch Blitz with the fam every evening
6. Running some KILLER hills and learning the definition of shin splints
7. Watching Shawna, Kylie, and Cooper ride on an aqua port...standing up!
8. Swimming, swimming and more swimming
9. Boat rides
10. Just spending time together!!!

It's great to be back but man do I love that place...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I swear my kids love to see how much mommy can handle in the store!

Shopping with three kids 5 and under IS CRAZY! It never use to be this crazy. I think it happened when the baby decided to have an "opinion" along with the others. So here is how it goes..

Goal: Get necessary items at Target and Kohl's for upcoming (tomorrow) trip up to the cottage.
Deadline: 11:30/lunch time

We finally got out the door around 9:30 only to have Cooper report his desire to use the restroom...NOW.

Cooper: "I have to go (number two)...REAAALLLL BADDD"
Mom: "we are right around the corner from Target, you will have to wait".
Cooper: *whine* "RREEEAAALLLL BAAADDD MOOMMM"
Mom: "HOLD IT"

So I get the baby in the ergo, and sprint into target with Kylie and COoper. I carefully lined the toilet seat with firm instructions to NOT touch anything.

Mom: "Are you done yet?"
Cooper: "Yes mom"
Mom: "are you sure? There is no (number two) in there"
Cooper: "tricked ya"
Mom: *arrrrggggg* reminder to self to tell the story about the boy who cried wolf.

We wash hands and load into the cart only to have Kylie start pulling things (glitter pens) out of the dollar section.

Mom: "Kylie put that down, we have some at home".
Kylie: "NO MOM..I WANT THESE ONES"
Mom: "Kylie..NOW"
Kylie: " But mooommm, I NEED them" *whine, whine*
Mom: "I am leaving now"
Kylie: "I don't care..go".
Mom: "People are starting to look at you, now put it down NOW and lets go".

I pull her into an aisle and give the, "you will listen to your mother or there will be consequences" speech.

And we are off....

Cooper: "Kylie keeps pulling the cart"
Mom: "Kylie Get off of the cart...NOW"
Kylie: "FINE" but really didn't get off and continued to wiggle.
Mom: "You have already earned a 5 minute time out...would you like me to add some more minutes".
Kylie: "I don't care, I will stay there for one million years, because (once again) I don't care".
Mom: " Watch it Kylie, your mouth is getting you in trouble".

Pick up some toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. Then we were off to the vitamin aisle when I hear...

Kylie: "I have to go pee".
Mom: "Seriously Kylie, we were just there"
Kylie: "I didn't have to go then, now I do...NOW"
Cooper: "me too"

So we headed to the bathroom for the second time.

Then we headed for the grocery section to pick up a few snacks for our trip.

Kylie: "I want candy and gum and fruit snacks"
Mom: "no Kylie we need healthy snacks"
Kylie: "FINE"

I was asked if we could buy almost every bit of junk food in the store before checking out.
At the check out line we had another meltdown over Cooper wanted a bag of his own. Ummmmmm, NO!

We get back to the car and the kids get a little lecture about how we need to behave in the next store or ELSE! I then was able to redirect another temper tantrum over food in the car.

In Kohl's we found one of those thrifty double cart/stroller things. Yeah..not so much fun to push. The kids then decided to have a few Chinese fire drills while mom picked out some new shorts (because I have NONE). I firmly reminded them of their consequences if they didn't behave ONLY to hear...

Cooper: "She won't share her seat..it is my turn to sit in the back"
Mom: "Kylie are you taking turns?"
Kylie: "I changed my mind, I am going to sit here now"
Cooper: *scream* "IT'S NOT FAIR"
Mom: "we are leaving now..NOW"

As we check out, I watched Cooper pull Kylie's hair and then Kylie gently push back at him...

Ummm this is why shopping with kids is absolutely CRAZY. But I did remain calm through most of the trip.

As we pulled in the driveway I got the "Mommy we are sorry, can we not go to time out" line...again, "NO".

Let me tell you, the rest of the day, the kids were rather well behave due to fear of what consequence I would give them later.

Like I said, they love to see how far they can push there mama.

And this is why we are going on vacation for a whole 11 days....YEAH for the Cottage!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I am officially a runner.


Some of you may know (or not) that I decided to run a 5K back in April of this year. It was a crazy idea at the time but in order to loose some of the awesome baby weight, I needed to set a goal and stick to it...

and I did...

It wasn't easy at all! The entire first mile was up a hill and lets just say I defiantly saw my breakfast after I was done BUT it was worth it! The feeling of accomplishment I had afterward was just what I needed after a few hard weeks.

It was great to have my dad run in the same event...even if he did run the 10 mile (maybe someday I will join him).

Already planning my next adventure!!!