Thursday, October 29, 2009

Creative Monster Contest

Kristin at Our Ordinary Life is hosting a Creative Monster Contest to win a $25 gift card to Blockbuster! I thought it would be a fun activity to do with the kids for a Halloween craft, so we got creative!

I kept it simple, since the kids are only 3 and 2, and made a monster face from paper. Morgan decided what shape she wanted her monster face and I cut it out. Then, as she colored the face, I cut out shapes from construction paper. When Morgan was ready, she decided what shape she wanted for each feature of her monster and we taped them on! We had a bunch of fun and we were able to work on learning shapes to boot! :-)

*********************

Morgan's monster is our entry, but I wanted to show you some other monsters we made:

Blake wanted to do his own. Actually, it was more like Morgan wanted to do her own and wouldn't let Blake help, so he did one too!


This one is something I wanted to try before we did the paper monster. Morgan decided it looked like a robot though-LOL!


Thank you, Kristin, for giving us a reason to be more creative! :-)

4 Years Together


It's been four years today since Rich and I were married. It's so hard to believe, because it feels like it's been longer...in a good way-LOL! Rich and I have had SO much happen in 4 years it's hard to imagine that it could all fit in that short period of time. Just when I think things are going to slow down for us, something else comes up and it just keeps on going!

Despite a crazy four years, I couldn't be happier with how our relationship has grown and the family that we have built together. I feel so blessed! I am excited to see what more God has in store for us in the years to come! Happy Anniversary Rich! I love you! :-)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Make Something Monday: Cinnamon Bread

Make Something Monday
This is probably my favorite yeast bread that my mom made when I was growing up. It is delicious and dangerous! When I made this the last time both loaves were gone within 24 hours and Rich was working...yeah-I was bad, but it was worth it! LOL! :-)



Cinnamon Bread:
  • 7 to 7-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 packages yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs

Mix 3-1/2 cups flour and yeast in large bowl. Heat milk, sugar, shortening and salt until shortening melts. (I then let it cool until it is lukewarm. To cool it quicker I'll fill the sink half full with cold water then hold the pan in it and stir until it is lukewarm.) Add to flour mixture and stir. Add eggs and beat 30 seconds on medium, then 3 minutes on high. Add in the rest of the flour while beating. Knead 8 to 10 minutes. Raise until doubled in size. Turn out and let rest 10 minutes. Divide in 2 (for 2 loaves). Roll out to 15x7 rectangles. Mix and sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon over rectangle. Then sprinkle 1 teaspoon water over mixture and spread. Roll up and bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

Optional: Top with sugar mixture or a powder sugar glaze of 1 c powder sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 1-1/2 tablespoon milk. (I don't top it with anything, but butter when it is right out of the oven-it's delicious on it's own!)


This is great on it's own for the first day. If it lasts longer than a day (you know-if you haven't eaten it all) it is delicious toasted and buttered. I haven't tried it yet, since it is never around long enough, but I'm sure it would be awesome to use in a cinnamon french toast!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Please Help a Fellow Blogger

If you have never seen the blog Healthy Moms, you should take a moment and stop by. It is a great resource for all sorts of information to help moms keep themselves and their families healthy. Behind that great blog is a wonderful person, Cascia, who has been going through some rough times these last couple years and it's about to get a bit harder for her and her family. Her blog, Healthy Moms, will be the main source of income for her family of 6 after her husband loses his job in November. (You can read more about their struggles here.) Please help out this sweet person who devotes so much of her time to her family and helping other moms through her blog. She could really use more subscribers and visitors and, most of all, prayers! Thank you! :-)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's That Time Again...

I blogged about this last year. I thought I was going to get away with not having troubles with it this year, but I was wrong! The flies are back and just as bad as in the past. It's disgusting! On top of that, the ladybug type things are in full swarm as well. In my short trip to the mailbox I was bombarded with ladybugs and luckily made it back inside with only about 10 on me. You should have seen the mailbox-there were thousands on it! You could barely tell that it is suppose to be white and forget about reading the house number! I'm afraid to go back outside-it is SO gross!

I took a couple pictures (from inside) and a video, so you could see the flies and ladybugs that are out right now. Take a peek if you can stomach it. I'm really glad I'm not a clean freak-this would make me go totally insane! (I'm already part way there-LOL!)

This is the awning over the kitchen window.

This is one of our west windows. Most of the dots (flies/ladybugs) are on the outside...thankfully!

The video shows the swarming going on outside. You can hear Blake in the background saying "fly!" and Morgan trying to help him catch one.

There is an upside to all these flies, though. Morgan and Blake think it's a blast! They love watching me vacuum them all up and Morgan even caught a pet fly yesterday. She carried it around in a little container all proud of it and everything. LOL! We were even able to make it part of her preschool lesson since 'F' was the letter of the day. We topped off the lesson by reading "A Fly went by". Maybe I'm getting more used to them than I should be? LOL!

Alright, I'm off to vacuum up more flies with a big sarcastic 'Yay!' LOL!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Make Something Monday: Salsa

Make Something Monday
After all the work of making sure our tomato plants were weeded, and picking countless tomato worms off them, they ended up with blight. Luckily we were able to salvage most of the tomatoes before the plants were terribly infected. Most of them are still green, but the other day I had enough to make my first batch of salsa. It turned out beautiful! The only mistake I made was letting Rich put in the jalapenos-it is HOT! When I say HOT, I mean that I am sweating after one bite of a chip dipped in it. It takes a little while to feel the heat, but then it burns like your tongue is on fire! I definitely learned a lesson, though, only make salsa while Rich is at work! LOL!

Salsa:
  • 15 large tomatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 15 jalapeno peppers diced (10 medium) (5 mild), seed in
  • 5 large onions, diced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (which I don't use)
  • Optional-green peppers
Mix all ingredients together, cook until thick-about 2 hours. (I like salsa quite thick, so I cook it longer.)
Process by waterbath canning method for 15 minutes.
Pre-cooked:



Cooked:

I canned 9 pints from this batch (plus there was extra) and am hoping to get a couple more batches-especially since this one is barely edible...by me-Rich loves it!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Homemade Tambourine

This is another fun activity I found to do with the Morgan and Blake from education.com. I gave them each two paper plates to color and put stickers on. (They were super excited about being able to use stickers, so the tambourines were full of stickers!) When they were done decorating, I had the kids put some beans in one plate, then I put the other plate on top and stapled them together. Viola! A tambourine!

Here are some pics of the kids decorating their tambourines then jumping up and down as they played them. (Please excuse the kids' attire. It was first thing in the morning before the kids were dressed. Plus Blake was in the middle of potty training, so he had no pants on.)


They loved their tambourines and played hard with them! Blake's tambourine was ruined within minutes, but I had them use the cheapest plates we had. I hope to do this again and use sturdier plates, which will be easier to decorate and will hopefully last a bit longer! :-)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Potty Time Tuesday: Poop!



Blake has been doing fairly well with potty training even though we are technically taking a break. He is still asking to go and actually pees on the potty at least twice a day. He even asked to sit on the potty at Grandma's house this weekend, but Grandma doesn't have a potty seat and being dangled over a big hole was not his idea of fun! LOL!

Yesterday Blake was actually doing really well. He went without a diaper all morning with no accidents, but I had to put a diaper on him for nap time. I didn't bother putting pants on him, but come to find out that was a bad decision!

Blake and Morgan tend to play a little before settling down to go to sleep. I know that they do and won't check on them unless there is crying or it has been a while and they still haven't gone to sleep. Well, yesterday they were not settling down, so I went in to check on them. When I opened the door, the first thing I saw was Blake halfway up Morgan's ladder with his little diapered bottom facing me and a brown streak across the back of it! :-(

My first thought was 'Oh no! What has that brown streak touched?!' I'll admit, it could have been worse-at least he kept his diaper on! But there was still poop on his pillow, his comforter, all over the toy chest that he uses to climb up into bed and it was also all over Morgan's comforter. (Remember he was climbing down her ladder, so he had been up in her bed too.) Yuck! I got what I could find cleaned up and my 3 load laundry day turned into a 5 load laundry day. (Six loads if you include the throw I had to wash the day before because he got pee all over it.)

I think this potty training thing has been more of a learning experience for me than it has for Blake. Maybe if I have Blake clean up the messes he'll learn faster!? No? I didn't think so. Good thought though, right? :-)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Make Something Monday: Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Make Something Monday
I was craving some pumpkin baked good deliciousness this summer, so I stole some home-canned pumpkin from my mother-in-law and made these little goodies. I figured this was a great time to post this with the pumpkin season in full swing. ;-) (Oh-I made sure to share the cookies with my in-laws after steeling the pumpkin!)


Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies:
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking sheets.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies.

For Glaze:

Combine 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth.

Variation: I added coconut to the cookies as well and it made them super delicious! :-)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Family Fun Day: Fish

I'm not sure how I came up with a the fish theme for our first Family Fun Day, but it seemed like a good one at the time. I even got questioned from both Rich and my mom-"Why fish?" and I really don't know! LOL! It just happened that there are a lot of activities that are fun to do with a fish theme, so that is what I chose! As you'll see, I'll have to plan better for our next Family Fun Day, but it wasn't all bad... :-)


These were our activities for the day:

*Play the Fish for Numbers Game. Always a hit, so I knew I couldn't go wrong with this activity!

* Read Dr. Suess's "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish", but since we don't have the book I was hoping to find a reading of it online. Instead I found this on YouTube:







I thought this was quite entertaining, but Morgan got bored with it quickly. I'm not sure she could tell what they were saying?


*Make fish shaped sandwiches for lunch. Unfortunately the kids wanted toasted cheese sandwiches and pressing the cookie cutter through toasted bread with melted cheese inside doesn't work the best!

*Have fish sticks for dinner. I thought it would be fun for the kids, but this didn't work out so well either. It was a last minute thought and Rich forgot to grab them when he stopped for groceries. (Can't blame him for forgetting though-we never have fish sticks!) Leftovers worked out just fine. :-)

*Play 'Go Fish!' Would have been an awesome idea if Morgan knew how to play. Rich and I ended up basically playing ourselves, but Morgan did help by asking for the number fish for me and drawing our cards for us! :-)

*Make a 'Gone Fishin' snack mix and watch 'Finding Nemo'. This was probably the best part of the whole day! The kids loved the makeshift snack that Morgan helped me put together and they LOVE Finding Nemo!

*End the day with a book about Jonah and the Big Fish (or whale). Reading is always fun for the kids and I liked being able to fit a Bible story into the fish themed Family Fun Day. :-)


Not all bad, right? I had fun planning it out and I was pretty impressed with the 'Gone Fishin' snack! I derived it from another recipe I found by just changing a couple things. If you'd like to try it here is how I made it:

'Gone Fishin' Snack Mix
3 quarts popped popcorn
2 cups pretzel sticks (like fishing poles!)
2 cups goldfish snack crackers
1-1/4 teaspoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
6 tablespoons melted butter of margarine

In a large bowl, combine popcorn, pretzels and goldfish. Combine the seasonings. Drizzle butter over popcorn mixture and sprinkle with seasonings; toss to coat. Store in an airtight container. Yeild 3-1/2 quarts.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Crispy Crunchy Cereal Cookies

When Morgan was on 'C' for the letter of the day, I came up with making rice krispy treats, but called them 'Crispy Crunchy Cereal Cookies' to keep with the 'C' theme for the day. After we melted the marshmallows and mixed in the rice krispies we used a cow and a cub mold to make Crispy Crunchy Cereal Cookie Cows and Cubs. I'm pretty sure I was more impressed by the whole idea than Morgan was, but she enjoyed being able to eat her 'bear' when it was done. (Despite my many attempts to tell her that it was a baby bear and they were called 'cubs', she still called it a bear. So much for the 'C' theme! LOL!)

Here are some pics of the finished product and the kids enjoying them:

Cute right!? This is actually the second food we've made for her preschool time. We also made one big chocolate chip cookie when she was on '1' for the number of the day. (It also doubled for a snack while camping.) It's been fun coming up with a food activity to do for her preschool...and maybe I'm enjoying eating all the goodies too! ;-)

Silly Kids Photo Contest

Hasbro is sponsoring a Silly Kids Photo Contest on 5 Minutes for Mom to win either $1,000 for the first prize or $300 for the second prize to go towards the child's education. I'm thinking this would be great for the activities I would like to do with Morgan (and eventually Blake) for preschool the next few years!

So I racked my brain trying to think of a silly photo. I knew we had some, but when you need it, you can never remember, right? (Maybe that's just me?) Anyway, I finally thought of this one:
This is Morgan when she was nearly 9 months old. She loved chewing on that rubber duck and, as you can see, it could turn out to be quite a comical sight! :-)

If you would like a chance to win as well, just head on over to 5 Minutes for Mom and check out the rules! :-)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Holding Hands


I happened to be inside on the phone, when I looked out and saw this. (Thankfully the camera was right there!) :-)

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom, Go Graham Go! and Healthy Moms.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Costume Giveaway at 5 Minutes for Mom


With Rich being a firefighter, I've always thought it would be cute if the kids could dress up like their Daddy. The fire department has given both of them cute little plastic fire helmets, but they never last long and it isn't like having the whole outfit. Well, 5 Minutes for Mom is offering one lucky winner their choice of costume from their store and they have some super cute fire fighter costumes to choose from! I'm keeping my fingers crossed! ;-)

Potty Time Tuesday: Break Time?

Well, after nearly a week and a half of Blake running around without a diaper, I decided to take a bit of a break and start up again in a couple weeks. Blake wasn't catching on like I had hoped and I was cleaning up more pee puddles and poo piles than I ever thought I was going to!

Funny thing is-Blake doesn't seem to want to take a break! We seem to have come to something that works...at least for now. After putting diapers back on, he kept wanting them off to go potty! So, right now, he goes potty when he wants to and goes in his diaper when he isn't thinking about the potty. Sooooo much nicer than cleaning up accidents and it has been a lot less stressful for both of us! :-) Plus-he is making it to the potty about the same amount that he did when he was running around half naked. I don't know how long it will take him to get trained by this method, but I'm pretty sure he was going to go at his own rate no matter what I tried! :-)
P.S.-The magic reward (after a lot of trial and error) seems to be chocolate chips! I think he is taking after his mommy! ;-)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Make Something Monday: Cabbage Roll Casserole

Make Something Monday
I'm not usually one to eat a lot of cabbage, but I like it when I have it. So when Rich's grandma gave us a humungous cabbage, I had to find some way to cook it all up. My mom makes what is basically the same as this, but I made a couple changes. And since the cabbage was so big, I have made this 4 times, plus made fried cabbage on several occasions! It's all been delicious though and I haven't gotten tired of it yet... ;-)



Cabbage Roll Casserole:
1 lb. ground beef (raw)
1 can tomato soup
1 small can tomato sauce
2 cups pasta (I use egg noodles.)
1/4 cup rice
1/2 cup water

Mix ingredients in a 2-1/2 quart baking dish, then add enough chopped cabbage to fill. Add salt and pepper to taste, then bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours.



This is the last meal we had with the cabbage roll casserole. I cooked up our last zucchini and had leftover homemade french fries from our homegrown potatoes. It was a delicious meal! :-)

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Recent Addition to our Little Farm

Rich and I had been talking recently on how it would be nice to have a few chickens to have some fresh eggs. We've had chickens in the past, but they didn't last long or never produced any eggs, so no luck in the egg department. Then last week Rich's mom mentioned that a local summer camp was looking at getting rid of their poultry. They were free, so why not try again, right? We ended up with 6 chickens and 1 rooster. Here are a few pics of their arrival:


This last picture is of what we were hoping for-EGGS! They started laying on the third day of being here and we got 4 brown eggs and 1 green one that day. As you can see, the kids thought it was pretty neat too. :-)

On a side note-we now think we know what we want to do with our old outhouse. We're hoping to make it into a chicken coop! The pen in the barn is a little on the small side for them and the outhouse is just sitting there uninhabited. We'll just need to put up a fence and they'll have all sorts of room! :-)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Award Season?

So many awards! I feel like it's award season! Some of these are actually from before my blogging break and others are brand new, but they're all up now! (At least I hope I didn't miss any! LOL!)

Andrea at MomWriterMe gave me both of these:

Cascia at Healthy Moms shared these two awards with me:

Both Alexis at Running Away? I'll Help You Pack! and Alesha at The Jacobsen Family honored me with this award:

And these 3 awards are also from Alexis at Running Away? I'll Help You Pack!

Okay-that's all of them! Since I'm posting all these at once, I'm sure I'm not following any of the rules of the awards, but I at least wanted to follow the rules of one award-the Over the Top Award (It sounds really fun!) :-)

*These are the rules: USE ONLY ONE WORD! It’s not as easy as you might think. Copy and change the answers to suit you and pass it on. It’s really hard to use only one-word answers.

1. Where is your cell phone? Rich

2.Your hair? ponytail

3. Your mother? caring

4. Your father? sweet

5. Your favorite food? all

6. Your dream last night? none

7. Your favorite drink? diet

8. Your dream/goal? many

9. What room are you in? living

10. Your hobby? giveaways!

11. Your fear? loss

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? house (a new or improved one)

13. Where were you last night? run

14. Something that you aren't? outgoing

15. Muffins? yum

16. Wish list item? time

17. Where did you grow up? Michigan

18. Last thing you did? this

19. What are you wearing? slippers

20. Your TV? old

21. Your pets? several

22. Friends? love

23. Your life? wonderful

24. Your mood? happy

25. Missing someone? friends

26. Vehicle? runs!

27. Something you're not wearing? socks

28. Your favorite store? Target

29. Your favorite color? pink

30. When was the last time you laughed? today

31. Last time you cried? today

32. Your best friend? several

33. One place that I go to over and over? bathroom (LOL!)

34. One person who emails me regularly? Michelle

35. Favorite place to eat? home

I have to elaborate on the 'Last time you cried' answer. While thinking about what to write in response to receiving these awards, I got a bit emotional about all the wonderful new friends I've met while blogging. Thank you for sharing these awards with me! You are all the greatest and I love you! :-)

I know I'm suppose to pass all these on, but I'm going to be lazy route since I didn't keep up with all the rules of all the awards. Instead, please take time to visit those who shared these awards with me-they are wonderful friends with great blogs! :-)

Fish for Numbers Game

Since Morgan is three now, I wanted to start a preschool for her here at home. I went ahead and bought a program that is just worksheets and wanted to do a couple activities along with those worksheets. The problem is I can't always think of an activity off the top of my head. Luckily I have been able to find several fun things for Morgan to do at education.com. I put together this Fishing for Numbers Game to help Morgan recognize her numbers and she and Blake both loved playing. Check out the pics. (The kids are concentrating very hard on catching those fish!)



(Blake loves wearing those boots he has on!)

The game was super simple. I started it by saying "Mommy is really hungry. Can you catch the number ... fish for me?" Morgan thought that was great! She concentrated really hard at getting her fishing pole to the fish I had asked for. The different color fish also aided in helping Morgan figuring out which fish I was asking for if it was one she was unsure of. I also like that the game didn't really cost anything and was quite easy to make. The kids are a little rough on the construction paper fish, but if they ruin them, I can always make another. I have a few other activities lined up to try from education.com too, and am excited to see how Morgan (and Blake) like doing them!

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