Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wonder If My Kids Realize How Lucky They Are

Fall Sugar Cookies

I have been making these for years, they are the perfect treat to celebrate the fall season.  Simple to make, but a little time consuming.  Mix up your favorite sugar cookie dough.  Divide into 3 - 4 sections (depending on how many colors you use).  Add food gel colors to the dough (I like the food gel colors, rather than plain food coloring, because the colors come out more vibrant and brighter).

I made yellow, orange, red and brown

Take a few handfuls of each dough color and roll them out together on a lightly floured surface.  Use leaf shaped or acorn shaped cookie cutters.  Then sprinkle with a little sugar.  I used brownish gold glittery sugar crystals that I found at the candy/cake store. 

Don't they almost look too pretty to eat?


My kids pounced on them the minute they got home from school.

They are a bunch of lucky sons of guns, Aren't they?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Yummy Scented Fingerpaint

I saw this posted on Almost Unschoolers and thought it sounded like a fun idea.  Homemade fingerpaint  that smells like Fall....Sounds Cool, Right?


1 cup corn starch
8 TBS sugar
4 cups water


Mix it all together and cook and stir over medium heat until it starts to thicken.  I actually cooked mine a little too long and it came out more like a gel than a paint, but Nathan and I liked it better that way.  To make the paint smell like fall scents, I added a little of each to the paint - cinnamon, ginger, apple pie spice, pumpkin pie spice and I cut open an orange spice tea bag to use as well.  Then, I added some food coloring to each bowl with the scents (orange, brown, red, green and yellow). 

Nathan and I used sponge paint brushes, instead of our fingers.  We painted pictures of fall trees.  I also found some print outs of leaves online and printed those out, which we painted and I cut out once they dried. 

The next day, we made a tree using paper bags and taped the leaves to the tree.  This made a really awesome fall display for our house and was a great way to showcase Nathan's art work as well.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tattle Tales

As a mother of six, I can tell you I get more than my fair share of listening to tattle tales.


Can't you just hear Candance's (Phineas and Ferb's older sister) voice rattling in your head.

Every few minutes someone feels the need to tattle on their sibling. What is behind all the tattles anyway?

The other night while I was working Sarah felt the need to text me about 5 times telling me all the things that were going on at home. Normally I don't mind, since I like knowing what's going on when I'm not there, but when it comes to telling on each other non-stop it gets old really fast.

*Hey Mom did you know that Amanda made pancakes for dinner? {{How dare she make you dinner??}}

*And oh yeah, Dad told her she could go out with Tyler tonight. {{Geesh, now Dad's getting tattled on too}}

*Mom, Nick won't take a bath, he says he wants a shower instead {{If he gets clean, who cares how it's done}}

I listen to them constantly saying "I'm telling Mom" every day. And to tell the truth, most of what they tattle about is stupid little things, that I could really care less about. Now, when your older sister is chasing you down the hallway with a knife...Well, come tell me. If you break a window when you threw a toy....Come tell me.  If you're bleeding profusely from a head wound....Come tell me.  And if, your brother is about to do something stupid like climb up on the roof and jump off....Well, come tell me.  Or if your older sister sneaking out the window at night....Come tell me.

But, if you just want to tell me that your younger brother accidently scribbled on your art work....Just keep it to yourself!

Guest Post ~ Misty Weaver of Baby Sign Language

Misty is the chief editor of  Baby Sign Language.   I, personally, never did sign language with my kids.  I have read several articles on it though and have friends that have done it.  It sounds very interesting.  When Misty approached me and asked if she could write an article for my blog I thought it was a great idea.   If you're interested in baby sign language, check out the website for more info.

Making Life Easier With Baby Sign Language   By Misty Weaver

I am really a simple girl. I don’t multitask well and I don’t thrive on chaos. I like peace, calm, and quiet. Can you believe I have children? It is a constant struggle to keep up! I simply admire those of us who have six kids! Wow!

Thank God for Baby Sign Language. When I started, I was just doing it because I thought it was something I should do, something that would be good for my baby. But it evolved into a lifesaver.

The first sign that my daughter learned was “milk.” Whenever she was hungry, she would make the sign for milk, without crying. She would smile and squeeze her little hand, and I would oblige.

Not long after, she learned the sign for “eat.” When she wanted to eat, she would simply bring her hand to her mouth and I would get her a little snack. Simple. Peaceful. Easy.

Her favorite sign was for “more.” More crackers. More juice. More reading. More crayons. And with her father, more candy please.

And as she grew, we added more signs to her repertoire. She learned how to sign for hurt, and whenever she fell down, she would make the sign for hurt near the part of her body that hurt. This took all the guesswork out of it for me, which was great, because I’m not a gifted guesser. (I won’t tell you that she didn’t cry with this one – she most certainly did.) When she fell off our deck, I nearly had a heart attack, but she signed that her hand hurt. I asked her if her head hurt. Nope, just her hand. I asked if her shoulders hurt, her back? No Mommy, just my hand, I told you once already. Big sigh of relief. I could deal with a hand injury.

When she was teething, she would make the sign for hurt near her mouth, so I got her some pain relief teething gel. I’ve got to be honest – she was screaming, she was sweating, her nose was running, and I never would have thought of her teeth if she hadn’t told me.

Signing helped with potty training too. By the time we were attempting the potty, she was able to say a few words, but when she had to pee, she would panic and not be able to say “potty.” But she could make the sign, and I would quickly usher her over to the potty. She found this to be a fantastic game. She signs – mommy runs – she gets a sticker. But it was an okay game with me because she was going in the potty!

I also taught her to sign for “please” and “thank you.” While this may not sound like it has a lot of practical implications, it sure made me feel like my life was easier. I love it when she says please! It just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And “please” was one of the very first words she ever spoke, and I attribute this accomplishment to signing.

Mothering is tough. There’s a lot to it! There is still chaos in my house. But there is a lot less confusion thanks to Baby Sign Language. I am so grateful, I am signing “thank you” right now.

**Baby Sign Language is also on Facebook

Thanks Misty!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's Cupcake Party Time!

As you all know by now...I LOVE a good cupcake. I love baking them, decorating them, eating them and sharing them (well, sometimes I share them hehe). I have a super serious addiction to buying cute cupcake liners and sprinkles - Remember peeking into my baking cupboard? I have tons of sprinkles, sugars, quins, jimmies, nonpareils, icing colors, liners, etc.  I just can't help myself!  Every time I see a new design or a fun cute sprinkle, I become almost obsessed...if I don't buy it when I see it, it'll bug me until I go back and get it. 

I recently received the cutest cupcake liners and sprinkles from The Cupcake Social, an Etsy store.   They have so many pretty liners and such a wide selection of sprinkles and sugars.  Everything from dog bone shaped candies to edible animal shapes and hearts to ballerina and halloween toppers and rings...so many different colored jimmies, sugars, sprinkles, crystals and quins ..... I'm in love! There are dozens of different liners too...from zebra prints, to ginghams, to swirly patterns to florals prints ..... the selection is endless!  They sell mini liners, to standard and jumbo sizes as well. 

Besides the beauty of the liners, one thing I noticed using these is that, the color never faded.  Even the yellow liner, while using yellow cake, the color stayed as bright as it was before I used it.  If there's one thing that makes me nuts when using liners is that the color fades or blends into the cake, but these liners didn't do that.  So awesome!

The store also sells packaging, twine and tags, cookie cutters, pinwheels, candles and cupcake toppers.  So Many Cute Things! I can't tell you how much I absolutely adore this store!! If you love cupcakes as much as I do, whether baking or decorating them...You definitely need to check out The Cupcake Social.com.

*Disclosure:  This review was based on my own honest opinion.  I received the liners and sprinkles for review purposes.   No other compensation was received.  The opinions stated are my own and in no way influenced by The Cupcake Social. 

Holy Tomatoes Batman!!

I really, really wanted to can tomatoes this year.  Our good friend Lew gave us 12 tomato plants to plant in our garden and I ended up with 2 plus strainers full so far.  They are still doing well and growing.  But I didn't feel like it was enough to can.  Every Sunday during football season, Rich watches the game with his good friend Vince.  When the game was over, Rich came home and told me that Vince had bought a bushel full of tomatoes and canned them.  So I called Terri (Vince's wife) and asked her where Vince had gotten the tomatoes from.  The next day at work (yes, Terri and I work at the same place), Terri told me the Vince said he would pick the tomatoes for me, since it was a pick your own farm.  I thought that was really nice of him....but then he always has been a nice guy.  Tonight I was at work and Sarah sent me a message that Vince came by and dropped off my tomatoes and she sent me this pic.

Needless to say, I'm going to be VERY busy the next few days LOL!  Thanks Vince!

Linking to Tuesday's Blog Hops


Tuesday Tag-Along

Friday, September 17, 2010

Like My New Profile Pic?

I thought I was looking pretty darn cute last night.  I got to go out all on my own - no kids...no hubby...no work (because contrary to popular belief, going to work is not getting out of the house on your own) - it was divine! I went to a Taste of Home Magazine cooking school show.  I have never been to one before so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I must say it was a lot of fun. 

I checked out the vendors, got some freebies, coupons and discounts.  I ate half of a pulled pork sandwich and a few chips (I swear that sandwich was the size of a frisbee - it was HUGE, I could barely eat half of it).  I paid a little extra for premium seating (totally worth the money, by the way).  And watched as they demonstrated ten different dishes (such as Upside Down Banana Pecan French Toast, Cornbread Stuffed Turkey Breast, Cookie Dough Truffles, Sausage Stuffed Red Bell Peppers and French Cranberry Apple Pie).  I learned a few new techniques and tricks as well.  Cheryl Cohen, top culinary expert was funny and informative as she went through each recipe step by step.

I want to go again.

I got some really cute bloggy awards this week from some sweet ladies.

This one is from Tracy

And this one is from Eastlyn

Thanks ladies, you sure know how to make someone's day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

These Are The Things That Melt My Heart....

Can life not get more precious than family helping each other...than watching brothers get along...than to hear from a stranger that your son is an awesome big brother that walks his younger brother to his class every day....than seeing your oldest son making a snack with your youngest one...than cheap, kid labor and finding the joy and fun in scraping wallpaper off the wall for the billionth time...than just appreciating the simple, most wonderful, blessed, little moments in time...than loving the beauty of just being a family and holding all those moments captured in time with a simple photograph....LIFE is BEAUTIFUL when you take the time to see what God has blessed and graced you with.  Not many people stop and look at how beautiful life can truly be when you appreciate it for all it's worth.  When you stop rushing around, and stop thinking about time.  And just look around your kitchen table at dinner and seeing happy faces with full bellies that are thankful for a mother's homecooking.  When you look at your children tucked in their beds each night and pray that God loves and protects them and holds them in his arms while they sleep.  When you take the time, you can see the beauty in just about anything.  Life is an awesome gift.....So GO LIVE IT!

Linking to:

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm So Proud of Myself

I canned hot peppers!

All on my own!!

 I'm so proud of myself! 

I kept putting it off, because quite frankly it seemed like a tedious, overwhelming, difficult task to take on.  But I REALLY wanted to try my hand at it.  #1 to prove I could do it  and #2 to help preserve and stock up some food for my family....Food that I grew with my own two hands, that I tended to and canned on my own, rather than just shopped for at the grocery store.

All summer long, I have enjoyed going out to the garden and picking fresh vegetables to feed my family.  My zucchini grew wild this year and I have over 40 bags of frozen shredded zucchini in my freezer to prove it.  Now my family can enjoy zucchini bread or cakes all year round.  How awesome is that?! To not have to go buy a zucchini out of season in the winter if we got hungry for it.  We also enjoyed stuffed peppers and fajitas with fresh garden peppers.  There is just something special about gardening.  If you garden, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.  It's thrilling and exciting.  Of course, it's a lot of hard work as well, but totally worth it.

This was our second year at gardening.  So, we are still experimenting on what grows best and what to do with all the bounty we've gotten from it.  Mostly we've been eating the vegetables fresh from the garden.  But I also wanted to try my hand at canning.  I was recently given the opportunity to review a product from CSN stores.  I decided to chose the Columbian Graniteware 12 piece canning set from Cookware.com.  The set came with a 5 piece tool set (funnel, tongs, lid wand, etc.), a canner with a wire rack, a blanching pot with strainer and colander and lids.  Basically, everything I needed to get started.   I was super excited when it arrived on my doorstep.  It took less than a week for it to be delivered once I placed my order. 

It took another week or two of reading books and internet articles on canning and preserving food.  And also gathering up the nerve of taking on such a task.  But once I started, I realized how easy it was.  The actual process itself was time consuming, especially the food prepping part.  After the job was complete, I couldn't believe that I had put it off for so long.  Having the right equipment made all the difference in the world.  I highly recommend the 12 piece canning set.  Although they sell all the products separately and in smaller piece sets. 

I think I kept pushing it off because I was afraid I wouldn't do the job correctly.  However, seeing those jars of peppers sitting on my counter was very satisfying.  I was so proud of myself at what I had accomplished.  And to be honest, I can't wait to do it again.

*Disclosure:  This review was based on my own honest opinion.  I received the 12 piece canning set to review.   No other compensation was received.  The opinions stated are my own and in no way influenced by CSN stores or Cookware.com. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Little Art To Celebrate Autumn

A little brown, red, orange, yellow and green paint

Paint your child's arm and hand brown for the tree and branches

Let them dip their fingers in the other colors and dab on the paper to make leaves

Done.....easy, cute and only a teensy bit messy!