Friday, August 27, 2010

For a little girl's birthday...

...I made this.  I saw a tutorial for it and knew it would be perfect for a little girl's birthday gift.  This little girl will be turning 4.  How handy is this thing?  You stuff the toys into the pockets on the bottom of the mat, roll it up, throw it in your bag, and go.  What a handy little number this will be at restaurants to entertain a board preschooler.  Kadyn, as usual, was eye balling this project and declared she would like one for herself.  I may just have to deliver this Christmas.  It was fun to make.  You can also make them for little boys, but instead of doing a farm theme, you could make a car theme complete with roads, gas stations, you name it.  So neat! 

Lovely visit

A couple weeks ago the Chase family was in town and we got to spend some time with them.  Jeff spent a Thursday afternoon with Jon at an 80's video game arcade.  Then the following Saturday we both met up with them for the day.  First the ladies got a little time away to just be women.  Kerri and I ate together at a lovely restaurant, and then went to get manicures and pedicures.  Later we met up with the men, who had been watching all the kids, to go grab some dinner while Grammy and Grandad watched the kiddos.  It was a great time with some pleasant conversation, and a great chance to just go be adults.  We forgot our camera, so Jeff snapped a few photos with his phone when he remembered.  I forgot my phone, so I didn't get any pics of the girl's day out. Rats!  Anyhow, aren't their kids the cutest?

Monday, August 23, 2010


Every week I like to try at least one new vegetarian recipe.  This is one I cooked up last night  It's called cheesy eggplant burgers. I LOVED it!  The family, on the other hand, not so much.  I guess I can't really blame the kids as it is a little out there for little kid taste buds.  Jeff is very picky, so I can't really expect much there.  BUT....for someone with a wide pallet, this is perfect.  It is really like bruschetta with eggplant.  It does have Gouda cheese which was a first for me.  Not something I will do often as that cheese is  expensive.   Anyhoo...I wanted to share as I thought it was delish. Sorry...I couldn't resist but take a couple bites before I snapped the photo.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Margaret Sling Bag

After sewing so many things for other people, I start to itch to sew something for myself.  I saw this tutorial and fell in love with this bag.  I wanted to do it as low of budget as possible, so I didn't put the interfacing in it as the tutorial called for since I didn't have any.  The outer fabric was an old pillow case that I bought to help me make those baby bibs awhile back.  The lining was fabric that was given to me for free a little over a year ago.  It really was an easy bag to make.  The bulk of the time to make it was cutting out all the pieces.  Assembling it went much quicker.  It does have two pockets inside.  It was hard to photo the inside as it was hard to hold it open and take a picture at the same time, sorry.

It is a little larger than I had hoped it would be.  It also looks a bit like a diaper bag because of the fabric I used.  I'm trying to decide exactly what to use it for.  I currently use a backpack for my diaper bag.  Hmmmm.....I'll think of something.  A woman can never have too many bags;)'s the link to the tutorial.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hands on education

This week has been kind of fun for crafts/preschool time at our house.  One day, out of the blue, I decided to take a detour from our nutrition lessons and do something just for fun.  I looked up a "how to" on making a paper boat.  I had the kids color and decorate a sheet of paper, then I folded into the boat shape and added tin foil to the bottom to make it a little more waterproof.  I can't just do a craft without there being a little learning involved, so we all went to the sink and did a little experiment with different objects.  They guessed whether they would float or sink.  Then I really threw them for a loop when I put a glass cup in the water.  It floated when I put it in the sink rightside up.  It sank when I turned it sideways. It was a cool lesson on how air can make heavy objects float.  Then the grand finale was getting to see if our boats would float down our creek.

Once Kadyn got over her fear of water bugs, they had fun.  The boats did pretty well until water got on the inside of the boats.  It was a little downhill from there, but they still enjoyed themselves in the creek which, by the way, had very COLD water.

The following day we went forward with our nutrition lesson.  We were going to learn about the bread/grain food group.  I searched and searched for a craft that involved bread/grains, but it was difficult.  Then I ran into the idea of making a teddy bear out of dough.  I had seen the activity once in a the magazine Family Fun and forgotten all about it.  I'm pretty sure one of my readers also did this with her little one too.  Anyhoo....I controlled the really messy parts just to make sure I didn't regret the activity all together.  The kids got to dump in some of the ingredients, watch me kneed the dough and form the big parts, and then they got to make the limbs and put on some of the raisins.  Later we ate it for a snack with some apple butter as dipping sauce.  They thought it was quite tasty.  It was fun and different from our normal paper crafts (which we resumed today when we made the 5 food groups mobile).  Anyhow, just wanted to share.  Sometimes when my little creative wheel gets to going, life can be very amusing.

Embellishing the existing

Something I thought would be nice this Christmas is to embellish what the kids already have.  This will eliminate the toy overload that can so often happen.  I often find myself looking around at the new toys wondering where in the world I'm going to put them; I really do think a lot of kids have too many toys; I don't want my kids to be those children.  Already we have more than we probably should.  If it weren't for the daycare, I would be tempted to dump half of them.  I also think children need to use their imaginations more.  More often than not, it is the simple toys that the kids like the most, not the ones with all the bells and whistles. I also notice that when floor is littered with toys the kids sometimes have trouble focusing.  It's not uncommon to see the kids having more fun just running around the house without a toy in sight.  Sometimes they don't need a toy at all, just a little imagination and a lot of open space. 

Anyhow, I digress.  Of course, if I can find a way to sew these presents it will eliminate a lot of the extra cost of Christmas too.  So....I've happened on a tutorial for making dolly diapers (SO EASY).    Can't seem to find a tutorial on doll clothing.  Plenty out there for barbie clothes, but not dolls.  I may have to just put on my creative cap and try it all on my own.  I might have to make a few barbie clothes while I'm at it (it seems impossible to find barbie clothes anymore that aren't inappropriate).  I also thought I might try to make some baby carriers for their dolls.  Then to top it all off, a new baby diaper bag to put all those new clothes, diapers, and baby carrier in.  All of these creations require minimal fabric which means minimal cost.   Of course, there are other present ideas I'm entertaining, but at least I've got a good start.

Unfortunately, Kadyn has seen all of this.  I told her it was all for Brennan (and at the time it was).  She has put her two cents in that she wants some as well.  I told her I might be able to do that.  I'm just hoping after it gets stashed away for a couple months, she'll forget all about them and then there will be SOME element of surprise.  Sewing these things at night just isn't that feasible.  I'm usually tied up getting kids fed, bathed, and ready for bed.  After that I want time with Jeff.  I might have to get over that for awhile to get this stuff done however.  We'll see.

Monday, August 16, 2010

It really is a miracle

Maybe you remember my post at the beginning of spring about my new planters to try a little container gardening.  I was so excited about them.  In one I planted two hanging tomatoe plants and two bell pepper plants.  In the other I planted basil, parsley, and cilantro, and hanging strawberry plants. 

At first they did outstanding.  The soil I got was organic, but was supposed to feed for the first two months.  I did nothing in terms of fertilizer, and my plan was to try to fertilize organically with eggshells and water from my fish tank.  About a month and a half in, they started to stop growing and every day it seemed as though it would be their last despite my natural efforts.  I formulated two theories, these planters just didn't have enough soil or enough room for the root systems, or they needed some serious fertilizer, forget the organic stuff.  The first theory was beyond my control, so I decided to go with my second theory and put a little regular fertilizer (aka miracle grow) to the test.  At first there was minimal difference, but the leaves started to turn from a shade of pukish green to dark rich green.  No new noticeable growth. Then little by little, the plants started to grow again.  Now they are getting a nice size and starting to produce a lot of fruit.

I did have to ignore the suggested feeding schedule on the box. I fertilized everytime I watered. I  figured since these planters really didn't hold the water very well and it drained out with every watering, that the soil was probably being stripped of what nutrients it had just about every time I watered.  Boy am I glad I decided to do that.  Last weekend I picked 6 peppers off my plants.  There are still plenty coming up in their place.  I have several tomatoes growing as we speak.  I have cut the basil down more than I care to do.  The other herbs didn't quite make it because my basil over shadowed them, but that's fine.  The hanging strawberries just seem stuck in growth so they will not be planted next year. No fruit that survived on those plants.

Because the bulk of what I wanted to grow was successful, I am motivated to expand my container gardening efforts next year and do zuccini, squash, and more herbs in other pots.  This is kind of fun and honestly, a lot easier than a regular garden.  Maybe I do have a green thumb and it's called miracle grow.  It really is a miracle.

Is it possible?

The other day while on facebook, I read a post from one of my friends (one of my blog readers, in fact) about trying to do without sugar.  When I started my radical diet change at the beginning of the year, I knew that sugar was one of the things I was going to have to cut back on.  I did without dessert for two weeks, but I never gave up my sweetners.  It did help.  I didn't crave sweets as much, and it helped me regain control of a part of my life that was wildly out of control.  I can't say that I never craved more sweets, but eventually I was able to add dessert back into my diet and was able to limit myself to one tiny piece of chocolate after lunch and supper.  I can't say that I didn't want to eat the whole bag after that one tiny bite of heaven, but I was able to exercise self control. 

This summer has been so good to us.  Part of it's enjoyment has come from the fact that I have allowed myself a little more than my one chocolate after each meal.  Andy's frozen custard, bake sale goods, birthday cakes and icecream.  Next thing I know, I am sitting down one evening (last night to be exact) and gorging myself on a huge brownie.  It was so good (at least for the whopping 2 minutes that it took to eat it).  Then I felt so yucky afterwards.  I was overly full and I felt guilty for having splurged so big.  I mean, why couldn't I just have eaten one bite and stopped?  After all, I wasn't exactly hungry when I ate it. I thought to myself, if I'm not careful those pounds that I lost so easily are going to creep back up on me.

I started thinking about those things people say that when you do a radical diet change you have to retrain your taste buds, in a sense.  I do believe this is true.  I used to HATE vegetables.  I idea of becoming a vegetarian would have seemed laughable to me.  Now look at me.  I love them.  I crave them.  They weren't all good at first, but the more I forced myself to partake and cook them, the more enjoyment I got out of them.

I did a little research on retraining your tastebuds last night to see if it is really possible to train yourself to not desire treats.  What I discovered was what I pretty much already knew, but it motiviated me to give it a try.  Afterall, my vegetarian idea started as an idea of just doing one vegetarian meal a week.  It was so easy, I wondered if I could do it an entire week.  It was still so easy and fun that I decided to do it mostly full time with the occasional fish meal.  So if I could do that, why not challenge myself to give up sugar, at least for a long enough period of time that it no longer felt like a necessity.  I desire to live life without craving sugar. 

The articles I read said the first two or three days will be the worst.  It suggested that too fully conquer the cravings for some can even take as long as 5 months.  (Sigh, Lord I hope that's not how long it takes me). also said that eventually your tastebuds will readjust and suddenly things that tasted so bland will be bursting with natural flavors that you never noticed before.  What once seemed so boring will taste so wonderful and exciting.  Now that sounds good doesn't it? 

Then what will be it be like when you do allow yourself one splurge after this great reinvention of your tastebuds, one might wonder.  One woman said that it tasted so rich and overboard that she had one bite and that's all she could handle.  I suppose it stands to reason that if fruit was like heaven, something that had a lot of added artificial sweetners would feel a little overpowered.  One bite of custard, one bite of a brownie, one bite of a candybar....can you imagine that type of self control?  I can't.  Unbelieveable....That's why I want to find out if that really is true.  The thought of seeing a serving of fruit as a wonderful dessert and knowing I'm being healthy doing it,  sounds so good doesn't it?   So really my motivation for this is to be able to experience food the way God intended it, in it's natural form.  Doesn't that sound like a good reason to go about a good diet change?  Forget the weight loss benefits, I want to enjoy food the way it's meant to be enjoyed.  I want to control what goes in my mouth, not let what goes in my mouth control me.  So here's to my little experiment.  Wish me luck.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

A little bit of August

From Exported Videos

Click to see the movie

As close as it gets.... seeing the real deal.  As promised we took Kadyn to "The Legends" show here in Branson.  A Michael Jackson (her obssession as you all know) inpersonator was here in town but only for this month, so we had to act fast.  Because we are locals, our tickets costed less than it costs for our whole family to go out and eat.  I love Branson!  Anyhoo....also on the list of acts were Little Richard, Britney Spears, The Blues Brothers, Alan Jackson, and Elvis.  If you want a low down on the show in case you ever come visit, I'll give you Darci's review.

My favorite was Michael Jackson.  His dancing was phenomenal.  His voice and facial look weren't spot on, but the dancing....oh my!  I can't blame the man for not wanting to disfigure his face to look like the real man.  He did impersonate the later version of Michael.  You could tell he had a hard time taking himself seriously when he tried to impersonate his speaking voice.  That was quite funny.  To my surprise, Kadyn said her favorite act was Little Richard, not Michael Jackson.  I really enjoyed Little Richard too.  He looked and sounded just like him.

As for the others, Britney Spears was a good dancer and she had the voice down pretty well, but up close her face didn't look much like the real me. Alan Jackson was so similar to the real deal it was scary. For awhile I almost convinced it was the real man just in disguise as his own impersonator for a low profile gig.  LOL.  The Blues Brothers were very good and I thought pretty close to the real deal.   Elvis was AWESOME!  He was sooo suave and made the audience a little weak in the knees.  His look wasn't spot on, but pretty close.  His dancing was good and his voice was spot on. 

After the show Kadyn HAD to get her pic with Michael Jackson.  Then she got into the spirit of things and had her pic taken with Elvis and Alan Jackson too.  Unfortunately we didn't get the other performers because they were only out during intermission and we were using the restroom then.  Maybe another time.  I do want to add that Elvis gave me a little peck on the cheek as the true Elvis would have done.  Sigh! All impersonators stayed in character off stage.

Overall, I thought the show was really fun and definitely a repeat.  I'd still like to see the Whitney Houston, Garth Brooks, Marilyn Monroe, Tina Turner, Shania Twain, and Patsy Cline.  I'm sure there are more, but those a few that I have seen advertised over the last year.  Here are the pics we took. 

Friday, August 13, 2010


Whenever Bren dances, it resembles a penguin.  We love watching her.  The girl loves music and loves to dance.  If I'm holding her and she starts to hear music, she'll star rocking her booty back and forth while in my arms.  She can't help but move.  This video shows her penguin moves.  Only short lived, mostly at the beginning, but you get the idea.  So funny.

From 2010-07-06

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Do you have an Andy's Frozen Custard in your town?  If not, you ought too.  It is heaven on earth during a hot August day.  The girls think so too.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Basket Case

With school starting it occured to me that exactly one year from now, we will be sending our little on off for her first day of school.  As I told Jeff this, I started to tear up.  He found that quite humorous. After all, it is still another year away.  Yes, folks, I'm afraid I will be a real basket case.  It pains my heart.  Not because I will be scared for her.  In fact, I think she will enjoy it quite a bit.  I know she'll adapt quickly and enjoy being in a learning environment for the bulk of her day. The kid loves everything about learning and being around other children(which I love).  I can't wait to hear about the new kids she meets and I'm curious to learn what circle of friends she chooses to hang with the most.  I pray that those friends will be well grounded in their faith and respectful of adult authority.

I guess there will be a grieving process this Mommy may have to go through.  A little separation anxiety, if you will.  I feel so incredibly blessed to have been able to spend almost every waking moment, day in and out, with this precious little one for all of her life.  I feel so fortunate that I have not had to drop her off at daycare.  Rather, I have been able to share in all her firsts, teach her the correct way to behave, instill a passion for learning and creativity, teach her how to show care and concern for others, and most importantly, instill an understanding and love of her creator and Savior  This is not to say that these things can not be taught by others at daycare, but in my opinion, I am my child's best and most influential teacher.  It will be a little tough handing those reigns over to someone else.  I will always be her Mama and teach her what I can on her time off, but for the most part, she is going to be beginning a whole new education of life away from me.

I will miss hearing her say funny things. I will miss hearing her laughter in the house while she's gone. I will miss seeing her galavant around the house like a wild person, prance around in her princess dresses, bust a move to Micheal Jackson, and put together a million puzzles.  I will miss hearing her to try to speak spanish as she watches Dora, sit down to color and draw all on her own accord and get excited about crafts with Mommy and learning time with Mommy.  I will miss her complementing on my awesome snack making skills.  I will miss listening to her wild ideas. I will especially miss watching her play with her little sis.  Part of me will be grieving for Bren's loss of her buddy. 

When she was first born, school seemed so far away. It seemed as if she would stay in each stage she was in forever, and then before I knew it, she was on to another stage.  It felt like I would be able to be with her forever.  I know I will adjust and we will find a new norm.  Until then, I am going to try to savor every last moment.  As one year will pass all too quickly.  Sigh!  My baby girl is growing up.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dada got dunked

Last Friday I was so pooped I declined Jeff's offer to all go to the YMCA for a summer carnival.  I told him I would stay back with Bren and he could just take Kadyn.  After all, I didn't want to put a damper on potential fun for everyone, so off they went just the two of them.  I guess they had a lot of fun.  Jeff volunteered to let Kadyn try to dunk him in the dunk tank (pic above).  What a great Dad!  She was successful.  He came home sopping wet.  He also came home with a whole bunch of baked goods.  He took advantage of the end of the night clearance prices.  Most went in my freezer as we don't exactly need to all those sweets all at once, and I know we would if they were just lying around all the time.  Here are some pics of their fun.

Another one down

I have made a goal to make one Christmas present a week until they are all done.  I think that's a reasonable goal.  So far I've made 5 1/2.  The latest is a little armband pouch for cell phones, keys, or an ipod.  It will come in really handy for this special someone when she works out. I'm almost thinking I need one now, although I need to make it out of a sturdier material next time.  Luckily, I am able to post a pic because the gift recipient A. already knows what I'm making her...and...B.  Never reads my blog.  So here it is.  It was a little more difficult to make than I expected.  Mostly because it is hard to sew on such tiny things.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Giving all the glory

Ever since I have graduated college (and even in Highschool and College) I have been working with children.  First it was school aged children, then it was babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.  Needless to say I have had the opportunity to see all kinds of different behaviors.  Some children I have adored and could only hope my own would turn out similar to those.  Others were my worst nightmare. 

It wasn't until I had children of my own that I really started analyzing why certain children behaved the way they did. More and more I find myself thankful that I have been given the children I have after my experience with others.  I realize that the way my children are are a culmination of a lot of things which include their unique design by their creator, the environment they are in, and the way we raise them.  I have had some rough patches where I have second guessed my parenting and felt a failure and feared that my children would turn into those kids I that I dreaded working with in earlier years.  However, throughout those times, I was always trying to seek the wisdom of God to get through.  And to no surprise, he came through everytime.

Currently we are in a pleasant stage with both girls.  Bren can be quite demanding at times as she loves to whine, but I'm trying to get a hold on it, and God has strengthened me to keep my cool about it as it is really exhausting when she behaves that way.  I know there will be more rough times ahead in parenting, but overall when I look at my children, I just feel proud and blessed because they are such good girls.  They are respectful, loving, funny, polite, smart, witty, creative, and just plain awesome. 

I figure there are two types of parents.  Those who look at other people's children and wish theirs would behave like that, and those who are so thankful their kids are the way they are.  I am so glad to say that I am the later.  We don't leave the girls with others very often, but when we do, they always have such positive kind words to say about our girls.  The term "angels" has been used more than once when describing our girls.  It can be easy to take all the credit, but deep down I know there is NO WAY they would be the precious little angels they have become without that hand from above teaching me how to do this.  So you be all the glory.  You're the best mentor a parent could ever ask for. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Preschool Jam Session 2010

The dancing sure is cute, but it's what happened in the midst of that that had me cracking up.  Oh, silly kids! Click on the little box to see.

From 2010-07-28

Yah right Kadyn

For the record, I did not spank Kadyn for this BUT....I did let my mouth run a little and used that threat if she should ever do this again.  I guess I was envisioning her writing on my walls when I said it and panicked.  If you read my post about spanking you would know that I was hoping to never spank ever again and find alternative ways to discipline.  Here's hoping she never does this again, so I don' t have to explain to her why I am not going to make good on that threat or be tempted to.  I'd like to think the consequence I gave her was enough to make her think twice next time.  She was at it for quite awhile.  You can tell by my questions in the video I felt a little guilty about making the spanking threat.

Anyhow...after I cooled off about the fact that she wrote on my floorand tried to get her sister in trouble for it by lying, I actually had to hold back my laughter because after really is ridiculous that she thought she'd get away with that.

From 2010-07-30