Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Apple Bars



Have you ever clicked on my Recipes tab at the top of the screen? Ummm yeaaahhh, nothing there. UNTIL NOW!! 

I found this recipe in my Recipes folder. I had written it down some time ago and just happened to come across it. I dropped everything I was doing and started making these. THEY ARE GOOD.

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Butter Melted
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Chopped Apple

First thing you need to do is preheat your oven to 350. 

Grease a 9x9 inch pan.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.




In a large bowl mix together melted butter, brown sugar and 1/2 cup of your white sugar. Mix until smooth.



Sir in your egg and vanilla.



Blend in your flour mixture until combined. Then add your chopped apples and mix well.





Spread this goodness into your 9x9 baking dish.

Combine your sugar and Cinnamon in a small bowl to make your topping and then sprinkle evenly over the top of your dish.

Do not make the same mistake I did :




Luckily I had only sprinkled about 1/4 when I realized my mistake.

Don't be like me.

Bake this awesomeness for 25 minutes. Let cool in your pan and then cut into squares/bars.



You can eat plain or serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream ...

These were gone in approximately 3 minutes.

And that was before I even told anyone else they were done.

Again... Don't be like me.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cleaning Out the Clutter




As I have mentioned before I may, possibly.....probably have a slight hoarding problem. Well, I don't know if you would really refer to it as hoarding or just being a pack rat. Basically it's hard for me to get rid of anything. I've already diagnosed myself as having sentimental hoarding tendencies. Things that bring back memories or good feelings - I want to keep. Normal people probably have that same condition to a certain extent. They keep some of their kids clothes or baby's first bib, things like that.

 I tend to keep everything!! Baby clothes, shoes, bibs, books, boxes, craft supplies and the list goes on.

I'm also a piler. I have areas in my home where I will just pile stuff, telling myself that I'm going to put it away or I'll move it. But then I don't and it just sits. I have one at the bottom of the stairs in a basket. I usually put stuff that needs to go upstairs in the basket but before I actually take it upstairs it's turned into a small mountain. I also have one of these at the top of the steps on my dryer - things that need to come downstairs. I think it's a good idea to have a box or basket to take down or up the stairs, I just need to follow through and actually take it. Not just let it sit.

Now this isn't all bad. For example when Aubrey was born and I kept all of her old things. It was great when Brandon came along because I still had car seats, strollers, high chairs, toys and ect. Even years later when I had Emma I still had all of Aubrey s old clothes for her to wear which was so extremely helpful. So, to a certain extent - keeping things is not all bad. I just think there is a medium that I need to find, as in all things.


One of my main problems is that I will go through stages where I want to get organized so I will pull all of my boxes and tubs out to go through them and then I'll run out of steam or get frustrated and they usually get pushed aside or stuffed somewhere they don't belong.

Have you seen Hoarders?? Such a sad show, but it has come to help me realize that I need to make a change. Even though I'm nowhere near the point that the people on that show are, I realize that they didn't just get stuff packed to the top of their ceiling overnight, it was a gradual growth. They probably started as pilers too.

The good news is, I'm changing.

I don't want the stuff consuming me because I know it's not about the stuff. The stuff doesn't matter. My new mantra has become 'simplify and organize' and I truly want to and intend to do it.

I'm on a quest. A quest to simplify and get back to the basics of love and life. I don't want to be consumed by this world that will fill my life with things I don't need and things that don't matter. I want my family and my friends and I want happiness and nature and laughter. I don't want every single paper I ever wrote from kindergarten to high school. That 'stuff' needs to go. I don't need 10 different pairs of the same color jeans. I want to simplify and fulfill. I really want to practice what I preach.

To keep myself accountable I'm going to try to blog about how it's going and give any tips or tricks that I'm using along the way. So stay tuned for some updates and hopefully some encouragement.

A big help for me recently has been the birth of all the yard sale groups on Facebook. Do you have one in your area? They are awesome! Basically they are groups where you can buy/sell used items online. Sort of like a craigslist but so much easier.

I'm proud to say that I've sold a few things but have not purchased anything! I really wanted to get a dresser that I saw and I would have loved to refurbish but all Hubby had to do was point to the kitchen table where I have a huge pile going on.

Touche Hubbs... Touche.


 A couple of months ago I watched a video that I just couldn't shake. It's has really inspired me to simplify and that once again. It aint about the stuff. It carries such a beautiful message about the TRUE necessities of life. I know this way of housing is not for everyone and I'm sure it's not for me but I certainly have taken a  lot from this video that I will be putting to use. Please watch and be inspired.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Crack is Back




Before you read this you must know the power of 

The Christmas Crack... If you have never made it before, you must drop everything you are doing and make it now. If you don't you will have no clue the power that it will hold over you. 

It's no longer just 'Christmas Crack', it's now 'THE Christmas Crack'. 

I love this beautiful chocolaty goodness as if it were my own child. 




The Christmas Crack,

If you were scared, I'd hold you close and never let you go

If you were thirsty, I'd bring you the ocean.

If you needed loving, I'd love you long time.


You are perfect in every way and I never ever want you to change. I will love you just the way you are, forever and always. 

I will care for you and nurture you and provide you with many compliments to boost your self esteem.

I love you. I love you. I love you.

I made The Christmas Crack for dessert today. 

But, you must know....

If you are going to make The Crack for dessert do NOT go around all day saying:

We 'bout to eat CRACK toooooniiiggghhhhttt!!

Your husband will look at you crazier than usual and any stranger nearby will not come near you and may or may not walk away from you backwards. Just sayin'...


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mommy Confession: I Make the Kids Sing Backup




Ok, here's the deal. I like to sing ... I'm also not very good at it, or as Hubby would say 'hunny you suck' but that certainly does not keep me from trying. I used to sing all the cool songs that were hot at the time. Since having kids I have lost the luxury of tuning into my favorite station and turning up the tunes while driving. I am completely out of touch with popular music right now, so I mainly sing things like 

The Backyardigans Theme song,

Fresh Beat Band,

Yo Gabba Gabba songs,

Team Umi Zumi Theme song.


For some reason those particular songs get stuck in my head and I will go all day repeating them. But here's the catch, I can't sing them unless I have someone doing backup. I just can't. Don't ask me why because I don't know but someone has got to be there to do the 'ooooooo' and 'yeeeahhhhhh'.

And since Hubby refuses, it's up to the kids.

It usually goes something like this:

ME: There's a party in my tummy

Aubrey: So yummy, so yummy

ME: There's a party in my tummy

Brandon: So yummy, so yummy

ME: Green Beans

Aubrey: YEAAAAHHH

Brandon: Yummy Yummy

ME: Carrots

Aubrey: Yeahhhhh

Brandon: Yummy Yummy



Me: Okay, less YEAAAHHHH, and more yeeeeeeeaaaahhhh

Aubrey: Okay Mommy, let's try it again!

Is this normal? I can't stop!

The good thing is that I don't mind singing back up for them either!




Monday, February 20, 2012

Mission Possible




Mission: Entertain 3 wild and crazy kids for the day.




Ummm.....yeahhhh. When I said wild, I was not kidding. 

Not kidding about the crazy part either.


Ways I intend to do this:

Play in the snow before it disappears.




Arts and crafts. You know how we're still doing Christmas crafts? Well we do Halloween too! Don't HATE!




Secret Weapon: Play Doh

This should give me a solid hour of playing on the internet doing housework.




WAIT! I forgot about this one.... 




Luckily she's easily amused and laughs at all my jokes. I think she'll be just fine.

I'd say odds are 50/50 that I might run away today.

Just kidding, I could never leave this place ... all my stuff is here.

Just kidding, I could never leave this place ... Hubby has my car today.

Just kidding I could never leave this place ... I wont have a chance to change out of my PJ's. 

Just kidding I could never leave this place ... they would hunt me down.

Just kidding I could never leave this place ...

My heart belongs here and I love it more than anything. (this one's true)





Friday, February 17, 2012

What I Love About Summer



This winter seems to be flying by but I just can't help but anticipate the arrival of spring and summer, my favorite times of the year. We were in Walmart today and strolled over (well as much as you can stroll with 3 kids) to the Lawn and Garden section and they have already started putting out their summer stock as well as some plants. Yayyy, spring is near!

When I think back to my childhood and even in my adulthood some of fondest moments take place in the summer. The beauty of nature in the summer is something that I could never explain in words. Walking barefoot in an abundance of spongy green grass, trees that grow so tall it makes you dizzy to look up at them with a backdrop of a clear blue sky. Birds chirping their beautiful music that fills your ears even before you have opened your eyes in the morning. Feeling the sun on your face and the warm gentle breeze on your shoulders... I could go on and on and on about what I love about summer.


I can't wait for the parades.



Can you tell how excited Aubrey was?




And I'm looking forward to playing outside in the sprinklers and days that don't grow dark until 9 o' clock.




And the carnivals.




And I really can't wait to spend the entire day at the lake fishing.




Let us not forget probably the most essential part of summer. Catching lightning bugs.








When I was coming inside today I looked at my neighbors yard and she has daffodils blooming. Love it!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent




I bought all the ingredients to make my own laundry detergent a while ago but procrastination got the best of me and I kept putting it off. Finally last week I ran out of detergent and my laundry was piling up so I was forced to go ahead and make my own.

It is so simple and will save you tons of money, especially if you have a larger family. I do laundry pretty much every day so this will absolutely be a money saver for my family. 

You will need:




Borax - I found this box of borax at Target in the same area you find the detergent and fabric softener.

Washing Soda - Not the same as Baking Soda, I found this at Walmart also in the laundry isle.

Bar of Soap - Any kind you have.

Grater, large pot, bucket, long spoon.


The first thing you need to do is grate your bar soap. You could also chop it up but grating seemed like the easiest way.




When you are done it will look like this:




Now, you need a really cute kid to grab you a pot. Since we're friendly you can borrow one of mine if needed.



Fill your pot with one gallon of water. Bring to a boil, add your soap flakes and then simmer until your soap has dissolved. 


You are then going to add 1 cup of washing soda and 1 cup of borax. Stir with your long spoon until this has also dissolved and you will noticed a top layer starting to form on your pot.





Turn off your heat and add 1 gallon of cold water. My pot was too small to hold the extra gallon of water so I dumped my first gallon into a bucket and then added my cold water. Mix well.




You're done!!! That's it! So easy. All you have to do is pour your detergent into a jug or you can use an older detergent container and an old pitcher.





Now after this sits for awhile it will coagulate and form into globs. If you are using a jug of some sort you will have to squeeze to get the globs out. Also, you will not see this create a lot of bubbles when you add to your  
water. I use 1/2 cup to 3/4 cups per load depending on the size.

I have done a ton of laundry in the last few days and I think it works great! Just as well as any other detergent I've tried and the borax and washing soda are all natural. To make it even better you could use an all natural type of soap. I also used it to pre-treat a light colored shirt that had some food stains and they all came out. I'm very happy with it and I don't think I'll ever go back to store bought.


Happy Valentines Day a Little Late





Happy Valentines Day!!!

Oh... wait, that was yesterday. What month is this again?? Oh, right. And the year?? OKay, that sounds about right.

Whew, do you ever get your days/months/years mixed up? I find that since I've been a stay at home Mom the days of the week barely matter and the months are only somewhat relevant.

Anyhow, I actually did realize that yesterday was Valentines Day but something is going around over here. Brandon started with a fever Sunday night(I think it was Sunday) along with a runny nose. No big deal other than some general fussiness, he had some meds and he was fine. Then Monday night Emma started to whine and when I felt her face she was burning up. I felt so bad for my sweet little girl, it was her first fever. So we were up and taking meds at about 3 AM. 


Yesterday morning when we woke up, everyone was fine. No fevers!! Thank you God. I'm so thankful it was over quickly. She's been a little fussy and has a runny nose but overall I think she's fine. 

But the big news is that she has a tooth poking through.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I love seeing her grow but I am going to miss the all gums smile. 

Aren't they the BEST! I don't care what mood I may be in but if I see a baby smiling at me with those gums my heart just melts. I wonder if I'll be that cute when I have no teeth and an all gums smile?  

I'm thinking no.

So just to clarify. I have a 5 month old who's getting a tooth, a 2 year old who's getting his molars and a 4 year old who has a loose tooth. 

And then there's me who's lucky to remember to brush my teeth. Maybe I'll have an all gums smile sooner than I think...


So for Valentines Day we probably ate enough candy to rot all of our teeth. The kids had the usual lollipops, 
gum, the little heart things. Basic Valentines day candy.

But I decided to go a different route and act like a real grown up on Valentines Day and make some chocolate covered strawberries. They were absolutely demolished within the first 5 minutes that I made them. 
But I for real could not stop eating the little chocolate chips that I was supposed to be melting for the strawberries. I told myself to stop, my brain said STOP but my hand would not stop feeding my face.

Overall it was a wonderful Valentines Day. Hubby was off of work, we made dinner together (I love when that happens) and walked around the neighborhood while the kids rode their bikes.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentines Day and were able to spend it with someone you love.



Monday, February 13, 2012

Books I Love : The Pillars of the Earth









I love, love, LOVE to read. Curling up with a good book is one of my favorite ways to spend my free time. Although since having kids I don't have a whole lot of that so I take what I can get. Right now I usually read while I'm feeding Emma or after the kids have gone to bed. Or try to slip some time in while I'm supposed to
be doing some housework.

I just finished reading The Pillars of the Earth for the second time last week. The first time, I was about 4 months pregnant with Brandon and I could not put the book down, it's that good.

A few weeks ago I knew I needed a good book in my life. So I took a look through my bookshelf and saw Pillars and knew I had to read it again.

I love the feeling I get when I re-read a good book. When I can vaguely remember a few things about it but I've forgotten all the good details.


If you love historical fiction like I do then you need to get this book ASAP!

It takes place in the 1100's and follows the lives of five people throughout 40 years.

Among the cast of characters are:

Tom: A builder who's dream is to be the master builder of a cathedral. In the beginning of the book Tom and his family are wandering from town to town trying to find work before the harsh winter sets in. They have very little money and when their only means of survival (their pig to sell) is stolen they are desperate to get it back. Tom is devastated when his wife dies during childbirth and is left with an infant with no means to provide food or shelter for it.

Philip: A Monk who has devoted his life to God. Philip starts off as the Prior of a small monastery in a forest and soon finds that God has big plans for his life. Philip faces many challenges and setbacks but never gives up and truly believes in the the greater good. He becomes a leader and pushes forward against evil.


There is Jack: Jack starts out as a young boy who lives in the woods with his mother who has been outcast from the towns. They live a peaceful life in the forest until one day when Jack comes across a newborn baby lying under a tree.

You also have your beautiful lady (Alienna) and your evil villain (William) who complete the story.

This book is so well written and intertwines all of the characters together beautifully. The author writes in great detail and you really get a vivid picture of what life was like back in medieval times. It's suspenseful and engaging and you will have a hard time putting it down.

It has so many different aspects, from romance to rivalry, love and hate, peace and war.

Be forewarned if you start reading this book you may start slacking on every other aspect of your life... Not that I know about that or anything....



Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Can't Hold a Grudge



So after yesterdays post I've calmed down just a little. I've decided I will not put breastmilk in hubbys coffee, although I will probably still degrade his car.

And as I sat here and thought of all the other ways I could get him back I started looking through recent photos,

And then...

I saw this...


Yes, Emma's hair is roughly 3 feet high!



Be still my heart.

Hubby, I did not mean a word of what I said.

Can we have approximately two three more babies???


PLEASE???

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hubby Has Crossed the Line




DEAR HUBBY,

You did me wrong!! You did me soooo wrong and now I'm going to run your good name through the mud on this blog! 

You said you were going to go to Walmart to pick up my fabric softener. Which you did! (Even though it was the sheets and I only use the liquid but you know what? I wasn't even going to bring that up because it's no big deal. Even though now I have to take those back to get the liquid that you have witnessed me using many times and you would think that you would remember that when you are at the store. But I wasn't even going to say anything bout that. Moving on) 

But what did you bring home and sit on my kitchen counter? 24 deliciously baked, softest ever sugar cookies with cream frosting with cute pink and red heart sprinkles.





I ate 2 right from the start. Ok, 2 I told myself. Not so bad, I can deal with 2. I WONT EAT ANYMORE. 

After dinner, I faltered and ate 1 ... or was it 2 more?

But the hugest betrayal was when you left to go play grown up man games with your little man friend.

And even though I begged you to eat the last of the cookies before you left, YOU REFUSED!

Then you had the nerve to tell me

'just leave them, I'll eat them when I get home'

WHAT! WHAT! I know you DIIII'IIIINNNT!!!


You knew I would never be able to just leave them waiting!!

Yeah, you're gone right now enjoying your little video game and here I am with 4 cookies staring at me!!!

You have messed up!

Here are the ways I plan on getting you back.

1. Put breast milk in your coffee.

2. Tell you I see nicks, fingerprints and chipped paint on your car. I know for sure that will drive you mad. 

But the best revenge will be when you come home and reach for a beautiful cookies only to find that I've eaten them all!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Daily Life




Two Mondays ago we went over to my Brother and Sister in laws house.

They just happen to live on a farm.

They have awesome things like the cutest ever baby piglets.



Oh my goodness, the ears get me every time!



It's always so beautiful there, no matter what time of year.

The kids love love love going over there. They always have the greatest time and come home exhausted from running around and playing. 

They love the chickens.





Last spring they also had baby chicks. The kids loved cuddling these little cuties.




They also have goats.






And lots of horses.




But you know what the best thing about this place is??

THE COUSINS!!



These guys are the coolest kids ever! They all get along so well and that makes me happy.

When Aubrey came home that day she told me she wanted to live next to her cousins when she gets older. I said no because she's living with Mommy and Daddy foreverrrr!!

Just kidding, I didn't say that but I wanted to. 



We made Cloud Dough. It's so easy to make and it lasts forever. We made this at least 2 weeks ago and it's still sitting in this open bin. The kids are still playing with it and love it. Brandon especially has had a great time with it. I think it's perfect for the 2-4 year old range.

All you have to do is mix 4 cups of flour with 1/2 cup baby oil and throw in some fun stuff for them to play with. 




Emma's hair is as high as ever!




2 inches and counting! And yes that's a ruler, don't hate!

Aubrey discovered that she had a loose tooth. She's so excited! Every day we check and see if it's getting any looser. So far it has kind of stayed the same.


We had some amazingly warm days last week. Capri's in January!




We have finally started looking at houses again. Last week we lined up a few to go look at and as soon as we pulled up to the first one our jaws dropped. We could not even make it up the driveway. First off the home was on a mountain/cliff, then it looked like no one had taken care of the driveway in the last few years. We stopped at the bottom. The picture doesn't look so bad but trust me, the driveway was terrible. The house was beautiful but I would have been so afraid of the kids walking outside and completely falling down the massive hill/cliff that was the front yard.





Brandon has been making me laugh. Last week Aubrey was having a sleepover at a friends house so it was up to Brandon to clean up the toys. Every time I would remind him of that he would look at me with the most serious face and say

'I can't, I just a little boy, I just a little boy'.

I have no idea where he got that but it's so funny.

He's been doing great with going to the potty. A couple of days ago I walked in on him in the bathroom and said

'Whew, it stinks in here!'

He looks at me and says

'Turn fan on den (then).'

HAHA, he's a piece of work that one. 


Apparently I have no sense of style anymore. I bought myself this shirt and when Aubrey saw it she asked me if I was going to jail. 




Today we spent some time at the park enjoying the beautiful day! 






















Thursday, February 2, 2012

Emma SOPHIAAAAA







My baby girl turned 5 months on Monday! So bittersweet. She is growing so fast and has more rolls than I do, not an easy feat!

Emma,

You are so sweet and love to snuggle.

You are rolling over easily.

You have the cutest little coo's, they make me want to cry and laugh and coo back at you all at the same time.

You are becoming more vocal.

You have started giggling but sometimes it sounds like you are crying. It's very confusing.

You don't like pureed food. I've tried feeding you bananas, applesauce, oatmeal and carrots. So far you don't like any of them.

On the other hand you are perfectly happy to suck and gnaw on any of my own food.

You love looking at and interacting with Aubrey and Brandon.

You smile at everything.

Your hair is starting to get thick and is getting longer.

You giggle when we play peekaboo.

You're still a homebody.

When you are jumping in your jumperoo and start whining to get out and I pick you up, you get so excited and kick and cuddle. CUTEST THING EVERRR!!!

You still have your blue eyes. Sometimes people look at me funny, like I stole you.

You make me want to be a better person... I love you...

I love you...

I LOVE YOU!




Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's Official!








It's official! We will have more toilet paper rolls than ever to do our toilet paper roll wall art because....

Brandon is now potty trained! SWEET!!

This summer I had worked with him before Emma came along, hoping I would only have one in diapers. He did pretty well but was having accidents. Then Emma came and everything seemed to be put on hold. 

Ever since I wrote my Goals for the New Year we have been really working hard to get this little guy wearing underwear and it's paid off.

I'm excited to say I only have one in diapers!

I'm so proud of him, he's done so well and hasn't had an accident in awhile. He has even been able to hold his pee at night! 

The only problems are:

1. Most of the time he will remove all of his clothes every time he goes potty. It's a constant battle to keep 
him from streaking around our living room.

2. He expects a gift every single time he does number two. There are two problems with this. I have to buy the 'special present' as we call it and even if I get them from the Dollar Tree it still adds up. And sometimes he expects to get multiple 'special presents' in the same day. If you know what I mean....  I think he actually tries to do a half poo, hop off, get his special present and promptly hop back on to drop the second half. He's a clever one.

I've been weaning him off the special present and replacing it with some baking chocolate chips.

It goes a little something like this:

Me - Great job buddy! Two chocolate chips for you...

Handful for Mommy!

 At first he protested but he's getting used to it. Eventually we'll wean him off that and poor guy wont get anything but a high five.


I think with Emma I'm going to have to set the bar very low! 

Ohhh Emma, you pooped in the potty! Great job!!!

Here's your hug.

3. This one isn't really a problem but it's just kinda funny.

The kid tells me

'TA-DA, I pooped in the potty' every time.

I assure him that it is not a magic trick but he still likes the ta-da.


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