Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Setting Out for Supermarket Shopping with the Superheroes!

Find more Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Blueberry Zucchini Bread Recipe

For today's summer recipe themed edition of Works for Me Wednesday I'm sharing one I found after our most recent blueberry picking adventure. It is so yummy and kinda healthy with the blueberries, zucchini & whole wheat flour. And my kids love it (toddler, especially, loves these "nuffins")!

Original recipe from
Allrecipes.com. I modified it slightly.


Blueberry Zucchini Bread

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups white sugar

2 cups very finely shredded zucchini
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 cups fresh blueberries


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease loaf pans or muffin pans.

2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Stir in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the pans.

3. Bake about 50 min. for loaf pans and 10 to 15 min. for muffins (depending on size of muffins). Check for doneness by pressing lightly on top with your finger, bread should spring back up rather than mushing down!


Hint: I'm not big on tons of extra fancy kitchen appliances (for example I have a hand-crank can opener rather than electric) but this mini food chopper really makes it easy to get the zucchini super finely grated, which is what makes the recipe so yummy and kid-friendly!




Monday, June 29, 2009

What She Does

As Christians we often hear that we are to be "the hands and feet of Christ".

Check out this amazing example of someone doing just that in a huge way!

That link will take you to the true story of Katie Davis who is making a difference in countless lives in Uganda, even going so far as adopting 13 girls.

Katie Davis is 20 years old!

For even more of the story, go to her blog.

I am grateful for and inspired by her example, her work, and her courage to follow God's calling!

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers & Talk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer.

Oh Yes I DiD!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! In this blog carnival created by MckMama everyone has fun telling all the things they DID NOT do (but really did). You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

The following little story did NOT occur at our house. No I DID NOT! Nope! NOT ME!

Remember this little "No Sweep" problem?

One trip to Target, $4.65, and a 20 second installation and IT IS SOLVED!

Enter the first ever childproofing doorknob cover into our 3 kid home. And it could not be a more welcome friend!

I was hesitant to do this with my 1st two kids when they went through the naptime strikes of coming out of their rooms because it felt wrong, like locking them in their rooms.

But they were different.

When my oldest son moved into his big boy bed at around 25 months old he couldn't climb out of his crib and he LOVED his big boy bed, so when he got out of it too many times at naptime the crib was conveniently still set up one room over awaiting the arrival of his baby sister, so I'd just say, "Oh, too bad, it looks like you don't feel like staying in your big boy bed, I guess you'll have to take your nap in the crib." And in the crib he'd go. The screaming would last a few minutes until he'd finally settle into a much needed nap. We'd try the big boy bed again at the next naptime and repeat scenario, if needed. He finally got the message.

With my middle child, my daughter, when she moved into her big girl bed around 25 months, she hated sleeping with her door closed (still does). So the deal was if she got out too many times then her door was closed. She would freak out screaming and crying. I'd let it go on a couple minutes and then open the door and ask her if she was ready to stay in her room with the door open. Now she is my more compliant, sensitive child, so that was enough. She'd stay in there. She wouldn't always sleep, but she would stay in there for the duration of naptime, which is all I asked.

But my 3rd child is different. He climbs out of the crib and he is not at all bothered by his door being closed. When he would come out I'd return him to his room, tell him it was naptime and close the door. He'd wait a few minutes and then come out again, running wildly through the house yelling "No want sweep!"

We went through over a week of countless room returns and the toddler "no sweeping" for any of his naptime.

What is my toddler like at 6:30PM when he didn't nap that day?

A crying, sobbing, screaming, nothing-will-please-him mess!


And let's not even talk about what his momma is like after an all-day toddler-a-thon.

But, now?

He tries the door a couple times, cries about 45 seconds, gives up and goes to sleep for 2 hours!

The peace of naptime is restored!



So glad I DID NOT get the child-proof doorknob cover! Am NOT a little afraid toddler will figure out a way to open it!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

I have no idea where they get this stuff!

I'm hooked on the funny things children say! Getting to hear what's on their minds is definitely a finer thing about spending a lot of time around children. Here are some little gems I've heard around my home in the last couple weeks:

  • My daughter and I were sharing a snack of Pringles. She needed to go potty and as she got up from the table she patted the Pringles can and instructed me, "Don't touch it because you might accidentally eat all of it!"

  • Granted we live in Texas, but I do not believe my husband and I have particularly noticeable accents, but my toddler? Is constantly asking me to "swang" him on the swings!

  • My 6 year old needed 62 points or more to qualify for our school district's Gifted and Talented Program, he scored a 94, but somehow he still cannot tie his own shoes! I was recently trying to work with him on this life skill and after 2 attempts he told me he didn't want to practice anymore. I said, "Don't you want to be able to go to 1st grade in big kid shoes, without Velcro?" He replied, "I've seen an adult with Velcro shoes before." So there you go, someday we'll be dropping him off at Harvard or Yale in his Velcro shoes!

  • If you are ever at our house and my 2 year old shouts "All done Candy Lamb!" this means he is all done playing Candy Land.

  • This toddler also calls muffins, "nuffins". We had the following conversation on Sunday morning: When toddler asked for 3rd muffin (granted they were super, yummy made-from-scratch-with-fresh-blueberries blueberry zucchini muffins), "Haven't you had enough muffins?" He replied, "No, not 'nough nuffins! Want more nuffins!"

  • I have the most profound conversations with my 3 year old daughter as I'm tucking her into bed at night. She's our kid who doesn't like to go to sleep. The other night when I pointed out that it was getting dark and time to go to bed, she said she wants "a remote control with buttons to turn the sun on and off"! She doesn't ask for much, does she?!!!

  • Then last night she decided she wants a sister, because her brothers sleep in the same room at night and she wants a sister to sleep in her room. She told me we should go ask someone who has a sister if they don't need the sister anymore then we could just take her!

I have no idea where they get this stuff!


Find more Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses, 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary, and Friday Funnies at The Run-A-Muck.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Please don't let it be a library book!

My 13 thoughts about this picture:
  1. Remember when I blogged about the library being my friend and foe?
  2. Well, I achieved it this week! The good library experience with my kids!!!!
  3. I was so excited and thankful and couldn't wait to blog about the success -- no books flew off the shelves, there was no running, no scaling of the fish tank, only mild yelling and that was from the toddler, not the older kids. We managed a reasonable number of quality book selections and even made it through the check out without attracting too much attention from the other library goers or frowns from the librarians.
  4. The kids carried the books they chose out all by themselves and when the toddler had trouble holding all 3 of his books, 6 year old brother nicely offered toddler to help carry one. It was idyllic. The kids helping each other, walking to the car excited to read new books! We got home, snuggled in and read some of the books before naptime -- more wonderfulness!
  5. I even felt a little smug, thinking, "See my children can be trained to act civilized in the library! Man, I'm so glad I stuck with it taking them to the library every week this summer!"
  6. Then it happened.
  7. Toddler woke up from nap and came downstairs to tell me, "Book teared. Dinosaur book teared!"
  8. NO! Not the LIBRARY BOOK dinosaur book we just checked out!
  9. I didn't believe it. As crazy as my toddler is; he is not typically a book tearer.
  10. I flew up the stairs and my fears were confirmed. The book was on the floor and several pieces were strewn throughout the covers in his bed!
  11. I gathered the pieces and the book and set them out on the table and attempted to tape the book back together -- missing a piece!
  12. I came to realization that I'm likely going to have to pay for the book
  13. Sigh. . . The library really should just revoke our library cards!

Find more Thankful Thursday at Women Taking A Stand, Thousand Words Thursday at Cheaper Than Therapy, Thursday Thirteen, and Thursday {Thirteen}

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: The Punishment Fits the Crime

Often it feels like as a parent there are 100 things I try with my children for every 2 I find that work. One of the things I love about reading blogs is hearing what works for other parents, because maybe it will work for me too and save all the trial and error!

I've shared our Privilege Chart and The Capture Monster before in WFMW, but the other method of consequencing kid behavior that has worked best in our home is Making the Punishment Fit the Crime.

Here are some of the ways I've used this method with super results:

Crime: While on a car trip 6 year old announces from the back seat that he has some trash he needs thrown away. Mom replies, "We're stopping to eat right up here, just hold onto it and you can throw it away when you get out." Instead of obeying, 6 year old throws the trash into the front seat, narrowly missing Mom's head.

Punishment: "Oh, it's too bad you chose to do that, now you will clean all the trash out of the car when we stop."


Crime: 3 year old daughter is whining about something.

Punishment: "It sounds like you need to rest; go to your room until your voice doesn't sound whiney anymore."


Crime: 4 year old son pinches 2 year old sister's cheek very hard and leaves an ugly red mark.

Punishment: 4 year old son looses favorite toy. When he asks (and he will ask), "When do I get it back?" you calmly reply, "When that red mark is gone from your sister's face." Son will then ask, "But what if the red mark never goes away?" You reply, "then you'll never get the toy back." Son will check sister's face with much concern every 15 minutes for the next day and a half until mark disappears.


Crime: 6 year old son is playing around when you've told him it was time to get ready for baseball practice. Child horses around so much causing you to be 10 minutes late to the practice.

Punishment: Child must walk up to coach and apologize for being late. For all but the most outgoing child, this will be awkward enough to get them ready on time for practice the rest of the season!


(This next one is my favorite and has just recently played out in our home)

Crime: 6 year old son and 3 year old daughter have taken to the adorable phrase, "poopy diapers" and use it with glee, often, even at meal times.

Punishment: After days of warning kids several times that it is not a nice thing to say, Mom says, "Since you guys are so interested in poopy diapers, the next time your baby brother has a dirty diaper, the two of you are going to help me clean him up."


Did you know discipline could be this fun? If you have any good ones, I'd love to hear them!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.

Monday, June 22, 2009

From Angels to Monsters

All children are different and some are naturally better behaved than others, but I think if you have been a mom for more than a year or two it is pretty safe to say, you have come to the realization that even your own child, that precious little cherub God has given you, can act like a monster!

I remember having a conversation with my sweet sister-in-law when her son was a few months old about the show Super Nanny. She said she couldn’t believe how terrible the kids on that show acted and that it made her cry to think her sweet baby would ever act that way. My oldest son is a year and a half older than my sister-in-law’s little boy, so I had seen the other side of the angelic infant days and knew that her day of dealing with her boy’s terrible behavior would likely come. And it did.

For my husband and I with our 3 kids and for my brother and his wife with their 2 kids, it continues to come. Those seasons when we are so frustrated with our child’s terrible behavior, and struggling with how to change it and mostly how to reach their hearts, rather than temporarily fixing the annoying attitudes, habits, etc.

With my oldest child, and most strong willed and challenging, there seems to be a pattern of a couple weeks of awfulness where I am just about literally tearing my hair out over his behavior followed by weeks of him being great! The transition between the bad and good is not obvious in that we notice immediately the change has occurred, but rather a few days will go by and suddenly I will think, “You know he has been really nice to be around lately, acting so helpful and mature, what a joy he is!”

But alas, a month or two will go by and again, I will sit down at the end of the day convinced my child may actually be either the spawn of Satan or headed for a life of incarceration because the behavior is so bad! It was during one of those periods, on a Friday night after a very rough week when I actually felt it might be better if I could send him off for someone else to raise because we obviously were not doing a good job, that I got this Email from my (then 5 year old) son’s Sunday School teacher:
“(His name was here) is an amazing little boy. He is so focused on learning and listening when we teach the lesson. It is so great to see his excitement . . . (I’m skipping a little here so this post won’t get too long). His little laugh is contagious! He truly is a joy to teach, not only for moments like that, but for his heart so open to God’s word and eagerness to learn the Bible. You guys are doing a wonderful job in raising a God loving, gentle hearted boy.”

To say I almost fell off the couch where I was reading that email would be a huge understatement!

But then I got it. God was using my son’s dear, sweet Sunday school teacher to encourage my heart to carry on with my son even though it was hard. I was (and still am) so grateful for that Email because it gives me hope that even if I don’t always see that we were getting through to him, maybe we are!

I replied to that teacher with how needed and welcome her God-given words were that day. And since then as I teach in my daughter’s Sunday school class and help with kids at swim team and other places, I try to give parents honest positive feedback when I see good in their kids, like “She was so helpful today and wiped off the table after snack without even being asked!” or “Your son was so polite, greeted me by name and thanked me for helping him find his goggles!”

Because this parenting thing is hard, and sometimes we all just need that hope that maybe we are not completely messing it up!

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers & Talk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer.

 your life your blog

Not Me! Monday -- Randomness

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! In this blog carnival created by MckMama everyone has fun telling all the things they DID NOT do (but really did). You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.
Here are various random things that have NOT been going on around here:
  • Did NOT go blueberry picking on Saturday and pick 7 ½ lbs of blueberries! Did NOT remind my kids of the The Little Red Hen story when they began saying they needed a break from picking -- if you want to eat the blueberries, you need to help pick the blueberries!
  • Did NOT take all 3 kids with me to Home Depot one day last week to pick out a power saw for my husband for Father's Day. I had no idea how to choose a good circular saw and did NOT end up deciding based on which one had the best carrying bag, NOPE, NOT ME!!!
  • Did NOT do all of the following last week with all 3 kids in tow: take boys to get haircuts, take dog to the groomers, mail something at the post office, take toddler in to pediatrician for his 2 year old check-up (only 1 month late), and visit kids' dentist for all of them to get their routine check-ups. Did NOT wish for a place where we could do it all in one stop -- you know get the kids' hair done the same place as dog's, which would also be a place you can mail packages, and while the haircuts were happening the pediatrician could come in and do his thing and then the dentist would clean everyone's teeth! Oh, and while I'm dreaming, maybe I could pick up some milk while we're there, too!
  • Am NOT trying to convince toddler he's too big for his sister's doll stroller as I type this! He is NOT sitting in it telling me, "No, not too big!"
  • Did NOT complete Day 30 of the Shred last Tuesday!
  • Did NOT realize on Day 28 that there really was no light at the end of the Shred tunnel because it's not like you can just stop working out after the 30 days! Overall, I give the Shred 2 thumbs up. I feel more fit, it is a good workout and being only around 20 minutes is awesome! I am NOT thinking I really need a 365 Day Shred to keep me committed to the working-out!
What have you NOT been up to?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blueberry Picking

I am totally hooked on blueberry picking!

We go every year and I literally look forward to it all year! We are hoping to go this weekend.

I don't know what I love more
  • The fact that the farm where we go allows, and even encourages, you to eat the blueberries while you are picking!

  • Or the sight of the kids with those white buckets!

  • Or the sweet photo ops!

  • Or the exhilaration when you find a really great bush with tons of ripe blueberries!

  • Or the cheap price per pound of picked yourself blueberries versus supermarket blueberries!

  • Or making everything blueberry for the next week -- blueberry pancakes, blueberry muffins, blueberry smoothies, blueberry bread, blueberry cobbler, blueberry pie, cereal with blueberries on top!

  • It is certainly not the heat! Check out that sweaty toddler head from our trip last year!
Oh, it is a Finer Thing!

Find more Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, and Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thirteen Reasons We Have the Best Daddy!

In honor of Father's Day here are our thirteen reasons we have the BEST Daddy:

1. He doubles as a paci-holder

2. He takes all 3 of us kids to Home Depot each month for the Kids’ Clinic and even lets us hammer!

3. He has been known to climb a mountain or 2 with a baby on his back!

4. He does the dishes every night!

5. He gives great rides!

6. He knows everything there is to know about Star Wars!

7. He cleans up the playroom in one fell swoop!


8. He dyes Eater eggs, carves pumpkins and builds gingerbread houses with us every year!

9. He has actually won Super Mario and starts teaching us his tricks from an early age!

10. The waves don’t knock him down!

11. He takes me to 7AM swim team practice!

12. He’s good at putting stuff together!

13. My daddy is 7 feet tall!! (Not really but my 6 year old told someone this recently)

Find more Thankful Thursday at Women Taking A Stand, Thousand Words Thursday at Cheaper Than Therapy, Thursday Thirteen, and Thursday {Thirteen}

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: Father's Day Treasure Hunt

Our Father's Day tradition is to send my husband on a treasure hunt for his presents. The clues relate to memories with the kids throughout the past year and send him all over the house until the last clue leads him to his presents!

I do around 6 clues and now that my kids are able (I actually started this when my 1st was a baby) they help with ideas and hiding the clues.

Spoiler Alert!!! If you are my husband (and you know who you are) stop reading now!

Examples of some of this year's clues:

clue: POP ART!!!
location: a sticky note with the next clue will be taped to the Pop Tart box (my toddler screams "Pop Art!" at breakfast each morning until he gets a Pop Tart to go with his cereal.

clue: "Dr. Wink looked at me and said, 'You have a very rare and acute case of Pinkititis.'"
location: a sticky note leading to the next clue will be found on the page containing that sentence in the Pinkalicious book my daughter has had us read a hundred times and memorized herself."

clue: You pulled my 1st loose tooth here
location: presents will be found on my 6 year old's top bunk bed.

It is really fun coming up with the clues, hiding them, and, of course, watching the hunt! My kids and I follow my husband around as he follows the clues.

This little tradition makes Father's Day more fun and special!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Your Kids Will Love It Zucchini Bread

A few months ago I stumbled upon the best zucchini bread recipe ever! I like a lot of vegetables and love bread, but was never a big fan of the zucchini bread until now!

I make this recipe every 2 or 3 weeks and my kids gratefully gobble it up. They have even said it tastes like chocolate, yet there is no chocolate in the ingredients!!


I found the recipe at www.allrecipes.com and modified it slightly.

Ingredients:

3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 tsp vanilla
2 cups very finely grated zucchini

Directions:
1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 in. pans. Preheat oven to 325ยบ F.
2. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, & cinnamon in a bowl.
3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, & sugar together in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients from step 2 and beat well. Stir in the zucchini. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
4. Bake about 50 minutes or until center is set and springs back up when lightly pressed.

Hint: I'm not big on tons of extra fancy kitchen appliances (for example I have a hand-crank can opener rather than electric) but this mini food chopper really makes it easy to get the zucchini super finely grated, which is what makes the recipe so yummy and kid-friendly!





Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace, Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom,Ta
lk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Not Me! Monday -- Little Princess Mornings and No Sweep Afternoons

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! In this blog carnival created by MckMama everyone has fun telling all the things they DID NOT do (but really did). You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.
Here's what has NOT been going on around here:

I DID NOT spend every morning last week working as one of 3 "Queen Moms" in a class of 20 nearly 4 and 4 year old girls in Princess camp at my church. While there I DID NOT paint around 280 finger nails with glittery polish (sometimes even in a rainbow pattern), do 40 different
headcounts ("I'm getting 19, we're missing 1!"), and attempt to convince the girls they didn't need fancy dresses to be princesses because they were daughters of The King (God). I DID NOT wish several times for a larger lap when I had three girls sitting in my one lap!

I DID NOT confirm my already well researched observations that little girls do not hit, push and tackle as much as little boys, but they do whine a lot more! I DID NOT learn 2 new things about groups of little girls: 1) they need a whole
lot more potty breaks than little boys 2) the wardrobe issues will be plentiful!
We had lost tiaras, sore heels needing band-aids due to shoes rubbing, princess dresses that were "too scratchy", broken bracelets, and the unfortunate, heart-stopping broken-princess-shoe-incident! Thankfully the little girl was not hurt when she slipped on the stairs, broke her shoe and fell 3 steps, but let's all just repeat after me, "Those plastic dress-up princess shoes should not be worn out of your house no matter how much your little girl begs and never, under any circumstances, should you let a little girl walk down stairs wearing them!"

I DID NOT tie one little girl's dress only to have her tell me it was "too loose"; I tied it again and then it was "too tight"! I DID NOT during a bathroom break hear a little girl complain that the toilet seat was "too hard". I DID NOT at any point in the week actually send a little girl to crawl under a bathroom stall door to unlock it because there was another little girl in there who would not come out! NOPE, NOT ME!

My own daughter DID NOT fall so in love with the pink princess t-shirt I bought her on the last day of the camp that she wore it Friday afternoon, slept in it Friday night, wore it all day on Saturday, slept in it Saturday night, and it took negotiation deserving of a Noble Peace Prize to get her out of the shirt and into a dress for church on Sunday! My daughter DID NOT run up to her room as soon as we got home from church and put the t-shirt back on. I am NOT so glad she finally let me wash it tonight, of course, only on the co
ndition that I'd have it ready for her to wear again tomorrow!

My 25 month old DID NOT learn to climb out of his crib last weekend (the crib I was only using for naptime because he sleeps in his brother's bottom bunk at night). This DID NOT cause him to climb out and come downstairs to tell me, "Climb out, crib! Bonk head!" I DID NOT return him to his room (this time to the bed next to his crib), tell him he needed to take a nap, close his door, and go back downstairs only to have him jump up, open the door, and procee
d to run wildly around the playroom declaring, "No want sweep!" "Sweep" is toddler for "sleep". This same scenario DID NOT play out 4 different days last week!

I DID NOT discover one evening after naptime that the toddler had entertained himself in his room during a "No Sweep" day by depositing all the clean diapers from his changing table into his Diaper Genie!
What have you NOT been up to!

Find more What I Learned this Week at Musings of a Housewife.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Life Changing Book

I'm hooked on the book The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.

Not "hooked" in the sense that I read it every day, but "hooked" in the sense that I have thought about it nearly every day since I first read it about 14 months ago. A Finer Thing, indeed! It is a must read!

The book is the true story of the Ten Boom family who lived in The Netherlands during WWII times when the Nazis took over. The Ten Booms were a Christian family and upon seeing the atrocities going on around them to Jewish people, they made a decision to help, rather than look the other way. They not only saved physical lives, but brought the eternal life saving message of Jesus to countless people in the most desperate situations.

There are so many points worth discussing and admiring about this book, I couldn't possibly list them all -- the way God used this family to be lights in such a dark time, the way they stepped out in faith and helped even at the risk of their own lives, the way they prayed for guidance constantly, the amazing ways God works in their story over and over again even through something like fleas!

I like to think that if I had lived in a Nazi-occupied area during those days that I would have helped, taken in those who sought refuge in my home. But, are there not comparable atrocities going on in our world today? And what am I doing to help? I do various volunteer work, give money, pray.

But is it enough?

I believe until there is no more suffering or until Jesus returns, the answer is no!

What would Jesus say? At the end of His story of the Good Samaritan who showed mercy by caring for one in need, Jesus tells those he's teaching,
"Go and do the same." Luke 10:37b


Find more Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, and Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

13 Things I buy at Sam's

I've spent the last few years refining my Sam's shopping list, trying to figure out what to buy there. You know, comparing what they sell in the warehouse store with what we'd actually use in mass quantities and what was truly a good deal. When I'm in the store I'm always spying on other people's baskets, wondering, "What do they buy at Sam's?" So without further commentary, I'm sharing our list because I know you are on the edge of your seats in anticipation and because I strive to be helpful:

13 Things I Buy at Sam’s


1. Pampers Diapers
2. Coke Zero
3. Canned goods - Corn, green beans, diced tomatoes, cream of
mushroom soup
4. Large Containers of Honey Wheat Pretzel Sticks & animal crackers
5. Raw Spaghetti, Jarred Pasta Sauce & Frozen Meatballs (talk about an easy meal!) 6. Fruit Snacks
7. Ketchup
8. Batteries
9. Chicken Breasts, whole chickens & Ground Beef
10. Peppermint Extra Gum
11. Cleaners like dishwasher detergent action packs, Tide, fabric softener, Windex, bathroom cleaner, and Mr. Clean Erasers
12. Ziploc Bags (freezer bags, sandwich bags, and gallon sized bags)
13. Kashi Go-Lean Cereal

So, now I'd love to hear what you buy!

Ahh. . . a stockpile pantry. I love it, but as I see the food and supplies overflowing from my regular pantry into the garage one, I cannot help but think of those who have so much less. Children who go hungry day after day, and children who die of malnutrition. Want to help them? I have a new blog button on the right-hand side to link you to an organization I've recently learned a lot about, Children's HopeChest. They are doing some truly amazing work to save and redeem the lives of orphan children around the world.


Find more Thankful Thursday at Women Taking A Stand, Thousand Words Thursday at Cheaper Than Therapy, Thursday Thirteen, & Happy to be @ Home

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: Outside kid table


I am a huge fan of pretty much anything that provides a little less mess in my life and for that reason I love our outdoor kid table!

The kids can play with Play-doh out there and the mess of tiny bits of every color imaginable is not on my kitchen floor! Also, there are certain particularly crumbly snacks that I only let my kids eat if they head outside to eat it!


Here's a link to the Little Tikes Fold 'N Store Table with Market Umbrella
like the one we have.

Find more Works for Me Wednesday Tips at We are THAT Family.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Library: My friend and foe

I love the concept of the library. You know, millions of books all free for the reading. Adventure and knowledge just waiting to be unlocked!

I love books. I don't get to read my books as much as I'd like, but I do daily get to read The Book (the Bible) and children's books, and I am thankful for that.

It brings me great joy to see my children loving books. My daughter, in particular, loves books and can recite many of her favorites, w
ord for word!

But the thing is, in actuality, the library and my children don't really mix well.

I have yet to have what I would consider a really good library experience with my children. Maybe the library + one of my children would be fine, lovely, enjoyable even? But I am usually in the situation of the library + 3 of my children and that = chaos!

Imagine toddler wildly pulling books off the shelf, standing and bouncing on the various stools, attempting to scale the fish tank! Older kids running and yelling in a place where that sort of behavior is very frowned upon. Not to mention I am usually trying to find a particular book I've wanted to share with the kids and that distracts me from their behavior long enough for things to go very bad very fast!

This past week's library visit our downfall was the discovery of the movies you can check out from the library for free. I mistakenly pointed the kids to the roundabout rack with kid movies and said, "Let's find one that would be good to check out!" Suddenly, the rack was spinning around so fast, kids were grabbing movies, and movies were flying. I'd pick a few up and return them to their proper place only to have more movies fly off! It was quite the scene before I was able to get things (kids) under control and get us over to the check out desk.

But the check out desk has its own commotion. And do you know why? Because about a year ago I thought it would be such a neat idea for the kids to have their own library cards. I loved the image of them carrying their own book choices up to the counter and handing the librarian their card to check them out and, of course, thanking her after she scanned their card and books. But in reality it is not so idyllic and I just know those librarians breathe a sigh of relief when we finally leave!

The library should also really have stricter limits on how many books they allow us to check out because I apparently cannot enforce a reasonable limit. "Sure!" I say as my kids pick out more and more to check out. But when it comes time to return over 20 library books, it is not so fun trying to find them all within our house!

Give me a swim meet or running a marathon, but the library? It wears me out.

But still I solider on. In fact, we are going back tomorrow. Why? Because I am determined to have a good library experience with my children.


Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers, What I Learned this Week at Musings of a Housewife, Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom,Talk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer.

Not Me! Monday -- A tooth, a mess, and chocolate drool!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! In this blog carnival created by MckMama everyone has fun telling all the things they DID NOT do (but really did). You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.
Here's what has NOT been going on around here:

We do NOT have our first missing tooth!!!! The 1st of 60 that will be lost around here over the next 8 years!

My husband did NOT try to pull it last night when it got super loose and then try to give up saying, "I just can't get a good grip." My son DID NOT reply, "But all the other dads did it!" meaning all his friends dads were able to pull out their loose teeth. That DID NOT at all put the pressure on and force my husband to keep trying!

I DO NOT feel I need some proper training in th
is new tooth fairly role I've been lead into. It DID NOT take me 3 tries, each time nearly waking my son, before I was able to pull the tooth fairy pillow out from under his pillow and swap the tooth for money.

We most certainly DID NOT have this mess in our house last week, and if we did it was most certainly NOT created by me rather than the kids!

It there was such a mess I would NEVER encourage my kids to clean it up by eating the M&Ms they picked up by the handfuls! And I would NOT capture this picture of my toddler's chocolate drool! I've said it before, but Man, that kid can drool!!!
Can't wait to hear what has NOT been going on at your house!

your life your blog

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Scripture Sharing - M&M Family Devotional

M&Ms are not just for potty training!!!

Click on
this fun family devotional for a creative way to show kids that even if people look different on the outside, God created them all and loves them all the same!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bees!! Part 2

My post yesterday revealed the beginning of our bee adventure, or "beeventure" as I like to call it. On Sunday morning less than 2 weeks ago as we were getting ready for church, my son noticed the huge swarm outside the playroom window that I showed yesterday.

That Monday was Memorial day so I couldn't
get a hold of anyone to help until Tuesday morning. In the mean time my husband bravely checked the attic -- no bees found, and I did my share of Internet research on bees and bee behavior and feel I earned an actual degree in the science of bees.

The bee expert I talked to on Tuesday assured me that because there was a large group of them I could see hanging off the roof, the bees were not actually entering the structure of my home. If they were I wouldn't see a large group but rather "lines of bees coming and going". He said I had a swarm and they would most likely move on in a couple days.

I checked out the window every 20 minutes for 2 days. The bees did not "move on".

Thursday morning plumbers arrive to replace the water heater (that finally after being way beyond old just couldn't hold its temperature any longer). As the plumbers begin disconnecting the old water heater in the attic, one comes down, "Um, Mam, you have a bee problem." Apparently they saw 5 or
6 bees flying around the light near them in the attic. They said they'd keep working as long as it was only a few bees, but if it got to be a bunch they were getting out of there.

I began hyperventilating. I had been freaked out about the bees on the side of my house but came to peace with them and especially the facts that they were not inside the structure of my house and they were "moving on". I could even admire the beauty of the bees and what they do for our world. T
hat all changed once I heard they were in my attic, even if it was just a few of them.

As my kids fought over Playdoh, I began calling every bee person I could find a number for. But the thing about beekeepers
is that they are usually a little too occupied to answer the phone during business hours, so it is not easy to reach them.

It was not until Saturday that a bee expert came out to take a look. One look and he knew -- they're in there with a bunch of honey! He was so excited that his animated voice reminded me of a tornado chaser onc
e they finally get near a big one! He told us to call on Monday to schedule the "removal".

Wednesday afternoon the bee keepers arrive and begin suiting up. My husband was out front talking with them and taking a few pictures. Then one beekeeper begins climbing the ladder and the other one looks at my husband and says, "These are Africanized bees. You have 5 seconds. Go!"

Thankfully my husband has more than one master's degree, so he had enough smarts about him to actually "Go!". He ran inside and slammed our door behind him.

The beekeeper reached the top of the ladder and began banging on the wood. The cloud of angry bees that emerged was absolutely staggering!

Then he began sawing into the wood trim on our house, which is what you see in this picture. The bees had fanned out some so t
he cloud is not nearly as thick as initially but you can still see tons on the window, his suit, and all those dots you see with the tree in the background are not buds on the tree, but BEES!After he saws for a few minutes and begins pulling off wood, he brings out the first honeycomb, and it just keeps coming!



I cannot believe we had NO IDEA that was in the side of our house!

Then the beekeeper moves the ladder around the corner you see in the first picture and begins sawing around the corner a few feet from the other spot. And finds more bees and honey! This time we had better view and could see the honey actually dripping from under our roof! Sorry the picture quality is really bad by now because there is spray and honey and bees all gooping
up the window. But the brown stuff dripping from under the rectangle shaped cut is honey!


My 6 year old has always been what I call our "costume kid." Even as a toddler I toted him to the grocery store in differing arrays of swim goggles, fireman hats, capes, etc. So it was completely fitting that mid-bee removal the 6 year old ran to his room and emerged in his own "bee suit", bas
ically his knight costume (with the mesh) combined with a surgeon hat. The real beekeepers outside the window noticed him right away and got a big kick out of it!

The beekeepers dug everything out, clean
ed it all up (which meant hosing off their tools multiple times to get the honey off), sprayed 2 different sprays up into the holes, threw a bee & insect repellent powder in them, and then stapled thick black plastic over the holes. They told us we'd still see some bees lingering around for 48 hours, but if we saw them beyond that to call and they'd come back out. They estimated they removed about 70 pounds of honey, some of which looked to be about 4 years old -- 2 years longer than we've even lived in the house!!!

How we did not know all that was in the side of our home I probably won't figure out this side of heaven -- it's right up there with Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster!

So I mentioned popcorn yesterday. How does popcorn fit into this madness?

Well, an hour or so into the bee removal the kids and my husband were ready for a snack. My husband suggests popcorn and the kids agree with a resounding "yes!" So he popped some popcorn and there they sat eating their popcorn out of bowls while sitting right in front of the window watching the beekeepers.

At first I was incredulous they could eat after seeing all the grossness removed from our home. Then I felt a little bad sitting back eating popcorn all in full view of the beekeepers who were risking their lives to free our house of bees! But finally I caved to the popcorn aroma and joined them in the popcorn eating!

As much grief as I gave my husband for making the popcorn, looking at the situation now, I'm glad he did.

Because there is no doubt in my mind that my 6 year old will remember the bee removal for the rest of his life. And when he looks back on it as he grows I'm really so glad he'll remember us eating popcorn while it happened. Instead of remembering his parents freaking out, being in a bad mood, or worrying about the expense of it all.

Because often life just does deal you a crazy hand and really the best way to handle it is to call in some expert help, pop some popcorn, and sit back and watch.

How? How do you get the calm within the chaos? I'll tell you what works for me. To put my trust in God. The one who created the universe, created me, created my family, created the bees, provided us with our home, and has the power to take it all away. I don't always know or understand His plans, but I do know Him. I know that He is good, that He loves me, and that He is always with me. Every moment He sees my struggles, "my walls", and what was lurking in the walls of my home was no surprise to Him.

Isaiah 49:16, "Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before Me."

Psalm 68:19, "Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation."

So this Friday, I don't know about you but I am completely hooked on a bee-free home and a burden-bearing God. A finer thing and The Finest Thing!


Check out more Friday Foto Finish Fiesta at Candid Carrie, Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, and Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bees!!

I have shared before that I named my blog after the Sanctus Real song "Whatever You're Doing". It has the line, "Whatever you're doing inside of me it feels like chaos but I believe you're up to something bigger than me." As life does feel like chaos I am so thankful that God is up to something bigger than me, and bigger than my family. And that even within the everyday chaos I feel, He is working. And I know that sometimes God does His best work in the chaos, but still . . .

This is some chaos I could have lived without!
BEES! More bees than I have ever seen in my entire life hanging in one gigantic busy bee swarm off the SIDE OF MY ROOF!

What would you think if you looked out your 2nd story window one Sunday morning and saw this?

I am too tired to share the whole story tonight, but stay tuned for tomorrow's post filled with our adventures over the last week and a half since noticing this bee swarm -- 1. bee internet research, 2. multiple calls to bee experts, 3. waiting a couple days for the bees to "move on" as the experts said they would 4. bees don't "move on" 5. bees in the attic, 6. bee keepers, 7. kids extremely excited about bee keepers 8. bee suits, 9. our family's front row window seat to THE BEE REMOVAL! 10. angry bees flying everywhere, hitting the window, coating the bee keeper's suit 11. large quantities of honeycomb being pulled from the wood trim around our roofline, 12. honey dripping from under our roof, 13. Popcorn (oh yes, popcorn fits in to this madness!)

This is our real life! I wish I were making it up!!


Find more Thankful Thursday at Women Taking A Stand, Thousand Words Thursday at Cheaper Than Therapy, Thursday {Thirteen} at Happy to be @ Home

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Our Summer Fun List

In honor of Works for Me Wednesday's theme: "Mom I'm Bored Summer Edition: Share your best tips to keep boredom at bay. I'm sharing our family's summer fun list. Some of the items are favorites we've done in years past and plan to do again this year and some are new ideas we want to try this summer.
  1. Blueberry Picking (one of our favorite annual family traditions and yes, I did this one year with a 5 week old infant in a front baby carrier)
  2. Eating Blueberry pancakes for dinner the night after picking!
  3. VBS at our church
  4. Going to shows at our local children's theater
  5. Visiting our children's museum
  6. Zoo trips (with challenges like finding an animal that begins with each letter of the alphabet)
  7. Swimming at our pool, a lot!
  8. Visiting our library for storytime, the summer reading program, and checking out books
  9. Spending lazy afternoons reading the library books over and over!
  10. Reading great chapter books aloud like these: The Complete Little House Nine-Book Set, or Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon or Freckle Juice or The Secret Garden
  11. Eating popsicles in our inflatable backyard pool
  12. Cooking/baking (I plan to let each of my 2 older kids pick one thing each week to cook with me)
  13. Bowling
  14. Water gun fun in the backyard
  15. Going to our little city's 4th of July parade and festival
  16. Day trips to the beach
  17. Attending Princess Prep School for a week for my daughter and Prince Warrior Academy for my son (check out this link to see if they have this super camp in your area)
  18. Having a family baseball game in the backyard
  19. Visiting Sea World (a 3 hour trip for us)
  20. Shaving cream fun in the backyard
  21. Bug Hunting
  22. Visiting the farmer's market
  23. Crafts (the Internet has so many cute crafts you can do with kids)
  24. Attending the free Kid Workshops at the Home Depot the 1st Saturday of the month (My husband does this with the kids each month throughout the year. Even our 2 year old can hammer in a real nail!)
  25. Seeing a movie at the movie theater (maybe even some free ones)
  26. Going through the memory boxes my kids added school work and other keepsakes to during the year. Hopefully we'll throw a few things away and file away the rest in an orderly manner.
  27. Have ice cream for dinner one night
  28. Picking black-eyed peas and okra in our own backyard and cooking them for dinner!!
  29. Having family devotionals and memorizing Bible verses with the kids
  30. Working on age-appropriate workbooks in a fun, non-structured way.
  31. Visiting Ikea to shop a bit, let the kids play in the kid section (complete with slide and kid furniture and toys they can try out), and eat lunch (they have surprisingly good, cheap food -- the meatballs and the chocolate pudding will keep you going back and keep you doing the Shred!)
  32. My oldest will participate in our city's swim team and the rest of us will cheer him on at the swim meets
  33. Organizing closets, cabinets, and drawers (the kids will learn how to organize and I'll get something crossed off my to-do list)
  34. Attending a professional baseball game
  35. Visiting other tourist attractions and museums in our area (buy a local tour guide book, you may discover something you never knew was there!)
  36. Last, take pictures all summer and at the end of the summer create a "Summer Fun Book" with scrapbook pages of pictures and stories of all your summer adventures. I did this with my kids last year and they have looked at that book a hundred times since last summer!
Summer is a great time to work on the goals you have for your children and family. Check out ours here.

I'd love to hear your summer fun ideas!

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Sharpie Saves The Day!

I was the hero mom of the swim meet tonight and you wanna know why?

Because I brought my Sharpie!

Oh yes, as it turns out experience helps even in the Mom career field. You see my son was on the swim team last year but most of the other boys in his 5 & 6 year old group were not. I learned a thing or two from last year's swim season, like bring your own Sharpie!

So when the kids were handed out their identical swim team t-shirts before today's meet, I was able to instantly suggest we write each child's name in the tag of their shirt and then whip out my Sharpie to actually accomplish the suggested task! The other moms were in awe because they could see the danger of the 14 identical shirts flying on and off as boys got ready for races and returned from races and the need for labeling them! But they were Sharpieless, powerless, really to keep their little cherub's shirt from being accidentally swapped with the kid's that spilled stuff all over his!

"Do you always carry that in your purse?" they asked! "Next year, My Friends," I told them, "next year you, too, will always have your Sharpie!"

Of course an even bigger Sharpie need was coming after the t-shirt hand-out.

That was labeling the kids' arms for their events so we knew exactly who was swimming what event and the order to line them up in. And since I brought my own Sharpie, our 5 & 6 year old boys were ready 1st for the warm-up while the other groups were sharing about 4 Sharpies among 250 swimmers!

Now aside from writing on kid arms and t-shirt tags. Here are other things I've used a Sharpie for in the recent past:
  • Labeling the freezer bag for the extra batch of food I made with last night's dinner. You know "cook once, eat twice". I love that practice and it works much better now that I label the freezer bags with the contents and reheating/cooking instructions. No more wondering what exactly's inside the bag 2 months later!
  • Labeling the Nerf football with our last name so I could take it to the swim meet to entertain the boys between events and still have hope of getting it back at the end of the night.
  • Labeling the wrapper of my daughter's one tenth eaten cheese stick before putting it in the fridge to be eaten later when she began whining for a snack! Yes, I know, my kids regularly eat off the floor and ground, but I do try to avoid them eating after each other. I figure a preschool aged kid harbors many more germs than the floor! Keep in mind I majored in biomedical science in college so there is science to back up my theories!
  • I'm sure there are countless other ways I've used my Sharpies, but they escape me now at 11:11 PM, so I'll stop with my favorite. I used a Sharpie to label my Sharpie that I took to the swim meet tonight!
It just does not get any better than that, folks!!!

Or does it? A free Sharpie would be better than that! How about a free Sharpie Stainless Steel Fine Point Permanent Marker, Black Ink (1747388)?

Some of you may follow Big Mama's blog and may remember when she posted about her daughter writing "Spring" and "Winter" on her closet wall to separate her clothes and then how the Sharpie company sent her a free Sharpie pen. Well, I may or may not have left the following comment for Melanie after that blog post, "I am jealous of your Sharpie! In fact, I am sending my kids to their rooms to color their entire walls with a regular old Sharpie so I can blog about it and get a fancy new stainless steel Sharpie!"

A few days later I got an email in my inbox from a Senior Account Executive with the Sharpie company offering to send me the new stainless steel Sharpie for free. And, she said there was no need to get my kids to scribble on the walls or anything!

Sure enough! A few days later this beautiful Sharpie came in the mail! I really can sum up my experience (and I have not been asked or told to review this product, by the way, but simply given a free marker) with the New Stainless Steel Sharpie in one sentence:

It has added some much-needed glamour to my housewifery!

Okay, this post has gotten way too long, so don't even get me started on the Sharpie Pen 1742661 Fine Point 4 Pack Black. It is my favorite pen! It writes so easily and yet doesn't smear, a combination I have not found matched in any other pen!

Now I am hugely grateful for the free product. But, my opinion cannot be bought even with a free Sharpie. These products really are super useful and work well and I would not say that if it were not absolutely true. I am grateful for good products because in my Mom line of work there is no time for things that just don't work to tackle the jobs that need to get done!

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers, What I Learned this Week at Musings of a Housewife, Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom,Talk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer, Things I love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries
 your life your blog