Monday, January 31, 2011

Why don't they look like monsters?

We all crave the cowboy cookies my sister makes, so when I saw this cute recipe for Monster Cookies, I had to make them! They were a little more my kids' style. Isaac and Zoey were so excited when they saw what went into them... and I was hoping they would still have their quiet time today. We will definitely need a sugar detox after these!

I am really starting to enjoy baking!
(although the clean-up is not very fun.)

Sunday, January 30, 2011


{brain dump} session II

Today is Sunday.
I love Sundays.
Currently I am watching the NHL All-Star Game.
Go Team Lidstrom.
Right now I am  into the color teal.
I am also really into tomatillos.
I wish my family was into tomatillos.
I regret not straightening my hair this morning.
I also regret not folding the whites last night.
I really need to fill out Elijah's baby book.
I would much rather read a book that has nothing to do with babies.
I drank way too much coffee today.
Can't wait to drink more tomorrow.
Tomorrow is Monday.
I love Mondays.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

the Problem with Projects.

I have the same problem every time I do a painting project with the kids:
What in the world do I do with all the "art" pieces?

Yesterday we did the fun gel paint project and the cardboard has been sitting in my kitchen for over a day, tormenting me. I decided to put it to good use and make something for Valentine's Day. We cut all the cardboard up into hearts... 25 in all. I told the kids that the hearts will be hidden tonight all over the house after they go to sleep and they have until Valentine's Day to find them all. They were so excited that they ran and got their paints to make them nicer for our game. That was a score for me because it kept them entertained for another hour!
... now to hide all these hearts!

what i found when i woke up this morning

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Super Simple Gel Paints

 Today we made Gel Paints. So much fun! 
(I found the idea here.Thanks In A Nut Shell).
The recipe is super simple!

Over a stovetop, heat 1/2 cup of cornstarch and 2 1/4 cups of water. Wisk until gel forms. Once cooled slightly, pour into heat safe containers. Mix with food coloring (about 10-12 drops) and stir. Make sure the kids don't use them until they have cooled off enough.
 We started off by using foam paint brushes, but ended up using them more as finger paint. Be careful, they do stain, but it washed off our hands after a few tries.
I cut up an old diaper box and used the cardboard for them to paint. Huge props to my husband who purchased me this Ryobi cutter for my kitchen. I use it all the time and it's amazing for cutting cardboard. It takes 5 seconds! (When he gave it to me I said I would never use it... I was wrong... again.)

Oh the memories... now can we throw them away?

I am in the process of going through the basement... not cleaning it... really going through it. I am finding the most hilarious stuff! I can't wait for Chris to come home today. I am married to someone who loves to keep everything that has a story. I mean we have all the receipts from things we purchased for our house the first year we moved in. Here are a couple of examples of things I've rediscovered:

Here are some cassette tapes that I recorded my voice on while I was away from Chris for 4 years. I would talk into them and send them in the mail for him to listen to. We don't have a tape player that works in our house, but I can't wait to find my Walkman to listen to all the wonderful things I had to say to him while we were engaged! (Notice the beautiful stickers I used to decorate this masterpiece). If I remember right, I think I also put music on here... songs like "I Will Be Here" by Stephen Curtis Chapman and "If You Could See What I See" by Geoff Moore and the Distance. Classic.
 I found an envelope with letters from my teammates that went with me to Uganda Africa in 1994. The top letter is my favorite because it was from one of the ladies that worked at the orphanage that we called "Mama Rose." She also made each of us a handkerchief to take home with us.
 This one is the funniest. My sister Keri used to send me the most hilarious cards when I was in college. This is the only one I could show without SERIOUSLY embarrassing us both. Let's just say each card had pictures with captions. Priceless!
I'm sure I will find more hilarious stuff the farther I dig through. The kids are having a blast. They have already scored a Mickey Mouse alarm clock, a Mr. Potato Head keychain and a personal back massager. Have no idea why we kept any of it!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cinnamon-Vanilla Biscotti

I am an awful baker!
This is not modesty... this is fact. You can ask anyone... especially the youth. Once I attempted a simple birthday cake for a youth outing and it totally flopped. I was out of butter so I used the butter spray instead. That was 10 years ago and  I still haven't lived it down. 

So you can imagine how insane it was for me to want to bake biscottis. I just had this desire, and it wouldn't go away. I decided to overcome my past fears and attempt it.. and they didn't turn out 1/2 bad!
{I just made some changes to Rocco DiSpirito's Anise Biscotti recipe}
I'm excited to give some of them as a thank you gift to some people who have made my life easier lately. I decided to pair it with some of my favorite teas and some fresh ground cinnamon coffee. I got the idea Martha Stewart here.
   Cinnmaon-Vanilla Biscotti
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract until well blended. Combine the flour and baking powder, stir into the egg mixture to form a heavy dough. Divide dough into 2 pieces. Form each piece into a roll as long as your cookie sheet. Place roll onto the prepared cookie sheet, and press down to 1/2-inch thickness. 

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. When the cookies are cool enough to handle, slice each 1 crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Place the slices cut side up back onto the baking sheet. (I egg washed the tops and sprinkled with sugar) Bake for an additional 6 to 10 minutes on each side. Cookie slices should be lightly toasted. Serve with your favorite coffee or hot tea!
REMEMBER: Biscotti cookies are going to be harder than a normal cookie. They are for dunking in your favorite beverage and they get soft as they soak it up.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Has it already been 4 months?

He can roll front to back.
He is 2 seconds away from rolling back to front.
He will smile if you look him in the eye.
He doesn't like to waste his time eating if there are people in the room.
He has a stronger grip than I do.
He discovered his hands.
He has pretty much discovered his feet as well.
He is very ticklish in the neck.
He loves when Zoey reads to him.
He watches Isaac like a hawk.
He laughs when you change his diaper.
He is the love of our lives.

Monday, January 24, 2011

my verse for today.

“The Lord is your security.
He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.”
Proverbs 3:26 (NLT)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

8 degrees

The day started out at 8 degrees, but that didn't stop my little ones from spending the afternoon in the snow with their dad. He's their snow buddy... and I am the one who gets them warm afterward. I love that job!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chocolate "CUP"cake

My little man Isaac loves chocolate... especially chocolate cake. We had some alone time today while the others slept, so I decided to make his day by "baking" him this easy chocolate cake in a cup. It was a huge hit!

Warning: This chocolate cake is way too easy to make and you most likely have all the ingredients available! You may want to stop reading now.
(You can find the recipe here)

Chocolate "CUP" Cake
A large microwavable mug
4 Tablespoons flour
9 Tablespoons hot chocolate mix
1 pinch of salt
1 egg
3 Tablespoons water
3 Tablespoons oil
Cooking Spray
 Coat your cup with cooking spray. Mix flour, hot chocolate mix and salt in cup. Add egg and mix. Add oil and water and mix (make sure to get all the flour on the bottom of your cup mixed in.) Place in microwave oven for 3 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

sunday afternoon


is it still January?

I share this story for 2 reasons.... #1 to have record of it, and #2 to encourage us as parents that God is constantly working in our kids, whether we always see it or not.

As we were getting ready to leave my parents house this afternoon, Zoey reminded me that Grandma Neva told her she could have a sucker after she ate her lunch. I grabbed the sucker bowl and let her pick one out. I held it out to Isaac next and told him to pick one. 

"No thank you, mom"
"Would you rather have a couple of these M&Ms, buddy?"
"No thank you"

What? I honestly can't think of a single time that Isaac turned down anything sweet, especially if it's chocolate! What in the world is going on? I told him to just put a couple in his pocket for later, and after he looked at me funny, he finally agreed. When we got in the car I asked him why he didn't want any candy. It's not that I minded, I hate when they eat candy, but I was so baffled!

"Is it still January?"
"Yes, it will be for awhile... but why didn't you want candy?"
"I told Jesus I was fasting candy for January."

I couldn't believe it. I had talked to him about fasting at the beginning of the month and it didn't go as well as I had imagined. I didn't want to force the issue because I didn't want him growing up despising it because he was forced to do it when he was young. That Wednesday they talked about it in his class and he was so excited to fast candy for Jesus. I thought he had forgotten because he didn't bring it up again. (we don't have candy in the house on a regular basis). I was so blown away and so humbled that my little man was so adamant about finishing what He promised the Lord (he gets that tenacity from his daddy).

All this to say that kids are never too young to take the things of the Lord seriously... and they are never too young to challenge their parents to do the same!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Quiet Time

I got a message on my last post from Tina about "Quiet Time" at our house and thought I would make a post of it. It's always a daily struggle: Isaac stopped taking naps when he turned 4, but I still need some down time in the house to get things done while his brother and sister sleep. I have a couple of things I do that I will share, but this post is more about getting ideas from other moms about things that have worked for them. So, if you're a mom and you have any sort of ideas for keeping kids occupied for sanity sake, then PLEASE comment them here! Maybe we can come up with enough ideas to keep us all smiling when 1pm comes around!

Here are some things that have worked for Isaac and I:
  • I set up a craft table in the basement about 2 years ago and stock it with all different art supplies. Isaac will go down there and mess around with all of it and will sometimes come up with some really cute stuff. (art table includes: colored pencils, crayons, markers, scrapbooking scissors, watercolors, dot paints, construction paper, coloring books, colored popsicle sticks, glue sticks, etc)
  • Isaac loves puzzles, so I have quite a few. He will take the box downstairs and do as many as possible. I also have a stopwatch that he will use to see if he can beat his time the second time around. (makes a puzzle last longer) We are up to 100 piece puzzles, which is nice, because those take a lot longer.
  • I will keep any sort of catalogs that are semi-kiddie (mindware, oriental trading, etc) and have him take a marker and circle certain things. i.e. everything that is for a boy, everything that is red, everything that daddy would like. I also have him circle things that he finds interesting and that he might like to try one day. (one word of caution: sometimes he gets so excited about what he sees that he will have to show me every couple of seconds, so this will backfire every once in awhile)
  • Instead of just giving him markers and some paper, sometimes I will give him something larger.... posterboard, large piece of cardboard, table paper, etc. I will have him create a whole scene- our family in space, his friends at a farm, Jesus being born, etc. This takes him a lot longer than just coloring one paper and he gets very into it!
  • I haven't tried this one yet, but LOVE the idea. I want to get him a "Quiet Time Journal" that he makes entries in every day. He gets one page to do anything he wants on- color, write his name, glue pictures on, etc. I love the idea most because it is a contained way of keeping some of his best stuff around, and it doesn't have to end up on my fridge!
OK, so those are a few of my ideas, but I could definitely use some more.. so come one creative moms, spill the beans!!!
What are some things you've tried for Quiet Time?
(Come one Denise and Andi.... I'm counting on you!)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Once Upon A Time...

I love making story dice!
It's such a simple project, and my kids LOVE being creative with them. Here is the game: someone rolls the die and has to make a story out of the pictures they see. I got the idea here (she paints hers beautifully, but I just use stickers.... because of both time and lack of artistic ability) and we've been using them ever since. I had some alone time with Zoey today, so we made a new set. I just purchase the natural wooden blocks from the craft store and find stickers that are on clearance. You should hear the stories my kids come up with! Hilarious!
They are perfect for road trips, doctor visits, gifts and nights where it's hard to get the kids in bed! I've done them all different ways... painted the blocks first, had themes (Lightning McQueen, Princesses, Food, etc), let the kids pick the stickers, holiday dice, etc.
My next idea: Give Isaac some colored sharpies and let him create his own story dice. Who knows what he will come up with, but I'm sure it will offer a lot of laughs, as usual.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

good morning

Such a fun morning.
Now time for some hot cocoa and warm socks.

Monday, January 10, 2011

OUT with the old and IN with the new.

Yes, it took me until today to take down my Christmas decorations. Chris couldn't believe it. I am usually biting at the bit to take them down the minute it hits midnight on New Years Eve. But finally today, it's out with the old...
 ... and in with the new. I am so excited for Valentine's Day this year! Christmas came and went, and I wasn't able to do all the fun things I usually do, so V-Day will be my stand in this year.
 I always go to the stores and purchase things after the holiday is over. Then I store it away in a season box until it comes time for that holiday again. Not only do I save tons of money, but it's so much fun to pull out the box and see all the new stuff for that year. (Most of this stuff was purchased for pennies... seriously, $.19 for the 6-piece cute conversation heart plastic holders!)

I've always enjoyed Valentine's day and have been saving a couple of ideas for this year. I'm not sure how many of them I will get to (I have our annual winter youth retreat the weekend prior), but hopefully I can get inspired by these incredible people to do something a little extra this year!

a moment captured

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Snowman

It's so true that having kids helps you learn more about yourself... probably more than you care to. Isaac had a homework assignment to decorate a snowman as creatively as possible and to bring it back to school. He was so excited and could "see it in his brain" before we even got started. It was the craziest thing... he knew from beginning to end how he wanted it to look and was uninterested in hearing what Chris and I suggested. Chris and I struggled.. mostly because we had these incredible ideas on how to make his snowman amazing... and we had to keep stopping each other from taking over the project from our 4-year-old. 

Just in case you were wondering, those are ladders on the side to help the girls and boys get to the top of the snowman to build it (he cut them out of foam snowflakes I had around the house). There are fire engines at the base of the snowman and planes in the air flying by. Good job Isaac... you make your mommy and daddy proud... especially because you do things differently than we do!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wishlist 2011

Since the new year is upon us, I thought it would be a great time to start talking to Isaac about setting goals and always putting himself in a position to grow and learn. He may seem young, but I think it's still a great idea to start these things at his level sooner rather than later. I found this cute "Wishlist" (from Muffins and More) and was excited to hear what he wanted to make a priority this year. Boy, was I surprised! I guess we are still in the wild imagination phase, and I have to say, I hope we stay here for a long, long time. I mean, who wouldn't want to go to space?

Monday, January 3, 2011

me and my girl

Today Isaac was feeling under-the-weather, so as he slept my little girl and I got to play. As we were enjoying each other and playing "ballerina" with my toe shoes from when I was younger, I remember a post I made back before Zoey was born. It's amazing to me that every fear I had has now been replaced with thanksgiving to God for always knowing better than me. Why do I doubt? Why do I question? Why don't I trust?
So while I took in the goodness of God in the middle of the afternoon on a Monday, Zoey learned that walking in toe shoes 3x her size was very difficult... and very humorous!

As A King I Give All

I was challenged yesterday.
It's from a story out of the book of 1Chronicles 21,
or you can find it in 2 Samuel 24.
It's about a man named Ornan who gives "as a king," and it's completely changed my way of thinking.
If you have some spare time, check out the message here.
(it's from 1 of my most favorite preachers!)

"I can't give a gift to my God that costs me nothing."
-King David

brotherly love

It's amazing to me the bond between siblings.
I had it with my sisters.
My kids have it with each other.
It's fun to watch them fight all day with each other, but then defend to the death when someone else messes with them. It will be fun to watch these relationships develop even more over time.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


We are so excited to head into 2011!
I am expecting a lot of growth, some change, and great things from the Lord! I loved reading Tina's blog post this morning about risky obedience this year, take some time to read it here.

Psalm 39:7
"And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect?
My hope and expectation are in you."
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