Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thinking Cap Thursday - Calm

Today I worked a 12-hour day. Yesterday I worked 11 hours. My brain is full and I have done nothing but think for the past few days.

Today after I got the kids in bed I went outside for a run (for more on my bizarre running adventures as of late, check out my other blog MILF in the Making). As I ran I realized that my brain was satisfyingly empty. I was calm. It was just me, my iPod, and the rhythm of my tennis shoes hitting the pavement. Now, I know I was thinking, but it wasn't conscious. I was in my own little world, and I was loving it.

When I was done running, I lay down on the driveway listening to Dave Matthews and staring up at the stars while my body cooled down. The stars were absolutely breathtaking. As I lay there, doing nothing but listening to Dave and feeling the cold cement beneath me, I realized that sometimes we think too much. Sometimes its good to just BE in the calm moments, in the now, in the quietness.

I went inside and got my daughter out of bed. We lay on the cement together, pointing out shapes in the stars and playing with each other's hair. It was a simple moment, void of deep thoughts or personal revelations. And it was perfect.

So my thought for this Thursday is this... take some time to not think for a while and just BE.

(P.S. If you really want to do some thinking though, pop on over to Single Dad Laughing, and read his article "You Just Broke Your Child." Its about Dads, but applies to Moms too. It really spoke to me and inspired me to be an even better Mom to my kidlets.)

Wonderful Wednesday

Words cannot describe this amazing concoction. You may just have to drive to Port Angeles to experience it yourself. But I'll tell you - I had my own personal cup of wonderful today. Mint Brownie Batter Hot Cocoa from Bella Rosa. Oh-my-wonderfullness. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tantalizing Tuesday - Confetti Quesadillas


This recipe is, in one word, superb! I got the basic recipe from a Family Fun magazine and have played with it until I found the concoction that is just right for my family. This gets eaten up incredibly fast, and I feel good serving it because its full of veggies and healthy protein.

On a scale of 1 (uck) to 5 (awesome-ness!) I would rate this dish a resounding 5! Its mild enough for my children, but nummy enough for me. And like I said, its healthy!

Confetti Quesadillas
1 c. frozen corn, defrosted and drained
1 c. shredded zucchini, squeezed dry using paper towels
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 t. taco seasoning
2 c. shredded Mexican cheese
4 large flour tortillas
oil

1) In a large bowl mix together corn, zucchini, cilantro, black beans, and taco seasonings.
2) Mix in cheese.

3) Fill a tortilla halfway full with mixture, and fold tortilla in half, creating a half-circle.
4) Cook on an oiled pan until cheese is melted and tortilla is browned and crispy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Scrappin' Saturday - Chore Charts

I have managed to make it 3 "Scrappin' Saturdays" without a single scrapbook page getting done. Or started for that matter. I haven't even picked out pictures or drawn up a layout!

But what I did do this Saturday was to make the chore chart/system that I saw over at Making the World Cuter. I've been wanting to do this up for about 3 months now, and have even had the stuff sitting around to do it. But just haven't gotten around to it. So I made up my chart (8 chores per kid - the ? is their cue to ask Mommy for their special daily chore like cleaning up the living room, helping change the guinea pig's cage, etc). They chose today to hang it in the hallway near their bedrooms.



I've got their little envelopes, bags, etc for them to give (10% to tithing), save (20% for when they are 'big kids'), and spend. Tabby already is planning to save her 'spend' money for her birthday. What she plans to do with it then, I'm not sure. But that's her plan.



I also went to Doodelbugs scrapbooking store in Sequim for the first time today. I picked up a few pieces of paper to make invites to a Halloween party for the kiddos, plus kits to make these cute little boxes. They hold Hershey's nuggets, but I think I'll figure out something different to put in for the kids.

Family Fun Friday - Recharge

My Family Fun Friday consisted of me, a fuzzy blanket, and a good book. My kids were having their fun over at Mima's house, and me...well, I was enjoying the company of one! I have realized, as I get older and the longer I'm a single mom, that sometimes in order to have those family fun days, one needs a bit of time to recharge and have some 'me' fun too. This weekend I am ignoring the dust bunnies and paperwork. I'm even ignoring the lesson plan I need to have written for early next week. Yups - I'm ignoring it all, and just having a nice, long recharge, so that next Friday I will be totally ready to tackle some family fun.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday - Fall

I LOVE fall. Love, love, love it! The rain and fog, the beautiful leaves, the sweaters and thick scarves, pumpkin steamers and hot apple cider, homemade soups making the house smell good, oranges and reds and yellows everywhere. Its simply...well...wonderful!

Tantalizing Tuesday - Parmesan Asparagus

This recipe should have the subtitle "Asparagus for Beginners." It was incredibly simple and unbelievably tasty. YUM!

I got the recipe from Allrecipes.com, which if you don't use as your cooking Bible, you really should. You can find the recipe, complete with pictures, reviews, etc here, or you can use mine below. The only change I made to that recipe was to use garlic powder instead of garlic salt (simply because that is what I had). Plus, as I always do, I just eyeballed the measurements. I think I went a bit stronger on the cheese and a bit less on the garlic.

On a scale of 1 (uck) to 5 (awesome-ness!) I would rate this dish a 5. I loved it, my kids loved it, and it turned us all into asparagus fans.

Parmesan Asparagus
10 pieces of asparagus
4 t. EVOO
1+ T Parmesan cheese, grated
1/8 t. garlic powder

(1) Brush asparagus with EVOO.
(2) Bake at 400 for 6 minutes, roll them over, and bake for 6 more minutes or until tender.
(3) Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

MTM meets FHE - The Prodigal Son



So, you may be wondering how asparagus and chocolate kisses have to do with the prodigal son... Well, it does if you're doing it Veggie Tale style! It is movie theme night over at Muffin Tin Mom, so I figured we'd try that too.

Tonight we had our muffin tin meal, talked about the story of the prodigal son, and then watched "The Wonderful Wizard of Has." A nice relaxing evening with family, a Bible story, plus both kids discovered they liked asparagus!

(in our MTM - "Junior" asparagus, peas - VeggieTale characters, cheese coins, crunchy noodle hay - from the scarecrow, candy - representing the things Jr did that weren't good for him, watermelon hearts - representing God's love and forgiveness)

Spiritual Sunday - Voice of the Spirit



A friend shared this with me. I really loved it and thought I would pass it on to you...

Family Fun Times Friday - WalMart Disaster

This week's second life lesson: Do not attempt a trip to WalMart as your Family Fun Times trip. Especially if you're shopping for a vaccum and kitty litter. Your children will inevitably turn into whining terrors the instant they walk through the doors of WalMart (its the lighting, I swear!) You will inevitably turn into that frazzled, frumpy looking mom with a crazed look screaming, "Get back over here. Don't make me count to three! I swear! I'm going to! 1-2-Come on! 1-2-I said stop it! If you don't stop it..." You will end up buying far more than a vaccum and kitty litter, and your children will cry all the way home.

Learned this one the hard way too.

Needless to say, Family Fun Times Friday was not particuarily fun.

Thinkin' Cap Thursday - Lessons from the Kitchen Sink

This week's life lesson: The garbage disposal does NOT like rice. At all. And unless you want to spend your hour lunch break scooping rice out and plunging your sink, you will not feed it to your disposal. I learned this the hard way.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday - I'm Such a Dork

I am such a dork. But, you've got to admit, I'm a loveable dork. :)

My new thing I find wonderful - Dungeon Seige II. Yes, you can laugh. You can say it too - I AM totally dorky. I got into D&D computer games a few years ago, and must admit that I spent an unhealthy number of hours attempting to slay ogres, memorize new spells, and complete quests. I was recently introduced to some new games including this one, and I must say, I'm hooked. I am looking forward to the kids' bedtime so I can play!

Tantilizing Tuesday - Easy Rice Pudding



I got this recipe from Sandra Lee's SemiHomemade magazine, and then made a few adjustments. It was super easy, and tasted pretty nummy too!

On a scale of 1 (uck) to 5 (awesome-ness!) I would rate this dish a 3.5. It tasted good, but didn't really strike me as the right consistancy for rice pudding. It was more like sweet rice (if that's all I'd been 'grading' on I would have rated it higher).

Easy Rice Pudding
Minute Rice - however many servings you want to make
Vanilla bean ice cream
cinamon, to taste
nutmeg, to taste

(1) Cook rice according to directions.
(2) While still hot, mix in vanilla bean ice cream until reaches the consistancy you want.
(3) Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.
(4) Serve warm, cold, or room temperature (I prefered mine warm).

We Interupt Your Regular Programming...

...for fun with my bestest buddie Laura (check out her blog for pics of her weekend here hanging out with me) and camping with Adam!

Laura and I did the stairs in downtown PA, figured out the books for our book club for the next 18 months (!), decided on some cards to make, and did some meal planning. Best of all, we hung out, giggled, and got some 'girl time!' It was sooo nice to see Laura and get to spend some time with her. It had been far too long!



Last minute I decided to join Adam and his kida on a camping trip. We went to Jim Creek, which was possibly the nicest campground I have ever been to. He got a little cabin, so all 6 kids had a 'sleepover' in there, while Adam and I each slept in our tents - him in his 6 man and me in my 5 man. We had smores, and an improvised meal I dubbed "goulash-alicious" (see recipe below - I've sized it down a bit - this should serve 4).

Anyhow, I am now back into the 'routine.' Stay tuned!

Goulash-alicious (an improvised campout meal)
We were supposed to have tin foil dinner, but the meat was frozen and by the time we got it defrosted over the fire we also had pretty much cooked it too. I also forgot my BBQ sauce and my seasoning salt - so this is what I threw together instead.

1 lb. ground beef
1 family size can of baked beans
3 carrots, sliced thinly
2 potatoes, sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced thinly
butter
salt
brown sugar

(1) Make individual tin foil packets for carrots (with a bit of butter), potatoes (with a bit of butter and some salt), and onions (with a bit of butter and a spoonful of brown sugar). Seal well and stick all 3 packets in the campfire, directly on top of coals.
(2) Meanwhile, cook ground beef in a pot over top of the campfire until nearly done.
(3) Check the tin foil packets regularly - the onions will be done first. Vegetables are done when tender.
(4) Mix baked beans in with ground beef and heat until bubbly.
(5) Mix in carrots and potatoes.
(6) Serve in bowls, and garnish with carmelized onions. Num!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thinkin' Cap Thursday - Other People's Passions

Today I was going to listen to an iTunes lecture or research something online and write about all my new-found knowledge.

Life dropped a happy surprise in my lap tonight though. Adam and a student of his flew in to Port Angeles for a cross-country trip. So the kids and I got in the car and drove out to meet them. We got to see the helicopter come in for landing, which as you probably can imagine, was the highlight of the day for the kids (and if we're being honest, for me too). We then drove them back to our house for them to have a break and to figure out their flight plan back.

Watching Adam teach his student was amazing. I LOVE watching other people doing things they are passionate about. Watching Adam you could see he was doing something he was good at, and something he really enjoyed. It made me want to be a fly on the wall and watch him teaching more often.

There is something incredibly intruiging and exciting about watching other people do something they are good at or passionate about. You see them in a new light. Its almost, to me, like you see them in their true form. They are the person they are meant to be. They SHINE.

I hope others can look at me when I'm doing the things I do best. I hope they can see me shine and appreciate that in me, and say, "Wow...that is what she is meant to do!"

Anyhow, its late and I'm tired and I'm not totally sure this post makes sense... but just some thoughts to ponder on this Thinkin' Cap Thursday.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday - Little Things

A perfectly ripe nectarine at lunch
Cute little kid toes
The promise of a bubble bath

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tantilizing Tuesday - Fruit Soup


I have been wanting to try this recipe ever since I read about it on the blog, Just Another Day in Paradise (which is totally awesome all-around, by the way). Anyhow, I got the ingredients for it yesterday when it was still hot and summery, but made it today when it has overnight turned rainy and fall. I think this would likely be a far better summer soup, but it was still pretty darn amazing.

On a scale of 1 (uck) to 5 (awesome-ness!) I would rate this dish a 4.5. I was expecting the 'broth' to a bit thicker, but the taste was really refreshing. My kids are taking some to Mima's house tomorrow to have for breakfast, and I plan to have some as well. Quite nummy, and healthy as well!

Fruit Soup
1 1/2 c. water
1/3 c. sugar
5 T. minute tapioca
9 oz frozen orange juice concentrate
3 c. water
5 oz. frozen blueberries
5 oz. frozen blackberries
3 c. sliced strawberries
4 large oranges, sectioned (if you, like me don't know how to secion an orange, check out this tutorial... it was actually lots easier than it looks!
3 bananas, sliced

1) Combine 1.5 c. water, sugar, and tapioca and heat over medium high. Bring to a boil and, stirring constantly, cook until thick and opaque.

2) In a large bowl, mix OJ concentrate, remaining 3 c. of water, and warm tapioca mixture. Whisk well. Add berries and oranges.

3) Chill until ready to serve. Add bananas right before serving.

Monday, August 30, 2010

MTM meets FHE - Feeding 5,000

Today we took it a bit simple here with our MTM meets FHE. We had our dinner, read our Bible story, and talked about the lesson. Today we learned about when Jesus fed 5,000. The kids thought that was a LOT of people and were pretty amazed by the whole story.



Muffin Tin contents: Watermelon heart because Jesus loved the people so much, cinamon and tortilla Jesus (or as Tabby said, "Gingerbread Jesus"), bread, lots of goldfish (we didn't quite reach 5,000), and apple and cheese people.

On a side note, I have no idea why my picture is crooked - I can't get it to face the correct way!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Spiritual Sunday - The Creation

Today's Sunday School lesson (as well as one of the talks in church) was on the Creation. It really is phenomenal when you think about it. Creation is SO vast. Every once in a while I look around and think that with all this amazing stuff around us (and in us) how can anyone *not* believe? Here's a montage of some images I found that really remind me of just how amazing His creation is...

Scrappin' Saturday - Card Craze


So, I was going to do a scrapbook page, but decided instead to work on getting caught up on my book cards that I am *way* behind on. Each month Laura and I read a book and create a card based on the book. We have little albums of these cards, starting about 5 years ago. Well, I'm over 12 months behind on my cards!!! Yes, its a shame, I know. So I started working on them. I got several done, but then I couldn't remember what other books we'd read! Once I figure that out I'll get some more done!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Family Fun Times Friday - All You Need is Each Other

Sometimes there's nothing quite as nice as just relaxing together as a family. Today I picked the kids up a bit early from school and they played outside while I fired up the BBQ. We had a nice dinner out on the porch and then watched Pippi. Good times, just the 3 of us... It was a good reminder that you don't need a lot of activities or things to make a good time - you just need each other.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thinking Cap Thursday - iTunes U

So, this post is more about learning about learning, rather than just learning. (Uh...does that even come close to making sense?!) Anyhow, my step-mom recently told me about iTunes U. It is a huge collection of lectures, information, videos, etc. from universities and other educational institutes. The best part? Its totally, 100% free. Yup! Just click on the iTunes U link at the top of your iTunes store, and pretty soon you'll be knee deep in stuff to learn about! One of the ones I saw had 12 1-hour lectures, lecture notes, and an entire textbook! Seriously, that's as intense as taking a college class! I spent a good hour browsing today, and I'm downloading some things on bipolar children, something called the Hope Project, and next I'll probably grab some lectures on Greek mythology! Sooo cool, and what a great way to keep your brain in shape! Maybe next Thursday you'll be hearing about what I've learned so far! Keep those thinkin' caps on!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday - Surprise!

So here is what made me SUPER happy today... I drove up to my house and what did I see on my front porch?

What's that?!?! Could it be?!??
Oooooh yes, it most certainly could be. It most certainly IS! The book I've been waiting months to be released, that I've had preordered for weeks...its finally here, in my possession, just waiting for the kids to go to sleep so I can read!


To all my coworkers - if I'm a bit incoherent tomorrow, its probably because I was up all night reading.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tantilizing Tuesday - Maple Glazed Salmon


Tonight's new recipe - taken from allrecipes.com, with a few of my own alterations... I served mine with cous-cous, carrots, and grapes.

On a scale of 1 (uck) to 5 (awesome-ness!) I would rate this dish a 3. The fish flavor was a bit strong, and there wasn't as much maple flavor as I'd like. I was pretty neutral on it, although, both my kids really liked it.

Maple Glazed Salmon
3/4 c. maple syrup
3 T. soy sauce
2 t. brown sugar
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 1/2 lbs salmon

1) Mix glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
2) Line a pan with foil. Place salmon in foil and cover with glaze.
3) Marinate salmon for 8-10 minutes each side.
4) Cook salmon in foil packet at 425 for approximately 15 minutes, or until it can be flaked with a fork.

Monday, August 23, 2010

MTM meets FHE - Noah

Here's our first Muffin Tin Mondays meets Family Home Evening posting (although we've been doing them for several weeks now). The kids really love this tradition, and look forward to all aspects of the evening - the fun dinner, the Bible story, and the activity. Tonight we learned about Noah. We had 'rainbow' dinners, which was a bit untraditional, as we didn't eat out of our muffin tins. We just ate out of the liners! We read the story of Noah out of their children's Bible and talked about God's promise in the rainbow. We did two crafts. One was a ribbon rainbw, which honestly turned out rather dorky. Then we did rainbow rocks. I'd seen the idea on the blog eighteen25, and it was really cool! I wish we'd had more rocks - I think we'll do this craft again someday! The kids now have a visual reminder in their little rocks of God's promise. Another MTM FHE success!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Spiritual Sunday - Making a Home for God

Let me start this post off by saying that I missed church today. To make matters worse, this is the third Sunday in a row that I have missed church. I started out the day feeling a bit spiritually empty. I’ve been feeling this way lately, like I haven’t been hearing or feeling God as much as I want to.

I was also feeling very overwhelmed this morning because of the state of my house. It had been spiraling downward for the entire week, and looked like someone had detonated a bomb inside, sending toys, clothes, and dishes flying everywhere. Just looking around made this already drained momma sink into a funk that bordered on depression.

When I was a teenager, my mom used to tell me that the way we presented ourselves to the world was a representation of how we were on the inside. If this is true (and I believe it is), then my internal self must have been feeling disorganized, scattered, and…well, dirty. I was reminded of the saying, “cleanliness is next to Godliness.” From the looks of my house (and the feelings in my spirit), I wasn’t doing so hot on the Godliness scale.

So, I decided to spend my Sunday cleaning. At first I was conflicted, because I’d already failed to make it to church. I didn’t want to also fail to keep the Sabbath holy. Then I was reminded of a conversation I once had with an elder, who told me that the Sabbath should be anything we do that brings us closer to the Lord. You may wonder at the ability for cleaning to bring me closer to the Lord, but I swear…by the time my laundry was folded and I had the dishes in the dishwasher, I was humming hymns and my soul felt uplifted.

This got me wondering…is cleanliness really next to Godliness? Is there doctrinal truth to this?

In the book “Eat, Pray, Love,” author Elizabeth Gilbert speaks extensively about the similarities between the different world religions. While there are many differences among them, most major religions from Islam to Buddhism, from Native American spirituality to Christianity, share the same major concepts such as love, compassion, and service to others. Amazingly enough, when I researched it, the major world religions also have common ground when it comes to cleanliness.

Be it in the body, the home, the mind, or the soul, religions world-wide advocate for being pure and clean. One Hindu text, the Srimad Bhagavatam, states: “Penance, cleanliness, compassion and truthfulness [tapas, s'auca, dayĆ¢, satya] are the legs that established the age of truth.” Buddhism stresses the importance of personal purification and cleanliness. Native American sweat lodges are often used for spiritual cleansing. They also, by their very nature, are a form of physical cleansing, as the body rids itself of toxins through sweating.

Further, Islam focuses strongly on the aspect of cleanliness. As Islamic-world.net states, “Islam places great emphasis on cleanliness, in both its physical and spiritual aspects. On the physical side, Islam requires the Muslim to clean his body, his clothes, his house, and the whole community, and he is rewarded by God for doing so… While people generally consider cleanliness a desirable attribute, Islam insists on it, making it an indispensible fundamental of the faith. A Muslim is required to be pure morally and spiritually as well as physically.” The Qur’an requires cleanliness, stating: “Alla loves those who to turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean” (2:22).

In the Bible, the prophet Isaiah says, “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil” (Isaiah 1:16). In Ezekiel 36:25-26, it says, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”

In Doctrines and Covenants, the Lord said, “Let all things be done in cleanliness before me” (42:41), and “Set in order your houses; keep slothfulness and uncleanness from you” (90:18).

And friends, I could go on and on and on…

It seems to me that cleanliness, then, is no small issue. No matter the religion or belief system, the importance of being pure in heart and physically clean is stressed. This makes sense.

God is a God of order. He is not a God of chaos or disarray or disorganization. And this God of order created us too! In His image! To be in union with Him! Wouldn’t it make sense then, that if He is a God of order, and if He craves cleanliness, that we would innately do so too? Moreover, God is perfect. He is pure and blameless; the complete antithesis of dirty! If we are striving to be like Him, it seems we would strive to be clean.

Moses 6:57 says, “No unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God.” Where is God to go if my house, my heart, my soul is not clean for Him? How am I supposed to commune with Him if I have not prepared a place?

We have been called to be stewards and caretakers of this earth, of this creation (another universal concept across religions). This means we are to keep the earth clean, to help it run smoothly, and to maintain a system of order across it. If we are to do this with the earth, then it can only be expected that we should do this in our own homes as well.

And if we are to do it in our own homes, you best be certain we are to do it in our hearts and spirits too.

You may think it strange, but I am looking at my laundry in a new way now. I am looking at my housework as a way to show God I care enough to create a home where He is welcome. I am showing Him that I respect his commandments. I am creating a space where I can be with God. My house is becoming an outward expression of what I hope my heart is…welcoming, inviting, and full of room for God to come in, take a seat, and start talking.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Start Living...

Here's what I have planned for you! Starting on Monday, August 23rd, this is what you can expect to find on this blog!

MONDAY: Muffin Tin Mondays meets Family Home Evening (aka Kid-Portioned Bible Stories)
TUESDAY: Tantilizing Tuesday (New recipe each week!)
WEDNESDAY: Wonderful Wednesday (Something from my day that made me happy)
THURSDAY: Thinkin' Cap Thursday (Let's learn something!)
FRIDAY: Family Fun Times Friday (An activity to do with the kidlets)
SATURDAY: Scrappin' Saturday (A new page each week!)
SUNDAY: Spiritual Sunday (Something to uplift)

Makeover

My blog needs a makeover. No, let's be broader here. *I* need a makeover. In every sense of the word. I need a physical makeover. I need a spiritual makeover. I need a makeover of my life. Its not a bad thing, no heartaches or catastrophes. Just a deep realization that this is not all I want out of life.

It started like this...one night as I was laying on the couch watching some low-budge movie off of Netflix, I sighed. Nothing was wrong, and even given the budget, the movie was half-way decent. But there I was again, one more night, laying on the couch watching a movie.

I have an entire armoire (plus a plastic tote, plus a rolling cart, plus to sets of drawers - yes, its bad) of paper-crafting supplies. Yet, aside from gifts, I cannot remember the last time I did scrapbooking. I can say with certainty there has been none in the last 3 or 4 months. Granted, its not as fun to scrapbook now that I don't have Zack to come home and show my pages too. But what about ME? I've forgotten the joy of creating something beautiful out of scraps of paper and glue.

I have a whole notebook of recipes I have been collecting (and continue to collect - I'm a sucker for food magazines), yet have wearing out the same tried and true few with the excuse of "its no fun when the only people you're cooking for are four and five." Granted, that's true. They have the same reaction if I make mac-n-cheese for the 3rd time in the week, or if I spend two hours on a home-made stew and bread. But what about ME? I've forgotten the joy of cooking a delightful meal for my very own tastebuds.

And then there are the other things like reading my scriptures, doing Bible story each night with the kids, excercising, keeping my house how I like it, etc that seem to have just fallen by the wayside.

I am superb at planning. Its a natural gift. I can set goals, plan things, lay everything out, and have the BEST intentions. But when it comes to follow-thru, well, I kinda suck.

So, I'm making this blog my accountability. I'm going to pretend I have readers out there that are depending on me. That want to read what I write and are somewhere out there saying their own little cheer for me. Heck, maybe I do have those readers! If not, maybe by the end of this adventure, I will.

Here's what I'm going to do. I will post something every night. And every night I will do something that makes me feel a bit better about myself. Every morning I will wake up a little earlier (I may have to disable my snooze button!) to read my scriptures and to work out (you can track my weight loss journey at my new blog, MILF in the Making).

I am going to stop being, and start living.

And I'm taking YOU along for the ride.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Poor Blog!!!

Dear Blog,

I've neglected you again... I will try to be better. Between a big move, a new job, and all the other changes, you've just fallen by the wayside.

No excuses...I will try to change. So sorry.

Yours,
Angie

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Monsters

So, in one of my recent late night blog browsings, I came across Juice Box Monsters over at Crafts by Amanda. I was drooling over them, as I knew Zeal would love them. He's rather into his monsters.

So today, as I finished up my Quiet Books and had a heap of felt scraps, I figured there was no better time to make Zeal a new little monster family. I don't have any juice boxes, so I dug for my recycle bin for what I did have - an instant pudding box, a rice pilaf box, and a soda can. Add some rice (to weigh them down), a hot glue gun, and felt, and you've got yourself these cute little guys. Zeal was rather excited to have a monster family on his shelf in his room.

Quiet books

Well, after quite a long time in progress, the kids' quiet books are FINALLY done! They ended up coming together rather well, save for a bit of ghetto sewing. But hey, my kids don't mind if the thread doesn't match the felt! Below are pictures. Tabby's ended up with baking pages, complete with oven, cookies, and milk you can 'dunk' in; a face; a mailbox (her favorite); and forest pages with felt animals and little plastic fish for the pond. Zeal's book has dinosaur pages with little plastic dinos; a face; camping page with scary man fingerpuppet and a sleeping bag; and car pages with roads, parking spots, and a gas pump. There are little zipper pencil pouches in the back (from the dollar store) to keep all the little pieces in. Ta-da! Now to sew some simple bags to keep these, their Bibles, and coloring stuff in and we'll be totally ready for church.






Neglected

My poor little blog has been terribly neglected, as have been my handful of readers - apologies! I will try, try, try to be better! That means I have to be better at creating, AND I have to be better at posting! Here are a few of the things I did in my blogging hiatus, and more will be coming!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Be Happy


Don't worry... I promise I will not start posting every scrapbook page I do on my blog! But I thought this one, created with the "Life is Good" kit from Treasury of Memories (thanks for the kit, Laura!), was worth commenting on.

The title of this scrapbook page is "Be Happy" but it could have just as easily been labeled "Be Thankful." Because really, that is what this page is about. You wouldn't know it from the pictures, but they were taken at a really rough time in my life.

These pictures were taken in June of 2009, about 2 months after the kids and I moved back to Washington, and just a few weeks before Zack came down and took the kids back to Alaska. I was without a job, struggling with being a full-time SAHM to two children adapting to change, and dealing with the emotional difficulties of the pending divorce between Zack and I. I had very little money, and sometimes very little patience.

But I will tell you what I did have... my family and my faith. I made sure to get away with my kids about once every week or two and go on an 'outing.' For the price of gas we were able to get away from a lot of the stress, from the change, from the uncertainty, and just be US.

This trip to Fort Casey in June was one of those outings. I packed a picnic lunch and the kids and I ate on the beach and flew kites (thanks Neal!). The kids made Father's Day gifts for their Dad with shells and rocks they collected along the waters edge. I played chicken with the waves and enjoyed the peace of God's creation.

It was a few hours in time that I could let go of the worries of if my children were going to be okay being raised by a single mom, if I was going to be able to pay the bills, if I was going to find a job, if the divorce was going to go smoothly, if the kids were going to adjust to life in a new place, and all the other miraid of things. It was a time to just be family and enjoy each other.

I would never wish a divorce on anyone, nor would I wish unemployment. I wouldn't wish any of the ensuing custody and child support drama on anyone. But I will testify to this... God meets us where we are. God shows Himself in the little things. And God uses each and every situation we are in - good or bad - to teach us. Through all the mess and drama and pain, He showed me His amazing LOVE for me. He taught me there is nothing more precious in the world than family. He taught me JOY in the midst of pain. And He taught me that through faith in Him, He will help me to endure.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Life Lessons...

Today, in the period of about 2 hours, I learned 3 valuable lessons.

I rent a house from my auntie and uncle. I love the house, and I love the huge back yard, but...well...its a bit out of control. Today I decided to take advantage of the kids napping and attempt to tackle the yard.

Life Lesson #1 - Ivy is ruthless.
Unfortunately, next to dandelions, that is the plant that is most taking over my back yard. So, over the period of about 2 hours I hacked, pulled, shoveled, and raked my way to a prettier yard...or at least a less-ivy ridden one. That stuff is horrible! I swear it reproduced when I looked away, and for every one, itty-bitty ivy vine, there is a root ball the size of my head (and I have a big head). But, but the end of my 2 hours, this is what it was looking like.

Life Lesson #2 - Ivy makes yard work take forever.
At the end of my 2 hours I was very satisfied with my work... well, until I took a step back and looked at the rest of the yard... oh my, I have my work cut out for me! And that pic is only about half of the yard!


Life Lesson #3 - Never trust that your children are actually napping.
See post below. 'Nuff said. I guess I'll be doing all futre yard work with my children outside too.

Interior Design

Zeal emerged from nap time into the back yard where I was working, the picture of innocence and sweetness. "Me help you with your work, Mommy?" he asked, beaming at me. It wasn't until he reached for the shovel and I noticed that his hands were blue, and his arms were blue, and he had blue smudged on his face, that I realized we were in serious trouble.

I asked him where the marker was that he'd drawn on his hands with, and as he led me back to his room to give it to me, I saw blue out of the corner of my eye. Turning, I beheld this... I sucked in a breath and started counting to 10. Convinced that probably wasn't enough, I counted to 50. Only then was I confident I could ask Zeal what on earth was going through his mind, without my head spinning 'round at the same time.

Zeal calmly explained to me that he was "jus' decorating, Mommy." Duh. Obviously. Apparantly my decor style was far too sparse for him. And believe me, decorate he did. Not only the toilet lid, but also the toilet seat. And the toilet paper. And the door, wall, floor, baseboard heater, faucet, towel, vanity light bulbs, doorknob... Pretty much, you name it, it was blue. As was the wall outside the bathroom, and Zeal's door.

Oh, and did I mention, most of Zeal was also blue? Yups, his arms up to his elbows, his legs up to his knees, and somehow he even managed to color his butt. Yes, his butt.

As Zeal sat in timeout, and I scrubbed the blue off the vanity, I said a little prayer thanking God for washable markers... And as soon as Zeal was out of earshot I giggled a bit at my little interior designer...

Laura's Blonde Moments...

Laura, my bestest of friends, I love you. But you know I couldn't help posting your 'blonde moments' from this weekend, just because they made me giggle so much!


LAURA: "6 weeks times 3 hours?! That's like 24 hours!"
ME: "Um, no, actually that's like 18 hours."
LAURA: "Well, its 24 hours in my world."

LAURA : "Hey, this book is translated from Australian!

LAURA : "Wow! I look so Asian in those pictures!"

And, and oldie but goodie, from our college days...
ME: "Its about 90 miles from here to my house."
LAURA: "Is that with or without traffic?"

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Wonders of Value Village

How do I love thee, Value Village? Let me count the ways!

(1) "Take Off" - a board game I had as a child and have been wanting for a long time but couldn't remember the name of... it made me quite happy.

(2) Old Navy denim skirt...long enough...and it fits...for $3

(2) The brown velvet dress that I'd seen last week at Fred Meyers for about $50. I *really* wanted it, but couldn't afford it or justify any reason to buy a brown velvet dress. But when I saw it for $10 at Value Village... Well, lets just say I'm looking for somewhere fancy to go!

I walked out of there with 2 dresses, 2 skirts, and 2 board games...for $35! I love thrift stores!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Project for them Both

Tabby loves art, but Zeal...not so much. I'm always searching for projects I can do with both of them that they both will enjoy and participate in. So tonight, I brought a bit of 'boy' into the project. Tonight was phase 1 of birthday gifts for Daddy and Grandpa Ron. I handed each kid a pile of seashells and a hammer and let them go at it! While they banged away, I squirted paint into baggies. The kids then dropped shells into the bags and squished to coat them. Here is a pic of the painted shells...in a few days we will glue them onto wooden picture frames for the finished product!

Its the Little Things...

Ok, so this is silly. But I love little things like this... the kids and I made cupcakes tonight, for the sole reason so that we could have cake batter for dessert tonight. That would have been enough in and of itself! Then I remembered that I had silicone bear cupcake molds that I hadn't used yet - and so I just HAD to give them a try. And the results made me smile! Logically I know the cupcake won't taste any different than it would in a plain white paper liner, but just the sight of seeing these little chubby bear cupcake tummies...I somehow know they are gunna be nummier in my tummy too!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sprintime in a Jar

Today the sun was out, and all was good. No, things did not run perfectly. I did not have a perfectly behaved child. I did not gain extra hours to clean the house (or a maid to do it for me!). I did not wake up totally refreshed, or at no point get frustrated. But for some reason the sun just puts a spin on things.

Springtime gives a sense of hope, of renewal, of new beginnings and fresh starts. Springtime makes my soul feel excited, like its twirling in circles inside of me. Springtimes makes me believe in the power of love and the kindness of humanity. Springtime makes me grateful for my blessings, and makes me appreciate the little things.

There were many little things I noticed and appreciated today...the new sprouts on my rose bush out front, a daffodil blooming in the back yard, my daughter's outgoing and spirted nature, the taste of good coffee in the morning, sewing with my back door open. And yes, this...sun tea...a bit of springtime in a jar...

T-Shirt Dress, Take 2


So, here is my second take on the dress. This is SO easy, and I completed it in about an hour or hour and a half. Super, super easy, and fun to make! As you can see, this one is a little more "sophisticated" than the last one. I like it better, but I'm pretty sure Tabs prefers the other one. I did run into one problem though, which I probably should have forseen. (No, I DID forsee...I was just hoping it would work.) I used wired ribbon for the waistline because it was all I could find in the right color and texture. It kinda makes the waist...poof. Its fine for a play dress, though. And hey, with everything I sew I'm learning more tricks!

I've really gotten on a sewing kick lately, and just bought a new sewing book today that has a whole bunch of different projects to do with a yard or less of fabric. And always, I've been scouring the blogs! Stay tuned for more projects!

Monday, February 15, 2010

T-Shirt Dress


I have gotten back into sewing lately, and have been totally inspired by other people's blogs to find fun and simple sewing project. I saw this dress tutorial at The Cottage Home and just had to try it for Tabby!

I took one of Tabby's 'play' shirts and fancied it up. I altered Lindsay's idea slightly, making a ribbon belt (mine doesn't tie in the back) and using premade trim. I knew Tabby would love the pom-pom finish, as it is fancy, and Tabby loves anything that is even remotely fancy! (Her personal hero is Fancy Nancy.)

I love the way the dress turned out, and it was SO easy and fast to make. I have material to make another one out of a little scotty dog t-shirt, so stay tuned for pics of that one later!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines Day Date with Myself

The YMCA had a 'date night' thing tonight for Valentines Day where the kids got to play, do crafts, eat pizza, etc. while Mom and Dad got to go out for a romantic evening.

Being unattached (my first unmarried Valentines Day in quite some time), I didn't think this was any reason for me not to participate! So I dropped the kids off and headed out on a date with myself...

Valentines Day Date:
* White Citrus travel size bubble bath for later tonight - $3.50
* Manicure, complete with fancy little rhinestones and flowers - $16.00
* Triple Chocolate Meltdown from Applebees while reading "The Lost Symbol" - $4.99
* Not having to shave my legs - PRICELESS

Saturday, February 13, 2010

When Life Gives You Crumbs...

I had grand plans this morning, and got up and immediately started baking. I'd gotten zucchini in my Full Circle Farms box this week, and my kids won't eat it unless I totally disguise it.

So, I decided to make some Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread. I mean, come on, tomorrow is Valentines Day, and what girl doesn't want some chocolate for Valentines Day?!

The house smelled amazing as the bread baked. I was so excited because I was going to give one loaf to a friend whose daughter turns 8 tomorrow.

When I took the bread out of the pan, however... well... a substancial amount stuck to the bottom. It had been quite some time since I'd made this recipe, and I'd forgotten that unfortunate part.

Being married to a Marine for 6 year taught me something though (well, it taught me lots of things, but that's a whole seperate blog). Improvise, adapt, and overcome!

So, I cut off the bottom of the bread to make it pretty and flat, and the left over crumbs and bottom of the bread? We'll be getting some ice cream tonight and using it as toppings.

As for the loaf for my friend's daughter, I made a homemade heart template with some extra cardstock I had, and decorated it with some powdered sugar. I hope she likes it!

Thinking Like a Blogger

I have never really understood the blog scene until recently I started searching for activities to do with my kids and crafts to get out some of my creative energy. I discovered a blog, which linked to another blog, which linked to another, and so on. Next thing you know, I'm an addict. I'm checking my favorite ones a couple times a week and looking forward to the kids going to bed so I can jump online and look for new great ones.

I've realized that I've started thinking like a blogger, too. Never before would I have taken pictures of my baking gone bad, or the step-by-step process to sew my placemats. I find myself thinking, "Ooh! That would be fun to share with people!" when I do projects with my kids.

So, I'm breaking down and starting a blog of my own. Welcome to Modern Day Super Mommy!Because who else can do the dishes, fold the laundry, sew a dress, talk on the phone, and break up sibling rivalry all in one bound?