He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

31 January 2012

Activity for 2 Year Olds

Since CJ has preschool Tuesday and Thursday mornings I have found that I have some extra time with Miss Mak. Whereas my instincts tell me that Sesame Street is the perfect cure, I hate the idea of plopping little Miss in front of the TV when there's so many fun things to try. So...
I found this idea at Sugar and Spice and gave it a go...
It was a chance for Mak to "fine tune" some her of fine motor skills and she seemed to enjoy it. I assume that's because it meant she could eat AND play.
That's always a winner in our house!
If you've got modeling clay, a wooden skewer, and some Cheerio style snack, you're good to go! 

23 January 2012

That Bathtime Glow!

Once again, Pinterest has served us well.
I found this post at Play At Home Mom and thought it looked like all kinds of crazy fun.
It just so happens that Target has had loads of these in their dollar section around here so I snagged up a few and gave it a shot when CJ had his friend, D, over last week.
Conclusion: super cheap super fun! The boys took a 45 minute bath. The water was cold by the time they finally gave up.

{My one recommendation... if you have a kiddo who can't seem to keep things out of their mouths, stay with them or have a serious talk about how that's not an acceptable way of playing with them. Just a thought.}

22 January 2012

A Poem. Not by me. I wouldn't do that to you. Or would I?

My sister shared this with me last night.
When I looked it up on YouTube.com I saw that there was several other versions of this made in, what I assume to be, response to this poem. I watched them and take issue with much of their content but the point is that I like this one. It is not complete, but it is concise and I appreciate the spirit of it.

Tell me what you think.

20 January 2012

I Have Visitors!

I've neglected you again.
But this time, with good reason.
I have a visitor!
...well three, really...
All the way from Tennessee!
We've been having lots of fun
and are working on a post to share soon.
I'll give you a hint...
She's originally from Louisiana and it's almost Mardi Gras.
Stay Warm!

17 January 2012


Every so often the kiddos get antsy and I decide that it's time for them to get creative instead.
Out come the finger paints and water colors, crayons and paper.
Dangerous? Maybe.
Worthwhile? You bet!
Normally I hand the kids the supplies and clean the house, fold laundry, rest on the couch, etc...
It struck me recently that if I value creativity so much, why am I not taking the time to create with my kids... so this time I sat down with them.
I was lacking inspiration beyond the usual train, truck, cow, loader, that CJ asks me to draw for him.
Instead, I turned to my greatest source of current inspiration... Pinterest.

I've saved plenty of signs that I'd like to see placed around the house ... I particularly love this one that I first saw at Whatever...
Some of the sayings I found are easy to duplicate using Picnik but I found that some were rather simple to do while playing with my kids using their craft supplies...
These are certainly not exact duplicates but I figure that slapping frame around these craft paper, permenant marker, water color images will do the trick for us.
So rather than saving up for pricey pictures, give DIY a shot.
Frame it
and hang it proudly.
Seriously, who's gonna know?

10 January 2012

Rainbow Cake

No... this is not an original idea. 
Yes... it's super easy!
Yes... I'll be making it again! 
I found a recipe on MarthaStewart.com.
I was going for the same look as she had but didn't have the time or energy to make it from scratch like she did and I was not comfortable with putting in the amount of food coloring required to get the vibrancy of colors that she did.
So I made it work with what I had and here's what I ended up with...

I used two boxes of white cake mix and two containers of white frosting.

"Gasp! You mean this isn't made from scratch with your own freshly milled grain?!"

I work hard to feed my family healthy, nutritional meals regularly so I don't mind a processed splurge every so often. Otherwise, what's the fun?

two boxes of white cake mix
two containers of white frosting {one of ours was FunFetti}
food coloring
as many cake pans as you can gather
butter and flour/PAM/coconut oil or some other means of greasing your pan

I made up both boxes of cake mix and divided the batter evenly into six bowls {approx 2 cups of batter for each bowl}. One by one, I used the food coloring to dye the batter red, orange {red and yellow}, yellow, green, blue, and purple {red and blue}.
The colors didn't look quite right, especially the red and orange but they all intensified during baking. The red was more of a dark pink, the purple was a lavendar, and the yellow looked nearly white before baking.
Grease the pans well... I used butter and flour... and bake each pan for 15 minutes. Test with a knife/toothpick/spaghetti noodle for doneness.
Once done, let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack and let it cool for another fifteen or more minutes.
Once FULLY COOL, use a long knife, such as a bread knife to cup the tops of the cake level.
{We gave the tops to Mak to eat at her leisure.  What can I say, it was her birthday!}

You may notice that the outside of your cake is slightly browned like mine...
Once the cake is frosted, you will not see these edges, just the great colors you've mixed!
I put a VERY thin layer of frosting in between each color. Just enough to make the pieces stick.
It took me one container of frosting to put between the layers then I loosely covered it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. I figured the cake would cut a little easier, be less crumbly, and show the colors better if it was a bit cool.
Then I used one container of frosting for the outside.
I probably could have used one more container but that just sounded CUH-RAZE-EE!
Then I topped it off with some "FunFetti", a quick and cheezy little banner...

"Yay Mak!"?
I'm sure I could have come up with better than that!

Anyway... here it is!

or maybe more like "there it went"...
Delicious, fun to look at, and fun to eat!

08 January 2012

Mak-a-boo turns Two!!

Another baby passes the two year mark WAY too fast for my liking!
We had a small shin-dig with our family last night to celebrate our nugget...

 {More on this cake soon!}
 Happy Birthday Baby Mak-a-boo!!

04 January 2012

Decluttering for 2012

It's one of the most wonderful times of the year. For me, the most wonderful time of the year falls in January when an acre of the greenhouse is full of primrose and smells like fruit loops. Then there's the first days of spring that smell like mud. And the middle of the winter right after a heavy snow when we wake up to a winter wonderland. And then there's the the perfect weather time in June when the temperature is in the mid 70's, light breezes, random fluffy clouds...
Okay... I have lots of favorite times of the year... {look to the top right "about me"}...
BUT! This one is different ...
THIS wonderful time of year is the NEW year! Time to make resolutions {which I personally don't do}, time to take down all the Christmas decorations and put the "extra" away, AND...
wait for it...
Ha! You have no idea how much this excites me!

On the very off chance that you're excited about this too.. I found a few good tips that I figured I share.. 

1. If the stuff has not been used in the last 3 months and I can not name a specific date or event in the next year when I will use it again, then it is gone.
2. If the stuff is "good" but not high value or highly sought-after, then it is offered to friends and what doesn't get taken goes to charity or freecycle.
3. If the stuff is "good" but is of high value or highly sought-after, then it goes on the for-sale pile.
4. If the stuff needs repair but I haven't made the time to fix it in the last 6 months, then it goes in the bin (I've learned that even freecyclers don't like most items that are in need of repair!).
{Consumption Rebellion}
5. Declutter 15 minutes every day.
6. Don't throw away, donate.
7. Don't allow things into the house in the first place.
8. Donate stuff you're decluttering, so you don't feel bad about wasting it.
9. Use the "one in, two out" rule. Whenever you bring one item in, pick two to throw away no mater how small.
10. Clothes: if you haven't worn it in six months, give it up.
11. The one-year box: Take all your items that you're unsure about getting rid of, put them in a box, seal it and date it for 1 year in the future. WHen the ate comes and still haven't opened it, donate it without opening it
12.Internatlize that your value is not in your "stuff" and is just "stuff". 
13. Have someone you trust help you go through things. They aren't emotionally attached but can still recognize if it's something you should keep. 
{zen habits}

03 January 2012

Best Gift Ever

yes. i know that Christmas is not about the gifts we receive but rather the beautiful story of Christ's love for His children and so we celebrate His coming {a.k.a. Happy Birthday, Jesus!}
however, most of us enjoy giving and receiving gifts this time of year and Sweet Hubs gave me the only thing I've wanted and haven't broken down to buy for myself.
drumroll please...
It's a grain mill for making fresh flour.
I realize this may sound a bit ridiculous but I can make flour as I need it which means it's got all the nutrients still in tact {nutrients that turn rancid very shortly after being milled}. I've already baked two loaves and have several recipes for cookies lined up to try. 

01 January 2012

Christmas Clean-Up Tip

I assume you've already cleaned up the tinsel, tissue paper, and packed up the ornaments.
Unless... of course, you're like me and have only thrown out the shedding wreath.
On the off chance that you've still got pine needles to sweep up... I have one tip for you straight from my Mamma...
If you've got real pine strewn about the floor... STOP!
before you sweep or vacuum put a new bag in the vacuum and then suck up as many needles as you can. For the next several vacuums you'll have a built in air freshener.


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