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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter 2014

Here's 10 Ideas to have an Easter where everyone can sit back, relax and Enjoy--even Mom!

1. If you dye eggs, dye them early. They will keep in the fridge 7-10 days. You can use them for Potato Salad, egg salad sandwiches, salads, or other recipes, and they are easy to do ahead of time. Money Saving Tip: Use 20 drops of any color combo of regular food coloring, 1/2 c. hot water and 1 Tbsp. of vinegar and make your own dyes.

2. If you hold an Easter Egg hunt think about "experiences" you can give, instead of things. Make "coupons" for "30 minutes of extra story time with Mom or Dad" or "15 extra minutes on the computer" or even "Ice cream date with Mom" and put those in the eggs instead of candy or stuff. Your kids want to be with you, and this is a great gateway to spending time together.

3. Do a service project-remember WHY we celebrate Easter? The Savior did the ultimate service for us, so the least we can do is lift someone else up. Our Easter Bunny likes to deliver little treats to our friends that we know need a bit of uplifting. It's nothing huge--a 25 cent box of Lemonheads can work wonders.

4. Spend time with your family playing outside. Sunshine and exercise are good for the mind, body and soul.

5. Don't clean the house. Yep, don't do it. If you are having guests, wait until they leave and then clean up. If you aren't have guests then no one will see what's going on anyway.

6. Find time to share a story about your family with your kids. Easter is a great time to reminisce about your childhood and how you celebrated. It's a good time to tell about family traditions and start new ones. Take the time to share a part of you, you won't be sorry.

7. Take a walk and check out the neighborhood. We discovered a new park in our neighborhood. Okay, it's been there forever, but we'd never stopped. It's my new favorite lunch spot, and my kids love it too.

8. In my opinion holidays should be about family, fun and food-in that order. The food should rock, the fun should be abundant and create new, happy memories and your family should be enjoyed. Let the dishes pile up they can be there forever--enjoy the people around you while they are around you. We have a limited amount of lifetime--think about what's really important. And yes, we all have family members that we struggle to understand, but for the sake of the family, we can try to at the very least "smile and nod" and co-operate for a few hours.

9. Eat dessert.

10. Laugh. Stop every once in awhile (daily) and just take it all in. I know I get so focused on what I have to do, I often miss the small, simple, funny things my kids do. I miss out on conversations with friends when my mind is racing through my to-do list. I am going to get better about this. Life is full of funny things, and we all know life is better if we laugh instead of cry through it.

Enjoy the day!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Starting a Garden 2014

It's been awhile. I am catching up on the life I had been ignoring over the last six months, and WOW! that was a lot of little things to do.

It's springtime, which at our house means planting time....and this year, it's from seed--nearly the whole thing. After not being able to find the varieties of plants we wanted--Habenero and Anaheim peppers, certain tri-colored sweet peppers, and Spaghetti sqaush, as starts, we decided to DIY. No surprise, that's how we roll.

So just like Matt Damon in "We Bought a Zoo"--we bought a Green House. Yeah every day a little bit of the City Girl inside me dies, but the Urban Farm Girl has got some good things going on too.

So we started a few seeds inside in this Jiffy seed starter and a heat mat. A great idea for beginners and masters alike. There are several seed starting kits available at Home and Garden centers, and they all work about the same.

We selected the variety of seeds we wanted, planted them in the pods and watered.

Now in 21 days they should look something like these seedlings we started in plastic cups a few weeks ago. 
It's going to be a delicious year!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Welcome to the Terrible. Terrific Teens

We made it! Our twins are 13, and we made it! Being twins, they had a rough start. Let's be honest, childbirth is not easy for me, and having twins was a HUGE deal-in more ways than one. So the very fact that those 4 and 5 pound little girls are now brilliant, amazing, incredible young ladies feels like quite an accomplishment.

So how did we get this far? Good Luck, prayers, tears, mistakes, triumphs, bravery, trying, trying again, and hope are all part of parenting. We've used these tools plus a lot of joy, happiness, fun, fear, uncertainty and trust--and somehow it's worked out.

The things no one tells you before you become a parent are numerous. Children come home so little and cute, and dependent, and then as they grow they have opinions and attitude, mixed with sweetness and forgiveness--and that's just the toddler years.

So we are now parents of teens--mathematically impossible since I am waaaay too young for that. Somehow it happened. The greatest lesson I have learned being a parent is that LOVE makes all the difference. I know, much more cheesy than I normally am, but being a parent teaches you to love someone else in a whole new way.

Love your children for who they are. No matter what, you will butt heads and have conflict, because that's how we learn. Love them anyway. If they want to wear that hideous neon shirt with their holey jeans and rubber rain boots to school, so be it.

Love them because they are the very best parts of you. And when you see some not so nice things that may come out in their personalities--that's part of you too. Embrace all of it!

Love them because they have unlimited potential. They can do anything, and with the support of a loving parent(s), they can do everything!

Love them because sometimes they will feel like no one does. Remember how tumultuous life was as a teen? It's the same for way for them--maybe even more so in this ever-changing, complicated, technologically advanced world. Maybe you don't show you love them in public--cuz they need their street cred, but show them that you love them and tell them. Those words can mean everything to them--and yeah, they may not admit it, but they hear you, so do it anyway.

Love them because it's you job. You may not have been aware that this roller coaster called Parenthood would have so many ups and downs, but the best thing you can do is just be there to guide, listen, discipline, teach and trust them. That will make a bigger impact on them than the latest tech gadget, hottest pair of jeans, or greatest toy.

Love them because someone loved you at this age. There are many wonderful, amazing days ahead in this parenting gig--and there will be days when you will ask yourself, "What the H*!! was I thinking?" Don't panic, it's normal.  This is the same wheel parents have been spinning on for centuries. They survived, so will you.

Love them because someday Karma will repay them the favor when they have their own kids. Love them because no one can love your kids better than you. Love them because time is fleeting and someday they will be fully functional adults who, if you are lucky, will become your best friends. Love them because they need YOU--and you need THEM! Don't waste the opportunity to know your children. They are incredible people already.

I am going to take time to enjoy as much as I can on this ride. I am so proud of my twins (and all my kids) and so happy to celebrate this milestone with them. We gave our children life, let's teach them how to LIVE.

Happy Parenting!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Green Thumb

I did it! Check this out!

I started these babies from seed, and they grew. Yellow Squash for everyone! If you look in the far right corner of the picture, you'll see my Zucchini plant starting. I am so excited to put them in the ground, as soon as it stops freezing here, and see what happens.

Life is an experiment.
I love experiments that you can eat!

The seeds were .59 cents (IFA-all seeds on sale this week, no I'm not being compensated)
Each seed packet can start 4 "hills" of plants--so that's a lot of squash. In each "hill" are two of these pods, each containing one plant. 

Other stuff I bought: zucchini (obviously), lettuce, spinach, blue lake bush green beans, carrots, colored peppers, onions, peas, and radishes. All of this I am starting from seed (some like lettuce you just sow directly in the ground once the freezing weather is no longer a threat). I am pretty sure the garden will be spectacular in no time! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Growing Inside and Out

Isn't change fun? I mean really, who doesn't like the surprises that life throws our way? Sometimes it's fun, when we have a hand in the change. And so I have managed to create a new life chapter, and close an old one. I am moving on from my job at the House of Hope, and taking on a new chapter in my ever-changing, never boring life. I am choosing to create a new path, or destiny, or lifestyle, or possibly even a new mess.

I won't bore you with the details of why I left my job. I will say, it has a wonderful mission which serves a much needed group of women, and it was a pleasure to witness many of them grow and become the women and mothers they were intended to be. And to pass on my sincere thanks to my many friends and family who helped with Christmas, Welcome Bags, and other much needed donations every time I asked. You all ROCK!

So what's next? Well if I only had a crystal ball.....more change I suppose. In the meantime, I am sure my time will be consumed with many new opportunities, possibly local politics, for sure more family fun, and maybe in the future a job that makes me happy and complete, maybe.

Over the past six months I have learned I can do hard things. It's all about perspective. If you want a different life, you have to make different choices. Sometimes those choices means giving up something good, for what is best.

If I can do hard things, so can you. We are here to have experiences, whatever they may be, so whatever "it" is that you want to do, and are maybe feeling nervous or unsure about, just go do it! You won't know what you're missing out until you try!

Write your new chapter! I am writing mine (and thank goodness for white-out).

Friday, March 14, 2014

Perfect Rice

I keep printing this recipe off an losing it, along with my mind. I've tried this 100 times, and every time this recipe brings forth perfect brown rice.

Click HERE for the recipe from America's Test Kitchen and Our Best Bites.

Monday, March 10, 2014

St. Patty's Day Fun

I love St. Patrick's Day, and I'm not Irish. I love it because I can start thinking about Spring, and warm weather, and gardening, and fresh flowers....

And it's a great excuse to combine chocolate and mint, mint and lemonade, lemons and chocolate--whatever!

Here are a few fun ideas (an no, I am not being compensated) that I wanted to pass along to make your St. Patrick's day and Springtime more memorable.

Yummy treats anyone? Betty's brought forth a wonderful collection of delicious desserts-Lucky You! Click HERE for some delicious fun.

The ladies at Our Best Bites have some great meal ideas you'll want to try. Click HERE for the recipes.

Why not have a little craft making Candy Rainbow? Use colored Skittles, Trix or licorice ropes to create an edible masterpiece!

We used to make up stories about "Shawn O'Casey," a magical Leprechaun who would hide gold coins and candy around our house. He was very sneaky and avoided detection easily. This idea started from a very creative sixth grade teacher of mine. As sixth graders, we'd "adopt" a first grader and secretly deliver them notes and treats during the week of St. Patrick's. I was LUCKY enough to be my sister's "Shawn O'Casey." Eventually my secret was exposed, but it was fun while it lasted. This idea could easily be adapted into a fun Hide-and-Seek game to create a fun family memory. The trick is to be stealth and sneaky, and leave the treats in unexpected places (bathroom drawers, dishwasher, pantry shelves, etc.),

It's fun at any age to get a surprise treat. And I am pretty sure we could all use some excitement, surprises and fun after our long, cold, gray winter. Bring on the colors of Spring!