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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Break Fun

I can't believe Spring Break is nearly here. That means the end of school is just around the corner! Yeah!?!!?? I swear the older I get, the faster the school year flies by.

Since we'll all be needing some fun ideas here are a few to make Spring Break awesome.

1. Make a Cloud Catcher. Lisa at has tons of ideas to keep you busy, and learning and having fun, all at the same time. She is! The cloud catcher is her March 21 entry, or you can find it under science ideas.

2. Pick one or two of these great ideas from Tip Junkie. I like numbers 2 and 5.

3. Take a kite or Frisbee to the park.

4. Have the older kids make an Easter egg or treasure hunt for the younger kids. Involve the whole neighborhood.

5. Try making Lemon or Lime Bars. I LOVE this recipe Betty Crocker. You can use lemon or lime juice.

6. Clean out your closets. I know, not fun, but an important opportunity to teach kids about sharing, Earth Day, recycling and helping those in need.

7. Plant some seeds. Seeds are cheap and easily available. Start an herb garden indoors, or sow cold weather crops like peas, carrots, potatoes, onions and spinach in a part of your yard. These are all pretty easy to grow in a relatively small amount of space. This year we are growing peas, green beans, carrots, potatoes, onions, basil, spinach and cilantro from seeds. And yes, everyone helps.

8. Watch your favorite movie and share it with your kids. Obviously be wise in what you show them, but sometimes you will find you share interests you didn't know about before.

9. Do sidewalk art. Have an art contest, draw a family picture or a treasure map together. Don't forget to take a picture of your work of art!

10. Share family stories. Write them down, record them, record a relative telling them. Do what you have to do to preserve your family's history. We had the opportunity to copy some VHS tapes of my childhood last week. My kids loved giggling at my hair ("Nice bangs Mom!"), my clothes, ("People wore that?!?") and my boyfriends (Ok, they may have a point there). And even though it was uncomfortable for me at times, I got to share some inspiration with them based on my memories and experiences of my youth.

Happy Making Memories this Spring!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lazy Dayzzz

It's not often I get a chance to do nothing, but we had a great weekend with our kids doing nothing in particular except enjoying each other's company. The twins had yet another celebration--we like to celebrate your birthday with the same number of parties as the age you are. After a week of celebratory glee the girls ended up with a great new wardrobe, volleyball lessons and gear, and some other fun stuff. They are now officially 11. I am now officially 30-ish. Try to solve that math problem.

This week is going to be so crazy that meals are looking something like this...
fish sticks
cordon blue--prepared by the butcher
Little Caesar's Pizza
chicken strips ala Jackson, cuz it's his week to cook
spaghetti and meatballs

Nothing too exciting, except that everyone eats all of the above, so I don't have to hear about any one's dislike for anything. Maybe next week, I will be more inspired, but this week it's all about survival.

Although dinner won't knock any one's socks off, maybe our plans to break up the monotony of the week will. We have ice cream day at a local store, pizza and movie night, Dinner out on the town with our Dad and maybe one or two other surprises. Maybe this will make our cabin fever subside for awhile.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Favorite Things ~ New

You know how I love to share cool stuff??? Well, thanks to my oldest girls, I found a new love. It's not shopping with them, as their Dad suggested I do with them for their birthday. That's the equivalent of the seventh circle of Hell. Let's just say, until it's their money purchasing their clothing, they will have a limited selection from stores I approve of (and have a shopping pass for).

Anyway, for Christmas they got some e.l.f. lipgloss from one of their friends. Oh my gosh, I am in love with this cosmetics line. They have fun, appropriate for any age, colors of all kinds of lip products, eye makeup and bronzers.  They have zit zapper, eyebrow gloss, nail polish, base and tools. And it's available online,, or at Target!

Hold onto your starts at $1! This is not the el cheapo stuff you may have seen in the past. There are no weird scents or textures, at least not in what I've tried.

Their website has cheap shipping, shipping deals, and this week they have the following online codes: EGTENAZ (10% off) and TAF20 (20% off). These codes are working as of this post, but can be taken away at anytime. And if you have an Ebates account, you earn 5.5% cash back. Surely after all this you'll be getting something virtually free!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Happy Days

Lots of happy things from this weekend.

1- We did this just for fun. I hope they remember this day...

It was a good day, windy (it almost always is where we are), but warm. So we took some time to just hang out.
You can see they really get serious about kite flying.

Ok, almost everyone is serious about it. Really it's up there about 40 feet. He's just takin' it all in. Makes me envious really.....

I did bring snacks, but the baby was busy taste testing nature.

Fun thing 2- We celebrated (early of course. Duh!)

3rd fun thing, well it's really personal....I am down one clothing size. Yeah veggies, and exercise, and carb counting, and more exercise. Really it's not that bad.

Happy Week!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kate's Creations- Butterfly Hair Pins

Are you ready for Spring? So are we. Perhaps some new bling for the hair will help cure your spring fever? We've got the right medicine to cure the winter blues.

These darling butterfly hair pins come in black, red, yellow, green, light blue, crystal clear, yellow-green, orange and pink.  The hair pins are either silver or bronze. You choose your combo. They are $3 a pair.

Top: Bronze pin with red butterfly
Bottom: Silver pin with pink butterfly

Bringing on some butterfly BLING to get rid of our wintertime blues!

Thanks for checkin' us out!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Camille Ballou

My talented friend Cam Ballou is writing books now. Her sense of humor is awesome. Check her out.

Happy Reading

MYOTO Chicken Taquitos

This is based on a recipe from "Our Best Bites." Thanks for the inspiration ladies.

This recipe feeds 6-8 adults

1 pkg whole wheat flour tortillas (or white)
4-6 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/2 c. salsa
1 can green chilies
6 oz. low-fat cream cheese
12 slices of pepper jack cheese, sliced in half (or favorite cheese)
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. onion flake
2 tsp. garlic
juice of one lime

This mixture can be made ahead of time and put in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 425 deg. Line baking pan with foil and spray foil with Pam.

Mix cream cheese, chicken, chilies, salsa, seasonings and lime juice together. Spread mixture down the middle of tortilla, flattening it out as you go. Top with cheese. Roll the tortilla up and place seam down on baking sheet. Spray top of tortillas with Pam and sprinkle with Kosher salt.

Bake 15-20 minutes. Serve with salsa, guacamole and sour cream, as desired.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lucky Number 13

Thirteen years ago today I married the most incredible, amazing, thoughtful, kind, funny, adorable boy in the world. It was a whirlwind romance, a quick engagement and then we were off to our own little piece of heaven....all 1000 square feet of it.

If someone told me in high school this was the guy I'd be spending my life with, I would have cackled and walked away. Yet, 13 years later I can't imagine my life any other way.

Don't get me wrong, marriage is work. Once the wedding is over, you've returned the crappy gifts, and you find a new sense of being part of a union, it's not smooth sailing. Merging two lifestyles is complicated. There are feelings involved and discussions and it's not always comfortable. And sex can't solve all of it. Sometimes fighting is healthy, and things need to be said. Just be as kind as you can when you say those things, or so my therapist used to say.

The day we got married my brother told us to, "live long and prosper." I think we've done enough for prosperity's sake, so here's to the living long part and a lucky year 13.

~Happy Anniversary Babe. You are the best!~

Friday, March 9, 2012

Time and other Precious Things

Loss is a part of life. We deal with it, and hopefully move on. I've lost a lot in my life....a mother, a pregnancy, a brother. Not all to death, but they are gone none the less. Some I may never get back. Life is full of heartache and unknowns.

Do not despair. There are people all around who serve as angels to pick us up and inspire us. A guy my husband and I know from school, and his wife just found out their baby will be born with severe Spina Bifida. They have handled this obstacle with such tremendous grace, faith and love; my heart breaks for them. They aren't sure what they will need to do to help their daughter, but are sure they will be led down the appropriate path to give her the best life possible.

Being a good parent means letting your heart, and its vulnerabilities, live outside yourself. It makes you sad for others losses, even if that someone is a stranger. We hear every day of children suffering in Africa, Mexico and in our own backyards. Let alone the injustices, heartache, disappointments and trails our own children face.

Overcoming these trials is some of what plays into my whole "time over things" mentality. Nope, I am not a perfect parent. I say things and do things I shouldn't; most of us do. We never know how much time we have. Sometimes moments and opportunities only come once. Put down the smart phone, laptop or I Pad and read a book to your kid, do a puzzle, play outside. Whatever you were doing cannot be more important than taking time out. The benefits from spending quality time will always outweigh anything else. It takes the same amount of time to praise a child, as it does to criticize.

In honor of our friend and his family, I am posting their Fundraising Site to help give their little girl every fighting chance. Take the time to pay it forward, whether it be for this family, a neighbor or your own family. We won't leave this life with our things, just our memories.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Recycle Reuse-Awesomeness

I love to recycle and reuse. How about socks. Dusters, bulb holders, puppets...
How about awesome sock buns?!?

I saw this on TV the other day. Who said you can't learn anything on TV? WRONG.
Check this out for directions. It took me literally 3 minutes.

So of course I had to use my dolls (children) and try it myself. She doesn't have magic hair, or even thick hair. It's a sock hidden in her hair. If the sock thing freaks you out, H & M and Forever 21 sell a foam donut that does the same thing. But we all know, I'm cheap.

Awesome! Thanks Laci, Shanna and Krista for the tips and tricks.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Grocery Saving Ideas

This post is inspired by "Woman's Day." I don't think I am old enough to read this. But, I got a free subscription last Christmas...can't waste it, right?

Here's some ideas (some new, some not) to saving money at the grocery store.

1. Look past products placed at eye level. There is often a similar item further down the shelf that is a better deal. I actually tried this last week at Wal-Mart and it's true.

2. Ask for a sample. This may not work where you live, but I know at many grocery stores the produce managers are very willing to let you try a piece of something. Please don't take advantage.

3. Watch the cash register as your items are scanned. I can't tell you how many time the computer is wrong and the price on the shelf is lower. Ask for a fix. They may have to send someone to check, and sometimes their signs are old. However, if the sign is there, the lower price is yours. Also, price match. Many stores besides Target and Wal-Mart are doing this--bring you ad, it may be worth it.

4. Shop on days the stores receive deliveries. The Customer Service Managers will tell you when the meat, produce, Coke/Pepsi, and other deliveries are. In some cases this is when you get a mark down on older items. If nothing else, you will be getting the freshest items shopping these days.

5. Choose your store based on dry good prices, not bread and milk prices. Milk and bread are the items that are sold close to cost, usually. Scan the weekly ads and pick the store with the lowest cost of dry good items, like cereal, for the week.

6. If you want organic, look for the sticker on the produce that starts with a 9. 9 means organic.

Prices will likely to increase over the next year. Maybe this can help you save money.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Great Birthday Ideas

If you know me at all, you know that "things" don't matter to me. I have parameters. I don't like to live in a run down place, I like things in good shape, but I don't have to have the latest and greatest of anything the day, week or month it comes out--unless there's a really good sale. I think life is made of memories, not of things. Do you honestly remember every birthday or Christmas gift you've received? Sure, maybe there are a few. Maybe you still have the Jem doll or remote control race car from your childhood, but I bet your memories are better.

Every year I try to give the kids opportunites/classes or some kind of gift where I/we can spend time together. You're familiar with the Christmas Gift Certificates. This year the girls are getting lessons (can't be more specific, they are standing over my shoulder).

My buddy Wendy Paul did an awesome thing and gave her Dad a subscription to her "Cookie of the Month Club." She is a published baker, but you can do the same. She is baking 12 different recipes, that are some of his faves, and taking him cookies once a month. So thoughtful. She gets to spend time with him and is thinking of what he likes. It's a gift that celebrates him all year long. Way to go Wendy!

My other friend JaNece is turning 35. She's brave enough to admit it. I am not. She is doing 35 random acts of service to celebrate her own birthday! I mean really, this girl is incredible. If I told you how we are "related" your head would spin, but I am so glad to know her. She is one of the few who inspire me, truly. Read her ideas at You will also be inspired by this Rockstar!

Happy Celebrating!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Tamale Pie

I can't remember if this is on here or not, but it's worth repeating. I am losing my mind and have lots on it. Maybe life will slow down just a bit so I can catch my breath. Enjoy!

1 lb. hamburger
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can Hunt's Tomato sauce (15 oz)
1 can diced chilies, or fresh
2 cloves garlic
1/2 chopped onion
1/2 chopped green pepper
1/2 chopped tomato
1 Tbsp chile powder
1 tsp cumin
1 pkg. Corn bread

Preheat oven to 400 deg.

 Cook onion, garlic and peppers in 1 Tbsp. oil. Add hamburger and cook in same pan. When meat is done, slightly smash the beans and add them. Then add spices, tomato sauce and tomato. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, until thick.

Put meat mixture in 9 x 9 sprayed pan. Make the cornbread according to package directions and spoon over top. Cover with shredded cheese if desired. Bake for 20-25 min at 400 deg. until middle is hot.

Top with salsa, sour cream and guacamole, as desired.