Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pennies for Penny

I'm keeping this post at the top for a while. To see newer posts just scroll down.

Pennies for Penny
I hate when bad things happen especially when it happens to little children. My dear friend's 11 month old niece Penny was recently diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. She has tumors in several places through out her tiny body. She has had several surgeries in the last few days and has started chemo therapy. I can't imagine having to go through this with one of my children.

Please, Please, Please say prayers for this Angel and her family.

The family has insurance but it doesn't cover everything. After just a few weeks of dealing with this the bills are already starting to pour in. You can follow her story here as well as make donations for her care.

I want to help spread the word about Pennies for Penny so I'm going to be holding a drawing for a free Scentsy Warmer of your choice. If you are not familiar with Scentsy you can view my website here or read a previous post here.

Here is what you need to do to enter.

  1. Post the button for Pennies for Penny on your website and then come back here and leave a comment letting me know that you have done so as well as a link to your blog. If you have more than one site, you will receive one entry for every site you post it on. Just post a different comment here for each site. You can get the button by visiting Pennies for Penny

  2. Create a post about Penny and come back here and leave a comment with the link to your post.
  3. Sorry but this drawing is only open to those in the continental US. If you live outside of the US Please still post the button on your site and leave a comment here. I will come up with another fabulous prize for you.

  4. All comments must be in by 10:00 PM CST March 31, 2010

  5. I will pick the winner using a random number generator on April 1, 2010
Remember to pray for Penny and her family. Thanks.

Pennies for Penny

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Everybody Video Contest

The cousin of a childhood friend has entered into a video contest. I guess the person with the most views wins a chance to sing with Ingrid Michaelson. I watched it and I was entertained by all the instruments she can play. I think I could manage the tamborine she made from loose change.

Welcome Followers

Over the last couple of weeks the number of people I have following my blog has doubled so I have decided to take a few moments to introduce myself. First though, I want to thank you for thinking my blog deserved a spot in your reader. I appreciate it.

I am first and foremost a wife to my husband of almost 10 years and mother to our 4 children. I am a stay at home mom but to add a little fun money I also sell Scentsy Wickless candles and mystery shop. I decided to blog because I needed one more thing to fill up my extra time. LOL! In my posts I refer to my children by their number of birth, #1, #2,...and so on. From this point on I will be referring to them by a nickname because let's face it, numbers is very impersonal. So, here are my children.

Na is my 8 year old daughter. She is quite dramatic and has been from the day she was born but parenting would be very boring with out her.

Bubs is my only boy and he is 5 years old. He missed the cutoff by 3 days so he is enjoying preschool this year. We don't mind though because it will give him an advantage later in life, especially with sports which, he loves.

LuLu just turned 4. She is definitely the most shy out of all my children. Around new people and new places she clams up but I'm glad I get to see the other side of her.

KMae is the baby, well she is not so much a baby anymore at 2years, but she is the baby of my family. She is at the wonderful stage of getting into everything.
We also have a cat named Tabby, and a beta fish named Freddie.

Lately you may have noticed my posts have been "stock" posts. This is because we have decided to tile our kitchen floor and my house is a little chaotic for the time being. My husband is doing all of the work himself when he is not working as a resident at the local hospital. I realize if we had paid someone to do it I would be inconvenienced for a weekend but since we are saving money, we are going on a week and a half now of having my fridge and kitchen table in my family room and my other appliances are in the garage. But, we are saving money by doing it ourselves and we are gaining the experience and know how of tiling. It should be faster the next time around.

If you are reading this post through your google reader account you may not see my top post about Penelope. Penelope is the niece of one of my dear friends who has been diagnosed recently with stage IV neuroblastoma. It has been a rough 4 weeks for her because she got RSV as well. I'm happy to say that she is off life support and she at home for a couple of days, with oxygen, until her next chemo treatments begin. Insurance is only covering 60% of her costs and the other 40% is adding up quickly. The family has set up a website,, where you can read about Penny and her progress as well as make donations to help treat Penny. To help spread the awareness of Penny's condition I'm holding a giveaway for a Scentsy warmer. So Please visit the top post on my blog and enter for your chance to win. The deadline is tomorrow.

Hope you all have a wonderful day and welcome to Spice and all That's Nice.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Distinguising Wants vs. Needs

It's the question I ask myself every time I go shopping. I pick up an item for purchase and then ask, "Do I need this item or do I just want this item". To help me answer I think through a couple of other questions.

Do I need this to live/survive?
Do I have something at home that can provide the same function?
Do I have to have it now or can it wait until later?
Why am I buying this item?
If replacing an item, can I fix the item I already have for cheaper than buying a new one?

I believe we all really know what our needs are but when there is a sale that is almost too good to be true it is sooooo hard to pass it up. I am guilty of compulsive buying when it comes to those good deals. So is my husband. Here is our most recent example. My husband has been wanting an air compressor for sometime now and every time he goes to a home improvement store he checks the prices to see if by some chance there is one we can afford. I don't know exactly why we "need" one but apparently we can sure use one around the house. Well, last week he was at a store and checked the prices and low and behold, one was on sale for 50% off the original price. It turns out the store had it priced wrong but he got the advertised price anyway. It was our luck. Now, did we really have the money for this purchase? No, we did not but the price will never be that low ever (we got it below wholesale). So, because the sale was so good we ended up making a purchase I feel we didn't really need to make. However, I have a very happy and excited husband.

Usually by asking myself the above questions and giving honest answers I save myself some money. The point I'm trying to make is, if you don't "need" it don't buy it. And, if it is something you can't use immediately there is no need in buying it. See how you can save money by distinguishing wants vs. needs.

How do you distinguish your wants from needs?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Date Night at Home

Having a weekly date night with your spouse is important for building and supporting your marriage. Sometimes it isn't always feasible to go out for a date due to finances. For many families the cost of a babysitter is more than the cost of the date itself. If money is tight for your family then plan a date where you stay at home. Either send the kids to a friends house or plan your date for after the kids are in bed.

Make it a special night, not like any other night at home. If you are going to have dinner then make it a candle light dinner and use the good china and silverware. Order in or make a meal that you don't normally make (because the kids don't like it.)

If you are going to watch a movie don't watch it in bed. You might have one or both of you fall asleep and that isn't much of a date. Select a movie that you can both agree upon. Get some great snacks. You can purchase theatre size candy at most dollar stores these days. The nice thing about watching a movie at home is you can really snuggle in and be close together and just enjoy the comfort of each other which isn't easy to do in the movie theatre.

There is no excuse for not having a weekly date night. Be creative and have fun.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


My oldest is only 8 years old except almost from day one I have felt like I have a teenager. Today she went to school sporting a necklace she made last night using alphabet beads. It is National Craft Month after all. The necklace reads "my mom hates me". It makes me laugh a little until I think...gosh, does she really think I hate her?
The reason she made it was because I sent her to her room during dinner time. This child is prone to melt downs and she was having a major one over something silly. Her face was red, her teeth were clenched, fists were balled into fists, and there was lots of yelling. So, I took her dinner away and sent her to her room to calm down. Eventually she calmed down and she came down and she ate her dinner.
So, this morning she was styled in her own creation. I tried to make sure she understood I don't hate her and that I will always love her no matter what. It is her choices I don't like but I will always love her.
I don't think my daughter is a tween yet so right now she is pre-tween and if this is a sign of things to come I better start bracing myself now and master the art of counting to 10 before I react.
Hopefully I can get a picture of the necklace later today.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Paid Surveys

I don't know about you but with the cost of living these days I'm finding it hard to meet everyday needs much less spend money on the fun stuff. I was on the Internet one day looking for ways to make money but still be able to stay at home with my kids. My search took me to Dr. Laura's website where she has articles and ideas for ways to make money at home. One click led to another and I found a website that you can pay a fee to and have access to all of the companies out there who either pay you cash or reward you points redeemable for merchandise. This website and others like it are the middlemen. They have done all of the work listing the survey companies so you don't have to do the search yourself. You can find all of the paid survey sites on your own but it takes time to find the legitimate ones. Beware of sites that promise you will make thousands of dollars because frankly, you can't. Getting paid to take surveys is not a way to make a good income but it can provide you with extra income. After reading all of the information at the middleman website I decided to give it a try, they had a 60 day money back guarantee if I didn't like it. I figured it was worth my time to pay the money instead of search for the sites. I did make back my initial investment within the first month so I'm going to let them keep my initial investment. This site also provided me with a list of all of the Mystery Shopping companies out there too.
If you want to give paid surveys a try, here are some tips to help you out.

  • Decide if you want to use a middleman to help you find the site. I used Survey Scout
    Check out the survey police to see a list of the best and worst survey sites and read what others have to say about them. I found another site later that actually has everything listed for free. Check out Volition.
  • Set up a separate email account to direct all survey related traffic to. Beware, signing up at the wrong sites will create a lot, I mean a lot of spam. These sites have listings for special offers and a lot of questions like, would you be interested in....... If you come across these survey sites and want to participate in their surveys but don't want the spam then click "no" to every offer.
  • Some survey sites pay you to participate in free trial offers for products and services and then take a survey about the product/service. These can pay well but beware that many of the services are free only for a limited time. Keep track of the name of the product/service, when you sign up, when you need to cancel by before getting charged, and how to cancel.
    Of the sites that pay cash, make sure to get payment in the form of a check or PayPal payment. Never give out your bank number for direct deposit.
  • Some sights have a minimum amount you need to achieve before you can cash out. Know what these minimums are.
  • Be aware that it can take up to 8 weeks to receive your payment once you "cash out."

If you have some time while the kiddos are napping or while you watch TV you might want to consider this as a way to make some "fun money".

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pennies 4 Penny Auction

Last week I told you about my friends niece Penelope who is battling stage 4 Neuroblastoma. She has also gotten RSV and is in the ICU. She is losing her battle with RSV and had to be placed on life support yesterday due to a collapsed lung. The family has insurance but it only covers 60% of the cost. They need help raising the funds for the 40% of the coverage they are responsible for. So, Rhea at mom23monkeys (the cousin of Pennelope's mom) has organized an online auction to be held starting today and running until 10 PM PST. Visit Pennies4penny to view the items up for auction and all of the instructions on how to bid.
This family needs our support and prayers during this time. I'm also doing a Scentsational giveaway to help spread the news. So, go here to help spread the news and be entered into my drawing for a Scentsy warmer.

Friday Follow Follower

I've decided to become a follower and join in on the Friday Follow bandwagon.
MckLinky Blog Hop

Can You Really Afford That?

I love this story. There are many times when there is something I want to buy but I have to stop and ask myself if it is something that I can afford. I might be able to afford the item right then and there but something else will need to be sacrificed later on. I would love to go on a cruise but, if I spend my money on the things I want right now I won't have the money to save for that cruise I want to go on with my husband. I don't know where I heard this quote or who said it originally but I think it applies....

"Don't give up what you want most for what you want now."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

When Silence equals Trouble

This adorable girl you see below is my #4. She celebrated her 2nd birthday this week. I bought the outfit she is wearing the day before. She looked so cute in it and it was perfect for the beautiful sunny day we had.
I was working on a blog post which I still haven't finished and noticed it was awfully quiet. You know when the kids are quiet there is trouble. I went to find her and this is what I found.
(the snot just adds to the yumminess of the picture right?)
She discovered someone had left Magic Shell on the table and she needed to have some. Yes, that is an entire bottle of it poured out onto her plate and all over her new outfit. I immediately placed it in cold water to try and rinse it out. Then I added liquid dish soap to try and remove the stain. I read somewhere that it would work. Well, the Kirkland brand got most of it out but not all of it. I haven't washed it in anything but cold water yet. Do any of you have any suggestions on removing chocolate stains from clothing?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Penny's Media Blitz Update

Just wanted to give a huge thank you to everyone who participated in Penny's media blitz on Friday as well as those who visited Penny' Her story was shared on the Channel 6 news in San Diego because of our efforts to spread the news. Penny has a treatable tumor and so she has a 95% chance of beating this cancer. It will be a long road so please continue to pray for Penny.
If you haven't had a chance and you would like to there is still time for you to enter my giveaway and help spread the word about Penny at the same time. Go here for more details.

Bistro Twist

You can use whatever filling for a Bistro Twist that you desire. I recommend Italian Chicken Filling (pictured in recipe below). No matter which filling you choose, here is how you make the bistro twist.

Bistro Twist

You will need 2 packages (11 ounces each) refrigerated French bread dough,your desired filling, and one lightly beaten egg white.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place bread dough, seam sides up, on smooth side of cutting board. Using a bread knife, slice each loaf lengthwise, end to end, cutting halfway through to center of loaf; spread open flat. Lightly sprinkle flour evenly over dough.

Using a roller, roll dough crosswise to a 4-inch width, creating a well down center of each loaf.

Spoon half of your desired filling down center of each loaf. Gather up edges over filling, pinching firmly to seal.

Place loaves, seam sides down, in an "X" pattern on a large pan/stone. Crisscross ends of dough to form a large figure "8," keeping ends of dough 1 inch from edge of pan/stone and leaving 1 1/2-inch openings in center of twist.

Combine egg white and seasoning mix; lightly brush over dough. cut a 3-inch slit in each of the top sections of the twist to reveal filling. Sprinkle remaining 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese over loaf. Bake 30-32 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes.
Yield :8 servings

Italian Chicken Filling

This recipe is so tasty. This filling can be used inside a Bistro twist or a crescent wreath.

Italian Chicken Filling

1 cup chopped cooked chicken
½ cup diced red bell pepper
¼ cup snipped fresh basil leaves
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
½ cup (2 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine chopped chicken, diced red bell pepper, snipped basil, ¼ cup of the parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, mayonnaise and pressed garlic in a bowl and mix well.

2. Now prepare your dough for a crescent wreath or bistro twist and fill the dough with filling.

3. Combine egg white and seasoning mix; lightly brush over dough. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese over the dough. Bake following the directions for the crescent wreath or Bistro Twist.
This is a finished Bistro Twist

Friday, March 12, 2010


Just thought I would pass on some info I received today via MyBlogSpark. General Mills has a community called Psst... where after you sign up you can have the opportunity to try recipes and products and share your opinions on them. Starting March 22nd, Pssst... is launching MyGetTogether which will allow you to host a get together, try new products and recipes with your friends. This looks like it will be fun. If this sounds like something you would be interested participating in go to Psst... and sign up now.

Penny's Media Blitz

See this adorable little girl. This is Penny and currently she is fighting for her life. She was diagnosed 3 weeks ago with stage 4 Neuroblastoma. She has partial paralysis due to a tumor that has been pressing on her spine. They have done surgery to remove a good portion of the tumor and they are hoping she regains movement. As if this weren't enough, she has also been diagnosed with RSV.

Today over at Pennies 4 Penny they are having a media blitz. They are asking people to post on their blogs, tweet, and Face book about Penny. Please go here to get more details on what you can do to help Pennies 4 Penny. They are also going to be having an auction soon to help raise funds. If you have an item you can donate please contact them. They also want people to attend the auction to bid on items. You can find more details on their site as well.
A couple of years ago my oldest was in the hospital for 4 days and had to have surgery. This happened to be the one month we did not have surgery and did not qualify for any aide. The medical bills were around $50,000 and that did not include the ENT's bill. He was gracious enough to not charge us for his services. Penelope's family has insurance but it only covers 60% of the costs. They are already starting to receive bills for services rendered. Their insurance also doesn't cover the medicine she is being treated with. This family shouldn't have to worry about how they are going to pay for everything. Right now they need to be with there sweet baby. Please, if you are able to donate to their cause. Any amount helps. Donate for the auction. If you can't do any of those, please just spread the word about Penny.

Don't forget I'm doing a giveaway for you bloggers who place Penny's button on your blog, blog about Penny, or place her widget on your blog. Please go here to get more details.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Good Cry

Today was one of those days where I just needed a good cry. I hold it together for so long and then eventually it all just pours out with no warning. The day started out good. The sunshine greeted me, the birds were singing. I was brave and took 3 of my kids with me to the mall. I haven't been to a mall in over a year but I had some pants I ordered online for #1 and they were too small so I needed to exchange them. Anyway, after a relatively easy trip to the mall we ventured to the book fair at the school. I let #2 and #3 each pick out something while I picked a book from the teacher wish list and a book for #1.
Lately #1 and I have been battling over books she reads. I want her to read age appropriate books (chapter books) and she wants to read board books and picture books. I know I should be happy she is reading but, I don't want her to fall behind either. So, when I was picking out a book for her I decided to get her 2. One book was slightly below her reading level but it was a Littlest Pet Shop book and she loves LPS. The other was a Barbie chapter book but it did have lots of pictures. I wrote a note that told her I loved her and I hope she was having a great day and slipped it into the books and left them on her desk for when she returned from lunch. I was happy that I did something nice for her and that I was going to be surprising her.
Well, she came in the house today and the first thing she said, in a very upset tone mind you, was "Mom, that Barbie book was not on my wish list. I didn't want that book." I was crushed. All I could think was "that ungrateful little brat." I started to cry right there in front of her. I told her I was sad that she didn't appreciate my gift and sent her upstairs because I was too sad to talk to her in that moment. This is not the first or the second time I have done something for this child as a surprise and have gotten this reaction. I'm not the only one she does this too either. Grandma brings her something grandma gets to hear about how it is not something she wants. I don't know why she behaves this way. She is not spoiled. She only gets gifts typically on her b-day and Christmas, that's it. She just can't handle surprises. So this experience already got me crying.
For the past month and a half my husband has been on a hard rotation at work. He leaves the house by 5 AM and hasn't been getting home until 7 PM or later. Then he comes home, eats dinner, and then goes to bed. I miss him, the kids miss him, and things just aren't the same. I've accepted that this is part of his job. Not like he can leave in the middle of a surgery. I get that but I still wish he were home more to help out with the kids. We have not been on a vacation since #1 was 18 months old. By vacation I mean a trip to anywhere that doesn't entail visiting family because of a wedding or other event. There are 2 reasons for this. 1. Time- residents do not get a lot of vacation time. 2. We are already living pay check to pay check so we can't save up for a trip. I just want a break from the routine. Well, when he came home tonight he informed me that he has been asked to go on a week long medical mission trip to Africa. It would be free for him to go. Oh wow! That would be amazing to go to Africa. Of course I want him to go. When else is he going to have another opportunity like this? But then, I think, sure, it is free for him but it will cost me. It will cost me a week with out him here. While he is gone to another country/continent seeing all sorts of new things, I'm left behind to hold down the fort. There have been so many times when I have wanted to go to conventions for various things but could not because I would have to arrange for care for the kids plus pay for all the travel expenses. Why is it he gets to go off and leave me behind? This will be the 3rd time he has left me for a medical mission trip. I know they are not all work. They get to play some. I guess the point I'm rambling on about and trying to get to is I'm jealous. I want a vacation. I'm overworked.
So, tonight I'm going to have a good cry. I'm going to eat some chocolate. I'm going to read Penelope's story and cry some more. But then I'm going to remember all the good things about today like the sweet kisses #4 gave me and the pictures #2 and #3 colored just for me. And, I will also remember the feeling I had when I was placing those books on my daughters desk. Love. I love my children and my husband. That is what allows me to hold things together as well as just cry.

Spring is in the Air

I love spring time. I love when the plants first push through the soil. It is a sign good things are coming.

I love when the blossoms first appear on the Peach tree. It is a sign the long winter is over.

My favorite thing about spring is the weather. It is not too humid and hot and not too cold. My kids will go out and play for hours making mud pies just like their mom used to do when she was their age.

If you come across any loose change while you are doing your spring cleaning please don't forget about Pennies 4 Penny. Don't forget to add her button to your blog. You could win something fabulous for doing so.

Mama's Losin' It

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


The only thing we have to fear is fear it'self - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."---- FDR - First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933
According to the Miriam Webster Dictionary Fear is defined as follows:

1 archaic : frighten
archaic : to feel fear in (oneself)
3 : to have a reverential awe of

4 : to be afraid of : expect with alarm intransitive
verb : to be afraid or apprehensive
— fear·er

Often, when people feel/have fear they let it hold them back but, when
they finally face their fear and overcome it they become stronger. They
have more knowledge and don't fear the same thing as much. I have definitely felt some apprehension and fear in myself over the last several months with a project I have been working on.

I learned to knit almost a year ago. I have completely become obsessed with it. Last fall Bernat decided to host a Mystery Afghan knit along and I decided to participate. I had been wanting to make an afghan for some time but couldn't find a pattern I liked or felt I could make with my limited knitting skills. When I came across the opportunity I figured it would be a great adventure. I quickly enlisted my friend in the journey as well. She lives 4 hours away and we figured this would be a great way for us to work on something together even with the distance between us.

The first several mystery patterns were pretty basic and easy. Then the stitches starting getting a little more complicated. Lace patterns were the first hurtle I had to face. Then it was cables. Then the patterns called for cables and bobbles. Bobbles, that was an adventure. When I first looked at what I thought would be a difficult pattern I would post pone working on it because I was "afraid" I wouldn't be able to do it. Eventually though I would pull it out and really study the pattern, read what others had to say about it, and give it a try. I had to frog many rows but eventually I figured it out and completed block after block.

Finally the last clue came, the border. I postponed doing the border almost a month because I feared it was going to be too much. Looking at the pictures that demonstrated what to do scared me. But, the time came to face my fear. I could no longer put it off because the contest deadline was fast approaching. I sat down and studied all the instructions. I figured I just had to give it a try. Well, after the first 2 stitches I realized the fear was all with in myself. It really wasn't hard at all and 2 days later I was done. I did it. I completed my first afghan, learned new skills, and my confidence in my ability to knit has grown.

While this knitting fear of mine seems small (I'm sure I've faced bigger fears) it was fear nonetheless that held me back from completing the task faster. To any of you with a fear, I challenge you to face it head on and see how much you have grown when you reach the other side.

Eleanor Roosevelt:
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tips for Roadtrips with Young Children

Spring break is coming up. I'm so excited to be able to sleep in every morning. My brother and his family are going to be driving 14 hours to spend their Spring break with us next week. They have decided to drive through the night so their kids sleep. That method does not work for my husband and I. We need our sleep.
Long car trips can be difficult if you are traveling with small children. I have 4 children 8 years old and younger and have experience with long road trips (14-24 hours) with my children. Here are a few of my suggestions when traveling with young children.
· Snacks: Pack plenty of snacks that are easily passed around and eaten in the car or plane. With pre-sliced apples and baby carrots, there is no need to just eat junk food either. You might want to purchase special treats that the kids have never had before. Make sure to pack paper towels and hand wipes.

· Eat meals at parks or places that have children’s play areas. Make sure you a lot time for the kids to run around and play. They need to get their energy out.

· Movies: I know something is lost when the trip is spent watching movies; seeing the scenery, enjoying the journey, fighting kids, questions like “are we there yet”. But, having a DVD player in the car or a personal DVD player can make the trip go faster for the kids. Plus when they ask “how much longer” you can put it in their terms “When Shrek is over” or “by the time you watch 2 more movies we’ll be there”.

· Music: Bring along music that your children like too. We love rocking to vegetales.

· Activities/games/toys: Search and find books are great for older children. Coloring books are also good and a clipboard provides a good hard surface for them to write on in their laps. Car bingo is also a fun one. I have a friend who buys little $1 toys and wraps them up and every couple of hours she gives the kids a toy to unwrap.

· Plan for the potty breaks. I have a daughter who refuses to use public bathrooms if there is any sort of smell or mess in them. As you can imagine it makes it hard to find a gas station with a clean enough restroom. So, I bring sanitizing wipes and maybe air freshener with me to make the bathroom acceptable to her. You could also pack a child’s portable potty with you too.

· If you have time, enjoy the journey. Stop at tourist places along the way and see what small towns and cities have to offer.

· Drive during your child’s sleep time. If you have a child who can sleep in the car then consider driving at night or during nap times. My sister has 6 children so she and her husband choose to drive through the night because there are fewer potty breaks, arguing, and traffic. I have tried this method and the kids do travel better but it was misery for my husband and I. We do not drink caffeine so it was hard for us to stay awake. However, if you are a good night driver it might be a good method for you.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Decoupage Clipboards

I love to do crafts and this one is so easy I thought I would share. It also makes a great teacher appreciation gift.

Get a Clipboard and make sure it is dust free.

Paint a base coat of paint on the clipboard if you are not covering the entire board. Keep in mind that most of the board will be covered so you only need to paint the portion that won't be.

Apply decorative paper, wallpaper, photos, etc. to the front of the board using a decoupage medium like Mod Podge. Use the edge of a popsicle stick to press against board to remove any air bubbles. Make sure it dries completely. Flip over Board and apply paper to back if you would like.

Once it has dried completely you can layer with more paper and embellish.

Once you have applied all the paper you wish then put a couple of layers of Mod Podge over the paper to seal it. Once it is completely dry you are finished. I like to tie ribbon to the metal clip to add a finishing touch.

Here is another board I completed. Sorry for the bad lighting.



Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Birds and the Bees

A difficult conversation.

For the last year I have been preparing myself for a conversation I will be having with my oldest child sometime in the not too distant future. I was in 3rd grade when I learned about the birds and the bees. I didn't learn from my parents or any of my 5 older siblings. I learned it at girls scouts. We had a meeting at one of the girl's house and there were a couple of Moms there and a nurse. I'm sure my parents gave permission for this to happen or I wouldn't have been there. I don't ever remember my mom having a conversation with me about sex other than it is for a husband and wife after they are married. Fortunately, by the time I was married (still a virgin) I'd had sex ed so many times and I picked up on conversations here and there by siblings and more experienced friends that I did not feel unprepared. But, looking back, I wish I could have talked to my mom more about "girl" things. Sure we talk a little about stuff today but it still feels a little awkward. It was just a different time and people didn't talk about those things.

We live in a time now where it seems you can't go a day with out hearing or seeing something related to sex. I don't want my daughter learning about these things from someone other than me. From the day she was born I have been preparing for this conversation by using the correct terms for anatomy. I think just saying the words is where most of the uncomfortableness comes from. I don't want to blush and I don't want her to either when I say penis or vagina. They are only parts of a body.

I'm not going to go into all the details of everything at this point. She is only 8 after all. But, I plan on teaching her about periods and why we have them. If she asks questions about other things I will answer them honestly. This will be a difficult conversation for me though. Not because of the subject matter per say but because it means my baby is growing up and I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet.

Mama's Losin' It

Cleaning Glass Cooktop Stoves

When it comes to stoves I prefer a glass cook top stove over and electric coil stove. I do not have much experience with the gas stoves so I can't compare the three. I find it so much easier to clean a glass cook top than a coil stove. Sure you can add tinfoil to the drip pans but how nice does that look? There are many cleaning substances for glass cook tops but I found one that I prefer the most, Bar Keepers Friend.
The other day my mother accidentally set a plastic lid on a hot burner and it melted. Aside from the horrible smell, it left behind melted plastic right on the burner. We removed as much plastic as we could while it was still soft but there was still a residue. Once the burner had cooled down I sprinkled a little Bar Keepers Friend onto a wet wash cloth and then rubbed the area. It came off in no time. It also works great for the food splatters and boil overs too. It's safe to use this cleaner on stainless steel, fiberglass, porcelain, tile, copper, and brass surfaces as well.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stages of Grief

If you haven’t already, you will experience the loss of a loved one. How you deal with this loss affects your life as well as those around you. By understanding the stages of grief you might better be able to cope with the loss or help others through their loss.

1. Shock and Denial- Because death usually comes suddenly you will be shocked with the news. You might be saying to yourself “I can’t believe it”. Denying the loss will provide temporary relief from the pain.

2. Pain and Guilt- When the initial shock wears off you will feel the pain of your loss. It’s okay to let yourself cry. Let it all out and feel it fully. Hiding it and holding it in will only prolong your recovery and your pain. It can lead to dangerous habits of drug and alcohol abuse too. During this stage you might also feel guilt over the things you didn’t do or things you did and wish you could change. Let it go. You can’t change the past; you can only look forward to the future.

3. Anger- This emotion often brings us out of the pain and guilt phase. It’s hard to feel anything else if you are angry. You may blame others or yourself for the death.

4. Depression- as the anger settles you may realize how great a loss you have suffered. This may lead to isolation. You will remember all that you had together. Although this is a normal stage of grief, if you find you or another loved one remain in this stage for a prolonged amount of time, you may need medical help to overcome the depression. How long someone remains in this stage varies. Use your best judgment.

5. Reconciliation and hope- As you accept the loss you can slowly begin to gain balance in your life. Your depression will lift and you can begin to look to the future. You begin to make new plans. You realize you can move on and live and you do.
Whenever I find myself struggling I just remind myself of something my mother used to tell me, “this too shall pass.”

Monday, March 1, 2010

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

My sister passed this recipe onto me. I'm sure there might be some other recipes that might be a little faster but this really is so flavorful and easy to make. It is semi made from scratch too which is always nice. It's a meal you'll be proud to make.

Chicken Pot Pie
1/3 C. butter or margarine
¼ C. chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp pepper
1/3 C. Flour
1 Can Chicken Broth
2/3 C. milk
16 oz bag of frozen mixed veggies
2 C. shredded cooked chicken
2 refrigerated pie crust rolls
Preheat oven to pie crust directions. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat and sauté onion until tender. Add flour, salt, pepper and stir until bubbly. Add one can chicken broth whisk together well then add milk. Bring to a rolling boil stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and add chicken and vegetables.
Place one pie crust in bottom of pie pan then fill with pie filling.

Place other crust on top and seal the edges. Cut 3 slits in the top and bake until crust is golden brown.

One day I was out of chicken but had some leftover ham. I used that instead of the chicken and my family actually prefers Ham Pot Pies now.