Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best winter appetizer ever!

I made these penguins for a party recently. Aren't they the cutest? They also taste great!

Olive Penguins
1 can of large olives
1 can of small olives
8oz. cream cheese
1-2 tablespoons of horseradish sauce
salt and pepper to taste
a few large carrots

Cut a slit in each of the large olives. Cut a carrot into slices, then cut a wedge out of each slice to make "feet". Cut small wedges for beaks and push one into each small olive for heads. Mix cream cheese, horseradish, salt, and pepper. Pipe or spoon into each large olive. To assemble, carrot feet on bottom, large cheese filled olive next, then the head; using a toothpick stab through olives into carrot feet to hold it together. This recipe makes about 4 dozen penguins. You can also add an optional pimento scarf if you get a jar of sliced pimentos. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Shout Outs

This is the "You know you're a parent when..." edition of Sunday shout outs. Since I only have little ones right now, they all pertain to small children :)

You know you're a parent when: quote or sing the songs on Curious George, Veggie Tales, or any Disney movie on a regular basis. of the best gifts your spouse gave you was letting you sleep in without interruption the day after Christmas. wear nothing but "machine washable" clothing and are SO excited if you can make it through the morning without changing. get used to eating cold food. (This might be just a mom thing though)

(another mom one)...purse = diaper bag've begun mastering the art of keeping a straight face when you really want to laugh. have friends (with kids) over and spend the entire time discussing sleeping/potty training/discipline/etc. have ever picked a pacifier up off the floor and stuck it in your own mouth before sticking it back into your child's mouth.

My mom came up with a few more, but I am feeding a baby and typing with one hand so I will post those later. Can you think of any to add?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another Neat Giveaway

Tis the season to be giving!
I Never Grew Up is doing a cool giveaway at her blog for a Flip Ultra Video Camcorder!
Check it out HERE.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Really cool giveaway for MOMS

Since I have an abundance of testosterone at my house and no other girls, I try to be as feminine as possible as often as possible. However, being a MOM of boys, I don't usually get a lot of time to myself to do the fun feminine things I like to do (paint my nails, take a bubble bath, fix my hair, etc.)
With this in mind, the Simple Mom is doing a giveaway over at her blog for a Pampering Mom kit. It looks FANTASTIC!

The busyness of the holidays

I think that is the theme of this year. Everyone I have talked to and every blog I have read are all lamenting how busy they are or giving tips for how to deal with a busy holiday season. I've heard lots of people commenting on how family is most important and how they are limiting their activities, decorating, parties, gifts, etc. I have had a busy December as well, but I know it's because I chose to do a lot this year. I chose to make cookies with Will every day for a week. I chose to have a party with lots of my friends. I chose to make my DH a couple gifts. I chose to make my sister's gift. I chose to make one of Will's gifts. I chose the busyness of the holiday season. Yes, it's a lot of work for me. But Christmas isn't about me. It's about giving to others in remembrance of Christ coming to earth to give His life for us. So while I am busy this Christmas, I am not stressed out. I chose to be busy so I can give as much as I possibly can to those I love.
Sometimes, busy is good :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Shout Outs

This is the homemade-food-gifts edition of Sunday shout outs. This past summer I found a whole box of brand new mason jars that I am going to fill with different mixes for gifts...hopefully. If I ever get myself together enough :s
I also saw a great idea in this month's Family Fun magazine.

Cowboy Cookie Mix Looks yummy!

I LOVE this cutting board idea & the individual slices idea!

Ideas from BlogHer. I liked the idea of pet treats!

What is the most unusual food-themed gift you have ever received?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bean Bag Buddies

I like making homemade Christmas gifts whenever I can. I think they are more personal and meaningful. To put time and energy into some one's gift is to tell them that they are important to you. With that in mind, I present to you Bean Bag Buddies by Nicki Wheeler. This book includes patterns and instructions to make lots of various professional looking beanie babies. I have made the duck, monkey, bear, bat, and koala so far. The book also includes patterns for a snowman, reindeer, space alien, cat, dragon, rhino, horse, dog, and pretty much any other animal you can think of. Right now I am working on the cow for Will's stocking.

I am impressed by the clarity of the instructions and the simplicity of the sewing skill needed to accomplish these patterns. It did take a little time for me to trace the patterns at the beginning, but I could have easily photocopied them and spared myself some work :) I also enjoyed how I could use pretty much ANY material and get fabulous results. The cow I am working on now is made out of some polyester that I had. Plus, since you only need a little bit of material, you can make these animals quite inexpensively!
The one difficulty I did have was in finding safety eyes. I ended up searching google for them and buying them online. If you were making these for older kids, you could just use buttons, but since my target audience is under 2 it was worth the extra work for me :)
I also didn't exactly make them BEAN bags - I just used stuffing because I wanted to be able to throw them in the wash when they get sucked on.
Overall - GREAT book with easy adorable animals!
Want to find the cheapest price on this book?

"A day that will live in infamy"

But not only because of Pearl is my dad's birthday too!

Happy Birthday Dad!!!

Sunday Shout Outs

This is the baking-cookies-like-crazy edition of Sunday shout outs.
Three guesses what my plans are for the week :)
I love having cookies made to take to events, give as gifts, or just snack on with a warm drink.
Here are the cookies I am planning on making/have already made this year:

Chocolate Meringue Stars I made these for two parties last week. I had never made meringue cookies before, but they were easy and turned out great! (Notice that several are missing already)

Easy Chocolate Caramel Cookies I found an easier version of this recipe that uses a chocolate cake mix, 1 egg, 1/4 cup water, & 3 tablespoons of oil in place of the chocolate cookie dough.

Christmas Sandwich Cremes (My DH picked these out :)

Peanut Butter Cutout Cookies These are for a cookie decorating party I am doing with my neighbors & bible study ladies :)

If I feel the need to make more cookies after that (or if we eat all these before Christmas!) these are my second string:

Eggnog Snickerdoodles

Cookie Dough Truffles Awesome, awesome, awesome tasting! I eat WAY too many of these when I make them, that's why they are second string :)

What is your favorite cookie that makes Christmas sweeter?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm Back!

Whew! Traveling with two small children is more work than I even imagined it! I now fully appreciate all the work that my mom did when we travelled when I was a kid. (Thanks Mom - you are amazing!) We had a fun trip (although I slept less than I ever have for any other vacation) and got lots of great pics. It snowed 10 inches while we were there. My DH and I both decided we are now tired of travelling for a while and ready to be home :)

My grandmother's house after the snow

My Nana and her great-grandson

My photogenic little boy

Evan and his daddy chilling together

Will playing in the snow for the first time

More snow pics

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Young and Hip Messenger Bag

Okay, okay I know I should be sleeping. But I was catching up on the blogs I read and this giveaway caught my eye.
This is such a CUTE messenger bag!


Wow! I thought spontaneity was a thing of the past with two small boys, but (hurray) it's not!
My DH and I decided yesterday that we are packing up and going to MI to visit my grandmother for the weekend. I will be back on Wednesday.
So - no Sunday shout outs for this week because my grandmother has dial-up (shutter).
Snow, fun, and family here I come :) :) :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Shout Out

The Sunday shout out for this week is the I-can't-wait-until-Thanksgiving edition. Here are the cool crafts/recipes that I am planning on making this year:

Cereal Box Turkeys - What a fun and EASY decoration!

Easy Acorn Cookies - Anyone know where you can get mini nilla wafers?

Tired Supergirl's is doing a 10 days of Thanksgiving giveaway - pretty sweet!

Next week will be the decorating-my-house-for-Christmas edition. Don't miss it!
I love holidays :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Are you Martha or Maxine?

A friend of mine recently forwarded this to me in an email. My first thought was that it was going to be some Martha/Mary spinoff from the Bible, but it's not.
It IS pretty funny though :)

Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of an ice cream cone to prevent ice cream drips.

Just suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone, for Pete's sake! You are probably lying on the couch with your feet up eating it, anyway!

To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

Buy Hungry Jack mashed potato mix. Keeps in the pantry for up to a year.

When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won't be any white mess on the outside of the cake.

Go to the bakery! They'll even decorate it for you!

If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it's still cooking, drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the excess salt for an instant 'fix-me-up.'

If you over-salt a dish while you are cooking, that's too bad. Please recite with me the real woman's motto: 'I made it, you will eat it and I don't care how bad it tastes!'

Brush some beaten egg white over pie crust before baking to yield a beautiful glossy finish.

The Mrs. Smith frozen pie directions do not include brushing egg whites over the crust, so I don't.

Cure for headaches: take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.

Take a lime, mix it with tequila, chill and drink! All your pains go away!

Cleaning and Coffee

Today I am joining in (late) with the crowd over at Blissfully Domestic. This is such a fun site with channels like photo bliss (you should check it out sister-of-mine), homeschool bliss, healthy bliss, blissful kids, frugal bliss, and family bliss - and that's just a few of them!!!
I am blissfully domestic today because I am cleaning my kitchen this morning. I greatly dislike cleaning my kitchen. I love having a clean kitchen; I just don't like the work it takes to get there.
So, to make cleaning my kitchen more fun for myself, I turned on some upbeat, happy music and made myself a cup of General International Foods pumpkin spice latte coffee. Yum. Even cleaning isn't so bad when the ambiance is right :)
What do YOU do to make your "chores" more fun?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Shout Outs

This week's Sunday shout out is Card Avenue.
A lot of people have gift certificates/giftcards lying around. This website allows you to trade those cards for ones you will actually use.
Pretty neat stuff. I have traded twice already on this website - once for Regal Cinemas gift cards and once for ITunes gift cards.
If you have any gift cards you don't want, try it out!
(Only-sister-of-mine ~ this post is for you! Hint, hint!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Praying Specifically for the Impossible

"And looking at them Jesus said to them, 'With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" ~ Matthew 19:26 (emphasis added)
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this phrase. I even have a picture hanging in my hallway that says it!
But it occurred to me the other day in my prayer time: I don't pray for the impossible. As I think back over my past prayers I realized that I pray for things that I think God can handle easily.
I started brainstorming over why that's the case and I think it's a pretty simple reason. My view of God is sometimes too small.
So I am inviting you to join me as I challenge myself to begin praying for the impossible. Personally, that means I am now praying for Barack Obama's salvation and a revival to sweep America. That the world will see us as a Christian nation not just in name, but in reality. To me, that seems completely and utterly impossible. But I know that God CAN do anything. That doesn't mean that He will, but He can. And I shouldn't limit God with my prayers.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Shout Outs

This week's Sunday shout out is thanks to my sister-in-law who alerted me to the coolest way to watch my favorite tv shows/movies.


I've been following the show "Kitchen Nightmares" with Gordon Ramsey, but it goes until 10pm and that's kind of late for my household. Thanks to hulu, I can watch it on my laptop snuggled in bed with my DH. That rocks!

There are also old classics that my husband used to watch as a kid - makes for fun date nights!

Plus, hulu has some full-length movies on its site. And it's totally free! There are limited commercial breaks, but WAY better than if you were watching on tv.
Check it out! Your favorite show just might be on there too...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Way Cool Giveaway over at Simple Mom

Wow! Check it out! Simple mom is giving away a totally awesome looking printer HERE.

You DEFINITELY want to check this one out!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Shout Outs

Today's Sunday shout out is about computer games. Because who doesn't like games?

BigIdeaFun - This is a great website to calm kids down in the ten minutes or so before naptime :) Play games from all the Veggie Tales movies plus Jonah and 321 Penguins. Loads of fun!

Zoo Tycoon, Various Downloadable Demos - I am a big fan of zoo tycoon. Unfortunately, the full version is super slow on my computer and usually freezes up, so I content myself with the half dozen or so demos from the makers of zoo tycoon.

Windows Best of Entertainment Package - This is OLD school Microsoft, which means crummy graphics and virtually no bugs. These are all the games my siblings and I used to play on our family's first computer. Classics like Tetris, Jezzball, and Chip's Challenge. Microsoft no longer makes this package, but you can go to the link and download it for free :) It works great!

(Picture Credit)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Accidental Detectives Mysteries

This is one of my favorite mystery series of all time. First published in the early 90s, by Sigmund Brouwer, The Accidental Detectives series actually appeals to both boys and girls. I knew they had gone out of print and was delighted to discover that they are back in print now with three new books! My little brothers are just about the right age to start reading them (about 8) and I know they will be as crazy about them as I am.
The plots are solidly written. They are not like some kid’s series that are basically the same book over and over with a different cover – no – these books keep you guessing from page one.
They’re not boring either. I started reading “Race for the Park Street Treasure” out loud to my DH and he didn’t want me to stop! The vocabulary is perfect for the middle school age group, the chapters are fairly short, and the action is so fast you don’t have time to lose interest.
One of the best aspects of this series is the humor. I could barely finish reading to my DH because we were both laughing so hard. The ideas the kids come up with are AWESOME. My personal favorite is the wheelbarrow watermelon slingshot. (See which book I was reading above for that one.)
The characters are so well rounded I suspect they are based on real people. Ricky Kidd is the main character/narrator of the books. His friends Mike Andrews, Ralphy Zee, and Lisa Higgins nearly always are in on any and all action that goes on. Ricky’s younger brother, Joel, also plays a starring role in many of the books.
While not overtly Christian, this series definitely comes from a Christian mindset and Ricky usually learns some kind of lesson in each book. I learned a lot more from this subtler approach when I was a kid than I did from more “preachy” books. "My hope is that the characters in my novels will live real lives beyond the walls of traditional church and allow my fiction to give voice to truth." – Sigmund Brouwer
I am SO glad these books are being republished. Then I can get my boys their own set :)

Books in the republished series:
1. The Volcano of Doom
2. The Disappearing Jewel of Madagascar
3. Legend of the Gilded Saber
4. Tyrant of the Badlands
5. Shroud of the Lion
6. Creature of the Mists
7. The Mystery Tribe of Camp Blackeagle
8. Madness at Moonshiner's Bay
9. Race for the Park Street Treasure
10. Terror on Kamikaze Run
11. Lost Beneath Manhattan
12. The Missing Map of Pirate's Haven
13. The Downtown Desperadoes
14. Sunrise at the Mayan Temple
15. Phantom Outlaw at Wolf Creek
16. Short Cuts

Read the 1st chapter of each of the books in this series on Sigmund Brouwer's website HERE. (But be warned: you will want to read the rest of the book and be completely hooked for life!)

Thursday, October 30, 2008


So, remember a couple of weeks ago when I got all that medicine for cold season?
Well, now I have a nasty cold & I can't take any of it! Grrrrr. Tylenol, hot tea, and occasional naps are my weapons of necessity. That and ignoring it so I can go about the normal life of a mom. Bleck. I dislike being sick. But now you know why I haven't posted a whole lot this week.

Wow. I must be sick. My grammar in this post sucks!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Shout Outs

Today's Sunday Shout Outs are going to be about food. Because right now I am getting hungry :)

Taste Of Home - This is my #1 resource to go to when I need a recipe for something. I especially like it when I have a few ingredients I need to use because you can search for recipes by ingredients. I have never had a bad-tasting recipe from this site & since I have used over 100 recipes from here that is saying a lot!

The Thrifty Food Plan Challenge - This is an article from the website "Get Rich Slowly". I found it quite interesting and challenging to look at my food budget and see how much I could whittle it down and also how much other people spend on food.

Since it is getting cold outside, I am using my crockpot again about once a week. The Hillbilly Housewife blog has some great looking crockpot recipes HERE. I am hoping to try out a bunch of them this winter. Until then, my all-time favorite crockpot recipe is a lasagna recipe from my Aunt Pam :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I am getting tired of clothes.

This week is the clothing exchange at church and I have been there every day. While I have found some nice stuff for every person in my family, I am tired of washing clothes, folding clothes, putting away clothes, and doing it all over again.

Interestingly enough, clothing was one of the things mentioned in the devotional a good friend of mine recently gave at Evan's baby shower. I have thought of her words a LOT this week.

Here is what she said:

Proverbs 31:25, "She is clothed with strength and dignity, she can laugh at the days to come."

"So much of our lives as moms revolves around clothing - mending, purchasing, cleaning, storing, growing out of, growing into, clothing exchanges - the list goes on and on. But you can laugh at the days to come if you'll only keep in focus that the things to "put on" aren't measured by size or neatness or matching print or designer label. Choose strength and dignity. They'll always be in fashion."

So as I go to switch the laundry (again) and fold yet another load of clothes I can laugh and be thankful that my children have lots of great condition clothing to wear this winter. I am thankful that I found a pair of jeans that fit (even if they are two sizes larger than I want to be). I am thankful for all the clothes I was able to bless others with. And I am thankful for my friend and the reminder of what is really important.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Shout Outs

This week our Sunday shout outs all revolve around romance <3.
The Marriage Bed - this is my all-time favorite website to go to for ideas for our marriage! I love in particular how they really encourage you to check everything you read against Scripture. Great articles from a Christian perspective about all kinds of marriage related topics. It's got EVERYTHING in the forums - from discussions of the best places to get lingerie to easy date nights at home after your kids go to bed to well, stuff directly related to bed. Plus, you can sign up for "the generous wife" or "generous husband" tips. They are daily and really good! I would definitely recommend this site to any engaged/married couple looking for Christian advice/ideas on marriage!!!!

Family Life - Not nearly as good as the marriage bed, but still a solid, Christian website with great ideas for marriages. We enjoy their "Simply Romantic Tips".

Book22 - A Christian, no nudity site with intimacy enhances for married couples.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Recent Picture

Sometimes it takes 15-20 minutes, 100+ pictures, and holding the toddler still while taking the shot, but it's worth it to get such a cute picture of my sweet boys :)
(Will - 20 months & Evan - 2 months)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Here is the info about this deal over at MoneySavingMom.

I went to Rite Aid yesterday and got:
1 Little Cold' n Cough
1 Children's Throat Cooler Pops
1 Theraflu Warming Rub
1 Triaminic Daytime Cold & Cough Syrup
1 Children's Advil
1 Chloraseptic Lozenges
1 Comtrex Day/Night Cold Capsules
1 Sucrets Complete Lozenges (the Sucrets had a 1.50 rebate form attached to them)
1 Mentholatum Cherry Chest Rub
1 2 pk. of Softlips Raspberry chapstick
1 Lypsyl Honey Rose chapstick

Total spent after rebates - Rite Aid paid me $1.00 to take all of that medicine out of the store :)


Cold/Flu/Sick season, bring it on - I'm ready for you!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Shout Outs

For this week's Sunday shout outs, I thought I would give you three of the blogs that I follow on a regular basis and my reasons for doing so: - Great site for a head's up on all kinds of freebies and deals. Crystal Paine shares all her tips on coupons, groceries, and saving more in general. If you have never seen this site, you should definitely check it out! - This site has comprehensible articles on financial topics. I like it because it has practical ideas for saving money and budgeting. I also like the straight-talk approach in the articles about our current economy. - This is a rather smallish blog of a few women who try out and review different beauty products. I like it because I always like to read reviews of stuff before I try it and I like the positive attitude of the blog.

As I looked through the blogs I follow in an attempt to pick out three for this list, I realized that I don't really have any blogs on parenting. Do you know of a good blog about parenting?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

10 of Will's Favorite Books

Will LOVES it when I read books to him! Here are 10 of his favorites in no particular order:

1. Spot's Big Book of Words by Eric Hill - Will likes to look for the monkey on each page & name the objects he knows.

2. My Little People Farm, a lift-the-flap playbook - Will practices all his animal sounds when he looks at this book. He loves to lift the flaps ALL BY HIMSELF!

3. Babybug Magazine - I love how the publishers of Ladybug created this simpler version of their magazine for little ones. Will loves the stories and abundance of pictures!

4. Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer - Will loves to look for the mouse in Mercer Mayer's books.

5. Carl's Summer Vacation by Alexandra Day - Gorgeous pictures & always a fun story. Will loves dogs and babies so this is definitely a favorite.

6. Do You Want To Be My Friend? by Eric Carle - This is another book we practice animal sounds to.

7. DK Touch and Feel Tractors - Will loves all of the touch and feel books, but ever since he and his daddy started mowing the grass on the tractor together, this is his favorite.

8. Doggies by Sandra Boynton - I love all the Sandra Boynton books 'cause they are such fun to read! This is a great book to practice all kinds of fun doggie sounds :)

9. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Helen Oxenbury - Another classic author/illustrator, Helen Oxenbury draws really cute babies. Will loves to look at her pictures.

10. Richard Scarry's Chipmunk's ABC - This book was published in 1963. In fact, my family has a video of my dad reading this to my younger brother! It's a classic, fun book and Will loves it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Shout Outs - This website is SO great for ideas for birthday cakes! Plus, they are by real people so they are possible to do :)

Wellness360 - I like how this site has a nutrition/fitness tracker so I can keep track of what I eat in my feeble attempts to lose weight leftover from Evan. Plus, they pay you! How cool is that? - This is a site that pays you for your attention. Really. I have been a member now for 3 days & I 've spent about 30 minutes on their website twice. How much have I made? So far: $5. Not a full-time income, but hey, not half bad either! They also don't have a minimum amount you have to make before they mail you a check - every Friday they transfer your earnings to your paypal account. Very cool & well-worth checking out!!!!