Thursday, October 27, 2011

A crazy day that yielded painted bathrooms, bath cabinets and a deep appreciation for friendships.

With 4 kids plus the one I babysit 3 days a week it can be tricky at best to get some time to complete home projects.  So my WONDERFUL friends and mom decided to help me out!  One friend suggested the whole thing AND took all my kids ALL day so we could paint (THANKS VANESSA!!), and my mom plus another dear friend set aside the day to paint with me.  They have been watching the painfully slow process.

We completed a corner of the kitchen that has been sitting half painted FOREVER (since May?) that was behind the refrigerator, our main bathroom PLUS painting the linen cabinet and vanity with thier first few coates of white, AND our master bathroom (read tiny closet with shower and facilities)!! All before dinner! I fell like I have 2 new bathrooms now.  
It was a little crazy trying to get all the kids out the door this morning by 8.  My husband has been gone on a job out of town since Monday so I had set the kids breakfast (raw oats, raisins, coconut, and walnuts) out for them so that my 7 year old son (Pierce) could just add the soy milk for everyone.  That let me sleep in a little and by the time everyone had jumped in bed to cuddle for a few minutes I ended up not getting out of bed till 7:30!  So that left 30 minutes to dress, and groom 4 kids plus myself as well as get the necessary pack and play,beloved  blankets for Bella and Cruz, any necessary toys and diapers and wipes packed!    Then I realized that with all the new snow we needed a full set of snow pants, gloves, hats, boots and jackets for everyone.  That took a while since we are still digging them out of the basement. Needless to say after all the stress I found my self apologizing again to the kids for being irritated and short with them while trying to get everyone out the door. They are always so gracious and quick to forgive me when I blow it.  They are so precious to me!

 I also had to plan to get Dahlia to preschool by 9.  So my intended 8'O clock start turned into being early for preschool instead.  Hey sometimes being late for one thing makes you early for something else!   It still gave us a great amount of time to get some work done.  I ended up taking my friends son for the afternoon and being reminded by Pierce, my son, at 15 minutes till six that although I was still in my painting clothes (pajama pants and a t shirt) and in the middle of making a tomato pumpkin bisque for dinner that we had kids club at the church at six!  I scrambled to change my clothes, make peanut butter sandwiches for everyone (dinner wasn't finished and they would get home too late for it), throw hats, jackets and boots on everyone to get them out the door (my oldest Pierce is always a big help there) and make it only a few minutes late.  I returned home to finish making my soup, get the babies ready for bed (well, ages 1 and 2 aren't really babies, but that is how we classify them), and start to clean up the kitchen when the kids came home from kids club. What a blessing my friend offered to drop them all off so I wouldn't have to go and pick them up at the babies bed time.  Thank you Lord for that!  So we started another round of snacks, jammies, teeth brushing, prayers and good night kisses.  My oldest ended up getting to stay up a bit later than normal to help me with the dishes because I was so behind.  He enjoyed the one on one time and I enjoyed his company and the help!  Finally some time around 8:30 tonight the kids breakfast for tomorrow was finally set out, dishes were done and I was dipping into my delicious soup and toast with pumpkin butter.  Ahhh.. Now here I am.

What a blessing these types of friendships are.  As moms we need other moms. Sometimes it is so easy to get  in our little bubble of home and homeschool and all that that requires of us that we forget to reach out and call or spend time with friends.  Our friends need us,and we need them.  I was just wondering over my late night bowl of soup  why for such a busy and chaotic day I was not totally exhausted and then I realized it was obviously because of all the help I had had.  Carrying the load together makes it all so much lighter.   Thank you friends!  I hope to be the same kind of friend in return.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The torturer and the tortured! HILARIOUS!

This is not a picture of any literal child at my house.  It is a hilarious photo I found on Pinterest..

However if the baby on the left was a little 2 year old chocolate baby girl and the baby on the right was a white little one year old baby of the family...
Bella "You want your blanket and I am sitting on it so you can't get it. I find that hilarious!"  I see this scenario all the time at my house.  The torturer and the tortured!

Tutorial Tuesday- create your own logo, and use it to make sew in labels!

You guys probably remember that I just posted a tutorial on how to print on fabric .  I was trying it out myself and figured out a GREAT way to make your own sew in tags for all your sewing projects.  Making tags or labels adds that extra oomph to your projects whether you sell them or just make them for friends.  The first thing you  need to do is go to Screenshots of Picnik
picnik a free photo editing website to create your logo.   You need to start with a blank image you save as a jpeg file.  I have loaded one below so you can save it in your pictures.
It looks blank above but if you right click you can save this blank photo to work with in  picnik

 Then upload the blank image you have saved in your photos into picnik to edit.  Here is the logo I created 

To create this in picnik I opened my blank photo then clicked on the button that says "text" and created the words I wanted in the font and size I wanted.  From there I clicked on the button marked "stickers" and chose a sticker in the color and size I wanted. That gave me the orange deisgn in the background.  I had to click on the design and choose the option to "send to back" to put it behind the words.  Next I added the small black design by choosing the same sticker but I chose to leave it black and put it in front of the background sticker.  Then I saved it to my computer and that was it.  

Now that you have your logo you will want to print it onto fabric to make sew in tags.  So here is a refresher on how to print DIRECTLY onto fabric.

The first thing you have to do is iron your piece freezer paper waxy side down (cut to the exact measurements of a piece of printer paper) to your fabric of choice for your labels.  You can use linen, knit like t shirt material, anything that is of a normal thickness.
Now use your rotary cutter and mat to trim this to match the ironed on wax paper.  Insert this into your printer where you regularly feed paper.

Now get on the computer and select your image in windows photo gallery and choose print.  It will automatically give you the option to print it different sizes on the page.  I choose wallet which has 9 to a page.  Where it says choose number of photos to print choose 9 till it shows 9 to a page.
PAY ATTENTION this next part is critical to avoiding a jam!  When you set up your printer options for printing your labels select TRANSPARENCIES where you select type of paper.  Do not leave it at normal!
Now that your material that is ironed to your freezer paper is loaded into your printer and the correct setting have been selected (see above) you get to print!

You can see it coming out of my printer right on the material!
Just trim them with your rotary cutter and mats so that you get perfectly even cuts.
Peel the backing off the individual labels and they are ready to use!  Now you can sew them onto your products.  In this case I sewed them onto a sling I made for a friend.  If you are not using knit or a non fraying material you will need to use a product called Fray Check on all the edges, or fold the edges under before you sew it down.
That is it!  You how have your very own logo, and labels!  Let me know if you have any questions.  I would love to see what you come up with.  Good luck!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

More on homeschool with new links!

I have heard from several friends on facebook lately looking into homeschool and looking for a good curriculum as well as free or cheap ideas online.  There is so much out there and I have already shared a ton of my favorite homeschool links, scheduling ideas and more so if you haven't already read those you can find them all here.

For anyone wondering what curriculum we are using this year we are doing part of it with an online public school program called COVA here in Colorado that uses the K12 curriculum.  We chose to do math (we like the online games and videos with cartoon instruction that really seems to work well), science and history both of which include fun videos.  We did the whole program the first year and found it WAY too involved for first grade.  We were spending HOURS and HOURS (they wanted 6 plus hours a day for one on one instruction) going over some material that was not necessary.  One of his first history lessons was all about Mesopotamia and the fertile crescent and soon after he was required to have memorized all the Greek gods and goddesses by heart (Poseidon, Hercules, Athena, etc..).  Interesting but a bit intense for first grade.  The art and music were also overboard.  We didn't get to do as much art as learn about all the masters and ancient civilizations art.  I was looking for a more relaxed and enjoyable as well as doable program that has its heart and core focused on Jesus where ever it could.

 After checking out My Father's World first hand with friends doing it I am convinced that is the direction I will go next year while keeping the COVA (k12) online math and Spanish.  My Father's World is a Charlotte Mason style curriculum that is so Christ centered.  A lot of the reading materials are missionary stories, there are Bible stories incorporated and teaching your children godly values is a key part of the curriculum..Academically it seems very rich as well.  I also supplement with a number of online resources such as journaling prompts, game ideas, online learning games, worksheets and videos from Kahn academy.

Khan Academy is an AMAZING resource for adding to your child's learning through instructional videos that have been created for math, science, history, finance and other difficult to grasp subjects in a way that breaks key components down.  This way your child can grow beyond the curriculum as well.  You simply start at whatever level you think you are at and continue through the videos till you have mastered all the lessons (think advanced college level calculus and physics).  Check it out it is really worth adding to your repertoire.

We love doing our sign language lessons with Life Print. Free laid out lessons with videos of each sign.  Very easy to add to your weekly homeschool routine.

For a fun story hour you can use these links

Barnes and Noble story time This one includes all the illustrations from the book in a fun to watch and listen presentation. My kids love it!

Children Story Time

Story Time for me

To just listen with out any visual there a lot of radio broadcast stories. These can often be downloaded on mp3 players and listened to at night as a podcast.  Some are free to download and some are only free to listen to.

Your Story Hour has FREE podcasts of TONS of stories told by "Aunt Carol and Uncle Dan" or you can "listen online" as well.  My kids love to listen to these on trips or as they are falling asleep. This website also offers a GREAT kids Bible learning program called Adventures in the Holy Bible that has a lesson, quiz (online) and rewards you with FREE Cds of dramatized Bible stories as you pass the quizzes one lesson at a time.  They are awesome as we have won some through the program.  I like to use this as a part of my Bible class for the kids.

Paws and Tales My kids listen to this almost every night along with Aunt Carol and Uncle Dans story hour posted in the Your Story Hour link.  Fun characters  and stories that teach valuable lessons.  You can download the podcasts for FREE and there are oodles of them (yes I just said OODLES).

Dan and Louie an all time FAVORITE of mine is a ventriloquist and his "dummie" that tell Bible stories like you have never heard with great questions and answers mixed in by the dummie in a laugh out loud way.  We listen before bed on the computer because I don't have the cash to buy all the stories yet.  I do hope to though as there are 107 stories. You can listen to a limited selection of stories free here at Bible voice.

For great FREE books to download and read or listen to online or on your tablet or smart phone check out these resources.

Maria Lectrix - Huge selection

librivox A great resouce.

Biblesnet has the Bible you can downlad as well as other christian literature to download free.

Free E books has free e books and magazines.  A HUGE selection

Read any book online Another great place to get access to free books.

Check your local library as now there are links they have that you can enter for free with your library card to get books to download for a specific amount of time.  You can get audio books and music as well!

Hope this list helps!  Happy schooling.  let me know your favorite homeschool resources!  I would love to add them to my list!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Best audio stories ever FREE Listen online!

When I was a kid I used to listen to these Bible stories that were SO funny called "The Greatest Stories Ever Told".
Dan and Louie : The Greatest Stories Ever Told!  Vol. 6
They are told by a ventriloquist (Dan) and his wooden dummy Louie.  Growing up I had a friend who had all the stories and we would listen for hours while we played.  I recently discovered you can listen to these stories free online!  You can't download them for free but there are pages of them you can listen to free online at Bible Voice.
They make for a very fun informative addition to Bible class for homeschool, a great family devotion at night, or a fun Sat morning routine.  We love listening together then doing a trivia about the story to earn beads towards rewards.

You can also buy them one download at a time, one CD at a time or buy the whole set online at Dan & Louie.  There are 107 stories available!  The kids LOVE them and so do I. :)

Hope you get a chance for some fun Bible time together this week!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hair, Hair and more Hair ideas!

I was perusing pinterest yesterday  like I usually do when I get a few minutes and saw this great hairdo
 and I knew I had to share it with you guys. The blog is called the small things blog and she has a lot of gret beauty info.  My favorite though is this hair style.  I have not had a chance to master it yet but I am hoping to soon!  She calls this the messy side updo.  I put a few of her photos here so you can see what it looks like.
She has several more photos of this hairdo from different angles and a video tutorial for this hairdo here.
She also has some other great hair tutorials on her blog you will love it so go check it out.

I am surprised how easily it is now days to learn new hair styles and makeup techniques.  I used to be something your mom or friends taught you and if you didn't have stylish friends you were out of luck!  Now none of that matters and you can find anything you want to learn about QUICKLY!! Especially if you have pinterest.  Just got to pinterest (request and invite from me by emailing if you don't already have a free login), and search the word beauty and tutorial or makeup tutorial or look at peoples "boards" titled beauty or hair  etc..  This is where I find all my styles for my hair and daughters hair.

Another great blog FULL of hair tips tricks and styles for African American hair is one called Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care.
Chocolate Hair / Vanilla Care
It is run by an adoptive mother.  It is such a help for me as a mom with an adopted daughter from Vanuatu since I have no experience with black hair.  It is a completely different hair type that requires a new set of skills and tools.

Another hair tip or trick I learned on pinterest is one I LOVE and have blogged about previously called the sock bun. It is basically an EASY simple way to do your hair at night so that in the morning you have beautiful EASY heat free curls.
This is my hair after the sock bun but without any product that would have held a better curl.
Found any other tips or tricks you want to share?  Let us know!
the small things blogPhotobucket

Monday, October 17, 2011

Have fun with your hubby!

Sorry it has been a while Since I posted.  I had a crazy week and the weekend was spent with my hubby celebrating our 13 year anniversary! We live several hours from the city so it was fun to have a weekend away in the city.  My parents watched all four of our kiddos over night so we could have Sat and Sun to play in the city.  It was so refreshing!   We went to a movie, out to eat ethnic food, shopped and had a great time just hanging out!  Spending time with your husband or wife as FRIENDS is so important.  You need to laugh together, play together and not just work together managing a family.  I did a post with date ideas called Date night how to make it happen. There are a lot of great ideas there.  This one below was one of my favorites from the list.
One thing I plan to give my husband for Christmas this year is a year of dates. I got this idea from shannon brown.  Great idea Shannon!

To make sure that spending time with your spouse really happens the plan is that you pick 12 activities, like bowling, the movies, overnight at a hotel, the zoo etc,, then you wrap an envelope for every month with the tickets, or brochure etc...  Then you sit down at the beginning of  each month and look at calendars together to pick the date.  That way the date is set and you can arrange babysitting or whatever else you need to arrange so that all month you have that date to look forward to and it actually happens!

 I am so looking forward to this.  With 4 kids and homeschool and a busy life this is a great Christmas gift for hubby that I will really enjoy too.  Even though we all know how important it is to spend time with our spouses sometimes it just doesn't happen but it is just a matter of making the time to schedule it at the beginning of the month.

I will post photos when I get mine all put together but meanwhile I am thinking how fun this will be to pick 12 creative ideas and wrap them in a fun way.

Praise God for parents that babysit and friends you can trust with your children!  What creative ideas do you have for dates with your hubby?  Or what is the most memorable date you have been on since you have been married?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to PRINT on fabric with your inkjet printer!

This time of year there are a million and one reasons to, decor, etc.. So I wanted to share some fun tutorials on printing on fabric.  There are so many things you can do with this.  You can even print on paper bags using the same guidelines for fun personalized lunch sacks or birthday or other gift bags.  Another fun thing to do is use this to print on a panel that will go into a quilt to add personal info (make sure to heat seal it with an iron for added durability).  You can also print on a fun patterned fabric and frame with your family's initial and a phrase below for some fun personalized decor or as a gift.  The options are endless so here are the tutorials....

This is a great tutorial that totally lays it all out for you.

How to print on fabric using freezer paper backing from limelady

Here is a great use of printing on fabric...

A tutorial for a burlap laundry sign from domestically-speaking

How to print on fabric with card stock, spray adhesive and fabric with your printer

You can also use this knowledge to help you make sew in tags for gifts you make or other items you sew and sell like modern day moms did.

 She also used this skill to print right onto t shirt material!

If using this info for a washable project please heat set with a hot iron to make sure your ink will last as long as possible.  These projects are done with an ink jet printer, as laser printers do not work for these projects.  Happy printing and crafting!! I am planning on using this in some of my holiday gifts this year!  Let me know what you are gonna make!  I would love to hear some new great ideas.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pumpkin bread pudding with cider sauce!

I have been promising this recipe since I made it for my husband and my 13 year anniversary at the beginning of the month.  This recipe is a MUST have now that the days are cooler and there are so many more occasions to need quick delicious dessert recipes.  This recipe takes a mere 15 minutes to put together before it bakes for another 45 more minutes.  Most bread puddings are so decadent that you can't afford to eat much.  Fortunately this pumpkin bread pudding has had a lean makeover with out sacrificing flavor.  The cider sauce really adds that extra touch and although it has some sugar it still doesn't deliver the diet death bomb that cream and butter based sauces do.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
The photo and base pumpkin bread pudding recipe are from one on my new favorite food blogs budget bytes
My photo was too dark to work well. Sorry.
  My husband and  my parents (who tried it a day later) all really loved this dessert.  The other great thing about this recipe aside from the unique fall appeal it has is that it is very very simple and quick to prepare.  I used white french bread as this recipe called for it, but I would like to try a heartier whole grain bread next time to up the nutrient factor but also to prevent it from getting a too soft texture.  The pumpkin bread pudding recipe and the cider sauce were from two different recipes but I thought they would make a great fall pairing.  I LOVED it. 

So here it is.. Pumpkin Bread Pudding
1 large loaf french bread
1/4 cup raisins or other dried fruit like craisins
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups milk
walnuts or pecans (optional only if you don't like nuts)
Chop your bread up into small cubes and set aside while you mix all the other ingredients together.  Now toss the bread in the pumpkin mixture you just made and that is it!  You can sprinkle on some walnuts like I did or add some pecans.  I think the nuts are really great in it! Now just bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.  While that is baking make up your cider sauce.
The cider sauce was from a blog called ...get this..Bread Pudding All Day Long.

Cider Sauce
 1 cup fresh apple cider
2 tablespoons raisins
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh lemon juice to taste
Whisk all the above ingredients together in a saucepan until it thickens.  It is DELICIOUS. Store any leftovers in the fridge.  This is a great sauce over ice cream or on an apple pie or crumble...

Happy baking! Let me know what you think once you try it.  Now I wish I had the ingredients I would whip some up right now as writing this is making me hungry!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My husband thinks I am crazy...

After starting my kids in dance and loving it (didn't take a photo of their first day of school but you better believe I got a TON on their first day of dance!).... I couldn't hold myself back any longer!  I finally joined an advanced hip hop class!  I joined because I was feeling like I needed to be me not only a mom. ( I do not want to say just a mom as if to imply that it is a second rate title, but am trying to imply there are more facets to me than mother hood alone. Please don't get me wrong, I LOVE to be a mom! I ADORE my four little ones ages 1 - 7, but being a good mom means I need to be the whole ME God made me to be. 

I was talking the idea over with my husband seeing if we could squeeze this dance class into the budget, when I started to voice my feelings of  intimidation and fears.  I have always been a pretty good dancer, but come on I just had my 34th birthday and I haven't been in any kind of dance class for over 15 years.  I FULLY expected my husband to say " you will do great honey!" or "just go have some fun who cares what others think."  Instead he blurts out "what are you thinking?  It is an advanced hip hop class!  Just go to the beginner class (for kids my sons age!) and start at the beginning.  He said this to me at my birthday party no less, as I am eating cheesecake (SCANDAL!) and feeling the years..
This is my daughter on her first day of dance..
I felt just like that today on my first day! Nervous, shy, excited..
Needless to say I was totally nervous today at my first class jumping into choreography that has been being taught all summer!  BUT I am determined to prove my (super wonderful) hubby of 13 years wrong.  This can be conquered and enjoyed!  I am on a mission. To prove him wrong (of course) and to develop a part of me that has laid dormant for some time but is dying to be developed!
My daughter is the one who is the only one on her stomach!
That is also how I looked today at my first class too .. lost!
We are on a VERY VERY tight budget.  The kind of budget that makes you think twice before buying  disposable diapers when you know you have 15 perfectly good cloth diapers at home!  However, the class is very reasonable and is after the kids are in bed (8-9 pm) and adds that necessary element of personal development all moms need to enjoy.  I am such a better mom when I have gotten a little break and got my blood pumping while getting to just be me for a short while.

I strongly believe that being passionate about the things God has put in your heart IS NECESSARY to truly being the whole complete person he has made you.  We are better able to reflect the image of Christ when we are developing the talents, gifts and passions he created inside us.  We are better able to reach others with the love of Christ when we are being ourselves in the natural healthy environments our passions lead us to. Not to mention the kids love being with happy mommy so much more than grouchy overextended mommy!

God has made us all uniquely different and placed us in the environment he has us in to be a light where it is a natural fit, and where we more easily relate to the people around us.  A missionary or pastor is no more special, holy or used by God than you can be when you are in the place God has you, seeking Him, loving him and loving those He has put around you.  I know some of you do not believe me but look at Esther in the Bible.  She was just a young orphaned beauty pageant contestant.  She faithfully served the Lord in the place He put her and seized the opportunity to seek God and bravely follow his leading to save her people from total destruction!

I feel like God spoke something to my heart the other day with a picture.  As I was pondering all this (being passionate, pursuing your passions, developing your talents and bearing the image of Christ while fulfilling your destiny) I saw a picture of  all these different little tops spinning.  They were shaped like icicle style Christmas ornaments but they were all slightly different shapes and colors.  As the tops were spinning slightly wobbly and just outside of control they were fuzzy and you couldn't get a clear picture of their shape and design but as they straightened up spinning faster but in better control you could see their beautiful design much more distinctly.  I felt that the Lord was giving me a picture of how we more clearly represent him and his image when we develop the individual character, personality, and physical talents that He has give us.

We are NOT all called to give up whatever we are doing and become typical missionaries or pastors.  We are called to where our talents and gifts make a way for us and where He has placed us!  He does not want a bunch of cookie cutters or he would have designed us all the same with the same looks, gifts and passions. You are who YOU are because God has a plan for YOUR life in your circle of influence that only YOU can fulfill.  You are uniquely special and all the beauty and talent and heart that God has put in you is not for you to sit on or merely enjoy for yourself.  It is your gift to the world. Your piece of the puzzle that helps to clarify the picture of who God is and what he is like.  You have to be faithful to develop your talents with excellence for Gods glory even if it is something that seems frivolous to some.  Go bless God!  Be the most joyfully passionate person you can be, and by doing so give the world a truer picture of the beauty and wonder of God.

This quote says it all!...
"God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him." -John Piper


Monday, October 3, 2011

Burning calories...

I want to blog about a few misconceptions or questions concerning calories.  Everyone knows you have to burn calories to loose weight, but how much exercise is required burn off last nights pizza?  Are all calories equal?  If I keep my calorie count down it doesn't matter if I eat mainly processed foods right?  NO!
Your body processes foods differently therefore it REALLY DOES MATTER WHAT you eat, not just the calorie content.  For instance a bag of a processed snack may have the same number of calories as a handful of nuts but there is a difference.  The processed snack will most likely have additives not found in nature like high fructose corn syrup, or chemical sweeteners (see my take on that here) and partially hydrogenated oils as well as added flavor enhancers and food dyes.  You may think that although they are not healthy they don't effect your weight, but that is WRONG.  Chemicals and additives mess with your brain chemistry and saity levels.  That means you will not feel full or satisfied and will continue to eat more waiting for the satisfaction to kick in,or you will eat something else because that snack did not satisfy you.

Unfortunately that is not the only problem with processed foods.  Your body will not process them the same so it slows your metabolism down when there are ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils.  Your body doesn't recognize these substances so it slows the system down and more of the food you just ate with these ingredients gets stored as fat!  So to make your body more efficient at burnig fat you need to eat cleaner foods that your body and quickly recognize and process smoothly.  The other reason whole foods are processed and burned easier is that whole foods that have not been processed overcooked or chemically altered are chock full of enzymes that help you digest them!  This means you do not have to be so concerned with the number of fat calories as the source. A handful of almonds will feed your metabolism.  Eat healthy fats!  They keep you fuller longer and good fats can help keep your overall system working smoothly so that your metabolism has a greater chance of working at full speed.

Now that that has been addressed use this handy chart from to help you asses the amount you are burning with your current exercise routine, and what you need to do to be more efficient.
Pinned Image
Hope this helps you to get on track for fall fitness!