Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Words to Live By

It's funny how days at home can sometimes be the busiest days! Today was no exception. After we finished school, the day sort of took off and in a flash it was dinner time...then bath time. 
Tomorrow I am going to take it easier. Tomorrow I am going to slooooooow down and enjoy the day. Okay, in reality I am still going to be busy, but not AS much as today. 

Today I am going to leave ya'll with some inspiration that I keep nailed up in my bee room. Inspiration to try a new task, learn a new skill, do more with what I've got.

Hope your Wednesday was rockin'!

Monday, November 28, 2011

What Routine?

Okay, so this past week REALLY got us out of our groove and today I am paying for it BIG TIME!

Thanksgiving was nice and the weather here was beautiful! While many people were out shopping and spraying pepper spray to get the best deal....Devin and I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and work outside. Boy, were we busy!

 I finally mustered the energy and motivation to move my bee keeping equipment into the nice, new storage building Devin built last month.

It looks all nice and tidy now.....the challenge is keeping it that way once bee season kicks back into full gear. I tend to drop stuff here and there and everywhere.
At any rate, it got me thinking about my lack of motivation of any kind this year with my bees. The romance has passed, but there is still a kindle of some kind and moving and organizing the boxes and such heated the romance up a bit. I am considering putting together a bee keeping course this spring and will be brainstorming it over the next few weeks. I also plan to raise some queens from my hardier hives. Now that I have the pitter-patter in my heart again I just need all my hives to survive the winter. I will be making candy boards and getting them on by Dec 20th.

Aside from the bee equipment move , I also trimmed bushes, cleaned garden beds and cleaned chicken coops. I also got the coops ready for cold days by lowering the felt covers on the fronts and backs of the coops. Winter came yesterday too. It has been rainy and cold. Time for the wood stove to light up and zap any further motivation we managed to muster.

But muster we must! The kids are ready for Christmas decorations and YES we have some more hand made gifts to show and share! This week, I promise. :-)

How was your Thanksgiving? My three men of the house wore their "good" overalls and I so wanted to capture the kodak moment, the picture that I could enlarge and frame and say, "Look at my handsome guys!"

 Only Fletcher refused to keep his finger out of his nose!!!! It was a kodak moment, only one I will not be hanging in the living room. That's my short post for this busy day as I try and get the family back into some sort of routine!
Tell me, what's been picking at you lately?

Have an awesome Monday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Handmade Holidays: The One That Never Fails

Tomorrow is the big Turkey Day, the day we celebrate all that makes us American and a day to reflect on our many blessings and be thankful. It's going to be a great day ya'll.

Since Devin works in the ER, he works every other Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year he is off Thanksgiving and works Christmas...which is always a bummer. BUT! he is off tomorrow and I am thankful for that!

I wanted to share another gift your kids can make. I know some of you will roll your eyes when you see what this gift is, BUT I ALWAYS love it when a friend makes this for me. It never goes to waste and it can sit around on my counter through January and sometimes February. It's a reminder on a cold January afternoon of the many wonderful, giving friends I have.
 Besides, I am going to show you how to kick it up a notch and make it extra special!

Homemade Hot Chocolate

 You need to round up some dry milk (enough to make 8 qts), 1 lb of powder sugar, 1 lb of powder creamer, and 1 1/2 lb of powder chocolate milk mix. You can go the simple route (nothing wrong with that!) and get the plain creamer powder or you can kick it up a notch and buy a flavored creamer. The flavored stuff costs quite a bit more but it gives the mix a more gourmet flavor. Hazelnut is my favorite but here I bought peppermint mocha. Irish Creme is another fabulous one if you can find it:-)
 Yes, your little ones can pour the stuff into a big bowl!....brushing their hair first is optional:-)
 Use a whisk to really get everything mixed up well.
 It takes 4 heaping spoonfuls to get the hot chocolate perfect. I found these little bags at the store and we decided to put 1/2 C of the mix and a handful of mini marshmallows in each bag. This is a nice one size serving.
 Rose picked out some cute, inexpensive mugs to put her gift in and added a candy cane.
 Trust me when I say that these gifts are loved by anyone who loves hot chocolate.
 You can also package a large, multi serving amount in an inexpensive box for giving. Mason jars are also a nice way to give this gift. If you are lucky enough to live near IKEA, you have access to some nice and inexpensive jars of most any shape and size.
We have this jar that holds suckers in the summer and hot chocolate mix in the winter.

Now, I am off to check on the boys. Fletcher has learned how to open the doors all through the house. This afternoon we had one of those "I thought you had the baby..."   " No, you had the baby didn't you?' types of scenarios between me and Devin. Well, we found Fletcher in our bathroom.

Dunking rolls of toilet paper into the toilet is fun, apparently. At least it only took a few pushes of the plunger to un-stop the clogged toilet and those rugs wash up really well:-)

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Handmade Holidays: A Gift Your Kids Can Make

As the mom of seven, we have made our fair share of gifts over the last many years. There is one gift, however, that the kids ALWAYS make. They always make one to keep and one to give, which is why I stock up at the start of school sales like a mad woman.

This week I will focus on gifts your kids can make since hand made gifts are always the best and it's never too late to instill the tradition of making gifts for family and friends.

Fleece Covered Composition Book

First you need some fleece, a composition style notebook and some tacky glue.

Now, cut your material to fit the book like a cover. You can use a rotary cutter or just uses scissors, it does not have to be totally exact as you will trim a bit more after it's glued.

Now your child can squeeze the glue all over one side of the book.  Be sure they get some on the corners.

Now the material for that side can be placed down on the glue and smoothed out. Flip the book over and do the other side.

Once the glue dries a bit I will often need to trim a wee bit more fabric from the edges. The kids sometimes pull and tug when they are smoothing it out and it stretches. No biggie.

My girls like to make a front pocket too so we will cut a square out and they glue it to the front.

Can you tell my girls are transitioning from little kid to bigger kid? Usually we place crayons in the pocket but this year they wanted a few ink pens as well.

Now here are several easy gifts finished!....and the kids have the satisfaction of making it themselves!
I promise these gifts are keepers!

More to come later this week!

Have an awesome week!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Just Dance 3 House Party

House Party selected me to host a Just Dance 3 Party for the Xbox Kinect. To say that we were excited is an understatement.

If you are not familiar with House Party, they are a site that works with companies to send their new products to your home. You must apply for a particular party, then if selected they send you a party pack which usually includes free products and coupons. They want you to invite friends over for a party and then to follow up with your opinion about the party and their product. It's all FREE!

I decided to post about our party here so that you may all see what a great time we had!

 Now what good is a party without lots of yummy food? Exactly. The girls baked 2 different types of cookies and I made home made pizzas to go with the cookies and root beer floats!
 We not pnly received Just Dance 3, but also Just Dance 2 for kids. We did try the Kids version, but it was not as much fun as Just Dance 3, although the music was more kid friendly.
 One really cool feature of Just Dance 3 is that it will allow you to make your OWN dance! It actually records your movements to the music. We had the little kids record and make a dance and THEN we adults tried dancing to their recorded dances. This little guy had a blast and boy his dances were difficult!
 We had to clear out some furniture, but everyone had a great time eating and dancing.
 The teens had a super great time and we are already planning more parties for their friends.
 As I said, the little kids liked the Just Dance 3 more than the Just Dance Kids. They didn't seem to have any trouble keeping up either!
* My girls and their best friend *
 The adults had a great time too. This sure is a great way to get some exercise as well.

 The baby even tried to dance some. He liked carrying everyone's shoes around but he would sometimes look at teh screen and try to jiggle a leg to the music!
 Devin and I danced and had a great time, even if the girls giggled at us. I am proud to say that I beat Devin's score on this dance:-)
Do you have a Kinect? You might think about Just Dance 3 as a Christmas gift! I am not a huge fan of video games, but this one gets everyone involved and moving. We were happy to host the House Party and look forward to many more hours dancing!

Next week I will be posting several Handmade Holiday gifts and crafts. With Thanksgiving here, it is time to get busy on those gifts!

Have a groovy weekend!

* House Party did not compensate me for this review. Opinions are all my own*

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Handmade Holidays : The Green Bag

Let me start by saying today I captured with a photo why sweet little birdies do not visit my bird feeder. In fact, I stopped even putting bird seed in it. *sigh*

Now, I also want to say that today was an unusual day in that the baby was very fussy and I am STILL trying to unpack from my trip last week. Why, oh why must we un pack? It's no fun at all.

Moving on.....
It's Handmade Holiday time and today I share a simple "green" gift. I actually made these up for my sister for her birthday because they are simple, frugal and wonderful to own.

I present the Green Bag Lady bag!!!!

Now, this is a simple bag that can be sewn in about 10 minutes. You need not be a rock star seamstress either. If you want to go a little further and make the bag more "finished" you can. I kept my bags simple because I believe in giving several to one entire collection.

I actually found fabric in my stash and used this beautiful Van Gogh fabric because I knew my sister would appreciate the beauty.

She has the most stylish green bags in her city!

As an idea, you could also make a bag and use it as a gift bag. That's is being double green, don't you think?

If you would like the pattern, HERE IT IS!

This is a wonderful way to give an economical and green gift without breaking the bank, especially if you have tons of fabric on a shelf in your closet.

What other uses can you think of for this bag?

Have a sweet week!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Back to Reality

Last week I escorted my sweet husband to a medical conference in Amelia Island, FL. It was a tough duty, but I managed. Let me also add that we left ALL the kids home with my mom. Awesome!

 It had been years since I had flown on a in pre-9/11 days. I noticed right away that planes these days are SMALLER. Also, what's up with the un-dressing at security? I wondered how many sickos get high seeing women every where take off their shoes, jewelry and BELTS!  Can we just learn a little from Israel and stop with the non-sense? Enough of my rant. The clouds were beautiful and fluffy and I think I could have stared at them from up there all day.
 Amelia Island? Beautiful! I also noticed that unlike crowded beaches at say Panama City, Amelia Island was CLEAN. We did not spot a single item of trash or cigarette butt. The weather was also very nice.
 Now, this conference was full of very nice people. My husband works for a fantastic company and we enjoyed the invitation to attend this event. As always, though, meeting new people comes with many different responses to being a large family. I told Devin that in the eyes of others (small family folks) we are either crazy for having so many kids or "saints" for having "tons of patience." Why can they not see that truly we are normal, neither crazy or saints.  Okay, I admit there are days I feel crazy:-)
 Amelia Island is a treasure. The people were friendly and the scenery was gorgeous.
 Now, I just have to get back in gear, back to reality. I have to recover a little bit more after reverting back to my youth, college days:-)
 Here's another crazy mother hood thing: I fully expected to sleep in every morning and yet my body was up and I was awake by 6 am each day. The upside to that was that it enabled me to watch the sunrise.
 Back at home, we are slowly getting back into school mode. Journee has been oil-ing up the saddles and riding horses in the afternoon. Zeb likes to pretend he's a cowboy too.
Last night we indulged our lazy selves and threw together a last minute family movie night in the living room. We moved furniture, bought the latest Harry Potter Blu-Ray and assembled an assortment of appetizers so that we could sprawl out and enjoy ourselves.
It's getting colder outside and it will not be long before we settle into a movie/appetizer routine each weekend Devin is not working. *Bliss!*
Later this week I will have another Hand Made Holiday post. You will not want to miss it. I plan to have a couple of gifts your kids can make as well, look for those ideas Thanksgiving week.

This Thursday I am having a Just Dance 3 House Party and promise to post a picture of our boogy-ing selves trying to master the game.

Have a spectacular week!

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