Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How can WE live a better quality of Life

I cannot do everything!  I realize how important it is to live a better quality of life not only for myself but for my husband and our children.  I want it to be second nature for them to take care of themselves, their belongings, and all God has created.  I want to live "green".  I want them to live "green". But, it is not to be labeled "green", it is to take care of what God has entrusted us with.  He made us and he made the earth so why not try to make it the best we can by doing as much of the "green" things as we can.  Our family was on a long car ride and I asked the kids how we can save energy. They started to make a long list including turning off water and lights when we are not using them, keeping the door closed to keep the heat in during the winter, and the list went on and on!  The next question that I asked was how can we live and be healthier for us?  They began with eating healthy foods.  That lead into what are healthy foods?  Next, I asked them how can we keep our planet healthy?  It was amazing what they already knew and how excited they were to do these things!  This has now gone beyond me and has turned into a WE thing!  They are excited and now tell me what we should do to be healthy!
Here are two of our girls heading to the compost pile!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cooking Made Simple

Cooking Made Simple

It's that time again....time to fill up the freezer!  I don't know about you but when I cook a meal there is a lot of clean up.  I attended a workshop at a MOPS convention a few years ago that was put on by the ladies that started and wrote several cookbooks on Once a Month Cooking.  The lady that created the Dream Dinners Kitchens was also there.  I learned a ton listening to these ladies and realized that my life could be less hectic and crazy if I did a little pre-planning.  I tried once a month cooking where you make a bunch of different meals and put them in the freezer to eat later that month.  I did like the recipes that were in the book but I found it to be a lot of work to make a bunch of different meals at the same time.  I then found something that worked better for me and my family.  I decided to take a recipe and triple or quadruple it.  My family picks meals they want and we make a bunch of them.  This time around the votes were for Sloppy Joe's, Shepherd's Pie, Chicken Stuffed Shells, Chicken Parm, Lasagna, and Manocotti. This time I had extra hamburger meat so I made it up for taco's and froze it.  We eat one and freeze the rest. The next day I will do the same thing and by the end of the week we have a month of meals with a different meal each day for a month. Weekends we usually toss up a fresh meal. We usually throw in a big salad night once or twice a week and the rest of the week we eat freezer meals that are accompanied by sides of veggies. I also try to throw in homemade Strawberry Jam and Apple Butter, corn, peppers, and tomatoes straight from the field, as well as bags of frozen fruits and veggies. It is amazing how delicious fruits and veggies are when they are preserved by you.

Friday Night Family Night - Tooth Fairy

Every Friday Night is Family Night! 

Last Friday we had movie and Milkshakes....can't forget the caramel corn!  My 5 year old and I made popcorn cones for a project that day while Daddy picked up the ice cream with the little sisters!

We all settled in for Strawberry Milkshakes made with homemade strawberry jam and the Tooth Fairy while we munched on our caramel corn.  

The movie was cute but I was a little disappointed because we LOVE the Game Plan with the Rock in it and this one just wasn't as funny. 

Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam!
Who doesn't like Strawberries?  Okay, maybe a few of you but you have to try this and you could be won over forever!  Strawberry Jam ~ Make your own and you will never go back to the store bought kind again!
Tips for better jam:
~Strawberries - Try to get the fresh picked or from the Farmer's Market
~Have your kids smoosh'em ~ they have fun and your arm doesn't get as tired!
~Turn up the music and jam while you jam!
~Be ready to taste test!  Nothing like liking a spoon or a few spoons for all the little helpers!
~Save a few berries for an extra special treat at the end of the day!
~Box up a few for a surprise for someone special!  This box was for Daddy!

A Better Omelette

A Better Omelette
Here is my man's omelette!  Extra large, extra cheesy, and full of extra goodness!

Eggs or Egg Whites
Your Favorite Fresh Veggies Chopped - carrots, peppers, onions, tomatoes
Herbs - Italian Seasoning, Fresh Basil, Fresh Parsley

A Total Experience

A Total Experience
Have you ever felt completely yuk because of all the fast food and prepackaged food that you have eaten?  We decided to go fresh as much as we could.  The kids love veggies and fruits.  Every time someone stops in and we are eating big salads, they cannot believe it because kids don't like salads. Ours do.  Maybe because they get to help wash and taste test as it is being tossed together.  Maybe because it looks and smells delicious.  Maybe because they have grown up knowing that it is yummy.  Maybe because that is what is for dinner, no other choices.  Maybe because they get to pick it out of the garden, farmer's market or at the store. Whatever it is, it doesn't matter.  They know they are eating it to grow strong and healthy.  I know it helps with our complete body, inside and out.It is fun to make veggies and fruit not just another food, but a total experience!

A Few of My Favorite Farmer's Markets:

Cake Central

Do you dream of cakes instead of sugar plums?

Are you up for a challenge?

You can find any cake for any occasion!


You can find me at: 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things - Summer Activities for Kids

A Few of My Favorite Things - Summer Activities for Kids

Swimming ~ In the big pool as a family, in the kiddie pool when Mommy is outnumbered, or in the bathtub on a rainy day!
Bubbles~ Blow'em till they dump'em! 
Sidewalk Chalk - here, there, and everywhere! 
Paint - Hang a sheet from the trees and splatter all over it! Make sure it is non-toxic 'cause you know they always eat it or use it as lipstick! 
Bike Path 
State Park - bike, walk, swing, feed Ducks
Zoo ~ We are one already so why not go to one and visit the relatives!
Slip-n-slides or anything wet 
Activities in the area ~ Parks, kids days at the YMCA, library events

Iddy Biddy Etsy Love

 Iddy Biddy Etsy Love

Before my little man came along, I fell in love with a little bear hat that I saw on ETSY. I thought that if I ever had a boy I wanted this hat for his first pictures.  I decided to order this had so that it would be here on baby day!  After I ordered this hat we waited and waited for it to come.  On a snowy Saturday morning we heard the doorbell ring and there was a man with a package.  The 3 girls and I sat on the floor in front of the fireplace and wondered what could be in this package that came all the way from the land of the kangaroo's!  We opened up the padded envelope and there was a beautifully wrapped present.  

We carefully unwrapped it and there it was! So soft and so cute! It then was packed away for it's debut. March 3rd, 2010 a boy was welcomed into our lives and the hat was the perfect accent to this new little life!

Teapot Cake

When your 4 year old dreams of when she can have her next tea party and what she will wear, you know that a teapot cake will amaze her completely!

I kept it simple this time by using buttercream with a few fondant accents!  I made this one in an afternoon!

1st Birthday Cake for our little beauty!

1st  Birthday Cake for a little beauty!

1st Birthday Whimsy Girl cake covered in fondant with a chocolate layer and  a lemon layer both with an almond buttercream filling.

The smash cake was covered in a ton of buttercream!

Fun day for the birthday girl!

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

A fondant creation with a  buttercream with almond extract filling accompanied by strawberry cake with bits of maraschino cherries mixed in.

Flower Power Cupcakes

Flower Power Cupcakes

Cupcakes frosted with buttercream flavored with almond extract and topped with sliced marshmallows dipped in sprinkles!

Mother's Day Cake

Mother's Day Cake

This was my first fondant experience. I made this cake for my mom. It was simple. A good first project to play with fondant.

Baby Blocks Cakes

Baby Blocks

This is a baby shower cake that was a fondant creation. It is cherry chip with a middle layer of butter cream mixed with almond extract and chopped maraschino cherries.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

This is a butter cream birthday cake made for a 2nd birthday. It has cookie accents.

First Birthday Pink Whimsy

First Birthday Pink Whimsy

This cake is a buttercream creation with royal icing pieces.

This was the cake that my one year old got all to herself! She definitely dove right in! It is a buttercream creation.

First Birthday Whimsical Cake

First Birthday Whimsical Cake

Birthday cake is covered in buttercream and decorated with pastel fondant. The smash cake is covered in buttercream.

Gerber Daisy Wedding Shower Cake

Gerber Daisy Wedding Shower Cake

This is a simple bridal shower cake that was created for a summer outdoor wedding. It is a lemon cake with a raspberry sauce layer served with an extra spoonful of raspberry, buttercream, and a mint leaf.

Under The Sea Baby Shower Cake

Under the Sea Baby Shower Cake

This cake was decorated with fondant. The legs were made out of rice crispy treats.

Baby Shower Cake

Cow Jumping Over the Moon

This is a baby shower cake made of fondant. The extra pieces are made of royal icing set on wire. The cake is cherry chip with a buttercream center that is mixed with maraschino cherries and almond extract.
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