Monday, February 28, 2011

How to Preview Adding More Children to Your Family

Ashley, Naomi, Ivy
My friend just had a baby this past weekend so her little girl is here.  We've always talked about how maybe someday we'd want to have another kid.  If I was a supermom I'd let them come as often as it would allow.  Kids are GREAT.  Sure they empty out all the toothpaste and then smear it to make the sink pink.  I know they like to unroll the toilet paper into the toilet and flush it to see it quickly unravel.  They even like to embarrass you by asking strangers loudly if they are poor and why their is hair broken.  Even with my red face, I see the blessings.  :D

Is there a big difference between 6 or 7 kids?  Nope.  Just one more to conspire why a Koolaid packet makes for good lotion all over their body 5 minutes before you're about to head out to church.  Even with the inconvenience of having to strip them down and bathe and scrub them so people don't think the red is blood all over their body and call the cops on you.

So if you'd like to have a preview of "just one more kid", invite a kid to stay a few days.  If it wipes you out and causes you to go into a coma nightly, maybe just wait awhile.  For me, there is absolutely no difference from 6 to 7.  We are still a larger group taking up an aisle in the mall.  We only have to buy one more bouncy ball out of the vending machine to test how high we can make it bounce from the top floor to the bottom of the mall.  It still cost a million dollars to go out to eat. And it's just more undies to throw in the wash.

If my kids are separated they call on the phone
because they miss each other.
But... one more smile around the dinner table.  One more snuggle when they come to you needing one.  One more addition to playing Hide and Seek.  More players in Pictionary.  Now if you go and have Septuplets.... please don't blame me.  Heh heh.  I rarely ever do those previews but I do know you'll be buying a lot more toilet paper.


Ryan is new to basketball this year.  We've tried to convince him for awhile to just give it a chance and he wouldn't.  So Chaz's coach asked him and Ryan joined.  So proud of him for making this shot! Go Ryan!  He wanted to make sure his family saw this.  :D

Friday, February 25, 2011

Secrets on Keeping a Clean House From a Disorganized Person this is my in ingenious plan that has worked for me but for some of you it's quite obvious.  In fact, you are a perfectionist this doesn't apply to you.  You are welcome to look at my pictures though.  So, enjoy my pictures, Chris H.  :D

For the rest of a few disorganized, scatterbrains who have a hard time with this, here is my secret.

Invite someone over at least twice a week

Ashley watching granddad install our new
dishwasher....gasp...I am so grateful!
It works for me every time, no joke.  Even if it's just your neighbor, go for it.  Okay, when I was single keeping a clean house was easy breezy.  The key was being poor.  I couldn't afford to buy anything off my $600 a month budget.  My apartment was $275 a month.  The rest of that check went to tithe I gave my church.  I was happy to give that too.  The other check paid for my monthly bus pass, food for work, food at home, and my bills. Needless to say I only could budget in around $30 a month for groceries.  I pretty much ate ramen and potatoes. It's a wonder I'm still alive.  Well, the only reason I had any furniture at all was because someone abandoned their apartment (I actually knew this person) and so the manager gave me her love seat, tiny table with 2 chairs, and a single bed that I brought from home.  I had one pot for cooking.  2 forks, 2 spoons, 2 cups, 2 plates.  Dishes took me all of 2 minutes.  I washed clothes maybe once a month because I had so many clothes it took me a month to go through all of them.  Still, my little apartment was spotless.  Not because I was organized but because I had almost nothing to clean!  I worked all day for pennies and came home.  I was too tired to make a mess and it seemed to take me only 5 minutes to clean if I did.  

My First Apartment.  Top floor, 6th door from the right.  :D

So that's the other key:
Own very little

It worked for me.  When I got married, it got a little tougher for me.  I had more money, we went shopping.  Brought home more STUFF.  I had to cook for two, so more dishes.  We met GREAT friends and had get togethers. Needed more dishes.  I had friends and family donate lots of stuff they thought we needed.  Actually, they've blessed us many times over throughout the years.  I just needed to figure out when to say yes or no to things being passed along.  One day it hit me, "My gosh, it's getting harder to keep up.  Who's gonna clean all this?"  I was making the messes because I couldn't keep up with all the crap I thought we needed.

Then I had a kid.  Then another and another and another and another and another.... you get the idea!  Okay, so take a very disorganized person who can barely keep up with cleaning up after someone else and then times that by say.....1,000. Okay, for a person who thinks cleaning is a breeze, you can only times it by 10.  Seriously, that's so unfair.  I HAVE to have list for PURE survival.  I don't have those awesome organizing lists because I'm such supermom. For me it's a matter of sinking or swimming.  A better picture would be swim or getting swallowed by the whale.

Ashley is happy to see her grandma

My sisters got the organizing gene so by the time my mom got to me, the 3rd kid, the good gene ran out.  Do they have a pill for that?  I don't know.  Just seems really unfair. I'm a good person.  I deserve that incredibly awesome supergene.  (Just because someone has a lot of kids, people assume they must be some sort of supermom and super organizer.)  

Oh well, I got the patience gene.  So ha.  Or maybe that's acquired.  Maybe I at least got the I-can-handle-a-lot-of-kids-because-I-don't-have-to-have-a-perfect-house gene.  Heh heh.

A friend in my comments pointed out that I was a typical baby of the family they talk about in a book called Birth Order.  I can't believe I forgot to mention this before.  I've read this book and it's incredibly accurate with only a few exceptions.  I passed it along to another friend to read because she was interested but I want to get another for myself.  I even see this with my own kids.  

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Please Excuse My Boring Blog Template

UPDATE:  What do you guys think of the blog change?  Too white?  Too bright?  Too boring?  Eh?

Welcome to my new boring blog template. I am in search of a background that is easier to read but reflects who I am.  I LOVED the last one but had complaints it was hard to read. So if you notice my blog template changing over the next few days, it's because I'm going through 100's of them and haven't found one I'm satisfied with yet.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Desperate Days

 Whoa, before church on Wednesday night it was the crazy of all crazies.  It was just one of those days and it usually lands on a church day.  That's how it is, right?  Well, for me.  I left a note earlier on Charles steering wheel (he asked me too) reminding him to pick up Ryan at basketball practice after school.  Ryan calls me about an hour and a half after school ended to tell me the coach had cancelled and he was just sitting there waiting. Charles walks in the door awhile later without Ryan.  I say "Uh, where is Ryan?"  Charles said he didn't know.  Well, I  left the note on his car and he had taken the van so he didn't get the note.  I ran out the door and left dinner that I just was gonna start working on. With traffic, I didn't get to Ryan till 6pm.  Poor guy was waiting in their after care for 3 hours. He was sad and totally exhausted.   I gave him a big hug, told him I was so, so sorry and we left for home.  He said it was long and boring.  I told him I felt so bad and I reminded him that there are kids that have to do that every single day.  Stay there for hours on end, get home and have only a little bit of playing time and time with their family before going to bed again.  I already hate how many hours a day they are gone.  Some of the kids are there from 6 or 7 in the morning and don't get home till 5 or 6 at night.  That's just crazy.  I can't imagine how hard that's gotta be.

We had to hurry because it was church night.  As soon and I walked (more like flew) in the door, I ran around getting the kids ready and we headed out to church without eating dinner. Then realizing we needed gas in the van or we would run out.  So we headed to the gas station.

Before picking up Ryan I had just gotten out of the shower and never got to do my hair.  I ALWAYS curl my bangs.  I have to have bangs.  I hate my forehead.  You could show a movie off of it.  See, if I were a teacher I wouldn't need to pull down the screen.  I would just put a headband on to pull up my bangs, stand in front of the projector and display the movie.  Anyway, I figured on the way to church I would use my curling iron like I do sometimes when I'm in a hurry.  Well, it wasn't working!  Then to make matters worse, they were completely parted in the middle.  I was starving so I asked my husband to get me a burger.  We were cutting short on time but I couldn't take it anymore.  I tried a few more desperate attempts to get the curling iron working but something was wrong with the outlet.  Ah ha!  I could use my incredibly hot cheeseburger that's still in it's package to apply heat to my bangs.  It worked! Somehow I got my bangs to curl around it.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  By the time I made it to church the hairs were standing up with static and the curl completely left.  Why????  Whyyyyyy?

I went to drop off baby Caleb in the nursery and so I stood in line with the other mommies.  I noticed the line wasn't moving because the hostess wanted to chat forever with one of the moms signing in.  I couldn't take it anymore. Finally, since church was about to start, I walked up to the door, placed Caleb over the short wall and walked out.  I couldn't wait for them to discuss which recipes they were gonna use for every day of the week and how potty training was going for the last month in detail.  I went to sit with my family.  As I was putting my head down in my chair and trying to stay off radar, I realized I could go back to my van, grab the curling iron and sneak into the church bathroom with it. Well, this is actually a different room off the church so it gets locked up once service starts.

While it being nice that I was curling my bangs quickly, it was still parting in the middle.  So I turned the faucet on and soaked it. That way it could at least dry right.  As soon as I did that, an usher knocked on the door and said I needed to get out and the annex was getting locked up.  Agh!  I just soaked my bangs!  I shouted "Okay, I'll be right out!" and very quickly tried to dry them with paper towels, curled my bangs, threw the curler in my purse and ran out.  That usher probably thought I was having serious bathroom problems.

I only missed a song or two before the sermon started so I sat down and happily clapped away with my hair looking normal. Phew!  I had made it.   Yay for me.  Who knew cheeseburgers could curly hair?  I never would've thunk.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

When Life Gives You Boogers

This is how I found Ashley when we were just about to head to church for the evening service.  Curled in a little ball, on the floor, in her Sunday dress.  She looked like a little Anne Geddes baby but I'm not a photographer like she is.

In church I was cuddling Ashley and giving her kisses. I was a little distracted even though the sermon totally touched my heart and hit home.

Little Ashley giggled and brought her hand up to my lips.  So I kissed it.  She said "NO, look mommy" so I did.  Her little thumb had a nice sized booger on it. She wasn't giving me her thumb to kiss it.  She wanted to show me her booger.  I told my husband later about it and he said, "Oh, was that when you gasped really loud and made those gagging sounds?"  Gosh, I didn't know I was that obvious but I was really grossed out for a second there.  Heh heh..... When life gives you boogers, make.... make.... oh, I don't know!  Just get tissue!

 You know.... I hardly ever talk about Ryan.  I feel so bad.  You know how it is when you have a difficult child, you talk about them?  When you have a real over achiever that invents some cool new rocket technology you talk about them?  What happens when you just have that sweet child that never begs for your attention, at least rarely?  They help their little brothers and sisters after you've already walked out of viewing distance.  They are kind, generous, and just seem to be really good natured.  Those are the kids often that get the least amount of attention because they're not hitting their brother over the head with a plastic bat or announcing that they're gonna go try to jump off the roof onto the trampoline in your backyard. Even as a baby he never complained.  Even when his brother, who was only 12 months older, would crawl right over him.  He was like the Gerber baby of my dreams.  Because I've heard so many of these kinds of kids grow up and complain that they were depended on too much, I constantly remind myself not to do ask too much of him.  Even if he makes himself available to help.  Even they have their limits.

Last night while I was mopping late at night, Ryan asked if he could help me.  I said, "No thank you, baby.  You need your rest."  Have you ever read the book Birth Order?  It's amazing how you can see the differences that are so typical in first born, second, and last.  The book even talks about larger families.

I know between this blog and my other one I seem like such a book nerd. That's what happens when you grow up with no TV or internet.  The only game system that existed was the original Nintendo. Okay, so this reminds me of a conversation we were having with our kids. Chaz asked what year I was born.  "1979?  Gosh, mom!  I bet you didn't even have phones back then!"  Well, gosh, I'm not THAT old!  Then I delivered the BIGGIE.  He about fell over when I told him we didn't have internet.  He thinks I had no life.  But I did.  I jumped ramps on my bike with my friends, looked for special rocks in my back yard.  Had fun exploring the neighborhood.  Walked to the local swimming pool daily in the summer.   I had a life!  A pretty darn good one too. Well, I have one now.  I'm having a blast watching them have a life and see the world through their eager eyes.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Favorite Game Day Recipes

Today the guys are coming to play a game around our table.  So usually I'm in the kitchen cookin' up some stuff throughout the day.  I love to do this for the guys as they work hard everyday and are looking forward to a relaxing day.  I love to hear about fun snacks so I thought I'd post a couple of my favorites!  None are my creation.  I just love them and I thought I'd share.  I will add pictures later when I actually make them today.

Chicken Wing Dip
(Like eating buffalo wings but it's a dip for chips)

1 (8 oz each) pkg. cream cheese
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
1/2 cup Franks Hot sauce-cayenne pepper sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or crumbled blue cheese)
2 (9.75 oz) cans chunk chicken breast in water, drained

Combine all ingredients into a small crock pot and cook on high.  Heat until dip is warm and all cheese is melted. Serve with tortilla chips


My friend Michele brought this over once and it's become one of our favorites and it's really easy to find on the internet.  There are different variations:

Chili Cream Cheese Dip

2 cans of Hormel Chili (chunky with beans)
1 (8 oz) pkg of cream cheese

Melt cream cheese in chili in a bowl in microwave.  Then stir together and serve with Ruffle Potato chips.  Super yummy!


AND the guys requested their favorite hamburgers and I pull this recipe I've used for 12 years from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (given as a wedding gift)!  For some reason it's been different in each recipe book but I've stuck with this one as it's my favorite.

My Burgers

1 beaten egg
2 Tablespoons of milk or water
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs (1 slice) or 1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons chopped onion 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon prepared mustard or 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 clove garlic, minced, or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (I only used the fresh garlic.Makes big difference)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound of ground beef

I add a dash of ketchup (like Gordon Ramsey) in it and soy sauce.

I mix it all together and then after I form the patties, I sprinkle on both sides soy sauce and Hamburger Seasoning.  Then I cooked on Medium heat in a pan, each side, for 4 minutes.  Serve on Hamburger buns.  However, I have to double the recipe for my family of 8.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fun Giveaways!

Open till February 25, 2011, 5pm

Click HERE to enter to win a signed copy of "Unexpected Journey" by Joe and Cindi Ferrini!

Come and read about Cindi's book called Unexpected Journey. I know we can all relate and really could learn something for ourselves by getting a peek into her journey. Would also make a great gift! Come and see. :)

Also, there is another cool giveaway where you can enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Amazing!  Amazon is one of my favorite places to order from.  Check out giveaway HERE!

If you would like to enter to win an adorable custom made romper then go HERE!

If you find it hard to be organized and LOVE check lists (I DO!)  then go HERE to enter to win a Motivated Moms chore planner.  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What Causes GOOD Kids to Make BAD Grades? Learning Activities-First Month Free-Click Here!I

 don't understand.

Ryan and Chaz waiting to play ball
When my kids started out in school, they were honor roll students. I had homeschooled the year prior and they were doing great.  In fact, they were ahead of their class when they went back in.  I don't always homeschool every year. This was my year to take a break, organize my home, spend some times with my two little babies and get ready for homeschooling next year.

I'm not trying to blast their school by any means. They are a good school.  I love the teachers.  This next part I had to come to terms with.

The guilt that comes with a child not passing in their classes.  I had to look at myself and see why.  Why that all these years my son(s) has been an honor roll student(s) and now is failing?  Someone said, "Well, are they playing too many games at home?"  My response is no way.

They come home at 4pm. Immediately work on their homework and snack till 5pm.  Sometimes they don't even have homework or they finish it on the bus ride home.  From 5-6pm they finally have some play time.  That could be playing outside, playing video games.  From 6-7pm is our dinner time and family time just talking around the dinner table. 7pm is chores.  Then another half hour of play. Then book reading time and then bedtime at 8:30pm.  Where in that schedule am I being irresponsible as a parent?  My boys play video games a total of whole hour a day.  If they have homework they are getting it done.  They are going to bed early and getting their rest.

Why is it that I feel guilty when the teacher sends home the report card and I have to sign it?  I mean, of course they want the parent to acknowledge the have seen their grades but there is still that guilty feeling.  I'm not the one that is teaching my boys for 7 hours a day.  When I had them at home, we used SOS which automatically grades their work and they were very successful. They did extremely well.  They only had to work at the MAX, 4 hours a day. Usually 3 hours.  I'm not trying to be rude but I had to put my foot down and say, "No, it's NOT because of me."  I'm doing my part to make sure his work at home is done (I'm not fond even of homework when they've already been working all day), making sure they get their nutrition, and to bed on time.

 What Does Cause Good Kids to Make Bad Grades?

Does it make me seem rude to think that maybe I should write a paper asking for the teachers explanation of the grades and have to sign it?  I know the budget was cut and many assistants were laid off.  That happens with Charter schools.  But could I have been given a notice of the rapidly falling grades before this?  I could have done something much sooner.

I looked into bullying.  No.  He says absolutely no bullying is going on.  Although, because of his failing grades he is getting taunted now.  This child I am speaking of is a very good kid.  I have noticed when I've walked into this classroom several times, the kids had no respect for their teacher and things got really out of control.  I have noticed a behavior change in my son when he comes home from school now.

(Note:  A year after writing this I thought I might add that these teachers were fired the same year after I pulled my kids out.  My son's teacher was fired as was my daughter's.  I guess I wasn't the only parent concerned... February 20, 2012)

Obama Proposes Longer School Day, Shorter Summer Vacation

It's interesting that when they homeschool they have much more respect towards us and other adults.  When they are in school, the daily battles I have bringing them back down from the attitudes can be discouraging.  It's like undoing the disrespect every day and then starting again the next day.  I HATE that my boys are gone from 7am-4pm.  Gosh..... time flies and their time is spent elsewhere.  I truly hate it.

So once again, my husband and I discussed the upcoming homeschool year. We decided which kids will be in  which program.  A couple of the kids will be in a Compass Learning program and the other two in Switched on Schoolhouse.  I've had great success in these programs and they don't overwhelm the kids like a really popular program used commonly around here.  I wish I didn't neat a program to homeschool but these tools have been beneficial for people like me that haven't gone to college to teach children academically.  That was an understatement. I'm extremely GRATEFUL for all the homeschooling tools being offered.  Because of it so many more parents are given the option to be able to homeschool that might otherwise feel overwhelmed or intimated by the idea of it.

Here is the hard part and the TRUTHFUL part.

I'm not supermommyClean's mother lives here.  I played hide and seek with my kids and talked to them at their bed till they fell asleep.  So what if sometimes my pile of laundry is growing faster than I can attack it?  If it's because I took my kids to the library one night and then church the next, well, my laundry can wait till Thursday.  I won't quit.  Maybe by the time my kids move out I'll have a system that works perfectly. But I want to know that I gave my best to my kids and didn't replace them with having to have things perfect around the house.

Success is not final
Failure is not fatal
It's the courage to continue
that counts

-Winston Churchill

Check out my other blog about "Homeschooling, Schooling at home, or Public School?"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentines Day and Splandwiches

But first!

Splandwiches- by Ivy and Ashley

Turkey slices

There you have it!  A Splandwich!


Our church had a renewing of the vows on Sunday night for Valentines.  This is such a mean prank on the kids but I couldn't help it. Well, on the way to church I told the kids that everyone at church was going to pick someone new to be married to.  That all the guys were gonna line up and pick new partners.

Kyle yells out "OH MYGOSH!" and all the kids start crying.  They were saying "Nooooooo!"  I didn't think they would really believe me but since they were all freaking out, I had to tell them very quickly that I was joking. Through tears of laughter.  Oh my goodness.  It was soooo funny.  I know it was mean.  Tee hee.....

It was a cute night as we all went to the alter and renewed vows with our spouse.  I couldn't help but giggle all through it.  I meant every word but I'm not the type to express myself romantically with people surrounding me.  But it was still sweet and the nursery watched our kids extra long so all the couples could have a special treat afterwards. Yummy food and cake.  ;)  It was nice to be with him alone but you can bet I made sure I brought back cake for all my sweet kiddies.
Couples in our church renewing vows

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Student Run Radio Station at EVIT

I came across this video of a friend I've known since he was 5. Brandon Payan is the kind of kid that never showed any shyness in dramas or plays he was in. Even when he was real little he was always the star of the show.  When I found out he was interested in doing this kind of work, it clicked. Stations would miss out big time not keeping tabs on Brandon.  He's got the voice, the drive, AND the animation you need in keeping the listeners interested.  I had to chuckle when I first heard he was doing this because I couldn't imagine a more perfect fit for him.

EVIT has a student run radio station where they give hands on experience in technology.  Isn't that the neatest idea?  Have you noticed how frustrating it is for kids coming out of college and trying to get into their fields.  They talk about how these kids try to apply for these kinds of jobs and what is the first question they ask?  "Have you had any experience?"  Well, nooooooo.... How do they begin?  Well, EVIT helps them get started. Now these kids can say they DO have experience.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ivy Encounters

Ivy back when she was teeny
Ivy the other day was concerned about her sister. Ashley seemed a little warm and was laying on the couch.  So Ivy went to the kitchen sink and grabbed the big, wet, squishy, dripping hand rag I had used to wipe the counters with (still had some stuff on it) to put on Ashley's head.  Ashley started crying as the cold water dripped all over her face.  I yelped and jumped up to grab it. GROSS!  Haha.  Poor Ashley.

Ivy has a lot of good intentions, it just comes out wrong sometimes.  So, on another day she walked into the room and interrupted Charles and I talking.  Charles corrected her and said "Ivy, you do not interrupt your mom and dad when they are talking unless it's really important!"   Later Ivy says to me, "Mom, it's not nice that daddy scares little girls."

Ivy's sing song prayer today while we were driving in the van.  "Dear God, thank you for Chaz.  I just love him sooooooo much.  I love him with alllll my heart. And thank you, God, for Ryan but please help him to not be mean to me.  Also help Kyle not to have to wear a pullup at night anymore. Make the pee not come out of his body.  I pray for Ashley that she won't scream loud in my ear when she's upset.  I looove baby Caleb, God, but please make him not hurt me and scream so loud.  He's so cute and I looove him soooo much, God.  Amen".

Mommy: What about daddy?  Can you pray about daddy and mommy?

Ivy: No, I just can't.  My throat hurts from talking so much and I'm done.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Savings Lives Takes Action

It's been a wonderful journey with Reece's Rainbow and helping to give to families that want to adopt, but don't have the funds. Thank you to my friends and bloggers for supporting it. All the times I've thrown money at a morning coffee, went thru a drivethru for a quick burger, or just saw a sale for something I didn't really need..... it's not nearly, a million miles, close to what it feels like to help bring a child closer to the waiting arms of a wonderful family.

It's funny because just before I heard about Reece's Rainbow, I was searching online for a charity I wanted to support. Within the same week, Patti contacted me about a giveaway she wanted to do, using her own Christmas present she never got to open. All so that she could bring people together to save a life.  What started out as an idea, became an action, and is saving lives.

That life was sweet Olga. (Has a family!)

Then it was Kareen (Has a family!)

Then Peter (Has a family!)

Now, little Artem

I got a message on facebook from a lady I don't know. She said that donating wasn't important and that prayers are more powerful anyway. 

I agree that prayer is powerful.

But I also think giving AND prayer makes for a pretty POWERFUL combination.  As you can see!

Kind of like hoping and praying that the world will know about Jesus.  But are we willing to share Jesus with people around us?

I think it's pretty darn cool that with the money we gave, that was pooled together, was able to save a life.  I would rather trade a lifetime of Starbucks coffee's anyday than miss out on saving a precious life such as these.


Then I found

Campus Book Rentals offers new and gently used textbooks for typically less than half the price you'll pay in your school bookstore. Search for the college books you need and save!

Here's the part that hits my soft spot....

For EVERY book rented starting now, they will donate a portion of those proceeds to...   

"We're ecstatic to announce our 2011 Making a Difference Program. We have officially teamed up with Operation Smile, an out of this world, awesome organization, that performs life changing cleft lip surgeries on children whose families could not otherwise afford it. The long term Improvement in quality of life for the children that receive these surgeries is almost incomprehensible. We have committed to donating enough to cover a minimum of 1,000 life changing surgeries. We hope To beat that number, but it's a significant commitment."

Not ONLY can you save HUGE on your textbooks you need to get anyway for college, you are helping to give smiles to these precious kids.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pure Love Giveaway- ENDS TONIGHT!

UPDATED:  Contest ENDS tonight.  If you have already donated, you can put in a $10 entry for Artem plus an extra entries for facebooking and blogging about it.  Even if we don't win, giving the gift of a family is the best gift ever! :D

UPDATED: To the right on my side bar you can see that Artem is added!  Click on PURE LOVE GIVEAWAY below to read more about it!

I made it all simple on where you go to donate and also where you go to enter contest once you do.

Peter has a family looking into adopting him. He is in danger of being transferred to a mental institution forever in just a few short months.
Click HERE to donate to Peter's fund or on my sidebar.
So far $11,000 is in his account.

Goal Met! $13,154 raised.
Thank you for giving so Olga could have a home!  She has a family that is looking to adopt her.  We'll keep you updated!

Goal Met! $15,711 raised
Kareen has a family and is in the process of adopting her!  :)
(Visit to see current adoption process)

ONCE YOU HAVE DONATED you can enter to win prizes and the odds are really good for the Pure Love Giveaway!

ALL the details are here on how to enter:


View video to see why we want to rescue these children

The Way Red Velvet Cake is Supposed to Be Made

Okay, so I read this article on Yahoo called:

8 essentials for authentic red velvet cake

 and supposedly there was talk about what real Red Velvet cake is made of.  I HAVE to try this so I'm putting it here.  Just by reading the ingredients, all I can say is....

Oh yum!

Here is what they are saying are the eight rules for the truly authentic red velvet cake....

1. The cake must have some cocoa, but not too much because it is not a chocolate cake.
2. The cake must have red food coloring; beet juice does not add the right kind of red.
3. The cake must have cream cheese frosting.
4. There should be pecans. (This was news to me.)
5. You must use high-quality ingredients, including White Lily flour, a Southern specialty flour.
6. Precise measurements and meticulous attention to detail are key for this cake; therefore, it must be made in small, easy-to handle, family-sized batches. (Mass-produced batter just doesn't cut it. Sorry, large-scale bakeries.)
7. You must use a hand-held electric mixer, not a stand mixer: Larger machines can over-mix the batter, which sometimes prevents the cake from rising properly.
8. Red velvet cake batter needs vegetable oil, not butter or shortening. Oil yields a very moist cake.

Paula Deen’s Red Velvet Cupcakes from Food Network
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.
Garnish with chopped pecans, fresh raspberry or strawberry, or sprinkles.
Have you found the perfect red velvet cake?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kids Clothing Swap

Check this out!  I signed up with this site where you can do kid clothing swaps. Swapping on thredUP is all about getting great new clothes (and toys!) for your kids while getting rid of stuff they no longer use. We pride ourselves on being the most convenient and fun place to swap online anywhere on the web.No need to wait for your free boxes to arrive, as you can pick two thredUP boxes right now.   

I've used many clothing swap places or trade in's at places nearby me so I'm super curious about this.

I CAN'T wait to try this.



So my husband and I have been discussing our issue of keeping Ivy home. We might not follow any particular program because it's pretty simple on what a kindergartner needs to learn.  I know where she needs to be by the end of the year and I don't see why I can't just teach her myself.  It's been absolutely wonderful having my little girl with again in the day.  Boy do I miss my kids when they are gone ALL DAY!  She's been a lot calmer too and hasn't been crying all the time.  She was an emotional wreck. :(  If you have any suggestions on what you have done for your kindergartner, please leave me a comment!  

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

My Venting Here in Blogland

Charles and Kyle August 2008

Sometimes as a mommy and a wife you can only give your best.

Sometimes things are out of your control.

For example.  My husband has had a high fever for 3 days and right now is at the Dr's to see why it's dragging on and on.  He's hardly able to just stay awake. UPDATEHe just got back. He has flu and bronchitis. He got a breathing treatment, an inhaler, steroids, and a Zpack to fight infection. He can't work for a week! Goodness. I have to take care of my man.  Poor guy!

I've had appointments I can hardly keep track of such as dentist, eye appointments, and one of my sons is going to have a procedure done at a specialist soon.  I've missed appointments because of some overlapping the other.

Ryan, Kyle, Chaz 2008

My boys have basketball practice 3 times a week and games.

They have school projects like crazy, not including their regular homework.

I've had countless meetings with my son's school to help show them things that I've learned over time to help Chaz.  I need them to work with me.  I know it's easier to send him home to mommy but he knows this and they are playing into his hands.  Chaz wants to hide and I need him to learn to be strong.

Chaz 2008

I've been meeting with Ivy's teacher to see why she is struggling and what may be causing it.  My surprise?  She possibly has Sensory Processing Disorder.  It's affecting her greatly at school and she is getting further and further behind.  Normally in Kindergarten this would not be such a huge deal.  But at THIS school they learn how to read by the end of Kindergarten.  I'm pulling her and now homeschooling her.  I HATE this.  I hate being flaky.  When she was struggling before I stepped it up a notch.  I worked hard with her at home along with the school.  It was just too much for her to get up so early, be gone allll day, come home and do her regular homework, AND on top of that they gave her more work using an online program she has to do daily. It was gonna have to be either/or.  Go to school or learn with mom.  Not both.  At 5 she can't be overloaded like this.  She's working her butt off with almost zero playtime to relax.  With a heavy heart I am pulling her.

Ryan 2008
I really, really don't like some homeschooling programs out there that push for a Kindergartner to be learning more than the needed basics.  I can really care less if my daughter knows the continents when she just needs to be focusing on her numbers, letters, and sounds.  All that other stuff can wait.  That's just my opinion.  If you don't have these basics down pat, it's gonna get harder and harder to catch up later. There is a popular homeschooling program I see my friends at church using and I can't believe how many hours are required from them.  Okay, I can see maybe high school students working 8 hours a day on it. One girl, in 8th grade, is doing homeschool for more than 8 hours. Even in a public school a kid is not studying for that many hours. If you  minus play time, lunch time, recess, extra curriculars, etc.

So I'm putting Ivy on the program I've used before that was extremely successful for my other kids.  Really, at 5, I'm not worried about her leaning what animal is from what part of the world.  She just needs her basics right now.

Some of my boys are needing tutoring.

I'm a little grouchy right now but....
Kyle's first day of school. Ohhhh...Memories

Why is it that when they are homeschooling they are souring in their grades?  When I put them back into a school they once again fall behind. Especially since they started the year on top of their class and having honor roll.  Why am I always having to play catch up and rescue them?  Are class sizes too big?  Are they just not used to having to be at school for so many hours and then come home and have even more homework?  Is it overwhelming them?  I don't know, Just trying to figure this out.