Friday, January 31, 2014

Get Your Kids in the Kitchen!

Getting kids in the kitchen has such great rewards in the long run and it can be something as simple as handing them a wooden spoon and telling them to stir.  I will be the very first to admit that it isn't always easy.  Things take longer.  The messes are bigger.  (For a time-crunched mama, this one is very hard for me to swallow.)  It's worth it though. 
Our new Friday Night Family Fun Nights are so much better with special food.  I reached back into my childhood and went with this Cream Cheese Chili Dip.  Yes, I realize it is categorized as junk food, but it's the exception in our food repertoire, not the rule. 
Blossom #1 smeared two packages of cream cheese on the bottom.   (Say hello to Jake who is drooling over the cream cheese wrappers.  He will swipe them out of the garbage can once Blossom #3 drops them in there.)

She dumped in 3 cans of Hormel Chili

and sprinkled on loads of Mozzerella Cheese. 

We baked it til bubbly and then dug in with the Tostitos.  I realize that I've just broken one of the most important rules of food blogging, in that there is no picture of the completed product.  I can't help it; I never claimed to be a food blogger.  Maybe I forgot, maybe they ate it too quick.  Who knows. 
The real point of this post is to let your kids do stuff in the kitchen.  This is the reason all of the photos are unstaged, unedited and only delightfully messy.  Because that's what kids in the kitchen looks like. 
and smiles.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Blossom Ice-Skating!

We've been working on our Winter Fun List... little by little.  The weather's been cooperating.  (That's my nice way of saying that it's been cold.  Really, really cold.)  They say, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."  I say, "When the winter gets cold, go ice-skating." 
I loved driving in to this particular State Park. 
It's the same one where my mother took my brothers, sister and me swimming when we were just "little squirts." 
It's the same one I've hiked, had hay rides and walks. 
It's the same one where my Sister got married. 
It's the same one where my Brother got engaged. 
It's the same one where the Rugged, Mountain and I fished early on in our married life (pre-kid era!)  It's the same one where the Rugged, Mountain Man and I take our Blossoms on Summer and Fall picnics. 
I just had this happiness in my heart as we drove in and I thought of all the history there. 

On Frog Pond, located on a Butterfly-less Butterfly Trail (the Butterflies are laughing at us from their warm perches in Florida), we glided out on the ice and enjoyed ourselves.  It was solid, thanks to the cold.  I even had Blossom #4 out on the ice in the stroller.  The Rugged, Mountain Man was pretty sure I was doing this so I could use the stroller as a crutch.  :)  Hmmm, maybe...  Anyhow, the girlies didn't want to leave.  We convinced them with promises of pizza!  :)

Side note: Family fun doesn't have to cost a lot.  In fact, it usually shouldn't.  I was looking at our skates in this picture.  Two pair were hand-me-downs and the other three pairs were Thrift Store victories.  Yay!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Country Girl Life

"Mama, mama, come quick!  Blossom #2 found a Morning Dove and Blossom #1 caught it!"


I grabbed the camera and took off, just grateful that they weren't yelling to me about a bear or something.  (There was a bear attack just across the road a month and a half ago.) 

The story is that we have a net over our meat chicken pen because the hawks were feasting on our meat chicks.  We outsmarted the hawks.  Now that the pen is empty, the Morning Dove squeezed in through the side one day and the girlies found her trying to fly out. 

It was SO beautiful to see a Morning Dove up close.  I was sad to have to share with them that she must have her freedom and they would not be keeping her as a pet.  But, away she flew, unharmed and thankful for her freedom again.  I ended up with good photos for the scrapbooks. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cozy Winter Fun - Cinderella Progress

(Blossom #3 wanted her hands in the picture.) 
There's progress!  The girls are really into the whole puzzle thing.  On the Belle puzzle, I did A LOT of the work, but I've done very little on this one.  Even Blossom #3, who is 4 years old today (WOW, our chubby baby is a big girl!) will sit down and actually do this puzzle.  She is really good at it.  So, I'm putting my hands-down stamp of approval on puzzles as a family activity. 
(Blossom #1 wanted a turn with her hands in the picture.) 
Yes, Blossom #3 still puts her elbows down and disconnects the puzzle periodically, but for the most part, she can really participate. 
And, they are all really good about checking the floor for snack-size pieces for Blossom #4...

One thing they love about puzzle progress, is that the closer you get to being done, the easier it is to find where the pieces go.  I can tell the excitement is mounting.  Blossom #2 and I will be frame shopping at the Thrift Store on Monday while Blossom #1 is having her piano lesson.  Stay tuned for more Cinderella puzzle progress!  :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

More on Teatime

Perhaps you remember that teatime is one of our favorite parts of our day.  Once the holidays passed and things settled down, we were able to get back into our newest favorite habit.  I still love it!

It's never been about the food.  Just a little cup of tea... usually Chamomile, and maybe a graham cracker or a cookie.  (I still want them to eat at supper time!)  Plus, that keeps things easy for me and them to prepare teatime.  Oh yes and it makes easy to clean up from teatime! 

I look into their eyes and listen.  Today, I noticed right off the bat that two Blossoms were daydreaming. 

"Whatcha thinkin' about?"

"I was thinking about winning the Triple Crown."

"What kind of horse was it?"

"It was a Palomino, OF COURSE."

"What was her name?"


I felt reacquainted with my daughter.  I didn't realize her daydreams were so detailed.  (Mine are pretty vague.)  And then she shared with me that she doesn't plan on being a jockey some day; she just likes daydreaming about racing horses.  I liked the confidential type sharing.

Further on in the conversation, I'd taken note that during this particular day, we were having girlie-to-girlie mean words and voices.  So, I took the opportunity to "Say One Nice Thing About The Person On Your Left."  It was a good little exercise.  The smiles sure were cute.  Everybody likes to hear nice stuff about them, after all. 

I love it when a good idea continues to reap good fruit.  Day in, day out.  We're learning things here in our happy home. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pray For Your Man

I was laying awake thinking last night.  And my thoughts turned to prayer.  I prayed for whatever and whoever came to mind.

Like a ton bricks, jolting my weary, fuzzy brain, this thought pierced through me.

"When was the last time I prayed for my husband?"


That's my job.

Blossom character issues, their salvation and familial general provision... it's all a bit more pressing than a faithful, even keel, Godly man like mine.

I didn't over analyze or feel condemned; I took it for what I think the Holy Spirit meant it to be - a reminder to uphold the Rugged, Mountain Man in prayer.  Regularly.

Friday, January 17, 2014


I've heard it said that patience is waiting with character.  Lately, I've been thinking that patience is waiting with faith.  Believing that God is working, when you can see nothing.  And that's the thing that gets me.  So many times, I think nothing is happening.  I sink into frustration, only to find out later that God was indeed on the move.  It's like He wants me to know that the minute I pray, God is working.  I don't know all.  I don't see all.  But He does.  The girls and I were looking at Psalm 115.  It states that He is a help and shield to those who fear Him and trust Him.  I asked our girlies how God could help us.  Girlie #1 said that He'd give us wisdom.  Girlie #2 said that He'd help us to be patient and Girlie #3 said that He'd help us to be calm.  Their responses were surprisingly intuitive, in my opinion. 

He IS our Help and our Shield. 

And yes, He does help us in the wisdom, peace and patience area.  And that's what I need.  Help to wait.  Help to believe.  Help to trust. 

I think of that verse in the New Testament... the plea,

"Lord, I believe!  Help my unbelief!"

Get honest.  Get real with God.  Help me wait with faith, Lord... in every situation I find myself in.  I don't have to know all the behind-the-scenes things. 

I pray. 
I wait. 
The Lord works.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

That Skipper 'o Mine!

Hooked on Phonics time again... Skipper's doing her review with me on the red couch, just like usual.


"That's a human that's inside all the time."

Oh my goodness, Skipper.  What dry humor you have!

And then, there's Skeeter, cuddling on the couch with Rugged, Mountain Man Daddy.  He announced he had to go downstairs and "do fire" before bedtime.  Without missing a beat, she proclaimed in her best redneck voice,

"I gotta go downstahrs and do FAHR."

(We didn't even know she could do a redneck impression.)

It is important to note that an all-out tickle session followed her redneck impression. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

You know you're a Mommy when...

Ladies & Gents,

It's time for another episode of "You Know You're A Mommy When..."

You're skimming blogs you follow, catch a brief glimpse of a bubble bath...

And drool over it like a decked out Hot Fudge Sundae! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

THE Puzzle

It's cold.  Like REALLY cold here.  Like forbid your Blossoms to go outside kinda cold.  (They didn't deal well with that.)

So, enter our puzzle.  We love the artwork of Thomas Kinkade AND we love princesses. (It's a house full of Blossoms, what do you expect?!)

We finished the Beauty & The Beast puzzle not long ago, glued it with a squeegee and Elmer's Glue and put it in a Thrift Store frame.  I gotta say, we're pretty proud of that thing.  Onto Cinderella.

Here's where we're at right now.

Let's just say I check the floor obsessively for pieces that have fallen.  Sweet Pea would love to munch on them.

Friday, January 10, 2014

To Do or Not To Do

Last summer, I knew it would be busy.  Sweet Pea was just tiny - only three months old and Mommy was adjusting to life with four Blossoms.  I was afraid the summer would slip away without those favorite special things we love doing with our Blossoms.  So, I did what any List Making (ahem, obsessed?) Lady does.  I MADE A LIST.  At the end of the summer, when we were wondering where all those lazy, hazy summer days went, we got out the list and remembered all the things that we did.  It was SO NICE to be able to realize that we didn't do nothin'.  (so to speak) 

And now, here it is.  My favorite holidays over already and we're heading into the quiet stretch of winter.  And I thought to myself.  I'm just gonna get this on paper.  Without further ado, in no order whatsoever, my unofficial Winter Fun List.

  • ice skating (rink and/or pond)
  • sledding
  • puzzle (more to come on this!)
  • bowling
  • make special food for Super Bowl (the Super Bowl counts as a holiday in our household)
  • McDonald's PlayPlace date (breakfast?)
  • Skeeter'S (#2) piano recital
  • make gingerbread men
  • field trip (location undecided)
  • look at Christmas lights
  • make paper snowflakes
  • sleep out by Christmas tree
  • make snow ice cream
  • go Christmas shopping with the girlies
  • do Christmas wrapping with the girlies
  • finish our current read-aloud (The Five Little Peppers All Grown Up by Margaret Sidney)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Christmas Gratitude

Y'all know how I feel about gratitude already.  And I love promoting it in our children.  That means making an attempt at thank-you notes at birthdays and Christmas-time.  I do give myself a break sometimes in this area.  I mean, c'mon.  Four Blossoms, one Mommy.  So, I like it when I found nifty printables like this one via Pinterest. 

Free Kids Christmas Thank You Note - at #free #printables #holidays #crafts

Check out the link to print it.

It was easy!  And, I didn't pitch the computer out the window.  And, it was pretty painless writing thank-you notes.  There are other cute Christmas stationary-type printables out there that just have blank lines, but this year, this worked best for us.  The fun bonus was my children's replies as we wrote these.  Scooter (#2) wrote her own, without any supervision whatsoever, hence the spelling entertainment.  Skipper (#3) told me what to write.  Enjoy!

Scooter (#2)
To: Grandma and Grampa
(Potholder Lom and extra loops)
I can make stufe with it and make stufe for Bryley and Ari plus Mommy and Daddy
I'm really not sure why Daddy got crossed out.  I'm told it was because the letters were squished and there wasn't enough room, but it amuses me nonetheless. 
(SO THERE DADDY, I'm not making you anything!)
Skipper (#3)
To: Grandma & Grandpa
“I neder hat one and now me do” (received a prairie dress)
"I can do dat all myselt” (received a puzzle)

To: Aunt & Uncle
"Dem pitty."  (received a scarf & necklace)

My favorite though is when Skipper wrote to her Great Grandparents to thank them for the money they gave. 
"Why do you like it, Skipper?" 
"I dust like it. 
I going to keep it
and not going to give it to
(Ahem.  Perhaps we will work on generousity next... although Skeeter seems to have that down.  She wants to make scarves to give away and of course, my ever-entrepreneurial daughter wants to SELL THEM.)

Skeeter (#1)
To: Grandma & Grandpa
Thank you for knitting Loom and for the dress.  I like them because now I can knit Mommy a new scarf and I have a really nice prairie dress. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Humor runs in the family

I knew that humor ran in the family.  Now I now it even more.

The story:
We use Hooked on Phonics for our reading program (I highly recommend it.  Thorough, foundational, successful!)  Scooter (#2) is going over prefixes.  We sat on the couch together as she read. 


Who is Miss Ledd; have you ever met her before?"
She grinned a silly grin, offered a dry chuckle, and then continued on with her list...


Puns, at 6 years old.  Oh, my Dad will be proud when he hears this story.

Monday, January 6, 2014

10 Mommy New Year's Resolutions

#1 - I will reduce my Thrift Store visits to every OTHER week, instead of every Monday.

#2 - When I do go to the Thrift Store, I will do my best to avoid the scarf and purse section entirely.

#3 - I will exercise - meaning performing activities other than walking back and forth through the house and lifting laundry baskets and children.

#4 - I will avoid the Dollar Store altogether.

#5 - I will not answer my children unless I have truly heard the question, thus prevent such meltdowns that ensue when Mommy mistakenly agrees to a piece of candy before bed and then changes her mind when she realizes what she has just done.

#6 - I will eat chocolate once a day, instead of every time I walk through the kitchen.

#7 - I will not get mad if my scotch tape disappears again.

#8 - I will let my daughters get dressed first and THEN pick the scarf I want to wear out of their closet.

#9 - I will fight clutter like a Roman warrior.  Princess toys, dollies and Strawberry Shortcake stuff BEWARE.

#10 - I will pick up EVERY ponytail holder I see, whether it is behind the toilet or under a bed, thereby refilling the ponytail holder jar to a level that does not require me restocking at Walmart (again). 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Being Vulnerable

We spent lots of time with family over the holidays, as most people do.  And, in my case, my family are my closest friends.  Sometimes our get-togethers are times of light-hearted banter and other times, we drift to deeper topics.  I love the nuggets of wisdom or honesty that are shared over a sink of dirty dishes. 

We give our hugs, we say our goodbyes and then, on the ride home, I reflect on the conversations, topics and comments.  "Did I say too much?  Was I cynical?  Should I be quiet more?  Was I mean?"  I was wondering why I do this.  Is it good or is it bad?  Is it self-questioning?  Is it insecurity?  What is it?

It's vulnerability. 

I feel vulnerable, because I let the walls down and they saw me.  The real me.  The me that wasn't trying to impress anyone.  And during these drives home, while the children finally sleep and Daddy and I can talk without interruptions and Mommy can think connect thoughts, I find that the Lord can take that vulnerability and use it for good.  He searches my heart then.  He can say, "Yes, I found pride there.  You must deal with that."  He can put His finger on attitudes that were right and reinforce them, sending me further in that specific holy direction.  He can correct.  He can admonish me. 

That vulnerability is the humble place, my life - my conversation, laid bare before the Lord.  Through it, He can keep working in me.  Yes, I will continue to be real with my family, even if I don't always think that vulnerability is comfortable.  And, being in that vulnerable place, helps me to remember how to treat others when they are honest and real with me. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

You know you're a mother of small children when...

You know you're a mother of small children when...

You grab your favorite Thrift Store Water Cup with Straw (to encourage healthful water-drinking), traipse to the freezer and instead of getting a handful of ice, you almost drop teething toys into your water!

It's the little things that make you smile!  :)

Happy New Year, my friends.  Start it off with smile!