Faith, Family, Friends, Fellowship, Food, and Fun

Friday, November 9, 2012

Eureka! A housecleaning dream come true!

I don't know about you, but I'm a happy pinner. I have my very important daily routine of checking Facebook and Pinterest and just pin, pin, pinning along. Among my thousands of pins I have found some interesting cleaning concoctions. Today I went out and bought a dish scrubber where you can put the soap in the handle. I filled it halfway with vinegar and halfway with Dawn (store brand). Then, at 8:00 tonight, I went to town on my built-up shower door and bathtubs. I also poured half a cup of vinegar into the toilets and waited to be disappointed. See, we have this pinkish build up in our toilets that I just couldn't get rid of. I suppose it's because of the minerals in our water, I've never had pink stains before, but no matter what products I had tried in the past, nothing worked.

I immediately fell in love with the scrubber and now have a sparkling shower door and bathtub. Don't worry yourselves about me cleaning on a Friday night, I left the rest of the Master bathroom for tomorrow. And guess what happened when I scrubbed the toilets? Yep, that pink came right off. I did have to let the vinegar soak again and then scrub again, but that's probably because that crusty stuff had been there a long, long time. Just in time for my professional organizer and housecleaning friend of mine to visit- I have sparkly, shiny toilets. I was so surprised that I had to go back and look deep under the rim two more times. So, all you need is a little vinegar! Who knew?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All Saints Day

When I was a child, we didn't do much to celebrate All Saints Day. I went to Catholic school for 3 years and I don't remember doing anything special at all. Now-a-days most churches have a celebration after Mass where the kids are encouraged to dress up as a saint, angel, or other religious life. Last year was our first year to participate. The kids had a blast and we all learned more about the holy people who have gone before us.
2012-St. Kateri, Mary, St. Francis, and St. Joseph


In addition to finding great costume ideas on the internet, I have been finding lots of games and activities. While it would be fun and educational to do them all, it wouldn't be feasable. My goal is to try one or two new things each year and soon they will become family traditions. Simple decorations might include gathering any books about saints, saint statues or prayer cards and arranging them on your table. If you have any special candles, don't forget to include those as well. It doesn't take much to make a lasting impression with the kids.

Here are some ideas:
*Color saint pictures and turn them into stick puppets.
*Put the stick puppets in the ground and play ring toss.
*Color saint pictures and make a penant banner.
*Make saint paper sack puppets from Catholic Icing. This link will also take you to great food ideas and more.
*Print and cut out little pictures of saints and place them in the Guess Who game found on Equipping Catholic Families blog.
*Play Saints scavenger hunt found on Shower of Roses' blog.
*Search for the Saints scavenger hunt also found Waltzing Matilda.
*All Saints Bingo also from Shower of Roses.
*Make cut-out cookies with gingerbread man cookie cutters (male and female) and decorate like saint. You could also use cookie cutter symbols that represent saints such as a chalice, shield, or a bird for St. Francis of Assisi.

We also plan on reading some children's books about saints and playing a Litany of Saints from You Tube. Here is a beautiful idea for preparing your own family litany from a friend of mine.

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Fall Baking Bucket List

I LOVE Fall. Are you as excited as I am that it's finally here?

I love all things Fall:  the smell of the air, festivals, pumpkins, football, open windows, chili, soup, candles burning, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Advent. I love homemade Chex mix (we don't call it trash), decorating, cooking in the oven, and most especially baking.

Here in Aggieland we don't use the oven much from April through at least October, it's just too hot. But cooler weather is coming, I feel it and I'm ready with my bucket list of goodies I'm going to bake for my family.

Pumpkin White Chocolate Drops
Butterscotch Blondie Pie
My Mom's Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie Crunch
Caramel Corn
Pumpkin Bread

And my other Fall favorites:
Spicy Chex Mix- we make at least 8 of these double batches each year.
Chicken Pot Pie

Here are some apple recipes.
and here are some Halloween recipes.

What are your favorites?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Myths About Being a Stay at Home Mom

My whole life I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom (you know, like June Cleaver with a tidy home, something baking in the oven, and always a smile on my face). I was extremely disappointed when that didn't happen right after my first was born. Or second. Or third. Or even 4th. It did happen though. Three years ago when the youngest was a year old I went to half-time, teaching 7:30 am until 11:30 am, and last year I got to walk away from the most wonderful job I ever had and walk into the most wonderful thing I will ever DO.

Now don't get me wrong, it wasn't at all what I pictured. I mean, I knew I would have much more time to get my house in order, but somehow, at the end of each day I felt like I had failed miserably at keeping my home neat and clean. There were dishes that needed to be put away, toys I didn't have the energy to put away, and laundry that needed to be dealt with.  I struggled daily with trying to stick to my plan. I still do, but it has finally sunk in that spending quality time with the kids at home is much more important than making beds.

So now I am being pulled away from my post by my 2 year old who is eager for me to play with him and I will go....

This morning after feeding all the kids, getting them dressed, 2 kids to school, and while picking up and putting away over 100 items like marbles that rolled away, Barbie shoes, Legos, books, and so on, it dawned on me that this journey parallels my own spiritual journey. While I am not at the beginning of my journey, I am not at the end either. Some days I get further ahead and some days I get a little behind, but as long as I keep my eyes on the end result, pleasing God on both journeys, I am doing alright.

As my best friend of 35 years reminds me regularly when I rush around to clean the house for guests, "Are they coming to see you or your house?" I try to remind myself that my kids won't remember how toys were everywhere all the time, they will remember how much I played with them. So put that to-do list on the desk and go play with your kids!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cloud Dough #179

 Okay, this container was clearly not big enough.

Cloud dough is so soft and it smells good, too. All you need is:

8 c flour
1 c baby oil

It looks really disgusting until you get it all mixed in.
I let the kids use cups, cookie cutters, and sand toys. They had a good time with this texture.

#204 Make Your Own Slime

 This slime was so easy to make!

All you need is 1 1/2 c liquid starch (not found at H-E-B) but I have plenty to share with my local friends.
1 1/2 c clear glue
food coloring
glass bowls
paper towels

I made the mistake of not measuring the clear glue. I assumed 2 bottles equaled 1 1/2 c based on the blog where I found this. I added the liquid starch and it was not all absorbed by the glue. It didn't matter too much, I just mixed and mixed and then poured the excess starch out.

 Just mix the glue and starch and stir.

 Separate the gooey blob into several bowls and add a few drops of food coloring.

 No, my toddler does not always run around the house in a diaper. I didn't want him to spill on his jammies.

 Next, let the kids mash and mush away.

 It was pretty cool how the slime took the shape of the bowls.

 I let the kids mix the colors.

This really was a fun experiment that kept the kids engaged for quite awhile. My oldest put hers in a baggie. We will see how it is in the morning.

Don't foget to check out the rest of my summer bucket list for over 200 fun things to do with kids.

#97 and #122 Liquid/Spray Sidewalk Chalk

 The kids LOVED this. They quickly sprayed all their bottles empty and begged me to make more. That being said, I'll make way more than the original recipe next time. They eventaully sprayed the fence and their wooden swing set.

1 c cornstarch PER BOTTLE
1 c water PER BOTTLE
1-2 drops food coloring PER BOTTLE
spray bottles (buy from Dollar Tree or H-E-B for .99)

There are 2 ways you can mix this up. You can pour one c water in each bottle and use a funnel to pour the cornstarch in, or you can mix it all up in a large measuring cup and pour it in.
Shake and spray!

For over 200 more ideas of fun stuff to do with your kids, check out my summer bucket list.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Make Your Own Puffy Paint

food coloring
Dixie Cups or other small containers
1 T self-rising flour
1 T salt
1 T water
1 drop food coloring
Cotton Swabs

1. Place 1 T flour in each cup.

2. Add 1 T salt.

3. Add 1 T water.

4. Add 1 drop of food coloring.

5. Stir.

You may want to make a white one as well.

6. Design your masterpiece. Then microwave for about 30 seconds.
The final product. You can't tell from the picture, but the paint really did puff up.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

#203 Coffee Filter Art

 I first saw this idea on the blog "Mommy With Selective Memory." Hers are beautiful! I knew this would be great for my kids...only the paint in my dabbers was too thick. I can't tell you how disappointed I was.

 I did the rainbow one myself and the kids were doing the other ones. I stopped them and got out the food coloring.

 I don't really recommend this because the kids had to hold the coloring down on the filter for it to go through. My kids are small so sometimes there would be a mess on the table.

But they did turn out pretty. I still like the effect on the original blog.

For over 200 more fun ideas to do with kids, click on "Summer Bucket List" at the top of the page, under my blog title.

#205 Glue Painting

 Every year when school supplies go on sale I stock up. I had 8 bottles in my organizer that had been used so I levelled them off and added food coloring to make our glue paint. Each bottle was about 2/3 full and I added 5 drops of food coloring. That may have been too much, you could try 3 or 4. Then I shook...and I shook...and I shook.

 It's a good thing I didn't have more glue because I would have gotten into blending colors and there's just not enough room in our house for excess.

 I really thought that doing this on black paper would make the colors pop. It did, but when it dried, most of it was absorbed by the use don't use black.My kids really love America's Got Talent, that's what Lauren made top, right.

If you make designs on wax paper, they become window clings. Just let them dry and peel them off carefully. To make them stick to the window, rub a little water on the back. Spencer (2) is learning to identify the letters in his name so I did this one as an example.

Monday, August 6, 2012

#174 Bead Suncatchers

All you need is some beads and small pans. I picked up the beads at Hobby Lobby with my 40% off coupon. My pans came from our Easy Bake oven so they fit nicely into our toaster oven. Cook at 425 until melted. I cooked the first batch too long and boy did it stink up the house. I checked the 2nd batch after 5 minutes and they were just melted enough. You don't want them to start browning on the edges.

For over 200 more ideas of fun things to do with kids, click here.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Sandbox

Stephen took a break from his schoolwork and some video work he needed to do to build this awesome sandbox. We first saw the idea on Pinterest, but it is a Home Depot plan. Since we have 4 kids, Stephen altered the plans to make it bigger. The base is roughly 7 1/2' x 8'. He made it to fit this corner of the yard by the house.

The materials cost $125, we used 20 bags of sand, at $3.50 each, in addition to the 4 or 5 from the old sandbox. The kids L-O-V-E it. Just by chance, the left 3/4 is in the shade in the morning and the right 3/4 are shaded in the evening. We had 3 friends over to play Friday night and it was just the right size.

And did I mention the seats fold and transform into a cover? AKA stage.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Potty Training Has Officially Begun

Spencer has been showing signs of potty training for a few months now. He began by sitting on his potty chair any time he saw any of us using the bathroom. Then he progressed to wanting to sit on our toilet, but with his clothes on. The last few weeks he has insisted on sitting on the potty after almost all his diaper changes. Once he even carried my heavy stool over to the toilet for me.

Being that this is #4, I decided I was not going to push this issue. Especially during summer vacation when it seems like someone always needs something.

Tonight I let Spencer stay up late because we were all having such a good time outside. Stephen was working on the new sandbox and he usually handles Spencer's bedtime routine.Basically, I was procrastinating. So when I finally put Spencer on my bed to change him, I did not want to hear him say, "Tee-Tee Potty!" I hesitated because he never sits there very long and then he wants toilet paper and he has to flush, too. I agreed. I can't explain what was different this time, but Mommy intuition told me this time was for real. I looked in and he was going. I can't tell you how eager I am to get this done. August 24 will mark 8 years of diaper changing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

#35 Ice Sculpures, #104 Ice Cube Painting and #? Sidewalk Painting

I could have easily given them some paper to complete #104 Ice Cube Painting. Oops!