Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Five Reasons Every Child Needs a Pet

Hi Everyone!

Today's post is in honor of our beloved family dog, Toby who celebrated his 9th birthday on Monday. 
Toby was a rescue dog from the local animal shelter and joined our family 8 years ago. In those 8 years he has brought such joy and happiness to our family. As I watch my children grow, I see how much having a pet has enriched their lives. Whether you are cat family or a dog family, I believe having a pet is essential for teaching children valuable life lessons:

1. Animals Can Teach Love: Animals are one of the best ways for children to experience the value of loving something and being loved. Some might say that animal love is unconditional; but I don't think that is necessarily true. Instead, I believe that animals can teach the power of love as a reward. If you give an animal love, it will give back that love to you ten fold.

2. Animals Can Teach Compassion: I believe whole heartedly in adopting and rescuing pets over buying from a breeder. There are so many animals in need of love and a good home. Our Toby was twice returned to the animal shelter before joining our family. He has evidence of a broken tail, ribs and a paw. My children have a deep awareness of the suffering Toby experienced early in his life, which in turn has taught them the true meaning of compassion.

Animals Can Teach Loyalty.  
The definition of loyalty is "a strong feeling of support and allegiance to something or someone" A family pet embodies this definition probably more naturally than anything else on earth. This is obvious in the dog or cat that greets you at the door after a long day, or jumps in your lap to comfort you on a cold rainy day. I believe that children who witness this type of loyalty from animals in their home have a greater likelihood of being loyal to their own family members and friends.

4. Animals Can Help Overcome Fears: Many children, my own daughter included at one time, have a fear of dogs, especially large breeds. Children need to be shown that something larger than them doesn't have to be intimidating or scary. They can be gentle and loving, kind and caring. If you have a family pet of your own, your children are less likely to be afraid of other people's animals.

5. Animals Can Teach Reliability and Dependability. Children can learn a lot from pets about what it means to have someone rely on them for its well being. All of my children participate in caring for Toby, whether it's feeding him, making sure he has water, letting him outside and of course, giving him lot of love!  When children realize that they are helping something who can't do things for themselves it teaches them to think outside of their "own personal bubble"

In the end, it doesn't matter if you are a dog or a cat family; a hamster or guinea pig family; a rabbit or turtle family. Pets enrich and empower our children to become kind, contributing and dependable members of society. There's always an excuse to not have a pet: "We move too much", "My child is allergic to dogs", "We don't have a backyard"....the list can go on and on. Still, there's also always a way to "find a way" as well. You just have to be willing to look for it.

I'm sharing this post with the following linky parties:

1. Party Under the Big Top Act 12

2. Manic Mondays Blog Hop

3. Not So Wordless Wednesday

Monday, April 27, 2015

Carrot and Zucchini Cake Bars

Good Morning Everyone!

I wasn't really sure what to call this recipe. It's a cake; but it's not as thick as a normal cake; but it's fluffy and moist like a cake. It tastes like a cake; but kinda looks more like a bar. In the end, I decided I was putting way too much thought into this; and just named it a "cake bar"

This is another "hide the veggies and the kids will eat it" recipe. Although, the carrots are pretty obvious in it! I peeled the zucchini, however so it's not quite as obvious!

Carrot Zucchini Cake Bars

There are a million (and one) recipes on the internet for carrot zucchini bread/cake etc. I'm really not inventing anything new here, kids! Still, I always like to put as much of my own spin on things as I can, so I added some things, took some things away from a couple of recipes I found and this was the result. I hope you enjoy it.

I have decided not to do the picture card with the recipe any longer. I was making these in pic monkey; but honestly, it was just too much work. I wish blogger had a recipe plugin like Wordpress does; but it doesn't....which can lead to a whole new discussion about how I'm contemplating moving to a custom domain; but that's a conversation for another time. For now, I've decided to make things more simple by just directing you to the google sites page where all my recipes are stored.

Just click the link in the caption below the picture! 

Oh, and full disclosure here as well....the frosting is just store bought cream cheese frosting!

Thank you for stopping by and seeing me, have a great day!

I'm sharing this recipe with the following link parties:

1. Mix it up Monday

2. Marvelous Monday Linky Party 51

3. Gator Mommy Reveiws Party 55

4. A Sorta Fairy Tale Blog Hop 52

5. Manic Mondays

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday Morning Coffee Thoughts

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a fabulous week. Mine was good even though the weather here in PA has been so weird lately! We were grilling and sitting outside last weekend; and yesterday I was wrapped up in blankets watching my son's baseball game! How about where you are? Has your area of the world received the memo that it's supposed to be spring?!

Well, it's time once again to see what's been happening around the blogosphere and grand ol' interweb this week. So, grab your warm beverage and let's get started!

-- We are a bread loving family for sure; but I will be the first to admit that making my own bread and pizza dough usually sends me into a panic because I have, what can only be described as a "hate-hate" relationship with yeast. It just...I can' just NEVER works properly for me! So these No Yeast Pizza Breadsticks were clearly designed with me in mind!

-- Anytime I can hide vegetables in something AND put cheese with it AND have it all inside a warm, soft delicious muffin, I am on board with bells on; and these Veggie Cheese Muffins could not be more perfect!

-- Go buy the ingredients to make these Peanut Butter Brownie Bowls! I haven't made them yet; but I'm pretty sure that when I do, it's going to be life-changing!

Wow, it has been a crazy week in the news, hasn't it?!  Someone scaled the White House, Americans were stranded in Yemen, and the migrant crisis in The Mediterranean continues. Frat Boys are in trouble....again. Pulitzer Prizes were awarded this week as well. A few other stories caught my attention as well:

--You might read something more inspiring than this story about a man with muscular distrophy finishing the Boston Marathon....but I doubt it.

-- I can't even imagine how excited the paleontologists, anthropologists, archaeologist....and any other applicable "ologists" must be about these Fossilized Dinosaur Eggs

-- Any time cancer gets a kick in the ass, I smile a little bigger that day. If you hate cancer as much as I do...go read this sotry about a group of immune system drugs that melt cancer tumors

--It is just NOT a good time to be a stripper at Chinese rural funerals

You know I love to discover great blogs; and there were definitely some outstanding ones to explore this week!

-- Ashleigh over at Simply Wright has a beautiful blog with some great features about parenting, cooking, crafts... she's gotta little bit of everything over there. Stop by and check her out, you'll be glad you did.

Lysa wrote a tear worthy and  beautiful post about the healing powers of forgiveness that you should go read...right now.

-- I chose two beautiful handmade cards from talented crafters to show case this week as well.
Happy Mother's Day by Lynn
at The Queen's Scene

Hi by Jennifer
 at Stampin on the Fly

A few last random thoughts as always:

-- Go satisfy your inner child with a First Look inside new Dr. Seuss book

-- Someone Stole a Baby Sea Lion---seriously?!? Seriously! shame...shame...

-- It's the end of an era: no more orange Kraft Mac n' Cheese

Finally, the picture of the week and my hope you take some time from your busy lives, kids, family and schedules to just admire the beauty of the earth around you.

Until next time....

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

5 Reasons It's OK To Trust Your Child

Most parents, including myself, will tell you that they feel like they grew up in  "a different time." A time when it was safe to just be outside away from home from the end of the school day until the street lights came on. A time in which, we spent our weekends at ball fields with our friends and at parks all around town. Now, the world is different. Too many bad things have happened and our children unfortunately, just don't have those same luxuries of freedom. Still, I think that it is important that we recognize that even in this world of "bad people do bad things", it is ok to trust your children. It is ok to allow them room to grow and discover the world around them. For me, trusting my children has benefited both them and myself as a parent in the folllowing ways:

1. Trust Builds Confidence: We live in a very nice, very large typical suburban neighborhood. However, since we are a military family we are only going to be in this area for a year, I've not really made too much of an effort to know people beyond my immediate neighbors. The other day, my 10 year old son asked me if he could ride his bike around the block. My hesitation was immediate because it meant he would be out of my line of sight for a good while. Then I realized that by allowing him to do this, it would not only give him a sense of accomplishment: but would also boost his confidence that he was able to ride around the block by himself. I trusted him to ride his block where we had discussed would be safe and he did.

2. Trust Teaches Independence: The same example can be used to show that trust teaches independence. If you never trust your children to do something on their own, how will they ever learn independence? Kids need to be free to discover the world around them, within safe limits and boundaries, of course.

3. Trust Builds Positive Relationships. If your children believe you never trust them, they will not have a desire to build or to have a positive relationship with you. Furthermore, feeling as though they are untrustworthy will also be a detriment to other relationships they have in school with teachers, or with partners or coworkers later in life. Trust is such an important building block in establishing and teaching the value of postive relationships.

4. Not All Children Are Doing Something Wrong: Having a teenager and 2 other children who are growing up in an age of technology means my house is online a vasty majority of the time. We have talked at great length about the importance of online safety and security. They know that if I ask to see what they are doing, they must share it. They have been taught was is acceptable and what is unacceptable while online. I do not, however, feel the need to ask each and every time I walk into my daughter's room and see her on her laptop or her phone. That doesn't mean I never ask her, either. You have to be practical and find a balance. If you ask each and every time you have a child on a piece of technology, then you're not allowing them the experience of being trusted to make the right decisions and to apply the lessons you've worked hard to teach them.

5. Trust Teaches Consequence.  Despite your best efforts, your child will betray your trust in one way or another. Either as a toddler sneaking the candy he was told he couldn't have, or as a teenager breaking curfew or being somewhere he or she isn't supposed to be. It'll be devastating for you as a parent because you'll take it as a personal failure (as I'm sure I will also.) Howeer, in this "failure" there is a lesson: Consequence.  When your toddler takes the candy he's not allowed; and then you don't allow him to have any candy for month, he will come to understand he violated a trust you had in him. Same with a teenager. When you take the car keys away after breaking curfew, he will realize that it's a consequnce of lost trust.
Consequences can teach children necessary lessons about integrity, character and value. They can also teach a child the importance of making decsions between what is right and what is wrong.

I believe we have a responsibility as parents to teach our kids the value of trusting essential people in their lives (family, teachers, worthy friends)  as well as being trustworthy. It is not something to be taught or shared lightly;  but rather with purpose and intent to help shape them into strong positive individuals.

I would like to share this post with the following linky parties:

1. Party Under the Big Top #11

2. Wake Up Wednesday

3. Manic Monday (2nd Entry)

4. A Sorta Fairy Tale Blog Hop 51 (2nd Entry)

5. A Little R&R Blog Hop 100


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Temporary Changes

Hi Everyone!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, and I certainly hope you are; you have probably notice that I've tried to establish a bit of a routine with what I post. Monday is for a recipe, Tuesday is a craft, Wednesday is parenting, Thursday (day off), Friday another craft (if time permits); and Saturday is for "Coffee Thoughts"

I will be making a change to that original schedule for a while pertaining to crafting. I will not be crafting anything for the blog again... probably until mid to late August. There are a couple of reasons for this:

1. I actually have pictures that I need to scrapbook. I love to share the cards and creations I make; but I keep my scrapbook pages just for myself and my family to see. I have been putting off doing this for far too long; and I need to get it done before the end of May because.....

2. It is time for us to move again! So, once I finish my scrapbook pages in May, it will be time for me to start packing up all my supplies. I'm never sure when we move to a new house if there is going to be a space for me to craft. Hopefully by mid August if I'm able to craft, I'll have a new space all ready!

What does all this mean for the blog? Nothing other than just taking out the crafting days. I will continue the recipes, parenting and weekly "Coffee Thoughts" posts for as long as I can...until it's time to disconnect the internet and pack it all up.

That's all for me today. I just wanted to share a few thoughts about these upcoming changes for those who may be interested.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Three Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Hi Everyone!

I hope you had a great weekend! I'm sharing a delicious recipe for a warm soft and decadent cookie. I have always loved oatmeal chocolate chip cookies; but I decided to kick it up a bit and added not one, not two; but three types of chocolate chips!! You can basically follow any oatmeal chocolate chip recipe you have or like and add the chocolate chips. I made a couple of changes to the recipe I found. I added a little less oatmeal and found that 1/2 cup of each type of chip was plenty. Full disclaimer here though, I think next time I make them, I may drop the butterscotch chips to 1/4 cup. The cookies were very butterscotchy, as my lovely daughter pointed out to me.

I hope you and your family enjoy them as much as we did! Thank you for visiting with me and enjoy the rest of your day. I'll see you again soon!

I would like to share this recipe with the following linky parties:

Have a fantastic day, thank you for visiting with me. I'll be back tomorrow with an update and a bit of news about some upcoming changes to the blog! 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday Morning Coffee Thoughts

Hi Everyone!

I hope you've all had a fabulous week. Mine was good; but continues to be busy with spring sports for the kiddos. I didn't have a chance to blog with my normal routine this week; but hopefully will be back to a good schedule next week.

Ok, grab your warm beverages and let's see what's been happening around the internet and blogosphere this week!

-- I think the first thing we need to do is to take a moment and pay homage to the cresecent roll. It may quite possibly be one of man's most perfect foods, right?! I mean it's warm, and flaky; but still a little crispy on the outside. The best thing about the crescent roll, however has to be it's versatility. I have learned that you can roll up, stuff or top a crescent roll with just about anything! The next crescent roll marvel I will be making will be these Ranch Chicken Bacon Roll Ups  because anything that has bacon, chicken AND a crescent roll is a winner in my book!

-- Now it's confession time, how many of you secretly (or maybe not so secretly) head straight to the Funnel Cake line at the fair or carnival? (We actually always called them "Elephant Ears") Whatever you call them, there is no denying that they may be the closest thing to food heaven on earth, especially if you're lucky enough to get one fresh out of the oil. Now, guess what?! You can totally make them at home with these Funnel cake bites and BONUS they are little, which means less guilt, right?!

-- I can't just leave you with links to these "not very diet friendly" foods, now can I? So, these Healthier Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Bars  should make up for them!

The big news this week, was of course, Hillary's not so surprising announcement, along with continued struggles with Boko Haram and Isis. I was happy to hear that some of the girls taken last year by Boko Haram have been seen alive. Such a despairing situation, isn't it? Makes me thankful for the life I have, that's for sure. I did find a few more stories buried in the back pages that I enjoyed

-- Looks like the Griswold's are coming back! I'm never a fan of remakes; but I do like movies that "continue the story" for a new generation. I'm sure this sequel to National Lampoon's Vacation will eventually find its way to our living room for movie night!

-- This story about an adopted teen who finds his happy ending is so beautiful! Go read it... I'll wait for you to dry your eyes and come back.

-- As a parent of a child with a dairy allergy, this story about  Cow Milk without the Cow was completely fascinating to me, even if I didn't understand all the technical scientific parts to it. Trust me when I tell you, you have no idea how much your life changes when you tell a 7 year old boy he can't have "real cheese pizza" anymore!

Blogging has allowed me to discover so many wonderful blogs and websites of people much like myself who just have a genuine desire to share what the love, whether it's their family, recipes or creations. I have been inspired, and deeply moved by some of the things I've read. I've also smiled and laughed out loud quite a bit as well.

-- This post about a mom's shopping adventure at Target had me smiling from ear to ear!

-- The sock thief runs rampant in my house on a regular basis, little twit that he is...This simple but rather genius idea about how to Never lose a sock again! may finally put him out of business!

-- I see a lot of gorgeous crafts and creations throughout the week. I try however, to just pick my two absolute favorites. It's not always an easy task, that's for sure!

This week I chose these two stunning creations:

Boot Bouquet Card by Lillian at Lillian's Leisure

Engagement Card by Andrea at KandA Creative Moments

As always, we end with a few last random thoughts:

-- I could NOT stop looking at this Pink Dolphin

-- As the article states When life gives you lemons, go read this list; and behold their power!

-- Sometimes, the simplest act of kindness can make your heart so happy. If you are an animal lover like I am, then this story about  Bathing homeless dogs in Thailand will make you smile for sure! You can follow the link to read the story; but I've included the video here as well.

--Finally, the picture of the week and my hope that you all have a wonderful and relaxing weekend, kinda like this guy!

Until next time....

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hello with Flowers

Hi Everyone!

It has been a busy week, so I haven't been able to post as much as I would have liked. I wanted to share a quick card I made using the Deconstructed Sketch as inspiration.
This was another quick and easy card to make once I decided on the colors and papers to use.

This card measures 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 so it's still small enough to fit into a regular size envelope. I added some score lines to the right strip of blue paper for a little interest and also because I didn't feel like getting out my cuttlebug and embosssing folders!

I struggled a bit with the center circle. I originally wanted to put a sentiment there; but I just didn't have one that was an appropriate size, so I went a different direction and added the flowers and moved the sentiment to the bottom piece.

Have a great day everyone! I'll be back tomorrow with this week's "Saturday Morning Coffee Thoughts"

1. Fussy and Fancy Friday: Flowers
2. Sister Act Card Challenge: Anything Goes\
3. Wags n Whiskers: Anything Goes

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Keep Smiling

Hi Everyone!

Today I'm sharing a CAS card I made this morning. I didn't have a lot of time to craft this morning, so I needed a card I could put together quickly. Start to finish, this card only took about 25 minutes, which for me, is FAST!

I used Fog card stock from Simon Says Stamp, Enchanted Evening card stock from PTI; and some white I had in my stash. I used the "curved edge" die from Simon Says Stamp for the bottom of the white piece.

I embossed the white piece with an embossing folder and then added a flower as well. I used a Slate ink pad from Simon Says Stamp to add some ink to the edges of the card and the center panel.

The sentiment is also stamped in Slate ink and is from the "Thinking of You" Stamp se featured in SSS February 2014 card kit. 

That's all for me today! Thanks for visiting and I will see you again soon!


Card Mania: Flowers

Crafting From the Heart: Anything Goes

Craft Your Passion: Anything Goes

Incy Wincy Designs: Embossing

Stamp and Create: Anything Goes

Through the Purple Haze: Anything Goes

Monday, April 13, 2015

Creamy Tomato Soup

Hi Everyone!

I hope you had a great weekend! I'm here to share a recipe for creamy tomato soup that my entire family loves. Even my picky (hate all vegetables little boys!) In fact the reason I made it this last time, was because my oldest son actually requested it!! Score one for mom, YAY!!!

It makes a pretty big pot, so you should be able to get two meals out of it, or at the very least a couple of servings for leftover lunch the next day. You can put just about anything with this soup. I've done a salad, quesadillas; and this time I made some little grilled panini sandwiches with salami and Provolone cheese. The boys just wanted french bread to dip in the soup. The next day with my leftover bowl of soup for lunch, I took the end of the french bread loaf which was getting a little stale and just chunked it up and threw it in the soup as croutons.

This recipe works best if you have both a regular blender and an immersion blender to really smooth it out. If you don't have an immersion blender, just be sure to blend the ingredients per the instructions above in a regular blender very well. You may even consider using Tomato Puree instead of Crushed Tomatoes.  I hope you give it a try and enjoy it as much as we do!

I'm sharing this recipe with the following linky parties:

1. Mix it Up Monday

2. Marvelous Monday #49

3. Gator Mommy Review #53

4. A Sorta Fairy Tale #50

5. Manic Mondays

Have a great day and I'll see you again soon!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday Morning Coffee Thoughts

Hi Everyone!

I hope you have all had a fabulous week. Mine has been good. I think Spring may actually have finally arrived here in Pennsylvania. Although it has brought some rain showers as well, which I'm totally ok with because I'm one of those people that likes a doomy gloomy rainy day. Does that make me weird? Probably; but I like to think of it as time to reflect and renew a bit.

Baseball season has begun for our two Little Leaguers in the house. 2 different teams + 2 different schedules= Life as a boy mom! That's OK, because watching them play baseball is one of my favorite activities!

I ordered my first Erin Condren Life Planner, and I'm so excited! I'm usually all about keeping everything digital; but I just have so many things I want (and need) to do over the next few months; and this is going to make me TOTALLY awesome, right?! How about you? Do you have a traditonal planner, or are you strictly a techy planner?!

Ok, so enough about me, right?! Grab your warm beverage of choice and let's see what's been happening this week!

-- I try very hard to be a responsible snacker. The days of arbitrarily munching on a bag of potato chips ended...well, probably somewhere around 1999; but these Protein Balls could totally let me snack guilt free!

--Sometimes though, a girl just needs to throw caution to the wind and have a warm, fluffy, completely carb filled and guilt loaded bread product. (I could never subscribe to any diet plan that didn't allow carbs. I mean seriously, I know people who haven't had bread since the year 2000...they're not very happy people! Makes me want to give them a hug and a big ol' PB&J sandwich) Anyhow, I digress... these Chocolate Cherry Sweet Scones would probably only make you feel guilty for about 2.5  minutes and thus totally worth it!

-- These Mini Salisbury Steak Meatballs are such a simple and yet clever idea, I can't believe I'm just now hearing about them!

--This Chicken and Biscuit Casserole? has biscuits on top of it, so you KNOW I'm going to make it! 

Conflict and strife continue around world. ISIS and Boko Haram? Still creating incomprehensible tragedy and horrors wherever they are. Iran, Syria, Yemen...all had spots in the news this week as well, as they so often do. Another police officer shooting, this time in South Carolina.

--Sadness continues too with Mama Swift having Cancer. #CancerSucks...Big Time! Then there's this little boy who has to send his gold fish to the big aquarium in the sky. *Sobbing*

Still, like I always say, there are bright spots to be found as well:

--Who wants to run away with me and go live on  Leonardo DiCaprio's Private Island?

--The new Royal Baby is almost here! Always exciting. What are you hoping they have? I think I'm hoping for a girl this time around, I think Princess Diana would have just been tickled pink to have a granddaughter.

--And guess what?! Our dogs are totally Smarter than we think! I know my dog is like the smartest canine EVER! (cause, I'm not biased AT ALL!)

The thoughts and creations of others around the blogosphere continue to inspire me.

-- This blog post  Simply Wright: Leaving Handprints filled my heart with such tenderness and happy memories of my own babies; it ALMOST made me wish I had another little one at home. Phew...thank goodness I got that crazy thought out of my head!

--As a parent, you have a responsibility to go read this blog post: What if my Child is a Bully? 

--If you love to travel; but life prevents you from doing it, go read this delightful blog Cosmos Mariners. You can totally live vicariously through Natalie; and I'm sure she would love to have you join her!

--This Black and White Card is as simple as it is elegant and beautiful! Also, go gaze with wonder at this Beautiful Poppy Card. It is an amazing creation!

Finally, the last remaining random thoughts for the week:

--If you haven't seen this Dove: Choose Beautiful ad campaign: go...right now...and watch!

--This picture, because It. Is. Stunning.

Until next time....

Friday, April 10, 2015

Heartfelt Thanks Gift Card Box

Hi Everyone!

Today I wanted to share a project I made using this tutorial for a gift card box. I thought this was just the cutest idea ever; and actually quite simple to put together. I think this will be a perfect end of the year gift for the boys to give to their teachers.

For my box, I used papers from Bazzil's "Green with Envy" package that I ordered from Simon Says Stamp. For the stamped panel on the top of the box-- and I must say if you decide to make this project, it is important to remember that you need to assemble and attach your stamped panel before you adhere the box together--I used "Eastern Delights" by Clearly Besotted stamped in Teal and Hot Lips Ink from Simon Says Stamp and Hero Arts Midtone shadow ink in Green Hills. I added a bit of

Once I had assembled the box, I added some Bermuda Bay ribbon to keep the box closed with a few small sequins for a bit of final interest. The box will stay closed on its own without the ribbon; but the two little back tabs stuck out, and I just didn't like that.

Busy morning for me, so that's all for me today. Enjoy your day and I'll see you again tomorrow morning for this week's "Saturday Morning Coffee Thoughts"

Sharing this project with the following Linky Party:

Freedom Fridays with all my Bloggy Friends: #75

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

5 Times I Wish I was a Better Mother.

Hi Everyone.

I have to say that I think I'm handling this whole Mom gig pretty well. I mean after all, most days I throw some food at them, I make them bathe a few times a week; and I'm usually good about getting them into bed by 10 pm So, you one is starving, dirty or tired around here!  I even do the more important, but quite possibly equally mundane things like forcing them to complete their homework and read every night as well. These are all good goals to have as a mom, don't you agree, LOL!

Still, and I know many of you may find this as a shock, given my fabulous resume in the top paragraph, there have been a few times in which I wish I had stepped up and been a little more fabulous in my role as "Super Mom"

1. Dinner Time  Somewhere between the age of 1 year and the present day, my kids all developed a complete, total and all encompassing hatred for vegetables. Except for my oldest who could quite possibly survive on nothing but Edamame beans if I allowed her. Then there's the one who thinks I'm giving him alien food if I try to make him eat anything with ground beef in it. Hamburgers, spaghetti, sloppy joes? Nope...not happening...EVER! I wish that I had just set rules and made everyone eat what I was making when I made it. But at the time with having 3 kids under the age of 5, honestly I was just trying to get something..anything on a plate and into tummies.  It makes for frustrating dinner time; but the good news is that if there were awards given out for "mulit-tasking short order cook" I'd totally sweep that one, LIKE. A. BOSS!!

2. Education: I swear I've learned how to do the "new math" 10 different ways; and I still suck at it. I feel like the girl who took AP Calculus in high school abandoned me in my greatest hour of need: helping an Eighth grader through Pre-Algebra, which for some inexplicable reason is harder than Algebra these days. My third grader asked me a question the other day about "Earth's Major Systems" and clouds; and all I could do was stare blankly at him until I picked up my phone and Googled it, hoping that a band of phantom Clemson University board of trustee members would not swoop in and take my college degree away from me. I swear to goodness, Google is the bridge connecting the troubled waters between "What I used to know" and "What I can't remember"!

3. Sports: I believe whole heartedly that God made me the mother of two boys as part of his plan for me in this life. I just wish he had incorporated some better athletic skills in me as well. As they have gotten older and more involved in sports, I have learned a very valuable lesson: anything that involves me throwing a ball in any form is detrimental to their development as future athletes.'s hilarious; but also rather sad. This is not an area in which I would ever win an award!

4. Playing: I'm not, and never have been, a parent that plays. I wish I had been the mom that had gotten down on the floor and played match box cars, and action figures. I wish I had built more Legos, driven more trains, and encouraged more imagination.  I did OK during the Barbie, dress up and doll phase for the girl; but still I think I spent too long being "too busy" for these precious moments. Now, my kids are all a little older; and I see my youngest transitioning out of that "play" phase as well. Makes me reflective; and it makes me sad.

5. Being Present: I will tell just about anyone that our third child was a surprise. Ok...well, I know it couldn't have been that much of a surprise given how he came to be; but you know...still!  At the time, I had a girl, I had a boy...I was good! I mean, what else was there?! Apparently, God had other plans for me and decided 16 months after having my first son, that we needed to be blessed with another beautiful son. I'd like to think that this was because He was clearly impressed with my parenting skills up to this point!

Going from 2-3 children, however, was a big change, especially having two so close in age. Most days, in those early years, I was just trying to adjust to the incomprehensible increase in laundry that CONSUMED. MY LIFE!! Then there was dinner, and dishes; and a house full of  dolls and toys; books, crayons and coloring books; bottles and diapers, pacifiers and more.  I felt like my sanity was tied to making sure I was able to get it all put away by the time everyone was in bed. I wish that I had allowed myself to look beyond the "mess" and had seen it instead for what it really was: Life happening, beautifully and brilliantly all around me, inviting me to join in and be a part of every single precious moment.

I would like to share this blog post with the following Linky Parties:

1. Party Under The Big Top: Act 9
2. Wake Up Wednesday #63
3. Manic Monday (2nd Entry)
4. A Sorta Fairy Tale Blog hop #49 (2nd Entry)
5. A Little R&R blog Hop 98

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Thinking of You in Paris

Hi Everyone!

*sigh* No, I'm not in Paris...just in Pennsylvania; but I'm thinking of all of you and hope you are having a lovely day where ever you are as well.

My post is a little late today; so I'm just going to get right to it. I wanted to create a simple but antique looking card, so I chose Khaki paper from Simon Says Stamp, Ocean Tide and Chocolate from PTI and a green that I had in my stash.

The image is from Our Craft Lounge and I stamped it with Khaki ink and added the sentiment from Clearly Besotted in Peeled Paint Distress ink on the side.
Once the card was all put together, I felt like it still wasn't quite "grungy" enough, so I added some Vintage Photo ink with my ink blending tool aroud the edges.

That's all for me today! Thanks for stopping by and visiting me; and I'll see you again soon!


1. Crafting From The Heart: Anything Goes
2. Craft Your Passion: Anything Goes
3. 613 Avenue Create: Anything Goes

Monday, April 6, 2015

White Chicken Chili and Rice

Hi Everyone!

Here today to share an easy and filling recipe for a busy week night. Originally, I had made this filling to go inside some crescent rolls, like these Beef and Potato Cresecent rolls. Unfortunately, that just didn't work out very well, so I saved the leftover filling and just decided to serve it over some rice the next night. This turned out to be a much wiser....and tastier...option!

As you can see, I've decided to try a new recipe card picture with this week's recipe. I think I like this better than making you go to the other Google Sites link. So we'll see how this goes for the next few weeks!

I would like to apologize also for the less than great photographs of the dish this week! The lighting in my kitchen, not to mention free counter space was not cooperating! This dish was so yummy in flavor and warmth, and comfort. I do hope you will try it!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Saturday Morning Coffee Thoughts

Hello Everyone,

So I decided to start a new feature on the blog each Saturday to recap some of my favorite findings around the blogosphere from the past week. These could be recipes, parenting tips, crafts, interesting news stories. There's really no rhyme or reason to them. So grab your coffee or warm beverage of choice, curl up in your favorite place and let's see what's been happening this week!

  • As a busy mom of three kids with widely varying likes and dislikes as it relates to food, I'm always on the lookout for recipes to try that they would like to try. I consider it bonus points if it's something that is healthy and that they could possibly help make as well. My older son is always asking to help me make dinner; and I  think this Mini Cheddar Meatloaf would be a great thing for us to do together. 
  • I've made cinnamon tortilla chips in the oven before; but never thought about making French Toast Crisps! This is also on my must try list for the week.

The world is still full of bad news, drug dealers; and terrorists, unfortunately. There are however, always bright spots to be found in humanity as well.

  • The story about the police officers who donated the car seat to the woman with a baby on her lap instead of issuing her a citation? Restores faith in human kindness, doesn't it?
  • We all heard the story about the mom who issued the apology on Facebook about her daughters' disrespectful behavior at a movie theater. THAT is parenting done right, kids! 
  • Did you see the letter from the woman thanking the pilots for flying her home safely?  Never underestimate the power of saying thank you, because it's what keeps people wanting to do what they love doing. 
I continue to be inspired by the thoughts and creations of people sharing what they love:

  • Mynn's creations on her blog, On a Stampage are just...*sigh* I had a hard time picking one, so I'm just linking her entire page. Go visit'll thank me.
  • I couldn't stop looking at this delightful window card scene over at "ABC- Art, Bellydancing and Cards"
  • This card about using "All the Crayons" had the best sentiment! Such a true quote, isn't it?! 

  • Being a SAHM is tough sometimes; but definitely rewarding as well. Bonni gives great advice in this letter to her son as he and his wife begin their parenting adventures
Finally a couple of (even more) random thoughts:

  • Mad Men returns on Sunday. Are you watching? I'm kinda over it.'s been too long. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Five Simple Ways to Tell your Children they Matter.

In a world where so much of the news is inundated by tragedy, violence and hatred in so many forms, it is easy to overlook the valuable lessons that kind words can teach our children. Sometimes, I think we take for granted that our children know the power of these words, and the impact they can have on not only their present state of mind; but also their future as members of society and even as parents one day themselves.

My husband and I endeavor every day to make sure each of our children hear these five words in some way:

1. I  Love You: Never miss a day without saying it..EVER!

2. I am Proud of You: It's not always about hitting a perfect home run, or making a 100 on a spelling test. Sometimes, it's about the fact that you kept swinging at the ball and didn't give up until you hit it. Or, it's about an Algebra grade that's improved from a C to a B. Little victories matter!! It's about letting your child know they are succeeding in life one step at a time.

3. I Miss You: When my kids get home from school, I make sure to let them know that I missed them while they were away even though they were just at school for a few hours.  I think that matters to them. Everyone likes to know that they fulfill something in the people they love and who love them. Children are no exception.

4. Can I Help You?  In our house, we give help and we ask for help. There's no shame in not being able to do something on your own. In addition, no one is ever too busy to stop for a moment and help when someone needs it. Whether it's helping with dinner, or the dishes. Feeding the dog, building Legos, or studying for a spelling test.

5. Are You Happy?  I fully believe that children want and need to know they bring happiness to your world; and that you, in turn, have a desire to bring happiness to them. It's not enough to assume our children are happy. You must ask and you must tell them.

These are just five simple expressions that work for our family. They are small ways for our children to recognize the importance they each have in making our family complete; and that each matters in his and her own unique way.
it is my hope that the conversations we have around these few sentences will one day help to build bridges to future deeper conversations that may be more difficult to have, such as teenage sex, drinking, relationships and choices about school and careers.

What do you try to tell your children every day?

I only found one linky party to share my post with today. If you host a parenting linky party or have suggestions, please let me know!

1. Little R&R