Saturday, October 1, 2011

What Saturday Means

I think the meaning of Saturday has changed a lot over the years. For me, at least. Scroll back several years into my teens and you'd probably find me still sleeping soundly at this nine-something am time of morning. Scroll forward a bit and early parenthood would probably still find me trying to sleep just as long as possible, probably with a wiggly Micah crawling all over me in bed, as was his custom. Now Micah is bigger, and the children are getting old enough to really seize the day and have fun, not just be entertained.

Today, it's a good Saturday. After a very full week of parenting, mostly solo, Jesse is here. Since he was off in time for our church's fish fry last night, we had a nice little dose of "outing" and now we're hitting the Family Time agenda with all our vigor. Dad and Son are off to procure donuts, much to the delight of every taste bud in this house, and Annie-Bug and I are familiarizing ourselves with the DVR'd options for family viewing later -- so far we've excitedly noted that we have two episodes of The Three Stooges, several selections from The Brady Bunch, and a couple of Looney Tunes. Oh the happy children!

Our day started with the voice of Annie-Joi chattering in her bed at eight o'clock. I pulled myself out of bed and brought her to our room. Jesse and I love to have one-on-one time with the children in the morning when possible (although not too early, please!), and the first child up varies. AJ was the bed bug this morning and she snuggled in with us, giggling and chattering, saying "Hi!" and "I luh-luh!" After a few fun minutes of playing with baby, Daddy got up and took Little Miss to the living room to play while he got his Saturday Morning dose of PS3. I took my time getting out of bed since Micah was still sleeping, then after being summoned when he woke up and informed that "Daddy wants donuts!" from just outside the bathroom door, I hastily dressed Little Man to tag along.

Now I'm dressed, the coffee is started, I'm working (before and after this writing) on a bit of tidying up, and we're waiting here for the boys to return. After spending most of the week working to finish every piece of laundry and necessary housework (well, I got most of the housework done), Mommy is totally ready for a relaxational Saturday.

I'm off to enjoy the coffee, hopefully exactly one donut, and most of all, the day full of my favorite people.

I'm not sure what excursions it will include, or if we'll stay home and clear the DVR, but it's gonna be a good one. I can tell.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Four-Year-Old Q&A

I thought up a list of random questions to ask Micah tonight, and thought it would be fun to record his answers as a four-year-old. I've seen this done before and it's fun to have to read later! I'd love suggestions for additional questions. I'd like to add to it. He seemed to enjoy it and I love hearing his perspective at this age. It's a lot of fun!

What's your name? Micah

Who gave you your name? You (Mommy)

Do you like it? Yes.

If you had to pick a new name, what would it be? I just like my real name.

How old are you? Four

Do you know your birthday? Yes (What is it?) August. (August what?) August, eftember...

What is your favorite color? Llellow (yellow).

Why is that your favorite? Because it's just gold.

Who are your parents, what are their names? Mom and Dad and AJ. (Is AJ your parent?) Well, AJ's my sister, and you and Dad are my parents.

What is your favorite thing to do at home? Play-doh!

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play in da snow and draw wif da snow bottle and other thangs that I had at our old house.

Do you have a favorite chore or job that you do at home? Hmmm... I like a job like building when I grow up. (Do you have a job you like at home?) Well, sometimes I like building a house for new parents. (For new parents? Why?) Because! That's my favorite thing to do! (Do you not want me and Daddy anymore?) Well, I want you and Daddy still (at this point he reassuringly grabbed my face in his hands), I'm just making it for parents that are new. (Like people who just get a baby?) Yeah! So that's all I like to do. Oh, and crafts. And games.

Are you big or little? Bi... li... little? *belch* I like to burp. (What are you supposed to say?) *giggle* Excuse me!

Do you have brothers or sisters? I have one sister, but I wanted two... I wanted another brother and another sister.

Do you have enough brothers and sisters or do you want more? I want more.

Do you have a pet? Yeah, her name's Mocha. I like to hold Mocha.

Is your pet big or little? Liddow! Just *that* little. This little (holding his thumb and forefinger to show me). She's a little big. Mama, Mocha likes to jump in circles, and she likes to jump really high!

Do you have friends? Hmmm... Gabby and Jessica and Christopher. That's all, but Gabby's friend is Cole and Emilie. (What about at church, do you have friends at church?) Sami and Adam, but Lexi's my girlfriend.

Who is your best friend? Gabby?

Do you like to sing or dance? I like to sing AND dance!

Which one do you like better? Sing AND dance! (You don't like one better?) No. I like two better.

Why? Because! They're my favorite! Like this! (walking around singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star) And like this! (dancing) This is how I dance!

Do you like things to be clean or messy? Clean! Sometimes AJ makes messes wif my toys. That's what she does. And I don't like it when AJ makes messes with my toys.

Why? Because. Because I like startin' to pick up my toys. (Is it so you can have room to play?) Yeah! And why do you poop in your diaper, AJ?

Do you have a favorite animal? Yeah. Dogs. And cats. Cats go MEOW!!! And cats also go *scratch* like this, SCRATCH, SCRATCH!

What is your favorite place to go? The zoo and the park aaaand the store. And also, the popsicle place. (What's the popsicle place?) Sometimes I like going to The Groovy Smoothie. That's from The Fresh Beat Band.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Hmm, a builder.

How old are you when you're grown up? Hmm, five. (Really?) Mhmm. Cuz every day I turn five. (Every day? So when will you be five?) Well... when I have my next birthday. (And that's when you're going to be a builder?) Yeah. So that's all I like. Can I finish my show now?

What's your favorite food? Hmm. Pickles. (Huh-uh) That's really what I like. I really like chicken noodle soup. (What else?) Cheese! Cheese sticks, too!

What do you like to drink? Milk. (Just milk?) Milk and juice and water.

Are you in school yet? Hmm, yeah. (What do you do at school?) Like... trace thangs. (What else?) Write my letters! Like *sings alphabet*.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Diapers and Smurfs in the Amazon

Sorry. Just trying to break up the seriousness.

I am happy to report that our long drought finally saw a break and it stormed and rained all night! Seriously could not have come at a better time. There were fires in various parts of the state that the firemen could hardly control. So, so thankful for rain.

Micah and I had the welcome opportunity to go see a movie together last night. Daddy sent us off to enjoy ourselves and have a little quality time outside of the house!

We saw The Smurfs in 3D. Very cute!

Rockin' our 3D specs.
I can hear it now. "Yo mama so blind she got glasses owwwwn her glasses!"

Yes. I do. I wore two pair of glasses through the whole movie. And it's not the first time, either.

Craaaaaft updaaaate.

This is what I've been currently working on:

That first pic looks awful. Yeesh. But you can see the detail in the second. I'm still finishing the tacking aaround the "i" and "n" and then it will be washed and ironed and look much nicer, but this is Gavin's big brother bag! I'm making him a little goodie bag for when his little brother is born at the hospital this November. I plan to make a crayon roll in that matching Cars fabric and add a few goodies!

(for those who aren't aware, Gavin is my nephew, my sister Mandi's son. Mandi is having her second little boy, Joshua, this November. Gavin is 6 months younger than Micah, which makes him three and a half right now)

I am looking forward to making Annika her own tote for little toys and such. It will be my first girly one! Some of you may remember back when I made Micah's. He usually takes it to church just about every service. :) But these are particularly great to take to the library as bookbags for little guys or girls.

I also repurposed the ice cream bucket from the kids' party to make a carrier for Micah's cars. He loved it! Word of advice, though, painting plastic doesn't work so well. It chips off. The car and red and blue decorations around the bucket are decoupaged but the lid is painted. It chipped very quickly. Lesson learned. :)

So, I have been wanting to do a big, long update on how Amazon Mom works and how we save money by buying our diapers and several other things (as needed) online. I don't think the single update on Amazon is ever going to happen, but I did want to show you all how I buy our diapers in case you are interested!
For a long time we saved by buying Wal-Mart brand diapers. They work very well and we still use them occasionally, but I found an awesome alternative to get my diapers very inexpensively and gain something in the process. :)

^^THAT^^ is my diaper order that came today.
For those interested, size 4's were the same price and 204 diapers.

Size 6 is the same price and 136 diapers.
I pay a little less than I would buying two boxes of Wal-Mart diapers a month, but last I checked, get just as many diapers.
I get this price by being a member of Amazon Mom (a free account) and by using the subscribe & save option. If you are savvy you can find additional discount codes or use swagbucks gift cards to get your diapers nearly free -- I am not quite that advanced, and I like to use my Swagbucks Gift Cards for other things.
Signing up for a free Amazon Mom account gives you three months of free shipping on any qualifying item. And let me tell you... there are tons of qualifying items (TONS of books!). I think more items qualify than not!
You may ask, "Why would I *want* an Amazon Mom membership, Candi? Why do I need it?"
Let me give you some examples of the things we have saved money by buying on Amazon, items that have also shipped to us free by having this account.
One item I save largely on is printer ink. I do not lie, I bought two full sets of ink (all three colors and a black cartridge) for $5.90!! Two sets! Shipped free! In. Sane.
I purchased Micah's Cat in the Hat hat for his party for around $7 (shipped free) and this item was hard to find elsewhere. It was also $15 before shipping through party suppliers.
I purchased the Jesus Storybook Bible for $10.05 -- shipped free -- and it is $24.99 from the publisher.

We purchased an adjustable dog crate for $60 (they are at least $120 in any pet store and we sold it after we were done with it for $50 getting nearly all of our money back).

I purchased a Dr. Mom otoscope for $26 -- this is a great otoscope with an LED light. Love it. I use it all the time if I even suspect an ear infection in either of my kids.

 But here's where it gets good. Every $25 you spend on baby items (like diapers or the otoscope I purchased) gets you another free month for up to a year! We just purchased this car seat for Annika and I earned FOUR months.
We paid almost $110 for it. It is almost exactly that price at Wal-Mart (though it costs around $30 MORE at Target) but we saved by purchasing from Amazon meaning we did not have to pay sales tax on this item.

So as I said at the beginning -- I buy my diapers through the subscribe & save option. They send me one box a month and I can cancel or reschedule my shipments with no penalties. I can rearrange them however I need to, including skipping a month's shipment without losing my discount. This is definitely the easiest and best product subscription I have ever had. Super easy to manage, no gimmicks or bizarre fees.

Well... I think you get the idea. I wish Amazon was endorsing me for this glowing endorsement, but I am just so thrilled with the money we save by checking Amazon for some of the most basic items that I have to share. The printer ink alone is a huge money-saver!!

Whew. Well I've been wanting to break that down for ya'll for a while so there ya go. I highly recommend signing up for an Amazon Mom account. We made the decision that we will buy the paid Amazon Prime account when we have earned all of the free months Amazon Mom allows. We easily save the $79 and more in the span of a year.

It's worth a try for free! :)

I hope that benefits you in some way! Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Micah Day!

"It's my birthday!"

They donned their festive wear again and we've been celebrating at home today!

I resolved to make slideshows for the kids this year. AJ's was one song in length. Micah had four years to catch up so his was a bit longer! Still only two songs, but it took a lot of whittling to get down to that!

No matter. The person I *really* made it for loved it. :)

We spent most of the day being lazy and letting Micah watch a lot of his favorite Blue's Clues.

But when Daddy got home we had our promised festivities of chili dogs for dinner and cake pops and ice cream for dessert!

He was ready for cake pops!

Iiiiii'llll taaaaake THIS one!

My kids are fans of cake pops, suffice it to say.

Annika is going to think birthdays are always three times in a month.

What?!? No BIRTHDAY next week? But where will I get my ice cream?!?

We will beg someone into sugaring us up. Who can resist these eyes?

At his special dinner he said, "Thank you EVERYONE for my birthday!" :)

Happy birthday to my special little Micah! I sure hope you felt the love today, little man!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Saucy Crescent Ravioli

So, I love learning new recipes. Until recently I haven't been much of a recipe-follower. I'm an experimenter! I love to try a bit of this and a dash of that and even a squirt of something now and then.

But as the family has grown, my time and energy for creative culinary endeavors has dwindled a bit. Now my "concoctions" are becoming less frequent and my cookbooks are becoming familiar friends.

I recently purchased a Casserole Cookbook from a church fund-raiser. I bought it from my little sisters-in-law and I have to say -- it did not disappoint! This little book has some awesomely mom-friendly recipes. Usually not more than a few ingredients are required and they are all easily-accessible sort of things. Things you can find at Wal-Mart for the most part.

I had slated the Saucy Crescent Ravioli for tonight on my meal plan. Forgive the gross-looking photos below. My memory card was being used elsewhere and I had to use my phone. It was delicious. But must of the substance is hidden under the sauce.

The cheese was not the color of mustard. Ick. Again, this photo deceives. I'll do better next time.

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 tsp. parsley flakes
2 c. spaghetti sauce, divided
1 (8oz.) tube refrigerator crescent rolls
1/4 c. onion, chopped
1 Tbsp flour
3 slices of cheese (one could use shredded cheese as well)

In a large frying pan, brown ground beef; drain. Stir in 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce, onion, flour and parsley flakes. Set aside. Separate crescent rolls into 4 rectangles. firmly press perforations to seal. Place 3 tablespoons beef along one long side of each triangle. Fold dough over filling, pressing edges to seal. Cut each triangle into 3 squares. Spread remaining beef in bottom of a 9x13in baking dish. Place squares over beef filling. Do not crowd in pan or centers will be doughy. Bake at 375* F for 15 minutes. Place a quarter of a cheese slice on each square. Pour remaining sauce over. Bake for 10-15 minutes more until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbly.

Okay, now. All of the crescent folding and cutting confused me. So I simply took the crescents out of the tube, laid them out in four rectangles pressing the perforations together, put in the meat/sauce/flour/parsley mixture, and folded over lengthwise. Then I pressed my finger down right in the center of each of those long, stuffed rectangles making it sealed in the middle (making two squares). Then I continued following the directions and baked.

I also sprinkled on some parmesan and romano mixture. So delish! I hope you love it too!

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Birthdays were a bit different for the kids this year. In the past, we've decorated a venue outside of the house and had large-ish parties. This year our venue wasn't available and we decided we wanted to do something different anyway.

So we had a little cook-in (no "out" due to the burn ban in droughty Oklahoma) with just the kids grandparents, first cousins, and a little friend or two.

I had a lot of fun planning the details. I may or may not have spent around three hours hand-crafting that custom birthday banner. I'll never tell.

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a decent cake kit for The Cat In The Hat! But I made do by scanning photos from the book and printing and laminating them with sucker sticks inserted to hold them on the cake. I had to use a skewer for The Cat -- cake sticks were too short!

I used scrapbooking paper cut into strips (1" x 3" if you're interested) to wrap the little candy bars in a Seuss-ish theme. I added round Cat In The Hat themed stickers to the front of each bar, but the photo doesn't show those.

Please try not to laugh at my first attempt at using fondant. Our cake decorator was not available (and she is awesome!).

I made their applique t-shirts with fabric from etsy and t-shirt/onesie from Hobby Lobby. You wouldn't believe how easy!

Annika's Thing One & Thing Two hair accessory and tutu were Mama creations and Micah's hat came from Amazon. We had so much fun with the theming!

Micah was so delighted to have the cat placed on his cake during cutting time.

Mandi took photos for me -- I stumbled across this one on my card and liked it. <3

Too bad Micah didn't enjoy himself.

After cake was duly devoured, AJ had a bath and enjoyed tromping around outside in only her diaper during the water games.

Thing One didn't take his hat off once! I love this photo. The droopy birthday hat just demonstrates the reckless fun he was having, sitting in the water balloon tub and just having a great time with his buddies!

Oh and when it comes to water-games? Don't mess with aunties. Their initial dryness does not mean they are not a force to be reckoned with, as Christopher learned!

It was a nice, simple little celebration. Food, cake, and a water fight. The kids welcomed their baths and beds after all of their exhausting fun.

(Hi to my new readers, do leave a comment and say hello!)

Friday, July 29, 2011


I trimmed my bangs today. They were super overgrown and I'd resorted to pulling them back all the time. But, like always, my square-ish forehead was a little too visible and I needed my bangs back to balance it out with my wide cheekbones.

Micah said, "Wow, you look BEAUTIFUL, Mama!"

Annika frowned hard at me and looked taken aback for all of fifteen seconds.

It was hardest on Mocha (our little porkachi puppy). She bounced around snarling a little and barking, backing away from me as if I had suddenly morphed into an entirely different person, but strangely sounded and acted the same. It was almost too much for her. :)

I am currently waiting for paint to dry on a little de-stresser project. (Definition: A craft project that is entirely unnecessary and protentially ridiculous, but accomplishes the objective of chilling me out after a long, crazy day)

I am using the ice cream bucket from the kids' birthday party last weekend to make a bucket for Micah's cars. Really, it's entirely useable as is, but I wanted to jazz it up and make it look awesome. Pinterest worthy, if you will.

Basically it's just Mod Podge and paint. But I love the cutesy little custom things for toy storage. The kids think it's so special when Mom makes them something!


This^ was our lunch today. Inside out grilled cheeseburgers! :)

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and I didn't realize we were out of conventional bread until I was already prepping the pan and ingredients for grilled cheese. We made do and the kids loved our creative twist on a lunch staple.

Random tidbit: I had forgotten how much I love Katharine McPhee. Consider yourself remembered, Kat (and please go back to brunette!).

Also, in the realm of tidbits. While playing with self-portraiture today I found myself appalled by how much the selective framing of this photo (and maybe the striped shirt) makes me look like a GUY. And look at my goofy smile, so unsuspecting. Would I at least be a pretty guy?


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Grace for Moms

While taking a rare opportunity to scroll through my Google reader today, I stumbled across this post. The comments just wowed me; blew me away.

Moms need help. And not just a few of us. Each of us have those needs.

Interestingly enough, I am one of those moms who tends to feed myself the familiar lie that I should be able to do it all. And when I can't I ask, "Why can't I?"

Today I made a concerted effort to live out some of my maternal goals. Don't sleep too late, even if I have the opportunity, spend time outside with kids, knock out a lot of laundry, do activities with the children, do housework -- just be plain productive.

There were still tasks that this day didn't find checked off at the end. I missed my opportunity for devotions and then promptly forgot to make it happen. I wasn't as patient as I should have been. There were still holes and imperfections in the fabric of this day.

And even on our best days, our flawed humanity prevents us from always keeping a perfect momentum. Life happens. Interruptions happen.

I wonder if all moms take inventory at the end of their day, like I seem to. What did I accomplish? What moments of laziness stole time from my day? What distractions should I prevent tomorrow? Did I look my children in the eyes enough today and not just bark out commands and directions? Did I hold them enough? Did I speak like I would have if others were listening, and not just little people who have to take whatever I feel like handing out today?

Sometimes the report card isn't pretty. Sometimes it seems like my self-analysis would put me well below a D average and sometimes I feel like I do alright. It's interesting to come across an entire list of mothers cowing to these same thoughts and feelings and flaws.

We all need help and grace. Those who have the help of their husband on a regular basis and those who don't. All of us. Each and every one.

So for tonight, even though honey's work hours have been long and his home-hours have been littered with work calls, I'm thankful for the little break I did have -- even if it was just a trip to Wal-Mart for milk and diapers -- and I'm going to try a little harder tomorrow to make sure I speak like Someone Else is listening.