Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday, Aubree!

On October 29th, 2008, the Phillies won the World Series. Danny, my nurse (when she wasn't being called elsewhere), and I watched it in a lovely little hospital room with my newborn daughter, Aubree, sleeping nearby.

Last year, on her third birthday, it snowed. I believe it was the only day that snowed all of last Fall/Winter.

This year, on her Fourth Birthday, Hurricane/Megastorm/Frankenstorm Sandy is moving in.

I'm worried what next year will bring.

Even the hurricane will not flood the birthday celebration. We will still be making the day all about Miss Four Year Old Birthday Girl, Aubree. (I tried to convince her to turn 3 again, but so far she hasn't agreed).

Here is a lot about Aubree throughout the last year.

1. Aubree tells people that she’s not a little girl, or a big girl, she’s a medium girl.
2. When presented with 3 or more objects, she will always pick the one in the middle.
3. When she runs down a hill, the ramp at Church, or if we go down a hill while in the car, she puts her hands up and says “weee!”
4. She likes her blanket spread completely out over her bed.
5. She loves hummus.
6. She likes to point out “Grand Old Flags.”
7. She loves the songs, “God’s Not Dead,” and “Put You In A Song.”
8. I’ll ask her, “Aubree, guess what?” She’ll ask, “What?” Then I’ll reply, “God’s not dead.” Then she’ll get annoyed and yell, “I KNOW! Stop asking me that!”
9. During the winter, she noticed she could see her breath when she exhaled. She was very excited and said “I can make my own clouds!”
10. She calls any big truck she sees a “monster truck.”
11. She can’t read yet, but likes to make up words in books and “read.”
12. When she’s hungry, she’ll tell you her belly has holes to fill.
13. When we are approaching a traffic light, she will shout “stay green! stay green!”
14. She thinks any belt is called a seat belt (including the ones you wear around your pants).
15. She doesn’t say “today” she says “on this day.”
16. When Caura finds a bug, Aubree will say, “Where is it? I’m good at squishing bugs.”
17. She has good manners.
18. She will wear any clothes that once belonged to her cousin Bianca.
19. She is still kind of a loner.
20. She likes that she gets to do tap at dance class this year.
21. If she wants a new toy, she’ll say she “I want it very bad.”
22. If she likes something a lot she’ll say, “I very like that.”
23. She is very into imaginative play, she loves playing doctor, shop rite, restaurant, babies, etc.
24. She likes to wear dresses.
25. She is pretty mellow, but needs to ease into change.
26. She is a very sweet big sister.
27. She likes to wear loops in her hair.
28. She likes to eat her tuna (mixed with mayonnaise) in a bowl, not on bread.
29. Her favorite kind of eggs are the “kind you dip your bread in.”
30. Her favorite color is hot pink.
31. She can paint/draw/color for hours.
32. She likes to wear my shoes.
33. She looks ridiculously gorgeous in any hat.
34. She enjoys going to Pre-School.
35. When I pick her up from Pre-School, she doesn’t offer much information about what she did in class, it has to be pried out of her.
36. She loves to sing.
37. She likes to lie down on the floor and make (snow, sand, imaginary) angels.
38. She is a very good sharer.
39. She is patient and can actually sit still.
40. This year she learned to swing on the swings all by herself.
41. She likes to collect the chickens’ eggs.
42. She likes to pretend that people are over to visit.
43. Earlier in the year, she had two invisible friends, Me-A lived in a red house, wore a red shirt, and sat next to her on the (make believe) bus. Holly had brown hair and lived with us.
44. She likes to play “Rapunzel” from Caura’s bed on the top bunk.
45. She likes to play school with Caura.
46. When she takes a picture, she says “cheese” with her whole face. Her eyebrows often perk up.
47. She likes to find the smallest of items and declare them “babies.” For instance, she picked the smallest pumpkin in the patch because it was a “baby pumpkin.”
48. She likes to wear a toy bucket on her head.
49. She wants to like showers, but she doesn’t like the water in her face.
50. Anytime she does something cute, she asks me to take a picture of her.
51. She looks at the camera until a millisecond before I snap thepicture.
52. She loves to play dress-up.
53. When she plays dress-up, she goes all out, wearing shoes, a wig, a crown, and jewelry as well as the actual dress.
54. She loves oatmeal.
55. She likes to pretend she’s a rock star, singing with her guitar.
56. She’s still a little shy.
57. This summer she learned how to hold her nose underwater. She wanted me to count how long she could hold her nose underwater. One time she wanted me to count by tens.
58. She can swim underwater, but still claims she cannot swim above water.
59. She loved the beach, especially getting buried in the sand.
60. She lets me put her hair up in ponytails and braids now.
61. She likes the crunchy stalk part of romaine lettuce.
62. She likes to dance and be silly.
63. “Aunt” Danielle is her BFF.
64. She squeals in excitement when she opens presents.
65. She likes to line things up.
66. She likes to put on make-up.
67. She can spell her name.
68. She likes to put on my deodorant and perfume.
69. She still puts everything in her mouth.
70. She gets her feelings hurt easily.
71. She doesn’t have an arsenal of synonyms so she uses adjectives semi-incorrectly. For instance, she’ll say “Mommy, I love you the biggest biggest biggest.”
72. When she gets out of the shower, she makes a footprint on the bathrug and says, “Look how big my foot is!”
73. She likes her shampoo and conditioner mixed in her hand before she puts it on her hair.
74. She goes from super independent to super needy in a blink of an eye.
75. She likes to wear long nightgowns.
76. When she’s hungry, she says she’s a “hungry hungry hippo” and when she’s thirsty, she’s a “thirsty thirsty hippo.”
77. Sometimes when she eats she’ll take a big bite and say, “I have a biiiiiig mouth!”
78. When she gets something “stuck” in her head, for instance the sound of a cricket, she’ll say, “There’s a cricket it in my head,” and will try to shake it out.
79. She’s quick witted. One day this year, Caura asked, “Mommy, what do pigs make (as in beef, bacon)?” Aubree answered, “Dinner.”
80. She likes to take pictures.
81. Even though she does have a long Rapunzel wig, she likes to take long scarves or blankets to make Rapunzel hair.
82. When picking out a snack, she waits until Caura has picked something, then picks what Caura picked.
83. She thinks her Daddy is the best ever.
84. She likes watching the same movies over and over and over.
85. She can work the IPOD
86. She doesn’t like sports.
87. She loves Katie D so so so much.
88. She loves jumping on the trampoline
89. If she doesn’t want you to say something, she will put her hand over your mouth
90. She likes to lick the cream cheese off of a bagel.
91. She likes butter...a lot.
92. She likes to pick out her own fork and spoon, and also likes to have a “big girl plate.”
93. She compares her cup to Caura’s to see how tall it is.
94. She likes to brush her own hair, but wants me to finish to make sure she did a good job.
95. She likes to draw with sidewalk chalk.
96. She is easily frightened, but doesn’t have a problem with bugs.
97. She loves to ride the lawn mower, but always gets off before she falls asleep
98. She likes to play in the car and pretend to drive
99. She likes to tell Danny ”Daddy, you’re silly”
100. She loves to pray every night for “all our friends and family”


Monday, October 15, 2012

Thanks For Bagging!

Almost every day of the work week, my husband makes his lunch. Usually everything he brings for lunch does not fit in a regular paper bag and so far, he's too cool to take a reuseable lunch bag (although I almost got him to agree to a camoflauged one, but as soon as he realized I would actually have to buy this bag, he declined). His bag of choice is a plastic shopping bag. However, a half a year ago I really started to be committed to using re-useable shopping bags and my plastic bag stash had become depleted. He's now making do with whatever bag we have, but asks me if I can please bring a few home now and again!

There is no denying that plastic bags are bad for the environment, which is why I have been convicted to use the re-useable ones. Plastic bags are not biodegradable. They are ingested by animals. They use a ton of oil to make. There are hundreds of billions of them made each year, and it is estimated that only 1-3% are recycled, which means the rest take up a lot of room in landfills. There are many ways to re-use plastic bags, such as using them for trashbags, for used kitty litter, for wet clothes, and ---insert one of a thousand other reasons here---. However, I hope you will consider reducing your usage of plastic bags. Here are a few tips to reduce your need for plastic bags and some rah rah pro re-useable bag benefits that apply to you.

1.You can fit much more into a re-useable bag (and it holds much more weight), meaning less trips from your car to your house.

2. Most re-useable bags have long handles meaning you can carry them on your shoulders. More comfortable and again, less trips from your car to your house.

3. Keep some re-useable bags in your car so you don't "forget" to bring them to the store (which was my #1 reason for not using them). My awesome, now retired Midwife, Gwen, gave me the tip that if I hung one on my door knob or somewhere that I will see as I'm leaving, it will remind me to grab them.

4. When you are at a store and you buy one or two things, ask the cashier not to give you a bag. They will look at you wierd, and ask you if you are sure, but still insist.

5. When you are shopping at multiple stores, put your purchase from the second store into the same bag that's holding your purchase from the first store. (For instance if you buy a shirt from Macy's and already have a bag you are carrying from a toy you bought at the Disney Store, just put the shirt in the Disney Store bag.)

6. If you buy something in the store that is already in a bag, just put it in your cart, you don't need to put it into another bag. For instance, if you buy a 5lb bag of potatoes, it will just go into another plastic bag and there will be no room for any other items. Why waste the bag when it's alread in a bag? I do this with a gallon of milk, too. It already has a handle, why do you need it to go into a plastic bag that has a different kind of handle?

7. Not all produce needs to go into a plastic bag. For instance, a bunch of bananas will be fine in your cart without being in a bag.

8. Make sure your cashier knows that you have your own bag. They are very used to scanning and putting the item right into their bags that sometimes you have to tell them several times that you have your own bag. Side note - I once was exchanging an item in a store and went to put the new item in the bag I brought the old item in. The cashier was insisting I take a new bag because the one I had was all "wrinkly." Because I guess the bag needs to remain pretty for me to enjoy the item I bought?

9. Many stores now offer a small cash incentive to use your own bags. The stores I go to give you $0.05 per bag. For me, it works out to about $20 a year. Not a big deal, but I'll take it!

10. It's a really easy step to take to helping the environment.

There are some states that have plastic bag bans. There are many that hope this happens in NJ, too. I think if it does, we will quickly be used to not using plastic bags. Try to get used to it now. Please humor me and next week do something to use one less plastic bag.

Please feel free to add to my list...and Thanks for Bagging!!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday, Caura!

Caura turned 6 years old today! Yesterday she was extra extra good. She didn't want to take any chances that I would take her presents back or not have a party because she misbehaved. She went to bed too excited to sleep but also very eager to go to sleep so she could wake up and get presents.

She requested a side pony-tail today. She requested to go to Friendly's for dinner. She requested a vanilla cake with chocolate icing with jimmies on top, but to leave some slices without jimmies for people who don't like jimmies. Yeah, it's pretty much going to be the most beautiful cake in the world.

Here is a little bit about my 6 year old princess (okay, it's not a little bit)


1. She likes cherry mixed fruit cups, but doesn’t really care for the cherries.
2. She likes to eat apple slices with a cinnamon and sugar mixture.
3. She likes to buy lunch once a week.
4. Her favorite princess is Rapunzel, but there is a 5 way tie for her second favorite princess (Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Cinderella, and Jasmine).
5. She started to enjoy watching Good Luck Charlie this year.
6. She likes boys, although she knows she’s not allowed to have a boyfriend, or kiss one. She said she can just “look at them.”
7. This year she has really started to like songs that you would hear on the radio, not just nursery rhymes.
8. She wants everyone to like her. She will continue to play with a child who is mean to her because she wants them to be nice to her.
9. She likes to try my shoes on.
10. She likes to put on dress up clothes and give us a fashion show.
11. She has perfected her fashion show walk.
12. She can read.
13. She can tell time.
14. She likes to be Aubree’s teacher.
15. She likes to wear her hair up now, especially in a “pony-tail braid.”
16. Bianca, Mina, and Katie D are her “BFF’s”.
17. She is still cuddly.
18. She loves her chickens.
19. She can catch two chickens before most adults can even get near enough to catch one.
20. She likes to wear high-heels.
21. If you buy her new clothes, she gets excited and wants to try them on.
22. She likes reading stories from the Children’s Bible.
23. She can swim in the deep end without swimmies.
24. She can jump off the diving board, although she likes to do this with swimmies or a noodle.
25. She went on the big roller coaster at Dutch Wonderland and loved it.
26. She can’t wear clothes in the toddler section anymore.
27. She likes to wear shoes that light up.
28. She is still missing her three front teeth.
29. She has been willing to try more food this year. She recently learned that she likes tacos.
30. She likes to hang upside-down on the swings.
31. She likes to wear dresses.
32. When she’s excited about something, she comes in full force to hug you.
33. She grew a lot this year.
34. She can paint her own nails.
35. She knows how to use Google.
36. She calls the American Flag “the Grand Old Flag.”
37. She wants everyone to be married and have kids.
38. She can pour her own drink.
39. She can make her own peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
40. She likes to pick up Saige.
41. She’s usually the first one awake in the family, but she will go downstairs and entertain herself until the next person wakes up.
42. She likes to play games and songs on my IPOD.
43. She likes to smell the scented pages in the Yankee Candle catalogs.
44. She doesn’t like to run errands.
45. She really really wants to go back to Disney World.
46. She gets very excited when she finds she has something in common with another person.
47. She doesn’t pick up on Danny’s sarcasm.
48. She is happy if you buy her something from the Target dollar spot.
49. She’s a chatterbox. The only time she’s not talking is when she’s not allowed to (for instance during a school lesson) or when she’s asleep.
50. She wants to know everything about everything.
51. She likes to read signs while riding in a car (“Mommy, what’s an Outlet?” “What does yield mean?”)
52. Her favorite show is “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
53. When we are at a store, and there are a lot of people there, she says “They’re busy, they’re going to make a lot of money today.”
54. She wants to be a flower girl again.
55. She likes to show everyone the shoes she wears.
56. She thinks it’s cool that she’s old enough to go to Jr. Church.
57. She is a backseat driver.
58. She thinks every cookie or dessert I make is the “best I’ve ever made.”
59. When I make something she likes for dinner, she tells me she won’t complain about dinner tonight.
60. She tries to scare me, and is very unsuccessful.
61. She wears her Rapunzel hair every day.
62. You can now tell what she’s drawing without her having to explain it.
63. She says that Saige is so cute she wants to put her on a sandwich and eat her up.
64. She calls the Poconos “Pinochios.”
65. She is scared of Vultures, Turkey Buzzards, and any other birds that she thinks will come and eat our chickens.
66. She likes to name all the groundhogs, rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks in our yard.
67. She doesn’t like sports, but she wants to know what team to root for.
68. She wants everyone to have a birthday party, no matter their age.
69. If we go to an adult family member’s birthday “party” she wants to know what the birthday theme is.
70. When pumpkin picking, she wanted the biggest pumpkin she can carry.
71. She loves crafts.
72. Her favorite restaurant is Friendly’s.
73. She loves to visit family in Virginia.
74. She is not scared of the waves at the beach.
75. After a few requests, she got to go camping in the backyard with Daddy and Aubree.
76. She loves to dance, and is in her 5th year of “Dance Class” this year she started Dance 1A which has ballet, tap, and jazz.
77. She likes to take pictures and pose for pictures.
78. She loves princesses but she has gone beyond Disney princesses. She wants to know who the first princess was, if there are any princesses now, and any princesses in between.
79. She likes to remind me that one day she’s going to be 8, 12, 20…
80. She doesn’t like to be “caught” taking a nap.
81. She can’t decide if she wants to be a grocery payer lady or a teacher when she grows up.
82. She’s very into geography. She wants to know what the biggest state is, biggest country, and where Belle is from.
83. She has a lot of energy.
84. She likes when Uncle Ben comes in to sing songs to her and the other kids at Church.
85. She likes to run on the ramp at church.
86. She wants to watch You Tube videos, especially “He’s still working on me.”
87. She thinks her spelling tests are easy.
88. She eats her snack first at lunch.
89. She brings home her trash from lunch.
90. She thinks Mommy’s in charge of Daddy.
91. When she wants you to see something, you have to “close your eyes.”
92. She becomes “starving” as soon as you tell her to brush her teeth.
93. She likes bacon and eggs, but usually not the bacon.
94. She wants pancakes for breakfast, everyday.
95. She will call you out if you keep a light on without being in the room. She’ll tell you that you are wasting power.
96. She doesn’t want me to call her “Baby” she wants me to call her “Sweetie.”
97. She appreciates a countdown when leaving somewhere fun (5 more minutes!)
98. She likes to use the phrase “All right” as in “Yep, it’s raining all right.”
99. She loves going to musicals and plays.
100. She is positive and optimistic and a joy to raise.

Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Nothing Like a Fruit Fly Up Your Nose

Is it fruit fly season? If so or if not, they have invaded my home. They are such annoying bugs. They have no fear of humans, they fly up your nose, and they are too small to swat and kill. It also seems that if you have one, you have seven thousand of them.

We are told growing up that fruit flies appear when you have over ripe fruit in your house. This is not entirely true. Apparently fruit flies lay their eggs on fruit (or really any food) and when you buy a bunch of bananas at the store, you may be buying fruit with fruit fly eggs on it. They are too small to see, so it's not really the fault of the store. (Or is it? Once in a while, Shop Rite sells their bananas in bags. I bought a bunch of bagged bananas a couple of weeks ago and I believe the fruit flies came from these bunches of bananas. Could they have possibly known and bagged the bananas up in an attempt to keep the fruit flies from getting on the other produce? Conspiracy theory anyone?).

In trying to get rid of the fruit flies, I have been extra careful with not leaving food out, and although I have been extra careful, my children have not. I have also been doing the dishes more so nothing's in the sink, and I have even thrown away what seemed like perfectly good bananas because they were covered in fruit flies. I am not willing to spray bug killer products with the skull and crossbones on the bottle all over my kitchen, so I looked for another method of getting rid of the flies.

Good old google led me to this contraption:

(sorry for the fuzzy picture, and for the not entirely clear vase)

1. Put a piece of fruit at the bottom of a vase or large glass (bananas seem to be their favorite).

2. Make a paper funnel and place it in the vase. Make sure the hole at the bottom of the funnel is not too big (think dime or nickel size), and give a few inches between the banana and the bottom of the funnel.

3. To make sure there are no gaps between the paper and the inside edges of the vase (so the little buggers can't escape) I folded the funnel over the top of the vase and taped it down.

4. Place it on the countertop in the area where you saw the most fruit flies. The flies will travel down the funnel to get to the banana. When they are done with their snack, they will fly up to get out but will be trapped. Most likely, they will not figure out that they have to go back out the way they came in.

The first time I did this, it worked very well. Overnight it seemed I had caught all the fruit flies. The problem was disposing of them. They were still alive, so when I took the funnel out, they just flew away. So sorry world, I did not rid you of fruit flies, I just rid my house of them.

The next day I saw a few lingering flies, so I set up the contraption again, this time with an apple core. I caught a bunch, but slowly this time. Then, today, I've deduced that the first batch of flies' babies must have hatched because I had a ton again. I set up the contraption again with a banana this time and within a few hours, I have caught a swarm.

Hopefully soon I will be rid of them for good!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Boycott Hunger

Hey Friends, tomorrow I am participating in "Boycott Hunger," and hope you will consider doing it, too. The main point is that you skip at least one meal tomorrow, and donate the money you would have spent on your meal to a charity that's purpose is to fight hunger. Read more about it here!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Love Songs

On my way home from Dutch Wonderland last night, I turned my IPOD onto my "favs" playlist, on shuffle. Two songs came on, and it made me wonder what my Aunt (who was my front seat passenger) thought about them. I'm sure she had never heard them before, and I tried to listen to them from her perspective. Perhaps she understood right away that they were Christian songs being sung to God, but they could have just as easily come accross as "way too obsessed about your boyfriend or girlfriend love song."

The first one was TobyMac's "Made To Love" with the following lyrics:

I was made to love you
I was made to find you
I was made just for you
Made to adore you
I was made to love
and be loved by you
You were here before me
you were waiting on me
and you said you'd keep me
never will you leave me
I was made to love
and be loved by you


anything I would give up for you
Everything I'd give it all away

The other song was FFH's "Your Love is Life To Me" with the following lyrics

Your love is life to me
my truest moments my deepest need
without it one moment I don't know where I'd be
your love is life to me
bread for my body
light for my eyes
all that I need you daily provides
deep in my being
more than my blood
my very existence
depends on your love

If these were regular pop songs about a girlfriend or boyfriend, people would get a bad feeling about them, as if the person was too obsessed, or stalkerish, or maybe just putting too much of the whole meaning of their life in being in love with another human being.

Instead, these are love songs to God. Because we can be obsessed with Him. We can stalk Him. We can make the whole meaning of our life about loving Him. A human being cannot be this "everything" to us.

On another note, tomorrow is my 11th wedding anniversary. I have to say, I've got "one of the good ones." Danny's a fantastic husband, and could probably teach a class on "how to be a good husband." However, my "very existence" does not depend on Danny's Love, but I do (insert our cheesy, sappy wedding song) "tip my hat to the keep of the stars" for joining our two hearts.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Saige Is Too Cool

My 15 month old Saige is too cool to be a baby.

She's too cool for the baby swing.

She's too cool to go slow on the tire swing.

She's too cool to play on outdoor equipment that is safe for babies.

She's too cool to sit in her high chair.

She's too cool to be the baby in the family, she is gladly passing that title along to cousin Gianna.

She's too cool to grow up slow. Expect your invitation to her High School graduation party in about a day or two.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Foam Soap = Money Saver

Foam Soap = Money Saver? I know what you are thinking. "The soap in the foam pump bottle is more expensive at the store than the regular pump soap, and you go through it in half the time." True. Another quick fact about these foam soaps is that most of the liquid in the bottle is water (and cleans your hands just as well). So how is this a money saver?

1. Keep the bottle and rinse it out.
2. Buy (or make!) liquid hand soap to refill the bottle. (Try to stay clear of the soaps with moisturizer in them).
3. Pour about an inch of soap into the foam bottle.
4. Fill the rest with water and mix (with a knife or by tilting side to side).
5. Wash hands.

If I buy the 7.5 oz softsoap for a $1, I can probably get about 5 foam pumps out of it, making each refill $0.20.

I recently made my own hand soap as part of the Real Crunchy Summer that I am participating in. I still had some store bought soap to get rid of, and tried the foam soap with that, but I am excited to try my homemade soap with it. It will make each bottle around $0.04 if I use the homemade soap. (To read about how I made my hand soap, click here)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer: Week 2 Highlights

Our week started with a BBQ at Joann and Jason's house where we got to spend some much needed time with many of our Church family and friends. Joann showed me that you can peel a watermelon (with a knife).

On Tuesday, Caura, Aubree, and I went to the $1 10am movie at United Artist Theater in Sewell. We saw Yogi Bear.

Barrington had their 4th of July parade and fireworks on Tuesday night. We watched the parade, then stood out front of my Mom's neighbors house to see the fireworks.

Poppy drove his '31 Model A pick-up in the parade, and Mom, (cousin) Jessica, Me, Danny, My girls, and Luci watched and collected candy.

On Wednesday, we visited Nanny, Grandpop, Julie, and Ava who were vacationing in Ocean City. It was Saige's first time on the beach, and she was a fan.

On Friday, we went to Adventure Aquarium with new friends.

Saturday was a scorcher and Caura and Aubree spent at least 6 hours in the pool! We were so proud of Caura because she can confidently swim in the deep end.

We had a great week!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Moms N Tots 2012

Every year during the last week of June, my girls and I go to Mom 'N Tots camp at Camp Hebron in Halifax, PA. We had so much fun!

We went creek stomping.

We went boating.

We swam.

We made crafts.

Caura was old enough to ride the horses!

We enjoyed a fiesta theme.

We spent time with lots of friends, including 10 "Haluwasa" Moms and our 27 children.

We bonded.

Aubree funny for the week: "Mommy, I can feed God! He can eat what I eat because He's in me!"

Friday, June 22, 2012

Real Crunchy Step: Freshener

Click here to read today's Real Crunchy Step! Shannon made her own air freshener, and it has made my trash can smell good!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Real Crunchy Step: Homemade Lunchmeat

Today's Crunchy Step is all about how I made my own lunchmeat. Read about it here !

Friday, June 15, 2012

Crunchy Step #1

Click here to read the first post of the Real Crunch Steps!
Crunchy Step#1: Loco Taco Seasoning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Crunchy Steps

Over the past couple years, I have found myself becoming more "crunchy." Crunchy to me means a healthy and more natural way to do things. The "Crunchy Steps" I have taken have also meant a less expensive way to do things, which was always my number one reason to do them. For instance, I bake my own cookies instead of buy the ones in the package, we have a garden of vegetables and fruit, and this year we bought chickens so we could have fresh eggs (and fun, and a great learning experience for our girls). A few weeks ago I was sick of spending $20 a month on laundry detergent, so I found a recipe and made my own (and it actually works!). I promised my friend, Danielle, that becoming "crunchier" did not mean I was going to start making dresses out of tree bark, but I was very happy with the "crunchy steps" I had already taken, and started deciding what else I could do homemade.

Last week I visited one of my best friends, Shannon, and while we let our seven children play together, we started talking about different "crunchy" things we have been up to. She told me about freezer jam and vegetable stock, I told her about my laundry detergent and plans to make my own raisins. The next morning I had a great idea! Why don't we challenge each other to do at least one "crunchy" thing each week, and make a little extra of whatever we are making, and then swap that extra with each other? That way, we can get through testing methods and recipes more quickly, and also end up spending less money than if we did all the methods and recipes ourselves. Plus, it would be a lot of fun! She was in, and decided we should blog our way through this experience this summer. We decided to just put it on her blog, so I invite you to visit her blog for the first "Real Crunchy Steps" post (click here), then follow her blog so you don't miss any of this experience.

We hope you are inspired to take some of your own "Crunchy Steps."

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Only One...Survivor!!!

Danny and I love to watch the tv show Survivor. It is definitely Danny's favorite show, and he has watched it from the very first season. We love everytime Jeff Probst says, "Come on in, Guys!" "Worth playing for?" and of course "The tribe has spoken." We love the endurance challenges, survivor auctions, watching contestant try to catch wild chickens, and contestants getting blindsided. We've enjoyed watching Boston Rob play pretty much a perfect game, Russell Hantz finding immunity Idols, and Ozzie scale trees.

Last year before my fabulous '80's themed 30th birthday party, I decided that for Danny's 30th, we were going to be doing a Survivor theme. Although his party was not a suprise, the Survivor theme was. Thank you to everyone for keeping the theme a secret!!!

Here's a (lengthy) recap:

I made flags and buffs. The Blue Tribe was the UliUli tribe (Blue in Hawaiian) and the Orange Tribe was the Alani Tribe (Orange in Hawaiian)

*I got the logos from

We divided into the two tribes by randomly picking the buffs. The first challenge was an obstacle course.

1st Obstacle: Go over and under the broomstick, Danny vs. Amy

2nd Obstacle: 10 Jumping Jacks, Dale Vs. Kathy

3rd Obstacle: Dizzy Lizzy, Eric vs. Brandon (brothers!)

4th Obstacle: Eat the Mystery Food, Sean and Sissy vs. Ben and Billy

5th Obstacle: Build a Tower of blocks, Jonathan vs. Michael (brothers, again!)

6th Obstacle: Untie Knots: Beki vs. Lindsay

7th Obstacle: Tile Walk: Danny B vs. Ryan

8th and final Obstacle: Crabwalk, Chris vs. Zack

Second Challenge: Fill a bucket of water using water from another bucket (Sorry, couldn't come up with a better name). Each team got a bucket of water. They had to fill another bucket up with the water from the first bucket. The only things provided to transport the water were sponges, however, the contestants used shoes, shirts, hands, and more.

Here is a picture of Ryan throwing the soaked sponge to Ben to cut out the time running back and forth.

Third Challenge: Three in a Row.
Nine plates were layed out in three rows of three. Contestants had to throw a marble on the plates to get three in a row.

Fourth Challenge: Remember the items.
Each tribe was given a set of five items. I layed out the five items in a different order each round, then covered it with a towel. The contestants had to lay out the items in the same order.


Then we did individual challenges.

Individual Challenge 1: Danny Trivia Questions

The trivia challenge determined the three that would go on to the last challenge. Ben, Lindsay, and Michael moved on.

Individual Challenge 2: Endurance
Ben, Lindsay, and Michael had to outlast each other standing on a brick.

Michael was out pretty quickly, followed by Lindsay after we went to one foot.

Ben Wins Survivor Cedar Brook!!!!

Side note: I made "Boston Rob" Cupcakes

The party was a big success and everyone had a great time. It was fun to play Survivor (but without the starvation and getting voted off by people you thought you trusted!)


Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Age Old Debate

Vanilla soft serve ice cream in all its yummy goodness is even better when it’s smothered in rainbow jimmies. Yes, jimmies…they are called jimmies. You might stop reading right there and say I am wrong, they are called sprinkles. If you were here with me now, the following discussion might happen. I’m going to call you Rose (because that was the name that Caura just suggested).

“They are not called jimmies, they are called sprinkles,” said Rose.

“Actually, the rod shaped ones are called jimmies, the round ones are called non-pareils, and the ones you shake on Christmas cookies are called sprinkles,” I said.

“Uh…no, they are all just called sprinkles, because you sprinkle them over your ice cream. Calling them jimmies must be a south jersey thing,” said Rose.

“You’re onto something there, when I lived in Virginia and asked for jimmies on my ice cream, they looked at my like I had three heads. They had never even heard them called that before. It was there and only there that I called them sprinkles…very reluctantly and with a pained face and a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach,” I said.

Rose points out the box behind the ice cream counter and says, “look, right there at the box, it says ‘sprinkles’ on them.”

“That’s because too many people have conformed and strayed away from calling them their real name,” I said.

I pull out my (non-existent) smart phone and google “jimmies.”

I share my findings with Rose. There are references to Jim Crow, and that saying Jimmies is racist (this is shown to be false). The Just Born Candy Company claims they named them jimmies after an employee (this is shown to be very unlikely). It’s an actual word in the dictionary describing “tiny balls or rod shaped bits of candy…” The definition of Sprinkles is pretty much the same thing. One source says the name jimmies originated in Boston. It is said that some people also call them “hundreds and thousands” or even “ants.” I find that the term “sprinkles” is a generalization of all the little candy confections that are “sprinkled’ over cake, icing, and ice cream.

“Well, there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer, but I know in my heart that they are called jimmies. Are you still going to call the rod shaped ones, ‘sprinkles’”? I ask.

“Yup,” Rose responds.

“Alright, let’s eat,” I suggest.

Am I really trying to get you to agree with me that they are called “jimmies”? No, of course not, I really could care less what you call them.
The point was that we all have our own opinion. I can state my opinion, and stand up for what I think is right, but not get mad or call the other person a poopy-head because they have a different opinion. If I change your opinion, great, if not, that’s ok, too. Don’t fight…don’t lose a friend over it. You are allowed to have your own opinion, even if it’s not the popular or “PC” opinion. You can still be loving, tolerant (EEK…I said THAT word!) and respectful of another person and NOT compromise your beliefs and opinions.

Please remember this the next time you have a heated debate about whether to immunize, breast vs. bottle, gay marriage, God, politics, student loans, homeschooling vs. public school vs. private school, and on and on and on.

Now, go eat that ice cream.

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Amazing "Mom Moment"

It was just about three and a half years ago, and Aubree was minutes old. She had just been slightly cleaned up and weighed, and was just given to Danny to hold. She was crying when the nurse handed her over, and she continued to cry...and cry...and cry. This was no big deal because as we all know, this is what babies do (especially after they have just been born). After a few minutes, I wanted her back. Danny handed the still crying baby over to me. I looked down at her and very sweetly said, "Hi, Honey." She immediately stopped crying and looked at me, instantly comforted by the voice that she had been listening to for months. This is the most amazing "Mom Moment" that I have ever had.

What's yours?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Most Important Person in the World

I am the most important person in the entire Saige. She will notice when I come into the room, even if she doesn't see me. She wants to be around me. She wants to spend (all her) time with me. She smiles at anything amusing that I do. She wants to show off all her tricks to me. She will look up and see a bunch of adults and start crying, only to whip around and see or hear me and will instantly be comforted and stop crying. She will fall and as soon as she gets a hug from me, she feels better. She even notices and studies any little difference in my appearance, such as when I have wet hair, or will point out things such as a pimple or cut that she knows doesn't belong there. Although this makes me feel very wonderul, it's also exhausting when she has an extremely grumpy, molar cutting through, I don't want to sleep, or eat, don't leave me in the Church nursery, hold me all day long and don't even look at your other children or try to make dinner kind of day (which praise the Lord, doesn't happen too often).

The Most Important Person in the World has a big job to do. This person has to set a great example, train, teach, stay calm, make smart decisions, lead, provide for, and be loving to those she's important to. What a big responsibility!!!

Good thing I have Jesus as my example...and the full support and help of The Second Most Important Person in the World to Saige (her Daddy).

"Aubree, who is the most important person in the world to you?" I asked.

"You, and Daddy, and Danielle, and Nanny," she replied.

"Caura, who is the most important person in the world to you?" I asked.

"I don't know," she replied.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday, Saige!

Saige Marissa is One today! One! It partly feels like it went by in the blink of an eye, but it also feels about right, mostly because the first few months of little sleep and the demands of a newborn now seem like a world away. She has been the easiest baby, only having a hard time with teeth. I’ve been saying that if all my babies were as easy as Saige, I probably would have had about 10 of them.

This year, Saige gets to celebrate her birthday on Easter. Easter does not fall on April 8th again until the year 2091, Saige’s 80th birthday. (I will be 110, not completely sure I will be able to celebrate this one with her).

Here are some highlights of the year, and things to know about 1 year old Saige:

1. When Saige was born, she was covered in hair, which made her incredibly soft. She had black hair, dark eyes, and was fairly tan due to being in a jaundice “danger zone.” One nurse saw me before she saw Saige and when she went to get Saige for me, she told me that she almost didn’t believe that Saige was my baby. (By about a month, the extra fuzz on her body was gone).

2. When she was born, she kept sticking her tongue in and out.

3. Also when she was born, she screamed and screamed and screamed. Once she calmed down, she pretty much did not cry again the entire time in the hospital.

4. She has always been very mellow. When she was in the hospital nursery for a few hours, a nurse who was watching after her told me, "I kept saying, 'who is this baby?' if I could I would have just played with her the whole time.'"

5. She never took a binkie.

6. When she was teeny, she would yawn and say “ho.”

7. One of her nickname is “Bubbles,” because she was always blowing bubbles even as a newborn. This is why the theme of her birthday party is Bubbles.

8. She has incredibly long eyelashes.

9. She has a cute dimple on her chin.

10. She always liked to mimic sounds and facial expressions.

11. For the first few months, she liked to fall asleep in Danny’s arms, while he held her to the side, facing out.

12. She now rarely falls asleep while being held. She prefers to fall asleep by herself in her crib.

13. To get around before she could crawl, she would lay on her belly, and push with her legs while pulling herself forward with her hands.

14.When she was attempting to crawl, she would get in the downward dog position.

15. She loves to do tricks such as clapping her hands, shuffling her hands, putting her hand to her mouth and doing “aw-wah-wah,” wiggling her tongue back and forth, and waving.

16. She likes to shake her butt to music.

17. Her first real word was “Uh-Oh.”

18. Her response to any question is “uh-uh.”

19. She bites.

20. After I put her in her crib to go to sleep, I peek at her through the crib slats and say, “Good-night, I love you!”

21. She loves to be pushed around outside in the buggy.

22. She gives wide open mouth kisses or she puckers out her bottom lip to give a kiss.

23. Her lullaby is “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.”

24. She laughs so hard when I chase her and say, “I’m going to get you.”

25. She likes to grab Danny’s glasses.

26. She loves to play peek-a-boo. I ask her, "Where's Saige?" and she puts her hands over her eyes, then quickly takes them off and waits for me to say, "there she is!"

27. She gets very happy when the cat is around.

28. She eats peas like most babies eat cheerios.

29. She likes to play with my hair when it’s wet.

30. When the phone rings, she yells her version of “hello!” She also says this when she puts a play phone to her ear.

31. She likes to climb.

32. She can get on and off her rocking horse by herself, and she’ll make a horsey sound by clicking her tongue.

33. She always pulls her socks off.

34. She loves other people’s shoes.

35. She’s had her bangs cut several times.

36. When she was learning to walk, she held both hands up (as in “put ‘em up”) and wore a huge proud smile.

37. She puts everything in her mouth.

38. She’s very ticklish, especially under her arms.

39. She listens when I tell her to “put her head back” while getting shampoo rinsed from her hair.

40. Keyboard locks are no problem for her, she once got through it and called 911.

41. When I sing her “Who loves her Mommy?” She raises her hand while I sing, “I do, I do!”

42. When she’s ready for bed, I ask her, “You want to say good-night?” and if she’s ready, she will wave.

43. Caura and Aubree play a game with her where Saige’s a monster, they run from her, and Saige chases after them and growls.

44. She’s very patient for a baby.

45. I ask her, “Are you One?” while holding one finger up. She then holds her one finger up and touches mine.

46. The easiest way to make her smile is to smile at her first. She can’t resist it.

47. When she got bored of the exersaucer, she decided that playing under it was more fun.

48. When she sees me brushing my teeth, she opens her mouth real wide.

49. Caura, Aubree, and I have been singing the “Happy Birthday” song to her so she won’t be scared of it when a crowd of people sing it to her at her party. At the end of the song, we pretend to blow out the candle. She blows out the candle by either spitting or making an “s” sound.

50. She makes me feel like I am the most important person in the world.

Happy Birthday Sweet Saige!