This morning I was up at 5:15 getting rolls out of the freezer (I made them on Monday and froze before the second rising) to rise and prepare poor Mr.Bird for his demise. After slathering him with butter, he is nice and cozy in the toasty oven.
I am thankful for so many things. We have some absolute amazing people in our lives, a warm cozy home, abundant food and all the little things that make my life wonderful.
This year we have decided to sponsor a child from Compassion International. Her name is Liggia, and she is from Brazil. Knowing that we can help a child means so much, when we have so much STUFF. The girls will be excited when we tell them.
Today I am thankful for my church. Sometimes it might be a bit over the top (hubs might think that's putting it mildly), as it's a very charismatic church full of people ready and waiting to praise the Lord.
I grew up in a couple different denominations, Lutheran and Methodist. We actually moved to Kentucky for 4 years while my parents were missionaries. So in my years, I have seen a LOT, the good and the bad. Seeing people raising their hands and shouting out in worship doesn't phase me. What I love the most about this church is how they have embraced us. I knew more people in one year from this church that I ever knew in 9 years of attending a previous church.
My girls are thriving in their youth church, and I have met some UH-MAZING women in my Wednesday night Bible study. No one acts holier-than-thou, and even though each of us is in a different walk in our faith, we are all there to learn TOGETHER. I can't tell you how much this has meant to me over the last two years. When I walk into church, I feel like I'm home, and to me, that is how church should be:)
Today I am thankful for being able to stay home the past 10 years raising my girls. Although it hasn't been all roses and bubblegum, it HAS been quite an accomplishment for me. I love knowing that everything my girls learned (and no, no pride came from Alayna telling Grandma Donna that was "damn" good) has come from me. Seeing how well they have done in school, I know that I have had a part in that.
I started doing daycare when Rachel was 10 months old, this is hands down the most stressful, rewarding job I have done. I do have many regrets with doing daycare, how my girls have had to share their toys and things (although it's been a good lesson for them, until a daycare child breaks said toy:(, the fact that I am not able to devote 100% of my attention to them, and of course the stress that comes with taking care of lots of little ones all day everyday. However, I now can see what things they have learned by me doing daycare, seeing how compassionate and loving they are with the kiddos, and just the overall responsibility they have learned.
I know that my journey doing daycare is slowly winding down, but I am so thankful that it enabled me to take care of our girls how *I* saw fit.
Yes, I am sure that I will be disowned for posting this picture, but I can't help it. Just look at that CUUUUTE baby! Don't you just wanna squish those chubby cheeks?
Yes that is me, with my brother, mom and dad. I love looking at these old pics of us, I was very blessed to have an amazing childhood. Today I am VERY thankful for my parents. I am who I am because of them, and it's fun to see the similarities and differences between them and myself.
I was so fortunate to have my mom stay home with us for most of my younger years. Times were so different back then, we biked everywhere, to the pool, into town, to friends houses. I don't think I had many friends who's mom's worked, so it was always fun to head over to friends house for "coffee". Major playtime for us! We also had my grandparents live close by, so it was always fun hanging out at the farm. Going in the tractor with dad or grandpa was always fun!
In today's world, there are so many parenting styles, and I can honestly say that there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think I am wrecking my kids for life:) But then when I look back at how my parents raised us, I know I'm doing a good job. We always knew they were there for us, no matter what. We were spanked, and have somehow stayed out of therapy for that. I'm sure that they have regrets, as I am sure I will also. But the main thing I can take away from my parents is the unconditional love they have for me. It didn't matter that they got a phone call at 1 in the morning informing them to come pick up their drunk daughter at a party, (love you!) it didn't matter that I made some terrible choices in the man department (before meeting my amazing hubs, of course). Yes I knew there would be consequences, but I NEVER felt shamed, or unloved by them.
I can only hope that I am the mother my mother was to me, she was (and is) my best friend, and I know that she will give me her honest advice if I need it. I know she will always be there for me, and I couldn't have been blessed with anyone better:)
I will never know how I got so lucky to have these three, but I thank God everyday for them. I always wanted a sister growing up (instead I got a stinky, bossy brother, haha!), so I am SO happy to see what kind of relationship they will have.
I never knew how completely different personalities each child can have. Rachel is my very grown up, pet loving, responsible, considerate and outspoken 10 year old. She is a lot like I was as a child. I am so proud of how she is with the elderly...When both of my Grandmothers were in nursing homes, Rachel was so comfortable being there. She would always want to help out, if they needed anything. In school she reads to a young girl who is wheelchair bound, and not very responsive. Twice a week she reads to Dani, I love the fact that she is so comfortable in those situations.
Emma is my little drama queen. Literally. She wants to act in plays, and sing. And can she ever sing! She is auditioning for a solo in their music program, can't wait to hear if she got it! And the girl reads, all.the.time. She typically reads for about 2 hours everyday. She is a very creative girl, loves to create things. She is a very sensitive, loving, easy going girl. But she can also get her valley girl on like no one else I know!!
Alayna has more energy than anyone I know. She is a bear cat to get up in the mornings for school, but then doesn't stop running until she goes to bed! She is absolutely our family clown. She will do anything to get you to laugh, although sometimes that gets her in trouble! She loves to color/craft and has absolutely no time for TV or for sitting reading books.
I am so blessed to have my girls, the fun girly things we get to do make me one HAPPY mom!
Ok, so I might not be the worlds best blogger here, but I am going to attempt doing daily (ahem, as in Monday through Friday) posts about what I am thankful for. So many times I get caught up in how stressful my job/life gets that I forget what REALLY matters.
This post is all about this hunk of love I call my husband.......
This is one of the most amazing men I have ever met. He is kind, considerate, loving, FUN, and an amazing father. He shows me everyday how much he loves me and appreciates me (which I'm guessing he thinks makes up for the fact that I clean up after him non stop...but enough whining...). There is not a day that goes by that he doesn't make me laugh out loud. Together we are truly two peas in a pod, despite the fact that we have nothing in common! If you gave me the choice to hang with him or my girlfriends (which are a LOT of fun by the way!), I would hands down choose to hang with my man. Sitting in the hot tub discussing our future, or playing board games in front of the fire place with the girls, we just know how to have fun.
I thank God everyday for this incredible man that he has blessed me with, and I cannot wait to grow old with him, and watch our girls grow up.
Can you believe it is November 1st?? Seriously, WHERE did summer go? Did I miss this?? Christmas is like....8 WEEKS AWAY....I know....
We had a fabulous Halloween, although I might confess that I am glad it's over. I did have fun decorating this year though. We had our group of friends over for a Halloween party and I realized I had NO "spooky" decorations. That's where my favorite store Crafts Direct comes in. They had all their stuff 50-75% off. Mama made a haul!
Here are the girls all decked out....Taylor Swift, Ms. Bumblebee and Yoda.
For supper we had a "mummy" meatloaf....
And snack I made these "monster" faces, the kids LOVED them!
And last but not least, Popeye and Olive Oyl...We had such a fun time with our group of friends!
Being a mom to three kids in school, and a daycare mom to 7, life gets a little out of hand! I as much as I love to cook, there are times when I don't have an hour to get a healthy meal together. I have always tried to have ground beef browned and cooked chicken cubed and in freezer bags. Lately I've been really getting into freezer meals, and am surprised at how easy it is to get some meals in the freezer for when you don't have time to cook.
Right now I have chicken breasts in a marinade, chicken pot pie filling, pie crusts, meatloaf, chicken tacos, pizza burgers and ziti. Most of these recipes come from a book I have had for about three years, and never used. Yes, that's right, it sat in my cupboard this whole time. oops
It's called 30 Day Gourmet Freezer Cooking I luuuurrrrrrve this book! The recipes are things my kids will happily eat, and they are so easy to put together. I have spent a total of four hours getting all these meals together, not bad!
It is so nice to know that if I am having a stressful day with crabby babies, I can just pull something (healthy!) out of the freezer, bake and enjoy!
I just realized that I never posted any pics of the girls' first day of school! Here are my lovelies right before heading off to the bus (that picks them up at 6:45, ugh). As great as this pic is, my favorite is the next one...
Isn't this a classic??!!! Dragging their booties out of bed at 6 was not a fun venture. Rachel and Emma have adjusted quite well, but poor Alayna does NOT fair well at 6 in the morning. *sigh* Someday it will get better. Thankfully she loves school, so once she is truly awake, then she does fine. I will admit that I am loving having them in school. Alayna has always been very trying for me, so having her in school has been a blessing. She loves everything about it, and her behaviors at home have dramatically improved since starting school.
I love being back into a routine again, and schedules. Although with our schedule right now, I feel like we're more busy that the summer, haha!!
The days are cool, the kids are back at school, the leaves are changing, the kids are back at school and apples are abundant. Did I mention the kids are back at school? Oh, I think I did...
Melissa at The Inspired Room is having a Fall Nesting party. It made me drag one of my bins upstairs to see what I could find for my mantle. I know, what a sucky thing to have to do, right?!
I wanted to keep it simple, and not quite so bright as I have done in the past. My favorite thing is the book pumpkin, I have seen several of these floating around blog land. I tried my hand at making one, and it didn't turn out too shabby. Just don't turn it around, or look to the left of it....
I didn't have any cool antique looking books to use, so I used a Sue Grafton book (which was REALLY good) that wasn't in the greatest condition. I trimmed the edges, and used my antiquing stamp pad to brown the edges a bit. I shoved a stick in the middle, added ribbon and some leaves, and voila!
Wowsers, I can't believe that in 3 days, I will have ALL my children in school. I know, right? I couldn't possibly be that old....
We are all excited for Tuesday, I am ready for a routine again, cool days, and less kids in daycare:) Little Alayna is stoked to be starting Kindergarten. She is most excited to play with the dollhouse...She has no idea what she's in store for....
Last Friday I decided to have a little "Back to School" party for the girls and daycare kids that are going back to school next week. I love having a theme, and seeing what I can make with stuff I already have.
I made this banner with some scrapbook paper I had, and hot glued it onto some green ribbon.
I love this Back to School wreath, Emma and I worked on this one afternoon (whomever posted it, thank you! I can't find that blog, boo...)
I also made a pencil vase and some ruler signs with scrapbook paper.
I took a large sheet of paper, and wrote little notes to all the kids that were starting school, they loved reading those at breakfast! We played some school related games and for snack I made homemade ice cream and fudge sauce and then had a little sundae bar that they could add sprinkles, marshmallows and chocolate chips. I also found some cute little photo frames they could decorate, and then made them little gift bags with some bookmarks, stickers and cute little crayon erasers (all thanks to the $1 Target area!!).
All in all it was a fun day, and I am happy to say that I will have no more 12 kid days.....ahhhh...
My girls luuuuuuuurve them some monkey bread ( I don't know where they get that from??? Ahem, not me...). I make it every so often, but the last time I made it I wanted to use homemade dough instead of canned biscuits. I have nothing against canned biscuits, except for the fact that it's dough that shoots out of a can.....
I googled homemade monkey bread and found this yummy recipe. By making the dough in my Kitchenaid mixer, it streamlined the recipe quite a bit. Once the dough was rolled in the cinnamon/sugar mixture, and the sauce poured over the top, I put it in the fridge overnight. when the girls got up, this is what they got......
Absolutely divine! And so full of calories and fat, you can feel those suckers forming on your thighs.....But ohhhh so worth it!!!
A few weeks ago Rachel had a surprise going away party for her friend Sydney who was moving away. We went with a summery/retro decor. I had ordered a couple things from Oriental Trading Company, but only spent about $20 total! Everything else I already had. The girls devoured sloppy joes, chips and veggies and to drink, I made them Shirley Temples. They spent most of their time in the hot tub jamming out to Katy Perry. And as much as I hate to admit it.....I really like Katy Perry.....
The girls and I filled mason jars with white beans, and colored balled up tissue paper, glued ribbons around the rim, and placed candles inside.
For dessert I made Homemade ice cream sandwiches. I used regular graham crackers, homemade vanilla ice cream and the most ah-mazingfudge sauce ever!! The girls raved over how yummy they were, and I got a couple phone calls from moms asking for the recipe.
Boy oh boy has this summer flown by. We had such a rainy, cool spring and part of summer that I can't believe it's August already! Now if we can just make it through this summer with all of our trees, we'll be ok! The weather has been very stormy, seems like every other day we're getting severe weather.
Now it is August, which will fly by as will our money, haha! School shopping for all three girls, yep that's right, Miss A will start all day kindergarten this year. I can't imagine all three girls being in school, I am SO excited to see how much fun Alayna will have. She is B.O.R.E.D. here at home, so school will be a wonderful addition for her.
Alayna feeding the chickens at Hemker Zoo
The girls posing....
The three days a week we spent at a softball field....And, Rachel's team only lost ONE game the whole season!!!!
Emma's first day of overnight camp, she had an absolute blast, and is already planning her week of it next year. Brad and I have already taken out a small loan to afford three kids' summer activities.....
Yesterday was the girls' last day of school, I think they both had mixed emotions about it. They love summer, but also love school (thankfully!). Their school has an end of the year carnival every year with games, jumpies, face painting and snacks.
For the teacher gifts we made these flower pots for them. I spray painted some pots we had on hand (errrr, some that Emma had painted for fun, but have been sitting in the garage forever, shhhhh), and cut out flower shapes with my Cricut. I had the girls write their favorite things about their teachers on the petals. They had a lot of fun thinking of different things the teachers had done throughout the year. I added a Cold Stone Creamery gift card to one of the petals, and then they decorated the pots.
They really enjoyed making these, and it was such a fun and easy craft to do. Of course I waited until the last minute to do these (aka, the night before), but thankfully I had the stuff on hand.
After school they came home to a sign on the door congratulating them on a great school year, and then they enjoyed brownie pops for snack. I made a pan of brownies, scooped them out with a melon baller, rolled them into a ball shape, then dipped the bottoms in melted chocolate and sprinkles. Very easy, and very tasty!
I am glad they get the summer off to enjoy and play, although I am NOT looking forward to the fighting that will ensue, *sigh*. This weekend I am making them "summer fun" folders with activities, games, and things to do over summer break. I also signed up for a math website that has different math games for them to do. And of course a summer reading program through Scholastic books. I plan on keeping them on somewhat of a schedule for the summer. Ya right! It'll last a week, lol!!
Ok, so my picture taking skills are something to be desired, but I had to get pics of this morning. We have these two sand hill cranes that come every spring and graze in the pasture. The kids love to watch them, and you will often find them screeching back when the cranes squawk (not sure what noise you call it...). So this morning Alayna was pretty excited when she spotted them, "MOM! LOOK!!! My friends came back!" I asked her (to be funny) what their names were. "Marta and Suzy!" Say what??
She needed to pose for a picture with them. The funny part of this is as soon as I took the picture, they starting squawking and scared the bejeebers out of her!!