I Love This Stuff!

Okay so many of us stay at home moms also fancy ourselves as interior decorators.  If you’re like me this means that you have a lot of silk flowers, plants or trees in your home. (Because seriously, who has time for REAL ones?) Well those are all very lovely until they get dusty and then they become a bit of an eyesore that no one wants to attempt to clean. I have tried several methods that usually make a huge mess and leave me with a muddy plant and a pile of frustration.  NO MORE!  I have found an amazing miracle in a bottle that will clean those nasty silks in minutes with NO scrubbing at all.  I found it in Wal-mart (of all places) way up on the top shelf,  hidden with all the florist supplies on the craft aisle.  I bought the bottle for about $5 and figured it was worth a try. All you do spray the silk plant until the leaves are soaked, shake it a little and then walk away.  It will dry in approximately 10 minutes and your plants will look amazing! (If they are particularly nasty you may want to apply the product more than once. ) You can do this outdoors or inside the house.  The smell is not bad but you will want to put something under the plant to protect your floors because the leaves will drip.  I was a skeptic when I bought it but now I am a believer!  I will never try to wash those silks again!

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What Was She Thinking?

Jessica (10) is my eldest and she is quite a character.  She is smart, has a fantastic memory, and loves trivia.  She is very responsible, helpful and dependable.  She is funny and quirky and a bit of a nerd.  I am not sure how she manages to be so intelligent and still run short on common sense sometimes.  She tends to take things very literally which can end up with very hilarious situations.  A good example of this occurred at a recent church activity and I felt compelled to share it here on the blog.

It is a custom serve iced tea and coffee at our church dinners.  For those who don’t care for tea or coffee we also offer soft drinks out of our soda machine.  Folks may have their first soft drink free of charge. After that each can of soda costs .50 cents.  Such was the case at a party held recently in our church dining hall.  Our pastor prayed for the meal and then announced “The soda machine is open. The first drink is free, after that they are .50 cents.”.

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Jessica went through the line and fixed her plate of refreshments and then came to me and requested .50 cents for a drink.  I was shocked that she had already consumed one can of soda.  I said “why do you need to buy a soda already?  You haven’t even eaten your food”.  She explained that she hadn’t had a soda yet.  I told her “Go get a soda from the machine. You don’t need any money. Pastor said the first one is free”.   She looked exasperated and said “But Mom, Allen got the first soda!”.

Allen is a guy in our congregation and apparently he was the first one who took a soda from the machine.  I had to laugh.  I suppose in her mind she pictured everyone racing to the machine to retrieve the first and only free drink.   Needless to say, everyone at the party got a good laugh and Jess got a free Dr. Pepper.

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Brains & BooBoos

10606559_10154540591380377_4169801425641453068_nMy youngest child, Bella, is now two years old and she is rarely ever quiet.  We tend to tune out her incessant chatter during important conversations because her voice is always there, in the background, just nattering on about this and that.  But then in those moments when there is a lull in adult conversation, we often pause to see what it is that she is actually talking about.  Sometimes we discover that she is only being preposterous (her word) and other times we discover that she really does have some important information to impart.  This happened a few days ago while we were driving down the road to pick up lunch from our local Subway.

Bella was riding in her seat talking about all the things we were passing in the car when she suddenly looked down to discover a scratch on the top of her foot.  She matter-of-factly stated “Ohhh, Bella dot a booboo. It look-uh like a seven!”.

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Blood & Stitches

There is rarely a dull moment around our place. Our kids are rowdy and rambunctious. They are fearless climbers and they are always on fast speed. So far I have been very lucky and the injuries have been minor.  A scrape here, a bruise there.  In the past ten years I can count the visits to the E.R. on one hand and more than one of those visits involved ear infections and not injuries. I suppose I have done pretty well.  But it all got real this week when I watched my five year old run across the living room, trip on his own foot and face plant into the corner of the padded leather ottoman. He immediately began crying the “hurt cry”. I ran from the kitchen doorway to the living room and rolled him over to see blood already rolling down his face and into his hair.

Now, the ottoman is heavily padded. There is not one sharp edge on it and that is actually one reason I purchased it.  I prepared myself to see his eyeball dangling from it’s socket but instead I pulled his blood soaked hand away to find an inch and a half hole in his forehead.  It was not a cut.  He had literally busted his head open.

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It was deep and blood was pouring so I gathered him in my arms and ran to the kitchen to deposit Judah on the counter.  His older sister ran for a wet cloth and I began trying to stop the blood which was now all over me and him both. With one hand I covered the wound and with the other hand I called for help on my cell phone.  Within a few minutes Daddy and Granny arrived and we rushed my little invalid to the Emergency Room.

10259650_10154053845530377_428934748_nThe poor little guy was so scared but he was such a trooper.  He listened closely to everything the doctor asked him and obliged each request without protest.  He cried big tears when they put three painful injections into the wound but he was super still and didn’t even wiggle.  He came through the ordeal like a little man and left the hospital proudly sporting five neat little stitches over his left eyebrow.

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This was a first for me and certainly not an experience I ever want to repeat but I am proud of the fact that I managed to hold back the mommy tears until I got back home.

Word of advice:  If you ever find yourself in this situation I highly recommend that you explain to your child what is happening.

 

10169184_10154042753935377_1872912383200422954_nYou obviously will need to sugar-coat a lot of the information but it is SO much better when you prepare them and explain what is happening (even if you make it up as you go along).  Judah was fascinated with all the machines and gadgets but he had no clue that they were actually “sewing” him up until we took the bandages off 24 hours later. I talked to him about the blood pressure cuff, the monitor beeping above his head, the cord clipped to his finger, etc.  He laid there with his eyes closed while the doctor put little “bandages” on his “bruise” and chatted with her like it was no big deal.  10152454_10154042755170377_1356761920161693457_n

I know without a doubt that if I had just taken him in and handed him over, he would have been terrified and not nearly as cooperative.  As a Mom you should always remember that these little ones are people too and they can sense your fear. Keep it together and always be absolutely confident about what is going on.  Especially when you have no idea and you are scared out of your mind.

You will get your chance to freak out…. later.

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Weight Woes

It’s something every Mommy deals with…  “Baby Weight”.  I don’t care if you weigh 110 pounds or 175 lbs, after baby is born nothing is ever quite the same.

I’ve been extremely lucky with each of my pregnancies and after baby I have always shrunk back to my usual weight.  After baby #4 was born the pounds once again fell off but I found that my clothes just fit differently. Things had “shifted” and after four kids they didn’t appear to be in any hurry to return to normal.  I was not real happy with it but I am a dismal failure when it comes to dieting so I decided it would be better to just live with it.  I don’t drink much soda so that isn’t a problem for me but I do like bread and sweets and butter and things that are not really considered healthy.  To me, if you are going to eat health food you might as well eat dirt.  It tastes just as good.

accelerator-slim1But then I was introduced to Plexus Slim.  I was intrigued for a couple of reasons.  First, because the person who was telling me about it was totally against any form of diet pill or weight loss gimmick. I was shocked that she was actually using Plexus and thrilled with the product. She explained to me that Plexus is all natural and was designed to regulate blood sugar levels and improve overall health.  Something we all need!  Secondly I was interested because she explained to me how much Plexus had improved her energy. My energy was at an all-time low.  Having three kids can deplete your stamina pretty quickly but when you add a new baby to those three kids you can kiss your energy goodbye.

I wasn’t really concerned about weight loss but I was excited to try it for the healthy energy boost!  I was happy to discover that the daily drink was not some strange, chalky shake, but rather a powdered mix dissolved in water. I opened the tiny packet, mixed it with water, poured it over ice and tasted the first sip. I am a VERY picky person so I was surprised to find that I LIKED it!  It tastes similar to red Kool-Aid and the mix was totally dissolved and not floating around in little lumps in my glass like other powdered drink mixes.  I could do this!

Within a week of taking the drink I had a noticeable increase in energy and an equally noticeable decrease in appetite. I felt great and was eating much less and craving water (which is never a bad thing!). I lost approx 10lbs in the first month and that was without any dieting or exercise whatsoever.  I am still wearing the same clothes but they fit much better now and I feel more like my old self again.

Left - Nicole after baby #2. Right - Nicole after 10 weeks on Plexus!

Left – Nicole after baby #2.
Right – Nicole after 10 weeks on Plexus!

I’m excited to report that many of my friends and family are trying Plexus and they are all having a great experience with it as well.  As moms it is important for us to be healthy and energetic but if you are like me and lack the self discipline, lack the time to work out, lack the funds for a personal trainer, then do yourself a favor and try this product. It WORKS and has helped me tremendously.  If you are struggling with weight, even if it’s just losing the 10 pounds that the new baby “blessed” you with, I encourage you to try Plexus!

Nicole after 4 months on Plexus!

Nicole after 4 months on Plexus!

 

Visit my website to see all the Plexus products (there are many) and be sure to message me if you have any questions. I would love to share more information with you!

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(Special thanks to my cousin, Nicole, for allowing me to use her photo! Very proud of your success!  You look fantastic! )

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Mommy Fail

As a mom I am sure there are going to be many times when I feel like I have failed my children. It’s just reality. It is going to happen. Parenting is a learning process and no parent is perfect. This past week proved that to me with an incident that I will not be forgetting any time soon.

It all started first thing in the morning when Bella (2 years) decided she need a “bath & bubbles”. It has become a habit with her lately. When her diaper is removed first thing in the morning she starts squirming out of her clothes and demanding a “bath & bubbles”. This particular morning was no different. She stripped down to nothing and galloped off to the bathroom while I followed behind her. She danced around the tub while I put in the plug, regulated the water and added the bubbles. I left the room for a moment to locate a set of clean clothes for the little clean freak. When I returned I stopped in my tracks at the door of the bathroom. My two year old was standing in front of the sink stark naked, wild curls sticking up in every direction. She was bent over at the waist with her skinny bottom sticking out.  Her head was thrown back in sheer pleasure as she methodically scratched her posterior with her older brothers orange toothbrush.

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I couldn’t help myself. I stood in the bathroom door and laughed till I couldn’t breath. When she was finished and her hinder parts were sufficiently scratched she turned and saw me in the doorway. I snatched the toothbrush away and scolded her for bothering what did not belong to her. We proceeded with the bath and went on with our busy day. I never thought about the incident again until much later that evening. Too much later as a matter of fact. I never thought of it again until big brother was saying goodnight and marching up the stairs to his bed. I dropped everything and said “Levi, did you brush your teeth?”. He proudly said “I already did it Mom!”. I cringed and said “What color is your toothbrush?”.  Much to my horror he replied “The orange one is mine.”.  Apparently I had laid the toothbrush on the edge of the sink and never went back for it.  Total. Mommy. Fail.
There was nothing left to do at that point but laugh again.

sleepLuckily Levi dotes on his baby sister so he fell into a fit of giggles and ran to the bathroom to deposit the orange toothbrush in the garbage. He learned a valuable lesson that night. From now on he will be putting his toothbrush away in the cabinet where it belongs.

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Caramel Fudge Skillet Cake

Okay so over a year ago I saw a photo of a sinfully delicious looking concoction that my friend Kristie posted to her Facebook page.  I asked her for the recipe and she promptly sent it to my inbox where it remained for WAY too long.  I recently found the time to try it out and it was incredible! I think Kristie said she got the recipe from Pampered Chef but I am not 100% positive of the original source.  I had to tweak it a bit here and there because I just can’t help myself so I am sharing my own version of this amazing chocolatey goodness.

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Ingredients:

1 Chocolate Cake Mix (I recommend either Devil’s Food or Chocolate Fudge) and the ingredients called for on the box.

2.) 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips or broken pieces of bakers chocolate squares .

3.) 1  jar of your favorite caramel topping. (I use a 12.25 oz jar of Smuckers Caramel because it is amazing.)

4.) Optional toppings:  1/3 cup of crushed pecans – Hot Fudge – Whipped Cream

 

Instructions:  You will begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

You will then grease the bottom and sides of a large cast iron skillet with cooking spray (butter or cooking oil will also work) and then coat it with flour. (Be sure to turn the skillet upside down over the trash can and tap out all the excess flour. )

Next you will follow the instructions on the box to prepare your cake mix and then pour it into the skillet.  Baking time will vary but should be approximately 30 minutes.  (The toothpick test works great on this one. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.)

Once the cake is removed from the oven allow it to cool inside the skillet. It will pull away from the sides as it cools.  Slide a butter knife around the edges of the skillet to carefully loosen the cake around the edges and then gently invert the skillet to deposit the cake (upside down) onto your serving platter.

Next you should pour half of the jar of caramel topping and the 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate into a bowl. Microwave this on high until the chocolate is melted and you can stir it into a smooth mixture.  Use a fork to gently poke holes in the top of the cake and then pour the warm chocolate/caramel mixture over the top.

To finish this up you can sprinkle the crushed pecans over the top and then drizzle with the remaining caramel topping. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream drizzled with hot fudge.  OH. MY. WORD.

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Pizza Puffs!

Pizza Puffs

Pizza Puffs

Pizza is one of my family’s very favorite meals.  It’s one that everyone can enjoy without having to change it up to suit one or two of my pickiest eaters.  We have pizza on a regular basis and so out of boredom I like to find new ways to eat the things we love most.  I stumbled across a recipe online for a kind of pizza “ball” but of course it is impossible for me to just use someone else’s recipe without changing it up and making it my own. This one was fun to make with the kids. It was fast, simple and yummy.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as we do!

Ingredients:

1.) Your favorite canned biscuits.  *I personally prefer Pillsbury Buttermilk (10 pack). Regular is better than the Grands for this recipe. You’ll have to judge how many according to the amount of folks you are serving.

2.)  Sliced Pepperoni

3.) Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

4.) Parmesan Cheese

5.) Italian Seasoning

6.) Garlic Powder  *My favorite is actually Lowry’s coarse ground garlic salt with parsley

7.) Melted butter -or- a beaten egg (to brush on the top)

8.) Your favorite dipping sauce. My favorite is Ranch Dressing but other options might be Creamy Italian or your favorite Pizza Sauce.

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375.

Flatten the dough of each biscuit (a tall kitchen glass works well for this if you do not have a dough roller handy).  Then place a pepperoni and small pile of cheese in the center of each biscuit.  Gather up the edges creating a little pocket and squeeze them together until the pepperoni and cheese are hidden and then place them (squeezed side down) in a greased baking dish. When you have finished stuffing each biscuit brush them all with melted butter or a beaten egg and then sprinkle with Parmesan, Italian Seasoning and Garlic Powder.   Bake for 10-12 minutes (or until the biscuits start to lightly brown) and then serve hot with your dipping sauce!  EASY!

**Tip** To change things up it would be easy to add additional small toppings (like jalapeno) to the cheese and pepperoni!

Kitchen Universe, The Kitchen Store

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Halloween Hysteria

We always have such a great time at Halloween.  Costume selection starts very early around our place. We like to choose costumes and characters that no one else would think of.  We like to go all out and we very rarely go with costumes off the shelf. In those cases where we do use store bought costumes we usually add our own embellishments to make each of them different and unique.  This year the holiday crept up on us in the middle of several other projects we had going.  I was not able to put as much time into it as I would have liked to but I don’t think the kids minded too much.  They received so many complements on their outfits and brought home WAY too much candy!  I sincerely hope all of my readers enjoyed their Halloween festivities as much as we did.

Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera

 

Levi was introduced to The Phantom Of The Opera this year and he decided that he wanted to be the Opera Ghost for Halloween.  This has always been one of my very favorites so I was thrilled when he picked this costume!  He looked so cute and really got into the character.

Christine Daae

Christine Daae

 

 

 

Jessica is the one who first introduced Levi to the Phantom.  She loves the music from the play and has been singing it for months.  I was not at all shocked when she chose to be Christine Daae this year.  She has watched the movie of the The Phantom so many times that she almost has the whole thing memorized

Jessica & Levi

Judah as Mike Wazowski

Judah as Mike Wazowski

Judah decided that he wanted to be Mike Wazowski from Monster’s Inc..  Judah’s costumes are ALWAYS the most challenging.  He has a crazy imagination and the silliest ideas. Last year he was a Lego Man and that costume was a “doozie” to create.  I was not sure how to even begin creating Mike.  I looked online for costumes but could not find anything that looked good.  On a quick shopping trip out of town I stumbled across this costume and it was perfect.  We made a few minor adjustments to it and he was satisfied. Hallelujah!

 

Bella as 'The Fox"

Bella as ‘The Fox”

I was not planning to dress Bella in a costume this year because I figured it would be a little too cold and she would probably not enjoy the whole Trick Or Treat thing.  The kids and I found this costume at the last minute.  They all love the popular song “What Does The Fox Say” and thought this would be perfect for Bella.  She LOVED it.  She was a Trick Or Treat pro and was deliriously happy with all the suckers she brought home!

 

 

So.Much.Fun.

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We Have Eggs!

Jessica collected our very first eggs!

Jessica collected our very first eggs!

It was an exciting day at our house when we discovered our very first eggs layed by one of our very own hens! We have checked the nesting boxes for weeks and weeks without a sign of an egg anywhere.  Then one afternoon we found four perfect brown eggs.  The kids were so excited!  Looks like our feathered family members have settled in and decided to call our place “home”.  Now I am going to have to decide what to do with all these eggs!

 

ChickenCoopMart - Chicken Coops

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