Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

I always wonder how time flies so fast! It feels like I was just writing my Goodbye 2009 post. I just looked back and saw my goals for 2010. I have to say I did a great job with them. I finally took control of some health problems, resulting in two ear surgeries and many trips to the chiropractor. And I have to say, it was well worth the pain! I have been good about visiting my Grandparents more, and have plans in place to continue with that. (Side note, please pray for my Grandpa Stauffer who is struggling with great pain from cancer). While I still struggle every day with giving God control of my life, he has shown me glimpses of how his plan is greater than mine. I met goals with my Scentsy business, and have set new ones for next year.

It's been a great year, and I am thankful for the blessings we received. I feel it was a growing year, learning lessons and seeing God's wisdom.

Praying that you all have a safe and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Blessings

It's been a wonderful Christmas. It was only a few years ago that we would cram 6-7 Christmas celebrations into two days. Now it's down to 6 total, spread out over a few weeks. The only thing that could have made this better would have been to have Dan home. He tends to be working every other year, and this was his year. We have been very blessed and I am grateful to have this holiday season with the rest of the family.

Christmas #5 will be here today with my Dad and Step Mom. It's a wild and crazy crew, and I better go hide the breakables. Click here to see how last year ended up.

Here's a few of the pictures from the Christmas celebrations so far. Hoping you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gifts from the heart

A few years ago I was struggling with what to get my grandparents for Christmas. It's not like they need anything. I know they love to have me come visit, so I came up with a great idea. I made them certificates for the Bread of the Month Club. Once a month I made the designated bread and delivered it to them. They loved it, and were always happy to see me. This also gave me a reminder to go visit them more often. Lately I have been making  a lot of soups and have been bringing some over to the grandparents to share. So for this year, my grandparents are getting certificates for the Soup of the Month Club. I printed out the schedule of soups, and bought some containers to deliver them in. I figure one big batch of soup will be enough for both sets of grandparents, and then I make the rounds to deliver it.

So maybe soup and bread are not your thing. Maybe you could do a muffin club, or cookie club. The idea to make gifts from the heart, and give your time.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Yes, I am Auntie Hottie

I had to get this on video before he stops calling me Auntie Hottie!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bad words vs Inappropriate words

Lily has been the bad word police this week. She told me that her friend had to turn the volume off on the movie they were watching because it was saying bad words. I was assured that there were no bad words in that movie by her friends Mom. Lily told us the movie said the "s" word.......stupid.  I have always told the kids they were not allowed to say stupid. It's just not something I wanted them to call people. Just like shut up. It's just not allowed. Problem is, Lily thinks they are bad words. So Lily and I had a talk about how some words are not bad words, just inappropriate words. I hope she understood what I was talking about. I can just see her telling her teacher that some classmate said the "s" word and the poor kid gets sent to the office for saying stupid.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Scentsy News

TA DA!!!

I am super excited that I made Scentsy DIRECTOR! This is a huge accomplishment and even more that I got there a month before my goal date. I am so thankful for Scentsy and the opportunities it gives it's consultants. I now get to name my team and go to Boot Camp in March!

This summer, Scentsy had an incentive where you could earn certain prizes. I earned an ipod nano and I got mine yesterday. I spent a couple hours playing with it last night. It's super small! Lily is pumped because now she gets my old mp3 player. (What's really sad is all I had to show her was the on and off switch. She had that puppy figured out in 2 seconds flat. We won't talk about how long it took me the first day.....).

Need great gift ideas? Check out my Scentsy website. From stocking stuffers like scent circles, travel tins, room sprays and fragrance foams to great teacher gifts like plug ins and scent packs. My favorite holiday scents right now are Christmas cottage and Eskimo Kiss. And don't forget about Scentsy Buddies. What a great cuddly gift for the child on your list!

Click on the Scentsy logo on the side of the blog to shop! Thank you!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Projects

Is it just me, or are there five million projects that need to be done in the next few weeks? I'm feeling very overwhelmed (which is normal for this time of year!). Just when I think I am getting somewhere, five new things pop up. I started making lists, but then keep forgetting them at home. Yesterday I made a list of things that had to get done that day. I think I will keep this up. If I can just get certain projects done and out of the way, I can focus on the day to day projects. So what have I been working on you ask? (Thanks for asking!). Here's just a few, and mind you, I can't share them all because they are gifts!

  • Project Pace (after school program that I work at school). I'm filling 70 frappacinno jars with cocoa mix and mini marshmallows. The kids will decorate them and add a gift tag. 
  • Baskets for Christmas presents (homemade goodies inside).
  • Shutterfly book for a Christmas present ( gotta say, it turned out so cute, I bought one for myself. Really defeated the purpose of a free book!). 
  • Christmas shopping.....slowly but surely I will get it all done.....the list is BIG. 
  • Christmas cards are finally done and mailed. 120 cards in all!
That's just a few things. What's your projects??

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Snow Family 2010

Here it is, our annual family photo. A big thank you to my sister Amy who took the picture!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

I survived another great Black Friday. If you are new, here's the link to last years Black Friday post. This year we added a few more things to do and NOT do on Black Friday!

  • DO NOT go to Walmart! We went once and it was not worth our time. Today I heard that friends of mine were trampled at Walmart. Walmart shoppers are just a different kind of crazy!
  • Find the hidden registers! Today we got in line for the pharmacy in Target and saved getting in the line that wrapped around the whole store! At Sears we found only one person in line in the shoe department. 
  • Make friends with the people around you in line. They may just grab you the 2nd to last external hard drive!
  • Make sure you double check your coupons from the paper. I thought I had a great coupon for Old Navy, only to see that it was for Thursday. Oops! We did have a coupon code that worked, so all was good. 
  • Share coupons you don't use. Mom shared a 15% off coupon with a lady with a cart full of things at Kohls. Probably saved her $30!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This is the day the Lord has made

I have had a rough week. One of those, is it over yet weeks. Nate's bike was stolen from our carport. I over committed myself to too many things. We are in the middle of a fierce freezing wind storm, making everything more difficult. I was worried about losing power last night and couldn't find the keys to the generator. The wind broke my front screen door, ripping it right out of the frame. It's now bungee corded to the front door. I hurt my ankle trying to get the screen door to just stay closed (don't ask why I thought kicking it would work). The smoke alarm keeps going off randomly (because of the cold wind). So I haven't been sleeping well, and am fighting a cold, making everything more challenging.

As I was grumbling about all of this, the song "This is the day the Lord has made" came into my head. It's an old hymn that I haven't sung in years. It was one of my favorites at camp. At camp, everything is great, fun and perfect. So of course you can sing with all conviction that "this is the day the Lord has made, I will be glad and rejoice in it".

Of course today I am struggling with the "I will be glad and rejoice in it". I do have so much to be thankful for, that I need to stop getting caught up in the daily battle. I need to rejoice in today, even if today sucks.  I may not feel like Super Mom this week, but I can be thankful and rejoice in things that I take for granted.

Everyone's been posting their thankfulness lists this month. I truly am thankful, but just didn't feel like making my list. I really think it is important to make the list, knowing that the list will never be complete. Things that are frustrating now, may just be something we are thankful for next year.

So here are just a few of my things I am thankful for. I will rejoice in these things. God made this day, and I may not like how things go, but he's made this day for me!!

  • I am thankful that my kids are good students. I am thankful for their caring teachers and staff at their school. 
  • I am thankful for power. Thankful that I have heat and food and all the modern convinences. 
  • I am thankful for a husband who makes so many sacrifices for our family. 
  • I am thankful for my extended family and how much they help me out.
  • I am thankful for the technology and surgeon that were able to fix my genetic hearing loss. 
  • I am thankful for the soldiers and their families who make great sacrifices for our country.
  • I am thankful for my church and the freedom  to worship as I please. 
  • I am thankful for my friends who are there to lend and ear when needed.
  • I am thankful that God is not finished with me yet. He's teaching me every day, and while I may not like the lessons, he knows what's best for me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Poor Hobbs

Poor Hobbs. It doesn't look like HE likes to play dress up.

Snowy Morning

We have a very cold snowy morning here. We have just a dusting of snow, and my kids would be out playing in it, except for the 30 mph gusty northeastern winds. Puts our wind chill at about 15 degrees right now. Lily's dance class was canceled so we are having a lazy morning in our jammies.

I started working on Christmas cards this week. For the first time ever, I decided to look in my Christmas bins and see what I had, BEFORE I started. I couldn't believe what I found. 4 different boxes of cards, 3 packages of photo letters, and 7 packages of stationary. I already gave a heads up to all my family and friends, don't compare Christmas cards from me! My goal is to use up most of it so that I can start fresh for next year. (More like buy all of the same at the after Christmas sale).

Our family picture is done, and I have done a test run copy from Costco. I learned years ago to do a test run before printing 120 copies. I was glad I did, because my file was bad and the resolution was very poor. A big thank you to my sister Amy Parsons.  The day we did our family pictures, my family had on grumpy pants. Mainly the little missy, but the "boys" weren't helping. After 15 minutes I threw in the towel. Amy did her magic and got us a great family photo. She truly is the BEST!!

So I am breaking my rule of  "NO Christmas music before Thanksgiving" and listening to "Let it snow". It's  fitting for the day, and I am getting in the mood to get my Christmas letter done. I will post the new photo once I get all the cards out. Everyone stay warm today and be safe on the roads!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Ideas

I'm the family member that everyone calls for gift ideas. I can't always help, but I do my best. Years ago I had the idea of making a family cookbook. I told everyone to get me the recipes, and I would do the rest. I never received a single recipe. This idea has been on the back burner for years. So this year my Mom stepped up the plate, gave everyone a deadline and is putting a book together. It's a photo book, with recipes. She's doing it as a gift for Grandma (Grandma doesn't have a computer, so I can share this with you.....just don't tell her!). The rest of us can purchase a copy too.

Photo books are a great Christmas gift. My sister started making me an annual family album as a birthday gift, and now she's so busy, I make my own. We have put many different kinds of books together. One for Grandma and Grandpa's 60th wedding anniversary. One of Lily and Emma having a tea party (I will treasure that one forever). There's also one from a camping trip, and one of our award winning sand castle. Last year I made an ABC book for my nieces and nephews. I found pictures of Nate and Lily for every letter in the alphabet. It was a cute book and a fun gift. You could make your own I Spy book. Take pictures of your kids toy box, messy room, ect and add text for things to find.

I like to do my books through Shutterfly, but you can also use Walmart, Photoworks, Kodak, ect. I like how user friendly Shutterfly is, and they ship out quickly. Watch for sales, all of the site are promoting these books right now, so get a good deal!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Auntie Hottie

Drew is my favorite nephew right now. I know I'm not supposed to have favorites, but how can you resist a tiny little angelic face that says, "I love Auntie Hottie". It just melts my heart every time!!

He's also making up for the fact that his brothers called me Auntie Woof Woof. They were about Drew's age, and I have dogs, so to them it made sense.

The twins have also started chanting an old favorite rhyme of theirs.

Enie meanie miney mo
Catch a tiger by the toe
Auntie Holly LET HIM GO
Enie meanie miney mo.

Gotta love those boys!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays!

Wooo hoo, I remembered Tasty Tuesdays!

Today's tip is about prep work. I learned years ago while working at a sandwich shop, that when you have all the ingredients prepped in front of you, making sandwiches was fun....and yummy! I hate making fresh sandwiches now, because I don't have all the options I want.

Tonight's dinner is a stir fry, and it really only takes 20 minutes (after 20 minutes of prep work). The best thing to do is think ahead and have all the prep work done. Maybe this is while the kids are napping, or maybe the night before, whatever works for you.

This helps with many other things too. Like packing the kid's lunches. I try to have things like veggies already cut up into little baggies, and easy for me to grab in the morning when I'm throwing their lunches together. So many things are made easier if the prep work is done ahead of time. So think ahead. On nights with sports practices, you know you will be rushed at dinner, so have the prep work done ahead of time. It's also great to think a couple days ahead. Say you need chicken tonight, then cook up double, so that the chicken is pre cooked for later in the week.

This is one of my favorites, so enjoy!!

Cashew Chicken

1 1/2 cups boneless, skinless chicken, cubed
2 Tbsp chicken bouillon
1 1/4 cups boiling water
4 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp corn starch
2 Tbsp brown sugar
 1 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 8 oz can water chestnuts
 1 cup cashews

Hot cooked rice or Chinese rice noodles. 

In saucepan, combine bouillon, water, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar and ginger, mix well. In large wok, brown chicken in EVOO. Add bouillon mix, stir until slightly thickened. Add mushrooms, green onions, celery and water chestnuts, simmer for 5- 10 minutes. Add cashews and serve over rice or noodles.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I Survived

Surgery on my ear went well. I am thankful that they listened to me when I said I get very dizzy and nauseous. They gave me a patch that helped for the first two days. I'm still dizzy and nauseous, but it's getting better. I can actually hear a little bit out of my right ear! Last time it took 10 days for the swelling to go down, and almost 6 weeks before I had pre-surgery hearing back.  My taste buds are still messed up and I don't feel like eating, but that was expected. A big thank you to my hubby for being a great nurse! Thank you to everyone for their prayers, I really appreciate them!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

 The kids had a blast at their Halloween parties at school. Their school has a fun tradition of parading each class through each classroom, so everyone can see all the costumes. I was a bit sad that this is the last year for Nate! This first picture is when Nate came through Lily's class.
 This is the first year we have all four dressed up. Nate wanted to be Commander Cody and he talked Lily into being Ahsoka. (Star Wars, Clone Wars). Then Dan said we should be Anakin and Padme. I had to find the costumes online, but after some research, got the right costumes, with the correct weapons. Our Trick or Treating is a trek across the whole county to see friends and family. It takes all night, and we only hit 9 houses. Here's our first stop at Aunt Ruthi's.
 As we headed out tonight, Dan remembered that we needed to stop for gas. There was NO WAY I was getting out in my costume, so Dan had to pump gas. Some Canadians drove by and waved, and got a good laugh at us. The kids popped up through the sunroof in the car and were "protecting" it while we got gas.

 Our nephews were waiting all night for Nate and Lily to stop by.
 We always get a picture of the kids together at Grandma and Grandpa Dennison's house. We had to move them to the big couch this year because the kids are getting big! Big props to my sister in law Tiff who made all four kid's costumes!
The last stop of the night was Mom's. I had to get a picture of Dan's dress (or fairy princess dress as he called it). We had a great time tonight, but I'm not making a habit of dressing up every year. I'm fine with going back to my "costume" as the paparazzi of the night.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Who are you today?

A couple weeks ago I was subbing at school as a Para Educator. I was in the cafeteria telling kids to eat, stay in their seats, and sneaking a bite of cookie from Nate's lunch (I was hungry!). Our principle came up to me and asked in all seriousness, "Who are you today?". Some people might get offended by the question, since he's known me for 5 years now. But I knew what he was getting at. What he wanted to know who I was subbing for that day.

That question stuck with me for days. Who am I today? When I am at the school, I wear many hats. Some days I am a substitute. Some days I am a volunteer. Some days I am PTO Vice-President. I am always Nate's Mom and Lily's Mom. Some kids call me Holly, most call me Mrs. Snow. (They can get away with calling me Holly if they are kids who come visit my house).

Those are just the hats I wear at school. Everyday I wear the hat of Mom. Everyday I wear the hat of Wife. I'm also a daughter, sister, sister in law, Auntie, Scentsy consultant, and friend. Don't forget, cook, maid, chauffeur, baker, shopper, bookkeeper, and keeper of the calendar.  That's a lot of hats to wear.

I struggle with juggling all those hats. I like to keep everyone happy, and sometimes wear too many hats at once. Holidays are the worst. Seems like I need to have every hat on at once, trying to make everything work. I know this is a struggle for most Moms. I was talking to a friend the other day who said she's having hard time wearing the working Mom hat.

When I went back to college two years ago, I put on the new hat of student. Other hats had to be put aside for that year, and some hats just were put on less. It was necessary for my sanity (and GPA) to leave that student hat on and treat myself as a student.

Next week I have to put on the hat of patient. I'm not good at that hat. Other hats will have to be put away for a couple weeks while I recover from surgery. I'm feeling guilty about this. I just need to keep telling myself that it's temporary.

What hats do you struggle with?

Who are you today?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's Offical

We officially have the plaque on our wall. We get to keep this for the next year.....hopefully two because my name is going on it next year!!

Here I go again!

Today starts all the pre op appointments for my surgery next week. I am having surgery on my right ear this time. Same surgery as last May. I was telling my sister in law that this is kinda like childbirth. I know what to expect this time, I know I can handle it, but I know it will suck! The pain isn't the problem, it's the 14 days of being super dizzy. And the throwing up. And the loss of taste. Speaking of.....the surgeon was telling me that they have to move the nerve that affect taste, and that's why I lose my taste buds for a couple days. I'm trying to stay positive, but I know it's a long road before I feel better and notice a difference in hearing (last time it was 6 weeks before I had pre-surgery hearing back, and 3 months before I really noticed an improvement). Please keep me in your prayers. Thank you!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Word From My Sponsors

Ok, so I don't really have any sponsors, but you will notice the friendly faces on the side of the blog. Amy Parsons is my sister. My very talented sister. I like to brag about her talents, but you really have to see them to believe. She is an amazing photographer. She knows how to get the natural smile out of people. No, she does not pay me to say nice things about her and put a plug on my blog (she does take my family pictures every year for my Christmas cards though!). Click on the link and take a peek at her website!

Next up is my brother Marty Stauffer. Marty is a great insurance agent, who truly cares about his clients. He looks out for your best interest. Marty saved us a ton of money this year when the insurance company raised our premiums 85%. He found ways to lower the cost without hurting our coverage. Give him a call for a no hassle, no obligation quote. (Note, Marty will take me to lunch for sending him referrals, so keep that in mind!).

Wayne Gardner is my step-dad. He's the owner and broker of Valley Land and Homes. He is a hard worker who will help you find exactly what you want in a home. He also does property management and will help you find a rental or renters. He's an honest friendly guy who will help you with your real estate needs. Give him a call, or check out his website.

And don't forget to check out my Scentsy website. We have new warmers and scents each month, so there is always something new to see. Silver Bells is November's scent of the month. I made up samples yesterday and will mail them out to anyone who is interested! There are only 7 more weeks to order before Christmas! Book your party now to earn Christmas gifts. Scent circles make great stocking stuffers. Too busy for a home party? I have basket parties ready to send out.

From my family and I, thank you for your support!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Sunday I finally gave into the apples that were taunting me in the garage. I LOVE homemade applesauce, but it's the most time consuming of all the canning (and the messiest). My kitchen needs a top to bottom cleaning after doing applesauce. I did most of it sugar free, since I was using mainly Jonagold apples ( I had a few apples from my tree added in). The kids always love to help turn the squeezo. Two big boxes of apples are now 14 quarts of yummy applesauce. I'm hoping to be done with canning for the year, but may have some more apples coming......maybe I'll finally try apple pie filling?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pictures from the chili cook off

The first picture is of Dan's award winning chili. The second is my chili, and I still think it was pretty good! The last is the lineup of chili in crock pots, all labeled (it's a blind testing, nobody knows who made what chili) and ready to be tested. Each family also has a food assignment to go along with chili. When I asked Tracie what my food assignment was, her answer was, " Loser chili and cookies". Very funny! I made pumpkin shaped sugar cookies and Lily did the decorating. What a fun night!

And The Winner Is.......

10 different chili's were entered last night. Each one of them was VERY different. There were sneaky ingredients, like chocolate and veggie crumbles (had no idea that it wasn't meat!). When the votes were tallied, the winner was.........DAN! Seriously! He just got home the day before, and I bugged him enough that he decided to enter a chili at the last minute. He has NEVER made chili before. He had me running to two different grocery stores yesterday in search of his secret ingredients. I really thought his chili would be so unusual that he wouldn't win. I guess we all have different tastes, because not only did he win, he almost took the boobie prize as well. So you either love it or hate it.  Dan's chili was made with pork ribs and Asian flavors.....not your typical chili. It was really good though! And the winner of the boobie prize was.....Gordon!

We had a great time last night. The kids had fun carving pumpkins and playing in the hay. And of course, I'm thrilled that we get to take the trophy home!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chili Cook Off Day

It's finally here. Our friend's 3rd annual chili cook off and pumpkin carving party. This is an event we look forward to all year long. The chili competition is fierce this year. I hear that my friend's 9 year old even made his own chili! Everyone has been working hard on their chili recipes, and I can't wait to taste them all.

I decided that chili #3 was my best. I let my sister and her hubby take some home and try it and they agreed. The trick is to find someone who is not in the competition, yet is still a chili expert. Case in point, I sent batch number two of chili to my mother in law. When she called to thank me, I asked her how the chili was. Her reply, " It was chili" . Not much of a help.

My brother called yesterday while I was making the chili (chili is best the second day). He was trying to sabotage me by telling me to put mushrooms in the chili. Mushrooms and other veggies (besides peppers and onions) are the mark of death in our chili competition.  His wife made Rachel Ray's Harvest Chili for the first cook off and got the boobie prize for last place. (Note, that is a great soup, one of my favorites, it just should not be called chili!).

The trash talk on facebook has gotten pretty bad this week. Yesterday we were all posting about our chili and how each one was the winning recipe. My friend Amy posted this link, saying I should bring a bowl of these jelly beans to the cook off. Seriously, she has a great point and I will be looking into that next year!

Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tasty Tuesday (a day late)

I was busy in the kitchen yesterday. I had volunteered to take a meal to my friend who just had a baby on Sunday (10-10-10). Really, this is just my excuse to go smooch on a new baby! Anyways....I made my famous cheesy garlic pull apart bread and it smelled so good, that I made another batch for myself. Soup always sounds good with fresh bread, so I made homemade chicken soup. I had a request to post both of these recipes, (HI Kristen!)  so Tasty Tuesday is a day late. The soup is nothing fancy, just plain good comfort food. Enjoy!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

4 large carrots, thinly sliced
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/2 package egg noodles
10 cups water
1 tbsp dried minced onion
1 tsp granulated garlic
3 chicken boulion cubes
1 tsp Mrs. Dash
1 Tbsp Costco's no salt seasoning
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (leftover chicken works best!)

Bring the water to boil in a large stock pot. Add the carrots, celery and noodles. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 more minutes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Names

The kids in our family are going through a faze of renaming their stuffed animals. I think this is wrong, a name should stay the same, but the kids disagree. First Emma (my niece) decided that her cat Mow, is now Meow. He's been Mow for 6 years, you can't change that! Then baby Drew (her 20 month old brother) decided his Woof is now Puppy. It's really cute to hear him say "puppy", but it was also cute when he said, "woof". Today Lily joined the movement. She informed me that Day, who she has had since she was a baby, is now a girl and her name is Petals. REALLY? Not only do I think that you can't change names, but changing sexes......we won't go there!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pink Bug

When I was 15 my Dad bought a wrecked Toyota truck, and fixed it up for me. I had to help with the sanding and masking of the truck. He taught me how to maintain the truck, check my oil, and how to change a tire. These were all good lessons, and made me appreciate my truck more.

Nate is starting to notice cars. Not just any cars, but mustangs. He bought a hot wheel car last month that was a '92 mustang. He loves that car and wants a real one. I told him to tell Grandpa. Grandpa goes to auctions and can find a mustang that needs work, and Nate can go help him fix it up. It's a great project, and hey, they have 5 1/2 years to work on it.

So when we called my Dad to tell him this, Lily decided to put in her request also. She wants a pink VW beetle. Yes, a pink bug. With Barbie stickers. And purple and blue racing stripes. She knows that Grandpa can paint anything, so this is what she wants. I tried to tell her that Barbie will not be cool when she is 16, but she didn't believe me. Everyone help me remind her when she's 16 that her dream car is a pink bug with Barbie stickers and purple and blue racing stripes. She will NEVER believe me!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Houston, we have a problem....

10 days until the chili cook off. There is one more chili I want to try before I decide on my winning chili recipe. This is serious competition! But, I have a problem. My freezer that is full of beef, froze over. It's so frozen, I can't open the freezer door. So I have about 100 pounds of ground beef (and I need at least one) is stuck inside my freezer. I refuse to go buy ground beef when I have 100 pounds of it here. So any ideas? Blow dryer? Or am I going to have to unplug the freezer? Yikes!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Parent to Parent

My heart has been hurting for a family in our community. Last week a toddler was hit and killed while walking in a school crosswalk with her Mother and siblings. This is a horrible tragedy and I can't imagine the pain the family is feeling. While the driver that caused this is being charged, it truly was an accident. The problem is that these accidents are preventable.

This all hits too close to home for me. I'm the Mom in the crosswalk everyday. I walk my kids to school, and most days, have extra kids with me. Both before and after school, the lights flash on the sign saying 20 mph in a school zone. Still, EVERY DAY, I see people speeding. I see many distracted drivers. Just last week the crossing guard saw a lady speeding through the school zone, while brushing her teeth. I see people talking on their cell phones. I really don't care if you are late. That's your problem. Slow down and watch the road. It's kids lives that are on the line. My kids, your kids, your grand kids, your nieces and nephews. They are WAY more important than that call, or text. They are more important than being a couple minutes late.

So from one parent to another, I will be more diligent in my driving. I will slow down, and watch more carefully for kids on the road. I just ask that you will do the same.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just Call Me Crazy

It's been super busy around here with school activities, PTO, Scentsy, Kids Club, working at the school, volunteering at the school, field trips.......and the list goes on. And because I am crazy, I bought a box of nectarines yesterday to can. I have never done nectarines, but it was a good price, and I thought it would add some variety to the pantry. As soon as I got home with my box of nectarines, I had a message on my machine that more tomatoes were ready if I wanted them. I am a little obsessed with not letting food go to waste, so I ran over to pick up a couple boxes of tomatoes. Really, like I had nothing better to do. So today I was making more salsa (gotta say it's pretty yummy.....and no I am not sharing!). So this weekend I will be canning nectarines. I have no idea when I will find the time to do this, we have a busy weekend. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Shopping Cart Dilemma

I have a bit of a shopping cart dilemma. Nate is now big enough to push the shopping cart and likes to do this. Here's my reasons why it's a bad thing.

  • He runs over the back of heals, at least twice.....and it hurts!!
  • I swear he makes a video game out of it. 100 points for hitting an isle, and extra 100 points if something falls off. 200 points for hitting someone else's cart. 100 bonus points for an old lady, and 100 bonus points for a Canadian (that's an easy one, they are everywhere!). 
  • He always blocks the isle, and I need to tell him 14 times to move out of the way. (BIG pet peeve of mine. Seriously people, if you stop, don't block the whole isle!). 
  • He still gets distracted (SQUIRREL!) and will wander off to look at something.
  • His wandering always takes him to the bakery and cookies!
  • I'm afraid to buy anything fragile, like eggs. With all that cart bumping, they may not make it to the car.

Here's the reasons why I like Nate pushing the cart.

  • He has to keep his hands on the cart, so he can't  grab extra things to put into the cart. 
  • He has to keep his hands on the cart, so he can't touch his sister.
  • He has to keep his hands on the cart, so he doesn't have time to take the bottom apple in the display. (My kids would NEVER do that!). 
  • He has to keep his hands on the cart.... well, you get my point.

We will keep working on Nate's cart driving skills, in hopes that he will get better. I may have to put a warning out to little old ladies and Canadians before we enter the grocery store. And I may need to pick up more band aids while we are there, for my heals!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nate Speak

We had Curriculum Night at school this week, one night for Lily and another for Nate. They are both loving their classes and I think it's a good fit for them both. I am always nervous as to what teacher they will get. I pray all summer that the God will give them the best teachers for their personalities. I know my kids are great students, but they are quirky and need teachers who will encourage them. I believe that God answered my prayers and the kids are in the classrooms that are best for them.
When in Nate's classroom the other night, his teacher told me that her family is also big Star Wars fans. And not only Star Wars, but Clone Wars. Nate is obsessed with Clone Wars, and anything Lego Star Wars. He has his own language that I don't understand because I don't watch the show. I was so relieved to hear that his teacher speaks his language! His teacher will understand his Halloween costume! It may sound silly, but God knows what's on my heart, and I am so thankful for answered prayers.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chili Update

Note to self: Stop putting habaneros in the chili!

This week I have tried two different recipes for chili. I really liked the first one, but the second wasn't bad, just not trophy worthy. I was the chili fairy, dropping off containers of chili at people's doorsteps, just to get rid of it all.

I had gotten some peppers from my Grandparent's garden. I thought they were sweet peppers. Wow, was I wrong. The first day, I put a whole habanero in the chili, and let's just say the chili was best with a BIG dollop of sour cream on it! The second recipes actually called for a habanero and two jalapenos. I cut back to half the habanero and one jalapeno. It was still pretty spicy.

While researching chili recipes online, I found a recipe for alligator chili. I posted the link on facebook, and got bunch of interesting comments. My friends down south said alligator isn't bad, and would make a good chili, as long as you don't over cook it. I had friends totally grossed out at the idea. I even found out how much it would cost to ship alligator meat. Not sure I want to pay $20 a pound plus overnight shipping. It's been fun to freak out my friends though. Our chili cookoff is a blind taste test, meaning nobody knows who made what. So even if they knew I made alligator chili, they wouldn't know which one it was until after they ate it. (Insert evil laugh).

I have one more recipe I want to try, but I think I need a chili break for the week.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chili Debate

My friends have an annual Chili Cook Off and Pumpkin Carving party. Every family brings a chili and we vote on our favorites. A trophy goes to the winner and a boobie prize to the loser. It's tough competition, and trash talk goes on all year. I like to try new and interesting chili recipes, and have always been near the bottom. We have found that any vegetarian recipes will get you the boobie prize.

So here's my dilemma. I want to win. I would love to kick some butt. But at the same time I really want to try something new. I found an interesting recipe, but the veggie to meat ratio may not get me extra votes.  I have been doing research on chili cook offs and winning recipes. Did you know most of them don't have beans? Maybe that would be different enough (and would make all the meat eaters happy). Did you know there is an International Chili Society? That's serious stuff! So from now until the cook off next month, I will be testing recipes. Send me your best, and only the best. I plan to bring that trophy home this year!! Bring it!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Busy as a Bee

I was so happy to have a friend bring me a box of peaches from Eastern Washington. They were beautiful Hales and I got 12 quarts of peaches canned. That afternoon, as soon as I pulled the peaches out of the canner, I got a phone call that my brother in law hooked me up with some free tomatoes. I don't turn down free produce! So I ran right over and got the tomatoes. So yesterday I made salsa. I made salsa last year, but was not happy with the recipe, so I tried a new one this time. So far I really like it, but the real test will be to break open a jar. So far I have had 13 people offer to be my taste testers. I only made 10 pints, so I may have to lock the door.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tasty Tuesday!

Wow, it's been forever since I did a Tasty Tuesday. I can't promise to keep this going, but I had a good one to share today. Last week my nephew Drew (sweet little monkey boy) fell out of his crib, landed on his head, and got a concussion. Marty and Tiffani spent the afternoon in the ER with him, and were pretty stressed. I offered to bring them dinner. It was 4:20 at the time, and I told them I would be there in an hour. Not very smart of me, considering it takes almost a half hour to get to their house. I quick grabbed a cookbook and found my recipe for Bubble Pizza. It's quick, easy, and only takes a few ingredients. I had that thing in the oven in a flash, and hot dinner delivered at 5:35. Not too bad! This is a great one to have the ingredients on hand for those frazzled nights when you are short on time. Enjoy!!

Bubble Pizza

1 can refrigerated Grands biscuits
1 pound ground sausage
1 can spaghetti sauce (or two cans of pizza sauce)
shredded mozzarella cheese (6-8 oz)
Optional - assorted pizza toppings such as olives, peppers, pepperoni....

Brown sausage in a fry pan, add spaghetti sauce. Cut up biscuits into quarters, place in a greased 9x 13 pan. Top with sausage/sauce mix then top with cheese. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Canning Season

Canning season is finally here. Everything is late this year, making it more difficult. Normally I do green beans in late July and August. I didn't do any beans until this week! I did pears the other day, and I lucked out to catch them at the perfect time, not too green and not too ripe. I'm not a huge pear fan, but Dan loves them. It's the one thing I was low on. See, I have a strange love of canning. I can't turn down a chance to make more. I have enough green beans to probably last two years, yet I do more! I still have a few jars of peaches from two years ago, yet I will can more peaches this week. I just love looking at a full pantry at the end of fall and know that we will enjoy fruits and veggies all winter long. I also love knowing that I accomplished something that will benefit my family for a whole year. And of course, they just taste sooo much better than store bought! After peaches, it will be applesauce and salsa. My kitchen will be sticky for the next month, but it's worth it!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Corn Maze

The kids and I went to a Corn Maze today. I'm really worried about Nate's sense of direction. He kept taking us around in circles and dead ends. Or, he really didn't want to find his way out. Either way, we had fun. I love getting pictures of us deciding which way to go. Nobody ever agrees!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lawn stripes

This past Spring we had a water leak in the back yard. Dan had to dig up the front yard, following the water line from the street, until he found the leak (a whole 6 feet behind the fence). The fix for the water leak cost a whole $1.24. Well....then there was grass seed, and more grass seed, and more grass seed. We seeded the yard 3 times before it came up well. In the meantime, weeds had taken over. So I bought a bag of weed and feed and went spreading. What I didn't realize was the spreader was set for grass seed, and I put a whole 40 pound bag on the grass. This is what the yard looked like a week later. You can see my path was not always straight ( I swear I was NOT drinking!). The grass looked like this for a good month this summer, then I bought another bag of weed and feed and went over my missed spots. Everyone joked that I should have gone the opposite way and made a checker board pattern. I'm happy to say that the lawn finally looks great. It's all one color (hooray!) and nice and thick!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Auntie's House

My sister in law, Tiffani, did some work for my sister, Amy yesterday. I volunteered to take the 4 kids for Tiffani. Just a reminder, Emma is 6, the twins Grant and Ben are 3 1/2 and baby Drew is 18 months. The kids love to come over and play, and were super excited to see our new kittens. I love having the kids over, but they wear me out! I had them for less than 4 hours, and it was exhausting. I don't know how Tiff does it EVERY DAY!

Emma was the perfect baby. She slept through the night at 6 weeks old, and was just a very content and happy baby. I joked with Tiff that she would get twin boys next to make up for how easy Emma was. God liked my idea! Then came baby Drew......and now I say that God gave Tiff twins to prepare her for Drew. He may look like an innocent little angel, but that kid is super fast, and super smart! In the time it took for me to get a granola bar out of the cupboard, Drew had pulled a banana out of a grocery bag, had it peeled in half and was chowing down. Seriously. At some point during the morning, Drew snuck into my office and slobbered my camera. When I went to take this picture, I had to clean off the camera first. I asked him who slobbered my camera, and he laughed.

I started a list of things that I learned with four kids running wild. I didn't get to write them all down, because as soon as I turned my back, they were into something else. If you don't believe me, or think I'm exaggerating, just borrow the kids for a morning. You will have a new respect for Tiff!

  • If you ask the kids who left the banana peel in the living room, they will all agree that "Not me" did it.
  • If you let half the kids outside to play, the other kids stay inside, bad things will happen. All kids must go inside or outside.
  • One of those bad things is that Drew will bring the BIG bottle of bubbles in the house and spill them on your rug.
  • Drew will then stick the bubble wand in your coffee (not a way to make points with Auntie. Auntie NEEDS her coffee!).
  • Scissors can not be put high enough. Monkey boy will find them and put them in his mouth!
  • Don't let the kids play with play dough near the litter box. Play dough and toys will end up in the litter box.
  • No matter how many times (27....not that I'm counting) you tell the kids to leave the kittens alone while they are in the litter box, the kids can't hear you.
  • Sometimes it's hard to tell if someone needs a diaper changed, or the cat just used the litter box.
  • When Drew has wax on his hands, just smell it to figure out what Scentsy he got into.
  • Don't leave Ben alone in the bathroom too long. He will dump all the toys in the tub, and climb in.
  • Drew doesn't understand that that tablecloth is NOT attached to the table.
  • No matter how many times you tell the kids to stay out of the kiddie pool (14) they can't hear you.
  • They still don't understand that you can't carry the kittens by their necks.
  • Cookies or brownies are still the best way to get the kids to eat their whole lunch!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Camping Trip

We had a blast camping over the holiday weekend. We were blessed with dry weather, until last night. It was a wet soggy morning, making unpacking not much fun. The kids had a blast, and were trilled to see cousins stop by to play. They played in dirt piles, rode bikes (Lily finally rode without her training wheels!), played in the really cold river, and of course had campfires and smores. Last time we camped along the river, Nate and cousin Phil made a mud hole and played. This time Lily and Emma made a mud slide. Nate took the training wheels off of Lily's bike, and would patrol the perimeter of the campsite, making sure we were all safe. We were right on an air strip, so we got to see a biplane land in the field, and another plane buzzed right over us. The kids played hide and seek in the dark, which I thought was very brave. I was really impressed with how well they all played and found things to do. It was a great trip to end the summer!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Day of School

The kids had a great first day of school. Or, as Lily said, it was "Grawesome" (great and awesome). I still can't believe that Nate is 5th grade, the oldest in his school. When did he grow up? Wasn't it just yesterday he was starting kindergarten and I had to carry Lily, screaming and crying, EVERY day down the hall because she wanted to stay at school? And now Lily is in 2nd grade, growing up too fast!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Fall Catalog is here!

September 1st has to be the most exciting day of the year for Scentsy consultants. It starts the new Fall/Winter catalog and all of our fabulous new products. Lily woke up this morning totally excited that we can order her Scentsy Buddy today. As of last week she wanted Penny the Pig, but this morning she said she wants Lenny the Lamb. And of course she wants the Camu Camu scent pack in it. Camu Camu is her favorite scent (it's her Daddy's favorite too!). Fragrance Foams are also a new product and I will be stocking up for my kid's classrooms! Both my kids are sensitive to regular hand sanitizers, and I'm happy they can use the Fragrance Foams because they are alcohol free. There are so many great new scents and warmers in the new catalog. Click on the link on the side of the blog to see them all. And of course let me know if you want to host a party or basket party this Fall!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to School!

I am super excited for the kids to go back to school. They have been fighting and need to be separated! Lily is trilled to go back to school, and found out yesterday that her BFF is in her class. (Poor teacher!). Nate is excited he got the teacher he wanted and most of his friends in his class. I'm actually excited to get back to work, and am also ready for PTO projects. I love the routine of Fall.
I will have a million things to do once the kids are in school, but at least I won't have them making more messes during the day. I will start canning this week, first green beans, then peaches, pears, applesauce and salsa. It's a ton of work, but well worth it when we are enjoying them the rest of the year.
Happy School Days to you all, and please drive slowly through the school zones and watch for kids!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

101 Reasons I Hate Socks in Summer

I HATE to fold socks in summer. There is just something wrong about it. Ok, there are many things wrong about it. Here are a few of my reasons.

  • Summer should be warm/hot and we should not NEED to wear socks.
  • Summer is the only time that I polish my toe nails, and I need to show them off.
  • Socks in the summer tend to be extra dirty and smelly, gross!
  • I have enough laundry to do in the summer with beach towels, swimsuits, blankets used at picnics, and sleeping bags from camping. I don't have time to sit and fold socks!
  • Socks tend to disappear more in the summer, leaving me with a big pile of single socks.
  • Did I mention that summer should be HOT? Today it's only 62 degrees, making me want to put socks on. Hello, it's late August, bring on the heat!
  • Socks and sandals are just wrong!! (Just sayin')
  • I rarely see the bottom of the laundry basket in the summer, so socks are a low priority.
  • Well, I don't have 101 reasons (right now) because I have a pile of socks to fold!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lily's sleepover

Lily likes to go her her BFF's for sleepovers. The BFF tried to sleepover here once, and only made until 9pm when we had to take her home. So, Lily goes to her house. Now, most Mom's would pack for their 7 year old when going on a sleepover. No, I just need to say the word, sleepover, and Lily is packed. Seriously. This just goes to show that kids can be responsible enough (or maybe it just shows how OCD my daughter is).
Here's what Lily packs;

Sleeping bag
Bear's blanket (his matches her blanket)
Ollie the Elephant
Change of clothes
microwave popcorn
headband to match next day's outfit
Binder with Pokemon cards ( for trading)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Calvin and Hobbs

The family finally talked me into a kitten. We can't have an outdoor kitten because of the dogs and our huge sandbox (that would be used as a litter box). I don't like the idea of a litter box in the house, but Dan convinced me that he would put in a cat door and the litter box could be put in the garage. A friend on Facebook had kittens, so we went to take a look. The idea was for Lily to pick a kitten, but somehow we drove away with two (insert Nate's grinning face here). Since Lily picked her's first, she named him Simon. Nate picked his and called him Calvin, after his favorite books, Calvin and Hobbs. Simon and Calvin were hard to say, so the next day we talked Lily into naming her kitty Hobbs. Lily said, "I can live with that".
Calvin and Hobbs are super sweet and being brothers, play well together. Nate has been good about giving them food and water, and Lily is cleaning the litter box. I'm proud of how responsible they have been.......but it's only been two days.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fair Week

It's Fair week up here in Northwest Washington. I'm working at the Scentsy booth three days this week, so stop by and say hi. Dan brought the kids yesterday and we did rides and games. I love the Fair and of course, fair food. So far I have gotten a Philly cheese steak, mochas, moo-wich, and mini doughnuts. Tomorrow's plan is elephant ears and curly fries. Gotta love the fair!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Instant Rednecks

Within 10 minutes of arriving at my Dad's, the kids found a puddle and started playing (wrestling, fighting and sliding).

Grandpa's + water = Instant Rednecks

Friday, August 6, 2010

Poker Night

Dan's having poker night in the garage, and no girls are allowed. Nate was allowed to join the group, (for awhile) and Lily is jealous. She wants to have a girls poker night in the garage and no boys will be allowed. I told her we don't have girls poker night in the garage, we stay inside and kick the boys out to the garage. She's a bit confused.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Scentsy Spirit

At convention, Scentsy Success was giving away sashes to whoever showed Scentsy Spirit. I was the first of the group to get my sash. Prizes were given away to people showing more Scentsy Spirit, so it was important to wear your sash. This is our team at awards night, all dressed up. After we left convention that night, we went to Bubba Gumps for dinner. We had a blast! As we were sitting there eating dinner, a man walked by and told me, "Congratulations on your accomplishments!". I just said, "Thanks!". I guess he thought we were in some pageant because of our sashes. Later that night, walking down the street, we were called Miss America. We all got the giggles and started practicing our princess wave.
A man who worked at the convention center stopped me once during convention, and told me that they had never had such a fun group visit before. It really shows what a great group Scentsy consultants are, and how much fun we really have!!
Are you looking for some fun? Do you need a little "Mommy Money"? Contact me and ask why August is the BEST month of the year to sign up as a Scentsy consultant. And then join me and my team next year in Fort Worth!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Scentsy Convention

I was very lucky to get to travel to Denver to Scentsy Convention. I had a blast with my team the Groovy Girls. Convention was AMAZING and I am super excited for the new products in the fall catalog. The one we are all impatient for is the Scentsy Buddies. The first picture is of me with Ollie the Elephant. Isn't he cute??
What continues to amaze me is what a great company Scentsy is. They truly care about the company and it's consultants. They practice giving more than you take.
Scentsy Spirit was alive in Denver, and Denver will never be the same! Can't wait for Fort Worth, TX next year!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer Fun

Dan came home on Tuesday night and we have been running hard ever since. The weather is beautiful and we are taking advantage of it. We went bowling Tuesday night (I kicked butt!!). Wednesday we went to Lake Sammish and tried to throw Nate off the tube. I say tried, because that kid held on tight! We had a family dinner Thursday night. Dan watched 6 kids on Friday while Tiff and I got a much needed break. Yesterday we went to the lake again. Dan and I both knee boarded. I haven't knee boarded since high school, so lets just say I'm hobbling around today.

This is the summer we have been waiting for. The nice weather, the freedom to go to the lake when asked. We love having Dan home and are making the most of it! Not sure how much more my body can take, but I'll rest when the sun does!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fabulous Photographer

I love these new pictures of Lily. My sister, Amy Parsons, is one fabulous photographer. She has a great way of catching people's personalities. She's super busy right now with weddings, but start thinking now of booking your family sessions for fall. Click on her link to see more amazing photos!