Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happenings In This House

This weeks "Happenings" is pretty simple . .. . .

Sickness hit this house and has stuck around!  Josh got ill on Wednesday and it lasted until Friday afternoon; Nate got ill Friday night during the night and is still not better yet - hopefully by Sunday afternoon he'll be feeling good again.

So that's it - sorry for the lack of pictures but no one looked good enough for pictures this week :-) LOL

Creative Memories Spotlight - A Sneak Peek!

Where did the week go??  It seems like just yesterday it was Easter and yet we are almost a week out!  This week I just wanted to give you a sneak peek at some upcoming new items.  Most of them will be available on May 1st - which is Sunday :-)  It is a great time to stock up on Supplies and, as always, I would greatly appreciate any order!

The latest mini-catalog has come out with new items for May and June!!  I always get excited when this comes in the mail :-)

There are some new punches that are coming out that are pretty neat.  They have a removable bottom so you can put the punch anywhere on the page and make your punch.  These would also be fantastic if you make cards or invitations. 

I must confess, I don't own the creative memories cutter but it is on my wish list.  It is even more on my wish list now that I see all of the fantastic blades that they have - some they have had for awhile and there are new blades coming out too!

Are you looking for ways to organize your paper, embellishments and photos?  These organizers fit the bill!!

There is also new pricing for the 8x8 albums!

Over the coming weeks I'll share more about these new products.  All of the Creative Memories Products are great for scrapbooking and also for card making or other crafting projects too!

Feel free to check out my WEBSITE for other items and also for clearance sales!  Gather a few friends and place an order together to split shipping. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Baked Teriyaki Chicken

This, hands down, is my favorite chicken recipe.  I found the recipe on and it is to die for!  The chicken gets crispy good with a sweet, sticky coating.  YUM!!  I also use this same recipe to make Chicken Wings - talk about heavenly!

(Sorry - this is a stock photo . . .it is so good I never get a picture before we've eaten it all!)

Bake Teriyaki Chicken

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 skinless chicken thighs


  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the cornstarch, cold water, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and ground black pepper. Let simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and bubbles.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  3. Place chicken pieces in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Brush chicken with the sauce. Turn pieces over, and brush again.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Turn pieces over, and bake for another 30 minutes, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Brush with sauce every 10 minutes during cooking

Here's my one little "Cheater" - I don't use skinless Chicken Thighs . . .I use the bone-in, skin-on Chicken Thighs and yes, the skin gets so incredibly good . .   Chicken thighs have become my favorite piece of the chicken too.  They are so tender and juicy!  It's the perfect size :-)


I'm also linking up over at Kelly's Korner with Show us your life Fridays! 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mommy Time - Our Schedule and New Plan

Last week I shared my "confession" about planning and not doing when it comes to Mommy Time! And I shared my relief when I found an "out" and a wonderfully easy schedule to follow. This huge sense of relief settled in and I am very happy!! :-)

Throughout the past week I watched how the boys and I "lived" throughout the day and wrote up a simple little schedule that includes both of my boys and the little munchkin too. So, here's are basic schedule for each day.

So, now let me share a little more detail about each of the times listed.

8:00-9:00 – Usually my boys are still asleep. The munchkin arrives around 7:15 and gets some play time and one-on-one with me. He then gets his bottle and drifts off to sleep J  Depending on when my boys get up, I usually get some quiet time that I use to just relax.  

9:00-10:30 – Both of my boys are up somewhere around this time – sometimes earlier, sometimes later depending on how well they slept during the night. They get breakfast and get to have playtime. This is their best time of the day which is why I left it as free play. They are happy and often play together well. This gives me time to get things marked off my to do list and work on any projects.

10:30-11:00 – The munchkin gets up and has his lunch; my boys are very ready for a snack (can you say meltdown’s? LOL)

11:00-11:45 – So, what is focused playtime? I have no idea ;-) I’m molding this at this point but with summer coming here are a few ideas: We’ll head outside and play – sometimes it will be directed by me with things like bubbles, sidewalk chalk, pin wheels and playing ball. Other times, they will just play. I can also use this time to clean out flower beds (which is a great teaching tool too!), and other outside chores . Or just read ;-) On days we don’t go out I want to use the time to sing songs, read stories, and just play with toys that are “educational” with the kids. They have lots of puzzles and other toys that we can do together. We also have some games that the boys are starting to get old enough for that I want to start pulling out. This is also a great time to use a sensory bin (when I have one made!) My mom made them a couple of "fun" quilts awhile ago that I like to use on the floor - we can count buttons and look for shapes and all that fun stuff. So basically, it's learning fun :-)

11:45-12:45 – Time to prepare lunch, eat lunch and clean up the kitchen. This is the time that I eat too. Once I’m done, I empty the dishwasher (sometimes Josh helps!) and I also try to get everything ready for dinner that I can. This helps make that “Killer hour” between 4:30-5:30 a little easier (We all know that hour – when everyone is tired and hungry! – the kids eat between 5:00-5:30; if Darryl isn’t home, I wait and eat with him)

12:45- 1:30 – Nate goes down for a nap making this prime Mommy Time with Josh. This is the specific time that we will work on our mommy time lessons without an extra pair of hands grabbing at things. We’ll do lesson plans and I also want to get him more involved with doing some baking with me once a week. He enjoys it when he gets to help so I’m going to incorporate making bread (or other items like applesauce) during this time once a week so we can mix it, bake it and have some for our snack. The Munchkin is usually still awake at this time so I will also use this time with him as well – he is intrigued with Josh right now and loves to do what he is doing.

1:30-2:30 – Both little boys are down for Naps and Josh likes to play or watch Nick Jr. Sometimes he falls asleep so this is kinda “rest time”. I use this time to have my quiet time/devotions, catch up on whatever I need to do or just relax too.

2:30-3:15 – Nate normally wakes up; he’s ready for a snack so it is snack time and he also likes to sit with me for awhile meaning this is prime story time. He loves books right now so I want to take advantage of the one time my "energizer bunny" is still quiet and read books together. He also LOVES to sing songs (Twinkle Twinkle is his favorite!) so we'll sing too :-)

3:15-3:30 – Time for the Munchkin to get up and eat

3:30-4:30 – I have this listed as more “focused playtime” – again, we will either be inside or outside. My boys will have a little more free time and I will use this time to read to the Munchkin, sing songs, and other small activities.

I tried to incorporate some one-on-one time with each one of the boys – it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily just them involved but they are the focus (i.e. Story time after Nate’s nap is for him but I’m sure Josh will often enjoy listening too BUT he can also just be playing by himself too)

As we all know, plans don't always work out so even though we have this schedule laid out for now . . it will change and some days, not be anywhere close to this! But if you "Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail"!!!!

I've really focused my Mommy Time more on where Josh is at than where the two little boys are at because he needs a little more for the simple fact that he is older. The little boys will benefit from what they hear and see us doing. Plus, reading to them is the key learning took at this point. When I came across this idea from 1+1+1=1 that is built upon one letter at a time, I knew this was perfect!! Josh knows his alphabet and can name the letters already so this just builds on that (If he didn't know them, this would teach those letters!)! There is a "bonus" to this technique too - once Nate is ready to start this, he can start with the letter A and Josh can continue work on whatever letter he is on - it won't add too much work to my day because they follow the same basic idea in each packet.

We will work on each letter for as long as I feel like :-) Not only does 1+1+1=1 give her printables/ideas for each letter, she also has links for other activities to do with that letter from a few other blogs as well. I do have a goal to work on each letter for 2 weeks incorporating memory work, hand work, and crafts over the course of the two weeks.

So . . after that very wordy post - we will begin May with the letters :

I'm looking forward to sharing ideas that I find AND that work for us :-)

Garden Challenge Update

It is hard to believe that it has been a month since the first post about gardening with kids!  We haven't made much progress because of this:

Yep, those are our tulips that we've been watching grow over the last few weeks.  We also have daffodils and day other flowers popping up too. This snow was the week before Easter . . . I had hoped to get out with the kids to plant some more things this week but we have had so much rain we have not been able to get outside. 

So some of the lessons we've been looking at come from Musings of Me - this little book seems to fit perfectly right now!
And also this Spring unit, again, from Musings of Me

My boys are enjoying stomping in puddles more than digging in the dirt mud - we are still holding off from doing any major planting as the weather people are "warning" us not to start planting yet as we could still get some more freezing temps. 

Things we are planning to do as soon as the weather is set for spring/summer:
-  Put together our container boxes for our garden
- Pick our seeds for the plants we want to put in - I am planning on taking the boys with and (hopefully) letting them each pick out one packet.  I don't care what they pick - we'll plant it and see how it grows!
- Plant the bulbs and Raspberry bushes I ordered and arrived (in the middle of a snow storm)
- Plant the garden seeds (Memorial day Weekend is when this is normally done here!)

Check out The Home School Village to see the Garden Challenge :-)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday To ME!!!

Guess what?  Today's my birthday :-)  I love birthdays!!!  I feel like we earn our birthdays each year and should celebrate them to the fullest! 

So with that said . . .
Happy Birthday to me

(and THAT's what I'm loving Wednesday!!!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Too Cute Not To "Toot" !

Lets start right off with this great birthday idea from Increasingly domestic.  Last year, I kept trying to come up with some type of tradition for the boys to do - something that was "there" in the morning.  I think I just found it . . .

When I saw this next idea, I thought of my blogger friend, Shannon - I wish I had seen this earlier in your pregnancy, I would have made time to make one for you :-)  This is such a cute idea from Full of Great Ideas. It would make a great 'photo' shirt - add a hash mark each week and take a belly photo!

Ok, when I saw this posted at Making Messes, I seriously laughed out loud.  What an adorable Baby gift idea!
I was so glad to see this done - redoing one of those ugly ceiling fans - over at My Wonderfully Made.  I have one of those fans with the wicker but was afraid to do anything with it - it is now officially on my project list!
Sew Happiness shared some really cute pillow ideas - this one below is by far my favorite for obvious reasons (it is all boy!)
Another cute shirt idea from Making Messes - this would go perfectly with a cute onsie for the baby (and this for the big sibling!)

I saw this spring wreath over at Krafty Kat.  It really is adorable and would be another great project for kids to work on.

This is a really cute idea to use for May Day from Nothing but Country.  I had never really thought about this holiday but it is a cute tradition to do with the kids.  I'm making note of this for next year.

I waas having Blogger problems for the past few days - pages didn't want to load at all but I think I have it fixed - so searching through ideas just didn't happen!  That's ok, that leaves more for next week :-)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fitblogger Challenge

Fitness Blog

Last week I first posted about the challenge to get healthy over at Fitblogger.  My first fit challenge was to not drink Pepsi for one week.  I did pretty good.  My first hiccup was on Tuesday.  The boys and I went on a field trip and stopped for lunch.  I had finished lunch, when it hit me that I had gotten a pop with my combo meal.  I didn't even think about it - I should have gotten a lemonade instead.  I did not have any cans of pop at home though.  We did go out for Pizza on Saturday evening and I did have a class of pop with my pizza - something I wanted to do. 

So, this week, I'm going to continue with this challenge.  Limiting my pop consumption as MUCH as possible.  I will say that Sunday I had Pepsi.  It was Easter, it tasted great with dinner and it was something I wanted very badly.  So, Monday-Saturday, my goal is to not have any cans of Pepsi.  I have lots of Crystal Light here and I really do love it so it is easy to drink.  As long as I have it in the fridge, I will grab that over a Pepsi. 

But, I'm also adding a second challenge for something new.  So my goal this week is to walk on the treadmill for 4 days.  This is the beginning of one of my 40 x 40 goals which is to walk on the treadmill 4 days a week for 3 months straight.  That means, when I reach the end of the 4 days this week, I'll have less than three months to go LOL 

If you want to read more about this challenge check out Fitblogger and feel free to join up!

*There are a few "required" things you have to do such as "Like" them on Twitter.  I do not want a twitter account but I created one just so I can try and win the prize they are giving away.  I will be cancelling that account as soon as this challenge is done!!!*

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

This is part 2 to  happenings in this house that I posted on Saturday- with Easter there were just too many pictures to post in one day!

So . . here we go :-)

 On Saturday morning we dyed eggs with the kids.  Josh really loved putting the eggs in the dye and than taking them back out and putting them in the egg carton.  Nate, well, Nate just liked tasting the egg :-)

 Next, we headed to the Bunny Train.  Josh loves trains and was in awe of this one.  He loved riding it - both boys did.  I was amazed at how entertained they were for the 1 1/2 hour ride.  And, yes, the Easter bunny came through the train several times and they all got a gift too!  After the ride, we went to dinner at Joe's Chicago Pizza.  I had gotten a gift certificate from so it was an awesome deal!! When we went to leave, things took an unexpected turn.
 Do you see that spot under our truck?  Well . . .that is gas.  Yep.  We tried to leave and the truck kept stalling.  I noticed that the people sitting in the restaurant kept looking at us funny (and I was kinda perturbed with them . .  ) when the guy at the table jumped up and came out to the truck rather quickly.  Darryl opened the door and as the guy was saying "You are leaking lots of fluid", I said "I smell gas, I'll grab the kids".  Our first move was getting both kids out of the car and getting them away from it.  Darryl got on the phone to the insurance company when the next thing happened.  A couple walked out of the restaurant and he said "Would you like me to fix that?"  Turns out, this guy is a mechanic and works on . . . .Trailblazers!!!!  So, he grabbed his car mat from his car to lay on and crawled under our truck.  He saw that the gas line had broken away from the tank and knew how to fix it . . . but was unable to get it together.  We were back at square one . . when Darryl called his brother-in-law.  Craig "happened" to be at a family members house only 5 minutes away.  Craig drove right over, pick up the kids and I and drove us back to his house so we could hang out with my sister-in-law.  Darryl arranged for a tow truck.  (Don't worry - there's more good stuff!)
There's my truck.  :-(  We had it towed to my brother-in-laws house.  Why?  Because he ones a Boat Machine shop and knows "everything" about cars.  He also has a hoist so they were able to put it up on the hoist and do the "quick" fix the other mechanic told us it would be - 20 minutes and it was done.  PLUS we had enough tow mileage that the towing didn't cost a penny.  When was the last time anyone had a car break down and it cost nothing to get it fixed??  Talk about being grateful!  There are other little things we are thankful for such as - that it happened in a parking lot and not driving down the expressway and that it happened with Darryl was driving; the truck is "my" vehicle so I drive it 90% of the time - the fact that it happened when it did is a God thing.  So, a story that could have been bad turned out really good!  Oh, and for those of you wondering if this could happen to you - the 1st mechanic told us what most likely happened - a year ago, we had to have work done on the fuel system due to a problem with the gas tank (the gas gauge thingy broke).  More than likely, when that was worked on it was not put back together correctly and, over time, it worked lose.  So it was the dealers error that caused this problem.  It shouldn't "just" happen.

Now for Easter Sunday :-)
 Happy Easter from our Family!  I'm pretty impressed with the fact that we actually got a picture with all 4 of us looking at the camera.
 Easter Baskets!  The energizer bunny (aka Nate) kept moving - he liked Josh's basket.  The both got microphones (those fun ones we all had as kids); chocolate bunnies, different kinds of bubbles, matchbox cars, T-shirts and, from Grandma, a beanie baby and fruit snacks!!!  They loved everything :-)
 We went outside for an Easter egg hunt - don't you love this picture hahahaha!! 
 Nate finally figured out what to do but . . .. Josh was more interested in his cars and carrying them in his basket (Did you notice that their baskets are a football and a baseball? )

 I tried all day to get a good photo in the Easter Outfits and I finally got one of each of them!!  I had hoped to get one of them together sitting in these little chairs but that was not happening.  That's ok - I'll take the individual shots :-)
So that was our Easter :-)  Don't you just love those little plaid shorts???  I was so happy that it was warm today and the sun was out for most of the day. 

Simplify Updates

Remember?  My theme word this year is to simplify . . . .I want that "laying on the beach" feeling every day.  Ok, maybe not every day but just in general.

Well, you can do a little review of my Simplify posts if you so please but I thought I would give you a few updates since we are now halfway through the month of April !!

1.  The Bathroom - there really isn't progress on this one but I had to share - one of my big plans a week or so ago when the kids were gone was to finish up all of the touch up painting when there were no little fingers to touch wet paint.  Well, I searched and searched for the paint I had picked up about 2 months ago to no avail.  I finally gave up and moved on to other projects.  Than on Friday I was working for 10-15 minutes spurts in the basement (Every time I rebooted the laundry I would squeeze in 10 minutes of picking stuff up) I found the paint sitting in plain site on my drafting table.  So the moral of the story - I guess I wasn't meant to do touch up painting yet!  I think one of these evenings after everyone else is in bed, I'll just work on that - the paint will dry over night and all will be good :-)

2. The kitchen is still a slow moving project.  I got nothing done this past week due to lots of other things going on but I hope to get the bottom cabinets completely done this week.

3. Closets - I did do deep cleaning in both of the boys room including cleaning out their dressers and closets and rearranging their rooms.  Our bedroom is in process.  I moved clothes around but am still in the midst of organizing everything.

4. Vacation Planning - we have actually cancelled our vacation that was planned at the end of May due to the new job but there are still some things I'd like to do on this such as putting together a vacation idea binder and making my master packing list.

5. Tot Time - so . .. this is what I REALLY wanted to show you!  It all started with needing to deep clean the dining room. 

Those are a couple of before pictures.  One of the big things I did was remove the leaf from the dining room table.  It makes a huge difference in the room.  We don't have people over often so for the summer, this is a great thing for us.  Once the birthday parties start in the fall through the holidays, the leaf is needed. 
Now, this is my solution to my Mommy Time supplies, the kids arts/crafts stuff, my current projects and our scrapbooking albums.  I love it.  I'm finally able to grab what I need for my current craft or scrapbooking project without running to the basement.  Plus, this stuff is no longer living on the dining room table - instead it has a place.  I'm already finding that I take time to work on these projects now that I just grab a basket.  I'm so thrilled with this idea!!
 Here's the full view of my new organizational "dream" - it solves so many issues for me plus, this is one piece of furniture that is now out of our bedroom!!!  I want to get a tall thin basket to put next to the shelf to house our "theme" books which will mostly come from the library. 
 On top of the bookshelf, I store my laminator.  I use this a lot for Mommy Time items so that they are durable.  I also love it for my to do lists - once laminated, I can write on them with a Sharpie and than use cleaner to wipe them off each week!  The very top shelf is my project shelf.  It only holds two baskets which means, I can only have two in process projects at a time.  That's good for me :-)  Right now, I have some Easter decor projects I want to make and also my CD project is still not completely done.  I also plan on sliding my books I'm reading for my book goal each quarter in between the baskets.
 The next two shelves house my Scrapbooks.  I have wanted for so long to have them out in the open instead of stuck in our bedroom where no one can see them.  I love looking through them and now, they are easy to grab! 
 The next shelve holds 6 shoebox size containers.  This is where I keep (will keep . .. since they are still empty) everything from my hot glue gun to paint for the kids, pipe cleaners, wiggly eyes and more.  Basic craft supplies for both Mommy time and craft time for me!  There is also room to slide in our plans for each week - I want to store the items in three ring binders to keep them easily organized.
 The bottom shelf holds two things.  First, that fantastic 3 piece storage container holds my current scrapbooking project.  The top bin is big enough to hold 12 x12 pages so it is perfect.  The bottom two bins will hold my markers, punches and little things like that.  The other side will hold two of the bigger bins.  One will hold crayons, paper, and coloring books for the boys.  And, I will also put our sensory bin there as well. 
Finally, excuse the cords, those are a work in progress, but notice my paper cutter - it fits perfectly in that little spot!

I am so excited that this project is well into the works.  I don't plan on filling the bins all at once but will now have a place for the things