Category Archives: 4 Awesome Kids

Bacon Wrapped Goodness

Last summer, the kids and I had a cowboy day. We dug out some cowboy hats and bandanas, made up a wanted picture frame, and had a water gun duel at high noon. It was a lot of fun, but the real treat was dinner. I told them we were going to have Bacon Blankets for dinner. This was a throwback meal to when I was growing up and I hadn’t had it in ages. All the kids like bacon, they all like bread, and they all like cheese. I was pretty sure it was going to be a hit.

Bacon Wrapped Goodness

These Bacon Blankets are super easy to make and with all the bacon wrapped recipes floating around on the internet (bacon wrapped corn on the cobb?!?!) I’m feeling trendy! Just last week, we decided to make them again and the kids were delighted. PK was happy to have them too!

Let me just say, these aren’t good for you. The bacon juices (ok, fat) seep into the bread and onto the cheese and it makes a glorious mess on your grill. But, it makes your taste buds dance. You see we often look at life this way I think. We see the bacon – the bad for you or life’s troubles part, and forget that the bacon, cheese, and bread – all together, makes up life. It makes your life!

I want to encourage you to embrace your whole life…the good, the bad, the tasty parts, and those that leave a bad aftertaste. You really have something special to offer, everyday, to those around you. Bacon Blankets are delicious because it is all together. Sure, you can eat  each ingredient separately and each will taste good, but the fun is in wrapping it together.

If you’re a little behind in your quiet times or can’t settle into reading the Bible, (me included) think about it this way. You can read little verses here or there and they are good alone, but when you get the whole story, in context, it can really come alive and your Jesus loving taste buds will start to dance! PK did a great series on Ecclesiastes.  You can read my take on it and see how together faith really is better.

Ok, so here is the recipe for Bacon Blankets so you can make yourself some bacon wrapped goodness for your dinner!

Ingredients:

  • bread (two pieces per person…hubby may want three)
  • cheese (I used American, but muenster or mozzarella would be delicious too – one slice per piece of bread)
  • bacon (one slice per piece of bread)
  • toothpicks or kabob sticks

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Put a piece of bread down, one piece of cheese on top and roll it up. Wrap a piece of bacon around the rolled up bread and cheese and stick some toothpicks in it to hold. Repeat. Cook over the grill the best you can without burning them until the bacon is done the way you like it. Eat. Enjoy. Let your taste buds dance.

20151009_153415Need something for dessert?

These Lofthouse copycat cookies are really good and quite easy!

 

 

A Family Love Banner

A Family Love BannerAh, yes, the sound of the cash register ringing up the love of money. Are you feeling like you want to avoid that and instead make a genuine effort this Valentine’s Day? Look no further, the whole family can participate in this activity. I have nothing against the commercialism of Valentine’s Day, I just don’t need anymore stuff off the shelves. If you are looking for something to raise people up with loving words, this is it.

I have this fantastic window in my kitchen with very exciting white curtains. Ha! So, come holiday time, we like to jazz them up. For Valentine’s Day, I went digging in my bin of stuff and found some beads and festive paper. The kids helped make Valentine’s for the top row, I did the words, but then everyone helped with the bottom row.

Here’s what we did. Everyone was given two hearts for each person. On each heart, they had to write something they love about that person. It could be something they are good at, that they like to do together, something they admire about them, or anything as long as the words were loving and built the person up. So, in our family that meant each person got 10 hearts full of loving words.

We gave each pocket out after our Valentine’s meal and read them. It was so much fun to hear what others wrote because I didn’t look at them ahead of time. We did this early in the week before the 14th and we put them in as we finished. No peeking was the rule. It was so cute because my youngest daughter had me help her with everyone’s but she asked a brother to help her with mine, so it was a secret.

You see, kids love this. And whether everyone in the family gets along all the time or not, we all had something loving to say about each other. Because we are a family. We work hard to teach our children to say things that build each other up, to give hugs – not hits, and kisses – not kicks. Because we are a family. God has blessed us and allowed us to be together and we need to grow that bond and this is a great way.

Remember, your banner doesn’t need to be fancy. We did a variation on this a couple of years ago with the Tree of Love. It’s not about the presentation, it’s about the words on the notes. You better believe I have all those notes tucked away. You never know, when they think they are too tough for love, I’ll be pulling them out.

So, get your chocolates and roses. Open a bottle of wine or make a heart shaped pizza. Celebrate Valentine’s Day however you like. And, if you’re feeling up to it, add in these messages. Happy Valentine’s Day!

My Mom for President

MyMomFor PresidentWe were traveling somewhere and from the back of the car, one of my sons asks me, “Mommy, why don’t you run for president?” All the kids chime in about why it would be great if we lived in the White House. Some of the top picks were, they hear there is a bowling alley, it must have a pool, they thought they could each have their own room, and of course the presidential plane probably isn’t too bad either. After talking about it, they asked again, “Why don’t you run for president?” I told them I would check it out.

So, several days later, I was putzing on the internet and decided to check out what you had to do to get on the ballot for president. I mean, why not see? It could be inspirational for them. So, I found out. Well, sort of. It’s hard to find information on how to run for president.

Ballotpedia.org says, “In Pennsylvania, a presidential candidate seeking the nomination of a party must submit a nominating petition of 2,000 signatures and a $200 filing fee in order to gain access to the party’s primary ballot. An independent candidate can get on the general election ballot by submitting to the secretary of the commonwealth, no later than the second Friday after the primary, an affidavit of candidacy, a $200 fee, and a petition. This petition must contain signatures equaling at least 2 percent of the entire vote cast for any statewide elected candidate in the last election.” (see it here)

Hard to say if this is a legitimate site. But, if it is true, I could swing the $200 but I would still need 1,999 signatures. I mean, I get to sign for myself, right?

I found this outdated article, which is enough to shoot any hopefuls dream of being president down. Really, 150 million dollars on advertising? Do you have any idea how much GOOD $150 million will do?

The FEC.gov site has plenty of info on campaign finance. Also, there are plenty of other sites with information, but it wasn’t as easy to find as I thought it would be. So, with that being said, if you want to be one of my 1,999 signatures, keep reading on why to vote for this Mom for president.

First, I want you all to know I don’t need fancy vacations. Staycations have been some of the best family times together. And if we lived in DC, there is a ton to do. I won’t be wasting money on lavish get-a-ways. It could be a boom to my local town to have me as president because tourism might go up. But, the neighbors might not like the extra attention and security, so I’ll have to be sensitive to that.

Second, I’ve already got a wardrobe. I know the best thrift shops to go to and find a great outfit. The media will quickly get tired of mentioning my clothes because I wear my favorite things all the time. I have five pairs of work pants, it doesn’t get much more boring than that. No need for designers to woo me, I’ve got some nice stuff in my closet already. I also have a warm coat for the inauguration and will put up the hood if I’m cold! Also, no worries about me running around in yoga pants…no thank you!

Third, I know people. A real leader surrounds themselves with people who are better then them and lets them be leaders too. Sometimes, these people are your ‘frenemies’ (thanks Disney) but they know stuff the best and so you work together. Also, I can make decisions. After all, I was lead navigator on car trips before Lola (PK’s phone) took over.   There’s nothing like  a decision to exit now or keep going that makes or breaks the length of the journey.

Fourth, there is just some ridiculous stuff that needs to be changed. Being a normal person, making regular people earnings, I know how it is when money is tight. I also know how to budget, stop spending, and prioritize. But, there are two things that really miff me.

  • One, taxes shouldn’t be that hard. I have a master’s degree, I’m not completely dumb. But, how come when the accountant does my taxes I get money back, but when I do them on a tax program I owe an incredible amount? Also, having just paid back the government a lot of money for the accountant’s mistake, I had to pay 6-8% interest. But on my money market account, I only make 0.2%?
  • Two, mortgage refinancing. When is a bank going step up and do the right thing? I’m pretty sure in order to change my interest rate, they just have to plug in the new rate number and the computer program does the rest. So why does it cost upwards of $5,000 to refinance? Fill needs, not greeds.
  • I thought of a third thing, health care. If the insurance companies would stop sending me hundreds of pieces of junk mail on glossy, heavyweight paper, I’m sure rates would drop dramatically.
  • Oh gee, here’s a fourth thing. Do you ever see that Facebook post that Congress shouldn’t be paid if they don’t pass a budget, just like all the services that would stop getting money? Give me a pen and I’ll sign on the dotted line for that now!

Are you seeing that common sense would prevail in my presidency? I mean, an email invite to the next White House dinner with meatball subs and homemade cookies would be just as effective as some elaborate invitation. Also, besides having a warm coat for the inauguration, I already know people who can sing the Star Spangled Banner, play at the ball (which would be much better as a cookout – if it wasn’t January!), and say a prayer. Yup, they are common, ordinary folk.

Fifth, I’m a teacher. We need to get back to teaching our children. Teach them skills for life, how to add and subtract, that there isn’t always a winner, and how to read. I tell my kids that if they can read they can do anything. It has broken my heart to know my kindergartener can read better than a student in an eighth grade class. I’ve also managed 250 second graders for a concert (I teach music) and produced a musical. I’m telling you, I can multi-task. And for goodness sake, let teacher’s teach. A five page lesson plan is just a waste of teacher talent.

Sixth, I’m a parent. If we don’t start loving our kids through our actions and words, we are going to have a lot of lonely adults. Please, love your kids! Love each other!

Seventh, I would promote kindness. Let’s get back to being nice to one another. Slow down, don’t be so quick to sue. The saying for the kids in our family is, “Give hugs, not hits. Give kisses, not kicks.” Sometimes the truth hurts, but delivered lovingly can make all the difference in a person’s response. Build people up with your words. No need to tear them down, there is enough in this world to take care of that.

Eighth, I’m experienced. I already mentioned my multi-tasking skills. Yes, I can hear and keep two simultaneous conversations straight. But, I was also president of my senior class. (I did a lousy job, but stuff got done.) I was also president of resident life or something or other in college. (I did better, but was young.) Now, I’m president of momagement in our household. I’m not afraid to leave the tough notes and carry through.

Ninth, I know that being president is not all about me. It’s about people. Those I know and those I don’t. We all need to learn how to take ‘me’ out of the equation. We have special gifts that God has blessed us with. These gifts are not so that we are amazing, but so that we can use them to help other people grow in their faith. We need to promote love and not ourselves.

Tenth, my kids think it would be cool. My husband and I are responsible for them. And, setting an example of going after things is a great dream. That is why I blog, that is why I set up shop, and that is why I’m publishing a book.  So, what if right now on a good day 10 people visit my blog and I’ve only got two followers on my TpT store (and yes, one of them is myself)? It takes time and perseverance and hard work to build up a business. My kids need to know that they have choices and opportunities. Isn’t that what America was built on? The American dream is mostly alive and well in our house, we all just need to be encouraged.

So, there you have it. I love the United States. We waved a flag long before it was cool and like to celebrate with a good burger with the best of them. This mom is up for the challenge of a presidential run. I’m pretty sure that the news shouldn’t get to choose which candidates gets heard and who is silenced. Let the decision come back to the people and don’t knock off candidates just because they poll less. We all deserve a fair chance.

Since I’m not sure that I’ve even met 1,999 people in my life and could qualify with signatures, your liking this will show my children what a dream for presidency can be. And if anyone is looking for a running mate, I could be open to that too. Happy voting!

Cardboard Corn Hole Game

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We went camping the other week and the kids had been talking about the corn hole game since last summer when we camped with friends and they had it. Of course we were going to leave in a couple of days and I know how the thrill of having something lasts for a few minutes and they are on to the next thing. So, when I saw some DIY corn hole games on Pinterest I thought they looked really nice. Heavy duty, cute designs painted on, and super expensive!

First off, we don’t have room for that in our car or pop up. Second, seriously, I don’t call spending $100 to make something like that thrifty as some posts claimed. Obviously there are different ideas of thrifty out there and that is ok.

So, if you’ve seen my other cardboard things, you know it is pretty neat what you can do with a box. And wouldn’t you know, beside our recycle bin was the perfect box. So the kids and I got to work.

They found a lid that was the perfect size to trace for our circle. We had one circle, but then they decided it needed two, with each hole worth different points. Next I cut, then they decorated, and then popped it together across the back with a rubber band and brad. It collapses flat and takes less than 10 seconds to put back together.

For the bean bags, we filled some sandwich bags with a little rice, sealed them up and then shoved it in a sock and turned the sock again. Wa-la our bean bags were done.

IMG_0044Remember, I’m not always looking for perfection and so this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. That’s okay. We had a blast with this. And having one worked out fine because one person tossed and then the other stood by the box and threw the bags back.

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The kids were very efficient. We played it for quite some time while we camped in the peaceful moments when we weren’t growling at each other over why do we camp because we are such hotel people! But, it was fun and something to remember! Go ahead and give it a try!

Will it Work Wednesday 2

 

On the Fly S’mores

On the Fly S'mores

Well, we are doing some camping. I use the term camping loosely since we go in a hotel on wheels. Yup, we all pile into the pop up for some adventure and usually at least one night includes roasting marshmallows.

Here's PK maintaining the fire.
Here’s PK maintaining the fire.

My kids are kind of hit or miss with wanting s’mores, so last week when we went camping, I just brought along some marshmallows. Of course, they all couldn’t believe I didn’t bring graham crackers and chocolate for s’mores. *sigh*

So, they started to roast or burn some marshmallows. And then I was like, “Wait!” I ran in the pop up and brought out those can’t eat just one of ’em chocolate striped cookies we got from the Dollar Tree.

Crackerish cookie + chocolate on the bottom + toasted marshmallow = s’more on the fly!

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And it was so much less of a hassle! The kids enjoyed them. I enjoyed them and we all went to bed happy. Really, give it a try. Yummy!

Will it Work Wednesday 2

Love Your Kids

Love Your KidsIsn’t it incredible that God has given you some beautiful children to take care of while you are here on earth? If you’re starting to pull your hair out on summer vacation because the kids are home from school and it seems like the “I’m bored” phrase never ends, here is some encouragement. Here are 30 days of encouragement to love your kids for the small things daily. Love your kids!

Link to the Love Your Kids series.

Canning Lid Alphabet Discs

Will it Work Wednesday 2Do you hold onto things and wonder what good they will ever be? One of those things I keep are used canning lids. You can’t use them to seal a jar again, but you can use them if you are just putting a lid on leftovers in a jar. But, I don’t really do that too often and so I have a bunch of these lids.

And so, one day when I was looking for something about how to modge podge, I found a use for the lids. (Check out this cute clipboard for using a canning jar lid for a circle!) I can’t remember where I saw this, but this is certainly not an original idea. But it is ‘Will it Work Wednesday’ and so the idea is not to be original, but to try things and now you have a verified source that a normal person can accomplish these tasks!

Check out the cute lids now!

Canning Lid LettersSo what do you need to do to have cute lids that are perfect for a 3-4 year old learning their letters and sight words?

  • gather lids, pretty paper, and I used some scrapbooking letter decals (Of course something else I was holding onto to use sometime…and see I did!), and modge podge
  • cut out your circles and put letters on
  • use a paintbrush to spread glue on one side of the lid, put your circle down, and glue over it
  • let dry

Ta-da! You have some really cute lids. I had enough letters to do uppercase on blue paper and just glued on the letter on the white side. Be sure your lids don’t have any sharp edges from taking them off of the sealed jar.

Grab a container to put them in and you have a tidy little pack of the alphabet that your little one can manipulate around and you can squeeze in some learning while it seems like play!

Summer Fun Chart

Will it Work Wednesday 2Can you sense the excitement in the air? School’s almost out! If you have multiple kids, like me, I bet you might wonder how to fairly divvy up things over the summer. How do you keep track of who does what around the house. I mean the whole day can be lost if you forget whose turn it is to pick tv for lunchtime. Right? And so enters the Summer Fun Chart.

Summer Fun Chart

I first made one of these a couple of years ago. The one above is one I used last year. My oldest son just asked me the other day if I had made this year’s chart yet. I guess I better get to work. Each year the chart is basically the same, with a new presentation and twist on some things. So, what do we have?

  • Summer Selector: This is the person who gets to do all the moving, spinning, and picking of things for the day. A paper clip slides along to mark the initial of the kid for the day.
  • Afternoon Quiet Time Wheel of Fun: The top chart has a rotation through the week for where each child spends their 30 minutes of mandatory quiet (aka Mommy needs a break) time. I think we rotated from two of the  kid’s bedroom, my bedroom, or the sofa. The spinning wheel has different activities they are allowed to do during that time. The choices were read, draw/write, Kindle, or free choice (always the favorite).
  • The Whiner, Fit Throwing,  Attitude, Foot Stomping Wheel: Spinners are a lot of fun to spin, but not when your in trouble. Rather than having to decide on a punishment each individual time, if a child was whining I just told them to spin the wheel. We dubbed it the Whiner Wheel for short. They did NOT like this, but made it so much easier for me. The luck of the spin would bring you a time out in my room (because there is nothing in there) of either one or two times the age of the child, loss of Kindle until 7am the next day, or write a letter to me about their behavior and it had to be the age they were in sentences. No fuss, no muss. They knew the consequences and it worked pretty well.
  • Lunchtime Picks: Each paper had something different on it. Things from who got to pick out lunchtime tv to eating on the steps or in the yard, to going on a picnic lunch.
  • Get Stuff Done: Each stick has the things they need to do on it. It was basically get washed, do your school stuff, and your job. When they were done they could pull their stick through and it said done.
  • Daily Chore: During the school year they have the same job for the week. Over the summer, the rotation really helps them to not get tired of it. The buttons just rotate around. Yes, I even threw in a free day because some days even I want a free day!

Is this the deluxe, most beautiful thing you will see on Pinterest? Probably not, but you know what? It works! I used two cereal boxes opened up and duct taped together, glued on some random paper I have in a pile, wrote stuff out, made the spinners out of container lids, and just tried to make a variety of spinning, moving, and picking things.

If you are looking to relieve the remembering of whose turn it is, this chart can really help you out this summer! Definitely a keeper!

Cardboard Pizza Box Easel

Will it Work Wednesday 2

My one son really likes painting. So, when I was looking around for a simple solution to make it extra fun, I couldn’t believe this pizza box would really turn into an easel. This is not an original idea, just search for ‘pizza box easel’ and a ton of hits will come up. I can’t even remember which one I used, but it is simple.

Pizza Box Easel

Now, this isn’t an excuse to run out and order pizza! Just be patient and wait until you do order one…or two. Then, give it a try. There is even a holder behind for storing paper or the paints.

Pizza Box Easel 2

Again, like the cardboard maze and dollhouse, it is just simple, functional, and you don’t have to feel bad if it breaks because after all, you were going to recycle that box anyway. Have some fun!

Lego Play Fort

Will it Work Wednesday 2So, you buy something and it comes with this really cool cardboard packaging inside. Do you throw it away? No way! You repurpose it into something one of your kids can use as a Lego fort. Fierce battles and deadly chases now have a place to happen.

With a little imagination on your part and your child’s, a new play area is created. I painted this one because I was curious as to what it would look like. The kids have had fun playing with it, there is even a water pit. I think those cup carriers you get from the drive through would work together as some great mountains too.Lego Play Fort

Have a little fun today, or the next time you get a package, and transform something into a new play set for sparking imagination!