Thursday, December 11, 2008

cell phones for soldiers

I ran across this site today. We have a couple of old phones that I've been hanging onto for who knows why. I'm glad to finally get them out of this house, and for a good cause.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

gift idea: reusable shopping bags

Re-usable shopping bags are very hot right now. And I know sometimes I leave the grocery store with a million bags so other people probably don't have enough reusable bags for those big grocery days. And I doubt that the bags they already have are as cute as the one you get for them. :) Plus I use my bags for so much more than just groceries. I always end up forgetting stuff when I pack my suitcase so I end up using all my bags for last minute things I need to take. I also use them to tote my knitting around. I love them. I started out with bagu bags. Then I found envirosax. The downfall with the bagu bags is that they aren't connected to the pouch that they are stored in so then there is a seperate piece to keep track of. Not fun. Also, while they do have alot of vibrant colors, there are no patterns. Envirosax fold up into snaps that are attached to the bag and the patterns are soso cute! They are 8.50 a piece or 37.95 for a pouch of 5. That's 5 great gifts for abot 7.50 each!

for the kids:

and so cute:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Consumable Gifts

One of my favorite gift ideas is consumable gifts. Most of us have more stuff than we need, but who doesn't like an opportunity to go out or learn something new?

Ideas for consumable gifts
-Theater tickets (ballet, symphony, musicals, local theater, movies, childrens theater, etc)

-Classes (dance, cooking, art, karate, etc)

-Season passes (or a 1 time deal) to something (childrens museum, amusement parks, skiing, sports games, etc)

-Magazine subscriptions

-Local produce or milk delivery

Feel free to add other ideas in the comments!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Candy Recall

HALLOWEEN CANDY RECALLED you can verify this on snopes:

There is a new warning put out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.... Sherwood brand Pirate's Gold Milk Chocolate coins are being recalled due to the fact that they contain Mel amine, the ingredient in milk product that has caused many infant (and dog) deaths in china. These candies are sold at Costco, as well as many bulk and dollar stores. please make sure to check your childrens halloween candy and DO NOT LET THEM EAT THE PIRATE COINS (you know the ones wrapped in the shiny gold foil) and please let other parents know about this!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Think outside the Candles also Please!

I know its probably a given, but Candles are also included in this think outside the lotion thing. One thing that I like to do when thinking of what gift to give, is think about what that person is interested in. For example she likes to shop. I imagine that I am her at the store and so instead of getting her what I think she would like, I go to the section that she would go to and I think of an article of clothing she already has, I then try to find something that would complement that Item. It seems to work pretty well for me so far.
Also another tip is that if you think she has too many belts, shoes, purses, etc... She probably doesn't. I take that as a guide to shopping for her, the more shoes she has the more she likes them!
I'm sure most of you know these things already, but seeing as it is the beginning of the holiday season I thought I would share.

ps a cool magnet makes a great gift topper.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Think Outside the Lotion: the explanation

Okay, I know lotion is great, and most of us would be very flaky without it, but I almost always only like it when I buy it myself or if the person buying it for me actually knows my 'smell taste'.(Side note, that sentence is amazingly long). So we will be making a series of posts up until Christmas of present ideas that aren't lotion. Now you may be thinking, Christmas? It's SO far away. But I can't help getting in the spirit early because my side of the family does something called Christmathanks. We combine Christmas and Thanksgiving into one giant holiday so we don't have to fight with anyone about who's going where and seeing what family for the holidays. This way we see our family for Christmathanks and our spouses family for Christmas. We love it! Stay tuned for our first idea...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

flu shot open discussion

Well I am one of the undecided votes on our poll and I need help and really need to do some research on the shot. I definitely don't want to get it for her but then I feel guilty because I really haven't done that much research of my own and the 'pediatricians recommend' that i get it for her. But I just don't feel right about it. So I probably wont. But I guess I would love to pick apart all of your brains and if anyone has questions maybe someone will see it who knows the answer:) I need to stop rambling now soo let's talk about the flu shot-I really want to hear all of your thoughts on it...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The fruit fly wars

I know, I'm a bad blogger. In my defense, it's my busy season with photography and I'm trying to potty train my almost 3 year old. Plus all the other stuff moms with 4 kids have to do. And it's a lot.


One thing on my list is to KILL THE DANG FRUIT FLIES! It's bad. And gross. I'm having serious fruit fly rage.

So I heard this would work.

Just put apple cider vinegar in a container (jar, cup, water bottle, whatever) and top it with a funnel. They can get in, but not out apparently.

Well, it works... although, I've found that fresh vinegar works faster...once it's pretty full I drown them with hot water (leave the funnel or they'll fly out before they drown and then refill with vinegar and a new funnel) but they just keep multiplying anyway.

So today, I'm attacking them with aerosol hairspray too. It actually is working pretty well.

I WILL kill them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

baby legs

I'm sure most, if not all of you, have heard of babylegs. They are such a great product. My sisters and I have all used them for our little ones. I found a new use for mine the other day. I bought Jovie's winter wardrobe a bit big so that it will fit her until spring. Only problem-now that she's walking her pants are constantly coming unrolled and tripping her up. My solution? Babylegs!

( They can also be found at Target)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

scrapbooking irony

Remember when I said:

"I think scrapbooks are so pretty. Only problem---no way I'm going to scrapbook."?

Well the baby book/scrapbook that I had my eye on has sold out. And no, unfortunately, my husband did not buy the last one. Sooo, one thing led to another and I am scrapbooking. It is turning out to be way more expensive than if I had just bought the one on etsy. But it's got more of me in it this way I guess. And I get to pick out the pretty paper. And let's face it-today I ran in to exchange some rub-ons that I had gotten to grab some stickers and I ended up spending 19 minutes picking out 9 buttons. My husband was in the car timing me. I have finished a few pages and thought you might like to see. If you have any ideas or pages you'd like to share just leave the link!

the blue square is for a little journaling
the oval is going to say something along the lines of '6 months of tiny toes'

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Simple High rach

When I first got pregnant I wanted all these awesome baby things, and often got suckered in to buying things with all the bells and whistles. One of those things was the high chair I ended up getting, and well I hated it. It was big and bulky, hard to clean, and really just awkward. So needless to say I was on the hunt for a much simpler model. My friend Malia has the high chair that I ended up getting, mostly because every time we would go to her house I couldn't wait to let Mae use the chair. For about 10 months I coveted it, I then finally asked her where she got it. IKEA who would of thought, I went home and ordered it that night, its arrived and I am in love. So easy to clean, takes up very little space, and was so cheap.
The lesson I learned from this is simple is a good thing and don't forget it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Maid

I'll admit to not being terribly consistent with this, but I imagine if I was it would work nicely. It certainly does the trick when I mention that The Maid is coming though!

Who is The Maid, you ask? Well, let me tell you. She is a fictional third person to transfer the bad guy persona to so Mommy can save face.

She comes in the middle of the night and "cleans" the toys that were left out. Except, instead of cleaning, she just takes them. What she does with them is up to you. I know some Maids who get rid of the toys forever (good will, trash, whatever works) and I know others who allow their children to earn them back with good behavior or keeping their things clean for "X" amount of time. I...uh...I mean "The Maid" at my house is more in favor of the earning things back method. Rewards for good behavior and all that. She just replaces the missing toys in their room in the night when they've earned them.

Halloween Prep

I am very excited for the upcoming holiday season. We're constantly coming up with new ideas we might like to start this year and turn into traditions. I absolutely loved going trick-o-treating and have been torn on how to do it with Jovie (since she is allergic to dairy and possibly yellow 5 and who knows what else exactly yet). So I thought maybe I would make home-made treats and after trick-o-treating she could exchange her candy for the candy I made. And my husband graciously offered to eat her candy she turned in, ha-ha. So I told my idea to Misty and she told me about the Halloween Witch! She comes in the night and takes their candy and leaves a toy. So that's what we're going to do and I am so excited to get to add another persona to my list...santa, easter bunny, tooth fairy and halloween witch!

Misty speaking now...(by the way, remind me not to let my 5 and 7 year olds read this blog.) Anyway, if your kids are older and not allergic to things... I keep the candy hidden and put it in lunches for several months. That way they don't gorge themselves and I have little treats on hand for lunch or random 'nice mommy' moments. :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

We have a winner!!!

School started today and I did a random drawing for the tutu with

The winner is......The Bunnell Fam! This was her comment.

My Cuz Devynn told me to check this out and man I am glad I did! What an awesome blog you have!! I LOVE the tutu and it would go great with one of my photo sessions haha(hint hint)! Fabulous!

August 21, 2008 11:51 AM

Congratulations! Email your address to and I'll get it in the mail!

Stay tuned for more fun tips, tricks and giveaways!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

handmade (and not by you) april

I think scrapbooks are so pretty. Only problem---no way I'm going to scrapbook. My solution? Etsy!

I would buy this one in a heartbeat if I had 120 bucks to spend on whatever I wanted. *Where is my 2nd economy stimulus check! haha. Maybe my husband will read this and surprise me with it for Christmas....*hinthint* (Although I probably have a better chance of Santa reading this than my husband, lol)

And acually stampingirl2's entire shop has the cutest stuff in general.

Paperbag scrapbooks are really cute too, and not as expensive. But they aren't acid free so pictures will fade over time.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

mom mood april

We all have those days. You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones where you really need a b.r.e.a.k. I just wanted to share a couple things that I do to help.

I have a smoothie everyday-with ground flax seed. I thought it was so weird that I always felt better when I had my smoothie. Then I read that omega-3's protect against depression and flax seed is an excellent source for that good fat. (Oprah's Dr. Oz says that it must be ground or be an oil for you to really absorb all it's goodness).**

I love a good shower. When I need to relax, I plug in the monitor during my daughter's nap, and I just go sit down and let the hot water wash over me. I don't bother washing my hair or anything. I just sit and try to think about nothing. I guess it's my meditation.

I really think every mom needs to get away. Not only does it help you get a little adult time, but it feels so good to return home to my little girl who has a giant smile on and is so excited to see me. I go to yoga once a week and right now I'm taking a knitting class too.

What do you do to help boost your mood?

**my green smoothie recipe
1/2 an apple (for sweeter smoothie-use entire will make make a very large smoothie then)
1/2 cup kale
1 banana
1/2 cup rice milk
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon flax seed
a few cubes of ice
blend until smooth

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

End of summer giveaway! - poofy tutu

We thought it would be fun to do the occasional giveaway on this blog.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and I'll use a random selector tool to pick a winner. Winner will be picked when school starts (aka September 2nd), so make sure you check back to see if you won! Want TWO entries? It's easy, just leave a shout out on your blog about our contest. But make sure you let us know you did, so you can get credit for both entries.

Up for grabs this month is a super poofy, handmade tutu. It's got an elastic waistband cut to about 20 inches around, so it'll likely fit a 2-8 year old depending on her size.

Our models are ages 5 and 7. And for the record, I put it on my 2 year old son to check fit, (it fits him too) but I didn't take pictures because...well, because he's a boy. lol.

Good luck!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

kid friendly Yakisoba

Yakisoba is my favorite meal. I was wanting some, but I didn't think my kids would eat it. My oldest is the pickiest kid, EVER. #2 and #3 aren't as bad, but #3 literally throws up if he doesn't like something. (gag reflex) One time some friends were over and they brought lemon bars. #3 tried one and vomited. The husband turned to his wife and said "Wow, I've never actually seen someone throw up from your cooking before!" lol.

So today, I did a little experiment to make Yakisoba more kid friendly. I went from memory for part of it and looked up a few different recipes online for the sauce and cut and combined til I saw something I thought looked good. This is what I ended up with and it was quite yummy!

Store bought Yakisoba noodles (I got them at Costco and used 1 of the 2 packages)
Broccoli Florets
Chopped Cabbage
Shredded Carrots
Snap Peas

1 2/3 cup water
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic

Mix the sauce ingredients and set it aside.

Stir fry the chicken, add the broccoli and snap peas. Continue to stir fry. Add the cabbage and carrots, keep stir frying. Add the noodles and sauce and stir fry til it's all hot.


Everyone enjoyed it. Nobody threw up. My oldest even said "mmmmmm" and THAT is a hard thing to get out of him. Granted, he only ate the noodles, but still! This is an accomplishment!

And the whole thing is quite simple. That's my requirement.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

favorite cleaning rachel

I do not like sweeping. In fact you can be safe to say that I hate sweeping. I also have hardwood floors, which require alot of sweeping. My savior in this hatred is my Black and Decker handheld vacuum. Its very powerful, gets the dust bunnies like a champ and I complete my job in half the time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 april

I know it's not Thanksgiving yet, and most of you probably don't have pie on your mind. But pie is so much better with fresh fruit so I wanted to post this recipe while the peaches and blackberries are perfect for freezing. My mother created this recipe and I honestly haven't met anyone who didn't fall in love with it right away.

Peach Blackberry Pie

Prepare your favorite pastry. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine 3/4 to 1 C sugar, 3 T all-purpose flour, 1/4 t ground nutmeg or cinnamon (I use cinnamon always), and a dash of salt. Add to 4 C sliced peaches and 1 C blackberries; mix. If using frozen fruit you can thaw it or just leave it frozen and add a little time for cooking. To keep the crust from getting too brown if using frozen fruit just put tin foil on edges once it gets some nice color. Line 9 inch pie plate with pastry; fill. Dot with 2 T butter or margarine. (Dash with extra spice if desired.) Adjust top; seal; crimp edges, cut slits in top if not doing a lattice top. Bake in hot oven for 45-50 minutes or until done.

(If you thaw out your fruit, don't drain the juice.)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wolves vs. april

I know I can speak for my sisters when I say Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer is amazing. I am sure that if you've read the previous books in the series, you are reading or have finished Breaking Dawn. If you haven't read the series I highly recommend starting out at the beginning with Twilight. The series is a love story between a teenage mortal and a vampire-plus so much more. I would go so far as to say they are the Harry Potter of today, and I do not take Harry Potter lightly. You'll have to read them to find out the details because I don't want to give anything away!

Also, I would just like to add that my husband is a wolf. He is strong-but not in that stone kind of way, hairy, and is so nice to snuggle up to on a cold night to get warm. I'm curious what the men are in your life? It's wolves vs. vampires!

carrot april

I made this carrot cake for my husbands birthday. This will be the recipe we use from now on. We loved it! (I couldn't eat the frosting because of the dairy but it was still delicious with it cut off.) I used apple sauce instead of all the oil called for and cut the sugar in the frosting down and added a little extra carrots to get it healthier.


4 eggs
3/4 C vegetable oil
1/2 C applesauce
1 C white sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 C all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 1/4 C grated carrots (2 lbs.)
1 C chopped walnuts

frosting ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces lowfat cream cheese, softened
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, applesauce, sugar,and 2 t vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in walnuts. Pour into prepared pan. (Be careful not to overmix or the cake will fall a little in the center. A little lumpy is good.)
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
4. To make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners sugar, and 1 t vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cake.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On Sisters (cont.) april

As the younger sister I have watched, highly admired, and yes-I will admit-copied Misty and Rachel. There are seven years between Misty and I-five with Rachel. I am sure I do not need to tell you that those gaps are huge under the age of 20. I wanted their clothes. I crushed on their boyfriends. I craved their attention. We were in different worlds. My memories are just snapshots of smiles, intermingled with scowls.

Misty became my best friend when I moved in with her and her family for my last year of high school. Rachel became my best friend when I miscarried my first baby. With every cry circle, I felt our bond strengthen. I am eternally grateful for these two women in my life. They are my soulmate sisters-my dearest friends.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Obsession...By Rachel

YOGA......Its amazing and has truly changed the way my body moves and feels. It has only been 2 1/2 months and my body has changed so much. I recommend it to everyone who can walk and breathe. Yes I think its that important.

So if you can find the time and a space to do it. Just do it, its totally worth it!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

a april

I cannot say enough about farmer's markets. The way they draw the community together is so enchanting. Supporting local farmers, buying organic produce: the camaraderie of the whole ordeal is fantastic. As I'm sure you can guess, I highly recommend visiting one in your area. Also, you might get lucky enough to find a purse like this! It is handmade and one of a kind-two of my favorite things.

The vintage button detailing thrills me. As do the birds for some reason. Overall, this is my new favorite find-for now.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

a simple april

I don't know why they even make baby hats without some kind of staying power; i.e velcro, snap, or bow. And since I am a new mom, I didn't know of this problem until our first outing with the hat. It stayed on for all of about 5 seconds until it became her favorite toy.



All it took was some ribbon laying around the house and a snap. It took less than 5 minutes to sew it all on and was much cheaper than buying a new sun hat.

And no, she isn't happy that she can't get off her hat *as easily.

On Misty

That is Fels Naptha. Only the best stain remover ever. They knew what they were doing back in the day. Rub this stuff on the stain with a little water, let it sit briefly and wash. Voila! No more stain! Seriously works on everything I've tried it on so far. Mixed with hot water and a bit of rubbing, it'll even take out infant poop stains on white onesies!

It's rumored to also be good for poison ivy treatment, making home made laundry detergent, to rid plants of pests and remedy black spot fungus in roses.

Friday, July 25, 2008

On Misty

I have a memory of secretly calling a radio station in the 80's because the DJ said to call in for our favorite song between 2 that he had just played. We grabbed the cordless and snuck into our bedroom (I did the calling, because she was too scared to talk to anyone on the phone or in real life). We were being sneaky because our favorite song between the two had the words "shut-up" in the title and those were naughty words at our house. I called the DJ and practically whispered our favorite song so mom wouldn't hear (she was upstairs at the time). We succeeded.

I remember waking up one morning to one of my parent's friends in the house who informed me that I had another sister that was born during the night.

I have another memory of Rach and I dancing around our bedroom singing "I Wanna Be Like You" from The Jungle Book to each other. Just being weirdos and smiling and giggling the whole time.

Then....we hit puberty. And suddenly, we didn't like each other so much. We fought so much that I ended up sharing a room with April (7 years my jr...there's less than 2 years between Rachel and I) so that Rach could have her own room. There was a lot of yelling and a few punches thrown on occasion. We pretty much became strangers. We walked in different circles and when we were home I spent most of my time on the phone and she spent most of her time in her room.

And then I graduated and moved out.

And gradually, things got better. I moved away. She graduated and also moved away. I got married, she moved further away. We started talking on the phone regularly. We became friends. April grew up. I started having babies. April moved in with me and my husband. Rachel moved closer again. April and I had always gotten along, but things got occasionally rocky as we lived together.

April saved my husband's life while she lived with us. (low blood sugar + driving...April was with him and managed to stop the car and move him to the passenger seat and get him home safely.)

April graduated and moved out.

And somewhere along the way we all became best friends. As close as sisters should be. And I wouldn't trade them for anything.