Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Our Story

Growing up I had the same perspective as all teenagers.  Things were made to be used, wasted, and thrown out.  No chemical was strong enough to hurt me; if they were on the shelves of stores for us to purchase and use, of COURSE they had been tested and deemed safe.  

Little did I know that the Earth was in crisis, our bodies were science projects for chemical companies, and we would be lucky if 50 years from now the ozone layer was still in tact.  

It started with my oldest son turning 9 months old and the search for formula to supplement breast milk.  I had been vegetarian for 17 years at that point (since I was 8!) I looked at soy... and learned that a high diet of soy in Americans has been questioned as being harmful.  I was a bit shocked as I had been eating soy at least 5 days a week at that time.  The research was conflicted and I couldn't find anything concrete at that time, but I wasn't about to risk my baby's health.  So I kept looking.  That was the first time I had questioned anything on a store shelf and it was quite eye opening.  

I started questioning everything we ate.  We switched to all organic for our son and as much as we could afford for us.  It has taken about 4 years, but we have gradually replaced EVERY food item we purchase with organics.  We now buy as little processed food as possible.  We make all of our meals and the only thing we buy in a can is tomato sauce.  We do not store our food in plastic, we do not eat out of plastic containers or dishes.  We do not even use plastic spatulas.  

Then I found and was SHOCKED to find out how many carcinogenic chemicals were in our everyday products.  My son's Johnson and Johnson tear free baby was was the most toxic thing we had in our bathroom.  I couldn't believe it.  I was soaping him up with chemicals without even knowing it.  I was outraged.  I switched every product we owned for a product rated 3 or lower on  

I started reading everything I could find (blogs, books, articles, etc) on toxic chemicals in our everyday lives and was furious at what I found.  Flame retardants, plastics, pesticides, etc and how they relate to our health.  Very scary.  

We try to stick with as natural and local as possible.  We started with changing one thing at a time so it wasn't overwhelming.  We are now at the stage of high ticket items such as mattresses and furniture... any knowledge any of you can share regarding those things, please add your comments!  I purchased a toddler mattress for my youngest son when he was born and still uses.  It is a wool mattress from that we just love.  I think the couch is going to be our biggest obstacle.  We are considering trying to find nontoxic foam and building our own couch/ having a local upholsterer upholster it for us.  

I think it is very important to take care of our planet AND our bodies.  Have you seen  Eye opening.  I want my great-great-great grandchildren to live on an un-polluted Earth.  I don't want to ruin it for them.  It is up to you and I to make the changes that we can.  When enough individual make the change, we will be able to see the difference.

That is our story.  The saga continues and new efforts are made each day to live a healthier, more chemical free life.     

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Every moment spent with you

The most important part of my life is my 3 boys.  My husband, and my two baby boys.  They make up my world.  I never really lived until they entered my life... they make me see every sunset, every flower, and view my world in a new and brighter way.  Every thing is more fun when I am with them.  Words cannot convey how loved I feel when two little arms wrap around my neck to give me a hug or they way the words "Mama, I love you" can make me feel.  My third boy makes me constantly feel young and vibrant.  He supports me in everything I do and is my best friend.  He plays with my hair when I have a headache, goes to the store just to get me chocolate, and can make my day with a simple text.  I am, and will always be, the luckiest woman.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I couldn't do it.

I couldn't look into those eyes and lie to him.

Let me start at the beginning.  When I was little I believed in Santa Claus.  My parents did elaborate 'Santa visits' complete with showing us the reindeer leaving our house when we returned from Christmas Eve at my grandparents.  When I was 7 years old my parents had friends over and we were sitting around the dinner table.  They mentioned something about their kids finding out or knowing that Santa Claus wasn't real.  I immediately felt vulnerable.  I remember that panicked feeling that something was wrong, the clear thought process of connecting the dots and suddenly understanding.  I excused myself and went to the bathroom.  My mom followed.  She asked if I was okay.  I responded affirmatively and held back my tears and disbelief.  From that moment on I was never really sure if I could believe what they told me.

I knew from the time my son was born that I would not be upholding the 'Santa Claus' tradition.  He would have an exquisitely planned Christmas full of traditions, surprises, and wonders.  But he would fully know who was responsible for these things (Mama and Dad); and that Saint Nicholas did exist a long time ago and gave gifts to poor children- which is where the character of Santa Claus came from.  He knows who hides the Easter eggs and baskets and that there is no Easter Bunny.

So, last night after I finished brushing his teeth when he sat in my lap and looked up at me with those big innocent eyes full of hope and asked me with a timid voice; knowing very well he was about to be disappointed but yet still hoping there was a possibility; "Mama, is there a tooth fairy?".  I just couldn't.  I couldn't look into those trusting eyes and lie to him.  I knew that my answer would crush him, but I just couldn't lie to those eyes. I explained to him that I was the tooth fairy.  That when the day came in which he lost a tooth, he would place it under his pillow at bed time and that I would take it out after he fell to sleep and place money in its stead.  He looked so disappointed.  He choked back the tears.  I tentatively asked if that was okay; if it is okay that I am the tooth fairy.  He answered "I wish there was a tooth fairy."  I didn't know what to say.  I said I would find out if there really is.

I want my babies to know that they can come to me and ask me any question they could possibly come up with and that I will answer them truthfully.  I want them to trust me and want to ask me the difficult questions.    I don't want to ever give them the impression that I would not answer them honestly even if it is not what they want to hear.  And so, if he asks again I will have to tell them what I know to be true.  I am sorry baby, but I am the tooth fairy.  However, my darling; I will never lie to you.  I will always tell you the truth and you can always come to me with any question knowing you will have whatever answer I can give to you.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Diet : Day 2

Rainy days aren't very good to me.  They make me want to bake.... here was our healthy food of the day (ha.ha.)

Buying a house is like having a baby

No joke!  Not only are they both expensive, but I am seeing a pattern similarity! ;)  Here it goes:

You have that 'fun' leisurely part of just looking at what is available (seeing cute babies), then the stressful part of finding the perfect one, out bidding other buyers, and getting approved for a mortgage (morning sickness, getting fat).  Next comes the signing of paperwork and renovations (no sleep, lots of work), and finally the forgetting of all the awfulness and wanting to do it all over again because you like the end result.

Call me crazy but today I started looking at real estate and our renovations aren't even complete.  I need an intervention.  Someone please intervene!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Diet : Day 1

Now, the question is whether or not posting that title will make me more apt to stick with it.  Summer weather is officially here, and my shorts do not fit!  The same thing happens every spring/early summer.  I go through this cycle of losing 8-10 lbs every summer only to gain it all back through the winter.  Well, not THIS summer!  I am going to lose it and keep it off.  Yep, I will be wearing (or at least trying on) those shorts ALL winter to make sure I am still on track.  I am 28 and my body isn't what it once was (I wonder if that is due to age or babies?).  I can no longer eat dessert for every meal and work out when the whim strikes me.... it is time to form lifestyle habits.  (Why am I suddenly sad when this is actually a good thing?).  Here we go.... out with the laziness in with the daily workouts!  Wish me luck ;)

Friday, April 20, 2012


of painting... endless walls.  Seriously, how can there be so MANY walls in a 2 bd/2bath duplex??  I am pretty sure it might take me a year to finish painting this place.  Of course, it would help if I would choose one color for each room instead of changing my mind after the first coat.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I had forgotten how lovely it feels to go barefoot.  To open up the patio door, sip an espresso and feel as though you are productive solely because you have been outdoors.  I love the sounds of lawnmowers in the distance, children playing outside, and backyard picnics.  I love open windows and watching the birds dance in the trees.  I love new floppy hats, sunscreen white faces, and the glamour of sunglasses.  The simplicity of just slipping on sandals and stepping outside.  The decadence of sipping a cold drink while sitting on your back porch watching the clouds drift by.  Oh the joys of lazy spring days!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

....and.... we're back!

Whew!  It has been a crazy 1 1/2 months!  Every single spare moment was spent getting the rental side of the duplex up and ready.  We now have tenants!  So... the work on our side begins.  But this is the fun part.  I am so excited to decorate and get it ready for us.  Pinterest has been my best friend lately and has helped my planning tremendously!  So many great and creative ideas for small spaces on there.  Can't wait to show you all before and after photos!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Life, Love, and Laughter

We closed on the duplex yesterday!  Although we had a busy weekend and hadn't planned on getting started working on the repairs quite yet, we were too excited to wait.  So while Andrew got busy tearing out the bath surround I started taping the trim so we are ready to go for painting.  Our boys (ages 2 and 4) were so excited to have a new place to play that they were running around playing tag and 'step on the dot' (their version of 'don't step on the crack'). It was adorable.  My son suggested we dance so we turned the radio up and enjoyed the moment.  It's the little things that make life fun :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cabin Fever

It is February, and although it isn't as cold as years past I am still sick of winter.  I long for days spent outside in the sunshine, long walks, picnics, bike rides, and lazy afternoons spent on the porch.  Somehow, a lazy afternoon on the couch just isn't the same ;).

Dear Summer:
If you are reading this, I want you back.  I never should have let you leave.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Baked Cauliflower

Adapted from Delighted Momma

This is a simple, easy way to make a delicious veggie side dish.  Our main dishes are usually time consuming so I like to find quick healthy side dish options :)

Cut and wash a head of cauliflower, then slice into bite size pieces.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper, then place cauliflower on parchment paper.  Drizzle Sunflower or Safflower oil; not too much, just enough to lightly coat the cauliflower (make sure you don't use Olive oil as it is toxic to cook with due to it's smoke point).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper then cook at 400* for approx 40 minutes or until lightly browned, turning/flipping with spatula every 10 minutes.

Before Cooking

After Cooking

Dip in Ketchup and ENJOY!

Friday, January 27, 2012

House #1? House #2? House #3!

My husband and I felt like we should have been on an episode of House Hunters.  We have been looking at so many types of properties and in so many locations that it kind of felt like a toss of a dice where we would land.  We didn't pick the cute house with a yard near the foothills that was completely finished, we didn't pick the fixer upper with the shop near the university, but we DID pick the small semi fixer upper duplex with the great location!  We are now the proud owners of an investment property.  For the next 3 years we will be working on and living in one unit while we rent out the other.  At that time we will purchase a house for ourselves and continue to rent out both units in the duplex for the income potential.  Has anyone done this before?  Any recommendations?  We were urged to read Landlording which looks like an interesting read.  I will keep you posted on our experiences as it goes.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Project: Couch



My husband is awesome.  We bought a sewing machine so we could sew duvet covers for our boys.... fast forward 6 months, I still don't know how to turn the thing on yet he has already sewn a soft top for his bronco and re-hemmed pants.  This is how our relationship works: I pick out the project and get the materials and he completes them for me.  It is great!  Anyway, several months ago I decided it was time to sew a slip cover for our sad looking leather couch.  Last week I still hadn't done anything so he took it a step further and made new cushions for the couch.

Here is what he did:

The cushions on the couch were not removable, they were seamed in with the seams of the couch.  His first step was to cut the leather (cutting about 3" above the seam so he did not ruin the look of the front of the couch) then use an upholstery staple gun to secure the leather back onto the frame.

After preshrinking our material (corduroy) he cut out the sizes he needed for the top, bottom, and sides then pinned it together over the foam/cushion (we used what was already there; it was covered in leather previously so nothing had penetrated into the foam) to make sure he was pinning it to size.  Make sure you lay the fabric down so the inside of the fabric is facing you as you will turn it 'inside out' after you sew it so your seam is on the inside.

Then, sew.
 We used a waterproof material around the foam (just wrapped it around, no sewing necessary) so the cushion wouldn't be ruined if our boys spilled anything on the couch (although as you can imagine, food is outlawed on the couch now ;) ).
 Then he stuffed the foam into the cover similar to the way you put a pillow into a pillowcase.
 We used iron on fabric velcro to secure the back so we can wash the fabric as needed.
Final product!  It took 4 hours, but looks SO MUCH BETTER!  Next step is to make throw pillows that incorporate both colors :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Shortbread Gingerbread Cookies

After having an AMAZING cookie at a coffee shop (and of course being unable to find anything like it online) I set out to make my own recipe.  It turned out delicious.... however I learned that shortbread recipes are anything BUT healthy, so proceed at your own risk:
Shortbread Gingerbread Cookies

Cream together:
2 sticks unsalted butter 
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup (white) sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

then add:
2 tbs + 2 tsp molasses

shift together in separate bowl:
2 cups flour
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Add molasses to creamed mixture then add in sifted ingredients.  Roll out on lightly floured surface, cut shapes, then put them on baking pan and chill in fridge for 15 minutes.  Bake at 350 until edges start to turn brown (approx 13-15 min).  Let cool then brush with icing (recipe below).

2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbs milk
1tsp vanilla extract
Mix together, and add milk or powdered sugar as needed for desired consistency.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


 With a sister and a sister in law both expecting babies soon, I started thinking about all of the things I wish I would have known before I had children.  There are so many people who don't care and don't want to hear about eco-friendly or chemical alternatives, but if you are that type you probably won't like this blog.  So, I am listing my top ten here in hopes to help other mothers who are interested in learning healthier ways to raise their children.  If you are offended by this post, please skip over it.  As always, I am not a scientist.  All I know for sure is that I have done my due diligence and research on all of the things I listed.  Something that is a cause of concern for me may not be for others.  Do not use this post as your 'be all end all'.  Do your own reading and research to determine if it is an issue for you.

Top 10 things I wish I had known when I had babies:
1.    Plastic is not good.  Plastic contains more than BPA (although BPA is pretty major in and of itself) it also contains phthalates and sometimes even lead.  Try to stay away from it at as much as possible- especially when purchasing food in plastic containers, teethers and objects that go in mouths, bottles, etc.
2.    It is SO easy to make baby food!  Just think not only of the money saved, but also the relief of knowing exactly what you are putting into your precious baby’s mouth and body.  All you need is a food processor or blender and some fresh veggies.
3.    Flame Retardants.  Stay away from them at all cost.  Since when is it a good idea to sleep in chemical-doused clothing?  Breathe in air and dust that has harmful chemicals from curtains, mattresses, and electronics?  I am not suggesting you throw away your television, but when making future purchases keep in mind that there ARE some companies that do not add flame retardants when manufacturing their products.  I AM suggesting you do NOT purchase any clothing, blankets, or curtains that contain flame retardants.  Install good fire detectors, minimize all fire hazards, and do not expose your babies to these chemicals.  
4.    Crib mattresses.  Please, please, please consider a wool crib mattress.  There are flame retardants in other mattresses, which I just discussed above but also other factors to consider.  Here is a great post that I read when weighing the cost/ possible benefits of purchasing a wool mattress.  I am the worrying/ guilt laden type and I knew that if something were to happen to my child and there was something that MAY have prevented it from happening I would have carried the guilt around with me for the rest of my life.  To me the extra cost was worth it.
5.    Soy.  This is a debate that I am not going to get into, however it poses a question to consider.  I would prefer to be aware of a possible issue than to be oblivious which is why I am listing it here.  Personally when I found out about the soy debate I switched to organic milk for my boys.  As stated above, it just wasn’t worth the guilt later on.  I think like everything else it is probably fine in moderation; however toddlers drink a LOT of milk so I chose to stay away from it.
6.  LOVE LOVE LOVE this site.  4 years ago I looked up Johnson and Johnson tear free baby wash.  4 years ago I switched to a safer alternative.  A few months ago it was FINALLY pulled off store shelves due to toxicity.  I was thankful I was proactive and did my own research before washing my child with it.  I search EVERY thing on this site before I purchase it.  Every shampoo, soap, lotion, and cosmetic we own is rated less than a 3.
7.    Get a female pediatrician.  As a first time mom I went to the doctor every time my son sneezed wrong.  My first two peds were males.  The first one told me to give my infant cough syrup and aspirin.  The pharmacist almost died when I asked him if they were okay for a baby to take.  Needless to say it was on to ped #2.  Pediatrician #2 actually told me he hoped he didn’t see me again until my next well baby check (after I went in worried about a deep cough).  On to Ped #3.  A female who understands what it is like to be a mom.  She knows not to give a baby aspirin because she HAS a baby.  She doesn’t mind when I page her in the middle of the night if my infant has a 104 degree fever.  A good doctor is a must.
8.    Stock up on EVERYTHING before your little one arrives.  It is not fun to have to run to the store for a pack of diapers every 3 days.  With my second son I had enough diapers to last 3 MONTHS when he was born.
9.    A Baby Bjorn and an exercise ball were my saving graces for the first 6 months.  When rocking and pacing resulted in louder wails, holding them and gently bouncing up and down while sitting on an exercise ball never failed to calm them down.
10.   Dr. Sears’ vaccine book.  So many people are questioning vaccines these days.  This book goes into pretty good detail about what the side effects of each vaccine are, and the purposes of the vaccine.  It is a great way to be informed about what you are having injected into your child.

If you have anything to add, please do so in the comment section.  Hoping for happy, healthy futures for our little ones!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Soap Nuts

Have you ever heard of soap nuts?  If you haven't, you are now enlightened.  They are AWESOME!  They are eco friendly, completely natural, chemical free.  I have been using them instead of liquid laundry detergent for about a month now, and I have NOTHING bad to say about them.  I have noticed no difference in how my clothes are cleaned.  This is where I get mine.  I am not getting paid to say this (except, perhaps by paying it forward to my grandchildren), it is my honest to god opinion.  LOVE these things.  TRY them!

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Maybe in other parts of the country (like 1/4" in Wisconsin).... but up here in the mountains there is NO SNOW.  Seriously, none.  Is that crazy or what?  I am really hoping this doesn't go on for much longer.  Not that I love snow or anything (quite the contrary); but I love water.  I do not like droughts.  So, there you have it.  I'm dreaming of a white January.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best Ever!

After discovering Cosmetic Database a few years ago I never purchase anything without consulting the rating there first.  Everything I purchase has a rating of 3 or below.... my last hold out was shampoo.  I had been using TIGI Bedhead for 10 years and LOVED it.  Unfortunately I didn't like the rating.  I knew the time would come where I would have to switch it out for a better product.  So finally I gave it up.  I tried just about every natural shampoo under the sun.  Literally a new one every few weeks.  Either they made my hair flat, or I had to use an entire bottle to get my hair clean.  Then I tried using a baking soda/water mixture that I REALLY hoped would work, but after trying for 3 weeks it just wasn't happening.  Either my hair was too dry or too greasy.  So I tried natural shampoos again.  I have discovered the BEST chemical free shampoo out there!  Nittany Valley Organics Peppermint Stick.  Love.  Love.  Love this shampoo!  It works just as well as my chemical-laden Bed Head worked.  It smells GREAT, and I don't have to worry about it giving me cancer.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Current Obsessions

You have GOT to try these cookies.  They are to die for (not literally as they are fair trade so enjoy them knowing some poor boy was not kidnapped to harvest your cocoa beans)

YUM.  You can get it online here

I vow to own these in the near future...

I dream in pink

... ballet pink that is.  I danced through my teens and early 20's, then life got in the way.  College and 'the real world' were all consuming and I just didn't have time to dance.  I am now 28 and the 'real world' doesn't seem so daunting anymore.  I have a career, a family, a life- but I still long for movement, grace, and beauty.  So I have started ballet classes once more.  I LOVE feeling my body express music again.  One day a week for an hour and a half is a much different experience than 5 days a week for 3 hours a day- but, I still love it.  Once a dancer, always a dancer.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Peace, Relaxation, Adventure, and Spontaneity

I am sitting in my kitchen on this sunny fall afternoon drinking espresso and dreaming of a vacation.  There is just something romantic and dreamy about a vacation.  Maybe because it is due to the change of pace a vacation brings, or maybe it is just a change in attitude.  Whatever it is, I want one.  That got me thinking.  Where would I go if I could pack my little family up right this second and travel?  What would we do?  I have no idea!  Well, I mean I can think of at least 2 or 3 places, but I am a planner.  I need a list.  I need options.  So, for my future travels I am making a list.  Here are the top 5 places I want to see in my lifetime (not in any particular order.  each is equally lusted after) :
1- Venice  *sigh* romance, architecture, water, ITALY.  

2-  Belize  - Jungle, Mayan ruins, beach, what more could a girl ask for?

3-  Greece  - History, BEAUTY, and beaches.  A Mediterranean cruise would be w.o.n.d.e.r.f.u.l.  


4- Iceland - I have always been impressed with their environmental and sustainability innovation; combine that with their country's beauty and you have an educational AND breathtaking vacation.  

5- Fiji -  Need I say more?  Wow.  This place has clear blue water, solitude, and palm trees.  
There we have it.  Now I have 5 options should someone call me to give me airplane tickets and offer to pay for our stay somewhere far, far away.... hey; I can dream, right?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chocolate Deliciousness

She promised it would rock my world... and it has done just that!  You have GOT to try this amazing concoction for yourself!
The 'raw' Brownie
adapted from
2 cups whole walnuts
2 1/2 cups Medjool dates, pitted and sliced (these are surprisingly easy to find; I found mine at Fred Meyer in the organic produce section; but buy them whole or they will be dried out)
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
*Place walnuts in food processor and blend until they are finely ground
*Add the cocoa; pulse to combine
*Add the dates one at a time through the feed tube of the processor while it is still running; you end up with a mixture resembling a pie crust dough
*In a 9x9 Pyrex dish combine the date mixture with the chopped almonds.  Press down until mixture is firmly in place
*Store in the fridge in an air tight container

These brownies are DELICIOUS.  Seriously.  How much healthier can a 'dessert' get??  Just a BITE satisfies my chocolate cravings.  If you have nut allergies, I recommend substituting the walnuts for quinoa and the almonds for sliced strawberries (but less than the recipe calls for).  YUM.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Project: Steamer Trunk

We found this beauty about a year ago:

My husband decided he wanted to tackle this project, so I let him make all executive decisions (I desperately wanted to restore the canvas, but he had other ideas).  After LOTS of sanding, extensive buffing of the metal, and coats of pure uncut tung oil mixed with mineral spirits in a 1:1 ratio with a VERY small amount of solvent based stain (he used golden oak); here is the finished result:

I LOVE it!
The finish he used coats the ENTIRE trunk (leather, metal, wood, everything).

linking to Miss Mustardseed; one of my all time fav eye candy blogs ;)


Treat yourself withOUT having to make a trip to the store in this blustery fall weather!  Here is how to make your very own Sugar Scrub!  I LOVE how simple this is to make and how WONDERFUL it makes your skin feel.

- 2 cups white sugar
- 8.5 oz grapeseed oil (I had never heard of this stuff... but found it at Walmart for $3 something a bottle!
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons orange zest

combine in a bowl, stir, place into jars/packaging of your choosing, and you are DONE!  How simple is that??  You can store it in a cool, dark place for 5 months.  What a fun gift idea!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Grapes

adapted from Whole Living Magazine (the BEST magazine ever...)

12 oz brussels sprouts cut in half (about 4 cups)
12 oz grapes (about 2 cups)
2 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil

if desired:
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350, on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper toss brussels sprouts, grapes, and butter.  Roast until caramelized and tender, about 30-40 minutes.  Drizzle with vinegar (if desired), olive oil, and toss in walnuts (if desired).

This is an AMAZING, simple side dish.  It is even great heated up the next day!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Avoiding going crazy this winter....

It is only week 1 of cold weather; the boys and I have been outside ALL summer and are having a rough time adjusting.  Okay, honestly it is just me.  They are content with legos and cars... however I am SO bored!  Here are some indoor activities I came up do with them when I wish I was outside...  I am going to print these out, put them in a jar and whenever we get bored this winter we will choose an activity!

-Go 'fish' with a pole, magnet, and catch some cute fish w/ magnets attached
-Dance in the kitchen
-Play candyland/memory/chutes and ladders/bingo
-Play kickball or ride bikes in the garage
-Mall day (shopping, chocolates, kid rides, you name it!)
-Make and decorate gingerbread men
-Play marbles
-Teach them to play 'pick up sticks'
-Pool Party!  We fill the kiddie pool up in the living room (with tarps and towels under it to protect the floors), make summer type foods/drinks, and blow bubbles
-Make blanket forts
-Tea party w/ scones (I buy kid friendly tea and they LOVE it; but you could also use juice)
-Puppet show (make sock/paper bag puppets first!)
-Family Movie time (popcorn, etc)
-Coffee shop!  The boys and I LOVE to eat pastries and get out of the house for a little while  
-Cleaning day (exciting, I know lol BUT it is something to do, and wonderfully enough my boys love to help clean)
-Pictures (dress them up and have them do funny poses then make a collage)
-New puzzles
-"Preschool time" 
-Story time
-Hide and Seek
-Make apple cider 
-Craft time

Hopefully this helps some other Mamas out there!  Please feel free to comment with any additional ideas!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Petite Vanilla Bean Scones

ala Starbucks.  My boys LOVE these scones.  They could literally survive on scones, and only scones for the rest of their lives.  I have to bake a double batch of these to make them last longer than a week.... here is the recipe:

8 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 vanilla beans
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8tbs) unsalted butter (cold)
4 eggs
2 1/4 cups of heavy cream
4 tablespoons applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 360* and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In food processor, combine flour, sugar, scrape the seeds from 2 vanilla beans (by slicing the length of the bean pod then scraping them out), baking powder, salt, and butter (sliced into tablespoon increments to make it easier for your food processor).  Process until just combined (mixture should be crumbly).
In mixing bowl, beat together eggs, heavy cream, applesauce, and vanilla extract.
Combine two mixtures, using your hands to evenly distribute liquid but not over mix.
Pat down on flat surface until dough is about 3/4 in thick. Using a knife, cut into triangles.  Bake at 360 until slightly browned.  Remove from oven and let cool, then frosten.

Start by mixing 4 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup milk, and seeds of 1 vanilla bean.  Thicken to desired consistency; I prefer VERY thick and layer it on with a knife instead of drizzling.  I find if it isn't thick enough it makes the scones a big soggy.

Friday, October 7, 2011


I am so so SO excited for the holidays.  I know, it is only October.  But hey, a girl needs TIME to prepare to make Christmas WONDERFUL for her family.  Here are some things I am loving:

Thursday, September 22, 2011


There is nothing that tastes better on bread than homemade jam.  I had no idea how fulfilling it would feel to put my own jam on a loaf of homemade bread until I was introduced to this obsession art 3 years ago.  I haven't purchased a single jar of jelly since.

If you have never made jam before, there is no time like the PRESENT.  It is a very easy process.  There are two types: freezer jam and cooked jam.  I prefer to do strawberry jam in the freezer (so I get the fresh flavor of the strawberries) and raspberry jam cooked so it can stay in the pantry.  Both are VERY simple.  All you need are canning jars, CERTO or SureJell, sugar, and fruit.  To make cooked jam you need a canner, but they are very inexpensive and can be found just about anywhere (grocery stores, drug stores, etc).

The entire process takes less than an hour... and the results last a whole year!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This is living

After music and movement class today the boys and I walked around the river.  We brought a picnic lunch and sat on a blanket.  It was a beautiful day- not too hot and not too cold.  They LOVED all of the activity.  We saw buses, birds, and lots of people.  I just LOVE the enthusiasm they have for all of the little things.  It makes ME enjoy life so much more.  My oldest took off his shoes and went hunting for sticks and rocks in the river.  He had so much fun that his brother and I had to join!  We had so much fun splashing around that we decided it will be our weekly activity until it gets too cold outside.  Love looking at the world through a 3 year old's perspective  <3 .

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Love Affair

Dear Fall:
I miss you dearly when you are gone.  I love the feel of change that is in the air when you are around.  You paint my world with beautiful colors, and bring me fond memories of years past.  I love to watch the squirrels play in your falling leaves and rake mounds of them up so my boys can leap into them and watch them fly.  I love the sound of laughter that is carried on your wind and the feel of a warm mug of apple cider or hot chocolate on cold fingers.  I love snuggling up with my babies and a blanket above a heater to warm up, and dressing in layers that include scarves and mittens.  I love the look of rosy cheeks and seeing a puff of air when I breathe out.  I love waking up to the patterns Jack Frost paints on my window.  I love sweaters and wool blankets, pumpkin bread and hot mochas.  I love lazy Saturdays spent watching football and eating chips.  I love nights cuddled up under blankets watching the stars.  Welcome back!
Love:  Me