Goals for 2012

I have never been big into making resolutions but I really want to go into this new year with focus and purpose. I know the next year is going to fly by (like they all do) so maybe if I have some specific goals set out I will do a better job of moving my life in the direction I want it to go, instead of just going along letting life move me...if that makes sense.

Anyway, here's my list....

1. Spend at least 15 minutes alone with God everyday. Praying/reading the Bible.
2. Develop friendships with other women/couples
3. Have a date night with the hubby once a month.
4. Run more miles, more often. - Run 3 races, one 10k or longer.
5. Commit to healthy eating/cooking. limit sugar and processed junk.
6. Be better organized. (toys, clothes, paperwork, schedules)
7. Limit casual internet time (fb mainly) to only during the girls naps/bedtime.
8. Create weekly meal plans and stick to them.
9. Stick to our budget to pay off car and student loans early.
10. Take a family vacation.

So there it the end of 2012 I hope I can look back on this and say I've accomplished all I set out to do :)

Happy New Year!


10 months, and counting

Kara is 10 months old, and finally a crawler!
She started crawling about 2 weeks ago and she is making her way around the house great now. Which also means she is getting into everything, and bugging her sister more by trying to take her toys. Kirsten has been really great with her so far, and shares pretty well. Sometimes her sharing means saying Kara is finished with whatever toy it is she wants, and trading her for something else. For now Kara just goes along with it, we'll see how long that lasts.

Kara loves to babble, she says mama, dada, baba, nana...all of those kinda sounds. She also loves to shake her head "No!" She says no when we notice her getting into something she shouldn't, when you ask her a question, and of course when she doesn't want anymore to eat.
She loves to sing "If you're happy and you know it" and actually claps her hands and stomps/moves her feet at the right times :) She even sings ""la, la, la, la" to the Elmo's world song!

She is really getting the hang of drinking from a sippy this past week too. I am hoping to wean her straight from breastfeeding to a sippy cup, and skip the whole bottle thing all together. She is fighting weaning hardcore though, so we shall see. She just hates formula!

I love my happy baby girl, it's so fun to watch her grow and learn new things but I'm also a little sad that she won't be a baby much longer.


I won!

Today I one a battle of wills with Kirsten!
After we got home from school I made us lunch: tuna salad sandwiches. Gross to some maybe, but we all actually like them, including Kirsten. But today she was not having it.
Now, you have to know that Kirsten is notorious for saying she is not hungry at meal times, and then asking for a snack minutes after getting up from the table. So when she says she is not hungry, instead of forcing her to eat we just tell her that she doesn't have to eat it right now, but that she will not get anything else until that food is gone. Most of the time that's enough to get her to change her mind and start eating.
But today that took 4 1/2 hours. She did not want to eat at lunch time, so I wrapped up her sandwich to save for after her nap. Of course she was disappointed when she woke up wanting a snack and I gave her the tuna sandwich :) She whined and complained so I sent her to her room. This happened probably 4 times before she finally relented and ate her sandwich.  And she was so proud  to show me she had finished! Yay! She's a stubborn girl, but I think maybe I'm just a bit more stubborn.


The Nutcracker

A friend of mine posted a link on facebook to a blog with a cute fun craft idea using glue, table salt, and water colors. I tried it out with Kirsten this afternoon and had a blast with it.

All you do is squirt Elmer's glue on a piece of paper making whatever design you want.

Then cover all the glue with a good sprinkling of table salt.
Shake off the excess salt into a bowl. For salt painting just have your child gently touch the wet paint brush to the salt. And watch it spread! It's pretty awesome! You have to make sure not to smear the glue. Just tap the paint onto the salt and it spreads on it's own.

First we did squiggles.

Then a happy face :)

This was a super easy, and really cool craft. Kirsten loved watching the paint magically spread across the picture! Try it out with your kids!

On to the event of the night....
Jack was away at a basketball game tonight, so I was looking for something to do with the girls. I looked on our public library's website and was excited to see that they were hosting a Nutcracker Storytime tonight. I knew Kirsten would love it! She is all about dancing lately and LOVES watching Angelina Ballerina, so seing real life ballerina's would be unreal for her!

The children were supposed to dress in the fanciest attire :) So I dressed them up as ballerinas. (most every other mom there did too)  My ballerina's ready to go!

First we got our picture taken with the ballerinas. Yep, me too! Kirsten wouldn't go by herself. Then we colored a nutcracker magnet. After that we had some down time before the show started so we checked out a few books.

The show started with a reading of The Nutcracker. Followed by a ballet performance of 8 different songs from the Nutcracker. It was so fun! Kirsten was glued to the dancers and clapped like crazy for them. She is already asking to go to the ballet again :)



There are so many random things that Kara just LOVES to play with. And there are also a few odd things she hates.

She loves to play with this plastic medicine dropper that we have. She will chew on it and mess with it forever. I've never actually used it for medicine so it's officialy become her toy.

She hates pompoms. Kirsten has some play cheerleader pom poms. If you shake them or lay them by Kara at all she freezes and starts wimpering.

Kara loves the toy light stick necklace that her great grandma gave Kirsten. She plays with the strings, sucks on it, and she could stare at it all day.

She hates leaves. We set her and Kirsten down in the leaves a couple weeks ago. Kara was okay with it for the first couple seconds until Kirsten threw up a big handful of leaves all over her head. Poor Kara was scared to death. Even just holding her while Kirsten plays in the leaves she starts crying.

Kara loves to walk. Anytime I am near her she is grabbing for my hands so I can help her stand up and walk. She goes crazy fast running around the kitchen in her walker, and if she had it her way I am sure she'd love for me to just hold her up all day so she could walk everywhere.

However, she hates crawling. She won't even stand to be on her belly for more than a couple minutes and makes no efforts to move around that way. She's gotten pretty good at scooting around on her bottom though :)

Kara Mae loves to play with playing cards. Kirsten has a deck of Dora Go Fish cards that Kara will sit on the floor playing with for a long time. She picks them up, tosses them to the side, then is super excited to find them again in a different spot. She's only chewed up one so far!

She hates our squishy pink puffer ball. We brought it out to play with tonight and she shuddered. Even when we put in back in the toy basket she kept looking back at it, making sure it wasn't going to get her.

And this is the mess that is our living room several times a day! We love playtime :)



From October to March, it's all about basketball in this house. Last night was the first home game so I was excited to take the girls. It's a little difficult to watch a basketball game with 2 little ones so I always make sure to pack plenty of toys and snacks to help keep them entertained.

Kirsten enjoys watching the game and cheering. She will usually really watch and follow the game for the first 20 minutes or so before she gets antsy and starts playing. Last night she kept calling down to Jack on the bench trying to get his attention. She was waving frantically saying "Hi Daddy!" over and over again.

 And there is enough noise and activity to keep Kara entertained for quite awhile too. Right now she will just sit happy and play for the most part. I am not sure what I will do once she starts trying to crawl/walk around on the bleachers.

There was a JV game and Varsity game last night, so that means 4 hours of basketball :) In between games we picked up supper at McDonalds and brought it back to eat while we watched.

While Kirsten had a mouth full of chicken nuggets she was trying to walk down the bleachers and slipped. It wasn't a bad fall, but it scared her and she started crying. She was crying so hard that she started gagging because of the food in her mouth (Which has happened more times than I can counts b/c she always cries so hard). I knew she was going to start throwing up so I quickly grabbed my McDonalds bag and held it in front of her right before she spewed. uhhh...yuck!

Other than that little incident it was a great night!


I want to spoil my girls....

I want to spoil my girls...but I don't want my girls to BE spoiled.
I want so bad to give them everything they ever want or ask for, and never have to say no.
Saying no is HARD!

I mean, can I say no to this cuteness?

But with Christmas coming up we have been talking about what to get the girls for their presents. There are so many things I know they would love, I want to buy them everything! But if I take an honest look, they really already have SO much! Of course there are things they do not have but that's a GOOD thing. It's good for them to not have everything. While I would really love to buy them tons of new toys, the cutest clothes, and just spoiled them like crazy....I know that's not the best for them.

I want to help them learn to appreciate what they do have, instead of always wanting more and more. It's hard to say no, it's hard to hold back and give to others instead of ourselves. But I want my girls to grow up knowing that there are more important things than our "things" and that giving really is SO much better than receiving.


The things she says...

I really need to do a better job about writing down  the cute and silly things that Kirsten says. When she was just starting to talk she would say words and phrases incorrectly but in such a cute way. It's already hard for me to remember the way she talked, I remember she would always say "Hold you" when she wanted me to pick her up, and instead of "another day" she used to say "another one day". There are so many more, but it's hard to think of them all.

As she gets older she doesn't say many things incorrectly anymore, but everyday she says something sweet, clever, or funny. Just today she said a couple different things that were so sweet it almost made me cry :)

While we were in the car she said
"You know why I like to ride in Grandpa and Grandma's, and Nana and Papa's car?' Because I love them" 'You know why I love them"
'Because they're special!"

Then later today she asked
 "Who had Kara before we got her?"
I said "God made her and then he gave her to us."
She said "Oh, yeah! God was holding her."


catching up.

So I haven't been good about posting lately but  it's been a lot of the same/normal life for us around here. Basketball season is in full swing for Jack so he is gone ALOT, which means things are naturally more busy for me without him here to help out with the girls. I feel like there is always tons of laundry and dishes to do, errands to run and toys to pick up.
I love working at the preschool but on those days after wrangling 3 year olds all morning I don't want to do anything the rest of the day. After finally getting the girls home, fed, and napping, by 2pm I am shot. So needless to say I don't do much cleaning or picking up Mon-Wed so by Thursday the house is quite the mess. I got my work cut out for me tomorrow :)
Kirsten has now painted 4 pumpkins so far this fall and they are all sitting out on our front porch. I don't think we will be buying anymore. It's starting to look like a pumpkin patch on our little porch.
(I plan on trying to make my own from scratch pumpkin pie and some pumpkin puree for Kara out of them once the season is over. )
Last weekend we took the girls to a local farm with a corn maze, pumpkin patch, and other fun activities for kids. Kirsten had a ball! We went through the beginners corn maze and it still took us over 20 minutes. I think we took every wrong turn first before backtracking all the way to near the beginning. I have no sense of direction so had it not been for Jack we may have never lost forever!

This saturday I am running in my first race...Yay! It's a 5k that my church is hosting to benefit a program called Refuge for Women. They help show God's love to women in the adult entertainment industry by offering residential housing and a new beginning. I have run the 5k distance and more many times but this will be my first time running in a race. I am by no means fast, but I like to run so I'm excited to get out there with lots of other runners, and to help out a good cause.


Halloween craft - googly eye ghosts :)

Our neighbors go all out when decorating for holidays. Thankfully for Halloween they like to go the cute route rather than scary. I walked Kirsten across the street the other day so she could check out all of their decorations, and on one of the bushes they had a bunch of little hanging ghosts that Kirsten thought where cute so I decided we could make some as a fun craft.
I went to the dollar tree and bought a white plastic table cloth, some ribbon (Kirsten picked purple), and a pack of googly eyes. So for only 3 bucks we were able to make some super cute little ghosts.

I cut the table cloth into squares, about 8-10 inches wide maybe. Then crinkled up a piece of a plastic shopping bag into a ball and put it in the middle of the table cloth square, pulled the cloth up around the ball and tied it off right under the ball with a long piece of ribbon. Then all we had to do was glue on the googly eyes. If you don't want to use googly eyes you could just draw some on with a sharpie.

We now have happy little ghosts hanging from our front tree.


You gotta try this! and a close call.

So I had some mushrooms to use before they went bad, and was wanting to make a creamy pasta dish with them. I did a little google searching and found a recipe that looked like a winner. And boy was it! This was probably one of the best tasting pasta dishes I have made in awhile. We loved it!

I didn't think about taking pictures to share with you, but here is one from the source.

I got the dish all ready and in the oven so that I could go run while it finished cooking. I set the kitchen timer for 20 minutes and told Jack to take it out when it beeped. Well, he was outside playing with the girls when the timer went off so her didn't hear it. When I got back from my run 30 minutes later, it was still in the oven! So it cooked a good 10-15 minutes longer than it should have. I was bummed and thought it might be ruined. Thankfully it still turned out great!
I cut the recipe in half and it fit in an 8x8 baking dish, making enough to serve our little family 2 times. Instead of topping with just Parmesan cheese (as the original recipe calls for) I mixed some Parmesan with Panko bread crumbs, garlic salt, and pepper and then sprinkled that on top.
Even with ours getting a little over done and it was still super delicious. I really recommend trying it!

Here is the link to the recipe: I really thought I was going to die on my run last night. It was not from the running though. Here's what happened:
As I was running down the sidewalk of a street near our house all of a sudden I heard a loud barking. Now, this is not unusual because almost everyone has a dog, and dogs are dumb. So they bark at everything they see! Of course, It startled me like it always does, so I looked over expecting to see a dog barking behind a fence, but when I saw a humongous dog charging toward me I literally screamed out loud! AHHH!!! This thing was going to attack me! I ran out to the street away from it, and then right before it got to the sidewalk it got caught by it's leash. Whew!!! Scared me to death, and I am sure that I looked like a real crazy woman to anyone watching. Stupid dogs :) I know most people love them, but not me. Unless they are cute and little, don't stink, or bark, or lick me. Oh wait...that's a cat. I like cats :)


Hungry Ducks!

I am loving the fall weather! This past saturday it was beautiful outside, so last minute we decided to take the girls to a local park for a picnic. I just discovered this park, and we decided to try it out even though it's a bit further away because it has a little lake. I knew Kirsten would be excited to have a picnic, but she was even more excited to feed the ducks! She had seen ducks before from a distance but this would be her first experience feeding them.

When we first got there we found a picnic area on a deck near the water and sat down to eat. Kirsten kept quacking at the ducks and begging to go feed them, so our time actually "picnicing" was short :)

Right after we finished eating Jack and Kirsten started walking out to feed the ducks, but before they even got the bread out, almost every duck in the lake came out of the water and started running toward them. This scared Kirsten to death! She wanted out of there quick!

This is only picture I could take before the swarm of ducks scared the bejeezes out of her. Jack quickly picked her up and walked back up the hill to where I was standing with Kara. The ducks followed them all the way up the hill, so I threw out the little bit of bread we brought with us while Kirsten's was in daddy's arms. They devoured the bread super quick! I apparently underestimated how aggressive and hungry the ducks would be. haha! Live and learn.

After that we headed to the playground for some fun. Kirsten was nervous about going down this slide the first time but then wanted to do it over and over again.

I am obviously more excited about Kara sliding that she is :)

                                                      Showing little sister how it's done.


This week's eats

Lunch- pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw
 (I made a 7lb roast a couple days ago, what we didn't eat then I froze into several portions for future use)
Dinner - Baked Cod Filet's and Roasted Acorn Squash

Lunch- Cobb Salad
Dinner - Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Peas

Lunch- leftovers
Dinner- Lemon Chicken with Farfalle Noodles, Brocolli

Lunch - Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Carrot sticks, Apple slices
Dinner- Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Green Beans

Lunch- Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup
Dinner- Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Burritos, Fresh Peaches

Picture of Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup Recipe


It drives me nuts...

...when the girls will not take their naps.

God blessed me with wonderful girls, but neither of them are excellent sleepers. Kirsten was a horrible sleeper as a baby and still wakes up most nights calling for me at least one time. She has never been one of those kids who will nap for 2-3 hours in the afternoon either. Kara is a little better than Kirsten was about sleeping through the night, but still only naps for about an hour at a time usually.

So I try to put both the girls down for their naps at the same time with hopes of getting at least an hour to myself. But today...Kara only slept for 30 minutes, while Kirsten (who I put down for a nap over an hour ago) has still not slept! I know if I let her get up now without napping she will be extremely cranky by 7 or so tonight. So i am being persistent, hoping she will soon fall asleep. ....well, that might not happen! I just heard her thumping on the bedroom wall....ughh!

With Jack working crazy hours for basketball on top of his normal full-time job, nap times are my only break. When they don't happen, the girls aren't the only cranky ones :(


One little monkey swinging from a tree!

We no longer have a swing set in our backyard since moving to this new house and Kirsten really misses having it. So while she was napping yesterday I decided to try to make her a swing to hang on a little tree we have in our yard.
I have some old dresser drawer front panels lying around that I had saved to use as shelves, so I used one of those along with some rope we had in our shed to build her a little swing. The wood already had a couple of holes from the drawer handles so I just had to make those a little bigger and then loop the rope through it.
When Kirsten woke up from her nap I told her I had a surprise for her in the backyard. She was really excited when she saw the swing hanging from the tree.
While she was swinging on it she said "Next day, you can make me a slide! Just take a hammer and put it up and boop boop boop. Then we'll have a slide too!"

I was so happy this worked out like I envisioned it. I loved being able to surprise Kirsten and give her something fun!

The weather was awesome outside today, so after nap time we took a walk to the small park that is just down the street from our house.

This was Kara's first time in a swing. She was a little unsure at first but after a few seconds she started smiling and loving it :)

Kirsten's a little dare devil on the swings, and always wants to go really high! We do the under-doggy :)

My sweet girls already have so much fun together. I love it!


Four things...

I was bored so I took this little survey to kill some time. So if you want to read it, here are some random facts about me. Now I'm off to bed :) Night night all!

Four TV Shows I watch
  • The Office
  • The Biggest Loser
  • Parenthood
  • Wheel of Fortune (haha)
Four Things I’m Passionate About
  • My family
  • Jesus
  • treating others with love and respect
  • being a good wife and mom
Four Words/Phrases I Use Too Much
  • Um..
  • though 
  • "stop whining"
  • really ...
Four things I do every morning
  • drink a glass of water
  • brush my teeth
  • cuddle my girls
  • eat breakfast
Four of my favorite foods
  • Pizza
  • brownies
  • strawberries
  • any kind of Pasta
Four Things I’m Looking Forward To
  • Fall weather
  • Seeing my family again
  • church on sunday :)
  • going to sleep soon
Four Things I Love About Fall
  • Thanksgiving 
  • the leaves
  • trick or treating with my girls
  • Christmas is only a few months away :)


Peas and Oreos

I made peas for Kara this week for the first time. She has loved everything else I have given her so far... but she wasn't as excited about the peas.

I think this face says it all...

"I'm not so sure I want another bite."!

Haha! We'll try it again in a couple days, maybe she will learn to love them like her big sissy :)

On Friday the girls and I went shopping to buy a couple presents for Jack's birthday this coming Thursday. After we got back we hid the presents in a closet and I told Kirsten she had to keep it a secret until Daddy opened them at his party. She was so excited and kept asking "Is Daddy's party today?" "Let's celebrate today!" We have started to make a bigger deal out of our birthday's the past couple years because Kirsten loves it so much!
Kirsten could not wait to make daddy's cake and open presents, So yesterday afternoon we decided to go ahead and celebrate since Jack would be working all day on his birthday anyway.
Kirsten helped me wrap up his presents and since it was such an impromtu party we made Oreo Dessert in leiu of a real cake. Jack loves it and it's super quick to put together.

Oreo Dessert -
1 box of Vanilla Pudding (or chocolate if you prefer)
2 - 8 ounce containers of Cool Whip
1 package of Oreo's (crushed)

Make pudding according to package directions. Let set, and then fold in one container of cool whip and about 1/2 the oreos. Spread into 13x9 dish. Top with 1/2 the remaining oreos and then spread the other container of cool whip on top of that. Sprinkle with remaing oreos. Chill and serve :)

Daddy and his girls.  I love them!


Hi Honey, I'm Home!

Before Jack and I had kids we decided that I would be a stay at home mom if we could make it work financially. When Jack took his current job here at Asbury I was super excited that he would be making enough for me to be able to do just that. It has been such a blessing to be able to be with my girls, watching them grow and learn. We have a smaller house than many families I know, can't go on distant vacations, and sometimes things are a little tight, but none of that matters to me in the least! Family is most important and I am so thankful I get to raise my girls at home :)

We have been watch the classic tv show "Dennis the Menace" on netflix this past week and it got me thinking about how much things have changed  for the average family since then. In this show you see the Mom at home (pretty much always in the kitchen) taking care of the kids and everything around the house, while Dad goes to work to support his family. They sit down for all their meals together at the kitchen table (and not in front of a TV), and Dennis runs around the neighborhood playing with his friends with a slingshot in his pocket :). And all the neighbors know each other and watch out for one another. Oh how times have changed in the last 50 years.

Sometimes I feel like one of those mom's - when I am standing at the stove cooking supper and Jack walks in the front door from a day at work. It's like the "Hi honey, I'm home" scene in all the classics. But you'll never find me cooking in a dress, I always use my dishwasher, we eat in front of the tv far more than I'd like, and Kirsten never says "Jeepers Mom!"

My life as a stay at home mom is not always glorious, there are days like yesterday when the girls are crabby, the house is a mess, and Jack is working late that I just want to crawl under the covers and sleep for like 15 hours. But thankfully those days pass, and the next day is always better! We had a great day today :)