Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Introducing: Our pets!

We got a new "pet" today and I thought it would be fun to introduce him as well as the rest of our pets! I realize we don't have a lot according to some people, but it's a lot for our little house! We love them all! So here it goes!!

This is Myles! Myles will be 13 in July. I (Alicia) have had him since about 10 months before my husband and I got married. He was born in a litter my mom-in-law's dog, Honey had. He was the biggest puppy - SO fat, and once they were all full grown, he was the smallest. From about 3 weeks of age he would begin yelping once he heard my voice. He claimed me and has been mine ever since! He weighs in around 7 pounds and is still VERY loyal to me! Unfortunately, he does live his life mostly in lock down. He thinks it's Okay to mark his territory ALL over my house and I don't like that idea! So he comes out occasionally and does his business outside, but he's usually in his "bed"!

This is Princess Nalani. Princess, as we call her, turned 3 years old this month. She weighs in at about 10 pounds (yes - bigger than the dog!) We found her and the rest of her litter on the hill in my parents back yard. Her mama cat was very malnourished and we believe would have died within 24 hours had we not rescued her and the kittens (where mama cat came from is a VERY long and sad story). There was a total of 5 kittens, but only 3 survived. Princess and her 2 sisters were all spayed and given to good homes! Well, we kept Princess... obviously! I chose the name "Nalani" which is Hawaiian because it means "calm as the heavens" and I hoped she would live up to her name. Well, she can but mostly doesn't! She's a spaz who LOVES my daughter, sleeps on her pillow, shares her bathroom and kisses her (EEEEEWWWWWW) often... it grosses me out! I make her stop! She loves laying where she doesn't belong - my sewing table, the kitchen table, my husband's dresser, top of the entertainment center, kitchen counter... you name it! She also has extra toes and it makes her look as though she has thumbs! I can't go to bed at night without giving her some treats - she "yells" at me until I do! This cat is SO annoying, but so sweet and beautiful and I wouldn't trade her for any other!

This is Max! We just adopted Max in November from someone who was moving and could not take him and he is a perfect fit with our family! He is 6 years old and SO good with the kids! He loves sleeping on our daughter's bed (as you can see) and is so passive with the kids that I have no fears of him ever hurting them. He weighs in at 110 pounds (WOW!) and pulled me down the first time I walked him! He LOVES his long walks and HATES baths! This is the first time that we've had a big dog (well, my hubby had a couple growing up, but this is a first for me!) and so far it is a VERY fun experience! We love our Max-ee dog!

And this is the newest member of our family! This is Teddy Bear, my 5 year old son's pet Venus' Flytrap! He is a tiny little thing and has 5 mouths. My boy wanted him SO bad but was afraid to hold him (even though he was in a little plastic box)! I told him that if he would not hold his new pet, I would not buy him! He ended up holding Teddy Bear the rest of the time in the store and all the way home! He keeps pausing his afternoon movie to go check on Teddy! We will see how Teddy Bear grows and see if he helps out when those pesky flies get into my kitchen!!

Well, those are my families pets! What interesting pets do you have?!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Make-it Monday!

Today is Monday and that means we're gonna start the week off right by making something! It could be a recipe, it could be a craft or as in today's idea... Raspberry Cordial! We thought it would be fun to make the beverage that inspired the name of our blog... plus it's super yummy!

First: We gathered our ingredients!

For the recipe from this book, we needed 600 g. of frozen raspberries (no sugar - just the berries), 1 1/4 cups of sugar, 4 cups of boiling water and 3 lemons. We did have 3, but only 2 made it into the picture!

Our first step was to put the berries and sugar into a saucepan and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until all the sugar had dissolved. This was supposed to take 20-25 minutes...

We set the timer. We stirred occasionally. (Thank you to the lovely Miss Layla, who is 9 years old today, for her hand cameo in the picture below!)

 But it was more like 12-15 minutes for us.We then mashed the berries and syrup thoroughly which was not hard since it was mostly mush.

Then comes the fun (and often messy) part! Pouring it through the strainer! We gave it a little extra help with the masher as well. You DO need a fine mesh strainer to get out all of the seeds.

Look at all that steamy yummyness!!

Next we squeezed 2 of the lemons and added the strained lemon juice to the strained raspberry mixture. At this point, the kitchen was smelling SO unbelievably good!

We had an extra lemon courtesy of Zao - Just in case!

Then we added the boiling water! SO close to being done!!!

We were supposed to let it cool, but we couldn't wait THAT long, so we just poured it into glasses, topped with a very thin slice of lemon and ENJOYED!

You will probably want to make a double batch so you're not sad when it's gone...

Awww!! Cute girls so excited to drink some!

Don't forget to share a toast to a job well done!

Enjoy the beauty and yummyness and always, ALWAYS have seconds!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Make-it Monday!!

Today is Monday and that means we're gonna start the week off right by making something! It could be a recipe, it could be a craft or as in today's idea, making a low-sugar Easter Egg hunt!

Since Easter is just 6 days away, we thought it was a good idea to have an Easter Themed Make-it Monday!

Last year I had decided that I did not want my kids having tons of candy for Easter. They did the Church Easter Egg hunt and already had enough! My kids are not fans of coloring eggs (which is fine with me!), so we tend to hunt for plastic eggs filled with goodies. As you can see in the picture above, most of our eggs have the kids names on them. They know that they are only able to collect the eggs that have their own name on them. I have equal amounts - they count - and I have a HUGE variety! Some are shaped like eggs, some like Lightning McQueen, a few "High School Musical" pennants and even princess crowns! Oh - and how can I forget the Autobot Symbol?!

We like to hide them in fun places and sometimes in plain sight! This one took my kids quite a while to find! OK - enough about the hunting! Now on to the filling!

Unfortunately, last year I was not thinking that I would have this blog, so I did not get photos of what we put inside of the eggs, but here are some ideas!

For each of my kids I purchased a 100 piece puzzle from the dollar store (or maybe it was the Dollar Spot at Target - I can't remember!). We (my sister helped me with all of this!) opened the puzzles and put 10 pieces in each of 10 plastic eggs and put the empty box in their baskets! They were giggling opening the eggs and finding just a few puzzle pieces and later had SO much fun putting them all together!

Small toys. I am a couponer and last year I got some crazy awesome deals on Littlest Pet Shop which my daughter loves, so I put a couple of those in eggs! They are small enough and with just 2 packages of 2 pets each I was able to fill 6 eggs! Four with the little bobble head pets and 2 with their little accessories! For my son we got a small LEGO set and sorted the pieces between about 6 eggs. I think that was his favorite thing!

We did put some candy in them, but not much. Maybe 10 eggs worth. It may not be an issue for most, but I try to avoid things like jelly beans which are loaded full of food coloring and make my son behave like an out of control Tasmanian devil! Instead we stick with things like Reeces eggs or Reester bunnies, some M&M's (he does OK with just a few), small chocolate bunnies and Hershey Kisses.  Also, since we had a 10 hour drive coming up the day after Easter, we made sure that the kids had fun stuff to do in the car in their baskets like a Toy Story mini marker/coloring page set for my son. He STILL loves that thing!

Another thing that we love to put into eggs is quarters! The kids love hearing the jingle of the change inside and my daughter LOVES counting up how much money she has! I'm sure my boy will like it too - once he learns that skill! For now he counts how many coins he has!

We do our best to keep it fun - even including the dogs!

Most importantly, we make sure that our kids understand the TRUE reason for Easter: Jesus is Alive! He rose from the grave to save us from our sins! He has given us the opportunity to live forever in Heaven with Him! Have a wonderful Easter! I hope that some of these ideas can inspire you to have a very fun egg hunt with your kids while not sugaring them out too much! I'll try to take more photos of this year's hunt to share in another post!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Whining & Arguing Included

  When it comes to motherhood I have two pet-peeves: whining and arguing! Both of these "skills" my daughter seems to be an expert. She is eight years old and whenever her words come out sounding like an overly tired two year old I want to run screaming for the hills!
  She has a thing I like to call the "whiner voice". You know the sound, for all children have a whiner voice! It varies in tone to match their individual set of parents, but all children have this feature! A feature I truly wish was not preinstalled! Often times when she makes a request/demand in her whiner voice I give in and gratify her. I know that is not exactly demonstrating my best parenting skills, but I'm only human and sometimes I just really want some peace and quiet!
  However, I don't want you to think that I always indulge her, because I do not. This my friends, is when she automatically deploys a new tactic, arguing (I am almost positive that all children come installed with this one too)! You may think that arguing is not as bad as the whiner voice, but that is not the truth! Remember if arguing has commenced that means we've already been through the whiner voice stage, which means my nerves have already been worked. (lol)
  One day deep in the trenches of argument I told my daughter "Just stop arguing", and her reply was, " I'm not arguing with you, I'm having a conversation with you". My initial thought was that my daughter is a clever one, and some day she might make a great lawyer, and after that I wondered if she knew the difference between arguing and conversation?! So, I made her go and get the Webster's Dictionary (By the way have you ever read a biography on Noah Webster? Fascinating stuff, no joke!). I made her look up both argument and conversation and write out the definitions. (See, I do have some parenting skills after all, ha ha)
  Argument was "to go against" and conversation was " to share ideas" (that is the simple break down anyway).  She was not happy about having to look up words in the dictionary, nor was she happy about having to write out definitions, but now anytime an argument starts to erupt all I have to do is mention the dictionary and it almost instantly ceases.
   All this whining, all this arguing it really does get on my nerves and make me want to pull my hair out,  I myself am not innocent when it comes to these two faults though. For not being able to tolerate whining I sure am good at it. I wonder if it makes the hair on the back of  God's neck stand up when I come whining before his throne?! It makes me think of Martha (you know, in the can check it out in Luke 10:38-42). She whined a little about all the work she had to do while her sister Mary was enjoying Jesus' company. I often whine about all the work I have to do and how little time I have to enjoy just being still! Perhaps it is a wise idea to spend my time with Jesus enjoying his company and not whining to him.
   Do my arguments echo through God's ears and make him grind his teeth with frustration?! Whoa! I just had a  light bulb turn on! Did I say argument and God in the same sentence?! Who am I to argue with God almighty, the creator of everything?! Surely he knows all, and knows best and it is not my place to contend with him! I must understand that it is okay to conversate with God but not argue with him, I do not ever want to "go against" him!
I am so glad that our Heavenly Father does not simply gratify me because he wants some peace and quiet after a long day of listening to every one's complaints. What a wonder it is to know he will forever stick to his word and has no weak moments or lapses in judgement, how reassuring that when I falter he does not! On many occasions I have told my daughter to "check your tone" and "think before you speak", from now on I shall be reminding myself of these things before I talk to God. :)


Monday, April 11, 2011

Make-it Monday!!

Today is Monday and that means we're gonna start the week off right by making something! It could be a recipe, it could be a craft or as in today's idea, making a "Random Lunch"!!!

Random lunches are a favorite in my house! My 5 year old boy requests them almost daily! It's super easy to make them healthy AND fun!! Here's how I do it...

We usually start with a sectioned plate - you know... kinda like this...

Those aren't exactly what we have, but you get the picture!! The ones we tend to use have 4 sections, so of course they have to have 4 different food items!

I try to always get a protein item in there (peanut butter is a favorite), some sort of fruit and/or veggie, crackers of some sort and something dairy! Now, my kids don't have any food allergies (other than a sensitivity to food colorings - but that's a WHOLE different post!), but if yours do you will obviously have to alter things.

One of the things I like to do is put a nice glob of creamy peanut butter and make everything else on the plate things you can dip in the peanut butter! Sliced apples, goldfish crackers, cheese slices, ritz crackers... the list goes on and on!!

Random lunch is a favorite in my house and I hope it can become a new favorite in yours! Changes things up from the boring 'ol sandwich and a piece of fruit or leftovers!!


Friday, April 8, 2011

What's in a Title

Recently I have become obsessed with a Showtime show called The Tudors, maybe you've heard of it?!(Hello!! Henry Cavill I heart you!!) Well, aside from King Henry's abs and Charles Brandon's Develish good looks this show snagged my interest in the way of noble rights! To Be honest with you before watching this show, I cannot recall myself ever wanting to be a princess (how abnormal for a girl).

I got to thinking about how awesome it would be to have my own title of nobility! So, naturally I googled it! Wow! Who knew there was so much to know about nobility! I am clearly not qualified to be a noble as it took me a week to sift through everything, and figure out how titles work. I pretty much came to the conclusion that I either have to find a single duke and marry him, or dazzle the socks off the queen with my unfathomable talent and humanitarian skills; and of course there is always the option of purchasing a title from some unrecognized nation.
With all these avenues leading nowhere, I decided that perhaps I really do have noble blood in me and just don't know it. I am now the newest member of hoping to find someone important in the limbs of their family tree! This process is taking a little bit longer than I had hoped and as of yet i'm still just a commoner.
It really does boggle my mind how a simple curiosity about noble titles erupted into late night google searches for "Single Dukes under 40 with good teeth". (Single ladies it is not looking too good in the Duke department right now!) So, after a night of searching for an elusive long lost relative on and with a recent Tudors episode all mixing and mingling in my head, I was having a hard time with sleep. I began to wonder why this whole nobility title thing was so important to me? Perhaps it's just my vain nature wanting to feel important, or maybe just to be remembered for something.
Ciergnon Castle Pictures, Images and Photos
I started thinking of all the relatives in my family tree and where I come from, and by the time that sleep started to come over me, I had come to the conclusion that this whole thing has been ridiculous! (I know you must be thinking "she's only now thinking that this is ridiculous?!") It's ridiculous because here I am doubting my worth by my position in this world, and my importance by the veiws and opinions of others. I also came to the realization that I AM of noble birth!
bible Pictures, Images and Photos
Though you won't find me in the lineage of the British royal family...I have a book that attest to my nobility on every single one of its thousand plus pages! You see my father is the King!! I don't have to have a nobel peace prize, I have the Prince of Peace! I've been washed by the blood of the King of Kings, and I have forgiveness pumping through my veins! I am an heir to righteousnes and I shall inherit a kingdom that will never fall or pass away! Now, if that doesn't sound like royalty, I don't know what does! Though I don't have an "official" title to pass on or give to my daughter, I am passing down these same truths to her, and Truth is far better than some silly title anyway!:D


*Please note that The Tudors is not a children's show! (I myself had to hit the ff button at least once in each episode)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Make-it Monday!!

Today is Monday and that means we're gonna start the week off right by making something! It could be a recipe, it could be a craft or as in today's idea, it could just be making a fun afternoon for the kiddos!

Today's Make-it Monday is an afternoon snack picnic! It's spring break, it's a beautiful day here in So Cal, so we helped our kids make a picnic, Pillow Pets in tow!! They found a simple basket and some blankets. We helped them add cheerios, popcorn, a pitcher of lemonade and some cups! They are now basking in the cool shade on the green grass enjoying this beautiful weather! They can play the "cloud game" (looking at the clouds for shapes or animals), searching for new spring flowers and counting them, rolling down hills (if you have one), leapfrog, or fairy hunting... but that's a whole 'nother Make-it Monday!

We hope you have fun making an afternoon snack picnic for  your little ones (or your big kids)! Comment and let us know how it went!!

~Alicia and Sonya

Come party with us!

This week we're partying with the Ultimate Blog Party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

To get the party started, we've decided to tell you a bit of what our blog will be about. So here it goes (in no particular order)...

*Our lives as moms from a married and single perspective. Between the 2 of us we have 2 third-grade girls and a 5 year old (highly amusing) boy!

*Food. We like food. Lots.

*Crafty sorts of stuff. We do that, too!

*Homeschooling. Our girls are home-schooled and the boy will be next year as he starts Kinder.

*Random nonsense. Yup.

*Books. We might just write some :)

*Churchy stuff. We love Jesus, so you're bound to hear about Him at some point!

*Family stuff. We have families and we do stuff.

So join us for the ride!! Follow our blog, follow us on Facebook and see where we go on our amazing (and often laughter filled) journey!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I've Got Guts

   My youngest brother once told me that I was the brave adventurous one out of our family, and I remember feeling baffled by his observation. You see, I have three brothers, all unique in their own way, and all, in my opinion, far more brave and adventurous than I! They have all embarked on different adventures: one married with an ever growing family, one who loves the outdoors and is soon to be married, and one who is a college graduate and who has traveled the world over on mission trips. I look at myself in comparison to my dear brothers and wonder how is it I can be the adventurous one out of the lot?! I've never been married, or climbed a mountain, or even been on an airplane! The thought of talking to a stranger (let alone about my faith) terrifies me! My life exists all within a 15mile radius of my home! Ha ha!
   So knowing the things I have not done, and feeling mildly depressed after going over that list, I have come up with the one reason I am brave: my kiddo! Without my sweet full of life daughter I would do and be nothing (and I mean this quite literally). She is the reason I can say no to going out on Friday nights with all the other single gals. She is the reason why I'm not married to a man that only fulfills half the criteria on my list. She is the reason why when walking down the cereal aisle at the grocery store we do not look at the prices. She is the reason I get up every morning and head to work no matter how unfulfilling my job is.
   I'm sure these all seem like simple concepts, because anyone who loves their children is willing to make sacrifices for them. However, I'm just starting to realize how brave this actually is! It takes guts to raise a child, and it takes extra guts to raise a child up in the Lord! Whether you are single or married, we all face things for our children that cause us to be courageous; and there is no greater adventure than being a mother!