Thursday, January 26, 2012


I came across the below on my local Mom forum and it really had an impact. If you know me well, you know I am far from being religious but I think this message will hit home with any caregiver, no matter what their beliefs. Basically, it's all worth it:)


One of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock?, Where's my phone?, What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was Almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there...'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know... I just did.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Got Moves?

Ashleigh loves her iTouch! Actually the entire family, including G, loves Ashleigh's iTouch. Ashleigh is also obsessed with video taping herself. The kids (Sn: I always think of baby goats when I refer to them as kids, but I think calling them children sounds too formal, so I think of baby goats often LOL ) kept trying to video tape themselves, so I offered to help.

Ashleigh, Cooper, and Addison making their debut to "I'm Sexy and I know It" ...the Chipmunks version. Use this link and enjoy!

Cooper was able to convince me to dance as well, but the video was somehow deleted. Not sure how that happened ;)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stained "Glass" Hearts

While perusing Pinterest, I came across an oldie but a goodie. Using wax paper and crayons to make stained "glass"....something that I did as a child and totally had forgotten about. It also made me remember a few other things that I did with wax paper that will keep the children busy and happy.

Things Needed-
Crayon Shavings ( I used a pencil sharpener)
Wax Paper

I told Addy that we would do this for Valentine's Day so that she could make hearts. I am sure she could sharpen the crayons for the shavings herself, but I get a little OCD with messes, so I did the crayon shavings. I placed all the colors (oranges, reds, yellow and white) in one baggie.

I placed an old towel down on the ironing board and we put a sheet of wax paper on top of the towel. Addy sprinkled the crayon shavings on to the wax paper. Then we placed another sheet of was paper on top. To protect the iron, I placed a wash cloth on top of the wax paper and ironed the wash cloth. The heat melted the crayons and made the wax paper stick together.

Once cooled, Addy cut the hearts out.

The ones I had seen online were hung up with string, but I wanted them placed in my door's side window, so I just taped them up. I just love them!

I'm sure once Ash and Coop see these, they will want to try to make them. I should probably start making more crayon shavings now! :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homemade Bird Feeders


My friend posted about some bird feeders she made here. She got the idea from this blog, which also has a bunch of other cool ideas if you'd like to browse her posts.  I thought the kids would really enjoy making these since they love animals and nature (still have not figured out where they get that from). Since the kids were off on Monday, we went ahead and tried it out.

3/4 cup birdseed
1/4 cup water
1 small envelope of knox gelatine
twine or string (I used ribbon on my larger ones since I didn't have any twine on hand)
cookie cutters, molds or mason jar lids
wax paper

Bring gelatine and water to a simmer and then stir in the bird seed. Quick heads up, the gelatin and water mixture does not smell that great, IMO.

The kids picked out their cookie cutters and I gave them each a spoon to fill them in with the mixture.

 Then we let them dry over night. I doubled the recipe to get enough mixture for these.
SN: Most of these turned out great, but the ones with smaller areas, not so much (the cat's tail, the swan's head, etc)

I also made another double recipe batch to make a few larger ones. 

Yesterday, the kids came home from school and wanted to hang up their little feeders! It was suppose to rain, so I wanted to wait but they were too excited to expect them to wait any longer.

They hung their cookie cutter ones on our stick tree out front.

And the larger ones on a metal hanger.

 Of course it poured last night, but most of them survived. There were only a few that fell and the birds will still enjoy them. Thanks for posting Jenny, the kids loved them!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Christmas 2011

Yes, I'm slightly behind but I want to make sure I posted about this past Christmas. For some reason, Christmas seemed like it took forever to get here, and then once it was over, I couldn't believe it had happened so fast.  We have never been so prepared for Christmas in past years. We are always shopping for everything the last weekend before and wrapping Christmas Eve night after the kids are in bed. This year we had everything done a few weeks before (except final touches) and I wrapped everything prior to Christmas Eve. Even though we still had to put everything out that night, it was probably the least stressful Christmas we've had.

On Christmas Eve, we made cookies. We whipped up some basic Chocolate Chip cookies (Nestle recipe). I had some white chocolate, so I decided to dip some of the Chocolate Chip cookies in it ( actually Cooper did this). They tasted amazing and my only wish was that I had dipped all of them and not just some ;)

The kids dropping the cookies on the tray.

The Basic Chocolate Chip

Basic Chocolate Chip dipped in White Chocolate 

Then we made some yummy Sugar Cookies.

Then it was time to decorate the cookies! 2 cups powder sugar and 4 tbsp milk. YUM!

I grabbed the neighbors to helps with the decorating:)

 Finished Cookies

Paul was able to get his Dad's train up and running. The kids were super excited and so was Paul!

Addy was so tired (she ended up falling asleep on the floor in a few minutes LOL)

Our neighbors came over to exchange gifts

 And Genna had her first taste of a candy cane!

After the kids were in bed, we made finishing touches to the presents and placed them under the tree.

Best Photo of the Year (IMO)

Christmas Day was great.  The kids opened presents and it was so nice out that they were able to play with the outside gifts all day! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Why don't your clothes fit just right?

I stumbled across a great blog post on my local mommies network. I admit, I also had no idea, so I'm passing along as well.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Making your house smell good

and not so good, if your me. Our house typically smells pretty good. At least people tell me it does, but I have a phobia that it will smell bad.

I read somewhere that you can boil cinnamon sticks and orange peels/apples to get a really nice smell in the house. So over Christmas I had Paul pick up some cinnamon sticks ( not cheap by the way, at least at Harris Teeter $7 for like 6 sticks). The kids had some Cutie Pies that morning, so I threw the peels and a stick in some water and brought it to a boil. Then I let it simmer for most of the morning.

How to make your house smell good...

It made the house smell great. Especially when you would walk outside and then come back in. I loved it!

Then today's incident...Last night I made Sweet and Sour pork chops with fried rice and everytime I came back in the house it smelled awful. I think it smelled like onions but wahtever it was, I was not enjoying it. After dropping the kids off at school, I came back and threw some cinnamon sticks (no peels readily available and the sticks work just as well) in the pot and placed it on the stove. I came upstairs to the office to work, with every intention of going back to check on the stove.

Well an hour later, I was still sitting here working and it suddenly occurred to me that I never turned the stove off. I ran downstairs and found 2 little burnt sticks in the pot. My house now smells like someone was smoking cinnamon sticks and onions. I can only imagine this is what one of those Hookah Bars smell like. I've never been to one, but it's just how I am picturing it.

How to make your house not smell good...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops w/ fried rice

Tonight I made this recipe I came across for Sweet and Sour Pork Chops. It's been forever since I've ordered sweet and sour anything, so I can't tell you if it tastes the same. Paul's stuffy, so he was unable to provide any feedback as well. It did, however, get a 3 out of 4 kid rating. Cooper decided he didn't really like the taste but he did try it. YAY!

As a side, I made this fried rice recipe here. I could not find carrots and peas in the frozen section, so I used carrots, peas, green beans and corn mix. Again, 3 out of 4 kids LOVED this. Addison was not feeling it.

Hibachi Style Fried Rice. Photo by Pets'R'us

Now if I could only get all 4 kids to like something, we might have a peaceful dinner. Dare I dream...

Shepard's Pie

I decided to make Shepard's Pie a while back, and it actually was a big hit with the kids. Well, except for Addison, which is odd because she typically eats everything and anything.

I came across this recipe for Shepard's Pie. It turned out really great and like I said, 3 out of 4 kids liked it. The great thing about this dish is how changable it is. Don't have peas, no problem. Want to add rice, go for it. Don't like beef, use turkey.

The first time I follwed the directions exactly. A few weeks ago, I made it with rice, green beans and corn. Last night, I just used corn. I also (gasp) used instant potatoes the past few times because I didn't feel like mashing potatoes. It tasted great. My potatoes are never brown like in the picture as I don't broil the dish...the kids would complain about the burnt potatoes because anything brown is burnt :/

Easy Shepherd's Pie

New Year, New Quote

To kick off the new year, I decided to change up the format of the blog and the quote. I started browsing through quotes to see what really stuck out. I wanted something that went well with the actual name of the blog, so I started searching for quotes about adventures.

There were quite a few good ones...

"Adventure is not outside man; it is within.' -David Grayson 
"Adventure is worthwhile."- Amelia Earhart 

"Adventure: the pursuit of life."-Daniel Roy Wiarda

"As we acquire more knowledge, things do not become more comprehensible but more mysterious." -Albert Schweitzer
"If we do not find anything very pleasant, at least we shall find something new." -Voltaire

BUT one that really stuck out...

"When you're safe at home, you wish you were having an adventure; when you're having an adventure, you wish you were safe at home” -Thornton Wilder

This quote is dead on!

When I am home, I am always wanting to go out and do something adventurous. Whether it be hiking or shopping (yes, shopping is an adventure if you take all 4 children), I want to be out there doing it. I'm not really a stay at home and relax kinda girl unless it is super gloomy out or I am sick.

When I am out on an adventure, like shopping, I am usually wishing I would have stayed home. And hiking, well, if you know me, then you know hiking is not an adventure I would participate in. It would be hot, and sweaty, and bugs! I wouldn't be able to handle the bugs. But a beach trip (yeah I can handle those) with 4 kids, one being a toddler, is totally going to be something that seems so much better before hand. As soon as we get there and have every crevice packed with sand, I know I will be wishing we had stayed home and let the kids play in the kiddie pool.

Our life is all about the adventure though. Without actually getting out there and having adventures, as wonderful or awful as they may be, we wouldn't truly be living. And I do have the best people to have adventures with living right in my home. Hell, sometimes I guess I don't even have to leave the house to have an adventure. Sometimes finding a matching sock is all the adventure one needs for a day!

What's your favorite quote?

And now I wonder if Amelia Earhart was thinking "Adventure is worthwhile" on her last flight. I really hope so!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wishing you and yours the greatest year yet!

This year we hosted the neighborhood NYE Party, therefore we were able to ring in the new year with great friends, food, and fun! It was a blast (we even had a chocolate fountain! You know you're jealous!LOL) and we are already looking forward to the next get together.

A pic of the girls:

The kids:

It was quite the party after our quiet celebration last year...I don't even think the kids stayed up till 12:00 last year! Amazingly, Bean slept through all of the noise, music, kids screaming and horn blowing. 

Here's a pic of the kids from 2011 and 2012:)

Last Year (2011)

This Year 2012

So we made it through 2011 without any major catastrophies. Now if the world doesn't end this year, I think we'll be good!

Handmade Holiday Banner

We hosted a New Year's Eve party this year, so of course I immediately went to Pinterest for ideas LOL I had come across a "Happy New Year" banner here and decided to make one my self.

2 sheets silver card stock
2 sheets gold card stock
2 sheets black glitter card stock
Thin black ribbon

$7 total in material and it did not take long to make. Mine isn't hand stamped or anything but I think it turned out really nice.

I printed letter templates from here and cut the letters out using the black glitter paper. I originally cut the silver and gold paper into 6x6 squares, but ended up cutting them down to circles. I thought it looked cuter.

I hot glued the letters onto the circles. After placing them out in the right position, I decided I would add some stars, to break up the New and Year. Then I added a few little stars to hang from the big ones. I used my hole punch to punch holes into the paper, then tied them together using the black ribbon You can tie them, or hook them together like the original link shows. You can even hot glue the ribbon on the back so that you don't have holes in the paper, but I liked the bows. The ribbon isn't permanent so I can change it up for next year if I want to.

To show the way I tied them together:

Finished Banner:

Up for the party!