Month: December 2014

Weekly Whims: 15 New Year’s Resolutions that stick + 5% more sarcasm!

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If you are a resolution setter then you know there have been one or two…maybe all….that you didn’t make happen or stick with beyond the first week in January. So I say, let’s get real and set some attainable resolutions that we can really stick with and most definitely better ourselves with in 2015. How ’bout it?!

Here it goes…

1) Floss more….whoops…wrong list. Fess up to your dentist that flossing is just not for you and having them scraped clean every 6 months will just have to do. My teeth. My life. = no lecture. Thanks Doc!
2) Drink more coffee.  A real Cuppa Sunshine & Sugar! {wink, wink}
3) Take more naps.  Hey wake up!  We gotta finish this list!
4) Start coloring your hair. Hair dye= One of God’s many gifts.
5) Stop coloring your hair. Gray gracefully.  It’s like wearing festive tinsel all year long.
6) Cook more with a back-up restaurant take-out number handy.
7) Really LOL when saying LOL in messages. Stop the lies.
8) Start using LIM = Laughing Inside Myself.IMG_3939
9) Choosey moms choose JIF. Choosey friends choose keepers. Find the good eggs and toss the rotten ones.  They stink.
10) Invite friends over more. Quit worrying about what they will think about your house and just hope for the best…that they will help clean and organize it for you.
11) Stop a bad habit and start flossing.  I mean if you are going to have an unpleasant habit…it should be that.  Am I right or am I right?
12) Quit hiding one aisle over from that person you know and spotted at the store. When did hello get so hard? Just text a quick hello and get it over with already.
13) Start saying no. These full plates of yes’s is getting outta hand.  By the way…are you available to babysit my troupe every major holiday in 2015?  That was a test.  You failed didn’t you?  On to 14 then….
14) Volunteer your spouse more. Sometimes saying no is just too hard.
15) Be more awesome than last year.

Have more to add to the list? Please share!

Happy New Year! Rock it people!

~Lisa

Sunday Scoops: TP Snowmen Activity! Keep ’em busy over the holiday break!

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This was an idea that I came up with on a whim.  With a short notice Winter Break Holiday Party planned, I had to come up with something that would be winter-themed and fun for a broad age range (from toddlers to teens).  It had to be quick and easy to put together.  TP Snowmen was a hit!

What you need:

  • From your closet: Hats, Scarves, Earmuffs
  • Silly accessories: Anything from silly hats, headbands (like antlers) and sunglasses to dress-up stuff like tiaras, feather boas, etc.  Whatever you can find around the house!
  • Toilet Paper (Have enough for 2-3 rolls per guest)
  • Foam craft sheets (multi colored from the dollar store is fine)
  • Stretchy string
  • Hot glue gun + glue sticks for it  (Captain Obvious here…you’re welcome!)
  • Scissors

How to do it:

  • Turn on, pre-heat glue gun.  (Captain Obvious again…I do what I can.)
  • Make the noses!  Roll foam sheets into a “cone” shape.  Use glue gun to make a bead of glue to fasten the outter corner/flap of foam sheet to itself so that it keeps a cone shape.  Trim wide, open end of noses with scissors so that they are straight to fit against face.  I also cut a small triangle shape underneath at the edge (where nostrils will be) to make it more breathable.  Punch a hole on each wide-end (face) side of “nose”.   I just used a sharp pencil so that the holes wouldn’t be too big.  Use the two holes to attach (tie) the stretchy string.  See close-up photo above.
  • Use baskets/bins to set up an easy-access area to display TP, HATS, SCARVES, NOSES, SILLY ACCESORIES.
  • I divide the group into teams of 3.  One to be the “Snowman”, the others to be the very savvy Frosty Engineers.
  • TAKE PICTURES!  Then rotate positions with a new “Snowman” and Frosty Engineers so that everyone has a turn at each “job”.  TAKE MORE PICTURES!

**Fun additions:

FROZEN DIY TREAT BAGS: http://wp.me/p5queU-1f

SLOW COOKER HOT COCOA BAR: http: http://wp.me/p5queU-1q

Our moms at the party really got into this activity too.  It was a blast for all…lots of laughs!

We followed the TP Snowmen Activity with a yumm-o COOKIE SWAP.  Everyone brought their favorites to share.  We set the cookies up buffet-style and everyone got to pick their mix in a festive bag.  Wrapped up the party with a showing of the very funny movie Fred Claus.  Good times even with little time to plan.  Will do again!

Have fun!

~Lisa

P.S. Don’t fret the mess!  I put the small army to work and they had that TP cleaned up in two minutes flat!

Weekly Whims: Carseat Wars…..best workout ever!

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If you have ever raised a toddler, you have lived through at least one or hundreds of carseat wars.  You know the one…where you are already running late or hauling them straight out of the store because the little critter has decided to completely meltdown on aisle 3.  For a reasonable reason of course…like the mom passing you has the fun “Firetruck Cart” and you don’t.  “That’s it, we’re going home. Someone needs a nap!”  These thoughts take me back a bit with my older kiddos as I embark on getting ready to do it all over again with our youngest.  Yay me.

There we were.  Usually in terrible weather…trying to wrestle the little fighter into the blasted carseat all while trying to keep the cart from blowing away and the door from flinging wide open into the car parked next to us.  Plenty of “judging” eyes watching as they passed by.  Thanks universe…way to line that all up for me, eh?

Then we’d make a quick switch to the little gem having super-human strength and holding an arched back position for longer than any Olympic gymnast on the planet could.  While they are screaming, flailing, and acting possessed…..I prepare.  Prepare for The Moment, because that’s all it is…one single moment.  When they relax to a sitting position for a split second….BAM!  My forearm across the lap!  One point Mommy!  Oh!  Now sweetums is really ticked off!  No matter.  Holding my forearm firmly in place to keep them seated….I, like a contortionist with my other arm, wrangle those cute little pudgy arms into the belt straps.  Ha haaaa!  Got ’em!  Now with my “free” hand on one buckle slide piece, I manage to swiftly remove my forearm from their lap and before they realize the window of opportunity to escape….BUCKLE…CLICK……VICTORY!

Forget the fact that I may have looked like I had just walked through a hurricane….all tattered, sweaty with hair stuck to my face and wild-eyed.  I swear I used to be kinda cool.

Now with those big eyes looking at me in the rearview mirror, all is fine in the world.  They just want to suck their thumb and go to sleep.  I have made that happen and for that….I AM COOL.  #bestmomever #letthembethejudge

Lesson:  Don’t give up, even when it’s easier to.  Patience…well, I like  to think that we gain more every day.

Good luck out there!  You got this!

~Lisa

Sunday Scoops: Slow Cooker Candied Cinnamon Almonds

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I searched high and low for an easy and delicious almond recipe for a holiday treat to give to friends, neighbors, etc.  For most recipes, reviews were mixed and/or they just didn’t come out as expected or pictured. So, I came up with my own! Keep in mind…this is a large batch as most recipes use half the amount of almonds.  This recipe made enough to fill a dozen half pint size mason jars with a bit leftover to snack on.  Honestly though, I would make this size batch whether gifting or not because they are addictive and go fast!

Total cook time: 4 hours

What you need:

6 cups raw almonds
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp cinnamon
1.5 cup sugar
1.5 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water

Parchment paper
2 cookie sheets
Large spoon
6 quart Slow cooker (I use a Hamilton Beach Set & Forget)

How to do it:

  • In large bowl wisk egg whites and vanilla together until frothy.
  • Add almonds to egg mixture. Stir to coat almonds.
  • In medium bowl, mix sugars, cinnamon and salt.
  • Add sugar mixture to almonds and stir.
  • Spray or lightly grease slow cooker.
  • Add almonds to slow cooker. Cover. Set on LOW.
  • Cook for 3 hours, stirring every 20 minutes. They will look very dry like stirring in sand if you will.

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  • At the end of the third hour, add 1/2 cup water and stir. They will get very dark, shiny, sticky and gooey. Don’t worry! Keep cooking on low and stirring for one more hour.  In the last hour I stirred them more frequently, about every 10-15 minutes. This helped prevent burning and the water absorbed quicker getting them back to a dry state, but deliciously candied!

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  • At the end of the fourth hour, scoop out the almonds (if you have a slotted spoon handy it works great so you scoop less excess sugar that has settled at the bottom of the crock) and spread almonds on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Separate any big clumps of almonds. They will have a sugary texture, not glazed.

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  • Let cool for 1.5-2 hours before packaging. If serving rather than packaging…slightly warm is okay and is over the moon yummy!

**I’m tempted to add some ground cloves next time. I think that would be a great add. If you try it before me, let me know what you think!

These remind me of the ones we get while waiting in line to see Santa! I made my first batch for Christmas to give in decorated mason jars for friends, neighbors and co-workers. The next batch will be all for our family gathering. We’ll see how long they last…hope I get some! 😋

Enjoy!

~Lisa

Weekly Whims: What did pants ever do to him? Boys!

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A classic story of boys being boys?  Taking his stand in the fashion world?  Allergic to anything that covers his calves?  Is it a tween thing?  Help!

Sometimes I feel like trying to get my almost 12 year old son to put the basketball shorts away for a day to don a pair of pants is like an act of congress!  Why?  When did this change?  Can he even feel his legs when it’s 34 degrees out?  I will  surely be known for being that mom that didn’t dress her kid warm enough for the weather!  Oiy…thanks a lot kid!  Hmmmph.

IMG_2961

Well…here it is.  I have adopted the option of choosing my battles wisely…and you know what, I’m okay with being that mom.  I have come to the realization that arguing with him about something that he can clearly learn on his own without my nagging… isn’t about him, it’s about me.  It’s always in our mind as a parent that if we “fail” by not making sure that our kids are always doing the right and logical thing, then we will be the worst. parents. ever., right?  Wrong.  How will children ever learn if we are always in their ear and never letting them test their theories for themselves?  Not that I advocate letting them ride their bicycle off of a cliff to see if it will “fly” like in E.T. or anything.  More of, you know, like in the “old days”…when we used to play outside in the snow well past when our mom or dad had called us to come inside.  Suffering through snow that had melted in our boots numbing our toes and soaked our mittens to the point it hurt to bend our fingers.  Simply refusing to go in for a warm-up or change.  It’s part of childhood.  It’s ALL part of learning and growing.  Who knew that the smallest most meaningless (maybe not-so-meaningless) experiences could become such a part of our development.  As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”…that question alone can be applied to almost any scenario.  I ask myself this question often.  It helps identify when and where I need to make changes. I also ask myself…”how important is it that I be “right” on this?”  Talk about a stellar internal compass!

The truth is, that while it seemed it was just about pants…it was really about how the world would perceive me.  So I say to that, perceive me how you will.  When you notice a huge piece of my heart walking to the bus stop in the middle of January wearing a pair of shorts…take the time to realize that I chose my battle.  That battle is to prepare him for the next stages of life, not to keep his legs warm if he couldn’t care less…all for the sake of fashion and comfort.  Of course feel free to also take note if he’s wearing a coat and beanie!  Whoop whoop!  Just kidding.  He picked those out himself.  See….progress…all on his own!

Lesson:  Give children room to figure things out and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Have you experienced these challenges?  I would love to hear from you.  Comments welcome as always.

Have a blessed day!

~Lisa