Monday, January 20, 2014

Not so super mom

In case you can't tell, I'm kind of a mess. I struggle to keep myself together every day so I can take care of the kids and get the important things done when all I want to do is crawl back in bed and shut the world out.  A successful day is one that ends calmly with happy children and no blow-ups. Usually, I'm ready to put my head through a wall by dinner time, as evidenced by my snapping at the kids to be quiet and eat. I stop myself and count to 10 more times than anyone knows, apologize more than I care to when I don't stop myself soon enough, but I can get through most days without any major problems and the kids never know the horrible words or thoughts that go through my head. All they need to know is that I love them, in spite of their mistakes and imperfections. Even though I am very obviously not perfect.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Boarding school

Did you know there's only one boarding school in Minnesota? Yeah. My husband checked. It was a rough weekend. 
We wouldn't really send our kids away, but it sure is a tempting thought when you have three boys who ignore instructions, talk back, fight with each other, break things from carelessness, make messes they refuse to clean up, and seem to go out of their way to break rules and get each other in trouble. Short of beating the snot out of them or locking them in individual closets (some more tempting thoughts that we would NEVER do), we are at a loss of what to do. 
We have rules, we consistently enforce those rules, we discipline and give incentives, but they still seem hellbent on doing the exact opposite of what is expected of them, even if they are fully aware it will screw themselves over in the end. 
For example, my husband wanted to take the boys to the REI rock climbing wall. They have all developed a fascination with rock climbing to the point that my husband actually built a climbing walk in our garage. All they had to do to go do this fun activity is get dressed, eat breakfast, and not fight. Easy, right?
TWO HOURS of us nagging them and breaking up fights later, they were on the road. The only rules once they got there were to stay close to Daddy, be nice to each other, and not ask to buy anything. Of course, they ran away, threw fits when my husband would buy them the million things they asked for, and made fun of each other's climbing abilities. They came home early and had to spend the day either doing chores or taking a timeout in bed. They were SO cooperative (not!) that they all went to bed early instead of staying up to watch a movie with fun babysitters while the hubby and I went on a rare date. 
That's pretty much how the entire weekend went. And they're off school Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week. Help!! How do you get your kids to behave??

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I'm back. Again.

So, I have not posted forever because (1) my life has been insane in so many ways, and (2) I haven't done much in the way if craftiness or creativity lately. Therefore, I have decided to change the path that this blog was originally intended to take, and share the REAL stuff that happens around here. I am a REAL mom who is awesome but flawed, with REAL kids who are incredible but exhausting, and we lead REAL lives that are fun and busy and noisy and, of course, crazy, but also very blessed. 
A lot has happened in the last year- good and bad- that I will share little by little, and I am trying to shift my priorities and manage my time better to allow for increased sanity and completed projects I can share. 
I hope you will join me on this journey of rediscovering who I am and how in the world I'm going to survive raising my four high-spirited kids. =)
In the mean time, here is our latest bundle of pure joy and perfection. Elliott Marian was born on June 14th, two days late, and we have thoroughly enjoyed having her in our family. She is so sweet, unbelievably happy, and loves to be involved in everything everyone else is doing. 





Today is JUST not my day!  It started just after midnight when we discovered out diabetic 11-year-old son's blood sugar level was sky high for no apparent reason. Like, scary high- higher than it has ever been since his diagnosis 22 months ago. Luckily, we were able to get it down by breakfast time, but holy panic attack! My overly active imagination outdid itself. 
Then, on the way home from preschool, my 4-year-old's asthma kicked in and he coughed so hard he threw up all over himself, the booster seat, and seatbelt. I got him cleaned off, showered, nebulized, and then went to the basement to start the laundry. 
But guess what? The utility sink (that the washer and kitchen sink drain into) is totally clogged and full of water. That means I can't do the pile of dishes in the kitchen or wash the piles of stinky laundry in the basement and bathroom until my poor husband (who was supposed to have the whole day yo study for a test tomorrow) gets home to fix it. Oh, yeah. And replace the front doorknob that the boys broke yesterday. We currently do not have a knob on our front door. 
At least I have chocolate...
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Worm cake

I can't believe I forgot to post this!
For my son's 6th birthday, he desperately wanted a worm cake. I thought it would be fun to make the cake in the shape of a hill, so I baked it in the large, glass Pampered Chef measuring bowl. It worked beautifully! (Mix as directed on the box and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.)
After the cake cooled, I frosted it generously with whipped chocolate frosting (store-bought, because why not??) and sprinkled crushed Oreos all over. That part got a little messy. Since the sides were sloped, I had to use my clean hands to pat the crumbs into place.
The gummy worms were the most fun part. They probably would have looked better if I had actually stuck some into the cake sides, but my son liked the look of them crawling all over each other. =)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tortellini Soup (super easy)

I went to a mom lunch today with some friends and brought the soup.  Since I have been dying to make tortellini soup, but know no one in my house will eat it with me, that's what I made.  I looked at some recipes online, found one I liked, and tweaked it a bit.  It was a huge hit! I think I ate four servings myself...

Here's what I did:
  • Bring 8 cups of chicken broth to a boil.  
  • Add 12 oz. package dried tortellini (I used the three cheese variety from Trader Joe's), reduce heat, and cook until just barely tender (about 12 minutes but you'll want to check because it will cook more with the other ingredients, and overcooked tortellini is kinda gross).  
{ALTERNATIVE METHOD: Use refrigerated or frozen tortellini in only 4 cups of boiling chicken broth. It will cut down the cooking time a little bit.}
  • Add:
    • 1 can of diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 can of cannelloni or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 large handful of baby spinach
    • 1 heaping teaspoon of dried basil
    • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
    • black pepper to taste (I used about 1/4 teaspoon, I think)
  • Stir thoroughly to combine.
  • Simmer until all ingredients are heated through, spinach is slightly wilted, and tortellini is tender.
  • Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese (optional) and serve.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pesto and Goat Cheese Pizza

This was dinner tonight, and it was delicious!
I used a whole wheat pita, spread it with about a tablespoon of prepared pesto (I buy mine in the pasta sauce aisle), arranged halved grape tomatoes on top, and sprinkled a generous amount of crumbled goat cheese over everything. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes (OR broil for roughly 3 minutes) or until the cheese is melty and the edges of the pita are toasted.
If you don't have pitas, you can use flat bread, pizza crust, or even a tortilla. I'd also like to try it with artichoke hearts and sautéed mushrooms.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Favorite Sandwich

With this baby, I have been craving sub-style sandwiches.  My favorites are Quiznos Turkey Bacon Guacamole (no Ranch dressing), Jimmy John's #12 (The Beach) with no mayo, Erbert & Gerbert's Narmer (no mayo), and Potbelly's Mediterranean.  Can you tell I'm a sucker for turkey and avocado??

Tonight, I decided we would make our own sandwiches, Quiznos-style.  Toasted.  I picked up a package of hoagies from Target and we had turkey and chicken to choose from (I only buy Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh now), along with four different kinds of cheeses (cheddar, Colby jack, Swiss, and Havarti), and then pickles and lettuce for add-ons (no one likes tomatoes, besides me, and we were out of bacon).

For my sandwich, however, I borrowed inspiration from a sandwich that Subway only occasionally has: the Chicken Florentine.  The ingredient that makes this sandwich so addictive and yummy is the spinach artichoke spread.  For my copycat sandwich, I simply use my spinach artichoke dip recipe.  It's super easy to make and I usually have the ingredients on hand. 

Making the sandwich is super easy, too.  I ate the whole thing before I thought about taking pictures.  Sorry.  I'm sure you're smart enough to put the sandwich together without visuals. =)

You will need prepared spinach artichoke dip (this can be made ahead of time, refrigerated, and then reheated), your choice of bread, slices of chicken (cold cuts are easiest, but I've also used leftover baked chicken breast), and your choice of sliced cheese (I like really like provolone or Havarti).  That's it.  Oh, and an oven.  We're going to broil it in the oven on a foil-covered baking sheet.
  • First, set your oven to broil.
  • Next, get a hoagie/section of French bread/dinner roll/whatever bread you want, slice it the long way, just like they do at Subway, and open it up so the insides are facing up.  
  • On one side of the open bread (the side that will be the top), spread the dip on generously.  I like it at least 1/2 inch thick.
  • On the other side of the open bread (the side that will be the bottom), stack slices of chicken.  I used 6 for my 6-inch hoagie.
  • Top with sliced cheese.
  • Keep the sandwich open and broil until the cheese is melted and the edges of the bread are toasty.  It only takes a couple minutes, so don't walk away!
  • Close your sandwich and enjoy.  =)
Since I have extra hoagie rolls and dip, I will probably do this again tomorrow. Or maybe for a midnight snack tonight.  Hey, I'm pregnant.  It's allowed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Still here

I have to be one of the worst bloggers ever!  I'm trying to take advantage of my down-time and do some catching up.  Have down time?  How did that happen?  Well, there are two reasons.  First, I finally graduated in May!!!!  It has been SO nice to not have to worry about homework and finals but, in a weird way, I kind of miss it.  I'll go back someday.

The rest of it has to do with a little person due to join our family in June.  We're so excited!  Baby #4 will be a welcome addition to our bustling house.  So far, though, I've been very sick and very tired.  It takes everything I have just to take care of the kiddos and do the bare minimum around the house.  Christmas shopping has been done almost exclusively online, and the presents I intended to make are on hold until I can muster up enough energy (and clear enough floor space) to get them done.  Thank you for your patience!

"Thank you" jewelry sets

For my boys' end-of-the-year thank you presents, I made each of their teachers and the school nurses (they've been lifesavers since Benjamin's diabetes diagnosis) jewelry sets.  They were a big hit!  It was fun to finally use the turquoise and opaline beads, as well as the silver beauties that have been waiting around.  (Please excuse the poor photography.  Editing can only do so much to fix poorly lit pictures taken late at night.)

 I've had these beads forever.  I've used a few here and there for earrings, but I love how the set came together and how the earthy tones are brightened by the lighter shades.
 I could not get the picture to do this set justice.  The turquoise beads are made of beautiful stone with a nice weight.  I interspersed them with opaline (gorgeous!) and tiny silver beads.

 One of my favorites!  Again, couldn't get a picture to accurately depict the color and texture.  The turquoise stone beads of beautiful detail, and I love how they pop against the silver.

This one was really fun.  I love black onyx, but it needed some dressing up.  The silvery shells are a nice complimentary contrast, if that makes sense, and make this set more versatile.  It can be worn casually or to a holiday party.

What is it about turquoise that makes it so hard for me to photograph????

Monday, September 3, 2012

Summer & Recipes

Holy moly, what a summer!  It started with me working a LOT more than I wanted to (I took the last month off, though), continued with swim lessons, day camps, visits with family (BOTH of my sisters live in-state now!), camping trips for the boys, swimming and playing with friends, and a little bit of crafting and sewing thrown in there, but now school is ready to start again.  Tomorrow!!!  I will have two boys in full-time- Kindergarten and 4th grade- and my baby will start 3-year-old preschool.  WOO HOO!!!!!

I have pictures and details coming, but for now I want to share a blog that has some AMAZING recipes!  Last night, I went through just the desserts and printed out several I want to try. 
 Starting with these...
Seriously, how yummy do these look???

The blog is called Six Sisters' Stuff.  They have crafts and recipes and things for family, too- tons of fun stuff.  You should check it out!  I'm going to check out their dinner ideas (especially the crock pot ones) next. 

Catch you later!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Free Silhouette Files

If you have a Silhouette you probably know about the free shape of the week.  If you didn't know, Silhouette offers a free shape every week.  Just go to and click on FREE shape of the week on the Home page.  Anyway, I wanted more free stuff (who doesn't?) and stumbled upon two awesome sites.

The first is  They have instructions on how to get 44 shapes for FREE.  Seriously!  I just did it and it totally works.  (Just be careful because not all of them that pop up are free.)

The second site is A Spoonful of Sugar.  This amazing woman makes her own shapes and offered some for FREE on her blog!  They are super cute and I'm super impressed.

I also found but haven't checked them out yet.  Looks like fun, though!
I can't wait to start creating again.  I'm LOVING being a free woman!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Something BIG

I've spent the last couple weeks sprucing up the house.  Actually, I've spent the last couple weeks tearing the house apart, sorting through our crap, and reorganizing, but it WILL be spruced up in 13 days.  It HAS to be since I invited a ton of people over for my graduation celebration.  =) preparation for one of my BIG kitchen projects, I spent $150 at Home Depot today.  It will be totally worth it, and I will be doing a bulk of the work all by my big girl self.  I'm SO excited to use power tools, wood stain, and Liquid Nails!!!  Can you guess what I'm planning???

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pinewood Derby Cars

Well, helloooooo!!!  I found a few minutes to post a quick picture of our latest project.  These cars were decorated very much at the last minute, but it really didn't take that long thanks to Expressions Vinyl and my handy dandy Silhouette!

I cut the flames for my 5-year-old's car out by hand (yeah, they aren't that great) from yellow, orange, and red adhesive vinyl and then layered them on: longer yellow flames first, then medium orange flames, and short red flames last.  I'm sure you could have figured that out, but there you go.

The images for the white car were found online.  My 9-year-old is OBSESSED with Beyblades and wanted to use those images only.  We could only find the Pegasus (in orange- it was supposed to be red but I just now realized I did it wrong) so he settled for a manly lion instead of Ldrago for the red (was supposed to be orange).  I saved the found images, opened them in the Silhouette Studio, sized them to fit on the car, selected the trace area, hit "Trace" and voila!  Easy-to-cut-out images that I sent through my Silhouette and then transferred onto the car like you would transfer any other vinyl onto any other project. 

Here's a tip for you, though:
Regular adhesive vinyl does not stick well to painted wood.  Either use sticker vinyl (like permanent or outdoor) or be prepared to apply a coat of sealer or Mod Podge or something.  We'll have to do that to the cars later since I was short on time today and the boys are at the race now.

SO...good news!  I will be OFFICIALLY DONE WITH SCHOOL in two weeks!!!!  My classes will be finished by the 8th and my only final is a take-home that has to be turned in by the 10th.  How awesome is that!?  Graduation is on the 11th and my PARTY is on the 12th!!!  There WILL be cheesecake.

Thanks for hanging in here with me!  I'm almost free and then will have more fun time.  PLUS, my super craft and artsy sister is going to be in the state for the WHOLE SUMMER, so there's extra motivation to actually complete some projects.  =)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Picking up some slack...

Yes, we're still alive!  It's been a busy month with a lot of work stuff (love my internship!), school stuff (55 days till graduation!!!) and medical stuff (Benjamin gets his insulin pump very soon but has been fighting chronic headaches; David had RSV, pneumonia, and needs tubes put in his ears again after 3 double ear infections in 3 months).   Plus, my little monkey boy Davey-Doo had his 3rd birthday this week!

And how could I forget?!?  The JDRF walk!!!  Our team raised over $2,500, and all the teams together raised over $2MILLION!!!!!  How amazing is that?!?  So, a HUGE "Thank you!!!" to everyone who donated.  It was a blast, Benjamin was thrilled to see he's not alone, and the support was incredible.  

More than 22,000 at the Mall of America for the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes

Our team!  One of the dads designed our t-shirts.  We looked fabulous.

This super cool picture is made entirely of LEGOS.  Can you believe it!?
I've been trying to scatter some other fun stuff here and there, too.  We've made several trips to the AWESOME Minnesota Children's Museum, visited my parents and my husband's family, and spent a beautiful day at a free zoo with friends.  Does it get any better than that??

Why, yes, it DOES get better!  I went out with a friend last night to The Cheesecake Factory without kids, and ate my fill of Greek salad, avocado egg rolls, stuffed mushrooms, and artichokes.  That, my friends, is what HEAVEN tastes like.  I was so stuffed with deliciousness we had to take my key lime cheesecake home with the leftovers.  Then, today, I went on a DATE with my hubby to see Hunger Games (SO good!) and then to Olive Garden for dinner.  More leftovers!!!  I don't want this weekend to end!

OK.  So.  Obviously, there hasn't been a lot of time left over for crafting, but here are a few projects I forgot to post before.

These were Christmas presents.  I made them for my sisters' families, and one for the friend who thought of this cute and easy idea.  We found the tree at the Silhouette store and cut it out of brown vinyl.  The names were also cut out with the Silhouette, and the tiles cost less than $1 each at Home Depot.

Of course, these were for Valentine's Day.  I figured most kids get WAY more candy than they will ever need, so we got creative.  
For my preschooler, I got the frog idea from the Crap I've Made blog (she's amazing, and her stuff is hardly crap!) and then was  inspired to do something similar with the dinosaurs.

The pencils were for my 3rd grader's class.  They think these pencils are the best. My husband thinks they're annoying and dangerous.  Maybe he should take care of the valentines next year, huh?

And just for fun, who can tell me what movie inspired this hilarious photo?