Shake Your Own Ice Cream

I remember making ice cream like this when I was in elementary school.  When I told the boys about it, they really wanted to try it.  I saved it for spring break so we could break up the long days and it was so fun!  The boys think they are so cool now that they can make their own ice cream.  Well, shake their own ice cream.

You need:

2 different sizes of baggies (I used gallon and snack size)

2 cups of half n half

4 tsp vanilla

4 Tb sugar

Ice

Salt

First you mix together the half n half, vanilla, and sugar.  Then you put it in the smaller bag/bags.  I used smaller snack bags so the boys could all have their own equally portioned bag.  You can put all of it in a quart sized bag.

Then you put the ice and salt into the gallon bag, then place your smaller bag inside and seal the gallon sized bag.

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Then you shake….

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And shake….

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And shake….

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You shake for about 20 minutes.  Technically, it was more milkshake consistency than solid ice cream, but the kids still loved it and they were even more happy to use a straw than a cup.  You should try to make some, I mean, look at these happy faces 🙂

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Crafting Through Those Long Days

Recently, more than one person has mentioned to me that they were under the impression that I did crafts with my kids on a daily basis.

That is completely and undeniably false.

For the record, I do not do crafts with my kids every single day!

Okay, I admit that I may have gone a bit overboard for Halloween and Christmas.  But doing crafts with your kids does not make you a better mom.  Seriously!  I do crafts with my kids because I enjoy it.  If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t do it! 🙂  Honestly, doing crafts with my kids help the days go by quicker…which is (sadly) my main motivation at times.  It’s actually quite selfish of me.  But I quickly justify my selfishness because Lizzie truly does nearly constantly beg for me to do crafts with her! 😉

So it all works out perfectly for everyone involved, right?

Like I mentioned, doing crafts with my kids help me get through the sometimes long and monotonous days.  Especially the days in which I know that Jon won’t be coming home until late.

Like today.

I wake up at 5:00 in the morning.  The kids wake up around 6:00.  The days begin super early around our house!  Lizzie is out of school for Spring Break (which I am absolutely LOVING) and aside from helping time move quicker for me, I wanted to do a few crafts with the kids because I knew that Lizzie would enjoy it.

We made these cute little cotton ball bunnies.

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Lizzie wanted to draw eyelashes on hers.  And she also wanted to make sure that the ears were floppy. 🙂

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They painted Easter eggs.  And I didn’t feel like looking for paintbrushes and so they used plastic forks instead! 🙂  I’m sure that they would have turned out more aesthetically pleasing had they used paint brushes…but they had fun anyway. 🙂

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They cut up yarn and glued the pieces to egg-shaped paper.

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They assembled these cute little chicks!  I just quickly cut out the pieces and the kids assembled the chicks onto a piece of construction paper and added some googly eyes and a beak.

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Even after all of that fun…it was only 9:00 in the morning.

I decided to be creative with the kids’ lunches today.  Again, not because I’m trying to be an awesome Mom.  Being creative with food simply helps break up the monotony a bit!  Everything that I do is purely selfish. 🙂

They were served egg-shaped flat bread, decorated with hot dog and string cheese.    The “eggs” are sitting on cucumber grass and I put a few black olive and mandarin orange flowers in the background.  Oh, and I sprinkled some dried cranberries on the plate just for fun. 🙂

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They both gobbled it all up!  Well, I couldn’t get Bryce to eat all of his cucumbers…but he did manage to eat a few! 🙂

For dessert, they got to eat one of these birds nests that we had made the day before:

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We make these every year around Easter time.  I usually use chow-mien noodles, but the bag that I had just purchased from Wal-mart a few days ago had already expired and the noodles tasted like dust.  Yuck!  So we used cheerios instead.  I just melted 2 cups of chocolate chips, mixed it in with some cheerios, and then the kids helped me form little “nests” and they placed a few robin eggs in each nest.

Lizzie looks forward to these nests every year!

Anyway, the kids are now in bed (obviously, or else I would not be writing this blog post).  Jon should be coming home soon.

Even though it was a late day for Jon, I had a great day.  I had fun with my kids.  We went to the library.  We visited Grandma for a bit.  We played outside in our beautiful backyard.  We watched a few episodes of “Super Why!” (Bryce’s new favorite show).  We ate.  I kissed a few boo-boo’s.  I filled up Bryce’s sippy cup with water no less than 200 times…seriously.  I wiped bums.  I disciplined.  I changed diapers.  I worried that Mason is going to dehydrate.   I helped tie shoes.  I read books.  I sang songs.  I counted to 10.  I counted to 10.  I counted to 10…again.  I took a few deep breaths.  I read 2 apology notes from Lizzie.  I brushed the kids’ teeth.  I worried.  I prayed.  I played.  I hugged.  I kissed.  I loved.

I am so blessed to be a Mother!

Even if I have to do crafts with my kids every now and then to help me get through the day, there truly is nothing greater.

Easy Textile Easter Craft

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The other day my sister and I got our kids together to do this really simple Easter Craft.  They loved it!  It allowed them to glue and color, which they always love, but also experiment with different textures.

We glued on Easter grass for the grass in the picture.

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Then they got to color Easter eggs on the grass and make Easter bunnies out of marshmallows and styrofoam.  You could also use cotton balls, bath salts, or anything else for different textured bunnies.

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Our kids thought they were quite the artists and it was good to keep them busy for a few minutes!

Look! My Telescope!

I have been meaning to blog about this for a while.  Not because anyone else will care about it, but because I just think that it’s so stinkin’ cute and I want to record it for the sake of posterity! 🙂

As I have mentioned before, Bryce is obsessed with pirates and anything that has to do with pirates (swords, telescopes, swords, treasure, swords, and swords).  The first thing he has done every single morning for the past year or so (after peeling his pee-soaked pajamas off of himself, of course) is put on his pirate hat and grab his sword and telescope.

He has had a few “real” telescopes (I’m talking about the cheap kind that we find at the dollar store) but their lifespan hasn’t lasted longer than a few weeks, unfortunately.  As such, I have made it a habit to give Bryce the paper towel roll after all of the paper towels have been used up.  He has had in his possession countless numbers of these paper towel roll “telescopes”.  Like the cheap dollar store telescopes, however, they don’t last long.  Mason usually ends up getting a hold of it and chewing it up.  I often end up throwing his beloved paper towel roll telescopes in the trash after Bryce has drifted off to sleep.

In the morning, after Bryce has looked long and hard for his telescope, he finally spots it.

“Look, Mommy!  I found my telescope!”

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Yep.  He is under the impression that I wrap paper towels around his telescope.  On purpose.  Just to make him frustrated.

I can’t help but laugh every single time that he says this.  He is always so elated to have finally found his telescope!  He frantically grabs the paper towel roll and starts to take the paper off of it.  I always have to stop him, of course.

But not after I get a good chuckle out of the absolute hilariousness of the situation.

I love my Brycie-boy!

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Be The Good Sign

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I first saw this sign here….and all over Pinterest.  I usually like to have things in my home that are original, but I couldn’t get past this sign.  And neither could my husband, which is rare!  He really wanted me to make this sign.  So, I did.

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When we moved into our new home, there were parts of a bed in the backyard.  My husband was about to throw it all away and I surprised him by saying we should save it and make stuff out of it.  While he wasn’t too optimistic about the “stuff” I would make out if it, he obliged.  I know a lot of people use pallet wood, we use bed wood.  I used these stencils and I loved them.  I traced the words onto the wood with pencil first and then painted it in after.

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  This is my new favorite wall in the house.  I know it still looks a little bare (we are working on buying/building a bench for right underneath the sign) but I love walking into my home and seeing this sign and I think this will be our family motto for years to come.

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Posted in DIY

Get Past The Tumbleweeds

The other day we had an event to go to that ended up being a drive we will never forget.   If anyone knows the Antelope Valley you know it gets quite windy here, especially on the far west side where there is a lot of farm land.  We had to drive through that part of the valley to get to where we were going and this is what our drive looked like.

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We couldn’t see the cars in front of us.  We almost turned around a few times, but we had a few clear spots that kept us going.  Even when we got to this obstacle, we kept moving on.

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I have NEVER seen so many tumbleweeds!  I know most people think of these as random plants blowing around in a western movie.  Nope.  They are real.  We see these all over in our neighborhood.  But there was a barricade of them when we were driving in the storm this day.

Luckily we could just drive right over them and keep going.  Tumbleweeds are nasty plants.  They are bigger than me sometimes, seriously, not exaggerating, and really brittle and thorny.  They also have a tendency to just tumble along the side of the road and then once your car gets near, they dart out in front of you.  Crazy things, those tumbleweeds.

I couldn’t help but think of life and motherhood as we were dodging tumbleweeds and cruising through the dust that day.

Man, motherhood is full of a lot of tumbleweeds.  And they are always popping out on a good day and trying to block your way.  I’m talking about all the thorns that are so easy to talk about.  I do it ALL THE TIME.

“My kids will not stop waking up in the night!”

“My kids are always throwing tantrums!”

“Why do I have to repeat myself 10 times!”

You know the drill.  Tumbleweeds.  They are huge, and pokey, and bristle up your whole day.

If you let them….

That day on the drive we drove over hundreds of tumbleweeds and made it to the kids favorite part of the drive.  The windmills.

IMG_3010  There are hundreds of them.  Scattered all over the mountains, standing tall, fascinating my little ones.  And the tumbleweeds?  Besides a funny anecdote, mostly forgotten.

That’s what I need to do more as a mother.  I need to stomp on those tumbleweeds, try to find a funny story, and move on.  I need to focus on the clear skies and the “I love you’s”.  Then motherhood won’t be such a terrible storm that I’m tired of getting through, but a beacon standing above all else that reminds me where my true happiness lies.

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Paint a Piano

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I have been dreaming of owning my own piano for 7 years since I got married and moved out of my parents piano owning house.  We, as you know, are not full-price paying people though and so it was a long search for my dream piano.  I wanted a piano that was old, had a ton of character and detail, and was $100 or less.  I know, impossible, right?  Well, we got this beauty on Craigslist for $80!  It is over a hundred years old and BEAUTIFUL!

This is the only before picture I have.  We had already started sanding, so it’s not looking so good.  It was a beautiful color as it was, but it was pretty dinged up and even though I ended up keeping a lot of those dings because I loved them, I just wasn’t up to the work it would involve to sand and stain.  Sand and paint was so much more appealing to me.

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So, I painted it.  Actually, I spray painted it.  Before anyone freaks out on me, I already got a lecture from a lady at the paint store telling how horrible spray paint is for pianos, but it worked for me.  I got a bunch of drop cloths and taped them all over the inside of the piano.  It was totally covered.  I got Rustoleum Almond with protective coat.  I am in love with how it turned out.

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My favorite part of the piano is the detail on the front and the legs.  So pretty.

IMG_3121My kids “play” everyday.  I will do the same once we find a piano tuner/adjuster for a good price.
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You may notice that the part of the fold up part is still brown.  It has the Vose & Sons plate on it and I didn’t want to paint over it.  I heard you can buy new ones so if we do find one, I may paint it and put a new sticker on, but I am kind of liking it that way.

Also, just to throw it in, because this is sort of my first “room reveal” of my new home.  This is our living room.  The wall color is Rockport Gray by Benjamin Moore.  The rug is from RUGSUSA and pillows from Ross.  Mozart statue from my piano lessons growing up 🙂

Posted in DIY

St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt

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Last year I did this scavenger hunt with my boys. Needless to say, Riley has talked about it all year (really…more than Santa) and is talking about Patrick the leprechaun coming back this year. I have been crazy busy, and lazy if I’m being truthful, so I borrowed this scavenger hunt from Love Grows Wild.  She includes free printables and everything!  So cute!

First Tooth…Gone

A few weeks ago, Lizzie began complaining about one of her lower front teeth.  I groaned because I really didn’t want to take her back to the dentist! 😉  As it turned out, there was nothing seriously wrong with her tooth.  It was just loose!

Since Lizzie is the oldest, I must admit that it felt a little strange to be a mother of a kid with a loose tooth. 🙂  I am completely aware that loosing teeth is a natural phase of life, but I felt a tad bit apprehensive about the fact that she’s old enough to be in that stage.  I’m just not ready for her to grow up quite yet.

I especially wasn’t prepared when I put her to bed one night only to have her come find me a few minutes later looking like this:

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She looks perfectly happy in this picture, but when I first saw her she had a look of terror on her face.

“Mommy!  It came out!!”

She seemed confused.  She was scared, yet excited at the same time.  She didn’t quite know what to feel!  But once the realization hit her that she would be able to put her tooth under her pillow for the tooth fairy to find, all hints of terror left her and she was just plain ecstatic. 🙂

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We rinsed a bit of the blood out of her mouth, and she was still as happy as can be. 🙂

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Then Lizzie went to work decorating her own special envelope for her tooth to go in (and a place for the tooth fairy to deposit her money!).  She didn’t spend too much time on it, however, because she just wanted to go to bed so that the tooth fairy could come!

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Notice how she wrote her name as “Elizabeth” rather than “Lizzie”?  I felt a twinge of sadness when I saw that.  She wanted to seem old and mature for the tooth fairy…hence the dropping of her life-long nick name.  Thankfully, she still wants to be called “Lizzie”…for now at least.  I’m sure that the day will come when she’ll prefer “Elizabeth” over “Lizzie”, but I’ll enjoy her nick name while I can! 😉

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Before Lizzie went to bed, she asked me the following question:

“Mommy, the Tooth Fairy is little.  How can she fly to our house, and then fly all the way to Utah in one night?  What if someone in Utah lost a tooth today too?”

Well, on with the lies, I suppose.  The worst part about parenting!

I told her that the tooth fairy was magic and that she could simply snap her fingers and transport herself from one place to the next.  She didn’t have to really fly at all.

I really hate the lies.  But the guilt of not doing the whole Tooth Fairy tradition is stronger than my loathing of lies.  So on with the traditions, I suppose.  Jon is so lucky that he just get to stay out of it all!

The Tooth Fairy was cheap this year. 😉  She only left Lizzie 4 quarters!  I have no idea what the going rate is these days as far as making bank with the tooth fairy is though.  Lizzie didn’t complain though, she was super ecstatic to get her quarters!  In fact, somehow an extra quarter got in there and she claimed that the tooth fairy gave her five quarters.  I went a long with it and explained that she gave her five quarters because she knew that Lizzie was five years old.

But I can’t help but wonder where that extra quarter came from.

Hmmm…perhaps the tooth fairy really does exist?!

DIY Kitchen from Entertainment Center

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If you follow me on Pinterest you know that I have about a hundred of these entertainment center turned kitchens pinned on my boards.  Now, I finally made my own!  It was actually really easy and very cost-effective and I am so happy with how it turned out!

We got this entertainment center for free (I’ve seen them for around $20 on Craigslist though so that’s still a great deal!)

The first thing I did was paint it.  (Sorry for lack of pictures on these steps.  I painted the whole thing red and then parts of it with black appliance paint (You can get that at any hardware store in the spray paint).  It’s really durable and won’t chip as easily so I didn’t have to use polyurethane on the whole thing.  The spray paint I got was Rustoleum and had paint and protective coat in one.  I got it at Walmart.  The counter part I painted white so it would seem more like a countertop.

 

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We nailed some beadboard onto the back to fill up the hole that was there.  We had the beadboard extra from another project so that didn’t cost anything either.

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I kept our yogurt lids for a couple of weeks and painted them with the appliance paint and then nailed them onto the counter.  I had a small aluminum bowl in my cupboards that I traced and then cut out the hole with a miter saw.  I bought this little bathroom faucet on Amazon for $5.  It’s not very “kitcheny” but the kids don’t know the difference :).

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The kids LOVE it!  They play with our food on their ALL the time.

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Ty getting in the fridge.

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Putting a pizza in the oven.

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I did the one whole side panel in chalkboard paint that I had leftover from a previous project as well.  I write the menu on it for the kids when they tell me what they are making me that day.

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And they play hangman….it works :).

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I’m so happy with how it turned out and how much fun it adds to our loft/playroom.  Thank you Pinterest for the great idea!

Posted in DIY