Friday, August 31, 2012

A few things...

 I just pulled a loaf of honey whole wheat french bread out of the oven...Daisy has been wanting French Toast.  We'll have breakfast, do a few things for school and a cleaning project.  I need to get that laundry started and finish my cleaning list from yesterday.  I only did half my cleaning list yesterday because I had errands to run and I decided that I didn't want to run them today, Friday of Labor Day Weekend.  Traffic out this way can be horrific.  So, today is a home day.  Love.

My little Coco loves to sit curled up in my lap while I read or do paper work.  This week I have been clearing out my file drawers.  I have named myself "The Organized Hoarder".  Yikes.  I am pitching (almost) everything!!!  Simplify...yes, please.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend!  We are staying home and having friends over on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  The Great Minnesota Get Together (state fair) will be on Monday.

XOXO Tiffany

"Nothing will teach our kids the reality of God like seeing their parents humbly acknowledging His greatness every single day."  Growing Grateful Kids by Susie Larson

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sewing Wednesday

Yesterday ended up being a fabulous day...today, as well, is going much better!  Two of my kids ended up being grounded (from friends and iPod Touch) all day Monday and Tuesday.  I think it worked!  They are little dolls today.  

Yesterday I worked super hard on my homeschool schedule for the year.  I wrapped that up this morning and was able to pack it away until Monday evening.  Today, I am working on wrapping up my recipe project.  I am only keeping a couple of favorite cookbooks.  I am going through my cookbook collection and typing up my favorite recipes out of each book and then donating that book.  In the past I have typed my recipes up in Word...but now I am typing them up in Excel and am like that so much better!  That way I can have my little tabs at the bottom for my different categories:  Breakfast, Beverages, etc...  I am hoping to wrap this up soon so that I can print out my cookbook and have all my favorite recipes super handy.  I'm thinking it will make my menu planning so much more pleasant! 
I was able to do some sewing last week...I am trying to come up with a fabulous patched fabric skirt.  I want it to look random and casual.  It's hard to make a random and casual skirt!  Who'd have thought.  I'll keep working on it.  The photo up top is of a little scrappy flower pin that I sold on Etsy last week.

Happy Wednesday!

XOXO Tiffany

"May you ever appear where you are most needed and least expected".  The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (so sad that we finished this book...)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A funky week...

Is anybody else having "one of those" weeks?  I find that the week before a transition is always a touch difficult.  I hate to throw blame around...but I think it's my kids.  They are "off" this week.  Not "off" as in vacation, "off" as in, not themselves.  I think they know that change is coming, and they aren't handling it very well.  I am so excited for this school year to get started, I can't even tell you!  I'm hoping that my excitement wears off on these kids at some point.  Uff-da...
 Some pictures of food...why not?...the top photo is a Jello Cake that my girlfriend, Susan, brought over on Sunday...isn't it gorgeous?!?  It tasted even more awesome than it looked.  

The second food shot is of a banana split that the kids and I made.  Homemade vanilla ice cream, one perfectly ripe banana (sliced), caramel sauce, and homemade fudge frosting.  Oh my goodness... 
Lucy insisted that I take a photo of her mac and cheese the other day.  I said "no" and she was so hurt that I said "ok".  Took the photo and she told me that I could put it on my blog.  So, here is Lucy's Annie's Organic Whole Wheat mac and cheese with a little salt and pepper.

I'm off to type up scripture verses that the kids and I will work on memorizing this year...focusing on patience and self control.  Can anyone relate?

XOXO Tiffany

"Cultivating a heart of gratitude in our children is impossible unless we ourselves are grateful".  Growing Grateful Kids by Susie Larson

Friday, August 24, 2012

Around Here...

I have really enjoyed this August.  Lots of organizing closets, dropping off donations to the Goodwill (almost every week), reading lots of great books, partying with friends, decluttering my kitchen, eating real food, planning out our homeschool year, and even some sewing (not nearly enough!).  Next week will be totally dedicated to finalizing my school year preparations, working on organizing (and printing) my recipes, working on a menu plan, and hopefully some more sewing. 

I hope you have been enjoying August!!!

Today I am working on 7 loads of laundry, sorting out my fabric stash (hoping to donate things I won't use), making homemade granola bars, and sewing a cute little patchwork skirt.

XOXO Tiffany

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world".  The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Etsy shop updated

What a great feeling!  Last week I finally got around to photographing and listing the skirts that I made this summer.  Now...I need to focus on fall/winter.  So many ideas...so little time.  Lately, I've been working on our homeschool gameplan for the year, menu planning, de-junking my house (lots of trips to goodwill), hosting parties...it just gets busy.  And now, fall sports are already in full swing.  4 nights a week with soccer and football.  Swim team doesn't start for another 3-4 weeks...whew.  I miss my sewing.  Hoping to find the time to put a little more creativity into my days.  I'll keep you posted.

XOXO Tiffany

"When I glimpsed the yellow satin, however, I had to stop".  Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Monday, August 20, 2012

What we ate last week...Aug 12-18, 2012

 Has anyone missed my What We Ate Last Week???  Here it is:

Sunday:
B-Yogurt Pancakes
L-Small group at a friends house
D-Egg/Saus/Salsa in a pita (love breakfast for dinner)

Monday:
B-French Toast Bake/Sausage
L-Homemade Bagels and cream cheese/Smoothie
D-Toasted peanut butter and banana sandwiches

Tuesday:
B-English Muffins and jam
L-Ordered Pizza (play date), apples/oranges, ice cream treats
Snack-Smoothie
D-Summer Market Quinoa (found this recipe in the Rodale Whole Foods cookbook that my sis in law gave me.  So yummy with our garden Eggplant!!!)

Wednesday:
B-Eggs, Toast, Sausage
L-Bunker Beach Water Park (gross concession food, but the kids were thrilled...bleck!)
D-Beef, Tomato, Zucchini Pasta (my own creation pictured above)

Thursday:
B-Zucchini Bread
Snack-fruit salad, veggie/dip
L-Kelly's house
D-Leftover Beef, Tomato, Zucchini Pasta

Friday:
B-Zucchini Bread
L-Homemade bread with peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese/carrots/plum
D-Ordered pizza/blueberry pie/homemade ice cream

Saturday:
B-Yogurt Pancakes/Sausage
L-Leftover Pizza and a churro from Costco
D-Leftovers (clean out the fridge!)...pizza/pancakes/sausage/pie/ice cream

Here is some produce from our garden just waiting to be eaten...
I've got to run the kids to piano lessons!

XOXO Tiffany

"More than anyplace else on earth, her home made me feel welcomed and pampered while I was there and refreshed when I left".  (my goal!)  A Life that says Welcome" by Karen Ehman

Friday, August 17, 2012

Some things around the house...

 I'm about to sort and start my 7 loads of laundry for the day, and exercise, but I thought I would quickly get this post out while the house is still quiet. 

We have thoroughly enjoyed our pool over the last month...but after the 30th time (in 30 days) of my kids yelling into the house, "Mom...can you grab me a towel!".  Or, after the 30th time of a child padding through my kitchen sopping wet heading for the bathroom, I thought I would post a new sign.

Before you swim...
(Please)
1.  Go to the bathroom
2.  Grab a towel

It seems to have helped!
 My poor little corner in my bedroom...Lucy got my white dresser when we re-did the girls' rooms last year.  So, for a year, I have had this little make-shift "night stand".  Yes, that is my lamp on the floor, my clock on a basket on a little pedestal (?).  When I had the white dresser, I had to sit way up in bed to see the time...with this set up, I had to look way down to see the time, or to turn out my lamp, which hardly lit the page at night.  This poor little corner.  I had it on my list for months to find a new nightstand.
 Then, while hanging out on a neighbors lawn one evening...my neighbor mentioned she had a couple of items in her garage that she was going to "free cycle", if any of us wanted to take a look.  I saw from a distance some gray painted wood.  I ran over there and immediately snatched up this adorable table!  What a cute little corner!  Now I just need a headboard and something on the wall...  Lucy loves to sit and write or draw while I am reading in the evening.
Today my project is to sort the kids craft stuff.  Last night, Lucy and I hauled it all out onto the kitchen table.  We have an embarrassing amount of stuff.  It is not organized, so it is tough to find anything.  What a waste!  Lucy has a friend coming over for the day, and these girls LOVE to craft.  So, we'll take a little time this morning to get it all organized and then they can have at it!

Have a great weekend!!!  I'm meeting some friends from jr/high school for brunch on Saturday and we are having our small group from church over on Sunday.  Looking forward to both!

XOXO Tiffany

"Once you have organized your space, keep it organized by maintaining the space on a regular basis.  I find that maintenance is the most important aspect of organization".  Emilie's Creative Home Organizer by Emilie Barnes

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A (no) Sewing Post

I have not sewn in two weeks.  I was consumed with camping and my cousin's wedding.  We enjoyed a wonderfully busy last couple of weeks.  But, I have to admit, I was really looking forward to Monday morning.  I was ready for things to be back to normal.

I'd like to say that I'm going to sew today...but, Sweetie and I are taking the kids to Bunker Beach water park.  I had bought a Groupon back in June and we are just finding the time to go.  It's kind of a gray day, but it is supposed to hit 80 degrees.  My goal for today is to list on Etsy.  I have about 10 items that I have been meaning to list for about a month now.  What in the world?  I don't know what happened to this summer...

Making eggs and sausage and toast for breakfast.  I'd better get that going...kids should be up soon.  We'll do a few things this morning (piano, reading, read a loud) and then we'll get ready for the water park.

This week I have been working on our homeschool curriculum, my recipes, Lucy's closet, and sorting through our book collection.

Hope you have a wonderful day!

XOXO Tiffany

"When God delays in fulfilling our little thoughts, it is to have Himself room to work out His great ones".  Lillias Trotter in A Passion for the Impossible by Miriam Huffman Rockness


Monday, August 13, 2012

A Camping Menu...Part 2

Menu Planning...Camping Style.
I thought I would share our menu from our camping trip.  It really is all about the food.  And, the food really is what makes camping so much work.  I try to prep as much as I can at home, so that when we are camping, it is easy to throw together when the crowd gets hungry.  I cooked and baked for an entire day before the trip.  I made:  1 loaf of bread (whole wheat), 2 loaves of french bread (whole wheat), chocolate caramel bars, lemon poppyseed bread, taco meat, tortillas, veggie/chip dip, and peanut butter.  Now, obviously, you can buy all this stuff and make your life so much easier.  I enjoy cooking/baking, and I like to know exactly what is in the food we are eating, so it is worth it to me!

Here was our 4-Day Menu:
Friday:
B-Smoothie (at home)
L-cheese and crackers, beef jerkey, fruit/veggies (picnic on the road)
D-grilled cheese sandwiches, carrots/dip, chips

Saturday:
B-Mini Cereal Boxes/milk
L-Ham/cheese/spinach roll-ups (on homemade tortillas spread with dip)
D-Hot Dogs

Sunday:
B-French Toast (french bread)/Lil Smokies/Fruit
L-Peanut Butter/Banana Sandwiches (on french bread)
D-Taco Salad (chips, meat, spinach, salsa, sour cream, cheese)

Monday:
B-Lemon Poppyseed Bread
L-Little Caesars Pizza (on the road)
D-Camping leftovers...

The treats that I brought were:  Chocolate Caramel Bars and 'smores.

For drinks...I brought:  water bottles (and Mio), milk (for cereal and hot chocolate), and hot chocolate.

For snacks...I brought:  GoGoSqueez (applesauce), kettlecorn, chips/dip, fruit (bananas, grapes, clementines, apples), dried pineapple and cashew bags (for our hikes), tortilla chips/salsa,

Additional items:  butter (for grilled cheese, french toast, and pnut butter sandwiches), eggs (french toast), spinach and sour cream (taco salad), ketchup/mustard/relish (hot dogs).

I have an excel spreadsheet that I use for all our camping trips.  I just list each and every item that we will need for the meals that we will be eating.  For this trip, I also made up individual packing lists for Matt and I and the kids.  This was awesome!  My kids have been packing themselves for our trips for about 2 years now.  But it usually involves the morning of me screaming out kindly telling them...don't forget your swimsuit!  Don't forget a sweatshirt!  Pack your pillow!  This time, I was able to hand them each their list, with "how many" of each item.  I loved this!  And, so did Lucy...she's like me...we love lists.  And, even if your kids can't read or pack themselves...this is super handy for you to have as a mom!  It's just too easy to forget something.  Here is (roughly) what was on each of the kids lists:

Pants/Jeans (2)
Long sleeve shirt (2)
Short sleeve shirt (2)
Shorts (3)
Sweatshirt
Hat (stocking cap for mornings)
swim suit
PJ's (cold)
PJ's (warm)
Socks (3)
Underwear (3)
Shoes and Flip Flops
Toothbrush/toothpaste
Book
Notebook/Nature Journal
Colored Pencils
Pillow
Animal/blanket
iPod Touch

I didn't even double check what they packed!  They're at the age where they can easily handle this.  Now, obviously if you need specific outfits, you can help with that.  I look at some of our photos and think, "hmmm...I would have done that differently".  But, at the end of the day, it just doesn't matter.  They get to bring what they are comfortable in and what they like.  BTW...Daisy forgot her sweatshirt on her bedroom floor.  Not a fool-proof system, but I don't mind a little "oops" here and there.  She borrowed a friends one night and mine the other night.  No problem.

OK...I haven't worked out in 2 weeks...time to get that in before the kiddies wake up!

XOXO Tiffany

"Thank you for food, Mommy.  Today I am still alive".  Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Camping...August 2012...part 1

Well, we just wrapped up our camping adventures for the season with a trip to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Michigan.  Another outstanding camping trip.  Just when I think..."I could give this up", we go and have the time of our lives!

We left our place at 8:30am on Friday August 3rd.  I made smoothies for breakfast and we hit the road.  The smoothies were great, but we were starving about an hour into the trip.  Problem...I could not access our food!  We got a "hitch haul" for the car...you know those racks that hang off the back of your car?  Well, once you get that thing two tubs high and two tubs wide, you are not able to open your trunk.  I had all these snacks and drinks planned for the road trip and I could not access them!  Poor planning on my part, but, you live and learn.

Hungry and Road Trip are two (three?) words that do not work well together.  We took the "scenic" route up north...not on purpose.  We didn't know that we were going to drive through every small town that Wisconsin had to offer.  Matt had to suffer through the stop lights and I had to suffer through passing up Thrift Shop after Thrift Shop.  Oh, they were calling my name!  Matt, with his new Lasik eyes saw a little sign for "Eggs and Toast $2.25".  We stopped at this fabulous little hole-in-the-wall and had an outstanding breakfast complete with eggs, toast, and buttermilk pancakes.
 We were pretty hungry (I don't allow the word "starving" in our house) again by the time we reached Michigan.  I said, "we are stopping and I am going to get at that food one way or another!".  "Kids...out of the back seat!".  I started whipping things around and somehow got into the food storage tub.  The coolers were out of the question.  We sat at the rest area and ate beef jerkey and wasa crackers and water.  So good. 
 Michigan officially counts as our 15th state in our 50 State Tour.  We have been "through" many more states, but we need to do something special in that state in order for it to count.
 Shortly after we arrived in Michigan, my Sweetie decided to speak my Love Language when he spotted a sign for a Chai Tea.  Yes, we stopped and I had one of the best Chai's ever!
 After 5 stops (what in the world!?!) and 7 hours, we arrived at camp.  We set up our tent and then met some friends down at the beach.  Tummy's were growling again so we came back to camp and made our famous first night dinner...grilled cheese sandwiches.  The kids were not happy that I made them with my homemade whole wheat bread.  I thought they were so yummy and dense and nutty.  Yum.  It's hard to please everybody. 
 After dinner we went back down to the beach for some sunset swimming and a bonfire on the beach.  This was one of those magical nights.  Just perfect. 
 The water was "refreshing" (aka...cold).  Didn't stop anyone!
 We were just saying how laid back Michigan was with letting us gather wood (a big no-no in MN) and make a fire on the beach.  This place is so cool!  Well, shortly after we enjoyed our 'smores, some friendly little Park Ranger dudes pulled up and asked us to kindly put out our bonfire.  Apparently, fires are restricted to the fire rings at the campsites.  Ha!  They were really so sweet with us!  (I still don't know if it is legal to gather wood in Michigan b/c there weren't any signs...)
 A breakfast surprise...sugar cereal!  I won those kids back for a bit.
 Look at that hunk.  I wouldn't be a camper without this guy.
 Cocoa Krispies.
 Getting ready for our 4 mile hike to Lake of the Clouds.
 Beautiful views!
 Lake of the Clouds.
 After the 4 mile hike, we enjoyed a picnic lunch.  There was an ambitious group of hikers that was interested in hiking 4 miles back.  Daisy was one of those hikers.  So, Matt went back to camp with Lucy and MJ while Daisy and I and about half the group made the 4 mile journey back to our starting place.  This was a fairly intense hike with steep verticals and steep declines.  I'm so happy I did it, but man was I S.O.R.E.!
 Lake Superior
 Powdery sand...awesome rock hunting!
 Sunset soccer every night.
 Sunset.
 Sunset.
 Sunset.
 This picture makes me laugh!  I believe Matt was working on the French Toast...I bet I had a million things I wanted to say.  Ha.  He did a great job!
 Sleepy heads.  MJ is in the middle...head inside his bag.
 Mmmm...I love hot chocolate on a camping morning.
 The kids cookin' up the Lil Smokies.
 A little hike to see some of the falls.
 Overlooked Falls.
 The kids.
 The parents.
 Lucy and MJ enjoying some quiet time together while Daisy stayed back at camp with Dad.
 Mommy getting in some quality reading time.
This was our view of the sunset and lake from camp.

So much fun, but always so good to get home!  I really worked at fine tuning our camping list this time.  I'm trying to get us to only pack the essentials and not all the extras.  

I'll try to do a Part 2 post with our menu and some other lists that come in handy.

This week I need to get into wedding mode!  My cousin is getting married and my mom and I are hosting her Bridal Brunch Shower here on Thursday morning, wedding on Friday, and gift opening/pig roast (can't wait!) on Saturday.  Looking forward to a fun (but busy) week!

XOXO Tiffany

"Ponder the beauty in a waterfall's casting itself down.  See yourself abandoning your 'self life' just as joyously".  Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard