Saturday, May 31, 2014

Guest blogger Jonah

Kids Movie Reviews

The "Flamingo"

The Million Dollar Arm

The Million Dollar Arm (Disney) is an amazing true story.  It's about a sports agent  going to India to scout a cricket player that he hopes can pitch.  He brings back two young kids that he later learns have never played cricket.   They have to adjust to their new country and on top of that, pressure is on them to impress their agent.  This story teaches you a lot about cultures in India and is very funny too.

Can they adjust?  They have under a year to learn the complicated game of baseball.  Also,  the pressure is on JB Bernstein (the agent). If he can't come up with one player from India, he won't know what to do with himself.  He made a deal with a rich man named Chang that provided him with the money and the training material in India.  If JB can't get one very good pitcher,  his company will close,  and he'll be broke.

Will JB scrape up the money and will Rinku and Dinish get drafted?  Go see the Million Dollar Arm and you'll find out.  

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things on Friday

These are a few of my favorite things...

This set of Pyrex Containers...

When I was at Costco today, I saw this set of Pyrex, Snapware containers.  I have a similar set and I love them!  I use them for almost all my leftovers.  See why I love them so much here.  I took a look at the new sizes and shapes and I am a little tempted to splurge on a new set.  

18 pieces of glassware with lids for $29.99 at Costco

This sweet friend...

She is my mentor, my therapist, my exercise buddy, and my kids' second mommy.  And her husband is pretty handy too.  He came over to fix my gate after Camzilla decided he didn't need to be kept from going up the stairs anymore.  Leah and Mike let Camden come play about once a week and our boys love having sleepovers with their boys.  I think sometimes they really believe they are all brothers growing up in adjacent houses.  It takes a village, you know.  Ask Mike.  He's gone to work twice this week with Leah's car keys.  You did it once, Mike, and I didn't tease you, but twice?  Gotta give you a little bit of a hard time for that.  Leah just came over and grabbed my keys.  Her boys aren't even surprised when a blue van rolls into the carpool line to pick them up.


Here is my weekly report.  I managed to complete three workouts this week.  Yay!  And believe me, if I hadn't challenged myself to do that third one this afternoon, I may have been tempted to sit on the couch and watch Scandal instead.

Tuesday: Emily's 15 minute May lower body and core workout (check it out--I am STILL sore today)
Wednesday: Carson and I ran a mile at the baseball field while Jonah warmed up for a game.  We had Camden with us in the jogger.  The second half of our run was straight uphill.  We had taken weights with us to the field but we ran out of time to do any lifting.
Thursday: OFF day, but I still played catch with Carson.  It felt good to stretch out my arms and legs.
Friday: Debbie's 15 minute June lower body workout--one of the great things about this workout is that it requires no weights or mats, so I sent it to my phone so I can do it again sometime at the ball field. Maybe I can work up the courage to ask some other moms to join me!

I'm off to a good start.  We'll see what I can do next week!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

This and That on Thursday: Baby Shower Favors

I am so incredibly excited that my sister and brother in law are having a baby!  Lauren and Smoak are going to be unbelievable parents.  We have already seen how fantastic they are with our kids.  
I can't wait to see them as parents.  

Did I mention it's a girl?  I was overwhelmed by the cuteness of the little baby girl clothes at Lauren's shower.  I'm pretty excited about shopping for girl clothes.  We need a little pink around here.  And I can't wait to play babies and dress up with my niece.   Maybe I can even do her hair. :)  

Lauren looks so beautiful with her baby bump and her pretty corsage--compliments of her dad.

I had the pleasure of making the favors for her shower.  Her theme is birds and owls, and it was really fun to search for ideas online.  I decided to make these cute hanging birdseed "birds."

You will need: parchment paper, nonstick spray, a large bowl, measuring cup,  a cup of bird seed (give or take depending on the type of seed you use), Knox gelatin, natural twine, cookie cutters and one inch lengths of plastic drinking straws.  You will also need a cookie sheet.

Prepare your cookie sheet ahead of time.  Line your cookie sheet with the parchment paper and spray the cookie cutters with nonstick spray.

Start by stirring the gelatin into a cup of water.  Stir constantly over medium heat until the gelatin has dissolved completely.  

Carson was my little helper for this project.  He's good at stirring.

Once the gelatin is dissolved, pour a cup of birdseed into your bowl and add the gelatin.  Stir to combine.  If you see liquid pooling in the bottom of the bowl, add more birdseed.  

Then, spoon the mixture into your prepared molds.  Carson made a gingerbread birdseed cake for our birds.  The rest are birds and butterflies.  Once you pack the mold tight with birdseed, remove it very carefully and move on to the next one.

After you have spooned the birdseed into the molds--really pack them tightly so when they cool and harden they will be very solid--insert your pre-cut straws into the shapes.  Make sure you push the straw all the way through the birdseed.

Let the molds harden overnight, then thread a piece of natural twine through the hole.

If you'd like, you can think of a cute message to tie onto the string.  I stamped a little bird onto plain colored circles and wrote, "So TWEET of you to come."

I cut out colorful paper circles and...

glued the plain paper to it to add a pop of color.  I used a circle cutter I got at AC Moore to punch out the circle shapes.

I used a hole punch to make a hole in the top of the circles...

threaded the natural twine through the hole...

And they were ready to go.  I provided clear plastic bags for guests to take their favors home so they did not get birdseed all over their cars.

Our birds made quick work of their birdseed cake!  I think this would be a fun project to do in the winter when it is hard for the birds to find food.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why Wouldn't You...Join Momsanity?

15 seconds, you’ve got this.

Awesome job.

We can do all things through Christ…

I’m so proud of you.  You’re stronger than you thought you were.

These are just a few of the things I heard as I completed a 20 minute workout led by Debbie Wilkins.

One look at my watch let me know that I had piddled nap time away, paying bills, cleaning up the kitchen, starting laundry.  All important, necessary things.  But I had 25 minutes until the boys got off the bus, and the chaos of snack time, homework, and after school activities began.

So, what did I do?  I turned to momsanity.

My good friend, Amber got me hooked on momsanity and I. love. momsanity.  I still like to crank out 3 or 4 miles on my treadmill--when I have time--but when I want a workout that I know will leave me breathless, encourage me both physically and mentally, and make me sore the next day, I know I can rely on Debbie.  Or Emily.  Or Kate.

These three women developed momsanity to encourage moms to work out.  The workouts they have created and recorded for their website are based on Metabolic Effect, and let me tell you, they have "affected" me.  I feel stronger and leaner than I have in a long time.  And it is not because of endless hours spent working out.  It is 20 minutes here.  15 minutes there.  Some days 5 minutes is all I have. And the great thing is, these workouts can be done anywhere!  Oftentimes without any weights. The one I did yesterday only required a mat.  Debbie has encouraged all her "momsanity sisters" to do their workouts at least three times a week.  And in all honesty, I have averaged about one, maybe two, a week lately.

Amber and I are doing "kettle bell swings" in Hawaii.  No weights?  Just use lava rocks.

I have used this blog to keep me accountable for many things, like Worldly Wednesday, and cooking healthy meals.  This time, it's workouts.  I will post what workouts I have completed at the end of the week.  In the meantime, you really should check out their website.  When I joined, it was just $10 a month.  For just $10 a month, I have access to new workouts each month, nutrition guidelines, healthy recipes (for moms and kids), healthy habit videos, and prayer calendars/memory verses.  The price to join has gone up to $20 (per month), but even so, you're not going to find a gym membership for that price, and you can do these workouts in the privacy of your own home!  In your pajamas!  And every so often, momsanity offers a special, which I will be sure to let you know about.

So, one workout down, two to go.  Today's was a core workout, so I will be looking for a workout to tone my arms and legs next.  I'll keep you posted...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"The One Handed Cook"

The One Handed Cook on Taco Tuesday

I have been joking lately about writing a book called "The One-Handed Cook."  My mom is the one who coined this phrase as she lifted a cranky one year old off my hip while I attempted to brown the beef, shred the cheese, chop the tomatoes, and warm the tortillas all at the same time.  Since it is not likely that I will grow several appendages in the near future, I had to come up with a way to prep for dinner so that I can survive the dreaded "witching" hour.

So I prep during nap time.  Sometimes this is not possible because I have other things to do during Camden's nap, but on the days I can do some prep, I am less frazzled when trying to get dinner on the table.  And less frazzled makes for a much happier mommy at the dinner table.

When Justin and I were first married, we liked to make an Italian chicken dish from a great little book called Fix it and Forget It a crockpot cookbook.  It was given to me by my mother-in-law, and we have several favorites from that cookbook.  Instead of making Italian chicken (with a packet of dry Italian seasoning), I use my crockpot to make a Mexican dish (with a packet of dry taco seasoning).  It is yummy!

Start with one pound frozen chicken breasts.  Add a packet of taco seasoning, and pour a cup of warm water over the top.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  The chicken will shred easily with two forks, and you're all set!

So, I prepared the crock pot first thing in the morning and let the chicken cook all day.  Then, during naptime, I cut up the tomatoes, shredded two kinds of cheese, tore the lettuce into bit sized pieces (or used my handy dandy Pampered Chef shredder), chopped some red onion, and drained the black beans.

When it was time for dinner, I heated the black beans and rice, and set everything out so my kids could serve themselves, buffet style.   They love to make their own tacos, and it keeps the mess at the island where any stray cheese can be swept into the sink.  We made our tacos at the island, then gathered at the table to eat.

Taco salad.  Yummmmmmmm.

And cleanup was a snap!, pun intended.  I got these awesome Snapware glass containers at Costco once when they were on sale, and I love them!  I almost never use plastic anymore because I can't reheat in plastic.  These are awesome because they are pretty enough to serve food, easy enough to snap a lid on and stick in the fridge, and I can reheat in the same container.  What's not to love?!

How do you prep for dinner?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things on Friday

These are a few of my favorite things...


My little guy LOVES bubbles.  And these are the best bubbles out there.  I saw them used at storytime and just had to find out where they came from.  Turns out they are from Gymboree.  And they are sold in a pack, including the bubbles, bubble blower, and little cup to pour the bubbles into.  When you blow into the blower, tons of tiny bubbles come out, and they seem more durable than the average bubble.


My boys take piano lessons from Ms. Julie at Kemper Ministries.  She is amazing and the organization is amazing as well.  The boys have learned to read and write music, and Jonah and Julie are composing a song together with lyrics from the book of Revelation.  Last week, they let me listen to what they have written so far.  Jonah played while Julie sang and I could hardly keep the tears from rolling down my face, it was so beautiful.  Julie is very creative with Carson and helps him figure out songs he chooses to learn.  This week she helped him write the notes for the song, "For the First Time in Forever, " from Frozen.  He loves to play it!  Their spring concert was at a park in Indian Trail.  

And...this guy.  This place.  This vacation.  

We had an amazing time celebrating our 15th anniversary in Hawaii.  We went to the big island and Maui, and our most exciting adventures were on Hawaii, the big island.  This is where we saw the reflection of lava at the bottom of an enormous crater at Volcano National Park.  It was amazing to hang out with my man.  I love you, Justin!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

This and That on Thursday: Last Day of School

I am posting this now so you will have time to prepare.

Believe me, you will not regret it.  And your kids will not forget it.

You will be THE coolest mom and dad out there.  

Kids will come running from all over the neighborhood to join in the fun.

It's war.  Water war.  

And the adults are playing to win.

This is my boys on the morning of the last day of school.
And this is them after the fun!

Leah and I started with two bags of water balloons.

We spent the morning filling four laundry baskets with the water balloons, one basket for each boy.  During this process, it began to rain, which only made it more fun.

We had two little helpers. A Jake...

and a Camden.

When the boys got home from school, Leah and I were armed with water guns and ready.  The boys didn't know what had hit them!  We showed them their stash and the game was on.

I don't know who had more fun.  Leah and me filling up the balloons, or the boys throwing them at each other!

This year will have to be even bigger and better.  Who knows what we'll come up with this time?!