Thursday, April 30, 2009

6 of 52

Spring Tea and an overly aggressive 3 year old with my camera... WA LA, a different perspective.
Mom's need to be in front of the camera more often, check it out at Forever in Blue Jeans. Moms are getting it done!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: My Slow Cooker Pork Roast Won!

Thanks to Heidi at Sacred and Profane for hosting Blogstyle: Iron Chef! Check out the super yummy and totally easy recipe here.

5 Minutes for Mom is hosts Wordless Wednesday, hop on over for a look see.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cake Auction Fun

Yesterday we experienced a Cub Scout Cake Bake. Each scout brought a cake in the theme of their "favorite" for the fundraiser auction. Both boys decided their favorite would be a Webkinz theme.

Originally we stopped at the store and bought two little Webkinz key chains to include with the cakes. Thankfully both boys decided to use Webkinz figures they already owned in exchange for keeping the new key chains. I was very thankful because the key chains where small fuzzy stuffed animals that I could not imagine how to incorporate on an ooey gooey frosted cake. The drawback is that Nathan had a very hard time parting with his Googles figure but also did not want to give up the fun new key chain. Eventually he decided to put the Googles on the cake after we had a talk about how important it is to give for a good cause and that he may not win his own cake.

Drama came at auction time when Nathan bid and won the first cake offered up. He then realized that he won the cake being shown and not his choice of all the cakes... this brought tears to his eyes because now he was sure he would not win his own cake back. We allowed each boy $15 to bid towards their favorite cake and since Nathan won the now unwanted cake for a mere $7 I reminded him that he had $8 to bid still.

In the meantime Topher held out for his own cake and won it for $13. We decided Nathan could have the remaining $2 from Topher's funds, thus giving him $10 to bid with. A few cakes later Nathan's was offered up and won by a different scout {Topher's best bud} for $10. More tears came after that!

As much as it broke our hearts as parents we feel this was a good lesson for Nathan on so many levels. He needed to understand the consequence for not listening closely to the auction procedures. Also about putting his figure on the cake simply because he thought he would win it back and not because he wanted to donate something of personal value for a good cause.

Eventually he did stop crying and listened to a similar life story from Patrick's childhood days that seemed to help him understand. The next morning he did not mention it and seems to have come to terms with his decision and the outcome of it. I wish someone had told me how tough this side of parenting is!

At least making the cakes with the boys and decorating them to their specifications was a fun parenting experience. So fun!

Topher's cake

Nathan's cake

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lesson in Nature

Staying at home with the kids has been so wonderful and I am so thankful for this opportunity. The best part is random and spontaneous life lessons, such as early this morning {Lil' was still in her jammies} when we saw a turtle crossing the parking lot in front of our home. Lilly and I quickly put on our shoes and ran out to see this little fella make his way to the woods.

My animal identification skills are pretty limited so I am not sure what kind of turtle this was but let me tell you that the picture does not do justice to how bright yellow it's head was. I have never seen such a bright color on a turtle before, pretty amazing.

The turtle was very tolerant of my picture taking and Lilly's excitement, he continued his hike across the lot despite us. Once he reached the edge of the woods a huge gust of wind came through and that little guy pulled his arms, legs and head in with lightening speed. I was excited to see this happen because it gave me the opportunity to explain to Lilly about a turtle shell and the fascinating mode of protection they have.

Lilly imitated the turtle pulling in to it's shell while we waited for it to make it's way to the woods... she is a frog... while we waited... she is a bird... while we waited... is a Blue Jay's nest we found... while we waited...

...and finally the new friend we'd made found his way through the woods and into a small creek. What an truly unique opportunity for a lesson in Nature!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

5 of 52

In honor of Earth Day Lilly and I planted "Springtime Grass Buddies" which was a craft from our Toddler Activity Swap.


~White cup

~Wiggle Eyes

~Potting Soil

~Grass seed

~Spary bottle


1. Glue the eyes on the cup and use markers to add facial features (nose, mouth, freckles, etc)

3. Fill cup 3/4 full with soil

4. Sprinkle seeds on top and cover with soil, just enough so seeds can't be seen

5. Let child water the seeds with the spray bottle, keeping the soil moist

Keep in a sunny area and the grass will grow and look like green hair!

52 Week Picture Challenge is hosted by Forever in Blue Jeans - stop by for more pictures of Moms in front of the camera.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Earth Day

I made these fun Earth Day cookies for the boys to take to school today. This super simple idea and many more Earth Day ideas are at ABC & 123, they are so clever!

Wordless Wednesday is hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thoughts of Gardening

Oh how I'd love my own garden. I grew up spending my summers helping to weed, weed & weed my Dad's garden. At the time I did not appreciate the work I was putting in and I certainly did not appreciate the healthy veggies I had to eat each night.

Now that I am a parent I completely understand what my parents were up to when they decided to grow and can their own produce. In fact they still do a scaled back version of the same garden and I love sitting around snapping beans, eating homemade pickles and yummy corn-on-the-cob.

I have always entertained thoughts of starting my own garden but I just don't know where to start. We have a nice big yard at our current house so space is no longer an issue. What weighs on my mind now is the over abundance of wildlife that might find my hard work a tasty treat. It seems like a super costly endeavour if I have to buy materials to fence in a garden area, which would defeat the frugality of growing my own food. Do you have any of these issues? How do you overcome them?

Today I saw a chance to win $50 to Home Depot, which has it's own Garden Club. Visit $5 Dinners for your chance to enter and win. I think it would be great to win this certificate and give gardening a chance. Will you have a garden this year? Leave me a comment with any tips or suggestions you might have. Happy Gardening!

Friday, April 17, 2009


Katie at A Listmaker's Life, Jen at Our Nifty Notebook and Sarah at I Blame My Mother all tagged me this week to play 8 is Enough. Sarah and Heidi at Sacred and Profane also tagged me in Keeping it Real. So here it goes:

Keeping It Real
Here are the rules:

~Take a picture of yourself right now

~No primping or preening, just snap the picture

~Load the picture on to your blog

~Tag some people to play

Holla - it's the momma who only wears the same two sweatshirts every day of the week... and yes this is what I looked like to take the boys to school. **sigh**

8 is Enough
8 Things I am Looking Forward To
1. Tulip Time, my Dutch Costume and dancing after a year off
2. Going to the beach after a LONG winter
3. My brothers wedding in May
4. Going to my good friend Meggan's wedding in November
5. My Step mom, sisters and future sis-in-law coming for a visit tomorrow
6. Summer break
7. Packing away all the sweaters, boots, snow pants, gloves, hats and SOCKS!
8. Flip Flops

8 Things I Did Yesterday
1. Walked the boys to school
2. Rode my bike and took Lilly to the park to play for the first time this year
3. Used a porta-potty at the park, yucko!
4. Made muffins with sweet Lilly
5. Hacked the top off a monster bush that was blocking the entire bottom of my picture window (now it needs a really good washing cuz the grime is more visible now...)
6. Taught Lilly how to drive the Power Wheels Hummer on her own - no brothers needed this year!
7. Jumped rope and drank Slim Fast as part of my 4 week "Slim Fast and Jump Rope" diet so my Dutch Costume and Bridesmaid dress don't rip when I wear them (I am NOT joking, sadly)
8. Put away Easter decorations

8 Things I Wish I Could Do
1. Sew
2. Move back to Holland
3. Have my own car
4. Have an endless supply of money - on a tree would be nice
5. See my friends more often
6. Garden - one of these days I'll give it a try
7. See my Nana one more time
8. Take the kids on a summer long road trip to all of the awesome places and people I want to visit in the country!

8 Shows I Watch
1. Random cartoons on PBS, depending on the kind of morning we are having
2. Dora on DVD
3. Various shows on Food Network - back when we had cable & boy do I really miss them
4. House, if Patrick has it on
5. Family Guy, if Patrick has it on
6. I really don't watch TV... just what ever is on if someone else is watching it...
7. I'd rather be blogging - hee, hee
8. or playing outside, or baking or planning a party...

Now I am supposed to tag 8 people to play along - but I am not sure I know that many, which is why I have avoided playing with tags before. :)

I tag (for both Keeping It Real and 8 Is Enough):
1. Shasta at Crackers and Chaos
2. Chris at Chris and Jut's Musings
3. Tina at A Mary Kay Consultant & Wife of a Seminary Student
4. Kim at Life of a Modern Mom
5. Erica at Tales of a Thirty-something Nothing
6. Alex at The Life and Times of a Seminarian
7. Heidi at Blue Eyed Blessings (she has done it already but I am running out of people)
8. Jenn at Ponytails, Wooded Trails & Camouflage

Thursday, April 16, 2009

4 of 52

Easter 2009
For more pictures of Mom's venturing in front of their camera's visit Forever in Blue Jeans 52 Week Challenge.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Have You Seen My Mate?

It has been a LONG winter and, sadly, not all of the gloves/mittens made it through as a pair. So now what to do with them...?

Wordless Wednesday is hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Oh no, you didn't

I have not just spent the last 3 hours on my tush in front of the computer checking other blog's, facebook and email. I have not allowed my darling 3 year old daughter to watch morning cartoons, an Elmo DVD and now a Tom & Jerry DVD while I do said sitting. I also most certainly did not just eat half of a bunny's head to top off my uber healthy leftover pizza lunch - with hot sauce of course {on the pizza, not the bunny}.

I do not have 9 rings remaining on my chain from the challenge I posted for myself 40 days ago when Lent started! I did not hand my husband a large JCPenny's bag and insist that he fill it with unused or unwanted clothes before I returned from taking the kids to a movie just so I could take 4 more rings off of the chain. I am not going to haul out the summer clothes to find 9 more bags of clothes to give away/throw away to accomplish this challenge even though the temps have yet to hit much over 50 degrees. I am not going to think of how tired my friends with smaller children must be of me purging my children's too-small stuff and passing it along {uh, gee thanks for another bag...}

I have not been sick for the past week and allowed my house to succumb to piles of laundry, quickie dinners and unrealized Spring Break ambitions. I did not do a mad stash-n-dash on Sunday when I thought my brother might be stopping by, *sigh* which he didn't.
I am also not considering allowing afore mentioned 3 year old skip her nap because, seriously, how does one get tired enough for a nap when all she has done is watch TV for hours on end? I also am not keeping a shred of hope for a nap just so I can lay down with her and rest... from this tiring job of web surfing. Uh, ya - Not Me!

Not Me! Monday is a blog carnival hosted by McMamma at My Charming Kids. Her son, Stellan, is very ill and so she is not posting a Not Me! but would love support of her precious son.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday Salads


So you know how McDonalds has a "fruit and walnut" salad? I treated the 2 younger kids to McD's while the eldest child was on a playdate with a friend and my was I tempted to buy it. However *sigh* I decided to save the money instead {go me!}, it costs way more than I think it should - but then doesn't everything? Free would be nice! My self-restraint was well rewarded when I was introduced to a Waldorf Salad at our church book study that evening. I have heard of this salad but can't say I've ever had it... but it is AWESOME and full of all the things I love. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Waldorf Salad


3 Granny Smith apples, cored

3 Red Delicious apples, cored

2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup white sugar

3 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons orange juice

2 cups whipped cream

6 stalks of celery, finely chopped

1 cup grapes, cut in half


1. Dice apples with the skin still on. Place in a bowl of water with a little lemon juice to keep from turning brown.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, lemon and orange juice. Fold in the whipped cream.

3. Drain the apples and add to mayo mixture, along with the celery and grapes. Stir until the ingredients are evenly coated.

For even more tasty recipes hop on over to A Listmaker's Life for Saturday Salads.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Kid Friendly Friday - Sewing Felt

The boys and their Webkinz... I hope this is normal and other young boys enjoy sewing felt clothing for their bitty stuffed animals. No? Well, at the very least let's hope it won't be a cause for therapy later in life.

I gave Nathan a large blunt-tip needle so that he could begin to learn how to sew his own creations. Otherwise both boys end up waiting for me to do it all and it takes so much longer than I have the ability to sit still. In this picture he is sewing a large "L" on to a blue cape which he then tied on his Leopard, aptly named "Leppy." {hence the large "L"}

Topher is in the process of creating "cop and robber" outfits for 4 of his Webkinz... yes, 4 of them! Thankfully the jackets were created much earlier by Patrick so I was able to skip that step and I was even happier to find out he simply wanted a yellow badge sewn on to the blue cop jackets. For his robbers he asked for black stripes going up and down their white jackets, so I put him to work cutting out the black strips... which bought me some time to get some of my own stuff done.

What was Lilly doing this whole time? What? I thought you were watching her... the last I saw she was admiring a spool of purple thread. {Thinking for a moment as I walk through the house...} I don't remember the kitten having purple stripes or Lilly for that matter. Oh, my, I hope there isn't a Webkinz in need of purple any time soon.

For more Kid Friendly Friday fun you simply must hop over to I Blame My Mother.

3 of 52

Wow, one of my best yet - Not! I have spent the past few days thinking of a way to get in to a picture... Nathan swiping my camera and snapping me as I cleaned HIS kittens litter box was not what I had in mind. But, hey, you work with what ya have. Notice hanging above my head is the shirt I had on in the last photo of me and I am surrounded by a sea of dirty clothes, nearly drowning from my lack of energy and even less ambition this week.
To see more Mom's in front of their cameras hop on over to Forever in Blue Jeans and join the 52 Week Challenge.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Show Me Some Love!

Today is an exciting day - my crockpot recipe, Slow Cooker Pork Roast, was selected as part of the Crock Pot Throwdown! {<--click to go to the site to vote} Can I get a hooray?
There are three recipes in the challenge. To be fair you should try out each recipe and vote for your favorite. My recipe is SO GOOD I know you are gonna feel compelled to vote for mine, you just are.
Give it a try and then visit Sacred and Profane {<--click to go to the site and vote} and vote for me, ahem - I mean, your favorite recipe.

And, hey, thanks for voting! ;)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


craft challenge

Heidi at Blue Eyed Blessings hosts a fun Monthly Craft Challenge. Last month was inspiring as many people entered to show off their scalloped punch creations. I was bummed to miss out because I do not own a punch like this... so I was very happy to see this month was buttons - I have LOADS of those!

The month kept going by, day by day, and I was not inspired at all to use my buttons. Wouldn't you know that I already have a project sitting in the house that used buttons... and I forgot about it until yesterday. Webkinz clothes!

The boys are always wanting to buy new colors of felt so they can dream up fun clothes and costumes for their Webkinz to wear. In July Topher received a Lil' Kinz cow and instantly wanted clothes for Princess Abby. {uh, ya - that is what he named the cow}

I made a blue jacket and black pants for Miss Abby and was pretty proud of my handy work considering how small this cow is and how big her backside is in comparison. I put buttons on the back of the pants to give the impression that they would attach to the jacket {although they don't} and a small flower button on the back of the collar to keep it down.

I put a large ornate button on the front to hold the jacket together and small beads on the collar for flare. She is ready for a night on the town!

After I was done Topher was pretty bummed - it isn't what he had in mind at all. Hello? Does this child have any idea how hard it is to dress a tiny stuffed animal? I let Daddy tackle it the next time... and just let me say that there are NO buttons to be found on that outfit and the only "bling" is a paper clip. I rest my case...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Steakhouse Onion Rings


How To Make Steakhouse Onion Rings

What You'll Need
2 large red onions, cut into 1-inch rings
Shallow bowl of 2 cups milk whisked with 1 large egg
Shallow bowl of 1 cup flour mixed with 1 cup cornstarch and 1 teaspoon salt
Deep fryer or heavy-bottomed pot filled with 4 inches of vegetable oil heated to 365 degrees

1. Soak the onion rings in the milk mixture for 30 minutes
2. Toss each ring in flour mixture; repeat, dipping rings in milk and flour again
3. Fry in the hot oil until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels; season with salt.

This recipe comes out of the Feb/Mar Food Network Magazine. I made these last week with our Veggie Burgers. The burgers were not my favorite but these onion rings turned out great. Want more recipes? Head on over to Crackers and Chaos to see what is cooking!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Random Picture Challenge

17th Folder
33rd Picture

I love this picture. This was last year when Nathan was a Tiger Cub when we lived in Alma. My brother, Ryan, helped him make his Pine Wood Derby car. Nathan was so devastated when he saw how polished and professional looking each of the other derby cars looked compared to his. We did not help him paint his car and, unfortunately, next to his fellow racers it was very obvious. The sign behind his car says "Most Original" and is the award he won, which just goes to show that doing something yourself does come with it's rewards.

For more Random fun, visit
4 Little Men and Girly Twins

Saturday Salads


This week we did not have our Tuesday Lenten Book Study at church, which meant no new salad/soup/bread to try out. We have enjoyed this new Tuesday staple and didn't want to miss one week, SO I served my family the following tummy tempting recipes. For more great salad ideas, visit Saturday Salads at A Listmaker's Life. This is SO good!

7 Layer Salad
1 head of lettuce (or 1 bag of precut)
1 cucumber, chopped
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 10 oz package peas, thawed
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
12 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled
Garlic Powder

In a large bowl, preferably glass, layer the lettuce and cucumber. Sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper. Layer green onions, carrots and peas. Sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper. Layer the cheese and bacon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Serve with ranch or other dressings on the side.

Pasta Meatball Soup
1 cup uncooked spiral or shell pasta
32 frozen Italian meatballs (about 1 pound), thawed
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces, each) chicken broth
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1-1/2 cups frozen sliced carrots, thawed
1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 jar (14 ounces) meatless spaghetti sauce
1 jar (4-1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 cup frozen peas

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a soup kettle or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain pasta and add to the soup; heat through. Yield: 10 servings (3 quarts).

Irish Soda Bread
4 1/2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins, if desired
1 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheet. Cut butter into flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl, using pastry blender or crisscrossing 2 knives, until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in raisins and just enough buttermilk so dough leaves side of bowl. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth. Shape into round loaf, about 6 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on cookie sheet. Cut and X shape about 1/2 inch deep through loaf with floured knife. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with butter or margarine, softened, if desired.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Slow Cooker Pork Roast


Iron Chef Challenge - Crock Pot Throwdown

Are you a Food Network junkie? I know I am but since we cut cable to save $ (darn you Dave Ramsey!) I have been going through withdrawal. I am so excited that Heidi at Sacred and Profane hosts an Iron Chef Challenge each month. April's challenge is a Crock Pot Throwdown - woo hoo! I LOVE my crock pot, it feels like I am cheating and someone else is doing the cooking for me. Is there anything better than coming home to the aroma of a cooked meal? With the {obvious} exception of the scent of a new baby's head I should think not! I am really hoping I get picked with this entry:

Slow Cooker Pork Roast


1 boneless pork loin roast, 4 to 6 pounds

1 clove garlic, halved

salt and pepper

1 1/3 cups brown sugar, divided

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


Wash pork roast, trim excess fat, pat dry and rub with garlic halves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then prick roast all over with a fork or skewer. In a cup or bowl, combine 1 cup of the brown sugar, the mustard and vinegar. Rub all over the roast. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 9 hours. Pour of the excess juices. Combine the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar with cinnamon; spread the mixture over the top of the roast. Cover and continue cooking on LOW for 1 hour longer.

Note: I made this with a smaller Pork Loin and ended up over-cooking it. It still tasted great but watch your cooking time depending on the poundage of your meat.

2 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans

It is not easy for me to get in my photos, I am just not nearly as interesting to me as the adventurous Schweri Children 3. So sad... but it explains my crazy photo today. I tried to get Lilly to sit with me for a picture and this is what ensued~

She loves me, she loves me not... she has no choice I suppose - I can still pick her up and make her sit with me. hee, hee

Jump in right where you are and join the 52 Week Challenge at Forever in Blue Jeans. You will be SO glad you did!

Half Birthday Trick

So what have you been up to this week? Well, that is good to hear. I myself have been called in to sub every day for the past 4 weeks so I am going to post a whole lotta stuff today which was intended for the whole week up to this point.
For example:

April 1st Topher celebrated his "half-birthday" with his classmates. I suggested making the April Fools Berry Soda for his class and hilarious giggle that escaped from that boy let me know that he agreed it was a great idea. To start he set out 21 cups and put straws in each one,

he then cut up strawberries in to bite size chunks,

and once the Jell-O firmed for a few hours we added the strawberries and filled each cup. I might mention that I underestimated how much each cup could hold and found myself mixing up two more boxes of Strawberry goodness, cutting up one more carton of strawberries and then setting my alarm to get up at 1AM to mix in the berries so that there would be enough for the whole class. YAWN!

After loading 21 Jell-O filled cups in to a crate I realised perhaps I should have opted for the sugar-free Jell-O which oddly is much lighter. In an effort to keep kids from peeking and ruining the surprise I covered the crate with foil, but as a general rule covering something only makes 6 years old more curious and the naughty ones have NO problem peeking anyway.

I did not get to see his class enjoy the tasty/tricky snack because I was subbing on the other side of the school but his teacher said it was a hit. She did mention that the kids did not get it at first and thought Topher had done something wrong because they could not suck up the berry goodness... although apparently one girl did actually manage to such the whole thing through the straw - strawberry chunks and all. Crazy!

There was one treat left so I did manage to snap a picture of Lilly enjoying it, also trying to such the whole thing through a straw. Too Funny!