Gingerbread houses made easy!

gingerbread house

Last year we bought a gingerbread house to make with the boys.  As we got out all of the gear and started making it, we realized that the frosting (glue) to keep it together was really runny, and didn’t keep the house together.  It ended with disaster, the house fell down and the kids were crying.  So this year, we decided to use graham crackers to make a smaller house.  We bought our own candy and I made the “glue”.  They turned out great, each of my kids was able to make their own mini house, and it was cheaper than the store bought gingerbread houses. 

Here is how I made the “glue” :

2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder
cold water

Mix the powdered sugar and meringue powder, add enough cold water so that it is still thick, but smooth.  You want it on the thicker side rather than runny.  Put it in a sandwich bag and cut the corner off so that you can nicely squeeze it into the sides of the house.  Pick whatever candy you choose!

 

Homemade shower cleaner that really works

I live in the country, so we have well water which means we have HARD WATER. Remember my post this morning HERE that said I was doing my bathroom cleaning today? So, I tried a bunch of different homemade shower cleaner concoctions to see if I could find one that would get the hard water stains and soap scum off of my shower. First I tried ammonia and water and other than clearing out my sinuses, it didn’t do much for the hard water spots. Then I tried vinegar and baking soda which worked but not as well as I would’ve liked. Finally, I hit the bullseye! Here’s a recipe for homemade cleaner that worked awesome and it left my shower sparkly clean! P.S. My husband is going to be thrilled when he sees I sprayed ammonia on the shower head and it took the finish completely off! But anyway, here’s the recipe for the cleaner that worked. It worked so well that I used it on my sink too!

HOMEMADE SHOWER/SOAPSCUM/BATHROOM CLEANER

1 cup apple cider vinegar (or distilled)
2 TBSP cornstarch
2 TBSP dawn dishsoap
Mix together in a spray bottle and soak your shower with it, let it sit for a few minutes and scrub, it left my shower sparkly clean!
shower cleaner

 

Family Time: Leaving a Legacy

legacy

 

 

When my first child was born, I remember thinking I have so much time to pour into him…18 years ahead of me.  As a stay at home mom, I spent many of my minutes playing, teaching, encouraging, and disciplining my child.  There are three years between my boys so I had a lot of time to pour into my first.  

 

Then, along came my second child, and I remember feeling, “Wow, I am a stay at home mom, and I still feel like all my working mom friends who feel like the time is flying by.”  I tried to make every minute count, but the time was still slipping through my fingers ever too quickly.  Then, along came #3, and the last few years have been a blur. 

 

My husband often reminds me of the fleeting time left we have with our oldest son.  He’d say, “He’s more than half way out of here, you know.”  Oh, dear!  Have I poured into my kids like I should?  Have I “Trained them up in the way he should go?”  Have I taught them what I should be?  Of course, as believers, the main goal for our children is that they become followers of Christ.  Have I faithfully proclaimed the gospel to them?  Have I led a life worthy for them to follow?   Have I left a legacy?

 

My kids LOVE to hear stories about my husband and I growing up.  They sit intently waiting to hear about adventures and fun stories about our childhood.  I have to say that most of our stories about our parents were about how they lived, not necessarily about what they said or taught us.  Hmm…am I living my life in a way that my kids can share with their kids?  When my kids share about me, what will they say?  

 

The necessary daily chores and tasks are important, but are our children seeing us trust God for all our needs?  Are our kids seeing how faithful God is by how we trust in Him?  Do we share our prayers with our kids about our deepest needs?  Are we dropping to our knees in front of our kids when those needs and prayers are answered?  Or do they see us worry about finances, or filling our time with sporting events and other activities instead of at church?  Are they seeing us be Christ-centered or self-centered?  Are they seeing us fix things on our own, or giving the glory to God?

 

I want my kids to say, “My mom loved the Lord, trusted Him for all our needs, and lived her life according to His will.”   What do you want your legacy to be?  

 

 

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”  Deuteronomy 6:5-7

BOYS!!

I am never in awe of the destruction that boys can cause.  Having four of them has seasoned me in my child-raising quicker than I expected. Just wanted to share with you a few of my many memories from the past few weeks:

My son Levi is a quiet riot.  He is very quiet but is usually causing some crazy circumstance to come about in my house.  A few weeks ago he took the vent out from the back seat air conditioning/heating in my car.  I had no idea that the back vents and front vents are connected, and I had no idea that he took the vent out.  When we were driving down the road I turn the heat on full blast.  I sure got blasted.  Little tiny white styrofoam balls filled my car, my face, and my hair.  I pulled over because this high pitched squeeling sound came out of the vent.  After investigation, I found that little Levi pulled apart his stuffed animal and shoved all of the stuffing and Styrofoam into the back vent of my car, and it traveled through the front vent and into my face!! I just closed my eyes and said a prayer 🙂 LOL!

Yesterday Levi and I were walking outside, he was walking behind me and yells “Hey mom, CATCH!” I then felt something hit me in the back of the head.  I said “Levi don’t throw things at me” and we kept walking.  About 5 minutes later he said “Uhh, mom? That thing is still on your head”.  Normally I freak out when I feel something on my head, I have had bugs, bees, spiders, and the thought of anything being in my hair really bothers me.  So of course I swing my head around and feel around.  Oh what I found made my jaw drop to the ground……burdocks! He threw a huge ball of burdocks into my hair.  Swinging my head around, and having the wind blow really didn’t help.  I wanted to cry, and scream at the same time.  I could see the look on Levis face as he watched me panic.  Somehow, I laughed.  I laughed because I didn’t know what else to do.  Levi started to laugh with me.  I asked him later why he threw them in my hair and he let me know that he had no idea that they would stick in my hair, he wanted me to catch them.  One by one I picked each of them out, I did shed a few tears.  But when I look back it makes me laugh that this little squirt, Levi, manages to find trouble wherever he goes. 

 

levi

Boys will be Boys!

vacation 4

My husband took some time a couple weeks ago to spend with our family before the school year crunch began.  (he is the principal at a private school) So each day we planned events.  We have been having a blast, and each summer as the boys get older, it gets even better because we are moving out of the baby stages.

I just wanted to share a few highlights with you….

1) We went to bounce it out on the day that it was raining outside, let me tell you, your kids would love this place.  They cant get out, they cant lost, you can just relax and watch them play.

vacation 1

2) We went to a play ground.  Let me explain this picture to you before you look at it…. I was trying to get pictures of each of my boys while they were on the swing.  Last summer I took pictures of them at the playground and I blew them up and hung them on my wall, they were super cute.  So I tried to do this again.  As I was trying to take Jacob’s picture, my son Benjamin we screaming that he was going to fall off the slide.  So I stopped to look at him (he was fine) and I went back to taking Jacob’s picture, well apparently I got a little too close and I snapped his picture right before he kicked me in the face!   This says it all……yes, that is his sneaker!!

vacation 3

 

3)The next day we decided to take them to this waterfall in Warsaw.  This waterfall is a secret amongst the locals there, and its beautiful.  It is quite a hike, but well worth it.  So when we got there, we were a little surprised to see the strong current of the water.  It had rained the night before so the water was high and it was running pretty fast.  We contemplated whether or not this would be a suitable idea with 4 kids.  So we strapped Benjamin on Justin’s back and headed up stream. We went super slow and we stopped a few times and reasoned amongst ourselves as to whether or not we should turn back.  We finally made it to the waterfall at the top, it was beautiful.  So when we headed back down stream we got to a slow part so we decided to go for a swim.  I am not a swimmer, especially in untreated water! So the boys swam, and all of a sudden Jacob started screaming that his shoe fell off.  I looked and it got caught in the current and was swept downstream.  Me, being too cheap to buy ANOTHER new pair of shoes this summer, I took off running downsteam to get it, as soon as I would catch up to his shoe, it would get caught in the water and be swept away again.  I could hear my husband burst out laughing because I know he was thinking I should just let the shoe go.  I fell a couple times, got soaked, and finally right as I was about to give up, I saw it sitting at the bottom of a little waterfall on top of a stick! Wow! I ran half way down the stream, slipped and slid the whole way, I couldn’t even see Justin or the kids anymore because I ran so far, but boy was I proud that I got that shoe! I saved the day for Jacob, and saved having to buy a new pair….or so I thought.  I finally got back to where Justin and the boys were, with a big smile I yelled “Jacob! I got it!!!!” He responded with “Mom did you get my other one too?” The look on my face at that moment was probably worth a million dollars! He lost the other shoe while I was chasing that one.  REALLY!?!?

We had a great time, I think I laughed for most of our vacation.  These little squirts sure do keep me busy.  Right before I started this post, the boys were all working on their school book work to stay ahead for the summer.  Levi was supposed to be cutting out circles with his scissors but instead he came in with a handful of HAIR!!!

vacation 2

 I sure do love ’em though 🙂

 

 

 

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Jellystone Park!!!

Jellystone Park, it’s every kids paradise and every parents dream! 

Last weekend we packed up the kiddos and went to Jellystone park for a couple nights.  It’s located in North Java, NY.  It’s only about 30 minutes from our house, which is perfect! Spending too much longer than that in the car usually ends up in chaos! It sort of started out with chaos anyway! The car was packed, and I mean packed.  All of our camping gear, 2 adults, 4 kids, and a dog.  My husband is VERY particular about how we pack the car, as I was loading things in, I noticed him taking them back out and reloading 🙂 So needless to say, it took a REALLY long time to pack the car!

car yogi

When we arrived, the staff at Jellystone was SUPER friendly and helpful.  They answered all of our questions, and they gave us an escort to show us which campsites we could pick.  We picked a site that was tucked back into a little cluster of trees, but right across from their huge wooden playground.  When I would make dinner, my kids would go to the playground with Justin, it was perfect!

campsite yogi

I bought Justin a new tent for Christmas this year (last year we slept in a 4 person tent with all the kiddos).  So I bought him this Wenzel tent (it happens to be on sale at Amazon right now!)  Although, if you are not into tent camping, there are awesome cabins to rent also.  Here is a smaller cabin, but there are also water front cabins and larger cabins.

yogi cabin

The moment we got there, the kids got into their swim trunks, they were so excited to go to the water park.  Jellystone has an enormous waterpark that is every kids’ (and adults) DREAM.  My husband loved it as much as the kids did! I am not a swimmer.  I married a man that LOVES to swim and get in the water. I will drown, I still do the doggy paddle and I have to plug my nose when I jump in.  I still had a great time at the water park though!

waterpark yogi

slide yogi

So everyday we would go to the waterpark then to the beach, and then usually back up to the waterpark again.  The beach was my favorite part of Jellystone.  It’s a huge pond with sand in the one end for swimming, on the other side of the swimming docks, there are canoes and paddle boats.  This beach was super clean, and the kids absolutely loved playing in the sand then going for a swim.  At one point I was sitting with all of the parents in the chairs and my son runs half way up the beach and yells “mom, I’m going to pee in the water, ok?”….Really?!!  I pretended like I had no idea who he was, not my kid!  Just joking, I wanted to pretend he wasn’t mine at that moment though.

yogi sand

Jellystone is completely centered around the kids.  So there were festivities each day that you could participate in, while we were at the beach, there was a sand castle competition going on.  My kids would start to make a sand castle but never really got that far because Benjamin would drive over it with his play bulldozer.

beach yogi

There are 2 stocked fishing ponds.  My kids took advantage of these every night! They love fishing.  Levi finally caught his first fish, only to find that when he pulled it out of the water, the hook was not in the mouth at all, but hooked through the eyeball. Agh.  As he was bringing the fish to me, I grabbed the fish and the eyeball fell out. Gross! My kids were in awe starring at the fish eyeball that was on the hook.

yogi fishing

Each morning and evening you can participate in the flag raising, and hay rides.  a big tractor pulls the hay ride through the entire park and the kids sing songs the whole way.  You are accompanied by yogi, boo boo, cindy, or ranger.  My son Jacob refused to even look at the characters.  He hates any attention whatsoever.  My husband and I were laughing because the entire morning before the hay ride, we were telling the kids not to be so loud incase people were still sleeping.  You see, when you have 4 kids, they always try to talk over each other when they are talking to you, so most of the time you don’t get the right story, and it usually ends up with one boy jumping on the other one for them to be quiet so that they can finish talking.  So all morning they were super loud at the campsite, we get on the hay ride where you are supposed to scream and sing as loud as they can, and my kids sat completely still, looking straight ahead with a big smile and they didn’t make a peep.  WHY?

yogi ranger

Across the other side of the park, there is a basketball court, a dog park, peddle car racing, miniature golf, crafts, and laser tag.  Last year we played all of those games, this year we ran out of time.

Jellystone is packed with fun-filled activities for your kids! Trust me, I have 4 boys and my oldest is only 7 so vacations are not easy most of the time.  But this park really is SUPER EASY.  My kids are already asking when we can go back.

There is so much more to this park, you could spend a week there are still never experience all that they have! Your kids will love it.  I love making memories with them!

The highlights of out trip:

*It so relaxing

*The water parks are the best!

*The park is super clean

*The staff is friendly

*They pick up your garbage for your every morning and evening

The lows of our trip:

*Benjamin is still not potty trained which makes camping a tad bit harder

*The fish eye ball fell out

*Our dog pooped under our tent and we couldn’t figure out where the smell was coming from until we packed up to leave, so every night we smelled dog poop before we went to sleep

*My son ate my sugar free candy instead of his bag or regular candy, so imagine how many times I was bringing him to the bathroom because he ate a whole bag of sugar free candy!

Over all, we had a fabulous time! I love Jellystone, and I hope to bring my kids back each year.  If you are looking for a fun vacation for your kids and a chance for you to relax….Check over here to find the closest Jellystone Park in your area

 

 

Little squirts!

levi

This little man went to the dentist, and to my surprise he did very well.  I was sitting in the waiting room outside of the dentist room and I could hear the hygentist say over and over again “that cleans your teeth, that is for your mouth, that is what I use to move the chair up and down” I kept hearing the electric toothbrush shut off in order for her to let Levi get his next question out.  Finally I had to tell him to stop asking so many questions! He is such a little squirt, and when she would say “ok open wide” he would respond by saying “uhhh I don’t really want to” That poor woman really earned her pay with this visit, but as long as everyone was ok, then to me it was a successful visit. So then he got to pick out a new toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste, he was showing it to EVERYONE in the waiting room as I was checking out.

Next stop, the bank.  I pull up to the drive thru at the bank and I happened to know the woman working there, there was no one behind me in line so we were making small talk for a few minutes until she said “uh oh, look behind you” I look back and Levi squeezed the entire tube of toothpaste on the inside of the window and then used his toothbrush to rub it all in.  As I began to say “LEVI!!!!! stop doing that!!” He rolled the window down and responded by saying “what mom?” Really??? Why???

So then I picked my other kiddos up from my moms house at lunchtime, and we headed home.  I put my little guy down for a nap while the oldest 3 were eating lunch.  I decided to make the beds and put the laundry away while I was up there.  I could hear my kids laughing really loud downstairs so I yelled down to ask what was so funny.  Jude said they were just shooting their new nerf gun and it was really fun.  Ok, I finished putting away the laundry and came down, the floor was COVERED with crushed up potato chips.  What! Why would they think they could do such a thing? So I went into their playroom where the floor in there was also covered, and I caught them red handed. They were making targets with the potato chips and shooting their Styrofoam nerf bullets at the chips and crushing them.  Really??? Why???

Why cant boys find NORMAL games to play? Why cant they quietly and happily eat their lunch? Why cant they use their toothbrushes the way they are intended to? I want to know if girls act this way!!?? I guess I’ll never know!

little squirts

5 Tips to Tame the Green Eyed Monster in Our Kids

greeneyedmonster

 

 

Green Eyed Monster??  Yes, those things our kids turn into when they see something they “just have to have!!”  It doesn’t help that commercials, our culture, social media, and peer pressure encourage our little ones to want more and more.  Our culture alone breeds materialistic desires in not only our children, but in us as well.

 

Here are some tips to help tame that greediness when you have to take your children shopping.

 

1. Plant and Sow a Heart of Gratefulness – teach your kids as you go about your day what it means to be grateful and how to have a heart of gratitude. Read scriptures and bible stories to them about being grateful. Read stories from third world countries about kids that have much less than they do. Open their eyes to the world around them. Even teaching them songs like, “Count your blessings, count them one by one,” can help them to think about what they already have. Teach them that God is provider of our needs.

 

2.  Set the Right Expectations – let them know before you enter the store that you will not be purchasing anything that is not on your list, any toys, candy, etc.  Just let them know that you are only buying things you need on that trip, and prepare them that they may see a game or toy they may want, but you won’t be buying it….and not to ask for it!!  If you do plan on giving them  treat at the end, remind them not to ask.  Go over the “rules of the store” before going in…. Setting clear expectations and reminding them EVERY TIME you go to the store is a huge help.

 

3.  Pray before you head into the store – having a right heart and praying before you go in can set the tone for your shopping trip.

 

4.  Give them a small list of items they can help find on your grocery list – I give my kids a list of items they are responsible for finding when they shop with me.  If your kids are not old enough to read, just print out a list of clip art pictures.  It does take a few extra minutes of planning, but it can be a huge help to keep little minds occupied while shopping.  My kids loved it, and I tried to spread it out over the isles so they stayed busy.

 

5.  Praise at the end – Don’t forget to praise them for a job well done at the end if they did well.  It’s important to give credit where credit is due.

 

 

 

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”    Hebrews 13:5

 

 

25 More Conversation Starter Questions to Ask Your Kids

conversationquestions

 

Here are 25 even more Conversation Starter Questions to Ask your kids at dinner, bedtime, date night, family night, or anytime!!

 

  1. When you get up, what is the first thing you do?
  2. What is your favorite toy?
  3. Who is the best cook in your family, and what is your favorite thing they cook?
  4. What is your favorite animal?
  5. What is your scariest or grossest memory?
  6. If you had to tell 1 person a secret, who would it be?
  7. What is your favorite thing to do?
  8. If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  9. Who is your favorite Bible character, and why?
  10. What is your favorite time of the day?
  11. What is your favorite dessert?
  12. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
  13. What is one thing you could do over and over?
  14. What is your greatest fear?
  15. Do you like the indoors or outdoors better?  Why?
  16. Is it ok to tell a lie so you don’t hurt someone’s feelings?
  17. Should you keep a secret that might cause someone danger?
  18. What is one job that you would never want to do?
  19. What would you do for a dare for $25?
  20. What is your favorite breakfast? Lunch? Snack?
  21. What is your favorite fast food restaurant and what would you order?
  22. How would your family describe you?
  23. What is your favorite smell?
  24. If you had to eat octopus, chicken feet, or cow tongue, which would you choose?
  25. What is your favorite ride at an amusement park?

 

You can check out more conversation starter questions here.