Let’s Get Festive!

Hey Friends!

So this month it works out for us to have two holidays to celebrate!  When you have toddlers these are the days that you get to do really fun little things for them to take to school.  As well as have them do adorable little crafts to decorate your home or families homes!  My kids love to send gifts to their grandparents, aunts and uncles!  This month we weren’t crazy but did have some fun!

For St. Patrick’s Day K was sick with the flu so S go to do all the celebrating as far as bringing goodies to her class.  There are so many ideas out there but I decided to go kind of simple yet fun!  I did chocolate covered pretzels which we did for Valentines and were a hit.  So if it’s not broke why fix it; right?!  I used to hate doing these things as I have a bit of OCD and hate when the chocolate isn’t up to the same point on each rod and isn’t melted the same on all sides.  I know I have issues!  Well I tried a new method at valentines that worked well so I did again for St. Patrick’s Day!  I sprayed parchment paper with cooking spray lightly and used my fingers to smear it around.  I then used a plastic cup and melt aways as this way I was able to gauge how far up on the pretzels the chocolate was.  Once I had them laid out on parchment on a cookie sheet I put them in the fridge to set up.  I repeated this for four cookie sheets then took the first one back out and then used melted green melt aways and a spoon to drizzle over the top of them.  Lastly, I sprinkled gold sprinkles on them as the “gold” and stuck them back in the fridge.  Super simple, huh?!  I will say my Valentine’s pretzels came out better than St. Patrick’s Day (don’t look to close at picture you will see the flaws).

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I then went and got rainbow twizzlers, a party size bag of rolo’s, bean shaped cellophane bags, and green ribbon.  I was actually really excited to create these little goodie bags.  Thankfully there are only ten kids in her class as I don’t know that I could have handled making thirty-two for K’s class.  These too were super simple and pretty self explanatory.  If questions please ask!

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For Easter we have had many changes as far as our family vacation plans.  As of today we will be going to my parents.  Which is completely ok…I mean a beach would have been great but when you own a business things don’t always go how you want.  We will spend the morning emptying the Koi pond and refilling it.  At a first glance yesterday I believe we have doubled our occupancy!  These Koi’s are serious when it comes to the reproduction process!  We did loose one of our big ones which we are super bummed about but that to is part of the cycle of life.

S did do a cute craft that involved an egg carton!  So free for that and paint colors I had on hand; another FREE, pipe cleaner which are a staple in the kids craft bin; FREE, buttons which are in endless supply; FREE, and a mini burlap canvas, which my mom bought a few of them at a garage sale last year at an amazing price of two for $1!  So yes, this project cost a total of .50!  I love FREE but when I can get it for under a $1 I’m pretty darn ecstatic too😀  I do have a second set of painted egg carton cups that I’m going to put together for our house as this particular one is for someone special.

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We hope you and your family have a great day and a Happy Easter!  Cheers!

 

Let’s Talk Food!

Good Morning Everyone!

Well it’s sunny outside but there is definitely a chill in the air.  It’s a brisk 30 this morning.  Boo to this but it’s not snowing or raining so I will run with it!  This week I made a few recipes that are definitely worth sharing.  So let’s get to it!

We are trying to have the kiddos eat healthier in the morning.  Don’t get me wrong they are willing to eat healthy but morning time is such a rush it seems especially on the days both kids go to school.  So many days its frozen pancakes and a side of fruit with milk.  Joe really wanted me to start getting more creative as processed food as we all know is fine in a pinch but it’s not appropriate for daily intake.  So this week I tried two new breakfast recipes.  The first one was blueberry muffins.  Now there are great recipes and I’m sure I have a family recipe for these but none that use whole wheat flour or coconut oil as I’m sure our parents and grandparents weren’t familiar with the benefits or these two items.  This recipe uses both of these and honey.  I’m finding honey just makes everything a little better😄  The one thing I do want to note these are great warm fresh out of the oven.  A day later they taste great still but I added a bit of butter and warmed them in the oven.  They tend to dry out quicker than most muffins I make.  I ended up getting double the amount of muffins out of this recipe as to what was stated in the post.  Next time I make these it will be a half recipe.  Here is the recipe, I hope you and your family enjoy as much as we did!

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http://bakerbynature.com/healthy-greek-yogurt-honey-blueberry-muffins/

Next on to pancakes!  These I just made this morning as S LOVES pancakes and she is truly my worst critic when it comes to food.  She is blunt and has no problem stating these are terrible.  So I was hesitant to make them but wanted to try.  K on the other hand always has something sweet to say about my cooking.  Well this recipe again used whole wheat flour and honey!  I got about 13 out of the batter, mine where medium in size and thick so I’m sure you could get double this if you thinned out.  These turned out AMAZING!  S said they were the best and was going to have them for breakfast all week.  K on the other hand said they were terrible and he wasn’t touching them.  A side note on that is he has also been dealing with another round of the flu since Thursday; YES I said he again is having flu symptoms.  So I’m just taking his reaction and putting it to the fact that he’s sick.  He LOVES chocolate more than anyone I know.  I of course baked some bacon to go with it.  One of these was enough for me but not to worry I ate two!  The leftovers were wrapped and put in the fridge for the rest of the week to be paired up with fruit.  Spring break is a week away so we will just start the celebrating early!!  I strongly recommend these next time I will likely plan to freeze leftovers and have them as our Sunday morning breakfast.

(Yes we did enjoy bacon with our pancakes…they kind of overpower pancakes in the pic; sorry:()

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http://www.livewellbakeoften.com/2015/06/08/chocolate-chip-greek-yogurt-pancakes/

As we know I’m trying to eat better or at least be more cognitive of what’s going in my mouth and do less finishing of the kids plates and grazing in my days.  I decided to make a lunch item that per the recipe would last a few days.  This chicken and grape salad did just that.  The kids both loved this recipe as well.  There was enough for me to prepare it and send my sister home with enough for her and her husband to enjoy too!  It was lunch for two days after all the sharing!  This was my first step in loving using greek yogurt in turn for mayonnaise.  I hope your family enjoys this healthy new lunch item as we have!

http://www.simplygourmetinsouthie.com/21-day-fix-chicken-salad-with-grapes-and-celery/

On to dinners this past week that we loved!  First we had a Chicken Caprese but added avocado.  In our house Avocado is king…It is a crowd please by everyone and it’s so good for you!  So let’s just say we eat it often weather be incorporated into the entrée or as just a side sliced up with another vegetable.  We paired this with brown rice.  It was simple to make and tasted great!

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http://www.cookingclassy.com/2016/01/avocado-caprese-skillet-chicken/

We also had stuffed shells with spinach and ground turkey.  Ok so these were fantastic but S has an issue with green leafy items in her food.  K on the other hand took a salad to school for lunch yesterday!  So I made a few with just ricotta cheese for the kiddos which was a non stressful solution to something I knew ahead of time would be an issue.  This recipe made about 22 shells so there was enough for leftovers.  So I enjoyed for lunch the following day!  Everything detailed in the recipe works so I wouldn’t change a thing!

(I’m terrible I remember to take a pic after I serve the kids; I’m human!)

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http://theburlapkitchen.com/2015/08/17/healthy-stuffed-shells/

Ok so one thing I do want to note.  Or a few things actually!! I did not create any of these great recipes so I thank those that did and shared them via Pinterest.  Second is yes many of these recipes are 21 day fix approved.  I have considered trying this fix but honestly I’m so confused by all the containers and colors and numbers I would need to keep track of I just don’t think it’s for me! LOL!  If someone has a 21 day fix for dummies link please do share as I’m interested but just can’t get a hold of the whole thing!  Ok well enjoy these recipes and have a wonderful week!!!  Cheers

 

Lisenby Week In Review

HELLO! Ok so this past week has been a handful!  I sat down numerous times to chat with you and just couldn’t get out what I wanted to share.  The past two weeks have been well challenging but then we have also had some really great days.  Unfortunately those great days came DAYS after the treacherous ones!  Isn’t that life?!

S has decided that not only does she want to be five but she wants to be the most independent, demanding, at times rude, mother challenging daughter!  I sooo was not expecting this I was the mom that said “Terrible Two’s are a joke!” as really we moved to three and it was labeled “Treacherous Three’s”.  Then we arrived at four and well we around here refer this age to “Flippin’ Fours” as Four really wasn’t bad but S could flip on a dime IF SHE wanted to.  Luckily, it really didn’t happen too often.  NOW, we are on to Five!  Isn’t this supposed to get easier?  I’m going with “Ferocious Five’s!”  HOLY COW this girl can make a sane mom crazy.  Lucky for her I’m already crazy so she can’t push me much further.  Over the past few weeks I have been watching her behavior and asked for feedback from my lovely mother for times when I’m not around on S’s behavior.  I have come to the conclusion that when I’m around she 100% is a different child when there are others around.  If you are a parent you may be saying well aren’t most kids or at least we hope they only act up when we are around and are the precious angels when not.

At my parents recently S had a sleepover.  She received rave reviews from Grandma and Papa on how good she was.  I arrived to pick up but planned to stay and craft and have dinner the following day with K.  Multiple times during the time that I was present she was mean to K.  She would say things to me like “I’m not doing that” or “Leave me Alone”.  My mom knows we VERY well and with Joe working so much I am the primary disciplinary in our home.  IT’S EXHAUSTING!  Especially with a child that wants to challenge everything you say.  So my mom a few times would ask S why the behavior when we were so good prior to my arrival.  Or correct S for mis-behaving for say climbing over the back of her furniture.  I’m completely ok with this as well we are in my parents house and she needs to respect that and second sometimes Grandma’s words come across better than mom’s.  Well I don’t spank I just don’t think it does anything.  As my mom says when I was a child she used to tell my dad “don’t spank her, it’s what she wants!”  My father never once spanked me but my mom said it was for her own benefit.  As I as a child would wear her down to not knowing what else to do.  But guess what a spanking to me meant I won!  Well, S exhausted me to this point during our visit.  I brought her in the bathroom and she received three swats.  I don’t even think a tear fell!  She looked at me with a look of nice try is that all you got!?  I immediately saw the look and realized you idiot Amanda you gave in to her actions.  Why didn’t you just stick to your words of one more time and we are leaving and not having dinner here.  I know why I didn’t want to leave!  I wanted to stay and enjoy dinner with my parents.  When we drove home I let S and K as he wasn’t my sweet little guy himself but the difference is he follows her leads know how they acted made me sad.  K knew I was upset literally crying to myself thinking where did I go wrong? How am I going to fix this.  He said “mama I’m sorry I will listen better.”  S on the other hand struggled to apologize and in my house if you can’t apologize from the heart don’t apologize at all or wait until you have had time to digest and understand why an apology might be necessary.  When we arrived home S continued…She ended up being sent to her room as I told her we needed a break and during her break I wanted her to put her laundry away and her three bags of sleepover gear (aka toys).  She screamed, she yelled, she snuck in K’s room and told him “tell mom she’s the meanest mom ever.” He of course reported this to me then hugged me and said “your not the meanest your the best mama ever.”  So after all was calmed down S and I talked, hugged, and moved on with the evening which was very short as it took her until almost bedtime to calm down.

That evening I started my research.  I was not going to allow my mini me to take over my home.  But how was I going to do this.  I of course resorted to Pinterest for some articles on strong willed children.  As I read some descriptions and S fit the profile almost to a T.  I have shared a few links below of the ones I have found most useful.  I’ve learned that I was doing a few things that for a strong willed child are very difficult.  For example don’t leave things to them to decide give them two options.  I’ve been doing this for almost everything lately food, daily activities, discipline; this more means when we have to get ready for school I will say “S can you please get your gear on so we can be on time?” I will follow it up with “Or do you need me to assist you in doing this?”  8 out of 10 times she says she wants to do herself.  For lunch I have a terrible habit of leaving this decision up to them or saying “what do you want?”  They are first toddlers and second she appreciates a little direction.  Now I will offer two things.  For snack time I allow one of two snack times to be a treat and the other has to be a fruit or vegetable.  You get the idea again the article below I found really helpful.

So the following day we were driving and S comes out and says “Mom you are really lazy.” I almost ran off the road.  I said “really, what do you mean?  What makes me lazy?”  She said “You sleep a lot, you’ve been sleeping since I was like 3!”  Ok my head is spinning with so many thoughts and emotions.  I mean I know I’m tired often but does she really think I’ve been transparent in her life for three years?!!!!  Then there’s the other side where I’m thinking what a little brat!  How dare she say that I do stuff with and for them everyday!  So I first just responded with “Thank you for sharing how you feel” I left it at that for about five minutes and took deep breaths.  I then said “you know S you telling me I’m lazy really hurts my feelings.”  She replied “well you say things that hurt my feelings.”  I said “I do?  I’m very sorry for that.  Why don’t we come up with a plan to not hurt each others feelings?”  She said “OK” So we agreed that each day we would say two things nice two each other weather it be about what we were wearing or something kind we did.  Anything but it had to be nice.  I can honestly say we have been doing this for over a week and successfully done it everyday.  S looks forward to what I am going to say and I equally look forward to it.  So I guess that bratty comment resulted in a gain for both of us and a step forward.

Last thing I do want to share is that we have also adapted a star/sticker chart for each kid since all of this started.  There are a ton of them you can print off pinterest.  I simply wrote their names on top with each day of the week listed.  We agreed on the number of 8 for a goal.  Once they meet their goal they get to pick a reward.  My rewards I wanted to be more creative then give a $1 toy or something.  So they include: Having a sleepover in your siblings room, Having ice cream at lunch, staying up 30 minutes past bedtime; on a school night!, picking out the movie for the weekend.  These are just a few but again no cost and things that kids love but I think should be earned.  So far it is working and they love the rewards.  Neither has achieved them as I haven’t been giving stars for just anything.  But looking at their boards it looks like if today is a good one we might be picking one!!!

Ok well I know this was a long share today but I felt like it was necessary.  Many times strong willed children are viewed as brats.  Really they just need a little more guidance/direction to be successful as they really are pretty darn smart if you think about it!  I hope you and your family have a fantastic Tuesday!  Cheers

https://pumpkinpatchkidsblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/the-strong-willed-child/

http://crystalandcomp.com/parenting-a-strong-willed-child/

 

Lisenby Week in Review

Good Morning and Happy Friday Followers!

This week has been all over the board for me as far as having any sense of what day or time it is!  Ugh I hate when this happens as I like to be in control of just about every aspect of my life; I know I need to chill a bit but it’s me.  So when I’m freaking at Joe about running late, garbage going out, house being a mess when friends are coming for dinner, blah, blah, blah (I’m sure this is all he heard the whole time) and he responds with IT’S WEDNESDAY! NOT THURSDAY! ARGH! That freaking just spins me as then I’m like oh crap and FANTASTIC as the same time!  A slight apology is given to the clearly brains behind our operation aka Joe and we move on with the day!  So here I am Friday and just connecting.

Not sure if I shared but next week K turns 4!  I know first I’m seriously not old enough to have a 4 and 5 year old!!! LOL! Second when the heck did this happen and how did March creep up on me so fast!  As we have discussed I LOVE birthdays I think they are just a great day to make someone know how special they are to those around them.  WELL…I totally forgot his special day was so soon so guess what we are celebrating at the same place we had S’s party!  With how crazy last month was time just got away from me😟 I have known how he wanted a Lego party for some time but to do all the details and get entertainment I just don’t have the time to feel it would be a success.  Joe said the kids loved S’s party let’s just make it easy on everyone.  So I am still going to do a Lego cake for him and he asked for Lego and Minion cupcakes to take to school.  I found a really cute print out for Lego invites for free (see below).  We will do goodie bags keeping in Lego theme.  I also found a cute print out of a Lego man that I’m going to do on the birthday boys shirt!  So yes, 2016 so far has started with two toddlers sick multiple times and having the EASIEST birthday parties you can think of to date.  You know what?  I’m am totally good with this I’m realizing I’m not super woman and life happens.  We can’t always maybe do exactly as we plan but that’s ok!  So we will celebrate the weekend after again another deep breath as I couldn’t get invites out with only a week and a half until his party.  I just didn’t think that was good party invite etiquette?!  That’s just me!  So I will share a few pics when K’s big day arrives!  For now here is the invite and link so you can use!  I did mine out of primary color construction paper and the inside paper I used cardstock  so these cost ZERO!  I appreciate hubpages for sharing and allowing the use!

 

http://hubpages.com/holidays/lego-birthday-party-ideas-2#

Let’s chat about food quick as I don’t think we’ve gone there in a week!  So this week dinner along with everything else has been shot!  But a recipe I have done and everyone enjoyed was a ground turkey taco skillet!  We had a cousin sleepover and I realized I hadn’t really planned for dinner so I pulled this recipe out of my “Food” board on Pinterest quick. My kids love when we have taco’s as as to having them in tortillas I buy scoop style chips and spoon a bit into each.  Yes some may say this isn’t the healthiest but let’s discuss healthy for a minute!  Is having your child not eat any dinner and being a grazer on snacks throughout the day healthy either?  I think this is a choose your battles and provide sufficient amounts of healthy items within the meal this then counters the “unhealthy” item on the plate; what do you think?  So this recipe has ground turkey, corn, and brown rice as well as other ingredients.  I also give the kids an applesauce cup to have as I’m preparing their nacho’s and a glass of milk.  For this recipe itself I was out of salsa as well as lettuce so we did without.  My nephew and S loved them; actually had seconds!  I typically do 6-8 chips on their plate.  K on the other hand he didn’t like his corn warm so yes I picked it off.  He then ate his plate as well!  The recipe does call for green chiles I did have the 4oz container when I prepared and once the kids were served I added the remainder for Joe and I.  So if you have a picky eater but they love a good chip I absolutely say try this route!

http://tone-and-tighten.com/2015/09/ground-turkey-taco-skillet.html

https://www.pinterest.com/sidnee2011/food/

On to Joe I have promised to share an update of all that has kept him out of the house…some call it a J-O-B!  Joe does not refer to what he does as work.  He is a firm believer if you do what you love its not work at all.  So he has completed some really fantastic projects recently.

Including a 1846 farmhouse restoration project using all original materials and erecting a new traditional firebox!  The homeowner also had him do restoration tuck pointing on inside walls.

He is also in the final stages of finishing up a new build home that he has used a total of 180 tons of stone on!  Which in layman’s terms is the outside of the home, built-ins in the great room, a powder room, six fireplaces with floor to ceiling stone and a roof terrace!

He recently completed a phase of a home remodel!  This client is huge fan of nautical so he wanted a 650 gallon saltwater tank built into the wall!  Joe loves these types of requests!  He currently is finishing up the homeowners spa and designing his wine cellar!  Pictures to come soon!

So these are just a few things Joe has been focusing on…I honestly could share for pages all he has going and has currently completed but this gives you an idea of the passion he has for the work he does!  I’m updating our houzz page often so please do follow us there!

http://www.houzz.com/pro/moonlightmasonry/moonlight-masonry

Well the weekend is here so make it a great one!  I look forward to the kids finishing up their spring crafts and sharing VERY soon!  Cheers