Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

 Meet Chunk, a.k.a Hedwig, a.k.a Mufasa. The kitten that doesn't have a definite name. Isn't he the cutest?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Double Digit Kid

I'm a little late in posting this, or posting anything. But it's the last few weeks of summer and I've been busy doing summer things. 

Last week Dylan turned 10. 10!?!?! When did this happen? I'm having a hard time coping with this double digit thing. I swear just last year he was a cute, chubby little boy waddling around and getting into everything. Now he's a tall, skinny handsome almost teenager.

 I don't think I can handle this...

He's starting to look so...grown. Where are the chubby cheeks? The big brown eyes filled with curiosity? The adorable clumsiness that made us giggle? Oh wait, he still has that. But still. Where has the little boy gone and who the heck is this pre-teen?

He has opinions now. Like he wants pie instead of cake. Ummm...what? When did that happen?

I have to bribe him to get him to smile and take a real picture.

He loves football and duct tape. 

He still adores his Dad.

He tolerates his brothers.

While it's been a challenge and at times it's downright frustrating, I can't imagine not being a Step-mom to my Dyl Pickle. The last 8 1/2 years I've had the honor of watching him grow and slowly become the boy..tween...10 year old (???) he is today. I can't wait to see what the future holds for him!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

You know...I'm really confused by this whole "Wordless Wednesday" but it's Tuesday thing. Is time different in the blogging world? Is everyone just so ahead of the blogging game that they  post on Tuesday? I don't know. But I'm going to try to embrace it, even if I have to look at my calender every week to see if I've really somehow skipped Tuesday. Eventually I will understand!

Anyways. Onto my picture of the week. I'm also not good at not having words. Sigh. Someday I'll get it. 

This is David and our dog Major up at my parents lakeside property. We needed to cut down trees for a future project and as usually Major was right there by our side. We've had 8 yrs so far with our trusty companion and hopefully we'll have many more.

And just because he's so stinking cute. Here is Major from the front!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know you hear that all the time. "These chocolate chip cookies are amazing!"  We all nod and agree while mentally rolling our eyes. The cookies are good, but they aren't that good. 

There will be no eye rolling with these cookies. Nope. You'll love them.

I've been making these cookies for a long time now and I've gotten lots of requests for the recipe and lots of compliments on them. They are the perfect mix of soft, chewy inside and crunchy outside. The best part is, they stay soft for a long time! 

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

1-1/2 cups butter (or margarine if you prefer), softened
1-1/4 cups white sugar
1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to egg mixture, and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Instead of just dropping them onto the cookie sheet, I roll the cookies into balls - it makes them all look very uniform and nice! If you're fancy, use your little cookie scooper thing.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 7-9 minutes, or until light golden on the bottom.
  4.  Cool on a wire rack and store in an air tight container.

The base of these cookies is awesome. Sometimes we use white chocolate chips, m&m's, milk chocolate chips, etc. Get creative! Bonus point for creativity!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Not so Wordless Wednesday (Even though it's Tuesday)

We finally brought the boys to the Zoo. We promised Corbin we would bring him to see the Dinosaurs around his May. Oops. Oh well. We got there and we had fun. So, enjoy some pictures from our visit! 

We saw some of our favorite animals.

 We played at the parks and in the splash pad.

We saw the Dinosaurs. Which Corbin cried through most of it because he was terrified. Sigh.

And we had some fun. At least when I wasn't forcing them to pose for pictures. 

We love our Minnesota Zoo and I can't wait to go back. We actually bought a membership and I'm debating on going back this weekend. Not sure how David will feel about that though... ;)

Monday, August 5, 2013

DIY Chore/Allowance Chart

We've gone through a lot of different attempts at chore charts and allowance. A lot. With the most recent being each child getting a $5 a week allowance and doing whatever chore we told them to do. The only problem was, they weren't really doing many chores, or one child would do a bunch of chores while the other did none. It was really unfair and honestly, I was tired of paying the boys for not doing anything! 

So it was time to  come up with a new plan.

David and I worked together to come up with jobs we wanted the kids to make and how much each job was worth. Then I got to work on making the chart.
Using a random pile of wooden discs about 1 1/2 inches across, Avery Sticker Project Paper and my handy dandy silhouette, I printed out stickers with each job and the amount it's worth on it.  Eventually I will put a layer of mod podge over them, but I want to make sure I'm completely happy with the amounts of money we decided on. I cut up a bunch of random magnets from my fridge (the ones you get for free from businesses) and glued them onto the back of each discs. Yay for recycling!

I forgot to take a picture, but I did paint a few discs with Chalkboard paint, so we can change the money amount on it if needed. Those are for those random jobs that pop up out of the blue that aren't normally done around the house. I've also been using them for Corbin since there are a lot of jobs on the chart that he can't do and I usually give him random odd jobs helping me out.

A while back I picked up a few metal metal boards from Pick Your Plum. They've been sitting in the closet waiting to be used. This project was perfect for them! 

I weaved ribbon through the holes to give it a finished look and to create a loop on the back for hanging.

 I cut out the boys names and a title for the chore chart out of vinyl and put them on each board. David hung them up for us in the kitchen. I wanted it somewhere that we will remember to look at it, but somewhere that won't be clashing with the decorations we will eventually be putting up.

We have daily and weekly chores. (If the weekly has already been done, I throw it on the back the board until we need it again) When the kids complete a job, they move it to their board. The next morning at breakfast, I go over their chart and give them the money for the jobs they have done. I have a jar full of change and dollar bills in my wallet kept just for chores. 

The boys weren't happy when I told them I wasn't paying them to clean up their rooms, their toys or putting away their clothes. They do still have responsibilities that I will not pay for. I actually told them that if they didn't want to do those jobs, they could pay me to do them. Nobody has taken me up on that offer yet...
We've had this system going for about 3 weeks now and we are extremely happy with it. The boys are doing more chores with less whining. I'm actually paying them based on what they are doing and I'm not chasing them around the house bothering them to finish their chores! If they don't finish it, they don't get money and they want money!

It almost makes me feel better about the years of chore chart fails. Almost.

What do you do for chores in your house?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday Social Week 61

Sunday Social

Today I'm going to link up for another Sunday Social. I have a ton of posts to write up for the next week (maybe 2) but I'm super duper slacking. Fingers crossed I can get some written today! Until then, enjoy some random tid bits of personal information. 

1. What are 3 items you can't live without on a daily basis (water, food, shelter, and clothes don't count)?

Coffee for sure. On the rare chance I can't have a morning cup of coffee I feel like I have no reason to live. haha. Lotion because one day without lotion may cause me to shrivel up and disappear. phone I guess? Although I think I could live without it, I don't really want to.

3. What is something you'd like to accomplish before the end of 2013?
 I have soooo many things. I never realized how many projects we would be adding to our plate when we became home owners! Nothing is needed, but lots of things need to be done to make it home. Painting, decorating, organizing, replacing certain furniture pieces...the list goes on and on!

2. What is your all time favorite book? Why?
It's a book that I bet 99% of people haven't even heard of. It's called "The Truth Trap" by Frances A. Miller.

Matt's parents were killed in a car accident. He and his little sister Katie, deaf since birth, have come to Los Angeles to escape the authorities who want to put Katie in a home. Hiding in an abandoned theater while Matt looks for work, Katie is brutally murdered. And Matt's nightmare begins.

He is accused of killing his beloved sister, and before he can defend himself, he is thrown into jail.

A few days later he is released -- confused and alone in a strange city where the only people who know him suspect him of murder. His chances for a new life depend on the two policemen who first arrested him: Tony Prado, who sees through the proud, hot-tempered, very scared young man to a boy who needs to be trusted and loved...and Les Ryder, who sees a juvenile delinquent who probably killed his own sister.

Matt must prove that Tony is right. But before he can do that, he has to learn to believe in himself again.

 I first read the book when I was in 7th grade and I've read it at least a dozen times since then. It's extremely well written. I cry every single time I've read it and I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I own a copy...that I never returned to the library back in middle school. Don't worry, it got paid for.

4. If you could go back and relive any year of your life which year would it be?

I don't know that I have a year that I would want to relive. I think every year has been filled with good and bad. Keep on trucking forward I say. :)

5. What do you wish people knew about you without you having to tell them?
Ummm...I don't know. Isn't that how you get to know people is by them telling you about themselves?