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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stranger Danger?

About six months ago, my previously outgoing daughter hit a new phase called "shyness".  I soon perceived that it was something she was doing for attention and it was working.  Then I realized how rude her behavior really was.  I expect my children to respect others and use good manners.  That means acknowledging when someone is speaking to you, looking them in the eye, and replying.  Not fake-screaming and running behind Mommy to hide.  And of course, every time she did this, the person trying to speak to her (often someone we know well) would laugh and ask her if she was shy.  Yup.  Thanks for giving my impressionable child a label to live up to.  So, using the same tactic my mom had used on my little sister when she was young, I used every opportunity to assure Princess that she wasn't really shy and that she was just pretending.  Pretending is okay sometimes, but you still need to be polite and use good manners when someone is talking to you.  When someone would label her as shy in front of her, I'd pull (wrestle!) her out in front of me and tell them that she most definitely was not shy.  After about a month, she was "cured" of her affliction.

Warning: I'm about to go off on a small tangent that really has nothing to do with this story, but is oh-so-helpful to know.

Kids will become whatever you tell them they are.  People told Princess that she was shy so she became shy until I told her that she was not shy at which point she turned into an outgoing child.  I've also noticed that when I tell Princess that she's such a good big sister and great helper, she tries even harder to be so.  So, if you want your child to be obedient, tell them how good they are.  If you want your child to be disobedient and disrepectful, tell him or her how naughty they are.  

Okay....back to the issue at hand.

I was so proud of Princess's progress until I realized that I've created a new problem.  She will now go up to a complete stranger and start telling them all about her life, our family life, where we live, what we drive, etc.  Thankfully, she doesn't have our social security numbers memorized yet.

I told her that it wasn't safe to talk to strangers.  Her response?
"That's okay, Mommy.  First I'll tell them my name and then I'll ask them their name.  Than they won't be a stranger and I can talk to them!"

I don't want her to be afraid to talk to people, including people she doesn't know very well, but she obviously needs to learn the line between too much and not enough.  How do I teach her that without turning her back into a shy child who won't even look at a close friend, let alone talk to them?  How do I teach her to look for me for guidance on who she can open up to and who just needs a simple hello or thank you?

Advice please!!! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jewel of the Lion Fudge Review & Discount

Back in July, I was browsing Etsy for chai flavored products.  I'm kind of addicted to chai.  Ok, really addicted.  Anyways, I stumbled on this shop that sells chai fudge.  Chai and fudge.  Wow.  Now that's a genius combination.  I started browsing the shop and almost died when I saw the selection of fudge that Julie, the shop owner, had available.  I agonized over the selection for quite a while before choosing these six flavors for a sampler pack of fudge: Bacon Maple, Banana Cream, Chai Tea, Root Beer Float, Caramel Popcorn, and Cotton Candy.

Cotton Candy Fudge
I (reluctantly) let my family sample the different flavors.  Hubby, ever stoic, said the fudge was good.  Everyone else swooned.  The flavors were unbelievably real.  My favorite was the caramel popcorn. I actually had cravings for popcorn after trying the fudge.

Caramel popcorn fudge

The customer service at Jewel of the Lion is superb as well.  The fudge arrived in the mail very quickly and the vacuum sealed pieces were generous.  In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have ordered fudge in July as I had to refrigerate it and wait for it to harden back up before I could open the packages.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Fudge

Julie doesn't limit her shop to just fudge (just fudge, ha!)  She also makes cookies, breads, scones, muffins, and chocolate dipped items including bacon. (Do you think I could get away with having that for breakfast?)

Rootbeer Float Fudge

Here are the flavors currently for sale at Jewel of the Lion.  Add this shop to your favorites on Etsy and keep on eye on it as new flavors are always popping up!

BOMB POP Ice Cream - Blue Raspberry & Cherry Goodness
CHEESECAKE With Graham Cracker Crust
Cherry CHEESECAKE With Graham Cracker Crust 
Cherry Cordial with Belgian MILK or DARK Chocolate
Chocolate Covered Cherry CHEESECAKE With Oreo Cookie Crust
DRUMSTICK with Sugar Cone Crust, Chocolate Lining, & Peanut Topping
GOOD 'N PLENTY - Black Liquorice & Vanilla Goodness  
Holiday EGGNOG
Jamocha Almond FUDGE with Waffle Cone Crust 
JUST Chocolate 
KEY LIME PIE w/Graham Cracker Crust 
LEMON MERINGUE PIE with Nilla Wafer Crust & Handmade Meringue Cookie
Milk Chocolate Maple BACON 
MUDSLIDE PIE w/Oreo Crumbles, Caramel Drizzles & Belgian Milk Chocolate
NUTTER BUTTER PIE w/Nutter Butter Cookie Crust & Peanut Butter Fudge
PEANUT Butter Swirl
PECAN Pie with Graham Cracker Crust & Pure Vermont Maple Syrup
Peppermint Chips
PUMPKIN PATCH - Dark Chocolate & Bourbon Vanilla with Candy Pumpkin
S'MORES PIE w/Graham Cracker Crust
Strawberry CHEESECAKE With Graham Cracker Crust
White Chocolate BLACKBERRY Swirl 
White Chocolate BUTTERSCOTCH Swirl
White Chocolate RASPBERRY Swirl

Good grief.  I think I just gained 5 pounds.

Julie was kind enough to offer my readers a coupon code for 10% off of etsy orders.  Just use the code "FEATURE10" at checkout.

Watermelon Fudge

What flavor(s) would you love to try?

Winner of the $10 Baby Bug Boutique Gift Certificate

Thank you to all who entered the giveaway for the $10 gift certificate for Baby Bug Boutique!
Using random.org, I drew a winner and that winner is.......
Alison Reinhart!

Congratulations, Alison!  I will be emailing you shortly with details.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Priceless Treasure

Imagine that one day, God reaches down from heaven and gives you a treasure.  Not just any little old treasure, but a treasure that will make you richer than the richest man in the world.  A treasure that is so great that its value is unfathomable.  This treasure will drastically change your life.

What would your reaction be?  Would you try to give it back?  Would you ask God to take it back because you're not ready for the responsibility of being the steward of this treasure?  Would you tell Him that it's too heavy for you to carry and you don't really want it because it will become a burden? 

Or would you happily accept this priceless treasure with joy in your heart, knowing that, if God gives it to you, He will also help you care for it?

Psalm 127:3-5 "Behold, children are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."

I've spoken to a lot of people who don't want more than one or two children.  I understand that God gives some people a desire for a small family and others a desire for a larger family, but the reasons given for wanting a small family are often selfish reasons.  One of the reasons I hear most is financial strain.  They say they can't afford more kids.  Not a single person I've heard use this reason is anywhere near poverty.  If they have another child, it will not mean rationing food and worrying about becoming homeless.   What it does mean is no new electronic toys this year.  It means shopping at thrift stores instead of department stores for clothes and toys.  It means driving a used vehicle instead of a new one or not trading up your vehicle for a newer model.  But would you rather have a worldly "blessing" or a God-given one?

It saddens me when I see a parent being asked whether they plan to have more children and answering with an incredulous laugh.  They eye their children from across the room and reply that the ones they have are more than enough.  Hopefully, their children don't ever hear them respond in that way.  How do you think it makes the child feel to hear that their parents see them as so much work, so much trouble, that they don't want any more kids like them?

I'm not saying that everyone should have a large family.  Obviously, God has a different plan for each family.  What I'm saying is that we need to stop using selfish excuses to turn down blessings from God.  Children are not a burden.  They are a precious gift. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Baby Bug Boutique-Review and Giveaway

Shortly after I discovered the world of Facebook boutiques, I stumbled on Baby Bug Boutique.  Since then, I've placed orders several times (and been thrilled with the results!) and have become friends with the owner, Jessica.

Jessica is so sweet and easy to work with.  She goes above and beyond to ensure the customers' satisfaction and is always coming up with new innovative products to make moms' lives easier.

Jessica first started sewing when she was pregnant with her second child.  Due to a high-risk pregnancy, she had lost her job so she was looking for a hobby to keep her busy.  Money was tight and so, when she saw something she wanted for her children in the store, but couldn't afford it, she was able to design the pattern to make it at home.  She also began to make baby things as gifts for friends and family.  From there, her business blossomed.  She did her first craft show when her son was just 2 weeks old with her dad's help.  Several people there told her that her items were much better and more unique that what they were able to find in a store.  She started a binder with ideas for new products and likes to put her own twist on what she makes.  She now has three children who keep her busy and inspire her to create new things.

Jessica sells ready-made items and does custom orders.  She also stays busy with local craft shows.  You can visit her Facebook page or browse her ecrater store to see what she has to offer.  She also added an embroidery machine to her shop recently and can customize just about any product.

Here are some of the products you can find at Baby Bug Boutique:

Animal Loveys.  I gave my son a sock monkey animal lovey for his birthday and both Little Man and Princess love playing with it!

Car Seat Canopies.  Great for protecting your little one!

Trash Stash Bags for your car.  You could also use these to store toys, kleenex, diapers, etc. in your car so they're not all over the floor.

Crayon Totes.  Perfect for in the car, at restaurants, etc.  Store crayons and paper in the tote and your child can carry it him/herself with the fun handle.

Crinkle Clip On Lovey.  Babies just love the crinkly sounds, soft minky backing, and colorful ribbon tags.  Slide a toy link through one of the ribbon loops and clip it onto a stroller or carseat so it doesn't get lost.

First Aid To Go Pouch.  These have a clear vinyl front so you can see what you have at a glance.  No diaper bag or purse should be without one of these!

I Spy bags.  Each bag has an assortment of tiny objects for children to find and comes with a laminated list of what is inside, and a loop that the list is attached to on a key ring.

Nap mat.  These have a soft pillow with a blanket on top.  Perfect for kindergarten, sleepovers, etc.

Prayer Pillows.  These have a pocket on the front that a New Testament can slide into.  You can also write prayer requests down on paper and store them in the pocket.

Reusable Snack Bags.  I use ours almost every day for Princess's allergy-free snacks, Hubby's lunchpail snacks, and snack for church and outings.     

Tidy Tote Bag.  These have a waterproof vinyl lining and are great for stashing wet or dirty diapers, bibs, and clothing while you're out. 

Baby Bug Boutique is not just for babies!  She also carries a full line of vendor and direct sales products! 

Other products not pictured: Crib bedding, Mama Cloths (reusable menstrual pads), diaper and tote bags, reusable baby wipes, shopping cart covers, ribbon loveys, birth record blankets and pillows, Cushy Tushy Cases (to carry diapers and wipes), nursing covers, tooth fairy pillows, crayon rolls, diaper wreaths, coupon holders, applique and embroidered shirts and onesies, burp cloths, hot and cold packs, quilts and blankets, chalk mats, baby or toddler silverware holders, pacifier clips, Ipad or Macbook covers, photo quilts, reusable breast pads (for breastfeeding mothers), business card holders, baby slings, gift baskets, coupon carriers, changing pads, cloth diapers, nursing pillow covers, washcloths, and pillowcases

You can enter to win a $10 gift certificate to Baby Bug Boutique!

This giveaway has been closed!  Thanks to everyone who entered!
A winner will be selected via random.org on Monday, November 14th at 8:30 pm central time and will be announced on the blog.  The winner will be emailed and will have 2 weeks to claim their prize.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Random Romanticisms

Hubby and I celebrated our 5th anniversary back in September.  Actually, we didn't really celebrate, it just kind of slipped by with a quick exchange of cards.  Hubby was busy helping someone move so he didn't have time to do anything else.  Since then, he's been too busy harvesting to stop so I'm still waiting for him to slow down so I can kidnap him for a real date.  Seriously, our last date was on our 4th wedding anniversary and before that....I can't even remember when the time before that was.

Lucky for Hubby, I'm not a terribly romantic person.  Oh sure, I cry over chick flicks and at weddings.  I love romance, but the big gestures are not what get me (although I most certainly wouldn't turn them down!)  It's the little things that turn me to mush.

Like several weeks ago when Hubby, on his own accord, swept and mopped the kitchen floor.  For the first time ever.  He mopped so hard that he broke my mop.  And I did not care, because it was the. most. romantic. thing. ever.

Or when he takes the garbage up to the dumpster so I don't have to do it.  Seeing him do that turns my knees weak.

One of the most romantic things he does is be a dad to our two beautiful children.  Watching a big manly man take care of a tiny baby or roughhouse on the floor with his energetic children...*Blissful sigh*

We dated for four years before he popped the question.  I knew he wasn't terribly romantic even back then, but I was okay with it.  He did make a point to try to call me every night, but with his busy schedule at work and The Farm, our dates were usually limited to him taking me to church and church activities.  I knew that his route on his way home from work everyday took him by the library so, more than once, I would sit on the library steps just hoping to get a glimpse of him as he drove by, his mind too focused what needed to be done at the farm that evening to notice me.  Pathetic?  Probably.  But just seeing him brightened my day.

And then, one night he asked if he could come over to my apartment with a movie to celebrate my birthday.  My birthday wasn't for another month, but, as it falls right in the middle of the spring planting season, he said he wanted to celebrate while he still could take the time to.  Red heart shaped flags planted themselves in my mind as I nonchalantly agreed.  I had suspicions about what he was planning, but I didn't let myself think about it too much in case I was wrong.  That night, he showed up at my door with a small gift bag and a copy of "Sweet Home Alabama"  I put the gift bag on the table to open later and noted how heavy it was.  Too heavy for a ring.  My heart sank a little, but I was still determined to enjoy this time spent alone with him.  We had made plans to go out for supper, but the only nice-ish restaurant in town was packed so we picked up to-go meals at the bowling alley and returned to my apartment to watch the dvd.  Halfway through the movie, he paused it and asked if I'd like to open my gift now.  Why not?  I reached into the bag and pulled out......a rock.  No, not that kind of rock.  A real rock, from the driveway.  Ooooookay.  My mind was going in a million different directions as he laughed and told me that it was only there to throw me off.  I can clearly remember how I felt when I pulled out a small black velvet jewelry box and opened it, half expecting another necklace.  It wasn't.  He looked nervous as he asked, "Will you?  Will you marry me?"  And there was absolutely no question in my mind as to the answer.

By the way...we finished the movie after that, but I had to re-watch it later because I pretty much missed the last half due to extreme excitement and calling everyone I knew (and some people I didn't) to tell them the good news.  This is one of my favorite movies now.

Oh, and I should add that he did ask my dad permission first.  Love that.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mexican Meatloaf

I found a recipe for Mexican Meatloaf in one of my cookbooks and decided to modify it a bit for our family.  Hubby took one bite last night and informed me that the recipe is a keeper!

Here's the recipe!
*Note-I don't measure when I'm cooking so all measurements are estimates.  Feel free to add more or less of an ingredient if desired.
**This recipe makes 2 bread pan sized meatloafs (meatloaves?).  Eat one for supper and freeze the other one for another meal!

2 pounds of hamburger, thawed
1 envelope of taco seasoning
1/2 cup of taco sauce
1 can of corn
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 cups of cheddar cheese, divided
2 eggs, beaten (or you can be lazy/smart like me and beat them as you're adding them to the meatloaf mixture.)
3/4 cups bread crumbs (start with a little less and gradually add more until the meat is the right consistency)

Combine the hamburger, taco seasoning, taco sauce, corn, tomatoes, eggs, and 1 1/2 cups of cheese in a bowl.  When mixed well, add the bread crumbs until the mixture is the right consistency.  Divide in half and shape each half into loaf form in an ungreased bread pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until center is no longer pink (Don't you just hate it when recipes tell you to do that?  How am I supposed to know if the center is pink unless I dig the middle out?)  Sprinkle the reserved 1/2 cup of cheese on top and bake just until melted.  Watch it closely or you'll end up with browned crispy cheese on top like I did.  Serve with sour cream and lettuce if desired.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Few Moments of Peace

As I finish pouring milk for the kids' supper, I realize it's been over 8 hours since I last visited a bathroom.  Noting their content expressions as they munch on their food, I decide that now would be a good time to make a trip.

I close the bathroom door.  I don't lock it.  That would just be silly, right?

I haven't stepped one foot away from the door when there's a little knock.

Princess: "Mommy!  Mommy!"

Me: *Sigh* "What do you need?"

Princess: "I need you!!"

Me: "Right now?!?!"

Princess: " Yes, I need to tell you something."

Me: *Realizes that she's not going anywhere until I hear her out* "What do you need to tell me?"

Princess: *Thoughtful silence* "Ummmmmmmmmmmmm....."

Me: "Can it wait until I'm at least out of the bathroom?"

Princess: *Horrified as if she thinks I plan on spending the rest of the week hiding in the bathroom.  It's a nice thought, actually* "No!  I need to tell you now!"

Me: *Reluctantly* "Okay, what is it then?"

Princess: "Ummmmmmmmm.....ummmmmmmmmm.......ummmmmmmmmmm....did you know that if your head falls off, it will hurt?!?"

Me: *Slightly sarcastic tone which goes right over Princess's head* "No, really?"

Princess: *Lets herself into the bathroom so I can hear the gruesome facts a little better.  Thankfully, by this time, I'm heading to the sink to wash my hands, eliminating all those awkward questions* "And did you know that it will bounce on the floor?!?!?"

Me: "Yup.  I did.  Now go finish your supper." 

Sigh.  So much for a few moments of peace.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fun Stuff From Pinterest

Here's some fun stuff I've found on Pinterest lately.

Candy Cane Blossoms.  I will definitely be making these cute cookies this year.

Autographed picture from a Disney character.  if you write a letter to a character at Disney (Walt Disney World Communications P.O. Box 10040 Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040), they will send you an autographed photo back. Gotta try this with Annakate-she would go nuts!

If you've seen my control journal, then you know I love the versatility of page protectors and dry erase markers.  Print off your own preschool activity sheets and put them in a binder.  Wipe clean and use again and again!

Letter Box.  Cut letters off of food boxes before you throw away and store in a travel wipes case.  If the letters get lost or ruined, not problem!  Just cut some more.

Fondant made from marshmallows.  I love using fondant for decorating cakes and cookies, but it's so expensive plus it's hard to find the right colors.  Now I can make my own fondant at home!

Quiet time boxes.  Find some quiet toys and activities (read: nothing with blaring music or annoying lights) and divide into 5 boxes.  When it's time for your too-old-for-naps child to rest, give them a box to take in their room.  Keeps them entertained and quiet!
I'd love to see some fun things you've found on Pinterest lately!  Post a link to the pin in the comments section below.
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