Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Weekend 2011

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and got to enjoy time with family and friends. We had a busy Christmas as usual, but the kids had a lot of fun this year and it was nice to spend some time relaxing and enjoying the company of family.

We began the festivities with some baking; green cornflake wreaths, sugar cookies with candy cane kisses and oreo fudge.

My assistants with their new Spiderman aprons

Preparing to make a mess of the kitchen

Adding the finishing touches


The boys were very excited this year for Santa to come and to open presents. Below are some of the highlights of the gifts and excitement of the long weekend.

Mommy's new addition to the newly created craft area.



Santa Came!!

Checking out the loot in the stockings

And...the aftermath


Here's to a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My name is Stephanie, and I have an addiction

I am totally addicted to Pinterest. If you don't know what it is, it is site that allows you to create virtual "pinboards" that you can spend endless hours pinning great ideas to. You shoud totally check it out, let me know if you decide you need an invite, I would be more than happy to enable your addiction.

I have countless recipe ideas, many of which I will be putting to use for Christmas. Not to mention ideas for next year's Christmas gifts. I started late in the holiday season to make very many gifts, I did make two from an idea I found, but you will have to wait until after Christmas for me to post how they turned out. I have also found great ideas for things for the boys to do and too many art projects and DIY ideas to keep me (and Kevin) busy for months. Keep an eye on here for photos of the projects that I get completed. For now here are the ones that I am hoping to get done in the near future:

Melted crayon Paper towel rolls and hot glue gun? yes!another pallet use!

Thee old boring knife block - painted, distressed, monogrammed - coming to my kitchen soon!Very easy took 4 minutes to make.organize

Here's to a new year of crafting and getting the creative juices flowing!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for this year? We are thankful for our family, our friends, our home. The boys and I sat down this year and made a collage of all the things we are thankful for and it is hanging in the dining room for everyone to see. (I have actually decided to keep this empty frame hanging up year-round and we will change what we display as the seasons change, or special occasions come around, stay tuned.)

{Sorry, I am having technical difficulties getting this picture to rotate.}

I love this time of year. This week I have baked chocolate chip cookies, with help from my assistants, lemon snowflake cookies, and made my, much requested, pumpkin cheesecake. I love baking and I love the delicious scents that fill my house as my treats are baking away in the oven. It is also a great time to get the boys in the kitchen learning valuable skills and I love how excited they get when they see their creations turn into a tasty treat before their eyes.

The Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake

From our home to yours, have a Very Happy Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I love a deal!

I have always been a coupon user, but the last few months I have been making a more pointed effort at using coupons and using them effectively. I have found a few blogs that have been helpful in matching store sales to the coupons available and I try to check in on them daily to see what they have found (Deal Detecting Diva and Penny Pinchin Mom are the ones I use the most.) I will say that it is very time consuming, and since I work full-time I have found that using these blogs to be most helpful in cutting out a lot of the research that is necessary.

As much as I love saving money on groceries and other necessities it is really fun to go out shopping and spend next to nothing on something for myself. JCPenney sent me 2 different "Save $10 on a $10 purchase" coupons over the last 2 weeks. So I made a couple of shopping trips and treated myself to a few goodies.

Shopping trip #1:
3 lace trimmed cami's - Regularly $18 each, on clearance for $3.57. I used my $10 coupon and paid, with tax, a total of 77 cents!! (The lady in line behind me was pretty impressed with the total, and I won't lie, I was pretty impressed too!)

Shopping trip #2:
Relic Handbag - Regularly $54, on clearance for $4.97, Liz Claborne Wallet - Regulary $36, on clearance for $4.97, and a reusable shoppping bag (since I had to make my total more than $10) $1.49. I used my $10 coupon and paid, with tax, a total of $1.55!! (Basically, I bought the reusable shopping bag and got the purse and wallet free!)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mark these off the to-do list

I have found that owning a house and making it your home creates what seems to be, at least for me, a never-ending and ever-growing to-do list. I am a list maker, I make lists for everything: groceries, what to do today, what to do this weekend, what to clean, what to fix, books to get the idea. I was very happy to see some of the items on my perpetual to-do list finally get marked off in the last month or so.

Here is my list of what I accomplished (in no particular order):
1. Clean and re-stain the deck - This was what I thought was going to be a weekend project, not so much. With the help of my mom (Thanks Mom!!) I think we got this completely accomplished in 2 weeks. There is only so much that you can do when you have to work around work, the weather, kids and the fact that it was getting dark not long after 6pm. But, now that it is done I will say the deck looks fabulous!

2. Get the tile floor fixed in the kitchen and dining room - This has been a headache since we moved into our house. The builder did not do a very good job laying the floor and we had him correct the middle section of the floor not log after we moved in. We had on-going issues getting him to come back and finish the job right, so we ending up having someone else come in to fix it. Huge Thank You goes out to Justin's Flooring for fixing us up and doing a great job (let me know if you need to have any flooring work done, we recommend him and will pass along his information if you want it).


3. Reorganize the dining room craft area - We like to keep a supply of craft/art/play-doh items in the dining room for the boys. This gives them easy access and it is easy to keep an eye on them while they are creating their masterpieces. We had been using only the pie safe, storage in the benches and clear tubs under the benches around the table, but I was growing tired of the tubs and we needed better storage options. So off to Target I went and found 2 desk top shelving organizers, bins to go inside and basket for the top. Now the crayons, markers, stickers, glue, scissors, etc. all have their own bins, the (obscene amount of) play-doh is now neatly stored in the pie safe. Plastic flower pots from the Target clearance section now hold all of the play-doh molds and cutters. And learning and activity books are conveniently kept on the bottom shelf. A supply of paper is, not so neatly, stored in a fabric tote, we haven't found a completely neat and easily accessible way to store the boys paper supply.


We also finally got a new laptop, the old one was probably 8 or 9 years old, we were due for an upgrade! I think that had been on the list for quite a while and we finally did it. That's all for now, I have to get back to making my lists and hopefully marking some more off!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Punkin' Patch

On our way

Last weekend we made it out to Schaake's Pumpkin Patch for our annual pumpkin pick with friends. The weather was AMAZING, temperatures in the upper 70's in October, we can't complain. We were on the hunt for a single big family pumpkin, Grandma and Grandpa had their own pumpkin patch and the boys had already choosen their carving pumpkins.

We checked the boys height like we do every year, played on the play equipment, and also looked at the animals that were out and about. One of those animals was a baby calf that was only a couple of weeks old. Then we boarded the trailer and let the tractor take us out to the patch. The field was very dry, I think it had been almost 20 days with no rain, so the kids were all a dirty mess by the time we were done.

Overall it was a great time with great friends and we look forward to it every year. Happy Fall Everyone!!

Finding the family pumpkin
We couldn't get just one after all

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Take us out to the ball game

Back at the beginning of September we took the boys to their very first professional baseball game. We went and watched the Kansas City Royals play the Cleveland Indians (it did not end well for the Royals, but that is the story of their season) and boy did we do it in style. Kevin's company rented a suite for the game, so boys definitely got spoiled for their first experience out at the ball park.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to School

It was time for back to school last week. Julian is now officially a Kindergartener. He really enjoys school and was very excited to go back and see his friends from Pre-K. Kaleb is doing well being without big brother all day, he is a lot more quiet and a lot less rough when he is on his own. I don't think next year will get here soon enough for him, he really wants to go to school and be just like Julian.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Photo Shoot

I'm so happy that the horrible heat wave we had this summer is finally gone. The more time that we were forced to stay inside the more I thought about things on my to-do list that I wanted to get done once the weather cooled down. Things like: painting the living room, cleaning and re-staining the deck, working on my flower beds and taking the boys' yearly pictures. Well the flower beds got cleaned up earlier this week while the boys' were outside riding bikes and otherwise enjoying being able to play outside. Today, we got the pictures taken care of, we went out to Grandpa and Grandma's this morning and captured a few keepers.



Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mini Vacation

Earlier this summer we decided to take the boys and go with some friends and their kids to take a long-weekend mini vacation. We didn't want to go too far away, less time on the road, more time for relaxing. We found the perfect place about an hour and a half from home, just far enough away to feel like an escape. We all left from home with no plans to do anything, other than to take a break from the daily grind and enjoy time with friends and our families. The kids enjoyed playing outside together and the adults enjoyed relaxing with cool beverages, I don't know that we could have picked a better weekend either, the weather ended up being just perfect for sitting outside.

Inside our cabin

The view from our deck

Overall, it was a GREAT time and we are all looking forward to doing it again next year. I think it will be a great memory for all of our kids to have of going to the cabins every year. And I know that I will look forward to going every year to have a nice relaxing weekend. We all highly recommend these cabins, they were great and the restaurant was really good too! If you find you find yourself in the area you should stop and check them out for yourself.