Thursday, October 28, 2010

Great Books

This are just a few great books from what I like to call our Little People Library.  I definitely believe that reading to our kids is one of the most important things we can do and I wish I read ten times more than I do. One thing that I know I do is that I read the right books to my kids. You see, I used to not know what the "right" books were. I bought cute books with cute covers and cute stories. This is all well and good, but I was missing out on so much while reading to my little ones and so were they. 

My oldest goes to a school that preaches reading. I'm telling you, there are huuuuuuge on reading. It is such wonderful encouragement and accountability. And, they have educated me so much on what to read. They promote books that tell stories of good character, teach complex sentences and have beautiful illustrations. As I read to my kids, they are learning so much more than cute simple sentences that rhyme, they are learning classical literature that is packed with goodness (and they don't even know it).

It just so happens that this little school is having a book fair next week.  They pre-buy wonderful books, many of which are out of print. So, if you want to stock up your Little People's Library or get some wonderful Christmas gifts, stop by. They are arranged by age, so it makes it so easy and there is not a bad book it the bunch. Don't worry, they sell at retail prices, so you won't pay more. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The "If-Then" Chart

I'm sorry the above image isn't better because the information on this chart is fabulous. This is a discipline chart published by Doorposts, a Bible-based parenting ministry. 

I don't know about you, but discipline is the hardest part of my job as a mom. Not only is it challenging and tiring, but it so difficult to do it with love and composure all of the time. There are times that I struggle to come up with the most appropriate consequence for an offense and resort to idle threats. There are also times that I'm lacking the words I need to back up the "why we don't do that" message that I'm trying to send and just start talking way over my girl's heads.

All this to say, this chart helps with all of that.  I started using this when my girls were a little too young, then it got thrown away in a move and I've just now been reminded of what a wonderful tool it is.  You can go here to learn many more details about the chart, but here are the top three things I love about it:

1. It has scripture that discusses each offense listed. This is huge to me because I'm teaching good behavior not just for me, but to glorify God. His word should be the ultimate guide.

2. You predetermine (with your children) what the consequences will be for each offense so there is no guessing or having to come up with something when you're frustrated.

3. It unifies the way a mother and father discipline. When two parents discipline for different things in different ways, it confuses the kiddos. 

I am by in no way connected to Doorposts and gain nothing if you use this chart. I'm just always looking for good tools to help me be a better parent, so when I find one, I definitely want to pass it along. If you need a little extra help in this area, this is definitely worth the six dollars.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Oodles of Oats, part 3

Have I really done three posts on baking with oats? I suppose I have, but I won't say I'm sorry. These cooler temps have me in the mood for yummy, comfy and occasionally healthy (or at least not terrible for you) baked goods.  This one is actually low fat and is just the thing for breakfast on the go.  Go here for Low Fat Oatmeal Banana Bread. I promise, it does not disappoint (I might even like it better than the earlier recipe with chocolate chips - shocking, I know).

I hope your week gets off to a great start!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Halloween Cupcake Toppers

Check out Simply Seleta for this FREE cupcake topper download. So cute if you're having any kind of halloween party or just want to do a little something festive for your little ones. 

Oh yes - a couple of local weekend treats to mention:

1.  Today Pinkberry at Preston/Royal is introducing their new pumpkin flavor. From 4-7 they will have free mini (and that's actually a great size) cups of pumpkin Yogurt with cinnamon and Graham cracker sprinkles!  Yummy!!!!

2. Tomorrow from 10-12 Dancing Angels (a precious dance studio where my girls take) are having a grand opening for their new studio.  Anyone is invited to stop by to dance, have treats and win fabulous door prizes.  It's in the SW corner of the Preston/Forest shopping center, above Mi Cocina and Rockfish.


Have a fabulous weekend!

Glitter Pumpkins

We finally got around to glittering our pumpkins yesterday. I have to admit, they didn't turn out much like my inspiration photos.  But heh, we had a great time, got glitter everywhere and anything that sparkles is just perfect to little girls.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Marshmallow Game

There are days that my dear children seem to have no desire to learn. I can't say that I blame them - after all, there are much more fun things to do than learn letters, numbers, words, etc.  But, I'm determined to teach them the discipline of hard work and cultivate in them a desire to learn new things.  Unfortunately, my determination can at times come out as frustration. I can easily get frustrated if they do not understand something and try to force them to "get it." Nice quality, I know.  So, now I'm trying to come up with new ways to make learning fun around here - almost as if they don't even know they are learning something new.

First up, the marshmallow game. We've been working on numbers, so I made a bunch of flash cards with about 60 numbers on them. I just set a group of numbers on the table and let them toss a small marshmallow at the group. If they know the number it lands on, they get to eat the marshmallow.  Clearly, we don't do all the numbers every time (that would be too many marshmallows), but it's amazing how quickly they learned the numbers with a little sweet incentive.  Look at these happy faces just learning away....

This game can be adapted to a variety of subjects, so I thought I'd pass it along in case any of your kiddos just need a little prodding in the direction of learning something new.  I hope it works for you like it did for me!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Speaking of Fall Beverages....

Here is another one that is tasty and makes your house smell delicious. 

Crock Pot Mulled Cider


  • 1/2 C. brown sugar
  • 2 quart cider
  • 1 tsp. allspice, whole
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cloves, whole
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • Orange slices

Directions:  Put all ingredients in crock-pot. If desired, tie whole spices in cheesecloth or put in tea strainer. If spices are added loose, strain before serving. Cover; cook on low 2-8 hours. Serve from the crock-pot with a ladle, or if using a coffee pot, right out of the spout in place of coffee.

I didn't have any cheese cloth, so I put my spices in a a coffee filter and tied it with twine. It worked like a charm.  

I think this would make another cute fall gift for neighbors, friends, co-workers, teachers, etc. I'd package it in these....

These bottles are from and are about $1 each, but I bet you could find something similar at World Market and not have to buy a dozen. Then, I'd print off these darling labels that I found via Simply Seleta, tie them on with some raffia and have a cute little treat for someone you love.  

By the way, if you haven't noticed, I'm quite big into little treats. I think thoughtful little gifts for teachers, friends, neighbors, etc. say so much with such little effort. If you haven't given a little treat in a while, try it. I promise you'll enjoy doing it more than the receiver will enjoy the gift. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

For the Love of Coffee

I love a good cup of coffee. Each evening I program my coffee pot so I can get up, spend some time alone and enjoy a cup or two of joe.  I especially love a good Fall Blend this time of year - with hints of nuts, cinnamon and maybe a little vanilla. Why all this coffee talk, you ask? Because I also think it makes a great little sussy for neighbors, teachers and friends. It's the time of year that people start entertaining. They start filling their homes with the aroma of Fall. And soon enough, they'll start staying up into the wee hours baking pies, setting tables and wrapping gifts. do you put together a cute little coffee treat? Easy: grab a cellophane bag (I always have these on hand; there are just too many ways to use them), make a cute label, tie a ribbon and you're done! I like these labels because they are cozy, but not your traditional orange, green and brown colors of Fall. Obviously, they can be used on any type of sussy, so if you'd like a .pdf to print your own, just leave a comment with your email address and I'll send one your way. All you need is a color printer. I printed mine on card stock so they have a little more weight to them, but paper would work fine. 

Here is to the season of giving!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nap Time

This is about as close as we get to naps around here.  There are days I would give my left arm so appreciate an hour or so of sleeping children.  I think the pampered pooch would appreciate it too, but her little companion is never far off with hugs, kisses and the occasional tail pull. 

We're off to Owen's Farm this afternoon (see the previous post for more info). I hope you enjoy your Friday and have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More Fall Fun

Tomorrow the girls and I are heading to Bob Evan's Farm in Richardson. The $6 admission gets you a small pumpkin, animal feed, a hay ride and the day at the farm and museum. This sounds like a fun Fall Friday to me.

The next step will be to glitter our pumpkins. We (meaning hubby and I) have carved pumpkins in the past, but really, that's not all that fun for the girls. Here is what I do know:  girls + glitter = fun for sure.  Here are some pictures that inspire me....

If glitter were cheap, our pumpkins might look like these. But since it's not, ours will probably be less...well, glittery.  But still, I have not doubt we'll have fun and add a little sparkle to our front porch for halloween.  Have you done anything fun with your pumpkins?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Acorn Crafts

I love playing outside with my kids and hearing the crunch of leaves under our feet. We're starting to see the first few leaves falling from the trees.  For a while, we've been seeing lots and lots of acorns that have already fallen. I love these little guys. I've already initiated a few nature walks to gather acorns for decoration. Then it occurred to me that I could be doing so much more with these little guys than just dropping them in a bowl. Here are a few ideas I found online. I'm not including directions, but you can link to them from the link under each picture. 

(all three of the above from

Have fun!  I'll come back with some pictures of our creations soon.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's a......

We found out this afternoon that we are having a boy. This is going to be a different ride than our two little girls, that's for sure. We are very excited - especially the aforementioned little girls. They were dying for a brother. I am quite certain he will learn to be a little gentleman and make an excellent husband some day.  Now, I just have to find some blue to add to this oh-so-pink house of ours!!

Oodles of Oats, part 2

Here is another easy, delicious and cozy Fall recipe for using oats.  I forgot to take a picture when I made it, which is probably good because this on is much prettier. Follow the link to learn how to make baked oatmeal.  This will get your day (and your kiddos day) started with a good punch of healthy carbs and some protein too. I got my dry ingredients assembled the night before, so it was quick to fix the next morning.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

October at the Studio Movie Grill

This months feature for kids at the Studio Movie Grill is Spookley the Square Pumpkin.  It's every Saturday at 11:00 am and admission is $2 a pop.  I found this synopsis of the movie online:

Based on the book THE LEGEND OF SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN by Joe Troiano, which stands to become a Halloween classic, this cheerful animated event unfolds in a similarly charming way. One day in the Pumpkin Patch, something unprecedented occurs: a pumpkin is hatched who looks nothing like the other pumpkins! He's orange all right, but his shape is square, which makes the rest of his kind ostracize the poor little guy. Spookley the Square Pumpkin doesn't let it get him down, though, and he finds encouragement from other friends, such as Edgar, Allen, and Poe, three highly entertaining spiders. Then there's friendly Jack the Scarecrow, and his little bat friends, Boris and Bella, who reassure Spookley that anyone can be the Pick of the Patch come Halloween. Unfortunately, Big Tom and Little Tom don't see it that way, and they undertake to do everything they can to stand in Spookley's way. But when disaster strikes and a terrible storm sends all the pumpkins helplessly rolling--all save one, however--Jack realizes that sometimes it comes in handy to be different. 

If you see the movie, I'd love your feedback! It sounds pretty cute. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fall Decor: An Addition

I got a creative itch a couple of nights ago and decided to spruce up the pumpkin montage in my entry way. Here is what I came up with (it cost me that!).

Here is a close-up of the new addition.

Here are some other variations.

It's so fun to think outside the norm sometimes.  These probably look random to a lot of folks, but for some reason, I really like them. Probably because they are unexpected.  It's good for me to think out of the box sometimes. White paper (or any plain paper for that matter) doesn't always have to be the background. These are pages from an antique book from an old collection of mine.  I have a lot of blank walls in this house....something like these might make some good, and inexpensive, fillers.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Office Make Over: An Update

Since it's taking me a while to actually finish out my office makeover, I thought I'd at least let you know what I've decided on doing. I just think this product is too cool and can't wait to tell you about it. I'll start by saying my original plan was to line my backsplash with galvanized metal and have a big magnet board. When hubby researched the price it was going to be $120.  Not going to fly with this penny pinching gal.  So then I decided to use cork. Turns out cork rolls don't have the proper backing to adhere to a wall and don't come thick enough to actually hold pins. You have to buy and install a backing piece along with the cork. Too many steps for me.  But then, I ran across what is pictured above.....magnetic primer.  My $20 answer to my office problem. 

All you have do to is paint a couple coats on your designated space and then cover it with whatever paint color you chose.  So, I'm going to paint the backsplash behind and around my desk. I'll have a ton of space to hang invitations, bills, notes, pictures etc.  

Ahhhhhh, I can just see the organization now.  Hubby the handy man is going to trim it out for me so it will have a nice finished look.  I'm thinking I'm going to paint over the primer with the same green I used for my stencil, but haven't decided for sure. If you have any opinions, I'd love to hear them. 

If you all have any organization/make-over projects you've been working on, I'd love to see them. I'm always up for some good inspiration. That goes for recipes, decorating ideas, etc.  I looooove hearing from you!

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Fall Decor: Bringing the Outside In

Good morning!  I hope everyone enjoyed this fabulous weekend and is getting in the mood for fall.  

I've just added a few Fall touches around the house and thought I'd share them with you.  You'll see they are very subtle and extremely simple.  I love the little surprises that catch my eye when I walk through different rooms. 

1. This is my kitchen centerpiece. I got the pumpkin from Whole Foods and the greenery from a random shrub in my backyard.  

2.  These little pumpkins are from Albertson's and little one and I went on a nature walk to find all the acorns. These bowls are on my dining table (my father in law made the wooden bowls and I LOVE them).

3. More pumpkins from Albertson's and twigs I found in the alley ready for bulk trash. This is my entry table.

4. Simple pinecones from Target's dollar spot.  I said subtle, didn't I.  This in on a bookshelf.

5.  More white pumpkins dropped in pre-existing decor by my fireplace.

6. Festive gords and some kind of fern from Lowe's.  This is my front step. 

I'll probably put out a few more things here and there as I get inspired, but I thought I'd at least show you how simple things stay around here. Gosh, I love Fall.  I hope your week kicks off to a great start!