Talking about home, children, parenting, homeschooling, recipes, faith and much more. Hope you'll join me!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Coffee Is...

Coffee is...

Love at 1st sight

 Giving you energy too...

Giving you a break from life

 and most important..keeps Mom happy!

 How do you like my (eldest) daughter's thoughts on coffee?  I love them!  

She did this for my website, but I had to sell the site, so I wanted to post it here to honor her beautiful creativity.  

Hope you are enjoying some delicious coffee yourself this morning!

All my best to you,

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's Working! So Far...

I don't know about you, but I have tried every tried and true technique I know or have read about to get my girls out the door on time.  We go over the next day's schedule the night before.  In the morning,  we talk about the way the day needs to go in order to get out the door on time.  

I let them know about an hour ahead of time that we are going to have to leave and that they need to have "teeth, hair, shoes" done by a certain time.  Another "heads up" comes 15 minutes before we have to walk out the door.  It's like pulling teeth to get them out the door when we need to be somewhere!  

My husband often (gently) tells me I have set my expectations too high for our girls and that I desire too much from them too soon in their lives.  I believe that...sometimes.  But now that our sweet daughters are 8 and 11, almost 9 and 12, I don't think getting out the door in a state that doesn't resemble just getting out of bed is all that much to ask.  (Am I alone here??)

Mind you, I realize that I am the only Type A personality in my family and I know that I'm a bit of an overachiever sometimes, but my goodness...

Ok, so one day last week I had had enough.  That's putting it lightly I'm afraid.  It was a crazy busy day for me and I was trying to meet a deadline and by late afternoon, we had to go to an appointment.  So, like usual, I let them know an hour ahead that we were going to be leaving the house.  Forty-five minutes later, do you want to know where I found my youngest?

She was lying on her stomach, feet in the air, munching a cookie, and reading a book very happily.  So, I say to her, "we have to leave in 15 minutes - have you brushed your teeth and hair?"  (I knew the answer already, but I have to ask, right?)  She of course, had not, and didn't seem in any hurry to do so.  Ten minutes later, she was still in the same place!

Ok, fast forward...we are in the van, we're going to be late for the appointment, and I'm not exactly in the greatest of moods.  

Now, I am going to preface these next statements with this:  our girls don't have cell phones, hand-held electronic games, or the like, so when it comes to taking a privilege away from them, it can be somewhat of a challenge.

However, they do receive 30 minutes of computer time per day.  So....

I explained (calmly) to them that day in the van that starting the following day, a new "rule" was in effect.  

For every minute they are late getting out the door, they will lose 10 minutes of their computer time.  (Gasp!)  So, if they are 3 minutes late getting out the door, they lose all of their computer time for that day.

Yes, I know, some of you are saying in your mind, "isn't that a little harsh when they only get 30 minutes anyway?"  It may seem that way, but let me say this...I am at the point where I believe the consequences have to be enough to motivate them.  

Guess what?  The next several days when we had to be somewhere at a specific time, they were ready early Whoopee!!  (Ok, I never say that, but it expresses my elation!)

It's far...

What techniques do you use to get your children out the door on time?

All my best to you!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Some Link Love...

Good Sunday Morning!

This is a simple post where I give some "link love" to some of my favorite blog posts this week.
Hope you enjoy!

Shag Pillow @ V & Co. - the cutest ever shag pillow!  Great for any room of the house.  I'm going to make a few of these for my girls' bedrooms.

Quilted Potholders @ Chocolate Covered Chaos - who doesn't need an extra set of cute potholders?  Her binding technique is ever so easy!

Easy Spring Decorating Ideas @ The Cottage Chick - brighten up every room of your home with these easy quick ideas from Denise.

My Rather Imperfect Home @ To Love, Honor and Vacuum - a great reminder about what is truly important and how to achieve some balance.  

And a few great websites I rediscovered over the weekend.  

Canning season is quickly approaching!  Great tips for canning just about anything you might think of to put into a jar.

What a great concept!  I'm in the process of reading more about this technique of saving and storing food.

Hope you have a blessed Sunday!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Projects and Wish List

My hubby is a tax man, so from January to mid April, he is crazy busy at work.  However, after tax season is over, we always begin our spring projects.  

We always seem to have a running list of things we want to paint, stain, change out, pitch, or re-vamp around here.  Since we've lived here for going on 14 years now, I guess that's understandable...right?

Our first major spring project will be to paint the fence beside the driveway, the eaves of the house, and the fence in front of the house.  The photos will help you see why we want to spruce things up a bit!

No, the shed isn't ours (sadly), but the sad looking fence is ours.  We painted it several years ago, but as you can see, time has taken its toll on it and it could use a real pick-me-up.  We have a brick home, so we're looking at colors that would compliment the colors that are in the brick.  

Who knew how hard it would be to choose a paint color?  Thankfully, we have Lisa, my sister-in-law, who has an amazing eye for color and interior (and exterior) design.  She helped us choose two paint colors that we'll use on the fences, around the windows of the house, and on the eaves.

For the indoor spring projects, I'm ready for a "new" kitchen and dining room look.  I love, love my fruit stencil, so I am going to keep that I think.  

The paint colors that Lisa chose are two different shades of green.  She suggested that the two end walls could be the darker shade and the side walls could be the lighter shade.  That way, the kitchen wouldn't feel closed in and yet, the two different shades would add some dimension and visual interest.  I love the idea!

Yes, this is our kitchen and dining room.  It's not huge, but it's a good size for us.  The curtains would probably still work in here, but I'm not sure I'm going to keep them.  Knowing me, I'll find some terrific fabric and want to make new valances.  

We did get a new range and I love it!  Behind the range though is chipped paint because of the heat generated back there.  I am hoping to get some stainless steel panels to put behind the stove to protect the wall and to put recipes up there while I'm cooking.   I see a visit to IKEA in my future.

See the fall-themed display behind the dining room table?  I love that a lot, but want to figure out how to switch it up a bit for the seasons without too much fuss.  I don't have a lot of storage other than the attic, so it would have to be something simple.  Still working on that idea...

Ok, this chandelier in our dining room...I have wanted to change it since we moved in!  But, as many of you know, life gets in the way and there is always something else that demands your money and attention.  Changing this out is on my wish list! 

Our outdoor light fixtures have seen better days.  I'd love to get some brushed nickel ones!  Another thing to add my wish list!

What spring projects do you have on tap?  

Do you have a wish list started?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Black and White Brownies with Pecans

Good Morning!  

It's definitely spring in Ohio - 80 degrees and windows open one day and 60 degrees and rain the next.  

I love rainy days though - they give us a good excuse to bake!  

These brownies were inspired by a recipe I found in a cookbook at the library called Budget Meals Cookbooks.  I changed it a bit and re-wrote the instructions because I found the original ones a bit "out of step" if you will.  

I hope you like these decadent, delicious, not-so-fat-free chocolate brownies!

Black and White Brownies with Pecans

Ingredients for the Brownies
  • 1 19-ounce package of your favorite fudge brownie mix
  • 1 10 to 12-ounce package of white baking pieces - I used Ghirardelli white chocolate chips
  • 1 6-ounce package semisweet chocolate pieces - I used what I had on hand, which was Bakers Semisweet Chocolate (6 ounces equate to approximately 1 cup)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease the bottom of 13x9x2-inch baking pan and set this aside.

Mix up the brownie mix according to the directions on the box.  

Stir in all of the white baking chips and 1/2 of the semisweet chocolate baking pieces or chips.  It will be a thick batter.  You will use the other 1/2 cup of the semisweet chocolate pieces on top of the frosted brownies.

Spread the batter into your prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1/2 hour or until you can see that the center is set.  Remove from the oven and cool on wire rack.

Ingredients for the Frosting
  • 1/4 cup butter (not margarine), melted
  • 3 Tablespoons hot water
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces
For the topping or frosting of the brownies, begin by mixing together the melted butter and hot water in a medium size bowl.  

Once that is mixed well, add the powdered sugar and mix again.  Next, add the unsweetened cocoa powder and then the vanilla.  Mix together until the frosting has a smooth consistency.

Spread the frosting over the brownies (completely cooled brownies).  

Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate pieces and pecan pieces.  

Because I used the Bakers Semisweet Chocolate Squares, I had to break them up using a knife before using them in this recipe.  You could easily use chocolate chips too.

Once the frosting is completely cooled, cut the brownies into bars.

They're oh-so-chocolatey and rich!  

Serve with ice cream if you like.