Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday's Tip - Saving Holiday Recipes

One thing I started doing years ago was keeping all my holiday recipes in a separate recipe box with a list of each holiday and what we serve on that holiday. We like traditions in our house and part of those holiday traditions are the foods we make.

What I've done is to take a recipe box and in the very front I have separate sheets of paper for each holiday with the foods we prepare. For instance, I have one for New Year's Eve, Valentines Day, Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas Goodies, and Christmas Day. Then in the same box I keep all the recipes for the special things we make for each of these holidays. So if the kids need to find a certain recipe for a certain occasion they know exactly where to find it. And (I know this sounds a little morbid) if anything ever happened to me, they would have all our traditional menus and recipes easily accessible.

This helps with the grocery list for each holiday too. I just go through my list then pick out all my recipe cards and then can easily put together a shopping list. It also helps me to remember what we did from one year to the next and to keep up with what everyone liked and didn't like. I even have a list of what we get for the kids stockings each year, I'm always afraid I will forget something, so this helps me remember.

Not only does this box contain holiday favorites, but everyday favorites as well. If we come across a recipe that everyone loves, we add it to the box as a favorite.

So there's my tip for today. Hope it's helpful to you :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fun with Chores

Some people think that vacuuming sucks. But not in our house, just ask Joshua, he'll tell you it's really a lot of fun :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Beginning to set the food on the table

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nuts and Leaves

Yesterday, we started cleaning clutter and cracking shelled nuts and working on our Thankful Tree. We took a break for just a little bit so the kids could do the fun stuff and then got back to work and finished the clutter before bed. We did get the nuts cracked open and the leaves cut out for our Thankful Tree, but didn't get our tree put together. Today is our bake day and amongst the other activities we will finish our tree. Here are some pictures from last nights activities.

Josiah, Joshua and Matthew
Micah and Matthew

Kaitlyn and Jonathan

Josiah cutting out paper leaves

What few nuts were ending up in the bowl

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cleaning Clutter Before the Holidays

No tip for today, just letting you know what we are up to. With it being the week of Thanksgiving we have a lot of clutter to clean up around my house. Since we live in a small house with little storage, it doesn't take much for clutter to get started. Lately, we have been tremendously blessed with lots of clothes and I still need to do the switch over from summer to winter clothing. Besides with Christmas around the corner and then the baby coming soon after it's a perfect time to start cleaning and organizing now.

So that's what we are trying to accomplish today. If we can make a good dent in all this clutter then we plan on starting our Thankful Tree today as well (that will be the fun reward for all our hard work :) ).

Do you always have a lot of uncluttering to do before holidays or is it just me?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Traditions

So this week I wanted to touch on Thanksgiving traditions at your house. What are some things you like to do every year. Here are a few of ours.

The day before Thanksgiving is our bake day in which we prepare chex mix, a cheese ball, the pies, and lime salad. The morning of Thanksgiving we get up and go to the table and munch on cheese ball, chex mix and sausage dip until we have our meal somewhere between 1-3. We watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade then football, as soon as it starts, and just hang out cooking together all day and making crafts. These are some of the crafts and traditions of Thanksgiving Day itself.

We like to make a Thankful tree, last year was the first year we did this and it was so much fun that we will be doing it every year. I learned about it on Raising Olives site, but here's the link she got it from with printable leaves if you're interested
http://heartofwisdom.com/blog/thanksgiving-tree-printables/. I always try to find some kind of craft for the kids to do, last year we made woven placemats out of construction paper for each person's seat. I always copy out some Thanksgiving coloring pages and word searches for all the kids. Last year we started the Five Kernels tradition of having five kernels of corn at each plate before we eat, then telling five things for which we are thankful.

I wanted to post pictures but they are not on this computer, so I will have to post pictures of this year's activities as we do them. So, how about you? What are some things you do every year?

Friday, November 19, 2010

To Shell or Nut to Shell?

Today we learned about hickory nuts. My husband and older boys went on a hike this past weekend and Micah brought back a box full of nuts (that at the time I recognized but didn't know what kind they were or if you could eat them). Since doing a little research, we have learned that they are hickory nuts and can be eaten like pecans, in fact they are part of the same family as the pecan.

Hickory nuts

We did learn that you cannot break them open with a regular nutcracker. It takes a hammer and hitting them in the right place to get the meat out.

Tried using a nut cracker, didn't work.
These cracked nuts were done with a hammer.

Kaitlyn cracking hickory nuts with a hammer outside.

A closer look

One of the things that we love doing around Thanksgiving is buying nuts in their shells and breaking them open ourselves. I know it takes more time, but it's fun for the kids and has become a tradition around my house. In fact, when I buy the bags of shelled nuts I get, "Aww Mom, why are you buying those. We like to break them open ourselves." So this year we are breaking open our nuts (I may buy some small bags of shelled nuts, just in case the ones being shelled get eaten, that happens often).

For now we are working on hickory nuts and enjoying the fruits of our labor. Next week we will begin shelling pecans and walnuts for our Thanksgiving meal.

Joshua wanted to try.
(Excuse the toothpaste stains)

Josiah digging out the meat from the hickory nut.

How about you? Do you ever shell your own, or do you always buy the bags of shelled nuts? If you've never shelled your own, try it out. It's a lot of fun for the kids and keeps their hands busy for quite some time :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Modeling Fun

My sister-in-law is taking photography classes and needed to take some shots for class, so she asked my two girls if they wanted to model for her. Of course, they said yes, and had a blast helping her out. I think she did a great job. Here are a couple of pictures she took.

Christiana near a passing train

Kaitlyn surrounded by beautiful fall colors

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - My Boys

My handsome boys. Adding another one in January :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday's Tip - Fixing Loose Snaps

Have you ever had your little kids pants constantly come unsnapped due to loose snaps? Did you know that there is an easy way to fix this problem without having to just sew them up and using them as regular pants (kind of defeats the purpose of having snaps)? A friend showed me this trick years ago and it has been a lifesaver for me, because it drives me crazy when my little guys pants are always coming unsnapped. Let me apologize for not having pictures to go along with these instructions. I tried, but my camera is not cooperating today. So hopefully you'll understand what I'm trying to tell you without pictures.

First, unsnap the pants, being aware of which snaps are loose. Then take a hammer and LIGHTLY tap the head (or what you would call the male end) of the snap. If you tap too much or too hard you will flatten the head too much and ruin the snap altogether. With just a few light taps you should flatten the head just enough to hold the snap together again. Test the snap to see if you need to tap more or if you have succeeded in your first try. And there you have it, good as new snaps and pants that aren't constantly coming undone.

If you have any questions or my instructions aren't clear enough, please feel free to ask me. You can ask either on this blog site or on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Knoxville-TN/B-4-U-Ask/107161739321089?v=wall.

Hopefully this helps save some of your favorite child's pants from being banished to ''play" pants only.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fun Field Trip

Friday I didn't get the chance to blog because we were on a field trip with our homeschool group from church. We went to see the Nina and the Pinta then headed over to the McClung Museum. It was a lot of fun and we all really enjoyed ourselves. Thought I would share some pictures today from Friday. Enjoy!

The kids in front of the Nina and the Pinta

Me with the kids

The Nina

The Pinta with fog on the water

Our tour guide was excellent

Small boat on the Nina

Looking below deck


Josiah at the McClung Museum

Joshua and Jonathan

Micah and Joshua


Jonathan and Matthew

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day!

Today I would like to take the time to stop and thank all of our veterans. Thank you for your service to this country. You really are appreciated.

In order to teach our children about veterans and to make sure they understand the respect that should be given to men and women who serve our country, we always try to do something special on Veteran's Day. Last year we took them to a veteran's cemetery and talked about the people who served and some who died in the military. This year we took them to the Knoxville Veteran's parade (Kaitlyn had the honor of walking in the parade with American Heritage Girls). We make sure our children show the proper respect for our veterans. They stand and place their hands on their heart during the National Anthem, they applaud and wave to veterans and thank them for their service. Since my husband served in the Navy and is a veteran himself it is very important that our children understand and appreciate veterans.

How about you? Do you teach your children the importance of showing proper respect for veterans? Do you do anything special on Veteran's Day or is it just another day for your family?

Here are some pictures from the parade today. Happy Veteran's Day!

Micah, Matthew and Jonathan watching the
parade and waving their flags.

A USAF plane flew just above the
high rise buildings right over the
parade route. Awesome!!!

Two Veterans in the parade

AHG walking. Kaitlyn is in the middle
helping to carry the banner.

Joshua enjoying the parade and waving his flag.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tuesday's Tip - Bathroom Smells

Ever been training a little boy and notice that your bathroom begins to smell like urine? If you've had a difficult time getting that smell out of your bathroom let me share a tip with you. The vinegar spray that I use as a household all-purpose cleaner (http://b4uask.blogspot.com/2010/08/tuesdays-tip-all-purpose-cleaner.html) will rid your bathroom of that smell. Our bathroom has tile, so I just spray all the grout real well with the vinegar spray, let sit for about 30 minutes then mop. I also run the exhaust fan while it sits or you will choke on the vinegar smell. Make sure to spray around base of toilet and the walls as well as baseboards around toilet (or any other place you think may have become sprayed). That's it, a fresh smelling bathroom will follow (once you mop and get the vinegar smell out that is). Enjoy!

Learning and Helping

Since my husband is a subcontractor, there are days when he takes our oldest son to work with him to help out. Since going to work with his Dad, Josiah has learned quite a bit about the world of security. He can pull wire; run wire; install keypads, contacts, smoke detectors, transformers and sirens. Because of all this experience he has become quite a help around the house whenever we need something fixed. For instance, we have a rabbit that every once in a while we let roam freely around the house. Well, he has a habit of chewing wire (a reason why he doesn't get out unattended anymore). Because of this habit it has been a great help to have Josiah cut, splice and bean wire back together so our electronics aren't ruined or we are not spending tons of money on new wire.

I think it is awesome that Josiah is learning a trade and getting experience in the work world. I think it helps him to better understand the work his Dad does for us every day to provide for us. It also helps Josiah decide if this field is something he may be interested in one day or if he would prefer to do something all together different.

I'm thankful that he has this opportunity and really thankful that it is beneficial to us here at home when his Dad is not around.

Josiah splicing and beaning a chewed wire.
Thanks, J-Boo!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fall Harvest

So I haven't gone up to my garden lately because I figured we were done with it. Since we didn't have any pumpkins survive the dry weather we had this summer I didn't bother to check on anything left up there. Well, yesterday my children surprised me by bringing me some green peppers. They informed me that there were green tomatoes all over the tomato vines as well. I told them to go ahead and pick what was there and that we would just ripen them in the house. I was afraid if I left them the frost might get them and I'd lose what was there. So, this is what I had after they brought in everything. Amazing, I went from thinking I had nothing to having all this.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Big Brothers

Never fails in my house for my sons to surprise me with what they think up next to do to their little brothers. Almost always something silly that makes everyone laugh and brings about great photo opportunities. So imagine my reaction when I uploaded the latest pictures on my computer only to find this picture :) At least Joshua seemed to enjoy having facial hair. I only wonder how he reacted when it had to be removed, hmmm.

Josiah (always the mastermind) and Joshua

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - 30 Weeks 3 Days

30 weeks and 3 days along, only 67 more days to go.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday's Tip - Vote

My tip for today is simple and it doesn't take much to accomplish, yet it is one of the most important things you can do. My tip - Get out and vote today. It is one of the things that makes our country so great and separates us from other countries. So take advantage of this awesome opportunity to voice your opinion in who you want helping to govern our country.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Not Me Monday - Sleeping Soundly

Our son was NOT sleeping on the couch at nap time only to slide right off and continue sleeping soundly. I did NOT see him there and laugh and then decide to take a picture of him and my husband did NOT decide to have a little fun and take some other shots while we were there. No, we are good parents. We would NEVER laugh at our sweet children sleeping soundly and then take pictures. NOT us ;)

Sleeping soundly even after sliding off
the couch (for some reason he likes to take
his shirt off when he sleeps. I assure you
he is wearing pants).
Everyone, except me and Joshua,
gathered around for a family shot.