Thursday, September 20, 2012

Andes Mint Cookies

Mint Cookies

Don't they look yummy?

When I first started making this recipe I made it like it was a ravioli cookie.
I place an Andes Mint candy in between 2 cookie squares and pinched the side together like I do to ravioli. The problem that I found with that was the chocolate was only in the center of the cookie. I would end up with bites of just sugar cookie, no chocolate. I like for my cookie to have chocolate in every bite!!! I started making them into drop cookies with the Andes Mint candy chopped up and throughout the whole cookie. MUCH BETTER!! I would say that this is one of my kids favorite cookie :)

1 cup sugar
2 sticks butter (softened)
3 Tbs milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 package of Andes Mint Chocolate Candies
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350

1. Beat sugar and butter together until mixed together.
2. Add milk, egg and vanilla and beat again until combined.
3. In separate bowl add flour, baking powder and salt - mix well.
4. Add flour mixture to egg/sugar mixture and beat together.
5. Cut up Andes Chocolate and add to mixture.
(I cut each of my chocolates into 8 pieces)
6. Drop cookies on to cookie sheet and bake for 10-13 min

7. When cookies are finished I microwave about 1/4 cup chocolate chips in microwave. (Cook then at 30 sec intervals then stir continue doing this until all the chocolate is melted.) Then put melted chocolate to a sandwich bag and cut a small hole in the tip. Use the chocolate in the baggie to make chocolate designs on the top of the cookies.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Carson's accident

I did not get a chance to blog anything yesterday and this is why.....

He looks thrilled, doesn't he??
Sunday was my bbf's birthday and we went out to Roanoke to go to church with her. I made her a dessert I wanted to take her and Makayla had made and bought her a gift. While we were out there I wanted to buy a jumperoo off of someone on Craigslist. (The littlest one needs something to do during the day!)

We got home from Roanoke around 5:30pm and I made dinner. After dinner Michael got the jumperoo out of the van and set it up. I took the seat out of it and went to the laundry room to put it in the washing machine. Not even 30 seconds after I get in the laundry room I hear Carson screaming. Well, honestly, he is almost 2 and screams for a LOT of reasons, so I didn't think too much of it. Then, about 30 seconds later Michael brings Carson into the house with a mouth full of blood.
I asked Michael what happened and he had no clue, he had started walking down the stairs and the Carson started screaming. No one saw what happened except for Vanessa, which really that doesn't help me figure out what happened.
The best we can figure out is that Carson saw the jumperoo and it jumped out and attacked him.... No, seriously, we really don't have a clue. Maybe, he tried to climb in and fell through the hole? Did he climb up on it and fall off? Or perhaps he pushed it hard and it bounced back and hit him in the clue. Vanessa said he climbed on it and fell off, so we will go with that story.
I sat in the bathroom with him and tried to calm him down a bit and had him keep spitting into the sink because he was bleeding really bad. I saw he had some cuts on his bottom lip, but there was so much blood I couldn't really figure out where it was coming from. I finally got him to drink some water and I examined his mouth and noticed that his top gum was all purple and bleeding. It looked like it had a little cut in it. I took him over to the couch with an ice washcloth and put on Barney so he would just sit still and let me hold the washcloth there. One of his front teeth was very wiggly and it freaked me out pretty good.
During this time Michael called the ER to see what we should do and they told us that they wouldn't do anything for him if we took him down there. Our best bet was to try to keep him comfortable and wait until Monday morning to call the dentist so he could look at it.
This picture was taken the next morning. I was tickling him so I could try to get a picture of his gums/teeth.
Later that evening while sitting there I noticed Carson moving his chin back and forth. I knew that he was messing with his loose tooth. I looked in his mouth and when when was doing it I was able to see the top part of his tooth get pulled out of his gum when he played with it. He kept playing with it and I couldn't get it to stop bleeding because he wouldn't leave it alone!!
There is very little in this world I hate more than not being able to help my kids. He was in pain, scared and bleeding and I couldn't do anything until the next day!!!
I gave him some Tylenol and put him to bed. My thoughts were that if he is sleeping then he can;t play with the tooth! So off to bed he went.
I told Michael I was going to get Blake and we were going to sleep on the couch. I wanted to make sure that I could hear him if he started fussing at all. I also wanted to be able to check on him. I was worried he might start throwing up because of all of the blood he had swallowed. I knew he was in a lot of pain and I knew he would wake up during the night.
I was a total hysterical mess!! I felt like the worst parent on the planet!! My sweet, cute little boy fell and busted his mouth :'(
Michael kept trying to tell me it wasn't my fault, but it didn't really help. I just felt so bad! When something happens to one of my kids all that I can think about is how I could have prevented it. I am sure most of you moms are the same way.
I know that it wasn't my fault. There is no way that I could have know that my little boy would try to be an acrobat on the jumperoo (* I can make jokes now because I know stuff happens. I KNOW that I am a good parent, but accidents will happen.) He is a little boy with a LOT of energy!! He runs and jumps and plays all day long. At some point during all of this activity he will fall and get hurt. I honestly never thought that my almost 2 year old was going to hurt himself this bad though! 
During the night he woke up 3 different times crying and Michael and I comforted him back to sleep or gave him more pain meds. Between Carson and Blake this mama did not get much sleep that night.
At 8 the next morning I called my dentist. Lucky me, the ONE time my kids have a dental emergency the dentist is out of town!!!! The lady at the dentist office told me I would probably need to go into Roanoke if I couldn't wait until Wed when the dentist would be back. My older 3 kids have seen a dentist out in Roanoke so I called them to see if I could get him in there. Nope- they wont see children under the age of 3......grrrr..... They gave me the number of another dentist that should be able to see him. I call that dentist and I am informed that the pediatric dentist isn't in the office that day! Seriously, this was getting ridiculous and I was starting to cry! Why was it so difficult to get him into a dentist?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
They gave me another number of a dentist that they thought would see him at that age. I called them and FINALLY found a dentist who would see him!!!
He still had his boy spirit and it was almost impossible to get him to sit still!! Every little bump would cause him to cry and start bleeding again :(
**** Now, with all of this happening we were also having car problems!! Seriously, when it rains it pours. A cable in the van that goes from the started to the battery got so hot it melted the metal around the battery. So before we could leave for Roanoke we had to fix the van. Michael went and bought the cable, fixed it and the van still wouldn't start! I guess the starter that we replaced back in July was bad so he had to take that out and we needed to get a new starter.
We ended up taking the station wagon out to Roanoke after taking it to get a new tire. Michael only works 1.5 miles from the house so when a tire went bad a couple weeks ago, he just put the donut on it and just rides to work with the donut on. We couldn't drive out to Roanoke on the donut though, so off to buy a new tire.
We finally got out to the dentist at about 3pm. The dentist called him back as soon as we got there. He had ZERO interest in letting the dentist look in his mouth so we the pleasure of holding him down so the dentist could take a look. His mouth was actually worse off than I thought it was :(
I thought it was just the one tooth, but actually there are FOUR teeth that were hurt! The one that was really loose was fractured, meaning that the tooth itself broke apart under the gum. The one next to that one is also loose now. The dentist said that one he thinks the tooth is in tact, but the bone that is around the tooth is most likely broken, and all of the ligaments torn. The other 2 from teeth (one on each side of those 2) are also hurt. There is a lot of blood built up and they also have the torn/pulled ligaments that surround the tooth.
Now, our options of what we could do about it all.
1. We could do nothing and just see what happens. He did say that the one fractured tooth will never heal up though.
2. We could pull just the one really bad one or we could pull all four. If we just pull the one then we have to keep a close eye on the other 3
because there is a possibility that they can abscess and need to be
pulled out. If we pulled all 4 then we wouldn't have to worry about
anything getting infected and he would heal faster, but he will have
speech problems until they grow back in 4-5 years from now.
If we decided to leave any of the four in there he will not be able to bite down/chew any food for the next 4-6 weeks!! This could also be a potential problem with leaving them in. If he can't get the nutrition he need then that is a problem.
What we decided to do.
We had him pull the one that wont ever heal. We are going to watch the other 3 and see what happens. We will go back to the dentist every month for the next couple of months so they can check to make sure there are no new problems arising.
This was such a hard decision to make. I don't want him to be in pain, but I also don't want them to pull all of his teeth! We will be praying that things heal up nicely on their own, so we don't have to get any more pulled.
After we had the one pulled he seemed almost 100% better. We went to Ann's house afterwards and he was running around, playing and even eating!! (Soft stuff of course)

I never thought I would have a kid knock out a tooth, but here we are. I was worried about pulling the one, but he seems so much happier now and in a lot less pain, so I don't regret it. He is still a happy healthy little boy :) He is just missing a tooth, but it will grow back :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Toddler bed transformation

It was time for my 3 youngest to move up to the next size bed. I hate it that they get bigger :'( Why can't they just stay little forever???
That meant that Vanessa needed to move from a toddler bed up to a twin bed. Carson was moving out of his crib and into a toddler bed. And my little Blake needed to move out of his bassinet and into a crib....STOP growing!!! LOL
Well, I had a twin bed ready for Vanessa and Blake was getting Carson's crib, but I didn't have a toddler bed for Carson. The toddler bed that Vanessa had was a pink Dora bed. There was no way the hubster was going to let him sleep in a pink bed. We had been looking at toddler beds for him, but I am SO tight with our money I never wanted to fork out the money to buy him one.

Then it hit me....... turn Vanessa's bed into a boy bed that the hubs would be ok with :) Well, that would be easy, all I needed was some spray paint.
Off to Wal-Mart I went. I bought 2 cans of blue spray paint. I think they were $1.98 each.
I unscrewed the bed and took it apart so that I could paint the plastic parts. The main frame of the bed was yellow so that could stay the way it was, I didn't have to mess with that!
I put down cardboard and had fun spray painting away :) A couple of hours later........
A boy bed!!


The best part- It only cost me $4!!! Woohoo!!

His first night in his big boy bed!!!
( Do you like his Dora pillow?? HAHA! I have a crazy amount of girl linens. I need to start stocking up on some boy ones!)

Friday, September 14, 2012


One day my husband was going on about wanting nachos. There was a restaurant that we used to get them from and he was craving them I guess. Well, being the awesome cook that I am, I knew that nachos would be a very easy meal to make!

Off to the kitchen I went-


In my opinion they came out even better than any restaurant nachos :)


Ground beef
taco seasoning (see recipe below)
1/2 can of beef broth
Tostitos nacho cheese
Enchilada supreme Doritos
sour cream

1. Cook ground beef until brown
2. Add taco seasoning (about 2 - 3 Tbs more or less to taste)
3. Add beef broth and let meat simmer until all liquid is gone.
4. Heat up nacho cheese sauce (I heat it up in a sauce pan on the stove)
5. Put a layer of chips on a plate
6. Top chips with meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato and sour cream

I make my taco seasoning. You are welcome to use any premade taco seasoning from the store it that is easier. I make a big batch of seasoning and keep it in a container and then I always have some on hand.

Recipe for seasoning-

* Also a tip - I ALWAYS simmer my meat and seasoning in beef broth, NOT water. The beef broth brings out the flavor in the seasoning, water doesn't.

This recipe really is delicious and very easy to make- My oldest daughter who is 11, is able to make it :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Our kids finances

I told you all back in my post about jobs that I would talk about how we actually save money by paying out $40- $45 a week in job money. Well, here it is- How we deal with our kids and finances :) Are you ready??
First of all, we are very strict on what we will buy our kids. Our kids do jobs so that they can have money to buy things. We don't really buy them anything (except for the little ones because they are not old enough to earn their own money yet). We are willing to pay out the $40 a week because they are responsible for buying anything and everything that they want and sometimes need. Their job money does not just go for them to buy toys and junk that is going to clutter up their rooms either. Our 3 older kids have to buy their own clothes also. There are some exceptions to this rule- we will buy them socks, bras, panties, gloves, snow suits, snow boots, one pair of sneakers per fall/winter season and spring/summer season. There are a few other things, but I think you get the picture. Mainly, we don't buy them their everyday clothes.
OMG you are such horrible parents!!!! You won't buy your kids clothes!!
No, we're not. We are responsible parents who have 6 kids and we live on one income. Please remember we dish out probably $175 a month for our 3 oldest kids to spend on their clothes/toys. That is more than enough if you teach your kids to spend responsibly.
Here I go off on a little rant, so please excuse me and don't be offended if what I am about to say pertains to you. I feel that a lot of kids think that they are entitled to things that they are not entitled to. What do I mean by that? As a parent it is my responsibility to clothe my children, right? Right, but that doesn't mean that I need to clothe them in shirt that cost $40!! That is ridiculous and I refuse to buy a shirt that cost that much money!
This is what I see a lot when I go to the mall...... I will see a little girl who looks at a shirt and says "Oh mom, look!! I HAVE to have this shirt!" The parent will look at the price tag and say no, and the kid LOOSES IT!! Right there in the middle of the store, for everyone to see. Until, the parent finally caves in and buys it just to get them to stop acting up and embarrassing them in the store. Well, now that is really teaching our kids, isn't it? If you don't get what you want, then throw a fit and you will get it......ummmm, NO!!
If you throw a fit in this family over not getting something, you still don't get it. Honestly, I don't really have a fit throwing problem in this family. Especially with the older 3, and no, it is not because they are older. A lot of the kids I see throwing these fits over clothes are the older kids!!!
It is because I am teaching them to be responsible with their money. When you give your kids control over their money and they actually see how much money they have and how much things cost they think about spending it differently! We do NOT use credit cards in this family!! If we don't have the cash to pay for it, then we don't get it. I refuse to put us into crazy debt in order for my kids to have a $40 shirt! That is just stupid. (Again, sorry if I am stepping on some toes here. Everything in this blog is my opinion and you don't have to agree with it.)
They are in control over their money. If THEY want to spend $40 for a shirt then they are more than welcome to do so, with THEIR money. Guess what???? NONE of my kids ever buy a shirt that costs that much EVER! Why? Because they have other things they want to spend their money on and they are able to find cute clothes that are within the price that they want to pay for clothes. No one NEEDS a shirt that costs that much.
Also, when I started letting my kids have control over their own money I stopped hearing them ask me to buy them something when we went to the store. They know that they have money that they earn and that is how they are going to be able to get something from the store. Not by us buying it for them. (Exception to this is birthday time... they will sometimes show us what they want for their birthday when we go to the store.) We do get them a couple of things for their birthday so that is ok :)
This also teaches them to save their money. If their is something with a higher price tag that they want then they know they need to save up for a couple of weeks to get it :) They will also save any money they get for their birthdays or Christmas for their "bigger" purchases.
We don't live in a hole in the ground either. Two of our kids have Ipods & the other has a DS which they saved and paid for themselves! They buy their own Wii games when they are bored with what we have- and guess what??? When they want to buy Wii games they ask me to take them to the pawn shop to look for some!! Why? They don't want to spend $40-$50 on one game when they can go to the pawn shop and pay $10-$20 FOR THE SAME EXACT GAME!!! Yes, it was used before, but if you know anything about pawn shops you know that they will only buy things from people if it is in good condition! Most pawn shops wont take games or movies that have scratches.
They spend their own money very wisely! BUT if they were to spend my money, they wouldn't spend it so wisely. Why? Because it is not theirs. They do not get the concept of how much they are spending when they are spending someone else's money. Make sense?? Therefore, we save money by giving them a good amount of job money that they worked for instead of us buying things for them. Plus, they are learning very important life lessons about spending :)
Two weekends ago we went to NC for Makayla's birthday. While we were there they wanted to go to the mall. I happened to have my camera with me and I took pictures while I was there. The following pictures are actual pictures of how they shop. I didn't make them do anything, I just sat back and took pictures. At the end of the day I was actually in tears because I never realized how well they spend their money. Sometimes as a parent I wonder if I am doing a good job. Am I teaching them things that they need to know? Am I too strict sometimes....etc, but not this day, I was one proud mama this day!!!! God showed me that I am indeed doing what I should be doing :)
Here is a glimpse of our day-
The store that we entered into the mall from the parking lot was Belk. Now, having a bunch of girls they of course wanted to look at clothes.
They didn't once stop at anything that was regular priced!
They walked strait back to where the clearance clothes were.

Even Michael was helping them look for things that they might like :)

Makayla found a cute blue dress that she bought.

Gabby bought a pretty little flower skirt :)

It is also good for teaching money counting!

Mariela bought that blue shirt/pants outfit you see there to the right.

The boys waiting on the girls..... story of their lives... lol

Waiting to pay, with money in hand....
Here are their receipts- They all saved a good amount of money :)
The next store that we went to was Claire's. (Gabriella's favorite store)
While she was in there she found a little wallet that was on clearance for $6.
*For all of you who are unaware, Gabby is a purse/wallet freak! She has over 20 purses!! Anyways, she went up to pay for the little wallet and it rang up for $1 instead of $6!! Guess how excited she was!

After telling her sisters of her find, they too decided that they needed a wallet for only $1 :)
Next, on Makalya's list of stores she wanted to visit was the Disney store.
We do not have a Disney Store anywhere close to where we live so she was very excited to be able to go here.

Do you see all of that stuff up there that she is buying????

Guess what???

Most of what she bought was for someone else!!!
*Cue proud mama tears!!!!
She bought these cars for Carson, a little Stitch for Blake, and a small Stitch and Frog for Vanessa.
The only thing she bought for herself was a little plush Stitch and Kitten.

Look!!! The cars she bought Carson were on clearance from $29.50 to $5.99. Good find Makayla! The little Stitch that she got Blake was also on clearance.
Now, Gabby and Mariela both wanted to buy a plush animal too. They were on sale 2 for $15 or $8.50 each. Without me saying anything to them they decided to buy them together so they could both save $1. Every dollar counts, right??

Mariela also bought some perfume, lotion and body wash from the Disney Store.

Oh look at that- It was also on clearance! Proud mama!!
After the Disney Store we went next door to Build A Bear Workshop.
Makayla made herself a bear and bought him 2 outfits.
But what made me the most proud out of everything that they did this day was this......
They all pitched in their money together to build Michael a bear. They told me that he does so much for them and they wanted to tell him thank you. Also, they wanted to thank him for taking them to NC for the weekend!!
Seriously, now we are at proud mama sobbing! There are no word to describe how proud I was of them!!
And of course since it was for Michael they dresses the bear in a pirate costume :)
Like I said earlier, I did not stick my nose into anything that they were doing, I was just going with the flow. It is their money that they earned and they can spend it however they want to. I was so thrilled to see them living out being smart with their money without me saying anything :) Not only that, but the fact that when they had the chance to go to the mall and buy anything that their little hearts wanted with the money that they had, and ALL of them CHOSE to spend money on someone else. It makes me so incredibly proud to call these girls my own!!! I am amazed everyday at how smart and amazing they are. God has blessed me in ways I could have never imagined!! I thank Him everyday for choosing me to be their mother.
They are definitely a lot more responsible with money than most kids their age. I am able to stand up and say that I am teaching them to be wise stewards of their money and their things.
Another thing that we noticed when our kids started spending their own money instead of ours was that they seemed to take better care of their belongings. Again, I think this goes back to them knowing how hard they had to work in order to be able to buy it and they want to take care of it. They know the value of a dollar and they know that money doesn't grow on trees, they have to work for it.
Something else to note is that when we have pay day at our house our girls take out 10% for tithe and they also put 10% in piggy bank to save. They really are learning how to take care of money! My hope and prayer is that when they are older that these values will be ingrained in them and that they will make wise financial decisions as adults too!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blake Heart Apt

A little over 4 months ago God blessed me once again with a sweet baby boy!

There he is- my monster baby 12lbs 4.6 oz!!!!!!

The night after I had Blake he was crying a lot, like he was in pain. I also noticed that he seemed to be breathing faster than he should be. I decided to call the nurse and let her know what was going on. She came in and took him down to the nursery to observe him for a little while. She came back later and told me that she felt something on his clavicle and thought that it may be broken. She put in an order for the Dr to get an x-ray done in the morning. Her thoughts were that he was breathing fast because of the pain that his clavicle was causing him. 

The next day they did the x-ray and it showed that he did indeed have a broken clavicle. (He was a BIG 'ol baby so no one was overly surprised by this news) They wrapped him tightly in a blanket to help him not move his arm and they started giving him Tylenol for pain. They decided that they were going to keep him in the NICU because of his breathing. They were convinced that his breathing difficulties were due to his clavicle pain. The figured that if they give him pain meds and kept him comfortable then his breathing would start to improve. 

*For those of you who are unaware, fast breathing rates in babies is a bad thing, mainly when they eat. I guess it is very easy for them to suck the milk down the wrong tube and it end up in their lungs. Which would cause them to get very sick, very quickly and could possibly cause death. So better to be safe than sorry- he stayed in the NICU. 

Blake 6 days old in NICU.

Unfortunately, even after getting him comfortable his breathing didn't start to improve at all :( 
They started to run all different kinds of tests on him. They did blood tests,
x-rays of his chest and ultrasounds of his heart.

This whole process was horrible. They put him on antibiotics for 48 hours just in case there was an infection of some kind. My heart broke every single time I saw him. At one point in time he had an IV in his head and that just killed this postpartum mama to see, let me tell you! There is nothing harder than sitting there watching my poor helpless baby being poked at or seeing him hooked up to all of those machines and know there is nothing that I could do to help him. 

*This was not the first time I have had to see one of my babies hooked up to machines.
Vanessa was in the NICU for a week with breathing problems and Mariela was in the pediatric ICU with meningitis. IT IS NEVER EASY!

Anyways, after running lots of test they noticed a hole in the middle muscle of his heart. They did not seem overly worried about it because of the location that it was in. They told he that the muscles around it should cause it to close up on its own. They scheduled me a follow up appointment for when he was four months old just to make sure. 

Now, even though they were not worried about it, hearing that there is something wrong with your son's heart doesn't really  go over well! I seriously was a total mess! 

He ended up staying in the NICU until he was 12 days old. They never had a real diagnosis of why he was breathing fast and eventually just let him come home. (It was most likely just related to his size.) That week and a half was very difficult! My heart was broken and being ripped between two places. I wanted to be with Blake, but I also had 5 other kids at home that I wanted to see. I just wanted my baby to come home so things could be normal again. It was a very stressful situation and caused fighting and misunderstandings between some family members and Michael and I.
 Michael was SO good to me when I was on my emotional roller coaster and I couldn't have made it through all of this without him being my rock and standing by my side. He never thought of himself during that time, only how he could help me get though it! I am so blessed to have him as a husband :)
Blake finally came home at 12 days old :)

 Blake's first bath

Bringing him home wasn't easy either. Every little noise he made while he slept would scare me and I would wake up to check to make sure he was ok. He always was, but as a mom I still panicked. 

We just continued to live day to day and eventually my nerves settled down and I didn't freak at every noise he made....... Just a few......
Over the next few weeks his breathing got better and I was able to relax.
He is was 4 months old on the 27th of August and he is just as perfect as can be!!!!

Doing what he does best, taking up the whole couch to himself for a nap :)

4 months later (9/10/12) we went back for our follow up visit to the cardiologist and he had another ultrasound done. The Dr said he doesn't see or hear any signs of the hole! Praise God! That was the best news ever!!!

My sweet "little" baby weighed in at a whopping 18 pound 11.6 oz that day :) 
I think he is doing pretty well, don't you?

4 months old and as healthy as can be!!!
Thank you Lord, for keeping my little buddy safe :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012


For those of you who have been following my blog I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart! I just wanted to let you all know that on Sunday's I will not be blogging.

About 3 weeks ago, we started a rule that mommy and daddy are not allowed on their phones or computer on Sundays. So that means on Sunday I will be off spending time with my husband and kids and not updating my blog (or facebook).

I would really like to encourage you to do the same. My kids get very excited for Sunday to come around because they get our full attention throughout the day. It is amazing how much time is spent on the internet/phone/texting......... When you take that out of the picture for a day then you are truly able to focus on what is important in your life!

Please, take time to show your kids that they are more important than electronics, they will thank you and you will make some wonderful memories along the way!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mommy Money

In our house we have a reward system that we use called "Mommy Money". 
I use Mommy Money to enforce good behavior/habits that we want for our kids to have.
I just laminated construction paper that I wrote mommy money on :)
Right now I am using this system to try to get the kids to think of others before themselves. Anytime they do something for me or someone else without being asked to, I give them a mommy dollar.  

Examples of some things that they have earned money for-
*Helping me put grocery bags into the van.
*Making the little ones a sandwich.
*Bringing Michael Gatorade when he is mowing the lawn.

Anything that shows me they are thinking of someone else. 

We really want our kids to think of other people first. We feel that it is a wonderful quality to have! Who doesn't like having someone do something nice for them?

This system helps them along because they like being rewarded for their good behavior. We will stick with this and do it until we feel it just becomes second nature to them . After we feel that they have mastered this we will move on to another character building quality that we will work on. 

The kids acquire money over a couple of weeks and then I will do something special for them :) This "special" night is when they get to spend their mommy money.

The last special night we had we took the kids to the drive-in to see Madagascar 3 and Brave.  While we were there I set up a concession stand in the back of the van and the kids were able to spend their money. 

They had to buy their ticket from me to see the movies and then they bought any snacks/drinks that they wanted. 

I also found some Brave sticker books at the Dollar Tree and I used them as souvenirs :)

They had SO MUCH  FUN!

Not only are we building wonderful qualities in our children, but we are also making awesome memories!

Some other things we have used a system like this for has been teaching them to say "yes/no ma'am/sir" and please/thank you.


They were ready to spend!!

I am very excited to do our next reward night :) I have an awesome idea that I know they are going to LOVE!!!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pepperoni Pasta

This is one of my kids favorite dinners! Almost all of them go back for seconds :)

I was inspired by this recipe on pinterest- I say inspired because I changed basically everything in it except for the cheese and pepperoni.

This dinner is super easy and is sure to be a hit if you make it!


1 box of penne
pizza sauce (I make my own - recipe below)
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1 - 2 c mozzarella cheese
1 - 2 tsp garlic powder
1 - 2 tsp Italian seasoning
(optional- sausage, bacon, peppers, onion or any other topping you like on your pizza)
* Also optional is crushed red peppers

1. Make sauce (you can just use a jar of pre-made sauce if you are in a hurry)
2. Boil water and cook noodles
3. Drain water from noodles then place noodles into a 9x13 dish
4. Add sauce and Parmesan cheese
5. Mix noodles around in sauce and Parmesan until all noodles are covered in sauce.
6. Top noodles with cheese ( Use as much cheese as you want here. We like cheese!)
7. Sprinkle garlic powder and Italian seasoning top of cheese
*this is also where you would add crushed red pepper - we love ours with red pepper!
8. Top with pepperoni and any other toppings
9. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 min

Sauce recipe-
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1 bay leaf

Mix all ingredients together and let simmer on stove for 30 min

I love this dinner because it really is one of the easiest things that I make! The kids love it because, well, it's pizza and pasta together! What's not to love, really?


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Family vacation Sep 2012

Last weekend we went to Raleigh, NC to celebrate Makayla's birthday! 
We do not have a big Christmas in the gift giving sense. Last year we talked with the older girls and they told us that they would rather spend Christmas focused on others (*cue proud mama tears!*) and have a special birthday "gift". Their gift is that we will do whatever they want to do for their birthday. (As long as it is in our budget of course!)

This year Makayla decided that she wanted to go to Marbles Children's Museum. Raleigh is about 4 1/2 hours from where we live now so we decided that we would stay the night down there. As the time got closer we also noticed that the weekend we were going also happened to be Labor Day weekend :) Woohoo! That meant that we could stay an extra night since Michael didn't have to work Monday. 

We were ALL so excited and looking forward to a well deserved weekend away! No school, no work, no cooking, no laundry and NO HOUSE WORK!!!

It is not often that we get away and we were going to make the most of it! 
We got up early Saturday morning and loaded everyone into the van and left the house a little after 6am.

Now, my kids are not morning people! They hate the fact that I make them wake up at 8:30 every morning, but when I came downstairs at 5:30 they were wide awake and bouncing around! It was hard for them to contain their excitement for the weekend ahead! 

We had our whole weekend planned and our first stop was Marbles. 
If you have no clue what Marbles is then you are missing out! It is a two story Children's Museum. There is so much to do there :) When we lived in NC we actually had a yearly membership because my kids loved it so much. It is only $5 a person to get in and worth every penny. 

Our first stop was the hula hoops. Now, I personally suck at hula hoops, but luckily some of my kids didn't inherit my lack of hula hoop skills :)

Go, Kay Kay, Go!!

Little Miss Mariela ROCKED at the hula hoop. Seriously, she could have done this all day. (Actually, this was one of the only things she did all day. I think her pre-teen is setting in and she thinks she is a little to old to play at the Children's Museum. Despite my very direct statements telling her that she is

Michael, even had a pretty good go at it, too!

Off to the sports area :) The kids had the most fun here! They played soccer, basketball, gymnastics and they had a little dance studio.

I spent the day watching my wonderful family and checking out my gorgeous husband ;)

Carson liked to jump high with, Daddy!

They had a little infant area, so Blake was allowed to have some fun as well!

Off to the water area :) Carson, had the most fun here!
He kept trying to drink the water and didn't quite understand why I wouldn't let him.

My wonderful eye candy playing with Blake. I love watching my kids play and laugh more than anything in this world!

Here is Gabby just being Gabby. Most of the pictures I took of her this weekend she posed just like this :)

This is my darling husband's attempt to get me to believe that he is not tired. Yeah, I didn't give into his 

After a long day at Marbles we went back to our hotel. We stayed at the Hyatt Place. It was a great hotel! Our room was big enough for all of us to fit and for everyone to sleep in a bed, except for Carson and Blake, but they had a pack 'n play they put in the room for us. There was an excellent complimentary hot breakfast every morning. Probably, one of the best we have ever had at a hotel. I will definitely look into staying at the Hyatt Place more often when we vacation.

Now, with all of that said about how spacious the rooms were, some how I still ended up with this many people in my bed when I woke up! 

I actually love mornings more than any other time! All of my kids are so sweet and lovable in the morning :) I usually get the best hug for the day every morning from Carson. I really look forward to him waking up every morning and throwing his little arms around my neck and squeezing with all of his might!

We decided to spend Saturday morning and early afternoon just hanging out and relaxing at the hotel. Off to the pool we went :) Then a storm came and we had to cut our pool time short. The girls were not amused at all! Carson, could have cared less, he was terrified of the pool for some reason and would scream if you put him in it!

Later Saturday afternoon we had a party scheduled for Makayla at Chuck E. Cheese. This is the third time she has had a party there. I guess she really likes the mouse :)

Gabby is having fun :)

Vanessa was the only one of my kids who would go up and dance with Chuck E. 

Family photo - Look I am part of this family!

This year they had a package with a pinata. 

The kids had SO much fun with the pinata. It was filled with tokens and tickets :) 

After Chuck E. Cheese's we went back to the hotel and Michael and the kids went down to the pool while Blake, Carson and I hung out in the room.

Blake taught himself how to blow raspberries :)

The next morning we packed up and loaded the van to head  to the mall, but first one more dip in the pool. 

Look! After MANY attempts I was FINALLY able to get Carson to get in the pool!

Before we headed home Makayla's last request was to go to the mall! She had birthday and job money that was just burning a hole in her pocket.

The Disney Store was the main reason she wanted to go to the mall!

Vanessa walked into the Disney Store and started dressing up!

Mariela bought herself some perfume (The best part is that it was on clearance)

No visit to the mall is complete without a ride on the quarter machines.

This weekend was great! Everyone was able to relax and have fun. Most importantly, we were able to celebrate Makayla's life and the blessing that she is to this family! 

Next up is Gabby's birthday- and I believe that she wants to go camping.