Thursday, August 25, 2011

Let's BEE Friends with Bruna and ME!

Check it out! Bruna featured an interview with me for her weekly "Let's BEE Friends" link up! Hop over to her space and after you're done reading a little more about me... link up a post of your own and then go check out the other blogs that have linked up. It's really fun way to find new blogs to read and make some new buddies!

If you aren't already following Bruna from Bees With Honey, DO! She's super sweet. She does really fun stuff with her girls. She talks LOTS about spending time as a family and doing fun stuff with her husband. I totally dig her!
She also has rad Canadian drink recipes for Caesar's! :) What're you waiting for?! Go check her blog out!

Thanks a bunch Bruna! oxox

Bees With Honey

Let's BEE Friends

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Grammy's World Famous Bourbon Slushie

I'm linking up with Carri and Jessica for #SummerSmashed!


Anyone who's ever tweeted with me at #wineparty knows that I love bourbon. I'm not really into the brightly colored fruity drinks (totally NOT knocking the peeps who ARE!) but, I come by my love for bourbon honestly. It's genetic. My Grammy has been fixing bourbon slushies for decades. Some people ask little old ladies for their casserole recipes. People ask MY Grammy for her bourbon slushie recipe... and I think that's freaking hilariously, AWESOME. The drink is really light and the perfect summer concoction. You just have to be careful because it doesn't really taste like there's much hooch in it, but there IS. Go easy y'all... this can sneak up on ya and leave you passed out in a lawn chair if you're not careful!

Grammy's World Famous Bourbon Slushie
8 cups water
1 cup sugar
12oz can frozen lemonade
6 oz can frozen orange juice   
1 1/2 cups bourbon

Freeze and then enjoy!

My Grammy actually has a container that she makes bourbon slushies in. It's this square frozen yogurt container from the 80s that looks like glorified Tupperware. She makes a batch of the stuff and then just leaves it in the freezer so you can scoop it out whenever you want more. (I like how she thinks.) My favorite part of her recipe is when she says, "Make sure you add the right amount of bourbon. It'll freeze solid if there's not enough booze in it! What fun is that?"

There's a place I love down in Orange Beach, AL called Jake's Steakhouse & Grill. The food is great, especially after a day on playing on the white sand beaches in Gulf Shores. It's also not too pricey. They play great music and there's all kinds of cool stuff hung on the walls. My kids love the great white shark wearing a life preserver! It's big and open but, not loud. It's family-friendly but, not cheesy. I've never ordered anything that wasn't outright AWESOME. They give you a ton of food (we always go home with leftovers) and the staff is fabulous. They're friendly and kind without being obnoxious. We went there with the kids the day that we had our first pet-funeral (hardest day as a parent EVER!)... and the waiter brought them all banana pudding on the house!

One of my favorite things about Jake's is their drinks that come in a coconut head. It's really silly... the coconut head is a bank... but the drink names are just funny. My personal fave is called a Shark Bite... it's a strawberry pina colada. I already told ya that I'm not a huge fan of the fruity drinks... but I love Shark Bites! They make a better dessert than the banana pudding!

So there ya have it! One of these day, when all my bloggy buddies come visit... we're heading down to the white sandy beaches of Gulf Shores to hang out drinking Grammy's World Famous Bourbon Slushies in the sun and then heading to Jake's for some great surf & turf and Shark Bites!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Mom Pledge

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Remember how I'd said boundaries are a good thing? How "good fences make good neighbors" and how it's important for us to respect other people's space as their own? How we never know someone else's whole story?

Yeah well... recently, someone came in my yard and stomped all over my flowers.

I'm not usually the target of weird Judgey McJudgersons. Not to my knowledge anyway. It may be that I'm just oblivious to it. If that's the case, well I thank God for that!

At any rate, it bugs the dickens out of me when people act like there's only ONE "right way" to raise kids. Whether it has to do with their bedtime or what you feed them or where they go to school or how they're dressed or what they do for recreation... it's ridiculous to act like one set of rules is the only "right way" to parent.

Kids are all different. Heck, I only have FOUR and they're all SO different that sometimes, it's a real challenge to remember that what works for one of them, does not work for the other three! So, I think it's more than disrespectful to say that because I make certain choices, that are different than what you'd choose, I must be a crappy Mom.

I am far from perfect. I don't pretend to have all the answers. I make parenting mistakes just like anybody else. I've even written about some rough days and having to correct poor choices on my part here! I talk about that stuff NOT because I've got it all figured out but, because I DON'T have all the answers and I figure that maybe someone else could learn from my mistakes and avoid the consequences that I've had to battle. I know that I really like reading stories from other Moms about how they did things and what worked and what didn't. We learn from each other.

Some of the choices that Dave and I make, as parents, have to do with certain needs each of our children has. Some of the choices have to do with what resources we have both financially and physically (in the part of the country that we live.) Some of the choices are personal preferences or things that we choose to value because of our faith. Some of the choices we make are made due to the knowledge and education we've received, not just in a school setting but, in life as well.

I'd be willing to bet that you make the choices you make for many of the same reasons. I'd be willing to bet that everything that works for our family... our set of 6 people and 6 personalities and all the variables that come with varying combinations of emotions... won't work for your house. My house is not a cookie cutter model for everyone else to follow. You aren't wrong for choosing to do things differently than I do them.

In turn, I'm not wrong for choosing to do things differently than you do or have done.

I believe that we, as Moms, each want the BEST for our kids. I believe that we LOVE our kids. I believe that we ought to support each other because the task of raising kids and caring for our families (however we do that... and whatever combination of people makes up our family) is a tough job and we could all use encouragement rather than judgment.

Casting judgment of other people is wrong. That doesn't mean that we have to agree with all people. Talking ugly about other people (slander) is wrong. We'll be held accountable for our own choices and so, those are the ones we should be focusing on. We're in no position to judge others because we don't know all the reasons behind why they choose the things they do. We can't see what is inside people's hearts.

"Brothers and sisters, do not tell evil lies about each other. If you speak against your fellow believers or judge them, you are judging and speaking against the law they follow. And when you are judging the law, you are no longer a follower of the law. You have become a judge. God is the only Lawmaker and Judge. He is the only One who can save and destroy. So it is not right for you to judge your neighbor."  James 4:11-12 NCV

"God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the LORD looks at the heart." I Samuel 16:7 NCV

I'm taking The Mom Pledge because I think it's important to respect the job that we're doing. It's more important to build a community of Moms who support each other and can share opinions with respect for each other and not crass judgment. We're all different and can learn from those differences. We're all loving our kids and caring for them with what's best for our families in mind.

God is too creative to make just ONE "right way" to raise a family. And we're in no place to cast judgment on each other.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Things I Never Knew Until I Had Kids

Parenting has taught me all kinds of things. It's given me super powers that have exceeded my wildest dreams... and in many ways,(because I am a HUGE science geek!) it's been one ginormous science experiment. Allow me to share with you just a few of the things that being around children 24/7 for the last decade has taught me.

1. You can stop a VCR dead with a handful of quarters, PlayDoh, or Oreos. As in non-resuscitably dead. Not that we're all gung-ho about the VHS tapes anymore... but dude, that'll kill an old school movie library instantly.

2. Children over the age of one have the climbing dexterity of chimps. They can and WILL climb on top of the fridge, at nap time, while Mommy is in the shower to get that Halloween candy she put out of reach. They will ride the garage door up and over the car. And they will say it was the baby's idea.

3. Teachers will always think that book reports involving dressing up like characters is a WONDERFUL idea. Moms will always HATE the idea. ALWAYS.

4. Strawberries and cream oatmeal in the tank WILL kill goldfish but not those fish that suck on the glass. Don't ask me why.

5. Children will NEVER get tired of asking "Why?" EVER. It's like they don't even hear themselves saying the word.

6. Always check your sweatshirt sleeves for dryer sheets or you might end up throwing your undies at the grocery clerk. The chance of this happening increases exponentially as the number of children in your care increases.

7. BandAids with cartoons on them WILL be swiped and used like stickers.

8. Rubbing alcohol removes Sharpie from suede. Ketel One is a decent substitute when you are out of rubbing alcohol.

9. The Velcro on diapers breaks frequently. Keep duct tape in your diaper bag.

10. The longer your daughter's hair is... the more adamantly she will refuse to brush it.

11. The kindest person in a parking lot is the UPS man. The UPS man (different guys at different times and locations) has helped me when having moments of chaos in parking lots so often that I'm pretty sure that they ARE, in fact, super heroes. Their heavy lifting abilities comes in especially handy when your double stroller decides to collapse with your children inside it while you're crossing the street. UPS man, you're my hero!

12. Kids prefer to eat fruit and veggies when you almost never buy cookies and chips. They also will stay full longer when they're not eating junk!

13. A child who is dared by another child to put a rock in their ear WILL put a rock in their ear and then NOT tell their mother for at least 3 days. They WILL ask "Huh?" repeatedly until asked, specifically, if they have rocks in their noggin.

14. When in public with more than 2 children, strangers will stop and ask you, "Are they all yours?" as if you are the Duggars. It's best to not slap them... although, that IS my first inclination.

15. No matter how much blue you dress a baby boy in... little old ladies will always ask "How old is SHE?" When you say, "HE is ____ months old." They will respond with a "Oh, he's too pretty to be a boy!" as if this is a normal sentence to have fall from their lips. Again, it's best NOT to slap them.

16. Money spent on swanky, pricey toys is money wasted. All the kid wants is a BOX!

17. Swimming diapers are of no use when you're at the mall. Unless of course, your mall has a fountain for kids to run thru!

18. The death of a dearly loved pet is one of the hardest days as a parent EVER.

19. Get strangers to take YOUR photo with your children when you are doing fun things. I am in almost NONE of the photos from my children's early years because I was the one taking the pictures. If I am hit by a bus and they can't remember what I look like, please don't tell them I look like an older, nerdier Punky Brewster... even if that is the truth.

20. Laughter is an instant vacation. Some days, it is better to laugh over the craziness rather than burst into tears over insanity. It'll all be funnier tomorrow anyway!

There have been moments where I've been exhausted and wanted to pull my hair out but, there are far MORE moments where I've burst out laughing because of the hilariousness of my kids' imaginations. Being a parent is a HARD job. There's no question that it's WORK and that it's a seemingly, never-ending job when they're tiny. It's this wild balancing act of exercising discipline to reign in selfishness while simultaneously trying to promote choosing wisely for themselves... but, it's also really fun. My kids give me a reason to keep coloring, to express my heart, to control my temper, and to love more deeply and more unconditionally than any other people on the planet. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Under the Sea Teddy Graham Cake

I swear that I lots of cakes that do NOT have Teddy Graham on them but, because people have liked the baseball field cake and the jungle native cake so much... I thought I'd post pics of Matthew's cake last year. His looked like this:

Above and below the ocean there are Teddy Graham mermaids, snorkelers, and bears in bathing suits. It was pretty labor intensive (about 2 hours to decorate all the stuff that got put on the cake after the initial frosting) but, really fun too!

The boat is a Twinkie. The seagull is a large marshmallow cut in half  with a small marshmallow head attached with frosting and then decorated. The pylon the seagull is sitting on is made of pretzel sticks. The sail for the boat is a double layered Fruit Roll Up with pretzel sticks for a mast. The life preserver is a mint Lifesaver with icing stripes added.

The fish are Goldfish crackers... I just added icing eyes to them. the seaweed is just green icing squeezed through a plus sign-shaped tip. The rocks are Brach's maple candies.

The only thing that was difficult to work with was that Fruit Roll Up. If I had it to do again, I would've found something else to use for a sail because when it got warm, it got REALLY floppy.
Another idea would be to use one of those bamboo kabob skewers for the mast. That probably would have addressed the floppiness issue a little better than pretzel sticks did!

The cake was just regular white cake and the frosting was vanilla. Again, I want the cakes to be edible AND look cute. There's no point in making a cake that looks cool but no one wants to actually eat!

It's amazing what you can do with frosting and teddy bear shaped cracker eh?!