Homeschool Conference!!!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Will it be the stairs or the escalator?

Just last night, a super sweet friend of mine sent me an email that I just have to share with all of you!!! Makes me smile just watching it!!! Here's what she had to say:

Hey Stacey,

This attachment of the Fun theory sounded right up your alley! It's become my alley as well. I'm loving it!

Nicole


Go ahead, click on it...it's short and it's so great!!!
We all just wanna have a little fun in this life :)



video

After watching this I just feel like dancing...think I'll go grab my hubby and do some dancin' in the kitchen!!! (since that is one of my favorite things to do!)

Wouldn't you take the stairs if it was that much fun??? I'm quite certain I'd never get my little ones to leave the stairs if they were as magical as that!


Saturday, May 29, 2010

So a couple of days ago, we were enjoying some yummy pancakes with this delicious syrup (this is quite a treat around here, since syrup is either plain old maple or homemade, which is again plain old maple!) ANYWAY... Our little 4-year old is reading everything in sight. This lovely bottle is sitting right in front of her plate and she suddenly blurts out -- "OH MAN!" WHY DOES IT ALWAYS HAVE TO BE ABOUT BOYS! WHY COULDN'T THEY CALL IT 'GIRLSENBERRY' INSTEAD OF BOYSENBERRY?!"

ALL I CAN SAY IS "WOW!"

Don't think I'll ever look at pancakes again without laughing ... simply priceless!!!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Clarifiying "A New Season"...

So, after some questioning that came to me after my last post, I thought I had better clarify just what I meant by a new season.

No I am not quitting offering great retreats and events for Homeschooling Momma's ~ that is such a big part of who I am. I love these weekends and I love you women that I get to spend my time with! I am just thinking that I need to venture in some new directions, as well, so that I can get this intense need to create handled and satisfied!!! So if you moms who love the Mother's Retreats were in a bit of a panic, relax and sit back...no worries...you are still stuck with me as long as you'll have me around to put on our fun weekends! And you'll have the bonus of other fun retreats to look forward to...yippee!

The New Season I was referring to is my own personal New Season in life ~ void of little babies (except for those sweet little grandbabies of mine!) ~ with all of my babies and little people turning into much bigger people these days! It's just a new season of being a mom and learnin' how to do it all, even though we've already raised one daughter, it's never the same since they all have their own little unique quirks and needs and ways of communication and, and, and..........

By the way, the sunshine was great! I went for a walk and then watched my boys enjoying their bike track they've built beside our creek -- it was a great afternoon. Bring on the sunshine!!!

A New Season of Life...

After thinking and thinking, since I seem to do that alot lately...I've had a couple of thoughts that just will not leave me alone. These thoughts are not just a product of this week, rather thoughts that have been developing and nurturing deep inside of me for quite some time now. For the past several years I have put on Mother's Retreats for Homeschoolin' Momma's and have thoroughly LOVED doing this. Prior to this, I spent a lot of energy on Homeschool Conferences and Mini-Conferences. Also LOVED these! But what about reaching out to others who don't homeschool...I haven't really done much to try to make a difference, to go away and spend time with all of the other special women I know and love...hmmm, my wheels have been turning!

One thing I have learned of myself over the last year or two has been the intense desire, no the INTENSE NEED to CREATE. The joy that creating gives to me is indescribable. I often wonder if my need for creating at this point in my life, is due to the fact that I am no longer "creating life" as that seems to have been my main role in life for the past 24 years!!!

With our baby approaching "5" next week, I believe I am starting into a new season of my life. (Kinda scary...a new season...familiar is so much more comfortable, but how would I keep growing if nothing ever changed ~ so I'll embrace this new season with joy!)
No longer do I have diapers to change, babies to nurse, strollers to load, little ones to carry with me every step I take, rocking special little bundles for endless hours into the wee hours of the night ~ although our little one will still happily climb up and rock with me for as long as I will rock her ~ I think she really misses our special nights too! Just last week, we recited one of our favorite stories together as we snuggled and rocked -- I LOVE YOU FOREVER -- if you don't have a copy of this book, run to the closest book store and add it to your collection...it is priceless!!!
(Though I truly do miss these days, I treasure so much the times I am enjoying with all these sweet kiddos now, for the smiles and laughter they give me each day, for the endless surprises ~ never know what might be waiting for me around the next corner! For all that they teach me...as I learn to be the best momma I can be for each of them individually.)

Back to my point of my need to Create...yep, I got off track again!!!

I am always thinking of things I'd just love to do, to make, to create or re-create...but I often find myself saying, "There is just no time to do these things, because my job at this point in my life is to be a momma and to spend my time raising and loving all these kiddos!"

While I truly do believe this previous statement with all of my heart ~ because that is just exactly who I am ~ I am also coming to the point of believing that my need to create is also something I am meant to find the time to do, because it is part of me, my creations (just like my kiddos) are part of me and part of what makes me the person I am today!

SO...with all of this being said...Please give me your thoughts on combining a Retreat for Women and add in time for creating. Do you have your own things to create or are you in need of someone handing you a box and an idea with a little instruction to make your creative juices begin flowing??? Do you dream of a weekend away -- Just think...a trip to the mountains...delicious food, fabulous friends, time for you, time for your creativity, time to take in the beauty that surrounds you... Am I the only one out here who wishes for a little time now and then to be ME (yes, I am always me, this is just a quiet time of being me, where little ol' me can think and spread out "me and my stuff" and create...deep into the night if that is what I wish, or at the break of dawn if that suits my fancy that day)

If ANYONE IS OUT THERE READING THIS...Please, please share what your thoughts are...you know I am writing this for you! :)

Happy day to you ~ oh, will you look at that! ~ the rain has just stopped, the sun is shining brightly! Where are my shoes? Out I Go to soak it all in....aaaahhhh how I love the sun!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Marketing World...

So in addition to being the Momma around here, my husband and I also own a small business and I am quite involved in the whole business world because that is just what it takes to make our whole financial world work.

With all of this life can be a touch overwhelming at times, but I cannot complain because I do have the luxury of being home with my children each and every day (well, almost each and every day). There are several outside appointments that have to be handled each month, but still I am blessed to be home with our kiddos!

Well, over the past couple of months we have been wracking our brains trying to figure out how to make a business thrive in these down times. We've never had to advertise as all of our work has been repeat and referral business, but there just isn't enough of it to keep feeding all these hungry kiddos. So...we've decided to do some advertising. With advertising comes marketing skills...we hired a couple of different "professionals" to give us a hand and show us how it is all done. Well what we ended up with essentially was a lot of frustration and very little of what we had hoped and prayed for!

So it was time to take things into my own hands...at the end of an afternoon of photography and some time on the computer we came up with what I think is just about as perfect as this Mom can come to...
Take a look!


By the way, those adorable little feet belong to my little ones! Sweet, huh???
They will have famous feet ~ who ever thought of being a model but only for your cute little toes?
That is how I bribed them to stand FOREVER as I snapped photo after photo after photo!
I told them their cute little feet would be in magazines all over the valley ~ woo, hoo!
It worked, what can I say!?
Well ~ there's another look into the day of my life...NEVER BORING...always something new happening around here!
I'd love to have your thoughts as this is our first real attempt into advertising...Thanks!!!
Have an awesome week!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Photos from our weekend getaway...















Look at all those cute kids!!!




















There are my little Hams...always in the pictures, love those happy faces!
















Here's a view from the dock...so beautiful! Oh and you should have seen the stars from the deck at night...I could have stayed up all night just looking into the sky. Simply Breathtaking!!!!
















Havin' a little fun with games :)
















And the crazy water photos...still can't believe they were brave enough to venture out into that icy cold water ~ what a day!








Sunday, May 16, 2010

SLEEP AND LAUGHTER

Time sure does fly!
I haven't been on here in quite a while now...miss it, truly I do! But I feel like I haven't had a spare moment to breathe, let alone write!
Hope that changes very soon...

Tomorrow (hopefully) I will be posting some great photos ~ my husband had several cabins to clean up in the mountains this weekend. (for those of you who don't know, we own a carpet cleaning business, so he was tackling the dirt in the carpets!) He left early Friday morning to head to do his work, the kids and I headed off to do our regular Friday schedule as we were not going to go along with him. That was until he gave me a call while we were at our Friday co-op and told me what an incredible place he was standing in and we could be there for the weekend! As he told me about it..."Located right on the lake, game room downstairs for the kids to enjoy, peaceful and quiet, lots of space for kids to be kids, You won't have to do a thing, just come up and relax and enjoy yourself..." so I changed all of our weekend plans, headed home and packed our necessities and made the drive up Friday night. During the drive I was sure wishing I would have waited until the next morning to drive up, but Saturday morning when I just slept in until I could sleep no longer ~ I was sure grateful to have arrived the night before (actually I think I could have slept the entire day, still...it was sleeping in and wow, was it wonderful!)

We saw so many deer on the drive and even a fox! Oh, they were just so beautiful, but they had me slightly uptight, I didn't want to hit one! But all was well, I believe the only evidence left of this difficult drive were the few permanent finger indentations on the steering wheel...not too bad...at least we skipped the deer hood ornamentation I was most terrified of!

This weekend was such a blessing for me...exactly what I needed. There were only two things I wanted and needed from our little getaway --
1. SLEEP
2. Laughter

I think I slept more this weekend than I have in months! I could hardly keep myself awake, what a treat! If I sat down, I fell fast asleep and it was okay because I didn't have all the work to attend to that is always present at home, there was nothing at all that I had to do...how nice is that to feel sleepy and just take full advantage of it!

Laughter was pretty easy to come by watching our kids playing pool and foosball (sp?) and the best was watching them wading in the water which had to be no more than 33 degrees!!!!! Just a few weeks ago during our Mother's Retreat, this very lake was frozen over and this weekend my kids are wishing to go swimming...not me! But it was so fun to watch them freezin' their little toes and lovin' it!
I know some of you are thinking I am a terrible mother to let my children get in such freezing cold water...I truly did resist for the longest time and finally thought to myself, "oh they will never really walk in it once their toes feel the icy chill!" How wrong I was! They loved it and their little feet are none the worse for it, so I guess once in a while it really is okay to just relax and not worry so much about being the perfect mom and protecting them from every little thing.
But, I do have to say I drew the line at cannonballs off the end of the dock ~ much to my boys disappointment! Next time when it's just a bit warmer I'll let them do it and maybe I'll even join in on the fun!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!!!

I will be off (quite happily!) with my sweet husband for the next couple of days celebrating our anniversary, but thought before I took off that I'd take a minute to pass along some thoughts of motherhood that I received in my email today, in honor of all you special momma's out there ~
Happy Mother's Day to you!!!

Since this is my blog, I have added my thoughts to each (surprise, suprise...just couldn't keep quiet for a moment!)

***Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you've had a baby..... somebody doesn't know that once you're a mother, 'normal' is history. (what is normal anyway???)
* * *Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by instinct ... somebody never took a three-year-old shopping. (or took a whole crew of crazy kiddos shopping!)
* * *Somebody said being a mother is boring ....somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a driver's permit. (Isn't that the truth!!! My first experience with this was in the snow while my daughter tried to run us into a mailbox...it's a wonder I haven't suffered a heart attack yet!)
* * *Somebody said if you're a 'good' mother, your child will 'turn out good'.... somebody thinks a child comes with directions and a guarantee. (Yeah, a manual with the specifics of each child would have come in handy from time to time!)
* * *Somebody said you don't need an education to be a mother.... somebody never helped a fourth grader with his math. (For all you homeschoolin' momma's ~ how about math for EVERY grade and reading, writing, spelling, science, history, literature...should I go on???)
* * *Somebody said you can't love the second child as much as you love the first .... somebody doesn't have two children. (or 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8...)
* * *Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother is labor and delivery.... somebody never watched her 'baby' get on the bus for the first day of kindergarten ... or on a plane headed for military 'boot camp.' (or watched her baby havin' a baby of her own!)
* * *Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after her child gets married....somebody doesn't know that marriage adds a new son or daughter-in-law to a mother's heartstrings. (So true, you don't lose a child, you gain another!)
* * *Somebody said a mother's job is done when her last child leaves home..... somebody never had grandchildren. (This is a fun job, those little babies are a bonus to life!)
* * *Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so you don't need to tell her.... somebody isn't a mother. (I'm going to go give my Momma a call...I don't think I've told her enough in my life just how very special she is to me! I definately have an Angel Mother!)

I sure hope all the special "somebody's" in your life celebrate the wonderful women you are!!!

To end this Mother's Day post ~ I must send you one of my very favorite stories...brings tears to my eyes each and every time I read it!!!

Once upon a time, there was a child ready to be born. One day she asked God, "They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there so small and helpless?"
"Among the many angels, I chose one just for you. She will be waiting for you and will take care of you."
"Here in heaven I don't do anything else but sing and smile and that's enough to be happy. And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me and I don't know the language that men talk?"
"Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak."
"And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?"
"Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray."
"I've heard that on earth there are bad men. Who will protect me?"
"Your angel will defend you, even if it means risking its life."
"But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore."
"Your angel will always talk to you about me, and will teach you the way for you to come back to me, even though I will always be next to you."
At that moment, there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from earth could already be heard, and the child in a hurry asked softly, "Oh God, I am about to leave now, please tell me my angel's name."
"You will call your Angel "Mommy."


Again, I wish you a very happy day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Retreat Recipes ~ Yum, Yum!!!

Sorry for the delay...it's only been two, well maybe it's been three now, coming up on four weeks ~ who knows, it's been a while!
Lots of moms asked for recipes from the retreat...and today is the day that I think I can sit down for a few and get them together for you.
I told one Mom that I have a million kids (okay it's really only 6 ~ or 7, 8, 9, 10 if I include my married daughter and her sweet little family) but it feels like a million kids needing me at the very moment I try to take a little time.
On that thought ~ I'm sure glad they "Need" me, if they didn't I'm not quite sure how sad my life might be! I believe it's a really great compliment to a mother if her children still want and need her at all ages and stages of their lives...well anyway...onto the recipes you've been so patiently waiting for! Those of you who know me, realize all too well, that I can blab and blab and blab all day long! So let's get to it...

Let's start with the first day, hmmm...
breakfast included Quiche, fresh fruit and bagels with cream cheese.

QUICHE
(You can make this easy on yourself or you can slave away making pie crusts...I'm a big cheater, so I just run to the store, pick up a pre-made pie crust, roll it out into my glass pie dishes and then I'm ready to add all the yummy ingredients)

I love to make a delish veggie version:
**4 eggs
**1 c heavy cream
**handful of grated cheddar or mix of cheddar and your favorite cheese
**finely chopped veggies: broccoli, peppers (all the colors), onion, tomatoes, green chiles (these are my favorites, but you can add anything your heart desires and it will be yummy!) I sautee the veggies for a few in a bit of butter.

Toss your veggies right on top of the uncooked pie crust, after mixing the eggs, cream and cheese, pour over the veggies, add some spices (pepper, salt, cumin, etc.) again spice to your liking, sprinkle a little cheese over the top and pop it in the oven.
Cook @ 350 for about 45 -60 minutes. Will brown nicely and when a toothpick or fork is inserted should come out nice and clean.

QUICHE can be made with any ingredients you like...for those picky little people in your lives, just do cheese and maybe a little ham or turkey. Or go crazy and add everything you love! Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Next we had lunch...Turkey & Cranberry Croissants

This is my very favorite sandwich, makes me hungry just thinking about it!!!

Just take a fresh croissant, slice in half, spread cream cheese over one half, spread cranberry over the other half, add thinly sliced turkey, lettuce leaves and tomato slices, along with a slice of Havarti cheese. Oh my goodness, prepare to eat the most heavenly sandwich ever!!!

Just add some fresh veggies and dip on the side and you are set!

Dinner included Creamy Poppyseed Chicken, Fresh Green Salad and French Bread

CREAMY POPPYSEED CHICKEN

This is a great dish if you have a lot of people to feed (or make up a big batch and then freeze some for another day or share with your friends and neighbors ~ they will LOVE you forever!)

You'll need your crockpot:
Throw in about 10 chicken breasts
3 cups Cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 cups water
4 Tbls Poppyseeds
(I will ocassionaly add a bottle of yummy poppyseed dressing for a little extra sweetening)

Cook until chicken is done, then shred or chop into bite size pieces, add back to the sauce and just let it hang out on the low temperature of your crockpot until you are ready to eat.

This is a perfect recipe to start in the morning and just let it do the work all day. The smell is divine and it really does taste just as good as it smells!

Pour over rice or pasta, add a green salad and some bread and enjoy!


Another breakfast ~ Eggstrada and Belgian Waffles

EGGSTRADA
This is truly the easiest breakfast ever (short of pulling out the cereal and milk!)
Take out your glass 9x13 pan, spray or grease with a bit of butter.
You'll need only a few simple ingredients:

**Sliced bread (white, sourdough, wheat ~ doesn't matter)
**10-12 eggs
**2 C milk
**2 handfuls cheddar cheese (or your favorite mixture of cheeses)
**3-4 Tbls dried onion flakes

Remove the crust (I have no idea why we do this part!), and cover the bottom of your pan with the bread. Mix together the eggs, milk, onion flakes and cheese, season to your liking, pour over the bread and then top off with just a sprinkling of cheese.
Cover with foil and bake @ 350 for 30 - 40 minutes depending on your oven.

This can also be prepared the night before, left in the refrigerator and then cooked in the morning. The bread just soaks up all the liquid so nicely and makes a super easy, yet tasty breakfast!

MOMMA'S WAFFLES

I've posted this on here before, but since I'm not so great at this whole blogging world, I have no idea how to tell you to find it, so....I'll just write it for you again (and if you are an ambitious soul then you can go looking for the one with photos)

4 Cups Flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
8 large eggs
4 Tbls sugar
2 Tbls Vanilla
1 Cube butter (melted)
4 Cups Milk
Mix dry ingredients, add eggs, vanilla, milk and finally melted butter. Mix together, being careful to not overmix. Batter will be lumpy. Heat your iron and spray with non-stick cooking spray, then wait until nice and crispy. Add all the delish toppings you can think of and enjoy!

For the retreat, we had Strawberries and Cream ~ so perfect!!!
Slice fresh strawberries and then lightly toss with heavy cream.

Use as the most delicious topping for your waffle ~ if so desired add a little whipped cream on top...oh so yummy!

And to end the retreat, we had one of my very most favorite dishes...I could eat this every other day for the rest of my life and never tire of it!!!

Mexican Salad with Tomatillo Dressing

Let's start with the dressing first, since it's the heavenly topping that makes your mouth water before even enjoying the first taste!

Ingredients for Tomatillo Dressing

* 1/2 cup milk * a small bundle of cilantro * 3-4 fresh tomatillos, peeled and cut in quarters * Juice of 1 -2 limes * 1/2 cup mayonnaise * 1/2 cup sour cream * 1 package Dry Ranch Buttermilk Dressing Mix * 3-4 tsp Cumin * 3 teaspoons sugar (add another teaspoon if necessary) * 1 jalapeno pepper cut in slices. CUT 1/2 PEPPER AND TASTE IT (if it is not spicy enough add more pepper. Wear rubber gloves when cutting the pepper because the seeds can irritate your eyes and your hands)
Blend in your blender on high until creamy.

Couple of variations for you to try:
**If you don't love the heat intensity of a jalapeno, try another less intense pepper just to add a little flavor without the burning sensation! (and you don't have to worry about the whole rubber glove thing with other peppers)
**This one happened out of necessity during a little getaway with a few friends, I was making this dressing and didn't have all the ingredients (the mayo, or the sour cream or milk) Hmmmm....what to do, how we wanted this dressing ~ well, we did have a perfectly new delicious carton of Vanilla Ice Cream, so we used a couple scoops of it and a little water. Oh, I am telling you this was the best ever!!!! It is now my new way of making this...so as a recap~ leave out the sour cream, mayo and milk and you can also delete the sugar, replace with vanilla ice cream and water (or milk for a creamier version). This also tones down the burning of the peppers.

Now for the Mexican Salad part:

Use all fresh veggies, finely chopping. You decide how many and the ratio of quantities that your family will love...But here are my favorites to add:
Fresh Cilantro
Peppers (again, all colors)
Red Onion
Tomatoes
Avacado
Black Olives
Green Chiles
Tomatillos

Toss together and add the juice of two limes, cumin (incredible mexican seasoning, love it!), and then add your favorites beans, such as black beans, pinto beans, chili beans.

Spoon over plate of lettuce, add a little cheddar cheese and pour on the Tomatillo Dressing. Serve with tortilla chips (warmed in the microwave or oven).

"You're Welcome"...I know after you eat this one, you will want to thank me, it is SOOOOO very delicious!!!


Well ~ enjoy and if you have a favorite recipe, please send it along, I'd love to try something new!