Category Archives: family

Mamas on Planes

We are out numbered 3-2. The kids haven’t formed a coo against us yet but I fear if they choose to. We will lose. 


On what should have been a 3 hour flight, we were delayed multiple times. From leaving the house to landing at our destination we traveled… hours. 

Left the house at 10 am and after check in and security arrived at our gate with time to spare. Our flight was to board at 1:45 and be in the air for 2 hours 45 minutes. We boarded the plane and were ready to go when a storm warning came in. We would be sitting in the plane for an hour due to the delay. An hour later we were deplaned. Our original take off time and our actual take off were FIVE hours apart. FIVE. Don’t misunderstand I am incredibly grateful our flight wasn’t canceled and we arrived on our originally planned day. But have you ever traveled with little children? We have a teenager, a high spirited 7 year old and a lap infant/toddler. Like I said, we are out numbered. 

I’ve read cute blogs from other moms about flying with kids and giving cute little care packages to the neighboring flyers. Yep not me. I don’t have the capacity for that. I have already thought of five things I forgot to pack. 

We do our best to bring distractions in many forms for our kids. But asking them to sit in an airport as our flight was delayed every 30 minutes is torture, for us and everyone else. 


Enter my saving grace, Vanessa. From our original boarding she was pure joy and kindness. She introduced herself to us and the kids, quickly mentioning she has three of her own little boys and knows what it is like to fly with little ones. Flying alone on this particular trip (turns out she’s a Younique presenter as well and is making her way down to New Orleans for convention as well) she assured us we are not to worry about fussing children. What a relief. A slightly older couple sat beside her and weren’t quite as happy with being in front of our little family but we’re keeping comments to themselves. Let’s be real here, I can see your head turns and corner of the eye glares while my child is throwing a needless tantrum. Sigh. 

Upon deboarding the plane, still in Newark, we stay near the gate as our departure time was only 30 minutes away. Time came and went, departure times changed; 2:30, 3:45, 4:10, 4:45, 5:10, 5:45, 6:10 and finally 6:30. Time to board! Yes! Quick check and adjustment of the fuel tanks and away from the gate we go!! Slight delay on the tarmac as there is a back up of all west bound flights as well as a possible new storm. Waiting 10 minutes for clearance, then an additional 15 minutes. Finally our turn to hit the runway, 7:30 take off time!! Our delays are longer than our flight time, but thank you Jesus our flight is still leaving. 

You may be wondering why Vanessa is my saving grace. Remember the 30 minute increment delays? AJ walked Baby K around our terminal, changed his diaper multiple times, he and the girls ate the snacks we packed for the flight. Four hours is a long time to wait for what I am sure seems like nothing to a child. Multiple times Vanessa was down on the ground playing with Baby K and Little Red (really should find a new nickname for Baby K). She took them to the windows, chatted with them and entertained them. Even while we were waiting on the tarmac she put a movie on her phone for the littles to watch and keep them occupied. Who does that for a stranger? While waiting we were free to move about, she took Baby K for a walk up and down the aisle waiving and saying hi to everyone. Then he wanted to be held and he let her hold him. She swayed with him while he tried everything he could to keep his eyes open. Time to take our seats, so close to sleeping. As soon as the plane was off the ground Baby K was out! Little Red still entertained by the movie, Baby K asleep in my lap, all is well. I thanked her profusely and many times. All she said was I hope someone does the same for me when I fly with my kids. Talk about paying it forward with kindness! 


So here I sit on our flight, writing about our family’s flight angel with tears in my eyes and drops slowly rolling down my cheeks. Hopefully we all will be a little more kind to those we interact with on a daily basis. This is how we show Christ’s love and compassion, being kind to each other. 

Love those who spitefully use you. Treat others as you wish to be treated. 

Help others on their way. 

Love your neighbor. 

Be the Good Samaritan. 

I’ll Show You My… Hometown

“Home is where your heart is.” If this is true my home is all over the country! When we first decided to write about our hometown this month I knew what I’d be writing about, the place I grew up and spent most of my childhood and teenage years, even part of my young adult life. Then I thought on this quote and all the other places I’ve lived, including where I currently live. How am I to write about my “hometown” when I have more than one? I thought maybe a quick internet search would help me decide. NOPE! Even Google says a hometown is “the town where one was born or grew up, or the town of one’s present fixed residence.”  Not helpful Google!

I narrowed it down to two (ok three) places I’d call my hometown. Let’s start at the beginning… where I began. Mission Viejo, California. I was born and raised in Southern California. Beaches, palm trees, delicious food, 6 lanes of freeway traffic, less than an hour from Disneyland. Yep this is my hometown and where some of my family still live. I love and miss them dearly. Let me show you…

Backyard in Mission Viejo
Nothing beats a gorgeous sunset over the ocean.
Going shooting with my Papa
Angels baseball games!
Watching my baby grow up here
Many hours spent at Disneyland
One of many delicious meal options.
Did I mention the beach?

Summer days and nights spent at the beach, I graduated high school and college living here. Would I ever move back? Probably not, the cost of living is ridiculously high now, ok it always has been. But part of me will always be a SoCal girl. Occasionally we visit and I am able to step foot on the glorious sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean and grab a double-double.

Part of my youth was also spent living in Utah. The place has grown and changed much since I’ve lived there. As I’ve said before, home is where the heart is and I have much family in Utah still. While I lived in American Fork, UT, most of the Utah Valley and parts of Salt Lake Valley are my “home”.

Mountains are unbeatable
My Utah family

 

So many siblings, in laws, nieces and nephews living in Utah. Going back to visit is easy, leaving is harder every time.My current hometown is Milford, PA. I went from city life to rural life. I’ve never seen so many trees before living here. Just like each of my previous hometowns, there is beauty and excitement to be found here as well. We’ve lived in our home for 5 years now and I’m still finding the places for my heart.

PA roads and skies
Family friendly hiking trails along rivers and waterfalls
Sharing outdoor living space with deer
Milford, my hometown
Colorful sunsets over the lake
White winter views
Kids enjoying the outdoors

All in all I consider myself lucky to be able to have more than one hometown. Milford is my home and I’m learning more each day about myself, my family and this area. I look forward to finding where my next hometown will be, many years from now. Where is your hometown?

Share your hometown and link up with us here.

 

I died…

Last week my life changed forever, I died.

Ok I didn’t completely and literally die, but after this last weekend I will never be the same. It all started a little over a year ago I began my healthy life crusade. Working out was a regular part of my schedule, I even found a tribe of women working out and supporting each other. We hiked and I shared part of my journey here.  I was preparing and planning for my very first Spartan race; hiking and weight lifting to prepare myself physically, especially hiking around with Baby K on my back. I could handle a little 3-5 mile obstacle course, no big deal! Ugh if I only knew then what I know now… I could not imagine what a life changing event I was in store for.

The original plan was to go with a group from Tribe, but this summer has thrown all of our schedules off and no one else was able to attend. AJ had previously volunteered with me at a race so we both had a free race coupon to use. His original plan was for a Beast or Super Spartan. Knowing I would be alone, I registered for my very first Spartan.

I knew going into the race there would be obstacles I was not ready to overcome, the rope climb is my ultimate nemesis. Even knowing this and knowing the 30 burpee penalty per failed obstacle, I was going to finish! My goal was to come in under 5 hours.  I know, 5 hours for 4 miles? Yes, 4 miles of up a ski resort mountain and back trails, cleared specifically for the race. Oh yes and 20 obstacles and doing 30 burpees per failed obstacle, this was going to take some time.

Race Map

To my surprise (and complete gratitude after the fact) AJ registered Friday night to race with me. He wasn’t doing it for him but for me! In reality, going into it I was not certain how nice I would be able to be. This might make or break our marriage. We would come out of this more in love or I’d be so raging angry and cranky I would say not nice things to him causing a rift in our relationship. 

Pre-race face

Morning of the race we were running late but arrived with time to spare. 8:30 am we climbed over the Spartan starting wall to begin our very first Spartan Sprint. Up the mountain we started, over 5 foot hurdles, yes while still going up the slope of the mountain, further up we went still. The first mile was the longest drudge to the peak. It was not a straight up climb nor was it a well worn path. There were some more walls to climb over but these I did on my own since they were on level ground. Although I did smack my ribs pretty hard on either these walls or the hurdles when I broke the mouth piece off of the camelpak I was wearing ugh! Bruised ribs SUCK! Over another wall, under another and through a third, yep through it, there were holes.

Miles 2 and 3 blurred together for me.  Hiking up and down hilly, rock covered, sprain your ankle terrain, intermixed with obstacles designed to push you to your physical, emotional and mental limits, you bet I lost track of what mile and obstacle we were at. Obstacles such as crawling under a cargo net in swamp mud fit for any wallowing pig. Then make it thru the crawl and slush thru a few more mucks of water to a dunk wall. Down into a pit of water, scramble up, back down into another and up again until the third time you’re down in deeper water facing a wall you now have to go under, the dunk wall. After the mud it was actually refreshing.

Back up the mountain we went to the slip wall. You’d think having a knotted rope to climb up a slippery wall (remember all the mud and water we just went thru?) would make it easy. Sure I did. I got right on up there, grabbed the rope and scrambled up the wall. I was about to pull myself up to the top when someone next to me lost his footing and slipped. I lost my concentration and footing as well. Then I felt the ribs, again. I was going to fall, until someone behind me stopped me. Someone was below me helping me to stay up, AJ up top reached his hand out to help me over the top and I made it! Dang slippery wall. There were more variations of walls and other obscene obstacles. Some were a cake walk for me, others… not so much. There was a sandbag carry, just like it sounds. Grab a heavy bag filled with sand, lug it up and around the mountain a bit and drop it back off. The Hercules hoist, using a rope and pulley system hoist a heavy bag up to the top of the rigging and back down again. Don’t let the bag free fall to the ground… not cool, or part of the challenge. The plate drag. This was cleverly designed on the side of the mountain with little holes dug into the path. All in all those were the easy ones for me, and the ones I enjoyed. Oh yes and lets not forget the bucket brigade. Fill up a 10 gallon bucket to the designated fill line (probably about 2/3 for the women) with small pebbles and carry it in front of you up and down the mountain. The biggest burpee maker of them all was the spear throw. You get one chance to throw a spear at a hay bale Spartan target. The spear has to stick. ONE. CHANCE.  Yep I came close but you know the saying… horse shoes and hand granades…

I learned very early in the race, this is not a place for “every man for himself” mentality. This is a place for first timers and experienced Spartans to come together, uplifting, supporting, cheering and helping each other all along the way. I cried so many times and for different reasons, heck sitting here thinking about it I still get a little teary. There were people who had finished their own race come back over and help AJ finish my burpees for the rope climb! I was so beat down I didn’t have the capacity to do more than 5 burpees without feeling like I was going to pass out. They knocked em out like it was nothing. Strangers boosted me up and pushed me over obstacles. Some held out a hand to help me up. Others gave me a conversational distraction from my fear of heights atop the A-frame cargo net. Another kind soul named Katie stopped and helped encourage me thru the barbed wire. Most people were rolling thru, we were crawling; that rolling crap for that long makes me dizzy.

My EVERYTHING was challenged and I came out on top! I still can’t believe it myself. I have officially conquered the mountain and finished a Spartan Sprint!

Let’s recap the obstacles:

starting wall: CLEARED with assistance
hurdles: CLEARED with assistance
walls: CLEARED
OUT: CLEARED
Mud Crawl: CLEARED
Rolling mud/Dunk wall: CLEARED
Slippery Wall: CLEARED with help
Barbed wire: CLEARED
Spear Throw: failed
Rope Climb: failed
Sand Bag: CLEARED
Plate Drag: CLEARED
Herc Hoist: CLEARED
Olympus: CLEARED with help
7 foot wall: failed
Inverted Wall: CLEARED with help
A-frame: CLEARED
Twister: failed
Bucket Brigade: CLEARED
Multi Rig: failed


Fire Jump: CLEARED

I died. I have been reborn over the fire and now…
I AM A SPARTAN! AROO!!

I’m not quite ready for a beast or super but there are other venues this summer for Spartan Sprints…. maybe! I said never again when I finished this one and I’m already looking at the schedule for this year! Oh man I’m in trouble!

Part of me will never be the same and I am glad for that. If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you right? I have been changed. The Spartan community is a unique creature in itself as well. I ended up finding out the names of most the Spartans who helped me on the mountain. Part of me will never forget them. They and that mountain were part of an experience I do not wish to soon forget. 

What is something you’ve done and conquered? Did it scare you? Would you do a Spartan?

Check 3 and 4 off of my 40 by 40 list!

Real Talk, New Baby

 One of the biggest things I had to learn whilst being a new parent was that it was ok when my child was crying. Yes, I needed to check on them and tend to their needs but it didn’t have to happen that second. The world wasn’t going to end if I finished my meal or drink.

I would however get into trouble if I didn’t take care of myself and instead rushed to my child’s aid. You are not a bad parent by taking time for yourself. In fact, it is imperative. You cannot look after your child to the best of your capabilities if you do not take the time to eat, drink and rest.

As long as you know that they are not in trouble, you do not have to stop what you’re doing to ease their crying. Yes make sure they are fed, changed and comfortable but if tears come in spite of this, do not feel that you have to give up your meal to nurse your bub – they can wait until you’re done!

Christine – http://www.wealthinthebible.com/

FIRST YEAR
Remember how I said everyone has an opinion? This doesn’t stop… ever. You’ve spent nine months carrying this beautiful child around in your body, went thru your own personal hell to get it out and now that baby is here you need a whole new set of advice and tips from other parents.

Breastfeed vs formula: there is a hot debate and many good moms have fallen in the battle. Do what is best for you and your baby and stick with it.

If you do choose and can breastfeed my advice is don’t quit too early. This is not an easy feat. Finding the right position for baby and you and getting the latch is a difficult task. Breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally. All those sweet photos of loving moms nursing their happily sitting still babies can be a bit overwhelming and disheartening to a new mom.

Even after nursing two kids I did not remember the toe-curling pain involved with nursing a new born. The pain wasn’t from the onset of the first few latches or even the incorrect latches. The worst pain comes when the milk starts to fully come in and baby is nursing. I can compare it only to a sensation of microscopic needles sliding thru my ducts. Thankfully it does not last the duration of nursing, only the first few weeks of milk coming in.

When baby does get the hang of it he’ll get so comfy he’ll be zen, and start practicing baby yoga while nursing. Just let it happen, it’s a funny experience.

You do what you think and feel is best for you and baby. Mother’s intuition is a real thing. Trust it.

 

LESLIE
Emotionally, I was a wreck after they were born. I was worried they were going to die and that my babies would be taken from me. I couldn’t even text or talk to anyone without crying my eyes out for the first few days! I know my body was going through major changes, it definitely got to my head.
Pumping…I could write forever about pumping. My advice is to get a good pump if you plan to breastfeed. You never know, breastfeeding might not work out and if getting Mama’s milk is important — invest in a good pump! I pumped exclusively for 11 months and it was the single hardest part of the entire journey. If you are on fence about providing them breast milk — just do formula. It will be much less stressful — but it is more expensive, so be aware of cost. My point is, don’t stress about feeding the baby — formula, breast milk…whatever you go with, just be confident in your choice. The baby will grow just fine!
Sleeping is an essential part of your child’s growth. We avoided co-sleeping and put our babies in two separate cribs. They never slept in our bed and preferred to be in their own room. Get them into this habit early; you’ll be grateful for it later. If you still want cuddle time, do it for the first or last bit of naps. Avoid interrupting sleep cycles. They need sleep to grow, to build their immune systems and to be mentally happy! We also didn’t try to be quiet during sleep time. That gets them in the habit of sleeping through noise. You can’t shut your house down for naps! I have a friend that couldn’t even wear jeans in her house because the friction noise of her walking would wake up the kids — no bueno.
I am a fan of daycare or some kind of group learning (library time, outings with friends, etc.). My kids are super smart (and no, I’m not just biased) and they are very social — it’s because they spend time with others and have a lot of structured learning time each day. Have them go for a few days or hours a week, it doesn’t have to be a full time thing.
When they fall, have them get right back up (preferably on their own). For example, if your kid falls down the slide — have them go down that same slide immediately after — it helps them overcome their fears. Just don’t coddle… 🙂
I attempted to make my own baby food (all organic) and it was a short lived activity. I ended up just buying organic baby food and then pureed some things on-demand. Avocados were a great first food. Rice cereal is basically a waste, but we did it just to get them used to texture.
Make sensory toys! Crumpled up paper, bottles with water and glitter…stuff like that is a fun craft and is great for their learning time!
My last piece of advice is two fold:
1. Get out every day! It doesn’t have to be a grandiose activity, even just an outing to the store is good for them and YOU!
2. Lower your expectations and then lower them again!

RENEE

Being happy during the first year took actual effort. I thought just having a baby would be overwhelmingly satisfactual and fulfilling. In reality I had lost all concept of time management and felt I had no purpose other than to nurse this infant and shower away my strange new Mom smell. I had to come up with a personal mantra to chant during these low times and eventually I found happiness in my day-to-day routine and found an outlet through exercise.

Aunt Sue, Bees and Miracles

For several years I had strong spiritual promptings to keep bees. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I attributed the impressions to our principles of self-reliance and emergency preparedness. I didn’t act on those promptings until early in 2010 as I was talking with my sister Sue (known to many as Aunt Sue from her close association with our 6 children). I don’t recall how the conversation turned to beekeeping, but I learned that she was having the same spiritual promptings. And so we took the plunge together and bought 2 hives, bee suits and equipment and 2 packages of bees. We drove to upstate New York to pick up our bees and equipment and began our journey to honey heaven.

On July 5, 2011 I got a call from my sister telling me she was just diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. I cried. A lot. I knew nothing about leukemia or its treatment, but as we spoke I began to receive some very strong promptings from the Spirit. Sue would be OK. All would be well. I would be a bone marrow donor for her. Was that even a treatment for leukemia?! I didn’t know, but the promptings that day were powerful and undeniable.

We later found out that without a transplant she might only have six months to live. They started chemo treatments immediately. My wife Ruth cut Sue’s hair in preparation for her losing it all. And so, I did learn that a bone marrow transplant was indeed a treatment for leukemia and I was soon tested to see if I was a close enough match. The doctor told us they test for certain “markers”. There had to be a match of at least six of those markers for them to even consider me as a donor. Off went my blood to the lab. About a week later I received a call from Sue. The results were back, I was a ten out of ten match, very very rare. I cried. A lot. And the Spirit confirmed what it had already told me.

The week before the scheduled transplant I drove to Hershey Medical Center two and a half hours each way every day for a week to get shots that would increase my white blood cells. The shots worked so well I could feel my spine throbbing in the night causing me to moan and groan in pain. After two nights of pain I asked if there was anything they could do for the pain. “Oh sure, no problem!” (WHY did I wait 2 days?!)

The day of the transplant arrived and I was hooked up to “la machine” for 6 hours.


They needed something like a million cells and after 6 hours they took a count (however they count those kind of things). 1, 2, 3, 4…3 million it is!

Now the transplant… kind of anticlimactic. But then the intense final chemo treatment and I’ve never felt so helpless watching my sister hallucinate and suffer in pain. But all went as well as could be. While many others passed away even after their transplants my sister hung in there.

Sue has not been without complications and difficulties, but remains cancer free for over 3 years now. But what does this have to do with bees?

Sue’s primary occupation prior to the leukemia was a full time massage therapist. Giving massage 6 days a week had taken a toll on her and while battling cancer she wouldn’t be able to handle that much physical effort any more. Through her association with other bee keepers and people in the community she found there was a market for raw local honey. And so for the past several years Aunt Sue has transitioned from massage therapist to The Bee Lady and has for the most part been able to provide for herself because of…bees.

Hindsight is twenty-twenty they say. Indeed in this case it is. Because of spiritual promptings years before the cancer came, and because we acted on those promptings Heavenly Father has provided for Aunt Sue in a miraculous way.

Al who know my sister know the incredibly beautiful person she is. Heavenly Father has given Sue great blessings, and Aunt Sue blesses all she comes in contact with.

I don’t know why Heavenly Father offers miracles to some while others suffer on intensely, but I testify that our Heavenly Father knows us and loves us. If we pay attention we will see His hand in all that we do. If we act on the promptings of the Holy Ghost he will bless us abundantly.
-Bob Woolley

 

I’ll Show You My… Love Language

Did you have a good Valentine’s Day yesterday?  How did you celebrate? Did you do something special? Go out to eat? Have a nice evening at home together? Spend the night in each other’s arms? Did you get a gift? This month for our Mommy & Lifestyle blog collab we’re talking about love!

This month we are changing things up for our mommy and lifestyle blog collab. We are starting to use a LinkUp so you ALL can join us at any time and link to everyone’s post. For this month I’ll Show You My… Love Language!

AJ and I had read this book and taken the quiz years ago prior to being married.  Since then we have retaken it with new results. Imagine that, how we communicate changes over time!

Learning what makes you feel loved is vital for a healthy relationship. If you don’t know how your partner feels love how can you ever let them know they are loved? This works both ways.

There is no right or wrong answer for how you feel loved. No language is better than any of the others either. It is a simple matter of finding and knowing what works best for you and those you love.

Think about it, have you ever bought someone what you thought was the perfect gift only to have them react nonchalantly? He probably doesn’t speak love with gifts.  Receiving gifts is one of the five languages. The other four are physical touch, quality time, acts of service and words of affirmation.

As it has been a few years since I last assessed my love language I took the quiz here.  According to the site the maximum possible score for each category is 12 and it is common to have two high scores, meaning two languages are important. Although one does usually have a slightly higher advantage than the other.  Want to dissect my love language? Here are my results…

Acts of Service: Me-7  AJ-9
Being a mom is exhausting and while AJ and I have had the “my job is more difficult than yours” argument on a few occasions he has learned to appreciate the stay at home mom aspect of my life.  This is from the Love Languages site:  “Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.” Oh my goodness yes! This is me!
It was interesting to me that we were on the same page with this one. When we talk he seems to me more of a words of affirmation.

Quality Time: Me-7  AJ-6
It is rare for us to have alone time so when we do I cherish it, even if the time is only 5 minutes. Having little ones at home makes it difficult to find our time, let alone quality time. Maybe this will change as the kids grow up and move on, who knows. Again, from the quiz: “Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.”

Physical Touch: Me-6  AJ-5
Physical touch did come in a close 2nd place so I’m not a complete ice box haha. When he holds my hand in the car, puts his arm around my waist or we are simply snuggling on the couch I find comfort in his touch. Even when the jerk is tickling me so much I’m about to pee myself a little. “Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.” Notice it doesn’t say sex…

Words of Affirmation: Me-6  AJ-8
Words of affirmation came in a close 3rd… they are all so close to each other! Hearing I am appreciated and he notices what I do for him and our family is important to me. If I’m not appreciated I feel I’m not doing a good enough job and no one is happy.

Receiving Gifts: Me-4  AJ-2
 Receiving gifts is on the bottom.  I do appreciate the little gifts he brings home from his frequent trips. It’s nice that he thinks of me. He’s made it clear I’m not easy to surprise or shop for, especially since I handle the finances.

All in all AJ and I speak relatively the same love languages. Having knowledge is power right? Use your love language to help improve your relationships today.

Share your love language with us and linkup below. We will have this option every month for you from now on.

Here’s what’s coming up for our I’ll Show You My… monthly posts.  Please join us and link up when we post every third Wednesday!

Real Dinner… Husband Homemade

Ever see those photos and blogs of the amazing stay at home moms and their fantastically cleaned houses? You know the ones I’m talking about… not a speck of dust, everything neatly put away, children eating from fine dinnerware laden with a plethora of brightly colored vegetables, everyone neatly dressed, hair finely combed… admit it, you know what I’m talking about…. it’s lifestyle porn at it’s finest… or worst… but I digress.

Admittedly at times I am envious of those moms (until I read this post). It’s so true, we don’t know what is happening behind the scenes in anyone’s blogs, Instagram or other social media accounts.  Heck if you could see me now you’d see snack crumbs across the table, clean laundry folded on the pool table, kid dishes and tupperware containers strewn across the kitchen floor… and this is within my current unmoving view.  I have a vague idea on what is for dinner tonight but things may change as the day progresses.  At least I’m thinking about it in the morning instead of 30 minutes before dinner time!

Unfortunately, there are times the hubby gets home and I have no inclination what we are having for dinner. Thank the good Lord above my fabulous Mr Salisbury knows how to cook! I’m pretty good at making meals and fabulous with baking but 75% of the time I need a recipe. Not my man! Give him an idea and he makes a meal (albeit usually without vegetables, but my kids won’t eat them anyway). The kids wanted enchiladas for dinner and bam a little under an hour later we have a scrumptious enchilada plate akin to eating out! Rice, refried beans and his personal touch of chipotle sautéd  onions. He seasoned and cooked up some chicken for the enchiladas as well.  Dinner was delicious!! Nights like these I’m so glad he knows how to cook and is willing to come home from his day job to help me out around the house.

This is my plate of food. After I started eating it I decided to take a picture to share with you all. It was that good! Everyone should be so lucky to have a partner like I do!

I’ll Show You My… Holiday Décor!

Welcome to the festive holiday season! This month for our Mommy Blog collab we are opening our homes and showing you our Holiday Décor. This month Katie, Tracy and I are joined by Dara and Danielle.


Our decorations are for Christmas and they go up every year on St. Nicholas Day. The kids also get a new ornament to hang on the tree and the family gets a new ornament to mark something special from the year. This year Dawn received a set of 3 ornaments to commemorate the first three years of the high school marching band. She has been participating since the inception when she was a freshman.
Little Red’s ornament is of kids on a school bus. She started public school this year and is thrilled with riding the bus, of course it was the best choice! Baby K is daddy’s little boy so his is baby snowman goofing around with daddy snowman. For our family ornament we purchased one in Williamsburg, VA of the Colonial district.

We have two trees, one for the family and special ornaments, the other is for the kids to decorate with their ornaments and whatever else they wish to use from my totes. In years past the girls have used all Disney ornaments and some balls. This year Dawn didn’t want any of those on the tree, she’s becoming an adult and too cool for all that nonsense. The kid tree is near the fireplace in the back of the house. We hang out stockings for Santa on the mantel with stocking holders.


Baby K has been grabbing ornaments off of the trees faster than I can pick them up. Instead of fighting him on keeping them on the tree I filled two Mason jars with the small ball ornaments from the kid tree. The big ones from the tree in the front room ended up in a glass bowl. It adds more décor and holiday festivities to the house. Besides I’m not going insane doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.


Here in the front room we have our tree where the presents are placed by Santa, ok and Mom and Dad.


A tradition on my side of the family is for everyone to have their own fancy Christmas stocking. My grandma started making these before I was born and everyone who has married into or been born in the Adams side of my family has one! When Dawn was born I began helping make them and have almost completely taken over. I enjoy watching them come together and knowing every year they are hung and enjoyed is an added pleasure. Being so far away from my family I can look at this wall and feel connected to them all during the holiday season.


We have three nativity sets, although two of them are missing a piece or two… The first was one AJ had purchased overseas, I love this little nativity scene we keep it out all year round.

The second is a set with a few missing pieces, they’ve been lost or broken and thrown away over the years.


Our third and newest nativity scene is this beautiful set with figures and all made from the wood of an Olive tree. It was a gift from my mom a few years ago.


We also have two advent calendars. This one I made when Dawn was a baby. The kids love pulling the little pieces out every year. I love it because I don’t have to remember to buy or put 24 little items in the advent.


A few years ago my sister Renee gave us this advent set. it is so fun and festive but I never end up putting anything in it, because I am forgetful to say the least!


I love all things about Christmas decorations. My home feels festive and homey this time of year. I enjoy the lights, shiny decorations, and all the little pieces of decoration that come together making a beautiful holiday season. I hope you have enjoyed this peak into our holiday home. What are some of your favorite holiday decorations around your home?


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Pie Night 2016

Years ago when we first moved to Jersey, we were invited to our first ever Pie Night. When the Sommerkorns moved out of the area, many were saddened by their departure and the thought of the end of Sommerkorn Pie Night. We could not let this happen! I am no Liz the pie professional but I took on the task of keeping Pie Night tradition. Over the years I have incorporated many pie recipes from the web, old cook books and of course Liz’s selections. (Seriously this woman has amazing skill and talent with pies.)

The idea behind Pie Night is to enjoy and savor all of the delicious pies before Thanksgiving dinner. Usually on Thanksgiving the table is adorned with a gorgeous turkey and all the filling sides. By the end of a Thanksgiving feast there is no room for pie. It is shameful as pie deserves our love and respect as much as the turkey! Pie night to the rescue; an entire evening devoted to pie. Yum!

Pie Night, as is our spin on the tradition, is Friday night before Thanksgiving. This year I took a deviated path on recipes. This year’s pies came from old recipe books my Grandma has given me from the 60s, 70s and 80s (that’s fun sometimes just trying to figure out the ingredients and measurements), some came from newer recipe books, family recipes and of course Pinterest.

Instead of a traditional chocolate cookie crust (I ran out of Oreo’s) I opted to make some chocolate dough pie crusts. They aren’t the same as a cookie crust but served their purpose.

dscn2330
Chocolate pie crust
Sometimes, even my large kitchen isn’t enough counter space for Pie Night prep.

dscn2331
Beginning of pies

dscn2333
Lots of delicious ingredients

dscn2337
Lattice apple pie

dscn2338
Gingerbread Pie

dscn2339
All the pies ready to go

dscn2341
…and they’re off!

dscn2344
Must have a Kim photo bomb (even if it’s planned)

dscn2348
Go ahead… finish that up
The favorite of the night was the chocolate mint cream pie (seen sitting in the middle of the table with the chocolate cookie crust). Down low on the list were Gingerbread Cream Pie, Salted Chocolate Pecan and Peanut Butter Bacon pies. In all fairness the Salted Chocolate Pecan and Gingerbread both did not set enough and ended up being devoured by my family the next day when they were set. PB Bacon is one I have not made in a few years but made it by request from Big D this year. A new concoction for me this year was an Almond Joy pie. It was scrumptious!

Things I learned/proved:

  • Instant vs Cook & Serve puddings… it makes a difference
  • some pies will take longer than the recipe says to set firmly
  • chicken pot pie will always be a favorite, it’s a staple now
  • Oreo cookies dipped in homemade German’s chocolate cake icing are delicious!
  • everyone has different taste

I think the last one makes pie night fun and worth while. I enjoy baking and seeing others enjoy the fruits of my labor.

A Day in my Shoes

Let me start off by saying most days, unless I’m going to the gym, I don’t get my shoes on!

Being a stay at home mom is overly glamorized most of the time. It isn’t all bonbons and soap operas all day long. 

My weekday starts just before 7am as Dawn is heading out the door to the bus stop. Thank goodness she can walk and the winter weather has been holding off. Although truth be told I think she hops a ride with the neighbors. Oh well. 

I get out of bed and most mornings before I can walk out of the bathroom baby K has woken up and is fussy. Diaper change and breakfast. Then just over an hour to get Little Red out of bed, ready and off to the bus. 

While Little Red is getting ready and eating breakfast I try to tackle the messes which seem to accumulate all on their own over night. 

Someone has usually, trying to be helpful, given baby K a dry bowl of their cereal. Maybe it was from yesterday? I find it somewhere during the morning. 

Within an hour of being awake my hot water for honey has been reheated a few times. I find a few minutes to have my morning hot honey water. 

Most mornings it waits until after a workout at the gym. Ya know when Baby K is ready for a nap and won’t be put down… 

Honey water and to do lists. Sometimes I have to do lists for my to do lists haha oh boy! 

I have high hopes for my day and even get the dishes done before starting on some laundry. 

The clean clothes make it to the bed before meltdowns begin. 

Lots of snuggle time and some nursing until I can gently and quietly move away from him in whatever sleeping position he finds himself. 

If I’m quick enough I can take a shower and change into normal clothes. Sometimes it is a choice between a shower or getting dinner started before kids start coming home. 

Pack up the sleeping babe and off to the bus stop to pick up Thing 1 and Thing 2. 

Ah the glamourous life of a stay at home mom. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.