Monday, February 25, 2013

A Field Trip for Five

If there is one thing I have learned about "field tripping" alone, with three girls in tow of course, it is that one momma and three kids can get out of hand very quickly.  So, when our homeschool friends posted a field trip to see the Nina and Pinta floating museums I definitely hesitated....because one momma and three babies near water scares my socks off.  Then I looked more closely at the time offerings and realized it would be open on President's Day.  And guess who wasn't working on President's Day?  Daddy!  So, we loaded up early that morning and drove over to Panama City.

This was such a great day for our family.  Man and I enjoyed watching the girls discover so many new things.  We first stopped at the water area above.  The Navy was doing practice rescue missions directly behind us in the shot above.  That was fascinating!

After a spin through the marina gift shop we were on our way to the ships.

The ships were beautiful and the craftsmanship was amazing.  Once on board there were details about the ships in print and crew members that could also answer questions.

We touched all of the ropes and tried to find ones we could wrap our hands completely around and ones we could not.  The girls loved doing that because there were sooooo many ropes.  

Our touring ended with a walk along the storing docks to check out some of the boathouses where people were living.  We found one complete with house plants and lounge furniture and another with the dogs sunbathing on the deck.  Another great first eyewitness for the girls.  Now they think they want to live on a boat.  Oh my.  We proceeded down to the water's edge where we began and Olivia asked how rain was made.  After explaining it to her she and Daddy walked on and Addison continued a conversation about the rain.  It went something like this.

Addison: "I know Mommy.  Then the rain goes into the ocean and fills it up."
Me: "That's right Addison."
Addison: "Then Mommy, the sand drops down into the ocean."
Me: "It does?"
Addison: "Yes Mommy."
Me: "Addison, what happens to the sand when it falls into the ocean?"
Addison: "Oh, it goes to the bottom."
Me: "Addison, why does it go to the bottom?"
Addison: "Oh Mommy!  To be with the seashells."

Another great day of fun-filled, family memories!

--The Mama

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Happy Heart Day

This Valentine's Day has been quite wonderful.  

Thank you girls and Man.

For years I have spent more time sewing and crafting for children of my friends and family only to realize I didn't leave enough room to make something for my own girls.  With a renewed focus on being with my girls I thought I should reevaluate my sewing priorities.  So, out of the blue Addison and I went shopping in January and picked out all of the materials we would need for some festive Valentine attire...for 3!  We got a little ambitious and added in material for pajamas too.  Hey, go big or go home.  Right?  Because I got more then a little backlogged at Christmas (that is still being completed...thankfully parents are understanding) I got a late start but we did it!  Three dresses, three pair of pajama pants, and three coordinating shirts!  EEEEEEK!  I could hardly stand myself when I dressed them yesterday!  (Our big day was yesterday due to school functions!) 

No more they are.

Then I had this great idea to get the girls running towards me.  At the same time the neighbors dog started barking.

Back to safety but still unsure.  I love this moment.

Allye had to excuse herself, but I kept snapping.
We dropped Addison off to school and had some time to "kill" before we went back and celebrated with her class.  We strolled around our downtown after a breakfast out and took some pictures along the way.

Today was far more laid back, in festive colors and comfy clothes.  Today the focus was time together.  We walked our Valentine cards around the circle and popped them in our friend's boxes, did a quick finish on school, and got down to the business of cake.  Yes, we made our first red velvet cake today.  I will share it with you, I promise.  The recipe.  Not the cake.  Man is hovering.  

 We hope your heart is full tonight!

The Mama

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Conversations With My Girls

Yesterday at 6:38 a.m. Addison quietly walked into my room and stood beside my bed.  I could feel her watching my every move.  So I finally rolled over, since the pretending to be asleep thing wasn't working, and told her she could climb in.  She did.  Then I told her we would be laying there very quietly for a few more minutes.  So we did.  Face to face, inches apart.  After about 32 seconds I heard some very loud breathing.  I let her go on, trying to ignore her.  Finally, with the most calm, exasperated tone I could muster, I said, "Addison what are you doing?"  She paused and then said, "Uh.  Breathing?"  The day officially began at that moment.


Olivia is starting to appreciate the value of money.  She has actually managed to save some of her money recently and has begun asking to be paid for chores.  I am on the fence because I was taught that I wasn't going to be paid for things I should be doing anyway.  However, three kids deep now, I think there might be some value in this and she is really awesome help.  I am still on the fence.  But, today I gave her $1 and told her how much I appreciate all of the help she has been this week and that Man and I are still discussing the allowance side of life.  So we get home and she calls me into her room.  I oblige.  She has all of her money laid out and counts it out to me.  $13.  I ask her, "What are you saving your money for?"  She says, "Do you remember that shirt we saw in that store that was $18?  That is what I am saving for."  First, I almost fell over dead because this is not my child who cares about clothes.  Then the teacher in me says, "Ok, how much more do you need then?"  She does the math and says, "$5."  Then, with a huge smile on her face, she says, "I know.  You can pay me $1 every day from now until Sunday and I would have enough! (LONG PAUSE)  Or, I could just lose a tooth."  How do I follow that?  


Riding in the car today the girls and I were discussing our trip to see Meme and Popi and Olivia asks, "Hey Mom.  Can we go to the beach while we are there?"  I don't even have time to answer and Addison says, "Well, you guys can go to the beach, but I am staying with Meme and Popi.  And don't forget to take Allye."  

 --The Mama 

Crock Pot Mac-n-Cheese

I am embarrassed to say that I have been keeping this recipe to myself for so long.  It comes to you straight out of one of the best kitchens in North Carolina.  I was privileged to eat many meals out of it in my growing up years.  There is nothing remotely healthy about this dish, except that it definitely fulfills your dairy requirement for the day.  ;) 

Mama C's Crock Pot Mac-n-Cheese


1 (8 oz.) box elbow macaroni (or your choice)

2½ cups sharp grated cheese

2 eggs beaten

2 tsp. salt (or a little less)

1 tsp. pepper

½ stick butter

1½ cups milk

1 large can evaporated milk 


*  Cook and drain macaroni.

*Spray crock pot with cooking spray.

*  Put the macaroni in the crock pot and add the butter and 2 cups of cheese.  Stir.

*  Add 1½ cups regular milk, beaten eggs, salt, and pepper.  Stir.

*Sprinkle remainder of the cheese on a little more if you are feeling fiesty.  ;)

*Cook on LOW for three hours.

A couple of notes.

- Some crock pots cook faster.  Check it at 2½ hours.

- I make this with low fat cheese, butter, and milks and it turns out great.  

Happy Crocking!
The Mama


Monday, February 11, 2013

Red, White, and Pink!

Hello, hello!  We are getting in the spirit of Valentine's around here...finally.  I can say finally since I had Man bring down the box of decorations when he put the Christmas decor in the attic...the first week of January.  Details. 

The girls and I put on Charlie Brown's Valentine episode and instead of putting all the decor out and then tearing it down in four days...we used some tree "tinsel" I made a couple of years ago and decorated the fireplace.

Made with fishing string, foam hearts, pearl beads, and LOVE!
I love decorating for holidays but I have two little hands in my house that love to tear it up faster then I can put it back together...every 5 minutes.  So, I focused my efforts in crafting, "treats," and sewing.

Here is what we have been up to...and if you still don't have your Valentine cards done yet...there is hope!  These are easy!

because we love our teachers and I don't recognize our extracurricular teachers at big holidays, usually due to budget constraints.  So, I try to give at another time during the year.

This year we are giving them hand sanitizers that I first saw here.  I picked these up at the Dollar Store because I wanted clear sanitizer and a white cap.  This was not so easy to find when I was trying to pay more than $1.  Go figure.

The girls peeled off the front and back labels...fighting over who would do number 5.  How in the world I didn't remember to buy 6 so my world of "fair" would be peaceful I do not know.  

Nice and pretty.

I purchased two sheets of heart stickers and put the girls to work.

Next we traced their hands and I added the little "germ" saying and they signed their names.

We stuck them on the back and voila!  An inexpensive, thoughtful gift, that might keep me out of the doctor's office for two weeks straight.

This year I decided to spread out the Valentine card making so as not to lose all of my patience in one day.  Then I went one step further and decided to just print all of Addison's.  She forgave me.

Super cute and first seen at The Mother Huddle.

BUT, Addison did make the Valentine that meant the most...and there is only ONE of these.  

It is in the mail.  To her cowboy.  In Texas.  She wrote their names way too many times on the inside and put a heart sticker in there.  She didn't want me to look, but I did anyway.  Just like I will when she is 10 and 15...ok, forever.

Then there is Olivia.  Where do I begin?  I showed her my idea.  Another great send it through the printer idea, with a portion handmade.  NOPE.  She was making it from scratch.  So, this is what I originally found at vixen Made.

Here is what we did.  We took a heart shaped cookie cutter and traced it like a bazillion times.

Then I found letter stamps for $1 (score!) and she stamped out "You've Marked My Heart."  We did this for three of them.  She doesn't have a light touch with this technique yet and was frustrated so we switched and she hand wrote them all.  And, of course, we twisted and bent lots of pipe cleaners to have cutie bookmarks.

The food festivities began yesterday with strawberry filled, heart shaped pies, followed by chocolate dipped Oreos tonight!

You need your choice of Oreo flavor, Almond Bark or equivalent, and some sprinkles.

Following the directions on the Almond Bark package to melt the chocolate.  (2 squares yields about 15 dipped Oreos).  Gently dip the Oreo into the chocolate and very quickly apply the sprinkles.

Pop them in the fridge for a few to let them set slightly or eat them right away.
You won't be sorry.

I promise.

** To color Almond Bark you do not use food coloring.  It will harden the chocolate.  You must use color made for candy, often found at local arts and crafts stores.  Mine are all made by Wilton**

I am knee deep in three Valentine dresses, three pair of Valentine sleep pants, and three coordinating Valentine sleep shirts.  I might see you by Friday.  Until then I will leave you with the image I came "home" to tonight once the lights were out and I returned to my office/sewing room/crafting space/school room.  Compliments of my sweet Addison.  I turned the corner and this was sitting in the doorway.  I love her.

The Mama
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