Monday, July 29, 2013

Easy Peasy Ice Cream Cake!!

Thank you Pinterest! For every 3,586 things I pin...I try 1! This was one of those few things I tried when Maddie requested an ice cream cake last year. I made it worried that it would be a bust and to my surprise everyone raved about it! Like stalked me for months wanting me to make it again...well I did make it again TWELVE months later!!!
So all you need is:
2 Boxs of Ice Cream Sandwiches (this pan only held 18, so you will have extras)
1 Large tub of Cool Whip
Jar of Caramel Ice Cream Topping
Candy Bar of your choice
(I spent about $12)
 First layer is Ice cream sandwiches, then cover the sandwiches with half the tub of Cool Whip, drizzle on the caramel add the chopped up candy of your choice. (I did half Reeses Cups and half Snickers). Repeat. Done!

This cake has limitless possibilities. You can subsitute the caramel for fudge, strawberry topping etc. you could use Oreos instead of candy bars and of course candy bars are endless choices as well! I wish I had snapped a picture of the girls who all returned with watering mouths and empty plates for a second helping and it was GONE! I seriously glanced over and there were 4-5 girls just standing there plate in hand staring at the dish processing that it was gone!!

Maddie's Moustache Swim Bash!

My sweet funny girl told me LAST year that this year would be a moustache themed party...I was not sure why and certainly did not think 365 days later she would still have the same theme in mind!! Lucky for me moustache's are EVERYwhere now and so easy to find! I ordered her invite off etsy and then the woman was kind enough to create a custom package for me as well! Maddie is quite a tomboy so she chose the "boy colors" rather than the neon pinks and oranges! I was a bit bummed at first since i have plenty of boy stuff all around me with four sons and a sweet hubby, but it turned out to be a great color scheme with a great POP of color fun!
 Above I simply added 'stache stickers on the drink cups, Duck tape on the water bottles (sitting in an Ikea bin from the school room!) and weaved some matching ribbon in my cute little porcelain platter!
 The drink table!
 I tickled myself with these candy moustaches!! I found the molds at Michaels. Notice the bowl behind the sign with chips has washi tape around the rim for added fun!
The goodie bags jars were a hit too! These were old pickle jars, spaghetti sauce jars etc. I removed the labels (Thank goodness for Norwex envirocloth which removed the labels in a breeze including the sticker residue) spray painted the lids with black chalkboard paint and added vinyl labels that said  "my stache". I told the kids they could use it for money or candy or whatever they "stache"! Inside was some candy, moustache whistle, moustache stickers and a sunglass/nose combo.
 The girls also received Hershey bars with custom labels.

Of course the girls had a blast with the photo booth fun!! It was a pool party and she had 9 girls come plus her and her sissy. The swam jumped on the trampoline had photo booth fun and of course ate and snacked on the candy buffet, cake and more!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Netted Dish Cloth Review

Today I am going to give you a quick review of a simple little product that performed in a big way! I was introduced to Norwex about 6 months ago. As a mom who is contantly trying to find ways to make my home a safer enviroment for my family AND save money along the way I was intrigued at what Norwex had to offer. I myself searched reviews before purchasing their products so I figured I could help others by sharing my experiences, good or bad.
                                                    Norwex Netted Dish Cloth (sells for about $7 )

 Okay let's start with the product that the Dish Cloth will replace...the yucky kitchen sponge! I have always known the kitchen sponge was yucky and I always run it through the dishwasher as often as I remember to kill the bacteria. One article said, “One single bacteria cell can become more than 8 million cells in less than 24 hours! The number of bacteria it takes to make people sick can range from as few as 10 up to millions. And infections spread when germs are transferred from a contaminated item (say, your cutting board) to your hands to your body.” and many articles verify that the kitchen sponge is the #1 source of bacteria in your home.
 This entire cleaning bonanza started with one goal in mind and that was to rid the kitchen of fruit flies. I know that is gross but this time of year and fruit seem to be a great pairing for this annoying pest! So I had done everything I could think of to get rid of them including the regular cleaning of the kitchen. When I picked up my sponge I noticed a foul odor and decided to pitch it in the trash. Pulled out my new Netted Dish Cloth and started to clean. First I cleaned all my surfaces. On this granite counter it is hard to see all food and sticky mystery spots, the netted cloth caught at those areas and grabbed them with a few strokes the spots were gone. These are things I would have normally grabbed a SOS type pad to scrub up before so I was impressed. I also came across some grease build up behins the cooktop on the granite. I added some Blue Diamond (A Norwex product for bathtubs) and again the grease came up with minimal effort. Impressed again. I was attempting to find areas in this kitchen that already "looked clean" and around the faucet there was some minimal gunk...surprise, surprise the cloth fit into the areas between the faucet and lever and with some back and forth motion I had some hunks of gunk on my cloth. I had always struggled with that tight area so again was happy with this amazing little cloth!
 I also was able to get these above areas very thoroughly..that little ridge between the sink and granite had some grossness and it came right out! I took this little cloth down every cabinet (inisde all the grooves of woodworking) and over the water tray on the fridge door. All of this with just the cloth and water. The only time I used a product was for the grease build up and dishes. As you see below a certain child left a very unhealthy cereal (no judgement, my hubby loves them and refuses not to buy them!)in a bowl with no rinsing. If you have had this happen you know these cereals are nearly impossible to clean out hours later as they literally begin to turn into to a GLUE based substance!! Well I gave it a try and sure enough the Netted Dish cloth ended its long day in my kitchen with 2 swipes through the bowl and the cereal was gone...seriously no scrubbing!
Best part was I just threw the cloth in the next dishwasher load for cleanup! I do give my raving review of this product in all aspects of cleaning. The only negative thing I could find with the cloth was that it did not lather the dishsoap like I thought it would but we just switched dishsoap so I am still unsure if it was cloth or soap...I'll let you know!! By the way with a great apple cider vinegar/dawn dish soap trap and a Norwex cleaned kitchen I am happy to report the fruit flies are gone!!

Disclaimer: I reviewed this product for fun. I do not sell Norwex and I actually bought the product myself. I do know two great consultants who sell it and would be happy to answer any questions you have but I do not receive anything from these reviews.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I'mm Baacckkk!!!

It has been too long but I am back to blog!! I, like many others was lost in the Facebook world for a bit and stopped blogging...well that and life kinda took over!! Please join me as I hop back into the blogging world! Come meet my new son, come read my reviews, come see which Pinterest projects turn out and which  ones fail miserably,  come join me as I enter my second year of Classical Conversations and as our family continues to raise money for clean water in Ethiopia!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our chore system...explained!

I have posted about our chore system in a generic facebook post and have had many ask for more  here it is!
First you must know this about our family...we are all messy...and we are out of the house OFTEN! When we are here daddy works from home and we homeschool so we have extra mess plus less time! Also know I LOVE charts and points and allowances...wait a minute.....hmmm I love the IDEA of these things. I have tried and FAILED with many systems because the "system" was more work than the help I was getting.

Let me elaborate on why other systems may not have worked for our family.
  • The good ole daily chore tasks (ex. Tuesday we dust, Wednesday we vacuum) never worked for us because there are days we are not home long enough in a given day to accomplish those tasks. which just throws a kink in the entire system. Or it never failed that the day Carson needed to wipe the table he was at g-mas....resulting in not only an un-done chore but "it's not fairs" from the rest of the gang.
  • We tried one day of cleaning where each child had a specific chore (ex. Carson dusts, Maddie sweeps, annie mops...) well guess what Maddie had to wait on Carson and Annie had to wait on Maddie etc.
  • My second issue with the individual chores was that I would walk into a room and it still was "incomplete". The dusting was done and the baseboards were done but the couch pillows were a mess or there were toys in the room etc. Those little things that fell the thru the cracks of the "system".
  • Toys always seem to be an issue too. Whose it is and who brought it into the living room never seem to be the same person.
  • Lastly, laundry has always been a beast and RULED my home. It was never the washing and drying but the folding, sorting and putting away part that ended up with laundry baskets of clean laundry and couches of towels waiting to be folded.
SO what is the answer for us?? Jurisdictions (doesn't that sound fancy?!)!

First of all I wanted something simple, yet I needed it to cover a 3 story house worth of chores and shared bedrooms etc.
I made a list of the rooms (or jurisdictions) in our home: (splitting it 5 ways!)
  • kitchen/dishes/floor
  • Kitchen table and floor (and hearth room floor)
  • Living room and foyer
  • Laundry/mud room
  • Powder room/stairs/upstairs hallway
Next I made a list of laundry chores:
  • Gathering all dirty laundry and sorting it by color
  • Washing/drying laundry
  • Folding towels and putting them away
  • Sorting laundry and taking it to the correct rooms
  • (I did need a 5th laundry chore so the last spot is actually the basement clean-up)

Then I tried to pair them up with easiest to hardest. For instance the kitchen and dish duty is the hardest jurisdiction so it paired up with folding the towels.
After that it was just assigning the first months chores out. Oh yes I forgot to mention..they keep the chore for 1 full month.
The benefits of the system for us so far:
  • The kids learn how to successfully work top to bottom to complete a fully clean room.
  • They no longer have to wait on someone else to complete their own chores.
  • They recognize keeping up with it all day instead of waiting.
  • If they have a sleepover etc its no big deal, they can pick up when they get home (all but the dishes really).
  • I easily remember each childs chores without referring to charts and can say Cam I think you need to come straighten up the mud room..etc. 
  • We are relaxed in that we have tried knocking the chores out in the am  over the summer , this may change once school is back in session. However these days we have been at the ballfield 7 days a week there are days we just let all the chores slide for a couple days.
On top of the above the children each have bedroom/bathroom duties. The little boys share a room and a bathroom with Carson and the girls share a bedroom and bathroom. We often had the "she made the mess" in the bedroom and cleaning it was always a fight between each other. So this has also eliminated these fights. Maddie has the bathroom and Annie has the bedroom for the month..etc.

So the month looks like this for each child:
Carson: age 11
Laundry:Fold towels
Bedroom/Bathroom: Clean bedroom, toliet and floor of boys bath.

Maddie: age 8
Jurisdiction: Powder room/stairs/hall
Bed/bath: Girls Bedroom

Annie: age 6
Jurisdiction:Living room/foyer
Laundry: wash and dry
Bed/bath:Girls Bath

Camden: age 6
Jurisdiction: Mud room/laundry room
Laundry:Gathering dirty laundry and sorting
Bed/Bath: Boys Bedroom

Lincoln: age 4
Jurisdiction: Kitchen table and floor
Laundry: Sort clothes and distribute to rooms
bed/bath: Boys bath sink and tub

I have a cute "chart " that is the making and I will post as soon as it is complete.
Also note the first week of these chores may just make you crazy! It was an undertaking to train the children on how to do each thing correctly but after a week it was getting easier, by the last week I did NOT want to have them switch because everything was running so smoothly and they were all doing their chores without prompting etc. Once we switched I had to begin retraining each child all over again..I have friend who actually has the chores last for 1 year at a time!! (I can totally see the benefits of this too!)

Lastly we were dealing with a certain child who was being lazy and continually not giving his/her best and really bordering dis-obedience so that child did not get to switch, they kept the same chores.

I hope this helps someone out there!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Floating on iCloud 9!

Sign of the times I guess...After the kids opening a leapPad, 2 DS's and an iPhone they were absorbed by technology. They were running around taking pictures and videoing each other!

Mommy was on the cloud too!!

Okay no more words for this post I have a mean game of angry bird to get back too!

A few favorite pics..

Some pictures you take you just are a few of my favs from Christmas! Not wonderfully aimed, centered focused etc...but I loved the boys all looking up at the helicopter in their matching pjs!

My Mamaw....she will probably hate this pic becuase she is not smiling but I sometimes forget to get pics of the "adults" in our fam because i am so busy snapping the kids pics. I like the blur of the tree and the lighting on her was good (in my new house i am STRUGGLING with lighting! 11windows and 2 lots of light but weird angles and shadows??)

Just fun!

All five kiddos smiling and in stripes...what more could I want in a cutie pie pic?!

Just LOVE!

carson is not looking his finest but look how super cool the helicopter is?!?!!!

(see the light uhhh) but love this family shot. Maddie sewed these scarves for all the ladies in her life, so super cool pic!

Just like this...I have been trying to get a good glowing pics...and I like it!

So that was that...short and sweet!