Monday, October 27, 2014

Gruffalo Mask

This year for Halloween, my child HAD to pick something super unique and super expensive.  He chose The Gruffalo.  About 2 years ago, his daddy had let him get the movie at the store.  He got very into it and let it go every bit as quickly.  THEN.  But within the last month, his love for The Gruffalo came back.  He has a Halloween drum recital and chose "The Snake" from the movie as his song.  So of course, his costume needs to reflect it.  I searched for costumes on Amazon.  $85.  And that's not happening with a one-income family.  So, I got on Pinterest and found an inspiration.  Except, The Gruffalo from the book doesn't have hair.

This was my inspiration for my Gruffalo mask. 

And THIS is mine =) I'm a proud mama.  And my child absolutely loves it.  

My Materials List::

4 pieces of Dark Brown felt (incase i totally wrecked it)
1 piece of orange felt
1 piece of white felt
1 piece of green felt
Brown sturdy thread
Double-sided tape
And a flimsy cardboard box (I used one from a box of granola bars)

I traced everything out on the felt before I did any cutting. 

For his ears & tusks, I cut the pattern and stuffed them with a piece of the cardboard before sewing.  They are very sturdy.  All pieces were sewn on.  Then for his jaw area to be sturdy, I stuffed them with cardboard as well and sewed along the jaw area.  NOT across his face though.  That is where the double-sided tape came in.  I also used a piece of cardboard on his forehead.  I used double-sided tape and felt so it wouldn't irritate my child all night.  

I poked holes and ran my ribbon through them.  Then, the velcro was sewn into place.  

And then, you have a Gruffalo ;)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

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Monday, September 22, 2014


So this would be my reason for being a tad bit behind on my posting lately.  We go our school year underway.  My sweet Kade is now a Kindergartner.  Kyleigh SHOULD be in K2 because of a late birthday.  However, having had her at the table with us since our last school year, I've decided she's ready for K3.  

We've also started our second season of soccer for the year.  His team is awesome and my child actually cares to pay attention this year.  Instead of tackling his best friend and kicking dirt. 

My baby girl started a new adventure with cheer & tumble.  She absolutely loves her teacher & her new friends.  And of course, what two year old doesn't want to be told to do flips??

Sorry I got a bit slack.  My posting will pick up from here on out ;)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Manic Monday

Before I gave birth to Kyleigh, I heard from every Girl Mommy how much "easier" girls were than boys.  Today is a day I certainly beg to differ.  Last night I got choppy "nap sleep" as usual.  As soon as Kyleigh's feet hit the floor this morning she's been on a war path.

Stealing Kade's crayons as he did his school lesson. (This mama doesn't break for summer.)

Pulling Kade's hair as he was doing his school lesson.

Refusing to put her clothes until we were literally walking out the door today.

Also refusing to put her shoes on the right foot.

Needing certain cups and plates.

Not wanting her hair pulled up because it gives her a headache.

Not wanting to play outside because apparently the 90 degree weather outside today is hotter than the 100 degree days we had a few weeks ago.  Note that on those days, I had to drag her inside.

Telling her brother she doesn't love him & he isn't her best friend anymore.

I'd blame it on the "terrible twos" but I know that three wasn't any better with Kade.  And I will give her credit, potty training was a BREEZE with her!  However, I am expecting my first gray hair any day now.

Friday, July 11, 2014

What A Difference A Year Makes...Part One

June 2013
July 2014
June 2013
July 2014
June 2013
 July 2014
June 2013
July 2014
June 2013
 July 2014
 July 2014
July 2014

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sell This House

I made up my mind last week that the entire week ahead will be spent readying our house to sell.  The kids aren't sharing a room as nicely as I wish they would.  Kade needs his own space for his massive Godzilla collection.  Kyleigh needs her own room for her kitchen & doll house.  SO many toys are in their playroom at my parents simply because their current room is too small.  I cut grass today and I saw LOTS to do to fix up the outside of the house.  Things that won't cost a dime to do.  

Cutting up a fallen tree and hauling off.

Raking up leaves & briars from said tree and hauling off.


Bleaching the back porch & prepping it to stain.

These few things will make a massive difference.  And hopefully attract potential buyers.  I'll keep you updated.  Please just keep me in your prayers that we can sell this house!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Update's been just a little while since my last entry.  We've managed to get settled back into our home since the last time I posted.  

Kade was discharged from OT May 29th.  A happy & bittersweet day for all involved.  His Occupational Therapist was a TRUE Saint.  Seriously, the most generous woman I've been privileged to meet in my life.  I've had several doctors & nurses breeze through my children's life.  I can tell the truly, genuine ones from the ones who solely do their job for the money.  Miss Cathy is anything but.  She has called to check on my child when he was sick.  She has attentively listened to anything he's had to say and let him lead therapy many times.  There were many tears shed during the day he graduated from everybody.  Luckily, I've managed to make a friend for life.  She helped my child overcome his issues with textures of foods after having his horrible, obstructive tonsils removed.  I will forever owe her for all she has done for him.  

I managed to completely potty train Kyleigh in one weekend.  She decided she wanted to poop on my parents' sidewalk one day so I ran with it.  We made the switch to ALL panties and BOOM, she loved it.  Life has been MUCH easier not having to have pull-ups and diapers in my bags.  

We signed up for our Homeschool Association & Accountability groups.  I waited patiently to hear back and worried for a while they may have too many applications for us to be accepted.  Long story short, Kade and his best friend were both accepted.  **Happy Dance** Field Trips will not be painfully awkward because we already have friends in our group!!  I finally settled on my choices for curriculum as far as Math & Science goes.  I managed to score a brand new Math textbook & manipulatives packet on Amazon for a whopping $25.  Happy mama over here.  I've also got our supplemental workbooks & his Science notebooking journal in as well.  Working on finding more deals to save us a ton.  Using them for two children makes it even sweeter.

My sweet Kade celebrated his 5th birthday June 17th.  I will be writing up his baby story as I find the time.  Kyleigh is in the terrible, horrific & difficult twos stage right now.  Therefore, my posts will be random.  Bear with me. 

Kyleigh started ballet.  I signed her up for a Mom & Tot dance class with my best friend and her little girl.  Kyleigh loves dance & loves taking it with her best friend as well.  Win for everyone involved.  I get quality time with my best friend & our daughters in one swoop.  I'm hoping Kyleigh will hopefully gain more confidence and grow a love for dance that will stick with her!

We added a new family member last week.  A 13 week old kitten that I actually fed with a syringe for a while.  His name is Godzilla (Kade is currently obsessed with EVERYTHING Godzilla.  He loves the movies, even the ones that are in Japanese with English subtitles.  

And we've also ALL been hit by a horrific stomach bug.  Different symptoms for the adults, but MUCH suffering and weakness for the littles.  Kade seriously didn't run around for 36 hours.  NOT typical Kade.  Luckily, we are all free of it now.  Hopefully I'll manage to post more frequently from here on out.

Thanks for reading!!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent

So, another thing I thought would help my budget would be making my own detergents.  I saw a bunch of friends posting pictures of their 5 gallon buckets full of detergent that they made for next to nothing.  Last night, I made 5 gallons of laundry detergent based on the Duggar family's recipe.  SUPER easy, smells like heaven & did I mention CHEAP??

First you start out with your ingredients:

 5 gallon bucket with lid (obviously) ($5.00)
4 cups hot tap water
1 bar Fels-Naptha Soap ($1.25)
1/4 cup Borax ($5.00 for the box)
25 drops Lavender Essential oil (optional) ($11.00)
1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda** ($1.00 for box)

**If you can't find Washing Soda, I found a way to convert baking soda into washing soda.  You measure out your Baking Soda, pour it into a glass dish & bake for 30 minutes on 400 degrees. It crystalizes & works every bit as well.

Grate Fels-Naptha & add to saucepan with water. Constantly stir over medium low heat until soap dissolves & melts.

Fill 5 gallon bucket halfway full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda & borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top, stir, cover & let sit overnight to thicken.

Stir & fill a used, clean laundry soap dispenser half full with soap & rest of the way with water.  Shake before each use (will gel).

Yields 5 gallons. 
The bottle I'm going to use to fill with detergent is a 1.75 gallon bottle.  I'm estimating it's gonna save me somewhere in the neighborhood of $100+ because I buy detergent in the large bottles at Sam's and i'll only have to fill it halfway each time.

By the way, I used the Lavender and it smells like heaven.  I loved making this detergent & am looking forward to putting it to use shortly ;)

Monday, March 3, 2014

I'm THAT Parent

Tonight my baby had his first real soccer game.  
It was chilly & super windy.  It had rained this morning, so I came to the game equipped with folding chairs to avoid a wet butt.

Aside from that, I became THAT parent.  The one who yells to guide their child in the right direction.  
"Kade get the ball!" 
"Kade go with your team!"
"Kade run, run, run!!"

Yes THAT parent. 
When I watched my little cousins play soccer and saw how truly obnoxious some folks can get over youth soccer, I swore I'd never be this kind of parent.  But tonight I realized this: my child looks to me to guide him in the right direction.  The coach has 7 children to watch over and can't constantly be directing my child the whole time.  If I don't tell him he's going the wrong way, he can't learn to go the right way.  If I'm not telling him how to steal a ball & what team we're against, he won't know because he's too big of a sweetheart to just take things.  If I don't teach him in each and every little area of life, I can't say I've really done my job as a parent.  From sports, to education, to relationships with others, I will be THAT parent until my children are both old enough to make their own decisions without my interference.  So, tonight I also realized it's okay to be this way.  They're only little for so long.  And I intend to serve them as well as I can until they're grown =)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I'm A Soccer Mom

My baby boy had his first and second soccer practices this week. The first practice included: lots of playing with dirt, minimal listening & a tad bit of soccer.  Not to forget, an overly nervous mama who was constantly correcting.  When we left the first practice, his main concern was "I need a whistle like the coach has!!"

By the second practice, I'd had a pep talk with Kade.  He'd been told that we have plenty of dirt at home to play with and at soccer we were to play with friends, listen to coach & kick the ball.  And at the second practice, he applied what he'd been told.  And he's actually getting good.  We have another week of practice ahead next week and then games begin.  Wish us luck, i'll keep you updated on this new adventure ;)

Monday, February 17, 2014

My 1st Attempt @ Chicken Pot Pie

One of my absolute FAVORITE foods ever is Chicken Pot Pie.

I found a recipe that seemed simple enough.  Again, my food isn't Pinterest quality as far as looks go but was devoured in no time.

1 box refrigerated pie crust (on a Monday I have NO time for made from scratch)
1 1/2 lb rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
3/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
3 large carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a pot, boil water and add potatoes & carrots. Cook until tender.

Next, in a seperate saucepan, saute onion with butter.

Add garlic & celery, cook until tender.  Then stir in flour, whisk until well-blended.

Slowly add & whisk chicken broth.

Add seasonings & continue to mix.

Add milk & keep on medium heat until you have reached your desired thickness.

Add carrots, potatoes, peas & chicken.

Roll crust into 9 inch pie pan. Add filling & then layer with other piece of crust.

Bake 50 minutes.  You may want to let the pie sit for a few hours to keep it intact when you cut.  I wasn't so patient ;)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

We're....Buying a house!

My hubby and I finally put our house on the market about 2 weeks ago after looking at a house 3 miles down the road from my parents.  We had originally had every intention of building on the 2 acres in front of my parents' house.  But after living with them for the 7 months, we decided having our own little place with more acreage would be nice.  

This brick house has 3 bedrooms, 1 bath on the main floor & a full unfinished basement.  It belonged to an older couple who'd passed away & their children inherited it.  We looked at the house and land several times, got pre-approved & put in our offer (which was accepted!)

Needless to say it's just a tad outdated.  BUT my hubby & I have every intention to make it totally awesome & modern.  The house is the reason I haven't blogged as much as I'd hope to this year.  Bank paperwork galore, applications here, inspections there.  WHEW.  It's been an exhausting 2 weeks and that doesn't even include all of the kids' activities and sickness.  Kade had pinkeye, Kyleigh had an ear infection.  And, we also signed Kade up for soccer.  This is sure to be our busiest year yet.  But it's super exciting.

Just wanted to give you guys an update ;)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Cream

We got snow yesterday and it hasn't quite melted away today.  I decided since I found some clean snow to make some snow cream for my babies.  My neighbor introduced it to me a few years back.

You take::
4 cups CLEAN snow
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients & enjoy 

It's a win with Kyleigh

My poor baby couldn't even feel his fingers well enough to hold his spoon right but LOVED it.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Hubby's New Favorite ;)

So, I joined in on the Mason Jar Salad thing.

My hubby said this is his new favorite lunch.  He loves Burger King's Apple Cranberry Salad.  I didn't have apples to make them but I improvised with what I had.

Baked Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
Grape Tomatoes

Hubby isn't a fan of a lot of dressing on his salads so he carried his Balsamic Vinegar Dressing with him. 

Just wanted to share on the possibility anybody's looking for some possible combinations.

Ooey Gooey Bars

Okay, I'll be the first to admit it. Something I tried off Pinterest that looked flawless wasn't so hot looking coming from my kitchen but BOY is it yummy! Anywho, here's the recipe.

1 box butter-recipe cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1  8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1  16 oz. box powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Light grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  In a bowl, combine cake mix, egg & butter with an electric mixer.  Mix well.  Pat into the bottom of prepared pan & set aside.  Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs & vanilla.  Dump powdered sugar & beat very well.  Reduce the speed of the mixer & slowly pour in the melted butter.  Mix Well.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Pour filling onto cake mixture & spread evenly.  Bake for 40-50 minutes (closer to 50 so it's not too ooey & gooey).  You want the center to be a little gooey, so don't let it stay in too long.  Remove from oven & allow to cool completely.  You can add chocolate & drizzle it on top after cooling for 15 minutes.  Allow to cool for at least an hour & then cut into bars and enjoy!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pinkeye Remedy

This Monday, My baby girl's eye started draining.  My husband had been complaining of his eyes watering a lot from allergies so early Monday, I'd written this off as just allergies as well (her daddy and her are both super sensitive to a lot of the same things!)  By Monday evening, the draining turned to GUNK.  Red Flag.  I knew it either had to be pinkeye or an ear infection because the last time hers did this, it was her ears.  I started frantically looking for something I could do at home to ease this.  

Honey.  Seriously, the best stuff ever.  

3 tablespoons of honey & 1 cup of water.  Heat in the microwave (or boil if you prefer).  Then apply the entire amount to the affected eye.  We keep real-deal honey at our house at all times.  I started this Monday evening at her bath time.  On Tuesday, I scheduled an appointment to see her doctor.  They'd told me with my son that sometimes pinkeye can cause drainage and lead to an ear infection.  I couldn't get her in until Wednesday afternoon.  I continued to clean her eye with this solution once a day.  Her eye NEVER matted shut.  The picture below is her eye (the right one) after having pinkeye for 2 days.  No matting.  Today it's slightly pink around the eye, but not severe & not hurting as bad. 

 I will also add that since she had viral conjunctivitis, she ended up with a fever shortly after her doctor's appointment.  But by 5 am today, it's been gone since.  This was a picture of my baby sleeping last night.  Again, with NO matted eye =) 
So mamas, if your babies get cursed with this crud, try the honey ;)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Homemade Chicken Quesadillas & Hot Salsa

Quesadillas are hands down one of mine & my husband's favorite foods.  But of course, cutting back on our grocery portion of our budget isn't going to allow us to splurge to go eat mexican anymore.  So this week, I got a rotisserie chicken to stretch out over two meals for us (I will also add that this was SUPER easy to make). I decided to try my hand at making homemade quesadillas.  I SUCCEEDED! My hubby loved these more than our local mexican restaurants! And it runs roughly $10 to make 6 of them =)

To make them, I used::

1-1/2 lbs rotisserie chicken
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 onion, diced
1  16 oz tub of goat cheese 
Flour Tortillas

Start by dicing all of your veggies.  Then put them in a frying pan with some EVOO on medium high heat to saute.  While your veggies are on, tear your rotisserie chicken & heat up your goat cheese.  When your veggies are done, make a thin layer of them across your tortilla.  Then make a layer of chicken on top.  And then add your cheese.  I also choose to pour cheese on top of my tortilla once i've folded it up (My name is Amanda & I'm a cheese addict.) Then enjoy ;)

I also made my hubby a tub of homemade hot salsa as an added bonus!

To make my salsa, I use::
1  12 oz jar of hot jalapeno slices, not pickled!
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp cumin
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic

Add all of these in your blender, mix & enjoy ;)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Budgeting Progress

This was only a little bit of my groceries I managed to get today.  I went to Aldi & got all this for $20. I got sour cream, spinach, mini corn dogs, Jif to-go cups, 2 packs of flour tortillas, Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, Baked Beans, 2 lbs onions, Cherry tomatoes, lettuce & a pack of diapers.  

I also went to Sam's and Walmart as well to get my meats & other groceries I needed for the week ahead.  I also got a rotisserie chicken to work for 2 meals, a 4 lb pack of boneless skinless breast, salmon, sausage biscuits for my princess, stuff to make ooey gooey bars, and other random things.  

I felt super accomplished when I got home and had all the groceries laid out from all 3 trips. Sticking to a $50 a week budget for my household may not be so hard after all.  And this all was with NO coupons!! 

Hopefully next week I can get pictures of my entire trip and do even better!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Homeschooing Update

So this week we've just started back to school.  Holidays, baking, travel & sickness required a little time off.  We've all had the crud going around.

We started back Monday very easy.  Reading more than usual with a few worksheets to ease back into things.  Yesterday we went back into full swing, with the exception of reading our sight words.  Sometimes that's a tad frustrating when he's had time off.  And today we started back with everything & then some.  I added a new workbook into the mix.  "Math Made Easy: Kindergarten Workbook.  It's a 2001 edition.  But I also have a 4 year old that I'd like to get a jump on math with. He can count like it's nothing.  And I realize it's an older edition.  But he LOVED it today.  Any activity or book I can use to get him engage in and make him interested in math is gonna go down.  Seriously, I HATED math until high school and then again in college.  I want writing & math to be things he LOVES.  

Anyways, short I know, just wanted to give a little update on our week thus far school-wise.  Here's a link to the workbook if anybody's interested!

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Monday, January 6, 2014


Today I went to the grocery store to buy up stuff for a few meals this week.  I went with $50 cash in hand, rather than relying on my debit card like I normally do.  Usually, I get way too many groceries and spend way too much.  I had NO coupons (out of ink, story of my life). But I told my kids "No" several times & got out without going over =)  All this with meat, vegetables, cat and dog food.  I'm proud of myself.  Major accomplishment, maybe budgeting won't be a punishment after all ;)

Just wanted to give a mini update!

Friday, January 3, 2014

I Will Save Money.

So this year I've decided to set a pretty tight budget.  I want to have our finances under control and not to go spend just because we've had it.  Also, doing this will allow for some date nights, which we all know are essential. 

I've heard amazing things about the cash envelope system.  I'm in the process of getting my envelopes together.  I've written all of our expenses down.  IF we end up sticking to this budget or going below it, Christmas will be paid in cash that we've saved.  AND, we will also have a chunk to put back for our new home (or hopefully we will be in it by then!!)

Again, I'm hoping this won't be a NY resolution I think I can do and give up on immediately.  But so far, i've stuck to my grocery budget for the week.  And hopefully, with the help of coupons, I'll start going WAY below it.  

Anyways I'll keep you updated ;)