Friday, February 26, 2010

My Kids Have Changed Me!

I have done a lot of growing up over the last 22 years. I look back on my life before kids and realize that I was a kid back then, too, even though I was 25 years old!! All three kids have changed me for the better and much of that change has come from each of their unique personalities.
Anna is the youngest and the youngest by 6 years. She has an incredible sense of adventure and is always ready to "get up and go". I have really made an effort over the past few years to embrace this part of Anna's personality. I admit that, by nature, I am a lazy person. I would, more often than not, choose to curl up by the fire or in front of the computer than to romp around outside in 20 degree weather. Anna has changed me and thank goodness she has. As I get older I am grateful that she invites me to share in her adventures. Keeps my mind and body active!!

Christian is the middle child and as I have mentioned before the "free spirit". Christian is so laid back that I don't even think the word "stress" is in his vocabulary. He lives in the moment and enjoys every moment. He's secure in knowing that God has a plan for his life and he is more than happy to enjoy the ride. Chris has shown me how to let go a little bit more with my life....worry less, embrace more. Thanks, Buddy!

Bethany is the oldest. The boss and protector. The second mom. And I don't use those titles in a bad way. She is loved by her siblings and respected by her mom.
She has taught me to embrace knowledge. I admit that I am the type of person, when needing to find an answer, will take the lazy way out and just ask someone else. Beth loves to find information and absorb it; which is rare with young people these days. I am grateful that over the years she has given me the desire to read more and to write more and to share more. She is a smart girl and I want to be a smart girl, too!
Thanks, Bethany, Christian and Anna. You have taught me well.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Show Some Love - Sweet Love!!

I love sweetened condensed milk. Versatile tastiness should be its name.

Today I will share two "show some extra love" tips that involve this tasty treat that comes in the "oh so cute" 14 ounce can.

If you have a coffee lover in your house who likes their java a little sweet replace the sugar with the sweetened condensed milk (SCM). My friend, Deb, who grew up in Africa, shared this little gem of an idea with me. Thank you, Deb. You are a true friend.

This weekend I will add some to Kind Sir Bill's mug and he will feel very much loved (just as a note, he likes his coffee a little creamier, so I add a bit of half and half also.) Nothing says "extra love" to a coffee drinker more than SCM and half and half!!!!
My next tip will show some love to all the crafty painters in your household. Take a look at the heart painting below. This my friend was painted with, yes..believe me....Sweetened Condensed Milk!!
Open a can of SCM and divide it into four or five different bowls. Add some food coloring to each bowl (Anna used neon colors). Begin painting. The end result is shiny and puffy and dries like plastic. The paint is very tasty but there is one warning. Your tongue may be neon colored for the rest of the day!!!
Have some fun and definitely share any Sweetened Condensed Milk secrets with me!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Show Some Love - Celebrations!!

This is a picture of my calendar last March. This is how I keep track of all of the important meetings, events, holidays and so on for our family. No new-fangled electronic devices for me. No daily planners. Just a hang-up calendar that I get for half price after the new year begins!!! Just give me some coordinating stickers for each month and I am a happy camper!!

Many people comment on my calendar. They like the festive look. I admit some have asked when I will grow up and ditch the stickers........never. Just another way for me to keep daily life festive. And that is my tip today for "showing your family a lotta love" - Be Festive!!!

Everyone looks forward to holidays and I am not trying to down play the biggies at all. I want to encourage you to celebrate the little known holiday. You might want to let your family in on the celebrations before hand or just surprise them out of the blue. You may want to do something grand with food or just something simple to celebrate.

What kind of days can be celebrated????? Here are a few examples:

  • February 5 Bubble Gum Day
  • February 7 Daytona Pole Day
  • February 9 Read in the Bathtub Day
  • February 15 Susan B. Anthony Day
  • February 23 Curling is Cool Day
  • February26 Levi Strauss Day
  • February 28 Tooth Fairy Day

The possibilities are amazing!! My personal fave - Curling is Cool Day!

You might think that the kiddos would be the only ones interested in such holidays. Not in my family. Kind Sir Bill is always interested in mindless trivia and the more I can fill his brain with little tidbits such as these lesser known holidays the better. You see one day he will be playing some trivia game with a bunch of friends.....the question will be......when is Bubble Gum Day celebrated? Kind Sir Bill will triumph with the answer and do you know why? Because I cared enough to show a little extra love!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Show Them Some Love - A Little Bit More Love

I thought for the month of February I would write about how to turn everyday opportunities of love into ones that offer a bit MORE love! And before I go on......yes, that is me in the attractive 1970's snow suit. Don't judge. It keeps me warm. Enough said. For my first February "show them some love" post I would like to talk about Hot Chocolate!! Yes, everyone loves hot chocolate on a cold day.....especially after hitting the sledding hills. See Anna's excited face below? She was thinking, "Hot Chocolate is calling my name!!!". Well, that's pretty close to what she was thinking.
On these cold, cold days we could treat our kids and ourselves to a packet of hot chocolate. After all , there is quite a bit of love in serving this when it is not an everyday treat. But here is where I will tell you how to turn this into an opportunity to show "a whole lotta love". I'll let you in on a little secret about me that was inspired by Mrs. Doubtfire..........
"I can hip-hop..... till ya drop, and yo yo, make a wicked cup of cocoa."
And you can make a homemade wicked cup of cocoa, too, in 5 minutes!!!! Believe me.. you can and your family will treasure your efforts!!
Before you think I am some Julia Child and came up with the "lotta love wicked hot cocoa" recipe myself, I will stop you. This recipe is from Paula Deen and I will forever love her for it. And now I will share the love with you........
1 can sweetened condensed milk (low fat for us!)
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa ( I use half milk chocolate and half dark chocolate)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon of salt
6 1/2 cups hot water (I get mine from the tea kettle)
In a large saucepan, combine condensed milk, cocoa, vanilla and salt - mix well. Over medium heat slowly stir in water. Heat through, stirring occasionally. Do not boil. Store leftovers up to five days in fridge. And believe me the leftovers are even yummier!!!
Let me know how yours turns out!! Remember, a little love goes a long way and a little more love goes even further!!! Enjoy!