Friday, July 29, 2011

The Oldest's Crafts

This is a continuation of a series started a few days ago where my Oldest and her genius blog ideas are featured. Enjoy!
Make a doll's house from a box. The oldest cut a window and a door, used the top of the box to create a sidewalk and lawn, used cloth for a carpet and more pieces of the box for furniture. This is all on her own and inspired by the fact that these dolls came from Grandma in this very box in the mail.

Make a mask for your dolls. Cut card stock in a size that will fit over your preferred doll's face. Cut eye and mouth holes and color and decorate if you like. Cut small holes on the side of the mask and thread yarn through. Make sure the yarn will fit around your doll's head.
Do leaf rubbings! Collect leaves from the yard, staple paper together to make a rubbings book. Put a leaf under the page and rub with a crayon until the ridges of the leaf show up on your page.
All of these crafts were 100% the oldest's ideas. When the boy colors, the oldest crafts. She never uses fewer than three or four materials and her brain is always coming up with newer and more exciting ideas.
Linked to some great blog parties listed here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Oldest's Fashion

Twice in the last week, the oldest has carefully chosen an outfit and then asked me to photograph it for the blog. She's got a great sense of style, don't you think?
CG tee--Old Navy
skirt--hand-me-down from a neighbor
boots--care of Rack Room Shoes 
tank--Haynes undershirt
leggings--I have no idea; they're so old! I think they may even be a 4T!
skirt--hand me down swim skirt
This was her choice for pj's one night--she's even fashionable when she goes to bed! 
Linked to Things I Love Thursday. (I do love my oldest and her sense of fashion!)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hair Styles from the Oldest

Recently, the oldest has been saying "Come take a picture of this for your blog, Momma." in many different instances. So, for the rest of this week, consider Of Such is the Kingdom to be run by a seven year old. She's got some great ideas! This first post gives you an idea of her beautician abilities.
She fixed my hair...
and then I fixed hers. Starting a hairstyle board in pinterest has inspired me to try some different things with her hair as well!
I'm linking up with some great "Wordless" Wednesday posts. Find them all here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pasta Salad for a Crowd

If there is one thing I make incessantly during the summer, it's salad. Green salad, pasta salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, shrimp salad, pea salad-- you name it, we eat it as a salad pretty much.
Here's a repost from April that shows you some of what we'll be having this week:
My mom doesn't always enjoy cooking, but she gave me some valuable training when I was growing up about making summer salads. When I was beginning to cook on my own, she told me, "Add mayo, pickles, and boiled eggs (and maybe a little mustard) to just about anything to make a great summer salad." And she's right. Think about it. Add those things to potatoes, you get potato salad. Add them to tuna or chicken or ham and you get the corresponding salad. Come to think of it, just serve mayo, pickles, and boiled eggs and you can have egg salad or deviled eggs; take your pick. And, of course, add them to your favorite pasta, and you have a great pasta salad.
But as I've told you before, I pretty much have to tweak any recipe, even if it isn't written down.
So here's my suggestion for "Pasta Salad For a Crowd"
32 oz. pasta (bow tie, shell, or elbow are my favorites)
8 boiled eggs
2 jars diced pickles (or the equivalent, if you're chopping your own)
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, chopped and rinsed
3 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1/2-1 1/2 cups (+/-) light mayo and or dressing/olive oil
2 T Italian seasoning
1 t garlic
(and whatever else you feel like adding at the time)
You can also swap out the pickles for green olives (my favorite) or use broccoli instead of the pickles and peppers.
All in all, it's really hard to mess this salad up and it makes A LOT!
See Menu Plan Monday, Tasty Tuesdays and all the other great blogs I'm linking up to here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

So Happy to be a Housewife

For the past week I've been making lunches, rushing out the door around 8:30, not returning until after 3:30, and falling exhausted on the couch after getting the little one down for a 4 to 5pm nap. 
Though this may sound very normal to some of you, it has been a much busier, more hectic week for our family. 
It has been fun and fulfilling--teaching little ones ballet for six hours a day--but it definitely proved one thing that I may (or may not) have been doubting slightly. 
I love being a housewife!! 
Call it what you will--homemaker or the modern SAHM, 
it is the life for me. 
I love to wake up with a day of filling my own children's lives with joy, learning, and love.
I love to clean my house. (gasp! it's true!)
I love to cook meals from scratch.
I love to decorate, garden, and bake.
I love to teach my children, to show them fun and interesting places in our town.
I love to grocery shop, find the deals and coupon.
I love to have energy left when my husband gets home.
I even love to be free to be the family chauffeur.
I treasure this moment right now--
sitting right here on the couch as the kiddos cut, color, and tape their paper creations at the coffee table.
I love to be a housewife!
Linked to Six Word Saturday and other fun blog parties listed here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Luau List

Here's a list of ideas to hold a family luau! Why not make tonight special?
1. Make leis: Use a flower punch to punch out 12 to 15 flowers per family member. Wrap masking tape tightly around one end of a piece of string. String a piece of straw, a bead, a flower (and repeat) onto your lei until it reaches the desired length.
2. Make grass skirts: Fold long sheets of paper in half. Staple foam paper cut into a belt to the folded end. Cut strips into the paper up to the belt. Wrap around your waist and staple the foam belt to itself to make it stay.
3. Put on your lei and grass skirt and do a little hula dancing! (See #6 for music.)
4. Print and color coloring sheets.
5. Look at pictures of Hawaii and read about it in some books like these:
Hawaii: A Pictorial Celebration
A is for Aloha: A Hawaii Alphabet
High Tide in Hawaii (Magic Tree House 28)
Good Night Hawaii (Good Night Our World series)
6. Listen to Hawaiian music! This week at ballet camp we've listened to a little Michael Franti & Spearhead (The Sound of Sunshine) and Jack Johnson (Better Together).  I also love the Keiki Calabash cd for kids. Or just check out this Hawaiian Luau Party Music: Traditional Music of Hawaii for a little easy listening island music.
7. Put whatever you eat on a stick. Grilling kabobs would be a good idea, but even if you don't want to go that far, how about just some fruit on a stick? Pineapple and banana are specific Hawaiian fruits, but any kind of tropical fruits would be fun, or if you want, just put whatever you have in the fridge/pantry on there (ours have canned pineapple, banana, and apple).
8. Get out the hula hoops and play some of these games.
See HERE for more luau games and activities.
Have a family fun night tonight!
I'm linking up with some great parties here!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Websites I Visit Often

1. Of Such is the Kingdom (had to throw that one in there!)

2. Pinterest I am really loving the fact that I can organize my internet findings on pin boards here. You are welcome to check out my boards. There is not much there yet, but I'm adding to my recipes (and yes, to my fashion board) regularly.

3. Polyvore I am not a huge video game player, but this is a game I get in to. You pick pieces for an outfit (out of thousands of choices) and create a "set" that can be saved and shared. I'm planning on sharing this one with my oldest as well. She'll love it!

4. Kendi Everyday You know how when you read a blogger regularly, you feel like you know her? Well, Kendi is easy to get to know. She blogs her outfit everyday, and she is original and very fun. Her writing is funny, and it brightens my day to read her. And you know what else I like about her? She's a big, successful blogger and she still uses blogspot! Hurray for keeping it simple!

5. Katherine Marie Photography I am still loving this blogger's colorful pics of her escapades with her children. Her themed learning weeks leave me in utter awe! She has a "Smile Campaign" where she and her children do random acts of kindness. Her blogging about that makes me smile, for sure!

6. Project Alicia Another photographer's blog that is definitely eye candy. She has encouraged me to make sure that (good) pics of myself turn up on my blog now and again.

7. Starfall The youngest is now using this to learn her letters and sounds. This is a straightforward, entertaining and educational site.

8, 81/2, and 9. Swagbucks, Mypoints, and Inbox Dollars These are all money making sites that require tiny time involvement and turn out gift cards to restaurants/stores or in the case of inbox dollars, and actual check in my mailbox. This is not about income or large amounts of anything, it is just about the occasional extra treat, which is very nice when you're a stay at home mom!

10. Allrecipes This is my go-to recipe site. If I can't find it here, I google it. If I ever pull out the old recipe books, I just get frustrated! One of my favorite things about Allrecipes (other recipe sites probably do this to) is that I can print the recipe in an index card style. I print them, use them a few times, lose them and then I can go back and print them again!
Linked with Top Ten Tuesday.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Food Ideas

I declare this list-making week on Of Such is the Kingdom! And to begin the festivities, here's a list of my favorite recipe sites around the world wide web. Enjoy!

  • All Recipes: This site is a basic recipe site, but I like the fact that it automatically saves the recipes I've most recently looked at, it allows me to bookmark recipes, and it allows me to easily print recipes, even index-card sized. Another feature that I love is the page they have where you can list ingredients and they will give you recipes. When I'm stumped about what to fix for dinner, this is where I go!
  • Once A Month Mom: This mom features great, often easy, recipes and always shows how they can be frozen. I don't cook once a month, but I do employ some of her tactics!
  • Keep Your Diet Real: There are so many food blogs out there! This is one I've found recently with great, healthy recipes and good advice about what to serve your family.
  • Southern Living Recipes: Isn't the internet wonderful? Where our moms had to save magazines or carefully cut recipes, we just have to open up the laptop and type in a url. I wonder how our kids will look up recipes in the future? It will probably have nothing to do with computers and everything to do with apps for your phone!
  • Tasty Kitchen: I didn't realize it, but several of the recipes I've saved lately on Pinterest have come from the Pioneer Woman's recipe site. Her blogs are both very popular and her food is amazing! I love the fact that so many of the recipes are incredibly simple.
  • And if all else fails, google it! I'm often looking for a particular recipe, and I love the way you can search for it and all manner of variations will pop up. There is sure to be at least one recipe I can tweak!
We'll be using recipes from several of these sites this week while keeping dinner super simple. I'm teaching ballet camps all week, and I'm exhausted (!!) when I get home. I don't know how working moms do it. Kudos to all of you! 
Lunches all week: cracker stackers in to-go boxes (kids in camps and all over the place)
Monday night: leftovers and salads
Tuesday night: Meat loaf pulled from the freezer. (It's not this recipe, but I wish it was!)
Wednesday night: Chicken Pasta Salad (maybe this one?)
Thursday night: Ground beef calzones! Yum!
Friday night: Kids and babysitter are on their own. Hubby and I are going out!
Saturday baking day: I can't wait to try these No-Bake Energy Bites (a funny thing to try on baking day!) and I'll be making more muffins and cookies. Maybe these Nutella cookies? I wonder if they would work with whole wheat?
See Menu Plan Monday, Tasty Tuesdays and all the other great blogs I'm linking up to here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Frugal Fun Mom: Random

Lately, we've been adding sprinkles to a lot of things! Peanut butter on a graham cracker for snack? Add sprinkles for more fun!
Banana vanilla yogurt split? Add chocolate syrup and sprinkles, and suddenly it's a major treat!
We've also been doing quite a bit of bike riding lately. (Maybe to burn off all those sprinkles?)
And last, but not least, we've been eating tons of fruit. I didn't realize how much of our fun revolves around food, but ah, well. It just does. A slice of watermelon offered a cool, healthy, frugal and fun treat for one afternoon snack.
Happy parenting this weekend, everyone!
I'm linking up with some great parties here!
The Shabby Nest

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Just Be

It's a little easier just to be at the beach!
A sweet elderly neighbor recently passed away.
A friend is moving out of an abusive situation. 
A family member needs a surgery.
Ballet camps are in full swing.
And my heart says, "Am I doing enough?"
And I hear that still small whisper...
I'll do.
You just be.
How difficult it is just to be.

Be still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke iseasy and My burden is light.
Matthew 11:28

"Have you not known?
      Have you not heard?
      The everlasting God, the LORD,
      The Creator of the ends of the earth,
      Neither faints nor is weary.
      His understanding is unsearchable.
       He gives power to the weak,
       But those who wait on the LORD
      Shall renew their strength;
      They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
      They shall run and not be weary,
      They shall walk and not faint."

Isaiah 40:28-31
See all the wonderful Wordless Wednesday link-ups here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Top Ten Zucchini Recipes

repost from Monday April 4th

So this week's obsession is zucchini. Probably because summer is here and I love vegetable stands and great prices in the season veggies...or maybe just because I found a lot of zucchini recipes this week that are calling my name. Either way, here are ten mouth watering recipes that all center around that famous herbaceous plant.
1. Summer Garden Pasta Zucchini turns pasta into a side dish extraordinaire!
2. Sweet Potato Zucchini Bites Healthy + yummy + sweet = AMAZING!
3. Zucchini Tomato Pie Where has this summer staple been all my life? I'll certainly be "tweaking" this recipe soon--maybe adding some chopped ham?
4.  Zucchini-Olive Couscous This zucchini recipe has the added bonus of being something my family will actually eat without having to be coerced! They will eat anything with green olives!
5. Zucchini, Mushroom, and Ricotta Salad Okay, so the fam wouldn't touch this one, but yum, does it sound good to me!! Maybe I'll have to have a girlfriend over as an excuse to make it. : )
6. Zucchini Grinders Part veggie lasagna, part sandwich and all yummy!
7. Apple Zucchini Squares These are pure genius! And you've gotta go read the first comment in which the blogger's hubby gives them a five star rating. (and I think that's pretty sweet!)
8. Squash and Zucchini Casserole Plain and simple gets my vote every time!
9. Picnic Zucchini Bean Salad Beans=protein, so this one could be a whole meal, don't you think?
10. Chocolate Zucchini Cake What better way to end a list of ten on Of Such is the Kingdom than a chocolate cake?
See Menu Plan Monday, Tasty Tuesdays and all the other great blogs I'm linking up to here.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Parent's Choice Formula Offers Scholarships!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of PBM Products for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I don't know about you guys, but I am all about store brands. Some are better than others, but when I look at a shelf full of expensive name brands and remarkably lower priced store brands, I usually go for the store brand. If I were using formula right now, I'm pretty sure I'd be headed straight for a store brand as well.

And if price isn't enough of a persuasion, Parent's Choice Infant Formula is now offering the Parent’s Choice Infant Formula Savings Sweepstakes. The sweepstakes, created in partnership with PBM Products, LLC, a Perrigo Company, will provide one lucky winner with a $10,000 college scholarship in the form of a College Savings 529 Plan. (Hello! Have you looked at the price of college lately? We're going to need all the help we can get!)

The Parent's Choice Infant Formula Sweepstakes was officially launched on June 15th and will run through 11:59 p.m. on August 1, 2011.

So, if you're interested in store brands or interested in helping pay for your child's college or both, run right over to the sweepstakes entry form and get it filled out today!

Parent's Choice Infant formula is Walmart's private brand formula and is available exclusively at Walmart locations nationwide and online at

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fun Mom: Bucket List

When I saw this blog post, I knew I needed to copy it! What a great way to put all that you aspire for your family down in one place. Traci Michele's post is a Bucket List for 2011, but I've made my bucket a big bigger. Here is our family's TEN YEAR BUCKET LIST. I'll be referring back to this post over the years and checking things off as we do them.
  • Take kiddos to Alabama Adventure (water and theme park) with my parents--this is one we're planning to do when the hubby is off in August.
  • If the youngest doesn't get into the local Mother's Day Out program (she's on the waiting list), gather a group of her little friends for a couple of hours a week for a pre-school lesson. I've done this before doing two or three letters per lesson and using games, coloring, food, and songs to "celebrate" each letter. For example, for "N" we made Ns with noodles and ate some of them, and for "P" we made, played with, and ate peanut butter play dough.
  • Get involved with the Nutcracker that our city puts on each year. It is time for my oldest to graduate from what I can teach her of ballet and actually perform on a bigger (literally and figuratively) stage. And perhaps I could dance in it as well...?
  • Enjoy each other! Whether it be watching movies, playing in our little pool outside, taking walks, riding bikes, going to neighbor's big pools, going to local parks, or just snuggling and reading books--we want to use our time with our children wisely!
  • Have a beach trip at least once a year. (check this one off for 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011)
  • Continue on with building family holiday traditions. Some that we have now: hiding and finding our filled stockings at Christmas, making a Christmas gift to take to all our neighbors, decorating the dining room for Valentines Day, and blowing out candles on our pancakes on birthday mornings.
  • Redo the kitchen by moving it into the current dining room. Make the current kitchen a mud room/laundry room. Add on to the house. (This is a five year maybe, but it's something I really want to do!)
  • Use a local homeschool tutorial until the kids are in 6th grade. During their middle school years homeschool as well as allow them to apprentice out to different trades one day a week. On the job skills training is such a great idea for middle schoolers!
  • Take a trip through the New England states visiting most of the major cities, the coast, and historical sites.
  • Rent an apartment in DC for a week and visit as many of the historical sites and museums there as we can.
  • Take a short term missions trip through our church as a family. The first one? Perhaps we could take our oldest two to Haiti in 2012??
  • Take a trip out west in a rented RV visiting Mt. Rushmore, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon, etc. (This may need to be two trips--we've talked about flying somewhere and renting an RV to make a big loop and then flying home.) This is something pricey, but I firmly believe that the best learning is doing, and seeing and doing these things as a family would be priceless!
  • This is my grande dream: during those middle school years mentioned above, we could read fiction, learn history, study languages, and study cultures from several European countries and then go there as a family. I've looked into VRBO (vacation rental by owner) options that are really quite reasonable. The main cost is getting there, and that's pretty ridiculous, but hey, I can dream, can't I?
So that's it for now. As you can see, I dream big, and just because we realize one dream isn't do-able, doesn't mean I can't replace it with three even bigger ones!
What are your dreams and goals for your family?
To see where I'm linking GO HERE.

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