Wednesday, January 30, 2013

gma Hoskins

I sure do miss this lady! She was my great grandma...the girls' great great grandma and she passed away just about a year ago. She lived to see her 100th birthday- so amazing! I am so happy and feel extremely blessed that she was able to meet Evie. Her 3 children became 7 grandchildren which became 11 great grandchildren and 16+ great greats.

I was cleaning out some papers last weekend and came across some letters she had written. She would always write back in response to any letter or card she received. About 3 years ago she wrote everyone a final letter letting them know that her hands wouldn't let her write anymore. There is a separate letter for each of the girls, John and I filled with parting words and love.

I started to really appreciate my grandma when I became an adult. I began to appreciate all that she had endured, the times in which she raised her children, her example and strength. She was such an amazing woman. Some day I hope to write her story- so my children will know what a beautiful person she was.

I have a yardstick that I use for sewing projects. I noticed a few years ago that it was from Russel, Kansas (where she lived). So it had to have been one of hers. Instantly I had a flashback of her chasing my little brother and I around the yard with it. She never would have used it on us- be were pretty good at tempting her too! :)

She was never overly loving, wordy with praise or super happy with a perma grin. But you could still feel her love. She would read to us, buy us goodies at garage sales, always had our favorite cereal on hand for our visits, made our favorite meals, taught me how to crochet, played with us at the park and included us in all activities. We made a photo collage for her funeral service. And as I was looking through old photos, I noticed there were several of her playing with us as toddlers. I'm guessing she was about 70 in those photos and she was right there on the floor playing dolls with me and cars with my brothers. And that was so like her. When she gave you her time - it was her undivided attention. Her focus was on you and not being pulled in five directions. With four children - I know what its like to be pulled every which way...and this one lesson of hers I'm trying to learn.

I love you grandma! And its still a no go on the noodle making...someday though! :o)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

cupcake bouquet

The twins and I made this last night for one of their friends who is having a birthday today! I always get a bit leery when they come to me saying "Hey- we found this on Pinterest, we should try it!" Those pinterest projects don't always work out. We have had plenty of pinterest fails around here!

You can find instructions on how to build/construct this all over the internet by just google searching it. So I'm not going to go into a step by step description. But I will give some suggestions:

  • Each cupcake is held in by 2 toothpicks. We found it easier to take a sharp serrated knife and make two tiny slits on the bottom of the cupcakes so you don't have to fight pushing it through the cupcake wrapper. 
  • Put your toothpicks in at a 45 degree angle around the edge- it will secure those cupcakes better. 
  • Make large and small cupcakes. I will do this next time. That way you can fill in the voids. IF your not going to make two sizes then make sure you place the cupcakes as close together as you can. Large voids are time consuming to fill. 
  • Place tooth picks in the ball with unfrosted cupcakes until you have it laid out how you want. Then remove the cupcakes to frost. Let them set up on the counter before putting them back on the ball. Buttercream will harden just a bit and be a little more forgiving when you start poking the tissue paper in. 

Overall- it wasn't bad and I can see making another one someday! 

Monday, January 28, 2013


We went to an antique/flea market yesterday! I could literally spend hours in these places! Soooo much to see and dig through.

I especially love finding flea markets in towns we visit or pass through on our travels. We found this super gritty dusty one in South Dakota. The kind where you have to squeeze down aisles...or at least you think they are aisles, the floors creek, its dusty and musty. True treasure hunting!

I can't wait for our trip...we are driving down south! I might just be in heaven...southern antique stores! Pinch me!

Some of my staple items...ones I always keep an eye out for are:

  • pewter cups (something new I've started collecting to use as vases)
  • milk glass or hobbnail
  • McCoys (yellow, green or white)
  • interesting storage containers (i.e. milk crates, baskets, wooden boxes)
  • globes (on the look out for a smaller sized one to add to our collection)

My biggest regret: John and I were looking for a china cabinet and we found an antique store we hadn't visited before here in town. As we were walking through- I found a wooden airplane proprellor. And it was only $110! Which is about the price of a replica. I desperately wanted it- but we were on a mission for a china cabinet. Almost a year later and still no china cabinet. Wished I would have grabbed that prop. It was very cool! 

My best suggestion: Have a list or at least an idea of what you are looking for when you in! Otherwise you could come out with a whole lot of 'likes'! This is something I've learned from experience! :)

Friday, January 25, 2013


Corynn and I had a long talk the other day. It was difficult and not one of those experiences you look forward to as a parent.

It started a few months ago when I picked Corynn up from school. I asked how her day was and she said not good. Concerned I inquired further. She talked about how there was a girl at school that was being bullied. Corynn didn't like it. I asked what she meant and why - the incident that day was because the girl was wearing the same clothes from the day before. Her mom was called into work and she was left at the sitters all night. She never had a chance to get a clean set of clothes. Kids at school were asking her why she hadn't changed and it escalated to a child knocking her lunch tray out of her hands and calling her a mean name. As I listened to her tell the story and asked the appropriate follow up questions- I felt a lump forming in my thought. My knuckles were white from gripping the steering wheel so tight. I was angry. I was sad. My heart broke for the little girl and for Corynn. Corynn wanted to do something but wasn't sure what to do. I told her we would call the school and report the incident. I called the school immediately and talked with the school counselor. She also talked with Corynn. It was a Friday- so nothing could be done immediately. The school would deal with the situation on Monday. After the phone call, I spoke with Corynn. We decided that Corynn would be her friend. Include her, be nice to her and lead by example.

Well, a few days ago Corynn and I were cleaning up the basement. She mentioned she was worried about her friend. I asked why. She said that in reading group that morning her friend mentioned how hungry she was and how she couldn't wait for lunch time. When Corynn asked why she was so hungry- the friend told her that she had been getting to school late the past few days and missed the school breakfast and that she hadn't had dinner all week. I again asked all the follow up questions trying my hardest not to sound like I was grilling her for information.

This little girl is one of six children. Her step dad is in jail for physically abusing her and her brothers. The mom was working but had recently been fired for missing work- her children caught the flu bug going around and she was home with them. Her mom doesn't have enough money for gas- so the children catch rides with her mom's boyfriend who never gets them to school on time- let alone early enough for breakfast. This little girl has low self esteem. But she accepts her reality so matter of factly- never complaining.

I tried my hardest not to cry. I know what its like growing up in a single parent home with not alot to go around. Being self conscious about my clothes and our situation. Kids can be cruel. I am so grateful for the compassion, care and kindness my children have- towards everyone. Corynn and I brainstormed ways we could help this little girl and her family. Its such a fine line and not knowing her or her mom very well causes us to tread lightly. Corynn invited her over for a playdate today after school. They text all the time and the little girl writes Corynn notes. She shared one with me that she had received right after the bullying incident. Part of it read "You are my bestest friend ever. I will never forget you being so nice to me. I am glad to know you and be with you at school. I hope to know you forever."

I can't wait to meet this angel and get to know her better! And I've never been more proud of my darling sweetheart!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

our chaos

Today was a day! Nothing crazy or horrible happened... just the everyday errands and chaos that is our family. Hard to explain. But a day where you can't seem to catch up and you keep getting pulled in different directions- all the while a baby is screaming and whining and pointing and throwing things.

To give you an idea of what kind of day it was...I looked at the clock every 2 minutes from 6:30 on - just waiting for 7:00pm to get here so I could put Evie to bed. And at 6:59 all three of the older girls were like "Hey mom its 7:00- are you putting Evie to bed!?"

 One contributor of chaos is in bed- three to go!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

garden on the brain

I sketched out and planned our vegetable garden this past weekend. I needed to figure out what seeds we needed to order and get those taken care of. It was so much fun planning for this spring and summer  especially because Sunday the weather took a nose dive down to the teens with a windchill of single digits. brrrrrrrrr. 

I'm excited about the garden because its such a learning experience. We started our garden three years ago not really knowing anything and each year we've found a way to improve and or something to tweak to become more productive.

Here are some tips...

  • I wholeheartedly suggest sketching out your garden. There are several tools and charts on the internet that show you what can be grown together (and actually thrives when planted together), how many plants to plant in a square foot if planting in squares rather than rows, etc. By having this all written down- planting simply becomes a matter of following the diagram...which is really helpful when you have children helping!
  • On your garden picks- write what you've planted, the date you planted and how many days to maturity. I do this with my seeds so I know when to test pick or start thinning. Or you can skip the days and just write the maturity date on the pick. Also remember to mark your calendar (or set reminders in your phone). The pick is a good reference when your out there working. Other than that you need something handy. 
  • Do a little research on keeping and storing your produce! There's canning...but you can freeze and dry several things too! 

I also like working in my flower gardens...transplanting, separating and adding. I like mixing 'working' plants (raspberries, blueberries etc) in with my perennials and annuals.

If you are more into designing your flowers, trees and outside landscape...go here and use the interactive gardening tool! Its pretty neat- you can choose your background and then design away! I've used it - not for a specific project we have planned but because it gets the creative juices flowing! It also gets me excited for spring!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

no school

The children had the day off from school yesterday and it was a perfect day to be at home! Beautiful feathery snowflakes fell all day! They were huge and looked like the seeds on a dandelion - the ones you blow and make a wish with! SOOOOOOOO pretty! I kept having the girls come admire the beauty and help me take photos. None of which could do justice! But I'll share a few...

(This one was taken with my iphone)

It was a great day- admiring nature's wonder, watching movies and dog piles in the kitchen waiting for me to finish dinner! A good day in deed!

Monday, January 21, 2013

banana bread

Yesterday was a lazy day around our house. The twins were in the basement playing video games, Evie was taking a nap and Corynn had a friend over and they were playing upstairs.

I had some bananas just asking to be made into banana bread so I quickly made up a batch and threw them in the oven. As the aroma filled the house, the kids started congregating in the kitchen. They would look in the oven or check the counter to see if the loaves of yummy goodness were done. And then check back a few minutes later. As soon as they were on the cooling rack, John asked if they were too warm to cut.

So I decided to share my favorite no fail banana bread recipe. I say no fail because I used to have issues with the outside being done but the inside still doughy. Or it wouldn't have a nice rise (dome) to the loaf.

But this recipe is perfect! Perfect loaves everytime! 

4 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda mixed with 1/2 c milk
3 tbs melted butter
1 c sugar
2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c chopped nuts (we like pecans)
1 c quick oats (I add oats to everything!)

MIx the bananas, sugar, eggs, milk mixture and butter together. Then add in the the flour, salt and baking powder. Fold in the oats and nuts.

This makes 3 small loaves. Small loaves bake more consistently, I've found. I grease and flour each pan, pour in the batter and bake all three loaves together on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes.

From time to time I've changed things up a bit by adding a pinch of cinnamon or a pinch of nutmeg. I've even added a handful of chocolate chips. Pep it up anyway you like!

Friday, January 18, 2013

a great gift

I had a wonderful birthday (the whole week actually!) Sweet thoughtful phone calls, gifts and cards. My children made me a birthday banner. I received flowers, 2 yummy cakes, balloons - it was all super fun! Getting old isn't so bad.

But one of the best birthday gifts ever is the three day weekend we are getting! No school on Monday- YAY! For some reason this morning was hard to get up. I laid there knowing I should get up. Then I laid there knowing I have to get up. My eyelids were heavy, almost unable to stay open. And then the bed developed this gravitational force field that kept me smooshed down in my warm cozy bed- unable to physically roll out of bed. I just laid there telling myself "4 more minutes and then I'll get up" which in reality was more like 20. Brutal I tell ya...brutal!

Thank goodness its Friday! This weekend will be a great conclusion to my celebratory birthday week!

Another birthday tidbit...when I turned 10 my mom let me have a sleepover birthday party. I invited 16 girls and all of them came! As a mother of 4 girls, with countless sleepovers under my belt...I can only imagine! What was my mother thinking!? 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

birthday wish

John asked me last night what my birthday wish was. I kind of laughed it off and we moved on to conversing about other things. But all night I kept thinking about what my birthday wish would be. Truth be told- I didn't make a wish and I don't think I have since I was a young child. 

So as I was trying to decide what my one wish would be, my mind was flooded with possibilities. Personal wishes, wishes for other people, selfish wishes, wishes for the good of mankind. 

This morning I woke up with a wish. I wish that everyone would be good to each other. A pretty general wish...but imagine how much better the world would be if people were just good. They wouldn't have to be perfect, saints or door matts waiting to be walked on. Just good. I can't believe how low people's standards are for what is acceptable human behavior. I think people are confusing rights with manners. Just because you have the right to say what you want- doesn't mean you should throw respect and manners out the window. 

Manners, respect and courtesy should be learned alongside shapes, colors and numbers. There is no excuse and I find it sad that they are becoming things of the past. 

So if I had one magical all encompassing would be that people would be good to each other. 

OR that we would win the Powerball! :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Well, today is the day I turn 33! Actually not until 10:04 this evening...just saying! To celebrate such an auspicious occasion, I've decided to make a list of 33 things about me that the average person may not know!

  1. I love pizza...favorite pizza I've ever had was in a restaurant in Seattle. They flew in their tomatoes from Italy! Crazy! And margarita pizza on a thin crispy crust is my absolute favorite! Basically just olive oil, sliced tomato, wet mozzarella and fresh cut basil. YUM!
  2. It took me 6 years and three different teachers (on several occasions) to teach me to crochet. 
  3. I love math- favorite subject in college. 
  4. I grew up planning to never have children...thank goodness for happy accidents! 
  5. My husband basically taught me how to drive. 
  6. I was on a swim team pretty much every year from the time I was 7 until I graduated. 
  7. I grew up swimming with Scott Usher who made it to the 2004 summer Olympics. 
  8. My ideal job would be running a trust that made charitable contributions. :)
  9. My favorite cake is cheesecake...more specifically this turtle cheesecake they used to sell at Sam's club in the frozen foods area...sadly they don't anymore. 
  10. My favorite color is green...all shades. 
  11. I prefer neutral shades to bright and vibrant. 
  12. I helped my mom run the house and raise my brothers growing up. 
  13. I love to read...mostly historical fiction. Seems a simpler time. 
  14. Believe in psychics. Went to one this summer who said she saw my great grandma with two little babies while we were there. The two babies were connected to two 10 week miscarriages.
  15. I adore my children and think they are brilliant (k- you might have known that one!)
  16. I like making things pretty...
  17. Thinking this list is harder to make than I had anticipated. 
  18. Up until a year ago there were 5 generations of women on my mom's side of the family. 
  19. I've slightly developed a type A personality. 
  20. I started the couch to 5k program...wish me luck!
  21. I sometimes think technology complicates things more than helps. 
  22. I don't trust the government...I think it has abused and misinterpreted the foundation that was set. 
  23. I'm easily persuaded by conspiracy theories. 
  24. I'm going to write a book this year. 
  25. I'm thinking about Lasik eye eyes are getting terrible. Getting old sucks! :)
  26. I'm a list lover...make lists for everything. Thanks mom! 
  27. I took piano for a few years growing up, but have basically self taught myself the rest. 
  28. I don't really care to fish, but I'm competitive and like to challenge my brother. Also Corynn loves it and I live to make my children happy! 
  29. Scared of swimming in lakes. Hate not being able to seen what's down there in the murky water. 
  30. I had 6 dogs throughout my childhood. 
  31. I grew up in the same house my whole life and then once I was married moved 6 times in 7 years. 
  32. I hated high school. 
  33. Love everything about my life (the whole 33 years). Wouldn't change a thing...challenges and bad situations have made me the person I am are the good and wonderful things that have happened. I don't believe everything happens for a reason. People make choices. Sometimes bad choices that impact you. You can't change that or make sense of it. You can only react, learn and live. Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes. "I'm not forgiving you to forget, but to feel peace." 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

birthday memory

When I was in grade school, your birthday was a big deal! You would bring homemade treats, be the teacher's helper, first in line etc. IT WAS A HUGE DEAL! Especially for me, because we didn't always have school on my birthday. Weekends, snow days and MLK holiday (no school) seemed to always interfere. 

On Friday January 16th 1987, I woke up sick. Pukey-here's-a-bucket-if-you-can't-make-it-to-the-bathroom sick. And you can't go to school puking...even if it is your birthday. 

I was heartbroken! How could this be!? This is supposed to be MY was so unfair! I'm sure I sulked and whined all morning. Until we heard the doorbell ring. Nobody of importance would go to the front door...everyone who knew our family would use the side door. I was uninterested. Then my mom told me there was someone here see to me. I remember walking into the room and instantly my spirits were raised. A clown came to my house and brought me balloons. Not only did she come to my house on my birthday with balloons, but she sang to me and told some funny jokes. Kind of a big deal for a newly turned 7 year old! 

So even though I couldn't go to school and feel important for the day...I felt important in that moment. It was a very cool thing my mom did and I will always remember it!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Birthday week!

This week is the week of my birth! YAY! I feel that when you are older you should get to celebrate the whole week rather than just the actual day! Don't you agree!?

So in honor of my turning 33- I'll be posting about me, birthdays, memories etc all week long! Lucky you!

Today I'll share a funny little conversation we had the other night at dinner.

Kwynn mentioned how since Evie was a virgo - that she would be a super genius. Not more than two seconds later Evie rubbed pizza in her hair and spit green beans across the table. Needless to say we all looked at Kwynn with a critical "what was that you were saying" look. To prove she knew what she was talking about she described a capricorn...

A capricorn is someone who yells at you to do something, then yells at you for doing it wrong. Then tells you to just stop what you doing and then gets mad at you because you aren't helping.

Everyone looked at me and busted out laughing. That pretty much describes me. I couldn't help but laugh. Dang capricorns anyway!

I just want to add we have more lovable traits too! We are practical, prudent, ambitious and disciplined, humorous and careful.

I don't know how much I believe in the Zodiac, but if you google zodiac and your birthday (example: zodiac january 16) it will bring up a more specific reading for your exact birthdate. Its interesting! Mine was pretty accurate! The twins...not so much! :)

Friday, January 11, 2013


The last two days have been kind of crappy. I hate when my time is wasted. I know I'm a stay at home mom and people assume I have nothing to do during the day...but that just isn't so! BUT instead of an entire post filled my self pity rantings- I've decided to show you some of my favorite clocks!

 I love clocks! Although I feel they've become a bit antiquated in this electronic age. Every tv, cable box, computer, ipod, ipad, phone etc has a clock on it. So actual wall clocks and desk clocks aren't as popular.

Here's one of my favorites- called the melting clock:

And this one is beautiful...I've always loved grandfather clocks and I really like the dimensions of this one:

I think one like this would nice outside or even in a craftsman style home:

My great grandparents always had a cuckoo clock...we'd take turns helping grandpa pull the cords to wind in before bed. Even in my earliest memories I remember that clock.

This retro one is fun for a desk top (with more sleek modern ones found here):

Thursday, January 10, 2013

rainy daze

wow. I usually love rainy days, but today was cold, grey and rainy. A day that makes you want to stay in your pjs, grab a good book and get back into bed. OR curl up on the couch with a wooly blanket,  a fire in the fireplace and watching Season 2 of Downton Abby (have to get caught up!)

Today I felt like I was in a daze, tired and wishing I didn't have to leave the house. My toes are cold and my nose is cold. My bed has been calling me since I got up this morning. I shall dream of spring tonight.

Days like today make it hard to stay motivated...maybe its a good thing I don't live in Ireland!?

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

'someday' dreaming

'Someday' dreaming is basically the adult version of 'when I grow up'. For example, "Someday...I'll go to the enchanted coral blue oceans of Bora Bora." or "Someday...I'll have this house paid for." or "Someday... we'll buy the kids quads for our acreage."

Well, my biggest "someday" dream is to have a country house in Ireland. I place to just relax, raise some sheep and chickens, have a little garden and just be removed from it all...all the chaos of the world. I know its crazy impossible, but there is no harm in dreaming.

When I say a little country home in the Irish countryside...I'm not talking about a house like this

Can you even imagine!? Its crazy to think that in homes like these- there are more staff than the actual family living there. But it is beautiful! I love gardens and the land. The opulance is amazing- the 20 foot ceilings and ornate moldings. Here's the link if your in the market to buy it!

No- my dream home is more like this quaint little cottage. Isn't it beautiful! I can just imagine strolling the countryside, no internet or tv to distract from enjoying the moment. Reading, painting, thinking, imagining and being content with your little piece of heaven. Pure bliss.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

gun learning

John and I share a hobby of shooting guns- one we want to share with the girls. And they are super excited to learn. Each of the girls will be enrolled in a gun safety class for beginners. Which we feel is super important. Its one thing to take a few shots with a .22 under mom and dad's supervision, but if they are seriously wanting to take up this hobby as well, own a gun in the future or use ours- classes and education ARE a MUST in this family!

We have been talking about it for awhile and the girls seemed ok with it. But now that they are getting a little bit older and expanding their interests- they have developed more excitement. If only you could have seen John's pride when his three girlies were choosing which rifle or shotgun they wanted. Its little moments like those that I love!

Plus, I can't wait to best John at the shooting range! Who knows...maybe one of the girls will be a crack shot and best us both! :)

(These are family guns we are getting cleaned and restored.)

P.S.   I know that gun control is a hot topic right now. And I don't wish to offend anyone with this post. We just feel that as being the parents of girls- they should know how to protect themselves. Not to mention we live in a world of uncertainty. I hate imagining a time or place that my children would one day have to use a gun for anything other than at the shooting range, but I know its a very real possibility.  

Monday, January 07, 2013

long hairs

The twins are growing their hair out...thanks to pinterest and all the styles and braids that can be found and pinned.

Here are a few from early last year.

BUT my new favorite is the fish tale braid. Kynna's hair is super thick and beautiful and absolutely perfect for this braid!  

So glad they still let me try new things out on them- eventhough they are getting to be grown up! Still haven't mastered the beach wave...but we're working on it! :)

Friday, January 04, 2013


Winter break is coming to a close...sad! So sad! Poor little Evie will be so lonely without her sisters around all day. I think the older girls are ready to be back in a routine again. Corynn would rather school was called off forever and play dates were scheduled daily into perpetuity.

I am ready for routine and schedule. Life seems to run more smoothly. I'm excited that Evie is at the age  where we can start to take adventures- like to the Children's museum. We would spend all day everyday outside exploring if the weather would allow. But since its winter- we must plan indoor adventures and activities to tire the seemingly endless ball of energy. Can't wait for spring...when she can help me plant flowers and work in the garden. Should be fun! But until then...


Thursday, January 03, 2013

sundresses and shorts

We are getting closer and closer to our family vacation! We are all getting super excited! Today the girls and I went to the mall and scored on sundresses, sleeveless blouses and shorts for 75% off the marked down price. AWESOME!

Now where can I find swim suits!?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

thank you

Christmas thank yous are finally going out! My great-grandma would be scolding me for being so late with these. I love that the women in my life (my great grandma Hoskins, my grandma and my mother) taught me the value of a handwritten note...especially a thank you! In an age where a quick text or email would be so much faster and far more easy- there's still something sweet and special about getting that note of appreciation and thanks in the mailbox! I'm hoping to instill that quality in my children...making them each write their own thank yous (Christmas, birthdays etc). Even if they are too young and its a scribble with me interpreting! :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


My one AND only resolution is to blog more. Every week day is the goal. Last year was shameful and seriously lacking. My blog book for 2012 will be a teeny weeny paper back. Just sad.

But onto 2013...a new year for new things.

Here are some sweet family snapshots from our Christmas holiday...

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!! May yours be blessed and happy!