Friday, October 30, 2015

Loving It: A Girl's Trip

One of the best things about being in direct sales, is that I get to share with others the products with I love, as well as help pay the bills for my family!  There's no better way to have a job!
This last week, I took my oldest daughter, as well as my two younger daughters on a trip for five days to visit a college!  It was so much fun to spend some girl time and create some new adventures with my daughters!  To top it off, we were packed in the very cutest bags ever, sold by yours truly!
Check out how many bags it took four of us to pack in for a five day trip!!  Come on over to my VIP Facebook Page and name those bags and their patterns!!  I also try to let my VIP customers know what is coming up for specials and even do some giveaways here and there!  It's a lot of fun, so I'd love to have you join me!
What about you, do you get to do what you love and do you love your products and share them? 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Homecoming Fun: School Spirit

Last week was a big week around our town -  it was Homecoming Week.  As a part of homecoming week, the athletes in football, volleyball, and cross country, do a Big Brother, Little Sister Exchange.  The volleyball players pick one of the football player's names out to give some school spirit to for the week.  Although we homeschool, my kids have played on the high school teams at the public school, so this has been a fun week for them for the past few years!  The school assigns my kids a locker to use for the week so that it can be used for a drop off place.
 As a homeschool, I have to say this has been a really great experience for my kids to not only bond with their teammates, but also feel like they are a part of the community.  My kids go to all the after school event during homecoming, including bonfires, cookouts, and even ride in the parade with their graduating class.
The week begins with decorating each others lockers and also hanging a huge sign up in one of the local storefronts for their big brother.  Here's my daughter's decked out locker for the week!  Most of the kids actually leave the locker decorations up for the rest of the year.
Each day of the week, the kids sneak a gift in the locker of their big brother/ little sister.  My daughter was really into this and used ideas from Pinterest to come up with ideas to go with her gifts.  You can check out my School Spirit Board. for more of the ideas that I have pinned.  I thought I'd share what worked for her.
My daughter went to the Dollar Tree to get most of the gifts so it doesn't have to be too expensive.  Putting ribbon and/or a cute container on the gifts make it that much more expensive.  Blue and white ribbon has become a staple in our house for the school colors!

This gift contained: Power Aide, Crunch Bar, and Trail Mix
Note: You have the POWER to CRUNCH the Maniacs on your TRAIL to victory!
Sorry this picture is sideways, for some reason my phone doesn't turn these when they load.
Gift: Large bag of chips (could use small one)
Note: You're all that and a bag of chips!
Gift: Bubble and Tootsie Pops
Note: Blow the Maniacs away!
Gift: Bag of carrots, Ranch Dressing
Note: Sack the Quarterback Snacks
One other gift that she did, that I didn't catch in a picture was:
Gift: 6 Large Tootsie Rolls & a Rolo tied together
Note: Roll over the Maniacs

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

100 pounds of tomatoes

This last week, I actually had to take time off of homeschooling to get my canning done.  Don't worry, the kids worked on their handwriting, math and grammar workbooks in the kitchen (if you can see all the clutter in the background - that's it!) while I canned away, but I couldn't do our history, bible and read-alouds or my tomatoes would go to waste. 
You might wonder where I got so many tomatoes.  I'd love to say I grew them, but that's just not the case!  It is so dry here in the summer, that it's difficult to get tomatoes to grow nicely.  BUT, we have a guy down in Lucille, ID area who's know as Tomato Tom!!! He has tomato growing perfected, and you can pick your own tomatoes for only $.50 a pound!  Why grow your own, when it's so cheap and fresh down the road?  Each year, we run down there on a weekend and pick with the kids about 100 pounds of tomatoes for the winter months.
I like to have enough salsa and canned tomatoes stocked up for the winter, and then I usually try another recipe out of my favorite canning book:       Last year, I tried pizza sauce, which has great flavor, but is really runny, so it's not exactly what I'm looking for.  This year, I thought I try homemade tomato soup.  I was pondering ketchup, so maybe I'll do it next year.
Canning tomatoes whole is so easy and quick.  I wonder why people don't do this themselves!  In fact, in my opinion, it is easy to can them whole and then make my own sauce when I need it.  To make sauce, I just pour a jar of whole tomatoes in a pan, and then simmer it with a package of spaghetti sauce mix in it.  These mixes, I get for less than $.50 each when they go on sale.  The kids will even make their own spaghetti sauce this way!  You could add your own spices if you prefer, but I like the ease of not thinking about it.
All of these recipes you can get from my favorite canning book, except my recipe for Dad's Favorite Salsa, Ball Complete Canning Book.  I love this one because all you do is sterilize your jars, add lemon juice and salt in the bottom, and then fill up the jar with peeled tomatoes.  All the liquid you see in the jar is from the tomatoes!  No added water and so easy!
This is our oldest and favorite salsa, which we've fondly named Dad's Salsa. The reason is, that it usually turns out pretty mild and therefore, it's the only salsa that Dad loves!  I got this recipe from a hostess probably over 15 years ago on a handwritten card.  I've used this same card as my recipe - it is almost beyond repair, but I know what I need when it's salsa time!  Here it is:

Dad's Salsa

  • 5 Cups peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 Cups Chopped Onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Cup chopped green peppers
  • 1 jalapeƱo pepper - if none use 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 C. vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt

Combine, boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  You can refrigerate, freeze or can.  I love to can this in a water bath for 20 minutes in Pint jars. 
Note: This does make a small batch, so I triple or quadruple it until it fits in my larges pot.                
I heard about making tomato soup and canning it last year, so I was completely taken with trying this year!  My warning for this recipe, is that there seems to be some debate over weather this one is ok to can because of the butter and flour in it.  Well, it tastes so wonderful, I think you'll agree with me that it's worth the chance.   Mr. Right thinks it tastes "just like Campbell's Soup from the can, but better!"  I searched this one out on Pinterest.  Here's the site that I found with the recipe I used: Canned Tomato Soup Concentrate 
My kids and I love a little bit more spice to our salsa, so this is the our Zesty Salsa that we make.  It comes again from my favorite book, Ball Complete Canning Book.  The only variation of this recipe that I do, is add a more spice pepper.  My oldest son has a knack for coming home with some really spicy peppers from different people, so that's what I use!  I love the chunkiness of this salsa.  You need the scoop chips to eat it! 
Well, that was this year's 100 Pounds of Tomatoes.  What suggestions do you have for the future for me?  I love to try something new!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

How to be Present with your children!

I ran across this quote on Facebook this last week and just had to share.  It's so powerful, and a great reminder to parents everywhere.  In the technological age we are in now, it's very easy to not be present in our children's lives!  With my first child leaving for college this year and my second headed that way next year, I've spent the last few years, really enjoying my kids and the time we have together.  Even that running to and from all the different games and events they have, I try to be present with them.
Here are some ideas for being present with your kids:
  1. Talk with your kids in the car when you're taking them places. Ask them questions.
  2. Attend as many of your kids events as you can!  Even if you each have to sacrifice other things, or tag team with your spouse.
  3. Make eye contact with your kids when they talk to you.  Even if my kids are interrupting a TV show, I pause it and look at them, no matter the subject for the interruption.
  4. Do something they enjoy doing, with them.  The other night, I practiced my trumpet with my 6th grader.  I told him I had 10 minutes to play with him, and we found ourselves practicing for 45 minutes!  I loved every moment!
  5. Brag about them! I try to brag about all the great things my kids do, and stay away from complaining about them!  Even if I'm tired of going to one more game, my complaint about it can personally hurt my child's feelings.  Go see my opinion about comments on Facebook Here.  I want to be certain that my kids know I love them and am proud of them!
  6. Be that "June Cleaver Mom."  What I mean is, do those little things that make a mom (or dad) special.  I wake up every morning of the week an hour before my family to make a baked breakfast for them.  For the last two summers, my oldest son worked a long day in Youth Conservation Corps, and had to leave at 4:30am.  I got up every morning and made him breakfast and had alone time with him before he left for work.  Of course it was a sacrifice and some mornings were hard to get out of bed, but I wanted to be a special person in my son's life!
  7. Let your kids know it's your pleasure to do things for them.  My kids know I don't like to cook, but I let them know that it's my pleasure to cook for them.
  8. Compliment them - genuinely and often!
  9. Hug them - I know, seems obvious, but I'm not a touchy person, so this is something I have to plan and think about.
  10. Tell them you love them - ALL THE TIME!
One of the things that helps me be there for my kids, is being my own boss!  Consider shopping with me to make that possible - HERE!  Do you have more ideas of how you can be present with your Kids?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Win a FREE Apron!

Who wants a FREE apron?

Did you know we have these ADORABLE aprons in our holiday line that just came out? Well, to celebrate, I’m giving one away!

All you have to do is tell me what YOU would put on an apron.  You can do up to 3 lines with up to 16 characters on each line.  You can enter three different times:  On my Personal Page,  on my VIP Group, and on my Business page on Facebook page.  We’re going to vote on my VIP page for the best “saying” and the winner gets their saying on their FREE apron! So…ready…set…who’s the most creative…LOL!

Winner will be voted on in my VIP group on Sunday!! I'll announce the winner on Monday!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Unloving Parents Today

Ok - I've had enough of  unloving parents these days!  I'm warning you now to that this is all my opinion, and you may not like it.  In fact, I probably won't even respond it you make nasty comments to me about it!  That's my disclaimer!

Here's my opinion: What is wrong with parents today that can't wait to get rid of their kids?  They can't wait to send them to school, and can't stand them home from extended breaks!  Here's a post from someone (who will remain anonymous) on my Facebook just this morning that has pushed me over the edge:
"Sigh....the first day of the 4 day weekend and I already wanna send them back to school. Geez Louise."
What in the world would those kids think if they heard their mother saying that?  Really, four days is too much for you to spend with your own children? Does she really think that by putting that on Facebook, that her kids will never know that she essentially hates them?  Once you put it on the internet, it's there forever! 

A few years ago, I made the commitment to really think about what I post about my children on Facebook before posting it.  They may not be on Facebook right now, but someday they will be. I love to tell funny stories about them, but I'm really aware of not sharing things that would embarrass them now or someday.  In fact, I put up tons of praise and proud moments I have of them, so that they get a clear message that I love them, want them, and am proud of them.

I know I'd be hurt if my Mom shared my dirty laundry and bad choices I've made. I'd feel even worse if she didn't want to be with me and told the universe on Facebook.  In fact, a couple of years ago, my father (sperm donor) commented on his blog about how much weight I had gained since he last saw me. (fyi -  I've had 5 children since he last saw me!!)  I can't tell you the pain that has caused me ever since.  I'm 31ish!  I'm traumatized by a comment my father said on a blog about me as a full grown adult - imagine the impact that would have on a teenager when they find that their parent can't wait to get rid of them!

I have five children.  I am with them 24/7, as I homeschool them and keep them close to me.  I cried the first day of my oldest son attended the local high school for 2 classes. I cried when my third child wanted to go to band class every day.  My children have rarely been away from us, and have had very few occasions with sitters over the years. I want to be with my children! That's why I had them.  I can't wait for us to be together as a family! Don't get me wrong, I want them to go out and be upstanding citizens when they are adults and ready, but I don't need to pawn them off on anyone else because I can't stand them for a 4 day weekend. 

Why do parents today have such a distain of the children, that they don't look forward to every moment they have with them? Do they know that time flies and soon, they will be gone?  Why even bother having children, if you're not going to spend every moment loving on them?  What is going to happen to the next generation if none of the parents can stand their children?  These moments with our children are so precious so don't waste them!  Your children will get your message loud and clear and not want to be with you either!