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Friday, May 31, 2013

Five Family Trip- Wisconsin Dells

Last year, Paul planned a trip to the Wisconsin Dells with 4 childhood friends and their families.  He based the trip off of the movie Grownups, and we had such a good time, we did it again this year.

It was surprisingly easy, and since we stayed a giant house it gave every one their own space, while being able to come together for meals, and games, and general merriment.

A few tips:

Plan ahead.  We didn't do this as well this year, but have times and places lined up.  You can sometimes get a discount and otherwise, you spend a bunch of time trying to figure it all out during the vacation.

Each family was responsible for one meal and the clean up.  This makes it so that everyone gets a break, and when it is your time to cook, it is really fun! (I had a hard time staying out of the kitchen, though.)   Oh, and use a crock pot if you can.

Bring board games, art materials, bubbles, outdoor toys and put them in a community bin for kids to use as they please.  (I always think no one will want to play with all the stuff I haul, but in the end, the kids loved it!)  This game was a hit.

Have one evening for parents only game time.  (This was the best part of the trip!)  Paul made a 3 part game this year, with "How well do you know your spouse" questions, Girls vs Boys questions, and then the tie breaker of the Flour Game, which we totally did incorrectly.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Project 22: Cake!

I used to think that I preferred boxed cake mix to homemade cakes.  I realize now, that I just had the wrong recipes!!  I have made 2 cakes in the last week that have been positively yummy!

The first is a Chocolate Guiness Cake, which I used to eat at the Jika Jika cafe in Bath.  I have been meaning to make it forever, and finally had occasion.  I am glad I shared it with others, because I really, really could eat the entire thing.  I recommend making vanilla buttercream (softened butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, tiny bit of milk) instead of the cream cheese frosting, as we thought it was too tart.

The second cake is my neighbor, Janice's recipe.  She told me that it is so easy, she makes it whilst on vacation because you don't need anything special.  The only addition to the recipe, is that I sprinkled cinnamon on the top before baking.  You basically mix all of the ingredients together and sprinkle with topping.  Bake 350F for 25-30 minutes.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Project 21: Reusable Gift Bag

I love a pretty, wrapped package, but I do hate how much waste it creates.  My son, Tate, had a birthday party to attend, and I had a few spare hours, so I made a reusable gift bag.  I love it!!

I used StayzOn ink and stamped the cupcake on the twill ribbon, and hemmed the edges.  I know there is a company who makes these and you can track where in the world they travel to!!  Here is where you can find them.  Or, if you ask me, I might make one for you:) 

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Stay At Home Mom

Lately, I have thinking about my occupation.  I call myself a "Professional Stay at Home Mom".  I chose this job, and I take it very seriously.  I have done many other things (USAF pilot, Sales Account Exec, and High School Teacher) and this has been the hardest for me, but I embrace it.

I was recently sewing for an upcoming craft show, and my baby (age 2) who is always quite delightful was being...mmmm, not so delightful.  After some reflection, I realized that my priority had shifted.  I was now short with her in order to "get things done".  Our days consisted of a grumpy mommy trying to get the house in show order for potential buyers (we are moving), while doing "work" and she was not feeling it.  I am not an advocate of over doting and spoiling my child, don't get me wrong, but more so, she could sense my flusteredness.  (Is that a word??)  I was not "in the moment" and I was not at peace.  I can picture my wrinkle in the middle of my forehead getting deeper and deeper.

Firstly, I realized how hard it is for a parent who works from home.  I am sure they feel constantly torn between their job and the child.  I have to give it to them! (Also, I totally misjudged the whole take-care-of-kids thing when in my 20s...)  For me, since I don't have to work, I decided that I don't want my child to feel like I don't want to be here.  I don't want her feeling my frustration, with being pulled in two directions. I want to embrace my experience and the NOW.

I am a big fan of working side by side, but in a peaceful manner.  She will happily create with her crafts next to me for an hour, while I sew and we listen to music.  I love looking online for fun activities that we can do together (and avoid the TV). And my favorite? I love to bake with her.  And, yes, she can play on her own for a bit, but the balance of it all was off.  I was doing way more of the stuff that I thought needed to be done, and putting such pressure on myself, and forgot to slow down and enjoy the journey.

This isn't a parenting post, really.  This is more a post about me and about embracing the now and living more peacefully with what you are given.  In that regard, a friend of mine really changed my mind about another part of my job.  She said to "Beautify corners" instead of cleaning.  For some reason, just the change in how I see it has made cleaning wayyy more enjoyable and, crazy enough, has made me do more of it!

Take a deep breath, folks.  What isn't working for you?  (I sound like Dr. Phil.)  Nothing is stopping you from changing that, if even just a little :)