Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'm Just Not Cut Out For Farmin'

Whoever said ignorance is bliss never tried to grow squash.

Remember when I showed you the pictures of my cute little squashes? Yeah well, here they are now:

(pulled out of the garden, thrown on the grass)

And this is why:

And this:

And this:

Trying to garden organically is not easy! And it is made especially more difficult when you have no idea what you are doing. And before I could get a handle on it, these bugs went crazy, and I just couldn't get it back under control. So I am not going to grow squash or zucchini for a while, if ever again.

On another note, my green peppers are doing really well. And I don't see any weird bugs trying to get close.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Madi and Cinderella - Then and Now

We have been blessed to have season passes to Disney World for the last year, but unfortunately they end tomorrow. I am sad to see them go, but I won't be any worse for the wear. However, it will be pretty difficult to explain to Madi why we can't just pop on over to Disney whenever we want anymore. She doesn't quite understand its a theme park, she kind of thinks its her second home. In fact, she refers to the castle as "hers" and the princesses as "her friends." I thought it would be fun to compare the times we first started coming to Disney to now, a year later.

Not only is Madi a whole year older, but she is almost an entirely different person. This is last November:

Character greeting was pretty interesting. She would beg and beg to go meet the characters and be laughing and jumping up and down and smiling while waiting in line, then, the second she stood next to the character it was a serious face. She wouldn't crack a smile for anything and was very serious. It was like a switch was flipped. Then, after we were done taking pictures with the characters, she would laugh and talk about it like it was the highlight of her day. Completely hilarious.

NOW - my little bundle of energy can't wait to meet the characters, but instead of becoming a silent fan, she practically mobs these characters. She gets a running start and then almost jumps into their arms. When you ask her what she is doing she says, "Im with my friend, Cinderella." (or insert appropriate character name) Its adorable.

My little baby is turning into a rambunctious, yet adorable preschooler and I just can't believe it. Our journey through the past year can be bookmarked with our photos and memories of Disney and it has really been a special time. Children really do grow up so quickly and its so easy to take for granted the time that we have with them. So, I try to not let the little things bug me and get so aggravated when she is acting like the little girl she is - when she won't fall asleep for her nap or spills her cereal all over the dining room - because I know that before I know it she will be in school and then grown up before my very eyes.

And I really don't want to miss a moment.

Madi helps wash the car.

So, because I prefer to keep my outdoor chores to a minimum (yeah, that must be why I planted a garden this year), I ALWAYS take my van to the car wash when it needs a good scrub. In fact, for all the cars I have owned over the last 10 years, I can probably count on two hands the number of times that I have actually washed it myself. It helps that there is a mom special at the local car wash and they will was it for $3 on Wednesdays.

Needless to say, Madi has never washed the car before. This past weekend Josh decided he wanted to wash it, in between all the rain clouds, and he volunteered to have Madi help! Of course I didn't say no. When daddy offers to help on his own with no prompting, you NEVER say no. But of course, since this was her first time helping, I had to go out with the camera. I couldn't spend those precious minutes by myself.

The fruit of her labor resulting in a soapy mommy (thankfully not camera), soaked daddy, and a Madi both soaked and soapy. But a fun and memorable time was had by all.

Its very exciting to throw the sponge in the bucket to create a bubble volcano.

She was having a great time, but refused to look at the camera when smiling. I don't know where that stubborness comes from.

She was doing a pretty good job too, but really just wanted to wash in one spot the whole time.

Showing me all her bubbles.

I love this kid.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Absolutely Amazing, Easy Apple Dumplings

**Don't forget to enter the Mabel's Labels giveaway!!**

This recipe is dedicated to my friend Amanda, who introduced me to this lovely treat and the Pioneer Woman who made it. :)

This recipe is for a delicious treat. It balances out the exercise we all did yesterday... haha. I love apples and will eat apple pie, fried apples, apple sauce, apples and caramel, and the like. And for sure, this is the BEST apple dessert I have ever had. That is saying a lot too, because I like my apple pie. :) So you NEED to make this. It is SO easy and quick, that you have no excuse not to.

So here is what you need:

Once you've gathered your ingredients, slice the apples into 8 pieces each.

Then, just roll each apple into a croissant roll. (Yes, I do know that I got reduced fat crescents... you gotta save those calories where you can...)

Once you've rolled up all the apples, place them in a 9x13 pan.

Melt the butter and add the sugar and vanilla. Then pour over the top of the apple croissants.

Try not to think about the tons of butter you just added to the pan. It will be ok. Now, add a little Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. (I know, it sounds weird. But it makes it yummy, I promise.) You will only end up using about 5 ounces.

Then sprinkle the whole thing with cinnamon and bake.

When it comes out all the butter is all deliciously bubbly and the smell in your house is divine.

Once you plate it up and add some vanilla ice cream, then top it with the juicy, sugary sauce. Well, lets just say, its not going to last long.

So, please, do yourself a favor and make this as soon as possible. My sister, who doesn't even like cooked apples, loved this dessert.


Here is the complete recipe:

2 whole Granny Smith Apples, Cored And Peeled
2 cans Refrigerator Crescent Rolls
2 sticks Butter
1-½ cup White Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½ cans Mountain Dew
Ground Cinnamon

Preparation Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut apples into 8 slices each.

Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan.

Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir.

Add vanilla, stir, and pour over apples.

Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

Recipe Credit: Ree, the Pioneer Woman, as posted on You can see it here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Exercise - a little rant.

So, I just needed to have a moment to vent my frustration. Exercise. The very word makes me frown.

You have to do it to stay healthy, but the very thought of it makes me want to get in my jammies, flip on a movie, and be lazy. I just don't understand this lack of motivation. You'd think the fact that I have lost 30 pounds and feel great when I eat healthy would make me stay motivated, but it doesn't! In fact, its all I can do to make myself get through a workout. And sure, I feel proud of myself that I did it, but its not some joyous exultation of satisfaction and rampant happiness. Its more of a "thank goodness that is over" kind of happy. When I hear people talk about how much they love exercise and how it gives them such a rush and how its the best part of their day and how they can run miles and miles and it is just all rainbows and gumdrops... it just makes me kind of want to smack them. Ok, there. I said it. (If you are one of those people, I promise I won't smack you. My deep rooted resentment probably stems from a deep seated jealousy of your fitness. Yes, thats it.)

Besides, if you think about everything that encompasses a mom's day... there is a lot of exercise.

-you lift your children... for me, that is like 30 pounds... thats a pretty good weight lift. :)
-you wash dishes and put them away... thats walking and bending
-you vacuum... thats definitely a core workout
-you do laundry and put it away... thats like bicep curls, forearm work, and more walking
-you play endlessly in all positions... thats ab workouts, leg lifts, more arm workouts and LOTS of running
-you try tirelessly to get your children to nap... that is continuous up and down movement, work those glutes!

Whew... that is just the beginning and I'm tired just thinking about it. So anyway, its no wonder I hate additional, necessary exercise! My day is exhausting on its own!

So lets raise those water bottles... grab some carrots... and take a rest on the couch. We deserve it!

And, just to make this even better... I have a yummy recipe to post later! :) So, save up those calories you burned in your last workout, your gonna need 'em.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I've Got Some Baby Squash!

I planted my first attempt at a home vegetable garden about a month ago. And I've been faithfully watering and fretting ever since. I am trying to keep this garden organic, but do you know how many bugs there are?? Its a little ridiculous. I found some botanical insecticide and I am going to give that a try this weekend. Hopefully that will clear out all the unwanted visitors. Now that I have some baby squash growing, I don't want to lose them. Does maternal instinct extend to vegetation?

This is my garden as a whole. Its pretty small. There is some zucchini, yellow squash, green peppers, red peppers, and a few herbs. The four squash plants are taking over though. I had no idea they would get so huge!

Anyway, I thought I would share a couple of pictures of the adorable baby squash. I haven't seen many vegetables growing in person, so its cool to see them in my very own garden. I have two plants of the yellow squash and each plant has one little squash growing.


So we will see how this goes. Hopefully they will survive and taste delicious. I really have no idea what I am doing. Its quite humorous. Between a couple of gardening books and google, we will get through this. If anyone has any tips, I would surely appreciate it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Many Faces of Madison

I picked up the camera today and Madi wanted her picture taken.
So we did a portraiture of her many faces.
Some we see more frequently than others. Haha.

Commentary by Madison herself:

"That's Happy"

"That's a mad one."

"That's siwwy (silly)"

"That's open mouth"

"That's this" (proceeds to make the face again.)

I have the most adorable girl in the world. And moments like this make everything else worth it.

the end.

**CLOSED** Mabel's Labels! (and a Giveaway!!)

CLOSED... Winner will be announced tomorrow!! :)

I feel like I am always losing something; whether its my purse, my keys, or my mind. Not to mention there are millions of things I have to keep track of for my daughter, who is almost 3, like cinderella wands, cups, socks, or even underwear (wish they made skin-safe superglue for THAT.... lol) Anyway, I am always looking for ways to make my life more efficient and "easier." And I really WANT to spend less time looking for things and losing them when I can't remember which color sippy cup I brought to church on Sunday.

So, when I was at the MOPS convention I came across a booth for Mabel's Labels. I had heard of them before, but I still claim pregnancy brain and that memory was back in the recesses of what used to be a pretty efficient machine. (I don't think there is any help for that...) So I picked up their information and did some further research when I got home.

Once I looked at their website I was even more intrigued. These labels are washable (as in the washing machine!) and dishwasher and microwave safe! And they stick to just about everything - clothes, shoes, sippy cups, bottles, even tupperware. I knew then that I had to try them and Mabel's Labels was kind enough to send me a Back-to-School Combo Pack which included: Skinny-Minis, Tag Mates (for clothing labels), Shoe Labels, and Teeny Tags (for zipper pulls or the like).

Of course, it was difficult to tell who was more excited about these "stickers," me or Madi. I immediately applied one to a sippy cup, a pair of shoes, a shirt, and her backpack. Then, I had to put it to the test.

This is the sippy cup label:

And this is the sippy cup label after several minutes of soaking in water and vigorous scrubbing with an abrasive wash cloth (I promise this is a different picture):

You couldn't even tell a difference. How cool is that? I actually tried to get it to scrub off, and it wouldn't. Now, I don't know about you, but every time I WANT something to stay on, it doesn't. So, its nice to see a product that actually does what it promises!

Here are the other labels I put on:

the shoes

the shirt

the backpack

Needless to say, I am very impressed with Mabel's Labels and their products. In addition to these products above, they offer kids safety products (like allergy labels and my favorite the "411 Wristband"), household labels (like flour and sugar, or cord labels), and stationery products (like Mama Calling Cards).

If you would like to check out their labels for yourself, please click on the logo on the right of my page and it will take you there. :) (They offer free shipping in Canada, by the way!)

Because I love Mabel's Labels so much, and even MORE because they are awesome, Mabel's Labels is allowing me to giveaway a
set of Colourful Sticky Labels personalized with you or your kid's name like this:

(photo courtesy of

To enter this giveaway:

1. Leave a comment and tell me what you lose most often.

For additional entries, you may do any or all of the following:

2. Follow @mabelhood and @mybfjesus on twitter and leave a comment telling me your twitter ID and that you now follow or already followed us. :)

3. Tweet and/or facebook about this giveaway and then leave a comment telling me you did.

4. Follow my blog by subscribing in the box to the right and leave a comment telling me so. (or if you already follow me)

This contest will be open until Midnight on Thursday August 26th. A winner will be chosen at random. Good luck to you all!

Giveaway open to the US and Canada only. Thank you Mabel's Labels for providing both my set of labels to review and the set to giveaway. All opinions expressed in this blog are my very own.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


So, a couple of posts ago, I mentioned a new favorite website.... Alice!

Now, I have a banner for them on my blog, so if you want a new way to shop, click!
When you spend $50 you get $10 off! So, click on the banner and save that gas money. Always free shipping too.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Best Green Beans Ever

They might not look like much, but these green beans are amazing. And even better, they are so easy. Every time I cook them, both Josh and Madi let me know how good they are. And then, I tell myself I need to post this recipe online... and I have forgotten, until now.

So, the key ingredient here is: green beans. But, it can't just be a can or any old green bean. You must pick up a bag of fresh green beans* from your local farmers market. Before I came across this recipe, I could never figure out how to cook fresh green beans, especially in a healthy way.

Here is what you need:

-about 1 lb of green beans (depending on the size of your family)
-olive oil
-garlic salt (or regular salt, if you prefer)
-tin foil
-a cookie sheet

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover the cookie sheet with tin foil. Trim the ends off of the green beans and then spread them out evenly on the cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the green beans. Sprinkle them with the garlic salt and pepper. Toss them around to evenly coat them with the olive oil. Make sure they are spread evenly again and then place the pan in the oven. Cook about 20 minutes, turning about halfway through. You will know they are ready when they get all wrinkly and are getting a little brown.

These green beans turn out to be so tasty. Baking them in the oven releases the innate sweetness of the green bean. Who knew they could be sweet? And then with the salty flavor and olive oil.... yummmmmy!

So, please try these as soon as possible. And then let me know what you think!

*I have heard that you can use frozen green beans with this recipe as well, but I haven't tried it. So if you have some laying around, let me know how it works.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A New Favorite Website

So apparently, I took a blogging sabbatical in July. It was a very busy month for our family, and I guess I never made it to the computer. (Facebook doesn't count. :) )

Now that I am back, I want to tell you about a new favorite website of mine. I found it a few weeks back, and received my first order a couple of weeks ago. It is There slogan is "everyone needs an alice." And I think I agree.

Their website sells common household items from toilet paper, shampoo, ziploc bags to dish soap at prices that are comparable to that of Target. Now, they do not accept manufacturer's coupons from we the buyer, but they do get coupons from the manufacturers and apply them directly to the products on their site.

When you initially set up your alice account, you go through their products and select the things you use most often. This is a screenshot of my "product shelf."

When you are adding products, you also specify approximately how frequently you use said object, and after you purchase them, it will remind you if you should be getting low on something, like toilet paper. It would be nice to not forget to stock up.

One of the biggest reasons I love is their huge selection of green/organic products. They have a great selection of eco-friendly products and at great prices. My new favorite line is from a company called Eco Clean. Not only are their products free of harmful chemicals and their packaging completely recyclable, but their designs are absolutely beautiful!

I recently purchased their dish soap and kitchen counter spray and fell in love with the design. The scents are fresh and not overpowering and they clean as well as any other product I have used.

When my first order arrived I was very excited. I didn't know what to expect, but this beautiful box sitting on my doorstep wasn't it. They do a great job of marketing and packaging. And its always fun to get what you need without having to load up the car, the kids, and schlep to the store. My order consisted of: the Eco Clean products, shaving cream, ziplocs, cling wrap, wipes, envelopes, and gum.

So go, visit alice, and take the 30+ minutes you saved going to the store and give yourself a pedicure.

(The views expressed above are entirely my own and in no way endorsed by or Eco Clean. Thanks.)