Monday, August 31, 2009

Backyard Campout

Yesterday as I was cleaning inside of the house my girls put up the tent in the backyard. They kept talking about how they were going to sleep in it last night. I laughed. For one thing it was a school night. Not to mention, it wasn't exactly hot out last night. So I thought they would just play in there and then we would come back inside to our nice comfy beds.

The girls somehow convinced their dad that it would be fun to sleep outside, even though they had school today. So we all bundled up and headed outside. The girls each told us a story before bed. It was hilarious. I should have had the video camera out.

We actually went to sleep a lot earlier than we usually do. Somehow the girls ended up on the air mattress and Chad and I were on the ground. He lasted outside until about 2:30 am and then he told me he had to go into the house. Nadia lasted until about 4:00am. The older girls had to be woke up to get ready for school.

I guess this was just another one of our adventures. I only had one question for my hubby. Why didn't we do our backyard campout in the summertime when it was warm out and the girls didn't have school the next day. . .

AND THE WINNER IS. . .I almost forgot to post the winner of the ECOstore USA Shampoo and Conditioner. The winner is #7 The McCormick's.
McCormick's said...
I tried using fancy salon shampoo and conditioner a few weeks ago. Liked the shampoo but my scalp got super itchy and flaky. The conditioner didn't work at all. Would love to try the eco-friendly stuff since you like it!

I will send you an email and get your address to send off your prize.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Yummy Bran Muffins

Last night before bed I mixed up some Bran Muffins. This morning I put a pan in the oven for a fresh yummy breakfast. I wanted to share the recipe with you. This is something I love to have in the fridge so that I can make them whenever we need something a little different for breakfast. The batter can be kept in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.

1 cup Bran Buds
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp soda
2 cups Bran Flakes

Pour 1 cup boiling water over bran buds and set aside. Mix shortening and sugar. Mix in eggs then buttermilk. Add dry ingredients. Add Bran Buds and mix. Fold in Bran Flakes.

Bake muffins for 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Afternoon Art Adventure

I am reading an amazing book right now by Ann Kroeker called Not So Fast - Slow Down Solutions for Frenzied Families.

This book has inspired me to slow down with my kids. So Sunday afternoon we had an afternoon art adventure. My oldest was at the river with some friends so the younger two and I gathered up our paint, markers, crayons and colored pencils and we had so much fun.

First we laid out a tablecloth on the front porch and we painted. They thought it would be fun to splatter paint. They filled their brushes with paint and hit the handle to make speckles all over their papers.

After our painting fun we loaded our picnic blanket, sketch books and drawing supplies into the stroller. Madi jumped on her bike and Nadia climbed into the stroller and we were off. We walked to City park and created.

Not long after we were there we had a little visitor. This little bird really wanted to get onto our blanket.

Nadia said, "He wants to be my friend."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Baby went to school today

I just have to share a few pictures from Nadia's first day of preschool. I just picked her up and she had a great afternoon. There are only two other little girls in her class so she will get a lot of attention (like she doesn't already get a lot of that at home).

It's Party Day!

You can join the party fun on this site, or over at Don't forget 3pm EST today!

Want to win a prize pack of books for your family? Stop by and chat with us.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Party Party Party!

I am so excited to chat with all of you tomorrow at my SnazL party. I wanted to share with you a few things ahead of time that you can look forward to at the party.

Healthy Snack alternatives from WAT-AAH!

Are you wondering which activities you should involve your children in? Check out this new book from Ann Kroeker.

Are you interested in a new way to communicate with your children's teachers?


Aparna Vashisht-Rota, the founding Mom of will be sharing a great way to get involved in your child's education. Below she shares her tips for Back to School. Come to the party and you can chat with Aparna.

It is back to school time! My son starts middle school tomorrow. We went shopping as he has outgrown his clothes, shoes, and backpack. He was very patient while we picked out his clothes and shoes.

He is really excited to go back to school and meet his friends and get back into the routine. It reminds me of my own eagerness and anticipation for a new school year. I used to love the new school year, so much excitement, new books, new notebooks, pencils, etc. I really enjoyed it.

As happy as I am for my son to embark on a new transition, I also feel sad. He is no longer a baby. He is older but I am also happy that he is grown into such a wonderful, loving, and kind person. I am very proud of him. I have heard that as they get older, it gets a little bit harder. I really want to get to know the other parents and make sure that the transition is as smooth as possible.

I am going to connect with other parents on Parentella. Parental involvement is the most important thing in a child's education. You'd have thought it is the latest and the greatest but it boils down to parents being involved. Parentella is one such tool that helps parents stay connected, informed, involved, and on top of it.

10 reasons I am going to be on Parentella:

1. It is free.

2. It is only for parents and teachers.

3. It is private, safe, and secure.

4. It is simple, easy to use, site.

5. It allows busy moms to keep all information regarding the kids in one place. I am so done reading through the stack of paper they send us! If we are all online, it is money saved for school as no more paper is needed.

6. Parentella sends you automated reminders for events, never forget the movie night again!

7. Ask other parents that difficult question in Algebra. One time, my son got homework and it was tough! I wasn't sure really what we were supposed to do and I'd have loved to ask another parent.

8. Get context rich information! Ask a mom in your child's class regarding videogames, allowance, cellphone usage, etc. We are in it together, so might as well help each other.

9. You can archive information for the entire year when you leave the class to join the next grade, you still have access to the information. All the content you created, stays with you.

10. Organize online signups for potlucks, book fairs, staff luncheon, class parties.

Get Parentella, get involved. It is a MUST HAVE for back to school.

This post is written by Aparna Vashisht-Rota, the founding Mom of Thank you for reading this post and please feel free to write her at aparna (at) parentella dot com.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Good Enough Mom

Before I became a mom I thought I had motherhood all figured out. I thought that adding children to our little twosome would be a piece of cake. I thought I would just keep working, always have a clean house, cook and bake all while raising my children to have excellent manners.

And then. . .I had kids. I realized that I do not have a Super Woman cape hiding under my clothing. I do not have super human strength and lightning fast speed.
I tried to be Super Mom, but it just was not possible. I want to be a great mom to my kids. But by whose definition?

I am learning that I cannot say "Yes" to everyone and everything. I have learned that some days if I decide to have an afternoon art adventure with my girls. . .the house may stay a mess.

I am going to start making a few changes with this blog and I can't wait to share them with you.

This blog is my journey to helping my children have an unforgettable childhood. If I was trying to be Super Mom I don't think that is the experience that they would have. I think by being a "good enough" mom, we can embark on an amazing adventure.

Stay tuned to some changes around here and don't forget to join my SnazL party on Wednesday afternoon at 3pm EST/2pm CST. It should be a fun time for us to get to know each other better.

Have a great week!

It is Time for a Party!!!

This is your invitation to a party! This Wednesday I am having a party at on Back to School Survival and I would love to see you there.

What is SnazL?

"The power of snazL is that it lets us, the community, create Our Story in real-time. We can watch what’s been shared in sync and then respond by chat; by adding new videos, audio, and pictures live to the snazL story for the community to watch as part of the story; even by drawing. Community members can interact from multiple locations through the snazL: they can take any snazL to their own social networks, websites, and blogs for THEIR friends to discover and interact with. Any changes that are made to a snazL from one location or from update automatically to every location where it’s located."--from the blog

I have had the opportunity to party with some of the coolest bloggers around over the last two weeks with SnazL. Heather from The Domestic Diva, Danielle from Extraordinary Mommy, Nirasha from Mommy Niri, Beth from Role Mommy and Susan from 5 Minutes for Mom all hosted parties that I was able to attend with SnazL. I was able to chat real time with them and share my stories.

Here is what I am asking you to do. Check out my SnazL below. Go to and register. On your account you can make an album of your back to school pictures and videos. Below is a list of some of the questions we are going to focus on that day.

It doesn't matter if your kids are in preschool or College. It doesn't matter if your kids go to public school, private school or homeschool. We all have tips to share. You might not even have kids, but I am sure you have stories of your own to share.
What are your morning routines?
How do you decide which activities your kids get to be involved in each year?
What are some of your favorite After School Snacks or lunch box secrets?
How do you prepare your children to deal with bullying?

Oh, and before I forget. . .there will be prizes. Who doesn't love prizes. Stuff for your kids and stuff for you! It is going to be a great party, I can't wait to see you there.

Any questions about how all of this works, send me an email at amy.thue(at)hotmail(dot)com. I can't wait to see what you have to share.

Next weeks topic. . .Marriage.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Give Me Your Best Shot - My Little Monkey

We have survived our first week of Back to School. Nadia misses her sisters during the day, so she will be happy to head to preschool next week. It is hard to believe it is already Friday. Of course we have to start the weekend with a friend sleeping over tonight. (Sleepovers are very important to our 8 year old). I am surprised that they like to do them here, because my husband actually makes them go to bed. He isn't a very fun sleepover dad.

I am going to share one of my favorite pictures of the week with you today. We headed to the park on Tuesday. Nadia dressed herself before we left. Her sisters couldn't believe I let her leave the house dressed this way. I didn't care. At least her clothes matched. She looked better than she does on the days that she is wearing horizontal stripes on top and vertical stripes on the bottom. When I try to get her to change those days she says, "I do to match mom, see stripes and stripes."

She thought she would try to attempt the monkey bars, but this is all the farther she got. . .

I am linking up with Lolli's Give me Your Best Shot today. Head over to her blog to check out more great pictures.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Get Real Girl Goes Green


Okay, I admit it, my family does not live very green. Our town does not have curbside recycling. I bought CFL light bulbs almost a year ago and still haven't replaced the old ones. However, I am trying to teach my Daisy Girl Scouts all about helping the environment so I decided I better start doing what I can for the world.

So as my first "Get Real Girl - Goes Green" post I am reviewing two products from Ecostore USA.

What does EcoStore USA have to offer?
Our eco friendly, plant-based household cleaning products are as effective as the leading supermarket brands, and our body and baby care ranges are gentle on your skin and are simply beautiful to use.
All of our products are made from plant- and mineral-based ingredients, free of toxic chemicals that bring people closer to nature with non-toxic, environmentally safe solutions that also help to reduce our carbon footprint.

Our products also help to ensure value for the dollar for our customers. We know it can be expensive to buy natural or organic products but we’ve found a way to safely super-concentrate our formulations. Our super-concentrates means that a little really does go a long way - saving you money by cutting down significantly on cost per use.

What product did I review?
I chose to review the Aloe Vera Shampoo and Conditioner. My oldest daughter and I are always looking for Shampoo and Conditioners that will add moisture. Both her and I have been using these products for the last two weeks.

What do we think?
My daughter can't believe how soft her hair is and we both have had no problems with dry scalp. We both have hair that requires more conditioner than usual, but this has been with any conditioning product we have used. The product smells good. We both think this product works great and it is safe on the environment.

Would you like to try this product?
Ecostore has sent me another set of shampoo and conditioner that I am giving away to one of you. The only thing you have to do is leave a comment.

The contest will end on Wednesday, August 26th at midnight CST.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back to School

My oldest girls headed back to school today. They were so excited (I was, too!)

I am linking in with Seven Clown Circus Wordful Wednesday today so I can share our pictures from the day!

Madelyn is headed to her first day of 1st Grade. (I think she thinks when she comes home today she will magically be able to read the books that were too hard for her this summer). She didn't even want me to walk her across the street this morning. I still did, but she was not going to hold my hand.

Taylor headed to 3rd Grade this year. She is excited to learn how to write in cursive.

Nadia wasn't too excited that the girls were leaving without her. She was yelling, "Wait for me!"

The girls were ready to leave at 7:40 this morning. School doesn't start until 8:25. Madelyn's school is only about 5 blocks away and Taylor's is about a 5 minute drive. . .

I love the first day of school!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Makeover Pumpkin Spice Bread

Tuesday's MckLinky Blog Hop is sharing a favorite recipe. I decided to give you one of my favorite bread recipes. This recipe stays moist and it is a favorite of everyone in my family. It is even pretty healthy! I have it on a recipe card in my box, but I got it from Taste of Home Healthy Cooking or Cooking Light. I can't remember which. . .sorry.

Makeover Pumpkin Spice Bread
2 1/4 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 1/3 c. cake flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 eggs
1 can (15 oz) solid packed pumpkin
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/3 c. canola oil

In a large bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. In another bowl, whisk eggs, pumpkin, buttermilk, applesauce and oil. Stir into dry ingredients, just until moistened. Transfer to two 9X5X3" loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Enjoy, YUMMY!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Home at Last

Vacation was wonderful, but it is so good to be home. I am working up a few posts, but for now, I wanted to share a few photos with you.

Exploring Sylvan Lake

South Dakota really is a beautiful state!

Cooking at the Campground. For now, our camper is our summer home. (I keep telling my hubby we are going to retire someday at a cottage by the beach!)

Reptile Gardens - touching the Giant Tortoises.

Have a wonderful Monday!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Race Track + Camping = Headache

I am in a fog as I write today. I am still on vacation, which is wonderful, but I am a little under the weather.

I can't remember if I told you that one of the reasons we headed out to the Hills was for my husband's state softball tournament. So it wasn't all play, we are cheerleaders for the next two days. (well, hopefully two days, they have to win another game to play tomorrow).

We moved our camper from our beautiful campsite in the Hills to a campsite in town. We thought we were brilliant because the campground is close to the softball complex so we could come back and hang out in between games. . .(we should always wait to claim brilliance until we have all the details).

Last night we decided to get everyone to bed early. We were all tired and the first game was bright and early this morning. Unfortunately, as we were sitting by the campfire we realized there was a lot of revving car engines. Turns out there are car races right next door. The campground told us they should only go until 10:30, (yeah, more like 11:30). I am not sure how we did it, but the girls actually fell asleep to the lull of the motors.

Not me, honestly, it sounded like our camper was preparing for take-off on the runway. I thought that we were going to be flying over the great blue yonder. Oh and did I forget to mention that I have a sinus cold. Yeah, so my head already felt like it was going to explode.

So much for our brilliance. It is nice that I got to run the girls back here to play in between games. . .and spend a little time at the computer. But tonight, I am taking a couple of tylenol pm and I am going to sleep like a baby.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fun in the SD Sun

Okay so I am on vacation and I was one day off on What We are Reading Wednesdays over at Simple Kids. Today is the day that my first review was posted. . .

I can't wait to have time to write about the events of our day today. We are having so much fun. I thought I would share a couple of pictures with you. I probably won't have much to share the rest of the week. The internet access I have is a little slow and unreliable.

It is raining right now, but we have had beautiful weather so far.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"C" is for City Park

This week Mcklinky's Blog Hop is favorite photo(s). The girls and I are working on a little project called "The ABC's of our Hometown". We have been brainstorming all of our favorite places in town and trying to find something that represents every letter of the alphabet. We are still working on a few letters and then we need to figure out exactly how we want to put it all together. The pictures I am sharing represent the letter "C". After you check out these pictures, go to Simple Kids to check out my first children's book review! It should be up sometime on Tuesday.

"C" is for City Park

MckLinky Blog Hop