Category Archives: special projects

Helping as a Family–Gleaners Food Bank

I grew up in a rural area.  There was no place for people to be begging.  I was in my 30s before I saw my first beggar.  I was out for a girls’ night when I was several months pregnant with Sue.  The group of us had gone to dinner and were walking around the city area.  Everybody decided to get some ice cream.  I didn’t really want any, but I got a small dish.  Baby said there was no room for it.  So I started to throw it away.  I had taken 1-2 bites.  A guy, grabbed it as it fell and said “can I have it?”  I stuttered yes and was changed forever.

I have always been a giver when it comes to food drives, toy drives, book drives.  You name it.  I grew up very poor.  We benefited from people’s generosity more than once.  But the ice cream experience was different.  How do I get truly involved now?

Hubby and I talked about it more than once.  I wish for anything I could go back to that night and take the guy to get a real meal rather than eating my leftovers.  I’ve known since that day our family would be getting involved.  We just had to wait a bit for the girls to get old enough.

I volunteered at Gleaners Food Bank right before Christmas for a few hours through work.  I talked to the volunteer coordinator and found ot my girls were now old enough.  She has worked with kids as young as 20 months!

This last week we made up fliers for the neighborhood asking for food donations to take with us.  The girls were thrilled to find a few bags for us to take.

Yesterday we loaded them up and off we went.

Miss Sarah taught us that food insecurity affects 1 in 5 people. And that the people aren’t all on the street. They can look just like us. Last year Gleaners distributed 40,000 million pounds of food to food banks, schools, senior centers, soup kitchens.

The 943 bags we packed will go to kids throughout the metro area who are food insecure. The box of cereal, cans of veggies, fruit and ravioli will go home with them so they can eat when school isn’t in session.

If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity contact Sarah Blight at at the Gleaners Oakland Distribution Center.

Sue really loved her job!

Pinned and Did It–Giraffe

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Link up with Thrifty Ninja!
I found a cute giraffe craft on Pinterest a few weeks ago.  We started it then, but ran out of tme after painting the paper towel rolls.

Yesterday gave us some time to finish.  You’ll notice I started with one child and ended with another.  Sue was sick yesterday so didn’t last long even when she begged for a craft.  Caitlyn was very happy and excited when she came home from school after being out a few days, so she and I did her giraffe.

You can find the instructions for this craft here

I am linking up with Sarah today for Pinned it and Did it!

CrockPot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

A couple weeks ago I found a recipe for Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches.  I bought the simple list of ingredients and then couldn’t find it again when I unexpectedly had time to make it…so I did a google search and landed two places.  First was All Recipes.  It looked okay, but I knew it wasn’t quite what I wanted.  Two links down I found a fantastic blog with just what I wanted at Is This Really My Life

But we are not spicy food eaters so I wanted to calm it down a little further.  It turned out perfect.

*Please forgive the lack of pictures.

  1. 6-8 boneless skinless chicken breasts, mine were partially frozen.
  2. 1 envelope ranch dressing mix (1 oz.).
  3. 2 tablespoons butter
  4. 1/2 a jar Frank’s Red Hot Wings Buffalo Chicken Sauce.
  5. 6 mini sub rolls

Put all but the sub rolls in the crockpot.  Cook on high for 1 hour, on low for 4 hours, shred chicken, return to crockpot for 2 hours.

Serve on rolls, add cheese, ranch or bleu cheese dressing (if desired–we did not).

The above had just the right kick to it for us, but if you like a decent amount of spicy, you will want to up the Hot Sauce as desired up to the full 12 ounce bottle.

We ate it the second day over macaroni and cheese, we have small kids, what can I say, most everything ends up over macaroni and cheese.  It was a great addition to the cheesy noodles.  I am shocked at how little there is left now, even with the girls refusing to eat it.

“It smells good, but doesn’t taste good,” was Caitlyn’s appraisal.  But as you know, 4 and 5 year olds are horrible judges of culinary delight.

And since there are no pictures of food, here is at least a couple cute baby pictures in the kitchen…that fits, right?

Linking up with Energizer mommy for In the Kitchen Mondays.

Playing With My Kids? Secret Mommyhood Confessions

linking up with Kimberly for Secret Mommyhood Confessions

I love having my girls. 

Really, I do. 

I do not enjoy playing with my kids.  The thought of playing Candyland or dolls with them, at least at this age, fills me with dread.

So what is a mom to do?  Well, there is letting your kids play computer games or watch too much TV, but that brings guilt after awhile.

Other days I do craft projects with them.  It’s a win-win.  I don’t have to play with them but we get to do things together and I get to feel like a good mom. 

See, win-win.

This weekend Caitlyn and I worked on her Valentine’s for school.







Pinewood Derby

iPhone Photo Phun

It is mindboggling to me we are at the age where my oldest is starting to be involved with things like a Pinewood Derby, but a few weeks ago, that is exactly what happened at AWANA, Bible Club.

Five is a little young to do a lot fo the carpentry, but Caitlyn did help daddy pick out decorations and paint color.  She also did some of the painting and actual decorating.

Here are some pictures of the final product, all taken with my phone.

Getting it balancedHad to buy a scale for this project


Isn't it pretty for it's weigh in?


But Caitlyn is definitely prettier...Who cares about stereotypes? She likes her pink car


 She ended up doing 5 races and as far as we can tell she came in 4th for her age group.  It was hard seeing her not win, not because she needs to win, but she was standing there as we listened to the names saying, “Please let me win, please let me win.”  I hated the disappointment.  It hurt my heart.  But I was proud of her because she didn’t cry or get mad when she didn’t win.  She just moved on.

Next year, there will be two of them racing cars…ahhhh….

Linking up for iPPP.

The CAKE–Pinned it and Did it!

Sue decided she wanted a unicorn cake for her birthday.  Last year, daddy did an impressive 3-D dinosaur.  He wanted to just buy a cake this year, but mama got it in her mind that we needed to do this unicorn cake…

Pinterest to the rescue.  I found several options.  We chose this one.

Gettng Ready for the Holidays 234-241

I finished reading 1000 Gifts this last week.  It took me about a year.  It has never taken me that long to read a book in my life.  This was a very hard season in my life to be reading this book.
To be thankful in the pain of postpartum depression.  It was hard.  Some weeks I could not bring myself to do it.  Other weeks my heart was full of thankfulness, but I could not put it into words.  Often, my heart was working so hard to hang on, it couldn’t be thankful for little things, it had only room to focus on those things that had guided my heart through another week.
I often stood in front of my computer struggling to remember enough of the week to list those things that caused my heart to give thanks. 
There were weeks it was honestly impossible for me to read.  I assumed it was a failing of me.  That I wasn’t praying hard enough or trying hard enough.  It wasn’t until I was at an appointment and the person I was talking to said, “you can focus to read?”  No, no I could not.  It wasn’t me, it was the illness, the depression and anxiety.
Thankfully the days of not being able to think clearly are getting much further apart, and most of the time, it is just minutes that I struggle through.  I was able to begin reading again.  And pressed through Ann’s book.
And now I shall work more dilligently to see the Lord’s hand in the big and the little.
234.  Girly giggles as they do a Thanksgiving project.
235.  Baby girl shreaks as she learns more about the sounds she can make.
236.  Colorful vegetables ready to go in the crock pot.
237.  A dog willing to the eat the pot roast my girls think tastes like chicken.
238.  Babies toddling around with Daddy’s Bible. 
239.  Illness moving quickly through the household, not tarrying.
240.  Upcoming family festivities.
241.  Bright colorful foam stickers made into hair adornments.
What makes your heart glad, leads you through the skinny times?  Come join us in counting 1000 Gifts.

Playdough Fun

A few weeks ago the girls and I tried to make a play dough recipe I found on-line.  Disaster is the only appropriate word.  So, I put a call out on twitter and facebook for a recipe that would work.  A college friend responded.  The girls and I finally tried it today.  And it turned out FANTABULOUS.  My friend gave me the go ahead to share, so here goes!

This is a no cook recipe so great for doing with the kids.  They can help with all of it!

Vinegar Dough

3 cups flour
1 cup water, a bit more if necessary
1 cup salt
1/4 cup oil
2 Tablespoons vinegar
food coloring

Mix all ingredients together, if it is a bit dry, which mine was, add water very gradually after that original cup.  It only took a bit to get it just right.

Not a bad picture Caitlyn!

The girls played happily and quietly for quite a while.  It was a huge success!  And somehow, we managed to make ours the same color as one of the play-doh colors they used to have (found residue in some of the toys).

I have it in a freezer storage bag. I’m curious to see how long it lasts!  If it keeps, I think over the holidays, the girls and I will make a few batches for Caitlyn to take to school!

And here’s a link for how to get the food coloring off everyone’s hands (from mixing it, not playing with it)

Trying To Find

Time is in short supply.  I have three little girls.  That makes the main hobby in this house being mommy.  (and my blog).  Beyond that, I just don’t have time for too much.  My hubby is good to send me out running.  Really good, but even that only happens sometimes.  I am actually looking for another race to make sure I keep that a priority.

But lately, I have been thinking about other projects I want to do.  One of the main things I miss is sewing.  I want to make skirts for my girls.  Pretty basic skirts.  Caitlyn has one she just loves.  I had ones like it growing up that I loved. I totally get it.  But hers is worn and has started to tear, so I really want to make her another one.  It is a very flowy skirt, full and long.  Like a broom style, but not scrunched up.  It reminds me of a peasant or a gypsy. 

I have been searching and searching on-line, but just can’t find what I am looking for.  I have some skirt patterns and have measured her waist, but I can’t decide how much I should double it for the fullness I want.  3 times, 4 times. 

My plea for opinions went out on twitter and facebook.  One friend sent me a “pinned” project from pinterest.  I looked and it was so close.  So I dove in, I asked for an invite to this group.  A twitter friend sent one my way.  So I searched.  And came up with nothing.  I am so confused, I have no idea what I am doing.  I’m tempted to keep trying, but at the same time, I know I am very tired, I’ve been awake since 3 am and it is now 8 pm; I am going to put it aside for today and keep looking tomorrow.

But trust me, if you are on pinterest or just have a great pattern, I will take all suggestions.  I would love to make this skirt this weekend…

Making Ice Cream for Try Something New Thursday

It was suggested by a couple people that us girls might have fun making ice cream.  I’m not sure the girls had fun, but it turned out!!!  I am quite shocked.

I again found the recipe in The Ulitmate Book of Kid Concoctions by John E. Thomas and Danita Pagel.

You need:

2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Cup milk
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla
1 pint or sandwhich size ziploc bag
1 gallon size ziploc bag
6 Tablespoons rock/ice cream salt

Fill gallon size bag 1/2 full of ice.  Add rock salt.  Mix sugar, milk and vanilla in small ziploc bag.  Place small bag inside gallon size bag.  Shake bag(s) for 5-7 minutes.  Pull out baggie of ice cream. 

* Pictures of cute babies always optional, always recommended!

Caitlyn ate two bites of her, Sue maybe 8 bites and they were done.  Not sure if they were just too tired or it wasn’t fancy enough, but it was ice cream.  Mama is satisfied.

What have you tried lately?  Won’t you link up and share?