Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Do-It-Yourself: Cough Syrup

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Earlier this month, I shared with all of you my 12 DIY Projects for 2013.  My goal for this month was to create this Herbal Honey.  But after a trip to the grocery store left me lacking for sage (always check your list thoroughly), I decided to go looking for another idea.

And since we were all fighting off colds from the holidays, I figured this Homemade Cough Syrup was worth a try.

Fortunately, most of us where on the mend, but my husband did take it a few times.  He said it was strong with the onion flavor.  But after only two doses, his cough went away.  Although we didn't get to test it as well as I'd like, I've been encouraged by his results and I'm keeping a jar of this in our refrigerator.

1 c. freshly chopped onion
1/2 c. raw honey
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
2 cloves minced garlic

Combine honey and onion in a glass pot and slowly simmer on stove top.  Honey will liquify.  Add herbs and continue to simmer on low for about 20 minutes.  Cover with lid during simmering process, allowing the herbs to steep.  Briefly lift lid and stir occasionally.

Remove from heat and strain herbs.  Store in a covered jar in the fridge.

1 tsp for younger children
up to 1 Tbsp for anyone over 10 years

Can repeat every half hour

Hope this inspires you on building your own natural medicine cabinet!

Monday, January 28, 2013

This Family: Says Please and Thank You

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Every mother loves to hear the words “Please” and “Thank You.”  In the day after day of selflessly serving our children, it’s a small gesture of respect and appreciation for all we do.  But these simple word go much deeper into a heart issue.

Saying “Please” and “Thank You” are the beginning levels of remembering that we are all God-created human beings.  As the Bible says, it’s God who created us (Gen 1:27) and as such we deserve to be loved and treasured.  One way we can show this kind of deep love and respect is by using polite words in our interactions with others.

Children are born with a sense that the world is theirs.  And as sinful creatures, it’s an entitlement that was can carry into adulthood if we’re not careful.  Saying “Please” and “Thank You” is one small way of moving them into recognizing others and their needs.

This extends to Mommy as well.  Through the years I’ve been convicted of my own lack in this area.  So often I can get into my Type A mode of getting things done and forget to say “Please” and “Thank You” for the little things.  While sometimes child simply need to obey their parents, there are times when I realize my lack of niceties is my own since of entitlement that needs to be pruned.

“Please” and “Thank You “ is slowly working it’s way into our family culture and more importantly into all of our hearts.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made: Surprises for my kiddos for Valentine's Day.  Still working and looking for a boy idea for a 7 year old.  Any ideas?

What I'm Reading: Bringing up Girls by Dobson.  Going slow, but I definitely needed to revisit it.  Have you added your books to the link up from Friday?

What I'm Doing:  Scrapbooking with my mom all weekend.  Yeah!
What I'm Watching:  Being inspired by The Biggest Loser these days.
What I'm Enjoying:  Science with my 2nd grader.  Our science afternoons are a lot of fun.  Even the preschooler joins in. 

What are you Enjoying this week?

Friday, January 25, 2013

2013 January Bookmarks

*Bookmarks is an online book club hosted at Creative2xmom. Here we discuss the books we've read in the past month as well as the suggested reading. Our suggested reading for January was Absolutely Organize Your Family by Debbie Lillard.

These are the books I read this month:

Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson--See my review here.

Nurturing Creativity by Renee Tougas-- This was a quick and easy read that I completed in just a couple of hours.  Tougas' book is written to remind all of us moms how important it is to incorporate creativity into our everyday lives, whether with our children or on our own.  She reminds us to reject perfection, take creativity in small steps and not be afraid to take chances.  Good read for moms dipping their feet into a more creative lifestyle!

Becoming Sister Wives by Kody, Meri, Janelle, and Robyn Brown-- Ok, so don't judge me.  Curiousity got the better of me.  Becoming Sister Wives is the Brown family story before they starred in TLC's Sister Wives.  The book is broke into 4 sections, each section further broken down by the 4 wives and told from their own perspective.  Which much of what is shared can also be gleaned from watching their show, there was a few surprises, including how each wife has struggled in finding her own place in the family.  While three out of the four wives grew up in the FLDS church, I can't help but hear the pain and struggle in each of their voices.  I'm sure they all believe in the principle, but carrying out a belief is certainly harder than merely believing.  For the most part, I just felt very saddened by these women.  While I'd like to respect everyone's choice to live their own life, much of their story came across as sad and desperate.

Our suggested reading for January was Absolutely Organize Your Family by Debbie Lillard-- I had mixed feelings about this book.  As a follow up to Absolutely Organized, Lillard tackles the area of organizing your family.  While the book was laid out logically, much of the content was common sense.  Lillard discusses her method of CPR (Categorize, Rearrange, Purge) which works well for any room of the house, including Mom and Dad's own need to organize.  Realistically, this is a great starting point, but if you've already started, you're certainly well on your way.

So what are your bookmarks this month?

Tell us in the comments about the books you're chewing on. Or link up a review from your own blog. Let's share the books we're finding, good and bad. And give us your thoughts on 

Don't forget to come back Feb 22nd and we discuss Prayer Starts with a Relationship by Cynthia Bezekw

*Linked to these Parties

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

26 Intentional Acts of Kindness #2: Thinking of You Notes

I'm loving this journey that we're embarking upon.  Twenty-six Intentional Acts of Kindness throughout the year as we bless others... how are we acting intentionally through out our days and teaching our children?    I'm excited about where the year will take us and how both my children and I grow through this experience.

The past couple of weeks have been interesting.  We've been holding doors for others and observing some interesting reactions.  I've tried to point out to my kids that we do this as a way of being polite and blessing others.  They're still kids so sometimes it goes over their heads.  But in small ways, I see it taking an effect.  My 7 year old son is starting to be more observant of those around him and that's a step.

Our Intentional Act of Kindness these next two weeks is to mail love notes to our family that is far away.  Yes, we're celebrating love as Valentine's Day gets closer and we're reminded to tell those we love.  How often have we all longed for someone to remember us?  I know I often walk to the mail box, wishing for something other than bills and the weekly grocery flyer.  It's a great opportunity for the kids to say I love you and be an encouragement to those we don't get to see often.

I'm participating in the challenge as well by mailing a letter to a friend.  Mail?  What's that?  Oh, it's the slow, time consuming sacrifice of writing out your thoughts.  There's something special, almost sacred, about a handwritten note and it's a gift that I'll be giving in the next couple of weeks.

So who will you encourage today?

Who needs to hear that you love them?

Won't you join us in Intentionally Acting in Kindness?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Tangled Party

My sweet little Lydia turned 5 years old in December.  Five?!?  How is that even possible?  All of a sudden, she isn't my little baby any more.  Five is just so grown up.  She's growing from my sweet little one into her own personality.  And boy is it large!

Rapunzel has always been one of those movies our whole family has loved.  And in true Creative2xmom fashion, I've been dreaming and planning this party for months.  And if you take a peek at my Pinterest party board, you'll see I've had so much fun in the planning.

1. Invitations--I love doing everything homemade, but when I found these Printable Tangled Invitations, I knew I couldn't pass them up.  How easy is that?  Just add some glitter to highlight and you're done.  I love the towers.

2. The Party Outfit-- Lydia's Nana made this beautiful little Rapunzel dress as part of Lydia's birthday present and purchased the wig she's been saving for as well.  She felt like an absolute princess!

3. The Decorations-- Grandma spent hours working on this birthday banner for Lydia.  Pink, purple, and all girly... it was completely Lydia.  We hung the 5th Birthday sign out front with a cute Rapunzel braid.  So fun!  Since we usually place the food table in front of the window, I wanted to make a balloon backdrop to cut the glare for pictures.  I cut streamers of varying lengths and taped a pink and purple balloon to the end of each.  It cut the glare, added to the party, and looked cute at a minimal cost.

4. The Food-- Since it was a cold December day, I planned a warm homey soup to have simmering on the stove.  Besides the soup, I included some homemade bread and these fun boats to resemble the lantern scene in the movie.  Blue jello, orange slices and some flags... minimal effort, maximum impact.

5. The Games--I wish I would have gotten some better photos for you, but eight girls and a house full of adults... minimal opportunity.  We started off the party doing some art work 'cause Rapunzel loves art.  I had some Rapunzel coloring sheets ready for the kids while we waited for everyone to arrive.  Then we played Pin the Frying Pan on Flynn Ryder's nose.  This was hilarious and most of the girls ended up wanting to go twice.  Later on, we decorated wands and crowns as a fun activity and something for the girls to take home.

6. The Cake-- Grandma made a Lydia a fun Rapunzel doll cake.  I love these doll cakes and Lydia lit up when she saw it.  Thanks, Grandma!  I certainly couldn't have pulled this one off.

7. The Pinata-- This pinata took more thought and time that any I've done before.  And I was worried it wouldn't work out.  But making this castle was a lot of fun and then Grandma added the braided yarn Rapunzel braid which was an extra fun touch.  Added bonus... it also ended up being the strongest pinata I've ever made.  And hot pink!  Lydia's favorite.

8. The Goodie Bags-- The girls got to take home their wands and crowns.  Besides their crafts, I tucked in a lip gloss, some bangle bracelets, and one of these Tower Bookmarks.

9. Special Gift from Mommy-- My pictures of this one didn't come out very well, but it snowed on both the party day and her birthday.  Where we live, snow is pretty rare.  So when it snowed on both days, I told her that I ordered it just for her.  She didn't believe me, but I still thought it was pretty special that she got to have snow.  

10. My sweet baby girl growing up.  It amazes me how mature and thought out she is for five years old.  And I'm so blessed to be her Mama and watch her grow.

Hope you enjoyed this peek into our Tangled Celebration and hopefully it will inspire your own creativity in celebrating a little princess you know as well.

*I used this additional sights for inspiration:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made: A few little things for the kids for Valentine's Day.  And a yummy new fish recipe to share with you all.

What I'm Reading: Bringing up Girls by Dobson.  I've read it once before, but my munchkin is making me revisit it.

What I'm Doing: Planning lessons for next week including a few fun days for Daddy and kids while I'm away.
What I'm Watching: Catching up on some Youtube Mommy videos.  You all have some cute kids.

What are you Enjoying this week?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chunky Double Chocolate Cookies


These are the perfect cookie for snuggling up on the couch and watching a movie on a wintry afternoon.  From our kitchen to yours, Enjoy!

Chunky Double Chocolate Cookies
*from The Cookie Cookbook

2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs 4 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
12 oz white chocolate, chopped (or chips)
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.  Beat brown sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl until fluffy.  Add eggs; beat until blended.  Beat in melted chocolate.  Gradually add flour mixture, beating well.  Stir in white chocolate and nuts.

3. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls, 2 in apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake 11-12 min.  Cook for 1 min on cookie sheet.  Move to wire rack and finish cooling.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Newborn Baby Must-Haves

Since my sister in law is due in the next couple of months, I have baby on the brain.  Not that I want to add to our own zoo, but just excited for her and her husband.  And really ready to spoil our nephew.  Mickey Mouse hats, little blue jumpers, and cute sneakers are in his near future.

With three little kiddos in our brood, my days waffle between lots of fun and sheer chaos.  In one day I can go from my highest heights to my deepest lows.  It's one adventure to the next.

With that said, I wanted to share just a few things that saved my husband and I's sanity in those newborn days with our little ones:

*Baby Carrier: Ideally, the Ergo is so comfortable and well-worth the investment.  But just make sure you try it out and see how the carrier fits your body.  In the beginning, I used a very basic carrier and it worked great.  Just make sure your back is carrying the weight and not your shoulders.

*Swing: A good swing can be a lifesaver.  It's a great napping spot as well as a nice spot for baby to sit and play while you get a few things done.

*Swaddle Blankets: Another lifesaver for us.  I swaddled my littles till they were too big to wiggle out of it.  It just brought my babies so much comfort to be swaddled tight.  And swaddling blankets are thinner and longer to get that extra tight wrap.  If you're not sure how to swaddle, ask your nurses before you leave the hospital.  They're experts!

*Sleep Gowns: I wasn't sure about them at first, but for nighttime changes, they were fantastic.  The bottom is usually like a nightgown with elastic and some will even snap into a jumper.  Night time changes are a lot easier with gowns.  Try them, you'll be amazed!

*Car Seat:  Duh!  With baby #3, we're started using a convertible car seat and within days, we went back to the baby carrier car seat.   It's just easier till the baby can hold its head.

*Diapers and Wipes:  Another duh!  But will you use disposables, cloth, or a mix...

*Pack and Play:  This is not an essential, but it is nice.  It's really nice for traveling or doing nap time at a friend's house.  Basic is fine.

*Rocking Seat:  Just like a swing, a bouncer or rocking seat is great for mom to get a few things done.  But it's also a lot more portable than the swing.  I've put my babies in the bathroom to steam when they've been sick or moved them into the kitchen so they can see and talk with mommy more.  And it's super portable for a trip to Grandma's.

*Nursing Pads:  If you're nursing, this is important.  Especially if you produce a lot of milk.  I like to use as much cloth as I can, but I produced so much milk, I ended up using the Lansinoh disposable pads.  They were super absorbent.

*Nursing Ointment:  So nice, especially for first time moms.  I used Lansinoh, which doesn't need to be wiped off before nursing, but you can also use coconut oil.

*Nursing Bra: Yes, you need one.  You can lift up a regular bra, but most are too tight to give adequate freedom.  Nursing bras are expensive, but worth the investment.

*Oxyclean:  I love this stuff.  My first son spit up so much; I wasn't sure the poor thing was ingesting anything.  Oxyclean took everything out.  From spit up to poop, Oxyclean took care it.

*Burp clothes: We used a prefold cotton diaper that seemed to be the most absorbent option for us.  Spit up?  Yeah, nuf' said.

*Sound Machine: With my first two we just used a box fan for white noise.  But baby #3 threw us for a loop.  We started using a sound machine when he was 5 months old and we love it.  We still use the white noise the most, but there's several options to find what works best for your baby.

*Monitor: This isn't a necessity for us in our smaller house, but using the back yard or traveling, it's really nice to have a monitor in case you don't hear the baby.

*Baby book: So maybe this is only a necessity for me, but there's no way I'll remember all those little milestones without a baby book.  And I love preserving those memories for them.

*Nursery furniture: Crib, dresser, rocker,  ... just the basics... and the crib can actually wait if you have a pack and play.  But we found our babies slept better when they had their own space.

*Batteries: Remember that swing, bouncy seat, monitor, and sound machine?  Keep extra batteries on hand so you don't have to run to Wal-mart at 2am.

Nice to have:
*Pump:  I borrowed a pump from a friend and it was convenient.  My kids never ended up taking a bottle, but it was nice to try and have the option.  If you need a pump, go to the big ones.  They are worth the money.  Borrow, buy second hand, go in with a friend,... but if you're going back to work, get one!

*Boppy:  Especially for first time moms, this is so nice to have around.  And since I struggled with lots of infections with my first, I was able to get into new nursing positions with the support of a boppy.

*Velcro swaddler:  Baby #3 was a hard one to train for sleeping.  He was swaddled till he was almost a year.  And finding swaddler for a baby that size is really hard.  These velcro swaddlers saved my life.

*What to Expect the First Year:  This was great book for giving moms a view of baby's first year, month by month.  It gives moms lots of ideas and reference for everything baby.

*Babywise:  A great book for sleep training and developing routine.  We used this system (with flexibilty) to help all three kids sleep.

What worked for you in those early days?
*Linked to these Parties

Monday, January 14, 2013

Desperate {Review}

Motherhood can be so overwhelming.  Between the kids needing attention, dinner burning on the stove, and Mtn. Laundry, motherhood has the ability to make anyone feel Desperate.

Whatever stage of motherhood you're in, Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson have teamed up together offering hope for any mom feeling lost.  Mae and Clarkson co-author Desperate in a letter writing style, with Mae deep in the trenches of motherhood and Clarkson seasoned from parenting her own four children.  Mae speaks frankly about the frustrations and sometimes suffocation of busy parenthood.  Clarkson speaks to us from the season of motherhood where her children are grown and she has a looking back perspective.  Both are vital in reminding moms that they're not alone and that there is hope.

Written in this Titus 2 style, Mae and Clarkson remind us that it's ok to take on motherhood from our own unique perspective.  Desperate is not a book of formulas or how-to's, but rather a book that searches for the heart of all moms.  It reminds moms that life isn't about getting it perfect.  There's grace in parenthood.  Grace for both us Moms and our children.

Included in each chapter is a Biblical passage for reflection, questions for discussion, and practical application.  Filled with hope and encouragement, Desperate is a must read for the Mom seeking a breath of fresh air.  

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Desperate for review from Booksneeze.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made: I worked on some crafts with the kids.  We're doing snow and winter related crafts in our house these days.

What I'm Reading: Unglued Devotional, Desperate, and the monthly suggested reading for Bookmarks!

What I'm Doing:  Trying to make sense of re-arranging bedrooms.  Yuck!

What I'm Watching:  I'm obsessed with Once Upon a Time!  If you haven't seen it yet, you have to check it out.

What I'm Enjoying:  Getting back into routine and menu planning with some healthier meals.

What are you Enjoying this week?

Friday, January 11, 2013

While You're Waiting: Create an Idea Folder

(Image Credit: Jomphong)

*Recently I was thinking about all I would want my daughters to know before they get married.  Instead of wishing the days away until they walk down the aisle, how would I encourage them to live?  Living in the joy of who God created.  The practicalities and the dreaming.  What would I want to encourage... While they're waiting?  These are some of those thoughts.

If you’re anything like your mom, you’ll find that you have more ideas than you have time to complete.  So while you have the time to yourself, create an idea folder.  It can be as simple as a file with pictures and thoughts.  Or you can paste and write in a journal.  Or keep an online pinboard for your thoughts.

Include meal ideas, crafts you want to try, thoughts on marriage and parenting, or fun ideas for the kids.  Gather places you want to visit, home improvement projects, and books you want to acquire.  This is a great time to pin mission trip ideas and ministry thoughts as well. 

Throughout the years, I’ve hung onto homemade Christmas gift ideas, hospitality meals to try, gak recipes, and reading lists.  I have flyers for marriage retreats and vacations I want to take with your father one day.  There are ideas for porch swings and tablescapes and questions for engaging a new friend.

Keeping an idea folder will spark your own creativity and allow you to work through your thoughts as you have time.  So let your imagination run and put your ideas in practice.  You never know what plans await you.

*Linked to these Parties

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

26 Intentional Acts of Kindness #1: Holding the Door

I'm not sure I really like the term "Random Acts of Kindness."  I love the idea and thought behind it, but do I really want my life to be defined by random acts?

As a mom of three, I don't have time for random.  My life is so crazy busy; if I'm not intentional with my time, days just fly by.  At the end of the day, I wonder if my time has been spent building the kingdom or putting out fires?  And while there are certainly fires to be put out, I want to be known as a kingdom builder.

So it's time to turn that phrase around.  What if we walked through our days intentionally blessing others while our kids watch?  What if we built into our lives an intentional thought process of genuinely thinking of others?  What would our families look like?  What would I look like?

We're embarking on a journey, my kids and I, and I'd like to invite you in coming along with us.  Purposefully, prayerfully, and intentionally, we're going to pick an act of kindness to bless others every two weeks throughout the year.  It won't be expensive, extravagent, or overwhelming, but rather something simple and thoughtful.

Will you join us?  Pretty please?

Every two weeks, I'll post the Intentional Act of Kindness that we're working on.  Then I'll include a link-up for you to add your post, inspiring all of us.  This will be a chance for all of us to inspire and encourage each other with shared stories and new ideas. 

Additionally, if you don't have a blog, you can always share your ideas and thoughts on the Creative2xmom Facebook page.  Feel free to post pictures that you might have as well.

Our family's first Intentional Act of Kindness is making an intentional effort to hold the door for others.  My husband and I were talking the other day about how harried life has become and how the little things have gone by the way.  So for the next couple of weeks we're going to look for opportunities to hold the doors for others.  I especially want to incorporate my kids in this one as it's a very easy way for them to bless others.

So come on... Won't you join us?  How can you be a bless to others?

*Linked to these Parties

Monday, January 7, 2013

Gender Reveal Party

I have baby on the brain these days.  My sister in law is pregnant with her first, and our first nephew.  We're so excited for her and her husband and can't wait to share in all the joys and adventures of parenthood.  For those of you parenting boys, you know what I mean about adventures.

Back in November, they invited family and friends to share in a Gender Reveal Party.  They wanted to be surprised along with all of us so the ultrasound tech sealed the results and the envelope was delivered to the baker.  What would the baby be?  They'd have to wait!

This couple is huge about hosting people in their home and no detail was ignored.  This party was so much fun, in fact, I couldn't wait to share it with you.

They had a chalkboard frame set up at the front door.  Later, my sister in law added the words:
Team Pink or Team Blue: Which One are You?

As guests arrived, they were invited to write their name under their prediction and pick up a pin symbolizing what they thought the gender would be.  For months, I've said girl just to bug my brother in law, but finally settled on boy at the party.


There were huge bunches of balloons all over the house.
I just love balloons.
They feel so festive!


They hung ultrasound pictures in a banner on the mantel.
I thought this was especially cute.
What a fun way to decorate and add to the excitement!

My brother in law loves to entertain and set out an incredible spread of food.

There's my kiddos, each proudly displaying what they think the baby will be.


What's inside?

My mother in law and other sister in law with Mama to Be in the middle

Mom and Dad to Be getting ready to find out the gender of their baby


I love this one.
It's a Boy!


No mistaking the color of the cake.
The family is growing by another boy!

Mom and Dad to Be excited to add a little boy to the family!

All in all, the party was a huge success.  We had a great time eating, laughing, predicting, and sharing as we eagerly anticipate the arrival of this new little one.

Congratulations, Matt and Jessica!

*Linked to these Parties

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made: Does dinner count?

What I'm Reading: A great new release from Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  Anyone know what I'm talking about?  :-)

What I'm Doing: Putting off getting ready for church.  I just want to lounge this morning. 

What I'm Watching: The kids play with Lydia's toy phone, pretending that they're taking photos of each other.

What I'm Enjoying:

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