24 October 2016

Tales From The Chicken Coop

Organic Eggs

The whole reason we decided to raise chickens was because we wanted free organic eggs everyday.  We eat a lot of eggs and we thought to ourselves, we have a big back yard why not get some chickens, raise them, and get eggs for free?  We also love the size of our back yard and feel we have plenty of room for growing veggies and raising chickens.  And since we have 4 kids who love animals and love to learn, and since Julia belongs on a farm and seriously is so gifted with animals this was a no brainer of a choice.  I mean we raised butterflies for 2 weeks during homeschool science last year...how hard could chickens be?  

Rosa, Sophia, and Kiki (Spikey is eating in the coop)
On July 9th we picked up 4 chickens for $2 a pop, our friend Christa and Jason who moved gave us their chicken coop and fencing which was so helpful and we became that weird chicken raising family which kind of makes sense when you think about us anyway.  Everyone knows we love the farm life.  So a few months has passed and it has gotten slightly cooler and so John needed to build a bigger, warmer, more insulated (Spartan-like) coop.  At 5 months old chickens start their egg laying duty...we are a few weeks away from getting eggs!  Our Rosa, Sophia, Kiki, and Spikey are about 4 months old now.  They eat ALL the time.  They are always hungry.  They are super easy to care for and the best part is that John cleans all the chicken poop out every weekend, without me even asking him.  Did I mention that the chicken raising was ALL his idea?  

John built this coop in 2 weekends...it's pretty amazing.

The coop is in the way back part of our property behind our shed and next to our vegetable garden.  I have no idea why John spray painted a red Spartan helmet on the door, but it makes him very happy so let's just let him have it.  He says we are raising Spartan chickens.  

Some things you may not know about chickens are that they are very quiet.  We never ever ever want a rooster because they are loud and because we only want 4 chickens.  Having a rooster would mean we would have baby chicks in the spring...and we only want to manage the 4 right now.  Plus, my neighbors would not appreciate a rooster.  Let's be real.

All chickens lay eggs at 5 months for a time...I still have to research how long they actually lay eggs for...I'm guessing at least a year or two...maybe more?  They lay one egg a day and I can't wait for the day to open their coop and actually start collecting organic brown eggs...side note, Mark's chicken is an Americana bird and she will be laying blue eggs!  

The chickens come out of their coop during the day to hang out in the pen area and they eat bugs and grass and love pecking the ground in search of yummy bugs like ticks and spiders (another reason to love them).  We make sure inside their coop where they sleep at night has shelves for hanging out, hay for keeping warm and water and food.  Each morning I feed them organic chicken feed and it looks like wheat germ.  Soon they will start eating kitchen scraps...and I've heard they love watermelon and strawberries.

Julia and Mark have helped feed the chickens after school, but last Friday, Julia fed the chickens and left their food latch open...all 4 chickens flew right out of the coop and in the morning I had a lovely surprise in the backyard.  I had to rally 4 chickens into the coop and let me tell you I was a sight for sore eyes.  I had my nightgown on with a t-shirt thrown over it, leggings and my Toms on!  My neighbor Cesar lent me a hand.  I caught 2 of the chickens and returned them to the coop but Rosa and Spikey were too hard to catch.  I put extra food in a smaller coop and by 2pm they wandered in and I closed that coop shut.  Let's just say it wasn't their finest hour.  I really thought about eating chicken for dinner.

The kids love the chickens.  They are part of the family now.  Even if they tried to escape and forced me to run around crazy like a lunatic in my own back yard.  


21 October 2016

Let's here it for the boys!

Let the Fun begin

This Friday it is Mark and Micah's turn to have a few friends over and the girls will be with Grandma Judy.  

We are having a superhero theme because that's what boys in this house love to be.  We have costumes, legos, and outdoor activities planned.

I still need to pick up some sweets and goodie bags for the boys but it will be less boys than it was girls because I think I can only handle 6 boys!

Our Agenda:

4:30-5:00 Lego playtime
5:00-5:15 Pizza and carrots
5:15-6:00 Outside time
6:00-7:00 Dessert, Superhero dress up, super hero battles 
7:00-7:30 Quick superhero episode and Popcorn

I'm looking forward to some loud playtime.  Most of all I just want Mark and Micah to feel special and loved.  They really are the best sons a mom could have, even if they love their Daddy more than me!


18 October 2016

I'm on the way home!

On the way...

Three words.  They are my three favorite words everyday.  They usually arrive right between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. everyday.  A quick text lights up my phone and a huge smile comes across my face.  Those three words give me confidence that I can do this mommy-thing.

John leaves very early in the morning to get into NYC and at his desk by 8am.  We usually see him right around 7:30-7:45 every night.  Dinner is over.  Homework is done.  The dishes have been put away.  When John enters the house literally every little person gets up and screams and bolts for the door.  He is so loved.  And mommy is completely forgotten (and singing the hallelujah chorus).

Right around 3:00, when the big kids are getting home from school is when I am starting to lose my steam an feel the weight of tiredness of all that we accomplish during the day.  I pull up my big girl pants, make another cup of coffee (thank you Jesus for coffee) and plow through extra curricular activities, taxi driver, dinner maker, homework helper, bath provider and shower chauffeur (the struggle is real).  During dinner, I try to be clever and fun and ask about hopes and dreams but honestly I am so tired by then, I am done, the coffee has worn off and I've been with 4 kids since 6:30 am, and some times I am just really lonely.

But then, that text comes through.  And I know he's coming home.  And we clean up the dinner mess, we put on pajamas.  We straighten up the living room and we wait for the king's arrival.  And just like clockwork the keys are in the door and the kids are running and I feel this inward relief, this audible sigh escapes me, and I say, "Hi honey!" (And in my head I'm thinking Thank God he's home! Thank God, because I couldn't do one more second without him!)

He brings joy, laughter, and fun...just before bed time too! (hehehe) And the kids can't wait to play with him, jump on him, have him read to them, brush their teeth (they LOVE when John brushes their teeth...just kidding...Micah hates it).  And do you want to know what I do when Daddy gets home?!  I breathe! I put my feet up and breathe!

Hurry up Daddy!  We need you!


13 October 2016

Blessing My Daughters

Girl Time

I love spending individual time with my kids and I also love hosting parties.  So, I asked my Mom if she would take the boys for a few hours on Friday evening and planned a fun little girl party for Julia and Amelia.

One thing John and I always said was that we wanted to be the "Fun House".  We wanted our kids to feel like their friends were welcome in our home and that they could have people over and enjoy themselves while we were with them.  We want our home to be a safe place for kids to hang out and just be kids.

So I planned one Friday night for the girls and next Friday it will be the boys turn!  I didn't want to break the bank, so instead of buying pizzas I am going to make homemade pizza pies and I am going to have a few snacks out and also ask parents to bring a snack to share.

You know the Type A in me already planned the evening, and what was really awesome was that Julia totally gave me some great ideas!  We decided on having a pajama party where the girls bring their favorite stuffed animal.  Julia even made homemade Photo Booth props!  Here is how we envisioned the night will go:

5:00-5:30 pm craft and stencil time/play time
5:30-6:00 pm pizza and salad
6:00-6:30 pm painting toe nails
6:30-7:00 pm freeze dance/games/play time
7:00-8:00 pm AGD (American Girl Doll) movie and popcorn time
8:00 pm Pick up time! Hand out goodie bags!

Tomorrow, I will be kneading the dough for the pizza, baking brownies and cookies, setting up the craft table and getting things neat and ready for our Girl Pajama Party.  Trust me when I tell you, I am just as excited as the girls are for the party.  I told the moms they can drop off or stay, so I plan on hosting some sweet mom friends and enjoying my girls company!

One thing I wanted to remind the girls while they are over (perhaps right before we eat or while we are doing our nails) is from Psalm 139 that they are "fearfully and wonderfully made" and that God has an amazing plan for their life, (Jeremiah 8:29).  So often our girls hear negative things from the world about how they look and I just always want to be that reminder to my girls and their friends that they are beautiful and special and God has a purpose for their life.  I plan on having a ball tomorrow night!  And I can't wait to bless my daughters socks off!


11 October 2016

Confessions of a Type A Mom


1 Corinthians 14:33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace--as in all the congregations of the Lord's people.
I don't know how it happened.  I don't know when it happened.  But  lately I've noticed just how Type-A I can be.  Some people think that it is a wonderful trait because you are driven, and punctual, and your life has order, but the more I see how Type A I am the more Type B I wish I could be.  

John, the love of my life is Mr. Type B.  You know the saying, opposites attract.  Mr. Type B with a cigar in his mouth on a beach towel and a book in hand.  He can relax.  He can breathe, he has goals but he isn't crazy about achieving them in an impractical time frame.  He loves going to church but he doesn't need to be there on time.  Everything is rosy cozy and bathroom robe terry cloth feeling.  Nothing phases him.  I've never seen him anxious or rushed.  It drives me nuts!  (He's so lucky)

Not me.  Not ever.  Everything is planned.  Listed.  Documented. Re-planned.  Photos are taken 6 months before they are needed.  Birthday parties are planned months in advance.  And by planned I mean invitations are sent out to a close friend to design and print, the goodie bags are prepped and waiting, and the theme is carefully planned to suit each child's favorite interest of the moment.  

Our meal plan is scheduled the month before.  I actually have no more time for list writing but if you could see the lists I complete in my brain for MOPS, Big Kids, Taekwondo, laundry, cleaners, swim class, gymnastics, church, Missional Community, etc you would see check marks, color coded by each person in the family (Julia-pink, Mark-blue, Micah-green, Amelia-purple, John-black).  There is so much to remember and plan and prepare for at all times!

And sometimes it works out beautifully and I feel great, and other times it's so stressful for me.  I have noticed that I need order for my brain to function and I create rules for myself.  I can't leave the house if our bed isn't made, the garbages aren't out, the sink isn't empty.  There has to be laundry being washed or dried before I leave so that when I get back I can get to the next load.  The counters have to be bare and cleaned.  The front rug has to be vacuumed.  And the toys...the toys...they need to be up and away.  Everything has a place people! I like leaving my home in order so that when I return we can come home relaxed and not have a million things to do.  I also like John to come home to a calm, clean home so in the evening I like to do another clean "toy" sweep before he arrives.

But did you notice that the more Type A you are the more things you find to do?  I can never sit still and enjoy a show unless I'm completely sick.  I have to be doing, cleaning, folding, cooking, baking, teaching.  Sit down?  Rest?  Who has time for that?

As you can see, all of this is completely exhausting for everyone involved.  Why?  Why do we need so much preparation?  Why the lists?  Why the organizational bins?  Why the meal plan?  Because the more my life feels chaotic the more things I have to plan ahead for.  I pack the car the day before we leave.  I leave back packs at the door.  The lunch boxes are labeled and prepped on the counter waiting...

And mom is in a corner crying, with coffee stains on her shirt and drops of sweat coming off her brow, with a dangling curl off the side of her face and a messy top knot bun on her head.  (I am never in a corner crying but you get my point!)

Ok, so you see the dramatic side a bit...(did you know I was a theater/dance major as well as an education major?)  But don't let the coordinating outfits fool you!  I am a hot mess!  I am in the same boat as every other mother out there.  We are all on a mission to do the very best we can, smile in the thick of it, and get to the PTO meeting on time!  None of us has got it all together.  Don't let anyone fool you.  Type A, Type B we are all in need of some serious caffeine and whole steaming pot of grace.

I am learning to embrace my Type A tendencies an sometimes I fully need to embrace John's Type B traits!

My new favorite verse this year as I study the book of John at Bible Study is... 
John 1: 1616 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

Type A and Type B Personality Website

09 October 2016

Family Meal & Hosting A Crowd

Hosting a Lovely Crowd

We lead an MC at our church and once a month host a boat load of awesome couples, singles, and families.  This past weekend we had 30 in attendance and since we were rained out (we had planned to picnic at Holmdel park this month) we hosted in our home.  

Everyone chips in with bringing a side dish, or a dessert.  This particular month our theme was sandwiches and soups.  I made two yummy soups and a huge salad, and I wanted to share my soup recipes!  One easy chicken soup recipe in the crock pot that I've made my own and my favorite Rachel Ray Chicken Cacciatore Stoup on the stove top.

Chicken Soup


1 package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut up (about 2lbs)
2-4 carrots chopped
2-4 celery sticks chopped
1 medium onion
1 box of chicken broth or 2 cans of chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
cilantro to garnish (optional, but my favorite part)


Put all of your soup ingredients in the crock pot for 4 hours on high!  Add the cilantro at the end to top off the soup and add that extra bit of green!  I also serve with orzo pasta (but I do not include the pasta in the crock pot.)  I make pasta on the side and add it to each bowl so that the soup stays soupy and the pasta doesn't absorb all the liquid.

Serve with crusty bread!

Rachel Ray's Chicken Cacciatore Stoup


1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 1 to 1 1/3lbs diced
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3-4 tbsps EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 portobello mushroom caps (I always leave out)
4 ribs of celery
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red wine
1 -15 ounce can diced tomatoes (or just dice a tomato)
1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp fresh rosemary (I use basil or cilantro from our garden)
1 cup basil
Grated cheese to top and crusty bread


1. Heat a deep skillet or a medium soup pot.
2. Add 2 tbsp EVOO and the chicken.
3. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
4. While the chicken cooks chop all the veggies.
5. When chicken is cooked through remove from pot and put to the side.  Add more EVOO and cook potatoes for 3-5 min until tender.
6. Then add the mushrooms, celery, and onion to the pot. Cook for a couple of minutes and add the pepper and garlic.  Season all the vegetables.
7. Add chicken back to pan and toss it with the veggies and add red wine to deglaze it picking up all the drippings.  And tomatoes and stock and stir to combine.  Add rosemary and reduce heat to low and cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.
8. Top with basil.  
9. serve with crusty bread and cheese for the top!

Every time I make my chicken stoup I get so many compliments so I had to post this recipe and give Rachel Ray all the credit!

The best part of hosting a crowd is seeing everyone talking and eating and just being able to make everyone comfortable and happy!  Having 18 kids in our MC is challenging especially since all of them are under 8 years of age, but we somehow make it work and there are lots of Dads and Moms in the room to referee any issues.  We pray, eat, and talk, and the kids love dessert time and the parents equally love the dessert time with piping hot coffee!  From our family meal to yours...

Bon apetit!


05 October 2016

Our Top Ten List

The List

This post is for my Mother in Law.  She asked me to make a list of all the fun places I take my kids to so she could take her grandkids Nik and Ava.

Before I start with the list let me remind you who I married.  John is a financial advisor and could also be described as the man who sews his pockets and wallet shut.   Just teasing!  John has always been very good with saving money, planning for the future, and investing.  This is truly one of his gifts and why he does so well in NYC on Wall Street.

John believes in splurging and getting really good gifts at Christmas and possibly anniversaries.  That's about it.  He has made a rule with the kids that unless it's Christmas or your birthday don't bother walking through a gift shop and thinking we are getting you a toy because it's not going to happen (we are wired so differently because I love gift shops).  Anyway, John also believes in getting memberships to places that we frequent often, so many of the places I am listing today we have a membership to.  So I fully recommend that if you like going to zoos and science centers and they provide yearly memberships--join, because you will save so much money, and also pack lunches!

1. Turtle Back Zoo

TBZ Website  Located in West Orange this zoo is by far one of my favorite NJ zoos (Although Cape May County Zoo is my next favorite and it's FREE but 2 hours away).  This zoo has penguins, peacocks, seals, sting rays, kimono dragons, a farm where you can feed the animals, a Dinosaur playground, a reptile center, a live working train (that we ride at least 2-3 times each visit...it's just how we roll!) and this year the zoo gained giraffes!  We have a membership and try to go at least once every 2 months and in the spring and summer time we go once a month.  Parking is included and you can bring a bagged lunch which is very helpful for brining the cost down.

2. Liberty Science Center

LSC Website Located in Jersey City (Exit 14C off the NJ Turnpike) this is by far one of our favorite places to go!  They have a new kid exhibit every few months and right now it's Curious George and it's adorable.  They've also had Sid the Science Kid, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sesame Street, and Dora the Explorer.  They have 4 floors of learning fun including a mini zoo, an Imax DomeTheater and a separate 3D Movie Theater.  You can bring a bagged lunch and purchase a yearly membership.  We go once a month because it just never gets old.  Our favorite area is usually the 2-5 year old zone on the 2nd floor (they have a rice table sensory center, story time, large light bright, painting with water, and a climbing area).  The 4th floor and 3rd floors are the busiest but the most educational (dissecting cow eyes, learning about infections, learning about the body, learning about motion, etc).  On the 4th floor you can go outside and see the NY skyline, the kids like to pretend they can see John working in his office building. 

3. Adventure Aquarium

Adventure Aquarium Website Located in Camden NJ, this aquarium is a bit of a journey, about an hour and 15 minutes from our home but we love seeing the sharks and the hippos and it's a treat to go because Daddy always comes with us!  This aquarium is huge!  It has a whole floor dedicated just to toddlers and of course tons of touch tanks where kids can feel some of the sea creatures.  The yearly membership just made sense for us because we have such a large family and by the time we went twice it paid for itself.

4. Cheesequake Farms

That's my Julia!

CF Website Located in Old Bridge NJ although there are 2 locations off route 9 and off Cottrell road we always go to the one off Cottrell because you can do the corn maze, pony rides, and hay ride, and pick your pumpkin from the pumpkin patch.  It cost us $20 ($4 per person) to do the hay ride and corn maze for all 5 of us and Mia was free (2 and under are FREE).  We always wait to do it on the weekends in October so John can come and they are open until 5pm.  The pumpkins you pick you pay by the pound and this year Julia was able to lift and carry a $10 pumpkin (Daddy must love his baby girl!)

5. Terhune Orchards

Terhune Orchards Website Located in the beautiful Princeton, NJ this is by far our most favorite childhood place.  I fully believe that when the kids are grown and have families of their own they will still have very fond memories of this place.  I started taking the kids to the Read and Pick program when Julia was 2 and Mark was a baby.  They picked their first strawberries, apples, pumpkins, flowers and asparagus right here at this farm.  We love coming to the reading program that incorporates good literature with agriculture, and the homemade cider donuts never go out of style.  They have a field of kid sized tractors that all of my kids love to ride, not to mention a feeding the sheep area, and playground with slide.  The Farmer's Market is open 9-5pm and it costs $7 per child if you do the read and pick program and usually whatever you pick is included in the fee.  The staff is amazing and they love what they do and they treat the children as if they were there own.

Julia at 3 and Mark at 2 :)

6. Allaire State Park

Allaire State Park Website Located in Farmingdale, NJ This historical colonial village has been a near and dear place to my heart since I taught third graders at Timothy Christian School.  I used to bring them to this park to experience life in the colonial days.  The park has a blacksmith shop, a chapel/school room, a bakery, and actual colonial homes from the 1800s.  It also has a railroad station and a functioning train (you know how we love trains!) Pine Creek Railroad.  The only thing that has changed is that they took down the old playground that my kids used to love to play on...I'm not sure if they are rebuilding, but just walking through the village is entertaining enough.  There is also a huge pond, and all the workers dress up in 19th century clothing and explain their "roles" in the 1800s.  It is really cool and the only cost is $5 per car to park.  There are picnic tables so that you can bring your own lunches and eat there but there is a carry out trash policy.

Allaire State Park

7. Holmdel Park

Holmdel Website Located in the beautiful Holmdel, NJ, the best part about this enormous park is the Longstreet Farm and my kids would say the huge playground area.  The park and the farm are free.  And like Allaire state park the Longstreet Farm people dress in the time period of colonial times.  You can get a tour of the farm and the houses for free and learn so much history about the area and the family who lived there.   Julia and Mark learned how to milk a cow at this farm and Mark learned how to run very fast from the peacock that scared him half to death when he was 3.  He still has a fear of peacocks to this day (I am just kidding).  The kids love the chicken coop area, and the horses and cows and the huge sow that has piglets every spring.  We did our first family photo shoot at Holdmel. It is beautiful in the Fall.   There is a huge pond to the left of the farm and there are many hills and trails to go running and hiking on, and paved sidewalks to bring bikes for the kids.

8. Jenkinson's Aquarium

Jenkinson's Website Located in Point Pleasant, NJ this is a much closer but much smaller aquarium and although the kids love the penguins and seals and sharks, my favorite part is the gift shop!  I also love that the aquarium is right on the board walk next to plenty of places to eat and shop and there's an especially good candy shop right next door.  The stamp your hand on the way in and you can leave and come back any time that day.  It's practically empty in the Fall and Winter months so that is when we choose to go, during the summer it is always packed with boardwalk traffic going in and out.

9. Wonder Wing Museum

Wonder Wing Website in Lincroft, NJ located on the Brookdale Community College campus. This museum is for children ages 0-6.  Julia, Mark and Micah loved this place, but once Julia turned 7 we couldn't go anymore.  (I plan on taking Micah and Mia with our Mops group very soon now that the big kids are in school).  The cost is $7 per person, babies are free.  I used to have a membership to the museum when we would go during the fall and winter months a lot.  There is a craft room, a dress up area, and book reading area, a tumble mat, a slide, a bridge to cross, a huge boat to climb up on and underneath the boat is a kitchen with all kitchen toys which all the kids love to put in their mouths (gross!)  There is no eating in the museum and they provide no space inside at all to eat snacks even.  There are picnic benches outside but when it's raining and the kids are hungry you have to go to the car to eat.  

10. Battleview Orchards

Battleview Website Located in Freehold, NJ and literally 10 minutes from my house this is the place we pick our apples and peaches and since we moved here our pumpkins.  They have an amazing Market to buy fresh pies and cider donuts as well.  This is a great place to meet friends and go picking in a large group because they own so much property and acres of fruit trees.  The prices are very reasonable and their fruit is always amazing.

I hope this list was helpful!  One of the joys of my life has been being able to be a stay at home mom for the past 9 years and take my kids to some amazing places to touch, taste, smell, see and hear all the beautiful sights and sounds and learn all the history of this big beautiful world we live in!  I hope this was a helpful resource to all of you!  Please be sure to check out the website links I attached to get updated prices and times so that you can take your own family to these awesome places.

04 October 2016


Song of Solomon 5: 16 "His mouth is most sweet, Yes, he is altogether lovely, This is my beloved, and this is my friend..."
I didn't want to be too corny to post about my husband on Valentine's Day but I just couldn't help but think of all the ways I am so thankful I have him.

John and I go as far back as high school sweethearts.  I think back to those days and the feelings I felt and they just do not even compare to how I feel now or match the depth of my love after being married for 13 years and having 4 beautiful children together.  We have been through so many things that have deepened our understanding of each other, and have expanded our love and admiration.

When I was dating John I didn't think about him being a good provider or a good father to my kids.  I just loved that he loved me. He always made me feel beautiful, and special, and cherished.  He always made me feel important and listened when I shared things with him.  I never knew then just what an amazing Dad he would be with our kids.  He is very compassionate and purposeful with each of our kids.  Lately I have loved watching him read Dr. Jekel Mr. Hyde with Julia at night, and golf outside with the boys and teach them self defense moves, and I particularly love watching Amelia squeal, "Daddy!" when he comes home from work and run into his arms and she gives him the biggest hug.

John is a very hard worker.  This is one of the things I am most proud of when it comes to him.  He works a full time job in NYC and when he gets home he plays with the kids for an hour before brushing their teeth and putting everyone to bed and then for another 2-3 hours he writes his seminary papers, and he always ends the night doing the last bit of dinner/dessert dishes (bless his heart). 

 I appreciate all that John does and I constantly remind our kids that because of how hard daddy works I am able to stay at home and be completely present and available for them.  I tell them that when I grew up I went to before care, school, and daycare.  Both my parents worked very long hours and we never ate meals together.  They look at me in shock.  They can't imagine that.  Because I grew up like that and really didn't enjoy my childhood (I really missed my parents and always wished for more time with them), I am thankful that we could provide something different and be very intentional about quality time with family.

This post has been in the works for several months and is extremely over due.  It's just another post where I get to remind John how much I appreciate him, how thankful I am to have him, and to tell  him once again how much I love him.


03 October 2016

Could it be about me for 30 seconds?

Finding Time for YOU in a busy world of kids...

From the moment they are born, life as you know it was no longer the same and it definitely was no longer about you.  Every decision you made from that point on included all their needs, wants, etc.

Most days I feel like I am caught in a whirlwind of everybody else's needs...and I sometimes feel so drained and so empty and beyond overwhelmed.  And sometimes I ask...

Could it be about me for 30 seconds?

Whether it be having a phone conversation with a friend, or working out in the living room, or eating a snack, or, dare I say, reading a book...even finding quiet time to read the Bible and praying is challenging...because it isn't about me anymore, is it?

But...I need to still have friends, and work out, and eat!

What is a girl to do?

I have learned that creativity is the only way I survive as a mom.  I find it very difficult to work out at home anymore.  I have to leave the house and go to the YMCA or join a stroller group.

If I want to hang out with friends I have to really plan ahead or be creative with a sitter or play date so that the kids can play while the moms can talk.

And eating?  I have found that sometimes I have to eat before the kids do so that I can be available and present to help when they are eating.

I have plan outings, pack ahead of time, prep things by the door or in the car.  I constantly have to be 10 steps ahead to survive the busy world I am in.  I have to prep healthy snacks in advance, remember drinks, remember a stroller in the trunk, remember spare clothes for the little in case an accident happens, I have to remember Micah's favorite toy of the moment, Amelia's baby doll with accessories, because the moment you forget one thing it's the day that a huge meltdown ensues.  It's the one time all they needed was an extra snack, or a drink, or a toy.  It's the one time their legs got tired and I forgot the stroller.  Parents constantly have to think ahead.

The trickiest mornings are Sundays (always) the day of rest has become a day of preparation for church and then the school week.  It's all about what class we are teaching, or if we are cleaning, or did we pack the diaper bag with enough snacks.  Did we bring water bottles for us?  By the time we get home from church all I want to do is crash...

What I am learning about myself is that I like things to flow smoothly and effortlessly and with 4 kids that just ISNT going to happen.  So I have learned to let that dream die...for now! :)  I know one day it will get easier, nap times won't be necessary, packing snacks won't be necessary, things will get easier.  Right now I am in the thick of it...and that's ok.

But I do, we do as moms, need time for ourselves...how do we get that?  Whether it be an exercise class, walking around the neighborhood, running, food shopping alone, mom's night out with friends, we all need time to just be us, to unwind and be with our people.  I for one need time to think my own thoughts.  I sometimes just need absolute quiet.  At home I hear whining, whistling, crying, jumping, life stories, questions, bickering, running, and sometimes just sitting in a starbucks is relaxing for me.

Thank goodness I have a husband who gets this and allows me time to slip away occasionally.  And thank goodness for Bible studies and MOPs where my kids are cared for and I am with adults!  Nothing beats adult conversation!

Could it be about me for 30 seconds?

Oh, sweet mama, we all need time to ourselves.  It's so refreshing and so needed.  Even if it's only once a week.  Try to get an hour or two just to yourself so that you can recharge and be refreshed!


02 October 2016

Veggie Soup

Veggie Soup by Rachel Ray


2tbsp of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 medium onion
3 cloves of garlic
3 Idaho potatoes
2 small zucchini or 1 large zucchini 
1 28 ounce can roasted dice tomatoes
4 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of basil leaves
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
(4 servings)

Kristi's Way:

I put everything chopped in my crock pot on high for 4-5 hours.  I also add chopped carrots and chopped celery just because I feel every soup should have some!  And if I happen to have boneless, skinless chicken thighs I will chop and add to make it a bit heartier, so then it's more like a chicken and veggie soup!


01 October 2016

White Bean Stew

It's officially Fall!

Soup and stew season is here...Yay!
Here is another recipe to add to your recipe box:


1 can 14 1/2 ounce chicken broth
2 cups of shredded carrots
2 cans of cannellini beans
3 cups of cubed poultry (turkey or chicken)
3/4 tsp dried italian seasoning
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Crusty bread on the side :)


1. Bring broth to simmer, add carrots and 1 can beans, mash 2nd can of beans and add.
2. Stir in meat and season.
3. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.
4. Stir in Parmesan and parsley.
5. Serve with crusty bread.

Kristi's Way:

I like soup/stews to simmer all day so I can chop and prepare and leave all day without worrying about it so I chop all of my ingredients (I also add an extra cup of broth) and put in my crock pot on high for 4-6 hours!  The smell of soup in the house is my favorite!

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