Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dining Room Tables in the Living Room

Can you believe Thanksgiving is so close? I barely can! I have the pumpkin pie in the freezer. It is  living right beside the 20 pound turkey. I also have the pumpkin cookies in batter form in the fridge, and have been meal planning and prepping for the big day for about a week. (The excellent recipe I use for Pumpkin cookies is a Martha Stewart recipe that you can find here.)

Whipped Cream to Come
We are super excited to host friends for a our Thanksgiving lunch this year, and I was concerned about seating for everyone.  But, one afternoon, I was looking on a local furniture fb page, and I found a great table! It looked so nice, and would be great for extra seating. I planned to ask Dave to carry up and down stairs when we needed it, but after pick up, we realized the table is much to heavy to haul around. This ended up being the solution:

Remove the Clutter and You Have Extra Seating
The table lives in our upstairs living room now. And, it is working perfectly. Since we've been home from our last trip, we have rearranged half the rooms in our house. The girls bunk beds have been separated, Saige's room finally got some attention to furniture placement, and both our living rooms have been changed up. But, I think that I like the new upstairs arrangement the best. The table doubles as a workstation for your laptop, or for studying cookbooks or any other books. It also works wonderfully for Monday Night small group at our house. We have more spots to stick drinks and goodies and/or for Bibles to be laid open on. I just love it.

What do you think about having a small table in a living room? And, don't forget to give me advise about my turkey. To brine, or not to brine. That is the question!

Turkey, turkey!! -Amber

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Never Ending Blog Post

I'm sorry it's been a while. We have been to visit family in Oklahoma and came back to a wonderful and full schedule, so my blogging has been falling behind....but here is a look at some of the fun we had OK:

Zebra, Tiger and Lion at Granny's House
The girls dressed up on Halloween and got to go to the carnival at the church we used to attend in Bartlesville. Fun, fun!
Mimi and Papa Joined in the Fun

Grandma Christie (Daisy Duck), Cousin Charlie, and My Girls

Early Birthday for Julia at Granny's
We got to see a lot of friends on family the week that we were in OK. It was so nice, and such a blessing to us all. I also got to visit a place I used to work at called McCoy's Jewelers. They checked my jewelry and verified that the prongs that are supposed to hold my diamond in place is doing just that. Yay!I am free to clean my jewelry with a toothbrush, knowing that my diamonds are secure! Check out this tip and one more in the picture below:

Do you see the bottom one about baby powder on chains? I love this one! I have a necklace from when I graduated high school that has been tangled almost the whole *gulp* 14 years I've had it. Here it is after about thirty minutes, and a couple tablespoons of baby powder.
This Was Once a Matted Mess.

This thing was so matted, that it was actually stuck to another piece of jewelry I owned. I'd worked for hours trying to un-knot this thing, and I thought I'd never have the two pieces separate again. I almost threw away both pieces of jewelry when we moved here, but now I'm so grateful I didn't. And, I plan to let my McCoy Jewelers people know how well this works! Untangling chains is definitely something we worked on!

--And, now that you know my chain untangling secret, and now that we are back in ND, I want to share what's been happening the last few days.You can call this the never ending blog post if you'd like.---

It's finally happened, the cold has snapped here in ND! We are loving the snow, and bundling against the cold. I have a lot of coffee and hot tea everyday, and wish there was a way to convince my daughters to eat soup every night with out complaint. Snow pictures are here:
At a Stop Sign. Beautiful.

Bundled for a Snowball Fight!

In Action
More Action Shots

Snow Angels:


Sampling Snow at the Library

Came in From Playing Cold and Frowny

We've been having so much fun! We haven't made any Olafs yet, but I'm sure we will have a small herd of them soon. 

Our New Favorite Evening Activity
Thanks for reading! Stay warm!!!!


P.S. If there are any typos in this post, it's because my hands were too cold to type.
P.S.S. I love the people who read my blog!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

How NOT to Re-purpose!

My sweet little Saige has entered into the stage that I lovingly refer to as; the tiny toddler terror stage. Most toddlers go through it, and most moms live until it's over, but there's no guarantee that a mom will. Maybe you'll understand a little better if I tell you a story...

Last night, Dave was getting the girls situated for bed, and had given me the task of looking on an excel spreadsheet over our family's financials. The big girls almost always have a 10 minute Bible reading time before bed, and Saige usually gets to read books or baby Bibles during that time. After they had started their reading, Dave ran upstairs to mention a few things to me about the spreadsheet before he went back downstairs. But, before we could get a full sentence out, Julia was yelling about an emergency downstairs.

In the short time Dave was up here, Saige had gotten nail polish all over herself, all over Lydia's pillow, and all over face. She started applying it as mascara as well, and was now crying because she got nail polish in her eye. I ran downstairs when I heard what was going on and we flushed that baby's eye for the next several minutes with water.

The man from poison control told us flushing the eye with water for about 15 minutes was best, and that we should not use eye drops as it might make the issue worse. (Thank goodness we called! I was about to give her some drops.) He also told us what to look for in case of infection, but thankfully the eye looked clear and happy when Saige woke up. Praise the Lord!!
Saige Eating a Smoothie 
So my re-purposing tip for today is: nail polish is not a good substitute for mascara. FYI.

Thanks, Amber

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lengthening Jeans

Lydia is currently a string bean and often grows too tall for clothes, not out of them.
December 2013
The above picture is Lydia at our church last year. I had been at the church all day as Julia had practice because she was in our church's Christmas play; Celebration. Dave had Saige and Lydia at home until evening when they were going to meet us at church. I'm not sure how it happened, but Lydia showed up in these daisy dukes. I thought it odd, but didn't say anything. It wasnt until she was sitting in my lap that I realized where I recognized those shorts from. They seemed a little out of place to me as I was remembering that they were usually over a diaper. Lydia was 5 years old in the above picture. Would you like to guess the size of the shorts she has on? They are 12-18 months. Yes, she was wearing Saige's shorts. I have no idea how they slid on to her frame, although petite. But they did. 

(This happened again just the other day. I told her to put on the jeans on the loveseat. She came to my room wearing capris...except they weren't capris. They were Saige's pants again. Size 18-24 months. They are too short for Saige. And way too short for Lydia.)

So, this brings me to today's story. When Dave's parents were here, Lydia wore a pair of size 5 jeans that fit a bit baggy on Lydia, but that are getting too short. (She's 6 years old now.) It was then that a very smart lady, Christie Stewart, suggested I add some ribbon or lace to the bottom of her jeans to give them some extra length. Brilliant!!!!!

I went to our local sewing store, (Dakota Sew and So) and got some really pretty stuff that I've started sewing onto her little jeans. Here are some pics to show what I've done:

Exhibit A: Size 5 Jeans

Ribbon to be Attached Jeans

A Few Tools I Used

The Ribbon I Bought (Close Up)
 Because I bought ribbon, I decided I should seal the edges of the ribbon with a lighter so that that the ends don't fray.
See the Fraying?

No Fray. No Way.

One Side With Added Ribbon...Back

Ribbon Added...Front
I'd say this adds a good 2 inches to these jeans. Which will last a few months at least. Plus, I think it's really cute. What do you think?

Thanks for reading! I appreciate you stopping by!

Your friend, Amber

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pizza Dough- Just Two Ingredients!

Okay, here is something I totally forgot to tell you all! A few weeks ago, I made my own pizza crust from only two ingredients!! Who knew greek yogurt and self-rising flour could make such a yummy dough.
Dave's Favorite Dinner
I found the dough recipe on pinterest, and have attached the blog with the recipe here. After making the dough, I added the toppings: olive oil, cooked ground turkey, homegrown tomatoes, onions, garlic, spinach, homegrown basil, two or three kinds of cheese, seasonings. I use olive oil instead of sauce because I like the outcome better, and I'm not a huge pizza sauce fan. Plus, it's easier. I don't think we've ever had leftovers after this dish.

Please let me know if you try this recipe! We love it! 

Enjoy! Amber

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Warm Weekend

Thanks to Amazon Prime, I am all caught up on Downton Abbey. Wooo. Another major accomplishment...(I mean that tongue in cheek).

We had an extremely relaxing weekend. Those come few and far between for us, but it was great. We listened to Christmas music while we sang and danced, had chicken and dumpling soup, I checked my social media sites, and Dave and I had a date night. Great times.

I think I am the only person in North America that is a little sad that it's still warm this fall. I know, I know...I will get sick of cold weather, and I won't like to have snow after it's been here while. (Advice from everyone including the locals.) But, I just love the cold. I love the snow. I'm practically Elsa.

But, since it has been warm, the girls are still enjoying time on the trampoline, riding bikes and playing outside. And I'm thankful. And, I think that the warm, dry air is good for the farmers here. So, I am really thankful for that!

I also put in my first order of essential oils this weekend. I ordered them from this website- click here. I am looking forward to getting some wintergreen, valerian root and lavender soon. I'm using these babies as one last ditch effort to heal my plantar fasciitis before Dave sends me to the podiatrist who will give me steroid shots in my heal. I am praying that these oils work wonders! (I would love any oil and diffuser tips any of you might have!)

Here are some pictures from our relaxation:
Mama Julia

Lovely Little Lydia

Dressin' up
Saige is Cute

Pretty Java

The Fall Colors are Beautiful Here

Well, I'm not sorry to say this is about all from me. I am enjoying the last few hours of this weekend before the craziness of this week starts. Please continue to share your re-purposing tips with me when you get the chance, and I will continue to share my tips with you!

Love to you all! -Amber

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Toothpaste, a Toothbrush and Silver

Well, I haven't been writing much lately, have I? I have missed it! After my 15k in Denver, I have been hosting family and friends and feeling so very blessed to do so. Dave's parents came last weekend, and I cooked almost as much as I would have if it were the holidays. It was a lot of fun! After my in-laws left, though, I told Dave that I would not be cooking the rest of the week. But, when friends called and said they'd be in town last night, I had to invite them over. So I made soup and banana bread for 9 extra people besides my 5, and they came for dinner. Once again we were blessed with a full home and full hearts.

Here are some pics from Dave's Dad and Step-Mom's visit:
Windy day at Theodore Roosevelt

High on the Hill Family Pic

A Nice Random Guy Offered to Take a Pic of our Group
(I'm always very relieved to get my camera back after someone offers to take a picture of us.)
King Grandpa Dan and his Little Princesses

Celebrating Grandpa Dan's Birthday
Grandma Christie and Saige Looking at Pictures
We had such a GREAT TIME!

Speaking of great times, I wanted to share with you my latest re-purposing trick! A few years ago, Dave's mom was kind enough to buy me some long tea spoons at an antique store. They are so nice, like the pretty ones you use in fancy restaurants. After using these pretty spoons a few times, I realized these spoons are silver. Oooh. Fancier still. But, then these little spoons decided to start tarnishing on me, and I felt as though they were too fragile to use. :(

Then, as I was reading in my checked out library book (Vinegar, Duct Tape, Milk Jugs & More by Earl Proulx), I found this trick: use toothpaste to take tarnish off of silver. (Don't use the gel kind of toothpaste, and don't scrub very hard on the silver, or you might scratch it.) This is a life saver for me and my long tea spoons. I was afraid to use any harsh chemicals on the spoons because then I really wouldn't use them again in a splendid cup of tea or any other drink. The chemicals could potentially make me or someone else sick! Toothpaste (with a little water) and an old toothbrush are much more natural cleaners. And I like natural.

Toothpaste Scrubbed on Tea Spoon with an Old Toothbrush

See All the Tarnish on the Paper Towel?

I remembered while I was lightly scrubbing my spoon that when I worked at a jewelry store in Oklahoma that the store owner recommended you can use also use toothpaste and an old toothbrush to gently remove gunk from jewelry. Must be something to toothpaste! I think my jewelry will get a bath next.

Thanks for reading today! Love to all of you and your families! -Amber

Friday, October 3, 2014

Hair Maintenance Tips

So, to go along with the post I wrote the day before yesterday, I will say again that cleaning is a never ending job. Being the one with the responsibility of keeping things at home in "tip-top" shape is exhausting, but somebody has to do it, right? And after all, that is why gaining tips from pinterest, magazines, blogs and books on how to manage or re-purspose all the duties is so very helpful in keeping things the way you dream they'd be.

On Monday, after Saige and got to attend story time at the library, I perused the non-fiction section while Saige "read" the books she was getting to check-out. Among other books, I grabbed one called, Vinegar, Duct Tape, Milk Jugs & More by Earl Proulx. I've found it is very interesting so far, and not only because it fits so well with the re-purposing topic I've been talking about on this blog lately. I will be sharing the tips I think are most important in the next few days, so you might want to stay tuned.

One that I liked: If you have been using the same shampoo for a while, and feel as though your hair may have some unwanted build up, poor a solution of 1 part vinegar and 1 part water on your hair after your next shampoo. Then rinse it out. (I haven't tried this yet, but I think it's genius.)

Another tip: Wash your hair brushes, they may be putting your own hair oils and other old products back in your hair. ---I love this one. As a re-purposing, frugal type person, I keep hair brushes for years! Who knows what all are in those things, especially after all the times they've been thrown in boxes because of moves and all. Maybe when my hair is looking a little flat, it's because I am putting oil and old husband gel in it when I brush my hair. My Mary Kay constultant, Emily, told me to wash my face brushes, so, why wouldn't I wash my hair brushes?

Any who, I hope this tip helped! Have a wonderful week, and have fun cleaning!

Love, Amber

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Re-purposing Baby Wipes

The cleaning at my house never ends! Like ever. I'm sure the rest of you moms can relate, but with three little ones, I just feel like my work is never done. Every time I turn around, there is a sink full of dishes, several loads of undone laundry, toothpaste smeared all over the sink and counter top, carpets that need vacuumed, lotion smudges on all surfaces (thanks to Saige and her love for sneaking lotion) and sheets that are past needing to be changed. (Ewww.) Even the things we use to clean are always needing cleaned; i.e. the tubs. But, today, as I was cleaning my older daughters' room, (even though they recently "cleaned" it themselves...) I came across Lydia's treasure collection. This collection is extensive to say the least. Pieces of string, rocks, pebbles, jewelry parts, beads, and even drawn on styrofoam were just a few things I stashed into her box that is meant for collecting all things small. All of these "treasures" leave me shaking my head, but, what really sent my head spinning was when I discovered a small container filled with caramel from homeschool co-op last Friday. It's Wednesday. Yes, since last Friday, there has been a container of caramel that Lydia snuck into the cubby that is attached to her bunk. And if that wasn't enough, there were several strings and globs of caramel coming from the small container signifying to me that she had also been sampling the caramel at some point around or after bed time.

So, after removing the smelly sheets off of her little bed, I went to town on the caramel with a baby wipe. The wipe totally did the trick, and there are no more traces of caramel in her cubby.... Now, we will just have to see how long it takes before she asks me where her midnight snack disappeared to. (Yuck.)

But all of this got me thinking....I am so gosh darn thankful for baby wipes! Ever since I had kiddos, I've discovered lots of uses for them besides just wiping miniature bottoms. I actually also use them to clean couch cushions and car seats and all other things upholstery. I even found that they worked great on microfiber surfaces. Back in the day, we had a whole set of microfiber couches. Since we moved frequently, I vividly remember wiping those things down ferociously before showing a few of our homes. It always worked like a dream, and made the couches look like I'd had a cleaning service come in.

Just the other day, I used baby wipes to clean up some mysterious substance from our cloth loveseat. (The substance is whitish, so it's probably some stolen lotion.)
See the Mystery Substance?

And, Mystery Substance Gone!
 This stuff was spread in several places on our little loveseat. But, thankfully, not anymore. And I have baby wipes to thank for that.

Do you also love re-purposing baby wipes? Are you an super mom who makes her own wipes? I'd love your tips! Thanks for stopping by the blog today! I know you were wondering what you would do when you found lotion on your couch and caramel in your daughter's bed. And, I'm glad I could help with that.

Have a blessed day! Amber

Monday, September 29, 2014

Homeschool Co-op

I'm cheating a little. I get the privilege of sending my two older daughters to school 4 days a week, and, I also get to take all three of my littles to homeschool co-op every other Friday. We love it!

In the co-op, moms get the opportunity to teach kids what they enjoy teaching them, which works great! There is a super sweet lady who does preschool with the kiddos. Saige loves it! She asked me the other day for an a-a-apple. There is also science class with chemical vs. physical reaction experiments, art class, Bible class, pledge recitations, and usually a shared lunch. Oh, and I get to teach home ec! So far we've made a berry crisp and this last Friday, I made smoothies.

The smoothie idea is one I borrowed from a friend. I often make the girls berry smoothies with frozen berries, frozen banana, yogurt, milk, vanilla, honey and sometimes coconut. (You can always throw a few chia seeds in the mix for an extra boost of energy.) But, for my co-op class, I made the one that my friend told me about. I threw a few frozen bananas, ice, coconut milk, unsweetened cocoa, peanut butter, honey and vanilla in the blender, and it was delish! (Adding coffee might make it even better!)

Most of the kiddos enjoyed the smoothie. Julia wasn't too keen on it, but she's weird and wasn't feeling well that day. And, you just can't please them all!

Before I made the kids their smoothies, I spoke with them about Daniel and how he decided to only eat vegetable in the King's court. Because my sister recently did a current day Daniel fast, I know that both of these smoothies can be Daniel fast approved. And, I told them that. I'm not really sure it made a huge difference to any of them, but hopefully they understood the connection.

There you go! Feel free to re-purpose your own smoothie time with a little Bible lesson. Instead of chicken soup, it's a little smoothie for the soul.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Papa's Pumpkin Patch

Yesterday, the girls and I went to Papa's Pumpkin Patch in Bismarck. We had a great time. They played and got super filthy and I took way too many pictures! Seriously, this post doesn't even contain half of them. Thanks for stopping by and viewing what I put on the ole' blog!
On the (Short) School Bus
 The 1.5 hour drive to Bismarck usually feels like 3 hours. On a school bus on a warm fall day, it feels more like 4.
Pumpkin Sitting Saige
 You will see in this series of shots, I made many attempts to capture sweet, smiling faces looking my direction. My daughters are not always as amicable as I would like.
Please Look at the Camera!
 We had a yummy picnic lunch in the picture above. Peanut butter and jellies...
Saige Climbing High!

Lydia Climbing High

You did it!

Julia: Climbing Tires

Corn Maze

 Lydia actually picked up an ear of corn and started eating it. Hmmm. She was disappointed when I asked her to stop because, "it was sssooo gooooood!" (Why will kids eat things off the ground and then complain about a well cooked dinner. It's a conundrum I'll never understand.)
Sitting Pretty
 I captured this picture of Julia on a little train ride. I can hardly wait until my other girls look at me and smile when they see the camera. Way to go, Julia!
Fun for Fall!

Pumpkinsy Patch!

School Picture
 My girls go to a very small school.
Another Picture Attempt. Mercy.
Sunflower Julia

Sunflower Lyd
 Good Corn Fun: (Sorry for the cheesy play on words today. They just coming to me.)
Corny Characters

"Eating" Corn
 This stuff was probably way dirtier than what she found on the ground earlier.
Like Big Sister, Like Little Sister
Saige wanted me to get a picture of her "eating" corn.

Would you like to play in a sea of corn? I think it's better than having sand coming in your house through the back door. Although, my girls did NOT come out of that corn pit clean! They were covered in corn and dirt.

Dumping Corn
 Everyone else was doing it...

(Just a few more pictures!)

Baby Zipline

Big Girl Zipline

Corn husk horse, Silly Julia and Sweet Saige
We had such a great time! And, I tell you, we all came back exhausted! The girls got right into a nice hot bath BEFORE dinner. Julia and Lydia still had gymnastics, but Saige went to bed early. (She didn't nap much on the forever long, hot drive home.) Such a great day!

Thanks for coming by the old blog! My girls had homeschool co-op today. So, you will be hearing more about that in the near future if you stay tuned in. I hope you will.

Blessings, Amber