Handy Hacks

Hack: clever or quick fix; finesse something for use in a new way–or a way to save yourself time, effort and or money.

**A huge time saving tip–brown several pounds of ground beef at once. After much trial and error, here’s the best way–put your still wrapped still frozen directly from the deep freeze beef in your crock pot; as much as will fit. Cook it on low until it’s soft enough to unwrap. Mush it around with your spoon, and cook on low for several hours until browned (My crockpot has automatic shut off so I set mine to cook overnight for 8 hours). Suck out the grease with a turkey baster and spoon in two cup increments into freezer bags. Freeze FLAT.

If you are ever running late for dinner, it takes about two minutes to defrost these. Awesome–and not much work to begin with.

**Reuse single serve applesauce containers as paint pots

**Save on paper towels by using yesterday’s newspaper or newsprint to clean windows and mirrors. The newspaper especially will keep from streaking much better than paper towels.

It’s also fun for the kids.

**Reuse a cinnamon shaker for toothpick storage. One shake and one toothpick pops out.

This also works amazingly well for toddler entertainment.

**Vinyl gutters can be re-purposed for easy access, front facing bookshelves.

**Another use for your pet kennel: Baby Jail.

**For thousands of abso-smurf-ly terrific parent related hacks, let me direct you to a clever little site called: Parent Hacks

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funny family

Aviana age 4 1/2: Mama! Bwee-elle is being a nuisance!
We were looking at a book illustration whereupon the children were building a sandcastle.
I said,” and look, here they put a bridge over the moat.”
Aviana said, “Yes, and here they built a precipice!”
Kevin, after I come in from hanging out clothes. “You really need to check with me before you just go rushing out with the laundry.”

He said it because a rain storm was coming, and he wanted to check the radar but it certainly did sound funny! He sure cares about my laundry.
Aviana is quite proud of the fact she can say a tongue twister.

Of course it’s not that hard for her, because she can’t pronounce “sh” yet: ‘See sells seesells by the seesore.’
Brielle, singing the goodnight song from Sound of Music: So long, Farewell, Achoo, Achoo, Achoo

Aviana wants to watch one of the videos we just got from the library. “I want to watch the stone one.”
“The stone one?” I wonder.
“The Stone one!” she repeats earnestly.
“Ohhh,” I realize, “You want to watch Schoolhouse Rock!”
Cadrian comes crawling pathetically toward me, like a cariacature of a dying man in the desert, screaming at the top of his voice. He reaches my leg, and latches on as to a life preserver. And is completely quiet and content.
Aviana: Put Tadrian down on the floor so he can feast on twums.
Aviana was pretending to read Little House on the Prairie. She said, ” The Ingalls family crossed the Mississippi and then said they crossed the Delaware.” Then she said, “That was just a joke! Washington crossed the Delaware!”
“My swim suit is modest because it’s a full piece,” says Aviana. “It’s not modest if you wear a zucchini.”
Brielle 2 1/2: I was tissing dat boy today betuz I wanted to turn him into a frod!
Me: Here try this, you’ll like it.
Brielle: No.
Me: It’s chicken. You like chicken.
Her: No I don’t.
Me: You don’t like chicken?! Since when?
Her: Since Tuesday.

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Note the new widget

I decided to add a widget to, written by Barbara Curtis. She’s a mom of 12, who has written several books I love, including Lord, Please Meet in the Laundry Room, Mommy, Teach Me, and Mommy, Teach Me to Read. She is intelligent and funny; both huge for me to be a loyal reader.
You may have noticed I don’t have a blogroll. Blogrolls seem to be a bit like popularity contests; like if I don’t add everyone I read, plus everyone who reads me, I’d feel badly that I might hurt someone’s feelings. I just opted out. I know I probably read too much into it. So now, adding someone’s widget; whoa! This is a very big deal for me. I hope you check out her blog. Here’s what she says about herself:
“I know busy moms already have a lot of responsibility – but in these dangerous political times, we need to know what’s going on. Don’t waste time watching TV propaganda – which lies and distorts and covers up for Obama while destroying anyone who speaks up against him. If you don’t have time to comb the news yourself, you can count on MommyLife as a source. I sift through the news each day – thanks to many moms (and dads) who send me tips – then blend with humor, inspiration and parenting tips. I usually post 5-15 times per day.”

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Daybook–23 March

For more daybooks, and to join the fun, click on the image above…
My Daybook ~ 23 March


Outside My Window …grey, blah, windy


I am thinking … about my chore chart–what to do from it; and my testimony for MOPS tomorrow; what I’ll say


I am thankful for … Time with God this morning without children…and also my sister-in-law’s discount on a new clock and down comforter!

From the learning rooms … Easter crafts, lots of books

From the kitchen … spring time salads, lemonade salad, using lots of ground beef

I am wearing … black slickies, with a long sleeved cross country tee shirt from college, the requisite bare feet

I am creating …a scrapbook layout a day for at least a week (I’m four for four right now)


I am reading …New Dawn.. and some other stuff


I am hoping … my ‘talk’ goes well with my cleaning twins. They need to be doing a better job.

I am hearing… Aviana singing (which is a welcome change from the screaming when I started this post; I bought new toothbrushes and hers was pink. That’s worth screaming about…)

Around the house …giving away stuff from our storage room, lots of books…

One of my favorite things … family time

A few plans for the rest of the week … MOPS, my mom over, hopefully getting together with my sister
Here is a picture thought I am sharing~

Creating an early reader
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To-Done List

*sweep and mop floor
* mop floor again after girls play outside
*go get mail
*clean carpet after Mama tracks in dog doo
* mop floor again after juice is spilled
*wipe up juice from inside refrigerator
*clean out refrigerators and freezers
*wipe down ” “
*make cheese
*sweep floor again after girls eat cheese with crackers
*mop floor again after baby spits up
*LEAVE THE HOUSE so the kitchen stays clean

for today.

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It’s Real Life–through a child’s eyes

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Here is the It’s Real Life badge and the code to copy which will put it on your post. The badge will appear on your page and will link back here to the fest.

This week’s theme is a photo tour through a child’s eyes in your life.

Give your child your camera and see what they go around taking pictures of. The only catch is–no primping, prepping, picking up or otherwise making your house or self look better than it looks at that moment.

Commentary to go along with the photos always welcome.

Helping Brielle with a puzzle. Boy I look pleasant.
Dada out by the shop. Behind him you see a couple of our grainbins, the red trailer, his White tractor, an auger and…
Belle (our clothes stealing Lab), the chicken coops and the trash burner

Aviana’s favorite stool. I didn’t realize this was a Barbie princess when I bought it, but oh well…
A rather artistic view. She’s standing on a hay wagon, looking through the slats at the north cattle yard and corn crib.

That is me reaching for a clothespin; it only looks like I’m dancing.

He had just fallen over when I was in the kitchen.
Yes. That’s laundry. It was on the table, it’s not really that high of a tower. I don’t think.
A classic early morning shot of the kitchen.
The girls’ “new” loft.

Your Turn!

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Aviana loves to flit around the house like a little ballerina, and has been intrigued by all things dance for at least a year and a half. We have thus far stymied her obsession with ballet books and CDs and DVDs designed to be a dance class such as Baby Ballet.

Recently her desire for being a dancer has grown to mammoth perportions because my niece, 5, is Aviana’s hero. Aviana wants to be like Cora and do everything Cora is doing. Cora is in dance class. She even got to attend one of Cora’s classes. Since then she has been talking about taking dance class like Chinese water torture.

I’m not a huge believer in early organized learning for children, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to look into it. We live at least half hour from “town”; driving that far for an hour lesson isn’t even an option at this point in my life. Our nearest little town offers two dance studios.

One isn’t even an option; I have seen the costumes those girls wear and heard the music to which those girls perform. The other is owned by a Christian, so I gave them a call.

Last week we visited a class. In the 50 minutes we were there, the girls played “follow-the-leader” skipping, galloping, and two stepping. There was some sashaying back and forth across the room. A lot of waiting. They went through the pieces for their recital twice.

All this for $15 a class.

There was a lot of disrespect, obvious and not so blatant to the teacher. There was a lot of not listening and disobedience. There was a lot of meaness between the girls that didn’t get noticed or addressed. Frankly, I was appalled.

This week they were kind enough to let Aviana participate. She was so excited, she was vibrating. She was telling me the time every thirty seconds starting at about 2 o’clock. It was a long time to 5. She enjoyed herself, although she could only remember a couple of things they did, and reported some little girls pinching each other and being mean which the teachers didn’t see.

Another problem I have is the classes are right at dinner time, and our children have early bedtimes. Brielle and Aviana both were exhausted from running into town, waiting around, rushing supper…and it was fairly stressful for me too.

Suffice it to say; we’ll be keeping up our steady diet of playing dance studio in our garage sale costumes.

I think that’ll do.

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It’s Real Life assignment! child’s eyes

Thursday! the 19th
Theme: Through A Child’s Eyes

Give your child your camera and see what they go around taking pictures of. The only catch is–no primping, prepping, picking up or otherwise making your house or self look better than it looks at that moment.

Commentary to go along with the photos always welcome.

You can play along even if you’re not a mama! If you don’t have a child you can borrow one, or get down at a three foot level and see what catches your eye.

Post however many pictures you want at your blog, and then come here Thursday, 19 March to link up and show us your Real Life Through A Child’s Eyes.

Hope you can play!

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