Friday, May 31, 2013

Ya'll is a proper noun here in North Carolina #NC

My Tea is Sweet here in North Carolina!

Lightnin Bugs

Some Beautiful reasons why I call North Carolina home....................Ya'll

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Raspberry Mint Marshmallow Creme Fruit Dip

Summertime is the best time for making this wonderful fruity dip and sharing it with your friends and family. The perfect barbeque, baby shower or church picnic platter to take with you. The fresh mint makes it pop and the lemon yogurt added some zing to the fruit.

4 oz cream cheese (from 8-oz package), softened
1 cup marshmallow creme (Fluff)
1 container (6 oz) 99% Fat Free lemon yogurt {I used Greek yogurt}
½ cup fresh raspberries
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves

{cut pretty for dipping}
15 fresh strawberries, stems removed, cut lengthwise in half
3 kiwifruit, each cut into 10 wedges
30 pieces (2-inch) fresh pineapple

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, marshmallow creme, yogurt and raspberries with electric mixer on high speed until smooth. Stir in mint. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 12 hours.
Find a pretty bowl and dip tray to serve this on~
Serve dip  and enjoy

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day: Thank You

Happy Memorial Day to all those who have served our country so bravely to keep us safe here at home.

We say thank you!



Here is some coloring page fun if you are studying Memorial Day this week.




Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pillsbury Newsletter: Hottest #recipe ideas around

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Sign up for our FREE newsletter HERE & become a member of Pillsbury’s Not-So-Secret-Club! You'll get coupon savings up to $250 per year, exclusive club member offers, our best recipes, & more! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Go Ahead and Play With Your Food with "Funbites"

Are you Ready.....to play with your food? We did 

 photo FunBites_zps1c2a4cd5.jpg

 FunBites is the first state of the art kitchen tool that lets you easily cut your child's food into BITE SIZED PIECES ! How cool is that! 

  • Made in the USA
  • BPA FREE (very important to me)
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Travels in your bag anywhere
  • Perfect for even the pickiest eater
  • Makes Lunchtime so much more fun
  • Snack Time is a breeze
  • Make healthier treats for your kids
  • Bento lunches are easy peasy
  • Imagine the possibilities
Choose From your favorite color a cool green or a hot pink Cube it or Luv it. Each one cuts a different pattern with its own safe curved blades that quickly cuts the food into small finger sized and choke free bites with a matching "Popper" that instantly pops! out the fun shaped pieces. Start with a flat surface like your counter, a sturdy plate or cutting board and have fun playing with your food.....lol.
I found this cute video on the FunBites YouTube site that shows how easy it is to use for your kids.

I reviewed the cute little heart shaped Funbites in pink and it only took me a try or two to get the rocking action down. I tried it with cheese first, then with a pb &j sandwich and an apple. Worked great every time!
Although we have no toddlers here at the Blockhouse anymore, I will say that all 3 of my kids were intrigued by this unusual looking tool that I had and all of them wanted in on the action. My sweet little doggies loved all the extra peanut butter sandwich hearts that were made for them too. Yes our doggies are spoiled, I think I might find a organic doggie treat recipe and use my FunBites to cut out the treats for them. I can definitely say that if you have a picky eater this is a must have for your kitchen. It is easy to use for both adults and all ages of kids, it was very easy to wash and keep clean, we put it in the top rack of the dishwasher and it washed just fine.
What can you cut with your Fun Bites??

  • Melon
  • Sandwiches
  • Pizza
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Tortillas
  • Quesadillas
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Cheeses
  • Pepperoni
  • Sausages
  • Bread
  • Biscuits
  • Endless Possibilities (I wish I had this when my kids were small) 

You can buy Fun Bites and find out more about them here at the website Fun Bites and social media sites

Enjoy yours!!

 Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes as part of a Karma Media Team campaign. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tornado Safety Myths and Thinking Ahead For Your Own Family

Our family was deeply saddened by the tornado damage and lives lost in Oklahoma, feeling helpless I don't know what else to do except blog about it. Sharing with others sometimes helps to make me feel better.
The deadly tornado that devastated Moore, Okla. on Monday serves as a tragic reminder of just how dangerous twisters can be -- and how misunderstood. Here is some more information from across the web that I found via the Huffington Post.

Six more dangerous misconceptions about tornadoes:
  • Misconception: It's a good idea to open the windows in your home -- in order to "equalize pressure" as a tornado approaches. In fact, houses do not "explode" when tornadoes pass over them. Opening the windows wastes precious time that would be better spent finding shelter, according to the NWS website.
  • Misconception: The southwest corner of a building is the safest place to be during a tornado. The "safe southwest corner" is a myth based on the mistaken belief that since tornadoes usually come from the southwest, debris tends to fall into the northeast side of the basement, USA Today reports.
  • Misconception: Tornadoes never strike twice in same place. Tornadoes can strike at any time, no matter whether they have struck there before, according to the website Missouri Storm Aware.
  • Misconception: Tornadoes don't hit big cities. Tornadoes have hit Dallas, St. Louis, Miami, and other large cities in the U.S., according to the website of the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center. And urban tornadoes may be especially dangerous, as there is more debris flying around.
  • Misconception: Highway overpasses are great places to seek shelter during a tornado. In fact, seeking shelter in an overpass only increases the risk of injury and death, according to the website of the Ohio Committee For Severe Weather Awareness. Wind speeds can be higher under an overpass, and the wind direction can reverse direction as the tornado passes. Better to seek shelter in a sturdy building -- or, if you can't get to such a building in time, to lie flat in a ditch and clasp your hands behind your head for protection from flying debris.
  • Misconception: It's easy to outrun a tornado. Tornadoes can move at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, according to the NOAA website. It's better to abandon your vehicle and seek shelter than to attempt to drive away from a nearby storm.
Teach your family about all weather conditions and what they can do, have a safe spot to flee to, talk about this before you are faced with a life changing event like a tornado. Include your pets in the plans also. Pack a bug out bag with all your family's medications, essentials, extra clothes etc. in case you loose precious items or you have to leave your house to go to a shelter. Make a list of phone numbers of nearby relatives in case you can't find your cell phone or phone numbers. Think ahead!

Be stay safe and pray for all those families in Oklahoma that are suffering loss today! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Doing Laundry: Where is that darn Laundry Fairy?

I think out of all my mommy jobs at home the laundry has to be one chore I hate the most. What about you? The laundry fairy has let me down so many times over. That pile of socks, towels and underwear seems to reproduce nightly. Even with some of the most up to date washers and dryers in my laundry room, the laundry fairy just can't get the job done. Sometimes she just needs some help. Just where is that darn laundry fairy at anyhow??

Make your own laundry soap with this recipe that works great and saves a great deal of money yearly:

Homemade Laundry Soap:
{find all ingredients at Walmart or order online at Amazon}
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Super Washing Soda
  • 1 Bar Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap
  1. - Grate a bar of soap onto a plate with a cheese grater. Then add all the shavings to pot of water on the stove. Stir continually over medium heat until your soap fully dissolves.
  2. - Next, fill a 5 gallon bucket ½ full of hot water from the sink. Then add in your melted soap from the pot on the stove, plus Borax, and washing soda.
  3. Stir well until all powder is dissolved {My kids love to help me stir. Use extreme caution though b/c it’s boiling hot!}
  4. Fill the remaining space in the bucket to top with additional hot water from the sink. Stir all the ingredients in the bucket well.
  5. Fill an empty laundry jug ½ full with the result of this concentrated recipe. Next, fill the remaining space in your laundry jug with water. This recipe will gel. Shake before each use. (will gel)
  6. -Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
  7. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Our Kids Are Growing Up On Screens #digital

    Find more great infographics on NerdGraph Infographics

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation research report Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds, total screen exposure for 8-18 year olds has risen over the past two decades to an average of more than 7 hours per day.  
What can you do to get your kids off the computer screens and outdoors? Even ourselves are role models are showing them that being online all day is ok, when it is really not. 
Something to swallow and think about, huh?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Explore, Discover, & Create . . . with Notebooking!

At the end of each school year, are you finding yourself swimming through mounds of worksheets, quizzes, tests, and half-finished workbooks wondering just what to do with it all? Where does the organization begin? What do you keep? Where will you keep it? How much should you, dare I say, throw away? As you begin to tackle this heap, your brain recalls the many hours that went into creating this voluminous collection. You may start to wonder just how well spent those hours really were. You remember the great ambitions with which you started the school year and the many good intentions that fell to the wayside in order to finish this massive collection you are now faced with sorting. Finally, you conclude that if most, or perhaps all, of your children’s work is going to get tucked away somewhere never to be seen again, how much value can it possibly hold? Does any of this sound familiar? Well, it doesn't have to anymore!
Our family has been introduced to an ageless tool of learning that keeps us from creating these questionable mounds of paper throughout the year. There is nothing left to sort. There is nothing left to pack away. There is nothing to throw away. Instead, another volume (or two or three or more) of our children’s prized work gets added to their personal library at the end of each year. No more busywork. No more second-guessing if our time has been well spent. As a matter of fact, this tool has freed me from the seemingly never-ending search for the perfect curriculum! It can literally transform the way you approach your children’s education and set afire a love of learning within each child. Spend your precious hours exploring, discovering, and capturing the knowledge that awaits you and your children each day. Make learning a journey instead of a list to be checked off at the end of the day and a pile to be sorted at the end of the year. How do you do this? Let me introduce you to the tool that has breathed new life into our homeschooling. It’s called . . . notebooking!
Notebooking is the coined term for what one may refer to as educational journaling or scrapbooking. Essentially, the idea is to take your planned school subjects and activities as well as the areas of your child’s interests and create notebooks, compilations of created pages collected in binders. Your child will fill his notebooks throughout the year with what he has learned about these topics. Written narrations, drawings, maps, and photographs are just a few of the items he may include. The pages of his notebooks will capture both the new knowledge he has discovered as well as his own personal reflections of what he has learned. Through the process of creating a notebook, you will likely watch him become a storyteller, a teacher, and most undoubtedly, an expert in some of the topics he studies.
Unlike some of the more traditional tools of learning, like worksheets and tests, notebooking allows your child to develop a deeper relationship with what he is learning. Instead of finding out what he doesn’t know about a topic or study, which is what a worksheet or test usually reveals, he is given an opportunity to express everything he does know. By cutting out the busywork that is involved in some of these more traditional methods, you open a window of time and opportunity for your children to dig deeper into topics, to really get to know the people, the places, the events, the concepts, the ideas, and so on of what they are studying. Then, they take this information, digest it, and produce a notebook that tells all about what they have learned. After following this process, there will not be that sudden “unlearning” phenomena that usually takes place after the traditional chapter or unit test. The knowledge that your child gains during his notebooking experience will stick! Most importantly this process fuels a love of learning as your child begins to discover how exciting and fun it is to learn with notebooking!
As your children become more experienced with notebooking, you will begin to see the evident benefits of this great tool. The richness of what they are learning will be apparent as their notebooks become filled to the brim with stories, pictures, maps, quotes, and photographs of the people, places, and events encountered. The depth of what they are learning will be told as new layers are added each year to certain notebooks, such as their language arts and math notebooks. The process of learning they have experienced will be unveiled as you note the ways they organize and choose the material they include for their notebooks. You will begin to see certain notebooks take on your children’s personalities as they learn to express themselves in the variety of ways they have been gifted. It is an amazing joy to sit down with your child while they lovingly and passionately share all that they have learned through the process of creating their notebook. Their hearts and hard work have been poured into this notebook and they beam with confidence at the turn of each page. Each year, as you take time to look back through the increasing volumes of notebooks being added to the shelves, you will see that notebooking has become an amazing “living” record of your children’s journey of learning. Instead of tossing the year’s work into a box in the back of the closet, you’ll be looking for ways to add more bookshelves to house these treasures!
So how do you begin notebooking with your family? Start simple. Start with one topic or one study for each child or for the whole family. Perhaps the easiest way to start is to let each child begin a notebook of one of their favorite hobbies or passions. Do you have a child that loves dinosaurs? I do! My youngest son would find spare moments throughout the day to notebook his knowledge of dinosaurs. His head would be stuck in any number of books from the library trying to gather information. That’s where it began for him! Today, he is our leading expert when it comes to dinosaurs.
Perhaps the easiest place to start notebooking with the entire family is with any history or science topic because there are so many ways to dig into these subjects. You could start very simply by asking your children to give a short narration of what was read on a particular day either during your read aloud time or their independent reading time. If they give you a blank stare, ask them what they found to be most important or interesting about what was studied and encourage them to write about that. If you have younger children, you may need to write down their narrations for them until they are more proficient with the physical skill of writing. For children who are accustomed to giving short fill-in-the-blank type answers to questions, narration will take some practice to develop. I highly suggest researching the topic of narration for more help in this area. Narration is an invaluable skill that will prove most beneficial in their notebooking studies.
As your family or child continues to dig deeper, add new material to the notebook. The notebook may include any number of pages and collections including, but definitely not limited to:
  • written narrations from material studied in books they have read or real life experiences
  • collections of quotes from philosophers, experts, missionaries, statesman, etc.
  • photographs, ticket stubs, and information from field trips
  • maps of places and events studied
  • timelines
  • drawings from your child’s imagination that express his ideas about the particular topic
  • sketches of objects, animals, famous art, or places being studied
  • collections of items such as leaves, pressed flowers, and seeds for a study like botany
  • pictures from hands-on activities or experiments completed during the study
  • nature photos, sketches, and journaled thoughts
  • your child’s handwritten copies of favorite scripture, poetry or selections from favorite literature
Ready to get started? Grab a few essential supplies: binders (or a binding tool), paper, your favorite arts and crafts supplies and a selection of writing utensils and dig in! You may also want to invest in some notebooking templates. These templates made notebooking a reality for my family, especially in the early days of our notebooking experiences. Notebooking templates are pages that have been designed with a variety of preprinted lines, frames, borders, and clipart that provide a quickstart to the notebooking process. Use the preprinted lines for your children’s narrations, copywork and other written work. Use the empty frames to add maps, drawings, pictures, and other items. I became so hooked on using the templates that I began creating my own. Then, after realizing how helpful these templates were to my children, I began to share them with others online. You can now visit our website, www.NotebookingPages.com, to find our growing collection of free and affordable sets of notebooking templates available for a variety of subjects, studies, and activities.
Ready to make learning a more memorable and meaningful experience for your family? Get started with notebooking today! Visit us at NotebookingPages.com for more notebooking information, freebies, products, articles, and tips, as well as for a variety of other free homeschooling charts and printables.
(Reprinted with permission from Debra Reed, NotebookingPages.com)

Family Carnival Free [NC moms] Lake Norman Community event

I wanted to share this exciting event for my nearby NC families, you must check out the Free Family Carnival sponsored by :
LakeNormanMommies and the EnergyExplorium at McGuire Nuclear Station present an afternoon of fun for all ages! Join us on Saturday, May 18, 2013 11a.m.-4p.m. for this family-friendly event featuring the following organizations and businesses from the Lake Norman Community!
Performances, Attractions, and Activities...
Main Stage
Little Dreamer Productions - DJ & MC services Cheer Xplosion AllStars Dancin Kids Expressions Dance Studio Grand Central Academy of the Performing Arts Rock University Activities
Burn Bootcamp - Field Activities for Children and Adults Sweet Dreams Mattress & Furniture - Bounce House Meet the Mascot - Photo Op Heather the Storyteller - Story Time Cold Blooded Encounters - Reptile Show Twist the Balloon Man - Magic Show Pre-K Birthdays - Crafts Rocket Ryan - Science Demonstrations Candy Art by Chris Hughes Renaissance Festival - Strolling Performers Touch-a-Truck Coca-Cola Discovery Truck Cornelius Police Department Huntersville Police Department Huntersville Fire Department North Mecklenburg Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
Community Outreach & Awareness Ballas Chiropractic Earth Fare Novant Health Hemby Children's Hospital Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center Novant Health Women's Health Education A Safe Child - car seat safety & baby proofing demonstrations
Refreshments Bruster's Ice Cream - ice cream, hot dogs, beverages available for purchase Carnival Games and Activities Carnival games and other activities are provided by our vendors. Games include duck pond, wheel spin, knock 'em down, penny toss, fishbowl ping pong toss, and more. Each winner receives a ticket to be entered into a drawing for a prize in the prize tent. Activities include crafts, face painting, carnival themed photo booth, and more.
Vendors Bird Nest Boutique, Innovative Speed Shop, Jamberry Nails, Lakeside Dental, Mary Kay, Origami Owl, Pampered Chef, Pink Zebra, Scentsy, SnookySmiles, Stella & Dot, Sunshine Borders, Thirty-One, Tupperstars, and WildTree
Prize Tent Did you receive a ticket at one of the games or activities? Be sure to head to the Prize Tent to be entered into a drawing for the prize of your choosing! Prizes Prizes include products and services from Ballas Chiropractic, Bird Nest Boutique, Burn Bootcamp, Carolina Women's Defense, Carowinds, Earth Fare, Grand Central Academy of the Performing Arts, Innovative Speed Shop, Insley Photography, Jamberry Nails, Jockey Person to Person, MM House and Office Cleaning, Origami Owl, Pampered Chef, Perfect Fit, Pink Zebra, SnookySmiles, Stella & Dot, Sunshine Borders, Sweet Dreams Mattress & Furniture, Tupperstars, Twist the Balloon Man, WildTree, and more!
  See this event on Facebook
Family Carnival
Saturday, May 18, 2013, 11a.m.-4p.m.

This event is FREE and open to the community!
How to find us: From Charlotte I-77 Take I-77 to Hwy. 73 (exit 25). West on Hwy. 73 (toward Birkdale Village). Go approximately five miles to the stoplight at McGuire Nuclear Station. The EnergyExplorium is just past Southlake Christian School and Church. Turn right into plant entrance. Stay in right lane and follow signs to the EnergyExplorium. From I-485 Take I-485 to Hwy. 16 (exit 16). West toward Newton. Exit east onto Hwy. 73 toward Huntersville. Go approximately five miles to the stoplight at McGuire Nuclear Station. Turn left into plant entrance. Stay in right lane and follow signs to the EnergyExplorium. From Mooresville I-77 Take I-77 south toward Huntersville to exit 25. Turn right off the interstate ramp and follow Hwy. 73 west approximately five miles. The EnergyExplorium is just past Southlake Christian School and Church. Turn right at stoplight for McGuire Nuclear Station and follow signs to the EnergyExplorium. From Charlotte Hwy. 16 Take Hwy. 16 North toward Denver. Take Hwy. 73 exit and turn right off interstate ramp. Follow Hwy. 73 toward Huntersville. You will pass Cowans Ford Dam on your left; the next stoplight you come to will be the McGuire Nuclear Station entrance. Turn left into McGuire and follow signs to the EnergyExplorium.

How exciting, looks like such fun! See you there!!
Leslie and family

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mothers Day Ideas for Paper Crafty Moms

I love all of these products, especially my Cricut( the best investment) . How about give mom a basket full of her favorite crafting supplies for Mothers Day. 
Credit to http://blissfullydomestic.com/life-bliss/mothers-day-gifts-for-the-crafty-mom/136841/  for this great information and links, check out more ideas for the crafty mom on the blissfullydomestic site.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sticks and Stones, Lessons are endless

I thought this collection was most interesting, the creative nature of stones, painted and placed perfectly to make some neat images of villages, trees and whatever your eyes want to believe. I love art that is formed by something so simple and from nature. A perfect lesson for your kids in colors, numbers, contrasts, depth, seasons, day and night , the possibilities are endless.



Thursday, May 2, 2013

No Bake Blackberry Frozen Cheescake

Recipe found here Eat Good 4 Life blog

Can a healthy cheesecake be possible? yes it can! try this fabulous recipe yourself and see! 
I am off to the store now to get some ingredients and start mixing this up! 


Miryam's original recipe


2 cups old fashion oats, Gluten Free
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons soy milk
1 cup pitted prunes
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 8oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
6 oz fresh organic blackberries
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 tablespoon agar powder, or 1 Tbsp unflavored gelatin


Line 8x8 square pan with parchment paper. This will allow you to release the cheesecake when it is set.
Place oats in the food processor and pulse for 10 seconds or so. Add the remainder of the ingredients and pulse until mixture comes together. About 1-2 minutes.
Press the crust mixture down onto the prepared pan and place in the fridge while you work on the filling.
Place the agar powder (or gelatin) and lemonade in a small sauce pan and heat for about 1 minute, just to dissolve the powder. In a bowl whip the cream cheese and honey. To this mixture add the lemonade with the agar powder already dissolved and mix through. Divide this mixture in half. Add the puree blackberries to one half of the mixture. Fold just until you get a marble effect like in the pictures.
Pour the white cream cheese filling over the crust followed by the blackberry one. Freeze for about 3-4 hours.
Before serving, run a knife over the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it up and place the cheesecake on a pretty plate. You may need about 20 minutes to bring the cheesecake to room temperature to be able to cut it through.
Store cheesecake in the freezer and thaw out about 20-30 minutes before serving.

Enjoy and don't eat it all yourself...lol

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Secret Support System That Keeps Me Sane #mommiesnetwork

I have been a member of this wonderful network of support since 2007 and can't live without it. The Mommies Network and my local chapter Centralfoothillsmommies has been there for me in good times and bad. I just wish I had found them sooner when I was pregnant with my first child or trying to conceive many years ago. I have formed friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime and memories that my children will recall throughout their lives. I now serve in a leadership role and enjoy giving back to my local chapter and on the national level. Like all great non-profits though, it does take funds to run a network that is doing so much. 
Please consider supporting this worthy network by donating this month via our May is for Mothers campaign.  I challenge you to match my $100 donation or give at least $10 towards our goal. Come on, together we can do this! 
I want to share the post from The Mommies Network blog today: video is priceless!

Across the country, we have been proud to provide support to mothers from all walks of life for the last 11 years. But, as time has gone by, we have seen a shift in the dynamics between mothers and we have seen a divide that the media has dubbed "The Mommy Wars."

When The Mommies Network was founded, we saw that mothers have a unique bond- a shared strength from loving for our children. We identified that the characteristics of being a mother- the passion, the sacrifice, the deep conviction of providing to our children a better world- all of these things were also aspects that could create a community of women who could make the world a better place. 

However, in order to make these communities, we have to overcome the hurdles of the "Mommy Wars." We need to come back to our place of support, and see that how we parent is not nearly as important as our love for our children. What divides us is weaker than what unites us.
Supporting mothers does not always look like what you think it might. But, to us, supporting mothers means ...

providing a place for them to feel safe...

giving them a free corner of the world where they can find other mothers who have been where they have been....

giving them a community where they can be themselves..

providing these things to mothers we don't always agree with...

we stop defining ourselves, and each other, as being different, and instead we unite under the idea that the diversity of our members makes us stronger.

We serve over 30,000 women in our mission to provide a safe and FREE place to find support and encouragement, advice and friendship.

Your donation to The Mommies Network provides us with the means to unite mothers from across the country and to provide a real network of support. Help us end "The Mommy Wars" by making a donation in honor of a mother who may not be like you, but is part of the community of moms that makes your world a better place.

Join us today to help end "The Mommy Wars" , uniting mothers across the country! Donate with me! All donations are tax deductible! 

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