Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A little unplanned break...

I'm sick. Like, death warmed over, laying in the recliner, hoping my children don't kill each other as I drift in and out of coherentness, sick.

And yes, I made up that word.  I'm sick- I'm allowed

So, until further notice, all this good stuff I have planned in terms of blogging (including my baking post :-( ), and ok, let's face it, pretty much everything in my life, will be put on hold.

Just praying I will be feeling better by Friday for my 7th Anniversary!

Oh, and if you were wondering how to comment but couldn't after I switched things around on my blog- it's all better now.

I'll be back as soon as I can!

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Resolving in 2011

I'll admit that in years past I've had a real aversion to calling my New Year's goals "resolutions".  To me the term "resolutions" just seemed to be a set up for failure. I mean, people in our culture almost see resolutions as a joke anymore.  So, I've always just called those things that I want to accomplish in the new year, "goals".

Profile Graphics
Happy New Year Graphics
(Case in point!)

Recently, however, I got to thinking about the whole thing and started to realize that, cultural stereotypes aside, there is a distinct difference between resolutions and goals, and one of the important parts to me achieving what I've set before myself in 2011 is recognizing that difference and applying it to my plans.

What am I jabbering on about?  Well, I think that goals are specific milestones that you want to achieve, tangible markers that say "Hey, I've really done something here." Where as resolutions are more about what you want to become. You are resolving to be different in some (or many) ways.  You can set goals within your resolve that help show you that change, but a resolution is the overall, bigger picture.

So this year, I'm dividing my list accordingly and I am hoping that some of you will join me (more about that later this week!).  This year my resolve is to become a more scriptural woman.  I am resolving to be a better wife, mother, homemaker, and representative and follower of Jesus.

Now, I realized that this should pretty much be our goal at all times anyway if we fall under any of those descriptions, but this next year I am taking a more active pledge to truly become those things.  My inspiration is being drawn from a few specific passages in scripture:

A wise woman builds her home,
      but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
Proverbs 14:1

1 In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over 2 by observing your pure and reverent lives.
 3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 5 This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands. 6 For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.
1 Peter 3:1-6
4 These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, 5 to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.
Titus 2:4-5
(by the way, I would consider myself the younger woman here!)

Proverbs 31:10-31
(You can go here to read it)

I want to be kind, patient and prayerful for my husband.  I want to be gentle, present and joyful with my kids.  I want to be hard working, diligent and organized in my home.  And most of all, I want to sit at the feet of my Savior every morning, soaking in His words and being loved on by Him.

Of course, for any of you who know me, it will come as no surprise that I have a plan for how I want to get there- to become all that.  And I wouldn't be a good blogger if I didn't plan to share those things with you!  So, tomorrow we will talk about the plan, the pledge, the printables (yes, I said printables!), and the meme (which I really wish started with a "p" to finish out my little theme there, but alas, it does not).

Stay tuned!

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

New Year, New Look!

So, you may notice I'm giving my blog a little makeover for the New Year.

If you are in a reader, head on over and check it out!

Let me know what you think.  I still have some things to tweak, add and change, but all in all, I think I like it... for now anyway!  :-)

(But HEY- I did stick with my last design for an entire year!  That is amazing for me!)

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Alright- I had a few more posts I had wanted to squeeze in before Christmas but I think this is going to be the last so that I can focus on other things... I think.  :-)

This is our Christmas card this year and I want to share this Christmas love with all of you- my wonderful and loyal readers!  Whether you are new or old to my blog, I appreciate each and every one of you and all the comments you generously send me!  Everytime I receive a comment email it makes my day and helps me feel like I am getting to know you all just a little bit better. 

You have been with me through thick and thin, plentiful and poor, and I can honestly say, have probably seen a more revealing side of me than maybe even some of those who I know IRL (although, some of you I do know IRL- so I guess you guys just have me on overload!).

I love you all and appreciate your friendship!

Have the Merriest of Christmases this year!  
Focus on Jesus, because nothing else really matters!

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Grandma's Choclate Chip Oatmeal Cookies!

So, my replacement cookie paddles came this week for my BOSCH Universal PLUS Mixer.  BUT, they didn't send me the metal driver to go with them (BUMMER!).  So, I'm still at a cookie making standstill.  However, in lieu of pictures of wonderful Christmas cookies this year, I thought I would share with you all my Grandma's recipe for Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies that are absolutely delicious!  I mean- seriously!

Grandma Ida's Heavenly Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

First, cream together:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 Cup brown sugar
Next, mix in:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp salt
Third, add in:
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp water
  • 2 eggs
Lastly, mix in:
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 12oz package of chocolate chips
Bake at 375 for approximately 8-10 minutes


And if you want to make it really easy on yourself, before you even think about baking you will order yourself a BOSCH Universal PLUS Mixer from Marmee's Bread Market with a set of cookie paddles!!

I also want to mention that Marmee has completely revamped her Homemaker's Mentor site for 2011 and restructured the monthly downloads into quarterly packages.  She has really taken this program to a new level this year by also adding a Yahoo group for members of the Homemaker's Mentor, and quarterly HomeMaker Awards that will really encourage you to go a step farther in your homemaking!  You should really check it out!

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Swagg- Great, last mintue gift!

Hey Ladies!

I just wanted to throw this one out there, in case you are left in a jam with needing a last minute gift! There is a great new app for iPhone and Droid that was just released called SwaggSwagg lets you load all your gift and store rewards cards into your handy little app so you don't have to juggle all the cards around anymore, desperately trying to find them at the register.  Isn't that a great idea?!

I'm impressed!

When you get ready to purchase in the store all you have to do is show the cashier the card in your Swagg app and they can get all the information straight from there!  You can easily send or receive Swagg straight through the app as well.  How simple!  I love it!

There are hundreds of stores to choose from including top clothing stores, and even office suppliers and drug stores.  And since you send a general Swagg gift, the recipient is then able to apply it to any store in the Swagg database!  You just really can't go wrong!

I was sent a $20 to try the free app out and am planning to probably attribute it to Borders to purchase a couple of those books I was telling you I wanted the other day on my wish list!

OH- and I should mention that for every downloadof the app between now and the end of Decembe, Swagg will donate $1 towards Stand Up to Cancer!

Thank you to Swagg and Mom Bloggers Club for giving me the opportunity to try out the app!  Writing this post entered me to win a customized Swagg iPad but all opinions are honestly my own.

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

A little poll- how do you wear your socks! Help me out here!

Alright- I don't usually do this, but I would love whatever input you guys could give me! 

Let me explain.  For the last 7 years my husband and I have been debating over whether socks are "footed."  He contends that socks retain the shape of whichever foot you wear them on, so you should continue to always wear them on the same foot.  I, on the other hand, just. put. them. on! 

Just after we were married I had folded his socks and he got all frustrated because I had apparently folded righties with righties and lefties with lefties. I believe my response was something along the lines of,

"Crazy say what?!  Well, I ain't foldin' yo' socks no mo', fool!!"

And I haven't ever since.

What?  We kind of live in the hood!  Sometimes it brings out the ghetto in me!

Anyhoo!  Over the years, this little debate of ours comes up over and over again and we spar over it (all in good fun, but both being very sure that we are right!).  Well, it came up again last night, so we decided to finally put the discussion to rest be conducting very scientific polls on FB and my blog!

So please weigh in- right over there on the left!  (If you are reading in a reader you will have to hop on over to my blog to cast your vote in the left sidebar)

Oh, and by the way- my husband vows that he is going to come out with The Uni-Foot Shoe sometime next year if we all say that socks don't have a foot!  I keep telling him it is totally different, but he is adamant!  (We're both pretty head strong- I guess that's why we work!)

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Monday, December 20, 2010

My 2010 Christmas List

Let me just preface this list by saying it's a dream list and I have no prospects or expectations of receiving most (or any) of it.  This year I truly am thankful to just have a roof over my head and that fact that blogging actually allowed me to get gifts for my kids.  Alright, with that said I give you...

The Mama Kenz Christmas List 2010

1-  iPad. Hmmm... Well that's a no brainer!  Every day I find new reasons why I want need an iPad.  Here are just a few:

  1. I'm the Head Mama of Gabby Moms- the new blogging program for TEACH Magazine- and it's a LOT of work!  An iPad would make it much easier for me to get my work done and stay in contact with the Moms and my wonderful fellow staff at TEACH!
  2. I'm a blogger!  Hello!  Enough said.
  3. I'm a homeschooler and I work with a lot of downloadable curriculum (especially in my reviews for Heart of the Matter).  Being able to use iBook to read PDFs and show them to Rhythm would be HUGE for us! So helpful!  I can't even imagine!
  4. I'm a blogger
  5. I'm not a big fan of the calendar on my iPhone and have had my eye on this app that syncs with google for months!  I get all googly eyed about it!  (Haha- googly eyed for google!  I kill myself!)
  6. I'm a reader!  I would love to start simplifying my book stash to ebooks and many of the blogging book review programs I work with are starting to offer ebook formats.  I would save time, money and I'd be able to read while nursing in the dark!  AND my books would sync with my iPhone!  What is that, like, a quintuple score?!?!
  7. I'm a blogger.... :-)... But that also means I read blogs which would also be easier with the iPad.
  8. My computer is completely running out of space and outdated and I think that most of what I do could be conducted on the iPad for much less money than buying a new computer right now.
  9. I am beginning to teach childbirth and postpartum classes and it would be great to not only keep my notes on my iPad but all my Keynote presentations to deliver to my classes!  See all the business potential here?!
  10. They are just plain and simple the coolest piece of technology to come into existence in the last 30 years!

Hmmm... So maybe this post would have been better titled "Top 10 Reasons I Need an iPad!".

I like to tell myself that the real reason I won't be receiving one this Christmas is not because we are dead broke and couldn't afford it if we tried, but actually because I am patiently waiting for the second model to hit the market since it's sure to have major upgrades in memory and capabilities, not to mention a front facing camera for video chat, bug fixes and a likely lower price.  So yeah.  If you couldn't tell, I want an iPad.

2.  As long as we're talking about things I am REALLY not going to get, I might as well throw it out there that I would LOVE a Canon Rebel T2i!!  And Photoshop Elements!  Costco has a great package with lenses and everything!  It would be so nice to be able to take really awesome photos of the kids and take my blogging photos up to the next level.  *Sigh* Someday.

3.  Clothes!  Most of my wardrobe still consists of the fashions I was wearing in college, which just don't exactly speak to the style I would like to think I currently have!  I would specifically love a couple of pairs of leggings and pretty much anything from Down East Basics or Ann Taylor Loft.

4.  Books!  Here is my basic list-

Under a Maui Moon by Robin Jones Gunn (the first of the two books my favorite author came out with this year!)

Christy Miller's Diary by Robin Jones Gunn (and the second!)

Nowhere, Carolina by Tamara Leigh (I reviewed the first in this series earlier this year and really enjoyed it!  I wold love to read the second installment)

The Backyard Homestead (a cool book I just came across, all about producing your own food even if you don't have much land.  Kind of cool.)

Deceptively Delicious and Double Delicious by Jesssica Seinfeld (I have checked the first one out from the library before and we really liked it!  Great ideas!)

and lastly (for now)- Birthing from Within (which I need for the Childbirth classes I'm teaching)

5.  Curriculum- I know it seems silly, but I would really love to get Galloping the Globe so that I could start slowly working on preparing for kindergarten.

6.  A profession blog makeover!  I would love one by Graphically Designing, but am also well aware that I will never be able to afford one.  A girl can dream!

Alright- I'll stop myself there!  What are you wishing for this Christmas?!

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

The King's Christmas List- Review



If you are looking for a wonderful book to share with your children that teaches the true meaning of giving gifts at Christmas and what Jesus really wants, then you have got to get a copy of The King's Christmas List by Eldon Johnson.  This sweet story of Emma and her Honorable Gentle Dog Shu-Shu speaks in a way that is easy for children to understand to instill a great truth in them- that Jesus wants us to take care of others and by doing so we are giving Him the gift He truly wants.

My boys lap this book up and want to read it again and again.  Each time we read it I feel like they understand the principles of Christ-centered giving just a little bit better.  The back of the book even has suggestions for ways you can give by donating to blood:water mission or World Vision.

Why stop there though?  This is a great time of year to purge old toys to donate or give in a tangible way that your children can understand. You don't have to have a lot of money to take care of others and there is always someone worse off than you.  After all, it is more about your heart than it is about what you are actually giving.  Do what you can- Jesus knows where you're at.

 It's not too late to pick up this book to share with your kiddos this Christmas!

I received this book for free in exchange for honest review as a participant in the Book Sneeze program for Thomas Nelson.  All opinions are solely my own.

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball- Review

About This Book- courtesy of the Waterbrook Multnomah site

Can mysterious matchmaking booksellers bring two lonely hearts together in time for Christmas?

In a sleepy, snow-covered city, Cora Crowder is busy preparing for the holiday season. Searching for a perfect gift, a fortuitous trip to Warner, Werner, and Wizbotterdad’s (a most unusual bookshop) leads to an unexpected encounter with co-worker Simon Derrick. And the surprise discovery of a ticket for a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas Ball.

Every year, the matchmaking booksellers of the Sage Street bookshop host an enchanting, old-fashioned Christmas Ball for the romantic matches they’ve decided to bring together.

This year, will Simon and Cora discover a perfect chemistry in their opposite personalities and shared faith? Or will the matchmakers’ best laid plans end up ruining everything this holiday?

My Opinion-

Cute.  If I'm being frank (or maybe I should just be MacKenzie! :-), it was one of those books I wasn't entirely sure about when I first got it.  However, after the first chapter or so I was hooked.  I love a good little romance and this one definitely fit the bill with a good dose of Christmas spirit thrown in to get me in the mood for the holidays!

There was a bit of "magic" thrown in, which I am always leery of.  However, I do have to say that I appreciated the new perspective that Donita K Paul gave me of wizards- or at least the perspective of them in this book.  She talks about them a lot as wizened older people rather than mystical and related to the witchcraft movement.  I'm still not entirely sure what I think of the "magic" in the book but it wasn't offensive enough to deter me from reading.

If you are looking for a cute Christmas roman to read this season, Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball would be a good choice that you could definitely read before the 25th!  You can find this book here on the Waterbrook Multnomah Press website.

And here is a little promo video you might enjoy!

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Humbled and Thankful

"Babe"  My husband spoke in a hushed tone, standing in our bedroom doorway.


"Hey Babe!"

"What?"  I mumbled in my half-asleep, nursing a baby state.

"Can you come up stairs or will he wake up right now?"

"He'll wake up.  What's going on?"

"Someone left like 5 bags of groceries on our doorstep last night!"

Now I was awake.  Who could it have been?  Possibilities swirled through my head.  It's not as though I had been particularly quiet about our current circumstances (am I ever really that quiet about anything?), and just tend to vent (I know, I know- I'm working on it!) but never with the expectation that anyone do anything about what I've said.  It could have been anyone.

The constant stress of money that has been increasingly present in our lives just kind of comes out- bleh- but who isn't feeling the tightness of the economy?  I'm no worse off than a lot of other people.  And I mean for goodness sake, one of my best friends lives with the reality of having her sweet baby in the hospital every day!  Who am I, really, to be complaining?!

After a few more minutes I managed to get Lion Cub settled back into his sweet dreams and climb the stairs to find bags upon bags of food covering my kitchen table.  A variety of bags, proving my suspicions that it was a brigade of phantom givers.

Fairly anonymous products now grace the shelves of my fridge and pantry.  Although, a few "special" items were a dead giveaway as to the identity of at least one of the benefactors- Apple Cranberry Pie Filling, Pumpkin Bread Mix and Gingerbread Brownie Mix- all from Trader Joe's.  Seeing as how we don't have a Trader Joe's in these parts (yet) and this particular friend recently returned from California and served me Apple Cranberry Cider from Trader Joe's just last Friday when I was at her home, I'm more than a little certain that she was involved.  Her participation gives me a fairly good idea of who her accomplices were as well- likely the same women who blessed me beyond my dreams on my birthday last April.

And I just have to say that these ladies are some of the most lovely friends I have ever met!  They have no hesitation in sharing Christ's love, listening to His nudging and just giving, giving, giving!  I hold all of them dear, and yet many of them I really haven't even known that long.  They are beautiful women in every sense of the word!

We are humbled and grateful for this outpouring of generosity during a very difficult season.  If you are reading this ladies- THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!  A million times- THANK YOU!

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A logical look at Vampires and Werewolves

As a 17 year old freshman in college I stood up in front of my Public Speaking 101 class and delivered a persuasive speech on why you too should recognize the evils of Harry Potter.  So, suffice it to say, now being older and wiser, I am also not a fan of the Twilight craze that has surfaced a decade later. 

Beyond what I think of it spiritually however (which, I think, is fairly apparent), there have been a few things that have come to my attention or simply crossed my mind lately that I simply cannot ignore!

First of all, while perusing the latest status updates on Facebook the other day I noticed that someone had posted their results to an FB quiz that is supposed to determine what movie your life is most like.  Their answer...


Seriously?!  This is even an option?  I mean really?  Her life is most like... Twilight.  What, she has werewolves and vampires vying for her love in a small town in Northern Washington?

Huh.  That must be some kinda place.

And second, as long as we're really thinking about all of this, would you really want to be married to a vampire or werewolf?  I mean, can you even imagine nursing a baby vampire?!  Or werewolf for that matter!  I have a hard time with my 18 month old!  I can't fathom throwing fangs and the insatiable urge to suck blood into the mix!

I would have to argue that if all these vampire devotees really considered this important point they would hop on the first plain headed as far away from Transylvania that they could catch (or wherever the heck it is that Edward and Jacob dwell) and leave their vampire/werewolf fantasies in the dust!

Or is it just me?

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Check out my little breakdancer!

I haven't mentioned it, but Rhythm has been taking breakdancing/hip-hop classes lately and they are hilarious!!  He had his first show this past weekend, so for all of your viewing pleasure, here he is! 

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Cookies!

Well, this is definitely one time that I really wished I would have been able to use my BOSCH!!  However, I was at my mother's house when we made the dough for our butter cookies, and as many of you know my cookie paddles had a bit of a mishap so I wouldn't have been able to use my BOSCH if I had been home anyway.  (although my replacement paddles should be here soon!)

What a ham!  He can't even bake cookies without trying to get attention!
So, we ended up mixing the cookie dough by hand!  Ugh!  Well, to be fair, I should be honest and say my mom pretty much did the mixing, but I empathized with her and took care of two crazy boys while she did it, so that has to count for something!

Once we got that done we were so exhausted that we only baked one batch!  Haha!  However, she did send me home with a bunch of dough to toll out when I was feeling more up to it.  So, over the weekend I finally went for it and cut out and baked Christmas cookies with the boys!

My little kitchen helpers!
Can I just say I am really glad that nobody ended up with a concusion from all the swinging around of the rolling pin they were doing?!  Seriously!  Eventually we did get all the dough (that didn't end up getting eaten raw) cut into festive Christmas shapes and for that one night they were glorious and delicious.

I did throw them into ziplock bags however that caused them all to taste like plastic by the next day, so their scrumptiousness was short lived.  Hey I tried!

He had to get his apron on!
Next year I will definitely be employing the use of my BOSCH Universal Plus Mixer with the cookie paddles to make a much bigger batch, and hopefully assortment, for the Christmas season!  Maybe next year we will even get around to frosting them (which my husband prefers, and though it does make them prettier, I actually like them plain!  So, nanny, nanny booboo!).

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Trials of Breastfeeding an 18 Month Old

Can I be honest?  This is not my favorite age to nurse.  In fact, I loathe it!  I know- that sounds horrible!  But he is just so handsy!  His little fingers are all over the place- in my mouth, up my nose, in my belly button, scratching me, picking at me, poking me.  He drives me crazy!

Squinty, silly face!
And he grazes!  A little here, a little there, ten minutes later a little bit more.  As I am nursing him right before bed I feel like I am being slowly tortured to death.

So, if it's that bad, why in the world do I keep doing it, right?!  Well, too many reasons to stop for, obviously.

-I know all the health reasons for a toddler to still be drinking breastmilk and I cannot deny them.

-I know that it should hopefully help ward off ear infections, which he is already prone to, so whatever I can do to help seems worth it.

-It is still such a useful tool!  It helps him (and therefore me) sleep at night and calm him if he is especially upset or crazy.

-There are those rare shining moments that he contently looks up at me, his eyes light up and he smiles (nipple still in mouth) and it is precious. (although he does usually follow such a look up with a slap to the face- kinda ruins it.  Oh, wait- these are supposed to be my reasons to continue... oops)

-I don't feel that he is old enough yet to understand why he would be cut off.  I weened Roman at 2 years old and he "got" it.  I don't think it would be fair to him to sever the supply just yet.

-There are health benefits to me too!  Any less risk I can have of getting breast or other female-related cancers is good by me!  Especially since I wasn't breastfed.

-I would get totally engorged if I quit right now!  I know that over the next 6 months he will slowly nurse less and less which will lead to less discomfort for both of us on quitting day.

First play in the snow!
I know this is all controversial.  Some people look at me in amazement (and as though I just grew a third eye in the middle of my forehead) when they find out I am still nursing him (keep in mind how big he is!).  Others try to force a smile and offer a simple "Hmmm," or "Oh" when they find out that I will not let him nurse until he is 4 (which he probably would if I let him) or whenever he decided to quit.  I find very few people who land in the middle with me, but that's ok.  Offending people has never been a factor in my deciding to breastfeed or not, it has always been about my babies, myself and my family and it always will be.

So for now- I will forge ahead for Lion Cub.  I will tolerate his antics (and possibly resort to putting him in a straight jacket) and deal with it.  I will even do my best to have a good attitude about the whole thing!  Although, deep down, I will probably be looking forward to the day that we are done.

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

CSN Giveaway!!

Alright Ladies! I thought I would have this up last week, but none the less, here it is!  The $45 Gift Card to CSN Stores is yours for the taking!!  These puppies are handy because CSN is a network of over 200 different stores with almost anything you can think of!  I picked up some great deals on toys for my boys for Christmas and have and mind to maybe even pick up a few little kitchen items for myself!

Required Entry:
Visit and tell me one thing you would like to get (how much easier could this be?!).

Extra Entries:

  • Blog about this giveaway (leave a link to the direct post)
  • Subscribe to or Follow The Mama Kenz Studio
  • Post The Mama Kenz Studio button on your blog
  • Follow The Mama Kenz Studio on Facebook
  • Follow Me on Twitter & Tweet about this giveaway, using this tweet:

"@ChicMama is giving away a $45 gift card to at The Mama Kenz Studio- ! Go enter NOW!"

Thanks for entering and good luck!

This gift card is being given away from and was given to me free of charge as one of their preferred bloggers.

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The fluffiest dinner rolls you've ever tasted!

You may remember me mentioning Marmee's Sunday Night Dinner Rolls last week from her Bread Basket cookbook.  Well, after posting I realized that I had never told you guys about these delightful little puppies before!  So, today is the day!

Wish I had a better picture!  This one really doesn't do these amazing rolls justice!

As with any recipe I am leery about it until I, and more importantly my family, taste it!  Well oh my heavenly stars, the first time I popped a bite from on of these little morsels in my mouth I knew they would be a staple in my freezer whether my family liked them or not!

In fact, all the better if they didn't like them cause that would mean more for me!

As luck would have it though, they did like them... a lot!  We seriously have these with dinner whenever we can!  The recipe makes a huge batch so there are plenty to freeze, eat and even share with others!  I have even given these as a birthday present to more than one friend this year (don't laugh!  I'm serious about my bread!).

Another favorite of ours is spreading these rolls with cinnamon and sugar before we rolling them and having them after the meal for dessert!  Sooooo yummy!  Rhythm would solely eat these for dinner if I would let him!

So- just one more fantastic reason to get a BOSCH Universal Plus Mixer!  OH- AND!  I wanted to mention the customer service!  remember a couple of months back when I mentioned how a fondant recipe gone wrong nearly destroyed my mixer!?  Well, that blasted fondant actually bent the metal posts on the driver for my cookie paddles and caused some sort of grinding to start happening within the actual mixer bowl.  Ugh!  So, Marmee put me in touch with L'Equip (the manufacturer) and they sent me a brand new bowl and the brand new cookie paddles are on their way!  Such great customer service and I am sooooo thankful!  Thank you L'Equip & Marmee!

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

The plan. revised

Where the heck have I been?!  Well, first of all I have been working like a crazy person on Gabby Moms- the new blogging program I am heading up for TEACH Magazine!  On top of that, it is just a super busy time of year!  For instance- I am two days behind in my baking post for this week!  Ahhh!  I will definitely be getting that up TODAY (so sorry Marmee)!!

Tuesday was crazy busy- so much so that at this point I can't even remember what I was doing, I just know I was on my feet all day!  Then yesterday I was out of the house almost all day between MOPS, watching my friend Christa's kiddos while she and her husband went to see baby Ella in the hospital, Rhythm's hip-hop/breakdancing classes and having dinner at my grandma's!  Phew- I'm tired just typing all that!

So, I thought if I let all of you know what I have planned coming up here at The Mama Kenz Studio, hoping it will give me a little accountability!  Check it out (btw- it's been revised a bit!):
  • Baking post for Marmee's Bread Market- today
  • CSN $45 Giftcard Giveaway begins- Monday
  • Breastfeeding an 18 month old post- Monday
  • Easy Lunch Boxes Review and Giveaway- Tuesday Morning
  • Christmas Baking Post- Tuesday Evening
  • Christmas wishlist post- Wednesday
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Review and Giveaway- Thursday
  • New Years planning and talk of resolutions (printable included & ways for YOU to get involved!)- This weekend

And here is what I have planned for The World According to Them:
  • Preschool Corner- Christmas- Friday
  • Christmas gifts for the boys- Monday
  • Tiny Talk Tuesday- Tuesday (duh!)
  • He finally flushed something down the toilet!- Wednesday
  • Rhythm's Hip-Hop/Breakdancing Show- Thursday
  • Preschool Corner- More Christmas- Friday
  • Summer Catch-up post- Saturday

Ok- so that's a week out!  Hopefully I can stay on track and keep getting up early enough (and therefore going to bed early enough) to make it all happen!  I miss you guys and when my blogging goes on the back burner I realize just how meaningful it is to me!  Such an outlet that I need and miss!

Looking forward to being here more!

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Freezing Bread Dough is the Way to Go!

Today I wanted to share with you all a little bit more info about how my whole bread-making process works because there is a key point I think I have been leaving out.  You all know that I have been making all of my families bread from scratch using a Nutrimill and BOSCH Universal Plus Mixer from Marmee's Bread Market, since the middle of August.  I keep telling you all that it is easy and completely doable, and it really is because those machines are so amazing and take a ton of the work out of the whole bread-making ordeal.

HOWEVER, the biggest advantage that my BOSCH affords me is the ability to make in bulk!  If it weren't for bulk bread-making I know I wouldn't do it- there simply wouldn't be the time.  Many of my favorite recipes from Marmee's Bread Basket Cookbook have a yield of 4-5 loaves of bread though, which is much more practical than 1 or 2 at a time!  Typically I will bake one (or two if I am giving one as a gift) and then wrap the rest of the pre-risen loaves of dough in freezer paper, through them in the deep freeze (or side-by-side freezer if I'm being lazy) and I'm good to go!

When we are getting low on bread (every 2-3 days) I just grab a frozen loaf in the morning, let it thaw slightly, pop it in a greased bread pan and then let it continue to thaw and rise the rest of the afternoon (or however long that particular bread tends to take).  This usually gives us fresh bread just in time for dinner and the aroma is so welcoming to usher my husband in the door to after a long day of work!

ALSO- I couldn't wrap up this post without mentioning Marmee's dinner rolls and soft buns!  Both of these rolls are soooooo yummy (seriously- like, the most delicate, airy rolls you have ever graced your mouth with!) and are wonderful to make a large batch of and freeze the rest (once again, pre-rising.  Just line them up on a cookie sheet for initial freezing and then transfer them to a food storage bag).  Get them out of the fridge a couple of hours before you are going to serve dinner and you will have piping hot dinner rolls by the time you all sit down at the table (well, if you throw them in the oven at some point, that is ;-).  And, I mean, what is really better than a nice juicy hamburger on a homemade bun!  Yeah Buddy!

And an aside on Marmee's dinner rolls- you end up rolling them into crescent rolls to bake, but if you freeze them pre-rolling (flat) between two pieces of freezer paper and then throw them in a baggie, you can use them for all sorts of recipes (like pigs in a blanket or whatever!).

I am just so in love with the ability to make all this wonderful fresh and wholesome bread for my family and am so grateful for the opportunity that Marmee gave me to own such a wonderful machine!  Thank you Marmee!!

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Monday, November 29, 2010

CSN Giveaway coming!

As a preferred blogger with CSN I have once again been given the opportunity to partner with them, and this time I thought I would spread the holiday cheer on to you all!  Later this week I will be hosting a giveaway for a really nice sized gift card to their over 200 stores, just in time for you all to do a little Christmas shopping!  You might even want to pick up one of their nice new TV tables (do you remember me mentioning this awesome TV table before- ya know, the one that I really want and would be the perfect thing to replace my husband's old, hideous, plastic, bachelor pad TV stand!), or some new toys for the kiddos!

Hop on over and give CSN a gander, cause after all, you could be winning a gift card there very soon!

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My BIg Fat Wonderful News!!!

So, last Friday I was contacted by Lorrie Flem of TEACH Magazine.  As you may remember, I am participating in her 6 month Step Up- Attitude is Everything program right now, and I had emailed to ask her if there was any work I could do for TEACH to work off my membership fee instead of paying through Paypal.  Well, as it just so happened, she had been thinking of me, but couldn't remember my name, and had been wanting to get ahold of me to do just that- work for TEACH! 

Doing what?  Well, TEACH is launching a brand new blogging program and she not only wants me to head it up but design and create the whole thing right along side her!  I am still a little in shock!  The Lord is so good to have worked out this whole thing and put me in a position that just fits me like a glove!

I have been working on the program the last few days, since accepting the position on Sunday, and the more I work on it the more ideas keep popping into my head!  This program is going to be unlike any other blogger program out there and I couldn't be more thrilled to be the Head Mama (as I am being called)!  It is a huge responsibility but it has also been a huge motivator to get out of bed  earlier in the morning and get the rest of my life organized too!

Plus, getting to work directly with Lorrie is a dream!!!  Ever since attending the homeschool conference that I heard her speak at last March (remember when I LIVE blogged about her?) I have dreamed that she would be my mentor someday!  I have already gotten to talk to her on the phone three times and she is such a joy to speak with!  She is just about the best boss in the world- giving me lots of free reign to make decisions and really take ownership of this project!  Can you tell I'm excited?!

Want to get involved?

So, I am sure you will be hearing lots more about this program in the future!  And, if by chance you think it is something that you might be interested in getting involved in then run over to TEACH, see if it is a ministry you think you could get behind, ask me any questions you might have about the program and send me your info (address, blog link, etc...)!  We have approximately 40 spots left to fill, so don't hesitate to spread the word!

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Recipes from Marmee for Thanksgiving!

Hey Ladies!

Well a couple of weeks ago we talked about some of the gadgets you might want to pick up from Marmee's Bread Market to make your Thanksgiving and the rest of your holidays a little bit easier, but today I wanted to share some of Marmee's recipes with you to make your Turkey day a little bit yummier!

Did you know that Marmee has some AWESOME recipes on her site for FREE?!  Wouldn't some fresh, homemade French Rolls sound good next to your stuffing and green bean casserole?!  Ooo- or wouldn't a nice Herbed Pull-Apart Bread make everyone drool as you set in on the table with steam rising and carrying the aroma all throughout the house?

What about Thanksgiving morning?  What are you going to serve your family so that they stay sufficiently full for that early dinner?  How about some Green Acres Famous Muffins or Mornin' Banana Bread?  There are so many other great options over on Marmee's site- you should really go give it a peruse!  Your family will thank you!

If you like what you see there, you also might consider getting one of Marmee's fantastic cookbooks!  I am still in shock by how many recipes she packed into The Bread Basket Cookbook for such a low price!  You just can't go wrong!

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh what a beautiful morning!

You all are aware of my struggle to get up earlier in the morning if you have followed my blog for any length of time.  You might remember that it was one of my New Years resolutions this year, and her I am, mid-November, still struggling.

Well, today, I had a breakthrough!  Seriously!  Some things happened over the weekend that were positively life-changing (I will soon be sharing them with you, but they are of a different subject completely, so I will reserve them to their own post!) and this morning I finally managed to get my booty out of bed at an earlier hour.  It still wasn't as early as I would like, but it was earlier, which is a step in the right direction.

A lot of it has come down to changing my perspective.  I have had to decide that getting up earlier is a reward rather than a punishment- not easy for a night owl from birth!  I have had decide to limit myself, make the conscious choice every evening, to save the things that I would normally stay up till all hours of the night, joyfully accomplishing, and wait to do them in the morning.  That way I actually want to get up in the morning- those awaiting tasks, that I enjoy, give me the motivation to get out of bed.

The view from my front window
I feel like I have a new lease on life.  As I look out my window and see the snow swirling around and accumulating all around, the rest of the world is heading into winter as I am finally coming out of it.  The spring I have so long awaited is here at last.  I feel refreshed and truly joyful, full of peace for the first time since I can really remember.

I awoke, made a cup of tea, read The Word, nursed my toddler back to sleep as I prayed and then was able to sit with my legs crossed on my couch, computer on my lap and just write/blog/email- it was precious and quiet!  It was time all my own and it was productive!  Just knowing that I had accomplished some of the things on my list for the day gave me the drive to make a better breakfast for my kids and got me cleaning prior to the last 10 rushed minutes before my husband arrives home from work.

This can work!  Jesus can help me- He promises He will!

Who knows, maybe tomorrow I will get up another half hour earlier!

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!