Speechless Sunday

Faith in living does not ask why. Faith in living asks how and does it.

Faith in living does not ask why. Faith in living asks how and does it.

Lounge tip #25

799-thanksgiving-cartoonWe hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! If you were in the kitchen all day on Thursday or if you were hitting the sales yesterday at the mall, today is a great day to just sit and enjoy family.  In any case here are some great stories that you and your little ones can read.  The are all centered around the Thanksgiving holiday and being thankful.

Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving.
  The seven rambunctious Basset children decide to cook their own Thanksgiving dinner after their parents leave to tend to a sick grandmother.  Minor catastrophes and understandable chaos add to the charm of this rediscovered family classic. It is sentimental and perfect for the holiday.

Eve Bunting, How Many Days to America: A Thanksgiving Story,
The story of contemporary pilgrims leaving what is familiar with some of the same fears and hardships the early pilgrims faced.  Ages 4-8

Barbara Cohen, Molly’s Pilgrim
A young Jewish immigrant tells her friends the story of Thanksgiving, and they learn that it takes all kinds of pilgrims to make Thanksgiving. Ages 5-10

Joy Cowley, Gracias: The Thanksgiving Turkey
Joy Cowley’s Thanksgiving picture book is illustrated with colorful oil paintings by Joe Cepeda. A young Hispanic boy, Miquel, lives with his grandparents in a city apartment. His father sends him a turkey to fatten up for the holiday. Instead, the bird becomes Miquel’s pet. Its life is spared when it is unexpectedly blessed by the priest. Gracias The Thanksgiving Turkey is an engaging story that will appeal to four- to eight-year-olds.

Alice Dalgleish, The Thanksgiving Story

James Daugherty, The Landing of the Pilgrims
The story told by a Newbery medal author. Ages 9-12

Barbara Greenwood, A Pioneer Story A Pioneer Thanksgiving :A Story of Harvest Celebrations in 1841
A weaving together of stories, information, and activities to create a tapestry of pioneer life.  Wonderful illustrations, great family book.  All ages.

Helen Haidle, Thank You, Dear God!
A board book for little children about things to be thankful for.

B.G. Hennesy, One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims
A thanksgiving book for two- and three-year-olds.

Anna Kamma, If Your Were at the First Thanksgiving,
The historical details of the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth.

Verla Kay, tattered Sails
A pilgrim family journeys across the ocean and comes to freedom in America.

Patricia Lakin,  Fat Chance Thanksgiving
A lonely girl, newcomer to a housing project, decides to get everyone in the building together for Thanksgiving; getting to the heart of thankfulness.

Julian Scheer, A Thanksgiving Turkey
Gorgeous illustrations in a story about a boy and his grandfather who hope to shoot a wild turkey in the woods, and then deliberately miss the shot.  A wonderfully tender story about youth and old age.

Chief Jake Swamp, Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message
According to the author, Chief Jake Swamp, the text of this picture book is “based on the Thanksgiving Address, an ancient message of peace and appreciation of Mother Earth and all her inhabitants” that comes from the Iroquois. The striking illustrations, acrylic paintings on canvas by Erwin Printup, Jr., capture the beauty of nature with drama and simplicity and complement the message of Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message This is another book the entire family will appreciate.


Enjoy these books around a fire or on the beach.  Wherever you are, appriciate what you have and give thanks!  Explain to your children about being thankful, help them realize that there is more to be thankful for than their favorite toys.  (Siblings, food, shelter, clean water ect.)

Have a great day!


Reneca and Kalisha

Q is for Queen; R is for Rainbows

letter-q1There are some really fun things to do with the Letter Q!

Encourage your children to ask questions! I know lately Journey’s favorite question is “Why?” and she will ask why until she can’t ask why anymore. I never knew I could run out of answers so quickly! Maybe I need to take this advice and ask more questions myself so that I can have more answers! Whew! Read this article I found and find the strength to answer the “why?” question.

  • Sing some Letter Q songs!
  • A great riddle to help you child remember that after the letter Q always comes the letter U is:
    Q and u are stuck like glue!”


  • Print and color this page…




Felt Quilt

What You Need:
  • Felt
  • Glue
What You Do:
  • Give each of your children a few felt squares in different colors. Let them come up with a design and then glue them into quilt. Pretty easy and toddler and preschoolers love gluing–encourage them to do it on their own (don’t let the OCD come out in you if the squares are not perfectly lined up!)

Queen Crown:

What You Need:
  • Poster Board
  • Glue
  • Paint/Crayons/Markers
  • Glitter
  • Various other Art Supplies (ribbon, beads, other shinny things)
What You Do:

Do you have some old toilet paper rolls laying around and you don’t know what to do with them? I have an idea! Make a Queen…here’s how.

*For your Q page glue either coloring sheet on your piece of construction paper. Add pictures from magazines on online.


letter_rNow, on to the letter R.  The Letter R is a very reliable letter.  It only says rrrr as in rat.  This makes this letter very easy to learn (phonetically). Take time today to go talk about word that start with the letter R, such as: rabbit, rain, rake, ram, ran, rat, red, ring, rip, road, ride, rod, roll rope, rose, rub, run.  With these words make:

  • Flash cards by writing each word on an index card or small squares cut out of construction paper 
  • Play a memory game by writing each word on an index card and also an coordinating picture on another card.  Have you child flip cards face down and try to match the word to its picture.
  • Make an itsy bitsy r book. Kaleah loves to make these little books, especially now that she can read the sentences.
  • Recognize pictures that start with the letter R and trace the letter.
  • Ribbon Dance – Tape ribbon or streamers to a straw, put on some music, and dance.
  • Tell riddles.
  • Have a relay race.
  • Here is a great song to sing with your little ones

                    LETTER R SONG (tune of John, Jacob, Jingleheimer Schmidt)

Rocky R loves to rock and roll
Along with his pet rhino.
For words that start with R
The people will go far!
Words like Rocky and his rhino’s rock and roll

  • Make rainbow stew! 
  • Materials Needed:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 4 cups water
  • Food Coloring



(Kids, get an adult’s help with this recipe!)

Mix together all ingredients in a sauce pan. Stir constantly and heat until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool.

Divided the mixture into three bowls. Add a different color of food coloring to each bowl (1-red, 1-blue, 1-yellow). Put approximately three tablespoon of each color into a zip-lock bag. Seal the bag and tape the top closed. Knead the baggie to mix colors just enough to look like a rainbow. Lay bag down on a hard surface and gently press to flatten it. You can hang it in your window when finished.

* Another idea for this activity is to put the mixture in a clear glass jar (You can increase the recipe and add more colors).  If you do this you do not have to mix it in a baggie, just do it in the bowl.  The jar would make a great gift, just tie a pretty bow around the top and tell them to place it on the window seal.



  • Or if you haven’t gotten your child a Rover of their own, have them make pet rocks! All you need are rocks, paint, and glitter (optional). Have your children gather rocks about the size of their fists. Next have them paint the rocks and add faces to make cute pet rocks. (google eyes look pretty cool on the rocks)

*For your letter r page: Print and cut out this letter R template.  Have your child color it like a rainbow and glue it on your R page.  Find pictures in magazines, or online of the many words that begin with the letter R.  OR click and print the Letter R coloring sheet above and glue that to your page. 

*Have a wonderful day! Come back tomorrow, when you want a quick break from cooking, or even your relatives! (LOL!)

Reneca and Kalisha


Out of Sight, Out of Mind!

Household safety is an ongoing process; whether you have a baby, a curious toddler or an independent preschooler the goal is still the same. We have found a childproofing product that really gives meaning to the phrase; Out of sight, Out of mind!. It’s the coverPlug.

Uncovered electrical outlets are just too tempting to any child or baby to resist. We both had become frustrated with the single outlet covers that only masked the problem. Still our children would be tempted to pull those covers off. Really defeating the whole purpose of covering the outlet in the first place.

Now we have discovered a way to cover the entire outlet using the simple and quick, coverPlug! This is one of those products you kick yourself and think; Why didn’t I think of that?! Not only does the coverPlug keep outlets out of sight, but you can paint them to match any wall color. In three easy steps the coverPlug allows you to keep your house super safe.


  1. Paint it! Use the same paint used on your surrounding walls for an exact match.
  2. Press it into place! The post on the back of the Cover Plug align with the ground openings of a double outlet. No tools are needed and it is easily removed (by an adult).
  3. Outlets disappear! The entire outlet is covered and once painted the coverPlug provides a visual and physical barrier to the outlet.




As Mothers we know that the only sure way to keep your child from getting into things that are dangerous is to just remove it all together. That’s exactly what the CoverPlug does and much more! The coverPlug does double duty as childproofing and design. It just makes your walls so seamless and much more pleasing to the eye.

********It’s a GIVEAWAY!********

We would love to share the experience of the coverPlug with one of our lucky readers! You will win 4 coverPlugs of your very own to use in your home! 

 How to enter:

Entry #1 : Visit the coverPlug website and come back and tell us what feature of the CoverPlug you like the best and where in your home would you use it.

Extra Entries – #1 must be done first.

(Leave a comment for each)

* Blog about this contest with a link to this post and coverPlug.

*Follow us on Twitter and post on Twitter about the contest.

One winner will be chosen!

*We will be using a random number generator to select the winner.
* Contest ends at 11:59pm on Monday December 8, 2008. If the prize is not claimed in 48 hours a new winner will be chosen.

*Contest open to U.S. residents only.

*The winner will be announced on our blog (and emailed) Tuesday, December 2!

Toys, Smoys…and a new vacuum?!

I consider myself lucky that these past two Christmases have been pretty much a surprise to Journey and Faith didn’t have a clue. This year is another story. I must admit that I let my girls watch Dora, Diego, and sometimes Spongebob on Nick Jr. That is the time I get to either blog, cook, crochet or sneak into the bathroom to eat chocolate! While they love to watch their shows–I hate the commercials in between. All I hear during commercial breaks is, “I want that!” “I want that!” “I want that!” “Mommy! I want that!” Really. Journey repeats it like a million times. At first I was trying to be a good sport. I would say, “Ok, Let Mommy write that down so I can tell Santa.” Then my response changed to, “You don’t have to tell Mommy. I already know.” Or, “Don’t worry. Santa knows everything you want.”

I thought we had mediated this problem when one day something came in the mail that took us three steps back. The Walmart Toy Catalog! Can you believe it?! To occupy Journey one day during a naptime that she refused to lay down for. I gave her the toy catalog and a marker. I explained that whatever she liked she could mark with her marker.  Not to my surprise she marked practically everything in the whole catalog! I never said that I would get the things she marked–I just wanted to keep her busy for a while. The catalog stayed around for a couple of weeks more until the fighting over the toy catalog weared to much on my nerves and I had to throw it away.

I remember when I was a child my Mom would give me the catalog to look through and mark, but she would actually get me some of the things that I marked off. I felt kind of guilty letting Journey go through and see all the toys that I most likely will not buy. To be honest with you I haven’t even stepped foot in a Target, Walmart or K-Mart in over a year! I really don’t feel too bad though because I just discovered that my kids love something more than shiny new toys! (Who am I kidding right?!) In the absence of shiny new toys my daughters love something much more!



That’s right! Who needs toys when there is an abundance of dirt out there. Monkey Bread Tree’s girls also love dirt! They actually got to play in a whole truckload full of dirt…lucky girls!

I had this amazing realization this weekend after coming home from the park. We have a back entrance that borders the side of our house. There is strip of dirt that I’ve tried to garden, but nothing will grow there because there are so many rocks. For some reason Faith and Journey decided that they wanted to play in this dirt. Both told me they were busy making castles and playing in dirt. So, I left them there and went inside to actually sit on the couch and crochet. Don’t worry I could hear and see them through the window in my living room. I want to say that they played together in the dirt for at least 20 minutes! I was in shock!


I always joke around that where ever there is dirt, my girls will find it and roll around in it. Now I know that they don’t need toys for Christmas. They just love dirt; measuring it, piling it up, laying in it, and I must admit sometimes tasting it.

Growing up my cousins and I sang this little rhyme about dirt…

“God made dirt. And dirt don’t hurt. So, put it in your mouth. And let it work!” HA!


 It is always good to know that Mother Nature always provides the best and most importantly, free entertainment!

—-I have one more special announcement!

In order to clean up all this dirt we will be hauling in for Christmas I need a new vacuum! The Secret is in the Sauce is having a giveaway and one lucky SITsa will win a Bissell Healthy Home Vacuum! Yipee!

5770-sEveryone please cross your fingers and toes for me! Brett would love it if I won a vacuum–he is always asking if our vacuum works because I hardly use it!

Reneca’s menu (HELP! I need recipes for LO Turkey!)

Written by Reneca

This week is going to be a short week for our menu.  We are going to be eating Duan’s parents Wednesday throughFriday.  SO… this is what I know will be on the menu. I need your help…. I’m need some recipes of different ways to use LO turkey!  Please leave leave a comment!!  Thanks!




Monday: Cream of Wheat, grapes, and toast
Tuesday: Banana pancakes
Wednesday: Peach baby cakes
Thursday: We are bringing a spinach Quish for brunch.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING
Friday: egg and bacon sandwiches
Saturday: French toast
Sunday: bagles, yogurt and strawberries


Monday: fish shaped tuna sandwiches with raw spinach
Tuesday:Grilled flatbread and cheese strips and green beans and apple slices
Wednesday: Fried rice with chinese veggies and smoothie
Thursday:??? I dunno yet.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Friday: ???? 
Saturday: Left overs
Sunday: Turkey sandwiches LO veggies


Monday:Morrocan Chicken and veggies
Tuesday: Speghetti, and breadsticks
Friday: Maybe fondue night (with whole family)???
Saturday: What other way can you use LO turkey?
Sunday: Turkey noodle soup, rolls

Go check out what’s on everyone else’s meal plans at orgjunkie Menu Plan Monday!

Short and Sweet Menu Plan Monday

Written by: Kalisha

Hey! Well, this week will be a short version of Menu Plan Monday because we will only be home two days this week and then after Thanksgiving I’m sure leftover turkey will be the staple. Turkey, Turkey, Turkey!

I do have a recipe that I want to share with you…it’s called Chicken Nugget Macaroni! Trust me it is good!

What you need:

  • Cooked and diced chicken nuggets (Quartered)
  • Cooked macaroni noodles (however much you need for you family)
  • half a bag of frozen (or fresh) whole leaf spinach, cooked
  • I can of cream of chicken soup

What to do:

Prepare the noodles, drain. Then add the spinach and cream of chicken soup, mix well. Add the chicken nuggets in last. Voila! Chicken Nugget Macaroni!

I think the next time I make this I will add a little milk and butter to the mixture before I add the chicken nuggets to make more of a sauce. But it was good this way too. Let me know if you try it out and how you like it.



We will be having…scrambled eggs, maybe oatmeal and fruit.


Leftovers, PB and J sandwiches, veggies and fruit…


Spaghetti with meat sauce, Grilled Cheese or Salmon Patties (Mmmm! I made these this weekend and they reminded me so much of my Grandma!)

Alright! That’s it. Until Thanksgiving Dinner (which my mother-in-law is cooking). I think I will make some dessert, but I haven’t decided yet.

Let’s see what’s on everyone else’s meal plans at orgjunkie Menu Plan Monday!

Speechless Sunday


Kiara and Kaleah (2006)

Lounge tip #24

superstock_1487r-60459Women often hide behind their hair.  Whether it’s short or long, curly or straight, having a good hair day can make us feel our best.  Here are a few homemade conditioners that will help keep your hair feeling soft and smooth.


Avocado & Egg Yolk
Mash a small avocado and combine with an egg yolk. Apply to hair for 15 minutes, then rinse and wash your hair as usual. This is a great moisturizing mask for your hair.

Yogurt Hair Mask
Beat 1 egg white until foamy. Add to 6 tablespoons plain natural yogurt. Apply to hair in small sections at a time. Leave in for 15 minutes. Rinse.

Sunflower & Wheatgerm Oil
Mix 1 cup of sunflower oil and 1 cup of wheat germ oil. Warm the mixture and massage it on the head and hair. Wash off with lukewarm water in which one tablespoon of lemon juice has been added.

Mayonnaise Conditioner
Apply 1/2 cup of mayonnaise to damp hair. Work into hair and then cover with a shower cap or towel for up to 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and then shampoo as usual.

Mi Vida Loca! TT #4

Written by: Reneca

We had a rough day today (which is why I’m posting this so late).  It was truly one of those days when you want to cry, pull your hair out, and roll over laughing.  Such an emotional roller coaster has phening for my soft comfy bed! Any who, this is a short list of what we did today.

  1.  The day started at 4 am exactly.  I get a phone call from my brother.  I can’t help but think, he must need us to come pick him up after partying to hard.  To my surprise, he isn’t on the other end. It is another man.

“Is this Reneca?”
“Can you please tell me the relation you have with Damion?”
“He’s my brother.”
“Well, he has been in an automobile accident…”

Of course my heart drops. I’m stunned.  So I pop up, wake Duan up and jump in the car.  Mind you, DJ wakes up and is crying, its about 20 degrees out side and drizzling (I have to first scrape the windows) and I forgot to put my bra on.

When I get to the hospital I find out he is okay, concusion, and a strained neck. Sigh of relief!  Things could have been much worse. 

     2. We get home in just enough time for me to do Kaleah’s hair (thank God, that would have been a disaster, but funny, if Duan had to do it).  So I scramble to make sure she has everything for her day, and Duan takes her to school.

     3.  I get to go to sleep.  But only for about an hour.  I had such a busy day planned I couldn’t sleep long. 

     4.  After my short nap, I got DJ and Kiara dressed, and made grilled cheese and turkey sandwiches to go. (I managed to wash up somewhere in there)

     5.  Off to pick up Kaleah.  Thankfully another mom watches the kids in the car so it wouldn’t take me 5 minutes just to pull them out. 

     6.  Gave the kids their lunch, so they could eat as we went to the Girl Scout store to pick up a few more things for Kaleah’s Daisy meeting at 3:30.

     7.  Tried to find the humor, patience and innocence in the kids taking out every single stuffed animal the Girl Scout store had while I searched for her Daisy pin. (Its a good thing that the Girl Scouts is ran with such great values, other wise they would of kicked us out.)

    8.  Finally we touched back down at the house. I put Kiara down for her nap and tried to do the same for DJ, but he popped right back up as soon as his head hit the bed. So instead of compounding my already aching head with his whaling, I let him play.

   9.  It’s 2:40 pm and I’m running around like crazy woman in a white padded room; rushing to get every thing packed for the meeting.

  10.  Found out DJ put a domino in the printer, so the parent letter wouldn’t print.

  11.  Kaleah and I get to the school at 3:30 pm ( the time the meeting is supposed to start). Oh did I mention, I’m her leader?!  What a perfect first meeting with the leader late.

  12.  Have you ever been in a room with 5 kindergardeners, right after school, who are hungery, tired, and restless from sitting around at school.  Sounds like a blast, doesn’t it.  We actually did have a really great meeting.  Made our snack box, and talked about healthy snacks. 

  13.  After homework, dinner, and bed time stories, I am here writting this post.  As I’ve read over it, I have come to a few conclusions:

  • Life is precious, so no matter if you are having a bad day, at least you are alive to have it!
  • Kids are innocent.  They can have fun any where.
  • I love my husband.  He continuoulsy called to check in with me through out the day just to give words of encouragement.
  • At the end of the day, all you can do is stay in the moment and enjoy life. Good or bad  it is what you make of it.

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