Muffin Tin Lunch

I struggle with lunch time. It seems to sneaks up on me most days and our lunches lack variety and are well...quite boring.

When I saw this idea for muffin tin lunches on Chrissie's blog, I knew we had to try it. Just to add some fun to our lunches!  Who would have thought that putting typical lunch time fare in a six cup muffin tin would bring giggles and smiles at lunch time.  My kids loved it! 

Has anyone tried this before? What would you put in the tins for lunch?

Our muffin tin lunch: goldfish, mini pbj (cut with mini cookie cutter), applesauce, string cheese, strawberries, carrot sticks and ranch dressing
Yum! Little man enjoying his lunch
Yes, she is still in her pj's at lunch time!

Check out Chrissie's blog Flipflops and Applesauce. It is filled with fun, creative, inexpensive things to do with your kids.  So many wonderful ideas!


ABC's of me

A. Attached or single? attached
B. Best friend? Lance, and I have some wonderful girlfriends but I don't know that I have a "best friend"
C. Cake or pie? oh...not a huge fan of pie so I guess I would say cake
D. Day of choice? Sunday- usually very relaxing with lots of lounging and naps
E. Essential items? laptop, ipod, bible, water bottle, contacts/glasses, running shoes, a good book, planner/calendar
F. Favorite color(s)? i don't have a favorite- i like most of them
G. Gummy bears or worms? both
H. Hometown? St. Peter, MN
I. Favorite indulgence? fountain cherry pepsi or vanilla frozen yogurt with hot fudge or crushed oreos
J. January or July? July for sure - my birthday and its hot and sunny
K. Kids? 3 kiddos
L. Life isn't complete without? Jesus, my salvation, my family
M. Marriage date? December 21, 1996
N. Number of brothers or sisters? 4 brothers, 2 sisters
O. Oranges or apples? both - apples especially in the fall (macintosh are my fav) 
Q. Quotes? "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" by Eleanor Roosevelt (I like the quote just hard to live by) 
R. Reasons to smile? i am heading to MT in two days to meet my two sisters and their families and my brother - i haven't seen any of them in a year
S. Season of choice? i like something about every season. i always look forward to each season - fall with cooler temps and changing colors, winter with snow, spring warmth and new growth, summer for pool days and hot weather 
T. Tag 5 people: Bethel Ladies, Val, Alana, Janelle, Earen, and anyone else who wants to play
U. Unknown fact about me. My family says I am the booger patrol. I can't stand boogie noses!
V. Vacation of choice? give me a beach, sunshine, sand, a great book and i am there  
W. Worst habit? too much time on the computer
X. Xray or ultrasound? ultrasound
Y. Your favorite food? chocolate chip cookies, popcorn, strawberries, corn on the cob
Z. Zodiac sign? cancer...but i am not into signs



Hello my name is Kristen and I am a copycat.  I rarely come up with creative or inventive ideas on my own. Somehow that gene skipped me, so I take ideas from other people and either tweek them or copy them completely.

About seven months ago, I saw this post on Lindsey's blog.  We have the same type of space in our kitchen so when I saw her incredibly creative idea, I just knew I wanted to tackle that project.  Well, I FINALLY got to making my fabric covered sound boards last week.  I was a little nervous as this is out of my normal crafty zone (which is quite narrow).  It was a super easy project and I am so excited to put them to use. No more cluttered refrigerator doors. No more cluttered school room. I now have a large space to put school work and pictures. AAH - feels so good!  Now to buy some of Lindsey's cute push pins to help decorate the boards.  (If you haven't shopped Lindsey's shop, stop by! She creates the cutest things. I am big fan and frequent shopper!)
Oh, by the way, another discovery, when your husband tells you "just go buy the paint and I will paint" he might now have been 100% serious.  Now the gallons (all 3 of them plus 2 quarts) of paint have been purchased and the walls are patiently waiting for their makeover while the kids and I are in Montana.


County Fair

Fried food.
Carnival rides.
Farm animals.
4-H exhibits.
All the ingredients needed for the fair.

Some of my fondest memories of my youth were spent at the county fair. We looked forward to fair time all summer long, even though it meant school would be starting soon.  There were the 4-H friends I saw only at the fair every summer, the fair food (yum!), the rides, and the freedom of roaming the fairground without parents.  

In my mind, the fair is one of those magical summer events.  When we lived in MN there were three county fairs within 20 minutes of our house, on three separate weekends, and we attended each fair. Every year.  Some of it was due to the fact that Lance had clients with cows at the fair so it necessitated him making an appearance, but most of it was because I love the fair.

Since living in Idaho we have attended the state fair but for one reason or another have been out of town for the county fair. Until this year.  On Friday night, we ventured out for our first Idaho county fair.  

The carnival was a typical fair carnival.  The food was great. The exhibits were a bit on the slim side (I was a bit disappointed in the lack of exhibits). But the biggest surprise about our local fair was that your admission ticket also pays for the evening concert. The concert on Friday night was.... Kelly Pickler former American Idol contestant. 

I think the fair, probably the state fair, will always be a part of our summer activities.  There is just something about the fair that just draws me to it year after year.

Here is a little clip I took of Landon on the mechanical bull. I am not sure who had more fun, Landon or Lance.



1. Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwich with cookies and cream filling. On Sale. At Target. Oh.my.word are they good. So good in fact I had to hide them from my kids.

2. Adjustable waist isn't just for kids or maternity pants anymore.  I was putting on a pair of shorts yesterday and noticed there was an extra button on each side.  Eat a little too much at the BBQ move the button out one.  Pure genius!  

3. My baby is the next Houdini.  She can get herself out of a buckled shopping cart in no time flat.  Now running errands has taken on a whole new set of issues. Help!

4.  If you get to Target at around 9 am, there is no one in the store. No one.  You can park close to the door. Even in the first row. Every person working asks if you need helping finding something. Maybe that would solve the dilemma of number 3.  I could just give them my list and they could shop for me. It might save me some money, instead of perusing the aisles, I will be trying to keep my baby from doing more tricks in the cart.

5. When your oldest niece turns 18, it makes you feel really really old. In my mind she should still be a little girl instead she is a beautiful young lady about to enter her senior year of high school. Happy Birthday Hannah! Love you!



My feet felt heavy like my shoes were filled with cement  as I took steps forward from the car towards the entrance to the chair lift.  You see, I have this fear of riding on chair lifts (or ferris wheels but I LOVE roller coasters). I do not like the feeling of floating out over space with nothing but hard ground below me. 

This past weekend, I caved to peer pressure (especially from my 8 year old who offered to hold my hand) and the frugal side of me who could not let my day pass to an adventure park go virtually unused, and rode a chair lift. Three times. In order to go on a half mile alpine slide at the Ski Bowl Adventure Park in Oregon.

The first time up, I was almost paralyzed with fear. I held on to the pole next to me and the guard in front of me so tight my knuckles were white.  I could hardly hold a conversation with my daughter who was trying to calm me and comfort me.  I was doing okay until the chair lift stopped. Halfway up the mountain. I started to panic. Tears streaming down my face. Searching for a way to get down (I knew it wasn't possible but I wasn't exactly thinking rationally). We did start moving again, after what seemed like forever, and I made it to our stop. Thank you Lord!

The ride down on the alpine slide was incredible! So. much.fun. You sit on a little two wheeled cart and cruise down the mountain on a concrete track.  It was an exhilarating ride down the mountain. I loved it so much, I climbed back on the chair lift to do it again. And again.

I wouldn't say that I quite conquered my fear. I do not have a desire to get on a chair lift again anytime soon.  (My arms were sore the next day from hanging on to the chair for dear life each time up the mountain.)  There was a point in each ride up the lift where we entered a very dense forest and there was a stream running down the mountain - beautiful and peaceful. I know I wouldn't have experienced that beauty without riding the chair lift.  I know my children saw me take on something I was fearful of and enjoy an experience with them.  I know my husband thinks that now I will go skiing this winter (not there yet)!  I know that I got my money out of my day pass at the adventure park. I know that riding on the alpine slide is one of the most exciting things I have done in a long time.  I know this is a memory I will share with my kids forever. Even if it meant riding on that chair lift.



The unplanned and spontaneous activities usually lend themselves to the best memories.  We had a weekend not long ago that was filled with spontaneous activities and it turned out to be one of the most fun weekends for our kids.

The weekend started with my neighbor Pat and I running in a local half marathon. We got up and out the door at o'crack of dawn as the race started at 7:30 am.  Our families were there to cheer us in and greet us at the finish line (he finished about 30 minutes before me).  As we were packing up to leave and talking about our plans for the day, we decided to that we should all go to breakfast.   We went to a local, little known diner to eat. The food was wonderful. Those little places always have the best breakfasts!  As we came into town we realized there was a parade going on for the rodeo which would start on Monday. We sat at a table where the kids could watch for the parade to start.  After breakfast we watched the rest of the parade on the street corner and walked around our downtown area for a little while - something we don't ever take the time to do.

On Sunday Morgan, Landon, and our neighbor Amiah decided to  make a lemonade stand.  They set it up, made signs, and marched up and down the street reeling in costumers for lemonade and popsicles.  It was a very hot afternoon but the kids were troopers as they sat outside waiting for business. 

While the kids were working the lemonade stand, I think they started planning their next adventure - a camp out in the backyard.  The one condition of the camp out was they needed a parent to sleep in the tent with them.  They worked their best whining begging pleading negotiation skills and convinced Pat to sleep in the tent with them.  They ate popcorn, played games, and jumped around in the tent until about 10 am.  Amazingly enough, they all slept in until about 8 am. I kept waiting for the door to open as soon as the sun came up.  I know this is one night of camping out they will not forget!

To end a fun filled weekend, when the kids woke up from their night of camping out we loaded up and went to the rodeo slack competition (all the cowboys and cowgirls trying to earn a spot in the rodeo).  We ate at the Buckaroo Breakfast hosted by the local 4-H club and watched a bit of the slack competition that morning.  It is an annual event my kids look forward to every year.   

I know these are memories my kids will cherish forever. I need to be better about saying yes to these impromptu activities. Seeing the delight and joy on my kids faces is worth it!


Decision Time

Last Wednesday I picked up the CD with the proofs from the kids' outdoor photo shoot.  I am very pleased with how well the photos turned out.  I put them in a video format so I could share with family (and any friends) who want to view them all. Now my big dilemma is how am I ever going to choose???

*photos taken by Brenda Pettinger


Ladies Night Out

I do not like to be the center of attention. I avoid any situations where I would have to speak or even just stand in front of a crowd.

Last Friday night, my comfort level was stretched.  I went to dinner with some sweet friends to celebrate my birthday and had to stand on a chair while our waiter and other wait staff sang/yelled Happy Birthday to me.  

A few minutes of embarrassment + a few minutes of being totally uncomfortable = free ice cream sundae. Worth it!

Thanks Shawna for organizing a night out!  Thank you ladies for spoiling me and making me feel so loved. It was fun to get out and enjoy time with you!


200th Post (one post late)

I missed my 200th post! On Friday when I posted the giveaway winners, it was actually my 200th post.  I was hoping to do something cute and clever like Denise did for her 100th post. But time (and lack of a great idea) got away from me,  so maybe for my bloggy anniversary or my 300th post.  Instead of something cute and clever, you get something I saw on Sarah's blog a long time ago but hadn't posted my own version.

Accent:  An accent, I don't have an accent. People from Minnesota don't have accents, don't ya know. Ya Ya!

I Don't Drink: Coffee...oh wait I just shared that tidbit on my birthday.  For those coffee lovers, I do enjoy the smell of fresh brewed coffee but the taste - UGH!  Something new...tea. I don't like tea except a chai tea latte.  For something warm I prefer hot chocolate.

Chores I Hate: Are there any chores I really enjoy??  I think it would be washing my kitchen floor.  It seems the minute I clean it, it gets dirty again.  It is just a never ending job.

Pets: Teagen - 8 year old golden retriever - best dog ever!  Chloe - 8 year old cat  Cait - 2 year old yellow lab who tests my patience daily

Essential Electronics: My macbook.  LOVE IT!  I love the convenience of a laptop and I love my iphot0 and imovies features.  So fun!  By far one of my top electronic purchases.  Another top essential is TiVo.  What was life like before TiVo? The ability to tape shows, especially when I wouldn't remember is wonderful and fast forwarding through commercials - aah so nice!
The other electronic item I use daily is my ipod.  I use it when I run and generally have it on most of the day for background noise.  Although it is in need of some new music - any suggestions?

Perfume: I am not much of a perfume kinda girl.  I have a hard time finding something I really like.  I do have a bottle of "Happy" that has lasted me... oh over 3 years.  Usually I just wear body splash (warm vanilla sugar) from Bath and Body Works.

Gold/Silver: It was definitely gold when I was younger but as I have gotten older I have definitely jumped ship to the silver team.

Insomnia:  When I am pregnant I spend many nights awake, reading or watching TV. It actually got progressively worse with each pregnancy.  With Mauryn I was only getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night.  

Job Title: Chauffeur. Chef. Referee. Maid. Errand runner. Activity planner. Schedule keeper.  Disciplinarian. The list keeps going on and on.... 

Most Admired Trait: The ability to be compassionate, caring, and open minded.  To see the good in people before seeing the negative things.  To be able to be honest and deliver honesty with love and kindness.

Kids: Morgan (8 1/2) Landon (4) Mauryn (20 months)

Religion: I am a Christian.  I grew up in the Lutheran church and attended a Lutheran church until almost 3 years ago when we moved to Idaho. We now attend a Nazarene Church.

Siblings:  I have six siblings - four brothers and two sisters.  I am number 5 in line.

Time I Woke Up:  I woke up to my alarm at 5:00 am.

Veggie I Hate:  Mushrooms - they are fungus. Enough said. I am also not a fan of peppers.

Worst Habit:  When I get nervous I tend to ramble and repeat myself.  I also probably spend too much time on the computer now that I have a laptop. Instead of cleaning around the house I will surf the net, blog, or catch up on email.

My Favorite Meal: I don't know that I have a favorite meal. I am pretty indecisive when it comes to favorite things.  The girls I used to teach with would laugh. When we used to go to lunch on workshop days I was predictable in what I would order: club sandwich or french dip. Every. single. time.  Although, I haven't had either in a very long time.  I have favorite foods like popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, apples, strawberries, tacos, pizza - but not a specific meal.


Giveaway Winners

I didn't forget! I used a very technical method for drawing the winners - handwrite names on paper, put them in a container and pick them out.   Here are the winners of my birthday giveaway:

$35 gift card to Barnes and Noble: Joy at Simply Joy(Happy Birthday!) 
$35 gift card to Target: Alana at A Kiss, A Hug, and A Squeeze
$35 gift card to Starbucks: Sarah at Short Stop - this made me laugh since I know how you can't stand starbucks. maybe you can find something you enjoy there :o) 

Congratulations Ladies!  Email me your addresses so I can send you your prizes :o)

Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes and I loved reading all your favorite birthday memories.


Photo Shoot

I have wanted to do an outdoor photo shoot with my kids for a long time.  I even purchased the perfect frame.  Five years ago.  The frame sat empty in my house in MN, made the move to ID, and continues to sit empty in my house. Behind our main level armoire.

On Wednesday, the kids and I met up with my friend Brenda on the greenbelt that runs close to our house.  There were beautiful open grassy areas, a dock down by the water, a wonderful climbing tree, ducks to feed, goats to pet, and flowers to smell.  We spent about two hours walking and exploring the greenbelt while Brenda took pictures of the kids. Some posed, some just as they walked and played.  In the end, she took almost 400 pictures.  Here is a preview of some of the pictures. I am so anxious to see the rest of them.  

I am finally going to be able to fill my frame. That is if I can pick which pictures to put in it. 

Thanks Brenda!  We had a great time!

I will be drawing for my giveaway today. Results of the random drawing will be posted after 6 pm MT.

Missing Home

I am missing home.  

I am missing my family whom I haven't seen in a year (except for my brother and his boys who came out in March for spring break - that was a treat). 

My nephew will have his first birthday in a month. I haven't held him since the day he was born. I haven't been able to watch his personality grow and develop.   When we meet in Montana next month, he won't even know me.

My oldest niece had her first prom this spring. I didn't get to see her dress or watch her get ready or take pictures.  

I am missing out on my nieces and nephews participating in choir and band concerts, track meets, football, volleyball, basketball, and softball games.

Over the past year my dad has had some health issues.  I am 1500 miles away and not able to do anything but pray and make phone calls. I can't be there to sit in the hospital or be with my mom.  

My older kids will remember their aunts, uncles, and cousins when they see them next month but my baby won't know them.  By the time she is comfortable and putting names with faces it will be time to say good bye again.

My heart is aching for home.  This is the first time since we moved, almost three years ago, where I truly feel home sick. In these moments of homesickness, I start to question our decision to move away.  Even though it was and continues to be the best decision for Lance's job (and we do like it here), it is hard to be away.  

This past weekend, most of my siblings were together for the 4th of July weekend. They went to our hometown parade and picnic in the park, watched fireworks, and the cousins played.  The hardest times to be away from home are not Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. I can prep myself for those events but its the little times when they get together that make me long for home the most.

In August, my sisters and their families and one of my brothers will travel from the Midwest to Montana to meet us for a week of vacation.  I can hardly wait!  Our kids will spend the week playing in the creek, exploring the ranch, visiting Yellowstone National Park, and making memories that will last them a lifetime. I can't wait to see them all running, playing, and laughing together.   It will do my heart good to be with my family.    

Even though I will get to see some of my family soon, I know my heart will still long for home.  I won't be seeing my parents. I won't be sleeping in my old bedroom or seeing my kids playing with my old toys. I won't be watching my mom make home made cinnamon rolls with my daughter.  I won't be taking little strolls around my parents five acres of farm.  

Every time I return home, I fall more in love with the place I grew up.  I know I didn't appreciate it during the time I lived there but the older I get and the longer I am away from home I find that is a place I can go to for renewal and relaxation. Something that does wonders for my soul.  

For today, I am missing home. Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully the longing for home won't be so strong.


What is it

with little boys, water, hoses or fountains, and a certain part of their body?

The boy: Hey mommy, it looks like I am p*****! (laughing as he is telling me in a LOUD voice for everyone at the park to hear)
Me: I guess it does son.  (oh brother!)

anyone else with boys have these moments??


Three and a Half Decades

(age 11 months)
It is my age as of today! At 10:16 am if we are going to get technical. The big three five

Why am I struggling with turning 35?  Maybe because many of my friends here are quite a big younger than I am - most haven't even hit 30 yet.  Maybe it's because now 40 doesn't seem so far away.  Maybe it's because my thirties seem to be going by in just a blur.  

But my birthday is here. There is no slowing down time or turning back the clock. I need to embrace this year and make it a great one. 

In honor of my birthday I am going to do my first giveaway! To qualify for the giveaway you need to leave a comment telling me about your best birthday or favorite birthday memory.  I will do a random drawing  for the giveaway on Friday July 11 after 6 pm MT (my mom's birthday)!

So what am I giving away???
- $35 gift card to Barnes and Noble because I love to read
- $35 gift card to Target because who doesn't love Target
- $35 gift card to Starbucks because my (four or five) faithful readers enjoy Starbucks (I am not a coffee drinker)

Good luck and I can't wait to hear about your best/favorite birthdays!



I would have never imagined, almost twenty months ago that the tiny sweet baby girl placed in my arms would be such a ball of energy and emotion.

As a newborn and even throughout most of her first year, Mauryn was a very laid back and easy baby. She rarely cried or fussed. She slept through the night by 7 weeks of age. She put herself to sleep and was on a great schedule by 3 months of age. She would play by herself on the floor or be content in the bouncy seat or bumbo watching what was happening around her. Easy. Content. Mild mannered. That was my babe until she became a toddler.

Somewhere between fifteen and eighteen months, Mauryn started to show a strong independent streak.  She knew exactly what she wanted but had a small vocabulary to use in expressing herself.  The tantrums would come and they were (and still are) fairly intense with squeals, stamping of feet, and flailing of her body.  

Mauryn is petite for her age but her spirit and personality can fill a room.  Her emotions run strong.  When she is happy she is so delightful. Funny. Silly. Charming. Pure joy.   When she is sad or mad, well it it not so fun.  She seems to not have a middle ground to her emotions. It is one extreme or another.  

I am trying understand this independent and spirited girl. I am watching her closely to learn more about her personality.  I am learning what methods work best in disciplining her.  I am learning to enjoy her joyful moments and be patient and understanding in the more challenging times.  

I can't imagine our family without her.  She has grown and changed so much from the content and quiet baby we brought home.  We are seeing glimpse of the person God created her to be.  I need to help her learn to channel her emotion and energy for the greater good.  It isn't always going to be easy or enjoyable but taking this journey with her is so worth it.  


Celebrating Independence Day

Lance had to work yesterday (cows don't take the day off), so the kids and I packed up in the morning to head to the local water park.  We arrived at the water park shortly before it opened and proceeded into the park.  There were families were lined up waiting for the rope to be removed to head into the kiddie pool area. You would have thought there was a great sale at a large department store the way people were pushing and holding "their position" in line. As soon as the rope went down, people went running for chairs and a bit of shade. Now I understand shade is important but YIKES! It was quite the scene. We were able to find some chairs, with a bit of shade, and enjoy some time playing and swimming.

Morgan sunning herself
Landon on his favorite slide
Mauryn just checking things out

Later in the day, we all headed over to our friends house for a BBQ. It turned out to be a beautiful afternoon and evening!. My friend Kara made star shaped cupcakes for the kids to decorate. I am not sure they decorated very many but I think they had their fair share of frosting, especially Mauryn.  

The fourth of July wouldn't be complete without fireworks to end the evening.  What a fun day!

Each time Mauryn's sparkler went out she would stamp her feet and yell "mo, mo". I think she liked the sparklers!