Sunday, February 28, 2010

Random Thoughts

-I've mentioned my LOVE of all things coffee related. I am becoming quite the Barista. I haven't been able to make designs in the froth just yet. This morning I created the perfect cup of Joe. It was not only beautiful but it was absolutely delish. This is my perfect cinnamon dolce latte:Photobucket
-Graham apparently has a bug. We were all getting ready for church this morning when he slowly made his way downstairs covered in a mysterious brown substance. Once he was within sniffing distance it was clear the poor kid was sick in the night. Jared took the older three and the babies and I stayed home. I was so close to being caught up on laundry. So close...

-My Birthday is Thursday! I'll be 33 and I'm super excited! I love birthdays. What a fun celebration of life. We are entering the birthday season here at the Altic household. We have 4 within 9 weeks. First Me on the 4th, Anneliese on the 12th, Graham (& Aunt Erin) on the 16th, and the Elijah April 28th. In order to write out all the Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins that fall into the same time frame would take a blog all it's own. The kids are giddy about all the cake in their near future :)

-Grandma and Grandpa Altic are taking the brood overnight Wednesday night. Anita made the comment to Tanner that he had a standing invitation so he took her up on it. I always tell the kids that they can't just invite themselves over to people's homes. They have to be invited and apparently he found a way around it at least at Grandma's :). Jared and I are planning a date day for my birthday. There will definitely be some BD's in our future (LOVE THAT PLACE). We won't know what to do with ourselves without a single baby!

-A quick update on the "Seems Appropriate" blog. I received a phone call from Nationwide on Friday letting me know that the underwriter will not write a policy for us unless we can prove the water damage in the kitchen "wasn't your fault." I was a little testy (not proud of that) with the gal and asked, "Do you really think I flooded my own kitchen?!" So I put a call into State Farm (our current policy holder that are big jerks for dropping us) and asked for some form of proof that we indeed did not purposefully flood our kitchen. I'm sure they will eagerly and promptly send us all we need since they have absolutely nothing to gain for their troubles. Ugh, This is bigger than I am so to my knees I go! God is in control.

-"My God is so strong, so big and so mighty there's nothing my God can not do" (Veggie Tales). Jared and I had the daunting task of paying car tags this month. It was $596.97 for the two vans combined. This figure was a bit of a shock since this is our first year without the '94 Honda Accord. Having two nice vehicles is a blessing except for tag season. As February approached I decided not to panic but just trust God would provide as He always does. As the month wore on He provided $440 extra (not part of our normal budget) through a few different means. I was able to go Friday and purchase our very expensive tiny little stickers without selling a child. Thank you Lord for your provision!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

I can do anything better than you...YES I CAN

Jared was on his way out this morning to an appointment when he called to say he would be taking my van since he had a tire that apparently removed itself from the wheel.
I headed out to see if it could be aired up to make a quick trip to Wal-Mart for repair. It was obvious that this was not an option. So I decided to check the spare. It was a brand new full sized tire.

So I changed it. YES I CAN!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm Not Much For Waiting

I took a BUNCH of pictures of my baby girl today. I wanted to have some special pics for her first birthday and while I want to post them all so you can oooh and ahhh over her cuteness, I'm going to just post one and the rest will wait until her actual birthday (holy run on sentence Batman). So here's a glimpse of my amateur photography.

Anneliese Keegan (almost) 1 year old:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Seems Appropriate

This is post 666.

Are you scared? I am.

I spent quite a bit of time on the phone today talking to an insurance agent.

Let me back up a bit.

I received a phone call last week from my home owners insurance agent informing me that State Farm will not be renewing our insurance due to the fact that we've had two claims in 6 years. We are considered high risk and now we have the daunting task of finding affordable insurance when we've been labeled.

After spending the morning at Farmer's insurance hoping for a solution, I was given a rate 3x's what I was paying and I left defeated. This would increase our house payment by about $200/month.

Jared's extended family is in the insurance biz so I put out an SOS and received a call from Jared's cousin Aaron C. He was super kind and talked me down off the proverbial ledge. He gave me the name a number for an agent at Nationwide. Just as the jingle claims, "Nationwide is on your side." They were able to give us a much better policy than we had previously (covers more, lower deductible etc) for only $1300 a year vs Farmer's $3200 a year.

I have always thought that whenever something went wrong with the home you call the insurance company. After all isn't that why we pay hundreds/thousands of dollars a year? I will seriously reconsider if anything else happens. Who knew we'd be in such a predicament due to a hail storm and a flood in the kitchen.

If it were legal (our mortgage company insists on home owners insurance) I would seriously consider a type of savings account or money market account to deal with home improvements or damages. It's ridiculous that I can't access the "help" that the insurance company is paid (by me) to provide without being financially punished.

Just pray the underwriting goes through and Nationwide accepts us. Otherwise I'm not real sure what we'll do.

Monday, February 22, 2010

What Makes Me Feel Like A Good Mom?

I saw something similar on Clover Lane and I wanted to share it here. As Mothers we are so hard on ourselves and guilt is our partner.

This is an opportunity to dwell on the things that make us feel like we've succeeded.

This is a list of things that at the end of the day makes me smile and feel as if I have been the kind of mother God has called me to be.
1. Sitting down with a child (regardless of age) on my lap all snuggled in and listening to their "story" with full attention, full connection, and a tickle to top it off.

2. Watching one of the boys make a connection in school time. Something finally making sense. Or my favorite, listening to Tanner read effortlessly knowing how far he's come and see the pride in his face as he tells me, "I love to read, mom."

3. Getting the house clean, laundry done but having the willingness to put it on hold to listen to Eli when he says, "Know what?"

4. Taking the time to hear the details of an argument and helping the kids settle it verses sending them off to deal with it on their own.

5. Having a Sunday school teacher share with us what a joy it is to have one of our boys in their class. After having little guys for so many years and only hearing about disciplinary issues it's such a breath of fresh air.

6. Prayer time in the evening. Hearing the boys thank God for the blessings in their lives and include their siblings and Jared and I in that list.

7. Leaving the T.V. off and having productive play time with little arguments, screaming, or hitting :)

8. Over hearing conversations between the children and hear them being generous and caring towards each other.

9. This may sound odd, but when I am able to calmly and purposefully discipline a child sternly without getting emotional and being consistent in that discipline. Attitudes are so much better around the house when I succeed at this.

10. Giving each child love in the way they receive it best. Knowing their individuality and using it to show them how unique and special they are to God and to us

These are all things I've accomplished here and there, but my goal is to make it who I am. They are only mine for a brief window. How will they remember me?

This is my prayer (Proverbs 31:23-28):

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Woman's Retreat

Yesterday afternoon Ms. Jess, Alanna and I all headed North to Horton for the annual Woman's retreat. The weather was a little nasty but once we were there it wasn't bad at all. I know there were several of you who wanted to go so I took lots of pictures so you could go vicariously through us!

The theme for the weekend was P.M.S. Praise a Mighty Savior. Rhonda M. from Valley Falls was the dean and she and her cohorts did a great job. It was a lot of fun for me to reunite with so many people that I knew as a child and to spend time with my favorite camp buddies:
My favorite part was sharing camp with Ms. Jess. She's a big fan of camp but hadn't ever been to MLCC.
I was really excited to see this purse. I have been wanting to make a bag with an alternating fabric and this is perfect! I plan on making one this week and adding it to my shop. You have great taste Savannaha!
This past summer I had the pleasure to meet Austin and Katie's sweet little girl when she was fresh from the womb and now she's 7 months!! She was such a joy and gave me the little girl fix I needed with Sis at Aunt Sonya's. Isn't she beautiful?!
Rhonda M. had everything beautifully decorated. The bathrooms were plastered with scripture and the cafeteria was full of frilly girlie things. I didn't know camp could be so hospitable!
I loved spending time with wonderful women talking about inward Christ based beauty, Godly disciplines, and Hannah's faith. What a wonderful way to retreat and dwell on His promises.
Sara H. even had us do a fun craft of making a purse out of an old pillow case. This was right up my ally and I had a blast creating this:
You may see these in my shop if I can find some more striking pillow cases. LOVE IT!
I would say over all the last 24 hours was a success and I'm so glad I went.
Oh, and one last (but most definitely not least) camp buddy. Ms. Kelly Elly S. giving you all a big kiss goodnight.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Baby Zach

My Sis in law Erin gave me a call last week asking me to keep an eye out for a particular high chair. Apparently she's aware of my addiction to Craigslist and since we're broke it was kinda fun shopping for someone else.

I was a lion on the prowl and I found the exact high chair she wanted the very next day and for $25 less than anyone else was asking for it. YAY! The best part is that in order to hand over the merchandise Jason, Erin and Zach made a trip from Topeka and hung out for 3 hours! SCORE!

Have you seen this kid :)?
He's only stinking adorable. Sis and I had the pleasure of loving his sweet cheeks for hours
So I informed Erin that if there was anything else my little nephew needed just to let me know and I will find it as long as we can keep the same arrangement: I find the goods, I trade the goods for a Zach Attack!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Other White Meat

Okay, one more recipe today. You know you love it :) Besides it's not so much a recipe as it is just putting together a few awesome finds.

This is ridiculously simple but so good.

First of all I've been looking for a recipe to add so I could showcase this amazing salsa Alisa found on Pioneer Woman. This is Alisa's photo from the Sweet Life. I took a pic and it just wasn't as pretty so I borrowed hers :)
I took a package of our super cheep (HA!) chicken from Price Chopper and boiled it in a cup of water and a package of taco seasoning until it was super tender.
Then I paired it with this amazing find!!!
Most of you are aware of my love of Aldi (how do you not love something that saves you SO much money??). I was thrilled yesterday when I found these wraps. They're huge, only 2 pts each, have 8 grams of fiber and they're delicious!! What's not to love?

I used one of the HUGE wraps, added a scoop of chicken, a couple tablespoons of awesome salsa, some fat free sour cream and had a very filling taco for just 4 pts! YAY, now aren't you glad I shared?

Upside Down Pizza!

Since you stocked up on chicken and 93% lean ground beef I'll share this recipe so you can use some of that beef!

I found this on Spark people and it went over really well with the kids...well most of them. Elijah wasn't impressed.

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (14 0z) jar Pizza sauce
6 oz Turkey pepperoni
16 oz Mozzarella cheese
1 cup 2% milk
2 eggs
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup flour
1 tsp basil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9x13 pan with non stick cooking spray.

Brown ground beef and onion until meat is done, drain (my 93% lean ground beef didn't have any grease!)

Add sauce and pepperoni and heat through.
Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with cheese (I didn't use all the cheese, it really seemed like a ton to me).
Mix milk, eggs, oil, and flour until smooth. Add spices and pour over top. It's pretty runny don't be alarmed.

Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until crust is golden. Cut into 12 equal pieces.
It was really good and if you make it according to the recipe it's 8pts per slice. Cutting back on the cheese would significantly lower the points value. I used just 1/2 the bag and it was still really cheesy and the kids loved it. They had it for dinner and then finished the pan the next day for lunch.

Knish; A Journey Towards Delish

Yesterday Jess and I spent 5 1/2 hours up at the church creating yummy Knishes for the church dinner.

About a month ago Jared and I were watching a show on the History channel that was featuring famous foods from Chicago and the Knish was featured. It's a Jewish dish that is commonly made with spinach or kashi. It seemed like a really hearty dish that would be affordable and really yummy so I decided to try my hand at it and share it with Wednesday night church.

Since the most common question we received was, "What is a Knish" I decided to document the afternoon and show you the process. They turned out really good and I would highly recommend making these for your family with your favorite ingredients. Jess had a great definition and called them a homemade hot pocket or a bread bowl full of mashed potatoes.

I chose Philly Cheese steak and ham and cheese since this was the main course and it needed to have protein. Hopefully adding ham to a Jewish dish isn't sacrilege. I made it up as I went along so bear with me.

We started with 2 batches (usually yields 11 doz rolls total) of homemade bread. Ms. Jess worked on the dough completely by hand while I peeled and cut 30lbs of potatoes.
We started on the potatoes as soon as we got up to the church since cutting, peeling, and then boiling that many potatoes takes quite a while. We had 3 stock pots going at once. If you own a Pampered Chef apple peeler I highly recommend it for massive potato peeling. Not only does it peel them but it cuts them into a spiral and leaves a core. This is much faster than cutting the potatoes and they cook much faster due to how thin the spiral is.
For the Philly Cheese Steak Knish we worked on caramelizing the onions (3 large yellow onions) and added in 5lbs of roast beef.
We bought the roast beef thinly sliced and we cut it into 1" chunks. When the potatoes were soft we mashed them without adding any milk or butter. Once the meat was heated through we dumped the roast beef and onions and mixed it into 1/2 of the total potatoes. We also added 3lbs of Swiss cheese slices. I have to say that just the potato mixture was delicious.

For the ham and cheese Knish we bought a 7lb bone in ham and cut it into small chunks.
We fried the ham on the stove to heat it through and then dumped it into the remaining potatoes (about 15lbs).
We added 12 cups of cheddar cheese.
Jess thought the ham and cheese would make good breakfast Knish and I totally agree. Adding some fried bacon and even some egg and these would be excellent for a special brunch. I would consider making these for the Mission Lake Men's retreat. For some reason the Knishes seem very manly to me.

Once the dough was ready (this is just 1/2 of the total we used)
We rolled it out into a massive rectangle on the counter.
For the Philly Cheese steak knish we lined the dough with more Swiss cheese slices and then we just started dumping the potato mixture down the center. Then wrapped it up and used a pizza cutter to slice the individual knishes. This had a learning curve to it because once we cut them we had to open ends and it took some finessing to stretch the bread over one end. If I were to make them again I would cut individual squares of dough and place the mixture in the center and then wrap the dough up towards the center. We did it this way because it's how it was shown on the History channel.
We did the ham and cheese the same only adding a 4 cup bag of cheddar cheese to each row and then adding the potato mixture.
When I make them again I'll have a much better idea of how much potato mixture to use because some of these turned out massive but they were so good and a huge hit at church. The best part is we have a $140 budget to feed 80-100 people and we were able to make all these plus have 14lbs of steamed broccoli for a vegetable for $103. We took advantage of the sale at Price chopper for the potatoes and the broccoli!

Oy Vey!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Attention All Frugal Carnivores

Price Chopper is having a great sale right now!

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts are $1.19 per pound! That's a GREAT deal. Stock up!!

93% Lean ground beef is $2.99 per pound!

10lb Bag of Potatoes for $1!!! (today only and limit 1 per customer)

1 lb bag of frozen veggies for $.49! (limit 4 and today only) I bought the boys lots of broccoli cause it's their fav!

If you go for the meat and don't need the potatoes or veggies let me know and I would love to pay you back and take them off your hands. We could always use more veggies!

If you are a Weight Watcher or just a healthy eater in general the beef and chicken are both great ways to get lean protein into your day. Our family eats chicken almost daily and having the ability to fill the freezer at this price saves us immensely over the course of a few months.

Eating healthy doesn't have to break the bank. Watching for sales like these makes a huge difference. Keep and eye out for more "The Other White Meat" posts to give you ideas for all that chicken!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Look How Far We've Come

I met Jared when I was 15 years old. These first two images are of our Senior Prom in 1995.
This is us heading out on a date on the 11th.
We have now been together more than half our lives. In that time we've had 5 children and a lifetime of memories. Thank you so much for choosing me! I love you Jared, Happy Valentines Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I need this closet.
Today is Saturday and the boys have the day off from school so I've been cleaning house and taking breaks wandering aimlessly in blog land. I followed Alisa's link to The Idea Room and found Laundry Tips! I love this and wish I had somewhere to create this closet.

Laundry is my nemesis. Our Laundry room is typically hidden under piles of folded laundry, tons of clothes hung completely covering the view out the window. It's a dark place of torture that I really don't like to visit.

It's simply impossible to keep up on 7 people worth of laundry, but I do believe this precious woman is making headway! Each child has their own basket with their name on it. She takes the basket, launders the clothes and replaces the dirty with crisp clean clothes ready to put away by their owner. Genius.

Jared and I have a wonderful dream of adding a significant amount of space to our house in a couple years. I guarantee you that this closet will find it's way into the plans, possibly 2 of them! One upstairs and one down.

I would LOVE to have a laundry room that looks like this over at the Shabby Nest:
But currently there is no room on top of my washer and dryer for such pretties. It's covered in clothing. The light bulb from the lamp may start a fire :) Plus I have those same machines and I promise that washer will send those beautiful decorations flying as soon as the spin cycle gets in full swing.

No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane: envy

Follow this link:
No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane: envy

Thank you Alisa for linking to this. I honestly think all women have this struggle at some point in their lives. Recognizing who God created us to be and being the best at that is a life long struggle when there are so many amazing people out there.

I guess the lesson is to admire what God has done in their lives all while admiring what He has done in our own. The glory is His no matter which person He has given which gifts. They all belong to Him.

To God be the Glory, Great things He has done!


My boys love infomercials. Elijah is absolutely adorable and whenever anything comes on that he thinks can make my life easier he's captivated. We were watching TV and I secretly taped him as he watched the latest commercial of the latest gimmick that would grant me a life of ease. Watch as his excitement builds:

Friday, February 12, 2010

My 11 Month Old

Giving Tanner Loves

Refusing to sit and smile for the camera

Refusing to leave her very coordinated hair bow in for even one picture :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kansas City, Kansas City Here I Come

I love living in Kansas City. We have all the best stuff.

Tonight Jared and I are going on our very favorite Kansas City outing.

We are going to New Theatre with Chris, Cindy, Dustin, and Alanna.

Jared and I have been blessed over the last several years and have received several little purple boxes with gift certificates inside. Every time I respond the same way, GIDDY!

My favorite night at the Theatre is when we went to see Oklahoma with Cecil and Gale R. It was the best production and the food was fantastic as always. We have gone when the show was less than awesome but the food is always outstanding and a fancy evening out with my favorite man on the planet is wonderful regardless.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Anneliese loves babies. Any child that is under 3 feet is a baby to her.

Alisa Y. sent me an email with this link with a great idea!

I made Sis a photo album of babies. Not just any babies, but her brothers cousins and kitties!

Her favorite picture is our Christmas card of baby Zach. She LOVES Zachary and we even have a baby boy doll we call Zach and he's her favorite. If that doll is in sight she just lights up and offers wet slippery kisses.

It is so fun to see the fundamental differences between Anneliese and the boys. She sings to herself. She speaks softly and loves hair, anyone's hair. She'll even run her fingers through the back of her little peach fuzz. She loves to love on anything. She quickly lays her head on things to hug them all while letting out a sweet "ahhh."

Thank you Lord for allowing me to experience being a mother to our boys and our sweet baby girl.

Monday, February 8, 2010


-I sold my first purse! I am super excited about that. It was the second one I made and I'm a little insecure about whether or not the new owner will love it. I am definitely improving with each one I make. Now that things are settling down a bit here at home I have to get back to sewing! I have several bags I want to put together.

-Apparently all the running around and short nights has caught up to me. I have a terrible cold that came on like gang busters last night. My sinus pressure is so bad my teeth hurt. I'm super thankful for DayQuil. I was able to get out of bed, make lunch and run the dishwasher. Jared decided to stay home today and I'm so thankful. I just want to lay down.

-5 pounds to goal! I'm on track to get back to my Weight Watcher's goal by my birthday no problem! Happy Birthday to me. This Sunday I went up to the attic and pulled out MY clothes. When I decided to have another baby I was already up 15 lbs from my goal so for close to 2 years now I haven't been able to wear my own clothes. I've had hand me downs and maternity clothes but finally I'm fitting into my clothes that I love. My shape is definitely different after Sis. My belly is round and only surgery can fix that so I'm not real sure how things will fit but regardless I'm giddy to be back to "normal."

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Haircuts With the Altics

We have Kelby James today and tonight so I thought I would go ahead and do haircuts this afternoon. I cut all of this (that's a standard set of pliers):
Off of all of them:
Nice Eli. They are all freshly trimmed and bathed for church tomorrow. Handsome boys!
In order to take a regular picture I had to promise to take one with their toys.


I have decided to utilize the label function of blogger.

Since this is blog number 646 I have a lot of organizing to do :) I just wanted to let you know that I added a gluten free label. There are a lot of you reading that have at least one member of your family that eats gluten free due to allergies or celiac. My goal is to label gluten free recipes as such for ease of use.

That's all for now :)


WOWZERS! Last night we rolled right on past the 40,000 mark. Thank you for reading!

Friday, February 5, 2010

5 Minute Mug Cake

This made me giggle and peaked my interest so I just had to try it.

This is chocolate cake in a coffee cup...with a few changes to make it healthier in parenthesis.

1 Coffee mug
4 TBS all purpose flour
4 TBS Sugar (Splenda)
2 TBS baking cocoa
1 egg (2 egg whites)
3 Tbs milk (skim)
3 TBS oil (applesauce)
splash of vanilla

First your mug. It doesn't have to be as adorable as mine but who doesn't like chocolate with a little pomp.

Just place the ingredients into the mug in order

Make sure you mix it well. I struggled a little getting the egg whites to mix. I imagine if you don't it would ruin it so error on the side of caution and stir this thing senseless.

This is the part that made me giggle. Next place it in the microwave and cook on high for 3 minutes. It will rise up over the rim of the mug, but no worries it's fine.

The kids helped me polish it off. I'm convinced it would be better with the original recipe but honestly if you want some warm chocolate baked goodness and your watching calories this will fill that need for sure.

My version was 6 points for the mug or 3 pts for half. Paired with a hot coffee, this is great. The kids loved watching it go together and I really think it's something they could easily do on their own (with supervision). Too Fun!

My Babies

I'm not sure what it is with my younger two and hair ties, but when I saw Anneliese crawling around like this (yes those are socks on her hands, another odd thing that she and her brother do):

It quickly reminded me of an old image way back in the archives. This is Graham at about the same age:

Definitely related :)