Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Brennan!

Happy Birthday to my 12 year old that is a bit more hormonal, a bit more pimply, has a deeper voice and has a bit more lip fuzz.

Where has the time gone?

It seems like yesterday and now look at you:

Such a smart sweet little man.  Love my Beebin so very much.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Miracle Grow Kitchen Ed.

If you'll remember, the best thing about this house is it's pantry.  It's massive and a room all it's own.

In our kitchen we have an "appliance garage."  You know, that little door that rolls up to expose a corner stuffed full of everything and anything you didn't want actually on your counter any given day.

Here is ours:

I have daydreamed about removing this little beauty since we moved in.  Why?  because the granite goes clear back to the wall and the tiled back splash continues as well.  And did I mention the enormous pantry?  I don't have a need for an appliance garage, but I do desperately need counter space.

During school this morning I was eying this jaggy little counter top stealer.  So I took my hammer to it and viola!
I exposed two plugins that were unused and unreachable.  I moved the odds and ends into the pantry and gained a large section of beautiful granite!  I plan to put the tiny piece of trim under the edge of the upper cabinet to make it blend with the other uppers.  Until then, it really doesn't stand out at all since that corner cabinet sticks out further than the others by a few inches.  I can't stop staring at it!

My kitchen grew in a matter of about 5 minutes! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Another project I have been wanting to attack is our stoop. It's an odd little entrance to our front door. Since we don't come in this way it's been neglected and I really wanted to do something inexpensive that made a big impact. So here's the before:
I started out by cleaning and priming the concrete. Once the primer was dry I marked out my pattern simply using a 12" tile I had on hand. I traced the tile with a pencil.

Once we had all our diamonds and the edging marked off I wrote a "B" or a "W" in each diamond just to ensure there wasn't any mistakes.  Tanner and I painted the black first.
Then we added the gray.  The fan was so I could ever so patiently do the next coat...
Once the gray was painted and dry I used a walnut stain and rubbed it on top to antique it a bit and take away a little of the sharpness of the pattern.
Complete! I added a fresh coat of black paint to the front door (inside and outside). 
Sorry about the glare, Inside

Total cost of project, $9.  I couldn't be happier with the results! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Power of Spray Paint

I have wanted to do something with our exterior lights since we moved in.  They are rough, faded, and even rusted in spots.

 I looked at Lowe's and found these.  A similar look but fresh, new and black.  They are $88 each and we need 5, $440 before tax.
Due to the cost I have held off for almost a year because there was just so much other stuff that needed to be done/painted.  I was helping Tanner clean out the van today when I saw a can of black hammered spray paint.  I then had a thought, "I'll just paint them."  So I did!

So you have before:

 And After!  First before the glass was cleaned
 Then after the glass was cleaned!
Since I had everything on hand this project cost me $0, therefore saving our family $440.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Only With 4 Brothers

I have decided that our little girl will be quite unique indeed.  Not just because God created her one of a kind, but because she is the only girl.  She has understandings that only a girl with older brothers could have.

Would you like an example?  Here is my precious daughter's drawing:

Now I would like to explain the image as it was explained to me.

Sis:  Look what I drawed mommy!

Me:  Oh babe!  I love it!  Is that you?

Sis:  (smirking) Uh, NO!  That's a Zombie!

Me:  A zombie?!! 

Sis:  Yes, and see this (pointing at the squares in the upper right) that is a porthole that goes to ours house. 

Me:  Did you say "portal?"

Sis:  Yes, a porthole and when the zombie comes to ours house this fake hammer (pointing to the small object low center) is what da boyz is gonna use to hit him to keep us safe.

She may only be 3 but she has a plan in case of a zombie apocalypse. 

That's my girl!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Food Pin Review

Since Pinterest is such a hit and I spend quite a bit of time on there to find recipes and home decor ideas, I thought I would post some pins I've actually tried and let you know what I thought.

-Homemade Nutter Butter bars over at Cookies and Cups.  These are insanely good.  They are large, like the size of your palm, but it's still hard to eat just one.  I happened to have all the ingredients on hand and needed a quick dessert for a church gathering.  They went over like hotcakes!  These get 5 stars *****


-Sugar Cookie Bars over at A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock and Roll.  These weren't as awesome as I had imagined. They were okay, and the kids ate them for the most part. They were thick and dry. If I were to make them again I would use a larger pan (I used a Pampered Chef Bar pan) so they would be thinner. These get 3 stars ***

-Guacamole Salsa over at Frosted Bake Shop.   If you love Mexican food like I do you will love this.  It's so tangy and incredibly addictive.  Get a bag of your favorite chips and it's GO TIME!  I ate some fresh from the blender, but it's definitely better after resting over night in the fridge and letting those tastes mingle.  This gets 5 stars *****
-Crock pot Chicken and Dumplings over at BubbleCrumb.Com.  This is a huge favorite of Tanner's.  He asks for this on a regular basis even through the heat of the summer.  There is a trick to this recipe.  You have to have you crock pot on high.  The temp has to get to a boil in order to cook the dumplings right.  Otherwise you end up with goo.  This gets 5 stars *****
-Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites over at my favorite food blog SkinnyTaste.  Seriously, this blog is amazing.  I could write a blog article just listing my favorites from her site alone.  She makes eating healthy taste good.  While you're over there check out her Cilantro Lime Rice paired with her Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken.  If I'm ever sick and need meals due to injury or illness, remember this blog :)  The chicken and rice could sustain me for months.  Back to the Bacon chicken!  We made this for a Super Bowl Party.  I made a ton and it was gone.  This is low carb, gluten free, and delicious! 
5 stars *****

-Crock Pot Pork Chops over at Living, Laughing, and Loving.  First of all, my husband hates ranch dressing.  I know it's unAmerican but he actually calls it "Husband Repellent."  I know if I eat the stuff he won't get near me.  This recipe calls for a Ranch seasoning packet and he loves this recipe.  We make it with chicken.  I tried the pork chops and it was fine, it's just not a favorite of mine.  So simple (only 3 ingredients), smells amazing, and is cooked while you go about your day.  Can't beat that!  5 stars *****
-300 Calorie Oatmeal over at Can You Stay For Dinner.  This is very filling and delicious.  Now that I'm a calorie counter, this is even better.  It's a thick, rich consistency that is full of protein and fiber.  As Fall approaches this will make it's way back into my normal routine.  5 stars *****
The name of each blog above is a link to the recipe.  I have several more so I'll break it up into a couple blogs.  If you have a favorite food pin please link to it in the comments. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I'm Done, Now what?

-I know that I am late to this party...but OxyClean is amazing!  I bought it as a carpet cleaning tool.  I had read that added with vinegar and essential oils it's a force to be reckoned with.  I have to say I am super pleased with what a great job it did for my carpets.  It's also impressive with laundry.  It's removed the yellowing from my whites that bleach just seemed to make worse.

-Tomorrow marks the end of our first week of school.  It's getting better with each year.  I really think the hardest part is behind us.  Having multiple little children needing 100% of me was very trying.  Now that the older three need just basic guidance frees me to spend time with Graham.  I really think this will be our best year yet.  We are getting more organized as a family and that makes a world of difference for this mom.

-Come to find out I don't really detest laundry.  Seriously...  What I detest is laundry after I've done all the other household chores.  Now that the kids are responsible for the bulk of cleaning up after themselves, it leaves my plate far more manageable.  Laundry isn't so bad when it's just one of a couple things to do.  This commercial makes me giggle because just today I thought, I'm done!  I'm done!  Now what should I do???

-We are gradually taking all the kids in for well child checks and eye exams.  Brennan and Tanner had appointments yesterday and both received several shots/pokes.  Brennan has inherited his father's aversion to needles.  Tanner is like me and doesn't mind them.  It was quite comical to have Tanner hop up on the table and tell the nurse, "I'm a man!  I'll go first."  As soon as she finished he jumped back down claiming, "it wasn't so bad" and flexing his muscles.  That kid cracks me up.

-Tuesday the younger three go in and will also have shots.  If I had thought it through I would have had the younger three go first.  Brennan and Tanner have been telling stories that are just short of water boarding trying to scare the others.  Not helping!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Many Hands Make Quick Work

Life is pretty good here at the Altic compound.

Jared and I did something that has needed to be done for quite some time.

We (meaning Jared) created a spreadsheet of chores.  Typically in the Altic household the bulk of the chores falls on me.  The kids do help occasionally when I ask, but for the most part day in and day out I'm spending the bulk of my time cleaning.

Well, NO MORE! 

One of the biggest causes of stress with homeschool is my inability to sit at the table with the kids.  There is just so much I can and should be doing.  Without my presence, the kids get carried away giggling and doodling and nothing gets done but making mom angry.

Since we started a new school year we decided to start a new chore chart.  All items on the chore chart must be completed as soon as school is done.  No games or TV until the chores are completed and checked.

This beautifully crafted chart adorns our fridge (having a nerd for a husband can be a beautiful thing).

After school today I heard the vacuum running, Anneliese cleaned her room, and Eli was unloading the dishwasher only to reload it and start it. 

I sat at the table answering questions and pulling worksheets all while policing the jibber jabber.  I was not worried about the house falling into disrepair and clutter. 

Once school and the chores were complete I was free.  Free to do what I pleased.  It just so happened that today, it pleased me to stain the deck and stairs. 

What a blessing!  I am so thankful to be onto the stage of helpful little people who can read charts :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Back To School

We are finally underway.

All the books I was waiting on arrived and have been organized and looked through (slight panic attack and the shear volume, but I think I'm better now).

I'm not entirely positive how we are going to find room for all four boys and their books.  Brennan alone has three stacks two feet tall.  In years past they have kept their books in a file box (for easy transport from room to room) but Brennan and Tanner have officially out grown those. 

I tried desperately to get a picture of my crew for the "back to school" shot.  I contemplated having a pic with bed head and PJ's just to be funny.  That is a more accurate view of how we look each morning as we start pulling books.  We don't have the crisp new clothes, packed lunch, and back pack in front of a bus stop kinda morning.

Typically I shout out the school warning with coffee in hand and wiping sleep from my eyes, "I'm pulling out books, you've got 5 minutes!"

Here are several attempts at a picture over at the Legends a couple days ago.  We went with the intention of getting a decent pic.   Brennan "accidentally" (there could be a complete blog series on this sentence alone) whacked Graham in the eyeball immediately before.  It was impossible to get him to stop rubbing his eye/face.

Attempt #1.  When I say cheese Tanner instinctively tucks his chin to his chest.  No idea why, he doesn't ever do it any other time.  The word "cheese" apparently causes a magnetic force between his chin and chest.  Graham, still crying and injured, won't even open his eyes.  Anneliese is posed perfectly and of course there is a glare on my camera.
 Attempt #2.  I asked them to crowd in together so we could avoid the glare.  I say cheese, Tanner's body reacts even after we talked at length about it.  I tell Eli to smile, so he does whatever this is.  Graham is still injured and unable to think of anything else.  Anneliese realizes what a joke it is that I think I can get all 5 to smile at the same time.

Attempt #3.  Notice how Brennan hardly changes from pic to pic.  He's always been that way.  No matter how many shots I take he looks about the same.  Tanner is fighting the magnetic force and winning!  Eli does not look angry.  Graham is attempting a smile still with eyes closed but hey I'll take what I can get.  Apparently Anneliese is about to sneeze.
 Attempt #4.  I give up.  Do what you want...  Good enough!  Who wants ice cream?
Brennan 6th grade, Tanner 5th, Elijah 3rd, Graham 1st, Anneliese Pre-K