About findthetime

While traditional authors may devote large amounts of uninterrupted time to their writing, we have composed our book with eight children underfoot. We work in the trenches dressing Barbies, preparing lunches, cleaning up vomit, attending soccer games, and taking toddlers to the emergency room in between chapters and posts. We became friends when we were newly pregnant with our first children. Our similar lifestyles brought us closer together. In the four years that followed, we each had four children and found that we were rearing them in the same manner. We knew we were enjoying being married with children, but it was not until other people began asking us to reveal our secrets that we realized we were onto something. Family members, friends, acquaintances, and strangers desired to know how we got our kids to sleep through the night, happily eat their veggies, and love books as much as their peers love television, all the while being good kids. Not to mention the inquiries about how we nurture our marriages, feed our families healthy food on a budget, and keep the household clutter to a minimum while staying healthy and active to avoid a life of sweatpants. We are not pediatricians or child psychologists, however Mary holds a degree in Exercise Physiology and Holly earned her degree in Elementary Education. But for the purpose of this book we are just two moms who, alongside our husbands, are successfully raising eight kids born in four years. With over a dozen case studies through which our methods have been tested and proven successful, we have transformed our natural love of mothering into reliable advice worthy of blogging and publication.

Creative Clementines

Our kids eat these “cuties” like candy.  To make a healthy favorite festive for fall, we made a few minor adjustments.Clementine snackPeeled:  Simply peel the clementine and add a thin sliver of celery to look like a stem.Clementine pumpkinsUnpeeled:  Using a permanent marker, draw your best jack-o-lantern face.Clementine jackolanternYeah, it’s that easy and the recipient of this sweet treat will LOVE it!!

Frankenstein Pudding Cups

Another school-sponsored Fall Festival has passed and we were in charge of the bake sale again.  This adorable treat was NOT created by us, but by a 5th grade buddy and her mom.Frankenstein Cups 3They simply (and quite artistically) drew adorable monster faces on small, clear plastic cocktail cups with a Sharpie.Frankenstein Cups 1

Then, added green food coloring to a batch of vanilla pudding and spooned it into the cups.  What is Frankenstein’s coif made of? Why, Oreo cookie crumbles of course!

Thanks Lisa and Reagan, these little babies were monstrously delicious!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween Block Party

Celebrate with your neighbors by organizing a block party this Halloween.  Yummy food, a few games and an excuse to don your costumes an extra day makes for a fun evening with friends and family.

We served “Halloweenies” (i.e. hot dogs) and Delicious “Ghoul”ash DinnerEven our healthy food fit our spooky theme with the Carrot and Raisin Jack-o-lantern.Bewitching Cupcakes for a spooky treat.Really, the kids just enjoy running around with their friends, but we did set up a few games for all to partake in.  Party goers could play:

Ghost Pin Bowling

(bowling pins from the kid’s toy stash decorated with white cloth, black string and marker faces)Mash the Mummies

(used veggie cans wrapped in toilet paper adorned with googly eyes)Jack-o-lantern Bucket Toss

(scored for 75% off after Halloween at Target last year!) Have a FABULOUS Halloween!!

 

Pretty Fall Planters

If you’re like me, most of the flowers in your planters were sufficiently dead by mid-August.  However, it seemed silly to plant more summer blooms when I knew that they, too, would soon die in the summer heat.  Little by little, I started pulling out the flowers as they met their demise.  By the time fall rolled around, I was left with my vinca vine and those spiky things that look great in the middle of pots.

For a simple seasonal update, I added a few pansies and some creeping Jenny to the survivors and Voila!  I had beautiful fall planters with very little effort and money.

Spiked Apple Cider

Everyone loves a warm drink during the chilly days of fall, and this one is a delicious twist on traditional apple cider.  Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1 cup apple brandy or Apple Jack
  • a few cinnamon sticks
  • a few cloves

Combine all ingredients in a large pot on the stove.  Bring to a simmer and then lower the heat and keep warm. This was a wonderful compliment to the brunch served at the Festive Fall Bridal Shower for Holly’s sister-in-law.  It is great in the slow-cooker, on the stove, or in a thermos for tailgating.  Just be sure the kiddos don’t sneak a drink!

Better Bake Sale

Bake sales have been a popular (and lucrative) hot spot at fundraisers for years.  The elementary school our children attend has included a bake sale at its Fall Festival and Winter Wonderland events since their inception.  When asked if we would help, we decided to kick things up a notch.  Bake Sale - fall 3Adding seasonal decorations around the baked goods attracts the eye.Bake Sale - fall 1Using glass cake domes and lidded trifle dishes make the treats more appealing.  Also, offering whole cakes and pies for sale generates more money and is a popular item during the holidays.Bake Sale - fall 5Bake Sale - fall 6Bake Sale - fall 7

Our Winter Wonderland Bake Sale rivaled Santa’s Bakery

Store bought cookies have bakery appeal when nestled in a large glass hurricane.Bake Sale - holiday 12Use a paper straw to anchor a sign.Bake Sale - holiday 4Everything seems more delectable when displayed with pizazz!Bake Sale - holiday 2Bake Sale - holiday 5Cake Pops are always a hit and make a colorful display.Bake Sale - holiday 8

Bake Sale - holiday 11Look in the background.  I brought a white bookshelf from home to display more baked goods as well as wrapping supplies.  Customers wishing to take their treats home could have them beautifully boxed or bagged at no extra charge (we even tied it with a pretty ribbon just for fun).

Add height by using stools, baskets, pedestals, trays and buckets.  Displaying items in a variety of elevations adds visual interest and beauty to your table.

In the end, the goal is to make money for your cause.  Hopefully with these tips and ideas, your efforts will draw a crowd anxious to satisfy everyone’s  sweet tooth.

Dusted Apples

Snacking doesn’t get much easier or healthier than this.  A high fiber, vitamin C packed apple has always been thought to “keep the doctor away”.  Add the benefits of cinnamon and you have yourself a wonderful snack.  BONUS?  The cinnamon adds tons of flavor without any added calories.  Dusted Apples 1 Dusted Apples 2Slice apple and sprinkle with 1 tsp of cinnamon – ENJOY!

Festive Fall Bridal Shower

We love a fall wedding and a fall bridal shower can be just as beautiful.  Autumn colors like reds, oranges, and golds lend themselves to beautiful natural decorations.

Simple arrangements of sunflowers, mums, and other fall favorites in mason jars wrapped with raffia ribbon.

  Textures like burlap and wood add a warm touch to the elegance of grandma’s silver and smooth white china.

Notice the burlap table runner along with mismatched, yet coordinating, napkins and chairs.

Uniformity is unnecessary when mixing and matching create the ever popular shabby chic feel.  Coordinating borrowed items makes the cost of hosting a shower more manageable, too.

Borrowed pumpkins coordinated with the fall theme.

Framing the invitation added visual interest to the table among the delicious spread of food.

Menu:

  • Egg, sausage, and cheese breakfast casserole
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Cheddar apples
  • Mixed fruit
  • Cream cheese breakfast bars
  • Mixed greens with pears, blue cheese, and candied pecans dressed in a maple viniagrette
  • Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
  • Bloody Marys
  • Spiked apple cider
  • Orange juice, water, coffee, and assorted teas

    The adorable fall banner from Etsy looked beautiful on the beverage table.

The lovely bride (in red) and a few of her bridesmaids.

Baseball Treats

I live in a household full of baseball players.  That means that between birthday parties and end of the season parties, I’ve made quite a few baseball themed treats.  Now, in the midst of baseball playoff season with the World Series quickly approaching I thought some of you might be interested in trying your hand at some of these treats.  Whether you want cupcakes, cookies, or cakes, feast your eyes.

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