Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sunshine Girl

Wow! What a whirlwind of a couple weeks! From a visit from some of our favorite people from Seattle, to Easter and a birthday in Tennessee. Then finally, a visit from my sweet grandparents from California! Busy Busy BUSY!!

But with all that happenings I do not want to minimize the highlight of it all: Our Sweet Sophia turned 5!!!

How did it go by so fast?!?!

Approximately 6 years ago, Greg and I decided that we wanted to try for a baby. 6 months after that and we were blessed with the most splendid news! We were expecting! I had thought I had always wanted all boys but Greg was definite that he wanted a "Daddy's Girl". And after a long bitter winter, our sweet sunshine girl entered our world on April 21st 2009. I am an avid Beatles fan and had always loved the song "Here comes the Sun". I used to play it to her with headphones on my belly when I was pregnant. How perfectly fitting that she was born in the spring. I still sing that song to her today and it reminds me of her when I hear it out.

It seems she grew into this grown up girl over night. I remember like yesterday, the doctor and nurses placing her on my chest and she crying that sweet cry of a newborn. I looked over at Greg and he had the tears of new father and beaming with pride as he looked down at our new little miracle. We were so nervous and scared as typical new parents were, but it all seemed to fade as the calm of birth took over. All the doctors and nurses left and it was just Greg, Sophia, and I were in the room. A perfect little family of three.

I am amazed daily with how perfectly tender she is and such an animal lover. Always loving on our Chihuahua "Tuco" or the stupid cat "Kali". And now our "Elsa". It will not surprise me if she grows up to be a veterinarian. Though I will always support her for whatever she chooses her life to lead.

She is our beautiful Sunshine girl that brightens our days when it is dark. She gives the best hugs ever and has the bluest of eyes you could imagine. I am so proud to be her mommy and look so forward to watching her grow and flourish.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Elsa: The Newest of the Trupp Family

Well we've added another. I was convinced we wouldn't just yet but it happened.

Yes.....We adopted a dog. And we just love her.

Around valentines day, the hubs suggested getting a larger dog. He knew I've always loved larger dogs, though I'm attached to my Chihuahua tuco. But he also wanted a larger dog that he could take with him when he goes out bow hunting and I wanted one that would make me feel safe when he works late. And I wanted a dog that could play with the girls. Maybe not beanie (she is not into animals AT ALL lol) but definitely for Sophie.

So I found a sweet dog at a local rescue. I am BIG into rescues. She was a golden/lab mix. About 4 years old. I had her cat tested and small dog tested when I was there. Everything seemed to be fine. So I brought her home. And learned very quickly, everything was not going to be fine. While she was a sweet dog with us, she just could not handle being around tuco and kali (the cat) without chasing them. And when tuco let her know that he wasn't a "play" type of dog. She nipped and hooked his lower jaw good. I was devastated. Tuco was fine but it was painfully obvious that it wasn't going to work. We had to take her back. After a week of dealing with "Lexi" and her rescue shelter, I felt I just wanted to wait until we moved. I didn't want to deal with it at all. I felt so ashamed and guilty for taking on this dog that I couldn't handle and flipping our household upside down. Just didn't want to deal with it at all.

Then Greg had to work late. And I learned something about myself. I'm a big Wuss. lol. I used to be able to take on the world. But now I can't. Scared of everything. So in the morning with my usual craigslist scanning of real estate and farm equipment, I clicked on the pets section. I had been avoiding it like the plague but figured I'd take a peek.

There was the ad: Free Dog to a good home.

So I clicked on it to check it out. I'm so glad I did.

I contacted the owner and we texted a bit back and forth. "Ally", as she was called, was a German Shepherd/Mastiff mix who was about 5 1/2 months old. Raised with 2 cats and a jack Russell terrier. And a 5yr old and 2yr old children. I asked the gentleman why he had to give her up and he informed me that due to circumstances, he was moving to a different area that did not allow large dogs. Sounded like the perfect set up. We agreed to meet. I was determined to not make the same mistake as I did with Lexi. Not to let my heart take over. He showed up right on time and my goodness was I just blown away. This pup is the sweetest pup. Of course my heart fell for her immediately.

So here we are. The girls decided that we should call her "Elsa" as Ally was very close to Aunti Alex. And Elsa.....well Elsa just fits. She's just awesome. So full of love and sweetness. She, too, has not quite figured out that Tuco and Kali don't "play" but the mastiff in her takes over and she is so gentle.

lol She is quite bumbly as I call it. She hasn't figured out that she is all legs and a pup. Stumbling all over herself as she climbs the steps or running down a hill. And the girls (well Sophie) love her as much as we do. She still has some learning as far as finishing up potty training and learning not to "mouth" when she plays. But she is doing so well and is so smart.

We couldn't have asked for a better addition to the Trupp Homestead :-).

Our sweet Elsa.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Maple Flavored Meringues

I have a BIG sweet tooth. Almost obsessive kind. So much that I went to Culinary School for a focus on Pastry and Baking. And yes I graduated.

I learned to appreciate good, quality ingredients and how that can make a dish completely over the top in tastiness.

One of my favorite and easiest things to make is French Meringues. I could seriously eat them like potato chips lol. They are super easy to whip up and a good way to use up eggs before your next pickup lol. We get our eggs when we pick up our milk so when I noticed we had 4 extra eggs, I knew exactly how I wanted to use them.

I have been experimenting with a few new ingredients that I had added to our daily pantry supply. Sucanat or Rapadura is essentially raw dried cane sugar. Unrefined, it keeps the molasses content and is a purer, less processed form of sweetener. We've slowly been switching over to this sweetener adding it to our coffee and tea. I must say it tastes so yum! And I love that it is minimally processed.

These meringues have a faint maple flavor without being over the top sweet. They melt in your mouth and are so light! Some I accidently had under cooked but they were just as tasty as they had a more marshmallowy texture. SOOOOOOO GOOD!!!

Maple Flavored Meringues

You will need:

4 pastured egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter (optional)
1/2 cup Sucanat or Rapadura
1/4 cup pure maple syrup


1.) Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2.) Add cream of tarter to egg whites and whip in stand mixer with whisk attachment (or by hand) till stiff peaks.

3.) Slowly add sucanat. Once that is completely incorporated, slowly add maple syrup.

4.) Pipe onto parchment lined baking sheets with piping bag and tip OR you can use a freezer bag with a small cut out of the corner. 

 I have very little hands so its hard for me to fill my pastry bag, so I find if I place it in a large pint glass, its easier to fill ;-)

5.) Place in oven and once door is shut, drop the temp to 250 Degrees. Bake for 1 hour. Remove and let cool a bit before removing to a plate.

TRY not to eat them all in one sitting. There is nothing better than popping these bad boys in your mouth when you are having a serious sweet attack!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Love of Raw Milk

Its not easy raising a family on one income. When we decided to have children 6 years ago I neverwould have pictured myself as the "Stay at home Mom" kind of person. But then my two bundles came along it became apparent that being with my children (and my home) is where I was meant to be.

So the hubs and I sat down and really crunched the numbers. It would be tight but if it meant being with our children and raising them the way we had wanted, then penny pinching was the way to be. Bottom line......we were going to make it work.

I painstakingly plan out our budget every month of food and bills. I feel this is part of my job. And yes its not a secret that we go a different route when it comes to the food that we choose to provide for our family. Some things are cheaper in the long run and others are a bit more pricey. But I feel some things you just cannot compromise when it comes to your family.

One of the foods that is top on our priority list is milk.

We go through a TON of milk in this house. While my husband and I aren't big milk drinkers ourselves, our children can put away a gallon quicker than a blink of an eye. And add the dairy foods that come from that milk and it adds up.  

So considering how much goes into our family, finding good, quality milk is of big importance. Raw milk in our house is a must in our budget. I add it on with all the other main bills because its just not something I'm willing to compromise anymore.

I know it sounds crazy that we drink Raw Milk, but I promise you, with a little research and a reputable source, its worth every penny. I can guarantee organic, hormone free, wholesome milk that I know will fill my family with healthy enzymes, vitamins, and protein that pasteurization kills in conventional milk. I'm not saying that Raw Milk is the only way to go. I know its not readily available in a lot of places. For example even here in Kentucky. It is illegal to buy or sell raw milk here. I don't "buy" raw milk. I bought shares in a herd of cows. This is the product that my herd gives in which I am entitled too. I pay a maintenance fee every week which goes towards the care of our animals and in turn we get gallons of milk from our cows. Its simple but tricky. lol. Check your local laws. We own three shares so we get three gallons every week. And yes we use up all that milk.

Its not just milk that comes with it. Its the cream as well. Liquid, healthy fats. And with that I'm able to make our butter, coffee creamer, ice cream, and whatever else we need for the week. I'm even dabbling in cheesemaking! So in the long run those shares go along way!

I also love the fact that I know exactly where this product comes from. I even know the cows names!! White face, Black face, and Red. lol. The kids named them :-). Its such a religious and wonderful feeling driving out to the homestead every week to pick up our supply. To see where our cows eat, sleep and breath. Its magical. And so rewarding! Worth the 25 miles one way every week. Of course I hope to one day raise our very own milk cow, but until then I will gladly drive out there. Its my little slice heaven every Thursday. Thursday is now my favorite day of the week. Thursday is Milk Day <3

I'm not saying that Raw Milk is the only way to go. If its not available where you live, by all means, go find yourself some good organic milk. Please make sure you are drinking organic though. The hormones and process they go through is just not good. For you and the cows. But if it is available, do yourself a favor and check it out!

For more information on: Raw Milk
Also for useful information: http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2013/05/got-raw-milk-why-we-chose-to-go-raw.html

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring is here!! almost....

This weekend was filled with warmth and dreams of the future months. There is nothing better than waking early and the sun is shining. How can one not want to go out and get hands dirty?

I was finally able to start my garden. After discussing with our landlords, we got the ok to plant a small garden as long as we fill it with seed or sod upon moving out. So I started with 10 x 10 as a starter.

I'm going to purchase the bulk of my seeds and starter plants from my farmstand store to insure heirloom. I also have a few planter pots that will hold other plants. Since I'm a full time Homesteader and SAHM, I know I'll have the time to tend to these responsibilities like never before. I've kept a small garden and plants over the past few years but nothing this big. And last year really only consisted of a few potted plants. So I'm excited to really start my gardening going for the summer.

This is my perfect time to practice my skills so that we can (hopefully) live off our land in the future. I know that there will be a lot of mistakes and mishaps and that is ok. What better way than to learn from experience.

This years garden will consist of my typical squash, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes. But I will also be trying my hand at corn since we go through so much. And also want to try some peas. Broccoli will also be making an appearance albeit small as Beanie and I are really the only fans. And then some spinach, carrots and butter crunch lettuce (Greg's Favorite). I also plan on purchasing another blue berry plant to hopefully produce berries for my sweet Papa. They are his favorite!!

Big plans for sure!

While today is snow covered again, I know that is only for today and tomorrow will be warmer. I cannot WAIT for only warm days and to be able to spend the majority of our days in the garden and outside.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Big Dreams

Oh how I miss owning our home. We actually are blessed with a really great rental home in a very nice neighborhood. Even a bit of land. But its hard when you know its not yours. When something breaks you have to call the "Landlord" and wait for them to get around to fixing it. Living on two acres of land is such a great concept EXEPT when its not yours and you can't do much with it. Although we are able to plant a garden, I would love to have more than "my neighbors chickens".

And then there is the gas fire place. Whoever thought these were a good idea?? Especially when its never been hooked up! Ugh. Wood burning for me. I love the smell and I also never like the idea of relying on a company to heat my home. We had a brutal winter with lows that dipped under 0 degrees. So gas was in high demand and at a premium. For something so basic as staying warm. And having a propane fireplace.....not hooked up......just mocking me. Ugh. Our furnace broke this winter which caused it to run constantly and never getting above 67. Also causing the bill to sky rocket as you could imagine. So sitting in a freezing house.....staring at a fireplace you can't use.....ugh.

This brings us back to our dreams. I am constantly on the craigslist ads perusing back and forth from the "Farm and Garden" section and the "Real Estate for Sale" ads. Just dreaming. We had to short sale our house when we left Washington so that, legally, does not allow us to buy for 3 years. In August we will be starting our second year. So when I came upon two (almost) perfect houses, it hurt like no other.

First house was the perfect Homesteaders house. 15 acres with a pond and homemade firing range. 3 bedroom house almost completed but nothing we couldn't handle. and OFF GRID. $50,000. Le sigh. Just not the right time.

Second house was a bit more promising. Lease to Own. 2 Year contract. Which would buy us the time we needed. 3 bedroom brick home with detached garage. Only 15 minutes or so from our current rental. BUT only 1 acre. 1 Bathroom. And REALLY close to a highway. As Greg puts it "One of the girls would wonder into the road, get hit by a semi, then he would have to go find an Indian Pet cemetery, bury her, she would come back to life and kill me and others." Ok that was a bit of a stretch but just not a good situation for us. And I really want more land than 1 acre.

So we sat down and really talked about what was important to us. We loved our first home.....until we had children. Then it was just too small. And we couldn't do anything with it. We don't want to get into a situation like that again. Where we "Settle". And we are willing to search for it.....and wait if needed.

I want 5-10 acres so I can have my animals and garden. I want a wood burning fireplace. Greg wants 10 acres and some wooded so he can hunt and have trees for our fireplace if needed. He wants a pond. He wants to NOT be on a main road. A house that is set back a bit. These, we've decided, are things that are just so important to us. And we aren't willing to settle anymore.

While its frustrating to know that we will be living in a rental for a while longer, it seems a little less painful to know that the next home we own will be ours. And what WE want. A place for our farm and our children to grow. A place for us. And then I know we will have finally arrived and we can live our dream of the Trupp Homestead.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Warm Comforting Taco Soup

Wow. Just wow. Such a week we had. That's really why I haven't written.

Life....like I've said before....is just hard. I mean really hard sometimes. It seems sometimes when trying to do the right thing....life just kicks ya where it counts. And all you can do is pick yourself up. Dust off the dirt. Truck on.

The problem I have with this is I'm not easy to do that sometimes. I am after all human.

It was a very busy and stressful week for us. I do not want bore you with the details. Just that we tried to adopt a dog and it didn't work out. And it played on my heart and soul. Sometimes life just doesn't work out the way you want it to. The good thing is I have such an awesome family. And an awesome husband.

Coupled with some other troubling news it was just a rough week.

By the time supper rolled around on some of those nights I was left completely aghast that I had left nothing out for supper.

Time to pick up and remember some of the awesome things in life....like meat in our freezer.

One of my husbands favorite meals has pulled us out of jam too many times to count. It does take a bit of preparation (as in crockpot) but not much. And I've made it on the stove before with the same results. The recipe was given to me a while ago and it just screams comfort food now. Something we crave when the nights are cold and endless and all you need is something warm in your belly to remind you of the good things.

Taco Soup

you will need:

  • 1 lb of ground meat of your choice (we have beef but I've made it with turkey for a lower fat version and its just fantastic)
  • 1 can of corn (or frozen preferable organic)
  • 1 can rotel (tomatoes with chilies)
  • 1 can black beans (I always prefer organic but this is what I had lingering in my pantry from the great purge)
  • 1 packet of ranch dressing mix (organic or homemade are preferable of course)
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning or equivalent amount homemade

1.) Brown meat in a large skillet and add to your crock pot.

2.) Add all of your other ingredients as well and give it a big stir making sure all ingredients are incorporated nicely.

3.) Now turn on your crock pot to low and walk away for the day. Alternately you can turn your crockpot on high and walk away for a few hours. Alternately Alternately you can throw all in pot and simmer for a bit on the stove stirring every now and then. I've done all three.

4.) When you return it will have turned into this yummy flavorful stew like mixture that fills the house with aromatic goodness.

Scoop into a bowl and add your favorite cheese. You also could serve this with sour cream and chives for an added kick. We just like ours with cheese. My whole family LOVES this meal and it screams warmth and comfort. You should definitely give it a try.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Homemade Coffee Creamer!

Ahhh.....I love milk day. Its no secret that I'm madly in love with the raw milk that I get for my family from our herd shares. I know that I am providing my family with the best of the best ingredients as well as its just such a great feeling to know where our food comes from.

Now the milk is of course a HUGE benefit of the you know...milk. But because we get raw, non-homogenized milk, then we also get the delicious cream that collects on the top. This is a MASSIVE bonus for us. I am able to make all kinds of delectable items out of this heavenly cream. You all know of my butter and Ice Cream making which I am able to make with the heavy cream but I also whip up a batch of vanilla coffee creamer for the hubs every week. He does like his coffee with cream in it. And to be honest.....I love it in my tea to make a London Fog.

Its sooooo easy to make and cost effective. AND I really do love the flavor ;-)

Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer

You will need:

  • 1 pint of organic Half and Half
  • 1 cup of Heavy Cream (preferable raw)
  • 1 cup of Whole Milk (I use Raw of course)
  • 4 Tbsp of pure Maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp of homemade or store bought Vanilla extract

1.) Add all ingredients to your jar.

2.) Put lid on and Shake your jar.

3.) Label. And DONE!!! Ridiculous easy right?!?!

Now...go pour yourself a cup of piping hot coffee.....or in my case steaming cup of earl gray tea. Pour in some of this. Sip that creamy deliciousness that is homemade goodness. <3 <3 <3

Monday, February 17, 2014

My husbands "other woman"

I know  I know....

Its not what you think. My husband loves me more than words can properly express. And I am so in love with him. But he does have a second love. This is the love of Craft Beer. I'm not talking the beer flavored water you buy at the grocery store that has commercials during your Super Bowl. I'm talking the dark, Hoppiest of Hoppy, Beer.

And to really push that love into a full blown obsession: he brews his beer as well. A few years back, my dad had asked if he would be interested in starting to brew as he was going to start. So for Christmas they both received gifts of Home Brew Kits.

Like mad scientists, they research different grains and malts. All different kinds of recipes and brew shops. While my dad likes the darker, Stout kind of beer. Greg prefers the hoppy IPA or I refer to as stinky beer.

I'm not going to lie. I do love it when he brews. The house starts smelling of warm hops and grains. Reminds me of warm grape nuts cereal. You can tell he really really enjoys it. And I love watching him get such pleasure out of this process.

He carefully measures out each ingredient using my kitchen scale. Making sure to sterilize everything before and after as he goes. Listening to Tool or A Perfect Circle on the computer while following his chosen recipe. As I get so passionate about my baking or homesteading, he gets just as passionate about his brew.

After a few days I will watch him go lovingly check on his "carboy" as it starts to ferment and bubble. Checking on it every few days. And then he will switch to a second ferment and then bottle. About six weeks in, he will crack open that first bottle with baited breath. Listening for that tell tale sound of properly carbonated beer.

He will take that first sip and a sense of appreciation and pride with wash over his face and I will be proud of him as well. I'm ok with this "other woman" I guess. Just as long as promises to brew me a Pale Ale ;-)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Main Squeeze

Today is my husband's birthday. I can honestly say I don't know what my life would be like if I had never met him. He is my "sun, my moon, My stars" to quote the beautiful Daenerys. My smile on sad days. My heart.

I met Greg when I was 14 living in central Washington. As I tell people: I was the youngest of our bunch of friends and he was definitely the older. Nothing inappropriate but definitely nothing that was kosher lol. I liked to skip school and secretly walk to his basement window, gently wrapping to alert him to let me in. And we would sit and watch TV or I would watch him play video games.

I remember thinking he was so sweet and handsome. He was the friend of my then boyfriend at the time who truly was nothing to write home about. And whenever I would have problems, he was always there to listen to me cry. I never thought he would look at me any differently then the little hippie girl that hung out in his basement room.

I got older and graduated high school and eventually broke it off with the boyfriend I had been dating. And Greg and I showed interest in each other but nothing to call serious. We ended up losing touch. I moved to California to live with my father and then migrated east to Tennessee. He moved off to Seattle with a girl he was dating. And the years would pass. I got married and then divorced. He would stay with the girl but then broke it off after awhile but remained in Seattle.

Then the internet began to grow and social media along with it. Myspace. I know. I'm embarrassed to say it as well. lol. I remember I was living in Nashville, having moved there after my divorce to start over. I had put off opening a "Myspace account" because it didn't really interest me. But push came to shove and I opened one. Not two weeks later and I received a message. It was from Greg Trupp. I remember I was working at a high end pet kennel and was visiting in the groomers room for my break. I opened the message and was astonished. The message asked if I was the Nikki Salazar from Selah Washington and if so, that he had been looking for me for years. To call him, when I could, to catch up. I was completely taken aback. And I'll never forget what one of my groomer friends had said to me. She said "People come in and out of our lives at the times they are supposed. This might be meant to be".

I called that "Greg Trupp" and that night we talked for HOURS. Catching up was an understatement to say the least. We talked more and more. And eventually I would fly out to visit. I knew, when I left that weekend to fly back to Nashville, that Seattle with Greg Trupp was where I was meant to be. Two and a half months later, I would make that happen. I have never looked back.

Seven and half years and many states further, and I am still the happiest I have ever been. Married with two beautiful little girls. I still marvel at the fact that I married "Greg Trupp". He chose ME. He is my everything and I cannot imagine my life any other way. The best husband, father and partner in life than I could ever ask for. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Classic and Quick Spaghetti Carbonara

PHEW what a week! This mama does not get sick so when I started to feel a little under the weather last week, I decided to lay low. Combined with the snow and ice which created an even more depressing week. I will never admit defeat so lets just say I was taking some restful time. ;-)

But before I "took my break" I made this tasty morsel and just hadn't gotten around to posting it.

My husband, God love him, is one of the pickiest men I have ever met. True, he has gotten better with time but he still turns his nose up to a lot. The problem with this is that I LOVE food. All different types of food. As well as good old fashioned comfort foods. I'm talking about Pasta. Glorious, wonderful, flavorful Pasta. I grew up on an absolutely lovely homemade spaghetti sauce that my father would whip up that just warms me up just thinking about it. You know, the rich tomato-ey kind. Buuuttt.....ol' poopsy doesn't like tomato sauce or "red sauce" as he calls it. He'll eat it if I make it but I don't want him to just "Eat it". I want him to really love it.

This is my happy compromise. Sure it doesn't have the "red sauce" that I am so fond of, but it has a creamy, cheesiness, yum that I truly adore. AND the fam loves it too. AAAANNDD its super quick. BONUS!!

Classic and Quick Spaghetti Carbonara

You will need:

  • Half a packet of spaghetti or pasta of your choice (I made some spaghetti earlier that day so that's what I used)
  • 6 Slices of streaky bacon, diced
  • 1 cup worth of baby spinach (I didn't have any on hand so I'm using frozen peas)
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tbsp. worth of freshly grated cheese of your choice (I'm using mozzarella)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1.) Firstly, boil the pasta in salted water. While that is going on the stove, fry the bacon bits until almost crispy. I had peppered bacon which works perfectly for this recipe.

2.) In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs well to break up the yolks, then add the cheese. Set aside.

3.) Once the pasta is cooked till 'al dente', add the spinach (or frozen peas in my case) and cook till wilted (or cooked). Remove pasta and spinach (peas) from the pot and drain, saving about 1-2 tbsps of pasta water. Add the bacon bits into the pot. Immediately pour in the egg and cheese mixture and toss pasta rapidly with a pair of tongs to coat pasta well with both the bacon and the egg mixture. You have to do this quickly so that the eggs do not cook on their own. If the sauce appears too thick, you can dilute with a little bit of the pasta water saved, adding a little at a time.

4.) Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste and that is it! Serve immediately of course. I like to add a bit more cheese to mine on the top. Because, you know....everything is better with cheese ;-)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

One of the hardest parts of parenting.

Being a parent is hard. Like really hard. I would have to say, in my 32 years of life, this is probably the most challenging thing I have done with my life. And I've had a pretty "challenging" life. lol. We are blessed with these little sweet blessings without any "training" or coaching. Sure you have advice from trusted sources like your own mother or grandmother. Or friends. But every child is different and this really is not a case of "one size fits all".

I've always been one who, how do we say, likes to have control of situations. I like things a certain way. And I don't really think that's a bad thing. I've never been late to anything that I can control. I'm very strict on the foods that come into our household. I don't do things that I don't want to do. But you know who has a way of challenging all these things about myself? My children. Oh my sweet children. And I've noticed in the almost 5 years that I've been a parent, My voice has gotten louder. I'll just say it: I yell a lot. Sox, I love her so, but darn it if that girl must touch EVERYTHING that does not belong to her. Its like an addiction for her to find stuff that she shouldn't be touching and then she grabs it. *sigh*. And Beanie. Oh Beanie. I love my Beanie but that girl is as bull headed as they come. If she doesn't want to do something, Well she just isn't going to do it. And the kicking and screaming come along with it. And when those two girls are together.....well they either super love each other or SUPER can't stand each other. Screaming and yelling is heard throughout the house. Which turns into me screaming and yelling to be louder than them and get their attention. I'm not proud of it. Its just something that has evolved over the years. I used to marvel at my friends and other parents who seemed to have it together. Well balanced children and such a peaceful demeanor. Why couldn't this happen in my house? I decided, this needs to change ASAP.

I don't know why, but over this past week or so I've had a lot of situations which have left me sitting back and really taking a hard look at myself. And a hard look at myself with my children. I love my children more than life itself. It makes me tear up just thinking about how much. And it just breaks my heart to think of them only remembering their childhood with yelling all the time. So I have made a conscious effort to not yell. And you know what....its been nice.
Just when I get to that point, You know that point: when your blood pressure is getting higher, and you are gritting your teeth while trying to talk. At that point, I find myself almost holding my breath while I calmly talk which is in turn bringing my voice level down. I give the however number of warnings before punishment is given, be it loss of privilege or a time out. Or both. Which has happened. And the interesting part of all of it is that I've noticed I AM happier as well. And I've learned to appreciate my children more. A feeling that I don't ever want to lose. I sit with Sox and look at her while she is explaining something while fidgeting her hands, and just marvel at her beauty and tenderness. And Beanie with all her rambunctious two year old energy. I steal a kiss and a hug whenever I can get them as they are few and far between now. When Sox touches things she isn't supposed to, I warn her and remind her that she must ask first if it doesn't belong to her. And when it happens again, I calmly remind her that she was warned and soon punishment will happen. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But I've learned that she listens more and thinks about her actions more.  Same with Beanie. Of course it takes a few more warnings but she, I believe, is starting to understand more.

Its so funny what you learn when you really take a step back and look at yourself. I try to do this quite often just to keep myself in check. I don't want my house to be a household of yelling and anger. I don't want my children to learn to be that. I want my children to remember a lot of love and peace in our house. I don't want my children to fear me but instead to respect me. These years go by so fast. Why, if we have the choice, not spend those times screaming at each other but instead loving and caring and really teaching our children. And how else are they to learn than from you? Its time for that cycle to be broken in our house. And its starting with me.