Monday, November 14, 2011

Problems Galore

My First World Problems
In honor of my super favorite people *I like to stalk* in the whole world, Kate and Lydia, over at (Did I tell you I love them?) I have been reflecting on my life today and how awful my first world problems are. So I figured I'd take the chance to get them off my chest today.
My First World Problems which make my life seem awful:
My Children have to many toys. they are everywhere. I have no room to put them all.
My Children have to many clothes. There aren't enough closets and drawer space to keep them all.
My Washer and Dryer are downstairs in the basement. Requiring me to walk down the steps everytime I need to change a load. And then up two flights to put them away.
My Crockpot broke so now I'm forced to cook the food on the stove and in the oven.
Brother Baer wants to play his Wii all the time and stops me from watching afternoon shows except for on my little tv in the kitchen.
I got a new touch screen smart phone and it was so stupid I had to change back to an older and dumber version.
Facebook and Pintrest go down just when I feel like wasting time
When I shop online I have to spend OVER a certain amount to get free shipping.
My 8 Passenger SUV is a gas hog but it's so spacious. I can't give it up.
The Portable DVD players in the SUV are attached to the seats by velcro and it gets stuck in my hair. And that hurts. Also....the boys can grab them and rip them off the seats. Causing more pain when it grabs my hair
My GPS doesn't always know the right way to go and makes me have to turn around. (Sometimes illegally) or I get lost. Which isn't fun
I crave Mocha Frappe's everyday but getting them would require me to pack up the kids and take them to McDonalds and therefore have to buy them happy meals and it's too much trouble. (And not good for them anyways) So I don't get them very often. (Like once a week...seriously?)
My Wifi doesn't like to work on the porch....So it's slow when I set out there.
My phone service doesn't always send texts right away....So I don't get my texts for minutes to hours later....WTH?
All the shows I like to watch are on past my bedtime
My 3 children are so healthy they run around and make me crazy
I have to go to a beer distributor to get beer in this stupid state. Not just the 7-11
Facebook games are too slow and make me mad so I can't play them anymore
I'm sure I have a TON more. But that's enough for now. *phew* life is really awful isn't it?
What makes your First World Problem list?

Monday, November 7, 2011

The X games Baer Style

Well, I had my first meeting with the IU (Intermediate Unit) here in our County. This meeting was to set up and discuss our transition with Little Baer from Early Intervention into the IU. The day he turns 3 he is not eligible for Early Intervention and will move on to their services. Along with those services is the world known as IEP's....This sport is EXTREME! And it takes a lot of planning and knowledge on a parents part to get through them, get what your child needs, and not have anyone cry.
I have learned a lot from Brother Baer and his IEP's. Although he is only in first grade.....I have learned the hard way. And every ounce of information I have learned has come from another parent or an advocate. me when I say that this school and their "workers" are NOT in it for your child. They aren't looking for what's best for Little Baer. They are looking out for them. And their needs and what they want. So, knowing this and experiencing this has been a rough road. If you aren't a special needs parent, consider yourself lucky. If you are....PLEASE read up and talk to other parents. More importantly talk to them about what actually is available and do not trust and believe in what the system tells you. They tell you all kinds of things that aren't true in hopes that you aren't smart enough to realize that.
So, Anyways, Here we are this morning with the IU Case Manager and our trusted EI Case Manager. I say trusted because she is. She knows I know enough now to hold my own. And she also knows that I know what THEY don't want me too. So, she sits back and smiles at the games we played during the meeting. Oh bless her! I have loved my EI team and we have made great progress. Here are the games I played with the IU today:
Them: "We will notify you of his placement in the Preschool the IU designates"
Me: "No, actually I will be touring the facilities and telling YOU which preschool he will be placed in" *smiling*
Them: "Once he is evaluated, we can notify you of what his areas of delay are and *IF* he qualifies"
Me: "I am excited to see the evaluation reports, but I already know he qualifies for services. The 25% delay is scored at his outpatient therapy center every 13 weeks for insurance purposes. So, I keep a close eye on his progression. And he will fall below the 25%"
Them: "Well, once we know *IF* he qualifies (They keep telling me IF *rollingeyes*) we can get a script from the Dr so that he can have the services"
Me: "Please give me the paperwork to get the script now because he *WILL* qualify" (See they aren't going to tell me he doesn't have a 25% delay so they don't have to pay for OT or PT. He does and it's documented from outpatient)
Me: " My plan is to have him in the IU preschool and then transition him into a "typical" preschool next fall"
Them: "Outside preschool would be your choice but the financial responsibility would be with you"
Me: "No actually, the IU will pay for the preschool of my choice if we determine he is able to attend a typical preschool. So, we will work towards that goal, but we will start with the IU preschool."
Them: "Well if you keep him in the IU preschool we will have our therapists there for his therapy"
ME: "You will have a therapist at the typical preschool as well if that's where he is placed."
Them: "We need to talk with our transportation department on allowing you to change the school he is assigned"
ME: "No actually you don't. But don't worry about the transportation department anyways. My 3 year old isn't riding a bus"
Back and forth we go. Them...Me...Them...Me....FINALLY after about a half an hour of back and forth, she says something EPIC!!!!
"Is there anything that you DON'T know about the process that I can help you with?"
Nope, I say....I'm good thanks.
See my friends....I didn't spend the past 3 years of my life in 7 therapies a week and countless hours of research, talking, and learning my schmidt to have them tell me he "doesn't qualify" or "he doesn't need" a service. I will be the one to decide that. I will be the one to decide if and when his therapies stop or if he will be included and where he's included. I will not stand for the "least services we can give this child" attitude. I will not stand for "he's a special needs child so we don't need to educate him right" attitude. I will not allow you to push me around or push this Little Baer around. I will not do that again.....So, take note my dear, I will be in control of this child's education. I will decide the process. You will either work with me, or against me. But I can promise you I will win.
:) The X factor in momma Baer is stronger then you have estimated.
On the good side...She knows I know my Schmidt. The ground work has been laid and I can feel confident that we will have a much better go round this time. (Oh and the fact that I told her the that Will's last IEP meeting lasted 2 1/2 hours and is 64 pages long...Which sounded kind of like Rocky sayin' he was getting pumped for the next round) :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Homemade Sauerkraut

Sauer-kraut Day 2011

Once a year, the first Saturday in November we gather together to make Sauer-kraut. It's a blast and We have homemade kraut all year long!
We start with some Coffee and Irish Creme and move on to wine and beer...Yummy food, great friends and fun.
But here is how the process is done.
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage heads and wash and let dry.
Each person in our group has a job. So the process is made easier. We pass the cabbage along from station to station.
This year my station was with the kids. haha And taking pictures. Oh and enjoying the coffee. :)
Once the cabbage is washed and dried remove the core and cut into quarters.
We do 50 lbs of Cabbage per family. Three families so we process 150 lbs of Kraut each year.
Papa Baer was in charge of quartering the cabbage. He's sporting his "Pink Hat" (Ok it was supposed to be baby Baer's pink hat but he has claimed it. LOL)
Shred your cabbage thin. We use an old wooden slider and it's set at 1/4 inch. You could use a regular grater or shredder but this makes the process super easy.
We shred it into the large red tub and use the wall to push against. :) Always little tricks and tips to make it easier.
You will weigh out the Cabbage to: 5 lb Or food grade bucket can be used as well the 5 gallon ones will hold approx 20-25 lbs of cabbage)
Layer the Cabbage into the crock and for each 5 lbs you will place 3 tablespoons of canning salt and then tamper it down with the wooden mallet.
Little Baer helping daddy tamper down the cabbage. (sorry for the darkness of the pics. For some reason the lighting was off and my camera wasn't helping. We weren't working in the dark though)
Tamper each 5 lbs layer till the liquid is coming up from the bottom. And then repeat the process of layers until the entire container or crock is full.
Once the Crock is full place a layer of cheese cloth over top and then lay a heavy plate on the top as to cause some pressure.
Store for 5-6 weeks in a room with temps around 68-72 degrees. We use the basement. A garage would work. You don't want to use your house though. One, it's too warm and stinks.
Once the process sets each week check on it and add water if needed. (It should be liquidy) Once complete (We have ours ready by New Years) you will need to skim off the top few inches of "slim" lol as I call it. And then you can can it, freeze it, cook it...or whatever you would like! Check back in January for how we do ours.
If canning (For reference) 50lbs of Cabbage will yeild approx. 18 Quarts of Kraut.

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks Through November
Each year Brother Baer and I (The babies aren't old enough yet) Give Thanks for something in our lives each day of November. It's a great way to teach him about being Thankful for all he has and to make sure he learns as he grows to always be thankful and full of gratitude.
We made our letters and strung them up on our Buffet in the dining room. So we can see and read them every night at dinner. We added in his Turkey that we made too.
Then Every night at Dinner time we write on our "leaves" what we are thankful for. Allow the kids to just tell you whatever they want. Brother Baer is thankful for Zhu Zhu Pets, Bells, and Me....Cute how those are the important things in his life.
The leaves will be put up around the Buffet all month and at the end we will see all of the amazing blessings we have in our life.
It's a really fun kid craft to do! Brother Baer loves it!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cheesy Pork Chop and Potato Bake

Cheesy Pork Chop and Potato Bake.......
Seriously Delicious.

8 boneless pork chops
3 Stalks of Celery
1 small onion
1 small green pepper
1 Can of Cream of Celery Soup
1 Can of Cream of Mushroom and Chicken Soup
16 oz of Sour cream
8 oz of Velveeta Cheese
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
2 Sticks of Butter
4 Cups of Corn Flakes
1 Bag of Hashbrown Potatoes
Garlic Powder
This recipe will feed 6-8 people. I seperated it into 2 9x13 Baking Dishes and One fed us and one fed our Aunts Family. A member of her family is in the hospital and I decided that since I was cooking anyways to make an extra dish to send to them. You could freeze the second one...or if you have a big family the recipe will feed you all!
In a large skillet melt 1 stick of butter. Add
the 8 Pork Chops and the chopped vegetables. Saute covered till Pork Chops are browned on both sides and the vegetables are softened.
I seasoned with Garlic Powder, Paprika, Salt and Pepper (All to taste and liking)
While Chops are browning..
In one bowl mix the 4 cups of Corn Flakes, 1 stick of butter (melted) and 1 cup of Parmesan Cheese.
In another bowl mix the Sour Cream, Velveeta Cheese (Cubed) and the two cans of soup.
Once the Pork Chops are browned and the vegetables are soft, (This takes about 10 minutes...give or take) remove the chops from the Skillet.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
To the skillet of vegetables add the mixture of cheese and soups. Allow it to heat enough to mix everything and melt the velveeta cheese a tad.
Pour this mixture into two greased 9x13 baking dishes (I use non stick spray)
They the Pork Chops onto the top. 4 in each Baking Dish
Top with the Corn Flake Mixture. (Half to each)
Bake uncovered on 350 for 30 minutes.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mom's Survival Pack

Mom's Survival Pack
I've decided that every new mom needs an amazing survival Gift Pack. And I've decided that I am going to make a new mom survival pack and give them to each and every new mom that I know.
This is not your feel good, snuggly kind of gift pack you give a mom. You know the kind....Slippers and bubbles and all that stuff that people think a new mom needs so she can "pamper" herself.
HA! Pamper yourself? Seriously? We need to give moms a real survival pack. A pack that when REAL life hits her she will fully appreciate the gift.
And here is what I think we should include:
Ear Plugs: Because let's face it.....Ear Plugs can and will be your best friend. You can use them for not only your children but your husband too. You will need them for everyday life. For the car....For the house.....For when you need to take a bath....Or just gather your thoughts. Trust me......Silence will never be experienced in a non artifical way again. So, just face it and put your ear plugs in.
Sunglasses.... WITH BLINDERS. Believe me you will need blinders. The Blinders will help in ignoring everything around you. Trust me you will need them. There will be lots of days that you can't take it anymore and pretending that it just doesn't exsist will be your best bet.
Blinders will help.
OK....Obvious I'm sure, but Tylenol....You will need it. You will need it for your body pains, your head pains, and your everyday life pains.
Boxed Wine....You gotta have it. Learn to love it (If you don't already) and keep it in the fridge. Drink it and Drink it and then Drink it some more. Use a sippy cup if you must but drink it.
Door Locks.....Get them and USE THEM. They will work well for locking the houdlems out of the bathroom, the bedrooms, wherever you don't want them. Baby Gates don't work great....they can escape from them. Tear them down or climb them. So, just get door locks and just lock them out.
OK....Let's just be real here. You're not going to make it without Xanax. At some point in motherhood you are going to need them. So, just get real now. See your Doctor (Since I can't legally supply the Xanax. lol) And get yourself a nice supply of them.
Otherwise I may throw in some things like Ambian and Nyquil. (For the mom) Some Benadryl (Trust me all you NEW moms you'll know why we use that soon) and maybe some duct tape. Cause when all else fails duct tape fixes everything. You can use it for all kinds of things. ;) *taping mouths, taping hands, taping kids to walls*

Pumpkin and Bat Gourds

Pumpkin and Bat Gourds
Something fun to do with the kids around here for halloween is to paint the gourds and make fun stuff with them. I'm not big into carving pumpkins and this is a great alternative.
Here are two examples of some fun things to make.
The Bat: The Bat is made of a little pumpkin. Painted black except for the eyes (Now we did have to help the eyes out a bit because Brother Baer was painting and he is 6. So we used a marker to straighten them up a bit for him.) Once the bat is dried black take 2 pieces of black felt and cut the ears out. Attach the felt ears to toothpicks and insert. Do the same with the Bat wings. Use a skewer to attach the back of the wings to keep them straight. I used black electrical tape to tape the toothpicks and skewers on the felt. And then stick them into the pumpkin. Super Easy and Super fun for kids!
The Ghost Gourd is made from a Birdhouse Gourd grown in my moms garden. She made this with Brother Baer while I was in the hospital recovering. It's so adorable!!!
She mixed orange and white paint to create this light orange color and then had Brother Baer paint it. She then allowed it to dry and helped Brother Baer paint the eyes on. Then just tied a ribbon around his neck to finish him off!
You could paint these completely white and have real ghosts too.

When things go bump in the Night!

So, around 4:00 AM this morning I was up to pee (Thank you four children) and on my way to the bathroom I checked on the kiddos. Babies were sleeping fine. Brother Baer was awake and "talking" in bed. I told him to go to sleep. He says, crying, that he had fell and smacked head head off his side table. I said..."It's fine go to sleep you shouldn't have been playing around anyways" and continued on my way....
Imagine my *Bad mom* moment this morning when I awake to this....Poor Brother Baer really did hurt himself and his mean, overtired mom told him to go to bed, he was fine. Talk about feeling guilty. I need to remember to always check out a bump in the night and to not assume that the kiddos are making up stuff for attention in the middle of the night. *sigh*

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Camping - Baer Style
My life has been a bit on the crazy side this week (OK crazier than usual) I had surgery and was in the hospital and now I'm "man down" I can't lift my kids or lift anything. I am basically useless. LOL And at the mercy of everyone else. Which, being the *crazy control freak* Super mom I am is really really hard.
I hate this. But one of the fun things that came from the week is Papa Baer camping with the kids. Family fun night was just them with me watching this time.
Papa Baer moved the furniture and built tents in the living room. Gathered flashlights and a camping latern and they all played in the tents. Baby Baer and Little Baer of course loved it and had a blast. Brother Baer enjoyed himself too as he chased the babies in and out and around and around.
Brother Baer is all about "Family Fun nights" these days and can't wait to have them. The simple things like building a tent and camping in the living room are things that memories are made of.
So, as I sat here watching them enjoying the camping fun I remember what amazing little kiddos I have. And how much they love their daddy and their papa Baer time. They don't need lots of toys and expensive presents. Just time...And it's so fun to watch them grow and learn all the fun things they do when you sit and enjoy the fun.
And sometimes, when you let go and let others decide the fun things to do you move furniture around and do silly things. And that's totally awesome in my book! maybe I should relax and let go more often.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Trunk or Treat Castle Theme

Trunk or Treat Castle Theme!
For Halloween this year we did a Fairy Tale Land Theme. Complete with the Castle for Trunk or Treat. If you want to know how to create the Knight, Princess and Dragon costumes check out the other blog posts!
This will tell you how to create your "Castle" design for the back or your SUV, mini van, truck or even a trunk.
This was super easy and literally cost less than $10.00 to create! (Could be less!!!)
I took a trifold Cardboard display (one you
would use for a science project. Now I had
this at home so I spent nothing. You could
use cardboard to reduce the cost as well. But
this cost about $8.00 when bought new!)
I cut the top with a box cutter to the shape I wanted. You could go fancy, I didn't. Just simple castle shapes. I also cut the door on the top and both sides but left the bottom in tact for the draw birdge) then I spray painted the whole thing with silver paint. Once dry I used a marker to draw on the stone. I bought 3 ft of light chain. ($3.58 total) and attached the chains on both sides of the draw bridge. I used wooden skewers and attached red felt to the tops as the flags and stuck them into the cardboard at the top! The great thing about the trifold is that it can be adjusted with the actual size of your "trunk" and there was no need to measure. If you have only cardboard I would just measure the space you need it to fill and then cut from there!!!
I attached the chains with some hardware I stole from papa Baer's work bench (shhh!!!!) and it worked perfectly!
Here is everyone together ready to go!!!!
I did put the candy inside the Castle and the kids
could reach into the draw bridge to retrieve their candy!
With a super small budget and a desire to make a big impact I designed and created the 3 costumes and the Castle for the Trunk for less than $50.00 for EVERYTHING!!!!

Homemade No Sew Princess Costume

Homemade No Sew Princess Costume

So to finish out the 3 Baers costumes this year little Miss Baby Baer was transformed into a Princess. this costume was completely no sew. BUT....I must say I did not make the tu-tu. I had a tu-tu that someone had given me for her and we just used the tu-tu and created the colors and costume around that. Tu-Tu's are big these days so I figure a lot of people have them already. If so use it! And create the costume colors around the tu-tu.
I have no idea how to make a tu-tu so I can't say if you have to sew it or not. LOL (Just an fyi)
Supplies needed:
Scrapbook paper (glittered style)
1/2 yard tulle
jewel embellishments
glitter glue
foam craft wands
foam stickers
I got the foam stickers, ribbon, jewels and scrapbook paper all at Walmart in the clearance section. The Foam wands at the dollar tree. The entire cost of this costume was $10.00!!!! (Spending $3.00 on the tulle)
I created the hat by rolling a piece of the scrapbook paper into a tube and sizing it to her head. Leaving a small hole at the top to thread the tulle into. Once it was sized correctly I just stapled it together (The staples will be covered) and decorated with the jewel embellishments and foam stickers. I cut the tulle in half and threaded the tulle into the top of the hat and secrured it to the inside with *packing tape* (shhh....) and then made 2 slits on either side of the hat and threaded a long ribbon that went through and out the other side to secure it to her head (Tied under her chin)
She modeled the hat for me!!!!!
I then just decorated the foam wand with the
jewel embellishments with glitter glue and the
foam stickers.
Super Super Easy! I had ideas of different shirts but the freezing cold temps of PA in October changed my plans. I just put a turtleneck under a onsie that said Little Princess. And then double layered a pair of purple tights under a pair of pink tights. And her costume was totally done!!!!
Check out the other Blog posts for the rest of the fairy tale land and the castle to finish off the trunk or treat theme!!!

Homemade No Sew Dragon Costume

Homemade No Sew Dragon Costume
Along the Fairy Tale Line (see other Blog posts for the Knight, Princess and Castle) Little Baer was a Fierce Dragon!
although he didn't look very Fierce he sure was adorable!
This Costume was really super easy and can be made literally in an afternoon! With no sewing and for less than $15.00
Black Hooded Sweatshirt with Zipper
Felt in desired colors (I choose purple and green)
Spray adhesive
Fabric Glue
Wings (I bought a bat at the dollar tree)
I glued the wings to the back of the sweatshirt (I actually had to remove the "bat" body from the wings with wire cutters.
Then I used felt pieces to cut the spikes to go down the back of the costume. I cut 2 pieces and glued them together at the spikes leaving enough space at the bottom to "open" the 2 pieces to then glue them to the sweathirt. Once the spikes were glued to the back and top of head I used the spray adhesive to stiffen them and make them stand up better. to have them flow down the head of the sweatshirt you will need to cut the felt in different spots to create more of a "bowl" the easiest thing to do is to actually place the hood of the sweatshirt over top of an upside down bowl to form as a head would be.
Cut your scaled out of felt. You will need A LOT.
you will want enough scales to cover the front of the sweatshirt, down the back (to cover the felt where you glued it) and the tail completely. So I decided on triangle scales. But half circle ones would be great as well!
Once you cut them cut out just glue them onto the sweatshirt. remember to place something in between the fabric so you aren't glueing the fabric together.
Once the front is dry you can do the back!
I covered the green spikes with purple scales down each side. and over the wings. Once all the scales are glued I sprayed a layer of spray adhesive over top of the entire thing! then let dry as you construct the tail.
To construct the tail I cut from cardboard the shape and length I wanted. Then simply covered it with scales using the same technique. I used the same spikes for the top of the tail as I did down the back. And I left about 4 inches of felt at the top of the cardboard so that I could attach to his body. I'm telling you fabric glue is my friend!!! I then spray it with the spray adhesive as well. Once the tail is dry I simply cut a few holes about 4 inches from the top of the tail (In the extra fabric you left) and then feed thick ribbon through and tie around the waist underneath the costume.
I then just put black pants on him and he was DONE!
Super easy and super cheap to add to our fairy tale!!
See the other blog posts for the entire Fairy Tale Collection! Totally New Sew and totally Frugal! (I don't wanna be cheap... LOL)

Homemade No Sew Knight Costume

Homemade No Sew Knight Costume
This year I decided to create a fairy tale land with the kids for Trunk or Treat.
First I made Brother Baer into an awesome Brave Knight. totally no sew! (As I don't sew. lol) Little Baer became a Fierce Dragon and Baby Baer was transformed into a beautiful princess. (Although she's a princess everyday I think)
The SUV was transformed into the Castle of the land.
This post will explain how to create the Knight Costume. For the others check out other posts.
Supplies Needed:
Cardboard box
1 yard Fleece (I choose red)
1 tee shirt in matching color (craft section for $3.99)
Self Adhering Foam pieces in matching colors
Felt in matching colors
Glitter Glue (silver)
Silver Spray Paint
2 foot of rope
Jewel Embellishments
helmet and arm protectors (bought at dollar tree)
1 yard of silver metallic material (armor on neck)
duct tape
I started by created our "crest" The family crest will follow throughout. I decided on a cross. I cut the crests out of foam board and felt (Felt for the cape, foam board for the tunic and the sheild) I embellished each crest with glitter glue and jewels. (Bought at dollar tree)
The crests for the cloak was done and allowed to dry prior to glueing them to the cloak.
I used a large crest for the back of cloak. And 2 smaller crests for the front of the cloak (on each side) one small crest for the sword and one large crest for the sheild. And finally a large crest for the tunic (red shirt)
Make sure while glueing everything into place you place a piece of cardboard in between the shirt so the fabric doesn't glue together!
While the crests are drying you can work on cutting the sheild and sword out of the cardboard. I used a box and just drew the sheild and sword out freehanded and then cut it out with a box cutter. Then you can spray paint the pieces with the silver paint. It took 2 layers of spray paint and of course make sure you paint both sides!
Everything can dry at the same time! While you work on your cloak!
To finish off the sheild and sword I used duct tape to wrap the handle of the sword and used duct tape to create a handle on the back of the sheild. If you tape a few pieces of duct tape together (sticky side to sticky side) you can have a strip to tape onto the back side of sheild and can be used as a handle. Just leave enough loose to hang onto with your hands.
The duct tape around the sword handle just finishes it off.
To create the cloak I used the one yard of fleece
and rounded the egdes off to create a more cape
/cloak effect on the top. I left the bottom straight. I also made a vee shape at the top
of the fleece in the center. Once it is cut to shape you can fold down and glue the upper edge. Leaving a "rod space" as to thread the rope through. The vee in the center will allow you to have an opening so that when you feed the rope through you have a half way point to grab and continue feeding. Once the top is dry feed the rope through and then glue your crests on.
I purchased the helmet and arm armor from the dollar store and then just added the red feather on the top of the helmet.
And it's done! add a pair of black pants to the costume and you have a really awesome homemade, no sew costume for LESS than $20.00 and 1 (or 2) days of work!!!!!!