Monday, September 29, 2014

Review: Kupp

The kupp’ was created by Kate Oliver, the founder of  Katesplace. She came up with the kupp as a tool to help her young boys learn accountability and responsibility. Each of her children their very own glass in a different color and put them in charge of their cup and all of the responsibilities that came with it, including setting the table, washing, and putting it away. She quickly discovered that she had a cleaner kitchen and her family consumed less plastic. As a result, the Kupp’ was is a six-ounce glass with a colorful silicone sleeve designed just for kids.
The Facts

  • The kupp’ is a six-ounce glass outfitted with a colorful silicone sleeve. It’s designed for kids ages 3-10.
  • The firm grip and silicon sleeve helps to protect the glass from damage while providing a safe, toxic free vessel to drink from.
  • The kupp’ comes in four vibrant colors that represent the environment: blue for water, green for earth, orange for the sun, and red for warmth.
  • The kupp’ is the perfect serving size for children, and allows them to become more conscious of waste and consumption.
  • The kupp’ is made in the USA using imported glass, and all materials are sourced from environmentally friendly manufacturers that adhere to EU and US regulations.
  • All glass is recyclable, certified lead and cadmium free, and is made from a pure soda-lime formula. It is also dishwasher safe!
  • The grip-friendly silicon sleeve is BPA/BPS free and made with medical and food grade silicon to prevent damage. The sleeve does not have to be removed when washing, which makes cleaning your Kupp’ very simple.
  • The adorable kupp’ is designed to resemble a smile so kids are naturally attracted to it!
  • The retail price of the kupp’ is $16.99 each.

The Review

We were given the opportunity to test out kupp Brand cups Through Moms Meet. These are really cute little glass cups with a silicone wrapper on the outside. Upon opening the shipping box, there was a whole bunch of excitement and squeals...the kids loved them, and could not wait to try them out!
They each chose out the color that they wanted, we sat down and I explained that these were their cups, they were to take responsibility for them, use them, keep them clean, and make sure that they were put either in a safe area on the kitchen counter or put away when not in use. I have to say at first glance these made me a little nervous to hand over to my children.  I understand the concept and the idea of responsibility and independent growth, but to hand over glass to my wild bunch was a little daunting to me. I hovered for a day or two especially with my four year old, but even she has really been very good at making sure that her cup is put away safely.

It has been just over a week, and I am happy and proud to say that we have not lost one cup so far. Even though they are glass, they have held up to my children...I am almost sure that at least two have fallen on the floor and not broken. The children have been extra careful to make sure that they are not left around where the toddler can reach it.

It really has helped with many of the concepts that Kate has created these cups for. The kids are not wasting water bottles meant for car trips and outings, we have eliminated the use of disposable cups, they have taken responsibility for their own cup and have taken very good care of it because they love them. Instead of constantly asking me to get them something to drink they have taken the initive to find their own cup and get their own water and sometimes milk or juice. These little glasses are a great tool to begin fostering some responsibility and independence in your little one.

We have really enjoyed trying these kupp cups out and highly recommend them if you are ready for your little ones to begin to grow into big kids. They are so much easier to clean than all the sippy cups with the lids, stoppers, straws, and other parts that seem to never get completely cleaned...and the kids can clean these up themselves, which is an even bigger bonus.

Disclosure: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet Blogger. I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my Blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Moms Meet, May Media Group LLC, or the manufacturer.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Birthday: Jacob, Seven Years Old

Today is Jacob's 7th Birthday. He is our third child and our third boy. He doesn't give up or give in when he truly believes what he wants is what he needs; he can be very driven, strong willed, and stubborn. Determination and strength of spirit are two very dominate parts of his personality...he has the heart of a warrior, and yet, he is very kind-hearted, gentle, has a very generous spirit and is a very sweet boy. 
He is a very active and adventurous, loves to explore and investigate his world, always ready to find something new to investigate, discover, and learn. His imagination is immense and he can make up cute imaginative stories. He doesn't ever meet a stranger and one look into those beautiful eyes, and one smile could melt even the most grumpy of people. It doesn't matter where we go Jacob always finds, talks to and befriends someone new. 

Happy Birthday my sweet little man! May you continue to grow strong, smart and steadfast as you grow into a man. Love you always!

Monday, September 22, 2014

School: Another Year begins

Summer is coming to an end for the year and a new school year is now underway and in full swing. We typically wait until after Labor day in order to give a couple weeks extra to planning and preparing for our year.

This year we have hit a big milestone. We have a Highschool Freshman! Nathan is beginning his 9th grade year. Seton worked out okay for last year so we went ahead and ordered his books again for this year. Even though getting Nathan to actually do the required school work; it was really nice to have more accountability on his end to get assignments complete on a time schedule and have to be more responsible for his own work that is partially graded by the Seton staff.
The other nice thing was having back up when needed, teachers that could help and counsel if needed, and best of all we will have complete transcripts for his highschool education if he chooses to pursue a college education.
He will be taking the advance courses for college bound students. Last week his box of books came in and we went through was really funny to see the look on his face when he saw the size of the books. This year will be Algebra, Physical Science, English, Spanish, Vocabulary, Geography, Spanish, and Religion. Last year he ended his year with a high A/B average in his subjects even thought we had to persuade him quite a lot and quite often to get the assignments complete...I think it was worth it in the end. This year school will be accompanied with an existing part-time job that he is really enjoying. I love that he is also getting real life experience as part of his education.

Noah is beginning the 4th grade this year! I look at him and think how in the world is that possible...he just looks so small and yet he will be nine soon. I have been so excited with his progress and change over the year.
We began with him struggling to read and having difficulty with even simple he is reading novels on his own some even above his reading level. I'm not sure if he is truly ready for some of it, but he is reading and enjoying reading so...I say way to go!

Jacob will be starting 1st grade. Like Noah he had some difficulty grasping the reading thing, but I think that when this year gets started he will handle it like a champ. It is very difficult to get him to keep still for more than 5 minutes at a time and he is a very active child.
Breaks and lots of Physical activity are absolutely necessary for this kid. He is quick to grasp things and I think that this year will be a great year of discovery for him.

Evelyn...Oh Evelyn...She is something else. Last month she told me that she was ready to learn her EBD's...and she had a reason to say "EBD's". E is the first letter in her name so it is only right that the Alphabet start that way too.
So this year we will learn the alphabet and maybe, just maybe, they will no longer be EBD's but it is really cute. I'm guessing we can add some numbers in too.

Benjamin will be hitting a milestone of his own...It is truly not one that he will like, but it is time to move forward. He and I are going to wean...It is a sad time in one way because it is just one more thing that signles the end of the baby years...he's growing up.
He has nursed the longest of all the kids and I honestly never thought that I would ever do this for this long, but every child is different and has different needs.

So our adventure continues another year of growing learning and loving as a family the way God intended...I truly love this life we have no matter how crazy it gets sometimes every day is special and we have made some wonderful memories with our children and family.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Birthday: Noah, Nine Years Old

Happy Birthday Noah! Today Noah turns Nine. We absolutely love this little guy not so little guy. He has an infectious zest for life, joyful spirit, kind soft spot for creatures big and small.
He is sweet, caring, giving and loving. He has a mischievous prankster streak that tends to get him into trouble, but it somehow just adds to the charm that is Noah. He is the kid you have to expect to hide in waiting to jump out at you when you least expect it. I have to say that I am glad that we don't have one of those stores that have all the pranks and tricks. We would be bombarded by whoopie cushions, buzzing hand shakes and all such types of "fun" things. You will always find him laughing and telling the newest joke that he just learned. If he notices that you are sad, he is quick to try to distract you with something amusing. He makes friends easily...both people and animals. Many of our encounters with nature have been initiated by this guy. We have been able to explore nature through his eyes daily, because something is usually brought home to examine, observe, or explore. He is always up for and adventure or an opportunity to explore and learn new things.

Happy Birthday my fun loving adventurous free spirit. You are growing up so fast into a wonderful young man. I sure wish I could bottle you up just as you are, but at the same time I am so excited to watch you grown into the man I know you can be. Wishing you a life of adventure and discovery, may you always keep this spirit close to your heart and never lose it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Review Preview: kupp

Today we received a new review item to blog about. I love getting new products to try, and it is even more fun when it is products that can be tried out with the kids. This new item is the Kupp. in the next couple of weeks we will be using these cute little cups as an alternative for plastic cups,  bottles, or disposable items around the house. 

This will be an interesting test for the kids' responsibility with their Kupp and how they take care of it. I am looking forward to see how our children do with these cups they are glass with a silicon wrap and handle. 

So check back with us and see how the trial turns out.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Recipe: Catfish Courtboullion and Corn Macheaux

So here it is, Catfish Courtboullion(cou-be-youn) and Corn Macheaux(mock-shoo). They look nothing like they sound, but both are amazing and full of flavor. It is a childhood dish that I remember having at my Grandparents(Dad's Parents). It's funny how as a child you don't always appreciate good food, but as an adult you crave some of the dishes that you can no longer get because the skilled "chef" is no longer there to make it for you.

Each of my Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and of course Parents were well taught in food preparation. Each had a strong point, so were great with baking, some were great with side dishes, but most were very skilled at cooking. I have be very, very lucky to grow up in the region(South Louisiana) that I was in, and blessed to have a family that knew good food.

Most of our family gatherings revolved around food, lots and lots of food. Everyone brought their own specialties and even the small family gatherings turned into feasts, but as usual I have begun to reminisce and have gone off topic. This dish was is very versatile and several different kinds of meat can be used for variety-rabbit, shrimp, chicken to name a few-was usually served with a side of corn macheaux, cole-slaw or a salad, sometimes a potato salad, or green beans and smothered potatoes.

Last night I actually started out making a Sauce Picante, but in the process the "gravy" became a bit soupy-er than I would have preferred and it became a courtboullion which is more of a thick soup/stew. I served it as a stew just because the kids prefer it that way.

Catfish Courtboullion(cou-be-youn) 

2 lbs Catfish Fillets you can cut it into chunks for easier serving
Seasoning for the fish
1-2 tablespoons of roux
4 cloves of garlic
1-2 onions finely chopped
1 Bell Pepper finely chopped
2-3 stalks of celery finely chopped
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato sauce
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3 cups of water or stock
a dash or two of Worcestershire Sauce
hot pepper to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
lemon optional
bay leaf optional(remember to remove before serving)

Directions: Season catfish and return to the refrigerator. Either make a roux, or if you have a jar on hand just use a little of that. Heat the roux in a heavy stock pot. Once it is warm add the chopped onions, bell pepper, garlic, and celery and cook until wilted. Add the tomatoes, the tomato sauce, sugar, worchestershire sauce, water or stock, and seasoning that you would like to add cook until well combined and vegetables become translucent about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add fish and cook until done. It doesn't take long for the fish to cook. it should flake, but not fall apart. 5-8 minutes.

Serve in a soup bowl with a large scoop of rice, or serve as a stew over rice with less sauce.

Note: what I have pictured is in a plate and more like a stew(sauce picante) than a soup because that the way my family prefers to eat it. What I made could be served in a bowl and has the consistanty of a thick bisque. So if you would like more of a stew texture, add only enough water or stock to adjust the consistency for that. Probably about 1/2-1 cup. It should have more of the consistency of a thick spaghetti sauce. Adding the fish will add liquid to the mixture so be careful not to add too much water to start with.

Also, if you would prefer not to use a roux, it can be skipped, but a big part of Cajun cooking is the layers of flavor in the cooking.

Corn Macheaux(mock-shoo)

3-4 cups of corn
2 tablespoons of butter of bacon fat(yes, I have a jar)
1 onion finely chopped
1 bell pepper(I used 1/2 green, and several mini peppers that were red and orange for color)
1-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of cream or half and half

Melt your fat of choice, and saute the onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Add the corn and cook until the corn is done if it is fresh corn, or heated if it is canned corn. When it is done lower the heat or turn it off, add the cream and stir. Be careful not to add the cream to the corn if it is too hot the cream will separate.

Eggs in a Hole

Eggs in a hole is one of my favorite breakfasts to make, you get toast and eggs at the same time...I don't do it as often as I like, but when I do the kids eat it up. It is easy, cute, and fun and really really good; very similar to the idea of the bell pepper slices with the egg in the center.
You cut out the middle of the bread, put the bread on the skillet making sure that it has contact with the pan so the egg doesn't escape, and break an egg into the center of the hole.
Cook until the egg begins to turn white and flip over to cook on the other side.
 This breakfast is so well liked that a whole loaf of bread, and twenty eggs were used the morning we made this. I can not tell you how happy I am to have chickens that give us fresh delicious eggs daily.

Try it out with your family, you could get creative and use shaped cookie cutters, add the cut bell pepper rings for extra color, or maybe even try using scrambled eggs and add toppings to turn it into a toast omelette.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

New Family Craft

We are working our way into a new craft that we are hoping to eventually turn into a business that each of the children will have a part in. Even though we already have the soap business, the kids are not really able to participate, because of the possibility of danger dealing with the lye during the process of making soap.
They do have an opportunity to help in some of the other aspects, but being that it can be the tedious, boring parts that really don't lend to a true sense of accomplishment, we are venturing into some other things that they can do and call their own.
Matt and the boys always enjoy getting the opportunity to play with leather tooling during some of their Cub/Boy Scout activities, so recently we began working with leather. We are still working out many, many details, but so far it has been fun for most of the kids that are old enough to participate.

Matt began making a unique line of cup holders to "Dress Up Your Solo Cup" in order to give people the option to give their cup a unique look that will help it to stand out among the sea of cups that are at social events, but also give them structure, support, and a better grip.

The holders can be customized countless different ways with names, logos, and designs. He is also working on some bottle koozies, and possibly can koozies in the future. The design potential is endless and only limited to the imagination. Business logos, names, symbols like Fraternity/Sorority letters, we are looking forward to the custom possibilities with these it could be really fun to see what potential customers can dream up.

Our oldest, Nathan, has begun making bracelets, rings, and eventually wants to make larger pieces like armor...for now I've encouraged him to stick with the smaller more practical things that actually have real-world application at this point, well that and I would rather him build skills on smaller pieces before tackling something like a set of armor.

In doing some of these recent projects Nathan will be earning his leather working badge in Boy Scouts as he gains more crafts skills to call his own. We love the opportunity to encourage these types of skills in the kids so that they may eventually enjoy a craft/skill that is quickly becoming a lost art. So far he has gotten several commissions  for a few types of bracelets already. He has a good eye at design and is very good at tooling designs onto the leather. 
Nathan(14)...Practice work

The younger boys were really eager to get to design and stamp their own stuff. For a while they were grabbing scrap pieces that Matt and Nathan had left over on the ends and pieces. Noah began to actually create some nice/cute creative designs so I cut out some round pieces for them to make their own little creations.
Noah(9)...His own design
Jacob(7)... His own design

Noah(9)...his own design.

The kids and Matt were having way too much fun, so I had to try too and began making some barrettes...

Once you get started making things it is really difficult not to want to make more and different things. So in the future I will be trying to make things like bookmarks, small wallets/coin purses, notebook covers, little charms, and possibly random art pieces for people to incorporate into their own arts and crafts projects and jewelry.

 We have already begun to look at other practical applications and suggestions and requests that were asked about like belts, arm guards, guitar straps, dog collars, handbags, and a couple of other things...well, you know all in good time and all when the income for future projects has been generated.