Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

I just love to cook!!! It is almost 10pm and I realized I am supposed to have dessert for one of the preschool teachers tomorrow. The 2 vegetable dishes will have to be taken care of in the morning, but I pulled together my supplies and just made 2 chocolate chess pies. Thank goodness I had one can of evaporated milk!!!

When baking cakes and pies, you will sometimes fill the pan too full. As the pie cooks or the cake rises, sometimes batter will roll down the side and onto your oven. I have had this happen one too many times. Now I make my pies and place the pans on a cookie sheet and then slide the cookie sheet inside the oven. Any spills will now drip onto the cookie sheet, and not my clean oven! Happy Tuesday's Tip!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Helping Children are HAPPY Children!

As a mother of five children, I have a lot to manage. When everyone takes off their clothes for the day, I have 7 pairs of underwear, 12 pairs of socks, and too many pieces of clothing to count to wash. Our washing machine and dishwasher rarely take a break. In fact, most days I feel like I never leave the kitchen where both of those machines reside!
Therefore, I have been trying to think of ways to alleviate some of my workload. I just can't keep picking up the same puzzle or game board every day. Our children are now triplets who are almost 10, a 7-almost-8 year old, and a 4 year old. While it saddens me that they are no longer 5, 3, and newborn, life has marched on (right across my face!). Therefore, I expect the children to help me with daily tasks.

We do not have a chore chart at our house simply because I expect everyone to help whenever I ask. On certain days one child may carry the heaviest work load while having a lighter load or no load at all on another day. It's not ever going to be even, but we all must help.
If your children are age 2, then they can help you put away their toys and books. They can run and get a diaper for you for the new baby. They can even empty a trash can into the kitchen trash can. At around ages 3 and 4, a child can really help put away their toys in a neater manner. They can brush their teeth, go potty, flush the toilet, and fill a cup (or many buckets) full of water. They may be able to put away their underwear or socks if you direct them on how to do it.
A 5 and 6 year old can collect trash cans from around the house and empty them. They can make their bed, brush their teeth, and even begin to bathe themselves entirely! They can help you set the table or unload the dishwasher.
Seven and eight year olds are big helpers. Our big girls could take care of a young baby, feed a bottle, fold clothes, make their beds better than mine, and serve dinner plates at that age. Now that they are close to 10, they can make the water bottles for school, pack lunches, fill the dishwasher, fold clothes, put away clothes, vacuum, and mop. In fact, our 4 year old LOVES to mop!

Children of around age 7 or older should know how to clean a toilet. Buy the supplies and show them how to do it. We keep a pink sponge for the sink and a different sponge for the toilet and then I always microwave them to kill germs. Explain to your child that the cleaners are poisonous and that you want to wear gloves and old clothes when using chemicals. If your child is not trustworthy with chemicals, then you will need to oversee this chore.

Our friends just visited this weekend and her children loaded all of their dishes in our dishwasher once they were excused from the table. Guess what our children did tonight? They loaded the dishwasher! I am having to let go a little because I like my dishwasher loaded a certain way. I showed them how I like it loaded and explained why. They did a good job of doing it just that way!

What chores do your little ones do? Do you have any questions?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Oh Immersion Blender, how I love you

My sweet brother and sister-in-law heard me say that I would love an Immersion Blender. Well, guess what those sweet things gave me for Christmas?! I LOVE it! I was just making our Sunday dinner in advance and I tried it in our mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes have never been mashed so effortlessly!

Do you have an immersion blender? How do you love to use it? I think it is the greatest invention!

Monday, March 21, 2011

American Girl Dolls

American Girl Dolls are a right of passage for most little girls these days. Some families have whole rooms full of dolls, their dresses, and their gear. It is quite an overwhelming enterprise with the ability to buy your doll everything, and I do mean everything, from a wheel chair to a braces kit, to her very own horse with his very own saddle! At Mama Henley's house, American Girl dolls are IT. Our dolls have been the center of birthday parties, they have been to camp, and they've flown as much as our real live children have flown! They have had their nails "painted", had their hair professionally put in an up do, and have sat through the entire service at church. These girls live the life!

We have four girls. After our triplets turned 6, they were able to have their very first American girl doll. DH and I made a conscious decision that our girls would only be allowed to have one doll and that they could only have that doll if they were 6 years of age or older, in hopes that they would be able to take care of their doll. We think the dolls are wonderful, but we decided we wanted their one doll to be very special and we are amazed at how well it has worked. The girls chose their favorite doll and that year the two big girls received Emily Bennett and Rachael ( a just like me doll that D named after her soon-to-be-aunt) for their main Christmas gift. These dolls have delighted these girls ever since! The triplets will soon be 10 (I can't believe it!), and they love their dolls as much today as they did three years ago! Some of you may think it is silly for a 10 year old to play with dolls, but I love that our girls still enjoy their American girl dolls and take great care to dress them and play with them whenever possible. At 9 1/2, they each had one thing they really wanted for their doll for Christmas.

I believe that letting your daughter have one doll allows her to not be overwhelmed by having too many dolls to love. Having an abundance of the dolls seems to often (not always) make them less special. Our girls really treasure their dolls. Of course having a sister just 2 years younger created a problem. The Bug really wanted to be like her big sisters. She was 4 when they received their doll. We did not feel she was old enough to really care for the doll. Therefore, we bought her the mock American girl doll from Target. She loved dressing her and playing with her. However, the hair was cheap and became one big knot. She passed for 2 years, but she was not the real thing. A year and a half ago the Bug turned 6. We surprised her with a trip to the Atlanta store where she chose Kit as her birthday gift from her Mimi. Kit has been a delightful addition to our home and the Bug had a Kit themed party for her 7th birthday last summer. DH and I love to see our girls interact with each other and their dolls. As a matter of fact, Kit has Ray Ray and Emily Bennett spending the night in her room tonight!

The dolls are great fun. Yes, the store is considered cheesy and over-the-top by some. The NYC store is 3 stories and can be overwhelming. Nonetheless, it is great for girls to use their gift of nurture to love and care for a doll. We have kept this fascination in tow by not buying them everything they want when the catalog comes to our home. Of course they WANT everything, but we make them choose ONE thing. For Christmas, they each received just ONE American girl accessory or outfit. They pored over the catalog and truly chose carefully. They take care of what they have been given.

Now you know Hurricane lives here too and she was DYING for an "mercanguhldoll". She turned 4 this Christmas, which is not 6. So, she, too, received a mock American girl doll. Hers is a step up from the Target brand as it is a Madame Alexander copy which we found at Costco. She LOVES her doll and jumps right in to playing with her sisters. In two years, we'll have to make a trek to the store to let her choose her forever doll. Since she is my last little girl, we just may have to take all 4 girls to New York to the big store!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blogger's Day of Silence

Tomorrow many bloggers will be participating in a Blogger's Day of Silence in honor of the country of Japan. It will also be a day to remember those who were killed in this awful earthquake and tsunami. Please consider donating to your church or the Red Cross in order to help with humanitarian efforts to restore food, water, and shelter to these people.

On Friday, March 18th, I will not post on my blog and hope that many other bloggers will consider doing the same. Above all, please pray that the nuclear plant issues will be saved and for the Lord's good guidance in all things!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I won! I won! I won!!! I won a $25 gift card to Firehouse Subs! That makes one HAPPY Mama Henley!!!! All I did was go online and enter their best sub contest! They are down to the final 2 subs. I can't believe I really won! The prize came in the mail yesterday. Guess where we're going to eat tomorrow night?!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

Honey, do you remember when we talked about rotisserie chickens? Well, I have another tip for you! Not only is it easier to pick your chickens while they're hot, but you'll be even happier if you do it with GLOVES covering your pretty hands! My friend, Wendy, is so smart. She bought a box of surgical gloves. Whenever she is deboning a chicken, she puts on a pair of these gloves. At first it may seem wasteful, but it is so smart. Wearing the gloves protects your hands and it keeps it more sanitary. When you are finished deboning the chicken, you simply throw away the gloves! Don't you feel smart now?! I know I do!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Day at the Farm

Our youngest, Hurricane, had the most fun field trip on Friday! We were able to visit a local farm called "Horsepower for Kids". It was the neatest place! The farm was filled with horses and all kinds of farm animals. They even had some more exotic animals like a llama! We had a wonderful morning "out in the country".

Life is so different for our children. As children, we had some electronics like Merlin, Math Professor, and Atari, but we were not inundated with them. Our lives were spent playing games outside like Tag, Red Rover, and Mother May I. We rode bikes, made potions, and played boys against the girls. Today's children spend less time in free play and more time in structured activities or with the tv, computer, or a handheld electronic device. Our morning at the farm was so precious because it allowed the children to enjoy God's beautiful creation. He made us! He also made donkeys, zebra, goats, pigs,and chickens!

The children delighted in chasing chickens, feeding carrots to the goats, and even riding ponies (we had to leave before the pony rides commenced!). Did you know goats like carrots? I did not, but apparently they do! One big goat literally chased us for the carrots we had brought to feed the horses!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sound the Alarms! Mama Henley is going down!!!

I consider myself somewhat computer savvy in that I have a blog and can search the internet with the best of them. Now, if you have a real technical problem, I am not the girl to call, but if you want cheap tickets to Paris, I'm your gal. I can navigate safari! This morning I had a little one to one at the Apple store because I have used up all but 2G of my 250G hard drive! Now what is Mama Henley to do? I just can't trust those external hard drives to really hold all of my info, so I met with an Apple Genius for some help.
We finished our hour lesson where I felt more like a fool than a wise man. My one to one man had moved on to his Snickers bar in the break room. I decided that my lap top needed a little charge while I waited for some files to be deleted. This was my mistake. Earlier I had realized that there was no place to plug my power supply, so I had used the cord that was plugged into one of the store's laptops. After a while, I plugged it back in to the Apple laptop. Well, I decided to use some of their power once more. The only problem is that I detached the wrong cord. AND IT SET OFF THE STORE ALARM!!!! Suddenly an alarm louder than all 5 of my children screaming at once began to sound. It was LOUD. IT was RELENTLESS. And it would not STOP. At this point, I was so nervous and afraid I was going to the slammer, that I could not plug the silly plug back in. I thought it was like a car alarm and would stop the alarm. I was not so fortunate! I told the Apple genius closest to me that I was so sorry but that I was so nervous I could not plug it back in the laptop. I looked around at people staring at me like I'm an idiot! The man closest to me looked at me while he covered his ears with his hands!!! At long last, a man arrived with a key and stopped the dreaded alarm. I asked him to please forgive me and told him repeatedly how sorry I was for sounding the alarm. He was very kind and told me it happens all of the time.
So, I felt like an old dinosaur who has no idea how to work these new-fangled computers, so dejected, I packed my bags and headed out into the Florida sunshine!

Tuesday's Tip

I was honored recently to be asked to help a friend in the kitchen at a ladies' luncheon. I had nothing to do with preparing the food, rather, I helped her plate it so that 84 ladies could be fed in an easy fashion. The plates held quiche, green salad, pasta salad, and a muffin. I was not in my own kitchen, so it was difficult to know where utensils were located in this kitchen. It was time to scoop the pasta salad on the plates, so I looked around for a spoon. I did not find one, however, I DID find a one cup measuring spoon. It was the PERFECT size! I scooped 1 cup servings of pasta salad onto each plate. It was the perfect amount of food and looked delightful on the plates!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hey Cute Readers...

Happy March!

I feel so behind. What happened to February? And January? I mean, time is flying at Mama Henley's house. Time has me by the tail and I am losing! I haven't finished our taxes, I still have some Christmas cards I haven't sent, and my coupons are taking over. In fact, DH offered to help me because I have so many to cut. So, we've been fellowshipping over coupons and newspapers and scissors. I am one blessed girl!

I feel like I can never get our house in order. No matter how hard I try, I fail. I weeded so many clothes out of my closet that I hardly have any pants to wear! I just haven't finished my re-do. I have been trying to go through all of our closets and drawers and I purge and purge some more, but our stuff has babies.

I have a friend who keeps an amazing house. Clutter flees from her home like women running to a great sale at Target. She has mastered the art of caring for her home. I have mastered the art of working harder than any woman in America and looking like I must watch soap operas all day. If you can believe it, I haven't seen one Charlie Sheen interview. Not even one. I know he's been saying crazy things, but I haven't watched any of it. I've been too busy picking up the same toys in Hurricane's bedroom and trying to match our endless supply of socks! Do you ever feel this way? I feel like a complete failure in so many ways because I just can never do enough. How do you do it all?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Law too Loose for DUI?

A few weeks ago a drunk driver drove down our street and slammed into DH's car. Upon impact, her car was totaled. The story is hard to type, but she tried to escape, further damaging the property of others and her car. When her car would no longer move, she hopped out and ran away. For 2 hours, she managed to elude police until finally our neighbor found her and she was arrested. Despite the fact that we saw her driving the car and crashing into 3 things, the policeman did not check her blood alcohol level. This woman was driving with a suspended license, no insurance and a stolen tag with a sticker from someone else's car on it. She spent a whopping 6 hours in jail and was out on $250 bond. We spent more on our deductible to fix DH's car than she did no her bond. Wow.
As we slept innocently in our own home, she hurt our car, which in turn saved her life. Ahead were 2 huge trees and water. She never saw our car, so she never hit the brakes. She truly could have killed herself.
Today our newspaper speaks of a dentist named Moye who killed 2 people in October as he drove 89 miles per hour on a 30 mph bridge. 89 miles an hour!!!! He struck and killed 2 pedestrians who were walking on the bridge. He was arrogant when he was arrested and had no idea his foolishness had killed two people. His good time ended the lives on 2 people in their 20s.
Those of you from Raleigh have watched the sentencing of a Raleigh plastic surgeon who killed a young ballerina 2 years ago. What can we do to strengthen our laws so that this does not continue to happen? Why is it that we have repeat offenders? Both the dentist and doctor had previous records of speeding or DUI, I believe. What can we do to prevent this? Why does the law seem to protect the person who is drinking and driving more than it protects the innocent victims? Please join me in taking a cab if no one in your car is truly sober enough to drive. It's just not worth it to take someone else's life. I pray I never make the same mistake.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

Good Morning! Can you believe the rising gas prices?! I cannot!!! One day it jumped 14 cents a gallon, and then it has jumped another 7 cents per gallon in the past few days. Unbelievable! I am a little bit fanatic about not having an empty gas tank. My rule of thumb is to fill the tank whenever I hit half a tank of gas. I can't tell you how many times this has saved us from having to stop for gas when an unexpected trip comes along. We're able to hop in the car and GO! Unfortunately, now more than ever you want to keep your tank full because the prices are going UP every day! So, stop and take the time to fill your car with gas and you'll be glad you did!