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31DBBB Day 2: Write a List Post


*I’m joining The SITS Girls in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge (31DBBB).*

Day 2: Write a List Post

Today’s challenge is to write a list post. I actually wrote a list post for Day 1 of the 31DBBB Challenge about my Elevator Pitch. I’ve written many other list posts before so I’ve included all of the links below for your convenience.

For today’s post I asked my hubby, “What should I write my list post about…it’s so broad it could be about anything and I don’t have any focus or inspiration right now.” And he answers with a grin, “Write about me!”. So I did 😉 I wanted him to get his own post instead of me squeezing it in here with all of this nonsense, so to read today’s list post go here:
15 Reasons Why My Hubby is Awesome

Here is a list of all of my list posts 😉
*My Blog in 30 Seconds or Less
*My 100th Post: 101 Things in 1001 Days
*10 Ways to Shake Up Your Christmas Pajamas Tradition
*Writing a Letter to Santa
*Top 10 Posts of 2010: A linky list of my most popular posts
*Bottom 10 Posts of 2010: A linky list of posts that nobody wanted to click on 😦
*The Giant To Do List (a.k.a. “Large Marge”)
*Don’t Worry, Be Happy
The following posts contain extensive lists of outside links:
*Fun Ideas for Groundhog Day
*Free Printable Santa Paper and More!
*Emailing a Letter to Santa

Coolest Family on the Block is committed to helping you find creative ways to have fun and make memories with your family all year-long. Don’t miss an idea, tip, or trick…subscribe and have updates sent directly to your email!
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SITStah’s…Stop here first!


***There’s been a little confusion and I just want to point out that I’m only the featured blogger today…I am NOT the designer that will redesign your blog (and everyone lets out a big sigh of relief after noticing the mess that my blog is). Mariah from Jula Studio is the designer that you could potentially win a new blog design from! (Congratulations, Cheryl, on winning the blog design!) Again, I repeat it is definitely NOT ME as I have no idea what I’m doing and would love a blog redesign of my own. Best of luck to you all!***

Oh my goodness! I can’t even believe this! How about I thought that my SITS day was TOMORROW the 15th and it’s not and I didn’t even put up my post or anything! TODAY is actually my SITS day! And I’m a little, um, unprepared. I don’t know what day it is! I can’t believe it…I feel so stupid!
So give me some time to set up my post…Christmas Jammie fun is on it’s way I promise.
(It’s here now!)

I managed to slap this post up real quick before realizing that the baby had just pooped…seriously. On top of that she’s totally attached to me today and won’t give me a moment to, well, do what I’m doing now. For TOMORROW I had a babysitter lined up so that I could spend all day long exchanging witty comments with other clever bloggers. I used to be totally on top of things and then I had a baby and my brain fell out of my ear and never came back. Oh, planning and preparation my frenemy. How you mock me so.

Here’s the deal…I want to blog about making family life fun, traditions, holidays, birthdays, making things special…whatever you want to call it (oh, I’m too frazzled to be eloquent right now). But the truth is that a good bit of the time I blog about my life as a mama and all that jazz. I like to think that I’m funny, but that’s open for debate.

So, here we are…my blog. I’m far from perfect and today it’s really showing. Welcome to motherhood. It smells like poop. And sunshine…don’t forget about the sunshine.

(Oh yeah, and WELCOME and stuff…)

Now let’s pretend none of that ever happened and move on to the post that I’m supposed to have up for you…10 Ways to Shake Up Your Christmas Pajamas Tradition…enjoy!

My Goose Tribe
(Take the time to visit these ladies when you get the chance, they’re pretty awesome!):
Anne: Homeschooling 911
Brandy: Spotted Smiles
Brook: Mattew 5 Verse 6 for Women
Donna: Donna Perugini Children’s Author (Check out her books for great Christmas gifts!)
Heidi: Wonder Woman Wannabe
Jules: Mommy Ramblings
Kelly: God Bless Kelly’s Home
Kristy: Learning as they Grow
Missy: Are you there God? It’s Me.
Nisha: New Wife Memoirs
Rebecca: What Beautiful Feet You Have
Retha: Mommy Bee Wisdom
Sarita: Lone Tater
Shannon: Mom Improvement
Tonya: Homeschool Mom’s World

P.S. If you’ve made it all the way to the bottom of this post you are a patient person, and I thank you. I shall give you a virtual hug and then we shall sway and sing. I’m going to be interested in having some guest bloggers soon. If you’d be interested in putting a family-friendly post on my blog please email me at coolfamilyblog (at) yahoo (dot) com and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can! Thanks a bunch 🙂


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Guest Post: Food as Tradition – Norwegian Butter Cookies


The following guest post is by a fellow Goose, Retha, from Mommy Bee Wisdom.

Growing up every Christmas Eve we went to my Great Grandpa’s house, where all of the family would be gathered. The table there is so large, you can fit around 16 people at it. But there were so many family members, and so much food that no one ever sat at that table. The table would always be covered with food from edge to edge. My dad’s family is Scandinavian, so I believe the word for it is Smorgasbord. We would have a turkey, ham, goose, and some sort of fish as the main meats. The sides would include stuffing, rice pudding with an Almond (the almond is a prosperous sign, and who gets it gets pregnant or married), potato sausage, pickled Herring, lufka (a salt cured fish of sorts), and several cheeses. The desserts would include pies, cookies, and breads. My favorite of all the cookies would be the butter cookie. Our family refers to it as the Norwegian Butter Cookie, but in all actuality the recipe is the same from Russia, to Germany, Poland, etc. These little cookies are a bright yellow, not very big, and so crumbly soft that you can’t just eat one.

This recipe is so very simple, only has 5 ingredients and such a big flavor they are always a hit!

Warning: DO NOT eat the whole batch yourself or you WILL get a tummy ache! Don’t ask me how I know this.

Ingredients:

4 eggs: Hard boiled
2 stick of softened butter (use real butter, margarine will not work right)
1/2 cup of white sugar (Splenda will work here if you need to use that, but add a dash of salt to it to stop the after taste)
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of Almond or Vanilla extract (imitation will work, but the real is best)

Instructions:

1. Start by hard boiling the eggs. Try not to boil them for longer than 2 minutes. As you want a bright yellow yolk, a green yoke means you cooked it too long.

2. Once your eggs are cooled off enough to handle, separate the yoke from the whites, and eat the whites. There’s no point in wasting anything. And preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Cream (use an electric mixer or food processor) together the butter, sugar and egg yolks.
4. Slowly mix in the flour and extract.
5. Your dough will be quite thick and crumbly (almost the consistency of play dough) This is normal and don’t be tempted to add more liquid.

6. Take a soup spoon and scoop out pieces of dough, roll into a ball and lightly press on to your ungreased cookie sheet. These cookies will not expand, or change shape.

7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are a light brown, and the tops look fluffy.
8. Allow to cool, if you can!

I can never wait for the first batch of these to cool, it’s like pulling Christmas out of my oven. And more often then not I am playing hot potato with a cookie. I hope you all enjoy these cookies as much as I do!

Retha Barton blogs at Mommy Bee Wisdom where she teaches other moms that living life from scratch isn’t as hard as it sounds. Retha shows you that you can make it without a lot of money and that sometimes doing things the old way can be more rewarding.

Writing with humor


The SITS Girls are hosting a 4-week Writing Workshop: Content is King.
Each week in November they’re giving us optional writing prompts to help us improve the content of our blogs.

Week 1 Activity 1
Write a letter to a friend as if she is sitting beside you. Don’t think about grammar or spelling or punctuation. Just write as if you are having a conversation.

So, here’s the thing:
1. I don’t have any friends :(…so who do I write to?
2. I never concern myself with grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Tisk, tisk. My 11th Grade CP English teacher would be appalled and tell me to “sit there in my ignorance”.
3. Dude, if you’ve ever read my blog, you’d know that I always write like I talk.

I still wanted to participate in the writing challenge, but I wasn’t sure what to do with this one. A few weeks back the SITS Girls asked those of us participating in the forums some questions about our use of humor in writing. The following post was actually my reply in the forum. I chose it because I think it’s a pretty good example of my writing style.

Do you use humor in your writing?
I do use (what I consider to be) humor in my posts. Basically, I write the way that I talk (an embarrassment to the English language with my run-on sentences and improper uses of punctuation marks). I’m not necessarily trying to be funny…but you might laugh (then again, maybe you won’t). If we were face to face and I was telling you a story this is how I would tell it with all of the parentheses, quote marks, italics, and dot, dot, dots (you know, these…I use them a lot). I don’t know how funny my blog actually is, but I crack myself up. And really, isn’t everyone’s goal in life to make me laugh?!

How has being funny benefited your blog?
Maybe it hasn’t. I don’t really have any readers. Maybe I’m scaring them away with my attempt at humor and my desire to make friends with strange people that I don’t know on the internet. I probably come across a little desperate and clingy (because I am desperate and clingy…but only a little bit), “Wait, person, come back! Don’t you want to subscribe to my blog? We can be friends. I’ll braid your hair. I don’t really know how to braid hair…but it’s virtual anyway, so what does it matter?!” And they’re gone. Yes, maybe I should definitely rethink my writing style and start writing about world peace or something.

Are you more or less funny in real life?
Since I mentioned that I write how I talk and (I think) what I write is funny…then I must be funny when I talk too (Did you see me deduce that like I’m Sherlock Holmes?! Impressive, I know.). Again, I crack myself up. My family spends a lot of time laughing at me (note the use of the word “at” rather than the word “with”. Ahem.). Really, it just depends on the day. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to be funny (although my husband often finds me funniest when I’m in a really bad mood and my sarcasm is at its peak). Don’t worry…I’m not one of those people that are exhausting to be around because I always need to be “on”. In real life my humor is often very subtle so you need to be paying attention or you might miss out on the joke (So you should probably subscribe to our conversation so that you’re sure that every witty remark goes directly to your feed or inbox ;)).

As a reader, do you enjoy humorous posts or would you prefer to read blogs that are more serious?
I prefer to read humorous or at least light-hearted posts. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good moving, heart-warming, or motivational post as much as the next gal. But with a young toddler and barely a chance to shower I just don’t have enough time or brain power to be all deep and reflective (this includes both reading and writing). Maybe once she goes to school (you know, college) I’ll be able to be serious again, because I truly am very deep…all the way to the bottom.

So…do you think that this counts or should I attempt to write a letter to a pretend friend?

Halloween Parade: Fall Fashion


So there’s this awesome giveaway going on over here where you can find the best blogging tips. To enter you need to write a post about your/child’s Halloween costume or Halloween plans.

Adaline is 15 months old. She’s too little to eat candy. Cool Daddy and I certainly don’t need any candy (not that we don’t want it). And Cool Daddy always has to work on Trick or Treat night. It is for these reasons that we haven’t taken Adaline out Trick or Treating the past two years, and therefore have had no need for a costume. We did, however, go to a bunch of pumpkin patches and fall festivals this year (read all about here in the “Festival of Festivals”, although, I’m really behind and have 3 more posts I need to put up!). I was certain to dress her in pumpkin patch appropriate attire.

Here is a glimpse of Adaline’s Pumpkin Patch Wardrobe.
I apologize for the lousy photos. When you see them you will realize how much I need that awesome camera! So many of them are fuzzy or washed out. The delay from when I snap a picture means that I never catch the moment. And for whatever reason sometimes it just refuses to take a photo outside forcing me to try to take the same picture 5 times.

THE SPRING HOUSE
This cute black cat long sleeved tee was a gift from Grandma GiGi. I’m not sure where she got it, but I think it was Macy’s. The hair clips (which you’ll see in pretty much every photo) are from Gymboree. The striped turtle neck is part of her Halloween outfit which you’ll see later on in this post. The Carter’s pumpkin bib is from Kohl’s.

THE APPLE CASTLE Fall Festival and Craft Fair
This sweet ”Cutest Pumpkin in the Patch” long sleeved shirt is from Gymboree. We got the tiny hiking boots at Wal-mart.

The Cutest Pumpkin in the Patch 🙂

HOZAK FARMS
This adorable happy pumpkin face long sleeved tee is from Kohl’s. Cool Daddy’s shirt is from Wal-Mart and mine is from Target. Yes we match. Yes we’re awesome. Yes, we are the coolest family on the block.

TRIPLE B FARMS
Adaline’s black long sleeved onesie with attached orange tutu and sequined pumpkin is from Babies R Us. I added the black Granimals pants from Wal-mart to keep her warm. The orange velour pumpkin cap is from Gymboree. It’s hard to see but I’m wearing a long sleeved black tee with sequined pumpkin! No matching shirt for Cool Daddy this time 😦 (We picked out an awesome green pumpkin…but it didn’t stay that way *sadness*)

HALLOWEEN JAMMIES
These cute polka dot pumpkin pjs are from Gymboree. The orange and white polka dot socks have black cats on them (also from Gymboree), but you can’t see them in any of the photos. She’s actually wearing them with all of her fall outfits.

PUMPKIN CARVING
Cool Daddy had to work during Trick or Treat so earlier that day we carved our pumpkin “as a family” (sorta). We all wore our matching pumpkin shirts again. Here’s Adaline in her happy pumpkin top and Granimals pants.

SOERGEL’S FARMS
It was too cold to take Adaline’s jacket off. She wore the same tutu outfit that she wore to Triple B.

HALLOWEEN
On Halloween Adaline wore this super cute pumpkin face jumper by Rare Editions to church (I got it here, but they’re all out of them now). The striped turtle neck onesie came with the dress (you saw her pictured wearing it earlier underneath the black cat shirt). The orange polka dot tights are from Gymboree. I had the hardest time getting a picture of her all outfit. The one of her trying to climb off of my lap is probably the best one 😉 It’s tough to get a 15 month old to sit still for a picture!

I hope that you enjoyed seeing all of Adaline’s pumpkin-themed outfits. I sure enjoyed finding them all for her to wear! If you’re interested in seeing more photos and descriptions from our trips to Hozak’s, Triple B, and our pumpkin carving experience…stay tuned. I’m hoping to get those posts published within a week, but I’m not making any promises. Maybe if you shower me with comments and requests I’ll be more motivated to get them published faster 😉

To read about our trip to The Spring House click here
To read about our trip to The Apple Castle click here

To read a post about all of my childhood Halloweens and costumes click here
To see the “Halloweens Past” link up at SITS click here

To read how to make a Kleenex Box costume click here
To see the “Halloween Crafts” link up at SITS click here

I want to thank the SITS Girls for hosting this giveaway. You can go to their website to find the best blogging tips. It’s also great if you’re looking for a way how to find blogs (Hmm, that wasn’t proper English). Also unicorns are real and Tiffany is pretty! (Hey, whatever I can do to get that camera, right?!)

Halloween Crafts: Kleenex Box Costume


So there’s this awesome giveaway going on over here where you can find the best blogging tips. To enter you need to write a post about something you’ve created for Halloween.

I am not a crafty person. I don’t cook/bake. And we’re not really “into” Halloween. But I really want the camera!!! So, here’s what I came up with.

When I was in 7th grade I came up with the brilliant idea to be a Kleenex box for Halloween. While my mom did most of the hands on work, the concept was all mine. I’m going to tell you how we “created” the Kleenex box.

1. We got a large cardboard box (an appliance box for a refrigerator or stove). We turned the box upside down cut a hole in the top for my head and a hole on each side for my arms. We trimmed up the bottom of the box until I was able to walk in it without tripping.
2. We got contact paper and completely covered the box.
3. Using a real box of Kleenex as a guide we added a label/logo and price to the front of the box using construction paper, markers, and crayons. At the bottom edge of the box I put the information for the size of the box…just like on the real one!
4. Underneath the box I wore a white turtleneck, pants, and white tennis shoes. You want something that blends into the box well, but will also be warm and comfortable.
5. We took white tissue paper and stuck it out of the top of the box to look like Kleenex coming out. Looking back, if we would’ve been more ambitious, it would’ve been neat to fashion some sort of tissue paper hat to wear.
6. I carried the real “matching” box of Kleenex with me everywhere.

*Note that this costume was very difficult to Trick or Treat in because it was hard to get up and down the stairs. You’d need to cut the box up really short (possibly to the waist) to be able to move around easily.*

Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of me wearing the Kleenex costume 😦 But, a year ago I was at my mom’s house and I saw something outside by the trash. I didn’t know that my grandmother had saved that Kleenex box all of those years and kept it in the basement. My mom finally discovered it and set it out with the trash. When I saw it I had to snap a picture of it. It was actually sitting in the grass upside down, but I turned the picture around for your convenience. It looks pretty beat up after spending 20 years in the basement…but hopefully you get the general idea.

Here are the only 3 photos that I have of my Kleenex Masterpiece!



If anyone ever decides to use this idea (or you already happened to have made a Kleenex box costume) I would love to see your photos of the finished product! If you’d like, I’d be happy to post the photos here and/or link up to your blog post about the costume.

So there you have it. My lame attempt at being crafty is to tell you about a costume that I made 20 years ago and then show you photos of garbage (literally).

To read a post about all of my childhood Halloweens and costumes click here
To see the “Halloweens Past” link up at SITS click here.

I want to thank the SITS Girls for hosting this giveaway. You can go to their website to find the best blogging tips. It’s also great if you’re looking for a way how to find blogs (Hmm, that wasn’t proper English). Also unicorns are real and Tiffany is pretty! (Hey, whatever I can do to get that camera, right?!)

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