New and Improved Exclamations!

New and Improved Exclamations!

My 14 year old daughter is lovable and care-free and quirky and nerdy, and she constantly cracks me up with her observations about life.

For instance, recently she was wondering where the common exclamations that are used today came from.

“Why do people use ‘good grief’ or ‘good night’ or ‘goodness’ as exclamations? Where did those come from?”

She thought she could do much better than those with these Bible-based exclamations. They are simple to use. Just insert them any place you would use one of the above exclamations.

Rachel’s ugly sister!

Rachel’s ugly sister, it’s raining hard!”

Rahab’s red rope!

Rahab’s red rope! Did you see that bear?!”

Gouge my eyes out and call me Samson!

“Well, gouge my eyes out and call me Samson! You made it to church on time for once!”

We’re thinking these will be all the rage once they catch on.

Remember, friends, you heard them here first.

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The Best Laid Plans

Remember when I told you about all the hard work we did fencing our chicken yard?

Teaching children to work hard

We spent the better part of 2 days cutting wires, stretching yards and yards of fencing, and securing it into place.


And this is where our chickens are today.

That’s not the chicken yard, in case you are wondering. It’s my front yard. Where they aren’t supposed to be.

I was hoping fencing them in would actually keep them in, but they are flying the coop, literally.

It looks like our next step will be clipping their wings, which I was hoping to avoid, not because I’m tender hearted (it doesn’t hurt the chickens anyway) but simply because I dread having to catch and wrangle 19 chickens.

The children have been begging to bring home some of the new baby chicks we see whenever we go into Tractor Supply, but we will have to see if we can keep these ladies where they belong before we bring any newcomers home.

I’ll keep you updated on our wing clipping adventures and hopefully add pictures here of some new, fluffy peepers.

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Easy, Elegant Dinner with HoneyBaked Ham {GIVEAWAY}

This is a sponsored post.
Easy, Elegant Dinner with HoneyBaked Ham

We all have those occasions when we would like a nice family dinner at home, only without the huge mess a nice family dinner at home creates.

I go all out on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and in summer we like to have cookouts with potato salad, deviled eggs, baked beans and the works.

And let’s face it, all that prep work and cooking leave the kitchen a MESS. Am I right? If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’!

So, when you would like the nice dinner at home without the hassle or clean up, HoneyBaked Ham has gotcha covered!

HoneyBaked Ham Company

I recently stopped by my local HoneyBaked Ham store in Fort Worth, and browsed the selections.

HoneyBaked Ham sides

There were so many sides and desserts to choose from!

HoneyBaked Ham purchase

I made my selections and checked out. Easy, peasy. Mac and cheesy. Dinner’s ready!

HoneyBaked Ham buffet style dinner

I chose a bone in ham, green beans almandine, green bean casserole (What? We like green beans!), potatoes au gratin, and cinnamon apple slices. Someone was a little excited to get to the goods.

photo 2

This easy, elegant meal was a big hit with the kids. They especially loved the cinnamon apples!

It was a big hit with me because it was SO simple to pull off! AND to clean up! I opted to keep the side dishes in their heat and serve containers, and we ate off paper plates.

This is the perfect solution for a “company” meal when you have other important things to do that day. Whether it is church, an Easter egg hunt, or visiting with family on the front porch rocker that is keeping you out of the kitchen, HoneyBaked Ham comes to the rescue with easy, elegant dinner options.

And here are some HoneyBaked Ham coupons for you to use!

Now, how would you like to win your very own HoneyBaked Ham for an easy, elegant Easter dinner? Enter the giveaway below. 20 PEOPLE WILL WIN A $50 HoneyBaked Ham gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Turkey and Swiss Pinwheels {RECIPE}

turkey and Swiss Pinwheels Recipe

My friend, Kelly, was describing the perfect finger food to take to a party, shower, or brunch, turkey and swiss pinwheels. She said this was always her moms “go to” party food and they were sure to be crowd pleasers.

They sounded so yummy, I decided to make up a batch to check them out for myself.

Turkey and Swiss Pinwheels Recipe

Turkey and Swiss Pinwheels ingredients

Turkey and swiss pinwheels dough2

Unroll the crescent rolls, and separate them into rectangles. (1 can of crescents will make 4 rectangles.)

Turkey and swiss pinwheels toppings

Spread the spicy brown mustard on the rectangles of dough, and top with thin sliced turkey and Alpine Lace Reduced Fat Swiss Cheese.

Turkey and swiss pinwheels cutting

Roll up each rectangle and cut slices.

Turkey and swiss pinwheels before baking

Lay the slices out. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect. The dough will puff and cover up any imperfections.

Bake at 350 for 12 – 15 minutes.

Turkey and swiss after baking

See? Y-U-M!

turkey and swiss pinwheel gooey

The were little pinwheels of deliciousness! Little bite-sized cheesy bits of heaven!

turkey and swiss pinwheels gobbled

They didn’t last long! Everyone loved these Turkey and Swiss Pinwheels!

What’s your favorite way to eat swiss cheese? Check the Alpine Lace site for some cheesy inspiration.

Thank you to Alpine Lace for sponsoring this post and helping me find a new easy cheesy recipe!

Alpine Lace Swiss


Here are my daily nutrition needs. What are yours? Go to the Alpine Lace website and make your own personalized nutrition label! After you do, share it on my Smockity Facebook page, and while you’re on Facebook, be sure to “like” the Alpine Lace Deli Cheese page and check it for recipes and snack ideas.

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Fort Magic – Building Kit for Kids {GIVEAWAY}

This is a compensated review and giveaway. All opinions are my own.

Fort Magic Construction Toy

Have you heard of Fort Magic, the fort building kit for kids?

Fort Magic

Fort Magic is a “large-scale construction toy that enables children to build 3D, kid-created, life-size worlds for inventive play.”

When the box above arrived at our house, my kids immediately wanted to dive in. The instruction booklet shows how to construct 20 structures, from a rocket to a submarine, to a play house, and more! It was hard to decide which to do first, but they settled on the play house.

Fort Magic

They were super excited when they saw how big their structure was going to be. It was like a real house for them!

Fort Magic Construction Toy

This house even had a functioning door!

Fort Magic

Fort Magic is coming out with custom designed fabric covers soon, but we used sheets and held them in place with the special clips provided.

Fort Magic playhouse

My children have spent hours playing with Fort Magic, and have even taken it out to the yard to build their structures. (It comes with a large, handled bag for carrying the pieces.)

Fort Magic 6Forts Frames

We love playing with Fort Magic! You can see what others think of Fort Magic at this review page.

Fort Magic building kit

The Fort Magic kit comes with 382 pieces and is a $199 value. You can buy your own here if you don’t win my giveaway.

Enter below! (Open to US and Canadian residents only.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Teaching Children to be Hard Workers

Teaching Children to be Hard Workers

If you have been a parent for very long, you may have noticed that most children do not naturally like hard work. Actually, I think that is true for most human beings.

Most people I know, myself included, would choose sipping sweet tea and reading a book on the front porch rocker over getting blisters digging post holes any day of the week.

Children, at least the eight children I live with, must be taught to work hard.

Little children up until about the age of 7 or 8 years old aren’t really all that helpful in the work they provide. What I mean is that many times we adults end up having to do over the work they have done. Ask a child under 7 to make up your bed, and you’ll see what I mean.

After about the age of 7 or 8 though, I have found that children who are taught to work hard can be productive and helpful members of your little miniature society, also known as a family.

Teaching children to work hard

We recently had to reinforce a LOT of the fencing around our chicken yard and hen house. You see, our neighbors were complaining about our free ranging chickens ranging into their flower beds, and we needed to make our fence more secure.

This was the kind of work that required a team. One person needed to cut wire ties, one person needed to heft the heavy roll of chicken wire and unroll it, and several of us held it in place and twisted the ties around the chicken wire to attach it to the existing fence.

You’ll see in the above photo that my 8 year old was cutting the pieces of wire we used to secure the chicken wire in place. (Her mouth is in motion, as usual, because she was entertaining us with a “radio drama” in the style of “Adventures in Odyssey.”)

Those wire cutters were heavy and sharp, but she willingly and confidently used them for well over 2 hours safely and with no injuries or complaints.

This project was a whole-family event. Everyone pitched in and pulled their weight. Even the 3 year old fetched us tools or gloves when we requested them.

Here are some of the ways we have taught our children to be hard workers:

Work along side your kids. 

Let them see you rolling up your sleeves and digging in. Show them what a hard worker looks like.

Encourage them while you are working.

I don’t mean the kind of encouragement I hear these days that is really false praise and flattery. Don’t tell them they are doing a good job if they really aren’t. While we are working, I tell my kids things like, “Keep it up,” and “You can do it,” and “Don’t give up,” and “Look how much we have done!”

Discourage complaining. 

I don’t tolerate whining, and I don’t want to hear how a) hot b) cold c) tired they are. I tell them that each one of us can feel the temperature the same as they can and no one appreciates a whiner. Whining and complaining about work only make it harder for everyone.

Remind them that “many hands make light work.” 

Living in a large family makes this evident daily. All 10 of us can clean out the van in no time flat, when it would take a single person much longer. The above project was a good example of this. We all knew that none of us would have been able to complete the fence on our own, but together we knocked it.

Remind them that hard work builds character. 

I’m sure this is one of those statements that my children will recall when they are older, and laugh about how many times they heard it from me. They have also heard these on many occasions. ”You don’t have to like it. You just have to do it,” and “It doesn’t have to be fun. It just has to be done.”

Don’t offer a reward for every job.

Now, I know this one goes against some popular parenting strategies, but I’m going to stand by it, and here’s why. Sometimes the reward for hard work is a feeling of pride and accomplishment and the result of the hard work. And nothing more.

In the real, live, grown up world, if you spend a couple of hours mowing and edging your lawn, you will end up with a nice looking yard. If you spend some time patching some damaged drywall in your living room and touching up the paint, you will have a nice looking room. No one will be handing out ten dollar bills because you worked diligently. Your reward is the result of your work and the good feeling you have inside. And that is more valuable than any sticker on a chart.

Kids need to know that sometimes work is hard and dirty and needs to be done not for a reward at the end, but just because it needs doing.

Teach them to be independent workers.

I tell my big kids, “If I have to help you help me, that is not helpful.”

They know the most helpful thing is to find something that needs doing, and just do it. If a meal has just finished, chances are dishes need to be cleared from the table, the floor needs to be swept, and food needs to be put away. Start doing!

The next most helpful thing is to ask what needs to be done and do that.

The least helpful thing is to require someone to guide you in every step.

Discourage laziness.

My children know that almost nothing is more annoying to me than to find one of them idly watching everyone else work. No one likes someone who isn’t willing to work or finds excuses to get out of work and leave it to others.

If it is work time, and I see one of my children being idle, I tell them, “Pick something up! Wipe something! Get busy! Make yourself useful!”

We can teach our children to be hard workers by expecting them to work.

How do you teach your children to be hard workers?

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