Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sing, Sing a Song Saturday

Sing, Sing a Song Saturday is all about me discovering something that is different to post. I don't want to post things that you and I have more than likely heard before. I want to find something different. It could be from another country, someone singing from the streets of NY, and more.

This week I'm posting about a fluke video I saw on YouTube. Have you ever heard of Lucia Maria Popescu? She seems to have a very big following. I've never heard of her.

She's an 18 year old Romanian singer, song writer. You can read her stories here. Her voice is pretty! I love her whimsical videos. They have a sophisticated, youthful look to them. She taught herself how to play a keyboard. She recorded her first song singing on her parent's apartment balcony. It was just her voice, and her keyboard. She posted the cover on the original band's facebook page, and they wanted to help her make a video out of it.


Hide (Like the Stars)

16 year old David Thibault of Quebec, Canada
16 year old David Thibault of Quebec, Canada
16 year old David Thibault of Quebec, Canada
16 year old David Thibault of Quebec, Canada.
16 year old David Thibault of Quebec, Canada.
16 year old David Thibault of Quebec, Canada.

Me Over You Acoustic and Live

Connect with Lucia on Facebook.
Like her on Twitter.
Follow Lucia on YouTube.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Random Tid Bits

  1. I parted my hair in a zig zag today. Why? I don't know. I was just in that kind of a mood. All over the place. Grandma got me the scarf I'm wearing. I got a really colorful scarf from Daddy. I'll wear that one tomorrow.

  2. The boys were at work with Daddy yesterday. He talked to his boss about taking Thursdays and Fridays off, then working the weekends, while the boys are on break. Well his co-worker took off this Thursday and Friday, and they are swamped. His boss is the opposite of mine, he's lackadaisical. My boss is strictish. Daddy said the boys were so good. There was another kid there, so they had someone to play with. They had Lego sets, food, coloring sets, books, and movies.

  3. Isaak built a robot last night out of junk. I found the junk, and Daddy helped him put it together. Mica put the Lone Ranger train set together by himself. He's really good with Legos. Isaak on the other hand needs help. Isaak's the type of kid that wants us to play with him. I wish Mica was better about helping Isaak. Mica would rather be a solo player.

  4. Before Christmas I was staying away from milk products. Over Christmas I had all kinds of milky things. Now my stomach is acting up. I hate to say it, but Grandma is right, I have a milk intolerance. Cheese and milk chocolate are sadly on the back burner. I've read that you crave things you are allergic to. 

  5. Grandma and Grandpa Apel are moving southward again. Daddy's family grew up in Moberly, Missouri. That's close to Columbia. They decided before we had kids to travel and live in New Mexico and Arizona. Then they decided to rent an apartment that was in between Aunt Laura, and us. We loved it because they were so close. Two hours away is much better than 5 1/2 hours away. Traveling with kids isn't always fun. For a long time (8 years) Daddy and I didn't share a weekend. Going places was hard to do. Soon after they moved closer they moved back to Moberly, Missouri, and bought a house that they were going to live in the rest of their lives. Now they're going closer to Arizona again. They'll feel better health wise. We'll have a warm place to visit. We haven't told the boys. The boys keep asking when they are going to see that side of the family? We'll be visiting on New Years.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Morning

Isaak got up, got us up, and we all went into the living room. The first thing he said was, "Oh man I forgot to mention in my letter for Santa to put magic into Frosty. I wanted him alive."

I said, "Isaak Santa wouldn't be able to do that. Frosty would melt here. He has to take his magical things back to the North Pole with him."

Santa did see in K-Mart's add (a place where he never shops) that they had a Frosty the Snowman marked down from like $45 to $15.

The boys spent the morning putting together Lego sets, watching a movie, and eating homemade cinnamon rolls from Grandma. They were in toy heaven.

Christmas Eve Continued

When we got home from Grandma and Grandpa's house we were beat. It was a long day. I wanted nothing more than to get the kids in bed.

As soon as we got them in bed I realized that we forgot to set out milk and cookies for Santa. I asked Mica if he wanted me to do the job? He didn't. Out of bed he went to fulfill Santa's snack.

Mica moved our red hallway rug to the living room. It went from our wood burning stove to the chalkboard. On the chalkboard was a message that said, "Welcome Santa. Carrot cookies are for the reindeer. Eat some."

Santa had a red carpet to walk on.

Usually Santa leaves the stove slightly opened. Maybe a footprint, or two would have appeared on the carpet.

Except Mica stayed up almost all night long.

At 12 or 1 he came in and said, "Mom I can't go to sleep. I heard a lot of footsteps, went to go check the tree, and saw Dad rearranging the gifts." He's our spy. 

He had in his sealed letter for Santa to bring me a ring with his name on it. (yes I read it) Travis busted his butt to make a ring. I told him to go very contemporary due to the busy time. He carved Mica and Isaak's names in the ring. Mica got the ring out of his stocking and said, "Oh I meant for Santa to put my name on the package, so I could give it to you Mom. He didn't have to put my name, and Isaak's name on the ring." Face palm.

Then at 6 something in the morning Mica said, "Mom can we wake up. I couldn't sleep hardly at all last night. I kept thinking about the Lego Chima that Grandma got me. Oh and do you know that there's a Yeti out in the living room for me, and a Frosty the Snowman out there for Isaak?..." I said, "Really? Let's just wait until Isaak gets up to get out of bed." Mica said, "But Mom I've been waiting all night." 

Christmas Eve

The boys got dressed up and we went to church.

Isaak had a melt down from the church to Grandma and Grandpa's. He was crying because he didn't get an "Ordament" from the church. They call up all the kids for their own sermon. I told him he didn't have to go, but that they would get an ornament at the end. He chose not to go. When it was time to go home, and his cousins were showing off their ornaments Isaak cried, and cried. I took one look at him and said, "It's Christmas. I'm not starting this car until you turn those tears off." He stopped crying.

Then we went to Grandma and Grandpa's to eat and unwrap presents.

All the boys couldn't sit still. Just when I thought my boy's were driving me batty, my nephews were driving me equally batty.

I love giving! I gave my oldest nephew an air gun, my next nephew in line laser light pegs that are kind of like Legos, my next nephew in line got dragon wings and a Peanuts mug, and my youngest nephew got an Elmo poncho.

Elijah was so cute because he kept asking for me to take his picture. A few days prior he had a meeting with the concrete, and dinged up his nose.

Little Emerson was beat. He's recovering from phenomena, which is life threatening for him.

All was right in the boy's worlds. I heard a lot of Lego talk.

This was my favorite gift. It's a mini Terrarium Necklace.
Now that I have one, I want more. Maybe I should look into how to make them.

What was your favorite gift that you gave, or got this year?

I'm Back On Board

It felt strange not being able to upload pictures on Christmas. It's not like I had a whole lot of time, but I'm used to posting when things happen.

My boss man gave me a new MacBook.

It's not mine to keep, but I can take it home pretty much whenever I want. It's a nice perk for teaching! Luckily this one connected to the printers right away. I could send emails without messing with that to. It even cloned so my passwords are still here.

I have to back track. I didn't have time to post everything I wanted before my older laptop that wasn't very old got swiped from me.

Before Christmas I was completely stressed out.

Do you get stressed out before big events, or holidays?

I've heard it's normal for stress to rise before big events.

For one both boys asked for almost the impossible. Isaak asked for Santa to make Frosty come alive. Mica asked for Santa to bring a ring with his name on it for me. The last one is possible, but we didn't have a whole lot of time. I told Daddy to make it as simple as possible. He realized he didn't have the right amount of metal, had to order some, and it got done in the nick of time.

A husband and wife team have both been sick at my husband's work. He had to go in a lot more than usual just because they were gone, and/or sick. *Note to self - If I ever run a company do not hire two people from the same household. Daddy had to work Christmas Eve Day.

We weren't expecting him to have to work. I had to get a lot done as a single parent that day. It would have been fine had I known that he was going to have to work. He and I didn't know until the last minute.

The boys were bouncing off the walls with excitement. I was in the kitchen all morning.

You know what? It all got done like usual. Then I wondered why I was stressed to begin with.
  • I put a big plate of cookies together.
  • I made a cheese ball.
  • I washed up holiday grapes to take.
  • I boxed up presents, a jar of June Berry Jam for each family, and small banana bread loaves for Great Aunt Becky and Great Grandpa Kent.
  • I made a sweet potato soup that everyone seemed to like. I made way too much; by doubling the batch. It was the first time I made this particular soup. Next time I'll make just one batch. Grandma made a wonderful Chili and Cheesy Potato Soup. In the end we split the left overs up.

Curried Sweet Potato Soup


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel and slice the sweet potatoes. Place potatoes in a baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil. Season with a little salt. Bake for 1 hour or until tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the remaining oil over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and celery and fry, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the powdered peanut butter (optional), garam masala and curry powder. If you do not have garam masala just use extra curry powder. Fry, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 30 seconds. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  4. Place potatoes into the saucepan and stir well to coat in spices. Add stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover. Simmer soup for 15 minutes. Remove soup from heat and cool.
  5. Ladle soup into a blender and blend in batches until smooth and creamy. Place the soup back into saucepan on a medium heat.
  6. Add coconut milk and water and stir to combine. Simmer soup over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  7. Divide soup into bowls and serve with chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, or pumpkin seeds (optional).
I liked that the soup was cow milk free, and sugar free. It makes enough for about 5 bowls.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Again this is prescheduled. I'm hoping the post goes up when it's supposed to. I'll be commenting on other's posts tomorrow.

By this time Santa has already came to our house. Christmas Eve is the biggy around our parts. We go to church. Then we go to Grandma and Grandpa's for dinner. We have different kinds of soups, crackers, cheeses, fruit, veggies, shrimp, and more. There's a stocking for each grand kid, and my parents still give a stocking to my sister's and I. Spoiled I know.

What are your traditions?

I get super into Santa. When people tell me he isn't real, I'm like, "Yes he is!" St. Nickolas is real. Just look him up in the dictionary, or any encyclopedia.

Last weekend we took our boys to have breakfast with Santa. I got so many fun Santa pictures this year. I'm glad because Mica is starting to have doubts.

One thing is true, my boys never have a problem saying something. They are talkers!

I loved that this Santa wanted to do goofy faces! Life is too short for seriousness all the time!

They went to two different places to decorate their own cookies.

We do the Santa thing. Then we go have another celebration with extended family.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Take a Look Back

I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for being a reader, commenter, and friend.

I will be without a computer over Christmas. My boss man is giving me a brand new laptop. He's coping over my files to the new one.

Those that celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas!

Just for fun, here's a look back on some of our Christmas postcards throughout the years.

Pre Isaak. This is our baby Mica. On the back of the card we listed all the naughty and nice things he did throughout the year.

The year after that I decided to throw in some mistletoe. 

Then Isaak was included in the card. He was our gift. Notice the reuse of the Santa suite from the first card.

The year after that we put Isaak down the chimney. Not really. We really did play with a lot of options that year. Then finally settled with the last option.

 This is the one we ended up with (front and back):

 The next year we made a huge mess. People that didn't know us thought we had spoiled brats with a major need of donating toys. Isaak's room is tiny. We got out almost every toy we had, and put it in one spot.

 It wasn't easy. Because the boys kept wanting to play. We had a few crying episodes because we kept getting after them to hold still! In the end I had to Photoshop two smiling faces on there. There is a mishap. See the green shelves in the background? I missed the fact that they are not aligned in Photoshop. I was the only one that I'm aware of that caught this error.

The train was a Photoshop nightmare. That's a real train, but candy stretched, changed color, scanned and put on. Too many layers to count.

My favorite is this one. This took many shoots. It was either too dark and grainy, or the boys weren't looking right. They thought it was fun being tied up in Christmas lights the first time. The third time they weren't so amused.

This year's you saw already, but here it is again.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Eggnog Matcha Green Tea Powder #Giveaway!

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I love traditional eggnog. The problem is that it can be so high in cholesterol. Now I have found a much better alternative. Red Leaf makes a matcha tea that is eggnog flavored. It smells so good, and I love the flavor.

What I like is that it can be drank hot, or cold. I even split one serving of dark hot chocolate 3 ways, and added unsweetened almond milk with a serving of Eggnog Matcha in the boy's and my drinks. I topped theirs with marshmallows. We all loved it!

You can drink it with just milk (any kind), or water. It can be served as a warm drink, or cold in a smoothie.

A little bit goes a long way! You only need 1/2 teaspoon added to whatever you are having it in. They offer special size 10g of naturally flavored green tea powder ($10 value). Enough to make 5 drinks. 4 calories per serving.

What is Matcha?

It’s a green tea powder and the healthiest green tea.

Why Do People Drink it? 

Usually you steep green tea only to drink the water and throw away the leaves that carry the most nutrients. When drinking Matcha powder you drink the water or milk AND the powdered green tea leaves. It's a finely ground powder, so it's ok to drink.

It has a nice after taste. It does not taste like eggs. It has more of a vanilla taste to me.

If you do not like Eggnog, Red Leaf has other flavors. 
  1. Chocolate Matcha
  2. Sugar Buster Matcha
  3. Acai Berry Matcha
  4. Strawberry Matcha
  5. Noni Matcha
  6. Aphrodisiac Matcha
  7. Cherry Matcha
  8. Madagascar Vanilla Matcha
  9. Wheatgrass Matcha
  10. Pomegranate Matcha
  11. Stevia Matcha
  12. Carmel
...and believe it, or not they have more flavors! 

Are you an eggnog lover? 

Check Red Leaf Tea on Twitter and Facebook. You can buy Red Leaf products on Amazon.      

Disclaimer: The opinions on the post are my personal take on the product. This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review. I did get products to help with the review.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Campus Book Rentals

Every year I have the lucky job of making the student's art supply list. A lot goes into making that list. Beyond that the student's have a book list. Many students get their books new.

It's hard to have a book sell back program at a small art school. As much as we would love to start getting digital books, the students do not have laptops first semester. Even when they get their MacBooks, publishing companies for ebooks are not consistent. Some rent out e-books, while others sell them to keep. Many online books have no page numbers on the book, so it's hard to tell the students to read certain pages. There are just too many problems going that route.

This is why I love the idea of Campus Book Rentals and Rent Back.

Some Perks About Campus Book Rentals:
  1. They have a huge selection of books. 
  2. They have live help. To me this is such a perk. It's difficult going to a site, having questions, and not having someone there that can help.
  3. There is no fee to sign up.
  4. They have a 1-800 number. It's very visible.
  5. College students spend 40-90% off what they would if they bought the book full price. If the student loves the book they can keep it and just pay the difference. 
  6. The book can be highlighted or underlined in with no additional cost to the student.
  7. Renting a book is kinder to the environment. Books that you don't want to buy, but need, is then reused by someone else. 
  8. The book can be returned in 30 days for any reason. I know instructors change their mind on books. They are flexible on their renting periods.
  9. The shipping is free both ways. The company actually gives the student a self addressed envelope for easy returning.
  10. For every book rented, they donate money to Operation Smile. A nonprofit organization that helps children that are born with a cleft pallet.  
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Disclaimer: The opinions on this post are my personal take on the products. This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. I am not compensated to provide my opinion except for receiving a basket of fruit, or PayPal funk. If you have questions about this post please contact me at: alissa4illustrationAThotmailDOTcom


The opinions on this blog are my personal take on products and topics relating to motherhood. This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me.

I am not compensated to provide opinions on a variety of topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are my own. If I claim to show knowledge of certain topic or product I will only endorse products or services that I feel, based on my expertise, are worthy of such endorsement.

If you have any questions about this blog, or want to get in contact with me please email me at: