Kids, Kringla and Copper! Oh My!

Saturday December 19th! Christmas break is here! Woohoo!  And I woke up at 6:30!! WHAT???  Oh well.  That is fine. We don’t have to get ready for anything today.  I can shower in peace, sit and relax in my quiet living room while I  eat my breakfast and enjoy the TODAY show.  SCORE!!!!

Reality check….the shower was fabulous, the breakfast uninterrupted bliss..the Today show, well I saw about 2 minutes and then Ruby woke up and it was quickly turned to PBS.  That’s ok, not a problem, it was still awesome!!!  Snuggling with my baby is perfect. That lasted about 5 minutes before she announced that she was hungry.  I tried to convince her that she wasn’t of course:) That didn’t fly.  I still tried though…I was so comfy!!  Never mind that I could hear her stomach growling.  Not one of my best mothering moments, but not one of my worst.  I knew the moment that I got up I would lose my seat, be summoned by the boysto get them breakfast and the day would begin and I’m not gonna say I told you so, but…

Yep…fast forward three days!! Why? Because that is what happens when you get up to fix breakfast OR get cereal out.  Time WARP, which seems to happen a lot in our house.    I just had to think for ten full minutes to remember what we did after I left my snuggly chair on Saturday morning. I had a conversation with my dad today. He was trying to tell me a story about a kid that was in my brother’s high school class.  He was a little frustrated because he couldn’t remember the name from 20 YEARS AGO!  And I couldn’t remember Saturday😕  Let’s face it, there are many days that my brain is on auto pilot.  Getting from point A to point B in a straight, curvy, or dotted line seems nearly impossible. AND somehow I make it.

So, Saturday the first full day of break we were gatherers! Serious gatherers! Because for the last few weeks we have been on survival mode!!  Sometimes people wonder what the kids do all day at home. They EAT!!  Remember those cute little babies eating and sleeping. Now it is just EATING.  As Ruby(4) would say, we need INFINITY food! So, we spent our day gathering things needed.  Important things, like everything that we need for the big family goodie day that my sister in law hosts every year 🙂




The afternoon was spent preparing the Kringla dough.  Kringla is a delicious buttery Norweigen cookie.

img_20151222_121502.jpgWe also gathered the ingredients for the other goodies we would be making.   OH! Then I went BACK to Walmart to get the oil changed because sometimes a wavy line is the only way. Why would I remember to do that when I was ALREADY there??  The kids are pumped!!  They love goodie day!

Sunday!!   We get up in the morning and I tell the kids that they all must shower and that I WILL be giving the boys a haircut. In our house this means extreme rebellion, so I have learned to choose my time wisely.  “We will not be going to Goodie Day until we are done!” Hoping this will suffice I hold my breath and close my eyes… Wishful thinking!

“NOOOOO!!!! You can’t do this to me.”

“I showered before my concert last week!” Like I said, survival mode.

“James is first!”

“Grant is first!”

And on and on……

We finally talk them into it, after my husband took one for the team and went second to give the other child time to process.  I am itching from hair, sweating in the small bathroom and relieved when the last child slips reluctantly into the chair.  The buzzers are doing a great job and then I…see….it!! LICE… It’s little, it’s MOVING!! I’m trying not to panic. Ahhhhhh…I know it happens to EVERYONE, and truthfully they really don’t gross me out that much.  I grew up in a family with two older brothers and one younger brother and I have now been through 13 YEARS of parenting.  I HAVE SEEN A LOT! However, the thought of trying to get rid of THEM seemed daunting to say the least.  I yelled for my daughter to yell for my husband Kyle to get out of the shower NOW because HE had to run to the store to get lice Shampoo!  

I then explained to my son that I would be giving him a VERY short haircut and why.  He was not happy😢😢.  He was even more unhappy when I made him stay in the shower until my husband got home not realizing that the shampoo has to be put on DRY hair. So the boy is mad, sad, cold, and will have to take ANOTHER shower which he despises!!  Not a great start to the day!  

I then realize that it is up to me to salvage the day.  We had tears..lots of them…and then we pulled it together. img_20151222_123424.jpg We listened to Christmas music, washed bedding, made Norwegian Kringla, washed bedding, made peppermint patties, washed hats and mittens, made more Kringla, and it was great.  Everything was going smoothly.  img_20151222_122910.jpg

Kids were rolling, kids were shaping, and Ruby was building Mt. St. Everest with flour. Really she actually said that! 

Grandma’s Norweigen Kringlaimg_20151222_123312.jpg

3 Cups Sugar

1 Cup Salted Butter

4 Eggs

2 Cups Buttermilk

2 Teaspoons baking soda (dissolved in buttermilk)

71/2-81/2 Cups Flour

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1 Teaspoons Salt

2 Teaspoons Vanilla

Mix all liquid ingredients in one bowl and dry ingredients in another.  Add dry ingredients slowly.  REFRIDGERATE OVER NIGHT!

Flour surface and hands.  Roll dough the size of your finger about 3 to 4 inches long and form in the shape of a pretzel.

Bake at 400 degrees for 6 – 8 minutes. Do not brown.

So, what do most rational people do after a few hours of semi normalcy? Adopt a dog of course!!  Meet the 8th member of the Brouwer family if all continues to go well;).   img_20151221_143710116.jpgCopper!!!  Tango is in heaven and as my good friend Hailey put it….

“What could possibly go wrong?  Things went so smoothly with Tango!”

Yep..we had our first puppy Tango for 5 days when he broke his leg.  He fits right in!  img_20151222_120938.jpg


Christmas break to be continued…….


Monday Fun Day!

Wowza!!  Usually by Sunday night I have a pretty good jump on what I need to have done for the week!! Or I have a false sense of security that I do😏.

I was feeling pretty good about myself considering I had used this blog to remind myself of exactly what I needed this week.  I NEVER stop multitasking!!  Can I get an AMEN?  You would think that at least today would have gone relatively smoothly!!

Well, that may have happened if I had taken my own advise:).  Which I had fully planned on doing. However, because I have a very high learning curve with technology right now it may or may not have taken me a RIDICULOUS amount of time to get that post POSTED.  In my perfect vision, yes, sometimes I see things….I pictured you all reading my blog as I ran around town in organizational bliss preparing for the week!  Bahahaha!  Um…by the time I finished and pushed PUBLISH it was time to gather everyone up for the hour drive over the river and through the….to Grandma’s birthday party.

The entire time I was at the party I was hoping that I would at least get one thing accomplished from my survival list.

Success!!!  We were home and kids in bed on time by 8:30!  Everything else….blah!!  I did my favorite new thing and ordered my groceries online from Hyvee!!  It’s free delivery if your order is over $100…so that is a no brainer!!  Love it!

So did we make it through today?  Barely😬😉😂😨

We have this amazing phenomenon that occurs at the Brouwer house almost EVERY morning.  Seriously.. its weird. The kids get up and are usually dressed and eating breakfast by 7 ish!!  I always say we will leave about 7:30. However…somehow all forward movement halts and time skips from 7:00 to 7:4O instantly.  No joke! Everyone looks at me in complete shock when I say it is time to leave. I mean COMPLETE SHOCK!!


I feel the need to get a Delorean and consult Doc Brown  just to prove to them that they did indeed do nothing in the time that passed. You’ve heard it…”I WAS getting ready” and yet they are not ready…weird😉.   AND as if the universe was trying to play a joke on me IT happened.   “Mom!  I NEED a snack for a party today!”  

So…todays theme….Do What I say and not what I do😕😕😓😓😭😭…..I can’t help the Emojis I LOVE THEM…If you missed it check out  my post Emojis are for Everyone 😜😜😜


Christmas Break or Bust!

I don’t know about you, but my kiddos and I are counting down the days until that last bell rings for Christmas vacation!! With one week to go anticipation is rising steadily. Picture the following as your favorite holiday music plays in the background:

You wake up lazily, refreshed after a long night of blissful uninterrupted sleep. Everyone is enjoying their favorite hot beverage. The snow falls as the children play lovingly with each other. They only pause to say things like, “Mother, could I please help you with dinner?” Or “Please, let us pick up while you take a WELL deserved rest.”

Now insert the image of beautiful Christmas music coming to a LOUD, SCREECHING halt!

I am not saying that we won’t ENJOY our long awaited break. However, from experience I have come to realize that I may want to be prepared for a few BOREDS….I mean BUMPS in the road.

But before we even get to vacation, we still have one week until the bell rings, the kids sprint out of the school, and the teachers that are still left standing at that point pass out cold. I’m not joking! I work on the inside remember:). So my goal is to get through this last week. At this point in the season it is VERY possible that brains are starting to short circuit, if they are not already completely fried. So here is a short list of things to do this week. If you have any ideas, please add them to the comments.

Week BEFORE Christmas Break Survival Guide!

Teacher Gift

First off, if you plan to get your child’s teacher a gift, get on it! Trust me, they spend much more time and money on your children than you think. If not, a thank you note from you AND your child will go a long way! There are a plethora of ideas for gifts online! Here are a few ideas that after years of being a teacher I found to be right on point:

  1.  A Girl and A Glue Gun
  2. Free Printable Rudolph EOS (Lipgloss)
  3. 50 Teacher gifts they will Like  and DESERVE:)  This one mentioned a great idea! If you send a thank you note to your teacher, send a copy to the Principal so that their hard work is recognized.

Now that we have the teachers happy it is on to the kids! Right?!? Hold on! Don’t forget yourself!FB_IMG_1450010721242

Make sure that you have what you need on hand for the week. This is not a time of year to run out of coffee! I also tend to grab a few packages of bottled water during busy weeks. I usually use a refillable water bottle or cup, but during weeks like these I like to have some back up to keep everyone in our house hydrated as we run around! Also having some fruit, veggies, granola bars, cheese, nuts, and other healthy snacks available is a great way to balance the goodies that WILL come.

This will undoubtedly be an exciting and possibly confusing week for some kids. Schedules will be disrupted, concerts will be held, class parties will come out of the woodwork. TREATS will be had! Let’s help those kids through the week by keeping schedules as close to normal as possible.

1. Check all backpacks, calendars, and notes from school!
I am the first one to admit that I am the WORST when it comes to going through my children’s backpacks on a Friday night. However, this is definitely a week to make a point to do just that. Save yourself the 10 PM or 6 AM trip to the store for treats or snacks for the class party. Make sure you are aware of any special themes like Pajama day! Last but not least sign and return permission slips.

2. Keep schedules as close to normal as possible. LIKE SLEEP!!

Making sure your children are getting the right amount of sleep and balanced meals will help them when it comes to dealing with all of the change and excitement.

3. How about a few easy things to keep around the house to keep your kids busy and out of your hair while you finish those last minute holiday checklists.


One of my favorite things to do is to get a cheap box of Christmas cards to keep on the counter. I encourage the kids to grab a card when they have time and write to a friend, neighbor, or even me! They can be delivered by hand or mailed.

Grandparents LOVE this!!!


Books, books and more books! Yes…I am a librarian! Last week I went into my kids rooms and pulled all of our winter/Christmas/holiday books off of their shelves. Sometimes just relocating something to a new place piques their interest. If you need more books head on over to your LIBRARY or local Thrift Store!!! Here are a few of our Favorites!!

The Dinosaurs Night Before Christmas by Anne Muecke
Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini
Winter is the Warmest Season by Lauren Stringer




OK…so let’s pretend we all survived the week with the least amount of trauma possible. Here is a little preview of how my Christmas break will PROBABLY start….

RING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SHOUT!!! School is OUT!!!

Day One: I’m trying to pull the comforter over my head as at least two of my four children BEG me to get out of bed and get them some breakfast. When I finally drag myself out of bed and to the coffee pot it will very likely be less than 10 minutes before I hear “THE QUESTION!” You know the one!!! Come on….don’t deny it!!
“Can I have a CANDY CANE??????”
to be continued….if I survive this week! IMG_20151206_132110365

Emojis are for Everyone😉

I can’t help second guessing myself as I begin this journey. Its not as if I don’t think I’m capable. It is just difficult to decide what to share. As I have gotten OLDER, you know, 29….I have definitely come to the realization that some things matter more than others.

So, I am not worried about offending people or boring people. Well, maybe a little about boring people. However, as I watch my 13 year old daughter and her friends try to learn this thing called life…it is brutal!! I try my best to set a good example. Like this:

Today I was on top of things! I headed for Walmart at 2:15 to get a birthday present for a birthday party that was at 3 o’clock. As I was leaving I turned to my daughter and ask “How is my hair?” I ask her because she tells the truth.

IMG_20151206_102426 (1)

She looks at me funny. I say, “Seriously, on a scale from 1-10” .

She says “5”

I say “Great! That is what I was going for.” She rolls her eyes…

FYI…She also told me that I probably shouldn’t use emoji’s in my blog. It makes me look like a teenager! 😀😨 SWEET!

Here is where I run into problems. I am not a professional. I do not know the exact right answer. I am not sure that there is a right answer. However, I would love to help myself and others find these answers, or at least strategies to make our lives easier. So…as I am discovering and compiling information and topics for you, I will continue to write as often as possible.

I enjoy helping people, I love to make people laugh, I have a degree in early childhood and elementary education, I am a newbie elementary librarian, I love learning and sharing ideas that will help others. It is challenging to decide what people will enjoy and be able to USE!!

I would love some comments and/or advise on what you would like to hear or see. I have also been thinking a lot about all of the AMAZING people that I know and what they would be able to share with me and you! I would love for you to be able to find a variety of information on one site.

I enjoy helping people, however, in all truthfulness, it is usually others that are helping me!! . The proverbial “Chicken with it’s head cut off” describes me as I multitask away. I SOMETIMES get texts like the following. “Kayla…would you like me to bring your child or children home from…” I do not always have time in my day to help others. It is truly my hope that this blog will give me a new avenue to do just that.

It may be something that is ACTUALLY helpful or it may be just the laugh that you need! 😜🙈👍🐮🐙🐲🍹

Friday Exhale


Friday..FRIDAY!!!   Ahhh…everybody breathe.  You made it!  Really, we ought to give ourselves more credit.  I often catch myself dwelling on the things that I haven’t accomplished.  We didn’t study spelling, I didn’t keep up with the laundry, or the kitchen, or about 200 other things.  I didn’t keep my cool 100% of the time.  I know surprising right!?

This blog is therapy for me!  It makes me think more deeply about what is important.  I DID keep four children, a husband, and a dog clothed and fed ALL week!  Now that is not a small thing. Did they eat homemade, perfectly healthy meals, all week?   No.  Did they all look at me lovingly and eat their meals with joy and thankfulness?  NO!  Did I get frustrated?  YES!  People often ask me…”HOW DO YOU DO IT?”  my usual answer is ….”I don’t😕”.

Do I try?  Usually!  Let’s be honest.  Some  days we just make it.  Others we make Martha Stewart proud!  The latter, not so often…

Today was a “WE MADE IT” Friday….sigh….and the view from my chair is priceless.





Today I was tired.  I got home from work and made it through the first hour of snack, homework, and hearing about everyone’s day.  I WAS dragging!!!  However, like most parents, our night wasn’t even close to over.  Tonight Grant and James had piano lessons, I had a few errands to run and James had his second grade concert!

I have been to many concerts and will go to MANY more.  I always look forward to them.  I mean COME ON!! those kids are so ADORABLE!  It really doesn’t matter how rascally they are at other times.  When you get them all dressed up and on stage, it is FABULOUS!  You have such a variety!  I have talked with friends and colleagues about this at length.  Things that you may see at an elementary concert are….in random order….

  1. The “I am Celine Dion” belting everything loud and clear!  Sometimes in tune…
  2. The “Watermelon”. You know…. mouth moving/not singing!
  3. The “I Love my dress and will swish it the entire time” girl!  PRICELESS.
  4. The “Deer in the Headlights”. Often more common at preschool/kindergarten concerts…but one of my FAVORITES.
  5. ALSO common in early elementary… The “I should have gone to the bathroom” dancer.
  6. The “My MOM made me wear this Ridiculous, itchy outfit so now I’m going to stand here and look pissed kid”
  7. The “I am sure none of the 600 people watching can see that I have been picking my nose through the entire song kid!!

I love all of them!!!!

So…we went yo the concert…AND…like I said I have been to many.  This one however..I don’t know.   Maybe it is because of the violence, fear, hate that seems to be swirling around us right now.  It was just what my heart needed!  Those precious kids singing their hearts out.  It was magic!  I know it seems silly.  I mean it was a second grade concert.  However, if you live in Vermillion South Dakota, and you know Gretchen Burbach.  It was a production!  Not an over the top…this is CRAZY production.  It is truly amazing to see Gretchen work with these kids.  They are ALL involved!  They learn so many things as they work on these concerts.  This particular concert was about harmony.  A perfect theme for the world right now.  And the final song!!!  Harmony…Melodies and words by Gretchen BurBach. It was inspiring!  So Gretchen Burbach, Thank you.  Thank you for teaching and loving and inspiring these children (and their parents . Sleep well my friend!!


I promised…

IMG_20151108_152236297A turtle hiding in its shell, an ostrich with its head in the sand, or maybe even a big ol’ bear lumbering into his own peaceful cave.  THAT is kinda what I thought about doing.  For a minute anyway😜

I actually love to write!  It relaxes me. Am I a professional?  Nope!  I promised myself that I would do this for me.


OK, maybe a little for you too.  So, what’s on my mind today?

Not a whole lot!  Some days it truly is just one foot in front of the other.  Today however, I am grateful for all of the encouragement that I have received!  I know so many AMAZING women and men.  So many of you are at my back cheering me on.  THANK YOU!

AND….GERMS!!  Time to get the Lysol out!  Just think for one minute about elementary library books.  REALLY!!

Picture a library full of adorable kiddos reading books quietly….It’s beautiful right…picking their noses…fingers in mouths..TURNING PAGES!!  I know you want me to take that image back.  Sorry😷!  However, I am happy to tell you that I wipe all of those lovely…sticky…books with Lysol wipes as often as humanly possible.  So if your child is one of my students…you’re welcome!  If not..Lysol wipes work great!!  Mom/ Librarian tip #1😇