Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dining In

We've had quite a few surprises with our dining-in efforts. Yes, there have been the expected responses of whining and/or complaining about vegetables or chicken or whatever. But there have been a few meals where I was totally expecting complaints and resistance, and instead, got compliments and requests for seconds.

For instance, I made a vegetable venison stew... was TOTALLY expecting that one to crash and burn. Instead, both of the boys really liked it, and have even requested to have it again since then. ??? The other one that was a surprise was meatloaf. I made little mini meatloaves in muffin pans. I was really not expecting a good response to that either, but Sebastian said, "Mom I just love it when you make this kind of stuff that tastes like meatballs" and Isaac ate seconds.

The last one that surprised me was chicken alfredo & veggies pasta. Although Meagan (and Lucas... he is NOT a fan of chicken) both kind of wrinkled their noses at it, the boys ate it up. Isaac (again) ate seconds. Sebastian's comment was, "Meagan, stop crying and just TRY it. It might not look like it tastes good, but it actually really does." LOL! Nice.

I still get frustrated because it seems like no matter what I make, inevitably someone doesn't like it. I'm not sure what there is to make that everyone will like, other than maybe spaghetti or lasagna... but you can really only eat that so many times in a month, can't you? Like Lucas said, though, there are five people in our family; it's going to be hard to please everyone. I figure if I'm doing the cooking, I can at least be sure that I will like it! If someone else wants to take over cooking duties, then THEY can decide what we're having. :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Change and Rearrange

A bit of an update for you... we are for sure relocating! We still don't know all the specifics, so I wont' share all that for now, but we at least have some forward progress! Since we've found out, we've started working hard to get stuff in order around the house... time to start thinking about putting the house on the market! Eeek!

I've started working on clearing out clutter and rearranging a few things here & there. So far, we've de-cluttered the living room quite a bit, organized the closet by the front door, and rearranged Meagan's room so that it looks more open. Today we spent most of the afternoon wiping down and patching walls. Still lots to do, but we're making progress!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Jelly Belly's

This was one of the many things we did today... we made a stop at CVS for a few "other" things, but we ended up walking out with a bag of Jelly Belly's. I'm not usually one for sweet sugary candy (I'm more of a chocolate girl myself), but I am always up for a bag of Jelly Belly's! There's just something so FUN about matching the jelly beans to the pictures on the back of the bag to see if you can guess the right flavor! I always tell myself "Just one," but I get sucked in and can't stop! So today I exposed Meagan to the joy of Jelly Belly's. She apparently has the same addiction as I do! We put away half the bag in one sitting! It was sooo much fun!

Road Trip

A quick layout I did of some 'mustang' pictures from last summer. We spent HOURS last summer down at the end of our street while the kids drove around and around and around the circle. They would stop and park, get out and 'go to the grocery' or 'go hunting' or 'go to work'... all kinds of grown up things. I couldn't help but think as I was putting this layout together that we may have very likely had our last drive around the circle. Isn't it funny how something seems so ordinary and commonplace while you're doing it. It's so easy to not even consider that it may be the last time you ever do that very thing. I guess there is always a last of everything. Just a teeny little reminder to appreciate every experience while I have it to appreciate.

I used a new kit by Sahlin Studio and Britt-ish designs... It's a gigantic kit and mini-kit combo that's way to big to even try to describe here. Here's a link to Krista Sahlin's blog to check it out.

(Click here to view full credits)

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Another layout to share with you. This one I threw together quickly the other night... quick scrapping is a HUGE plus when free time is scarce, as it seems to be lately. I used this new set of templates by Sahlin Studio to get the job done fast!

I never used to like templates, but they are definitely growing on me! I'm seeing their value more & more. I was always set against them because I thought a layout made with a template couldn't be "original," but I've come to believe that sometimes having an "original" page just won't really matter 30 years from now. What will matter most then will be simply that the memory was recorded and I can look back and recall the details... template or not! Besides all that, a good template is versatile enough to be used several ways and still be fresh.

Here's what I did with this template pack this time around... I'll most definitely be using these templates again in the near future!

Journaling: I have such mixed emotions about pixos... the tiny little beads that go everywhere when they fall... the giant box of supplies to be stored in the kitchen cabinet... the drying time. Yet I can't help but like a toy that brings out so much creativity in each of you. No matter what my opinion may be, you LOVE them!

(Click here to view full credits.)

Dear O-I

Journaling: Dear O-I, I am writing this letter to thank you. Now, I know that might sound odd to you. You are, after all, an inanimate object - a building, a factory, a company. You have no feelings or emotions. Yet you have taught me, or rather, you have reminded me of some things I had lost sight of... you've reminded me of the many blessings in our lives. You've reminded me that family is the greatest treasure we have in this life. And most importantly, you have shown me yet again that, no matter what circumstances may be, we are held by God, and He alone is our Provider. For these reminders I thank you.

I used a gorgeous new kit, Tranquil, by Leora Sanford and One Little Bird Designs. You can follow the link to check it out.

(Click here to view full credits.)

Clean Room Awards

A few weeks ago, we implemented a pretty basic new awards system in our house. I was SO tired of having to clean up EVERY room in the house. Our kitchen, living room, basement, and all the bedrooms (and even the bathrooms) were littered with kid STUFF on a daily basis. That, together with the fact that we had sort of been floundering to define and stick to a clear-cut list of responsibilities for the kids, led to this simple little chart - the Clean Room Award chart.
At the beginning of each week, I print one for each of the kids and stick it to their bedroom doors. At the end of each day, we go through the house and examine the rooms. If the room is clear of their things, they get credit for that room for that day. At the end of the week, if they have at least 30 stickers, then they get $2.50 for the week. They get paid in quarters - 10% ($.25) goes into a savings jar, 10% goes into a giving jar and the remaining 80% ($2.00) goes into their ATM machines to use for spending money, or whatever they want to do with it.

I have to say that so far I have actually been pretty surprised at how effective this simple little concept has been. The amount of cleaning that I have had to do on behalf of my children has significantly decreased in the past 3 weeks. Plus, the upside is that they are learning to tithe & to save.

(Credits: I used "Make Chores Fun" by Kate Hadfield & Jacque Larsen to make this chart.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

On a Loop

Lately our kids have been watching movies on a loop. It seems that they will latch onto a movie and stick with it for several weeks, during which time they just watch the SAME movie.... over and over and over..... and over and over.....

Over the past month or so, we've seen a loop of The Lion King, Milo and Otis, and most recently The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (which, by the way, we watched for our family movie night tonight... actually cuter than I was expecting).


Well, it ended up being a rather productive day yesterday. Once I got started, I was on a roll! Meagan and I worked together to get some stuff organized and cleaned up. We organized the living room and cleared out the movies and clutter. We even wiped down the walls and moved some furniture around a bit.

Today was more of the same. We concentrated most of our efforts in Meg's room today. We got it cleaned, first & foremost (because it was a disaster area!), and then rearranged the furniture and wiped the walls down. The shelves in her closet are tidy even again, which they have not been since the explosion of Christmas gifts. She was SUPER excited about having her room "be different" and was really looking forward to sleeping in her bed since it's now on a different wall. I love that too, so I know what she means... after I rearrange a room, I like to just sit in it and take in the freshness of it! Funny the things that bring a sense of satisfaction! :)

We still have a LONG way to go... I haven't even touched the kitchen walls, or the walls in either staircase, or the upstairs hallway, or the boys room.... you get the point. There's lots to wipe down and patch. There's lots to get straightened up and organized. I already have about 8 bags full of kids' clothes and toys ready to go to the local pregnancy center (and a car seat, now that Meagan has outgrown it). And I still have a few closets and a basement full of stuff to go through. Aaahh, the joys of preparing to move! In the five years that we've lived here, our house has NEVER been as organized as it is right now... Why did I wait five years to start doing this? Wouldn't it have made a lot more sense to actually LIVE organized? Just a thought... oh well... maybe next time! :)

Like I said before, I'll keep you posted. Until then, we'll just keep plugging along, preparing as though we are moving. If, for some reason, we don't end up moving, I guess we'll just have a very clean and organized house.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Checking in...

I am having one of those days where I feel torn... I KNOW there is lots to do, but so far I haven't done much. Meagan and I have payed Tinkerbell on her Leapster, built a puzzle, and watched a movie. I have finished a layout (I'll post that later), posted it in online galleries, and browsed forums. Now I REALLY need to get started on something productive. There's so much to choose from to do! I think Meagan and I will set a few goals for the day and see how far we get... she is actually VERY excited about the prospect of helping me wash walls (funny what is exciting when you're 4... housework seems magical... I could use a little bit of that magic!).

Wish me luck! I'll check back in later.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ouch, That Stings

Do you remember this.... when Isaac got stung and his poor little face swelled up like a balloon? Poor baby! I've never done anything with these pictures as far as scrapping goes, though, because they aren't exactly easy to scrap, and it's not often that a kit comes along to help out with those tough scrap subjects... seriously, some pictures just don't look so cute on a page, no matter WHAT you do with them! LOL!

However, I got lucky! Kaye Winiecki released a Bumps and Blah's kit that was perfect colors and perfect little elements to actually do something with these pictures (at least one of them). No matter how pitiful he looked, the story is still worth documenting.
A preview of the kit:

And here's what I did with it:

Journaling: Isaac's poor little face swelled up so badly when he got stung by a bee. 08/08

(Click here to view full credits.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cutting out the Middle Man

Yesterday I did something I didn't actually expect myself to do... it just sort of happened before I even thought about it. Yesterday, I broke away from tradition; I skipped the rituals; I cut out the middle man...

What do I mean? Well, yesterday Sebastian lost another tooth. He had lost it at school some time during the day. He was careful to keep it in a little envelope to bring it safely home, because we all know that a lost tooth is good for a dollar in the piggy bank! When we got home, he announced to me that he had lost his tooth, and he pulled it out of storage to show me.

"That's great!" I said to him, knowing that he was excited about it (he had been predicting the loss of this tooth for a few weeks now, so all of his waiting had finally been rewarded). Then... this is the part that I wasn't expecting... the part that I didn't think about before I said it... it just sort of came out... "I'll give you a dollar right now if you'll just throw it away."

He looked at me, a bit surprised at first, but then said, "Okay!" Apparently he wasn't too concerned with HOW he got his $1, just that he got it! LOL! So I took the tooth, tossed it in the garbage, and handed him a dollar worth of dimes (which, of course, he split up into saving, giving and spending).

There now. That was the EASIEST way to get rid of a tooth I've ever encountered. I'll have to keep that in mind, seeing as I have 3 mouths full of future lost teeth. I may not forgo the Tooth Fairy all together, but maybe I'll at least give them the option - the quick way or the Tooth Fairy way... maybe I'll get lucky! :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sunny Saturday

I am loving the way this day is going so far! I got a good night of sleep; woke up at 7:30 (on my own, not with the help of kids!); made some tea; read my Bible; browsed online; and am now getting ready to make a breakfast pizza!

I am hoping this day will continue to be productive. There's lots to do around the house. Besides the normal stuff - laundry, bathrooms, blah blah blah - there's also other stuff like get ready for the Super Bowl party tomorrow, clean out closets, maybe do taxes. So many options! But if I'm going to get any of them accomplished, I'm going to have to stay away from my computer! Wish me luck!

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Friday Goodies

I have a few new layouts to share with you, as there are lots of new releases coming out today. The first layout, I did with The Lilypad's new Feb BYOC (build-your-own-collab). LOVE the colors... brown & teal get me every time really! Here's the layout I did with it... Sebastian and his tootsie rolls from Grandma & Grandpa H. (an early Christmas present I think).

(Click here to view full credits.)

Another new release.... Wild at Heart by As You Wish Designs. This layout is of Meagan and her friend, just being silly, giggly girls.

Journaling: I love a house full of little girl laughter, giggles and smiles. I love an afternoon full of princess costumes and high-heeled shoes of the plastic, bejewelled variety. I love that friendship can be so genuine and true at any age, and that the 2 of you have been given this precious time of your lives to not only get to know each other a little more, but to teach each other a little bit about life, love, and friendship. The joy that comes from being with a friend is one of the greatest blessings we can ever know in life. Enjoy this time. Enjoy each other.
(Click here to view full credits.)

It's all a little fuzzy....

The other day, as I took my glasses off and laid them on the counter to put my contacts in, Meagan snatched up my glasses and shoved them on her face. She stood for a minute trying to get acclimated, but apparently she just couldn't adjust. She looked at me and said, "Momma, I don't know why you even bother to wear these things. They just make everything look all fuzzy."

She just makes me smile!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Life

Ready for a flashback to 2001? I just felt like digging through my photo stash (all 33.5 GB... yes, really) for something I hadn't seen for a while. I found this - one of my favorite pictures of Sebastian the day he was born. What an itty bitty peanut all swaddled and snuggled in. Oh I just want to reach into that picture and squish him with a great big snuggly squeeze. He was such a tiny little snuggly bug... and now he is a gigantic, almost-as-tall-as-me crazy boy who rarely sits still long enough to snuggle.

Aah, well. This is what time does to us I suppose. And I do LOVE the little boy he is today. But it is wonderful to be able to look back and remember those precious, brand-new-life moments - way before we had any clue what we were doing as parents - back when we had not the first clue what we were in for or how life was about to change! So his new life brought us a new life as well.

(Click here to view full credits.)

Sweet Tea

I swear some days I just sit back and think, I am one of the luckiest girls ever! I am just constantly blown away by all the gorgeousness I get to play with for fun! It is one of the best things ever! The other night I made a layout using Leora's new kit with Paislee Press, Sweet & Tart. Here's the preview (with links... because it's on sale today, so I thought I'd share it with you!).

I took these pictures Friday during the day. Meagan decided it was her stuffed animal's birthday. So she gathered up some of her favorites (at least for the moment) and set up, what else, a tea party for them. She used her play food for the food, and apple juice for the tea (which she only poured in her own cup... I just didn't think juice and stuffed animals would mix well). She even 'wrapped' gifts for Moley (the birthday mole.... I always thought it was a bear, but she has insisted it is a mole, and I figure it's not worth the argument). Anyway, she spent a good hour or more playing tea party birthday party. At the end of it all, Moley had turned three!

Journaling: Today's events included a birthday party for Moley, who was turning three. What better way to celebrate than with a tea party? On the guest list - Floppers and Husky and Purple Bear (and you, of course). You were a wonderful tea party hostess. It is such a privilege to be a part of these moments.