Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chain of Events

Isaac's first swim class was yesterday. We left here at 5:00, thinking that 30 minutes was MORE than enough time to get there. However, I wasn't planning on not being able to take the exit I wanted, requiring an extra 5-10 minutes of drive time, so we pulled onto campus about 3 minutes before the class started. We parked & got in there just in time. The director actually met us outside, and walked us in, which was super nice of her! She also told me there were still spaces in the class, soooooo starting Wednesday Sebastian & Meagan are going to join in the class too. None of my kids are great swimmers (fine in shallow water, but definitely not comfortable in the deep).... anyway.

We left the swimming pool around 5:45. Went through a drive through (yes, I know.... very bad me) and ate dinner in the van. We drove up a little further north to check out a gymnastics center that wasn't so far away..... which was, again, not far away from an old friend of ours... so we drove a little further north to see if we could stop and say hello. No one was home, so we left a note that we had been there, and headed for home. However, about 5 miles down the road, Meagan had to go to the bathroom.... the "I really can't hold it" kind. So we had to make a pit stop. I was going to stop at a gas station that was easy to get in & out of, but their restrooms were 'unavailable.' There was a Target right behind the gas station, and I KNOW where Target bathrooms are located, so I figured that was a good bet.

So, we stopped at Target for a potty break... which lead to 'looking' at costumes. But they all found costumes that they liked, and the temptation of being done with the costume frenzy before October even gets here was just too tempting.... so we got the costumes. And some candy corn lights for our holiday tree.

So.... swimming, gymnastics, friends house, potty break, costumes. Yes, that was our night. What an odd chain of events, but I guess sometimes that's what you get when I'm involved in a situation (I tend to fly with no plan most of the time - NOT my husband's favorite feature about me, I'm sure.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lilypad Lovin'

Okay, I know this is 2 posts in a row like this, but there's LOTS of new & exciting stuff happening at the Lilypad these days! Here's a new contest that will be happening every 2 weeks. All you have to do is upload a layout (50% Lilypad products) to the Lilypad gallery to be eligible. Click here to see more details (ad is also linked).

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Releases

What a great Friday for digital scrapping! There are some GORGEOUS new products being released today. Plus, some BIG news!!! Krista Sahlin (Sahlin Studio) is now at The Lily Pad! One of my favorite designers EVER at my most favorite store ever! Aaaah, it's a good day for digital scrapping!

Every Friday, TLP has its Froggy Friday, which means 20% off of all their new releases. This week's new releases are unbelievable! I want one of everything... if only there were more hours in a week! Here is a preview of the products I worked with this week, and the layouts to go with them.

New from Sahlin Studio and Holly at The Lilypad & 9th & Bloom:

And the layout I made with it...

Journaling: 'To think we nearly left Lilly behind in Michigan. The 2 of you are like 2 peas in a pod. We couldn't separate you.'

I also used new templates by Lauren Reid. These are great for a quick layout!

(Click here to view full credits.)

New from Lauren Reid & Amy Wolff at The Lilypad & 9th & Bloom:

And the layout I did with it...

* toes covered in bubbles
* bucket full of suds
* i love u
* a car wash with flair! You had a ball! and I cracked up!

(Click here to view full credits)

Surprise Surprise!

I had quite a nice surprise last night. Lucas came home for the weekend!!! I had no idea he was coming, so he actually kinda freaked me out. I happened to be by the window when he pulled into the driveway, but I didn't recognize the car and couldn't see him at all because it was so dark. I was ready to call 9-1-1 if necessary. *lol*

So we got to sit down together and watch a few of our shows before heading to bed. He's home today... so nice! So yeah, that was a nice surprise!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mission Complete

After school today, we completed our homework recon mission... the tough mission of checking out the available flavors at the Donut Box so that Isaac can draw and color his favorite donut. They have some fun flavors - Loops (which is a vanilla frosted donut covered in Froot Loops), Cookie Dip (vanilla frosted donut topped with crushed Oreos), Blueberry Glazed, Apple Crumb with Cinnamon and Sugar, Pumpkin, Chocolate Chocolate (no explanation needed I think) - YUM!

Sebastian went for the Cookie Dip, Isaac chose Vanilla Frosted, Meagan got Loops, and I went with Pumpkin. Plus, the lady gave us a free Apple Crumb donut to share.... I guess she thought we just needed to taste-test it. I dunno. But it was good!! So I thanked her and ate it! Four donuts (well five, if you count the apple one) and four glasses of water = less than $4.00 for a snack. It was fun. Funny, though, when it was homework time, and Isaac got to his coloring page, he just didn't feel like doing it & decided to save it for another day. Oh well, at least I've done my part!

You Really Should Watch What You Say

As a parent, there are plenty of times when my kids say or do something bizarre... and I look at them and think to myself, "Where did you get that?" Sure, I would like to blame friends or other outside influences for all the bad behaviour, but the truth is, sometimes - yes, on rare occasions - it's actually MY fault (as you all gasp in shock). This week I had one of those moments where I realized that my daughter's choice of words... well... so MAYBE I had something to do with it.

Lucas is traveling again. He was in San Francisco for the previous two weeks, home for the weekend, then off to Indiana. Unfortunately, we are all very familiar with the traveling Daddy drill. I know he hates it... especially having to leave again after such a short weekend.

So, I was talking to him earlier this week about the situation he is in at present... a situation which you might say he is not altogether fond of. See, he has done a good job in the past, and the tough truth is, in this business, the ones who get results get put in the tough positions so that they can do what they do best... get results.

I was driving down the road, Meagan in the back seat, and I was on the phone with Lucas. We were talking about his work a bit... My end of the conversation was, "Well, unfortunately that's just the way it goes. When you do a good job, you get the crap jobs."..... Meagan chimes in from the back seat, "So if you do a GOOD job, you get a CRAP job?"..... to which I quickly tried to explain to her, "That only counts in Daddy's job. YOU have to do a GOOD job at what you do. All the time. Especially in school."..... She paused for just a second then said, "But I don't WANT a crap job." Lucas decided that it only took Meagan one month of school to figure out life. I just had to laugh... then, of course, tell her that we don't say 'crap.' *sigh*

Monday, September 20, 2010

Meatless Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells

Yum! That's all I can say. Here's what we had for dinner over the weekend: 1 box jumbo pasta shells (uncooked) 1 14.5 oz jar pasta sauce 15 oz. ricotta cheese 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan garlic powder, oregano, black pepper 1 egg 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out 1 cup water another 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella 1) combine the ricotta, egg, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and Parmesan, along with the seasonings in a bowl 2) make sure the water is squeezed out of the spinach; then add that to the cheese mixture and stir until it is evenly disbursed 3) combine 1 jar of pasta sauce & 1 cup of water in a bowl To make in a crock pot: 4) cover the bottom of crock with sauce 5) stuff uncooked pasta shells with cheese mixture 6) lay the shells in the crock on top of the layer of sauce 7) cover shells with remaining sauce 8) top with 1/2 cup mozzarella 9) cook on high for 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours... shorter cook time will result in more al dente texture in pasta To make in the oven: 4) cover the bottom of casserole baking dish with sauce 5) stuff uncooked pasta shells with cheese mixture 6) lay the shells in the baking dish on top of the layer of sauce 7) cover shells with remaining sauce 8) cover with foil & bake at 375 for about an hour 9) remove, top with 1/2 cup mozzarella 10) bake until cheese is melted & browned and pasta is tender I am not kidding you, my kids ate this up! Meagan took a big bite, got to the spinach, and said, Eeewww, I don't like this. I told her it was the same thing that she eats when she eats all of my spinach & artichoke dip when I get that at a restaurant... that was all it took. she ate the rest with no complaints... in fact, with lots of Yums instead. The best part was that I had about 1/2 a box of shells and 1/2 a bowl of cheese mixture left. So I stuffed the rest of the shells, mixed up another jar of sauce and water, put the dish together in a baking dish, and froze it for another time. So, I ended up getting two meals out of this one as well! I am gonna get spoiled if I keep this up! As far as the cost goes, I got both jars of sauce on sale for $1 each. The mozzarella was $1.67 for the block, $2.50 for the entire container of Parmesan, $1.50 for the pasta, about $2.00 for the ricotta, and $1.00 for the spinach. So two meals for less than $11.00 total (and lots of Parmesan left over). Love it!

Cream the Charzer... (Don't Ask)

We had a wonderful weekend with Lucas at home! The kids were SO happy to have their daddy home! Friday evening, Lucas and Isaac went out in the front yard and threw the football around for a few hours. By the end of the night, Meagan and Sebastian had joined in, and there was a family football game of sorts in the front yard. Loved watching them run and laugh and tackle (and tickle) each other. It was great. I sat on the porch watching them (and taking pictures, of course) and I couldn't help but thing, "I think this is Lucas' dream come true - the moment he has waited for since he has been a daddy." I just sat and watching him soak in the moment.

At one point, he had a kid on each arm and one on his ankle, and he was trying to move across the yard. It was super funny!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Passing By?

I drove past a woman the other day as I pulled out of a shopping center parking lot. She was sitting in the median with a sign that read 'Family struggling with food and rent. Please help.' She sat there, holding her sign, looking sad, broken, embarrassed. But still holding her sign. I wondered about her - her life, her family. How many children does she have? How did she get into this situation? What's her story? Could I help? Should I help? Always skepticism, criticism, rears its ugly head in situations like this. Yes, sometimes the skepticism is warranted. Maybe true. But then I think of what my Bible says, and I think, it's not really up to me to decide whether or not she is worthy of receiving my help. It is only up to me to help if I can. To feed the hungry. Care for the widows and orphans. Love others.

I tried to think of how I could help her in some tangible way. I had nothing in my van I could give to her. No cash. No food. Nothing. I was empty-handed. And still, as I was stopped at the light, my window down, I came face to face with her. She looked at me. Looked away quickly. I knew it would be inhuman to pretend I had not noticed her. And she looked again. I spoke to her. Apologized that I had nothing to give her - as I'm sitting in my van that is paid for (maybe not fancy and great, but paid for and currently-functioning) leaving a shopping plaza. I'm sure she doubted me. Surely I had something. I even felt like, there must be something I could give her. I just couldn't think of anything. We chatted for a moment. Someone had given her a box of granola bars that she was excited to take home to her boys. Still I could think of nothing to give her. The light turned green. I wished her luck, feeling like a total idiot, and then drove away. What good does a wish for luck do? I felt like an idiot.

So tonight, before going to bed, I was browsing through my regular blogs that I read, and I came across this post about providing vitamins to a third-world country for a children's feeding program. I read it. Considered it. Then, honestly, had ruled it out in my mind. Until I was reminded of the lady in the parking lot. How many will I pass by before I choose to find a way to stop and help? Will it be convenient for me? No. But is it a way that I can do some small thing to be a part of some bigger thing? Yes. Absolutely. So I think this weekend, the kids and I will make a trip to the grocery store, and we will pick out some vitamins. And we will send them. Please take a minute to read this post and consider taking a small action in changing a very big world.

A bit redundant, but I wanted to post this here for you to read... in case you decide not to follow that link I gave you and go read the post.

I’m quoting in full here Jaime, a missionary in Costa Rica. She describes this incident where she delivers food to some desperate kids:

“I’m gonna go fight poverty for two and a half hours. 2.5 hours on a Tuesday
morning to solve the biggest problem in the world. What a joke.

We will show up with a bag full of bread and an armload of bananas, and the children will clamber around us like ducks at a pond. A bunch of little ducklings, falling all over each other for a bit of bread and a soft pat on the head.

And for 2 and a half hours we will laugh and play and eat, and we will talk about Jesus. And when we leave, they will be just as poor as when we arrived. Poverty taunts us as we drive away.

It’s overwhelming. The problem is so big, and we are so small. It feels
ridiculous… showing up to war wielding a loaf of bread.

Of course that’s how David showed up. Just a shepherd boy with some bread for his brothers, a kid who was quick with a sling shot. He chose for battle against a giant, not a sword, or the kings armor, but five smooth stones. And he won.

He said to the giant:”You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel,
whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” ~1 Samuel 17

I kind of love that.

I’m going to feed the ducks, now. And then, with all my might, I will hurl a tiny pebble at their giant enemy. And I hope it hurts like hell.



Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Empty Bowls

I love it when I cheat and it works! ... Isn't that a nice lesson to teach my kids??? Scary to know I am one of their major influences, huh?

So I've made the decision to not eat fast food for dinner for the next 3 weeks. I started on Sunday. It's been four days now, and I've only been tempted about 42 times. Really. But I've stuck with the dinner plans, and we have eaten in every evening. Tonight I made chicken pot pie soup. I was going to do it the 'real' way - you know, make a roue, add the broth, blah blah. But I just really didn't feel like going all out. I wanted to just be done cooking, eat, and move on. So I threw some stuff together real quick like a rabbit. And the kids loved it! Clean bowls all around! Momma likes! So here's what I did...

2 cans of condensed cream of chicken soup

2 cups of milk

3 tbsp flour

1 cup of chicken broth (or water & granules)

1 package of mixed veggies steamed (you know, peas, corn, green beans, carrots, etc)

1 can of white meat chicken

a bit of pepper and garlic powder

What to do with all the ingredients:

* whisk the chicken soup & milk together

* while the soup is still cold, add the 3 tbsp flour, and whisk together

* add the chicken (drained), veggies, broth, and seasoning.

* mix it all up, let it cook for a bit

* eat.

Again, I had half of the soup left over. I am freezing the remaining mix and I'm going to pull it out in a few weeks and use it for pot pie filling (it's thick enough to not be too runny... should be quite tasty actually). I figure I'll spend $2.00 on a 2-pack of refrigerated pie crust and for about $6.00 (including the croissants we had with the soup and the crust for the pie) I will have 2 meals. Quite a different from $6 per person at a restaurant.


Homework Recon

Believe it or not, one of Isaac's homework assignments deals with a local donut shop called the Donut Box. He has to draw a picture of his favorite donut from there. Seeing as he is new in town, though, he isn't all too familiar with the variety of flavors. SO, the only thing a good mom could POSSIBLY do is to help him with a little homework recon.

Or so I tried. We parked, got out, and headed for the door, only to realize the door was locked and the lights were out. Closed. Bum! Now I have a van full of disappointed kids. The only next possible thing to do... find an alternate bakery. I really don't know of any other bakeries, though, so we headed to Meijer. They always have LOTS of different donuts on their donut rack, so I figured that would be a safe bet. Until we got there. And the racks were EMPTY. No joke. We settled for a box of 'donuts to go' - a pack of six apple crisp cake donuts. That can't be so bad, right?
Nope. Not so bad at all.
Dunking in milk. What could be better?

We still need to check out the donut flavors at the Donut Box. Maybe we will swing through there after school on Friday and have a donut snack on the way up to pick up Lucas from the airport!!!!!! (We'll just have to vacuum out the van afterward.... crumbs. *lol*)


Eye Can See Again

This morning I had a loooong overdue eye appointment! I know, it is a bit strange to be excited about this, but if you only knew... well, I'll tell you.

My last eye appointment was in February of '09, at which time I purchased a one-year supply of contacts. Do the math. My supply should have run out in February '10. Especially since two of my right contacts tore right out of the package, leaving me with only an 11-month supply of right contacts. Nice. I opened my last right contact in November. Yes, ten months ago. A two-week-wear lens. Not recommended. Really. About a month ago, I was finally to the point that I would have preferred gouging my eye out to continuing to wear those contacts one more day. At that time, I was out of righties, and I had two lefties left. So what else is a girl to do but to wear TWO LEFT contacts. Yes, I used my last two contacts as a pair, even though they were supposed to be for the same eye. Two days later, I decided enough was enough (yes, it took me an additional two days to come to this conclusion). I looked online for an eye doctor in the area that participated with our insurance, and made the appointment.

So finally today, after 19 months, I finally went to the eye doctor. I have a fresh new pair of contacts (proper prescription and everything!) and life is good again! The doctor was a super nice guy - we talked about college football and flat screen tv's. He was super nice about my being a Notre Dame fan, so I decided to forgive him for being a Buckeye fan. :) ... I better stop there before I upset my blog readers and you all decide to never come back again! *lol* I decided to make appointments for all three of the kids to have their eyes checked as well, since none of them has ever had an eye exam that I am aware of. So they will go at the very end of the month. Maybe I'll dress them in their Notre Dame jerseys that day. ;)


Wow, okay, so I've been on a roll with Isaac layouts lately. It seems I go in spurts... for now I guess it's his turn. I also guess that it really pays to put in the time and dedication to create for the digital designers I create for. Otherwise, I might miss out on great kits like this one!

(Image is linked)

Here's my first layout with it... Isaac, like I said. I'm thinking that I am gonna pull out some Halloween pictures from last year and do something with them using this kit too. The colors are perfect without being too overly-Halloween-ish (nice word, I know).

Journaling: "Face painting at the First Friday Festival in August. Isaac wanted to be a mouse. When it was all done, he looked so cute, but he was bummed because they did not give him any whiskers. ... 2010"

(Click here to view full credits.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Around the House

Today is the dreaded day of the week when I have to sit down at the computer, pay bills, and do paperwork. I loath it. Really. Not that anyone likes paying out their money. Nope. But I just avoid it like the plague (as you see,I am currently updating my blog rather than doing bookwork... case in point).

So, I was walking around my house, straightening random things, making some fresh tea, and generally trying to find anything I could find to offer a valid excuse for not doing bills quite yet. As I was walking from room to room to put things away, I came across some little bits of cheerfulness, and I decided a round of photography and blogging was in order.

I love little bits of color and personality to brighten up life. This week, my mom was up to help me finish up the dresser & toy box. While she was here, we made a stop at Hobby Lobby, and discovered that pretty much half of their store was 50% off! Love that! She got a few things for the kids rooms, and she even got me a few things as well! She got these road signs for Sebastian's room to go with his big map of the US that is hanging over his bed. The chalkboard and the photography artwork are for me! I think I will put the FAITH, PRAY, LOVE pictures in my front room, which is my work space (where I'm supposed to be paying bills at the moment). The chalkboard has found its home in our dining area, sitting on the backpack shelf. When I saw this board, I fell in love with it! What a perfect visual aid for my kids to be able to look up and see what they have going on for the day... and a good way for me to keep myself on track as well (see what it says for Monday? Yup, right there, just above swimming...) The rest of the goodness - the red & green candles & the watering can - I found on clearance at Meijer. I think I paid a total of $10 for all of it!

Okay, now that I've shared the fun stuff... on to this... I think I'll go plop on the couch & put Netflix to good use. At least I can watch some fun movies while I work.


Potato Soup

The potato soup was a hit - at least for 2 out of 3 children... and I think Sebastian would have been fine except for the little broccoli's floating in it (LOL... the kid is convinced that broccoli florets are poisonous). The good news (well, for everyone except Sebastian, who does not so much consider this to be good news) is that there was plenty left over for us to have it again for dinner tonight... so I don't have to cook!! SA-WEET! If anyone wants to give it a try, here's what I did:

  • peel & dice 3 - 4 medium potatoes. boil them in a large soup pot until they are fork-tender. set them aside

  • in a skillet, melt about 3 tbsp butter. then mix in 3 tbs flour and stir until fully combined.

  • add salt & pepper to the flour/butter mixture. heat it over low/medium heat for 2-3 minutes

  • add 1 cup of milk to the flour mixture. stir or whisk until the flour is fully mixed into the milk.

  • add additional salt, pepper, garlic powder for seasoning. heat on med/high heat to a boil.

  • drain the potatoes and return to the pot

  • add the milk mixture to the potatoes

  • add 1 cup of chicken broth (I actually just used 1 cup of water and added chicken granules... in a glass jar, of course!)

  • add 2 cups of milk

  • stir & bring to a boil

  • stir in 1 can of condensed cheddar cheese soup, 4 oz. shredded Colby, 4 oz. shredded Monterrey

  • add some bacon bits if you like

  • add one pack of chopped broccoli, steamed

I calculated that this pot of soup cost me approximately $6.50 to make, and it will feed all four of us - (Lucas isn't here to eat with us at present) for two meals easily.... so $3.25 per meal. Nice! So yes, we had loaded baked potatoes in soup form (Isaac & Meagan even added sour cream to top off their soup... I'll pass on that, thank you), my kids liked - or at least tolerated - it, and now I don't have to worry about cooking dinner tonight.

Win a Free (Gorgeous) Kit!!

So, I have not yet shared this on my blog, but I have been invited to be a part of Lauren Reid's amazing (and amazingly lucky...cuz her designs are incredible) creative team. And what better way to start off my time as a team member than to get to tell you about a give-away she is doing. You can check it out here on her blog (her blog is also listed in my blog roll on the right of my own blog, and there is a link to her store at the top right of my blog page as well). You have until tomorrow (Tuesday) to enter, so make sure you get over there quickly! This kit is gorgeous & amazing, and it is DEFINITELY worth the effort to try to win it for free!! Good luck!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dining In... Again

Yes, I know this is a cycle that I go through over and over again. I don't know what else to say besides, "Bad habits are hard to break." I've never smoked a cigarette. Never been hooked on drugs or alcohol. But I have most definitely become addicted. To fast food and casual dining food. All I can think is that it must be the convenience I'm craving, because it certainly isn't very tasty. But still, I find myself, several times a week, driving through for dinner. And I'm SICK OF IT!! I don't want to keep feeding my body (and my kids' bodies for that matter) with a bunch of garbage that hurts rather than helps. I don't want to continue to form these same bad habits for my children, as they come to know fast food dinners as a way of life. And, quite frankly, I don't want to waste the money on it! We spend a lot of money on restaurant food, and rarely do we get the true satisfaction of a great meal for all our money spent.

So starting today, I am on a quest to get through the next 3 weeks - that's 21 days - of no fast food. I am determined that we will break bad habits and replace them with good ones. And now that the kids are in school, I really have no excuse... other than laziness or poor time management and failure to think ahead... none of those are very good reasons.

The kids and I sat down after church today and came up with a menu of dinners for the upcoming week. I'm feeling positive about this! I know we can do this... I CAN DO THIS with a little forethought and preparation. Here's the menu we have agreed on:
  • Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  • Vegetable Pizza, Corn on the Cob
  • Loaded Nachos
  • Roasted squash with cinnamon & butter, steamed carrots & broccoli with sweet butter sauce, bread
  • Chicken pot pie soup, crescent rolls
  • Stuffed shells, salad
  • Chicken fingers, wilted lettuce, chips (football food!!)
  • Grilled chicken strips over salad, whatever else we feel like putting with it

So there you have it... that's the plan for the week. I'll try to keep you posted with our progress, my thoughts and the kids' thoughts on the meals, and maybe even a little cost-per-meal analysis... and a recipe or two??? We'll see how ambitious I get.

For now, I'm off to tackle laundry and some book work. Neither do I WANT to do, but as I tell my kids almost every day, sometimes we just have to do things, whether we want to or not. Happy Sunday!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Farmers Market

Yesterday evening, we were invited by our neighbor to go with them to the farmers market to pick up some pumpkins. Not pumpkins for carving... it's still a bit early for that. But we got a few pumpkins to sit out in our front yard to jump start the fall feel around here. The air has cooled, the rain has picked up, and the leaves are JUST starting to take on some color. I thought a few pumpkins might add some warm fall colors. Plus, I am all for an evening outdoors in the cool, fresh air.

I love the contrast of the bright orange pumpkins against the green grass. (See that short little warty one... that pumpkin is now ours.)

The kids had a great time. Our neighbor got them each a ring pop (or candy necklace in Isaac's case), so they had a rush of sugar in them to run around and find the most interestingly shaped pumpkins they could find. Ring pops... one of the fun little perks of childhood.

It's as big as her... but she was determined to drag that pumpkin across the field.

They seemed to be drawn to pumpkins with cool, spindly shaped stems, or bumps and warts. We walked out with three cool looking pumpkins - a tall, skinny one, a sort of regular looking one, and the short, squatty, warty one - which are now positioned in the front yard by the porch. Now I would love to get some mums and other rich fall colors out there to brighten it up even more.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love fall? I love it. Days like this are why.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Furniture Finished

Well, recently added to my list of things I've done and don't care to do again anytime soon... stripping and refinishing furniture. Truly, I think we would have had about the same amount of money, and far less energy, put into a brand new dresser. Oh well. It's done. It's cute.

This dresser was previously in the boys' bedroom - painted red with multicolored knobs on the front. However, the colors 100% did not match in Meagan's new room... besides, the knobs had dinosaur footprints painted on them.

With Mom & Mike's help, we stripped and sanded the dresser down to bare wood. Then repainted it to match Meagan's new room... primarily pink & green.
I had to repaint the knobs... took several coats of paint. Then I ended up having to paint little pictures on the knobs to cover up the remnants of the dino footprints.

Also did her toy box. However, thankfully, we only had to repaint it. It was purple and white. We freshened up the white and painted green over the purple. Grandma Jane made a new pillow top for it. Now it's cute as can be!
So, here's the finished product, situated in Meagan's room where it belongs (and once again home to her clothes! With the dresser and toy box back in their rightful places, I have gotten everything out of laundry baskets and back where it all belongs).
(I don't remember if I told you this already, but Meagan made the little picture in the green & white frame. I helped her use Photoshop Elements, and she put the picture together & 'painted' it.)

New Lilypad Goodness ... it's Froggy Friday!

New TLP products out today! Here are a few layouts I made using some of the new goodness...

I took this picture of Isaac last year, early spring. I think it was March, and he was super stir-crazy and ready to get outside! He is such a boy!

(click here to view full credits.)


For this month's Lilypad One-Word Challenge... the word is 'Change.' We have had LOTS of change lately, so I could have gone in about a million directions for that. But I think the change I like the most is the one I see in Isaac.

Journaling: "The boy you once were is no longer the boy you are today. Where once was a timid, unsure child, I now see a boy who is gaining assurance in his own voice. I see a child who has his own ideas, likes and dislikes, & is confident in expressing himself. I see you taking ownership of YOU, becoming a better friend, a more giving brother, and a more loving son. Where once was a scowl, I see a smile, and the sparkle has returned to your eyes. You are happy."

(Click here to view full credits.)


And one more of Isaac... these pictures were taken the day we took off the training wheels. Last spring sometime. (Don't you love the winter boots? *lol*) I did this layout for the Lilypad Scraplift Challenge.

Journaling: "You learned to ride your bike without training wheels in no time flat! You took a few falls, sure, but before we knew it, you looked like a pro. Daddy stayed right by your side until you felt confident enough to pedal off on your own. Once you got the hang of getting started, you rode around and around the circle. The only part that gave you any trouble was stopping... but a few falls and you caught on. Way to stick with it Buddy!"

(Click here to view full credits.)


Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Bad with the Good

Unfortunately, sometimes we get reminders that in life, you really have to take the bad with the good. In all, I would definitely say there have been lots of good - very good - things that have come out of our move, even in the short time we've been here. There are, of course, people and things that I miss about living in Michigan, but I know in my head and in my heart that this has been a good move for us. However, last night, I was completely brought to tears. I sat down on Sebastian's bed beside him to talk to him about his gymnastics practice. He had not seemed to enjoy himself at all, and I wanted to talk to him about it... get his take on it. I confess, I was totally not expecting the conversation to take the turn that it did. He said, "I think it's just because I don't know any of those kids..." (long pause, choking up a bit) "and I don't feel like I belong." Then he rolled over in bed, wrapped his arms around me, and buried his face... he just cried. And cried. And hugged me for a really long time. "I miss it. I miss all of the people I knew in Michigan, and sometimes I just really want to go back there..." (another long pause as he thinks it through) "but I know it will get better... I hope it gets better soon."

Tell me, as a momma, HOW am I supposed to stay composed through that? I cried. I couldn't help it. My heart breaks when I think about it... that he is feeling that way... that I had no idea he was feeling that way... that we may very well end up putting him through it again in the next few years. Ouch, it hurts me to think of it.

I don't know what else to do but to keep talking to him about it. And to pray for him. Pray my butt of for him. And for me. And our family. So if you think of us, please also be praying for us - but especially for Sebastian and Isaac, as they are in this whole thing, but have relatively little say in the matter... and they have been so amazing about it all that I have, until yesterday, not even noticed that there was anything bothering either of them. *sigh*

Why is there hard stuff in life?

Odds & Ends

Meagan said today... "When I grow up, I'm going to be a scuba diver, just like my grandpa. AND I'm going to be a zookeeper too."


Today I put the finishing touches on Meagan's dresser and toy box. They have finally been refinished to match her new room. My plan is to get everything put in her room and get her room put back together tomorrow. I'll post pictures once I get it done so you can get the full effect of cuteness.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Bus Stop

These pictures are from the first day of school, 2009. I only have about 100 more photos from that day that I still need to get into album-ready-form... I'm getting there. :)

Journaling:'The bus stopped right at our house this year. The first day of school, you were so excited as you saw the bus drive down the road. I loved the look on your face as you turned to wave bye.'

(Click here to view full credits)

Here's the kit I used to make this layout...

Each month, Krista Sahlin (Sahlin Studio) highlights a kit of hers that is already in her shop. This is the kit for September. Definitely worth checking out... there's a contest to go along with it. You can check it out on her blog here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

All Wrapped Up

I have big news... I'm now a Darer!! A few weeks back, the Digi Dares had a call for new team members. I applied.... and was actually invited to join their team!! SO excited! The concept of the dares is awesome. Each week a new dare is posted. Each dare is designed to spark some creativity. So not only do you get a boost on getting a layout done, but there are also PRIZES involved! Everyone who participates gets a coupon for the sponser's store (each week there is a new sponsor). Then, each week, 2 winners receive gift certificates!! Just for playing along! Anyway, I am so happy to be joining this fabulous group of artists whose goal it is to help others get creative!

Dare #194 was posted today... if anyone wants to play along, you have one whole week to get your done and posted. Check it out here if you're curious / interested.

Journaling: "It seems like no matter whose birthday we are celebrating, bows and ribbons always find their way to Sebastian's head. It's just something he does. He finds the goofiest looking bows and curly ribbons and uses them to make us all smile and laugh. That's just his personality. Love it!"

(Click here to view full credits)

My Prince Charming

The Lilypad BYOC is here again!! September's BYOC is incredible!! I LOVE the colors! And there are some fantastic individual products in there - including my dream come true, a kit with a felt dragon, a prince, a shield, a sword, and a castle (and some great papers to go with it). Check this out...

You can check out the full BYOC here... TLP September BYOC

Well, of course, as soon as I saw that dragon and knight, I thought immediately of Isaac. How could I not? Funny thing, once I started in on the layout, I didn't end up using either one. So, I will DEFINITELY be coming back to this kit at least one more time (if not more) to put those cute little felt characters to use!

Here's what I did with the BYOC products this time around...

Journaling: You are such sweet boy with a giant heart. You can melt me with a smile.

(Click here to view full credits)

You Are Beautiful

Check out this beautiful collaboration between Leora Sanford and Paislee Press! Gorgeous!

I just love the subtle color scheme!
I've been holding onto this picture for a few months trying to figure out what to do with it. I just love it. It was taken when we still lived in Michigan - before we tore the house up for moving. I walked in to check on Meagan, and found her sitting on the edge of her bed just staring out the window. *Sigh* So many things ran through my mind - what is she thinking? what is she dreaming about? what has God dreamed over her? what will her life hold? who will she become? is there any limit to her potential (no, I don't think so).

For the journaling, I decided to use these definition word strips by Lauren Reid with some words on them that relate to Meagan. There was really no good way to capture the limitless thoughts and feelings I have for her in a little blurb of written words.
(Click here to view full credits).

Cauliflower Head

We have a neighbor. A neighbor who has a big blow-up Brutus in his front yard for Ohio State games. Lucas has decided that we should be equally spirited on Notre Dame game days. He asked Meagan this morning if we should get a blow-up leprechaun. She asked, "What's a leprechaun?" He said, "It's the fighting guy" and then showed her by making fists and doing the arm motions. She said, "OH!! You mean the guy with a cauliflower on his hat? Yeah, let's get one!"

I cracked up.

She quickly corrected herself... "I mean, a clover." But it was too late. It was too funny!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I Love This Man

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my husband? Well, let me just take a minute to tell you once more... I LOVE him! Not only did he help me out today by taking a bunch of big boxes out of our garage and dumping them at a recycling site, but he returned from his errand with a big gigantic surprise for me!


I've been playing around with it since after dinner... just trying to get a feel for navigating with it and so forth. I played a little in the paint program that came with it. Aaaah, I'm in heaven!

He had even taken time to research them, read the reviews and find out which one has gotten the most positive user feedback. Then, on top of it all, he even used a COUPON to save $$ on it. A man after my own heart!!

You had me at hello. (*giggle*)