Friday, October 29, 2010

Light the Night

I'm actually making SOME progress with scrapping my previous years' Halloween pictures! You know - I've told you a hundred times at least - I'm just not very good at getting motivated to scrap holiday pictures! But I've done a few fall-ish layouts this year at least. I still have TONS to scrap, but hey, one step at a time!

Journaling: "This was our first year in taking part in Light the Night. I was a bit worried you would feel like you were being cheated out of something since we wouldn't be doing trick-or-treating like we normally do. But as it turned out, I think you had more fun that you ever have before. We met up with the May family, so you got to spend the evening with friends. Plus there were games, candy treats, hot dogs & cups of cocoa. And we did step away and go around one block for trick-or-treating. Not only did we have fun, but we also got to be a part of an event that impacted our community."

I used the TLP / 9th & Bloom Collaboration kit (see my last post) for this layout.
(Click here to view full credits)


The First Thing to Go

You may or may not already know this about Isaac, but he is a HUGE science kid. He reads dinosaur encyclopedia's for fun, memorizes random facts about sharks because he wants to, and loves anything and everything to do with ocean life, prehistoric creatures and their descendants, and, well, pretty much any animal that can tear it up in a fight. *lol* So it really peaked his interest when they were talking about the Woolly Mammoth the other day in science class. Someone mentioned that scientists had found a baby Woolly Mammoth frozen in ice with its fur and skin still in tact. He thought that was pretty cool. But his next thought led to this statement...

"It's too bad skin is always the first thing to go. I hope some day they find a frozen dinosaur so we can see what it's skin REALLY looked like. 'Cause right now, people just have to guess, but I wish we didn't have to just guess."

In case you are wondering, he has dreams of becoming a combination paleontologist / video game designer. Should be interesting where that career path leads.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Too Many Legs

And speaking of spiders...
My layout for the most recent digi dare...

Journaling: "I have never ever considered myself to be a fearful person, and if you were to have asked me, I would have said, Nope, I'm not afraid of anything. This summer I was proven wrong when I was confronted face-to-face with a giant furry wolf spider. That thing just has too many legs and moves way to fast for me. If I ever see that guy in my house, I'm moving out!"

(Click here to view full credits.)


I Love.

I love having a clean house. I love that it's clean because my kids cleaned it. (That sounds bad, doesn't it?) And I love that they cleaned it without whining and complaining (well, almost... Meagan had to get a few whimpers in before she obliged, but she still did it). The boys made their beds and put their clothes away. Meagan cleaned up her toys and started to clean her bedroom. They helped clean up after dinner, and they helped round up the trash to go out. And in the end, they all got to pick out their buttons for their charts. Happy people all around.

That is what I love the most.

(Just a note... what I don't love so much is finding out a bit too late that the last person in the restroom only left three squares on the roll. That I don't love... just as a note.)


Easy Crafty Cuteness

30 miniature pumpkins.

240 pipe cleaner legs and 60 googly eyes.

A bit of glue in the right places.
Cute little pumpkin spiders.

This will be our Halloween party project in Meagan's class tomorrow. She saw my example spider guy, and she is super excited to make her own!


Home Body & Other Randomness

Well, we had our first missed day of school today. Sebastian has been coughing a ton lately, and he was complaining of a sore throat. I thought, with Halloween coming up, and Daddy coming home in a few days, we better give him a chance to rest and recover. He had very little coughing today, which was good, but not a lot of appetite. He seems like he'll be okay to go back tomorrow.


We had a windy, rainy, rather stormy day today. I got a cell phone notification first thing in the morning that our area would be under a tornado watch for the better part of the day. It rained a lot. The wind definitely blew, and the sky was as dark gray as it can be without being black. But it all passed rather quickly. Nothing too exciting. We lost power for about 1 second... just enough that I had to reset clocks and such. Isaac said the bells kept going off in the school all morning. But really, it was not that big of a deal.


I went today and got the supplies for the craft that we will be doing tomorrow in Meagan's class for her Halloween party. I am HOPING they turn out okay. I've never done this craft before, so it could be interesting. I will be spending this evening preparing little baggies of craft goodies to get ready for the party. Wish me luck.


That's all for now. We're getting ready to work on our clean-up and chores for the evening. Then some chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese for dinner. And hopefully some time for relaxing sometime after that.


Daily Dining...again

I know YOU absolutely do NOT care what I'm spending on my food. So please be patient... the month is almost over. This has been really helpful for me and an interesting experiment I must say.

Over the weekend:
a total of $25.00 eating out
$44 groceries

$7.85 on snacks.

Where does that leave me? So far a total of $606.57. My goal was $500 or less, so I clearly did not hit that mark. But I am still a good $200 or more less than my typical month's spending on groceries alone, before I ever count dining. So I think I have made major progress this month in cutting back on unnecessary spending. Just a few more days to go... I should be able to keep my food spending pretty reasonably low for the rest of the month. I'm in the home stretch!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Library Afternoon

This is what we did tonight... a trip to the public library for a Diary of a Wimpy Kid activity / class for the boys. They spent an hour and 15 minutes with other 7-10 year old's. While they were in there, Meagan and I spent our time in the children's area, where she played everything there was to play - puppet shows, doll house, Lego's, puzzles, kitchen, and on and on. We read a few books, and played I Spy. We were just running out of things to do when the boys' session let out. Perfect timing.

Cool thing... Sebastian won a copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw. He immediately ensured Isaac that the book was really for both of them, which I thought was super sweet of him. He won it for knowing the most information about the Wimpy Kid books (or, if you ask Isaac, he won because his hand is just faster at flying in the air than everyone else's... *lol*)

By the time the kids each chose a book to check out, it was about 6:15. We stopped at Little Caesar's and picked up a $5 pizza on the way home. It was late, and we were HUNGRY.
The rest of the night was spent in pure Mommy bliss. These button chore charts are my most favorite thing ever! Despite the fact that Sebastian has said several times how much he likes it and what a great idea it was (he sure knows how to butter up his Momma), they work like a CHARM! This evening, they ate dinner, cleaned the kitchen, did their homework, made their beds, cleaned their rooms, and sorted laundry... all without having to be told. Isaac even came to me and offered to help me with the rest of the laundry tomorrow if I need help. Yes, I admit that a bit of the excitement might be due to novelty, BUT money is a HUGE motivator for Isaac, and a full chart is a great motivator for Sebastian, and picking out her own buttons to put on is a huge motivator for Meagan... so it's kind of a win all the way around! I'm LOVING it right now... hope at least MOST of the excitement sticks around. That would be great!!
(Here's the completed project, after the name stickers and the full set of velcro and all...)

By the way, Meagan got her stitches out today. She is healing nicely, although she has a big yucky scab at her hair line right now. The stitches came out fairly easily, considering the scab and all... only one cry of 'ouch.'

I also dug Halloween decorations out of the attic. Maybe we can find some time to decorate a bit this weekend. If we don't do it this weekend, there is really no point, as any later and they will only be up for a few days. I'm so bad at holiday decorations... except Christmas... I never seem to have any troubles with that one.

Not much else happening today. Meagan and I snuggled on the couch for much of the day watching none other than How to Train Your Dragon... twice. Will she EVER get tired of that movie? I hope not, 'cause I like it. As we were heading to school to pick up the boys, she said, "Mommy this certainly was a super relaxing day!" I agree!


Daily Dining... catching up

Okay, I sorta lost track of this over the past few days... add about $100 for totalled groceries & drive-thru's for the past few days. We were out of bathroom supplies, which is never cheap, but always necessary! Plus, I grabbed a salad for lunch and a pizza for dinner... still room for improvement in trimming out the extra junkity spending... but definitely better than in previous months when I paid no attention.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Notes on Today

Today was a no-school day for Meagan. She watched How to Train Your Dragon on a loop... really, I think she watched the movie 3 1/2 times and the short film that came with it twice.

I painted today. I trimmed and rolled all of the walls in the entry way. I have only one itty bitty spot left to do - the teeny little space that is squished in between our bathroom door and the door to the garage. I'll have to use a small watercolor brush or something to get to it. Maybe tomorrow when there's better light.

I like the new color. I LOVE the absence of the old color. Bye bye pinkish brownish vomit-bag-ish paint. I will not miss you. Not even for a moment.

Somehow I managed to wash and dry three loads of laundry.... kids clothes. I did not, however, fold them in any way, shape, or form. My front room now has three baskets full of clothes waiting to be tended to. You know, I think folding & putting away clothes is on the new award charts. Sounds like a great job for my darling children to tackle.

I don't think I was very nice today. It was a crabby Mommy day for my kids. Idunno why. Tired. I painted. They're crazy. Who knows. I think it had a lot to do with how messy the house was today. I don't do well in the midst of clutter. And since I painted, I did not clean. At all. Until after the kids went to bed. So they were with me when the clutter was making me feel the craziest... the toys! the dishes! the crumbs on the table and floor! the laundry! the painting supplies! aaaaaahhh!!!

We did our 30-minute clean-up tonight (which I think I forgot to blog about... I meant to, just forgot... a few times a week, we set the timer for 30 minutes and clean as much as we can, which is usually either straightening the kitchen or picking up toys that are everywhere... when the 30 minutes are over, we stop, even if not everything is clean... works pretty well... so far). Meagan had toys all over the living room... tinker toys and lincoln logs and zhu zhu pets and dragons. It was a disaster zone, and she was the culprit of it all (as the boys were in school all day, I knew it couldn't be them). Isaac offered to help her pick up, but once he started, she stopped. She went and sat down at the kitchen table and started playing while he was cleaning... her mess! That did not go over well with me. One too many times hearing "It's hard" and "I don't want to clean up." Gaaah! She got in trouble. I yelled. Sometimes she just drives me bonkers!! Lucas says it's because she acts just like me. Maybe he's right.

Tomorrow is Meagan's last day with her stitches. Wow time flies. Seems like that JUST happened. Anyway, she goes Thursday morning to get them out.

I have pictures from this weekend's trip to the apple orchard, but I am just too tired to mess with them tonight. Again, maybe tomorrow. We'll see what time allows. For now, I'm off to bed. We'll chat again soon.


Award Charts

Once upon a time, we had a decent system in place for rewarding the kids for keeping their rooms clean and generally picking up around the house. At the time that we moved, that system sort of went by the way side, and has since been totally pushed out of the picture.

For a few months now, every so often, one of the kids will say, "Why don't we do our Clean Room Awards anymore?" or something along those lines. Honestly, I was starting to feel a wee bit dissatisfied with the set-up of the old system. I wanted to be able to be a bit more specific with my expectations... that way, not only do they have a better idea of what is being asked of them, but I also have greater room to better recognize and reward their behaviors.

Finally today, I put these little guys together. I basically revamped the old chart... added some lines, got a bit more specific, and made one chart that I will be able to use over and over again (rather than having to print out a new chart each week, which was one of the major downfalls of the old way... not sure if you know me well, but I'm REALLY good at forgetting... not so good on the whole "being consistent" thing).

Each kid has their own chart that hangs on the side of the refrigerator. There are little velcro tabs on the charts, and I used the buttons (yes, Meagan's favorite toys) I had to make the markers. I just stick little bits of velcro on the back of each button, and when they fulfill something on the chart, they'll get a button on their board.

Unfortunately, I ran out of velcro tabs, so I'm gonna have to make a Wal-Mart run to get another box... I have to finish up Isaac's chart and do Meagan's altogether (which is why Sebastian has more than the other two at the moment). I think I might also see if I can find a set of letter stickers to at least put their initials on the charts so they can easily tell whose is whose.


In the van today, Sebastian asked me, "Mom, why did people invent smoking?"

About a million thoughts ran through my mind... what little I know of the history of tobacco, the motivations for smoking, blah blah. But, as I was feeling rather lazy and not in the mood to go into all that, I took the easy way out and simply said, "I don't know Bud."

Then (of course) Meagan chimed in... "Maybe it's because they want to die faster. Smoking makes you die, doesn't it?"

I smiled. I guess I won't have to have the 'don't smoke' talk with her!!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Daily Dining - Catching Up

Well, last Thursday, we ended up doing our Chili's trip at Meagan's request... $43 bucks for all five of us to eat. *sigh* But super yummy.... so, okay.

Then over the weekend, I spent another $67 at the grocery.

This morning, $6.50 on breakfast (taking Lucas to the airport... breakfast on the go... hmmm).


She Loves Leaves

My layout for the speed scrap... it was a lot of fun! Will definitely do that again some time!

Journaling: "This was a great day for being out in the yard. The sun was shining, the air was crisp and cool, and the leaves were freshly fallen. Meagan and Ailey had a great time raking big piles and then jumping in. There are not words to describe the joy on her face as she spun and jumped through the leaves. The girl LOVES leaves!"

(Click here to view full credits.)


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Speed Scrap October 18th

Hey all! Just a heads-up that I'll be hosting my first ever speed scrap this coming Monday at TLP.... 12:00 EST.

Here's the gist... every 10 minutes (starting at noon and ending at 1:00) I'll give an instruction. At the end of the hour, you'll have another hour to get your page completed and uploaded to the TLP gallery. Just for playing you'll get a this...

Come and play along if you can!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Goodness, the day can take a drastic turn in the matter of a moment. We were having a wonderful day yesterday. The kids were home from school, the house was clean, and dinner was started. Things were good.

I was doing a quick wipe-down of our main floor bathroom when I heard a HUGE thud... followed quickly by a horrible horrible scream. I ran to the stairs and found Meagan at the top, holding her hands over her forehead, crying "it hurts, it hurts, it hurts." I got to her like a super-mom who can fly, and when she reached for me to hug me (thus, taking her hands off of her forehead), I was horrified. Her forehead was gashed open and bleeding like crazy. I scooped her up, took her straight down to the kitchen, and got her a wet cloth and an ice pack to put on it. Straight to the ER we went.

We got there and the woman working the front desk looked at her and said, "Oh dear. She's bleeding profusely. Let's skip the paperwork." Mama like. We got quick, great care, although it still took us nearly 3 hours from the time we left the house to the time we got home. 8 stitches. But she got a whole bunch of Tinkerbell and Fairy stickers, and a handful of silly bands. Plus, she sat in the room for 2 hours and played Jewelled on my phone (which is a fun little matching game). So yes, she was entertained and handled the waiting quite nicely.

So she went from this...
To this... (much better, don't you think?)The one thing she was worried about was that I ended up throwing away the kitchen towel that she had bled all over. She was devastated that we threw away that towel. So, I have promised her a trip to Wal-Mart today to pick out a new pack of kitchen towels... she has requested Halloween towels, specifically 'ghosty' towels, which we have never had before. But I don't mind a pack of festive towels for a sweet baby girl who has had a rough day.

She also asked if we could get Chili's for dinner when we left the hospital. Well, we actually had a dinner guest yesterday (so Lucas grilled steaks and they ate steaks and the green beans I had made... so I sorta felt like I should go home rather than to Chili's). So her Daddy made her a special box of macaroni for dinner... she was happy. Plus, Sebastian made her a Lego race track to surprise her (how sweet is that!). So that made up for not getting Chili's for dinner. Maybe tonight or tomorrow we'll head to Chili's... we'll see.
At any rate, yesterday was, thankfully, her last day of school for the week, so she will have a good long weekend to recoup. We have an appointment next Thursday to have her stitches removed. She's already looking forward to that... this morning, when her friend B came over to go to school with us, she actually hid from him. "I don't want anyone to see me like this." Poor thing. She warmed up and came out of hiding, though, when I reminded her that B had stitches this summer, so he knows what it's like. Plus, he was SUPER sweet, when he said, "Meagan, I think you look really pretty like that. I like you're stitches. They look pretty and red" (I didn't tell him that it was dry blood that was making them red... I didn't want to ruin the sweet gesture). At any rate, I think she's out of hiding for the day, but she is definitely not going to be sad to have them taken out.
*Sigh* Life with three kids is never boring.

Attacking my Nemesis

Since the day we moved into this house, our kitchen has been my nemesis. Even in unpacking, we fought as I tried to put together the puzzle that was fitting everything into the cabinets. I got the stuff put away, however, and moved on with life, concentrating on painting and putting together the rest of the house. Now that most of the house is in shape (barring one bathroom and the front hall), I have come full circle and am back to the kitchen again. And I'm going NUTS. Until this point, I've not paid much attention, but NOW I am staring down the realization that my kitchen is not so pretty. It's stark and blah... white walls, dark green counter tops, black appliances. Very dark and dated. However, we are NOT going to replace the counter tops or appliances, so I have to find a way to work with what I've got. I think the key is to make it look like I WANT to have dark green counters. Right.

So I've been stalking Pier 1 (like I said) and Hobby Lobby and online sites to get some ideas. And I think I've got a plan in my head. I'll just have to do it bit by bit. So for now, I'm doing what I can do and I'll do more as I am able.

Yesterday, I don't know what came over me, but all of a sudden I got in the mood to hang pictures that have been lying around for months. And I put them in the kitchen... the LAST place I would have thought when I first got them. But I think I like how it turned out. I'm going to let it hang on the walls for a few days to see how I like it in a few days. At the moment, though, I am feeling quite partial to it... I think it's unique and gives a cool character to the room. I dunno... see what you think...

I hung the FAITH, PRAY, LOVE pictures (from this post) under the cabinets. I figured I'd try it and if I didn't like it, I could easily fill in the nail holes for a quick undo. Also, hung up some plates above the cabinets, as you can see, and hung up a few things over the shelf. Like that. We replaced the knobs on the oak hutch with some little green glass knobs for a bit of a new feel. (Have I ever mentioned how much I like green. I think I have. *lol*)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This or That

After the grocery trip, I determined that I really had no idea what was in my Lazy Susan cupboard. So I pulled everything out and started sorting. I stopped mid way to go check on Meagan and her friend, who were playing in the front yard.

So, when I should have been doing this....

I ended up outside with my camera doing THIS instead....

(Love bare feet on crunchy leaves. Yes, as a mother I was cringing to think of my child walking around outside in the chilly air with bare feet. But... well... )

Life is good.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Pausing once again to take notice of the little things here and there around me that brighten my day and make me smile. As fall is in full swing, and winter is quickly approaching, I decided it was time to forgo the fresh flowers for a bit. So I threw together a quick bouquet of silk flowers with shades of green and white. Green absolutely puts me at ease and makes me happy. ***** I'm definitely Feeling festive this month. Look at these cute little glass pebbles we found at Pier 1, which is quickly becoming my favorite browsing place... I love to go in and look around. The colors and textures in there are amazing. I'm sure by now the sales people sort of roll their eyes when they see me walk in... 'Oh it's her again.' Bet they wish I would buy a bit more often! But I must say I've gotten some great ideas in there! And this fall planter that I found at Meijer.
Aaah, and candy corn. I don't particular LIKE candy corn, but I LOVE the way that it looks! And the kids like having it around, for sure!
And because I like the look of candy corn, it's only fitting that I have candy corn lights on our holiday tree.


One more of my favorite things... fresh grilled veggies! Yum! Super easy and one of my favorite additions to any meal. When it's warm enough to grill, that is the absolute best. But on cold days, steaming the veggies instead of grilling works almost as well.

To make them on the grill:

  • Chop up your favorite fresh veggies... we've been known to use broccoli, squash, zucchini, onions, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes... you name it.

  • lightly coat them with olive oil

  • then sprinkle Italian dressing mix over the veggies and toss until evenly coated

  • grill... we use a grill basket... works like a dream!

To steam them instead, chop and steam the veggies first, then toss them in olive oil & dressing mix.


Daily Dining - Oct 12

Another grocery trip today... sheesh! I had to go because I was out of baggies for lunches, running low on milk & fruit... that kind of thing. I got sucked into the sales, though. I had a bunch of coupons for stuff that was on sale buy 10 for $10 get 1 free. *sigh* I'm a sucker for sales. Anyhow, I still ended up getting out of there spending only $125.15. However, we went to the grocery after dropping the boys off at school, but before eating breakfast, so I ended up getting Meagan a bit of breakfast at McDonald's again... blah! Total fast food spending was $2.87.

Grand total so far since I've been tracking groceries & eating out this month = $313.22.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Travel Plans

Dinner tonight was rather interesting. Lucas asked, like he does at every dinner, for the kids to tell us something they learned at school today. Meagan was first to jump in - they talked about the letter K. She started talking about things that start with K, which led into a discussion about our realtor, whose name was Kay. Talk about our realtor then led into conversation about possibly having to move again at some point in the future. We spent a few minutes explaining that, as of right now, we are not moving anywhere, but that some day we may have to.

Then Isaac pipes up, "Can we move to Europe? Isn't that where Pompeii is? And the volcano Mount Vesuvius?" My jaw dropped. No, really. Dropped. Maybe because I just had a moment in my life when I realized that my 2nd grader just pulled something out of his knowledge base that might have never even ever entered my registry. Wow. I felt silly. But super happy that he knows it, I guess.

He then went on to request a trip to Hawaii to see the islands and volcanoes, and to eat poi. Yeah, I've had poi... that's all him... I'll stick with islands and volcanoes.

Then, Sebastian's turn. Fittingly, as today is Columbus Day, his class talked about Christopher Columbus. Here is his recap of the adventures of Christopher Columbus. "He begged and begged and begged for money to sail to Asia. But then he ended up sailing somewhere else instead. I think he landed on some islands by Florida or something."

Pop quiz, Who did he ask for money? "Queen Isabella and King Somebody." Okay, what country were they from? ..... uuuuummmm...... "Spain?" Very good. Do you know what language they speak in Spain? (At this point, Sebastian paused for just a moment, which, I guess, Meagan took as a sign that he didn't know the answer and might need some help, so she leaned over to him and whispered, "Sign Language"... I laughed. A lot.) Eventually Sebastian did give his own answer, "Three different kinds of Spanish? Is that right?" Well, yes, they speak different dialects. Yes, you're right.

So yes, to sum it up, we will first go to Europe to see Pompeii, see a volcano, then Hawaii, see some more volcanoes, then back to Europe to visit Spain, where they speak sign language. It's amazing the travel plans that can come out of a chat about the school day!

Mark Your Calendars

After much back-and-forth with my rather opinionated daughter, we have made the decision to re-enroll Meagan in dance for one more 8-week session. This will allow her to participate in a performance in December... I just really wanted her to see the class through to the finish of an on-stage performance so that she could get a chance to see why she is actually going to dance class each week. Lucas and I talked about it, and we both agree, so 8 more weeks of dance it shall be.

That means that December 4th, she will be performing between acts of the Nutcracker. She will be participating in the 6:00 pm show. If you're interested in going, let me know. Tickets are $10 and go on sale November 15th, first come first serve. Mark your calendars... I know there's always a lot going on in December.

Dining In Weekend Edition - & a Chili Recipe (sort of)

Yea!! Grand total spending for the weekend was $16.00. We ordered pizza Saturday for dinner... $16 total. No trips through the McDonald's drive through for tea, which is a major accomplishment for me. Tough to do, but I'll take it, at least for one day! On the menu over the weekend was stuffed peppers. I haven't made these in quite a while, so I completely forgot how much my kids actually like these. I made six huge stuffed peppers. And we ran out. Isaac actually requested more, but they were gone. I guess I will have to make more stuffing next time so I can stuff a few extra peppers. I also made some chili this weekend. I don't really ever work off of a recipe for chili, but I tried to jot down some notes on what I used so I can share it with you. Here's the definites:

  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes

  • 28 oz. fire roasted tomatoes

  • 14 oz. Italian style tomatoes

  • 14 oz. light kidney beans, drained

  • 4 oz. chopped green chills

  • 2 lb. ground beef

  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

And the not-so-definites:

  • ~ 1/3 cup + chili powder - I started with 1/4 cup, but I kept adding it as I went. 1/3 cup is my best guess.

  • generous dose of garlic powder

  • palm full of dried oregano

  • ~ 1/8 cup cayenne pepper

  • 2+ tsp paprika

  • generous dose of black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp salt (ish)

  • ~ 1/2 pack taco seasoning


  • Saute the onions and minced garlic in olive oil for a few minutes.

  • Then add the ground beef to the onions; brown & drain

  • In a large pot, mix all the tomatoes, beans, cooked & drained ground beef, seasonings, and everything else on the list

  • Mix it up and let it stew for as much time as you can or want to give it.

  • Eat.

This most definitely made plenty for us to get two full chili meals plus a few left-over servings. We froze a little less than 1/2 of the pot for another round of chili later on, and we kept the rest on hand for quick lunches, etc. for the next day or so. Worked lovely! Tasted yummy!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Stop, Look & Listen

This week's digi dare is up... you can check out this week's dare here. Here's my layout for it:

Journaling: I used to get overwhelmed by all of the need in the world around me. The hunger, the hurting, the injustice, the lack. It's enough to feel helpless. How can I be just one person & possibly even begin to make any real difference to anyone? Then one day, God changed my perspective. I was thinking about the countless individuals with such real need in their lives, wishing there were something I could do. Then He asked m, 'Are you willing to do for ONE person what you would like to do for so many?' I was stopped cold in my tracks. And in that moment I realized that God cares about ONE with as much passion as He cares about the many. And He began to teach me the value of 1 person. Each day as I stopped and took time for Him, He began to teach me to look for and be aware of opportunities each day to be a blessing in someone's life. Daily I found that there were things big and small that I could do to show God's love to others and share Him in some tangible, real way. Pay for the person behind me in the drive-thru, buy a gift card for a young mother, give someone a ride on my way. I was not only learning to look, but also to listen - to act on what He was asking me to do. Soon, He asked me to reach out to specific individuals I knew - 2 women I knew casually but had no real relationship with. Honestly, I didn't want to do it. Not for any real reason, other than it was not convenient for me. There was a risk of messiness. But I chose to listen. And what I found was that the process of intentionally being a blessing to someone else is one of the greatest blessings I personally will ever know in my life. And one person matters. To God, and to me.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Creative Genius

For the past several weeks, Meagan has been in quite a creative mood. She has made COUNTLESS pictures, books, projects, jewelry, and head wear, not to mention the innumerable messes. It seems lately that we have a continually relocating pile of crafty supplies - beads, buttons, feathers, markers, crayons, tape, glue, stapler, paper... TONS OF PAPER...ribbon, string, you name it - and it is in every room of the house. Her room gets particularly bad. In fact, (I'm pretty sure I didn't tell you this yet) one day I stuck her in her room to clean it because it was so covered in crafty goodness... she had drawings EVERYWHERE... I had told her once before that she is not allowed to TAPE things to the wall because it can peel the paint off. This, apparently, led to a dilemma of sorts, as she had easily 20 pictures that needed to be picked up off of the floor and hung on the wall for display. But not to fear, my dear Meagan is a problem solver! The solution was simple really... if you can't use tape, use GLUE. Yes. She glue-sticked 20-some pictures all across her walls. And was SO proud of her clean-up accomplishment. I was a little less excited than she was.

Anyway, after spending Tuesday with her, and cleaning hundreds of itty bitty feathers and jewels up off of the floor, I found a simple solution in my cabinet. Canning jars. Now, I know I'm not the first to think of this. But I can definitely say, it works. And it's easy, colorful decoration. And easy access (and clean-up) for little hands.

So here's the scene in the living room this mornng. This is her new art journal. I love it. She's just so creative... all of the time.
And here is a fine example of a paper crown, which is all the rage these days. She even made one for Lily, who promptly ran away when Meagan tried to fit it over her ears. Poor kitty. She puts up with a lot.

Daily Dining - Oct 6 & 7

October 6:
Much better yesterday than the day before. I ate breakfast at home, lunch at home, and dinner at home! Yea me! I spent a total of $1.07 on a drink at McDonald's. That's it.

October 7:
So far, breakfast at home...check. But we did get McDonald's drinks this morning. A total of $2.13. I'm going to go right now and brew some more tea because I ran out at home.... leads to spending too much on fast food drinks.

I have to make another grocery run today also. It's time to send in more snacks for Isaac's class. Plus, we are running low on lunch-packing supplies - raisins, crackers, etc. So I'm going to try to do some grocery planning and keep my spending down. If I can keep grocery spending (including paper supplies AND eating out) under $500 this month, that would be HUGE for us. Our normal monthly bill has been around $850 I would guess (not counting eating out). So yeah, that would be a $350+ savings on the month. I'll take that. It's worth it to take extra time to plan and to say NO to all those tempting treats at the store.

Went to the grocery... spent $157.55.

Lonely Lunch

You ever watch a movie where there was that one kid at lunch time who sat all alone at a table, and you feel bad for then, but you think "It's only a movie"...??? Yeah. I watched that movie yesterday. Only it wasn't a movie. It was real. And it was my child who sat alone. And my heart absolutely broke.

I volunteered to help out during lunch a few times a month, and yesterday was my first day. Meagan's lunch was first. She was gabby, and talked to her friends, and basically anyone who would listen, for the whole lunch period.

Isaac's was last. He was also at a table full of people, and was very happily engaged in conversation (and eating... that boy LOVES to eat).

Sebastian's lunch was squished somewhere in the middle. He came in, took a seat, and started eating his packed lunch. At that time, most of the cafeteria was empty because most of the kids were in line to buy. However, as the room started filling up, I noticed that his table was not. Across the isle from him there was a table that was very obviously filling up with every boy in the 4th grade (except for Sebastian, of course). But there were still a lot of kids in line, so there was still hope. I asked Sebastian who he usually sits with. I thought maybe his friend from down the street, who was still in line at the time, might come sit with him or something. He said, "Well, I usually sit here." I asked why he doesn't go sit with all the boys at the big 'boy table'... which, I soon found out, was also where his friend sits. He said, "Well, that table is usually full. So I sit here." Nothing else was said about it. A few girls came and sat across from him. Another boy came and sat a few seats down from the girls. And the other end of the table filled up with a mix of kids. But Sebastian sat alone.

My heart absolutely broke. I wanted to cry. I wanted to hug him (how embarrassing would that have been for him!). I wanted to push those boys together and make them make room for him. I wanted to lecture them for what they were doing. Their whole school is on a big 'bucket-filling, no bullying' campaign, and here these kids are isolating my child because he's new and they don't know him. AAAAAH! I'm STILL mad about it. Hurt by it. Sad for him. No wonder the child tells me he misses Michigan. He was surrounded by friends there. Friends who liked him, talked to him, shared with him.

This just DOES NOT make a Mama's heart happy. I feel helpless. What is there to do? I don't know how to help him. I can't MAKE those kids include him. I can't MAKE him like to be rough and tumble so that he can relate to them better. I can't fix this for him. I hate it.

I hate it.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Farmers' Market

Journaling: 'Autumn is in the air, and we wanted to get in the fall mood. We went to the farmers' market with Miss Leigh Ann and Blayne to pick out our first pumpkins of the year.'

(Click here to view full credits.)


Sweet Pea

I had a chance to get an layout done of some OLD Halloween pictures of Meagan... these are from way back in 2005... her first trick-or-treat. What I remember most about this was that she fell asleep. In the rain. In Lucas' arms. It was totally precious. My camera had died by then, though, so I didn't get a picture of her all flopped over his arm fast asleep. But I did get a few pictures of her all wide-eyed and wondering what on earth was going on.

Journaling: 'Yes, we really did this to you... for your first Halloween, we dressed you up as a pea pod. You were the sweetest pea ever.'

Again I used the TLP October BYOC.

(Click here to view full credits.)


Daily Dining - October 5th

I was reading this very inspirational post this morning as part of my morning wake-up-and-start-the-day routine, and I feel prompted to do this experiment. It is something I've been actually thinking of on my own for a few weeks now. I feel like I sort of lose track of what I spend on groceries and food. I know that fast food and dining out is a big part of that. SO, I want to track what I spend on food and what we eat for the month of October. I realize I am five days behind, but better late than never, right? So I'll start with today.

Unfortunately, I'm off to a bad start. But it is what it is, and I will never break my bad habits if I don't face them. So here it is. For breakfast, the kids had oatmeal, cereal, fruit smoothies... all stuff around the house. I, however, did not eat breakfast before we left the house for school, so Meagan had no problem convincing me to get McDonalds on the way home. Bad me. *sigh*

So, McDonalds breakfast - chicken sandwich (I took the chicken off of the bread about 1/2 way through... not such a fan of their breakfast food, actually, so why did I even bother? Idunno.), and sweet tea (my #1 weakness... truly. I need to brew some more at home. If I know that I have it on hand at home, I am much less tempted to drive through and get some.) Plus, she got a wild berry smoothy, and a cinnamon bread thing. Total cost of breakfast = $8.45.

(I'll be back later to update the rest of the day. In the mean time, I will be busy planning a menu with the food we have on hand. Maybe I can get away with only buying milk and a few necessities this week at the grocery.)


Went to the grocery this afternoon. Spent $37.18 on groceries... milk, bread, fresh veggies, ground sirloin, and a few odds & ends.

I'm Not That Kind of Girl

In the van yesterday....

Meagan: "Mommy, I miss Daddy's brother Shane. I miss Shane."
Me: "Do you? You want to see Uncle Shane again soon? We can find a way to do that."
Meagan: "No. I just want to see JUST Shane. Not Uncle. I only like to call him Shane. Do you know why I only like to call him just Shane?"
Me: "Why?"
Meagan: "Because I'm not the kind of girl who likes to call people Uncle or Aunt or whatever. I just like to call them their names. Cuz that's their names. His name isn't Uncle so I don't want to call him that."

Got it. She's not that kind of girl.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Because I want you to have this!!!

I know there are some of you who would LOVE to be able to instantly build up your digital scrap stash with products that are just perfection. I just got this email and gasped when I saw this fantastic chance... I had to share. Here's the scoop, if you're interested. It's the super easiest contest ever.... all you have to do is go to this post and leave a comment. And you can win Krista's FULL shop. It's amazing. Really. SOOOOOO worth a few seconds to go leave a comment! PLUS, the site you'll be commenting on is loaded with tons of free, adorable fonts (I use them all the time!!), so it's a bonus... download some free fonts while you're there!

If you want a preview of Krista's full store, you can check it out here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I Can See Clearly Now

Last week was a week of eye doctor visits. I went and got new contacts the week before, and then I made appointments for each of the kids for last week. Meagan went first... slightly far-sighted, but not enough to warrant glasses at this time.... yearly follow-up, end of story. Isaac was also good... no issues there. Sebastian, however, ended up being near-sighted enough that he was prescribed glasses. I wasn't sure how he would take the news, but he was actually pretty excited about it. He tried on LOTS of them, and finally settled on the ones he liked (sorry for the blurry picture).

He wanted to wear them home that day, but he has to wait until this week to get them. They gave him an extra case to take to school with him so that he can leave his glasses at his desk for gym class and recess. Other than that, he will have to have them on all the time. I think it will be a bit of adjustment for him after the newness wears off a bit, but he'll be okay. Now we just have to give him a hair cut before his glasses come in so that his sideburns (aka 'wings') don't poof out like that! LOL!

Golden Days

My goodness, where have I been! *sigh* I'll spare you the boring details... I'll try to stay on my game this week. We'll see how it goes.

I have a new layout to share with you. I've been accused a lot lately (Lucas...) of downloading a ton of stuff to scrap with but not actually doing any layouts. Men! *lol* I've BEEN doing layouts, I just haven't been able to share them yet. But I can share this one now, so I will!

It's Lilypad BYOC time again! Lots of gorgeous new stuff in the shop, plus a huge sale on products that are retiring! Definitely check it out! ....... My BYOC layout..... Meagan last Halloween (2009). Of all the years I can remember, I think 2009 has been my favorite so far. There was just something different about it.

Journaling: "I can't quite put my finger on it, but there was something a little extra special about this year. Days like this make me smile."

(Click here to view full credits.)