Friday, July 31, 2009

We've Moved...

Come visit our family's adventures at:

http://firefliesandwiggleworms.wordpress.com



Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Motherhood...

I realized I'm knee-deep in motherhood when today, eating lunch here at my desk at lunch, I'm analyzing the pasta shapes from the can of Spaghettio's & Meatballs that I'm eating. I got the "Cars" movie themed shaped ones and I'm trying to see if I can figure out the various shapes. The next realization that hit me is that I eat these all the time but yet I'm the ONLY one in my family, including the kids, that eats these.

Monday, July 27, 2009

It's a BABY!

Our bunnies, who live next door under the deck, gave birth to their babies here in the past week or two and this weekend, they ventured out into our yard to say hello! This little guy came right up on to our patio and was just as sweet as could be and allowed the kids to get a good look at him. Kevin eventually had to get a shovel and take him back home as Pepper would like to get a good look at him too...the entire time we were out on the patio, he was looking at us through the back door, crying and scratching to get out.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Take me out to the ballgame...

This past Friday night, courtesy of Kevin's brother, Dan, the whole family got to go to go to the Indianapolis Indians minor league baseball game FREE! This was the kids first professional sporting event that they had been too and so they were extremely excited and driving on the way there, the question of "how much longer to get there Mom" was heard repeatedly!

We started out the evening with free hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks and cookies and then Grandma and Papa bought the kids shirts and souvenir mini-baseball bats. We got to our seats and I think Caden kept his baseball glove up most of the evening, hoping to catch a fly ball!

The evening ended with a nice surprise for the kids...fireworks after the show! As we were walking through the stadium to get out to the parking lots, we ran in to the Pirates mascot and so we stopped and the "boys" had their picture taken!



Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Adventure Week!

Our church, Northview Christian Life, has their version of vacation bible school each year but instead, we call it "Adventure Week". It is a huge production and you can't think of this as the same VBS that we went to as kids, where we sat at a table in the basement of the church, hearing stories and doing a craft...it's on a much different level. The theme this year was "Knight In The Museum" and for those of you who have seen the movie, we had Dum-Dum with an actual moving mouth, Rexi the Dinosaur and then each night, we focused on someone out of the bible such as Joseph, who dressed up in full attire and "came to life" and taught a lesson in a large group setting. We then did crafts, outside activities complete with bounce houses and water play, and then small groups where we taught the children and did activities. It's 2-1/2 hours of non-stop fun. Caden and Samuel actually love going to this and here's a pic I found of Caden and his group.

This year, I volunteered to be a "small group leader" and what that basically meant is that I was in charge of 13 four-year olds and taking them from activity-to-activity and then each night, teaching them the bible lesson for the night and answering any questions they may have. At age 4, I was able to capture their attention during our bible lessons for about a whole 5 minutes before they tuned me out and turned their attention to the girl/boy sitting next to them. But, it was such a blessing to be part of their lives each evening for 4 nights and I plan to volunteer for years to come, Lord willing.

The last night of the week, it was a very fulfilling moment for me because all the volunteers and children gathered in our auditorium for worship songs blasting out of the speakers and all of us doing the hand movements that motivate the children to get up and sing. To give you perspective though, we had 600 children and 300 volunteers in this auditorium. To see all the kids singing and excited for the Lord was quite a "lightbulb" moment when I realized how many lives, at such young ages, are being impacted.

Photos taken by Shanna Banks, Northview.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Boy of Summer...

Fun Pic Friday!
I love this pic of Samuel I took last night. He's so tan and his hair is so blond that you can tell he's had a fun summer out in the sun everyday, playing with his friends! He's looking so much older now, although he's only 6, but every so often, I get a glimpse of him still being "my baby".

Thursday, July 9, 2009

2 year old ATTITUDE!

So Isabella has started this thing here lately, which I'm blaming on all the firework noise from the weeks leading up to July 4th, in which she is continuing to wake up during the middle of the night screaming and crying and will come to our bed wanting to sleep with us. While I would give NOTHING more than to go back to sleep with her in our bed, I am also VERY determined not to start the habit of her sleeping in our bed every night. Another new thing is that she must have her bedroom door completely open in order to get back to sleep and usually we just keep it this way all through the night.

So THREE times last night alone, she comes in crying and babbling and I patiently get up, eyes barely open, and hearing Kevin snoring peacefully peacefully beside me completely oblivious to any of the noise erupting from the 2 year old at the side of the bed. I walk with her in to her bedroom, put her in bed, come back out and sit in the love seat that's out in our open area outside her room. Within seconds, I'm asleep on the love seat and sometimes stay that way for 15 minutes, other times for more than an hour before I wake realizing that I am horribly uncomfortable. But it does the trick for Isabella...she goes back to sleep until the next time she is awoken by some thought, dream or noise...pick one.

This morning, my alarm goes off at 6:55 am (why not 7:00, I don't know but I must feel as though that extra 5 minutes helps me) and I get in the shower and start about the business of making myself presentable to go to work. Before I blow-dry my hair, I tip-toe to her room and shut the door so that I don't wake her up with the squealing that comes from the dryer. A few minutes later, I'm sitting on the edge of the bed watching something that has captivated my interest on the Today show and I hear her get up, start screaming and babbling the whole time and she SLAMS the door open so hard that it hits the wall and then stomps her way back to the bed and falls back asleep. This made me laugh so hard because I realized that my 2 year old, if given the correct words, was cussing me out for closing her door. I'm also realizing that she's doing this at 2 YEARS old...what in all that is good and holy is the future going to bring?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent


So my kitchen science experiment for today was making homemade laundry detergent. I've done a bit of research on this by reading several internet sites and have realized that quite a bit of savings can be made by making your own and most have stated that it works just as well, if not better than commercial detergent.

When I posted "my status" on facebook today that I wanted to do this and receiving several responses, I decided to give it a try. One of my friends, Cheryl, gave me this recipe below for powdered detergent and so it's what I decided to go with since it's coming from a personal source. I also have a recipe for "liquid" detergent and might try that one down the road. It requires a 5 lb. bucket, of which we did not have laying around, and so for storage reasons, decided to go with the powder.

In preparation for making this, in recent weeks, I had purchased both types of soap called for in the recipe, Fels Naptha and Kirk's Castile, and so I made a batch of each. For the shaving/grating, I cut it up the bar of soap in to chunks and then used my chef's chopper to "grate" it. I barely use my chopper, believe it or not, for food chopping and so I figured I might as well get some sort of use out of it!

We will run out of commercial laundry soap this week and so I will then try this homemade mix and report my feedback!!

Ingredients
1 cup Fels Naptha or Kirk's Castile, shaved and grated
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup washing soda

Directions
Use ONE tablespoon per load.
Use a little more if you have an especially dirty load.

Pregnancy Brain

So I learned today that supposedly your brain shrinks by 8% during pregnancy. Because of this, that's the reason I'm giving as to why I haven't written anything anything on my blog in the past week! Even as I sit here trying to come up with something to write about, I've got nothin'. Sad, I know. Maybe something will come to me this afternoon as I go about my day...stay tuned...I'll get it together soon.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Salad Cravings...

So I'm having my first "pregnancy cravings" and it's something that's somewhat healthy! Tomato, cucumber and onion salad with dill! So yummy and last night after work, I went straight to the grocery and bought all the things to make it, came home and chopped and mixed and sat and ate a bowl of it warm! As though who have had this, we all know that it's best to be served cold and after letting everything marinate for a couple of hours!

For the salad I made, I only used 3 tomatoes and 1 cucumber and I also added dill to mine to give just a little more flavor. This is a recipe that you can easily alter to suit your taste and there's a ton of them out there if you don't like this one.

MARINATED TOMATO AND CUCUMBER SALAD
4 lg. tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 cucumbers, peeled & cubed
1 lg. Red onion, peeled & sliced
1/2 c. olive or salad oil
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Dill to taste

Put prepared vegetables in large salad bowl. In smaller bowl combine remaining ingredients with wire whip until salt and sugar dissolve. Pour dressing over vegetables and let stand in refrigerator about 2 hours before serving for best flavor.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bright & Early...

This morning, at 8:49 am, my boys, ages 5 and 6, were into a full blown out argument about a Wii game. As I sat and watched them fighting over whose turn it was and why Caden always gets to go first, I was amazed at their ability to get out of bed, come downstairs and automatically start fighting as though they had been up for hours as well as maneuver their way through a videogame. Why can't I have that kind of brain energy to wake up and have that ability...it takes me an hour of getting ready, 20 minutes of eating breakfast and then a 30 minute car ride to work, all while drinking a cup of coffee, before I even sit down at my desk to get my day started.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Free Friday Night!












Kevin and I are like babes in a toy store. Our neighbor 3 doors down from us has invited both Samuel and Caden to have a sleep-over with her two boys to celebrate a birthday. This is a big night for us because it will be Samuel and Caden's FIRST sleep-over and Kevin and I pretty much have the evening to ourselves once we put Isabella down! We are almost giddy with the possibilities of what we can do (get your mind out of the gutter). We decided to splurge on ordering a pizza, eat popcorn, and we'll watch movies!! I rented Gran Torino for Kevin's liking and then He's Just Not That Into You for mine. Oh, the excitement of having an evening to ourselves! But for us, this is huge! It's the little things in life!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Audrey!

Today, our first-born daughter, Audrey Marie, would have turned 8. She was born in 2001 and went to be in Heaven and wait for us there on June 27th...she only lived 10 days. She was born with Trisomy 18 and had a series of birth defects and ultimately died of congestive heart failure. Although she is not here with us physically, she is always in our hearts everyday.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

40 and Pregnant!

We found out the Friday before Mother's Day that we are expecting another baby! This was wonderful, shocking news but it came at a time in our lives where the timing just wasn't right as well as we thought we were done having children! I turn 40 in August and to be quite honest, I never thought at age 40, I would be having another child. So we thought we were done and to the point that I've been giving things away over the past couple of years as Isabella had been growing out of things!

But it all started in early May when I had been feeling nauseaus each morning and Kevin even asked at one point, "are you pregnant" and I blew it off saying "there's no way" and we both agreed and went on about our morning. Two days later, on my way to work, I thought I was going to have to pull over the car to puke my guts out and that's when I pretty much knew, without having to take a test, that I was in fact, pregnant. I took the test and it didn't even take seconds before I saw that second line pop up to confirm what I pretty much already knew! I sat there in complete shock, excited, nervous and scared all at the same time.

Luckily, although Kevin is without work, I was able to get the family on my insurance through my work and so the timing worked out perfectly in that regard. My doctor's office has so graciously given me about 10 weeks worth of free prenatal vitamins and then as soon as I got insurance, they scheduled me in within the week to get both an ultrasound and an appointment. Because of "my advanced maternal age" mixed in with our first-born's genetic history, they are treating this pregnancy cautiously.

So I'm currently 11 weeks along and our official due date is January 5th! We're hoping maybe that we can have this baby December 31rst and have a nice tax deduction! ha!

God certainly has a lot of surprises in life and if we just say YES! to the adventure and let Him lead, we may receive things we never expected but can't live without. This was one of them!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

THURSDAY THOUGHTS!

Outside my window...it's a beautiful COOL morning...only 48 degrees. But the birds are chirping and we're off to a good start.
I am thinking...that I have great neighbors. I just love the comradery that we have here on the street with the other parents and we get along so well. Also, yesterday, one of the mothers took the boys to see a movie with her 2 sons and I just thought that was such a nice gesture on her part...taking 4 boys to see a movie is an adventure of itself!
I am thankful for...that I was able to get us on my insurance at work while Kevin is off. I was nervous that things wouldn't go as planned but I was able to sign the family up and we're already enrolled! A quick and easy process, although not cheap! Ha!
From the kitchen...I'm not sure yet. I haven't set anything out but the day is early and so I have time! Because Kevin has been home, he's been doing a lot of the cooking here lately and getting quite good at it!
I am wearing...I'm still in my pajama's! I woke up at 5:15 this morning and just couldn't get back to sleep and so came on downstairs and got on the computer!
I am reading...nothing at the moment...it's summer and the kids are home and I've just been too busy. I signed the kids up thought for the summer reading program at the library and they have the program for adults as well.
I am hoping...that Kevin's second phone interview goes well today! Say some prayers!
I am creating...nothing at the moment but have plans for another 3 baby rag quilts! I want to make one for another girlfriend as a gift and then one of my girlfriends in Michigan wants me to make her one for each of her children.
I am hearing...the news. Because it's so early, I have the TV to myself!
One of my favorite things...when I have moments like this to myself! Usually it's in the evening after everyone has gone to sleep and the whole house is quiet.
A few plans for the rest of the week...Tonight, the "parent" football game with Caden. Kevin will be playing as a teammate with Caden. Saturday, we have the last of the football games for the boys and they will also get their trophies that day as well. Sunday, church and Life Group.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Baby Raq Quilt

I can now finally show this on my blog as I gave this to my girlfriend as a gift last Saturday! Her nursery colors are brown and pink and so that's the reasoning for the pattern and color choices. I was very pleased with the results and it was super, super easy to make. It didn't even take me a week to make it since it was horizontal stripes instead of square blocks. For the width, I just used the width of the yard and so there was no measuring whatsoever. Basic steps of cutting, sewing and the snipping to get the "rag" edges.

The Goods...


Here are the pictures of the bread loaves and the cinnamon rolls. My bread loaves "fell" after rising all day and so although the sourdough bread taste is there, the nice "form" of the loaf is not. My neighbor Julie, who was also doing this with me, said her loaves did not fall and so I'm not sure what I did wrong since we both were baking from the same "starter". The cinnamon rolls came out wonderfully although if I were to make again, I would put more brown sugar and cinnamon "inside" of the rolls. After cooling down, I heated some cake icing and poured it all over the top of the rolls because they needed some additional "sweetness" to them and this really made the rolls tasty.

Final Verdict of overall bread experiment: B-. A lot of work for bread and to have to continually do this process every 3-5 days. However, if you knew you were having a dinner where you wanted some fresh baked bread and you could plan ahead, I could see why you might want to do this. It was fun to do this from beginning to end and see how this all comes together though.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bread Dough, Step 3

The science experiment continues! I'm now on step 3 of the whole homemade sourdough bread from a "starter". Step 2 was just the "feeding" of the starter, which I did this morning, and then I let it set out all day at room temperature. Tonight, I seperated my starter and put one cup of the starter in a bowl and the other back in the fridge, which I'll use to make additional bread loaves and rolls. So to the cup I put in a bowl, I added oil, salt, water and flour. I am to leave it out all night to "rise" and then in the morning, divide it in to 2 or 3 parts to rise again tomorrow during the day and then tomorrow night, hopefully be able to bake a loaf of bread and cinammon rolls!

This has been an interesting process because I was "supposed" to do all this on Saturday night but the day just got away from me. I had "fed" the original starter Saturday morning and let it sit out all day as instructed but then by the time Saturday night came, I was just too tired! I put it all back in the fridge, which gave me a HUGE starter jar! So this morning, I split the original starter, fed it and gave half of it to my neighbor.

Stay tuned tomorrow night...hopefully I'll be posting pictures of yummy bread and rolls!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sourdough Bread Starter

So I feel like I'm conducting a science experiment in my own kitchen. After the recommendation of my good friend, Kim, I have decided to start a Sourdough Bread "starter" and try my hand at making homemade bread. Kim says that after she received her starter, they haven't bought store bread in months. From this starter, she makes bread loaves, rolls, cinammon rolls, etc. and just continues to makes her own "starters" each week that produces these wonderful bakery items. I know that bread doesn't cost much in the whole scheme of things, but it's one baby step toward saving money and also the satisfaction of knowing that it's homemade.

Today is "step 1" for me. Meaning I simply mixed together 1 package of yeast, 1 cup of warm water, 3/4 cup of sugar and 3 tbsp of potato flakes. Do this and you get a mixture that looks like the above. I leave this out all day on the counter and then put the in fridge and leave for 3 days.

Stay with me and I'll let you know the steps and the final product. If it turns out well, I'll post the entire starter recipe and instructions!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Learning how to put on lipstick...

Every girl must learn how to put on lipstick...
Isabella decided to sneak in to my purse and give it a try!!

Filthy Football!


Today was the boy's second round of football games and what a muddy mess it was! The ground just hasn't had a chance to dry but the boys didn't mind...they got out there and had a great time slipping and sliding around. Caden actually had mud matted in his hair! Both boys "won" their games although they don't keep score for their age groups. (Don't forget you can double-click on the picture to make it bigger...you can really see how much mud Caden has on him this way!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Silly Swingin'!

Isabella LOVES to swing and she especially loves it when we push her. Tonight, she was so giggly and then when Samuel walked in to the backyard and pretended as though she was hitting him down with her feet each time she swang forward, she just thought this was hilarious! I love her laughter in this video and I love to see my children playing together and Samuel trying to entertain her! Enjoy!

video

Thursday, May 7, 2009

THURSDAY THOUGHTS!

Outside my window...it's raining yet again! All this rain though has really brought out all the leaves and flowers and the grass is looking so green.
I am thinking...that I need to get up and get motivated. Our community is having a garage sale next weekend and I really want to participate to get rid of some things and clean out rooms and also to make a few extra $$$!
I am thankful for...healthy children! We've been hearing so much about the swine flu here the past few weeks on the news. Luckily, we haven't been hit by anything of this sort. I feel so bad for those families in Mexico who have lost loved ones and especially the children.
From the kitchen...I think we're going to have chicken and noodles tonight with some baked bread.
I am wearing...grey carpi's and a blue tshirt and of course, my good ol' trusty flip flops...I could live in flip flops I think!
I am reading...Christianity 101, Chapter 5 for my Life Group. The pastor was supposed to come to our group last Sunday but had to cancel and so we're kinda stagnant right now. I've also started reading Psalms in the bible and just started this.
I am hoping...that the Lord blesses Kevin with a new job. He's had one phone interview and has a second interview this next Tuesday. He was also called by a bank for a management position and they requested his resume and so these two options are creating hope for us! I know he's going a little bit stir crazy now after being home two weeks and so please continue to pray for us!
I am creating...I finished my first baby quilt last night! It was the quickest, easiest quilt I've ever made and I'm very happy with it...it came out really cute. I'll post pictures of it soon. So, now I'm on to making one more for another friend.
I am hearing...the Today show on TV as well as Isabella sitting across the room and playing with her dollhouse. She's really started playing with her dollhouse and Fisher-Price lil' people toys here in the past couple of weeks and it's cute to see her playing by herself this week.
One of my favorite things...hearing Samuel play with Isabella. Because of his ADHD, we never know what we're going to get sometimes with how he plays but last night, he was so sweet with her and sat down and played with her and her dollhouse and it's these moments of sweetness that I see my adorable first-born son!
A few plans for the rest of the week...Tonight, football practice for Caden...maybe, it's raining again. Friday, we're going to dinner with my sister, her boyfriend and my mother to celebrate mother's day. Saturday, the boys have their football games and then Sunday, we're going to church and then having a cookout here for mother's day for Kevin's mother and ME of course!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

THURSDAY THOUGHTS!

Outside my window...it's raining and storming. We've had rain ALL week but today, the forecast is for "severe" storms.
I am thinking...that Caden will not have his football practice tonight but you never know, it is football after all ,and there hasn't been any lightening as of yet.
I am thankful for...that I have a God who promises to take care of our needs. I know that He is with us, every step we take, and that brighter days are ahead!
From the kitchen...I need to go "into" the kitchen and figure that out. I'm behind on this!
I am wearing...black capri's, Green Bay Packer's tshirt and flip flops. Thursday is my day off and so I never dress up!
I am reading...Christianity 101, Chapter 5 for my Life Group. We have stopped at Chapter 5 because one of the pastors from our church is coming to our Life Group this Sunday to let us ask him questions and have a discussion. Our assignment is to lookover the first 5 chapters and then come to our Life Group with at least one question.
I am hoping...that the Lord blesses Kevin with a new job. He was let go this past Friday and so he is frantically trying to find something, anything at this point. Please pray for him and us.
I am creating...a baby quilt! I got the strips cut out this past Tuesday night and today, I hope to start sewing! I found some really cut "girly" prints as well the other day at JoAnn's and so I bought 5 of them so that I can collect them to eventually make a crazy quilt for Isabella. If I start collecting them now, I'll have them for the cold winter days stuck inside come Dec/Jan.
I am hearing...the rain softly coming down and Sid the Science Guy on PBS.
A few plans for the rest of the week...Tonight, football practice for Caden. Friday, we're having our first "official" game night with our family, of which I found 3 children's games 60% off a Kohl's yesterday. Saturday, both boys have football practices & scrimmages and my old roommate from college, Chrissy, is getting married! I'm soooo happy and excited for her. Sunday, early church service and then our Life Group.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dandelion Bouquet

What do you do when your 5 year old son comes running in with a handful of dandelions? You put them in a "vase" of course and set them in the middle of the table! These were from Caden this afternoon and he even suggested keeping them there for dinner and get candles out for when we eat dinner! Oh how will melt some girl's heart someday!

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have
for you, declares the Lord.
Plans to prosper you and not harm you,
plans
to give you hope and a future.

THURSDAY THOUGHTS!

Outside my window...It is a beautiful day! We've had so much rain this past week and from here until Sunday, it's supposed to be warm and sunny! I love that we still have the cool mornings but by evening, warm!
I am thinking...that my laundry will never, ever end! Ha!
I am thankful for...the mulch that Kevin brought home last night. I know it's the little things in life but our current mulch is just about done...it looks literally like bark just laying on the ground. So he got 10 bags of black mulch to put throughout the garden and yard! Can't wait!
From the kitchen...I have chicken thawing for dinner tonight and going to marinate it in teriyaki sauce and bake then I'll saute some mushrooms and put that on top of the chicken along with a piece of swiss cheese! Sooo yummy!
I am wearing...white capri's and a tshirt and of course, my black crocs!
I am reading...Christianity 101, Chapter 5 for my Life Group. We decided to talk about another topic last week and so this week, we hope to get to Chapter 5 and so I'm rereading/skimming the chapter.
I am hoping...that Kevin's work goes well for him today. I have prayed long and hard for him.
I am creating...a baby's rag quilt! I have washed all the fabric and today, hope to start cutting out the strips!
I am hearing...the Sesame Street song on PBS
A few plans for the rest of the week...Saturday, we have the boys first get-together for their flag football teams, Samuel has a birthday party to go to and I have a girl's night get-together to go to that evening...busy day! Sunday, we just have church and our Life Group and it's supposed to be a beautiful day and so we're also looking forward to that!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fun Pic Friday!

I took this picture this morning of Caden and Pepper and when I looked at it, I just had to chuckle because it looks as though Pepper is saying "chhheeessseee"!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Baby Raq Quilt

Here are the fabric colors for the baby rag quilt that I'm going to make. I went and bought the remaining pieces today in order to start it. I "hope" to get two baby quilts out of the fabric but we'll see how it goes once I get going. I know it's not the "traditional" baby designs but I didn't want it to be...I want it to be more feminine than I do "babyish". I'm excited to get started and hope to get the fabrics washed either tomorrow or this weekend so I can start cutting. I saw a pattern for a raq quilt using pieces cut in strips going horizontally instead of the traditional squares and so I think I'm going to try this for my first quilt and see how I like it. Come back and I'll show you the "in progress" and "finished" pictures!

THURSDAY THOUGHTS!

Outside my window...it's the only "sunny" day we've had so far this week and so it's wonderful to see the sun! Supposed to get in to the 60's today and so we'll definitely be out later this afternoon.
I am thinking...that I now need to concentrate on cleaning the upstairs. I also need to deep clean the living room carpets as well.
I am thankful for...I went to the YMCA last night to sign up the boys for "flag football" and they had 2 spots left for Samuel's age group. I'm so thankful that we were able to get him in because he desperately wanted to play and I know he will love it!
From the kitchen...I have chicken thawing for dinner tonight. Depending on the time Kevin gets home, I'm betting he will want to grill out because of the nice weather!
I am wearing...gray knit capri's and a white long-sleeve tshirt and my black crocs. Yes, crocs are ugly, I agree, but they are soooo comfortable!
I am reading...Christianity 101, Chapter 5 for my Life Group.
I am hoping...that I can finish my project below in time for the birth of my girlfriend's babies! I have two friends who are pregnant, due in June/July.
I am creating...a baby's rag quilt! I went and bought some fabric yesterday because JoAnn's had it on sale 40% off but I need to go back and get some pink flannel for the backing. Yesterday online, I found a really cute pattern for a baby's raq quilt that uses stripes instead of squares and so I need to cut the flannel at the same time.
I am hearing..."Super Why " morning cartoon on PBS.
A few plans for the rest of the week...for Thursday and Friday, just doing some cleaning and running some errands. Saturday, we might go to the YMCA for the kid's day and then on Sunday, I have nursery duty as well as Life Group that afternoon and Samuel has a birthday party to go to for one of his friends.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Homemade Multi Purpose Cleaner

I belong to a web group that promotes making your own household cleaners and detergents and I typically won't post here on my blog until I've tried it or have first-hand knowledge that the cleaner works. But, after seeing this recipe for a Multi-Purpose Cleaner, I thought it was a simple enough recipe and with the ingredients, has to work well:

1/4 cup baking soda
3/4 cup household ammonia
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 gallon (16 cups) warm water

Mix all ingredients and store.
Pour into spray bottle when needed.

Monday, April 13, 2009

National TV Turnoff Week

April 20-26th is National TV-Turnoff Week. The general purpose of the week is to revisit how time is spent in your family household and to turn "on" your life instead of spending so much time in front of the television every night & weekend. All you have to do is "turn off and unplug" your television...it's that simple.

In doing some research to see what this week was about, I was initially thinking that "does my family really need to do this" and after reading the statistics, I'm now more interested in participating. Here's what I learned:
  • Number of 30-second commercials seen in a year by an average child: 20,000
  • Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 38.5
  • Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680 (28 hours)
  • Percentage of children ages 6-17 who have TV's in their bedrooms: 50%
  • Percentage of day care centers that use TV during a typical day: 70%
  • Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours
  • Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500 hours
  • Percentage of Americans that regularly watch television while eating dinner: 66%
    Source: http://www.turnoffyourtv.com/turnoffweek/TV.turnoff.week.html
I was astounded as to these statistics! 28 hours of television per week! I was thinking no way do my children watch 28 hours each week! But, if you think about it, and I know I'm guilty, how many of us have the television on as "background" noise as we cook, clean, do homework, etc.? Without even thinking it, our children are unconsciously exposed to this each day and night. A good idea is to track the amount of time the television is on for a week, to see how much time the TV is actually on, whether it's being watched or not.

Before participating in the week, get the kids involved too instead of just announcing that this is what the family will be doing. Involve them in conversation and ask them what their favorite shows are and if they could live without them for a week. Ask them about activities they would like to do instead of watching TV and write these down so that they you can do them and they feel as though they are part of this process!

Simple ideas to fill in the time:
  • Have story-time each night
  • Take a walk
  • Go to the park
  • Have a carpet picnic
  • Make a craft with the kids
  • Cook or bake, having the kids help
  • Visit a relative you haven't seen in awhile
  • Go to the Zoo or a Museum
If you and your family would like to participate and need some activity ideas, you can go to: http://www.turnoffyourtv.com or simply google "TV turnoff week" and you will find a slew of websites giving information and activity ideas. Barnes and Noble will be having activities in selected states and with the existing spring temperatures, simply getting outside and taking a walk as a family provides both bonding time as well as exercise.

If you decide that you think you just can't live without a TV for a week, a suggestion would be to maybe make a list of those shows that your family just can't live without and watch only those shows, turning the TV off after it's over with no switching back and forth to other channels.

Goodluck! Come back and comment with your thoughts and if you did participate, how the week went for you and your family!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Here's a picture of the kids this morning before church! Such a good photo of the three of them...a rare moment! We've had a wonderful day with Kevin's parents and brother as well as my father, sister and her boyfriend all going to church together and then lunch afterwards. We then came back to the house for an Easter egg hunt with the kids and cake made by Jean, Kevin's mother. It's been a beautiful day outside and just an overall wonderful Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lions, Tigers, and Bears! Oh My!




The kids have been on spring break this past week and we've had such a fun week with playdates, going to a bounce house center with our good neighbors and then going to the zoo with Jean, my mother-in-law. It was a perfect, beautiful day to go, just cool enough to walk around and enjoy the animals and enjoy the day. Jean, however, got SOAKED when we all went to the dolphin show and decided to sit in the "splash zone" but she was the only one to get "splashed"! The walrus was in rare form, giving quite a show for everyone to stop by and Caden was just enthralled by his antics. The giraffes even came in for the action and came right up to the group of us watching and stood there as though to say "what are you looking at"! We spent about six hours enjoying all the zoo had to offer, the lions, tigers, bears, sharks you can touch, and the petting zoo. We also had lunch and just took our time enjoying the day and being together.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Meaning of Good Friday

Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday, is the date that Christians remember Jesus' death on the cross. All Christians live in the hope of new life after death, just as Jesus was raised from the dead on the first Easter. Holy Week, the week before Easter, is sacred for Christians as a time to seek connection with Jesus' death and resurrection (life after death).

As Jesus faced death literally, he needed God's help to save him from the world. Jesus' words from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" echo the human experience of seeking a reality beyond death (Matthew 27:46).

For Christians, Good Friday is a time to be with Jesus in his time of suffering and wait with him in hope of God's promise, eternal life to all who believe. The "good" in Good Friday reflects the Christian hope of resurrection and new life in Jesus, foreshadowing Easter Sunday, when Christians believe that God resurrected Jesus from the dead.

Good Friday is the day that Christians focus especially on the cross and Jesus' sacrifice for the sins of the world. The cross is a central symbol of the Christian faith. Christians believe that Jesus, son of God, died to save all believers from sin, all that separates human beings from God. The cross reminds Christians of Jesus' death and their salvation, how Jesus saved them from death by dying in their place.

Jesus' crucifixion, death on the cross, is the source of eternal life for all who believe according to Christian teaching. Jesus put himself in the place of every believer's sins as he suffered for the whole world by sacrificing his own life. Atonement, Jesus giving himself for the sins of Christians, saves all Christians from hell and suffering. Good Friday is a time for Chrisitans to remember Jesus' sacrifice and reflect on how the cross has saved them from their sins.

Information above taken from suite101.com.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

THURSDAY THOUGHTS!

Outside my window...we had a beautiful spring day in the 60's! I spent the entire day at the zoo with the kids and my mother-in-law and had a wonderful time! The kids had a lot of fun seeing all the animals, being outside and sharing the zoo with their grandmother and they were so well behaved. It is to rain all day tomorrow though!
I am thinking...that I need to use Friday to get things in order around the house: cleaning, laundry, etc.
I am thankful for...my friends and neighbors. I'm so thankful for the dynamics within my neighborhood and the friends I have made...to know I can walk out my door and have women to speak to, laugh with, share stories with makes me feel very thankful and grateful!
From the kitchen...Kevin was home tonight and grilled out steaks, corn and baked potatoes! It was a wonderful dinner.
I am wearing...my pajama's as it is 11:14 pm! As always, comfort!
I am reading...Christianity 101, Chapter 5 for my Life Group.
I am hoping...that my boys will sleep through the thunder I hear rumbling in the distance! My 6 yr. old is still scared of storms, although to ask him, he will deny it!
I am creating...still nothing. Keep talking about making a baby rag quilt with a girlfriend and so I just need to take the time to make a plan and start buying some materials! And, find some time!
I am hearing...the movie "Slumdog Millionaire". The whole house is asleep and I was able to grab this at RedBox this evening on a quick run to the grocery. So far, very interesting movie.
A few plans for the rest of the week...Tomorrow will be a day spent at home, our last day of spring break for the kids. Other than this, we will celebrate our risen Savior on this Easter weekend by going to church on Sunday and then a family lunch after.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Living Frugal ~ CVS Savings

For those of you who know me, I love the savings that you can get at CVS/pharmacy if you take advantage of their Extra Care Bucks (ECB's) program. ECB's are given when you sign up for one of their "store" savings cards and you use your card every time you shop and you buy items that give you back ECB's. I've been using this program for about a year now and primarily use this program to buy the toiletry needs for the family as well as baby items such as diapers, etc.

The first time you use your card to purchase items, it will involve a small investment but my suggestion would be to look through their store circular that comes in each Sunday's newspaper and find a few things that you will USE and that will give you ECB's back after your purchase. This first purchase will cost you the regular/sale price but after this, you're off and running. The ECB's will print right then and there at the bottom of your receipt and you can use them that same day if you so choose.

The idea then is to "roll" your ECB's with purchase of items that give you back ECB's...your whole purchase does NOT need to contain items that give you back ECB's but you want to get a couple in there so that you constantly have some on hand. Another way to save at CVS/pharmacy is to go to their website and sign-up for their emails and you will get coupons for $5 off $25, for example, or even free items. You can also combine manufacturer's coupons with your ECB's to save even more.

So to explain the savings I received on my most recent purchase: On April 1, we received a printout for $17.50 in ECB's (based on prior purchases for the quarter). I also received an email this past week for $5 off a $25 purchase. I looked through their circular that came in today's Sunday's paper and saw that if you purchased $25 in baby products, you get $10 back in ECB's. I had manufacturer's coupons for some of the items in the ad and I knew I could score big. I purchased the items show in the picture above (2 packs of diapers, 2 tubes of Desitan, a package of tampons and shaving cream) and my total was $43.34. After my ECB's, my email coupon and my manufacturer's coupons, my out-of-pocket price was $8.39! I saved $34.95!! And, I received $13.49 back in ECB's to use on a future purchase ($10 for the baby product purchase and with the shaving cream, purchase for $3.49 and get $3.49 back in ECB's).

Some people don't want to bother with looking through coupons, clipping, carrying store savings cards, etc. but the above is a perfect example of how doing these small steps can help save big...$34.95! Who can resist this!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Favorite Things...Easter

We all have our "favorite" things about each holiday and this is one of my favorite Easter decorations...most of everything I have is "kid" related but I found this litte gem on Easter clearance a few years ago and couldn't resist buying it. The photo doesn't show it well but the eggs are painted in spring colors and it makes a nice addition to my shelf!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Jesus, Bring The Rain

I haven't blogged at all this week I realize and it's because we're having to adjust to a new schedule in our home as Kevin started his part-time evening job and the kids and I are having to get used to him not being here. It's not as though we do much during the weekday evenings but the kids have been asking "when will daddy be home" and I miss having him here to be part of the family routine. We have tried to explain a little bit about our situation to the kids and about why daddy has to work so much and we've tried our very best to assure them that all is well with their mommy and daddy but how do explain the economy and job loss to three children under the age of 6?

But, as something to give you all for stopping by and reading, I decided to give you the lyrics to one of my all-time favorite songs. This is one that I come back to time and time again when I'm hurting in life and the words comfort me. Just knowing that usually when you're walking through that storm in life, you can be assured that God is using it to strengthen you and prepare you for something better!


Bring the Rain
by Mercy Me

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times

So I pray
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain

So I pray Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty

Here's the link to hear the song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8HgAVenbUU

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Living Frugal ~ Homemade Hair Conditioner

In trying to get tips on how to live frugal, I looked up tonight on how to make hair detangler/frizz control for girl's hair and all you have do is once you have an empty spray bottle (I'm using an empty hair detangler bottle that I just ran out of):

Fill 2/3 with water
Fill 1/3 with hair conditioner of your choice
Before each use, shake well and then spray!

A lot cheaper than paying $3 a bottle at the store!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fighting...and making up!

This picture shows two cute little boys smiling for the camera doesn't it!? But what it doesn't show is that they are actually holding hands because they've been bickering and fighting ALL morning so I finally gave them a timeout sitting next to each other so that their bodies had to be touching and they had to hold hands. I made them pose for this picture so that I can print it out and hang it in their room to show them how they need to act. Do I think it will work, NO...but it sounded good at the time and the boys bought it!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

THURSDAY THOUGHTS!

Outside my window...another beautiful afternoon but now the buds on the trees and the flowers are starting to bloom which is a wonderful sight!
I am thinking...that I need to get me and the kids on some sort of routine on Thursday and Friday while I'm off. I haven't gotten much done these past couple of weeks!
I am thankful for...Kevin. Our love for each other, after almost 10 years of marriage, is still intact and as he said Tuesday night, we equal each other out.
From the kitchen...baked chicken, broccoli and rice. I'm also going to make muffins tonight for the kids for breakfast tomorrow morning.
I am wearing...black knit capri's; brown shirt with a white shirt underneath and my flip flops! As always, I'm about comfort!
I am reading...Confessions of an Irritable Mother; Christianity 101, Chapter 4 for my bible study.
I am hoping...that Kevin's and I work situations take a turn for the better very SOON! Please pray for us as things are going to get really tough here soon but God promises to watch over us and take care of our needs (not our wants) and so my faith is unwaivering.
I am creating...still nothing although the ambition is there...going to look up ideas for a baby rag quilt this afternoon.
I am hearing...Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie playing. It's 3:30 pm and Caden finally persuaded me to let him watch a few cartoons. We make it through most of the day without television as I prefer that the kids use their imagination to play or do a craft or be outside!
A few plans for the rest of the week...Kevin is OFF this weekend! Wahoo! The weatherman is predicting rain and snow flurries and so I'm sure most of the time will be spent inside but that's okay...Kevin hasn't been home on a weekend in about 4 weeks and so we're thrilled. We have church on Sunday as well as our Life Group that afternoon unless I can persuade Kevin to try the Saturday night service!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another Visit From the Tooth Fairy!

Tooth #4 came out today...his upper left tooth finally! This one has been hanging in there forever it seems, but I knew this week it would come out because of how "wiggly" it's been. I picked Samuel up from school tonight and he came running out showing me that he lost it...he was so excited! When I asked him where the tooth was, his response was "oh mom, I lost it in the lunch room"...he didn't even realize it had come out until he felt the empty hole with his tongue!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Let's Sew...

So if you've been reading some of my THURSDAY THOUGHTS you may have noticed that I mentioned I would like to try my hand at making a small purse for Isabella. I had already found a pattern but tonight, while the boys were playing the Wii, I've been browsing various blogs and found a link to a supercute purse made with just fat quarters! How divine! Here's the link below to see how cute this purse is:

http://madebyrae.blogspot.com/2009/02/free-buttercup-bag-sewing-pattern.html

I think I will try my hand at making this purse in a "regular" size using these directions and then maybe make a smaller version for Isabella.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

THURSDAY THOUGHTS!

Outside my window...it's a beautiful afternoon with the warm sun shining through the house!
I am thinking...that I need to go wake up Isabella from her nap soon...got her down late but I also don't want her to sleep too late either!
I am thankful for...that God provides when you trust! Kevin got a part-time job last night and although I hate it that he has to work another job, I am also thankful that it seems to work well with his schedule and the location and so God is looking out for him and us.
From the kitchen...I'm ashamed to admit it but we're having frozen pizza tonight! We did a bit of grocery shopping today and they were on sale...I couldn't resist the convenience of it all, especially when Kevin is working late tonight.
I am wearing...grey knit capri's and a white tshirt and black flip-flops...very comfy!
I am reading...Confessions of an Irritable Mother; Christianity 101, Chapter 4 for my bible study.
I am hoping...that I can get really good at "couponing". I've always cut them out but now with our finances being as they are, I need to get as good as those women that you see on the news who bought $150 worth of groceries for 39 cents! ha!
I am creating...still nothing although the ambition is there...going to look up ideas for a baby rag quilt this afternoon.
I am hearing...Caden sharpening a pencil. He's practicing the writing of A-B-C.
One of my favorite things...the thought that spring is just around the corner!
A few plans for the rest of the week...none really for Friday but Saturday we have a son of a friend who is turning the big "1" and so we are going to his party; Sunday, I have to volunteer in the nursery during service and then go to our Life Group. That's about it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

RedBox Free Code for Wednesday!

For all of you "redboxers" out there, here's the FREE movie code for Wednesday only:

GTL456

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick, the holy and tutular man
His beard down his bosom like Aaron's ran:
Some from Scotland, some from Wales, will declare that he came,
But I care not from whence now he's risen to fame;
The pride of the world and his enemies scorning
I will drink to St. Patrick, today in the Morning!

He's a desperate big, little Erin go brah;
He will pardon our follies and promise us joy,
By the mass, by the Pope, by St. Patrick so long
As I live, I will give him a beautiful song!

No saint is so good, Ireland's country adorning:
Then hail to St. Patrick, today, in the morning!


(Traditional Song)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bring in the Clowns!

Last weekend, Kevin's parents were so generous and took the WHOLE family to the circus! It was the Murat Shrine circus held at the State Fairgrounds and what a FUN time we had. It had been YEARS since us adults in the family had gone to the circus and for me personally, I know it was been close to at least 30! For the kids, this was their very first time and boy were they excited. We didn't tell them we were going until the night before so we wouldn't hear about it all week prior to going!
The kids had cotton candy, popcorn, and snow cones and I believe this was Isabella's first time eating cotton candy!

We saw the elephants, lions and tigers perform which the kids loved! It was fun to see all the activity and the kids had such a wonderful time watching everything!

Thanks Jean and Tom for a wonderful evening full of fun and laughter
and new memories! The kids will always remember this night!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

THURSDAY THOUGHTS!

Outside my window...the sun slowly warming up a 25 degree morning!
I am thinking... that I need to fix myself a cup of coffee and start cleaning the house!
I am thankful for... my sister. We had a speaker last night at church about the importance of relationships without anything being in the way and I have that with her...I'm myself!
From the kitchen...baked chicken, some sort of noodle or rice side dish and a veggie.
I am wearing... black pants; Green Bay Packers shirt (no comments) and a white long sleeve shirt underneath.
I am reading...Confessions of an Irritable Mother; Christianity 101, Chapter 4 for my bible study
I am hoping...that God gives me patience and understanding with my current work situation.
I am creating...still nothing although I want to do the purse for Isabella and then "thinking" about starting on a baby quilt for a friend of mine whose baby is due in June...will need to start on that one soon!
I am hearing...Caden playing the Wii and Isabella playing with her baby dolls!
One of my favorite things...the thought that spring is just around the corner!
A few plans for the rest of the week... Lunch with my dad and sister on Friday; Birthday party for the kids on Saturday; Family coming over Saturday night to celebrate Isabella's 2nd birthday; Church and Life Group on Sunday...I love being busy on the weekend during these colder months!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Easter Candy!


Every Easter, the Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs comeout and these are my absolute favorite! They taste different somehow than a "regular" Reese's cup that you can buy year-round (not my favorite) because the peanut butter is a bit thicker somehow. Last week, Kevin came with not only one but TWO KING sized peanut butter eggs...oh how they were divine! It took about 3 sessions for me to eat one after dinner because they are so rich but oh soooo good. So for all you Easter candy lovers out there, be on the lookout for these!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Isabella!

What a joy Isabella is to our family and I just can't believe that my baby is 2 today! Isabella just makes us laugh each day, has such a sweet personality, and just completes our family!