Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Cookie Cheer

A multitude of heavenly hosts... er, gingerbread men and sugar cookies!

My personal favorite.

It looks so real!  And yet, I still want to eat it.

Ooooo... psychedelic!

I am Angry.

I am scared of Angry.  Eeeek!

Awww... this one is just so... joyful.  (i.e. *filled* with joy!) (and happy little yellow sprinkles)

Love it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Conversation Between Men

We had just eaten a lovely dinner of chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy and green beans.  The boys helped clear the table, and Mike started rinsing the dishes off and putting them into the dishwasher while I put away the leftovers.  Griffin wandered into the TV room, looking forward with great anticipation to the promised Wii game time with Daddy.  Sammy had disappeared, because, well, there were dishes being done.  And here is the conversation that followed.

It's rather deep, so you might have to read it twice to gather the full effect of the eloquent words that were spoken.

Just to set the stage properly, imagine running water and dishes clanking...

Mike: Griffin, come here and help with the dishes.

Griffin: What?

M: Huh?

G:  Huh?

M: I didn't hear you.

G: What?

M:  Huh? I can't hear you, come here.

By now I am cracking up, holding myself up by grasping the cabinets, my rounding belly heaving with the ho-ho-ho laughter I am not even trying to suppress.  It's no wonder we keep getting these ads in the mail for hearing aids!  I live in a house full of men.  And I love my men dearly.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Swimming in the Sea of Homeschool

Just wanted to poke my head above water for a bit and give a brief update on what my life has been like lately!  First of all, we found out that we are expecting baby #3 on March 30th, 2011, by scheduled C-Section.  I am 14 weeks pregnant as of yesterday, and the pregnancy is progressing nicely, if my growing waistline and penchant for pizza (poor Mike, he is SO tired of pizza!) are any indication.  We should find out what we are having around Thanksgiving.  It's so hard to wait!   (I think it is a boy, that is my official guess.)

We are in full swing with our little homeschool now.  Some days are a challenge, but we work past it and I can see that the boys are learning SO much every day!  Griffin generally spends about 1-2 hours working on his schoolwork, not counting the time I spend with him going over his assignments for the day.  His 1st grade subjects are Math (his favorite subject by far), Phonics and Reading, Bible, Science (he just can't wait to mix chemicals together and blow stuff up), History and Geography, Spelling and Vocabulary, and Penmanship.

I am working through the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with Sammy, and he is doing well and really enjoys the lessons.  Granted, we are only on Lesson 3 (we just started the book this week).  Time will tell!  He loves to use his scissors and glue and construction paper, so right now, preschool is just one big art project!  We have a curriculum for preschool, and he really enjoys matching, coloring, finding shapes, etc. but he doesn't do seatwork every day.  He's still a little wiggle-worm! 

I don't believe that preschool is a prerequisite for Kindergarten, and I also don't believe that Kindergarten is a prerequisite for 1st grade.  Controversial, I know, but my main focus in "Kindergarten" is teaching them how to read well and do basic math.  Everything else is optional, in my opinion.  They learn so much by just living at that age that trying to force a curriculum on them can be a burdensome chore.  Some kids love curriculums!  Kids who like to sit for longer periods of time than a few minutes.  Mine don't.  So we adapt to their needs (for now... yes, they will have to sit for longer periods of time as they get older!) and work with what God has given us.

This has been a short update, because I do have a lot going on right now; I just don't have time to talk about all of it!  I haven't been scrapbooking or card-making much recently (although I do have a big "secret" project that I'm working on!), and I miss it, but I'll be attending the Creating Keepsakes Convention this weekend, and I'm hoping to be refreshed and have my scrapping appetite renewed!

Speaking of appetites... I wonder if we have any pizza in the fridge....?!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Umbrellas and Laundry

No, they really don't have anything to do with each other.  But they have everything to do with the two pictures I have to share today. 

The first picture is one I will most definitely have to scrapbook... but what should the title of this page be?  I can't come up with something cute and clever and... umbrella-ish.

Yes, that is Sammy.  Yes, he is asleep.  In his bed.  With an open umbrella.  Just in case of rain?

On another note, one of my newest passions is making natural, homemade cleaners.  I have made a heavenly lavender all-purpose spray that I use for anything and everything, and an orange-scented disinfectant spray that would be lovely... if only I could find a spray bottle that wasn't broken.  Apparently the $1 bottles at Wal-Mart only have a life expectancy of... well, actually, it never worked.  And my lavender bottle only works if you spray it upside down a few times before you spray it right-side-up.  One day I will find the perfect spray bottle!

Last night I cooked up a new creation.  It is homemade laundry detergent, and it smells so fresh and clean, I could hardly pull Mike away from it!  Here is my recipe (adapted from several others):

1 bar of Fels-Naptha (to clean)
2 cups Washing Soda (to remove stains)
2 cups Baking Soda (to deodorize)
3 cups Borax (I use more borax than some other recipes do because we have hard water, and borax acts as a water conditioner as well as a cleaner.)

1. Grate the Fels-Naptha.  I chopped my Fels-Naptha into 1-inch cubes and stuck it in my Vita-Mix for a minute.

2. Stir all of the ingredients together.

3. Into another bowl, run all of the ingredients (a cup at a time) through a sifter.  Anything that doesn't fit through the sifter, put back into the Vita-Mix (or a food processor or blender) and blend until powdery.  This includes any chunks of white powder plus any of the Fels-Naptha that didn't get chopped small enough. 

4. Stir everything together and store in a container like this (or a big plastic tub would work too if you have one to recycle):

Use 2 TBSP of the laundry soap per large load of clothes.  This batch should make about 140 loads worth of soap.  There are no suds, so don't expect bubbles when you put it into the water, but my, the clothes smell fresh and clean when you pull them out!  You can add a few drops of essential oil (or fragrance oils if your family doesn't have sensitivity to artificial fragrances) if you want a scent.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Out of the Spin Cycle

Another book review!  Oh my.  I think I'm going to sign up for a career as a "book reviewer".  There is nothing like being mailed a (free!) book and then getting to tell everyone else about it.  Everyone who knows me knows that I am an avid reader, and I also love to tell others about the books I think they would love.

Can I just say that I was incredibly blessed by this book?  Because I was.  Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions to Lighten Your Mother Load by Jen Hatmaker is, hands down, the best devotional book I have ever read.  You know it is going to be a good book when you can't make it through the "Contents" page without laughing.  I did not read this book "in order"... I picked out the devotionals with the titles that I liked the most and read those first.  Hee!  Because I'm just like that.   

Jen (I feel like I know her personally after reading this book, so I'm going to call her Jen) uses humor and straight talk to introduce new perspectives about mothering.  I just love how she is so real, and tell-it-like-it-is... because when your little cherub finds the Vicks VapoRub and the Desitin and smears them all over their bed, and their walls, and their closet doors (yes, that happened to me), sometimes you just need someone who understands what that kind of a day is like, not someone who will make you feel like you are doing something wrong because your house doesn't stay clean all day long.

I think that my favorite part of the book is how she took events from history and from the Bible, and turned what could have been presented in a dry fashion into engaging stories that made my mouth water for more.  Each devotional was the perfect proportion of learning something new and being encouraged in my role as wife and mother.

Go out and get this book if you have little people running around your house!  Do it now!  You will definitely not regret it.

Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions to Lighten Your Mother Load, by Jen Hatmaker.  Available June 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Swing Away!

Sammy has officially learned how to swing!  Hooray!!!

We tried and tried to teach him "the moves" involved in swinging, and it just wasn't sinking in.

Then one day, after a yummy picnic dinner of sandwiches (hey, everything tastes better if you eat it outside!), he and Griffin went down the deck stairs, jumped on the swings and he pushed... and pushed... and kicked... and he was swinging!

He was SO proud of himself.


My boys are growing up.

I remember when he used to be this big.

And this big.

Oh, man.  That is one cute baby.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Hair, New Name

Little Miss Snickerdoodle has a new name.  We decided that although we like the name Snicker, it didn't fit her as well as her new name does.  These days, we are calling her...

wait for it...

Tripsy!  Heeeeeere, Tripsy!  Come here, girl!

Wait!  No!  Stop biting my toes!  Don't sit on my feet!  Quit walking right in front of me!  I'm going to trip on y... ouch!


And thus we renamed her Tripsy.  Quite fitting, I think.  Mike actually came up with the name after we had been at Grandma G and Grandpa Suzie's house.  We took Snicker... er, Tripsy... along to socialize with the other little doggies (Gordon still hasn't allowed her into his world yet), and they (Gma and Gpa) got to experience the joys of tripping on our puppy all over their house.

Grandpa was walking through the kitchen (Tripsy's favorite room of the house, for this is where most treats originate from), and little one was walking... tripping, really... along under, beside, and on top of his feet.  He said,"I'm going to start calling you Footsy, because having you around is like having a third foot!"

I mentioned that to Mike on the way home, and he started playing around with names.  Tripsy kind of stumbled out of his mouth, and I immediately loved it.  It's so perfect!

It is hard to switch our brains over to calling her something else after thinking of her as Snicker for a week, but she didn't know that her name was Snicker yet, and she actually responds to Tripsy!  Yay!

And yeah.  She's not housebroken yet.  But she sleeps through the night now.

 I had to give you some perspective on just how small she is.  She looks big in all of the pictures, but she is about half the size she used to be.  Or maybe I just have big shoes.  *sigh*

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

We have a new member of the family!  I went with Christy, Mark and Miguel to pick her out the day before Mother's Day.  Happy Mother's Day to me!  I am over the moon in love with this little girl.  Here she is, in all her puppy cuteness.  We call her Snicker, short for Snickerdoodle.

She is a 12-week-old Shih Tzu, and I think she was the cutest one of the bunch!  She came right to me when I called her, and as soon as I held her I knew she was the one for me.  She is sweet and loves to snuggle, and she follows me around all day and lays down in between, on, behind, or in front of my feet.

She kept me awake almost all night the first night, whimpering and crying and begging to get up on the bed with us.  I was firm and patient (it was hard!) and kept putting her back in her little bed and saying "In your bed, Snicker."  She slept from 3am-4am, finally, and then woke up and was sniffing and running around the room, so I took her outside and she did her business.  Yay for (somewhat) house-trained dogs!

When we came back inside, I was so tired I was a bit desperate for sleep, so as a last measure, I dangled my foot off the bed next to where her nose was in her bed.  She went right to sleep!  Hallelujah!  I had figured it out!

After a minute, I pulled my leg back up into bed (my hip felt like it was going to dislocate soon), and fell asleep.  Five minutes later, she woke up crying and jumping at the side of the bed, so I put her back in her bed, said "In your bed, Snicker," and dangled my foot by her bed again.  She fell asleep for about 10 minutes.  And so on and so forth, until 5 nights later (last night) she slept through the night without waking up once!  Yippee!  She feels like part of the family now.

Just don't ask Gordon.  He's not sure about her yet.  Sooooo insanely jealous that she gets to go outside in the front yard (too many things to chew on in the backyard) and he has to stay inside and watch from the front door.  He's growling in his sleep right now... probably at her.

It is nice having her almost house-trained.  I just loved the lady we got her from.  She sure loved her little puppies, and I could tell it was hard for her to sell them after raising them for almost 3 months, but I'm sure glad she did, because we just love her! 

She loves Mike, and she knows that he is for playing with, and I am for snuggling with, and the boys... well, the boys are for carrying her around and dangling toys in front of her nose!

Boy, the angle of that photo makes my head spin!  Sorry about that.  I love watching Sammy love on Snicker, though.  He sure loves the puppy... almost as much as I do.  :-)

The second part of my Mother's Day happiness is that Mike finished painting the main floor.  He took Thursday and Friday off of work and spackled, sanded, primed and painted all day both days and Saturday as well.  I brought Snicker home in the midst of the painting, so she got to get used to the house being all torn up and moved around!  I am getting it put back together, though.  Here are several pictures of the main floor as it is tonight.

 Had to sneak that last one in.  Doesn't Miles just look so cozy all snuggled up with a couple of books and a fuzzy blanket?  Hmmm... I think I'll go join him.  With Snicker at my feet, of course.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Check This Out!!!

Hi y'all!  You need to go check out this website.  My close personal friend Angela (okay, so we have never met in person, but I love her anyway!), who has impeccable taste in art and fashion and decorating... has begun a new venture!  She has started this blog/website that is chock full of inspiration, color and pizazz.  I am in love with it, and I know you will be too!

Check it out: The Painted House.

Have fun!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Moment of Reverance

Sammy got in trouble while we ate lunch yesterday.  He said something (aimed at Griffin) that included the words "poo-poo head", and promptly got sent to the bathroom for a time-out.  Our rule is, if you want to use those kinds of words, you go to the bathroom, because that is the only place those words belong.  Down the toilet.  They close the toilet lid and have to sit there for the allotted amount of time-out time -- 1 minute per year of age.

So Sammy stomps his way to the bathroom and plunks himself down on top of the toilet.  I can hear him muttering to himself...

"I don't LIKE Mommy."

"And I don't LIKE Daddy."

"I hate EVERYthing!!!!"

long pause....

"Except God."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sick Days and School Books

We received our shipment of school books for the 2010-2011 school year.  Yippee!!!  It is so exciting to see everything the boys will be learning next year.  Sammy will be starting preschool (he'll have two years to work on it, because he'll only be 4-and-a-half when the next school year starts).  Griffin is loving Kindergarten this year, so he'll be in 1st grade.

Here are some quick shots I took of "the loot".


I can't wait for next year!  We are having lots of fun this year with Griffin's school, and he is reading well and L.O.V.E.S. his math (he gets time with Daddy every day to do a math lesson), but Kindergarten is pretty basic, and I can't wait to dive in to the new material.  Slow and steady, I know... but it's so hard to be patient!  New books are calling to me!!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

2010, Mario, Food and a Cat.

Griffin:  "SAMMY!!!!  YOU KILLED ME!!!!!!!  Now you have to POP me and I'm not the FREEZE guy anymore!!!  Hey, watch OUT for that MUSHROOM!!!!!!"

Sammy: "Oh... okay."

And thus has been much of the conversation at our house lately.  If you have ever played Super Mario as a kid, or your children are...

Okay, I had to take a break, the boys needed me to beat The Water Level for them.

What was I saying?  Oh yes.  Mario.  It's a whole other world.  It is also quite the aerobic activity.  What?  You didn't know that?  Oh, yes.  It helps if you jump up and down while you play.  And kick every so often.  And run back and forth in front of the TV.  Yeah.  Those things can make you work up quite a sweat.  Just ask Griffin.

So I sat down and wrote out my resolutions a couple of days ago.  Drink lots of water.  Eat at home more.  Spend less.  You know, the usual.  I was actually a lot more specific than that, and I wrote out my specific plan, but that is for only me to know.

I don't like people to know what my resolutions are because if no one else knows them, I am only accountable to myself and I don't disappoint anyone but me -- and it's okay if I disappoint myself.  I am a middle child, and I hate to disappoint other people, so I just won't tell anyone what I want to change.  Not exactly, anyway.  You just get the Cliff's Notes.

I have lost 5 pounds so far.  Yay for me!  Now I just have to keep it up.

My ultimate goal?  To be a healthier person.  I don't have a weight loss goal, or really any specific goals in mind.  I just want to be healthy again.  Or maybe for the first time in my adult life.  I have always gone for convenience; fast, easy food is what I have mostly been feeding my family.  Now, I am shopping at Whole Foods at least once a month, and probably will replace my former grocery store with Whole Foods.  It is farther away from my house, so I have to drive a bit, but it is worth it to feed my family well.

I have been making a weekly menu plan for the last month, and it has worked out well for me.  I love being able to look at the menu and see what is for breakfast, lunch and dinner and not coming up to mealtime and not knowing exactly what to cook.  I also write reminders for myself to "take chicken out of freezer," etc. so that I am not tempted to skip meals on the menu because I am not prepared.  Oh yeah.  It saves us money, too.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am an impulse shopper.  Well, not anymore!  Okay, maybe sometimes.  But a lot less often.

I love to cook, I really do, and having quality ingredients just makes it that much more fun.  Here are a couple of the scrumptious things we've eaten this week.

Homemade Bagel Pizzas

Chimi-Ritos (crispy baked burritos)

We are also going to have this.

I didn't take any pictures, but another favorite was the sandwiches I made yesterday.  I toasted bread, then layered Miracle Whip, sliced ham, turkey and pepperoni on one side, then on the other side I put a couple of slices of fresh sliced provolone.  I made the sandwiches on a baking sheet so that I could pop it into the oven (open-faced), and the provolone melted like a dream!  I popped some alfalfa sprouts on the sandwiches, put the tops on, cut them in half, and they were so delicious... I will definitely do that again! 

Also on the menu for the week are Beef Stroganoff, and Chicken and Noodles over mashed potatoes (Great-Grandma Style).

Oh, and before I forget, here is a picture of our dejected kitty Cleo (glowing alien eyes and all) as Mike was taking down the Christmas tree.  She was so disappointed!  She and Miles will go and lay down on the floor where the tree used to be, dreaming of the days when they chased each other around under its branches and played with ornaments that had been knocked off by Gordon's tail.