Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Because some times I'm just not all there...

...I can tell you that Shutterfly has good customer service. You see I got those 50 free photo cards from writing about my favorites from their website. So I hopped on over there and ordered my nifty cards and had them sent. When I got the message telling me that my cards had shipped, I panicked. See, I had them shipped them to Kansas. And I now live in Tennessee. And didn't notice until I saw the tracking information. Big uh-oh.

I called UPS, but they said that they had to hear from the shipper. Urg. Understandable, but urg. Shutterfly was so nice that they offered to help me out. So I changed my address on their website.

Yeah, not so good. See I changed my address for the billing information. I had to call them back again. At least this time I caught it in the 30 minute window to cancel an order. If they can flag your account for stupid, then mine probably is, but it's worth it because today I got back from the store (again, we just went yesterday but they were out of chicken--what grocery store runs out of chicken anyway?!)

this was on our porch.

And these were inside.

Yippee! They are so nice. I'm so excited for photo cards that are on nice card stock and open up. They are pretty, and they are also made on eco-conscious paper (per the information in the package). Now I just have to finish addressing my envelopes and then off they will go! So exciting.

*The cards were free, but the stupidity is all mine.*

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I love Advent. The candles, the music, the preparations for Christmas. This week is the week of Hope. I am hoping, that as the children are getting older, that they understand there is so much more than the gimmes. It's hard when everyone and their brother is asking them, "What are you asking for from Santa?"

I have decided that each Sunday in Advent we will do something for someone else. These might be tasks I would have normally undertaken, but we will be more intentional in sharing the responsibility with our children this year. Plus, they see all of these activities as fun, which is wonderful.

I had three activities already planned: making goody bags for Justin's co-workers, baking for our neighbors, and Christmas caroling for some shut-ins, but I had one week open.

I asked Kate who she thought we should do something for. After the thoughtful, but prohibitive answer, "Do something for someone who is hurt in the hospital," (I don't happen to know anyone to visit, and with patient confidentiality an issue, I suspect we can't just call the hospital at random.) she came up with Yafrelis, the child we sponsor in The Dominican Republic.

We made a little folder out of some neat prismatic card stock weight paper I bought with the intention of using it for Yafrelis last month.

We made her a paper doll. I've been looking for some to send her for a few months, but didn't find any that are actually made of paper (instead of cardboard).

I sketched out the doll and then made a dress pattern, so we can make several dresses to fit her. Each of the girls decorated a pink construction paper dress.

We're also stocking the folder with a few odds and ends of paper goods (everything we send has to be flat and made of paper).

If you're interested in sponsoring a child through Compassion International, here is where you can get information.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want so much for our children to be grateful for the abundance we have. We have food to eat, a warm place to live (and even more luxuriously a cool place in the summer), clothes, toys, and so much more.

It's so hard with all that our children are inundated with these days. We have eliminated commercials from our home, but there are still the displays in stores and the birthday/Christmas gimmes. The inborn sin of selfishness. We have a great task as parents to teach our children to be filled with joy and gratefulness.

I hope to model my thankfulness for my children, this Thanksgiving, and every day. I am thankful to GOD for
  • my husband of more than 11 years
  • my three little blessings, who were so worth the wait
  • my family
  • insulin that has allowed my husband to live the past year
  • the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with my extended family
  • food to eat
  • a home
  • my husband's job
  • having two vehicles
  • having a college education
  • having friends, even if we are distant in miles, we keep in touch
  • my computer, which allows me to stay in touch with many peopleAlign Center

Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. - Psalm 100:4

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


From the mind of our three year old:

Does an ambulance dress up like a King?

No, an ambulance doesn't dress up like a King.

Does an ambulance dress up like a princess?

No, an ambulance doesn't dress up like a princess.

Kate interjects: Ambulances are boys, silly.

What is that ambulance's last name?

Ambulances don't have last names.

That ambulance is a princess. giggle.

* * * * *

Kate, in discussing when we will put up our tree:

I think [our Christmas tree] will suffer damage from our little brother.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turkey Crafts

I made these cute hair bows, based on this post.

We also made cute little Thanksgiving cards. The girls got to help make the cards, which they thought was a lot of fun. I cut out all the pieces and they had fun with their glue sticks!


The other day I made a trip to the craft store. I really shouldn't be allowed there alone, by the way, too many wonderful projects are calling my name. I was pretty good, got some good sales on things I was actually intending to buy, and I'll have some fun Thanksgiving projects to post about soon.

Anyway, I did think far enough ahead to remember to use the stroller this time. That eliminates keeping Kate and Gabby close in to a cart while I'm navigating the aisles, since Gabriella can sit in the double with Nate. I was helping Gabby out of the stroller in the parking lot. One of her shoes popped off as it got caught under the tray. No big deal. I load the kiddos up and fetch it from the bottom of the stroller. Only it wasn't in the bottom of the stroller. It wasn't next to the van. I couldn't find it anywhere. Where could it be? Oh yes, under the van, in the very center.

Maybe I at least made someone laugh as they saw me laying on the ground to fetch a shoe, all in the name of turkey's made of paper and ribbon.

Monday, November 22, 2010


There are those days that everything goes like clockwork. I had one of those days last week. I felt so productive. Four loads of laundry, washed, dried, folded, and put away. Homeschooling, completed easily. Story time at the library, not problem. Dinner put together, even on the last day before grocery day.

I am very grateful for those days when they come, because more days are full of trying to keep up. There are grocery trips that you come home to find that something you needed didn't make it on your list, doctors visits (always exciting with three children) that require follow ups, and days that you just aren't at your best.

I try to keep our lives fairly simple, but I am still finding that life as a mother is often less than simple. There are all the daily tasks of mom and teacher. There are the special concerns that come up from time to time. There are the little bumps in the road that take your time and energy. It's busy, it keeps me challenged, but I am so grateful and blessed.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas Cards from Shutterfly

I am so excited. I got the code for my free Shutterfly cards. There were so many different choices I couldn't pick! I made three different ones and let Justin pick, this was his favorite:

Harmonious Noir Christmas 5x7 folded card
Make a statement with Shutterfly Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

We took the kids to the park after church today and took pictures. Kate even took one of Justin and me. They had a lot of fun running around.

I'll have to let you know how they turn out when they come!

* I did get my cards for free and I may be eligible to get a $25 gift certificate for this review (maybe I'll get caught up on the baby book), but the opinion is mine. I've been using Shutterfly for several years already. *

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cat in the Hat Cake

For Nate's birthday I made The Cat in the Hat's hat cake.

It was my first attempt at working with fondant. I had trouble when I folded it, like I would a pie crust to move it on to the cake, because it stuck together--permanently. I pulled it off by putting several small pieces together. It isn't the prettiest cake I've ever made, but I didn't have the time to rework it, so it is what it is.

I think he likes it.

I think he really likes it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

That's Just Rotten

I have been waiting over a decade to do this project. Literally.

When I was in college, one of my courses sent us to a teacher training being held in the town I grew up in. When I was there, I took a workshop on incorporating science in the elementary school classroom. Most of the science I taught was cooking based, so I never had a chance to teach this lesson. I wish I could remember who taught the session, but I don't remember at all, nor do I know where my handouts are, so I suppose it's not much more than the broad idea that I used.

So here it is--it is all about rotting stuff. You take your left over jack-o-lantern from Halloween and bury it, along with other items that no one needs again. We got a large pot and potting soil from a garden center, since we are living in a rental house and didn't want to dig up the yard, plus it will make easier to find what is left of our items later.

In preparation for our lesson we read From Seed to Pumpkin by Pfeffer and The Magic School Bus Meets the Rot Squad by Cole. We also completed "It's Like Magic" (about composting) in Read and Understand Science Grades 1-2 by Evan-Moor Publishing.

These are the things we buried with our pumpkin:

a paperclip, a note from Halloween/Trick or Treating, an orange spider ring, and a scrap piece of ribbon from Kate's costume.

Kate made guesses as to what would happen to our items.

She decided the pumpkin would become dirt. I thought she'd really grasped it, but then she decided each of the other items would be there in their present state in the spring, but that they would have each been turned black by the dirt.

On a side note, our pumpkins were already starting to decompose sitting out back waiting for us to get over the stomach flu. Kate was out back playing when she saw that the lids had fallen in. Her explanation was priceless, "My pumpkin got too big for it's lid!" Very linear, but very false. Maybe next year we'll measure our pumpkins to see that they don't grow once they are off the vine.

Here is our nearly buried pumpkin.

We'll dig it up in the spring and see what's left! Then she can fill out the rest of our worksheet. We'll talk about the value of recycling then too, as some of our things will not have broken down in that time.

Happy decomposing!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

One Whole Year

Somehow a whole year has passed.

The little fellow who couldn't even wait for the admissions questions to be answered before making his grand entrance has spent the first year of his life running full speed ahead. He rolled early, stood early, walked early, and has a vocabulary that has suddenly boomed. He is my little man.

He likes to climb.

He likes his sisters.

He likes hanging out with Daddy, especially if it involves watching explosions on You-Tube,

And he loves his Mama.

He doesn't like sitting in the high chair (it is much more fun to try to climb out than it is to eat). He doesn't like to wait for anything. He is not a fan of diaper changes either.

He spent his first birthday celebrating with his sisters, Aunt Holly, and my parents, with two busted lips. He fell head long into the kitchen chair this morning, poor little fellow. I made a Cat in the Hat hat for his birthday cake. He got some new pajamas, a book, and several fun new trucks to zoom around the house.

Is it just me, or did that baseball glove shrink this year?

He's still a peanut, around 19 lbs, but we'll get his official stats at the doctor's office this week. He can't hold up his 12 month pants yet and 9 month shirts still fit, but are a little short in the arms.

We love you Little One. May God richly bless your future, and help me keep up!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You Create: Gabby Makes a Bear

This year the girls each had a little birthday money to spend. I was thrilled that they both picked craft kits.

Gabby chose a set of two bears, similar to the Build-A-Bears, but a take home version of course. The bears have great princess-y dress-up clothes too: Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Tinker Bell.

She was a little hesitant of the filling at first,

but then she decided the fluffy stuff was fun.

I helped fill in the arms and legs for her.

The only down side is that in making it a no sew project, the back is secured by hook and loop, so it can be opened and the filling removed--over and over. But we wouldn't know anything about that here. I haven't even considered pulling out my needle and thread. Ahem.

She loves her white bear and decided that Kate can use he brown one, a very sweet thing.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christmas Cards from Shutterfly

I try not to get in to the Christmas thing until after Thanksgiving, but as we moved this year we will be trying to send out our Christmas cards just as soon as Advent begins, so I've started thinking about those already. For the past few years, I've been making my own photo cards using pictures I've taken and PowerPoint. They have turned out pretty well, but the font isn't always as clean as I would like.

I've been using Shutterfly for photos for several years. My mom started with a site that was bought out by Shutterfly, so we have just always uploaded there. She does most of the ordering, but I do from time to time as well--I really need to update my photo albums at some point!

Last year I purchased some personalized stationary for our grandmother's there as well. This year they are having a special promotion for bloggers to get a free sample of their cards for Christmas. I've been paging through the many choices. I like this, this, this, and this one. I have requested permission to post pictures from the site, but I haven't heard back yet. If I get that permission, I'll post the pics so you don't have to click to see each picture.

I really like that they are offering cards on card stock and even in folding styles. The price on those is over my budget, but a really nice option for those who can afford it.

And if you are interested in linking up to get free cards, here is where to link up.

I have not received my cards yet, but when I do, I'll be sure to tell you how they turned out!

A Morning with Nate and Daddy

I am just enjoying Nate so much these days. He's at a wonderful age. He's starting to talk a lot, which is always fun.

This morning when Justin got Nate from his crib he tried to put his bear in Justin's mouth, and he said, "Et [sic] it." He followed Justin around with a book as he was gathering his things to leave. Then, as Justin was leaving, he waved and said 'bye, and he followed him to the door, both hands going, saying 'bye, and reaching for a hug. So sweet. Once the door was closed he stooped down low to look through the sidelight where there are a couple of missing slats. He stayed by the door babbling for a few more minutes.

Nate's been a Mama's boy, so it's nice to see him enjoy his Daddy now too.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010