Thursday, December 29, 2011

It takes talent....

to stack the clean dishes like this so that they can air dry and I don't have to actually dry them myself.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More Old Pictures - My Mom

Last week I shared with you an old picture that I found. Let me just tell you that when a post gets titled "My Sister - The Creeper" it gets more views than any other post in the history of my blog. I also had a few people that seemed to be a little confused by the picture. The creeper is not my sister Nikki who is on the far right, if you look closely you can see my sister Beth's head peeking through a couple of us.

Anyway, when I was going through that same picture book I found a couple pictures of my mom that I wanted to share. My mom always hated having her picture taken so it's always a nice surprise when I find one of her.

I love this picture of her. Today would have been her 59th birthday. It's hard to believe that she has been gone for 5 1/2 years and yet she still would have only been 59.

Here is one of my mom, sister Beth, sister Nikki, and myself. These were both taken at my bridal shower about 11 1/2 years ago.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Give me your Opinion - Cabinet Color

We are having a cabinet built in our kitchen for shoes, coats, hats, backpacks, and whatever else I can pack in. 

My hope was to stain the cabinet to match the rest of our cabinets but we are having a little trouble matching the stain. So I need your opinion.

Should we stain it, even if the color is a little off or should I go a completely different color? If a different color.....what color?  We have white trim and since this will be housing shoes and will take a lot of abuse I'd like to stay away from white. See below for our current cabinet color. Also, the cabinet is on the opposite end of the kitchen.

This is the color of our current cabinet.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

May you all have a Blessed Day Celebrating the Birth of our Savior.

From Brad, Melissa, Alexandra, Amanda, Joshua, and Isaac.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Life Is In Your Hands

The choir at our church recently sang this song and I absolutely loved it. A friend of mine put it on a CD for me and I have been listening to it a lot lately. I'm getting close to being able to listen to it without tearing up.

I know for many, this weekend is a time a celebration (and it should be) but amidst all the celebrating, there are many who are going through great trials right now and so I thought I would share this song. It seems every time I turn around someone is telling me of someone who is sick, hurting, lost a child......and my prayer list continues to grow. 

Maybe you aren't going through a great trial right now but a small one. All of us are going through something. Whether you are missing a loved one, going through a sickness, a stay at home mom that is having a moment of frustration with your kids, car problems, financial hardships, problems in your marriage, loneliness, whatever it may be......remember that you have a friend in Jesus and you can get through whatever it is at that moment with Him carrying you through. 

Whatever it is that you are going through today, I hope you are as blessed by this song as I have been.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Easy Donuts

Last Saturday my kids were so kind to let me sleep in so I thought I would offer to make them pancakes instead of them having their usual pop tarts. They must have known I was in a good mood because they asked if I would make them donuts instead.

Since I am all for a little fried dough surrounded by sugar and I actually had the ingredients (Pillsbury rolls and oil) in the house, I agreed.

For those of you who have never made these before, I thought I would share.

Basically you heat up some oil. I used vegetable oil.

After it is heated up, you take small tubes of Pillsbury rolls that come in a 4 pack. Mine actually came from Aldi. Poke a hole through the middle and toss in the pan.

Let the first side brown and then flip it.

Then coat with powdered sugar or....

cinnamon and sugar.

Then enjoy! Mmmmmmm!

My Sister - The Creeper

My kids love to haul out old photo books and look through them. The other day Isaac took one out that had a few random pictures from my bridal shower, our wedding, our honeymoon pictures and some of our house when we first bought it. (I will share some of those soon.)  

He brought me the book and asked me who all of these people were. While looking at the picture I noticed that my sister is "creepin'" on the picture. 

I didn't even know what "creepin" was until recently but apparently my sister was practicing this art a long time ago already. Crazy girl!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Jam Packed Monday

For some reason when the kids went off to school, I thought it meant I would have time to get things done around the house.

Well, so far that hasn't been the case. I'm learning that I actually get more done when the kids are home because I'm actually home. I am looking forward to Christmas break.....sleeping in and being home.

I spent a lot of years at home and became quite the homebody but now that the kids are off at school it's busy, busy, busy and go, go, go.

After the kids got on the bus this morning I headed off to work to get a few things done. My things that I had to get done didn't really go as planned so I headed off to the mall to do a little shopping. I am done with Christmas shopping but I had a coupon that just had to be used.

After a little shopping I headed to meet a friend at TGI Fridays where I feel really important when I'm with her because she flashes her little card and we get free chips and salsa. It's very impressive. Of course this friend is moving away so now I will no longer feel important when I go there. That's all I will say on that subject because there were tears and stuff and we just don't need to go there again.

I headed home, talked to my husband for 15 minutes before I had to head out again and he had to head off to work.

Made a quick stop at my sister's house (didn't want to leave her out and have to hear about it later).

Then it was off to the kids school where Alex, Amanda, and Joshua had a program. Thanks to my aunt for joining me there because I was video taping the whole thing, so she snapped some pictures for me.

They had 3 little plays that were so cute. Since I hate talking in microphones and being in front of large groups of people, it was amazing to see my kids up there doing this.

This was Rainbow Christmas.

Then there was The Gingerbread Kid.

Then the Alphabet Tree.

After the program we went to their classroom to get all of their Christmas crafts. It took me two trips to the car to carry all the stuff, plus on the second trip my sister-in-law's arms were full, as well as the kids arms.

We came home and dumped everything on the table.

In case you didn't get the full effect, here is another view.

This is just a part of what we came home with. A Christmas Caroler, a Gingerbread house, a poinsettia, both costumes from the play, and their gift for us. Now take that times 3 and then add Isaac's stuff as well. That is a lot of stuff!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What's for Supper

Today was just one of those lazy days.

Started out by sleeping in. Then I drank lots of coffee in my pj's.

When I finally got out of my pj's, I put on sweats.

And I'm not really sure what I did after that.

I remember making the bed, wrapping some presents, doing a lot of pinning on Pinterest and trying to figure out what food I will be making and eating Christmas weekend.

Since my family loves gourmet meals I did go all out on supper. I aim to please!

It ended up being a good one. My daughter who eats like a bird actually had seconds.

Friday, December 16, 2011


The tree is up, the ornaments are hung.

Part of my Christmas village even came out of hiding this year.

Candy canes are a must. A great reminder of Jesus our shepherd.

The stockings are hung and I love getting the mail this time of year and 
receiving Christmas greetings from friends and family.

The presents have been bought (not all wrapped yet). Cookies have been baked.

As we prepare the house for this special holiday, we also prepare our hearts by reading the Advent book as a family each night, singing songs of praise, and praying for our friends and family.

I am reminded by the lights of the One True Light.

I am reminded of the hope that the birth of this little baby brings to our life.

As we prepare the gifts to be opened soon, I am reminded of the only gift that matters.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Isaiah 9:6

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gift Giving Style

Yep, that's right. There ARE different styles of gift giving.

If you've been reading my blog for very long or if you know me at all, you know that I am frugal, tight, cheap....whatever you want to call it.  Of course this spills over into my gift giving.

I like to get the most stuff for the amount that I am spending. This doesn't mean I spend less, I just try to get the most bang for my buck. If I am going to spend $50 on a person, I like to get $100 worth of merchandise for that $50. This means coupons, sales, Black Friday.

It is no fun at all for me to simply go and purchase a $50 item and give it to a person. Not a big fan of gift cards either, I give them on rare occasions.

Please do not ask me for expensive items that I can't get on sale. Somehow it just pains me to buy them, like it's going against my principles.

In receiving gifts, I have the same concept. I like to know that you got a bargain.

One year my sister and I both got each other the same winter coat, different colors. Plus, since we both got it so cheap we were able to buy each other more. Of course, she somehow hit a better sale on the same coat and I ended up getting more presents from her than she did from me. Although I was a little down that she got the better deal, in the end it actually worked out to my advantage. Ha!

Now, my husband on the other hand........completely different style. He is not as frugal as I am and he doesn't use coupons. He is not going to be looking for the sale and he certainly isn't out on Black Friday. But he is a very generous person and that defines his gift giving style. If he is to buy you a $50 item, he will probably get you 1 item and it will probably cost more than $50.

He really doesn't know how to buy cheap gifts.

This is also a bonus if you are me.

Here is how it works in our house:

I want a few items that I could use but probably won't go out and buy for myself. What I get is something extravagant that costs a lot of money. No sales or coupons involved. One year I asked for just a basic watch. I told him I just need it to tell time, please don't spend a lot of money. I got a Movado watch. Well.... it does tell time. And really I do love it.

Over the years I've gotten a coach purse, the watch, a SLR camera (before digital), a DSLR camera, a Thomas Kinkade painting, diamond earrings.

Then Brad usually asks for something that costs a few hundred dollars and what does he get from me. Some piece of crap that I got on sale and had a coupon for.

Honestly I don't remember much of what I've gotten him which means it all must be pretty bad. Last year he got a Blackhawks jersey, one year a Garmin GPS. That's about all I can remember.

This year is different. Brad is not getting anything on sale or that I used a coupon for. I'm trying, it pains me but I'm trying. No crap giving here.

Just trying to keep it all in perspective, it's not about the presents right? At least that's what we tell the kids!

Anyone want to share your gift giving style? or maybe the best gift you've ever gotten? or maybe the worst? I would love to hear!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Time Is For......

Baking with my helpers.

Cookies. Lots and lots of Cookies.

Monster cookies with Red and Green M&M's.

Cookie Decorating with the family.

Licking fingers filled with frosting!

More cookies. Snickerdoodles! Amanda's Favorite.

And more Cookies! Covered in frosting and sprinkles!

Lots of Sprinkles!

It's less than 2 weeks until Christmas and I'm not done with my shopping!
I usually am by this point but at least we have plenty of sugar to eat.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Enjoying the Little Moments of Life

“But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. 
There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.
I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed.
I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”
~Anna Quindlen

Yesterday I was skimming through a blog post by Ann Voskamp. Yep, that's what I do now.....skim. This quote caught my eye and I've been thinking about it ever since.

Why do I have such a hard time living in the moment?

Why do I always have to think about what I have to get accomplished right after I finish the thing that I'm trying to accomplish at that moment. Even when I stop and try to just relax, I'm thinking about what I need to do next.

It's hard to slow down and just enjoy the people around you. Something I'm always trying to work on. Before I know it my kids will be grown and those little moments will be gone.

For all you busy moms out there, how do you relax and enjoy the little moments of life?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Decorating for Christmas

The kids waited with anticipation to see which Christmas decorations I wasn't going to use so they could decorate their bedroom. After they divided up the decorations between the girls and the boys they went off to their room to decorate.
After they were done decorating, Alex and Amanda were so excited to show us their work.

Their logic????

They put everyone around the candle (which is the thing in the middle with the red berry like things hanging) so that they would stay warm.

They were very proud of their work.

I'm not seeing a future in interior design for either one of them.

But it does make smile every time I go in their room, simply because of their reasoning.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Week of Thanksgiving Day 7

Today I am thankful that God not only supplies my needs but has given me so much more. He has not only provided my daily bread but I have cabinets, a fridge, and a freezer full of food. He has not only supplied shelter for me and my family but has blessed us with a nice home that keeps me warm in the winter and I have air conditioning that keeps me cool in the summer. He has not only supplied me with clothes but I have a closet and drawers full of them. We have a car that takes us where we need to go. We have furniture to sit on, comfy beds to sleep, modern appliances to cook, clean, and do the laundry. Thank you Lord for the material blessings that you have given to our family.

Eucharisteo means "to give thanks," and give is a verb, something that we do. God calls me to do thanks. To give the thanks away. That thanks-giving might literally become thanks-living. That our lives become the very blessings we have received.
Ann Voskamp

Friday, November 25, 2011

Week of Thanksgiving Day 6

Today I am thankful for friendships. Friends that I've known since I was little and friends that I've known for a short time. Those that have helped shaped me into the person I am today. Those who have challenged me, laughed with me, cried with me, put up with me. Friendships that have encouraged me, friends that have taught me and given me advice. Friends that have listened to me and friends that I lent a listening ear.  Those who have been there in good times and those who have been there in difficult times. Thank you Lord for all the different friends that You have brought into my life.

Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, "What! You to? I thought I was the only one."
C.S. Lewis

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Week of Thanksgiving Day 5

Today I am thankful for a great day spent with family and friends.

I am thankful for the sword fighting pilgrim and Indian that came to dinner today.

I am thankful for the traditional meal that we had of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and rolls.

I am thankful that my first attempt at making Thanksgiving dinner was not a failure.

I am thankful for a fun time bowling with 6 adults and 9 kids. I am thankful for being able to take our kids bowling for the first time today.

I am thankful for a fun evening at our house with both of my sisters and their families and new friends.

Although it wasn't a typical Thanksgiving for us, it was a great day with great food and surrounded by great people. I feel very blessed.

Thank you Lord for the food, relaxation, family, and friends.

Psalm 100

 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 
 Worship the LORD with gladness; 
 come before him with joyful songs. 
 Know that the LORD is God. 
 It is he who made us, and we are his; 
 we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
 Enter his gates with thanksgiving 
 and his courts with praise; 
 give thanks to him and praise his name. 
 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; 
 his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Week of Thanksgiving Day 4

Today I am thankful for the beauty of the world that surrounds me. I am thankful for the beautiful snow that blankets the earth in the winter, new life that comes in the spring, the warmth of the sun in the summer, and the beauty of the colorful leaves in the fall. I am thankful for colorful flowers, green grass, blue skies, white clouds, animals that I see in my back yard, the chirping of the birds. Rain that waters the earth, thunder and lightning that remind me of His power. Thank you Lord for your creation, for the changing of the seasons, for the weather.

Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your though to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!"
Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Week of Thanksgiving Day 3

Today I am thankful for the 4 children that God blessed me with. I am thankful for all the joy they bring to my life, the smiles and the laughter. I am thankful that I get the opportunity to teach them about the love of Christ and the opportunity to watch them grow both physically and spiritually. They are constantly teaching me things as well. I am thankful for the frustrations that they sometimes bring, for the messes they leave behind, the things they break, and all the dirty laundry that I wash. I am thankful for each of their different personalities. Thank you Lord for the blessing of children.

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. 
William Arthur Ward

Joshua, Alex, and Amanda's class had to write their turkey recipes for Thanksgiving. These brought a smile to my face and just another reason I am thankful for my children. Here are their recipes in case you need to know how to make a turkey this week.

Joshua's Recipe

Get a medium turkey from the grocery store. I know they cook it in the oven and my oven beeps when things are done so take it out then. While it's cooking get all the other stuff on the table. Then sit down and pray. Cut the turkey with a knife and use a fork to eat it.

Alex's Recipe

Go to Jewel's or Walt's and buy a big turkey. 
Put it on the big long pan.
Put it in the oven for 15 hours.
Cut it up and set the table.
Put the meat on your plate and cut it up smaller and then you can eat it.

Amanda's Recipe

Have your aunt go to a store and find a turkey.
Put salt on it and put it in the oven.
Then play with Grandpa and Grandma and Avery.
When they call you go and eat.
I don't really like the turkey. I like it when they make hamburgers.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week of Thanksgiving Day 2

I am thankful for my husband. I am thankful that he is willing to work odd and long hours to provide for our family and am thankful that he is such a hard worker. He loves the Lord and even though he has to be at work many days at 3 or 4 in the morning, he still gets up early to spend time with God. I am thankful for the father he is to our children. That he is a great dad, loves his children and takes the time to run around in the back yard with them and faithfully teaches them about God. He has a generous heart, loves to serve others, and is a man that is devoted to me, to his family and to his friends. He has taught me so much by his example. Thank you Lord for blessing me with him.

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
Sarah  Ban Breathnach

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Week of Thanksgiving

It's been a while since I posted to my Gratitude list. In honor of Thanksgiving this week, I thought I would add to it every day.

Today and every day I am so thankful for my heavenly Father that has given me life. He has given me everything that I will be thanking Him for the rest of the week and all the blessings that I am thankful for each and every day. He gives me each and every breath that I take. He has sent trials into my life that have taught me lessons and have brought me closer to Him. He sent His Son to pay the ultimate sacrifice that I might have eternal life.  I live my life in gratitude to the great God that we serve.

All gratitude is ultimately gratitude for Christ, all remembering a remembrance of Him. For in Him all things were created, are sustained, have their being. Thus Christ is all there is to give thanks for; Christ is all there is to remember. To know how we can count on God, we count graces, but ultimately there is really only One.      
Ann Voskamp

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Singing the Old Testament Books

Alex, Amanda, and Joshua had to learn the Old Testament Books of the Bible this year for Awana. Last year they had to learn the New Testament books which are a little easier. They learned them no problem but with all the hard names in the Old Testament, I figured it would probably be easier to learn the song.

The only problem with the song was that it was stuck in my head. I woke up singing it, I went to bed singing it. Thankfully it's been a couple weeks and it is finally out of my head. But I must say, when I need to find a book in the OT that I don't usually go to very much, the song has been very helpful to me. So if you'd like it stuck in your head, feel free to listen to this video over and over and over again!

And yes, Isaac is singing it too because when his brother and sisters have to learn something he tends to learn it right along with them. So we are all set for next year!

The delay of me posting this 2 weeks after they learned them is because I am not very good when it comes to technology. It took me a very long time to figure out how to get this posted here!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Adding To My List

Thursday morning while getting ready for school, Joshua asked me if I would sew the ear on his pillow pet.

He has actually been asking me to sew his pillow pet for about 6 months now and I tell him the same thing each time. "I'll try, if I remember."

This time he wanted to make sure I remembered. After all, the ear was now hanging by a thread.
He asked me where my list was for the day because he wanted to add it.

While I was running through the house getting the other kids ready, I was yelling how to spell 'sew' and 'pillow'. After all, Joshua is a little like me......he does not like spelling errors.

Since he took the time to add it to my list, I had to make sure I took the time to sew the ear back on.

By the time he got home both of us had kind of forgotten about it. After supper I remembered.  I called downstairs (he was playing in the basement) to him, "Joshua, didn't you ask me to do something today."

Joshua, "Yep, sew my pillow pet. Did you do it?"

Me, "Why don't you go check in your bedroom."

We walk to the bedroom. He sees it. Big smile across his face, he jumps up and gives me a big hug and thanks me.

Definitely worth my time to sew that ear on.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Breakfast Sandwiches

I'm not a fan of mornings and because of that I'm also not a big fan of making breakfast. My husband on the other hand is often up at 2 or 3 in the morning to head off to work.

That means he wants breakfast.

There is no way I'm getting up that early but because he has to get up that early he gets a lot of sympathy from me. Much more sympathy than when he works the evening shift and gets home at 3 or 4 in the morning.

Buying premade breakfast items at the grocery store can take a big chunk out of the grocery budget, so I've tried making them myself.

I've tried several different ways but here is one. I love it because you can get creative with it.

I fried up 1 lb of pork sausage.
Added 6 eggs. Beaten.
Mixed the two together.

Put them into greased muffin pans.

Baked them at 350 degrees. I wish I could tell you a time but really I just kind of watched them until they were done.

I toasted english muffins in the oven.
Put the two together and then wrapped in tin foil and put them in the freezer.
Each day he can grab one out of the freezer and take it with him to work.

I'm guessing this cost me about $5 to make a dozen.  This is way cheaper than the premade ones!

My husband said they needed some salt and more eggs. The second time I made them I added salt, a few more eggs and some shredded cheese. It then made about 18.