Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Who, me? Stylish?

My imaginary friend* Kathleen at Treasured Chapters recently awarded me the Stylish Blog Award.

And then I got sick, we traveled to be with family for Christmas, yada yada yada, and now it's more than a couple of weeks later. Which makes me look ungrateful. Which I'm not.

To accept this award, I have to list 7 random things about me and then pass it on. (And hopefully not within a certain number of days...because, if so, I've likely blown that.)

1. I don't really say "yada yada yada" in conversation; I only say it in my mind...and, apparently, on my blog.

2. I think it's laughable that I've been awarded the Stylish Blog award. It's safe to say that I am anything but stylish. That's why I typically ask my sister-in-law Cindy for a sweater for Christmas, because she can pick out stylish clothes.

3. I am perfectly happy shopping at Goodwill or consignment stores/sales, which is why I am saddened that my favorite local consignment store closed this month. Now I will have to find a new favorite consignment store.

4. I'm not particularly fond of change.

5. Or shopping.

6. Or conflict. (Can you say "middle child"?)

7. But I like making lists. They help me think and plan, and clear my mind of the details. The more conflict (or shopping...or change) going on in my life, the more detailed the lists become. Which is probably why I became downright obsessive with my list-making during my last two pregnancies. ;)

So, there you have 7 random facts about me. And now I'm passing on the award to Julie at From Inmates to Playdates, Elizabeth at Yes They're All Ours, and Suzy at The Winter Blahg.

*"Imaginary friend" is the term my husband uses for people I have met online but have never met in person or talked to on the phone...and they may or may not even know that I exist. :) I am happy to say that Kathleen, Julie, Elizabeth, and Suzy all do indeed know that I exist, and I am thankful to count them as friends!

Look who came to visit!

Santa in our living room...

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Trickery

I imagine he was thinking, "Really? A 'Design-a-Mug'? What am I, five?"

He tossed the box aside. I made him open it (after I made him pose for that picture).


Visit 5 Minutes for Mom and Shibley Smiles for more Wordless Wednesday participants.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Let the stable still astonish

But when the time was right, God sent his Son, and a woman gave birth to him. Galatians 4:4 (CEV)

Please click over to read the short poem Let the Stable Still Astonish by Leslie Leyland Field.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Overheard: Christmas photos

I recently took pictures of the kids for the photo we include in our Christmas letter. It was surprisingly easy this year. (And, no, that's not sarcasm.)

Shortly before the "perfect" shot, this is what was going on...

That one really captures their goofiness personalities better. I think we'll go with that kind of photo next year. What do you think?

We also made the trek over to the mall to get a picture made with Santa...

Quite possibly the last Santa picture we'll get with Robert in it. :( He had to be bribed (with Mountain Dew) as it was!

Telling Santa what they would like for Christmas:

...And Grace said she would share her candy canes with me. ;)

The kids' take on Santa this year? Grace said that he was supposed to be fatter. Josiah said that Santa seems to be getting younger each year, and that his beard was 2 inches shorter than last year. (Josiah also added that Santa was about an inch or two fatter last year.)

Merry CHRISTmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Playing with Gran'dad

...with a Band-aid. (Fortunately, it was from an imaginary boo-boo.)

Visit 5 Minutes for Mom for more Wordless Wednesday participants.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

You Capture: Outside

Last week, I went to a friend's house with another friend. It was a gorgeous day

and while the kids ran around and played outside,

we baked cookies!


Lots of cookies!

Yummy holly berry treats

New kinds of cookies...

These were sugar cookies that were "thumbprinted," filled with raspberry jam, baked and then drizzled with melted white chocolate. Yum! I just wish I'd taken a picture of the finished product...

And more familiar cookies...

Chocolate chip cookies are hiding underneath the cut-out cookies.

Oh, yeah...outside...

After church on Sunday, we were surprised to look outside to see snow falling. We rarely get snow in this area, (In fact, when Josiah was three he asked, "Is snow real?" because he couldn't remember it ever snowing.)

It was too cold for Grace to want to stick around outside after getting her picture made! I appreciated her effort to smile, even if she does look pained.

And when we do get snow...well, it's not in December! Not even a little bit of flurries...

The snow looked pretty but there wasn't much of it, and it didn't stick around for long.

The cold, however, stuck around longer than I'd have liked, especially with the windchill in the teens. My friend from Pennsylvania was delighted!

Check out other You Capture entries at I Should Be Folding Laundry.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WFMW: Chopping onions without the tears

OK, a quick show of hands...Who can't stand chopping onions?

Yeah. Me, neither.

I had heard about cutting onions under running water (Who can do that? Safely, I mean...?) and wearing goggles (Really?) but I wasn't going to do either of those tricks. Finally, I heard about freezing the onions before cutting them.

Freezing them? I can do that. So I tried it, and...


First, after removing the outer skin and chopping off the ends, I sliced the onions. I'm almost ashamed to show you the photo of my onion slices because tonight I found out I've been doing it the wrong way all these years. So, cut yours vertically (with the onion standing on the flat end you've cut away) instead of horizontally like I did.

I placed the incorrectly sliced onions in the freezer on the top of a plastic container and set the timer. About 30 minutes has been the best time for me--any longer than that, and the onions become brittle and harder to chop. Even if you have less time to leave the onions in the freezer, it helps. Just grab a few slices, leave the rest in the freezer, and come back for more when you're done slicing the ones you've taken.

Place the chopped onions in a labeled freezer bag. Do not overfill the bag so you can flatten the onions into a thin layer; freeze the onions flat, and then the chopped pieces will be loose enough for you to get what you need from the freezer in the future.

If you are interested in more tips on chopping onions without tears, check out this link. There is even a video on how to remove the part of the onion that is releasing the gas that makes our eyes tear up...I don't think I have a sharp enough knife to try it, but you might.

For more ideas and helpful hints, check out We Are THAT Family!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

You Capture: Sweet

With this week's You Capture photography challenge of "sweet," you can bet I'm going to include a shot of my little girl sleeping so sweetly and so photogenically.

I can also tell you that Shirley was sweet to let Grace (4) decorate her silver Christmas tree by herself when we visited recently:

That's pretty much all the ornaments, all on a couple of branches. According to Grace, they are all friends and, therefore, they naturally want to stay together. Very close together...

And Josiah (8) is sweet to read to Grace (4)

lots and lots of books.

But looks are deceiving...because while this next shot looks sweet, it's not all that it seems.

It looks like all three of my children are enjoying a book together (if not enjoying getting their picture taken again). However, what is really going on is that Robert (13) is purposefully telling Josiah that he is mispronouncing the words...For instance, Josiah will read "joking" (correctly), and Robert will tell him it's pronounced "jocking" instead. That's Robert's sense of humor. And Josiah was sweet to put up with it.

Check out other You Capture entries at I Should Be Folding Laundry.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Helping kids keep their rooms neat

If you would like to read a tip that relates to the suggested WFMW theme of a holiday tip, you can read my post about storage of toys/large items as well as strings of lights.

Earlier this week, I spent three hours helping my 8 year old rearrange the bedroom he shares with his little sister.

Three hours.

After three hours of work, I wanted to make sure it stayed looking nice and neat. So...I took pictures of the various areas on the room (including the closet), put all of the pictures on one page, and printed it off. I also wrote instructions on the page, such "LEGOS go here" with an arrow pointing to the box under the dresser, and "Tall books go here" with an arrow pointing to the spot between the wall and the dresser.

This was my dresser when I was little. My parents let me pick out new drawer pulls when they bought the piece, and I choose little sunflowers (top drawers) and lion heads with large rings through the mouths (bottom drawers). ???

The page of pictures is posted on the wall behind the bedroom door for both Josiah (8) and Grace (4) to see. Their job is to make the room look like the pictures again, which is easier to do than to follow the directions of "Clean up your room!" They can refer to the pictures as much as they need to (and I have an objective picture to point to if they still have work to do)...and that works for me!

This idea could also be used to show the way the other rooms, such as a bathroom or kitchen, should look after being cleaned.

Check out other tips at We Are THAT Family! This week's suggested theme is holiday gifts or tip ideas.

Wordless Wednesday: Under the mistletoe

Visit 5 Minutes for Mom for more Wordless Wednesday participants.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shoe shopping with Grace

If you take Grace (4) shopping for some everyday shoes (with velcro, please!), she will instead sit on the floor and say "Eenie meenie minie mo" over glitter shoes.

That's not a surprise, is it?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

You Capture: "What inspires you?"

This week's photography challenge was to find what inspires each of us.

I could have said that what inspires me is the beauty we can find around us in the everyday things--the beauty of God's creation, the beauty of that particular mix of sweetness and silliness that I see in my children, the beauty of well-chosen words, the beauty of relationships.

Because, ultimately, life is about relationships.

With that in mind...

This week I was listening to a song from an album that my son introduced me to, and a particular line struck me:
...And this life sentence that I'm serving
I admit that I'm every bit deserving
But the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair

--Be My Escape by Relient K (click on that link to watch/listen on YouTube)
No, life is not fair. And especially in the area of eternity, I don't want it to be fair. I don't want to get what I deserve. "The wages of sin is death." That means that what I deserve--what I've earned because of sin--is death. Eternal separation from God. So, no, I don't want to get what I deserve. I want grace.

And I can't have that without first having a relationship with Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

Photo of a painting in my home of Jesus

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NIV

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 24-25 NIV

And if that isn't inspiring, I don't know what is.

Check out other You Capture entries at I Should Be Folding Laundry.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Get the wiggles out!

We have a pretty large, long back yard, which can come in handy to get the wiggles out so my 8 year old can focus on school work. I have him run back and forth 3 times; he typically giggles through the 1st run and then picks up speed on the 2nd and 3rd time. ;)

I don't have him run every day (he's pretty active on his own), but do this as needed to help get him to the point where he can do what we need to cover. If needed, I will interrupt school time to have him run; when he comes back to his work, he can think much clearer and our school time goes much he's getting in better shape for Upward basketball.

If it's a rainy or particularly cold day, some indoor things I've done with Josiah are:
  1. Jumping jacks, running in place, sit ups, or other exercises that don't require a lot of room or equipment. I think last year Josiah's record for jumping jacks was 112...whew! (And he did those on his own. I would ask him to do 30-50, which he can easily do.)
  2. Running or briskly walking back and forth down the hallway a certain number of times. Depending on the layout of your home, you may have a nice little "track."
  3. Using a deck of cards, you or your child(ren) assign a simple exercise to each suit. For example, diamonds are jumping jacks and clubs are sit ups. Draw a number card and have your child do that many of the if you drew a 4 of diamonds, you would say, "Do 4 jumping jacks." The randomness of this makes it a little more fun. I wish I could remember where I heard of this hint, because I certainly didn't make it up. :)
After burning off some energy, we can move through the seatwork much faster and he is paying attention...and that works for me!

This post is also linked to Helpful Homeschool Hints, hosted by Angie at Many Little Blessings.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What'cha think?

I've been hacking away obsessively gradually cutting my hair shorter and shorter over the last week or so, and this is where I've stopped.

(For now.)

(Just kidding, Jason.)

I would like to cut another inch or two off the back. But that may be pushing the limits of my "talent" (ha) and my husband's nerves, so I won't.


Kidding, Jason. Just kidding...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You Capture: Serene

Serene...hmmm...Yeah, I could use some of that.

This week I captured serene skies

Can you see the tiny thumbnail of a moon?

and a serene, frosty morning. (That was Sunday morning; most of this week--today included--temperatures have been back in the low 70s.)

I captured serene looks on the face of a sleeping child

Oh, the cute button nose! Grace looks most like she did as a baby in this shot.

And, oh, the sweet cheeks!

I captured this serene view while we were at the library and my daughter was lining up all the Angelina Ballerina videos to make a choice.

And the square looked serene as we drove through to continue our errands.

After errands were done and we were back home, Sleeping Beauty continued the nap she had started while we were on the road. She is apparently not doing well with the time change--she rarely takes a nap, yet slept for 2.5 hours this afternoon...slumped over a chair in the living room...with no one being particularly quiet.

...Which explains why she was anything but serene while we were out today.

Check out other You Capture entries at I Should Be Folding Laundry, and join in on the fun!


All photos are SOOC except for some cropping and the editing of the street signs for bloggy secrecy.
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