Sunday, February 28, 2010

The way popcorn was meant to be eaten

I'm starting to think I take too many pictures of food...especially since there are photos of lasagna and enchiladas that I haven't even shared yet...but I had to share this.

This is how popcorn was meant to be eaten.

With chocolate.

I apparently have the very best Secret Sister in the world because who thought of this? It's pure genius! This particular flavor is called Zebra and it is as close to perfection as popcorn will ever be, but Popcornopolis has many more flavors of gourmet popcorn to choose from if you don't love chocolate as much as I do.

The Zebra popcorn is long gone, and I'm working on the caramel popcorn now, which is the best caramel popcorn I've ever had. I still have the cheese popcorn left, and if it's as good as the other two flavors, it'll be fantastic.

So, thank you to my Secret Sister, for the gourmet popcorn as well as the chocolates and earrings! (I have no idea if you are one of my readers, of course, but wanted to thank you regardless!)


Click here to enter to win 250 FREE custom stickers or labels! This giveaway ends March 2nd at 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A sewing project fit for a princess

After months of telling Grace to put real clothes on seeing Grace clip a baby blanket around her chest to create a long "dress," I decided something had to be done. She has dress up clothes; it's just that she thinks the skirts aren't long enough.

She wants to look like a princess. And princesses wear long dresses.

I looked around the house for some princess-worthy fabric, and the best I could do was some silky blue fabric with dragons on it. (Grace didn't mind. It seems like she said something about it looking like what the Little Mermaid would wear...)

I knew Grace loves "spinning dresses," so I made a pattern using newspaper to create three panels that would flare out at the hemline. (Three panels were as much as I could easily make with the bits of material I had on hand. I sew by hand, so this needs to be kept simple--no piecing together lots of pieces, thankyouverymuch.)

I pinned my pattern onto the fabric

and cut the fabric a little wider than the pattern because (1) I wanted to allow for the seams and (2) the pattern was a little shorter than Grace would like the finished dress to be anyway.

Shhh! Don't tell anyone, but I marked on the "wrong side" of the fabric with an ink pen. This is for dress-up clothes, remember...

I pinned the sides of the three panels together and sewed all the sides. Next, I wanted to run elastic across the top of the dress so I folded over and pinned the fabric for this. After I sewed this, I ran the elastic through. The safety pin is your friend with this step. It gives you something to hold onto while you pull the elastic through quite easily. I used baby elastic because that's what I had on hand.

Next, it's time for the first fitting! I had Grace try on the dress at this point to see how long the elastic needed to be around her to keep the dress up. She immediately accessorized. And twirled. least favorite part of sewing projects: pinning the hemline. Ugh. But I managed to get the hemline pinned properly, all the while reminding myself that this dress was dress-up clothes (and therefore doesn't have to be perfect). That didn't stop me from repinning several times, but it made me feel better when I started hemming.

I wanted to add a simple strap to hold the dress up properly, knowing that with all of the spinning and flitting around that was sure to happen, Grace needed a little help to remain modest. :) I used one of the scraps of fabric and made a strap that would be a kind of halter-top style.

Again, the safety pin is your friend, both in turning the strap right-side out and in running elastic through.

The finished project (not ironed, because...did I mention this is only for dress-up?)

and the happy girl!

The dress was an immediate hit with Grace, and she typically wears it from the time she wakes up until I make her put on clothes every day. ;) Grace says she likes the colors of her new dress, and loves the "necklace" part. So far, she hasn't tried to wear it out of the far...


Click here to enter to win 250 FREE custom stickers or labels! This giveaway ends March 2nd at 9:00 p.m.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sticker Giveaway!

You may have seen the button on my sidebar for, an online printing company. And you may have signed up to receive my blog posts because I promised that I would have more giveaways coming up soon...Well, now I have a new giveaway to offer! And, now that has changed the way they do giveaways, shipping is once again FREE!
Not only does print business cards, wall graphics, and a bunch of other things, they also print stickers! This giveaway is for custom printed stickers or labels...250 of them! And it is absolutely free, with free shipping.

Custom stickers are a great way to promote your blog or your business. Use them as address labels, event stickers, or more! Use your creativity and come up with a sticker design that is uniquely you!

For hosting this giveaway, I will also be given 250 custom stickers. I'm probably going to make some dual function address labels that could also be used to label our many, many books so we'll know which ones are ours (an idea I got from my friend at Yes They're All Ours).

This is the image I created the last time I hosted a Uprinting sticker giveaway, using the 2" x 4" format:

What would you do with the custom stickers/labels if you won?

All you have to do is leave a comment to have a chance to win. And if you subscribe to my blog by email or by a feed, you can leave an extra comment for another chance to win! This gives you a total of three possible entries for this giveaway. I must have your email address to be able to contact you if you win--if I don't know you IRL, you can email me with your email address by clicking on "Email Me" from my Blogger "About Me" page. (I don't always see the email address you enter when you leave a comment.)

250 Stickers/Labels for One (1) lucky winner
  • Sizes:2” x 3.5”, 2” x 4”, or 3” x 3”
  • Paper:70 lb. Label Matte
  • Specifications: Full color front, blank back; 4 Business Day printing
  • Shipping: FREE UPS Ground Shipping
  • Eligibility: Limited to US Residents only

So, how would you use 250 free stickers or labels? Customized address labels? Favorite photo? Business or church logo? Something else? Leave a comment and let me know!

Hurry! This giveaway ends at 9:00 p.m. on March 2, 2010. The winner will be picked randomly from the comments at that time.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Grace [casually looking at me over her cereal bowl one morning]: Mommy, Scar is like Cain and Mufasa is like Abel.

Keep in mind that she's three--she'll be four next month. Josiah explains everything to her, including, it seems, the correlations between the Bible and The Lion King movie. And sometimes he's actually correct with his deductions. :)


Josiah [shamelessly pleading]: C'mon, Dad--can't I have just one Bible story?

Jason: No, it's already past your bedtime. We'll do it tomorrow.

Josiah [calling from his pillow in the darkness]: Please? Maybe just a short parable?

Jason staggered away from Josiah's doorway trying to suppress his laughter. The next day, I questioned Josiah about the conversation. He elaborated for me.

Josiah: Well, some of the parables are really short...He could have picked one of those, couldn't he?


Grace has gone through a phase where is apparently trying to make blueprints of our home in her mind. It started one day when she was standing in the living room and heard Robert bump against his bedroom wall while he was doing something in his room. She looked at the wall, looked at me, and asked, "What's on the other side of that wall?" I told her it was Robert's room, and she thoughtfully replied, "Hmmm...I thought it'd be Josiah's room..." That sparked her fascination for days and days of questions about "What's on the other side of this wall?" At the tale end of this thankfully short-lived fascination, we had the following conversation at bedtime.

Grace [gesturing to one of my bedroom walls]: What's on the other side of this wall, Mommy?

Me [tired]: No, we're not going to play that game right now.

Grace [completely seriously, and sounding quite a bit like that Seinfeld line, "Oh, I'm stressed!"]: Oh, it's no game!


Grace [standing in front of me and pretending to read from the book she's holding]: Hello, my name is Rachel and I'm a Wilderness Explorer in Tribe 54. Are you in need of any assistance today, ma'am?

Grace had previously recited the line from the movie Up with the name Russell, but changed it to Rachel since, of course, she's a girl.


I shared a very small corner of a chocolate bar with Robert while he was working on math at my side.

Robert [taking the smallest bite off of his piece, gesturing at what's left, and whispering]: $2.99.

Me [playing along, like the Wendy's commercial, and gesturing at my own larger piece of chocolate]: $2.99.

Oh, he cracks himself up. And, despite all of the TV and movie quotes you may hear from my children, they really don't watch a whole lot of TV!


Jason [coming into the bedroom and finding me on the computer]: What'cha looking at?

Me: Oh, just some grammar stuff.

Jason [If he were the type to roll his eyes, he'd be rolling them at this point]: Yeah, I look at that stuff all the time when I'm online.

It's that time of year when I look towards next year and track down the textbooks and other materials we'll need to purchase. I've discovered a new (new to me) website called that searches eBay,, and about 200 more booksellers online for prices including shipping. ( has more than just textbooks--and, in addition to searching by author, title, and keyword, you can search by ISBN if there is a particular edition of a book you are needing.) I've been hanging out there as well as a lot lately...and I've already bought next year's math and social studies books for Josiah (3rd grade) and science and social studies for Robert (8th grade). Whoo hoo!


During the wait for baseball evaluations today, Josiah found himself in the midst of two other seven year olds who were talking about "fighting"--you know, the rough-housing that boys gravitate towards in every spare moment.

Josiah: Trust me--you don't want to fight me. I've had training.

He went on to explain that this "training" had come at the hands of from his older brother, Robert (age 12). At least he can put a positive spin on the abuse he's suffered brotherly fights they've had over the years.


One evening, Jason called both boys to the kitchen table and announced they would play a game.

Josiah [bursting with excitement]: Are we going to play the drinking game?!?

Now, before you call the authorities on us, the "drinking game" is a competition the boys had for a day or two until I discovered what they were doing and put a stop to it--they were timing how quickly they could drink a cup of water; I didn't want them to continue this competition because, knowing them and how competitive they are with each other, it was very likely they would be compelled to repeat this over and over again in a very short period of time which could be quite dangerous.

So if you've happened to hear Josiah mention the drinking game, this is what he was talking about.
I can only imagine what he tells his Sunday School teachers. (Whatever he's said, it's not true, Stacey!)

And I can't wait to see what kind of young man he grows into...

Friday, February 19, 2010

All that hard work paid off

Grace at 8 months, starting with some gymnastics training.*

"Gym Dawgs, here I come!"

Moving on to weights at 11 months...

Making rapid progress with the weights at 12 months...

Adding a little climbing at age 2...

Plenty of running at age 3...

Nearly 4 years old, and just look at that impressive muscle! ;)

*This was how she went from being on her belly to a sitting position when she was 8 months old--she would push up from crawling until she was sitting in a split.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Friday night it snowed steadily until after 8:00...

and it was absolutely gorgeous the next morning!

By noon on Saturday, the snow was rapidly melting, which was fine with me by that point. I get tired of all the wet shoes, wet clothes, wet gloves, wet floors, etc., faster than the kids get tired of bundling up to play in the snow. ;)

Besides, Robert throws snowballs much like Flint Lockwood does in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, which isn't much fun for Josiah...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Snow Day!

We finally had a good snowfall on Friday!

I made the obligatory trip to Kroger along with about half the people in our area for cereal (we were completely out) and picked up some bread, too, even though we already had a loaf in the pantry. It's required, you know...whether you need it or not, it is your civic duty to show up at the grocery store for bread and milk. (Shhh! Don't tell anyone, but I didn't buy any milk that day. And, somehow, we survived without an extra gallon.)

Whoo hoo! It started snowing at 2:00 p.m.!

Robert and Josiah started making snowballs

and began a series of snowball fights.

(For the record, Robert does indeed have a nice, warm coat that he could wear. He eventually did wear it...sometimes...but it had to be his idea, seeing as he is 12.)

Grace, on the other hand, decided it was the perfect time to take a nice, relaxing bath.

Later, she was ready to check on "Black Beauty." She said she put some blankets on her horse so she wasn't cold.

She had a quick snowball fight with Robert

and then got busy making a snow castle, which she named Bella. You can barely see her castle, which was about two feet tall when I made her go inside because I'd had enough of the cold we came back inside to warm up.

I was at the back edge of our yard, where I took lots of photos of the snow in the trees (where the falling snow wouldn't get on my camera too much--I'll share those photos later). That's Grace near the middle of the photo, working on her snow castle and asking me to come help. I did.

Shortly before we went back inside, I asked Grace if she wanted to make a snow angel. My words were still hanging in the air when she plopped down on the snow and gleefully flapped her arms. ;)

Josiah and Grace played outside again while I fixed supper. Josiah is always ready to pose for the camera if he has any kind of prop, especially if that prop is a giant snowball.

More snow pictures coming soon! :)

Did you make any snowmen?

Hope you had a Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Miss Monopoly

Visit 5 Minutes for Mom for more Wordless Wednesday participants.


Click here to see my previous Wordless Wednesday photos.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Furry, Happy Confession

We heard R.E.M.'s song Shiny Happy People during lunch today, and I have a confession to make.

This is what I think of every single time I hear that song now...

(If the video doesn't appear for you, you can click here to see it on YouTube.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

An unintentional blogging break

It's been a wild several weeks. A quick recap for you...On Thursday, the day we were expecting the "big snow" (ha), I took Robert to the doctor for an ear infection and pink eye. eye. (For the record, it was the first time in several years that Robert had been to the doctor for anything but a well visit. And it was our first experience with pink eye with the kids. I guess that's why he got hit with a double whammy.) Before we left the exam room, the pediatrician poked her head back in the room and said, "Oh, and if the other kids get pink eye, go ahead and start them on the eye drops, too, and just call on Monday for a refill."

She sounded so casual about it. I knew what that meant...

As we were driving home from the doctor's office, it started snowing! It looked promising for a little while, and Josiah and Grace were very excited to start playing in the snow as it fell in beautiful, gigantic flakes. In the next photos, you can see a few white blobs of snow falling:

If you look closely in the next photo, Grace has a white blob of a snowflake as a nose. Josiah had already given up on the playing in the snow thing because, quite frankly, it was merely cold and no fun at all, so Grace was left to play outside by herself. (I was taking these photos from the door because, hello, it was COLD and I'm no longer impervious to the cold weather like my daughter.)

It only snowed briefly that evening, and this is all we got:

That night, Grace had pink eye. Yay...

And the next morning, we didn't even have snow to play in. It was the non-snow event that I'm convinced was promoted only to boost sales of milk and bread. A conspiracy, really. See?

Robert and Grace soon had clear eyes with no signs of pink eye (or "The Pink Eye," as Josiah was calling it). And it really looked like Josiah had successfully avoided "The Pink Eye."

Or so we thought.

Sunday night, Josiah started with signs of (the) pink eye. Ugh. I practically had an assembly line going with the eye drops, and by Monday morning we were completely out and calling the terribly swamped pediatrician's office for refills so I could continue the assembly line. Yay...

By Friday, I was at my own doctor's office for a sinus infection. The upside of it? It was first illness-related doctor visit in, oh, about four years, so I figure I can't complain too much. And I made the physician's assistant laugh when I ranted about the new albuterol inhalers--how it's really the asthmatics causing the depletion of the ozone layer, and that's why they had to change the inhalers to the new, seemingly ineffective CFC-free ones.

I'm easily entertained, and so is the P.A. He even made up a bumper sticker about it.

The P.A. was impressed that I had managed to avoid getting The Pink Eye. I took large doses of vitamin C all week, so that helped...but I have since found out that it may have also caused the low blood pressure I had the day of my office visit. Oh, the look on the nurse's face as she finished taking my BP! She looked shocked and, nearly whispering, said, "Your blood pressure is 90/50!" Well, that explains my lack of energy and how I could barely hold a thought in my head...

Yes, I do tend to be on the low end of things with my blood pressure, and I was, after all, sick.

Yes, I've quit taking so much vitamin C.

And, yes, I am feeling completely better.

I just can't seem to get back in the swing of the blogging thing since early January. But I will try harder now, OK? :) I hope you have a great weekend!

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