Friday, December 28, 2007

Snow Fun

First snowman of Winter. Oh, wait! It is a snowLADY. My bad. We have had something like 25 inches of snow since December 1st, but this was the first good and packy stuff. The contrast was really bad on this picture, so I played with photoshop a little. Still a lot to learn, so forgiveness please.

This is the snowcastle that the Queen Momma so nicely built.

Abi decorating the snow castle.

Snowpaint is way fun. If you have never tried it before, it is a must. We emptied some spray bottles of their cleaning solutions (not that there has been any cleaning around her recently anyway) and added some water and food coloring. Squirt away!

Snow angels are also great!

Dreaming of...

Pear Blossoms


Walking around Barefoot

Green grass, green leaves and water flowing in the river


Black Eyed Susans

The Dreaming makes the months go faster.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Decorations on a budget

When we first got out our Christmas decorations this year, I had a slight panic. You see, our new house is quite a bit bigger than our cute little cottage was. I knew exactly where my decorations went at the old house. I always put white lights on the picket fences in the corners of the yard. The tree had a standard home. I did silver balls in the dining room. It helps that there were really only 3 rooms I could decorate. Much less overwhelming. All of a sudden I have a much bigger house to decorate, but the same amount of decorations. I wasn't sure how I was going to make the house look festive, using only what we had. Many, many material things have been put into perspective this year, and now I can add Christmas decorations to the list. When you are saving for an adoption, suddenly, how many and what kind of decorations you have just really doesn't matter. The slight meltdown/panic came on because I really like to decorate. I like to surround myself with pretty things. But, I am also immensely cheap. Like I said, it was only a slight panic. Once I put my mind to it, I have been able to decorate quite nicely without spending money on anything but the tree (which we do every year). I am so thankful for a healthy dose of creativity that sometimes drives me crazy, but many times is exactly what I need. I am also quite thankful for Flickr and all the great ideas that can be found there. You will have to forgive the quality of these pictures. The lack of sunlight is not helping with the photo taking attempts. I am unable to get a decent photo of the silver snowflake garland in the dining room and school room doors, but you will just have to trust me that it looks great.

I sewed fabric that I had in my stash into star shapes with some batting in the middle. Cut the edges with pinking shears. Used a large eyed needle to thread some shear ribbon through and hung 1 on each spindle on the stair case. We also hung the stockings with ribbon from the stair case. Emma did the tying, she said it was good practice.

The tree found a good home next to the window seat and in front of one of the glass doors, so it reflects nicely.

The wreaths are my favorite! I have really wanted star shaped wreaths after seeing them in a pottery barn catalog a couple of years ago. Being CHEAP, I wouldn't buy them, so I had been searching for a star shaped wreath form and have been unable to find any. As I was trying to figure out what to do outside the house, I realized that the star shaped wreaths that I have been longing for would look even better on this house than they would have at the other. So I set my mind to figuring out how to make them. We always get extra pine boughs when we go get our tree so I had plenty of that to work with. I just needed a base to wire the boughs to. I spent some time looking for sticks that would work and came up empty. Then I saw the stash of utility flags that the children had hidden behind the couch. When we moved in we had the utility guys come and mark all the line so that in my mad gardening frenzies, I wouldn't kill myself or blow up the neighborhood. After I had taken pictures of where the flags were, I told the girls they could have them. They used them all summer for such things as marking where they had planted their dandelion seeds and pretending to land on the moon. So now I reclaimed them and used the sturdy wires that the flags are attached to to make star shaped wreath forms. I wired the greens on, snuck some lights in there and ta-da!
We had intended to put lights on 1 of the trees down by the river so that they could reflect off the river and make me exceedingly happy and also had intended to put more greens around, but alas, the every other day snow/ice pattern that we have been in has prevented further decorating. I guess there is always next year. I keep telling myself that snow is a free decoration and who need icicle lights when there are real icicles?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Baking and Making

Since Thanksgiving there has been a great deal of sewing, crafting, decorating and baking going on around here. I am hoping to post a little more often to share some of the goodness, but I have to be careful as I wouldn't want to reveal any gifts. For today, I will share some baking loveliness. The 2 days immediately following Thanksgiving we get together at my mom's house and do some hard core baking and cookie decorating. I love this tradition because it always involves some degree of craziness on the part of my sister and me. You see, we are a tad bit anal, mixed with a little crazy, and have more creativity and ideas than either one of use will ever be able to use in a life time. So cookie decorating becomes an art. Not like Martha Stewart though. Oh no, we are much too silly for that. Oh, and inevitably someone gets cookie dough thrown at him or her. And we laugh so hard that we cry. Such fun.

This is Mandy's crazy cookie spiral. Last year we realized that it was very fun to photograph the cookies. (that is what the cookie pics at the top are from.) We both probably have over 100 pictures of cookies between the last 2 years. Like I said, crazy.
My girls really got into the decorating this year. This guy is Emma's.

Ever the entrepreneurs, my children set up shop in Grandma's living room and sold the cookies for 5 cents a piece. Who was buying? Me, Mandy, Curt, Grandma, Grandpa, and even one of my Aunts came out and bought some. The little buggers made over $2 selling cookies over the 2 days. I think I should be worried.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Day after Thanksgiving

We woke up to the first snow of the season on Thanksgiving morning, so we had some snow fun before heading to Curt's parents to gorge ourselves.
We have enough of a hill in the backyard to make a small sledding run. Daddy or mommy have to pull them down the hill to guarantee that no one sleds into the river at the bottom. Daddy likes to make them spin out just before the river as seen below. Maybe a little too close for my comfort.

No shopping for us today, just LOTS of cookie baking and decorating and sugar consumption at my mommy's house. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and a wonderful long weekend.

Bonus photo: My new bathroom curtains. I know the photo is a little dark, but I think they are super cute. I have been making the little yo-yos on and off for 2 years or so and will never make anything big like a quilt out of the, so I decided this would be a good use for them.

Monday, November 12, 2007

What we are up to around here

Short absense again. Sorry. It is kind of the story of my life, I can only be consistant for short bursts of time and then I fall off the wagon (which I guess means I am not so consistant after all). We have been trying to enjoy the remaining nice weather of fall. This has included a leaf raking party at friend's house (with 12 kiddos involved, so much fun).

2 weekends ago, Curt and I went to an adoption information meeting in Madison. I went into it with the expections that this would be just more info to add to my already confused and crowded mind and that we probably wouldn't come away with any answers. I guess sometimes it pays to set your expectations low, because sometimes when you least expect it, God will simply blow you away. We arrived at the open house style meeting an hour later than I wanted to ( I am a time person, I like to be on time). But this just happened to be 10 minutes before the next set of informational meetings was beginning. We had been going back and forth between whether to adopt Internationally or adopt through the foster system domestically. Well, we had to choose an information session to attend. It was good because it kind of forced us into a corner and made a choose. From the beginning, we had wanted to adopt Internationally, but in the recent past we had been questioning that decision. We picked the International information session. We were the only people in that session which meant that we had the Social Worker completely to ourselves. She asked a lot of questions and shared a lot of info. We shared with her that our heart is really to adopt Internationally but the $ is scary ($20,000 to $40,000 depending on the country) and that we were having a hard time choosing a country. So she asked what country, if any, we were leaning towards. We talked to her about Haiti. About the connections we have there. About the missionaries we have supported there and the prayers that we have prayed for that country and their orphanages. We just talked. She looked me in the eyes and said "I never tell my families what country to choose, they have to make that decision themselves, but I just know that your country is Haiti." Sometimes in life, you need an audible voice. She became that for us. So Haiti it is! What a relief to finally know what direction we want to go. We will be starting the long and expensive process in January. Yeah!!!! After the meeting we went out to lunch and then just walked by the lake a bit. I will always remember that day and these photos are so special to me because they somehow capture a bit of what it feels like to finally know a direction.

On a lighter note. There has been crafting going on (always, you just don't always get to see it). I put together a Fall Craft Day for the local homeschoolers. I loved it. I had put together 10 different projects that were just set up around stations for the kids to do at their own pace. I love how creative kids can be. I had made simple examples of each project but really wanted them to feel free to do their own thing, and they did. I made a simple boat out of a paper plate and a popsicle stick and some paper. They made SHIPS with the same materials. I made simple napkin ring holders out of beads and wire. They made bookmarks and rings and bracelets. I made a simple Thanksgiving card. They made 3D cards. I did a simple stitching card with an acorn and backstitching. They did cross hatching and added beads. Amazing.
Oh, and I volunteered to test out a pattern for Kathy at Pink Chalk Studio. So now I have a lovely new scarf too. Yeah!

Thursday, November 1, 2007


I like November. October, I can live without, but November I like. What about you? Do you favor certain months over others? My list goes like this...

#1 Favorite month- September- It is the month with my birthday. Things start to cool off a bit and we usually go camping.

#2- May- You know, all those spring flowers that come after the April showers. I absolutely love tulips and poppies and lilacs and peonies and and.... you get the idea.

#3- November- Halloween is finally, freaking over and then there is Thanksgiving what with all the good food and the thankfulness. Also, it seems to be one of the few Holidays that is mostly lacking in controversy (I don't deal well with controversy). I also like the cool, crisp weather that requires that we cover our bodies, but not bundle up an extreme amount.

My least favorite months:

#1 February- There is a reason that it is the shortest month of the year, but it still always feels the longest.

#2 October- I DETEST Halloween!

#3 Probably July (sorry Mando) only because it is sooooo stinking HOT most of the time.

The rest of the months are just kind of there with some high points and some low points in each, but today, I just felt like saying "Yeah, it's November!" You gotta take every small reason to celebrate that you get.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday... again.

There must be something about Tuesday. I woke up feeling restless and just didn't want to stay home, so we rushed through the necessary for my guilty mommy conscience school work and then took off to go to Target, get some lunch and play at the park. We met Aunt Mando at the park and enjoyed lunch with her. It was one of those close to perfect fall days that reenergize me so greatly. We came home and rested and then went to the park down the street because we hadn't had enough park time yet. Abi rode her bike almost all the way there by herself (well, with training wheels) for the first time. The light was so wonderful and we had so much fun playing. Please indulge me, I took over a hundred photos today, I want to share my favorites. The river is MY river, in our back yard. It sparkles like that all the time and I like to think it is just for me. The leaf pile photos are from Sunday and were taken by my hubby, but I discovered them when I dumped today's photos onto the computer and they made me smile. Enjoy~

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Love List

(Emma took the leaf photo. She has a good eye, just needs to learn to hold still)

As per Lori's challenge, here is my Friday Love List:

What I love:

*My secret stash of chocolate in the cupboard that I get to sneak while the kids rest.

*Finding time to just sit and sew.

*A day with perfect light and time to run around and take interesting pictures.

*When my children have that "ah-ha" moment and actually get what I am teaching them.

*Organization and the brief moments when things are beautifully organized, before anyone touches them and destroys it all.

*Reading other people's beautifully written blogs and wishing someday I could write like that.

*A new magazine in the mail, waiting to be read.

*A family date to Culver's tonight.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I generally like Tuesdays. They don't hold the same expectations as Monday, in fact I don't really have any expectations for Tuesday. It is usually the day that I get a lot accomplished either home school wise, or house work wise. Well, my cold is kind of kicking me in the butt today, but we did get some stuff accomplished. My daddy (whom I am so thankful for) is helping me build shelves under the stairs in the great closet that is off the school room. We emptied everything out of it this morning. It was filled with all the board games and such and it had all pretty much avalanched (which my spell check says is not a word, but I beg to differ)upon itself. The girls were so helpful, which lately is a reason in itself to be thankful. I really enjoy decluttering more than I should, so I took great joy in this task. This afternoon I was able to bless a friend who needed a last minute babysitter for her 3 BOYS. The 2 older boys and my girls are great friends, so this was pretty exciting for them. Her youngest is my best, good buddy. He is so much fun. He will be 2 in February and is starting to talk a lot. So we all walked to the park that is just up the street and played and played. The big kids ran off their energy and pretended to be Super Heros and the little one and I just had fun together. It felt really good. So Yeah! Again no photos, blame blogger. :(

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Week

It is Monday, which I personally am usually not very thankful for. I always have expectations to start Monday all refreshed and with all of my ducks in a row, and that rarely happens. I am seriously sleep deprived and fighting a cold and so are the kiddos, so today was less than stellar. We did however have a very lovely weekend. So, I will write about/think about that and hope for a better Tuesday.

Saturday: I got to SLEEP IN, which is loveliness in and of itself. I went to the farmer's market in a nearby town with my sister and then we went to the fabric store and Target. It doesn't get much more lovely. Saturday afternoon/evening we had a family picnic at my in-laws' home. It was very nice. We ate way too much and then sat around the campfire talking and eating smores. So a wonderful day overall. :)

How about you? Are Mondays a bright spot or not? How was your weekend?

And blogger is not allowing Photos this evening, so sorry :(

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thankfulness... week at a glance format

Hmmm, life seems to have interfered with the blogging this week. So as to not make you think that I gave up on being thankful, I give you the week at a glance version of things I am thankful for.

Monday- I received an email from a lady I met the conference last weekend. She wanted to buy a purse like the one I made that I posted last week. I was so excited. I have wanted to sell some of the things I make for a while, but am kind of scared to, so this is a good start.

Tuesday-Curt coaches cross country. Every year, right before the conference meet, I make cookies for each of the team members (there are 36 runners this year). Tuesday night I cut and baked all the cookies while Curt and the girls did a little fishing and a lot of cuddling.

Wednesday- The weather was very cold, but we took off and went to a local apple orchard anyway. Much fun... pony rides, a play ground, a maze, warm apple donuts, fresh picked raspberries and a lovely fall day. I got all the cookies decorated too. MMMM frosting.

Thursday- I made extra cookies and frosting so that the girls could decorate some too. They loved it. Christmas cookies decorating will be a blast this year Mando. It was my mommy's birthday so the girls and I took her some cookies and some balloons and some pizza and had lunch with her at her office. I also got to go to the Conference CC meet by myself! No kiddos in tow. They are pretty sick of cross country by this point in the season. Curt's teams did as expected. One of his girls ended up the individual girls champ and has a good chance of making it on to the State meet. So that was exciting. I am so glad he has the opportunity to coach. He really enjoys it and his team has sooooo much fun together. They are like a big family.

Friday- Well, today has been more difficult. I am still feeling the sleep deprivation from last weekend and I am tired and cranky quite honestly and I have a little girl who has been melting down every time she doesn't get her way (and considering her way is things like, "let's go to Disney world...right now" and "I will only be nice if I can have the book my sister has" and "I don't want to sit on my bottom to eat, I would rather crouch on my heals and eat while bouncing" she hasn't gotten her way much today). She is also "BORED." But I am so thankful to be their mommy and Curt's wife, and that is enough. One of the biggest things that I took home with me from the Mommy conference last weekend is that I am the mom/wife that God chose for this family, several of the speakers said this and they really went out of their way to stress this point. I have struggled a lot with self loathing (if you haven't, I am surprised), but by the end of the conference, I really was feeling so much better after being told over and over again how important mom and wife is. I hope that someone says something to make you feel important today. And if no one else does, I will, because you are important. You wouldn't be on this earth if that weren't true! Thank you all for reading. Have a lovely weekend.

Monday, October 8, 2007


I am back from my weekend away and feeling wonderfully refreshed. Where did I go you ask? Well, I will tell you. I went to a Hearts At Home conference in Minnesota with a good friend. Another mom that we both know, and who I can now count among my friends rode with us and we all stayed with her sister, whom I also gained as a friend. The 4 of us had a wonderful time at the conference, stayed up way too late talking and laughing, ate wonderful food and just had an all around good time. I heard about this conference this summer. We were at the pool for swimming lessons, and I had been feeling pretty stressed. I was venting to another mommy friend, who told me I needed to do something for myself. Well, a little while later, a lady from our church came in and handed me this booklet and said she wasn't interested in this, but maybe I would be. It was for this conference. An answer to prayer and I almost immediately begged my husband to let me go. I told my friend about it and she was super interested too. So off we went and left the kiddos with the husbands and joined 2200 other mommies for a wonderfully refreshing weekend away. I will post more about what I learned tomorrow, but I just wanted to say I am back and more thankful than ever. Among the things I am thankful for today... Fall weather FINALLY arriving, giggles (the girls had a 20 minute long tickle fest today that was way too cute), making sugar cookies for the Cross Country team (I use my Great Grandma's recipe and it always reminds me of her and makes me smile), a sense of peace.