Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year to youuuuuu!

Hi friends!

Guess what!

I actually have plans AND a babysitter tonight!

That's right! Mike and I are going out! We are spending some time with friends. I'm a little nervous because I don't think I've made it to midnight for about five years now. Hopefully I don't need to head upstairs to the extra bedroom and take a nap around 10:30! That would be embarrassing!

And guess what else!

I'm not doing one of those year in review blogs like every other blogger so I hope you weren't waiting for it.

I'm a rebel like that.

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See ya on the other side... after I sleep off my sleep deprivation from staying up till midnight.

I'm getting old.

OH YEAH!! My blogoversary is on Monday so stay tuned for some giveaways next week!!! I have four. I think. Well there is at least more than one. Woo hoo!

Peace out.

Hello Rory

Rory is my beautiful niece.

Rory is destined to be a star!

I was taking pictures of her baby brother Trace...

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...when all of a sudden I saw a new face through my lens just sweetly waiting for me to take a picture.

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Seriously... the girls sees a camera and she is there. If only it were that easy with my own kids.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


One thing that is always fun about going back to my hometown is meeting up with old friends.

Felchia and I hung out for years and then lost touch for a while. Facebook brought us back together and we were both in town at the same time so we met up.

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The kids had a great time too. Felchia's little girl Briella is only a few months older than Liza and she is absolutely adorable.
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Jason did his best to keep up with the girls. One of these days we will find him a group of boys to hang out with.
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Good friends. Fun times!!
Did you get to meet up with any old friends over the holidays?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Princess Gigi

Princess Gigi is a wonderful series for little girls. There are Bibles, devotionals, books and videos all based on the character Gigi who is a princess because she is God's daughter.

Live loooooves Princess Gigi!

So it just made sense to get her Gigi's pink boa and scepter when I saw them at the store. It's definitely Liza's favorite gift this year. She has been wearing the "scarf" and carrying her "wand" non-stop. She wants to be dressed as a princess at all times and she dances around for everyone.

This is what happened Christmas morning as soon as she finished opening her presents...

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And it continues...
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Liza definitely knows how to play the princess.

Now... if she could just pick up some of that royal behavior!

Huge Green Tractor

Jason is a happy boy. He got lots of great things this Christmas but he loves his HUGE green tractor.

Don't go calling it a tractor. He'll correct you. It's a HUGE GREEN tractor.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Crocheting scarves

I've been busy! I had lots of compliments on the scarf I made for myself and I liked it so much that I decided other people needed to have one too. 


A friend asked for one and I wanted a little more practice on it so I made it for her for cost of the yarn.

I like it!


Then I decided to make them for my sisters-in-law for Christmas. These are the ones they got...



Then I made another one for myself. :)


I love to crochet and I love creating things! I finished another scarf for another friend. (My first real scarf customer!) And I have another one to make... along with other projects. Fun!

I'm selling the scarves for $15 (plus shipping if they need to be mailed) so if you see one you like I can always make another. Or we can try a different color but there is no guarantee we can find the right color in the right yarn. Let me know if you want one!

Girl Talk Hop: Favorite Gift

It's Girl Talk Hop day over at Girl Talk and we are sharing our favorite gift that we received this Christmas.

I know I already wrote about it but my most favorite gift this year was the one I bought for myself... My new 50mm lens. I love it! I've really enjoyed messing around, figuring it out and ending up with some pictures to love.

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Other than my camera... I love my Panera Bread gift cards that I received! To me they symbolize time out alone or with good friends. Panera is my happy place and money that allows me to spend time there is a most wonderful gift!

To join in on the hop just click the Girl Talk Hop button up top and link up!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hello Blog World!

Hi friends!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We had a great time. The kids are loving all their new toys. And we are now visiting with my family for a few days.

I've been feeling constantly stuffed for the past few days and I don't think it is going to end anytime soon.

We've got a bit of visiting with family and friends to do yet and I'm looking forward to that. I'll be a bit busy over the next few days and when I'm not I'll be relaxing so it's possible I won't be posting much the next few days. (It's also possible I could post a ton.) Just giving you heads up.

I'm still here and alive. And I'll be around again soon.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to meeee!

I ordered my lens.

I waited for the email confirmation.

I followed the tracking. It said it would be here today.

So I started waiting for it as soon as I woke up, running to the window every time I heard something that sounded to be slightly more than just a car. I was anxious. Giddy like a kid who knows tomorrow morning is Christmas.

I watched and watched. I couldn't move from where I could see the road. But then I got hungry so I went to the kitchen to get some lunch. Almost instantly I was certain I heard a truck. I ran to the window but did not see anything. Disappointed I went back to making my sandwich but it was only seconds later when I was absolutely certain that I heard a truck again and I was absolutely certain that it was right outside my house! So again I ran to the window to look. But I didn't see anything. Seriously... my heart was racing with excitement by this point. Sad, I decided to take one last look. And there it was! The FedEx truck! It had just pulled up to where I couldn't easily see it!

I'm so excited that my new baby is here.

Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. Love.

Lots of love.

If you are camera stupid (don't worry... lots of people are... even plenty who have nice dslr cameras are camera stupid because they won't read their manuals. Just tellin' it like it is.)... Anyways, the f/1.8 is talking aperture and that is what helps you get that wonderful depth of field, small focus point, BOKEH!... which is the blurred backgrounds. My other lenses don't go to a number that low in aperture so I can't always get the effect I want.

This lens only costs $100 so it is pretty popular.

Here are some photos I took since it arrived...

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Look at all that sweet SWEET bokah! Mmmmmm.

Merry Christmas to me!

And Merry Christmas to you!!!

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

One of my favorite Christmas things to do is sen out a shoebox full of goodies through Samaritan's Purse. We are making it a tradition with the kids and each year Liza packs up a box for a girl her age and Jason packs up one for a boy his age.

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We went shopping as a family and the kids helped us pick things out. Liza thought a girl should have a dress up dress. She wanted to put one of her own in but we couldn't do that. We found a cute little tutu instead though.

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And jewelry... because every princess needs some jewelry!

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We were yelling "I LOVE TO GIIIIIVE!"
Jason packed his box full of things a boy should love.

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We had a really great time putting our boxes together. And it made it really easy to talk about kids who don't have things like we do and how it is really fun to give!

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We got all bundled up the next morning, got our boxes and headed to church. We let the kids carry in their own boxes and put them on the table. They have to give away all that stuff that they loved. They make my heart happy.

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During the weeks of drop offs I was listening to the Christian radio station and they had people calling in with amazing stories about the shoe boxes. They had me in tears. One girl called in to tell her story... She was on a mission trip to some other country and while she and her interpreter were out one day they got lost. They finally stopped and knocked on a door and the interpreter explained their situation and that they were lost. The woman who opened the door had a little girl who heard the missionaries say they were form America and the little girl got all excited and said she had got something from America. She ran in to another room and came back with a shoe box full of goodies. The missionary, after looking at the box with the girl, realized it was the very one that she had sent! It had everything in it that she had packed! [goosebumps!] The missionaries were invited in and they were able to share about God with this little family and they all came to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior!

We have an awesome and mighty GOD!

Another cool thing about the shoe boxes now is that if you pay your donation online (it covers shipping costs) you can print out a barcode that gets scanned and they will email you and tell you where your box went. I've been waiting and waiting for that email and I got it this morning!

Our shoe boxes went to Iraq this year. :)

Here are some things that volunteers shared about the experience they had dropping off shoe boxes in Iraq...

From a local volunteer: “Eight-year-old Farah received a shoe box. She was so touched that she decided to share her gifts with her school friends. She put some things in an empty shoe box and gave it to her classmate.”

A local volunteer writes: “Ten-year-old Hayder’s father was killed in 2005, and his mother died at a young age. He likes to play ball, so he was very happy when he found a ball in the gift box. He said, ‘God loves me and I love Him.’” 

Nine-year-old Khalid said: “When I opened my gift, I saw a letter and picture. I asked about the ones in the picture. I know that they were the senders of this gift for me. I kissed the picture.” 

I'm putting pictures in next year.

These aren't our shoe boxes... but they are pictures from Iraq (taken from Samaritan's Purse website.)

We absolutely LOVE everything about these shoe boxes... from going out as a family to buy the gifts to fill them, packing them, dropping them off and knowing that two kids are going to have a HUGE smile on his and her face.

I can't wait until the day that I can pack up 100 shoe boxes to send off. It's a goal of mine.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Random Business

First I want to thank you all for your encouragement, kind words and prayers today. I really appreciate it. I love my blog peeps!


A while ago I was at a thrift store and saw what I later found to be called a secretary desk. I wish I would have picked it up because after I got home I decided I really wanted one but didn't get back there again before someone else had snatched it up. I now REALLY want one. I could switch out the one entertainment stand that we have and put in the secretary desk. You would hardly know anything changed. But I would have a place to put my computer. I WANT a place to put my computer. I have no room for a desk. Boo.

Anyways... what I want is something like this...

And that middle part folds out to be like a desk so I could hide my computer in it but pull it out to use it whenever I wanted. See...

But they are kind of expensive and I don't NEED one so I won't be getting one anytime soon unless someone hooks me up with a good deal on a good one. If you live within an hour of me or near my parents and can hook me up just let me know.


I just ordered a Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. It should be here on Christmas Eve. (It BETTER be here on Christmas Eve!) Christmas present to myself. I've been debating a few lenses and it just seemed that this was the right choice for right now. I had the money saved up from different photoshoots where people were generous and paid me even though I told them I was doing it for free. I like people like that. (As opposed to people who make bargains and never follow through on their end of the deal therefore stealing from me. That's a whole different post though.)

I love waiting for good mail!


My friend Kim posted today a note that her son brought home from preschool. I love it and though it really summed up how I feel about the whole Santa thing that I wrote about yesterday. It's good. You should read it.


Today Liza told me she wanted a "Garbie" for Christmas and Jason told me he wanted a gray Christmas. Too bad neither of them will be getting what they want.


I like winter.

I truly do.

What I don't like is the winter blues.

Every winter I seem to have to deal with a bit of depression. Sure... I get it other times of the year too but mostly in the winter. It's a big mix of things that bring it on. And it makes life hard.

Lately I've been feeling like I am in a downward spiral to a very dark place. I don't like it. It's like I am gasping for air and trying to keep my head in a good place. But it's hard.

Things started getting tough about a week ago. I wasn't sleeping well and that left me exhausted. Then I started sleeping better the past few nights but I have been having odd dreams that leave me waking up feeling blah. Not a good way to start the day.

I'm also dealing with a difficult situation in which I have been wronged. But there isn't much I can do about it. I'm hurt and I am angry. And I'm just going to have to forgive and move on. But that's often easier said than done.

I guess I'm telling you all of this so that you can pray for me. I would appreciate it.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Let's get controversial.


Yep. I'm going there.

We don't do Santa. That said, I don't care if you do. It's a pretty easy decision for us since neither Mike nor I grew up doing Santa. I just can't get in to it. I do have reasons beyond "I've never done Santa so I'm not starting now" though. And I'll share them... for the simple reason that I like to share my thoughts and perhaps cause someone else to think or challenge my thinking. (The challenge my thinking is pretty hard to do though. Just letting you know up front.)

1. The lies.
Ok. Don't go getting mad. You play your game and I'll play mine. I just can't go through with it. It gets too complicated and I don't like complicated. I sat around waiting to pick Liza and Jason up from school listening to all the other moms talk about all the lies they have had to tell their children and all the scheming they have to do. I just don't have the energy for it.

2. Mike works hard.
I probably mentioned this before but Mike works hard so that the kids can have a nice Christmas. They can thank their Daddy on Christmas morning for what they DID get and not sit there being disappointed because they didn't get something they wanted and asked the magic fat man in red for. This also sets us up nicely should we ever have a year where money is really tight and we can't do much for Christmas at all. The kids will know we did what we could and they will understand why they didn't get as much as their friends did and it takes pressure off of us as parents with little.

3. The whole "you better be good or Santa won't come" thing.
Back at the beginning of November someone's facebook status was along the lines of "I'm looking forward to the next two months being good since I can now use the "Santa is watching you" thing." What do you do if your kids aren't good? Do you really not give them Christmas presents? Our kids are going to get Christmas regardless of whether they were good or bad... because we love them and our love does not have to be earned. (Not saying you are making your kids earn your love... blah blah blah. Disclaimer here.)

4. Santa gets my kids focused on getting instead of Jesus and giving.
Of course there are people who find a balance and do this well. Again, I don't have the energy for it. Santa is out and Jesus is in. We talk about giving and what Christmas is truly about. And we leave it at that. Yes the kids are excited about Christmas and presents but it's rarely mentioned.

5. Kids are learning every where else that life owes them something and they just get what they ask for. I don't need to add to this.
Two examples:
I listened to a mom share about how her daughter wanted a Nintendo ds2 (or whatever the new one is now). She had received the ds last year so her mom told her that she probably wouldn't get another one this year. (Apparently they are expensive.) And the girl said (I got the impression it was snobby) "well I'll just ask Santa!"

A friend shared a story that while funny has me thinking. She said her daughter was at a Christmas party and sat on Santa's lap. He asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she told him "a robot". Santa then handed her a goody bag with all kinds of fun stuff in it. The girl saw that Santa was leaving and got mad and yelled at him "HEY! You didn't give me a robot!"

Santa just doesn't fit in to the things I want my children to learn. If you can make him work for you that's just fine. Again, I don't have the energy to get that complicated.

All that said... I haven't really said much about Santa at all to Liza and Jason. I was waiting until after their Christmas party at school because I understand Santa is a HUGE deal for a lot of people and I don't want to ruin their fun. The Christmas party was canceled and then moved to tomorrow so we will tell them more about Santa tomorrow sometime.

And that's my take on Santa. It's how I roll. I don't care how you roll.

Girl Talk Hop: Favorite holiday recipes

It's Girl Talk Hop day over at Girl Talk and we are sharing favorite holiday recipes. It can be a dessert, drink, main or side dish. Anything. Doesn't matter.

I don't really have a favorite holiday recipe since I don't do a lot of cooking other than the normal. However I do have a cute little sandwich idea that I came across while browsing the web one day.

Reindeer Sandwiches!

They are super easy to make and the kids thought they were really cool.

Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Cut off the crust and cut it in to two triangles. Use pretzel twists for antlers (stick them between the two pieces of bread so the peanut butter can hold them in place), brown m&m's for the eyes and a red m&m for the nose.

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It only takes a minute to make your sandwiches cool and it makes lunch fun for everyone!

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What is your favorite holiday recipe? Put it on your blog and link up over at Girl Talk!

If you are stopping by from the blog hop you may want to check out
our easy way of making and icing sugar cookies
how to make candy cane cookies.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Candy Cane Cookies

Last week I saw a link on facebook to Candy Cane Cookies. It looked fun. It looked like something the kids would love... they are obsessed with candy canes right now.

So we bought the stuff and tried it out. It's easy.

You buy 2 refrigerated sugar cookie doughs. Let one sit out and get a little soft and add some red food coloring. You can add peppermint extract if you want but we didn't have any so we skipped that and had plain sugar cookies. Then put the red dough back in the fridge for a while.

When everything is ready you roll out little snakes in each color and twist them together.

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We followed the directions. They said to use one tablespoon of each color. This is what they looked like before going in the oven...

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This is what they looked like after...

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You might want to use less than a tablespoon!! :) 

Click here for full directions. And notice that their cookies look completely different from mine. Misleading.

My pot holders are cuter than yours!

I've crocheted up another little project. I kind of made some of this one up. I saw the tunisian stitch and I liked it. So I taught myself how to do it and then I made a pot holder out of it.

What I loved most about the tunisian stitch was that it works well to cross stitch on top of it! And that's when the ideas started coming in and this is what I ended up with...

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It's two layers thick so hands won't get burned. The back side is just plain without any cross stitching. But why waste time making the back fancy?

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I absolutely LOVE how it turned out! I only have one made but I am going to make more. Wouldn't they be an awesome bridal shower or house warming gift!? I think so.

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So yeah, I'll be making more... after I finish another popcorn scarf because someone is paying for it! :)

By the way... if make something that you would like just leave a comment or email me and we can talk price and work out details.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Decorating Cookies

I thought the kids would enjoy making and decorating cookies. I was right. :)

We kept it simple... store bought sugar cookie mix. Add egg and butter. Mix.

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Make faces at each other.

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Roll out the dough and use your cookie cutters.

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Bake the cookies.

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To ice the cookies I just used a container of store bought icing and added some food coloring.

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 Eat the cookies!

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Jason decided he only wanted to make candy canes. He made three. They all looked like this...

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Liza did an excellent job of icing the cookies. She copied what Mike and I did a few times but she did all of these on her own...

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Mike and I had a lot of fun with the cookies too!

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We had a lot of fun making the cookies and the kids love eating them.

Have you been making cookies?

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