Monday, April 23, 2007

A Smile for You

Here's a photo of Smiley that I took last week. He is at such a fun stage. He's very interactive and on the move. Unfortunately, he is really interested in cords and small toys that the older two leave out, so we need to watch him like a hawk.

Treasure Hunting

This seemed to be a weekend of treasure hunting for us, both on Craig's List and at our MOPS garage sale. Here are a few fun things we found for a real bargain that have already been put to good use. I'm learning to look for secondhand items for our family instead of always thinking of buying something new. I also found a very nice high-end pan with a lid for only a buck. It almost makes me want to cook more. But even with garage sale finds, I'll need to use some self-control in not buying things just because they are cheap, but because we actually have a need for these items or will really enjoy them.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sweet Little Gift

As we were preparing to celebrate my dear husband's birthday this weekend, I put together this sweet gift for him, a candy bouquet to enjoy for many days. This was a fun surprise for him and quite economical, too, with a vase on hand and candy purchased on clearance or with coupons.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Friday Night Fun

We were blessed with yet another snowfall this week, so when Daddy came home from work on Friday night he went out with the two older kiddos to make some snowmen. Although we've had lots of snow this winter, we haven't had the opportunity to make snowmen since it has also been bitterly cold at those times, we've been gone, or the snow wouldn't pack well.

Then they came in to some fresh hot pizza, a Friday night tradition in our home. I almost always make this myself using a sourdough crust, this recipe, or the Fast & Easy Pizza Crust from this book. We do use a variety of toppings, but we usually always have some part of a pizza that is only pepperoni and cheese, too. This night we enjoyed fresh pineapple & ham on one half.

Brown Sugar Scrub

Last week I wanted to put together some little gifts for some special ladies I know and this is what I came up with. I mixed up some scrub, wrapped it in a colorful washcloth, and tied it with a bow. Here's the basic recipe.

Brown Sugar Scrub
1 1/2 C. brown sugar
1 1/2 C. white sugar
1 C. canola oil
1/2 C. olive oil
3 T. vanilla

This made enough to fill seven 4 oz. baby food jars almost full. Next time I would not use as much or any olive oil as it seemed to have a strong smell. I would also really love to add some orange zest and perhaps omit the vanilla in that case.

I included a little instruction note to rub onto hands or body and rinse well with warm water. This will leave skin super soft. Due to the oil, caution should be used in the shower so you don't slip or drop the breakable jar.

The only real cost was for the washcloths which were purchased on clearance ($1.50 for 6).

FarmMed Vacation

We enjoyed spending five great days at FarmMed last week. FarmMed is the name my dear husband has given my childhood home....before we had kids and when we could fully relax when we were there. What's not to love? Sleeping late, going for walks on quiet roads, endless amounts of good food and beverages, cable TV, spending time with people you love. Really it was quite like a resort. Anyway, we made our way out to FarmMed again last week, this time to celebrate Easter with my family. It was a fun time, though the weather did not cooperate and we weren't able to get outside to do as many activities with the kids as we had hoped. Here are some pictures of our trip.

Indoor egg hunt for the kids on Saturday.

Smiley with Nana & Gigi.

Smiley's first piano lesson.

After-church photo.
Lunch with my grandparents, my brother and his lovely wife, my parents, my kiddos and my dear husband.

Thanks, Mom & Dad, for a good time at your place! We'll pray you have better health next time we visit.
All in all, a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Taming of the Basement

Well, I couldn't resist. I just had to join in on the 30 Day Organizational Challenge over here. I know, I know, I still haven't finished the garage from two months ago. And there are some good reasons for that, which I will post at a later date. I have decided to tackle the basement as best I can. Since it is unfinished it is not going to be very easy to define spaces, but I'll try anyway. So, without further ado, here are the before pictures.

Welcome to the basement.

Come in a little further and behold the toys.

Now to the library, gymnasium and office.

And our guest bedroom.
And finally, the craft and filing station.
Man, oh, man! Nothing like posting pictures to realize just how bad it looks. But really we do get a lot of function out of this nearly 800 square feet of unfinished space. Now if I can just make it aesthetically pleasing, orderly and easy to maintain. My few simple goals are:
- define spaces for specific activities
- use organizational tools I already have whenever possible - my budget for new tools is under $40
- create storage systems that are easily maintained by all family members.
Here goes nothing.

Fighting Kid Consumerism... shopping trip at a time!

Today we went out for breakfast and a little playtime for the kiddos at Chik-Fil-A. We were there later than the breakfast rush so it was super quiet and the kids nearly had the play area to themselves. It was quite an enjoyable time. I then decided to make what a thought would be a quick stop at the nearby big box discount retailer to pick up a few items they had advertised in their flyer as I am trying to plan ahead for birthday gift giving a bit better this year. This is where things went downhill fast. Soon Sportster got into a greedy mood and was asking for everything he saw. When I said "no," he followed up with "WHY can't I have this?" By the time we had repeated this conversation about 20 times I was about ready to have a meltdown myself. He was whining, on the brink of a full-blown tantrum and yelling from time to time. While at the store I was reminding him that we have so many things to be thankful for and encouraging him to be grateful, but he wasn't convinced. Even going down some of the food aisles caused some outbreaks. Why do they have to market cereal with the top preschool characters of the day right at a child's eye level?! Where does this leave a mother who occasionally wants to venture out to a store with her children? [insert exasperated sigh here]

We really want to raise our children to learn to be content and grateful, to understand the value of a dollar and also to understand marketing and how to be wise about purchasing based on your needs and not what the packaging, commercials or other people are communicating about a product. What we experienced today was a matter of the heart, namely, lack of contentment. And I can see this in my own attitudes, too, so it is definitely something our whole family needs to work on, not just the child in the above example. We've recently had discussions around the dinner table about how life is not about stuff, but about people and God. Apparently this message has not sunk in yet to our four-and-a-half year old. So we're back to the drawing board to work on ways to teach the virtue of contentment, and reteach it to ourselves. Here's a good reminder with which to begin this process.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where theives do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 ESV