Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

We have FINALLY gotten a good Colorado snow here!! It's been fun, but it's okay for me to be ready for Spring, right?? Maybe it's because I was born in California and that's why I'm not as thrilled about snow as many Coloradans. One or two good snows and I'm done. Anyway, I took this picture of Natalie today, isn't she a cute little snow bunny?
I got to take Natalie shopping the other day--and not just grocery shopping, real shopping :) We went to the Disney Store because she wanted to pick out a birthday present for Layla. I'm proud to say, she has not told Layla what her presents are, even though she knows and Layla continually pesters her for information. What a good little secret keeper :) Anyway, after that, we went to Old Navy because she could really use some long-sleeve dresses. She had so much fun trying them all on, it was great. Once, between dresses, she smiled at herself in the mirror and said, "hey, I thought I lost all those teeth!" It was too cute.

But, the reason I actually opened this post was to tell you about my New Year's resolutions! I have been inspired by many ideas this year. Many people are taking the "one word" approach, where you pray about and choose one word to focus on throughout the year. Something I've been trying to implement in my life is to rejoice in all things--the house work, the kids, the cooking, the high points and lows. So, my one word would have to be rejoice!

I know a few friends who choose a Bible passage or verse to focus on throughout the year. I love this idea and will be praying about and seeking the Lord on this one.

As for my typical resolutions, I would really like to come up with and implement a better house cleaning routine. Maybe Fly Lady can help? I'll have to play with some ideas until I find one that works. Any ideas you have are very welcome!! Also, after a season full of eating way more junk than I should have, I'll be going on a sort of detox--no processed foods for the month of January is my goal! I don't think this will be hard for me, since I've succeeded at similar goals before. Plus, I'm armed with plenty of good cook books geared toward clean eating. Like this one. And this one. Oh, and this one :)

Okay, last but not least, I have decided to join the 5 o'clock club. I just read about this "club" this week and my first thoughts were something like, "Pshaw, forget it, no way." However, I do long for time in the Word and for all my efforts to squeeze it in while my kids are awake, it is simply not consistently happening for me and I couldn't get this club off my mind. Don't be fooled by the title of the club, you don't actually have to get up at 5 a.m. The goal is to choose a time to get up before everyone else in the house, in order to spend time with the Lord daily. This will be a hard one for me, so if any of you would like to join me, a partner might be nice!!??

I would love to hear about your goals for 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Day!

It took me long enough, I know, but here are some pictures from our Christmas. It was pretty relaxed for most of the day, which is how we like it :) After presents, our living room quickly turned into a train station:
Kelby also got some Play Doh, since he loves Play Doh, but most of ours is pretty dried out and all squished together :)
My friend Jenn made these awesome twirlie skirts for the girls. They wore these two days straight :)

We got the girls a doll bunk bed, but Woody, Buzz, Jessie and Bullseye are enjoying it also ;)
And my absolute favorite, I took this picture of Layla and Grandma the day after Christmas. She was plain tuckered out!! So sweet...
And that's that. I'm a little surprised I don't have more photos to share, but I've been busy...busy relaxing, that is :) I'm going to enjoy these last few days of break from school and Casey's four-day weekend!
Happy New Year everyone!!!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Christmas Quilt!

I finished! With time to spare, too :)  Here's how my Christmas quilt turned out...
It's fabulous!!!!! I say every quilt I make is my new favorite. This one is no exception. Here's a close-up of a block, so you can see the quilting. My free-motion is getting soooo much better :)
I get a lot of my machine quilting ideas, including this one from Jacquie at Tallgrass Prairie Studio. Her work is amazing and always inspiring!
And the back...
My aunt got this fabric at the thrift store!! It's a really soft upholstery weight gingham that she decided she probably wouldn't use after all, so she gave it to me. It was HUGE and perfect for this quilt backing! Plus, it makes it a little heavier, which is nice for a winter quilt.

We've already put it to good use.

My efforts to slow down, "say when" and relax have been successful and reallllly nice. Especially since my two-week break from my own school started this week. Nice! I've been knitting, quilting, reading, playing with the kids, cooking, etc... My favorite moment of this week: squeezing onto our little couch with my four favorite peeps and watching Man vs. Food. It reminded me of my childhood and how we squeezed onto our couch in the same way, every Sunday night to watch Star Trek. Then after a few years of that, it was Lois and Clark. Then Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Always with popcorn and Fresca :) Ah, the stuff memories are made of.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I have the knitting bug

For awhile, I just decided I wasn't a knitter. It seemed to take forever and I didn't know how to fix my mistakes. I don't know what did it, but I suddenly felt like giving it another try. Maybe it's the weather and the fact that our single-pane windows keep me slightly chilly :) So, I knit up these:
I also recently discovered Knit Simple magazine. What a great magazine! It has a small amount of the dorky knitted sweaters, as usual, but check out these cowls...
 And I so want a shawl like this. For around the house. Because, like I said, it gets chilly in here :)
For now, though, I just cast on a pair of these. I'll be sure and tell you how they turn out. In the mean time, you all know about Ravelry, right?? I've blogged about this site before, but just in case some of you yarn people missed it, go check it out! You have to join, but it's free and it just takes a day or two to get your confirmation email. Have fun and keep warm :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A little light reading?

I have three books going right now, eek! That's one more than I usually like to be reading at the same time, but, well, ya know. I usually read both a fiction book and a non-fiction book. I read the fiction one at night before bed, because I don't have enough brain cells left by the end of the day for anything very deep :) Here's what I'm wading through at present:

  1. Ballet Stories. This is part of the Classic Starts Series at Barnes & Noble. I've been looking for something to read out loud to the girls, but as they are only 5 and 3, it needed to be something they would "get". I came across this book and have already read a few of the stories to them. Despite the lack of pictures, they really love it. Especially Layla, surprisingly, since she's younger! 
  2. Crime and Punishment. My sister gave this to me for my birthday and it's a doozy! Not for the feint of heart, but so far well worth the 550 pages! I'm about two-thirds of the way done and am loving it. The way Doestovsky writes is truly fascinating! He would put many modern psychiatrists to shame by his work of fiction, ha! 
  3. The Grace Awakening. I'm only four chapters into this one, but am so glad I referred to this book. It's a worth-while read for any Christian, particularly those who have been at all touched by legalism. 
  4. The Five Points of Calvanism.  I am not looking for a theological debate here on my blog, so I won't say much about this one, other than that Casey and I are both reading it and it's the one our pastor recommended to solidify some things in our minds.

Unrelated, but since we all already know how awesome Etsy is, I wanted to share this super-cool new feature: The Etsy Taste Test! Fun! You click on what you like out of several sets of pictures and then they give you results of lots of handmade things you might like. Just try it, it's pretty fun...and possibly addictive ;) Here are my results. Great way to select gifts for friends too; just choose the things you think they might like. Have fun! :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Whooooaaa, Nelly

I was overcommitted this last weekend. It was all fun stuff, but still... I was really exhausted by the end of it and kinda still am...which explains why the kids and I are planning a day at home for the third day in a row :) We're also taking our Christmas break from home schooling a week early. That's what's awesome about home schooling!
Casey and I went to our first military ball on Friday night! We got the professional picture taken, but since I don't have that one yet, I'll share this one:
I didn't take my huge whiz-bang camera with me, obviously, but I still really love this pic. There's something truly amazing about being in the presence of hundreds of men in Army uniforms. Casey was the Master of Ceremony and did an excellent job, if I may say so myself :)

Then, on Sunday, I hosted a baby shower for my dear friend, Becky! She's has two little boys and now it having a girl, yay!
The baby's name is going to be Sawyer. Isn't that so adorable? I wish I could tell you her full name because it's super cute, but ya know, blog privacy and all...

Our other good friend, Melissa, makes cakes. Isn't this one sooooo cute?????
And here's the adorable pregnant lady :)
THEN, on Monday morning, I hosted a little gingerbread house-making party for the little kids in our church. It was not my idea, I just offered my house, which worked out well. Great idea, Kristen!!
This is Ms. Terri. She's not a mama yet, but she'll make an awesome one. All the kids looooove Ms. Terri, so I invited her for an extra set of hands :)
I think Sebastion may have eaten more than he put on his house, haha. 

 This was really fun and really messy, we will definitely be doing this again next year! We were thinking if we got the men involved, we could get some nice fun competition going--we can see them getting really into it ;)

Casey and I wrapped a bazillion little stocking stuffers last night. The stocking stuffers are always my favorite part of the presents, both buying and opening. Hopefully I'll be able lay low and relax a little bit in the next week.
I hope to have a little reading list for you tomorrow! Or the next day, maybe. We'll see :) Cheers!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Told ya...

I said I'd try to take some pics this week and did manage a few. I also promised to let you know how my tissue poms turned out. What do you think??
Not bad, right?? They were really pretty easy--or they would have been without three curious pairs of "helping" hands around the table with me :) I'm so excited to host this baby shower for one of my best friends ever!! Casey is working all weekend, so hopefully I don't kill myself trying to hang these from the ceiling, ha!

I also remembered something I forgot on my last post's like list. I had been wanting a little Nativity set just for the kids to play with, so when I found a four-week Nativity lesson plan for my class of kids at church, it wasn't hard to convince myself to just buy one :) I ran out and got the Little People Nativity and we have been loving it ever since!
I highly recommend this. It has lots of pieces and characters to make it fun, plus it sings and lights up when you put the angel on top. I am a little curious, though, about why there are no shepherds.

The weather here in Colorado has been really unbelievable. I never remember a December in the 60's, but that's what we're getting! It's nice, though, since the kids can play outside still--my house stays so much cleaner that way ;) Speaking of house cleaning, that's what I'm off to do now--not that I won't have to do it again tomorrow. May be time to toss the kiddos outside for the day, haha.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Like list!

I have NO pictures of my own to share with you today (!!!). Nope, I have not taken a single photo this week. But, I will try to pilfer some from the good ol' internet (with credit given or course, or what kind of journalism student would I be?) to make this interesting :) Here are some things I'm liking right now:

1. National Geographic--for kids! We recently subscribed to the Little Kids version, and it's been great, but I think I will also be subscribing to the one for the next age group. We use these as a sort of science curriculum for our home schooling and I am happy to report that there is nothing in these about evolution or how the world is "billions of years old" (hogwash), as was my fear. The link above will take you to the website, which has games, videos and printable crafts. Very cool resource!
2. Yet another awesome version of The 12 Days of Christmas. It's short and it's in French, but still, very cool.

This song is not available on iTunes, but you can buy it here on Amazon. The Deck the Halls version is great too.

3. Caramel Brulee Latte. Yum. Need I say more??
Can I just interject something I do NOT like??? When people get in the Starbucks drive through and order 12 drinks. Or bring their own cup for their drink--meaning, they have to wait until it's your turn at the window to make your drink. Come on! Get off your rear and GO IN! Don't hold up the lady with three loud and hungry kids in the back seat :)

4. This recipe. I've had this one for a long time. In fact, it's one that my mom printed off for me as part of a recipe book gift when I got married. It's still my go-to recipe when I need a dessert it a hurry.

Speedy Brownies
Mix the following ingredients together in one large bowl.
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp salt
5 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
Pour into a 13x9 pan and sprinkle with one cup chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. That's it, there ya go :)

5. These awesome tissue poms. I'm hosting a baby shower this weekend and am going to try my hand at these! Aren't they cool??? You can find the instructions here at Martha Stewart Weddings. I'll let you know how mine turn out.

6. This wonderful post about creating personal filters. This was the first time I had visited this blog, Small Notebook, but I added it to my reading list because it's one I definitely would like to continue reading!

That's all I have for you for today! I promise to get on the ball and take some pictures :) Maybe even of the Christmas Quilt I'm almost done with, yay! And before Christmas, too!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm a list maker...

I make lists. When I feel overwhelmed, when I have a lot of little things to remember, when I have lots of gifts to make and send and when I can't get straight who wants what size photo, I make a list :)  I've been able to cross a LOT of Christmas sewing off my list this week!!
I finished 36 bean bags...
5 pillow cases...
And 20 sea horses...
Whew! Since I finished all of that, I get to finish up my Christmas quilt! I pinned it yesterday, but I'm not sure how I want to quilt it. I don't really like the line-marking process, so I'm thinking about free-motioning it--plus, I could use the practice :) We'll see.

Casey requires a Christmas list from me every year. It makes it easier for him and I do not mind because I have mad listing-making skillz. ;) This is at the top of my list this year!!!!
My OWN tools! I have had a tool set on my Christmas list since we lived in Georgia, so at least 7 years. I have never gotten one. Last week, I was hanging pictures, using the end of a screwdriver to pound in the nails, because I couldn't find any of the three hammers we own. ERG! After that, I told Casey this tool set moved to the top of my list. AND, they MUST be pink!!! Don't go buy me regular brown tools and call it "your own toolset" because I want everyone to know these tools are MINE!!! (I love you :)

Let's see, what other lists?? Right, playlists :)
This song just got added to my Christmas playlist on iTunes:

The 12 Days of Christmas may be my kids' favorite Christmas song. We also own these versions...

We also have this book and we highly recommend it :)


Monday, November 29, 2010


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. The Lord has blessed Casey and I greatly this year as far as abundance goes--his job, our house, etc... I think I have learned a little bit about Paul's statement on being content whatever the circumstances. Part of contentment includes letting go of anxiety about the future. We have spent many years with very little in the way of money, so it is hard not to let anxiety get in the way of trusting God for the future, or relishing His goodness to us without that nagging fear of losing it all in the back of our minds. We could very well lose it all tomorrow. But, contentment means embracing with joy our situation, trusting the Lord's providence, whether we are enjoying much or little--both sets of circumstances can provide tremendous growth and teach valuable lessons! "Rejoice in all things!" has been my mantra of late--and it really is possible!

Casey's family came down and stayed with us for Thanksgiving. My mother-in-law wanted some pictures while we were all together so we went outside with my self-timer and got this one:
And this one of the eight grand kids...
Our house made entertaining this number of people soooo wonderful. The kids disappeared outside, or the boys played with the Wii downstairs and the girls played upstairs in the girls' room. It was easy to forget there were eight kids in the house!

I LOVE this one of Casey's parents. I am so blessed to be part of their family. John did a large chunk of the cooking (turkey included!) which was awesome :)

My mom had a tradition of having a new puzzle out on holidays with lots of company. I bought this one and had is set out. It was done by the next day! Everyone had a hand in it, it was so much fun! (I highly recommend these Wasjig puzzles--they are sort of mystery puzzles. You have a picture, but you're building the puzzle from the perspective of someone inside the picture! Very clever and super fun :)
Here are the men getting into the puzzle action:

This pic speaks for itself :)
And a photo of our spread!

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving and are still rejoicing in God's goodness!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy, Happy Birthday to Casey!!!

Casey is 30 today :)  It's fitting that his birthday is so close to Thanksgiving because he is one of the things that I am most thankful for.
For his birthday, he wanted to go to Blackhawk, so a few weeks ago that's what we did! His parents came to watch the kids and we took off for a night at a hotel/casino, where we had tons of fun and Casey lost some money at Black Jack, haha. We were on the 25th floor--here's the view of the town from our window:

And here are some picture from the drive.  Before we left, we had lunch with some of Casey's work people (because Applebee's gives free lunch to Veterans on Veteran's Day) and one of the other wives said, "I don't like Colorado".  SHOCK! I have lived here almost my whole life and I don't know that I've ever heard someone utter those words.  Driving to Blackhawk right after that, surrounded by this kind of beauty and only an hour away from home, I couldn't stop marveling at it. Don't listen people, Colorado is amazing!

Happy birthday, Babe, I love you lots and lots :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Carol of the Bells

Some friends of mine posted this on Facebook last night. I showed it to my girls. They fell in love.

It is beautiful, right?  I don't know if the girls like the song or the princess dresses, it's hard to say :)

We do love this song, though, Natalie loves to dance around the house to this version (by far my favorite ever):

This leads me to the obvious question--if I were looking for some new Christmas songs to put on my iPod, what would you suggest? I like old and new, so comment away!

I would like to leave you with some cute pics of my funny little guy.  In many ways, I am loathe to see him grow up--he's soooo adorable just where he is ;) Then again, the wandering-around-whining-my-name-but-having-nothing-to-say-phase can go.  You know that phase, right?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving roundup and Christmas sewing

We are awash in holiday details here and it's fun :)  I have lots of little Christmas projects going on.  These sea horses are coming along...
And I have a nice stack of bean bags, waiting to be filled--gifts for little friends :)
But, before Christmas, we have Thanksgiving to look forward to! The girls and I are getting into it this year--they are finally old enough for some of the fun crafts out there.  Today we made these little Pilgrim paper dolls. If you have little girls who love paper dolls, Making Friends is a must-bookmark for you! You can print for free all different themes of paper dolls, clothes, hair and even some animals.

Tomorrow we'll be making these Pilgrim hats for all my kids and the littler cousins who are coming on Thanksgiving.  Looks fun, right?

You can find the instructions, along with lots of other ideas for Thanksgiving crafts and things, here. Good old Martha Stewart! :)

This morning, on one of the blogs I read (I can't remember which one, sorry), I saw a link to this awesome printable Give Thanks banner designed and offered to us for free by Second Street. I haven't made one yet, but I want to!
Next, there are lots of great crafts, printables, games and more for Thanksgiving at Family Fun.

We also have a few good Thanksgiving books we've been enjoying.

  1. Thanks for Thanksgiving  
       3. I'm a Turkey!
I LOVE collecting books for all the holidays and bringing them out during that particular time of year.  I try to get some after each holiday when they go on clearance so I'll have a few new ones for the next year.  I would love some good suggestions! If you have favorite Thanksgiving or Christmas books for kids, let me know in the comments.