Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ooohh... Oooh... Pick me... Pick me!!

Andrew's birthday is coming up and we have no idea what we are going to be doing to celebrate it yet. I'm hoping to win tickets to Playhouse LIVE coming to our town. What a great surprise that would be for him and AJ.
For your chance at the giveaway visit

How Deep the Father's Love for Us.

How deep the Father's love for us; How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son; And make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss; The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One; Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon the cross; My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice; Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there; Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life; I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything; No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ; His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward; I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart; His wounds have paid my ransom

Why should I gain from His reward; I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart; His wounds have paid my ransom
written by Stuart Townend

Friday, February 26, 2010

I love it when...

... I finally get around to checking Andrew's backpack at 10pm (because we were gone from the time I got home from work until the kids' bedtime) only to find out that it's the one rare night he's got homework due the next day.

Needless to say, we were a'scramblin' the next morning.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Love me some Gardens

Wanna know a secret? Butterfly season as the Gardens doesn't start until March 1. But we went last week and guess what we found... without all the crowds.

I let each boy take turns with the camera. Andrew took the picture below.

And AJ took this picture below... but truthfully, most of his pictures were of his shoes. He just didn't grasp holding the camera still for a second after pressing the button.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Awana Song??

Last Wednesday, AJ came home from AWANA singing a new song. Now AJ's speech is still a work in progress, but we usually don't have a hard time understanding him. However, he insisted that he learned a new song call, "Jesus in the ham."

Help me out... any ideas??

Friday, February 19, 2010

Frugal Friday: Homemade Ziptop Bag Dryer

I love tips that help me re-use something. It saves money and it's the green thing to do. Green = Good... just ask Al. And saving money is good... Real Good.

Insert somewhat unrelated soapbox rant here: I think I am going to scream if I hear another sentence that starts, "In this economic environment...." I know it is the cause of a lot of worry in our nation (myself included), however, I haven't heard a phrase overused more since "What-ever."

Anyway, back to what I came here for. I wanted to share something that I use on a regular basis that is "green" and saves money. A Homemade ZipTop Bag Dryer. To some, re-using those bags are the ultimate signs of an over-the-top cheap tightwad. And others might argue that if I really wanted to be thrifty and help the environment, I wouldn't purchase them at all, I would stick with only glass containers rather than disposable ones.
But there are just some things that warrant a plastic bag - either for freezer cooking, snacks on the go, packed lunches, separating his leftover pizza from her leftover pizza (because heaven forbid a pepper touches his piece), etc... you know what I mean.
So, whenever possible, I wash out the bag, dry it and re-use it. Especially the more expensive gallon-sized bags. There are a few rules I follow: the bag must in good shape, not have held raw meat, and it's not just too gross to bother with.

My biggest problem re-using the bags for the longest time was getting the bags fully dried. I would try to towel dry them, which would help somewhat. But I was finding that if I didn't get it fully dried then stored the bag, it wouldn't be worth using later.

I needed to be able to completely air dry them, but how do I prop open my bags to drip dry? Necessity is the mother of invention, right? So I came up with this very "high-tech" creation.
Lightly wad up the newspaper and shove it in a quart container. Stab in a few wooden skewers (mine has 3 or 4) into the paper so that they are secure. And you have a homemade ziptop bag dryer.
I still try to towel dry my bags quick before placing them on here. But then I place the whole contraption on a kitchen towel on the counter, hang my bags on the sticks and in the morning I get perfectly dry, ready-to-reuse bags.
Want more Frugal ideas? Check out Life as Mom.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

God is Good

God is good.
He is.
We know it deep within us.
We believe it with all our hearts.

But sometimes… we’re just not feelin’ it, y’know.

We also know that being a believer is more than just feelings, so in those times, even when it’s very hard to do so, we proclaim, “God is Good.”

Lately… with our current circumstances, it seems like God allows us to “see” his presence right when our spirits are at a low. That was Tuesday. I paid bills that day. Which stinks for anyone under normal circumstances, but as we are approaching the end of the month … my mood was less than stellar?

Then Marc got some very disappointing news. Between the two of us, I confessed we slipped into a “Woe is Me” state of mind. We let the laptop babysit the boys and we just moped for a while. Despite that, eventually, together we lifted our troubles in prayer and proclaimed that God is Good.

Shortly after that a miracle happened. Our spirits did a 180 degree turn. I’m not kidding and I can’t explain it since circumstantially nothing changed. We ended up having a great evening. The bills were still due, the news was still the same, neither of us said or did anything spectacular. We didn’t resolve to “put on a smiling face”. We were truly joyful. Even two days later, Marc and I are still a little shocked and talking about what a good day it was.

Then yesterday, I opened the mail, and there, completely unexpected was a large escrow overage check sent from our mortgage company. Just in time for the end of the month. God is Good.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lent for my 5 year old.

On a rare twist in scheduling, I happened to have both Tuesday & Wednesday "off ", meaning I'm not babysitting and while I do check in and get some work done from home, I do not have to go to the office.
Whenever these days come, since they seem to be rare, I try to take advantage of them, such as getting back in bed with AJ and snuggled him (he asks for that every morning) and taking the kids to the Gardens.
Tuesday, I picked up Andrew from school and took both boys to pick out donuts because it was Fat Tuesday. As we are sitting eating, I am trying to explain to them what Fat Tuesday is and what it means (to the best of my limited knowledge in that area.) Since they were stuffing their faces with sugar, they sat silently and listened.
This morning, over breakfast, as they were eating the second half of their donut from Tuesday (I'm not crazy enough to let them eat the entire thing before lunch. But send Andrew to school all sugared up this morning... ok in my book.), I mentioned that today was the first day of Lent. Lent is something that my family never really participated in. We observed and celebrated Easter. And truthfully, I had no intention of sacrificing anything for lent this year (but I will faithfully participate in Fat Tuesday... you know it!)
So, I explained Lent and how it ties to Fat Tuesday over breakfast and Andrew immediately chimes in, with no prompting from me, that he is going to give up his computer games. And like a "good mommy", I discouraged him. From playing computer games. To celebrate Lent. In order to honor and remember what Jesus did for us on the cross. Good mommy. Just great.

"It's a really long time." "Are you sure?"
After reconsidering, Andrew chose to give up Frosted Flakes. Again, completely his own idea. But another good one, I thought. Grant he usually only eats them once or twice a week, but enough to get the idea.
So, that got me thinking. Here I had no intention of giving any up for Lent even though I love the idea of sacrificing something in order to prompt a thankful heart for Jesus' ultimate love and sacrifice for us. Ah, the heart of a child. But I can't let Andrew do it alone.

Can I give up laundry?

For lent (starting tomorrow - already had it before the converstaion took place), I will give up my flavored coffee creamer. I know it doesn't seem like much. I'm not a big breakfast eater and I practically live for my morning coffee... programmed to be freshly ground & brewed when I wake up. My love for Eight o'Clock Coffee w/Hazelnut Coffeemate liquid creamer is extreme. (I'm second guessing myself just writing this.)

Finally, I would love for you to visit my fellow blogger at Diaper Diaries. She posted her Works for me Wednesday, which prompted me to write this since our experiences matched practically word for word. (Jill, thanks for the rip-off inspiration.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hearts & Rings & Pins, Oh My!

What started out as a joke last week turned into us shipping our kids out of state for a long Valentine's weekend. Thanks mom and dad!!

I had been gone a lot during last week and was going to be gone a good part of the weekend, too... leaving Marc stuck home with the kids again and enough to drive him insane. I halfheartedly mentioned he should ship them to Ohio and when we started putting pieces together (like Andrew having last Friday off school), it ended up working out.

Marc took them down right after Andrew as out of school and while I was working on Thursday. Once he was back we were able to enjoy a late dinner out... just the two of us. Nice.

Friday, I didn't work or babysit, and it was my friend's birthday. So I stole her for the whole day! We had brunch, watched the new Valentine's Day movie, got pedicures, ate a nice early dinner, then hunkered down with girly snacks (baked brie and spinach/artichoke dip on Stacy's Pita Chips - amazing) to watch the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.... until we fell asleep on the couch. It was long day and a late night - but one I would repeat in a heartbeat.

Saturday we met up with the hubbies for brunch before splitting up. Men went to a movie and ladies to our homes. I cleaned and got caught up on American Idol before leaving to help with Children's Church in the evening.

We met back up with our friends that night for 9pm bowling. I had some kickin' coupons that needed used. We all came back here to watch the Canadian sitcom Corner Gas. (Surprisingly funny.)

Sunday, we slept in and went to the late church service before heading back down to Ohio to meet my parents and make the kid hand-off. I missed my boys tons and feel like AJ grew in those three days... but I could get used to weekends like this.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day.

This year, Andrew had very cool holographic-type Valentine's day cards to pass out to his class. The upside... they were awesome and I got them for pennies buying them last year after Valentine's day.

The downside is they are plastic cards instead of paper ones. (The environment comes second to kindergarten class parties apparently).

Now I know how Andrew works. Knowing that he would have to 'sign' about 25 of these cards, we started working on them the weekend before his Thursday party. Getting a handful done each day would be much easier than the daunting task of writing his name 25 times the night before the party. (Plus that particular Wednesday was already a busy one for us.)

So I have him sit down to write them out and the frustration begins. First pencil, then pen, then marker... all the ink either wouldn't show up or would smear on the plastic cards. No fun. So I came up with the idea to make name labels and let him stick them on rather than sign them.

This, however, felt like cheating for some reason... like me doing his science project for him (Hi Shawna!). Plus, how personal is a name in Times New Roman?
So before I made the labels, I scanned his "signature" and used that for a somewhat more personal touch. May not have been a great way for him to practice his writing, but he thought it was cool to have his writing on 'stickers'. And I didn't hear any complaints about him not having to print his name over and over, either.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

SuperBowl Sunday

It's Game Day and the Vikings are not in it. Stinks when you're married to a HUGE Viking fan and therefore become one by marriage and have two little Vikings running around the house. Oh well...

Marc will be attending a SuperBowl party with some of our friends. I will be having a little girly party with my good friend. I'm even planning on some girly appetizer foods that I wouldn't dream of making with the "men" in my life.

Foods like guacamole and hot spinach-artichoke dip. And of course, chocolate of some sort... probably undercooked brownies. I know boxed brownies are like the most simplest dessert... but they are oh, so, good.

Here's looking forward to a good game (that we might-kinda watch between stuffing our faces), funny commercials, and an amazing Tim Tebow/Focus on the Family ad.

Side Note: If you don't have Game Day plans or need some reason to wear your kids out so you can put them down early for the game... consider the Children's Museum. Target is sponsoring a free day today.

I would consider it, but I will have 4 young boys under my care today. And four children at a potentially very busy museum (did I mention it's free today?) does not appeal to me. Plus we were able to go there last weekend when my parents were in town... using 2 B1G1 coupons from our Entertainment book. I love that book!

My mom hitting the bubbles (for like the 3rd time).

The boys giving some animals a bath. AJ snuggling the turtle before the dunk.
Enjoy the day and may the team you are rooting for... win.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Book Report: Catching Fire

This week I finished reading Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Oh, Suzanne.... how I wish your books would go on and on.
I hate reading series books until they ALL come out because I hate waiting between books. However, I read the first book, Hunger Games, last spring not realizing it was the first of a series. I was already sucked in when I found out the second book did come out for months and months.
But I couldn't wait when this one came out. And now I can't wait for the next one. Hurry up Ms. Collins! And thanks again, Amie, for tipping me off on these books.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


The other morning, AJ & Noah, were pretending "Sleep-over". They went and got blankets and pillows and pretended to sleep off and on during the morning.

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