Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New Camera- Day One

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Love, Love, Love the new camera! Obviously, these are our first pictures from it, but I am having a blast pretending to be a photographer with it. My kids enjoy being my little models too so it makes it even more fun.

In this picture, you can see that our tree is up, but still not decorated. Emily is really into destroying things right now and waiting until the last minute to hang the ornaments just makes my day a little easier. I did wrap and put the tree up, but am daily handed shredded gifts that she has lovingly tore apart for me. Maybe practicing opening gifts with our Christmas countdown wasn’t such a good idea? I will get the ornaments up, but our tree might look a little strange with none on the bottom this year. All in good holiday fun though, right?

The second picture is of Emily in her super cute sock monkey pajamas that she got for her birthday. I am sure these will be making an appearance on Christmas day since it has been rumored that Santa will be bringing her a sock monkey this year.

This was the night we gathered the kids up to take them on a tour of the Christmas lights in a nearby neighborhood. Ethan thought it was funny to go in his pajamas…Emily was less impressed since she takes Ethan to school sometimes in these.

This was a fun year to see the lights since Emily really got it this year. She kept saying, “Oh, WOW!” while Ethan was far less enthusiastic (“Are we done yet? Is it almost over?”) I can see how this age gap might bring on some new challenges as they get older.

Oh, and have I introduced you to my third child yet? She is a new addition the family and I love her so! My best girlfriend presented me with a brand-new purse (and matching shoes, no less!) for our gift exchange. Only a girlfriend who knows me so well would present it with the price tag still ON so she could show me what a most excellent deal she scored on this purse. And it was a most excellent deal, even better than any deal I had run across this year.

I just love the festive pom-poms and the knitted look on this bag. The brown boots that match are equally rockin’ and make me feel like a superstar momma!

Don’t we all deserve a little of that once in awhile?

Operation: Sterilization

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Today was spent sterilizing everything in our house, thanks to a bad case of the stomach flu. It used to be that I would get sick and my mom would change my sheets, hold my hair back when I got sick, and get all of that sick food out (Jello, Sprite, hot soup, etc…) Boy, do I miss those days! Nothing makes you miss your mommy more than when you get sick as an adult. Can I get an, “Amen”?

I stripped the beds and washed them in hot water, ran the sterilization program on our dishwasher for all of our dishes, killed the carpet germs with my super UV powers, steam cleaned the hardwood and bathroom floors, and sterilized the bathrooms with some of those homemade cleaners in my closet. If a winter storm wasn’t brewing outside, I would be whipping all of these windows open to do a little airing out of the house.

Would one call this obsessive compulsive or just high-maintenance? I am not sure, but I hope that we can prevent another family member from suffering from this plague. Each meal, my husband thinks it is going to be his last. Isn’t it amazing how differently you look at food when you think you might get sick from it?

On another note, I completed all of my holiday baking on the day I got sick. I am thinking I am going to be pitching my six 9×13 pans of goodies that I made. This almost makes me sick all over again, but I don’t want my gift to be the gift that keeps on giving (If you know what I mean?) I don’t think I have the energy or the funds to make a second batch of stuff so I might have to skip the goodies this year…which makes me really sad.

Side Note: I get tons and tons of emails about what I use to clean our hardwood floors. I bought a Bissell Steam Mop and it was BY FAR one of the best investments I have ever made for caring for our house. They had discontinued selling these, but they recently came out with another model of them and it looks to be the same, just a different color. It has replaceable terry mop heads that you can just throw in your washer. I bought extra of them because I use them so often. If you have difficulties carrying for your floors, this makes the job a lot easier. Amazon doesn’t have them in stock right now, but a quick Google search should come up with some other stores that sell them.

If anyone else has hardwood floor advice, please share! Who can’t use a little help when it comes to this household chore?

Prayer Request

Monday, December 10th, 2007

I have a very special friend named Amy that I would like to share with you. Amy & I actually met through the internet and through my website. Her husband worked for a news channel in town, who featured our site in one of their stories, and he told Amy about it and she decided to visit the site.

Our friendship grew through emails exchanged back and forth and we were so surprised by how much we had in common. Amy has a similar quirky sense of humor, she has a computer hubby, she & I both had one little boy…oh, and her name was Amy too!

When I got the opportunity to talk to a mom’s group in another town, Amy happened to be friends with the moms and had been planning to go too. She emailed me and said that she was willing to drive and I could ride with her to the meeting. It was a bit like a blind date for us, but we talked all the way there and back, enjoying great conversation about motherhood and all that goes along with it.

Amy later joined my mom’s group and quickly became a leader in our group. Sadly, her husband found a job in another town, and Amy had to move to another city. I have discovered though that Amy has found an awesome congregation, has found a rock-steady faith in God, and she has made a new and wonderful life for herself in her new town. We were sad to see her leave, but who can argue with all of that good stuff?

Recently though, Amy has went through one of the most heartbreaking experiences that a mother could ever go through. When she was only twenty weeks pregnant, they discovered that their child was diagnosed with a rare and fatal disease called anencephaly. They were told that they had to make the decision on whether to terminate the pregnancy or asked if they would want to deliver their little daughter to term, not knowing if the baby would even be with them when she was born.

They made a very brave decision to carry their daughter, named Lydia Grace, to term knowing that this was the best choice for their family. I can’t imagine how heart wrenching that decision must have been, but they knew that it was the only decision and proceeded on with her pregnancy and making arrangements that no parent should ever have to make.

Lydia Grace was born on December 3rd and she spent only 28 minutes with their family before going to be with the Lord.

I just ask that each of you lift their family up in prayer and help them during this difficult time. I have been so thankful for Amy and her friendship and I know that God has a reason for all of this and for all of the people who have been touched by their family and by Lydia Grace.

If you have any kind words to share with their family, please leave them here!

We are praying for you Mike, Amy, & Alex!

Grab a Cup of Tea…

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

And sit down to read this most excellent interview with Michael Mead of Country Home Magazine, courtesy of Restyled Home. I just love the questions about the holiday season and his creative answers. Be sure to swing by and visit his site to see all of his wonderful ideas for holiday decorating!

Enjoy your mommy break!

Eat Your Heart Out, Martha: Elegant Photo Albums

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Grandparents can be difficult people to buy for because I think as we get older, we began to acquire so much and it can be a struggle to come up with an idea for something they already don’t have or can’t buy for themselves.

Last year I started doing photo albums for each set of grandparents and it was a real hit, particularly for the grandparents who don’t live near us. It is a great way to share with them what we have been up to throughout the year and give them a tiny glimpse into our everyday life. By making each of these albums personal and filling them with pictures from our life, it helps them feel like they are close by and gives them a great brag book to share with their friends.

I found professional-looking albums last year at our local dollar store, but I didn’t have any success this year. I decided to head over to Marshall’s and found some very elegant albums for
only $3.99 each. Not as good of a deal as the ones got for a buck last year, but still a phenomenal deal.

I found thirty pictures from our year to have printed for each book. I tried to put the fun holiday pictures in there, but also funny pictures from our year and included subtitles for each. How else can you share the joy your husband experienced from getting his hands on one of the first copies of the last Harry Potter book on a midnight run to Barnes & Noble? Those are the moments that I wanted to put in our books.

We included pictures that our son drew for each album…six in all! I decided not to wrap them since they looked so elegant without the wrapping and opted for a gold bow instead. I found the ribbon at Dollar General and plan to use this same ribbon for our treat boxes this year. 75 feet for $5 is a great deal and I love how beautifully it brought these albums together.

I ordered our pictures this year through This was the first time I used their photo services and it was a great experience. They had flat shipping of $1 and it was twelve cents per print, which I thought was very affordable! For a complete breakdown on photo deals for this month, be sure to stop by Baby Cheapskate. Angie has a great price breakdown on holiday card specials and coupon codes you can use.

The total cost for each gift was $7.80, which makes it not only a memorable grandparent gift, but also an affordable one!

Camera Recommendations?

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

I am looking to purchase a new digital camera and was hoping to get some recommendations! My camera is great for capturing still objects, but not for crazy kids and all of their busyness.

I would prefer one with image stabilization and that can take photos quickly, but I think I want to stick with a point-and-click camera. I love the fancier models, but just can’t justify the price tag.

So with those things in mind, do you have any camera recommendations or any tips for shopping for this big purchase?

Thanks for your input!

$5 Magazine Subscriptions

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

I buy a lot of magazine subscriptions to give as gifts and primarily go through Ebay to make my purchases. I love giving subscriptions as gifts because it is a gift that continues giving long after people have become tired of the items they got for Christmas gifts. In addition, it gives them something fun to look forward to in their mailbox, rather than just the regular old bills!

I ran across this great special through Hearst Magazine for $5 subscriptions. There are tons of titles to choose from including Marie Claire, SmartMoney, Good Housekeeping, Town & Country, House Beautiful, & Popular Mechanics. If you go on their homepage, however, these deals aren’t offered so be sure to go through that provided link.

What excellent gifts these will make! I am not sure how long this offer will last so I am going to order some today. I hope this helps someone else with some of their holiday shopping!

Side Note: Be sure to look how many issues are being offered for your money. Some of the nicer subscriptions, like O Magazine, only offer four issues for this price. Still an excellent deal, but won’t last as long as the twelve issue subscriptions!

Space Heater Recommendations

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

It is that time of year again and I got our space heater out last night to warm our downstairs family room. Would you believe that this is the third edition of this space heater in our house in less than a year, and it has once again OVERHEATED?!! The first two I had returned, all for overheating, but now I am past the return policy on this one. I really loved the design of this heater because the air blew at just the right height, but now I just want one that works.

Do you guys have a space heater that you could recommend? One that has some lasting qualities to it? I am looking for one with an automatic shutoff.

Boo to Lasko for releasing such a bad product! Shame on you!

Cozy Swap

Monday, November 19th, 2007

I participated in another Sister Shoe Box Swap sponsored by Carrie & Monica. The theme for this swap was “cozy” and we were to include fun and cozy items for our swap partners.

Lucky for me, I got Carrie to partner up with. She sent a box full of fun goodies including a yummy chai mix, warm & fuzzy socks, a holiday towel, a pretty holiday frame, cookie decorating supplies, peppermint foot scrub, a candle set, and my favorite gift of all…. a gift card to Starbucks to get my pumpkin spice latte fix. Does she know me well or what?

My shoe box to Carrie contained some fuzzy slipper socks, some of my hot cocoa mix (with a big bag of marshmallows), holiday stationary, a cookie cutter, a purse-size holiday scrapbooking kit, and my favorite Starbucks CD.

Please visit her site for the list of all of the participants. Many thanks to Carrie & Monica for making this swap possible! It is so nice to get something other than bills in the mail.

MomAdvice Friday: Is Your House “Small”?

Friday, November 16th, 2007

I was watching Oprah the other day and they had a great show where they showcased homeowners who were their own decorators and had created beautiful living spaces without the aid of a designer.

One of the houses that they showcased was a 1,700 square foot home that they referred to as “small” and they shared how amazed they were that the homeowner was able to make their home feel so large when they were living in such a small home. The homeowners had lived in another country before so they said they had adapted to the European home size.

To be honest, I just sat scratching my head wondering what I was missing . My home is 1,800 square feet and while it is certainly no McMansion, it isn’t as though we are living in a tiny shack either. We have four people in our house and I feel like it is a comfortable home size for us. A family that lived in our house before us had five children in this space!

When I think about buying a larger home, I think about how I often feel that I can’t keep up with my house that I have right now. If I can’t keep a house tidy this size, why would I ever buy a bigger house that would require more cleaning?

I also think of all my brainstorms for how we can maximize the space we already have by creating more built-in pieces and being more creative with the walls and corners in our home.

Am I alone in this thinking? What are your thoughts about McMansions and the American way of super-sizing everything? What size of house is considered small to you?