Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Nonetheless, here is some Eastery goodness before Sunday gets here...
**A neighbor first introduced us to Empty Tomb Cookies. Much like the Resurrection Eggs in the post below, this is a beautifully visible and tangible way to share the arisen message. I can only hope your kiddos have as much fun pounding the nuts and enjoying the fruits of their labor the next day!
**Some of my favorite Easter books for the younger children include:
I do the devotion just before the cousins' big egg hunt. This year my husband and I decided to give each family a copy of an all time favorite children's Bible.
The writing style, the connections, the way it speaks to us all... young or old. I just love it, and I know your family will too!
**And, of course, there is the joy of those wicker pink baskets. We couldn't get away without doing an Easter bunny inside if we tried, thanks to a book my oldest read at the library (I had to break the news, though, that unlike the book hers would likely NOT be life-sized- ha!) As for their plastic eggs, however, I'm filling those babies with "candy" my girls love... raisins, cranberries, granola, and fruit chews. Don't worry, I'm all about holiday treats, but my extended family loves to spoil with our sadly seldom visits... Easter night tummy aches don't really add to the fun! :)
I also love to add little odds and ends like books, bunny t-shirts, stickers, spring colored markers, Jesus puzzles, sidewalk chalk in bunny and egg shapes, etc... all of these items picked up on last year's clearance or on sale this year. A few dollars and bit of hunting can go a long way and still leave room for the rich foods seven great-aunts and a slew of second cousins will prepare.
Oh and as for the grass... grab some favorite scrapbook paper that fits your basket and run it through a paper shredder. Free and so sweet to nestle those goodies down inside.
I better get to packing. If you have any Easter traditions, tips, or a fabulous post you've written or run across... please share!
Hope your weekend is blessed!
Friday, March 26, 2010
New life at sunrise... ahh, I know I said it before, but spring just couldn't be a more perfect backdrop could it?
A new tradition for us to begin this year will hopefully make things egg-citing. If you're looking for a visual, easy way to share the Resurrection story with your kiddos I suggest ordering these eggs. Unfortunately the $7.99 ones are no longer available, but you could likely find something similar at your local Christian bookstore.
Another alternative is to make your own... most of the items could totally be collected from around your home. Love that!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
While strolling through the aisles, I came across this little goodie. It's official use is a holder for a roll of paper for kids art projects. I looked at this and figured I could transform my ribbon mess into an organized piece of art. And it did not hurt that it only cost $5.99. Totally worth it! Here is my before picture of how my ribbon was organized:
This was certainly not a functional way to use and store my ribbon, which I happen to think is pretty fabulous. After sorting through it for ribbon I used often, for patterns I enjoyed and then scraps that could possibly be used in other ways, I put them on my new treasure and this is the final result.
The ribbon fits great, there is a place to hang scissors to cut and I have loved being able to see all my beautiful ribbon in one place. So head over to my favorite place, IKEA and see what treasures you might find!
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
When season's change, it's a great time for a fresh start. It's a great time for fresh decor changes, a good deep clean...and new toothbrushes.
Yep, that's what I said...toothbrushes. I've been told that your toothbrush should be changed every 3 months (read more about it here). Since the season's change about every 3 months, it's the perfect reminder to make a change.
Simple Tip. Fresh Start.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
All the white-lying and scheming paid off for a night in the Big Apple. The hubby's 40th birthday party honored many of his favorite things... New York City, obviously, along with the traveling he does as his job takes him around the world raising money for African orphans.
There was lots of glam with sparkly silvers and glittering golds along with the bold colors of red, yellow, and blue... "Happy New Year" hats and horns, shredded silver paper, bunches of candles, boxes modgepodged with city maps, and an unbelievable banner handcrafted by a talented teacher helped set the scene.
We used the couple's recent trip to NYC for most of our inspiration. Many of their mementos, brochures, pictures, etc. were framed in silver and black (thank-you, Target dollar spot!) Others were strung along the fireplace and scattered around the house.
The food... mmm, the food! The main dish table was almost transportation themed with the map napkins and plates and Subway subs. Hubby's favorite homemade dips and chips rounded out the menu. To drink was an array of teas from all over the world along with a few cold options. And the dessert table... chocolate pudding cake, cannolis, and Ohio buckeyes (in honor of his home state). I think Baby Girl and I put on a few extra pounds for sure.
While Pandora belted out the "Frank Sinatra" station, the guest of honor got to open a gift that blew his socks off... his wife had collected special words of honor, blessing, and memories; then bound them together in a book celebrating the first forty years! So sweet!
A fun party both to put together and to enjoy... what's your favorite destination? I highly recommend making it the backdrop of your next gathering too!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
A team of us ladies put it together and here are some of the touches which made another super creative friend's coffee idea good to the last drop... :)
Long cinnamon sticks (on big time clearance from what I am told!) in tall glass vases. Simple ribbon tied around the outsides. Prayers and/or coffee beans scattered around.
All we can say is thank-you Food Network... oh and thank-you Paula Deen, which you all know means we must also thank the butter.
We asked each guest to self-address a homemade thank-you card with the inscription, "Thanks a latte'..." That way all the guest of honor has to do is write her sentiments and send the cards on their way. We drew out envelopes and six guests won a pick from a basket of gourmet coffee candies, Starbucks chocolates, and tea cookies (all scored for a buck a piece at Big Lots!)
Our other game was a collection of coffee and tea related accessories (more Big Lots and Target)piled into clear containers (all scored from the Dollar Store!) Guests guessed the number in each one and the closest estimates won the containers full of Peaceful Mama tea, hazelnut creamers, Sugar in the Raw packets, and coffee filters.
Mostly, we wanted the mama to be to have time to share with us all about her family's great adventure and to fellowship. Afterwards we took time, however, to pray verses and promises over each boy. You can imagine that made the tears fall!
After coffee mints wrapped up in favor boxes with ribbons used throughout the shower. A tiny square of photo tape held each ribbon in place.
A sweet time for a sweet family! Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they continue this great journey. Don't some people simply inspire you to live and serve more boldly?
Friday, March 5, 2010
I tried to pick a "normal" day... a day where we're at home doing our winter thing together, nothing fancy or earth shattering perhaps. Our sacred time together nonetheless.
And so it begins...
7:15 am... I wake-up to the happy sounds of M (1.5 yrs.) jabbering away and playing in her crib. Soon H (3 yrs.) drags her white wicker stool in there to climb into Sissy's bed. For at least half an hour they giggle and play. Ideally I like to be up before the kids, but these days I have a big (and I mean b-i-g) reason why that doesn't always happen when we have no where to be! :) When I start to hear the beginnings of a sisterly spat, it's up and at 'em time. I whisper a prayer for strength and wisdom.
I think M's working her, "What-chu talking 'bout, Willis?"
There are morning hugs all around. We take care of wet bottoms, and I notice M's nose running! Aww, bummer! The healthy streak meets a speed bump. We get dressed in play clothes and head downstairs with great cheers for breakfast. M's in her tennis shoes and "hat" (headband), while H just has to have her bedroom shoes.
8:15 am... I make the quick oatmeal since they are evidently starving. Add raisins and maple syrup since we're out of honey. Need to get a call into the local honey guy. Serve up sippy cups of milk and extra D3 with vitamins on the side... take that, runny nose! Prayers are barely uttered before they start digging in; these girls love breakfast just like their Daddy.
I decide I need a Monday treat, so I whip up a simple frappucino-- light on the coffee and heavy on the milk, just the way I like it. Fix some peanut butter and jelly toast. Grab a handful of raisins. Also need to get some more fresh fruit because I really want a banana. We do our almost always requested daily devotion. There's praying, reading, and singing. A little grumping too... that poor drippy nose!
9:00 am... I wrangle everyone upstairs to brush teeth. M could literally brush hers and splash in the water all day long. Remembering H went through this stage too, except that she couldn't get enough of washing her "hans! hans!"
Mostly unM-like she has a fit when I finally tell her we need to head to the playroom. It's for certain; she's feeling under the weather. H and I quietly go on in to work on ABC's. That girl just loves to learn! Thankfully M soon joins us while needing lots of extra hugs and kisses. I am most happy to oblige.
Afterwards I turn on some music and the girls play while I get in a load of laundry... my one or two loads each day is helping my sanity tremendously! Some sharing over Little People gets out of hand, and we have to review these right then and several other times throughout the morning.
A few consequences are to be had and discussions about making good choices. I need my coffee. Whispering a few more prayers doesn't hurt either.
A bit later, I hear it. The beautiful sounds of playing together, taking turns, learning from bad choices. Everyone gets a marble in the jar. Shouts for joy! We've almost met our first goal.
10:30 am... Snack is served, as usual, in the family room while the girls watch their reading video. Water with a splash of juice and a trail mix concoction of Joe's O's, granola, and raisins hit the spot. I add some peanuts to mine and take a prenatal vitamin. Wash up breakfast dishes and get painting supplies ready.
11:10 am... Messy time! How the girls love that. We're headed to a big aquarium soon, so it's all about ocean life. The girls sponge paint a seal, some eels, and whales. We add them to the kitchen mural and count how many of each creature there are. I look around and paint is everywhere. We clean bodies and tables and walls and floors, but it's worth it. Almost always is.
12:00 pm... Back upstairs we go as I notice I am still in my pajamas. I also realize I've had little water today, so my Camelbak gets a fill up while I'm at it. Gate the girls in the playroom with the happy sounds of more music. I fold some laundry in our bedroom and put the wet load into dry. Someone (cough... H!) lets the gate down and I hear M in the bathroom; I catch her just before her baby goes to the potty in the real potty where I also notice H forgot to flush last. Send H back to the bathroom to finish business and wrangle the babes down the stairs again and into the car. So proud of our big, potty trained girl-- getting there was no walk in the park!
I forgot my chicken yesterday at Publix, which put a real kink in the gyros I was craving. Notice in the car that I'm getting pretty nauseated. At 27-weeks this doesn't happen too often, but when it does it's truly yuck. Tell them one requested story after another and sing a little before feeling totally green. Get sick in the parking lot once we arrive and then feel lots better. We pick up our chicken along with some yogurt and other essentials for our upcoming trip. The girls go wild with a free sugar cookie from the bakery.
1:40 pm... Get back home later than I had hoped. I have to work to keep M awake in the car. A quick lunch is in order so doctored up green smoothies and pepperoni-cheese crackers are on the menu. Hope gets hers after a time-out for behavior on the way home, and she is happy to come back to the table. Even asks if I'll forgive her for the way she spoke. Sweet girl.
H gets to pick a 30-minute video to transition to rest time, while I spend that time reading and doing flashcards with M. Put M down for a nap, thankful for the cuddle bug she still is, and then work with H before she has rest time. I really enjoy these one-on-one opportunities during the day.
The nauseated feeling is back again. Ick! I load up in my bed with some water and a granola bar. Catch up on a few e-mails and bills, write to growing Baby Girl in her journal, read for our Tuesday parenting class, and have a quiet time. This really helps me feel better, even if H has to be redirected to her bedroom a couple of times in the process. That girl can come up with some creative stuff, I tell you, as she doesn't want to miss a thing! But she's getting better, and only occassionally worse, all the time. :)
4:00 pm... MIRACLE! Both girls are still sleeping soundly, so I head out to the mailbox where I find a letter from my mother-in-law. She is so gifted at old fashioned correspondence. I barely make it back in the house before pouring over her words about how healthy avocados are and encouragement about having the three kiddos so close together. I set out some carrots and popcorn for our snack, unload the dishwasher, and try to return some much needed phone calls. I have turned into a horrible phone person these days, and I need to work on it.
It's confirmed again. The girls are plain old pooped! They never sleep this long, and I'm especially grateful they are able to get the rest they need. I go ahead and prep dinner while trying to use up all our fresh stuff before we travel. Bake some tilapia with a little butter, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and Italian parsley. Saute mushrooms, make a small pasta salad with pesto and tomatoes, and heat up leftover sweet potato. Am I the only one who feels so blessed to have groceries?
5:30 pm... Finally M is stirring! We actually have to wake up H, which M loves to do, and both girls are excited to eat. We go ahead with dinner. We hate to eat without Daddy, but sometimes we just have to. He works so hard just so we can have days like this.
It warms my heart when I see the girls hold hands for our blessing. Sometimes they even burst into spontaneous song. Sometimes, oh sometimes, they do not.
This night they did.
My cup overflows.
That extended rest was a God-send... they are angels! We laugh and talk; no whining to be found, and I love when I don't feel so frazzled at this point in the evening. The phone rings and Daddy says he'll be home soon. We clean up dinner dishes, sweep the floor for no less than the twenty-fifth time that day, and wash up ourselves. The girls get in monkey PJ's and brush and floss their teeth. Humidifiers are filled, favorite blankies and babies and books are found, and water bottles are placed by bedsides.
7:00 pm... Every one's favorite-- Daddy's home! We pick up the playroom, and I leave them with hugs and kisses to play and wrestle until bedtime. I head to our nearby Super Target to help with an impromptu shower planning meeting (for a family foster-adopting FOUR beautiful kiddos!) and to pick up some saline drops for that sad, little nose.
On the way home it's official, I'm feeling really pregnant. Some might even say waddling. I hope they don't.
9:15 pm... When I walk in the door, both kiddos are in bed reading more stories to themselves after such late naps. Daddy says they were great with their nightly ritual of bedtime reading and prayers. H gets out of bed to give Daddy "one more hug and kiss" and then sees me so we both get showered. I am most happy to oblige.
All in a day's play. All in a day's work.
All in the gift of another ordinary day given to us to live!