Friday, November 26, 2010

Mama's Holiday Wish List Meme

Today's Mama and GameStop are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What is your holiday wish for your family? My holiday wish for my family this year is that we really stop to enjoy each other and take hold of the memories we are making together. Our days slip by so quickly and time passes before we know it. We need to slow down this season and keep things simple.

2. What is your Christmas morning tradition?Every year the entire family meets at my mother-in-law's house for Christmas morning. We have a quick breakfast and then let the kids have some fun ripping open packages. Then we take a break and slow things down, each person opening one gift at a time in turn, so we can all enjoy the excitement and wonder of Christmas. It is always an all day event!

3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be? My one decadent wish would be for a new car all my own. I always get the hand-me-down car. And if I could have my car it would be a Lexus.

4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money?We spend a lot of time in the kitchen together. We bake cookies, cookies, and some more cookies. And a recent new tradition: the Gingerbread House! The highlight of Christmas week is finishing up the Gingergbread House and sampling all the little candies we decorate with!

5. What games did you play with your family growing up?Growing up, we played the game of LIFE, Monopoly, Trouble, and Sorry! As we got older, my mom would let us play with her Flinch! game. All of these games are still family favorites.

6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood?The only family tradition from my side of the family to survive is having the whole family together on New Year's Day to celebrate together, and we always serve Grape Leaves and Kibi, and occasionally Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. The in-laws celebrate Christmas as a 2-day event. Beginning on Christmas Eve with fondue, opening stocking gifts and going to the Christmas Eve Service. Christmas Day is spent eating, laughing, and opening gifts. It's a full day of fun!

7. Where would you go for a Christmas-away-from-home trip?I wouldn't go anywhere. We've spent the last 4 years living across the US from the rest of our family. We were unable to get home for Christmas last year and it was a very difficult season for me. I would choose to stay home for Christmas. But, if the whole family could go on a trip, I think it would wonderful to spend the holiday travelling Europe together! Wouldn't that be a Christmas to remember?!

8. Check out GameStop and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year?
Our family's top 3 would be: PS3 system since ours died recently, the XBox 360 Kinect, obviously, and the latest, greatest Guitar Hero/RockBand stuff. We like to rock around here!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Gimme S'more!

Nothing says summer like a bonfire and some marshmallows! Not long after setting up camp The Girl and Little Man met all the neighbor kids. A couple days later we were the hang out spot.

We picked up a bunch of old firewood from out behind the sawmill. It was so dry it burned very, very quickly. It was all gone before the weekend was done. We went through 2 boxes of graham crackers, 10 chocolate bars, and 3 bags of marshmallows that weekend. Good times! :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In the Kitchen

Chad and Little Man made dinner! Home Economics class is in session :) Eventually we'll have a full-sized kitchen and then family cooking will be much easier. Until then, we take turns :)

While I was snapping pictures and watching them cook, it hit me that they were dressed practically the same! Silly boys!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer Lovin'

Is there anything better than enjoying fresh picked, locally grown fruits and vegetables?! I love summer's harvest of goodness. We've been enjoying sweet corn, yellow squash and zuchinni, tomatoes, peaches, and blueberries. So yummy!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Buy me some peanuts!

Family day this week was an evening treat. We scored front row, home plate tickets to the South Bend Silverhawks game last night!

What a great view of the game. The only, and I do mean only, drawback to the seats was the view along the 3rd base line was blocked by the visitors dugout. But you could stand up and watch the play in left field if you really needed to see what was going on back there! The best part was the foot rest :) We had a lot of fun and snacked on $1 hot dogs and sodas.

Little Man was totally into the game until the hecklers started getting obnoxious. I tried to calm him down but he was completely distracted from the game the last 2 innings. He and The Girl were so unused to the rudeness toward the visiting team that I think it may have ruined the experience for them. I hope not. I'd really like to get season tickets next year.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Cake Pops by Bakerella

Back in April I made some of these as baseballs for Little Man's baseball team and I love doing these! I so want to make a set of Star Wars cake pops :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer isn't over...

until the school bell rings! ~Nora Roberts

As invariably happens, summer is winding to a close. The days are becoming shorter. The air is turning cooler. And the frenzy of back-to-school shopping has begun!

I'm working on organizing the kids school curriculum for the upcoming year, but in the back of my mind all I can think is "summer isn't over yet!"

I have this whole list of summer activites I want to do as a family, and we haven't gotten to very many of them. So many sights to see, smells to take in, memories to be made!

Some of my ideas for the rest of summer (and maybe right on into fall!)

Build a sand castle
Go to a museum
Fly kites
Go to a county or state fair
Go to a professional baseball game
Make home made ice cream
Build a fort
Go to the zoo
Have a pic nic
Go to a drive-in theater
Make sushi
Take a Road trip
Climb a tree
Go on a scavenger hunt
Go thrifting/yard sales
Blow bubbles
Go bowling
Play board games/card games all day
Have a water balloon fight
Go star gazing
Tie-dye party!
Make fresh lemonade

and oh, so many more....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Super Cute Piggie Cookies

My project this week: Pig Cookies!

And Detroit Piggies :)

I totally busted out the Mad-Martha skills and made these little pigs for my mom's restaurant anniversary celebration. We didn't know what to do about a pig cookie cutter, but turns out my sister actually had one! I also got the recipe from her cookbook. I'm so ready to make some more of these sugar cookies. This recipe is one of the most amazing recipes I've come across! They baked up nice and flat and didn't distort. Perfect for flood-work frosting! Bring on Christmas, baby!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Highways and Byways: From Florida to Michigan

Just when you think you've got it all planned out you get a curve ball.

The plan went awry waaaaay back in June when we found out J had made the All-Stars team. Which is awesome and I'm super proud of him because he worked so hard to make it. But it did push our schedule back since the games would be in July. No biggie. We just pushed the departure date back a bit.

July playoffs come along and don't you know - they win the District 14 title! Way to go Winter Garden All-Stars! But, another set back all the same. At least the sectionals were at the end of July. So I go ahead with our plans and drive to Michigan to work for a week or so and then fly back for the games. Not a curve ball this time - we got hit by the pitch! The car broke down in Atlanta, costing me a one day delay and a Greyhound ticket. Plus the car is now stuck in GA.

So I work the week and a few days, saving every penny, only to have to pay extra for the plane ticket back because I had to wait to purchase it. Oh well. What do you do?

The weekend of playoffs was a wet one. It rained and rained. So many delays! But the weekend was finally over. The team came in 3rd place. I half wish they'd won to go on to State, but at the same time I'm glad we could finally get moving.

We loaded up the RV and pulled out the next day. Only to find the A/C was out on the truck and the heat index was over 100! No way were we driving without A/C! So another delay. Several hours and several hundred dollars later we were finally ready to head out. And then I discover that K's fish died. :( He hadn't been looking so well the last few days so I knew it was coming. And really, just as well he stay in Florida. K took it. She said it was a sign. A sign that we were not supposed to leave Florida. But leaving we were!

After an agonizing 6 hour delay we were finally on the road. We stopped for the night outside Atlanta to get a good nights rest. By morning we were infested with sugar ants.

I couldn't make this stuff up!

We dumped a bunch of ant stuff all over the counters and hit the road. By 1 am we were ready to stop outside Indy. We pulled open the RV to fall into our beds, but the ants were still crawling all over the place. And the inside of the RV was at least 90 degrees! No rest for us. Back into the truck and back out onto the highway. We finally arrived in Michigan at the break of dawn. We grabbed our pillows and crashed in the basement at Chad's moms. When we went out to the truck the next morning...the back tire on the truck was flat. I don't mean low or squishy...I mean FLAT!

You think I'm kidding don't you?

Luckily Grandpa had an air compressor and we filled it up. After dropping the RV we took off for Niles to get the tire fixed. Wouldn't you know it, they wouldn't fix the tire. So we went to Sam's in Mishawaka where we'd purchased the tires. Another 2 hour delay and the tire was fixed. But it still had a leak. So they put the spare on and tossed the old one. Another hour and we were on the road back to Dowagiac.

Later that week we moved the RV to a resort outside Decatur where it now sits in the shade of two lovely maple trees. After all the misery of that trip, it deserves a nice place to rest.

After all that, we're still not sure where we're going and what we're doing. All we know is that Life certainly takes some funny twists and turns.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Round Up Time! June 2010

1. What books/magazines did I read this month?
Two books: The Queen's Handmaiden, Around the World in 80 Days. Magazines: Creating Keepsakes, Scrapbooks Etc, Relevant.

2. What movies/TV shows/plays/ect did I watch this month?
The Red Baron, Season 1 of Merlin, Iron Man, Season 1 of Bones, one episode of season 2 of The Tudors, and the pilot for LOST.

3. What fun things did I do with my family/friends this month?
Went to watch the Majors team in playoffs, went to lunch with the Cressman family afterwards. We spent 5 days at the end of the month volunteering at the Little League fields during the 9-10 yr. old tournaments. It was a lot of hard work, a lot of fun, and very tiring :) Mid-month Uncle Todd and Max came to Orlando for a convention. We were able to squeeze in an afternoon of pizza and mini-golf.

Chad and J also had the experience of a lifetime a couple weeks ago when they were invited to go deep sea fishing with some of our baseball friends. They had some amazing fish tales to tell when they got back that night!

4. What gifts did I give/receive?
Father's Day was low key - just a card and an afternoon together. I sent out several birthday and anniversary cards this month.

5. What special or unusual purchases did I make this month?
I went thrifting: purple dress, galoshes, camera bag. I also treated myself to the new Skillet CD.

6. What illnesses or health concerns did I have this month?
We're all doing pretty well. J smashed his left index finger in a door. He will definitely be losing the nail. Hopefully it's not too sore next week for his All Star tournaments! He also hasn't had that growth spurt yet. I know it's coming, though. He started complaining about his knee hurting...

7. What were my accomplishments?
Marathon training is in full swing! The kids are almost finished with all their school work for the year.

8. What were my disappointments?
Due to the week of tournaments, my training schedule is off. I missed the last week because we were out so late (and bone weary) that I just could not get up in the mornings to walk.

9. How did I do on my goals?
Posting to my blog everyday has been a challenge, between the virus on my computer and waiting to borrow one of the kids' computers, and the crazy schedules we've been keeping, blogging has taken a back seat. I still have the marathon in my sights and I'm still working on my various photography projects.

10. Anything else noteworthy? Yes! On June 15, 2010 J got the call he's be working towards for 2 1/2 years: The All Stars call! J made the All Stars team this year. Way to go buddy! We're so proud of you :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I like Free Stuff!

GO TO ARTSCOW RIGHT NOW! get free stuff! and if you really like me,
use my link so I can get some free stuff too!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Make Do or Do Without...

Currently doing without most days. An occasional make-do moment sneaks its way in, but mostly doing without.

I have pictures piling up on my memory cards, I have photo editing that's getting way too far behind again. I have blog posts that will never see the light of day. I have downloads to download, but nowhere to download them. I have craft ideas saved that I can't get to, and blogs are being posted to every moment and I can't read them. Not having my computer has really put a kink in my day-to-day life.

What to do, what to do... I can't even add a fun photo to this post!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Currently Reading...

found on Amazon or your local library :)

I have to admit, I actually started reading this book some time ago. I managed to read about a third of the way into it and then set it aside to read something else. I kept telling myself I just needed to read it and get it over with. I think my problem is that I saw the movie some years ago and it's interferring with my reading. I like to read the book before I see the movie. That way I can visualize the characters my way and enjoy the story from my perspective, rather than the perspective of some Hollywood producer and a gaggle of writers who all want to put their own two cents into it. Hopefully, I can get past the movie scenes playing in my head and enjoy the story my way :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Technical Difficulties

I really dislike technology at the moment. My computer has been under attack for a couple weeks and it has finally succumbed to the incessant prying of a virus. It's my own fault. My virus protection was expiring and I didn't renew it because the brand that was on my computer was waaaaay too expensive for me to renew. I've also been unable to find a suitable replacement that fits my budget. So now, my computer sits, unused, on the kitchen table; a daily reminder that virus protection should be purchased and installed at ANY cost, because a dead computer is a bad thing. Especially when one relies on said computer for not only email, but research and homeschooling.

So, that being said, if my blog posts get behind, it's because I'm not able to beg a computer from another family member. I'll try to pre-schedule posts so I don't miss any, but there are no guarantees...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Project 365: Week 23

Sunday, May 30, 2010 What else do you do on a hot, summery afternoon but play in the water?

Monday, May 31, 2010 Another warm day. This time dad took the kids to the pool.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 I saw some decorated baggies on the 'net and couldn't resist trying it myself. This could become addicting!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 New dreaddies in the works. Brown base with yellow and orange for fun :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010 J's Nerf arsenal.

Friday, June 4, 2010 I went thrifting for the first time in a long while. Found a few goodies :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010 Time to get all the June birthday/anniversary cards ready!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Marathon Training Update: Week 1

Well. Week One is complete. Three short, 3-mile training days during the week and a longer, 6-mile training day on Saturday. I finished the shorter walks in 48-49 minutes. The long walk came to 1 hour and 37 mintues. Not bad, not bad. Today is a cross training day. After the sun goes down a bit I'll take my bike out for good long ride, or maybe go for a swim. Personally, I think living life is cross-training enough!

I still haven't found a race to compete in. I do have a few options. It really depends on where we are going to be living, so I have to wait a few more weeks to make that decision. Right now I'm leaning toward the Springfield, MO race in October. There's also a race in Indianapolis. There are options in November as well, though I don't know if I want to go that far into fall since most of my training will be done in the excessive heat and humidity of summer. But, since I can't register until I know where we are going to relocate, that decision is on hold.

Training commences! 17 weeks to go :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Inspiration Station: Embroidery

I am so in love! Not only is it Queen Elizabeth I, but it's embroidery! The dress, the fencing, those trees! So amazing! This is definitely going on my "to-craft" list!

tutorial here

Here's a close up look at one of those trees:
Truely amazing work!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Project 365: Week 22

Sunday, May 23, 2010 J decided to eat breakfast outside this morning while waiting for everyone to show up to go to church.

Monday, May 24, 2010 Time to go through the library books again. I also have some knitting projects to get started on soon

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 We're having another go at the Mexican Rice recipe. I tweaked it a bit and it was waaaay better this time around!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 K decided to do some of her schoolwork while laying on the couch. I usually see J there, but today he sat at the table.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 I spent 3 days making some striped rocket popsicles and the kids finally got to enjoy them today

Friday, May 28, 2010 Daddy's day off. "I heard that." I thought he was asleep, turns out he wasn't quite there yet :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010 J hit an out-of-the-park homerun a few days ago and he had me label it and then he put it in one of his baseball boxes. Way to go, Slugger!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

On the hunt for...

Find the tutorial here
Because I want to make this! A couple years ago I had a lovely pink striped beach towel. But it joined the group going to the water park one fine day and became lost in lounger land. Sadly, it's never been replaced. But now the hunt is on. I need a nice big, thin pile beach towel to turn into this amazing swimsuit cover-up dress. I figure if I make my beach towel into a dress, it's unlikely anyone in my family will want to borrow it! *crossing my fingers!*

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Journaling Me: Music

What kind of band do you see yourself fronting?

Photobucket question. I could see several possibilites, really. I could see playing my violin in a rock-driven, folksy band. Or going electic with it in a more metal/edge type band. I don't have a voice for fronting a band, but I love harmonizing. So a band that has some depth to their vocals for sure. I'd love to be in a band with some industrial sound and clever bass lines.

I like the sounds of Clear, Natalie Grant, Todd Agnew, Skillet, Flyleaf, Casting Crowns, and about a zillion others. I think I should take some pics of my disc collection!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Photo Shoot with R2-D2

R2-D2 was in the neighborhood and wanted to take a look around. I always thought the grass was cut a little short, but for R2 it's a jungle out there!
We didn't get far when he stopped to smell some flowers.
It was getting warm and the kids were in the pool, so we stopped by to see what was going on. R2 decided to get some sun and see what he could do about his pasty exterior.
While lounging around R2 decided he wanted to get a look at things from a new vantage point. Choosing a new perspective is always a good thing. Just don't fall, okay? We don't have any spare parts.
The day was slipping by and R2 was a little tired. He called Chewie for a pick up, but he chose the wrong place to wait. No parking here my friend.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Marathon Training Update: May 2010 Progress

Progress? I don't believe so. I walked all of 2 days in May. It got so very hot. We took a week for vacation. Baseball was time consuming. Craziness.
Here's the stats:

Current Weight: 183 lbs. - Weight Lost: 0 Total 12 lbs.
Steps: 18,974 - Total Steps: 206,473
Total Miles: 8 - YTD Miles: 76
Longest Distance Walk: 5 miles - Time: 1:20
Avg. mph: 15.875
Cross Training: baseball

I sort of anticipated that May was going to be a difficult month. Maybe I set myself up for that? Anyway. The Chicago Marathon is out. Registration met the 45,000 limit way back in March. A bummer that. So now I'm looking for another marathon somewhere around the same date as the Chi-town race. Hopefully I run across something soon so I can get registered!

My official training starts tomorrow. With a day off :) Mondays and Fridays will be my days off for cross training and rest. 18 weeks to race day! somewhere...

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Thrifty Finds!

It has been far too long since I've enjoyed a trip to the thrift shops. I only hit one this time around, mostly because I'd spent my budget! Too many great deals :) I went with the intention of finding some skirts and dresses and hopefully some workout shorts/gear. And after trying on at least 20lbs of possibilities, I walked away with one dress.
This purple dress! I can't wait to get it washed and start wearing it! Best part - it was brand new. What a deal. On my way to checkout I remembered that I wanted to look for a bag to convert to a camera bag. And wouldn't you just know it; I totally lucked out!
When I spotted this bag I actually squealed a little and started hopping up and down in pure joy! Not only is it the perfect shape and depth, it's the most beautiful color. I love it! And then I just happened to spot another sweet bag, one that I've been craving for some time now...
The perfect straw bag! The lining is in desperate need of replacement, but that's okay because I got this bag for a song! At this point I decided to get in line, but then I happened to glance over at the "new" stuff shelves and I couldn't believe my eyes! A brand new pair of galoshes!
I saw all the pretty galoshes on the Target website and instantly fell in love. I never did get to order a pair. This colorway wouldn't have been what I ordered, but it was on my top 5. And while I was still glowing with happiness over the boots, I glanced up and saw these
beautiful ribbony things! The birthday ribbons will go right into my scrapbooking box. The green plastic wire is very interesting. It's a foam/plastic wrapped wire made for use in the garden. I can't wait to play with it. And I'm wondering if I'll be able to find any more of that stuff.

It was a pretty good thrift day, even if I didn't find skirts. Maybe next time!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Project 365: Week 21

Sunday, May 16, 2010 Our Texan friends are visiting Orlando for the week so we are spending time with them at Calypso Cay. We really like the pool there!

Monday, May 17, 2010 We spent the day at Downtown Disney. Chad and the boys played "Monkey See, Monkey Do". They're so funny.

Tuesday, May 19, 2010 After breakfast, K challenged Dad to an arm wrestling contest. She almost won :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2010 While our friends were at Disney, Chad and I took J to play a round of disc golf. K doesn't enjoy the game anymore so she stayed at home.

Thursday, May 21, 2010 We played the Braves this game. J got to pitch!

Friday, May 22, 2010 I used my last disc to copy pictures for my friend and needed to go buy some more to backup all of my pictures. I got a little behind this last couple months. But now, I'm happy to say, everything has been backed up, multiple times!

Saturday, May 22, 2010 Finally got around to doing some grocery shopping. Fresh fruits! Yum! If only the blueberries weren't so expensive!