Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Things are not always as they appear...

I do like to wake up and shower and put on makeup, but this does not mean I "have it all together". However, I guess it appears that way sometimes to others.

A cute new friend of mine at preschool exclaimed one day, "How do you do it? You are so put together, and you have to get five children dressed and out the door. You are here, calm and collected, and I have 2 children and have lost a shoe and feel very frazzled!"

I assured her that I do not "have it all together" and that looks can be deceiving, but she didn't seem to believe me. Later that very same morning, I went to the bathroom. I wear a lot of pants, but I happened to be in a dress with tights and boots that particular morning. In the bathroom, I realized my underwear was on "caddy wampus", as my mama says!! I had the sides where the middle should be. Since I was wearing tights and boots, I decided it was too much trouble to correct it, so I walked around all day with my underwear wrong! I laughed out loud when I saw it!! I could hardly wait to find H back at school. I ran up to her when I spotted her, and let her know what had happened. LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING!!!

Blog friends, we all struggle and no one has it all together... unless they have a lot of help! And even then, we all have faults, though some hide them better than others:).

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Apple Crisp drink

My friend, J, from PA, recommended a drink called Apple Crisp. She said it is so yummy for Christmas!

1 oz dark rum (Goslings is good)
1 oz unfiltered apple juice (simply juice brand is nice)
1/2 oz brandy

Mix ingredients together and pour over ice in a rocks glass. Add a generous splash of seltzer on top and then top with cinnamon and sugar (like what you put on cinnamon toast!) A very big hit- your friends would love it and you just might need one after a crazy day with the children. These are strong! She made a batch in a pitcher and her bartender served them all night.

Girl's Birthday Party Idea

Our little friend, C, turned 8 yesterday. She and her mama came up with the cutest birthday party idea!! They decided to hire a limo to pick up all 10 little girls. The party was from 2-4pm, and our girls were picked up at 3. You were requested to wear your pajamas, which was very cute! When the limo arrived, the birthday girl & her friends hopped out and blew party horns! The music was playing loudly and it looked very fun!!

Our girls were the last pick up, so after they were picked up, everyone had a sparkling grape juice toast, complete with a cherry inside. It was precious!

They drove back to the birthday girl's house where they made their own lotion! This is the part that I thought was so cute. Mama S had bought skin safe colorant to put in bottles of Jergens lotion. She dyed the lotion pink, green, blue, yellow, and white with glitter. Each girl was able to fill her own bottle of lotion to take home. S had bought clear plastic lotion bottles and then printed labels that said, "Made especially for C's 8th Birthday". It was so cute!

The girls had cake and the parents picked them up! Such a cute party for a December birthday girl.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Uses for Christmas cards!

-Use them to decorate your tree

-Use them to make placemats and laminate them

-Make a door filled with Christmas card pictures and keep it that way year-round

-Take the front of cards that are not picture cards and use them for craft projects or to create new cards

-Put them in a bowl or basket and keep them there year-round so that you will look at them. When you pull one out, pray for that family.

-Put the cards in a basket on your kitchen table and keep them there throughout the year. At every family meal, let each child take a turn drawing a card and pray for that family. You could extend the activity and send that family a written note as well!


-Frame your cards from your entire married life and let them decorate a hallway or stairwell. You will love it!

-Frame the cards in tabletop frames that you pull out only at Christmas each year

-Create a scrapbook of your family's cards throughout the years!


Friday, December 26, 2008

Thank you notes

We all know that it's important to write thank you notes because it allows the giver to know how much we appreciate their gift and thoughtfulness. We were so blessed this year with very thoughtful gifts from new frames with our pictures in them for our new house to new hot pink fancy pajamas for me to the gold charm DH gave me that was a house with our current address and city on it. My father carried a cross across the ocean from Spain and then painstakingly refinished the old tired wood to make it beautiful again. It is for my collection of crosses and was very thoughtful!!

Now it's time to let those we love know how appreciative we are for their gifts. Gifts are a sacrifice of time and money, and a written note is the least we can do. For some, an email will suffice, but I believe it should really be a note written on paper and delivered to the gift giver.

If you hate writing, then hit the sales today and buy yourself a really nice pen that you'll enjoy using, cute stamps, and some pretty stationary. You may even find the stationary on sale. My friend, F, who works for Country Living Magazine, once had an article on making a cute caddy or area with your stationary items so that everything is together. This makes the chore (if it is a chore to you) much easier.

After choosing your writing instrument and stationary, find a time NOW to write your notes. The sooner you write them, the better. When we put something off, it becomes more of a chore and it also becomes more and more difficult to find the time to sit down and do it. I confess that while I usually start off with a bang writing many notes immediately, I often leave some left to write weeks later. This has happened to me on more than one occasion now that my life is so full of little ones! However, we can all make up an excuse from a demanding job to children tugging at us, but the truth is, we need to just do it!!

I hope to begin my notes today, even though I am still writing thank you notes for our fabulous party. I just know I need to write as many thank yous as I can NOW because soon I will be knee-deep in boxes with no end in sight!!

Happy Writing!!!!

Twas the night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas
when all through the house
many creatures were stirring
but hopefully no mouse

The children were nestled all snug by the tree
while hopes of Santa filled them with glee

The guests had all left
the mama was tired
time to turn out the lights and put out the fire

The memories this dear house holds
are more than one can take
Mama tries to hold it in, but the tears she can't fake

Blessings have abounded in this sweet home
may they abound again when to Florida we roam

Mama is not sure she can drive out of sight
but she goes to sleep thankful on this Christmas night.

O, Christmas Tree

Our tree was just perfect this year!! As I have said before, we decided not to use our ornaments this year because we have to move so soon after Christmas. I am so glad we made that decision! There are a few new ornaments on the tree that we were given this year, but other than that, the ornaments are our Christmas cards. What a delightful tree! Friends have had fun searching for their card amidst the branches. I am sad to take it down, but know we will enjoy looking at the cards when we are settled in Florida.

As the children hung the cards on the tree, I asked them to pray for the friends or family on the card. One day it would be fun to have 2 trees so that we always have a Christmas card tree!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

What a perfect night! We attended church as a family with my parents. THen, friends and family joined us for a potluck supper that we used to do every year. We have missed the last 2 years because of a birth and then a death. It was a wonderful reminder of what Christmas is all about to do it again. DH asked us to sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" together which was very sweet. Then, we shared a meal spread out around the house. All of the food was wonderful!!! It was fun to gather friends together who don't know one another & to enjoy fellowship. It was a perfect evening.

Our beautiful C, who is known to light up a room, had a panic attack after dinner. I think it was a combo of moving stress and being afraid of Santa. So, I called & spoke to Elf Elvis & he said Santa would leave our gifts on the back deck! We just heard Santa drop off the gifts, so they are now safely inside. We can't wait to celebrate Jesus' birthday tomorrow!!

Merry Christmas to all... and to all a GOOD NIGHT!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

May the Lord bless you and keep you as you celebrate His miraculous birth. Be reminded that each day is a gift, and there is no promise that there will be a tomorrow. Love those around you, and thank God for His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to give us eternal life. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!


Goodness am I going to miss our sweet neighborhood!!! We have the best neighbors and friends. AFter the fabulous party for the children this afternoon, we had a neighborhood potluck. Families are all invited to share a dish and fellowship. It is a fun, festive time. The children all run around like crazy, and I pretend I don't have any children as I try to taste as many yummy dishes as possible. A glass of water spilled early on in the playroom. My friend, J, (different than the J this afternoon) told me not to worry as she had tested her fabric!! She took her fabric swatches & threw Ragu sauce on them & then laundered them. She chose the fabric that was stain-free!! I love it. I can't wait to choose new fabric and do the Ragu test! I hope you'll try it too.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rely on Him

I am really having to rely on the Lord for strength to make it through each day! My mind is swirling with things to do, people to call, and Christmas. On top of that are all of the emotions I am feeling with leaving so many precious friends and family members here in Raleigh.

Our sweet neighbor, J, always hosts a Children's Live Nativity and Happy Birthday, Jesus party. Today was the party. The children dress as wisemen, shepherds, and angels. Mary & Joseph are there too. This year, we had a special treat. Our pastor, P, showed up as the shepherd Eli and told us about Jesus' birth. Then, J spoke and said so many sweet things that tears rolled down my face! P then prayed for our family and I cried some more. Thank you, Lord, for so many precious friends and for this sweet community. Please guide us as you lead us to a new city and new friends.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Book of Meals You've Made

My mother has always had a nice book where she keeps the menus from all family dinners, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Baptisms, et cetera. I loved this idea & started it when Doug & I got married. I bought a nice leather-bound sketchbook at Borders or Barnes and Noble. I record the food I made for baby showers, wedding showers, birthday parties, and dinners for friends. I also try to remember to write down when I take a meal to someone, the occasion, and what I gave them. It is fun to look back and read over it to remember special events, and it also keeps you from feeding someone the same thing every time they come over!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sugared Pecans

Tis the Season! It's always nice to have something delicious for friends and family to enjoy during visits or just before dinner. I believe these pecans are a wonderful treat!!!


1 lb. pecans
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsps. vanilla extract

Bake pecans on cookie sheet at 350*F for 15 minutes. While pecans are in the oven, mix sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt. Cook to soft ball stage (about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Mix. Add pecans and stir until all pecans are coated with mixture. Pour onto waxed paper (or buttered foil) to cool. Separate pecans. Store in tightly closed container. ENJOY!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

K's Pageant

I have wanted one of my children to be Mary or Joseph ever since they were born. The triplets were 2 angels & a star. No Mary. I felt certain K had a pretty good shot. She loves to sing, she has a loud voice, and she is beyond precious. But no. K was not Mary. K was a FRIEND of Mary. Well, if you can't be Mary, being a friend of Mary is the next best thing, right?

Poor K. She was so embarrassed by her head dress. She covered her beautiful face because she did not like her little hat. And I cried. Tears of sadness that my little angel didn't like what she had to wear. There were tears of happiness that she did such a great job, despite the fact that she did not get to be her chosen role. There were also the tears that I knew would flow since we're leaving our sweet preschool because of the move. It was a beautiful morning. All of the children did a wonderful job and I cried listening to every solo and seeing every little character, angel, and animal. I beamed at my beautiful friend of Mary and thanked the Lord for our 5 blessings.

Friday, December 19, 2008

One year anniversary

A year ago on the 18th our sweet Papa went to Heaven to be with Jesus. None of us can believe he is really gone because he was so healthy and vibrant until cancer took over his life. He died 50 days later. D's mother is here, so we tried to make it a special day. I made her a book about Papa & D, and she spent the day with her niece on Papa's side. That afternoon, we bought balloons and released them to Papa. The children each told a favorite thing about Papa. It was very sweet. Then we watched the balloons travel to Heaven to be with Papa!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Infinitely More than we could imagine

God is so faithful!!! I am in FL visiting our new home and am AMAZED at the way the Lord has provided for us!! He makes the impossible possible. Our new home was way out of our price range. It is just beautiful. It is the only home we looked at that has a nice front and back yard and a pool. It is truly incredible!! And now, it is under contract and will be ours in 2 weeks!! Thank you, Lord. I believe He saved this house for us. We could not afford it. The owner took a MAJOR lowball offer, after turning one down in the past year that was close to his asking price. Wow. We are so thankful. To GOD BE THE GLORY!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Special recipes

DH & I are still enjoying memories from our fabulous going-away party. I was particularly touched because all of the recipes for the food came from my cookbooks. I make cookbooks as a gift for friends and family. They are a collection of favorite recipes that tell a little about the person who shared the recipe and when they like to prepare it. It was so touching that our dear friends would serve these treasured recipes!! If you have a favorite recipe (it does not need to be an original recipe), please share it & tell a little bit about when you like to make it (example: My mother used to make these biscuits every Saturday morning. We believe they are best served with homemade strawberry butter or honey!). I would love permission to publish your recipes in cookbook #3! You can also email me at ahp5@aol.com

Friday, December 12, 2008

Donate to the American Cancer Society

As yet another friend faces losing a parent to cancer, and we face the one year anniversary mark of when Papa P went to Heaven, it is a great reminder that the American Cancer Society needs our time, money, and support. If you don't have time to make baked goods this year, consider making a donation, even a small one to the American Cancer Society. If another disease is even closer to your heart, cut out expensive gifts to others and make a donation to that cause!!! There are so many wonderful causes and ministries that can use our time and donations, especially at this time of year!! We all have so much, and it is "more blessed to give than to receive".

Pajama Ride... Fun Friday!

Christmas is such a busy and fun time of year! My friend, A, and her husband always have the BEST ideas!! They put the children to bed and then come rushing in a few minutes later with loud instruments and lots of fun yelling and say, "Pajama Ride!" They scoop the children out of bed and put them in the car and take them out for ice cream. With the cold weather and all of the beautiful Christmas lights, I want to try this! I think we're going to do it soon and go to Krispy Kreme and then look at the lights! MMMM..... Hot & Now! I'm ready!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Friendship video

I saw this You Tube video on another blog. It made me cry because of all the friendships I hold so dear. It made me laugh. It made me cry some more because I am moving away from so many friends. I hope you enjoy it & are blessed. It is by Kelly Corrigan & she has a book out called "The MIddle Place". I hope to read it one day!
Enjoy... get out the kleenex and click below on "Transcending"

Loss of a loved one

Our sweet Papa P died last year on December 18, just one week before Christmas. DH was especially close to his precious father. For D's birthday, I took several of his father's letters and had them framed. I also framed one of the envelopes. He was so touched and just loved it. It shows his father's handwriting and the address where DH spent his childhood. I think it is something he will love forever!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A soothing bedroom

It is so important to make your bedroom a haven. After all, it is a place of rest and you probably spend at least one third of your day in that very room!! My friend, D, has such a soothing home. I visited her one day & she took me upstairs to see something in the office off of her bedroom. When we passed through her room, beautiful Classical music was playing. She said she does it to create a sense of calm in her home. It worked! I try to remember to play soft Classical music in our home throughout the day, but it doesn't happen very often!
Our bedroom was the last room in our house to receive attention. Before baby #5 was born, we finally tore out the nasty old carpet and added hardwoods. It made a HUGE difference. I used money from a sale I helped with to buy a new blanket cover that is monogrammed. It is white with pink initials. Those changes made our room feel so much better. I try to have a nice candle to light in our room and to keep clutter to a minimum rather than allowing it to be a dumping ground.
I have always heard that you should not do homework or work in your bedroom because it can keep you from being able to sleep.
It is also recommended that you buy a good mattress, very comfortable sheets, and good pillows. We replaced all of our pillows last year and it made a huge difference. Giving yourself the best in the place where you sleep is so important!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Book of your Children's Art gallery

My friend, A, is so smart. I think she should start her own blog!! I have shared ideas in the past of how to store your children's artwork. Some of the ideas are to take a picture of your child with the picture and then make a DVD of all of the pictures or to buy an art portfolio to store your favorites. A took the picture idea a bit further! She took pictures of all of her artwork from her 3 children. Then, she made it into a book using her MAC. You can buy the book straight from Apple without having to upload the photos a second time. Brilliant. She held onto the actual artwork until the book arrived, and then she was able to dispose of the pieces she didn't want to keep. Now she has a beautiful book filled with the wonderful things her children created! It also makes the children feel extra special to see their very own works in a book!

Monday, December 8, 2008

19 days... the countdown begins

I cannot believe we actually begin our move in 19 days! I just realized that Christmas is close, and that soon I will be watching strangers pack all of our earthly belongings and I will watch them drive off with them headed to the unknown in Florida. I think I might be a little overwhelmed just thinking about that. There is so much to do that I don't even know what to do!
I think the best thing to do is just to pray over all of the details and to enjoy my time here. It is making me very aware of how I spend each day.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

WOW... Do we feel loved!!!!!!!

Last night friends gave us a going-away party here in Raleigh. As you can imagine, we faced this party with so many different emotions. It was difficult to even thing about going to our GOODBYE party!! Do we really have to leave? I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing the entire night was. WOW.

Wouldn't you know K set me up with a "blow dry pretty" with E before the party. K always makes me feel so wonderful! E is a doll and I have loved getting to know her. She cuts my hair. AT HOME. If you are local, contact me for her info! She blow-dried and styled my hair and then did my makeup. I felt like a queen!

When we drove up, flamingos lined the driveway. Some of them even had on Santa hats!!! It was so precious. Our friends worked tirelessly on this party. We came in the house and were greeted with hugs and sweet friends and family. MD & M's house is amazing, and it was particularly beautiful with all of their Christmas decorations and their beautiful tree!!!! C had arranged all of the flowers in beautiful glass vases in unusual shapes and a giant silver epergne on the dining room table. These hostesses had thought of everything!!!!

In the Master bedroom where we put our coats, there were signs saying "HENLEY ON THE HORN" .... telling you to call a cab if you can't drive home. Too clever. I love it (that was all because of this blog that I thought no one read!)

I put my things down, and our friends showed me the host/hostess gift to us... a GORGEOUS painting by my favorite local artist, S!!!(who is also a very dear friend!) It is a painting of my absolute favorite restaurant downtown!!! Wow! It is beautiful. The colors are perfect and it is just beautiful. Of course I cried. I can't wait to hang it in our new home.

The food was incredible. I create cookbooks as gifts and have 2 volumes. Our sweet friends cooked all of the food using recipes from my cookbook!!! WOW! They were all of my favorites including marinated cheese, hatcher crackers, white trash, blonde brownies, tenderloin and rolls, pepperoni pinwheels, etc. It was so special.

It was so nice to be in our sweet friends' home where everyone felt welcome. It was so festive and beautiful with fires burning and so many special people who have touched our lives. DH woke up teary-eyed this morning. We felt so loved! I will post pics asap!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Portrait of my sweet boy

This is our son's portrait. Is it not amazing??!! You really need to check out Art Gallery Originalsif you have children. The portraits are beautiful and very reasonable compared to other oil portraits.

Friday, December 5, 2008


I just love Art Gallery Originals!! Their artists are in China, and they are absolutely incredibly talented. We have had portraits painted of 4 of our 5 children and they are all perfect. I thought you all might want to check out their website because the prices are so reasonable and the work is perfect! I have enclosed our samples below.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Art of a Written Note

In today's world of email, blackberries, I phones, and WiFi, how often do you receive a handwritten letter? My guess is that unless it's the month of December when Christmas cards begin to pour in, you don't receive handwritten letters very often. My friend, K, is gifted at writing letters. She enjoys writing them like I do. Yesterday I saw her handwriting on an envelope, and I knew that she had taken the time to send just the kind of encouragement I needed. I was right. Inside was a sweet note acknowledging that a move is difficult and letting me know she loves me. Thank you, K!! The Lord used you to bless me so!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


My friend, A, was so helpful when we were deciding how to decorate this Christmas because of the move. She & J graciously offered to put up an artificial tree for us & it was her idea to use Christmas cards instead of ornaments on the tree. We decided we needed the joy of choosing a tree as a family since last December was a sad one as we were losing my father-in-law. So... we bought a tree yesterday. At the end, we decided on the least expensive tree since we're moving. It was just delivered... and it is BEAUTIFUL!! I kid you not. It is gorgeous & it doesn't look small or short. It is perfect.

K doesn't nap & is home just after lunch everyday. I pulled out the pretty chocolate with pink dots ribbon that I had bought for our tree. We have already hung our first three cards and it is precious!! We'll have to take them down when DH hangs the lights, but I am so excited about our tree!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008


My friend, M, is so smart!! She told me about a great website called dafont.com . I have been playing on the website this morning to download a font for our little hurricane's 2nd birthday. Meanwhile, she has eaten natural cheetos and marshmallows, and has tried to open some MMs leftover from Halloween!! Nonetheless, I have the CUTEST Santa train font for her Santa train birthday party this month!!! Now off to print the invitations!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Please share...

If you have any funny stories after being with relatives all weekend, please share!!! I'd love to hear.

Friday, November 28, 2008

With Thanksgiving

We had a perfect Thanksgiving except for that D's mother was not with us & my baby brother and his new wife were with her family. Otherwise, it was perfect. We finished eating and everyone helped clean the kitchen. Mama was still in the kitchen after the rest of us had left the room. Everyone adjourned to the living room. Suddenly we heard a big crash and everyone thought Mama had dropped a dish. We waited until the dish quit making noise, and I called out, "Mama?" She didn't answer. I looked around the room and everyone's face registered the exact same thought that I was having. Something was wrong. I yelled, "Mama!!" one more time and 4 adults ran to the kitchen. I was screaming, "Call 911! Call 911!" All of our hearts stopped when we reached the kitchen and no one was standing there. We assumed the worst. I was frantically thinking that I don't really know CPR. We looked around the corner, and Mama wasn't there. My sister-in-law had dialed 911. Suddenly, Mama walked into the room and asked us what we were doing.

Thankfully, she was just fine and the platter had fallen on its own. We all assumed that she had fainted or had had a stroke. Her father, my grandfather, had died at age 64 of a stroke. We were all shaking, yet so thankful that Mama is just fine. It was a good reminder that every day is a gift. We should treasure each minute, hour, and day. God is good.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Thanksgiving is a great time of year to be reminded of what is most important in life... our Lord and our loved ones. It is a time during the year to reflect on our blessings before entering into the season of "I want I want I want" & "Give me Give me Give me". We lost my sweet father-in-law 11 months ago, and it makes me even MORE thankful for the time I have with loved ones. I read somewhere today that the only promise of time spent together is what we have at the moment, so enjoy your time with family and extended family!! You never know what the next day or year will bring, and this time is a gift!!!

It's easy to get all upset over little things like a relative's comments or a fussy baby or a still-frozen turkey, but what is most important is just being together. HAVE FUN!!!

And, if you have to bite your tongue over the holiday, please come and post the stories here in my comments section!! I'd love to hear!!! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Email from Hubby

"I want you to know, sweets, how thankful I am for you. I wouldn't make it
without you. I love you so much. Can't wait to see you tonight."

This is the sweet email DH sent me this morning. I just love him. I told him I need to hear that. A LOT!!!!!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas cards

I usually use a great local printer to make our Christmas cards... and I also love themes where we all dress up like characters!! With the move, it was very difficult for me to change my expectations and just do a normal Christmas card. We have a beautiful picture of the 5 angels from my brother & sister-in-law's wedding, so I used that & tried Shutterfly for the first time. They are running a free shipping special & 20% off most cards right now. I even found another coupon code online for $10 off! This year Shutterfly has designers like Stacy Clare Boyd, Boatman Geller, and Fontaine Maury. I chose a precious FM card & ordered it last Monday night. I had it IN MY HANDS ON THURSDAY AT 5pm!!! Can you believe it?! So, don't procrastinate & order those cards!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

LL Bean Adventure Duffle bag

A week ago I wrote about the Adventure Duffle that I was ordering for the children for Christmas as a gift from my mother. I decided to order one first to make sure it was correct, even though LL Bean said they would take back the duffle even if it was monogrammed!!! It arrived MONOGRAMMED in less than a week!! It is perfect with the rolling feature & cute monogram. We also received a gift card for $10 off a purchase of $50 or more! Guess what I will use towards the next duffle bag order?!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Everyone has their idea of a dream house. Perhaps yours would have a room for cubbies for each of your children, or the craft or sewing room you have always desired, or a beautiful closet fit for a princess. Maybe you desire a fabulous cook's kitchen where you can make culinary delights each day for your family. I am so thankful.... I live in my DREAM HOUSE!!! Our house is not the biggest on our street nor is it the smallest. We do not have a wine cellar, silk draperies, or surround sound (we're surrounded by the sound of children, yes, but not the kind of surround sound you buy!). However, THIS IS MY DREAM HOUSE. THIS is the house where all of our dreams were made!! This is the home where each one of our precious children came home from the hospital. This is where three premature infants shared a room with three cribs lined up in a straight row. This is the home where three 2-year olds happily welcomed a baby sister. This is the home where our MH and four precious angels welcomed home another baby sister just 2 days before Jesus' birthday!! This is the home where DH(Dear Hubby) and I have prayed, dreamed, wept, loved, danced, sang, worried, laughed, and grown. THIS is our Dream House. For that, I am so thankful.

It is true that by the standards of many, we need more bedrooms, or more space, or different colors. Thankfully, we have been filled with contentment in this home. We LOVE this home. Now I must leave this precious Dream House. Some days I don't know if I'll be able to handle it emotionally. After all, THIS is our dream house... this is where all our dreams were made!

On those days, I cling to Scripture, and the promise that unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Clearly the Lord is moving us to a new home, a new city, a new state. And, once again, He will lead us to our Dream House, just as He led us to this one. I don't think I'll ever love another home like I have loved this one, but I can trust that a new home will bring new dreams. May we rest in HIS sovereignty over all things!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Let's be thankful

This time of year reminds us of the need to be thankful. We shouldn't only thank those around us at special times, but throughout the year. We should also thank the Lord DAILY for His provision.

I try to do small things for our teachers throughout the year. However, it can become quite expensive to send in a treat when you have so many teachers!! I found an inexpensive way to say, "thank you" this Thanksgiving. I bought cute pumpkin spreaders 2 for $1 at Target. Today I went to Costco & bought a bag of Babybell cheese for just under $10. I am taking one spreader & one round of cheese per teacher & wrapping a little ribbon around it. Then, the children are making cute cards with turkeys made from their thumbprints. K & I made hers today & they were really cute!! I bought a bunch of new colored stamp pads at AC Moore recently. They were just $1 each. K just signed her name and her teachers' names, but our 7 year olds may want to write a little message!!!

I took the craft with K a little further because we had time. She made 2 of the many place cards we will need for Thanksgiving dinner. We will take them with us as a little surprise for our extended family!! We also had to make a card to send our Mimi. I can't wait to see what the trips will make!! If I can take some pictures, I will!!

This little gift for the teachers did not cost much, but hopefully it will brighten their day!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday's Tip!

My friend, C, is a great cook! I just love that she uses her cooking scissors for EVERYTHING! You need to try it too! As you know, hot dogs are a choking hazard for young children if they are not cut lengthwise. You can use your kitchen shears for this instead of a knife!! It is much easier!!! You can also use them to cut pizza slices or grapes!! So, get out those kitchen scissors/shears and you'll be so glad you did!! I cut hot dogs tonight in seconds instead of minutes!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The things people say...

With a big family, you receive unsolicited comments almost every time you are in public as a family! I have compiled a list of my favorites/most common comments!!!

1. Are they ALL YOURS??? (No, we kidnapped a couple of children and brought them along. NO, I couldn't stand going to the grocery store alone, I mean, who does that? So, I grabbed a couple of children from the neighborhood to come with me. It's much more fun to have a toddler jumping out of her seat on top of you as you reach for the milk. Five year olds crashing your heels with their little cart make the experience SO much more enjoyable. And the three 7 year-olds who take up the aisle make it a quick & easy trip!)

2. Are they NATURAL? (Egg and sperm, baby, egg and sperm. Same as you & me!! Now... sometimes we do think our toddler is supernatural with her ability to get out of any buckle, but that's another story)

3. Are they IDENTICAL? (Hmmm.... take a look, sweetie. Did you pass biology? I'm not sure you did. If you have a male and a female, they are called FRATERNAL. As far as the two girls go, look a little closer, they're fraternal too). Of course I am THINKING these things, not saying them!

4. Do you know what causes it (with a chuckle chuckle)? (365, baby! 365! My husband just can't keep his hands off of me...)

5. How did you end up with three? (Too many fun ways to answer this one!)

6. Will you have more? (I don't know, would you like to discuss your family planning?)

7. What about college? (We hope and pray they'll be smart enough to go! As far as paying for it, we wouldn't have had the first one if we were worried about college).

8. What will you do when they're teenagers? (Send them to your house!)

9. Is this a daycare? (It feels like it!)

10. Wow! How many do you have? (Jon & Kate plus 8 minus 3 minus the endorsements minus the stay-at-home dad)

11. You must be tired! (I am, but it is a blessed, happy, full tired!!)

12. Are you Catholic? (No, just a prolific Protestant)

13. How do you afford it? (Would you like to share your budget with me?)

14. Better you than me (from the words of Sarah Palin, "You betcha!")

15. You have your hands full! (Yes, we do! And we wouldn't have it any other way!)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bumper Stickers

You just need to be careful with what you put on your car! Bumper stickers can be quite offensive and even invasive. I was in a parking lot today and on one car it said, "Rarely do well-behaved women make history" and had other "liberating" bumper stickers. A few cars down, it said, "Are you SAVED?" Well, thankfully by God's grace, I AM saved, but what if I wasn't? Does the owner of the car really think I am going to fall down on my knees in the AC Moore parking lot & pray for my salvation because they had a "Are you saved" bumper sticker? I tell you what, those bumper stickers make me, a Bible-thumpin' nut, just plain mad!! I want to scream because I believe they push more people away rather than pull them in.

I am thankful that the election is behind us. Phone calls, commercials, and facebook comments did not lure me from one side to the other. People... the ISSUES at stake are why I chose my candidate. He best represented my personal convictions and beliefs. Things that cause an emotional or angry response often do not promote the change the bearer of the bumper sticker is encouraging. I may agree with the underlying message or point a bumper sticker is making, but it's all in the verbage. I think I am rambling, but think carefully about what you put on your car. Do you drive like a maniac with "Are you going to HELL?" on your back bumper? Is your car covered in rainbows while you picket against gay rights? Personally I think you gain more respect by developing relationships with people rather than forcing your beliefs on them through bumper stickers and other mediums!

I think I am a little fired up lately with the upcoming move, etc., so WATCH OUT!!!

Our Lifesaver

We have a lifesaver and her name is MH. The Lord knew what He was doing when He made MH! She is beautiful inside and out, smart, kind, giving, and loving. She handles adversity with ease and gracefulness, gives fully of herself, and is a true friend. MH put herself through nursing school and has loved our children for 7 years!! She is a true gift to our family. We are thrilled for MH because she is now married and nursing school is but a glimmer in her memory! She is the BEST labor & delivery nurse ever. She can't come to see us as much as she used to (we live in different cities), but she is still willing to stop her life to be with our family. We are forever grateful to our MH & don't know what we would do without her.

MH will one day soon start having her own babies (my guess) and won't have the ability to keep our children. Her schedule hasn't allowed her to do the regular day to day babysitting for quite a few years, not to mention the fact that we have been 45 minutes apart for 5 years. But what in the world will we do without MH? We know we can always count on her. She knows as much (or more!) about the children as we do. When we tell the children MH is coming, they do not cry or beg us to stay, they LOVE it! We are going to miss MH. She is our sweetheart and part of our family. She & her W are just going to have to visit often!

Commissioned Watercolor Portrait GIVEAWAY!!!!

Commissioned Watercolor Portrait GIVEAWAY!!!!

I am a firm believer that the most priceless artwork is that of our children!!!! I hope I win!!

I LOVE this idea!!

I told my friend, L, tonight that she should start her own blog because she has so many great ideas! She shared the most clever idea for packing for a move or for storing things in her attic. Her father had a career that caused them to move many times over the years. As a box was packed, he would take a picture of the contents, and after having the pictures developed, he would tape the picture on top of the box so he would know EXACTLY what was inside!

L's mother loved to collect china. She would lovingly pack her place settings and on the outside of the box she would write EXACTLY how many of each piece were in the box. She would also take a picture of a place setting and tape it on the top of the box! I just love this way of organizing your things!

In the children's toy closet, I have used index cards to label what is inside each shoebox-sized plastic container. It would be even MORE fun to take a picture of the contents and use that as my label! I think I'll try it in our new home! You learn something new every day, don't you?!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Luggage for children

Our children have the most wonderful bags that my mother bought them at a Canvas show here. Unfortunately, the company has quit making them. With a move and summer camp in our future, the children need a large duffle bag. More than 10 years ago I bought DH an adventure duffle from LL Bean. We love it! It still looks practically new and he uses it all of the time. In fact, the girls and I borrowed it for Camp Greystone last year! The children are asking for a new bag for Christmas. Go to ll beanand check out all of the wonderful colors and sizes!! Our girls all want pink & our boy wants ice blue. I can't wait to see them roll these big bags around the airport!! The most amazing part is that LL Bean will take anything back, even if it's monogrammed, if you're not satisfied. Now THAT is customer service!! I want to find the old moccasins I used to wear next! I loved the laces that had a yellowish brown & brown intertwined!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday's Tip!

If you need to keep your house neat for any reason, use paper plates, cups, and bowls!! This makes meal clean-up easy, even with a family of 7!!! I have been using paper plates, etc since our house is on the market and it is quite satisfying to only load a sippy cup or two, some silverware, and any cooking dishes into the dishwasher! I throw away the paper and wipe the counters clean and can walk out the door! I am going to keep a nice stock of paper plates and cups on hand even after we move! I have a friend, W, who uses paper plates all of the time! It doesn't save any trees, but it does save your time!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Turkey legs!

I cannot STAND to see people eating Turkey legs at the fair!! They love to eat them at Disney and any local fair in the country. Watching someone gnaw on those bones makes me sick!! This year, I decided to capture some people eating turkey legs! They did not know they were being photographed, so I do not have their permission to use these amateur photographs. I can hardly wait for my next fair or visit to Disney, because this is the new thing I am going to collect: turkey leg pictures!! My friend, L, says there is probably a name for this sickness! I hope you enjoy the pictures :)!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

God's Providence

I believe in God's providence... that all things in life happen for a reason and were predestined before I was ever even formed in my mother's womb! I believe that as the Lord knit me together, counted the hairs on my head, and planned my life, that He knew that in late 2008 or early 2009 I would move to South Tampa, Florida. I can tell you that in my 37 years, I never planned this move! :) However, it is neat to take a step back and see God's goodness and mercy and grace in all of the details.

-DH (Dear Hubby) received a PROMOTION when most companies are not hiring and may even be cutting back
-We met a Christian realtor and his family a year ago, and they have taken in DH and fed him numerous time while I am at home
-The realtor is a true believer, one who practices what he preaches. He & his family have an amazing testimony.
-We are moving to an area where home values have drastically dropped. It is a great buyer's market!
-My friend, MH, who is more like a sister than a friend, was able to take off more than FOUR DAYS of being a labor & delivery nurse to stay with our children. She even showed the house several times while we were gone!!
-Our corporate appraisals for the relocation were very good, despite falling house prices
-We've had more showings and activity than other houses on the market
-We had a busy Open House today
-Our children are peacefully sleeping at 8:10pm!
-Our choices are very different in Florida, but I have adjusted to them (most of the time... I still throw some fits or cry every now & then or every then & then!)
-Playdates have happened and meals have appeared on the days we most need them
-We've had such encouraging phone calls & emails that I have saved most of them so I can listen to them again!
-I enjoyed meeting DH's boss and his wife
-We are moving to a place that is friendly and beautiful
-One of my college sorority sisters & her husband and 4 children are moving to S Tampa AT THE SAME TIME and they have bought a house right near where we hope to buy!!!! We were even roommates one summer! This is nothing short of God's providence!
-A general feeling of peace, even in the midst of emotional turmoil over having to leave
-A special day as a family today!!! We are reminded of what is most important
-A welcoming PCA church family in S Tampa!
-Our friend and former babysitter grew up in S Tampa & has told us all of the good places to go! B, DH is going to buy a casserole at Wright's!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Our President-Elect

I voted for the McCain-Palin ticket, and still feel strongly that they would have supported policies in which I believe. However, it was exciting to tell our children that they were part of history! Having our first African American (literally) candidate elected is exciting! Now this does not mean that I have the same beliefs as Obama, but it is a happy day for our country that now anything is possible. I teared up when I shared with the children that Mr. Obama was elected. They were disappointed that our candidate didn't win so I explained that we must respect our President, even if he is not whom we would have chosen. He is now an authority figure, the most important authority figure in the US as of January 2009, and he deserves our upmost respect. So, President Elect Obama, you have our respect as the next President of the United States of America!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A move!

Anyone who knows me knows that I would not choose to leave my entire family and move to Florida. It is just not in me. I love being close to my siblings, my parents, and cousins. We live in the city that is my home. I grew up here, and I love knowing everyone from our mail lady to the people at the camera store to the lady who helps me print cookbooks at Staples to Miss Aggie at our dry cleaners. I love being near so many friends... some who I have known since childhood, some that I have met because of my own children, and others who I have met along the way. I love that our city has 4 distinct seasons that are all beautiful. We live 5 minutes from our church, our school, my family, Target, our grocery store, Costco, Borders, and a high-end shopping center. I have everything I need, including a home we have renovated and loved and enjoyed. All 5 of our babies have come home to this house!! It is not the biggest house in town, but it may well be the most loved and enjoyed!!

Despite the economy, the presidential election, and the general uncertainty in the world at this time, my sweet husband received a promotion. This shows you God's grace and mercy and His perfect plan, and it is also a HUGE compliment to DH (dear hubby)!!! We are so thankful for a promotion at a time when so many are without jobs. Thank you, Lord! However, this promotion involves a cross-country move to a state I never envisioned inhabiting. After all, DH will tell you that when we moved to our city, it was to stay. So, when DH came home with this exciting news, I had 2 choices... to obey the Lord's calling for our family, or to disobey, throw a fit, and threaten to leave my husband. There are days that throwing a fit seemed like the easier thing to do! Thankfully, God has given me the grace and peace to go. I don't want to move. Nothing in me wants to pack up our home where all of our children were born and haul our earthly belongings across several states. This is just not my idea of a good time!! I am extremely sentimental (to a fault according to many of my friends), and it KILLS me to leave the elementary school my children attend because I walked through the very same halls!!! So much of this move is a very emotional move for me.

However, God is bigger than all of this. He is bigger than me and my fears. He is bigger than a market where home values have fallen. He is bigger than my worries about finding 4 more wonderful teachers for our oldest children. He is bigger than my worries that I won't have a single friend and I will be found cowering in a closet clutching our 2 year old! He is bigger than all of that!! I can honestly say that I have a peace that truly passes all understanding because I have been able to embrace this move and follow DH. It doesn't mean I want to leave, but I have peace that this is what I'm supposed to do to be in God's will. And if we're in God's will, there is no place any of us should rather be.

Now, pack your bags and plan a visit to the sunshine state!!! I'll be waiting for you!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday's Tip!

Our garbage day is on Wednesday. Talk about the yuckiest, hardest job in the world!! Can you imagine being a sanitation worker? I have great respect for the men and women who do this dirty job. They are serving our community in a very hands-on, difficult way. They have to smell putrid garbage and look at all kinds of unmentionables for very little pay. Therefore, I try to treat them whenever I can!
This week, I bought some grape soda and put a 6 pack of bottles on top of our trash cans. We had a lot of extra trash this week, and they deserved an extra treat. I have made homemade treats before and left them on the cans. As I mentioned the other day, they are often the recipients of extra candy or treats that we no longer need in our home. At Christmas, I leave an envelope with some cash in it for them. These are all little things we can do to make their workday just a little bit better!
In return, our sanitation workers are always friendly to me. I have even seen one in public and we have spoken to one another. They are willing to take our trash, even though we always have the most on our street. They have even taken things that won't fit in the cans. I am not doing little things so that they will take my trash, but it blesses all of us! Try it!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Packing Tip for a MOVE

My friend, B, has moved more times than I can count!! She has made more homes lovely in a few days time than anyone I know!!!! She has a great packing tip if you are being moved by movers for a corporate move. This would also work if you're moving in-town and want to stay organized. Buy ziploc bags and use them for EVERY DRAWER in your home. Otherwise, things will be lost because the movers will wrap things individually in paper or you will lose them because you have just thrown stuff haphazardly in a box!! So, buy lots of ziplocs, put all drawer contents in them, label the bag with a Sharpie marker, and put the bag back in the drawer. You'll be so happy you did!! Sadly, I am starting to stock up on ziploc bags!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What to do with extra Halloween candy

There is a certain thrill associated with popping bite-sized pieces of chocolate & candy in your mouth. We all savor their sweet concoctions. However, after a few days, we begin to desire them less and less. In fact, they begin to make us physically sick!!

When you reach that point, here are some ideas of what to do with your leftover candy:

-Freeze it for treats for the family at later dates
-Freeze it & use it as a treat to be left on the pillows of your guests
-Put it in a cute bag & send some to your children's teachers
-Put ONE in your child's lunch
-Put it on top of your trash can for the sanitation workers to enjoy (they love treats!)
-Take some with you to give to the staff at your favorite doctor's office
-Share with others you love

Don't do what I did one year!! I let each child eat 2 pieces & then I hid it. They forgot about the candy because they were young. I forgot about it because they are a big distraction!! Well, a few months later... someone DID find the candy. A whole family of mice had a party in our cabinets & ate the candy & left droppings everywhere. I had to clean out the entire cabinet & start mouse hunting. I wish I had just let my children enjoy the calories!! Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What will you or your family be for Halloween?

I don't know that I have many readers, but for those who do read the blog, I'd love to know what everyone in your family is going to be for Halloween!! We have 4 dalmations and Cruella Deville over here! Pictures to post soon.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday's Tip!

My friend, CC, is so smart. She throws fabulous parties!! Have you ever thrown a party and had a guest not receive an invitation? C does a smart thing. She mails herself an invitation every time she has a party. This accomplishes several things:
-She knows how quickly her guests will receive their invitation
-She has the fun of receiving one in the mail
-She knows if hers never arrives, the same thing may happen to some of her guests! I just love this idea.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Service Industry

Our economy is in real trouble. Stocks have plunged 45% in the last year. Home values have fallen dramatically. The price of oil and gas has skyrockted. Many people have defaulted on their mortgages, and major institutions have fallen. Thankfully most of the people I know can still afford to keep their homes, and have had to cut back very little compared to most of the world. At a time like this, it is especially important to remember those in the service industry. This is not the time to stiff your waiter or waitress by skipping the tip! This is a time to choose carefully when you eat out, but to TIP when you do go out. Wait staff is paid less than minimum wage, and I believe their wage was recently REDUCED! They rely on us as customers to help their hourly wage. So, if you do go out, be friendly and do tip!! The same goes for cab drivers, hair dressers, et cetera!

Also, I have written quite a few letters when the service industry is lacking. However, I try to counteract that by writing just as many POSITIVE letters when I have a good experience. If a clerk is extra helpful at your local department store, make a phone call, ask for the manager, or send a letter. You never know how much you may help someone!

The crafts continue...

As if it wasn't enough to decorate our basement in sparkles, sequins, and glitter, I came home to find the children painting pine cones with a very powerful-smelling paint! I just had to laugh. We're trying to get our house ready to go on the market, and every where I turn are MORE and MORE CRAFTS!! I almost threw away all of the pinecones and then I looked at them. They are sweetly painted with red, gold, and green glitter paint. One of the children blurted out that they are our Christmas present. Now, I have tearfully & carefully packed them in bags to be brought out in about 4 weeks to decorate our home. They are beautiful. How creative of three 7-year olds and a 5-year old!!! Later I went into my bedroom, and found one more painted pine cone on my side of the bed, laying on a paper towel painted with K's name. Now I won't be able to part with the paper towel either!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

So, I did have a great idea for today of having everyone help pack & clean as a family activity. The best laid plans are often.... destroyed!!!

D & I were upstairs organizing our closets when the children asked for a broom. We should have known.... we walked downstairs to see and although the big 4 had been asked to NOT get out anything from the playroom closet, every piece of glitter, sequin, and paint was all over the floor!!! Let's just say it was not a shiny moment in my life of being a mother!! I had to ask the children to each go to their rooms... and stay there. Now D & I have an even BIGGER mess to attend to, on top of all that we need to do!!!

Something for Saturday!

Saturdays are a special day of the week. For most of us, it's a day you can let your children be your alarm clock instead of your trusty old Sony. Saturdays are fun because you can stay in your pajamas a little longer, actually read the paper while eating breakfast, and enjoy your family. It is also a day for home projects! When your children are 3 and under, one of you is going to spend the entire time chasing babies while the other can be a bit productive. However, as your children grow and become a little more independent, start to involve them in raking the yard, picking up sticks, spreading mulch, etc. Little ones can even help with laundry or emptying the dishwasher and they LOVE to do it.

Today we will try to balance packing some boxes and being together as a family. I imagine there will be tears and whining (probably from Mama Henley), but hopefully we'll make some happy memories too!! Try to spend at least 2 hours today as a family... visiting the pumpkin farm, cleaning rooms, watching football, going out to eat, et cetera. You'll be glad you did!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I received this tag from Preppy Petitt

Here are the rules:Pass it on to five other bloggers, and tell them to open the nearest book to page 56. Write out the fifth sentence on that page, and also the next two to five sentences...The CLOSEST BOOK, NOT YOUR FAVORITE, OR MOST INTELLECTUAL!!

From "A Mother's Heart" by Jean Fleming:

""She didn't always drop what she was doing to play. Children must also learn how to wait patiently. Mother is a person too. Children need to know that our strength and endurance are not limitless. Mothers do not exist solely for their children's benefit. They need and deserve time for themselves."

WOW! I am so glad that I did this. I would not have known that treasure lurked on p. 56 of my book!!

Oh... I almost forgot! I tag:
Mommy Talk and More
The Homespun Heart
Monograms and Manicures
Monogram Chick

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

You can win this amazing dress! I am trying to win!!!

blogging questions

Fellow bloggers, how can I see who views my blog & checks my profile? Also, is there a way to search for blogs with similar interests?

Children in the street

When you have young children, a natural fear is that they will run into the street and be hit by a car.  It is a natural fear because it happens far too often.  We have neighbors who are older, and I can't tell you how many times I have watched a 10 to 13-year old boy run into the street to chase a ball.  It is terrifying.

Therefore, it's important to teach your children at a young age that the street is dangerous. Today my childhood friend, J, and I discussed this subject.  I told her that we have a line we use at the end of our driveway & the children are not supposed to go past it.  They do reasonably well with this boundary.  For our youngest, who is now 22 months, we have to repeatedly tell her "no" & shout when she gets near the street.  J had an even better idea. Just brilliant!!  She said that she used an apple to show her 3 young children (all under 5) the dangers of the street.  She took the apple and threw it down into the street to show how it would smash and how cars would continue to hurt it.  Another idea is to use your pumpkin to illustrate this to your children.  It makes quite an impact when children have a visual! I am going to try it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Brilliance from a friend!

We just found out a week ago that we are MOVING. Not to another house in our fair city, but several states away. With 5 children. Sometime near Christmas. Enough said. To say that I am a bit overwhelmed, is like saying fried dough is good, instead of saying it is the best thing you've ever put in your mouth!  I am a bit overwhelmed with the idea of preparing our house, putting it on the market, et cetera while keeping 10 hands from undoing everything I do along the way.

I am a planner by nature. If I could plan my whole life, I would!  I believe this is why the Lord let D take so long to commit in college, and why He had all of our pregnancies be surprises.  The triplets were a surprise & a miracle, and then we had 2 more surprises. So, this latest promotion has almost happened many times over the last year.  It finally happened.  Now it's time to prepare our house to put it on the market, look at houses in our new state, and plan our move. The only problem is that we don't know the date for any of these things, and that is tough for me.  I can only figure out that we will move sometime around Christmas, perhaps as early as Thanksgiving, but probably we'll have movers arrive on the 27th of December... if I have anything to do with the timing, and I don't. 

All of this is to explain that we are going to have to decorate differently this year. At first I thought we wouldn't have a tree, but that would break the children's hearts. Then, I decided we'd have a tree with lights only. When talking to my friend, A, she had the most brilliant idea! She told me to buy some pretty ribbon, and as Christmas cards arrive, we'll decorate our tree! We can't pull out ornaments with an impending move, so this is perfect! I found chocolate brown ribbon with big pink polka dots at Costco today, and I am all ready to decorate our tree!

Thankfully I have been shopping year-round (we've had a Wii in our closet since July), so I  am just about finished with Christmas shopping! Thank you, A, for the AWESOME idea!! If they had had the 4 foot fake tree in stock, I would have already bought the tree too! I think we'll go fake this year with a move in our future! One less thing that needs water!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I was just taking out the trash & thought that a good idea is to cook any meat the night before the sanitation department comes to pick up your trash.  It will cause less odor in your trash cans!  So, maybe the day or 2 before trash pick-up could be your "cook all of the meat for the week" day!

Tuesday's Tip!

To save yourself time when making dinner, buy a large pack of skinless, boneless chicken breasts from a place like Costco.  This pack should have at least 10-12 chicken breasts. Wash the chicken breasts & cut off any white parts (yuck!). Then, fill a pot with water, the chicken, and salt & pepper to taste. Cook until the chicken pulls apart easily. Now... shred the chicken with a knife or your hands.  You now have chicken to use in any recipe... chicken chili, chicken enchiladas, chicken casseroles, chicken salad, et cetera!  Freeze any chicken you are not going to use immediately.  You can also use the broth or freeze it as well. You have just save yourself a lot of time when preparing your week's meals!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Funny things five-year olds say!

What is bathroom privacy? I lost mine a LONG time ago!  It seems every time I need to use the ladies' room, I am not the only lady in there!!  With four little girls, I have company or interruptions just about every time I use the bathroom!  This story is a little graphic, so bow out now if you need to do so!

We went to the fair yesterday & had a great time.  Of course we all had to use the bathroom, so 2 of the big girls followed me.  I was wearing a pantiliner.  Our 5-year old spotted it, of course, and said, "Mama, why are you wearing a DIAPER?"  I quickly replied, "I'll explain it when you're older, but it helps Mamas have babies", not knowing what to say.  Then she excitedly replied, "You're having another baby!! I want a boy baby. I do NOT want another GIRL baby".  "No, sweetie, we're not having another baby. I'll explain it all in a few years".  At that, I thought our conversation was over.

This morning I drove K's carpool that has 3 little boys in it along with K.  There was a doll baby bottle in the car so we all teased about whose bottle it was.  Then, K said, "My mommy wears diapers!!", and the boys all giggled.  "No, she doesn't", they said.  "No, really, she DOES. My mommy really does wear diapers! I'm not teasing!"  I just sat & laughed because I knew exactly why she was saying that. Thankfully the boys just thought she was being silly!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Fair! 2008

We went to the fair yesterday & it was perfect! The weather was perfect fair weather!  The children wore hooded sweatshirts with a shirt underneath them and a pair of jeans. No one complained about their clothes & all sweatshirts stayed on! On the ferris wheel, they all put on their little hoods!!  The clothes are in the washer now & are almost all clean! I even throw their tennis shoes in there, though this year's fair did not feel dirty.

The day was perfect. We had bought tickets in advance & did not use them all, but the children still rode plenty of rides. Most were 3 tickets each.  We arrived around 11am & they rode several rides before lunch.  Lunch for 9 people was only $30!!  We shared fries & the children shared 2 sprites between the 5 of them. Footlongs were only a quarter more than a regular dog, so we bought 3 footlongs to split between the five children! Pretty smart! My mama was the price checker on that one!

We bought 2 elephant ears & all shared them. Two of the girls bypassed the elephant ears (fried dough) to wait on ice cream.  We spent about $22 total on treats. One favorite is the spiral apple in the Village of Yesteryear for just $1.  I carried 2 regular bottled waters & one small one & came home with the 2 big ones. The children did not beg for drinks or lots of food. They were GREAT!  

We even sold our 5 leftover sheets of tickets, so I left with $50 in my pocket! PERFECT!!!  Since we are moving, we are sad we may not be back next year. I may sneak back out there on canned food day on Thursday for some more fried dough! Shh.... don't tell anyone!!!

Pimiento Cheese

I LOVE pimiento cheese!!! You can eat it on crackers, on top of a hamburger like they do at Add Drug in Athens, Georgia, on celery, or on a sandwich.  This is the time of year when it is best served on a grilled or toasted sandwich! YUM!

My recipe is very simple... you determine the amounts of each ingredient based on taste.
-shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-mayonnaise (Dukes is my favorite)
-jar or 2 of diced pimientos
-red cayenne pepper
-garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together & enjoy!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Now is the time...

Now is the time to get things done...
wade in the water,
sit in the sun,
squish my toes
in the mud by the door,
explore the world in a boy just four.

Now is the time to study books,
how a cloud looks;
to ponder "up",
where God sleeps nights,
why mosquitoes take such big bites.

Later there'll be time
to sew and clean,
paint the hall
that soft new green,
to make new drapes, 
refinish the floor-
Later on . . . when he's not just four.
by Irene Foster "Time is of the Essence"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Love one another deeply, as Christ loved us

Here are D & I on our 24 hour getaway.  If you haven't had a date night with your husband lately, find a sitter or a friend to watch your children, and go THIS weekend! :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tips for the FAIR!

The fair is an expensive endeavor.  Where we live, you can buy your tickets online early and  you will save almost half of the price for ride tickets and $2 on admission. Every little bit counts! If you live in my state, go to __statefair.org  Fill in that blank w/ our state's initials. I know, I'm being weird, but who has time for a cyber stalker??  Especially when you look as good as I do first thing in the morning!  ha
So...more money-saving ideas:
-Bring a backpack filled with bottled water, some snacks, and a treat or two like bubblegum or mints.  Bringing a treat will cut down the number of treats you have to buy at the fair!

-My friend, E, brings small dixie cups to the fair & writes each family member's name on them with a sharpie. Then, they buy ONE sprite or ONE lemonade or ONE water & they all share it!  If you bring some bottled water in your backpack, you don't have to buy drinks.  Or, if you're selfish like I am, Mama gets her Diet Coke & the children share the water you brought!! :)

-My friend, C, uses a sharpie marker to write her cell phone # on her children's stomachs. Another friend writes the number on their wrists. This way, if they are separated from you, they will know what number to call.  When you're scared or lost, it is sometimes difficult to remember the number!

-I dress all of our children in the same color.  Orange is an easy-to-spot color.  Sometimes D & I even dress in the same color. This way, when one person is ahead of the group, you can see them in a crowd.  The pictures are always cuter when you're dressed in the same color anyway!  It makes you focus on the faces, not the clothes!

-Go early. 

-If your budget allows each person to have a treat like a caramel apple or fried dough (my fave!), then tell everyone in advance how many treats they can have or how much they can spend.  We tell the children we won't play games, but we will buy or share 1 treat per person. 

-If you don't want to pay for food at the fair, go before or just after a meal.

-Bring your camera!! I love pictures from the fair!

-Visiting the stinky animals is FREE!! Who doesn't love seeing a big ole mama pig & all of her piglets? And the cute cows!! MOOO

-Children also enjoy seeing the produce. There's nothing quite like an 850 pound pumpkin that is in SECOND place for BIGGEST PUMPKIN!!

Now I am so excited! Have fun!!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Fair!

October is my FAVORITE time of year... then again, I love each season for different reasons. I love Oct. because I was born in Oct, so it has always had special meaning. I also love THE FAIR. I know many of you are thinking, "Ooooo... gross... I can't stand the fair"! Well, I do enjoy it. I love seeing the children's faces when they ride the rides and try fried dough. I love watching them pet animals that then give them diarrhea for 2 weeks. I love hearing the man say, "Come on down to Cary Methodist. We've got ham biscuits, footlongs, french fries, hamburgers, and the best ham biscuits at the fair". They say the same thing every year. Every year I watch people stand in line for Al's french fries, even though I've never had them.

One of my favorite fair visits was before the children were even born. I was newly pregnant, and went with my friends, Q&A, and my brother & sister in law, A & A. Q was VERY pregnant & it was more fun!! She may not be happy that I am writing this, so now I am going back & changing initials! So, my imaginary friend Q ate her way through the fair. It was more fun. First she had a hot dog... but not just any hot dog. She had a footlong! with extra fries. Loved it. Just loved it. Then, we went outside & she saw the ears of corn. She had to have it. D loves to tell of how he heard her yell through the thick crowd, "Honey, make sure they put EXTRA BUTTER on it"!!!! And they did. She ate that big ole piece of corn w/ extra butter. Next we walked past a chocolate dipped banana. I was feeling sick just watching her eat the corn. But, oh no, she was GOING to eat that banana!! She ordered one & we laughed & laughed as she ate that banana!! The night continued like that. Who doesn't love the fair with that kind of entertainment??

So, get ready because the fair is in our state for 10 days starting on Thurs. I hope you'll go! Tomorrow I will post some tips on how to go to the fair & save a little mad cheddar!

Monday, October 13, 2008

One Little Pumpkin

Click here to see all of the things Homespun  Heart taught me about what you can do with one little pumpkin! So inspiring and clever!  

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Time away is so important

I have the sweetest hubby!  For my birthday, he gave me a night at our favorite inn.  It is a PERFECT place.  They know how to do everything just perfect from parking your car, to sending you on your merry way with cold bottled water.  PERFECTION.  
We were only gone for 24 hours, but we feel completely revitalized.  The time to just be a couple and not Mama & Daddy was MUCH needed.  Now we can face the storms... TOGETHER. UNITED.
If you are married and haven't been away together, you need to make it a priority.  Time to focus on one another & your marriage is so important!!
"Just as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another".

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Teacher Conferences

At the beginning of the school year, I made a survey that I gave to each of our children's teachers, their principal or Director, and any other pertinent staff members at their preschool and elementary school.  I have loved reading the answers!! I asked the staff questions about their favorite treats... salty or sweet, favorite drink, favorite lunch if I bough one for them, et cetera.  The answers have been very helpful!
I have had conferences with most of the teachers this week.  I tried to remember to look at my survey and then bring the teacher one of the things she likes.  For example, one teacher likes Diet Coke, so I brought her one.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to Starbucks before the 8:15am conference, but I plan to send in a little treat to that teacher.  You may want to bring your teachers on conference day!  A little pick-me-up goes a long way!
Enjoy your beautiful Saturday!  Wouldn't you know my whole house is still asleep & I woke up an hour EARLIER than normal??? :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A favorite blog

I find the Femina blog to be very enlightening.  Today's post was very encouraging.  God is with us, even in the midst of trying times.  Our trials will not be identical to the trials of others we love, but they are trials nonetheless.  Click here to read the article.  Nancy Wilson explains that we must look up to the Lord. Even in the midst of a difficult time, He is with us.  As she explains, before the crucifixion, the resurrection had already been planned. What blessed assurance! I hope you'll read the article because her explanation is much better than mine!

Novel idea!

I recently visited MN's home & she was in the midst of wrapping some presents.  I thought she was a GENIUS!  She had taken an old paper towel holder and it held several spools of beautiful ribbon!!!  That way, you easily pull the ribbon off and cut it as needed! I loved it for a mobile gift-wrapping station!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Your role

John Rosemond is a gifted writer, though he sometimes steps on your toes.  I like him because he is direct and to the point about his opinions.  There is no grey area!!
Yesterday he wrote an article about our roles in the family.  You can read the article here.  This article illustrated a great point on the problem facing marriages today.  We don't know our roles!!!  If we are married with children, our first role or job is to be a WIFE and a HUSBAND.  Today's families have confused the roles and most of us live as mothers first and wives second.  This leads to the deterioration of the family!!!  If you don't believe me, please read the article!
Take time this week to be a WIFE first.  Put your husband's needs before your children's needs.  In Sunday School someone said that the wife would always iron her husband's clothes first so that even in that small thing, the children would see that Daddy comes first.  Make time to be ALONE together this week, even if it's after the children are in bed.  I'm preaching to the choir here, but turn off the computer and the debates, pour yourself a glass of wine or some water, and sit down on the sofa, snuggle up, and TALK!  You'll be so glad you did.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tuesday's Tip!

 You never know when you or someone else in your car might have an allergic reaction!!  I carry benadryl in my glove compartment and have been amazed at the times I have needed it.  When the triplets were 7 months old, we took them to pick out our Christmas tree.  All of a sudden baby #2 broke out in hives.  I was worried they would start to hinder her breathing. Thankfully I had benadryl in the glove compartment!!  
This summer a child was stung by a bee at the pool.  I offered to run & retrieve my benadryl.  My friend L reminded me this summer that Benadryl now sells pre-measured teaspoons of benadryl. They are perfect for the glove compartment or to carry in your diaper bag or purse.  Go buy some tomorrow!
I buy dye-free Target brand benadryl to keep at home. I believe the dye free is new. Hope you enjoyed your Tuesday's tip!

My first award!

Characteristics for the Smile Award:
1.  Must display a cheerful attitude (I try to be cheerful!)
2.  Must love one another (I try to love everyone!)
3.  Must make mistakes (I make a lot of mistakes, including posting this award & not knowing what to do)
4.  Must learn from others (I am trying to learn how to link things, etc on this blog!)
5.  Must be a positive contributor to blog world (I try to post several times a week, if not daily)
6.  Must love life (I am so thankful for my 37 years!! Just hit the mark 2 days ago!)
7.  Must love kids (I have 5 & adore them!)

These are the rules for The Smile Award:
1.  The recipient must link back the award's creator
2.  You must post these rules if you receive the award
3.  You must choose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself
4.  You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award.
5.  You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
6.  You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7.  You must thank your giver.

This award goes to:

you are the reason I started to blog!
I love your muffin tin Mondays! 
The literature one was my favorite!
Your life is an inspiration! I wish I was more like you!
I love all of your great ideas!
You are a gifted writer!
CONGRATS!!!!! to all!!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hospital & new Baby visits

It is a wonderful blessing to those you love to visit them when they are in the hospital.  It is a time when you can show them your love for them by taking time to sit and talk, bring them some "real food", or to admire a new baby.  
However, you have to be careful because people are often under a lot of stress when they're in the hospital whether it be for an uncomplicated surgery, a new baby, or fighting a severe illness.  Therefore, you should remember to put their needs before your own! :)
It's always a good time to try to check first to see if the patient is even up for visitors.  Sometimes it can be quite lonely in a hospital room, and patients would LOVE the distraction. Other times the hospital is very noisy & the patient is exhausted and needs some uninterrupted sleep.  
If you do visit, try to bring something little... a plant, some flowers, a trashy magazine, some food (my friend, K, made delicious cheese straws one Christmas; my friend, A, brought Krispy Kreme doughnuts; my friends A & MD brought chick fil A, etc).  Those things will brighten the patient's day.
While you are there, offer to water the flowers, get the patient a drink or some snacks, make phone calls, or help them in any way.  
Most importantly, make it a SHORT and SWEET visit, unless they beg you to stay.  I mean really, really beg you to stay!
I'll never forget going through in vitro & I had come home from the transfer and was absolutely exhausted and emotional.  Some precious friends came to visit and my husband and her husband started talking. THREE HOURS LATER, they left.  When D came to check on me, I blew up at him!! It was after 10pm, I had wanted to sleep, not talk for 3 hours (even though I LOVED the wife, I didn't want to talk to anyone for that long!)!!!  I was furious at D for not being a better "guard".  So, don't stay away, but don't stay too long either!
Once I was pregnant with the triplets I had to go to the hospital three or four different times.  I had made it to about 28 weeks and I had a complication that put me back in the hospital.  A friend from years ago drove 45 minutes to come and see me.  We had been acquaintances early in our marriage.  She was thrilled to leave 3 children with a neighbor, and stayed for HOURS.  I was on a bedpan, and needed to use the bathroom, but I was scared she would STAY.  It was awkward and made me very stressed, which was not good for the babies!! I am sure I had 100 contractions when she wouldn't leave!!
My sweet friend, S, just went to Heaven after having cancer for a little over a year.  She was so good about stating her needs, "Please come see me.  I want some posters for my room", or "I need a stuffed animal to hold and some cupcakes from my favorite place".  I rushed over with a stuffed animal before her final surgery and I am so thankful that I did.  Don't stay away, just know when to leave:).

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Things to keep on hand for unexpected guests

I love to be prepared.  When we are down to one 12 pack of toilet paper, honey, we are OUT of toilet paper & I am running to the store!!!

Unfortunately, this means our house is very full .... full of people and full of things to be prepared!

However, it comes in handy when I have no idea what to cook for dinner and can pull out a can of cream of mushroom in a blink of an eye. It pays to be prepared.  I love to have guests, though sadly we have very few unexpected guests or even guests in general!  Nonetheless, I try to stay prepared with a few items for overnight guests or guests who simply drop in and "sit a spell".

-peanuts or cashews
-Diet Coke (Diet Pepsi is my favorite), Coke, and Sprite kept cold in our extra fridge
-chocolates in the freezer. I love Ghiradelli chocolates.  You put them on your guests pillows at bedtime after pulling down their sheets and turning on the clock radio (set it to soothing Classical music)
-fresh towels in the linen closet
-nice new soap or shampoos for the guest bath
-crackers & cheese
-I even keep guacamole frozen for a spontaneous fiesta!
-MMs are good too!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ideas with Pumpkins!

I saw the cutest blog, Homespun Heart, with fantastic ideas of what to do with pumpkins. I loved it!

I have a few ideas of my own:

-We buy one mini pumpkin per child and line them on the rail at our front door.  It makes me smile every time I see 5 little pumpkins!

-Pumpkins make great place cards.  Simply use a Sharpie marker to write your guests names on them.

-My brilliant friend, F, scooped out a pumpkin one time and served hot artichoke dip in it. It was fantastic!

-Soon I will share a recipe for pumpkin bisque.  It is delicious!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Children say the funniest things!

We have always told the children that they will receive 3 Christmas gifts, just like baby Jesus did.  If our Lord and Savior was happy with gold, frankincense, and myrrh, surely they can be happy with three things.  This also does not mean three very expensive gifts, rather, three things you'd really enjoy like some new art supplies, an outfit for your doll, and maybe a doll itself.  With 5 children now, we often have a gift that the children share.  One year Santa left a trail of candy and we found a new children's kitchen in our playroom!

I digress....  so, when the triplets were 4, we were in our favorite local toy store.  I heard A say to D, "You know, D, we only get 3 presents, just like baby Jesus did".  D sweetly replied, "I wish He had had FOUR!!!", with her hand on her hip.  I laughed right out loud!   If only Jesus had had 4 gifts, it wouldn't be quite as difficult to decide!  So cute.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hot Ham and Cheese Delights

This is a great recipe and you can even prepare them ahead of time & freeze them!  I keep them in my freezer for those times when you just don't know what to eat for lunch or dinner.  Add a salad or some soup, and you have a meal!!  My friend, J, gave this recipe to me. It is from his wonderful Mama!!

Hamburger buns with poppyseeds
thinly sliced ham (North Carolinians & Virginians like country ham)
sliced longhorn or swiss cheese

Vary the amount depending on the number of sandwiches you are making!
2 tbs. margarine or butter
1 Tbs. mustard
1 Tbs. poppyseeds
1 chopped onion
Combine above ingredients, and spread on each side of the hamburger bun.  Place ham and cheese & put the top on your sandwich!  Wrap individually in aluminum foil and heat at 300*F.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted. YUM!