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!