Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Target has some great new Classics IN THE DOLLAR SECTION!!! Our girls are in a little Summer Book Club and the next book is "Black Beauty" by Anna Sewell. It was in the dollar section, along with "Anne of Green Gables". What a deal! Head to Target. They had some cute Diet Coke, Coke, and Sprite playing cards, Level 2 readers, and other finds for just one dollar! Enjoy!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Husband's 40th Birthday

My dear husband is about to turn 40! I love birthdays because I believe each one is a gift (I have said this before, I know). I try my best to make those I love to feel special on their birthday. Something about turning 40 is a cause for celebration. We have moved to a new city, so we have newer friendships and a big party is not in order. DH planned his own birthday trip, so I can't surprise him with a getaway. I wanted to make a book of his 40 years, but I don't have all of the pictures. So... dear friends in the blogosphere, please share your ideas!! I need some ideas of how to make his 40th special. He says time away with me is enough, but I think he's just kind. I'd love to hear any ideas/suggestions. One friend, ML, gave her husband 40 gifts for his 40 years. What other ideas do YOU have? Please comment! I need your help!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tookie's Toys

I just love Tookie's Toys in Raleigh, NC!! It is a great toy store. Katherine and John Hodges have always stocked the store with great toys that really enhance the imagination of children. When you walk in the store, you are greeted with a bright and cheery decor and children happily frolic over to the baby dolls or train table where they can play with the toys. They carry favorites like Calico Critters, Playmobil, nice dress-up clothes, Corolle and Madame Alexander baby dolls, and Kettler riding toys. Katherine and John stay on top of the trends and always offer the latest and greatest toys. Just yesterday I found something new... a Quercetti toy for ages 2 and up that allows children to create pictures with large pegs on a cute board that stores easily in one piece. I bought it for our youngest who will be 3 in December. I can tell she will love it.

This precious chair is perfect for sunny days on the beach or watching older siblings play sports. They will even personalize it with your child's name and a cute design. These umbrella chairs also come in hot pink, which is a personal favorite!

Tookie's always has really fun, functional strollers for your little princess. We have bought a long twin stroller and a fun single stroller that look like mini versions of Mama's fancy stroller. They are always quality pieces that last through many strolls, and even hold our youngest!

This is another cute stroller!

Our girls just LOVE this car seat carrier that my friend, K, gave our K!

I have shared pictures of toys for little girls, but Tookie's also has a FABULOUS selection for boys! You will not be disappointed! They also offer Cotton the Clown who sings once a week! Check out their website!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Surprise date night!

DH just loves movies. I enjoy them too, though it's more difficult for me to sit still in a chair that's not mine for more than an hour! I decided to surprise him with a date night tonight. Last night I told him that he had a visitor coming tonight at 6, but I wouldn't tell him who it was. I don't think I'm too convincing, because he laughed and pretended to go along with it. I told the children that I wanted to surprise their Daddy, so they were cleaning and vacuuming for our guest when he arrived home. Hilarious. I told him to be ready at 6, and then I changed clothes, spritzed some perfume, and snuck out the front door. I rang the doorbell, and I could hear him pretending to wonder who was there. Like I said, I must not be as convincing as I think I am! Anyway, he said he was glad it was me and that he was excited to have a date night. We visited Pane Rustica , where we shared a delicious Danish blue cheese salad with apples, spiced pecans, and cranberries, calamari, and a GREAT pizza with grilled chicken, feta, artichokes and mushrooms. Dinner was fabulous! Then we ran to the movies! We were home early, and I think D enjoyed his surprise!! Maybe the rest of you can do a better job at keeping a secret and surprising your spouses with a fun night out. With the collapse of Jon & Kate and all of the other bad things going on in the world, it's important to "keep that FIRE in the FIREPLACE!" Now back to my date!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Papa

Father's Day was on Sunday and I wrote a post about my dear husband. Therefore, I didn't get to write about my wonderful father or father-in-law. My Papa is an amazing man. He is very creative and has a fabulous mind. Papa is very well-read; when he visited us here in Florida, his Wallstreet Journal was forwarded to our home. Papa can often be found in the evenings and on weekends on his favorite sofa, devouring his latest read. When he is not relaxing in the evenings, Papa's days are very full. He runs his own business which involves balancing many things. Papa is also an antiquary. He truly loves furniture and other fine things and has a never-ending list of things he is restoring. My parents' home is filled with beautiful things and he can tell you all about them. It amazes me that he can look at furniture and know when it was made and the type of wood it is, et cetera. He loves history and can discuss the past and the present with a passion. Papa loves his family, and entertains all of us with his hilarious sense of humor. My favorite glimpses of Papa are when he is spending time with one of our five children, spraying them in the yard or walking on the beach. I am thankful for my Papa!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Free 8x8 book on Shutterfly

If you have never made a photo book, you should try it! Shutterfly has a free 8x8 book special right now. Just make an 8x8 book, and then enter the code GETMYBOOK as you check out. I made one of our trip to Hilton Head and ordered 2 extras for Christmas gifts! Take advantage of this FREE offer that ends today. If you order more than 1 book, you can try the code SHIP30 for free shipping for purchases over $30. I prefer making books on my Mac because it is super easy, but I think this Shutterfly book is going to be very cute! Enjoy the free gift!! Cross off one Christmas gift today!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

My two sisters-in-law are so brilliant. They have to be since they married my fabulous brothers! A passed along a tip that R gave her. R is a beautiful Southern girl from Savannah, and those from Savannah know how to properly entertain. While visiting a favorite shop in Savannah, R was given a tip for ironing her linens. As you clean up from a party, go ahead and wash all of your linens, such as napkins and place mats. While they are still wet, slip them into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and place them in the refrigerator until you have time later that week to iron them. When you have time to iron, simply remove them from the bag and start ironing! Enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


When I met DH, I had no idea he would one day make me the proud mama of FIVE beautiful children. However, I knew he was special! I was so right. Today I celebrate the precious man who willingly drove all 12 hours in the car today, despite the fact that it was "his day" and he has to drive 2 hours away tomorrow morning. DH is the best father I know. I love those moments where I observe him and he has no idea... the late night kisses goodnight to the children, his expression when a child says something clever or sweet... the fun he has with them in the pool or reading bedtime stories... the way he tenderly cares for each of them. DH prefers to be with his family, even though that can mean more chaos than calm and more noise than silence. His greatest gift to our 5 children is the way He loves the Lord and the way he loves and cares for me. I have read over and over that the greatest gift you can give your children is a solid marriage between you and your spouse. I am thankful that Darling Husband puts the Lord first in His daily walk, and loves me even when I am quite unlovable. We are all so blessed. Happy Father's Day, D!!! I love you!!!

What a surprise to be expecting not one, but THREE babies!! Darling Husband couldn't wait to be a father!

DH just beamed whenever holding our 3 miracles.

Our little angels immediately fell in love with their daddy.

Daddy's girls!

Daddy's three angels shortly after all 3 finally arrived at home!

DH is a hands-on Daddy. He loves to play with the children and gracefully adapted to having triplets.

DH handled having four children under age 2 with relative ease. He managed to remain calm and relaxed when I couldn't!

The children love to spend time with their Daddy.

DH drove us to Martha's Vineyard one summer and loved showing the children how to eat food straight from the ocean!

No one is more fun in the snow than Daddy!

DH took our only son, A, on a father/son trip to meet his Uncle in Oregon when A was just 5.

DH taught everyone how to fly a kite in Martha's Vineyard!

Daddy was so happy to hold baby # 5, another GIRL!

H's baptism was very special.

Five under FIVE! Now where was our TV show?! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gregg Russell at Hilton Head Island

There is something special about Hilton Head Island. It is a wonderful place for a family vacation! When vacationing on Hilton Head Island, you MUST go to Sea Pines and visit Gregg Russell under the old oak tree. He is a very talented musician who is wonderful with children! He reads their signs, sings songs to them, and allows them to sing on stage. Our children look forward to it every summer!! I hope you enjoy pictures of the children with Gregg!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ice Cream Balls and other summer desserts

Ice cream is one of those desserts that evokes images of hot summer days and fun with friends and family. Last night I enjoyed the first ice cream cone I've had in a very long time, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed!! It was a simple Breyer's chocolate and vanilla cone with a dash of butterscotch caramel syrup, and it was fantastic! If you are looking for fun ideas for ice cream treats, I have a few!

Take vanilla ice cream and let it sit out long enough to become soft. Buy a bag of Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux cookies and crush them into tiny pieces. Put them in a gallon sized ziploc bag or a large bowl. Roll the ice cream balls in the crushed cookies and you have a DELICIOUS dessert! My friend, T, gave them to us once and they were fantastic!! You can also try Oreo cookies, cinnamon cookies, or any other kind of cookie. You can add syrup, almonds, coconut or other nuts as well. Be creative!

Another idea is to make homemade ice cream cookies. Make a batch of your favorite kind of homemade cookie. I prefer chocolate chip cookies. Then, let your ice cream become soft. Put a dollop of ice cream between 2 cookies and let it sit in the freezer for a while. You will then have a GREAT ice cream sandwich! F is so creative and she served these at a bridal couples' shower with sparklers in them!

Have FUN!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

A mouse pad makes a GREAT non-slipping placemat for a young child!! It keeps items from slipping and is the perfect size for a child-sized plate, bowl, or cup! Our niece uses one with her initial on it. PRECIOUS!

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Twin

Sometimes I can't get over how much one of our girls is like I was as a child. She writes songs and performs them, loves to write, loves to read, and is highly sensitive. It is almost uncanny how much she is the epitome of me as a child. Just the other day I looked in the rear view mirror on a long trip, and she was voraciously reading a book. I used to do the very same thing. She wrote many letters while at camp and her triplet sister returned with all of her pre-addressed and stamped envelopes with matching stationary! It is fun to see them grow and change.

As I was getting ready for bed tonight, I found a note that read:
Dear Mommy,
CP pinched me I got heard and CP scweesed me on the face. She is really strong. I'm half dead right now. Love, D

I laughed right out loud... I can be dramatic like that too. I just loved her last line about being half dead now. Sweet girl. I checked her pulse, tried to wake her, and told her how much I love her and that I was sorry her sister hurt her. Then, I tucked away this letter to be read at a later time in her beautiful life!! Do you have children with a personality that is similar to yours?

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Summer has been a great gift to us, thanks to sweet DH working to support our travels!! We have been able to see friends and family, and DH (Darling Husband) has joined us when he can. The children and I have been from the mountains to the coast to the piedmont!! It has been wonderful. During our trip to Hilton Head, we were able to meet up with some dear friends. The morning we were planning to meet them, I became a person I don't want to be. For some reason, I became very nervous about how I looked and what I was wearing since I hadn't seen them in 5 months. These friends are genuine enough that they did not care how we showed up, so it was no reflection on them. And we were meeting for a day on the beach and by the pool, not for a FASHION Show. I think somewhere in my mind I wanted to be the new and improved, skinnier, healthier, more beautiful-on-the- outside Henley on the Horn. I became so worked up that I was ugly to my precious family, the people I love the most. And I forgot all about where you find true beauty.... which is on the inside. The way I acted was like I had no idea that I am made in God's image, that I am the perfect "me" (not perfect, just the perfect ME), and that my heart is much more important than outer adornments.
Thankfully the Lord gave me a husband who asked me what I was doing when my head quit spinning and I was no longer yelling at everyone. I am so thankful for the man the Lord gave me because I needed to hear it. (Proverbs says, "Just as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another". I am so grateful for my sharpener!!) DH was so right!!! If seeing dear old friends brings out the worst in me, then I need to stay home!!! Let me just tell you, I thanked him and hugged him, and cried, and asked for everyone's forgiveness. I had not treated my family as they should be treated. I had let them all down all because of my own sins and insecurities. I was taught a valuable lesson, and I did not ruin one more minute of our vacation. My priorities were all wrong. Our sweet friends could care less what we were wearing. They just wanted to spend time with us. My children do not care that I don't look like Angelina Jolie or my friends. Those sweet little things think I am the most beautiful mama in the world because of how I love them when I am not acting like I did that day!!
Sometimes we let our priorities get out of whack and we weight the things of this world above even God. The rest of our vacation, I prayed that the Lord would make me beautiful on the inside, and for most of the time, He did!! I am thankful that He took away my insecurities and I have been able to return to my hometown to love on friends and family, not to impress them. It is OKAY that I don't really look any different than I did when I left or that I haven't acquired a movie star's figure and wardrobe. Those who truly love me are just happy to see me. And those that don't are not my concern. I'm just happy to be here to see everyone!! I am thankful for this bad situation because good did come out of it... I am no longer worried about how I am perceived, and I can just enjoy my time!! Isn't it delightful when the Lord changes your heart?!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Black Marlin Grill in Hilton Head, SC

If you have never visited Hilton Head, SC, you should. It is a golfer's paradise and has wonderful beaches and wildlife. It is a GREAT place for a family vacation as there is something for everyone to enjoy! We recently tried a new restaurant there called Black Marlin Grill. It is fantastic!! Another restaurant used to be in its space near Captain Woody's at the Palmetto Bay Marina. The new restaurant has fabulous food at great prices. The food was some of the best we've eaten at Hilton Head and the prices are much better than most restaurants on the island. For those on a budget, you can order shrimp tacos for $5.99!! I promise it's the only place you can have delicious food for that price! The sushi nachos were out of this world. You had a handmade tortilla chip layered with seared tuna, a little wasabi, pico de gallo, and avocado. What a taste sensation! We loved every bite. We sat outside by the fountain and enjoyed the view of the water! So, visit The Black Marlin Grill on your next (or first!) visit to Hilton Head!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Princess Dive Sticks

Our little H loves princesses, as do her big sisters. We walked through a South Carolina Target and found PRINCESS diving sticks. They are perfect because H can sit and play with her princesses in the pool and not damage a doll. She LOVES them!! Visit your local Target and check out the summer pool toy section. You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This is where I spend my time in restaurants....

Whenever we go out to eat as a family, I spend most of my time in the bathroom!!! We had just finished taking everyone to the bathroom, when one of our girls asked to go again. I thought it was so funny that I took this picture!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Who was our mama?

Have you ever felt like you are NEVER in ANY pictures? I do love my camera, and I am not always a big fan of being in front of the camera, but sometimes I would like a picture or two of me with my children so that they will remember me!! Tonight, I posed for a few pictures and this is what they have to remember me by:

This one...

and take two... this one:

In DH's defense, the camera wasn't working well, and it wasn't my Nikon D40, but I still found this to be very humorous!!! You are welcome to link to favorite pictures of you!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Father & Son

Is there anything sweeter than father & son? I love seeing DH & A interact together. They both share a love of golf. A has been taking lessons & DH said he can see a difference in how he plays this year versus last year. I love that!! They had a great morning on the course together and A couldn't wait to show off his new ball marker!! Times like these are what summer is all about!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Savor each day... we miss you Papa P!

Ecclesiastes really highlights the fact that there is a time for everything. The Bible lets us know that our days are numbered. For this reason, I love birthdays. They are a gift and a blessing. I want to celebrate those I love on their birthdays because I am thankful for that year in their life!!
We lost my dear father-in-law almost a year and a half ago. His presence is greatly missed. We are visiting one of his favorite places and we all feel the void. Our 5 year old named a turtle "Papa P" on this trip. We talk about him and the things that he used to do here. Tonight we returned to his favorite restaurant for the first time since he passed away. DH & his mama weren't ready to go last year, and I completely understand. It was weird being there tonight. D's sweet cousin proposed a toast to Papa and we all clinked glasses. But that didn't bring Papa back. He still isn't here. He can't play golf tomorrow morning with DH & our son. He can't take us to his favorite pizza place or make "Papa's eggs" for breakfast. Things are different, and we all miss him. Even this beautiful picture didn't feel right, because Papa should be in it sporting one of his hats. We miss you, Papa.

Family vacations are not always a vacation. They can be a lot of work. We all say things that hurt one another. Feelings get hurt, people are tired or stressed, and it's not easy. It's hard for different families to share a house or condo or hotel rooms. Yet these times are precious!!! How often do grandparents get to spend hours with their grandchildren? When do adult sons and daughters get to enjoy uninterrupted time with their parents? As you travel this summer and spend time with family, make the most of each moment. Take LOTS of pictures. You will treasure them one day, even if everyone moaned when you took it. I promise!

Practical Idea

When you head to the beach or the pool, there are always times when sand is in someone's eyes or a nose needs to be wiped. Use old burp cloths and throw them in your beach bag!! They are PERFECT for times like this! We used one today:)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lilly Needlepoint Belt Giveaway!!!!

Biscuits are Never Boring is giving away a needlepoint belt from Lilly Pulitzer!!!! Visit her blog quickly for your chance to win!!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Precious Time

I just had the opportunity to be alone with our oldest 4 children for a week. It was a very sweet time. We went to camp together, and our youngest stayed at home. (Thank you, Mimi and Daddy!!) Our sweet 2 year old and I are always together because she didn't go to preschool. Therefore, we are very close and she receives a LOt of my attention. DH was wonderful at reminding me to try to really focus on the big 4 and to give them my attention. It was a sweet week because it really does change things when your hands aren't tied changing diapers and running after a 2 year old.
As we drove, we could all buckle ourselves and hop out of the car and go to the bathroom and eat without a lot of assistance! We enjoyed sprites and Zaxby's chicken fingers and time together. At camp, we all slept in a cabin together for the first 2 nights before the big 2 girls became campers. We enjoyed writing and receiving mail, singing camp songs, playing in the lake, seeing old friends, making new friends, and going to classes. I taught Cooking and it was fun to see my own children come through as campers.
Most of all, we were surrounded by counselors and staff who love the Lord and loved on these girls. I saw our children gain confidence as they returned to camp knowing their way around and knowing what camp is all about.

As we left camp yesterday, I heard fun stories about their camp friends and we sang camp songs and laughed and ate Skittles and Rolos. It was a wonderful week with my FAB FOUR!! And a sweet Reunion with #5 and DH!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Penelope Peapod

Penelope Peapod is the CUTEST little gift idea!! You will love it for girls of all ages!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

No one can do it all!!

I have mentioned in previous posts that I believe we women have ramped things up for ourselves so much so that we just can't do it all. Instead of backyard birthday parties with homemade cake and no party favors, we have elaborate affairs with party planners, tent rentals, catered food, and expensive favors for a one year old who will never remember it! (though the pictures will be fabulous, I agree). My point is that our generation is trying to be Superwoman. But NO ONE can do it all. You simply cannot do it and you will literally die trying.

I was talking about this with a friend recently, and she made an excellent point. There are some women who have a lot of help in their home with housekeepers, someone who irons, landscaping services, babysitters, nannies, et cetera. Due to their help, these women are able to volunteer more hours at the school, look fantastic wherever they go, volunteer for charities, and spend hours at the gym. Others have all of their children in school and have 7-8 hours a day to themselves because they are not working. And I applaud you if you are one of these ladies. We need you to be the one who takes over the big event for local charities, who starts the Reading Rally at our schools, and who tutors the children who are behind in our public schools. We need you!! And one day, Lord willing, most of us will be more like you as our children grow up and leave the home.

But, if you have young children at home who are not in school, and you can't volunteer as much as you'd like to, you may feel like a failure. I know because I am there with you. You look around, and your house is never clean enough, and you wanted to make a casserole for a friend with a new baby, but it just didn't happen. You look at your clothes and you're in the same shirt you wore yesterday and it needs to be changed but you don't have time because you need to grab the baby and rush out the door to pick up your preschooler and to deliver your Teacher Appreciation gifts. You wanted to make something cute with fun gift wrap, but it didn't happen, and you beat yourself up the whole way out the door. You want to be Superwoman and do it all, but you can't. You look at the woman from above and feel like she can do it all and you can't. She CAN do a lot, but it's because she has help in some areas. And you with young children CAN do a lot because you do a lot every day. You wash clothes, and change sheets, and wipe noses, and make appointments, and cook meals, and put away clothes and take care of your babies. All of this is to say, that not one of us is Superwoman!! We are all human, and we all fall short. However, we are made in God's image, and we are to take great delight and joy in the season He has US in right now (not the season we wish we were in). Stop trying to be Superwoman, and just be Super YOU. Enjoy the phase you are in right now, because with all things, you will one day mourn its passing!

Blog friends...

I am not ignoring you this week. I am out of town with the children while DH works at home! I have very limited access to wireless, so I am not able to check my blog or others this week! I wrote my posts in advance, and hope I will have better wireless access next week!!

I miss reading your blogs, but I will catch up!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tuesday's Tip: Merlin Electronic game

Do you remember MERLIN?? It was one of my FAVORITE games as a child, much like The Little Professor!

Merlin offers 6 different games and you can buy it on ebay.com if you click here. This game really does offer good skills and hours of fun! Buy it now for a stocking stuffer or Christmas gift! Shop early... you'll be so glad that you did!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Camp P!

Another blog mama said she is doing Mama Camp this summer. We call it "Camp P" at our house. When our children were smaller, I tried to keep them at home while I cleaned house, organized closets, and did "my things". Although many of "my things" benefit the whole family, I was ignoring our children to accomplish chores. It backfired. The house was torn up, and I was one angry mama. I vowed to not spend my summers working on my to-do list, but to do things with the children during "Camp P". It made all of the difference!!

There are still many days where everyone must play at home while I clean house & pack bags or run the vacuum. We do have to run errands together too. I just try to do something fun with the children as often as I can.

Here are some ideas:

-Visit a different local park each week. Bring bread to feed the ducks or bring a picnic and enjoy it. One park here even has fountains that the children can run through.

-Play post office one day and write letters or thank you notes. Little children can color. Then, go to the post office & mail the letters. You can discuss our postal system in the car!

-Visit the local library. Check to see if they have storytime. Select good books to read over the summer!

-Have your older children read and then do a book report.

-Pull out fun costumes and let the children create plays. Then, put your things down and actively watch the plays!

-Find things in the house that sound like an instrument and let everyone play in the band.

-Visit your local airport and watch the planes take off. RDU in Raleigh has a great observation area... in the air conditioning!

-Let your children run through the sprinkler--- NAKED.

-Let them jump in puddles & dance in the rain if it rains.

-Wash your cars and splash each other! (These activities can only happen if there are no water restrictions)

-Check your local movie theaters for free or $1 children's movies in the middle of the week! Take your own snacks and enjoy the cool air!

-Visit the pool!!! If you belong to a club, be thankful!

-Ride bikes together or take a walk.

-Choose recipes the children can cook and then shop for the items together and then let the children cook for you!

-Invite friends over for the children.

-Teach the children a new board game!

-Visit your local bakery or Krispy Kreme doughnuts and buy everyone a treat.

-Serve in a local ministry or homeless shelter.

-Have everyone choose 3 or 5 things to give away and then do it!

-Treat everyone to lunch at an old pharmacy with a counter.

-Ride the train (or even the bus) to somewhere close by! Have lunch & return!

-Fly a kite on a windy day.

-Take advantage of the things you never do in your geographical area. Hop in the car for a day trip!

-Visit the zoo or aquarium.

-Go downtown and pretend to be a tourist for the day.

-Sit on your back deck and drink that glass of wine you said you were going to have when you bought the house! Let the children play while you relax a minute!

-Start a summer garden and tend to it as a family!

-Have a lemonade stand! Donate the proceeds to a favorite charity or use the money for a fun treat.

We have quiet time in the summer almost every day. You can read a book or play a game quietly, but you must be in your room and QUIET. This allows baby sis to nap and gives Mama some down time too!