Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Dance

Things that made me happy today:

Riley in the backseat, sooo early in the morning because we had to drop off dad at work....I think the sun was in his eyes so he put on goggles! (I have no idea where he found them, but it must have worked!)
I went to the post office to day and found a bright yellow note-----yippey!

I had won the giveaway over at Hope Studio's Tuesday Tutorials! SaWEET!
Jennifer, I LoVe it! Can't wait to get home and find a picture for it! It's going to look so awesome on top of the armoire :) :) :)

After this weekend, I'll be able to show you what all else I've been working on....Amber's shower is Saturday...let's just say I might have gone slightly over board.....making stuff for girls is SO much Fun!!! (pray that I'll have better luck tonight, because I spent more time ripping out than sewing today!)

Gettin' It Together

I'm linking up with Hope Studio's today....not for the chart, but for how to make an amazing difference in your day to day housework and teach your kids to have pride in their home at the same time! (obviously we hadn't started yet when I took the picture...notice the fork in the background!)

I got this idea from How Does She. (which is a super fun site with tons of ideas!). The link has all of her instructions and I think a link to the actual printable chores....I just used a sharpie. She made her tongue depressors colored depending on how long the chore takes and each kid would choose so many from that color.

I spun it a bit different....each stick is the same color as the boy's name. Every day, their names need to be filled with their sticks. If their color's gone, then they must be done with chores and have free time! It seems like we have a ton for them to do, but really it's pretty basic....make bed, brush teeth, dishes in dishwasher...

This has been life changing!!! We've done chore charts, groundings, allowances, no video games before chores are done....and Nothing worked without me Yelling! (not that yelling works!)

I don't even have to get on them anymore :) In the morning, first thing they make their beds, brush their teeth get dressed, bring down yesterday's clothes and pj's, feed/water dogs or Fred, and put their breakfast dishes in the dishwasher. This is Amazing! I know duh!!!! It is seriously so much easier to throw in one load of laundry in the morning then do 10 million three days later! Later they put away their clothes and put lunch and supper dishes in dishwasher after the meal (and start and/or unload dishwasher ).

We do give them a small allowance (super small), but it's more for them to learn the value of money than anything else...you want that toy, then you'd better save up! (which has completely squelched all of the complaining and bartering at wally world!). We do have extra chores that can be done for a *bonus*...things like vacuum, help me or dad when asked, yard work....and we do have things that they still have to do just because they live in this house too!

All in all, I think this works because it's a super tangible way to see what is expected of themselves, and for now they really like filling up their name with sticks!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Please Pray for Emma :)

Hey everyone....I have a small request for you:

Emma is the daughter of some dear friends of ours....this little peanut has surely had a rough road. Thursday she is going in for some major open heart surgery. Would you join me in praying for her?

This was taken from the 24 hour prayer event they have set up for her on facebook:

Emma Kate will be having her open heart surgery on Thursday, March 25th. The doctors having been waiting to do the surgery till she is well and strong enough to endure. This will be a six hour, EXTENSIVE surgery for little Emma. I am calling all prayer warriors to sign up for a 10 minute slot to commit to. This event is starting at exactly 12 hours before her surgery, 7pm Wednesday night and ending exactly 12 hours after her surgery, 7pm Thursday. All you have to do is sign up for a ten minute slot within that 24 hours. Now obviously if you pray outside the event time, then GOD BLESS YOU! Please post on here when you want to commit to. Sign up for two or three ten minute slots if you wish. Invite your friends and family. The more prayers, the better. Thank you for doing this. She is defiantly worth at least 10 minutes of your day. GOD BLESS and I will keep you updated.

Please keep her and her parents (and her brother and sister too) in your prayers....pray for guidance for the doctors and nurses and whom ever else comes in contact with this precious little one!

Thanks so very much!!!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom and Crystal

Today is my Mom's birthday (happy birthday mom!) and 2 weeks ago was my sister's birthday soooo we celebrated them both on Saturday. (sorry Crystal, I didn't get a good picture of you when Steve did your magic trick :) )

My Grandma is an awesome hostess....she really does everything so special! Well, a pastor friend of theirs, Steve and his wife came to the birthday party....Steve has quite the knack for magic tricks!

Here he is breaking an egg on top of this canister on my mom's head. He then put a piece of paper on top of it and then flipped it over so that the paper covered opening was upside down on my mom's head!----where's my instructions, he asked?-----Jim about died, because he seriously thought my mom was going to end up with egg everywhere! Steve then pulled the paper out and everyone waited...he lifted the canister to reveal a package of MnM's!!!!
So far so good with the boys not trying that trick at home!

There were lots of these expressions-
and some of these-
He even pulled all of this paper magically from Corey's ear :)

All in all, it was a super fun party....it's not very often that we get a bonus magic show when we visit Grandmas!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Week 2

Well, the last we talked about this, I was still in the planning process....we had just gotten a TON of groceries so I figured that as we ran out then we'd convert over.

We've been over 2 weeks of no milk...more like a week of completely no dairy because I had 2 huge containers of yogurt leftover.

What's a girl supposed to do when she survives on cereal and milk!!! Have you got any idea how much MILK is in Everything!?! Thank God I had seen something about Almond Milk! It's good for you, low in calories and has some fat and calcium :)

Almond Breeze has been our favorite. The difference is barely noticeable! And a huge bonus is that it's awesome in my coffee! Love the chocolate with a hint of almond...a girl might get used to this!
Last night I was racking my brain for something to use as a "treat"...no sugar, no grains puts a huge damper on sweet tooths. Then I thought, hmmm...I wonder if I could freeze this stuff? Well, you can...and....it's not terrible! I used my immersion blender and shooshed up some raspberries with some chocolate almond milk, divided it into 2 finger bowls and popped it in the freezer. Sure enough it froze pretty good...almost like an ice milk. I think it would be easier in one of those popsicle containers....really need to hunt one down!

So there you have it, we've survived a full week with no sugar, milk or carbs....it definitely hasn't been pretty....there were more then one temper tantrums over hot dog buns....but I think we're over the worst! (that and we go through like a TON more food without all of the fillers!) Still don't know about results, but it takes a few weeks to change body chemistry so our fingers are still crossed!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Couple Hour Retreat

Jim and I were able to sneak away for a couple hours today :)

It was a much needed escape.....well....first we had our taxes done...fun.fun.fun....and then I convinced Jim that since we were so close to Galena that we Had to go to Frank O'Dowd's for lunch! (well, actually..he was kind of sleeping so when I asked, he mumbled and I drove...and when he woke up we were already here..hehehe!)

Can I just say that I LOVE this place!!!!! If I could, we'd be here allllll of the time....great atmosphere and on the weekends there's live entertainment (usually little Irish dancing girls, but if you're lucky there could be a pub singer from the home country!!!)

I have to admit....I totally caved on the gaps diet today....I couldn't help it really...their Irish brown bread is soooooo gooooood!!!! And I may or may not have had a pint or two! (who can resist when you're sitting in a dark pub surrounded by Guinness and cider!)
Why Hello Lovely! This is my all time favorite----Black Velveteen----half and half Guinness and cider! YUM!
It was awesome having Jim trapped in the car for a couple of hours and a quiet lunch....we got lots of talking done, a few apps scheduled to be made and hopefully a clearer vision of where we want to be :)
Do you ever do that with your spouse? We all need mental health dates, where you just talk about everything and amazingly things come out and purposes develop....Love refreshed over pint glasses and bread...nothing better on earth!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Stuck In The Mud

At our last small group, we discussed the seasons of our lives. I felt pretty sure we were in winter...for what seems like forever, cold and stagnant..waiting for spring to arrive and bring us something new. Now, I don't know.

Here in NIL, we are in this cruddy in between...Mud Season. Its not freezing, there's no snow, but everything is wet and brown. The dogs and the kids track in mud, my allergies are kicking my butt. Its kind of a cruel joke to have warmth finally, but not the lovely green grass or spring flowers yet. In fact, winter could rear one last ditch effort...we're in spring limbo! (Now THAT'S my season!) We're stuck in mud, rehashing the same thing day in, day out...its like living out that Bill Murray movie Groundhog's Day.

I was studying this morning and God really opened my eyes..so be patient while I work this out...hopefully someone will glean something from this too...hopefully.

Hebrews 10: 32, 35-36

Remember your earlier days after you received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering...

So do not throw away your confidence, it will richly be rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

What is it about those earlier days, when you could conquer the world in a single bound? And now after getting a bit beat up, your cape is tattered, your burdens are heavy...but you still believe and you still carry on, just slower and not as much pep in the step. How do You get back to your earlier faith?

Here's my big V8 smack for the day (or minute, depends on how much learnin' I need today!):

-persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

I know this is speaking eternally and by no means am I a theological scholar, but what if I've been looking at this all wrong? I deeply believe that God has called us to do certain things, he has given us dreams and talents..but nothing ever works out to fulfill this dream. I've been going about this whole conundrum as not being in the will of God until we reach point B.

What if God's will for us isn't the dream?

What if the dream is the Promise?

What if God's will is the trials and affliction to mold us into what we need to fully receive the Promise?

What if God's will isn't the destination, but the journey?

Hmmmm....maybe this isn't new, maybe you all are thinking "duh, Shelly!"...but, maybe someone out there just received the same message. I read somewhere today a Beth Moore quote (and I can't remember it completely..so if I butcher it, Beth M. Said it better): God doesn't allow us to be wounded to hurt us, but to heal us....another aha moment?

So, I'm still working this out, but maybe I'll start trying to look at this season less like a band aid that I want quickly ripped off and more like a cast that is slowly mending and healing.

Here's a happy thought to leave you with:

Romans 12:12

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Till We Have Faces

I just finished reading C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces...a beautiful story about 2 sisters (well, actually there were 3...but 2 that count in the story;))

So I've been thinking about veils and the different faces we wear to please others. Or maybe we do it to protect ourselves...to keep our guard up so that no one will see the hideousness within. And what are we really hiding...is our reality the True reality or just a skewed sense made by our own perceptions?

Then, I got to thinking about how Christ is our covering...the former ugliness is removed and the beauty of salvation takes its place. If we are made whole, why do we try so hard to be something different...something acceptable to society...when really the world cannot comprehend what it means to have Christ living in us, to be betrothed to God, to blindly trust in someone we have never met yet know and love so deeply!

Sorry, all I have today are deep thoughts...without many answers. But that's the beauty of books, to shine a new light on things, right!?

If you haven't read it yet, give the book a shot...its long, but I seriously read it in a day. Very contemplative and so far my favorite by CSL.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Boy Have Things Changed!

What will they think of next?!? My dear friend Amber is quickly approaching her due date....to bring into the world a wonderful little baby girl! Anyway, enough gushing! She asked if I could make her a nursing cover. (I said "what, we just used blankets....worked good enough and didn't cost upwards of $30!) They have lots of different names, but I came up with one we're quite fond of....tata tents ;) Soooo 6th grade boyish, but funny just the same!

So, I obliged her request:

It's reversible, and has D rings in the neck strap to adjust as needed. The best part is the boning (basically it's like the stuff in an underwire if anyone is sewing challenged like me!)....who knew!

It makes this awesome little arch so that you can see what you're doing while no one else can! Ok, so this would have been super helpful back in the day when lactation was the only thing in life I was good for ;)

I got the general pattern from Make It and Love It.

She used lots of stripes, but ehh..not so much for me...hopefully Amber will like this one plain! Basically, I got 2 coordinating fabrics, 1 1/8 yards each, a 14in piece of boning and a couple of D rings. I cut a 2 in strip off of each fabric for the neck strap and then used the remaining for the "apron". The rest of the directions at Make it and Love it are wonderful....very finished and doesn't look homemade at all....well....if I were better at sewing straight!(Jim says I'm nuts and that I'm too picky! But hey, it's for someone else!!!)

If you know anyone whose gonna be birthing soon and need a quick gift, these ROCK! I have tons of other projects in the works, but unfortunately...Amber reads this so I have to save them until after the shower! (you know I love you hun if I'm holding back some easy posts for ya!)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Happy Mail!

The other day I got the Best email! One of Green Girl's boys had drew my name in a giveaway for a book of poetry (Coffeehouse Meditations by Nina Romano) and a Starbucks gift card!!!!

Today I stopped by the old P.O. and what was waiting for me.....the sweetest card (Melissa, if you made it...WOW! Too cute!) and a big ol' package containing a book....and bubble wrap (art bonus!).

I was on my way to the next metropolis (country living is quickly loosing its charm...I want stuff...near me...not 50 min away!) to get some paints and such for a project a friend just commissioned. I stopped by the 'rents house to print off a Michael's coupon and my mom offered to keep the boys =) Perfect!

After Michael's, I crossed the parking lot to Starbucks and got myself a treat for both my mouth and my mind! What an awesome book...and sorry to Nina for chopping off the title of the book!!! (crappy phone camera!)

Little did Green Girl know, but I Love coffee...seriously....I'm a coffee snob! Once upon a time I managed our church coffee shop (yes, we have a full blown cafe in our church...it's awesome to sit and relax in leather chairs, have a meeting or just hang with friends!). Reading these wonderful selections really made me miss all of the steaming and frothing! There is something so calming about steaming a container of milk....ahhhhh. One prose in particular talked about double espresso and turning green while on the family boat----you and me both! Motion sickness and ski boats are such a great combo....but I'll take a double shot with a bit of whip cream any day! (one of my absolutely favorites is a shot of espresso poured over a piece of dark chocolate...heaven!) I really need to talk Jim into letting me install a real machine in our house...but that's another post and a total Lucy look!

Thank you again Melissa...I've only read the first section, but I'm loving it!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Welcome to the Infirmary

Our boy are rarely sick...so when they do get a little something here or there its like the world is going to come to an end! (Or is it because they are boys?!?)

I've spent the last 5 days hugging, holding, rubbing backs and fetching Kleenex...glamorous life of a mom! Oh the questions I've been asked: Mom have you ever seen a cold THIS baaaad? I've seen worse. Do I have H1N1? No. Why can't I have medicine for my fever? Because its not "really" a fever and that is your bodies way to kill of what is making you sick.....Oh, ok.

So sorry if there is nothing new and exciting here, just crabby kinds and colds! (Praying that I am not next---cause you know that the world doesn't stop when mom gets sick!)

It seems to be a fairly quick bug, Jamie's almost over it...Riley is mid way...and Corey just woke up coughing...joy oh joy! If I have to watch another day of Little Rascals boxed set, I'm going to scream!!!

Hoping the rest of your week is Kleenex free :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Three Wild and Crazy Guys


I'm linking to Kimba's DIY Day and Hope Studios! (Whoot Whoot Jennifer Juniper!!!)

The other day, while scouring the web for cool ideas, I came across this t-shirt made by Running With Scissors....too cute! The woman is AWESOME with freezer paper...I can only hope to one day sew the cool stuff she dreams up!

So, I said to myself...Self, that would be fun to try with pics of the boys on canvas!

Step 1: take pictures of very annoyed boys still in pj's and not in the mood to pose for the momma!

(yes, cereal box..and bowls...still on the table! Notice the cough medicine? We had a sicky in the house who thought he was going to die because our boys are never sick)

He looks really sick right?

Ok, that torture is done...for now!

Step 2: upload pics to picnic or photoshop or whatever you use. Picnic has a setting called posterize...its a premium setting and I'm cheap so I just messed with the contrast until I got what I wanted---

Step 3: print pic out on regular computer paper, rub chalk on the backside of the picture, tape to your canvas

Step 4: Trace with a pen around the super dark areas of the photo.

Step 5: simply paint in the lines...and there ya go----

(yes, I heard it from my dad.....wow, you made your own little Avitar kids...hahaha pops!)

Add a saying or something to fill in the space (or be smart and do it on an 8x10, but this is what I had so I made it work!)

Yeah, this pretty much sums up everyday life in this house!


Here's a picture of my finished bird canvas from the girls night. (well, I haven't painted the sides yet....I hate that part!!!)

I heard birds singing this morning...it was Wonderful!!!! Spring here we come!