Two Links and A Popularity Test...

Friday, October 31, 2008

I've been debating doing a post on my depression in hindsight. For several months now I have experienced more peace and healing, where before there was fear and doubt. But every now and again, I face a trigger, or hear a sermon or come across a song on the radio, that reminds me of the mindset I was in just a half a year ago.

Someday I will work up the nerve to tell you about what I was thinking back then, and what I occasionally still think. But for now, I will post that God does give peace. Last week, on the short ride to my neighborhood Walmart, it was this new song from Jeremy Camp that reminded me of that fact.

And then yesterday, it was Chatting at the Sky's post that reminded me that I am not in control-but I know the One who is able to hold me together when things fall apart.

And now for that test that seems silly after re-reading Chatting at the Sky's post above...
Google has added a new feature that allows you to subscribe to a blog and appear in a public list of all other followers of it. Several of the blogs I check on a regular basis now have this feature on their sidebar, and look very cool doing so.

So for me to add this feature, because all the popular bloggy moms are doing it, I have to take the risk that no one is willing to follow me. Woah---, I'm having an uncomfortable flash back to high school. But you can elect me homecoming queen change that for me ;-) If not, I will have to move the followers gadget down on my sidebar and eventually remove when no one is looking. We'll see what happens.

(Update: ohmygoodness...I just added the followers feature and found I already had a follower! Thanks Brandee!!!!-You've made my day!)

FREE STARBUCKS & Dunkin' Donuts Coffee-You're Welcome!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Click here for a coupon for a complimentary Cappuccino up to a $3.20 value.

If you haven't tried the Pumpkin Spice, I highly recommend! And hurry!!!! This coupon expires Friday!

AND, If you can't get out...try some Dunkin' Donuts Coffee free, too-they'll send you a sample of their Dark Roast at this link:
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Stay warm,

Making my list, checking it twice...

Friday, October 24, 2008

I know I'm not the only one who's trying to get things done early for Christmas this year so I'm not running around mid-December like a chicken with her head cut off. Lovely image for the holidays, isn't it?

Here's a gift idea I'm working on: personalized the cute ones on with vinyl letters. I may just order those, but I wanted to try my hand at making them myself sans vinyl, just a steady hand and acrylic paints. Since I'm fairly sure Mr. Smarty's 11 year old cousin doesn't check my blog, I'll show you what I attempted for him for Christmas (Yankee colors!!!):

And now I have a question. This year our families are seriously considering drawing names for Christmas. I say seriously considering, because we have suggested this every year for the past five years and never actually gone through with it. SOOO, this morning, my bro-bro and I got on Skype and drew names. He put all our names (adults only) in his old beanie and in order of our ages, drew one name for that person to buy/make for. I recorded whose name he pulled for everybody and Laura witnessed (we will tolerate no arguments here). To be honest, we did draw names twice though, because the first round ended up looking kind of boring...couples got each other-so we could have all stayed home and been done with it. But where's the fun in that?

So now we need to draw names with Mr. Smarty's family. Any recommendations? Should they be kept a secret until Christmas? How do you all include or exclude kiddos-especially when not everyone has kids? Any other ideas for keeping the holidays sane while still encouraging the spirit of giving?

A Place to Sew

Thursday, October 23, 2008

So here's my hasty before of my new sewing desk. I was actually so hasty, that I didn't take a before shot-these are the photos from the craigslist post. The desk stayed those two colors for about 24 hours.

It's not anywhere near done...still need to paint or replace the hardware and I want to put some kind of background on the hutch, but here is the after thus far:

And what have I been sewing, you ask? Not much. But this was the last thing I did, and my first attempt at cute burp cloths. I really hope we have more babies so I can make some for myself...these were for our friends' Eric & Aimee's brand new addition. Congrats, guys!

I'm back, really...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

So I bet you all have been thinking I must have turned into the best mom around and have been super busy working with Belle on her schoolwork and playing on the floor with Boo & Baby in between laundry loads and meal preparation...thus too busy to blog consistantly, right? Nope. I got talked into starting the Twilight Saga!

I really didn't plan on reading it. Really. Even after reading like 20 blog recommendations. Really. But I changed my mind. I picked up the first book in paperback thinking it was $8. No big deal. I'd just see what the fuss was about. Yesterday I finished the fourth and final book of the saga.

If you haven't read Twilight, here is the basic story line: A seventeen year old girl named Bella moves from Phoenix to small town Forks in rainy Washington state to live with her father. She's basically just an average plain jane girl until she meets a fellow student named Edward. He is beautiful. He is mysterious. And, later she learns he is a one hundred year old vampire stuck in a seventeen year old perfect body.

So now let me pretend to win back some of your respect by writing my review on the series.

Did I love reading these books and getting swept up in the fairy tale? Yes. Would I recommend them for the intended audience: teens and tweens? Uuuuummmm, weeeeelllll, not really.

The vampire thing really isn't my issue with the recommendation. But I'm not particularly sensitive to that...other things may bother me (without giving an spoilers-email me if you've read them and we can chat!), but the whole vampire/werewolf thing was used primarily for story telling, a plot device. But for a 13 year old girl, they may seem very dark.

Amazon reviews call the series "clean romance for young girls." Ummm. Clean but a bit racy at the same time. Is that possible? I could praise these books for raising important questions and issues about personal responsibility, consequences and moral conduct-i.e. Edward believes that just because he was created for evil doesn't mean he has to give into those desires. But bottom line, there were scenes I wouldn't want my early teen daughter reading this.

So why did I sacrifice hours of sleep and house work and meals and blogging to read these books? Although these books are no Anne of Green Gables, Wuthering Heights or Chronicals of Narnia (which also had some "unrealistic" characters), they are brilliant-and addictive. Every girl dreams of being loved so fully and passionately and to be protected and thought of in every moment...(are we really that vain?) And it was fun. Devouring 2000 pages about the same characters was get lost in the world of Forks and Bella and Edward.

But I'm back...back in the world of Belle, Boo and Baby and laundry and dinner and dusting. And that's fun, too.

Kindergarten Homeschool Science: Butterfly Garden

Thursday, October 16, 2008

For Belle's first big science unit, we ordered one of these butterfly gardens. It was such a neat experience-well worth the money (although I shopped around a bit online when I ordered it).

We were first shipped the butterfly habitat, with an order form for the caterpillars. Five teeny caterpillars arrived once I sent in the request. Their food was also in the same container. So for the first 2 weeks or so, all we had to do was observe them-they grew so much larger and then began to spin their cocoons from the top of the jar. Once they were attached well, I moved them to the habitat, where they emerged.

The species we received were Painted Ladies whose life expectancy is 2-4 weeks. I really didn't want to have to explain why they were napping for so long in a couple of weeks, so we released them after watching them for a week. But it was so nice to have them, even if it was just a week and they were just butterflies. Baby got pretty close to saying "butterfly" really clearly. And Belle and Boo took turns "feeding" their pets (orange slices worked for us). And I loved having something "living" in our kitchen to welcome me each morning. Of course my interpretation of a welcome is pretty loose, because those guys could sleep really late. But by my second cup of coffee, they were flitting around their habitat and I enjoyed seeing that up close.

We waited for Mom-Mom & Opa's visit to release them (interpret: Mom put off releasing her new pets as long as she could-so sad...).

Thank you Mr. Columbus

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

and another Thank you to President Harrison for calling on the people of the US to celebrate Columbus Day. How did we celebrate this year? With a visit from Mom-Mom & Opa!

My folks have started a tradition now of visiting sometime around Easter and then again in the fall, between or around Belle & Boo's birthdays. Then we visit them at Christmas and sometime in the summer months. There is never enough time...the trips are always too short, but we manage to cram 3 months of memories and photo opportunities into one 4 day weekend each trip. Enough to get us to the next visit. Here are a few of this visit's hightlights:

I'd like to introduce you to...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Letters to Olivia.

So I've been kind of distracted in real life lately, but I wanted to take a moment to tell you about a friend of mine. She is one of the most amazing people I know and today is her birthday! You may have visited her blog from my blog roll and wondered who she is. Well, Ms. Amanda is one of my oldest and dearest friends from our high school days. Together with our group of friends we were free to be as silly and fun as we wanted to be. I'm really proud that for the most part, that is still true-we've just added to our number over the years, with hubbies and babies.

Ten years ago she gave her baby girl up for an open adoption. Not too long ago, Amanda started a second blog. And this is no ordinary blog. This blog was created simply to share her story. Her hopes are that it will help those who share her experience in some way. But I think God can use her experiences and the wisdom he's revealed to her through her pain, to encourage so many more.

So today Amanda is the big 3-0. Please make her day and stop by her blog. I promise you'll be encouraged! And if you do stop by, take a moment to encourage her--leave a comment and let her know you stopped by!