Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Family Interview Idea

Here's a fun idea that our family has started this year - a family interview! We filled it out with the kids yesterday and some of the answers they gave were pretty cute! (Well, mostly it was Piper since she gave the answers for Tait's, too, if we couldn't come up with an answer that Taitum would give if she were able to!) I look forward to reading back on these in the years to come!

Happy New Year's!!

The Last Post of 2010

This crazy-busy life of ours has been totally ordinary lately.  I love it.  I probably tell B that too often, how much I enjoy being at home all day, spending time with Becks and doing house stuff.  I'm giving him a complex about me working and him being at school.  Which is totally not my intention. I just love being at home, and honestly, I'm a whole lot nicer in general when I don't have to stress about school stuff. {You wouldn't believe it, I haven't even so much as thought about teaching next week.  I haven't planned or even visited my classroom since before break.  And you know what I say about that: yay for me!  I just wanted to enjoy my time with these boys of mine.  And I have.}

The weather is bunches warmer and the snow finally melted away yesterday.  Becks and I took the opportunity to get outside.  He decided he wanted to be a fleece polar bear pj pants wearin' kinda fire fighter.  And I let him. 

He found a twigish branch in someones yard and insisted on carrying it home.  While riding his bike.  He said it was a reindeer antler.  It dose kind of resemble the one that the Grinch used to tie on top of his dog, no?

We also water colored yesterday.  And Becks became rather disenchanted when he splashed some water on the kitchen floor.  It was kind of cute how upset he was!

In other ordinary life-isms...

Becks and B play the guitar before bed...

I've written and mailed thank-you notes!  This is a huge plus for me.  I'm not the best thanker.

And, apparently, The Wiggles drank a little too much egg nog and wrecked the Big Red Car under our living room chair.  I'm happy to report that Murray, Greg, Anthony, and Jeff are still, well, happy as they always are...

To end our year on an ordinary note, we're hanging out as a family and toasting with Capri Suns at midnight.   If we stay up that late.  Happy New Year!
This is the "Cheeeeeeese" smile :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tripp's "#1" Fundraiser

So one of my super-great blog readers, Debby, sent me an e-mail about doing a fundraiser for Tripp.  She is an Independent Consultant for a company called "Thirty-One Gifts" (  The company is based on Proverbs 31 - the virtuous woman.  They sell many products that aid women in their many roles...wives, mothers, and the workforce.  She offered to donate 15% of her proceeds from January 1st - January 11th (hints the name- "Tripp's #1 Fundraiser because of the ones- 1/1/11-1/11/11).  I thought it was such a cute name and cute idea.  

So, I wanted to give you all a head's up in case you want to participate.  I feel guilty even putting this on my blog, first of all after Christmas, and second of all- after everyone has done so much for us already.  But just in case you are "online shopping" anyway or need a cute birthday present for someone or just want to shop for something cute for yourself- you can check out this website  The actual "fundraiser" doesn't start until the 1st.  But you can shop around before then if you want.  Debby will have a link on the website that you can click to make sure that 15% goes to Tripp.  

The directions for the fundraiser are below- it may seem like a lot, but it's not that bad.  And all the items are SUPER cute!  I'm so appreciative that so many people want to help us.  I'm somewhat at a loss for words, really.  I can't get over the amount of support that I've gotten from our local community and from people across the country.  I am SO super excited about all the awareness that's being spread about EB!  

I met the priest from St. Joseph Parish in Paulina, LA today- Fr. Mark.  He came to the house to meet Tripp and I.  He is such a nice man.  He told me something about Tripp that I will never forget.  He told me that he once read somewhere that people who are given such crosses to bear as this one (EB), have such great big souls.  He said that people like Tripp come into the world KNOWING what kind of cross they are going to bear- and knowing, already, the pain they will have to endure.  Just as Jesus came into the world already knowing the pain that He would have to endure for our sins.  

I'm not trying to compare Tripp to Jesus.  I just can't help but think, though, that he is carrying this "EB" cross for us.  Just think how many lives he's touched by all the pain and suffering that he has to endure.  Jesus was sent to Earth in human form by God, to suffer and die to save our sins and open the gates to eternal life.  And like Jesus, I don't think Tripp is going to leave this world until he has finished the mission that he was given.  I don't know what that mission is, and I don't know if I will ever know.  But I learn something new about my Catholic religion and my faith each and every day.  And it always seems that each time I learn something new, I can connect it to our situation.  I know that it's God's doing and I know that He gave Tripp to me so that my faith would be restored and so that my eyes can be opened and I can spread his Word.  And that's what I plan on doing.  Spreading His Word, and trying with everything I have left in me to live my life like He did- for others.  

I have been so blessed through this horrible situation and I can't wait for the day that I can give back.  I don't exactly know how I will give back, but I plan on giving a little back each and every day, little by little.  

Here are the directions for "Tripp's #1 Fundraiser" that Debby gave me to post:
Starting on January 1st:

1.  Click on this link to go to the Consultant's website:

2.  The easiest way to see all the items is to click on View Our Catalog link at the top of the screen.

You may choose to look at either catalog.  The Fall catalog is the main catalog, the Gift Guide is a small additional catalog with different items.  You may order items out of both catalogs on the same order.

3.   Keep a running list of the items and item numbers you are interested in purchasing.  Pages 37-41 of our Fall Catalog (and pages 14-15 of the Gift Guide) contain pictures of each item and shows them in all available patterns.

4.   When you're ready to order, go back to the Consultant's website by clicking here:

5.  Click on My Events (under Debby's name and phone number). 

6.  Click on Shop Now.

8.  Type in the Item Number or Description of the item you wish to purchase and click on the magnifying glass to search.  When the item comes up, click on it to see details of the item and to choose the fabric and personalization (if desired).

9.  When you click on Checkout, you will be taken to this screen.  Fill out all of your shipping information.  PLEASE NOTE:  IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU DO NOT CHECK THE BOX FOR SHIP TO HOST.  IF there is an X in that box, click on it so that it disappears.  Otherwise, your products will go to Debby (in Illinois) and you will be responsible for paying her to ship your items to you!

10.  Click on Save and Continue.

11.  Double check your order and shipping information, then click on Pay for Order.  You will be taken to the Payment Screen.

12.  On the left side of the screen, click on Credit Card Payment This will take you to the Payment screen.  As you fill out your Credit Card Information, note that on the left side of the screen, it shows your outstanding balance.  Type this number on the right side of the screen next to Amount.  When you're done, click on Save Payment. 

13.  Your final step is to click on Submit Order.  Your order is not sent to Debby until you click that button!

Tripp's event will end on 1/11/11.  Orders typically leave the warehouse 1-2 weeks after events close, as long as items are in stock.

There is contact information for Debby on her website home page if you have any questions, I'm sure she'll be happy to walk you through this.  She has been so nice to want to do this for us.  Thank you again, Debby.  I'm so excited to spread more awareness about Tripp and EB!  


Its Almost a New Year! (He's always been faithful to me.)

On the verge of 2011, I have to say I am very excited! Not for any particular reason...there are no big vacations planned, no babies expected and no big purchases that I forsee...but I am looking forward to this year. Really, I have no reason not to! Life has been good! Matt and I were just saying to each other tonight how much we are enjoying our little family and the stage of life we are in with them. I have nothing but good thoughts for the year to come! I'm sure there will be bumps along the way (there always are!) but we are learning more and more to trust God with whatever comes our way (or doesn't), to support and love each other and to be content no matter the circumstances.

But to begin sharing thoughts for the year to come, I thought it would be nice to take a minute to look back on the past year and all we have to be thankful for...

-Matt recieved his B contract this year which was huge! No more worries about employment now! We were also grateful for the opportunity for him to work summer school this past summer!
On the homefront, my sweet hubby has over and over again shown himself to be a fantastic Daddy to our girls and my greatest support and encourager! I love watching him grow in these areas in ways that have far exceeded my expectations! (I love you, babe, and am so happy to begin each new year with you!)

Daddy/Daughter date night!
Daddy plays the best games!

-Piper has been growing and learning so much! It has been a delight to watch! Her speech has improved immensely to the point that we have very few worries about it now! Her and Taitum also took their first trip to Newfoundland this year and were amazing little travellers! Piper has also taken on several new athletic challenges of which her favorite is dance! (No surprise there!) As well, Pipe has made a big change by trading in her nap times for 'quiet time'. She reminds me on a daily basis that she is a big girl!

Piper and I in Rocky Harbor, Newfoundland.

-This time last year, Taitum was a new baby so 2010 has been chock-full of changes for her! Solid food, walking, being weaned and several wardrobe changes to name a few! Her own little personality is emerging which is so beautiful to see! She is our sensitive, silly girl who's learning to hold her own...but she's still Mama's baby!

Tait in Norris Point, Newfoundland
Taitum's first steps!

-This year has been packed with changes and improvements for me! I`ve gotten a better handle on housework by weekly making a schedule and meal plan. I`ve also been learning to cook a variety of different things AND have even enjoyed it! I`ve been successful in cutting out a lot of waste and saving money too by making everything homemade - thats right! 2010 is the year we said goodbye to Delissio, KD, Campbell`s Soup, disposable diapers and haven`t looked back (well, ok, maybe once...). And, of course, my biggest accomplishment this year - commencing our homeschool journey!

The beginning of our little homeschool classroom!

My first ever homemade bread loaves!

So now, looking ahead to the coming year, I look forward to more personal growth and the joys of watching my little family as it continues to blossom! I can't wait to hear Taitum say new words and maybe even talk in sentences! I am excited for Piper to learn to identify all the letters in the alphabet and know their phonetic sounds!  I`m already marking the calendar for the mini getaways Matt and I have planned! I am super excited for the winter unit I am in the process of putting together for the girls and to try out some of the recipes from my new Kneadlessly Simple: Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No-Knead Breads book I got for Christmas! Such simple things but I can't wait! This is life at its finest!

"What about resolutions?" you may ask. I don't do them. What I do do is take on challenges when they present themselves especially if it means that the end result will be worth the task at hand. For example, starting Monday I'm taking on the Read the Bible in 90 Days challenge at Mom's Toolbox...I know, I'm crazy. But there's nothing like a huge challenge to ring in the New Year! Besides, that's just how I am - go big or go home! Matt's joining me in this endevour, too, which will be nice!
Secondly, I've recently signed up for the 365Project where you take a photo a day. I'm not much of a photographer but I do like the challenge of summing up each day with one particular picture. As well, I am thoroughly looking forward to the end result - a picture journal of an entire year!

God has been faithful for the past 26 years of my life and I know He will continue to be no matter what comes my way. That's why I'm excited about a New Year - Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

So here's to 2011 and all that it holds!

I'll leave you with one of my all time favorite songs, one that I will sing year after year until all my years are done.

Sara Groves: He's Always Been Faithful Lyrics

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

Morning by morning I wake up to find
The power and comfort of God's hand in mine
Season by season I watch Him, amazed
In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He's always been faithful to me.

I can't remember a trial or a pain
He did not recycle to bring me gain
I can't remember one single regret
In serving God only, and trusting His hand
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He's always been faithful to me.

This is my anthem, this is my song
The theme of the stories I've heard for so long
God has been faithful, He will be again
His loving compassion, it knows no end
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He's always been faithful, He's always been faithful
He's always been faithful to me.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lessons My 2-Year-old Teaches Me...

Lesson #486:

Never leave playdoh, pretzels, and a toddler unattended for any amount of time...

Little stinker.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Soooo not an exciting post.

It took everything out of me to come out of my Christmas jammies to go to Target this morning.  I have been 200% content to wear them for four days straight.  They're comfortable, cozy, and Christmasy.  So, there will be no What I Wore Wednesday posts anytime soon, seeing that I would be posting this same picture for 4/7 of the week.

More humorously, Becks did wear Christmas jammies to Target {at his request} and he was still sporting a bedhead poof that rivaled Snooki's. Ain't no shame in our game. 

Despite being in perpetual sleepwear, I have had a rather productive and accomplished past few days.  I had to stage an immediate intervention upon returning from our holiday festivities because I could no longer take the chaos that was our house.  Please tell me that you can relate this disaster:

So I cleaned.  And cleaned.  And cleaned some more.  {It helped that a friend was coming to visit early on Monday morning!  Thanks, Kate!}  Then I organized, organized, organized.  

Hellllllllooooooooo, clean and lovely pantry. 

I even hung this spice rack my very self, thankyouverymuch. 

And then I decluttered.  And when I say decluttered I mean that I went through every closet in the house and rid ourselves of anything we haven't worn, seen, or played with in the past year.  Seven black garbage bags, y'all.  SEVEN.  Plus, two comforters that wouldn't fit.  I was going to save it all up for a garage sale, but I decided since I like Goodwilling for other people's stuff, someone out there might be Goodwilling for what I have. 

Amidst the things I sent to be thrifted were this pair of Abercrombie & Fitch Chelsea Jeans circa 2004. 

 They were a college relic that have been holding onto for posterity, I guess.  I contemplated keeping them and even tried them on yesterday before I tossed them in the bag.  The good news: they still fit!  The bad news: they did not look like anything I remembered them looking like when I was a junior at UK.  They sagged in the heiny and just looked pretty much awful {thank you, post-baby body}.  So, away they went. 

I'm out - this cutie pie is wailing through the monitor:  I wanna hoooooold you, mommy!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Easy Peasy Dinners and Cookies Galore!

With Christmas break upon us, I thought I'd share some of my easy go-to recipes for those evenings when you simply don't have the time or energy to cook up anything too complicated -OR- you're on holidays! Not only are these meals delicious but they are also healthier than a lot of frozen meals you can buy! So here goes!

Quiche! I am a huge fan of this one because it can be quickly pulled together and it is so easy to make 2 at the same time! That way one can be thrown in the freezer for another time because lets face it - there are days when turning on the oven even seems like too much of an effort!
Also, quiche is wonderful for the very fact that you can add to it pretty much whatever suits your fancy! I usually prefer spinach but you can also do broccoli or any other veg you can think of! My favorite additions are kalamata olives and bacon to top it off...mmmm, yum! On the one in the pic, I threw some hot banana peppers on top especially for my hubby since he loves spicy things and I ended up really liking that too!

Shepherd's pie is another staple in our home but recently I came across a recipe for Tex Mex Shepherd's Pie which ended up being a huge hit with the kiddos! It has just enough zing to make it a new found favorite for my 2 little goobers! :) And again, its so easy to make 2 and freeze it!!

This next one is a vegetarian casserole that I LOVE! Its Chilaquiles Casserole - layers of tortillas, black beans, zucchini, diced tomatoes, enchilada sauce and cheese! So very yummy with a green salad in the side! And as you can see the kids enjoy the leftovers at lunch the next day!

 Now that the rush of Christmas baking is over, I want to share with you some of what I baked this holiday, too!

First off, an old favorite - Ginger Sparklers! They are the taste of Christmas to me! So soft and gingery...even thinking about them makes me want to go make a batch right now! The recipe was from my friend, Andrea but I don't quite remember who she said she got it from. I think you get the picture though - this is a recipe worth passing along!

Ginger Sparklers

Combine 2 c. flour, 2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger and 1/2 tsp. cloves. In a separate bowl, cream 3/4 c. margarine/butter and 1 c. brown sugar. Add  1/4 c. molasses and 1 egg. Blend thoroughly then add flour mixture. Mix well. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in white sugar. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes.

This next recipe is a new one I found this year but one that I will definitely be making for years to come! Candy Cane Kiss Cookies are a lovely combination of mint and chocolate and they look festive too! Piper loved helping me with these. She was the kiss inserter (although some ended up being added to her mouth and not the cookie...I think I'll have to make my instructions a little clearer next time! ;)) The cookie dough for these cookies made the perfect Christmas gift for friends this year too!

So after making an 'ol' faithful' recipe and finding a new favorite, I just got adventurous! Thats right. I went a little crazy and made a gluten free cookie! It all started on an evening when I found myself roaming Bulk Barn all alone (ie. I had no kids with me and so more than just time enough to run in, grab what I needed and run out!!). I was browsing at all the different flours and such and came across organic coconut flour. I'd seen it come up in several recipes lately but had no idea where to find such a thing...and all of a sudden, there it was! I just had to buy some! And they even had a little recipe right there for Cinnamon Sugar Cookies! I thought it was worth a try! So I whipped a few up and took my first taste of a 'gluten-less' cookie...not quite what I had expected. Initially, I had a texture issue with it and the strong smell of coconut just seemed wrong when about to consume a sugar cookie! But the next day I tried again and they weren't so bad! Anyhow, I'll include a recipe in case you want to give it a try too! I'm sure there are better gluten free cookie recipes out there then what can be found at the Bulk Barn, I just need to look for them! (If you have a good recipe, add a link in the comment box!)

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Combine 4 eggs, 3/4 c. + 1 T. sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and 1/2 c. butter. Mix well. Stir in 3/4 c. coconut flour (I ended up having to use double that in order to be able to make the dough stiff enough to roll into balls). Let mixture rest 5 minutes to allow it to thicken. Combine 2 tsp. cinnamon and 1 T. sugar. Form dough into 1" balls and roll in cinnamon mixture, coating thoroughly. Place on cookie sheet 1" apart. Flatten ball to a 2" diameter. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

I'm Rebelicious!

I'm going to have to start referring to my life in B.C. and A.D. from this point forward...

As in, life before CANON and after DSL-R!  Ah!

I had absolutely positively NO IDEA that B's parents would be getting me us a REBEL for Christmas!  I was about 12 kinds of excited! If y'all thought I was the in-your-face-snapping-pics-kinda-gal before, oh let me just tell you.    I love her.  I think I'm going to call her Reba ;)

Anyway, my birthday {thanks for the wishes!} was wonderful and Christmas was spectacular. As every other parent of a child will profess, the holidays are just magical when you have a kiddo around.

Me and B pre-birthday date
Dinner at Bonefish with a Winter White Cosmo!  YUM.

On Christmas Eve, we exchanged gifts with B's family and attended our church's Christmas Eve service.  And, yes, my child chose an extremely inappropriate and quiet time to yell YAY! when one of our minister's was discussing the true meaning of Christmas with his daughter before the entire congregation.  Omiword, I was stifling laughter with much difficulty while trying to explain to him to be quiet.  Thank goodness it was a family-oriented service!

Following Christmas with B's family, we returned home to set out cookies, write a letter to Santa, and receive an early present from Santa...Christmas jammies for everyone!  Such a fun tradition to start.

Becks woke up on Christmas morning to Santa's sleigh bells, and  told us upon entering his room that The Polar Express was coming to get me!  {He looooooves that movie right now!} 

After a delightful Christmas morning at home, we ventured out to have Christmas with my side of the family.  We had a wonderful time. 

We had a very blessed Christmas and couldn't be more thankful for the very generous gifts we received.  

I hope that you had a terrific holiday and enjoy the last week of 2010!

Merry Christmas!