Saturday, January 30, 2010

Candy ~ Part 2!

So, in THIS post, I told you all how I was making *candy* for a family friend's sweet 16 party! Well, the party was last evening at our church (we go to church together) and I think it went really well! :)

We made all the tables look like M&M's (thanks to my mom for the idea!). We filled giant martini glasses (from my wedding 9.5 yrs ago!) with assorted candy and then I tied ribbons on them and we put them in the center of the tables!


While I was cutting out the M's for the tables....Jen (the girl's mom) was decorating with the candies we had made....(I made the wrapped candy and lollipops and they made the gumdrops!).


(Notice in the background...our church is all set up for the big Easter play we do every year!)....

Yum....a chocolate fountain!!!.....

The cake table.....

The cake (made by one of my aunts).....


And the birthday girl herself....Deanna (pronounced Dee-Nah).....

I think everyone had a nice time, especially Deanna herself which is what matters the most! We were decorating at the church from 1pm on and then Chris, the kids and I went home around 8:30pm while the party was still going on. I was absolutely poooooped! :) I just wanted to share some pics from the celebration! :) A candy theme is soooo fun to use for a birthday! We had a lot of fun with it! :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Knitting Finishes!

So...in the winter, I knit. It is definitely a favorite pasttime of mine! I have done doll/baby sweaters, booties, mittens, basic dishcloths, hats and scarves. I would like to try knitting socks and also an afghan. I hope to start those soon. But for now...I decided to try to knit some fun looking dishcloths! So....I started with this barn and silo dishcloth:

If you like the barn and silo pattern...you can download the pattern for free from HERE. (scroll down to the June 2008 Free Pattern...doesn't she have some cute patterns there?)

And then....my mom found a small knitted dishcloth pattern book for me with different heart designs in it. And below is a picture of the one I made following one of those patterns! :)

Another great place to find free knitting patterns is Knitting Pattern Central. They have all kinds of fun patterns there! If you are a beginner knitter...dishcloths are a great place to start. They give you time to practice knitting and purling and are quick projects to do without getting overwhelmed! :) A basic dishcloth knitting pattern can be found HERE. And if you need *any* kind of help with your knitting....I totally suggest going to KnittingHelp.com. Fantastic place with videos to help you learn how to knit or different techniques! :) I watched those videos to teach myself how to knit a year or two ago! :)

I would love to hear the things you all may be working on! I hope you will share them with me! Hope you have a fantastic weekend! :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Candy!

....well...not *real* candy! A teen at our church is celebrating her sweet sixteen birthday on Friday evening and her mom asked if I would help with decorations..of course, I agreed! The theme is *candy*! Isn't that a neat theme? It works out really well because then you can use an array of colors for plates, napkins etc. :)

We are going to cover the circle tables with different colored tablecloths and then make an M to put on each one so they each look like M&M's! I had thought about making them look like peppermint candies with red/white streamers twisted on them...but my mom thought about the M&M idea...and when I proposed it to my friend, Jen...she thought that would be a great idea! :)

Then...I have started making candy and lollipops. Here are differen't wrapped "candies".......(doesn't the yellow one look like a lemon drop?).......


I think this *candy* looks like a root beer barrel.....

And a few of the lollipops....

I have more to make and I will work on that today! :) I used balloons and wrapped them in cellophane and tied them with curling ribbons! :) I think it turned out looking pretty neat! I look forward to using them to decorate for the party!

Jen and her daughter were working on *gum drops*. We got those paper wrap around wedding bell thingys like THESE. Then using spray adhesive, they were putting different colored tissue paper on them and then rolling them in sugar! :) I haven't seen them yet...but Jen said they are turning out cute!! :)

So, I am excited for the party tomorrow! I think it will end up looking super cute! I will try to take some pics of it all! (I gotta remember to charge my camera batteries...they are poopin' out!)

Hoping you all have an enjoyable Thursday! We are getting lots of snow! Public schools are operating on delays and such....but no such luck for my kiddos! ;) Schooling as usual at our house! Hope you are keeping warm wherever you are! :o)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Homemaking Fun!

I love when I get in the mood to clean, declutter and rearrange things a bit to make my home more warm and comfortable! Sometimes, ideas pop into my head of where to hang things or where to move things to make things look better. After it is done, I let out a deep breath and smile. I love how I feel afterwards. I have a great sense of accomplishment and peace!

So...I did some things in the schoolroom in an attempt to make the room more cozy and pleasing to the eye....this is the door way from the schoolroom into the dining room. I added the sign and the vine. :)

I hung some different things up in the room as well......


A cute sign from my aunt and uncle for Christmas and a picture of Madelyn around age 4 that my mom had taken....

One side of the schoolroom....notice wreath to the left that I hung up ;) ....

The other side of the schoolroom...I hung berries and such as well as a star above the chalkboard.....


A different angle of that side of the schoolroom to show the baskets I have been hanging up along the top of the room. I *love* baskets. They don't have to be expensive or "perfect"....just able to be used. I have different sizes for different things and when I need one, I just grab one (after getting up on a chair to reach, of course..hehe)....

And then....I just couldn't help myself (I know you *know* what I mean....you just get that bug in ya to keep going!)...I moved on to the dining room. All I really did was kinda move things in the corners.....




Nothing *overly* exciting probably to anyone else...but to me, it keeps it fresh and new and enjoyable to look at!

I was busy shopping with a friend and her daughter today....getting things for the daughter's sweet 16 party! She is having a *candy* theme! Isn't that a neat idea? They asked me to help them make decorations and share ideas and I agreed! :) I have been working on making giant lollipops and candy pieces! I will have to take pictures to share and show! I think they are turning out really cute! My inspiration is Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory! :)

Annnd....one more thing before I scoot off this computer and work on my knitting....I found a new book called "Cleaning Plain and Simple" by Donna Smallin. Oh my goodness...I love it! It is perfect for helping to know how to launder some things and make homemade cleaning products and how to get things to sparkle! The subtitle under the title on the book says: "A ready reference guide with hundreds of sparkling solutions to your everyday cleaning challenges." :) I have a link to the book on my right sidebar under the Books I Recommend *in case you want to check it out*!

Anyhoo....I better go. I want to get some knitting done before I head to bed! :) I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week!!! :) Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

K is for Kangaroo

For Xavier's schooling, we use the My Father's World~Kindergarten. He is now working on K ~ Kangaroo. :) They had a fun craft idea in the manual...and I knew all the kids would want to participate...so that's what we did yesterday morning at the beginning of *school*!


They made Kangaroos with the can as the *pouch* to hold their pencils!

Lots of cutting, gluing and coloring went on.....

I must admit...I made the heads of the kangaroos for the kids...and now seeing them, I should have made them smaller and the body bigger so the *pouch* actually looked like a pouch! Oh well...the kids still had fun with the craft and all is well!




And the finished products....

Jaxson and *his* kangaroo pencil holder~

Xavier and *his* kangaroo pencil holder~

And Madelyn with *her* kangaroo pencil holder~

I think they all did a great job with them! My kids (as I am sure most kids do) love doing crafts! And they each enjoyed this one! :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Savoring Moments

"I don't care how poor a man is; if he has family, he's rich."
~Dan Wilcox

"The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family."
~Thomas Jefferson

"Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted."
~Paul Pearshall

"There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained."
~Winston Churchill





I love being a stay at home mama. That is what I always wanted to be. Sure...at times, when I was young, I dreamed of being a marine biologist or a vet. I dreamed of being a teacher and caretaker. I think, being a mother, I have been enabled to envelope each of those dreams. Although my children aren't marine animals ;) ...they *do* like to swim! Homeschooling fulfills my dreams of teaching and caretaker....that word is synonymous with "mother". As for a vet....I take care of boo-boos and such on my lil *animals* and any time one of our pets is hurt...I switch into *pet* nurse. :) When our dog had puppies....I was there. It was beautiful (messy....yet the miracle of life is just beautiful as well!).

One thing I never realized, though, when dreaming of being a mother was the moments of exhaustion, the squabbles that needed correcting and disciplining....the times of dissapointment when your child behaves in a way you don't approve of. It can make one wish time away....to just hurry and get through a phase or look forward to bedtime.

Through this journey of being a wife and mother, I am slowly learning how to try and savor each moment....*use* each moment to teach a lesson to my children...and perhaps even learn a lesson myself. Parenting isn't easy....correcting *some* behavior while still letting your little ones be able to express themselves and their sweet personalities and characteristics that are unique and special to each one.

My Xavier is a jokester. He has such a fun and adventurous personality. He can be the life of the group (although he still can be so shy at times!)....He likes to tease and be silly. He likes to laugh and be funny. I love his character. (And I must say...my boy can *dance*! He has such a fun rhythm to him!) ....Teaching him how and when his silliness is appropriate can be more of a challenge. It can be so difficult because I am afraid to stifle his personality but at the same time need to be firm with him that some times aren't right for his behavior. He is my son, whom I love with a strong and unshakable love....and I know through prayer and God's guidance that the right words will come and he will (maybe slowly) learn. And as he does....I am going to continue to strive to enjoy each moment...good or bad. :)

Each child is different. I work with Madelyn and Jaxson on different things as well....I don't mean to single X out....but to just share that I am just a mama like most of you, trying to do her best through the means God has given her. I seek Him to continually try to learn to let Him guide my mothering and let His love be cast upon my family through me, daily. I am imperfect....but learning more each day. If you have read Mitten Strings for God by Katrina Kenison...you will understand what I mean. If you haven't read it....I recommend it. It is a book full of great reminders to savor the moments with your children....and it even talks about those *imperfect* moments as well! :)


If you are a working mama who *desires* to be a stay at home mama~but the thought of living on one income feels nearly impossible....let me encourage you! :) It can be done! We, as many other families, do! We don't live in debt. We are careful with our money and try to live frugally. :) We took Dave Ramsey's course Financial Peace University and it was fantastic! It taught us so much! :) Also....I read THIS post by Rhonda at Down---To---Earth and thoroughly enjoyed it! Living frugally, gardening, canning, watching for sales/using coupons, making meals from scratch....all ways to live on one income.

My home is humble but full of love. We do home improvements little by little...what we can do with the time and money that the budget allows. Sometimes my impatient self can want to get over-ambitious and do more than we can....but my sweet balancing other half has to slow me down and show me what will and will not work. ;) We are not perfect and would never claim to be. We just do what we can, when we can, with what God gives us. *Remember* every good and perfect thing is from above ;). But really....I do encourage you to read that post I linked to above at Rhonda's blog. It really is good! She has incredible wisdom! :)

I shared a few pics of my kiddos playing trains. They *love* to play trains. Setting up the tracks and such lets them use creativity while playing! I love when I hear (usually one of the boys) call out "hey! let's go play trains!" and off they go! Usually they play with them up in the playroom....but occasionally...they bring the train bin down to play with them in the family area...which is OK with me...I enjoy watching them! :)

I had better wrap up this post as I seemed to have gone on way more than I had anticipated....but...before I skeedattle...I wanted to quickly share a few of the dishcloths I have knitted recently!

A couple new patterns I have tried....


And just one of the "normal" dishcloth pattern.....

Days are full here....schooling, knitting, housework, church, family etc. Full....but truly enjoyable! I have a roast cooking in the oven now....dinner will be yummy! :)
We went and visited my brother and sister in law at their home last night....I held my nephew again....it was absolutely blissful. Nothing much can top the sweetness and wonder of holding a precious newborn in your arms....I was on cloud 9! ;)

OK....yes, yes...I must go now....I have gone on long enough! ;)
Thank you for stopping to visit. I *do* appreciate it! Please, share your thoughts with me...I love reading them! Wishing you and your family a warm and happy week ahead! :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Welcome, Little One!

I don't think I can imagine anything better than the addition of a sweet child to your family. The miracle of birth is absolutely beautiful and such a blessing that God has given to us women. My newest nephew, Isaiah, joined our family on the 13th. He was 4 weeks early...but due to some scary blood pressure issues...the doctors decided it was best to take him now....for my sister-in-law's sake and for the baby's. This is my bro-in-law and sister-in-law's first child. :)

My Christopher and his brother, Dan, are really close. When Chris got to the hospital on Wednesday...I *knew* there would be a huge hug...so I got out my camera! ;)


I am so so happy to report that both my sister-in-law and my sweet nephew are doing super well! I *still* don't have a niece yet...but holding my nephew made me completely forget that fact and sit in pure joy. He is absolutely beautiful and I feel so blessed to be his aunt!

We all brought the kids up to see their new little cousin. They aren't allowed to go back to Aunt Nikki's room...but they could see him through the nursery window!

All the kids excitedly awaiting Uncle Dan to bring lil' Isaiah to the window.....

YAY! Thumbs up all around! We all agree he is absolutely perfect! We'll keep him!!! ;)

My sweet, sweet nephew...all bundled and warm...and absolutely beautiful! We praise God for this wonderful addition to our family. Dan and Nikki even put the hat on him that I knit for him! Talk about joy filling my heart when I saw that!

Praise God from whom *all* blessings flow! Amen?!

Monday, January 11, 2010

O Winter!

...Ruler of the inverted year...I crown thee king of intimate delights, fireside enjoyments, home-born happiness, and all the comforts that the lowly roof of undisturb'd retirement, and the hours of long uninterrupted evening, know. ~William Cowper

The days are short and peaceful. For now, I am enjoying being *snowed in*. Not that we are technically stuck in the house...but the freezing temps and piles of snow encourages me to stay in the warmth of my home!

Our days are full of rest...yet busyness. It's a sort of busyness that is enjoyable though...housework and schooling, reading, knitting, baking (someone may need to sign me up for carboholics anonymous! ack! lol). The kids enjoy playing, coloring, reading, singing, dancing. They go outside to play most days (although these past few days have been super cold...so I have kept them indoors). I think that sort of busyness is *fun*! Don't you?

This past weekend...Madelyn got to have a *sleepover* at Grammie's house. The kids enjoy taking turns getting to do that and I know my parents enjoy spending the time with the kids, individually. Children act so much different when one-on-one rather than a group....of course, I think that children learn alot from playing with each other, learning to share etc. But one-on-one time can be truly special as well. My kids enjoy "helping" at Chris' family's meat market or "working" at my dad's garage. :)

After supper, Daddy and Jaxson curled up on Daddy's chair and I sat in mine and knitted while Xavier brought out the chalkboard easel and practiced writing words. I would give him letters to write and then he would have to sound them out and read them to us. :) It was great practice for him and he enjoys having the attention. ;)

What he is writing in the pic above is DAD LOVE, MOM LOVE. Instead of writing "I love Dad" or "I love Mom"...that is how he expresses it. It makes me smile. It has been *such* a blessing teaching him to read. Sure...we have difficult times..times when he gets a bit frustrated or his attention is distracted. But overall....as he learns words and reads them as we go...it blesses me. Watching my children learn day by day is so rewarding. (Frustrating, demanding and difficult at times....but anything worth doing usually *isn't* easy...right?) :o)


The boys enjoyed some coloring followed by baths and bedtime! :) Although I truly enjoy the long days of summer and being outdoors etc.....I must admit there is something to be said about sweet nights indoors, cozy and snuggled with the ones you love! During the winter...for the most part....the only places I tend to go are the grocery store every other week and to church on Sundays and to teach KICS (Kids in Christ's Service) on Wednesday nights. I like to be home. I am definitely the definition of a home-body. ;)

When checking my email yesterday, I found out that I won a giveaway over at TidyMom! I was so excited! I won a $75 gift certificate to Lisa Leonard Designs! My number was picked out of 399 people! In no way am I trying to brag....just truly sharing my excitement! THIS is my favorite necklace there and the one I hope to get!

I am going to be having a giveaway soon! I am 100% pro-life. I have some "Love Lets Live" brand new t-shirts that I will be giving away...one or two at a time over the next few months! So be on the lookout for a fun giveaway soon!!!