Friday, December 17, 2010

my cart smells like pee

That's what I said to my cashier this morning at Target.

"Did you say pee?" he asked suspiciously.

"Yes," I replied.  "It reeks of pee and I promise you that it is not from my children.  I have checked them several times throughout our shopping trip, trying to figure out why I kept smelling pee, and they have no pee smell on them.  It's just the cart."

I failed to mention that I also kept wondering if I had peed my pants too.  I was pretty sure I would've noticed that, but it was such a strong smell that it really seemed like it had to be fresh pee.

I wasn't sure how to handle this situation.  Should I alert someone to the fact that the cart has obviously been peed on, or do I just keep quiet and pass it on to the next unsuspecting customer?  I almost did the latter, but as I was signing for my purchase, I decided to blurt it out.

I was quite amused by the reaction it caused.  Within 10 seconds I had 2 other Target employees at my side, smelling the cart while I assured them too that it was definitely not me or my children.  They, of course, smelled the strong urine odor as well and whisked the cart away, hopefully to be thoroughly disinfected.

Yup, that's all I've got.  My cart smelled like pee and I decided to tell you about it, although I'm not completely sure why.  I really hope you find something better to do with the rest of your afternoon.  ;)  I'm off to wrap presents while little ones rest.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the awkward family photo

One of these faces is not like the other... 
one of these faces just isn't the same...
(500 bonus points if you can name that reference...)
I swear she said to make a funny face.

Or maybe I have ESP.

Don't believe me?  Well then why is the next picture like this?

Seriously, guys.  Let's try to get it right this time.
Phew.  Good one.  Do you know how difficult it is to get 7 kids ages 5 and under to all look at the camera at the same time?!  Well, it's impossible for me, but not for Sarah.  She never ceases to amaze me with her mad photography skills.

And here's the lineup:
 Ruby (3), Millie (3), Kaiden (5), Clara (5), Addie (5), Tate (1), Taryn (2)

We had to get a family pic for Christmas cards, of course.
Yes, I realize it looks like Tate's about ready to cry.  He was mad that Grandpa wasn't holding him.  Maybe we should've just had my dad in our pics so Tate would smile.

So blessed.

I think Grandpa and Grandma should take all the kids on a walk every day.
It looks simple enough, doesn't it?
Okay, maybe not...

 Me and my bros.
Why do my eyes close now when I smile?!  I promise you I am completely awake in this picture.

 FYI - my brother on the right is actually taller than the one on the left (or maybe the same height).  We're standing on a slope.  Which is also why I'm leaning more towards my bro on the left.  Don't worry, Travis, I love you both the same.  ;)

Oh, and I'm actually about a foot taller than both of them.  It's hard to tell because of the slope...

These two are nearly inseparable.  Sarah caught them passing the time in a book.

And this was all thanks to my lovely parents, who celebrated their 40th wedding Anniversary this year.
Aren't they adorable?

Thanks, Mom and Dad!  Love you and Happy 40th!

Monday, December 13, 2010

fudge, fancy, hoopster, snow, sweaters, and a program

I forgot to add this picture in last week's post, but I thought it was too cute to pass up.

Making fudge with Papa! And not just any fudge - super duper yummy chocolate peanut butter fudge that we pour over ice cream and leave the rest in the pan so we can snack on it the next day. Yum. I'd love to give you the recipe, but there's not one. Chad once asked for it and this is the answer he got, "Well, you just put in some cocoa, some peanut butter, some sugar, etc. until it looks right." Thanks. Very helpful. ;)


We've been having a lot of fun with our Advent Calendar. Last week (or was it 2 weeks ago now?), one of the days said to dress up fancy for dinner that night. And the girls got to pick out their own dresses!
What a coincidence since Daddy had to wear a tie to work that day anyways... or did Mommy realize how hard it would be to get Daddy to dress up for dinner if he wasn't already in a tie.... ;)
I was just planning on wearing a normal, churchy dress, but then I pulled this little number out of my closet (from my brother's wedding). The girls were thrilled to see that Mommy was dressed like a princess too!


Last week Addie was asked by her teacher to shoot baskets during the varsity girls basketball game.
There were only 2 kids chosen from her class, so it was a pretty big honor. She loved every minute of it and Mommy and Daddy were so proud. :)


Saturday morning, we woke up to this nightmare sight:
Our first snow of the season! Of course the girls were thrilled and wanted to get in it right away! So Daddy and Baba became reindeer and pulled them around the yard.

Millie discovered that icy slides + snow pants = super fast fun!
Then Saturday night we were pelted with more snow and blustery winds. Enough to cancel church Sunday morning.


Saturday night (yes, blizzard night - and we drove 30 minutes away... smart, I know...) was our annual Ugly Sweater Party with our Young Families class at church. Ladies, look out. The following picture might make you just a teensy bit jealous of me... but remember - he's taken.
I know... hot, right? Don't say I didn't warn you.
That sweater vest was actually my dad's that he wore on dates with my mom. If you look closely, you can see brown fringe. Awesome. I'm pretty sure Dad didn't wear a wife beater under it though... But hey, Chad did win a nice prize out of the deal! I was lazy this year and just wore a Grandma Christmas sweatshirt that I had given my mom. This was the first year I didn't make our own sweaters. If you wanna see last year's doozies, click here.

We finished out the week with a lovely church Christmas program. The girls did awesome. And of course we had to pose in front of the ginormous tree.

The following video is for Nana and Papa since they couldn't be there (Although some of my friends might catch glimpses of their little ones on here too). Be sure to listen for Millie (she's the loudest on the last songs, you can't miss her). At one point she's singing a whole beat behind the rest - loudly. Well, we did tell her to sing loudly so we could hear her. She must've decided that singing her own tune would help her stand out too. ;) We tried to get video of Addie, but we could mostly just get her eyes. Sorry for the shakiness in the middle of her part, we were trying to get a better angle, but failed. :(

Monday, December 6, 2010

just a spoonful of sugar

This weekend, Chad's parents drove down to take to the girls (and us!) to see Mary Poppins to fulfill their birthday present.

 Of course, it was AMAZING!

We had great seats (definitely the closest I've ever been in that auditorium!), but the best part was that Mary Poppins flew directly over our heads.  Not kidding.  As she was flying off the stage, we realized she was headed right at us.  I watched the girls' faces light up as they whispered, "She's flying right towards us!"  And she did.  In fact, I could see directly up her skirt.  Good thing she was wearing a full petticoat.

Addie later told me that she knew Mary had some help flying.  She stated that she knew her umbrella was on a wire and that Mary was hanging onto that very tightly, which is how she could fly.  She also told me that it was probably pretty scary for Mary because if she let go of the umbrella, she would fall a long ways down.  Good thing she didn't let go.  ;)  But the funniest conversation we had went something like this:

 Addie: "I asked Nana how Mary could fly and she told me it was magic, but even I know it wasn't magic, Mom."
Me: "Well, honey, she was probably just trying to play along to make it more fun for you."
Addie:  "No, mom.  She was serious.  I could tell by her voice."
Maybe I should've corrected her, but it was too fun letting her think Nana believes in magic.  Sorry, Nana.  ;)

Before we opened our Advent calendar door today, Millie asked me if it was going to say that we were going to Mary Poppins again.  I guess she liked it too.

So, thanks Nana and Papa B. for the wonderful time!  We all loved it!  I even caught Chad tapping his toes and singing along too.  :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

handmade stockings and an advent calendar

This is what I've been busy doing these past few weeks:
I made felt stockings 6 years ago for Chad, Addie and I, but they just weren't that cute. They had stripes and polka dots, but I wanted each family member to have something on their stocking that they really liked that would make it more personal. So I went online and found some inspiration. The stockings I really wanted from Pottery Barn Kids and Land of Nod were adorable, but I wasn't about to pony-up the $100+ it would cost to get 5 personalized.

So, I just bought some felt and started cutting out shapes. It's really not that difficult. If you can draw shapes, you can make these stockings.

It helps to have a picture to go from. For example, I got Tate's and Addie's stocking ideas from the Pottery Barn Kids ones I liked.

And for Millie's and mine, I just googled "felt stockings" and found some inspiration for these cute critters.

I surprised Chad with Sparty (he's a Michigan State grad and therefore huge Spartan fan). He had mentioned it in passing, but he didn't think I'd actually let him have Sparty on his stocking. I'll admit, it's not really my taste, but it was worth seeing the grin on his face when he first saw it.

Here are some tips (free of charge!) if you want to give this a try:

*If you have trouble free-handing the designs, try printing off a picture of what you want, blowing it up to the right size, cutting it out, and tracing it onto the felt. You can cut up the different parts of the picture and trace them onto the different colors of felt you want to use. Does that make sense? I'm so not good at explaining things sometimes...

*I also recommend gluing the shapes in place before you hand-stitch them on (I just used a simple back stitch). This helps keep them from moving all over the place when your'e trying to stitch them on.

*Also, I do NOT recommend using sticky-back felt. I thought I would use it just for the names, but it does not stick to felt well AT ALL! So, then I had to stitch through it anyways, making my needle all sticky.

Another project I did just today after reading Peter Marie's blog, was this advent calendar. She used a mini-muffin tin, which I just so happened to have on hand.

I really loved Peter Marie's calendar with the ornaments on each day (seriously, check it out if you haven't already - and browse her blog for other cute crafts too - she's the crafting queen), but I didn't have enough old ornaments lying around the house and didn't feel like lugging the kids out to the Dollar Tree on this blustery cold day to buy any, so I just glued scrapbook paper to cardstock and googled "vintage Christmas clipart" to find some cute pictures to print off. Then I modge-podged each square and hot-glued strong little round magnets to the backs. I'm going to fill each day with little slips of paper with a fun activity to do or treat to get for that day.

I absolutely loved all the fun, FREE, vintage Christmas clipart I found. I mean, who could resist this dancing elephant?

Or this adorable little drummer boy?

One that is sure to be a hit with the kids - sledding dogs. How cute.

And my personal favorite:
Oh, what a sweet baby.

I really want this calendar to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, so a lot of the days will include something like reading one of our Christmas books about baby Jesus and the reason He came to earth, donating toys to those in need, and different acts of kindness. Of course, they'll have some more "fun" ones in there too, like making gingerbread houses and ornaments and such. But the definition of "advent" is "an arrival or coming, especially one which is awaited," so doesn't it seem fitting that these days of waiting focus on the One for whom we wait?  

I don't have all the days filled yet, and would love some ideas for fun and/or purposeful activities.  Any ideas?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

a late thanksgiving post

Our Thanksgiving celebration started out a few weeks back at our church's annual Thanksgiving dinner. It's a pretty big deal. There were about 400 people there this year. Yikes! In the past, Chad and I have had to go separately through the lines to get our plates and each child's plate while the other parent sits at the table with the baby. But then we never end up being able to eat together which kinda stinks. So this year, with an idea from a friend, we had a new game plan. It looked a little like this:
Yes, we do realize Tate is way too big for a baby backpack, but it was the only way our family of five could successfully conquer the line together.

Here was our cozy little corner of the gym where we ate with some goofy friends.
This year, we made it through dinner without anyone puking on the table. That's a pretty huge victory for us.  It would be a lie to say that we didn't almost stop at Applebee's on the way to church and eat there instead.  It sure was tempting when we remembered our Thanksgiving dinners past...

When the real Thanksgiving rolled around, we headed down to Nana and Baba's house. I completely forgot to take pictures of our huge dinner, but trust me, it was delicious.  Mom made the turkey this year and stuffed butter and herbs inside.  Oh yum!

The girls had fun reading books in the new porch.
Addie and Nana made some yummy treats together.

And where else besides a grandparent's house can you decorate your pancakes with candy corn, chocolate chips and sprinkles?

Not at our house, that's for sure. Can we say "sugar overload?!"

Of course, Thanksgiving isn't complete without putting up the Christmas tree (although we did do this the weekend before this year...)

Both girls wanted to put the star on top, so we had to do it twice.

And I've been spending all my free time making hand-stitched felt stockings this year. Stay tuned for my next post to see pictures! :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

organizing my life

I've always been a lover of organization.  But let's face it, when you throw 3 little ones in the mix, plus a puppy and a night job (jewelry sales, people!  Get your minds out of the gutter...), not to mention all the church stuff going on (small group, youth group, Bible study, etc.), it's hard to maintain my desire and NEED for an organized life.

But this past month, I was bitten by the organizing bug.  And it has made my life easier.

To start with, I organized our linen closet.  I know, most of you already have beautifully organized linens, but mine were not so much.  Yes, everything was folded and in somewhat organized piles, but every time I had to dig out new sheets for the 5 different beds in this house, I could never remember which ones were queen, twin, etc.  So I organized all the sheets by the beds they belong to.

I know this no Martha Stewart picture of perfection, but it'll have to do.

Then I made my own labels (think I may need to invest in a label maker..).

I even organized my massive collection of gift bags and wrapping paper on the top shelf.
And then I smiled.

Next, I knew that my grocery shopping arrangement needed some serious tweaking.  I mean, I do love Target and all, but heading out there 3 or more times a week with little ones in tow is not my idea of great economics.  So, I started a new Sunday night routine.  After small group is over and the kids are in bed, I look quickly through the coupons from the Sunday flier and at Target's online coupons and plan out my meals for the week. Then I make up my shopping list (which I made up myself, color coordinated by section in order of my store route so I make sure not to miss anything and not to have to re-circle the store for the forgotten item just when I thought I was done.  I hate when that happens.).
 **Bonus Tip: Target stacks manufacturer's coupons with their own coupons, making for amazing savings!  Plus, I've found that Target has more off brands than Fareway, making for better deals.  (And no, I'm not knocking Fareway, I love that store too and they do have great prices!) And now Target's RedCard saves you 5% on every single purchase.  That's HUGE if you get groceries there!  And no, they are not paying me to advertise that, although I think they should...**

With my grocery shopping more organized, I decided to organize my freezer and deep freeze to maximize the use of our items in there.  I got this awesome "soup file" idea from the Nate Berkus show, so now every time I make soup, I make a double batch and stick half of it in these freezer bags.  The bags are great for quick thawing and don't take up much space in the freezer.  Love it.

So, that's what I've been up to.  What are some of your best organizing tips?