So glad you came to visit today! Here at my little corner of bloggy world I share a little bit about everything--family, parenting, goals, struggles, photography, recipes, n more! So curl up with a cup of hot tea {or not} and feel free to peruse around my site! Check out my sidebar for links. And come back again!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Meanderings - Jan. 31

Today. is a weird day.  I don't really know what it brings.  And I don't want to think about it.  The packers are boxing up Jaesi's house.   And I don't like that one bit.  *sigh* But today I am watching two of her kiddos and the house is a thousand decibels louder, so for now I'm just going to think about what to make for lunch, and what movie to play this afternoon since there will be no nap time, and what things I need to do before tomorrow and not forget to change over the laundry to the dryer before it goes bad.  So that, is what today is and certainly nothing more. Nope, not at all.

Bible Study... Daily Seeds: from women who walk in faith

Memory Verse... John 15:5
"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Encouraging words.
♥ No nagging.
♥ Laugh!  Ahh, it's felt so good to do that lately!

Train Them Up...
* Hannah's potty chart.  (she's almost completed potty training!!)
* PLAY with them.
* Chore wheel.  (they still do their regular cleanup before and after meals  n such and their "responsibilities" like making bed, getting dressed, putting shoes and cups away, etc, but I thought a chore wheel might be fun for other chores like wiping windows, laundry, n stuff.  I got one designed last week, now it's just actually MAKING it)

Personal Goals...
* Figure out a better shower routine.  I like to shower at night, but if I wait until we're ready to climb in bed, then Kevin's going to bed before me, and I don't like that to be the habit.  The morning time is not working out.  As soon as I plan to do that the kids start waking up earlier and earlier and earlier!  Today Eli and Hannah were both up at 6:25, and for me that's just too early.  For my standards it has to be at least close to 7am.  So I had them lay on each of the couches for 20 minutes before we got up up and ready for the day.  So anyway... oh yeah... about the shower... I think I'm going to start getting the kids to bed a tad earlier (closer to 7:30 instead of 8pm and then showering right after that.  Then will my hair will have time to dry before bed.  But I'm also getting ready to start a workout routine and then all that will probably change!  BAH!
* Maybe find a time my prayer partner and I can get together on a regular basis?

New Habit of the Month... 
* Completely clean off the couches at the end of the day.  (I've done this one before and I really liked that!  Helped so much with lingering clutter but now we've been slipping again!)

MUST Do... 
* Mail out Moppet postcards and finish planning the lesson.  (still waiting for the book to arrive that I was basing the lesson around!!!)
* Thank you cards.
* Get things ready for Hannah's birthday party. (party plates, etc)

* Master bedroom.  We finally second-coated the bathroom, so now I'd like to start getting our bedroom ready for paint!
Menu - Jaesi unloaded her entire freezer on me (SCORE!) so now we have tons of food to cook up!

M - salads
T - chili dogs, salad
W - potato soup
Th - chicken-something
F - out

* I'm watching Jaesi's middle two today while the packers box up their house.  
* Tomorrow is our MOPS planning meeting.  
* Thursday is a playdate with my new friend Jess and her two kiddos.
* Friday evening I'm heading up to Paul and Holly's to babysit Claire so they can get out for a few hours.  They've had NO relief in 8 weeks, and with all the stress they've had with Claire's eating and now napping, I figured they could really use a break!  So I'll stay the night and head out again sometime Saturday morning.  
* Sunday is Hannah's birthday party!  Doing it a week early since Kevin works the following weekend.

3 things I'm thankful for today... 
1. Eli's being understanding about his friends moving away.  A lot better than the other day.  He says Hannah is going to be his new best friend.
2. New possibilities.  I am so sad Jaesi is moving away.  Really really truly.  But at the same time I feel like God has been opening new doors to new friendships too, and for that I am thankful.
3. Dreaming.  Dreaming about and planning a summer trip to Myrtle Beach.  In the midst of a cold, frosty, icy winter, the beach sounds pretty fabulous right about now!

Join me this week!  And leave your link below!  Have a fantastic Monday!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our Family Top 10

My friend Randi did something sort of like this for their Christmas card.  I thought it was a cute idea and it's still been in my head so I thought I'd follow that same idea to describe our family...

10 years since I graduated high school.
9 states Kevin and I have lived in combined.
8 minutes we live from town.
7 days a week we do family time.
6 years we've been married
5 gallons of milk we drink a week.
4 "farm" cats.
3 beautiful crazy heads we call our children
2 years we've lived here in Nebraska.
1 God we love and serve.

Do this about your family and leave it in the comments!!  =)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Adult Truths

Kevin got this email FWD and I thought it was pretty funny, so I thought I'd post it here.  Enjoy!

*** Adult Truths ***

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger..

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

17. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

18. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

19. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

20. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

21. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

22. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.

23. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

Kids Card Holder

My friend Laura shared this idea on FB after she read it in some magazine or something, and it was such a great idea I tried it the next week.  And it worked perfectly!

Check it out... a card holder for kids since their little hands can't hold all those cards! Eli loves to play Uno so this works perfectly!

Directions: Cut off the bottom half of your egg carton.  Then cut a slit in each cup.  

Eli was able to slide the cards in there himself.  His cards stayed private from the rest of us and made it actually feel like a real game for once where he could play completely on his own!
He's since painted his carton, so we'll see if the paint flakes off on the cards or if we need to save another one and remake it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Photography: The Melessas

This is one of my very very favoritist families.
I've already written about how much I love Jaesi.
They're moving soon.
Very soon.
Tuesday the moving truck gets loaded,
and Wednesday
they'll be gone.
And oh my heart.
I've been trying not to think about it too much.
To just focus on getting to see them
as much as possible THIS week
and not think about the rest.

And then there's Eli.
He knows what's going on.
The kids were playing at their house yesterday afternoon
while I took Carter to his Dr appointment and did a quick Walmart run.
When I came back and it was time to go Eli had a huuuuuuge melt down. 
I think because he knows they're leaving very soon.
I feel so sad for him.
Just needs some love.
And just needs us to know that's what's *really* going on underneath it all.

I do not even WANT to think about what next week will be like.

So I won't.

I'll leave you with some pictures...

Jaesi wanted a new family photo with a "Nebraska feel" before they move to warm Arizona.  And to include their newest Scarlet dear.  It was so nice and sunny in the afternoon but come 4:15pm the clouds had rolled over and the breeze had picked up and 15 degrees felt VERY COLD.  So needless to say we had to make it quick.  I didn't get nearly all the pictures I had envisioned in my head, but we got what we set out to do.  

And here

is the beautiful Melessa family.
{Paul, Jaesi, Leah, Asher, Maya, and Scarlet}


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Recipe: Mini Crab Cups

My friend Bonnie made these for a ladies fellowship night at church, and they were so good I asked her for the recipe!  Then I (with mom's wonderful help) made them for Carter's birthday party!  Something yummy, something fun, and something different from the norm!

Mini Crab Cups 
(I don't actually know what they're called)

24 sq wonton wrappers
1 Tbl butter/margarine melted
10 oz chopped crab meat
2 green onions w tops finally chopped (I should've thrown mine in the chopper so they were smaller than what you see in the picture)
1/3 c grated carrot
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp worchestershire sauce
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly spray mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Brush butter over each square of wonton and put in mini muffin cups.  Bake for 8 minutes.  LET COOL.  (I put that in caps because it's good to notice so you can add it in the time)  Mix all other ingredients together and spoon into cooled wontons.  Place back in oven for another 5 minutes or until filling is bubbly around edges.  Serve and enjoy!

* I threw each thing in my chopper (small food processor) and stirred it all in a medium-sized bowl.  Putting the wontons in the little cups is probably the hardest part.  Just takes a little time, so don't try to be rushed about it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Meanderings - Jan. 24

I did get this planned out in my journal earlier today but haven't had time 'til now to get it posted.  The kids went to bed well tonight.  Except for Hannah who threw a fit getting into jammies and had to miss stories.  But otherwise it was quiet after my final "goodnight", and that truly is wonderful when it happens.  ANYWAY, it's another fun week here!

Bible Study... Daily Seeds devotional

Memory Verse... James 3:9-10
" With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers and sisters, this should not be."

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Encouraging words.
♥ Pack lunches.
♥ Tidy home.
♥ Say thank you more.

Train Them Up...
* Make a potty chart for Hannah.  She's doing so well with potty training now, it's time to make a reward chart for staying dry all day.  Once she gets to 10 she gets an ice cream!
* Brainstorming about revising the chore chart, chore wheel or something?
* Go a week without TV or games. (just like the Berenstain Bears book we've been reading)

Personal Goals...
* Devotion.
* Fight the urge to "get out of the house" all the time.  Make the most of our home time!
* Blog-- Carter's birthday party, children's museum

New Habit of the Month... get to bed earlier so I can get up earlier

MUST Do... 
* Don't forget Carter's doctor appointment!  I totally spaced it on Friday.  Kevin ended up taking the day off and I was enjoying that so much I forgot about everything else!
* Prepare Moppet postcards and lesson.
* Thank-you notes.
* Pick up Hannah's birthday present while I'm in Omaha Thursday.

Zone... laundry and master bedroom

Menu - I finally figured out something I can make when Kevin's on nights!  Casseroles.  Not EVERY night but at least once maybe.  Usually we eat scraps from the back of the cupboard when he's not here, but really I hate that.  Kevin doesn't really like casseroles, they're easy to throw together, and they usually provide leftovers.  SO. 

M - tator tot casserole
T - white chili
W - homemade pizza
Th - crockpot BBQ ribs, mashed potatoes, corn
F - out

* We had a lunch playdate today!
* Tuesday is Carter's 1-year checkup and errands without all the kids.
* Thursday after I'm headed to Omaha children's consignment to get a few things for the kids.  
* Friday night is MOPS mama's game night!

3 things I'm thankful for today... 
1. Friends.  Really really great friends. This is our last week with this dear family before they move.  And as very sad as I  am, I also feel so very thankful.
2. Books.  I love reading with the kids.  We don't do it enough.  But it's so fun to just to snuggle close, not have to worry about too much fighting (except for who sits where), and dive into silly stories!
3. Forgiveness.  'Nuf said.

So there ya have it!  Join me and link up below!  You can read the guidelines (AKA copy and paste the categories HERE.)  Have a great week!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Photography: Backgrounds

Alright, I'm gonna start letting you in on some of my photo secrets!  Now I'm no pro but for other amateur mamas trying to do this photo gig yourself, these tips are for you!  

First secret is about backgrounds.  Let me just say, I do prefer taking in-the-moment photos.  That's where you get the most genuine smiles.  And personality shines through.  And making the photo more personal by adding glimpses of someone's home.  I especially love taking pictures outdoors.  BUT.  When it's 0.0 degrees outside and the ground is covered in snow, sometimes being inside is the best choice.  SO here's what I use for backgrounds...

1.  Queen-size bed sheets.  We happen to have a wall-mounted TV that I love to use to drape the fitted sheet over.  Sometimes it hangs all the way to the floor, and sometimes, for whatever reason, it doesn't.  SO when it doesn't, I find a pole of some sorts.  I dug in the basement and came up with an old pole that is supposed to be used for hanging clothes in your car--it even extends to whatever length you want.  Within its limit of course.  But it stretches the sheet flat and holds it to the floor.  Then for the floor, I lay the flat bed sheet out.  Or when I was taking Paul and Holly's newborn/family pics at their house, we just taped the flat sheet to the wall!  Seriously.  =) I just use what I have.  I've used navy blue if I know I want it to be a black n white photo.  I've used white.  And I've used light blue.  Just because that's what we have.  Today I draped a thin(ish) blanket from our guest bed over the TV and used a similar-color couch blanket for the floor.  Note: The TV is kind of narrow, making my background pretty narrow, so that's a little tricky.  But until I figure out something else, this works fine! (for one or two people portraits at a time.  Three is pushing it.)

(by the way, I don't usually use the tripod but this day for trying to get Carter to smile and stand I tried the tripod and remote--worked wonderfully!)

You'll see in this series of pictures how I went from the SOOC (straight out of camera) picture to the final.  In Photoshop I cropped and colored, then used the paint tool to select a color from the background and then paint all over to smooth it out.  I thought it made Carter look displaced so I used a big paint brush to add the dots.
(click to view larger)

I followed the same exact steps (minus the dots) for Maya's pictures...

 2. Fuzzy blankets.  I can't even TELL you how many times I used the cream-colored fuzzy blanket Kevin's sister made for us in all Carter's baby pictures throughout the months!! Check it out...
and now for my niece Claire too!

3. Fabric.  Particularly for newborn photos, get yourself just 2 yds of plain black fabric.  It looks sooo beautiful and is so easy! Any wrinkles can be smoothed out in editing.  White satin would also be gorgeous (for baby girls), especially if you don't lay it flat.  There was actually very little editing in these two pictures, and that's what I love most about them--is that they're so natural looking....

 And now for my newest background trick...

4. Wrapping paper.  Taped to the wall.  Oh yes.  I got the idea from here, for super fun Christmas pictures! (Sarah is a friend of a friend and is an AWESOME photographer!!)  I dug out this great wrapping paper from basement, but there was only a square of it left on the roll.  I liked it enough I thought I'd give it a try anyway!

 While Carter was napping I sampled it and didn't think it was going to work, but after I was done with all his other pictures I tried again and came up with some keepers! (see all of them here)

Straight-on picture = too shiny!
Picture taken from above and off to the side a little bit = pretty good!
Original photo:
After (cropped and colored) Very cool!

So there ya have it, just a few background ideas for you!  See, so very basic--YOU can do it too.  Just get creative!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hannah is...

You guys are fun! I loved your answers to my guessing game yesterday!

So what IS Hannah doing in this picture??

Why, she's letting her freshly painted glittery Dora nails dry, of course!  Her nails that not I, but her daddy painted, I must add.  She sat like this for about 20 MINUTES! If you know her and her very busy self, that's hard to believe!  Based on your guesses, I could tell which of you have daughters!  =)

P.S.  If you didn't think your comment was going through, it's just because I waited 'til the end to publish everyone's comments all at once.  I'm sneaky like that.  =)

Thanks for playing!  Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday Meanderings - Jan. 17

I didn't mean for several weeks to go by without posting MM!  I guess a lot of times Kevin works the weekend and is off on Monday so unless I was on the ball and got it done earlier, it's hard to do it when Kevin's home.  I'd rather be with family.  SO. Kevin's actually home today, still sleeping in bed though, and I managed to get myself up early and showered today, so I have time for this quick post before the house really comes alive.

Bible Study... I've been doing my new devotion, and gosh, so many of them have been speaking right to my life!  About a close friend moving away, marriage trials, parenting... love when that happens!  Now, just need to be more diligent about doing quiet time, instead of playing catch-up after a week has passed!

Memory Verse... Philippians 4:8
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

Husband Encouragement... 
♥ Positive attitude.
♥ Dessert.
♥ No expectations.

Train Them Up... 
* Read with them.  We love books, we have tons of books, but it's not often enough we sit down and read and read. 
* Enforce no TV or games until their things are cleaned up.
* Rewards for chore chart.  We've been remembering to write their check-marks when they do something (oh they let me know!) but I haven't been remembering to reward them at the end of the day for whoever had the most check-marks.
* Do what I say I'm gonna do.

Personal Goals... 
* Work out.
* Set alarm.
* Daily devotion.
* Start writing in thankful journal again.

New Habit of the Month...
* Get up before the kids.  Shooting for 6:15am for now.

MUST Do...
* Work on editing photos.
* Lots of birthday cards to get and/or send out.
* Thank you notes.
* Reschedule Carter's appointment?

Zone... catch up laundry, get everything put away including the clothes bins I've recently got out, and put away suitcases that have still been out since our last trip

Menu - busy week so it's actually a pretty easy menu week!

M - Carter's birthday party-- we're just having a lot of appetizer type yummies
T - Pampered Chef party
W - sandwiches
Th - slow cooker Italian beef sandwiches
F - chicken divan
S - Omaha

* Carter's birthday party today! (weather permitting) Very small.  Just my parents and my brother and SIL (and Claire). 
* Brown-bag picnic with the MOPS mommas. (weather permitting)
* Pampered Chef party at Jaesi's.
* Doing family pictures for someone on Wednesday. (weather permitting)  I HATE WINTER.
* Hanging out with Holly on Thursday!
* Kevin's mom's birthday dinner in Omaha on Saturday afternoon.
* Kevin's friend's birthday Saturday night.  Get a date night with my hubby!

3 things I'm thankful for today... 
* Friends.  I really do have great friends!
* My kids.  They're pretty great too. 
* Kevin.  He's soo much better than I ever give him credit for!

Feel free to join me and leave your link below!  (Click on the sidebar picture for guidelines)  Have a great week!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What's in my head...

These are some of the really random things I've been thinking about this week, usually as I lay in bed waiting to fall asleep.  If any of you smart people have answers for me, do answer!

* How did Native Americans get here?
* Did the continents really used to be all together and break apart later?
* If we all come from Adam and Eve how do we have different races of people?
* If we all come from Adam and Eve, that means brother and sister had to mate/marry in order to continue population?

See, I told you, RANDOM!  What random things have you wondered about??

Friday, January 14, 2011

1 Year Ago today...

...we welcomed our third child into our family.  It was a cold and foggy drive to the hospital in the middle of what had been a treacherous winter.  (You can read his birth story here.)  But God took care of us as He delivered to us one of the very very best gifts ever!  Carter James...

I can't even say your name without my heart swelling with love and joy. You are simply everything to me.... and I am so thankful to be your momma!  Happy 1st Birthday!!

Photography: Maya, 3 Years {almost}

We had sweet Maya over this morning, and I just had to steal some more pics before she and her family moves in a couple weeks!! 

one of my favorite shots...

 my other favorite shot...

And I HAD to take some with Hannah too!  I hardly have any pics of the kids together!