Friday, December 29, 2006

Movie Recommendation and an AWESOME web site that EVERY teen should be a part of

First, from their site, a movie review of the Movie The Nativity.

Next, that same site is an AWESOME resource for young girls and boys. I am simply amazed at the godly character of these two young men. And I pray that my own children will have that same love and devotion to Him and WISDOM!!

The site/blog is called REBELUTION and this article about kidults is the first one I read and I am simply hooked! I know that this site is for teens, but I will be reading it too to help me raise Godly sons and daughters. And I think it is gonna help ME too! I have some of the problems talked about in that article. *blush*

Craft Blog AND Monograming without an embroidery machine

In an effort to learn more about sewing/crocheting, I of course turn to the TALENTED ladies who are wonderful enough to SHARE how they do things!!

There is a WONDERFUL blog (Craft Apple) that I just learned about from Lorrie that I have been loving going through. I won't post EVERYTHING from there from the past (you can just go and search the archives), but I do want to share the things that interest me that I think might interest you as well.

I recently came across this how-to for Monogramming Without an Embroidery Machine. I thought it would make some great gifts (NEVER to early to get started on gifts - we buy throughout the year, why not MAKE throughout the year too! That way, come birthday, or surprise party, or Christmas, we can go into our homemade stash and grab something).

While this is for a letter to monogram something, I thought it can also be used for simple shapes (smiley face, heart, flower) too.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What do YOU want to learn this year?

Mrs. Cat from Making It Home Magazine has issued a pick at least three things to learn this year challenge.

Here area list of things you MIGHT chose from:
baking homemade bread
making your own yogurt
cooking a certain dish
freezing/canning foods
storing supply food
starting a cooking/sewing/crafting group in your home
starting a Bible Study in your home
how to be thrifty
consume less
create less trash/waste in my home
make my own soap (bath, laundry,dishwasher & dish liquid, shampoo)
make natural/whole foods
herbs (how to use them in cooking and for health)
homeopathy and other natural alternatives
downsizing (home, cars, bills)

List the things you would like to learn the most first. If you have more than 3...then include them in your list.

With your list in hand - take the top thing you would really really really like to learn about. You can only pick one...we don't want to have too many projects going on at once. We are going to take that one thing and learn all we can about it. We are not only going to study it but we are going to research what we can and need to online, borrow books/videos from the library, talk to others who know how or have experience on the topic and then take that and apply it by actually doing. Start making your list...
What I want to learn in January:

Links/Sources Online:
(You may want to list this in your favorites by placing in a special folder)
(Library or books found online)
Person(s) who may know how to do this:
(Set up a time for them to share/show you how they bake or organize, etc.)
Time I will devote to putting into practice what I have learned:
(days and times might be a good idea too, not just amount of time)

SO here are my three:
1) I want to learn to ENJOY my children
Links/Sources Online:
LAF, NGJ, lots of blogs!!!!
I have several books on this, I need to READ them
None that I know of, do you know of any??
Person(s) who may know how to do this:
Nancy, Brenda
Time I will devote to putting into practice what I have learned:
Read a book a month in the evenings after children are sleeping
Try to keep up with blogs during nap time
Set up a time with Nancy to learn from her
Set up a time with Brenda to learn from her
Set up at least ONE fun thing per week to do with the children (examples: pillow fight, make pizzas together, have a joke night, arts and crafts)

2) sewing/crocheting
Links/Sources Online:
lots of blogs!!!!
I have several books on this, I need to READ them
None that I know of, do you know of any?? check library
Person(s) who may know how to do this:
Nancy, Sister's Mother-in-law
Time I will devote to putting into practice what I have learned:
Try to keep up with blogs during nap time
Set up a time with Nancy to learn from her
Set aside 30 minutes a day to practice WITH the children nearby with their own fabric/yarn(so they can learn too)
Keep bag of crochet nearby so can work on it to keep hands busy instead of idle

3) how to keep house better
Links/Sources Online:
LAF, Making It Home, Flylady, several blog!!!
I have several books on this, I need to READ them
None that I know of, do you know of any??
Person(s) who may know how to do this:
Unfortunately no one nearby, we all need to work on this :D
Time I will devote to putting into practice what I have learned:
Read a book a month in the evenings after children are sleeping
Try to keep up with blogs during nap time
Create a homemaking notebook
Create a cleaning schedule and STICK TO IT!!!
Find an accountability partner for this
Until I get organized, spend at LEAST 15 minutes cleaning in the Flylady zone AND Keep Sink SHINNING

There are of course other things I want to learn, but I don't want to become overwhelmed by giving myself so much that I get discouraged and don't do anything at all. I will see how these three go, and if they are going well, I will add more.

With no comments since I changed my blog I am wondering if anyone is reading this anymore??

Fabric Paper Dolls

This is from The Common Room.

I am posting it here JUST IN CASE the other site is taken down (you know how that can be).


Fabric Paper Dolls

Use a large gingerbread cookie cutter for a pattern. Trace and cut out a figure from felt or other scrap fabric, a solid color. Dip this in a mixture of boiled cornstarch and water (about 1 tablespoon of starch in two cups of water. Let dry on waxed paper.

Sew or attach velcro, snaps, or a button to the doll's front. Make her face with fabric scraps, needlepoint, markers, or fabric paint.

Cut other dress shapes (using the cookie cutter as a pattern) from other scraps of fabric and attach velcro, snaps, or put in button holes on the front. Dip these in starch and water and let them dry, too. These make nice paper dolls because they don't tear, the dresses can match your child's, and they store nicely.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!!

I am actually quite amazed at how wonderful Christmas turned out for us this year! We are in our new house (which was such a blessing from God). All of the girls only got a small handful of presents but were JOYFULLY pleased with what they did receive (oh how I love when they are happy with so little!!!!). And it was baby JJ's first Christmas. It was so sweet. He was so excited about all his gifts (he is 7 months old now). And the girls ,each one excited about their gift. I will post layouts soon. As you know I love scrapbooking in order to capture precious memories that fade WAY too fast as the children grow WAY too fast.

So, how our Christmas was: we woke up and had breakfast and then all sat down around the nativity scene. The girls act it out while Daddy reads. Then the children look for the hidden nail (like the tradition of the hidden pickle, but we use a nail from the cross - more of a spike than a nail really). Then whoever finds the nail talks about what it represents.

Whoever finds the nail gets to pick the first gift. They give it to whose name is on the gift. That person opens the gift and we all watch. After thanks are given, that person gets to pick a gift to give. This goes on until every gift under the tree is given. Then they get to open their stockings.
It really was so peaceful and joyful (well until momma got tense because she really wanted video tape of baby JJ playing with his gift and the other girls were enjoying the gift more than him). But Momma changed her attitude pretty quickly and all was well.

Well, blah blah blah, I feel like I have just babbled on. I hope that you had a merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Helpful Resources for Being Good Stewards of Our Money

There are two wonderful resources I would LOVE to share with you.

The first is one that is truly a WEALTH of information for saving money on anything and EVERYTHING! I always check out this site first. They have a WONDERFUL and FREE newsletter with GREAT ideas, but that is just a SMALL amount of the wealth of information on this site.

The Dollar Stretcher

The second is one I just recently learned about from Cindy Rushton in this interview. It is called Living On A Dime and looks VERY good so far.

I also wanted to speak for just a second on buying stuff second hand. I know that this is becoming a HUGE trend, especially after a group of people did nothing but that for a year. But I wanted to speak about my experience. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to save money. I need a shirt that says "I LOVE GARAGE SALES" because I do. We can be traveling at 65 miles an hour on the freeway, I will see a sign for a garage sale and slam on my brakes and turn! And I love going to thrift stores (that might be because we do have some REALLY good ones near where I live). And I LOVE Ebay (boy can that become addicting, but be sure NOT to pay too much for something JUST because you want to win the item, I have seen people pay TWICE what I can get it NEW in a store for because they got caught up in the bidding process). And I LOVE the internet used book stores ( is an AWESOME resource and searches the web for new/used titles of books and shows you all the lowest prices).

But I have noticed that sometimes prices are lower in stores on their discount racks (Old Navy, Christopher & Banks, Sears). I find BRAND NEW CLOTHES for cheaper than thrift (even cheaper than Walmart and better quality too!!).

Christopher & Banks has be one of my favorite. I recently got a $65 dress for $5!! Become friends with the staff and find out when their do their markdowns. C&B does markdowns on top of markdowns. So if you see something you like, but don't like the price, try again in a week or two. If it is still there, they will have marked it down some more.

Sears is great because their KidVantage program is FREE. If the clothes stain, tear, rip, you name it, during the life of the clothing for that child (in other words, while Suzie can wear it, as long as it still fits) bring it back into the store for a replacement! I got a brand new winter coat for my oldest last year for $5!!! A similar coat in Goodwill was $8, had had some stains on it.

I know that this makes it more difficult to shop, especially if you have little ones in tow. But I use this as alone time with each of the children. I take them shopping with me. We try on clothes for Mommy, then clothes for them, then a trip to the pet store, and a lemonade to split while we walk around the mall. It is a GREAT bonding time, AND teaching time as well (teaching my daughters about frugalness, being good stewards, AND how to shop for QUALITY (not just the cheapest).

All this just to say, be frugal and good stewards of your money doesn't mean only buying second hand. If brand new is cheaper and better quality, you are still being a frugal and good steward by buying new.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cast Iron Waffle Maker - AWESOME!

Hubby gave me my Christmas present early. A cast iron waffle maker! This is one by Rome Cookware and can be used on an electric range! (My husband DID buy me a cast iron waffle maker a few years back that was from the 1800's, but it was definitely for cooking outdoors over a campfire!) This waffle iron has gotten rave reviews among cast iron enthusiasts and now I know why!

I AM SO HAPPY I can have waffles again. You see, we do NOT use anything with teflon, so that has meant no waffles for a long LONG time!

Well, this morning I got to try out my new waffle maker. I seasoned it last night (according to how Alton Brown says to : pre-heat oven to 350F. Coat both sides of each individual piece - it comes apart into two pieces - and handle with Crisco - we used coconut oil. Place UPSIDE DOWN in oven with something underneath to catch the drippings. Bake for 1 hour. Take out and rub with paper towel - I rubbed it all over with a pastry brush to make sure I got into those little crevices. Don't forget the underside and the handle and place back into over, again UPSIDE DOWN for one hour. Take out and rub again with paper towel - again I used a pastry brush. Place back into oven, UPSIDE DOWN, turn off oven and let sit overnight.). This morning it was ready to use.

SO we preheated the waffle iron to 300. Then I very LIGHTLY coated the iron insides with a pastry brush. Put a small amount (I am guestimating a little more than 1/4 but less than a half cup) in the middle. Close and FLIP! The flipping is SO IMPORTANT because the side that was not on the burner has cooled off while it was open for you to brush and pour in batter. We found that if we cook for 2 and a half minutes and then flip again, we come out with PERFECT WAFFLES every time. Crunchy on the outside and tender and flaky on the inside.

I will admit that the first waffle did NOT come out, but all other waffles did! And because of the oil, it seems the first few times you use this you need to have your oven fan on to get all the smoke and fumes!

We did LIGHTLY coat again in between each waffle.

We also discovered that if you start off with the one with the bar on bottom (meaning that is the side you pour your batter on). Then when you flip, and flip again you end up with the bar side underneath to open and get your waffle out. This helps keep the parts from coming apart. So in other words, when the waffle iron is closed, and you look down on top of it and the hinge, you should see the BAR instead of the cover for the hinge.

And you do need a little fork to give a little nudge here and there. CAREFUL and SLOW with lots of patience the first few waffles and they WILL come off without sticking. Buy the time you are half way through the batter your waffles should be coming off with ease!!

I hope this encourages you! And if you want pictures of need help with the explanations LET ME KNOW! I would be happy to have an excuse to make MORE waffles!!

Oh yeah, clean up is so easy! Because no sticking, just rinse under HOT HOT water (NEVER use soap on cast iron - it removes all the seasoning which is the protective coating you want and need to prevent sticking. Well seasoned cast iron is black, not the silver-grey that it arrives as). Dry THOROUGHLY! Rub lightly with oil to help prevent rusting. And store with a paper towel in-between like a waffle! :)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Free Pattern - Crocheted Hair Net

While the following link has patterns to other things, they asked not to post direct links, but this one link.

This looks like a really nice store/site for modest dresses and other things. Worth checking it out. But right now, I have a purpose, and that is to find some easy sewing patterns (and crochet patterns) for quick projects. Sticking with my priorities! YEAH!!!!

Free Pattern - Simple Drawstring Bag

Oh this tutorial/how-to is so PERFECT and EASY for beginner sewers. PERFECT for your little girls to do by hand or on a small machine next to Momma on hers. This is SUCH a cute bag and I am amazed at how simple it is! I have NEVER made anything other than an envelope quilt before, but I am excited about this! I think I will try to make each of the girls one before Christmas (yes that is how easy they look to make). Hmmm... maybe wait until AFTER Christmas just to be safe. :D

Simple DrawString Bags

Desperate for a Picture!!!

You can click on it to see the credits and details.

I, like most moms, like to capture my children's fleeting moments on film as the grow up so quickly. I have been trying for WEEKS now to capture him smiling with those two teeth! But he has started smiling with his mouth closed. TOO CUTE, but it doesn't work for a picture of his TEETH! LOL! So finally, I pulled down his lip and took a picture. As you can see, he was NOT too pleased!

This is a style called freestyle/fandango. I am so loving this style! I still have not mastered it (hey, I am a homeschooling mom who would rather spend her time WITH her kids rather than mastering HOW to scrap about them).

If you want to learn more about digital scrapping, you can in the archives of this blog (by clicking on the left hand side).

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Using The Fruit Of The Spirit To Get Out Of Debt

This is just a small excerpt from a letter I got from Cat (Making It Home Magazine). If you do not belong to her yahoo group, I HIGHLY suggest you join!!

What are the fruits of the Spirit?

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and

Love what you have already. If you do this you will not require more or
want more.

Joy in that you have so many blessings in your life that you can share it
with others. Don't take the joy out of your life because you are a slave to
your credit card.

Peace of mind when going to the mailbox not worrying about opening up a
credit card bill.

Patience in waiting to get what you want but only when you have the cash to
purchase that item. Patience in knowing that maybe by the time you do have
the cash to many not really want it.

Kindness to be able to share and bless others with your time...not your

Goodness in being "able" to help and provide for the needs of others.

Faithfulness - are you being faithful in what God has given you? Are you
tithing? No? Why? Because you can't even meet your own bills and if you were
to tithe well...that would really put you out. What does God say about
tithing? What does God say about His being faithful to you when you do what He
has asked of you? Do you not have enough faith in Him to know that He will
see you through? Faithfulness in paying what you owe to others and seeing to
it that you pay them in a timely and God honoring manner.

Gentleness in how you spend your money.

Self-control is not just buying what you see but waiting. Self-control is
thinking purchases through before just allowing the impulse to take over. We
can see what little self-control we have when we open up our checkbooks or
when we look over our credit card statements.

How To Fold A Shirt

My husband has been folding shirts this way ever since he saw it on Martha Stewart (am I blessed to have such a man or WHAT!), but on another site there is a flash video of how to do it.

I must admit that I have NOT tried to teach my daughters this way to fold a shirt. Right now, they fold it the best they can. The 6yr folds it nice and neatly. The 4yr folds it fairly neat. And 2 1/2yr, bless her little heart, tries so hard but just ends up with a pile. Thankfully the shirts don't wrinkle hardly at all so I don't have to go back through and redo everything for her (which takes up time and also, I feel, discourages her).

I hope you enjoy the link!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

First Corinthians 13 - The Christmas Version

This should look familiar! Was in my TOS mailbox this morning.

First Corinthians 13
Christmas Version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging
a beautifully adorned table at mealtime:
I'm just another cook.
If I work at a soup kitchen,
carol in the nursing home,
and give all that I have to charity;
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels
and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties
and sing in the choir's cantata
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love does not envy another's home
that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love does not give only to those who are able
to give in return; but rejoices in giving
to those who cannot.

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things, and endures all things.
Love never fails.

Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust,
but giving the gift of love will endure.

--Author Unknown

Monday, December 18, 2006


These are the CUTEST camera bags I have ever seen!!! And since they don't LOOK like camera bags, you aren't as in much danger of them being stolen!!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Even YOU can make this

What a FUN idea here to make a castle or a pirate ship, even a fire engine!!!

Oh man, this right after a post about priorities! LOL!!! I really need to get my priorities straight.

BTW - if you have older children, then can make their own castle or pirate ship! What a NEAT idea!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Family Journal - A Great Idea

I was reading an article in AEW written by Nancy (from Above Rubies). She said that her family had a family journal. It sat on the table and anyone in the family could write in it when they wanted to. They wrote about what was happening in their lives, special memories, etc. Whenever they had company over, instead of asking them to sign a guestbook, they asked them to write in the journal.

I have young children. The younger 3 are too small to write, but I can always write down cute things they do or say, and can also have them color a page every now and then. My oldest (6yr) is learning to write. She spells love “lov” and time “toym.” I think it would be wonderful to have her write in the journal.

I thought that this was a great idea and wanted to share it with you.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

UGH! The "P" word

Moving into a new house, a blizzard which had snow drifts up to your chest and caused the internet connection to be down for almost two whole days, having to dishes by hand, and trying to play catch up on all the laundry created by moving has taught me one thing - I really need to PRIORITIZE!

There are so many blogs I want to read (and come upon new great ones everyday like this one - The Sparrow's Nest). I know that I can learn a lot from the ladies of the blogs I love, and yet, I really need to spar down on them. Now that I have the computer back, I find myself spending more and more time on the computer trying to catch up on all the blogs I love (which of course have new blogs that they tell you are must see's and of course, I MUST see them! :D

Then I want to get back into my digital scrapbooking. The one thing I LOVE about digital scrapbooking is how FAST it is compared to paper (so that means that I can actually get a page DONE before I forget what it was about). But the more I scrap, the better I get, and the longer it seems to take me because I want NICE pages, not just pages. I want to create something that my children will enjoy to look at years from now. A book that tells the story of their growing up. Where we were, what we did, how I felt. My mom has pictures and PICTURES and can't tell me who is in them or even what they were doing. In some of them, she even has difficulty telling if it was me or my sister! LOL! (Which I can TOTALLY relate to now that I am a mom myself.)

I also have been trying to keep up with posting to two blogs. I plan on making that one blog (this one) soon. Moving everything over. That will really help simplify things I believe. Then there is of course making your blog look really good with graphics and such other than those provided.

I also really want to get into homeschooling the children. Learning about WHAT I need to do and HOW to do it. So thankful that I have friends (hi Nancy) that I can hopefully call on for advice (you too Brenda!) and counsel (I haven't forgotten you Konie and Leigh) especially with the style of schooling we are wanting to do.

And then of course we have cable TV now that we have cable internet service. Oh my how addicting TV can be. You use the excuse of I will only keep to th educational channels (like Food Network), but the SHOWS that are on each of them, what to watch and when to find the time?!?!

And not to mention that our new house is much bigger than our old house, which is great for being able to host missionaries and have friends and family visit (Stacey are you reading this!?!), but it also means more to clean. And I am still learning about that.

And on top of it all (which always seems to be LAST on my list when I know how desperately it needs to be FIRST), my devotional time. I really need to be reading my Bible and praying EVERY morning. I want to make a list of people I am praying for and put it on the fridge so the children can see. They can see what we are praying and how it is answered.

So many fears! Will I be able to homeschool my children the way we want? And if so, how with all the testing and CRITICISM from parents? Will I be able to have time to scrap so my children have an heirloom book full of memories of who and what? Will I ever learn how to clean house and be able to make my home a haven and resting place of peace for my family? Will I ever finally get putting God FIRST instead of Him being an afterthought? And will I ever learn how to spell without spell check?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Make Your Own Soap

I am sure ALL of you are as big of fans of Crystal's as I am, but if not, first, check out her site.

THEN check out

What do you spend on kids at Christmas?

This was the question asked on a group I belong to and here is my answer. A lady didn't have much money to spend on gifts this year and did not want to disappoint her children.

I would LOVE to hear how much you spend AND some of your holiday traditions!

We usually don't have a set amount that we try to spend on each child. My
husband and I try to keep it under $25 for each of the kids. We get them
something we know that they will enjoy. Yes, That usually means only one of
two gifts. I remember growing up with at least 20-50 gifts each Christmas. I
rushed through unwrapping them and usually only ended up playing with one or
two anyways. I know growing up my parents spent the same amount of money on
both me and my sister. We don't do that. If we find something that is
meaningful to one child and it costs $10 that is what is spent on her gift.
Especially if we cannot find anything else meaningful for $15 or less.

Plus the kids need to realize that life is not fair, and Christmas (or
birthdays) are not about getting. In fact, Jesus was not brought gifts on
His birthday. The wise men did not show up till He was a toddler, and even
then, they were not gifts celebrating His birth, but foretelling of His
death. We are not ready to give up giving gifts at Christmas just yet, but
we definitely do try to foster a more giving and being grateful attitude.

There is a story book that is illustrated Christmas story using KJV
scripture. I LOVE IT! We got it from rainbow Resource. We read that book and
the children each go through the story with the nativity we have (Fisher
Price has a nativity AND a shepherds in the fields kit that are perfect for
little hands!). I know that the older the kids get, they might not want to
do that, but I hope that they have the grace to sit joyfully through it and
encourage the younger ones. Then we have a nail (like the ones nailed Jesus
to the cross) hidden in the tree. I am sure you know the Victorian tradition
of hiding the pickle in the tree. We hide a nail and all the children look
for it. The one who finds it gets to tell the reason behind the nail
(completing the story of His birth --- He came to live and die). They also
get to grab a candy cane off the tree.

Then whoever found the nail gets to GIVE the first gift. They look under the
tree and find a gift that does not have their name on it and give it to that
person. We all wait as that person unwraps the gift. Than that person gets
to go pick a gift and give it and so on and so forth. Yes, that makes
Christmas last MUCH longer, but we LOVE it! Growing up, everyone's gifts
were distributed and then we rushed through them. This way you get to see
the joy and surprise on everyone's face. I remember when my daughter was 18
months. It was the first Christmas she was old enough to unwrap presents.
Daddy handed her a gift from Uncle Jeff and she took the bow and put it on
her head. Then she slowly unwrapped the gift and when she got to the stuffed
animal inside, she hugged it and then got up and gave Daddy and hug (kind of
thanking him for the gift). That memory will last with me for as long as I
live. I would have missed it had we opened gifts the way we used to.

Maybe this is the year to teach your children about giving? I know that I
have been working on mine with that this year. They are actually wanting to
give all their presents to the shelters this year to children who would not
get toys otherwise.

I am trying to move more and more away from giving lots of gifts, and giving
one or two meaningful gifts. A CD or DVD that your child may be wanting is
definitely under $25. I understand you not wanting to disappoint them, but
hopefully they will understand and be appreciative for any gifts they give.
And maybe you can fill the rest of the time that they would have spent
opening more gifts doing something special together. Maybe you bake and
decorate cookies and take them to the nursing home. Or maybe you volunteer
downtown at the soup kitchen and hand out meals to those who wouldn't
otherwise have?

I was reading an article about a woman who was watching in horror at how a
little girl was opening her presents. Just ripping through them,
disappointing looks when she didn't like what she was given, etc. She
compared that to another little girl who opened each card first and read it
and smiled thanking the person for the card. Then she opened the gift and
thanked the person who sent it saying what she enjoyed about the gift and
how excited she was to use/play with it. She also mentioned watching a funny
video on the TV. The girl was so excited about her present that she went
tossing out all the tissue paper and accidentally threw the dress out with
it. When the little girl got to the bottom, there was a hanger, and the
little girl squealed "Oh it's a hanger!! Thank you thank you thank you!" And
it was so sincere! I pray that my children would always so so content and

Anyways, I am sorry to ramble on. Just some thoughts.


Sites to See

Creating A Household Notebook

Fast and Easy Recipes for Busy Homeschoool Moms

Chores: You are NOT Doing Them All By Yourself, Are You?

Chores: What 1-2-year-old Walkers Can Do

Chores: What a 3-5-year-old Can Do

Chores: What Elementary-Aged Kids Can Do

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Wise Things to do with Your Money Now

Ok, so this might be a bit long as I am playing catch-up.

So we sold our home, and are not going to get our homestead. We will however be staying right here in our city.

I must admit that I am actually sad that we will not be getting our homestead. I was so certain. But it looks like God has other plans for us for now. But thankfully, we will be able to have a big garden, so not all is lost.

I want to share with you ladies who are not married or who will soon be married or those who are newly married, so that should YOU want a homestead you will be able to get one if it is what God wants for you.

The main reason we cannot get our homestead is a lack of funds. My husband is paid well enough that I am able to stay home and not have to work. But we made several mistakes.

One of the best pieces of advice I was given when I first got married was to take all of my income and put it directly into savings (I know now that we should have been putting it into a ROTH - both husband ABD wife can have a ROTH if the husband is working!!!!). But that way, you get used to living on one income so when I stop working to be home with the children, we aren't missing out on any income we had been accustomed to having and living on. So we had a fairly large nest egg when we were first married.

HOWEVER - and here are where the mistakes start - one year after we were married, we fell for the "get rich quick" scheme. Bought some land in hopes to make some money (wasn't everyone making money in land at that time??). The first mistake was went went to a real estate firm who sent us a mailer saying they would give us a free gift if we come in and talk with them. They were scammers and we were scammed.

We should have done several things different.

First, NEVER goto a real estste office who sends you a gift for coming in just to talk. IT is most always a scam. We learned that out when we went to sell the land because we wanted our money back. Since we had the money, we paid for the land outright rather than taking a loan. We wanted our money back and TRIED to contact the office we bought it from and they were no longer around.

We found a reliable realtor who unfortunately was not able to help us and referred us to another reliable realtor who deals with land in the area we bought our land. She told us that we were ripped off and basically stuck with that land. Not only that, but the "realtors" who sold us that land are no longer realtors (prolly retired on all the profits they made). She asked if it was a family investment as several other owners in the area had the same last name (it was a mass mailing). She said several scammers do that. Set up office, send out mailers, sell off land, and then move on out. She also said that the land we bought happenes to be one of the most undesireable types of land as there is no public access to it (meaning a road cannot be built to it). We were told by the scam realtors that no public access meant a road had not yet been built to it. So now we are stuck paying taxes on land we can never get rid of.

We learned that we should ALWAYS say NO and pray and sleep on it. If God really wants us to have something, it will be the same price tomorrow as it was today and it will still be available at that time. Sellers want to make a sell!! We should have left and prayed on it and we would not have bought the land.

Secondly, we spent money on the little things. We goto Goodwill a lot to buy our clothes (and other necessities). What happens is we have a need (one of the children need new clothes) and go into Goodwill. We see several other WANTS and because they are such a good deal, we buy them. SO then we have a house full of clutter and only continue to collect more and more wants leaving less money for needs.

We should have created a budget of all the necessary things, then budgeted in savings and ROTH and tithe. After that, budget in amounts to spend on necessities: groceries, gas, clothing, etc. What we have done now is to give eachother an allowance each month. It is small, but enough to take the family out to dinner, buy a newly released DVD, etc. So that way we have a "fun" fund and can save up for the more expensive wants, and still build our retirement fund.

Don't think you are ever too young to think about or plan for retirement. Just think about it. If you start now, before you are even married. Then you won't have to wait until hubby is 65 and in a miserable job before he retires. He can retire at 40 and enjoy raising the kids WITH you (instead of always having to work or be thinking about work).

When we calculated the money we could have had by now, we would have not only been able to pay CASH for our homestead (which we wouldn't have done, it sometimes is more beneficial to take a loan out so you can keep growing your money - for example, if your ROTH is getting you 9% interest, and the loan is only costing you 5%, then you are making more money than the loan is costing you by keeping your money in your ROTH!), but it would have been enough that hubby could retire in 5 years instead of 32.

Imagine that!!! He will have to "waste" almost 30 extra years working that he COULD have been enjoying with family NOT working. He could have had the freedom to start up the company he wanted to start up but never had the time (because he is working a job to pay for our house and food and other needs and wants) or money.

We are SO THANKFUL that God has blessed us DESPITE our lack of good stewardship with His gifts. We are not in debt (but we are living paycheck to paycheck). We own our car. And with the sell of our home, we are going to make the profit we wanted to in order to be able to get a bigger home with bigger land (although still not the homestead we both really wanted).

So anyways, I hope that this helps some of you . And thankfully we are finding out NOW about how to do things instead of later when hubby is laid off because he finally reached that age where his company feels they can get cheaper labor from a college grad, despite all of hubby's knowledge, his knowledge is now too expensive for the company to keep him.

I also want to give one last word of encouragement - be accountable to each other on how you spend money. It is so easy to think that you don't need to discuss the dress you want to buy or the groceries you want to buy (after all, I am the woman and know what our family needs and am making all the meals), but I encourage you even in those areas to talk with your husband about it. Maybe he will suggest something that can save you an extra $30 a month. That may seem small now, but in one year, you will have saved an extra $360 plus interest (and if you were able to put that into either of your ROTHS or your husbands 401K that adds up FAST!! :D).

Try to max out BOTH of your ROTH's every year as well as your husband's 401K (your company should have a matching point - max to the matching point). That will help you build up that retirement fund fast.

And if you have a little extra at the end of the year, put it into a high yeild CD. I am hoping in 15 years to have enough money for the entire family (including any other children the Lord may give us) to goto Hawaii for our 25 wedding anniversary. :D

Friday, December 8, 2006

The Meaning of the Season and Don't Save It All For Christmas Day

I must admit that I find it horribly frustrating as a Christian that at a time of the year when we are supposed to be focused on Christ we can become some of the most selfish and gluttonous people. I admit that I love candy and cookies and breads as much as the next person, but too much is too much! I find myself wanting to eat things that I normally don't crave throughout the year. Maybe it is because all the best baking happens around this time of year. Maybe if we indulged just a little bit here and there throughout the year (like why do we only make cherry cordials this time of year, why not in Feb for Valentine's and in May for May day?) we wouldn't be so inclined to indulge at Christmas. Maybe this is a good lesson to enjoy everyday. Maybe by allowing ourselves only a short time of the year to bake these things, we are creating an excuse to over indulge in them. And then we are miserable, wondering why we let ourselves be so gluttonous and vow next year NOT to do the same.

It is the same with finances too. When we save and save and save and never have any fun with it, we usually end up doing one of two things:
*either we make ourselves miserable because we never have any fun and so we resent having to save and save and save
*or we end up nickel and dimeing ourselves into debt because we feel that we are saving our money so a little bit here and there won't hurt.

Why not start a small spending fund. Every time you have spare change or money left over from the budgeted groceries, etc. put it into a jar. My husband and I actually give ourselves an allowance each month to spend on things that we really don't have money in the budget for. It helps us to keep to the budget AND we are not miserable. We are able to enjoy life a bit (a small cookie at the bakery for each of the kids and myself, that movie that we just really really wanted, that new shade of lipstick that I don't really need but want).

Anyways, I guess my ramblings are more just a reminder to enjoy things throughout the year and don't save it all for Christmas day.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Mommy, What Does GRACIOUS Mean?

I was talking to my daughter about how to eat properly and she said that Belle (oh please don't ask me why we ever let our daughters watch Disney princess movies - they have become OBSESSED with princess!) picked up the bowl and drank out of it. I mentioned that was because she was being gracious and my daughter asked what gracious meant.

I am quickly realizing that there are a whole SLEW of words that you just come to know and understand what they mean without truly knowing what they mean. So I had to look up the definition on the computer. In doing so I came across a great page that talks about ten characteristics of a gracious person. These are GREAT! I am thinking of printing them out and hanging them where I can see them and be reminded of how I want to be.

Because the web is ever changing and pages are ever leaving us, I am going to include the ten here. And afterwards, include some others written by others in the comments to the original post.

Ten Characteristics of a Gracious Person

Gracious … Now I like that word. Not a Terrell Owens or Randy Moss word. No, this word is reserved for people who recognize that they are privileged to receive what they have been given. A gracious person is wonderful just to be around. So what is a gracious person?

  • A gracious person is slow to take credit and quick to lavish praise.
  • A gracious person never seeks to embarrass another. Humiliating another is not in this person’s vocabulary. (And please … don’t say something that humiliates another and then try to escape responsibility by saying, "I was only joking.")
  • A gracious person is always thanking others. Do you go through an entire day without thanking another?
  • A gracious person doesn’t monopolize the conversation. Someone else has something to offer.
  • A gracious person doesn’t try to play "one up-manship." ("That’s nothing, you should have seen what I did!")
  • A gracious person pays attention to people. Sometimes people come away from such conversations saying, "He made me feel like I was the most important person at that moment."
  • A gracious person desires to say what is appropriate. He doesn’t just say what is on his mind or whatever he might be thinking. (There is no redeeming value in emptying one’s mind of whatever fleeting thought has happened to land at the moment.)
  • A gracious person looks out for the comfort of others. "Would you like a cup of coffee? What about a coke? Can I get you a newspaper while I’m out?" etc.
  • A gracious person understands that she is not indispensable. You’ve seen this person. She desires constant attention. She has a way of constantly focusing most any conversation back on herself. There is a humility in realizing that you are dispensable.
  • A gracious person constantly points out the good that he sees. Maybe you are visiting a friend who lives in another place. Instead of pointing out the inadequacies of your friend’s community, you are constantly finding things that are good. "This cafe has outstanding peach pie! That was delicious." "I just love the way you have planted your garden. It is beautiful!" Gracious people look for the good.

This is actually a post from October 2005. Why post it again? Because of a few comments that have been made regarding this piece. This was published in the Waco Tribune Herald shortly after it was posted on my blog. One gentleman told me a few weeks later that someone had placed the newspaper article on the wall in the rehab center at nearby Providence Hospital. A few weeks ago, a local anesthesiologist told me that it had been posted on the door of the operating room. He said, "I’ve read it several times before going in." An older gentleman in our church died of cancer in the last year. Before his death, he sent a copy of this piece to each of his grandchildren.

Why this response? I believe that in so many of us, there is a genuine hunger to experience the beauty of graciousness. After all, it is nothing more than grace lived out. And — that grace originates in the heart of God.

(I’m curious, what would you add to this list of ten? I suspect you could add another characteristic of a gracious person that might be helpful to us all.)

I might add that a gracious person really doesn’t care who gets credit, so long as the job is done. Gracious people don’t keep score.
Greg England

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Preserving Your Child's Artwork

I found FABRIC CRAYONS at Wal-mart. You have the child color a picture on regular paper (no letters or numbers because they will transfer backwards). Then iron onto fabric! We are going to be making pillowcases. I will post pictures when we are done. It might not be for a while because things are a bit busy right now.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Paying Off Your House on One Income

It can be done! And you can pay off your house (IN FULL) living on just one income. Laine's Letters are wonderful. I had read this article when it first came out, but someone on the MIH list brought it up again and I wanted to share it with you.

50 Ways We Paid Off Our House On One Income

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Combining Children's Art Work with Quilting

So, I don't know WHY I did not think about this. Use the Emrboidery or Fabric Crayon creations and create a QUILT!

What a perfect gift for grandparents (not to mention wonderful ways to capture memories for Momma who thinks her little ones are growing up way too fast).

For the full article that goes with the picture above, click here.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Getting Lazy Kids to Clean

Check out this great post about fun games to do with children. The first one is an excellent way to make sure that your lazy cleaner/worker actually CLEANS/WORKS! The second is a fun dinner game (one of those that is so simple you think "why didn't I think of that" but is so fun you don't care you just enjoy playing).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Easy Recipe All The Children Can Help With - Lentil Loaf

Here are all three girls helping in the kitchen to make Lentil Loaf. A very quick and easy recipe that all the kids 2 1/2yr and older can help with.

First, cook 1 cup lentils in 2 cups veggie broth (you can use chicken broth, but we are vegetarian).

While the lentils are cooking, have your children help!

Here is my almost three year old breaking 2 slices of bread into a bowl. This bowl is where everything is mixed in so it is in the middle. You can use two slices of dry bread, but it tastes just as good with bread that is not dry.

Here is my 6yr with a Pampered Chef knife slicing one medium leek. After she gets a few slices done, she puts them into the bowl in front of her younger sister.

Here is my 4yr with a butter knife (just the knife that comes with the spoons and forks). She is cutting 8oz of mushrooms into small pieces and putting them into the bowl next to her in front of little sister.

After everything is in the bowl, I usually let my 2 yr sprinkle basil into the bowl. Use as much as you like. Then add a bit of salt and pepper.

Shred cheddar cheese about 1 cup and add to bowl.

By now the lentils should be done. Add to bowl and stir well.

Put into a baking dish and bake at 375F for 45 minutes, or until brown and cooked through.

This serves our family of five for now, but we do have a lot of fixings on the side. A huge bowl of salad for each child (yes, my 2yr eats salad). Cut up veggies (usually broccoli or asparagus) as well as a mixed veggie mixture of corn, carrots and peas.

My daughters get SO EXCITED to make this because they have made it enough times now that they can practically make it on their own! 6yr gets all the ingredients out of the fridge, as well as the knifes and bowl to put everything in. the 4yr gets everyone their cutting board. I just have to start the lentils, add the lentils and put in baking dish and into oven.

I hope you and your family enjoy making this recipe together!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Little Helpers

I am so thankful that I had girls first. They are all such little helpers with the new baby.

I think the next thing I am going to train my oldest (6yr) to do it to put away groceries. ESPECIALLY the cold and frozen items. She is so great when we are in the grocery store. She will remind the cashier to pack all the cold and frozen items in seperate bags and together. It makes it so much easier when time is short (like the baby is screaming and you need to tend to them) so you can just put THOSE bags away and not worry about a frozen item being in with the cereal and you forgot it and now it is bad. You know what I mean.

She knows where most everything goes anyway. So it shouldn't be too terribly hard. And I know that every time she gets a new responsibility (I think I like calling them that instead of chores), she feels more and more like a good wife and mother. She knows that she is practicing. I have explained to her that Momma never really learned to be a good keeper at home. The Bible tells us that as women, we are to be keepers at home. Momma is learning to obey God's word and instructing her (and her sisters) to obey God's word. We are learning and "practicing" together, and it is WONDERFUL!

Cute and FUN Idea

I have ALWAYS loved Rebecca's site, but now that she is posting up crafts - OH MY will I ever get off her site and pack?!?!

Check out the following:

From DRAB to FAB - I NEVER thought of changing a shirt like this into a girls dress! TOO CUTE! THANK YOU REBECCA for inspiring this idea!

Check out this flower drying rack! TOO CUTE!!

Monday, October 9, 2006

Cute Idea for Old Shirts

While I would not personally wear some of this stuff because it is too short, it is PERFECT for LITTLE GIRLS!!

Check out ways to reuse old shirts:


Button-up Shirts

HAVE FUN!! This is from one of my favorite sites that has really great ideas! Anyone else have any great ideas like these?

Coming soon - some more great links from a friend of mine (WOWIE) as well as pictures of my first crochet! I can chain, single, slip and half-double stitch!! WOOHOO!!


Ok, so I am so thankful that the lady who bought aprons from Kitchen Wears shared how pleased she was with these aprons! Last month I ordered three for each of my girls (sale at $5 each) and they were out of the adult ones. Well, I must admit I feel like I robbed her at $5 each, because I would have paid more than that for the fabric alone! The quality of the fabric (and stitching) is so good that I cannot believe she is able to sell these for so low.

Well, she updated!! I just got three more aprons for my girls (so nice that they can put them on themselves because there are no ties!). They also use them as pinafores to keep their dresses clean while they are out playing.

AND they updated the women's adult sale aprons too. And they are only $12 (used to be sale price $15, but I think because the selection is so limited she marked them down). So I bought two for myself. I am so excited because again, I know it would have cost me more than $12 for the fabric (considering the quality of the fabric) and the stitching and time --- which I am so limited on.

So anyways, I just wanted to let you know about the updates to the sale pages!!

Oh, and to let you know that these can fit as small as a three year old (because my almost 3 year old fits into it perfectly --- longer on her than on my 6yr, but definitely not too long).

Blessings, Paula

PS... next post will have pictures of the girls in their aprons along with an EASY recipe that all your children 2 1/2 years+ can help with.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

The Democrats Did It To Themselves

Ok, so this MIGHT start a debate (which I am not trying to do). I find it so VERY interesting that a group of people who so strongly believe in evolution (survival depends on not just the fittest, but also reproduction) are slowly weeding themselves out through having no children or just one. Just one more argument for having more and more and MORE children! LOL!!!

And another thing, even though I am really not very political at all, I just heard about a movie that is showing at the film fesitival in Toronto by a British filmaker that shows the assasination of President Bush. While the US is not too big on picketing movies, if this one ever does get picked up to be shown here, I think this is definately one worth picketing!!!! No matter your views on Bush, any movie showing the assasignation of a living president should be banned.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Fun Things

Came across a blog with some GREAT ideas!

Here are a few:

Embroidered Children's Drawings

Pillowcase Skirt

Both of these are things that I plan to do soon. I think the embroidered children's drawings can be GREAT pillowcases!! And what great gifts for the grandparents! And even though the pillowcase skirt might be too short for me (I like LONG ankle length skirts), it would be PERFECT for my 6yr old daughter! And it looks simple enough for HER to do too! And maybe even make one for her 4yr old sister!!

Have fun!!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Will I Ever Have The Time?

SO many cute crafts and so little time!!

How To Die Wool Blankets

Quick Quilt - for those who want a quilt but have no idea how to (or an easy way to quilt for children). Why didn't I think of this?!?!

Fabric Bracelet
- this is a GREAT and easy idea for kids to make (for themselves, for gifts and to sell)

Quick and Easy Purse - can you see the theme I have going here? Los of easy stuff that kids can do. Not just because I have kids, but because I am a kid at heart (and that is how I best learn - as a child).

Sunbonnet Sue Free Projects
- too cute and fun!!! and a few free sunbonnet sue patterns too (from the main page).

And keep an eye out for this promising page with cute free sewing patterns!

Headbands - oh I am SO into headbands right now. I really like the look of this one!

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Ten Years FLY When You Are in Love

I can hadrly believe that my husband and I have been married ten WONDERFUL years today! They have been the best 3 years of my life! But seriously, all joking aside, I do wish that it wasn't just the past three years that have been working on being a submissive wife. I know that our marriage (while still wonderful, always with room to grow) would have been much happier (as they have been the past few years) if I had learned what the BIBLE had to say about submission instead of just going off what other women in the church said it was.

If you had asked my husband 3 years ago if I was submissive, he would have said YES without any doubts. But once I learned what the BIBLE said about submission (and even moreso once I learned that being a helpmeet was a whole lot more than JUST submission), if you were to ask my husband now if I was submissive, he would prolly reply: Not during the first few years of our marriage, but she is working on it now."

Yep, WORKING ON IT. I still haven't got it down. There are still days when I forgot to honor my husband.

I am reading a WONDERFUL book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (oh she is WONDERFUL!) called Biblical Womanhood.

We know we should always be asking ourselves in EVERYTHING we do "Does this glorify God? Is this what God would have me do?"

As wives, this book reminds us to ask ourselves in everything "Does this help my husband?" OH THAT HURTS!

I would so much rather be playing on the computer, scrapbooking while the kids are napping than packing the house or mowing the lawn. BUT, does that help my husband? Right now, the answer is no. We are preparing to move and trying to get the house ready. Playing on the computer does not help him when I could be packing instead. (Thankfully I am able to enter this while I am nursing the baby )

So just a reminder to ask yourself in everything:

If the answer is no, you would be blessed to skip it and move onto something else. :)

And a nursing baby needs LOTS of nursing so I also had a little bit of time to do this:

Click on it to see the layout I made for my husband for our ten wonderful years of love. Those love notes are ACTUAL notes I have written to him (or VERY similar).

One more layout for my man:

Friday, July 14, 2006

Why Momma Mows The Lawn

Growing up my mother ALWAYS mowed the lawn. I don't think I ever saw my dad mow the law. He would go out after Mom was done and do all the detail work and set up the sprinklers to water (automatic sprinklers - what was THAT?). But it was always Momma out there mowing.

I never thought anything about it until I met my husband. "Mowing is MAN'S work." He made it sound so wonderful that there were just certain things a man was to do for his woman and that my mother should not have to mow the lawn.

So when we got married, one of hubby's responsibilites was to mow the lawn. I loved the fact that I was cared for in such a special way. I started to create "honey do" lists for my husband. After all, there were jobs for women and jobs for men.

But I realized that my "honey do" list was getting longer and longer and nothing was being done. And once kids entered the picture, I noticed now the lawn was rarely getting done as well. And when the lawn WAS getting done, family time with Daddy was not.

I realized that my husband's work week (usually 80 hours or more) takes him away from his family. He really wants to spend time with the kids and myself. And he would rather do that then mow the lawn or anything on my "honey do" list.

So rather than add to the list, I am starting to cross things off. Not because I don't want/need them done anymore, but because I am doing them. I have finally gotten over the whole "that is something for a man to do" attitude (which was really weighing my husband down because I was adding so much to the list for him to do). Instead, I have the "blessings list." IF my hubby has the time and wants to do it, what a blessing it is to me! If he doesn't and I do it, it becomes a blessing to him - by allowing him to spend the precious little time he has with us and not feel guilty about not doing something else that I addedto the list.

So this afternoon, while the girls were playing quietly on the deck, and baby JJ was sleeping, I went out and mowed the lawn for the first time. And it feels great! This weekend, rather than my husband feeling guilty the lawn is not mowed (he wants to go to a museum the girls have asked to goto), he can enjoy the whole weekend with us going through the museum and seeing the awe and wonder on the girls faces. He can explain things to them and feel satisfaction in teaching them. Oh I am so thankful that I changed my honey do list into a blessings list. And I encourage you to do the same. It is so freeing!!

Thursday, July 6, 2006

From Chaos to Calm: 15 weeks to a Happy Home

Being gone last week, I missed out on sharing this little gem with you. But as they are only on week two (and we can just double up sometimes can't we?) I wanted to share this link with you:

From Chaos to Calm: 15 weeks to a Happy Home

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Little Bit More on Digital Scrapbooking

A FREE online mini-course! I am in the process of checking it out now, but it looks so fun and I am so excited, I just had to share it! And don't forget that Digital Scrapbooking Place has TONS of FREE tutorials!! I had not looked at the tutorials in a while, so it was neat to see NEW STUFF since the last time I was there (almost a year ago). They even havea beginners section in the tutorials.

Anyone doing the digital scrapbooking?? Let me know! I would LOVE to see YOUR gallery!! (Have I convinced you yet Lori?!? )

Cool things you can do with digital scrapbooking!

But first, some answers to scrapbooking questions. IF you want the cool ideas, scan down this blog entry.

I use Adobe Photoshop CS2 (just recently upgraded from version 7).

How to organize everything? I first unzip everything. Then I take the preview image and make that the image of my folder. It helps a little to be able to see what is inside the folder. When I want something I use SPOTLIGHT (a program that searches through all my files).

So for the little Ducky Butt layout, I wanted some ducks. I searched using spotlight for "duck" and I only had two. Both showed up at fairly good sized images (so I was able to see a small version of what they looked like before opening it). That is the GREAT thing about Spotlight, it shows images that are about the size of the thumbnail images I show on the right hand side of my blog of my newest additions to my scrapbook. When I want a background, but not sure what color I want, I search for "BG" which is short for background and most designers will name their background files BG. T hen I scan through all the thumbnail images until I find one that matches the picture(s) I want to scrap. Then I open the folder of that kit and use that kit to do my layout.

Sometimes I want something that doesn't belong to the kit (like a ducky or a brad or something). Then I just search for the word of whatever I am looking for (like "brad" for example). Then I find the brad in the thumbnail images that would look best with the kit I am using.

Don't forget to give credit in your layout comments for each thing you used (where you got your word art, your background, your elements, etc.). I create a font layer in my program where I list all of that and just keep it hidden. That way it is kept with the file and I don't have to try to remember where I got everything from.

Anyways, onto the fun!

OK, now for some COOL THINGS you can do with digital scrapbooking!
Some of these have a cost, and some don't, but ALL are COOL!!

Scrapbook in a Box

CD Album (great for kids and a GREAT way to use up all those free AOL CD's you get in the mail!)

Personalized Desk calanders (or checkbook covers or those $2 purse calanders you get from Walmart)

You might have seen these matchbooks, but you can customize it to your liking, print, cut and glue!

Make a key chain with layouts! Just resize your larger ones to a smaller size, laminate, and put on keychain!

Or better yet, for Grandma, or even yourself, make this cute little brag braclet!

Make bookmarks for each individual child with layouts you have done OF them!

Put your layouts on a magnet for your fridge or grandma's!

For the man in everyon'e life, a little brag book is just the thing!

And what better way to personalize those DVD home movies than a DVD case cover and DVD cover?!?!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What Is In A Kiss?

I just cannot stop kissing the baby. The girls can't stop kissing him either.

But each time I kiss him, I can tell he has no idea what a kiss is or the meaning behind it. There is no smile (like he is starting to smile back at us when we smile at him). There is no recognition in his eyes that he feels loved.

And yet I know (from the fact that my girls LOVE to kiss him and to kiss me and Daddy), that by kissing him now, he will come to know the love behind it.

And that is not to say that I have stopped kissing them now that they are older. My 6yr may not get quite as many kisses as she did when she was a baby, but she gets a plethora of them for sure!!

I am not quite sure why a kiss shows so much love. I am just glad it does because I love kissing my children!!

Also, my dear freind Brenda has broken her foot. She has 8 children and cannot "stay off it for three weeks" as the doctors have told her to. Please take a visit over to her blog and say a prayer for her. THANKS!

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Scrapping We Will Go

Lori, yes I laminate at home. My husband bought a laminator a while back at Joann's for 50% off. SO we only paid $70 instead of $140. You can bind at home too, but I have not bought a biinder yet. I actually got the idea for doing this from my friend Brenda. She prints out her magazines and laminates the front and back covers and then binds them. She bought the binder at SAM's I believe. It is a spiral binding.

Her magazines looked so nice. She also does this with small little booklets. Helps them to hold up longer. She said she also does this with her children's school work for the year. WHAT A GREAT IDEA! (Brenda - you have so many great ideas that you should share on your blog with us all! I am sure there are a hundred more I have never thought of yet or heard you speak of yet! :D )

SO more about Digital Scrapbooking. Firstly, I just printed out my newest layout (Little Prince - link on right hand). The kit is made wit hte freebie "Simplicity" that you can get rom DSP. The little "beloved" charm looks 3-D! It looks so real! Like real metal!! AMAZING! But as you pointed out Lori, you can COMBINE digital and paper scrapping!!

I made a layout for the sonogram of our son. I did not have a scanner to scan in the pictures, so I made the whole layout on the computer, printed it out and put the picture of the sonogram where it belonged.

You can also embelish your layouts with REAL embellishments. Use real stickers. Or real ribbon. Or real metal elements. That would give it the feel and look of real. Lots of people combine the two. (Sorry Lori, you were not the first to think about it, but KUDOS for thinking about it at all!) :D

Another nice thing about digital scrapbooking is you only have to buy one kit and can do a whole album. When I did my Grand Canyon scrapbook, I had never heard of digital scrapbooking. In fact, all our pictures were prints (although we did buy a CD with the pictures on them). It cost a fortune to buy the same sheet 25 times, plus all the stickers, etc. With digital scrapbooking, I could have bought one kit and made 25 pages!!

AS for kits, it is like walking into a scrapbook store that has put together papers and elements and ribbons and all that match and go perfectly together. Here is an example:

I am not sure if you are not a member of DSP if you can click on the image above or not.

This freebie kit comes with three papers, 3 ribbons (one in a bow, one straight and long and one curled one), a staple, screws, 2 tags and more.

This really is as easy as it sounds. NO html required! Just a photo editing program (like Adobe Photoshop) (btw - there are free ones out there, but you are limited with what you are able to do), pictures, and creativity.

You also will want to grab up all those freebies too! There are kits (like above), and ploppers and so much more. Ploppers are a GREAT way to get started because all you have to do it load the .png file for the plopper into your photo editing software, add a picture, and you are done! The plopper has all the papers and elements already placed on it. Here is an example of a plopper:

The pictures are the only thing added! Everything else (the little red brads over the picture, the papers, the "fun" buttons) is all there and waiting for pictures! You don't have to think about design principles because everything is already placed for you. You just need to resize your pictures to fit in the alloted space.

As for me, the creativity and learning HOW to use the program were the hurdles I had to overcome. The more pages I created, the better I became at using the program (there ARE free tutorials at DSP that were of a GREAT help to me in getting started). There is also a class you can take (pay for) at DSP that will help you to better learn how to use your program. The class are good, and the attention you get to help you is invaluable. I have not taken the class because everytime I want to learn how to do something, I just ask my husband (it is like having a live-in instructor!). But I have take nthe class on making your layouts POP and was VERY pleased.

I also joined in a LOT of the challenges. With each challenge I have joined, I have grown in my creativity and knowledge of what makes a good layout. I started out with the monthly sketch contest, and am currently working on the DET Boot Camp Challenge. Both are free to join, you don't have to purchase a kit to participate, and you get lots of CC (contructive criticism) on how to improve. Of course you get TONS of encouragement too. Everyone there is SO NICE!

Holding On

What is your first instinct when you are scared? Mine is to usually run away and hide. Maybe that is because I have a knowledge of good and evil (Adam and Eve hid too, remember?).

I was looking at my son just now. Something really scared him and the first thing he did was reach out his arms and HOLD ONTO me. TIGHT! He is only one month old, and yet his first reaction is to hold on. I wonder when we lose that.

My other children (6yr, 4yr and 3yr) all run and hide now. Maybe they learned that from me.

But I started thinking. When I am scared, I try to run away. Maybe I should try holding on. Holding onto Jesus. And holding on tight.

And I wonder if in some sense we always try to hold onto something when we are scared. It worries me that if I don't train my children to hold onto Jesus now, that when they get older and reach out to hold onto somehting when they are scared, they might just grab a hold of the wrong thing. Evil is always seeking a way to pull us away from Him. Just some thoughts.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

You Can't Go Wrong...

There are very few people who I trust when they recommend a book to me. Most of the time, the book is fluff (or "milk") in order to have a wider reading audience and not to offend anyone. I like books that are meaty and really challenge me in my walk with the Lord.

Enter OreoSouza.

Her latest recommendation is a book I have thought about ordering for my husband (we just had our first son). I have ordered other books she has recommended and have not been steered wrong since! Be sure to look through past entries in her blog for other book recommendations.

And while I have not seen any book recommendations on Brenda's blog, she too is one that I highly trust. I am so thankful to live close enough to be able to borrow a few of them, but most of them I am just gonna HAVE to buy so I have my own copy!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Answering YOUR Questions About Digi Scrapping

WOW! I am so glad to see there is such an interest!!

Hip - I laughed so loud at how proud your ButterBean was to "unstick" all those pages! LOL!! I never even thought of that as just one more benefit to digital scrapbooking!

Paper scrapbooking used to overwhelm me too. I am not sure why digiscrapping relaxes me! Maybe because it is I don't have to try so hard. Especially with all the free kits out there you don't have to worry about getting colors to look good together. Everything that comes together goes together! And there are a LOT of sketches out there (that show you how to place pictures). That is something I am just not good at.

I love being able to resize a picture (something you cannot do without paying for it when you are doing paper scrapping). If you look at my online scrapbook you can see that I rarely use a picture in the size that it normally prints (4x6).

I also like how little time it takes to do a layout now. I can can get several digital layouts done in the time it used to take me to do one.

As I said before, my layouts look 100 times better digital than they ever did on paper. Of course it did take a little while to get there. My first attempts looked pretty much like my paper ones did - AWFUL! But I so wanted to scrap so I would have a memory to pass on with the picture. I look at my moms and grandmother's pictures and even they don't remember who or where about 90% of the pictures.

Another thing I like about digiscrapping is that when I get an idea, I can make a template on the computer and then just plop in the photos. It takes a whole lot less time to crop an image on the computer than to crop one in real life. AND it comes out PERFECT everytime on the computer! LOL! I could never crop perfectly for the life of me! Even with the cutter! AND I can cut into several different shapes WITHOUT having to purchase a hundred different shape cutters!

As for the FEEL, if you were to rub your hands over it, it would feel just like paper. BUT as for the LOOK, there are times I catch myself rubbing my fingers over the ribbon in a layout because it looks 3-D!!
This is an example of a layout that I often do that to:

Click on picture for larger image.

That was made with a freebie kit I got from DSP. It may not look 3-D on the computer, but printed out, those ribbons look like they have texture and feel to them!!

I am not sure it is creating little web pages or little computer pages. It is all one big image made up of little images (pictures that I have taken, papers that someone has made, alphas that someone has made, etc.). All the pages really do look like layouts you would see in a magazine.

One of the great things about digital scrapbooking is you can do a digital layout (something you cannot do with paper). The image above is considered a paper layout. The image below is considered a digital layout:

Click on picture for a larger image.

I do print out my pages. I scrap in 12x12in but because I print my own, I print them out at 8x8. You can also buy a printer that prints 12x12 or send them off to Kinko's or Costco. I did not think I would like the 8x8in size, but I DO!! It is so cute! And it doesn't distract from the page at all. I buy 8x8in albums from JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby when they are having their 50% off sales. I have printed out all of my layouts, and my girls frequently look through them. The smaller 8x8in also is great for smaller hands!

I have even printed out the layouts in 4x4in (that is the great thing about digital scrapbooking, is you can shrink your layout down) and given them to the girls to play with as they wish. You can laminate them and punch a hole in them and put them on a lanyard for them to wear around their neck!

One other great thing about doing your layouts digitally is that you can put them all into a slideshow, add some music and burn it onto a CD or DVD! Makes a GREAT gift!

Well, I hope I answered all your questions. I will be HAPPY to answer any more. As you can tell, this is one of my favorite subjects!

Be sure to check out my online gallery to see samples of what can be done. And while there, take a look around at what others are doing. You will be amazed at what people are doing!! My layouts pale in comparission to most!

Oh yeah, one more thing. When you sign up for membership (FREE) at DSP, you get a free kit. Be sure to sign up for their newsletter. Their newsletter has freebies that you can ONLY GET through the newsletter.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Family Drawing Time

I have been really into crafts lately (trying to find some great things to do for training my daughters to be keepers at home). I came across a GREAT idea of a family drawing time!

I don't know why I never thought of this. I mean, I have always heard of family reading time. And recently I have wanted to start giving the children paper and crayons to color what they are learning/hearing while we are reading (partly so I know that they are listening, and partly to get them in the habit of listening, and partly so that I have some proof for the state of schooling).

How cool is THIS? Backyard camping!!

WOW!! I came across this link for The Great American Backyard Campout! WHAT a fun and easy way to do the camp thing. There are tons of great ideas for backyard camping. I always thought you had to go to the state park to do real camping, but this site helps you have just as much fun in your own back yard! (Which is GREAT for the new momma who does not want to go camping with the new baby and can sleep inside with him and not have to worry about a crying baby upsetting the wonderful nature of the outdoors for others who are camping).

I Forgot!

It amazes me how often my kids "forget" a rule. Everytime I catch them doing something or being somewhere they are not supposed to, I hear the whiny "BUT I FORGOT!"

I recently started being consistant with consequences for actions. Even the little ones that I used to let go or think it was no big deal. How many times I have ____ God's word by thinking "it is no big deal if I do this, it is just a small thing." There are no "little" things to God. His world is full of laws. Black and white. And each time I break one, no matter how small (that little white lie I told to make someone feel better) quenchs the Spirit just a little bit more and more. And because there seems to be no immediate consequences, it becomes easier and easier to "forget" those laws.

So now each and every break of the "laws" that hubby and I have set up (like remembering to close the screen door when going in or outside) have a consequence. Leave the door open, and you must stay inside. I just told them this, and they have come in and out sevreal times, and AMAZING! They remembered to close the screen door!

I cannot wait to apply this to other areas of discipline.

Space is Dark

We had received free tickets to the Museum so Saturday we were off! It was about an hours drive to get there, and we had no idea the parking would be so horrid! But thankfully, God provided a parking space (and in the shade too!!!). We exchanged our vouchers for tickets and walked into the first exhibit - space. There was a simulation of Mars going on (woman in space suit and everything). We sat down and heard her talk for about 2 minutes when the power went out in the entire building!

The space suit was cool because you could see the little lights coming from the space suit to light up wherever she looked. We sat there and just waited for about 5 minutes until we were told to leave the area.

Then we waited in the hall with hundreds of others for about 10 minutes. Then we were told to evacuate the building. That took about 30 minutes (even though we were only 2 minutes from the door). While trying to get out the fire alarms went off. People did start moving a little faster, but not much. So we finally get outside, and 7 fire trucks arrive! WOW!

So they are telling everyone to come back a different day - get your tickets stamped and don't even bother waiting around because who knows when the power will be back on. So we get into our car and have to wait 20 minutes before someone FINALLY lets us out. Rather than waiting in that line, we head the oppostie direction and get out of the parking lot in only 5 minutes (compared to who knows how long it would have taken had we gone the direction everyone else was).

So we goto McDonald's (they have Pirates of The Carribean toys and I just HAD to get my Johnny Depp doll!!) and while there my husband asks the girls what they learned today. He expected an answer having to do with fire trucks or something. EE (4yr) replied "Space is dark." Yep. Space is dark honey.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Right Perspective

SO we are trying really hard to clean up and get the house ready to sell (more on that later), and I want to make sure that all the games and puzzles have all their pieces. I had asked my oldest to put together one of the puzzles and she did and left it out on the table so that as we found pieces we would be able to see that it went with that puzzle.

My 3yr old woke up from her nap and came downstairs while we were cleaning. She proudly handed the puzzle box to me with the puzzle all cleaned up! LOL!

Now, the old me would have said "Oh sweetie! We needed that puzzle out, why did you clean it up?!" But how that would have wounded her spirit! Instead, I said "Oh sweetie, what a great job cleaning up and I didn't even have to ask you to! HIGH FIVE!" (high five's are our way of saying "great job.") She got the biggest grin. And I know that I am encouraging her to clean up.

I read today on one of my new favorite blogs about habits. I love what Lori said about how little "chores" can become habits (like putting things away when we are done with them, wiping the kitchen counter after dinner, etc.). I highly encourage you to read her blog and the links from her page. WELL worth it!

And I encourage you (as the Lord has been growing me and showing me lately) to get a good perspective on things. Remember to look at the positive in the situation! You might just be encouraging a lifelong habit (like seeing something that needs cleaning up and cleaning it up instead of just stepping over it!). LOL!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Digital Scrapbooking

As most of you prolly already know, I am an avid digital scrapbooker! I used to do the paper style, but it was SO EXPENSIVE! And because I did not have a lot of money to spend on stickers and ribbons and paper (OH MY!), my layouts just did not look good.

But with DIGITAL scrapbooking, not only are there TONS of freebies out there, but the kits are really cheap (only $3.99 for papers and ribbons and elements and such). Then you get to REUSE THE KIT! You don't have to worry about buying stickers only for one sticker and having the clutter of keeping all those other stickers just because you paid for them.

You also don't have to worry about leaving everything out because you are in the middle of a layout. You don't have to worry about the kids messing with your papers or worse SCISSORS!

My digital layouts look 100 times better than my paper ever did. Mostly because I have not had to spend a lot of money to make it look that way. And what is great (besides saving a TON of money) is that when it comes to my daughters moving out and wanting some of the pages from my scrapbook, I can just print them out their own copy! So each child can have their own book, with their own pictures AND if a picture has all of them in it, I can print out a copy for each child to put in their own book. My girls LOVE looking through my scrapbook! For Christmas, I am giving each child their own scrapbook with their own pictures! I will print out more layouts for them as I make them and if it gets torn up, NO WORRIES! I can always print out another copy!!

I recently came across this GREAT free link for podcasts on how to digiscrap!

Out of all the places out there that you can subscribe to that are free (as a place to post your layouts, learn about how to make layouts, and get lots of freebies), I must admit that Digital Scrapbook Place is my favorite. WHY? First of all, I notice that there are a LOT of Christians there. They have a faithbook challenge and you can find a LOT of layouts with scripture in them. Secondly, they are all so nice and friendly. VERY quick to respond with an answer and encouragement. Not only that, but they have a TON of FREE tutorials to get you started. They have a "Step-It-Up" gallery where you can post your layout and ask for help on how to make it look better.

Your gallery is free, AND you can set up a PRIVATE album (for FREE), and you can create other albums (for FREE). So much free stuff here it is not even funny! LOL!!

If you join DSP, please do let them know lvg4him referred you. And PLEASE LET ME KNOW your username. Post it here for others to see. The neat thing about DSP is you have your OWN LINK to your gallery. It is your . So be sure to share your LINK to your gallery!! So my gallery is:

You can see it and the updates by clicking on the PICTURES link on the right hand side of my blog.