Monday, December 31, 2007

Oh Where Oh Where Has All My Money Gone, Oh Where Oh Where Can It Be?

Finances are tight. Not just for me, it seems for everyone. Every blog is talking about it.

OK, so that is an exaggeration, and I have told my kids NOT to exaggerate, so I should not either. Not EVERY blog is talking about it. But nonetheless, finances are tight for us, and we are not alone. And that is not an exaggeration.

It is easy to look back and see what we should have been doing. And it is easy, when finances are tight to look ahead at what you need to do. But we were never in either situation. And yet, because we were not prepared, we are in the financial tight spot we are in now.

There is no way to know the future. And we always looked toward a happy future. While we were not rich, we were not poor either. So we spent money we had, not thinking to really save for a future emergency. Soon, we were spending money we did not have, only to pay it off as soon as the paycheck came in. NOT a good habit to get into.

There are so many blessings that have come about as a result of JJ being in the hospital. And one of them being that finances are now tight.

Of course, looking back, if we had saved better, finances would not be so tight right now. But the blessing of this is that NOW, while my beloved is still employed, and while the children are still young to not have developed bad habits based on our bad financial habits.... this has been a wake up call to get our finances in order. And we are able to do so while we have finances coming in, and while they children are able to learn.

SO we are FINALLY watching Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (can you believe we have had a copy for TWO YEARS and have not watched it until now?!?!). And one thing that we really knew, but weren't really applying, was to SAVE UP for the things you want to purchase. So even with all these AMAZING after Christmas sales, we will just have to save up and buy it NEXT year during the after Christmas sales. It is really hard. Especially when you find something that had been stashed away and now is brought out at the time everything is 75% off, and you know it is a good item that everyone grabbed up at 50% off.


How can I expect my kids to be disciplined in the area of money in the future if they are not seeing their mom and dad disciplined in the area of money? How can I expect them to have delayed gratification, if we as parents are buying everything at our heart's desire?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Time Is Here....

God totally amazes me sometimes. I was in need of more Elecare for JJ. As I have mentioned before, it is his main calorie and protein source. But it comes at a high price (about $5 a drink, 4 times a day). Of course when it comes to the health of your child, no cost is too high. But still, if there is a way to get what your child needs and not have to pay such a high cost, then ... well, as Martha Stewart would say ... it is a good thing.

I am not sure why or how it happened, but the doctor's office called today, just as we are finishing up our last can. They were just given a case of Elecare and want to give it to me.

There are those times these past few weeks where I have felt under attack. I have not shared yet because it has been a very emotional ride and also really caused me to really look at myself...where I am and where I know I should be. Where God would have me be.

But for now, I know that I need to spend this time with my family. So no posts for a week. My husband has been forced to take time off, and with Christmas right around the corner, we will be enjoying time as a family. Tomorrow (with the frigid cold outside) will be spent indoors baking lots of cookies and drinking lots of tea and hot cocoa! :) And of course plenty of time reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas.

Remember that Jesus is the reason for ... well ... for everything. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday Link Up: Morning Ramble

I have found another blog that is a must read. Morning Ramble is a blog that will really touch your heart. It has great posts that are truthful and edifying. AND she is vegan too (or at least does vegan baking/cooking). She has a GREAT beauty and dress tips post. And she has two wonderful posts perfect for this time of year about greed and going back to the true spirit of giving.

Sorry this is so short today, but I guarantee it is a good one and will keep you busy. The direct links above are to some of her more recent articles I found of wonderful interest!

It hurts to type. I am not sure if I broke my arm or just sprained every ligament in it. Thankfully it is my left arm. Got some WONDERFUL advice from Well Tell Me. Usually everything is already answered and I just have to search. Rarely do I have to ask. :) Heading out to get some comfry root right now. Thanks for your prayers!


Just checked Annie's Attic Free Pattern and today's is a GOOD ONE! Little stockings that would make the cutest garland for your tree or your hearth!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Beware of Shopping Carts!

Oh how I love my children! There are times when they can be disobedient and fighting with each other. But other times, the ones I choose to remember, are filled with laughing and love and kindness.

EE is my sweet and sensitive one, always so thoughtful and giving. She has already decided that she is going to teach foreign countries about Jesus! WOW!

The other day while we were shopping, JJ was in the front of the cart, where it is supposed to be safe, right? I remember reading just the other day about how unsafe carts were. "many shopping carts are designed with a high center of gravity, making them prone to tipping over even when children are properly placed in the seating area".

I remember thinking how absurd! I have been putting my child in there for over 7 years (well, not the same child, but always a child for the past seven years). So I quickly put away the article and went on my day.

Well, we are in the checkout line and I have JJ in the cart (not in the back where the cart pictures tell me it is dangerous, but right there where the cart tells me to put him). Low and behold the cart tips over!!! I had not buckled JJ in (because I had put a floppy seat there and you cannot use the cart buckle with those seat covers).

Anyways, I did not hear a cry! I looked down and THERE WAS EE! She was lying down on the floor. The cart and fallen on top of her (no she had not been standing on the cart, just happened to be in front of the cart entertaining JJ while I was checking out). Her hands were wrapped around JJ. Even SHE was not crying or screaming!

I had always heard of stories of other families where their children were selfless. They would put themselves in harms way to protect a younger sibling. I had told my children these stories in hopes that they would learn to serve their siblings, even if it meant them getting hurt.

Little did I know that I would have my own story to tell.

EE is fine. Her back hurts (it took the blow to the floor instead of her head). And because she stayed calm, JJ stayed calm. He is 18 months now and probably thought it was fun. Silly boy!

I no longer put my children in the cart where it tells me to. I will have to find a sling or remember his shoes and just walk VERY SLOWLY everywhere. :) I wish I could remember where I read that article. I wish I had been more open to it and seeked God about it. God might have put that article in my path to warn me. And I missed it in my own pride. For now on, I will seek God about His truth regarding articles I read.

I will continue to tell the stories of other brave children who were selfless and helped their sibling in spite of danger to themselves. But now, I will add the story of EE, who selflessly helped her baby brother and may have saved his life. And how God saved them both.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saturday Sweethearts: Meeting Needs

I went into the trunk the other day and saw a small container of salt for the road. You see, we live in a state where it gets very cold and sometimes we get a lot of snow and ice. The main roads are always cleared pretty quickly, but sometimes it can take weeks for them to get to all the parking lots and side streets.

My husband was thinking ahead. He was thinking of a future need I might have, and then he met it. Should I get stuck in the parking lot after taking JJ to one of his appointments, I will have ice to pour behind the tires to melt enough snow that I can safely back up and get back home.

This really encouraged me to try to think ahead for my husband. What is something I can provide for a need he has? This is something that I need to pray about. I am not as good about this as he is.

So may I encourage you to pray this week and see if there is a possible upcoming need in your husband's life that you can meet.

Remember, THESE ARE IDEAS FOR YOU (not your husband). YOU are to romance your husband! I was inspired to do these Saturday Sweethearts based on a book called Romancing Your Husband by Debra White Smith. PLEASE get a hold of this book and read it. It is a really good book and will really change your life. :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday's Fun: What Is It?

This game would be a lot of fun at a Christmas party!

Pair up players. Players sit back to back. One player pulls something out of a bag and tries to describe it. The player sitting back to him tries to draw it. When all the pictures are finished, everyone tries to guess what they are and match them to the real objects. To play this at a Christmas party, it would be fun to pull the items out of a stocking.

This is also GREAT for homeschooling! (Yes, I do try to find a way to relate every day life to homeschooling!) :D It is a great way for children to use descriptive words and adjectives to describe an object. It is also good for critical thinking. Instead of describing the object, describe how you would use it/what you would do with it. :D

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More Ravelry and Pillowcase FUN!!

SO, I am so loving Ravelry! I just joined a group called Sew Obssesed and am really enjoying it! Someone mentioned "pillowcase dolls" and how Little House on the Prairie they were.

WELL ENOUGH SAID! LOL! I just HAD to google it! Which explains some of my absence yesterday. :D

Here are some links I found.

There are some BEAUTIFUL pillowcase dolls for sale by CAB Creek Crafts of Michigan

You can buy a pattern to make one yourself.

Here are free online directions to make your own pillowcase doll.


Just a note about Ravelry. They are in beta right now, so in order to avoid an overload while they create this, you have to be put on a waiting list. PLEASE be patient. I think I waited something like 2 or 3 months (maybe longer, I did not keep track because, well, I was patient LOL!) :D But get on the waiting list now! It is SO WORTH the wait!!! :D :D :D

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday Link Up - More and More Christmas!

LOTS of stuff today. I thought about not sharing it all at once and sharing some next week, but Proverbs 3:27 reminded me other wise. :)

Free Christmas notebook pages! Even if you don't homeschool, grab it! :)

Annie's Attic has a Daily Free Pattern! TODAY IS PEPPERMINT CANDY COASTERS! TOO CUTE! Grab it today because it changes daily!

Meredith shared a blog that needs to be in everyone's feed reader! Recently she shared about Christmas.
Christmas Open House Part One
Christmas Open House Part Two
Thanks Meredith!!!

What a great idea! My daughters LOVE to write letters (or at least draw/write - we are still working on the Writing part of the 3 R's). Someone has put up a free printable self-mailing notecard. Please forgive me for not remembering what blog I saw this mentioned on. If it was you, please comment so you get the HT! :) Thanks!

THIS IS SO GREAT!!! With all the recalls on toys, why not crochet your food for those pretend tea parties!!! Pondered In My Heart has the most adorable crocheted pastires! She also has a link to other patterns to crochet food! And check out the eggs and bacon on this one! HOW FUN!!!! This is also GREAT for the pretend kitchen your daughter has! :)
HT: Threads of Love

Monday, December 10, 2007

Any TRUTH to this?? How to sort historical fact from fiction?

I have always heard that the tradition of the Christmas tree was pagan and in fact, celebrating Christmas was pagan.

I am NOT trying to start a debate here (just for those of you who are curious we do celebrate Christmas and do have a tree). But I received the following in my mailbox today and am curious just how true it might be.

Martin Luther is said to have had the first Christmas tree. He supposedly cut down a fir from a local forest and placed it in his home for his family to enjoy. He was so taken by the beautiful, dark night with snow reflecting starlight through the trees. He wanted to share it with his wife and children as a way to celebrate the birth of Christ. Once he brought it home, he decorated the tree with small, lit candles to represent the stars. After that, people began to follow his example and it wasn't long before other decorations, such as strings of popcorn, apples, and bits of colored paper were added.

Anyone know how to check the validity of this statement? With so much re-writing of history (not only in America, but it seems all of history is being rewritten), how can one sort historical fact from fiction? I grew up believing everything you were taught in school is truth and not to be questioned (but then again, that is the purpose of public school isn't it?). But after becoming a Christian and learning about the re-writing of a lot of historical facts, I have no idea where to begin to know fact from fiction.

Thanks for ANY help on this!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Saturday Sweethearts: OUR Night

The other night my husband came up with a MOST ROMANTIC idea, and I just had to share it.

He thought how fun it would be to have an OUR Night date.
I posted some of the questions we came up with. If you come up with more PLEASE leave them in the comment section. I also answered them for us.

What is your song? Fields of Gold.
Food? Cheese-sticks.
What is your color? Purple.
Flower? Rose
Game? Air Hockey and Scrabble.

So this can easily be done at home to save money. Grab the CD with your song on it. Spread out a blanket on the floor. Make sure to have your game set up (if I wanted to do the Air Hockey I would plan a night out, but with finances being tight, I could set up a fake air hockey table with a cotton ball and two straws, but I would just do scrabble to save time and money). :) I would try to wear something with our color on it, and maybe encourage him to wear something with our color on it to work, so when he comes home, he comes home to the romantic set up. The kids would already be in bed (nice thing about young kids). I would have some roses in a vase or rose petals strew on the blanket, and cheese sticks cooking in the oven.

Recipe for cheese sticks:
Pizza crust (either hand made or store bought). Slather with olive oil. Add spices (we like to add garlic granules, onion granules, and basil. I want to try this with FRESH garlic!! OOOOOhhhh! Maybe not. He might not want to kiss afterwards. LOL!!!! Fresh garlic is not so great for a romantic evening.) Slather with shredded cheese (we like to use Mozzarella, but you can use any combo).

Play your game, dance to your song and eat your food. Reminensse about all that makes you YOU as a couple.

Remember, THESE ARE IDEAS FOR YOU (not your husband). YOU are to romance your husband! I was inspired to do these Saturday Sweethearts based on a book called Romancing Your Husband by Debra White Smith. PLEASE get a hold of this book and read it. It is a really good book and will really change your life. :)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Friday's Fun: Dough Ornaments/Cross Necklaces

These are so fun and so easy. And no need to worry about a recall on them (did you see the recent recall on cross necklaces? YIKES!)

DOUGH ART CROSSES/ORNAMENTS (perfect to help keep the house warm! LOL!)
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cups water.

Knead dough for five minutes, after which it will be ready for shaping.
Shape dough into 2" high crosses or other shape (for ornament).
Punch a hole for a cord.
Place shaped dough on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 3 hours at 350F, turn off oven and allow to cool overnight.
Next day, you can paint your crosses.Use one color at a time and allow to dry before using the next color so that colors do not run together.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

America Has Settled For Mediocrity

America has lost it's creativity. We have settled for fast, fun and cheap. I love the old movies where the actors really had to have talent (I doubt we will ever have another Fred Astaire or Bing Crosby). And the actors back then had to think on their feet. They had to be more than someone who could act. In addition to acting, most had to sing, dance, be a comedian...the list goes on.

And I have noticed this with our crafts lately as well. I mean, you goto any craft store and THINK you see cute stuff. But most of it really is cheap. I think that is why there has been a HUGE surge in Japanese crafting lately. I mean check out adorable pot holder! You would be hard pressed to find something like that in America.

I must admit that I have jumped on the Japanese craft band wagon. It started about a year ago. I have kept it a secret because, well, those books cost a pretty penny (at least to me where I get most of my books for free on Paperback Swap).

I spend way too much time looking at blogs where people have talked about what they made or what new book they found. I have been wanting a Japanese craft book for over a year!

And the other day God blessed me with one!!!! I am not sure what the title is, but it is part of the petit boutique series. Isn't it adorable?!?! ISBN 4939459800465

It was at the local Goodwill, just SITTING there! At first, I thought I must be seeing things. There is no way someone would get rid of something so valuable! I truly hope that the person who got rid of it meant to and it was not accidentally shoved in during a major declutter. I have been known to do that. I snatched it up (for less than $1) and spent all evening looking over every single page. I love it!!! Just look at all these goodies!

Apron Swap - Pics

I got my apron from the apron swap the other day.
You can see what my partner made here. I LOVE THIS APRON! It is so neat, I have never seen one like it before! The ties are one long string that goes around the neck, which allows you to lower or raise the body of the apron as needed! This proved useful when AA (almost 8yr) claimed the apron as her own (not really, but she admired it so, how could I refuse?).

And what an extra little surprise awaited me inside the pocket? One of her handmade dishcloths. I LOVE IT! It is so beautiful. Too bad JJ claimed it as his own (and that one I did fight for). He cuddles it like it is his security blanket and enjoys playing peek a boo with it.

So here is a sneak peak of what I made her. I used a vintage apron pattern (it was a remake, not actually vintage). I searched on Ravelry (my username is lvg4him in case you are on there). Anyways, I have always wanted to make an apron with a handy dishcloth available. ready to take off and use to wipe those messes up or to do dishes. I found the PREFECT PATTERN for this! I must admit that this was the strangest pattern I have ever followed. But the tutorial made it easy to do, and once you figured out the pattern, it works up fast and easy - no need to even look at the patterns anymore! :) And because of the big hole at the top, it worked PERFECTLY to be able to attach to the apron!

Here are some pics. Her kitchen colors are yellow and white. And with the yo-yo kick I am on, I had to add a dash of color with yo-yo's in the lower left hand corner. It is only a half apron (perfect for when you are entertaining) and I made it in a dark denim (to go with most anything she wears). Then of course the dishcloth had to be white and yellow to match the kitchen! The lightening on the pictures are HORRIBLE. The only thing true to color are the yo-yo's and dishcloth. Everything else is too bright or too dark. SORRY! :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tuesday Link Up - More Christmas Fun!

I have been a fan of Junie Moon's for a while now. Currently, she is going through a different kind of Christmas countdown. I love reading each day's advice and seeing how she plans to implement it! Day 3 and my recent Saturday's Sweetheart go hand in hand! Perfect timing! Jump on the bandwagon now!

And this wonderful idea to use up your old greeting cards that you get at Christmas!

Check out this ADORABLE advent idea from Martha Stewart!
HT: Sunshines Creations

Monday, December 3, 2007

Buy Handmade

Check out THIS ADORABLE craft kit I just got for AA! I LOVE this shop! It is called fritzbits and I cannot wait to see what other kits she creates. I don't know fritzbits, and this is my first order from her. I get nothing for mentioning her, I just thought it was a great gift idea for the daughter that loves to create from bits! :) I will let you know when it arrives and how it arrived and all when it gets here.

There is a pledge going on around the blogs to buy handmade this year. Especially with all the recalls and lead paint and all. May I encourage you, even if you are making all your gifts this year to buy at least one handmade item. The great things about fritzbits is that you are buying handmade and what you get you can make more handmade items! :)

And don't forget on the left hand sidebar of this blog is a listing of some of the items in my store. Click on a picture to take you to the item, or click on the link to get to my shop. And thank you for your support! :)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Saturday Sweethearts: Christmas Love

It has been a while since I did a Saturday Sweethearts. For more ideas, check out the ROMANCE tab on the left hand side bar.


I hung up mistletoe all over the house. Over the doorway. Over the shower. Over the place where you stand to cook. Over the couch. Every time my husband would stand under the mistletoe I would kiss him.

I just wanted to love on my husband and be silly with him.

Sneaky. I put them up while he was at work, and he had no idea why I was following him around and kissing him so much. It didn't take long for him to notice the mistletoe on the ceiling.

I cannot remember any real obstacles. This happened during our first Christmas as husband and wife (almost 11 years ago now).

He wasn't as pleased as I had hoped he would be. And he rarely kissed me when I was under the mistletoe unless I made a big deal about it "Look where I am honey!"

I cannot think of something I could have done differently to make him enjoy this more. I thought it was a great idea.

I used green construction paper and cut out mistletoe. Then I taped it to the ceiling. Did not take much money or time.

Remember, THESE ARE IDEAS FOR YOU (not your husband). YOU are to romance your husband! I was inspired to do these Saturday Sweethearts based on a book called Romancing Your Husband by Debra White Smith. PLEASE get a hold of this book and read it. It is a really good book and will really change your life. :)