Saturday, December 31

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!

This message is one I can’t repeat enough.

Choose to bring in this New Year with a blast but please do it responsibly!

You never know whose life you will save!

I hope you all have grown a bunch over the last year and plan to use your new knowledge to make yourself another great year!

Mistakes and all, bumps and all...they help us grow into who we are meant to be!

Cheers to a New Year!!!!

Saturday, December 24

Merry Christmas!

Enjoy being with your loved ones!

Soak it all thankful for the little things.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22

puppets, the circus and dancing

I am sewing little, animal hand puppets right now. I have never sewn a puppet before in my life. I am not sure why I thought it was a good idea, on December 22nd, to “whip up a couple puppets” for the nieces and nephews. They are turning out really cute and challenging my beginner sewing skills at the same time so it is a win–win.


Both little boys are sick and I am not feeling very jolly myself. My house seems to shrink each day I stay indoors tending to their hot-as-lava fevers. We did get out for a bit today to the lovely pediatricians office to test the boys for Strep. The waiting room….I am not joking…was standing room only. I literally felt like I was in a crazy, clown car at the circus. People were trying to push their way in as others were spilling out. I know I heard clown music somewhere off in the distance.

We were squished in there like sardines: sick, hacking sardines. I waited over an hour in the circus/sardine waiting room, all the while trying to hush my kid’s awful hacking and micro-managing where their fingers were landing. Between the anti-bacterial, hand wipes and the I Spy books, we made it out of the waiting room half-alive….only to find out that we won’t have any hard results back for the Strep test until Tuesday. Somehow that doesn’t help me over Christmas.

Joy in times of trials is a mysterious dance that doesn’t have exact steps.
Some days the dance goes well and other days I trip over myself.
What helps me the best is to keep looking up, not down at my feet/circumstances but off in the distance:
the backdrop.
Through faith, I believe the backdrop of my life is Eternity.

When I realize that a trial,
no matter how painful,
no matter how long,
no matter how completely exhausting...

is temporary,
is what God has allowed for me,
is what He is sending me along with His strength,
the joy returns.

The dance slowly becomes easier.
I resist less, let go and begin to follow.

There are others that do the dance better.
I watch them and learn.
They have danced the dance much longer than me and some of their trials, to me, seem unbearable.
And yet, there they are…dancing…one step at a time: crying…one, two, three…praying…four, five, six…trusting…seven, eight, nine…

So jolly or not, sick little boys or not, exhausted or not….I am going to put on some music and dance.

my mother going to a dance

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas/Holiday. I will post our family Christmas photo sometime over the weekend.

Wednesday, December 14

Slow down…focus…breathe

“Breathe…stay calm….relax…”

I have quietly repeated this to myself over the last week. I was sick over the weekend and now I am trying to play catch-up. I was a bit behind before I got sick. So, I am making some adjustments to get through the laundry, phone calls, lists, errands, baking and so forth.
So far, I have added more caffeine, cut out an hour of sleep a night, said, “no,” to some people (sorry), delegated and let my kids watch an extra show (or two, gulp!). It seems to be working. I am making baby steps in catching up.

The kids and I decorated the inside of the house for Christmas and my husband and the kids hung up lights outside. Some of the decorations are old….

and some have been added recently…

I like hearing the kids saying, “Oh, I remember this!” as they scamper to hang the decorations in some oddly placed fashion always below eye level. I don’t mind. My two youngest are little. They are healthy and energetic and enjoy helping me decorate. My oldest is busy with college, work, church and giving back to others what he has learned.

What is there to fuss about, really?

‘That the Christmas Nutcracker should really be placed up here’ or complain ‘That I would much rather have the pretty, white lights gracing our house.’

Isn’t it all just fluff when you stop and think about what is really important?

I know of two women that are currently passing away. They are leaving behind spouses, children, grandchildren and many loved ones. Many are lifting them up in prayers.

- Who cares about a Christmas Nutcracker? -

I think of my friend, Jeannette, who has buried a husband and two of her four children. She lost her last one just this past January. She is facing this Christmas with fresh pain but not without hope. The hope that is sometimes lost in the decorations, the lists and the stress of this time of year.

And that is the hope of Jesus Christ.

This hope keeps me going through some of the toughest times I have ever faced. If you are overwhelmed, facing difficulties, illness, loss or recovering from a stapled finger (wink, wink), I encourage you not to lose hope but search for it. You don’t even have to move away from your computer screen. Just click here or read below.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2

So please forget about the “Perfect” Christmas/gift/house/dinner/decorations/cookies/music/candles/card/wrapping paper/outfit/kids/impressions and enjoy the fact that you are alive at this moment, enjoy those who you are with, be kind and patient and be thankful for what you have.

Enjoy the little things.

They are so more important then all the fussing.

Don’t lose focus on the reason we celebrate; true Joy, true Hope!

So, I smile when I pull in the driveway and see my colorful bulbs clinging to the side of the house. It means I have a husband who cares enough to help and build memories with our boys and that we have electricity! I smile when I walk down the hallway and notice a tiny Christmas decoration way out of site because I know it was carefully placed by little, helpful hands that grow up so fast. Too soon, those hands will be asking for the car keys, and one day they might carefully place a ring on a woman’s finger.

But for now,
I stop and smile.

I am thankful to be alive and blessed with so much love and hope.

“Honey, you can put the Christmas Nutcracker anywhere you like! Yes, it looks perfect right there next to the recycling!”

Wednesday, November 30

The Library Phantom returns…

I love this story.

A little magic, a little mystery, and a smile for all.

A small tribute to the wonder of books and to the libraries around the world.


And do you remember this book a while back?

A Treasure's Trove: A Fairy Tale about Real Treasure for Parents and Children of All Ages

crochet...Kipper...and a fever

The youngest fell sick today with a fever. So as we read books, rested and watched some Kipper videos I did a bit of crocheting. In my imaginary spare time, I have been learning some basic crochet techniques. Art of crochet by Teresa has some very good tutorial videos. She explains what she is doing, what size hook she is using and then shows the technique in slow motion. I like learning this way. I am thinking of crocheting a blanket out of extra yarn that I have been given and some that I have had around the house for a while. I have been inspired by this blanket.

source: lemondedesucrette

No, my blanket will not look like this. I have three boys. Nothing in the house stays white for very long. If I follow through with the blanket idea, it will have a darker border. We’ll see. So far, I have learned to do a flower, a granny square and a basket weave.

My six-year-old showed interest two weeks ago and has crocheted two rows with help. And today, my eight-year-old asked if I could teach him to crochet so he can make a blanket for his stuffed monkey. He is making progress with a rainbow design with some help too. If my little boys can do it...then you can too! If you are interested check out Teresa's videos!

Monday, November 28

DIY Advent calendar

If you still haven’t bought/made an Advent calendar and you need a little inspiration, check out the following links.

This lovely link is my post inspired by a peek inside the fishbowl! I customized my envelopes to fit our crazy December schedule last year! It was fun! It worked for us! And I am doing it again!

For a cute, free, printable set, check out mrprintables idea!

If you don’t have time to make one, swing over to Etsy and buy this adorable Advent banner with little gifts inside created by GraySparrow!

This adorable felt calendar over at the Purl bee is cute too! Love the Colors!

And Family Fun Magazine has an easy but cute way of counting down the days! Lots of little green trees!

Have fun!

I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

I’ll post some pictures from our weekend tomorrow!

Thursday, November 24

being thankful

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

For those of you who have lost loved ones, I pray that you will remain strong and focus on the positive things that person taught you and try to emulate their best qualities.

To those of you who have loved ones away from home, serving our great country, I say thank you for your incredible sacrifice. I pray too that you would remain strong, ask for support when you need it and find creative ways to stay focused on the tasks at hand.

Ultimately, I have so much to be thankful for, I could write a book. But mostly, I am thankful for a God who loves me and brings me true joy and hope. (Notice that I did not say happiness) For me that is the only reason to wake up in the mornings, kiss my three boys, endure incredible hardships, to forgive myself and others and…….notice and appreciate the little things!

I would encourage you to think of one person to call to encourage today or even to drop off some pumpkin bread.

One small act of kindness has an amazing impact.

Not only on the person receiving but the one giving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22

a cave and a swing

As the cold settles into November and the sun slips out of sight earlier and earlier each evening, I begin to wander and search for a cave like a fluffy, little bear. The cold makes me desperately want to hibernate. Around two o’clock, I want nothing more than to take a nap and snuggle deep under covers in a dark, quiet room, for a long, long time.

Alas, at two o’clock, I have, what seems to be – two “spring chickens” hatching and flapping their wings, hunting for ways to burn off energy.

So, I bought a swing.

A swing for inside.

I know…inside?

We are fortunate enough to have a basement and I have had my eye on this IKEA swing for several years.
I finally bought one and attached it to the steel I-beam in the basement.

The boys love it. The cousins love it. My kitchen floor loves it. I love it! After a full week my husband loves it!

Now, on a rainy day, the little ones can burn off that energy constructively.

It is nice to hear them laugh and giggle downstairs and negotiate whose turn it is and how many minutes they get this time.
They have of course come up with one safe game – throw the “yarn sea urchin” at the person on the swing. And because they are boys; the unsafe game – throw-the-cool-paper-airplane-that-‘only-Grandpa-can-make’ at the person on the swing.
What is the saying…."It’s only fun and games until someone loses an eye!" well, I’ll keep you posted.

And I will leave you with a song my mother used to sing to me when she pushed me on a swing.

A swing, a swing is the best of fun,
For taking a ride in the sky.

You need no engine for a ride,
Just give a push and away you go,

Look out below,
Away you go,
You’re taking a ride in the sky.

I still sing it to my boys!

Now for that cave…..

my spring chickens

my grandmother and her pet bear

Tuesday, November 15


things I am enjoying right now:

crocheting warm, fuzzy things to keep my family warm and toasty
walks in the woods with my boys
the smell of Fall
pink cheeks
cozy sweaters
leaves changing colors
crunchy leaves under my feet (outside)
not being sick
my six-year-olds excitement over his first loose tooth
looking forward to Thanksgiving
baking cookies with the boys
flowers from my man.....xoxo
watching my oldest son pass along to others things he has learned

things I am not enjoying right now:

earlier sunsets
cold settling through the house in the evening
wanting to start a hundred projects at the same time
little boys red, chapped lips
the Mt. Vesuvius pile of coats/hats/mismatched gloves/scarves that grows daily
38 new whistling NERF-gun bullets lying around the house (thanks, honey)


Some random pictures of stuff we have been doing…

(this button is a tiny snapshot of a future post)

I love this sign!


and a random post...

Thursday, November 10

a quicky

This has been my quicky-breakfast this week:

plain bagel,

pumpkin cream cheese,

topped with almonds.


I know it is not the healthiest breakfast
but it is better then reaching into this 'evil' bowl.

Sunday, October 30

cute Halloween decorations

I didn’t grow up celebrating Halloween so I am always caught off guard as far when and what to put up around this time of year.

On the other hand, my husband grew up very involved in the Halloween festivities. His father worked actively in an organization that raised money for Special Olympics. Their most popular fundraiser was designing, building, and running a haunted house that drew thousands of people and thus raised a lot of money for a very special cause. My husband talks about going to the haunted house as a young boy, years later - helping to build sets and then when he was old enough, acting in some of the rooms. It is more nostalgia for him then for me, so we compromise.

As a mother of young boys, I am also sensitive about what images I want displayed in my house. Most of the Halloween decorations available in stores are either too expensive or too gory.

So I came up with my own Halloween decorations/crafts that won’t wake my kids up in the middle of the night and it can save a little money too.

I made this owl out of brown, black, white and orange construction paper I had in the art supply area. I love his cute little eyes.

I also made a brown branch for him where he can keep an eye on things!

He’s a real hoot!


I love cats. I actually really want a cat of my own, and I can’t (one family member has asthma). I tend to improvise when I can.

So, I decided to make a cute, black, paper cat of my own. I drew an idea of the kind of shape and expression I wanted of the cat. When I got as close as I could to the idea, I put some black card stock paper underneath and traced it again really hard with a pen.

This left an imprint on the black paper which I cut out with scissors and then the eyes/mouth with an X-Acto knife.

Green tissue paper was perfect for the eyes as it let some light come through.

I just glued them on the back.

I think my little black cat is purrrrfect!


These little, black bats are so cute you might be tempted to take one home. I cut them out of black poster board and then traced them with a white colored pencil.

The eyes were easy to make with a hole puncher.

I was happy I finally found a reason to use the patient, white colored pencils that never get used.

These bats look great on windows or hanging from a ceiling!


I like to set out battery-operated candles on our ledges so I made this little owl cover for one. I folded brown construction paper in half and then in half again, drew a little owl and then cut it out.

I used the hole puncher for it’s eyes too!

After I unfolded it, I added more details, then taped the two ends together and dropped a little, battery-operated candle inside.


I wanted to do a simple Halloween craft with the kids using things I already had around the house. I pulled out some Styrofoam egg cartons, toothpicks, an inkpad and a clear stamp block. They drew some pictures on the Styrofoam and then we cut out the shapes. We taped them onto the clear stamp block and pressed them on the ink pad and then on paper. They turned out really cute.

The boys really liked making ‘their own stamps’. After they skipped away from the table I tried the same technique but on craft foam. They turned out much clearer. Here are the ones with the craft foam.

(Please notice the one nail I got painted that day!)

Here is a darling mummy craft I did last year with the boys using string and popsicle sticks.

Enjoy and have fun!