Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Sweet Birthday Surprise


My super thoughtful 6-year-old has been planning Daddy’s birthday celebration since July (his birthday is in December). Painstakingly thinking through each scenario to bring together the best ever combination of Daddy’s favorites—Chili’s and bowling. Never mind that in the nearly 16 years we have been together, my husband has been bowling a handful of times and never seemed overly enthusiastic about it. Although, we do like Chili’s or “Pepper’s” as she calls it but it is pretty much another chain restaurant, give me Akin’s any day. However, she talked about this and held secret planning meetings to ensure that everyone would be in the right place at the right time for months. She insisted that it only be our family that lives in our house, because it would be easier. In the early planning stages this also meant the cat was coming along. Eventually we convinced her that Harper(the cat) would probably get car sick and he would have to celebrate Daddy’s birthday privately. Finally, the time arrived! Of course, Daddy already knew what was happening but tried not to let on. We started on our way, a quick 45 minute drive, when 15 miles down the road I realize I left my coupon at home! I love my coupons, and this was going to save us 20 bucks! So, I slyly turn around and make up an excuse to the kids, because Daddy knew what had happened; run in, find my coupon,  it was not good after 4pm—always read the fine print. Now we start on our way again—quick stop at the vet, Tractor Supply, and a quick meal, Ta-Da and we reach our birthday destination. “SURPRISE” In the end, we had a blast and made some fun memories from Daddy’s 30-something birthday.








Happy Birthday Daddy!

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful. I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

All I really want for Christmas…

This year was the first year I honestly said, “All I really want for Christmas is for everyone else to be happy.” I guess I am getting old. I tried hard to think of some little trinket that I would never buy myself, but came up with nothing! Don’t get me wrong, I love the gifts that I received. The beautiful wall hanging that my mom gave me, the island project that my wonderful husband has began for my kitchen (notice I said project), the cash but I am so pleased that God blessed us with no catastrophes, sicknesses, family feuds, or hurt feelings, that was what I really wanted.  Even with an extra 5 house guests we had no drama, no stress over endless meal preparation, no wrapping dilemmas, no dead pets, no broken appliances, and everyone was where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there —and that was just what I needed. I will note that I found the kids playing with their stockings at 1am and had to shoo them back to bed, but that was just funny.  Now I as I am typing this my entire family is sleeping peacefully with the windows open to let in the beautiful (slightly cool) breeze.  Thank you Jesus and thank you honey for the island project, I know next to peace and happiness it was just what I wanted, and it will be finished…soon?


Finally baking Christmas cookies, on Christmas Eve (I really do need an island, especially for these projects)


I love that he still plays with real toys


She wasn’t near as excited, as I was about my learning how to fishbone braid (thank you Chloe!)


Ready for bed!


Let the madness begin!


How much stuff can you fit into one room?


All cleaned up and ready for church (I fixed that bow, once I noticed)


bike riding, maybe she’ll get it this time


We finally got to work on the ginger bread house (the day after Christmas!)


…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6

Saturday, December 24, 2011

…all snug in their beds (by 8:30)

Merry Christmas!

Notice the new kitten, thank you Pappa and Nanni
Yes, he’s on the floor, by choice with at least 50 blankets

My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…Luke 1:46b-47

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cinderella and friends!

I had the amazing opportunity to spend the day with my daughter at the Cinderella Ballet at the Phillips Center on Saturday. She has taken dance for several years now and each year we try to attend a ballet. Last year was the Nutcracker—amazing. This year Cinderella was even better! Cinderella (the princess) has always been her favorite, and my mom and I kept this a surprise for several weeks. When we got there she was so excited and when she saw her little buddy, she was even more so. Sharing this event with a friend made it all the more special. We will definitely make this a yearly tradition.


Our pre-surprise kunch at her “favorite” restaurant--not so much mine, but it was her day, right?


Two excited girls, we were right in front to get a great seat


studying the programs , which we have done every night since


I wish I had better pictures, but I only brought my little camera!


2 1/2 hours in… She got really mad because she said she missed the best part!


The fairy god-mother


Spring fairy-that helped Cinderella along


another amazing dancer


she was a little wary of the step-sister, but look at that make-up!


and no trip to the Phillips Center is complete without a “wish”

It was freezing and raining—but she insisted!

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to You and not be silent. O, Lord my God I will give you thanks forever.

Psalms 30:11-12

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Perfect Christmas Tree (for us)…

I love Christmas trees! I love the idea, the smell, the excitement of something new, and interesting in my house. I love the beautifully adorned, the positively crafty, and the skillfully simple trees that I see everywhere from window displays, to blog-land. For our house however, nothing beats chopping down our own Florida grown sand-pine at Nielson’s Christmas Tree Farm. We have visited Nielson’s every year since the kids were quite small and it is so much fun! Our tree is not exceptional by popular standards but the kids pick it out, my husband cuts it down, we haul it home and up it goes (and occasionally down, as was the case last year). It is decorated with hand-made ornaments and ornaments the kids have collected as gifts since birth and the only theme is “it’s for the kids”. I have several toppers and they pick each year. I admit they picked my least favorite this year but they love it and it was a gift (the giver will remain anonymous)! We enjoy the tradition of it, the family time and the creativity involved. So, while I do enjoy the magnificently put-together and cleverly themed trees—ours is the perfect tree for us.


stopping to pose with the local art



Ansley’s first pick-thank goodness her brother did not agree



the boy and his cart



they thought they could fool Nanni with this picture of the “real” deer



the eventual pick (1 hour into our search)



loading it up



Good thing they didn’t pick the 8 footer like last year



let the decorating begin



ok, so now I can see just how crooked it is!



these limbs later bent from the weight of too much stuff and it all came tumbling down—but we fixed it!




the finished work of art (notice my reading advent basket)


If I ever get around to making a new garland, it will be complete. As I hinted before, our tree fell many times last year and the garland did not survive! That’s why this year we did this-- a screw, some fishing line, and ta-da!


Yes, it’s a little hillbilly—no offense—but it works for us! Thank you Nielson’s for a fun Christmas tradition!


Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy, they will sing before the Lord, for He comes… Psalm 95:12-13a

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mugshot Mondays...

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We were working on our science fair project on mosquito repellent—Can you see what he sees??

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Reading Advent


I saw this awesome idea over at Reading Confetti where the super talented Lorie was instituting a reading advent with her kids using various Christmas books and a fun craft attached for each day. I of course, with no real ideas of my own but a knack for incorporating them into my own life, thought why not in the classroom.

The plan: I have 18 preK students 3-5 years old and 18 days left until Christmas break. Each child will unwrap a special book for our classroom to read everyday.

I started with a recycled basket from school added a bow and some embellishments. Then I loosely wrapped 18 Christmas and snow related books and added a cute number tag created by Beth Proudfoot Designs.

The kids are super excited and after only a few days they are already talking about who is next—I have the kids listed in alphabetical order with a corresponding number by their name so they know who’s turn it is. This is another way to engage our kids, expand their language abilities, and have fun! Thanks Lorie for the super idea!



A few of my favorites…



Oh yeah, I’m doing it at home, too. I have thrown in a couple veggietale movies and lots of activities once the break comes. I can’t wait to get started!!


She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.

Matthew 1:21