Monday, December 21, 2009

Decorating the tree

We have decorated our tree but Rebekah was quite concerned that we didn't have a star for the top so the other morning I got out some stickers and yellow paper and we made a star for the top and star ornaments which she decorated with star stickers. She was pretty excited about making the ornaments.
So the next day we set about making some dough ornaments. I found the recipe online somewhere. It's pretty easy - 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup table salt and 1/2 cup warm water. You mix it together, roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to cut out the shapes. Place them on a baking pan and bake at 250 for 2 hours or until hardened. (The bigger ones took more like 2.5 to 3 hours) Let cool. 

They recommend using acrylic paints but since I was dealing with a two year old we used crayola craft paint. It worked out okay. Probably not as shiny and when it was thicker in areas it cracked as it dried...BUT it cleaned up really well and at this point that is more what matters. 

So if you receive these as gifts from Bekah please act surprised! :) She worked hard on them! :)

Yesterday was our church's Christmas program. Last year Bekah didn't want to be up front. For the Palm Sunday program she was held by her teacher. This year she participated in the program and lasted about half way through. Not sure if she was bored or just tired or if she had had just enough. She was really excited about it and kept asking "now, now?" I think she would have gone up and joined the adult choir if we had let her! :) She did participate though and I got some cute pics and some video of her doing some of the actions. Hoping next year she will make it through the whole thing! :)

Lizzie was too young for the Christmas program but had a good time hanging out in the nursery with her pal. They were pretty cute together! :) (Of course I'm a little partial. )

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Really? A month since I have posted? I've written a hundred posts in my head...not sure why you didn't get them? lol

It's been a VERY busy month. This is what's been going on with us since last time I posted.

Lizzie got an ear infection.

The next week Lizzie, Rebekah and DH all got H1N1. Rebekah had an ear infection. The "Big Red Chair" is the place desired when not feeling well.

Two days later Lizzie turned one. Had to cancel her party as no one wanted germs as a party favor. Had a nice quiet evening at home. Bekah helped to make pancakes and Lizzie got to open a few gifts.

Birthday pancakes as I had no cake that day.


*This is a two year old who is having a hard time just watching her sister play with her new toys. Hard concept to understand for a little one.

Following week back at the doctor - DH and Lizzie have sinus infections.

Had a quiet Thanksgiving at home alone.

Bekah was a big help with the green bean casserole and the stuffing.

She also set up our "centerpiece" for the table.

She was excited to eat at the "fancy" table but....

did not find a single item to her liking and didn't take one bite. (Perhaps all that work tired her out!)

After her nap she was more than willing to take a bite of pie! :)

Two days later had Lizzie's birthday party. It was great fun, noisy and quite enjoyable. Quite a few were not able to come as it was a busy weekend but we enjoyed the fun and fellowship with those that could.

These were made by my friend Amanda -- check out her baking blog.

Lizzie received this tea set which Rebekah immediately took over ...
and convinced the boys to join her in her tea party.

The Party girl with my Goddaughter ... seems just yesterday we were celebrating her first birthday!

We got our first big snowstorm. We had about a two foot drift in our driveway that DH had to shovel through before he could go to work. Bekah "helped".

We had Rebekah's third birthday party. Her birthday isn't until the 22 of December but after talking to some of those we wanted to have come it was just too busy a time of year so we decided to do it earlier. We had it at our local community center which was fun but not sure I would do it again. If I did I would do it differently.

The night before I made her banner - good thing I rolled it out to check it - had done the whole thing backwards ... had to take it apart and redo it.

She kept closing her eyes so I told her "Big eyes"  - this is what I got...big eyes! :)

Her big Minnie Mouse balloon - she certainly had Big eyes when we brought this out!

A big cupcake for the birthday girl!

We have also enjoyed walks around our neighborhood - before it got super cold! Many of our neighbors decorate for Christmas so there are a lot of lights to see.

Now we have Bekah's b-day coming up; Christmas shopping to complete, crafts to make, Christmas cards to go out, packages to ship and a few other things that I am sure I am missing as well as all the daily "stuff" we need to do each day. Not a lot of time for boredom around here!

Hope you all have a very blessed CHRISTtmas!

I got this from Amanda and wanted to share it with you.

C, the first letter in Christmas, stands for the person who alone gives any day eternal significance: Christ our Lord. It is easy to shove Christ aside on this holiday, but we should celebrate the birth of Jesus, whose very name means “the Lord is salvation” and whose title, “Christ,” points to His role as the Redeemer of humankind. If Jesus is not Christ in your life, celebrating the birth of an obscure Jewish carpenter’s son is meaningless to you.

H stands for history. The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are not myths or fantasy, but are historical realities.

R stands for rejoice, an appropriate response in recognition of what Christ has done.

I stands for the Incarnation, describing that glorious event in which God became man.

S stands for St. Nicholas, the fourth century bishop of Myra, a Christian whose story — embellished by years of telling — nevertheless exemplifies Christian faithfulness and charity. Christmas should remind us of the faithfulness of God, without which we have no hope of redemption through His greatest gift, His Son (John 3:16).

T stands for tradition, the stories and customs associated with Christmas.

M stands for the magi, or wise men, directed by God to find and worship Christ. We shouldn’t forget that no one is wealthy enough, powerful enough, or far enough away that he or she should not bow before Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15).

A stands for advent, a word referring to Christ's coming. Christ came once in Bethlehem — as an infant who grew to manhood, died for our sins, and rose again the third day. Christians eagerly look forward to His Second Coming — “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13).
S stands for salvation, made possible by the coming of Christ. The gospel story is so simple we often forget it, but so profound it affects every individual. We are all sinners, separated from God, with absolutely no way to reach God except He reached down to us through His Son. With the coming of Christmas comes recognition that because He came, He died, and because He died and lives again, we also may live (Rom. 6:8; 8:11).

Christmas is not primarily a celebration of human life, although each human life is valuable; not primarily a celebration of peace and love, although peace and love are noble. The center and circumference of Christmas should be the celebration of the birth of our Lord: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Some random Pics

NOTE: * I started this post a while ago and am just now getting around to actually posting it! :)

How do you get a two year old to calm down and forget her disappointment from not being able to do something she wants? Have her wash dishes!  No...really! She currently LOVES to wash dishes. Even though we have a dishwasher I will put a few of her items in the sink with some bubbles, water and a sponge and she will be busy for quite a while - usually wanting to stay much longer than I have patience for. I had to take pictures to show her this when she is older and whines about having to do dishes. Look at how intent she is on it. Not only does she do the dishes but I usually end up getting at least part of my kitchen floor washed in the process!

I had purchased these matching sweaters for my girls last winter on clearance with visions of beautiful, outside, fall family pictures. Sadly the weather did not cooperate and with snow in October it was too cold to be outside for pictures. Once it warmed up in NOVEMBER the pretty leaves were long gone. Maybe next year? So I settled for some on the couch. Once again Miss Rebekah had other ideas. This is probably the best one of her where she is not crying, fighting or covering her face. Can you tell by how I'm gritting my teeth that I'm not real pleased with the behavior? SO there will more than likely be NO family picture in our Christmas card this year - so enjoy this one! :)

Here are Lizzie's 11 month pictures. She makes a pretty cute duck I must say! :)

I just like this picture of DH with his girls so thought I would share. That chair certainly seems to be the spot to cuddle. It's held us many, many hours with happy kids, sad kids, sleepy kids, naughty kids, newborn kids and so on. I will be sad if we ever have to say good bye to that chair! Many, many memories in it.

I recently watched my friend's daughter for a few days. She's almost 4 months old but since she was a preemie is still pretty tiny. I think she's about 7.5 lbs in this pic. Lizzie wasn't so sure about her. She certainly wasn't real fond of my holding her. When she was sitting in the bumbo seat she would bend down and look at her like "Who are you and what are you doing in my house?"

Lizzie is standing!  Watch out world! Only for short periods of time but I have a feeling it won't be long now!

There will be more update soon - Lizzie's turning one on the 14th so I am sure I will have many pictures and stories to share!

God Bless!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I love me some coupons!

I have always loved coupons. I find it even harder to pass up a "good deal" - sometimes even when the product isn't needed. However, now that I have a family to feed and care for my search for ways to save has taken on a whole new meaning (and life one might say). 

I remember as a child my mom joined a coupon club or something like that. She would clip all the coupons she could find and then get together with other ladies and trade coupons for items they used. It seemed like a lot of work to me - too much work to save $.10 here or a quarter there. I don't remember it lasting long but I think she did a lot of it while we were at school so it may have lasted a lot longer than I remember.

Today I am so thankful for the Internet. Not only can you now find a gazillion coupons online through a variety of different sources there are people out there who do all the research for you and post it on their blogs so you can find some awesome deals and match-up coupons with sales and all that fun stuff.

Often when I go shopping I have a pile of coupons like this.

Usually Target is the store where I use the most coupons. There are several reasons for this. First - it's the closest store to us that has pretty much everything we need. However, I will not buy most produce from our SuperTarget (Sorry Target) as 1) it is usually more expensive than other stores (at times double the price) and 2) I have not had much luck of it lasting more than a couple of days. It seems to come to them already ripe so if I need it that night or the next day I will get it but otherwise I will head out to Rainbow, Cub or Walmart to get more fresh produce (Today for example I watched them unpack huge boxes of bananas which in most stores are still slightly green when put out. There wasn't a green nanner in sight. They were all already quite yellow and a few with brown on them already. Good for banana bread but not so good if you want bananas for the week. I usually buy a small bunch of yellow bananas and then a larger bunch of green ones that will be ready by the time we are ready for them).

The second reason is that Target has a fantastic policy that they will take a Target coupon for an item as well as a manufacturer coupon at the same time. This can save you a whole boatload of money. You can find Target coupons at their website, however, they only have them on there a week and then change them. I have found this website that stores them until they expire so you can go back and print them if you forget or you decide you want more. Also you can tell it how many to print of each one and it will print only the ones you want. It's fantabulous!!! :) The website is called Organic Grocery Deals Coupons Generator. Use it, love it, save a lot of money!!!

For example, today I got a Christmas present for Rebekah. We decided to get her a Leapfrog Tag Junior. She loves to read books with us and this will give her a head start to reading them on their own. It's a little pen that you can hook up to your computer and download information for each of the books. Not only will it read the story but it also will do different sounds and songs and activities with the kids. You can also print off certificates, activities and coloring pages on your computer. I'm pretty excited about it.

Anyway, the Tag Jr. (which is for 2-4 year olds) was on sale for $28.99 at Target this week (Sorry this is late notice for the sale though I am sure it will be on sale again before Christmas). I got a $10 coupon from Organic Deals (look under the 11/25 list of coupons). I also got a $10 off coupon from Leapfrog. That was $20 off so got the Tag Jr. with one book for $8.99 (orginally $34.99). Also with the LeapFrog coupon was a coupon for $5.00 off each book You can print as many as you want). The Tag Jr. books are $10.99 normally but were on sale for $8.99 today so got each book for $3.99 after coupons. SO something that would have normally cost me a total of $67.96 cost me $20.96 today. Whoo hoo. That leaves more $$ for other gifts! :) It will be so great for her to have on the long trips to the grandparent's house. I can't wait to play with it myself but I already had my DH hide it so I wouldn't be tempted to open it and try it (I did play with the one in store though!).

The three books I got were these three:

(This is for anyone wondering what to get her for Christmas/Birthday coming up! :) hint, hint! lol) If you do decide to get a book for Bekah or a set for your own child/grandchild be sure to use those coupons!!! Every penny counts!

At the checkout today I saw the total on the screen of $219.08 and just about had a heart attack! That was way over my budget but I had hope! :) Then the young man asked me for my coupons. I gladly handed them over and prayed that it would be down to $120 which was my original goal. I try to keep track in my head as I go but I know I sometimes get distracted (can you believe it???). Final total..................$119.68

That is a savings of $99.43! I was pretty proud of myself. I can't take all the credit though. A few other sites that have been a big help are:
Attention Target Shoppers

This is an awesome site. It's way more than I need but I have learned to scan quick and find what I need/want and can use.

Deal Seeking Mom

This site has a lot of different stores - many we don't have up here in the frozen tundra but have found a lot of help on this site. One awesome thing they have is coupon policies for many of the stores. I have printed them out and carried them with me. I had one bad experience with Target once where both the cashier and then the manager told me I couldn't use the coupons as I wanted. I whipped that ole policy out of my purse and showed them exactly where it said I could do that and lo and behold they allowed it. I have only had the one bad experience but that was enough. Let's just say I will never go through Theresa's lane again (although I haven't seen her there in the past few months so she may be gone).

Red Plum


A couple of tips with these coupon sites: You can usually print off two of each coupon you want. Either reload or hit your browsers back button. Keep checking back because often during the month and almost always at the beginning of the month the coupons are reset so there are new ones or you can print off more. We have two computers at our house so I will print two from each computer and if it's a really good coupon will print at a friend's or at work.

Here is another trick with the and the Smart Source Coupons. IF you sign up for My Points you can earn 10 points for every coupon you print and redeem. You can also earn 25 extra points for if you print and redeem 10 or more in a month. (I used probably 15 today -that's 175 points). What do you get with these points?  Gift cards!!!! For example you can get a $25 gift card for Target for 3800 points or a $50 gift card for 7500 points. They have them for pretty much anything you can imagine - well almost anything! Our favorites have been Target, Walmart and Red Lobster! (That's how we got Rebekah's play kitchen for her birthday last year). You can also earn points by shopping online (stores will give you anywhere from 1 to 10 points per dollar), subscribing to magazines and looking at ads. If you choose to do this first please let me know so I can recommend you (then we both get extra points) but also set up a different email as you will get a lot of mail. You get 5-20 points for looking at a web page. From there you can earn extra points by subscribing, buying, or taking a survey. I think last year my DH and I earned about $150 in gift cards. We then used some of those gift cards ordering online through the mypoints site and received more points for doing so! :)

Hope this helps some of you save some pennies! I'm looking for great ideas from all of you.

I am wondering how others organize their coupons. I have mine in a small accordian file and organized by type of coupon (such as frozen foods, dairy, healthy and beauty, etc.).

What do you do? What works for you? What hasn't worked for you?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Catching Up

How does life get so busy? I am not sure I will ever understand that at all. I thought having little ones would mean a lot of time at home and yet it seems most days we have somewhere to go or something to do.

I knew our warm sunny days were limited so I have been trying to get the kids outside as much as possible. Good thing too because this is what we awoke to on Saturday morning. On Monday we got another two inches - it snowed pretty much all day. It's mostly gone today already but Reba sure was excited to see it all. Her mantra that day was "snow, mama, snow" and "play in snow, mama, play".  Last Thursday I had my friend's 4-year old twins as well. The kids all had a good time together but I kow it's not something I could do full time. Despite the cold they enjoyed playing in the sand and on the bikes. Many chalk drawings were also added to our sidewalk that day. Sadly I didn't get any pictures of those. Reba likes to trace things so we had many bottoms and legs outlined that she had traced around the other kids.

Last Friday we went to the apple orchard. I was sure that this would be a perfect oppurtunity to get some fantastic fall pictures. Afterall are there any cuter pictures then little kids with pumpkins and apples and haybales on a crisp sunny day?  It took me about 20 minutes to figure out the clothes I wanted them to wear. Ones that would complement each other for the sister/sister pictures as well as be very fall like in their individual pictures. I should have known better.

First it was cold...about 45 degrees. All the other kids were in winter jackets but not mine! I just had fall coats as I had not yet discovered the whereabouts of the winter coats at our house (they have been found along with hats and mittens now). Poor Lizzie had four layers on - poor thing could hardly move her arms. It reminded me a bit of the little brother in The Christmas Story.

Here is my little farmer girl. She does like the horses. We haven't done a pony ride with her yet. I am sure she will love it after how much she loved the carousel ride this summer. I thought she was going to climb right up the fence and try to get in with the horses. She would have been stuck as there was probably a good 6-8 inches of mud in there.

I thought this picture was super cute. Her and two of her buddies watching the foal. She did get to pet it later. (She did have a hat but it was so big it kept falling off so she ended up going hat free the rest of the day). It would have been a much better picture had I gotten down and taken it from their level but my knee still isn't cooperating 100% and I wasn't sure I could get back up.

These are some of Reba's responses of mommy asking her to take some pictures. She wanted no part of it.

Liza wasn't much better. She just sat there and cried - little stinker. Regardless these will STILL be going in the scrapbook.

This is probably the best one I got of Reba with the pumpkins. She didn't know I was taking it so she didn't have time to protest until I tried to get the second one.

This week has the promise to be a little quieter - we shall see.
God Bless