Monday, December 31, 2007
From there we headed over here where we bought this (with our 20% off coupon of course) and this (I'll let you know if it actually works). I also picked up a cute Christmas basket with liner clearance for $5. I had been looking for something to put diapers and the box of wipes in for downstairs. We've been just throwing a pile of diapers on the couch...not a good look to the already cluttered area. This works perfectly! It fits the box of Pampers wipes along with about a dozen diapers and the tube of A&D. Woo-hoo! Love those Christmas clearance sales for items you can use all-year round! Speaking of which - gotta get me some more of Target tomorrow. A little birdie told me Christmas clearance over there is now at 75% off. (salivating). Last year I picked up Ziploc storage containers with snowmen on them for cheap. Of course I caught flack from people in July when I was storing food in them - but who cares? I hope to score some paper for next year, some tape and ziploc bags with holiday designs on them. Actually, anything like that - Kleenex, ziploc bags, storage containers - whatever we'd use all year anyway.
Ok - I digress. After BB&B we headed here where we took our sweet time flipping through sale books, children's books - all of it. All while sipping on a delicious peppermint mocha complete with whipped creme and red sprinkles. =-) (hey - resolutions don't begin until tomorrow, right?) I picked up a 3 for $9.99 deal - two gifts and one for me. I picked up another book Bailey wanted to gift to her friend and this book for my cousin, Krista. I hope she loans it back to me when she is done - it looks like a good one!
After that we headed back to pick up the kids...and none of them were crying. Woo-hoo! A great afternoon I'd say, wouldn't you? Now I'm tired - no way am I making it til Midnight.
I'll leave you with a recap of 2007:
* Lauren turned 2, Bailey turned 12
* Grant was born!
* We got our house ready to sell, put it on the market for 4 months and then took it off the market again - shwew!
* We painted three rooms of the house, moved Bailey to the basement, moved the toy room to another area of the basement and prepared a nursery for the baby.
* Lauren started "school" two days a week - more like a morning play group - but great for her.
* Saw dozens of family members throughout the year - sometimes we traveled to them - sometimes they came here but we always enjoyed the company!
* Watched approximately 10,000 episodes of both Dora and The Backyardigan's
* Gave our dog, Sadie to a nice family outside of Iowa City where she now enjoys another dog and an acreage!
* Joined a new church
* Had Grant baptized
* I turned 36 (moved from "in my 30's" to "pushing 40" status - boo)
* Celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary
* Mark turned 42 (sorry - had to...you know..to make myself feel better about two bullet points ago)
* Got a new HDTV and HD Dish (lovin' the HD!)
* Decided who I want to be our next president =-)
* Enjoyed another year in my book club - almost had time to read one whole book this year...but hey - still love the club.
I'm sure there is more - but that's all I can think of right now. The year was busy, filled with another year filled with changes, but 2007 was another year where we have been completely and totally blessed. I don't know what 2008 will hold for us - but I can tell you it WILL NOT be another one of these. =-) Done and DONE!
Happy New Year Everyone!
-- The Mom of 'Em
Sunday, December 30, 2007
>As far as Iraq goes, I don't think any of the candidates have the magic answer to the disaster known as Iraq. They all have ideas - but it is unclear which plan will actually work. I support Richardson's plan to move some forces to bases in more welcoming parts of the region and amp up diplomacy in the region. His foreign relations experience as US ambassador to the UN and his appointment to Clinton's Cabinet as energy dept. secretary has him poised for the job.
>I feel if the media had not singled out the top three candidates MONTHS and MONTHS ago, Richardson would have more of a backing at this stage of the game. He has my vote for the best candidate - well-rounded in his experience and previous roles to make a successful leader for this country.
>I still have not made a final decision on which will be my second choice. Initially I was going to abandon Richardson because I didn't feel he was electable, however after feedback I received and careful consideration, I have decided that change begins with ME. A candidate will not be electable if I abandon them before the Caucuses.
So, I'll give it my caucus-all for Bill and then jump ship only if it is clear he does not have the support to sustain him at my caucus site. Now, back to researching Hillary and Obama....where they stand on the issues and how they might fair against the Republican nomination next November.
Friday, December 28, 2007
THREE MONTHS OLD!
Thursday, December 27, 2007
She's picking the donkey over the elephant!
But who will she back? Hillary? Obama? Richardson? Biden? Edwards? So many good candidates - but who can win the general election. hmmmm. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
We began by repeatedly telling her that Christmas is baby Jesus' birthday, that He was born to be her friend and that's why we have presents - because it is His birthday. (you have a better idea to get the ball rolling?) Anyway, tonight at bedtime we read her a Christmas story - The Little Drummer Boy. At the end of the story we recapped by telling her that the little boy didn't have money or expensive presents to give baby Jesus, so he played his drum for Him and that made Jesus happy. We asked Lauren what present SHE would give baby Jesus. She first said "I don't know." Then she leaned way down to the picture of a baby in a manger on the page and started to sing her ABC's. It was PRECIOUS! Mark & I fought back tears as she finished her song.
I think she understood - at least on some level. She sang for baby Jesus....and I'm sure that makes Him happy.
I would love to hear how you introduced your toddlers to the true meaning of Christmas. How you broke through the Santa and I want clutter to teach your kids about Jesus. Please leave a comment - tell me your stories!
Friday, December 21, 2007
* Laundry (duh)
* Make 3 dozen cookies for church
* Wrap my Mom's gifts
* Clean the "office" and area by the tree (in hopes of clutter-free Christmas morning pics)
* Invoices for the two freelance jobs I've done this month
* Vacuum (I will NOT tell you how long it has been since I've done this)
* Empty/fill dishwasher
* Empty trash
* Transfer photos to CD for my aunt
* Schedule Grant's 3-month pictures
* Shower (see where this lies on the list?!#$)
* Work on photobooks for January Christmas gatherings
* Sort old toys for Goodwill or freecycle
* Pack up kid clothes that they've outgrown for Goodwill, freecycle or consignment
Thursday, December 20, 2007
This morning I had to swing into the mall for a quick last-minute gift. 10 minutes later I was on my way back to the parking lot when I was suddenly lured in by the personalized ornament kiosk. Each year I try to pick out one ornament for each of my kids - something that signifies that year for them. I found a "Big Sister" ornament that I thought might be cute for Lauren. Of course the only blonde girl ornament was in the back of the row. So I carefully began removing each ornament to get to the back blonde girl...which turns out...was completely tangled up in two other ornaments. Suddenly it fell to the floor. Oh no! I quickly picked it up and apologized to the "clerk" who promptly said..."You have to buy it now, but we'll give you 10% off." (apparently this is a common occurence - probably how they make their money).
Ok, Mr. Grinchy McScroogester....I'll buy your stupid ornament, because it is Christmas and I"m already sad for you that you have to work at an ornament kiosk this Thursday morning....but I will let other people know about this...and you WILL be personalizing this...since I have to BUY it and all. But, as usual...I didn't even win that small victory...because Mr. Bah-Humbug had bad handwriting to boot. Ugh - Merry Christmas!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Last night Grant slept like a big boy (yeah!) and I was able to make a couple cookie sheets worth of these. I'm going to include these along with the cocoa for two idea I posted here for Lauren's play group teachers and a few of Bailey's teachers. Do you think that will look like enough? Who doesn't like food at Christmas, right? And I know they get gallons of lotions from people - so I thought this. Thought that counts, right?
Ok, off to get groceries and return the frosting bags to Michael's. I bought the 12-inch size and they are HUGE! They must be measuring width when they say 12 inches. Anyway - once I get the new bags I can make the cocoa for two. Here's hoping the kids cooperate!
Hope your day of Christmas prep is relaxing and enjoyable. I heard a quote on Clash of the Choirs the other night and I'm repeating it every day this season....and all year, really. "TOO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED!"
Have a good day!
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
She figured the cost of them didn’t even come to $1~ if you don't have time to make it yourself, you can buy something like it already made up at Target - they are ON SALE this week at Target for $4/ea! (cheaper to make it!!!) Good for teacher/secretary gifts, or just a “little something” you can also add crushed candy canes or peppermint candy instead of chocolate chips. Bags are frosting bags at Michael’s, pre-packed cocoa mix, mini choc chips, m.mallows and she just printed up the labels with some paper I had laying around! The tag reads: Cocoa For Two! Divide Contents into Two mugs, add 8 oz. hot water and enjoy!
And if THAT weren't enough to make me drool for more free time...look at what Heather made!
And then there are the dozens and dozens of hand-crafted Christmas cards showing up in my mailbox. Oh, man - this is definitely the year of inadequate for me. Someday.....someday....sigh.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper - absolutely! WAY more fun to open than a gift bag....and harder to peek into.
2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. One year I got all wrapped up in the real-tree thing....until I had to take it down and clean up BILLIONS of those @#$%^ pine needles! I swear I was still cleaning them off of the carpet and out of the back of the car for YEARS. So artificial it is...pre-lit.
3. When do you put up the tree? Thanksgiving day...and I'd do it sooner if I were allowed. I LOVE Christmas and I can't WAIT to put up the tree and I HATE taking it down...and not just because it is a lot of time-consuming work to do so.
4. When do you take the tree down? Within a week after the first of the new year..but one year it was still up at the beginning of February (before I was married). Hey - why not hang on to what brings you joy? ha.
5. Do you like eggnog? No. Gross. I'll never drink anything with "egg" in the title.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I don't have one that really stands out - even as a kid...I just like Christmas and WHAT I receive really isn't what it is about for me. (well..mostly). I do remember a stuffed pig I got one year - the tag said it was from my Dad...and I remember being so in love with that idea...that HE picked it out for me. Of course, now that I"m older, I'm sure when I opened the present it was also his first glance at it. Thanks, Mom!
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. We picked the set out on our honeymoon but didn't want to travel with it...so each year on our anniversary (Dec. 4), my husband buys me a new piece to add to the set. I LOVE it. It is the Willow Tree nativity.
8. Hardest person to buy for? My Mom.
9. Easiest person to buy for? Lauren. She's 2...and toys excite her - EASY!
10. Worst Christmas gift you've ever received? I'll never tell.
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? I mailed them the last couple years - but I'm not sure I'm going to get around to it this year. =-(
12. Favorite Christmas movie? Elf, Christmas Vacation and The Ref (does that one count?)
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? All year long! I love Christmas!! I always feel it hurts less if you spread the cost out throught the year. However, this year I am a total wreck - I have SO much left to do...and today is the 8th already!
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Probably - but I can't remember specifically.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? The problem I have here is - pretty much everything. Cookies, bars, cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning - the whole season from Thanksgiving to New Year's is pretty much a dieter's nightmare.
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Doesn't matter to me. Currently I have clear lights with a slight coloring at the tips of the branches (fiber-optic). I have had colored lights in the past too and love those...but they have to be multi-colored. I would never do all-blue or all-red...multi-colored or clear.
17. Favorite Christmas song? All of them. But I've always loved The Little Drummer Boy. I also like Silent Night - at my Grandma's house we always used to sing that as a family, while they lit candles on the tree (holy old-fashioned fire hazard!)...but it brings back a warm fuzzy for me.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? This truly has been one the hardest things for me as an adult...realizing that it is virtually impossible to gather everyone together at Christmas...I want to be with ALL of them - my family, my husband's family, my grandmas my grandpas, cousins, etc. But you know how it is. SO...my husband and I have decided we will ALWAYS be home for Christmas - so our kids wake up at their house, in their pj's, to their own tree/presents.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? I'm not sure! Challenge of the day.
20. Angel on the tree top or star? Angel.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Some on both days. We usually go to my Mom's house on Christmas Eve and open gifts there...and usually I get the kids new pj's to open Christmas Eve too.
22. Most annoying thing this time of year? CROWDS of unthoughtful self-absorbed people!
23. What I love most about Christmas? I'm going to steal Janna's answer here because I feel the same way. Something about Christmas songs - unless I'm at the mall - puts me in a reflective, sentimental mood, reminding me of all the blessings God has given me. I also love to see the excitement and joy on my children's faces Christmas morning....and it is so fun to watch people open the gifts you picked for them. And, of course...the cookies.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Pinkie Pie - WalMart for under $15
Disney Princess Slippers (Black Friday deal - $5.99)
A Dora robe - only $8.99!
Backyardigans Memory Game that I picked up at Target on Black Friday for $3.99
Thomas the Tank Engine AquaDoodle Mat (she'd rather have Dora I'm sure - but this was a deal at Costco - w/instant rebate it was $21...others are selling for almost $40!)
Jell-O Lip Smackers (stocking stuffer)
GRANT:and a couple stroller toys - I'd like to get him a truck or something even though he's too little...but he won't be in a few months - so might as well get it as a Christmas gift, right?
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Eccles. 4:9-12 (NLT)
Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
1 Corinthians 13