Wednesday, December 30, 2009

End of a Decade, Looking Back

Hey, remember the chaos of Y2K 10 years ago? We are all here and the computers didn't erase everything.

A lot happens in a decade.

The 00's were the decade we built our family.

Let me share some of our highlights
(I am proud of my family and our memories I have to brag a bit):
We got married in 2001 we were blessed with 3 beautiful children and one on the way

We moved 5 times, 2 times when I was 8 months pregnant

We both graduated from college

We said good bye to both my grandparents and Josh's grandfather and Aunt Mary Ann

In 2002 we made plans to move to Breckenridge, Colorado after a few weeks we decided Texas was home! Luckily Josh was able to transfer to a branch office in the DFW area.

In 2004 I left the rat race to be a stay at home mom

I spent money without a care.... then I became frugal.

We took the path less traveled and started our own company in 2009

We drove from Texas to Florida. We took the kids to Disney World and the Disney Cruise in 2008. That was the best trip ever!

Fulfilled a dream of visiting Salzburg, Austria where the Sound of Music was filmed in 2009.

Josh and I visited Switzerland in 2004. We seriously considered moving to Europe.Instead of moving to Europe, Josh went back to school and received his MBA from The University of Texas.... 2 long years!

We went to Disney World in 2001, 2005 and 2008. Can you tell we enjoy Disney?
Josh also has a great grandmother that lives in Orlando.

Took a couples trip to Costa Rica in 2006. Josh caught a sail fish.
No it's NOT hanging on the wall.
I tried to talk Josh into buying a time share at the Four Season's.
I did a zip line over the rain forest miles above the ground on a tiny wire... I developed a fear of heights.

I've been pregnant 4 times. We have an angel in heaven we will meet one day.

Most of all I've enjoyed getting to know my husband in married life. We've had lots of ups and downs. Marriage and parenthood is not easy, but we've stuck together for better and for worse, richer and poorer and sickness and in health.
I look forward to the next decade of my life.... lots to come:
  • A new child, maybe more.....
  • Kids graduating from high school then going to college
  • Celebrating all of the wonderful birthdays and celebrations
  • I am sure we will move again.... did you read how many times we moved last decade?
  • I hope we visit Italy, France and take a long car trip to Colorado.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Rust Paint Effect

My friend Nicole gave me this beautiful "R" as a gift. I've had an itch to try a new paint technique. Rust. Here is the final product. Here it is displayed on the mantle next to the family picture.
I started with a brown. The R started out as gold.
I did lots of layers of acrylic colors. I would dry brush on and wipe off with paper towels. Sometimes blotting the towel to create a weathered look.
Here are all the colors I used.
See the shiny gold R in the right bottom corner. That is the before.
I am going to be trying this technique out on a wall at my friend Brandi's photography studio.
I can't wait!
I am participating in Metamorphosis Monday

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Fun

First of all, THANK YOU so much for your pregnancy prayers and wishes. It mean's so very much!

Your probably wondering how the kids took the "new baby news". Let me share how it went....

We were at my husband's family's house (about 20 people). Josh tells his Grandma in front of Will we are having another baby.

Will says "Well it better be a boy, because I've been praying for one for 3 years. He is now separating his toys for his baby brother.

God I hope it's a boy because I don't think he will believe in prayers anymore!

Little Miss however has NO idea what is going to happen. We said Mommy's having a baby and she makes the "Whaaaa.... Whhhaaaaa sound" pretending she's a baby.

On Christmas Eve we made cupcakes to celebrate Jesus' birthday. Then we got this unexpected incredible surprise....
SNOW!! REAL SNOW! About 6 inches of it.

We braved the snow and cold to celebrate mass on Christmas Eve. The kids were all dressed in their festive attire.

I realized in this picture Kate (12) my oldest looks so grown up! She's such a beautiful girl. Can you see her new bangs? She got a hair cut too.
Christmas morning after presents we enjoyed a couple hours playing in the snow.

My husband as always does a great job for Christmas. He blew me away when he purchased a Nikon Coolpix camera for me. I am still learning but hoping to do some great blog photos with my new clear camera!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Big Christmas Suprise

Yes it's true....
But it's still a secret for the little one's until Christmas morning. My baby Madeline is going to be a big sister!
Some of you figured out I was pregnant from my clue about being tired.

We found out last week I am expecting. We are very excited!

I am 5 weeks along so it's very early.

I thought about waiting to tell considering my history of miscarriage but then I thought the extra thoughts and prayers would be comforting.

We are telling Will and Madeline Christmas morning (Kate already did some Nancy Drew snooping around and knows). You see Will talks non-stop about having a baby brother and asking Santa for one. We can't guarantee a boy but we can do the baby :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Hair Cut and Food

I got a hair cut! I love this cut. Think I am going to stick with this one for a while.
Things around our house have been so busy. Baking cookies (from scratch for the first time), ballet practice, The Nutcracker performance, Christmas parties and my daily duties as a mom. It's left a little time for blogging.

Menu Monday for Christmas week:

Monday: BBQ (takeout),
Corn, Baked Potato's. We are having some family come and visit from Utah so what better than BBQ in Texas!

Tuesday: Hoping for some leftover BBQ.

Wednesday: Taco's and tossed salad
. I like to make a taco salad minus the meat I use black beans. I am not much of a ground beef girl, except for super thin burgers.

Thursday: Christmas Eve
... my husband volunteered me to bring Turkey, Stuffing and Gravy to one of his sides of the family. Ummm yeah, so instead of stressing out I've hired the local BBQ place to cook, cut and package it all up ready to go. Sometimes it's better to take a short cut. I'm too tired to cook, I'll explain that soon...

Friday: Christmas Day.
My favorite meal of the year!!! We make a big breakfast at home with the kids. Then we head to my parents for a feast and the over spoiling of my children. (Thank you Mom). My favorite dish is Hash brown Casserole.

What is your favorite Christmas meal dish?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wine Shelf Above the Fridge??

I've got this awkward space above my fridge that was built to hold wine. Only problem when you put wine up there it causes it to go bad because of the heat off the fridge. Looks nice but not really practical for wine drinkers. I had Josh take down the racks. I tried myself but wow, those suckers were in their good and tight.

I moved some baskets from Madeline's room to try out my new open spot.

What do you think?
Calling you fabulous decorators.... should I paint the baskets black or put something else up all together?
What about having some beadboard cut to fit the back? Then I could paint and distress the beadboard black.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Home Tour

Welcome to my home! Thank you for visiting.

Here is my spray painted chalkboard (on glass). I like to change the sayings for special occasions. My readers know how much I love to spray paint!

This is my "Jen" tree. Whimsical and fun!

My dining room looking in from the entry. This was taken before my cookie exchange party. We display our Christmas cards on the garland on the staircase.
Our small Nutcracker collection.
My growing snow globe collection. The kids love listening and shaking them.
Our "small" Christmas tree. This one has been with us since we got married and lived in an apartment. We won't replace it until we move and have the high ceilings and 12 foot tree. A little dream of ours :)

Our advent wreath and flowers from Kate's Nutcracker ballet performance.
Finally what is Christmas without a colored children's picture on the fridge? Love their little art work!
Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Boz the Bear

Sometimes I have to pinch myself because of the way things work out.

I've been having some issues with the Disney shows.

A while back I was watching a show with the kids and some very inappropriate issues were being brought up. We are huge Disney fans but this really upset me.

The closer I looked the more I saw "agenda's" being put in front of my children.

I've been saying some prayers for discernment as a parent and wondering if I was being "overprotective".

Low and behold my prayer was literally answered when these 2 DVD's showed up for me to review on my blog. Thank you mom select!

We discovered Boz the Bear.

We sat down and all watched the Christmas DVD on family night. Disbelief, this completely portrayed the kind of family, children and environment I would create myself.

I HIGHLY recommend these DVD's. My children have been watching them everyday. We've enjoyed them so much I bought more for Christmas. Finally another Christian series other than Veggie Tales (which we also love)that I can feel completely comfortable with my children watching.

Have any of you discovered Boz the Bear?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How To's Custom Hat & Cape

I interrupt all the Christmas celebrating for a birthday party. Anyone else have a December Christmas baby? My friend Ashlee has a beautiful little girl who celebrated her birthday last week. Her daughter Milla and Madeline are good buddies. Remember this post when she made some custom shirts for the girls?

Ashlee made the most beautiful little party hat. I've seen these creations on esty for $40. She's shared the pattern and instructions for my readers. Thanks girl! Let me share: Here is the pattern she used. She enlarged the pattern to make a larger size.
Items Needed:
  • Foam Craft Sheets (the flexible and bendable kind)
  • 1/2 yard of crushed velvet
  • Craft maribu (the fluffy feathery stuff)
  • Rhinestones
  • Soft Fabric and Elastic Headband
  • Felt for the number
  1. Trace the pattern on the foam craft sheet
  2. Glue the crushed velvet to the foam pattern
  3. Add rhinestones
  4. Cut the birthday number from felt and attach to the hat. Ashlee used the Disney font and printed a number 2 and used it as a pattern.
  5. Hot glue the hat together and add the maribu and attach to the headband

My little Madeline and birthday girl Milla in her special party hat.

We were both in the craft mood. I made Milla a cupcake cape for her birthday. She's got everything cupcake so a cupcake superhero she is.
Sorry I don't have pattern for this one. I will try my best to explain my made up way to make a cape.
  • I simply use 1/2 yard of fabric and fold it in half and cut it in a taper shape
  • Fold in the sides and hem
  • Before I sew the elastic in the neck I do the felt work
  • I cut the felt design and pinned then sewed in a zig zag stich
  • For the neck I fold and pin in the elastic and sew it closed.
  • Pull the elastic to shorten the opening then sew down and cut elastic.
  • Finally I use self adhesive Velcro to hold the neck closed.

For more crafts visit A Soft Place to Land DIY Party

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Card Decorating

As I was reading McMommy's Blog today I was inspired to do another post today. She was wondering what to do with her Christmas cards.
Well here's what I do. This photo was taken last year close to Christmas. I paper clip the cards to the garland. It's a fun way to look at the cards for the kids.

So how do you display your Christmas cards?

Menu Monday

We've had some crazy weather here in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area. Last week we had a morning snow shower. The kids were really bummed they had to go to school.

Later that day we headed to the mall I realized Will needed a winter coat his little light weight jacket wasn't going to cut it. Cold weather makes me think of soup..... especially Nana's Taco Soup.

Monday:Crock Pot Taco Soup. Easy and yummy recipe.
Brown ground beef and drain. Add to crockpot on low with 1 can of black beans, 1 can of red kidney beans, 1 cup of frozen corn (tastes better than canned), 1 can of rotel and 2 cans of crushed tomato's (the fire roasted with garlic). I blend the tomato cans together in the blender, I don't like big chunky tomato stuff. Then I add 1 packet of taco seasoning and 1 packet of ranch dressing seasoning and finally 1 1/2 cups of water.
I usually cook in the crockpot for about 4 hours. It is so good!

Tuesday: Leftover Taco Soup

Wednesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs
( I skipped this one last week)

Thursday: Take out from Little Caesar's Pizza we have an event that night. Cheap and easy 2 pizza's for $10.

Friday: Chicken Stir Fry and Veggies.
Last week I received a bottle of olive oil from mom select to review. I used it with some seasoning for leftover chicken wraps last week. If you see it in your grocery store I highly recommend it. The brand is California Olive Ranch. So many of my recipes call for EVOO so it's a pantry staple. The bottle also looks great out by the stove.

For more menu monday recipes visit the org junkie.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Easy Holiday Pretzel Rod's

Last week I hosted our neighborhood women's annual cookie exchange. Well this year I kinda cheated I made chocolate pretzel rods instead of cookies but they were still a hit.

Here are my pretzels on the table before the other guests and sweets arrived.

Notice another chalkboard paint creation? I spray painted a plan plate so I could display it for occasions with a personalized message. Let me share how I make the pretzels..... Here is what you need.

I melt the candy melts in the microwave in a tall plastic cup then I dip and lay out on foil.
I put sprinkles on when they first come out. See I had a little helper.
Then I melt another color candy melt in a plastic bag in the microwave and snip off an end and drizzle.
This is my easy signature dessert or treat when I have parties or need to bring a dessert. You can change the color for different occasions. Think baby shower pink or blue with white dots.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Serious Mall Sales!

I usually don't hit the mall for clothing. Target is my good friend. Yesterday we ventured to the mall for Christmas attire for the kids.

I was SHOCKED to see cute children's dresses at Nordstrom for $15. Real designer stuff normally priced at $50. They had great deals in all areas. Lelli Kelli shoes for $39 normally $70 (although they were out of Madeline's size).

Then we headed to Gymboree, another big sale. Almost everything was 40% plus they take an additional 20% off. I had another 15% coupon. That made the stuff the same price as Target, bonus it's higher quality and holds up better over time.

Another stop Macy's. I got Will a nice heavy Nike jacket for $15 originally priced $85. (it snowed here today) WOW! Then we found a great shirt for Kate for $4 then we used the extra 25% off coupon.

Head out to the mall.... tomorrow! Check out the incredible deals. I plan to go back without the kids for some Christmas gifts.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Best Kids Gift!

I can honestly say " I love Build-A-Bear Workshop".

Know why?

My kids absolutely go crazy to go. They even put on their best manners while I shop at the mall just to get a visit to the store.

Will made "puppy"when he was 1 and at the age of 6 still sleeps with him every night. When "puppy's" bark stops we simply go to Build-A-Bear and they replace his bark for free.

Not your typical stuffed animal. It's the special one your kid keeps over the years then fondly pulls out when they are grown up.

Knowing now how I feel about Build-A-Bear you can imagine my kids excitement when a special shipment arrived from mom select yesterday for me to review on my blog.

Christmas came early at my house!

Look at Will's new moose. Can't you see the excitement in his little eyes? The ears even light up.
We also got a girl. So the girls are "sharing". Kate is 12 and still sleeps with her Build-A-Bear Bunny she made when she was about 4. Shush... don't tell her I told you.

Here is the happy couple. Will put them out on the dining room chair before my cookie exchange party last night.
"Mr Moose" is already sharing clothes with "puppy". That's another great benefit of the store. You can take your special animal shopping and the outfits are affordable.

So this Christmas if you have a child to shop for, get a gift card to Build-A-Bear or build one online for a wonderful gift. Smiles and excitement are a guarantee!