Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Favorite Time of Year

The air is crisp and fresh and clean. It's time to wrap up in warm sweaters and cozy afghans. My favorite comfort foods are on the menu. The stars in the night sky are absolutely brilliant. There's a blue, blue sky overhead. We are making plans for our Annual Family Thanksgiving Get-Together. We are gathering supplies for Christmas projects. I LOVE this time of year!

Earlier this week, Caitlin and I spent the entire day together (thanks Dad and Luke for watching over things!). We spent the day shopping, did lunch, etc. We made it to the fabric store, the crafting stores, the mall. What a treat! Besides picking up many things we needed for our holiday crafting, we were able to check off a few more gifts from our list. A very productive day. One of my favorite buys was at Bath & Body Works. Their small Slatkin & Co. candles are on sale for $5. A great deal and a terrific gift idea! They have a vast array of scents. I especially liked the Cranberry scents. I am saving that for the Thanksgiving/Christmas season. But, still, we couldn't wait. We lit the Vanilla Caramel as soon as we unloaded the vehicle.

Blessings to you all this week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Christmas is Coming . . .

. . . and I'm getting ready!

Ok, I know it's a little ways away. And I have our Annual Thanksgiving Celebration to host first. But I have found a fantastic tool that helps me get organized (yeah, really!) and focus in on a little each week, getting tons of my preliminary stuff done before December even gets here.

My Christmas Binder, the Christmas Countdown inspired by Cynthia Ewer at

For the next 6 weeks, I'll be setting up my checklists, focusing on to-do lists, dividing and conquering to get all the important tasks taken care of. Each week has a different theme focus, which helps me take stock of the state of things around here (or in my brain!), make a plan and set that plan into motion.

It was such a blessing last year, I'm ready to jump in again this year! By the time we arrive in December, we are able to enjoy the festivities and celebrations we so enjoy, remembering the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, October 22, 2010

School is in Session

I thought I'd share a little peek into our school day - - here you see the younger kids hard at work on their Math assignments. Math is usually the first subject of the day. It's everyone's favorite, and important to get a lesson in each day, so it's a great way to get us going in the mornings.

Even little Bekah has her own schoolwork. I created this little game in a file folder. We call it 'Cupcake Counting'. She has colorful cupcakes lined up inside of a file folder, each numbered from 1 to 10. There is a little pocket that holds colorful sprinkles (I used a balloon-shaped paper punch to create these) and Bekah's assignment is to place the appropriate number of 'sprinkles' on each cupcake. To change things up a bit, sometimes we 'color-code' them to get in a lesson in colors as well as counting.

And, yes, the bunny ears definitely improve brain power!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Anway you slice it . . .

. . . it's still lunch!

I am always amazed at how much more delicious my meals are when I slice, dice and serve them up with a new twist. Years ago I discovered that if I baked my meatloaf in muffin tins, making mini-meatloaves, my family gobbled them down. But make a traditional in-the-loaf-pan-meatloaf? I'd be lucky if they each ate one full serving. Same recipe, different shape. Can you really take a lump of ground meat, mix in all the mixin's exactly the way you always have, and then pass it off as something really delicious just by changing the shape? Go figure. Who knew? It really does work!

For lunch for my younger crowd one day recently, the creative juices started flowing. I cut PBJ sandwiches into 4 small triangles rather than 2 boring rectangles, sliced the apples into pac-man shapes showing a flower at the center of each instead of ordinary wedges and crinkle-cut the carrots (much more tasty than traditional carrot sticks). Added a few chips, and the boring 'Usual' for lunch became exciting, adventurous, and extra-ordinary!

Mom's reward was seeing their large-eyed faces grinning ear to ear, shouts of 'cool!' accompanied by comments about her awesome culinary skills and questions like 'who is Pac Man anyway?' soon followed by 4 clean plates. YES!

Who knew peanut butter and jelly for lunch could be so good? Guaranteed to entice even the pickiest of eaters!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Someone Had A Birthday . . .

and that someone turned 8 years old! During my blogging hiatus, Gabriel had another birthday. He is growing into such a fine young man.

We celebrated his day in the usual style -- balloons, streamers, birthday wishes, a visit from Grandma, gifts galore, a phone call from his overseas Sis.

And of course, a cake designed especially for Gabe.

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