The Dream Vacation

I’ve told of you of my daughter’s deep love for dolls.

And I love that she loves them.
Whatever it takes to keep her little.
Santa brought her an American Girl doll last year.
She even celebrated her 8th birthday with other girls and their dolls.And oh, the love runs deep. 
It seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit one of the only American Girl stores in the United States on our way to our Family Reunion this past weekend.
So, we did.
My daughter had saved $30 over the past 3 months by doing odd jobs for family members.  It took quite a while for her decide on a souvenir. 
I mean, who could decide easily with choices like these?
And after an hour in the store, my hubby pointed at this giant poster of the girls with their matching dolls and said, “Okay, that’s a little much!”
Yeah, it was time to go.  I was tired of looking at price tags for tiny doll clothes that were more than people clothes, anyway.
My daughter was thrilled, paid for her souvenir and we headed towards the hotel.  
Now, my son is six and typically very laid back.  The last thing I expected was this:
“Hey, Mom and Dad, did we plan this whole day to stop there just for my sister?” he asked.
“Well, yes, we did,” my hubby said.  “It was special and something we probably won’t do again.”
He thought about it for a second and said, “Do you think sometime we could plan a special trip just for me?”
“Sometime,” my hubby said. “But lets be happy for your sister, okay?”
“Oh, I am.”  And then a few minutes later, “I know!” he exclaimed.  “I know what my dream vacation would be!”
We prepared ourselves for some outlandish Nascar or Lego dream.
“My dream is to take a trip and find some toot putty.  The kind that comes in a little can and you put your finger in it and it sounds like toots,” he said.
“We might be able to make that dream come true on this trip,” my hubby laughed.
The sheer joy on his face was priceless.
Toot putty.
A dream come true.

DIYP #5- Picture Perfect Plates

I’m so excited about today’s DIYP! I saw this idea about six months ago in the 2007 Winter Issue of Better Homes and Gardens. And I’ve been saving it for a special occasion.

One of my favorite things to decorate with is photos. I love old family heirloom pictures and recent black and white photographs of my kids.

I also have a plate fetish and love my small collection of toile plates.

This project incorporates both photos and plates to form something picture perfect.

Last night, I gave my DIY project to my Mom for her birthday. I loved it so much, I’m going to make some to keep.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Choose a plate. I chose a white/off-white theme for a classic look for my mom. (I did a photo plate collection of my mom’s grandchildren. I didn’t pay more than $4 a plate since I shopped the clearance tables).
2. Enlarge photo. I increased mine to an 8×10 and printed them (Walgreens) in black and white. (I think any snapshot would be lovely, I decided to do portraits. A wedding photo or birthday picture would be a great idea for an anniversary gift or birthday present).
3. With a pencil and a compass set to half the diameter of the plate’s center area, make a circle on a piece of copy paper.

4. Cut the circle out.

5. Use this as a guide to place on the photo and cut the picture into a circle.

6. Adhere the photo to the plate with double-sided tape.
7. Display plate with a plate stand (Walmart, $3.50)

Total Cost of one photo plate: less than $10

I thought my mom would enjoy a collection of plates featuring her grandchildren.

By the way, she loved them. They brought tears to her eyes. Happy 60th, Mom!

Don’t forget to check out the awesome giveaway going on RIGHT NOW!  Wouldn’t you like to win this? Or a custom one? Go, now, it ends tonight!

Who Will I Be?

My eight year old is changing.
She has always been strong and independent.  As a toddler, she pushed away my hand and refused extra help.
Once she started school, she hugged me in the car, but not in front of her friends.

But lately, I’ve noticed a difference.

She hasn’t been able to get enough of me.
At first, I didn’t note the little things.  She was a bit more affectionate, emotional and needy.
It was a little more obvious when she started clinging to me and asking me not to leave at night for my random coffee with friends.
Last week, she asked to sleep in one of my old t-shirts.  I thought it was funny, but harmless, so I let her have her pick.
Four days ago she asked if we could dress alike for church and begged for me to wear her glittery lip gloss. (I did and was surprised by the yummy flavor!)
Yesterday, she curled up in bed with me, wrapping her arms tightly around my chest and asked if we could snuggle.  She mumbled something about loving my “mommy smell” and buried her face in my neck.
Okay.  She had my full attention.  All the little things had formed one big thing.
We talked and giggled and I discovered that my little girl was transforming into a big girl.  We’ve seen a touch of moodiness and some tears.  But even more, a deep questioning of who she will be.
And she’s looking at one person.
She is watching me so closely.  I can feel the sideway glances and can sense her desire to mirror me. Her hand is reaching for mine like a tiny child.
I feel like I’m a good mom, far from perfect, but the Mom I’m supposed to be.  But when I think about her wanting to emulate me, I falter, a little.
I’m a little impatient.  And I’m too quick to speak, and slow to listen.  I am vain about some things that don’t matter and I complain about some of my responsibilities.  I yell too much and don’t pray often enough.  
When I see my daughter wanting to be like me, I have to ask myself one question:
Am I what I want my daughter to be?
And I feel challenged to be the best, not only for my children, but for me.  I want to live everyday to the fullest and accomplish my dreams, that are separate from my role as Mom.
My life is not over; it has just begun. 
My daughter wonders who she will be.
And so do I.
Food for the Soul:
I Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”

Don’t forget to check out the awesome giveaway going on RIGHT NOW!  Wouldn’t you like to win this? Or a custom one? Go, now, it ends soon!

How About a Giveaway?

We have a winner!  Congrats to Kimbrah!  Check your email!  Thanks for commenting and visiting. And thanks to The Rocking Pony for the giveaway!

I think I’ve made it pretty clear on this blog o’ mine that I don’t want my kids to grow up.

Too quickly.  And then there are days, I’m looking at boarding schools.  

I’m just saying.
They make me laugh.  They make me cry.  They make my world a sunny place.
As much as I want to slow down time, I must admit that I’m glad we’re out of the teeny tiny baby stage.  I loved my newborns, don’t get me wrong, but I’m thankful they all sleep thru the night and are on solid food.  You know?  It takes me a good year to feel normal again after the birthing.
I mean, honestly, after I had my babies, I was one of those moms who was disheveled, leaking breast milk, and just trying to get thru the moment.  The whole natural process wasn’t exactly natural.
We made one more baby step towards toddlerhood last week.  We went from this giant diaper bag:
To this:
This handy diaper/wipee case holds several diapers, a wipe case and it has a pocket for my wallet and phone!
And we did it with the help of The Rocking Pony, an adorable Etsy store. I discovered Karen’s lovely store, through her blog.  She wrote the most amazing post about the birth of her fourth child who has Down’s Syndrome.  Her honesty touched me.  And I could relate to her.
She is a super talented seamstress and designs incredible one-of-a-kind shirts.  Just look at this one that I’d like to get for my son.  And I love that one for my daughter.
The Rocking Pony has generously offered to create an amazing shirt for a reader.  Go and look around here, come back and leave a comment with what you liked or what you’d like Karen to design for you (she can do ANY size shirt)!
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Sincerely ‘Fro Me to You-Not Meant to Be A Cook

Hi, welcome to this week’s edition of ‘Sincerely ‘Fro Me to You!  You can read about the guidelines here if you want to link up and grab the ‘fro button.
I ran across this picture, taken around Christmas, of me at ‘my desk’ also known as, my kitchen counter.  That got me thinking about my use of my kitchen, in general.
And specifically about this fact:  Just because I love food, doesn’t mean I enjoy preparing it.
I feel so much better about confessing that.
Some of my favorite memories involve the yummiest of dishes that I did not prepare.

Cooking does not come naturally to me.  I don’t have auto measurements programmed into my brain. 
I do not watch cooking shows.  
I do not say “Bam” when I throw spices into my food.

I do not own an apron, although I think they are pretty.  (I’m sorry Apron Queen ,I hope we can still be friends).
I am not meant to be a cook.
Oh, I cook. Often.  But in an effort to be transparent, I would call it more of a heat and stir method.  
The word ‘cook’ is really a compliment and a stretch, at best.
If I had to recall a homemade recipe from memory, it would include a can of this and a frozen bag of that.
My specialty would be Texas Chili, which I make up with whatever I have on-hand, but is surprisingly spicy and tasty. But just the phrase my speciality in reference to my cooking, makes me cackle.  
But my chili makes people think I can cook.  And that’s just fine with me.

I let my hubby cook whenever he wants to, which is usually when I say we’re having grilled cheese.
Now, baking?  That’s a different category entirely.  I somewhat enjoy baking because of the results if produces.  I love cakes and cookies and pies (I think that covers all the baking categories).
So, do my thighs.
Once, I bought a store-bought casserole and put it in my own casserole dish for a church function.  

Shame will do that to you, people.
I consider my microwave a dear friend.
I’ve burned myself so often that I keep a stick of butter nearby just for such instances.  Nothing like being prepared or serving that stick by mistake.  Oh, I kid, about serving it.
I was asked to contribute family recipes to our Family Reunion Cookbook.  I racked my brain for hours and every recipe I came up with involved a can good.  I sent them in.  This wasn’t even embarrassing until I started packing for the Reunion.
We had just renovated our kitchen in the picture. The granite is black and tan speckled.  The cabinets are black with sanded edges to make it look aged.  The walls are a deep mustard color and the cafe curtains (one of my favorite parts) are barn red and mustard.  
You would think this color and renovation would inspire me.
Oh, and it does.  I do some of my best mundane blogging on that granite.
I’m a smart girl and I can read, like on a third grade level.  So it’s not so much that I cannot cook, I’m just not meant to be one.
I’d like to thank Happy Mommy for inspiring me with this post after she tagged me with a cooking meme.  Check hers out here.  She’s a real cook.
Now, it’s your turn to share ‘fro you to me!

An Important Parenting Tip

I’d like to offer you a parenting tip today. 
I took this photo a couple of months ago.  Just because I want to remember the rolls.

There’s just nothing cuter than a baby girl in a dress.

The chubby legs. The cute tush.  The femininity.
She inherited her thighs from me.  One day, she will not thank me.
One of the best parts of all those little girly dresses is the diaper covers.
You know, because they coordinate.  
We all know how important that is.
The other day I was in a hurry to pick up my older kids from VBS.  I had about 57 seconds to change a diaper and shove her pudgy feet into her shoes.  
I quickly changed my squirmy girl and forgot to put her diaper cover back on.  
Maybe because it would take too long or because cute doesn’t matter when you’re in a hurry. 
We will never know.
I grabbed a shoe and realized I dropped the other one somewhere in the house.
After a quick shoe hunt, I grabbed her up and decided she could ride with one shoe on and I would put the other one on at the church.
But. Something. Happened. During. That. 57. Seconds.
Because when I got to VBS and reached to unbuckle my child from her car seat, not only was her diaper cover missing, so was her diaper.
Oh, yeah.  
She was nekid.  At VBS.
Under that cute dress.  
So, here’s my tip:  diaper covers are not for cute only. They are actually functional in keeping the toddler from removing her diaper while Mommy is not looking.
While I realize this isn’t exactly an earth-shattering tip and even considered obvious by some (ahem, hubby), this is my third kid and honestly the first time we’ve gone to church with an exposed, um, bottom.
So, I just thought I’d share.
You are welcome.
I’m here to serve you.
For more helpful tips, visit Works For Me Wednesday


I don’t know the meaning of hunger.  

Oh, there are moments, when I’m dieting, that I think I will faint without something sweet.
Not exactly the definition of starving.
But at my fingertips, I have a vast array of choices and could satisfy my stomach at my choosing.
I have noticed the rise in food costs and the increase in fuel.  I’ve renewed my membership to The Grocery Game to build up my pantry and we’ve opted to stay closer to home for our summer road trips.  
But, we are still eating as much as we want (and that’s why I need to diet) and we have enough money to purchase gasoline, even though we cringe at the pump.
My home is slightly affected by the changes in our economy.
But when you look at our world and read about the Global Food Crisis, I am in the minority.
Tomorrow, June 25, has been declared a day of fasting and prayer for hungry people around our globe.  
Can you imagine offering your daughter soup made from tree leaves?  Or encouraging your son to sleep during lunch, so his hungry tummy won’t hurt so badly?
I cannot.
Blessings abound in America.  When we see $4 a gallon, we complain, but we continue our life.  
We eat.  
Today, I watched a video clip about an 11 year old boy in Indonesia who was being given to an orphanage because his parents could no longer feed him and his two younger brothers.  How could they? I swallowed the lump in my throat as I heard his mother say, “Be tough.”
Love knows no limits.  
Take a minute to pray for those who are less fortunate.  When you look into the precious face of your child today, picture the mother across the ocean who is asking God for a miracle to feed her child, and pray for her.
The next bite of food you take, pause, whisper a prayer for those without.  Share this with your kids and make a difference.  You can visit Compassion International and give here.