Get a Head Start on Christmas! {GiVeAWay}

Christmas is 63 days away.
I know. I know. That’s not what you wanted to think about right now. 
But it’s coming, ready or not.
Stuffed into the holiday season, our family also has three birthdays and an anniversary!  So, in order to get ready and pay cash, I have to start in August. 
Or all the birthdays get Christmas wrapping paper and my hubby gets an ornament for his anniversary. Again.
{Oh, look it’s a free tip}: December birthday babes dislike Christmas gift wrapping or having gifts lumped together as in “this your birthday-Christmas-combo gift”

The other day, I followed a link that followed a link that led me to a happy place:

It’s called LynLivy’s ArtHouse owned by Stacey, a Mom blogger. It is a delightful store filled with fun art projects and creative ideas.  It’s a family business in Texas, where toys get the seal of approval from the owner’s little girls! And I found so many treasures in this little nook of the world, that I wanted to squeal! 
(But I have an ugly squeal).
What started out as a wild goose chase of clicks, ended up being a check off my to do list. Because this is what I’m going to buy for my son for Christmas: 
I can’t tell you how many potatoes have been defiled by my son.  So, I think he might love this!
I wanted to get my 8 year old a Make Your Own Chewing Gum Kit, but my hubby is pretty sure she will want a Rocket kit too. Because we are a Cosmic Bunch.  So, I ordered two of those. (The prices are very reasonable!)
There are so many fabulous kits and incredible ideas, I wanted to share them with you. LinLivy’s Arthouse is offering one reader a $25 gift certificate to get a head start on your Christmas shopping!
Go visit, come back and tell me what you’d buy! Let’s support Mom businesses! I will choose a winner on Thursday at noon (CST).
As a matter of fact, I’d love to finish up my shopping with all handmade items from Etsy or from stores owned by Moms.  If you’d like to have your store featured in the form of a giveaway on this blog during the holidays, I’d love to introduce your products to my readers. Email me.
Now, go shopping!
For more great tips, visit Works for Me Wednesday.

If You Need Me, I’ll be Hiding in My House

Right now, at this exact moment, do you know what my family is doing?

They are passing out fliers in the neighborhood that read, “The Poop Express Picker Upper” I will scoop the poop in your yard. I am a kid. I need money. Please call.”
Oh, I kid not.
My hubby thought we shouldn’t squelch their little entrepreneurial spirits. 
{Sidenote: If my kids actually get a client, I will be there with camera to capture them picking up real poop. Oh, yes, I will. I don’t think they’ve thought that far down the road yet!}
I can’t make up stuff this good, y’all!  
We are THAT family.  We are now (offically) in the dung business.
I am so proud of my glamorous life.

visit Marcy to see more lucky moms!

One Month to Live

I’ve thought a lot about life lately.

And death.
Yeah, I know. Probably not the way you wanted to start your day.
It seems like there has been a wave of sickness and danger circling around some of the people I know and love the last couple of weeks. In one day, I heard the word cancer 6 times.
And although I’m not really a ‘sky is falling’ kind of person, I seriously believe that our world is headed for some hard times.
What if you had one month to live?  What would you do? Would you change things? Or would you live exactly as your living today?
Genny at My Cup 2 Yours is asking this question based on the same titled book by Kerry and Chris Shook.
Over the past two months, my life has taken a strange turn. I feel an urgency I can’t describe. I want to play a vital role in The Persecuted Church. I’ve been challenged slow down our lives and to turn off the TV.I desire to parent intentionally. And I want to give more than I ever have.
And before you vote for me to be Sainted, know that I’m just a Mom. Remember? And a major member of THAT family? 
But I’ve been turned inside out. I saw the reflection of my heart and intent in the pure hearts of my Russian friends and I didn’t like what I saw.  
If I had one month to live, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Because God is changing me.
How about you? Would you change anything?

The Tuesday Folder

I’ve learned to both love and dread The Tuesday Folder.
It contains a slew of information pertaining to the activities in my kid’s classrooms. It’s sent home every week.
On Tuesday. (These teachers don’t kid around. I think a romantic name like, “folder of endless work and vital information” is a catchy title. But no one asked me).
It also contains completed assignments from the past week tucked into the KEEP side of the folder.
And my son?  Yeah, he takes the KEEP part very seriously.
As I sorted and read the endless pile of papers in my daughter’s folder the other day, I came across this page:

Her first cursive writing assignment.
She is excited about learning cursive writing and I knew she’d be proud to show it off.  But I was concerned about some of the letters that were circled. They looked fine to me…Maybe her teacher was taking the cursive thing a little too seriously.
Me: “This looks great!  But why are some of them circled?” (I’m mentally thinking parent teacher conference. Yes, I’m one of THOSE parents).
Her: “Oh, I just circled my favorite ones!” And she sauntered off.
Call me hormonal, but I wanted to weep and laugh all at once. It was so cute. She circled her favorites! I remember doing that. The pride I had for my cursive i’s was unhealthy. 
I moved onto my son’s Tuesday Folder. Once I looked at everything, I took out the important things and threw the rest away.
Including this:

Of course my son discovered his papers at the top of the trash about 37 seconds later, including a map to his room.
Him: “Mom! These are KEEP papers. You can’t throw them away. “
Me: “Honey, I looked at them and saved some, but I can’t KEEP everything.”
Him: “Well. You should KEEP this map to my bedroom for when my teacher comes over.”
Me: ‘Huh? What? Gasp! You’re teacher is coming here?”
Him: “Yep, when I earn enough tickets. She’ll need to find her way to my room!”
Well.  Apparently, I missed that note in The Tuesday Folder.

You Had Me at Porch…

I love me a good porch.

Y’all know I wanted to buy this old house, just for the porch. 
This is mine:

Not exactly my dream.  But I make do.
This is the porch I dream about every Fall:
I see I’m not alone in my unhealthy affection for pumpkins.
I like this one too. It brings out my inner farmer:
And wouldn’t this look smashing on a porch?

To see more great porches, visit The Inspired Room.

THAT Family Tree Society-Issue 14

Feel free to grab the button and email the answers to the following questions to join The Society!

Picture of the Week:
The Week in Review: My toddler’s enthusiasm at something actually baking in the oven was unprecedented. She has a thing for banana bread, apparently. And I have a thing for her.  And banana bread. And pumpkin bread. All breads, really. It wouldn’t be fair to leave any out.

The next special family being inducted into this institute society is Julie @ Blessed with Five. (Due to personal reasons, Julie had to make her blog by invitation only for the time being. If you’d like to read it, please email her )

Julie colored outside of the lines with her submission to this little club! So, we’re shaking things up a bit and breaking format.  (I like to live on the edge).  Once, you read the following , I know you’ll want to rush over and share some comment love with Julie, because she makes my family look normal.  Almost.

For the sake of time, I am going to simply bullet the reasons I think our family is THAT family too:


§       People always STARE at our family . . . any place we go. I guess two adults, one teenage daughter and four boys under the age of six is not very common in our area.

§       When all seven of us arrive at our table in a restaurant the people seated around the table we are taken to seem to scowl. A
fter the scowl our family is watched with EAGLE eyes . . .  I am certain people are on pins and needles waiting for the first child to make an outburst.

§       No matter where we go, someone has to pee or poo!

§       The UPS and FEDEX guys know us well enough to recognize us when we are at the gas station or in a store.

§       We tend to run late, a lot!

§       We are the ones that tie up checkout lanes at Wal-Mart! Yes, we are the people that purchase three cart loads of groceries EVERY time we shop. Our register receipt is THREE miles long!

§       I know the call nurse, reception attendant and the pediatrician on a first name basis.

§       The poison control center sent me an EMERGENCY packet because I had contacted them so many times. “Children’s toothpaste is not poisonous, but may cause diarrhea!”

§       When my children are on the driveway to play our yard looks as if it is a “yard sale!” People have actually stopped and walked up to see. My hubs think the boys have too many riding toys! Hmmmmm

§       I am the neighbor you hear asking her children if they want to be paralyzed. We have an in ground swimming pool . . . there are stairs leading into the pool on the shallow end . . . for some reason my boys insist on jumping close to those stairs. After many bouts of instructing and then telling them not to jump near the stairs, I finally deduced it might be easier to give them an example. So, I had one of the boys lay on the pool deck and not move a muscle. I explained that if they jumped in and hit one of the steps just right they could become paralyzed and that meant they could not move – they would have to lay day in and day out. The boys seemed to “get it” after that demonstration. During my “demonstration and talk” with the boys our neighbor from next door came over laughing and said, “You sound like I would have when my kids were little. That question probably would have come out of my mouth too!

§       We are the family that has a portable “Johnny” sitting on our driveway. (for the construction guys only!)

§       We are the family that has a huge garbage dumpster on the driveway as well. (construction)

§       If you come to the door you will feel as if you are being ganged up on by THAT family because every child and dog will be at the door to see who you are.

§       Three of our boys thought it would be fun to have a “PEE Fight in the bathroom one day! Mommy found “it” and was not at all impressed!


My list could go on and on . . . but I think you might just agree . . . we are DEFINITELY a THAT FAMILY too!

DIYP#21- Making Old Fashioned Silhouettes

Hi! Welcome to my little doitmyselfbecauseI’mcheap corner of the world!
I am so excited to show you this project. It is by far my favorite! I think the results are amazing, if I do say so myself!

I love old things. And maybe that’s why I’m drawn to silhouettes. But since I’m not really artistic, I’ve never thought about making them.
Until I read the NieNie Dialogues. This amazing mother of 4 is a silhouette-maker, among other things amazing things. I stumbled upon her blog months ago when she and her husband were critically burned in an airplane crash. Their amazing love story is rare and beautiful and it will continue.
I felt inspired to create silhouettes of my children, much like NieNie. There are many ways to make silhouettes, but I needed something quick and easy. And I read about painting the back of pictures to create the look here.
Step 1: Take profile shots. This was easy with my oldest two. My toddler was a challenge because she doesn’t stay still for long.
Step 2: Enlarge photo. I had 8×10’s made. But you can also do 5×7’s.

Step 3: Cut out the profile. Many people use a sharp exacto knife to do this. I am afraid of them, so I used scissors. This is the hardest part. I had to shut out distractions and concentrate. Ya know, so my kids would have all their parts. I found that it looks more realistic if you can cut in curls and eyelashes. I even left my toddlers pudgy neck.
Step 4: Flip the picture over and paint it black with acrylic craft paint. Once it dries, the paint will scratch off easily, but it’s easy to fix with a dab of the brush.

Step 5 &6: While these were drying, I grabbed three old frames I’ve used for other projects. They were mismatched and scratched, so I spray painted them all black. Since my pictures were life size and my frames were large, I needed 10×13 white mats. These are expensive, so I bought a package of 10×13 white cardboard cake boards in the baking section of WalMart for a fraction of the cost of the mats. I just glued them down and they fit perfectly.
Step 7: Hang and enjoy!

Step 8: Feel proud of yourself every time you walk upstairs and don’t forget to whisper a prayer for NieNie. Wouldn’t these make a great gift for your family or grandparents? Cheap, but grand!