Friday, February 27, 2009

"Friday night dinners"

Well since our fancy V-day night dinner we have started to keep with the tradition. Friday nights have been traditionally known as "date night" @ Harris House for years now. We used to get a sitter to come over and stay (while Priss slept- she didn't even know that we had gone). But that ended with bed rest, then came A-man- and "I just can't leave him Joey, he's still too little"..... soon turned into 1 yr later. I am fanatical about my children, I take them EVERYWHERE I go. When I go to dentist- they sit on my lap, when I go to the attic- they sit on the steps, and when I go to the potty- they sit on the floor (right by my feet)!!! I wouldn't have it any other way though- they will soon be big and too cool for me... Joey jokes that we have only been on 4 overnight dates in the last 6yrs- all of which we have flown in family to stay with the children- this is true. Also that I have a 20 point inspection that you must pass to watch my children (including CPR)- this too is true!!!! So in an effort to spice things up a little for everyone we do "Friday Night Dinner". I plan a menu, we get out the fancy china (even for pizza last week), we dress up (church dresses will do), we DO NOT answer the phone, and we relax and talk about our day. We do "round table". Joey asks us each "what was your high/low of your day"? Youngest to Oldest.... Ashton pipes up with "Caaar, juuuice, & tissss (kiss)", then Priss proceeds with an account of her day. Our evening ends with our night-time rituals, then Joey & I have movie night (Blockbuster-online is super cheap). I love this tradition- I hope that it lasts. It may sound corny to some, but it is super-d-duper effective for making family memories!!!!!!

(this was the first little apron
that I made for Priss.)

isn't this little smock precious?
Cooner sent it to her.

and of course one for him...
car soup anyone???

"Honor one another above yourselves....... practice hospitality." Romans 12: 10-13

p.s. I went to my first MIT (MOMS IN TOUCH) meeting @ Josey's school yesterday- what a huge blessing. If you get the opportunity to go/start one DO IT!!!!! It is an entire hour of praying for your children. When I picked up Josey from school she said "Momma I had the greatest day!!". "I know you did", I said. "How did you know????" she asked. "Because I was there praying for you and asking God to bless you" "WOW- He is a great listener!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" she chimed in with all smiles.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

"5 minute makeovers"

Ok, I just read this article about loving what you have and being content in YOUR circumstances!!!! This was hard to swallow, but soooo true. I look around my home just itching to make it look like a picture straight out of "House Beautiful". Well, I am here to tell you that- you CAN love your home!!!!! Start by changing things around- using what you have. My girlfriend Catherine is my trusty consultant (she is an expert in ALL things beautiful)!!! I called her just yesterday about painting my hutch BLACK- yes I said it BLACK!!!! Cooner is away and I need to bounce my crazy ideas off of someone. Try these simple/very effective concepts:

#1 make your bed!


so you see our mothers were right!
We need to make our beds EVERYDAY!!!

#2 just add light!

I just got this little lamp- and
I LOVE IT!! It adds so much to my
guest powder room- be bold and add
a lamp to your bathroom- you won't regret it!
I got it @ a consignment store for next to nothing-
I just painted it & the shades- my little masterpiece!!!

ok, this is Beatrice- but I affectionately
refer to her as "little Bit"- she now resides
in my kitchen. She is the perfect night light!
I loved having a lamp in the bathroom so much
that I decided to add one to the kitchen- I must
say that I LOVE her too- who knew???

#3- add things that you LOVE!

this is A-man really, really getting into
HSM-3. This is the first movie that he
has ever "willingly" watched (look close
& you can see tears- he wouldn't
even blink- he was so into it)!!!! Anyway
children make every room warm and inviting!!!

I have been known to do crazy things to my home in the past: (paint tile, float sofas- thanks to Cooner, & completely overhaul chandeliers- thanks to Catherine) all of which turned out great! Do not be afraid to go for it. I promise that nothing is really permanent- unless you decide to alter the integrity your cabinetry with black paint.......................

head on over to:
The Nester for some eye-candy...

"I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Phil 4:12-13

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"organizing 101"

Alright- Josey has informed me that the little guy "ground hog" did see is shadow so we have like 3 more weeks until spring. I love spring-time because it means: beautiful flowers, green grass, and it begins my b-day party season for the kiddos!!! However it also means: window cleaning, gutter cleaning, clutter cleaning, and the ever popular POLLEN!!!! I always wash my windows 1 week too early- thus I always have to wash them twice- yuck! The gutters will be delegated to Joey this year. But, the clutter is for me. Where to start???? Well... I have decided that if we have not: worn it, baked with it, set on it, dusted it, played with it, talked about it, or eaten it in the last year- IT MUST GO!!!!! How freeing it is to purge- try it. Everyone can benefit from this event. You can donate items- try the pregnancy center (they always need baby stuff) or Goodwill will even come to your home for pick-up. I started consigning some of mine & the children's things last year. Tag sales are great too and you get all the profit. In both instances you can get a little cash back. Take it 1 room at a time...... I started in the children's room- first their closets, then toy boxes. I was amazed at all that we had that they haven't even missed yet (although I know questions will be asked with Priss gets home from school....). As a rule, they must willfully give from their possessions 2 times a year. First @ Christmas- they give away gently used toys to bless others, then @ their b-days- they get so much then that they never protest. This is a simple way to not let their rooms (ie. toys) get out of hand. They really do only play with certain favorites anyway. Next on to the kitchen- I love pretty dishes (this is just 1 weakness of mine) what can I say??? This is always hard for me, but I do love my cabinets afterwards. It kinda serves as an inventory of your home- you learn just what you have & just where it is. Then on to my closets (master, linen, game, & coat), the garage, and I ended in the attic. The garage/attic are both equally daunting places- I send EVERYTHING that I do not want near me to 1 of those 2 places...... But I can as you know "do all things through Christ who gives me strength"....... I first threw away all of the "old car wash towels"- I am not sure how much life they are suppose to have once they make it to the garage- but ours were ridiculous!!!!! They were replaced with some nice hand-me-downs from our bathroom and kitchen. Next on to lawn care items.... HANG THEM UP- it gives you so much more space!!! Then on to the outside toys (old empty bubbles, broken shovels from the pool/beach, miss-matched elbow pads, etc). The attic..... well I don't know how many totes of Christmas decorations that one needs, but we are stopping with 20!!!! I used see-through containers so I will be able to recognize what I need/when I need it. I only kept decor that I have used in the last year- it was difficult, but I stuck to the rule!!! Who knew we had all that junk??? Take your first step- just 1 room at a time. Get a schedule and do a little everyday- this way it doesn't take up your whole day and you won't hate me in the process. Organizing can be addicting and you will be so glad you did it!!!!!!!!!!

I moved all the board games, play-doh,
card games, puzzles, and dance mats to our
new "game closet". It was a cabinet in our
living room that really wasn't being utilized.
This freed up space in their rooms & is
convenient for family fun!!!!!

I hide un-sightly books and toys
behind this pretty curtain in
Josey's room. It was a very quick
fix to an ugly bookshelf!!!

yeah!!! I instantly have more
room to put new pretty dishes!!!!
until next year........

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed"
Prov 16:3


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"just by accident"

I love accidental greatness!!!!! You know when two already awesome things combine to make something truly heavenly??? Like....... chocolate covered strawberries!!!!! Well, I recently needed a quick dessert so I looked into my sad pantry (which by the way looks nothing like Cooner's)! I found a brownie mix & a chocolate chip cookie mix???? Now by themselves they were nothing special, so I combined the two...........

pour brownie mix in first, then
add clumps of cookie dough on top and bake.
Take it out just a few minutes early-
it is sooooo yummy that way!!!!!

We finished up another chapter of "Charlotte's Web" last night- reading chapter books to Priss is my new favorite thing! This is only our 3rd, following: An American Girl series "Molly"- precious- I must admit tears flew there more than once, then before that "Little House on the Prairie". Any suggestions for great children's books??? She prefers ones with girls as main characters, but I think she could be persuaded with anything if we use a pink bookmark! Anyway, I LOVE "Charlotte's Web", it so reminds me of Mrs.Lawhead- such a great teacher & reader. I can almost hear her voice as I read aloud. I was so in to it last night that I didn't see that Priss had fallen asleep- I must admit that even after I realized, I finished the chapter. Partly because I am task oriented and once I start something I must finish, but mostly because I love Fern & Wilbur!!!! So I scooped her up and carried her to her bed (Joey was gone). Just as I turned to make my way down the steps I hear "Momma uhmm, we forgot to brush my teeth". "I know Priss, we will just do a really good job in the morning", I said. "Momma what about my prayers?" "We prayed already, remember?" I added. "But Momma can I just tell you that my nerves are shot about getting a cavity, and I think Jesus is waiting for us to pray on our knees"- she said (at this point sitting up in bed). What can I say????? She is her mother's daughter!!!!!!

so cute!!!

I know what you are thinking and
YES!!! She just keeps getting cuter!!!!!!!

please keep Kristy's family (my BFF in IN) in your prayers. Her Grandmother Betty went to be with Jesus yesterday. I know that she is now with her precious husband Jack, but this world will surely miss her...........

Monday, February 23, 2009

"good things"

Today I am sharing a different kind of post. My Grandma Sissy use to always say "if you share from your garden, your crops next year will yield plentiful"- and I believe that. Soooo I am sharing some of my top-secret "good things" that I use almost everyday. They are tips that make my life happier, more organized, and simply put "easier". I do not expect perfection in my household, but I do strive for it!!!! Try out some of my little gems and let me know what you think.....

here are 2 of my favorite things:
#1 the model- precious, but not for sale!!
#2 his bib- it is FANTASTIC!! it gets used & abused
daily without complaint, is dishwasher safe, and looks
great even after all of that. It has an adjustable neck- so it
can be used for yrs. I got one as a baby gift for Priss
and I have bought several for others since.
This is soooooo great- pass it on!!!!!!

this is our "kitty caddy"- it is ALWAYS
out @ our breakfast nook. I think that having
fun craft supplies readily available is a must!!!
During down-time, unexpected phone calls, or
even with playmates over- it is a great activity.
Art builds creativity & confidence in
our little ones. Fill one up with colored paper,
markers, crayons, or anything else that fuels fun.

Kay & Kim Frigidaire...
these girls almost make doing
laundry a pleasure.....
focus on their "under-carriage"- drawers.
I love them for 2 reasons:
#1- they raise them up, so no bending
over to put clothes in or out.
#2- they house 12 rolls of paper towel,
ALL my detergent bottles, trash bags, lint rollers
ironing stuff, dust clothes, and I still have room left.
They are a WONDERFUL organization secret.
(p.s. Lowes sometimes has scratch & dent
models for very cheap)

I love to store my sugars & flours
in glass containers. They stay fresher longer,
they look great, and you can see @ a glance
when you are running low on anything. This proves
very helpful when making your market list.

Hang some hooks low on the inside
of your coat closet. This helps the children
learn responsibility by hanging their own coats
up. It also saves you time trying to get everyone
ready to get out of the house each day.

this is our "craft closet"- it is really
just a cabinet that I converted. It is
perfect place to display ribbon on the
door and store small (often used) craft items.
I used inexpensive boxes from TJ Maxx to organize
not so pretty stuff like: tissue paper, scissors,
stationary, stamps, stickers, etc. It was super easy
to make & it gets used EVERYDAY!

I love my child's art like no other,
but our fridge was out of control.
sooooo we created her "WALL OF FAME"
I hung a miniature clothes line in the stairwell
(the perfect use of wasted space). There with some
fancy hand painted clips her masterpieces
can remain- at least until next weeks come home.....

this my friends is a "bag holder"
a simple concept, but oh how wonderful.
It is mounted on the inside of the pantry
door. I just put the bags away as I put the
groceries away. It is a great time-saver!!!

I know what you are thinking and YES
someone please slap me if I make another bow
for my child!!!! These are our bow trees- (I am
embarrassed to say that this is only 1/3). They
are organized by color and size (not by accident)
thus allowing the choosing of the perfect
accessory very easy & timely- everyday!!!!!

I really love this one. I keep this little
basket of play food & pans in my kitchen cabinet.
My kiddos pull it out EVERYDAY while I make
dinner. They cook & I cook- everyone
is happy- it works like a charm!!!!

keep your yucky "street" shoes
outside where they belong! I put an
inexpensive shoe rack in the garage. This cuts
down on germs in your house & keeps dirt
off of your floor at the same time.
This is a great first step for
"going green" @ home.

this is my "touch less" trash can
I love her A LOT!!! We understand
each other very well- when I have
gross chicken hands- she opens up, when
Josey has sticky Popsicle hands- she opens
up, when Ashton wants to put a pee pee
diaper in the trash- she opens up.
We are all SUPER fond of her!!!!!

what fun "good things" do ya'll use???

p.s. thanks for ALL of the good things ya'll have said about my Blog- it has blessed me tremendously!!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

"the award"

Today I did something that I haven't done lately...... I played with my children. No I don't mean that I sat down until the washer finished, or colored until the pot boiled. I mean play!!! I can remember my very best memories as a child were not the most expensive or most hyped-up events. They were taking old quilts to the "big tree" for picnics, making lawn chair mansions on the sidewalk, going to the drive-in theatre, & making dolly dresses with Cooner. We would sit together for what seemed like hours, without any agenda but my own. I LOVED IT!!!! I remember thinking even then that I was going to be just like her....... Now, I get all caught up in the duties of motherhood and forget to think of their childhoods. It is as you know slipping right through our fingers everyday- at a very fast pace! The house will one day be empty, but the dishes & laundry (I assure you) will still remain. So I decided to let it all go for a day: I built a giant castle with Ashton- several times, I arranged then rearranged his Automoblox cars- until he moved on to another adventure, I got girly with Priss and we painted each others toenails, I colored 3 pages- I love coloring, it is so relaxing, I drank 2 WHOLE pots of imaginary tea, and lots more. I let the kiddos plan the afternoon- they loved going from one thing to the next, to the next. Today I did not win any stunning awards from "Good Housekeeping" or "le table" for my clean house or scrumptious dinner. However I did win @ Candy Land and that means way more to me!!!!!!!!!

this is a daily ritual- he lines
up his cars the whole length of the rug. I think
he may have a little OCD like me- whoops!!!

Oh-ya I dressed then re-dressed
Lucy Danyell 3 times along with 2 different
hairstyles for show-&-tell!!!!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

"you set the tone"

Alright, so must who know me- know that I am a true "homebody". I AM- I can not deny it! Joey jokes (all to often I might add), that I could easily be a hermit. To which I reply, "I am content in my circumstances, what can I say??" I do love my home because in it dwells ALL that I adore: Jesus (we have had many a meeting during nap-time), my family, my sewing machine, and all others things that my right-brainy self likes to indulge in. Which brings me to my favorite room in my nest.... Now by room, I really mean closet- and for those of you who have been to my home, you know this is not an exaggeration!!! I simply converted a walk-in closet to a sewing nook, and ohhh what a glorious one it is! It houses yards and yards of fabulous fabric & trims, tons of fancy ribbon, and way more craft paint then necessary. I LOVE IT!!!!!! I close the door and drift off to blissdom. I know it sounds crazy, but I promise this is true- just ask Joey. He is amazed at how happy that little room can make me. There I can make dresses without interruption, paint without interruption, talk to God without interruption....- do you see where I am going here? So I am saying this only to encourage you to do something for YOU. Move your favorite chair to your room for a quick reading/sitting area. Plan a garden this spring- what fun that would be with the kiddos!!! Clean out a corner of your house just for you, or (like me) simply convert a closet. I heard it said once that "the mother sets the tone for her family each day"- what is your tone saying? Freshen it up..... Be bold and go for it!!!!!!!!!

this is it- nothing fancy to look @
but I LOVE IT. I just added a fun curtain to
hide all the mess, a lamp for extra light, and some
storage bins to house all of my gems!!!!

this came in the mail today- I knew instantly
that it was from Cooner. She definitely knows
my love-language! What a precious gesture- and for
no reason at all (magazine subscriptions are
a great gift idea), I want to be more like her.........

please pray for Cooner and the Aunts (her sisters) as they are heading out tomorrow morning on a cruise. Pray for safety and a great fun-filled time for everyone- they ALL deserve it!! Also please keep Daddy in your prayers- may he not starve with Cooner away (though I feel certain her pantry is stocked)......

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"a conscience is a beautiful thing"

O-kay, so when I told you that Josey takes everything literally- I meant it. We read, "Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life...." John 14:6. Josey stopped right there.. "Momma what do you mean He is the TRUTH"? "Well He is everything, He knows everything- even what you do in secret, He Knows", I said. "Everything momma", she said very curiously. "Yes everything Priss, do you need to tell me anything"? I said (at this point making eye contact). "No, but...... Yes, I mean I have done lots of bad things and........ my belly hurts". "Do you know why your belly hurts Priss"- I said. "No ma'am". "It hurts because Jesus lives in your heart and when you do something wrong, he reminds you of it" (I said smiling, knowing how delighted He must be with His tiny creation, just as I was). "So it is good for my belly to hurt- Jesus is making it hurt"? still puzzled by all of this she asked. "Yes, it is the Holy Spirit- your conscience- guiding you" I said.........
O-kay now fast-forward to the next day......................................
I picked her up from school and this was our conversation:

Me: "Priss did you have a good day or a great day?"
Priss: "neither...............I had a FABULOUS day!!!!!!!"
Me: "fantastic, were you a good listener?"
Priss: "I got a green star"
Me: "YEAH!!!!!!!!!" then I proceed with my green-star-dance (I do it everyday- I'm silly like that)
Priss: "Momma, I need to tell you something....." she said with little glossy teary eyes, and with every breath swallowing back tears.
Me: "what love....... you can tell me"
Priss: "my belly hurts"
Me: "when did it start, are you feeling sick?"
Priss: "No. I have the Jesus belly hurt- you know....... the different one"
Me: " Ohhh, well what happened?"
Priss: "well...... today.... I peeked out of one eye during prayer time.............. and I rolled my eyes at recess- but just ONE time, really................... then.................. I ............pointed at Jake, but I told him I was sorry.
Me: relieved and pleased at her high standards, I said "thank you for being honest, I know that it is not always easy, do you need to tell me anything else?"
Priss: "not yet, but as soon as I do, I will. I'm hungry now though. What are we having for lunch?" "Momma does everyone get the Jesus belly?"
Me: "no Priss, not everyone has Jesus in their heart"
Priss: "really????? I think that would be worse than a belly ache don't you"
Me: "absolutely!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I prayed then.....I said,"Lord thank you for her sweet spirit and her tender heart. She is a precious soul and I know that you have an awesome plan for her. I praise you for my little Prissy- Amen".......

My Priss @ 3 months!!!!
"I prayed for this child and the Lord has
granted what I asked of Him"
1 Sam 1:27

Monday, February 16, 2009

"every moment"

I sometimes get caught-up in the trials of life, instead of the blessings (I know none of you ever get like that- ha ha). Anyway it is really easy to get bogged down and forget that trials are what really build us up and draw us closer to God. Only recently Josey asked me "Momma to you believe that God tests us?" "yes I do," I responded. "Well how long do you think my test will last?" she finished. Almost overcome by tears I stopped to think what Joey would say If he had been there. Then I went to an even better source.. the bible. I looked up in one of the most crinkled, most used chapters of it- James and read to her.... "consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing"(James 1:2-4). We have started to commit this to memory, (along with the worry chapter in Matthew). I firmly believe that there is complete power in His word. When you are afraid- you will be equipped with the sword of truth- I tell her, (God's word) USE IT!!!! SAY IT!!!! When you start to get worried, afraid, nervous, or any other word that we use to camouflage sin- try saying it aloud. "Father I thank you that YOU are greater than the things of this world, Lord- YOU are with me. Because You promise to never leave me, I will fear NOT. I declare this house to be YOURS and I pray safety over it!!!!!!!! YOUR word says that YOU alone have a plan for my life, a plan for a future and a hope. THANK YOU GOD for your promises and your mercies are new EVERY morning......." I read this little quote yesterday- what great advice to live by "every moment" of our lives......

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.

Michelle & Jamie are having a GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am in bow-mode this morning- just finished
# 6 (what can I say procrastination
has never a word in my vocabulary).
I want my new niece-to-be to have some
pretties for her hair from the get-go. I think
I'll make her and Priss some matching
cousin bows too!!!!!!!

A-man can be found here (in his Tee Pee)
every morning about this time- playing
cars & pirates. I feel so fortunate to get to
experience a really girly-girl & an
ALL-boy little boy. Thanks be to Jesus!!!!

p.s.- thanks Jodi & Catherine for getting out with me last night, what fun. I only wish we did it more often- be blessed my sisters!!!!!!!!!!

"just a pretty note"

I started the tradition to send little notes in Josey's snack bag many months ago. I thought it would be something from me that would help her not to miss me at school- (in the beginning drop-off was a bit hard for her- scratch that, BOTH of us)!!! I would simply write things like "I love you", "XXOX Momma" "Have a great day" ect. Friday- in all the excitement of her party @ school and with preparing for our special dinner, I completely forgot the note. I didn't think a thing about it. When we got home from school, after unpacking all of her fun Valentines and book bag- she said, "Momma I don't know all the words that you say on those pretty notes, but Mrs. Proulx and I looked everywhere for it and it was not there . Don't forget it tom. o-kay, it is part of my day". I felt so pleased that she even thought of the notes and moreover that she wanted them. Who knows when a "pretty note" can make someones day???

Josey's Valentine's Day Party Pics.....

Hannah Mae & Josey-
two of the most precious spirits that I know!!!!

Ashton & I @ Josey's party
I want him to stay little forever.....

recipe of the week: I make this with a yummy layer dip as an appetizer and something chocolate for dessert. It is great for company- it really takes no effort so you get to enjoy your guests .

Catherine's Chicken Tacos:
put chicken breasts along with 1 can Ro*tel
in crock pot for 4 hrs on low. Shred with fork-
put into taco shell and add fixins -(cheese, salsa, beans
rice, sour cream, guacamole, etc.). This is the
best/quickest family dinner favorite in our house!!!

Michelle finds out what she is having today. I'll update ya'll tom........