Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I'm a Survivor!

Yes, I have survived the first hectic week back to school and work. I think that my planning ahead at work (and at home) helped that along. I started preparing for the new school year, at work, during the final month of last school year. That helped me out immensely this week. It was still chaotic with some longer work days than I had planned on, but it has gone well so far! I really love my job and I am continually glad I made the choice to commit to one job and be in one place each day. The Lord has truly blessed me with wonderful bosses and co-workers and I couldn't ask for more from a job. I love how His timing and planning totally rocks when you least expect it!

On the home front, life is good! Both kids love school and love their teachers. I love that they love school so much. The newness of this school year has not worn off yet, so they are still in the happy, "honeymoon" phase. I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that my son is in second grade. That just doesn't seem possible. And my sweet girl is going to be turning five in a couple months. Please stop growing up!!!

We had a sad adjustment to make in our family this week. One of our beloved kitties starting being super naughty (escaping to the outside, marking her territory inside, etc) and we just couldn't keep her anymore. We were so happy that the family we got her from was able to take her back. She is now free to be the outdoor kitty she is born to be. We miss her but we are happy to know that we can see her anytime we want to go visit and that she is happy playing with her brothers and sisters.

Also kind of exciting...I reopened my Etsy shop! Now that I am down to just one job and have less extra curricular commitments, I have time to sew again. I've missed having the shop open. There is such satisfaction in creating something you love and seeing other people love it too. Same feeling as giving the perfect gift. If you are interested in checking out my shop, you can find it here, on Etsy or click the link on the sidebar of my blog.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


We started a new school year today!  Zane is in second grade and Claire is in Pre K this year and they are both so excited!  They both have super great teachers again this year,  which makes school even more fun. Although,  Claire would say that painting makes school the most fun.  Zane just says he feels older,  like a teenager and not like a kid now. I guess that's what happens when you turn 7 and start second grade.  :)

I also started back to work today and am happily employed by just one school now.  Last week I resigned as a school district employee and am committed full time to the Christian school. I am the secretary there and I love my job!  So today,  I enjoyed my first day back also. 

Besides starting the new school year,  both kids have decided to play soccer this fall and have started practices this week.  They play in two different age groups and two different teams,  so we are very busy! So far,  they both really like it and I am glad!  Neither one of them have ever shown interest in sports until now.  We are eagerly anticipating their first games next weekend. Nana and Papa are coming to visit and staying the night before so we can all attend the games as a family. The day of the games also happens to be Papa's birthday,  so we will be celebrating that as well!

Last,  but not least, some pictures from the last couple of days. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Barbie Clothes

Barbie and Ken are quite the popular couple with my kids lately, so I have been scouring the internet (ok, Pinterest) for all sorts of DIY Barbie and Ken clothes, furniture, housing, etc. I am happy to say that I have found plans for a house and my dad has the materials needed to build said house. Once its constructed, I will decorate and furnish it. The best part? My kids have no idea and I cannot wait to surprise them with a handmade house. yay!

I have also found (and used) a few really great tutorials on making Barbie some cute dresses, skirts and tops. I tried to make some pants for ken but I am not good at sewing pants...of any size. It's just not in the cards. I am going to work on drafting a simple shirt pattern tomorrow. In the meantime, all of Claire's Barbies are getting a whole new, more real to life, cute, handmade wardrobe. Don't get me wrong, I love the ball gowns and the sequined strappy dresses but who wears those around everyday? Now these Barbies have something to wear that is just like what Claire is wearing. I found all the tutorials for what I have made in the last couple of days over at Craftiness is Not Optional. These tutorials are amazing and are packed full of great pictures and easy to follow instructions. I love that all these little articles of clothing hardly take any time at all to whip up.

And now, without further ado, pictures of my creations.

This is the Basic Easy Dress. So easy and so fun to make!

This is the Easy Skirt (elastic waist) and Cap Sleeve Top. I am in love with this top.

The Froufy Skirt...I think this is my favorite to make.

And another Cap Sleeve Top...I got uneven and too close darts on this top but oh well. My almost 5 year old daughter doesn't care. :)

Last night I cut out fabric for several skirts, a few dresses and more tops. I am just loving this stuff! I am so glad I stumbled on these tutorials on Pinterest. Its been a good way to get my sewing on and create stuff, but without the hassle of needing a huge work space or a big chunk of time. I do feel bad about Ken not getting much, but I did find this gem of a shop on Etsy and plan on buying some stuff from her. Check out BarbieBoutiqueBasics for some super cute stuff for Barbie, Ken and other larger dolls.

I just realized I have yet another excuse to buy fabric...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


I have always hated to garden or do yard work. Always. I don't know what changed this year but now I enjoy growing things. I don't want a full fledged garden because that requires weeding, and really, ain't nobody got time for that. I like having the container garden and I would seriously consider a raised bed box sort of deal. I planted carrots, radishes, strawberries, bush beans and zucchini this year. My carrots are questionable. I don't know that I will get more than two carrots, if any at all. I've had an ok run with radishes but I see where I can improve next year. The bush beans are coming along nicely and I cannot wait to try them out. The strawberry plant is definitely growing but producing very minimally right now. I have high hopes for later in the season. Here are some pictures of what I have grown so far. I am really proud of what I have done as a first time gardener! 

Our very first strawberry. It was so juicy and sweet!
Our radishes!
My bush beans, a week ago. So cute and tiny.

The same bush beans, tonight. What a difference a week makes!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Couple of Favorite Recipes

I don't know about you all, but I love me some food. I really love baking and I am really getting into cooking. I am also getting more adventurous in the kitchen. And by adventurous I mean, cooking from scratch. HA! But really, I have been doing really well with experimenting with new recipes. I have also started to change my shopping habits and what I keep stocked in the house to eat. It's been fun to say that I made this or that from scratch. My kids are loving the things I have made and that is super encouraging. So, here we go!

The first recipe I am sharing today is one I tried sometime in 2011 and loved it. I found it on Pinterest. I really love Thai food but had never made it. This recipe is super easy and super yummy. If you can boil water, you can make this.

Spicy Thai Noodles is a recipe you will love making and one that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. When I make it, I usually have chopped peanuts on hand, shredded cabbage (bagged cole slaw works awesome for this!), green onion, and I usually cook chicken in some teriyaki sauce to add to it. The sweetness of the teriyaki sauce works really well with the spiciness of the red pepper and the warmness of the sesame oil. I am actually making this tonight for dinner. It will be the first time that my kids are eating it so I am making it way less spicy than the recipe suggests. When you make this, be sure you have a lot of hungry people with you because there is a ton of it! I will probably half it for me and the kids. It's a good one to keep on hand for nights when you want a quick, yummy and super easy dinner. 

The second recipe is something sweet and oh so good. I am not even kidding when I say that these cookies are super addicting. It's a good thing that the recipe makes 4 dozen in one batch. I also found this recipe on Pinterest...I don't think I find recipes anywhere else, now that I think of it.

Anyway...cookies! I came across this recipe for Butterscotch and White Chocolate Oat Drops the same afternoon that I went grocery shopping and had already bought butterscotch and white chocolate chips. I just did a search on Pinterest for butterscotch chips and this popped up. So I got in the kitchen and made some up the next day. Holy moly, these are the easiest cookies to make and make your house smell so good. My kids and I ate up more than I would like to admit then we shared a bunch with some friends and my parents. I am planning on making these up before school starts (one month to go!) and freezing them so I can have them on hand for lunches. I highly recommend this recipe!

This is a picture I took of my cookies as they were cooling. They were gone shortly after this...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Something funny

I have to share what I did this past week.  It is pretty funny and pretty smart all at once. 

Both my kids like to play with Barbie and Ken dolls.  I think it's great. Their constant nudity is not so great. I came across an idea on pinterest to solve that issue. 

I used two different colored sharpie markers and drew underwear and strapless bras on the girls and a speedo on the boy.  Now the dolls all have instant swim suits and modesty.  It was odd  to be coloring in doll breasts though.Haha

I love that we aren't staring at naked bodies anymore and that both my kids will see that it's not Ok to just walk around flashing people.  :)  Modesty is fantastic.

Here are the before and after pictures. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Boy, the last two weeks in July flew by. The kids and I stayed super busy with friends, birthday parties, library trips, church and visits with Nana and Papa (my parents). We have had such a fun summer but I do feel a little bad that we haven't done any of the things I set out to do this summer...camping, hiking, a zoo trip, trips to the beach. All those have been neglected. Well, all but one. My parents and I have planned a surprise trip to the zoo in about a week and a half. The kids are going to be so excited! They have both only been to a zoo once and it was when they were 1 and 3. Neither of them remember the trip so this is their first real zoo trip. I have to say, I am really looking forward to it myself. I love going to the zoo!

I think the most exciting thing that has happened in the past two weeks is that my Zaney boy turned 7! He had a really wonderful birthday this year. He got to have a pool party with all his closest friends and he got many of his favorite foods, and he got a lot of really amazing birthday gifts. He is such a fun kid. I am so proud of him for all he does and who he is. And I just cannot believe that he is 7 years old now. I'll leave you with some of my favorite pictures from his birthday and one of his last birthday gift from me-he got his left ear pierced yesterday. He has asked me about it for a year so I let him do it. So far he really loves it. He said he is the new Zane. hehe

Friday, July 26, 2013


I always like when I have a plan and God comes in and changes it.  He always finds a way to give us what we need instead of what we think we want. 

I wasn't expecting to spend most of my kid free morning visiting with a friend,  but I did.  She and I had a bit of a rocky start this week but this morning was just the thing I needed.  (and maybe she needed it too) Nobody is perfect and I certainly don't claim to be,  but it's not always easy to rise above our own hurt feelings or circumstances to see the other person for who they are. 

I'm thankful today for the chances to do the right thing, the chances to make things right with someone,  to try to make things the best they can be,  or to simply move forward in the hope that everything is going to be alright. I am humbled by the subtle ways God shows me things I can work on so that He can shine through me. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013


This picture cracks me up.  I have the funniest kids!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I got the sewing bug over the weekend. It's been awhile since I last sat down to sew. It's one of my two favorite things to do. (reading is my favorite.)

So,  on Sunday evening,  I dug around and found some long lost dress patterns and cut them out.  Then I got super excited to make some new stuff for Claire.  So I cut fabric for three new skirts for her.  I got them finished on Monday morning and she is so happy with them.  Then I decided to draft a quick pattern for a pillowcase style dress for her.  It didn't take long to draw up and then make.  And it is so cute!! 

Today I made myself a new wristlet wallet.  Ever since I got my new phone (samsung galaxy s3...best phone ever),  I've been wanting to find a wallet that my phone will fit into.  I haven't liked any that I've seen enough to buy them.  So I decided to alter a wallet pattern that I love and make one! I'm really happy with the results. I have a big pocket in the back for my phone and a divided pocket for cards and money.  I made the wrist strap detachable and also decided to make a matching chapstick key chain.  :)  It's always fun when I sew for myself. 

I'm thankful that my grandma taught me to sew and that I've never really forgotten it. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Family Swim

For the past two weeks, my kids have been taking swim lessons in the evenings. It's been a wonderful experience for them. Before they took swim lessons, Zane would kinda get his face wet, splash a lot and cling to me for dear life in the big pool. Claire would not let go of me in the big pool and refused to get her face wet in the kiddie pool. I am proud to say that now both of my kids are comfortable in the water! Zane has no fear of jumping off and going under water. He can actually swim underwater now. The only thing he won't do is go down the big twisty slide. Claire will now jump in the pool, slide down the slide about a hundred times each visit and swim around on her own with her life jacket on. I am so proud of them! I don't think we will do another round of lessons this summer but we will do it again in the spring.

This evening after their lessons ended, we stayed for family swim and then part of open swim. we had so much fun! We met our friends Jessica and Madie for family/open swim. It was nice to hang out with them. I wish we could have taken a picture of the three kids sitting by the edge of the pool slurping down ginormous otter pops that were half their size. It was so cute!

This is us after family swim. :)

Tonight I am thankful for the opportunity to do these kinds of things with my kids. I am thankful that we can find joy in simple things like going swimming. I love that we have entered into the years of staying up late, sleeping in, going out and exploring and having fun together. It's nice to not be so tightly wrapped around a schedule. Of course, this is summer living and things will be different when school and work start again. But for now I am loving every minute of it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Life Verse

On Sunday, our Pastor asked us if we had a life verse. Something we cling to in our walk with God. We were to discuss it at our Care Connection Groups this week. I loved this "assignment". (I actually love all the "homework" we get...I can't help that I am a nerdy, study type) I know my life verse. I actually have a few. But there is one that stands out from all the rest. This is it:

This verse came to me in a study I did a couple years ago. It is special to me because it truly does encompass how I (try to) live my life. It's not always easy to just let go and let God, but it's always so good when you see the fruit of that.

This leads to me to what I am thankful for today. I am always thankful for many things each day, but today I am thankful for my Care Connection Group. I love the people I have gotten to know, the friendships I have made, and I love (love, love!) our discussions. We always have so much fun together no matter what we are doing. It's been a breath of fresh air for me to be part of something that is an encouragement to me in my walk with God as well as a welcome break from everyday life.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


365 days of thanks starts up again tomorrow.  It was such a good project and I loved it.  So now you know.  :)
I may do a 30 day photo challenge too.  So many exciting things.  Haha

Here we go, again!

Wow. A year long break from blogging. A lot has happened in a year. Where to begin?!

Well...For starters, the kids and I moved into our own house. We actually got to move into my grandma's house. This is the same house that she lived in for more than half her life. This is the house that my sister and i spent summer vacations in. Now I get to raise my kids here. My parents and a couple of their friends spent all last spring and summer remodeling it, cleaning it, etc. We moved into our new home the second weekend in September. It has been perfect for us and we love it. I have even overcome my fear and dislike of gardening...yeah, I know. I have a thriving container garden and pots of flowers that I have grown from seeds. I am very proud!

Along with a shiny new house, we got two goldfish and two adorable cats that we all love. We got Belle in November. She was a complete surprise for the kids. I planned for two weeks to get her without them knowing. It was so fun to surprise them when we went to pick her up. She quickly became the spoiled princess of the house and we wouldn't have it any other way. We recently added Mavis kitty to our clan. We have had her for about a month now and she is something else. A little spitfire. Belle did not like her at all for about 4 days. Then suddenly they were best friends. It is so fun to watch them play together. And yes, they do try to get the goldfish. About those fish...the kids won them at the school carnival. yay. I have always hated the idea of fish because they are so dirty. But the night the kids won them, I was a changed woman. Watching their excited faces as they watched the fish swim around made me change my mind about fish. The very next day we drove down to the pet store and bought up all the supplies we need for the long haul of being fish owners. Fish One and Fish Two are now big, fat, happy goldfish. And, it deserves mention, we are now owners of a baby praying mantis that Zane named Mr. Greenwald. He found them last night at the pool.

I have now completed a full school year at the primary school and I love it. I love the staff and I love the kids. Doing a whole school year was so much better than joining mid year and feeling awkwardly out of place. Half way through the school year, I got offered a job at the Christian school and I accepted. I am now the secretary of that school as well as working my two hours at the primary school. I am officially employed full time with summers off! How can it get better than that?!

Speaking of school...Zane is starting second grade this year and is so excited! He got the teacher he really wanted, which makes it so much cooler. He is a reading maniac and is super excited to have his own Kindle to read on. I can't believe he is in second grade now. Crazy. Miss Claire will be in Pre-K this year. She finished her second year at Headstart in May and then transferred to the Christian school where she will stay for all of next year. She has blossomed even more in a smaller class and has really come out her shell. So with one kid at each of the schools I work at, I get to see them both throughout the day. I love it!

I am really looking forward to this coming school year. Last year was a crazy roller coaster of fun but busy days and months. I signed on as secretary of the PTO last year and that kept me busy. I also volunteered at Awana full time and did games and secretary there. I also tried to volunteer at both Headstart and the primary school as much as I could. It was a crazy time. This coming school year is already significantly less busy. I won't be doing PTO as an officer, I won't be running games at Awana, but I will try to volunteer when I can. Working full time is tricky when it comes to volunteering, even with working where I want to volunteer. But I have been greatly blessed with wonderful, understanding and supportive employers in each school. I'm telling you, you can't dream up a better deal than this, folks.

So what else is there? I'm still single. I did meet someone who I had hopes of getting to know better, but we ended up parting ways due to some pretty major lifestyle differences. I have tried online dating websites but I always end up feeling really discouraged. I just know God will bring someone into my life when it's His timing and not mine. So...I wait as patiently as I can and pray a lot. I would love to meet someone who could share this amazing life with me and the kids. I would love for the kids to have someone in their lives who could encourage and love them. I know he is out there...so I wait, I pray and I trust God.

But on a different note, I have a super awesome group of friends here. I am so lucky to have so many amazingly fun people in my life. I am so grateful for each one of them. It's wonderful to be part of such a small, mostly close knit community.

It's amazing what happens when you just let go and trust God. I can't even tell you the countless ways I have seen His provision, guidance, and love poured out on me and my family in this past year. It never ceases to amaze me just how mighty He really is.