Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trying Hard Not to Panic : )

I'm sorry I haven't been a very good blogger these past two weeks. We were so busy playing on vacation, I didn't get an opportunity to blog, and now I'm in a mad dash effort to be ready to get on an airplane Thursday morning for the She Speaks conference.

I've had a few setbacks and curve balls sent my way this week in regard to how prepared I am for the conference. I don't have time to explain it all now, but would appreciate your prayers if you think of me. Please pray for peace, direction, safety, and God's agenda not mine. I had a short lived panic session Sunday, but think I'm back on the trust wagon now. : )

I won't be able to update my blog again before I leave, but I'm hoping for chances to sneak away and blog a little over the weekend while I'm there.

Love you all!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Belated Anniversary

On June 19, King Charming and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. Only, it wasn't much of a celebration. We were unable to find a babysitter that night, so we rented a movie and made the most of a "stay at home" date.

When we got to Mom and Dad's "bed and breakfast," they volunteered to keep the kids while we got away for a belated anniversary date. We jumped at the chance! : )

So Thursday, we drove to Leavenworth, WA, a little tourist town at the base of the Cascades they've turned into a Bavarian village. You feel like you are in the alps!

Look at this view out our hotel room window!

King Charming, being the grand deal finder, was able to surprise me with a suite!

We walked in and found bathrobes,

chocolate mints,

even a rubber ducky!

I really felt like royalty.

That night we drove to the ski hill to an outdoor amphitheater and watched a performance of The Sound of Music. So fun! I loved walking up the hill on the path lit with white lights up to the amphitheater. The little kids in the musical were amazing and so talented. It was all magical.

Then the next morning, I woke up and said, "I miss my kids. Time to go home to Mom and Dad's!" I made it less than 24 hours! Ha Ha.

We stopped by Liberty Orchards Aplets and Cotlets candy factory in Cashmere on the way home and watched them making the candy. Aplets and Cotlets are my dad's ABSOLUTE FAVORITE CANDY IN THE WHOLE WORLD, so we brought home a thank you gift for the babysitting.

It was so nice to be away with my husband. 10 years has been a blink. I didn't think I could love you any more on the first day, but every day I love you more, King Charming.

I heard this song the other day, and I'm so thankful I will never have to go back to the day before you. Happy Belated Anniversary Baby!

I had all but given up on finding the one that I could fall into
On the day before you
I was ready to settle for less than love and not much more
There was no such thing as a dream come true
But that was on the day before you

Now you're here and everything's changing
Suddenly life means so much
I can't wait to wake up tomorrow and find out this promise is true
I will never have to go back to the day before you

In your eyes I see forever
And it makes me wish that my life never knew the day before you
Oh, but heaven knows those years without you
Were shaping my heart for the day that I found you

And if you're the reason for all I've been through
then I'm thankful for the day before you

Now you're here and everything's changing
Suddenly life means so much
I can't wait to wake up tomorrow and find out this promise is true
I will never have to go back to the day before you
It was the last day that I ever lived alone

And I'm never going back
No, I'm never going back

To the day before you.


Monday, July 20, 2009

On Vacation!

We just arrived at the sweetest bed and breakfast.

It's an out of the way place that few know about, but we like it that way.

They take such amazing care of us whenever we show up here: great food, wait on us hand and foot, get up with my children and allow me to sleep in. Why would we ever vacation anywhere else??

You guessed it- We are at Grandma and Grandpa's house for the week.

Just arrived tonight and am already looking forward to being spoiled.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Nothing Sweeter Than...

...looking out the window and seeing your daughters running off to play hand in hand.

I'm one blessed mommy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Preparing for She Speaks

Only 13 days left until I board an airplane and fly across the country to the She Speaks Conference.

On my to-do list, I have so much "in progress" and very little "complete." Visions of book proposals, cover letters, one sheets, title changes, speaking messages, and outfits to buy dance through my head. A ticking clock saying, "Not enough time, not enough time..." Especially when I consider we are leaving for a nine day vacation Sunday morning and will not be home until 2 days before I leave for North Carolina.

But in the midst of it all, the strangest thing: PEACE.

An undercurrent of panic runs through me, but stronger is this unexplainable, rock solid calm that God is in control, that He will prepare me, and that He will meet me there with an unexpected agenda. I sense this trip will be a get-away for Him and me, a time for me to quiet my heart, reconnect, and gain vision, but most of all a time for Jesus to be glorified. I'm not sure if open doors are on His agenda for me, but that doesn't matter compared to what I know He is planning on doing in my heart while I'm there. I can't wait to see the things He wants to teach me, the people He has for me to meet, and the fellowship He's got in store.

A long time ago, God worked on my heart and gave me this message for life: Bless Not Impress.

I'm praying that will be the condition of my heart for this trip, looking for chances to bless sisters, not compete for opportunities.

Lord, please make my heart ready first and foremost. I trust you for the rest. Please protect my family while I'm away and help my baby boy and my girls to not miss Mommy too much while they are with Grandma. I pray for traveling mercies and safety for me. Be glorified through me. I lift all the "to-do" items and pray they will be done without stress, early, and with quality and excellence. Your will be done with my desires for writing, speaking, teaching, and ministry. I'm so very, very, very excited and thankful for the gift of this trip! I can't wait to see what your agenda is for that weekend. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Are You Ready for the Winner??? : )

Like I said in the original post, this has been my favorite giveaway by far . I love this book.

I wish I could send you all a copy, but King Charming is attached to our savings account and wouldn't appreciate me draining it. : )

So go out and get The Jesus Storybook Bible if you can. The message is beautiful and so are the pictures. OK. No more advertising... (I promise I'm not getting paid, hee hee)

Drum roll please....

Here's what Random.org decided this time around:

True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 28 Result: 5 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Yippee!!! Congrats, Kim from Living in a Black and White World. You are going to LOVE this and so will your beautiful kids!

Stop by and congratulate Kim for me, you'll love her blog.

Here's what Kim said on her comment:

I'm sold on what a great book this is. I hope to be the winner and all 6 kiddos
could enjoy this - talk about getting bang for your buck ( I would get it free
and 7 people would get to enjoy :))

But comment #5 was actually when Kim became a follower of my blog. See! Giving into my bribery pays! Hee Hee.

Congratulations Kim!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kitchen Remodel Done : )

Amanda and Lindsey's kitchen remodel is done. I know you've all been waiting to see the new addition to the dollhouse. Ha Ha. : )

My giveaway ends tomorrow. Don't forget to enter by leaving me a comment on that post.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Oh No...She Didn't...Did She?

Oh dear. That Oldest Princess of mine.

That girl gets an idea in her head and runs full steam ahead. I have a hard time keeping up with all her schemes.

Last year, after her school's jog-a-thon, she was so impressed that people would actually give you money if you asked for it, she organized the neighborhood kids and went door to door.

When the neighbors answered, she'd smile and say, "Hi. I was wondering if you would sponsor me for the ice cream truck?"

Finally, a neighbor clued me in to what she was up to, so I had to go with her back through the neighborhood giving all the money back.

A few days ago, she decided to start a "Tooth Pulling Business" for the neighbor kids who wanted their teeth out quicker so they could collect their Tooth Fairy money. She had on her vet costume and used her sister as her first customer. They ran in the door proudly showing off the lost tooth and a Ziploc of all the blood. It was so gross but they insisted they needed it because their buddy had a microscope and it was their scientific sample. Ugh. I eventually talked them into throwing it in the garbage. Me and other people's blood do not mix.

I could write a book about this little girl and the things she comes up with to keep me on my toes. So, knowing her like I do, I should not be the least bit surprised by what she did yesterday while I was at a meeting at church.

It was late afternoon, baby was napping, so King Charming decided it would be a good time to catch a nap himself. Oldest Princess said, "But Daddy, I'm HUNGRY!!!! What are we going to have for dinner."

It wasn't dinner time yet, so he joked with her, "Nothing. You get to know what the kids in Africa feel like." Then he fell asleep on the couch.

A little bit later, he woke up, sort of, and could hear Oldest Princess on the phone. He sat up, a little dazed and confused, and could see her standing in front of our open fridge chatting away with what sounded like an adult voice. He grumbles at her, "Who is that? Hang up!"

Guess what she was up to this time?


I came home from my meeting and made her a perfectly healthy, good dinner, but now her classmate's mom is probably calling CPS. Guess I have a phone call to make this morning....

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More Nester: Price My Space

I've confessed many times on this blog 'o mine my addiction to The Nesting Place. Well, Nester is hosting a blog party called "Price My Space."

The thought of participating briefly floated through my mind. Then went right out again. No way! Nothing in my house is sharing worthy. Especially not on Nester's blog.

But as I was visiting all of the links, getting so inspired, I wanted to play, too. I decided maybe Prince Charming's room might be worth sharing. I am a little proud of how well it turned out on such a small budget and that is the point of this party. So here I go:

I didn't have a lot of money to furnish our nursery, but we'd waited so long for this miracle baby of ours, I knew I wanted something special for him. The nesting instinct was killing me. I bought things, I returned things, I hunted for bargains until I finally found the DEAL! Well, actually, make that plural DEALS!

The room could still use more, but it makes me happy just the way it is.

The bedding was my big deal. The original bedding I wanted was $160 and I knew that was too much. I was disappointed until I found this set on Clearance at Baby Depot. The crib sheet, bumper, skirt, diaper stacker, quilt, and valance = $60

The dresser should be considered a STEAL instead of a DEAL. King Charming found this dresser on Craigslist. It is solid wood. Brand new condition. A teenager put it on Craigslist for $100. Her step-dad was LIVID with her when KC showed up to buy it, but he sold it anyway. He grumbled the whole time, "I hope you know what a deal you are getting here."

My friend Martha Stewart, I mean Daiquiri, made the flannel quilt and teddy bear.

And this photo of my Papa was emailed to me by Nana and printed on our printer:

This lightswitch cover is from Baby's 'R Us and I think it was $15.

We already had the play rug. It's from Home Depot, was picked out by two little sisters hoping to have a little brother someday. I can't remember how much we paid for it, but it counts as free if I already had it on hand, right? : )

Here's my price breakdown:
Crib sheet, quilt, skirt, bumper, valance, and diaper stacker= $60
Dresser= $100
Lightswitch cover= $15
Crib (Loaned to us from GREAT FRIENDS) = Free
Rocking Chair we already owned. I can't remember how much it originally cost, but since it was already ours, I count it as= Free
Play Rug= Free
Teddy Bear= Free
Flannel quilt= Free
Sentimental Picture of my handsome Papa= Free


Oh yeah- Of course you can't forget:
1 Happy Mama +
1 Happy Kid

I'm giving away a really sweet Children's Bible from Zonderkidz this week. All you have to do is leave me a comment on that post to be entered for the giveaway.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 10, 2009

They Bring Out the Kid in Me

My girls have entered a new phase I have to admit I'm having fun with, too.

I have always been a doll girl. I remember making my daddy kiss all 22 of mine goodnight when he tucked me in.

My girls love the American Girl books and have been drooling over the American Girl catalog. They started saving up to buy their own dolls, but $95 is a long way away when you are saving quarters and pennies.

We found comparable 18" dolls from the Springfield Collection at Michael's. They had fun buying their dolls and new clothes. My favorite were the mini crocs Oldest Princess got for her Lindsey doll.

Youngest Princess chose an Amanda doll.

When we got home with their dolls, I tried to act my age and stand back, but I couldn't. They
even let me brush their dolls' hair.

Today, we were having a bored, very grumpy with each other day, so I decided their new dolls needed a home. We grabbed cardboard boxes from the garage, scrap fabric from my sewing stuff, and started creating.

Here's what we came up with:

Here Lindsey is watching an episode of "Dancing Ballerinas" on her plasma flat screen, in front of a roaring fire, surrounded by photos of the people she loves the most.

For a couple hours I forgot I was 33 instead of 7. : )

I'll make sure you see the kitchen when construction is complete.

Don't miss the giveaway I'm hosting this week. I'm giving away a copy of the Jesus Storybook Bible to one lucky reader. Just leave me a comment on that post and you'll be entered to win the prize.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My Favorite Giveaway Yet! The Jesus Storybook Bible

Sorry, this giveaway is now closed.

I have absolutely fallen in love with this book. It was included in the books Zonderkidz sent me to review and give away, and I don't have any trouble saying, "I love it!!!"

I'm using it as a read aloud for my girls before bed each night, and every time I finish a story they beg me, "Read the next one, please Mommy!" Do you know how good it feels to have your children begging you to read Bible stories to them?

But, my girls aren't the only ones enjoying this book. I am learning so much from reading this to them. There are so many stories, especially in the Old Testament, that I didn't see before how they point to Jesus coming to be our Rescuer.

I hope it is OK to do this, but I just had to share the introduction with you:

God wrote, “I love you” – he wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea. He wrote his message everywhere! Because God created everything in his world to reflect him like a mirror – to show us what he is like, to help us know him, to make our hearts sing.

The way a kitten chases her tail. The way red poppies grow wild. The way a dolphin swims.

And God put it into words, too, and wrote it in a book called “the Bible.”

Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.

Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose). They get afraid and run away. At times they are downright mean.

No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne – everything - to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!

You see, the best thing about this Story is – it’s true.

There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.

It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle – the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.

And this is no ordinary baby. This is the Child upon whom everything would depend. This is the Child who would one day – but wait. Our Story starts where all good stories start. Right at the very beginning …

Doesn't that just grab your heart and make you want to read more? If you don't win my giveaway, you still need to add this book to your library or give it as a gift. I just can't express enough how reading this book to my kids has touched my own heart.

It also has great illustrations!

Here's how to enter the giveaway:

1. You can enter once just by leaving me a comment.
2. You can enter a second time if you already are a follower of my blog or you become one before next Wednesday, July 15th, when I choose the winner.
3. You can enter a third time if you visit Zonderkidz website and shop around. Tell me what you like. (They've added new content since the last giveaway)
4. You can enter a fourth time if you write a blog post inviting your readers to come over here and enter the contest.

NOTE: ****Each comment counts as an entry, so make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry you want to make.

I hope you all love this as much as I do.

Contest ends Wednesday, July 15th

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday: Portion Sizes

I've been working on losing weight since September. I'm trying to do it slowly and healthfully, and trying to make lasting changes so I don't regain the weight I've lost. One of the most helpful things has been re-learning correct portion sizes. Somehow, my portions grew over the years to the point where I didn't know what a bowl of cereal should actually look like. The recommended 3/4 of a cup of Life Cereal was way smaller than the bowls I was pouring and considering one bowl.

It has been eye opening to discover the difference between what I thought was the right size and what the right size really should be. The hardest thing for me was the food that comes in boxes- cereal, crackers, chips, etc. It is so easy to reach in for "just a little extra" or pour just a little more into the extra milk in the bowl.

A trick that has really helped in the past is using Ziploc snack bags. I measure out the correct portions, and then put the snack sacks back in the box before I put it in my pantry. That way when I want crackers with lunch, or a bowl of cereal, I can just grab the right portion. If I take more, I'd have to take it from another portioned out section, cheating myself or the next person to come behind me.

Works for me...

Hope it works for you, too...

This is my personal blog, but I am also keeping a fitness blog as a journal of my efforts. I've lost 44 pounds so far and would like to lose 10 more. You can visit that blog by clicking here.

Here are my other WFMW posts. I hope something will be helpful to you.

Thanks for stopping by! I also wanted to let you know I'm hosting a giveaway from Zonderkidz this week. You can enter here.

Head on back to "We Are That Family" for more ideas that are working for bloggers this week.

Oh the Joy of Sick Children...

The vomiting began Thursday evening.

We were ready to go on our trip to visit family for the 4th. The girls were beyond excited to see cousins. Everyone was expecting us. Then Prince Charming decided it would be a great time to throw up for the first time. In the car. In the carseat. You know the car we planned to be driving in for six hours the next morning?? Then he got me. I'm not exaggerating when I say he got me from head to toe, even down my shirt. Then all over his bed. Thanks, Buddy.

I didn't know what to do. We were all so excited and ready for our trip, but I didn't want to take sick kids, especially since I'd be traveling alone. I had just given him a bottle from a can of formula that was given to us as a sample in the hospital. It said it was good until 2011, so I didn't think it would be a problem. The timing for the throwing up matched up perfectly with the new formula and he didn't act sick at all. So I tossed the can, got up the next morning, and watched him for awhile, and decided he was fine, chalking it up to a bad can of formula.

And he was fine. All the way to Nana's house, until he decided to throw up again in the middle of the night. Then twice more the next afternoon.

Then Oldest Princess decided it would be a good idea to get sick the morning we were supposed to head home. So we traveled the six hours home stopping to throw away sick bags.

By Monday, she was feeling great, but I kept her inside away from neighbor kids to make sure she was better. Poor Littlest Princess was bored out of her mind because she had to stay home, too. I thought it was all behind us by Monday night.

King Charming and I had a date planned for the evening. I wasn't sure if we should still go through with it, and neither was the mom of our babysitter. She's a friend of mine with six kids and didn't want her crew exposed. I don't blame her. But we had hired her son to come over after we put the kids to bed so we could go out for an hour or two to give us a date and him a chance to raise money for camp. I told her he wouldn't be interacting with the kids since they would be asleep by the time he got here, and I promised to use a bunch of Lysol. She agreed.

Sure enough, while we were gone Littlest Princess decided it was her turn. My friend had to come over and help until we got back. I felt so guilty.

Now I've heard that Nana got sick after we left. I'm sure everyone is just so glad we decided to grace them with our presence. I just made one bad decision after another. In my defense, I really did believe it was just the formula.

So, the moral of the story is: If one child gets sick, cancel ALL PLANS until EVERYONE in the household has had it. Then add another few days on to that just to be safe.

This is my official apology to all involved. : )

You know what, though? I'm glad I was dumb. Don't tell anyone, but I'm still glad we went on our trip: Amazingly, it was a great trip. Despite the sickness, I loved seeing my family and watching my kids have so much fun. The girls had a BLAST! And I realized something: I have really great, fun to be with kids. We had such a good time on our drive. You know you have great kids when you enjoy them on a road trip.

And King Charming took me hiking on the foothills last night for our date. I got to watch the sun set from the top of a hill overlooking our valley. That was worth all of the apologies I'm going to have to make to my friend this morning. That is if she still is my friend....

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Drifting From the Dock

This is the devotion I wrote for Women's Ministry at church this week. I hope you all had a great 4th of July celebration. I'll be back later to update you on mine. : )

From God's Word:

Click and Read
Psalm 86

Key Verse:
O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive,
so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. - Psalm 86:5 (NLT)

This is the season for playing in the water. When the temperatures soar, there is nothing better than getting wet.

One of my favorite summer pastimes is floating on an air mattress or inner tube in a lake or the ocean. I close my eyes, listen to the lapping water, and enjoy the peace as I float along. Ahhh, luxury!

That is until I open my eyes, sit up, and realize just how far from shore or the dock I've drifted. It's amazing how little time it can take in the water to drift a long distance. Once you realize how far you've gone, it takes so much work and effort to get back to where you need to be. You have to jump in and swim back, or doggy paddle your way in slow motion. Why is it that it takes so much longer to get back then it did to drift out?

Life is like that. When you drift off course, you have to work so hard to get back to where you want to be. It's true in finances, life goals, careers, and relationships.

Isn't it wonderful that Jesus does not operate that way? When we drift spiritually and find ourselves far away from Him, all we have to do is repent and instantly we are at His side once again. He greets us with open arms and forgives us, continuing the walk right where we were.

He doesn't ask us to perform penance or to work our way back to Him. He pulls us back to Him the minute we turn and say, "I'm done straying. Please forgive me."

We may have to endure the consequences of the sinful choices we've made, but we will not have to earn our Savior's love and acceptance. We won't have to work our way back to His side. He will bring us back to where we need to be when we allow Him to do it.

Personal Application:

Read this excerpt from the old hymn, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Is that you? Are you prone to wander? Or have you drifted spiritually?

Just call His name, and let Him bring you back across the distance. Don't waste your time dog paddling back. Repent and get back to walking by His side.
Isn't He wonderful? Thank Him for His forgiveness and love.

Dear Lord, Thank you for your grace. I pray I will not take that grace for granted or treat it lightly. It is an amazing gift. Thank you that when I stray, you are so kind to bring me back. I love you! In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen

More of God's Word:

1. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is he who has forgiveness of his transgression continually exercised upon him, whose sin is covered. Psalm 32:1 (Amplified)

2. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. - Psalm 51:17 (NLT)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Following Her Dreams

We've been busy this summer! But it has been a fun, happy, busy.

The month of June disappeared into a blur of swimming lessons and gymnastics. Everyday we drove to our local college, and the girls would swim and then immediately afterward, we'd stay to watch Youngest Princess do her gymnastics.

I mentioned before that she has big dreams about being a future Shawn Johnson, so for her birthday this year we gave her this three week gymnastics camp to see if she really liked it or not.

"Like it" is an understatement. She was IN HEAVEN. I know I'm a biased mom, but I was surprised by how much natural ability she has. It must come from her dad's side of the family because she can do stuff with her body that I would never have been able to do. It was so fun to watch her. The best part was the gleam in her eye and the total joy she had being in that gym. I think she has found her niche. She told me the other day, "Mommy, I was BORN to do gymnastics."

King Charming and I have been talking, and I think we are going to budget to let her be a part of a gymnastics league this fall. (Don't tell her that though, Grandma. We aren't telling her until we figure out the details)

It is so much fun seeing your kids doing something they love and doing it well. She learned so much in just three short weeks. I wish I took better pictures and video. The one day I brought my camera, they did different activities, but I promised Grandpa some pictures and video, so I'll try to get more this fall that are better:

This video shows you what a strong little monkey she is:

Her brother and sister were such troopers, sitting and watching their sister have fun for an hour. I think it was important for her to have her own thing though. Oldest Princess has expressed a total love for basketball. They are only thirteen and 1/2 months a part and have always done everything together. It is cool to see them expressing and exploring their own interests and supporting each other while they do it.

I hope you all have a happy Independence Day! I am Miss Spontaneity and decided at the last minute to take a trip to visit family for the 4th. I have one day to get laundry done, packed, and then take off with three kids all by myself. (King Charming has to work. Boo Hoo) He always misses all the fun.

Happy 4th of July!