Tuesday, February 24, 2009

role reversals

yesterday I had a Dr's appt downtown so the kids stayed at my parents house. Grandpapa is huge tree lover...and has done a few lessons lately when they were there on tree life. Yesterday was no different. As soon as I walked in the door to pick them up MaryKyle was giving me a lesson. Then last night after dinner John Mark wanted to do a lesson for us.
here he is with his drawing he did based on what he'd learned from Papa & the pointer he insisted he needed so Papa got a dowel he could sand into a pointer
(he did the drawing on his own a while after the lesson...just asked Papa for a board but Papa didn't know what the board was for until John Mark was done)

MK got up toward the end to join him. But they'd gotten fuzzy on a few things so they called Papa and he went through it all with them the difference between the Cambium, Xylum, and Phloem, & just the general awesomeness of God's creation and perfect design!  They were so interested in it and so excited to figure it all out.

after they finished teaching us, John Mark wanted to look it all up online. So they started surfing the web for more info. they would have sat there all night I think. they were so interested in it all! It was great. And even better...Daddy and I learned a lot too. There were a few things we'd totally forgotten....

oh and MK accidentally left her drawings of the process at Grandmama and GrandPapa's so I'll have to post them after she gets them back. She did a great job as well!

Monday, February 16, 2009

a day in the life...

of John Mark. He has a few obsessions as of late....one being his HAIR. I'm attempting (yet again) to grow it out some...and he's crazy about combing it and styling it in different funky styles. I mean he might as well have a comb stuck in his back pants pocket...oh wait...he usually does!

and then there's pictures he takes a million a day and was so thrilled when Daddy got an Iphone so that he could have the old cell phone "to take picture whenever he wants"
and lastly the swamp. he has worked hours out of every day this past week on his 'swamp' I mean hours! I think all of his jeans will have permanent dirt stains. It's a hole he dug with his hammer...that's right his hammer, in the back part of the yard where there is no grass.
(notice MaryKyle tied papertowels on her knees to keep them clean...ha ha!! She also had on tied on her bottom...wish I'd gotten a picture she looked hysterical this particular morning

look closely there's a gator creeping up to gobble the frog

Sage tree...he had a plastic palm, but I guess preferred the more realistic approach and now has a sprig of Sage from the herb garden.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

On tonight's menu was homemade cheesy heart-shaped pizza
and chocolate fondue...with bananas, strawberries and marshmallows

And fortune cookies...
We got our v'tine's put together so the kids can take some to their friends at worship tomorrow.
there is a kiss inside and the fortune reads "We're so FORTUNATE to have a friend like you! Happy Valentine's Day MaryKyle and John Mark"
They were so excited that I got chineses take-out boxes for them to carry them in. I'm not sure my fingers will ever recover from the hot glue gun...man those things can be brutal. But they 'cookies' turned out okay. i would have used much thicker gauge wire. I got the idea from Martha....she called for floral wire. I think I'd just do a pipe cleaner next time.....oh how I love to make Valentine's!!

Oh and I should tell you what my amazing family did for me today. I ran a few errands, my last min coupon run since I've not gone to the grocery store all week. And I needed a few things for tonight's dinner. I walked in and you could SMELL clean! I mean they had scoured the main part of the house. The kids were exhausted tonight. They had to have been...I mean they had done what would have taken me hours to do. They worked from the moment I left til the second i pulled in the driveway and then came out to help me unload. i am so insanely blessed it is unreal for me some days! I mean...hardwoods scrubbed, stair spindles dusted and cleaned...all the jobs I hate to do...DONE!! and for me, there is no better gift than that!

"Every Day should be Valentine's Day"

yummy treats

traditional Valentine b'fast of heart shaped french toast

sweet cards from the kids to us and to each other
oh yes and they beat me to the kitchen so hubby and I were ordered to stay in bed until called (tough one...to stay snuggled up next to my perfect Valentine while b'fast is made for us)
The kids had the table set for two with red ribbons tied around the curtains, the rolled up napkins, syrup and even the forks were adorned! We enjoyed waffles (frozen...as in they were still icey), wheat cracker sticks, and a granola bar, with perfectly made coffee...that's right my son can make a great pot of coffee, which makes washing down a frozen waffle easy as can be!

hot cocoa (coffee for M&D) in a red mug

Dancing (although in this rhythm lacking house not sure it can be called that) around the family room to Laughing Pizza's "Every day should be Valentine's Day" which you can actually download free today!!

yep...that's just before lunch time...every day should be Valentine's Day!!

one year ago today....

....my life was so very different than it is today. It's truly hard to believe for me how drastic it is.

(Aaliyah dancing/playing while we put together Valentines yes she put on the shoes and socks herself..hee hee hee!! Seriously how can you NOT smile at this child?)

I'm making out my list of things to do tomorrow to help make Valentines day a super fun day...since I have to live without my Mom's traditional red-heart shaped jell-o...no one sells jell-o molds any more...seriously what's up with that?! ha ha! Does anyone eat jell-o any more is the better question??? Was Jell-o a fad?
As often happens when my world is quiet, my mind wonders to my little girl just a bit (understatement for sanity's sake). In a very few short days it will have been one year since she's been gone. I dread that milestone I think more than any other...it means a lot of time has passed and will continue to.
It just SOUNDS huge for goodness sake (even if it doesn't feel as if there is any way its been that long). So for now I'm going to remember HAPPILY that one year ago today my home was filled with the silly smiles of a gorgeous toddler whom I love so much my heart wants to sing! And if that is depressing to you I'm sorry...it's not to me...not entirely I'm not letting it be right now! How could it be?? the wool socks and clown looking shoes...look at them...now how can you be depressed...really?!!
(and if you still are, go down a couple posts and watch the "I love Jesus but.." video, that should help you smile...because there are days when we all need a little help finding the humor)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Valentine yummies

Christmas ends...then comes Valentines....let the sugar rush begin (again)!!

Have spent my evening making a 'few' (about 53) cupcake pops for a friend for a party she is having tomorrow and for her kids to hand out as their Valentine goodies. Stuck some down in the closest glass to me to snap a picture (don't worry it was clean!). Sorry I'm no food photographer, but you get the idea perhaps. I put 13 together for her quickly to hand out at dance class tomorrow morning and will finish the rest in the morning in time for the afternoon party!! Plan to throw some pinks in too, just didn't have a second double boiler.
Note to my darling hubby: I'd like about 3 more handy dandy fit any pot double boilers! hmmm, I wonder if perhaps there is a holiday approaching that might perhaps warrant a token of your affection???? My fabulous man, don't be fooled by silly girls that don't appreciate kitchen tools for such tokens...I'm a lover of good kitchen tools and find them quite romantic!!
Throw in a pretty new apron and WHOA.....

and for those of you who wonder....what's a cupcake pop? check out www.bakerella.blogspot.com you will be amazed and I can pretty much guarantee you will be inspired to try something yourself!
This particular variety are red velvet cupcake with creamcheese frosting hand molded into a heart shape placed on a stick and dipped in candy melts! pure sugar indulgence and the way to my man's heart...he loves the things so I'll have to make a few extras
for him or i'd be a dreadful Valentine!
Me, kitchen appliances. He, things produced by said kitchen appliances...
Yep, he's my perfect Valentine!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

a Tablespoon of laughter on a cold and dreary day

okay so I'm not a fan of nor do I watch the Ellen show....but this is downright laugh outloud funny! A friend of mine posted this on her facebook, and my husband and I were laughing out loud at it...Laughter is the best medicine after all...so just thought i'd share

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Grocery Game

I get SO many questions about the grocery game...is it worth it? how does it work? I already clip coupons each Sunday and use them for my grocery list will this help me save more? yeah but to you buy lots of stuff you wouldn't otherwise??
I just buy generics, can I do any better using coupons? etc etc etc....Well I just came across this video and thought I'd share it shows you how grocery game works:

I know that you think I'm a walking advertisement for this site and I am I guess -somebody tell them they can pay me to do that...I wouldn't mind a BIT!!!!
I never thought I could spend so little on groceries.

So here's the scoop:
pre grocery game I bought largely generics - I'm a truly cheap person, don't have huge requirements, am not super picky and was SURE I was saving more than I ever could with coupons...HA! I also shopped from a menu I made out for that week....oh yeah and when I looked at coupons I'd think "I never use any of that stuff" (oh you know you've thought the same)

our grocery budget was about $25o every 2 weeks...more if we were having company, I cooked a meal for someone else or I had a potluck or party, etc etc...
Now after Grocery game...I have more namebrand stuff in my pantry than I have EVER seen in one place...ha ha (since we homeschool I pass on the boxtops to local schools)! Still get to have a blast cooking (I LOVE to cook!!)
Presently I spend about $50-$60 a week....sometimes less sometimes a bit more (the more usually depends on produce and meat). But if it's more I'm able to balance it out the next week. This includes by the way all of our toiletries too, not just food. I also can go weeks without buying anything but milk because of my stockpile.
Stockpile...it's the key to huge savings!!! Buy as much as you can of the sale items when they are rock bottom and you have a coupon...eventually you get to where your pantry is your grocery store and you make your menu based on what you have available...which is a LOT...I also buy the pieces for certain menu items...for instance we have a favorite tortellini soup recipe...one week the italian sausage was on a great sale...bought it and put it in the freezer, another week the canned tomatoes I needed for it, another the tortellini, and so on until I had the ingredients for one of our favorites. It sounds like more work than it is, but it's SO worth it!
Feel free to ask me any questions. I get lots of emails and calls I'm pretty used to it plus I really really enjoy saving money and putting it toward something that really means something to my family, not giving all our money to retailers!