Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Rest of the Festivities...

I love Christmas time, but I do grow weary after all the celebrations. It is amazing to be able to get together with all of the family and catch up since we aren't able to see my side as often. However, once all the running around is done it is nice to come home and settle back into a routine.
The weekend before Christmas we had two parties- one with my father-in-law's extended family and one with Jason's immediate family.
Reading books with Aunt Jessica
Checking out her new camper for her doll house
Then three of us celebrated Christmas on Christmas eve morning. Once we were done it was time to clean up and get ready for the first of many celebrations to come over the next three days.
Excitement over her new semi, just like Daddy's. Complete with piggies to haul!

Not sure who enjoyed the semi and Lego's more :)
We packed up and headed to my grandma's house in the afternoon to see my mom's side of the family. Each year we have dinner, do our own candle light Christmas program, open presents and then have dessert. It was a little bitter sweet this year without having my Aunt Lydia there to lead us with her beautiful voice, but I know she was there with us.
The annual family photo in front of the tree
Around 9:30 we packed the car up again and headed to my mom's house for the night. With all the busyness I was unable to sleep once we got there, so I stayed up and chatted with my mom until the wee hours of the morning. This has become a tradition for us over the last few years. Typically we are wrapping presents during this time, but this year she was more prepared. So we did some baking instead :)
At 8:00 the next morning the house was bursting with excitement between my little one and my brothers. They could hardly wait to get started on the presents. Once gifts were opened we had a feast for breakfast. We also talked to my grandparents on the phone and opened up the gifts they sent from Arkansas.
Emma surrounded by the gifts to be opened at Grandma's
Around 4:00 we packed up once again to head to my dad's to do Christmas one last time. We opened gifts with him and his girlfriend Brenda before having dinner and settling in for the night. On Monday, we were able to have a visit with my best buddy from high school Teresa before having lunch and heading back to Holland.
Emma and Papa Spence opening presents.
By the time we arrived home around 4:30, this momma was beat! Then comes the unpacking and finding homes for all the new goodies we've received. Let's just say the garage sale pile continues to grow as I purge old things to make way for the new.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Excitement on a Cold Winter's Night

We had quite a bit of excitement around here in the last 24 hours...

The hubby was out working last night on a generator around 9:30 when I heard a loud boom along with some colorful language. I thought, oh crap, he hurt himself and now were going to have to make a trip to the ER. The sight that awaited me caught me off guard.

I walked out into our dinning room to see flames leaping into the air near our garage. We're still not sure how Jason managed to escape the fire without any injuries. He must have had an angel on his side! The first thing he did was run into the garage and back our truck out. He said it was a 'raging inferno of heat' inside.

While I was on the phone with 911, Jason grabbed the hose and tried to contain the flames. He thought the garage was done for, but wanted to keep the fire away from our house and the neighbor's garage. In the end, he was actually able to put most of the flames out before the fire department arrived.

Overall, the damage in the grand scheme of things was pretty minor. We need a new garage door and some siding, along with a few items that were destroyed inside the garage. This summer we had discussed replacing our old garage door anyways, but decided against it since we put the house up for sale.


I am so grateful that God was watching over us that night, protecting us from a situation that could have turned out much differently. It certainly was enough excitement for this momma' and I pray that is the only fire situation I have to experience in my lifetime!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Meet Our Elf Sparkle

We have joined the masses and adopted an Elf on the Shelf. He was actually given to us for Emma's first Christmas by my step-mom Cindy, but I felt like this was the first year Emma could actually understand the concept.
Image Detail
He's been found in lots of funny places, but I think the two favorites thus far have been:

- resting on a stack of packages with a note telling Emma to open one present each night until Christmas. I gathered up all of our Christmas books and wrapped them up so we can read a new story each night. She thinks they are all new, even the one that used to belong to her Grandma Jen :)
-hanging out by our computer with this video on the screen. It got lots of giggles and I can admit it was a bit fun creating the video!

I've been totally slacking and have no pictures to document the life of our elf, but Emma enjoys searching for him every morning. Where are some of the places your elf has been?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Homemade Wrapping Paper

I meant to get pics of this process, but it's pretty self explanatory and a certain little one was less than cooperative towards the end anyways. We simply took a couple of old grocery bags, cut them up and used red and green bingo markers to give them a polka dot look. I know the grandparents will love opening their gifts adorned in paper made just for them by Emma's little hands.
Just a word of caution- the heavier bags can be tricky to wrap with- they need lots of tape to help stay closed. I also added some ribbon to spruce them up and reinforce them.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mrs. Claus is Coming to Town

Every year we have an annual Christmas get together with my mother-in-law's side of the family. Due to the large number of people, we meet in a local school gym for pizza, snacks, games and a visit from someone special. Santa used to grace our group, but has since retired and we now have Mrs. Claus (aka Grandma Klein) visit instead. She reads a story to the kiddos and then passes out a gift for each child.

I know that Emma wouldn't fall for this gig forever, but I figured we'd have at least another year to figure it out. However, shortly after Mrs. Claus came out my daughter looked at her and said, "I thought Mrs. Claus was coming to visit us tonight". When Mrs. Claus responded, "Yes, that's me" Emma looked right at her and said, "No your not, your Brama Klein!" We told her she was wrong, but I'm not sure we convinced her. Guess there will be no fooling her next year!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Let the Holiday Baking Begin!

I had a little helper in the kitchen this week, doing lots of food prep for upcoming parties. It got a bit messy, but we had lots of fun! She gets a kick out of using the mixer, but I think the end result was enjoyed even more:

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

We finally got our tree put up and Jason hung the icicle lights outside (thanks babe!). I usually put 2 trees up- one in our living room and one in the entry way. However, with the house being on the market and feeling a bit like a hippo these days I decided to stick with just one tree. As per tradition, we put up the tree in the living room while watching 'A Muppet Christmas Carol'. Emma was much more involved this year, giving our tree her own decorating twist and resulting in lots of ornaments that need a little bit of love (in other words some hot glue).
Emma had about 20 ornaments confined to 2 branches. I had to even it out after she went to bed in fear of the tree tipping over due to excessive weight on one side :)

While I love the themed trees, decked out in one or two colors with a uniform look, ours is very special. Each ornament had a story to tell. They have been collected over the years by each family member and have meaning to them. Hence why we have two trees- there is a whole other tote in the basement full of ornaments that typically adorn the tree in our entryway! Now to drag the other 10 totes out of the basement to complete the holiday atmosphere around here...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Two Parties Down and Lots More to Go!

Two days after Thanksgiving we loaded our truck back up to head up north to see my dad's side of the family for a Thanksgiving/Christmas extravaganza. It was great to see all the family and let the little ones run around together. Due to distance, we don't get to see them too often so it's wonderful when we get a chance to gather everyone together. Good times, food and laughter were had by all. Here's a few pics of the kiddos having fun.
 The older girls spent lots of time jumping on Papa Spence.
 The three hams posing with their new cameras from Great Grandma and Grandpa.

Here are a few pics of some of my homemade presents. I love crafting and giving out unique gifts this time of year! I will do some tutorials later... it's a bit busy around here these days.
Tutus for the girls.
Christmas wreaths for the adults.

It was great to see everyone. We will be praying for my grandparents as they make their trek to Florida for the winter months! Hope you enjoy the sunshine snowbirds :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Three Little Turkeys

We did a fun craft today that all the kids enjoyed. It was pretty simple to throw together too.

All you need is an apple (could also use a potato), some toothpicks, mini marshmallows and food coloring.

Start by separating the marshmallows into individual bowls. Add food coloring to the bowls and stir. I found the gel food coloring works best. Give your marshmallows 1-2 hours to dry on a paper towel before letting your little one handle them or it can get very messy :)


While the marshmallows are drying, insert toothpicks in the apples on one side. These will be the base for your turkey feathers.


Once the apples are ready, let the kids go to work. Smaller fingers might need a little help getting the marshmallows on the toothpicks. You could challenge older kids to make a pattern with their marshmallows.



Once they were done, I glued some googly eyes and a piece of construction paper in the shape of a beak. Now we have some cute little turkeys to decorate for Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Growing Pains

I've finally entered my third trimester- the count down to d-day has officially begun! While I'm trying to fully appreciate every moment of this pregnancy (especially since it might be my last), I'll admit to having a few things to groan about.

I've been having a lot of trouble with my hips these days. One side in particular. If I jump up and try to walk off quickly, my leg tends to just give out. I've gotten close to landing on my rear end a couple of times. I try to remember to take it slow, but it's easier said than done when you're after a 3 year old who is intent on getting away from you!

Getting dressed is becoming more challenging every day too. Not only is it hard to pull on my socks, I don't enjoy picking out what to wear. Many people have graciously given me clothes which I sooo appreciate. I have several cute pieces that I love and seem to wear over and over, but there are lots of other pieces that just don't fit me right. And maternity pants drive me crazy! While they are super comfy, they don't stay put. I spend all day long hiking them up.

Thank goodness for my pregnancy pillow or I'm sure I wouldn't be getting any sleep either. My hubby hates the thing, but I'm not willing to give up a good night's sleep. He complains that it takes up too much room in the bed and he can't cuddle with me, but he tends to roll to his side of the bed within minutes of falling asleep anyway so he'll get over it.

Have I also mentioned that this kiddo doesn't have a name yet? While big sister has settled on Elmo, I don't think that will be making the final cut. The hubby and I haven't had much down time together lately, so it's kinda been put on the back burner. Anyone have some great boy's names they'd like to share?

Speaking of big sister, we've been battling quite a bit lately as well. Some of it's due to busy schedules I'm sure. We're working almost every day and rarely see daddy. Add to that the upcoming addition to our family and the possibility of moving and things probably seem quite unstable to our little one. In the course of a week she's had almost a dozen accidents. This is from a child who had never had an accident before! She's also been insisting on being fed at meal time. I was greatly relieved when I looked into it a little more to find this regressive behavior is completely normal.

I think the biggest issue for me right now is the unknown. I want to be nesting, putting all of baby boy's things away. Since our house is on the market it will just have to wait a little longer. Come mid-January, if the house hasn't sold I can start finding the right place for all his tiny things. Plus the upcoming holidays and carzyness leaves me feeling behind on everything right now. Grant me patience Lord, it's not my best virtue!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bath Tub Fun

I found this idea on pintrest the other day and had to try it. I was a bit hesitant with our old porcelain bath tub, but after a quick pre-kiddo trial I found that it's not a problem. All you need is a paintbrush, some water colors and a willing munchkin.


Emma loved it! I actually had to force her out of the bath tub after over a half hour of painting. We will definitely pulling the paint out again in the future.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

FSBO

Yep, it's official. The hubby has placed a for sale sign in our front yard two weeks ago. Never mind that Christmas is only a month and a half away and I'm 6 months preggo. I'm a planner, an organizer- this is turmoil for me. Praying for clear direction in the next few months as our life is kinda up in the air!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Someone intent on the hunt for candy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cheap and Easy Tablecloth

I've been looking for an inexpensive tablecloth for the table in my entryway for a long time now. I've had a few that I rotate through the seasons, but I wanted something different. The daisy one I use in the summer time is starting to look a bit faded and tired from the sun. I also have one that I use during the winter that is a bit stained, hidden by carefully placed decorations.

Suddenly an idea came to me- burlap. Simple, inexpensive and will fit in with my decor nicely. It was very easy to do. My awesome mom picked up a few yards for me at Joanns and I went right to work. Once I decided on the size I wanted, I used a seam ripper to pull a thread out all the way down the side. I then cut down the line where the thread was missing to get a nice straight line. It will fray a bit. If you want to you could easily fold a bit over and run a seam down the line, but I like the rustic look.


I love how it turned out! I would recommend letting the fabric sit outside for a while before using. It seems to have a distinct smell that is taking over. It's not practical for an actual table, but great for decorative purposes. I also have a few yards of a off white burlap so I can switch it up. Now I just have to figure out what to use the extra pieces for :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Little Pumpkin

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

(Mostly) Mess Free Painting

While wandering the clearance section at Meijer- a dangerous place for me- I stumbled across some bingo markers on sale. I thought they might be a fun alternative to our typical finger paint. Emma was thrilled to get home and try them out.

We still took a few precautions, such as newspaper spread across the table and a paint shirt over our clothes. Once she got started it was hard to make her stop. She loved it! I even went back to buy some more colors :)


I have all kinds of ideas in mind for these in the future, besides playing an occasional game. I want to write out the letters of the alphabet and have Emma use the markers to follow the outline by dabbing around it with markers. I also have a large roll of plain white paper that Emma may have to turn into customized wrapping paper. If you have any other great ideas, please share!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fruit of the Loom Coupon Code for You!

I was recently selected to review some awesome products from Fruit of the Loom. This really excited me, since pregnancy leaves my body in a constantly changing and some what uncomfy state. I'm always looking for 'umentionalbles' that don't bind, pinch, ride up or break the bank!

Right from the beginning I was impressed while working with this company. It took a couple of tries to get the right fit and they worked diligently to find something that would work for me. They have lots of great items to choose from and loads of fun prints available. They even have a customized bra so you can get your perfect fit. The best part- everything is totally affordable!

I received the cupcake set to start, but sadly it was the wrong size. I passed it along to my mom and eagerly awaited the arrival of my next package. Next I received a darling cherry set that I love. It is made of a soft cotton that lays nicely, avoiding all those unsightly bumps and bulges we all hate.


I also was given this great set of racer back sports bras. They are extremely comfy for everyday use while providing plenty of support for working out.
The only thing I had trouble with was the sizing. The band size seemed to run small and my tended to mom agree with me. I would just be sure to take your measurements before placing your order- they have a great guide on the website to help you out. Otherwise, they are super cute and completely comfortable for everyday wear.

Currently, you can go to here to check out their greatest styles. This awesome company is also offering all my readers a coupon code. Enter the discount code B2BFRUIT at check-out to receive $5 off your entire order (it's like getting the shipping for free!). This code expires October 31, 2011 and can not be combined with any other offer. Happy shopping!

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's a....

Yes, I may have done some shopping already :)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Halfway There!

I cannot believe I'm halfway through my pregnancy already! In some ways it has gone by really slowly, but in other ways the time has flown. Up until recently, I've had to remind myself at times that I am pregnant :) Besides the off-again, on-again nausea, there haven't been many reminders. Now however, I have the slightly bulging belly that makes sleep elusive at times and the occasional kicks from within. Regardless of the symptoms, I wouldn't trade it for anything! I love being pregnant and am trying to fully enjoy it, since baby #2 may just complete our family. Next week will bring a big announcement: is it a boy or girl??? I'll keep you posted :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Photo Blocks

Here's the long promised post on the wedding gift I made for my sis-in-law over a month ago! I found these adorable photo blocks on etsy and thought they'd be the perfect gift. After pondering it a while, I thought why not make them myself? Mine are not exactly the same, but I love how they turned out!
I started out with 4 pieces of wood, cut into 4x6 pieces. The hubby so graciously cut the 2x4 down for me :) I can use the hand saw, but my precision and ability to produce straight lines is lacking.

I then took the blocks and spray painted them black. Once they were dry I sanded the edges down bit for a more rustic, natural look.
I chose four engagement pictures of my sis-in-law and her hubby and had then printed off in black and white.

While that business dried I took wood letters L-O-V-E that I picked up at Hobby Lobby and painted them red.

Once the blocks were dry and trimmed the pics down a bit to fit them on the blocks. I used a spray adhesive to glue the pictures down to each block. After I had them securely fastened, I once again used  a fine grit sand paper to rough up the edges.
After my letters were dry, I used the spray adhesive to attach one letter to each block.

Here's the end result:




I love how they turned out! They made a great, personalized gift. These would be great for baby gifts as well- the possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sweet Innocent Slumber

No words are needed :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Play Makeup

In years past, I have always made something for Emma on her birthday. It's a tradition I hope to continue over the years to some degree.

For her first birthday I made a growth chart out of a 2x4. I wanted to keep track every year, but also be able to take it with us when we move some day.

On her second birthday I gave her this table and chairs. I re-did the entire thing, complete with chalkboard paint on the top so she can color right on the table.

This year I found a tutorial on how to make play makeup and decided I had to give it a whirl. My little princess has become an early riser, so she tends to hang out in my room and drive me bonkers in the morning while I try to get ready. I have since given her a set of clean makeup brushes for her to use while I put on my 'face'. With every product I use I have to put some on her brush as well- little does she know, nothing actually goes on her brush, but she's happy to do as mommy does :)

This process was actually quite easy, it just takes a while to dry the paint.
You'll need:
-old, empty makeup containers
-old or out of date nail polish
-brushes or clean makeup sponges

Take any old makeup containers and clean the out using warm soapy water. This gave me a great excuse to go through my makeup and get rid of things that I hadn't used in ages!

Once the containers are dry, fill with nail polish and let dry. It's as simple as that! I found that the polish tended to settle in once it was dry so I had to go back and add more once the first layer was completely dry. I also had trouble with bubbles in the finished product. After a little trial and error, it seems to be best if you don't shake the nail polish too much before pouring it into your containers.
I also took one of the empty nail polish bottles and laid it on it's side, rotating it every hour or so to coat the inside of the bottle. Now she has a bottle 'full' of nail polish just for her too.
I put it all in her own makeup case and now she can get ready in the morning with mommy :) We did discuss that she is only allowed to use the pieces in her case by herself- I didn't need her thinking she could help herself to my nail polish collection unsupervised!

Linking up with Craft-O-Maniac

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Time for a Quick Catch Up!

Just realized today that it has been almost a month since my last post! Not sure how that happened.... Be ready for a whirl wind of posts over the next week as I try to catch up on the happenings in our lives.

September has been pretty busy at our place. We started out with a final camping trip for 2011 with some close friends. Sadly, I didn't get a single picture to capture the occasion, but there are plenty of fond memories and the promise of trips to come in 2012!

Last weekend I was able to pull of a surprise party for my dad's 50th with the help of some family and friends. I wasn't sure we would be able to truly surprise him, but he assures me we succeeded. The look on his face said it all when we yelled 'surprise' :)


I hope we made your 50th memorable daddy, and look forward to celebrating many more with you!

Jason's birthday is the day after my dad's, so I worked hard to make his birthday enjoyable as well. I served up some if his favorites for dinner and dessert and wowed him with a new Gerber utility tool. That man is hard to shop for so I was pleased that he was elated about his gift!

I have also headed back to work. Emma is so excited to have her playmates back. It is an adjustment having to get up so early, but I love taking care of the boys. Aiden has headed off to young 5's this year, so it's just me and the little ones in the afternoon.

I think that covers all our excitement this month. I have a few craft projects that I'll post about in the near future- how did I get so far behind???

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My How 3 Years Can Fly By!

It seems like just yesterday we brought our little bundle of joy home...
So fresh and new to the world!
And today our big girl turns three!
Sporting her John Deere hat daddy bought her for her birthday.
She goes back and forth between being a big girl and being a baby- I think the one baking in my belly may have something to do with the latter attitude :) I will still give anything to have her cuddle up on my lap. I know my time is limited. Soon she really will be a big girl, headed for school and more independence. So I'll continue to cherish all the little moments with her. Especially since the day is coming when she won't be the 'only' anymore.

Sweet girl, you bring sunshine to my day! When you giggle you light up a room. Your daddy and I are truly blessed to have you in our lives. We pray that God continues to give us guidance and wisdom as we watch you grow. You are such a sweetheart, always showing kindness and compassion to those around you- I pray these traits stay with you as you always. We love you peanut!

We were able to have a birthday celebration for Emmabuns on Sunday with our close fam. There was plenty of celebrating going on with lots of cake and presents too.
Grandma Jen made a whale full of fruit to go along with our beach theme.

Emma had an octopus hot dog for her dinner :)
The piece de resistance- her sandcastle cake. I had hoped to do a tutorial on this later, but this frazzled mommy ran out of time and never got any other pics of the cake!
With three sets of grandparents and an adoring aunt, there was sure to be some spoiling going on. Emma was thrilled with all her gifts, especially her doll house and big girl bike. Both have already endured hours of entertainment since the big party.

Putting her babies to bed before she goes to sleep.
Cruising on her new bike with baby alonmg for the ride.
Today I had to work, but the celebration continues. Emma loves her 'broders' :) I let her pick what we did today and her request was to play at Deanna's Playhouse and then head to 'Donalds for lunch.
Three peas in a pod ready to go play.

Emma spent lots of time dressing up today, but she always had a doll in tow.

The crew enjoying lunch before more play time in the play land.

After a quick nap we had cupcakes with the boys before heading home for an eveing of fun. We picked up a hot-n-ready pizza and took it to the park where Emma was able eat, feed the ducks and play with daddy before he headed back to work.
They can hardly wait to dig in.
Too distracted by the other kids playing to eat!


Ready to race daddy down the slide.
 We hope you had a wonderful birthday princess, we love you to pieces!