Saturday, January 29, 2011

Party time!

Me and my friend, Amy. She took pictures of the party for me! I'm so thankful for her!
Me and the girls! LeeAnne, Jennifer, and I! Love them!

Tommy (Joe's brother)...Isaac LOVES his Uncle Tommy!
Three generations!
Isaac and his little friend, Joshua, playing outside together

Family shot : )
Isaac loved his cupcake!
Blowing out her candles!
The candy table...for their party favor, the kids got to fill their goody bags with candy of choice.
The Dora cake and Diego cupcakes (in the background...just chocolate iced)! I decorated the cake first time doing one this detailed! It was fun...but it took me a LONG time! : ) Worth every minute!
Happy birthday my little ones!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

You tubin'

I love romantic, sweet stories. I think that's why I read so much. I also watch movies a lot. So I thought I'd share a few of my favorite movie segments from good 'ole Youtube. The first is from a movie called North and South...not to be confused with The North and the South with Patrick Swayze..although I think that was pretty good, too. This North and South is set in industrial England. The main character is the owner/operator of a cotton mill, and throughout the story he is struggling to keep it afloat. There are many details that I'm leaving out here, but he is a hardworking man but considered a little lower class than our female character. She wants to be friends with him, but feels a little above him to marry him. But...(spoiler warning)...that all changes as she sees his character. This clip is at the very end, so it would definitely spoil it for you if you want to see it. It's so awesome, though.

Ok, this next one is shorter than I would like...but still so good! Jane Austen sure did know how to write beautiful love stories! Persuasion...

Movies are just on the brain tonight...I also wanted to include what's playing in my car. This song just makes me bob my head and want to sing along.

Ok...last, but not least...Hero by Skillet. I know it doesn't really fit with the rest of my choices...but I can't help but love it!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What I love about my kids' birthday parties

Well, it's that time of year again! It's party time! Isaac's birthday is the 26th of this month and Sophie's is the 30th. As of last year, we started doing the party together. One big bash once a year...I can handle that! So here are some of the things I love about their birthday parties!
(Sophie and I at her 2nd birthday...a storybook party...and very preggo with Isaac!)
  1. Getting together with family and friends. Honestly, I really should do this more often. Being the kind of person that is still trying to keep up house and home, we really don't have a lot of get-togethers over here. I always feel like my house is too small or not clean enough or some other excuse. We will be kind of tight at the party, but that day, we'll deal. It's fun to have all of Sophie and Isaac's little friends over, and their parents, and family. I really think this satisfies my need for fellowship more than Sophie and Isaac's need for a party : ).

  2. Getting creative! I usually have a ton of stuff done by now for the party. I usually start a couple of months in advance. This year it's coming down to the wire! It's fun, though, for me to be able to do some creative things to celebrate my children. It brings out the creative side in me and helps me to do something I enjoy...and see others enjoy it, too!

  3. An excuse to eat cake and ice cream. Enough said on that!
  4. (pic: cupcakes I made for last year's birthday party...Peter Pan and Wendy toppers I painted)

  5. Making memories. I loved having birthday parties for myself...growing up and even now! I enjoy all of the fun activities and the excitement. I want to make memories of fun celebrations with my kids. It doesn't have to be a big to-do to make memories...but this is just the kind of memory I want to make with and for them. And's only once a year!

  6. The biggie...celebrating the joy and life of my precious babes! (Sophie's 3rd birthday, Isaac's 1st birthday...our Wendy and Peter Pan!)

This's party time! The theme this year....Dora and Diego! The kids LOVE Dora and Diego. Should be fun!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Clean up, clean up!

Many of you moms out there...and probably some of the dads, too...know the "clean up" song. Honestly, I learned the song when I was first teaching in Thailand. One of the other teachers and the kids would sing it as they were cleaning up messes. I think it's a Barney song, to be honest. It's amazing how many of those Barney songs we sing around here. Here is how the song goes:

Clean up, clean up
Everybody, everywhere
clean up, clean up
Everybody do your share
Even my little Isaac can say "een up, een up" and knows what we're supposed to do. Whether he does it or not is another story. But anyway, my constant struggle is to clean up my house. I usually just let it go and then when it gets terrible, or we know we're having company over, I do a massive two day cleaning spree. It's stressful. I'm usually exhausted and by the time I do said party or get-together, I'm so tired I can't really fully enjoy it. I know I need to change. It's hard, though. I don't have this intuition about cleaning and organizing like some of you do.
I've been talking about this with a close friend of mine. She has been praying for me, that I would experience organization in my home. Isn't that great for a friend to pray for you about that?! Well, not only is she praying for me, she's helping me. She is giving me tips and suggestions in just the right dose. She's got a gift for organization, so she knows what she's talking about. Just recently she sent me an email, giving me a suggested daily cleaning routine. This was just what I needed! I also told her that this appealed to my social side. Just knowing that I'm doing this with someone and have some accountability, I'm motivated to do it! So here's my new routine (I have to add some stuff to this, but this are the foundational things):
Monday: change sheets on my bed; do at least 2 loads of laundry
Tuesday: vacuum entire house (bedrooms, living room); do a load of laundry
Wednesday: clean bathroom, mop the entire house (bathroom, kitchen, dining room, hallway)
Thursday: deep clean kitchen (sink, counters, wipe out frig, etc)
Friday: dust, change kids' sheets; put sheets in the wash
Saturday: work on room/week; finish up laundry so I won't have to do any Sunday
Sunday: rest
Of course, I'm also doing dishes almost every day as well as cooking/preparing meals daily. That's kind of a given. You may also have more loads of laundry (sometimes I do, too), etc. But this is a good start for me. I'm so thankful for friends who care enough to not only pray for me, but give me tips and try to help me. I've had other friends do this in the past, and it really ministers to me! Pray for me, that God would help me grow in this area of homemaking. I not only want to do this for myself, but also be a good example to my children!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Quilt

There's a great story behind this I'm sure there are behind most quilts. That's why I love quilts. I love things that tell a story. Here's the story behind this treasure.
About 7 years ago, I was preparing to return back to the states from an almost 4 year term in Khon Kaen, Thailand. I was the teacher of missionary kids there. It was a time of learning, growing, ministry, and adventure. I am certain that God wanted me there not just to use me in the ministry, but to bless me with amazing friendships and to use those friends to help me grow in my faith. I look on those years as a time of preparation. They prepared me for the years of being a wife, mother, and a part of God's ministry. So as I was getting ready to come home, and my good friend, who I went to school with from elementary up to high school, who I spent many hours laughing, talking, and hanging out with, wrote me and said that she wanted to make me a quilt. She was starting to quilt, and told me to pick out some fabric from Thailand and bring back with me. She would make me a quilt as a remembrance of my time there. I was excited and amazed. What a wonderful gift!
My sweet friends and I met up at the local goods store in our town we lived in (Khon Kaen) and took the time to pick out fabrics that would go into my Thailand quilt. What a sweet memory of being with my friends. The fabrics also make me think of Thailand. The people. The clothing that was worn. The fabrics I would see in different things around me...purses, bags, decor. This quilt brings together past, present, and future. The past friendships and memories of childhood through my years and Thailand; the present of being able to display this quilt in my home to represent those friendships, memories, and God's goodness; the future of passing all of this down to my children and future generations. I pray it will be a legacy of faith.
This quilt is also special to me because this isn't just a quilt from a friend, it's a quilt from my sister in Christ. When I was in high school, I became burdened in my heart for this friend. I prayed for her, that she would know Christ and have a relationship with Him. I was led to talk with her several times. Then, our senior year in high school, I was blessed to be able to pray with her to receive Christ as her Lord and Savior. That's the greatest gift of all. To call her my sister, as well as my friend.
(pics: the full quilt; a close-up of the back; the personalized patch on the back)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Free books!

So it's obvious that I love to read. I've mentioned it many times. A few months ago, I was reading the blog of Tamara Alexander, a writer of Christian fiction that I love, and she gave me the link to download the Kindle for your PC.
I have wanted a Kindle for a while now. When I saw my sister's I thought it was very cool! But honestly, we're at that stage in life where every dollar has a place and there's really not that much to spare. It was hard to justify buying a Kindle when the money could go towards, let say, food. So I accepted that, although it was kind of hard. It's so neat, though, that God would provide a way, in a sense, for me to experience what I wanted in having a Kindle without having to pay a dime! I didn't pray for a Kindle. It was a big want...not a need. But God hears not only my needs, but also my wants. I may not always get what I want, but I love it when God gives me a surprise. It's so encouraging!
That's brings me back to Tamara's blog. She had mentioned a free Kindle download for a book I thought sounded interesting. I commented on the blog and said that I wish I could've gotten the book, but I didn't have a Kindle. She responded and told me how to get a free download of the Kindle software for free on my computer. (
I went to the site, downloaded it, and I have been getting lots of free, good books off of! I usually type in "free book downloads" or "free kindle book downloads" and see what's there. There are always some classics available. I've downloaded several Jane Austen books, some Charles Dickens, and others. I've also been able to get some Christian fiction. I have really enjoyed these. Some I've read recently that I've enjoyed are:

The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen
I thought this was an interesting story. It gave me some more insight on England society long ago, the roles of doctors, surgeons, and apothecaries. The main character is trying to figure out what her role in life will be, who she will marry, and trying to figure out where her mother is and why she left them. There's also a little bit of mystery as to who she will love or if she will even find love herself.

Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James
I thought this was a pretty good story, even though it was a little more predictable than The Apothecary's Daughter. Again, I was able to get some insight into early American society. I like how discreet and proper they were. But in this story, our main character is secretly the writer of "scandalous" dime novels, even though her stories include the characters seeking God. She sees her writing as a ministry, but will her family, friends, and society accept it?
The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson
I just started this one today, and it seems to be very good so far! It's a Christian version of the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty. It's set in England, in the times of kings, queens, and castles. I think I'm going to really enjoy it!
All of these books...I got for FREE! And several more. I even got three cookbooks on there for free! If you like reading, and don't mind sitting with your laptop in your I do...or sit at your desktop to read...this could be for you! Happy reading! : )

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Family photo shoot

Our family wanted to do a big photo shoot this year for several reasons. One, my sister was here with her family from Colorado for Christmas. Two, it's been a long time since we've had a big family picture taken. Three, my brother and brother-in-law are expected to be serving overseas with the military next year during Christmas. Four, we like taking pictures : ). My aunt, who is very good at taking pictures, agreed to meet us at a museum in Macon to get some snapshots of us. We had to make it brother met us while on a short break from work. So we packed everyone up and got out on this cool day...shed our coats...and got snapping. Me, Joe, and the kids got there before the others, so we were able to get some of just us and our family. We had wanted to do that, anyway, so we were glad that the kids did so well and we were able to get some fun pictures of all of us!
The whole crew

Me and my sweet girl

Daddy and his big boy (who looks just like him!)

We wanted to take one with our backs to the sun...but ran out of time. I still like this one, though...even though we are a little squinty : )

One of my favorites!

I love how he's leaning on his sis. They are so loving towards each other...most of the time!

We gave them leaves to keep them occupied...but I like it!
And we pray there will be many more photo shoots to come! God bless!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Divine lemon cookies!

Not too long ago I reviewed a book called Hattaras Girl by Alice J. Wisler. At the end of the book, there was this awesome cookie recipe that the main character talked about during the book. Over the holidays, actually Christmas Eve, I made them for the first time. They were AMAZING! I made them again tonight...and they were even more AMAZING! So I had to pass on the recipe. My glaze was even a little runny this time and they were still good. A must try! First, here's a link to the blog post that Alice did about the cookies. http://http//
But I'll type out the recipe for you on here, too. Enjoy! (They're pretty easy, too!)

The Bailey House lemon cookies
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1tbs of lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar


  • 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs. Mix lightly. Add the lemon juice and peel. In another bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and beat at low speed with a mixer, scraping the bowl often. Drop the dough by teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from pan and let cool. Mix glaze ingredients and frost cookies. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gotta have those resolutions!

As I struggled to button my jeans tonight, I was reminded that it was time to produce my resolution list. I do a mental list every year, and there are times when I've actually done some of them. I think it's always good to evaluate and the beginning of the year is a great time to do that. We're fresh off the good times of Christmas (and, if you're like me, had massive quantities of rich, chocolatey, and fattening foods). I honestly didn't think I did too terribly bad...but then again, I also didn't do my weigh in last Monday that I usually do, so there's really no telling what the scales will hold tomorrow. It could be tragic. I'm hoping it won't be. So, as if you couldn't guess...
Resolution #1:
Lose weight. But I'm not just going to say lose weight. I want to recommit to exercising regularly, dramatically, if not completely, cutting processed sugar, and eating good food. One of my good friends told me to think of sugar as poison. It's been hard...because I love that poison! But the other day, I ate some sugar stuff...and I felt awful! I know that it's not good for me. So that last little bit of grossness after eating the sugar was a good motivator. I don't want to feel like that! Another good thing is that I had a good weight loss year in 2010. I went down 2 pant sizes, and lost about 38 lbs (again, that was as of 2 weeks ago). So I know that I can do it. I got this! I can do this! Ok...pump up session over...but feel free to send me a comment to pump me up every once in a while : ).
Resolution #2:
Be more organized. I always make this resolution. I always struggle with it. I actually love organization. I love those shows that show you how to organize stuff. I love organizational tools. I love those shelves with the box shapes that you can buy the soft little drawer things to stick in them (I have two of these). But I can't seem to make the connection between the tools, my pocketbook, my brain, and my house. I actually need organization with the stuff I already have...or something that costs a very small amount of money. I'm thinking there needs to be some reduction. I'm good at getting rid of stuff, usually. We'll see what happens. Pray for me, people. My house needs order! And if any of you out there read this and are good at organizing and would love to minister to me...bring it on! I'd love to have you over. I will praise you, love you, feed you, and do a blog post about you. Now isn't that motivation!? ; )
Resolution #3:
Share the love of Christ more. These resolutions are not in order of importance...they're just in the order my brain thinks them up. This one should probably be #1...but then I've have to do all that copy and pasting, etc...ok...I'm lazy. 2010, I was a part of a challenge/class at our church that our pastor led that was about sharing Christ. We read some good books (Knowing God, Radical, to name a few) and we met once a month for some fellowship, accountability, and learning. One thing I've realized is that my mind is not very focused on being intentional about sharing what Jesus Christ has done for us while I'm out and about. I'm thinking of my coupons, the sales, keeping my kids from taking things off the shelf and behaving (which, thankfully, they usually do behave), and how much time I have, to mention a few things. I'm a little scattered these days. During the time I was taking the class, though, I started thinking about being intentional more. Giving someone a little pamphlet about the Gospel of Jesus Christ while I was checking out or in the parking lot. I even shared a little with a lady in a restaurant on our way to Colorado. As the year went on, I feel like I didn't have as much focus. But I want to refocus. I want to be more intentional. I also need to remember that I've got little ones coming into my home that I can share with. My own children. My friend's children. I can be salt and light to them as well. I'm praying for that. My greatest desire is to love the Lord, and share His love with others.
Resolution #4:
I think I'm running out of resolutions. The first three are pretty major. If I do those, I'll be happy. There are so many things that I want to get better at. I can't list them all. I want to memorize God's Word more, I want to study His Word more, be more motivated to do things, and the list goes on. I guess that's resolution #4. I need to "Trust in the Lord with all (my) heart and lean not on my own understanding. In all (my) ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct my path."
Happy New Year!