Monday, January 30, 2012

Our Sophie girl

I don't have any hospital pictures of our little girl on my computer...but I have lots of all that happened afterwards!  January 30th, 2007 was a day full of mixed emotions.  I went in to the hospital on Sunday night about midnight on January 28th.  I was going to be induced on Monday morning and we were expecting to have a baby that day.  Well, the day went by and even though the medicine was causing intense contractions, Sophie didn't make any progress.  I guess she was comfy in there!  We tried again the next morning.  Same thing happened...lots of contractions, but no progress.  But then my water broke.  That started a chain reaction that led to Sophie's heart rate dropping, me getting pain medication that made me basically fog out, and then being rushed to have an emergency c-section.  Sophie was born very blue, having some respiratory distress, along with pneumonia, low blood pressure, and a few other things.  She had to go directly to the NICU and stayed for a week.  My recovery was very slow and I ended up staying in the hospital for a week myself.  Praise the Lord, she recovered and we were so thankful we were at a hospital that could treat her so quickly.  We are so grateful for her life!
Sophie has been such a joy.  She was a happy baby who slept well, ate well, and pretty much went with the flow.  When she was about 5 months old we took her with us to San Antonio, TX for a conference.  She did great!  We flew from Atlanta and even had a connecting flight.  She didn't even cry!

One thing we did notice about Sophie as she grew was that she wasn't crawling or walking at the time when most children her age were.  We became concerned and eventually took her to get some physical therapy.  After a few months of that, Sophie began to crawl, pull up, and by 17 months she was walking normally!  It was a hard road for her with many tears, but seeing her take those steps was wonderful! 

 Sophie's second birthday...a storybook party.
 She loves to paint, too! : )
 ~Our pretty girl~

 We're in our second year of doing some homeschooling.  This was more of a good way to have structure in our day but also a chance for us to do some fun things and learn at the same time.  Her friend, Bethany, who lives right down the street, has been doing school with us.  It has been so fun for me to be their teacher and see them learn and grow.  They are both so smart and like little sponges they have absorbed so many things! 
 Here we are on a field trip to the strawberry patch.  This is my girl...smiley and happy (most of the time) : ). 

We're so thankful for our girl!  She is smart, funny, and creative.  Life would not be the same without her!
We love you, our Sophie girl!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Best Party Punch

Today was the big double birthday party for the kids.  It's always a huge undertaking for cleaning, cake baking/decorating, party favors, etc.  This is the second party I've done while being in my third trimester of pregnancy.  This year we had a pajama party.  I thought all of the kids enjoyed it.  Who doesn't love wearing their pj's?  We also played eat the doughnut game...we put powereded doughnuts on string and taped them to our large door frame...and the kids had to eat them without using their hands.  It was so fun to watch!  We were all cheering and laughing and the kids did a great job!  Instead of a birthday cake, I did cake batter pancakes with powdered sugar icing.  They were fun, but I made a ton...and have a lot left over!  For our party favor, I made no-sew fleece scarves (blue and purple) and cut some different fabric shapes (along with two amazing ladies who came over to help me with the craft time) so the kids could decorate their scarves.  It turned out really cute.  And the food.  I had some easy party food...little smokies in bbq sauce, cheetos, chips and dip, the pancakes, and a make your own ice cream sundae bar.  Easy and good. Granny came to the party and made some of her DELICIOUS homemade salsa, chicken salad, pimento cheese, and brought lots of different kinds of chips.  Thank you, Granny!  My Mom asked me if there was anything she could make and I immediately said, "Could you bring some punch?"  She said, "You think one batch or two?"  I said, "Go ahead and make two."  And I'm glad I did!

Let me tell you about this punch.  We've had it at family gatherings for years...and it's always a hit.  One thing I love about it is the texture.  It's got that flaky (um...yum!) ice texture and it just about melts in your mouth...but it's just cold and icy enough to have some crunch.  Mmmm.  I'm totally craving that right now.  It's also got a sweet, fruity flavor and is basically addictive.  Just ask our party going friends today.  The kids and grown-ups enjoyed it, and by the end of the party I had several requests for the recipe while we were scraping the bottom of the punch bowl to get the last of the second batch out.  I thought I vaguely remembered having the recipe, so I decided to go take a look and low and behold...I had it.  For those who requested it today, and those who've never had it who would now like to try it, here's the recipe!

Party Punch
(serves 20+)
1 box (small) jello (strawberry)
2 cups boiling water
Juice of two lemons
1 can of pineapple juice (46 oz)
2 cups sugar
1 2 liter of Sprite

Mix together well and pour into 1 gallon milk container.  Add water to fill about 3 in. from the top of container.  Color may be added if desired (without coloring it's a pinkish color).  Cover securely.  Place in freezer the night before.  On the day or night this is to be served, take out of freezer 1 hour to 30 min. before use.  Add Sprite.  Serve.  (To me, it's best when you serve it up right away to get that good icy texture.  The longer it sits, the less icy it is.)
Enjoy! : )
Birthday pics to come!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Our Little Man

It's midnight and technically January 27th, but this is a post about January 26th.  It's a day that will go down in the Daniel family history book.  It's the day our little man, Isaac, was born.  And what a blessing he's been!
 Cute, right?!  I think so.  He seemed so tiny.
 He's got that "what's going on here?" look to me. 
 Here's cabbage patch doll, Buddy, next to Isaac.  Joe snapped this one one morning.  Isaac and Buddy looked almost the same size!  See that cry?  Yes, we had a lot of those moments Isaac's first year.  A little rough, but we made it through.  Don't ask me for details, though.  I can't remember a whole lot.  I do remember when getting more than 4 hours of sleep at night was amazing.
 Mother's Day and Isaac's baby dedication day.  He's got an uncomfortable look right here, but I look at it and think how cute he is : ).  I can't help it.  He won me over the first time I saw him. : )
 My little man's first birthday party.  Love that smile!  He looks so much like his Daddy!
 Look out ladies...he's got the looks and the personality!  He loves to paint and color and is creative with his choice  Here we have the standard paper, but he's been known to use carpet, the tv, walls, and recently his toy chest.  His "artwork" is on display throughout the house...he knows how to make his mark!
 He likes to have fun, too.  Here we have "the glove".  Daddy's glove has turned into a way to scare others and make them run in the other direction screaming, "oh no! The glove!".  We still play that game.
 His fashion sense was definitely passed down from his Daddy. 
 Did I mention that he also likes to use himself as a canvas?  Oh yes.
Life would not be the same without this funny, creative, cuddly little entertainer.  I'm so thankful for my little I-man.  Happy Birthday, Buddy!  We love you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Crazy Love

This book was our recent choice for a Bible study in our Sunday School class...Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan.  First of all...I love our class!  It's been a blessing to be a part of a group of young married couples.  I've enjoyed getting to know some of them...especially the ladies...along with study God's Word and fellowship.  The body of Christ at work!  Anyway, back to the book.  Honestly, I didn't know much about Francis Chan...and still don't know a whole lot.  I haven't heard him speak or listened to any sermons on tape or anything by him.  The title interested me, though.  I was pretty confident that this would be a good read.  Well, I think it's turning out to be more than just a "good read".  It's challenging me.

Another confession.  I'm really not very disciplined about reading Christian non-fiction/Christian living books.  I pretty much spend most of my free reading time reading Christian fiction.  I love it.  I'm a romantic and I love a sweet, Christ-centered fiction novel.  I do enjoy reading the Bible and I have some great devotionals that I read daily, but other than get the picture.  One book I read last year was Radical by David was great.  Challenging and life changing.  I think Crazy Love will be kind of like that, too.

So far (I'm just on Chapter 4), Chan has covered some topics that have really pierced me.  Chapter one was entitled, "Stop Praying".  This chapter encourages us to stop coming to God with our lists, our concerns, our this and thats and just take a moment to ponder who He is.  Stand in awe of Him.  How often do I pause and do that?  Not often enough, for sure! 
Chapter two touches on a sensitive topic for me...death.  I don't handle death well.  I've really been blessed to have most of my close family members with me through life, loving me, supporting me, etc.  Now that I'm getting older, I'm seeing the reality of death.  I know it's natural, we're all going to do it, and for a believer in Christ, it is a joyous thing to be able to join our Savior in Heaven.  But it's still hard for me to even THINK about not having some of my loved ones on this earth with me.  Maybe I cling to this world too much...I struggle with that.  Chan challenges us not so much to change our thoughts on death, but on life.  To live the short time we have on this earth for Christ.  To not let worry consume our time rejoice in the Lord always, as His Word says.  Here are a few quotes from that chapter:
"When I am consumed by my problems--stressed out about my life, my family, my job--I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God's command to always rejoice.  In other words, that I have a 'right' to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities."
Hmmm...something to think about.  A few more quotes:
"Even though I glimpse God's holiness, I am still dumb enough to forget that life is all about God and not about me at all."
"Friends, we need to stop living selfish lives, forgetful about our God.  Our lives here are short, often unexpectedly so, and we can all stand to be reminded of it time to time.  That's why I wrote this chapter, to help us remember that in the movie of life, nothing matters except our King and God.  Don't let yourself forget.  Soak it in and keep remember that it is true.  He is everything."

I want Him to be my everything. I'm trying to soak all of this in.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Friends, shopping, and a great website

Not the best blog title...maybe I should've said, "Busy Day!" We had a great day yesterday.  It began with a little mini-reunion with some former Campus Outreach Thailand teammates.  From L-R, there was Kara, me, Catherine, Melody, Mandy (Melody's daughter), Caitlyn (Catherine's daughter), and Catherine is holding her cute little guy, Caleb.  I don't think I can ever get enough of spending time with such awesome women!  Melody, Catherine, and several of the other women that were on the team formed a strong bond while we were in Thailand together.  I often miss the times of fellowship and conversation that we used to have together.  These women have impacted me for life...and I'm so grateful to have experienced a little piece of Heaven through my relationships with them!
 After lunch I thought I would take the kids to Target to spend some of their Christmas money.  Have any of you taken advantage of the after-Christmas toy markdowns there?  I usually don't because 1) I usually hear about it after the fact and 2) Target is an hour away and I usually wouldn't just go there unless I'm already in town.  My first thought was to take the kids to Toys R Us, but then it occurred to me that I had read about the markdowns and thought...hmm..the kids could probably get a lot more for less.  Off we went!   Isaac was able to get this big Thomas the Train pop up play tent (which he LOVES!), a foam sword (he loves swords of any boy), and a Curious George book.  Sophie was able to get a smaller Tinker Bell play tent, a little Tinker Bell plastic storage container, a bead design thing (with lots of beads!), a Leapster Game (only $7!), and a rubbery puppet that she had been holding constantly!  Lots of good deals.  I think we hit the tail end of the sale, though, because there was only one aisle of stuff left...but we still found plenty of things that the kids liked.
I was excited, too, because I found some small storage caddies for homeschooling that I can put a bottle of glue, a pair of scissors, and some crayons and markers in.  I used them today and it's perfect for the girls to have their own little caddie at their table instead of trying to share.  They did find with sharing, but it just cuts down on space.  I went ahead and got one for Isaac, too, since he'll be starting school in a year or so.
Last night as I was preparing for school this week I came across a great website that I had to share!  This would be great for teachers or for homeschoolers.  I printed off one of their free booklets that had an activity the girls could do that went right along with the booklet.  There are also lots of other resources on there.  The site:
I feel like I've finally found a little reading program that will be good for the girls and will help them keep learning new words.
Hope all of you are having a good week! 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tea and Slumber Party

My niece is spending a few nights with us this weekend and Sophie has been so excited.  Last week Bethany really wanted to have a tea party at school.  So we decided to combine the time with a cousin and a fun tea party!
 Our "tea" was hot chocolate that had cooled a little so the girls could drink it.  We also pulled out Sophie's tea set and got the table all fixed up.  These three had a great time!  I even let them put on some makeup before we got started.  : ) we had a little guy visitor to the party.  He only joined us for a short time...long enough to get him some snacks and discover that he loves hot chocolate, too!  : )  No makeup for him, though ; ).
 I made our "tea cakes" with my new mini cupcake maker I got for Christmas.  I love this thing!  I got it at a very low cost on Black Friday, and it has not disappointed!  It cleans up so easily, which is a huge bonus.  The cakes were little cupcakes that had some fudge in the middle.  I must say that even though they came from a box, they were pretty tasty!
After dinner and their bath, the girls just settled in to look at books and play in Sophie's bed.  Isaac joined in for a few minutes, but the girls seemed to have a good time entertaining themselves.  If this is how smooth a slumber party goes...we'll have to do this more often!  I guess we'll make the final decision after we see how well they sleep! : )

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Flat Journey Begins!

I'm really excited about our newest school project!  I've been thinking about this before we even started the school year, and we're finally getting everything mailed out.  I've mentioned this before, so I'll just give a brief recap.  Flat Stanley is a project you can do in a school/home setting in which you have a "flat" (a piece of our case, laminated) person that you've colored that travels to different locations.  For our project, we are sending our flat people...flat Sophie and flat visit different friends and family around the US.  We are studying the United States this year, so I thought this would be a fun activity.  In our package we're including two photo albums, one for each "person", in which the people receiving it will take a picture with the flat people and put it in...along with a brief description of their adventure with the flat people.  After the picture and description are completed, the pieces of the project will be sent to the next person on our list! 
So...tomorrow our journey begins!  I've got our package ready to send and I can't wait to see what going to happen!  As you can see above, the girls are excited, too.  There they are with their flat people...smiles on their faces!  Have a great trip, flat Sophie and flat Bethany! : )

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Some commercials crack me up!

I love to have a good laugh. Over the years, I've enjoyed some commercials I've seen, but lately I don't really watch a lot of tv. In the time that I do watch, some of these commercials have popped up and have really given me a good dose of laughter medicine.  Check out some of these favs and see what you think!

> Love those mayhem commercials! Some of the "Messin with Sasquatch" commercials were hilarious, but a little on the gross side : ). I tried to pick the "good" ones! I couldn't think of any more at the moment, but I thought that was some good entertainment : ).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's reading resolution...

I was reading my cousin's blog the other day and he mentioned that one of his goals for 2011 was reading one book a week.  At the end of the year, he made a list of all the books he read along with the authors' names.  I thought this was a fun idea.  It's no secret that I love to read.  I've read some awesome books in 2011, but I've never written them down or counted how many.  With my new "toy"...a Kindle...given to me by my parents for my birthday last July, I have definitely read more than ever.  There are so many great, free books out there available on  Also, if you're a facebook member, there are two pages I check regularly...Inspired Reads and Pixel of Ink.  Both give updates daily on reduced or free books available for Kindle and Nook.  A book lover's dream! 
I wanted to mention a couple of books that I've read in the past couple of weeks.  The first one I read the week before Christmas, so I can't count it on my new 2012 reading list, but I wanted to mention because it was SO GOOD!  And it's reduced price right now!
 The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson (on sale for $1.99 on Amazon)
This is Melanie's second Young Adult (YA) book.  Her first, The Healer's Apprentice, was a new take on the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty.  I loved her first book and was looking forward to getting her second book when it came out in November.  When the book's price fell for a limited time (you can still get it at this price) I jumped a the chance to download it onto my Kindle!  This new book, also set in England, is a different version of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast.  I read it in less than 24 hours!  It was wonderful!  I loved the "beast" character, Lord Ranulf.  I also love that his heart was transformed not only from the kindness of his young female servant, but also God's Word.  I would definitely recommend it!

A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander...(currently $8.54 on Amazon)
This book was a little more of a splurge, but still reduced from it's original price of $14.99.  I love following Tamera on her blogs and knew how much she put into A Lasting Impression.  All of the books I've read of Tamera's in the past were set in the 1800's west, mostly Colorado, so I wondered how this new setting of 1800s Tennessee, at the Belmont mansion in Nashville, would be.  Tamera did not disappoint!  Her characters had so many layers and they were well developed throughout the book.  I also loved the personal connections I made with the story.  The novel began in New Orleans, which is where the hubby and I went on our honeymoon.  I could picture some of the places mentioned in the story.  One of the sculptures focused on is the same one that is located in a historical home where I used to be a tour guide.  I could totally picture what it looked like.  But even if you don't have those personal connections, you'll love the heart of this story...a desire to live a life that is genuine.  Another must-read and my first of the new year! 

Do you have any reading goals for the new year?  I can't wait to see what great new books I'll get to read!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New look

No...I don't have a new look.  Unless you count my growing baby bump : ).  My looks may not have changed much, but a couple of rooms in our house have!  When we learned we had a new addition coming along...and that the addition was a "he"...we knew we had to make some changes.  We have a relatively small house, but I still love it.  It's really a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, but we converted the office-type room in the house into Isaac's room.  I doesn't have a closet, so we put a wardrobe in there.  Our dining room table also only seated 4.  We knew we would need more space in the future.  After talking to my mom about the space issues, she told me that we could trade some of our furniture for some that they had at their house.  What a blessing! 
I don't have any before pics, but these are the after.  Our new dining room...
We now have my parent's old dining room table that they bought when I was little.  It's still in great condition!  Right now we have it at it's smallest size, but it has two pieces you can put in to extend it to seat 6.  Yay!  We also moved our piano to the other wall and go rid of another side table we had there. 
 We moved the wardrobe that was in Isaac's room into the dining room.  This may seem strange, but one thing we really needed was some storage for our homeschooling stuff.  I wanted to get some kind of armoire with shelves, but needed it to be cheap.  The best solution was to repurpose this wardrobe and somehow add shelving inside of it.
 The wardrobe has thin walls and bottom, so we knew we couldn't put anything heavy in there.  I had the idea to get some kind of closet organizer that would attach to the clothing bar at the top.  A trip to Walmart led us to these cute closet organizers...and they were half price!  They're also perfect for holding and organizing all of our school stuff.  The best thing...I can lock the doors to the wardrobe and I don't have to worry about little hands getting into the scissors, glue, and markers!  I might go back and get one more...I think I could squeeze it in the middle.
 With the wardrobe and another big piece of furniture that had a changing table and some drawers moved out of the boys' room, I had to get some kind of clothing storage.  Mom had these two matching chest of drawers that she offered to me.  A friend came over and helped me pick out paint colors that matched the bedding and did a cool color fading thing on the drawers (Pinterest!).  I love it!  It's very subtle, but the blue starts off darker then gets lighter.  The lightest color is on the top surface of the dresser.  We put a changing pad on the top of one of them for the baby (and Isaac for now) and hope to mount some shelves or something on the wall above to hold diapers, wipes, etc. for easy access.
 Here's the other dresser.  I love the green, too! 
I'm so excited about our space-saving and practically free changes.  Sometimes when you're running out of space you don't need to get more just need to purge and repurpose!  I think that will be something I'll have to do continuously as our family grows!
God bless and Happy New Year!!