September 24, 2013

rainy day

It is pouring rain outside. I'm supposed to be out there working. *insert nervous shiver* But I figured eyeballing the rain from inside the warm house was close enough. So here I sit, bundled in a blankie with a pumpkin spice latte, my laptop, Pandora radio, and a beautiful view of some crazy geese floating in the river. So it's practically like I'm working!

On a completely separate note, I went Christmas shopping with Moma yesterday. I usually wait until the very last second, and then I can't find anything for anyone. But not this year folks! This year I'm all over those Christmas presents like white on rice. I'm doing stockings for everyone this year. No big presents. Stockings have always been my favorite. Not that I don't love getting big presents too (So like if you've already bought me a big present or something, it's totally okay. I'll accept it.). When I was a kid, we'd always wait until very last to open our stockings... just to prolong the sweet anticipation. And I'm having so much fun finding things for all the kids. The poor adults in my life, I have no idea what I'm doing for them yet. I'm obsessed with Christmas being awesome for the kids this year.

On another separate note, Karen took some cute pictures of the girls being girls.


Molly. She believes in relaxing while practicing piano. Molly is such a little munchkin. She has so much personality crammed into her little body. She's strong willed, but loving. She's hilarious and says the funniest things. Every face she makes is a crack up. She has zero butt... it's basically a little dot back there. She's serious about stuff, whether it be sucking her fingers or rubbing Lily's back. I think she's a leader.


Typical of all of them. Pretty, motherly Lucy. Probably back there organizing everyone's stuff and helping Lily swaddle her baby doll. Cute, freckled, sporty Hannah. Silly Emma. Lily with her baby doll. And Molly seriously sucking those fingers.


Molly taking care of food business. She's hungry, and Mom isn't there to get her something to eat?
No biggie. She can take care of herself.


Molly was basically deaf, and had to have surgery.
Look at her being all cute, holding daddy's hand, getting ready to have surgery in her nightgown.



These two. The little duo. They should've been twins. Total opposites, but they have the strongest bond.


Lily our beautiful one. Isn't she lovely? She's so soft and sweet. She'll be a good mother one day. Her favorite animal is a unicorn and she thinks jets are shooting stars. She loves kissing. She constantly kisses on whomever happens to be sitting next to her. She kissed my earring Sunday. Sun, be still 'kay? I need to kiss your earring.
But she isn't much of a morning person. Hello tangled hair...



Enjoying the last summer days. They all love the water.



Emma the domestic goddess. I swear that girl is always up to something. Her little heart needs must create and grow things. She loves old things. She wants an old typewriter and a rotary phone. She wants to sew stuff and pick veggies. I think she'll outshine Martha Stewart one day.


Sometimes you just have to wear a pretty dress and dance to Mozart.


Leah's been getting so grown up, and turning into Karen's little mini me these days.
It's nice to see the little girl pop out occasionally.


And on other days, you just need to put your hands on your hips and be a cowgirl.


And on a rainy day, if you're like Molly, you go outside and sing to yourself.


 Love,
She Who Isn't Like Molly And Stays Inside Where It's Dry

September 23, 2013

hello happy fall days

Can you believe it's already almost October? Is it just me or has this year flown by like the speed of light? The days are shorter and it's getting pretty dang cold in the mornings and evenings already. Long john time, man. I love fall. Sweaters, boots, crisp days, and Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes. I would say it's my favorite season, but I think every season is my favorite while it's happening. Except super hot summer days. Not too crazy about those. And super cold winter days. Not too crazy about freezing either. I keep a close watch on my long johns and prepare to yank them on at any given chance lest I freeze prematurely. 
Anyway, I've had a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte almost everyday the last few weeks. Mary Ann buys them for me. She knows the way to my heart. Pumpkin spice lattes happen to be my very favorite thing in the world, forever and ever amen. Also, you know how we say PTL for praise the Lord? I thought my pumpkin spice latte said praise the Lord the other day. I thought that was so cool. I was so impressed with Starbucks for about ten seconds until I finally noticed it actually said PSL, not PTL. Whatever. I've heard it both ways. I think PTL every time I drink one of those things, so there.

We decided to have a fall day last Saturday. It rained that morning and I thought it was going to ruin all of our great plans, but it ended up being perfect. The rain held off long enough for us to enjoy the farmer's market for several hours.


The girls got their cute little faces painted. For free. I love free. And a nice library lady gave them free books. And then a super nice guy gave them free honey stix. Molly was eyeballing those stix while she sucked her fingers. The honey dude asked her if she wanted some. She said nope she was just looking. He gave her some anyway. Then he asked her name. She took her fingers out of her mouth long enough to somberly say, Molly. He was like, Oh like Molly Brown, huh? She looked at him like he was crazy and said, No. Like Molly 'Lizabeth. Duh. And don't you forget it mister.


Those two. They have the sweetest sister bond. And isn't Lily's hair to die for?

Later on, we ate pumpkin pancakes, baked apples, and washed it down with apple cider.
Karen makes the best pumpkin pancakes.
I made the baked apples. They aren't really baked; they're done in the crockpot.



Crockpot Baked Apples Recipe

6 or 7 apples, quartered
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup apple juice (I might've used more than that. I didn't measure the juice. Just poured it on until the apples looked happy.)

Throw all the ingredients into your crockpot and cook on high for about 3 hours. Stir it around a few times while it's cooking.
Serve hot with whip cream on top.
So very yummy!

Me and the littles made glycerin leaves. (How to right here.)



And after that, it was hot tub time! I love the hot tub. It's so warm and those jets do nice things to me.



And God capped the day off with a beautiful sunset. Just look at those shiny clouds declaring the glory of God.


I love fall. The year's last, loveliest smile. I'm loving the cooler weather. I've already worn long johns several times this past week. Can't have me freezing my tail off. And right now I'm finishing off a pumpkin spice latte. Happy sigh. PTL.

Love,
She Who Has A Close Relationship With Her Long Johns From September Until June

September 10, 2013

diy: hand soap

I made hand soap the other day. Or the other week. I seriously can't remember when I made it.
At some point in my life, I made hand soap.
There are so many things one can do with hand soap.


You can run it thru your fingers, and comment on how it reminds you of mucus.


You can force the dog to pose with it.


You can use it to prop things up with.


And you can take selfies with it.


And there are a lot more possibilities where that came from.

I wanted to make it for three reasons:
1. It's CHEAP. Very cheap. And my cheap heart was all, pitter patter. Seriously, I made over a gallon of hand soap for less than 5 bucks. How do you like them apples? I like them apples a lot.
2. I'm super duper sensitive to scents/smells. Like throw-up/migraine sensitive. You might be able to walk into Bath &Body Works and pick a hand soap from out of 50 billion different scents, but I can only choose from like, maybe 4 different scents. But if I make my own soap, I can make up my own scent combos and have control of the scent "strength". Who knows, maybe I'll be able to have lavender hand soap! I like to live on the edge like that.
3. I prefer bottles of hand soap over bar soap. There's nothing more horrifying than going to wash your hands in a strange bathroom, and  looking down and seeing a slimy, slobbery, old, used bar of soap that someone else used right before you. Right after they wiped and stuff. Eww. It's like, now I have to go over to the bathtub and get some shampoo out of the bottle to wash my hands with.

So anyway, I made hand soap and it was easy. And cheap.

DIY Hand Soap

Ingredients:

1 gallon distilled water
2 tbls liquid glycerin
1 8oz bar soap

You can add essential oils if you want. I did. My bar soap was grapefruit scented, and I had grapefruit essential oils so I added a bunch to make it smell yummier. But it's optional.

And you'll need some soap dispensers. Or a jar to store it all in.

Directions:

1. Grate bar of soap on cheese grater
2. Bring gallon of water to a boil
3. Add soap shavings and glycerin to boiling water
4. Turn heat to medium high and stir until shavings are dissolved
5. Allow soap to "set/harden" for about 4 hours
6. Stir and pour into soap dispenser

Tips:

1. If your soap is a little too hard, you can blend it with a hand mixer while adding a little water at a time until it's the correct consistency.

2. If your soap is too thin, you can reheat it and add more soap shavings to thicken it up.

3. From what I've been reading around the blogosphere, Dove bar soap doesn't really work for this recipe. I don't know why. It sounds like you can use pretty much any other soap though. I used a grapefruit scented, goat's milk soap that some random person gave me, and it worked perfectly.

4. The link for the original recipe is right here. There's a lot more tips in the comment section of that post.

I love how easy this was to make. And cheap. Don't forget cheap.

Love,
El Cheapo

September 06, 2013

the most important thing

The last three-ish months, I've been stretched thin. I don't know about you, but I don't do well when I'm stretched. Like, not at all. I get pinched around the edges. Super stressed. I start tersely snapping at people. I wander around in confusion (like more than usual). I cry a lot. Breathing is hard. My head is all kinds of chaos.
It all starts with being busy. And I don't have a clue on how to be balanced busy. I'm just unbalanced busy. I get up around 4:30 AM, stumble around in a non-awake stupor for the next hour getting myself ready for the day, I go to work, I come home exhausted, I might have time to clean myself up before I go do the shopping, or the cleaning, or the church going, or the living life. I go to bed early, and the next day is the same all over again. I'm not complaining about the daily life. I love my life, I love my job, I love my family. I'm just saying that sometimes, life gets out of wack and busy gets in the way of things. Busy takes over and pushes important things into the background.
I have to be busy sometimes. Like, busy is a part of life and there's no avoiding it. I have a job, and a home, and people. I do things. I'm always pressed for time, and I probably always will be. Things always slow down in the winter, but my summers are busy and will be for the rest of eternity.
So the other day, I got in my car and finally felt myself stretch to the snapping point. (Fortunately for everyone in the world, I don't kill people when I snap. I just cry and cry and cry.) And I said to myself, Self, you are unhappy and that's not like you. What's the dealio? And myself said to me, It's just that I'm so busy and things keep falling between the cracks and I can't keep up and I'm stressed and can't handle things right now. I'm anxious and worried and tired and failing at everything. I am a loser and a jerk.
So I sat down to figure out my problem. I figured it out. Busy had pushed God into the background. Like, that quiet me n' Him time has dwindled down to 20 minutes a day, max. My attention span is short and 20 minutes is like, almost enough for me to read one verse. And guys, that's so not enough for me. So I was like, Lord... where exactly do I fit you in? I don't stop all day until right before bed and by then, I'm so exhausted I can barely focus on dinner much less my Bible. I need more time in the day.
The morning. The very, very early morning when I'm normally asleep. That's the time. That's the only time I'm not busy doing the things that really do have to be done. I'm not a morning person. Especially a it's-still-dark-outside morning person. But there is one thing that's needful to me: God time. Sleep is less important. So early morning it is. The last few days I've been getting up even earlier, and I've felt that chaos seep away and the peace returning. I've been setting alarms on my ever present phone to make me stop during the day and just remember God. I've been writing a verse, a word, a quote on my wrist so that anytime I talk with my hands, I'm reminded of God. Isn't it weird that I have to be constantly reminded to spend time with God? Wouldn't you think I'd have that all figured out by now? It makes me sorry to have to be reminded over and over again to pay attention to God. Poor God, must break His heart.
And isn't it so crazy that without God involved in the daily life, everything is overwhelming, but where God is first, there is peace also? I guess that's why He said to acknowledge Him in all our ways. It's a great stress reducer.


I don't know who said this, but it's right on: The secret to a happy life is giving God the first part of your day, the first priority to every decision, and the first place in your heart. 
And God said this one: Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matt 11:28
I think at the end of the day, it isn't the busy that matters so much. Because we're all busy and usually we have to be. I think the busy isn't so bad, so hard to handle, if we just give God the time of day. There's rest right in the middle of busy if God is right in the middle too.

Love,
Me

September 05, 2013

the weekend

First, Marco and Lydia got married! Yay! They're on their honeymoon right now.
The wedding was a success. Very sweet, went off without a hitch. There were lots of smiles.

I always love photos of the bride getting ready.



Happy Marco is happy.


About to ride off into the sunset.

Happy married life, you two!

Second, I am a midget.


Bonnie is 7 feet tall. Not really. 
But she DOES have 7 kids, and I'm always impressed by how put together she looks.

Third, I did not win the chili cook off this year. Last year's winner, this year's loser. Thomas won this year with a white, chickeny chili.

All us contestants. What's going on with Adam's face
Also, notice how Bonnie and I look the same height on the ends there? 
This is an optical illusion because I am a midget, and Bonnie is 7 feet tall.

Talia took this of her husband, the very happy winner. 
How do you like that snazzy blue ribbon that Tim made with his own hands?

Fourth, we had Heather's shower. Adam and Heather happen to be nerds. So this shower had to be Star Wars. May the force be with you.


Sweet baby Blake. Sometimes Adam is all like, Blake... I am your father.

This is Blake's cousin. He's a fatty watty. 

I just want to say a huge thank you to all the people who helped me TREMENDOUSLY with the wedding and the shower. Thank you for moving all the heavy furniture since I'm a wimp and can't do it myself. Thank you for helping refold all those tissue paper balls that I messed up. Thank you for hanging the tissue paper balls from the ceiling because my neck was out and I couldn't reach that high anyways. Thank you for helping with the flowers and bows. Thank you for hanging new curtains because the old ones were ugly. Thank you for spending all that time figuring out exactly how to arrange those giant tables. Thank you for running errands. Thank you for making the invitations and the Galactic cupcakes. Thank you for all the super cute Star Wars touches that I would've never thought of myself. Thank you for helping set up and clean up.
Thank you for being the best friends ever. Lydia wouldn't have had a beautiful wedding, and Heather's shower would've been totally lame-o without you guys. I love you forever and a day.

Love,
She Who Is Happy With How It All Turned Out

August 30, 2013

karen's family

Karen and Tim had family pictures done again. I love these. The photographer was like, snap, snap, snap, done. I was supposed to help keep the kids in line during the photo shoot, but she was done by the time I arrived.
Look how much the girls have grown! Here's the family a couple years ago, 2011. It's kinda bittersweet. I love the stages they're in, but I miss them being little.


Molly Pop. Funny, rapscallion, rascal. Likes to go commando. 

Lily Nilly. Sweet, princess, cuddly. So very easy to make her happy.

Emma Dear. Bright, always has a plan, girly. She loves to create things.

Hannah Banana. Smiley, quick, sporty. Likes her basketball shorts and BMX bike.

Lucy Goose. Domestic, motherly, tough. Will probably have 6 kids by the time she's 14.

Leah Beah. Smart, airhead, loves to be with the grown ups. She's basically a woman.


And in just a few years, we'll be having weddings and stuff. Sigh. Sniff.

Love,
Where Does The Time Go?