Sunday, November 29, 2009

In Two Weeks.....

I will be getting on a plane for the first time in years
Leaving my girls, which is SO very rare.

I am going to California & meeting, in person, my blog besties.
Julie, Mel, Heather G, Heather M and Erin

Five outstanding & inspiring women who are more giving,
caring and kind that I thought existed in today's world.

I am so excited to do something so out of the ordinary.
Something random.

But more importantly, help with something so WONDERFUL.
Project 320

Julie's AMAZING idea:

To collect 100 handmade and heartfelt items. Divide them into 10 giant, happy prize bundles.
Have five days of giveaways.
Two bundles of prizes featured each day.
But not just the "enter, enter, enter, get, get, get" type of giveaways.
More of a raffle.
Each $10 donation to charity:water equals one entry.
Readers can choose their favorite prize bundle or bundles, donate and then put their names in the drawing to win.
We will have our own webpage so entrants can donate directly to the well and we all can track and celebrate the progress.

$5,000 fully funds a well.
A well that can save 500 lives.
Change an entire village.

If you have an Etsy shop great! What wonderful advertising. Your shop will be linked and featured in each post that includes one of your prize donations.
If you don't have an Etsy shop, but thought about opening one? What a great excuse!
But let's just say you would just love to use your hands to create something?
You are so welcome to!
Even if you don't have aren't able to donate anything handmade, don't feel like you can't help.
Let's say someone donates a cozy coffee cuff?
What if you donated a Starbucks card to compliment it?
Or someone donates a necklace?
How about a Target card that the winner could go buy a new top to match it?

What does Julie's Project 320 stand for?

Julie lives her life by this verse:
Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.
Ephesians 3:20

Julie has a blog ready to go to host the giveaways and showcase all of you dear participants.

Please follow this blog as she is about to post some wonderful things!

So in two weeks, when I am in Cali visiting my new friends, we will combine all of the wonderful donations and divide them into packages and prepare the blog posts together.

A perfect weekend full of sewing, blogging, eating and FUN.....
The giveaway week is scheduled to run December 14th-18th
with the winners announced on the 21st.

All prize donations will need to be at Julie's house by December 10th.
I know that doesn't give you a ton of time and life is crazy hectic right now.

But you can do it!
If you live by me I can take any donations with me to California.
Just make sure I have your items by Thursday December 10th!

Be sure to send business cards and/or your blog addy with the package so we can properly link you and thank you.

Contact me for Julie's address if you would like to send your donations!
And thank you for being a part of Julie's wonderful idea and plan to make this
world a better place.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Family Photo Shoot Favorites

We had our first ever FAMILY Photo Shoot
since Gracie was born.
My friend Lindsay (Walker) Orr from high school came
to a local park & took these AMAZING photos.
I am still in shock.
Check them out and let me know which ones
I should hang on my living room walls.

Isn't she fantastic?!
If you would like to book a photo shoot with her let me know &
I will give you her email address.
Then you can get some AMAZING family photos of your own!
Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Dad

Happy Birthday to the best dad ever.
A man who has accomplished so much in his life.
Someone I have always looked up to
and strived to make proud.
As he has always made me proud to be his daughter.

I wrote in a book that I gave him one Father's Day that the most important thing he ever taught me was that nothing is more important than family.
I wrote how thankful I was that he put his four girls first.
Before any job, career, or hobbies.
He sacrificed so much for his family and I am who I am today because of it.

I wrote how I remember him being at every single event
that I ever did for school, sports or church.
Whether it was my 4th grade Christmas program, an elementary track meet,
my high school softball game, my Confirmation or any kind of award ceremony along the way.
I always knew that I could look up in the stands or in the audience
and see my dad there.
For me.
Not very many kids can say that.
But I can.

So thank you dad for being there for Me, Adie, Haley & Maggie
throughout our lives!
Here are some fun pictures I wanted to share of my dad....

My dad in his high school uniform with his dad.
One of my favorite pictures.

In the big leagues- posing in his Montreal Expos Uniform.

When he was in the army.

My mom took this, along with several others, in a mini photo shoot back in 1975.

My mom and dad in the 70's

My dad holding me on Easter 1980

Halloween 1981

My dad and Daisy, our black lab, taking a turn at
"SLEDDING" down our hill in our backyard
at the house we grew up in.
Everything was a layer of ice, so my dad had the great idea of
flipping over our picnic table and SLEDDING!
What a fun dad!!

Lead singer?
This was at our old house as well.
This was my mom's cousin band. He's the guitar player on the right.
A celebration for my great-grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary!

Me and dad fishing.

Some recent crazy pis of me, dad and my sister Haley!

I love my family!

Happy Birthday Dad!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cousin Love

I snapped off some super cute COUSIN pics a few weeks ago
when the leaves were still around.

I even got Gracie in a few!
From left to right:
Steve's sister Angie's daughter Carly,
Our Sophie
(Silly So-Mo as she's known to be called),
Steve's brother John's daughter Olivia,
Our Princess Mia,
Then in front:
Our Gracie Girl,
and the only boy on Steve's side, John's son Ethan.
Poor guy!

Are they not the CUTEST?!


Fun in the leaves!

They were so adorable running around.

Love this shot of Sophie!

Hope you all enjoyed the beautiful fall leaves as much as we did.
We are so sad they are gone....
But so excited for the upcoming holidays!

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fun Fall Centerpiece Idea

Erin, one of my best friends from high school
after marrying Steve's brother)
is SO crafty and talented.

Here she is (far left) with another good friend Julie (middle) and
myself (far right) at our 10 year high school reunion.
Isn't she the cutest....

She made these ADORABLE centerpieces for our Mother and Father in-law's 40th wedding anniversary!
I had to share this super cute idea.

She carved out the inside of a pumpkin,
then placed a flower in a planter inside & stuck a fabulous picture in the plant.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Zebra & A Horse, Of Course!

Mia LOVES horses.

REALLY loves them.

Her room is all fun horse stuff!
In case you missed it the first time, you can take a
gander HERE!

On Friday, Steve sat down and drew a HORSE pattern for me
He thought it would make for some CUTE shirts for the girls.
How cute is he?!

And how cute did our shirts turn out.
Total Teamwork. Mom & Dad Style.
Sophie loved the ZEBRAS at the zoo last weekend,
so we got TWO animals for the price of one.

As we sat at the table crafting & drawing together, we looked at each other & talked about how our "Friday night fun" is so different compared to 7 years ago. Now, creating fun stuff for our three girls is our Friday night excitement. Steve said, after taking a sip of his brewskie, "I wouldn't have it any other way."

**Here is a sneak peek at our family photo shoot this weekend....

My friend from high school, Lindsay Orr took a ton of pictures of our family & I can't thank her enough! I am super excited to see the rest of them!

Skillet Lasagna

Do you LOVE Lasagna but HATE making it?
If so, welcome to my world.

That is exactly why I wanted to share this recipe.
I found it one another blog (can't remember which one!)
& made it a few nights ago for the whole family.

It was Yummy & fast!

My kind of cooking.

It has all the taste of Lasagna, with none of the drama!

Skillet Lasagna

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes, do not drain
1 1/4 cups water
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups bow tie pasta, uncooked
1 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Dash basil, pepper
In large skillet, brown beef with onions & garlic; drain.
Add tomatoes, water, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, & salt.
Mix well.
Stir in uncooked pasta.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat; cover, simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring once.
Stir in cottage cheese.
Cover with Parmesan cheese, sprinkle in basil & pepper to taste if desired.
Cover & cook for 5 minutes.

Extra Tips:
* I usually just use dried chopped onion and garlic. It is just easier for me.
* I strain the cottage cheese before adding it.
* I only add 1 tsp. dried parsley.

Holla at me if you make this & ENJOY!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

There's Something About Sophie

Here is our little Sophie a few weeks after Gracie was born over a year ago.
She was the proudest big sister!

Her thinning hair, however, is the visual proof of her sadness when I had to leave her, as well as Mia, to be hospitalized on bed rest to keep from going into labor with Gracie.

17 days.
Probably felt more like 117 days to little Sophie.
She went from having Mommy by her side 24/7 to GONE in a flash.

The impact my hospital stay had on her made me realize just how sensitive & emotional she is.

Earlier this week at bedtime we were reading their choice of books.
Sophie's choice: Mommy's Best Kisses. Mia's choice: Her Bible

We were reading in Luke about the birth of Jesus. Sophie was so entrigued about Jesus' birth. She couldn't understand why he had to go to Heaven so soon. I told her why Jesus went to Heaven & then she looked up at me, with tears in her eyes, and asked if he will ever get to come back here with us.

Eventually the conversation turned into us talking about how ALL of us will have to go to Heaven one day.

She hugged me tightly while crying and said, "Mommy I will just miss you so much when you go away to Heaven. You are not going soon are you?"

This left me speechless and I felt the strangest feeling come over me.
I thought deeply about the real FACT that I will, one day, physically leave them.
I will no longer be able to touch them.
Hold them.
Kiss them.

The reality of that was so scary.

But actually thinking about this, validated every single choice I make each and every day.
It is why everything I do is for my girls.

Today I did a funny photo shoot of Soph after school.

With my STELLAR Kodak Easy Share.

Don't be jealous.

She showed me sad....

and Happy!

Then scared...

and angry.

This picture was my favorite of the day.

Sophie holding her "CASH" as she so proudly calls it.

Today she grabbed a whopping $8 off my desk and said,
"Wow, Mom! Look at this CASH!"

Like she invented the word CASH.
It was so funny!

She is such a big girl these days...
She can write her entire first name!

Dear Sophie, you are such a special part of our family & I
thank God everyday for every second I get to spend with you.


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