Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Friday, March 30, 2012

Spinning Cookies & Stuff

Isabelle Kate likes to help me make cookies by "spinning" the ingredients together.
I love that! Caleb says it too, only I don't know who actually started it...but it stuck and it's really cute.
Boy do I miss my stand mixer. Long story...
But we "spinned it really, really good" (why yes, I am quoting) and the results were pretty tasty!

Little Smarty Pants taking a cooking break to practice writing words. She reads to me afterwards. Or sings the words. Cutest. Thing. Ever.
We were listening to one of her kids Christian worship CDs, and I was reminded of how blessed I am to have this sweet little girl in my life. It felt like much more than just making cookies.

I took this picture earlier this morning after giggling over what appeared to be Baby Pilates taking place on the kitchen counter. She was pretty proud of figuring out how to get that baby to sit, ha!

We made the cookies to bring in to Caleb's third grade class today because I was teaching a little Spanish lesson to the kids. It was really fun! I was totally intimidated by the "smart board" - it's like a digital version of the old-school wipe board. These high-tech kids, I tell ya...

Okay, I'm back-pedaling a bit...Jonah made his acting debut last week and Bill and I were so proud of him! He worked many, many long hours! All of the children were so awesome!
 Jonah is kneeling on the end {left} with a mike- that was a big thrill in our house!
I found myself mentally keeping tabs on all the costumes I made during the performances. Because I'm a dork. That's okay, it made me happy, and I felt really proud to be able to help out in that way. The set was absolutely amazing, too!

There was extra juggling around last weekend because of all the play performances, soccer games, playdates, and...the Tenth Avenue North concert that I got tickets for for Bill's Valentine's Day gift! I didn't realize that the date of the concert fell right in the middle of the school performances when I ordered the tix- oops! It was an amazing concert! We left feeling energized and refreshed, and inspired. No pictures, though, boo.

One day this week at preschool, Isabelle's teacher, Miss Maria, was putting on a wedding in the classroom...for the letters Q and U!!!! HaHaHa So fun!
She knew she'd look "extra fancy" for Daddy with her bouquet of flowers in her hair rather than holding them. That's my girl, always thinking outside the box! Here she was telling him all the exciting details.

We took the kids to the circus the other night because my Dad gave me free tickets for them, so I thought, "How expensive could the adult tickets be?" You don't want to know. Ugh.
Truthfully, I sat there with a gnawing, uneasy ache in the pit of my stomach the whole entire time. Especially since I've seen the movie Water for Elephants. I've just never liked the idea of animals in captivity performing song and dance acts. It just feels...wrong to me. Plus, everyone around me must've thought I was either the biggest elephant enthusiast ever or an investigative reporter because I snapped SO many pictures with my big girl lens- why? Trying to get a close up view of that metal stick thing the trainer was using, and to see how he was using it. No, I'm really not a fan of the circus.

We let Isabelle and the boys feed some animals, and that made me feel anxious and sad as well. Poor beautiful zebra. You deserve to be galloping free.

I almost forgot about these little bites of heaven. Last weekend was dreary and cold, so we baked a lot.
What's better than peanut butter cookies?
Peanut butter cookies that have taken a dip in melted chocolate chips!
They didn't last long.

Whew, now I'm tired! I wonder if there are any cookies left....

Oh, and I have a new fancy schmancy header (I'm not good at that kind of stuff, for me, it's a big deal!) do you like it? You'd totally make my day if you left a comment to say you like it. Who doesn't like to be liked?   =)

Friday, March 23, 2012


 This is really MARCH? ? ?
In New Hampshire? ? ?

 Not once in my whole lifetime have I ever gone to play on the beach in an actual bathing suit!
I pulled Ethan from school - don't report me!- and we had a surprise "early summer" day. I hope one day he'll look back and remember the fun stuff we did together.

We discovered that Ryder is a big baby when it comes to waves, ha!

I didn't take a picture of the whole beach, but it was more crowded than it is on some days in summer! None of us have been complaining, either!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Helpful Hint for Sewing Smooth Hems

I inherited the love of sewing from my Mom. With Easter quickly approaching, I'm reminded of our special mother-daughter tradition of picking out a new dress pattern and fabric for what would become my Easter dress. It's a tradition I'm happily continuing with my little girl!

We haven't finalized things for Easter just yet, but I did make Isabelle a cute little summer dress the other day with some leftover cloth in my stash. My friends are all sweeties and have gushed over the clothes I make, and they really loved this one! (It has a gathered back with a sweet little ruffle.)

 Circular skirts can be a little bit of a pain, though, because they don't fold nice and flat in a narrow edge for the hem- no problem if you use a serger, but I prefer not to, so when I'm ironing up the first fold for the hem, I often get tiny "bubbles." I like the kind of bubbles you blow, not the fabric kind that muss up my hems.

Here is what I do to alleviate the extra fabric so I get a smoother fold, thus smoother hem.
I snip the edges. Then I take my time with the iron, allowing the snips to move and stretch where they need to as I'm ironing in the fold. You'll see little spaces where the fabric pulls apart to fit, and that's exactly what you want.

And if it's a particularly unforgiving fabric (won't stretch or doesn't have any give), I snip it again, forming teeny triangles. None of this will show in the finished hem...unless you're second fold is too narrow, but we'll save that tutorial for another day.  =)

Please note- I do not advise you to try this with fabrics that are prone to fraying. No, that would leave you in a heap of a mess for sure! This works best with cottons, blends, and other non-fraying materials.

{nice & smooth}

There you have it! I still get the occasional "bubble," but since I'm a recovering perfectionist, I'm not going to let it ruin my day. When I'm sewing something for someone, those stitches get a lot of love, and that's what really counts!

linking up on these awesome blogs...
DIY by Design 
Hope Studios 
At the Picket Fence 
Sew Many Ways

Monday, March 19, 2012

The almost-skinny-dipping afternoon...and some more

Yes, my crew took the plunge yesterday afternoon at one of our favorite lakes.
They may have had to strip down to their skivvies.
And then change real quick because people started walking down the path toward us, ha!
Jonah and Caleb dove all the way under, but Ethan and Isabelle couldn't take the chill.
My little arctic wonders! And...we discovered that Ryder likes to swim! He looked soooo cute paddling along!

I didn't get any pictures of the adventure, but I will always remember it! 
I've been really sad about several different things lately, and yesterday was like a healing salve, a wonderful gift. Maybe I will share more later.

Jonah and I had a special date at the Currier Museum. We brought his sketchbook and pencils but didn't end up sitting down drawing for very long. There were a lot of neat exhibits but we loved the painting by Monet the best. There were some other paintings by Spanish and Italian artists and it made me so nostalgic for the time I lived in Spain.

It isn't a date without chocolate milk and cookies!

  We enjoyed green French Toast for St. Patrick's Day. Then they told me I forgot to give them green milk for dinner. So sorry guys! I guess that just ruined the whole day, ha!

Ethan and I spent some time together at the mall this weekend. That wasn't the highlight- the best part was the ride there and back. Boys open up in the car more than any other place.  =)

 I've got such great kids! Sometimes I forget how much I've been blessed.
We celebrate the first day of spring with ice cream cones outside, but since yesterday was warm enough for a dip in the lake, we decided to party a little early.
Guess who had his very first ice cream cone???

 I thought he'd have inhaled the whole thing in one big bite, but he got confused and kept rolling it around on the ground, and then licking the ice cream off the driveway. Silly dog!

Since we were all a bit, um, sandy, we showered earlier than usual and hung out watching a Jeff Corwin DVD. I can totally see one of my kids doing that for a living!

Isabelle and I made granola. It's delicious!

First load of laundry is done and waiting to get hung outside...yay! I had sheets on the line yesterday, and they smell sooooooo good!

Someone is upstairs clearly not happy about something, so I think I'll just stay down here, tending to the clothes for just a few minutes longer than necessary and see what happens. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Friday Friday!!!

Oh boy am I so happy it's Friday! We had a very busy morning - after a busy week- and I'm just wiped out!

It all started with the pudding pie I needed to bring to Ethan's school because I couldn't drive him there today. So I tossed it on the floor of the car (okay, carefully placed it) for delivery later.
I had to get Isabelle up early today, which caused the occasional traffic jam in the kitchen and bathroom, because we were going to meet up with her preschool class to see a play across town.
At 7:30, four of us piled into the car, which I don't think has happened even once this year. AND, it was the first time ever having Ethan leave home alone, I mean on his own. Didn't like that part so much.

Here is the pretty girl all dressed up to see Rapunzel, waiting for the boys' All School Meeting to begin.

Caleb got to address the whole school by reading the first morning announcement! He did great, but he sounded a little gruff, like you'd better listen or else. Do I see law enforcement in his future?

Isabelle Kate spied Jonah and was gone in a flash. I'm glad I had my camera already ready to go.
I must say, I wish it were like this at home all the time.
It is not.

Caleb had something else to read, which I knew nothing about until he got up there! Silly boys- they leave out a  lot of details!  :)
His little hand kept coming and going out of his pocket...he was nervous! But he spoke clearly and well.

Isabelle and I had to dash out right after the kids performed one song from Aladdin, the musical they've been working on for months now. It was about 8:40, which of course was a few minutes later than I'd wanted. We may have driven a tad hastily.
There were several school buses lined up at the theater so I knew we were in the right place- I tend to fret about things like that when I have to meet up with people; but Isabelle's teacher, Miss Maria, saw us and waved us down to where they all were. Isabelle was SO excited about this play, or rather, meeting up with her little friends to watch a play in a fancy theater. They wiggled and giggled A. Lot.
Little Miss could not sit still for even a nanosecond!

The play was very cute, but I knew Isabelle was waiting for the "real" play- she wanted it to be like the movie, which is definitely was not- so she wasn't terribly impressed. We said goodbye to our friends after walking out to the cars and then headed to Ethan's school for pie drop-off. I was relieved it hadn't slid around the car during our, ahem, hasty drive across town!

Ryder sure was glad to see us when we finally got home! I brought him outside and when I came back in, Isabelle had begun writing out a list of things that he isn't allowed to do, such as eating the couch. Which he did yesterday. Sigh. At least it's an old couch, and listening to her reciting her little list made me chuckle. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without her in it.

One of my friends in the blogosphere, Jenny, is adopting a precious little girl from China in the coming months. She has such a wonderful heart- I love reading about her family!- and while adoption truly is a miracle, it is quite costly. I know her blog is much more popular than mine is, but if you haven't already read about their fundraising endeavors, please hop on over and take a look. The post is here. Happy Friday!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lotsa Things

I just got back from a run around our neighborhood a few minutes ago and still can't believe how mild it is out there at night! We still have a few windows open and it feels wonderful! I live for that fresh, reawakening earth smell each spring. However, this is New England after all, so we could be due for a blizzard by the end of the week!

Isabelle and I carried in a huge armful of costumes today...that means they're off my dining room table, which feels great! I was counting the outfits in my head earlier and they number in the dozens now. It doesn't feel like that much when I'm working on them, but when I stop and tally 'em up, it seems like a lot. But it makes me happy.

My cousin pinned a cute thing on skirts from someone's blog (I'm too lazy to look it up right now...on this blog...), and now I really want to make myself some skirts! They're so easy, don't require much fabric, and pretty quick to sew up, but...I have a little problem. I don't like my legs. Or rather, I don't like my skin. I have always had hard red bumps on the backs of my arms and red dot-like pricks all over my calves. Plus now I've got some minor veining issues going on...super. I thought maybe it was a sensitivity to shaving, because they seem kind of follicle-related, but since I'm not giving up shaving my legs any time soon, you see my dilemma.

This is going to be all kinds of random, bear with me. Or don't.  :)

I picked up a book on curly hair from the library and for the first time in my whole life I feel like someone else can identify with my hair isses. Of course the author is African-American and is mainly discussing much tighter curls than I've got, but curly is curly. I still can't believe it when my girlfriends tell me they blowdry their hair- everyday!- with no (Z-E-R-O) styling products in it, and it comes out perfectly straight and sleek and shiny. My hair, on the other hand, would closely resemble one of those puffy dandelions you blow in the wind- it would be a perfectly round, wispy, poof-ball, frizzy and fly-away all over my whole head. I know this from experience. Not fun. I'm going to try a couple of suggestions from the book and see how I fare.

We just found out that my uncle has throat cancer and suffered a minor stroke over the weekend. I'm having a really hard time watching the people I love getting older. It frightens me no matter how much I tell myself that God is in control of it all.

Bill's younger cousin, Josh, continues to suffer with his brain tumor. Actually, everyone suffers. His condition is terminal and his children are so small. My heart aches on a daily basis for his wife, facing, enduring, so much. They are able to rest in God's promises and protection. What a beautiful gift that is.

Not that this is anywhere near as important as life and death, but I am going through round two of athlete's foot...only this is like nothing I've ever had! Huge blisters under my toes- it feels like socks that get bunched up in all the wrong places- and now my left heel is literally splitting wide open with a callous-like crack and everything I'm trying to help it isn't working. Pumice, lotions, creams, oils, scraping- nothing is working, and it hurts, a lot! Every step is like walking on a tack. Maybe that's why I'm so amazed I was finally able to run without considerable pain tonight.

I've been running around like crazy between Jonah's orthopedic appointments for his broken arm and orthodontist appointments for broken wires and headgear adjustments. Ethan is having two more molars pulled out tomorrow morning- his adult teeth grow in before his baby teeth are even loose, and because the molars are so much bigger, they were really hurting him. My teeth were the same way when I was a kid.

Although I feel happy in general, there is still a lingering sadness, and I'm not sure why, or what about. It feels like I'm mourning something. I'm having a hard time accepting the fact that my little boys are not little anymore. It seems like yesterday we were running off to Story Hour at the library, going for long walks in the double stroller while I wore Caleb in the carrier, reading stories together in my bed before naptimes. And now? Now they are so big! I love who they are, who they're becoming, but I also feel so incredibly sad because I really miss who they used to be. It's just so different now. Sigh.

I see it's 9:00 and I'd wanted to catch an episode of the Duggars. Goodnight!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pure Awesome-ness!!!

I think I'm really feeling the effects of the whole Spring Forward deal...I'm so tired! We have been busy busy busy this week, and it really was pure awesomeness! Warning- this is bound to be a lengthy one!

Somebody had her very first venture on skis this week...I don't think I've ever heard her giggle and happy-squeal so much before! We headed out right after preschool- isn't she the cutest little snowbunny!?!?!

This picture is for my Mom- she made those adorable little socks for Isabelle!

Even falling down didn't suppress those giggles!

The reflections in the sunglasses look neat!

I've spent almost every afternoon this week working on costumes for Jonah's school play- it's a lot of hard work but I really enjoy doing it. Everyone is very excited about this play and the kids are doing a fabulous job!

Thursday night we attended the art show at our local mall and got to see Jonah's and Caleb's pictures. I am always amazed at how incredibly talented young artists are!
 silly boys!
Caleb's sunflower is second down in the last column- so pretty!
Jonah's bamboo is the rainbow one to his right- I love it!

 I feel so self-conscious in pictures...always focused on the things I'm most insecure about. I know we all do that.

I love the speical bond between these two.

I missed Ethan's last two soccer games, so I was happy to see this one. He is a great player- God has really blessed him with agility and SPEED! Both Bill and I have noticed a huge improvement in his overall mood since he joined up last month. It's not just the "running it off" but the comaraderie of a team, too.

Isabelle had just spied big brother on the field- one week she brought her sparkly pom-poms to cheer him on!  :)

Bill and I got to take a long walk with Ryder Saturday morning while we let the kiddos stay home playing wii and watching a movie. It was really nice to get out and talk without being interrupted by anyone, and enjoy the fresh air. We discovered years ago that we feel God's presence most when we're out enjoying His creation.

Jonah is the lucky kid in our household this week. He had 3 different celebrations for his birthday! Last weekend we had family over, on his actual birthday (Monday) we surprised everyone after dinner and whisked them off to...Friendly's for birthday sundaes. I chuckled when Jonah had no qualms about sporting the Birthday Sombrero into the restaurant, yet got completely embarrassed when they came around to sing to him. Go figure!  :)

Who doesn't love a Carvel ice cream cake?

Isabelle and Baby Naomi

I didn't get any pictures of Jonah with family- things just get so busy so fast! I'm going to start a new tradition of snapping a picture of the birthday person with each guest as they arrive.

I don't remember if I mentioned selling a couple of things in my etsy shop, which thankfully I did, and some more people have "favorited" either my shop or an item. That feels so good! I chose the name on the fly years ago when I bought some items, but since I've begun selling, I'd like a different name...and I cannot come up with a single one!

Oh, how could I forget yesterday's party...Jonah invited two friends to come swimming with us and we all had a fantastic time! I was a little nervous about active boys and deep water, but they did great! It makes such a difference when you know you can trust the boys to listen to you. Plus, they all have such wonderful manners so it's a pleasure to spend time with them.

This was not the pool we'd planned on going to (we were headed to the one with a big slide), but the parking lots was insanely crowded when we got there so we opted for the less popular one. It turned out even better that way! I was stressing out a little over how to handle the eating part of the party since there are no tables in the big pool, and there would be consderable running around. That's stressful! 

Pizza by the pool, anyone? No problem!

They wouldn't have been able to do this at the other pool either because there's no direct access outside...definitely one of the highlights of the day!

See Jonah's new water-proof cast? Thanks goodness for that invention!
He wanted a bright color but opted for glow-in-the-dark...but it doesn't really glow. Bummer.

This is what happens when you peg snowballs at your mother. You get locked out. Tee hee hee.

This was especially handy for keeping the cake nice and cool, too.
I planned to make cupcakes, but I couldn't pass up this near-expired gorgeous cake for 4 bucks! I popped it in the freezer for the week and it tasted great!

I'm not sure what she's doing here, but in all likelihood, she's probably bossing one of the boys around. The kicker? They usually do what she says!  HaHa

Birthday boy all smiles...
About 10 minutes before we were ready to leave our house, Jonah's wire on his braces popped off and was poking him in the cheek! We called the dentist (no one ever called back...glad we didn't wait around all afternoon!) and then took matters in our own hands, trying to push the wire back through,  or out, or something- I was getting confused! We ended up snipping it short and putting wax on the end. It hasn't bothered him since, phew!

This completely cracks me up- Transformers 2 was playing so everyone was glued to the flat screen. Maybe you just had to be there- it was like this loud, crazy swarm of boys invading the middle-aged men, only the men didn't budge. I must say I made several attempts at hinting to the fact that I wanted a turn in the hot tub as I counted down the boys' time in there, only without those two guys flanking the only entrance- that just felt too weird! Well, they stayed put, and I didn't have the nerve to go in by myself so I made Ethan go back in with me! The poor kid was nearly cooked through by that point!
I mean, look at how close they are in that picture! I had to parade my little old self right in between them and they didn't even move over or to the sides or anything! Awk-ward!

Finally they left. Ethan was relieved because he could get back out then, too. I closed my eyes for all of 3 seconds when Isabelle walked up to me.
"Mumma, I have to go potty."
Of course!  =)
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