Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas 2010 in pictures

an attempt at a picture of the girls in their Christmas dresses in front of the tree.
not one single decent picture. 
Christmas Eve... our own little family party

right up her crafty alley

SO excited

this girl was so serious in unwrapping and made sure to remove ALLwrapping before inspecting the gift

this sweet cheeked girl (the one in red) was the pits opening gifts... constantly going after stuff that was not for her ;)

Christmas morning... playing with gifts.  miss J calls this her "game"

the new zhu-zhu pet stuff has taken over the kitchen island... eating pancakes for breakfast in new fuzzy bathrobes :)

on the phone with Grandma D
and opening gifts on Christmas Day at the in-laws

Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 - Taking Inventory

Tonight we had our "Old Year's Service" at church and the Pastor reflected on "taking inventory."   It was a great message that encouraged me in several ways. It also reminded me of my goals for this past year and I thought I should revisit those before I adopt new goals (or continue the old ones) for 2011.

2010 goals from previous entry:

1) feed my family in the healthiest way possible for as cheap as possible

the verdict:  still a work in progress.  i believe this will continue to be an up and down process for us. sometimes i am "gung-ho" and declaring that my family will consume green smoothies daily for the rest of our lives and then other days i have no drive and my kids end up eating boxed mac-n-cheese and the thought of a green smoothie makes me gag. it also seems there is always new information about what is "healthy" and a lot of things conflict with each other.  what i do know for sure:  fresh fruits and veggies are ALWAYS healthy.  I think this fact will make it's way into my 2011 goals.
things i did do for this include: 
 -religiously reading labels and evaluating if it is something worth buying nutrition-wise
 -for months i made my own yogurt.  currently on a break from this as the last time i made it a couple months ago it sat in the fridge until it was inedible and eventually thrown out.  i plan to start making it again in January as i believe it is pretty healthy (and frugal!)
 -i tried to remove as much processed food from our diets as possible.  no more crackers for snacks unless i make them from scratch (did this a couple times... A LOT of work for so-so crackers) no more pop for chad and i, little to no high fructose corn syrup, i started making our own granola bars (another thing i have ceased to make for awhile but plan to start up again), i try to use organic whenever possible and "healthier" baking ingredients like whole-wheat flour and sweeteners such as honey or pure maple syrup.
 -i read several books (or am in process of reading them cause they are HUGE textbook like books) including, Real Food by Nina Planck, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (hoping to go see her speak in February!!!), The Green Smoothie Diet by Robyn Openshaw and The World's Healthiest Foods by George Mateljan
 -i make a weekly menu plan to avoid the "it's 5pm, what do we have for dinner tonight, I'm too tired to make anything, let's just order pizza" as much as possible (still happens though!)  which makes us eat a more well balanced diet and it's cheaper.

2) lose the baby weight

the verdict:  nope.  didn't happen.  extreme frustration with this as i feel like my body is rebelling against all efforts i make.  pretty much makes me want to not even try.  but I'm pretty sure this will turn up in my 2011 goals as well.
what i did do:  in the late winter/early spring i started exercising and was up to jogging a mile straight (hadn't done that since high school) but then the bathroom reno happened and i quit.  i went through various phases of changing my diet and did a "cleanse."  this fall i did Jillian Michael's "30 Day Shred" and then continued to exercise regularly once I was done with it.  we got a new treadmill (though we are on our second new one and it still isn't working properly, ugh!) and i am back to jogging again but my frequency is not as high as it should be.

3) make our house a home (various house projects)

the verdict:  another one that will always be in process.  but i will say that this house feels much more like "home" than it did a year ago.  new projects will always be there though. 
I'm not going to list out what i did do, cause honestly, other than our main floor bathroom reno, i don't really remember everything. 
Churning in my brain is a blog post that would involve documenting where our house is at now and what i hope to do with it over the next year but we'll see if that ever comes to fruition.

So that was as far as I got on official goals for the year.  I am glad that I at least put effort into each one continuously throughout the year even if none of them were "completed."  (I don't think 1 and 3 could be anyway for as vague as they were) 

This next week, I believe will be spent contemplating what I dare hope for in 2011 ;)

Friday, December 24, 2010

anticipating Christmas

a few pics of our house decorated for Christmas.  i didn't put out very much this year, adopting the "less is more" approach ;)

i made this out of a scrap piece of wood and it took me less than an hour from start to finish (my kind of craft!)

the mantle

the tree... always real.  (however this year going out to the tree farm to cut our own was not to be due to a blizzard and then bitter cold temps, so we bought a pre-cut one from a local store)

the bird at the top... growing up we always had a bird near the top of the tree.  a little tradition i now carry on in our family. 

a few other decorations (the angel on the bottom shelf has since been spray painted white)

our Nativity scene (i had to snap this picture fast as little hands were ready to play)

our baby :)

enamored by the pretty lights
Merry Christmas! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

christmas stockings

whew! i managed to actually complete a project!

i decided on a whim to sew up some christmas stockings.  we only had 3 of the classic red and white fuzzy stockings (1 of them being a bit smaller than the others) and since we have 4 kiddos we needed to revamp things a little.  originally i envisioned using felt however i had a remnant of white cotton and decided to "use what i have" and came up with these ruffly stockings. 

a close up of the top.  i added a burlap flower with red beaded centers and red ric-rac as a hanger.  both these things are pinned on so i can change it if i decide to change my color scheme.  i left the ruffle edges raw to give it a rustic look.

all four stockings "hung with care" and a glance at the mantle

linking to: polly want a crafter

Sunday, December 19, 2010


miss baby had her first birthday!  (and i managed to get a picture of her each month... i only accomplished that with my first and last daughters) 

a little collage of her first year :)

and pics from her 1st b-day

opening gifts (what is with my finger looking freakishly long?)

the party guests (my sis and nephew)

new boots!

we're excited for the cupcake!



cutie patootie nephew

showing off her new sweet ride from grandma d ;)
and previously:

at the hotel in okoboji celebrating with hubby's fam

great grandpa and grandma stopped in the week before her big day as well
well, this will be the last of the monthly updates of miss baby.  (can i still call her miss baby? yes. yes i can.  she will always be that, i believe)  big things this past month:  she is getting way more steady on her feet and when there is an open door that is usually shut she makes a speedy b-line for it, she transitioned to milk instead of formula without much fuss and is almost off the bottle too, she loves food (hmmm, sounds familiar), she loves music, she loves tv (yikes), and she loves her mommy (YAY!). well she loves her whole family but she loves me best and is a mama's girl.  i love you too baby girl.  my heart swells with pride as i look at you and your beautiful sweet face. happy birthday and many many more!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

six is super-duper

dd #2 turned 6 this month

a tradition started several years ago with hubby's side of the family is to go to a hotel with a waterpark on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  since this always falls near dd's b-day we celebrate at the hotel with that side of the fam.  this year we went to Bridges Bay near Okoboji.  that place was AWESOME! and much quieter than the hotels in Sioux Falls that we usually go to.  so very much fun. 

and the pictures:

swimmin' in the lazy river

opening her gifts (miss baby eating the wrapping paper)
she was last in line to open as there are 4 december birthdays to celebrate

grandpa's favorite team... he is trying to coax all grandbabies to cheer for them as well

silly faces... this one cracks me up (check it out, even miss baby is doing the silly face thing, lol)

celebrating on her actual birthday

opening the gift from Grandma D... i love her face on this as she realizes what it is

her BEAUTIFUL quilt! Grandma D is amazing and once again pulls of a gorgeous quilt as a lifetime keepsake

she has always been so expressive... she can not hide her emotions which is great when she is truly excited for something :)  here is a long awaited Princess Jasmine "polly"

a few days after her b-day she got to have an all day play date with a friend :)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY my sweet sweet girl.  You continue to bring such joy to our lives.  I love how you "notice" everything.  You take it all in and remember the tiniest details.  You truly care about others and have such a big heart an infectious laugh and smile to light up the room.  We pray blessings over you in this next year!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


almost caught up!

miss baby is walking... i didn't encourage it but she did it anyway ;) i'm not ready to pass from the baby to toddler stage, however she apparently is. she took her first steps on Halloween and every day after that continued to improve her skills. her personality is really starting to come out as well. she knows what she wants and goes for it. she protests when her sisters bug her or take toys from her. becoming a bit of a stinker as she gets into things even if she knows they are off limits (ie: the fireplace... charred wood isn't poison is it?) our living room furniture is all rearranged daily when she is in there to block off things, i'm sure visitors would think my decorating skills are quite lacking (doesn't everyone shove a coffee table up against the fireplace?)

big sis wants to get in on the picture taking action
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Thursday, November 25, 2010


just a little reflection on thankfulness on this day of thanksgiving. 

our pastor this morning said something that resonated with me and i have been dwelling on it all day.  he said "we should be grateful for dirty dishes..."  and i thought, "huh. am i grateful for the dirty dishes that are piled up high in both sides of my kitchen sink at home right now?"

not so much. 

but i should be.

because having dirty dishes means that we have an abundance of food to eat to make those dishes dirty. 

i am thankful for heaps of laundry because that means we have more than enough clothes to cover our bodies and keep us warm, soft sheets and blankets to sleep on in our comfy beds, and fluffy towels to dry ourselves off after our daily hot shower.

i am thankful for sticky dirty floors to mop because that means i have a strong and safe home that gives me shelter each day. 

i am thankful for icky toilets and toothpaste covered sinks to clean because that means i have running water to keep us clean and sanitary.

i am thankful for dust in my house because that means i have "stuff" i love to showcase and entertain myself and family with.

i am thankful for the daily mess in my bedroom of a bed to make and clothes to put away because it reminds me that i have the love of my life to share that room with.

i am thankful for everyday messes, the "art cabinet" that is overflowing with paper, the toy that jams into my foot when i step on it, the sticky spots on my table and smudges on my windows because that means i have been gifted with four daughters who i love more than i can possibly grasp.

i am thankful for my tears and anxieties because it means God gave me a heart and a soul that feels.

i am thankful when i mess up because it reminds me of God's grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

i am thankful for all of God's good gifts (SO many more than i mentioned above), whether they seem "good" or not.  it is all in how you choose to view them.  my prayer tonight is that God gives me the grateful heart that chooses to see ALL things as blessings. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

holiday cards

as we near Thanksgiving I am reminded that time is beginning to tick on getting my Christmas cards ready...
i considered not sending cards this year.  the budget is tight and it seems like an "extra" that could be trimmed.  however, i love getting everyone's cards in the mail and seeing how families change each year.  with many of my friends this is the one time of year that we correspond.  i hate to miss out on that. soooo... i came across an offer from Shutterfly.  the deal is pretty simple:  write a blog post about their holiday cards showing off some of your favorites and then you get some FREE cards! yay!  they have some of the cutest cards:
love the fun look of this one
a great option for me to have individual pics of my girls rather than that illusive perfect family photo ;)

love the pine cone toile on this one
simple and adorable
it's going to be hard to choose! but that is another great thing... i can choose more than one design!   now i just need to start taking some pictures for that "perfect holiday photo shot"  (or just settle for that real-life-less-than-perfect option!)

they have other great stuff too.  some of my faves include:
how fun to drink your coffee from a personalized mug like this!
cutie-patootie birthday cards
hosting a party?  how cool is this invitation?

a great gift for a grandparent and can be personalized with everyone's birthdays and other big days
fun stuff!