peeks and promises.

Here's a peek at something I am working on...I'll share later in the week...
Here is pouty McPouts-A-Lot...
...during THIS meal...he told me to be quiet. Twice.
(he DOES have good days).
Here was my sick baby...falling asleep on his daddy's lap.
Doug has the magic touch...
And here he is all better...happy and sweet. :)
Here is a peek at a fun new blog feature...
I'm working on something NEW, FUN, FAST and CRAFTY for YOU!

AND

YOU are the winner of the calendar! :)
Contact me! :)

Come back tomorrow for the photo ledge how-to!

xo
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done and done.

this weekend:
i did not cook.
i let my family graze like cattle...
...they ate what they wanted,
when they wanted.
Moses stuck to cheese, yogurt,
frosted mini-wheats, milk and applesauce.
It was NICE.

We stayed home.
We LOVE to stay home.
Especially now that it is frigid outside.
I miss spring.

I recovered my lampshade.
Took about twenty minutes and hot glue.
We played Wii.
We (I, with Doug on childcare) repainted
the dining room.
The color makes me feel like spring IS here.
I cut Doug's hair.
I built TWO photo shelves...for about $15 total!
(as opposed to paying around $40 for ONE)
(want a tutorial?)
We vacuumed under the couch.
And after finding a grape sized ball in Aaron's mouth...
we removed every tiny item from the downstairs
and banished them to Moses' room or put them away.
Aaron got a fever...and slept in my lap on Sunday afternoon.
We had our first "There is something up my nose!" moment with Moses.
Above is the washer that he must have had to work hard to shove up his nose.
Luckily, it came out easily with tweezers.

He also had a few tantrums.
He is getting quite good at them.
When will three be over?

I'm a little jealous that Doug get's to go to work.
But also not.

And get to wake up to the call of Moses..
"Moooooommmm....I'm all doneeee".

sigh.


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we're classy.

Doug and I had as good of an anniversary as you can...with two little monkeys living in your house. :) We had cake and dinner...and exchanged gifts...sort of.
Doug bought me a MACbook for my business.
I bought him a book and a cake that we ate with forks...right out of the box.
I have stopped trying to compete with his gift giving abilities.
I just can't keep up with his skill level.
On the first night of our honeymoon we stayed at the Inn at Virginia Tech...and had the best cheeseburgers of our lives. Best ever!
In honor of those burgers I called on my girl Paula Deen for a yummy recipe.

I made Cheeseburger Casserole. Yum. Easy. Perfect meal for kids.
Moses even ate a noodle.

You should make this today...

Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
One 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces wide egg noodles
Cooking spray
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat, stirring to break up the lumps, until all of the pink is gone from the meat. Get an adult to help you drain off the fat.

Add the onion and green pepper, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, with juice, and the Worcestershire sauce, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low. Simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes.

Fill the medium pot halfway full of water. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring the water to a boil. Stir in the noodles and boil for about 8 minutes, until tender. Get an adult to help you drain the noodles. Return the noodles to the pot. Pour the tomato mixture over the noodles, and stir until blended.

Put the noodle mixture in the baking dish that you have sprayed with cooking spray. Top with cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted.


And just thought I would share our wedding invites. I made them and still love them.
They were magnets and came with directions. It was so fun to see them played with on friends fridges after we were married.
And I made these thinking that I came up with a cute NEW idea...but since then have seen them here or there in some form...you can peek HERE or HERE for other cute versions.
Each little doll holds a strip of paper...perfect for a love note or little greeting.

Hope your weekend is super duper!

xo
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it's the anniversary!

This post is for my honey...
today is our fourth anniversary.
by far the BEST four years of my life.
THE BEST.
It's like my life didn't start until I met him.
I know a lot of women say they have the best husband...
but truly...they have nothing on what I have.

He is kind, sweet, handsome, patient...WONDERFUL.
He makes me laugh and loves me just like I am.

He encourages me in ways I don't even know I need...
he bought me my sewing machine...when he had never even seen me sew!

He has helped me create such a wonderful home to live in...peaceful, calm...a happy place for our boys to grow up and for us to grow old together.

He is just the best.
A great daddy, husband, friend and so much more!

Happy Anniversary Honey!
Love you love you love you!
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please explain this craziness.

ok friends.
anyone with an email account gets spam.
add a blog to list of ways to communicate and you add to your spam-o-meter.
I have gotten pleas for money, people begging me to buy products, creepy spam, weird spam, odd spam...even funny spam.
(you can click on any of the images to enlarge them)

This kind of spam always ALMOST gets me...I'm always like...hmmm WAS I near a taco bell today? I really have to think about it.

Then sometimes the subject line makes me giggle...you know...when I add my own little joke to the end of it...

You had me until "of"...are they talking insurance fraud here?

Ummmm...anyone know how to get a hold of Chris Hansen?

Being illiterate is what suxx. More bees with honey friend...

Who needs exercise...the perfect way to lose 10-15 pounds.

Uhhh...is that really a job?

I got nothing. This stupefies me.

You don't say.


But this kind of spam really baffles me...no product selling, no random link.
Just really odd and slightly creepy.

I don't get it.
What is the point?

And I know it is spam...I have seen it before...word for word on other posts.

Any ideas?
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moses vs photobooth.

One of our favorite things is the photobooth feature on our Macs.
Moses loves it too. The other day I showed him how to operate it and let him go to town.
He proceeded to pose and change faces for each photo.
I love the sleeping one...
He REALLY loved it when he realized he could document his shirt...then proceeded to photograph it over and over.

The best part?
He was quiet for about 20 minutes. :)
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to future moses.

Dear future Moses,

Mom here, hoping that I am just good enough of a future mom to print you out a copy of this letter just as your oldest child is going through the age of three.

Let me tell you about raising a three year old.
The tiniest thing can cause you so much grief that you have no choice but to break into spontaneous fits of crying and screaming. Above you are having a fit because you were not allowed to change your pj's for the third time in five minutes. I am sure you have no choice...otherwise why would you do it so often...it doesn't look fun. Some of your biggest "triggers" include...commercials, it not being Christmas tomorrow, being too small to do something, the sun going down, it being time for bed or your feet being too big for the shoes you insist on wearing.

Notice a trend here...yup...not a thing I can control. Awesome, right?

You also make little to no sense at times. Sometimes it is because we simply can't understand your state of English speaking or you are just being goofy. This can go one of two ways...either you think it's funny...like you are making a joke OR it causes you so much grief that you have no choice but to break into spontaneous fits of crying and screaming.

An example of your nonsensical speak...

The other day you walked into the room with a bucket on your head and stated
"I'm California".

Um, ok. I mean, what am I supposed to say to that?

Sometimes you act nonsensical as well.
For example...
the other day I walked into my bedroom, where you were supposed to be watching TV, and I caught you licking the foot board of the bed. Yep. You gave me this look like
"What...like you didn't want to?"
Let's talk about meal times shall we?
Yep...we have totally resorted to tying you to your chair with a scarf at meals.
But we refer to it as a "safety belt" cause tying your kid to a chair sounds crazy.
But you know what? It works. You actually sit and "eat" instead of bouncing around like you have something crawling around in your pants.
So don't judge me.
And I use the word "eat" loosely.
Breakfast and lunch are pretty easy.
Dinner is easy because we make it.
You see, back before I had kids...I swore I would never serve my child something for dinner other than what their parents were having.
And then something happened.
I had a three year old.
And you know what...it is more important to me to have a happy family meal than for me to sit there with you for hours forcing you to eat something you don't want.

If we let you, you would live off of cheese and yogurt...with often refills of milk.
With encouragement you WILL eat pizza, chili, pb and j, chicken tenders, cheese sandwiches, cucumbers, any kind of fruit, mini-wheats, triscuits and crackers.
I have faith that eventually you will come around.
How about nap time?
Um...well...we have all but given up.
We put you in your room every day.
Because you need a nap and we need a break.
The awesome thing is that you won't fall asleep...unless you are sick.

So we compromised with you to make everyone happy.
You still have nap time...but we now call it "rest" time and allow you to play or read quietly alone in your room.
Bedtime at night is touch and go.
Usually you are ridiculous gnarly because you didn't nap so it takes very little to cause you so much grief that you have no choice but to break into spontaneous fits of crying and screaming.

You also like to wake up around 6am to do things in the toilet that seem impossible for someone as small as you to do. I'm just saying. And you prefer to turn on every light in the house on the way to your bathroom so the whole household gets to share in your crack of dawn party.

Living with you must be what it is like to live with a full fledged crazy person.
You are erratic, unpredictable and always changing the rules of how you operate.
You run and jump all over...you're loud and down right insane sometimes.

BUT.
You are also very awesome and funny. We love you so much and you keep our days exciting. You are crazy and fun and silly and sweet. And loved. You love your little brother...even if sometimes that love knocks him over.
You are precious and wonderful and I AM blessed to be your mom.

And just remember...you won't be three forever.


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word up.

January is like a holiday to me.
The whole month.
It's like one giant excuse to clean, purge, repaint, organize and refresh...
...every single surface, nook and cranny in my house.
Lovely, love it.
This year my word to live by is simplify.
Basically an organizers dream word.
It has already brought beautiful messes to my house.
Like...organizing all of my fabrics into colors.
Just look at all the coordinated color goodness.
Then each basket got labeled with a paint chip sample...LOVE!
The paint chips were picked up as I bought sample paint colors to repaint the living room and dining room. So far...the middle swatch(called "crystal aqua"!) and leaving it the same color are winning...what do you think? Either way the walls are in dire need of a fresh coat of the most boy durable paint I can find.
I'm also vowing to be better about NOT beings so late with my birthday gifts and greetings.
Since Aaron was born you were lucky if your birthday card or gift arrived to you in the same month as your birthday...and anniversaries? Fuggetabout.
So this year...on December 31st...my MACbook and I had a date.
We went through and put in each and every birthday and set an email reminder to go out 15 days before each birthday.
Then I bought this pretty calendar from HERE to keep track of all the appointments.
She has another lovely shop HERE.
The sweet owner has given me permission to give away one copy of the calendar to one of you...
...so if you would like one just leave a comment and I'll choose one of you later this week.

I just love a new year and a new start...I've got a good feeling about 2010. :)
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lots.

Lots of things I want to cram into this here post.
First...thanks so much for all your awesome comments and emails!
You guys rock...I am so glad we can share.
Kind of related to that...in the spirit of conversation and since I never quite know the best way to answer your questions...I want to try to utilize a new tool...
Over on the right...down a bit you will see something called the Blog frog.
That is where I will try to answer questions...so if you have a question that you really want answered...but don't want to email...post it there.
That way everyone can see...and maybe it's a question others might be wondering too.
So...you want to know what kind of camera I use?
How I make those cool collages?
What my middle name is?
Just go click on "my community" and let's get this party started. :)

Of course...you can still email me. I love emails. :)
Next...oh my. I stumbled on THIS tutorial and knew what my next new shop item would be.
I've wanted to make these forever...
...but had no idea where to start.
I really hope they do well in the shop...
...cause they are so fun to make!
If you see one that you want reserved for you when it hits the shop...just let me know.
They will be $15 for then non-personalized ones (plus shipping).
April...I hope you like your Christmas gift...worth the wait I hope. :)

Lots more I wanted to share...but it has taken me all day to get this far...so another day!

Go check out the blog frog! :)

xo
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should old acquaintance be forgot?

Let's have a heart to heart...shall we?

This might be long...so you may want to go fill up your coffee and grab a snack.

Remember THIS post from before Christmas...well though I haven't talked much about it...the feelings are still there. Though just a little amended.

I think about these things a lot...a lot...night and day really. I haven't been sleeping all that great because I am SO close to getting IT...you know...when you ponder an issue and think about it all the time...and slowly pieces come together to form THE answer you are looking for(IT)?

Here goes...the biggest breakthrough so far is that...it's not that I don't like myself. If I really think about it...I am pretty happy with me. Considering all the junk I have had to deal with my whole life...I like me. God has healed so much...I feel like an old treasure that was buried in the garden...God has been cleaning me up to be like new...there is still some dirt and grime but there are also some really beautiful parts peeking through. So, I like who I am.

Usually it is who I am NOT that gets me the most. You get that?
For example...
I am NOT the kind of person that people flock to, I have to fight for friends.

It's true. Every, single good relationship I have in my life, I have had to fight for.
My best friend...thought I hated her when we first met.
My husband...turned me down for a date THREE times before he went out with me.
My Jesus...I have been mocked and accused of being in a CULT because of my relationship with him.
There are many, MANY more examples. Nearly each and every relationship in my life, truly.
If you know me in real life...I bet you will agree.

Friends have never come easy to me. My life experiences have not built me that way. But I AM learning to change that...have been for years.

The biggest hurts in my life have come from fighting for relationships that should have been...should BE let go. Sometimes the right answer is to let go.
2009 has shown me that.

I think part of that need to pursue...is the need to feel like I am included...part of the group. Being excluded stings...no matter your age. For as long as I can remember, I have never been part of the group. Growing up...I never felt like I was part of the family group but more like an intruder in my own home. All through school I was the outcast...my family was poor and I was never well dressed and in the school I went to, that was enough to ensure that you never fit in. College...I was a non-drinker and never was a party person. My whole life I have been striving to fit in...to be part of something desirable.

I guess ultimately to feel loved.

When it comes to being hurt, I'm a slow learner. I can take a lot. But I AM learning. Slowly but surely God is showing me direction, but He knows it has to be slow.
He must know because it has taken years.


Doug and I went on our first date on September 3, 2004.

That is when my life changed.
I finally felt truly secure and loved and treasured. Someone wanted to be with me...would call me first...would include me in plans...would pursue ME!

Since that day God has been showing me what He wants Crystal to look like.
He repeatedly tells me that all I need is Him. Him. Him.
HIS group is the only one I want to desire.
HE has always loved me.
HE flocks to me...and always has.
And THAT is enough for me.

Am I out of the woods? No...but I have the want to want to. If I look at who I was ten years ago and who I am now...WOW. Seriously. It's remarkable. Believe me. If you could just know the layers of mess that have been shed...WOW. Even I can't believe the changes.

I love, LOVE, how God has used my experiences to teach me.

I have become a better person, learned how to be a better friend...a better wife, a better mother.

So as I step into 2010...I am aiming more than ever to be the BEST me I can be.
To remove the final layers of hurt and past that have formed who I am and reshape them into things that will help me be a better person.

I will continue, with His help, to sift through the relationships and friendships that need to be let go...for now or always...it's up to Him. It always has been but it's taken me a while for that to sink into my hard, stubborn head. :) And one day I hope to be happy with the things that I am NOT as well as the things that I AM.

As for the copy cat issue. Truly. You and you and you and you and you and the dozens of others who emailed me...have shown me that it is not something I should worry about because it is known...those who copy are as obvious as black cat in snow. I'll save your emails to remind me...and will enter 2010 with the hopes of being more awesome then ever! :)


Sorry if these kind of topics are too deep for you, I know lots of bloggers avoid the not good...but this is REAL.
And I always try to be real.
And one day I want my boys to read these entries and understand their mom on a deeper level.
Yes life is good and fun and bright and crazy...but life is also growing and changing and learning.

I hope you like learning with me too. :)




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must be love...

Moses was thrilled to make his first life sized snow man.
And the 30 inches of snow we had finally melted enough to make playing in it manageable.
The day we made him was the perfect weather...warm enough to be comfortable playing outside...but cold enough to keep a few inches of snow on the ground.

My house is in a frenzy of cleaning and organizing...including fresh coats of paint on the walls...trips to goodwill...sorting supplies and more!

And I love it!
And in case you missed it...one of my new items is in the shop...
Happy towels...each with a sweet sentiment on them...
...customs are available!

xo

p.s. the font from the previous post photos can be found on picnik. :)


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