spoken by Moses.

Doug: Moses what did you learn about in church today? 
Moses:  We learned about Jesus healing the leopard seals.  

Get it?  :)

keep in mind...on bloggers.

This post has been swirling in my head for some time. 

I think, and hope, it will be a friendly reminder or heads up for everyone, myself included.  It is not meant to sound arrogant or self-righteous in any way...because I need to remember these things as much as the next person.   

I realize that I am not the author of THE most popular blog out there, I know there are tons out there that are way better than me in millions of different ways.  In a way, I am thankful for each day I am spared the ugly side of the web because the more people who see your blog, the more chances there are for ugliness to show up...it's just a matter of statistics. 

This is my experience, as I have had growth and changes in unexpected ways and have been basically learning as I go over the last five years with this whole blogging thing.  I am beyond THRILLED with where I am.  Amazed and humbled at what God has allowed me to accomplish with what little skill I possess.   

Even with my small window of expertise, I have learned a lot and thought I would share a little view into the inside, just a little "just so you know" kinda stuff and generally address some issues that many, many bloggers face.

Let's start with email and comments.  

I get oodles and oodles of emails and comments daily.  Just stating, not bragging.  I love them all (usually).  I do my best to reply to as many as I can because I DO want my readers to feel loved and appreciated (because you ARE!!).  My goal is to keep my inbox under 200 things that need my attention in some way.  Yes, 200.  Six months out of the year, that is not TOO hard to do, the other six months, forget about it.  If you email me (or ANY blogger) please keep in mind that we are busy people just like you.  If I don't reply to your comment or email, it means nothing other than, you may be in line behind maybe 200 people.  Blogging does not give us any more time in the day than anyone else.   

I do not hate you.  I am not ignoring you.  I don't dislike you.  None of those things are true.  Please don't send an email asking why any of the above are true.   

There are some emails or comments that I delete or weed out if you will and I know that other bloggers do the same. 

These emails include:
--Weird questions about my kids and family....um, no.
--Demanding emails.  "I need you to DO THIS RIGHT NOW!!!".  Yes, it happens.  It's usually a rude request for a how-to or where did I get such and such.  No please or thank you in sight.  Happens regularly.   
--Things I KNOW Google can answer.  Sorry.   
--Comments with NO email address attached to them.  I cannot answer them without an email. 

Another common issue is...people assuming that having ads = selling out.  Yeah, no again.  I take great care in choosing which ads have the honor of appearing next to stories about my kids and family.  Those ads to the right allow me a way to stay at home with my kids in a way that is not obtrusive to my kids or my life.  If ANY blogger has ads and they annoy you...please take into account why you visit that blog in the first place.  Is it because you love that blogger and what they have to say or share?  Then don't you think they deserve a little compensation for that if they can get it?  Do you strongly dislike that blogger?  Then you shouldn't be there in the first place, ad or no ad.  A blogger who proudly shows off their "ad free" badge is just as much a "sell out" as a blogger with an ad.  Let's all just assume that we each seek what is best for our blog and family sake.   

Another issue...people think that the 10% they see on a blog is equal to 100% real life.  I will speak for every blogger out there...the sunny happy ones, the gloomy ones, the ones that tell a mix of things and all the ones in between...you are ONLY getting a tiny fraction of our lives.  Please don't fill in the rest for us with impossible standards and heights of achievement.  Rarely blogged are the temper tantrums, the yelling at the kids, the losing of the patience, the arguments with a spouse, the rashness of a tired mom, the cereal for dinner, the disagreements with a friend, the spilling of coffee on a rug, the messed up projects, the disrobed poopy diaper or the baking flops that we all have.  No one has a perfect life.  I know that for me, I do my best to share the happy parts and the struggles because for me, it provides a nice measuring stick to see how far I've come but even then there is a lot you don't see or get to read.  If it makes me really happy, I blog it.  If it makes me really sad, I blog it.  If it's meh...well, you won't hear about that.  Bloggers ARE people JUST like everyone else.  Just like you.
If you see us in public, it's OK to say hello.  :)  It might actually help with the above issue. 

Along with the whole "we are people too thing"...please keep in mind that we have the same ability to be hurt and happy, just like everyone.  Please keep that in mind when you email or comment or mention us on your blog.  You would be AMAZED and stunned at the things people say because they figure it will never get back to the person...guess what?  It always does and even virtual "sticks and stones" hurt.  Gossip travels.  The end.  Be nice.

A lot of the time, the internet does a fabulous job of dehumanizing us to others and others to us.  It's easy to look at a pretty blog and just imagine how easy someone elses life may be because you only see photos of flowers, perfect meals and impeccable parties.  You could slice any life into frames and choose the ones that would make it look glamorous.  True statement.

I don't know.  Maybe this seems like a huge long ramble.  I just know that lately, I have seen more ugly directed at me and other "popular" bloggers that is just downright nasty and it's getting to me.  I wanted to stand a little in their defense and beckon others to stand in the gap of grace.  If you see ugly small talk, squash it.  Spread loving words.  Talk about others like you would sitting across the table having coffee with them.  The internet is capable of such lovely things...if we can only make the dark underbelly tiny and hard to find.     

Anything you care to add bloggers and readers alike?

How to turn a mason jar into a spillproof cup with straw (for ~50 cents or less!)!

The glassware of choice in this house is the mason jar.  It's simple, easy to replace, durable and goes with all the dishes.  We are still working our way out of the every cup needs a lid phase of life with little ones...because if they don't have a lid...
This inevitably happens.  On purpose and on naughty.  Yep. 
Finally, I could take it no more...with lots of nudges from the Instagram and Pinterest world, I set out to solve the dumping of the drinks problem.  
Here is what you need:
mason jar lids (I use wide mouth ones)
a drill with a 3/8in drill bit
rubber food grade grommets ( Search etsy or google for "food grade grommets").  See size photo below. 
Here is the exact size and packaging.  They were $1.05 for two of them.  You can get the on Amazon but I only wanted 10 and not 50. :) *I believe these ARE food grade but if not, it doesn't really bother me since it's just a tiny little thing...just wash with hot soap and water.  You CAN find certified food grade ones but you will have to dig around for them. :)  
With the lid on the jar...drill a hole slowly through the top.  
Your edge may or may not be jagged...
I used some small wire scissors to clean up the edges a bit. 
Then slide your grommet in.  They went in a lot easier than I thought they would.  Slide half in first, then slowly and carefully slip the rest in.  
And that is IT!  Well, you will want to wash it really well...but after that... 
Slip in a straw (reusable or otherwise) and you are free to enjoy some fresh spill free beverages.

These are SO easy!! Don't be afraid to jump in there and get some made!  Go, go, go!!

we found it.

We found his sign.  This one little photo perfectly sums up our little, crazy child.  Imp.  Indeed.

end of the year party? what?

Moses' class is having its end of the year party tomorrow...guess how I spent my morning? 
I love that a series of simple tricks can make for a good result.   At least I think the result is good.
Freeze and bake sugar cookies...pre-made fondant...cookie cutters and fresh cookie frosting (from scratch).  
Also, edible markers are fun!  Have you tried them?
Much easier than I thought...as easy as regular markers. 
And end of the school year?  How did we get here already?
Moses will be in kindergarten next year, but I'm not ready to talk about that. :)
Also on my list to make for the party were brownies...the least I could do was make them cute. 
This is just leftover cookie frosting, a star tip and piping bag.  In throw away tins. 
Being Wonder Woman just means having a good series of tricks up your sleeve.  :)

Sometimes it just takes a little time and effort to make everyday things look a little more magical.  At least that's what I tell myself.

How are you celebrating the end of the school year?  Are you ready for your kids to be home 100% of the time?  Which team are you on...the I love my kids home all the time team or the dear lord help me until September team? 


suprise visit

We're nearly home from a visit up north where we were able to surprise Doug's mom and grandparents for Mother's day.  Doug's grandparents are both 90 so each and every visit is a precious one.

During this visit, I asked Grandpa what his favorite story is, so that Doug could record him telling it (thank you iPhone!).  He proceeded to tell us a story about a time where he was heading home from a business trip.  There was some sort of snowstorm that kept most of the flights grounded.  In an instant a flight opened up and then another opened up that would be leaving five minutes later.  Grandpa convinced his boss to get on the second one.  The first flight (that he didn't take) collided head on with another commercial flight with 100% fatality.   This man is full of amazing stories and we will be taking advantage of hearing them told with each visit and do our best to preserve the ones we can so our boys can hear them first hand one day.

We are thankful and feel blessed with each opportunity to see them! 

Blake's Quilt!

I don't know what's wrong with my brain but clearly there is something.  Why else would I suddenly NEED to complete my nephews quilt precisely at the most frantic time of my life in the last few years?   But I did it.  I set a goal for three days (because I need a crazy deadline) and went to work. 
It may be my best work...and I am thankful that a nice wash and tumble in the dryer makes up for a multitude of sewing sins.  A meticulous quilter I am not...but I do alright. :) 
The front is super simple...I cut five half yards (of Fox trails by Riley Blake) into 3in strips...sewed them together and then used various Kona shades in 3in strips to make a border. 
This little fox is my first go at piecing work...I wasn't sure about him before he got washed and dried...but now I love him.  
The back may be better than the front...pieced together leftover strips from the front, and various Kona color blocks.  

I quilted it by sewing straight lines down either side of the seams on the front. 
It just so happens that this quilt is going to my nephew Blake...so a little tag from the selvedge was perfect.  
My quilting is far from perfect but I gave up on perfect quilting long ago...it's much more fun if I just go with it and accept the little quirks that I always manage to sew into a quilt. 

Oh sweet crinkle-ly goodness...

The binding is also from the Fox Trails line. 

I love it.  And now I am only two niece/nephews behind. :)
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