oh the agony...

A few short months ago I gave birth to my first born son.  He was beautiful and tiny and perfect.  People cooed over how beautiful he was.  I'll never forget my friend Martine telling me "He is beautiful Crystal.  No really, in the world of babies he is just gorgeous".  And he was.  He was a delight as a baby.  Each transition was easy.  He slept through the night early, took to foods well, potty trained quickly and just this morning walked into a big, new school all by himself.

Oh wait.  It's been nearly six years and not six months.  It just feels that way. 

I didn't think that today would be hard.  I'm not one of "those" moms.  I never tend to be over emotional about much of anything.  In fact, I'm a little convinced that at the precise point in development that you learn how to cry at sad movies and other sappy things, something traumatic must have happened to me because I just don't have that trait.

But this morning.  This morning.  This morning I took my first baby to kindergarten.  I left my whole heart there with him.  I watched him get out of my car, on his own and walk to that big new building.  I watched him turn around and wave at me with a smile and skip happily on his way. 

I listened to him say "No thanks" after I asked if I could walk him in.  He saw other kids being walked in by their parents and he wanted no part of it. 

I'm honestly a little shocked by how hard this day has been.  I'm grieving over the change.  It's a huge one.  I'm thankful for every day of almost six years that he has been with me at home.

I'm so grateful for a husband who would do anything he can, and has, to make sure I could be the one taking care of our kids at home.  I know that because of that, I was able to be there for everything, not missing a moment of his precious little life.  A gift that I don't take lightly.  Though the trauma to my heart is great at the moment, I know it will pass.  For now, I have to fight the urge to just go get him.   
I pray fiercely for his tender heart and sweet disposition.  I pray that he makes friends easily and that he is a friend to those who need one.  I pray that the love of Jesus pours out of him onto others.  I pray for his protection in this world that is full of evils.  I pray that this next phase only changes him for the better.

And I offer a warning to the mamas who have not gone through this, because they are still cuddling that snug little baby: It's true that time flies.  It's vicious and cruel but true.  You may look at that baby and think you have years but the truth is you have moments.

First they walk, then talk, then make friends.  A wave of first things will follow: sleepovers, preschool, new siblings, first Christmas, first birthdays and first ice cream cones.  They all blur together in a fury of time.  Before you know it, in a weeks time they learn to ride their bike with no training wheels, swim 20 yards on their own and walk into kindergarten with all the confidence and bravery you've prayed for them to have.  At least that's how our last week has gone.

I thought I had years...but I really had moments. 

And now I'm clinging to the knowledge that the love and concern I have for Moses is just a flicker compared to the love and concern that the One who created Him has for him.

big doin's

To say that we've been having fun since being home is an understatement.  Yesterday pretty much sums up our time home so far where we spent the whole day party hopping.  From one fun place to the next, I'm positive that we spent more time with people just yesterday then we did our entire time in Charlottesville. It was a good day.  We ended it with the Hokie's welcome back picnic.  Moses LOVES anything Virginia Tech so being able to eat dinner and rub elbows with the football players was pretty fun for him (and all of us really!).  At the end of the event I talked my sister-in-law into going down on the field to talk photos of our kids sitting there.  We're a pretty good team because I'll explore any idea and ask any question and she knows all the right people to ask!     
While we were waiting for the speakers to start, the football players filed through the stands.  Aaron stood in this spot and gave most of the football team a high five when they passed through.  
Then he got a little pat on the back from Frank Beamer.  Pretty exciting stuff if you're a Hokie.  
My adorable nephew got in on the action too...
...cutest baby I've ever seen on a football field.  :)

An awesome day for sure.  I'm hoping that tomorrow sets the stage for a new, calmer and more organized routine because.... Moses starts Kindergarten!!!

So pray for my heart and pass the tissues!

crazy making cure.

Things that make me crazy:
microsoft word
spelling a lot "alot"
double negatives 
strangers who touch you 
when people don't hold the door for the person behind them
when the couch touches the wall. 

That last one...all day long I was fixing it.  You know, because my children believe that in order to sit on the couch you have to get a running start from the other room and then HURL your body head first onto it.  Made me crazy in a special way.  Pinterest to the rescue.  Specifically this post from Shoestring Sophistication.   
The original post used a 12in wide board, stained and cut to the length of the couch.  I used a 4in wide board, spray painted.  I just wanted a little something back there and 12in would have been way too much.  
This size is just right to hold a drink, or prop some photos on.  Not sure yet what will live there but I'm thrilled with it in it's naked state. 
Most importantly the couch is not smoooooshed up against the wall.  
The windows caused a bit of debate as to whether or not to put a little shelf there or not.  In the end we chose to do so and I think it looks great!

Now to get those hideous pillows covered...

exciting happenings.

2012 has shaped up to be a pretty epic year for me and my little business.  I could never have imagined all the awesome things that January 1st would open the door to.  I've had an amazing flood of features, so many that I've literally lost count.  I'm thankful and blown away by each one.  These two however, landed in my mailbox.  Chatelaine is one of the top Canadian magazines and Readers Digest is pretty high up on the most circulated magazines list both here and in Canada.  Both of them recently featured my wooden spoon project.  
Amazingly fun to see MY work and MY name and MY website in print...in some pretty popular magazines to boot.  
I already have some more features lined up for 2013 but I can't mention those yet...but just as big and awesome. 

I've also been recently featured on Babble, Wired and so many other fun places. 

I'm overwhelmed with gratefulness. 

I'm amazed at my blessings.

I'm motivated to push more. :)

40 ideas - Number 13 - Moon Dough!

Moon dough is something that I bet many of us MEAN to do but never get around to.  Let me tell you...get around to it while the weather is warm enough to hose your kids off because, while this will win you major mom points, it is an OUTSIDE activity.  Unless you are one of those awesome moms without OCD (or CDO) tendencies who don't mind messy, messes...then you are awesome and can have fun with this year round. 
 All you need is 8 cups of flour and 1 cup of baby oil.  Mix together.  Play (outside)!.
That's it.  I doubled this recipe and the boys played for hours.  There was even enough left over when they were done for me to put away for another day.
Something about the texture just makes you want to pat it, run your fingers through it and play with it.  
Bonus is that your kids will smell good when they're done. 

But like I said...it's messy.  Good news is that it hoses off well.  

Make it happen today!  Your kids will love it and you'll get major mom points!

raising my ebenezer - part six

You can click HERE to read the first five parts.  This one is maybe my favorite...not because it's huge and grandiose but for me, it's personal and speaks to a desire in my heart that few more than the Lord knew about.

Many people will tell you that God is not as alive and active today as He once was.  That "back then" He did mighty works and miracles but that now we are kind of just mucking along until Jesus comes back.  And I would say that is just not true.  I think we just have to fight a little harder to find the details in His work because we are so very good at clogging up our days, hours and minutes with "busy" so that others will notice our importance.  As a stay at home mom, I know I feel the need to work extra hard and feel extreme guilt if I sit too long on the couch...I feel the need to be able to recall the days events to make sure I "measure up"...to whomever happens to ask.  Not that anyone recently in my life has done that, nor would I expect them to but you know what I mean...busyness becomes our days work and it sullies the details of what we should see and do.

Not a day goes by that our Creator does not paint us a new sunrise, with new flowers and things to look at.  Not a moment goes by that the wind does not blow through a grain field providing a grand little show for us.  The waves never stop their awesome splendor.  The clouds are ever moving and changing.  You couldn't recreate the perfect day if you tried because every single ones is different.  God is ever trying to show us how much He loves us by giving us new beauty to gaze upon every day.  Much like our children do with their drawing of this or that.

Sadly, many of those awesome days go by without notice because the busy becomes too important.  I'm thankful for the awareness of simplicity.  Of days with no plans that unfold at the whim of friends who come to call or unexpected phone calls.  It's these slower paced kind of days that I find I notice more of what God is bringing to show me.

For as long as I can remember, I've loved a garden.  To plant a seed and watch it grow.  I'm fascinated by what can happen over night or after a strong summer storm. At our house in Charlottesville, we were mostly shade.  I tried every "traditional" spot in our yard to grow veggies and finally, I told Doug that if we lived there any longer, I was digging up the grass to claim the one sunny spot that would grow a veggie garden.  While we were praying to move, it was my mostly secret prayer to be moved in time to plant a veggie garden, to have a place to plant it and sunshine in abundance.  I've always wanted beds of sunflowers and daisies and tomatoes and anything else I could grow.

I prayed that prayer and tucked it away.

I bought seeds in good faith knowing that there was a time limit.  For a long time it looked like we would be able to move into our new house well past the date where it would be advisable to plant anything.  But at least I had next year.  Right?

Wouldn't you know that we were able to move in in record time?  Weeks before the realtor thought would be possible.

June 15th was our move in day.  And the latest advised time for planting on the back of every pack of seeds I bought?  Mid June.  Otherwise known as June 15th. 

A small detail but huge at the same time.  Easily missed and lost in shuffle if I had let it be.  
Proof that my Father hears the desires of my heart and gives me good gifts. 

Not only do we have beds of daisies and sunflowers and veggies to our eyeballs...but there isn't a spot in our yard that isn't full sun. 

And I have next year.  :)

raising my ebenezer . part five.

You can click HERE to read the first four parts.  This is such a firm and fun testament that God does work in our day to day, we just need to stop and look. 

So.  Doug had a new job.  In a town that was 2 1/2 hours away.  When he started that job we had no where to live in our new town (which happened to be the place we loved most of all!!).  Doug lived with his brother for a month and more while the boys and I started packing, finishing up the school year and got ready to move out of Charlottesville.

**As a little side note...remember how I said that Doug didn't get any time off...we had to cancel or alter plans because he could NEVER get a day off?  When Doug quit Target he had over 7-8 weeks of leave available.  We weren't sure if he would lose that or what.  God took care of it and Doug was paid for EVERY vacation day and TOOK every personal day.  When Doug put in his two weeks, that he had every intention of working out, they actually told him "We would rather you DIDN'T work it and use up your personal days".  WHAT?!?!  God is crazy awesome.  He gave us back all that time we had lost. :)

Back to the housing stuff...

The place we now live is a college town.  That makes finding a home for a FAMILY a little tricky.  There just isn't much in the way of houses advertised for rent to families.  I scoured each and every website I could get my hands on including every realty website, craigslist and anything else I could think of.  I would find something that looked good and then something would pop up wrong with it.  One house shared a street with several sexual predators.  Another was cute but in a terrible part of town.  Another was in a school district that I knew better than to send my kids to (I worked there for a couple years).  Another had a weird landlord situation.  On and on we went.  I looked at every possible house for rent in the area.  Nothing.  So I got the brilliant idea to start emailing realtors of houses that were for SALE that we liked.  Not that we wanted to buy but I knew that the housing market was in bad shape...so maybe we could find someone willing to rent to us.    

I got rejection after rejection but I felt the need to keep asking.  And ask I did.  Until one day...I got a response from a realtor (who turned out to be the number ONE realtor in our new area - coincidence?  I think not!) who said that he may have an investor interested in buying a house we had asked about and renting it out.

Guess what?  I stopped looking for houses.  That day.  I KNEW this was our house.  I just knew God would work out all of the details.  We went out of town for Mother's day and didn't really give finding a house a second thought.    

I left the realtor our number and went about our business.  A week or two down the road he called us and said that his investor had not gotten back to him but then he said something that I will never forget.  "There is just something about you guys, I think I will buy this house myself and rent it to you".  And he did.  Doug saw the house and agreed to a two year lease.

I never saw this house until the day our moving truck pulled up out front.  The house is awesome.  It's more than I could have ever hoped for based on what we saw for rent around here.   

Every day that we are here, I cannot believe the blessings that have been absolutely POURED out on us.   

And then there is my favorite part...that will come with part six.  :)

picking a doctor - a huggies post

I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

Oh...parenthood is full of all sorts of daunting tasks, isn't it? I mean, you are singlehandedly in charge of shaping a human being into a positive and meaningful member of society...whatever that happens to mean to you. From day one of pregnancy you are now fully in charge of making decisions and choices on everything from diaper brands to pre-schools to what kind of diet your child will have. And that's if you have a healthy, typical child. I can't imagine the immense pressure a mother must face if she has a child who has health issues on top of the run of the mill parenting pressures and options. Outside of my husband, who is always a willing and awesome parenting teammate, our most valuable asset to our overall success has been our pediatrician.

I feel that, because we did our homework before walking into the office, we were blessed with an amazing team of pediatricians that genuinely cared about and wanted to help not only our kids but our family as well.

And by "homework" this is what I mean:

Like all things these days, we started with Google. Googling pediatricians in your area will pull up the good and the bad about them. Many sites offer consumer reviews about specific doctors and practices. I don't know about you, but I trust another mother's opinion more than a doctor's peer.

You can also ask around. Post a question on your Facebook page to get recommendations from your friends and family that are local to you. This is a great way to start and get a nice list of names to Google and research.

Once you get in the office, don't let that be the end of getting your needs met. We were extremely blessed with great doctors and here are some ways we could tell they were great doctors...

We could be honest with what we were dealing with. I could always tell our doctor anything and never felt judged or scolded like some of my friends experienced. I could come out and say, "Moses will only eat yogurt right now," or "he had a fever last week but I didn't want to bring him in."

Our doctors listened and offered feedback when needed.

Doug and I are not typical parents in that we hardly ever take our kids to the doctor...we feel like the doctor's office is there when there is a genuine need for help and not just to quench our fears. Both of our boys combined have been to non-well baby visits maybe 6-7 times total in their lives and 2-3 of those times have been when I needed reassurance from the doctors that it was OK to not bring them in with every single illness. It meant a lot to us to have doctors that we could say, "I just don't feel like it's good to run them in here JUST because they have x, y or z. Is that ok?" and to have a doctor that not only agreed but supported that decision.

You need a doctor that will listen, offer support, experience and intelligence, and be non-judgemental. They also need to be available and focused on you during your appointments. Is there anything worse than a doctor that is trying to rush through your appointment?

Until you find those things in your doctor, you need to keep looking. Don't be afraid to keep office hopping until you find the right one...it will be worth it in the end!

What are your criteria for a good doctor?
Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app! Find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.

what i made for monday- raspberry lemonade bars

Sadly, summer has begun to slip through our fingers...ever so slowly.  You can barely feel it...but it's there.  August starts soon and that's the sign that summer has opened the door to it's exit.  Thankfully, life in the south affords us a couple more months of warm weather...into late October if we're really lucky.  With Moses starting kindergarten in a couple of weeks we will soon miss these lazy summer days where to the agenda for the day is set by whomever stops by or gives us a call.  In the meantime we are taking the days for all they are worth...hence the lag of blogging and sewing.  

I manage to keep up with baking.  Doug's new team of employees are enjoying the benefits of "what I made for Mondays" now and so are all of our friends and family.  For the most part, I've been sending in old faithful recipes but I soon hope to start turning out some new things.  In the meantime, enjoy these DELICIOUS bars that I made for a family dinner recently.  They are pretty amazing.  

raspberry lemonade bars

for the crust:
9 tablespoons butter (I always use salted)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour

for the filling:
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 egg whites
1 egg
2/3 cup lemon juice
zest from one lemon
2/3 cup flour
2 cups of frozen raspberries, defrosted
cool whip or freshly made whipped cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8×8 square baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Cream butter, sugar, and salt with an electric mixer. Mix in flour until just incorporated.Press dough into the bottom of the pan.
3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly golden brown.

For the filling:
1. Whisk sugar, egg whites, egg, lemon juice and zest, flour, and salt in a large bowl.
2. Pour raspberries into a sieve and press through to extract all the pulp and juices.
3. Whisk into lemon mixture and pour into crust.
4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until filling is completely set.  Let cool completely.  Cut into small squares. Top with cool whip or freshly made whipped cream!

Say hello to all things summer!

(adapted from sophistimom).

Getting The Hubby Involved - a huggies post!

I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't shared before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

Today is all about how to get your hubby involved in the whole pregnancy...which may seem tricky considering that you are doing all the "real" work.

Maybe I'm part of a couple that isn't the norm...but involving my husband in my pregnancy was not a difficult task. I think it all comes down to communication. First, you have to communicate to your husband what your needs are (always! But especially during this time) and have your husband communicate with you his needs and the particular things about the pregnancy that he wants to be a part of.

Now clearly, he can't carry the baby but there are loads of ways your husband can help. You can start by helping to feel the baby kick as soon as you think he would be able to...nothing confirms the fact that a baby is coming quite like feeling those little kicks. Also, while it wasn't really our thing, some husbands enjoy talking to the baby, too.

Your husband might also feel involved by caring for you! My husband was always quick to offer (or oblige a request for) a foot or back rub. He was also great at a craving run! Pizza at 10pm? He's on it. An ultra-mega-huge fountain soda because everyone in a 20-mile- radius knows YOU? He did it with joy. Having someone care for you in these ways benefits you both--you feel loved and he feels like he is (and IS) providing a great service to you.

Another huge way your husband can be involved is with baby prep! Ask him his opinions on things like cribs, clothes, swings, strollers, etc. Take him with you to register for all those fun baby gifts. Make sure you value his opinion and take his suggestions seriously. The more you make your husband feel like this is his baby too, the more he will feel involved in your pregnancy.

Another good way to get the hubby in on the "action" is to take him to your doctor appointments with you! In both of my pregnancies I think Doug missed two or three appointments. It's such a fun time, especially when you get to hear the heartbeat and see the baby. Encourage your husband to ask questions too...though I am pretty sure that Doug never said a word. I always joked with him about introducing him to the doctor as 'my mute husband, Doug'. And for the record, I always made Doug sit up by my head for those appointments so if that freaks your husband out, you can suggest he do the same.

Those are just a few ways you can include your husband in your pregnancy. Like I said, communication is the key! Ask your husband what he would like to do, participate in, choose, etc. Listen to and be gentle with his thoughts and feelings too!

What are some ways you got your husbands involved?

Be sure to check out all my other baby advice posts HERE. Worth a read, for sure!
Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app!
Find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.

easy cheese fries. and AMAZING ranch dip!

I am one of those people who sees food as a friend.  I love food.  Cheese fries are one of my absolute FAVORITES and sadly for the first 32 years and 11 months of my life I could only get them at restaurants.  And then it was hit or miss. 

I found a pin on pinterest to cheese fries that promised not to disappoint.  It KIND OF disappointed but I was able to doctor it up enough to make it A WINNER!!! That is why I am not linking to my original pin...I don't want to hurt someones feelings when I say that my cheese fries are way better. :)

Here is what you need. 

Approx five potatoes.  Washed.  Cut into thick fries. 

Coat with olive oil in a bowl (use approx 1/4c).  Drain off excess oil. 
Place in a pan lined with foil and sprinkle with seasoned salt, salt and pepper. 

I LOVE the non-stick foil for jobs like these...totally worth the extra $$. 

Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for approx 40 minutes.  Or until fries are tender. 

When fries are ready, top with
1- 1/2cup of cheddar cheese (I use extra sharp)
3/4c to 1c of mozzarella cheese. 
Top with real bacon bits (1/2c).
Add 1/4c or so of green onions. 

Return to the oven for a few minutes until cheese is melted. 

You can use the foil to transfer the fries to a platter for eating.

While the fries are baking make this AMAZING RANCH DIP!!!

You need:
1 cup of sour cream
1/4c of milk
1/2c of ranch dressing
1 packet of ranch dip mix

Mix that all together and dip those dang fries in it!!  To me, this dip is the difference in ok fries and "LAY OFF MY FRIES" fries. 


feeling smart.

My favorite part (ok one of my favorite parts) of living in a new house is finding new ways to organize and make life flow a little better.  Every day I tackle a new area.  As I was sitting in front this cabinet, trying to find a way to arrange everything so that you can still SEE everything, I remembered my collection of tension rods hanging out in the garage.

I grabbed one of the heavy duty ones (meant for shower curtains maybe?), put it high enough to create a second layer of goods but low enough to get the handle of the squirt bottles over with ease and TA-DA!! A pseudo shelf that made it possible to arrange all my cleaning supplies in a way I can easily see what I have!

It's the little things...now what's next?

raising my ebenezer. part four

You can read the first four parts by clicking HERE.  It will catch you up to Fall of 2011 or so.  You probably will need to read that first before any of this will make any sense and to get a clearer picture of how awesome what God did was and is!

So there we were.  Mucking through life.  The summer of 2011 set up a chain reaction that would be the straw that broke the camels back.  We had been planning to go to New Jersey to celebrate Doug's grandpas 90th birthday.  Almost ALL of Doug's family (extended as well) was going to be there.  For a while Doug was told he would be able to go.  So we planned on it.  Then Target changed their minds.  Talk about serious disappointment.  Wanting my boys to get as much time with their great-grandparents and grandparents and aunts and uncles as they could...I volunteered to take them by myself.  Kind of a big deal for a seven car ride.  At least to me.

That was one of many pebbles that started the ball rolling.  Then Doug worked almost every single day in the month of August.  LONG 12-14 hour days.  We barely saw him.  It was hard.  It was almost like someone was making us uncomfortable to get the hint that we could finally DO something about it.

Now Doug is a hard worker.  He does not shy away from working hard to take care of his family.  He also loves his family.  We all just wanted a balance for our lives so believe me when I say, this was not bad because of all the hard work.  Doug continued to bust his butt because he is a man of integrity that NEEDS to do the best job he can do.  When he took over the position that he was doing their scores were all red, they were multiple trucks behind, there was a huge turnover and the process as a whole was a mess.  When he left some of his employees cried, his scores were some of the highest in the COMPANY, and he was never behind on trucks.  He worked hard.

So there was that.  We made it through August.  Then September and October weren't much better.  I went to Blacksburg with the boys so that at least SOME of us could have a good Thanksgiving.  In all of our years together we hardly got to spend ANY time with family for ANY holiday.  Doug was always having to work the day of or early the next morning.  At some point that Fall I think we both knew that post Christmas would bring changes.  Our nephew was born in Blacksburg and that only increased our desire to return home even more.

So we made it through Christmas.  Made just a bit bitter by the fact that for the first year ever since working at Target, Doug gave each of his coworkers gifts (that I made and were awesome!) and barely got a single card in return.  Not that we give to get but it was just crazy how every other year they ALL gave gifts to each other and THIS year, Doug was excluded.  We took it as a reminder to move on.

As soon as the decorations were put away, Doug and I decided that it was time.  It felt right.  We started getting his resume together and polished up.  Then we pimped that sucker out to anyone who would look at it.  Over the next two to three months we must have applied to over a hundred jobs.  Everyday I would look for jobs for Doug to apply to, then when he came home from work that is what we would do.  Day in and day out.  We agreed not to give up until he had a new job.  We didn't want to repeat the last year.  We prayed and asked others to pray. 

We would not give up. 

In the meantime, I got a message from a friend I've known for years out of the blue.  She asked if we were interested in renting out our house.  A thought that we had not talked about out loud for some time.  This friend had a sister that was looking for something more affordable and family friendly.  Turns out they loved our house, agreed to a two year lease and we would be homeless as of July 20th.  At this point we rented out our house in complete faith.  We felt like God dropped these people in our laps and wanted to see how much we would trust Him to take care of the little details, you know, like a job.  

Then one day we applied to a batch of five to seven jobs.  Doug looked at me and said "This will sound crazy, but I think my new job was in that pile we just applied to".  And you know what? He got a request for a phone interview from one of those jobs.  And we stopped looking immediately.  Like that day.  We knew this was HIS job.  We never applied for one more job. 

That was the only job Doug interviewed for.  There were some other call backs but Doug turned them down because they didn't seem quite right. 

God didn't stop there.  Turns out that Doug was hired without having a position for him, they just liked them that much.  He also got a very handsome relocation stipend, after being told firmly that they didn't do that kind of thing.  Instead of going into debt by moving, we moved debt free (not that we had much debt to begin with) and with a nice savings account for the first time in our married lives. 

God can do anything he wants to do but I think he loves to surprise us when we show we trust him.  You know, like renting out your house before anything else happen that would tell you that you should and doing things that the world would say you are crazy for doing.   

I think I'll stop there for now...next segment (hopefully sooner than this one was in coming!) on how we got our awesome house.


DIY Refrigerator Pickles

Afraid of making pickles?  No need!  I found this AWESOME easy recipe (via Bobbly Flay). 

My friend Joanna gave Moses this 2lb pickle the other day and I thought that now was the time we tried it!  Moses was psyched!  This was a perfect opportunity to let him help measure and talk with him about how many different foods we can grow ourselves.  He loved every minute of it...include the eating part.  The pickles tasted delicious and fresh!
Here's what you need:  
1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar 
1/4 cup sugar 
4 teaspoons kosher salt 
1 teaspoon mustard seeds 
1 teaspoon coriander seeds 
3/4 teaspoon dill seeds 
2 cups hot water 
2 pounds cucumbers, sliced 1/4 inch thick (Bobby Flay says to use Kirby Cucumbers-I didn't)
3/4 cup fresh dill (I cut the dead ends off and used the sprigs whole)
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 
 Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. 
In a large jar (I used a gallon jar) or large bowl with a lid, make a layer of cucumbers, fresh dill and garlic.  Then make another layer, then another and repeat until you use everything up.  
You end up with something that looks a little like this. 
Then pour your mixture over the cucumbers and place a jar or plate on top to make sure that all the cucumbers are submerged.  
Like this, see? :) 
Refrigerate overnight and enjoy for up to a week! 

These were so tasty...we will be adding dill to the "things to grow next year" list. :)  Have fun and go try something new!

Dove bodywash review and win a $500 Spafinder gift certificate!

Are you like me and find that summer skin care is a tricky thing?  With all the sunscreen, sun exposure, pools and salt water, it can be a challenge to keep skin looking fresh, moisturized and smooth and not like a vintage leather handbag.  So when Dove and Blogher asked me to review Dove's new Visible Care Body Wash I was eager  to give it a try.  I was sent their Softening Crème Body Wash which, so far has proven to be the perfect antidote to chlorinated pool water. :) 

As a rule, I am mostly a low maintenance kind of girl so if I can take care of my skin a little extra in the summer time when it needs it while I am doing something I have to do anyway (shower!) than it's a win-win! I like to take care of myself and my skin,  I just don't like it to take all day.  It's been nice this last week to use the new Dove line and be able to skip my usual moisturizing step.  The body wash is thick and nourishing enough that I haven't needed to slather on lotion post shower nearly as much as I normally do.  

In the summer, as with, well, anytime you're a mom, your time is stretched to it's limits.  If you're like me, your needs get put on the back burner while you tend to peanut butter and jelly, poolside living, sunscreen coverage, rash guards and life on the gogogo! It's during these time crunches that it doesn't take much to make me feel like I'm doing a little something for me.  A five minute pedicure, an iced coffee, a little leave in conditioner for my chlorinated hair, or a luxurious body wash are all I need for a little refueling.  I'm thankful for products that feel a little luxurious but aren't ridiculous in price or effort.  :)

Overall, this is a product that I liked!  I would buy it again and use it long term.  There is also a "skin firming" edition of this line...goodbye cellulite? Maybe I'll try that one next!   

Want a little extra way to pamper yourself this summer?

Enter to win one of two $500 Spafinder gift certificates by following the directions below!!
Dove® VisibleCare® to get a coupon for $1 off!

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Follow this link, and provide your email address and your response to the Promotion prompt
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: "#SweepstakesEntry"; and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that Tweet.
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that post.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. Winners will have 72 hours to claim the prize, or an alternative winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 7/18/2012 - 8/22/2012
Be sure to visit the Dove® VisibleCare™ Crème Body Wash brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

2012 40 ideas - Number 13 - Paint Chip Match Game

Welcome to my lofty dream of providing you with 40!!! fun activities you can do with your kids!  Many at the drop of a hat!  I bet for many of these you will have the materials you need on hand or can find them at the dollar store or on the cheap at the local craft store!  This list will contain simple, cheap and FUN crafts or activities that ANYONE can do!  And better yet, they will be kid tested and approved!

If you would like to be a guest blogger in this series email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail . com! 

Today's activity comes from Melissa at JonahBonah!


thank you, crystal for inviting me over to your little space on the internet!!
i’m honored to be guest posting on little bit funky today.
you are an inspiration on so many levels…this is a dream come true for me.

ok, enough sappiness.
let’s get on to why we’re all here.

if your house is anything like mine this summer then you have a few kids that are semi-self-sufficient and then you have a preschooler who needs constant attention and direction {in fun activity to keep her busy.}

this idea is not a new one.
i first saw it on instagram from someone who first saw it on pinterest…
it’s so simple.
and it’s one of those crafts/activities that’ll have you thinking “why didn’t i think of that?”

first, gather your supplies.
you’ll need…
Preschool Paint Chip Activity
*paint chip cards from the hardware store {assorted colors}
*clothes pins

Preschool Paint Chip Activity
next, cut a section of the paint chip card from one side about ¾ inch wide.
and then cut the separate colors. {see photo}
Preschool Paint Chip Activity

final step for you, glue each color to a separate clothes pin.
Preschool Paint Chip Activity

Preschool Paint Chip Activity

Preschool Paint Chip Activity
now, it’s time for the fun!
call your preschooler in for A GAME!!
the idea is to simply match the clothes pin colors to the paint chip colors.

genius, right!?

have her name the colors as she completes a card.
fun AND learning.

Preschool Paint Chip Activity

Preschool Paint Chip Activity

Preschool Paint Chip Activity

Preschool Paint Chip Activity

Preschool Paint Chip Activity
mckinley played it again and again.
she loved it!!!

after she was finished playing the game the way it was intended she made her own fun.
she pretended they were cookies!

fun and learning AND imaginative play.

Preschool Paint Chip Activity

thank you again, crystal!


Thank you Melissa!  Be sure to go say hi to Melissa at JonahBonah! 
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