..."popsicles on the porch"...what a great afternoon treat and our favorite way to spend time together! These are simple and precious moments! Princess #1 and Princess #2 along with Little Man #1 and #2 are my inspiration for most of these writings.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway: New Ross King CD

Hey There Music Lovers! Have you heard the New Ross King CD, "Perhaps I've Said Too Much?!" Well now's your chance to get your own personal copy! A must have for sure!

To enter, just leave a comment on this post. I'll draw a random winner and close comments on Sunday, February 3rd at 4:30pm. The winner of the Bloggy Giveaway will be announced here as well as posted at Bloggy Giveaways (Note: this contest is open to bloggers and non bloggers).

Be sure to head over to Bloggy Giveaways for more fun prizes!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Clock is Ticking....

away and we still haven't settled on a name! Though I have my favorites, I must admit that Cash is growing more and more on me. Not to mention, the growing support Tim is getting; some even calling the baby by that name or others sending him these adorable little onesies with the name CASH on it. Click here and here.

Check out the cute little bib that my sweet neighbor made me (thanks Terri!)!

As you can imagine, Tim was pumped when he walked into the nursery and saw it on the dresser!

So, no final decisions yet, but looks like Cash is climbing the charts!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Simpler Times....

As I was eating breakfast this morning, if you can even call it that (yogurt and granola), my little one comes up to me and says, “I want bite!” What was supposed to be “A bite” actually meant that I had to hand over my entire yogurt container to her.

(I'm being pretty brave here by putting pictures of myself 8 months pregnant, 5 minutes after waking up. :) Please be kind!)

Elianna making her move.

Going in for the steal.

Almost there...


This got me thinking about all the simple things that I used to enjoy before having children. Things that I would have never viewed as luxuries until now. If you have children, then you know what I mean.

Not that I would trade this time for ANYTHING, but every now and then, I do miss some of those simpler times….

A few simple luxuries that Mommy use to have:

Finishing a cup of coffee—I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made myself a cup of coffee only to get distracted by the kids and it gets cold. So I stick it in the microwave to warm it up and then forget about it again. I usually remember somewhere around dinner time when Tim calls out, “hey coffee waster!” while pulling out my cold gross coffee from the microwave. “Oh yeah!” I respond. “I never got to finish my cup of coffee!”

Eating on my own--It doesn’t matter what I have in my hand, mommy is ALWAYS required to share her food or drink!

Going to the bathroom—Come on! Every time the door closes you can bet that’s when the little ones start knocking and opening up the door.

Here are a few of my favorite lines:

“Mommy what are you doing?”

“Mommy, I need to go poo-poo right now!”

But my favorite is…."its ok, sweetie, don’t cry!" "relax, your tummy will feel much better, I promise!”

Getting Dressed—This used to be a HUGE challenge, but now that our little one is getting older, I have been able to incorporate Room Time which has been a big help! This is a time for the girls to play together in their room or watch a video while mommy gets ready...usually uninterrupted!

Putting on my makeup—My girls LOVE makeup! At times it can be so much fun watching them put on their play make up. But then there are times when it's not so funny, like when I'm in a hurry to get out the door! So, I am learning that I have to be very careful not to pull my makeup out around the girls or it turns into a big whine fest!!

Reading—still trying to figure out how to get this in without being up too late at night! They probably have a hundred books, but if I pull mine out (which has no pictures), it will only be a matter of time before they're pulling it out of my hands!

Listening to music (especially in the car) —I really miss this one! For those that know us, you know that we LOVE music, so this has been a huge sacrifice! Tim and I have grown accustomed to listening to Barney, Children’s worship music, Children Spanish Songs, and etc…

Ahhh….simpler times!!

What are some luxuries you use to enjoy before kids??

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Candlelight Dinner....

The other night at dinner we dimmed the lights and lit a candle. We heard somewhere that this was suppose to provide a soothing and relaxing environment that would help reduce the stress level and help calm the kids during dinner.


Aside, from the girls going crazy about lighting the candle, they could hardly sit still throughout the meal because they couldn't wait to blow it out at the end!

So, what we thought would help create a more peaceful and relaxing environment, turned out to add more fuel to the fire! In fact, our little one doesn't want anything to do with her high chair anymore (Lord, help us!). She wants to be front and center with big sister making sure she's in on the action.

So was it a total disaster...Nah!

Even though it's not what we had orginally intended, the candle is becoming a way to signal the starting and ending times of our meals together.
The kids look forward to it, so much so that they can't wait to sit down at the table together! What more can you ask for, right (especially these days)?

I think we may have stumbled upon a cool little family tradition afterall!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

WFMW: Bins, Crates, Baskets Crazed!

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I love storage containers, bins, crates, baskets, and etc...!! In fact, I so love to have these on hand ready to go when needed that I can't resist picking up a few any time I'm out shopping. If I've disappeared while shopping, my husband always knows where to find me...wandering up and down the organizational aisle at Target, Wal-mart, and the $1.00 store. That's why he often calls me Monica from Friends; especially when he sees me walking around the house with the label maker in hand!

Though they are bit pricy, my favorite bins are the ones below that I purchased from the Container Store! Because they are deep and stack up on top of each other, they're perfect for organizing clothes, toys, and etc... I have six of them that I use in our toy closet. They are labeled leggos, puzzles, miscellaneous toys, doodle pads, phonics, etc.. They're great! We have found them so useful in storing both the large bulkier toys as well as the miscellaneous toys that don't necessarily need a home of their own. The best part is, is that my 3 and 1 year old know where everything goes!

(Above) Each girl has a bookshelf of her own.
Toys are rotated and displays those that are most frequently used.

On the less expensive side, the most practical and functional containers are the 6qt plastic containers (below) that I purchased at the $1.00 store. These come in handy because I can use them to store just about anything; such as art supplies, playdoh, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, crayons, etc..

I also love my "stackable 12in.turntables" from target! I have found these very useful in organizing our kitchen pantry and storing things like, vinegar, tabasco, cooking products, etc... These have also come in handy in our medicine cabinet.

For more WFMW ideas visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!
For more great tips on organizing, be sure to visit the orgjunkie!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Think It Ink It: Your child, a Published Author!

I had to share this awesome website that I stumbled upon at five minutes for mom! Think It Ink It Publishing encourages children of all ages to be their own storyteller! Professionally illustrated books encourage children to use their creativity and imagination while promoting reading and writing skills to create their own story book and become a published author!

For more details, be sure to head on over to Think It Ink It for more information!

Also, for a chance to to win a $50.00 gift certificate which would allow you to order a soft cover workbook ($12.95) or a hard bound version ($29.95), be sure to stop by five minutes for mom. Winners will be announed Friday, February 1st.

Monday, January 21, 2008

My Little Rembrandts

After getting some painting supplies for Christmas this is all my little ones want to do these days, especially since it's been ugly outside.

These are precious moments!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Bargain Shopper Lady!

While visiting a friend's blog today, I came across this great website with lots of great deals, coupons, etc...I decided to head on over and get in on the action!

Check out the swim suit cover up pants from Victoria Secret I bought on line today at The Bargain Shopper Lady!

Guess how much they were?

I paid a total of $2.15 including shipping and handling! That's right...Can you believe it?!

If you'd like to get in on the action better head on over to The Bargain Shopper Lady as soon as you can! (Thanks for the link Jamie!)

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

New Book, Great Website!!

Look at this cool find I found at Essential Family Living! I love the title...so appropriate! Ahhh..life after kids! As soon as I saw it, I sent my hubby the link in case he needed some ideas for Valentine’s Day!

For some great resources, ideas, products, tips, etc…on family related topics, be sure to head on over to Essential Family Living! There is even a section completely devoted for ideas on having a Family Fun Night, Frugal Family Living, Family Devotionals, Organizational Tips, etc..

Here are just a few questions that Esssential Family Living addresses:

What should we do on our family fun night? How much will it cost?
What if we are on a family budget? How can I have a frugal household and still have fun with my family?
Where do I begin in my efforts to create a frugal living household?
How do I create a home based internet business?
How important is health and wellness to the happiness of my family?
How do I organize my time so that I have the time and energy to create fun nights with my family?

Be sure to check it out!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Happy Days...Thanks Meemaw and Peepaw!!

There is lots of excitement around our home lately! As we have had to rethink through the sleeping arrangements for the kiddos, we decided to have the girls share a room and against my better judgement, decided on bunk beds in order to save space.

To the left is a picture of the girls jumping up and down after seeing their new doll house bunk bed that their Meemaw and Peepaw bought them!! It was an early birthday gift given to them in order to help us transition them before the new baby arrives!

Although I have never been a big fan of bunk beds (simply because of the potential accidents that can happen from rolling off and or jumping off the bed), my fears have been put to ease. Since the front of the bed is shaped like a house it completely encloses Isabella, so no chances of rolling out! I was even able to put a protective gate between the wall and the bed to prevent Elianna (our fearless one) from climbing up to the top bunk.

I love that the ladder is built in to the bed with cute little shelves to display little knick knacks. The bottom part of the bunk also has an area for storage, which of course is very practical and functional. Although the bottom bunk area is big enough to fit a full size bed, we are sticking with a toddler bed instead. It helps to give us a little more room in our10x11 space! Cool thing is, is that the girls can grow into this bed!

The hard part has been making the actual transition. Since the girls have a harder time falling asleep in the same room together, we decided to let them fall asleep in their seperate rooms first and then transfer Elianna after they both had fallen asleep. The first two nights were rough. They were so excited about their new bed that they couldn't sleep, not to mention that big sister was thrashing around in her bed so much that she would wake Elianna up in the middle of night. Of course when Elianna started crying, it woke up big sister, so unfortunately Tim and I had two cry babies on our hands at 4am!! To top it off, Elianna seemed to think that it was time to get up and play. Talk about fun times! I am so thankful we are doing this now rather than after baby boy arrives! Can you imagine 3 crying babies at 4am!!! Needless to say, in order to catch up on lost sleep, we decided to wait a few nights before trying to transition the girls again.

I am happy to say that by our 3rd night we made it through until the morning without either girlie waking up. Yeah! And we're still making progress! Tonight, while saying prayers together in Isabella's room, Elianna immediately climbed into her big girl bed, grabbed her doggie and pacifier and told us night-night! Curious, we decided to try it out! That is of course after we made sure to lay down the rules i.e. no talking and no getting out of bed or they would both go back to their seperate rooms.

To our amazement both girls were asleep within 10 minutes after closing the door! Whohoo! We're keeping our fingers crossed that tomorrow night is just as smooth!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How Many Ways Can You Use Vinegar??

I had a pretty informative conversation the other day with a group of ladies on the many uses of vinegar! I picked up a few new tips on how to use vinegar as a cleaning agent, for home remedies, etc...!

I couldn't wait to put some of these tips into practice so on my cleaning day I used vinegar to clean the sinks, base boards, windows, etc...It did the job no doubt about it, but when my husband got home and walked into the kitchen and made a sour face, I knew that I must have gone a bit overboard! I looked at him with a little smirk on my face and couldn't help but laugh as I told him, "hey, it does the job!

So, I'm on a quest to learn more about the different uses for vinegar and would love to hear any helpful tips you might have! Let's see how many we can come up with!

Here's how to play:

1. Write a post at your site with your tip. In your post be sure to provide a link back here to my post.

2. Enter your name below in the "Mr. Linky" box at the bottom of this post.

3. Be sure to include a 3-4 word description of your post, in parentheses after you put your name. For example, where the box below says "Your Name", you might put:

Summer (Vinegar & Hardwood Floors) OR Mel (Vinegar & Sinks)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

WFM: Home Cleaning Schedule

Having a designated cleaning day during the week is helping me to maintain some measure of sanity and helping me to keep up with my busy and growing family!

Below is my personal home cleaning schedule that works for me!

  • Laundry (at least two loads: Linens and Towels +Usually a delicate load

  • Prepare Trash from all rooms

Make it happen Mondays- Because I love the feeling of walking through my door and smelling fresh cleaning products throughout my whole house (I know, I know..I'm a freak), I typically reserve one day a week as my cleaning day! Not only do I prefer the feeling of knowing that my house is clean from top to bottom but I'd much rather take my medicine in one sitting rather than little sips. Plus, I find that it's easier for me to set aside one day a week without disrupting my time with the kiddos.

So Mondays have become "my main housecleaning day! This day is typically reserved as a stay at home day, a time to "make things happen around the house."

In order to get an early start, I usually get cranking first thing in the morning before the girls get up! Ocassionally, when the house has gotten way out of control, my wonderful hubby has even gotten up with me to help me tackle some things before the little tornados wake up!

I am usually done after nap time usually around 4pm. Because I'm generally exhausted by that time, I usually plan on a light dinner i.e crock pot, soup, etc..something easy!

Monday Schedule:

  • Laundry-Wash, Fold and Put Away Laundry (at least 2 loads: girls clothes + darks)
  • Sweep and Mop Floors (Kitchen, Living Room, Hallways and Bathrooms)
  • Polishing Furniture/Glass Tops (Weekly)

  • Bathrooms: Toilets/Tubs (Weekly)

  • Vaccuming

  • Change Linens in all rooms (Weekly)

  • Thorough Cleaning of Kitchen (pantry, sink, wiping down cabinets and chairs, base boards, and windows (if needed) etc...


  • Laundry (at least 2 loads: girls clothes +whites)
  • Mop Floor in Kitchen (Quick touch up during nap time. Not a real mopping job but the swiffer holds me over until Monday and gets the job done.)

  • Vaccum

  • Prepare Trash from all rooms

Friday: Because my husband works on Sunday, we generally reserve this day as a family day! In addition, I am trying to get much better at making sure I have some mommy time on these days! Here are some things that I try to make sure I do to indulge myself a little!

  • Mommy Day (Reading & Journaling at Starbucks, Lunches with Friends, Eyebrows every 2wks and pedicure 1 mo.)
  • Finances/Office Clean Up (Tim)

Every Day Chores:

  • Dishes

  • Sweep Kitchen and Living Room
  • Clean Girls Rooms (before nap and bedtime)

  • Quick Touch Ups on Bathroom (needs to be decently presentable)

  • Check, Sort, File Mail

Monthly- My husband and I have made a goal to tackle at least one (possibly 2) home improvement projects; typically the first Saturday of every month. Depending on how big the project sometimes it's necessary to make appropriate arrangements for the girls. Projects can include anything from the list below.

  • Garage

  • Painting

  • Reorganizing...you name it!

  • Wash Windows/Base Boards in all rooms

  • Tiles/Grout Cleaning

  • Bedroom Closets
  • Pantry
  • Spring/Fall Cleaning
I've only been home just a little over a year, but it's so refreshing seeing my home schedule finally coming together! I'm sure it will have to be tweaked with the different seasons that come our way (like when our little guy comes in March), but having a plan of action has helped bring a better balance! It works for me!

For more ideas, be sure to visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mom Time: New Year, New Beginnings

A New Year, New Beginnings!! I love this time of year! It's a time for reflection, renewal, goal setting, action planning and fresh starts!!

Scripture is full of new beginnings! In fact, when we first give our hearts to Christ, we are given a new beginning! The bible says the old self is put to death and the new has come! We have a fresh start, we are a new creation with a new beginning in Christ!

As we continue to live for Christ, submitting ourselves to His authority he begins to change us...molding us more and more into his image. We are constantly transforming! Scripture says that we serve a God whose mercies are new every morning! Thank goodness that God is in the business of giving us do-overs! (And not just at the beginning of a new year, but any time, any day!

I love how the bible highlights this by allowing us to see real people who were given new beginnings, do-overs! Paul, once being a man that persecuted and killed Christians, had a powerful encounter wtih God on the road to Damascus. God called him out and gave him a new name, a new identity, a new vision. He had a new beginning and was used as God's instrument to advance his kingdom. His conversion is a powerful and vivid example of transformation and growth...of a new beginning!

As we reflected on this during our discussion time at Mom Time last Friday, we had the opportunity to share some areas in our lives that we would like to see new beginnings in, areas that we needed transformation in. This could be personally, professionally, spiritually, in our marriage and or family. It was great to articulate these things and process them out loud together! We ended with a time of prayer submitting ourselves to each of these areas before the Lord.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Chewing On This....

I have been chewing on the verse below; trying to let it soak in. What a powerful description of a person who knows and trust the Lord in all circumstances. In good times and bad He is confident in who he is in the Lord and is therefore able to rest in Him.

Psalm 30-34

The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks what is just.

The law of his God is in his heart;
his feet do not slip.

The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
seeking their very lives;
but the Lord will not leave them in their power
or let them be condemned when brought to trial.

Wait for the Lord and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are cut off you will see it.

I long to be a righteous woman whose mouth utters wisdom and whose tongue speaks what is just. Not just when relationships are good and you're at peace with others, but when it really counts. When things get messy, when you're pushed to your limit and all the right buttons are being pushed. This is when it really counts. These are the very circumstances where we have the greatest opportunities to reflect the love and heart of Christ.

As I have been meditating on this verse and I how I can apply it more in my own life, I came across a sermon by Andy Stanely that further highlighted the passage above. God has a funny way of bringing things to our attention and keeping them at the forefront of our minds!

Andy was speaking about a passage in Luke that calls us to love and serve our enemies. Luke 6:32 says, If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. Verse 35 says But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

Wow! What a powerful reminder of what our attitude and response should be like when we feel persecuted, when we've been wrongly accused or judged. Not only does scripture call us to love our enemies but we are called to do good to them...to serve them! Talk about upside down living!

I love the last verse that reminds me that when I respond contrary to the way the world would respond, others have an opportunity to see Christ because I am responding the way Jesus himself would respond. As we represent Christ, we are "sons of the Most High" because we are emulating the very heart of our Father. And when Christ is seen God is glorified! In fact, scripture tells us that His kindness leads us to repentence. What if God used these very painful and difficult circumstances in our lives not only to draw us closer to Him, but to draw others to closer to Him?!!

It's an understatement to say that Jesus isn't asking me to do anything more than He himself did on the cross. Jesus being whipped, beaten, mocked, and crucified on the cross would have been justified in his anger, yet He did not repay unkindness with unkindness. Instead, he pleaded, 'Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

The reality is, is that before I knew Christ, I too was considered a mocker, an enemy of God who was ungrateful and wicked. Thank Jesus for His mercy and kindness toward me even though I didn't deserve it!

Father, whatever my circumstances, whether relationships are beautiful or messy, help me to use these circumstances as an opportunity to refect the love and heart of Christ. May I be a righteous woman whose mouth utters words of wisdom and whose tongue speaks what is just. Help me to extend the same kindness to others that you extended to me on the cross even when I feel justified in my anger. May the love of Christ be great in me so that you are most glorified!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Holiday Fun

Whew! Like many of you we had a busy, busy holiday season! We had a wonderful time with family and did lots of fun activities together!

One of the cool things we did was a family outing with Papaw and Ba-maw Carolyn to Moody Gardens . If you haven't been, it's definitely worth checking out and making a day of it!

Our neighbors told us about this great little place named Marios along the Seawall where the girls got a kick out of watching the chefs whirl Pizza dough into the air! Since coloring the kid menu is not always enough to hold them over before dinner, this was a great way to keep the girls entertained (especially since the service was a little slow).

Following dinner we enjoyed the Festival of Lights! Though we had a bit of a wait, we were thankful for the golf cart ride that took us through the miles and miles of themed holiday scenes; such as the town of Bethlehem below. This was another great tip from our neighbors!

Not only did the girls enjoy the cool display of Lights, but they enjoyed the 4D special effects movie clip from Polar Express. The special effects were complete with wind, snow, rumbling seats, etc… that made you feel like you were really on The Polar Express. The girls had a blast! Check them out in their stylish glasses! (As you can tell form the pics below, the girls weren't the only ones that enjoyed it!)