Madeline’s Frozen Party


Despite my best efforts I wasn’t able to change Madeline’s mind about having a Frozen party. I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty much dreading the sequel.  But my Frozen rant is for another day; here’s the few photos I managed to get from her party.  It’s always, ALWAYS gloomy and rainy the day of Mad’s party, so the pictures aren’t great, but the kids had fun anyway.

My first choice for decor wouldn’t have been a poster, but Mad has been dyyyyying for one so I decided to use it at the party and then let her hang it in her room after.

Frozen Party

Probably the ugliest cake ever, but I thought the “ice” turned out kind of cool. Frozen Cake

Dessert table. Frozen Party 1

Favors for the kids to take home.  My girls were super excited about these because they adooooore marshmallows.  Little weirdos.   Frozen Party 2

More favors for the kids: Elsa crowns and Sven antlers for poor Billy, who’s always the lone boy. Frozen Party 3

I couldn’t find matching forks so I jazzed up boring white ones with stick-on gems. Frozen Party 6

My favorite line from any of the Frozen songs. I think Anna is too cute. frozen party 4

The little Elsa queen, herself, with a very Texan no-shoes concession. I even did Elsas coronation haristyle, and anyone who knows me probably realizes how huge that is for me.  I’m really hair-challenged, but I though her style was adorable. Frozen Party 5

The hair didn’t make it very long, though, thanks to a lot of trampoline jumping. Frozen Partry 9

The smallest Elsa of them all. Frozen Party 7

Sven. Frozen Party 8

Sadly, I didn’t get a group photo during the party, but here’s one from the next morning before the cousins headed home.  We were so happy to have them for a few days.  Girls

How is she already six?!  IMG_3126

Yes, this is more like it.  This kid has developed a really loud, obnoxious, hilarious personality, and I love her so much. Madeline is 6




February Goals Update

Poor, neglected blog.  I know I’ve said this before, but I really am trying to push myself into a schedule that will allow time for more of the things I enjoy doing.  You know, like blogging.

February is long gone, and March is flying by, so here’s a quick update on how I did on my goals last month.

Let’s start with the successes, shall we?

I’m killing it on the reading front, although I haven’t read anything too spectacular lately.  By far my favorite reads were the concluding books in the Sarah, Plain and Tall series. I’d never read them before and the girls and I both enjoyed them immensely.  I was completely undone by the final book, Grandfather’s Dance, and was crying so hard during the last chapter that I really thought I would have to let Susannah take over for me.  I think I freaked the girls out a little, too. They’ll understand someday.  Right?

I sewed Madeline an Easter dress, so I met my sewing goal, although with March almost over I better GET IT or I’m doomed this month.  No photo yet, but I’ll be sure to snap one on Easter Sunday when she wears it.  I’ve kept up pretty well with my faith journal, but the Documented Life Project pretty much fell by the wayside in February.  I was gone for several weekends, and just haven’t been able to catch up.  Honestly, I’m a little lost by a lot of the weekly prompts, so I’m going to try branch off on my own using my Pinterest boards and Instagram for inspiration.

I sent at least one letter in February but have completely failed on keeping in better touch through phone.  I really want to communicate more often with my siblings and mom, but the time difference really hinders me a lot of times.  I’m working on a solution but so far it just hasn’t happened.

The color run I signed us up for was unexpectedly moved to just a few weeks away so we’re taking the girls out for evening jogs to try to prepare ourselves  a little.  Nice of them to not only change location but to move it up FIVE MONTHS with just a few weeks notice.  Way to let us train, peoples.

….And now for the fails.

I haven’t touched Project Life at all this year, and with 2015 being almost 1/4 over, I’m not seeing a lot of hope for this one.  Maybe.  Likewise with the girls art journals.  It’s been so crazy around here that we’re lucky to get the serious stuff done, but I’m hoping to carve out a normal time for art soon.

Sadly, our Scripture memorization has been limited to Sunday school verses, but I do hope to start tackling more with the girls soon.  How do people fit everything into a day?!

So I’m mostly on track, with a few fails to try to fix. How are your goals coming along this year? Read any fab books lately?  Am I the only one who feels like Easter is really early this year?


Week in Review: February 22-28

So here’s something that never happens: an entire week of snow in Dallas.  It pretty much melted every day, but it was fun while it lasted.

photo 1 (2)

photo 1 (3) photo 3 (2) photo 4

As you can see, we aren’t exactly prepared in the winter clothing department.  My (extremely old) mittens were the only pair in the house and the girls were fighting over them so I made them each wear one mitten and one sock.  Horrible mom, I know. I’m sure they’ll be scarred for life. (They already told me they are.)

We made a mini Norman castle out of Fruity Pebbles. It was  big hit, especially when it was time to eat it.

photo 1 (4) photo 2 (3)


Oh yeah, and then there was the day that I tried to make the cake with the heart inside (like this one).

PicMonkey Collage

Stupid bundt pan.  I threw it out.

So what was your week like?


Book Review: In This House We Giggle

A few months ago I received a review copy of the book In This House We Will Giggle by Courney Defeo from Blogging for Books. I was excited because I’d heard good things about it, and I’m always on the lookout for good parenting books. The book focuses on encouraging love and laughter in our homes and children’s lives by letting go of some of the rigidity and rules that are often imposed by parents.

photo (27)

I really wanted to like this book.  Parts of it I really did like, but a lot of it seemed to be recycled material from every other faith-based parenting book out there.  I also didn’t really see how the chapters all tied into the idea of encouraging the lighthearted home atmosphere that was the primary focus of the book.

The pros:

  •  I really, REALLY enjoyed the introduction.  It made me have pretty high hopes for the book.
  • The 12 chapters each focus on a virtue to encourage in your child’s life and were full of good thoughts and advice.
  • I loved the practical applications listed at the end of each chapter.  The activities look fun and worthwhile and I’m sure I’ll end up using some of them.
  • Scattered throughout the book are 60 fun little things to do with your kids to encourage giggles.  I really loved this element.

The cons:

  • If this book had just been about encouraging virtues in your child it would have been excellent, but again, I didn’t really see how the theme of the book tied into the chapters very well.
  • I felt like the author used laughter as a diversion tactic sometimes instead of correcting bad behavior.
  • After that awesome introduction the rest of the book was a bit of a letdown.

This book didn’t end up being what I expected, but I do plan to keep it and incorporate some of the ideas into our family.  I love the idea of focusing on a virtue every month and having practical ways to encourage that.  I also really like some of the activities listed throughout the book and know that being playful with my kids is not one of my strong points, so I’ll be working on that, too. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, practical book that teaches children about Biblical virtues.

**I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  As always, my opinions are my own.**

Week(s) in Review: February 1-21

You know, it seems like no matter what my intentions, I just can’t get my act together when it comes to blogging regularly. My weeks turn into months and I’m always running behind.  Maybe I’ll get my act together one of these days, but for now I’ll just have to post when I can.

This year is rushing by already and I seriously don’t know how we’re just a week away from March.  March, peoples. That means…spring break, and Daylight Savings Time (that which we do not speak of), and MAD’S BIRTHDAY (gulp), for which I have not prepared one iota.

But back to February.  I don’t remember much about the first week.  We did school, tried to recover from the trip to Colorado (you know, collecting the cat, cleaning the house, doing mounds of laundry), and for a surprise lunch with Heather and Co. who were driving through Dallas on the way home from visiting family. We only had about an hour to visit but it was super fun to see them.  And now every time we drive by Saltgrass the girls ask if Auntie Heather and their cousins are maybe, just possibly, sitting inside.

Thanks for lunch, Heather and Caleb (aka Hulk Hogan).

IMG_2572 IMG_2573

Then Friday evening I headed out to Atlanta for a long weekend with my girls, Amber and Lanae. I hadn’t seen them for 10 years and it was a seriously fab couple of days.  We shopped and ate and laughed and shopped and ate some more.

IMG_2625 IMG_2627 IMG_2631 IMG_2636 IMG_2644 IMG_2651 IMG_2657 IMG_2661 IMG_2671 IMG_2673 IMG_2675 IMG_2676 IMG_2764 IMG_2765 IMG_2766 IMG_2767 IMG_2773 IMG_2774 IMG_2775 IMG_2776


(And yes, I pilfered some of these photos from the other girls.) We visited First Baptist in Atlanta and heard Dr Stanley preach and we’re pretty sure we’re famous TV stars now because of it (joke).  We also visited the worlds creepiest theater to catch what’s probably the worlds last viewing of Mockingjay and Amber didn’t even have to pull out her ninja knife.  But she did have it ready, you know, just in case. (Seriously, when we came out into the lobby, even the employees had already left. Weird.

So glad I had a chance to reconnect with some old girlfriends; it was good for my soul.

I signed the girls up for a mail swap with some other homeschool kids and they had a blast making, sending, and receiving Valentines.

IMG_2811edit IMG_2816edit IMG_2819edit IMG_2823edit IMG_2839edit IMG_2809

In other news, it’s February so our nectarine tree has blossomed…way too early, as always. It’s supposed to freeze this weekend so no nectarines for us. Again.


Here’s a little update on some of the fun mail I’e received this month:

New oatmeal varieties to try out from Bzzagent - Susannah especially has been enjoying these.  And on a side note, WHY are there instructions for microwaving these oatmeal packets when they always, ALWAYS boil over the sides of the bowls?  Probably the better question is why do I keep trying when I always get the same result? Bzzagent

This fun little box was a giveaway I won recently from  Pretty awesome, because Madeline OF COURSE wants a Frozen themed birthday party so these supplies will come in handy in a few weeks. I love that they included a handwritten note in the box, too.


This monstrous package came courtesy of Crowdtap, jammed full of Splenda goodies.  I have tons to share with friends and family! Crowdtap Splenda Crowdtap Splenda 2

This delicious little box was from Influenster and the girls pretty much decimated the bottle in a matter of days.  I had a taste and this stuff is pretty amazing (if you like Reese’s PB cups)! Influenster 2

And finally, although I always plan to do a separate review for my Ipsy bags, just in case it doesn’t happen again, here’s what I received this month.  I just opened it up and haven’t had a chance to test anything yet, but this just might be my favorite package from them, yet.

photo (26)

I think that pretty much wraps up the week(s).  The girls are still fighting sickness (will it ever end?) so we’ve been taking school pretty slow, focusing mainly on math and history and reading.  Hopefully we’ll have some fun projects to share next time.




January Goal Update

Since I’m the lamest person in the world and just managed to post my yearly goals yesterday, it’s already time to update for January. Here goes:

  • Reading – I’m on track so far with my personal reading goal.  I just finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed yesterday, a book I’ve tried to read for several years now and just never finished.  I was drawn to it because she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and I remember thinking I wanted to hike it myself waaaaay back when my dad described it when we were living in Oregon.  After reading her descriptions I’m pretty sure I would have died if I’d tried. She was one messed-up lady, but the story of the actual hike was fascinating. I’m almost finished with a parenting book that I plan to post a review on, so be on the lookout for that. I’m technically not behind with the girls reading either, but we started two books in January and haven’t quite finished either yet. And total fail on the craft book review, but I’m cutting myself some slack since we were gone for part of the month (and sick for the rest).
  • Creativity – I did sew some little zip pouches as gifts in January, so I’m good on the sewing front.  I haven’t done anything in my Project LIfe albums since this time last year so I really need to get to work to catch up. My plan is to work on the current month and try to do a little extra as well to catch up all the missing months. I’m keeping up in my Documented Faith journal but have fallen several weeks behind in my Documented Life Project.  I’ll try to catch up but since it’s a weekly challenge I may just have to let those lost weeks go undone.
  • I’m not doing great at the keeping in touch thing, but I did mail at least one letter in both January and February and I’m working on setting some time aside to call my siblings/parents more regularly.
  • To get myself on track for a 5K, I signed up for a color run in September.  I decided to take the girls with me and Jerm signed up, too, so now we just have to start getting ready for it.  I’ve trained for them several times before so it shouldn’t be that difficult to get back into it.
  • Visiting with Amber has been on my list for several years and I finally got to go see the girl this last weekend.  It was a blast and I enjoyed every second with her.
  • Finally, I’m actually making a tiny bit of progress on our bedroom.  I found (and bought) a comforter set I like and now I just need to start piecing things together until I like it.

So that’s my update so far.  How are your goals coming along?


Goals for 2015

Yes, I realize that we’re already midway through February and the traditional goal-setting time period is pretty much a distant memory, but it is what it is.  I’ve honestly been attempting to get my list posted for weeks now and it just hasn’t happened. Is anyone else as shocked by the appearance of Valentines Day already as I am? I mean, seriously, yesterday was CHRISTMAS. Am I right? When I think about  all that’s happened in 2015 so far, though, I don’t feel quite as pathetic about the lateness of my goal-setting.  Starting even before the new year began our family was hit hard with sickness and it lasted for most of January.  We all had it and even just managing school through it felt pretty heroic to me, so it’s not surprising that I didn’t get much else done.  Then we were unexpectedly in Colorado for a week and I just got back from a long weekend trip to Atlanta. I’m ready for things to slow down a little and find a solid routine again.

Okay, that was a lot of explaining. Here are the goals I’ve set for myself for 2015.

My word for the year is encourage.  I want to be an encourager to those around me. I want to encourage certain things in my life and also in my daughters, so many of my goals focus on this.

  • I want to be an encouragement to people doing missions.  My goal is to pick one or two missionaries a month and focus on praying, writing, and learning more about them. This will be incorporated into our school week as part of our religious studies. Also regarding religious studies, I’d like to try a new Scripture memorization method with the girls to help us learn larger passages at a time.
  • I want to encourage reading – both in my own life and in my girls.  My goals are to read 50 books this year, picking at least 15 from my to-read shelf and 10 e-books.  My shelves are literally overflowing and it’ll be nice to actually get to some of those that have been on my list to read for ages.  As a separate goal, I plan to go through one of my craft books each month, trying some of the techniques to determine if I want to keep it or pass it along. I’m also sticking with my goal to read at least 12 books aloud to the girls, which should be easily doable.  I failed miserably last year because we do so much reading in school that I just didn’t take the time for fun reading. I think it’s important, though, so I’m doing my best to make time for it again.
  • To encourage personal creativity, I want to complete one sewing project each month, document each month in my Project Life album (another failure from last year), and keep up with my two art journals (Documented Faith and the Documented Life Project). I’m also determined to learn how to operate the serger Jeremys grandma gave me. For the girls, I would like to re-instate art as a weekly venture (this completely stopped during the holidays last year) and actually make some progress in piano lessons. (Why can I never remember to have them practice?!)
  • I want to encourage my friendships by keeping in touch better, whether via email, snail mail, or phone calls. The goal is to schedule semi-regular times to call my family and send mail to at least one person a month (more if possible).
  • My health goals are to run a 5K and learn some basic yoga. Susannah has been bugging me to try again ever since our October attempt, so I think it’ll be a good workout for both of us.
  • My travel goals (stop rolling your eyes, Jerm!) are to visit Amber, take a trip for our 10-year anniversary in December, and of course spend time with my grandma.
  • Finally, I have a few projects around the house that I’d like to accomplish, like actually decorating my bedroom (I know, this is on my list every year!), re-painting the bathroom walls and cabinets, and making a slipcover for my couch.

I have a few other personal goals that I’m not sharing here, but I’m hoping to update monthly with progress reports. Since January is already over I’ll try to post my first update in the next few days.

Do you set goals?  Want to share any of yours for 2015? I love hearing what people want to accomplish! I love welcoming a new year with all of the exciting possibilities it holds. Yay for goals!