Sunday, November 30, 2008

Go Green!

Yesterday I cleaned/organized our pantry and found this crammed in the bottom corner.

I typically re-use my precious Target shopping bags and store them in another place, but other grocery bags (e.g., Wal-Mart, Publix) are used only for dirty diapers and taking my lunch to work (not at the same time of course). It was coincidental that I found these when I did because I was just telling Will this past weekend that I think we need to start living a little more environmentally friendly. I am certainly no tree-hugger, but I think there are a couple of things I can easily do to help the environment.

This is on my mind because of a Larry King episode I saw the other night featuring Thomas Friedman. Check out the clip below. (I watch Larry King at night when I am sewing after the kids have gone to bed. It seems to be the only thing interesting on TV at any given time that I am up there.)

I am not going to make any major life changes at this point (regarding the environment), but every little bit helps. My pre-new year's resolution is this: (1) we are going to start recycling paper, plastic and aluminum and (2) we going to stop using plastic grocery bags!

Sew What?: November

Yikes! It is November 30th and I haven't written my "Sew What?" post for this month. There hasn't been much on the sewing front this month. Our guest room (which is also my sewing room) has become our Christmas gift headquarters so it is a little crowded in there right now. I did get some really cute embroidery appliques at this website and made the three shirts below (each with a cute pair of matching pants from Target. I bought the shirts at Target too, but recently found a great place online to buy blank clothing to be embroidered on. Check out this website. The reindeer is an early Christmas gift for my nephew and the other 2 shirts were birthday gifts for my neighbors' little girl Kate.

Here is some sewing I did for my own children.

A Halloween top for Claire. It was a little short because I ran out of fabric, but that is nothing a pair of black leggings can't fix. Hopefully, she can still wear it next year because I finished it up 2 days before Halloween. She was able to wear it to her party at school at that was it. I will try to do better next time.

Matching pumpkin outfits for the kids. I actually finished David's outfit in time for him to wear it to the pumpkin patch. My mom made Claire's outfit, but I had to repair the panel because she made it too long and do all the buttonholes/buttons (14 total). I got Claire's dress ready in time for her to wear to her Thanksgiving party at school. Good thing they have holiday parties at her school or I would never get anything finished for her!

Matching Alabama elephant outfits for the kids. I made these outfits for the kids to wear when we took them down to Tuscaloosa. I actually finished both of them on time if you can believe that! I love this elephant applique and the gray/red/white check fabric. Everyone in Tuscaloosa loved these outfits and I could probably make a fortune if I sold them there, but at the expense of my sanity ...

Hopefully, next month, I will have some Christmas sewing finished up and one of these new patterns finished up. I love these outfits and can't wait to see what the finished product looks like. Check out this website for my info on the patterns (and super-cute fabric).

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thanksgiving Post

Creative title ... I know. I am pooped and my brain just isn't working. I am listening to Harry Connick, Jr.'s new Christmas CD while I write. It's not my fave yet, but it's very "jazzy". Thanksgiving officially ushers in the Christmas season at our house and I have "permission" from Will to listen to Christmas music. (I have secretly been listening to it in my car since Halloween.)

I love Thanksgiving. The food ... the family time ... reflecting on what I am thankful for ... the food. However, I did a pretty stinky job of teaching Claire about the importance of this holiday this year. I just couldn't get my act together. I was all on top of Halloween, but Thanksgiving snuck up on me. To her, the holiday is all about Turkey (one for her and one for my niece Evie), no nap, lots of sweets, and a trip to the grandparents' houses. We are paying dearly for the "no nap" part ... as I type, Claire is still awake upstairs and it is almost 10pm.)
Despite our crazy-hectic day, I did get to reflect on my many blessings. I am thankful for ...

(1) My sweet husband ... who got up at 5am to fry turkeys this morning for our thanksgiving dinner. (I took this photo at 7am when I woke up.)
(2) My precious children and their sweet personalities, their health and their zeal for life.
(3) My loving mother ... who always sets a beautiful table, but has an equally beautiful heart.

(4) God's provision ... for our very basic needs (e.g., food) and the very desires of our hearts.

(5) Fellowship with our family around a table full of food.

(6) Friends (and family). David, Evie, Ian and Claire. We were singing "If you're happy and you know it."
(7) My sister ...

and her family.
(7) Grandparents!

(8) R&R ... Poppy took a nap during the Titans game. David and Will perused the sales ads.

(9) Meme is thankful for Uncle Jon and his computer skills. Bless his heart, every time he comes to their house, he has to do something to their computer!

There are so many more things that I have to be thankful for ... too many to list. I hope that you and yours are equally blessed and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday: Thanksgiving Edition

Tonight, we are making some yummy treats for our Thanksgiving meal tomorrow. Will is prepping 2 turkeys to start frying at 5am tomorrow (with Claire's assistance) and I am making Mac & Cheese, 7-layer salad and Chocolate Pecan Pie.

7-Layer Salad (from my friend Jadie)
Bottom layer: 1 head of lettuce, chopped
Then layer the following on top of the lettuce in 9x13-inch dish:
Red onion, diced (think, less is more)
Crumbled Bacon
Frozen Peas, thawed

Dressing: Mix 1 Ranch envelop + 1 cup mayo + 2 Tbs. milk. Spread in an even layer on top of the frozen peas.

Cover and let sit overnight. DO NOT STIR until just before serving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Thanksgiving is truly one of my favorite (and often overlooked) holidays. However, I am super pumped about Christmas this year because I think that Claire actually gets it this year. She has already been talking about Santa Claus and I have several activities planned for the month of December to teach her the true reason for the season. More on that later ...

I have seen this little "getting to know you activity" on several blogs I read and I had planned to post it to kick off the Christmas season. My friend Kaisha just emailed the exact same exercise to me today and I thought I would take a quick break from work and go ahead and write the post. Here goes ...

1.) Wrapping paper or gift bag? both ... depends on the gift. I do LOVE to wrap presents though and threaten to get a job every year at a department store just to wrap gifts.

2.) Real tree or artificial? artificial. We bought a real tree once ever when I was little. My dad made us plant in the yard because he couldn't stand to throw it away. I think it died several summers later.

3.) When do you put up the tree? Ideally, the day/weekend after Thanksgiving.

4.) When do you take the tree down? Ideally, New Year's Day.

5.) Do you like eggnog? no. Boiled custard ... yes.

6.) Favorite gift received as a child? Nothing stands out in my mind. I remember the year I got a Nintendo for Christmas and the Barbie mansion another year so I guess those were my favorites.

7.) Hardest person to buy for? Joe, my father-in-law. Plus, his birthday is on New Year's Eve so I have to come up with 2 gifts for him. Ugh!

8.) Easiest person to buy for? Will. He makes his Christmas list right after Halloween.

9.) Do you have a Nativity scene? yes-last year, my mom bought me the same nativity set that she had when I was growing up and it is my favorite.

10.) Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Mail

11.) Worst Christmas gift you ever received? One year, Will's grandmother gave all of the grandkids a "Perfect Pancake" pan.

12.) Favorite Christmas movie? White Christmas and Christmas Vacation

13.) When do you start shopping for Christmas ? Usually I shop throughout the year.

14.) Have you ever recycled a Christmas gift? I'm sure I have but nothing specific comes to mind.

15.) Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? cookies, any kind. I am a sucker for a cookie swap.

16.) Lights on the tree? yes-white ones

17.) Favorite Christmas song ? We need a Little Christmas, Winter Wonderland, Silent Night, O Come All Ye Faithful

18.) Travel at Christmas or stay home? Christmas morning at home, some travel.

19.) Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? yes

20.) Angel on the tree top or a star? a big bow or decorative sticks

21.) Open presents Christmas morning? Yes. We always got to open one gift on Christmas Eve growing up.

22.) Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Trying to find babysitters.

23.) Favorite ornament, theme or color? We have new theme this year-red and lime green ornaments. I will post photos when the tree is up.

24.) Favorite for Christmas dinner? We always do Christmas brunch. Quiche, muffins, fruit and lots of coffee.

25.) What do you want for this Christmas? World peace ... and a new digital camera.

I will not tag anybody as I have typically seen done on other blogs. However, if you copy and post on your own blog, please post a comment so I can get to know your holiday faves too!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bouncy Birthday Party

If you know anything about Claire, you know that she loves inflatables (or "bouncies" as she calls them). She was elated to go to her friend Spencer's birthday party this morning and play on the bouncies for a little while. The slide is definitely her favorite.
Here comes Claire down the kiddie slide.
David and me.

Here comes Claire down the big slide. Whee!!

Baker was not far behind. Baker has a baby brother the same age as David.

Claire and Baker acting silly.

Jessica, Marianne, Holly and me. It is rare that we get a photo together.

Apparently, these things were not built for adults. I got a little caught up in the obstacle course.
Claire and me.

Will took David for a ride down the big slide. He seemed to like it.

Holly helped Claire (above) and Carter (below) with a little batting practice.

I finally managed to get a photo of the birthday boy. Time for cake and "Happy Birthday" singing. Looks like he is ready to blow out that candle.

A family photo - Marianne, Hunter and Spencer. What a sweet family and what special friends.

We are thankful for ... school

Claire had a Thanksgiving party at her school this week and Will got to attend (and photograph) since I was tied up at work all day. The parents were invited to eat lunch with the children, and then help them make a craft and hear a Thanksgiving story. I think that Will did a very good job of capturing the day.
This is Claire's best buddy at church and school-Avery.
Will was super impressed that all of the kids went to their "square" when instructed by the teachers. I wish Claire minded that well at home!

Time to make our turkey. Will told me that Claire really liked working with the glue. We do not play with glue at home!

Claire's classmates working on their crafts.

Will helps Claire finish up her craft.

A group photo. I am so thankful that Claire goes to school where the parents are so involved. Apparently, I was the only parent who couldn't make it. (Not really, but it seems that way.)

This is Claire's regular "spot" at the table. Apparently, Ella (on the end) is one of her new buddies. She could not stop talking about her last week. Now I know why ... they sit next to each other.

Dedicated to the ONE we love

The past two Sunday nights, we have been at church for dedication services of sorts. I wanted to share a few photos to commemorate these events. First, Will was ordained as a deacon in our church. He will be busy next year serving in this capacity. I know he is looking forward to the opportunities this position will afford him to serve others and serve God. I pray that I can support him in this new role and I pray that he will be a blessing to others. I also pray that he will be blessed by this ministry opportunity. Will's parents, brother and niece were able to attend the service, along with my parents.

Will and me with his family.
Will and me with my parents.

I had to sneak in this cute photo of Claire and her Meme.

A sweet family photo.

Second was David's baby dedication service. We are thankful for the opportunity to make a public commitment to raise our precious baby boy in God's word. I know that he is a special gift from God and that God has a special plan for his life. What a privilege to parent this child.

A family photo before the ceremony.

My sister and her family were able to attend.

David is very fortunate to have a long christian heritage. We were thankful that all of his grandparents were able to attend this special ceremony (photos above and below).

Our special boy on his dedication day.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7.