Thursday, October 29, 2009

Want a Flip Ultra HD?!?!?!

I have a new friend in Omaha that does product reviews on her blog.  Right now she is actually running a giveaway for a free Flip Ultra HD camera!!! HELLO!?!?!  So, one way to enter is to blog about the giveaway--her it is Megan!!  I really want this camera.  The kids have SOO much fun making "movies" and this would be an easy camera to teach them on!

All of you should go enter too---if I can't win maybe one of my friends or fam can!:)

Holiday Week-End

Friends & Fam:  Check my Gallery page for TONS of new pictures!!

Halloween costumes are purchased and ready to go!  

Skyler: Angel
Abbie: Doctor
Trendon: Anakin Skywalker
Livie: Rainbow Fairy
Mia: Duck

Shew, that was a lot of running.  Of course no one store carried everyone's choice of costume so we spent an entire day running around Omaha on the hunt for each kid's choice outfit!  We had a lot of fun together and even got to make a pit-stop at Zio's pizza (My FAV) with Zack for lunch.  The kids have parties, parties, and more parties today, Friday and Saturday so Grandma's can expect lots of pictures!!

Saturday, after the kids attend their first costume party of the day....we'll be having a fun little celebration here.  You have to check out these adorable recipes I am planning to make:

Pre-Trick or Treat Menu

and then to top it all off a nice warm pot of our favorite:

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Baby Isn't A Baby Anymore

So, our other big event yesterday -- Mia's birthday.  She's 2!!!!  It's so cliche to talk about how fast your children grow, but it's so true!  Our sweet Mia bring SO much joy to our family.  All of the kids love to play and read with her.  It's such a different experience having a toddler and big kids at the same time.  We are incredibly blessed to have blended these children and actually see that they do love each other.

She's still completely dependent on her "silky" which she uses to go to sleep every night--- well that and her thumb of course!  She is talking in sentences, some of her favorites :

Where's Sissy (Skyler)?

I want my silky!!

Love you Momma

Sing the choo-choooooo (I've Been Working on the Railroad)

We are celebrating with a small family party on Sunday but yesterday we sang to Mia at least 10 times!  She LOOOOVES the attention and I just might keep singing to her all week-end.

I keep telling everyone...I don't have a baby anymore!!! :(  So, I need all my friends to keep having babies so I have precious ones to love on.  My van and wallet can't fit anymore babies....nor would my husband ever agree to it!! LOL

Cooking School

My adorable brother wants to learn how to cook and since he's 800 miles away from our Momma the task falls to me.  A job I am not sad to undertake to say the least.  Cooking with people I love tops my love of feeding people for sure....though both tasks makes my heart smile great big!

Last night we took on Chicken Parmigiana....and WOW!  We worked diligently for an hour and a half - pounding and frying chicken, making homemade pasta sauce, mixing a Caesar salad, and of course singing our heart out to some country tunes.  What a great night:)  Thanks Daniel!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'm Beginning to Think A Lot about....

Christmas!  Yikes, it's only 74 days away!!!!!!!!!  Our plan this year is to go a little green with our gift giving.  Making some gifts and just generally incorporating more thought into the presents we do buy.  We are the family that rushes around at the very last minute looking at each you think Mom would like this?  Umm....maybe??  Wrapping it and then going to the Christmas event the same day.:(  So pitiful and absolutely NOT what Christmas should be about!

So, I am pursuing some fabulous web-sites like:

Family Fun


Hobby Lobby


About: Crafts

Free Crafts

to help inspire my little mind into a creative mind.  It's kind of a stretch for me...I am not what you'd call "Martha Stewart."  I love to cook but everything else is just an attempt on my end.  I have many of those friends that come by decorating, crafts, and organization so easy and I ENVY them:)

Anyway, part of our adventure in brainstorming occurred at the park today with some special photos of the kids.  I contemplated waiting to share them since they may turn into gifts later but I couldn't help myself!!!!  Here's a few of my favs but don't forget to view the Gallery site to see them all!

Do you have some other great sites I am missing?  What have you made for a gift that has been a huge hit?  Please leave us comments on the blog---even the kids like to read them!! :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Skyler's Poetry

Skyler has began writing poetry.  She is really enjoying expressing herself through these poems and has been searching for an outlet to share them with.  We made her a blog this afternoon so that she could know she could share them anytime she wants!  Please read it here and be sure and comment when you have a moment---she sure would love that!

Morning Magic

Zack and I have been discussing finding new ways to get into some routines to streamline this big family.  Neither one of us has had the commitment to make it happen until I stumbled upon a life changing web-site:  Flylady.  None of the tips or tricks found on this web-site are rocket science.  However, she does lay out some easy routines to implement which have rescued our family from morning madness.

Here's how our version works during the week:

6:00am - Mommy and Zack wake up, shower, and spend a few moments together with our coffee mugs

6:45am - Daddy leaves for work

Mommy's quiet time!!!

7:20am- Morning Music comes on.  *This is the key* If the kids wake up before morning music then they hang in their rooms reading books until they hear the que.  When they hear the music they begin this list of to-do's.

Make Bed.
Get dressed including shoes.
Brush Teeth.
Brush Hair.
Layout backpack, coat, gloves, scarf, and hat.

No more rushing around with a frazzled Mommy.  Even the kids agree, we are happier and more peaceful!!  YAAAY

Naomi's Invitation

Friday night our big ones spent the night with their cousin Naomi for a special sleepover extravaganza.  Read Melissa (Naomi's  Mom's) take on the evening here.:)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Love This:

"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the
companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering
with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.".
Rachel Carson

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Preparing For the Journey

Today we head out for the Bluegrass State!  We are all anxious to get to Mom's and be with our family during this time.  I still haven't begun the process of writing something to say at the funeral.  My heart wants to but my head has no words yet.

15 hours is quite a ways in the car with the babies.  They are so good for us though, I think they have definitely gotten used to traveling!  We are packing their DS's, iPods, and books to keep them entertained. Mia, of course, is the hardest one but our big guys are even good with helping entertain her.

On a fun note, I have updated the Photo Album (see link on right) with pictures from our trip to Adventureland!  This new will allow you to download my pictures straight to your own computer!  You can then use them however you like (i.e. burn to CD - take to Wal-Mart - get your own prints!)  If you  need help getting that to work just let me know. I don't want the to be more trouble than Snapfish but I do think it looks a lot better AND it's a lot easier for me:-)!

Happy Wednesday all.  Much love...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lost my grandma today. So surreal to realize I will never kiss her cheeks or hold her hand again. We are headed to Kentucky tomorrow so we can be a part of the services. I plan to write something to say at the funeral but I don't even know how to begin.

She lived a long life even though she's been sick for years. Parkinson's Disease, COPD, and lung cancer--that's a lot to battle for one little lady. She died this morning at about 10:30EST surrounded by her two daughters, my momma Stephanie and my Aunt Lisa. They were singing How Great Thou Art as she was drawing her final breaths and Chris Tomlin's Fly To Jesus as she died. Peaceful and surrounded with love. I hope, when my time comes, I'll be afforded that same gift.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Tricks of the Trade

We have a LOT of children living in our home....this is true.  5 unique, beautiful and talented children 8 and under ! I am asked this every time I leave the house with them all in tow.  After the stares and gawks some brave soul will venture to ask...."Are they ALL yours?"  like I am gallivanting through Target with an entire army!!  

So, how do we make this work??  What gets me through the day?  Though I know I still have a TON to learn and perfect-here are my little mantras---what keeps me going through the day.

1.  Patience is more than a virtue - it's a necessity! I practice deep breathing nearly every day, I'm sure of it.  It's easy to get wrapped up in the fury when Skyler and Abbie are screaming at each other, Trendon's crying cause he can''t find his toy, Livie can't believe Mia stole her baby doll and Mia's ticked off that everyone is being so loud!!!  These moments are fairly few and far between but when they happen I try to step back and breathe deep!

2.  Enjoy the little moments.  With many children its hard to spend quality time with each of them.  Zack and I have found ways to steal away short but special moments.  Abbie and I spent time tonight singing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes as fast as we could while the others were distracted by their own games.  Those 8 minutes were priceless.

3.  50/50 marriage is a must!  Without a supportive, loving husband I would absolutely be a wreck.  This house can be chaotic and there is an ever-growing list of to-do's.  Even though I work from home, he realizes I work.  Even tonight he worked 7a-8p--but realized that meant just as long a day for me.  I am one lucky gal--I know this for sure!

4.  Money doesn't grow on trees.  I don't know what the magic number would be to have plenty of money for every activity, lesson, fund raiser, birthday party, etc with 5 kids.  Whatever that number is....we don't have it.  Though we are blessed to be able to provide for these children we do have to skip some of those extras.  Our kids are still well-adjusted and smart even without karate, piano, gymnastics, dance, horseback riding and fencing lessons every single night of the week.:)

5.  Steal away moments with your mate.  Hiring a sitter isn't always an option for us so we have become creative in our ways to spend special time together.  Our house is set up so that we can shut off the basement completely--we have been known to put the kids to bed, order take-out, light a few candles, and turn up the tunes.  It's a completely romantic dinner for two without the cost of a sitter!

6.  Accept help.  What you'd like to take the kids to the movies?!?!  Why, SURE!!!!  :)  We have some amazing neighbors, friends, and family that have extended incredibly generosity to us.  

7.  Let the ceiling fan be dusty.  There is not enough energy in my body to keep an immaculate house and care for 5 children and a dog.  My ceiling fans might be dusty, baseboards might be too --- I am learning to come to grips with this reality!

8.  Be alone.  Mommies and Daddies all need time to recharge!  I sneak away for a night out with girlfriends about once a month. 

9.  Turn up the music!!  Or find another family ritual that the kids can expect to do with you every day.  Ours is cranking up the tunes at around 5 o clock when we start dinner.  Sometimes I have patience to let the kids help me in the kitchen - and others I just want dinner on the table quickly.  But, we ALWAYS have the radio up loud and we dance like no one is watching!:)  I'm confident that I enjoy this time even more than they do:-)

10.  Entertain them.  Kids are so much more well-behaved and easy to handle when they have a good balance of being entertained and entertaining themselves.  A lot of the family activities we choose to do include a mix of this.  For instance, we head downtown to the "Big Grey Slides" (don't you love our creative nickname).  We get a chance to play with them---and an opportunity to sit together and watch them play.  A good mix seems to work magic for us!

I am far from claiming to have all the answers but I sure know that I have learned a lot growing from a momma of 2 to a family of 7! 

Have any of your own family tips to share?  Leave a comment--I sure love reading them!!:-)

Sunday, October 4, 2009


You don't have to be wealthy to be generous.

Isn't it amazing how our children can teach us lessons better than anyone else?  The purity in their actions and words speaks volumes.

Today we took a quick trip to run some errands with the kids.  One of our stops was the fabulous Wal-Mart (hah) for a few things.  Abbie had a gift card she received for her birthday and was going to choose something while we were there to spend it on!  However, on the way there she decided she wanted to share it.  It was beautiful watching the kids decide the best way to split the $10.  Abbie suggested $2 for each child, Skyler suggested $5 for Trendon (the boy) and $5 for the rest of the girls, cause the girls will share anyway.  So funny---they had several different combination's that even changed after we were shopping.  

So, we leave the store with 3 rubber amphibians for Trendon and a set of paper tickets for the girls.  The girls had agreed they would like to play movie theater and needed tickets to do so.  Anyway, in the van they then began concocting their next scheme.  They asked me the most beautiful question----

Abbie:  "Mom, can we ask each person that comes to our house for a penny in exchange for a ticket?"

Skyler:  "Yea, cause we wanna donate the money."

Abbie:  "Yea, to the box at McDonalds."

Skyler:  "You know, to save a child's life."

Abbie: "We could get a LOT of pennies for tickets Mom."

Ahh, could my heart feel any fuller?  The life lessons from children are endless.  I am more inspired and more anxious to find ways for our whole family to give and volunteer together.  Children are so ready to be shown how to give!

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV