Thursday, March 25, 2010

Christmas in March?

So this may seem totally random, but are you ready for Christmas in March? I was downloading this template for free printable Easter cupcake toppers and noticed that the Skip to my Lou website has a big section of free I started browsing!

I came upon this huge post of free printable super-cute Christmas gift tags. Print them onto cardstock or an 8.5x11 sheet of sticker paper, cut out and you're done! No more expensive gift tags from the store or some flimsy square of wrapping paper taped onto your gift. Some of them are neutral, so they could be used any time of the year! The pdf's are now downloaded into my Christmas file and will be ready to go for next year. Oh, and here's some free printable Thank You cards, too!

Now, if I could just transfer that same excitement and motivation towards cleaning my house today...

:-) Lisa

Monday, March 22, 2010

Earlier this week I was bouncing around different blogs and somehow got to a food blog called She has some good looking breakfast and dinner items but, lets' face it, I'm all about the DESSERTS! I had some serious drool going on. I suddenly wanted to make everything! Right now! Well, I've had a little bit of restraint, but not much. Over the weekend I made a super simple know, one of those "duh, why did I never think of that before?" moments. Candy-centered brownie cups! The blog recipe used peppermint Hershey Kisses at Christmas time, but Keith had just brought home mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, so those went in the middles instead! YUMMERS!! My new favorite way to make brownies.

Then today Maddie and I made some Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip "Muffins" (aka: cupcakes). So moist and puffy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!! You must try them.

James is doing great and his labs have been so stable since November that his GI doctor is now only drawing labs on him every other week. This is good news, since they had been drawing so much blood every week on him that he was in danger of needing a blood transfusion. Also, his surgeon is very happy with his progress and has pushed the re-connection surgery to May (he'd originally said March or April), or perhaps later. The longer they wait (within reason), the bigger and stronger James gets and the more his current intestines are allowed to grow and lengthen.

Miss Madeline continues to be her happy, active, non-stop self. She is a talking machine! The other day I took her on a shopping date and we ended up spending about 2+ hours round-trip in the car. She loves to talk and sing continuously in the car. Think I'm kidding? Out of curiosity, I tried counting one-one thousand, two-one thousand, etc. during the brief pauses when she wasn't talking/singing/humming/asking questions. You know how far I got? 3. THREE SECONDS, PEOPLE! No wonder Mommy needs some serious quiet time! :-)

Often when I try to get a sweet photo of her, this is what I get. Thank goodness for digital cameras and taking lots and lots of pictures!

Keith started clearing out the backyard this weekend so that we can finally upgrade the dirt pit! He'll be building a low deck and then we'll be hardscaping the rest with brick and pavers. Maddie can't wait to have a place to ride her bike and play...Lucy can't wait too, since it's all fenced in and she'll be able to run free! :-)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Random Bits from Around Here

Here's a random thought right off the bat...

Ever wonder what I'd look like with bangs??

Look, it's Mini Me! :-)

Or maybe you prefer the pigtails look...

{Note: Maddie having her hair styled is a BIG deal around here. Usually if it's a major holiday like Christmas or something, she'll leave barrettes in her hair long enough to take a picture. That's the max. I've tried for three years now with no luck. Until a week or two ago when she visited Ava's house and let Alli put pigtails in her hair. Now they're suddenly SO COOL. Like, Mom, did you know about these things called pigtails? And why did we never try them before?}

Chef's hats are also a great accessory, especially when you're planning to whip up a big batch of mini cupcakes, or whatever you're pretending your colored beads are at the moment.

Speaking of whipping up a batch, today I stumbled upon a blog I'd never seen before called The Idea Room ( This mom has so many super cute ideas for baking and crafts! The original reason I found the blog was through a link for a homemade felt roll-up crayon & notepad holder that I want to try my hand at making. Then I noticed some other posts...homemade CHOCOLATE and PUMPKIN SPICE play dough (simply can't resist those!), homemade tempera paint & finger paint recipes, and the most awesome rainbow layer cake you've ever seen! Oh, the plans I have now!!

So this morning Maddie and I made a batch of chocolate play dough...and yes, it does have real chocolate in it! Mmmm. It made the house smell delicious all day! If you want to make some with your kids (or heck, for someone else's kids!), here are the recipes: homemade play dough, chocolate play dough, pumpkin spice play dough.

Now, with the fun of play dough comes the inevitable mess of dough crumbs and pieces everywhere (including ground-into whatever clothing she happens to be wearing). So while you're vacuuming up the evidence, if you live with a dog who sheds like a maniac year round, might as well totally humiliate her and give her a good vacuum-rub-down too! :-)

{If you'll look closely at poor Lucy, you'll see the eyes of shame!}

One fun bit from around here this week...Keith managed to get the first true giggle out of James! He gives us big smiles all the time and will do a single "heh" {aka-courtesy laugh!}, but never a true chuckle. Keith made it his mission this week and we finally got James to do it, but boy did it ever take a lot of work! :-)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Preparing for Easter

Today I started thinking about preparing for our Easter celebration. I made a few decorative journaling cards to slip into my ongoing photo album that will include a big spread of photos...coloring/decorating the eggs, picking out our Easter outfits, an egg hunt at our local community park and then everything that goes on during The Big Day.

(photo from

Last year I bought extra plastic Easter eggs on clearance and they've been taunting me in my craft closet ever since. Today I decided to start tackling the project of making my own Resurrection Eggs. There are lots of tutorials online, but I found mine here. Tonight I'll print out the scriptures and tomorrow Maddie and I will do a little hunt inside/outside the house for the items that need to go inside the eggs. She's a bit young for this idea now, but perhaps next year we'll try this Resurrection Egg Scavenger Hunt idea. They even give you a print-out of all the clues! Easy!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Parents need forgiveness, too

I was just reading this post on one of my favorite blogs, Fly Through Our Window. It's by a mother of 3 children under the age of 5. She's a wonderful Christian woman, full of humor and wisdom and creativity and love for her family.

If you've ever snapped at your kids and then felt that burden on your heart, read this post.

Here's a snippet from the end of the post...

From The Valley of Vision {a collection of Puritan prayers} on The Family {pg 113– if you, or in my case, your husband has it on your bookshelf}…

O God, I cannot endure to see the destruction of my kindred.
Let those that are united to me in tender ties be precious in thy sight and devoted to thy glory.
Sanctify and prosper my domestic devotion, instruction, discipline, example, that my house may be a nursery for heaven,
my church the garden of the Lord,
enriched with trees of righteousness of thy planting for thy glory;
Let not those of my family who are amiable, moral, attractive, fall short of heaven at last;
Grant that the promising appearances of a tender conscience, soft heart, the alarms and delights of they Word,
be not finally blotted out,
but bring forth judgment unto victory in all whom I love.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Front Porch Cookout

My cousin Kevin was in town this weekend for a college sports seminar (the group got to stay at the Benson Hotel...pretty swanky for college kids, I must say!) I haven't seen him in a couple years, so we had Nana and Papa over for dinner and all had a great time together. I spent the day cleaning the house, Keith spent the day taking apart the Jeep for the second weekend in a row (some part of the cooling system is leaking fluid, flooding the floor of the car--nice!), and my mom made dinner and brought it over. If any of you have tasted my Mom's cooking, you know what a treat that is! She made marinated pork chops, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, sweet and sour cabbage and a creamy hot mustard sauce to go over it all. For dessert she made a caramel apple streusel die for!

Maddie is in heaven whenever Nana and Papa are around, so she jumped on the chance to "help" Papa grill the pork chops out on the porch. Which turned into a mini-camping adventure, complete with pillows, blankets and hot cocoa. They love making fun memories together. :-)

And, because a post wouldn't be complete without it, some random cutie-pie pictures from this week.

Nothing says Spring like flowers.
Daffodils = Happy.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Everyday Life

We've mostly been busy around here with little house projects and lots of doctor visits. The home nurse comes out every Friday, plus for the next couple weeks we have 2 more doctor visits each week! James had shots at Steve Davis' office yesterday (poor little guy had a miserable time falling asleep = miserable parents too!), today he sees the surgeon (they're thinking of doing his reconnection surgery in April), next week he goes for a physical therapy evaluation and Maddie goes back to OHSU for a kidney follow-up. It's pretty pathetic that the only time I get out of the house is to go to a doctor or the grocery store! Ugh. I'll be so glad when flu season is over and we can take James out more. I get such cabin fever!

Having a big sister like Maddie is built-in entertainment! James adores watching her do everything. Here she was running laps around the dining table ("Mom, count down from 100, okay?") and then stopping for "drink breaks".

Maddie gets cabin fever too, so Nana and Papa take her on dates once a week and also, for the last two weekends, have come over to take her on long bike rides! They're so awesome.

As far as house projects go, you know how one task tends to snowball into lots more? Well, we wanted to finally set up James' nursery so he could stop sleeping in the living room. (Seems like a theme with us...Maddie didn't get into her nursery until about 6 months old either!) Well, Keith's home office was set up in James' room and my office was set up in our guest room. We'd thought about building a Murphy bed (folds up into the wall) to make more space in the guest room, since it only functions for guests about 1 week out of the whole year. So Keith dismantled the bed and took out all the furniture. Then we changed our minds about the Murphy bed, so the furniture was set up again. We moved my desk down into our bedroom (which fit, with literally about 1 inch to spare) and, while it's not ideal, I love it! Now I can be on the computer even while James is hooked up during the day and Maddie can play learning games on the computer without needing to be upstairs by herself.

Once my desk was moved, Keith moved his office into the guest room and then we could actually set up James' room! Whew! That whole process only took about a week! I still have some tweaking to do in James' room (hanging mobiles and art on the walls), but I love how it's turning out. LOVE LOVE LOVE the Expedit bookshelf from Ikea (I've been wanting one for years) and seeing all the handcrafted stuff I made for his room...ABC wall hanging, paper sunflowers, mobile, letters for his name, lampshade. So colorful and fun!

Miss Madeline is just such a crack-up. Sometimes I just don't know where she comes up with stuff. Like just now, she called to me from the living room, "Mom, next time it's Christmas Eve, I want you to get me a REAL MONKEY, okay?" Um, what?! The other day in the car she said, "I sure miss my friend Pete." (Pete who?) "My friend from Mickey Mouse shows." (But he's a character on TV. He's not real, Maddie.) "Yeah, but I have an idea! Daddy could take the TV down off the wall and we could drill a hole in it and then I could get small like a baby and crawl inside and see my friends!" Wowzers, she's quite imaginative! :-) Also, you know your kid needs to get out more when you take her for a check-up and the doctor asks who her friends are and she says, "Hmmm...let me see. I know! Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Daisy, Minnie and Pluto!" (As I simultaneously roll my eyes and hang my head in shame.) She's just dying to get to go to preschool, so we'll definitely be starting that up in the Fall! :-)

Nightly wrestling match on the bed...James can't wait to join in!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Good Excuse for a Party

For Valentine's Day, Maddie and I tried making chocolate-covered cake ball lollipops from a recipe we found at They were somewhat of a flop.

But these I know I could pull off and I think they're way cuter! Brownies shaped like movie popcorn bags!! Man, now I need an excuse to have a party just so I can make these. Wouldn't they be adorable for a kids' movie-themed birthday party? Or horray-for-the-end-of-the-school-year party? Or the Oscars? Or a grown-ups movie marathon? Or, you know, a Tuesday? :-) Maddie would totally love to make these!

Ooh, you know what I just thought of? At the stores right now they have all the Easter stuff out, including flower and bunny-shaped marshmallows. Cut the brownie into more of an angled basket shape, do the marshmallows at the top (or one big Peep and mini marshmallows nestled around it) and then use a ribbon or a piece of skinny rope licorice to fashion a handle! How adorable would that be?! There ya go...Easter dessert inspiration!