Love Story

Thursday, June 30, 2011

And the winner is...

I had so much fun celebrating 300 followers on Facebook with this giveaway!! And in the process we already gained over 55 more followers. How cool!

Are you DYING to know who won all of this?
Me too! So without further, tell us who our winner is:

****Anonymous who commented: "I shared!!****

Congratulations!!! Sometimes it does pay to be last:) Be looking for an email from me shortly that so I can get your information.
I am also putting together an envelope full of coupons (I am already at 60 and I'm not finished yet) for Liz Maraldo who was my 300th follower.

Thanks again for all the support. Keep it up - Before you know it we'll be at 500 and who knows what I will give away then!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

300 Followers on Facebook GIVEAWAY!!!

I can't believe that Chrystal's Corner on Facebook has reached 300 followers! So cool:) I originally started a page just to share my blog posts but it has morphed into a place where I share the deals, coupons, freebies and other great things I find throughout the day. I love connecting to you all through our mutual love of saving our family money and sharing what we love. In celebration of hitting this milestone I am giving away 8 toiletry items from my personal stockpile as well as a cute Origins tote:
Origins Tote, 2 Herbal Essences Shampoos, 2 Sure deodorants, 2 Brut deodorants, Colgate toothpaste and a package of cotton rounds
How do you get a chance at this? Well, since my site is all about sharing with all of you, I would love for all of you to share this giveaway with your friends. Update your Facebook status with "I share what I love and I love this giveaway over at Chrystal's Corner:" Then leave a comment on this post saying you did that (make sure to also leave your email so I can get a hold of you if you win). That's it! Only one entry per person.

I like to keep things short and sweet mostly because I am impatient and get too excited to drag this on for days!! That means you only have until Thursday 6/28 at 8pm PST to enter. At that time I will choose 1 winner using Best of luck!

**I want to send a special shout-out to a couple bloggers who helped me get to 300 in the last few days. Go check them out on Facebook: Simple2Save, Stacy's Savings and Other Stuff, Newbiecouponing, and Saving Simple Cents with Cindi**

                      -----THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED-----

Monday, June 27, 2011

Roasting Vegetables

One of my favorite ways to prepare vegetables is to roast them. This creates such a unique flavor and can turn vegetables you and your kids aren't particularly fond of into your favorite healthy additions to any meal.

Some of the veggies I roast I do so for the purpose of pureeing and adding to other foods. We love roasted butternut squash in homemade mac n cheese and in turkey meatballs. Roasted beets along with shredded apples and ricotta cheese make for amazingly sweet and delicious pink pancakes. Roasted red peppers can be pureed to make this Roasted Red Pepper Macaroni with Smoked Gouda Cheese I created or can be sliced and used on everything from pizza to chicken sandwiches to pasta.

One of the veggies I have never liked before I roasted it was cauliflower. In roasting it a nutty flavor emerges and is so delicious. I often do this as a side but it is also amazing in this recipe by Rachel Ray, Roasted Cauliflower Penne with Rosemary Cream Sauce. Broccoli is another great roasted veggie that we eat as a side, sometimes along with the cauliflower.

Because I had such great results with the cauliflower, when I read about roasted radishes in a recent edition of Whole Living magazine, I was open-minded about it even though I don't particularly care for radishes. We hit up our local farmers market and got a great price on several bunches of radishes. I prepared these to go with our BBQ last night and even roasted the leaves. Both turned out great so I thought I would share the recipe with you all:

Roasted Radishes and Greens
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Separate 1 bunch radishes (halved if large) and their greens and arrange on two rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle each with 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

3. Bake, until radishes are tender and caramelized and greens are crisp, 15-20 minutes. Let cool. (This was perfect for the leaves but I had to go quite a bit longer with the really want them soft and browning to get the good roasted flavor:)

What is your favorite roasted vegetable and how do you use it in your meals?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Love Dare Challenge - Days 6-10

I am not a quitter. I don't run for the hills when things get tough. I'm not scared of getting to the heart of my weaknesses and failures. Okay...I just lied. Big time! All of that is completely false. But, I want it to be true. I don't want to give what used to be truth power in my life any more. So I am not giving up on this challenge. I am not going to point the blame at my husband's lack of cooperation. It is about me. The going got tough because this challenge hit the nerve of my biggest shortcoming. I don't feel worthy. I don't find value in things that are just for me. If I am not getting approval from an external source, I don't invest in that action. Hence the reason I struggle with my weight, hence the reason I struggle to do kind things when they go unnoticed. I need somebody to tell me it means something to them.

So as I go into this week I am choosing to focus on me. What I need to learn. What I need to overcome. Will you pray for me? Trying to overcome the shortcomings that have plagued you your entire life are hard! And I am going to need some borrowed strength. But I am going to stick with it. Are you with me?

Monday (day 6) - Love is not irritable. A loving wife is not overly sensitive or cranky but exercise emotional self-control. Okay...let's hit the road running with this one! Let's see what the challenge is: Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation.  Begin by making a list of areas where you need to add margin to your schedule.  Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life (click on the link I attached to day 6 so you can get the full understanding of this). 
I think that both stress and selfishness play a role in my negativity. I become cranky and snap when things have just gotten too overwhelming. Most of the time I do this to myself by either doing what feels right in the moment or by overstretching myself...both which lead to stress later on. If I would put work before play I could curb a lot of stress that creeps in when everything needs to be done all at once. If I asked for help and let myself off the hook for the unimportant stuff I would also be less stressed I'm sure. In turn I would be less irritable which I am sure would bless my husband immensely.

Tuesday (day 7) - Love believes the best. Today I am to take two separate pieces of paper and on one take a few minutes to list the positive things about my spouse, on the other I am to list the negative things. I then put them aside for another day. I am to then pick a positive attribute off the list and thank my husband for it at some point throughout the day.
One of my husband's positive attributes is that he is helpful. He really goes out of his way to help me get caught up around the house so that I can relax. I made sure to tell him that today. I actually am pretty good at thanking him on a regular basis for all he is and all he does. But what the book touched on about not spending time dwelling on what is negative about your spouse really spoke to me. While I would like to think I am a mostly positive person, I know all too well that damage that can be done in our relationship when I start going over and over the things I don't like. I honestly believe that a lot of divorces could be avoided if people just changed their thinking. Actions are important too but it starts with the way you think - about yourself, your spouse and your relationship.

Wednesday (day 8) - Love is not jealous. Now when I hear the word jealous and apply it to a relationship I think of a boyfriend being jealous of another man who might have his woman's attention or a wife who is jealous of her husband's sexy secretary. But there is actually another far more destructive form of jealousy that takes place in marriage. When husband and wife become jealous of each other's successes or the good things happening to them. I wish I could say that this doesn't apply to me but at times it does. Not as much as when we first had kids. I was so jealous of the freedom I perceived him having compared to what I felt I had. Every waking, and sleeping, moment of mine was devoted to the kids and they were rarely out of arms length while he got to often think of himself first in a situation and got to do accomplish tasks without munchkins attached at the hip. This ate at me to the point that when he spent two hours mowing the lawn I was fuming because he got to get out and I was stuck. How crazy is that?
This kind of plays off of yesterday's challenge and how important it is to change your thinking in a situation. It was when I stopped comparing what he got to do to what I got to do, when I started valuing my spot in our marriage and in our family instead of cursing it, and when I started focusing on how I could make things easier for him rather than myself that the burning jealousy began to dissipate. Sure, it creeps in once and awhile, but I am much better at curbing it before it gets out of hand. Today's challenge is to discreetly burn the negative list and to share with your spouse how glad you are about a recent success he or she had.

Thursday (day 9) - Love makes good impressions. Today talks a lot about showing greetings and how it is easy to be kind to those we like but they we are called to also be nice to those we find difficult to like. It goes on further to talk about greetings and how we greet our friends and even strangers kindly but don't always do so with our spouse. The challenge for today is to think of a specific way you want to greet your spouse today. Do so with a smile and enthusiasm. Then determine to change your greeting to reflect your love for them. 
For me, this is going to really apply when my husband is working day shift. He comes home after a 12 hour shift and I am almost always cooking dinner when he walks in. I usually glance up and say hi because I am busy and other times I am totally disheveled if the past hour, or the entire day, has been particularly rough and I barely greet him at all. I know I need to make an effort not only to stop what I am doing and physically acknowledge he is home, but I also need to put aside the craziness of the day to show him how glad I am he is home. When he walks in that door the boys squeal and through themselves at him and it makes my husband feel loved and glad to be home. I want to make him feel that way too!

Friday (day 10) - Love is unconditional. This year God has hit me with this message over and over again. We live in a world where love is a feeling and as soon as that feeling is over we are encouraged to bail. God's word teaches us about agape love which is both selfless and unconditional. True love, the type that leads to lifetime marriages, is the kind that continues despite the feelings. There are always going to be periods of highs and lows and how you conduct yourself during the lows is what defines your love. 
Today's challenge is to do something out of the ordinary for your spouse. Something that proves to you and them that your love is based on your choice and nothing else. You know what I did that was out of the ordinary? Took the blame and apologized without being asked. Our day was a little chaotic because I hadn't planned any of our meals. It sounds simple but it is something that tends to add stress to our day when we have lots of running around to do and need to be in places at specific times. So as we drove to church Friday night I took the time to apologize to my husband for not doing my part. Meals are typically my responsibility and when I drop the ball it causes chaos in the house. I wanted him to know that I acknowledge my part and plan to do better. This is big for me because I have a hard time admitting my faults or shortcomings. He of course forgave me and insured me it wasn't my fault alone but it felt good to not only express this to him but to recognize it myself.

-Update: I went into this week wanting to quit because last week didn't go so well. But I stuck it out and had to tell you that this week was 10 times better. I think that my change of attitude about the whole thing really helped and in turn, my husband has responded in a totally different way as well. I am excited to see what next week brings!

Want to catch up?
The Love Dare Challenge - Days 1-5
Joining the Challenge

Want to join in? I am linking up with Moogie Mama and you can link up too:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Keeping up year round

I love that technology and social networking makes it possible to keep up with friends and family that you might normally lose touch with. At the same time I think there is nothing quiet like old fashioned correspondence through the mail. I love opening my mailbox to find an unexpected treasure! Sure beats bills.

That's why I am making an effort to reach out to those I love and I am excited that Shutterfly makes that possible. I often use them at Christmas time for our holiday cards and photo books but really there are things to take advantage of year round. Want to see what I am working on?

5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

On the inside I was able to include another picture and write an update about all the boys. I am so excited to send these out!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Day of Summer Magic

I just love that my kids are at an age where they believe anything is possible and they are able to find magic in even the small things. Around Easter time I saw this post over at See Jane Blog. I had bookmarked it knowing that it could easily be adapted to fit any time of year. So as the first day of summer started to draw near I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to share the magic with my kids.

I got all of my supplies at the dollar store. I started with these "magic gems" which I found with the other stones that you might put in the bottom of a vase or fish tank.
I wrapped a couple of them up and attached a note that said:
Summer Gems
On Summer's Day Eve, plant these gems in soil, cover them and add water.
Come back in the morning for a truly magical surprise!

My husband placed them in the yard while he was doing some stuff outside. He then came running in the house to tell the kids that he had discovered something amazing that they had to see:

I have to tell you that Nathan (our 4 year old) was really into all of this. He had grand dreams of a beanstalk growing overnight that he would climb to find a great surprise. As my husband was tucking him in at bedtime and telling him to sleep good he replied with, "I will try dad but I am just so excited about those magic gems!" 

The moment we got up in the morning Nathan informed us that something had grown from the gems (he had peaked out the back window). So we put on our shoes and rushed outside and what did we find?

It wasn't a beanstalk by any means but they were still plenty excited by their Tootsie Roll Blooms!

~Happy First Day of Summer everyone~

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.“- Jim Valvano

"Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed." (Psalms 112:1-2 ESV)

I feel as blessed as a girl could be today as I celebrate my own father and the father of my children. The two most special men in my life (for now anyway, there are three little boys who will one day join their ranks!) deserve honor and celebration for their very important roles in both my life and the life of my kids.

My dad is everything those quotes up above describe. He has always believed in me and I grew up thinking that anything was possible if I put my mind to it and worked hard. As an adult I find myself soaking up his words of wisdom when it comes to ministry, parenting, and marriage. He is so wise and I appreciate that he is willing to share what he knows, good and bad, to help make my journey through this life a little smoother. And you want to talk about a man who fears God and delights in his commandments? That is my dad, a man who gave up his passion for fighting fire for his calling to seek and save the lost through missionary work in Mexico. I truly believe his heart matches the heart of Christ himself in how he longs for each and every person to know our Savior. And because he has made that choice to live his life for the Lord, I am blessed. Like I said, I am one lucky girl!
Shortly after leaving the protection and guidance of my dad I was joined together with another amazing man through marriage. Let me tell you what, the longer we are married the more I see my dad in him. He is hard-working and supports his family but he also knows how to cut loose and play like he is a kid himself. Watching his eyes light up when one of the boys does something funny or sweet is enough to make me fall in love with him all over again. Becoming a dad has changed  him for the better and I get excited when I see him pour into them because I know that their lives will be richer for it. And even though my husband is a newer Christian, he already has an intense love for Christ and amazes me daily as he grows into the leader God is calling him to be both in ministry and in our home. I am undoubtedly blessed in having this man to spend the rest of my life with.
I hope on this Father's Day you are feeling equally blessed and that you are taking the time to let those important men in your life know just how special they are.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Love Dare Challenge: Days 1-5

Sitting here on Sunday night getting myself ready to start The Love Dare tomorrow (see this post if you missed what that's all about). Excited to see what the challenges will be and knowing that God can and will bless our marriage if I choose to focus on Him as I change my heart for my husband. I told my husband today that he better be prepared because starting tomorrow I was going to "love his socks off." Of course being a man, his eyebrows shot-up and I can only imagine what he was beginning to draw up in his own mind of just what exactly I meant by that. I gently let him down in telling him that this wasn't a sex thing but assured him that he would be pleased nonetheless. So goodnight for now, I'll report back tomorrow.

Monday (day 1) - Ah...starting out with patience. This books means business! Today's challenge is to remain patient and say nothing negative to your spouse. I have to say it wasn't all that hard. First of all, my husband worked night shift last night so he slept most the day. And secondly, while I can get snippy and cranky I don't usually have a problem with being negative towards him (at least I don't think so, he may have something different to say!). But I did make a big effort to watch what I said and how I said it. I decided to practice patience on the children as well since that is where it is typically more of a struggle. I really noticed a difference until the last hour or so before their bedtime and then I began to wear down. In realizing that, I am going to make more of an effort to make nighttime a smoother transition especially when Jeremy is working and I am handling all 3 kids myself.

Tuesday (day 2) - Today calls for me to practice kindness by not only avoiding saying anything negative, but by doing at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness. My husband worked night shift again but this was going to be the start of his time off so he was planning to get up and watch the kids at 9 so I could go have coffee at a friends house. My act of kindness was to have coffee made and ready when he woke up. I also told him I would take the two older boys so he jut had the munchkin who would most likely nap while I was gone. You know what he said? "You sure are nice!" He noticed! It felt good to do something nice for him and have it noticed.
In the interest of full disclosure I didn't do so hot in the no negative talk. We got in a stupid tiff later in the day and I definitely did not stay patient. So hard when I get emotional! But something I really want to keep working on.

Wednesday (day 3) - What's the plan for today? Along with restraining from negative comments, buy your spouse something that says, "I was thinking of you today." I wasn't sure if this would work out because I wasn't planning on going anywhere today. But this afternoon a perfect opportunity presented itself when my husband and my two younger sons all fell asleep. Nathan and I ran to Starbucks and came back to surprise daddy with his favorite drink. This was a bonus I think because Nathan was pretty excited to be on in getting something for daddy.
I still am struggling with negativity. Again, I am not saying mean or rude things to him, but it is more of an attitude thing. When I get tired or cranky I feel myself getting short and snippy. I think that counts as negative and so I see that as a continued struggle. Maybe by day 40 I will be able to report progress in that area!

Thursday (day 4) - Love is thoughtful. On that note today's challenge is to contact your spouse during the day for no other reason than to ask how they are doing or ask if there is anything they need. I choose to do this with a text message since my husband was working overtime today and wouldn't have been able to answer if I called. We normally talk everyday on his lunch break but on this day they were having lunch catered so I texted him to tell him to enjoy his lunch and not worry about calling. I also asked him if there was anything he needed me to get done for him before he got home.  He never did respond and when he got home he said that he had misread it and didn't realize I was asking a question. It was a great reminder of how easy it is to misunderstand each other and as a result to miss out on the opportunity to bless our spouse or be blessed by our spouse.

Friday (day 5) - I can't believe we are on the fifth day of this challenge! That means I will be sharing this with you all tomorrow. Let's see what is in store for us today. Love is not rude - Ask your spouse to tell you three things that cause him or her to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. You must do so without attacking them or justifying your behavior. That's a doozy! Boy do I struggle to take criticism in a gracious manner. I am glad that I had all day to pray on this one while he was at work. I focused on asking God to let me be gracious in receiving whatever he has to say and that I truly am able to take it to heart.
I really tried to go into this one with an open mind but unfortunately my husband wasn't quite as open to the whole thing. He felt like this was a great way to get a fight going and in turn called this whole project stupid. Needless to say, we DID end up fighting and at this moment I am not sure if I am going to keep up with the rest of the challenge. I am going to take the rest of the weekend to pray on it.

Wrap-Up: There you have it, the good, the bad and the ugly of week one of The Love Dare. I think this is an amazing concept and can totally see it's worth. I am struggling to see if this is worthwhile if only one person in the relationship is doing it. I guess that would come down to wanting to do it to better yourself. I want to make it clear that while this project hasn't ended well so far for me, it isn't because my marriage is bad or in trouble. I am not even doing this for that reason to begin with. I believe that marriage takes an ongoing effort and I am just really wanting to do my part to be a better wife.

Linking up over at Moogie Mama. Want to join us? (I promise, it's not as scary as it looks:)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What's in your purse?

Those of you who know me or who have been following my blog for awhile know that I lead a women's small group at my church. My main goal as a leader is to create an environment where the women feel safe to share, grow, and learn together. One of the ways people begin to feel safer with one another is when they feel like they can relax and be themselves. I think icebreakers, whether in the form of a question or a hands on activity, are a great way to start off a group because they help to loosen people up and often provide everyone with an opportunity to get to know each other better. I find that when it is then time to get serious and go deeper, the women are less reserved.

What got me thinking about ice breakers was a phone call from a friend who is leading up a women's study for the summer and was in need of some ice breakers. She was looking for something geared specifically toward women. I gave her an idea based on something I had done in the past but couldn't really think of anything specific to women. This must have planted a seed because when this morning rolled around and I found myself awake in a quiet house after putting the baby back to bed, my mind went straight to ice breakers (I know, I have a strange mind). I began to wonder what I could come up with that would be specific to women. This is what I thought up:

What's In Your Purse?
(Off subject, but this is a cake. Cool, huh?)
- You are going to start by writing out a simple phrase either on paper or on a whiteboard/chalkboard if you have one available. For my church group I might write out something like "Jesus Christ is Lord of all." You could also do the name of your group (Mother's of Preschoolers) or the title of your book/study. Get creative!
- Have everybody get out their purses. Tell them that the goal is to find an item to correspond with each letter in the phrase. It is okay if not everyone has a purse, they can still participate by suggesting items that the other group members may not have thought of. One person can also be responsible for crossing off each letter as it is found.
- It may go something like this: "I have a lipstick!" (L) "I have a one dollar bill!" (o) "My red wallet works for the letter r!" (r) "How about a driver's license?" (d) Right there you have the word Lord taken care of. This would continue on until you have found an item for each letter or until a designated amount of time has gone by. It isn't necessarily important to cover each letter, the object is to get the women to work together and learn a little bit about each other in the process. Having a timer set might add a whole new element of fun to this activity as well!

I know this isn't an earth-shatteringly great idea but I think it has the potential to be a lot of fun. You can learn so much about a woman by the contents of her purse! What are some of your favorite icebreakers? Do you know any that work especially well in women's groups?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

And the winner is...

The Chex Mix Muddy Buddies Giveaway has come to an end. There were 12 people entered so let's get right down to business., can you tell me who the winner is please?

#4 - Danielle who says, "Mmm looks yummy! And will be super easy to pick up a bag at the store :)"

Congrats Danielle!! You will be receiving an e-mail shortly:)

Did you miss out on this giveaway? Would you like to see another one? When my blog's Facebook page reaches 300 followers I am giving away 8 full size toiletry items from my stockpile PLUS a cute Origins tote. So head over there and "like" me if you haven't and spread the word!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chex Mix Muddy Buddies Giveaway

Did you all know that Chex Mix is soon going to be selling Muddy Buddies YEAR ROUND? Neither did I. But the people spoke up and the people were heard!
If there are any of you who have never heard of Muddy Buddies they are a combination of Corn Chex cereal, peanut butter, and chocolate, dusted with a powdery sweet coating. Now everyone who knows me knows I do not like peanut butter. No, not even in candy or cookies. I know, weird. So I personally don't eat Muddy Buddies for that reason but I do know that everyone else in my life loves them. I have been making them for years for my husband, the guys at his work, my kids, holiday parties. Always a huge hit. I am so excited that they now come pre-made because I don't have to touch the peanut butter to serve these goodies to my loved ones!

I was lucky enough to receive a package from MyBlogSpark and Chex Mix that included a bag of Chex Mix Muddy buddies, an airtight sealed container, a snacking bowl, and a magnetic clip. My boys plowed through them in no time and have been begging for more!
I am not just showing you all of this to brag. MyBlogSpark and Chex Mix is also providing an identical gift pack for one of my readers. Isn't that cool?

Here's how to enter:
Leave a comment saying how you are going to take advantage of Chex Mix Muddy Buddies now that they are available year round. That's it! I will pick one winner using Make sure you leave your email in your comment so I can contact you if you win. (Giveaway is open until Wednesday 6/15/2011 at 8pm PST) - THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED-

**This product was given to me by Chex Mix through MyBlogSpark but the opinions expressed are 100% mine**

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Joining the Challenge

One of the blogs I read, Moogie Mama, is starting a Love Dare Challenge (you know, from the movie Fire Proof) and is encouraging other bloggers to participate. We will follow the Love Dare Monday through Friday and then blog about it on Saturday. I have been interested in trying the Love Dare and have heard many great things about it so I thought this was a great opportunity to get started. Hope you'll follow along. And if you have a blog feel free to join in and link up as well:)

For those of you who don't actually own the book yet (like a certain someone who is typing this) here is a great link that goes through the book day by day so you don't miss anything. There are even free journal pages you can print off:!.aspx

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Inner battle

I think the worst kind of battle to fight is one within yourself. Those moments when your inner voice is screaming so loud you can't hear anything else. When what you feel takes over and the ability to discern what is true becomes blurry at best. Do you have moments like that? I do. Luckily as I get older they seem to be fewer and further between. But when the moment is present it feels powerful and in turn I feel completely powerless. Wrestling with a flight, fight, run, hide, scream, cry mix of emotions that threaten to take over the peace I normally rest in. What do you do when you feel this way?

Me, I turn to those I love and trust. To those who make me feel secure and who will hold me tight and tell me everything will be okay. Mostly my husband, my mom, my Jesus. I talk until I have no more words to express what I am feeling. I dive into things that will make me feel better and for a time remove me from the moment...quality time with my kids, baking, and crafting all do the trick. I pour over scripture. Letting the living word sweep over me, penetrate me, work in me. The latter is really my most powerful weapon against myself. When truth feels lost, I can find it in the one place it will always be. In the word.

"When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul." (ESV Psalm 94:19)

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (NIV John 14:27)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Car seats and Carboard boxes

My mother-in-law was kind enough to buy Isaiah a new car seat for his birthday. She even let me pick the one I wanted so we went with the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 car seat. I love it because we won't have to buy another seat or booster for as long as he needs one!

Yesterday my husband got it installed and Isaiah went for his first front facing car ride.
 Let me say that we are well aware of the American Academy of Pediatrics updated recommendations that state children should remain rear facing until closer to the age of 2. After much consideration and after advice from our trusted pediatrician, we made the choice that felt right for us and turned his seat forward. I just wanted to put that out there for those of you who may have been wondering about that. I completely respect and understand that there will be people who do not agree with this choice just like I hope those who feel that way can respect that this is our personal choice.

Not only did Isaiah benefit from this gift, but so did his big brothers. Jeremy cut some doors in the box and I added a hole for a paper towel roll spy lookout device and Nathan and Jordan now have themselves I hideout.
I don't even know why we bother buying actual toys...they will go for the box every time!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes - Little Brothers

I think Jordan (3) is in need of a break from his little brother this week.

Yesterday we took the two older boys to see Kung Fu Panda 2 and left Isaiah with a friend. As we were driving back from the movie Jordan stated, all so casually, that perhaps our friend would like to keep Isaiah. I assured him she would want to give him back and Jordan went on to explain that some people don't have babies so they might want ours. I told him they may want him but he's ours so we get to keep him. This didn't deter him at all...he responded with, "The baby store might run out of babies so we should take back Isaiah." The baby store huh - that's a whole other discussion!

This morning he started back up again out of no where. "I think Isaiah wants to go back in mommy's tummy," said Jordan.

I don't know what Isaiah did but Jordan sure seems set on finding a way to put him back where he came from! I am sure this is just a phase and soon they will go back to loving on each other like they have been known to do:

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Dinosaur Birthday Party

We finally had Isaiah's birthday party after postponing it due to Isaiah being sick and our niece being in the hospital. Hence the reason I haven't been posting has been crazy! But all the party prep was worth it because we had a blast celebrating our little guy turning 1.

I decided on a dinosaur theme which was tons of fun to play with. I made his card (and matching Thank You cards) based on the green fellow in this picture I found:
Amazingly enough, I did that dinosaur totally free-hand. And trust me, I am no artist! I usually bust out my Cricut (and did for other parts of the party prep - see dinosaurs on banner) but decided to give this one a go without it. I am pretty pleased with how it turned out!
I wanted to make a banner for the party and had been brainstorming for sometime without settling on anything I really liked. Then I happened to stumble upon an easy adorable banner idea over at Small Fry & Co (banner post here). I had all the supplies necessary to make it so I sat down and got it done in one night. I just glued everything together instead of sewing for sake of time but I think the sewing looks really cute too. I decided to just do his name so that I could reuse the banner as decoration in his room.

Because we usually only invite a few close family members to our kids' birthdays, we don't have a lot of little kids besides our own and our nieces in attendance. For this reason, I decided to pass on traditional party favors and make each of the bigger kids something special in honor of the party theme. Dinosaur tails! I got the idea for this over at Running with Scissors (dinosaur tail post here). Can you tell I love scouring blogs for creative ideas? I saw these tails and fell instantly in love. My boys and my niece love all things dress-up so this was the perfect gift both for sporting at the party and for wearing over and over when the need to be a dinosaur arises.

Finally, we had the dessert. Nathan and Jordan helped me make dinosaur sugar cookies:
 Typically I make our boys their own smash cake for the first birthday and make something separate for everyone else. As the party grew closer I realized that the cake planning was starting to stress me out so I decided to go with cupcakes instead. I made a mix of Jumbo and mini cupcakes, decorated in green and red. With my husband's help, we used the cupcakes to create a dinosaur that was fun and easy. I am pretty pleased with how it turned out and I think Isaiah was plenty happy with his first icing experience!

 All in all we had a great time celebrating Isaiah's first birthday...dinosaur style:)
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