Friday, December 30, 2011

Photo Organization Challenge: December

I'm continuing my simple challenge of organizing photos for just two hours a month.

The Memory:

Christmas trees of the past.  Every year we get a real tree, and every year we save a piece of the stump. I think at one point I had this great idea of making all the pieces into ornaments.  Maybe I should seek some Pinterest inspiration. : )  But for now, we just have pieces of stump hiding in random places throughout our house, and I came across a few today in my organizing.  The big piece in the back is actually from this year's tree.  There's kind of a sad, funny story behind it.

Usually we go as a family to cut down our tree.  The day after Thanksgiving is the best day to go, otherwise the best trees will be taken.  But this year we were in Denver and Portland over Thanksgiving week, so we didn't get to pick out our tree.  The next weekend Anna had a swim meet, so we still weren't able to go as a family.  But we needed a tree.  So we ditched our annual outing and Marc planned to go with Ryne and Grace and just get whatever tree he could find.  He went to the same tree farm we usually go to, but it was pouring rain.  So instead of tromping through the mud and getting wet and cold, Marc opted for a pre-cut tree.  Turns out it was a little bigger than what we usually get.  Okay, make that a lot bigger.  He had to cut almost a foot off the bottom, and we had to trim quite a bit off the top to get it to fit in our living room. So that's why this year's piece of stump is a little bigger than the others.  I'm thinking it would make a great candle holder. : )

I guess I'm cheating a little by telling that story.  It's a new story, not something I uncovered during my organizing.  Maybe I should have just told you that our first Christmas tree was named Potifir. {Get it?  Fir?  Potiphar?} Nevermind.

The Progress: Goal met! {sort of}  

I spent about four hours this morning sorting through boxes of stuff instead of photos. {That's why I have to show you pictures of Christmas tree stumps.} I started with four large boxes and ended with . . . four large boxes.  Want to cry with me?  It's not quite as bad as it sounds.  One of the boxes is very organized and I did get rid of a lot of stuff.  A new box is headed to Anna's school, full of greeting cards for the art classes to use.  And some unforeseen benefits arose from my organizing session:

1.  The kids are richer.  I found a card that said Happy Birthday Great-Granddaughter and inside was a ten dollar bill.  I felt horrible, because I didn't know if it was for Anna or Grace, so I figured I'd just give them each five.  But then a few minutes later, I found a duplicate of the card, also with a ten dollar bill!  And later I found two cards with money for Ryne, totaling seven dollars.  And Marc was reunited with a gift certificate (yes, it came from before the days of plastic gift cards) that a Bible study student gave him.  {hanging my head in shame}

2.  My husband doesn't need to get me an anniversary card for our 19th today, because I just found about ten anniversary cards he's given me over the years. {Happy Anniversary, Honey!}

3.  I found my creamy turkey soup recipe. 

4.  I found all my planners/calendars from at least the last fifteen years.  Now I will be able to look up the dates for special trips and events. 

5.  I found the baby's-first-year calendar for Grace.  Since she doesn't have a completed baby book, this is the only record I have of her first milestones.  I was finally able to tell her what her first word was: duck!

So I continue to plug along, hoping for better progress in 2012.  This mess is taking up a good portion of our school room right now, so progress needs to be made sooner rather than later!

Happy Organizing!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Twas the night before . . .


. . .  the night before Christmas -- or as Grace calls it, Christmas Eve Eve.  I decided I'd try to give my neglected blog some love tonight, but I keep getting interrupted by creatures still stirring about. Since I've been absent for most of the month, I'll give you Twelve Things that May or May Not Be Related to Christmas.

1.  It is not looking good for a white Christmas at the Blue House.  We have not had more than a few flurries all month.  I love the snow, and the kids are anxious to do some sledding.  But until then, God has replaced the beauty of snow with some spectacular sunsets.  This picture needed no editing.


2.  Something I haven't shared here is that Marc and I have been following Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover for almost a year.  We started by cutting up the credit cards and have paid cash for everything this year.  While it's taken some getting used to, we are so glad to be going down this path.  In the past we never really budgeted for Christmas, but this year we set aside some money each month so we'd be all set in December.  I set the number a little low however, because I kept reading how all these bloggers used Swagbucks to earn Amazon gift cards.  One blogger said she was able to earn enough gift cards to pay for Christmas.  I knew I'd never be that successful, so I just planned on supplementing our Christmas budget a little.  Well guess what?  I hate Swagbucks.  The auto-fill feature on their search bar drives me coo coo, and the search results aren't as good as what you get from Google.  So I stopped using it for more and more of my searches until finally I just forgot about it -- until December, that is.  I was encouraged that we had money set aside, but when I started adding up costs for gifts, a tree, treats, cards, and so forth, I realized the $5 Amazon card I earned was not going make up the difference between what I wanted to spend and what I had available.

3.  I solved the problem by cutting out one of our biggest expenses and by getting creative.  Sadly, it was our Christmas cards that got the axe.  We didn't get them sent out last year either, so we'll probably get dropped from some lists this year, which is really sad because I LOVE Christmas cards.  Even the ones that people love to make fun of -- no Grinchiness from me when it comes to Christmas newsletters!  So I apologize for not sending you a card or at least posting it on the blog.  {sniff}

And the creative part?  My Pinterest addiction served me well this month.  I made many of our gifts this year and tried out several new recipes.  The peppermint bark rice krispy treats in the top photo were a life saver when I found out last minute I needed a treat to bring to a party -- so easy!  Another great find was this Christmas popcorn recipe that we used for gifts for our Sunday School kids. 


I'm telling you, you need to join me in Pinterestland!

4.  It's been a great month for my Baylor Bears!  Our first Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III (RG3), is a real class act -- he's smart, humble, and obviously a gifted athlete.  We celebrated the news by hanging our Baylor flag.  (How nice -- our school colors work nicely with Christmas decorations!).  Sic 'em Bears!


5.  Despite all my great planning efforts, things still got a chaotic this December.  The problem was that my planning didn't allow for health related problems and a misdiagnosis that rendered me useless for a week.  It was not fun and I had more than a few crying fits, from pain and the frustration of not feeling well and having a million things to do.  But God is good and there were blessings in this trial, just like any other.  One of the greatest blessings was having an awesome husband step in and help with so much.  He even took Ryne and Grace to their homeschool Christmas party.  Love you, Honey!  Another blessing was that because I did do a better job of planning this year, I was still able to get through most of my to-do items.  Except for the baking -- that will be our Christmas Eve project!

6.  December has been heaven for our attention-loving Grace.  First, she got to ring some bells on stage with the symphony orchestra.  Marc was invited to a reception for corporate sponsors and their families, and after the reception they got to watch the rehearsal for the symphony's big Christmas program.  Marc and the kids had a wonderful time, especially when Grace was asked if she'd like to go on stage.  I stayed home because I was feeling awful but wish I had sent the camera with Marc.  Grace also sang a solo at our church Christmas program (maybe I'll have time to post the video tomorrow), and wrapped things up by showing us her best ballerina moves at the ballet school open house.


7.  I changed my Christmas mantel for the first time in more than a decade.  Do you ever read the blogs that have mantel parties for every season?  That's so not me.  I find something I like and then stick with it for a good. long. time.  But even I was itching for some change this year.  I just used stuff that I already had on hand, and it turned out nice and simple.  I'm still tweaking decorations -- today I found these little gnomes I brought back from my childhood home in August.  My sister thinks I'm crazy, but they were some of my favorite decorations when I was a kid.


8.  I had the best gift wrapping session ever this afternoon.  Marc took the kids out to do their Christmas shopping, so I had the whole house to myself.  I spread everything out on the kitchen table, popped in a favorite movie I should have mentioned in my list of favorite movies, and nibbled on some chocolate between wrapping.  So much better than in the middle of the night before Christmas!

9.  When I was done wrapping gifts I took a few minutes to play on the computer.  I read this post by Pioneer Woman and laughed so hard I cried.  Actually I cry just about every time I laugh, but I'm talking tears rolling down my cheeks, laughing out so loud the dog got scared. It was a great afternoon.

10.  We're staying home for Christmas.  Just our family.  Enjoying having Marc home for two weeks of vacation.  Looking forward to some of our favorite traditions like gingerbread pancakes on Christmas morning (although we might change it to brunch after church), finding our Dutch wooden shoes filled with treats, and singing Happy Birthday to Daddy and Jesus after a dinner of prime rib.

11.  Usually we are with Marc's mom for Christmas and she makes the prime rib, so I'm a little nervous about trying to pull this off on my own.  I'm also nervous about the birthday cake recipe I'm making for the first time.  If you follow me on Pinterest, you might be able to figure out what kind of cake it is. I repeat: You really need to join me in my pinning addiction. : )

12.  I always end my Christmas newsletters (on the years when I do actually write them) with the following:

As always, we find joy in our crazy, everyday life, but we remember the real reason for our joy: the baby in the manger who grew up to die on the cross that we might be “filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8).  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope you have a blessed Christmas day, bloggy friends!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Photo Organization Challenge: November

I'm continuing my simple challenge of organizing photos for just two hours a month.


The Memory: Thanksgiving 2006

In honor of her 50th wedding anniversary, Marc's mom treated the whole family to a vacation at an amazing tropical resort in Turks and Caicos. It was bittersweet, since Marc's dad had passed away a year and a half before, but it was a trip of a lifetime. Our kids still talk often of their precious memories from that trip. I, for one, will never forget walking on a beach, holding hands with my honey, asking, "So we're really going to do this?" We announced at dinner that night that we were becoming a homeschool family. : )

The Progress: Goal met!  

I snuck in a few hours of sorting loose photos before we left for Denver last week.   I probably only have a few more hours of sorting until I have them grouped by event.  It was mostly the baby pictures of Anna and Ryne that got so messed up, primarily because I actually did stuff with them. Grace's baby pictures mostly stayed in the envelopes because they were never put in albums or shared. Boo!

The bad news is that I've discovered the bulk of what's causing my clutter problem isn't the photos -- it's all the other stuff that I'm genetically prone to save: hospital scrubs stamped with baby footprints, casts from broken arms, drawings and art projects, invitations and announcements, event tickets and programs, heat sheets and end-of-season stats for swim, VHS and DVD videos, and EVERY SINGLE CARD we've EVER received!

There is some irony in this. Every Christmas I put all the Christmas cards we receive in a ziploc bag and write the year on it. That way, when I make my Christmas card list the following year, I can look through the cards to make sure I didn't forget anyone. Nevermind that I don't have a set location for these ziploc bags, so sometimes I can't find the bag the following year. The irony is that without too much trouble, I could put together a collage of Melanie's family Christmas photos from the last 9 years (because she's one of those organized people who gets her cards done early every year -- love you, Mel). But could I put together a similar collage for my own family? Not a chance.

There's nothing I can do about the past, so I will continue to plug along with my organizing and make sure I get our family's cards done this year. But you could really help me with this next step. Tell me in the comments what to do with all this stuff. What do you keep; what do you toss? Please give me permission to throw away the thank you note from a preschool teacher I haven't seen in a decade. And if you keep some of this stuff, what do you do with it? Here are some ideas I'm considering:

  • Scan artwork
  • Donate most of the greeting cards to Anna's school (they sent out a request)
  • Store Christmas photo cards on a ring 

Once I get past this step, I should be ready to start putting photos in albums -- yea!!!

Happy Organizing!

P.S.  As if I needed further proof that I need to get these photos organized, Grace just sat down by me and asked, "Whose family is that?"  Maybe I should schedule more than two hours this month.  ; )

Monday, November 28, 2011

1000 Gifts: On the Road

Today I'm a west coast blogger, and it seems strange knowing that some of you will soon be eating lunch while Marc and I buy our umpteenth cup of Starbucks since arriving in Portland, Oregon last Friday.  The fun actually started last Tuesday when we loaded up the kids and dog and drove to Denver. It's nice having both sides of our family there now -- my sister and dad joined Marc's family for Thanksgiving dinner at Marc's sister's house.  Then Friday, Marc and I flew out of Denver to Portland to attend the wedding of one of my many cousins.  My sister flew out on a different airline; my dad stayed home, happy to babysit the dogs.  Marc's mom is enjoying watching our kids.  In a few hours we'll start our long trek home.

My cousin married a professional comedian, so the wedding was definitely unique.  I've never seen so many people lined up to toast the bride and groom -- it was like a comedy hour right there at the reception.  While there were many blush-worthy moments, there were also lots of genuinely funny times throughout the weekend.  I'm truly happy for my cousin and her new husband, and I love the family reunions that always come with the cousin weddings.

By Sunday afternoon, all the family were on their way back home -- except for Marc and me.  We decided to enjoy our first kid-free trip in six years just a little longer.  So as I wait for my hubby to make one last Starbucks run, I'm taking a moment to count my blessings.

121.  Five people and a dog packed into a minivan.  I love road trips!

122.  That my husband is an expert minivan-packer.

123.  That he also likes doing most of the driving on our long trips.

124.  That first glimpse of Pikes Peak from I-70.

125.  Unseasonably warm weather in Denver, especially since I forgot to pack the kids' coats.

126.  My walks on south Denver's Highline Canal trail, so I didn't feel as guilty about indulging in some pumpkin pie.

127.  Pumpkin pie.

128.  A house full of family and friends celebrating the Lord's goodness.

Marc with his mom and siblings

the blue house crew

129.  Meeting my sister's boyfriend.

130.  Seeing my dad in his new house and knowing the stress of his move was worth it.

Me, Dad, and my sister

131.  Evening of playing cards with the family, especially if it's Shanghai Rummy.

132.  Flying over the Rocky Mountains and then later seeing the magnificent peaks of Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens of the Cascade Range out our airplane window.

133.  Our flight arrived a few minutes early.  We were nervous about missing the wedding with Black Friday travel, but everything went smooth and we had several hours to relax before the wedding.

134.  Starbucks right across the street from our hotel (as well as one block away in just about every direction).

135.  Weddings.  I love everything about them.


136.  Family reunions.

This handsome young man (my cousin) was the ring bearer at my wedding, almost 19 years ago!

137.  Sharing a dance with my hubby.

The bride hung family wedding pictures around the room, so here are Marc and I with our picture; my mom and dad's photo is above ours.

138.  Exploring downtown Portland with my sister, while Marc watched football with my male cousins.

139.  A fun Saturday evening with the family.

140.  Four of us visiting a really neat church Sunday morning.  Such a great reminder that we are just a small part of the church universal.

Marc's iphone pic; just so you know, we were early -- church was full during service : )

141.  Having an extra day in Portland, spent just with my hubby.


142.  The anticipation of being with the kids again and a safe trip home.

God is good!  Hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving too.

P.S.  I think this post contains more pictures of yours truly than I have included in the entire history of this blog.  So now you know I'm a real person.  ; )

Monday, November 21, 2011

1000 Gifts


Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 

1 Corinthians 9:24

I'm running a race alright.  It's just that I'm often entered in the wrong event, dashing from one to-do list item to another, forgetting that the prize is not an empty list but an imperishable crown.  A telling sign that I'm getting off track, is when I stop thanking God for His daily gifts.  So last week I again picked up the pen and started recording.

It's been awhile since I've added to my gratitude list, so I when I logged into my blog this morning, I quick scanned my list of blog posts to see just how long it's been.  It was then that I noticed I had never published my last list back in early October!  I remember that I had finished the list, but I hate posting without at least one picture, so I was going to go find the camera, and the next thing you know almost two months have passed and my list sits still unpublished.  At least God knew of those little things that made my heart sing.  So #106 - #113 are from September, and the rest of the list are more recent. : )

106.  The thunk of walnuts hitting the deck.

107.  Making a cream cheese bagel for my daughter before an early morning swim practice, even though she's too tired and grumpy to care.

108.  My husband showing up unexpectedly after his Bible study to help me out as the kids gathered for swim team pictures.

109.  Trying new things, whether it be a cross country meet or a new recipe.

110.  A long drive through the pretty countryside. Even though we were lost and late.

111.  A very large but cuddly dog squeezed under the table as his family gathered for Sunday dinner.

112.  Sunday afternoon naps. I may have already had this one on the list, so just count me extra grateful.

113.  A silent car as my three kids prayed after seeing a huge fire on the way home from church. Seeing on the news that night that it was a barn fire and not someone's house and that there were no injuries.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

114.  A swim coach (and friend) who totally "gets" my son when so few people really do.

115.  Encouraging comments (from the same coach) for a discouraged daughter.

116.  Seeing the talents of a homeschooled young man on Anna's track and cross country teams being utilized. He put together a great video of a recent meet and redesigned a website, and you just get the impression that homeschooling as allowed him the freedom to pursue his niche.

117. A friend and neighbor who answered the call to open an autism center in our area (and she's done an amazing job).


117.  A safe and fun trip for Marc and Anna to West Virginia for a cross country meet.

118.  A husband who is goofy enough to sing John Denver's "Country Roads" to a bus full of people. And my daughter, who takes after her quiet mother, didn't die of embarrassment.

119.  Learning experiences.  That's what this meet turned out to be.  Her personal result wasn't quite what she hoped for, but her team did very well and she's much wiser.


120.   A break from the busy.  Marc's working a half day today, Anna has one day of school, but then the whole family has a entire  week to rest, play, and be thankful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Family Christmas List

A sudden burst of inspiration hit me last Friday morning as I took my shower.  That's where I usually have my best ideas, but by the time I get out my brain has moved onto other things.  If I could figure out how to blog in the shower, I'd have a great new post every day!  Back to my burst of inspiration . . .

My kids love making Christmas wish lists, having inherited the skill from their list-dependent mother and father both.  But in my pondering of how to make our Christmas season more meaningful and less of the  if-I-can-just-survive-until-January mentality, I thought it would be great to get the whole family's input.  So I quick whipped up the Family Christmas List. (If you're in reader mode, you'll have to click over to the blog to see the list, or just click on the link below and it takes you to Scribd.)

Family Christmas List

The Family Christmas List is actually four different lists in one:  presents, family activities, other activities, and service/charitable giving.  It was a huge hit!  We presented the list to the kids after dinner Sunday night and they eagerly set to work.  

The list gave us a great opportunity to further train our children in Christian living.  For example,  Ryne had no problem filling out the first three categories, but left the last section completely blank.  No wonder!  Usually when our family serves Christ in concrete ways, Ryne is just told what we're doing.  The girls struggled a little with this part of the list too, so for a kid with autism it was even harder.

In case you're wondering, yes, Marc and I filled out a list too.  Actually, I'm still working on mine.  The next step is for Marc and I to look over everyone's lists and decide what we will actually do.  Ideally, I would have had this idea a week or more ago and we could already have our plans made before the holidays were in full swing.  

I know this list doesn't guarantee we will have a Christ-centered Christmas, but it at least helps us to be thinking about it and planning for it, instead of just hoping that magically this will be the year we finally get Christmas right.  

Another burst of inspiration just hit (and I'm not even in the shower):  I will do a follow-up post later in December sharing how our list came to fruition.   If you are able to use this list (or do something similar in your family), I'd love to hear what kinds of activities your family enjoys.  

Happy Planning! 

P.S. Prints on US Legal size paper (8.5 x 14)
Header created using Christmas Treasures kit from Crafty Queen at

P.P.S.  Here is another Christmas planning resource that has been helpful to me this year:  Christmas Your Way (free eBook &  printables).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On my brain . . .


1.  The last signs of fall.  I'll miss it.  We have had almost three months of perfect weather.  So perfect that I've taken it for granted.  I let busyness take over so that I didn't enjoy the season nearly as much as I should have.

2.  I'm experiencing post-Harry Potter let down. I've been steadily working my way through the series since summer and just finished Book 7 Saturday night.  I never expected I'd enjoy them that much.  Now I'm struggling with a strong desire to read, yet there's nothing I want to read.  Suggestions to get me over the hump?

3.  I'm also working my way through the Harry Potter movies.  They're okay, but mostly I'm bored with them since so much had to be cut from the books.

4.  My dear bloggy friend, Dawn, nominated me for Best Encourager in the Homeschool Blog Awards (thank you, Dawn!).  Although I love blogging, I'm not very consistent with it.  I also have lots of room for improvement when it comes to being an encourager.  But I can get pretty real with my faults and weaknesses on this blog, and I'm not above poking fun at myself.  So perhaps it's encouraging just to know that I'm not a supermom, but just someone like you -- clinging to God's grace as I homeschool my kids and figure out what to make for dinner.  Welcome to those of you who are visiting from the blog awards.

5.  I've rediscovered some long-forgotten muscles, and they hurt!  Last night was bring-your-parent-to-ballet-class night.  This is one of Grace's favorite annual events, so I will continue to attend until she finally realizes how bad I am at ballet and is too embarrassed to have her mom there (probably in another four years when she's thirteen).  Every year I'm amazed at how hard those little ballerinas work.  The worst part, however, was that I forgot it was parent participation night and had not dressed as I would have had I remembered, so I was embarrassed that everyone got to see the dirty bottoms of my socks!  I love that my hardwood floors hide dirt very well, but my socks reveal the truth.

6.  It's official -- my thirteen-year-old is waaaayyyy smarter than me.  When she asks me a question related to her school work, my usual response is, "Uhhhh . . .  I don't know."  If she weren't so stinkin' busy with school and sports, I'd hire her to teach Ryne and Grace Latin, because she's a pro now.  And I've decided it's a terrible idea to teach logic to a teenager; she is now pointing out fallacies in my arguments.  My only redeeming grace is that I still remember a fair amount of algebra (nobody is more shocked at this than I), and I kept my college textbook on sentence diagramming, which has come in handy lately.

I'm going to shock you tomorrow by actually blogging two days in a row!  I have a Christmas planning printable to share with you -- a simple way to get the whole family involved and direct our focus toward Christ in this busy season.  So be sure to stop by tomorrow.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tweeting and Pinning

I am not known for being up-to-date on the latest technology.  I often have to have Ryne's help to get our TV working after he's been using the Wii, I don't have a smart phone, and I think I'm one of the few people left who do not have a Facebook account.  (Marc is another one of the few; but sooner or later one of us will have to join once our thirteen-year-old convinces us to let her join.  If she gets an account, we'll have to get one.)  Perhaps the most telling evidence of my technological uncoolness is that the original draft of this post was written BY HAND on a spiral pad while my daughter was at cross country practice.

So it might come as a shock that I've had a Twitter account for the past several months.  Me! On Twitter!  The only problem is that I have no idea what to do on Twitter.  I have yet to write my first tweet.  Maybe there's just too much pressure to write something witty, clever, profound or interesting.  Or maybe it's that I have one friend as a follower (Thanks, Ruthanne!), so if she doesn't see my tweet I'll feel like I'm talking to myself. :) I do have a few other followers, who apparently followed me because I follow financial guru Dave Ramsey.  Really?  What are they going to accomplish by following me?  Like I said, I'm not really getting the whole Twitter thing yet.

Why bother, then?  Because I really, really wanted to join Pinterest.  Now that's totally up my alley. Hundreds and thousands of lovely pictures!  But to have a Pinterest account, one needs a Twitter or FB account, and Twitter seemed like the lesser of the two evils.  And even though Twitter has me baffled, it was totally worth it so I could be on Pinterest.  Not sure what Pinterest is?  Here is what Pinterest has to say, and here is a helpful blog post (and another).  Basically, it's a place to bookmark any picture you want from the internet.  If you are a visual person who remembers pictures better than words, Pinterest is for you.

I use Pinterest to collect recipes, decorating ideas, homeschool ideas, and even hairstyle ideas for the girls.  It's super easy for me to quick check my boards when I'm making my weekly menu to pick out a new recipe to try.  Before Pinterest, it was rare for me to try something new so I often got bored with cooking.  But look at all the goodies I've tried lately!

Okay, so maybe I've been trying more sweets than dinners, but we entertain several Sundays a month and I was in need of some new dessert recipes!  Plus, we've had a few special occasions lately that were perfect excuses for baking.  But I have plenty of dinner, lunch and breakfast recipes pinned for future meals. : )

I even found an easy way to cut down on my fruit fly population.  

Most of these links I've just repinned from other Pinterest users, but I also occasionally pin things I see from my own blog reading, like the Creamy White Chili recipe (thank you, Heather!).  I also went through my computer files and pinned some of my favorite links.  I hardly know most of the people I follow, but have found them through blogs or The Well Trained Mind forum.  They do have good taste though!

Pinterest is fun to use, and I don't find that it sucks away my time like other internet activities.  I can be on and off Pinterest in less than five minutes, making it easy to check in while making dinner or waiting for a child to finish a writing assignment.  Grace also loves Pinterest!  She'll sit on my lap, oooing and ahhing at different pictures with me.

Do you tweet or pin?  I'd love to follow you!  You can find me {not} tweeting here and {definitely} pinning here.  I plan to beg Ruthanne to teach me how to navigate Twitter and would like to start using it someday.  I even avoided my to-do list one evening by crafting a cute Twitter background, only to find out it looks wonky in certain browsers.  Maybe I'll get around to fixing it someday.  Maybe not.  If you want to join Pinterest, let me know and I'll send you an invite.  I've heard it's easier to get an invite from a friend than signing up through the site, but that may have changed since I joined.

Happy Tweeting and Pinning! {or however else you waste your time}

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Our Little Rainbow

When I was pregnant with Grace, the big question on everyone's mind was what color hair would she have? Would she have dark brown like her sister, or blonde like her brother? So when the nurse announced, "Look at that red hair!" it was clear God planned for Grace to be unique from the beginning. She has definitely brought much color to our lives.






So it is fitting that we are celebrating her 9th birthday this week with rainbows. Rainbow cookies, rainbow pancakes, rainbow cake -- because clearly I think she doesn't get enough sugar and food color in her diet. ; )

But if a little sugar is one way for me to thank her for filling my life with color, then bake I will.

Happy Birthday, Gracie!

P.S. Yes, these old photos are some of my finds from my October photo organization challenge, although I confess it was actually November 1st when I did it. I'm still counting it as October though. : ) Let me know if you made any progress in October.

Friday, September 30, 2011

photo organization challenge

A month ago I announced on this blog that I was going to devote two hours a month to organizing my photos. As of 11:30 p.m. September 30th, I kept my promise! Nothing like waiting to the last minute. ; )

Granted, I hardly made a dent in what needs to be done, but it was a start. It will be a long time before I start getting the pictures in albums. You would not believe the mess I have. Nothing is in any semblance of order. The box I went through tonight had mostly pictures from Ryne's first year, and I spent all my time trying to group the pictures by event and put them in chronological order. I'm surprised at how much I've already forgotten! All the more reason to keep my promise for the upcoming months -- my memory is not going to get better.

Since I'm going to be updating my progress every month, I thought I'd liven up the post a bit by posting a few favorite pictures I came across tonight. And since I'm totally loving this season, I narrowed it down to some of my favorite old fall photos.

Anna -- 21 months

These playing-in-the-leave-shots were taken in the front yard of our previous house, what we call the green house. I think I'm glad we moved just because of that -- can you imagine my blog being called "Green House Academy"? Anyway, it was an old urban neighborhood with tree-lined streets. We had maybe three trees in our yard, and yet we would end up with at about 25 bags of leaves to be carried away. Now that we live next to a forest, guess how many bags we fill. None! The wind just carries everything into the woods. I have no idea why I'm telling you this. Maybe because it's almost midnight and I've been up since 4:30 a.m. for Anna's swim practice. Forgive me.

One of my most favorite pictures ever - Ryne - 2 months

It is a rare occasion when I make it into a photo, but one day we went with our playgroup to a pumpkin patch and I had a friend try to take a picture of me with the kids. It didn't go so well, but I still love this picture.


This next photo is actually from a different year, but was in the box I sorted tonight. What a brilliant idea -- we should bring a baby backpack to carry our picked pumpkins every year! Do they still make those?


Something really annoying about that year was that the auto-date-thingy got messed up and I kept forgetting to turn it off. So for the entire year of 2000 (I think) the photos had some random date on them.

Speaking of random, it's clearly time for me to go to bed. ; ) If my challenge inspired you to do any organizing of your own in September, leave a comment and tell me what treasures you found. Or maybe you can share them in a post too!

Happy Organizing!