Saturday, March 30, 2013


"Because it's not about trying, it's about trusting. 
It's not about rules, it's about Grace: 
God's free gift-that cost him everything."
-Jesus Storybook Bible 

"God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners"
(Romans 5:8)

"For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ."
(1 Corinthians 5:21)

"God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it."
(Eph 2:8-9) 
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Monday, March 25, 2013

Operation Tooth Fairy: Fail

Operation Tooth Fairy: fail.
My son lost his first tooth yesterday after church. He has anticipated this experience for a while now, being pretty late in the game at 7 y/o.
The tiny tooth was put into a resealable bag and placed under his pillow.
Late that night, the "tooth fairy" crept in to retrieve the bag & leave the goods without waking the sleeping toothless one.
Safely out of his room, the "tooth fairy" discovered the bag was empty & it was opened slightly! AH!
Does "the fairy" go back in & risk blowing the magic off his first experience by waking him?
No. Too risky.
The tooth is tinier than my pinky fingernail; surely it will be inconspicuous in the bed sheets & the loot will distract him immediately.
This morning dear son came in holding the tooth in my face.
"Mom, the tooth fairy forgot my tooth"
"Oh. Really? I think that reminds me...the tooth fairy leaves the first tooth for you to keep. It's a special memory."
yes.that's good. is he buying it? 

Moments later I heard him repeating the scenario with my husband.
GREAT! Dan will definitely blow the cover. He's too transparent. Dangit! Why did I have to marry such an honest man?
Miracle of miracles: I overheard Dan say "Oh, she let you keep it?! That's good."

Over Cheerios, my suspicious little guy said,
"there's one more thing, mom. the dollar was folded. the tooth fairy doesn't fold dollars. She delivers them flat. So tell me. Just tell me. Was it you that put the money there, mom?"
"Carter, the tooth fairy put the money there."
Lie. Ish. I'm the tooth fairy, so it doesn't count, right?

MidKid didn't want to be left out of the teeth photos. Hopefully I can get it right with her. Pin It

Friday, March 22, 2013

Winter's bright sides & a winner!

I can hardly wait for this "silver white Winter" to "melt into Spring!"
The first days of Spring here in NY have been marked by snowfall & bitter cold wind.
Most days, I can ward off Winter blues with the anticipation of warmer temps at Disney World next month.
This morning, freezing my tail off at the gas pump, I began compiling a list of reasons to be thankful for the cold to keep myself from spiraling into an ugly "enough is enough" frenzy. 

The Bright sides of a lingering Winter:
1. still getting dark enough for kids to go to bed at 7:30
2. no mosquitoes or other pests
3. milk & frozen goods survive in the trunk, no need to plan ahead running errands
4. kids are in school
5. no lawn care or weeding the flower beds
6. less hair-removal maintenance pressure
7. no frizz or humidity sabotaging blow-outs
8. more time to tone up before donning swimsuits & shorts
9. not plagued by pollen & other outdoor allergies 
10. did I say, kids are in school?

Did I miss any???

Congratulations to Commenter #10: Nina! 
You have won the 8x8 Shutterfly Photobook, including FREE shipping!

photo via Pinterest

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Cheerful dishwasher reminder

I just love when every plate & mug & fork we have has to be pulled out to serve people we love & enjoy!
A cheerful rainbow of plates greeted me in the dishwasher this morning as a reminder of St Patrick's day fun. Corned beef & cabbage with a side of Weber's mustard and rainbow cake for dessert. My Lebanese husband makes it all happen. This year the cousins did a "reenactment" of St Patrick's story, again, idea & execution thanks to my husband. Slainte!
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Friday, March 15, 2013

what does God want from me?

Late one night, after I finished the Disney countdown chain, I read through Galatians. I love Paul's letters to the churches in the New Testament for their straight-shooting, understandable language.
Do you believe the Bible is true?
I do.

The Galatians are having trouble with the concepts of freedom and grace. They can't shake the righteousness they linked with religious practices before Jesus Christ died to free them and salvation came by grace. Grace for free? 
Salvation by grace through faith makes practices like going to church & giving money, and any other good things done with good intentions merely that: good.

So, what is it that God wants from me in return for this free gift of grace?

Here's what Paul says that struck me & has me going back to read again all week. (I've "..." between some of it for the sake of brevity.) Galatians 5, beginning at 4. (The Message version)

"When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace...
For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love....
(v13-15) It is clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want and destroy your freedom...use this freedom to serve one another...For everything we know about God's word can be summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself...

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day... 

(19) It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness;...paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on...
But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people."
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Countdown to Disney DIY

Our family is heading to Disney World! 

The anticipation of any vacation from normal life has always been a big part of the fun for me. It was no surprise to read that a 2010 study reported the effects of vacation anticipation boosted happiness levels for 8 weeks prior to a trip. 

Some enlist the help of Disney touring specialists to plan their trips, while I'm thankful to have had the time to research crowd trends, character meal reviews, and park secrets myself. My husband would hire this portion out in a heartbeat or just show up & wing it. We've been to WDW several times between us, but have never taken the kids. Our oldest two are at prime ages to experience the magic. We were sold on going with a baby when we learned of parent/baby swap (whole party waits for ride, parent A stays aside w/baby while parent B & tall-enough children ride, then parent A & B switch & kids get to ride again with parent A). We'll go back again in a few years when the littlest can appreciate it and the older two can see it in a new way. She is free to fly, to stay, & can eat from our plates, so we don't have to worry about her getting our money's worth.

Going through the summer clothes bins & putting sunscreen in my basket at Target is welcome task after our first Northeastern Winter in nearly 10 years.
To build excitement & give them an idea of what to expect:
We've been watching You Tube videos of the parks. (I nearly teared up watching Celebrate the Magic.)
We are big fans of these Songs & Story CDs.
Pandora plays Disney while we're doing homework through dinner (I like the Enchanted station w/Amy Adams & James Marsden because it mixes some old standards for a break from straight Disney tracks.)
I'm considering a library run for the movies my kids haven't seen much or at all. I've always loved Mary Poppins & Swiss Family Robinson were some of my favorites at their age.  

Last night at midnight, I created this chain link countdown to Disney (because I promised it would be up in the morning & remembered on my way up to bed). My kids are under 10, so 30 days or less seems fitting for time visualization.
I cut strips of red & white cardstock, 1 for each day until we leave (including the morning we leave)
On each strip, I wrote trivia questions ("What did Rapunzel want to see?", "Who helped to make soup while hidden under a chef's hat?" "What is Belle's favorite activity?" ,"What are the names of the superhero family members dressed in red") and actions "Bounce around like Tigger!", "Say it with me: "Meeska Mooska Mickey Mouse!" "Swim around like Nemo", "Race around like Vanellope").
Secure the ends of each link together, keeping the writing inside of the loop, one linked around the last; creating a chain.
MidKid wakes me up every day with "Mom, I know who else lives at Disney!" And so begins the dialogue of which characters & movies are Disney, along with Q&A about barely familiar characters.
My son asked if he could start packing this weekend.
I think we can check "Build Anticipation" off of our list.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

School memories.

What's your approach to the perpetual, plentiful art and school work that comes from your child's backpack?
Do you save every piece? Do you wait til they're off playing and hide it in the trash?
Is your refrigerator door covered in it? For us this method works swimmingly:
A prominent wall is painted in chalkboard paint and a wire (from here) is hung for each child.
Each week their masterpieces are hung from the clips. At the end of the week, I toss them while they're asleep, as not to hurt their precious egos. Honestly, they've never asked where they go.
On occasion, something stands out as a snapshot of their current stage and I keep that in a binder/folder. At the end of the year, I edit that folder, if needed, and file it away marked with grade, teacher, school, etc.
I don't want to forget Carter's retelling of coming home from school to find I had decorated the Christmas tree without him (bad mom), complete with misspelled words and illustrations or the first time Lilah wrote her name.
While my tendency is to toss, I know I'll appreciate the reminder that he wrote his name as a mirror image through much of Kindergarten after dropping him of at college.

I love the idea of scanning art and outstanding work along with photos from school activities into a photo book.
Shutterfly photo book giveaway has ended
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I spent the first half inconspicuously searching the dark room for someone, any one showing as much pain as I was feeling. 
How are they pulling this off so gracefully
My feet are literally locked in now.
Besides, I wouldn't dream of walking out or working at a lower pace because I'm far too competitive & prideful for that type of wussy behavior. 
That's the thing about group classes that works so well for me.
It's an element I've missed hitting the treadmill to run exclusively for the past year or so, with no accountability.

I'd given myself until February to try a spinning class for the first time. When March 1st glared back at me from my iPhone screen, I knew I had to face my "new girl in the cool kids' class" anxieties. I had little time to linger on my insecurities once the music started and the lights went out:

My lady parts didn't hurt that badly after trying to push my baby out.
Why is no one else screeching in pain? 
These gals have far less padding anywhere on their bodies than I do, this is KILLER! Kelly Ripa does this?
Did you gals stuff your panties before we started? No, seriously, I'm holding back tears. What am I missing?

Days later, I still hadn't fully recovered. Walking around in heels on Sunday was quite a feat, because by then, the leg soreness had matched that of my lady parts.

Because fit folks swear by this exercise, and the lines to get in that classroom are long and consistent each day, I've got to go back again and see if it's any easier to pretend the seat isn't violating me.
How long does it take; seriously? 
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