Fishkins Vacation Day 1 & 2

We pulled out of our driveway around 2:30 pm on June 25th. We had to pick up my brother Chris in Souix City, IA on the 26th and we wanted to drive as far as possible on the first day in order to cut down on driving time on the 26th. We hadn’t made hotel reservations for the night because we didn’t know how far we would get and we didn’t want to pressure ourselves into going farther than we felt we could just because of reservations. 
Everything started out great. The weather was wonderful, everyone was excited. We took Steven’s sister Michelle with us as our graduation gift to her. She had never been to this part of the country before and she loves the outdoors so we knew she’d enjoy it. We had decided that we would rotate one kid out of our car each day and into my mom’s car. That way they could spend some time with my mom and their uncles and they wouldn’t be on top of each other in the backseat all the time. It was the perfect plan! We started out with Micah and Jonah in our car. And they were great together! The ride was always smooth when those two were in the car together!
 We got through our part of KY, into a small corner of Indiana, into Ohio, back into Indiana and crossed into Illinois. It was in Illinois that we started to hit nasty weather. The rain was so strong, the wind blew really hard and it got super black. Come to find out later the storm we drove through spawned 2 tornadoes in Illinois so we got incredibly lucky! We had to stop at one point and take refuge in a local Dairy Queen until the storm could pass over. So sad that we had to indulge in a chicken finger basket and a s’mores Blizzard while we waited. It was awful! *wink*
But after the storm we were greeted by some pretty cool cloud formations.
We made it as far that night as Walcott, IA, a total of 498.9 miles and 10 hours of driving. We stopped at a Days Inn which, even though you could tell it was older and it needed some remodeling, was very clean. Plus we got it for under $100 a night and it included breakfast the next morning.
The next morning my mom woke up to a call from my brother that his connecting flight from Chicago to Souix City had been canceled due to the weather in Chicago. He was being rerouted to Houston and then in to Omaha, Nebraska instead. The kids had a little time to swim after they ate breakfast, which made them happy and us too because we knew that they would swim out some wiggles before we hit the road.  Oh and we played with Eli’s hair a little too! Hello mini Brianna! lol
We got on the road from Walcott around 10 am after a stop at the World’s Largest Truck Stop for a fuel up, tire air up and some coffee from Caribou (for Michael and I). 

We stopped for a picnic lunch at a rest stop in Iowa. It was a beautiful spot to stop and stretch our legs for a while. It even had a playground for the kids which helps so much when they’ve been locked in the car for so long. Like I mentioned in my last post we had packed egg salad, tuna salad, pasta salad, potato salad, bread, and chips so we could eat healthy and cheaply on the road. It was great to just be able to pull out what we needed and clean up was a breeze since we brought paper plates and plastic utensils for these kind of stops (we use reusable items when we stay put for a longer period of time but we don’t want to have to worry about washing dishes at a rest stop!)

Over the picnic we decided it didn’t make sense for everyone to go to the airport in Omaha to pick up Chris. So we decided to split up. Steven and Michelle went in my mom’s car with Jonah and Micah and headed on to our destination for the evening, Niobrara State Park. Michael, Brianna, Eli and I headed on to Omaha to get Chris. I was really surprised by Omaha! It was a cute little midwest town. Well, in reality it’s not that little, the population is almost 500,000. But it was clean and easy to navigate and I really liked it. I’d like to go back one day and actually explore it a little.
After getting Chris we drove through Nebraska and up into South Dakota to cross back over into Nebraska to reach Niobrara State Park. We drove across the Niobrara River and the Lakota Indian Reservation of Santee on our way. It was a beautiful drive part of the way through the Loess Hills, but I’ll admit that most of Iowa and southeastern South Dakota are pretty boring.
Once we arrived in Niobrara they had gotten some of camp set up. Our tent was up, mom’s was ready to go up. We got the canopy up, even though my brother kept protesting we weren’t going to need it. Well, we were awfully glad we had it the next morning when it rained for almost 2 hours straight and we needed to pack up and move on! For dinner that night we threw hot dogs and polish sausages on the grill, potato salad, pasta salad and strawberries. We got a campfire going and the kids got to make S’mores which is always a hit!

We got some rain that night but that made it all the more peaceful for sleeping. I love laying there and listening to the rain hit the roof of the tent. 
By the end of day 2 on the road we had covered 923.2 miles. Not too shabby!! And everyone was still happy so that was awesome!

Our Griswalds Family Vacation Part I

I can’t believe it’s been 2 months since I’ve updated the blog! Why the absence? Well, there were a few reasons. 1. I was just kind of over it. I didn’t feel like I had anything to write about and I hate forcing it, you know? 2. I started scrapbooking, a lot! And I honestly just didn’t have time in the day to do both! Between the two I really love the hands on feel of scrapbooking. I love the feel of paper sliding between scissor blades. I love the creative process. It fulfills all of my creative urges! But I also can’t keep up with scrapbooking the way I’d like to so I started the blog to record the memories until I could get around to scrapping them. The scrapping took over for a while, but I’ve realized I need to find a way to do both. 3. I kind of felt for a while like blogs were becoming the new school yard. I follow so many blogs, many by moms, and I absolutely love reading them. I don’t always agree with what they might say or post but I love to see the day in and outs of other people’s lives. But I became kind of jadded seeing the way that some of these women were being judged and ridiculed on their own blogs. It felt like blogs were becoming the new mean girl central and I didn’t want anything to do with it! But after my hiatus of both reading and writing I’m missing it, so I guess it’s time to get back!
Our 15 day sojourn out west was amazing! We covered 11 states in 13 days. It was incredible! It was long! It was hard at times. But I wouldn’t trade a single minute we spent in the car, or a single dollar we spent on gas for anything in the world! We made some amazing memories on this trip and I can’t wait to share it all with you!
I thought I would start by sharing some of the things we did to get ready that made our lives so much easier on our trip. Going such a long distance and being gone for such a long time with 4 little ones definitely takes more planning. You really have to prepare yourself for every possible scenario. You will over plan because if you don’t prepare for it, it will happen!! lol
We planned for this trip for 10 months. 10 months of researching on the internet, talking

to others who had done the trip, etc. We definitely planned to do more things than we actually got to do, but that was OK because we were prepared for sites that took less time than others, sites that were farther away than we thought they would be so driving took longer, etc.

For us, getting the trailer ready with all of our camping equipment was essential. And I’m not joking when I said we have a trailer.
 She is probably our most important supply that we have!My mom bought this last summer and we took it on a few test runs. It is wonderful to have all of our camping stuff in one spot. We can drop everything on a Friday afternoon if we want and head out to camp, and all we have to pick up is some food. The trailer is set up with Rubbermaid totes in the rear for each tent (we have several). In each tote are the air mattresses for that tent, the sleeping bags and/or sheets, pillows and a rug. My back doesn’t allow me to sleep on the ground and the kids sleep better on an air mattress too. Steven and I decided to buy a sheet set to put on our mattress and we cover up with extra quilts, which are stored in their own tote. The kids each have their own sleeping bag. And we also bought pillows just to be used for camping since they always end up smelling like campfire after a while. Each tent also has a collapsible dirty clothes hamper so that dirty clothes aren’t strewn all over the tent or shoved back in suitcases and then we don’t know what’s clean and what’s dirty. Eventually I want to get a shoe rack for our tent also since we take several types of shoes (tennis shoes for everyone, flip flops for the showers, water shoes for creeking or swimming in lakes).

We have several shelves inside the trailer that hold our Dutch Ovens (we have several different sizes), various pots and pans, a wash basin that we store paper towels, napkins, etc in while we’re traveling. We have hooks to hold cooking utensils, fire utensils, bungee cords, extension cords, hoses, etc.

We have several of the 3 and 5 drawer Rubbermaid organizers. In these we store plates, bowls, cups, eating and smaller cooking utensils. Flashlights and batteries get a drawer. Drink mixes to add to water bottles get another drawer. We also have a drawer for garbage bags and ziploc bags.

We have several other Rubbermaid containers that we store food in. We have a camping stove as well as a camping kitchen, which we all pitched in and bought my mom this past year for Christmas. We keep the kitchen under our canopy which we bought new this year. It has plenty of room to put it over the back of the trailer so we can keep the doors open while we cook or to load up the trailer in the rain (like we had to do a few times on this trip!) We also have folding chairs for each person to sit around the campfire. For Eli we have a high chair that will attach to the side of any table and takes up very little space.

We have a container that holds board games, card games, bubbles, some toys for the kids in case they get bored (which I have to admit didn’t really happen but it’s better to be prepared!) We decided to take Eli’s Jumperoo and it was probably one of the best decisions we made. We were able to put him somewhere safe while we were setting up camp, cooking, etc. It gave him some exercise and it was also the only place he got a nap at times besides the car seat.We line the coolers at the door so that we can open it and get to them at any time. We came up with a general menu plan of our favorite camping meals (I’ll share some later!) and went ahead and gathered up what we already had at home to help save on some of the cost. We had quite a few things in our freezer like chicken breasts, ground beef, hamburger patties, hot dogs and sausages. The day before we left we made up a batch of egg salad, tuna salad, pasta salad, and potato salad. We used these for picnic lunches on the way out and even once we got to a few of our destinations. This saved us a ton of money, not to mention was a lot healthier than stopping at McDonald’s every day! We made sure to start out the trip with fresh bread and individuals packs of chips. We grabbed several trail mixes and different snacks in order to cut down on the junk at the gas stations. We grabbed pancake mixes and condiments. All of this pre-planning helped to make sure we were eating healthy and helped us with our bottom line (and our waist lines too! lol) In our cars we put our suitcases and a small cooler with drinks and a bag with some snacks so we wouldn’t spend a ton of money at gas stations on drinks and snacks.

Now as far as the clothes situation, being gone for 15 days meant we needed a ton of clothes. I knew that we were going to have access to laundry facilities at several of the campsites we were going to be staying in so I knew we didn’t need 15 pairs of clothes for each person. I decided to go with 10 per person in case it took a few days to get to a laundry mat, or if someone got messy and needed to use 2 outfits in a day. I also took several pairs of pajamas per person, including winter jammies since it gets cold out west at night. I took a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt for each person to change into once the sun started going down.

In order to keep all of these clothes in order I took the example of a pin on Pinterest and used gallon sized Ziploc baggies.

I wrote a name and a number on each bag and then filled it with an outfit complete with clean underwear and socks. I put pajamas in another bag. This was probably the best thing I did to prepare! There were several nights that we pulled in to a hotel at midnight or were setting up camp in the dark. This allowed us to get in each person’s suitcase, pull out a bag and know that they had a complete outfit ready for the next morning. All we had to grab was a pair of jammies and the shower tote and we could leave all the suitcases in the car and not have to completely unload and repack the next morning. It also helped when we returned home because I knew that clothes that were in baggies in the suitcases had been cleaned on the trip and didn’t need to be cleaned again. It was fabulous!!

Each child got to bring a backpack filled with toys, coloring books, books, etc. They also each have their own DVD player. I took CD cases and removed all their DVDs from their plastic cases and organized them into the CD cases. Brianna had her own and the boys had one with their movies. We also have a larger one that holds Disney movies or movies that would appeal to everyone. Each child took a blanket and their PillowPet to use in the car. They also got time on the Kindle to play games and read books if they wanted thanks to Kindle Free Time.

One of the other great things we did to prepare was to make Goodie Bags for each child. We got plain gift bags, decorated them with their names using alpha stickers from my scrapbooking stash. Then we filled them with things we picked up at the $ Spot at Target, the $ bins at Michael’s, with snacks and candy. If the kids kept good behavior in the car they got to pick something out of their bags when we stopped for lunch or for the night. Just a threat of “If you keep up this behavior you are loosing your goodie bag treat for this stop” often made them stop what they were doing. For the most part they followed the rules of the car and loved the goodies they got to draw from their bags. They had everything from a new DVD (I love the $3 movies at Target!!), new books, candy necklaces, packs of Oreos and Goldfish. They couldn’t wait to see what they might get next. And we filled those puppies so much that when we got home they still had stuff to eat, play with and enjoy. So it felt like vacation just kept going! lol I highly recommend Goodie Bags for your next trip. Yes, it cost us up front but it also was key to our kids great car behavior on 12 hour days on the road!

So, that’s what we did to prepare before we ever got on the road. Next I’ll break it down day by day because we did so much on this trip and took over 1900 pictures so you just can’t share that in one post! I hope you will enjoy seeing our trip! We definitely enjoyed it!  Any questions as we go along please ask! Here we go!!

More Scrapbooking

I have been scrapbooking for over 14 years now. I still love it! I shared some pages with you a while ago that I created at a Crop For CareNet. Over at one of my favorite scrapbooking sites Two Peas In A Bucket I joined in on a challenge for the month of May. It’s a faux Layout A Day, or LOAD challenge. Basically how it works is that the woman who coordinated the challenge creates a thread in the forum every day with a prompt for the day. It might be a sketch challenge. It might be a technique challenge. It might be a topic challenge. Then you have that day to create a project and post it to the forum. We are on day 7 of the challenge and I’ve been able to scrap most of the days (except for last Friday, I was so busy getting ready for the baby shower, and Sunday, I was just exhausted!) Yesterday I created 2 layouts (LOs). I have found this challenge has been great for me! I’ve been able to get really motivated by the daily challenges and I’m putting out some of my best work in a long time! I thought I’d share with you some of my favorites!
This first LO was a 2 page spread that was made for a challenge called Old vs New. We had to choose from a list of new “trendy” items (I chose arrows) and older items (I chose flat stickers). I love how this 2 page LO turned out!
This next 2 pager was for a National Scrapbook Day (NSD) challenge. The challenge was “Focus on the Photos” and we had to use photo related items on our pages. So I chose photo corners, a camera and Polaroid frames. I thought the stripes going down the paper had a very “film strip” feel to it also. 
This page was made for the “Sketch It Baby” challenge. We were given a 2 page LO sketch and were challenged to make it our own. I chose to use just the left side of the sketch as I needed a 1 page LO to go opposite of a page I had done about the boys. I decided to use papers from the same kit that I had made the other page with so that it would tie in together, but still have it’s own look. I love it! 
This final page was made for 2 challenges. One was a Cinco De Mayo challenge to use either 5 photos, 5 papers or 5 embellishments on a page. I also used the colors from another NSD challenge: Member Based Color Combo of grass green, navy blue, lemon yellow and soft grey. It’s a color combination I don’t that I would have ever used but I LOVE how this page turned out. It’s my favorite in a while!
So that’s how I’m trying to get my craft on! If you need some crafting inspiration I highly recommend you check out Two Peas if you’ve never been there before. It is a wealth of information and a lot of fun! (Oh and I did I mention you can shop there too!??! FUN!!!) And if you come by look me up, my screen name is NKUMomma. Happy crafting!

Crop for CareNet

It has been FOREVER since I have shared any scrapbook pages with you all! I have been scrapbooking for 13 years now, and while I still love it I have less and less time to do it these days. So I get very excited when I can get my butt off to a crop and get some work done. Anyone with more than 1 kid will tell you that you will never get caught up, but it sure is fun to try!
A local church here hosted a 12 hour crop this past Saturday with the proceeds benefiting CareNet of Northern Kentucky. My scrapbooking buddy Jannene and I thought “Why not? We like babies!” Plus, it had been almost a year since we had done our last crop together so we were due. 12+ hour crops are my favorite! (We used to go to a 24 hour Crop for the Cure years ago…I miss those!) I get so much when done when I have nothing to focus on besides scrapping. Well, in between the eating, and talking, and eating, and talking, and talking…you get the picture! I was very excited with what I was able to get accomplished at the crop! All in all I finished 12 layouts-some 2 page spreads and some 1 page. Some were multiphoto layouts and some were single photo. Most of them were for Eli, who only had 1 stinkin’ page done at 8 months (so sad!!) and a few for Bri and Jonah with school pictures from this year and last year. But enough talking! Here are some of my favorites that I got finished!

As you can see I still use the traditional method of scrapbooking, good ‘ol paper, cutters and pens. I know a lot of people are moving to digital scrapping or Project Life, but I enjoy the whole process of the “old” way too much to ever give it up. Plus, I’ve invested too money in it at this point to change now! I scrap mainly in 12 X 12 now and I love it! 
I just found a program last night that will allow me to scan layouts and then stitch them together so that I can digitally back up my layouts and share them with you! I am super excited! It’s a little time consuming because I have to scan each layout in 4 sections to make sure I’ve got everything on it but it’s worth it now that I’ve gotten it down to a science! 
So that’s it! Hopefully I will be able to share more layouts with you in the future!
Do you scrapbook? What are your secrets to keeping up with it?

Surprises in my Mailbox!

A few weeks ago my friend Kaysi from the craft blog Keeping it Simple hosted a couple of giveaways. One was a box from Pick Your Plum valued at $50. And guess who won it!?! Yours truly! I was so super excited! I stalk Pick Your Plum a lot but I’ve never ordered anything! I was stocked to be getting a box filled with some of their favorite products right now and I was not disappointed! The shipping was really quick, I received the package in less than a week. And when I opened it up it was filled to the brim! Here’s a peek inside.
It felt like Christmas opening up the box!
A reusable piping bag and four different decorating tips. These are the extra large decorating tips like you would use to decorate cupcakes! I’m thinking about making some fun cupcakes for Easter using the top tip on the right hand side to make little nests on top, putting a Peep in the center and then hiding jelly beans underneath. I’ll post and let you know how they turn out if I do in fact do them!
Wooden spoons. I have seen these all over the crafting world right now! People are taking Washi tape and decorating the handles. So fun! I’m thinking these will be used for a certain little girls birthday party this year. (And if I like them I’ll have to get some more for Jonah’s birthday party!) And aren’t their little tags cute?!?!
Paper straws- AWESOME!! I’ve wanted these FOREVER!!!
An assortment of tags in lime green, coral, light gray and light blue. I can see these ending up on some scrapbook pages.
Gray and white twine. Not sure what I’m gonna do with this yet. Any ideas?
Pink  and white chevron gift bags (earmarked for a little girls birthday party!) and cardboard gift boxes. Those hold so many possibilities!
Two different kinds of clips. I love the curly Q ones. So fun! Hello scrapbook pages! But the silver ones are really fun too! I’m thinking add some really cool initial “jewels” to them and use them as bookmarks in Brianna’s gift bags for her birthday party. She loves to read and they would be super cute I think!
I was so excited about this one! I love stamps!
Look how fun!! Scrapbook pages, cards, tags…oh the possibilities!
These were probably the kids favorite-glow in the dark balloons! You fill them with air, pull down on the tab and they glow in the dark! I mean, seriously! How cool!!! I’m thinking these are going to join us on our big camping trip this summer! How fun would it be to fall asleep at night to the glow of a glow in the dark balloon!?!? Whoever invented those is a genius!
 So that’s what was in my box! What a fun surprise and a great giveaway! A big thank you to Kaysi from hosting such a fun giveaway and a huge thank you to Pick Your Plum for all of the fun surprises! Be sure to check out both sites and follow Kaysi’s blog, especially if you like to craft! She does really great crafts that are easy but make a big impact. And believe me when I say they are easy…she’s a soon to be mom of 5 (4 boys!!!) so she doesn’t mess around when she gets down to crafting!
Oh, and did you notice my new button on the sidebar?? If you’re on Pinterest and you don’t follow me yet come on over and join the fun!!

Valentine’s Day "Mantel"

If you read any one of the million and one crafty blogs on the Internet these days you know that one of the biggest trends is decorating your mantel for holidays and seasons. Well, I don’t have a fireplace, and therefore I have no mantel. But I’m such a wannabe that I’ve turned the top of our entertainment center into my “mantel”. I decorated it for Halloween and Thanksgiving and loved it so much! It just added some fun to the living room. So I decided I wanted to decorate it again for Valentine’s Day. But, we don’t have any Valentine’s Day decorations. So I decided to get my crafty on and make it happen!
I found a box in the garage that held the decorations for our Valentine’s tree from last year. Since we weren’t doing that this year I thought the garland and ornaments needed to be put to good use. So I started with those as a base. I added in several projects inspired by Pinterest (where else!?!? lol) and ended up with this:

I LOVE how it turned out! I feel like it’s not too much, just enough that when you walk in the room you say “Oh, it’s Valentine’s Day!” (insert smiles!) Let’s take a closer look at each section.

On the left side I have a Valentine’s Day Subway Art that I framed in a poster frame from Walmart. I had bought a different frame at the Dollar Tree but it cut off most of the words on the sides. Luckily my mom had some extra frames laying around (never know when you might need a frame for a cute project you found on Pinterest!) I added two Glade Soy Candles I had which I sat on top of two glass candlestick holders which my mom found at Goodwill forever ago! Since I had practically everything already the cost of this project is pennies for the cardstock and the little ink it used. $0.50 maybe! Yippy!

The LOVE art in the center is one of my favorite parts. It started when mom found natural wood frames at Michael’s for $1.00 a piece. The wheels started turning and we thought why not use them for something cute? Turn them into a L-O-V-E collage with the heart standing in place of the O. Here’s a quick tutorial!

Step1: I painted the natural frames white to make them pop. A quick coat of acrylic paint (which we already had..cost…$0.00!)

Step 2: Using the mats inside the frames as guides, cut new mats out of pretty, sparkly scrapbook paper. (Cost: $0.89, it only took 1 page to cut all 4 mats.)

Step 3: Adhere vinyl letters to the mats. I used my Cricut Expressions and the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge. The vinyl was part of the package with the first Cricut I ever bought. (Cost: well, pennies but since I’ve had everything for so long I’m chalking this part up as FREE!!) Place letters in frames. (And this is where my computer got stupid and I lost the last 2 pictures of the process…but I think you can figure it out! lol)

Step 4: I added some 3D felt flowers from Jolee’s to the top left corner of the L frame and the bottom right corner of the E frame. I thought it added a nice touch and a little pop of color. 

 The right side of the display holds two Conversation Heart Topiaries. But, my stupid computer lost the photos of that process as well so I don’t have any to show you. It was super easy though! I just took two Styrofoam balls (two different sizes), attached them to dowel rods (wrapped with Valentine’s ribbon) cut into two different lengths. Then we put them into foam floral bases and put them into two terracotta pots. The comes the most tedious part…gluing the conversation hearts onto the balls. It wasn’t hard it just took a while. I had to take a few breaks during the process to feed a baby, etc so Steven took over. And I mean he literally took over, finished the smaller ball and did the whole larger ball by himself. He was pretty proud of himself but my stupid computer lost that picture too! (Grrr…I am hating our computers right now! None of them want to work right and it’s making me lose my freakin’ mind!!!) The final touch was to add a little bow to each dowel rod and put more conversation hearts inside the pots to finish it off. They were super cute! I think this whole project cost less than $10. (Styrofoam balls are expensive man! But I did find the floral foam bases at the Dollar Store. I bought 2 but only ended up using half of one so that part only cost me $0.50 and I have more sitting around for future projects! Yippy!) Here’s a closer look at the finished product.

I love them! I need to spray them with something to preserve them before I put them away this weekend. Any suggestions on what to use?

One other little touch that I found at Michael’s are my Lovebirds.

Aren’t they sweet?! They were only $1.99 each AND they were marked down 40%. AND they were in the color scheme of my living room so I just had to have them. I’m thinking they may stay up permantely after Valentine’s Day. They’re just too cute. They are sitting in the open cabinet on the right side of the entertainment center. In that cabinet we keep a picture frame that holds a baby picture of both Steven and I and then a wedding picture, my wedding bouquet and a family Bible. This Bible holds death notices, birth announcements and has a spot for family history. We don’t read from this Bible, it is purely for show (and believe me, we have plenty of other Bibles in the house that can be read from that I don’t mind having a pretty one just for show!)

The open cabinet on the other side holds another wedding photo of us with our maid of honor and best man, a custom candle made using one of our wedding announcements and our cake topper. I absolutely loved my wedding and I feel like keeping these things out and visible at all times gives our children a chance to see how much that day meant to us as the beginning of our family.

So here’s one final look at our Valentine’s Day “faux” mantel. I’m looking forward to changing it up for St. Patty’s Day! Happy Valentine’s Day week everybody! I hope you have someone to hold onto and love!

You can see the posts that inspired these crafts at Naturally Estes (Conversation Heart Topiaries) and Free Word Art Valentine Printable Cards (V-Day Subway Art).

I am linking this post to Motivate Me Monday over at my friend Kaysi’s blog, Keeping It Simple. Look Kaysi! I’m finally posting something 🙂

On A Rainy Saturday

So we’re getting hit today with the deadly storm that passed through Arkansas, leaving at least 16 people dead and countless others unaccounted for. And while I feel awful for their loss, I am greatful that the storm has lost some of it’s strength and fury as it passes over us! One good thing to come out of this though is that we are stuck in the house, no yard work, no building the deck. And while I’d love to get the deck finished, I came down from my shower to find this scene in front of me:

 Father and daughter rediscovering their good friend, the Wii. 

And even though she had been singing “Rain, rain go away! Come again another day!” not an hour before, this smile tells me she’s just fine with the rain, because she’s found something better to do snuggled up in her daddy’s lap!

Have a blessed weekend, be it rain or shine where you are!

Sunday Bible School Graduation

This past Sunday at St. Joe’s  was the closing for their Sunday Bible School. Brianna started in it when she was 3 and this year she graduated from the program! Next year she will start in the Parish School of Religion (PSR) program which her daddy is in charge of. Jonah started in the program this year. The girls who run the program are awesome and they have let our children start earlier because it really helps us out since they meet at the same time that the PSR program does. So for one hour we don’t have to try to juggle them and the PSR, and they get to go learn about the Bible. So even though Jonah didn’t turn 3 until December they let him join the 3 year old program as a favor to us. He has loved it! The decision we have to make now is whether to keep him in the same class that he was in this year again next year, or go ahead and let him move up with his class. If we let him move up then we would have a one year lag between when he’ll be able to start PSR and when he’ll graduate from the Bible program. (Mainly because I don’t think he’ll be ready to start Kindergarten as early as Brianna was!) So we have a decision to make over the summer!

For the closing the children perform some songs for the parents and family members who can come. They are sooo cute! Of course I had to take some video, but blogger has lost my upload videos button (I can’t find it ANYWHERE on my toolbar!!!) so I’m just going to have to post some pics instead.

Jonah was in the front row, and Bri was in the back so I didn’t get any pics of her until it was over and she was coming down the stairs with her goodie bag but here you go!

 Jonah can’t decide how he feels about this!
He was blowing his momma kisses! I love that boy!
My little girl is growing up! Where has the time gone? Who told her she could grow up!?!?!?!
And because he is my baby, and it’s my blog, and I can…here is a pic of my baby! He’s getting big too (and yes, he is chewing on Turner from Handy Manny!)

I’m gearing up for a crazy busy weekend (shopping for wedding gift supplies and Mother’s Day gifts tonight, coming home to make wedding gift, which I’ll post pics of later! NKU graduation tomorrow and I have lots of friends graduating so I’m planning on going to that, a wedding tomorrow afternoon, Mother’s Day on Sunday) and then another crazy week (mainly consisting on making a wedding cake and 100 cupcakes!!! My first ever bytheway!), leading up to another crazy weekend (friend’s birthday party on Friday, Aunt’s wedding in Indy on Saturday, PSR closing back in KY on Sunday, followed by Bri’s dance recital pictures Sunday afternoon, whew!!!) So I may be kind of sparse for the next few weeks! But I’ll be in when I can posting pics of the gift I’m making for my frien, and pics from their wedding. Pics of my first ever wedding cake and cupcakes. And pics from their wedding. Here’s a sneak peak from my practice run with the cupcakes:

The most fun part was eating them! But I always thought these things looked so hard to do and they were soooo easy! Oh and they were soooo good!

Anyways, have a great weekend! And as Brianna put so eloquently last night “Just go out and enjoy all that this day has to offer!” (Where does she come up with these things?!?!?!)

Crop-o-lotta (Happy Birthday to me!!!!)

For my birthday I treated myself to a 12-hour crop up at St. Joe’s. It’s a yearly fundraiser for the school, and a great way for me to get some uninterrupted scrap time! I love these long crops- I used to do one that was 24 hours, and I could get 20+ layouts done at once! I loved it! They don’t do that one anymore, so I “settle” for the 12 hour ones, and try to hit at least one a year. I also treated myself to some new scrapbooking goodies from my favorite store, Archivers! Yummy! I walked in there and felt like I had died and gone to heaven! It had been over a year since I had gone shopping for scrapbooking supplies, but I thought I reigned myself in very well!!

At the crop I was able to complete 18 pages, 9 for Bri and 9 for Jonah. Some of them are a lot more elaborate than others (you can tell which layouts I was working on after hour 10 or so!!!) but I am pretty proud of what I got accomplished! Thought I would share a few of my favorites with you!

These two are using Bri’s school pics that were taken in September, and then I interviewed her about her favorite things right now! If you have time, and you can see well enough, I encourage you to read her responses! They are hilarious! She is soooo 4!

These two pages are using Jonah’s 2 year portraits that we finally got taken last week! I loved doing this page- the photos were just so fun, and I loved the foam letters that I used to spell his name!

And finally, this page. My friend Lynn took this picture of Jonah last August and I absolutely love it! I love his eyes- they are just captivating, and I knew this had to be a one photo layout.

As always, I had a blast and I’m really glad that I went! I got so much done, and can’t wait for my next crop (which hopefully will be in Oct. as a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Foundation) and I can then crop some new baby photos! Oooohhhh! What fun!

On my birthday we went out to a little local italian resturant for dinner with mom, and Steven’s parents and sister. My mom surprised me with a fabulous new digital camera! I was so excited! We’ve been wanting to get a new camera for a while now, but just hadn’t gotten to it yet! This camera is awesome, and I can’t wait to start playing with it and seeing what all it can do! It’s gonna take great pictures though, I can tell! And I got some gorgeous yellow roses from my hubby (my favorite!) It was a good day. I am one lucky lady!