Friday, April 29, 2011

Editing Fun

I love this picture of our family from Easter.

This is the original...

This is the edited version. Painted in bushes & trees to take away from all the street distractions, and, focus on us. Darkened the background & lightened us.

This was edited by my Father in law on his super-duper Software. CS5 & OnOne.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Things that make me smile...

Jacob just loves this monkey, and I love the look on his face here!

I finally got my ring re-sized & back on my hand...I hated being without my wedding ring.

Isn't he just the cutest?! :)

My Saturday morning Cartoon gang...

OK, I just can't help but smile when he gives me that lip!

(These pics were all edited in Instagram, a fun, FREE App that I have been using with my iPhone photos)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cole reading to Jacob

I finally had a chance to capture Cole reading to Jacob. It's so precious. I love the way Jacob just looks at Cole - he must think his big brother is the coolest guy ever :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My first baby...all grown up!

When I look at Jacob, I see so much of Cole in him. As I'm watching him hit these milestones & firsts...I remember Cole doing it all so clearly. I can't believe he is 5 years old.

He has grown into this absolutely awesome little boy. He has empathy & compassion for others, an amazing imagination & is the best big brother anyone could ask for. When Jacob see's his brother - his eyes completely light up :)

I am so proud of Cole & the little boy he has become. Although I would love to just freeze time...I'm also excited to see what God has planned for Cole's life. I have a feeling it will be wonderful :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Menu Planner...April 25-30

Monday...Grilled Chicken Breast, Rice, Steamed Broccoli, Bread
Tuesday...Greek Salad, Vegetable Soup, Grilled Cheese
Wednesday...Hamburgers, French Fries, Applesauce
Thursday...Salad, Homemade Pizza
Friday...Sloppy Joes, Cheesy Potatoes, Corn
Saturday..Family Choice!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Our Bunnies :)

Brotherly Love...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Encouragment for Today

If you need encouragement today...this Blog Hop is FULL of Mom's talking about God's Miracles in their lives :)

We did it!!!

Today, I am celebrating!

It's no ones birthday.
Not our wedding anniversary.

And, no, I'm not pregnant again!
But, it is a special day.

Today, marks my 1 year anniversary as a stay-at-home Mommy :)

A year ago I gave up my perfectly scheduled run by the seat of my pants.
My lunches out...quickly became leftovers off of Cole's plate!
And any hope of a coffee break with friends, has turned into a quick the bathroom...with the door shut...praying for just a few minutes of quiet!

Of course..I have had the most amazing moments of my life in the last year too.
I wouldn't change it for the world!

And, for the record...I do look like this everyday...
What...liars go WHERE? Hmmm...well...maybe it can just be our little secret :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jacob & Daddy Playing

Jacob loves it when he gets just a few minutes alone with Daddy. Which, doesn't happen often when Cole's around!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Our Baby Boy

A preview of Jacob's 4 month pics...

A friend of mine took them & gave them to me on a disc - I edited them to the shots I wanted. In future posts I will show the originals vs. these. Fun stuff :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cleaning Tips...from the girl who hates to clean :)

Yes, I have been cleaning all my life - and, quite frankly I'm sick of it! I think after about 20 years of cleaning you should get a pass for the next 10 at least. But, alas...that has yet to happen. And, then for some crazy reason, when I became this stay-at-home Mom...all the sudden it was like my job now...what's up with that?! are some of my tried & true tips, to hopefully make your life easier :)

1. Keep an extra scrubby sponge (you know, those things you use with body wash - I have no idea what they are really called), in your shower. When your done & before you get out - take that & doing a quick scrub on your entire shower & the door...with soap still on the walls & the door, and, the hot water to then rinse it off - your shower is sure to sparkle like you just spent an hour on your hands & knees.
2. Always dry your fixtures on the tub/shower when your done drying yourself off. This will prevent spots & look like you have worked really hard every day to keep them shining.
3. When your done washing your face, use that same washcloth to wipe down the bathroom vanity. No cleaner needed - just the hot water on your washcloth & all that hairspray & make-up from the day will come right up. Again, dry the fixtures so they sparkle.
4. After you do your dishes from dinner, take that washcloth you just wiped the table down with, and, throw it on the floor - walk around to any spots that have mysteriously appeared throughout the day (surely that doesn't only happens in my house, right?!) and scrub it with your foot - DO NOT BEND OVER, there is just no need :)

And, my last & final tip...keep lots of good smelling things in the house. Plug-ins, Scentsy (my personal favorite!), candles, etc. If your house smells good - people are less likely to care about that load of laundry that has been gracing the top of your dining room table for 3 days BEGGING to be folded.

I would LOVE to hear what tips you have that make your cleaning time shorter & more enjoyable! Please share :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Amazing Video! Laura Story - Blessings

This is worth the 5 minutes it takes to watch it. The song is awesome & the video is amazing.

DG Nail Polish Remover Pads

You know me, a die hard for a deal. Well, let me tell you, when it comes to beauty products - I do NOT skimp. I only use my favorites and will actually go without until I can save up enough to get my favorites.

I'm very sensitive, and, one of the things that I'm sensitive too is nail polish remover. I know this sounds ridiculous - but, the smell can give me a headache in seconds. Because I generally wear dark color polish - it can take FOREVER, and, SEVERAL paper towels to remove all that polish. Well..NOT ANY MORE! Last week I was at Dollar General & found a box of Nail Polish Remover pads. They claim that each pad (6 per box) was guaranteed to remove polish from 10 nails. I seriously thought - no way. I actually only bought it because Dollar General has a guarantee on the product - in my mind, I would be getting back my $1.75 when this product failed.

So, I had 3 coats of a very dark brown polish on, and, I decided this would be the time to test it out! (I wish I would have taken a picture of the polish before - but I didn't think about it. It was a deep chocolate color) Well, let me tell you, I was completely done in less than 2 minutes. EVERY.BIT.OF.COLOR removed from my nails in under 2 minutes - I barely had time to even smell the polish remover!
This is a picture of the felt pad after removing my polish. I honestly think I could have done another hand (maybe 2) with the pad too.

And, here's my nails after taking the polish off. It worked better than any polish remover I have ever used!

I honestly couldn't believe how well this worked - so of course, I wanted to share it with you! The cost of the box of 6 polish remover pads is $1.75, so .30 per use. I know that is more expensive than the bottle of remover which lasts longer than 6 uses - but, trust me THIS IS WORTH IT!

This isn't a paid advertisement, ole DG doesn't even know I'm promoting their product...I just tried it, liked it & decided to share it with all my nearest & dearest :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Setting the Climate with your kids: The Top 10 Ways Not to Greet Your Child

iMOM - Moms of Tikes - Greetings: The Top 10 Ways Not to Greet Your Child

Setting the climate of your home

What is the climate of your home? Happy, Grateful, Peaceful, or Stressed, Angry, even Hostile?

We as Wives & Mothers have the ability to turn the thermostat in our home to any setting we like. Of course, we can't control our spouse or our childrens emotions, but, the climate we set in our home will greatly affect their emotional thermostat. This was something I was reminded of recently, and, honestly - I haven't been doing very well at it. I have to try REALLY hard, not to just retreat to a room all by myself as soon as Jason walks in the door on Friday nights! By the time he gets home, I'm exhausted from doing it by myself all week and feel like I just want to sit by myself for awhile - but, he is needing the personal attention of me & the kids that he's missed all week.

One way I'm trying to "set the climate" is by having Friday night parties! If Cole takes a nap during the day, he gets to stay up late on Friday night & wait for Daddy to get home. (Jas doesn't get home until 10 or 11p so this is a BIG deal for Cole!) Jason appreciates seeing us when he gets home, and, it's so awesome to see the look on Cole's face when he sees his Dad after the whole week.

When it comes to Cole, I find that if I'm tired (which is often with a 4 month old!) or stressed, it's so easy for me to say something in a tone that hurts his feelings. I'm trying really hard now to take a break if I'm getting stressed (for me, the best I can do is 5 minutes in the bathroom alone..but, it's better than nothing I suppose!). I'm also working hard to spend 15-20 minutes with Cole, by himself, every night before bed & in the morning if possible. We talk about the best parts of his Day, and ,the parts that he wished were better. Before school we talk about whats going to happen that Day, and, pray together. I think these times are helping him to understand that even though things have changed with our family - he is still very important to me, and, I'm working hard to make special time for him.

How do you set the climate in your house? Are there days when you hand the baby to your husband the minute he walks in & run screaming?! (come on...please tell me I'm not alone!) ha :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Our life without cable TV

Because we have had SO many people comment & ask questions about this, I decided to blog about our journey canceling cable TV.

My first observation personally....without a cable/satellite box in each room - we have virtually no clocks! Apparently we have gotten so used to those boxes having digital time on them that I never felt the need to invest in real clocks. Hmmm....I must put that on my to-do list.

Antennas can also be very unreliable....I haven't seen the news in 2 days because it seems like everyday at noon the nbc channel goes out. I have however had plenty of time to catch up on whats happening in Washington DC on PBS. Yeah...I think I'd rather have the local weather.

Cole has surprisingly been OK with the whole transition. We were so worried about how he would react. I know, he's only 5 - but, since birth he has had TV available to him in every room of the house except the baby nursery. When he was 6 months old we paid $70 for a box set of Baby Einstein DVD's, and, for the first 3 years of his life we spent $10 a month on the Baby Channel on DirecTV - because we thought it was better for him then regular TV. Seriously - ridiculous!

I did get the Bill today, and, we have reduced our monthly spending on home phone, tv, & internet by $80+ a month..which makes it worth it to me!

The next step in this test comes this weekend when Jason is home for 2 days. The sad thing is we will no longer be able to watch the Cubs games together (the antenna definitely doesn't get WGN!), but, we still have the radio...just without Ron Santo, oh it's a sad time for Cubs Fans. But, I digress.

Be on the lookout for another update next week...if I live through the weekend with Jason's withdrawls that is :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Suprise Party!

Last week Cole & I threw a surprise birthday party for my Granny :) She had turned 79 the week before, and, because we were sick - we weren't able to go see her. The surprise a week later was really a surprise!

We made Grandma's favorite meal: homemade fried chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, slow cooked green beans & bacon & homemade coconut cream pie. We also decorated the kitchen with streamers, balloons, party hats & favors. So much fun!

Cole got to pick out whatever he wanted to give Grandma for her birthday as well. He chose a pair of pink slipper socks, a word search book, a package of cream horns, and, a can of cashews. ALL of Grandma's favorites - she loved that he knew her so well!

We are so blessed that our boys get to experience the same love & compassion from my Grandma that I did growing up. She's such a special lady!

(Oh, and, Cole kept the secret about the surprise party ALL day - I was so proud of him!)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Menu Planner...April 4-10

Well...I have no idea when we are eating what this week, but, I know we are having the following for dinner at some point!

Grilled Chicken Breast, Rice, Steamed Broccoli
Beef Pasta Hamburger Helper, Homemade Bread w/ Butter
Pork Steak, Roasted Red Potatoes, Salad
Porkchops, ?
Soup & Sandwiches
Pasta, Salad, Garlic Bread

Jacob hates Cereal!

This could be a LONG journey to solids!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My future American Idol

Cole was so proud of himself for learning this song. I thought it was too cute not to share!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm at a loss for words...

An SLR Camera can really capture everything....

Aww..playful boys :)