Friday, May 31, 2013

Teacher Gift: Bookstore Gift Card

At our house, we have 14 teachers/school therapists that we love.
I always have difficulty buying something for that many people that 
a) The teacher wouldn't think is useless.
b) I could afford.

So this is what I came up with (without help from Pinterest)!

I found these large tumblers at Marshalls and I love them.
They are perfect for iced tea or lemonade, 
and they were 6 for $4.99.

I bought a gift card from Half Priced Books,
wrote a little note,
added a ribbon,
and done!

The note reads...

Another great year goes down in the BOOKS
 thanks to you and all of
your NOVEL teaching skills, enthusiasm, and dedication. 
We are so thankful.
We hope that you get to kick back, relax, and
read a good book or two this summer.

Of course I couldn't resist the word play.
I am sure that the teachers will roll their eyes but I don't care.

Just a few more school days for my kids, and then

Thursday, May 2, 2013


I'm a little late at posting this, but I couldn't let
Porter's 9th birthday pass by without some photo-love.

This guy is so smart, creative, and incredibly funny.
He eat, sleeps, and breathes sports these days, and wants to be a baseball player
or study "braketology" someday.
He helps his little sisters and lets them climb all over him,
helps Maryn with her therapy,
never shuts his drawers or remembers to cleans up his clothes,
has some great witty comebacks,
loves math and all things "gross",
offered to share his iPod with Leah when hers was broken,
and makes me work for every hug or kiss.

He is a loveable kid.
I am so lucky to be his mom.
He is my favorite son.
My Porter.
Happy Birthday big guy.

Here are a few pictures of his surprise party.
He was actually surprised and jumped out of his skin a bit.

Here's a little flashback to the early days with Porter! 
He is so sweet!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Our Poor Babysitter

We have a child who is having a horrible time with behavior this week,
at home,
on the bus.

She even cut her hair and as I witnessed it, she quickly lied stating,
"Some of my hair fell out Mom!?"

This same child, whom we love dearly, gave our sitter a run for her money tonight.
She was rough, and spent significant effort on causing a bedtime uproar for everyone.

As we walked in the door, I noticed that our wonderful sitter had won the proverbial "war".
All of the children were in bed!!!
Amen, seriously.

But something was missing....


Her shoes are seriously no where to be found.
The poor woman walked out to her car in her socks, all the while promising that it is "no big deal."
What a saint.

I have some suspicions of who might know where they are....

Please pray that we find them and that our sitter doesn't change her number.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Warm Welcomes Needs YOUR Help

Well, we've gone an done it!
Our family has committed to our new endeavor.
Warm Welcomes Foster Care Outreach

Our plans for Warm Welcomes are big.
We want to be a non-profit, Christian, organization that promotes a feeling of welcome to children in foster care within our neighborhoods, churches, schools, and communities. 
We also want to serve as a resource for local foster parents and foster care and adoptive agencies to help
meet the unique needs of the children they serve.
We will initially be serving agencies in the Warren, Butler, and Hamilton counties of Ohio.

We want to promote volunteerism and foster care and adoption awareness for as many children and their families as possible.  This includes empowering youth in foster care to also be volunteers and to serve others.

We want to provide items of necessity, warmth, and especially, comfort.

We want to provide items that encourage healing and coping, such as letters of encouragement,  art supplies, journals, mp3 players loaded with uplifting songs.

We believe that children should have adequate baggage to place the few belongings that they have
and are familiar with, in. Trash bags are not okay.

We believe that children in foster care should have books, Bibles, blankets, and toys to call their own.

We believe that creating personalized and handmade items for children in foster care can 
be a sign of love and importance.

We believe it is best said in Luke 9:48
Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me

We know that we can't do it alone. 
We need and want your help.
Below I have listed our Top 10 Ways You Can Help us get started.
Hopefully something matches your talents.

1) LIKE us on Facebook to get updates by clicking HERE.
We will post any get togethers we will have to pack the bags, make crafts, 
donations needed, as well as, great successes that come along the way.

2)Tech support:  

We could use help getting a blog or website started that people could easily access.  Share what we are doing with others.
We also need people that are good with Photoshop, can make a Wordle,
and can help us with a logo.

3) Donate Supplies: 
-Toiletries (shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant),
-New and very gently used books, coloring books, journals, and Bibles
-Diapers and pull ups of all sizes
-New and very gently used duffel bags, luggage, and backpacks (FYI, Ikea sells a large duffel for $3.75 if you have an Ikea friends and family discount card)

-Small (new) toys for children of all ages
(for example)
-MP3 players: These are going to be an awesome way to reach out to the older children
-Simple craft supplies: crayons, colored pencils, sketch books, stickers, small craft kids, etc
-New stuffed animals and pillows (handmade or purchased snuggle pillows, pillow pets, taggie toys, teddy bears, etc.)   (FYI, Ikea also sells a cute heart pillow for $4.99)
My friend Beth, purchases fleece remnants, sews a square, fills with pillow filling, and cuts strips/fringe around the perimeter of the pillow for added cuteness and sensory aspect.
I purchased fleece blankets ($1.99 and $3.99) and small pillow forms (currently clearanced at $.99)
from Ikea due the the low price (and my inability to sew) for our family to make snuggle pillows
like this one on Pinterest.

4) Be a Letter Writer
You and your child can write a letter of encouragement and welcome to a child in foster care.
Add a drawing if you like too!
Please do not put your last name.

5) Host a FUNdraiser
We can't keep this going without donations, supplies, and volunteers.
Consider holding a book drive, bake sale, lemonade stand, garage sale, diaper drive, sell a craft...
Rinse out a spaghetti jar and collect change in it. 
I hope to create a label that can be attached to the jar that states "Changing lives one dime at a time!"
If you have kids, have them help.  Help them help another kid.  They'll love it, and we will too.

6) Savvy shoppers and coupon extraordinaires:  help us all stretch our funds by finding the greatest deals on toiletries, fabric, etc

7) Solicitors and Business Owners:
Emailing, calling, visiting local business to seek discounts and donations to off set 
the foster parent's cost for drop in daycare, birthday venues, adoption celebration items/venues, 
party supplies, photography, scrapbook (online or craft) supplies
craft stores

8)  Get Crafty
Can you make something with an initial or name on it? Luggage tag, embroider, ornament, wall hanging for their new bedroom....
Can you make snuggle pillows?
Knit, crochet, sew, paint, draw, computer design art??
Having something with your own special name or initial on it can be very powerful.
Let's make it happen. (I'm sure Pinterest could help.)

9)  Leaders
We are passionate about Warm Welcomes and we hope to find a few more individuals that are too.
We would be happy to listen to your small or large ideas and give you room
to run with it.  
10) Hands on Volunteers
Help us pack bags, organize supplies, etc.  
This can be done by individuals, troops, families, etc.

Email me at with your interest, ideas, or questions.
If local, I can meet with you to pick up donations.

Thank you for all of your support.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Here's Some HAPPY for Your Monday

Monday's aren't easy.
They seem so far away from Friday, don't they?
Take just a minute and enjoy some of  the kids' dance moves.
There is singing of course, as well.
Watch out Von Trapp family.

And now, Porter and Julia want in on the talent show...
Keep an eye out for some M.C. Hammer moves.
They must get their moves from their Daddy.

Happy Monday!

(Sorry for the sub-par cinematography.  I had to seize the moment.)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday This and That

We have made some progress on our idea 
to develop outreach to kids in foster care. 
We want make the children feel more welcome and special in our homes, schools, churches and community.
I have to figure out the details of officially becoming a 501c3,
but we are making progress.
I am working with smart people who know the needs of the kids well, and can guide our efforts.
I have already received some surprise donations and people showing interest in helping,
plus I have purchased several things to get us started.
More coming on that later.

On a different note,
look what just happened to our little one.

Poor thing fell into a rose bush walking home from the bus.
It looks so pitiful, but she was very brave.\
Scared us to death though.

Who else is loving the Spring weather??
While Leah and Porter were at the Reds game,
we played at the park.
Maryn was physically able to do so much more this year.
I can really see the progress she is making.

Last bit of randomness,
I meet a lovely lady today.
We were comparing notes on "doing hair."
She has 20 kids, and hoping for two more.
Wow!  Hard for me to say that I had a stressful day, huh?

I hope that your week has started off right.
Now, off to cook dinner.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Easter 2013 Photo Drop

The photos say it all.
We had an egg-celent Easter!
I hope that you all did too.

Anyone else sick of seeing and smelling hard-boiled eggs?