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Time in the South

June 13, 2012
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I have been in Tennessee and South Carolina this week with very limited Internet access. Which translates
to… no great posts from me all week long ūüôā

I thought I’d quickly share a few of my observations of the south…

1. There are a lot of Vera Bradley bags down here- even on the younger generation.

2. I’m not seeing bows on every single little girl like I had expected. In fact, I’ve seen very few bows at all!

3. Torrential rain storms are weird in shorts and flip flops!

4. Gray skies SUCK no matter what!

5. I can’t run in the humidity- haha!

6. Chick-Fil-A is still just fast food…

7. It feels good to be warm ūüôā

8. My new Garmin app for my iPhone was a great purchase and has made this trip easy!

9. The south has a much better selection of flip flops!!!

10. It’s great to see old long time friends and family- time just seems to stand still!

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Patrick and Gilbert

June 7, 2012
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I would add these 2 boys to my family in a heart beat Рif I could!  In my heart, I suppose I already have!

 They are 2 precious souls from Burundi, Africa, here in the United States to share the love and joy of God with anyone who will listen!

Patrick and Gilbert are part of the Asante¬†Children Choir.¬† They will be touring around Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California for the next 5 months playing in schools, churches, concert halls, parades and to anyone who will listen to their message.¬† Their¬†music¬†includes both traditional African songs, my favorite is the 10 Drums song¬†and worship songs, my favorite is I’m Trading My Sorrows.¬† Here is a link to their schedule – please find a location you can see them, you will be so very blessed by it!

We were lucky enough to be their first host family in the states.  We helped them acclimate to the time change and to the culture.  We introduced them to all sorts of new foods, we taught them different games, we read books, we played in the sprinklers and we had a blast doing it!

Gilbert said his favorite thing to do was to swing on our swing set!

Patrick said his favorite thing was playing fooseball!

We took them to the zoo Рwhere they saw their first elephant!  Burundi is not near the plains for Africa, too eastern and too high in elevation, so these boys had never seen elephants, lions, and monkeys before!

Patrick and Gilbert and the bull elephant at our local zoo.

We introduced them to Lego’s.

    

    

They got to participate in Tae Kwon Do classes with my husband and kids, and at the end, they got to break their very own boards!¬† Big smiles all around ūüôā

Gilbert and Cole reading  Dr. Seuss.  I was impressed at how well Gilbert could read english!

Kaitlyn and Patrick playing Sorry – he was pretty good at sending her pawns back to the start, but had trouble understanding that when he¬†did not have any of his own left at home, he could not send her’s back… haha!

We¬†celebrated Chase,¬†Kaitlyn and Alyssa’s 12th birthday with them, keeping it pretty low-key since¬†these kids don’t even actually know the exact date of their birth…

¬†Our lives have been touched in a way that they have FOREVER been changed by these 2!¬† Someday, as a family, I hope we get to travel to Africa to spend time with them in their culture.¬† They will be back to our home in October, before they return to Africa, and I can’t wait to see them again!

Traveling…

June 5, 2012
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On Friday, the kids and I will be traveling across the country to visit with my aunt.¬† Actually, the kids will be spending a week with my aunt, I will be escaping to my sister in law’s house for a little down time ūüôā¬† I can’t wait!

After our trip to Disney World in March, I discovered a blog called Putting Me Together and among her many wonderful and inspiring post, I discovered this one about packing.

Trying to keep clothing for 6 people organized during a week-long¬†trip is, well, challenging to say the least.¬† It’s not just finding the right piece of clothing when you need it, or keeping the dirty clothes separate from the clean, it’s keeping each person from getting into¬†each others¬†clothes.

So… I bought¬†packing cubes¬†in 6 different colors the other night.¬† It would have been nice if I had bought them sooner, they are scheduled to arrive Thursday and we leave Friday morning.¬† The goal of course, is that everyone’s clothes stay neatly packed and separate¬†from each others during the week away.¬† I felt a bit excessive buying 6 sets, but really, in order for this plan to work, everyone needs their own color! I wanted to stick with the standard colors I “assigned” each to baby, blue, pink, yellow and green, but only¬†2 of my children still like their “color”. So instead, we have blue, aquamarine, black and yellow for the kids and¬† purple and green for us parents.

  I bought the combo size set, which includes a small, medium and large cube.  The color selection was better than with the all medium cube sets plus, I thought the variety of sizes might come in handy.  I will keep you posted!  I am organizing clothes on a spare bed until they arrive Рfirst the kids and then mine.

I did learn on that trip to Disney World that TOMS are great airport shoes, easy to slip on and off at security, comfortable to walk long distances in and they allow my feet to swell while still keeping them warm. ¬†So, once again I will be planning my travel outfit around my polka dots TOMS.¬† I also found that my red jeans are perfect for the airplane travel.¬† They are fashionable, durable and comfortable.¬† Layers are also important to me – not just because airplanes can go from hot to cold in an instant, but it seems that¬†I am always leaving cold weather and going to warm weather.¬†¬†I need to be bundled up in the¬†morning and able to shed¬†some layers by night.¬† If you see me at the airport on Friday, this is what I will be wearing ūüôā

¬†Simple jewelry and a jean jacket finishes off¬†my look ūüôā

Check back soon to see how the packing cubes worked out!

Finding Room… Making Space

June 4, 2012

I am a firm believer that everything has¬† place in its place it should go… However, I have never quite been successful at getting everything into its own place in the first place! Haha!

Oh, how I wish I had mastered this BEFORE having 4 kids!

I am tackling 1 room at a time right now, desperately trying to get everything to have its own place and to be put there on a regular basis!  This weekend I worked in our master bedroom.

The house we bought 7 years ago needed and still needs a great deal of remodeling, but with the¬†time demands and financial responsibilities of 4 kids, much of the remodel is yet undone.¬† My master bedroom is definitely one of the undone spaces! I have re-worked my closet a dozen times, trying to get everything to fit better.¬† You see, we have a smaller bedroom and our king bed takes up most of the space.¬† My husband has the 1 dresser in the room, my sweaters and jewelry are in the wardrobe and our “night stands” are more like telephone stands because there is not enough room next to our bed for actual night stands.¬† Drawer space is very limited as is hanging space.¬† It was bad enough before I started my fashion revolution, but now I really need to be organized!

On Friday night I happened to find this blog,  Simple Organized Living through Pinterest, and instantly knew that her way of organizing drawers was nothing short of brilliant!!!

I did it to mine and my husbands! ūüôā Along with some much-needed purging of old clothes, I was able to condense my long-sleeved shirts, tanks and t-shirts into 2 drawers, from 3¬†drawers plus hanging.¬† And even better than the space-saving, is the fact that I can SEE all of my them! I use most of these shirts for layering, so seeing the colors and patterns and knowing what I have to choose from is HUGE! I am in love ūüôā

      

Because I was so successful at consolidating my clothes, I was able to remove a bank of drawers, giving me some much needed long hanging space. I put my dresses on one side and my pants on the other.  I have been folding all of my pants, and honestly, I forgot I had half of them!

    

Now that I can see my hanging shirts, I realize… I need to go shopping¬† ūüôā

Do you have any great organizing tips –¬†Please leave them in the comments, I am desperate to organize this house!!!

I just love my chambray and toothpick jeans!¬† The jewelry is from my Silpada collection, which I am just lovin’ !!!

      

Have a blessed day ūüôā

I am linking up with

     

Why I went M.I.A. in May…

May 30, 2012

May has gone by in a flash… It has been so crazy for me!¬† I thought that I would high light the top¬†5¬†¬†reason why I went Missing In Action for the entire month!

5.¬†¬† I started a new business!¬† I am an independent sales representative for Silpada Designs, beautiful sterling silver jewelry.¬† One thing I have discovered in my fashion evolution these last couple of months, is that money spent in quality accessories is vital to a stylish look.¬† I have spent too much money on cheap costume jewelry and the look is well, just cheap… maybe I’m picking the wrong cheap jewelry, but I don’t think so.¬† So, I ended up at my girlfriends Silpada¬†website in the end of April and fell in love with most of the catalog… so I started thinking party.¬† But the truth is, it would greatly help my family if I could bring in some additional money.¬† 3 of my 4 kids need braces (second set for my girls), our furnace crashed last January and the fashion bug will soon hit my daughters.¬†ūüôā ¬†Extra money would be great.¬† I am not willing to give up my stay at home status, I like to party and meet new people, so really direct sales is a perfect fit, once you find the product that excites you!¬† Silpada did that for me ūüôā¬† The jewelry is 92.5% sterling silver¬†with¬†copper added for strength.¬† They use semi-precious stones, and in the birthstone¬†charms you will find¬† Swarovski Crystals.¬† The quality is stunning and I am loving the pieces that I have and I am anxiously waiting the opportunity to get more.¬† Here is a link to my personal website, let me know what you think!

4.¬†¬†¬† My youngest son’s health¬†has continued to go up and down.¬† His migraine headache spiked a couple of times.¬† We did rule out any heart concerns, and that was a relief!¬† I still need to micro-manage his food intake, making sure he eats enough that his hypoglycemia does not flare up and that he takes his medicine regularly.¬† I also think the isolation of being my only child¬†homeschooled right now¬†is hard on him, he is most certainly an extrovert.¬† Next year he will be back in school!

3.¬†¬†¬†¬† I was training for¬†and then ran my first 1/2 marathon.¬† That’s 13.1 miles of ¬†“WHY did I pay for this pain!”¬† I was not as prepared for the¬†HILLS¬†as I should have been, but I did it nonetheless.¬† I hope to run another 1/2 marathon, maybe in the fall.¬† I am glad that I did it, and I had a wonderful friendship develop with my training partner Karen over the last year.¬† I would not trade the experience for anything!¬†¬† Considering when I started running a couple¬†of years ago, I could not even run a quarter of a mile without stopping – I’m pretty pleased with my progress. Plus, I think if’s good for kids to see their parents not only¬†exercise but complete a tough challenge as well!

2. We had 2 of ¬†the sweetest boys from Burundi and their chaperone stay with us for over 3 weeks.¬† Originally, it was only supposed to be 12 days, but the opportunity to keep them longer came up and we jumped on it.¬† The chaperone was pretty sick for most of his stay, with a bad case of pneumonia.¬†¬† 20 kids from Burundi are in the states as part of a children’s choir from¬† Africa, called The Asante Children’s Choir.¬† They will be traveling through Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California raising funds to build a school and then send kids to that school in Burundi.¬† Burundi is the 3rd poorest country IN THE WORLD – if you get a chance to see them, do it!¬† They are truly AMAZING!

1. My oldest children (my triplets) turned 12 – I now have 3 pre-teens… Yikes! Prays are always welcome ūüôā¬† Actually, I am thrilled with who my kids are becoming. They are thoughtful, intelligent, beautiful people who are really wonderful to be around!¬† I have done 1 birthday party so far – Kaitlyn wanted to take some friends to see The Avengers.¬† I think I might have the only 12-year-old girl in the world who loves the Hulk Hands (boxing gloves) that she got from her brother. ūüôā¬† 2 more parties to go…

In addition to all the craziness going on last month, the weather has been all over the place.¬† In the beginning and in the end, when I did not have company, it’s been raining and cold.¬† In the middle, when I was too busy to take pictures, it was gorgeous!¬† I am so tired of posting pictures, really I am just tired of wearing sweaters and long-sleeves!¬† I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want consistent warm weather to arrive!¬† If I’m being honest though, to get the kind of weather I want, we really need to move… OK, I’m ready.¬† ūüôā

Homemade Vanilla Syrup

April 26, 2012
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When I realized that my son was allergic to dairy almost 2 years ago, I was forced to read food packaging labels.¬† Reading labels is a very scary and yet quite eye-opening experience!¬† When you see ingredients that you can’t pronounce without an advanced linguistics degree or understand without an advanced chemistry degree, you really start to wonder WHAT you are putting into your body, and the bodies of your children!

While I still¬†have a long way to go… I have taken some baby steps to “clean up” the food my family eats.¬† I try to¬†get it as close to the source as possible, with less preservatives and artificial ingredients and more fresh foods.¬† Now, in the interest of total honesty, my kids still eat instant oatmeal and cereal¬†and jello was served in my house around Easter – so I am NOT perfect!¬† I am trying to get them to eats fruits instead of sugary snacks, vegetables at least 3 times a day and a greater variety of proteins.

One of the cleaner and simpler recipes I have adapted in my home is to make homemade vanilla syrup.  It is full of sugar, so healthy is not a word I would use to describe it.  But I know the 3 ingredients that I make it with and it costs pennies to make, instead of dollars to buy.

I have reused my old syrup bottle and pump,  I just wash and refill it as I go.  To make this syrup you need:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (I like dark but either works)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4- 1/3 cup vanilla extract

 Combine the sugars and water into a sauce pan, simmer for 5-8 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla extract to the sauce.  Wait for it to cool and pour the syrup into your container. 

I enjoy my syrup with my morning¬†coffee but I have friends who enjoy it added to their tea.¬†¬† I even have a martini recipe that calls for vanilla syrup. ¬†ūüôā

You can also find attractive glass jars, add the syrup and tie a ribbon around for a thoughtful and fun gift idea!

20 years ago today…

April 25, 2012

…I married my other half.¬† Yes, I truly belive that a good marriage is the combining of¬†two souls to become one stronger soul.¬† I am not complete without my husband.¬† For the record, he can¬†and often does,¬†drive me crazier than anyone else in this world, but he is the only one in this world who can “talk me down” as well.¬† He is the best thing that ever happened to me and I am so thankful to God above for sending him to me.¬†

I am a lucky woman!

I did not know how lucky I was went I met him in college, I was barely 19 years old.  I did not know how lucky I was when we married 4 years later.  I did not know how lucky I was when he let me jump from job to job; retail, travel, floral design, interiors, and sales.  I did not even know how lucky I was as we walked the dark path of infertility for 5 long years. 

When did I really knew how lucky I was? 

When I became pregnant with triplets and he became a Dad!  A high risk pregnancy by itself, but at 17 weeks, our girls were diagnosed with Twin to Twin Transfusion and I went on bed rest.  My husband not only had to do all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, income earning, driving me to bi-weekly appointments, but he also packed, moved and unpacked us (with the help of family and dear friends), all while maintaining the emotional stability I was lacking and so much more!  When the babies came,  he stayed by my side, protecting me from over zealous med students and too many eager visitors during my entire hospital stay.  He only left me to check on our babies in the NICU.  

He continues to be by my side,  protecting me and our 4 children.  He is always working to provide a safe, warm and comfortable home for us and most importantly, he showers us with his unconditional love.

A women never knows how lucky she is until she walks through the fire and her husbands stays by her side the entire time!

Thank you honey, for making me the luckiest woman in the world!