Tuesday, January 29, 2013

If Snow White Can Do It, SO CAN WE!

So you know that charming smiling Snow White? She wanders into the home of the 7 dwarfs and decides she'll "tidy up the place" while she waits for them to return home. She enlists the help of the forest creatures, and together they "whistle while they work."
Snow does her best to clean up the nasty house of 7 grown men, and gently corrects the animals when they don't get their chore done quite right. She never loses her temper, and never even stops singing. Ah, to be like sweet Snow White-keeping housework light and gentle and sweet.
I have to say, I do love a tidy house. I have every room organized to keep things simple and have a place for everything. I have a cleaning schedule I try not to waver from which includes daily chores for the kids and a weekly cleaning day for me. It can EASILY get out of hand though! Especially since my little "deers" don't always take to my correction as nicely as the forest animals in this video.

Honestly, I can turn into the ugly hag in 10 seconds FLAT if things aren't done right.
It's that perfectionist in me. Striving for the Better Homes and Gardens home of the month is an unlikely goal to meet. Those houses are STAGED people! But here is the difference between Snow White and me. Her desire is to bless those little men. She wants to use the help she has and work together with them to prepare a nice tidy house and a warm meal to come home to. Her goal isn't a perfect house. Her goal isn't a perfect meal. Her goal is BLESSING those who live in the home. And you want to know what happens when those men get home?
As the dwarfs come down the road the animals watch from the window in anticipation of them returning. (Sound like a scene from your house? I know my kids LOVE to watch for Daddy to come home when they hear his car coming.) They want the men to see what they've worked so hard to prepare for them. Sure, in this illustration Snow White is now taking a nap, but hey, her job is DONE! Ha! ANYWAY, when the men come home they can't believe their eyes. The home looks warm and welcoming from even afar. Snow touches all of their senses-they see the light, feel the dust gone under their fingers, smell the dinner cooking. She's accomplished her goal. They end up all sitting around the dinner table eating a yummy meal while she tells them of her story. You know what happens after that? They begin to protect and provide for her. They even stand up to the old hag who tries to come back and kill Snow White herself.
So what's the point of all of this? To encourage you to lower your expectations not only on yourself, but on your home, your meals, and your family. Be OK with not having things just right. Teach your children to do chores with a happy attitude as doing them unto the Lord. Stock your pantry with easy to prepare meal options. Make an effort to keep a tidy, but lived in home that welcomes your man home each day "with a smile and a song." Invite others into your not so perfect home. Invest in your family and friends instead of always trying to reach that perfect life dream(that will never happen).
As I've been reading No More Perfect Moms I've been struck by the fact that in most areas my expectations are way too high. Now, there are some areas where the expectations may be too low, and that may be your case as well, but all “too often we talk ourselves right out of hospitality because we fear that our efforts won’t measure up. Measure up to what? That elusive “perfect picture” we have in our mind of what our house needs to look like, what kind of food we need to serve, or even how we want our kids to behave.” –Jill Savage, NO MORE PERFECT MOMS
What do you need to change? Is it that you need to try a little harder to be like Snow White and whistle while you work? Do you need to raise the expectations on your kids to help with the chores? Do you need to lower the expectations you have for yourself in being able to do it all? I'd like to encourage you to keep it simple, smile more, and demand less of yourself. Love your man and kids more deeply. Find out if there are things they need from you that you aren't giving them because you're too caught up in the "perfection infection" and not enough in trying to bless them with a "smile and a song!"

Monday, January 28, 2013

Home Brewed Smittle: Week 35. 5 to go.

So, It's begun. The "I don't think you're going to make it that far." comments. They DRIVE ME CRAZY! Look, lady, this is my SIXTH child. My body KNOWS what it's doing. Yes, I look like a beached whale, but I promise my baby and my body know just when God is ready. I mean, seriously, is that supposed to make me feel GOOD?! Do you really think I don't get that what you're saying is, "DANG! You are HUGE!"
I'm still singing at church, and every week I think the pastor is worried I'll go into labor. I keep telling him he'd be a great LD coach! Ha!
On to other things, I hope that you'll read the follow-up to last weeks post here. We've seen God bless us so richly just in the past week. After the post I wrote, I was actually blessed by a photographer friend who wants to take pictures of the baby and my cousin who brought me some clothes and a bouncy seat for Eli. I was talking to someone this week about how you'd think with 6 kids I'd have everything I need, but after six kids most of what I do have is ready to be tossed it's so worn! Eli is lucky to be a boy, because at least he won't have to wear the same clothes all four of the girls have worn. It does make it special though to see that same outfit on each of my girls...I'll miss those sweet baby girl things, but I do love little golf hats and denim overalls oh so much!!
SO, 5 more weeks. By the time I post this it will actually be more like 4.5, but that's IFF Eli comes when he's "due." I have several friends who've been going past their due dates lately, and I'd be OK with that more than him coming early. I am getting ready to be unpregnant though!
This week I'll go for my regular visit with my midwife. I'll also have my 36 week risk assessment. We'll also be setting up my homevisit where both midwives come to our home and figure out where things are and how things are set up. They'll also make sure I have all the supplies I need and we're ready for go time. I've really got to get things together before then!
Babycenter says it's "snug" inside my womb. Uh, you think!? It doesn't seem to stop the kung fu fighter baby inside me from kicking me enough to wake me up! He's STRONG! That's good though, because it means he's healthy. I'm so thankful for another great healthy pregnancy. God has so richly blessed my time being pregnant, and I'm thankful to have made it to the point that even if the baby was born his basic physical development is mostly finished, and he would likely be OK.
Babycenter says that he's about 18 inches long and weighs a little over 5 pounds, about the weight of a honeydew melon.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Wanna RIDE on the Fire Truck!

So, My sweet little darling boy turned THREE this week. OH, it's so hard to say that! It really hit me HARD! I just can't stand that he's growing up so fast!! Anyway, since he's been old enough to hold a toy in his hands he's been in LOVE with fire trucks. This year he asked for a fire truck party. At first I wanted to go to the fire station for the party, but since it's January I decided we'd probably be too cold to do that, so we had the party here instead.
I should also say that we were on such a tight budget that I didn't have ANY money to spend on the part, so I went through the garage and sold enough stuff to make $100. I only ended up spending $75 total for everything(from decor to food), so please, don't think that you don't have the funds to do something fun! The key is CREATIVITY and shopping around for the best prices.

Here is the invitation. I just used plain white cardstock to print it on(which I already had).
I added the "3" and "Smittle Fire Dept" on the fire truck in Microsoft paint.
I used the same graphic to make food labels. I had some cute little labels we'd gotten in the mail as samples, so I used those and some red paper from our art cabinet. I made one for the party favors too. By the way, I totally hit up the fire station for party favors! They gave me all kinds of stuff for FREE! Yay!

How cute are these bags!?

Glow in the dark bracelets with fire safety tips on them.

Hypercolor rulers! My kids thought these were so cool!
I used my "party wreath and added a simple graphic that said fire dept. and put one of Bubby's firetrucks on it.
We used Bubby's fire trucks to decorate the eating table in the office and the living room table.
I wanted to make flames as decor(like the house was on fire), but when I started thinking about how much paper I would need I quickly decided that it was going to blow my budget. THEN, I went to Hobby Lobby and they had their giant poster board on sale! I got all that I needed for $6! I used it to make tiny flames for the birthday banner and big ones for the wall. I also used caution tape I had left over from his party last year. I loved how it turned out!!

This was NOT easy to do with my big pregnant belly hanging over the side of the banister!

The food was actually REALLY easy and it looked REALLY cute!
I made 2 dozen each of butter and devils food cupcakes. Then, I took three mixing bowls and put equal parts of icing in them. I dyed each bowl a different color(red, yellow, and orange). Last, I spooned each color into a piping bag, and used frosting tip 1M. I loved the way they turned out because they all looked different, and they all looked fiery.
Pretty cool, huh? This was the first time I'd used this method, but I'll use it again, for sure!

Cheap($.89 bags) of cinnamon and butterscotch candies.

Doritos on sale at WalMart

I also had pretzel rods(fireman poles) and fruit kabobs(flamin' fruit) with strawberries, pineapple cubes, and cantaloupe. I made the fireballs from this picture from three $.89 packs of tissue paper. I used this  Martha Stewart how-to video to make them. 

This picture cracks me up! Eli is peeking out at the bottom. There were SO many pictures I took that you could see my belly in! HA!
Bubby kept saying, "Thank you mom! This is so great! This is what I WANTED!"

He got all shy while we were singing to him!
So, I've always said, "It's not WHAT you know, it's WHO you know." Well, turns out that is pretty true! We have some friends we hadn't seen in a long time that we knew had this old-fashioned fire truck. I emailed them to see if they still had it and if they'd be interested in showing it off for the party. They were happy to come and Mr. James even dressed as a fire man! It was a TOTAL hit!! I was so thankful to them for bringing it! I tried to repay them with cupcakes and chips! Ha!
My darlin' Bubby! Yes, he ALWAYS has his hand in his mouth. I'm trying to break him of it now that he's a BIG boy...

The kids went NUTS over this thing!!

At first, Isaiah was a little nervous, but after his sisters got around he was up in the drivers seat. He keeps telling me that was the best part of his day.

My Mia Jane loved it too. Large and in charge!

Even the adults liked it! Here are the girls with one of their favorite Great Aunts.

My little Smittles!
Our family!


Brubbs and "His Harrison!" They are good buddies. I'm so thankful for our extended family! 

Sweet Little Korbyn!

My handsome boy!

I just love doing boy parties! I guess it's because I've done so many girl parties and there's only so much you can do with princesses! Yes, this takes me a lot of time and energy, but it's memories for my kids and fun for me! I know Bubby had a wonderful day, and that blesses my heart!!
Lastly, a picture of him on his birthday with the birthday meal he asked for. Lucky Charms! Ha! We NEVER buy this sort of stuff, so for him, in his sweet little mind, he thought it was EXTRA special!

Also, Manly took him to the Monster Truck JAM for his birthday. He was totally stoked!
Happy Birthday, Boo! Momma LOVES you so so much!!
When I was kissing him good night on the night before his birthday I said, "Bubby, Momma is so so glad that God put you in our family! I just love having you as my son!" He looked up at me, squished my face in his cheeks, and said, "I'm glad God gave me to you guys when I was born! You and daddy are lovely parents!" Oh what a blessed momma I am!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jehovah Jireh - God our Provider

So, as I mentioned in my last Home Brewed Smittle post, I've had a growing list of things we needed for Eli before he was born. Due to several weeks of holidays/bad weather/re-scheduled surgeries we'd had some harsh financial struggles. When I posted last Saturday I realized I had a real fear that the baby would be born before we were able to catch up enough to be able to get the expensive items on the list that you just don't want to live without(mostly diapers and a car seat). Honestly, I know Manly would have figured out a way to make it work because he knows it's obviously very important and he'd do whatever he had to do to provide for us, BUT, in the moment I was worried and afraid.
I decided what needed to happen was that I needed to give that fear(and needs) over to the Lord. I know that He cares about me and what I'm feeling. Once I started to pray my heart was at peace about things, and I decided that one way or another we'd be fine. I had NO idea what was ahead...
Sunday morning we left the house early for church. When we got home and got settled in for our Sunday afternoon rest I checked my email and found this sent to me and another expectant mom in our Sunday School class:
Hey Ladies,
Spoke with (our SS teacher's wife) this morning and wanted to touch base with you both on when a good time would be to honor both of you on the upcoming arrival of your sweet little one.
I was thinking a Sunday afternoon would be great if convenient for both of you. Why don't y'all both give me about three dates you feel you could make and we will plan the rest! Oh yeah, Barb mentioned a diaper shower but we are certainly up to anything you feel you need, just let me know.  Thanks so much,
(a sweet friend from our SS and Bible Study class)
I was immediately blessed, and obviously awed that the Lord had answered my prayers so quickly. But that's not all...
Fast forward a few days, and we are having the ribbon cutting/open house for Manly's new counseling office. Towards the end, someone slipped an envelope into my hand. I stuck it into my purse, and afterwards took a look at what was inside. It was cash. The EXACT amount I had said I'd need to get some things for Elias at Rhea Lana's. This was a FREE GIFT. Oh, but that's not all...
Tuesday I had entered a Rhea Lana's "like" contest to help them reach 17,000 likes. I found out Tuesday evening I was one of the winners for a $35 gift certificate. Seriously?! Oh, but that's NOT all...
Today I get this email from Scotty's mom:
Hey Guys,
I believe at one point you had a carseat picked out. Do you still?
I sent her an email back with the link for the one we had picked out. Then I got this one...
it is on the way to my newest grandson!
I couldn't believe it! In just 5 days the Lord had not only used friends and family to bless me personally, but had used them to supply our needs. It's been a rough couple of weeks, and the Lord knew just how to bless me and revive my heart. I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude and praise. Thank you Lord!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Home Brewed Smittle: Week 34. 6 to go.

Another long week. The past few have been really high stress weeks. It's one of those times in our life where everything is a little wild. I'm looking forward to spring...
I'm getting things ready to sell for Rhea Lana's this week. It's been a little sad selling all of our girl things, but it also feels good to clear out some things and make a little extra money to get some things we need for Eli. My list keeps getting longer for him.
  • Car Seat(probably the single most important thing since we can't leave the house until we have one!)
  • Diaper Bag
  • Receiving Blankets(All of mine were pink and I just got rid of them.)
  • Diapers(only Pampers Swaddlers will do for those fresh baby booties)
  • Bouncy Seat(again. It was pink and now it's gone. I'll probably just make due with my travel swing)
  • 0-3 springy clothes. (Since Bubby was born in January all my boy newborn clothes are wintry.)
The baby is currently hanging out in posterior position. That is also known as "sunny side up." It just means that Eli has his back to my back. He's head down, and we aren't worried about delivery, but him rotating would make it much easier on labor and my current comfort. Addison was actually born in posterior position, and it made for a long back-aching labor and delivery.

He's still measuring right on target and moving around like a little jumping bean. I've had to start the whole pillow positioning thing in order to sleep, but other than that I'm doing great. His biggest feat this week is to start fattening up. I can't wait to hold him and have him complete our family. Babycenter says he's close to 5 pounds and about 18 inches long. About the size of a cantaloupe.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Few Things to Pass Along

I've seen a few things I wanted to share here, so I decided I'd just do them on one post and get it all out of the way.

First of all, this cracked me up. I don't think I've ever thought of myself as being ANYTHING like a rock star, but it turns out, I AM! Ha!
Secondly, I don't know about you, but sometimes "new mommy brain" gets the best of me. I mean, basically I've had this issue for about 9 years now(counting "pregnancy brain" too), but there are times when I can hardly remember my own name let alone how long it's safe to store breast milk. I'm planning to print this off and put it in my pump bag so that I'll be able to see and remember. It's a really handy tool.

Storage guidelines

TemperatureStorage Time
Freshly expressed milk
Warm room80-90°F / 27-32°C3-4 hours
Room temperature61-79°F / 16-26°C4-8 hours
(ideal: 3-4 hours)
Insulated cooler / ice packs59°F / 15°C24 hours
Refrigerated Milk (Store at back, away from door)
Refrigerator (fresh milk)32-39°F / 0-4°C3-8 days
(ideal: 72 hrs)
Refrigerator (thawed milk)32-39°F / 0-4°C24 hours
Frozen Milk (Do not refreeze! Store at back, away from door/sides)
Freezer compartment inside refrigerator (older-style)Varies2 weeks
Self-contained freezer unit of a refrigerator/freezer<39 td="td">6 months
Separate deep freeze0°F / -18°C12 months
(ideal: 6 months)
These guidelines are for milk expressed for a full-term healthy baby. If baby is seriously ill and/or hospitalized, discuss storage guidelines with baby’s doctor.
To avoid waste and for easier thawing & warming, store milk in 1-4 ounce portions. Date milk before storing. Milk from different pumping sessions/days may be combined in one container – use the date of the first milk expressed. Avoid adding warm milk to a container of previously refrigerated or frozen milk – cool the new milk before combining. Breastmilk is not spoiled unless it smells really bad or tastes sour.To thaw milk
  • Thaw slowly in the refrigerator (this takes about 12 hours – try putting it in the fridge the night before you need it). Avoid letting milk sit out at room temperature to thaw.
  • For quicker thawing, hold container under running water – start cool and gradually increase temperature.
Previously frozen milk may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours after it has finished thawing. Do not refreeze.
To warm milk
  • Heat water in a cup or other small container, then place frozen milk in the water to warm; or
  • Use a bottle warmer.
  • NEVER microwave human milk or heat it directly on the stove.
The cream will rise to the top of the milk during storage. Gently swirl milk (do not shake) to mix before checking temperature and offering to baby.
If baby does not finish milk at one feeding, it is probably safe to refrigerate and offer within 1-2 hours before it is discarded.

If you'd also like to print this off go here and click the PDF file at the bottom. Thanks kellymom.com for the great chart!

OK, that's it for now. I have consignment to hang and tag!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Uhhh, I'm Going to Need to Eat These Now

Dude, have you seen this recipe? I'm sure all of you pinterest people have seen it, but us non-pinterest people it may be new to.
It looks DE-LISH!! I make homemade granola and baked oatmeal a lot, but I'm going to try these as soon as I get some chocolate chips!!


You Might Be a Rhea Lana Shopper

...if you buy your safety pins, labels, and string tags in bulk in the off season so you'll be ready to consign when it's time.
...if you measure your kids before leaving to shop and bring foot form cut outs to "try on shoes."
...if you make your list based on where the items will be in the store because you have memorized the general set-up of a Rhea Lana sale.
..if you keep your Rhea Lana sales minimized all week while the sale is going on.
...if you have DVDs that still have labels stuck to them because someone didn't follow the rules and attach a string tag.
...if your kids think that Santa comes in February instead of December because that's when momma brings home all the toys!
...if you have your own rolling racks simply to tag your consignment.
...if you've ever said, "string tag."
...if you have ever waited in a 45 minute line in order to save HUNDREDS on children's clothes.
...if you have a RL shirt in every color of the rainbow because you've RL hopped and worked every sale within 2 hours of your home.
...if you keep plastic hangers even if you don't need them because you know you'll use them once it's time to hang and tag your consignment.
...if you've ever signed up to work the night owl shift just for the girl-time fun and free pizza!
...if you know what the word SORT really means.
...if you've ever bagged the kids toys while they are asleep because you know they'll sell at Rhea Lana's and they really don't need 14 baby dolls.
...if you like GREAT bargains, good company, and friendly faces.
...if you have children!
...if you shop on a budget.
...if you like toys at a fraction of the price you'd pay in retail stores.
...if you've ever had a Rhea Lana sign in your yard, or magnet on your car or BOTH so that you can shop early!
...if you like to find matching and coordinating clothes for your kids.
...if you have a big family.
...if you need things for your new baby!
...if you want to make money while you shop!

Rhea Lana's Season is upon us! Do you have a sale near you? If not, would you like to? Let Rhea Lana know where the next sale should be! Like the Facebook page for more information, and go to the Rhea Lana Page for more information about the sales near you!
My favorite sale, the Greater Little Rock sale is coming up REALLY soon! February 10-16-here! I'm busy getting my things ready for consignment, and already getting my list together. If you'd like to consign, but aren't sure where to begin feel free to ask me, and also be sure to check out the consigner section on the RL website. They make it really easy to know what to do to make the most out of what you've got to sell. Happy Shopping!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Masculine Manly Monday

So, after much begging and pleading and a facebook post where he was tagged Manly has FINALLY agreed to letting me post the following pictures. IFF I will try and explain the background...
So, this has been a ROUGH couple of months for us. Manly is REALLY busy with his new private practice office in town and also a teaching job, we've had financial struggles due to some crazy wild things happening, the kids have been sick, we're having a baby, etc...
ANYWAY, fast forward to today. This is the THIRD time in a week we've dealt with the stomach virus in our house. We had already laid out the kids clothes, shoes, and bows for church this morning, the bath schedule had been made, and we had the cinnamon rolls and plates all ready when the puke hit the bed. It was like deja vu! Even the same order!! SO, we stayed in bed this morning, we were in our pjs all day, showers were taken in the middle of the night, and cinnamon rolls were exchanged with dry cereal.
SO, Manly did some work in the garage, and also went out into the back yard to fill in holes that our digging dog likes to make. He does this pretty often because he's worried one of the kids will hurt themselves. He just takes his hoe out there and fills them in quickly. SO, combine the pjs, the backyard work, my Man, and a FREEZING cold day and this is what you get!
Manly says this is his redneck grandpa look. Speaking of redneck, that stinkin dog is RUINING my yard!!

Ya'll seriously, I was laughing SO hard at him while he was out there like that!

It reminded me of him when we first met!

All he needed was to lose the robe and get a pager and MUCH longer hair! HAHAHA!
Look at those LEGS!

Basketball shorts and tall socks! MEE-YOW!!

I'm so in love with this Manly Man!

He keeps getting better and better.

Can't wait until he's an actual old man walking around like this all the time.
I'll grow old with a hunk like this!

New Years Skating

After the snow had all melted away it was time for New Year's. I'm sure that those of you with lots of littles know that it's really not a holiday with too much celebration. We usually make a fun meal and let the kids toast apple juice glasses and don silly hats before bed, but this year it just didn't work out that way. I attended a funeral for a friend that died suddenly that day, and Scotty had to work, so we just ended up having a regular night. Once the kids were in bed we watched a movie which I ended up sleeping through. After the movie I awoke just in time to see the ball drop via tv, then it was off to bed. New Year's day Manly's dad and his family came into town and we took the kids to the (FREEZING COLD) outdoor skating rink.
KK with Kayla learning to skate.

Lulu working on her own to figure out what she's supposed to be doing.

Addi with Manly. She looks angry, but I promise she wasn't!

Manly cheering Lulu on.
Love this picture of my growing big girl! She looks so happy(and cold)!
Mia took a ride around the rink with Kayla.

Pretty blue-eyed Eskimo.

KK taking a little foot break.

Manly having a dad moment.

Happy Lulu. She said, "I think I'm going to take up skating when I get a little older."

Brubbs taking his turn around the rink.

I think he liked it!!

Lulu getting the hang of it!!

So proud she did so well for her first time.

The two littles weren't able to skate and they didn't have skates small enough, so I corralled them while Manly and his family helped the big girls learn to skate.

Wacky boy!!
I love that sweet smile! It's usually followed by a snarl, but still. Sweet in the moment!

It was their first time on ice skates and I think they did a great job. Afterwards we took them to McDonalds for lunch(which is actually a rare treat in this house).
Now we were back at our regular routine, which seems to make the days fly by. I just know that Eli is going to be here before we know it!