Week Two Round Up of Fun and Crazy

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It’s already the second weekend of the year and there is still so much to do.

My hope for you is that you feel like you’ve hit some marks getting towards your goals and you’ll see the next week through with the Lord’s guidance.

Here’s what my family has been up to this week.

It’s been a long week.  I am tired.  If I didn’t take a few photos and write a few notes here and there, I would have only remembered the last few days.

Starting on Sunday, January 4, my husband and oldest were the only ones who went to church.  We had been fighting pink eye this week and we didn’t want to give it to anyone at church, just in case so me and the two youngest stayed home.

Week Two of Fun and CrazyAfter church, my oldest asked to do finger knitting again, so he sat next to me while I crocheted a yellow hat for my youngest.  My youngest had been asking me for a Minion hat and I hope to finish it this coming week.

On Tuesday, I got the chance to journal a bit and I wrote out my favorite form of motivation.  After much thought, I realized that it is ‘seeing progress.’  The top three things that motivate me are (1) An organized system, or one that has been proven to work, (2) beauty in the system – meaning that when it looks simple and pretty (think gorgeous Pinterest pins and set-ups), and (3) accountability.  When I know that someone is checking on me, I get motivated to do what I was asked to do or supposed to do, such as an assignment at work or having the personal trainer ask me how healthy I ate during the week.

Why do I mention this?

Because sometimes I write stuff down, and it’s not necessarily in the blog format.  I carry around with me a journal of all types, the one seen in my lap while I crochet.  There are crochet patterns in there, notes to self, random brain dumps, to-do lists, etc. all just to get it out of my head.  I need it and it works for me.

I wrote a blog post on Tuesday, just because I felt like it.  It’s call A Day in My Life – Lately. Over it I go over what seems like the mundane things, but why they are important.  I know I have an affect on others lives.  I am privileged to know so many people and want them to know they are important.  This is something I hope to pass onto my children – that they are here for a purpose, even if it was to put a toilet seat on their mothers potty or take photos of a roadway.

Wednesday was where it was wonderfully calm.  I was still stressed out but my children and husband needed me and I was there for them.  I don’t even remember what happened that day.  That in itself is pretty sad but at the same time, I am glad for the mundane.

Thursday the 8th we had a Cub Scout Den meeting after work.  Oldest at a Bear Den Meeting - Req. 5aWe covered two parts of Requirement No. 5, part a, do a poster on your favorite animal and part e, name and talk about an animal that is extinct.

My oldest has always enjoyed learning about the caiman.  He’s written papers on the caiman before and today was no exception.  Below is a close up of the poster and I posted this particular photo on Instagram.

Caimans - Look at the drawing!Look at that drawing!  I just think it’s so wonderful that he put so much detail work into his caiman picture.  I didn’t notice until we got home that he even turned the letter “c” in the name of “caimans” to make it look like another caiman by drawing legs on it.  Where does he come up with these things?  Children are just amazing.

We’re planning a Den outing on January 19th to go to the zoo together to meet another couple requirements for part 5.  I’m looking forward to it.

Friday came and I had planned to work out in the field again.  I left the office in my truck around 830 AM and was at my destination by about 9.  I spent all morning in the field and got a phone call from my mom at 1055 AM.  She sounded exhausted and told me that she had fallen and couldn’t reach the phone until just then.  I told her to call 911 to go the hospital because she mentioned that she thought her hand was broken.  She asked me if I could come pick her up and I told her that by the time I got back to my car and switched it out, it would be at least an hour.

This was my mom's hand on Friday in the hospital.  DeAndrasCrafts.com

This was my mom’s hand on Friday in the hospital. DeAndrasCrafts.com

Long story short.

My dad ended up going over there to pick her up.  After refusing to go the hospital at least three times, my father told her that even if she went to dialysis, they would have sent her to the hospital.  She finally went and was at the ER before 1230 PM.  She didn’t have a broken hand – it ended up being a really bad bruise and given her complications, it will look like that for quite a long time.

She had spent all morning on the floor, not near a phone.  It’s terrifying to me and I wasn’t even there.

We are praying that the Lord guides my brother and I as well as the doctors to do what is best for her, obviously trying to grant her wishes.

This is why I am tired.  She spent over 24-hours in the ER.  Did I mention she went to the ER last week?  I found out this makes hospitals look bad.  You know, when patients go back to a hospital because of the same exact thing that happened a week before.

She couldn’t get up from a fall. 

Her potassium levels are too high for her to get out right now.  I am grateful the doctors and nurses are taking care of her.

Seriously though.  This is emotionally exhausting.  This is what reminds me that I can’t do it all.

I’m going to go see her tomorrow.  I also took off next Tuesday just to take her to an appointment, assuming she’s out of the hospital.

This was part of the crazy week I had.

Again, it wasn’t all bad and exhausting.

Saturday I went to a day long ladies retreat and left feeling spiritually alive.  I was still exhausted from spending the night-owl hours in the ER with my mom, but I felt better and know that God has a purpose and a plan for everything.  My wonderful husband took care of the kiddos that day and they went to a birthday party.

I came home and found out my mom was still in the ER. As I write this it’s Sunday the 11th.  I’ll post more about the day itself next week but I will say my mom now has her own room and will be there through Monday.

I hope you had a great week.  I’m going to try to go to bed now. Big hug!


A Day In My Life – Lately

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010715-ADayIntheLife This year I am trying my hardest to document my life, life with my children, with my mother and with family in friends in general.

As I treat this blog as an autobiography of sorts, I started what I hope to be a weekly summary post of things that happen in my life, and for the lives of so many others that I meet, I know, I’m acquainted with, that I live with and spend time with.

I gave it a catchy title and a tab of it’s own on the blog, called Weekly Round-Up of Fun and Crazy.

My life is ordinary to me, but as I’ve grown to realize in the past two years, it really isn’t ordinary to other people.

Don’t ask me why it took me so long to figure this out.

Doesn’t every intelligent, math loving Hispanic girl from the poor side of town become a Civil Engineer in the job of her dreams, marry the man of her dreams and end up taking care of her parents with a beautiful family?

No?

Yeah, I just figured this out recently.  Don’t judge.

I feel ordinary and here’s a day in my life to prove it!


I got to work at 730 AM this morning.  I went to the parking lot (yard) where the vehicle I am assigned to was parked and got out my safety jacket and hardhat to go into the field to do one of my favorite things, review a roadway.

(Now before I go on, this is no longer a normal thing, as I go down to an office now, but I am talking about today.)

I met my co-worker at the yard and after we got our paperwork, we drove almost 30-miles to get to the road we were reviewing today.20150106_100048_resized

We spent the next three hours reviewing the road. It’s not very glamorous, but I get to take cool photos like the one to the right.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an asphalt dike with a curve like the one along the side of the roadway in the photo.  Sometimes thing have to get noted.

My coworker and I took a late lunch, where I left work to install a raised toilet seat for my mother.  It wouldn’t fit.  That was annoying and I had to leave because lunch was over.

raised toilet seatI’ll spare you the photo of the seat not fitting….

It’s weird, but it’s my life. photo 3

Anyway, after work, I had a scheduled appointment with my Personal Trainer. I haven’t been to the gym since July.

(Search #myviewtoday to see the progress of my #knee recovery on Instagram.)

I had to go get my mini poodle from the groomers after the gym.

I finally got home and thank God my husband braved the store with three kids to get us food because that was the last thing I wanted to do today.

I wrote a blog post while watching Marvel’s Agent Carter on ABC.

There were many things I didn’t get to do today.  But that’s not the point of this blog post.

I want to inspire you to say to yourself – “Look at all the awesome things I did today!”

You know you did even “ordinary” stuff that makes the world more amazing right?  Hopefully you think of the people whose lives you influenced today.  Maybe you think of the kids that you are raising and helping to grow into the next generation of game-changers and world builders.

Maybe you’re like me and just did your job of reviewing a road for the public with a great co-worker.

Whatever it was, I hope you know that you are awesome. Have a great day tomorrow friends!


Week One Round-Up of Fun & Crazy

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Round Up Week 1

Our #scarfie photo only took four tries to get right! I made the kids scarves and am wearing one I made for myself too.

Week one for me “ends” on Saturday, January 3, 2015.

And it has been a really rough start to the new year.

My mom went to the hospital on the first day of the new year with pain in her legs and was unable to walk around herself.  She needed an extra dialysis, which is becoming a more frequent need in her ability to function.

My father, her estranged husband who is a better grandfather than he ever was as a father, has been helping me out while I take care of my children and try to continue to keep a job and be a wife/mom/daughter/sister, etc. and this is during his own recovery from open heart surgery in November.

Some could say “crazy” is my middle name.  This week proved that I can tackle crazy like a boss.

Here’s the weekly round up of fun and crazy in the life of DeAndrasCrafts.com:

Monday - December 29 - Thank you!

Monday – December 29 – Thank you!

On Monday, I went to work and didn’t notice until almost 1015 AM that I had the “Thank You” sticker my youngest son put on me from the local supermarket.

I sent the photo to the left to my husband and told him I felt like a true mommy today!

He told me to own the sticker like a boss and continue to wear it.  I did for a while, but chickened out around lunch and took it off.

Tuesday and Wednesday (December 30 & 31) were great.  I worked out in the field on those days, something I didn’t think I was going to be doing much since going back into the office a couple of weeks ago.

I took off part of the day on the 31st so my husband could go to the doctor.  He was diagnosed with a slew of ailments, one of which was bronchitis, and was put on antibiotics with icky side-effects.  He also took it like a boss.

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My daughter's Hello Kitty head is finished - direction are from the Book Hello Kitty Crochet by Mei Li Lee

My daughter’s Hello Kitty head is finished – direction are from the Book Hello Kitty Crochet by Mei Li Lee

In the afternoon of the 31st, I began working on my daughter’s Hello Kitty crocheted stuffed animal from the Hello Kitty crochet book I got for Christmas.  The pattern is definitely for a seasoned crochet-er and I’m going to have to purchase pink brads for the cheeks and some pink tulle.  I almost can’t believe I don’t have any pink tulle (for the ballerina dress, page 16) lying around….

We stayed up with the two oldest until 9 PM on the 31st, and I rang in the new year in tired mommy and daddy fashion of staying up until about 10 PM and going to bed.  My husband was in bed before I was and the only reason I stayed up was to read a chapter of Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze’s book, “Smart Money Smart Kids.”

I’m trying to read twelve (12) books this year as part of my goals, and I chose this one as the first one to complete because I’ve had it for a while and it is SO IMPORTANT!

Thursday was the day my mom went into the hospital.  She ended up getting additional dialysis, and that made her feel much better.  My father was instrumental in getting her over there, and helping me out on Friday evening when she got out.

The first of the new year wasn’t fun in our house as we are still dealing with pink eye that my youngest son brought home with him last week around Christmas.  It’s been difficult to say what the worst thing has been about the experience of pink eye – it’s either the giving-your-child-eye-drops or the fact that it doesn’t seem to go away!  Ugh.

This is my "Do Over" plan for the next 10 days.  I am planning on reconnecting with my family through writing, journaling and blogging.  #DoOverBook by Jon Acuff

This is my “Do Over” plan for the next 10 days. I am planning on reconnecting with my family through writing, journaling and blogging. #DoOverBook by Jon Acuff

The evening of Thursday, January 1, 2015 I began a 10-day challenge from the author Jon Acuff.

You can read more about this here: 10-day Do Over Challenge

So far, so good in my “Doing Over.” As I write this post I am three days into the challenge and I’ve got a game plan for blogging about our family’s weekly events, good or bad.  I’ve also started an enormous list of “To Do’s” that I plan on organizing and separating by month, by need, by want and by importance.  My Type A brain is so excited about getting organized and hopefully in the process a little more simplified (hitting those 2015 goals!)

On Friday, the two oldest and I learned how to finger knit.  I think the hardest part for me was watching and listening to my 3 (almost 4-year old) complain that he wasn’t doing it.  After working with my five year old daughter, I’ve determined that finger knitting is definitely for children ages (mature) 5 years old and up (at least in my family.)

We used Lion Brand Homespun yarn. – Click on the link to look at it on Amazon.

RUW1-Finger KnittingThe 9-year old was able to catch onto the pattern of wrapping the yarn around the fingers easily, something the 5-year old wasn’t able to grasp as easily and I had to watch her wrap the yarn around her fingers so she wouldn’t miss a loop.  We watch a video by Fiber Flux on You Tube, and although the oldest admitted it was cool to learn, he was done after about 15-minutes or so.  The five year old spent a little more time with it, but she too was done after 20-minutes.  We were all trying to keep our hands to ourselves (so the pink eye could stop being spread around) and I was hoping this was going to take more time up during the day.

Oh well.

I was blessed Saturday morning by my children not getting out of bed until 7 AM.  My coffee was hot and I turned on the fireplace to blog by the fire.  It was a day of taking down the Christmas tree and putting all the Christmas stuff away.  It seems bittersweet but like we tell our children, it’s all about making Christmas a special time of year.

For next week: I am hoping and praying for normalcy to resume in our household once again next week.  It was a productive week though, despite the unfortunate interruptions of having to get my mom from the hospital and dealing with a sick husband and pink-eyed kiddos. I’m hoping to start my goal board this week and get the kids excited about doing life together.


My 2015 Goals

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Hopefully by now you know about my favorite social media site: Pinterest.

The possibilities really are endless on that site.

Anyway, Pinterest has started posting “Related” pins, that at first bothered me.  (They also call them “Picked for you” pins.)

I am thoroughly enjoying them now as they break up the followed posts with new ideas that I may not have searched for anyway.

I saw a printable that really jumped out at me for goal setting for 2015 from one of those related posts.

Pin it here.  I will give some love to thirtyhandmadedays.com for coming up with a snazzy printable that I used for an amazingly simple goal setting thought process.  Thank you! 2015 goals

My photo isn’t as pretty as hers – I took the photo late in the evening, on top of a pile of unorganized paperwork, children’s work and printed photos.  I also haven’t changed the ink in my printer so the print came out light and with no color other than blue.  I answered a question on one of my blog posts about the R2D2 beanie, so The Star Wars Craft Book is peeking out from underneath the paper, along with my internet journal and a hello kitty backpack off to the side.

My life before your eyes.


 

So what am I looking forward to in 2015?

The paper has these prompts and my answers:

My one word is:

gifts.

What I really want in 2015 is:

go to Hawaii.

What I really need in 2015 is:

to organize and simplify my stuff.

What I will share in 2015 is:

my talents and gifts.

In 2015 I will succeed at:

reading 12 books.

I think the hardest part of 2015 is going to be reading the books.  I feel like it’s an ambitious goal for myself, as I can only recall reading about five books this year.  Well, that’s another thing to blog about!

Big goals for a new year.  It really seems simple, but I know they are ambitious.

I will blog about the quest to go to Hawaii and link back, hopefully soon.

I also want to do a blog post on what I know are my talents and gifts.  I think I’ll do that one sooner than later.

Blessings to you on your new year!

Craftsy


Word of the Year – 2015

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Word of the YearAbout the same time last year, I posted my word of the year (it was pro-active.)

The year went well with that as my “focus” word or the word that I wanted to use to remind myself what my purpose was and what I was trying to accomplish for the year, up until I hurt my knee in June.  That incident threw my whole world out of control.

And I’m all about control.

This year I’m changing my focus seemingly completely.  I prayed about my “purpose word” for this year and one word seemed to stick out of all the rest that were swimming around in my head.

I wanted to take the control out of the word for this year.  I want it to be about what the Lord wants for me.

I want it to be what the Lord has blessed me with and how I can use those blessings, aka gifts, to glorify him and to serve him better.

I also want to bless others with gifts.  Not just the physical kind, but the “presence” kind.

My time is very valuable to me.  I want to be intentional about giving it as a gift, even when I don’t think I can squeeze it into my busy schedule.

I hope to blog about my giving.  It’s all about being blessed and being able to bless others.

I picked Proverbs 18:16 as my verse of the year. Word-year-verse(NIV version)

Have you picked a verse or word of the year?

What do you want to accomplish next year?  What kind of purpose do you feel compelled or lead to do for the year?  Can you sum it up in one word?

I hope you try to pick one word too and please, feel free to share it with me!


Christmas Gifts for My Kiddos

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Believe me when I say, I am all about the home made gifts.  I love to crochet and I try to make gifts throughout the year for my family and friends that they can use and cherish as the handmade items they are.

However -

We also save money all year long to purchase gifts for our niece and nephews, as well as gifts for our children. We put money aside every month just for Christmas and it’s related expenses that inevitably come with having three children and a large tribe of people that invite us to white elephant gift parties.

For the most part, our children receive one gift from mom and dad, and those gifts are usually the “big” gifts.  We’ve given our children bikes, a Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler (a family gift) and our oldest received the Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection set one year, a $75 value when we purchased it years ago.  You get the idea right?

 My children usually know what they want.  We don’t write Santa a list, but I do take them to either Target or Toys-R-Us to get a solid idea, and my children have wish lists on Amazon for family to pick a gift that they really want.  It works for us and I am a realist.

Want to know my viewpoint on Santa?  Read it here: Our Christmas Countdown – Part 1

I get the whole idea that your presence is the present, but believe me when I say, my children love to get gifts for Christmas.

Real Kids - Real Wish Lists

 With that said, I bring to you my children’s top things they want this year.  I’ve been asked before by other grandparents what they can give their grandchildren.  This post is an extension to those questions, as I know there are probably others who want to get gifts that real kids want, not just suggestions made by adults on random gift-giving lists.

I’ll give you some toy/gadget ideas, but I also let you know what books my kids are into as well as movies for other ideas.


The rowdy 3-year old.

The rowdy 3-year old.

Our youngest is the dancer of the family.  He hears a song and begins to dance like no one is watching.

It’s awesome!

On his wish list this year is stuff mostly from movies and shows he’s watched recently enough to be burned into his memory.  There are also bigger things, that he probably won’t get, but I’d thought I list them anyway.

(Links will take you to Amazon.com, but many of the items can be found at Walmart.com, Target, some at Walgreens or other common American retailers.)

For the most part, he would like vehicles and things that make noises.  He also likes to watch movies over and over again and even though we try to read to him, he still has the attention span of a 3-year old, so he will sit for about 10-minutes tops.

(1) Buzz Lightyear (from the Toy Story Movies)

(2) Lightning McQueen R/C Racer (from the Cars Movies)

(3) Red, Pull-Back Fire Truck, who is the fire engine from the Cars Movies

Red, the fire engine from the Cars movies

Zoomer Dino – Available at Toys-R-Us or Amazon

(4) What he has asked for specifically, but will probably not receive: A Zoomer Dino

(5) He also wanted a Nerf gun (specifically a zombie blaster Nerf gun), but I think it was primarily because we told him he couldn’t have a Fart Blaster (from the Despicable Me movies.)

Books: Pretty much anything that makes noise or does something.  While at Toys-R-Us, he asked for this one: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Lights On, Lights Off!

Blue-Ray’s/DVD’s/Movies: We own many movies including both Despicable Me titles (he loves the purple minions!) and both Cars movies, which are two of his favorite series.  This year, we have Planes: Fire and Rescue and Monster’s University on his wish list.

Princess Pic-watermarkedOur princess usually gets what she wants because she’s the only girl on one side of the family, and the oldest girl on the other.  All of the grandmother’s love to shop for clothes for her and she loves beautiful dresses, Hello Kitty everything, and just like all other five-year old girls in America, is obsessed with Frozen. She has all the clothes she needs, enjoys crafts she can do by herself, colorful items and loves boots just like me.

The No. 1 thing she wants this year: Hello Kitty Stereo Boom Box

 (2)Pillow Pets® Glow Pets Rainbow Unicorn

(3) Disney Frozen, Toddler Dolls Gift Set

(4) A learning item that she was interested in was the Magformers Inspire 30 piece set

(5) The thing she asked for but probably won’t be getting this year: Hello Kitty Drum Set.

Books: Anything with strong girls in it is what she clearly has been wanting to read about and aloud to.  She can’t quite read chapter books, but we have been reading Junie B. Jones books together and she asked for Pinkalicious: Teeny Tiny Pinky Library books.  The other set of books on her wish list are Whatever After 5 Book Set Pack. Those books are the kind to be read together with a parent, so life topics can be discussed in the home.

 Blue-Ray’s/DVD’s/Movies: We surprisingly don’t own many of the Disney “older” movies that I am familar with that she has watched on Netflix or we rented.  Those movies include Mary Poppins, Fantasia, and Beauty and the Beast.

Lastly, there’s our oldest – A nine-year old boy who thinks he knows everything and is amazed when he learns something new.

RJ Pic-WatermarkedRight now, my oldest is into video games, specifically Mine Craft, Terraria and all things Lego.

He’s asked for an Ipad Mini for his birthday, and has saved and spent all his money on one.  With that said, the first thing he asked for was Itunes gift cards.

(2) Nerf Zombie Strike Sling Fire Blaster

(3) His present from his parents (don’t tell him if you know him please!) is a Disney Infinity 2.0 Marvel Super Heroes Video Game Starter Pack – PlayStation 3.  We own a PS3 so if you get this for someone or your own child, ensure it’s for the gaming system the child owns.  He would also be happy with additional Infinity Characters.

From the movie Big Hero 6, a rocket fist and mask is on the wish list for the 9 year old.


(4) From the new movie, Big Hero 6, he’s asked for a Big Hero 6 Baymax Rocket Fist and Mask

(5) Combining two of the things he’s into right now, any one of the Lego Minecraft Set (s) are also on his list.

 Books: He’s really into the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Series.  It’s definitely meant for older children, but I’ve read and watched the movies and it’s nothing he can’t ask us questions about and thankfully, he has. I have been reading The Complete Adventures of the Borrowers to him for the past year, and we are almost done with the final book.  He has surprisingly enjoyed the classic stories, and as mentioned before, we have been able to talk about various things that happen in the book that don’t happen anymore because of when the book was originally written.

 Blue-Ray’s/DVD’s/Movies: On his wish list this year was Madagascar 3, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy.  I watched the Guardians movie with him in the theater and I think I’m getting it for Christmas, but you get the idea….

Anyway, I hope this list helps someone!  Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and remember the reason of the season this year!


What a week to be thankful!

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The thing about thanksgiving that I always want to remember is no matter how insane, how much work or how stressed out I get, I am thankful, for so many things.

As so many people would agree, not all those things, are well, things.

This year was an exceptionally crazy week to be thankful.

Thanksgiving Quote - Joyce Girard

Last week, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer and that was two days after her 14-year old beloved dog crossed over the rainbow bridge.

This week, I had to take the week off (thankfully my project was also not going to be worked on this week) to take care of my children while they were out of school.

I had planned a fun filled week of movies, making crafts, desserts, and I was even planning to put up the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving because I don’t have issues with that kind of thing.

We saw a movie in the theater (Big Hero 6 and I highly recommend it,) went to see my dad twice in the past three days at his rehab facility where he is recovering from the open heart surgery, and got to see some cousins.

I took my youngest this week to see his new daycare facility, and he will be there from 715 AM to 330 PM three days a week, and not being taken care of at his home for the first time in any of my three children’s’ lives.

The tree hasn’t gone up (but it will soon) and I spent an entire day helping my sister-in-law with her two-year old triplet children while my brother took his brother-in-laws, including my husband, shooting guns.

It’s been an emotional, stressful, crazy-filled couple of weeks leading up to this week.

Every once in a while, the Lord blesses me with an experience or two during my “Oh-woe-is-me” weeks (or month.)

I was blessed to see another family in action and be glad that I have the children I had and the husband I had.

My husband took the time to go see my father, because he knew I was stressed about it and it relieved me so much for him to be there.

I have been blessed by my mother-in-laws attitude.  She has been rock solid for her grown children through all that has been happening and I remembered how strong of a women she is.  I’ve seen this side of her before and even with all her beautiful feminine traits that I envy, she shows a strength that I’ve only seen my stoic paternal grandmother show in times of great stress.  It’s pretty amazing.

Remember how blessed you are this week.  Health is such a blessing.

For today, I will be eating, drinking and being merry, as well as giving thanks for so many blessings, as well as the trials.

I am one who just doesn’t see the blessings without the trials.  I wish this wasn’t true, but I am thankful that this is all I have to deal with.


Walgreens Holiday Savings | Gift Guide


Paving Another Road

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I have the best job in the world.

Well, it’s perfect for me anyway.

Shoes on ACI am a Construction Engineer.  My title is Resident Engineer because I get to stay on the project site when the Contractor works. (Hence the “resident” title, meaning “stay on-site.”  You can read more about my job here: I love my hamster wheel.

The project I have been on lately is all about paving a road.  I say that “literally” because I understand that the term “paving a road” can be used as an analogy for doing something new.  In my case, the most appropriate term is ‘overlaying’ a road, but that won’t get good search results in Google, so I went with the word paving.

The first thing that happened on this project was the grinding.  The job starts before I get there, as long as an Inspector is on-site to keep me updated and I am able to call the shots by phone and email.

A grinder grounds up the existing asphalt in a set distance so that we can match back to the bridge.

A grinder grounds up the existing asphalt in a set distance so that we can match back to the bridge.

We start out pretty early in the morning, although in California the rule is you have to pave Asphalt Concrete (AC) when it’s 50-degrees and rising and with the recent storms and fog, it’s been pretty cold in the morning.

The first day we paved, I met two men I have met on other projects, Dave and Craig.  They make the job fun and are two men that I describe in my previous post about my job, I love my hamster wheel.

 Men at work....In this photo, Dave, Craig and I (and everyone else not pictured) are waiting for the asphalt trucks to haul the asphalt from the production plant where it’s being made to the site.  This happens often when paving and the Contractor doesn’t over-hire trucks to haul the AC.

The asphalt is then dumped from the bottom of belly dump trucks into winrows.

As the “manager” for the Public Entitiy, I don’t do much other than check AC tags that come with the trucks and check the quantities.  Really my glamorous title of Resident Engineer is a fancy name for paper pusher, but I still love being on-site when I can.  I sit in my vehicle most of the day and get to view fields such as in the photo below.

A field of almond trees is my office view on this project.

A field of almond trees is my office view on this project.

Every once in a while I have to walk that field for a specific purpose, and I’ll let you use your imagination on what the purpose is.

Anyway, the paving machine picks up the asphalt in a device in the front of the machine called a “hopper.”

This is the paving operation in a nutshell.  The dump trucks dump the asphalt on the ground and the paving machine picks it up and lays it on the existing surface.

This is the paving operation in a nutshell. The dump trucks dump the asphalt on the ground and the paving machine picks it up and lays it on the existing surface.

We pave both sides of the road, one side at a time to allow the public to pass the working area on one side of the roadway.

This photo shows a winrow of asphalt concrete (AC) on the left and an already paved surface (the overlay) on the right.

This photo shows a winrow of asphalt concrete (AC) on the left and an already paved surface (the overlay) on the right.

 We do this all day long as long as there is daylight and it doesn’t get below 50-degrees.  The Contractor I worked with on this project is phenomenal, and I hope I get to work with them again.


One last photo for the record book -

My anthem is beautiful. So is yours. #30daysnomakeup on IG

My anthem is beautiful.
So is yours.
#30daysnomakeup on IG

The grinding machine operation is behind me on day one.  I read an Instagram post that immediately spoke to me and I have become a part of movement that I hope really catches on.

The photo above has become very important to me.  Until recently, I didn’t realize how unique I was in that I

(1) work around men who are under my supervision,

(2) don’t wear make-up on a regular basis, and

(3) didn’t think about what my position in society could mean to many other women.

I have this thing about myself that I can’t explain – I have an enormous amount of confidence.

I am blessed to know that I’ve had it since I was in high school but I can’t directly tell you where it came from.  I think it came from a lifetime of being told by my mother that I was “better than that” and being able to convince myself that I was going to be different from both my parents, no matter what it took.

I write this blog primarily as a means to communicate to my children (and even my future self.)  I hope I get the confidence thing passed onto my children somehow.  It’s a gift I’ve been given and I don’t know what I’d do without it.

The thing I do know about confidence is that it’s all about you.  It’s not something that someone else can give you.

For me, it comes from the Lord who gives me everything.


Coffee keeps me going.  I have two cell phones on me everyday and I wear and purchase clothes for myself and my children from Old Navy.  Please feel free to browse advertisers I purchase products from.


My Affliates – “Your what?”

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A non-blogger understanding of how to make money from a blog.

As a rather newbie blogger, I can’t write the book on how to make money by owning and operating a blog.

I can however, write a blog post about what a mommy blogger knows about “Affiliates” and tell it to you in a way that will hopefully make sense, because I only speak ~mommy blogger code~ otherwise known as “simple language.”

So here’s the deal -

I was am trying to sign up with a new affiliate company, namely Flex Offers.  They are over at www.flexoffers.com.

They specifically asked me to use their name on a webpage, so that they would know that I own the domain name and that means they want to make sure I own the name “DeAndrasCrafts.com.”

Edited to add - I got accepted.  Thank you Flex Offers.  It’s an excellent site.

Okay, so now that’s out of the way….

What’s an affiliate?

The DeAndrasCrafts Answer (with help from my marketing genius husband):

Being an affiliate is where I as a webpage owner send traffic to another site, and I get a tiny commission from the other site if some other person clicks on the link on my webpage and purchases something.

With each affiliate company, Step 1 is to get approved by the company that you are going to try to make sales for them.

The four three companies I currently have affiliates with are:

Amazon.com (they call us associates, not affiliates)

Commission Junction (cj.com)

shareasale.com,

and now Flex Offers.

How do you make money?

An affiliate company is just an online company that runs the affiliate links for other major corporations.  After you get approved to become an affiliate with the parent affiliate company, Step 2 is to become friends with the advertisers (aka merchants.)

This can be harder than it seems.  I’ve been rejected by both JoAnn’s and Target, two major corporations that I spend a portion of my own salary shopping at.  But that’s okay.  I’m sure they have their reasons and I will be trying to get approved to show their advertising links another day.  And yes, I still shop there.

Once you’ve been approved to use the website links as an affiliate, then you can use the advertising code provided by the affiliate company.  (That’s Step 3.) Learning code can be a tiny bit tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not as hard as it seems it would be.

Some more interesting info:

Each advertiser has his/her own commission rates.  This means that if you buy something from a Walgreens link on my page it will pay differently than a link from Craftsy.

I am very picky with my advertisers.  I don’t want to advertise companies that I wouldn’t personally shop at.  That’s just my thing.

One last tidbit of information – I don’t try to overwhelm you with advertising.  That’s one of my personal pet peeves when on a website.  I’m sure that method is working for many bloggers, but because I primarily keep this website up as a means to communicate my thoughts to my family and friends, I try to minimize the flashy ads to the banner links at the bottom of each post, and the text links throughout the blog post.

I do however, include affiliate links throughout my post.  USUALLY, but not always, the links embedded in my post (such as this one for oldnavy.com) to a website that refer to a product or that sells something, is an affiliate link, where if you purchase something, I will get credit for that purchase.  That’s how it works.

To Summarize on how to become an affiliate ~

Step 1: Get approved by an affiliate company.  The ones I use are listed above.

Step 2: Get approved by the advertisers to use their links.  More on my advertisers below.

Step 3: Use the code links provided from the advertisers on your webpage for people to click on and hopefully buy something from.


Finally, I present to you my current advertisers, you know, just in case you need anything…. ;)





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Disneyland Memes

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I’m not funny.

You’re not reading this blog because I’m funny, sassy, sarcastic, or witty.

I’m just me – but I am real and I want everyone who reads my blog, including my children (when they start reading it) know that I’m the real person behind the typing.

With all that said, I titled this post Disneyland Memes, but they aren’t the funny, witty memes you’re probably thinking of.

This post is on the insanity and the more interesting memories I had while on a five day vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth.

 There’s no real tips here, just memories.  Maybe I’ll get ambitious one day and give you some things we learned, but for today, I’m just sharing my favorite memories. 1Happy Place

Preface to the memes notes (the only real “vacation tips” you’ll get):

1. Even though we were there for five days, we went for three full days and only a part of the day for the first and fifth day.  The extra expense was worth it for the “calmness” factor.  We didn’t feel rushed like we were going to miss something because of the five day ticket purchase.

2.  I have three children, ages three (3), four (4) and eight (8).  The eight year old met the minimum age requirement to ride by himself.  That was a bonus because we are an odd numbered family. That was an unplanned yet fantastic advantage.0Kids on Caseys Train

3.  The three year old still takes naps.  We left the park every full day around 1 PM to 2 PM to have the two youngest take a nap.  The first full day, the oldest took a nap for about 45-minutes too  It worked well because the kids were rested for staying up past each of his/her bedtimes.


My Favorite Memories of Disneyland

I talked with my children what each of his/her favorite memories were.  My oldest’s favorite memory was making his own Light Saber.  My daughter’s favorite memory was riding the Matterhorn with her daddy and my youngest said his favorite memory was riding on Splash Mountain.

My favorite memory of my oldest:

In the future, I expect him to be angry at me for posting this memory, but it’s what happened and I will probably never forget it.

Sometimes you have to put on your rosy-colored glasses. Memes from Disneyland, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Sometimes you have to put on your rosy-colored glasses.
Memes from Disneyland, DeAndrasCrafts.com

My oldest didn’t go on two rides that his younger sister and brother went on.  He chose to sit it out at the exit.  The important part of this memory for me is that he knows himself.  I can’t tell you how much that means to me.  My 8-year old son KNEW that he wasn’t going to be able to handle two roller coasters and he chose to sit on the other side of the coaster near the exit while his other family members rode the coasters.  It was both kind-of sad and amazing to me at the strength this little boy had to tell his mom and dad that he didn’t want to go on them.

My favorite memory about my daughter:

Always remember you are a princess. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Always remember you are a princess.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

On the first evening, we ate a Character Dining restaurant (Goofy’s Kitchen,) and my daughter was TERRIFIED of the masked creatures before her.  She was crying and telling us over and over again that she didn’t want to pose with Goofy, Minnie, Pluto, or Chip & Dale who were all in costume and wandering around throughout the dinner.  Towards the end of the evening, the actor or actress inside the Dale suit made it his or her mission to get my daughter to not freak out when a character was nearby.  “Dale”the chipmunk was able to get close to my daughter and even took a photo with her (in her daddy’s lap of course) as she realized that the characters were not going to hurt her.

Not quite understanding where this trauma came from, we were hoping that our next experience with character dining wasn’t going to be so traumatic.  We had breakfast on day three at Ariel’s Grotto, inside the park itself, and got to meet three princesses, including Ariel, Cinderella (above) and Tiana from The Princess and the Frog movie.  My daughter embraced these women as the real princesses they were to her and recounted throughout the remaining part of the vacation all the princesses she met.  (She met princess Jazmine from the movie Aladdin later on that day.)  It was awesome.

 My favorite memory of my youngest:

Basically this:

Dance like no one is watching. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Dance like no one is watching.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Probably one of the most enjoyable moments of my mothering life to date, my youngest danced to music playing during a parade at California Adventures.  It was incredibly adorable and memorable.  His expressions as he saw his favorite characters pass by in real life were priceless and made the entire trip worth it.

The Most Excruciating Memory (because they aren’t always good)….

5Expect some crazy

I could have cared less if we saw the “Fantasmic” or whatever it’s called light show at the end of the evening near the pirate island.  We did that on the end of the third day (second full day) and I was reminded of why I am a full-time working momma, not a stay-at-home mama.  That was one tough thirty-minutes.

The day was pretty great, the two youngest got about an hour nap each and we had enjoyed many rides that we didn’t have to wait too long in lines for.  But for some reason, five minutes before the light show began, my children were crying and throwing fits all at the same time.  My husband and I stared at each other in disbelief.  It was embarrassing, but as my wise husband told me later, “We don’t know those people.”

I had to hold one or the other of my youngest in my arms, and they each weigh close to 40-pounds.  The youngest was definitely done for the day by the time the show started and was putting his head on my shoulder off and on during the 15-minute program.  Oh, did I mention I had my leg brace on because I had a patella realignment surgery seven weeks ago and we had to stand the whole time?  It was not fun for me.  But, it was memorable for my husband and he got to check it off his personal “Disneyland Bucket List” that he had in his head and I am grateful that we did it.  Ugh.

My Top Three Personal Favorite Memories

Life is a trip. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Life is a trip.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

What surprised me the most was how much I loved Cars Land.  The photo above was taken in Filmore’s natural eats area.  My children are (for the most part) willing to pose for photos with me and this was no exception.  I am so glad we went to this area during the evening to see all the neon lit up.  It was both beautiful and extremely cool.

Everyone's a Character.... Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Everyone’s a Character….
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

We stood in line for about fifteen to twenty minutes to see two fairies, Fawn (the animal fairy) and Tinker Bell, (a tinker fairy.)  My whole family is familiar with the world of fairies thankfully due to Netflix.

Tinker Bell is by far the most rebellious fairy in Pixie Hollow (in my opinion) but there are many other fairies to get to know in the short movies.

The actress playing Fawn in the photo above was phenomenal.  She was truly a woman who has been around children and dare I say, even like them; she was engaging all three kids like they were there to see her.  This was the moment that made Disneyland’s character portrayal’s important to me.

And lastly, I will not forget -

Stay true to yourself. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Stay true to yourself.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

We walked into the “Innovations” area not really knowing what to expect.  One of the first things I saw when we walked in was every Iron Man Suit created.

My jaw dropped.

I started crying the happy tears.

It was like a stupid dream coming true.

But you know what, it was my dream coming true.  That’s what Walt Disney wanted (according to the movie we watched about him.)  My understanding of watching one of his biographical movies (while at the park) was that he wanted there to be one thing that you felt was the reason you went there for, and that one thing would be different for everybody.

The Iron Man suit exhibit was my one thing.

Bravo Disney people.  You got this one hard-nosed Marvel/Star Wars fanatic to know why I went there, and it wasn’t just for my children.