Picture Perfect Valentines

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My youngest son's Valentine's for his class....

My youngest son’s Valentines for his class….

My daughter and my youngest son both wanted specific type of Valentines for their friends at school.

Being the crafty mommy that I am, I used a program called Pixlr and found photos online to use for her and his Valentines this year, and so far, it has been a huge success!

Similar to an Instructable I published here, I used photos I found online to write words on, print out at my local Walgreens Print shop, had my children sign their names to the cards, stick on a candy on it and “Whew!” All done.

I got the BB-8 with Kylo Ren photo from here: Game Informer dot com site.

My daughter wanted to make separate cards for the boys and girls.

We got the Monster High photo here: Oh My Fiesta in English – Monster High Link

The Minion photo came from the same website, but at this link: Oh My Fiesta in English – Minion Link

Again, I use a free program called Pixlr to add words to the photos, but it can also be done on Microsoft PowerPoint, and even in most standard Paint programs.  Pixlr allows you to add all kinds of other enhancements if you need a program to make memes and such….

Monster High Valentine Minion Valentine BB-8 Valentine

Here are my full-resolution cards for your use, and the only thing I ask is to give me credit on your website if you use them.  I printed them into a 4 x 6 version from our local Walgreens Photo Center, so the cost was minimal for my daughter’s 30-person class and my son’s 15-child class.

My children are usually good sports about signing the cards.

TFA Valentine-writing nameMy youngest son is turning five, so he was unable to use the hole punch without my help lining it up, but my six year old daughter was able to do that part by herself.

Minion Valentine-hole punchingThe only other thing we did was place one of the Cherry Tootsie Pops on each card, and for the BB-8 ones, my son placed a piece of tape on the back of the card to tape the stick down.

TFA Valentine-adding a lollipopAfter placing the lollipops, the envelope stuffing seemed to take the longest time, and of course, was the most boring.  Because all the cards are the same, I placed the cards into Ziploc bags labeled boy and girl for my daughter.

MH Valentine-Lollipop addedHomemade Valentines can still look cool and be special with just a little work.  And now that my children are old enough, I don’t hardly have to do any of the work!

Thanks for reading.  I hope I can get my oldest son’s Valentines up for everyone to see and use.



Week Fifty of Fun and Crazy

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It’s been a busy week.

Busy in the nicest sense of the word.

You have to remember something about me though – I am the tree-up after Thanksgiving, mamma of three little people, Christmas card sending, Pinterest freak of woman who loves the precious moments that don’t always get recorded.

But, with that said, here’s what we were up to this week –

Making Ninjabread cookies may become a new tradition in our house for Christmas.

Making Ninjabread cookies may become a new tradition in our house for Christmas.

Sunday was a typical “funday” for us.  After church we made some Ninjabread cookies.  I made the frosting with too much water, so the “white” did not show up but it was made out of powdered sugar, so it was still sweet.  I finished addressing all of the Christmas cards, and my husband and I finished up the monthly calendar.

Monday night was the first of the two Christmas musicals we are attending for our children this year.  My baby E had been working hard to get his moves right for the precious performance, and there’s nothing like children singing to brighten your week up.

Our youngest son is in the center of the sea of children.

Our youngest son is in the center of the sea of children.

On Tuesday I got the news that I was “officially” moving from Construction to Design.  I will be in the Special Projects section of the Engineering Dept. I work at, and it was partially a relief (because the waiting game is over) and partially sad, as I leave a season of my life that was exceptional.

I keep moving forward, as Walt Disney himself said. (I got that from the movie Meet the Robinsons.)

With that said, I was assigned a project relatively quickly to perform inspection on-site at a project at Millerton Lake. The only description I will give for right now is that I am blessed to have a job.  We’ll see how it plays out.

I’ve been told by many that this transition will probably turn out to be for the best.  I totally get that on a logical, brain-functioning level.  But my heart is still healing from the pain of being transitioned by forces that I cannot control.

Unfortunately, this is the government in action for you.

It affects people and you don’t even know.

I understand that some don’t care about me or my family because they’re too wrapped up in their own lives, but I also want people to know that I am a person with a life and commitments that make it so that I can produce three functioning members of society that will hopefully one day be paying taxes, helpful citizens of the community and dare I say, make a difference in the world, even if it’s in the lives of only a few.

Still – I’ll bet you don’t normally get a view like this for your job. Wed121015-Week50

But I digress.

Thursday and Friday both seemed to fly by.

My husband and I did our calendar planning for upcoming events and knew that Saturday was going to be a long day.

It didn’t disappoint though!

We had been planning a Star Wars Episodes IV – VI marathon for several weeks now at the church we attend.

As everyone knows, the new Force Awakens movie is going to start showing on December 18, 2015. No, we don’t have tickets for the first day but we are planning on going the first week it’s open.

We started out Saturday taking a photo in front of our tree, and yes, that’s a Darth Vader mask adorning the top of the Christmas tree.  I call this “the Force is with us” Christmas season.

You do not have permission to use this photo for anything.

You do not have permission to use this photo for anything.

I knew watching three movies back to back for anyone would be difficult, but I was glad we had twenty or so people who stuck it out the whole time we were at church to watch all three movies.Marathon at Church 2015

The main idea was to be together, and that’s what our family did.

I did have a brief argument with my husband about staying at the church for almost eight-hours, but we worked it out as we always do.

I’m terrible, I know, but I loved it!  I’ve never watched all three movies back to back like this before.

Sure, I’ve ran them back to back at our home, but I’ve never been able to watch them back to back.  There’s a huge difference there.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing the new movie more than ever, and the thing I’m looking forward to the most are the things that make Star Wars enjoyable – good triumphs over evil, unexpected plot twists, and not knowing what’s going to happen next.  Let’s hope they keep those main things in the storyline.

See you soon,

Name for Blog Posts

Craftsy


Week thirty-two of fun and crazy

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Another week to find the glory of the Lord everywhere!

As I personally know how hard it can be to conceive a child, and keep a child alive in your body, these precious ones are just that – precious gifts.

IMG_4726 My husband took the oldest to cub scout camp on Sunday through Tuesday.

Me and my little ones.This meant that I took care of the youngest two at home, along with my dad, their nanny while I’m at work.

This is my friend, SASSHOLES (on Instagram.) I don't make this stuff up.

This is my friend, SASSHOLES (on Instagram.) I don’t make this stuff up.

I had a secret meeting on Tuesday at work that I wasn’t looking forward too, so I invited my younger-than-me friend to come over for some drinks and a time to swoon over Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy.  She let me tell her all about my problem, and I was reminded how wonderful it was to even have this problem.  I am so thankful for her!  She blessed me when I needed it.

My love and my oldest boy came home on Tuesday, and I got to tell my husband the crazy news that I had to justify my position at my workplace.  We were given one week to respond to the Director of the Department.  After meetings with the fellow Resident Engineers who were going to be affected by the possible change, we agreed on a game plan and on Friday, I sent my letter to the Director to keep my position.  I have no worries at all about losing my job, just my arbitrary title (hence position) in the workplace.

At the end of this mess, I’ll still be an Engineer, I’ll still have a job, and I’ll still be the person the Lord meant for me to be, a mommy of three beautiful children which is way more important than working for a place that can’t see the value of their college-educated Resident Engineers.

But I digress from the crazy week….

peeling carrotsWe pulled about six carrots from the garden, three of which were my princess’s carrots she planted with her pumpkin plant.  I taught her how to use a peeler, and she reluctantly ate her carrots with a good helping of ranch.  I think I ate the majority of them in my salads throughout the week.

My beautiful table-ruined! My princess thought it would be good to stamp my white table on Wednesday.  MY WHITE TABLE! ARGH!

Thankfully though, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser does much of what it says – including get stamp ink off of painted white table tops.  A picture of the cleaned surface is below.

Many things happened on Friday and Saturday.

My oldest made Star Wars binoculars from Legos.

My oldest made Star Wars binoculars from Legos.

I placed my dried pepper seeds into packets to plant next year.

I placed my dried pepper & chile seeds into packets to plant next year.

Homemade pizza sauce using fresh roma tomatoes,  oregano & thyme from the garden was made for the zucchini crust pizza.

Homemade pizza sauce using fresh Roma tomatoes, oregano & thyme from the garden was made for the zucchini crust pizza.

A picture of our zucchini crust pizza.  Alas, I did not grow my own zucchini this year....

A picture of our zucchini crust pizza. Alas, I did not grow my own zucchini this year….

I had collected pepper seeds from store bought green and red peppers, jalapenos, and homegrown chilies given to us.  I let them dry for about a week on a paper towel, and printed out seed packets to keep them in until next year.

 I also used this recipe to make zucchini crust pizza and homemade pizza sauce.

I had to modify the recipe slightly because our oven doesn’t go up to 550-degrees as the recipe calls for, and I added almond flour instead of regular flour, due to my low-carb eating habits.

The real kicker to the recipe is the sauce.  Except for using small Roma tomatoes, I used all the other ingredients, including fresh thyme and oregano.  It-was-amazing.

Our oldest remembered that we saved a hot wheels track in the garage - so we pulled that out to play with this weekend.

Our oldest remembered that we saved a hot wheels track in the garage – so we pulled that out to play with this weekend.

I tried out a new crochet pattern to use up some yarn I have laying around....

I tried out a new crochet pattern to use up some yarn I have laying around….

We save many toys in boxes in the garage.  For some unknown reason, the oldest wanted to play with the hot wheels track set he got years and years ago.  It’s probably been in the garage for at least two years.

We took the box out on Saturday and it has been well used for the past couple days as I write this post.  I’m glad we saved it.

I also tried a new crochet pattern to use up some yarn I have laying around.  I was very grateful to find a pattern on Ravelry (become my friend there!)  The pattern itself is called The Wool Eater Blanket by Sarah London.  It works up pretty quickly and I’m using Sensations Beautiful yarn with a size K hook.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with it once I’m done, but that’s not why I crochet anyway.

The last exciting news I have to show you is my daughter’s pumpkin plant.

This is what it looked like last week, vs. this week.

Saturday, August 1, 2015 pumpkin

Saturday, August 1, 2015 pumpkin

Saturday, August 8, 2015 pumpkin.

Saturday, August 8, 2015 pumpkin.

I had no idea what to expect.  I have never grown pumpkins.  It’s getting big, it’s already beautiful, and I pray every day that one of the critters we’re fighting for our food won’t pull it out for itself.

Have a great week coming up friends!


Week thirty of Fun & Crazy

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So week thirty started out in the Huntington Lake Campground (where we hope to stay again) and ended at home with a total of six-children in our house!

We had a fantastic Cub-Scout camp at Huntington Lake where the boys earned a couple badges and worked on a hiking requirement. My oldest also earned his credit for “making a fire.”

Kids on rock at Huntington CampgroundFrom Cub Scout camp, my husband and my oldest headed over to Yosemite Bible Camp (YBC) in Oakhurst, and I proceeded to take my two youngest home to drop off clothes and bedding.  I ended up being completely exhausted (of course) but felt like eating a good cheat-meal, so I took them to John’s Incredible Pizza.  Yes, this also means I was all by myself during the week taking care of my two little ones.

My kiddos on the Frog Hopper ride at the Pizza place.

My kiddos on the Frog Hopper ride at the Pizza place.

Before leaving the house, I made a small game plan of what I would prepare for dinner for myself.  My husband is the chef in the family so I use recipes from the internet, usually pinned ones from Pinterest because I can’t just throw things together to save my life.

I made a recipe from my Healthy Eats Board, called Avocado, Chicken and Walnut Salad from Kayotic Kitchen.  I didn’t buy the parsley, but other than that, the recipe was a TOTAL SUCCESS! Definitely a Pinterest win.

Avaocado Chicken Walnut SaladI think one of the best accomplishments of the week was completing the Instructable for my Darth Vader Purse.  I ended up finishing the purse in one night during the week and wanted to enter the Fandom Contest over at Instructables.  (Shameless plug: If you’re a member and have a minute, please vote for me!)

Watermarked purseOther awesome stuff that I learned about and that happened –

I made bacon in the oven for the first time.  I couldn’t believe that I had never made it that way before, even though I heard about it.

Oven bacon in ovenOven BaconI almost feel sheepish about writing it on the blog, because I know many people have always cooked bacon that way, but hey, this is reality and I just learned to do it this week.  You better bet I will only cook it this way from now on.  I got my recipe from Pinterest (of course) from the site: Today’s Mama.

I made watermelon jam (it looked more like jelly to me) this week to use up my frozen watermelon juice.  I got the recipe from Blondie’s Cakes.  It only took four ingredients and I’m all about simple jelly’s or jams. I’ll be making it again, basically because I love things that are both tangy and sweet and this watermelon jelly has a hard-to-describe flavor.

Watermarked Watermelon JellyI learned that there are auctions on Instagram where you can bid on things so people can raise money for certain causes.  I bid on one such auction a couple weeks ago and opened up one of my packages from Kiwi and Hope. The owner, Kiah, is one of my internet-friends that I met in a mutual group of bloggers & hustlers that get things done.  If you have time, stop on over at her shop to see some of her latest purses and clutches, as she donates a portion of her sales to orphan care and adoption causes.  I won this adorable pineapple purse and key-fob, as well as a delicious organic chocolate, that I confess I ate the entire bar in one evening.  Kiwi and Hope auction giftThank you for allowing me to give you some internet love Kiah!

Lastly, and keeping in mind that I was by myself on Friday and half of Saturday, I took on the task of helping my brother and sister-in-love out by taking their triplets for a few days for them to get away with their friends.

On Friday we had nachos as shown here, which no-one, including my own children, really enjoyed.  They all wanted chips with no sauce.  Ugh.

Triplets at our houseWe had them all the way through Sunday, and I was very glad when my brother and sister-in-law came to get them.  I love these children more than anything, but it’s a great reminder of how blessed I really was to be given three souls to take care of!

I leave you with a picture of my daughter’s pumpkin plant. Of all the things I’ve grown in gardens in my relatively short lifetime, I’ve never tried to grow pumpkins.  Here’s to the amazing world, and I pray this pumpkin grows big for her.  She’s worth it!

Princess Pumpkin072415


How We Made Our Fairy Garden

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DIY Fairy Garden for moms & daughtersOn my best days, I do crafts with my children.

Some crafts, as we all know, require patience, time, and a certain amount of creativity – but this is especially true when working with children.

My daughter is five years old as I write this blog post.  She and I spent some time together planning, finding pieces for and putting together the Fairy Garden pictured in this blog post.

As with most things, she had asked me weeks ago to create a fairy garden with her and in my kind-of “oh I hope she forgets about it” attitude, she continued to ask me to make one with her and in a slow work week, it finally happened.

My first stop (as with most projects) is Pinterest.

I think on a Wednesday evening, I sat her down at my computer and typed in “fairy garden.”

I ended up pinning a link from Homedit: Magical Fairy Garden Designs.

On Thursday we went to the craft store and picked out various odds and ends for the fairies to have as part of the little garden area.  The store I took her too had a huge clearance on Spring items, so the most expensive thing was the birdhouse she picked out for the fairies to live in.

She painted the birdhouse with her favorite colors and of course, “colors that the fairies like” as she told me.  I have glitter paint from a previous project, and she added that over the dried colors over the next couple days.

Painting the fairy house At some point in the week I took my daughter to the local garden/hardware store and purchased a small six-pack of Scottish Moss.  I re-used an 12-inch diameter pot that I had been keeping around and we already had the soil.

Moss & Pot

We started the process by adding the painted fairy house to the dirt area first.

place the large objects

Next we placed the moss around the house.

remove the mossplace moss

My daughter used her fingers to dig up a spot for the moss prior to placing it.

The next step was to place the odds and ends we found at the craft store.

The fence was placed first, around the house.

The fence was placed first, around the house.

My daughter placed the other accessories for the fairy garden in various places, including an ice chest (my favorite) and a lantern.

My daughter placed the other accessories for the fairy garden in various places, including an ice chest (my favorite) and a lantern.

I think the best thing about my daughter placing all the accessories was that her idea of what a home would look like came shining through.  She didn’t want bugs or butterflies per-Se, but she liked the ladybugs on the teeter-totter. She also liked the ice chest and picked out a ceramic fairy so that the “real fairies” know it’s safe to go in there.

I needed to do this with her.

~~~ I just didn’t know I needed to do this with her until after it was complete. ~~~

Fairy House Close-UpWe added the sign that fairies were welcome into the moss so it could stand up on it’s own.

I am so thankful that I took the time to create the garden with her.  She’s five.  It’s a hard thing for me to remember in my late 30’s what it’s like to be with my mom, let alone remember when I was five what it was like to be told “No, sorry honey. We can’t afford to do that” or “I don’t have the time.”

I made the time to do this with her and I’m so glad I did.

Blessings to those who read this.  I hope you can make your own. 😉


Week twenty-eight of Fun and Crazy

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Crafting with my friends in my newly finished craft room.

Crafting with my friends in my newly finished craft room.

Oh what a wonderful week it’s been.

It’s a been a while since I posted on this blog and I think I finally figured out why.

I’m a person who “does things.” Out of the five love languages, mine is “actions” and to me, I am really happy and have joy when I have accomplished something, made something, and something got done that may not have if I didn’t put the effort into it.

A blog is an interesting mix of “doing things” but not seeing (or touching, or feeling) the results of it.  I try not to be obsessed over it anyway.  Sure there are ways to see traffic to the site, look to see if people bought anything from affiliate links, and how many people engage your content, but the tangible result is difficult to feel the love that I pour out into the pages.

But -Here I am.  Posting for my children because they are my ‘Why’ I do things that I do anyway.


My theme for the week: I learned quite a bit about myself and my life.

  • I learned it’s really hard to work from the house.  My husband works out of the house and as many times as I have been secretly jealous of him, It’s difficult to do on summer break when my kids are home.  I tried it this week, and let’s just say, it’s hard for me to get anything productive done.
  • I learned my daughter’s love language this week.  It’s ‘touch.’ I have no doubt now if I did before.  She hangs on my husband and I like we’re monkey bars.  She tried kissing me on my arm and even though she’s my daughter it totally gave me the willies.  Ya, now I know.
  • I learned that my husband is an amazing meat-cooker.  He won a meat contest over at Instructables for the best rib recipe and I am excited about getting shipped meat from Pat La Frieda Meat Purveyors.  We’re kind of nervous about the meat being shipped to California from New Jersey, but here’s hoping it’ll make and I’ll keep you posted.
  • On Sunday the 5th, I re-learned how to jog in my neighborhood.  My personal trainer told me to try jogging for 30-second bursts, walking a bit, and the jog again for 30-more seconds.  In the beginning of my first mile, when I tried to run, it felt like my feet were lead.  I jogged and walked for a total of 45-minutes, for a distance of 3.2 miles.  It was difficult on my lungs, my legs felt like jello when I got home, but at the same time, I did it and it felt great.

So many things happened this week, as they usually do.

My husband cooked a tri-tip in the Traeger smoker overnight.  It was surprisingly good.  It was covered in sage and a few other spices, as we are on a low-carb eating plan right now.

pre-smoked tri-tip on the Traeger

Pre-smoked tri-tip on the Traeger

overnight smoked tri-tip

Overnight smoked tri-tip with sage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My kiddos had a great week making crafts, going to swim lessons, and we went on a spur-of the moment trip up the hill to try out the Jeep. (More on that below.)

DeAndrasCrafts Kids Making crafts

DeAndrasCrafts Kids making crazy glove people crafts.I lost another pound, bringing my total for the past 14-weeks to 23 pounds lost.

On Thursday, I had a few of my friends over to make some mosaic necklaces.  I hope to get that up on the blog soon!

My princess painted her fairy house for her fairy garden.  We finished that on Sunday and you can see the result here: How We Made Our Fairy Garden.Mosaic Necklace w Card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ended up going on a four-wheeling trip with some friends on Saturday.  A spur of the moment trip for us is anything planned in a week.  We went up a run called Bald Mountain and you can see Shaver Lake from the top of the run as shown in one of the photos.  It was awesome and feel free to follow me on Instagram to see the longer captions of some of the photos below.

The kids (my three plus one extra) played on rocks as the vehicles got unloaded from trailers.

The kids (my three plus one extra) played on rocks as the vehicles got unloaded from trailers.

 

As the Jeep sits in the background, my oldest shows me the difference between deciduous trees and coniferous trees.

As the Jeep sits in the background, my oldest shows me the difference between deciduous trees and coniferous trees.

You can see I'm wearing one of the pendents I made at the party! We took this selfie as the first time breaking the Jeep in for our family.

You can see I’m wearing one of the pendents I made at the party! We took this selfie as the first time breaking the Jeep in for our family.

On the Bald Mountain Run, there is an area people stop to see if they're vehicle will get up V-rock.

On the Bald Mountain Run, there is an area people stop to see if they’re vehicle will get up V-rock.

The top of Bald Mountain 4-wheeling run is an amazing view!  Shaver Lake is in the background.

The top of Bald Mountain 4-wheeling run is an amazing view! Shaver Lake is in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here’s the thing about our weekly round-ups – it’s the best memories.  That’s what I want my kiddos to remember when they’ve grown.  If there’s one thing I learned from my mother passing away, it’s that I remember <almost> all the good things.  You don’t think of that when you have to go through the bad stuff, but when you have good things in life, I really believe you have to remember them.

Maybe the hard stuff teaches us, but the good stuff is what needs to be remembered.

My hope is that when my children are old enough to read this blog, they realize how fun their childhood was.  How special little events were (and are as they are happening.)

A certain amount of family togetherness happens that’s hard to describe quite frankly, when you don’t have TV or the internet to rely on.  I’ve talked about this before when going camping, and going 4-wheeling is just about the same thing.  It also opens their world to new people that they wouldn’t have another opportunity to come in contact with unless they share a common thing like 4-wheeling.  All this stuff is learned somewhere, right?

I hope everyone has a great week coming up and as always, thanks for reading!

I get all my jeans and my children’s jeans from Old Navy.


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!


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.


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!


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.