Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Very Ugly Can

Pin It Now! This is one of those giant sized coffee cans. And it's ugly. Not ordinarily a can I would use and set out on my counter.

I saved it because I intended to use it for a specific purpose after I took the time to cover it with scrapbook paper and some stickers. If I'd really sought my heart's desire, I would have bought a nice jar/container and been done with it, but I was trying not to spend extra money.

Last year around the holidays, we set out a "giving jar" so each member of the family could drop in loose change or dollars as they felt led. It wasn't required or anything, and at the time my kids were hardly getting any allowance. But still, my kids gave. We prayed as a family for God to show us what to do with the money and how we could maybe help a family or donate to a certain cause around Christmas time.

It was such a blessing to have our entire family involved in working together for the sake of someone else. I got this idea that for this year we could put a "giving jar" out starting in January. Again, we could pray as a family for God to show us how to use it.

This brings me to that ugly coffee can pictured above. It was the middle of January and I hadn't found the time to decorate the can, so I hadn't put it out yet. I had already told the kids about my plan, though. So last week sometime Lincoln asked me where that can was that I said I was going to set out. My vain response was, "Well, I haven't had time to decorate it yet?"

"Can I get it and go ahead and put some money in it?"

Without hesitation I said, "Of course." (Thinking at that moment how silly I'd been to wait to put it out just because it was ugly.)

Lincoln found the can and joyfully added way more than I would have ever expected. I was really touched. My kids still don't have a regular allowance schedule ~ he was giving birthday money. Wait the story gets better.

Shiloh wanted to get in on the giving, but Lincoln said, "But all you have is a quarter." Next thing I know sweet, little Shiloh is coming into the kitchen with her purse handing me her only coin. My heart was getting softer by the minute.

Later when I was cooking dinner, I heard Shiloh, who was playing in the backyard, tell her friend, Wyatt, about our giving jar and how it was for the poor. She asked him if he would want to give. He ran home and came back with a few coins in his hand. Wow, the can had only been out for an hour and not only had 2 of my kids donated, but now they were sharing with friends?!

When daddy came home and the kids were blasting him with news of the day, they mentioned the can. I was standing at the sink (still preparing dinner) chiming in about how touched I was, and I guess my heart just got too full ~ like a big storm cloud or something. My eyes filled with tears and a few stained my cheeks. Goodness, I am really becoming such a softy!

I share not to boast about what we are doing or how totally awesome my kids are, but because it amazes me sometimes how shallow I can be without even knowing it.

So. The can. It's still on my windowsill. It's still not decorated. It's still ugly . . .

But only on the outside. It 's beautiful on the inside, and I am proud to display it for all to see.

Okay, I would still like for it to be more attractive, but I am not ashamed of it or anything. I might decorate it, or I might just keep my eyes open for a really cute and inexpensive container. I did see a flower pot at Ross for cheap, and it matched my curtains exactly. I may go back and buy it. We'll see.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Christmas Present She Didn't Like

Pin It Now! Girl-time has become such a precious part of my daughter's and my life. We have so many "just us" things we do . . . reading Tinkerbell novels, sipping fraps, sweet night and morning cuddles, and baking together. So, for Christmas I had an idea to find a sweet, personalized apron that she could wear when we do the baking thing.

I was so excited about finding this CUTE apron, with the help of a facebook friend. My mother's heart just gushed. I ordered it and even found some girly sprinkles and dainty muffin cups to add to complete the gift.

I kind of had the feeling, though, that Shiloh might not be as thrilled about it as I was ~ at least not at first.

And . . . I was right.

Yep, Christmas morning after she opened the apron, she gave me that this-isn't-what-I-really-wanted look. I was prepared, so my feelings weren't hurt too much. I knew it would be a gift she'd grow to love. Toys may bring immediate, short-lived joy, but this apron would symbolize so much more and many memories would be made while wearing it!

Okay, I think the face has changed just a tad!! Here is my HAPPY girl all decked out in her new, unstained apron ready to bake her heart out! See, sweet girl. Mama knew. :)

Homemade chocolate cupcakes ~ YUM!

Frosting and sprinkling means closer to EATING one!! But they're too pretty to eat!

Squeezing and piping is HARDER than it looks, huh? Mama helped with that part.

Darling little morsels on a special princess plate ~ just beautiful!!

Just some added touches to make them even more special. ;)

Too, too fun. Love me some girl-time!!!!

1 Year Left in the Single Digits

Pin It Now! Here's what 9 looks like on my middle kid. The face fits him. Oh, yes it does.

He always wants to open presents bright and early since he was born at exactly 6 a.m.. More Halo stuff and Gogos ~ his new craze.

Laser Quest Party!

Pizza and friends ~ and laser wars. What could be better than that?

The Steelers cookie cake requested by Lincoln. Good grief, I had no idea how challenging piping those stars would be. Usually free handing my kids' cakes is no big deal, but those stars --- ahhh!

Happy boys before the battle. I think the two oldest came out the winners both times, Lincoln wasn't too far behind!

Hope you had a blast, son. We were so happy to be able to do a "big" birthday party for you this year. :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

It's All Going By So Fast

Pin It Now! It's New Years Day, and I am in total peace and quiet reflecting. Reflecting on the past year.

I am providing respit for my mom and step-dad, so really I am "working" away from home on a holiday. But I am totally okay with that. I love getting away every now and then. I desperately need alone time to be renewed, refreshed, and recharged. (If only I could sleep well away from home!)

Lots of memories from 2010:

  • Colorado trip and revisitation of honeymoon spot

    • First fairy party
      • Playing lots of Ms. Pac Man and a party, too!

      • Finding first scorpion in my house

      • First time for one of my kids to have surgery

      • First ever Goodwill purchase

      • Plants vs. Zombies craze

      • Mark recording and releasing a single on itunes

      • Lincoln's breakthrough

      • And so many more memories: flag football, dates with my boys, girl-time with Shiloh, crazy ride on the job roller coaster--ups and downs, highs and lows, continuing economic slump, spiritual mountains and valleys, and the list goes on. Sometimes I am amazed at how so much can fit into 365 days.

        Here's to another year of making memories with the people I love!

        Thursday, January 06, 2011

        2010 Read-Aloud List

        Pin It Now! Reading aloud to my kids is one of my favorite activities. I only read 8 novels to my kids last year, well that doesn't count all of the Disney Tinkerbell novels I read to Shiloh, but anyway, here's our list:

        Oonawassee Summer ~ Melissa Forney

        Rosie Fights the Twisted Wind ~ Tad Troilo

        Thief Lord ~ Cornelia Funke

        Cricket in Times Square ~ George Seldon

        Igraine the Brave ~ Cornelia Funke

        Frindle ~ Andrew Clements

        Puddle Jumpers ~ Mark Jean & Christopher C. Carlson

        The Giant Slayer ~ Iain Lawrence

        * The boys and my least favorite book of the year was Cricket in Times Square. It's kinda ranked up there with Stuart Little if you ask me. Oh well, Shiloh seemed to like it, but most of the books I read aloud to all 3 kids are probably on a higher level. That's why we read the Tinkerbell novels~just she and I~all cuddled up in her bed.

        Mullin's favorite was Frindle.

        Lincoln's favorite was Puddle Jumpers.

        My favorite family read-aloud was . . . oh, I don't know. I think it's a tie between Puddle Jumpers and The Giant Slayer. Both are fantasy fiction of course!


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