Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My First Christmas Present

We put up some of our Christmas stuff tonight. My oldest pulled out some of the items she bought in the Philippines and I got my first Christmas present. She bought me a hand carved native nativity. I never noticed how close those two words were before typing them together. Native and Nativity.

Anyway, it is a Native Nativity. It is so cute with the little hut. I will cherish it. I also put up my Native American Nativity. I have yet to pull out my Peruvian Nativity and a few others but it was fun pulling out the traditions. Since my divorce I haven't decorated the house much as I am so busy with other things. It is sad that my younger children have no memories of much of our decorations for any of the holidays because I have only done the basics when it comes to "extra" stuff trying to get the basics done on the house, yard, family, community, and church.

I will try to be better this year and get out a few of the traditional items we used to put up. The youngest two girls will be going with their dad over the Christmas break so if I want them to enjoy it, I had better get it done this week.

Here is to family traditions.....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Knee Dr. - What Next?

Well it has been a wonderful week now since my eldest returned home from the Philippines. In that week we have driven the 6 hour round trip drive to the city three times. We had two Thanksgiving dinners, (she actually had three) and she is still on the Philippines time so I haven't gotten much sleep this past week. But, who would complain about that when we have so much to talk about and stories to hear.

I have fallen asleep at the computer several times tonight already. I wanted to update you on how she is doing and how her first week back went. We went up to pick her up last Friday and then on Tuesday, we went back up to the Knee specialist. He said that her bones look good and thinks the pain is muscle related. However, she had different pain in both knees. One leg was swollen 1 1/2 inches larger than the other.

I personally think it is a combination of things. Living and eating in a third world country you can't help but pick up some type of bug. We are hoping to see another specialist on this matter this week. It is a hard time to get in as people are on vacation but I know we can figure this out so she can get on with her life.

She had a wonderful weekend and has been enjoying spending time with friends, family and close relations this past week. Here she is enjoying my family Thanksgiving dinner just a week after arriving home. We had out of state family come and surprise us last minute so each family was represented. What a blessing to have such a wonderful and happy family. We played Bingo and enjoyed catching up with each other.

I'll keep you informed of her health and progress. Thank you all for your prayers and love. We are blessed.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday. I have so much for which to give thanks. I have been so blessed with healthy kids, a home, cars, windows, carpet, washer/dryer, fridge, freezers, food in the cupboards, health, a loving family, friends, education... Etc, etc, etc.

I could spend hours writing all my blessings. My oldest was grateful for a toilet, toilet seat and carpet when coming home. Dirt floors and holes were the norm where she just came from.

We celebrated Thanksgiving a day early as she and her boyfriend were going to his families home for Thanksgiving day. We enjoyed visiting with friends who were home for the holidays and also enjoyed family time.

I wish I could get my .com page going so I could read about all the things you are grateful for this Thanksgiving time....

Either way, thanks for sharing Thanksgiving with us in a small way.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Great Balloon Escape - Trusting God

We had a funny thing happen getting ready to go to the airport this week to pick up my oldest from her mission. The girls made a large banner that they wanted to hold and wanted to have matching balloons.

We went to get my daughters braces off that morning and they had balloons for each of the patients that were getting their braces off. I laughed as the package next to where they seated my daughter had the exact colors of balloons we wanted and I was going to head over and get balloons after dropping my daughter back to school.

I called my sister on the way home telling her of my blessing saving me $10 and how God provided the balloons that the girls wanted for the airport. I was still on the phone with my sister when I was stuffing the balloons into a garbage bag so they wouldn't be moving around the back of my car or popping as I drove the three hour trip to the airport.

I left the back door of the suburban I was going to drive open as I had a sister that was dropping off a few boxes of clothes for me to take to the city for someone else. She put the boxes in the back and the door was closed. My daughter arrived home after school and asked me if the balloons that were high in the neighbors tree were the ones for our missionary. I said, "They couldn't be, those are in a garbage bag in the back of the car." Just to be sure, I checked the back of the car. No garbage bag. The balloons were stuck high up in a neighbors tree on the next block. I guess the bag kept them from heading straight up.

We packed the car and I headed to the store to pick up more balloons. As I get out of the car, I see a dime on the ground. Because of God's name being on the coin, I picked it up as I mentioned in my post, "In God We Trust" a few weeks ago. I did it because God's name was on it.

I get into the store and tell the lady filling the balloons about my fiasco with the garbage bag and balloons. She tells me since the balloons are for a good cause she wouldn't charge me for the balloons. I once again feel so grateful having saved the money on the balloons. I get in the car and we say a prayer of thanks and ask for safety as we drive and I get a call from my good friend Julie telling me she has a gift for me to help with Christmas. As I start driving, I can finally stop and think after such a busy day, I realized the God put that coin there to tell me to "Trust Him."

Having those balloons escape from the car gave me the chance to have God show me how much he loves me and how he can provide every needful thing using businesses, strangers and friends. I am putting some ribbons from the balloons on my gratitude frame. How blessed am I!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

No More Brace Face

This has been a busy week for our family. My fourth daughter was told just over a year ago when she got her braces, that she would have braces on longer than any of her sisters. She has one sister that had braces for over 3 years so she was sad about that news.

Last month, her orthodontist said she may have her braces off by Christmas. She thought there wouldn't be any way that could happen. However, last week she was told they would be coming off. They gave her the option of last Friday or a few more weeks. Of course, she chose last Friday which also happened to be the day we were picking up her older sister at the airport.

It was such an exciting day for her having only had the braces just over a year. She told me on the way home from getting her braces off, "We can move now mom." I asked what she meant, She said, "Now I have my braces off and wear contacts, I don't look so gawky." I told her she has always been beautiful and that people would love her for what is on the inside and that is what matters. However, I am grateful that we live in such a blessed land that each of my girls could have braces to give them such beautiful smiles.

My oldest said to me as I was writing this, "In the Philippines, you have to be very, very wealthy to have braces." I am not wealthy by the worlds view but in my heart, I am one of the most wealthy people I know.

Here's to us all being so "wealthy!"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Welcome Home Missionary

What a busy week. My oldest daughter is now home. Getting ready to leave to make the 3 hour drive to the airport we packed up and ran errands and I was working hard to get her room ready. I made a lame dinner of cheesy chicken and noodles and opened a box of soup for dinner. I got so busy working that this is what dinner looked like the night before going to the airport to pick up my daughter.

I am sure none of you have ever had a day like that. It has been a crazy weekend and I was glad to have time to visit with my daughter as I had all my posts done ahead so I could enjoy time with her. We had snow the day after her arrival to welcome her back to the U.S. She has been cold but all in all, I think it has been ok.

We are headed to see a knee specialist early this morning. I know things will be ok.

This is a picture of us the afternoon after arriving home. It was snowing outside and we were all dressed up to keep warm. We had some wonderful friends visit and they said we looked cute all lined up on the couch and offered to take a picture so here is our family happy to be home!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Personal Magnetic Paper Dolls - Part 4

Since we first started making these dolls, I have found some fun things to add.

First thing I did was go through some holiday magazines. If I found a clothing item in the magazine that I liked, I cut it out and made it into a magnet for the dolls. The adds are in color and are usually about the same size as the dolls we made. I cut out several hats and scarfs. Several different Santa hats were fun.

Second, if the girls are doing something fun with costumes or spirit clothes or formals, I have had them stand against a wall and I will measure the size in the view finder and have them stick out their arm so we can continually add to the assortment of clothes and items for the dolls. I did it with them on spirit day and in their Halloween costumes.

If you want to make a doll for yourself or other family members that don't want to pose, just cut out their head. My third daughter didn't want to make a doll but I printed out a picture of her in her formal dress and cut out just her head as it was the right size for the dolls. Put a magnet on the head and now, it is a doll because you can put it over the body of one of the main dolls, or you can just add hair, clothes etc.

Another fun thing was cutting out antlers, horns, ears, big eyes etc to make the dolls into cartoon type dolls. I went through some catalogs and found things in adds that I thought would be funny to add. Let yourself go crazy and make it fun including the kids in the finding process. You could even have the kids draw some clothes for themselves by tracing out the body onto paper and letting them design some clothes and then putting them on magnets and they become fashion designers.

Lastly, we have pictures of my missionary daughter on the fridge and we all started dressing them up with items. It got funny sometimes but even if you don't make a doll, the items can be placed over pictures you already have.

The choices and ideas of how to make this fun go on and on. I hope you have as much fun with this as we did.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Personal Magnetic Paper Dolls - Part 3

For printing, I took them to WalMart and had them printed and then checked to make sure they were all printed in the right size and shade. Some had to be reprinted so it was worth checking them at the store.

Once they are printed, cut them out as if they were the dolls. The first ones I cut out leaving a little around the edge because I knew we were putting them on magnet sheets. When I cut them after they were on the magnet sheeting, they left a ridge and were harder to cut exactly.

So, cut them out just as you want them to look. Then, place them on the sticky side of the magnet sheeting all except the main doll. Stick them on as close as you can so you can use all the magnet sheet. Use small pointed and sharp scissors to cut out the clothes etc which will allow you to get into tight corners of hair and clothes.

You can't use the sticky magnet sheeting for the paper dolls because the magnet is on the same side and you want the clothes to stick to the doll. There are two options. We tried another option but it didn't work out well. First, we tried sticking the magnet sheet to itself on the opposite side and stuck her main doll on using double sided tape. This worked to some extent but when we tried to put clothes on her, the magnets poles were off and pushed the clothes off and repelled them rather than having them stick.

Get another sheet of magnet with no sticky side. I used one from a calender that stuck to the fridge. Stick double sided sticky tape on the back of the doll and stick it to the magnet. Check it out first by placing the doll on it and then placing the clothes on to make sure they will stick and not be repelled before you do any taping or gluing. Once taped or glued, cut around so it is just the basic doll and it will work. The other option is to not put the doll on a magnet and just use the clothes to keep the doll on the fridge or locker. The doll is thin and you could just stick it on with a piece of tape and then use the clothes to dress it up.

There is one more option of making your doll stand up. You can put it on a magnet and then put it on thin wood or cardboard. Make a base out of a wooden block and cut a ridge into the base wide enough for the doll to stand in. I didn't go that route because I like the doll on the fridge where people come and change the outfit etc. It also would be fun to surprise your child but putting it in their locker at school for a birthday surprise or another holiday.

The fun continues.....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Personal Magnetic Paper Dolls - Part 2

We have had so much fun with these dolls and get comments on them when anyone comes to the house.

For clothes, we went through her clothes and picked outfits that she likes and wears often. She wanted to mix and match the tops and the bottoms so we tried to tuck in shirts when possible. Regular clothes can get boring and expensive to print so I would suggest about three pant/shirt options.

Next, we pulled out clothes for all occasions. Swimming, snow, sports, pajamas, robes etc. We then pulled out things that would accent those items such as basket balls, slippers, swim noodle, boots and similar items.

Then, we had her get into dress up clothes. We took out her favorite dress up costumes and put those on. We had her hold all sorts of things in her hand such as a microphone, cell phone, ipod, cup, sports items, dress up items, purses.

Lastly, we did dresses and personal items that she enjoys. She plays the clarinet. This would be things they do such as team uniforms, dance costumes, church dresses, school colors and similar things that make them personal.

We never took a picture that didn't have different shoes, hair, hat, something in her hand or a different outfit. To save on printing and time, we put as many items in each picture as we could. I did her hair down, in braids, in pony tails and we put several wigs on and many hats.

It doesn't matter if the outfit matches because you are going to cut out the shoes, hat, arm, and outfit all on their own individually anyway so mix and match as you can fitting in as many items in the smallest amount of pictures.

I couldn't believe how my older daughter got into helping her dress and come up with ideas on what to wear.
This was fun for the whole family.... Tomorrow, magnets...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Personal Magnetic Paper Doll - Part 1

So a month or so ago I had this idea that I thought my girls would enjoy. I thought of making personal paper dolls and putting them on magnets so they could be on our fridge and they could dress themselves in their own outfits.

So, on a Saturday, I set out with my camera and a willing daughter to make some dolls. We had to be very careful to measure the distance between the camera and my daughter each picture and to measure her arm angle of both arms so that the clothes would fit over the body.

So for this post, I will just tell you how to take the pictures.

What worked best for me after some trial and error was to put her with her back to the fence a stick down where her toes should be and to put a stick down that my knees touched when I knelt to take the pictures. This meant that she would be the same distance for each picture.

Then, I put a piece of tape on the fence (or wall) behind her so I knew exactly where to have the top of my frame of the camera. I put the stick for her toes at the bottom of the frame so that each picture of her was the exactly same size.

Now, for the arms. I made one of her arms up so that she could hold different items and change them out for different outfits.

I measured the distance from her shoulder to her wrist on the arm that was up and made sure her knuckles of her left hand were on the same spot on her hip each time.

I put her in a tank and some shorts for her main picture so that she could wear skirts etc and not have the pants showing on the main doll.

When my older daughter came out and wanted a doll. I wondered how to make her the same size so she would be able to wear all the same clothes that my other daughter wore rather than making her take a picture in them plus the cost of developing two of each outfit. We figured out that my youngest daughter measured 3 inches tall on the view finder on the camera and so I kept taking pictures moving back further and further until she was exactly three inches tall also. I placed a stick on the ground there also which make the process faster because I could take pictures of one while the other was changing outfits.

Tomorrow, the clothes.... Isn't this fun! My girls all helped make this project.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Flower Power - Face painting

I used to use Halloween make-up to paint faces way back when and then someone told me that when they painted faces for carnivals or Halloween, they used acrylic paint. After that, the sky is the limit.

I for years have painted the kids faces for Halloween costumes. I got a call this year from a neighbor who had her grand-daughter for Halloween. She asked if I could paint her face. I painted a flower on one cheek and a butterfly to match her costume in purple and orange on the other.

When I had finished, my girls all told me they wanted flowers on their faces. So, I quickly painted one on each of them. My youngest decided she liked it and decided to be a fairy for Halloween rather than what she planned so she didn't wash it off in the shower and kept it on for the next day.

The thing I like about using acrylic rather than make-up is that it dries and doesn't smear. If you use Halloween make-up, it is oil based and gets all over the costumes etc if they scratch their noses.

Most of my photos of the faces I have painted over the years are on regular film waiting in my pile of pictures that are in my trunk waiting to be scanned at Wal-Mart on their scanners where I can scan them all quickly on professional scanners and then get them on a disc for $3. Then, I can print them off as needed or use them on my blog and so they are on my "to do" list for about 3 weeks now but with everything going on, it has been crazy.
I actually have them in the pile to blog about some fun traditions we have over Halloween so hopefully I can get them done soon and share those traditions with you.

So, this post may be a little lame but considering I am rearranging a house and digging through bins to find my daughters winter clothes for her return from the hot, humid Philippines to snow, making Dr. appointments etc. I hope you are tolerant and enjoy my short but sweet posts this week!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Documenting For Insurance - Seal-A-Meal part 2

I wrote about the "Seal a meal Deal" the other day and how I was sealing the silver. I wanted to show you what I did to identify what was in each container and document for insurance what I have.

A few years ago when we moved my mother out of he
r home, everyone got something for their inheritance from her as she was moving into an assisted living arrangement one bedroom apartment.

I asked for her silverware that we used for each Thanksgiving dinner and so that is what I was blessed to get.

I had some adds from old magazines that showed th
e pattern she had and the cost for replacements back then. I took a picture of the pattern and cost and took a picture of the back of the utensils and the bottom of the salt shakers so the name of the manufacture would be shown. I then wrote what would be in the bag such as, "Grandma's wedding silverware pattern, rose" etc so that we would know what exactly was in each bag.

I then got onlin
e and researched each pattern. My mother had one pattern from her wedding and accidental ordered replacements from a different but similar pattern so I have two partial sets rather than one whole set.

I printed out the history of the company that made them and the history of the patterns she has along with replacement prices now and pictures of the patterns.

I then took a picture of the pattern on the print out and
then wrote the amount of each piece I have of each pattern under that pattern print out: Such as, 6 - soup spoons, 8 -knives, etc.

I made two copies of that information. I put one copy in the bag with the silverware and sealed it up inside with the silverware to put in the safety deposit box in case there was a house fire or something, the information would be safe with the silverware. I then placed the second copy of the papers with the information, prices, and amounts we have in
my "Book of Life" that I blogged about on April 29, 2010 this year.

That way, if we ever need to leave in a hurry, I have all the information organized in one book that I can grab on the way out.

This can be done with anything of value. Wedding rings, heirloom jewelry, coin collections, baseball cards etc. It would make it so much easier for others if something happened to me and no one knew where the stuff was from or who owned it or its value or worth. Wouldn't it be great if everyone had this done so going through their stuff in the estate was not guessing "who owned this? anyone recognize this?" etc.

Having sorted through my moms stuff many times now, I am hoping to save my kids from that same fate. It has caused me so much stress havi
ng to do that for my mom and scanning all the slides, pictures, etc. I pray I can get myself organized enough to just enjoy the time I have with my kids and grand kids rather than worrying about the other or having them to have to worry about it after I am gone.

Here is to Seal-a-Meals! And being organized!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Puzzle Fun For all Ages - Part 2

A few years ago, I was in charge of the women's group in our church. I was trying to find a way to inspire the women to do service and realize how important just one person can be.

I bought a puzzle at a second hand store and printed out invitations and glued a piece of a puzzle on it inviting them to find out where they "fit" in our group.

I had a friend make a frame around some metal sheeting that would fit this puzzle of the "last supper" on it. The puzzle had 1000 pieces and I wanted to hide a picture of Christ under the puzzle so when they started taking pieces of the puzzle off, they would start to uncover a picture of Christ.

In order to take a piece of the puzzle off the metal frame, they had to do an act of service and our goal as a group was to take the puzzle down in that year.

I bought a few rolls of magnet tape and cut them into small pieces and put them on the back of each piece. I had to test how big I needed to make the pieces so they would stay on the frame well as it would be moved each week and I didn't want to lose pieces in the move. I also bought some magnetic paint and sprayed the metal sheet but I think it would have been fine if I skipped that.

Then, I had my girls help me put the puzzle together on the metal sheet frame and we made the puzzle over this picture of Christ which is one of my favorites. I have a picture somewhere of the puzzle finished with my girls holding it but after searching for an hour, I gave up. If I find it later, I will post it.

We had fun making the puzzle and taking it down. We are all pieces of the puzzle and the picture isn't complete even if one piece is missing. When we do service, even small acts, we see Christ more clearly in our lives and continence, just like when they took a piece of puzzle off.

YOU are all pieces in my life puzzle and I am so glad that you are!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It Comes in Threes - Part 2

So, the toilet wasn't the third thing. My step nephew who is about two month old was admitted to the children's hospital within hours of my Dad's admission. My poor Step mother (I hate calling her that as she has been one of the biggest blessings in our lives but say that only as an identification marker) had my dad in one hospital her her grandson in another within hours.

She wasn't able to go visit her grandson until this afternoon as she was with my dad.

They don't know what is wrong with my nephew but he has blood out one end and throwing up out the other and are trying to rule out meningitis but he has started with a fever.

My oldest sent an email last night confirming her coming home times and her email almost made me cry. "Hey mom, here it is again. I'm going to Hong Kong. that's new. lol. its all set and ready to go and I'm excited to sit and not be walking. lol, my legs are tired."

Because my youngest two are going with their dad for the entire Christmas break I have to do Christmas early. Now with the health issues I am rushing to get that done not sure I will even be in our town due to medical visits and issues.

Doing the food, decorations and awards/gifts for the new food bank in a few weeks and helping with a singles dinner for about 150 in a few weeks also.

On a very positive note however, the toilet I installed last night is NOT leaking! What a blessing it is to have toilets! I took a photo of the hole just to make my oldest feel at home when she returns from a country that uses holes instead of toilets. Perhaps I should have blogged about how to replace a toilet. I am quite the expert on toilets now!

As you can see by the above, I am silly. Missing sleep and stress have that effect. I will pray I can get my life back to somewhat normal soon and return to all the wonderful things I was working on to blog about!

Please keep our family in your prayers and I pray that your family doesn't need any!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It Comes in Threes

I had plans to write about Silver etc tonight but I just got an email that my dad fell while hiking today (see previous post of June 11, "sometimes you're up" about my dad and hiking) and slipped on some ice and knocked himself cold for about 20 minutes until another hiker found him and got him help.

He is in the trauma unit after being transferred from another hospital. He seems ok other than a collapsed lung, broken ribs and I am sure a huge bump on the head. However, he is over 70 and 20 minutes is a VERY long time to be knocked out. I live far enough away I can't visit without some planning but will possibly not write if I can work something out. Forgive me if I skip a day or two.

I would ask that you keep him in your prayers along with my daughter that is arriving home early from the Philippines, due to illness, this next Friday night. Her email tonight worried me as she talked about how tired her legs are and she can't wait to "rest" when getting home.

I am hoping all my toilet flooding issues is the third issue as they say "things always come in threes!" I just finished putting in a new toilet after fighting with flooding on the other for over a month. There was a small leak you couldn't see in the tank. I am grateful that it is finally fixed and pray that is the third thing!

Thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Seal-A-Meal Deal

I have heard wonderful things about the Seal-A-Meal with the jar attachment. I have been looking for one and this last week I found one in the box, with the instructions, unopened bags, jar attachment and it worked all for $5 at a thrift store. It didn't look used.

I have one of the old versions but this new one is really nice and easy to use. I have gotten some of the bags when I see them knowing I would get the machine and bought the "Seal-A-Meal" brand which are about $20 a box. The foodSaver bags are similar as well in price as this box is labeled $19.99 the food savers are similar products and one bag would work on the other. I got five new boxes of the "Seal-a-meal" bags for $2 each and then the "Food Saver" box with two large rolls of bags was only $2.

Over the last year, I have polished all the silver. Within a month or two, there has been a build up of tarnish already on some.

Air causes silver to tarnish so I decided I would try sucking the air away from the silver by sealing the silver in a bag to see if it would help save me polishing again.

I bagged all the silver and combined several pieces per bag by placing a paper towel in between to keep them from scratching each other.

Some of the larger serving pieces were too large for the seal-a-meal bags so I used a LARGE Ziploc bag for those few items. If you have a silver item that gets used often, you can use a Ziploc bag for those as well and use the suction attachment hose or a straw to draw out the air.

If you are going to use a straw just zip the bag most of the way closed and place the straw in and zip the bag until the only space unzipped is where the straw is left. Suck the air out of the bag and while still sucking in, quickly pull the straw out and seal the bag. It works fairly well with little effort if you don't have the hose attachment.

Tomorrow I will blog about how I labeled them and documented it all for insurance purposes.

This sure was a Seal-a-Meal deal!