"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."

Friday, January 27, 2012

Birthday traditions and Grace's new hairstyle

Grace has a new hair style!  She deserves a trophy for this little number...she sat for 2 1/2 hours straight for this look.  We headed to a local beauty school where an amazing stylist said she had an "idea" in mind.  I love it.  It has the cuteness of pig tails and the ease of the braids.  If you have a daughter like mine (who likes to be "fancy") and you don't have the skills it takes to do this type of style, you may want to check out a beauty school.  There are a lot of women at our local school who know how to braid, and the price is unbelievable.  Can you believe that this style (and a 2 1/2 hour appointment) only cost $20?  Needless to say, I tipped very well!  I am hoping we get a good two-three weeks out of this style before it starts to look too fuzzy...I'll keep you posted.

 We've been celebrating a lot of birthday fun around here.  Since I use our blog as a "scrapbook" of sorts, I wanted to write a little something about our family's birthday traditions.  The kids always wake up on their birthday to find their bedroom doorway decorated with crepe paper.  I just tape lots of streamers hanging down from the top of their doorway (sort of creating a curtain of crepe paper).  They also find "the birthday basket" which appears while they sleep.  We have a wicker basket that we fill with little goodies like candy, small gifts, etc.  It is a fun way to start their special day.
Our newest birthday tradition addition (say that five times fast), is this cute wreath that we hang on our front door.  I found the inspiration on Pinterest (of course).  It was super easy and is really cute.  I plan to switch the photo on it to represent whoever is celebrating a birthday.
 Of course, birthday treats are part of our fun.  This year, I made these cute little basketball hoops for Bryce and his friends.  The chocolate basketballs were easy to find at our local candy store.  The boys thought they were REALLY cool.  

 Of course, the birthday boy needed a treat to bring to school on his birthday.  We decided that our favorite rainbow cupcakes would do the trick.  Everyone LOVES these.  I am telling you, something so easy can still get such a huge (and very positive) response.  The kids went crazy when they bit into the cupcakes.  I happened to be there volunteering, and kids were asking me to give their parents the recipe, email their mom "how to makes these,"  etc.  

We eat a "fancy" birthday breakfast in the dining room (a room that is usually only used for me to spread paperwork all over...).  This little tradition is tricky, because we are usually heading off to work and school in the morning.  The "birthday breakfast" is a little rushed, but the kids feel special drinking out of stemmed light up glasses filled with juice.

 Bryce's birthday dinner was at a Mexican restaurant.  He can really rock the sombrero, don't you think?
Last, but not least, I found this cute idea for Bryce to take to school today...he is the "star of the week" after all...  He needed to bring in one more fun thing, and since he is a fan of Star Wars, we made lightsabers out of pretzel rods, colored chocolate and colored sugar.  They turned out really cute.  Bryce is so creative that he even came up with the idea of using tin foil for the handles.  These are really cool because the colored sugar makes them sort of sparkle like a lightsaber.  
Hope you enjoyed some of our little traditions and projects.  Have a wonderful weekend!!!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy 9th Birthday Bryce!

Happy Birthday Bryce!!!!
 Today we celebrate the amazing gift of Bryce.  He is truly one of the sweetest, most creative, kindest, and of course, cutest kids you will ever meet.  We are so lucky he is ours!  

I can't believe it was nine years ago that we were blessed by the arrival of our third child.  Here is Bryce on the day he was born...His birth was so awesome...I had a scheduled C-section.  Everything went so well.  No labor, no pain.  It was such a nice change of (birthing) pace.
 I couldn't really believe I had TWO boys...I was so surprised when the doctor said those magical words... "It's a boy!"  I think I gasped a little to myself...I was certain he was a girl.  Then, the second I laid my eyes on him, I forgot all about the idea of a little girl.  He was so precious.  
(notice my drugged up eyes in this picture...).
 His big sister was pretty excited to meet him too.  She was hoping for a sister, but...it turned out that she would have to wait TEN YEARS for that to happen!
 Big Brother Drew was also excited about his new baby brother...
 It took all of about 30 seconds before we had to start "reminding" Drew that the baby was not a toy and that he had to keep his "hands off!" the baby.

 Happy Birthday sweet Bryce!
Thank you for being you!!!!
We love you!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Win a new Kindle Fire ... Check out these cute shirts...

Aren't these shirts cute????  Please visit my friend's Kim's blog TODAY to learn about how you can buy one of your own.  The best part:  You will be helping Kim and her (adorable) family get one step closer to bringing their sweet baby girl home from Ethiopia!  They recently received their referral and are super close to traveling to meet their newest daughter.  Please consider making a donation to their adoption fund to help cover the cost of TWO trips to Ethiopia OR, buy one of these super cute t shirts and help support them while adding to your wardrobe.  They are so close to being fully funded...they are almost there...

Another cool part about helping Kim...she loves to do fun contests and giveaways.  If you make a donation or purchase today, you will be entered into a raffle to win a brand new Kindle Fire!!!!  How cool is that???   SO, PLEASE head on over to Kim's blog, read her super cute family's story, help them out by making a donation, and start praying for their family to receive their court date SOON!
Enjoy your Saturday!!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Favorite new recipe....You MUST try this one...

 I've been a terrible blogger lately...I have many good reasons, but the first is that my laptop is not working.  It is currently in "the shop" because Windows will not open (I suspect this is not a good sign- I am not as computer literate as you might think).  This is tough on me, after all:

SO...while I have many creative ideas floating through my head to write about (and some REALLY cool projects and families to tell you about), I can't seem to get into the swing of sharing them on my blog with this old, clunky desktop computer.  In the meantime, I will share my new favorite recipe with you...
Honey Lime Enchiladas  
They are so easy and so tasty!!!!
I must give credit to Pinterest for this gem of a recipe.  Almost everyone in my house loves this.  When I make these yummy enchiladas, I don't have ANY leftovers...that is a great sign around here.  Grace and I polish off whatever is left over for lunch...they are so good!

Honey Lime Enchiladas
Marinade:  6T. honey, 5 T. lime juice, 1T. chili powder, 1/2 t. garlic powder
Toss marinade with1 lb. of cooked chicken (I use rotisserie chicken)
8-10 flour tortillas
1 pound of mont.jack cheese (shredded)
16 oz. green enchilada sauce
1 c. heavy cream

Marinate the chicken for at least 1/2 hour (the longer, the better).  Pour 1/2 enchilada sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.  Fill tortillas with chicken and cheese (save 1 c. cheese for top), roll and place seam side down in pan.  Mix remaining enchilada sauce and cream.  Pour sauce over the top of the rolled up tortillas.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes (until slightly brown and crispy on top). 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dr. King

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

"I have a dream...that little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
August 28th, 1963, Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

And what would Dr. King say about the 147 million orphans in our world? 
 ...when considering adoption, 
"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just the first step."
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Finally! Snow!

50 degrees, took the dog for a walk...
Snow has finally arrived in Wisconsin.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year!!!!
In an effort to document our past couple of weeks, here is a quick Christmas recap.  We were lucky enough to stay home and relax for the holidays.  We were blessed with visits from family and friends and completely enjoyed the slower pace of a week without basketball practices, dance practices, running around town every night (not to mention having Doug home for a week straight!).

Although it was not much of a "white" Christmas, Grace attempted to make a snow man.  The absence of snow contributed to a different Christmas "feel."

The boys.  

The girls.

Grace's favorite Christmas present arrived on Christmas Eve.  Her grandparents were kind enough to give her a fancy piggy bank (and a box of coins...great idea).  She was thrilled to put the coins in, take the coins out, and occasionally share a few coins with the rest of us.  This is the ONLY gift that she has actually gone back to play with over and over since Christmas...who needs expensive electronics? 

No, the actual Green Bay Packers did not show up to celebrate with us.  These are my (not so little) nephews.  They are big!  We decided to give them all jerseys for Christmas...

Here we are posing for a quick family picture.  We were SO late and were heading out to church on Christmas Eve...  You would never know how this picture was actually posed (imagine lots of "hurry up! let's go!  we need a quick picture!  come on people!!!!").

After Christmas Eve service, we always do gifts from siblings to each other.  Each kid also gets a special present from mom and dad (new pjs, a book, and an ornament that symbolizes their year).  This little game was a HUGE hit.  Drew picked it out for his siblings.  It is hilarious.  You feed the dog "treats" and then he ends up "digesting" them and returning them to you for you to scoop up (if you know what I mean).  The funniest part of the game is the sound effects that it makes.  The winner of the game gets three "poops in their scoop."  This proved to be a huge hit when friends and family visited us over break.  Again, who needs expensive electronics?

Christmas morning....Grace loves her new Tiana doll.

Oh, I guess THIS is who needs expensive electronics.  Bryce only had one request for Santa...an ipod.  I was worried that he wouldn't get one, because Santa has a lot of kids to bring gifts to and I wasn't sure he could come through.  Bryce was so happy and grateful that he did!

Drew was lucky enough to get a lot of sports stuff for Christmas.  This is one of my favorites.  It is Tim Tebow's rookie card and a photo of him "Tebowing."  I LOVE Tim Tebow (not in a creepy,cougar sort of way, in a grateful to have a respectable athlete for my son to look up to sort of way).

This picture of Bryce really sums him up.  He likes sports (and loves his new Jordon jersey), but is a lego builder at heart.  He is studying his new lego book during all of the commotion of Christmas morning.

All of a sudden, Grace stops opening a gift and says "Wait a minute...HOW did Santa get all of this stuff in here????" She proceeded to inspect the fireplace.

Grace received this set of adorable aprons.  She can dress up her doll with an apron that matches hers and then she can help me in the kitchen OR pretend to cook in HER kitchen (which doesn't get much use).  I found these aprons through my blog friend Bonnie.  Bonnie and her husband started a wonderful organization in Rwanda where women sew these aprons as well as clothes that fit American Girl dolls.  They also sew beautiful handbags (which my niece was given).  The best part...the income generated from the sale of these items helps women in Rwanda to support themselves.  Please visit their website and check it out!

Alyssa and her new backpack.  Backpacks are WAY more fashionable now than they were when I was in high school...She is going to hate this picture...I bet she never expected her "footie" pjs to show up on the blog!

Well...back to expensive electronics...yes, THIS kid really loves them. He was NOT expecting this super cool surprise.  I love his excitement and joy!

And...after a long morning of gift giving, excitement, and family togetherness...what is the ONE gift that Grace choose to hunker down and play with while we waited for the rest of our relatives to join us for Christmas????  Yes...Doggie Doo.