Sunday, December 21, 2008



Friday, December 19, 2008

I am Worse than a KID @ Christmas!

So, it's 2am and I am here, on the computer, wide awake, because I am hearing the ice tick on my window and wondering if school will be canceled.  Either way, there will be disappointment in the house.  Ben says he's up for a snow day because his teacher told them their holiday party will be the Friday they return to school after break and  it will be a New Year's party (fun!)  Emily on the other hand really wants her party tomorrow so there will be tears.  Mom  is pulling for  a snow day because I would love to finally have a day in our jammies where we HAVE to stay home because it's just too darn dangerous to go outside!  I hear Christmas music (mom got me the new Josh Grobin's awesome!)  and I smell cookies baking, I think I will clock some hours in my scrapbook room some Christmas television with the kiddos and maybe take a snooze since it's now 2:45 and I've been up since 2am!  

So, here's to a snow day to all, may your home be toasty, your fireplaces roaring, your creativity flowing and your merry heart singing..."Deck the Halls"  to all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Two of my FAVORITE Holiday Decorations

I am happy to report that on this day, the 10th of December, 2008 I am...
1.  Fully decorated (or as decorated as I plan to be this year)
2.  Have no intention of baking any Christmas cookies other than the pre-cut GFS cookies I bought so my kids could have the fun of decorating them.
3.  I am completely caught up with my wrapping (that is going extremely well this year considering I went on a HUGE Hobby Lobby shopping spree for wrapping paper and accessories when they were all 50% off)
4.  I have had a sitter for all holiday parties...really this one is HUGE!!!
5.  I am about 80% done with my Christmas cards.

I believe this is all possible because I haven't worked at all this week, but that's ok.  It was a major week of getting things done.  My first "Christmas Moment" occurred a few weeks ago as I hung one of my favorite decorations.  This year it's a picture, instead of a tray.  It was really cute as a tray but I didn't believe it got enough "face time" so I had it reframed so I could hang it on the wall in my entry way so that even the UPS guys could see it if I could get to the door in time!  It is a wedding gift from my cousin Sara.  She cross stitched me old time Santa's and it must have taken her a million years to do.  It has so much detail and it's priceless!  She must have started making it when we were 12 just assuming I'd find some unassuming male to propose to me some day.  Well, he did and she did and now I have the most beautiful Santa picture ever...I mean it, it's one of those decorations you know you will hand down through the generations.  Not like that lovely bowl my Aunt Virginia gave me that she claims my great grandma Nelson put our beloved cranberries and rice dessert in each year.  I've never seen that bowl in my life and of course I can't get rid of it because if she was right that is just too sentimental...but I doubt it has such value.  I think she was just cleaning out her basement and decided to dump the bowl on me.  I won't do the same to my children and grandchildren.  Nope, my offspring will be fighting over the Santa picture and it will be the tool I use to get put in the very best nursing home!

My other favorite holiday decorations are our Christmas stockings.  They were ALL made by my mother.  SHE KNITS!  Yep, Mrs. "NO CRAFTS" can knit.  She's made all of our stockings and they are amazing and the other favorite holiday decorations in my home.  I even (in a not so sensitive manner) commanded her to get knitting because I want those stockings for my grandchildren and she needs to make extra for posterity!  I love that mother of mine!!!!

Anyway, amid all the hussle and bussle of the holiday season those two decorations help me remember the true meaning of the holiday season.  To give of yourself and be eternally grateful for all of your blessings.  Also, that it's not the store bought gifts that are treasured but those made lovingly by people who like you enough to take the time to make you something with their own two hands.  Thanks Sara and Mom!!  Love you guys!

Monday, December 8, 2008


I always say I need time to stop for one day so I can get caught up.  Chris will even ask "What can I do for you?"  And I will say, "I need more time, please."  And guess what?  I got it today.  It all started last night when the substitute coordinator didn't call me to work today...of course instead of being happy that I have an extra day I go right to..."Why didn't she call me?"  But, then Ben was up last night not feeling well so I figured that it's a sick day anyway, just go with it.  To be on the safe side, I went to see our favorite Dr. Sutler and paid her $20 to tell me Ben has a cold.  "Thank you!"  So, with my boy home and my girl also fighting a cold we hunkered down this afternoon and had ourselves a good old fashioned Midwesteren cold day.  While Em was at kindergarten Ben and I hung out.  He watched tv and played with his figures while I caught up on the laundry and a last bit of holiday decorating that required my attention.  I was in my glory!  A day...a whole day, minus an hour to visit the doc and pick up some McDonald's for my boy.  When Em got home there was  more hanging out and a trip to the video store for a new Wii game to try and the Prince Caspian movie to watch.  We even laid on the couches in the basement and watched Charlie Brown's Christmas.  BLISS I TELL YOU!

We needed this!  A day to just hand out.  No obligations, no errands, no outsiders...just the Dows, enjoying our cozy home and resting.  I swear with all the obligations during the holiday season my children are missing that quiet down time, even on the weekends.  The time they need to just be peaceful and do nothing.  I haven't heard one "I'm bored" all day!  I started addressing my Christmas cards, caught up on all the laundry and maybe tonight I'll get some wrapping done.  Even if I don't, I don't care.  It was nice to just be home today.  I know Ben could have gone to school but I'm glad I didn't make him.  I didn't even pick up his school work.  It will be there tomorrow.  Tonight is breakfast for dinner and a fire in the fireplace and more "hanging out".  I got a happy surprise today...time...extra time...a catch up day to just "putz" as my mother puts it.  And I loved it.  It put me in a happy peaceful mood.  It made me get excited for the holidays.  And if nothing gave me a chance to pump my kids with some extra vitamin C and liquids and some extra time to just...CATCH UP!!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

December ...WHAT???

OK  Father time...slow down!!!  Didn't I just post for November that I couldn't believe it was November?  And now I blink and it's December...which I might add is creeping into my least favorite month spot!  I know, I sound like Scrooge but just hear me out.  This month is CRAZY!  It's jammed packed with parties, to do lists, events and way too much stuff.  Add that it is know to be the month when my kids tend to be the most ill and you have all the makings for a month I won't cry about when it's over.  All the elements of Christmas I love, the decorating, cookie  making, card making, shopping and wrapping...LOVE IT!   But it's the doing it all under the gun and throwing in all the other obligations I can't say "NO" to and you've got your self a girl who is counting down the days until January.  January is a happy, do nothing month and that sounds awesome to me!!  I feel like that not so recent song on the radio that said something about sleeping through the month, or something like sounds good to me right about now.  Either I sleep through the month like a bear or someone has to extend the month by a good 15 days so I can take a few off and catch up.  

I am also stressing about my holiday cards.  I came up with what I thought was a cute and cleaver idea to make them and not waste paper...use what I have and borrow a bud's stamps, really conserve this year.  Without thinking I made them all and now realize that they are too big for standard envelopes.  Upon a trip to my local Staples I realized that the only possible option would be an envelope much bigger than my card and the anal girl in me is really not taking this well.  I don't want my card to swim in the envelope.  It looks so homemade and sloppy but what other choice do I have?  I even considered remaking the cards but that would defeat the entire idea of using what I have and making the most of my supplies.  So, I know I will send them, eventually, they are done and everything.  But those big envelopes...ugh!  

Did anyone shop the day after Turkey day?  That was a really fun day.  Joey and I got a bit too excited and started out @ 3:30 in the morning.  What were we thinking?   And then we ended up at the WalMart on Weber Rd. with all the crazies circling their prey.  The best part was the coffee and donut we got from the 7-11!  But we had fun and didn't come home until ten thirty.  Got lots of shopping done and loved it! 

Well, best of luck to you this holiday season...go get em...keep your chin up...isn't it sad we all need a holiday pep talk????

Friday, November 28, 2008

Heaven Just Over the Border

I know everyone's idea of heaven is different.  Some think of puffy clouds and angels flying about as in the Philadelphia cream cheese ads.  Others think of seeing loved ones who have passed and living amongst days gone by. And still others take comfort in the knowledge that heaven is more like a Salon Spa.  All the facials and full body massages one could ever dream of having...forever.   For my sisters and I heaven is a big old home just over the IL Wisc.'s name you ask?  The Scrapbook Manor.  This is a place of creative bliss complete with comfortable double beds and three delicious meals that are prepared for you and cleaned up after you.  Our little heaven has a Cricket machine, a Sizzix and as many die cuts as we can ever want.  It has a quaint little store that is available 24/7 with papers and chipboard and stickers galore.

Our type of heaven doesn't come cheap.  We are lucky enough to have a "Sugar-Momma" who foots the bill for her daughters to have a weekend of bliss.   I secretly think she loves the idea of her son-in-laws having to "figure it out" for a weekend with kids and meals and the occasional nightmare...something she never got as a young mom.  But she also revels in the idea of her daughters having such a good chunk of special sister time each year.  I believe she says (and I quote)  "It warms my heart."  

During this special weekend we start out full steam ready to accomplish book upon book of wonderful memories.  We set goals and arrive ready to work work work.  But our little heaven has a very sneaky way of settling us down and helping us understand that the creative process is the destination.  All that paper cutting, ribbon tying, journaling and eyelet setting has a certain calming and renewing affect on us that we Bell girls have never found in anything other than ice cream.  We take time to revisit old vacations, holidays and everyday photos that make us smile and laugh.  We remember that we really do love our children and by Sunday at about 3pm...we actually miss them.  It revitalizes us in a way no Day Spa could ever (but just to be fair there is the massage option that 2 out of the 3 of us usually partakes.)

And then there is the Sunday we get home.  Since I am the baby sister I come home to the littlest people in the family and I am always greeted with happy little faces anxious to see what I have created.  That really is the cherry on top of the weekend sundae!  People who actually want to browse through the finished products and "ooooh" and "ahhhh" over each page the way people should over such art.  But what they don't see is the happy times and memories that are created during the creative process...with my sisters!  (And this year with my bestest cousin Sara...brave girl!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Highlights From the Big Day!

My baby is officially six...and we had a great birthday weekend!!!  Of course it started with the AG Fashion Show for Easter Seals and progressed into a party at our house for the family!  Em had lots of "fans" at the show and was just a bit frustrated when the 4 year old (who was her size exactly) didn't know when to turn and when to stop holding hands.  That kind of explained the sour expression on her face as she dragged her partner down the aisle.  Let's hope some day when she gets married she won't do the same to her husband...although I wouldn't put it past her!

It was a really fun day and Em was so excited to have all her family and her best buds (the Meaghers) over to celebrate.  (***By the way, it was Christine's b-day too...happy birthday friend!)  It was drinks, good food, and of course presents for the birthday girl!  Some of the most memorable was the lovely, sparkley dress given to her by her Godmother and over it, the perfectly "Emily-decorated" jacket she received from the Uncle Bob family....way to go Aunt Lissa!  She just added the sparkley purse from Katie Dow and company and she was ready for a night on the town, or pole dancing...which ever!!!

The sad news is our girl is down today...home sick with a touch of the flu.  But, we both decided while snuggling this morning that we were lucky she wasn't sick all weekend...that's my glass half full girl!

I was called to sub this morning and had to call back a few minutes later to cancel (love that sub job!)  when I learned my baby was sick.  Isn't mother guilt funny...we feel guilty when we work and guilty when we can't work because one of our kiddos is ill.   Of course my amazing, wonderful hubby reminded me that my #1 job is being a mom and that this is where I am needed most, where I am suppose to be and I felt so much better.  I remember when I was little what good care my mom took of me when I was sick.  I hope my kids feel that same complete comfort that they can just be sick and hunker down knowing Mom will take great care of them and do everything to make them feel better.  Like this morning, we snuggled on her bed and read books and browsed through toy magazines and she must have told me 100 times that she loves me...and now she's sound asleep hopefully dreaming about her fabulous birthday and getting better!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My Baby is 6 TODAY!

Yep, that's right, six years ago today I had the cutest baby girl on the planet!  The entire delivery was right out of one of those movies where it happens so quickly with no sweat or screaming you just know it's all too fake...well, that was my Emily.  She made her way into the world at 2:47pm looking all pink and tiny and her Grandma Pat and Aunt Kiki were there to see the whole thing.  My doctor (God bless her) let me keep my epidural and try to push and I did...and after 3 very light minutes of barely pushing sister was out and screaming!  (which she continued for the next 2 years unless I was holding her!)  Once she turned about 18 months she was absolutely the sweetest little girl around!  She just clung to me and was so very agreeable(which was quite the change from her brother's toddler years!)  Now she is sweet (sometimes) and sassy (all the time) and still the little tiny peanut she was when she was born...and honestly, she is my very best bud!  A girl couldn't ask for a better shopping bud or kitchen helper or for someone any more fun to just hang out with... God knew I needed a little girl and he couldn't have chosen a better one for me!  And to celebrate?  The Easter Seals American Girl Fashion show where my girl will model the Bitty Baby Christmas dress!  Yes, this is how she wanted to celebrate her big day and after, 35 of our closest relatives for dinner and cake...yum!  Happy birthday my sweet baby girl!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Am a Blogger Loser!

According to my sister KIKI I am a blogger loser and if I don't change my post soon she is boycotting my my reading base will go from 3 to 2.   Therefore, I am making a list of what I am doing right now followed by a photo of one of my children...(request per Kiki).  So here is my list...

1.  I watched The Notebook last night...loved it!
2.  I am sailing through Twilight and loving it!
3.  I have baked and frozen 2 batches of Christmas cookies for the sale Dec. 6th.
4.  I have purchased 2 new pair of Old Navy jeans...the Sweetheart small they stretch!
5.  My new fashion love is (creepy enough) the BLOUSE!  They are cute and comfy! (and good for the girls)
6.  I was a mean 4th grade teacher today...the kids wouldn't stop talking!
7.  My children are making their own Christmas decorations because I am not moving fast enough for them.
8.  I used several birthday gift cards and Nordstrom notes to get some new spiffy Uggs and they came today!!!!!
9.  I ordered Em's birthday cake today...half chocolate, half white with white frosting, HSM themed of course!
10.  I made turkey tacos tonight for dinner and I plan on getting in my pj's tonight after Em's gymnastics class and making some yummy warm soft tacos for me and Uddy!  I may even crack open a beer!

So there...I know it's not thrilling or cliff-hangerish but this is my life right now...I will post again SOON KIKI!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I can't believe it's November all ready!  I will post halloween photos and weekend photos soon but here are my cutie new sofit (sp!  how do you spell it?) decorations.  I am not one for fake plants or knick knacks everywhere for the following reasons...
1.  I don't like to dust up there...come on, I'm vertically challanged!
2.  I want cute stuff up there and it's usually stuff I want to  use with company...the choices!
3.  I like a clean organized look (surprise!)

So I got the idea to decorate OVER my cabinets with cutie plates!!!  Yipee it worked and the entire project cost me about $15.  Really!  The other thought was I could change the plates seasonally to be really cool and on top of it.  What do you think?  I love the outcome and catch myself smiling every time I look up there!  :)  So keep checking my blog because I could just be crazy today and post some halloween photos or some tailgating photos...that was a fun day even though the Hawkeyes were not having the very best day (UNDERSTATEMENT!)  Hey, be sure to vote today...I'm way too excited for all of this to just be over!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I have 3 important things to share with you for this very important upcoming holiday.  The first item of business is the Willams-Sonoma carving kit.  My wonderful, and festive mother bought me this kit quite a few years ago and it is still going strong!  It has all the important items needed to carve that perfect pumpkin!  The second photo is my beautiful girl today after she carved her first pumpkin.  I started each shape and she took her Pampered Chef kids knife and finished each shape.  She was so proud of herself she was beaming!  We had the best afternoon!  The final photo is of the kids' teachers' halloween treats.  The cat bucket was for Em's kindergarten teacher and the ghost was for Ben's 4th grade teacher.  They included matching halloween kitchen towels, homemade blueberry pecan muffins and a battery operated candle.  They turned out too cute so I had to share.  I got all but the muffins in the dollar bin at Target.  Love that spot!

This afternoon I made the perfect 1950's dinner which included a green veggie and dessert (Aunt Ethel's marble squares).   I love those dinners, it makes me feel like such a great homemaker.  I set the table with placemats and halloween napkins, baked rolls that I had to let rise for 3-5 hours and served homemade marble squares, warm with milk.  It is the little things that make me happy.

I had an awesome birthday, and the day after I turned 38 I started substitute teaching...what a day that was...but that's a story for next time.  Have a great night and I'll be back!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

2 Posts in 1 Day!!!

Look at that...2 posts in one day!  And do you know why?  BECAUSE I AM SICK!  I am being punished for saying I never get sick.  Nice uh?  Well, today I feel a little better, I hope I am on the mend and my husband and my p's have been very helpful with the kiddos so I can lay around, sleep and try to feel better.  I do remember one of the best parts of being sick as a kid, watching way too much tv!  And kids today have it so much better!  On Demand, dvd's, videos and cable as well as the computer make being sick a chance to catch up on all those movies I've been dying to see but haven't had the time to see yet.  So far I've taken in 27 Dresses (loved it), Atonement (awesome!), and The Last King of Scotland (ouch!).  I've also watched some oldies but goodies including "Beautiful Girls" and "Because I Said So".  Here is a pic of my little kindergarten cutie today when she got home from school.  Right now she's with her grandparents having some lunch, doing a bit of shopping and hanging out (so mom can rest.)  Thus, the double post today.   Be sure to look at my sissy's pantry project below.  And, this hanging out has made me start thinking of my Christmas card design and it's coming right along!!!  Yippeeeee!!!

The Pantry Project

I went to Kiki's house last weekend to help her clean out her pantry...honestly it wasn't that bad!  I took some before and after pictures to show our progress.  Note the "Cupcake drawer" above...only Aunt Kiki has a drawer with cupcake papers and sprinkles for every holiday.  A whole DRAWER!!!  It was fun to go through a real cook's pantry.  There are so many cool dips and sauces that I wouldn't know what to do entire wall of cookbooks she loves too much to toss...and some really cool cooking appliances (she actually uses them!)  I love that she could probably put together an amazing 6 course meal at a moment's notice while I am sure I don't even have all the ingredients for sloppy joes.  It was a nice Saturday morning, just add two happy playing kids and a cup of hot coffee and it was a great day.  Now, Kiki has a clean pantry and I got to spend a morning with my's a win win!  (and Megan, if you say anything snotty I am banning you from my blog!)  jk

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 3...MGM Studios

Hello Prince Caspian!  On Saturday (after we called Dr. Lee to get some albuteral and a nebulizer) we traveled to MGM and had a great afternoon!  We rode Star Tours, saw the Indiana Jones stunt show, and the Muppet 3-D movie!  Ben got to make his own light saber and we obviously saw Prince Caspian and went on the Narnia tour.

We really had a great time and rented a stroller so Em wouldn't have to walk and be in the hot sun.  I thought she was on the mend but little did I know the worst was yet to come!  We also saw Jon and Kate plus 2 again that morning. They were all dressed up...couldn't have been heading to a park since the weather was hot and humid and not at all dress up weather!  It was a fun afternoon and we managed to do quite a few things in just a few hours. I was disappointed that the HSM parade wasn't happening, they were getting ready to do a HSM3 revamp...doesn't that figure??

Hey, I was looking up Jon and Kate plus 8 on google last night and came across a blog written by "Aunt Jodi's" sister.  WOW  very eye opening and lots of info regarding how things really are.  I tend to believe her because what she says makes sense and Aunt Jodi is on her blog in a video clip.  Also, did anyone catch Kate and the 6 littles on GMA this morning?  How did she get from FL with the twins to NY with the little kids so fast?  It's interesting!  Anyway, have a great Thursday.  I know I am...everyone went to school today and I got to shower, get dressed (in cute clothes) and head out to do some errands. I can get quite a bit done in 2 hours!  I picked up some coffee at Bed Bath and Beyond (yum yum...they had Pumpkin Spice Green Mt. k cups!)  then to Michaels where I picked up some scrapbooking items 40% off...then on to Target where I found 2 cute sweaters for ME...and a cutie pumpkin chair cover for Em's big girl chair (that hides the taped up part my darling hubby "fixed")  Also, all Archer Farms snacks are 15% off today.  I got some yummy dried fruit to snack on and some raspberry yogurt bars.  One last "yummy"...have you ever tried "IZZE"  sparkling fruit drink?  It's good and counts as 1 serving of fruit!  How great is that?  Well, on to make some sauce for dinner tonight. (Tae Kwon Do night!)  Tomorrow will reveal the fun day we had on Sunday....emergency room and all!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Disney Continued...Day 2 (Friday)

Day 2 of our trip was our first day at the Magic Kingdom...yippee!  I took my smart cousin Sara's advice and made sure we were there to see the rope drop.  I was FIRST...YES FIRST in line at the boat dock to get on the boat to go to the MK and my family thought I was nuts but then, when the boat arrived and the line was WAY WAY long I was then the family SUPER HERO!!  We saw the train arrive with all the characters and the song being sung and the MK was decorated all cool for halloween and we enjoyed Fantasyland and got on rides quickly and rode Splash Mountain and the Peter Pan ride and Chris rode the Dumbo ride with the kiddos and we had a lot of fun.  We wandered around, saw characters (Donald Duck etc.) and ate lunch and then headed back to the room for some much needed rest about 2pm.  That evening we got the kids dressed in their costumes (Em, a HSM cheerleader and Ben a Star Wars dude) and traveled back to MK for dinner (hot dogs, corn dogs, yummy) and had the BEST time of the whole trip!  We rode rides (Em was a bit sad she was too small for Space Mt.) and watched the Halloween parade (started with the real headless horseman) and saw the absolute BEST fireworks display EVER!!!!  It was really fun to wander the park at dark and see all the crazy costumes.  The kids got pictures and autographs with Pooh and Eeyore and got to trick or treat throughout the park.  It was a GREAT night...definitely a highlight of our trip!  And we got home and crawled into bed about 11:30 or so...lots of fun!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What a Trip!

Well, we did it!  We surprised the kiddos Thursday morning with our trip to Disney...they were VERY VERY VERY surprised!  Chris surprised all of us and upgraded our seats to business class...WOW!  We were spoiled and now only want to fly that way!  The trip to Disney went without a hitch and when we got to the hotel Mom got the biggest surprise...Guess who I saw walking out of the lobby when I was walking in????  JOHN AND KATE PLUS 8!!!! (only they were John and Kate plus 2...just the twins).  We ended up seeing them 4 or 5 times during our stay.  They stayed in our hotel on the top level and were escourted around by Disney employees.  I never saw anyone bother them but it took all I had not to say.."Hey, big fan, can I have a photo???"  Chris did get a shot of them at a distance but you have to look closely to see it's them.  I recognized Kate by her hair and when I first realized who it was I was shocked!  It must have shown on my face because I looked right and saw John and he kind of laughed at my reaction.  Emily, Ben and Chris saw them too.  I've never been "star struck" in my life but I was over the moon to see them and I don't know why.  I guess I had Gosslins on the brain because I fell asleep watching the show the night before we left and thought about them and the trip they took to Disney on the plane (really thinking how much easier it is to travel with my 2 now that they are bigger and helpful.)  Anyway, it was like seeing the Mouse for me!  Rather cool. 

The first day we hung out at the hotel, swam, shopped at the gift shop and had an early dinner and went to bed early so we could go to the MK the next day....more on that tomorrow.  But here's a teaser...the parks are so cool all decorated for Halloween!!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008


Two days and counting until we leave for the happiest place on earth...of course my big fear is someone is going to wake up the morning of the 9th with a raging fever and we stay or do we go?  I am already making my bargins with God...just let us get through the next week without any illnesses and I will (fill in the blank.)  I know that doesn't work but the pressure is crazy!

Other happening news...Mamma and I are going to Oprah (the female happiest place on to Nordstrom) and we are excited.  I am crossing my fingers it's someone famous or there is a free giveaway of some kind.  I will let you know.

Of course my kids still have NO IDEA we are going to Disney so shhhhh!  And because I am trying to pull off this massive secret they've both been invited to birthday parties I've had to call and lie about and Ben has a big project due the day after we get back!  Uh!  So we finished that tonight and it's going to school tomorrow.  Cross your fingers we can pull this off without anyone getting ill!!!  (or finding out our secret!)  Shhhh!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Don't you just love Saturdays?  Of course for me they are turning into days where there are so many things I want to do I can't make up my mind and end up starting a dozen different projects and finishing none.  Today, well, we will see.  Lauren called last night to see if she could "take the kids" today...what?   You think you have to ask?  Silly girl!  So I may have a couple of hours to myself...I'm thinking a bit of fall shopping?  We'll see.  

Last night the kids got to hang out with their buddy Gavin while the mommies went to make Stampin' Up cards.  FUN!!!  When I got home we put the kiddos to bed and started this crazy movie called "Little Children"  with Kate Winslet.  Really, not my favorite but one of those we just couldn't pull ourselves away from thus, the Dows were up until 12:30!!!  Uddy was having a heart attack!  He's so used to going to bed by 10 ( marriage changes you!)  So, he and Em are still sleeping (at 8:45am) and Ben and I are hanging in the family room, happy that it's Saturday!

By the way, if you are a scrapbooker, you need to visit Stacy Julian's site...she put up an Oct. 1 challange and it's easy and cool and I can't wait to get started.  Today is my day!  Check it out!  I always like to post a photo so here is the girl doing her homework.  Isn't she cute???

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy 39th Birthday Chris!

Happy Birthday my sweet, sweet husband.  I will post the official "Birthday Festivities" another post (what's appropriate to post...haha!)  But today, I would like to reflect on all the reasons I love you.  So  here it list of 39 reasons I love you...(ready?)
1.  You are cute
2.  You used to be very patient (you say I beat it out of you but I know it's still there somewhere)
3.  You're cute
4.  You are always willing to rearrange your schedule to help me when I need it.
5.  You're cute
6.  You listen to Radio Disney in the car with the kids.
7.  You're cute
8.  You walk with me an hour almost every weekday morning!
9.  You're cute
10.  You put me to bed almost every night.
11.  You're cute
12.  A good meal and a trip to Barnes and Noble is truly a good date night for u
13.  You're cute
14.  You gave me 2 beautiful children
15.  You're cute
16.   You never complain about all the bad meals I make
17.  You're cute
18.  You're fun to be with
19.  You're cute
20.  You encourage me to find time to scrapbook and do things I enjoy
21.  You're cute
22.  You watch House Hunters with me
23.  You're cute
24.  You take care of all the business type things in our house like registration stickers for our license plates and insurance cards
25.  You're cute
26.  You spoil me!
27.  You're cute
28.  You are a good sharer!
29.  You're cute
30.  You iron
31.  You're cute
32.  You always open doors for me
33.  You're cute
34.  You surprise me with coffee in the middle of the day
35.  You're cute
36.  You are ALWAYS willing to go for ice cream
37.  You're cute 
38.  You make me laugh

Love you!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Doing Very Well...Thank You

To all who were praying for my dad here is the update...he's doing very well, they were able to put 3...yes, 3 stints in his artiery (sp!) and he won't need bypass so that is WONDERFUL news.  He had the procedure today and just needs to stay in the hospital I will be packing up my photos that need albuming and books that need reading and heading to the hospital tonight to hang out with dad until morning.  That way Mom can get some rest so she can take good care of her patient tomorrow.

He will need another stint in sometime before Christmas but they will get a chance to have some sun time in Florida before that.  So thanks for the thoughts and prayers...they worked!  Have a great week and for all those scrapbookers, check out Ali Edwards week in the life challange...I think that is my mission next week???  We'll see!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pictures of Fairies!!!

Happy Wednesday!  This is a photo of Emily with her "Fairy Houses" she built in our backyard.   What a fun activity!  I read about it in Family Fun magazine and thought it would be fun to do with my girl so we went to grandmaPat's and papa Shel's and collected leaves, berries and twigs and brought them home to create our great fairy houses!   She loves running out each morning to see if the fairies have been there!  I love my imaginative girl and her creative mind!  Today it's mini heart shaped pb&j sammies and putting up some halloween decorations. 

The fabulous camera above is my NEW NEW NEW mini digital camera my sweet sweet hubby got me for and early b-day gift.  It's faster than my old mini digital and very easy to use for techno-challanged people like me!  Maybe now I will take some time and figure out how to post upright photos...well, we'll see about that!  Enjoy the beautiful day!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Organizational Tips

I have some great organizational tips for you today!!!  The top photo shows the hanging file container I keep in my kitchen by my phone.  I got the white hanging file folders and the blue and green file folders from the Container Store and they weren't too expensive!  I then used my label maker and gave Ben and Emily each a hanging file folder labeled with their names.  Each child gets a blue folder labeled "school" and a green folder labeled "Activities".  In each school folder I put their supply lists, any important notes or calendars to hang on to and sheets of labels with each kids' names and grade on it.  I print labels out before school starts and use them to label supplies, and I put labels on their water bottles each day (that way they aren't drinking out of water fountains and it's easy to tell to whom the water bottle belongs.  I also label hanging file folders with "Family" and "Receipts".  In the family folder I label file folders for "gift certificates", "menus", "coupons", and one with my name on it for my important papers.  I put any and all receipts in that hanging folder.  It makes returns very easy!!!  Anyway, I came up with this system when Ben started First Grade and I've been tweeking it every since.  I think it's finely tuned now and ready to share with others.  Remember, any good organizational system has to be easy and work for can't be something that is a chore to keep up.  (I am really directing this advice to my sweet and loving sisters!)  Happy organizing!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Be Grateful! (Darn it!)

These are photos of something that happened this past August.  For those of you who don't know Ben and Chris went with the Singletary boys to a  preseason Bears game.  They had a great time, and to show gratitude for the invitation, Chris drove (my car.)  A great time was had by all until the drive home.  That's when the above piece of steel from a construction truck came flying through my passenger's door of the mini van, missed Ben's head by inches, hit the back seat (about chest high) and landed in the booster seat Drake Singletary was SUPPOSE TO be sitting in.  We are talking brain matter flying or a collapsed lung and crushed chest.  God is alive and well and apparently has big plans for Ben and Drake.  Not to mention the amount of shattered glass that went everywhere (all over Ben) and didn't even leave a scratch on him!  I know full well who caught that piece of steel and I will be eternally grateful...(catch your breath here).  I will remember this gratitude each and every time my darling kiddos are fighting and I feel ready to tear my hair out.  (I will I will I will!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Charlotte is Here!

Look what I found today!  I was mowing the grass this afternoon (a tedious task after a weekend of rain) and I found the most beautiful spider web on my magnolia bush!  Later I went back to take a photo of it and this is what I found!  She's HUGE!!!!  I brought the kids outside to see her and they were in awe!  We also have at least 2 frogs and dozens of toads in our window wells.  I tried my best to get a photo but between the screens and the window well glass no photo would turn out.  (boo hoo)  So, we are a regular animal kingdom here in Shorewood!  Who needs a dog when we have exotic pets like spiders and amphibians!  

Tonight is soup and sandwich night at the Dow's.  It's Curriculum Night at school so we need to eat quickly and head over to Troy for some fun with the teachers.  Em is doing much better in kindergarten.  Her favorite part is "Homework!"  Can you believe it?  Monday's assignment was to write your phone number and practice it.  Well, she knows it with the area code so that was an easy assignment!  She's really cute when she gets off the short bus and tells me all the things she has done that day!

I did talk to the substitute coordinator last night and I will start subbing soon...if not next week then the following week.  And she said she could probably keep me busy every Monday and!    Well, it's time to start working on sandwich night...yummy!

Monday, September 15, 2008

WHAT DO YOU THINK???'s just a thought but I was wondering if you think people would pay me to organize their closets?  I really love to organize and wouldn't mind helping others get organized.  Do you think people would really pay me to do that?  What about $30 a closet?  (depending on the size of course!)  Do you know anyone who needs my help and would be willing to pay me to help them get organized?  Please post a comment or email me and let me know what you think!!!  (

Friday, September 12, 2008

OK...I'll Admit It...I Have an Addiction to Organization...

This post is dedicated to Debbie, my neighbor...all of my photos are sideways...just for you.  I won't admit that I don't know how to turn them the right way but I will tell you Debbie, that some day you are magically going to click on "Thoughts and Snipits" and see that Amy Dow has indeed learned how to fix her photos and then what fun will that be?

On to issues bigger than my lack of computer savviness (is that a word?)....Let's talk about my obsession to live in a completely organized environment.  Some thought that as my children gradually went back to school, I would find my self home, lonely, bored and wishing for a paying job.  Well, the paycheck would be nice (hey, Mr. Dow, how about some cash for your woman for all she does around here??)  but the truth is I have dreamed of this time for many years.  Not to say I am wishing away my children's childhoods and yes, sometimes I feel right at home in the mess, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE taking on an organizing project in my home and feeling the sweet victory of completion!  My great grandma Nelson had something when she said that she liked to iron because she could "see where I've been"... it must be in my blood! Really, that is the thrill of it!  Besides making space in my home, I also love the thrill I get when I complete a project!  This week I completed 2!!!  Can you believe it?  And above are photos of both.  

#1 Was the hall coat closet.  I started by making piles of everyone's coats and then the kids tried on each coat to see what could stay and what needed to be passed along.  Uddy managed to get rid of a few he's been holding strong on...I was ready to do a little dance when he gave up one.  He did however, keep the orange ski vest that hails from the 90's when we all tended to wear everything too big.  If you see him in it this winter please feel free to make a comment to help him see the light on that one!  Anyway, our intention had always been to do the Elfa system in that closet too but the $100 gift card we were going to use toward it this January was burning a hole in my Coach bag!  I mean come on, when you get a thrill organizing like me, to walk into the Container Store and not walk out with AT LEAST $100 worth of bins and organizing supplies is CRAZY!  So I got a sweater organizer from Target (under $10) and used it in the corner to hold the craft paper and supplies.  Now the kids can take out (and put back) their craft supplies when needed.  And I have more space on the top shelf for my camera bags.  But please know that some day this closet will be blessed with an Elfa system too.

OK...on to today's project...#2...I cleaned out the storage area in the basement this morning, and it was done by the time the short bus pulled in front of my home!  If it was an Olympic sport I would have been a contender for the Gold.   I condensed holiday decor, I vacuumed (Dad would be so proud) and tossed and filled the mini van with items to help keep the Goodwill in business for a good long time.  The photos tell it all, its just glorious to behold and I am beaming!  Now, I just need to get Uddy to clear his stuff out and we are golden!  We'll see, he likes to work on "Dow time".  

So, to all those doubters who thought I'd be bored being a stay at home mom...look out!  Because when I run out of spaces in my home...I am coming after yours!