Do you want to build a snowman?

Kinsley is in love with the movie “Frozen.”  Like love, love.  She wants to sing the songs from the movies all the time and just about flipped out when a little girl brought an Elyse doll into her class at church.  One of the songs from the movie is called “Do you want to build a snowman?” She has been singing it all week (okay, more like all month), so she was super excited that she really had some snow this morning to build an actual snowman (or try to until she discovered the snow was too fine for building)!!

We had been reading Facebook statuses all week from friends and family who live in Georgetown (coastal SC) where I grew up as they were so excited they were going to get snow.  At that point, it looked like they would get 5 to 6 inches and we would barely get 1.  But, as the week wore on, the forecast kept changing and they were soon predicting 1 to 3 inches for us.  I was really, really skeptical as everyone freaked out, bought up the milk and bread, and the world around us shut down, because this same thing happened last week and we only got flurries that never stuck to the ground.

Much to my surprise, we got 3.25″.  The girls could not wait to get outside and enjoy the snow, so after what seemed like an hour bundling everyone up, we headed out to enjoy it.  Kinsley had a blast with our neighbors making snow angels, throwing snowballs, attempting a snowman, and sledding down the hill in our neighbor’s yard (she LOVED sledding…like couldn’t keep her off it…she even found our neighbor’s creek in the sled).  Emerson was excited to see the snow and was amazed at first, but as it hindered her walking and all the clothing left her unable to move, she didn’t last long before she wanted to be held nonstop.  As much as I love looking at the snow, I don’t like being in it (beach girl at heart) so I am grateful for a husband who could spend hours out there.  He also doesn’t mind playing outside, coming in, shedding all those layers, then getting himself and Kinsley layered again just a little while later, and going after it again.

We also attempted to make snow cream for the first time after being asked many, many times if we had done by neighbors and friends.  Is this a Southern thing because we nor our friends ever did this in Kentucky?  Maybe it was because snow was not a uncommon occurrence in Kentucky, roads were taken care of, and life didn’t shut down.  Either way, we appreciated the down time, playing with friends and family, and thanking God for a break to refresh and enjoy each other while enjoying the beauty of all he has created (seriously, snow always reminds me of God’s beauty and how he washed us “white as snow” as believers in Christ).

DIY Update

Its getting close to the end of the month which means a DIY Update.  Let me put a disclaimer out there – if you aren’t crafty, or don’t enjoy cooking or trying new recipes, or if you don’t have time for any of that – ITS OKAY!!  Seriously, this isn’t to make anyone feel guilt or less superior…its just to show you what I have been up to each month.  While I don’t consider myself creative (all my inspiration comes from others!), I do enjoy crafting and it helps me to unwind to have a project in the works – crazy I know.  And putting updates up here keeps me accountable.  So, sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy!

Part of my Christmas presents from my in-laws were matted picture frames.  I have been eyeing the wall besides our stairs for a while now and sensing that it needed something.  So, when I saw great inspiration on a picture wall via Pinterest, I knew thats what I wanted.  I love the wall (and especially the canvases which turned out amazing!) and the girls love to stop as we are climbing up/down the stairs to point and relive the moments.  I am going to add an H on the left hand side, but I have to paint it and it has to be warm to do that, and as a lot of you know, it has been anything but warm in NC.

I also saw this great idea on Pinterest for storing flip flops and being that we are always looking for more shoe space, I knew it would be a great project.  My handy dandy, strong husband formed the hangers for me to complete this.  Another great turn-out.

This project has to be one of my favorites.  Another Christmas gift was the Silhouette Cameo.  As a scrapbooker, I have been eyeing the Cricut forever now but didn’t know that I wanted to take the plunge, pay that much for it, and then have to keep buying cartridges for whatever I was going to do.  So, when I heard about the Silhouette and got an awesome deal on it as Christmas, I was sold.  It does the same thing as the Cricut, plus WAY more, and you don’t use cartridges.  I can do vinyl projects, scrapbooking, heat transfer (make shirts with any design I want), chalkboard vinyl, car decals, and so on and so on.

When I got it, I was a bit intimidated but thanks to some encouragement and advice from some friends who have one, I dove in.  My first two “test” projects didn’t go well.  But, this canvas, which I have also been eyeing for a while now and knew the perfect spot for it in my kitchen, turned out great.  Once I learned how to use the machine, I can say it is phenomenal!  I am excited to do way more projects and even experiment more with canvas like this and words going different ways, etc.

My last project I accomplished was this car garbage bag.  I knew that I wanted something cute like this for my car, and since I had the sewing machine out to trim some curtains, I decided to dive in and accomplish it.  It turned out nice, but next time, I will measure as I made the handle way too long and the bag itself is a little long.

I did a lot this month and am planning on slowing down on the projects for a little while (the cash flow is lacking a little for them if you know what I mean!).  And, I used some of the time while Ed was out of town for summer project director’s training to accomplish them and then Ed helped me complete quite a few (he is great at spraying paint and hanging frames 🙂 ).

I also tried two new recipes this month:

Cinnamon Roll Casserole – took this to our staff meeting and everyone enjoyed it.  To me, it was a little dry, so not sure about that.  I don’t know that its on my “have to make this again” list.  Forget to take a picture of this!

Crescent Chicken Pockets – Crystal from Money Saving Mom recommended this as a staple in her family and as most of her recipes have been good, I wanted to try it.  The verdict?  Not a hit in our family.  It was okay, and while Emerson loved it (lets be real, she loves anything), everyone else thought it was just okay.  Not making this again.

I wish I had some fun pictures of the girls to share but I have been horrible about taking pictures of them.  Going to try and do better at that the end of January and here on out.  We have been busy with starting back to school (college and preschool at home) and getting into a grove again.  So nice having a schedule with kids!  Excited to share next time more about what is happening in ministry, in our lives, and in the girls’ lives!

Four About Me

My sweet friend Kristin has a fabulous blog and back in December, she made this post “Four About Me”.  As I was thinking about what I wanted to write today, a few things came to mind.  But as I was thinking about whether you really wanted to hear about the recent crazy incident of how Emerson pooped all over my house, I thought about her post.  So, to spare you that other story, I will write about me (I don’t like talking about myself but your options were poop or hearing about me…which would you choose?).

Four jobs I have had in my life:
– server at a Greek restaurant
– hostess at Cracker Barrel
– teller at a bank
– staff accountant

(Favorite by far was a staff accountant.  Miss the numbers.)

Four movies I have watched more than once:
– Pride and Prejudice
– Taken
– Narnia
– 27 Dresses

Four places I have lived:
– Georgetown, SC
– Spartanburg, SC
– Lexington, KY
– Raleigh, NC

Four TV shows I watch:
– The Today Show
– Blue Bloods (we love this one!)
– Criminal Minds (another favorite)
– Teen Mom (don’t judge)

Four places I have been:
– Russia
– California (all over, though San Fran is one of my favorites)
– Munich, Germany
– Caribbean (have cruised all over in the Caribbean and love it!)

Four favorite foods:
– ice cream with sprinkles
– pasta with cheese melted and mixed in
– fried pickles
– my dad’s pileau or any of his food

(This was the hardest question to answer!)

Four places I’d rather be right now:
– on the beach with a good book (in the Caribbean would be nice but I will take any beach)
– socializing with good, life giving friends
– sleeping
– spending time with Ed and the girls

Four things I am looking forward to in the coming year:
– spending summer in NYC
– seeing the Lord change lives on campuses and in NYC
– spending time with family (love a family wedding)
– losing weight (working on that one!)

Four places I love to shop:
– Target
– Gymboree (when they have good sales! – not a snob, just love their cute, cute clothes)
– Any home store like Bed Bath and Beyond or HomeGoods
– Amazon

Well, hope you learned a little about me…I love reading these kinds of things, so hopefully, you do too!

A Big Leap….

Every year from December 27 to January 1 we travel to Greensboro for our Encounter winter conference with 1200+ students and staff from the Midsouth Region (NC, SC, Marshall, KY, TN).  You can read more of an update about how the Lord moved at this conference and the exciting turnout we had here. Here is a photo of our amazing group of students who came from Eastern NC.

We love this conference and so do our kids.  Kinsley has been asking for weeks when we were going to the hotel with the students (you know you are a missionary and travel A LOT when your kid asks that).  But I will get honest a little with something I didn’t share in our newsletter.  Our kids slept HORRIBLY.  Like haven’t had it that been since Emerson was a newborn.  Like wanted to pull my hair out.  Like wanted to throw my baby out the window (would never do that for the record but most moms can sympathize with being in that place).

To spare all the “this is why I think they did so bad” lines and long stories, lets just say that out of 5 nights at a conference, 3 of those nights I slept for 3.5 or less hours (not exaggerating in the least).

So what did I do?  1.  Get coffee.  2.  Get more coffee.  3.  Drank coffee for Ed since he doesn’t like it.  4.  Acted very sinfully (I had to spend major time confessing and repenting how I responded and acted toward both of my children, my husband, and the Lord!)  5.  Came home and slept.  6.  Moved the girls rooms together knowing it may lead to more sleep deprivation.

Crazy huh?  On the way home or maybe it was the next day (it all runs together when you are sleep deprived and your system runs out of caffeine), we were talking about why we think they did so bad, what we can do to make it different next time, why we responded as we did (hence the confessing and repenting above), etc.  Then, I told Ed what one of my sweet dear-to-my-heart friends said to me at the conference as I was whining to her about how bad it had been.  She said “The best thing I ever did was to put my kids together at definitely helped in situations like this.”  Granted, the girls being together and in the same room with us wasn’t the main issue at Encounter.  Nor was it a big issue when we were in Colorado this summer and they shared a room.  But, we are very aware that this summer they will be together in a room for 4 weeks in NYC and that it would make life easier.  Plus, it is something we always said we would probably do when Emerson turned 1.

So, we come back from Encounter, catch up on sleep (is there really such a thing?), and start rearranging furniture and putting their rooms together.  We knew schools were beginning the next week so it was now or never.  And, with Ed leaving on a business/training/planning trip very soon, I had a little while with him there to get them adjusted.  They still nap separately, but sleep together at night.  Maybe, just maybe, with them sleeping together, it will make this summer MUCH easier.

Overall, they have done well.  A few hiccups with figuring out how to make the older one be quiet when she is settling down at night and the younger one is sleeping.  And how to sneak out in the morning without waking the younger one up (suggestions are welcome on this one).  Though, I will have to credit the “OK to Wake” clock we got from Amazon for Kinsley for Christmas with being a lifesaver.  You set it for a certain time and it turns green when it reaches that time telling them it is okay to get up and out of bed.  We used to tell Kinsley she could get up when the sun is up but when Daylight Savings hit, we were screwed.  I was skeptical, but every day since Christmas, she doesn’t come out before it goes off (sometimes it is on the dot but never before).  Actually, the first few days, she brought the clock with her to show us it was green.  We finally assured her that we didn’t need to see the clock and she could leave it.

Without further ado, here is a picture of their work-in-progress combined bedroom (and no judgement on my decorating…it is a work-in-progress)!

12 Months to a Healthier You Challenge!

If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I love reading the Money Saving Mom website.  She has great recipes, smart tips for saving money, and encourages her readers to challenge themselves to grow in new ways, whether it be financially, spiritually, emotionally, etc.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  This quote has been one that I have loved and lived by for a long time.  I love that Cru makes us create personal development plans every 6 months which challenge us to grow in our walk with the Lord, in ministry, in our personal life, in our marriages, with our children, etc.  But, most people never plan and challenge themselves to grow in a systematic and purposeful way.  When I saw that Crystal from Money Saving Mom plans goals for her life and constantly challenges her readers to do the same, I loved it!

This month, Crystal is starting a year long challenge called 12 Months to a Healthier You.  As I am committed to making self-discipline more of a priority this year – from watching what and how much I eat, to exercising, to being more disciplined in going to bed and rising early, to growing in how I respond to my children (no yelling!), etc. – I thought this would be a great challenge to join her in.  So what do you do when you want to be accountable to finish something well?  Write it on your blog, of course!!

Here are the focus areas Crystal planned out each month:

January: Exercise Regularly
February: Eat More Fresh Fruits & Veggies
March: Drink More Water
April: Cut Back on Sugar
May: Get More Rest
June: Create a Morning Routine
July: Read More
August: Go to Bed Earlier
September: Declutter Your Home
October: Cut Back on Caffeine
November: Keep a Gratitude Journal
December: Simplify & Say No

At the beginning of the month, she’ll introduce the focus area and encourage you to set a small goal for that specific area and she’ll share her goals.  Then, every Friday, she’ll have a check-in post where she’ll encourage you to share your progress & struggles and she’ll share hers, as well. If you want to blog about your progress, she’ll include a link-up at the end of the post so you can share your blog posts on this challenge.

I realistically don’t think I will be blogging about it every week, but every month, I will try to update you on my progress.

So for this month, I am committing to exercise regularly by exercising at least 5 times a week.  I am going to try to be better about doing weight lifting, and not just cardio, and rotating classes so I don’t get bored.

Do you want to join me on this challenge??!!??