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books!

The girls' school had a fundraiser at Barnes and Noble recently, where part of every purchase goes toward the school.. On a payday-friday. I was sooooo happy to go and show my "support". :)

The fundraiser lasted the whole night, but for 2 hours they had story-reading by the principal, teachers.......


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....and the student council (that's Arissa!).

She got to read a story of her choosing. She chose some Dr. Seuss book with lots of weird, wonky, non-word-words, and then had to read it upside down (or sideways) which made it kind of a challenge! But she did awesome and kept all the kids (including her sisters...and me!) entertained.




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So Simple

I bought two new "daily devotional" books, and I was so excited when they arrived in the mail but I was kind of bummed that they didn't have a ribbon to mark my place like my other similar books have.

Because with a year-long daily thing like that, January is cool but by the time you get to March or June or August you get real tired of flipping through the whole book to find the right day....everyday.



Then it hit me:



I'm "crafty", (so they say)!........I can make that!





So I got some coordinating ribbon, and my glue gun, and made myself my own page-marker.





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It was the simplest, quickest "craft" I've ever done in my life, yet it makes me so happy every morning when I go to read the "devotion" of the day and can flip right to it thanks to my "craftiness". :)

Mouthfull

Out to lunch.....enjoying all that Fuddruckers had to offer:




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Yep those are pickles Mariah is chowing down on. She LOVES pickles. She requests them in her lunch every single day.

Pickles.

For Christmas we made our own snow globes, using empty pickle jars....and guess who helped me "empty" them by eating 4 jars.


Pickles.





Couldn't even snap a quick picture of me & her without a mouthfull of them!:








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Taking Flight



We spent a recent Friday night at Mission Valley mall, and before we left I wanted to run over to Michael's "real quick" to just browse around.

Everyone moaned and complained and said they'd rather wait in the car.

Except Mallory who walked over there with me and sat quietly while I shopped.





So I got her a treat on our way out (45 minutes later). She chose a glittered paper butterfly, attached to a clip. It "flew" with us as we skipped back to the car (literally skipped. Well I skipped.... Mallory followed along behind me, embarrassed and pretending she and her butterfly didn't know who I was).






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Does anybody else...

....pose with every movie poster/display in sight when they go see a show?





Or is it just us.




Remember our trip to the movies on Thanksgiving night where we encountered Justin B?



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And the less famous, but very generous, Graham Warren?:




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And on our recent trip (to see the same movie as we saw on Thanksgiving, coincidentally):


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gifts

I got a super late start on making gifts for this past Christmas, so allll the cute ideas I'd compiled throughout the whole year had to be tossed and I had to frantically find something I could do in a shorter amount of time.

Which means most of the people I would have given hand-made stuff to, got store-bought stuff instead. Which I'm sure bothered me a lot more than it bothered them!

I did manage to make two little photo-gifts (my favorite kind):




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TFor my mother-in-law I made a quilted picture frame with a "vine" and leaves embroidered on it, with little beads here and there. The photo above was taken before I put a picture in it obviously, but I ended up using a black and white one of my mother-in-law with all the grandkids that I'd taken at Thanksgiving.
And then I tried to make an identical one for my Grandma. But in my frantic rush, I cut the fabric wrong so it wouldn't fit into a frame right. And also the fabric I used on it seemed too busy for any embroidery. So I left it plain & simple, and Jesse solved the problem of the frame by suggesting I put it in an embroidery hoop which miraculously fit and so that's what I did. With a little bit of lace (and a picture of us) added in too.


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I vowed to find something totally different to make next year, because I'm sure people are kind of tired of receiving stuff from me to hang on their walls. One or two things is sweet, but year after year it builds up and then their house becomes a shrine to me and my family. :) Luckily I have a whole year to figure out what to make and hopefully I can start early to get it all done right.






I spy...







The I-Spy bags that I make keep on amazing me.






It amazed me at first, that they were fun to anyone over the age of 4.

It amazed me when people were impressed by them and placed "orders" for me to make some.

And they amazed me again when my 3 girls said they wanted ones of their own.




So when the three of them weren't around (which isn't often, so it was tricky) I sewed up special ones for each of them.





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I tried to make theirs a little bit extra special. I put a bell on the ribbon, so they jingle.... I splurged on some extra cute little items to put inside..... and previously I had used letter beads to spell out the recipient's first name (which was probably the most challenging thing to find) and this time I added my girls' middle names as well.




A few of my favorite items to be found were:




the sandcastle:



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the Eiffel Tower:



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The little matryoshka:



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and the wee croissant:



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I love making these. I'm trying to figure out my cost/time/profit ratio to see if it would be worth it to make some to sell. But for now I'm happy to just make them for little ones that I know and love.



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The Only Kind of Clutter I Like

Is the kind I sometimes find around the house that makes me stop and smile, and want to capture it.



Like a sweet little note written from Arissa to one of her sisters.



Or Mariah's notebook that she left out which I rushed to put away until I saw she had been writing about Jesus and how she knows he's real.



Or the corner of the room which the girls made into a little clubhouse, complete with pillows and dolls and books.



Or these sweet little things that were spread all over the kitchen table one morning:







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I just thought it was so cute. Mallory had been sitting there at the table the night before, working really hard & filling up the pages in her little tiny (2in x 3in) notepad. The next morning I saw papers spread all over the place and went to pick them up and saw her little drawings.....and instead took pictures. And then I even left them there for awhile, just because they made me happy to look at.



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our NEW year

This year is the first time I can remember where the new calendar year really feels new and different. Usually, since the school year doesn't change, the new year mostly feels exactly like the last one. But even approaching 2011, I knew it would be very very different.

So there was much to be celebrated on this New Year's Eve.

And how'd we choose to celebrate it?.......









With sweet smiling faces:




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A drink (or two):









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And true, faithful friends:








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We made party hats:










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....and there was no getting away with not making mini ones for our new friends:








Who's ready to party??









This girl:




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The girls chose the patterened paper they wanted (which, coincidentally, was American Girl scrapbooking paper) for themselves and their doll, and applied all the sequins. They were so proud of their creations, and they looked very festive if you ask me:




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I couldn't decide if this picture looked better a) with use of the flash, with Mariah's fake smile (above) or b) without the flash, with Mariah's cheesy smile (below).....so I'm posting them both!



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It was such a nice night and so much better than the way we've spent some New Year's Eves in the past. In my opinion, celebrating a fresh start like we did this year---with people who are uplifting and constant and good--- sets the tone for the year ahead. And because of that, I'm optimistic it'll be a good one.



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Seeing rain clouds rolling in,

or waking up to the sound of rain when there wasn't a cloud in the sky the night before,

or hearing a forecast that calls for any chance of rain or clouds.....

makes me happy.


And seeing the clouds part and the sun come out makes me....

less than happy.





But a big giant rainbow across the whole view of the sky from downtown makes it kind of okay:










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And so....


A week long rain storm

+

my strep throat going away

+

my birthday

+

the start of winter break

=

reason to celebrate at somewhere yummy & fabulous like Lido's in Lemon Grove:






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"Howard Girls & The Men They Love"....

....it sounds like the title of an episode of Oprah or something.


It's not.


It does, however, sum up how me & the girls spent most of the frantic week before Christmas break.





I made 150 gingerbread men again this year....I don't know why last year it seemed so easy and this year it felt like I was making 15,000 of them.






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Last year I outlined them with frosting too....this year it was all I could do to get them baked.



Mariah could see my strength (and interest) was eventually beginning to fade so she took over the role of putting the men's m&m buttons on. At one point she accidentally put the buttons on one of the men's eyes by mistake, and then she and I laughed about that for a good 10 minutes. I'm pretty sure we were delirious. :)






It's a process: baking one day, frosting the next day, packaging the next day. It was also the week of my and my nana's birthday, and it was just hectic. But I got them done and the girls were happy to hand them out to their classmates.


Arissa was really worried that her friends (being big old 5th graders) might not appreciate the cookies. She said what if they don't want them? What if the boys are mean and break them? She felt sad for me and all the work I put into them. But I told her not to worry about me, that the mean boys can do whatever they want to the gingerbreadmen, the point is that she was handing out Christmas gifts to spread cheer and whatever happened to them after they left her hands is between the receiver and God.


Yeah, I got all dramatic like that. :)










Then another day I made some more men (cause I'm also crazy like that) and the girls decorated their own.










Mallory doesn't mess around, she's a highly focused, precision cookie decorator:






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Arissa thought she was slick but she didn't know that as I took a picture of her gingerbread man, I also caught her sucking some frosting out of the bag. Mm hm:



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