Not Too Late to Sign Up

April 1st is soon arriving, and I'm trying to mentally prepare for the 21 days of praying for Christian.  If you're a mom of boys, it's not to late to sign up here.  The commitment is to pray for your son(s) 10 times each day!... I'm still trying to figure out specific times I can pray each day: as soon as I get up, breakfast, snack time, lunch, etc etc.  
I'll be giving an update each Friday during that time, and if you're a family member, I'd welcome your prayers for my little guy as well, that he would have a heart sensitive to God's leading (and his parent's instruction) and for his character in general.
Thanks everyone!


Crayon Wrap

I made a little project the other day for my niece's birthday.  I had wanted to make a crayon wrap (carrying case) for a long time, but never had a good enough reason.  But I thought it was a cute gift for a 5 year old girl (who will probably actually care enough to keep her crayons nicely organized, obviously not something Christian is ready for yet!).  It turned out to be pretty simple.

You could make a double layered one for up to 64 crayons like the one here.

Or an apron like this one. (cute to wear, but not very practical if you want to sit or lay down while you color).

I have seen these occasionally in the DIY blogging world, but I can't remember seeing a tutorial for one (although I'm sure there are probably dozens).  Would anyone be interested in a tutorial?


Home Contentment

When I read THIS ENTRY about being content with our homes for seasons so that we can focus on other things, like raising children, I was challenged.  She talks about your home being "good enough."  What if you had to stop changing it and DIY-ing, would you be content with the way it is?  The point is to realize that there are things (people) more important than how your home looks, and that at times, you just have to say "It's Good Enough!"
I've been living in the "good enough" stage for a few months, but confession: it's starting to bug me and I'm getting the itch to finish our family room.  I struggle a bit with the quote above, can I be content but want to make things better at the same time?  Can I be content with my home and want to make improvements also?  I think the answer is yes, but maybe it is more about your attitude towards your home and how much it consumes you.
Another reason it has to be "good enough" sometimes is because of the kid-factor.  That just throws all plans of perfection out the window.

And what do you think of this saying?
The Nester
Can you read it?  It says: "A perfectly kept house is the sign of a misspent life."
Mmmm hmmm.  Us Momma's like this one!

Anyway, just some good reminders for myself.  Hoping that you are feeling content with your blessed abode this week!


Project:Simplify Paper Clutter

This week's HOTSPOT was paper clutter.
I had three spots to clean up, my counter "mail" area, my desk, and some books that had been sitting on the floor for months.  BEFORE:

It didn't even take very long, but it makes everything feel so much better.  I confess, I didn't do the in-depth purge the website was suggesting, but I did what was necessary to have a fresh start.  I even snagged a basket out of the girls' room to put unread magazines in.
Anyone else do some paper purging recently?  Visit Simple Mom to see their results.  It does feel so good to get extra papers out of the house!
Have a great weekend!


Reader Update: Early Mornings

I had the realization today that I have been posting "Reader Opinions" for your insights and suggestions in areas of my life....AND I have never let you know what I ended up deciding.
So we'll start at the beginning and work through the previous Reader Opinion Posts.

My first inquiry was about how to get my kids to sleep in later in the mornings.  You gave great ideas about possibly taking away a nap, pushing bedtime a little later, etc.
To tell you the truth, I don't really remember what happened to get them sleeping later.  But as of the time change this past weekend, I really like the way our schedule falls.  They wake up at 7:30 or 8 with the current time.  (Of course last week, this would have been 6:30 or 7.  Strange).
Christian goes to the bathroom by himself then comes into our room for help getting his shorts back on.  He is then told to go back to his room until his music alarm comes on, at which point he can go downstairs and turn the tv on (we have it set to PBS).  I then bring the girls down about 15 minutes later and the day begins!

Thanks for your opinions!


Reader Opinion: Mexican Shirt

See this beauty?  Ha--- or maybe you don't think so?  
I got it when Simon and I were in Tijuana a few years ago and I've worn it maybe 2 times (a realization I had to face after cleaning out my closet a few days ago).  I love the embroidery on the sleeves and edges, but I'm not such a fan of the giant flowers that land on my stomach.  I also really like the general "peasanty" look and style.  
Here's the back (I've been tempted to wear it backwards with a button up sweater to hide the flowers on my back).

But since I don't wear it much, I was trying to think of another use for it.  Any ideas?  
Or maybe you think I should just wear it more often?  I have several ideas in my head, but want to see what the reader's opinions are.  
Surprise me!


Project:Simplify Closet Complete

We have been quite blessed to have enormous closets in each of our 3 bedrooms, including two separate walk-ins in the master bedroom.  I have my very own closet that is bigger than most bathrooms.  Crazy!  For the first time ever, I don't have to swap out clothes for changing seasons.  
I took the challenge(from Simple Mom's Project Simplify) to declutter my closet, but realized that I do wear most of my clothes.  I guess that is what happens when you move three times in a year... you get rid of the unneeded items.  But I did find a few things to clear out.  
This also means that my before and after pictures aren't extremely different.  Before:

And after: shirts:
Pants, skirts, dresses, etc.
(see, not that different)
The biggest change is that I hung my belts and jewelry (along with a mirror so I can decide which one I want to wear):
I used Simon's old tie rack for my jewelry: wonderful---highly recommend!
And you can see the reflection in the mirror of my belts, hung on one of those kitchen utensil holders (at least I think thats what it is?)... 

There we go.  A nice little box of things to clear out:

I am looking forward to the next "hotspot!"  Anyone else clear out their closet?


Talking in Circles

I recently discovered something new to me: Almond Butter.  Basically, peanut butter made with almonds instead of peanuts.  I had a recipe for granola bars that called for it, so I bought it.  I was too impatient to wait for it to go on sale, so don't gag on your coffee when I tell you it cost me ten bucks.  Yikes!  I could have gotten one for $4-5, but it didn't have the dark flecks, and the flecks mean that it was made with the skins on, which adds extra flavor and antioxidants (whatever that means).  So I went for the good (and organic) stuff.  Apparently you can also get cashew and hazelnut butters.  Intriguing!  Anyway, I really like it!  And when I read the ingredients, my jaw dropped:

Seriously?  Almonds.  And that's it.  Crazy.  I really like it with cranberries on toast...
Have I talked about Christian in a while?  He's my buddy.  He thinks old-school headphones are the bomb... 
He is to the age now that he can handle doing small art projects with me, like watercolor painting or using small kid scissors to cut a paper into a million pieces (this gives me a good 10 minutes to get something done!).  He's also been dying to get outside...

Don't laugh at his boots: he thinks they're awesome (and so will his sisters!).  Christian appeared ready for the outdoors yesterday (including keys in his pocket to drive) so I let him go out while I gave the girls lunch (with a watchful eye of course).  But he wandered too far after being warned to come closer, so I had to go retrieve him.  He informed me that he couldn't find the creek.  The CREEK!  Umm no, it's a RIVER and it is a 7 minute walk through the woods behind our house.  I took him there one time in the fall: and he remembers.  I promptly told him that there are big animals in the trees that might bite him if he goes in without mommy or daddy.  No more outside time that day, but he did have fun jumping in some puddles...
 A few weeks ago, it was warm enough to go out in shorts, but there was still snow on the ground...
Can you tell that this kid has a ton of personality?  He's so much like Simon it's rediculous.

Selah and Jadah really like going up the steps. I only allow them the chance when it is time to go upstairs.  Selah usually wins.
I also noticed the other day that they both had their ankles crossed while they were in their highchairs.  Christian did this all the time when he was little... I love it!

Simon's been busy at work but is doing a terrific job sticking it out in this tough season.  He was sweet on my birthday and sent me flowers and a card with coupons for a "night-off" for me, dinner out, and a trip to Hobby Lobby to get whatever I need to redo our family room.  Lovely!  He's been excellent about spending time with us when he can and helping me with the kids. 

I am also so thankful for my friend Trudy.  We just sorta hit it off and have had some fun playdates with our kids.  But she was so sweet to take me out to dinner to celebrate my birthday!  I don't know the last time I went on a girl-date?!?!...definitely years ago.  We went to a German place to eat: wow so good!  She also made me cake and homemade ice cream.  Look who feels super special now!?  Me me me!  Splendid, I couldn't ask for a better friend, she's an answer to prayer (and for more reasons than her cake and ice cream)!  Also, she keeps a cute little blog! (or you can go to her old blog to read about her and her husband living in Scotland for the past few years!  How cool would it be to live abroad for a while!?)

I was eating more of her cake a few minutes ago (it has chocolate icing), and I had the brilliant idea to spread some almond butter on top.  Delicious!... I wonder how it would taste in other recipes that call for peanut butter?
Well, we're back at almond butter.  What'd I tell ya?  Full circle!

Come back tomorrow to see how my closet-decluttering-event went down!


Project: Simplify

See my new little "button" on the side of my blog?  

Simple Mom is hosting a five week decluttering "event" and I figured, what'll it hurt?
So I'm in on it too.
This week's goal is your closet.  Find full details at this week's HOTSPOT!

So what do you think?  Are you up for the challenge too?  Let me know if you decide to weed through your own closet!  I'll plan to post my own pictures this weekend. 

Until then, enjoy a picture of Christian's self-made drum set (I was so proud of him!)(and be glad you can look at it without hearing the accompanying racket ---thank you Michael Pattengale):


Twins are One!

I just finished putting the girlsies (that's what we call them sometimes) in bed.  What little dears.  After they drink their bottles, they crawl around for a while while I tidy up their room and get their pj's ready.  Tonight Selah pulled one of their blankets out of their cribs and cuddled up with it on the floor.  Jadah wanted in on the action and followed suit.  So Selah squealed and crawled away, Jadah followed, laughing.  And then it was a mess of giggles, squeals, and more laughing for the next few minutes.  I sat there watching, laughing too.  I thought about where we were a year ago.  And then out of the blue, I pulled a classic move.  I started crying.  Yep, sappy.  I am just.so.glad to be done with that first year.  I know that each year will have challenges all their own, but from talking to other moms of twins, they say their first year was the hardest.  Am I qualified to cast my vote yet?  So far, I'd agree.
And of course I have to post pictures to remind us how far we've come...
 And now...
Can you tell who's who?  Selah has more hair (always has).  I am still looking forward to when they both have hair long enough to do something with.
I've also taken monthly pictures.  I started a little late, so all the pictures are taken at the half month.  I intended to take each one in their crib with a paper saying what month it was.  I didn't quite meet my goal, but close enough.  I think you can click on it to see it bigger.  (look how HUGE that bear looks the first time... and then how much smaller near the end!). 
Love these girls. 

While I was looking through pictures, I got a glimpse of what I was looking like a year ago too.  (this isn't a great picture, but it was 2 days before they were born, and it has good contrast with the wall).
OOOO.  Okay.  Now I understand why my tummy looks the way it does now. 

Speaking of yucky tummies.  Last summer, Simon and I started the Insanity workout.  It is similar to P90X, but a different plan and only 60 days, you've probably seen an info-mercial about it!  We got through the first month and then realized we were moving, so packing took priority over exercising.  Looking back now, finishing one month made a HUGE difference in how I felt AND looked. 
However, ever since moving, Simon and I have both found it very hard to work out, and I am especially inactive staying home with the kids.  It doesn't help that our eating habits have been slightly worse too (now that we are in the chip-making region of the country).  We've tried to start a routine several times, but they only last a week before we find ourselves eating yes, chips, while watching tv instead of working out.  Ugh.  So this week we are starting again: and I am writing it here in hopes that it will keep me accountable to the blogosphere....aka you, reader. 

Why am I talking about myself in this birthday post?  C'mon Rach.

My darling girls: I LOVE 'EM SO MUCH!  And I am excited for what the next year holds.  I am so glad God blessed us with both of them.  And I still can't believe we have twins.  How does that even happen!?  UHHHHH-mazing. 
Happy Birthday, Selah and Jadah!
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