Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: A Post-Thanksgiving Edition

1. We are in full charge for the holidays now that our wonderfully relaxing Thanksgiving get-away is over. We alternate families at Thanksgiving and this year we spent it with my side at a cabin in Townsend, Tennessee. There was hiking, Uno, playing with cousins, and a lot of relaxing. I came back ready to hit the ground running for December which is a good thing.

2. This little guy is having the most fun with re-entry into regular life as he is having to adjust to not being held 24/7 by his grandma, aunt, 13-year old cousin, etc. See evidence below:

Exhibit A: Grandpa holding Ethan.

Exhibit B: Grandma holding Ethan.

Exhibit C: Uncle Boo holding Ethan and making him laugh. : )

3. The biggest girl got to go on a horseback trail ride and loved it! The little girls have already calculated that they will be old enough to go when we go back in two years and I'm just waiting for them to ask me how many days that will be. They were most envious.

4. In other current events, I had my gallbladder surgery the Friday before Thanksgiving and am SO glad to have that behind me. I won't go in to too many details on the old blog, but I was most uncomfortable for most of the weekend and Monday. I was so thankful that my sister took the 3 & 4 year old for the weekend and Travis and Noelle were home to tend to me and the baby for several days as I was on bedrest. By Wednesday I was on the upswing and thankful that I was feeling well enough to head out of town with my family.

5. My copy of Emily of Deep Valley did arrive yesterday. I am engrossed in it.

6. I am very thankful that we don't have a Trader Joe's near us. The kids and I made a trip there today and in one fell swoop we knocked out all our teacher gifts for the year (tutorial teacher for Noelle, Sunday School & Awana for all kids). However, all these other little goodies (holiday and not) fell in to my basket as well. A batch of peppermint coffee is brewing right now and I am looking forward to trying it as soon as I finish this post. : )

7. Pondering a year long project next year a la Project 365 like I did this year. I don't think I want to tackle an every-day-photo project again - I already take a ton of photos and have really been enjoying getting back to more traditional scrapbooking of late as I have found time. Thinking something along the lines of a simple gratitude album. Monika has a super cute and simple one on her blog that I love (scroll down this post to see it), but I may just go the route of a cute decorated notebook.

8. Also, courtesy of Monika and a free download, our family made a gratitude album while away on our Thanksgiving trip. I'll try to photograph and share soon. I love how it turned out!

9. December is big month here (for many reasons) but my best friend and I - who share a birthday coincidently, and who's birthday just happens to be New Year's Eve, and who both happen to be turning 40 this year - are working on a super fun family-friendly New Year's Eve birthday party. I'm starting to get a little excited! The invitations are done and in my hot little hands and I have some addressing to do! (No evites for me, thankyouverymuch!) I'm in serious list making mode for the event ... our husbands are throwing the party for us, but since invitations are kinda my thing, I went ahead and took care of it. : )

10. And, with that I've reach 10 and am off to have my cup of coffee and work on my lists. The little girls are watching Mickey's Christmas Carol and after they head to bed I have a date with Emily. It's a good evening.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Review: Emily of Deep Valley

I was so excited to be able to sign up for this blog tour and review one of the companion books to the Betsy-Tacy series - Emily of Deep Valley. However, my review copy of the book never arrived! I've been told a 2nd copy is on it's way to me so I'm hoping that when our Thanksgiving mail is all delivered today I'll have a new book to read. However, this is the week that the tour is posting so the official release information is below if you are interested in reading it.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Emily of Deep Valley
Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (October 12, 2010)
Mitali Perkins


A word from Mitali: Who In The World Is Mitali Perkins?

That's a good question. I've been trying to figure it out myself, spending most of my life crossing borders.

I was born Mitali Bose in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, and always tried to live up to my name—which means “friendly” in the Bangla language. I had to! Because my family moved so much, it was the only way I could make new friends.

By the time I was 11, I'd lived in Ghana, Cameroon, London, New York and Mexico before settling in California just in time for middle school. Yep, I was the new kid again, in seventh grade, the year everybody barely makes it through.

My biggest lifeline during those early years was story. Books were my rock, my stability, my safe place as I navigated the border between California suburbia and the Bengali culture of my traditional home.

After studying political science at Stanford and public policy at U.C. Berkeley, I taught in middle school, high school and college. When I began to write fiction, my protagonists were often—not surprisingly—strong female characters trying to bridge different cultures.

Mitali Perkins is the author of several books for young people, including SECRET KEEPER (Random House), MONSOON SUMMER (Random House), RICKSHAW GIRL (Charlesbridge), and the FIRST DAUGHTER books (Dutton).


Often cited as Maud Hart Lovelace’s (of Betsy-Tacy fame) best novel, Emily of Deep Valley is now back in print, with a new foreword by acclaimed young adult author Mitali Perkins and new archival material about the characters’ real lives.

Emily Webster, an orphan living with her grandfather, is not like the other girls her age in Deep Valley, Minnesota. The gulf between Emily and her classmates widens even more when they graduate from Deep Valley High School in 1912. Emily longs to go off to college with everyone else, but she can’t leave her grandfather. Emily resigns herself to facing a “lost winter,” but soon decides to stop feeling sorry for herself. And with a new program of study, a growing interest in the Syrian community, and a handsome new teacher at the high school to fill her days, Emily gains more than she ever dreamed...

In addition to her beloved Betsy-Tacy books, Maud Hart Lovelace wrote three more stories set in the fictional town of Deep Valley: Winona’s Pony Cart, Carney’s House Party and Emily of Deep Valley. Longtime fans and new readers alike will be delighted to find the Deep Valley books available again for the first time in many years.

If you would like to browse inside Emily of Deep Valley, go HERE.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Hanging around this weekend recovering from outpatient surgery yesterday. A little sleepy and a lot sore but I'm slowly on the mend.

Catch you all after Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010


Current Books: Have been rereading At Home in Mitford a page here and there as well as James Dobson's Bringing Up Girls.

Current Playlist: Have been in the mood for classical lately - Aaron Copeland's music is a favorite! The girls have been listening to a few songs from the musical Seussical which we recently saw at our local children's theater. It was excellent!
Current Shame: You know those tins of popcorn that they sell at Walmart every year at Christmas time ... I *love* them. Especially the caramel. : )

Current Color: chocolate brown and deep Christmas red

Current Drink: decaf iced tea and the occasional diet sprite

Current Food: nothing jumps out at me as something we're having a lot of lately. I did make these brown bag burritos the other night and they were soooo good. They will be a lunch staple for me over the next several days.

Current Favorite Favorite: Right now, I'm thinking January may be favorite month. A month off from all these dr. visits and procedures!

Current Wishlist: Um, just to name a few things I have my eye on ... the new Jan Karon/Mitford book, this bag, and some of this sticker/label paper. It's so fun to play with.

Current Needs: Nothing really, even though it's fun to make wishlists. Well, I could do with a bit more sleep.

Current Triumph: On most days, just getting done with what I need to is a triumph right now. : )

Current Bane of my Existence: The laundry. I really do like doing laundry, but I was just telling my husband last night that it seems to have quadrupled of late (and it's not just the baby's fault!)

Current Indulgence: Breaking out the Christmas movies a few days early.

Current Mood: Too many jumbled together to mention, but they are mostly good. : )

Current #1 Blessing: Truthfully, our insurance. We thankfully have very good insurance and even though bills are rolling in for me and the baby and we still have the gall bladder stuff to look foward to, it's not entirely overwhelming.

Current Slang or Saying: Shhhhhh....

Current Outfit: Jammy pants and an old t-shirt.

Current Excitement: Our trip next week to Gatlinburg with my family. Looking forward to our time in a cabin, looking at beautiful leaves, and relaxing.

Current Link: Love this little serve sign. It's on it's way to me as part of my Christmas ... now where to put in in my house is the question. I usually never buy little decorative kinds of things, but as we are house-hunting and talking about what features we want in a home and how we want to use it, this sign JUMPED out at me as something I want to display and be reminded of for a theme for our home.

Happy Friday. : )

Thursday, November 18, 2010

6 Weeks

6 weeks

You are six weeks old and the time is flying by! We are getting more and more smiles from you which we aLl LOVE! In the past week you have firmly settled into sleeping on your tummy at night and for most of your naps. I can usually count on at least one solid 4 (maybe 5) hour stretch in the evening, usually from about 8 until midnight or 1 a.m. It would be nice if it happened at the same time I was sleeping! We have been working with you on taking a bottle since Mama has to have her galbladder out and can’t nurse you for a day or so. You are doing okay with it if necessary, but your preference is definitely Mama. Next week is yor first road trip and family vacation for Thanksgiving. You aren’t the best carseat traveller at times, so hopefully you take a good long nap while we’re on the road. We can’t wait for the time away for lots of extra snuggles with you.

Layout details: Template was a freebie from The Daily Digi (The Missing Digi Files #13), papers from Crystal Wilkerson's Me and My Little Brother (also the van), Me and My Baby Brother, and the orange stitching is from her Halloween kit, I believe. The font (if I remember to use the same one as my other layouts) is CK Ladder.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I keep thinking I'll find a moment to post, but it's not happening ... a few pictures to fill in for me. : )

The little mermaid and her pet turkey ...

What my floor really looks like some days ... a lot of days.

Reading, reading, reading ... even if it's not in focus.

Our mystery/detective loving girl has discovered Clue. We've played a game every day since her Daddy brought the game home for her.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

5 Weeks

5 weeks

You can click the picture to see it bigger in Flickr.

     You are just over a month old! We are starting to see even more of your beautiful blue eyes as you are getting more alert with every day. You are the popular kid on Sunday afternoons when the whole family is over after church. We are going to have to start some sort of ticket system to keep track of whose turn it is to hold you. This past Sunday you had some extra special snuggle time with Grandpa and Dr. Lawson, one of Grandpa’s best friends.
    Today, you had your one month doctor appointment: you are 12 lbs., 5.5 oz. (95%) and 22.5 inches long (75%). I already knew that you had been growing because some of your 0-3 month outfits are already getting too small for you! You are such a great nighttime sleper, Ethan. By that, I don’t mean that you don’t get up to eat a couple times at night - you do; But you are great about going back down after eating and letting me get a little sleep. Now, our project is to work on getting you good and full during those nighttime feedings so you will sleep just a bit longer.
    I think Daddy said it best the other night when it feels like our family is complete with you here, Buddy Boy.

All elements by Crystal Wilkerson. I used elements from her Me and My Brother pack and I think some from one of her Christmas packs. (I'll try and be better about remembering what I'm using.) The template is from Cathy Zielske and from the same pack that I used last week for his 3 & 4 week layout.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Christmas Cards!

A few weeks ago I ordered some baby announcements from Shutterfly, and I was recently given the opportunity to blog about some of their Christmas cards. Since I was completely thrilled with the baby cards, of course, I said yes. : )

I'm going to be combining the baby announcements and Christmas cards in the same envelope so I mostly looked at their 4 x 8 size cards that they offer. (They also offer a flat card that can be either 5x5 or 5x7 and a fold-over card). We're hoping to get a good family picture over Thanksgiving so I specifically looked at the card options that had room for one good sized single picture. Some of my favorites are:

(Yes, I love that deep chocolate brown color and especially if it has that splash of deep red in it). : )

If I had to pick my Christmas card today, I would go with the middle design that says Merry Christmas and has the simple ornaments on it. In my opinion, you can't beat the quality of the cards that you get from Shutterfly. I have ordered photo cards from them and from Costco and while I love the convenience of Costco being down the street and the fact that I can pick up the cards in an hour or so, the cards from Shutterfly have a more finished and professional look to them. I.e., the foldover cards are on thick cardstock and have a great heavy weight to them as opposed to a more glossy photo card. And, another nice thing, if you want to get a jump start and send your cards out soon they have Thanksgiving cards ... or if you are a little late to the game, there are New Year's options as well. (I'm keeping those in mind with as busy as this fall has been for some reason!)

Thank you to Shutterfly for the opportunity to blog about their cards! In the way of disclosure, in return for this post, I will get 50 free Christmas cards. Thank you!

Friday, November 05, 2010

4 Weeks

4 Weeks

You can click to see bigger in Flickr.


4 weeks: you have been part of our family for almost a month now! We are starting to see a few first little smiles and I can’t wait to see more! Your umbilical cord fell off about 3 days ago - finally! - but I had gotten tired of waiting to give you a real bath and you had had your first little sponge bath the day before that. You smelled so good! You are eating great during the day time - we are going about 3 hours between feedings, and yesterday you had your first attempt with the bottle while Mama had some unpleasant dental work done. You ate enough to get by but definitely prefer Mama to feed you. We need to work on our nighttime feeding routine for sure. You and I are both so sleepy that one or the other falls asleep and then we get to do it all over again about 2 hours later. You are worth it even on no sleep, Buddy-Boy!

All elements by Crystal Wilkerson. Red paper from her Dino Romp in Red set and the brown paper and yellow ruled paper from her December Solids Paper Pack. The template is from Cathy Zielske and from the same pack that I used last week for his 3 week layout.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Guess What I'm Working On?

Also known as how you can tell this is baby #4. : ) The girls had sweet little handcrafted invitations that I put together. Some how I don't think the boy will mind that I got him these cool ones from Shutterfly. : )