Hey, It's Jade! and family

Thursday, December 30, 2010

On This Day in Christian History by Robert J. Morgan

The full title is On This Day in Christian History: 365 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs, and Heroes, which pretty much gives you all you need to know about what this work entails.  This book offers a year's worth of daily readings about various historical times, ranging nearly 2,000 years, including inspirational tales of believers standing strong and overcoming, heart-wrenching stories of the abuse Christians have been through while fighting for their beliefs, humorous anecdotes of current Christian history and interesting narratives of Christ followers, some well known, some simply unheard of.  

Each day's reading holds a new reason to be thankful to those who have gone before us and helped us be able to live out our faith as we do.  After each story, there is also a relevant scripture listed to help solidify the message.  This book is full of interesting history you most likely never learned in school, or church for that matter.  And for those that don't consider themselves history buffs, the readings are very short, easy to digest and offer a great way to look deeper into your faith and why you believe the way you do.  On This Day in Christian History would make a neat way to invest a little time in God's Word and church history in 2011!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I review for BookSneeze

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Not Crying Over Spilled Milk...

Our milk wasn't spilled... it was frozen.  Since I got the new freezer, I've been buying a couple of gallons of milk at a time (Aldi 99cents!) and freezing the ones I'm not using.  That way I'll have milk at all times, and not have a need to run to the store for more should we suddenly run out.  I read the tips and trick on how to freeze milk in the jug, but it's not really working out.  The jugs break even when I leave plenty of room for expansion, or it takes FOREVER to defrost a rock-solid frozen jug of milk.  A few days ago I pulled a frozen jug out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw because we were coming down to the last bit in the jug we were using.  Well, last nite it was still frozen pretty solid when I needed it.  I picked it up out of the fridge and noticed that some of it had thawed, and the plastic had split... so the thawed milk had seeped out.  I wanted to try to save the milk and move into a different container to thaw, but that ended up being a lot more trouble that I thought.  Michael took over and well...it was more trouble than he thought too...

Getting the rock of milk out of the jug was difficult
Getting the rock of milk into the new container was difficult
Well, close enough - it's still milk, right?
I think I'm gonna call it quits on the freezing milk thing.  I just hope Aldi keeps selling it for 99cents!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Poptarts Have Been Found!

Ok, so at some point in October I heard that there were Pumpkin Pie Poptarts on the market.  I'm sure if you read any of my Fall posts, you know how much I love me some pumpkin!  And we, of course, love Poptarts around here as well.  I went in search of these sure-to-be-amazing treats... and to my disappointment, they were no where to be found!  Every time I entered a store that carried Poptarts, I would check to see if they had them.  I did this all through October, November and December... I searched all over DFW, all different kinds of stores, all the various sections they could possibly be in.  Once Christmas came, I pretty much gave up hope of ever finding them.  

But, this evening...we went to Cici's for dinner, then went next door to Kroger to pick up a few things (and to walk off our pizza a little).  I wasn't even planning to check the Poptart section... likes I said, I pretty much gave up.  But we were walking down that aisle and I happen to glance over, and lo and behold, there sat one lone box of Pumpkin Pie Poptarts.  I think I shrieked, 'cause I startled Michael and the kids.  I raced over and snatched the box.  Is it real?  Are you serious?  I FOUND THEM!!!!!  Preston was excited too, because he had been on the mad Pumpkin Pie Poptart quest with me all this time and he been disappointed we couldn't find them as well.  The bottom of the box was taped shut, but I figured the packages inside were probably fine since it was back out on the shelf.  Plus, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to the try them even if some were missing or whatever.

So here it is... my beautiful box of Pumpkin Pie Poptarts:

And here they are, perfectly toasted:

Let me tell you, they DO taste like Pumpkin Pie.  They are delicious!  I wouldn't pay the $12 on Amazon or even the $6 plus shipping from the Poptarts website... but $2.99... most definitely.  Yum!!!  My quest is now complete... the Great Pumpkin Pie Poptart Search of 2010 is over.  Victory!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Study Wrap Up...

We got really busy the last few weeks before Christmas, and Preston had to take a few sick days thanks to Strep Throat, but we still got in some fun Christmas lessons.  

Jesse Tree and Stable
We discussed Advent, created a Jesse Tree and did a daily reading that went along with that (which we found here).  Preston thought it was neat to put on the ornament each day, but the reading was a bit over his head.We put a stable up on the wall, and each week as we got closer to Christmas we added a manger, then Joseph, then Mary and finally Baby Jesus.  Preston wanted to do it in his Bible Notebook too...

He drew Joseph, Mary & Jesus, heehee.

We did a 16-day Christmas Symbols Lapbook, discussing many traditions and sights we find around this time of year.  I thought I came up with this idea pretty much on my own, however just as I was finishing up hunting down all the images and details to use (which took me over an hour), my RSS feed popped up a blog post offering a ready-made, adorably designed Christmas Symbol Lapbook.  Sigh.  Oh well, we mostly used the things I found, but borrowed a bit from the ready-made one as well.  It came out really good, and Preston enjoyed making it.

We also did a bunch of other fun Christmas and Winter activities, including a Nativity Story Timeline,  learning Christmas songs, making snowmen, and angels with hand wings (wings made from Preston and Callen's hands - what a sweet keepsake!)...

There were so many great Christmas ideas out there, I had a hard time narrowing it down.  But, I have to pace myself... we get to do more next year!  Haha!  We are taking this week off (between Christmas and New Years) since Michael is on vacation.  I've gotta get to planning next "semester!"  Woo hoo!

Oh, and I found out a few days ago that the homeschool group I joined in August was suddenly shut down.  I'm pretty sad about it, because I was looking forward to getting to know this group of families here in my town... getting to take part in the co-op classes and having the advice and knowledge of all of the experienced homeschoolers around for support.  It's pretty disappointing knowing that the action of just a few people can bring down a nice group like the one I was part of, ruining it for everyone.  I briefly looked at some other area homeschool groups, and I may try to find out more about a few of them to see if I want to join.  I dunno though.  I'm totally bummed about this.  =(

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010 in pictures...

Christmas Eve...
Baby's 1st Christmas Eve!
Just Dance Kids!

Christmas morning...
Ready for Christmas morning!
Santa's bags!

Christmas Day...
Sweet baby!
A rocket!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

If you're happy and you know it...


For as long as I can remember, presumably since before I was born, our Christmas traditions were pretty much set in stone:  Christmas Eve was spent with my mom's side of the family.  We would congregate at someone's house, usually my parents', gorge ourselves on delicious food, play silly White Elephant-type games, open presents and just enjoy being together.  On Christmas Morning, my Mom, Dad, and I would exchange our gifts (or we did the Santa thing when I was little), then head over to my dad's side of the family's festivities.  When I married Michael we did the Christmas Eve thing with my mom's side of the family, did our own Christmas morning, then headed over to his parents' house for the rest of Christmas Day.  Once Michael started the nite shift, we had to post-pone Christmas morning till Christmas afternoon (which was difficult with a kid who really wanted his Santa present when he woke up!), but we still did Christmas Eve with my mom's side of the family.

This year, Michael is on daytime again (praise the Lord!) and we can do Christmas MORNING again, hooray!  Plus, there's another kid around now... it's Callen's first Christmas!  However, Christmas Eve plans are a bit of whack.  My Grandma Linda passed away in September... and we are all still trying to work through that.  Michael and I offered to host Christmas Eve at our house this year, but most of the family has really not even wanted to acknowledge Christmas... it's difficult knowing that Grandma wouldn't be with us.  And now with Christmas just days away, it appears everyone just wants to do their own thing this year.  My uncle and his family were going to come, but since Michael and Preston were diagnosed with Strep throat on Tuesday, they decided better safe than sorry.  I can understand that.  My parents are coming over to our house for Christmas Eve... we'll have dinner, go to our church's service and then come back for treats and presents.  It seems really weird to be making such plans... plans that don't include that whole side of the family, because that's all I've known... for 30 years!  But, new traditions are good too.  It's a part of life to be open to change... some for the better, some not so pleasant, some completely out of our control.

So, we'll see how things go with our new tradition this Christmas.  Either way, we are blessed to have the precious family and friends that we have, and for the true reason for Christmas in the first place - Happy birthday, Jesus!

Christmas Decor 2010...

Here's a little look around our place, decked out for Christmas!

Mantle and stockings
Made in China, the 'E' is upside down!
Our tree - the one we chopped down!
Love our angel!
Baby's First Christmas!
Snoopy ornament.
Preston's ornament from Gma Jill.
Callen's ornament from Gma Jill.
And, the outside...

Michael did a nice job making the outside look nice!
What can I say? We love Snoopy!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dear Santa...

... all I want is a well family for Christmas.  Please and thank you?

Preston woke up on Monday morning with a fever.  It was controlled most of the day, and he wasn't acting like he was sick or anything.  Then, around 4pm, I checked his temperature 'cause it had been just over four hours since he last had a dose of Tylenol.  His temperature was right around 104degrees!  Whoa, mama!  Into the bath he went to get his temperature down quickly.  Calls were made to the pediatrician, who.. of course!... would not return my call until it was about closing time.  Michael was thankfully on his way home, and I registered us online to wait for CareNow.  I went into a bit of panic, because when Preston was 18 months old, he had a febrile seizure because of a high fever... and hadn't been up this high since then.  He said he felt fine, but his eyes were drowsy and red, had that sick look in them.  I couldn't figure out what was going on.  We got tired of waiting on CareNow to call, so went up there and waited.  They checked his temperature (103.5) and gave him Motrin to try to reduce the fever, but after an hour it was still 103.2.  The strep test and flu test came back negative, but the doctor was still sure it was strep based on the red throat and swollen lymph nodes in his throat.  So, he gave us a prescription to treat strep - some nasty, milky, foul liquid of sorts.  Preston didn't put up too much of a fight the first dose.  We spent the rest of the nite watching movies.  And since were were all mostly awake, we got to see the eclipse!

His fever was about 99 during the nite, and didn't get above that all day.  That morning I wrestled, argued, fought with Preston about taking the liquid medicine for nearly an hour.  It was awful.  Preston is usually very good about taking medicine with no trouble.  He takes several kinds of medicine dialy because of his asthma and allergies, so it's never really an issue.  But this stuff was so nasty, he downright refused, threw a giant fit and at one point when I got the medicine in his mouth, spit it out all over his bedding.  Which meant we had to go through it all again.  It was bad.  I finally got him to take it by mixing it with chocolate milk, and then he declared it "yummy!"  Sigh.  He promised that if I mixed it with something, he'd be a good boy and drink it right up later when he had to take it again.  Whew.  The rest of the day we watched movies, laid around, took it easy... but he still said he felt fine, nothing felt wrong.  Finally, in the middle of dinner he said his throat hurt when he swallowed.  We thought he was just trying to get out of eating his dinner, but after checking his throat and seeing lots of white spots all over, we realized he was finally showing strep symptoms.  About that time Michael checked his throat and saw some spots, and said his throat felt funny too.  Dang it!  He went ahead and called in to work.  Needless to say there was much more laying around and movie watching.  And when it came time for Preston to take his medicine again... another fight ensued, tears, screaming, a fit.

I have to admit that I am a terrible nursemaid.  I do not do well with sick people.  I don't know what to do, how to make it better, what to give or use, how to comfort... so I get angry at myself, then in turn... take it out on the patient.  I lose my patience easily, and just generally suck at care giving.  Poor Michael and Preston don't feel well, then have to deal with my attitude and impatience with them.  I stop, try to change my countenance, but fail every time.  I don't know why I can't be compassionate when my family needs me to be.  It's bad that I KNOW it, and can't fix it.  I try, I do.  But then turn around and get angry again, or just fail at being nice.  There was more refusal of medicine this morning, even though I mixed it with what he wanted me to... didn't matter, more screaming and crying, then finally taking it and it being fine.  Sigh.  WHHHYYYY didn't I insist on a shot while at the doctor so we didn't have to do this?!?!?  Grrrrr.

Anyway, I just pray that Preston and Michael heal quickly, and that Callen especially doesn't get it as well.  Maybe he already had it a bit, he did have that fever a few days ago and we've had no teeth pop out... maybe it wasn't teething?  And I pray I don't get it as well... I may be a terrible nurse to my family, but we need someone to be able to do stuff around here.  And mostly I pray that this ALL blows over by Christmas Eve, since I've invited my family to come to our place.  Yikes. 

And for now... more movies.  Currently playing: Disney's Christmas Carol (the one with the voice of Jim Carrey).

Monday, December 20, 2010

Prestonism on The Perfect Christmas Present...

Preston: Mommy, I still haven't gotten you a Christmas present.  What do you want?

Me: A full night's sleep.

Preston: No, something you can buuuyyyy!  :::lightbulb goes off over his head::: Wait, I know what I can get you!  A Sleep Number Bed!  That will help you sleep!

Me: You watch too many commercials.  But... you got enough money to buy one of those for me?

Preston: Sure I do!

Me: They're pretty expensive, I think.

Preston: I'm thinking they're like $25, right?  I can do $25.

Another Genius Baby?

Just a few minutes ago, I was watching Callen playing in the floor.  He had a ball, and it rolled underneath his Pack'n'play.  He tried to reach it, but couldn't.  He then took his little plush Caterpillar guy and (I kid you not!) tried to use it to reach the ball.  He was able to bat at it until the ball came out the other side. Um, problem solved.  The kid is NINE MONTHS OLD!  Just another genius Clark baby, I guess.  Haha!  Anyway, I was pretty impressed with his skills.
Yes, yes, you're very smart.
In other Callen news, he is teething hardcore.  He has some top ones that are causing us all kinds of grief.  The poor guy is miserable, can't sleep, doesn't really eat much, and cries a lot.  He's also very clingy as well.  And drooly... oh my goodness at the drool!  I sure hope those boogers pop out soon and we can catch a break.  I'm exhausted.

Meanwhile, Preston woke up with a fever this morning.  Sigh.  It never ends!

On the plus side, we're still adjusting to Michael's daytime schedule, but it's going well!  It's so nice to get him all weekend and have him come to church with us!  I love that!  Even though none of us is getting much sleep because Callen is up so often, it's still really nice to have my husband in bed with me at the same time!!!

Five days 'til Christmas!  Then Michael is off for a full week, until after New Years!  I can't wait to have him home and actually around (previously, his days off were just like normal days since he slept all day and stayed up all nite - it's gonna be awesome to be on the same schedule with each other!).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Charlie Brown Winter Wonderland...

Michael and I took Preston to see ICE! at the Gaylord Texan... because it was Snoop-ified! I love me some Snoopy. In case you didn't know, the decorations in front of our house... yep, Snoopy! =) Anyway, it was really neat to see all the Peanuts characters there made out of ice. It was also VERY cold. My fingers started going numb (I didn't take gloves and had my hands outside of the jacket 'cause I was taking pictures)! Preston loved it, he was pretty excited about the whole thing (except getting his picture taken a few times, sigh).

It wasn't pretty busy, but I imagine it's much more crowded on weekends. I found a nice $5 off code to buy the tickets online (click here if interested), so luckily we didn't have to pay full price.  When we were coming out of the garage, the lady told us "That'll be $12 for parking."  Uh... what?  Thankfully since I had my online receipt from the ICE! tickets with me, it didn't cost anything... but gave us a little scare (I only had $7 cash on me!).  So, FYI, if you're going, make sure you have a receipt to show them so you don't have to pay for using their parking garage.  Geez!  I know I'm a cheapskate and all already, but every little thing there cost wayyy too much, and then to park for less than two hours for $12, that's really just ridiculous.  Ok, sorry, rant over.

We really did have a good time, though!  Preston kept saying he wished Callen could have gone. I just thought it'd be too cold for him, plus it was fun to have a special outing just with P.  We went to dinner with just C the nite before because P spent the nite with Grandma Darlene.  So... it was an interesting experience in just having one kid again... haha. I love going out and doing things around town this time of year... love driving down the streets that have pretty light displays, love listening to the Christmas music in the car.  It's just so special!  Oh, and by the way, City of Grapevine, I commend you on your Main Street being completely decked out... it was a very lovely sight!

Alrite, on to the rest of the pictures...

A Social Network Christmas...

The story of Jesus' birthday, as it would have appeared via Facebook. Really neat! I cried... haha!

A Social Network Christmas from Igniter Media on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

BIG Bible Town Review...

I was sent a link and some information on BIG Bible Town recently, and so I decided to let Preston (5 years old) give it a whirl.  He loves watching Michael play Farmville/Frontiersville/etc., so I thought he would jump at the chance to have his own online world to play.  And since it was Biblically-based, that made it even more ideal.  

The game allows kids to walk through Bible stories, interact with the Bible characters and read/hear Scripture along the way.  The website says, "BIG Bible Town is the first and only online game that immerses K-6 children in scripture-based Bible adventures with gameplay that teaches Christian values and encourages kids to put their faith into practice. Our goal is to help build Christian character by keeping kids connected to God’s Word and instilling Bible knowledge that will serve them for a lifetime and beyond."  And they recently added the Christmas story, as well!

Our first run, didn't go so well... we, of course, by-passed the directions and ended having NO idea what we were supposed to do.  So, then, after going back and reading instructions, we got back on track... and I was able to let Preston loose on the game.  Originally he had a difficult time figuring out how to make his guy go exactly where it needed to in order to collect the coins/gifts, but he caught on soon enough.  There are times when the challenges are too tough for him, but for the most part he can do this came himself.  We had a great time in the Christmas section, going to find people to tell the good news of Jesus' birth!  Preston also likes that he can add things to his home and surrounding areas like landscaping and whatnot (that makes him feel like he's playing Daddy's game, Frontierville).  It's exciting to see your kid get excited about Bible stories!

The people at BIG Bible Town are trying to get ONE MILLION kids playing this game by Christmas, so that all will have a chance to hear the good news of Jesus' birth and what Christmas is truly about.  They are offering the game for free right now to help make this push.  You sign up and get started by clicking here.

I would not pay for Preston to be able to play this game, as I don't think he's able to play it and get the most out of it (he's only 5), but I'm really glad he's enjoying this free version right now.  It makes me feel good knowing he's having fun AND learning things from the Bible at the same time.  It's definitely worth checking out if you have an elementary-aged child. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just let 'em be...

I was sitting here catching up on email and whatnot, kind of frustrated that Preston wouldn't cooperate for school this morning.  Every morning he reads a page or two from his Children's Read Aloud Bible, and today he was just flat out refusing to read.  So we took a break.  So, yeah, I was frustrated 'cause here we go again... he's being disobedient.  But, I looked down and saw him playing with Callen... so sweetly, they were having so much fun, how could I be mad?  These boys adore each other!

They were playing in a pile of blankets and pillows.  And then checking out Preston's flashlight.  Which, of course, Callen picked up and smashed right into is own face.  Sigh.  Oh well.  They were having fun.

Meanwhile, I found myself a nice Christmas present!  Woo hoo.  I've been wanting a laminator.  I figure it'll save me many trips to the office stores (or having to bug my mom!) to have random things laminated... and it's on sale today for $16.99 - usual price is about $80!  Woo hoo!  Plus, I still had some leftover Amazon credit, so I paid 2cents.  Bahahahha, Merry Christmas to me!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

So, I'm, like, thirty and junk...

Michael made me this awesome video for my birthday today!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'll take the Huggies AND the Pampers please...

In follow up to this post, this is the best deal I found (or preferred, I should say) on Amazon for diapers...

First of all I have to say that I prefer Huggies wipes and Pampers diapers.  I find that Pampers wipes are too thin and Huggies diapers just don't fit Callen the way I like... so yeah, I mix and match the two major brands to suit my needs.  This deal offers Amazon Mom members a total of 30% off (15% for Amazon mom and 15% for the Subscribe & Save option) plus free shipping.  And there is a coupon you can 'clip' right on the page for an additional $1 off.  That made my total $27 for 204 Pampers Baby Dry, Size 3 (13cents each!) shipped to my home, and it should arrive in two days.  Woo hoo!  I have a feeling I'm going to owe my UPS and Mailwoman a nice Christmas gift this year!

[Edit, Added: Tuesday 1:40pm] Actually it arrived on my door step in less than 24 hours... wowzers!  Even better! [/Edit]

Christmas Cards... decisions, decisions!

On Sunday, for the first time in a while, we got a decent photo of all four of us at the Canton Christmas Tree Farm. Ok, granted, Preston is making a funny face... but that's Preston for ya, I'm willing to look past that.  I thought this would make a cute Christmas card photo... something different than just posed on the couch or in front of the tree.  Michael, however, didn't agree.  He said it wasn't really Christmasy enough and the poor pony got cut off anyway.  Ok... he's got me there.  But I had already made up a few samples to see which card I liked best.  This is an example of one of my faves from Shutterfly.com's holiday collection. 

Color Me Merry Christmas Card
Get custom photo Christmas cards online at Shutterfly.com.
View the entire collection of cards.

They have so many different styles and designs to choose from, though, it's difficult to decide. if I want a folded greeting card, or a flat photo card... or the stationery cards are raelly nice!  Plus, now I have to get a new photo - and do I attempt to do a full family shot or just the kiddos?  Oh man, Christmas cards are too complicated!  I think I'll just keep looking at all the different options on the site for inspiration...

Love these:
Stationary card
Folded greeting card
Flat photo card
I guess I better get my Christmas tree up and my camera ready, 'cause I wanna get some Christmas card action going!  Maybe the photo I get will help me make a final decision on the style and design.  Hopefully!

P.S. If you're a blogger, you can get 50 free holiday cards by doing just what I did!  Click here for more info!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

We cut down our Christmas Tree!

A few weeks ago, Michael and I decided that we should go out this year and cut down our own tree.  We searched the internet for places not too far away that would still have good trees.  And we settled on Canton Christmas Tree Farm.  We didn't tell Preston where we were going, and when we got there we still made him figure it out - which took a few minutes, haha!  That place was so awesome!  They have a ton of fun things for the kiddos to do, yummy food and lots of trees of all sizes to choose from!  The boys had a blast!
He was telling Callen "I'm riding a pony, baby!"
Callen loved petting the pony!
A family photo - yay!  Preston is saying something about "poooony" haha.

Saw, saw, saw.
I can definitely seeing us doing that again.  So much fun!  If you are looking for a place to go out and cut down a tree, check out Canton Christmas Tree Farm!