Friday, January 28, 2011

Pass it on

Sometimes I run into a sewing tip that makes my life SOOO much easier.  I love ruffles.  I love how they can take an ordinary garment and give it a feminine feel instantly. I love forgiving they are as you sew them on.  However, I don't like the time it takes to pull the strings to make the gathers just right.  Not a problem anymore.  Do you want to know how to have a perfect ruffle without having to pull one string?  It's easy.  Let your machine do all the work for you.  Simply put your straight stitch on the biggest setting.  Then put your tension on the tightest setting you have and WALA!  You will have perfectly spaced ruffles without all the extra work.  If it's not long enough or short enough, simply pull your gathering strings and readjust.  Just wanted to pass this on to all you sewing divas out there.  Enjoy.


I wish I could be that carefree about what goes on my feet.  One minute she's whining about finding her other boot, the next she's bragging how little man "fit" (fixed) it.  That's a slipper and a cowboy boot she has on there.  Sigh!  I love her.  Isn't she just precious?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Have you seen this?

In my internet searches for more ideas for things to sew, I ran into something completely amazing.  I'm not sure if you've heard of convertible clothing, but the concept is completely new to me.  What's great is that there are people out there that have made tutorials on how to create your own so you don't have to pay a fortune to have your own.  So far I have in my list of things to make a convertible dress and convertible top.  Who wouldn't love the idea of having 10 plus outfits with only one piece of clothing.  Simply amazing.  Watch this if you don't believe me. 

And just in case you want one of your very own, I'll take the leg work out of searching for a tutorial for you.  Here are some I've already drudged up.

convertible top video tut
infinity dress written tutorial
infinity dress video tut

Monday, January 24, 2011

So Resourceful and Thrifty

I ran into this site yesterday and was blown away how resourceful this idea was.  There are four tshirts in Jeff's goodwill bag that I don't care to remake into anything.  Now I have a use for them.  Bren is wearing her first tshirt diaper as we speak.  It's actually a very trim fitting diaper and so much easier to wrap around baby than my prefolds.  I have remade or have plans for all the shirts in his goodwill bag now except one.  Go me!  If anything, take a look at this because you never know when you might run out of diapers and need something in a pinch.  This really is clever!  No sewing, no cutting, just folding and pinning. 

If one had enough old tshirts, I would say using this idea it is feasible to say a person could diaper thier child for next to nothing as long as the tshirts didn't have detergent build up, in which case some serious stripping would be necessary.  Diapers with detergent buildup can cause rashes or repel liquids.  Ok I'm digressing.  My point is the only cost would be to buy some cheap pull on covers at Walmart and you would be set.   I'm actually thinking about sewing the tshirt in it's folded shape to eliminate the time it takes to fold the shirt.  I still am in awe of how clever this is. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Which letter?

Can you guess what our letter of the week was last week?  The kids really liked this craft.  They played in it for a good half an hour. 

Then just for grins and giggles (one of my old college professors ALWAYS said that), I thought I'd post a pic of Bren reading on the 'ahem' pot.  She kept running off with her booty hanging out to get more books. It was completely adorable.  Kadyn and I also got quite the chuckle when she backed up the pot while reading the book, missed  the seat, and landed 'plop' bare bottomed on the cold kitchen floor.  I know she didn't think it was that funny, be we couldn't help but laugh. It was just too cute!

I was trying to take a big break from our last attempt at potty training, since it was such a big failure, but we gave it another go for some reasons that made it seem she was ready.  It's a long story.  I'll spare you the details.  Let's just say that attempt number two ended in me putting away the training pants for another couple weeks, if not months.  Bren just hasn't been able to make the connection of how to make the pee come out when she wants it too.  It's not that she doesn't try, she just doens't get it quite yet.  She tells me EVERY time she pees or poops in her diapers.  Hates being dirty.  She can hold it for hours on end.  She gets excited about wearing underwear and will try her little heart out for me if I dangle an M&M in front of her, but nothing happens (except maybe a tooter or two which always makes us laugh) until the panties go back on.  So.....I will try to be patient and let nature take it's course.  She's just not going to be anything like Kadyn when it comes to potty training and I'm trying to accept that they will learn this at totally different rates.

Snow Day Jan 2011

We got about 4 inches of snow last week.  We wanted to do a snowman.  I was armed with a carrot, hat, and scarf to make him look really good, but the snow just fell apart when we held it, so we settled for a few snow angels and sledding around the culdesac.  I got to sled down the access road right beside our house by myself and Kadyn even got brave and went down with me once.  It was a blast!  Our friends Bo and Tami from down the street even joined us a little for some fun.  Thanks guys!

Kadyn enjoyed it for the most part.  Brennan just kind of tolerated it.  She had a little melt down at the end. I think she had gotten snow in her mittens and was freaked out because it was so cold.  Can't really blame her.  She also didn't mind the sled until she fell out.  Perhaps next year after she grows a bit, this kind of activity will be more fun for her.  We shall see.

 Aren't they just the cutest all bundled up?  Oh how I love them so.

Striped Polos

I managed to squeak out 2 more shirts last week.  I almost did 3 but then screwed up the arm holes on the last shirt and had to toss it.  It was upsetting and felt like a waste, but I learned from my mistakes so I suppose it wasn't a total loss. I must say I really hate sewing around arm holes.  It can be SO tricky.  Anyhoo, the first one I turned into a little vest.  It was supposed to have a one button closure above the bust, but I ended up making it a little too small so it seemed like it fit me better when I added a tie under the bust.


 AFTER with sleeved shirt (you could do long sleeves too)

AFTER with tank top
Next is another one of Jeff's polo type shirts.  No before pics of this one either. I took several different pics so you can see how you can get different looks.  It's all how you accesorize.

Break it down

Kadyn LOVES music.  Actually both my girls love music.  However, they both reacted totally differently when they had headphones on.  Check it out for yourself.
Untitled from Darci Bilberry on Vimeo.

Untitled from Darci Bilberry on Vimeo.

Monday, January 17, 2011

On my own

Some of my shirts to remake are button up, short sleeved, collared men's shirts.  Today I got my paws on a white one that Jeff was getting rid of. I started out wanting to make a vest with a one button closure.  It somehow morphed into something quite different.  I suppose once you get started your mind starts seeing all the possibilities as the clothing takes shape.  I must say  I really liked how it turned out.  I didn't have a chunky belt, so the belt you see here is nothing more than a stretch piece of knit fabric that I had left over from another project.  I would really like to have a long beaded necklace to wear with it.  Maybe I can find one at a thrift store.  The one I have on will have to do for now.

I almost forgot to take a before picture.  I remembered as I was cutting it up. I tried to piece it back together so you can get a small idea of what it looked like at the beginning.

No tutorial on this one.  Just me and my own ideas.  All on my own.


Favorite Things

Occasionally I'd like to share some of my favorite things.  Sometimes when you find something good, you just need to sing it's praises. I'm certain that many or most of you are familiar with these products. So let's get started. 

*Just a little side note, usually if something is cheap, works good, and has more than one use, it becomes a favorite of mine.  All of these fit into that description.

Vaseline- Our winter has been VERY VERY dry.  I run the humidifier everyday.  I use lotion all the time.  Despite this, our skin has been so dry. In fact the skin around my eyes has started flaking making it hard to put on makeup.  So...I started putting vaseline on my face at night, mostly around the dry areas.  Wala!  Skin is soft and supple and back to normal. It doesn't sting when you put it on chapped skin like regular lotion can which is good for the kiddos. Hate the greasiness, but love the results.  It has also helped heal Kadyn's very chapped hands and Bren's chapped cheeks.  You can also use it as diaper rash preventer and it takes off eye makeup marvelously.  It is so cheap!  Can't beat that.

Hamper-  We have a small circular hamper. I sometimes marvel at how many uses we get out of this thing.  Of course I use it for laundry all the time.  It is small enough that it is easy to store and carry around.  It doubles as a little table for the kids when you flip it upside down.  They also use it right side up as a crib for their babies or a bathtub.  They also climb in it and pretend to take a bath or ride in a car or push each other around.  And my favorite use?  Every day at 5:00 we pick up toys.  The kids used to pick up one toy at a time and carry back to the toy boxes.  Now I put the hamper in the living room and tell them to load it up.  Then they push it back to the room with all the toys and start sorting it. This saves so much time and they don't loose focus as much running back and forth between rooms all the time.

Baking soda- This is cheap and nontoxic.  I use it as a deodorizer in the laundry occasionally or to deodorize the refrigerator.  I use it as a soft scrub on my stainless steel pots and pans and in the bathtub too.  And of course you can cook with it.

Vinegar-  Jeff hates this stuff, but I love it!  It disinfects.  It's nontoxic.  It is a wonderful cleaner!  I use a mix of 50/50 on my counters.  I use it to clean bathrooms with the baking soda.  I use it to clean fresh stains off the carpet.  I even got chocolate milk puke off the my white carpets!  I use it to neutralize the odors in my diapers.  It cleans hard water deposits so well.  It cleans out out my coffee pot so well.  Love it!  It's so cheap! 

Baby Soap-  Before I had children my sister came to visit me with her brand new little girl.  She accidentally left behind her baby soap.  One day I realized I was out of facial cleanser.  I saw the bottle and thought, 'why not?'  After all if it's gentle enough for babies and tearfree.  Probably would work well on my face.  I was right.  I have used it ever since and never looked back.  Takes makeup off wonderfully.  Can use it on my kids without stinging their eyes, and it's SOOOO much cheaper than regular facial cleanser.

There you have it, five of my favorite things.  Cheap, easy, many uses, doesn't get better than that!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

By request

One of my readers requested links to the hair and makeup videos I watched.  The lady who does them is so cute, bubbly, and real.  Her name is Kandee.  Hope you can get some good tips out of them like I did.  She has more videos if you want to see more.

Just a little side note here, I am all about simplicity because it makes life cheaper and less stressful. After watching women put on eye makeup in these videos I was blown away how many products they used to achieve a certain look.   I certainly didn't run out and buy any extra makeup as we are on a pencil thin budget.  In my makeup case I have 2 colors of eye shadow I use on my eyes, one eye liner pencil, one compact of blush, mascara, compressed [powdered foundation, and a liquid foundation as primer for my eyes.  That's all I have ever used.  Even though I didn't have any of the stuff they talk about in these videos I was still able to use some of the techniques described in the videos I watched to create a much better look than what I had been getting.

I can't find the link to the eye video I watched, but there are a TON of them on YouTube. 

Here is one I viewed to learn more about foundation.

This one teaches how to use a simple and cheap to make exfoliater. (Love this when I tried it!)

 This  last one teaches how to get volume in your hair, something I struggle with a lot.

Have fun!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Three old/new tops

So I've been a busy little bee on my sewing machine this weekend.  3 new/old tops.  I say old because they were already in my closet but I gave them a face lift so they now look me.  Up first is that little number that I showed you in my last post.  I wasn't happy with the fit of the shirt.  Felt too tight.  Length seemed too long and the sleeves stuck out too much for my taste.  So....I cut and tied the sleeves to eliminate the poof.  I shortened the shirt.  I also let out the inseams a little. Then I cut off the neck and made it a V shape which loosed it up a bit. It was hard to get a clear shot without a flash.  I couldn't use the flash because it reflected off the mirror.  Anyhow, as you can see I had a whole new shirt that looked like this.

Front View

Side View of sleeve

Next is an old band shirt Jeff had. It was too small to him, but he was too attached to let go of it.  He told me he'd let me have it if I thought I could make it into something wearable so it got to stay in the house (I'm into purging which makes him nervous).  I cut the sleeves and then put a white tie in the holes.  I also altered the sides to fit me body shape better, cut the neck so it was wider, and gathered the sides for a more feminine look.  Unfortunately, I was so eager to get started on this shirt that I forgot to take before pics.  Woops!  My apologies for the wrinkles, I had to dig it out of the dirty laundry to take pics as I forgot the day before to photograph it

Front view

Side view of tied sleeve and gathered waste line.
Lastly was a shirt that I had on hand but was plain, old, and ugly.  I actually screwed up on the sleeves and had to cut them off.  This turned out to be a cool idea as I was able to get three totally different looks just by moving a tie around on the top part.  I still want to put some darts under the arms to make the bust lay a little better.  The only thing I needed to make this shirt was a pair of scissors.  Absolutely NO sewing.  I just cut up the middle, tied a whole bunch, cut off the sleeves and wala!  Hard to believe this was just a plain old t shirt.  The ties are kind of hard to see on the pictures.  Sorry.  Once again, no before pics.  Forgot in all the excitement to get started.

Here is the tutorial I used to do this in case you are interested.  You can at least see what I was going for before I had to cut off the sleeves.

And since were on the subject of doing things for myself, last night after the girls were in bed I started searching around some more on the internet for shirt ideas.  Then I ran into you tube videos made by a professional hair and makeup artist on how to put on makeup and do your hair.  Everything I have learned about fashion, putting on makeup, taking care of my skin and hair has all been self taught.  I have never had anyone sit down with me and show me the correct way to do these things.  So this morning armed with new knowledge I gave it a try.  For the first time in a long time I liked my hair.  I felt glamorous with my new makeup look too, and I loved the way my skin felt after my little lemon juice and sugar scrub facial.  I feel so girly.  How did we ever learn anything before internet?  I feel like a new woman:)  Sigh!

Friday, January 14, 2011

First attempt

As I put in my previous post I wanted to make some clothing for myself.  I decided to start simple.  This is what I did yesterday.  Turning an oversized tshirt into a fitted one. I didn't think it was too bad for my first attempt.  I used a fitted tshirt I already had that was fitted as at template.  I did think my template shirt was a bit too snug for my tastes, so I added 1/2 and inch.  The final result still felt a bit snug, so next time I might try adding an entire inch.  I also didn't like how the sleeves flare out.  Not sure what's going on with that, but it's wearable and I'm pleased for my first attempt.  Don't you love the little heads peeking out on the bottom pic.  Silly kids.  I think Kadyn was as excited about my first attempt as I was.  She asked me to make one just like it for her.  Silly girl.  I love having a cheerleader.

Amazing how a fitted T can actually shave about 10 pounds off my look.  The beauty of it all is that if I totally screw up a shirt, it doesn't matter as we were going get rid of them anyways.  So anyways.  Here's the pics of what I did.
Today I think I may actually take off another 2 inches from the length.  I tend to think women's fitted tshirts are too short, so I wanted to leave the length of this shirt alone before I did anything to it.  My problem area on my body is my booty and longer shirts help draw attention away from it by drawing the eye up to my waste. However, I think this shirt could stand to loose another 2 inches and still look just fine.  

So if you need me, you can find me at my sewing machine in between cooking, cleaning, preschool lessons, storytimes, and doing laundry.  I think I found my new obssession.


For some time I've been thinking I really need to make something for myself on my machine.  An item of clothing.  Jeff and I bagged up a bunch of clothes to send off to the thrift store.  I looked through his bag and rather than seeing a bunch of old beat up clothes that were way too big, I saw.....FABRIC.  My little creative juices started stirring in me.  I could really use some more tops.  Maybe I could make these into something cool for myself.

My biggest concern was not getting in over my head.  I knew it would be a lot easier to make clothes for myself with a dress form, but I don't have a dress form.  I'm a tuturial kind of gal, not a pattern gal.  I just started surfing around.  Here's what I learned:  you can make a hundred different styled shirts from a plain old t-shirt.  Don't believe me?  Check this out

 And this is only the tip of the iceberg. You would be surprised what you can make with only a pair of scissors and plain old tshirt.  No scissors required.

Then I discovered the circle scarf.  If you have never heard one of these you've GOT to see this video.  You will finish it wanting one....I promise.  I think making one of these is in my near future. 

Are you as inspired as I am?  I may need to go buy more hangers.  Glad I cleared some space in my closet.  All I need is a couple cheap tshirts from the thrift store.  This is going to be fun.  Time to play.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Eat your Veggies

Aw the battle all mothers across America have to go through on a daily basis....getting their kiddos to eat their veggies.  Today I had a conversation with the kids that had them cleaning almost every single veggie off of their plates.  Not sure if it will work everyday, but it did today at least.  In fact I somehow managed to use Michael Jackson as an example to make a point about veggies.  How in the world did I do this?  Keep reading.

Me:  You know, your veggies are like medicine.  Medicine from God in fact.
Kids:  (looking puzzled)
Me:  Well veggies have vitamins that help build your immunities.  What do your immunties do?
Kids:  Fight germs.
Me:  That's right.  Where does corn and green beans come from?
Kids:  Seeds.
Me:  And who makes those seed grow?
Kids:  God
Me:  Yes, so you see God gives us all the medicine we need to stay healthy everyday.  And wanna know the best part.
Kids:  (puzzled look, as if to say, 'there's more?')
Me:  What happens if we don't eat our veggies?
Kids:  You get sick and have to go to the doctor.
Me:  That's right and the doctor gives you medicine.  What does that medicine do?
Kids:  Fights germs.
Me:  Yes, and what happens if you take too much doctor medicine, kinda like what Michael Jackson did?
Kids:  You die.
Me:  That's right, you can die if you take too much.  Can you die from eating too much corn?
Kids:  (lots of giggles) No!
Me:  That's right.  God makes medicine that you can eat as much of as you want.  The only thing that will happen if you eat too much corn is you'll feel really, really full.
Kids:  (giggles)
Me:  Man, our God is awesome.  He's always taking care of us and giving us everything we could possibly need.  So eat up God's medicine guys.
Kids:  I'm going to eat ALL my vegetables.

I'm thinking to myself, 'Man Darci that was pretty good.  Not being able to tie God into regular lessons at school would be hard.  I think I would really enjoy teaching at a Christian school some day. Hmmmm.'

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bren reads

I bought Brennan two books for Christmas.  We had checked them out from the library and they were hits,  so I picked them up at Walmart. Now it has become part of our good night routine to read them.  This video doesn't do this moment justice.  She had read them so well before we stated video taping her.  She was about done with it when we shot this, but at least you can see her attempt to read the first two pages and hear the way she says the end, "Amen."    The second video is Bren on her new rocking horse.  I just can't get over how cute she is in her new hat and cowboy boots.  Grandma and Grandpa on both sides would be proud. Click to see the video.

Untitled from Darci Bilberry on Vimeo.

Untitled from Darci Bilberry on Vimeo.

Untitled from Darci Bilberry on Vimeo.

Emotional Processing

One of the privileges of being a parent of more than one child is getting the  front row seat to watching your children grow into two completely different people.  It fascinates me how to people from the same womb and gene pool can be so completely different.  It affirms to me the presence of a divine creator.  How fun it must be for God to create each person so different, so uniquely....them.  How proud he must be when he finishes knitting us together in our mother's womb.  I imagine him sitting back and saying, "I created her. Isn't she wonderful?  Isn't she beautiful?"

My girls were spitting images of each other at birth.  You could hardly tell the difference between their baby pictures. I suppose that created an illusion that they would be very similar personalities to me.  I was wrong.  I know they are going to change infinitely from this moment throughout the rest of their lives.  However, at this time I find it completely interesting how differently they process emotion.

Neither of my girls bottle up emotion.  Kadyn is soooo much more verbal with her emotions.  Her first instinct is to mouth off and get angry and then later feel hurt and want comforted.  Perhaps Brennan will begin to be more verbal as she ages.  After all, she's only two and in the throes of learning how to talk.  However, I have noticed that despite her lack of words to express herself, her first instinct is rarely anger.  She literally gets sad.  You can see it written all over her body language.  She hangs her head low, drags her feet, and tries to weep silently.  Kadyn can wake up an entire neighborhood with her crying.  Brennan does it so gently and sorrowfully.  The kind of sadness that makes you want to cry right along with her.  Kadyn needs to be put in a room to work out her emotions all on her own.  She has to calm down so she can be rational and then talk them out with Mama.  Sometimes I can let Brennan work out her emotions in her crib and sometimes that doesn't work at all.  Sometimes she has to be held and calmed down to talk through them with Mama.

I'm not sure how much of this is developmental or uniquely just how God designed my girls.  All I know is that it has been an interesting journey and it makes me curious what it means for their futures.  I know God has a divine plan for each of them. I can only imagine that their differences are there for a reason.  They are there as part of a plan to fulfill his will.  Perhaps Kadyn's strong will will prepare her to take some hard knocks and come out on top, or fight some good fights and never back down.  Perhaps Brennan's gentle soul will help her provide comfort for others who are in need.  I wonder if they will become part of their spiritual gifts.  I love imagining why God creating them the way he has.  The possibilities are endless.

A few moments

Here are just a few moments we caught on camera.  The first is the girls very intrigued by Dada making a chocolate peppermint shake.
Then we have Bren caught red handed trying to use Mama's computer.  My little mini me.

Then we have Kadyn sporting some her new (or slightly used) K-State gear Dada won for her on ebay for next to nothing. 
Of course no one can ever see too many pictures of a messy two year old.
Then there's cowgirl Bren.  A sight we have around here often.  The last one is my favorite.  Jeff caught her admiring her cowgirlness in her barbie mirror.  This shot is so clever.

Christmas Art

We make so many crafts in this house that there's no way I can keep them all. I always try to make a habit of keeping the best and taking pics of the rest before I toss them.  Here's a bit of what we did in December and a few more.  In case you can't decipher the group pic it includes a cotton ball lamb, nativity scene, decorated Jesus, hand/footprint angel, toilet paper roll angel, snowflake, popsicle stick christmas tree, candy cane ornament, and star ornament.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


This week has been one of a kind.  I won't go into too many details to protect the privacy of those involved, but I just want to say that I never in my wildest imagination expected for God to use me in the way he has this week.  It has been a frightening, eye opening experience.  It has made me count my blessings over and over again.

On a side note, there were many things that went on leading up to today.  But today for the first time in my life, I witnessed to a man on the phone.  He was in a very dark place in his life.  It scared me and frightened me.  I didn't know what to do, but I made a decision to weather the moment with him and then God completely took over.  I didn't realize at the time, but I was witnessing to him.  Words were just flowing out of my mouth so easily and I knew deep down that it was exactly what he needed to hear.  I ended the conversation literally shaking from head to toe.  I was about in tears.  Now I feel completely drained and emotionally exhausted.  I worry for him and his family and yet I know God has it all under control.  I realize God has me exactly where he wants me and needed me this week for his glory.  I wonder why God chose me to do this today.  I feel humbled and yet in awe of the power I experienced today.  I just want to give him all the glory for there is no way I could have said the things that came out of my mouth today all on my own so smoothly and freely. 

Witnessing is something I have always felt uneasy about.  Because of certain people in my life, I have always been worried that bringing things up that are spiritual in nature will turn people away rather than bring them to Christ.  I am afraid I will come off being "preachy."  I have chosen to be a witness by the life I live and the example I set.  About the only verbal witness I have ever done or felt comfortable doing has been with my children.  I feel completely responsible to them to make sure they understand their creator and have a relationship with them.  But when it comes to other people, I have never felt the calling. Now I sit here and think.  Did I plant seeds today?  Will they sprout?  I can only pray. 

My Thank you Lord for getting me through this day and week.  I still sit back and reflect in complete shock, awe, and amazement.  I am so blessed by you.  I am so in awe of you. I am so glad you are able to use me to help others.  I lift this family up to you as the storm they are weathering right now is far from over, but I know you have them in the palm of your hand.  Thankyou!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

One tough cookie

Bren got flying colors in terms of developoment at her 2 year well visit.  She did have an ear infection which I had no clue about.  Love it when we happen to discover those by accident.  Didn't have to pay a copay for the well visit so I basically got the problem fixed for free minus the four bucks for medicine.  It was weird to me that she never complained about her ear.  It was later confirmed to me that she must have a very high pain tolerance.

She got two shots.  The only thing she said did was say, "Ouch!"

Then she had a hemoglobin test.  They pricked her finger and squeezed out 2 vials of blood.  She hardly flinched.  I distracted her pretty well until about 2 minutes in she finally poked out her bottom lip, her eyes got red, and one lonely quiet tear dripped down her face onto my sweater.  Not a peep out of her.  Broke my heart.  Like I said, she has such a tender, quiet, soft, and gentle spirit.  This confirms it to me.  She is so brave and so tough.

It's hard to believe sometimes that the girls are related.  If that had been Kadyn she would've been crying in complete fear like her life was about to be over.  I'm so proud of Bren. 

She is in 75% for height and head circumference.  Weight is in 50%.  Just perfect, my little baby.  I love her so.   

Monday, January 3, 2011

Busying Myself

I have been busying myself around the house.  Last week was a week of complete purging.  I think acquiring new things and replacement things for Christmas just encouraged me to make right the things that have been bothering me for some time.  We have been blessing to have gotten many hand me downs when it comes to clothing for the children.  I can't even begin to express how big of a blessing this has been.  I have hung on to ALL of it until this week.  Some of it I never used just because it seem out dated and I'd rather put current clothing on the girls. I had enough clothes to have the luxury of being selective.  I'm not sure why I have been hanging onto those out of date clothes since I never used them.  I suppose the tight budget we live on creates a little voice inside that urges me to hang onto things just in case.   

Anyhow I was so tired of searching for things and digging through things.  I made myself bag it up if I hadn't used it in a year and didn't think I'd be using it any time soon.  The same rules applied to my closet too.  By the time I finished, I had enough to fill up half the van.  What a rush that was doing all that.  It was a really freeing experience.  I really admire people who live on less.  Eventually I want to be one of them.  Simple really is better.

Sometimes I start my week wondering how in the world I'm going to fill it despite the tedious daily tasks that always keep me busy like preparing snacks, meals, preschool lessons, storytimes, crafts, cleaning, and loads and loads of laundry.  I know crazy right?  To think I worry about what I will do to stay busy.  I must say though, that the kids have been INCREDIBLY easy since little gal has been on vacation.  Right now I'm down to one little daycare kid and he is a breeze to watch.  A real joy.  Kadyn and little man are best friends and they play well most of the day.  Bren goes in and out of playing with them and playing on her own.  So....I have found a new freedom that has been fun to fill with things like organizing, cleaning, and purging. 

So far since we've started taking our vitamins we have only had one person get sick.  Currently Brennan has a cough, but it's been mild and no one else seems to have caught it.  I don't know if this is a good sign that the supplements are working, if this is due to our playing hooky from church all too often (less exposure), or if it's due to the fact that little gal isn't constantly bringing in new germs (she always seemed to be sick with something).  All I know is we are off to a much better start to the year than last year and I really hope it stays that way.

At the end of last year Jeff was given some incredible gifts for being a chamber of commerce ambassador.  We have gift certificates to a show, places to eat, free stay at a lodge, free zipline rides, free airline ticket roundtrip, and more.  I can't believe how blessed we are to be living in Branson.  Never a lack of things to do and living here has definitely had some huge perks.  We are on constant staycation.  One of our Christmas gifts was season passes to Silver Dollar City.  They come with free guest passes so we are trying to talk extended family into coming to see us to take advantage.  The passes also entitle us to more discounts on attractions throughout the area.  The fun never ends....literally. 

Everyday I look at my kids and gush.  They are so wonderful.  Brennan being at the age she is, makes me want to cry at the thought of her growing up.  She makes me laugh and smile constantly.  So stinking cute!  Kadyn continues to make me marvel at how smart she is.  She is starting to read basic sight words pretty easily and getting better at numbers.  She can even do a little addition and subtraction.  I am really nervous about the new dynamic school will bring to our family.  I'm really going to miss her.  I have no idea if God has another child in store for our family.  But for now, I'm content with waiting to find out which is a first for me.  I know now is not the right time.  What will be, will be.  All we can do is take the necessary steps to try to make it happen, and if it doesn't pan out, I trust he will close that part of my heart that really wants to be filled with a third child.

It's been a good 2010.  Looking forward to the rest of 2011.

2011 Goals

Here's mine:
-potty train Brennan
-get Kadyn to sit still during meals (I'm tired of watching her fall out of her chair and then hearing about it for the next 5 minutes)
-make some impact on our debt even if it is only small
-save some money
-make some important decisions instead of stewing over them
-continue to find vegetarian meals the entire family likes
-get back to exercising ( the holidays have done me in)
-grow more vegetables this year than last
-get a dishwasher motor that actually works right or just accept that it will ALWAYS be noisy!
-see my parents at least once this year, if not twice (this one is tough as we can no longer afford to fly 4 of us to CO) For us this means meeting up at GC or my parents flying out to see us.
-continue to sew for my family, others, and  myself (my outlet)
-work with Bren her alphabet, counting, etc.
-continue to place importance on going on date nights (we had the most we've ever had since kids last Fall)
-find a way to get through day one of my little girl's first day of school (I have been dreading this for some time)
-pack lunches for said girl everyday that are healthy, yummy, and not too repetitive.
-keep our closets organized (finally got them organized to my liking, now to not overfill them again)
-continue to schedule quiet time with God
-keep growing my hair out
-continue to think of fun little outings for the family and follow through on them
-continue to let go of worry that tends to consume me when I don't actively keep it in check
-get Bren to eat with a utensil and drink from a regular cup WITHOUT me.  I have totally dropped the ball on this one.  She can do these things without me, but too often I jump in and help to save myself a big mess to clean up.
-transition Bren to a big girl bed.
-go camping again.
-learn how to can
-memorize scripture.  (I really stink at this)
-be more of a 'yes' mom (stealing this one from another blog)

As I read through this I must say I'm pleased to see the word "continue" in many of my goals. I must be on the right track.  This past year has really been a year of healing.  The first year in Branson was tough.  I had a lot of insecurities about finances, my parenting, myself, etc.  I'm happy to say, God has really worked with me on all of these and I feel a lot of peace right now with where I am and where we are as a family. I see God's hand in everything and couldn't be happier.  I have no clue what lies ahead, but for once, I don't feel uneasy about not knowing.  It's a jouney, and I'm enjoying the ride.