Saturday, November 21, 2009

The time is flying ...

and so are the kicks and punches in Dallas. Yup Jennifer has given up another weekend of crafting in order to take her Tae Kwon Do superstars to another tournament. Seems it was worth the sacrifice since both Jack and Kenny were rocking the tournament - both taking medals in forms. Gold for Jackson in his division and Silver for Kenny in his division. They are awesome!!

As for me - I am here in Texas where there was some rocking sporting going on as well. Jason ran in the Race For Wishes fun run this morning. A 5K run to benefit Make a Wish Foundation. He came in under 26 minutes which is more than respectable for his very first 5K run!

I have been busy making things to be sent off to Canada but during breaks I was checking out my favourite blogs ... have to share this post from Stacy Julian. I love this idea and am going through pictures tonight while Jason and I watch a movie.

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It takes a village ...

Every year the museum here in Midland has a Gingerbread village. They have all kinds of different houses from schools, families, Churches, Scout troops and groups like that. Well this year my friend is in charge of the village and she asked me to spread the word. I did the best I could and it will be exciting to see how many houses will be up when the display opens. I delivered 2 of them today.

The first one was made by my Wednesday night kids at Church. Since every year our Church puts on a big One Night in Bethlehem event, I thought it would be fun for the kids to make a Gingerbread version. When we met last week they made all the animals, the Shepherds, Wise-men and of course the 1st Family. I let everything dry and set and then put it all together. It turned out to be very cute ....
Since I grew up having a Gingerbread house every Christmas I thought this was a fun way to have one and share it as well. So I called up my friend and asked her if her 2 youngest (one Rachel's age and one who just turned 4) would like to join Rachel in creating a masterpiece. And they did. The 3 of them had fun decorating their house and are very proud of their creation. Sarah was much more into the aesthetic look of the house and was not all that happy when her little sister and Rachel were throwing items all over the place. In the end the three of them were pleased as punch and full of the treats meant for the house!

Here is how it turned out ...
I have been crafting away here getting ready for Secret Santa at A Peek Into Yesterday as well as getting ready to send gifts home to the family. I will have some pictures to share soon - but some have to be kept secret so no surprises are spoiled. In the meantime here are a few fun things you can try ...

A cute and quick gift for a coffee lover ... Treat Cup
Any kid would think this was fun ... Money Book
Rachel and I think these would be cool on our Christmas plates ... Yule Log

Happy Crafting!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hello Y'All ....Eh? ...

Yup it's me ... the blog's Canadian living deep in Texas here. I know Jennifer has been doing a bang-up job keeping this blog going. But I am still here and I am crafting too ... just not taking too many pictures.

I am searching for fun projects. AND I have found one ... and I think Rachel and I might try this next weekend (this weekend we are making Jennifer's tree water colour). So there is no cute picture of Rachel showing off her cool creation - but there will be one soon. In the meantime go check out this super cute wreath project ...

Oh and I have done a bit of crafting ... check out these pictures from Rachel's 2nd grade program ... I helped paint the backdrops - there were 4 of them ... 3ftx10ft ... I also made the brown hat - it is a basket with seeds all over it. And the little girl that Rachel (wearing a green weed hat) is hanging onto is wearing a sewn and stuffed seed around her neck. OK so not major crafting - but the kids were into it!! The program was titled Parable Problems - He's got everything under control. Rachel's class did the parable of the Sower - hence the seeds and the weeds and there were flowers and birds too.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Kid Art

It has bothered me for awhile that there is a GIANT lack of true art happening in our classrooms these days. I believe there are so many opportunities for learning through creating, but sadly that is not the case when it comes to testing and budgets and the list goes on and on. Kenny had an amazing art teacher in first grade back when we lived in Colorado and ever since then it has gone downhill. :( So instead of being frustrated anymore with the loss of art class in school and the lack of affordable art classes where we have lived, I have attempted to do "art" with the boys when I can. It was hard in CA, we had very little space to store supplies and we always felt like we were on top of each other, but not anymore! We have storage space and willing little boys to create.

I found this blog a few weeks ago and I have been amazed at the fun things this woman does with her kiddos. Fun and easy things!! I have a list a mile long of projects I want to do with the boys from her site. So this weekend we started. I loved this project so gathered up all our supplies and a new set of watercolors and went to town this morning. It was a great project for all 3 boys and that is really important in my book. I want them all to be involved. I LOVE how they turned out and the boys are so proud!!! Using painter's tape was perfect! It didn't stick or tear the paper at all when we pulled it off.

Perfect for even the little guys who LOVE to fill the entire background with colors.
Kenny preferred to use his pastels over the paints. A different look for sure, but he liked the way it turned out too.
They sprinted off after this picture to put them on their bedroom doors. I highly recommend this project! I'm thinking these could make great gifts for grandparents too. ;)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

the most wonderful time of the year!

Ever since Amy and I took Cut the Crazy out of Christmas at Big Picture Scrapbooking last year, I have been thinking more actively about this season of the year all year long. Does that make sense? I guess what I trying to portay is that it is never too early to start preparing for the season of Christmas in an effort to make the season more meaningful. So to do our crafty part, we will posting lots of fun ideas for you and for us for this season. Just a few moments ago I stumbled on a new, oh so wonderful, blog that is jam-packed with ideas for making fun and inexpensive gift ideas! And the best thing is, she is hosting a handmade gift guide for the holiday season. I will be spending lots of time pouring through her posts looking for fun ideas for my friends and family! You should join me ;) ;)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Crafties

So I have been working with the November Two Chicks kit the past couple of days (more on that to come later), but I did have some time to make up some fun goodies for the staff members I have been assigned to this year at the big boys' schools. I know I am late to the pop tab altered can party, but I finally got a safe can opener so I could whip these up. So cheap and really easy to make - I filled them with mini chocolate bars for a sweet treat! These were all created with products from the October Kit at Two Chicks Designs. That kit just keeps going!

I am in charge of the craft activity for Jackson's party tomorrow afternoon and I wanted to have the kids make something really fun. And something they could actually use beyond Halloween. A few months ago I saw these bookmarks on a blog and decided they would be perfect for the kids to make at their party. And I have needed a reason to use this stamp set for, oh, 4 years, I think. Oops! We just won't mention that little fact to Ken. In any case, these little Stampin' Up Bug stamps finally got used and I think the kids will really like them. I pre-cut and stamped all the pieces so the kids will just have to glue everything together and add the eyes and brads. The glitter and the googly eyes are my favorite part!

Since the circles are simply attached with brads, you can put this part over the page to keep your place. How cute is that? Someone much more clever than me came up with this idea, but I had to steal it for my kiddos.
I know Amy has been crafting away with some fun Halloween goodies too so hopefully she can update us with her projects too. Thanks for looking and Happy Halloween!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

production line birthday cards

I don't know if anybody is like me, but I am always rushing at the last minute to create a birthday card when the boys are heading out to a classmate or friends' party. I decided to embark on a journey to find a card that I can create with my mulitude of supplies and came up with the following "rules" for my creation.

Jen's Criteria for the perfect birthday card:

1. A style and design which is appropriate for friends and family of all ages.

2. A card I can create in an asssembly line style to make a whole bunch at one time.

3. Inexpensive to create.

4. Super Cute!
It has taken a long time but I think I have finally found it! Last week I whipped up 8 cards that are just waiting to adorn a special gift when needed. And I got a chance to play with some digital elements to create this hybrid card.
It was super simple and fun to create this card using digital kit by Sharon Carroll at A Peek Into Yesterday . I am not a digital scrapbooker but I LOVED this Bingo style kit from Sharon so I printed it out on white cardstock and simple adhered it to my kraft cardstock base. I also resized the circle element, printed and punched it out and added it to a metal rimmed tag. A fun brad and a little handwritten sentiment rounded out the production. Super simple and SOOO perfect for what I have been searching for. It is an inexpensive card I can create over and over again. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A little time on the internet is not always wasted!

OK ... so as Jennifer said we are going to be adding some fun ideas we find along our crafting travels. At the moment I am attempting to come up with some fun ideas for Teachers' gifts for Christmas. As I am surfing my regular crafty blogs I click links and arrive in places I never knew.

I came across this blog today - Angie is a Stampin' Up demonstrator and she has some seriously fun stuff on her blog. She also does some really fun video tutorial and I just had to share this one - because we are close to Halloween and these are TOO cute not to share ... seriously look at these ... they hold mini KitKat or Hershey bars - SO cute. Anyway Angie has an excellent video tutorial HERE - it is worth the 6 minutes to watch it - because how fun would it be to make these for some special Trick Or Treaters?!!! I do not know Angie - but she seems to be my kind of crafty person!!!

I am so into these that I want to start making some right now .... but I am still on the hunt for some crafty links to share with you - because that is the kind of crafty blog friend I am :) Also since my Halloween kit from Two Chicks is on its way here I am thinking there is some FUN paper in there that will be perfect to make some of these!

Stay tuned - let me waste the time on the internet so you do not have too - haha!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One is silver and the other gold...

Do you remember those lines from the Girl Scout song? I have them constantly on my mind as we navigate life back in our hometown. I have had fun catching up with some friends from childhood and college days and my dear friend Christie is one of those "golden" friends. She and I met while we were both studying to be high school teachers in college. Neither of us thought middle school was the place for us, boy were we both wrong! I ended up in 8th grade and she ended up in gifted education at another local middle school. So funny how those things happen.

In any case, we had lost touch with all of my moves and one afternoon I realized she had "friended" me on my Facebook. I was all excited to catch up on her teaching days only to find out she had also left the education field to focus on other goals. So how much more excited was I to find out she is the "head chick" of Two Chicks Designs???? I mean, really? Scrapbooking!! I was soooo over-the-top excited to reconnect with her. And connect we did. And start a new kit club she did. And it's totally awesome! I love that she is a scrapbooker with no time to scrapbook and desires to put kits together for those of us that want to laugh, and crop and create pages for our albums that are unique and beautiful and easy to create. (Is that a run on or what??)

So let me be the first to introduce you to the Two Chicks Designs Kit Club. It is a kit jam-packed with yummy papers and embellishments picked out just for you by a fellow scrapbooker. And one of the things I love most is that for a couple of the cardstocks you get 2 of the same color. Yep! You can actually create 2 page layouts with these yummy kits! Without raiding your own stash! And there's more - 2 alphabets!!! Yes, 2 entire alphabets! For this alpha junkie that is BIG stuff. Here are some of the projects I made with the October kit that just keeps going and going with Halloween-y Goodness! Oh how I love the fall!

If you love Halloween or fall-related projects, this is the kit for you! Pick one up today! And tell them Jen sent ya! ;)

Girl Trap

I need to get this down somewhere because it is sooooo going on a page about Jackson.

So here goes... Last night we were talking about how Jackson has a new seat in class next to one of his friends who happens to be a boy. He says very quietly, "now I'm outta the girl trap." I wasn't sure I heard him correctly but Ken asked him to repeat what he had said and he told us he used to sit between 2 girls in his previous desk and that was a "girl trap - a girl, a boy in the middle and another girl" I could barely drive I was laughing so hard! The girl trap.... baby you don't know the half of it...

SO how will I actually scrapbook this?
I have a plan to find a great picture of Jackson, maybe from some random event where I got a great photo of him to talk about some of his creative thoughts and personality traits. I will probably go to my category drawers as part of my Library of Memories system (thank you, Stacy Julian!) and find a fun shot of Jackson. I love that even without having a picture of the "girl trap" I can still record this silly idea from him! It would be awesome to find a picture of him between 2 girls, but I'm not sure a photo like that exists for us, LOL. Right now I have no idea how this page will turn out, but I know I won't remember just how he said it even a month from now. I try to keep little notebooks all over the place to just get it jotted down right away. It definitely helps this tired mom of 3 to remember all the crazy, sweet, and silly things they say! Stay tuned for the layout soon, I am definitely inspired by my little boy right now!
xo, Jen

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We're back and we're SCRAPPY!!!

Did you think we had left the blogging world forever??? Well, we did too, or so it seemed, but then we (actually, just Jen) decided it was a nice place to show off our craftiness, make some new friends, and link up to all things scrappy, cute and crafty. And of course, Amy is always along for the ride! So with a new theme, we begin again... Some things have changed around here and some things will stay the same, but you can be assured that these 2 crafting friends are ready and willing to share our love for this industry.

You will NOT find:

Many posts related to our personal lives unless they overlap in our crafting world, if you would like to know what's going on with the hubbies and the kiddies, head on over to Facebook and friend us there. You can keep up with our daily lives more than you probably want to ;)

You will certainly not find any drama or favoritism. We love crafting from every angle, country, or local scrapbook store.

On the flip side, you WILL find:

Lots of our layouts and scrapbooking projects - if you can cut and glue it! We have it!

Tips and Tutorials we find around the web (or possibly even think up on our own - GASP!) for creating scrapbooking pages or projects

Quick gift ideas - in this poor economy we are always on the hunt for fun and cheap gift ideas we can use our products and tools for

Reviews of products, tools, kit clubs, web sites, etc... that interest us.

LOTS of links to anything CUTE!

So you can easily see that while our personal lives are still on vacation from the blog, our crafting, scrapbooking, tutorial-finding, link-loving selves are still here! We look forward to many more posts this year! For a tiny tease of what I (Jen) have been up to, here is a little looky-lou...

See you right back here VERY soon!
xo, Jen

Friday, June 5, 2009

Walk tomorrow

Tomorrow is the annual Walk to Cure Diabetes here in Fresno. We are looking forward to a beautiful morning without too much heat which is very nice :) Please, if you haven't donated and feel led to, click on our link above and support Jackson. Donations are down and I am trying not to be discouraged, but it is hard. We have such a passion for finding a cure for our baby! Thanks to everyone who has already donated for this year's walk. We are so blessed by the kindnesses of our friends and family

xo, Jen

Saturday, May 16, 2009

keeping track

This weekend I am documenting what a weekend looks like in our life right now. I saw this idea over at Ali Edwards' blog yesterday and decided it would be a perfect way to show what our life is like right now in the apartment and to remember that no matter where we live, life is going on... a good thought for me as our life seems turned completely upside down. I am using this space to jot down things we did so far...
Friday Night
-spaghetti supper cooked in our apartment kitchen - yay for not having to eat out until we leave!
-Grizzlies Game with all the boys, dip n dots and garlic fries along with a yummy frozen margarita for mommy
-a little treat from the convienent store after the boys crashed into bed
-Started laundry

-Still working on laundry
-straightened the apt, cleaned bathrooms and vacuumed
- Kenny off to Tae Kwon Do in the morning - not without a bit of arguing on his part
-McD's biscuit and diet coke for breakfast - sorry, can't help myself
-checking on facebook, message boards, and blogs while the boys went to pick Kenny up
-reading my newest Sookie Stackhouse book, finished it today too
-worked on teacher's gifts
-played with my 7 Gypsies photo carousel cards - love the little nature of this project and that it is totally doable here in the apt.
-Kaden took a bit of a nap afternoon being up most of last night - ugh!
-Ken played golf this afternoon, way too hot if you ask me (high today was...)
-took the boys down to the apt complex pool, very fun part of living here
-new Nerf game for the wii and playstation games too - gotta have lots to do when it's too hot to go outside other than to the pool
-Pizza for supper around the coffee table
-off to the Gap for shorts and tee's - feeling like summer has officially arrived even though school isn't out for a little bit longer
- Baskin Robbins for a cool treat - got an oldie but goodie, mint chocolate chip in a cone
-Ken playing wii while I type on the blog - hee hee!

I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring!
xo, Jen

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

2009 Walk to Cure Diabetes

Hi friends! We are gearing up for this year's walk, our last in Fresno. (sniff, sniff) However, as this year's Walk Chair, I am excited for the direction the Fresno Walk is heading and I want to succeed in making this year's walk the best ever!!! We are teaming up with the Fresno Grizzlies to "Strike Out Diabetes" which is fitting for this baseball playing and loving family. As we do every year, Ken and I wrote a letter to share with our friends and family about our life with a child who has type 1 Diabetes. My challenge and hope is that everyone who reads this letter will click on the link and donate at least $10.00. It seems like we are pulled in every direction financially these days, but I truly believe that we all have a spare bill here and there. Ken and I save our change and random bills all year long just so that we can give a little to everyone we know is in need and the cool thing is, we never run out! God has always provided for us and for each friend, family member, and organization who is in need. Please prayerfully consider if there is anything you can do this year, Jackson NEEDS a cure. Period.

Note: Amy knows how to put a Mr. Linky at the top of the blog to click directly to our fundraising page and I will ask her to do that shortly. :)
Ok, off my little soapbox now, which I think is ok, seeing as this blog belongs half to me, LOL! Here is our letter, written from the hurting heart of this mama for her child.

Dearest friends and family,
Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be on a roller coaster that you could never get off of? Forces bearing down on you from every direction, exhilaration at the top of a hill only to find yourself just seconds later plummeting to depths you couldn’t have even imagined. Finally, a break in the action… only to realize the ride is not only just begun, but will never end. In a nutshell, that is what it is like to live in a family where a child has Type 1 Diabetes.
Our son, Jackson has been courageously fighting this disease for more than 4 years now. As we passed that 4-year mark a few weeks ago, we realized that not much has changed in our life. It is an emotional and physical roller coaster of which we will never get off. Jackson wakes up every morning to finger pokes, insulin injections, highs and lows and everything in between. Diabetes goes to school with him where he must learn and grow as a student, all the while dealing with blood sugar issues. He goes to bed each night with the fear of dangerous highs that wreak havoc on his body and even more dangerous night time lows that could catapult him into a coma or even death. We turn around and do it all over again the next day and the day after that and so on… We wish somehow we could get off this ride, to simply take a break. With Diabetes there is no break. He is never going to “outgrow” his diabetes. Every decision we make regarding his care today has lasting implications for his health many years from now.
Jackson looks like any other 6 year-old who loves playing baseball, riding his bike, and learning to read. And yet, he fights the same fight every moment of his life. It would seem like it would get easier for him (and us!) to deal with it and in some ways it has. We have experienced tremendous joy in seeing the support of our friends and family as a result of Jackson’s diabetes. We have been able to educate and reach out to others who are also on this roller coaster ride with us. Jackson has touched teachers, friends, and countless others with his bravery and strength. We are blessed beyond measure to have the responsibility of raising this young man. His sweet face keeps us going in search of a cure for this horrible reality.
We come to you humbly this year to ask you for your support of our son. The past 12 months have been hard for our country and the financial impact has hit many we know personally. We even hesitated to ask for your support this year in the wake of the struggles we have watched over the past few months. However, I stumbled across this quote a few months ago and it really spoke to my heart in terms of raising money for this organization that desperately needs of our funds even in the midst of a global economic crisis. We are so close to so many breakthroughs in our search for the cure for this disease.

It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.
–Mother Teresa

It has always been our hope and desire to let you, our friends and family, have a glimpse into our daily life, not only to raise money, but also to raise awareness of the disease. We want you to know that whether you give $5 or $50 or even $500, we love you and appreciate every donation because we know it comes from your heart.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, JDRF, is the #1 non-profit funder of research aimed at FINDING A CURE for Jackson’s type of Diabetes. That is the reason we participate so fully in JDRF events, namely the Walk to Cure Diabetes. This year on June 6, 2009, Jack’s Pack will join with the Fresno Grizzlies and walk to support this amazing organization for the final time while we live here. If you are interested, here are the ways you can help make a difference for Jackson.
1. If you are local, you can join our family team, known as Jack’s Pack, which consists of family and friends who collect pledges and walk with us. We create a team t-shirt each year for every member of our team, young and old and have a great time celebrating Jackson’s life at the beautiful Woodward Park here in Fresno. Just give us a call and we will get you everything you need. We want this to be our biggest team of walkers yet!!!
2. You can support our family with a tax-deductible contribution in any amount. You can either make a donation online at by entering Jack’s Pack and California under Support a Walker or mail donations directly to us. Please indicate in your comments if you would like our address.

Thank you in advance for helping us reach our goal of $8,000 this year. We are blessed by the generosity shown on Jackson’ behalf.

God Bless You!

Jack’s Pack Ken, Jennifer, Kenny, Jackson, and Kaden Allred

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

breathing new air

into this blog look! Check back soon for all the fixin's!!
xo, Jen & Amy

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Whirlwind Memories

This past weekend prompted a completely spur-of-the-moment trip up to San Francisco to see a Giants baseball game. It was on our list of must-do things while we lived in California and as the days here are drawing to a close, we really needed to get it done. Some sweet friends of ours were already going to the game so we followed behind as they gave us a wonderful, albeit superfast tour of the city. A drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, a trip down Lombard street, the game, Fisherman's Wharf and supper at Joe's Cable Car completed our memorable trip to this amazing city! I hope to go back sometime and ride a trolley, but we were so thankful we had a chance to take the boys to enjoy this historic place. Kenny just finished studying California state history so he got a chance to see all the places he has been learning about up there. SO COOL! I will leave you with a few photos of our weekend.

I heard that the Easter Bunny often shops at AT&T Park for basket treasures so we'll see....
xo, Jen

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I want those chips!

I've sat down so many times in the last 24 hours to write about these few days in our lives, but I have either been overcome in emotion or too weak in a nasty illness to get anything coherent together. Maybe today with a good night's rest and a healthy spirit I can make some sense of just how far we've come. 4 years ago this week Ken and I were faced with the most difficult diagnosis we could have ever imagined. Our sweet baby Jackson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the tender age of 27 months.

Fear crept in as we watched him try to sleep in the hospital bed those cold March nights. Fear for what his new life would bring to our family. Fear for the pain he would likely endure. Fear for his very life. In our fear, God held our hands as we poked his tiny fingers and gave every shot. With each day we gained strength and perspective. We came to realize the gift we had been given. I no longer fear for his life the way I did and I no longer fear that I won't be able to make it through the day. I am thankful to be out of this tight grip of fear. He endures much pain, Ken and I and the other boys endure much pain. We have a very different family life than most of our friends and I am still tired most days from the constancy of diabetes in our life. I wish we could have a break, even just for one day. It is not to be. And I am ok with it. Fear holds no power over me any longer.

I pray daily for diabetes to be completely removed from his body and I know God hears my prayers. For whatever His reasons are, Jackson has diabetes and right now it's the way God wants it to be. And I am ok with it too. I am reminded of Romans 8 on a daily basis. There are so many great nuggets of God's truth found there from dealing with our fear and for knowing that God does not see Jackson's diabetes as BAD. That is a human label. Only He knows what wonder can come from this disease and HE is working it in our lives and the lives of the people we encounter.

I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me yesterday in such a unique and made just for Jennifer way. Isn't it so cool how He works???? I haven't been feeling well, but I had planned out supper anyway. When I woke from a nap yesterday afternoon, I had a very distinct craving for Subway. I rarely crave food in this way, but I didn't really think much of it. So I called Ken and told him I thought he should pick up Subway sandwiches for supper after he dropped Kenny off at practice. All I could think about was those sandwiches... As we sat down to eat, I started to laugh and cry all at the same time. When Jackson was in the hospital he wasn't talking at all, but after the 2nd day he sat up when Ken and I were eating Subway some dear friends brought in for us and said as clear as day, "I want those chips!" (I rather unwillingly gave up my bag of Doritos...) I will never forget the joy I felt and still feel to this day that he was being healed and made well by our Father in heaven through a tiny vial of clear fluid. My tiny baby was going to be ok. And he is still ok - THRIVING even! I was thankful that the Holy Spirit spoke to me in terms I can understand. There was no question on how the Lord wanted me to view this week. Not to remember the pain and fear, but to remember the joy I felt in his return to wholeness, diabetes and all. And I am ok with it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Texas Spring Break Round-up

Since we flew to Canada for Mathew's wedding in February, we did not make our annual Spring break trek to Nova Scotia this year. Though Rachel was not happy about that - we had a lot of fun hanging out here in Midland.

Rachel and I went to see Coraline in 3D at the movie theater. It was a good movie, but it was a bit creepy and it scared her in parts - but she says she liked it. (on a 'not the best parenting choice' side - I did not know it was a Tim Burton movie, or I might have convinced her to see another movie)

The annual tradition of planting a vegetable garden will be continued this year! Rachel and Daddy went to get peas, corn, carrots, beans (yellow and green), cantaloupe and a tomato plant. They spent one afternoon preparing the garden spots and pots - and then planted everything. This is the 1st year for cantaloupe so that should be interesting. They were both happy about the tomato plant for me - I will be so into those fresh tomatoes!!

We took Daddy to the Olive Garden for lunch one day - Rachel's most favourite place to go eat. And apparently most of Midland feels the same way because it is usually too busy to get into eat in less that a 45 minute wait. Thankfully it was not busy because of Spring Break! Speaking of food, one place we went was very exciting for Rachel was our dinner at Mr Gatti's. There was a Schlumberger Spouses Association family gathering one night. Since this is one of Rachel's favourite places to go eat and play games, we all went. The dinner was not bad - I tried mac&cheese pizza - not a combo I would attempt to make myself! Rachel was out of her mind because she is finally tall enough to go on the bumper cars.

We got crafty together. We made this potty girl chalk board. Jennifer had mentioned seeing this stuff at Michael's so we went to check it out. We bought the hot pink chalk board paint and the yarn and this is what we came up with. Since Rachel LOVES to paint, she was happy we put 3 coats of paint on our girl.
We celebrated St Patrick's day - green clothing and lots of green food!!

Daddy took Rachel golfing one afternoon. They played the front 9 at the golf course and Rachel beat Daddy's score. He said she did very well, but that they really needed to work on her putting. She would hit off the T and then take her ball to where his landed and play from there. When I asked her about her game she told me that the golf cart was the best part - even if she did not get to drive. That's my girl - gotta love the golf cart!

By far the coolest thing we got to do over the break was at Monahans Sandhill's State Park here in Texas. We took the 50-ish mile drive, rented our sledding discs and spent part of the afternoon sledding down the sand dunes. Rachel thought it was fabulous! The sand was so soft and pretty - I could have played in it all day! So there you have it - a week full of fun family time. Rachel is excited that school starts on Monday - she misses her teacher and her classmates. The week seemed to fly by, but I guess that happens when you are having fun!

xo Amy

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top 'O the Evening to Ye Lads and Lassies ...

I would say top o the morning but it is clearly no longer morning! We had a great and GREEN St Paddy's day today here in Texas. It all started at about 4am with Rachel coming into our room and asking if she could check to see if the Leprechauns had come to leave money in her green sugar. This is a tradition that we took up because of Jennifer and her kids. When I was telling Rachel about it yesterday she said to me "Mom Leprechauns are not real" to which I answered "Well last year they left 6 quarters for each of the boys at the Allred house". After that she could not get to making the green sugar fast enough. She was pleased as punch when she was finally allowed to go to the kitchen to check on the plate of sugar. You can see in the picture that she still looks half asleep - she did not even bother to get her glasses on! Thankfully it is Spring Break and so she did not have to go anywhere today.

We made a trip to Michael's to get a project that we will be working on tomorrow - she is very excited to make the "potty person" chalkboard. At least it is a project that will take more than 10 minutes and it is something she can use in her room. After we were done there we went to the play place at McDonald's so that she could run off some of her energy. She thought a picture at the bottom of the green slide would be perfect to show off her green attire today.

When we got home we set into making our green dinner. Green cake (note that Rachel applied the sprinkles), green pancakes, green sausages, green drinks and regular coloured spuds. Rachel was most impressed with her green mustache when she was finished her drink.

Happy St Patrick's Day from Texas! I am sure that Jennifer will have a green update soon too - but she has been crazy busy shuttling kiddos around to various sports and Church activities today!

xo Amy

Sunday, March 15, 2009

In Full Swing

Little League baseball season is underway - here are the boys doing what they love to do best! Including our little guy, Kaden, he is definitely growing up and becoming more brave. Kenny has been busy in centerfield where he is pretty much the fastest kid on the field. And Jackson is the "big fish" of his team getting the chance to really show what he can do this year. He doesn't even have to hit off the tee very often because he hits most of the coach pitches. Lots of improvement all around. We are so proud of all the boys this weekend.
And we have to sunburns to prove it, LOL!

This is the theme of our next 6 weeks and I love it!

Now I am off to do their laundry...

xo, Jen

Friday, March 6, 2009

Jen's Update

Thought I would let you know about California happenings too. We have been super busy around here getting ready for our big move this summer to Wichita, KS where we grew up and Ken's company is headquartered, but I have been able to sneak in some scrappy time here and there. I am fully engrossed in the Library of Memories class with Stacy Julian at Big Picture Scrapbooking right now and lovin' it! I spent an entire weekend working through the sorting process with all my printed photos and now I have 2006-2008 printed photos all nicely set up in my storage binders. YAY!
Kenny is wrestling for his elementary school and lovin' it some of the time. He is struggling a bit with a new sport (for pretty much the first time in his life), but it has been a good learning experience even if a bit hard at times. He was able to wrestle JV a couple of weeks ago and learned much from his first competition.

Kaden had to have minor surgery last week that really took a toll on me as a mommy. He has a really REALLY rough time with anesthesia and I wasn't prepared for how difficult that was going to be for me. He is healing slowly as it is hard to keep a little one down for longer than 30 seconds.
Jackson celebrated Dr. Seuss's birthday in style this week as "thing 1" He had a fun getting all dressed up with blue hair and his fun red shirt. A kite borrowed from a good friend rounded out the ensemble. LOVE it!
So there you have it! Our house will hopefully go on the market in the next couple of weeks. We are praying for our potential buyer that God will lead them to our home very soon and it can be a smooth transition for all. I have been spending lots of time in God's word the past few weeks being reminded of all He has done for me and all He will continue to do. It has been good as my mind drifts in fear of our future right now. Please be in prayer over our family as we navigate this transition. The other night after a particularly hard day in dealing with our relocation, Ken and I looked out to find this in our front yard. A good reminder for me that God keeps His promises!

xo, Jen

Amy's Update ...

Well it has been a busy while here in Texas! And we are finally at the end of some craziness! I think we will all be excited when Spring Break gets here at the end of next week. With all the medical testing and stuff that Rachel is going through - she is exhausted and I think she will be happy to have some jammie days with Mommy. I am thoroughly amazed at the difference in her since the beginning of February. Her teacher tells us that she can see it too - our girl is more alert and participating more in class. Good timing too since they took achievement tests all last week.

Cheer leading is over for the season - much to Rachel's delight. I think she liked it, but when I asked her if she would do it again next year this was her response ... "No! Mommy I have to cheer at basketball every Saturday - and I just like to relax on Saturday". All of the cheer squads got together and did a dance for the Upward closing banquet this past Tuesday. Rachel had missed 2 of the practices when we were in Toronto for Mathew's wedding and when we had to go see her doctor. Even though she was a little unsure of some of the steps - she did a great job. Here she is during the rehearsal - doing her most favourite step - the side kick! She was in the back - where she prefers to be!

I have finally scrapped a page!! Since Jennifer and I decided to step down from running Scrappin Mojo in December - I have been in a scrappy funk. BUT I BROKER FREE - sort of. I got 2 pages done last weekend. Here is my favourite one - I used a sketch from the Big Picture Scrapbooking class that I took from Cathy Zielski at the end of last year. I can't believe that these pictures are from 2006 - it does not seem that long ago! Rachel looks so tiny jumping into that pool.
I am taking another Big Picture Class with May Floam right now and there is an online social this weekend. I have some scrappy momentum and I am hoping to get some pages done this weekend too! I have to use some of my scrappy stash since Pat at A Peek Into Yesterday is getting all kinds of new stuff in at the store right now. Need to make room for some of those fun goodies!!
Have a great weekend!
xo Amy

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Rachel does not sleep through the night - ever. OK maybe once or twice but not very often. All those parents with those sweet little babies who sleep through the night - so jealous! Jennifer, my sister, other friends ... oh my kids sleep through the night - so sorry that Rachel does not. Grrr - although I am happy for them I sure wish Rachel would learn from their kiddos!!!

BUT it turns out that it is not all my fault that Rachel is the worst sleeper ever (although I will agree I have been a bit of an enabler). The doctors have finally listened to me and Rachel is now being seen by and allergy/lung specialist. Feb 2 we went to see him for the 1st time and after 6 hours of tests and exams - he diagnosed Rachel with asthma, sinus issues and allergies. A momma knows - I have felt that she had asthma but doctors kept saying "she is too young to be tested"; "she just has a cold"; "it is croupe".
Back to my sleeping God send!! Since Rachel has been being treated for this sinus infection (which the doc said she has had for a looong time) she is sleeping through the night .... EVERY night .... since Feb 3rd she has been up only twice. This is an unheard of run of full nights sleep for Jason, Rachel and I. You should see how clean my house is because of all my extra energy! Rachel's teacher says she can see a difference in her too - more rested and just feeling better overall - participating more in class, more active and more focused. We still have allergy testing to do and some more tests to get to the bottom of the "junky" lungs, but that damage could be from being born at 29 weeks or it could be from the untreated asthma. Well it could be anything, but they have ruled out lots of scary stuff this week! Whatever it is - we will deal with it!

Thanks to God we have found out what we have so far this month! I can see the difference in Rachel now that she is being treated properly for the asthma and the sinus stuff! YIPPEEEE. I am giddeee from all the sleep.
xo Amy

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Library Of Memories Rocks

Plain, Simple, Period.
I am purging, sorting, organizing, storing, and being inspired all at the same time!
Y'all might remember that I bought and started Photo Freedom earlier this year, but I discovered I truly needed the class aspect of learning and implementing this system so I used my Christmas money this year to take this class. It is one of the best gifts a scrapbooker can give herself, or anyone who desires to scrapbook at some point in her life. I only wish I had organized this way BEFORE I started scrapbooking

It's a lot of work and a lot of time invested, but the payoff is going to be huge, I know it.
Sorry there is no picture to go with this post, but I am going to a crop tomorrow night and I hope to have lots of goodies to show you when I return.

xo, Jen

Friday, February 13, 2009

A "Green" Valentine's Day

Kenny's teacher sent home a note requesting the kids make their Valentine collection containers from recycled products. We took this quite literally and started digging things out of the recyle bin this week. I think this is quite possibly the most fabulous Valentine box ever!
(Except maybe the one I made that looked like a robot... I vaguely remember LOTS of tin foil, LOL)
We had fun and saved a few things from the landfill while we were at it. It is covered with chewing gum boxes, sugar free drink tops, leftover packaging from a few gifts, junk mail, pop tabs, a few strategically placed smashed Christmas ribbons, and much, much more. One of the parents said, "now that is one fancy Valentine box." Kenny plans to use it for a treasure box as soon as all the candies and cards are gone. Honestly, I think he questioned my spirit of creating a few days ago, but now he absolutely loves it. He is such a special little boy and I love him so very much.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

2 down, 1 to go

We successfully celebrated Valentine's Day in Jackson's Kinder class and Kaden's preschool class this morning. It was full of lots of smiles, pizza, and of course, treats! The boys loved their balloons and their classmates did too.
How can you not smile seeing 50 beautiful balloons walk into the school?
Here are a couple of pics from both their parties.


xo, Jen