Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

   I promise, this will be the last of the Valentine's post. I wanted to post today because this is my first "Leap Year Day" as a blogger. However, I couldn't really think of anything to do with that and this post has been stewing around in my mind for a while. And also because I wanted another chance to post a photo of my truffles. Just kidding. Sort of.

    Because of my intense love of Valentine's Day and all things related therein, I always make sure that I go shopping on February 15th. Because the kids and I give out so many Valentine's cards, and I love to do little goody bags, make candy, and generally decorate, I want to be sure to snatch up all the things I want for next year when they are 50% off and ripe for the picking. I do also love to pick things up at 70% and 90% (can you tell where I shop?) but the best selection is when things are at half off.

I had gotten all the things I "needed" and we were waiting in line (actually at Walmart-Target rarely has a line!) when I noticed the guy ahead of me had the Valentine's Day trifecta: giant stuffed animal, roses and a huge box of chocolates. Joel and I are both people watchers, and I was amused, so I poked Joel so he would notice. As soon as he saw, he said, "I bet he made a deal with her (the guy's girlfriend) that he would buy her twice as much if she would wait until the day after." To which I rolled my eyes, because I have expressed my desire to celebrate the 14th on the 15th multiple times, because, let's face it, I'm cheap! Anyway, I agreed with Joel's perception and we went on checking out.

And then I got to thinking about it. Joel had told me earlier that an obscene percentage of women send flowers to themselves on Valentine's Day! That thought is ludicrous to me! If you want to spend money sending me flowers, great, but no how, no way, am I sending them to myself! Joel said that it was because the women were worried they would be embarrassed in front of co-workers, and also it is the same old "one upping the Joneses" syndrome most of America suffers from. And I bet those women make sure those roses arrive ON the 14th.

Because we are so worried about what others think of us. And we are so unwilling to wait. It made me think about my spiritual walk. How many times have I "sent flowers to myself"? How many times has God tried to gently tell me that if I would wait until the day after that I would get twice as much? I am so insistent on demanding things on my schedule- I want to impress those around, and not be embarrassed.

I just couldn't shake the image of the guy with the flowers and chocolates. What a smart girlfriend he had! Willing to wait past everyone else's expectations so that she could have something better than what she could have had otherwise. And comparing that to all those poor women lying about flowers they didn't really need. Wouldn't I rather wise up and wait?

I am always so worried that if I am patient and trust the Lord's timing that I will end up a "day late and a dollar short" but so what? Maybe I will be, but I can guarantee you- be it the next day, the next month or in 10 years, He will bless me with more than I could have ever scrounged up on my own.

We often look at clearance sales as the "left overs"- but in reality you get more than you should have when you wait. Everyone else is really the ones that get the short end of the stick. They paid full price less than 24 hours before for the same thing! Who really comes out looking like the smart ones? The ones who wait.

"In the morning, O LORD, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation." Psalm 5:3

"We wait in hope for the LORD;  He is our help and our shield." Psalm 33:20

"Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes." Psalm 37:7

The last verse is probably my favorite. David knew a thing or two about waiting. You know, the guy who was anointed king and had to wait YEARS to see that promise fulfilled? Yes, he knew that waiting on God produces success.

I always think that it is my job to tell God when, where and how. But He knows what I need and when I *really* need it. And His blessings in His timing will exceed my feeble expectations infinitely. I want to be willing to wait, because sometimes a day late will be far more to my benefit than I could have ever imagined.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Valentine's Day Extravaganza 2012

 Our Valentine's Day this year started off with the traditional breakfast: pink pancakes! I even got all fancy and made them in heart shapes. It is really simple: just add a generous amount to a little less water than the recipe calls for, until you reach the required amount. I would say I probably used be 20-30 drops to get this color.
 My little morning person enjoyed his breakfast and kept me company while his sleepy head, late-riser sister snoozed. He suggested we take her breakfast in bed.
 I thought that was a really sweet idea! I even arranged her bacon in a heart shape. I picked up the "foldable" vase at the Dollar Store- really only $0.50 since there were two to a package. I love my Ikea kids' dishes- pink worked really well to make it festive.
 The surprised Valentine. She is really sweet, even when we wake her up early. I thought it was a nice coincidence that she wore her little cupcake jams (thanks for the hand-me-downs, Aunt Robyn and Gilly!).
 I always tell myself that I need to be a little more reserved when it comes to minor holidays, but it is hard! I start buying Valentine stuff in December, because I love it! Target's Dollar Spot delivered this year. It is so hard to find cute Valentine's stuff for boys, but the little robots were adorable! I *have* cut down on the amount of candy I give them- they only got about three pieces and a box of chocolates each.

 Carson showing off his new pen "necklaces". He really wanted Joel to have one, he is such a good little share"er".
 Josie showing off some of her loot. I like to pick up little things at the after Christmas sales for Valentine's Day (and other occasions). Her Squinkie ring was over 50% off at Walmart and she loved it.

I always want to make Valentines for the kids to give their friends, but they really like handing out the store bought ones (although I am a stickler: they are ONLY allowed to give out ones that come with stuff-candy, stickers, etc. because just a silly piece of paper is a waste. Kids love junk and it is  too fun to give it out!) However, Josie wanted to give Valentines to her skating instructors, also. I didn't want embarass myself by having her give the animal sticker and Tinkerbell ones she gave her friends. I usually do something for them on the last day of class anyway, and this was easy! They are "Smarty" Pants Valentines!

 I got the idea from a back-to-school issue of Family Fun magazine, I think. I can't remember. I tweaked it for a Valentine. I traced half of a pair of pants from some cardstock. I just free handed it.
 I folded the cardstock in half and cut the template out so the pants would be even. I added some details, just to visualize the effect.
 I traced the pants onto red and pink construction paper. I then drew on details: waistband, pockets, fly and "seams" on each pair. I wrote "Happy Valentine's "Smarty" Pants!" on the back. I put two glue dots on each "leg" on the front and attached an entire roll of Smarty candies to each side. I thought they turned out pretty cute! I put them in bags with hand sanitizer, some more candy and pencils for each teacher (she had four, and they were all pretty young, so I think they appreciated the little gesture).
 She also did Valentines for all the students in her class. Here she is, all ready for her last lesson of Basic 1. I figured out that between the two kids and myself, we handed out almost 100 Valentines! I really do love that holiday.
Showing off her "snowplow stop". She tested that night to get her patch and move on to the next class. She passed, and we were so proud of her! Her Valentines were a big hit, too.
 My real Valentine and me. We love celebrating as a family, I think for right now that is more special than trying to make it all romantic. We had a great day anyway- how could I not? Joel brought me chocolates!
 Joel's special surprise to the kids was an ice cream cake. I thought it was so cute.
 The kids thought it was so tasty! They loved using their new dishes (again, thanks, Dollar Spot). It was a little late at night, but who doesn't love ice cream in their jammies?
 We celebrated Valentine's Day late at my moms' Bible study (the Thursday after) so I had time to make these tasty Cake Batter Truffles. The blogger says that out of the three that the Cake Batter is her favorite. I have tried all three (Oreo and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough are the other ones) and Oreo is still my favorite. But these ARE really good, and super simple! I heart candy making.
 Sooo, funny story. I bought these adorable take-out boxes at Walmart to give all the truffles to my Bible study friends. I packed two and then decided to do the rest in the morning. I meant to finish at church. Except I forgot the cute boxes. Fail. Maybe next year...
I had a blast buying some things at half price to decorate at Bible study. All the women exchanged Valentines. It was wonderful to get grown-up encouraging notes from everyone! I highly recommend it. All of them were handwritten and some were even handmade. It was better than being in first grade and going home with a stuffed mailbox. It definitely made our little party a success.

It was a great Valentine's Day. In my mind, there can be nothing wrong with a holiday that lets you go all out to tell the people that mean the most to you that you love them: your hubby, your kids and even your friends! I am already planning next year...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Totally 80's-For My 30th!

This year was the big 3-0 for me. Surprisingly, I was excited about turning 30. It seems to be the threshold of "real" adulthood, but not only that, I am quickly realizing that life moves fast, better not to mourn things that do not merit sadness. Turning 30 is one of those things. I am not, nor am I anywhere close. Ask me again when I am 80. But I did feel that this merited a party. Perhaps it is rude to throw oneself a party (I wouldn't know, but feel free to ask Mrs. Post on my behalf.) but I really can't say that I did it solo, I had lots of help from my Honey and some very good friends.

Joel came up with the 80's theme (I won't force you to do the math, I was born in 1982.) and at first I kind of balked. What exactly constituted the 80's? Then it hit me: tacky is truly the best descriptive phrase for that decade. And tacky, well, I can do tacky!

I always have to have a banner and this one practically put itself together. Two packages of glitter foam and roll of black grosgrain ribbon from the dollar store. A little hot glue. Wah-lah!

I always have to have a banner. This one practically put itself together. Two packages of glitter foam and some grosgrain from the dollar store. Wah-lah!
My best decorating cohort in crime, Sarah, designed the invites for my party. I am realizing just now that I forgot to take a photo of the invitation. Perhaps later. Anyway, they were great neon colors with zebra print, and they were the springboard for the color scheme: pink and green with zebra print. Awful, yes? The pink plastic containers are from the dollar store, and the confetti is from Party City ($3). The plates, tablecloth, napkins and favor boxes are from Hobby Lobby. Joel bought the vintage record for my cake plate. (Goodwill, $0.50) (See, Mom, I am using my crock from Goodwill that you bought me!)
It actually turned out really cute. And much nicer than those silly "over the hill" parties people do for 30. The only thing that said "30" was my store-bought banner from Hobby Lobby (that is also where I got the spirals from as well). I don't usually do the diva style-you know, hot pink and animal prints, but it went so well for this!

One of my favorite things of the whole party was the "photo booth". So simple, but it was fantastic having a picture of everyone at the end of the night! I asked each couple to pose when they came in. I didn't miss anyone and it will make a great page when I do a photobook.

The setup could not have been simpler. I took my rolling wardrobe rack, raised it to it highest position and extended the arms. I covered it with a full size white sheet and draped the banner over it.

I made little "speech bubble" signs with neon poster board and balloon sticks. I usually throw at least 3-4 parties in a given year and balloon sticks (purchased at Hobby Lobby) have saved me countless dollars on helium filled balloons. Just pop a cheap-o balloon that you blew up yourself into the plastic collar and you have stand up balloons just the right height for table decor.

They worked perfectly taped to the back of my bubbles as handles. By the way, they said, "Rad!", "Totally Cool!" "Like Awesome, Dude!" and "Cowabunga!" I was not smart enough to open my mouth the way you are supposed to, so it looks like you are talking. Still cute, though.
Click on the photo to enlarge the instructions for the photo booth.I printed it on the computer and popped it into an 8x10 frame from my house. The pink basket is filled with props: glasses, sheriff's badge, cheap bead necklaces, etc, for your photo taking enjoyment.
The party favors. I have two party rules, well actually three, now. 1. You must have balloons. 2. You must have a banner. 3. You must have favors, no matter the age or sex of the party-goers. I think my mom did that to me.
The favors were so fun to put together. They included a variety of candy, and then each had different toys for the boy ones and the girl ones. The guys had the sticky "wall-walker" dudes and a Rubik's cube. You did not live in the 80's if you do not know what a Rubik's cube is. Thank you, Party City, for providing them in perfect colors for $0.59 each!
The girls' favors were fun, too. They each got a cheap animal print ring and a really fun "make your own friendship bracelet" kit- also from Party City. That place has the BEST selection of favors. And I love that you can buy them individually-perfect when you have an unusual number of guests! And so inexpensive- the rings were $0.25 and the kits were $0.59. Even the Sixlets and Pop Rocks were priced individually! I bought the Smarties, Toostie Pops and Fun Dips at Target.
I forgot that I had bought Pixie Stix. :( I always forget something at a party, so I guess that wasn't too bad. All the boys favors were green and the girls were pink.

Set up was pretty simple. My dear, gracious friend, Christy offered up her house for the shindig. Ours is way too small to have more than about 6 people. It was great! The zebra lanterns, tablecloth and scrapbook paper used as a runner are all from Hobby Lobby.

The prizes were fun, too. Bubble Tape, slinky, cheap plastic bangles, candy necklaces, a klacker- all reminded me of my childhood. We played some great games. My friend Sarah's husband put together a fantastic movie clip game that was a smash hit. She did a balloon popping trivia game, and I did a riddle game using songs from the top 100 of the 80's. There were also prizes for best costume, because you can't have an 80's party without dressing up!
I used the glow in the dark stars, and borrowed the Rubik's cube and rings from the favors to use as table scatter.
A pulled back shot of the photo booth, along with the tripod. That worked so well for taking photos- I even got a few decent self-timer shots.
My "too cool for school" hubby and me all decked out in our 80's best. When Sarah and I went shopping for our outfits were were amazed that all those ugly clothes are back in style! My dress is from Charlotte Russe ($15) and also that crazy ugly necklace. The headband is from Party City ($3) and the bracelets I already had. You can't see my shoes, but they were crocheted flats from Kohl's ($4). It came together well once I teased the tarnation out of my hair- it took 3 applications of hairspray to get it that full-it is pretty flat normally!

And what is a birthday without an unflattering, about to blow out the candles, photo? It is really awkward to have 12 other adults sing to you while you stand there.  It was worth the wait for the cakes though: red velvet and Tuxedo Cream Mousse Cheesecake by the Cheesecake Factory (both from Costco).
Someone joked that once I pulled the candles out that it looked like eyes. So I added a mouth.

It was a fabulous party. Everyone had a great time (although that could have just been because we were all so giddy without our children!) and we are already planning our next one. It could have also been the food- I am a big fan of catering. We had Rudy's Barbeque and it was wonderful! Good food, great friends and plenty of laughter. It was a marvelous way to start off my third decade!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Visit from Grammy and Grandpa Doc

My parents surprised me with a visit in the end of January. I was very excited, because this was the first time my mom would see my house. We had a wonderful time, and the visit was filled with my favorite activity: shopping! I wish I had taken more pictures, but sometimes it is nice to just enjoy the time together and not making everything a major event. My mom bought me a sewing machine for Christmas and she spent some time teaching me some tips (like how to thread the machine!) and my lack of knowledge was so hilarious that even Joel had to get in on the action. He gave some pattern-reading tips.
My parents brought my two youngest brothers, Luke and Mark. Carson was so happy to have some boys to play with! Grammy bought the boys all matching Star Wars Lego shirts and they were so cute matching.

Luke will probably want to karate chop me when he sees this photo! No time with Grammy would be complete without a trip to the Mouse House (Chuck E. Cheese's). Everyone loves it.
Jocelyn and Grammy played Grammy's favorite game: air hockey.

Dad and the boys enjoyed some video game racing time.

Josie and Grammy playing Grammy's other favorite game: Skee Ball. Grammy is pretty good!

Taking grown men to Chuck E. Cheese is hilarious. It is hard to know who has more fun: the men or the kids. My dad looked pretty goofy playing this 3D game.
Never to young to start with the video games! Carson was piloting some sort of aircraft.

Jocelyn's favorite game was this wave rider game. It made you feel like you were in the ocean, or on a roller coaster, etc. She made everyone ride it with her and probably went on it ten times.
Me and my dad.

The boys chose glow in the dark teeth as their prize. Here they are making scary "werewolf" faces, according to Carson.

He loved his teeth so much he went to sleep with them in his mouth on the way home! It was kind of hilarious.
Grammy is always so good to read to the kids. She brought special books for each of them. Carson's was about knights and dragons, and he loves it. It was too short of a visit, but I won't complain because I am just glad we got to spend time together. Hopefully we can do it again soon!


Related Posts with Thumbnails