Monday, October 3, 2011

How I Spent my 31st Birthday


1-6.) The first thing we did was stop at Panera bread and pick up a bakers dozen of bagels. Six assorted flavors of regular bagels, and 7 of the ribbon shaped bagels they are doing in the month of October for breast cancer awareness. We took the six assorted bagels to a fire station down the road and thanked them for their service to the community.

7 & 8.) Next we went to Wal Mart and picked up two $10 gift cards to take up to the hospital to give to moms who'd delivered babies today... my birthday

here's where the story gets frustrating. Before we went and got the gift cards, I called Cox Hospital to make sure it'd be ok for us to do the gift card idea. They gave me the run around transferring me to several different people who'd all put me on hold after hearing what I wanted to do and then transfer me to someone else, and in the end straight up just told me that I couldn't do it for security reasons. No visitors are allowed in the maternity ward there unless the visitors know the patients first and last name. I was trying to explain to them that I didn't know their names because I was trying to do a kindness to strangers (duh!) and even asked if it'd be ok to do if they told the parents of the newborn what I wanted to do and got their ok and still they said no. I sat in the car upset that while I understood their reasons, it's sad that you can't do something random and kind for strangers anymore. Then, I decided to call St. John's and after speaking to just one person they said that they loved the idea and told me who to talk to when I got there. So we went to Wal Mart, got the gift cards and off to the hospital we went.

When we got there we had to wait for a little while, while the nurse who was going to take us to patients rooms finished up deliverying a baby. Turns out... it was a busy birthday at St. John's today on labor and delivery! :)  While we were waiting, we struck up conversation with the gals at the desk and found out that one is from the town right next to ours. small world! Usually people in the city haven't heard of our small town. So the nurse finished up and came out to meet us (everyone up there had heard about us coming and was calling me "random acts of kindness girl") and told us that it's her birthday today too! The second new mom she took me to meet, it had been her birthday yesterday, she had a baby today... AND, today was her and her husband's anniversary!!! She shook my hand, thanked me, and told me she'd never forget that I'd been there and done that on the day her baby was born. That stuck with me. She had a baby boy... Henry... and this will always be something she'll include when she tells Henry the story of the day he was born. I love that.

9.) On our way home we stopped at a gas station to use the restroom and get fountain sodas. There was another woman there getting a soda and we paid for hers. She didn't know we paid for hers...

10.) While we were at the gas station I bought two king sized Reeses Peanut Butter Cups because I'd called the nursing home close to us and found out that a man there was also celebrating his birthday today and he loves chocolate. Peanut Butter Cups in particular. I'm not sure that he was in his right mind enough to understand why I was there giving him chocolate... but I like to think I brightened his day when otherwise he'd have been lonely on his birthday.

11.) I taped money to a newpaper stand with a note to please enjoy the act of kindness

12 & 13.) I taped money to a soda machine on my way into wal mart tonight with a note to please enjoy the act of kindness. On the way out of wal mart I looked at the soda machine and noticed that the change was gone, so I taped more money and another note up.

14.) at Wal Mart, I bought a bag of White Chocolate Candy Corn M&M's for to give to my in-laws

15 & 16.) I took breast cancer awareness ribbon bagels to two women in town who I thought would love them.

and if you can count it...

17.) I shared my birthday dessert at HuHot with Jason today :)

I started the day thinking I'd do 31 acts of kindness but I ran out of time because I had to deal with two kids (our 5 year old running a fever and our 16 year old throwing up at school).

The point of this day/blog was not to brag on myself. I don't need pats on the back. Blessing others today was the best gift I could have gotten. Making other people happy makes me happy. It made me sad several times today though when people gave me funny looks for wanting to do something nice. It should be the norm... not the oddity.

I might make this a birthday tradition. Who knows? at least the part of going to the hospital and nursing home and visiting with people born on the same day as me. I love birthdays!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things (Part 1)

I've decided to do a series of blog posts highlighting some of the current things I'm crushing on. I enjoy them so much that I think you all should too! I am in no way endorsed by any company or product I review... just wanted to share some of my favorite things.

Today's favorite thing is one that I just recently stumbled upon. I constantly have the radio in my suburban on KLOVE. It's all I listen to in the car as far as radio stations, and the other day they were talking about this app that sounded so cool I had to check it out.

It's called: Big Church Bingo

The idea is, to take your kid(s) into "big church" with you (as opposed to "kids church" I guess. But we don't have anything like a kids church program at the teensy church we attend out here in the country), and instead of letting them color in color books, pick their nose, kick the seat in front of them, whine and fidget, etc., you hand them your phone (which, if they are anything like my kids are always begging to play games on my phone anyway). THEY think they are getting to play games in church! *gasp* but they joke's on them. Really, they are listening during the sermon for certain words and checking them off as they hear them... thus, PAYING ATTENTION (and being quiet at the same time.)

It costs $1.99 through iTunes but is well worth every penny.


Try not to notice my filthy phone. It's not actually scratched... that's the protective film on top of my phone. Ok, so anyways... for me, with the iPhone 4, I can categorize my apps into folders and in this case, I have the BCB app in a folder labeled "Bible"

You can add as many players as you want. For me, I've got my two littlest rugrats, Audrey and Levi listed. I do have to say though... that it's geared more towards Levi's age (7) or older. Audrey had difficulty reading the words so then I had to help her which kind of defeated the purpose.


Here's an example of what a Bingo board would look like:


And one of the feature I love is that there is a word bank so you can see all of the words that could possibly show up on the Bingo board.... and you can add your own if you think of one that they don't have listed. This comes in handy for different denominations who might use certain words more frequently.


And there you have it.

If you end up getting the app, let me know how you like it! I'd love to know. :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Halloween Costumes

HELP! I need ideas for a cool (unique) halloween costume for Levi. One that he could easily wear to school. I've had Audrey's costume in mind for quite a while but then the other day I decided that maybe it'd be better suited for Levi and he immediately jumped on board. Well... don't 'cha know, Audrey is insistent on being it (I think secretly because she knows her brother wants to). I even had a cute girly back up costume idea for Audrey. but nope... she wantes to stick to the original plan. Shucks. So, now I need ideas for Levi. I'm not going to tell you all what Audrey is being until the day of or after Halloween. That's just how I roll... but I promise you, it's adorable. Now for Levi....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Those Eyes

These eyes belong to my husband.


My best friend, comforter, protector, provider.

My sounding board, investor, and biggest fan.

I melt in these eyes! The way they can see inside my soul... The way I can look into them and no words even need to be said. Tyra Banks would love Jason... he's got "smeyes-ing" down pat (that's when you smile with your eyes!)

I love those sparkly honest eyes!

But while we're looking at this picture, let's also nottice the wrinkles around the eyes. He hates them. I love them. I love them because he worked hard to get them. It means that as a farmer, he spends lots of hours out in the hot sun working hard to provide for our family.

And also the freckles on his upper lip..... *swoon*

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gruhn Family

as promised... here are a couple of photos from my shoot yesterday. Two more shoots tomorrow...


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What I've Been Up To

Gah! I can't keep up with this blog! I saw a friend on facebook blogged today and it reminded me that I'm neglecting my own. Not even sure if anyone reads this anymore!

School is in full swing. And along with that comes fall sports. I've got just about the cutest little peewee football player you've ever seen... and his little sister cheering him on on the peewee cheer squad. Last Saturday was their first game. It was on a grassy pot holey field, not on turf, and my little stud rolled his ankle during a tackle and then it was stepped on during the dog pile. Ouch! Thankfully, it wasn't broken. It looks much worse than it actually is and hopefully if he takes it easy at school this week, he'll be back on the ball field at this weekend's game.

What else?

Also with fall comes beautiful weather and more photo shoots. I'm starting to really book up for September which thrills me. I'll be posting some of those on here later.

Ok... I've got two extra kiddos at my house today after school so I'm going to end this short blog post for now and go play.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

School Pictures

Well...

I've found another use for that chalkboard wall of mine.

Last night, I was looking online at photography backdrops and I was seeing some cute vinyle faux chalkboard backdrops and happened to think to myself... HEY! I have a huge chalkboard wall in my kitchen. Ta-Da... a backdrop was born.

So, today I set the kids up for a "school pictures" photo shoot... and an idea was created.

I'll offer school pictures! Who loves paying out the nose for those boring pictures you get at school?? NOT ME, that's who!

Coming this fall, my photography business, Bex Photography, will be offering school pictures! Find me on facebook for more information!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Good Reminder

One of my favorite things about our house is a wall in our kitchen that we turned into a giant chalkboard. It literally takes up the whole wall. I love this wall for two reasons. The obvious reason is that it allows us to be creative. The kids (and even us adults) can draw murals and leave love notes. I've used this chalkboard as a huge calendar during busy school months with several sports activities going on at once. Every family member had their own color on the calendar. I've used it for homeschooling lessons. I've used it to write out meal planning and shopping lists. But right now, it's serving as a good reminder to us. I've recently written out one of my favorite scriptures. I paraphrased a little so to see the whole verse in it's accuracy, look it up. But this gives the basic gist... to not sin in our anger and to only speak if it's going to be helpful to others.... which means no bickering, no gossiping, no cussing, no arguing, no tattling, no talking back or speaking with nasty attitude behind the words. It's kinda hard to ignore when a six foot chalkboard wall is staring us in the face every time we gather in the kitchen.




Oh... and as for the other reason why it's one of my favorite parts of the house...

I painted this chalkboard wall in the house when it was only Jason's house and we were just dating. What kind of guy lets a girl that he's only dating do something crazy to his house like that? A guy who was crazy about the girl, would literally do anything for her, and just knew that one day it'd be her house to. That's who. :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mantle Headboards

So, lately I've been obsessed with turning a mantle into a headboard. I just think it's such a cool idea!

Soooo... I've googled some inspiration and I'm posting pics and links here for future reference (and in case you too become obsessed with wanting to turn a mantle into a headboard!)

The only problem I see is that we've got a king sized bed, so it'd have to be one large mantle! Or, Maybe I could do this in Audrey's room. She currently only has a mattress on a frame with no headboard or footboard.



http://www.southernliving.com/home-garden/decorating/make-a-mantel-your-headboard-00400000008705/


http://www.poetichome.com/2011/05/05/5-salvaged-mantles-repurposed-as-headboards/


http://antique-arts.com/5-salvaged-mantles-repurposed-as-headboards/

You get the idea, right? Cute, right? I know!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

How To: Recipe Binders

I love food! I love to eat it (obviously), I love to cook it, I love to stare at beautiful pictures of it, I love to walk into a room and smell it.... and I'm lucky in that I married a man who loves to cook. There's a plus side to this and a downside to this though. The obvious plus side is that he does a LOT to help in the kitchen and his food is always always yummy. Yes, I typed always twice. Purposefully. That's how yummy. The down side is that I can go all day craving a food and have it in my head that I'm going to make it for supper and I'll find out that Jason has already laid out a meat to cook for supper, or he's craving something different. But most of the time it's great to have someone who is so much help in the kitchen and who also loves to try new culinary things.

Because we are both such avid food lovers, we subscribe to a few food magazines (Rachael Ray, Food Network, Taste of Home... to name a few). If we saved all of those magazines and allowed them to pile up they would take over our house! But there are recipes that we want to keep to try out. So, instead of keeping the whole magazine we will tear out whatever pages have recipes that we want to try... and chuck the rest. Shame on me for not recycling, I know. You find a recycling company that will pick up in the middle of nowhere and I'll be all over it.

This now leaves the mess of having a million cut out recipes that could just float around and get lost or trash the house. So... here's my solution...

recipe binders!


I got these four binders in different colors at Target and I use each one for different types of food. I used stickers to label the spines of the binders (Meats, Veggies, Breads, and Sweets).




What I do is... I cut out the recipe that I'm wanting to save, glue it to a plain piece of computer paper, and stick it in a clear plastic sleeve. This way, the pages don't get all torn and nasty while I'm flipping through, the corners of the recipe don't peel up off of the paper, and best of all... while I'm cooking and I have the recipe binder on the counter in front of me for reference, it's not getting all messy. If anything splatters I can just wipe it up! For now, the meat binder is chock full while the breads binder isn't so full. In the meat binder I have recipes devided up by meat (seafood, chicken, beef, pork, ham, turkey, etc.)




And there you have it. My "simple" solution. I put simple in quotes because it IS a bit time consuming and messy...


... but totally worth it in the end.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Fun Things About Being Five

Thursday, my little girl turned five. Which means that for the next eight days we will have a 5 year old and a 6 year old... and then Levi turns 7. I don't want to talk about it!

Audrey had a tough time turning five. One day she was excited about her upcoming birthday tea party with friends, and the next day she'd be seemingly sad that she's growing up and telling us she doesn't want to turn five. The funny thing is... I'm the exact same way!!! It's uncanny the resemblances between me and my little mini-me.

* Neither one of us can make a good split second decision. It can sometimes take us a good five minutes to make a desicion that should only take a moment, like, for instance, which candy bar to purchase while in the check out line.

* We both have a hard time being wrong and apologizing when we are. Since I'm an adult now and more mature, it is easier for me to apologize now when I know that I'm wrong... but Audrey is still very much headstrong and hates hates HATES to have to apologize.

* Neither of us is good at censoring before we talk. We both shoot straight from the hip. If we are thinking something... you'll know it!

* Both of us are wildly outgoing... in the comfort of our own home... and shy about meeting new people

Then there's the obvious similarities. She has my upturned nose, she has the same freckles dotting across her nose and cheeks. She's got beautiful golden hair (I was born blond headed), we both have ten fingers and ten toes. I mean... it's bizarre! She's smart as a whip! :)

I love every ounce of this little girl.

Since she was having a hard time turning five, we had a talk with her about how fun five is, and all of the cool things that five year olds get to do, such as: playing soccer, getting a library card, taking the training wheels off of the bike, and... going to Kindergarten.

what in THE world am I going to do next year without this little girl home with me all day??

I don't want to talk about it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Felt Flower Hair Clips

Who's ready for spring?!?

I am I am!!

I tried making this new/different style of felt flower hair clip today and I love it!!



I got my inspiration here:  CLICK HERE

she gives a great tutorial on how to make them, so I'll just let you hop over there to find out how instead of trying to take a million pictures myself of the whole process.

Gotta start stocking up on cute spring accessories for the little girl in your life!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Framed Hand Heart Stamps


With Valentine's Day coming up, I wanted to share a fun, cheap, and QUICK project I did with my 6 (then 5) year old last year.

All you need is a frame, some cardstock cut to fit your frame, red paint, and a hand. It doesn't even have to be a kid's hand... you could do your own! This would be a great idea for a homemade Valentine's card for your honey.

Paint the inside of the fist (from the top of the pinkie to the wrist) with paint, then, curving the fist into the shape of half of a heart, stamp it onto the paper. Repeat with other hand. VOILA! How easy is that??  I wrote my son's name with the year on it so I'll always remember when we did it.



I wish I could say that I came up with this idea on my own, but I didn't. [CLICK HERE] for my inspiration.


I've linked this post up at a couple of places... but I'm too new to this to know how to add a "button" that people can click on to join the party. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Very Cranky Bear

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite kid's books with you all.

The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland



I adore everything about this book. I love that it's a rhyming book, I love the illustrations, and most importantly, I love the lesson that it teaches.

The book starts out with four friends (zebra, moose, lion, and sheep) looking for a warm place to play together...



But little do they know... there's someone else in that cave...





the very cranky bear. Or at least... they think he's cranky. So, they go about trying to cheer him up.



Zebra thinks the bear would cheer up if he had stripes. Moose thinks the bear would cheer up if he had antlers. Lion thinks the bear would cheer up if he had a golden mane. And sheep, whose plain, just stands watching them all be vain.









But none of those things cheered him up.





So sheep goes and clips her wool and makes the bear a soft pillow to lay his head on...



... which cheers the bear up so he can fall back asleep and the four friends can go back to playing cards in his cave.

Moral of the story: Being plain is ok. Being thoughtful is more important than having beautiful things. "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."



I'm pretty sure I got this book from a Scholastic book order. Look for it next time your child brings one home. And for all of you homeschooling mamas... did you know you can open an educators Scholastic account and order books? Well, you can.  :)

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What I've Been Doing Today...

Since I'm sure you really care {and for lack of anything else to blog about today...}

Here's what I've been up to today...

First of all... I accidentally turned off my alarm this morning and overslept, thus not waking our six year old up in time and scrambling to get him to school fifteen minutes late... for the first time ever. That kind of set my morning off to a bad start until the hubs brought it to my attention that I was being a bear and not to let oversleeping make me have a whole bad day. So... I decided not to let it. And I'm sure glad I did. Because even though it's like 4 degrees here... we are having a good day!

I've gotten some more done on my quilt...



I've braided my girls hair because she "wants to look like Tangled, mommy!"



I've worked out on my elliptical... trying to stick to a diet/excercise. In fact... last night I started craving Mexican food and this morning when the hubs asked me if I wanted to go to town with him, I fluttered my eyelashes and asked him ever so kindly if we could go get Mexican while we were there. Since he rarely turns me down (except for when I'm watching the Bachelor and ask him if he's going to take me to Costa Rica to see a toucan. His response: "I'll take you to the zoo.") he agreed to go, but then at the last second I decided to have willpower and stick to my diet and not go get Mexican. I'll thank myself for that later.



Instead... I snacked on some green olives



Oh my word. I could eat green olives out of the jar with a spoon. Oops, I just did! Nom Nom. At just 25 calories and 0 carbs per 5 olives... it makes the perfect snacky snack. Just gotta watch that sodium. Ouch. There again though... I'll sweat that off on the elliptical again later. *pops another olive into mouth*

Let's see what else have I done?

After I worked out, I played babies with my girl. The babies are sleeping right now.



It's not been a TOTAL wash of a day though... I did manage to do a load of dishes.



I also worked on lots of preschool workbook pages with my girl.

So now... in a few minutes we will bundle up and brave the 4 degree weather to go get the kids from school. Then it'll be homework and supper. (which, by the way... I don't know what I'm making for supper tonight yet. Oops. That's one of the hard parts of being on a diet for me... feeding my family. But I guess they need to eat.)

and then I'm going to go to the Relay For Life Kick-off Celebration. I'm co-chairing the Enterainment Committee this year with Jason's cousin.

What did YOU do today?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

You Are So Tweet

Looking for a cute different, fun, HOMEMADE valentines day idea?


These are super easy to make. They take some time because you have to bake them, but you only need three ingredients and a couple of tools.

Ingredients:
3/4 Cup Birdseed
1 T. Flour
2 T. Water

Tools:
Cookie sheet
Foil
Cooking Spray
Heart cookie cutter (metal)
Straw
Ribbon

Preheat oven to 175 degrees.

Spray your heart shaped cookie cutters with cooking spray and lay them on foil on top of a baking sheet.

Add the bird seed, flour and water to a mixing bowl. Mix well. Pack the bird seed mixture into the cookie cutters.

Insert half of a straw into the top of the bird seed mixture. This will make a hole on top so that you can string ribbon through to hang it.

Bake the bird seed mixture for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Remove the straw and carefully add the ribbon through the hole.
For my little birdie valentines message I free-handed a bird onto sturdy cardstock paper, outlined it with a thick marker, cut around the outline, cut a slit in the top with an xacto knife, and put the ribbon through it before I tied a knot in the ribbon to hang it.

I hope you love these and will make some of your own to hang around. Now, I'm trying to think of other clever and witty little one liners that would go well with these as valentines. "I like to hang out with you." No? If you can think of any... PLEASE let me know!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

English Paper Piecing



As promised...

Here are pictures of my current quilt in progress. Aaaaaand... it's my first quilt. Ever.

I'm English paper piecing.

English paper piecing is great in that you don't need a machine. You can take everything with you. I've worked on this quilt in the passenger seat of the car while my hubby is driving, in waiting rooms, at my boys' football practice, outside on the front porch while my babies played in the yard, etc.



I started this quilt last winter.

New readers to my blog don't know this, but last December my husband  was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of non hodgkins lymphoma (a blood cancer). I started this quilt as a way to keep myself busy while I was sitting with him in the hospital while he got chemo treatments. We live an hour and a half away from the hospital he was treated at and every two weeks we drove up and stayed for 5-6 days at the hospital. The certain types of chemo he was getting required him to stay in the hospital that whole time. And I stayed with him. (Thanks to awesome family and friends who watched our kids for us.)



This quilt was my way of staying busy. The plan was to be done with it by the time he was done getting chemo. Yeeeeeah... it's over a year later and I'm still not half done. I get burnt out and have to put it down every now and then which delays it getting done.



I came up with the design on my own. Lime green is the lymphoma awareness ribbon color. The part that I have done says "Beat It" in the top left hand corner... and in the bottom right cormer I'll have another heart with "Cure It". "Beat It, Cure It"  is the lymphoma awareness catch phrase.  And, the very bottom will be a repeat of the top with the green ribbons going across the top.



so anyway, It's still my work in progress. I decided to pull it out during this blizzard we are having and get some quilting done. Maybe I'll be done with it by this years Relay For Life. Hopefully

Oh yeah... and I'm happy to say...

my husband beat lymphoma!! March 26th will be one year cancer free. Praise the Lord!

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