Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

So, here's the thing. I like making lists. Not only to keep me on track...but so I can feel productive when I cross things off. :) AND, I love new beginnings. I love Jan. 1, because it's a new year. I love spring because it brings fresh, new life. I like September as it brings a new school year. Get the idea? So, obviously, a New Year's Resolutions list is right up my alley. I'm ultra excited this year cuz I don't have to put "lose weight" at #1. :) My list this year got kinda long, so I divided it up into sections. Here goes...

-exercise daily (besides my daily dog walk)
-lose 15 lbs. (I know, I said I didn't have to do this, but I do really have more to lose)

-get baptized (I'm only puting this on the list so I can cross it off on Sunday!)
-get deeper/longer into my morning Bible studies
-give more to charity
-keep a prayer journal (I just finished altering one today!)
-play with art more
-be nicer to Barry
-keep up better communication with friends and family (like actually using the cards I make!)
-consistent blogging
-personal development with my 2010 theme (more to follow)

Domestic Engineering:
-less time on the computer
-stick to our newly developed/needed budget
-keep house "showing ready" (we're hoping to move to the country and closer to Barry's new
-start composting
-take gardening more seriously
-learn to can
-better menu planning
-try one new recipe a month

-read aloud to kids more consistently
-keep a better & more consistent records/schedule/plan
-more science & art

So, how's that for keeping busy? I know, I overdo it sometimes...

Ok, my 2010 theme. I've seen other bloggers choose a word or theme to focus on for the year, and I thought I'd try it. I recently decided on "Contentment" as mine for 2010. Then my wonderful friend (and pastor's wife) Martha, wrote her Christmas card letter about contentment. I took that as a sign of God's approval. :) So, I'm going to work on being content this year. This will be big for me. I am happy. I am at peace (God's peace, that is). But generally speaking, I'm always wanting more or different. Not in a materialistic way...more like in a "grass is greener" way. I know this keeps me from truly living in the moment, for today...always being distracted and focused on where I'm going instead of just enjoying the journey.

Well, guess I'll finally end now....and curl up with some books and watch my girls play Wii. The goal is to see the ball drop in New York, but we'll see. Barry's at work...his last day at Marten. Hoping he'll be home in time for the ball drop. Funny how different my life is now, compared with just a decade ago. Wow. Much better. :)

Happy New Year everyone...and God bless!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Post-Christmas Catch Up

I know, I'm WAY behind on posting. I had great intentions of writing before Christmas, but just didn't make it. So, let's get caught up on all of the pre-Christmas goings on.

Erin got to be Mary when the kids sang in church the Sunday before Christmas. That was cool, because last year, Alana played Mary at our old church's program.

And the girls were, once again, in the church's Extreme Christmas Musical. And this year, I was, too...behind the scenes anyway. I was part of the costume/prop team, and then helped backstage during the performance. Boy, did I learn a lot! Especially when Elvis had a hard time even getting into the building! (Don't ask!)

But I digress...the girls, and all of the kids, were fantastic! Alana & Erin were "poodle skirt girls" and each had a little duet. Each year the performance gets easier for the girls...which is why I "urge" them to do it. :) I think this year was even easier for them as they're more familiar with the church and the people there. We all had a great time!

The "poodle skirt girls"...

Alana singing her duet....

And Erin singing her duet...

The girls also had a piano recital at their teacher's house. They each played solos, duets, and one song all three girls played together (with Claire, Erin's bestest friend). They were fabulous, and I think they even had fun!

Well, that pretty much sums up pre-Christmas. I haven't even begun to touch my Christmas pictures yet....hopefully, I'll have those up within a couple of days. It was a good Christmas though. The weather looked like it was going to really mess things up, but God was good and got us to mom & dad's safe and sound (although, not up the driveway!) It was definitely one to remember...Dad having to pull us up, and then down the driveway. :) I didn't even really miss the cookies and candies...and I never heard the girls complain. I think we all probably felt a lot healthier this year without it.
We do have some very big news, though. After 22 years at Marten, Barry has moved on to a new job. This was a VERY big deal for him...and us. But, I at least, feel very happy and at peace with the decision...even though we're taking a 25% paycut. Barry will finally be back to working days, so we might be able to have a normal family life. It sounds as if they really want his opinion of the status quo...and will value any changes he makes. I think just having new challenges will be good for him. I'm excited. My prayer is that he might actually LIKE his job...that would be a huge change.
I plan to start off the new year right...I'm getting baptized on Sunday! I'm SO excited. I've wanted to be baptized ever since being born again...about 4 1/2 years ago. But my old church doesn't believe in "believer's baptism", so I guess I just put it off. But the excuses are over. Sunday I will obey my Lord...He said to "believe and be baptized," and I will.
Here's to a fabulous new year!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Celebrating Life!

A year ago today I woke up in a hospital room with a new life. December 7, 2008, Erin was taken by ambulance to Mayo in Rochester with a blood sugar number around 1300 (70 to 120 is good). She probably should have died. In light of that, the diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes was pretty insignificant...yet, it still drastically changed our lives.

I thank God everyday for the time I have with my kids. I thank Him for carrying me through the struggles and frustrations of the past year. I thank Him for directing us to people and ideas that have helped us live healthier lives. And I'm truly thankful for this "thorn in our side," as it has brought our family closer to each other and to our Lord.

For all of this gratitude, I thought it would be fitting to "celebrate" surviving our first year with the disease. Erin has been begging for earrings for over a year. I had intended to be one of those "mean" moms who made her wait til she was in her teens...but I thought that in spite of all that she's endured and matured through, she probably deserved them. So, last Friday we took a trip to Eau Claire to get earrings. The girls were very nervous, but no tears were shed.

AND, we found some pretty cool headbands that will help immensely with their "growing out the bangs" pangs. However, some tears were shed by mom & dad when we got the bill! Prices have gone up a bit since I was in Claire's last!

And not to leave out child #1, here is the picture of Tony's big buck that I promised. Nice job, Babe!

This is our busy December week. The girls' piano recital is scheduled for tomorrow night (although we're in the midst of our first snowstorm of the season, so it may be rescheduled), and our Extreme Christmas Musical at church is this weekend...dress rehearsal Friday nite, and performances Sat and Sunday. Whew! After this week I should be able to relax and enjoy Christmas! :) Well, at least after I write out Christmas cards, which I finally ordered last night. Plus, I certainly won't be doing any baking this year, so that saves me TONS of time and money!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Month?

Seriously, I know it's been a long time...but a month???!! Actually, it's been more than a month. Wow. Time flies, eh? See, what happened is that I paid for a booth at a craft fair thingy in town here on Nov. 7. So, up until that day, all of my free time went into preparing for that. Then, after that day, I was just plain burned out. So, that's my excuse. :)

The craft fair thing wasn't so great. The organizer didn't advertise. Really. So, I guess my booth fee went right into her pocket. And those that did show up, just weren't interested in what I had to offer. I really thought that my prices would scare them off. But they weren't even stopping to look. Oh, well. I gave it the old college try. I still have no sales in my etsy shop. Of course, I STILL haven't advertised to friends and family. I know...loser. Here's a few of the Christmas cards I've put together...

It's been a while since he got it, but here's my hubby's buck. He got this with his's a 12 pointer, I believe. He's currently in the woods, as I speak, on the last day of gun hunting trying for another one. Tony got his on Friday (the picture will come on a later date) and his was a 10-pointer...pretty nice. Me? I'm just glad that hunting is over for the year as of sunset. :)

Back in time again, on the day of my craft fair, I had to have my mom & dad babysit the girls (thanks Mom & Dad!) cuz Barry was at the Gopher game with Tony. Tony had had his seat # called the week prior at a Gopher hockey game, and he won $50 from TCF Bank. Well, his name also got put into a drawing to participate in the TCF Bank/Cub Foods Goldy's Gridiron Challenge at halftime of a Gopher football game...his name was selected. So, he had to start at the 10 yard line, punt the ball, and from where that landed he had to throw the ball, and from where that landed he had to kick a field goal. Now, he's totally physically capable of doing this. But being a Crowell, he tends to get a little flustered under pressure (he gets that from his dad, not me!). So, I was a little worried. But....HE DID IT! He was the first person so far this year to do it. Cool, huh?! He won a $500 gift certificate from Cub Foods and a year's supply of Coke.
These pictures are out of order....this is Tony after he made the field goal.

This is him preparing to kick the field goal...

I like the sun in the background as he's shaking his fist in victory. :) Nice photography, Dad!
This is him getting ready to throw the ball...
Whooo hooo!!!!!!

And then, a week later, while he's still on top of the world, his nose was broken playing basketball. :) Yep, that's pretty much how life goes, eh? A week after that, he had his nose rebroken and a "cast" put on for a week. He was back to pretty this past week, though. :)
As for the girls, they've been busy practicing for the Extreme Christmas Musical at church in a couple of weeks. And last week they were given their Christmas carols to learn for their piano recital in December, too. Christmas might seem relaxing after the first half of December! Especially since I have no baking to do for Christmas. Although we lose out on a lot of enjoyment because of our limited food choices, it does cut down on a lot of work. And it serves to put our focus back on Christ, rather than our tastebuds.
Life is pretty good right now. Other than the girls being disappointed in the lack of snow. :) We are truly blessed, thankful to God for all he has given us.
Hope you all had a healthy and safe Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Something's Going Around

You know how when people get start to "feel" sick, whether you really are or not? I think we've got that here. That's when I start trying to quickly "get things done" before I drop. Not that it matters much...things quickly go to you know where when mom is stuck in bed!!! Anyway, that's my motivation tonight for getting my blog updated. Whatever works, I guess.Tony was home this past weekend for his birthday...and just to check in since we haven't seen him since before Labor Day. It was VERY good to see him. And he was a cake and ice cream to celebrate. Just one meal of my "famous homemade pizza" and another of steak and potatoes. He even went to church with us, which thrilled me to no end. It was his first time at our new church. I got to spend Saturday night and Sunday afternoon watching football with him. :) Good times.And, I got a kid picture I'm set for the Christmas card in case I don't get another opportunity. Don't you love their fake smiles? (They get that from their father!)

Monday was a gorgeous day...unfortunately, the pumpkin farm place we go to for pumpkins is closed on Mondays. So, we went Tuesday....quick! Before it rains! It was chilly, too. Pumpkins used to be important to the it's the animals. They have corn in gumball machines so they can feed them. Nice.

The goats were the worst...greedy little spoiled things! They were climbing the fence and each other's backs....

And Barry actually thought to take a picture with Mommy in it, which was nice. But I still hate having my picture taken...

I've still been adding cards to my etsy shop...but still no sales.
I'm being patient...and trying to figure out how to bring in traffic. I'm working on ideas for advertising and using my art blog. I could start with letting friends and family know what I'm doing. There's a concept, eh? :) Here's some new stuff...the bookmarks I did a while ago, just haven't taken pictures before now. The cards are new this past week.

The girls and I are possibly going to Eau Claire tomorrow for shopping. We'll see. Tomorrow night we'll be at Morgan's volleyball's tournament playoff time. Hopefully, Barry will be able to hunt tomorrow. Saturday, he maybe I'll get in some play time. And we have Extreme Christmas Musical practice. This year, I have a it's my church now. :) I'm sure housework will crowd out play time. Ugh.
I'm working on having more of a "servant's heart". I do plenty of least for my family. But is my heart always in the right place? Oh! Speaking of hearts...someone I love dearly got saved! She's opened her heart to Christ and I am so giddy with is she! It gives me hope for some others that I constantly pray for.
Ok, that should be enough of my boring life to tide you over for now. :) Have a fabulous weekend and God bless!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Busy, busy, busy!

I know, I know, I've been slacking. But, really, it's been busy. And, of course, now that I stop to tell you about all of the things we've been busy with, I can't think of a thing! :) That must be old age....or lack of sleep! Ummm, well, the girls have started piano lessons...they've had two so far, and like it very much. We drive WAY out in the country (it's a gorgeous drive right now, but not looking forward to winter!) to her old family farmhouse. Now, we just need a piano. Add that to the list! The girls are really liking our new church and Christian Ed on Sunday mornings, as am I. Tomorrow we begin practices for the Friendship Christmas musical that the girls have participated in for the last 2 years.

Oh, remember I told you that my Grandma had inspired me to FINALLY get over my fears and open a shop on etsy? Well, I've been working on that for a week...I am now up and running. Now I just have to relax and not think about how long it's taking to make my first sale. :) If you wanna take a look, I'm at Below is my banner in the shop.

I'm absolutely HORRIBLE at selling my own stuff. It's a little confidence problem I'm working on. So, I'm going to have to rely on my family and friends to put out a good word for me. Thanks in advance! Besides checking out my little shop, please have fun shopping...there are so many people making beautiful, neat things out there.

We've had some "welcome to winter" weather around here the last few days, today being the exception. Here's a picture Barry took of Erin enjoying the snow she's waited so long for...

We're impatiently anticipating tomorrow evening when Tony's coming home for a visit...his first since he went back to school. We miss him. We'll be celebrating his 21st birthday (sans cake, of course). I can't believe he's that old. Ugh.
Here are a couple of cards that I created for my Grandma. I really like them. And based on the views on etsy, others do, too. :)

Since I can't think of anything else interesting, I'll leave you now. Hope you have a fabulous and healthy weekend!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Finally Home!

Skipped yesterday... didn't want you to get too used to me posting daily!

Well, besides doing 5 loads of laundry, sweeping, vaccuming, and truly is good to be home. The animals missed us. Cassie hasn't been off of my heels all day. And she, along with both cats, slept on top of me all night. :)

We came straight home stops except for potty and food. I guess once you know you're on the way home, you don't wanna stop. Sunday, as we traveled East, we watched the clouds of rain follow us. Yesterday, we drove into the rain. It hasn't stopped raining since. Welcome home.

I had one of those "God works in funny ways" moments today. I had done a custom card job for someone, and ended up getting jipped on the payment. It was really my fault...I was too trusting. I have a confidence problem anyway... I hate asking for money for what I do. I know that my work is worthy, but I truly doubt myself. Anyway, I had mentally decided I was done trying to sell my work (even though I really don't try to sell it at all). Then I got a surprise call from my Grandma. She loved the thank you card I had sent her and wanted to order 12 cards. This means a lot to me, as my Grandma is a very creative person (a wonderful quilter) and makes all of her own cards. I think this must have been an example of "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away." It was a huge boost for me.

In fact, it spurred me into calling for information on having a booth at our town's annual Christmas Walk sale thingy in November. Generally, it's people selling Tupperware and Mary Kay and such, but I could sell my art there, too. I'd like to have my etsy shop up and running by then. Thank you, Grandma, for the confidence and motivation to keep on. :)

Speaking of art, here are some layouts I did for my friend Jenn's etsy shop (if you click on the pictures, they should get bigger)

I had a meaningful quiet time this morning, too. I'm currently reading Beth Moore's "The Beloved Disciple," which is about John. Two points stood out to me today:
1. Beth suggests that Christ's appointments are never haphazard - He can accomplish anything He desires by merely thinking it into existence. That He assigns men & women to certain tasks implies that the experience of the servant or beneficiary is often as important as the accomplishment. So, the things he leads us to do are often for our benefit....or for the benefit of those we affect. A good reminder that we should pay attention and be open to what we can learn...always.
2. This might get confusing...
(Psalm 25:14) "The Lord confides in those who fear him." The KJV says, "The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him."
Beth's thoughts: these hidden treasures are not secret because He tells them onl to a chosen few, but because not many seek to know him & tarry with Him long enough to find out.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11) says God makes everything beautiful in its time
Beth says, "I truly believe that if we're willing to see, God uses every difficulty & every assignment to confide deep things to us and that the lessons are not complete until their beauty has been revealed. I fear, however, that we have such an attention deficit that we settle for bearable when beauty was just around the corner."
Wow, how many times have I just "gotten through" something, when had a really been present and open and with Christ, I would have reached the beauty meant for me.
Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More Vacation Pics

So are you completely sick of pictures of my kids with water in the background? You probably should be...they're all starting to look alike. Ok, today, on our way to pick up the kids' art projects, we stopped at the tiniest farmers market in the world and at a "real" art gallery. At the farmers market, we got a bar of handmade soap and a "bug off" soap type of thing...I believe it was made with lemon eucalyptus and is supposed to keep the bugs off without all of the chemicals.

Not only was Barry bored to death at the gallery, but I truly thought he was going to have an annurism watching our girls walk around art with multi-thousand dollar price tags...including glass. :) But it was cool...and educational. They got to see firsthand how different mediums that we've talked about (oils, pastels, watercolor, pencil, etc) look on different surfaces. And how you can start to tell different artists apart by their style. And how they can make a LOT of money if they are really talented. :)

After we picked up their glass art (which turned out really cool!) we headed for Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek. We started out by driving to the far side of the park and having a picinic lunch. Of course, I had to stop at the first overlook we came to for pictures!

Next stop, climbing Eagle's 75 feet high and 350 feet above Green, pretty dang high! And it easily cover our exercise for the day! The views were priceless...or as Erin would say, "sweet!" We could see 360 degrees. This is my favorite picture...

The girls looking toward Michigan...
This is Sister Bay, where we're staying...
Next, we drove to Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. We were too cheap to pay for the tour, though.

The girls had begged all day to rent bikes, so we did. It was a fairly expensive venture, though, so we only had them for an hour. But the trails were awesome, so the riding was both adventurous and smooth. And beautiful. We had a lot of fun, and wish we had a place near home to do that as a family more often.
We were actually back to the hotel well before dinner tonite. The kids were able to chill out with some ping-pong and Legos before we sat down to a roasted deli chicken dinner. After dinner, I whined until the others were willing to join me down at the Bay for sunset. It was worth the whining!!!

Wow. Vacation is nearly done. We leave in the morning. We don't have any "plans" to stop on the way home, but we did have to skip the zoo stop on Monday, so we could possibly make that up. I'd like to stop at Door Peninsula Whinery on the way out...we stopped there on our honeymoon 11 years ago. Or, we could just boogie home as fast as possible. We miss it. We miss the animals...well, maybe not Barry. :)