I ♥ Faces—I mean, Butts :O)

It has been a while since I’ve participated  in this fun little photo blog, and I thought this week would be a fun time to jump back in since it is a little off topic this week.  I figured a tooshie shot might be fun. There were actually several that I knew could work, but in looking, I came across this little sweet photo of Thomas and Daniel:

Oh how quickly they grow up, for this was taken in March 08. Just look how tiny Daniel is, not to mention how bald in the back ;o)

This makes me smile.

So, go and check out some other rear end photos over at I ♥ Faces

If, Then

In the 1930s, my Great-Grandfather was shot and killed by a Spanish-American War rifle. He was in an argument with a man who completely lost control. My Grandpa decided that the situation was hopeless, not to mention becoming dangerous,  so he figured it best for him and my grandmother to walk away. As he left, the man shot him him in the back. The bullet entered below the right hand shoulder blade. My Grandma, at the age of 12, had to run down the street and get help. They took him to the hospital, but it was too late. The doctor came out holding my great-grandpa’s kidney in hand and shared the news of his death.

The incident was taken to court.The murderer of my Great-Grandpa claimed that he was only defending himself. He wanted the court to believe my Great-Grandpa had thrown a punch at him and then the shot was fired. There was eye-witness testimony to refute that. Also, it was proven that my Great-Grandpa was left handed; had a punch been thrown, it would have been his left shoulder to receive the wound, not the right.

And my grandmother grew up without a Father.

My mother was the youngest of 7. Her Father, my Grandfather, developed throat cancer. All his children would take turns caring for him. My Grandmother would mush up and liquefy his food daily, feeding it to him through a tube in his stomach. His sheets had to be changed daily because his body would pour out sweat and blood onto the bed. It was obvious that he would not be around much longer. Preparations for his death were made, and he died two years after his diagnosis when my mom was 8.

And my mother grew up without a Father.

My Dad made very few business trips. However, when I was 4, he made a trip to D.C. While in our Nation’s Capital, he suffered a deadly heart attack. The doctors said he might have survived had he not been alone in his hotel room when it occurred. They sent his body home for the funeral.

En route to the graveyard, my mother had the funeral procession stop while the hearse, with my dad’s body in the back, continued a little further to our home in order to turn around in the drive way, for my mom wanted him to make it home before we buried him.

And I grew up without a Father.

This is my fear.

I am scared of losing Thomas–ever–but especially while my kids and I are young. I feel, too, that I have some hard core, generational evidence to make this fear not so irrational, as most fears are.  And let’s face it, we all fear something, at some degree or on some level.

But, recently I have learned something from my Beth Moore Bible study, Esther. Beth took some time to discuss fears, having us fill in some “If/Then” Statements. If _________, then ___________. If____(insert fear here)_____, then ______(insert what you would do/feel here)_______.

Her personal example was based off her fear of her husband leaving her for a younger, cuter model.It went a little something like this:

If my husband left me, then I would throw a fit.

If my husband left me, then I would say mean and hateful things about him.

If my husband left me, then I would not eat for days.

If my husband left me, then I would fall on the floor and cry until my eyes were not able to cry anymore……………and then I would get up……..and move on………and serve my Lord……….because HE WILL TAKE CARE OF ME.

Her point was that no matter what the fear, no matter what the If, the Then can be the same: God will take care of you.

Almost too simple, I know. All too easy to say and write. Way too complicated to live it out, yet I have seen people do it every single day. I have seen several people, ones outside of my family mentioned above, live through my biggest fear, all the while coming out of that moment embraced in the Love of Christ. Why should that be any different for me?

Right now,  my dear friend, Kelley,  just received news of cancer and is having to walk through an IF, one of her biggest fears (pray for her, please!).

And God will take care of her.

It may not be the way we would like or the way we would imagine, but the care is still there. No matter the IF, God always follows through with his THEN. He will take care of me!My prayer is to *never* have to live through the loss of Thomas. But IF I were to lose my husband, dear father to my children, THEN God will still take care of me.

Amen.

Our (Frugal) Pirate Party

I have been so excited about sharing the fun we had at Daniel’s Pirate Party. It truly was a blast…..to me at least….and if I, an adult, can find it fabulous, I would hope birth to 5 year olds could agree.

Anyway, rather than just giving a recap, I thought I would join in for the first time posting for Frugal Fridays, in which I would explain how we threw a super fun party for super cheap.

1. Choose a Theme Early

When you know how you are going to celebrate your little one, you can share your theme with others. When they are in the know, your friends and family can pick up odds and ends on sale as they find them, not to mention yourself. When we shared our pirate idea, my loving sister-in-law picked up a great “Beware of Pirates” sign that marked our house and welcomed our guests:

2. Bake and Make What You Can:

Now, I am by no means an Ace of Cakes, but I can surely make (somewhat) aesthetically pleasing, edible products. And when you compare what it will cost you to celebrate with a home made cake over a store bought one, home made is the only way to go. Cake mix is about a buck and you can make  a whole cake or 24-26 cupcakes out of that. With cupcakes, you can typically measure better if you are making enough to feed your guests. Plus, you wipe out needing more paper plates and silverware to eat dessert! If you make your own frosting, you are saving even more, which is what I did. Since my aforementioned cake making skills are basic, I have begun the tradition of letting my little one decorate his own cake, on which I will put his candles. He put on the sprinkles and placed the objects where he chose, and if/when it looks poor, you can just blame it on your kid :O)

Don’t just think about making food either. Think about making all sorts of things. For instance, in keeping with the Pirate theme, we had a treasure hunt. I made a little treasure map in a matter of minutes. The birthday boy opened this up, with his guests right beside, and we went on journey to find those treasures!

And if you are highly skilled—or know someone that is (hence the photo of my lovely pirate boat engineer, Amanda, in the photo below)—you can construct an elaborate decoration for the kids to play in/on to help their little imaginations. —note their Pirate hook fingers :-)—

3. Recycle and Re-purpose What You Can:

If your kid is choosing the theme, you most likely have toys around the house that will go along with said theme. I scoured the house for Daniel’s pirate items which were stuck on his cake and set around the food table, etc. to add to the decor. Other items we found and used—the big box that our new recliner came in became our pirate ship. The old Halloween decorations from my mom became the skull on the front of the ship. A wooden decorative box became our treasure chest. An old pinata that , for some really odd reason, had been at my mom’s since high school, was just perfect for our event. I even filled the pinata with Daniel’s Halloween candy because, let’s face it, your kid only needs so much. Now, I know this is something that not all folks can do, for my little one happens to have a birthday that follows close suit to trick-or-treating, but you can always keep a look out for candy deals.

Decorations from birthdays past can be very effective in helping for your current party. Even if you do not have any from the past, choose solid color accents to your theme and you can save leftovers for the next celebration. A few Pirate stickers (bought off e-bay at a steal) and you can spice up most any decor, such as your solid colored plastic cups, old birthday blowers, etc.

4. Shop the Sales and Look for Clearance:

One of our local mega marts had some Pirate birthday gear, and since I knew my theme early,  I had been keeping my eye on them, waiting for prices to drop. Being that a clearance is almost always in sight for those type of items, I just kept waiting. Sure enough, they were clearanced down to fifty and seventy five cents an item, so I bought invitations, which came with thank you notes, a table cloth, and napkins. And you know what, that same said sister-in-law, being she knew our theme, called me when she found them on sale, but I already had them!

Being that we have a deep freeze in our garage, I was able to buy our hot dogs and buns ahead of time, free or nearly free with coupons and BOGO sales. I just sat them out the morning of our party and they were perfect for eating that afternoon. I don’t think anyone noticed; they pretty much ate it all.

Even our own little Pirate was decked out in clearanced gear for his big day. Since Halloween was over, costumes were 90% off, hence him donning such a great Pirate costume.  (See the birthday boy badge? I made that by cutting out a skull off of an extra invite.)

I also got our littlest a skeleton outfit for $1.80, all thanks to sales!

Even though these party favors (hat, patch, and hook combo; jumbo coloring book ) were not on sale or clearanced, they came from a store where everything in it is a dollar, so it does not get much better than that.  The skull and cross bone cupcake papers and toppers are another sale item after Halloween. Good deals!

5. Borrow What You Can:

Did someone else you know have a party of the same theme? I am sure he or she would let you borrow the leftover items. With that said, I borrowed my get-up from my cousin, who wore it the year before at a Halloween party. Everything my brother is wearing was just re-purposed from around his house, including the peg leg :O)6. Let Other People Help

Friends and Family are always looking for a way to contribute. If someone asks if they can bring something to the party, take them up on it. An extra 2 liter never hurt. My mother brought some baked beans to the party to go with our hot dogs. I had given her a couple of cans I had bought and she put them with some of her own, but the biggest help was that I did not have to spend time making or worrying about them.

All in all, it was a splendid time. I *love* the fact Daniel is still talking about the treasure hunt with his friends. He retells all the steps each time we see the field, giving me details about the candy and how it busted open. So fun.

My Father-in-law had an emergency appendectomy, so he, along with my mother-in-law, were not able to make it to the celebration. Instead of having them miss out completely, we used Skype and had them join in on all the fun for a few moments.

One Man’s Junk…

“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

I believe this to be true. We had a yard sale recently, making almost 200 bucks, and I can hardly remember what we sold.

Anyway, I do love buying others’ junk as well, whether it be yard sales, consignment sales, and most recently, an auction! I have only been to one other auction, so this little adventure was slightly out of my comfort zone. With Wesley asleep in the chest carrier, I bid on, and won, an old picture frame that was in an old garage. I also walked away with a very pretty birdhouse for $2 bucks that I plan on giving to my Father-in-law.

I didn’t take a before picture because, in all honesty, I was too excited cleaning up the dusty, dirty, pitiful looking frame. Even though it was ugly, I knew it had potential. Now, I am by no means crafty, but I know crafty people, like this girl and this girl, and I guess perhaps their skills inspired me to love the frame. Being I had just painted my bathroom, I already knew the spot it was going to go, along with the exact picture I was going to put into it. Alas, here is my pretty “vintage” frame bought at the cost of five bucks, but being that the auctioneer had grouped 4 other random items with it, I like to think in terms of it being just $1

DSC_0002And what picture is inside that pretty frame? A photo taken by the hubby, of course. It is super special though because it is of the landmark building on the college campus where we met and fell in love……awwwhhhh, so sweet. So, even though you may not like it, there it is: my treasure, another person’s old, dusty junk.