Monday, November 29, 2010

Family Devotion Time

Each night, the kids and I (and sometimes Rich when he has the chance) do a preschool devotion after bedtime stories. It has been wonderful for the kids. The devotion is short, so it keeps the kiddos attention and asks a simple question or two to engage them in what is being taught. It also has a bible verse and a prayer to go along with what we're learning....and when I say 'we', I mean me too! Even though the devotions are meant for little ones, I always feel like I go away with reminders of God's love and what it means to be a Christian. I love the devotion time that we have each night and it's made me think seriously of doing a devotion either on my own or as a couple with Rich in the near future! For now, I'm happy with that special time with the kiddos learning more about God. Plus I love that we're starting the routine now, so hopefully it will be something that the kids will continue even after they've grown up and left home :-)

Here is a video of the kiddos doing one of the prayers in their devotional that I recorded back in the Spring because I wanted to remember their cute little voices praying :-)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pre-Thanksgiving Fun!

We have been having fun, like usual, doing some crafting to get ready for Thanksgiving. Most of these I saw online and seemed easy enough, so we tried them out!

This one is actually a card. Morgan and Blake each made one (with mom's help) and the cards were given to their grandparents. Aren't they super cute!? This one was found at Peppers and Pollywogs.

This is Morgan's entry into the newspapers contest. She had to color in the turkey's feathers and she wanted to use paints...not sure paints were allowed, but she had fun! ;-)

This family of turkeys idea came from Trendy Treehouse. We changed them up a bit by adding beaks and waddles and leaving out the legs...I think they turned out adorable! :-)

I put them above the doorway into the kitchen...they seem to like roosting up there ;-)

These were kinda my own idea. I had won a turkey cookie cutter last year AFTER Thanksgiving, so I had to wait a whole year to use it, but I think the wait was worth it! YUM! We took most of them in to Morgan's class and to the vet clinic my moms work at. (Moms=my mom and my MIL.) Morgan had fun cutting them all out and putting the tail feathers on for me :-)

Morgan colored this turkey in her preschool class....they don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but no one will say anything if they happen to focus a little more on turkeys this time of year ;-)

I saw the idea for these pilgrim hats on Snack Picks. (I must have got the link through another blog I follow, but don't remember which one right now.) They were SO easy and they'll make a great addition to our Thanksgiving dinner! :-) (They taste delicious too!!!)


I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!! There is definitely A LOT to be thankful for! :-)

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a $45 gift code to CSN Stores!! It ends tonight (Thanksgiving) at 10:00 pm.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

*UPDATED* Airline Taking Advantage of a Military Man

*UPDATE: First of all I wanted to thank those of you who took the time to write U.S. Airways. I really appreciate the time you took out of your busy schedules to help a member of my family and a Marine! Now for the update! U.S. Airways has been in contact with my in-laws and are in the process of having a $150 voucher sent out to them. Great news, right!? In light of this news, if there are people who come across this post wanting to write an e-mail to the airline, there is no need to anymore. The situation has been taken care of and everyone is satisfied with how it all worked out. U.S. Airways was very helpful and understanding....after all the e-mails they received ;-) Thank you again, enjoy this holiday season and have a very Merry Christmas! :-)

***************

I am angered tonight. I typically wouldn't write a post like this, but it has angered me to tears and I feel like everyone should know what happened.

My brother-in-law, a U.S. Marine, recently found out that he is to be deployed soon to Afghanistan. So when he was granted leave, he booked a round-trip flight home with U.S. Airways to spend time with his family before being overseas for a year. Not having his own vehicle on base, he depended on another Marine to get him to the airport, but that Marine took his time and got my brother-in-law there late. By the time he made it to his terminal, it was only 20 minutes before his flight was to leave. No one was at the desk and he was unable to find anyone to get him on his plane....he ended up watching his plane take-off without him on it.

Alaska Airlines was able to get him on a flight with a one-way ticket, which cost as much as his round-trip ticket, and assured him that he would still have his ticket back to base with U.S. Airways...but now, 2 days before he is to head back, we find out that isn't the case!

Apparently if you miss your flight, they automatically cancel your flight back on a round-trip ticket and they charge another $150 to reinstate that ticket. I don't understand it! If you pay for 2 tickets and don't use your first, you should still have the second one that you paid for, right?

So, my mother-in-law ended up calling the airline to see if there is anything that they can do...at least wave that fee. The woman she talked to was rude. She acted like my mother-in-law should have known that's what would happen. My mother-in-law insisted that they never fly and there was no reason for them to think that he'd lose his ticket back to base....the woman at U.S. Airways HUNG UP ON HER!!!

My mother-in-law ended up calling the number again and got someone totally different in a totally different call center, so there was nothing he could do about the first person my mother-in-law talked to. He was very kind about the situation and apologized saying that there really was nothing that she could do by calling....the only thing she could do was get as many people as possible to write the airline at their website and maybe if enough people were upset by what happened, then U.S. Airways would do something for my brother-in-law.

If this had happened to just anyone, I'm sure I'd be upset, but not to the extent that I am knowing that this is my brother-in-law, who is a U.S. Marine, who just came home to see his family before being deployed to risk his life for our country...that's the part that makes me cry. How could the airline NOT do what they can for him? And what is $150 dollars to an airline?

I am going to be writing U.S. Airways in hopes that they will work with my in-laws and help them out. I would appreciate it, if you have a minute and are as upset about this as I am, if you could also write the airline? It would really mean a lot to me :-)

This is the information you will need to fill out their complaint form:

Link to form: http://www.usairways.com/Forms/CustomerRelations.aspx

Departure City: Palm Springs, CA

Arrival City: Detroit, MI

Departure Date: November 13, 2010

List Names of People Traveling: Please e-mail me at khmorgan_00@yahoo.com for his name.

If you would like to just copy and paste what I wrote to U.S. Airways, this is my e-mail:

"I was recently made aware of a situation where a U.S. Marine, missed his flight home on your airline. He was going home to see his family before being deployed to Afghanistan. He was able to get a one-way flight through another airline and was under the assumption that he would still have his ticket back to Palm Springs...since it WAS already paid for. Turns out your airline cancelled that ticket and wants to charge him $150 to reinstate it....even though he already paid for it? This man is about to go overseas to fight for our freedom and I feel that we, including your airline, should be doing what we can to thank him! Your airline was already called by his mother seeing if there was any way you could wave that fee and she was hung up on by one of your employees who was being rude to her throughout the conversation. We are only asking that you be kind enough to wave the fee to reinstate his ticket back to Palm Springs. PLEASE consider this request to help a U.S. Marine."

The rest of the information that they ask for will have to be your own personal info if you were to take the time do this for me. Again, I would really appreciate any help that I can get with this. Also, you have my permission to re-post this on your blog as well, if you would like to do that or share on facebook or twitter.

Thank you again! And remember, on this Thanksgiving, to give thanks for our service men and women who are risking their lives so that we can enjoy our freedom!! :-)

***I also wanted to let you know that despite all the negative elements around this situation, there were some positive. When my brother-in-law was trying to get on his plane, Alaska Airlines actually paged U.S. Airways several times for him trying to get someone to get him on his flight. And, when he missed his flight, an older couple, who had seen what had happened, gave him $200 out of their pocket to help him get home! The kindness and generosity of these people really warmed my heart! :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

CSN Stores $45 Gift Code Giveaway!! *CLOSED*

Congrats to Liz, comment #26!!
Just in time for Christmas shopping, CSN Stores has offered a $45 gift code to one of my readers!! Isn't that awesome!?

I've thought of a couple things that I could get from CSN Stores if I had a $45 gift code:

I like this Bilibo for the kids. I LOVE how versatile it is for the kiddos to use their imaginations:


I also like this backpack for Blake. It has Legos AND firefighting-PERFECT! He'll most likely be going to preschool next year and I'd like to get a head start on school shopping. (I like to plan ahead!)


If I were shopping for myself, I like this end table to replace the end table/coffee table set we have. We're trying to open up our floor space a bit, plus this would provide more storage!

BUT, this gift code isn't for me...it's for one of you!

WIN!: To enter the giveaway for the $45 gift code to CSN Stores, please take a look around their 200+ stores and tell me what you'd like to get if you were the lucky winner. Be sure to leave your e-mail address in your comment, so I can contact you if you win.

Extra Entry Opportunity (leave a separate comment):

*Follow me through Google Friend Connect. (1 Extra Entry)

Giveaway will end on Thanksgiving Day (U.S.), Thursday, November 25th, 2010 at 10:00 p.m. Winner will be chosen that night by random.org and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

*Disclosure: I was given this opportunity to host a giveaway in exchange for a teaser post. I was not compensated in any other way and any opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Blake Sleeping

Blake decided he could quit taking naps when his sister did and this is what happened:


This little guy sleeps everywhere!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happenings and Projects

I wanted to apologize for the lack of personal posts lately. (And that I haven't been to visit your blogs the last week or so.) I've been busier than I realized I would be:

*My sister is engaged now...happened last Sunday (November 7th) and she plans to have her wedding up by me. So between her working 60 hours a week and not having time and the fact that I live near everything, I've been trying to help figure out the wedding plans...it's starting to come together now and we can relax a little, but there is still a lot of work to do!

*I'm trying to make sure to do a little bit of preschool with the kids...I mostly read to them more (my goal is 5 hours a week, but even that hasn't been happening) and then we have creative time, music time, game time and learning time (where they work on writing/reading/etc.). We try do each of those "times" once a week. Morgan gets a lot of this in school, but I wanted to expand on her schooling here at home :-)

*I've been signing up for giveaways like crazy!! Because I don't work outside the home, I feel like it's my way of contributing. Winning food, gift cards, clothes and toys/books (for presents) helps out a little....plus it's fun just getting those "You Won!" e-mails! LOL! :-)

*I started doing a craft night with my mom once a week (or 3 times a week like last week) and it really feels good to finish a few projects. These are what I have done so far:

This is my first project. It's a book sling for over/next to Morgan's bed. I happened to have more fabric from when her bedspread was made (it used to be mine when I was in junior high/high school), so all I had to purchase were the dowels and the curtain rod brackets.
I sewed it at my mom's one night and put it up while Morgan was in school the next day. I surprised her with it when she came home from school that day. She still asks if I have a surprise for her when she gets off the bus on occasion-LOL!
I also made some curtains for the kids to go with the valences (there are 2 windows) they had from the nursery set...I know it's baby-ish, but I figured we'd stick with the gender neutral farm animal theme since they still share a room. This is the first that they've had window coverings since getting the new windows this summer!
This last project I actually worked on at home without my mom. I spun up a few small skeins of yarn made from raw (unwashed) alpaca fiber. Rich's Aunt and Uncle have alpacas at their place and had an open house that I spun at for 3 hours this past Saturday. I made these up ahead of time for them to display at the open house. (There is a black one too that I had already sent to them before this picture was taken.)

I have a few Christmas presents under way that I'm making for the kiddos as well. I just hope I can get them done in time because I'm really excited to actually make the kids some gifts this year...my mom used to make things for my sister and I-I'm loving being able to do the same for my kiddos! :-)

So that's what has been happening here! I'm hoping to catch up on here this week and visit everyone...so I should be by soon! :-)

A Gathering Place

I had another Girls' Night Out this past Saturday night and had a wonderful time. It was at my close friend's place that I roomed with all 4 years at college. She and her dad fixed up a run-down foreclosed house and it's beautiful now! My favorite spot is her kitchen...I dream of a kitchen like hers! I just LOVE the island in it with the counter stools along one side for people to sit. Saturday night we had all the food set on the island and for the longest time all eight of us stood/sat around it and just talked and laughed and had the best time. The kitchen was open and inviting and made a wonderful gathering place that I long for in my home...Sunday night I longed for that kitchen even more.... Sunday night Rich had his 6th Annual Opening Day Eve party. (A party before the first day of deer hunting gun season.) It's mostly guys and they hang out in the garage, drink beer and watch the movie "Escanaba in da Moonlight", but some of the women come along too. The girls usually hang out in the house until the guys are ready to go home and then they're the designated drivers ;-) Well, this year I felt like my house was awkward...no good place for a larger group than 3 or 4 to come together and have a nice time...the living area of the house is split up into 3 small rooms and it just doesn't work nicely. Needless to say we all ended up in the garage after about a half hour...partially because that's where all the food was but, as funny as it sounds, I think our garage is more inviting being a large open space to gather.

I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining. I do love our little house and I know we're just starting out so this is how it's going to be for a little while. And I honestly had an amazing time this year for Opening Day Eve and wouldn't have changed a thing! But, in the future, I would love a kitchen with an island like my friend's as a gathering place so we can start having parties inside as well. Plus....having to get both the outside AND the inside ready for people to visit for each gathering is quite exhausting!!! ;-)

*Disclosure: This is a teaser post for an upcoming CSN Store giveaway! CSN Stores offered for me to host a giveaway or do a review in exchange for this post.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

CEIVA Giveaway at Our Ordinary Life

I have loved the idea of having a digital picture frame since having kids. I would love a way to display all the thousands of photos that I take and would enjoy seeing each day...not just when I happen to go through my pics on my camera. Right now Kristen, at Our Ordinary Life, is giving away a Ceiva Digital Picture frame to one very lucky winner and I'm trying my best to get as many entries as I can! ;-) I know this is an amazing frame because my parents have one and have really enjoyed it. Plus their costumer support is awesome! They actually call you to make sure your frame is okay if it's been turned off for any length of time!! How neat is that?!

So make sure to stop by Our Ordinary Life to enter this giveaway if you've been loving the idea of a digital picture frame as much I have! :-)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

We've been busy with all the fun surrounding Halloween this year....as you'll see! :-)

We made this Curled Paper Pumpkin that we saw on the Frugal Family Fun Blog.
We also went to our first Lowe's Build & Grow clinic to make these flapping bats! I was awed at how well Blake did for his age and it was exciting that they got to keep the aprons, got badges (like in girl/boy scouts) to sew on the aprons for finishing, as well as a certificate! How awesome is all that for FREE!?! We came home, took the apart, painted them black and put them back together. The albino bats were neat, but we like them black better :-)

Morgan participated in the newspaper's coloring contest...plus she tried on her Halloween costume....on multiple occasions! :-)

We made these ghost kites that we saw on the Frugal Family Fun Blog.

Morgan's preschool class isn't allowed to celebrate ANY holidays (I doubt Morgan will notice, but I was bummed!), so we made these pumpkin shaped popcorn balls to take in...just because ;-) No harm in pumpkins, right?

This next craft was a simple one that we saw on Trendy Treehouse. It's a Candy Corn Banner made from a paper plate! Super easy!! :-)

Of course, we had to get our REAL pumpkins out of our garden. Here Morgan and Blake were trying to carry the pumpkin together since they're kinda heavy :-)


Leine even got in on the fun!

Posing for a picture with all the pumpkins from the garden.

Once we had the pumpkin, we had to make something yummy with it, so we tried these Pumpkin Swirl Brownies. I also made some Pumpkin Fluff Dip and Ginger Snap Strips to put the dip on-YUM! (It was good on cinnamon graham crackers too!)
The night before Halloween a local church did a trunk-or-treat. The kiddos got all dressed up, Blake as a firefighter and Morgan as Snow White, to go to their first trunk-or treat.

I thought a couple of the trunks were pretty neat! This one made Blake forget all about candy! LOL!

Gotta LOVE the Beverly Hillbillies! Not really a trunk, but it was still really neat!! :-)

On Halloween we finally got around to carving a pumpkin. The kiddos weren't too anxious to touch the insides though...


I did the drawing depending on what the kiddos said they'd like and Rich did the carving while I cleaned some seeds to make some Sugared Pumpkin Seeds that I saw on Gooseberry Patch's facebook page.



In the afternoon we went to the nursing home that Rich's great-grandma is at for the kids to trick-or-treat. She is in her 90's and doing great! :-)
After that we did our regular trick-or-treating and then some! Instead of just going to family this year, we made it to friends of the family too! I think we made it to 10 places all together and were able to visit a little at most of them, which was nice :-)

Today, the kids are going to go through some of their candy and give it to our dentist office. I'll be taking in all the candy we bought for trick-or-treaters too, since we didn't get any again this year living out in the country. The dentist is buying candy off of kids to send to local soldiers! I thought it was really neat and I'm going to see if they'll just keep the money to use for shipping. :-)

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