Thursday, January 29, 2015

On My Mind

Lily finished her first semester of classes in high school two weeks ago (she's on a block schedule so she takes 4 different classes each semester). She did so well and I was super proud of her. She also finished taking PE for the remainder of her school career. I'm jealous. My PE days didn't end until June of my sophomore year. 

We are doing a little redecorating in our den. We got a new carpet a month ago and it really lightens up the room. I also ditched a fake tree I've had in this room for about ten years! So that left me with a window that needed a new solution and a large blank wall. So, I bought curtains for the window and a huge (6.5' x 4.7') map from Ikea for the wall. I'm super happy with the changes. 

So far this winter we have had NO snow days and that makes me extremely happy. Let's just hope I haven't jinxed myself with that statement. 

John and I saw American Sniper and I was really impressed with the story. So grateful to the men and women who protect our freedom. I know it's a controversial subject but I admire the bravery of these military men. 

I was just realizing that this is my last year in my 40s! Next year I'll turn 50!!! Whoa. Better make the most of my 40s. 

I have a friend who is tackling cancer right now. She was diagnosed in December and she is such an inspiring and strong woman. Extra prayers and positive vibes for her are appreciated. 

Since the 12th of January I have been cleaning out the various nooks and crannies in our house and trying to simplify what we have in our home. I've purged a bunch of items to the trash and taken about 5 bags to the Goodwill. It feels good to get rid of the floral arrangement that I've had for over 10 years. I hung on to that thing because we paid over $100 for it when I bought it and I just couldn't see giving it away. But I'm happy to say...I did! And, I'm not done yet. I still have many more rooms to go. 

I just bought myself some new pots and pans with a Target gift card I had. I'm loving them. They are the Calphalon Essentials and I'm so glad I don't have to worry about any chipping on them. An added bonus---they were originally $199 (currently $149) and were on sale for $99 plus I used my Cartwheel app for an additional 10% off. Yay for a great deal. 

Next year Shelly will be in middle school!!! Wow, when did this happen? She'll ride the middle/high school bus with Lily. That's a hard one to wrap my brain around. And in just a couple of months she will take a tour of the middle school and sign up for classes. 

I've never put curtains up in the windows in our bedroom. The main reason was because we have a bay window that makes it tricky to find the right curtain rods. Well, good ol' Pinterest came to the rescue. I found a cool little connector rod from Ikea that fits in the corners and connects your curtain rods. Now I just need to figure out what curtains will look the best in these windows. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Snow Tubing

I found a few videos that John took while we were snow tubing. So, I thought I'd add them to the blog. It is so fun to go snow tubing and really great for any age.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Shelly Turns 11

Shelly's birthday was this past Friday and we had a little family celebration. Lily was off of school due to exams. So, John, Lily and I went to Shelly's school to share doughnuts with her class. 

Enjoying lunch with Shelly

In Shelly's classroom---ready for doughnuts

Then it was back home to open her gifts. The more gifts she opened the worse she started feeling. And once it was time for the cookie cake, she was wrapped in a blanket and feeling less than perfect. But, being the trooper that she is, she hung in there for the birthday fun.

Card time
Daisy on the back of the stool

A little Pekingese stuffed animal

Pink purse
 A cat towel

Cat in a chair and a cat on a pillowcase

Shelly's favorite---Feta cheese

A professional cosmetology head for doing hair. Shelly loves creating hairstyles and this mannequin head was the perfect solution to help her try out her new hairdos.

Ready for her cookie cake

Blowing out the candles

Time for some cookie cake and a good night's rest

Check out the birthday video:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ski Skills and Snow Tubing

So this past weekend we went to Massanutten and met up with John's sister and her family for a little snow fun. 

On Friday night we celebrated Shelly turning 11!!! It was a sweet celebration but she was not feeling great. So, our weekend plans were a little iffy. After some medication and a good night's sleep we decided Shelly was prepared to make the trip. 

We arrived in Harrisonburg on Saturday morning and headed to the ski resort to go snow tubing. Once there, we found out we would need to wait on snow tubing until Sunday and purchase our tickets by 1:30 on Saturday. So, what to do next? John decided we should put some skis on the kids and let them give it a try. Shelly was eager...Lily not so much. I convinced her that if she'd give it a try, I'd also ski with them and her cute little cousin, Kaden, encouraged her, too. 

Lily had a little mishap with the skis early on and she was done. Shelly kept at it, but wasn't overly successful. The moral of this ski time, put them in ski school! Since John, Mary, and I were on the slopes and had our skis on we thought we'd make the most of it. So, we took one good ski run and called it a day. It was fun to see the girls' faces when they saw their fairly non-athletic mother coming down the hill skiing. And, I think it might have given me a little ego boost, as well. 

The next day, we hit the snow tubing park early. Tip for the snow tubing times...pick the first time. It gives you an hour with a smaller crowd. The second hour overlaps with the next group so it's nice to have that first hour with fewer people. We all loved snow tubing and would definitely go again if the opportunity arises. 

All in all, a fun weekend in the snow. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Birthday Girl

On this date eleven years ago Shelly Lin arrived. It was a chilly day in January and Lily and I had spent the day watching Free Willy. We went out to lunch and we stopped at Old Navy for new socks for Lily. John met us at my doctor's appointment and we were told I needed to head to the hospital---it was time to have a baby. 

Several things occurred during the next few hours---a doctor who was a bit strange about telling me I needed an emergency c-section, saying goodbye to Lily as she left with our friends, and attempting to reach my parents on the phone unsuccessfully. But, at 10:30 this precious little baby girl arrived!

After her birth, we tossed around three or four different names over several hours before landing on Shelly. And it fits her perfectly. 

Shelly is loving, kind, artistic, adventurous, happy, funny, caring, helpful, and creative. She is the icing on the cake, the cherry on top of the sundae, and she's the perfect ending to our family of four. 

We love you so much, Shelly. Happy, happy birthday! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Making Goals

I've decided to do a little something different for my new year plan. In the past, I would select one word that would help guide me through the year. This year I made up a short list of goals. These are things that I need to pay more attention to and I'm hopeful that they are all realistic goals for my life. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

An Art Party

We celebrated Shelly's birthday a week early with a party! An art party to be exact. Shelly is a lover of all things creative and artsy. So we thought this would be the perfect party theme.

I started by searching Pinterest for various ideas. And Pinterest came through. I put my own spin and combined some ideas. 


I fell in love with these little pinatas from Target!

I made a simple photo background with a black cardboard and chalk design
Photo props from Walmart! So fun.

Shelly trying out the props

I created two art canvas designs (doughnuts and cupcakes) for the girls to paint

We set up two tables in our eating area of the kitchen and the counter for painting the canvases and enjoying some popcorn.

The super happy birthday wreath! I wrapped a straw wreath in red and white chevron ribbon. Then I used floral pins to stick the balloons into the wreath. I used about 200 balloons of varying sizes. After the balloons were in place I added pipe cleaners that I twirled around a pencil to make bouncy. To finish it off, I added a wooden "S" that I painted and secured with a ribbon to the wreath.

Once the guests arrived (12 girls total), we began painting. They were so creative and patient with their designs. They seemed to enjoy painting and chatting!

There I am giving instructions!

The girls are hard at work

Smiling artists!

Canvases drying in the garage (excuse the garage floor)

So many clever and unique designs

After painting the girls danced to Just Dance 2014 and then came down for pizza.

After enjoying their pizza they were off to do a little Karaoke and have some girl time. While they were hanging out my expert assistant, Lily, and I cleaned up the pizza, put the kitchen tables back together, and prepared the artist palettes with cupcakes.

Artist palette with cupcake and items for decorating the cupcake (sprinkles, mini kisses, Kisses, M&Ms, jelly beans, etc.).

A very happy Shelly

Super silly girls

After cupcakes, they played a little Twister and were ready for Shelly to open her presents. Then we finished the night with pictures in front of the photo background holding props.

It's nice to have the birthday girl up on a stool so everyone can see her opening their gifts.

And that's a wrap!!!! Another birthday party under our belt. I couldn't have done it without Lily and all of her help. And, Shelly's smile throughout the night made it all worthwhile!

Here's a video of her friends singing to her: