Friday, August 31, 2012

Looking Through Little's Lens

Parenting means new experiences for each of us, and today I am having one of those new experiences... I have had small "wow" moments along the way when Rooney has grasped a skill we have been working on, or he has surprised me with the ability to do something that I was unaware he was capable of. Today I am experiencing that new feeling of seeing a talent that my Rooney has; that as his parent of three years I was completely unaware was in that little body of his.  This is exciting, knowing that God has blessed each of my children with talents that will be revealed to us (and them) in time.

Rooney just turned three and we have made the decision as a family to homeschool.  Rooney is full of energy and eager to learn, so for the benefit of us all, our homeschool process is actually beginning at preschool age.  His behavior greatly improves when he has lots of activities planned to keep his mind (and hands!) busy.

I love documenting my life through pictures...not "perfect" pictures, but little moments throughout our day, so it has been important to me to take photos of Rooney as he begins his homeschool process.  Learning to use scissors and glue, sitting still for storytime, and even practicing hammering and using a screwdriver (basic skills that my little man loves and I am happy to foster).  He is very aware that I am always taking photos of him and he loves scrolling through our family pictures on Instagram.  One day recently while he was playing he asked me for his Daddy's old (broken) cell phone.  I laughed histerically as he held the phone in front of him as if he were taking pictures of Sister-girl.  He would tell her to smile, make a "clicking" noise with his mouth, and then tell her "oh yeah Sister-girl, that's a good one."  This went on FOREVER.  It entertained him for a length of time that very little has.

Watching his interest in taking photos I decided I would give him the opportunity to take some pictures for REAL.  I pulled out my old digital camera.  The 6 megapixel from the dark ages that I thought was Ahh-Mazing twelve years ago when I bought it as a college student.  I charged the battery, loaded it with a memory card and gave him a quick lesson on holding the camera still, looking at the "picture" through the screen on the back of the camera and then hitting the button once he liked what he saw on the screen.  I told him we would go on a nature walk and talk about all the beautiful things that God made and he could take pictures.

One of the BEST days of my life with Rooney.  Such a special time for us.  I put Sister-girl in the carrier (Baby Bjorn) and out the front door we went.  No special plans, just the three of us (well, and Jare dog, of course) exploring.  Rooney, camera in his hand and ready, starting taking photos the minute we hit the porch.

(I have not edited these photos...this is a look straight from Little's lens!)




All the makings of a great homeschool day... exploring God's beauty, finding a "new" talent within my Rooney (for a newly turned three year old and no editing, this is a PROUD Mama), and even a little exercise. 
I encourage you to also place a camera in your childs hand.  How beautiful to see this world from their view! 
And if you are wondering, there were plenty of pictures with his finger completely over the lens that didn't make the cut!

Friday, August 24, 2012

three. three years. THREE WHOLE YEARS!

Today, my Rooney ((officially)) turns THREE.  THREE YEARS.  THREE WHOLE YEARS.  We chose to have his party last weekend, but today, being “the” day, my heart is full of emotion.  Will every birthday feel like this to me?  Three years I have celebrated the birth of this child, and so far, each pulls at my heart dearly.  My lifetime love and I swapped gazes at each other during dinner last night when mention was made of him turning three… at the same time we both half smiled and uttered “sad times.”  I quickly came to my senses though and gave a real smile (holding back the tear that wanted to drop) and said, “but honestly, we should be thrilled He has blessed us with a Rooney for three years – happy times, baby”.  In my heart of hearts I want to feel 100% “happy times,” but I LLLLOVE babies, and Rooney ranks right up there with the top five best ever babies, ya know, in the World – to me at least (well, and his Daddy, his NaNa & Papaw, his Aunt Weezer & Uncle Rarry, his Aunt Cain and even his great grandfather Mr.Eben).  He was just an “easy” baby, filling our lives with joy each day.  I prayed earnestly for my Rooney for 4 ½ years, so I suppose it is feeling how fast time truly passes that makes me emotional.  Friends tell me that every “season” of a child is beautiful and that with each year that passes you just enjoy them more and more…keep telling me this friends, because all I can tell you is that come August 24th each year all I want to do is hit the pause button and plan a trip to Target (If your water broke there with your first child then you can identify.  Wait, I’m the only one?  No way!)
Ok, enough heart-to-heart Mama talk…
Fun times!  It was so great for my lifetime love and I to both be able to say at the end of the day, when all the guests had left, what a SUPER day it had been for our family - such special memories.  We chose to have a “tool party,” because Rooney fills his days by hammering my interior walls & “sawing” on our fireplace.  We typically host most parties at our home, therefore I have learned that keeping the kiddos busy is key.
We had birdhouses for all the kiddos to “build” and paint.  I really liked having a group activity and will keep that in mind when planning future birthday parties!

Rooney had been telling us for several weeks that he wanted “sketti” for his birthday party… fortunately we talked him into hot dogs (no real arm twisting was employed… he has yet to turn his nose up at a hot dog or three).  I am ready & willing to host a “sketti” supper anytime, I just wasn’t sure that a gang of three year olds was the best crowd to test that out on.

I chose to make his cake.  I wanted to do a twist on the popular “banner” or “pennant” cakes, but I also wanted it to look “boy enough, it was a tool party, afterall!  The top layer was butter cake with strawberry preserves, and the bottom layer was chocolate with strawberry preserves.  Hold on to your hats folks, no buttercream!  With an August birthday in East Tennessee you just never know how hot the day will be, and while it certainly would not last if it were sitting out in the heat long, I do feel as though using Cool Whip to frost the cake is a great option, it is refreshing and not overly sweet (I always use lite Cool Whip and receive no complaints!).

I had a hodge-podge (I did mention East Tennessee, right?) of food items.  There were chili and chips to accompany the hotdogs, and several folks in our family are watching closely what they eat, so I made salad on a stick and had cute cartons of grapes.  Rooney has been hooked on popcorn lately also, so I figured I would put some out for good measure J

In order to keep little hands busy we also had Rooney’s water table set out (it was a HUGE hit) and two red wagons ready for rides… thrill rides apparently!  Thankfully this Mama was inside the basement tending to food & chatting it up, with my back to the door, completely unaware of the thrill ride my child took.  Our driveway is on an incline and midway up Doc James (I had to include his name, isn’t it the best?!) decided to let go of the wagon that Rooney was riding in.  I’m told it basically flew down the hill and came to a halt when it hit a tree just before his Daddy could stop it.  Please note that I am also told he was smiling HUGE the entire time it was racing down the hill and his Daddy reports that he asked to do it again and was mad when informed he could not.  Thank you Doc James for giving my Rooney the ride of his life (well, of his 3rd birthday at least) and thank goodness that I was not watching!

When it was time for Rooney to open his gifts, we started by handing him two dinosaurs (that I scored thrifting, of course).  His reaction was priceless.  No video, but it was captured in pictures.  Rooney surprised us all by putting on a show of “r-o-a-r-i-n-g” on & on & on.  It was histerical.  He had an audience and he took advantage of it!

Each gift was genuinely special.  So much thought was put into his gifts.  The lifetime love and I agreed that his interest and personality were pinned perfectly in each gift he opened.

Kind hearted Rooney took it upon himself (with no instruction from me!) to immediately go distribute a few hugs and thank-you’s while opening his gifts.  I pray his heart is always full of gratitude & thanksgiving, so yes, I was a proud Mama.

Beautiful friends &food, beautiful weather, and a child with a beautiful heart. A beautiful day, indeed. 
The days following…
As I mentioned, gratitude is very important to this Mama, and I am working to instill it in my children.  Just after Rooney’s party I kicked off his first year of homeschool-preschool, and it seemed only fitting to make Thank-You cards.  I had “tool boxes” that were purchased with several of the party d├ęcor items, so I had him glue them on blank cards & “paint” over them with mod podge.  I wrote a note inside (reading it to him aloud, of course).  He was asked to color each Thank You, seal them, and stamp them with our personalized address stamper (which he loved) and then place a tool box sticker on the envelope.  We finished a few a day until our list was complete.  Friends, know that he genuinely is loving the gifts, as is Sister-girl!

Thanks friends for allowing me to elaborate, and thanks to friends and family who shared in Rooney turning 3!
***BONUS PICS!  Because choosing what to include was wayyyy to hard!***

HUGE thanks to my friend Jenny Pennell of Jenny Pennell Photography in Cleveland, TN... my hands were rather full so she jumped in and shot several of these photos!  I HIGHLY recommend her - message me if you need her contact info!

Monday, August 13, 2012


Just wanted to take a minute to say THANK YOU for visiting my blog.... this is a completely new adventure for me and I am excited to say that I have exceeded 600 views in the first 60 days!!!  I appreciate each of you and hope that you will "share" this site with your friends!

14 on the 14th

This month I am doing 14 on the 14th differently... time to change it up!  This month I am posting 14 "pins" that I have tried successfully from Pinterest!  I am a firm believer that Pinterest should be used as an actual tool to better us... pin and then get busy trying some of those great ideas!  Hope this list will benefit you all -  Katy

1.  White Bean Chicken Chili from Annie's Eats - (available on my Supper's On board)  Without a doubt one of my favorite meals!  Thanks Kellee Gilpin for bringing this when I returned from the hospital with JC... I have been hooked since then!

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2. Alphabet Spoons from "From Kindergarten With Love" blog - (available on my For my J babies... board)  I just recently made these for my Rooney and they are GREAT!  Excellent educational entertainment while I am cooking meals!

3. Owl Craft (Project) from Small Magazine - (also available on my For my J babies... board)  Rooney & I made these recently...he really had fun with them!  We modified the owl slightly - I had thin cork leftover from another project so we used it for the body of the owl.  Rooney colored the cork, we then glued on the "carton eyes" and inserted the little "googly eyes" that you can purchase at the Dollar Tree or from the craft section of any big box retailer.  Owls are so popular now, I couldn't resist an owl craft!

6a01156f18fbb3970c01543385225b970c 800wi DIY Egg Carton Owls

4. (Italian Sausage) Spaghetti Pie by Unsophisticook - (available on my Supper's On board)  Let me preface this by saying I do not like 'fennel' and therefore traditionally don't like Italian Sausage.  This may be the one dish that has converted me.... it has forever changed the way I look at spaghetti.  My waist wishes I had never found this recipe.  Please accept my apologies now.

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5.  Convicted: A Scientist Examines the Evidence for Christianity by Brad Harrub, Ph.D - available on my Goodness Worth Reading board & available for purchase through Amazon.  GREAT READ.... read & study the evidence, you will walk away empowered & CONVICTED!

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6.  The Noticer by Andy Andrews - available on my Goodness Worth Reading board & available for purchase through Amazon.  This book is SUPER! A few people in the reviews stated that it didn't give a huge list of things to change to really get your life in order... well friends, thats what the Bible is for! This book is simply a very motivational easy read that teaches "it's all about perspective."

This book is SUPER!  A few people in the reviews stated that it didn't give a huge list of things to change to really get your life in order... well friends, thats what the Bible is for!  This book is simply a very motivational easy read that teaches "it's all about perspective."

7.  DIY Gardener's Hand Scrub featured on One Good Thing by Jillee - (available on my Momma Loves DIY board.)  This is so simple!  Such an easy gift!  Hobby Lobby sells adorable little jars of various shapes & sizes perfect for this scrub. 

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8. Organization: Using Creamer Bottles - (this pin is available on my Homekeeping 101 board & unfortunately it says image was uploaded by user, so I'm unsure which site to credit this with...)  This is really such a simple idea....why had I never thought of this, right?!  When Sister-girl was in the early stages of introducing foods I discovered these were the BEST containers to keep 'puffs' in.  Typically these containers are super easy to clean and I am all for reuse of items that could possibly just end up in the landfill. 

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9. Remove Splinters with Baking Soda - (this pin is available on my Homekeeping 101 board)  Wow!  I was hugely skeptical, but this works great also!  Twice in the past month I have mixed a small amount of baking soda with a drop or two of water, placed the thick paste over Rooney's splinter, then just applied a band-aid over it..... after 1-2 hours the splinter has been backed out where I could just pull it out with tweezers.  Mommy tested, Rooney approved!  Note that the tutorial says to leave the paste on for 24 hours, I have yet to find that necessary, but obviously the longer you can leave it on, the easier it is to remove.  Also, the tutorial suggests that if the area is still painful to apply Baby Orajel to numb the area....what a great idea!

Remove a splinter with baking soda is best for tiny, invisible splinters. Using a baking soda paste it will cause the skin to swell and push the splinter out.  WORKS -KJ

10. Cereal Canister as Trash Can for Car from - (available on my Homekeeping 101 board)  Clearly I have a thing for organization!  I did this months ago and we love it - having a lid makes it a great solution for the LOADS of trash kiddos seem to create in the car! 

Cereal canister trash can for the car = AMAZING.

11.  Homemade Laundry Soap by Being Creative to Keep My Sanity blog -  There are LOTS of laundry soap pins out there (as you likely know).  This is the "recipe" I chose to use after researching it for HOURS....this recipe made sense to me.  I am approaching my one year mark and this is honestly the ONLY laundry soap we use.  I made my first "batch" in early September 2011 and I have yet to run out.  Talk about saving some $$$!  (search 'laundry soap' on Pinterest & use this picture to find the one I recommend, or visit the blog to directly was one of my first few pins so it could take you forever to locate it to repin!)

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12.  Pillow Case Floor Mat - One of the easiest craft projects I have ever completed!  I sewed together pillow cases that I purchased from Wal-Mart, inserted pillows, then attached velcro to the "open" ends of the pillow case, allowing the pillows to remain removable for the cases/mat to be washable.  We have used this mat for the kiddos to lay on to watch movies and currently I am using it in a reading corner for the kids.  Note:  The "pin" says to sew 5 cases together.... I say do the math & take into account the size of your children, 3-4 cases is likely the most you will need :)   The link for this was corrupted, so there is no one I can give credit to, and it would no longer allow me to repin the image.  Trust me, it is E A S Y !!!

Five pillow cases sewn together, insert pillows --- wow, this I think is genius!

13. Homemade Granite Cleaner by Cleverly Inspired - Works awesome, I use on my granite as well as to clean my glass stove-top & stainless steel fridge.

homemade granite/countertop/anywhere cleaner (except painted wood) @cleverlyinspired

14.  100 Days of Real Food Blog - (available on my Blog Goodness board)  I started following this blog over a year ago... it is a real eye opener... lifechanger, folks!  I am taking baby steps, but I LOVE the goodness that this site shares!  I follow it on Facebook also, and it serves as daily inspiration for me --- I am so much more aware of what I am feeding my family! 

Lisa Leake, 100 Days of Real Food - lifechanger folks, such a wealth of knowledge

Thanks for stopping by friends, your support is greatly appreciated!

Cherokee Legend: A Tale of Two Wolves

Tonight I am sharing a story that has been floating around the internet A LOT lately.  Chances are you have already heard/read this!  It is important to me that I share things that have "bettered" me, so I'm sharing in hopes that maybe it will be new to even just one person who reads it, and that it will in some way improve YOU.

[I try to always give credit where credit is due..... well, credit is due here, but unfortunately I do not know who to credit!  A simple search will tell you this is a widely popular story and other than that, not much else is clear!]

One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all."

"One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego."

"The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

I will also add this thought.... we each "feed the wolves" of our friends and family.  Are you encouraging these GOOD traits in those around you, or are you feeding EVIL?

My friends,  Philippians 4:8 states:

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."  (KJV)