Beautiful Work

Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands…. Psalm 90:17a

A Sustainable Model for Birthdays November 18, 2009

Filed under: Holidays — Andie @ 11:23 am

Because we’d like to have a bunch of kids, Andrew decided early on that we needed “a sustainable model” for birthdays. Those of you who know him will not be surprised by this terminology :) Basically, we didn’t want to have huge parties for the first couple kids and then not be able to keep it up for the others. Consequently, we have pretty low-key birthday celebrations.

Ruth is turning 4 on Thanksgiving this year and we just celebrated her birthday a few weeks early  since it will likely be busy on the actual day (it adds to the chaos that the baby is due 3 days after her b-day). This was the first year that we had “little friends” over for Ruth’s birthday. The past few years, we have just had a couple special adults come over to celebrate by joining us for dinner or dessert and present opening. Similar to the Naugles, we usually let the birthday kids choose special foods to eat that day.  I also usually get a mylar balloon from the dollar store. We have varied when we open the gifts. When possible, we have done it at breakfast so they can enjoy new toys during the day.

Ruth’s celebration this year was tailored to what she likes- we dressed up and had a tea party with 3 of her girl buddies. We used real china and had special tea party foods, complete with mini chocolate eclairs for dessert. We asked that the friends go low key in the gift department, as I wanted it to be more about the experience than the gifts. Their gift was fitting-  a tea cup with roses :)

 

Happy Birthday!! November 16, 2009

Filed under: Holidays — Gretchen @ 10:52 am

analinabdayThis is Birthday week!  We are going to be talking about how we celebrate our children’s birthdays in an affordable fashion.

At the Naugle household we love to celebrate.  Each birthday starts with a special breakfast complete with decorations.  For some of my girls this means bacon and eggs for the others it means cinnamon rolls.  We then usually try to do or go somewhere fun like  swimming at our local YWCA or to a movie or the zoo.  Dinner that night will be the child’s choice and we end the evening with cake or pie.  Sometimes these festivities include family and friends and sometimes it is just our family.  We have 2 birthdays right after Christmas and it is often difficult to do actual birthday parties with lots of friends so we try and make it special with just our family.  We also end the day by talking about and praying for the birthday girl.  It is fun to incorporate each of their personalities into making their birthday special.  For our youngest this year we just did a dance party after nap time and ate pizza and played outside.  She had a great time!  Our second really likes big parties and her birthday is in July so we have often just invite families to come bbq with us in the park where there is a wading pool and playground.  The kids swim and play while we grill and I do not have to clean my house afterward :).  Our oldest was born on January 6 and this has proven really difficult to even attempt birthday parties for with all the partying from Christmas and New Years so we usually just let her pick an activity that we all do with  her.  Our third was born 3 days after Christmas and her celebration usually includes a pizza dinner with her good friend Ruth :)

Birthdays for us do not always include a big production but we do try and take into consideration how each girl likes to celebrate.

 

Recharging- day by day August 26, 2009

I am SO NOT a morning gal…so waking up to bickering children starts off the day all wrong for me and often there can be no coming back.  There are a few ways I’ve found to switch the mood of the day and kind of have a “do-over” (as my friend Christine likes to call it).  One way is simply stating the do-over.  It works suprisingly well for me and my almost-4-year-olds.  :-)

zoo-match-gameAnother thing we started doing this last spring is a little something I like to call after-baby-goes-pTRU1-3555241regdown-for-a-nap-and-before-it’s-time-for the-twins-to-rest-GAME-TIME  (got that?).  After we’ve picked up the house and had lunch, we read a few books and then play a round or two of a favorite game before rest time.  Our currents favs are Castle Candyland (for those days when we’re short on time) and Zoo Match.  Zoo Match is like three sided domino cards with animals instead of dots that you match up.  Our kids are totally addicted.  Playing games with my kids is something that gives us all a chance to sit down, spend uninterrupted semi-structured time together, and reset our day.  If the morning was difficult for one (or more…) people it allows rest time to start on a upswing- rather than entering rest time in conflict or frustration.

One way our family finds to recharge the batteries is by taking a walk to a nearby school or park (this evening it’s the Glendoveer Fitness Trail) and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and the fresh air together.  I’ve found this is especially helpful for my husband and I as we get a chance to talk at the end of the day and there are no dirty dishes or overgrown lawns vying for our time.   Plus, it helps get the wiggles out of the children before they head to bed for the night.

 

Caramel Rolls August 17, 2009

Filed under: Holidays,Recipes — Andie @ 6:03 am

This week we’re sharing Special Occasion breakfast recipes. This one from Andrew’s mom is SO. GOOD. Make sure  you get the non-instant butterscotch pudding. Otherwise, it doesn’t turn into that nice sauce, it just globs.
CARAMEL ROLLS

1 pkg. Rhodes frozen dinner rolls
1 sm. pkg. dry butterscotch pudding, not instant
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. chopped pecans, if desired

Arrange 12 frozen dinner rolls in greased bundt pan. Pour 1/2  dry butterscotch pudding over frozen rolls, then add another 12 rolls and the rest of the dry pudding. Melt butter and add to brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Pour mixture over the top of the rolls and let rise overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

 

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Going the cheap route…and making it work! August 8, 2009

Filed under: Holidays — Leah @ 6:37 pm

There 60+ members of my husband’s family.  That means that his grandparents have over SIXTY people to wish happy birthday each year.  Even at dollar store card prices, that’s almost $100 a year just to send a (really cheap) card to wish everyone a Happy Birthday!  Yikes.  They have opted for the e-card route instead.  It’s cheaper (MANY are FREE) and allow families a convenient way to send well wishes on their birthdays and anniversaries.   We (truely truely I tell you) look forward to ours each year.

 

The out of town family August 6, 2009

Filed under: Gift Giving — Kate @ 4:05 pm

Gift giving is something that can be a challenge for me at the current stage of life (ie, busy w/o much time to shop and not lots of money to spend.)  I’m sure many of you can understand!  I find myself wanting my gifts to be thoughtful and meaningful and yet also practical.  This is a challenge at any time and can be especially hard with family that is out of town (this would be ALL of our family) and we struggle to come up with a balance of what to do.  I don’t enjoy giving a gift just for the sake of doing so, but want to be able to communicate our love for our family with the card or gift that we might send.

The biggest thing that we are consistent with right now is at least TALKING with our family on the phone on their birthday (or when the family celebration is happening.)  I want to make a special point to connect with them on their birthdays!  I enjoy telling our parents and siblings that we do care for them and are thinking about them as they celebrate.  We also enjoy sending photo gifts.  As Andie mentioned, this is a wonderful thing for the grandparents that is personal, practical and usually affordable while still priceless!  It’s perfect for the family that we only get to see once or twice a year.  (And still appreciated by those that we see more often!)

 

Confessions August 5, 2009

Filed under: Gift Giving,Uncategorized — Gretchen @ 10:01 am

I have to admit I am terrible about keeping up with birthdays and special days.  I have 7 brothers and sisters, 6 nieces and nephews, 3 parents, and a host of aunts and uncles and cousins we are close to that I try to keep up with but usually fail :)  Most all of them live in different states which requires me to send out cards and presents.  This is a problem for me!  I am fine if they are in town and we get to see them but I am terrible about taking myself and 4 kids to the post office to mail something.  And buying something online is hard because of all the added shipping costs, etc. that I have a hard time paying :)  Even just to find free shipping requires time to research which seems to be lacking in my life at the moment.

My new solution comes from an online article from RealSimple magazine that I stumbled across on CNN.com.  The solution that will hopefully help me is to set aside a day at the beginning of the month and send out all the cards then, even if the event isn’t until the end of the month.  Just one day to look at the calendar and take care of business.  I think I can do this!  Also I can reorder stamps if I need to on that day for the next month.  I am trying to keep everything on my Google calendar so it is all there for me with addresses and everything.  I am taking this summer to get organized for the school year as well by setting up the calendar and updating addresses so I am ready when craziness hits.

We do not have a lot of money to send out gifts all the time but I have found a simple card in the mail goes a long way.  I like to buy the card box from Costco every year which has cool, home-made looking card which are all right there ready to be sent out.  Everyone in my family loves movies and you can get gift certificates online for different movie theatres that might be in their area.  This has been a fun gift to give via online that has no shipping charges.