Beautiful Work

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

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.

 

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.

 

Gifts for Extended Family August 3, 2009

Filed under: Gift Giving — Andie @ 2:41 pm
 


A Gift

Originally uploaded by mcrhodes

This week, we’ll be sharing how manage special occasions for our extended family members. Here’s how we do it in the Eggimann family.

First of all, we do not have a huge extended family. Including parents, siblings, niece and nephew, we are working with 10 total. I know this is much less than many people. Even so, we make sure we have an ample gift budget each month. This was not financially possible earlier in our marriage and gift-giving was often a stress. (Actually, at that point, we just sent cards for birthdays.) Now we are able to set money aside regularly for gifts. Our monthly gift budget is separate from our Christmas gift budget, which we save for all year to avoid stress in November and December.

We try to keep things very simple for birthdays. We most often choose gift cards. These are always appreciated and I don’t really think there is a stigma anymore about them not being personal. Our top gift cards are Starbucks for the adults and itunes for the teens. If you have a Costco membership, I think you can buy 5 $20 Starbucks cards for $80. A decent savings, especially if you have several birthdays coming.

We have found photo gifts for the grandparents are well-received. Shutterfly has lots of different promotions, especially around Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I have made photo magnets & photo mousepads. Recently, when we couldn’t really afford a larger gift (multiple weddings and babies at that time!), we sent photo greeting cards instead.

My last tip for when you run out of ideas: be unconventional. This Father’s Day, we sent both dads a $20 bill and told them to go out and buy a couple of steaks to grill.

 

Writer’s cramp…the gift that keeps on giving! July 1, 2009

To back-up the effectiveness of the idea Gretchen shared in the last post: my favorite wedding gift (except the beautiful quilt my mom made us…duh.) was my Red Kitchen Aide Stand Mixer.  It was a gift given to me by a group of close to 20 friends who joined efforts to buy us (me!) something that I wanted most off our list.  It was such a wonderful surprise to open and I think of that group of friends every time I use it (no joke…!).  :-)

One of my other favorite gifts was a little metal recipe box that looked awfully unassuming on the outside…then I opened it and saw, literally, a hundred handwritten recipes, each with a Bible verse and a cute sticker on it.  Each recipe was a dish that was a tried and tested recipe from this seasoned mom’s kitchen.  As their family lived on an extremely tight budget, it was the only gift they gave us and we knew that this gift was truly a labor of love.  MANY of the recipes we received in this little garage find box are now part of our family’s menu.  Many are popular potluck dishes and many more are made with ingredients that are friendly to a tight food budget.

Any wedding/bridal shower I’ve attended since, my gift has always included several recipies I believe that the bride will love and appriciate.  I feel so lame when my hand starts cramping up at 10 recipies or so…and then I think of the amazing gift we were given and I write a few more.

IMG_3465 IMG_3466I’ve even been quoted as saying it was one of the “5 Things I’d Grab if the House was on Fire.”  :-)

 

my favorite board books June 29, 2009

Filed under: Gift Giving,Mothering,Products we like — Andie @ 6:24 pm

I’m sure you’ve heard enough from me this week already, but I have been wanting to post this book we found at the library. It is incredibly fun to read and the kids adore it.

41zJ-S4JrXL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_It’s called Trucks Go by Steve Light. Every page has enjoyable illustrations and includes the fun sounds that trucks make, like “Burbaba Burbaba Whirr Whirr.”  This reminds me that board books make a great baby gift. Some of the most-read board books we own are some I received for Byron. They are the Byron Barton series: Trucks, Planes, Boats, Airplanes. Both my girl and boy love these books.

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Inexpensive and Creative Wedding & Baby gifts

Filed under: Gift Giving,Saving money — Andie @ 7:22 am

It’s wedding season! We have a weekend coming up with two weddings in two days, so wedding season has hit us in full force. Thankfully, I’ve mostly passed the age of being a bridesmaid, but I get to attend least a few every year at this point in my life. Here are my ideas & tips for wedding gift buying.

-Make something special- I used my favorite wedding cards to make a collage to frame and keep. I incorporated our vows into the collage, as well.  If you are crafty, making something for a bride who is not crafty can be a real blessing. You could get a frame for 40% off at Michael’s (they have sales and email coupons regularly) and leave it empty with a note to the bride that you will make her a custom collage of her cards sometime after the wedding.

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-Make something special part 2- Some of my favorite gifts I received were things that I could hang on the wall. As a single I only had enough to decorate a room, not an apartment! A wall decoration can be relatively inexpensive to make. Take a few photos (scenic detail photos work well) and get a frame on sale that already has a mat. Choose appropriate scripture verses to go along with your photos and voila! you have a lovely gift. Sidenote: it helps to look at the couple’s registry to get a sense of their style and colors they like and then you can choose photos appropriately.

-Buy something that goes to a good cause- This would fall into the not-so-cheap but meaningful category. I recently had a bride choose a fine art photo from this site, which benefits an adoption from Uganda. It was totally worth it to me to spend the extra bucks and the bride was happy the money went somewhere useful, too.

-Stock their freezer- This is a little unconventional, but you can give the gift of food. When we returned from our honeymoon, my dear friend Brianne had left easy reheat meals for us to eat. I was SO GLAD I didn’t have to cook, especially since I was still unpacking and opening gifts. You can find the person with the key to the newlyweds place (usually someone has it to deliver presents) and you can send in some yummy “Welcome Home” meals.

-Pre-loved items for baby- I spent all my space on wedding gifts, I’m hoping the other ladies don’t mind taking the baby gift portion! I do have one idea to mention in that department. I have attended showers that indicated “Pre-loved items are welcome.” I think this is such a nice way to encourage others to bring along gently used items. One of my son’s favorite toys and many favorite outfits for both children have been pre-loved.