Wow! 6 months!

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So….haven’t even visited this blog in the past 6 months! I think that may be a new record for me. Anywho, life’s busy and work’s good. Baby L (girl) arrived at the beginning of September and my work life has certainly changed. E’s handling it pretty well, but I do hear “Karen, play with me!” several times a day. And I do play with him, but it’s interrupted a lot more than before.

A few weeks back, I finished packing my Operation Christmas Child boxes with the help of some friends. Altogether, I provided for 66 boxes! Plus, 26 more were packed using mainly my “left-overs.” I’ve decided that for 2013, I’ll stick to packing a dozen boxes (probably for ages 2-4). I really can’t keep having a giant mound of stuff in my apartment.

I’m currently in the process of majorly reducing stuff—again. But this time, I’m going all out and trying to pretend I’m moving and can’t take more than a vanload (ignoring furniture, of course). It’s a process, but going okay.

Alrighty, that’s it for now. I’m quite un-inspired to blog at the moment.

Bath and Body Works Deals!

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I don’t usually write about deals that are not related to groceries, toiletries, or Operation Christmas Child, but I’m so excited about my deal-getting at Bath and Body Works I just had to share!

So, they’re having their “Big Semi-Annual Sale.” I had a coupon for $10 off $30 and so I went last week and got some really good deals. Lotions in retired scents were marked down to only $3! Anyhow, from that receipt, I got another $10 off $30. I wasn’t planning on using it, but then I got an email from the mall (I joined their free “club”) offering a $10 mall gift card for June birthdays!

Side Note: This week, the older 2 boys are in a 5-hour day camp program, so it’s just me and the 2 yr old. I decided to hit the mall, knowing it would be a quick trip and I promised a ride on the carousel. I went sans-stroller, since everything was in close range (the mall office to get the giftcard, BandBWorks, and the carousel). He did soooo good! When he noticed me opening bottles and sniffing, he asked to smell too. He didn’t touch anything, and stayed right by me. It helped that I only took about 10 minutes, since I pretty much knew what I wanted. Anyhow…he did great!

Ok…back to the deal: I purchased 11 items, originally priced at $84.50. With the sale prices, the cost was $30.87. With my coupon and giftcard, I paid $10.87 (plus tax made it $12. 12)!! So…less than $1 per item! One was a trial-sized, but the others were all full-sized products. Super happy and I’m now loaded with “little” gifts for all those in my life having babies this year.  :   )

(If I’d chosen to stick with the sprays and lotions instead of getting 5 soaps, the price difference would’ve been even greater (I would’ve saved another $30 off the original prices). But…I got several lotions on my first stop and really could use more soap. Sometimes, you gotta just buy what you actually can use!)

Picture, just for fun:

Are these boys cute or what?

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Every now and then, I gotta brag on the adorable-ness of the boys I care for! So, here are a few pictures, with brief updates. And, if you think I’m busy now, #4 is due in September! (They like surprises, so no idea as to gender)

E just turned 2. He’s talking in full sentences and is caring and loving. He’s still pretty well-behaved, but is not as easy-going as before. He knows what he wants and is quite loud/dramatic when he doesn’t get it. Welcome to full-blown toddler-hood! His world is about to be turned upside-down as he becomes a big brother in September.

T, 5 yrs old, continues to be all boy! He is in a stage of helpfulness, but also knows how to easily annoy both of his brothers and does so whenever bored. So, I work hard to keep him busy. He’s excited about going to kindergarten this fall.

B is 7 and, well, I can’t get him to give me a decent smile! Ah well. He’s also starting to sport a seriously sarcastic and argumentative attitude. Ah! The joys of a school-ager!

My Planned Creative Projects for 2012: Update

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So…since I rarely stick with my plans, here’s an update on what creative things I’ve actually done:

At the time I made this list, I didn’t know I’d be in charge of VBS this summer. That’s a whole big creative project on its’ own!

January: A color-matching activity for the boys  Did it!

February: Finish up a small snowman crosstitch I recently found buried in my desk drawer. I’ve made progress, but need to finish it up.  Progress was made, but finishing did not occur.

March: Make a buttoning activity for the toddler (sew buttons onto a piece of felt, then cut holes into smaller pieces of felt so he can button them on) Nope–didn’t even work on it. Instead, I made a popsicle building craft for an OCC craft swap! It was a lot more work than I had planned on.

April: Make Mother’s Day cards   Turns out, I had already bought some! I made playdough with the boys, does that count? And I put my creative juices towards planning for King’s Club (Wed. nights) and VBS.

May: Make these adorable bobby pins for some of my OCC shoeboxes   Did not make these, instead I worked on a summer schedule for work, including a lunch menu. I also bought a kids’ loom and those loops to make potholders. I made 6 in one weekend! Weird? Perhaps…but it keeps my hands busy while watching tv. Just not sure what I’ll do with them–probably put them in OCC boxes.

June: Pull out the sewing machine, figure out how to set it up (ha!), and make a rice-filled heating “pad.”  I made one with a sock last month! No sewing involved. Just yesterday, I made melted crayon hearts, sponge balls, and a no-sew bandanna bag! June is off with a bang!

July: Make some scrunchies to go in shoeboxes. This is something I did as a teen and I can show pics after I do it. I never used a pattern, just created it myself. (This link has instructions for making scrunchies and is bascially what I do except that I sew the elastic ends together.)  I’ll already say this probably won’t happen–I’ll be too busy with VBS

August: Make tic-tac-toe games out of Altoids boxes for my shoeboxes. (Or maybe I’ll do this one instead)

September:  Make a t-shirt bracelet (again, for shoeboxes!)

October: Make a light table/box for use at work. This link provides linkage to a blog which then links to numerous methods for making a light table/box. I don’t know which method I’ll do yet.

November: Finish packing OCC shoeboxes. Trust me, it take creativity to fit everything in!

December: Put up my Christmas tree. I haven’t done this in 4 years (since my first Christmas in Cincy).

There you have it! My planned projects for the year. Of course, they’ll probably be several others as well and everything could change. But, at least I’m trying to plan ahead. What are you hoping to create this year?

This Week’s Goals

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goal setting Pictures, Images and Photos

Starting new!

This Week’s Goals:

1. Stick to my diet. One exception only! Wednesday. Why? Because that’s my birthday.

2. Get 1 cardio workout in. I sprained my foot/ankle a few weeks ago and am just now back to walking without a boot. I’ve kept up my weekly session with the trainer, but haven’t done any cardio. I still have to take it easy, but I also need to build back up.

3. Enjoy a day of “camping” with my church family. It’s the annual camping trip this weekend, but I’m not goint to be staying overnight. I’m not quite sure I’d be able to get off the ground in the morning! But, I plan to go on Saturday and visit.

4. Write to both Compassion children.

5. Finally finish up and deliver a wedding gift.

6. Create a packing list for my upcoming vacation.

7. Finish reading Miracles and Moments of Grace and keep plugging away at Jane Eyre.

8. Finish reading The Boxcar Children with the 2 older boys and begin Charlotte’s Web

9. Play piano for fun on Sunday after church.

10. Change out my spring decorations for the summer ones (I have a grand total of 1 shelf for seasonal decor).

Alrighty folks….I’m getting going on these right now!

June Update: My Goals for 2012

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Well, I haven’t been updating like I should. I haven’t even been paying attention to my goals like I should. So…here we go!

Focus: Spiritual

1. Spend 10 minutes a day reading the Bible and in prayer. I realize this is very minimal, but for me it’s a vast improvement. I’m doing better with this the last few days.

Focus: Personal

1. Commit to being gluten-free, allowing for one exemption per week (this could be as small as a cracker or bigger like a hamburger bun).  I started a new diet in April which is mainly protein. So this goal is no longer accurate of what I’m striving for. New goal #1: Stay on diet. Period.

2. Workout 4 times per week. I’ve been doing pretty well, but in December it just didn’t happen.  I was doing pretty well, then I sprained my foot. I’m walking almost normal again and planning to add the workouts back in.

3. Get to bed by 10:30 and wake up at 6:30. Every day. With very minimal exception. I’m doing well with the wake-up part, it’s that 10:30 bedtime I am struggling with still.

4. Read 3 books per month. Ummm…definitely making this goal. I think I read 3 in May, 4 in April?

Focus: Financial

1. Save $300/month. I no longer have health insurance so I need to be careful to save for emergencies. Set up automatic transfers equalling $300 a month. Had to take out for health expenses and my taxes. But the transfers are still happening.

2. Pay for my trip to Arizona with money I’ve specifically saved for that purpose (trip is in early summer).  Done! Ticket is bought and money for the baggage fee set aside.

Focus: Creative

1. Complete one creative project per month. This may be something work-related (such as home-made learning tools/toys) or something that’s gift-able.  I’ve been completely many projects, just not the ones I’d planned on.

2. Spend 1 hour per month playing piano just for fun. This hasn’t happened since January.

Focus: Home

1. Set up and stick to a regular cleaning schedule.  Not yet. First, I’m de-cluttering. I’ve made progress in de-cluttering this month.

2. Evaluate all the clothing I own and purge my closets. The specific goal is to have all my clothes fit in my dresser and bedroom closet (currently I use a hall closet too).  Began working on this in Feb! I got rid of 2 more boxes worth of clothes in April.

Focus: Work

I have a few goals in this area, but none that are worthy of making this post. Overall, my goal is to spend time with each child individually throughout the week. I tend to focus a lot on the toddler and hardly at all on the school-ager.

Focus: Relationships

1. Spend time with Diasia (Little Sister) once a month. I spent time with Diasia in both April and May.

2. Send out 2 hand-written notes per month.  Nope

3. Spend time with at least 3 people I have not previously spent time with (I’m thinking this will be people from my church). This could include going to lunch, grabbing coffee, or visiting the zoo or a park.  I spent time with someone I hadn’t in a long time, but not someoine “new.”

4. Write to my 2 Compassion children once every two months. I’m not very good about keeping in contact with them at all.  I need to do this NOW!

Focus: Blogging

1. Write on this blog at least once a week. Hmmm..not so much. I got distracted by actual life. And perhaps a show I was watching via Netflix.

2. Update my 2012 goals once per month. Yeah, it’s been about 4 months.

3. Update my Reading through 2012 page once a month. I gave up on this and am putting them all on my Pinterest board “Books I’ve Read in 2012″

4. Submit 2 articles for CincyNanny blog per month. This blog has kinda stopped

Whew! I’ve got some work to do, don’t I?

This Week’s Goals (Back to it finally!)

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I’ve allowed myself to get super-distracted and so haven’t posted goals in quite a while. But it’s time I get back into it, because having goals truly does keep my focused on what’s important for the week. So, here we go!

This week’s goals:

1. Stay completely on diet. I’ve done pretty well, but need to re-commit to being fully, well, committed!

2. Work-out 4 times this week. This is a bit hard right now due to spraining my foot last week, but there are still things I can do.

3. Continue to remove the dust/put bathroom back in order. While I was gone this past weekend, maintainence fixed a broken pipe and put in a new floor in my bathroom. However, in taking out the tile, my entire bathroom and bedroom got a layer of dust!

4. Hang out with a friend on Wednesday afternoon.

5. Write to Desalegn (one of my sponsored children through Compassion).

6. Label a closet at church as being for VBS/King’s Club and move some items from my apartment to said closet.

7. Write a note to a friend.

8. Get oil changed and tires aligned.

9. Finish preparing a wedding gift and baby gift. Deliver gifts on Sunday.

10. Finish reading “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan.

How about you? Any goals for the week?