Monthly Archives: May 2013

Kindergarten Success

Not quite a week ago, my oldest child GRADUATED!

from Kindergarten.

Thankfully, I still have 12 more years before he REALLY graduates.

The four Kindergarten classes graduated together.

No robes.

No mortar board hats.

Just standing on the risers (like back at Thanksgiving) and singing songs.

Like here:


They DID get to stand up, one at a time, per class, when their name was called, to “graduate” – as seen in this photo:


They even got to take a bow for their performance:

take a bow

And then 75 children (3 of the classes) and all of their parents and siblings and relatives and friends who attended graduation enjoyed some snacks, some photos and some absolute madness. We took the opportunity to have our family photo taken:


And snapped a photo of Davey and his teacher:


And when we got home about an hour later, I took a few photos of Davey and his diploma. Here’s my favorite one:


And for greater impact, here are FIRST and LAST day of school photos of Davey with his teacher:

first day teacher

Does he look older to you?


Like a reader?

Like a graduate?

More independent?

Because he’s all of those things.

(And yes, his hair is quite a bit shorter. I was being the “lazy mom” early in the year and his hair grew far TOO long before we had it CHOPPED off).

My son started the school year already knowing his alphabet and the sounds of MOST of the letters. He knew upper and lower case letters and how to write them. I’m pretty sure he could write all of his numbers, too, though sometimes some letters and numbers were backwards.

Now, thanks to the helpful guidance of Miss Yates, he can write and identify all upper and lower case letters and numbers (and they’re even written in the right direction!). He learned how to sound out small words and quickly progressed to ACTUAL READING. This includes long words. I’m so proud of him. He’s also got a great imagination and he can write full sentences (including punctuation) and some stories. He astounds me. He’s able to add and subtract. He can even add (some) coin money. He learned about scissors and glue and how to use them and be responsible with them. He had an opportunity to do all kinds of HELPFUL things in the classroom (door holder, line leader, errand runner, lunch tub helper, hand sanitizer, calendar helper and more). He learned more than 75 sight words (and was the FIRST kid in his class to do so). His favorite “classes” were Computers, PE, lunch and recess. And when he takes a moment to think about it, he’s REALLY SAD that he won’t see Miss Yates for a LONG TIME (the summer) and later, he’ll only see her in the hallways.

Kindergarten was a wonderful experience for Davey.

And for this mom.

I was fortunate enough to volunteer in his classroom at least twice a month for the duration of the school year. It was fantastic. I loved learning the kids’ names and personalities. I LOVED walking into class and hearing “Davey’s mom is here!” I never thought I’d love “losing” my own name. But I do. And I will miss those wee little tykes. Next year they’ll be big first graders. Out on the REGULAR play ground with the bigger kids.

For now, I’ll simply enjoy the summer.

Warm temps.

Days spent in the pool (and the a/c).

Less “need” for a 7:30-8pm bedtime.


And I’ll reflect on this year – the FIRST year of school – and I’ll continue to thank the Lord for our abundant blessings.

moms are fabulous

our mothers day sunday morning began by saying good bye to dave’s parents:


and then it was nice enough that we had time to enjoy our coffee/tea on our back patio, where my two older children surprised me with a LEGO CAKE:


i love that they used foam stickers to write something on the cake (it made no sense) and they used colored pencils as the candles!

sam had had a fever on saturday morning, so we knew she couldn’t go to church. and she had a pretty gnarly cough (likely due to the ridiculous allergies that are cropping up everywhere, for everyone right now) and then alex started coughing and we made the decision to declare the day FAMILY DAY. so we all got dressed and ready for the day. i even wore some new shorts that i found while shopping with my MIL (mother-in-law) at JCPenney:


we stopped at starbucks where dave purchased a mocha frappacino for me (mmmmmm!) and a mocha for himself.

and then we pulled up to one of our favorite stores:


where we spent far too much money (again) on things for the pool area.

we got a new umbrella and a bench/storage unit (the shelves haven’t been attached yet) which will help keep phones and sunscreen out of the reach of a certain young Munchkin:

IMG_4563 IMG_4562

it was too early for our trip to Jimmy Johns (to grab lunch to take to a nearby park) so we stopped at Target where I received my favorite gifts of all:

IMG_4560 - Version 2 IMG_4559 - Version 2 IMG_4565 - Version 2

we let each kid choose something they’ve been wanting.

Davey chose Bay Blades and a Bay Blade Stadium.

Samantha chose a Barbie with a bicycle. She has since named her “SaMerida” (combination of Sam and Merida from the movie Brave). She actually wanted Barbie with a horse but this Target didn’t have that particular one in stock.

Alex didn’t actually choose her toy. Dave and I chose for her. But she LOVES bubbles. Hopefully this Bubble machine will last through the summer.

(Additionally, I did pick up a pair of flip flops for myself at Target – a pair of my favorite ones recently broke).

And THEN we went to Jimmy Johns and took our lunch to Desert Breeze Park in Chandler. So much fun!

We came home for a late rest time for the kiddos. Dave assembled the above seen umbrella and storage unit while I worked in the kitchen to make some fresh pico de gallo and some cucumber-jalapeno salsa. add some chips and a margarita plus a book (thanks for leaving that one behind, nana!) and i was able to enjoy our chaise loungers and a book by the pool for well over an hour.


the kids enjoyed mac-n-cheese for dinner that night and Dave read them a bedtime story:


and after they were in bed, dave and i enjoyed a shrimp scampi type of meal.

it was yummy.

and i felt well loved and very appreciated throughout the day.

happy mothers day to me!

a how-to word wall decor


I recently made this little beauty:


and hung it in our guest room.

It began it’s life in someone else’s home as a mirror. And I bought it at a garage sale as a falling-apart mirror for $1. Or maybe it was 50-cents. But I got the major deal b/c the mirror was falling out of it. And then it sat in my garage for about two months. And the weekend before I made this project, I went to MOVE the frame and mirror out of the way in the garage (I had more “junk” to add to that area) and the mirror slipped and broke. NO!!!!!  So instead of having a mirror to hang in our guest room, I needed to give it a new life.

While my FIL (father-in-law) was busy on the kitchen project (see previous post), I was motivated to work on some random things that had been lying around, unfinished for weeks or months or more. And that included these frames:


(those aqua ones had been a dark blue when i bought them at a garage sale. i knew they’d look better as a brighter color). I found some linen-type fabric in my stash (which isn’t much of a stash anymore – I gave away most of my fabrics when we moved into this house) and I covered the backing in this frame with the fabric and had what you see above.

Now I could’ve added some little clothespins to hang photos. Or I could’ve used straight pins to hang things (the backing is foam core b/c the backing that came with it didn’t fit which is why the mirror fell out in the first place). Or I could’ve strung some ribbon on it and used it as a memo board. But the guest room is lacking any wall decor (aside from a clock) so I decided to make some “art” with words.

I pulled out my making memories foam stamps (I went old school here, yo!) and a piece of paper (to sample stamp for spacing) and a really light colored ink (b/c i didn’t want the stamps to get too dirty since i knew i’d do the final version with paint). I pulled out my Bible and turned to my favorite verse (John 14:27) and this is the sample I created:


i know it’s a little hard to see – that was the point. :)

so once i decided that i did, indeed, like that look, i pulled out my paints and a foam brush. i mixed a brown (nutmeg) color with an off white to create something just dark enough without being too bold and I got busy. i mixed the color on a paper plate using a straw (b/c i was too lazy to find a popsicle stick). using the foam brush, you add a very thin/light layer of paint on the letters/numbers/punctuation stamp and press down evenly and firmly. you do have to be care to avoid “clumps” and “globs” of paint (especially in the “corners” of the letters) but it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. (it’s the same technique i used to apply paint to the butterfly stamp to help make alex’s kitchen – again, see previous post).


i even remembered to snap a few not-finished-yet photos with my phone!


just work slow and steady and don’t rush yourself.

since i’ve had lots of practice with paint and foam stamps, about 15 minutes later, I had this beauty:


and a few days later, i finally hung it in the guest room:


and i love it.

it’s not perfect, but i’m okay with that.

my type A personality let go of perfection a long time ago.

well, in MOST areas, at least. ;)

their visit

so Dave’s parents were here for a visit last week. they were here for four full days and we packed a LOT of living into those days.

back in washington, dad started building something for alex (and the other kids). he cut, sanded and primed it before they came down (they drove) and then when they arrived, he spent two days (a little bit here and a little bit there) finishing up the project (final shopping details, painting and assembly). He even set up a table in our garage to get to work (it was too windy to paint outside. He even let me choose the paint colors AND i was able to help with a “special” portion of the paint job!

 IMG_4500 IMG_4501 IMG_4511


isn’t it the cutest little kitchen you’ve seen? the oven knobs turn. there’s an actual faucet. the “sink” is a silver/metal bowl and there’s plexi glass in the window AND the oven door. SO CUTE!

Dad’s projects got me inspired to work on a few things myself:


and on a trip to Hobby Lobby to hunt for a few kitchen parts, i found these pieces:


the red king & queen chess pieces. i LOVE them. they had to come home with me (especially since they were 50% off)

We enjoyed a tasty Thai meal (our homemade version of Prik King):


and we walked up the street for frozen yogurt at Swirl It:


and we introduced dad & mom to the tasty BBQ delight that is Joe’s REAL BBQ in downtown Gilbert:


(and we all enjoyed a dinner at In-n-Out but I’m not sure where that photo went)

on Thursday night, Dave and I took advantage of our free babysitters the grandparents and went out to dinner. we FINALLY used our Outback Steakhouse gift card that we received (from the same people!) for Christmas:

IMG_4516 IMG_4517

(our date night also included a walk across the parking lot to old navy so i could exchange a shirt and that’s where dave found this new t-shirt on clearance! we also walked in the OTHER direction across the parking lot to a local gelato place for dessert even though we were STUFFED after dinner)!

on Friday, after davey’s class program, mom and i went out for pedicures (turns out there’s a good place with AMAZING chairs within walking distance of my home!) and then we went shopping (JC Penney, TJ Maxx and Forever 21) and enjoyed a lunch date (Chipotle) while dad/grandpa was home with the girls and Davey was still in school for the day!

IMG_4523 IMG_4525

Alex made sure even grandma got in on the “ride?” action:


(the little girl is just a WEE BIT OBSESSED with “rides” these days)!

on Saturday, Dave and dad attended the final BUILD session for this year. and then they came home and tried to hang our porch swing. unfortunately we have a false ceiling on our front porch so the “easy job” of hanging the swing has become much more complicated and will require building an A-frame. so i have a feeling i will not have a porch swing until the NEXT time my in-laws visit….

on Saturday, it was quite windy. too windy for swimming, in fact, so we hung out and did a lot of nothing. mom and i took a little trip over to Kohls to enjoy their sales AND the coupon i had. and when we got home, i decided i was going swimming, no matter the wind. and ya know what? the wind died down while we were out there. we wanted mom & dad to be able to enjoy the pool at least a bit (and they did!) and we enjoyed a very relaxing afternoon.

IMG_4533 IMG_4534 IMG_4535

the littlest munchkin even fell asleep on the floor near the loft:


(and the next day she fell asleep on the floor between the kids’ rooms – she must have something against her bed! perhaps i should change her sheets again?)

and then it was saturday night:


and sunday morning:


and now they’re in ohio, enjoying their time with dad’s parents and siblings. and tomorrow they head to chicago so they can watch tom (dave’s youngest brother) graduate from Moody Bible College (Institute?) on Saturday morning!

celebrating families – specifically, OURS!

Yesterday (Friday), a very large number of parents and siblings gathered in Davey’s Kindergarten classroom. The students had a PROGRAM for us. They sang a few songs (including “You Are My Family” to the tune of “You Are My Sunshine”) and a few words about “MOTHER” and “FATHER.” It was adorable and very hard to hear. They were darling.

What I SHOULD have photographed, however, was the vast sea of phone and cameras (mine included) that were “taking in” the performance. Sometimes I wonder if we spend too much time trying to “capture life” on film than actually LIVING it. I know I, for one, am massively guilty of that. Especially at fun events like these!

Many thanks to my dear friend and fellow mom-of-a-kindergartener, Lindy, for snapping these photos of our family with my camera:

IMG_1757 IMG_1758

HOW FUN that grandpa & grandma happened to be in town for this fun event!

Davey and Miss Yates. She’s been a FANTASTIC teacher for him this year.


And you know I LOVE this even though my weight is not QUITE right…


Kids say (or write) the darndest things: I would also like to point out that in our home, we watch “kid shows” or “grown up/adult shows.” American Idol, Law and Order, Fashion Star, Shark Tank, etc. are considered grown-up/adult shows. Basically, anything that isn’t a CARTOON is considered (by the kids) to be a grown-up/adult show.

Maybe I’ll show you the one Davey filled out for Dave… perhaps in time for Fathers Day?!  :)

shop updates

Did you know I made some NEW products recently?

Yep. I made some vintage zipper rose necklaces:

IMG_4253 IMG_4254 IMG_4255

they’re a steal at only $18 each!

I also made some of these bead and chrysanthemum pretties:


which are ALSO only $18 each!

for whatever reason, it had never before occurred to me to drill holes in the SIDES of the letter tiles to create these:

 IMG_4304 IMG_4309

but I finally thought of the idea and there’s yet ANOTHER new necklace line from Tam’s Treasure Box. I think these babies are only $12 each!

I also made some cute tartlet tin magnets:


that have a STRONG magnet on the back. They’re only $2.50 each. I made a LOT of these (around 30, I think).

I even assembled more vintage spool photo holders:

IMG_4204 IMG_4205

you simply clip your current favorite photo and put it somewhere in your home where everyone you can enjoy it!

These small ones are only $6 each.

I have a few large ones in the shop and I think they’re only $8 each.

I made some new headbands for little girls (Samantha wanted to keep ALL of them for herself). I only have the BEFORE photo of those, however:


These are SUPER affordable at $2.00 and $3.00 each, depending on whether it’s a THIN or a THICKER headband.

I made a whole slew of new flower rings ($6 each) including some new “glamour” rings ($8 each).

I brought back the DOMINO necklaces ($3 each) and stocked up on the chrysanthemum necklaces ($6 each).

I also added some new ROSE necklaces ($8 each).

And after spending all those hours laboring over these creations for YOU, I hand delivered them to Lynden, Washington and then Karla and I spent a few hours in the Dutch Market (above Dutch Mothers Restaurant) setting up our space, adding more shelving and hanging space and basically making the area where our items are sold look PRETTY and TIDY:

IMG_4347 IMG_4348 IMG_4349 IMG_4350

I also still have some of the long time favorite TTB items available:

pacifier straps $7

(footballs, basketballs, baseballs, frogs, monkeys, owls, birds, butterflies, ladybugs and cupcakes)

baby headbands $5

scrabble tile photo holders $6

scrabble tile ornaments $5

alphabet block photo holder magnets $1.75 each or 3/$5

upcycled Readers Digest journals $10

flower bobby pin sets $3.50

vintage poker chip magnet sets $2.00

vintage domino magnet sets

Vintage Book Frames

Plate stands

a Chalkboard Frame


Karla has a ton of great stuff up there, too. And my friend Lisa has some fun jewelry up there.

So if you’re LOCAL or if you’re ever passing through Lynden (it IS a border town, you know!!!) on your way to/from Canada, please stop in at Dutch Mothers Restaurant for breakfast or lunch (or even a sweet treat out of the bakery case!) and head upstairs to check out what’s in stock!

(I have a secret tip for you, too….. I have some “over stock” product UNDER the far left white pegboard display. So if you want a scrabble tile photo holder but don’t see the word you want, take a peek under there. if you want a pacifier strap but don’t see the right color combination, take a peek – we just can’t fit it all out there)!

i’ll take a riesling, please.

last week on thursday night, (yes, the night before our big Tres de Mayo work party), some of us enjoyed GIRLS NIGHT OUT! it was TECHNICALLY a very bleated celebration of Heather’s birthday. Heather is a friend of mine from high school who has lived here in the East Valley for about 17 years. Her birthday was in early April but between her schedule, my schedule and Jenni’s schedule, the birthday celebration had to be postponed until early May. We invited Casey to join us and left it at that. But then Audra was in town and I went ahead and made the executive decision to invite her, too. So Heather’s birthday party included FIVE people and two of them she had never before met.

Thanks for being a good sport, Heather!

Additionally, Heather will normally not allow me to take her photo. Not at all. But on GIRLS NIGHT, we all INSISTED on a photo BUT I had to promise that it was just for me and I would NOT share it on my blog or on facebook. So Heather shall remain a faceless name to most of you who have not had the privilege of meeting her. But I will share other photos from that night. Some very UNflattering photos, in face. But here goes…

This is what I wore:


And THIS is me with Audra and Jenni with Casey:

IMG_4428 IMG_4432

(Apparently I had the FLASH option turned off on my iPhone and Jenni had hers turned ON!)

Postino is located in downtown Gilbert (around Gilbert & Warner, I believe) and it’s a wine bar. So we all enjoyed wine. They are KNOWN for their bruschetta boards. So we ordered TWO of them. Plus the “Pub Board” and some olives. We had WAY TOO MUCH food. But it was all SOOOOOO GOOD!

IMG_4429 IMG_4430

and this was in the bathroom:


I’m tempted to start stamping the tp rolls in my house…. or to get a stamp for the Logos office and start stamping those….

In all, we enjoyed about 3 hours of conversation, laughter, food, wine and Heather.

Many thanks to you, Heather, for giving us a good “reason” to coordinate our calendars for a fun GIRLS NIGHT OUT!

randomness is at it again

Here’s just a little glimpse of some after-school-activities around our home in the last week or two:

Sam and I have enjoyed some coloring:

IMG_4401 IMG_4402

Davey likes to get on-line (the computer is in the guest room which is downstairs) at and check out other people’s creations and play the games and watch the videos…

IMG_4403 IMG_4404

(I’m already trying to make a plan to put the computer into a more “trafficked” area in our home).

We had our night of watching the Mellentine kids last week…. I think Luke is the only kid missing from this wagon photo:


Alex received this bathing suit for her birthday last year.

It finally fits!


Who wouldn’t want to eat fro yo?

We love fro yo. We love that we can WALK from our home to a fro yo shop. And we always participate in the “Food Around Town” days at Davey’s school (a percentage of our purchase goes to Davey’s school – it’s a fund raiser).

IMG_4420 IMG_4423

and there you have it.
Now I need to go wipe Alex’s nose (for the thirty-ninth time in the last 30 minutes – bah humbug to allergies!) and then I need to find my list of house chores to finish before Grandpa & Grandma arrive later today!

2nd Annual Cinco de Mayo Fest

IMG_4433 IMG_4434 IMG_4435

Last year, Dave had this fantastic idea for the Logos Arizona office to have a Cinco de Mayo party at the Logos house. Well, really the idea was simply for a party but the Saturday that the house was available and that people were available was Cinco de Mayo. So we had a fun party with a salsa cook off and carnitas (Dave made them – SO. YUM.) and a piñata for the kids. When all was said and done, we decided it might need to become an annual event.

Fast forward to this year and the house calendar filled up quite quickly. And Cinco de Mayo was on a Sunday. And the house was booked starting on Saturday. So we made the best of the situation and enjoyed our SECOND ANNUAL CINCO de MAYO FEST on Friday the 3rd of May (aka: Tres de Mayo). Again, we enjoyed a salsa cook off. and swimming (the water was warmer this year – thanks for those solar panels, Bob!). and the kids had fun with another piñata.


IMG_4437 IMG_4438 IMG_4439 IMG_4440 IMG_4441 IMG_4442


IMG_4445 IMG_4446

 IMG_4447 IMG_4448

Last year, there were 5 employees, 4 spouses and 10 kids.

So 9 adults and 10 children.

This year there were 11 employees or soon-to-be employees (meaning people who had accepted a job offer but hadn’t started work yet), 7 spouses and 12 kids. Plus Bob, his wife Audra, their (adult) daughter, Kaiti and Dan (Bob’s brother).

That means we jumped up to 22 adults and 12 children.

That’s some good growth.

And here’s some good “growth,” too. Facial hair growth, that is:

IMG_4443 IMG_4444 IMG_4455

We had a great time and even though the event is a lot of work, I’d still suggest we do it again next year.

I think EVERYONE had a grand time!

Casey Wood was the queen this year. She not only won the salsa cook off with a pineapple salsa, but she made strawberry margarita cupcakes so we could celebrate Grace’s 3rd birthday. She also made some DELICIOUS peanut butter and chocolate peanut butter GF cookie bites.


 IMG_4450 IMG_4453

And it wouldn’t be an event where the Philpot and Dunkin families are together if Mr. Tom wasn’t getting a good arm workout by carrying his Jada and our Alex at the same time:


a crazy weekend

the weekend BEFORE my SURPRISE trip to washington was pretty busy for us.

much busier than we prefer.

but busy in a very, VERY good way.

dave jetted home from work on friday earlier than usual. we grabbed a few things, loaded the kids into the car and dropped them a few miles up the road at our friends’ home (we’re doing babysitting trades each month so we can get DATE NIGHTS!). the kids were SO EXCITED to play with Abby, Maddie and Luke. Abby is a year older than Davey. Maddie and Luke’s birthdays are within DAYS of Sam and Alex’s birthdays. Our kids play well together. And once the kids were settled (in 0.2 seconds!), Dave and I headed out for our *hot date* in Scottsdale…. to a Real Marriage by Mark Driscoll conference.


IMG_4318 IMG_4319

I can’t even tell you how wonderful it was to come home (yes, to our HOME!) on Friday night to find our children in their own beds, sound asleep! This “babysitting trade” should work out quite nicely! Many, MANY thanks to Jenn Mellentine for suggesting the trade.

And then on Saturday morning we were up and OUT THE DOOR with our kiddos by 7am so we could deliver them to our VERY AMAZING friends, the Philpots. Again, Blake is a year older than Davey. Lacey is exactly in-between Davey and Sam’s birthdays. And Jada is 18 months. Our kids play together REALLY well. And that’s a good thing because our kids were there until the early afternoon! Within mere seconds of dropping our kids, we were out the door and on our way back up to Scottsdale to continue with the Real Marriage conference.

I would like to say many, MANY thanks to Logos Bible Software for sponsoring the conference AND many, MANY thanks to Scott Lindsey (of Logos and Lynden, Washington!) for getting us in to the conference (for free!), for getting us some of Mark’s reading materials (for free!) AND for bumping us to the front of the line to have Mark sign our books!


The conference was fantastic.

We learned nothing NEW.

Nothing *earth shattering.

Nothing unexpected.

But we were reminded of SO MANY IMPORTANT marriage tips.

Things we’ve been forgetting.

Or ignoring.

Or simply not doing.

And that, my friends, made it VERY worthwhile.

And Mark Driscoll has a dry and sarcastic sense of humor – just our style.

After the conference (it ended at noon on Saturday), we found a restaurant for a nice date lunch.

As you can see, the weather was gorgeous so we enjoyed patio seating.

My fish tacos were delicious!

   IMG_4322 IMG_4320

And then we realized we were LATE.

yes, LATE.

our waitress literally forgot about us and it took us more than 20 minutes to pay our bill. Which meant that we (and by “WE,” I mean “Dave”) were driving a “bit fast” in an attempt to pick up the kids AND get Davey to a “Buddy Board Breaking Day” Karate class with his friend, Caleb.

But many thanks to my husband and the Philpots (who didn’t even make us come inside to get our kiddos!) and the LACK of police officers patrolling the weekend highway drivers, we managed to arrive at the studio on time.


First, the kids stood around and stretched.

And talked.

And goofed off.

Then they moved around and did some jumping jacks.

And they goofed off some more.

IMG_4323 IMG_4324 IMG_4325

And then the karate student and the “buddy” went up to the instructor(s) and each kid got to break a board!

IMG_4326 IMG_4327

I apologize for the blurry photo, but it’s all I’ve got:


Davey was SO EXCITED that he broke a board!

Casey and I have a little project in mind for those broken boards….

stay tuned to see if it ever actually happens!

The karate event was over far sooner than we thought it would be so we returned to the home of our friends, the Wood family, for food and fun:

IMG_4330 IMG_4331

ribs, chicken, beans, salad, watermelon and then flourless chocolate “cake” with ice cream for dessert.


and that, my friends, made for a fabulous but CRAZY BUSY weekend.

we loved it all!