Happy Birthday Pepper

Our puppy turned 1 sometime this month. We are not sure of her exact birthdate because she is a rescue dog. She was adopted from a wonderful place called Ozark Mutts and Stuff.

Pepper was dumped on a country road with her three litter mates even before their eyes were open. The four pups arrived at the rescue when they were five weeks old. They all were healthy and happy for a couple of weeks then two of the pups came down with a respiratory infection and passed away.

The two remaining pups thrived and one was adopted to our family! She came to us spayed and with her first set of shots. She was the happiest little dog I'd seen - though I bet any dog would be happy to finally be home after a three day road trip in a cage on an RV with 65 other dogs!

Pepper is great with the kids, albeit a little overly energetic. She is best friends with the cat. They play together every evening. She is housebroken and listens to most commands, at least for a few seconds. Sounds perfect right? Wrong!

I have never been a dog person. Hubby is the dog lover - I am the cat lover. How we ended up together is a good example of God's funny sense of humor! What I am is a puppy person. The thing with puppies is that they grow into dogs. This puppy happens to be growing into a very large dog! I seem to find her every move annoying. I think she senses this because she stares at me for disturbingly long periods of time, as if to say, "I'm going to MAKE you like me!"

Well, I hear her loud and clear. I found out we were pregnant just before she arrived and may have been a tad moody for nine months... and tired for the last two months! I do love her because she is a part of our family. I am hoping that with the spring weather, and a bit more sleep as the baby grows, I'll be able to take the kids and the dog out more. A little sunshine and fresh air might stir up some affection and be a good bonding experience for us!


Organic on a budget‏

I love organic food. Serving it to my family makes me feel like I am doing one of the healthiest things I can for them. Unfortunately it is becoming more and more difficult for me to make the choice between buying organic and saving money. I read an article today explaining that if you have to tighten the food budget, you can at least be a smart buyer and make choices about which organic selections are most important to buy. The article explained that some foods have higher concentrations of pesticides than others.

The following foods contain higher levels of pesticides:
Bell peppers
Imported grapes

The following "Clean 15" foods contain lower levels of pesticides:
Sweet corn
Sweet peas
Sweet potatoes

This makes me feel better about not buying everything organic all the time. Another thing that I have done is to look for organic food in some of the discount grocery stores in our area. For example, we have a Price Rite in our town. They sell Stonyfield Organic Milk for more than a dollar less than the local Stop and Shop. The same exact brand and a whole dollar difference! Our kids are getting bigger and drinking more milk than they ever did, so this helps a lot.

I also can't wait for the local farmers markets to open. Apparently it is a 3 year process for produce to be "certified" organic, but at least I can ask the sellers exactly how their food is grown. And it's nice to meet the folks who actually grow the food we are eating!

Think Spring!

I can't believe our firstborn will be five years old soon! In honor of this milestone, we are throwing her a spring/garden party! We initially wanted to have an easy, all inclusive party at a restaurant, kids museum or some other place, but realized we have too many friends to keep within the 10 kid max, and we certainly weren't paying $10 for each additional kid! Sooo...we are having a house full of kids here in less than two weeks! I decided to go with a spring theme. Lil' Miss likes flowers and boys like bugs - everyone will feel included and have a great time.

Of course the invitations are handmade because I wouldn't have anything less mailed from this postal address! They are very detailed and still in the process of being made. I used my Cricut (my absolute favorite scrapbooking tool and the best Christmas present EVER from Hubby) to cut out all of the little letters and the grass. Lil' Miss herself punched out all of the hearts to make the flowers and petals. The number fives were created with my Quikutz. The tags were made with the Creative Memories tag maker. They are not attached to the card, but just slipped in behind the grass. The tag in the picture above is blank, but on the others I have written the party details - "Lil' Miss' Birthday" on the front, and the date, time, address and phone number on the back. I'll top each tag off with a little ribbon tied through the hole.

For activities, I am planning on having the kids paint tiny terra cotta pots. They will then fill them with soil and transfer a small flower or plant to their pot. I purchased the pots in packs of 3 from the dollar store. I'll get the flowers/plants in a tray from one of the local home improvement stores. At the dollar store I was also able to find hanging laterns for decorations and craft sticks that we'll use to make markers so the kids know what they're growing. The store also had packs of seeds at 10 for $1! I'm hoping to get back over there to get some tissue paper to make huge tissue paper flowers to put around as decorations, and maybe lots of green construction paper to make "grass" to put around the bottom of the walls.

Finally, my neighbor is making a big flower cake. She bakes the best cakes I've ever tasted! I'll have ice cream with lots of sundae toppings. And for food we'll have pizza for the kids and provide wings and appetizer trays (fruit, veggie, cheese n crackers) for the adults.

Sounds like fun? Spring on over then!!!


Free Scrapbooking Tools!

I just love scrapbooking and I especially love free scrapbooking supplies! Vanilla Joy is giving away four Creative Memories Shape Makers! The prize includes the Tag Maker, the Sweet Heart Maker, the Square Maker, and the Puzzle Maker. If you have ever used Creative Memories scrapbooking tools, you know how great their products are. I have a few shape makers and some other tools and I don't think I could scrap without them! Check out Vanilla Joy for your chance to enter!