Free Cards from HP

I have an HP Printer, which I love. Of course, I use HP ink. Well, inside the package of ink cartridges, there's always a little flyer for other cool HP stuff. Usually I just throw it away without looking at it.

Last week I started working on creating my daughter birthday party invites. I have an old HP program called Print Master (like 10 years old!) that lets you design and create cards using the clipart, etc on the program. I usually come up with some pretty fun stuff. This time, I really wanted something different for my daughter's invitation and was having a hard time coming up with something.

I just happened to change an ink cartridge and pulled out the little flyer inside. This flyer was advertising HP's Idea House, where you can create everything from recipe cards to greeting cards. So I thought - Hey, I'm going to see what they have!

I went out to their website, and clicked on the link to Cards & Stationery. I went right to their birthday invites section, and found some pretty darn cool cards! MJ decided she really liked the Celebration card. We even uploaded a picture of her for on the inside. It's very cool.

It was very easy to personalize the card, add her picture, etc. I used HP's Half-Fold Card Paper & Envelope set, which I purchased from Wal-Mart. And when I printed them, they were gorgeous!!! Perfect clarity and totally cute.

And best of all . . . FREE!!! (I love that word!)

The only drawback to their program I found was I printed most of the cards out, then needed to take care of some bickering kids. I left the program open over-night on my computer. Then the next day when I went back to print, the program didn't save the info. It was confusing because the info was all on the card, but when I printed the inside, it printed the info as blank. So, I closed the program, re-typed in the info & uploaded the picture again. But it didn't take long. It was a little inconvenient, but not totally annoying.

Go check out their offerings. I think you'll enjoy them. There's not a huge selection in each category, but the selections they have are nicely put together. Enjoy!

Ferguson Fashion Show

Our 8 year old daughter asked for dress up clothes for Christmas this year. Do you have any idea how expensive dress up clothes are for older kids? Holy guacamole! Thankfully, my daughter told me her wish list the day before Halloween. So Halloween and the day after, I was out bargain hunting for costumes marked 50-75% off.

Ta-da! Dress up clothes!

I not only found awesome costumes - everything from Hannah Montana to Renaissance dresses - but also some very cool accessories. Glittery microphones, a child's long blond wig, fairy shoes, princess wands, and fuzzy hats, purses, and boas. Heck, I even found Star Wars Light Sabers for all the kids for $1 each! But we'll save that for another post . . .

My daughter was ecstatic! She's been dressing up and putting on fashion shows ever since. And she's not the only one who's gotten into it.

Our oldest son is too macho to dress up, but I guess being the fashion show announcer and using the microphone is pretty cool. Although, I must admit that he sounds more like a circus announcer than a fashion show announcer. Shh! Don't tell him!

Here are some fabulous pictures and an absolutely hilarious video for you to enjoy . . .

Introducing Roberta the Rock Star . . .

Our son sure looks good in a dress, don't you think? He can sing too - check out the video below!

Our oldest son's new Bionicle even got into the fashion show! See how these incredible wings accent his outfit and coloring?

And now introducing our Super Model, MJ . . .

Very well done, everyone. Take a bow!!!

Super Model MJ and her Announcers Isaac and Rob.

The Marie Antoinette Award

My good friend Ali over on Girl in a Whirl received the Marie Antoinette "Real Blogs Real People" Award, then she graciously passed it on to me. She said some really nice things about me . . . and I didn't even have to bribe her!

"I would like to pass this award along to Danyelle at Queen of the Clan. Danyelle has a smile that lights up a room, but even if you hadn't ever met her in person you could tell she smiles like that just from the way she writes. She has a beauty that shines through every post and I find very word to be true to who she is and what is in her heart. Danyelle's blog is a happy place to be."

Thank you, Ali! On a side note, this award is very appropriate right now as Marie lost her head (quite literally by execution) . . . and lately I feel like I'm losing mine as well between all this hospital/illness stuff. Just a little funny similarity between me & Marie. :)

Now I get to pass the award on to someone, too. I'm going to send it to my friend Amy over at What a Kick in the Pants. I love her blog. She writes about what she's really thinking and shares her sewing and knitting experiments, too. She's one funny, down-to-earth chick!

We're Home Again!

After three days in the hospital, Isaac was discharged Tuesday afternoon, which is good and not so great.

Isaac does have a 2 inch cystic type mass in his lower right lung. Two inches doesn't sound very big until you see it on his small child-size lungs. The mass is pushing against the diaphragm and causing Isaac a lot of pain. Right now, we do know it's not cancer. There are a couple of different possibilities it could be, but we won't know for sure until after the biopsy. One problem the surgeons came up against is that they can't tell if there's an infection inside the mass or not. So Isaac is home for the next few weeks taking some very powerful antibiotics and pain meds. He needs to be on antibiotics for at least two weeks to knock out any possible infection before the surgery. We have another appointment in January with the surgeon to set the surgery date. It will be towards mid-January.

As for the colon, they think the thickening of the walls is from when he had the flu a few weeks ago. They said it can take a while for the colon to return to normal.

Isaac is actually doing pretty well as long as he's nicely medicated. I'm happy that so far, the meds he's taken have not made him loopy or drowsy, but comfortable enough to be himself. When the meds start wearing off, you can really tell though because he wants to sit with me and run his hands through my hair to comfort himself. He has been able to tell me when he needs more pain meds and when he's feeling okay.

Are you ready for a photo tour of our time at Children's Mercy?

The day after Isaac was admitted, Tony Gonzalez of the KC Chiefs and David Cook from American Idol came to Children's Mercy to pass out Shadow Buddies. Even though Isaac had no clue who they were, he thought it was fun to meet them and receive his doll.

While we were getting pictures taken, Isaac started doing all these funky Star Wars poses. Tony Gonzalez actually got right down with Isaac and copied his poses with him. I have some of the pictures, but they turned out really silly and not a really good shot of the two of them posing together. But it was fun!

Isaac absolutely loved it when Mr. Todd came to visit. Mr. Todd is one of Isaac's autism specialists at school. He was Isaac's first visitor during his stay. Of course, he was excited Mr. Todd brought him a new Bionicle, too. Thank you, Mr. Todd!

Isaac's next visitor was Miss Jill, who is Isaac's other autism specialist at school. She works with Isaac in the afternoons, while Mr. Todd works with him in the mornings. Isaac just loves Miss Jill. Can you tell?

The food was actually really good while we were there. The coolest part was that they had a whole Milk-Free menu they sent up just for Isaac. He got to order anything he wanted from the menu each day.

Our friends, Shelley and Kelly, brought us more clothes from our house . . . and also brought MJ & Rob to visit, too. Isaac was happy to see them!

Us being goofy with Shelley and Kelly. Poor Rob got his head cut off. It's a good thing we were already at the hospital, eh? :) That evening, Miss Bobbi (Isaac's first para when we moved to KS) came to visit him, too. She brought him some fun balloons. I thought we took pictures of them together, but I couldn't find them on my camera. They must be lost somewhere with all the pictures from Isaac's class party. I can't find them either. Hmm . . .

As you can see, we did our best to keep Isaac happy between all the yucky blood tests and poking and prodding. When we were in the car to go home, I asked Isaac if he thought staying in the hospital had been okay. He looked at me funny and said, "Mom, hospitals are bad, yucky places."

And I said, "But Isaac, that's where we've been for the last three days. You've been in the hospital so the doctors and nurses could help you."

He replied, "Oh! I didn't know that."

So, I guess we did a pretty good job at keeping him happy. :) A huge thank you to everyone who came to see him. Also, thank you for all of your prayers, emails, and phone calls. We appreciate all of your friendship and love. We'd like to ask that you keep praying for Isaac that he'll continue to do well with his pain meds as he completes his rounds with the antibiotics. I will keep you updated and let you know when he'll have his surgery. We hope you'll all have a wonderful Christmas with your families!

An Unmerry Event

It's been a very long two days.

On the evenings of Friday and Saturday, our oldest son complained that his stomach hurt. Thinking he had gas, we gave him some gas meds and he went to sleep. Then Sunday morning during sacrament meeting, our son began to cry and say his back and stomach hurt. My hubby took Isaac to another room and called our 24 hour on-call nurse, who suggested taking him to urgent care.

After ruling out strep, Urgent Care then referred him to Olathe Medical Center to have his appendix checked out. A CT scan was ordered and showed that his appendix was fine, but that he had problems with is colon and a mass located on the lower portion on his right lung, which was pushing on his diaphragm (most likely the source of all the pain). OMC then transferred Isaac to Children's Mercy Hospital in downtown Kansas City. He was admitted late that night and was assigned a team of surgeons.

We are having more tests done today, but will be here again over night. Right now we are just trying to keep him happy. And it seems that as long as he has some good pain meds available, he can manage okay.

On a more fun note during this not so fun time, he did get to meet David Cook (American Idol) and Tony Gonzalez (KC Chiefs) this morning. They came to meet the kids and pass out Shadow Buddies from the Tony Gonzalez Foundation. Isaac was thrilled to receive his angel doll, which he decided to use markers to make look more like a Bionicle. (is anyone surprised?) Tony even wanted to sign the doll's leg, but Isaac told him he had to sign the shirt so he could color the doll. My favorite part was that while we were having our pics taken, Isaac was posing like a star wars/bionicle figure and Tony got into the act with him and modeled all of his poses just like Isaac. It was really cute! Isaac and I were even interviewed by one of the KC news stations there covering the event. I have no idea which station or if we were even included in the final cut of the broadcast, but Isaac enjoyed answering the questions and talking into the microphone. There is a video on David Cook's website of his visit today. I couldn't view it here from the hospital, so I don't know if Isaac's in it or not. But you can see more of what it was about. Kind of a bright spot while being stuck in a hospital being constantly poked and prodded.

At this time, we are waiting for more test results to come back. I'll update you again when I have a moment. Until then, please keep my little guy in your prayers. Thank you for your love and friendship. Merry Christmas!

School's Out!

It's the first day of Winter Break at our house. Our school district has a long winter break - a little over three weeks. We're going to have soo much fun! I'm sure we'll schedule a few family outings so we aren't stuck in the house the whole time. And if things go well, my hubby and I may get out for one or two daytime dates. We'll see.

But for today, my post is going to be nice and short. My kids and I have board games to play, holiday movies to watch, and I need to make a pecan pie for our family Christmas party at Great-Grammy's house.

I thought you'd enjoy this cute video of my youngest son and daughter playing the piano while singing "I am a Child of God". Happy Holidays!

Sentimental Christmas Memories

I love the happiness and joy of the Christmas season. Our home feels so much warmer with the kids playing nicely with each other, a wassail scented candle burning, and lights twinkling from our tree. The kids come home from school singing Christmas songs and excited to count down the final days until Santa arrives. It's such a wonderful time of year. And today it actually snowed! I think there's about six inches outside, which is quite a lot of snow for Kansas City. If you come by this afternoon, you just may find me and the kiddos building our first snowman since moving to the midwest!

I'm in a very sentimental mood today. Do any of you feel like that around this time of year? I think of Christmases past . . . getting my first Chatty Patty doll and my first Cabbage Patch doll - both of which I cried because I was just so excited!

I remember the year my parents wrapped a HUGE package for both my brother and I and put it next to the tree. We made so many guesses about what it could be. But my secret, dearest wish was that it would be a great big doll house to play with my Barbies in. Christmas morning, my brother and I ripped that box open first. We were just so excited! You cannot even imagine my disappointment when I didn't find my Barbie house, but instead a big color TV. I still have the picture of me with my arms folded and a big scowl on my face. Of course, my brother was jumping for joy in the background.

One of my favorite Christmas memories comes from watching my own kids. Every year, we hide our gifts so the kids can't snoop. Then we wait until they are all conked out in their beds Christmas Eve before putting them under the tree. Of course, Dad has guard duty and sleeps on the couch just to be sure we don't get any early morning snoopers (cause that's exactly what I did! Hee hee!). My favorite memory is from when my two oldest were quite young. In fact, I think I was pregnant with our third and still had morning sickness. I sat on the couch watching my son and daughter walk down the hall towards the living room. When they reached the entry way, their expressions went from sleepy excitment to awed wonder as they saw all the pretty packages under the tree. And how reverent they were as we kneeled before the tree and prayed to thank Heavenly Father for our Savior's birth and all the blessings our family had received that year.

This year, I am grateful for Christmases past and present. I hope you each take a moment to remember special past Christmas moments from your life as well and just enjoy the feeling of peaceful gratitude that seeps into your soul. Merry Christmas!

The Twilight Before Christmas

I discovered this on Tristi's blog.. It's absolutely hilarious! Enjoy!!!

The Mom Song

I know I've posted this before, but it's still my FAVORITE!!! It makes me feel so good to be a mom . . . hee hee!

Lego Lovers Meet Characters from the Book of Mormon

I recently found this totally awesome book called Brick of Mormon Stories and just had to share it. Our nine-year-old is addicted to anything Lego. He absolutely loves the little Lego guys that come with the sets and uses them to role play all sorts of things. One of the things that caught my attention about this book, is a parent who reviewed it said her kids started role playing the stories from Brick of Mormon Stories with their little Lego guys. That cinched the deal for me right there! My son is getting this book!

You can find out more about Brick of Mormon Stories on their website and their blog.

Free Books from Richard Paul Evans

Visit Richard's website, where he is giving away boxes containing 25 copies of The Christmas Box for only the price of shipping - $15! This is a wonderful (and affordable) gift for family, friends, neighbors, teachers, etc. Enjoy!

The Christmas Box

“Whatever the reason, I find that with each passing Christmas the story of the Christmas Box is told less and needed more. So I record it now for all future generations to accept or dismiss as seems them good. As for me, I believe. And it is, after all, my story.”

“The most popular holiday tale since Tiny Tim.”


So begins The Christmas Box, the touching story of a widow and the young family who moves in with her. Together they discover the first gift of Christmas and learn what Christmas is really all about. The Christmas Box is a Christmas story unlike any other.

When I wrote The Christmas Box, I never intended to publish the story-it was simply an expression of love for my two young daughters, Jenna and Allyson. Though I often told them that I loved them, I didn’t believe that they could ever really understand the depth of those feelings until they had experienced the joy of rearing their own children, and by that time our relationship would have already changed. Forever. In writing The Christmas Box, I hoped that at some future time they could read this book and know of their father’s love.

As I began to write, I was amazed at the inspiration which flowed into my mind and heart. I completed the book in less than six weeks and, when I had finished, I produced twenty copies to give as Christmas presents to my family and friends. In the next four weeks those twenty copies were shared from family to family, and friend to friend. I never imagined that what began as a tale for two little girls would spread to millions throughout the world. The inspiration, which began with the The Christmas Box, is continued with Timepiece, the story of David and MaryAnne Parkin, in which we learn where the Christmas box and the angel statue had come from and the powerful lessons of hope the couple learned from their little girl, Andrea. I have learned from those who have read my stories that books can heal, and characters like MaryAnne Parkin, though fictitious, can provide warmth and companionship. My hope is that the stories of The Christmas Box and Timepiece fill your heart and home with inspiration, hope, and healing that you, in turn, may share these gifts with those you love.

With love and Christmas,

Richard Paul Evans

Lovin's Land

Sunday morning, our kids came bounding into our room and jumped up onto our bed. This is pretty typical for a Sunday morning. We have church later in the afternoon this year, so usually my hubby and I can hear the kids playing together while we enjoy the fact that we don't have to be out of bed by 7 am for a change.

Well, this particular morning, the kids had decided to rename our rooms. Our oldest son's room was named Lego Land. Very appropriate as he has tons and tons of Legos. Our oldest daughter's room became Ballet Land. Again, very suiting as she loves anything to do with dance. Our youngest son and daughter share a room next to ours, and it was renamed to Coloring Book Land. The kids even pulled all their coloring books off the shelves, grabbed all their coloring containers, and put them in Coloring Land.

As for Mom and Dad's room, we got a new name, too. Again, one that's very appropriate. We're now Lovin's Land. This is fun because we often ask our kids for "Lovin's" which means it's hugs and snuggles time. I was so happy to be associated with hugs, rather than something like "No Land" or "Go to Your Room Land".

Hugs are good. Yes indeed.

From My Wedding to Yours . . .

I've been asked to join the yourLDSneighborhood blogger team. I'm now their official wedding blogger. Yep, I get to write all about engagements, bridal showers, weddings, and receptions. I'm also going to talk about some more serious issues such as how to help your non-LDS family understand a temple marriage. I'm very excited to be a part of this incredible online community!

I'll be posting every Monday and Friday on my blog, From My Wedding to Yours.

For more info about yourLDSneighborhood, click here. They also have a fabulous newsletter!

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Midwestern Tour

I'm so excited! The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square is coming to Kansas City on June 25th, 2009 as part of their 2009 Midwestern Tour! Yeah!!! I can't wait to get tickets!

You can find out more about the tour here. Be sure to check out the ticket info. Some of the concerts have already started selling tickets.

Movie Review: Twilight

Saturday, my hubby and I splurged on a babysitter and extra date night money and went to see the new movie, Twilight. I've heard many mixed reviews from friends who loved it and went to see it every day for the first four days to professional movie reviewers who gave it lukewarm reviews.

I was excited to see what I would think of the movie, especially after thoroughly devouring the entire book series not just once, but multiple times.

Overall, I'd have to say I thought the movie was pretty good. Maybe 3 1/2 to 4 stars.

There were certainly parts of it I loved - the tension between Bella and Edward was fantastic.

I loved the cast chosen for the Cullen family and Jacob. Up until I actually saw the movie, I just couldn't picture anyone chosen for the cast as filling the characters I made up for them on my own. I was happily surprised to see just how masterfully each of the actors and actresses portrayed their Twilight characters.

So what didn't I like? There were so many chapters from the book that were combined into one scene. I understand there's just so much information in the book and it can't all go into the movie exactly as is. Things get combined or, sadly, deleted. The scene where Bella confronts Edward about being a vampire was actually parts of three different chapters. In the book, Bella learns gradually about the life of a vampire, whereas in the movie I felt it was all thrown on in at once - to the point that it was unbelievable for her to say, "None of that bothers me. I'm not afraid of you."

I was also very, very sad that some of my favorite scenes from the book never made it into the movie. Such as when they do blood-typing in science and Bella passes out. Of course, Edward rescues her from Mike who's struggling to get her to the nurse's office. Another favorite scene that didn't make the cut was when Edward "spies" on Bella during gym class and gets a laugh at how clumsy (and dangerous) she is. And another favorite is when Jessica corners Bella in trig to ask her all about Edward & Bella's mysterious meeting in Port Angeles, as well as her feelings for Edward. Of course, Bella is acutely aware that Edward is "listening in" to Jessica's thoughts during the conversation.

So, while I was disappointed in missing out on some of my favorite chapters on the big screen, I really did enjoy the portrayal of Edward, Bella, Jacob, and the Cullen's family.

Would I go back to see it over and over and over while it's in the theaters? Naw. I'll save my moolah and wait for the DVD to come out and indulge in a Twilight marathon in a much more comfortable theater - my family room.