Category Archives: Family

My Favorite Thing About Toy Packaging (A Lesson in Creative Recycling)

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I heard a song on the radio the other day called Toy Packaging, sung by Sara Groves. My favorite verse in the song is:

“In the old days you could hold a box and shake it
Hear the pieces rattling around
My eyes tear up at these grommets, tape and twisty ties
Remembering that beautiful sound”

This song reminded me of my favorite part of toy packaging. (Yes, I actually do love one aspect of toy packaging.) Twisty Ties.

These are not just normal twisty ties. These are the king of the twisty tie family. These are the one item that should not be put into the garbage bag with the wrapping paper and torn boxes. These should be collected and cherished.

Why am I so geeky about these twisty ties?

There are several reasons. They are versatile. They are reusable. They will last forever, or at least until your husband accidentally throws one away (which should be strictly punished in my personal opinion.) And most importantly, they are a reward for the mind-numbing task of taking the toy out of the packaging, because anyone who has completed this feat of mental and physical strength knows that there absolutely should be some type of compensation.

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Here are some ways I have used these “rewards”:

  • to make wreath bows: use twisty ties instead of wire or pipe cleaner
  • to hang pots in the pantry (see picture below)
  • to contain cords on chargers, near the computer and by the entertainment center
  • to close packages, like chip bags or frozen vegetables
  • to hang necklaces: see picture at bottom for this space-saving tip
  • to hang hoses or extension cords on the garage
  • to hang quilting hoops in the craft room

So this weekend, after you have exerted the energy to open the toy packaging, take a minute more to collect the twisty ties. You’ll be thanking yourself for the rest of the year.

Necklace Tip:

To save space and prevent tangles, use a twisty tie to hang four necklaces on one hook.

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First Snow

Oh the weather outside is frightful. Frightful. Frightful. Frightful…….

This line from the song “Let it Snow” played in my head Wednesday morning, but it never got past the first line. It was like an old record player and there was a scratch on the vinyl after the word frightful. Frightful. Frightful.

The kids, however, felt the opposite.

They were up at 7:00.

We found out school was canceled at 7:15.

They were dressed and running around in the snow like people just released from incarceration by 7:45.

They were back in the house, along with a frightful amount of snow by a little after 8:00.

Normally the snow does not get me down. It’s just that on Friday and Saturday it was unseasonably warm. Then I woke up to this on Wednesday. I’ve lived in Michigan 32 years, and still the weather surprises me. My kids reaction to the snow does not surprise me though.

Just the Six of Us

There are six people living in this house.

That’s six people who need food. Six people who need clothes bought, washed, and put away. Six people who get sick, ornery and loud. Though those six people struggle to get along at times, they also care for, help, and love each other.

Sometimes I do not get along with them, especially during the time of the month that I remember Eve and her apple. (And I hope it tasted really, really good! ) There are moments that Sissy does not get along with her older brother, and moments when our oldest son does not get along with his dad.

But then there are the moments God allows me to see, when they snuggle together on the couch to watch Kung Fu Panda (though that could be a tactic to ensure that someone is near when the kung fu power overwhelms them). The times that oldest brother helps sissy get something she can’t reach. The moment that dad walks in the door and the house erupts in screams and pounding feet. The times when our second youngest finds me for an after-nap cuddle. The way they each look out for the baby and treat him like their brother, even though we still don’t know for sure if his future includes staying with us permanently.

Six distinct personalities. Six minds, hearts, and souls all trying to learn to live together. While we work toward family harmony and peace, Jer and I also are responsible for slowly teaching them to learn to be independent. Sometimes it’s a huge chaotic mess. Having a family is harder and more demanding than I ever imagined. But among this chaos there is a mix of blessing, grace and joy.

Christmas 2011 Officially Begins



Never before in my life have I gotten a real Christmas tree in November, until this year. Last Saturday we piled everyone in the Suburban and headed to a local farm to cut our own tree, and for many reasons I loved it.

What exactly did I “LOVE” about it?

I loved that it was so warm. 65 degrees. If you don’t think that that is warm for Thanksgiving weekend, you haven’t ever lived in Michigan.

I loved that no snow boots, or snow pants, or gloves were worn at the cutting of this tree.

I loved that no one had to be carried or pushed in a stroller.

I loved that our oldest son made a half a dozen ornaments with construction paper and had them in a box, waiting for the tree.

I loved that all of the ornaments were put on the tree without my assistance.

I loved that the tree did not fall over this year, as it did twice last year.

If only it would be 65 degrees every year when we cut the tree. Though that rarely happens in Michigan, I choose to shun reality and hope for it next year anyway.

Gratituesday: Shoeboxes

For a few years now we have been packing shoe boxes for a program called Operation Christmas Child. We’ve purchased shirts, underwear, soap, candy, toys, combs and books to send off in a shoe box for a child in a different country. This year, our oldest son, who will soon be 8, has been talking about his shoe box for a couple of weeks. He knows the age group he wants to give a shoe box for, he has ideas for what he wants to put into it. He is so excited to participate in this program, that he found an old shoe box in the closet and filled it with toys from his own room that he wants to give to another child.

I am thankful for a son that has a compassionate spirit and is eager to give away his own possessions to help someone else. I am also grateful for Operation Christmas Child. This program not only helps children all over the world, but also helps us in America to loosen our purse strings for something worthy and valuable. That’s something we could all use a little more of.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Halloween 2011

Halloween 2011

This year we had a werewolf, complete with howling sounds, a pirate, a monkey and a skeleton.

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