Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for November, 2009

All in all, a good day

30th November 2009

Just had to share the fun little details of my good day today.  I spent several hours at Curves (where I workout) with samples of my Tastefully Simple goodies.  I made a good number of sales, and enjoyed the time chatting with ladies while addressing Christmas card envelopes. [Sidenote: The cards I ordered from SeeHere on Thanksgiving night arrived on our front porch on SATURDAY.  Can you believe that??  Crazy fast!  Not to say that I’ll be that fast in sending them out…] [Another sidenote: Let me know if me and my Tastefully Simple goodies can help you with your Christmas shopping!]

I had a few errands to run, and one was at the mall.  As I was walking through JC Penny to another store, I remembered a fancy wedding we’re going to this weekend, and thought I’d see what the clearance rack of dresses held.  I found a super cute (though slightly summery) black and white dress that fit, marked down to $25 from $100.  A pretty good deal, except that I might need to buy a sweater or shawl and some dressy black shoes.  Hm.  As I was hanging it up, still mulling the purchase over, I saw a pink stain on the back near the hemline.  I asked the cashier if the price reduction was for the stain, and lucky me… it wasn’t.  She had forgotten to mark it down again.. to $4.97.  WOOHOO!  I’m hoping I can get the stain out, and if not… well, it’s pretty far out of sight.  And now I can see if I can find any deals on a sweater and shoes!!

I had a few extra minutes between Curves and picking Analise up from school to browse on Twitter, and saw there was going to be a LandsEnd chat with some prizes.  So I answered a few questions (well, 12) while I was waiting, and voila!  I won a sweater!  WOOHOO!

Anyway, good day for this mommy.  I really appreciate my sweet mother-in-law for keeping the kids so I could enjoy sharing my tasty goodies (and please call or email if you want me to help with your Christmas shopping!!!!), and my sweet hubby for getting the kids fed and ready for bed.   Going to go tuck myself in with a smile on my face!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

26th November 2009

Here’s a glimpse of our Christmas cards (which you may or may not see before Christmas… I’ll be impressed if they’re out by New Year!).  Brian’s dad took 19 photos, and inevitably, in the best ones (“best” defined as where both children have semi-decent smiles, in the vague direction of the camera, and I’m not tugging Josiah back to the ground as he bounces incessantly) the top of Brian’s head is cut off.  Not so important to me because, really… people are looking at my cute kids, right?  I won’t tell you how many “just one more, Josiah, I promise this is the last one” photos there were!



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Thanksgiving Videos and Pictures

26th November 2009

We made a make-shift velodrome out of the leaves in our driveway — although our velodrome also had a Nascar style pit row.

Today we asked Josiah to say our Thanksgiving blessing. I was hoping to get a video of him with his eyes shut really tight the way he normally prays but I think the video camera was a distraction.

Also here is a couple pictures from our biking adventure around a running track near our house. The kids had played all day at Grandma’s house after biking in our driveway in the morning. They were tired and ready for bed early!

Biking on the track - Analise usually led the way but we had just turned around to bike back towards mommy!

Analise was tired and would stop every few minutes to rest

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Shopping deals… without leaving the couch!

26th November 2009

Ok, there are too many of these that are too good not to share!  Surely you’ve got some photos you can use for these deals…

  • The iPhone Blog notes that a great password app, 1Password, is FREE until December 1st.
  • Freebies 4 Mom has a code for 50 free photo cards from … I’m making ours right now with today’s family pictures!  This code expires at midnight on Nov. 30th.
  • Freebies 4 Mom also has info about a free photobook from, courtesy of The Bonnie Hunt Show.  Photobooks can be tedious to create online, and comments on the post show that the website has been slow.  There are only 25,000 free books available, and you can’t know if you’ll get it for free until you go to checkout with the promo code.  With all those disclosures aside, I’ve used before, and I’m always impressed with their high quality and excellent service.  I’m going to try to create mine tonight.  And shipping is free, too!  I’ve made several photobooks recently, and it’s getting me a bit more caught up on archiving our many family memories!
  • Canvas People is offering a free 8×10 canvas (pay shipping, $15) or $55 off any other size canvas.
  • I’m about ready to click “Buy” on an Amazon shopping cart with about 80% of the Christmas gifts I need to buy.  Another 10% are already bought.  The last 10% aren’t figured out yet.  Maybe I’d better browse a bit more… The deals at Amazon are great, though!  No need to head to the store where I’d surely find more to buy than I needed to!

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Thanksgiving menu…

23rd November 2009

We’re having Thanksgiving dinner at Brian’s parents, and here’s my part of the menu (with recipe links!)…

Analise is off school this whole week, so we got a little crafty today, doing painted leaf prints around thankful lists.  They turned out very nice, and I got a big lump in my throat seeing their sweet answers, and Analise’s carefully printed list, with “Mom” at the top.  I’m so thankful!

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A favorite family tradition – Operation Christmas Child

23rd November 2009

For the 5th year in a row, I’ve had the joy of helping the kids pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.  We shopped, wrapped, packed, and prayed for our boxes this week, and finally dropped them off at a local church on Saturday.  Very slowly, the kids are learning to think beyond themselves, and it’s a treat to walk them through this process.


It’s fun to imagine this trailer packed full of brightly wrapped shoeboxes bringing fun, love and joy to children around the world.


My little sweeties.  Analise is dressed as one of the Barbie Three Musketeers with the cape, mask and (not shown) sword.  Josiah can barely keep from dropping his box.  He does have Musketeers clothing, but didn’t insist on wearing it.


A look back… when Analise was 17 months old (2005)

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Ug… one of those days. BUT!

20th November 2009

Yesterday was one of Those Days. Everything seemed against me, and by the end of the day, I was just so thankful that it was behind me and that the morning would bring gracious “new mercies”. But as I collapsed into bed, my mind was quick to find a long list of things to be thankful for. So in the hope that the next time one of Those Days finds me, I’ll remember the many things to be thankful for, here’s last night’s thankful list:

  • God’s provision, evident throughout my list, too ways to count!
  • Good friends bringing encouragement
  • The Word… In spite of the fact that I was busy and didn’t make time myself for the Word, God took me to it Himself.  I was supposed to volunteer in Analise’s class in the morning, but instead I found myself sitting outside Analise’s classroom waiting for her class to come back from a last-minute event.  I had nothing with me, except my iPhone, which happens to have the Bible on it.  And so I read.  And read. And read.  Her class didn’t come back (they went straight to the playground), and before I knew it, I’d read 6 chapters of John, and my heart was blessed.
  • Smile of Analise when she saw me at school.
  • Lunch with good friends, praying together, hearing Beth Moore bring her awesome wisdom on the Word.
  • Chocolate cake
  • Pumpkin pie (not that I ate both of those.  though I might have. or I might not have…)
  • A snuggly little boy who happily curls up close to me after his nap (or whenever really!), so I can snuggle him close.
  • Yummy hot croissant ham & swiss sandwiches
  • Kids who didn’t battle with a 7:15 bedtime, and who were asleep before 7:30.  Whew!

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly … with gratitude in your hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16

Posted in Daily Grind | No Comments » 1st purchase

20th November 2009

I am happy to announce that after going live with the preliminary version of almost 3 months ago, I have sold my first map! You know you want to buy one, too! Here’s a link to one of my favorite state maps (Arizona – high resolution) and also my paypal balance – I’d say business is booming 🙂

labeled screenshot of the az-high map 1st purchase

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Sweet stuff…

16th November 2009

Fun memories from recently…

**Brian was staying at work late to speak to a group of students in the ACM society.  I was trying to explain how it wasn’t exactly class, but that he was teaching them something extra, “something cool.”  Analise said, “Like what?”  I was struggling, and said, “Like how to keep computers safe.”

Analise, who’s just getting proficient at the most basic computer skills and has computer class once a week at school, thought for a moment, and then said, “I know what Daddy should teach them!  He should teach them to log off.  That’s cool!”  I laughed and agreed that it was cool.  She continued, “And he can teach them to log on!  That’s cool, too!”  Indeed, sweetheart.  Indeed.  I think she’s going to be as cool as her Daddy some day.

**The week after Halloween, I gave Josiah a little bag of mini M&Ms dumped into a bowl to munch on while we were driving somewhere.  When I handed them to him, he said, “That’s a wot of m’s!”  When I got him out of the car, all but one tiny little M&M were gone.  When I coaxed him to eat the last one, he said, “I’m saving that one for Sister.”  Sweet boy!

**While I was gone this weekend, Beverly helped Analise write her own Christmas list.  She is enamored with the new Barbie and the Three Musketeers movie and all that goes along with it.  She brought home a neatly printed list that I was very impressed with.  Beverly spelled everything on the list for her exept the title, “Crmis List”.  Great writing and beginning spelling practice!  Sunday morning before church, she even wanted to copy it onto another list so Brian could have his own copy.

Yesterday after church, we were headed to Target to shop for our Operation Christmas Child boxes.  I was explaining that we were shopping for other children, not ourselves.  I told them I knew it would be hard and that we’d see lots of things we wanted, but that we would do Christmas shopping for each other another day.  Analise piped up in the sweetest, most innocent voice, “Mama, I happen to have my Christmas list here.  In case we see anything on it, you can just get it for me today.”   Good thinking, but not on my agenda… We did manage to do all our OCC shopping and not come home with a single item for ourselves.  Learning little by little that it’s not about us.  I hope to have pictures of them dropping off their shoeboxes later this week!

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5th annual fall Gatlinburg trip

14th November 2009

Each November, Brian attends a conference in beautiful Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  We always look forward to the fun family atmosphere of the small town, the beautiful Smoky Mountains, and the first taste of winter and snow.  This year we got to go without kids!  What a treat!  And this year it was warm enough to walk around in a short-sleeved t-shirt instead of bundled up in my winter wear.

Brian presented (and staffed and organized!) at the conference, so it was definitely a working vacation for him.  I, on the other hand, slept late, watched Food Network for hours (don’t have it at home!), and walked around the bustling downtown.  I enjoyed watching Brian’s presentation, though many of the details were above my head.  He sounds like a genius to me 🙂

Brian headed out early Saturday morning to ride from Gatlinburg in the valley up to Tennessee’s high point, Clingman’s Dome (a leisurely 20 miles with 5,000 feet of climbing).  After we had breakfast, we drove up there, and climbed up the overlook at Clingman’s.  Gorgeous Smokey Mountains as far as we could see!

I tried to post these pics from my iPhone on Sunday afternoon while we were driving back, but I hit a couple snags.  Actually, I typed all the text out with my thumbs and lost it… twice.  But here’s the iPhone glimpses of our trip!

My handsome smart-talking husband.

The river in downtown Gatlinburg.

The rest of these photos are from Brian’s ride up the mountain Saturday morning.

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