Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fun Website

I found this awesome website/blog that has tutorials and free downloads for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.  It is called Coffeeshop.  

I have downloaded many actions from here and also templates and storyboards.  Here is one I just finished.

I love how these freebies make me look like I know what I'm doing in PSE.  Thank you, Rita, for a wonderful blog!


I had the opportunity to take pictures of my great nephew yesterday.  This is the first time I've taken pictures of a newborn.  He is so sweet.  There were moments when I could feel my internal motherly part yearning for another little boy. . . . . then Noah woke up from his nap and I came to my senses.

Aren't these the cutest little feet?  I could just eat them up!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


My good friend, Holly, had a post on her blog today that had a photo of her and her husband back 25 years ago at our senior prom.  It brought back so many memories for me.  The lace gloves (Madonna), white nail polish, and air freshener garters (don't ask). I had to find a photo of Kevin and me the same night (however, I could not find a nice photo so the quality is a bit worn).   For fun, I added a couple others from those days of yore.

Here is my prom picture.  Please note the lace Madonna gloves and the lovely floral wreath in my hair.  Be nice - it was the 80's for crying out loud.  Yes, my dress was white - all white - looks like a wedding gown!  I think my mom paid about $15 for it - we bought it a year earlier on the clearance rack at Fashion Bug.  Now girls are paying $500 for gown and think nothing of it!  My how times have changed.

Here is a photo of me and another good friend, Dawnie.  I think we were having a picnic at Cook Forest State Park with our boyfriends.  Don't you love the hair????

This last photo is a picture of me and Holly at Dawnie's wedding.  I was having modesty issues with my dress as you can see my hand holding  the top shut.  I was several months pregnant and that dress was not maternity!  They had to do some altering for me before the wedding.  Funny how 5 years have gone by, but my hair was very much the same!

So, what do you remember about your prom or a special event from way back when?   I wonder what our children will laugh about in 20+ years when they look back on their prom/high school photos - hair styles/baggy pants on guys/super straight hair on the girls?????

Anyone else feeling old?


Friday, May 21, 2010

Just had to share

I had to share these photos - they are not the best quality, but I love them!  It always melts my  heart when I see young teens pay attention/play with small children, but nothing touches me more than seeing my own sons interact with their little brothers in a positive way.
 Tanner has no idea how much he impacts Levi's and Noah's lives.


I have found that my motivation is about 85-90% affected by the weather!  This week has been absolutely gorgeous - sunny, warm, blue skies - beautiful weather!  As a result of the weather, I was so motivated to work outside.  Today, however, it is rainy and a bit cooler.  I'm not complaining about the rain - we really need it.  Yet, I feel like doing absolutely nothing today!  I guess I just need sunshine to be motivated - sounds like I need to move to Florida! 

Here are some of the things I did in my front yard this week:
We had a huge stump in our yard, so threw some dirt around it to make a mound.  It does not look like much work involved here, but believe me, it was - mulch to haul and spread, rocks to gather and place, and plants yet to be planted.  Lighthouse compliments of Dan's Outdoor Furniture - he's got some good stuff down there!

Some views of my porch:  the plants are small, but in a month, they will be lush and full.

 These dandelion stems are my enemies.  Two days after the yard has been mowed, they pop up and make the yard look bad.  I hate them - every last one!    BTW-yes, that is the kids' wading pool in the background - it was THAT warm yesterday!   I love love love summer.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Planting a garden

Well, we started putting the garden in this past weekend.  As much as I hate the work, I cannot deny the quality of taste in the vegetables, and I can't wait to eat the tomatoes, green beans, and peppers.  The boys love helping - the younger boys, not the older boys!

The little guys are never too busy to take a call from their Pennsylvania Pa pa!  (Does anyone remember what life was like before cell phones?)

 The older boys were at the Brewer's game in Milwaukee.  They won't pose for pictures anymore, so I have to get "action" shots.

We celebrated Ty's birthday Saturday night with steak on the grill, baked potatoes and of course, cake!  He tries so hard not to smile for his mother - but I know how to get him to laugh!  Like my clever saying on the cake?  I wanted to put "Herd you were having a birthday", but there was not enough room.
Do you notice the warm glow in these pictures?  I am using my new flash and "bouncing" the light from the ceiling!  What a difference it makes!   I LOVE MY NEW FLASH! 

So, any of you have your gardens in?  What's your favorite thing to grow?


Things have been pretty routine around here - spring is a busy time for the furniture business.  On top of that, we have baseball games and planting garden.  I'm sure you are all feeling the same way.  How is spring busy for you?  

Today is story time at the library for the boys.   I also plan to stop at the grocery store(s).  I made my menu up, wrote down a grocery list, and printed off as many coupons as I could.  I thought I would share the website with you where I print my coupons from.  There are a lot I don't use, but the cereals are always a big savings!  Check it out!   It is called Coupon Mom. 

Friday, May 14, 2010


I am having a hard time with this one - 19 - yes, 10+9 - almost 2 decades ago, I gave birth to one cute little peanut.  You know the joy of the first child - everything is new and exciting; you have no idea how much incredibly awful pain you will be in during labor;  you have no idea what words like 'crowning', 'dilated', and 'after birth' really mean or what they involve; you have no clue that you will never get another full night's sleep again for something like 10 years. . . ahhh, the joys of motherhood.  Would not trade it for anything!

The minute I held this little guy in my arms, I was totally and completely in love.  Nothing in life can prepare you for this moment.  No one can fully explain how much joy a child can give you and at the same time how much they can break your heart when they have grown up and no longer need you.  

This is where I'm at right now.  Torn between wanting to plan his life, because really people, I KNOW BETTER, and wanting to let him make his own choices, even if some of them are bad not such good ones.  This is where faith comes in.  Faith that all the prayers said on his behalf have made it to the Master's throne and faith that the Master will see this boy through.

He has a heart of gold, a will of iron, and a smile to melt my heart.

Happy 19th Birthday to my firstborn son - Tyler Jordan Hoffman.  Dan and I are so proud of him, and I know that somewhere on eternity's side Kevin is thinking of him too (and probably hoping he will shave off that Amish beard).  Forgive me - I have to lighten this up or I will fall into a major depression.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Photoshop is way too expensive for me right now - I need to first start earning some money before I could justify a purchase that large.  But Photoshop Elements is affordable, and quite frankly, I can do a lot of stuff with it.  More and more websites offer tutorials and free "actions" for PSE.  With one quick click, I can make my pictures look like I actually know what I'm doing!  (Should I be telling this?).   Here are a few before and after pics:



As I mentioned a few posts ago, I am now teaching the 1-2 year old class on Sunday mornings.  I am really enjoying the kids.  I have been trying to find as many visuals as I can find to help the little ones better understand the lessons.  I recently ordered some Bible story books from ebay - they are from Arch Books and they have colorful pictures and all the pages have cute rhymes to tell the stories.

I was reading Moses and the Bronze Snake story to Levi recently.  (Numbers 21:4-9)  He was absolutely enthralled with this story - mostly because it involved poisonous snakes biting people.  The story book shows people with snake bites on their arms and legs.  

I have this terrible, awful fear of snakes - it matters not if they are poisonous or if they are no larger than a fishing worm - I hate them, fear them, and literally cannot control my actions when I come face to face with one.  My children have seen my reaction to snakes in the past and they seem to find some sort of sick amusement in constantly talking about snakes or showing me pictures of snakes in books.   So, needless to say, this story will no doubt be one of Levi's favorites for many years to come.   I was really impressed that he got the idea of the lesson, though.  When I asked him why God sent the snakes through the camp, he said "because they were grumbly".

Grumbly - or grumbling - as the NKJ version states it.  Wow-that hit home to me.  Now, I have read that story many times, but for some reason, this time I actually GOT IT!  What if God were to send snakes to my home because of my grumbling?  Yikes!  I would have been bitten many times.  (I really hope I don't have nightmares about this).  It's not that I'm always ungrateful or "grumbly", but there are days when nothing seems to go right, and then I start. . . . "I hate doing laundry", "why do I have to mow the yard again?"  "why can't these kids keep their toys picked up?"  "I am so sick of cooking and doing dishes" . . . . . you get the idea.   It seems so harmless, but in reality, I am complaining against God - the great Creator who has blessed me so much.  I have laundry to do - thank Him for having clothing and a washing machine.  I have a yard to mow - thank Him for beautiful grass and a place to live.  I have children who throw their toys around - what a blessing to have little ones and money to buy them toys.  I have to cook and do dishes - again, thankfully we have food to eat each day -  more than we should in fact!

My new goal is to not complain - to try to see things in a different way - I saw on a friend's facebook status the other day:

Today, I can complain because it's raining... or be thankful the grass is being watered for free. I can feel sad that I don't have more money...or glad my finances encourage me to plan wisely and guide me from waste. I can grumble about my health, or rejoice that I'm alive.  I can lament over all my parents don't give me, or be grateful they allowed me to be born. I can mourn my lack of friends, or excitedly embark on a quest to discover new friendships. I can whine about having to go to work, or shout for joy because I have a job. I can complain about going to school, or eagerly open my mind to rich, new tidbits of knowledge. I can resent that I must do housework, or thank God for providing me shelter for mind, body and soul. Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped. I am the sculptor. I get to choose what kind of day to make it. 

  Here are some stuffed animal snakes I purchased for .25 cents each at a garage sale - thought it would make a good reenactment lesson - the boys love it!  We just need to make our bronze snake on a pole yet to complete the story.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


As a child, we just have no idea how much our mothers do for us.   Being a mom is a full time job in and of itself - then there are some moms who work a full time job on top of that!   We give 110% for our children - we pray, sacrifice, dream, pray, work, plan, and did I mention pray for each of them.  It amazes me that I have enough love for all 4 of mine.  After I gave birth to Tyler I thought I would never feel the same love for another child, and in fact was a bit concerned about this when I was pregnant with Tanner.  Yet, when the doctor placed that beautiful screaming slimy blob on my stomach, my heart just grew.  With each new screaming, slimy blob I delivered, my heart grew more and more.  I love their similarities, their differences, their moods, and every part of them.   No one on this earth has my love, protection and devotion like these 4 boys do.

I am sure you all feel the same about your children.  There is not a doubt that being a mom is the most important job a woman can do.  I thank the Lord for allowing me to be a mom and I thank the Lord for the mom he gave me.

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Central Wisconsin may not have green rolling hills, but in the springtime, it does have forest filled with beautiful flowers.  Each spring I am amazed at the beauty of the woods surrounding my home.  It is alive with trilliums - millions of them!   The only bad thing about them is that they only last a couple of weeks  - then you have to wait another year for the beauty to return.  Makes me appreciate the spring so much!

 I just had to add the ones of my little "flowers" in there! 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Safe Weed Killer

I hate thistles and dandelions in my yard and garden.  We could spray them with Round Up, but I don't like that stuff close to where my boys are playing.  What's a girl to do?  Well, I read about this great idea on someone's blog a long time ago.    

Step #1:  Boil Water

Step #2:  Dump boiling water all over the weed you wish to get rid of, being careful not to burn yourself.

Step #3:  Within seconds, the weed will wilt and start turning brown.  By the next day, it will usually be dead.

Step #4:  Rejoice that the weed is dead.

This method works great for thistles that seem to grow in abundance all over my yard.  By the next day, they are "rotted", and I just kick at them to remove them.

Boiling water. . . . it's just not for tea time!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Train up a child. . . .

Proverbs 22:6 says to "Train up a child in the way  he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  

All my life (as a mother), I have lived by this verse.  God is the most important thing in my life and naturally, I want Him to be most important in my children's lives as well.  I pray that in the spiritual ways, I am doing my very best as a mother.

This verse is also true in other parts of our lives.  I have proof:
This was taken many years ago - Kevin shot this turkey while both boys were with him.  You can see the joy and excitement on their little faces.

This was taken this morning.  Ty shot this bird today and could not wait to have his little brothers in the picture with him.  His love of turkey hunting he got from his dad, but also he inherited his dad's sense of humor and kindness for little ones.
 I am so proud of this young man.