Mini Marts

Mini Marts
All 5 of us!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Home Made Christmas Gifts

We love meaningful, well thought out, and/or useful gifts, and honestly we have a hard time with the obligatory gift giving that has become Christmas. That being said, we try to be thoughtful, practical, and loving in all of our gifts each year. We made some different things for specific members of our family, and friends. The process of making the gifts was SO MUCH more fun than picking up an obligatory gift while thinking, "I think Grandma will like this" or "Well.  . . I really cant think of something for my dad, so I will just grab ____" During the process of making the gifts, we had family time in the house and the garage. Kiki taught me about modge podge, and I showed her and Jeremy a belt sander. Such a fun process.

Here is are the finished products. . . .

Blessing Blocks: We made 4 different version of this set up for each of our parents. There are pictures on the sides of the blocks, as well.

You will need:
     4x4 Piece of wood (length varies by number of blocks)
     Stain color of your choice (we used Golden Oak by Win Wax)
     Pictures (2.5x2.5, printed in Microsoft Word)
     Vinyl sticker for the sayings (printed to exact size by Totally Couture
     Foam Brush
     Modge Podge (Matte or Shiny will work)
     Cute ribbon
Step 1: Cut blocks. Blessings block is 7.5" long, picture blocks are 3.5"x3.5". I have heard Home
             Depot will cut into the size you need. 
Step 2: Sand with 220 grit sand paper and Stain Blocks.
Step 3: Use Modge Podge to glue the pictures onto the wood blocks. Let them dry for about 15 
Step 4: Stick the words on, brush modge podge over.
Step 5: Brush Modge Podge over the pictures. 
Step 6: Let dry overnight, Stack blocks, tie a pretty ribbon on.
I found the original instructions here. <--- My first time inserting a link! So Cool!

Homemade Laundry Soap: This was super simple, smells wonderful and adored by all the people we gave it to! It's also cheaper then buying laundry soap!  

You will need:
     9 cups Borax
     6 cups washing soda 
     6 cups baking soda
     6 cups Fels-Naptha bar soap (almost 2 bars)
     Cute Ribbon
     Paper to print label
     Clothes Pins
     Mason Jars I made most of them in the smaller jars. A few for big families in the large ones. 

Step 1: Mix all ingredients in a large bowl or bucket. I recommend mixing outside because the powder gets every where. 
Step 2: Fill jars. These measurements filled 16 smaller jars, 1 medium jar and 2 large jars. 
Step 3: Print Labels here. Tie cute ribbon and attach clothes pin. 

I found the original instructions here.

Homemade Brown Sugar Almond Scrub: A great way to say, "I Love You" to your girlfriends, Mom, Aunt, etc!  

You will need:
     4 Cups White Sugar
     4 Cups Brown Sugar
     1/2 Cup Olive Oil
     Whole Almonds
     Labels, Mason Jars, Ribbon

Step 1: I don't know the exact measurements! YIKES! I mixed 50/50 white and brown sugar in a
Step 2: Pour in Olive Oil and let it soak up. Stir it up. Again I'm not sure exactly on the measurements.
             It should look like a fluffy paste. If that makes any sense! 
Step 3: Stir in almonds. The site I got it from said to put in Almond extract but the store was out and whole almonds were the cheaper way to go.
Step 4: Divide into jars (I made 10 jars). Make it pretty with labels and ribbon! 

I found the original instructions here.

Mini Muffin for the new neighbors: I just love the presentation! 

No steps needed for this one. Just bake your favorite muffins... these are banana. Take the label off the egg carton, add some cute scrapbook paper (I didn't have any patterns on hand. Boo!) Tie a bow and label! The little round label says, "From the Kitchen of KiKi Martens." Bobby got them for me a few years ago!  

Hope you enjoyed!! 

Merry Christmas

Christmas has never been one of our favorite holidays. 4th of July is the favorite! However, we throughly enjoyed the holiday this year. There's a number of reasons and picture to show them all!

1. Jeremy is old enough to enjoy it 
We woke up Christmas morning to find a family dressed as Santa and elves,
driving a tractor down the street! It was so cool! Jeremy loved it!
2. We are treasuring the time we have left as a family of 3 
We got a hiking backpack from my mom! Yay!
3. We hand made most of our gifts this year. There will be a blog to follow with how we did it! 

4. Jackie got engaged at our annual Christmas Eve Family Party! 
Garrett was really sweet with his proposal!
He had clues all over the house.
It ended with him on the couch with a gift.
The gift was a GreenBay jersey with "Mansfield" on the back
and a ring attached to it! 

We hope you all had a great Christmas filled with family time and great food! Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!! We are so grateful for HIM!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Baby Duece!

Our Christmas card this year! (2011)
This is how we told the family!
We had it as the centerpiece for Thanksgiving.
Then sent the Christmas cards out the next day for the family that lives out of state.

We are excited to have baby #2 cooking in the oven. Due Date is June 2! SAME due date as Jeremy and our anniversary! I am 14.5 weeks. I already feel like I am bigger then I was with J. We are not finding out the gender, until the baby is born. This is especially difficult for me! Bobby is super excited. When we ask Jeremy, "Where is the baby?" He points to my belly and kisses it! So sweet.

12 Weeks

Friday, September 2, 2011

Knee Surgery and Red Eye Trip

Love this picture of my dad and I!

Knee Surgery and a Red Eye Trip  . . . All in 10 days! It's this crazy thing called life! We roll with the punches!
  • August 8: I had knee surgery! I hurt my knee in high school and it grew a plicka to compentsate. It was becoming a task to get everyday things done. We decided it was best for the future (activities, pregnancies, and kids) to have Arthoscopic surgery. It kept me down for a "10 day recovery." It was a great choice! My knee is almost pain-free! (Wish I had thought to take some pictures of this event!)

  • August 18: On day 10 of my "recovery" we flew to Vermont on a Red Eye flight to see my dad. We found out that he has Congestive Heart Failure and Emphseyma. Uncle Dillin came back with us. We bought tickets, packed, got permission from my doctor, and were on the road to a red eye flight, all with in 12 hours! It was a trip we will all remember and was amazing to watch God heal my dad before our eyes, using just our presence. By the day we left (day 12.... I should mention we got stuck because of Hurricane Irene and our flight was cancelled twice!!) We could see a remarkable difference in his facial expressions, attitude, weight, and will to survive. We had a huge team out here praying for him and have truly seen the miracle of prayer work! There is still a long raod to full recovery and some major, tough lifestyle changes that need to be made but I believe my dad will pull through this! It was great to see family for the trip. And so sweet for us to watch relatives fall in love with our sweet little boy for the first time! 

Seeing family was the highlight!
Watching everybody fall in love with our little boy was a priceless memory! 

I have 8 cousins on my Dad's side.
We all went out to dinner!
We had some time to kill so we went into Petco. . . 

And L.L. Bean.
We asked the clerk if this came in a smaller size!
The employees all cracked up!
J stayed in there for a quite a while, just chllin, cracking up!

Hurricane Irene delayed our flight 4 days.
We had a great game of Risk going! 
I can't get enough of this picture! 

The Orafferty's

" . . .Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
Dr. Suess
Mexican Cruise 2009
Danielle was pregnant with Drew
I would find out I was pregnant with Jeremy a few months later!
Little did we know they would be 5 weeks apart and best buds!

I started this blog post in September (it's now end of October), but as I wrote, edited, rewrote, and re-editted, I found out how difficult is truly is to describe and express true friendship.  I mean, really, think about it. . . What do you say about your Best Friends, the people that will raise your children in your absence, the people that you share your everyday life with, the friends that you seek for love, guidance, and for accountability? This friendship has grown beyond the random weekly encounter, or the superficial social event. It is a intentional, proactive, companionship, that is far beyond the "BFF's" of 2012. In a friendship like this, your friend does not tell you, "Oh ya! For sure, you totally deserve a new car, you have been in that beater for like 5 years!" You know that they really care when they say, "Sure, that car needs work, but think about the money you save each month on a car payment! That money helps you be a stay at home mommy and take Jeremy to special places like the munchkin gym." Its not about telling someone what they want to hear, its about keeping the truth at the front of EVERY conversation. It's about spending your holiday weekend digging up a back yard that is not your own, and LOVING IT because of the precious time you get to spend with them.

We have been great friends with David and Danielle for about 6 years.
They are Jeremy's God parents.
Dillon and Drew are like Big brothers to Jeremy.
We cherish the time we get with them.
So to answer the question, "What do you say?"
Answer: Words will leave a void if I were to use them solely.
Nothing more can be said then, "We love them so much. They have a special place in our hearts!"

A little catch up and Getting to know Jeremy!

Well, it has been way too long since I have updated our blog! I have to apologize to the East Coasters and Jeremy! I really want to be more on top of this so his milestones are marked!
Lets start with an update of the past 4 (yikes) months!

This little boy has got the cutest personality! I wanna be writing down all the things he does so the day he (gasp and a few tears) moves out... I have these memories to look back on!

  • Jeremy has started running when he knows he did something wrong! He runs the length of the house. Cracks us up.... like he thinks he can out run us! 
  • He has learned when there is a step to go down. His little foot feels the step out and he decides if he can step down or needs to sit on his tush to get down. We love to watch his little brain work!
  • He can also get off the bed feet first! Bobby has been teaching him to put his feet off first. The other day he got down by himself! I can't believe he is so big!
  • He loves to climb! 
  • When he has to poop.... he goes in a different room! He likes his privacy. We just hear a distant  grunting! It's hilarious! And a sure sign he's ready for the potty. After the holidays, of course.
  • Whatever piece of furniture he chooses to climb, however long it takes him, when he gets to the goal.... he sits in a very "loungy" position and sighs! Ha!

  • He loves anything that uses his fine motor skills.... twisting, turning, pinching . . . . 
All that is boy! Trains, airplanes, hammer, helicopter, bear, ball

  • Music is his love!! Anytime it's on. This boy has rhythm. He hears it in everything: The vacuum, the skill saw, the windshield wipers, the hum of the heater, crackling of the wood in the fireplace. It's really cute!
He LOVES his Musical Munchkins class!
  • Jeremy no longer takes a pacifier. Well, I'm sure if we gave it to him, he'd gladly take it but he goes to sleep without it now. We broke the habit at 18 months, just before Thanksgiving. It was only a 3 day ordeal. He does cry now when we put him to bed but only for a few minutes. 
  • He has quite the vocabulary, both vocally and signing. Signs include: All done, light, milk, juice, more, Jesus, help, please, and I'm sorry. Words are: Hello, Hi Dad, Ok, Ut-oh, Jesus, Amen, Dada, Mama, Mom, No, all done, and Go. 
  • At 19 months, He is still a little small. 24 pounds and about 36 inches. Still wearing some 9 months clothes. Mostly 12 months shirts and 18 months pants. Size 5.5 shoes.

A day at the beach!
Top Right: Sand does NOT taste good!
Bottom Middle: he got a little sunburnt.

Top Left: One of his favorite toys!
Top Middle: His best bud, Drew. Look at J's face!
Top Right: Walking with Mama
Middle Left: Snuggles with Uncle Dillin
Middle Right: Toys every where!
Bottom Left: Stylin with his Jean hat and jean diapers
Bottom Middles: He likes to choose different shoes to wear around the house
He looks so grown up
Bottom Right: Silly kid! Really shows his personality

Jeremy goes with me everywhere!
Left: The dentist
Right: The chiropractor

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A visit with Zia! & Jeremy says "UP"

Earlier this month Jeremy and I took a trip to Northern California to visit with Zia! Aka Joanna! She is my cousin, maid of honor, and one of Jeremy's favorite people. She bought him his favorite sleepy blanket! We stayed with her mom, MaryLee or Auntie Tart, as she was named after this trip! We had a relaxing few days. Great food, got to see MaryLee's horse, visit MaryLee's mom, and Joanna and I got pedicures and went out for drinks while Auntie Tart babysat J! It was a fun trip! 

And. . .  . Exciting news to share!

Mark it down in the baby book!! (or on the blog (6/23/111)... haha) 
Our Little Boy's first word is "UP"
He says it at the right time.... and sometimes in his babble! I can't believe he is walking and talking!! Time is flying by too fast!!
Here he is in action:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Motherhood as a Mission Field

This truly is my heart and why I love being a Mommy! My favorite quote from this article is:

"Motherhood provides you with an opportunity to lay down the things that you cannot keep on behalf of the people that you cannot lose. They are eternal souls, they are your children, they are your mission field."

Here is the link:

Motherhood as a Mission Field

Here is the article:

There is a good old saying, perhaps only said by my Grandfather, that distance adds intrigue. It is certainly true — just think back to anything that has ever been distant from you that is now near. Your driver’s license. Marriage. Children. Things that used to seem so fascinating, but as they draw near become less mystical and more, well, real.
This same principle certainly applies to mission fields too. The closer you get to home, the less intriguing the work of sacrifice seems. As someone once said, “Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to help Mom with the dishes.” When you are a mother at home with your children, the church is not clamoring for monthly ministry updates. When you talk to other believers, there is not any kind of awe about what you are sacrificing for the gospel. People are not pressing you for needs you might have, how they can pray for you. It does not feel intriguing, or glamorous. Your work is normal, because it is as close to home as you can possibly be. You have actually gone so far as to become home.

Home: The Headwaters of Mission

If you are a Christian woman who loves the Lord, the gospel is important to you. It is easy to become discouraged, thinking that the work you are doing does not matter much. If you were really doing something for Christ you would be out there, somewhere else, doing it. Even if you have a great perspective on your role in the kingdom, it is easy to lose sight of it in the mismatched socks, in the morning sickness, in the dirty dishes. It is easy to confuse intrigue with value, and begin viewing yourself as the least valuable part of the Church.
There are a number of ways in which mothers need to study their own roles, and begin to see them, not as boring and inconsequential, but as home, the headwaters of missions.
At the very heart of the gospel is sacrifice, and there is perhaps no occupation in the world so intrinsically sacrificial as motherhood. Motherhood is a wonderful opportunity to live the gospel. Jim Elliot famously said, “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Motherhood provides you with an opportunity to lay down the things that you cannot keep on behalf of the people that you cannot lose. They are eternal souls, they are your children, they are your mission field.

Faith Makes the Small Offering Great

If you are like me, then you may be thinking “What did I ever give up for them? A desk job? Time at the gym? Extra spending money? My twenty- year- old figure? Some sleep?” Doesn’t seem like much when you put it next to the work of some of the great missionaries, people who gave their lives for the gospel.
Think about the feeding of the five thousand when the disciples went out and rounded up the food that was available. It wasn’t much. Some loaves. Some fish. Think of some woman pulling her fish out and handing it to one of the disciples. That had to have felt like a small offering. But the important thing about those loaves and those fishes was not how big they were when they were given, it was about whose hands they were given into. In the hands of the Lord, that offering was sufficient. It was more than sufficient. There were leftovers. Given in faith, even a small offering becomes great.
Look at your children in faith, and see how many people will be ministered to by your ministering to them. How many people will your children know in their lives? How many grandchildren are represented in the faces around your table now?

Gain What You Cannot Lose in Them

So, if mothers are strategically situated to impact missions so greatly, why do we see so little coming from it?  I think the answer to this is quite simple: sin. Discontent, pettiness, selfishness, resentment. Christians often feel like the right thing to do is to be ashamed about what we have. We hear that quote of Jim Elliot’s and think that we ought to sell our homes and move to some place where they need the gospel.
But I’d like to challenge you to look at it differently. Giving up what you cannot keep does not mean giving up your home, or your job so you can go serve somewhere else. It is giving up yourself. Lay yourself down. Sacrifice yourself here, now. Cheerfully wipe the nose for the fiftieth time today. Make dinner again for the people who don’t like the green beans. Laugh when your plans are thwarted by a vomiting child. Lay yourself down for the people here with you, the people who annoy you, the people who get in your way, the people who take up so much of your time that you can’t read anymore. Rejoice in them. Sacrifice for them. Gain that which you cannot lose in them.
It is easy to think you have a heart for orphans on the other side of the world, but if you spend your time at home resenting the imposition your children are on you, you do not. You cannot have a heart for the gospel and a fussiness about your life at the same time. You will never make any difference there if you cannot be at peace here. You cannot have a heart for missions, but not for the people around you. A true love of the gospel overflows and overpowers. It will be in everything you do, however drab, however simple, however repetitive.
God loves the little offerings. Given in faith, that plate of PB&J’s will feed thousands. Given in faith, those presents on Christmas morning will bring delight to more children than you can count. Offered with thankfulness, your work at home is only the beginning. Your laundry pile, selflessly tackled daily, will be used in the hands of God to clothe many. Do not think that your work does not matter. In God’s hands, it will be broken, and broken, and broken again, until all who have need of it have eaten and are satisfied. And even then, there will be leftovers.

Here is the website I got it from:;blogger

Monday, May 23, 2011

Time with Daddy!

Big shoes to fill.

Jeremy is such a Daddy's boy!
It's so sweet for me to watch how much he loves to be with Bobby.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy 29th Bobby! SURPRISE!!

Bobby turns 29 this year! I gave him a SURPRISE party! 

Highlights included: 

Bobby has always talked about wanting a "adult piñata" that can be hit with a metal bat.
A friend helped make a pinata durable enough!
Filled with KING size candy bars, of course! 
All the Hottie Wenches dressed to Kill!

Bobby's gift from his parents:
The first block and motor for our block wall!
Great idea!
(UPDATE: wall was finished 2 years later!)
Bobby's sweet, sweet grandparents! 
I will say. . . this will be the last surprise party I throw for him! It was so stressful planning, paying for and putting things together behind his back! I had to make up a few lies to get through the planning process! ti was much too difficult! I am happy I did it, just once though! We had a blast. 

Our Little Traveler!


In mid April, we got sad news. . .  a brother Bobby served with in the Marines was killed in Afghanistan. SSGT Jeremy Smith. We decided all of us should go to Texas for the funeral. So .... with plane tickets, a rental car (complete with mapped directions to and from where we would be in Texas), a hotel, and only 2 suitcases (yes .. seriously.... I packed us light) we headed to Arlington, Texas.
Jeremy was an amazing traveler. He slept most of the plane rides. He was such a trooper with being off his nap and eating schedule! The trip turned out to be bittersweet:
I just can't get enough sleeping baby pictures! 

Bitter: The reason for the short getaway was tear jerking. Something about seeing a coffin with with an American flag draped over it, tugs at the heart strings. Meeting and watching Jeremy's wife, Rachel (her blog), was like seeing someone live my worst nightmare. I couldn't come up with words that seemed enough to comfort her. She cried when I introduced Jeremy to her and the reason for his name. After seeing how touched Rachel was, knowing Jeremy had been named after another Jeremy both her husband and Bobby served with, we decided to get in contact with Jeremy Bohlman's You can read that post here.

Sweet: It was two-fold .... One being the amazing patriotism of the citizens in Texas is indescribable! The Patriot Riders (a group of men and women that come to support military families at funerals,  they ride motorcycles with American flags flying off the back), stand at attention, each next to an American flag, for the entire wake, ceremony, and burial. During the procession, they stopped the freeway, a 4 lane freeway!! People who we on the other side, not stopped by police, pulled over and put their hands over their hearts for the whole procession (which was about 3 miles long!). It was so sweet! The next day at Walmart a lady recognized Bobby as being one of the Marines on stage at Jeremy's funeral (it was televised). I am just in awe. If there is ever any reason to move from California .... to Texas it will be!

The 2nd reason it was sweet: We got to see most the guys Bobby served with. It has been about 5 years, AND we got to meet the Dizzle's little boy, Max.  The Dizzle's lived out here when Bobby was enlisted. Ben and Bobby were deployed together. I got to be pretty close to Sam when the boys were in Iraq. It was sweet for our little ones to meet and pay together!

This experience makes us happily look forward to many more family vacations with Jeremy!!

Top Left: Future Marine
Top Middle: Sitting like agog boy in his own seat
Top Right: Riding the bull
Bottom Left: Daddy playing in the airport
Bottom Middle: There was a park at one of the airports we has a layover!
Bottom Right: Sleepy family!
Have you seen a cuter 11 month old dressed in a suit?
I KNOW! Me either! He is THEE cutest! 

Jeremy turns 1!!

From birth to one year! Crazy for me to see! 

I can NOT believe our little 5lb 12oz boy is already one year old!! Time really does fly! He is weighing in at 20.6 lbs and measuring 28 inches. We had plenty of friends and family that came to celebrate.

Top: Playing in the sand
Middle Right: While we were singing
Middle: This is pretty good!
Middle Right: Daddy what are you doing?
Bottom: These are so fun toys!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A visit from "way up deah, huh"

Downtown Disney
We had such a great week! My cousin and his fiancé' flew out (alllllll the way from Portland, Maine). We had such a relaxing week! It was the first time they met Jeremy and they absolutely fell head over heels in love with him!

We did SO many fun things!
This was hiking up Mt. Rubidoux
I just love that picture of Jeremy!
We planted our first garden while they were here!
Chris has a great talent of making videos! Here is the one from their trip!