I Love Where We Live!

I knew there was a reason I loved living in Johnson County, specifically Olathe! Now everyone else knows why too!!!

Recently Forbes Magazine came out with a list of America's Best Places to Raise a Family. You can read the entire article HERE.

Well, funny enough, the #1 place was Hamiltion County, Indiana. Jeff and I lived there for 2 years in Fishers, IN before moving back to Kansas!
But Forbes #3 place to live was Johnson County, Kansas! Our little slice of Heaven in the midwest!

According to the article "we ranked the remaining counties using 10 data points: cost of living, graduation rate, standardized scores, home price, property tax rate as a percentage of median home price, percentage of homes occupied by owner, per-capita income, air quality, crime rate and commute time."

Here is what they had to say about Johnson County: "3. Johnson County, Kan.
Population: 516,731
Home to Kansas City suburbs Overland Park and Olathe, Johnson County ranks third on our list because of its affordability and accessibility. Family-friendly perks include an average commute of 20 minutes, 5,000 acres of parkland and over 4,000 recreational programs annually. One drawback: Standardized test scores are on the lower end of our spectrum."

Then, Money magazine came out with another list. It listed the Best Places to Live in the US. And guess what?! Two Johnson County cities were listed! Overland Park at #9 and Olathe at #11!!!!! Here is what the article says about Olathe!
"100 rank: 11
Population: 114,600
One of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, Olathe was reportedly named for the Shawnee word for "beautiful."
Once a prairie of wildflowers, Olathe has outgrown its sleepy roots with tremendous development: this Kansas City suburb is home to Honeywell, ALDI, Garmin and Farmers Insurance Group.
It also hosts the championship games of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Outdoor recreation opportunities abound, including running, cycling, fishing, boating, and team sports. The area is also popular for hot-air ballooning and sailboarding, and it has two public lakes."

Kinda funny that the town of Fishers, IN, where we lived before moving back to Kansas was ranked number #10!!!

HERE is a link to the Money article.

Where do your cities rank on the lists????

And in case you are wondering how to pronounce our wonderful city of Olathe, it sounds like Oh - lay - the



You want some sneak peaks at some goodies coming out at CHA???? (For you non-scrappers that read my blog, CHA is the Craft and Hobby Association and their biggest convention of the year is VERY soon!) Well, here is what My Little Shoebox will be debuting!!!!! Which line do you like best????

Hope you all had FABULOUS weekends! Ours was quite nice!!!!

Of course, Jeff had a birthay! We celebrated today with yummy filets!!!!! And lots of fresh fruit! Here he is with Kennedy and our nephews - they all love blowing out the candles!

I also did a 12 hour crop on Saturday. My dear friend, Kristina, will be moving away soon. :( So we had a going away crop for her. It was lots of fun but I am so sad to see her go......
This is just one layout I created that day.

And this is just a little shot of Kennedy I caught on Friday. She loves her thumb still! I wonder how long it will last?????


The Tale of Lizzie the Lizard

FAIR WARNING!!!! This post has some icky images of lizards that you MAY not want to see! So don't say I didn't warn you!!!!!!!

***I realize that many of my family members have already heard Part 1 of this story. But never fear my dear friends, Part 2 unraveled in our backyard just today!***

On June 27, 2008, Kennedy and I were playing out in the backyard minding out own business. Isabel the dog was sunning herself while we played in the water. Soon, Isabel started running around like a mad dog! We couldn't figure out what she was doing! She was scurrying under the deck, running around the hot tub, burying her nose under pots, plants, the steps, the grill....being crazy!!!!

Here is is UNDER the deck stairs!!!

Soon, Kennedy and I saw a little lizard run under the hot tub stairs. Oh cool! A lizard! You all know how much Kennedy loves animals (see previous post with worm photos)! So we HAD to watch the lizard!

Well, Isabel is driving herself crazy trying to catch the silly thing and Kennedy is getting agravated that Isabel is in her view of the lizard. So I put Isabel in the front yard for awhile. Kennedy and I enjoy watching the lizard but eventually go back to playing in the water. Isabel rejoins us in the back yard.

But Isabel is still going nuts! She knocks over a pot and breaks it. Flowers and leaves start flying off my plants! I start yelling at Isabel and Kennedy yells "Izzie, you are ruining everything!!!!". The dog chases the lizard under the grill and I decide Izzie must go inside.

So Kennedy begins looking for the lizard again. She says "Mom! Look!! I found da tail!!"

"What?!" I say. "Where is the lizard?"

I walk over to where she is crouched over the rocks, directly behind the grill. I look down and what do I see? A LIZARD TAIL! NOT CONNECTED TO THE LIZARD!!! AND IT IS WAGGING!!!


I scream that Izzie must have killed it! But then we see the tail-less lizard just roaming through the yard. Gross. Just gross.

So we have to call all the grandparents and tell them the story of how Izzie bit off the lizard tail!!! We are horrified that our beloved little pet could rip off the tail of a harmless little lizard!

Later that evening, we go to show Daddy the tail. But it is gone. We fear our beloved dog may have eaten it. (are you grossed out yet?)

We later learn that lizards often lose their tails to help them escape when they are attacked. The lizard will drop the tail for the predator to eat and the lizard will run. Read about it here. So hopefully the dog didn't bite it off. And I read that lizards often come back and EAT their tails!! EEWW!!! Tails are a good portion of a lizard's body weight so they want to eat it. Again, this was good news...maybe the dog DIDN'T eat the tail!

here you can read why the lone tail was still wagging!

Or you can watch this video of a wagging tail!!! Not MY video!

++Fast forward to today, July 8th, 2008.++

Kennedy and I return from the grocery story to find Isabel the dog running around like a nut on the patio again. So I run out there and see a lizard again!!!!! I put her in the house and call Kennedy out to see the lizard! We are so excited!!!!! We assume it is our same lizard coming back to visit!!! So I snap photos again. We have now named her Lizzie the Lizard. Isn't she pretty!?!?!

I am wondering, could this really be the same lizard? Is it that dumb to return? It does appear to have scars on it and such. And if you look closely at the end of the tail, it looks kinda funky.

Anyway, I make the mistake of eventually letting Isabel the dog back out. She goes balistic and chases the poor thing under the grill again. I feel bad for the lizard so the 3 of us go inside.

Later, Kennedy and I venture out again. We see poor Lizzie the Lizard lieing behind the grill........

Poor thing. Sans tail yet again. I assume the lizard is dead and have to tell Kennedy that the dog killed it. But she says, "Mom, it's mouth is open." I look and the mouth is shut. So I ask, "It was open earlier or it just opened now?" And she says "It just opened." So I watch it and sure enough, it's tiny little mouth opens and seems to be gasping for air. YIPPEE!!!!! Izzie didn't kill Lizzie!!!!!! Hooray!!!!!!
So I tell Kennedy we need to go inside to let the poor lizard regain its strength. And I am secretly hoping this is another defense mechanism the lizard has. Just make the predator THINK it is dead!

So an hour later we head back out. Bad news. Lizzie the Lizard is most definitely dead. Now movement. No breathing. Stiff body. So Kennedy has fun poking it with a stick.

And just for the record, it was likely NOT the same lizard. It can take weeks to months for a tail to grow back!

**ETA: Many people have commented on how large this lizard is. I think the photos are deceiving! It is only about 6-8 inches long!!!!!

On a lighter note, the 6+ baby bunnies that were nested in our yard DID live long enough to leave the nest with their mother. Izzie DID leave them alone. Thank goodness.


Blueberries Anyone??

Kennedy and I went blueberry picking today!!!!! We drove 30minutes to The Berry Patch! What fun! We got there before 8:30am so they wouldn't be picked out for the day - and I was so glad we got there early! We beat the rush!

Kennedy had a great time for the first few bushes! She said things like "This place makes me smile" and "We are having such a fun day." But after 10minutes she was done picking! She was fairly content to watch me pick though! Especially because she could just sit and eat berries then!

The Berry Patch also had a kids area complete with hay bails, a huge slide, balancing beams, a rope obstacle course and more! There was a blue train as well that Kennedy HAD to ride on! In the gift shop she got a cookie and I got some delicious blueberry lemonade....YUMMO!

So this afternoon I started baking with the berries! I tried a Blueberry Buckle recipe you can find here. And a fruit cobbler recipe you can find here.

We haven't tasted them yet but I will let you all know what we think of them!!!! And yes, Iowa family - we will be bringing MORE yummy blueberry treats when we visit this weekend!!!!!

I hope you all have a happy and safe July 4th!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Boy do we keep busy around here!!!! These are just a few photos of what we have been doing the last few weeks!
A trip to Deanna Rose Children's Farm with my mom's group! Kenna loves all animals - and feeding them is her favorite part!

Swimming! Lots and lots of it!
Blowing bubbles on the deck! We love to take bubble breaks!
Hitting the stores...lots of grocery shopping. I feel like we are always grocery shopping! But she is a great helper! (and driver!)
And this last set of photos are priceles! If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that Kennedy loves animals. ALL animals! And bugs are no exception! She loves to catch them, let them crawl on her, keep them in containers, watch them! This day we played with tons of worms for a long time! She wanted me to take her photo with EACH worm! Too funny!

Hope you all have a fun, fabulous and safe July 4th!!!!!!!


I want to hold Baby Sammy

The conversation that this photo produced tonight.

Tonight Kennedy pointed at a framed photo of Sammy, Jeff and I from the hospital and she thought it was a photo of herself. So I told her it was Sam. Here is how the conversation went:

Kennedy: Where is Baby Sammy right now?

Me: Remember sweetie? He is in Heaven with Jesus.

K: What is he doing there?

M: He is probably playing with Jesus and Kayleen's baby.

K: Where is Heaven?

M: It is really far away.

K: Can you drive a car there?

M: Nope. It is too far to drive a car.

K: Can the airplane go there?

M: Not even an airplane will take us there. The only way we can get to Heaven is for God to bring us there.

K: But where is God right now?

M: He is in Heaven, too, with Baby Sammy and Jesus.

K: I want to look at pictures of me baby. When I was borned.

So we hop on the computer to look up photos of her when she was born. She is ooing and asking lots of questions like "Why am I crying? What is on my head? What is the doctor doing?" The photo of her below really got her thinking!!!!There is one photo of me sitting in the hospital bed holding her and this is our conversation.

K: I want you to do that again?

M: Do what? Have a baby again?

K: Yeah, in the hospital too.

M: You want mommy to have another baby?

K: Yeah. And I want to hold Baby Sammy like that.

M: Yeah. I want to hold Baby Sammy too.

July 4th will be Samuel's 4 month birthday. Love you little guy.


Learning to Ride a Bike

The playground is the best kid place, don't you think???
Of course Kennedy enjoys playgrounds - but so does our dog, Isabel!!! That is, as long as there aren't tons of other kids around! Saturday evening Jeff had flag football for the rest of us went to Kill Creek Park. We were the only people at the playground for a long time. So Kennedy and Isabel (and me too) had fun on the playground! When we left, there was dog hair in the play tunnels! Oops!

In early May I picked up this little Princess bike with training wheels at a garage sale. I was pretty sure Kennedy wasn't ready for it yet, but it was a steal so I grabbed it. Boy, was I wrong! She is really getting the hang of it! I am so very proud of her! She loves to ride it - in fact I keep it in the back of the van so whenever we hit a park she can ride! These were some photos from Saturday evening. What a cutie!

And this is just another layout that I finally finished. I started it a crop a month ago and never got it all the way done until now! I enjoyed all the hand stitching and glitter!!

I hope you all are enjoying your weeks! June is almost over - can you believe it!? Get in all those summer activities before time gets away from you!!!

My Little Shoebox

Just wanted to share my first 2 creations using the Butterfly line from My Little Shoebox! All supplies other than cardstock are MLS!!!
For this one I had cut everything in the bottom left corner. I also cut out the butterflies from the patterned paper. I pop dotted the butterflies and heart. The photo is Kennedy's 3 yr portrait! She doesn't like to pose at all as you can tell!!!

This one has lots of the MLS cie cuts! LOVE THEM!!!!

And this is not MLS product!!! Just the little album I made for our trip to Myrtle Beach. I had premade the pages for journaling. At the end of each day of our trip I sat down and wrote about what we had done. The memories are all tucked away in this mini album! TFL!