Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I've Moved!

Hi All!

Just to let you know, I've consolidated all of my blogs into one.  So I won't be posting here anymore, but you can still find all the previous Dressel Familia posts on the this blog...I will leave it up for a while!

Meanwhile the new site will have all sorts of regular posts...including updates on family, rambling thoughts from my head and more!

Click HERE to go to the new site.  Make sure to become a follower over there too!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Aloha Friday!

So I'm about 12 hours behind the 8-ball on this one, but it is fun, so indulge me!

Island Life is a new blog I recently discovered and she hosts Aloha Friday every Friday...with a simple fun question for readers to answer on their own blog and link back!

And for my first Aloha Friday, the question couldn't be more perfectly directed to me!  The question is:

Toilet Paper Dispenser...Over or Under?

For any who know me well, would know that I am very adamantly an OVER kinda girl when it comes to how my toilet paper roll sits.  Whenever I get into a discussion about weird irrational pet peeve kind of issues, the FIRST one I mention is that I HAVE to have the toilet paper going over the top off the dispenser!  In fact, if my child or husband has replaced the TP (which doesn't happen often...) and they replaced it wrong, I have to change it so the TP goes over the top.

And...okay I'll admit it, I've even switched the TP around at the homes of friends when I discover theirs is on wrong too!

I don't really know where this comes from, but I think it stems from a germ aversion.  It seems to me that if a TP roll is put on to come out from under, that means it lays against the wall and to me that means that it has more of a chance to pick up E.Coli or other fecal borne germs floating in the air.

COMPLETELY irrational reasoning, I know...but TP over the top is what works for me and always will.

How about you? 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New & Improved!

I've become a blogger for REAL these days!  I know, I know, hard to believe, given that I have gone for lengths of several MONTHS between posts here at Dressel Familia!  But now that I am a stay-at-home mama, and I've got a semester of my first year of homeschooling under my belt, I have been able to turn some of my time (not that there is a plethora of it...) towards some passions of mine...one of them being writing!  So 2010 is a year where I will write EVERY DAY!  In the beginning it will be on several blogs that I either started or contribute to (see my side bar for them) and hopefully by the middle of the year/summer it will include writing for novel purposes!  I have also began to put together the structure for my freelance writing business...now that I've actually had some paid writing work under my belt!  So hopefully I'll have some more freelance gigs come in from the structure and marketing I am and will be putting together!  Once the website is done for that, I'll post it here for you all to check out!

But other than that, yes, life has been busy at the Dressel home over the last several months.  But I am like many other readers...I love pictures!  So I'll illustrate some of the past several months with pictures and captions...here we go!

May 2009 - The kiddos did a campout in the backyard of Grandma & Grandpa's house with Daddy while Mommy slept comfortably inside (smile!).

Laura turned 10 and celebrated with a Girls Night Out with two of her closest friends, plus Mommy, my friend and little Angie!  They got their hair and nails done, wore pretty sundresses and had fancy dessert at the Cheesecake Factory!

(NOTE:  I got a new laptop somewhere between these two events and therefore many of my Summer 2009 pics are on a different computer!  Notable omissions here include Juancho's 12 Birthday (a mini-golf excursion), the visit of a Ukrainian friend right over Fourth of July, and a couple visits to Chicago in July & August to prepare for and celebrate one of my best friend's wedding!)


We celebrated Daddy turning...ahem...34(!) with a quiet at-home party (we are in a recession, ya know!) complete with a home-cooked meal and handmade presents from the kids!

Despite our very cold October, we managed to find a day that was a wee bit less cold to go to the apple orchard with our homeschool co-op.  We made all sorts of yummy apple treats!

A treat that we made from the apples but DIDN'T eat was Wrinkly Faces!  Just in time for Halloween!  (want to know how to make these?  leave a comment!)

  Speaking of Halloween, you can see a bunch of pics and read all about it HERE!

2nd Forever Family Day Celebration (Nov. 8th)
We celebrated with a lunch at a new local Colombian restaurant and a movie.  The kids were THRILLED to eat a Bandeja Paisa complete with arepas and chorizo...AND drink Colombian soda like Colombina and Pony.


Angie had her 1st ballet recital and was just beautiful in it!


The kids LOVED participating in Operation Christmas Child and did GREAT picking out gifts for children their age who live in impoverished areas.  They understand all to well what those children are going through, and their genuine compassion is inspiring!


This incredibly handsome fella had his first trumpet/band concert and did GREAT!  He's learning more and more every day and really enjoys his homeschool band.


Though I've owned the sewing machine for 3 years, I'd only made one set of haphazardly sewn curtains and 2 Harry Potter capes...so I decided to get it out and learn a few things!  I even made some Christmas presents, like this pillow here for Laura.  Next on the docket?  My kiddos are begging for homemade Snuggies!  We'll see...


Laura has been taking a group piano class this fall and had her first recital in December.  We were so proud of her!  She tells me she dreams of playing on a baby grand piano someday!

Christmas 2009 - spent at Grandma & Grandpa's house...with lots of cousins and Tios!
2nd pic is of Holly's niece and her little baby Serenity
3rd pic - the kids first time putting together a gingerbread house!  (along with their cousin Joel)


We hosted a New Year's Eve party at our house...the girls and I made "2010" sugar cookies for it and young and old enjoy competitions on the Wii!

My dear Grandfather passed away on 12/30/09, so on New Year's Day I traveled out to Wisconsin for the funeral.  Here I am with two of my sisters and my brother along with my Grandma as we celebrated my grandfather's life.


We celebrated Angie's 5th Birthday on 01/09/10 with a Princess Party.  It is hard to believe she is already 5!  Growing up so fast, but what an awesome little girl she is!

SO...there you have it - in pictures!  The life and times of the Dressels!  (at least over the past several months that is!) 

Check out my sidebar for some changes in links, etc. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009


While we don't go all out in celebration of Halloween, our kids enjoy the traditional fun festivities like dressing up, trick or treating, carving pumpkins, etc. We try to steer clear of the 'horror' aspect of Halloween and opt for clean fun instead.
Here is my "grand-niece" (that makes me sound old!) sporting one of two Halloween costumes...Serenity is 13 months old and looked lovely as a bumblebee!
The kids were excited to 'hit the road' on Halloween night. We were in Iowa, visiting my family, so they got to trick or treat with 2nd cousin Serenity (this time dressed as Ariel from The Little Mermaid) and their cousin Joel (dressed as Dracula...with a matching dog!).

This year, being frugal and attempting to be craftsy, I decided to make use of what we had to make costumes for the kids. Juancho had said he wanted to be a dog, and Laura had said she wanted to be a cat. Seemed only fitting that Angie should go as a mouse. Thankfully she embraced the idea! Last year we had Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and...a penguin. The three didn't exactly go together...but this year they did!
Angie, our cute little mouse. She had a gray sweatsuit with a hood, so I found a gray sweatshirt that had seen better days and cut it up to make her ears and tail. I sewed her ears onto the hoodie with a loose stitch so it could be cut out later, and tacked them back with safety pins so they weren't flopping all over. Her tail was safety pin to the inside of the backside of her pants. The costume was topped off with some face paint and pink gloves. She was mistaken for a bunny or a cat on a couple of occasions, but she didn't hesitate to set people straight..."I'm a MOUSE!"

Laura's cat costume was made similarly. We bought a velvety black hoodie at the Salvation Army for $1.50, and I took some old black fabric and sewed cat ears, reinforced inside with cardboard, and detail added outside with fabric from an old pink t-shirt (also used on Angie's mousy ears). Her tail was one of Robert's black socks with no matching pair...I sewed it thinner and stuffed it with stuffing from an old pillow (all the tails were stuffed with that old stuffing...). She had on black tights, black leggings and a cute velvety black skirt (purchased from the Salvation Army for less than a buck). Face paint finished it off, along with $1 black gloves from Target.

Juancho wanted to be a dog, so I bought an oversized brown turtleneck from Salvation Army for a dollar, then found an old lighter brown t-shirt that was going to Goodwill anyway and cut out spots from that. I sewed the spots onto the turtleneck and sewed the ends of the sleeves closed into a paw-style...built in mittens! He wore brown cords I traded some of his old clothes for at Once Upon a Child...free! His doggie ears were made from Robert's old socks, pinned to a stocking cap. His tail was made from the same old t-shirt used to cut the spots, sewed closed, stuffed with pillow stuffing and safety pinned to the back of his pants. He loves this tail so much that he continues to safety pin it to the back of every pair of pajama pants he wears. Reminds me of "Where the Wild Things Are". His face was painted, complete with doggie tongue hanging out!
We had a great Halloween and I was reminded of what I knew as a child...homemade costumes are the best!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Papi's Birthday

Dad's birthday was October 19th - celebrating the "5th Anniversary of his 29th Birthday", as he likes to say. It was a totally low key day at home...with a home cooked meal for dinner, a homemade low sugar cake, homemade cards and gifts. A fun day.
The kids collected leaves outside, shaved some colorful crayons and arranged a picture, which I later ironed. We fashioned these into autumn themed birthday cards for Dad.

We made Salt Dough and made a autumn themed wall hanging for Dad too - each child made their own, pressing leaves into the dough to create a picture. We then baked the dough til it was hard and after it had cooled the kiddos painted their section and added their name and a message to Dad. I connected them all with ribbon and we have it proudly hanging in the kitchen. I, however, forgot to take a picture, so I'll have to do that before it gets taken down and post it here.

The kids helped clean up, make dinner and the cake.

The birthday table - dinner was Parmesan Crusted Tilapia, Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes" and Green Beans Almondine...yum!
"U Rock Dad!"

Dad and the girls

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Stuff...

As if one blog weren't enough...

I am working on getting a conglomeration of blogs set up that you are invited to follow! I just set up a blog to chronicle our homeschool journeys on (PS - did you know we are homeschooling this year? We are into week 5 already and it has been a challenge and a blast!). The new homeschool blog is called Dressel Academy, after our very fancy homeschool name. The blog itself still need to be beautified a bit, but there is an inaugeral post there! My goal is to post every school day with some tidbit that we learned, did or some aspect to homeschooling that I find important to remember or to hang onto as a resource for the future! I will also have a regular "Rookie Mistakes Monday" post that I will kick off next week...and it will be the post where I will confess all my first year homeschool blunders! :)

Another blog chronicling a journey in my life personally is my Making Over Me blog. It is a blog that I set up a while ago, but never did anything with seriously...mostly because I wasn't seriously working towards making over me! But now I am and the Making Over Me blog will chronicle THAT journey. It is a journey that encompasses many elements of a makeover...physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Stay tuned to see what happens - this blog will likely be updated 2-3 times per week.

A couple more blogs are reflective of my interest in all things frugal, free and handmade! I actually started them this past spring and then let go of them for a while. I'm excited to jump back in and beef them up a bit! There is You're Gonna Want This and the partner blog You're Gonna Want This - Homemade! The first is all about contests, savings, great frugal ideas, and reviews that I find in the blog-world and want to bring to you OR that I have the opportunity to come up with myself! This blog will have daily updates.

The partner blog You're Gonna Want This - Handmade will be a review blog that will encourage readers to consider purchasing their gifts and goods from handmade artisans and crafters...not only because handmade crafters can provide impeccable quality and unique items that cannot be found in your local discount retailer...BUT by buying from handmade artisans, we are helping to support family-based business. I'm all about family and I LOVE handmade products...so what is there to lose?! I will be doing reviews of handmade products, providing links to handmade artisans and giving guidance to those just venturing into the world of handmade products! This blog will begin with 2-3 posts per week, working up to daily updates.

Hope you can take some time to explore my blogs and have fun with them too!

Friday, July 31, 2009

New Beginnings...

Yes, I've been a sporadic blogger since our children came home...and that may remain to be the case. But don't give up on me - I will show up here still...whether it be frequently or infrequently!

I'm beginning my second day as a full-time stay-at-home mom. It feels like the first though, as I was still wrapping up some details at my previous job yesterday too.

Leaving my job was bittersweet. I worked for this non-profit Christian organization serving high risk hurting teens and families (www.treehouseyouth.org) for over 8 years in a lot of different roles. Most recently it was the Recruiting Coordinator - involving recruiting and hiring new staff and interns for the organization. But, as is true with many companies and non-profits, funds are tight and due to some other staff changes there was a re-organization made for some corporate office positions. In that reorganization my position was eliminated.

The irony of it, though, is that Robert and I have felt convicted, or called, to homeschool our children this next year and beyond if need be due to their educational challenges and the inability for the public school they attend to be able to give the attention to their academic needs in the way that is necessary to help the kiddos really get through some of their learning hurdles with reading and writing in particular. But being a two-income family that has gone through some significant economic challenges of our own this past year, we didn't know if we could swing losing my income and benefits. But we kept praying and seeking God's affirmation and direction. In the course of time I knew that God was solidly letting us know 'yes, homeschooling your children is the new ministry role I want you to move into' - but the fear that comes with financial challenges had worked itself into a knot in the pit of my stomach and the 'what-ifs' were running rampant through my head.

However one Wednesday in early June I listened to a speaker talk about his 'Surprise Me God' experiment. As I listened to his stories of how God surprised him, I found myself praying silently "Lord Jesus, I believe you have called me to homeschool my children. But I am afraid. I'm afraid to leave the security of my job and the steady income and benefits it brings with it. Lord I'm even more afraid that I will let my fear keep me from doing something you have called me to." Then, like Gideon putting out his fleece, I prayed "Lord, please help me with this. Just MAKE IT HAPPEN so I cannot chicken out and let my fear control me. I need your help with this Lord. If it is right, make it happen."

That very afternoon, much to my surprise, my boss called me into his office to let me know about the above restructuring and the elimination of my position. Though this was not how I expected God to answer my prayer above, it was clearly 'making it happen' and though it would have been easy to let anxiety rush in, it didn't. I knew this was God's affirmation of 'yes, this is right for you and yes, I will take care of you.'

The next 6 weeks that followed until my end date passed in a flash and though my last day was two days ago, I still don't feel like I am done. But my mind, energies and 'new normal' will gradually shift into my new positions of homemaker, homeschool teacher, business assistant to my husband and hopefully (fingers crossed) budding freelance writer and novelist.

Which reminds me...my to-do list for this 'new normal' begins with a few whoppers...

1 - Organize the home office (it was a bit of a chore to get to my seat at my desk this morning...massive organization and decluttering is needed!)

2 - Prep for a garage sale in a couple of weeks

3 - Put together my full year homeschool schedule and get paperwork completed to send in to the State.

As they say in Minnesota...Uff-Da! Better get to work! More from me - WITH PICTURES - soon!

PS - if you are a reader and not my Facebook friend, look me up!