31 Days of OCC: Packing Party

Everybody likes a party – right!? Well, almost everybody. Extroverts like a party. And, we’ve got TWO of those living in the House of Hills. So, several years ago we decided that we’d celebrate my birthday with a party—an Operation Christmas Child packing party!! We even had birthday cupcakes supplied by My Katie.

31DaysOCC_Cupcakes

Now, we’ve got the packing party down to a science here at the HOH. In fact, I did a whole Top Ten Tuesday blog post on having an Operation Christmas Child packing party. Make sure you click over to see the details.

The important things are these:

  1. Decide who is supplying the box contents. Is it you, your guests or a combination?
  2. Have a festive environment so that everyone has a good time.
  3. Be sure to collect the shipping money.
  4. Pray over the boxes.
  5. Know where you’re going to take the boxes once they’re packed.

That’s the basics. Then, it comes down to the details. I typically collect items throughout the year and then ask my guests to bring more age specific items to complete the boxes. Before the party, we line the hall with every container we can find in the house and sort all the crazy stuff I’ve collected throughout the year.

31Days_PackingParty_Hall

When my guests arrive, they take a box (I order mine from OCC, but you can use shoeboxes too.) and start filling it with what I have in the hall. Then, they finish it off with the items they brought with them. Finally, they print a shipping label through the OCC website (we have a computer and printer) set up in the living room and attach it to the box. They all end up in the back of my van and get taken to my church, which is a drop off location.

31Days_PackingParty_Van

I love the site of my van filling up with boxes. It makes me happy every year.

Now, don’t think your packing party has to be a big, huge one like mine. I kinda like to do parties up, and now it’s become a tradition that people calendar months in advance. (Seriously, my friend Angela asked me in July when this year’s is so she could get it on her calendar.)

Your packing party can be just your family or yours and the one that lives next door. Or, maybe you are in a small group through church, and you want to get those families together to pack boxes. Or, your Bunko group might want to pack boxes before the next Bunko night. Oh, what about that playgroup that meets once a month—maybe they’d like to pack boxes. It could even be those friends from high school that you’ve been meaning to get in touch with, but needed a purpose to call them.

Whatever group you pull together, be it large or small, remember that what you’re doing will impact someone’s life forever. That’s why it’s important to pray over the box. That box that you pack at the party will end up in a child’s hands halfway across the world. They will open it and know you care and that there is a God who loves them.

So, who are you inviting over? When’s the party?

Have you been following along with the Write31Days series. Be sure to check out what other bloggers are writing about.

Posted in 31 Days, Christmas, Faith, Family, Serve | Leave a comment

31 Days of OCC: Why OCC?

31DaysOCCatHOH_HouseofHills.orgSometime in the last few years, I’ve become known in my circle of friends as “the lady who does OCC parties.” A question arises about OCC, and people say, “Ask Kathy, she’ll know.” The closer we get to collection week, the more tweets and texts I get with people asking me questions, “Can this go in the box?”

You wanna know a secret? I kinda love it.
I’ll answer any and all questions, and if I don’t know the answer I’ll find out.
I’m that passionate about it.

What started out as something that was fun to do around Christmas turned into a full blown, year-round endeavor in 2010. That was the year I decided that for my birthday I wanted to have an Operation Christmas Child party. So, I posted it on the blog and asked friends and family to give me box packing supplies instead of gifts. And, I invited anyone and everyone to participate.

We had a GREAT time that first year so we’ve done it every year since!!!!

Back Camera

But, why OCC? Why shoeboxes?

That answer’s easy. My love languages are acts of service and gifts. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to give gifts. Ask my friends. When somebody says they like a particular candy, I write it down to make sure they get it soon. When it’s a special occasion, I like to mark it with a gift. Actually, my favorite gifts to give are “just because I love you gifts.” Those are awesome.

So, what better way to show someone half-way around the world that God loves them than by giving them a gift. A shoebox is a tangible way of saying, “I may not know you personally, but God does. And, He cares about you.”

A shoebox is something those children can hold and treasure and share and love. Each item in a shoebox communicates God’s love to these precious children. Toothbrushes and toothpaste show that He cares about their physical being. A plush friend shows His love through snuggles and cuddles. Toys show that He cares about joy and fun.

Then, there is that one item that He puts in each box that He’s picked out just for them. I’ve heard story after story of children who opened their shoebox and found just what THEY needed. Maybe it’s hair clips for a little girl who’s never had her own. Maybe it’s a new shirt arriving just as the one the little boy’s wearing is too small. Maybe it’s a needed pair of shoes or a sewing kit or a hammer and nails. Whatever it is, that one thing speaks into that child’s life, and God whispers, “I know  you. I love you.” 

It’s the stories of those whispers that bring me to my knees in gratitude and awe. My heavenly Father loves me as much as He loves these little people a world away. And, I know how much He loves them as I’ve watched Him orchestrate hundreds of thousands of people to bring them joy in the form of a shoebox.

That’s why OCC.
That’s why I pack shoeboxes EVERY year.
That’s why I’ll do it until I can’t do it any more.

I pack shoeboxes to give the gift of God’s love.

Won’t you join me this year?

 

Posted in 31 Days, Christmas, Family, Serve | 2 Comments

31 Days of OCC: The HOH Loves OCC

For the last four years on the second (or third) Sunday of November, the trunk of my van has looked something like this.

31DaysofOCC_HouseofHills.org

Isn’t that AWESOME!?!?!

The HOH loves OCC (Operation Christmas Child), and we’ve ushered in the holiday season (and celebrated my birthday) with a huge party right before collection week since 2010.

In 2010, we packed 89 boxes.
In 2011, we packed 110 boxes.
In 2012, we packed 75 boxes.
In 2013, we packed 50 boxes.

Like I said, the HOH loves OCC, and I want to share that love with you, my Internet friends. I’ll be talking about OCC here on the blog for the next 31 days. We’ll talk about the history of OCC, how to pack a box, what to put in a box, how to get a box where it needs to go and so much more.

So, get ready to pack some boxes friends, because by the time the month is done, you’ll know exactly what to do… just in time for National Collection Week! This year, National Collection Week is November 17 -24, and I’ll be hosting my annual party on November 15th. I can’t wait to share all the fun with you!

So come back every day in October to see the newest 31 Days post. I’ll be linking up to #Write31Days along thousands of other bloggers. It’s going to be an awesome month.

31DaysOCCatHOH_HouseofHills.org

Posted in 31 Days, Christmas, Serve | 1 Comment

Parent CUE App

Friends! I realized I’ve never shared this AMAZING resource with you!

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It’s the Parent CUE App that my company, Orange, created a few years ago.

There is a section for preschoolers and a section for elementary. When you purchase the app, you get access to both sides!!! Awesome right!?!

There is a weekly video Bible lesson and then activities to do with your kids several times during the week that correspond with that lesson. There’s also support resources for parents. The App is designed to supplement churches that use the Orange curriculum, but anyone can use it.

My favorite part is the videos. They are so well made and perfect for when you just need to distract the little people for a minute at the doctor’s office and also for when you want to sit as a family and watch them together. I mean, if they’re going to watch a video while getting a haircut, even better if it’s a Bible story – right? Oh, and the preschool videos…. every few months there is a cute blonde girl named Maggie that shows up.

House of Hills

She’s my favorite.

If you’ve never looked at the Parent CUE App, you should check it out. It’s a good one.

Disclaimer: I work for Orange, but get no additional benefit from selling the App. I just think it’s great.

Posted in Faith, Family | Leave a comment

Yummy Taco Cups

My girl loves some yummy taco cups — at least that’s what we call them at the HOH. Do you ever make these for your kids?

Yummy Taco Cups

I mean, they’re really easy to make. Like minutes easy to make.

You need:

  • Tostitos Scoops chips
  • Taco meat
  • Shredded cheese (I use the Mexican blend.)

Warm up your taco meat. I’m assuming it is leftover in the fridge like mine always is.
Place a spoonful in each scoop.
Top with shredded cheese.
Serve.

See, amazingly easy. Yummy taco cups for the win!

Yummy Taco Cups 2

My girl usually eats a dinner plate full for a meal OR a smaller plate (like maybe four or five) for a snack.

Oh yes! They are a great snack food too.

What’s a quick meal/snack that you like to make for your kids?

Posted in Cooking | 1 Comment

Awe, She Loves Me

I took Mags outside tonight to do a few quick videos and pictures for work. She was of course beautiful and great on camera.

Maggie_SheLovesMe

Then, I handed her the camera to hold while I picked up our scripts, and she started doing something I didn’t expect. She started taking pictures of me. Like, lots of them.

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She loves the fancy, new camera as much as I do and often grabs it to take nature shots. But, she’s never turned it on me.

Why would she want pictures of me?

And then I thought something that made me pause.

I take pictures of her ALL THE TIME.
Like, multiple times a day usually.
Why?
Because I love her more than words can say.
I love every inch of her… flaws and all.

You know what? She loves me that much.
Flaws and all.
Maybe that’s why she wants to take pictures of me.
So she can see me through that lens.
And focus on just me like I like to focus on just her.

So, I let her take my picture.
Because she loves me.

IMG_4937

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We are on #TeamJDC

Remember how I said on my Fall TV plan that we were planning to watch The Voice because we knew someone auditioning? Well, he went last night and was AMAZING!!!

Did you see him? Did you see the judges fighting over him? Did you see how charming he was? Love me some James David Carter!

The HOH is on #TeamJDC !!!!

If you missed his blind audition, take just a minute and watch the fabulousness. Truly. Push play. You won’t be sad you did.

See, I told you!!!

Now is the time I get to brag and say I’ve been listening to this man sing for years. He’s led worship at our area churches and does an awesome job. He’s always been my favorite at various Married People events they’ve done because he of course gets the country songs, and his voice just melts you.

We’ve followed his career for years on Facebook and are just so stinkin’ excited for this amazing opportunity he has. Because, the thing is, not only is James David an incredibly talented guy. He’s also a super sweet, caring, southern boy (as seen in this article) who loves the Braves and the Dawgs.

We wish him the best and will be praying God guides him exactly where he needs to go. Right now, he’s leading the pack. Pretty sure it’s gonna stay that way.

#TeamJDC for the win.

Looks like I’ll be watching my first season of The Voice.

Posted in Fun | 2 Comments

Fall 2014 TV Schedule : What We’re Watching at the HOH

Fall2014_TVReally, I should have titled this what Kathy’s watching. Because, let’s be real. I’m the TV addict here in the HOH. I actually may have a problem. My DVR almost can’t keep up with me. For other’s who are like me, I thought I’d share what we’re watching at the HOH for Fall 2014.

Oh, and another disclaimer. I TOTALLY added shows to my DVR list after I read Mary’s AMAZINGLY THOROUGH investigation of the Fall 2014 TV Schedule over on Giving Up On Perfect. I encourage you to go check it out.

Here’s what I’ve got set up to record. (Please note that not all of these are starting this week, but this is what the TV Guide website has up as the Fall 2014 TV Schedule.)

Sunday:
Madame Secretary – 8PM – CBS – This one is new. Woman in power in a high drama situation. Thought I’d give it a try.
Once Upon a Time – 8PM – ABC – The entire HOH watches this crazy show. Can you say Disney characters? We caught up from season one during the summer and are anxious for the new season to begin.

Monday: 
The Big Bang Theory – 8PM – CBS – Watch this one with the hubby. We laugh out loud. Literally.
The Voice – 8PM – NBC – We know someone auditioning this year. Honestly, we’ll probably only watch as far as he makes it. So, hopefully all the way!
Castle – 10PM – ABC – I love Richard Castle. Sigh…
NCIS Los Angeles – 1oPM – CBS – I adore a good crime drama, and the the ensemble cast of this show really clicks.
The Blacklist – 10pm – NBC – Hubby and I both like this one. Always leaves you hanging just enough to go “huh?” in a good way.

Please note that Monday at 10PM is over-booked. I can only record two at once. (I know I’m behind the times, but we only have one TV and older model DVR and it’s really all we need.) We have not yet determined which show will be pushed to the bottom of the list and therefore must be watched online. Thankfully, this decision can wait until next week as NCIS:LA is not on this week.

Tuesday:
The Voice – 8PM – NBC – We know someone auditioning this year. Honestly, we’ll probably only watch as far as he makes it. So, hopefully all the way!
NCIS – 8PM – CBS - Gibbs… love him and his team. I’ve watched this show since the beginning. ADORE it!
NCIS New Orleans – 9PM – CBS – Newest of the NCIS franchise. Not sure if I’m going to like this one, but I’m going to try.
Person of Interest – 10PM – CBS – Another one hubby and I really like and have watched from the beginning. If you’re jumping in late on this one, go back to the beginning and catch up. Worth it.

Wednesday:
The Voice Results – 8PM – NBC – We know someone auditioning this year. Honestly, we’ll probably only watch as far as he makes it. So, hopefully all the way!
Criminal Minds – 9PM – CBS – Disturbing yet addicting. This is one I went all the way back to the beginning and caught up. Can’t let it go.

Thursday:
Football – 8PM – CBS – We kinda love football at the HOH. It’s on all fall. And, it’s a family thing.
Gracepoint – 9PM – FOX – David Tennant – That’s all that needs to be said. Truly hoping we like this one. Might let Mags watch depending on the intensity of the show. She is currently in love with Doctor #10.

Friday:
Um, nothing…. catching up on the week.

Saturday:
Football – wherever we can find it.
And, when football’s over, we have to reconfigure our lives.

What shows are set to record on your DVR? Did I miss any good ones?

Posted in Family | 10 Comments

Drama Mama Update: Seuss!

If you follow me on social media at all, you know I’m a Drama Mama. Well, I guess if you follow the HOH, you know I’m a Drama Mama.

We’ve started the new competition troupe show. It’s Seussical Jr. I LOVE this show. It’s so fun and fast and full of energy. They had their first rehearsal on the 6th, and I snapped this picture.

Drama Mama: Seuss

My Mags is the one in the middle looking excited/scared/surprised… awesome. She’s JoJo. You know, the mayor’s “son.” (Yes, if you’re keeping track, she has yet to have a role in competition troupe that was actually designed for a girl.)

These kids are SO TALENTED. They’re going to do a great show. If you’re in North Metro Atlanta you’re going to want to put the last weekend of January/first weekend of February on your calendar as “day to see Seuss.”

Can’t wait to see what the next six months brings!

 

 

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Decorating at the HOH: Picture Wall

Here’s the thing. When it comes to decorating ability, I totally lose my girl card. I mean, I’m not sure I have a full girl card anyway, but when it come to the decorating gene, I totally didn’t get one.

Now, I will say this was HARD early on in our marriage. I THOUGHT I was supposed to be the one who did all those decorating things. You know, curtains and pictures and furniture and knick knacks and whatever else is involved. So, I would try and do them. And, I would fail. Miserably. And, David would do them better. WAY BETTER. And it would make me mad. Why couldn’t I do it? Why couldn’t I see it that way? I was the wife. It was my job.

Finally, I accepted that God did not give me the decorating gene. He gave me David, who has multiple. He gave me my other half. A half that cares about curtains and pictures and furniture and knick knacks. (See, I really didn’t even care.)

David knows what color our house is. I have no idea. David knows how to arrange the bookshelves. I have no idea. David knows where the curtains were bought. I have… wait, I actually know that one. I think. David has an eye for design. I DO NOT.

But I appreciate it when I see it.

So, when I came home a couple Saturdays ago and saw this…

Decorating at the HOH: Picture Wall

I almost cried. It’s beautiful. It’s everything I care about. And, it’s on my wall for me to see every day. I never could have done this. So, God gave me someone who can… and does.

Ya, I got a good one.

What can your spouse do that you can’t and you’re ever so thankful for it?

Posted in Couple Time, Organize | 1 Comment