IT WON’T STOP RAINING! What can I do with the kids inside?

It Won't Stop Raining! What Can I Do With the Kids Inside from HouseofHills.orgWe have had the wettest summer EVER here in the ATL. I mean it has literally rained just about EVERY DAY this summer. EVERY DAY!

Now, my kiddo is pretty happy to stay inside with her pursuits, but I know there are parents out there who are about to go stark, raving mad. You can only think of so many things to do when you’re stuck inside day after day after day.

I did a post back in 2011 of things to do when we were stuck inside because of a massive snow storm that hit the ATL. The fifteen things on that list would work during the summer too.

However, I thought I’d round up a few more in case you were running out of ideas to keep the sweet babes busy.

Pull out the legos! Dump the entire bucket on the table or floor. Then, set a timer and have a competition to see who can build the coolest thing in the set amount of time. For older kids, create a category that they have to use. For younger ones, challenge them to make patterns.



Have a cooking lesson. This is my girl making pumpkin bread, which for some reason I have yet to put up the recipe for. It’s an easy one for her to do alone now. But, she had to be taught how to cook. Choose a family recipe and teach it to your kids. They’ll learn something new, and there will be something yummy (I hope) at the end!


Play in shaving cream! I’ll admit it. This can be messy, but it will get everything off your counters for sure! I actually used to let kids play with shaving cream on their desks the last day of school when I taught. It cleaned the tops of their desks better than I could by myself! And it’s a pretty cheap way to keep them entertained for awhile. Of course, it’s time for baths/showers when they’re done so that’s even more fun!


IMG_7196Face painting! You can pick up some easy face painting kits at the local party store or Walmart. Kids can have hours of fun painting each others’ faces and arms. You could even go crazy and let them paint your face. When all the painting is done, make up a play with the characters you created.


IMG_7501Try something from Pinterest. We tried this yummy Pinterest idea in my office. It was a hit. Don’t you have a board of things you’ve been meaning to try? (Or you can check out mine.) Look together with your kids and pick one. Then, next time you’re at the store, get the supplies and put them in the pantry until the next rainy day. You’ll have something to look forward to.

What about you? Have you found something fun to do to pass the time when it’s POURING outside? Please share!!

Singing and Dancing for a GREAT Cause

Last week I sent my girl to drama camp. Well, there’s nothing really amazing about that is there? But, this camp was different.

See, my awesome, amazing, lovely, wonderful friend, Jana, lost her husband last month. He had a brain aneurism. In a matter of days, Jana lost her best friend, and four beautiful girls lost their father.

In addition, drama students from all over the county lost a leader, a visionary, a man who wanted to make a difference in the world. Cue52 lost one of its founders.

It was (and still is) heartbreaking.

Maggie has done a couple shows with Cue52, and Jana leads her worship team on Sunday mornings. So, when they decided to do a drama camp to raise money for the Jackson ladies, we were all in!

Over 70 kids came to camp last week. Every penny that was paid as “tuition” was given to the Jacksons. All the mentors (that’s what they call the leaders) donated their time, and moms pitched in to do everything they could.

Friday night, they put on a show. It was fantastic!!!

My girl was chosen to play Ariel, and she loved it. But more awesome than that was to watch sixty girls dressed like princesses all working together to shower their love on Princess Jana.

Princess Jana and Maggie





We love the Jackson girls, and I know from losing my Katie over two years ago that their journey into this new life has just begun. They will continue to need support both spiritually and financially. If you would like to help with the latter, you can at


Girls’ Night : Hanging with a 10 year old is the best!

Last night we had girls’ night. Just my and my girl. Hanging out.

Now, if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that my girl and I are together ALL the time. She’s got a crazy busy drama schedule, and I’m her ride. When we’re not hanging out in the car together on the way to rehearsal, we’re hanging out at a show, or on a drama trip. We always seem to be rushing somewhere together. She and I and the minivan.

But that’s just the thing. We’re always rushing. And even if we’re not actually rushing, there is a time we HAVE to be there. A schedule we HAVE to keep. Last night. We didn’t HAVE to be anywhere. We CHOSE to go hang out together.

We headed out for dinner at about 5:30. Now, in Cumming, GA hitting a restaurant at any time after 5:30 on a Friday means you will wait… at least 30 minutes. Since I actually didn’t get her out the door until 5:30… you see where this is going. We attempted where she wanted for pizza, but, ahem, the wait was at least 30 minutes. I told her it was her choice. I didn’t get upset. (I may have said “I told you so” though.) We didn’t have a schedule to keep, so it didn’t matter to me. She was hungry. So, we didn’t wait.

We ended up at Chickfila, which didn’t bother either of us a bit.


Then, we decided what to do next. Multiple suggestions were tossed around. We landed on painting pottery. We hadn’t done that since last summer.

And of course we ended the evening with her favorite, Chill Hill frozen yogurt.


The best part of the night. We talked. A lot. Not the staccato talking that really is me giving her a list of things she needs to do and her giving me a list of things I need to know.

The kind of talking that has long pauses while we reflect and just be. The kind of talking that lets her be vulnerable and tell me how she really feels about things at school. The kind of talking that lets me see the young lady she’s becoming and be awe of what God is doing in her heart. The kind of talking that helps to cement our bond and let her know that I’m there for her always… no matter what.

Girls’ night what awesome. Can’t wait to do it again. Looking at the calendar now to figure out a day.

Christmas Letter 2012 (Or, maybe Happy New Year 2013)

Merry Christmas from the House of Hills!

I know I’m a little late (like a month), but I did want to put our Christmas letter up. We went on a Disney Cruise for Christmas week!

While the cruise was AMAZING * AWESOME * FANTASTIC * SPECTACULAR, (and will be multiple posts to come) getting ready to go out of town during that crazy time of year and returning to even more crazy meant I got REALLY behind on my blogging. I did get my Christmas cards out though!

If you’ve been following along on the blog, then you sorta know what happened at the House of Hills this year. But, let me hit the highlights for you (and maybe add a thing or two)…

In February, we celebrated the one year anniversary of My Katie’s passing. It was a beautiful day, and we met as family and friends to rejoice that she is dancing with Jesus. The sisters and I were glad to have each other to cry with. In fact, we’re just plain glad to have each other. We’re even starting a new website to share our story.

February also saw Mags and I heading down to Orlando for her to compete with her OBDKids troupe. We had so much fun, and the kids had such a great time. I was indeed a proud Drama Mama.

Aunt Amy came all the way from Alaska to visit TWICE this year! It was so great to see her and spend time hanging out with her. Mags even introduced her to the art of duct tape wallet making.

David and I are still working our fabulous jobs. Both of our responsibilities continue to shift and change, but we continue to love what we do. The highlight of my professional year was helping my boss, Sue Miller, and her daughter write a book about becoming a parent. It’s a wonderful collection of ideas, true stories, and pictures that reminds us all of the wonder of parenting. It was a serious labor of love, and something in which I’m very proud to have played a part.

Mags was in a total of four shows in 2012:

  • Mulan Jr.
  • Dear Edwina Jr.
  • The Little Mermaid Musical Review
  • Seussical Jr.

She loved being in each and every one of them. She is becoming quite the actress and even has done some video work for my company and our church.

This summer, we spent lots of time with my Katie’s kids. They even spent some time with Maggie at Camp All-American.

Maggie went back to Woodlands Camp last summer too. In fact, we’ve already signed up for 2013. If you’re looking for a great overnight camp, we highly recommend it.

Our girl turned TEN this year. We had a super fun craft party when six of Mags’ friends came over and we had so much fun crafting and dipping cupcakes in icing and sprinkles.

The fall brought us another season of OBDKids. This year they are working on Little Mermaid Jr. and Maggie is Flotsam. She really seems to enjoy being the bad guy. Her troupe has grown really close over the last few months as they have worked SO HARD to prepare for not only six shows but two competitions.

We also participated in the 30 Day Giving Challenge this year. It’s one of our FAVORITE ways to spend November. We have so much fun brainstorming how to give to others. You can look through the blog to see some of the ideas we had.

That’s pretty much it. Our year in a post.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

30 Day Giving Challenge Day 13 2012

The House of Hills is once again participating in the


Our goal is to give something EVERY day of the month. Big or small, every give is a gift to someone! Join the giving with us. We’d love to hear what you’re doing.

It’s my birthday! Whoop! Happy Birthday to me. Happy Birthday to me!

I already had my birthday party – Operation Christmas Child style – so today was a pretty normal day. Well, not really. I had my yearly physical, which is of course always a joy. And, now that I’m 41 they add an EKG and chest x-ray to the fun. And, the gave me an order to go get a mammogram. I mean seriously… you go to the doctor once only to have to go a trillion more times. However, I was very kind at the doctor’s office. Even, when it was getting close to noon and I still hadn’t eaten because I had to fast for my blood work. I was nice to people and smiling while my stomach made ridiculous noises.

After school, Maggie and I headed down to church where Hubby was working a conference. She wanted to ring things up in the store, and I had promised to do the afternoon Starbucks run.

So our give today (after my smiles of course) started with the Starbucks run. You’ve got to love walking into Starbucks, pulling out your phone and then reading off things you don’t even understand. I always crack up when I do the run because I really don’t even know what I’m talking about. I don’t drink coffee. I have no idea what a half double triple frap with whip is. Is that even something? I don’t know.

We got the coffees and headed over to church to serve Hubby’s team. They were very excited to see us coming. Working conferences is HARD work people. HARD WORK! Be nice to people who work conferences. They’re usually exhausted by the time you even get there. And then they continue to work HARD!

Then the girl jumped behind a register in the store and rang people up. (No, she’s not allowed to actually do the taking of money part, but she does everything else.) She loves to ring people up! And, people LOVE to have her wait on them. We even had one guy ask her to sign the book he just bought. At one point, it was just she and I in the store. All the others had rushed off to do one thing or another or eat dinner. So, that was our second serve of the day. Helping out at Hubby’s store.

It was a good day. Even if I did start it getting poked and prodded.


Follow the 30 Day Giving Challenge on Twitter and Facebook.


30 Day Giving Challenge Day 11 2012

The House of Hills is once again participating in the


Our goal is to give something EVERY day of the month. Big or small, every give is a gift to someone! Join the giving with us. We’d love to hear what you’re doing.

It’s Sunday again so I did my weekly Sunday giving by serving in the preschool environment at church. I do love those little cuties and all their crazy they bring to service each week.

In addition, this morning Maggie and I loaded all 75 OCC boxes into the mini-van and brought those to church.

We had a friend bring us a few things to pack in some boxes so I think we’ll get four more boxes packed this week and send those to church with hubby on Thursday.

WE ARE SO THANKFUL TO ALL OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY that helped us pack shoe boxes this year. It’s such a privilege to pack these boxes each year. We love it.

Today was one of my favorite days at church. We started the BE RICH campaign. We’ve done it each year for the past five years, and it is just SO AMAZING to watch God work through it.

Timothy 6:18: “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”

We are “rich” here at the House of Hills, not by American standards, but for sure by World standards. We have so much more than so many, and it is such a blessing to be able to share. Our church does a great job of finding reputable organizations with which to partner to do fabulous things in our community and around the world. We even had a local news team at church today reporting about Be Rich. It was so fun to see our friends on the screen.

It was an amazing day of giving and watching others give. I so love when the our minds and hearts turn to how we can help and serve others during this season. It just makes me smile inside and out.

Follow the 30 Day Giving Challenge on Twitter and Facebook.


30 Day Giving Challenge Day 9 2012

The House of Hills is once again participating in the


Our goal is to give something EVERY day of the month. Big or small, every give is a gift to someone! Join the giving with us. We’d love to hear what you’re doing.

Tonight I made dinner for my family… well, my hubby’s family. They came over for dinner and game night.

That’s us playing Apples to Apples – the favorite family game!

Then, there was some “Just Dance” action going on.

I love it when these three get together. It’s so much fun. They couldn’t look more like cousins could they? The girls are only 8 weeks apart. LOVE THEM ALL!

Oh, if you want to know what I made for dinner:

It was an AWESOME night of family fun!

What’s your favorite thing to cook for your family?

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30 Day Giving Challenge Day 6 2012

The House of Hills is once again participating in the


Our goal is to give something EVERY day of the month. Big or small, every give is a gift to someone! Join the giving with us. We’d love to hear what you’re doing.


Today was the day of our BIG GIVE! It was my Operation Christmas child Birthday Party! See—I even got to wear my birthday pin!

This was our THIRD time doing this party, and I think they just get better every year.

First, let me say this. I COULD NOT do this party every year without my hubby. He is such an integral part of the entire process, and I was SO THANKFUL that he took the day off so he could party with us. He helped with setup. He helped people pay for their boxes online. He took out countless bags of trash, and I’m sure there is a ton of stuff I don’t even know he did. So, a big shout out to my best friend.

Another person who works hard for this day is Maggie. She rocks at party prep, and prepping for this party is fun for us to do together. Being the actress that she is, she decided that she needed to do an orientation video. We had it available for people to see when they first came in. She decided to make this one hour before the party was going to start and had no help from hubby or I. I just had to share it with you. (Please excuse the lighting issues. She’s learning.)

So fun, right?

Once our guests had experienced orientation, they dove right in to packing boxes.

Check out all those boxes being packed at once! My mom came with two of the cousins, and they packed TEN boxes. Then, a friend came and packed SIXTEEN! It was awesome.

At one point, my hall was full of people getting things for the boxes!!!

This makes me SO HAPPY!

All in all we packed 75 BOXES! WHAT? WHOOP! I’m thrilled with that. And, there is still stuff sitting in my hall. I might run by the store and grab a few more “big” items tomorrow so we can pack a few more before we take the entire load to church on Sunday.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! to all my friends and family who made my birthday so special this year! I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know.

There’s still time for you to pack an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox! You know you want to. Just do it!

Follow the 30 Day Giving Challenge on Twitter and Facebook.


30 Day Giving Challenge Day 4 2012

The House of Hills is once again participating in the


Our goal is to give something EVERY day of the month. Big or small, every give is a gift to someone! Join the giving with us. We’d love to hear what you’re doing.


It’s Sunday. Sunday means serving at church. Every Sunday. For the past twelve years.

See, it even says so on my name tag. “Serving since 2000.”

That seems crazy to me. Has it really been twelve years since I started serving in the preschool area at my church? I guess so. There has been SO MUCH CHANGE since I started. The preschool wing has more than doubled in size. I’ve been there longer than most of the staff. I’ve watched countless kids that I’ve held and loved move on up to the elementary and even high school program. I’ve served with hundreds of volunteers—some there for a year, some there for as long as me.

But, there is one thing that has never changed. There are always a little faces looking up at me that need to know God made them. God loves them. And, Jesus wants to be their friend forever. They need to know that I care. They need to know the love of Jesus, and I show them.

That love looks different for each child. Some need a hug. Some need a lap to sit on. Some need an extra scoop of Goldfish. Some need an adult to listen to their story.

All need to know their Heavenly Father.

That’s why I wear my name tag with pride. That’s why I serve every Sunday.

Do you serve somewhere on a regular basis?

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30 Day Giving Challenge : Superstorm Sandy

We’ve all seen the footage on the television and Internet. I’ll admit it. It’s so upsetting, I can’t really even watch anymore. All of those people affected by such a crazy, freakish storm. So many without electricity. So many without water. So many without so much.

The question that comes is of course, “What can I do?” I know there are people heading up north from Atlanta to physically lend a hand. I TOTALLY admire them. However, I don’t feel called to leave my family. And, let’s be real…40 year old short lady with bad knees would not be much help.

Fortunately, I can donate money from our “give fund,” and we plan to do that.

In addition, I plan to collect items at my Operation Christmas Child party on Tuesday that can be sent up to those in need. If you are coming to the party and want to help, please bring:

  • Feminine products
  • Bottles
  • First Aid Kits
  • Cough Drops
  • Cough Medicine

I will box up everything contributed and pay for the shipping to get it to those who need it. I’m getting an address from this blogger who is in the thick of it.

Are you looking for a way to give? Check out some of these possibilities.

I know there are MANY other organizations out there helping out. If you have one you want to share, please leave a link in the comments.

My heart hurts for the people in the Northeast. I’m praying for them each and every day. But, I feel I’ve got to DO something. So I am!

Have you ever felt that way?

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