Monday, May 31, 2010

A Very Full Weekend

Katie's Ballet Recital

Katie's ballet recital was a hit! She did a great job and we are very proud of her. Here's a video of her rehearsal:

Zayne and Whitney's House Party
Katie was so excited to get to play with Nia. I love Whitney's colors in her Kitchen/Dining Room/Living Room area, it's chocolate and blue.  I like these colors, but I never would have thought it would look as good as it does in your Living Room.  Whitney has such good taste.  Maybe when I decide to re-decorate, I'll call her up. 
You can see the color scheme better in this picture

The kiddos enjoying their play time together.  Colton stayed right with them having a good time.

Sweet couple with baby boy

We had a fish fry with all the sides - notice it rained most of the morning

Whitney's Kitchen - June smiling for the camera before taking a bite of homemade chocolate ice cream

Zayne took Jon for a rock climbing adventure in his jeep
Memorial Day
We hung out by the pool today, celebrating Memorial Day. Did you get to watch "Band of Brothers" all day today on the Spike channel? Doug and I watched a little early this morning and a little more tonight, while the children were in bed. I can't begin to imagine what it was like over in Normandy.
I would like to say:
Thank you Veterans
those who fought and those who are still fighting
for mine and my families' freedoms!
Colton loved playing in the big tubby

I had the kids dressed up all Patriotic.  I wanted a picture of them together by the pool.  Unfortunately, as soon as we drove up into June & Pat's driveway, Katie noticed Jon was in the water and had to get in it immediately.  So there went my cute picture.

We were surprised how long Colton left his cap on his head

Our little mermaid! We had a terrible time getting her out of the pool
Katie and her swim buddy, Whitney


Friday, May 28, 2010

New Blog Layout

I'm sure you've noticed how different my blog looks now.  It's not so messy unorganized.  I've worked very hard to make it a little easier to read and move around.  I've had a lot of fun getting creative, adding hot links and a new background.  On the top, you'll notice the hot links "recipes, photos, crafts, etc."  I've just moved a lot of my labels getting them out of the way to help you find stuff. Let me know what ya think? Toodles!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

School's Out For Summer . . . or is it?

Katie and I felt it was time for this momma to have a day off from cleaning and spend some good quality time with her special daughter and baby boy. Saying this doesn't mean I have the tidiest home. You can't tell it, but I do clean every day. It's all part of motherhood!

Anyway, I want to make sure Katie's Summer vacation has some structure and not wasted away. I don't want her to lose all the knowledge sitting on her little shoulders by the time school is back in session. My goal is to keep what Katie's learned this past school year (colors, shapes, numbers, letters, letter sounds and number/letter recognition).  Mrs. Katie's tried very hard to get her little spongy students ready for reading.  I hope, with a lot of hard work and effort on Katie's part, to have her reading early beginner books before school starts in August.  I'm probably crazy, but I'm determined.  A lot of people have told me not to push and that she is too young.  She may be, but I know Katie's limits and I know she's ready.  I have to find creative ways to make it exciting because she thinks reading is so BORING.  That is until she gets some words or small sentences correct, then she's wanting to give me a HIGH FIVE. 

I'm so glad that I found 1+1+1=1 blog! Carisa was a Kindergarten teacher for 4 1/2 years before becoming a stay at home mom, so she knows her stuff in my book. She's introduced me to lots of learning tools for Katie, to make learning a little more fun than normal and I'm loving lapbooks. I've printed and put together a few just today for Katie. One Little, Two Little and Homeschool Share has some cute lapbooks, you can print for free.

Katie and I read "Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom" lapbook that I got from 1+1+1=1. Here's the direct link to Chicka Boom Tot Book.  There are other things to print out and the complete themed workbooks look GREAT! I was mostly interested in the books because Katie started reading early beginners Scholastic paperback books approximately 3 or 4 months ago.  Homeschool Share has other neat kid tools than just lapbooks. I could see loving this website in future Summers to come. They not only cover reading, but studies like geography, literature, and science. I try to introduce these other catergories into Katie's life, but I don't want to overwhelm her.

Today, we worked on her pattern (cut and paste) skills, pre-writing skills, letter recognition and finally read the "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" Tot Book aka lapbook, "Hermie and Wormie" lapbook and our first volume from the "Bob" book collection.  She did great (with a little help) when it came to the "Bob" book!  She automatically knew the words "sat" and "on."  I had to help her sound out some of the words.  Once she got them, she breezed through the short sentences.  "Hermie and Wormie" lapbook was a little hard for her because they had words like "catepillar, Buzby, ladybugs, stinkbug," etc.  After we finally made it through the book, I put it back into the folder (I created) for another time.  Overall, I guess we spent a total of 3 hours on her studies, which would be about the same time she would have been in school.  We'll have to switch up a lot during the week, so boredom doesn't set in too early.  I also printed off some sight words from 1+1+1=1 as well for the ending letters "at."  I think it will help.  I tried helping her word building skills awhile back with "at" because you can make so many words with "at."  An added bonus, she learns about rhyming, which she has an interest in already. 

Prayer Request
A new friend just found out that she has breast cancer and will have to undergo a double mastectomy. I don't know when the surgery will be, but she needs your prayers.

My other friend started her cancer treatment for the colon cancer. Of course, she is more tired than normal, but she hasn't started the sickness yet. She will have to have the treatment for 6 weeks at least. Please continue to prayer for her.



Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Katie's School Year End Program 2010

I was so proud of Katie, she sang so loud to every song. She has her moments when it comes to singing aloud in public. I told her on the way to school this morning that Grandma Peggy and Paw-Paw Millard couldn't come, but I would tape it for them to see so she had to sing loud. Well, she lived up to my request. My mom and dad got to come and watch the program with me.

After her part was over, she got a little impatient because I promised her a Dairy Queen ice cream when it was over. While we were watching the music class perform and the Kindergarten graduate, she kept asking if it was over yet. Ugh! I was hoping she would get excited over Me-Me's sisters playing the violin. I would love it if Katie grew an interest in playing the violin or piano. All she would say is "yeah, I know." Apparently, she saw them perform quite a bit this year. Katie was so relieved when we got to leave. We all went to Dairy Queen for ice cream. Dad couldn't believe that I like to eat fries with my chocolate blizzard. HAHA! He said it didn't appeal to him.

Katie and her closest friend, "C"

The girls goofing around before the program
Little angels!
Katie getting ready to sing in front of everyone
Doug and I are so proud of Katie.  She has grown up so much this past year.  It's hard to believe that she will be 5 years old very soon.  She's enjoyed school this past year and will miss all of her friends and especially Mrs. Katie.  She told me this morning, she was sad to be leaving Covenant School; however, she's excited to be starting Kindergarten next August.  She asked me if it was Summer yet.  When I told her "yes,"  she asked me when is her party with her friends.  I guess I had better get prepared to be hearing this question for the next several days until the party. 


Monday, May 24, 2010

A Day At The Lake

Today, school let out early and we all headed towards the lake for a little R & R. It's been a long time since Katie's actually been to the lake and we've never allowed her to swim in it. Well, Katie had a million and one questions to ask on our way to our school party. First, she kept confusing a pond with a lake. "Are we having a party at the pond? Do you know where the pond is?" and "What is a pond?" After correcting her about the pond/lake issue, she asked "Is a lake bigger than the beach?" Okay! Thank goodness it was a good long drive. By the time we got to Connie and Keith's house, I think I got her all straightened out.

Katie kicking her feet in the water with her friends

Katie did great swimming around the lake today.  She got so excited when I told her it was alright to get in, she jumped in and forgot to close her mouth.  She came up all big eyes and spitting.  After that she made sure to close her mouth and she didn't jump like that again. 

Katie putting around on the noodle

She loved this blow up - I guess it was fun to jump around on and it had a slide

Took this picture from the step going up to the house - Katie was in the blow up with her buddy, "T"

House was up on a bluff - Took picture further up towards the house. 

Connie and Keith had a nice boat house.  I loved their house!  She's an interior designer and trust me, I just took in.  I'm wanting to paint our Kitchen-Dining Room-Living Room (warmer color).  Connie's has the same open area (Kitchen,Dining Room & Living Room) and she had her area painted with the warm stone look, just like I had pictured in my mind.  Her walls were much darker than I would like, but I loved her stone tile wall.

Their house was practically on a bluff.  You should have seen the steps that we all had to walk down and YES, up to and from the water.  It was easy going down to the water, but you had better rest a good while before heading back up to the house.  SHEW!  By the time I got back down to the water, I felt like jumping in myself.  Us older folks had to take a break half way.  After the fourth time of climbing these stairs, my legs felt like jello.  While standing in line, I told Mrs. Katie that my legs were jerking.  We both had to laugh because hers was doing the same. 

I think everyone had a wonderful time today.  I know I had a better time than I initally thought.  I have to admit that when I heard we were going to the lake for our year end party, I got a little nervous.  There are so many things to take into consideration when you go to the lake.  You have to think about boat traffic, snakes, possible trash in the water, etc.  I was pleasantly surprised and felt more at ease by the time I checked everything out and spoke to the owners.

The kids had a blast and hated leaving soon after lunch.  Connie and Keith went all out to show us a good time.  They were very hospitable and enjoyed getting to know them a little better.  If you ever need a great interior decorator, I'll getcha in contact with her.  HAHA! 


Katie's Rehearsal 2010

I thought Katie did better this year then last. I absolutely love their costumes this year. Katie's instructor is close to 40 weeks pregnant. She looks so ready to get this over with. Bless her heart, she takes a deep breathe everytime I look at her. LOL! She says that she'll make it.

I had to tape and her friend, M, watching the big girls dancing. They got a little crazy from time to time.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Get Out The Flip Flops

Saving Money & Living Life just made me aware of a day set aside for my favorite shoes, FLIP FLOPS!
National Flip Flops Day
June 18th
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So girls, buff those cracked heals, paint those cute piggies and dust off your favorite pair of flip flops (if you haven't already). My favorite brand of flip flops are "Yellow Box." I have several pairs of flip flops (Bare Traps, Born and Yellow Box) and I love them all!

To make this fun, let's have a "Flip Flop Block Party". Let's meet back here on June 18th with our flip flops on and post pictures of our favorite accessory. Post pictures on your blog, add a little story, if you want and comment on my blog, so we can all check out everyone's flip flops. It would also give everyone an opportunity to meet each other. Oh this sounds like so much fun. I've always visiting other bloggers block parties, but never hosted one myself. YAY!

Political Moment
Is the current administration slowly eliminating our first amendment right to Free Speech by regulating Political speeches or comments on blogs? This rumor has been circulating for quite some time, but I was really hoping that the administration would hear "The People" and figure out that there are other MORE important issues at hand. Well, it seems the administration is considering putting this little problem of theirs (political blogs) in the hands of the FEC aka Federal Elections Commission to take control. I don't believe anything has happened yet. If this does take place, will this actually be giving the government the opportunity to test the waters on regulating free speech? Now, in their defense, yeah the politicans' advertisements and "say anything to get the vote" technique does get on the NERVES. Should they be regulated from blogging? Personally, I don't think so. For more information regarding this subject, you can check out "MSNews" and "The Blog Herald".

An Added Tidbit
I was introduced to "Glow-in-Dark Earthworms" the other day. Now, I'm not a fan of worms of any kind, but I thought this was interesting. So interesting that I had to blog about it. These little wigglers seem to be the favorites for your serious fisherman. According to the salesman and blogger Worms of Endearment, they actually glow a soft blue-orange color in the dark. I read that catfish love these juicy morsels just as much as the basic brown earthworm.

 "The first attempts at turning live brown worms into a glowing green began in Canada. Known as Nitroworms, they exploded on the market in shining glory with a patented – and secret – process. The internal dye was proven to be non-toxic to the worms. Even better, it did not change the worms’ appeal as bait. Catfish literally flocked to the live enticement, according to reports. Indeed, fishermen began boasting larger catches and even the ability to attract and hook heftier game fishes, including trout, walleye, and bass." All About Worms reported.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yay! I Found It

Random Thoughts of a Supermom's Flower Pot

Okay, it about drove me crazy trying to find where I got the Chalkboard/Flower Pot idea from, but I finally found the site. As you can see, we have the same idea, but created in different ways. The original crafter of this idea is Random Thoughts of a Supermom. She has some really great crafting ideas.

My version of the Flower Pot

Birthday Party
Plans are coming together and eventhough I've written on the invites for 2 hours of birthday fun, I don't think I'll be able to squeeze all the fun in that amount of time. Oh well, we'll just go with it and enjoy the day.
While staying up late these past few nights, I've found a fantastic party site with all kinds of creative ideas. They've got games, crafts and other party ideas. I grabbed a couple of the game ideas and tweaked one. You've got to check out "Party Game Ideas" website CLICK HERE.
  • "Who Am I?" (Party Game Ideas calls this game "What Animal Am I?"  You attach pictures of animals or anything (age according) and stick it on the back of each person.  All the other children try to get the person to guess what animal they are.  It sounds like a lot of fun and the site says this game could go on for several minutes.  
  • "Cotton Ball Game"  Gather all the children around in a circle.  Each child has a bowl in front of them and cotton balls are scattered all over the table.  You apply vasoline in each child's nose.  The object of the game is they pick up cotton balls with the end of their nose and place them in their bowl.  The first child who has the most cotton balls in their bowl wins.  
There are several other games that I would love to play, but we have to allow time to jump on the moonwalk that I've got reserved, trampoline time, the swing/slide playset and of course cake and ice cream.       


Lots To Do

VBS "Saddle Ridge Ranch"
I've got Katie all registered for VBS this year. It will be her first year at Vacation Bible School. I think she'll have a great time. I hate that I didn't sign up for a specific job to volunteer during this year's VBS. I don't want to commit while I have Colton. I hope to help out in other ways such as gathering things for them and prayer. If you're looking for a great VBS experience for your children, then give Northbrook Baptist a chance.

Katie's Birthday Party
Katie's been so undecided for the past few months as to what kind of party she would like to have.  It's been between the following:  Strawberry Shortcake, Barbie, Princess and the Frog, The Little Mermaid, Hannah Montana and Hello Kitty.  After much deliberation, we've decided to go with the Hello Kitty theme.  We saw the new Hello Kitty design and we both fell in love with it.  Closer to her birthday, we will have another "cake and ice cream" party just with family.  She wants Strawberry Shortcake theme for that party.
This pattern just came out recently, so not all the Party City stores have all the pieces to this set.  I think it's crazy that the theme is available online before they are at stores.  Oh well!  I got most everything I needed for the party, except for the mylar balloons and centerpieces.  I'm not getting a whole lot this time around.  This party will be for Katie and her little friends.  She plans to invite her classmates and a few other friends.  I still haven't set a date, but it will be in early June.  The rental place, I was planning on renting the moonwalk informed me that the last time it was rented out, it got damaged.  I didn't think about asking if they plan on replacing it.  I'll call them back this week a long with another place, I have in mind.

I would like to make a two tier buttercream icing cake with fondant polka dots, but I'm afraid it will be too much cake.   I'm not expecting a lot of kids to show up.  You know you have the ones,  you know will show and those that won't.  So, I don't want to make a large cake because there will be so much waste.  I'm thinking about purchasing a flower shaped cake pan and decorating it.  Wilton shows one decorated real cute on their website.  I may decide on doing something totally different.  Stay tuned . . .

Great Finds

Annie's Homegrown is our family's new favorite snacks. Maryann introduced us to the first Annie's Homegrown snack.  She gave a box of chocolate snacks to Colton for an Easter gift.  They are pretty good and Colton loves them.  The only thing is they make a mess all over his face.  Soon after Easter, I noticed Walmart started carrying more flavors of Annie's.  We like Annie's Homegrown cheddar flavor crackers better than Cheez It.  It seems like it's more of a cheesy flavor than the other brand crackers.  Well, the other day when we visited Whole Foods Market, they had a wall full of Annie's Homegrown brand snacks.  I noticed the fruit gummies and I knew Katie liked gummies, so I let her pick out a box.  She chose the tropical flavor.  We tried them out for the first time today and they are very good.  They are not like any other gummy, where they stick to your teeth and they have a rich fruit flavor.  I recommend this brand snack! 

Prayer Request
A friend of mine, Rebekah, recently had sinus surgery in her nose area.  Now that she has healed and can breathe good, apparently her sinuses drained into her ear.  She went to Urgent Care for the ear ache and sore throat.  The doctor didn't look in her ear, instead told her it was sinus drainage and for her to go home and take some Advil.  Ugh!  Some creep!  She must have had an infection in her ear because it wasn't long before it ruptured.  Of course, it not only scared her seeing the blood coming out of her ear, but it hurt.  She went to an ENT and he told her what probably happened.  Now, she can't hear out of her one ear.  The ENT seems to think it will heal in time, but she may have to have surgery.  Now that she can only hear out of one ear, her equilibrium is off and she get a little dizzy.  I just hope the doctor can fix her ear.  Please remember her in your prayers.

Another friend, A, needs your prayers as well.  Her doctor discovered her thyroid was enlarged.  They ran tests.  Of course, she is upset.  Please ask God to not only heal her body, but give her strength to overcome.   

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Some Catching Up

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The above pictures were taken at Katie's school by photographer, Jill Amey. You can check out her website HERE. I think she did a fabulous job on Katie. I got this small package of 4x6s and 1 - 5x7 (her sitting by the tree) for $30. All the pictures were purchased in black and white, but you can purchase them in color. Her and I talked about how we love black and white pictures, to capture the moment. 

Speaking of photography, I recently discovered Flora Bella Texture Photography Collection.  I'm in LOVE!  CLICK HERE to check out the website. I've been online the other day in chat rooms talking about "How To Create The Florabella Texture Look of Your Photos?" Some of the sites sound logical, but I haven't tried it out yet. I think they are so beautiful.

The above picture is an example of the vintage textured look aka Flora Bella style.  It looks like an old washed out photo, but it was probably taken just a couple of months ago.  I wished I could have posted a picture of one of  Flora Bella's Collection, but their blogsite has security measures to where you can't copy any of her works.  Online, I found you can do this with your photos by using Adobe Photoshop, which is the exact program that I have currently.  A couple of photographers said you just have to experiment with your different textures to get the right one that suits you.  I didn't know this, but they added that I could use more than one texture on top to get whole different look.  I've only dabbled a little with textures.  I like to use the spotlight soft and omni for a few of my photos of Katie.  Now, to find more time to really get my hands into this technique. 


Katie's ballet group picture - there were a couple of little girls out that day

ballet rehearsal is well on it's way and I'm excited to see the final performance. Mrs. Elaine told all the parents the other day that our recital will only last approximately a little over an hour long this year.  All the classes/groups are doing their own thing instead of one whole production.  You'll get to see not only ballet, but jazz and hip-hop as well.  During rehearsal, you should have seen those little girls' eyes when they were watching the big girls dancing all over the studio.  Afterwards, Katie (all big eyed) asked me if I saw the big girls dance.  She told me, she wants to dance like that when she gets older.  Hopefully, dance will be in our future.  The younger ballerinas' theme is "Dances Around The World."  Katie's group represents France and will be dancing to French music.  Don't ask me the name because I really don't know. 

Bare Escentuals
While we were at the mall, I stopped over to Bare Escentuals to get my yearly supply of makeup.  I'm not lying!  I normally buy my makeup once a year, unless I need something out of the ordinary like eye shadow or lipstick.  This time, I not only got my makeup but lipstick.  I like to wear pastels during the Summer months, so I picked up some new eye shadow (colors: soul, blush & liberty).  I think they are so pretty!  Better yet, I got a free Contour Shadow Brush for purchasing 3 eye shadows.  Yay!  The lipstick and lip liner I went with for this Summer is called Bavarian Creme and Shell.  The associate gave me a rewards cards.  For every $10 that I spend in their store, I get a stamp on my card.  Once I fill up my card, I get $10 off my next purchase.  You've got to get to your local Bare Escentual store and take advantage of these deals.  

Whole Foods Market Adventure

I've always wanted to visit our "Whole Foods Market" ever since it was built a few years ago.  Our local news station visits there from time to time, interviewing the chefs on new recipes and so on.  I've heard so much about it and I finally got to go inside. 

This fish, which you see pictured with Katie at "Whole Foods Market" is called a "Wreckfish" or "Stone-Bass."  They can be found mainly on the Western side of British Isles and round into the upper North Sea.  They feed off of other fish like Pollack, but supplements on crustaceans and squid.

Peggy, Katie and I had a blast inside this grocery store.  Doug and Millard were beginning to wonder if we were ever going to leave.  I had fun in the bakery department alone.  They had so many creative creations under glass, waiting for someone to take them home.  We went by the cafe, where everyone mingles and enjoy the flavors of different masterpieces.  They even had a special setting just for the sushi loves alike.  A couple were seated enjoying their japanese speciality and each others company, while sipping on a tasty glass of Merlot.  The meat section of the cafe were featuring barbeque ribs, pizza, roasted chicken and lots of sides.  I was shocked to see,  they had the brick stone oven like the professionals.  They must mean business with their pizza and barbeque.  It all looked very good and it made Peggy and I sad because we had just ate at "The Cheesecake Factory."  We did however grab a little dessert for the road home.  Katie had to have a chocolate truffle decorated like a pink pig.  Peggy and I had to try their Caramel Pecan Cluster.  I give them two thumbs up. You can check out their website HERE to see where the closest Whole Foods Market is to you.

Yogurt Mountain
Before we made our way to Whole Foods Market, Doug stopped by Yogurt Mountain.  Wow!  There were people everywhere enjoying this cool dessert.  People were just sitting down on the grass in groups, eating their bucket of very decked out frozen yogurt.  Doug, Katie and myself went in to check out all the excitement.  We had to find out what we were missing.  You should have seen the line of people.  The cashier told us to grab a bucket and start creating.  They charge you by the ounce ($.49 an ounce).  Katie wanted some strawberry ice cream.  I got her a little in her bucket, while Doug filled his bucket full of peach yogurt ice cream.  The line was so long just for the buffet of toppings, so we decided to get out naked bowls of ice cream, pay and leave. 

Katie's Teacher Appreciation Craft
It's finished and Katie thinks Mrs. Katie will like it.

I still can't remember where I got the idea, but made ours different from the original idea.

Teacher Appreciation Flower Pot
The title probably isn't the best, but it's what I could come up with.  You can make your own title.

What You'll Need:
1- small clay pot
1 - can of chalkboard spray paint (you can use the paint on as well)
1 sheet of pink glitter foam
1 sheet of yellow adhesive foam
2 sheet of green construction paper
2 sticks of white chalk
3 green pipe cleaners (for stems)
Flower Cookie Cutter
1 sheet of decorative tissue paper

I didn't measure anything out, so you'll have to go by eye. 
  • tape off a square section on your pot.  I taped plastic wrap around the pot, to make sure the spray didn't get out of control and get on it where it wasn't possible to. 
  • spray 2 thin coats of chalkboard paint.  Let the paint dry for 24 hrs. Rub it with the side of chalk (this prepares it) and wipe off, then you can write the person's name on it. 
  • I took a cookie cutter that we already had and pressed onto the foam.  Doing this, makes it easier to cut out a pretty flower.  I like using the glitter foam to give it a little bling.  Cut out 6 pink glitter foam flowers.  I tried cutting out leaves to go with the flowers, but they didn't glue right for me. 
  • Fold the tissue and place in the bottom of pot. This keeps the pipe cleaner from sticking out or paper falling out of the bottom, if your pot has a hole in it.  
  • Stick the pipe cleaner down in the pot to see where you need to cut.  I made the middle stem longer than the side flowers. Cut your pipe cleaners (stems) to the desired length.  I wouldn't suggest leaving them too long because they can be flimsy. 
  • Glue 2 flowers together (glitter side out) with a stem in between them.  Do this for all 3 stems.  Set aside. 
  • For the yellow middle of the flower, I used a Belly Tickler sippy cup lid for a perfect circle.  I'm sure a small biscuit or circle fondant cutter will work just as good.  I pressed the sippy cup lid down on the yellow foam to get my imprint and cut out 5 yellow circles.  It was great having the sheet with an adhesive already on it because it stuck really good to the glitter flower.  
  • Take your photo and cut the same size circle.  Glue it to the middle of your longest flower.  As shown above.  
  • Shred the 2 sheets of green construction paper.  I used my paper shredder to do the trick. Place the flowers down in the pot, where desired and begin filling it up with shredded green paper (makes it look like grass). 
  • I bent the 2 side flowers to the side a little, for effect.  Placed a couple sticks of chalk in the front and Viola!
This little project didn't take very long doing it, it was finding time putting it together.