Monday, December 31, 2012

Rushing Out 2012

It's New Year's Eve 2012 and we are rushing around trying to put everything away. Are we having a party we are trying to clean up for you might be wondering, nope, no party. You see last Saturday, Eric's grandma passed away. It was such a sad day, and Eric and I rushed out once we heard the news. We were planning on leaving 2 days later, but family first, even if that means dragging all your dirty laundry to your in-laws.

So we have spent the last 8 days with family celebrating a beautiful woman's life and also the birth of Christ. Such irony of life and death in the same week.

I have a lot more to share about our holiday and Eric's grandma. But tonight we are calming down from our great rush around to reflect and celebrate another year that God has gifted us. 2012 was a year of me being wrecked by Jesus, and I still feel like I am being wrecked again.

So here's to 2012, a year that brought me the end of one job, the start of another, running a half marathon, my first girl starting kindergarten, and so much more! I look forward to 2013, and I am so excited to see what God is going do in our family and through our family. Happy end of 2012 and beginning of 2013 friends!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Word Art Using Vinyl

After my first attempt cutting vinyl with my Cricut, I decided to go back for round two!  This time I decided to make some wall art for Molly's room.  I blogged recently about how I want to incorporate quotes and scriptures into Molly's room.  So when I had a chance to do another project with vinyl provided by My Vinyl Direct, I knew I wanted to try and make something for Molly!

I decided to to do a little word art/subway art that was all about Molly.  I wanted the words and phrases I chose for Molly to build her up each day.  At first when I started brainstorming I had a hard time, then it all came to me and I ended up running out of room on the canvas!

Vinyl Word Art on Canvas

I used a white, blank, store bought 9x11 canvas.  I was going to paint it, 
but I really liked the idea of the background being white.

I chose to use pink matte vinyl {size 12x24} from My Vinyl Direct
 Molly loves pink, so I knew it would be perfect!

Next using the Cricut Craft Room, I typed out all of the words I was going to put on the canvas.

Here is what the vinyl looked like after the Cricut cut the words.

I used my hook again to peel off the vinyl letters.

I knew I wanted Molly's name at the bottom of the canvas, but really had no other plan or strategy for this project.  I can be a perfectionist and I was at the beginning, but then I had to keep reminding myself how happy Molly would be when she read the words that described her!  And that helped me not be so picky and actually enjoy the project.

The Finished Project
Word Art using Vinyl!
Like with the teacher gift, I have some things I would do differently next time...use smaller words, literally in size and letters.  I ended up not using some words I cut out because they were too long, or I made them too big size wise.  I would also cut them all out with paper and place them first on the canvas to play around with the design before actually committing to the placement of the words with the vinyl.  I did move some words around and the vinyl did great!  I peeled it off and replaced it with no problem!!  I am also getting used to the white spaces, the OCD person in me wants to add more words or start over again, but I know Molly will be so happy to read all about herself, and that's enough for me to be okay with it all.  

Another fun and easy project using vinyl from My Vinyl Direct!!

*I was provided with vinyl from My Vinyl Direct to use for a craft at my home, my opinions are my own*

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Fun Teacher Gift Using Vinyl

A couple months ago I pinned this on Pinterest...

I thought it was such a cute idea, and I am always looking for fun gifts for special people in our lives, especially teachers!  I pinned it and made a mental note to try and remember it come Christmas time.  Then last week I was contacted by My Vinyl Direct about doing a craft tutorial for them, to say I was excited would be an understatement!  I have been wanting to cut vinyl with my new Cricut Expressions 2, but have been too chicken to try it!  So when I had to choose vinyl to do a craft with, I remembered this pin and thought using vinyl for our teacher's name would look really cute!  

I found this plastic can that is almost like a fake paint can on the Dollar Spot at Target, score!  I know other craft stores sell them, but probably not for a $1!   

 Probably the hardest part for me during this craft project was making all the letters line up nicely.  I am terrible at math, and dimensions, it's all a foreign language to me!  So with a little help from my wonderful husband, I was able to get all the letters to fit just right on the can.  Molly's teacher has a very long name!  So making it work in a small space took some trial and error!

 I got all my settings just right...LOVE the Cricut Craft Room!  {Plus it's free!}

I lined my vinyl all up nicely on my cutting mat...I ordered this vinyl in Silver Grey.
{Did you know their vinyl is not just for Cricut's, but Silhouette's too!}


Our teacher's name all cut out

 This little hook thing came in super handy while trying to peel off the vinyl!

 Worked perfectly!

The teacher's name on the can
Hindsight is 20/20...I should have moved her last name over more, but once I got started I was scared to pull the vinyl off.  I had to cut the letters small and thin, so I was worried that the vinyl would rip.  But the vinyl stuck to the plastic great!  It's on there pretty tight and there are no letters peeling. 

 Next I filled the can up with M&M's...I am not sure why this looks like it's not full, 
because it is pretty full!  This little can took a 19.20 oz bag of M&M's! 

I cut this little tag out using my Cricut.  On the back is a cute little saying about the teacher being "magnificent" and "marvelous", so that's why we are thankful she is our M&M teacher.  

I am so happy that my first time cutting vinyl with my Cricut turned out great!  The vinyl was awesome to work with.  I have to be honest, I was so nervous before I started!  I watched and read a lot of tutorials on cutting vinyl with your Cricut, and then finally decided to just do it.  The people at My Vinyl Direct are awesome to work with, and seriously, look at their prices!  Their vinyl is awesome quality and cheap!  They have a ton of colors to choose from, and they offer same day shipping!  I can't wait to get some more vinyl from there to do some more projects!  Speaking of projects, come back Thursday to see a fun piece of art I did using some pink vinyl for Molly's room!   
Connect with My Vinyl Direct via Facebook, Blog, Pinterest

*I was given vinyl from My Vinyl Direct to use for a craft at my home, all opinions expressed are my own*

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Thoughts on Sandy Hook

Friday was supposed to be like any other day, and I am sure for the parents of students at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, Friday, December 14, has now changed their lives forever.  I am still in a state of shock, sadness, anger, and questioning after hearing, reading, and watching what all has transpired over the last 3 days.  I have not been able to articulate feelings or thoughts, I just cry, and pray for hope, hope for all the families, and for the world.

I will be honest, no other shooting since I have been alive has truly affected me like this one.  I know it's because I have a child in school, and is the same age as all those little babies running for their lives.  I sat and cried at work, I put my head down on my desk and sobbed.  When I watched the president give his speech, I cried again, I was touched by how it affected him, too.  I selfishly kept thinking of Molly, and her sitting in school, unaware of the evils in this world, and thinking about how beautifully naive she is.

I don't have answers for Friday's shooting, I don't know why, or how, or can even fathom what drives someone to want to kill innocent children, and adults.  I know after what those babes saw, they will never be the same.  I can't answer why God would allow this to happen, or where was God when this was going on.  Because truthfully, I have asked those same questions.

Here is what I do know, 26 innocent people lost their lives on Friday, 26 innocent, brave, heroes.  And may they always be remembered as that.  Someone who was clearly mentally disturbed did not receive the help he needed, which I hope this tragic event does not just open up the talks about gun control, but rather warning signs of people who truly need help.  People do not just snap, there are triggers and events that lead up to something like this.  Americans need to break the mental illness taboo and just talk about it.

I woke up on Saturday morning with two songs playing through my head.  One song I sang in my dream at a church service, and I remember that dream like it happened in real life and it brought me such peace in my dream.  When I can't find the words to express for myself, I latch onto a song and allow those lyrics to speak for me.  So while we are all trying to gather our thoughts, and as we are praying for all involved from families, kids, police, medical examiners, and even the grief counselors, please know we still have hope, a lot of hope.  That hope came in the form of a tiny baby, in a manager, at Christmas.              

For the lyrics to this song, go here

For the lyrics to this song, go here

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Molly's Holiday Concert 2012

Last night was Molly's Holiday Concert at school.  It was kindergarten through fifth grade...and well played music teacher, she put the kindergarten class dead last.  Then at the end all the grades came out and sang two songs together.  I felt so bad for Molly, she out of nowhere developed a croupy cough on Tuesday night and was up about every 20 minutes coughing.  She didn't want to miss school because then she could not participate in the concert.  By morning the cough was gone, and she felt fine other than being a little tired.  So off she went for her dress rehearsal, then it was performance time.  I am so thankful our neighbor girl could watch Lucy, there was no way she was sitting through that!

The kids {all of them} did a fantastic job, and I was pleasantly surprised when they sang "We Wish You A Merry Christmas."  Last year Molly had to sing "We Wish You A Happy Holiday."  They also threw in the "Little Drummer Boy" in there, too.  They also had some other fun songs and some songs I couldn't understand the poor kids.  But it was fun, and a little boring :)  I told Eric only 13 more years of this to then realize, nope we have Lucy, so like 20 more years of this, ha!

We had no clue what side of the stage the kids were going to be on, so we of course were on the complete opposite side from Molly.  I didn't have a chance to grab my camera before I left, Lucy was not having the idea of being left with the sitter, without Molly, and Molly had dance till 5:30 and had to be at the school at 5:40, so a little rushed is an understatement.  So I tried the best my little I-Phone could do.

 I tried to use red, Molly is in there, I pointed her out!

 This is Molly's best friend, Jada

 After the concert at home

 She hates posing, ha!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Face of Grace

By the title of this post you might be expecting to see a picture of Jesus, not my five year old.  And while I totally believe Jesus is a face of grace, today I want to talk about Molly.  Molly is a true bleeding heart.  She picks up on what is going on around her faster than most adults, she is in tune to every one's thoughts and feelings, she may be a tad emotional and dramatic {no clue where she gets that from}, and she is a lover.  Molly is a little old soul. 

Molly exudes grace from her core.  I am not sure she knows a working definition of grace or if she realizes what she does is grace-filled.  Today I had one of those wonderful mom moments of yelling and screaming, you know one of those.  I am pretty sure my last words to Molly this morning were "are you kidding me, you can only find one glove?!"  If I died today she would remember me by my dramatic and emotional moment this morning.  Again, not sure where Molly gets it from.  Then of course after I dropped her off at school, which was her running the whole way ahead of because I might have also yelled out the door, "Run, we are going to be late!", I was walking home and felt really convicted.  Thanks to Lysa TerKeurst I know a bad moment does not make a bad mom, but I still felt crappy.  I don't want to be that lunatic mom that screams and hollers at her kids.  But I am also human and have bad days.  When I get stressed, tired, or overwhelmed it's not real pretty here.  Can you relate?

But not Molly, sure she has her moments, more often than not lately, but mostly she is such a forgiving kid, and she always extends grace, even when this mom doesn't deserve it.  Today when I pick Molly up from school and get her home I will be asking for forgiveness for the way I acted and treated her this morning.  I am sure she will barely remember, and she will say "it's okay mom" and give me a big hug.

Grace is a hard lesson to learn and practice.  I used to think it wasn't, but in the past couple of months the Lord has laid on my heart what grace truly is.  It's not just something you give other people, it's something you give yourself, daily, hourly, sometimes moment by moment.  Our series at church right now is all about grace, and the new study I just started is all about grace.  Think God is trying to teach me something?!

Here are some quotes from Jennie Allen's study book based on her Bible Study called "Stuck"

"When we soberly view ourselves and our sin, we see our need and call out for God."

"Obedience turns into a response to the love of our God rather than a duty to perform for Him." 

"The more we experience forgiveness, the more we forgive."

"I believe in Christ and know that my sin has been forgiven, but I also stand here holding arms full of it."

"We will fight sin until we're in heaven, but my hope is your perspective will radically shift, and as God is lifted in your life, a thousand problems will get smaller."

"In our brokenness we find our God."

I could basically quote the whole book, it is that good.

So right now I am stuck, stuck in this pit of doing wrong, moving past, and repeating the cycle, can you still relate?  So here's to a new journey, a new adventure about discovering true forgiveness and experiencing and living in absolute grace.  


Monday, December 10, 2012

Miscellany Monday

Here we go...

1. On Friday night I got bangs, like legit, straight across bangs, and I love them!  I have been on the fence for a long time, probably horrible memories of curling irons and hairspray from my younger days, but I finally decided to just go for it!  They are something new and fun, and I swear they look different everyday. 

2. I want snow!  Our friends to the west of us got snow, and now it's time for Milwaukee to get some snow!  It doesn't feel like Christmas without snow. 

3. You can totally tell me "I told you so" in March when I am complaining about snow!

4. I am back to working out.  I don't have a gym membership or any gym equipment, just a couple of work out DVD's and a basement.  I would love to still be running but it's so dark in the mornings and then in the afternoon around 4 it gets dark again.  So no good for this scaredy cat who hates running in the dark.  I finally decided I needed to get back in the habit of doing something!  So last week I started strong and didn't end too's to a new week and hopefully sticking with it. 

5. I have yet to order Christmas cards, and still debating if I will or not.  I honestly forget about them!  But I LOVE getting them in the mail, so keep sending them all you organized people.

6. I started a new Bible study with a friend, and it's really challenging and fantastic.  It's by Jennie Allen and it's called "Stuck."  It's has a workbook and DVD that goes along with it.  Go here to check it out...

7. Molly has her Christmas, ahem, Holiday Concert this week, so I am super excited to hear all the kids sing, I think I have all the songs memorized, so if a little kid in the front yaks on stage like last year I can totally jump in and sing.  I am not one for political correctness, but it does irritate me that we can't call it Christmas, or sing about Jesus.  I mean it is his birthday for goodness sakes!

8. Our church is finally closing on the Walmart building we purchased {well we will be purchasing on Friday} and construction/renovation begin Saturday!  This is a HUGE blessing and a HUGE God thing.  Can't wait to share more about it all!

I think that's all, have a great Monday!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Wrapping Presents

Yesterday I spent nap time wrapping Christmas presents.  It takes about one present for me to realize I am terrible at wrapping!  But I have found a solution this year...

Today I am proudly featured over at my friend, Jennifer's blog.  She is doing a "Creative Christmas" guide, all the posts have been so much fun to read and try to do!  So go check out my solution and all the other creative Christmas ideas!!  Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Favorite Christmas Ornament

Today I was reading a post over at Jenilee's blog about your favorite Christmas ornament, and it got me thinking.  Our Christmas tree is decorated with hodge podge ornaments from over the last 29 years.  They are either made by Eric, Molly, or me, or they have been given to us over the years.  I swear when we got married our parents just dumped all our handmade salt dough and paper chain memories on us to declutter their own trees.  Although I long for and would love to have a grown up tree with matching ornaments, I really love ours, and all the memories that go with each ornament.

My favorite ornament is one of sentimental value.  Meet Chachi...

Chachi was my brother, Andy's, favorite ornament.  I really have no back story for Chachi other than he used to have two legs, but now he has one.  I remember he was always the last ornament we put on the tree each year, and we took very special care of him.  When Andy died I was given this ornament for my own safe keeping.  He still is the last one we hang, err, place up on the tree gently.  And even after a couple tumbles, hitting each limb on the way down, he still remains, in mostly one piece.  He is not necessarily pretty to look at, and he clearly has seen better days, but I love him.  Even Eric is fond of him, and loves our Chachi.  I feel like a little piece of my brother lives on through Chachi each year.

What is your favorite ornament you hang up on the tree?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2 Years of Lucy-ness

This past Sunday, December 2, our Lucy May turned 2.  I feel like the last 2 years gone both fast and slow.  Lucy has learned so much with a big thanks to her big sister, Molly.  I have found myself so many times wanting to just freeze the moment.  I want to remember everything about certain milestones, the smells, the smiles, the outfits, the everything!  Lucy and Molly are so different, yet so much alike.  They are both momma's girls, they love their daddy, but truly favor mom.  This is lovely yet difficult at times!  Molly is my empathetic, bleeding heart, and Lucy is somewhat a bully at times.  God definitely has a sense of humor by pairing these two together as sisters, and making me their mom!

Lucy is in such a different place at 2 than Molly was.  Molly had a speech delay, so at 2 she was semi-talking, well, communicating, and Lucy, well she talks in complete sentences, and can carry a conversation on with you.  It's really nice to know exactly what she wants!  Lucy is also singing songs, counting, saying the ABC's, and really into pretend play.  A lot of this again is the doing of her big sister including her in everything.

Lucy came into our lives when we absolutely needed her the most, she is my little light, and she shines so bright for all to see.  Lucy has such a confident attitude about her, she is so sure of herself at the ripe age of 2, I pray she never loses this confidence.

Everyday is an adventure with Lucy {and Molly}, I look forward to spending time with her, she is my little pal that goes everywhere with me, and she doesn't seem to mind.  Lucy cracks me up hourly!  She is so funny, and she knows it.  She can also be really serious, she will furrow her eyebrows and look down, and that cracks me up, too!  Lucy is my tender heart, easy going, hilarious, and confident little girl, and I couldn't love her anymore!

Lucy you are is what you are up to...
- You weigh 36 lbs...honestly thought you would be closer to 40 :)
- You are 34.5 inches tall
- You are wearing 4T and 5T clothes
- You are very interested in the whole potty know exactly what to do when we sit you on it, well everything but actually going!  We need to capitalize on this, but I can't even begin to muster up the energy of potty training right now!
- You love your nuk, and I am terrified of taking it from you
- You adore playing with your baby, cooking in your kitchen, and dressing up...we are molding you to become a domestic diva.  Seriously, you are constantly wearing a costume of some sorts on a daily basis
- You have an obsession with Dora, it could be borderline unhealthy, but I thank Dora for helping you learn your numbers and shapes!
- You can count to 20 by yourself, and say the ABC's {with help}
- You know your colors and shapes
- You love books and puzzles
- You love to color!  And when you are finished you say ta-da!
- When we tell you good job, you will bow and say "thank you, thank you" 
- You have mostly been rocking a mullet your whole life, I am sorry, I honestly have tried to fix it, but again, God with his sense of humor!  We have cut your hair like 10 times and it just keeps growing back in that way.  Sidenote- you seem to have the most sensitive head ever!  I swear I just look at your hair and you scream "ouch!"  So you are not helping the mullet situation, either.

Oh, Lucy May, we love you with all of our hearts, you are the perfect fit in our family, and you bring us daily happiness, joy, and laughter.  Happy 2nd Birthday baby goose!   

Monday, December 3, 2012

Miscellany Monday

Just another miscellany Monday...

1. This weekend was busy with a capital B!  I planned and hosted Lucy's 2nd birthday on Saturday morning and then planned and coordinated a holiday open house for a lovely couple on Saturday night. 

2. Lucy's party went great, I think the kids had fun.  I always want to do so much, but my wonderful husband always brings me back to reality and tells me I could put a cardboard box out and the kids would have fun.  So I try to lower my own expectations and go with it.  I will say it was challenging to entertain 10 kids ages 7 and under.  We went on a Dora Adventure...more about that this week.

3. The other party...I mentioned to a lovely friend that I adore planning and hosting events, and seriously the next day she called with a great opportunity.  Her husband's co-worker was planning a holiday party and needed help.  So I was hired to event plan this party...everything from hiring caterers, to rentals, to favors, to decorations, and all the fun in between.  It was a blast, a huge learning experience, and I was so tired come Saturday night! 

4. We started our advent celebration on Saturday morning.  We are mainly reading from the Jesus Storybook Bible and using this advent plan, and we are doing some Truth in the Tinsel ornaments.  We did the whole Truth in the Tinsel plan last year and I LOVED it!  Like I can not recommend it enough, but I knew this year with Molly in school and trying to include Lucy, it was going to be stressful for us.  So I opted for the ornaments and a reading plan.  How are you celebrating advent?

5. I am participating in this...

I will let you know when my craft appears :)  Check out all the days for a fun, creative Christmas!

6. I know I have more but my brain is on overload today! 

Have a great Monday!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Night Santa Rolled Into Town

Our tiny village we live in always kicks the Christmas season off right.  The Friday after Thanksgiving, you know the one that starts with people lining up way early to get a furby and along the way throwing some elbows while running to the shelf, yea that Friday.  Well, fast forward to 7pm, everyone from the village gathers downtown {think Gilmore Girls by the gazebo}.  What I love about this tradition is literally young and old all come out.  You have families with little kids, you get elementary, middle, and high school kids there.  You see lots of college kids hanging out with their old classmates, and you of course have grandparents with their grandchildren visiting for the holidays there.  It's like a giant reunion with the whole village. 

We get the night started with singing Christmas carols, the annual town hall tree lighting, and at the same time lighting all the trees and shops that line the main street in the village, and then the loud speakers play "Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus right down Santa Claus lane..."  And you find yourself singing along with the crowd even though you told yourself and your spouse you were going to.  I guess there is something just magical about Christmas lights, people gathered around in community, and seeing Santa roll in on a firetruck.  I mean seriously, who could contain that joy. 

It's been fun going each year, this being our third year.  The first year I was uber pregnant with Lucy, like due the next day pregnant, last year it was unseasonably warm, and Lucy hung out on Eric shoulders most of the night, and this year it was freezing!  So Lucy stayed home with grandma and papa while Molly got a night of mom and dad to herself.  No matter the year or circumstances, I still find myself as giddy as the little kid next to me.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Miscellany Monday

1. Thanksgiving has come and gone and now the Christmas countdown has begun!  I love this time of year and I love seeing how everyone decorates their trees and houses. 

2. Thanksgiving was nice and relaxing at our house!  Eric cooked, which he loves to do, and the rest of us played and relaxed.  It was unseasonably warm here so we played outside and took lots of walks, because Friday it was like 20 degrees! 

3. We put the tree up on Thanksgiving night, since we celebrate Christmas with my mom and step-dad early.  Molly loved helping and Lucy really wanted nothing to do with it until it was done.  So far she hasn't damaged the tree too much.  Her little curious hands have ripped a couple ornaments off, but nothing too bad!
4. Friday morning grandma and papa made Molly's dreams come true...she opened a Barbie Dream House.  This thing is massive, 3 stories, elevator, kitchen, shower, the works!  Both girls have had fun playing with it and making everything make noise and testing out all the switches and buttons. 
5. Lucy's mommy dreams came true when she received a bitty baby from grandma and papa.  Lucy loves 3 things right now, dressing up, babies, playing in her kitchen.  She does all 3 all day long and at the same time all day long.  She is a little domestic diva.

6. I was extremely surprised to open up a Cricut Expressions 2 on Friday morning.  Both sets of my parents had me totally fooled, so I have been playing around with that and even made a banner for Lucy's birthday party.

7. We have made great progress on Lucy's party, still more to go, but I am feeling pretty good about it. 

8. Back to the daily grind today, work for me, no school for Molly, and parent teacher conferences tonight.  I took an unintentional break from the computer the last couple of days and it was nice!  I lose track of time when family comes in to town, and it felt good!  Now it's back to reality!
 My mom and the girls
 Molly {age 5}
Lucy {age almost 2}

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful for Denny

When I first started dating Eric so many moons ago my mom told me one night, "look at his dad, if you are okay with that, then you will be okay."  At first I thought she meant looks, which I think Eric's dad is cute in that dad sort of way.  But now, many moons later, I realize she means a lot more than looks.

Eric's dad, Denny, is a truly unique person.  He is about the most loyal guy that I have ever met, he is funny, and although we tease him about his narcoleptic ways, he is easy going {most days, ha!}.  Denny has this amazing ability to fall asleep while watching Jeopardy and still get all the answers right when he talks in his sleep!  He can also shuffle and deal cards all while sleeping at the table.  Truly talented :)

But in all seriousness, I love Denny, my dad-in-law to death.  He has always been there for me, any time I call, or show up on his doorstep asking him to fix my car tires, or crying because I hit my first squirrel while driving.  See, Denny doesn't have girls, he raised 3 boys and I was the first girl to really stick around the family.  Now he is inundated with girls!  But he loves all of us.

I have had a lot of firsts with Eric's family, and they have been through a lot of firsts with Eric and me.  I won't forget how happy Denny looked at our wedding, and the pride beaming from his face when he held Molly for the first time.  They drove down to the hospital bright and early anticipating spending the whole day with their new granddaughter, well Molly had other plans.  They waited outside my room ALL day, they held her for a little bit, then had to leave to go home.  And I am sure Eric's parents would do it all again.  Same with always helping us fix something or making something for us.  Denny always takes care of us.

Why sentimental all the sudden?  Denny had back surgery last week, and it didn't go so well.  On Friday night we were all a little down right terrified, and praying really hard.  Thoughts flooded my heart and mind about Denny.  How even though we give him a hard time, he always means well, he always loves without judging, he is always there for you, he will be loyal to you forever, he will fight for you, he will do whatever it takes for you to be okay.  Even though he looks tough on the outside, he is a big softy.  Especially when it comes to one of his girls.

In the season of thankfulness, I am thankful for all of our family, but today I am especially thankful for Denny, my dad.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Miscellany Monday

Just another Miscellany Monday around here...

1. Thanksgiving is this week!  I love Thanksgiving, it's right up there with some of my favorite holidays, you know right behind my birthday!  {Just kidding, my birthday is not a real holiday, but in my head and heart it is.}  We were going to go out to eat for Thanksgiving, but I think we have decided to stay home and make a traditional feast.  I look forward to the leftovers!

2. My mom and step-dad are flying in Wednesday to celebrate Thanksgiving and an early Christmas with us.  I am so excited to see them!

3. Grandparents = extra hands and help with the girls!  This may excite me the most!

4. I wrapped Christmas presents last night and it got me all excited!

5. I can't wait until Thanksgiving night, that is when we will put our tree up and start to decorate our house...trying to keep Lucy from pulling all the ornaments off will be a Christmas miracle this year.  So don't judge if you see our tree and all the ornaments are at the top!

6. Our tiny little village has a Christmas kick-off on Friday night, Santa comes in on a firetruck and everyone gathers down in the little village square to sing Christmas carols and watch Santa come in.  I love it because everyone young and old comes out and enjoys a night together.  It's so much fun and something we look forward to every year.  Hopefully it won't be too cold!   

I think that's all, sorry for no pictures!  Have a great week!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gift Giving with a Purpose

I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, so don't throw stones, but I wanted to share some great places/organizations to get gifts for the special people in your life.  A couple years ago I really felt the pull to give gifts with meaning or purpose.  I still love to give fun gifts, but I also feel like hardly anyone needs anything, so why get another pair of socks, or wallet when you can actually give something with a great purpose behind it.  Now, I know what some are thinking because I thought/think it, is expensive.  You are right, it can be expensive, or be more than you wanted to spend on your aunt or mom.  Think of it this way, you are giving an investment.  I would rather get one thing that has a huge meaning behind it, than a ton of little piddly things that I might not use anyways. 

So here some organizations that you can get awesome gifts from, and they are not limited to Christmas, you can shop at all these places year round...enjoy!   

Avodah Coffee was founded by Jordan and Jessica Heights.  "Our purpose is to combine our passion for coffee with our passion for missional living.  We desire to offer upscale luxury quality coffee at an everyday affordable price, and make the world a better place through our business."  Awesome, seriously!  A portion of the proceeds from each bag of coffee sold goes to a different organization.  Click the link and go read more, then buy coffee! 

You all know my love and passion for this organization.  We bought these paper hearts last year for multiple people in our family, and they all loved them!  We have also bought a ton more from the shop, and we are always satisfied with the products.  Here is their mission statement: "The Mercy House exists to provide alternative options for pregnant girls living in the streets of Kenya. The Mercy House will aid them in education, nutrition, housing, prenatal care, Bible study, counseling and job skills for sustainable living."  All the money made from the sales in the shop go right back to the ladies at the Mercy House.  Click the link and support these beautiful people!

"Our passion at Noonday Collection is to connect you with the lives of artisans struggling for a better future while styling you along the way. Fashion and design are a vehicle for opportunity and change. You, too, can be a voice for the oppressed!"  I have never personally purchased anything from this organization, but after Christmas this year, that statement will no longer be true!  Plus, I have many friends who have bought items from here and they all love them. 

Sevenly is a great company..."Sevenly’s mission is to harness the power of art and community to build sustainable awareness and funding movements that support charities in their efforts to change the world."  Each week Sevenly supports a different cause and for $7 you can buy a t-shirt to help that cause.  Hello, $7!  That's like a value meal at the golden arches, you can totally do that. 

You all are in for a treat!  The MOB Society just released this little bag today, how awesome!  The wonderful ladies over there are working with an organization called Freeset"Freeset is a fair trade business and ministry that sells bags and t-shirts, made by women freed from human trafficking in Calcutta, India. The women are able to have a job with dignity, making products, instead of being the product. Every woman receives three times the wage they would receive in line (the prostitution line), learns to read and write, receives daycare for their children, and has medical insurance and retirement benefits."  The MOB Society is working to sell 250 bags, because once 250 has been reached 4 woman will be rescued from trafficking!  Who couldn't use another tote like this?!  Order one for you and for your friends!  

I hope I have given you all a little bit of encouragement to really give gifts with a purpose this year! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to Make a Blessing Ring

After I had Lucy my mom made me a blessing ring.  I had never heard of one or seen one before, but they are such a sweet gift!  They are so unique because they are handmade, and everyone does things a little different.  Another great thing about the blessing ring is it transcends all gift giving occasions.  It can be given at baby and wedding showers, birthdays, weddings, births, Christmas, you name it, you can give it.  You also can get the kids involved in this gift, which I love.

The supplies are simple, this gift won't break the bank, and you can make it simple or fancy, it's all up to you. 

Here are some step by step pictures...
 I bought these at Michael's, but you can get them almost anywhere.  You also can use your own paper, I just like these tags with the reinforced holes so they won't rip or tear.  The metal circle is a simple necklace out of the jewelry section. 
 Now is the time to put all those pins to good use on your quotes board!  Use quotes, Bible verses, inspirational sayings.  Write whatever you want on the tags that fits the occasion for the gift.
 Place the tags on the metal circle...
 Cut ribbon, fabric, or tulle to whatever lengths you want, and place them where you want on the metal necklace.  You can put as many pieces on as you want.  I like the fuller look, but I have also made some a little less full, too.  The ring will get fuller once they add all the blessings to it.   
 Then on a card, tag, or piece of paper write out this saying...
  And there you have it~ a beautiful blessing ring! 

I love giving this gift to new brides, new moms, and baby's first birthdays!  It's thoughtful and fun to make!  I love looking through quotes and scriptures to share.  You also can make yourself one for Christmas, punch a hole in the cards you get in the mail and add it to your ring.  Decorate it with fun colorful ribbon or fabric, and display it for all to see!