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!