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Friday, December 14, 2012

Shingle Bells


 Hey y'all.  
The Christmas hustle and bustle is in full swing.  
I have not been able to post as much lately partly because of the busy time of year but also I have been dealing with some physical ailments.  I've been suffering from TMJ for about 2 years now and been amidst a full blown flair up of pain for about 4 weeks now.  
And yesterday I came down with shingles....not fun.

And so....I don't share this to complain (I like to try and keep things uplifting around here) but more so to explain the lack of posts here and comments on your blogs. In case I don't get around to much online festivities the remainder of the year,

I just want to take this moment to wish all of you a magical Christmas season filled with the peace, joy, and love that only Christ can bring.

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Just wow

You know, I am constantly amazed at the physical beauty God created on this here planet we call Earth.  But today I came across some photos that took my breath away and I just had to share!

Let's take a moment to soak up these amazing designs of our Creator.

These macro photos were taken by Russia-based photographer Andrew Osokin and I found them here.

Aren't these stunning?!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sometimes God drives a Lexus

  "Ugh, why can't you just hurry up already?!"

Darn white Lexus.
That was the first thought that entered my head.  
I mean, he was doing 35mph in a 45mph zone.
Needless to say the driver did not head my silent urgings to find his gas pedal and learn to use it. 

It struck me out of nowhere that maybe this car was meant to be going slow.
Maybe...just maybe...there was a "higher" reason.
Like maybe the driver needed to get to his destination at exactly the right moment.
Or maybe by holding up the cars behind him just a little bit, he was actually preventing an accident from happening down the road.
You just never know.

There are so many times in life that I get just as frustrated and impatient with the Lord
as I did with that Lexus.
I am broken like that.  
Just when I think I am making progress in surrendering my need for control over to God, 
it creeps back up on me again.
Hubsy and I are facing some pretty big decisions in the coming months and 
I've really been struggling with the unknown.

"What should we do?"
"How is this going to work out?"
"What's the plan man!?"

Constant questions fill my mind and stress me out...like majorly and to the max.
I need to get back to that place of trusting His timing, His plan.

It is very much like staring down this long road but you can't see where it goes, everything's foggy. But with each step you take you can see just enough to keep going.
It's amazing how much we rely on "sight" to feel safe.
I don't know what is at the end of this road. Or if the path veers off around a wild bend or two along the way. But I do know that He will reveal the path to me bit by bit...when He is ready for me to see it.

When He is ready for me to see it.
 But boy the waiting is tough.  Not gonna sugar-coat it.
When it comes to answers, patience is not my forte.
Evidently it might not be my specialty when driving either ;)
 But you need to slow down, take a look around you.  You never know what may be
revealed to you during the "waiting".
And trust that you are waiting for a reason...that the waiting is part of God's plan as well.
I needed that reminder today. 
And God drove a white Lexus to impart it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

5 ways to give

Thanksgiving and Christmas pretty much go hand-in-hand dont'cha think?
Sure they share a close relationship on the calendar, but more importantly they're linked in meaning.  Its only natural that gratitude for our blessings leads to wanting to share those blessings with those less fortunate...
love on our neighbors as Jesus loves on us.

There's this little thing called Operation Christmas Child, ever heard of it?  ;)

A child can receive their first Christmas gift EVER through this wonderful organization.  All you have to do is fill up a shoebox of goodies (which can include school supplies and hygiene items as well as toys) and drop it off at the nearest Drop-off location.  They have them all around the country and there is bound to be one near you.  I found one within 2 miles of my house!  Just imagine the love and joy these children feel as they receive some of these basic necessities. The very ones that we take for granted every day.

I've been wanting to participate for 2 years now but admittedly I would always forgot to check the calendar to see when the deadline was, and then it was too late to participate.
This year I finally got to the party on time ;)

We packed up our box of goodies.
L wrote the sweetest little note to our recipient and E helped decorate it afterwards.
All wrapped up and ready to deliver joy and love!

It felt so good to do this.
So so good. 
Such a simple thing to us that can mean the world to someone else.

I did a little digging and found some more great ways to give a little this holiday season.
Give big, give small, God sees it all.
Won't you join me in spreading the love?

A truly unique way to give a meaningful gift.
You can give gifts like a goat, clean water, a new mother and baby kit, a wheelchair, chickens, school supplies, soccer balls, or medication to those that are in the most need.
Gifts can begin at less than $25 so it makes it super easy to change a life.

*Start by browsing gifts by category. Choose a gift to donate in honor of someone special.
*Select a FREE card! You can choose to have a card mailed to you, send an e-card, or download a beautiful card to print.
*Your gift will bring urgent help and lasting hope for a child in need.

Samaritan's Purse - Children's Heart Project
CHP works with top-quality hospitals to provide surgery for children who live in countries where the required medical expertise and equipment are not available. Samaritan's Purse arranges airfare for the children, a parent, and a translator. You can make a donation towards providing that much needed airfare and other travel expenses so that these special families can receive the gift of medical healing.  I know it's all to easy for me to imagine my littles desperately needing surgery and what it must feel like to know the help is out there but not be able to get to it.  Please consider donating to this life giving cause.

Charity Water
A non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries.
100% of all public donations directly fund water projects.
Clean water.
It sounds so simple but there are so many that go without.

Give a date night
Know a couple with kids?  Offer to keep the kids for a few hours so
the couple can spend some quality time together and refresh their marriage.
Even if its just going for a cup of coffee.
As a parent I can tell you how hard it can be to squeeze in a date night, but they are SO needed.  A chance to re-connect and give your spouse your undivided attention can do wonders!  Having time away yet knowing your children are being loved on would be such a blessing.

Nursing Home Love
How about spreading some love to the elderly?  Those in nursing homes are so appreciative of your time and efforts as many of them don't have any family or friends left.  Consider visiting and spending some time with the residents.  Maybe share a talent like singing, or playing an instrument.  Other ways to bring them joy would be to take your pet if it is allowed (animals always bring happiness), bake them cookies, make them special handmade Christmas cards or decorations.  Your presence and time mean so much more than you know.  This is a great one to get the kids involved in too!

How will you be giving a little this Christmas?

* * *  Does anyone sponsor a child in another country?
What organization do you use?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Thanksgiving Post

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving break.  
The only bad part is that Hubsy was sick the whole time but we managed to have some fun anyway.


Yep.  We did it all.

The festivities started on Wednesday with a trip to Dirty Ehrma's.
Nope, not a house of ill-repute....just a bar.  
With awesome wings.
We talked and drank and ate for 4 hours y'all.  It is an experience.  It had been about 4 years or so since we were able to go.  I think we made up for it though ;)

Dirty Ehrma's Cornerside Tavern

Love the Dirty Ehrma Sign (Ehrma reminds me of the character Maxine)
I want to waitress here just so I can wear this T-shirt....ha! Love it.
Oh yeah, that happened....more than once ;)

After we ate our fill and slept off our food comas...we woke up Thanksgiving Day to do it all over again.  It was such a beautiful sunny and fairly warm day.  So much to be thankful for.

Baked Onion Dip
My contribution to the meal was this Baked Onion Dip that I served with Ritz Crackers.  I got the recipe from this sweetie.  It was certainly a hit and I'll be making this one again fo' sho'.

We went to my Aunt and Uncle's for our actual feast.  Their house is ah-mazing!  My Aunt's style is so in line with my own.  So open and warm and welcoming.  And let me tell you ALL my aunts can cook.  Like really amazingly make-you-drool cook.  Not only was it an eventful day for my taste-buds but getting to spend time with family (especially when they do not live close by) is always a treat.  The boys had a blast playing with their second cousins.  And we took a family walk around the farm to stretch our legs and relieve the pressure on our stomachs ;)  We normally have to leave early to come back home because we traditionally do the Black Friday gig but we decided not to this year since Hubsy was able to find several deals on-line ahead of time.  I can't tell you how much I enjoyed not having to rush anywhere.  It was an ENTIRE day of relaxation and catching up with family.  I felt so blessed and had so much to be thankful for.

The rest of the weekend was spent cleaning and trying to finish up our Christmas decorating.  Thanks to my Dad I got quite the haul of natural items to use.  I'll show you what I did with them coming up soon!

My loot :) Several kinds of pine, wood, twigs, acorns, and pinecones.

Our "family" tree
Is there anything cuter than little hands decorating the tree?  I think many a mama would agree that watching traditions get passed on to your children tends to make you a sappy fool.  I love watching my little rowdies be all gentle with the ornaments.  And their squeals when they open up the ornaments sound just like mine.
"Mama remember this one!"...Precious.

"My" tree

We ended the weekend with a trip around the neighborhood to look at the lights.  We usually do this about 3 or 4 times a week during the Christmas season!  Wish we could leave them up all winter.

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving and a great kickoff to Christmas!

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday as well!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful people are happy people

You may think I have completely forgotten Thanksgiving with all the Christmas talk I've been doing.

Not so I say!

That's truth right there

I can't wait for some good ole quality family time this week, 
and I'm certainly counting all my blessings.
There are too many to list {Thanks be to God} but here are just a few...

~ Hubsy.  
Life is less scary with him by my side.  I'm free to do so many things 
I would never even attempt without him.  He is absolutely my rock and my sanity.

~ Home. 
The very fact that I have a safe-haven for my body, mind, and soul.

~ Mornings.  
Daily re-birth that let's me start anew.  Everything looks brighter in the morning.

~ Motherhood.  
Never have I been so challenged or so full of love.  My boys have taught me so much about
myself and the kind of person I want to be.

~ Email
I probably wouldn't talk to anybody with out it.  
(If you know me you know I hate using the phone)

~ Pooches.  
The love of a dog is like no other.
Endless, unconditional, silly, endearing, sweet, it all these and more.

~ Forgiveness.
Not only from my Jesus, but from everyone.
I am such a flawed woman in need of forgiveness.

~ Laughter.
My kids say such hilarious things that make me crack up.  Those moments are priceless.  I'm trying to get back to writing them down so I can have a record of them to keep.

~ Music.
It can lift me up like no other.
Give me a good beat and watch me smile as I start to jam, head-bob and all.
My E does it too :)

~ Giving.
Making a difference in someone's life, no matter how small, is such a blessing. I wish I could do more and am looking into more ways to do so.

~ Blog friends.
You're friendship has blessed me more than I can say.

And lastly in honor of the Thanksgiving meal...

~ Candied Sweet Potatoes.
The ones with brown sugar, pecans, and marshmallows on top. Can I get an Amen!?

Wishing you and yours a warm, loving, and pants-splitting Happy Thanksgiving :)

* Congratulations to Shawntel on winning my one-of-a-kind earrings 
designed for the  Dancing with Ashley giveaway!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Woodland Christmas

I'm ALL about Christmas right now (that may be "Let it Snow" playing in the background right now :) and truth be told I'm starting to panic that I don't have any gifts bought yet.
I truly hate to shop in December.  I'm not a crowds person and strive to get all my shopping done in November so I can sail on through December with nothing but fun and Christmas cheer :)

We are THOSE people that like to decorate early.  We usually don't host Thanksgiving and we like having our Christmas decorations up for a good while so we get right to it!  We were blessed to have warm weather this past weekend and got our lights up outside.  I usually make Hubsy wait until we see at least one other house in the neighborhood with their lights on before we turn ours on though.

I mentioned before that this year I want to re-vamp my Christmas decor.  I have collected a lot of decorations through the years,  many just from family members that didn't want them anymore, so really I have a mish-mosh of stuff.  Nothing wrong with that but I think I'd like to decorate a little more to my liking.

Enter the Woodland Christmas theme.
Being the outdoor enthusiast that I am I simply fell in love with the idea of somewhat traditional
looking decor with tons of outdoor elements thrown in.
Think tons of pine cones, wood, berries, and greens.
These are some of my inspirations that I have come across.  I am in love.

{1}via Pinterest
I'm a HUGE fan of birch so this centerpiece is right up my alley.
{2} Pottery Barn
Again with the birch ;)
I'll be branch hunting when I go to my Dad and stepmother's for Thanksgiving.
I've already informed Hubsy he'll be cutting up some wood for me.

{3}via Pinterest
These are so simple and I already have some white frames I bought at IKEA several months ago.

{4}via Pinterest
I'd love to do an outdoor version for my porch area, so simple and beautiful.
{5}via Pinterest
This would be for the porch area too, and I already have tomato cages to use, perfect!

{6}Pottery Barn
Can we just agree that Pottery Barn has the most gorgeous stuff?!  Their Xmas line is the center of my inspiration!  I adore these sweet nests filled with ornaments and presents.  I have some extremely fragile and extremely beautiful ornaments from my Godmother that I don't put on my tree for fear the rugrats will get them.  This idea is gorgeous....and safe.
{7}via Pinterest
Too easy and too cute.  I'll be adding pine cones to my "branch hunt" on Thanksgiving.

{8}Pottery Barn
Love this but making it a DIY, hope I can find some little birdies at the dollar store that
I can spray paint a metallic silver or gold.
{9}via Pinterest
 This is such a lovely alternative to a traditional wreath.
{10}Pottery Barn
Another easy DIY inspired by Pottery Barn.  You can just use any old jar in your cupboard, fill with some fresh greens and a candle and voila!  Instant woodland ambiance.

Do you decorate with a theme in mind?
Or am I just weird?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Beautiful you: DIY scarf

I've finally been making some of the things I see on pinterest and not just gawking at them.
One of my more recent projects was the DIY T-shirt scarf.
I know you've seen them on there.
They're everywhere!

Well this one is indeed as simple as it looks and with a really fun and functional result.

1. First I gathered my materials.  
Use an old T-shirt you don't wear anymore or buy a cheap one from here.  The wooden beaded necklace I thrifted at my local Goodwill store.  I liked the pop of color it gave to my neutral brown T-shirt.

2. Next cut the shirt just under the armpit area.

3. You can discard the top portion of the shirt or save it for another DIY project. (I'm saving mine to try a braided headband.)  Then fold the bottom portion so that one half is about an inch shorter than the other half.  The cut edges will be on the sides.

4. Begin to cut strips about 1 inch wide cutting all the way through the top folded layer but leaving the 1" gap at the top of the bottom layer.  You will be left with a long solid portion with lots of strips hanging off.
Sorry I switched view points on these two photos.  The right side is actually the top.
5. Now for the fun part, pulling on all those strings!  
You want the fabric to curl on itself to make a "spaghetti" string.  Don't be afraid to give it a good tug.

6. Unfold the fabric and bunch together at the solid portion at the top.

7. At this point you could just cut a strip from the top part of the tshirt and twist around the solid portion of you scarf to finish it off.  I chose to add the wooden beads for an extra decorative element.  
What can I say, I'm crazy for beads.  I cut a strip of fabric and then criss-crossed it back and forth over the solid portion adding a bead to each criss-cross, knotted the end, and tucked in the loose ends on the underside.

And voila!  
You got yourself a fine and dandy new scarf accessory!

Go ahead and give it a try, it's so easy.  Hello Christmas gifts!  
Sorry to spoil the surprise for those on my list ;)

*I'm guest posting over at Dancing with Ashley today, head on over and find out
how you can win these lovelies!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chasing it

It's been a busy week preparing for a vendor show I'm participating in tomorrow.  I love doing these fairs, it's so much fun to meet people and engage with them.  And I love getting such honest and unplanned feedback when people see/touch my products, nothing is more valuable for my business.  Did I mention that my mom always works them with me too?  Yep, chasing your dream along side the one that has seen it develop in you since you were a little girl makes me giddy.  No one knows what I have been through on this artistic journey like my mama :)

So I'm leaving a little weekend inspiration for all the other dream chasers out there.


Make it a great weekend y'all!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

for the love of color

"What's your favorite color?"

I never could answer that question.  
There's no way I could ever pick just one. 
I simply love color.
Every. glorious. one.
And when you start putting them together in varying combinations?  
Well that's where the magic happens.  Emotions are stirred and souls begin to sing.

Here are a few combinations that I'm loving right now and a little bit about the feelings they bring out in me.

color pallette via and Capri Palm Earrings from my Etsy Shop

This is a great palette to wear for a job interview or any time
you need an extra ounce of confidence.

color pallette via and Red Howlite and Turquoise Bracelet from my Etsy Shop

Living it up on the weekend with friends?
Go for this fun combo and play all day in the sun.

color pallette via and Calming Waters Necklace from my Etsy Shop
If your a morning person like me, this blend of colors will get your day started off right
Calm, cool, and collected.

color pallette via and Sparkling Wine Earrings from my Etsy Shop

Cozy up on a rainy night with these rich colors.
Maybe even drink a little wine by candle light with your honey.

So....what's your favorite color? ;)

Friday, November 2, 2012

It was a bash...it was a monster bash!

Do you know Natalie "The Busy Budgeting Mama"?


Well then let me introduce you :)

Girl can throw a party let me tell ya.  She creates all sorts of wonderful party decorations and details all while mere weeks away from having her third baby!  Makes me tired just thinking about it.  
My rowdy boys and I had the pleasure of attending her Monster Bash last weekend so I wanted to share some of the goodness with you.  Don't be fooled, these are all Natalie's beautiful photos not mine,
I only took a few on my iphone....lame-o!

I adored the "birch" risers she made.  I'm going to be making some of these for myself too, 
they can be used for so many occasions!  I'm re-vamping my Christmas decor.  
I'm in love with the idea of a "woodland" Christmas so these will be perfect

 Girlfriend made some seriously cute felt monster puppets for the kiddos.  So soft and cute. Oh and some adorable little adoption certificates to go with 'em.
You can buy some of her other adorable felt creations at her Charming Felt Etsy Shop.

There was a lot of pink that night.  
I think L & E were a little out of their element at first but after a while they warmed up 
and showed off their plastic weapons to impress the girls.  
Ever the valiant gentlemen ready to defend a pretty lady :)

Check out Natalie's full party post here.
She also creates some amazing printable party details for you enjoyment in her Esty Shop Pretty Paperie!

We finally get to do Trick-or-Treating this weekend since it was delayed from hurricane Sandy.
The boys are so excited to add to their already huge supply of candy.

Happy weekend all!

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