exploiting your child to make cute...

Don't you just love this ridiculously cute Valentine...that also doubles as a keepsake? I found a much more simplistic version in one of my magazines...that I can't find at the moment...but I thought I would dress it up for you a bit. :) And I am giving you LOTS of time to get them done for all the grandmas out there. :)
First, I strapped Moses into his highchair...you think I would let him run free with RED paint? Ha! I occupied him up there with his own paint with water pages...and promised him mini-marshmallows...He is saying "cheese" in the photo above...not grimacing in pain. :)
Then, I taped a piece of card stock to one of Moses' large board books (so the paper wouldn't move)...then painted the bottom of one foot at a time...brought the book to his foot, stamped a left foot, then another left foot on the other side of the paper...then when I did the right foot...I overlapped the heels and made a "V" with the foot prints...making them heart shaped...sort of. :)
Moses actually enjoyed it...and kept asking to see his "piddies" aka piggies. :) The only problem I ran into is that this is Doug's son...and if you know Doug, you know that you only have to talk about tickling him to actually get him to react...so painting the bottoms of Moses' feet with a brush was a bit tricky a time or two. :)
Then you cut out your footprints in the shape of a heart...
...add layers and embellishments to make it all cutesy like. :) I stitched around the feet and card...you could add buttons, glitter and ribbon...or use different color paints, etc. :) I love how they turned out...this one is going into Moses scrap book...don't forget to date yours! :)

Have fun making these and let me know if you do...I want to see all the cute piddies out there. :)
~*~
And thanks so so much for all of the great feedback from yesterday!! It was so good to hear from ALL of you...isn't the blog world great? :) You are fabulous and wonderful...each and every one of you. :)

Be blessed and thankful today!!
xoxo
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I don't receive that...

OK. Something I don't get...but that has been bugging me lately.
Stick with me...this may take a while. :)
Almost since the day we found out we were going to be having our second child the theme of conversation that often times (not always) follows is along the lines of how my life will officially be over when the new baby comes. Goodbye shop. Goodbye blog. See ya emails and facebook. Adios to showers and making dinner. And a DEFINITE so long to making anything remotely crafty ever again. I have received countless inquiries as to when I would be closing down the shop (for good), if I will stop blogging or doing any of the other things that I love to do. I have had offers to BUY my crafting supplies!!! For most people, when I tell them that I don't plan on stopping any of these things on any kind of permanent basis, they reply...Oh, we'll see. Yes, we will.

The saddest part to me about these comments...is that, for me at least, they come from other women. I have yet to have a single man ask me when my life will cease to have anything to do with anything but my little boys and husband. What baffles me...is why do women, other mothers, feel the need to pour negative into another mothers life?
Isn't it just as easy to say something positive? Who else knows how hard it is to be a mom...than another mother? Why not just say...good for you...good luck...I'll be praying for you!?
Now before you go and think it...YES, I realize that life will be different, time will shift, priorities with change a bit and we will have to find a new normal once we bring our newest family member home. I realize all of this. But I also know that as Doug and I were praying about when we should start trying to have our second...and felt like it was the right time...that God did not give me an ultimatum. God did not say to me..."OK, Crystal..you can have this second baby...but that means that you have to give up on the other desires and dreams that I have placed in your heart." This I know. And this is NOT about me thinking I can have it all and do it all...it is about me having ALL that God wants for me...and doing ALL that He wants me to do.

So lately, as the negative comments continue...I have learned to smile and nod and say to myself..."Lord, I don't receive that". And move on. God has also been showing me lately all of these wonderful examples of women...who I know...who are loving, caring fabulous mothers to multiple children but still successfully pursue the dreams that God has given them.

And then I also think of Mary, mother of Jesus. Yes, she was the mother to the Savior...but do you think that was her only job? Do you think God told Mary..."Now I am giving you this baby, my one and only Son and you are to do nothing but take care of him and dote on him and give him all of your time"? I don't think He did...Mary had a husband...and children...and a home to care for...and I am sure she had things she enjoyed doing too...knitting, gardening...racket ball...who knows...but I am sure that there were other desires and dreams that God had given her as well. :)

I don't think that God's dreams for us have to be one dimensional...I think that pursuing more than one dream at a time is healthy and normal...IF they are dreams that God has given you. It's not like you have this ONE pie to share and the more you give to one dream (your kids, husband, etc) the less you have to give to another (hobby, business, etc)...this is like endless wonderful pie here. :)

And I refuse to believe that life ends at baby number two. :)

And that is my rant for the day. :)

Refuse to receive the negative...regardless of where it comes from. The more you DO receive it...the more you WILL believe it...it's harder to believe something that you refuse to receive. :)

I hope you are well...that your Monday is blessed and that you receive something positive today! :) As always I would LOVE to hear your input.

This week there will be a giveaway...a kiddy craft...a sale and lots more. :)

xoxo
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Catch up...and the winner!! :)

Firstly, I owe a big fat thank you to all of my MOPS and internet friends. :) They managed to coordinate a surprise baby shower for me on Thursday! :) Not only is it cool that my MOPS friends surprised me...but many of my blog neighbors sent gifts to one of my MOPS friends without me knowing...adding to the surprise. :) It is awesome to think that this time last year...I literally had NO friends in Charlottesville...It is also awesome that God has blessed me with having such awesome neighbors in the blog/etsy world...I can honestly say that I never thought I would be someone with "friends from the internet"...I used to make fun of those people. :)
~*~
But really...though...God has totally used my Etsy shop and blog and MOPS to connect me to REAL people from all over and keep me connected to old friends at the same time. :) Moving to Charlottesville has been a struggle for us...but more about that another time...for now, take a look at some of the cute things baby got...
You know who this is from right? :)
I love the bottom almost as much as the rest of it...
LOTS of fun blessings for baby...baby bath goodies, onesies, sleepers, books, booties, blankets, toys...even a sweet charity donation made in our name. :) I don't dare try to list everyone that I have to thank here for fear that I would leave someone out...but you all know who you are...and hopefully know that I am thankful for YOU and the blessing you are in my life. :)
In other news...on the morning of Doug's first day off this week we thought it would be a nice treat for Moses, who hadn't left the house for DAYS due to my back issue, to take him to Chic-fil-a and let him play in the play place...something he has never done. He liked it for the first minute or so...as shown above...then completely freaked out...got panicky because he couldn't figure out how to get out...and once he got out there was no getting him back in there. We took him to the mall to run circles around the mall walkers instead (it was like 9am). :)
AND he is still OBSESSED with tissue paper. :) Loves it. Demolishes it. Wraps things in it. Unwraps and wraps again. He couldn't have been more pleased with the fact that we brought a whole bag full home from the shower for him. Still totally worth cleaning up after at the end of the day for the vast stretches of calm and quiet it brings to the house. :)

~*~
And the winner of the potholder from Kitchen Stitchen is elmaelsiena. :) Let me know you saw this friend and then contact Kristi to collect your fabulous prize. :)

I'm working on another fun giveaway for later on this week...plus lots of other fun/interesting (hopefully) posts that have been brewing in my head for some time now...it promises to be a good week! :)
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when muffin tops go bad...

So this is nice right...cute belly...black and white makes it "artsy", right?


Then....BAM!!!!....how about them apples?

I should have warned you right? Too much? Train wreck effect going on?

hehehe...

How about this to soften the blow:

Psalm 139: 13-14a: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made...

Can you tell that I am feeling MUCH better?

Great day to you! :)
xoxo
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Cute things you need...

Want to win something adorable AND functional today? :) One of my favorite etsy/blog neighbors has opened an AMAZING new specialty shop on etsy. :)
Kitchen Stichen is the new home to these fun kitchen accessories and more. :)
Kristi has sweet little blog called Sunnypond Home. She also makes fabulous bags and other sewn goodies that she sells HERE. :) I am the happy owner of two of her wonderful creations. :) The craftsmanship and attention to details that she shows is always amazing to me...plus she is just pure wonderful as a person. :)
Kristi is offering up this sweet little bird potholder to the winner of this giveaway!! :0) I LOVE it...and want at least four or five for myself. :)

What can you do to win? Well for starters you can go poke around at some of Kristi's sites...then come back here and leave a comment giving Kristi a little love. :)

Additionally...for every purchase you make from either of her TWO shops OR my shop, I will enter you again for each item you buy. :) AND Kristi is including a free gift with each order! :)
Just enter BLOG GIVEAWAY in the notes to seller when you check out of any of the shops. :)

Sound good? Good luck! I will announce the winner on Saturday! :)

xoxo
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new things...

I know everyone and their mother makes these...but I wanted to come up with my own pattern...one that was super easy to do. :) I have been doing it over and over in my head and finally took it to the sewing machine...
The sweetest crayon roll on etsy right?
And new designs for the towels...these red trees are my favorite...
...love!
and sweet little birds...because I can't just sit here and do nothing while I try to ignore the negative... :) All these goodies and more coming to the shop soon...

A little sale going on in the shop, too. :) Take a peek. :)
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you can't mess this up...

So I have been wanting to make this coffee cake ever since I saw this post...HERE. I had read it over so many times that I was sure I knew just what ingredients I needed. While we were in the grocery store the other day I snagged the one thing I knew I didn't have...a box of cake mix. As I made it I had to laugh at myself several times over my own substitutions(due to lacking SEVERAL ingredients)...the great thing is that it still came out AMAZING...so I have renamed this "You can't mess this up-coffee cake". :) It's not as hard as it looks...you should try it AND just for fun, I noted my substitutions. :)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) (did not add)

1 (18.5 ounce ) box yellow cake mix

1 (6 ounce) package vanilla Jell-O pudding (I added cheesecake flavor since all I had was that or chocolate)

1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream (oops...none of this either...so I added 1/2c fat free sour cream and half a cup fat free milk)

3/4 cup hot water

4 eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil (yeah...I never have this-I added 1/3 applesauce instead)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon butter extract (I ignored this all together)

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional) (thought I had these...totally did NOT...I don't miss them)

Brown Sugar Icing

1/3 cup light packed brown sugar

1 1/2 Tablespoons flour

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup whole milk (used fat free)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and lightly flour a 9 by 13-inch pan. Set aside.

To make the cake, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts (if using) in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Set the bowl aside. Measure out the chocolate chips (if using) and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream and hot water. Mix well. Your mixture will be thick. Beat in the eggs, vegetable oil and extracts until very few lumps remain. (Yeah, so I basically mixed everything together...adding one item at a time from the top down)

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle all of the brown sugar mixture over the cake batter. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips, or whatever topping you’ve chosen. Carefully spread the remaining batter over the brown-sugar and chocolate chip mixture. With a butter knife, spread and swirl the cake batter and brown sugar mixture. (since I had mixed everything together already...I just sprinkled the top with brown sugar and cinnamon).

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake form the oven and cool slightly.

To make the icing, combine the sugar and the flour in a bowl. Set the bowl aside. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a medium-sized, heavy saucepan. Whisk the flour and sugar mixture into the melted butter until the mixture becomes moistened. The mixture will appear to separate from the butter. Decrease the heat to low and keep stirring, it will come together after about 2 minutes, becoming slightly stringy.

Stir in the milk. Raise the heat to medium and cook until the mixture becomes thick and smooth, stirring frequently. It will look like gravy. Remove from heat. Add the vanilla extract. Let cool to lukewarm and drizzle over warm coffee cake. (I poked holes all over the top of the cake so that the icing would melt on in there. :))

~*~

See you can't mess this up...it still tastes great after all my attempts to maim it. :) Plus the icing is to die for...tastes like a maple caramel...yummm. :)And just for fun...a photo to make you smile. :) That is a photo of his trains that he is holding.

My back pain is still crazy bad (I made this cake earlier in the week when I could walk normally)...I think I must have pulled something and it is just aggravated by my pregnancy...and is in addition to all the other fun pregnancy pains, which on their own I can handle ok. Poor Doug got to deal with a sobbing wife...I am fighting cranky and crying at the same time. Not fun. But I am trying my best to keep my chin up...and ignore the fact that there are chores to be done, my freezer that is empty (on my to-do list is to use up those recipes and FILL that freezer!), my almost empty fridge and the fact that I fed my son fruit and yogurt for dinner because I am in just too much pain to stand...or walk. But the GOOD is that I can still sit at my sewing machine and on the couch in comfort. :)

Tomorrow is another day and GOD IS STILL GOOD...this I know! :) Thanks for all your sweet words and emails...they really help more than you know. :)

Come back tomorrow for a super fun GIVEAWAY!! :)

xoxo

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Cheap barbie...

So last night I was trying to explain to Doug how I have been feeling lately...the best example that I could come up with was this. You know when you get a real Barbie...her legs bend, her arms bend...other body parts bend...she is about as flexible as a doll can be, right? I feel nothing like that. I feel like the cheap barbie. You know the one...costs like $2, the one with arms and legs-stuck in place, impossible to dress, crazy hair all over the place...the one that immediately made it to the bottom of the toy box...after you colored her face with marker and cut her hair with safety scissors. That's me. Crazy hair and all.
I can't bend. I ache all over. I can't roll over. Every time I take a step sharp pains shoot up my spine.
And as a result...I am fighting cranky minute by minute. And yes, I know, it is all for a good and wonderful reason. Yesterday I had an internal debate for over an hour about closing the shop from now until March...or April.
But then came to my senses...I would seriously go crazy then.
So consider this my whiny post...my begging for your prayers post...because, honestly, every day is getting a little harder. I just threw in some photos of my cute son to dilute the gloom. :) He is an honest to goodness ray of sunshine in my day. Happy as can be, cute as a button...and more than happy to cuddle up next to me on the couch. :)
Other than the aches and pains and normal pre-baby worries...life is good...honestly...but life is not about being or appearing perfect or happy all the time...so I am just keeping it real for you...and that is why I share the good AND the bad...because really, we are in it ALL together, right? :)

Be blessed today and try, with me, to focus on the good and the very good. :)

xoxo

And p.s. knee high socks do NOT prevent cankles...but they do add a new phenomena that I have dubbed kn-alfs. :) I will let you figure out what those are. :)
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a time and a place for everything...

This morning I woke up to -1 as the temperature outside. Today was the time and the place for knee high socks. THIS is not my Virginia.
What I am wondering now...will this help the cankle situation I usually have at the end of the day from swelling?

:)

Hope you are staying warm! :)
xoxo
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mantle love

In case you haven't noticed yet...I like to switch things up...a lot...I am forever in a state of rearrange...always trying to make more room...or a cuter space...or a more fabulous arrangement. The most common victim of this is my mantle. :) Above is what it looks like now...that fun red arrow is actually some sort of vintage sign we got at a yard sale for $2! We collect the letter J and I recently decided to narrow the bulk of my bird collection to white birds...with some exceptions of course. :)
Here is the mantle in the fall...acorns (another love) and fun fall colors. :)
Easter/Spring mantle with bright green grass...bright colored orchids...fuzzy green bunnies...eggs....and fuzzy chicks. :)
Christmas mantle...snow and lights and fun pom poms. :)
The mantle...straight up...no extras. :)
And the summer version...tall green grass...birds in nests and fun black stars. :) The mantle is such a fun way to change the whole room without actually changing the whole room. :) And I rarely do it the same way twice...I usually add a little bit to each seasons collection and then go with the flow to make it feel right. :)

Is there a favorite spot in your home that you love to redecorate a lot?

~*~

And I will be emailing the swappers tonight! Let me know if you don't get an email! :)

Hope your weekend is great!! :)

xoxo
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sunny happy things...

Today did not start off sunny and happy...I will admit...I am doing our taxes myself this year after we were charged a ridiculous amount last year for someone else to do it...to keep the whole process from overwhelming me I have been doing it bit by bit...as things become available and forms come in the mail. I started with my shop taxes...don't even get me started on how mad those make me...ugh! And I am working my way through...at the moment we kind of owe a big chunk...due to my shop...but I am holding out hope that all of our home ownership costs/taxes/interest will offset that...I keep telling God "I am not going to worry about this...I will let you do that. You always take care of us. "...I have lost track of how many times I have said that to myself today.
~*~
We distracted ourselves with getting the nursery ready...we are now 98% there. Just a few small things I want to get and then we are done...but we could bring a baby home to his own room now. :) The photo at the top is one of the last projects I had to finish for the room. I just took a canvas, painted it gray and then stamped lots and lots of action words onto it. :) I made all of the letter A's a different shade of yellow so they would stand out. I guess you could say that our "theme" is initials. I have thing for initials. :)
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this couch!! It is a sectional so there are tons and tons of ways to arrange it. Plus it is SUPER comfy!! :) The whole nursery has a very relaxed lounge feel to it..LOVE.
My curtains are made and hanging. Very simple and clean. That is what we were going for. :)
There is baby's bed. :) Moses slept in that until he was a little over 4 months old. :) We are hoping that by the time baby is done with the hammock, Moses will be done with the crib. :) That hammock is a life saver. We love it. :) The two prints on the wall are vintagey baseball scenes...one is kids in front of Yankee stadium.
And there are the initials I made with the canvases and scrapbook paper. :) All the baby toys are in the toy box. We have all of his clothes and supplies arranged in the closet. I will show you what that looks like when it is all ready. :) I LOVE having one less piece of furniture (a dresser) in there.
~*~
Some other things that are making me happy today...
My bed is made. This hardly gets to happen anymore with Doug working nights. :) Before that it was made every morning...just makes the day start off just right...and is nice to see at the end of the day.
My anniversary present came in the mail...it's the bottom ring. Those are Doug's and my initials...the "fear not" ring is something that I wear everyday...as a simple reminder. I plan on wearing the two rings together. :) I got it from THIS etsy seller. She did a great job and was quick, too.
On the other side are my boys initials. :) Fear not...God is watching over ALL of us. :)
And lastly..a trio of happy things...my MAC, my diet pepsi and a nice fatty donut!

Hope you are finding happy distractions in your day. :)

xoxo

P.S. I will do my best to send out swap partners tomorrow sometime. :) It's not too late to sign up. :) Email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com (no spaces) if you want to sign up. :)
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Dear Paypal Fairy.

My Dearest Wonderful Paypal Fairy (you have to butter him up to make this work),

Since I have a two week temporary ban on my spending due to the purchase of the above couch which will work fabulously in the nursery, I was hoping to make a request of you.

(Yes, we bought a couch for the nursery...it is in a delicious shade of gray and will serve not only as seating (I gave up the rocker idea-this couch cost about half as much), but will also serve as a changing table (once I buy the changing pad) and convenient nap spot for mommy or daddy).

Back to the Paypal fairy...it would be super awesome of you to make an error in my favor...not a HUGE greedy error but just enough to buy these adorable little goodies I found for the soon-to-be newest man in my life. :) I would of course be forever grateful and show that gratitude by continuing to allow you to charge me fees for holding my money.
The first item I would just love to have is this ADORABLE hat from knitsbyknittinmama.
Cute right?
Then there is this cute little diaper changing station from Lily Claire...
Who also makes these cute booties to match. :)
But the things I want to get most of all is this adorable little onesie from MoxieMadness...
...to go with these sweet little leg warmers from Knottybabywear...
...and these sweet warmers from Beckaboo...
You can throw in a couple of these cuties too...from Lucabella0522...while you are at it. :)
~*~
That's not too much to ask, right? Consider this my "baby registry" since I won't be registering anywhere else this go round. :)
And I have been working hard, Mr. Fairy. See...some cute new bibs for the shop...lots of sewing and card making going on in this house.
And if guilt will talk you into this error...then let it be known that I suffer from endless heartburn, inability to sleep, severe leg pains and have an overall elephant like sluggishness to me. :) PLUS, I have to go to the doctors to get weighed in today. :)

Thanks for your consideration!
Your faithful, Paypal fee payer,
Crystal xoxo
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