working...

I'm working...and sewing...and cutting...and creating...my stash of fabrics is getting borderline ridiculous.  So I am making a flurry of things...both old and new to the shop.  Watch for these new happy rainbow buntings to hit the shop soon...as well as whatever color combos I can create from my stash to thin the crazy down a bit.  Any color combo ideas for me?
And this...OH this makes me happy.  Say hello to the first ever happy hoho kitty monster!  I have a few other happy hoho animals in mind and I hope to get to them soon!  For now this one can be found in the shop.

And just a heads up...I will not be accepting custom orders from November 1st through December 31st.  So if there is something you were hoping to have me make by Christmas...it's not too early to get on the list! :)

Hope your day is lovely!
xo
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baby shower.

This weekend I had the honor of throwing a baby shower for two of my sister in laws...they are expecting within a couple of weeks of each other. 
It was a simple and sweet little shower...mostly immediate family with a little extended family thrown in.
I started out with a woodland theme but every avenue I started down with that seemed to fall apart...so I ended up with bright and colorful...easy enough to do with all the materials I already had in hand. 
This simple bunting was made from a thrifted book bought with the sole purpose of being cut up and used for crafting purposed. 
Instead of a traditional guest book I opted for these...printed out trees where the guest use their finger prints to make leaves on the tree.  These can be hung in the new baby nurseries.  I had originally set out to buy one off of etsy...but the costs were CRAZY...some well over $50-$75.  I'm pretty pleased with my DIY results. 
 Party favors were red velvet cupcakes in a jar with the best cream cheese frosting I have ever had.  :)
 Some dolled up toothpicks and my ribbon table runner.
 The two expecting ladies looking way better towards the end of their pregnancies than I ever did at any stage of mine. :)
 Doug's aunts adding their "leaves" to the trees.
The diaper wreaths I made and the spread...the menu included:
Ginger meatballs, cheesy sausage dip, cucumbers and herb cream cheese, peppers and ranch served in individual cups, cheese cakes baked in single serve jars, carrot cake and chicken salad. 
I originally had the idea to have the guests decorate onesies but honestly I have never seen that come out well...usually the mom to be ends up with onesies she would never put on her kids.  So my idea morphed into this...I prepared the materials ahead of time and we made a set of bibs for each mom that numbered one through twelve.  The moms can take a monthly photo of their new baby wearing that months bib to document the age and growth.

The guests got to trace and cut out numbers from fabrics that already had iron on adhesive attached.  Now, not only do the moms have a ton of bibs but they have an easy way to commemorate each monthly birthday!  I think it was a hit!

It was a good time...there aren't many events where we can all be together so it is extra fun when we can!  I'm blessed with really great in-laws and even though we are all very different from each other, we all share the same goal of having a strong, close family unit and that makes all the difference.  
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a praise of the best sort.

The most wonderful thing happened this weekend...Moses, of his own choice and timing asked Jesus into his heart! Yay, Jesus! :) Yay, Moses!

We've been talking about it for some time with him, in a no pressure, whenever you feel like it's time, kind of way.   We've had long talks about Heaven and Jesus and sin and forgiveness.  I've loved that his relationship with Jesus has sprung up organically, influenced by his surroundings and family and the way we live our life.

In the last few weeks we changed our Bible routines to better suit Moses' older age...

In case you are curious or are wondering where to start:
(not saying we are any sort of authority or anything but this is what has worked for us)

Since Moses was tiny we have read "Blessings every day" with him. 
It's a short story, a Bible verse and a little prayer we would have him repeat, daily.
I think we started between one and 18 months and read that up until a few weeks ago. 
We will still read this one to Aaron but have changed our routine so that at night, before bed, Moses has a one on one devotional time with Doug every night. 

Doug and Moses read "Little visits with God" .  Each day has a story with a moral, a scripture, a questions and answer section and a prayer.  I think it's important for Moses and Doug to have this time together for so many reasons...I think it builds their relationship with each other and their own relationships with God, too.  It's a good time for father and son. 

And then, the same time we switched devotionals, we also started reading Bible stories during breakfast time from "The Beginners Bible".  We read a story or two and I answer questions that the boys (mostly Moses at this point) have.  This has just become a precious time and I love that the boys will remind me if I forget.

The point of all this?  At least for me...is to educate and foundation build for my boys.  To educate them about God and all of His wonderful awesomeness.  And to build a strong foundation that they will continue to build on for the rest of their lives.   My one consistent prayer for my boys has always been that their steps would always take them closer to Jesus and never further away...and these are the steps that I can help with.

You see,  I was saved at 18 and knew NOTHING of the Bible.  Nothing.  I mean go into a book store, go into a section that you would never buy from, pick up a random book and tell me everything you can about it.  THAT is how little I knew.  I did not know all the Bible stories that you grow up hearing year in and year out...I didn't know the songs that sang His praise...I didn't know of Noah or Moses or David or anything else.  I spent my first few years of my saved life learning the (very) basics.  Not that that is bad...but I have always felt a little behind and it was tough going to catch up (in a way) to my peers. 

And I am doing my very best to soak these sponges I call my kids with the word of God.  I want them, by 18, to know the Bible inside and out and for God's word to become their conscience.  I want our lives spent serving Him in love to be so desirous to them that their hearts bend in the same direction.     
And Moses' own independent choice last night makes me feel like we are heading in the right, beautiful direction. 

Yay, Jesus!  Yay, Moses!
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a bushel and a peck

I have a lot of random thoughts in my head at the moment. So stand by while they all trickle out so that I have some hope of sleeping well tonight.

Firstly, thank you ALL for all of the comments and emails.  You have all given me SO much to think about and process and pray for.  There is no way I can respond to all of the emails and comments but I wanted you to know that I read each and every word and it's all going on my plate to think about.  I really appreciate your input and assurance that homeschooling CAN be done in a very GOOD way. 

The bottom line is that I am willing to do whatever I think is best for my children and this wouldn't be the first time that I've done something to protect them from something that people think I am being ridiculous over. 

Case in point...today I ran a marathon of errands and my boys were in tow...and good as gold for the most part.  I rarely take them on more than 1-2 errands at once and today we hit six places.  By the time we got to the grocery store, our last stop, we were all trying our best to get done what needed to be done so that we could get home. 

We got our groceries and got in line. 

I start fumbling around for the key thing-a-ma-bob that gets you the deals in the store and I happened to look over to see where Moses was and found him eye to eye with a magazine featuring a nearly NUDE Kim Kardashian (I DO NOT care if that name is misspelled).  I seriously did a double take because I thought she WAS nude.  I immediately turn the magazine backwards in it's place.  The cashier is still standing there with her hand out for my key thing-a-ma-bob...now with an attitude after seeing what I had done.  The trashy magazine was not harmed and there was no one behind me in line. 

Moses proceeds with questions about why he can't look at that magazine?  I kindly ask the cashier to proceed with scanning while I looked for my STUPID money saving key chain.  I give Moses a brief explanation about how ladies should cover themselves and it was not appropriate for anyone, let alone a four year old, to see a woman he is not married to that naked.
The cashier looks at me and ROLLS HER EYES and lets out a huff.  Basically mocking me.  
Moses of course continues to ask questions and we continue our discussion on the matter because I believe that, if possible, you address an issue right away before it has time to take root.  The cashier's attitude is tangible.  I did not care.  I was never rude to her but I was not going to let her treatment of ME to effect how I parented my boys. 

I am that mom who turns the magazines featuring soft porn backwards on the stand.  I am the mom that refuses to walk past Victoria's secret with my boys (any of them) because of the practically nude photos in the windows because I feel it is my job to form gentlemen from little boys and to do what I can to not give the enemy a footstool into their minds.  I am very protective over what they see and fill their minds with. 

The point is...there was an issue (even if that moment was minor), I had a gut reaction in how I was supposed to address it with him, and regardless of how snotty my cashier was going to get with me, I was going to parent my child the way I felt was right.

And I want that gut reaction with home schooling. 
And I won't care who gets snotty with me about it. 

I (Doug and I) just want to know that I am doing right by Him.  

I appreciate you.  Thanks for sharing. 

xo

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overwhelm me.

OK, so I'm going to rehash an old subject here.  Let me get my disclaimer out right now...the opinions I may express throughout this piece are my own and based on people I have met and interacted with.  They are a work in progress.  By no means is it an exhaustive list of...well, anything.  This is JUST my thought process at the moment on a subject that will vastly effect my family.  I'm willing to say my fears out loud here so that other may 1) relate, 2) share a difference of fact and/or opinion and 3) expand my horizons by doing such.

OK? 

So we are talking about homeschooling again.  There is just SOMEthing about it that keeps pricking at my heart and I can't help but want to investigate the avenue completely until I feel a definite yes or no in regards to whether or not we are supposed to do it.  Doug does not completely oppose the idea and I believe that our opinions/thoughts/ideas on the matter are similar.

Here my best reason for sending Moses to public school:  I get a break from him.  Completely selfish but true.      

Add that to: I have NO idea where to start with home school and you have (almost) my complete basis for sending him to public school next year.

That's really all I have in this category.  Almost.  I will get to my last reason, but I bet you could guess what it is.

Here are some of my reasons for wanting to home school: 
-remaining the largest influence in his life.  I want to ensure that the foundation of his life is Christ centered and not world centered.  I want his education to be saturated with Christ.  There are things being taught in public schools that I do not agree with.  Not that I FEAR them...but believe that they have no place being taught to young children whose personalities, souls and beliefs are still being formed.   

-believing that I have been equipped to be the best teacher for my child.  Even if I don't FEEL like I am, I know, that if this is what I am supposed to do...that He will qualify me beyond what I think I can do.

-wanting to limit the influences of the world on him.  I'm not saying I want him to live in a bubble forever but I feel strongly that public school is not where it is supposed to be on many, many levels.  This is NOT me saying that there are no good teachers and people in the public school system BUT you cannot convince me that one on one instruction is ever inferior to being one of 30 in a class.

-preserving family time.  My husbands job leaves us with an odd schedule.  That is likely never to change so long as he stays on this career path.  And I am OK with that.  We have always been able to work around it to make the most of our time together.  Public school would drastically change that.  Doug would go from seeing Moses for several hours in a day to a couple.  That is not OK with me or Doug or Moses (if he had a say).  I could teach in a couple of hours what it takes a teacher to do all day.  To me, this age is a PRECIOUS time to form the little men that I am raising...I don't want or feel it in his best interest to give that time away to others yet.  I just don't.  Plus, I love the idea of family field trips.  We live in a historically RICH area and it would be awesome to visit these places and call it school

We have already agreed that it would be an open ended time line...meaning that we would take it year by year and see how it goes.  Maybe we are only supposed to do this through elementary school?  Maybe until high school...who knows?  Not us yet.  

Whenever I bring this up to anyone, you wanna guess what comes up?  Go ahead...think about it.  People say one of two things to me: 1)We are called to be a light in the world, as Christians and 2) aren't you worried about raising a social reject? Not stated like that, but overwhelmingly implied.

Let's start with number one.  Are we called to be a light in the world?  Yes.  Is this limited to a public school setting?  No.  Young children are so easily swayed by others...teachers, friends, etc...that I would like to do my best, in their young years to build a firm foundation, from which they can defend their beliefs and love of Christ.  My kids not going to public school in their young lives does not mean they won't be lights to the world.  And lets be honest...which do you hear more of...a kid coming home from school with a nice, new, naughty word or a kid coming home to announce that he became saved at school through his six year old buddy Timmy?  Not that it can't happen...I'm just thinking that we don't live in a culture anymore where the latter is more likely than the former.

Number two.  I will admit...this is my biggest fear and my biggest reason in the "con" category.  I am not overly social.  My husband is an introverted, introvert. 

But more importantly...I have had many, many negative impressions of homeschooled children and their social skills/ability to function in society over the years.  I am not saying ALL.  Please hear me.  I am sure YOUR child may not be this way at all...and if so, please email me to reassure me that it is possible to raise a socially functional child who is homeschooled and delightful. 

At the risk of hate mail, let me tell you about some of my experiences with homeschooled kids...

My best friend of many years was homeschooled.  As was her siblings.  She was and still is, very socially odd.  You could pick her out of a crowd easily...based solely on her lack of social skill...ability to carry a conversation with someone new, recognizing social cues, etc.  I only managed to become great friends with her via a mutual acquaintance.  All of her homeschooled friends that I met? Weird, weird people.  I'm just being honest.  I loved her dearly and valued our friendship but she did NOTHING to convince me to ever homeschool.  One of her brothers, equallly weird and oddly attached to his mother.  The other brother...off the charts, tree loving hippy who will refuse any NEW non-handmade gift (that has to be made of natural items)...last I heard he was living in the WOODS of North Carolina in a shelter of his own construction.

And 90% of my exposure to homeschooled kids...pretty much the same.  Seriously lacking social skills and basic human interaction abilities.  It's like they were taken 75% of the way and left there or something.

Please don't read this wrong and send me ugly words.  I am not saying that either side is wrong or right but I do believe there is a RIGHT path for everyone and I am just trying to figure out what that path is for us.  I believe that YOU made the best decision for your child and I am trying to do the same for mine.   

Right now, I am leaning towards grabbing a few workbooks and starting slowly this year to see how we do (a year that Moses is in pre-school anyway).  

If you would like to share a comment with your experiences and win me over to your side...that would be awesome.  Want to send me a homeschooling starter kit?  Well, that would put you on my Christmas card list.   

Please tell me that I have just had a run of bad experience and that my examples are not the norm?       
Please tell me that you started here one day and had the same fears and it all turned out wonderfully?
Please share all of your tips...your favorite curriculum or teaching items? 
Please tell me where to start?  What do you have to have?  What do you wish you hadn't bought?

Please tell me something...
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20 minute crafter-how to make a diaper wreath!





I know right?  Two 20 minute crafters within days of each other....I'm on the ball I tell ya!
These wreaths are SUPER easy.  Anyone can do it and YES they can be done in a matter of minutes.
Makes a cute shower gift that can easily be hung on a wall as a nursery decoration too!
Here's what you need:
plain diapers-I used 17 for this wreath. 
(I used 7th generation ones that I found at babies r us...they are completely void of annoying characters. :) I used size three so that if the recipient wanted to....the wreath could be used for a while before needing size three diapers. :)
craft wreath-this one was about $2...it's flat and made from some sort of wood? you could probably use the metal ones too.  12in or so.
ribbon or rubber bands
 Start by opening up that diaper...lay the wreath in the fold...
 ...fold over...
 ...PULL away from the wreath and tie it up...
(or you could use a rubber band and then tie on a ribbon)...
 ...overlap the next diaper by 50%...
 and repeat the PULL and tie.
 ...keep going all the way around the wreath in this fashion...and just in case you wonder...here is my pattented PULL technique...hike that knee up on the table and use it to hold the wreath while PULL away from it...
 When you get to the end...tuck the last diaper into the first one.
 And you are done! :)  See how easy that was? 
Now you can decorate as you choose...I prefer simple...I don't care for them being covered with all sorts of stuff but I'm sure you could pull that off too.  I just made this ridiculously wonderful and messy ribbon to attach to it and called it done. :) 

And while I won't be selling the whole combo in the shop...I WILL be selling some ridiculously wonderful and messy ribbons...there are already a few there and I can easily make some in custom colors.
 This one is my favorite so far...it sold out in moments! :)

 Have fun and let me know if you have any questions! :) 

xo
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coming monday...

a tutorial for making this perfectly sweet wreath!

you'd want to know how to do that....right?

xo
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20 minute crafter-place settings/food labels


hello!  you didn't think i abandoned the 20 minute crafter did you?
well hopefully this cute little craft will make it up to you...
these sweet little labels are perfect to use as place settings...labeling food...all sorts of fun things.
 I chose to make a colorful set but obviously you can go all black...or all whatever color will match your stuff.  You can't go wrong. :)
Here's what you need:
mini chalk boards (or you can use small pieces of wood that you paint one side with chalkboard paint)
I covered the chalkboard with painters tape for painting
wooden wheels (or wooded thread spools would work too!)
a dowel that will fit into the hole of the wheel...cut into equal sized pieces.
paint
hot glue

I found all of my materials at Micheal's and Joann's. 
 I used spray paint to paint them all...yes, all of these colors were already in my personal inventory.
I inserted the dowel into the wheel using a tiny bit of hot glue to hold it in place...then hot glued the chalkboards to the other end. :)

And that's it!  All done!

These can be used for so many things...you can spell out a holiday greeting...or write your babies age on one and photograph them monthly...write a love note to your honey on one...all sorts of fun things! :)
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don't make fun of us california.

We had an earthquake today. 
An EARTHQUAKE.  In Virginia.  The epicenter was 33miles from our house.  It was a 5.9.

I'm just now recovering from the adrenaline rush of it happening...realizing what was happening and then frantically running to get my kids who were napping in their rooms on the second story.  Only twice in my life have I had so much adrenaline running through me...and both times ending in a baby being born. :)  

Never had it ever occurred to me that it would happen here.  In Virginia we are used to things we can see coming...like hurricanes and snow storms.  Earthquakes are another thing all together and I would be happy to never see another.  Thankfully we are all OK with no damage to anyone or anything.  God's hand is good.

I started this morning with an early morning call from my dermatologist.  Another emotionally crazy moment in my day...I had a mole removed last week...and the results from the test came back abnormal...pre-cancerous abnormal.  In the small moment of the phone call my emotions went from panic to gratefulness in God's hand in my life.  Thankfully it had all been removed so I should have nothing further to worry about...but was told that that it was very good that I had it removed when I did.

God is so good.

And to think...just yesterday I was wondering if my situation was forgotten to Him...if I was forgotten by Him.  I begged Him to show me that He remembered me.

I got it God.  You never forget.

Just no Earthquakes next time.  OK? 
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easy kiddy art lesson

I took art in some form or another my entire school career.  Starting in 6th grade all the way through college...if I think about it, it's kind of interesting that I didn't end up with some sort of Art degree or another.  I sold my first painting at 19 to my college art professor and it's taken me from then to about the last month or so to realize that I AM an artist making a living from my art.  I AM an artist.  It's a scary thing to say out loud because in my head it opens you up to people saying "ummmm, no you're not". 
Anyway...I have this deep need and desire to pass all these artsy skills down to my kids...I have to find a balance between artist and mom...the artist in me wants to teach technique while the mom in me wants them to have fun and we are learning to do both.
 After our last date with watercolors and me repeatedly saying "Fill the whole page"...because that is what every art teacher says...I thought this little lesson would show them WHY that is a good thing. :) Plus, I buy them real watercolor paper to use and I don't like seeing it go to waste.
 I started by taping off our first initial onto a piece of paper. 
 Then told Moses that he had to cover all the white on the page and showed him how.
 Something seemed to click for him and he spent 30 minutes happily filling in every corner.
 I taught him about blending colors and how to make them darker or lighter.
 He worked happily.
 And this one tried. :)
 But just look at the chubby hand holding the brush!  That's worth something right there. :)
 When he was done I pulled off the tape to show him what he had created. He was actually shocked and surprised.
It was a good lesson.  And everyone was happy.  And no paper was wasted. :)
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