and super hero valentines {a repost}

In case cars aren't your thing...here's what Sara and I did last year! :) This is a repost from last Valentines Day! :) 

So I will start by stating that these Superhero Valentines are totally inspired by the ones that I found on Zakka Life.  I saw them.  Loved them.  And knew instantly that Moses would love them and simultaneously have an issue with them.  The issue would be "What superhero are they?"  And sure enough, I showed them to him and he asked "What superhero are they supposed to be?".  :)
So with the help of my favorite Designer, Sara, I present you with Superhero specific Valentine pops. 
Moses loves them...and is already excited to take them to his class.  If you recall, the sole reason that Moses wanted to go to school in the first place was Valentines.  Getting and giving them.  
Here is what you need to make them:
Superhero Printables FREE from Less Ordinary Designs
stiff felt (from Micheals)
hole punch
2in paper punch (or you can use scissors)
coordinating ribbon
lollypops (tootsie pops have nice superhero colors)
glue (hot or craft will work)
cape template (I will try to come back and add a pattern for this later...but you can really just do your best to come up with a good cape shape)
Start by punching out your superhero circles.
Emblems are for the capes and the messages are for the lolly sticks. 
Cut out your capes using your pattern.
 Glue the superhero emblems onto the capes. 
 Using your hole punch, punch a hole in the top center of each cape. 
Slide the lollypop through the hole and tie a coordinating ribbon on below.
It helps to twist the pop in like a screw almost.
Punch a hole in the top and bottom of each message printable circle and slide onto the stick.
Yay!  You are done and your OCD child will be happy! :)
I love them.  Moses loves them.  Everyone is happy.  

Hope your day is SUPER! :)

Thanks to Sara for the awesome free printable! :)
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Free Hotwheels printable! {Valentines for boys!}

My friend Sara from Less Ordinary Designs is the best.  The best.  More times than I can count now I've emailed her with a vision I had but didn't have the talent to execute and she has come through for me every time.  This Valentines day isn't any different. 
Moses has started reading.  He also LOVES Valentines day.  He also does not like to talk about girls.  Or liking them.  Or loving them.  Or anything remotely involving being mushy with them.  I knew that he would be unsure about giving out Valentines that said things about liking or loving someone.

But, he is ok with being friends with them.  And he loves cars, as any boy does.  An email or two with my friend Sara and magic happened.  Again.

She took the idea in my mind and executed it perfectly into a free printable for me to share with you! 
The second miracle is that he gladly sat and filled them all in.  In one sitting.  With no whining.  
Even Aaron worked hard to write his name on each one.  
The boys LOVED the idea of giving each of their friends a little gift.  As Aaron chose his cars he would say "And this one is for Henry and this one for Natalia".  They put some thought into it.  
After you visit Sara and download the printable, you'll want to grab some of these treat bags {and some candy if you want, of course you could totally skip the candy part}.  
You simply print as many as you need.  Trim with scissors or a paper trimmer.  Fold in half and staple over your filled bag.  {You could even skip the bag, leave the car in its original packaging and staple the topper right to it!}  I folded the bags in half before I stapled the topper on {with the opening starting to the right, fold with the opening ending up on the left.}  
And that was it.  We're done and ready for Valentines day with Valentines perfect for a boy who's a little sensitive about his words to girls. :)

Want to make some?  Head on over to Sara to grab the printable and get started! :)
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Some reminders on Sunday...

Don't forget to enter the giveaway by Moen to winn $100 to Home Depot! :) 

And just a few more days to enter the drawing for this months HUGE hoho!  We've already raised $1085 to give 54 people clean water!!!

As a reminder, each entry is just $10!  Every month I'll make a new HUGE hoho!  You can make your donation HERE on my Hohos for Jesus page! :) 

Now go go go! :)

Happy Sunday everyone!


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Enchilada Stuffed Mushrooms {& Enchilada Chicken}


We're on a bit of a mushroom kick in our house.  A delicious, delicious mushroom kick.  These Enchilada stuffed mushrooms were the first ones we tried this week.

Doug says they are the BEST mushrooms he has ever had.  We liked them so much that I made another version of them the next day.

Doug and I have been doing a low-carb life change since mid-August, Doug has amazingly lost over fifty pounds and I've dropped about 15 pounds.  The biggest thing for us is that we don't diet.  This is not a diet to us but a lifestyle change.  I don't diet.  I will never diet.  I hate that women feel like they need to live their lives on a diet.  I don't want to live a life where I have to count calories or starve myself or never have dessert.  I think we've been successful with this diet because we still have all the things we love.  We still eat dessert and pizza and cheese fries.  We've just stopped having bread with every meal and no pasta and no rice and no potatoes with every meal.  And because they are such reasonable changes, and I can still have dessert, we've had great success.  All that to say six months of cooking low-carb had started to hinder my cooking creativity.   

These mushrooms fixed that.  Fixed either way I show you here is a super tasty low-carb MEAL. :)

Here is how you make the stuffed mushrooms...

You need:
1-2 packages of baby portabella mushrooms or 4 large ones
6oz cream cheese softened
1/2 a can of enchilada sauce
1 tsp taco seasoning
1-2 green onions chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 Parmesan cheese (the real stuff)
3/4 cup sharp cheddar
1/4 cup sharp cheddar (for topping)

Line a baking dish with parchment paper for easy clean up.  Wash and dry mushrooms.  

Combine all ingredients well except 1/4 cup cheddar cheese.  Fill mushrooms and place in lined baking dish.  If you are using the large mushrooms just make a nice even layer on the mushroom cap.  Drizzle with enchilada sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is nice and browned.

We enjoyed these with a large salad and did not miss meat at ALL.  SO SO good!

So good that I made it again the next night but slightly differently.  I made the mushrooms just like before but this time I used a larger pan.  I filled the mushrooms with the filling, added them to the pan, then added some raw chicken breast tenderloins.  THEN drizzled everything with enchilada sauce and cheese.  Baked as before for 30 minutes or until chicken was done.

BAM.  AMAZING!  Doug deemed it a once a week meal.     
I hope you enjoy them! I'll be back with more of the recipes we tried this week! :)

Oops...edited to add that this recipe was adapted from Laurens Latest.
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how to make quilted {or pieced} feathers.


A couple of weekends ago I set out to make a gift for a bird loving friend.  A few feathery pins on Pinterest set me off in the feather direction.  After a few days of thought and some playing around with my sewing machine and fabrics, I figured out a fun and easy way to make some pretty cute feather appliques.
Once the applique is made you can add it to pillows or curtains or a skirt if you would like.  Once you get the method down they're pretty easy to make and the color combinations are endless.

Want to make some?

You will need:
-A feather stencil.  I suggest finding a clip art or something via Google and duplicating that by either drawing it or printing it off and enlarging it to as big as you are wanting to make.
-Lots of strips of fabric of varying widths.  The length will depend on how wide your feather will be...my feather was 5in wide so I made my strips 6in long or so.  To be sure you are making them long enough, do the first couple of steps and lay your stencil (folded in half) on them at an angle to make sure it's wide enough.
To start on the first side you will lay two strips right side together with the top piece "stepped up" about an inch...
and sew along one side. 
Open it up and press the seam with the back of your thumb nail...
Lay another piece on top of the strip on the far right, step the edge up again and sew together along the edge again...repeat until you have enough strips sewn together to suit your pattern.  Don't worry about the bottom so much as you make sure the top looks like stairs going up UP UP. 
To do the other side of the feather you are going to do the same process EXCEPT each new strip will "step down" an inch or so.  Repeat until it's as long as the other half.  Press all seams flat in the same direction.  Trim edges as shown. 
Put right sides together and sew along the straight edge. 
Open and press the center seam flat.
Using the sewable Heat and Bond and apply (according to the directions) to the back of your feather.
Trace your pattern and cut it out! You're done!
You can now add it to anything!  Just follow the directions on the Heat and Bond then sew around the edges to add some detail.  I usually do a zig-zag stitch and then a straight stitch on top of that.
Yay! So pretty and so many fun possibilities. :) Have fun making some! :) I'll try to answer any questions in the comments. :)

Enjoy!
xo
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a little recap...

I wanted to thank you again for all of the support and love you have shown me since my posts about my childhood.  Part one is HERE part two is HERE if you haven't read them.

If you were a person with a relatively normal childhood you may not understand the significance of those posts.

The fact that I spoke, out loud, about things that were wrong and unjust was huge.  It's hard to explain the hold that someone manipulative can gain over you.  It's like being frozen but being fully conscience of what you want (and need) to do.  It's like being a prisoner with invisible restraints.

I understand what it's like to be the battered woman unable to leave.  You become stuck.  You are broken down to a point where you can no longer walk.

Writing those posts and sharing them was me throwing off a huge boulder.  I literally sighed as I hit publish.  Even though I feared {and still do} retribution for it, I know that giving it a voice makes me stronger and my past weaker.  It paves the way to healing.  I'm walking a little more free today. 

I'm thankful for all of you who wrote and commented.  Especially those who can relate or are passing my words onto an active alcoholic.  I really hope and pray they make a true difference.

And for those that think I shared too much or I should have stayed quiet or that I should leave the past in the past.  Well,  I'm not exactly sure what to say to you.  But for me, secrets kept in the dark grow.  Hurts and pain become magnified in the darkness.  Keeping quiet magnifies shame.  I KNOW that me sharing my story has helped others and if you think I need to keep quiet because authentic transparency makes you uncomfortable....well that's between you and the Father.  I pray you can figure that our for yourself.

So before I moved on to the more fun posts I have planned I just wanted to say these few words. 

Thank you for reading and thank you for hanging out with me all these years.
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hohos for Easter!!!

Hey there! 

Just wanted to share a little happy with you!  THIS is my job.  Or one of them.

At least a couple of good days a week, depending on what's going on, I get to sit at my machine and make hohos that go out to people all over the world.  Many days Doug will come home from work and I'm like "I make hohos as my job how crazy is that?!".

It's crazy! It's fun and I love it! 

In case you didn't know I have a waiting list.  January is FULL and February is also almost FULL!

If you would like to get on the waiting list to get one by Easter, you need to email me ASAP. :)

Honestly, only for a couple more days will I be able to promise to get you one in time for Easter{which is March 31st}!  You can email at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com

I don't want to disappoint you so email me soon! :)

And in case you didn't know...in between waiting list orders I list "up for grabs" hohos on my Instagram page.  You can find me as "littlebitfunky" and those hohos are claimed on a first come first serve basis so get your typing fingers ready! :)

I hope you're enjoying your job as much as I'm enjoying mine!

Happy day to you!
xoxo
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Moen Review {and a chance to win $100}!!



 

I am in love.

Completely in love with something I never knew I needed until a couple of weeks ago.

Not so long ago Moen sent me an Arbor with MotionSense faucet to try out and review.   You know, one of those super awesome faucets with a motion sensor in them that you don't have to touch to turn on?

Yes, please!  I was so excited.  I've wanted one of these since they came on the market. The commercials always made me a little green with envy, so I was thrilled to try one out for myself. 

Installation seemed standard, nothing tricky or complex: old one out and new one in, easy as 1, 2 and 3.   You would think it would be complicated with the abilities it has, but there seemed to be nothing to it. 

I'll be honest, the first day took some getting used to but it only felt strange for a short amount of time.


And now?  I have no idea how I would go back.  I am completely spoiled and in love with this faucet.  It has become second nature to everyone in our house to turn it on without touching a thing.

Being an artist and a baker and one who cooks for my family a lot, I am not a stranger to trying to turn on a faucet with the back of my hand because my hands are covered in paint or eggs or batter of some sort.  Now we just have to get close enough to a sensor, either by waving a hand across the wave sensor or by just being near the ready sensor and it pops on, at the perfect temperature at that.  To turn it off either wave by again or move your hands out of the ready sensor zone.  SO easy and surprisingly second nature.


You may also know that I have boys.  Sticky, muddy, dirty little boys who operate in extremes when it comes to water... ALL the way on and either super HOT or super COLD.  With this faucet we were able set the temperature to a perfect degree for hand washing for the boys, and the boys don't have anything to do with how fast it comes out... no more flooding my counter or worrying about them burning themselves.  A total win in my book.

I wish, in the interest of being unbiased, I could offer up one complaint for you but there really isn't one.  It's pretty, easy to use, easy to install, saves water (and work!) and makes my life just a tiny bit easier.

If it's been on your "maybe" list... do it, you won't regret it! Check out their site for product details and where to buy.

In fact, BlogHer and Moen are giving one of you a $100 Visa gift card to help you get one!

To be entered for a chance to win, just leave a comment on this post answering the question: How could Moen with MotionSense make your life easier?


Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: "#SweepstakesEntry"; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 1/14/13 - 2/15/13
Be sure to visit the Moen brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!
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Thank you...

Just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for your overwhelming support and love from my last post.  I'm without proper words to express my gratitude.  Perhaps they will come in time...

For now, please enjoy this video...gave me a good laugh.  I always wonder what they are saying...


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have you ever...

***This is the hardest, most painful post I've ever written.  Please be nice in your comments.  And if you start reading please read all the way through.  Thanks for being part of my journey.  Writing this frees me from a lot of shame I've carried for a long time.  Here's to healing from the past.***  

**Please also note that the events I will share and relay are of MY opinion and viewpoint as a child/young adult.  I share to help others who struggle with alcohol or who live/have lived with alcoholics.**  

Those who know me may or may not know that I never drink alcohol.

Those who know me a little better may think that it's a "good Christian" vs "bad Christian' sort of issue for me because of my faith.  It's not.  I think the choice whether or not to drink has nothing to do with if you love Jesus or not, at least not for "normal" people.

For me the reason is much, much deeper.  It's only been the last year of my life that I could even SMELL alcohol without having a near anxiety attack.  And that's a true statement.

You see I lived with "the alcoholic" and "the codependent" for eighteen long and hellish years of my life and suffered the results of their behavior for several more.  I firmly believe that my life would have been severely different had alcohol not been as much of my life as breakfast in the morning.    

Consider the following to understand my view:

Have you ever had to listen to late night arguments fueled by drunkenness?
Have you ever you ever had to lie about injuries to "the codependent" under threat of upsetting "the alcoholic"?
Have you ever gone years without seeing your grandparents (with multiple stints) because "the alcoholic" deemed them bad?
Have you had to stop shopping with "the codependent" because you know they shoplift?
Have you ever had to visit "the alcoholic" in jail?
Have you ever had to pretend not to know what pot looked like as "the alcoholic" grew it in your back yard?
Have you ever seen "the alcoholic" in handcuffs? 
Have you been molested on numerous occasions because "the alcoholic" couldn't keep a job and therefore had their family living under iffy conditions?
Have you ever listened to "the alcoholic" and "the codependent" physically fight and scream their way through the night...once the day before you graduated high school...with a friend sleeping on the floor beside you?
Have you ever had to shower in the night in the middle of a dark campground because "the alcoholic" was too drunk to know where he was pissing?
Have you ever been called a slut loudly in front of your best friends by "the alcoholic" because you said hi to a boy at the fair?
Have you ever listened to the rationale of both "the alcoholic" and "the codependent" behind the multiple affairs on each other?
Have you ever had "the alcoholic" have to go talk to "the codependents" employer because they were caught stealing from them?
Have you ever had all of your clothes dyed red because you washed your own clothes...because "the codependent" told you to wash them yourself?
Have you ever had to wait in the car while "the codependent" bought drugs for "the alcoholic"?
Have you ever been called within an hour of giving birth to be told that you are a terrible daughter and sister by "the alcoholic"?
Have you ever been held hostage in "the alcoholic's" home because you came home deciding that the Navy was not for you?
Have you ever been told that you were too dumb for college?
Have you ever witnessed "the alcoholic" piss beside the washer because he was too drunk to realize that it wasn't the bathroom?
Have you ever lived in a house where the tension in the air was so THICK that anyone who visited could describe it to you in as much detail as though it were a physical thing?
Have you ever lived in a home where you waited anxiously for "the alcoholic" to pass out so that the least stressful part of your day could begin?
Have you ever gone to school sick as a dog because it was better than being home?
Have you ever been picked up from school and taken to the home of your molester because "the alcoholic" couldn't be bothered to pick you up?
Has your home life ever been so bad that your best friends grandparents looked into how to get custody of you?
Have you ever had to leave cards and gifts in the middle of the road because "the alcoholic" stormed you out of your grandparents house because they found out that "the codependent" had been bringing you there secretly?
Have you ever been punished for telling the truth?
Have you ever had to constantly choose which parent's side you would be on...knowing that it would be used against the other parent?
Have you ever witnessed alcohol being bought with cash on a daily basis while you had to feel the shame of buying groceries with food stamps....because "the alcoholic" always knew more than their boss and couldn't keep a job?
Has every action you've taken been questioned at length and tears for "obvious" ulterior motives? 
Have you ever witnessed "the alcoholic" scream at your 8th grade teacher, in her yard, because you dared to write that she was "like a mother to you" in your journal, that they read and then held every word against you?
Have you ever been judged and abandoned by all of your family for choosing to step out of the ring and refuse to be hurt anymore...or for your children to be hurt?
Have you ever had "family is FOREVER" used as a way to make you feel guilty for not wanting to be hurt anymore?
Have you ever had to account for the actions of "the codependent" because "they are up to something"?
Have you ever poured your heart out, in a last desperate attempt to "fix" the relationship, sharing all of your hurts and pains from over the years, only to be called a crazy liar and advised to get help?


In short...my heart was soaked in a brine of hurt and pain, bound together for the first 25 years or so of my life by alcohol.  It's hurt me more than any other thing in the world.  It has insulted me, pained me, caused me grief and caused damage to a level that I feel, at times, I have only just begun to heal from.  The scars from alcohol heal about as well as a wound that is constantly scraped with a rusty steel brush.

Because, in fact, it caused repeated hurts.  As I would begin to heal from one incident, I would be buried again under another.  Having never fully healed from the first incident, a new layer was added, then another and another and another.  25 years worth at least.  Or more.  I'm essentially, at my worst, a small child wrapped in a cocoon of pain and anxiety.  Layer over layer over ugly layer.  It's literally a crazy life.  

This previous life of mine still brings me shame.  I feel guilt over things I had no control of.  I have often felt dirty and less than.  Broken and worthless. 

I am still working through anxiety.  And self confidence.  And timidity.   I often struggle to speak up.  I sometimes still have anxiety asking simple questions.  All of these behaviors direct results of living with an alcoholic for so long.  You just never knew what would set them off, make them happy or put you on the wrong list.  You doubt every choice you make and decision you encounter.  Asking to go to a friends house (rarely happened) would cause days of severe anxiety and often I could never gain enough bravery to even ask. 

If you ever meet me in real life, you may notice that I take a while to warm up to talking.  That comes from years of being afraid to say the wrong thing, or too much.

I've had to un-train myself from sitting or standing with a completely closed posture, arms and legs crossed tightly.  Another result of living in fear for so long.

You see, I don't believe that "Family is Forever".  It was used against me for too long.

No, sir.  Not me.  Saying it that way adds a shade of entitlement.  Like "we're gonna be family forever so you better just suck it up and take what I give you".  That's what it has come to mean to me...at least phrased that way.

I feel like I have to work for my right to be part of my kids life forever.  I don't feel entitled to it.  I feel like they deserve my time and love and respect.  Not like "I'm not good enough" but in a they are my fellow children of God and they deserve to be treated that way, kinda way.   

I have the utmost respect for God choosing for me the parents that He did.  I know He had His reasons and I would never doubt them.  Amazingly, I've never had a "Why did you do this to me God?!" phase or moment.  I believe that evil exists in the world to show us how deeply, earnestly and wholly we need God.  The pain of my past has been the fetter that drives me to Him.  It defines my need for Him.

I don't suffer from un-forgiveness.  I was able to work through all of that.  What gets me are the random things that bring up fresh pain.  The normal events that spark a new flood of tears or hurt.  Seeing a friend with her mother.  Reading about someones great relationship with their father.

For a long time I was stuck in their cycle.  On repeat forever.  I chose to step away.  To step out of that cycle.

I had to choose between that family I was born into and the family I chose.  One was hurting the other.  And it had to stop.  It cost me a lot.  But honestly, I trusted and I've gained so much more.  God has given me many mothers.  He has given me many fathers.  He has filled my life with people who want to pour good into it.  His hand is here. 

I haven't heard from my parents since Aaron was about one.  They've seen him once or twice.  Moses has no memory of them.  I was the only part of the equation that I could change.  I lost my brother and my sister.  Both sided with my parents because of course you HAVE to choose in that family.  I also understand that they may not remember the worst of the years.  They were too little.  And for that I'm thankful.  Thankful that they get to go out into their lives less broken and wounded than I was.  I've lost most of my aunts and uncles.  All of my grandparents.  And to be clear, I don't think a single one of the members I lost are bad people.  Not at all.  Some are just people who let their sin hurt those around them.  Others had to choose sides.  And that's OK.  I can only make my own choices.  I just had to make a choice.     

And I would do it again.  The Peace and Joy that exudes in my home is measurable.  We laugh.  We love.  We have fun.  There is no tension.  There is no fighting.  Out of great pain came immeasurable Joy.  We're healthy.  We acknowledge our problems and issues and we lay them at His feet on a regular basis.   

All of that pain.  Years of it.  Years more of recovery.  That is why I don't drink. Ever.

I don't want to even give the smallest chance in the world that my kids ever experience even the remotest speck of what I did.   I'm not convinced that THAT seed of evil potential is not hidden somewhere in my DNA, just waiting for the chance to wake up.  I'm not willing to leave it to chance.

Have I had a drink before? Yes.  I did not get nearly enough in return to gamble with my kids lives.

That may seem severe to you.  And maybe it is but to win big you have to risk big.    

And at this point, I'm winning.  And I would take that chance again for the health of my boys.  All day long.   
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In the Night.

 
I originally posted this story on "Beautifully Rooted" but since that site is ending, I didn't want to lose this post.  I'm currently working on the sequel, though painful as it may be, it will answer the question about why I never, ever drink.   If you didn't catch this the first time, I hope you'll take a few minutes to read it now...

 

"In the Night.

I wake in the night, not sure what has awoken me.  I lay there as still as I can waiting to hear what comes next.  It's not long before I know.  It's happening again.  Another night of yelling, screaming and throwing things.  I can hear every word through the paper thin walls of our trailer.  I roll over and hug myself to the wall.  Praying and hoping that my door doesn't open.  Praying that I won't be called to the witness stand as though our living room had become a court of twisted law.  I hear a muffled cry.  It belongs to one of my smaller siblings.  They've managed to sneak to my room undetected.  They huddle in close and we both lay there pretending to sleep in case the door should open suddenly.

It's funny the things that no one has to teach you as a child that lives in a house of alcohol and violence.  You know not to speak up without ever being told.  You know not to volunteer information because it will be used against you or someone else.  You know to pretend to sleep even though the whole neighborhood is awakened by what is happening.  You know not to talk about anything, ever.  

I glance at the clock.  It's 3:15am.  I know that when I went to bed they were both asleep.  Why does this always happen in the dead of night?  What demons shake them from their slumber and rile them up to the point of screaming and throwing and hitting?

The door opens wildly.  My name is yelled.  I pretend to wake up with a start, rubbing my eyes at the light shining in.  My testimony is needed.  Where did we go today?  Who did we see?  How long were we there for?  It doesn't matter what I say if it doesn't go along with what my father wants to hear.  If my testimony doesn't line up with his theories it's thrown out of court immediately and I'm accused of siding with the enemy, a conspirator in lewd and unsavory behavior.  I'm questioned to the point of tears.  My mind searches frantically for the "right" words and answers.  What will calm the demons?  My efforts hit the wall like jello and drop to the floor.  There is no right answer but I'm still expected to talk.

Eventually frustration with my lack of cooperation in his favor causes him to slam the door and leave me in darkness once again.  Screaming, breaking and door slamming continue into the night until I can no longer keep my heavy eyes open.

I awake the next morning leery to leave my room.  I'm a shell of a human walking through the expectations of my day.  I'm a good student.  I stay quiet and hidden at home as much as possible.  I don't have any dreams or expectations for my life past running at full speed when I hit 18.  My life is void of emotion, too much pain for a child to endure has stripped me of every feeling in the spectrum but fear, guilt and timidity.  If there is a God he can't seem to get through these paper thin walls.

I awake in the night, not sure what has awoken me.  I lay there in the silence trying to decide what it was that stirred me.  I hear a whimper from the other room and slide out of bed to investigate.  In the darkness I peer into the room that my two boys share and find my youngest stirring from a bad dream.  I nudge him enough to bring him out of the dream and into the realization that he is safe.  He calms quickly with a hug and a nuzzle and before I leave the room he is sleeping sweetly once again.
My heart is grateful that the occasional bad dream is the only evil that vexes my boys.  My heart is full of love and thankfulness and peace.  My children live the dreamy childhood that was so far from my own.  The ease and abundance of blessings in my life is something that is brought forth in my list of thanks on a daily basis.  My boys have never been woken in the night to face adult things.  My boys have never been called to testify against a parent.  My boys don't know fear, or guilt or timidity.
My life now is the opposite of that valley from long ago.  Each day, each step, each ascent out of that dark place has been painful.  The whys and wheres and what fors all had to be dealt with.  The Lord has delivered me from a place that was barren of love, grace and favor into a place where my heart can barely contain my Joy.  Slowly he has revealed to me where he was hidden in those days and his plans for their use in my future.

I've been praying for some time for a safe place to tell my story, to use it for good for others, to reach out to those still in the valley and give them a rope to hold onto.  I'm thankful to have found this place and I can't wait to share my life with you." 
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40 ideas num 15 - A ten minute scarf {for under $5}!

 Welcome to my lofty dream of providing you with 40!!! fun activities you can do with your kids!  Many at the drop of a hat!  I bet for many of these you will have the materials you need on hand or can find them at the dollar store or on the cheap at the local craft store!  This list will contain simple, cheap and FUN crafts or activities that ANYONE can do!  And better yet, they will be kid tested and approved!

If you would like to be a guest blogger in this series email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail . com! 
Over Christmas break I promised Moses he could make his very own scarf.  He was so excited to choose his fabrics and get to touch and USE moms sacred sewing machine!!

These scarves take just a few quick minutes (the perfect amount of time for short attention spans), take just a 2/3 a yard of fleece and can be customized as much as you would like!

Want to make one? 
 You will need 12in of fleece in two colors.  This will cost you around $5 or less if you use your Joanns coupons or get it on sale.  If you are really nice to the fabric cutting lady she will make sure your lines are nice and straight.  Or you will need to straighten them up yourself. 

 When the edges are all even and your two pieces match up, open them all the way (you will have two pieces that are about 12in by 48in ) put the right sides together, pin if you want to. 
Sew along each side, lock (knot) the stitches at beginning and the end and stop a couple inches from the end of your scarf.  You will leave the ends open.
 Turn it right side out and repeat the same steps. 
You will end up with ends like this. 
Next you will want to even up the ends of your scarf.  DO NOT cut above where you stopped sewing or your scarf will come un-stitched over time.  Cut below where you locked the stitches.
Using a cutting mat and ruler as your guide, cut your fringe, roughly six inches long and one inch wide. 
Display around your neck proudly. :) 
Just a note, Moses is six- I let him push the pedal and steer the fabric with help. 
Aaron is three, I just let him steer the fabric.  You can help more or less depending on the age and ability of your children.  I did all of the cutting for them.

I hope you love making a nice warm scarf!  Because it's made from fleece it will not fray!

Have fun!
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