Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Craft Party

This week my friend, Wendy, and I threw a Christmas Craft party at Wendy's house. I had been tossing around the idea ever since Jessica sent our her lovely invitation, but after seeing her posts about the outcome of her amazing "Christmas Crafternoon" I knew we had to do it.
So, with only one weeks time to plan, buy, thrift, craft, and invite people Wendy and I got busy!
Tuesday was our big night and it turned out so well. 10 ladies, 5 different crafts, and nonstop chatting!
Here is a little snapshot of our evening;

We had a great time coming up with ideas, and had way too many of course.
These are the 5 that we finally settled on:
1. Glittered Word Banner
2. Chai Concentrate
3. Vintage Cake Stand
4. Coconut Oil Body Scrub
5. Peace word blocks

Each craft turned out really well and everyone seemed really pleased with what they took home.
My favorite was the glittered word banners. I loved getting to see my friends covered in gold and silver glitter! And I now have one hanging over my bed and more ready to wrap around packages. (Inspiration from here, here, and here)

The Chai concentrate is (in Sadie-Rose's words) "du-nummy!" If you like chai tea or black tea, you really should try it! It would make an excellent teacher's gift with a box of black tea and a cute mug. (Inspiration from here)

The cake stands were so fun. Everyone loved making up their own combination.
(Inspiration here and here)

I'm in-love with the body scrub! Someone at the party said, "I want to eat it!" Well, you probably could! It's made from sugar, coconut oil, and a few drops of organic essential oil. So much goodness in one little jar! I made two varieties. One is Lavender, peppermint, sweet orange and the other is peppermint and tea tree. Both are destined for the shower, but they are super fast, easy, and the combination's are only limited by your selection of essential oils. (Inspiration here)

And last, but certainly not least, was the Peace word blocks. Wendy and I had made some a few weeks before Thanksgiving and they were so well liked on Facebook that we decided that we couldn't possibly do a craft night without them. Wendy, her husband, and her two teenagers spent a lot of hard work and time getting 15 sets of blocks cut, sanded, and painted as well as vinyl letters and scrapbook papers cut. In the end, I think everyone loved this project the best.
Wendy has several sets of block sets leftover(with vinyl letters and papers,) if you are interested in a set to make yourself, please let me know! (Inspiration found here)

I loved getting to decorate everyone's take home bags and all the instructional picture frames. I love those kinds of little details! (Inspiration for here)

We had so much fun putting all of this together and all of the little details that made it even more lovely. I was super tired the day after, but I can't complain because I loved every minute of it, so much so that I didn't get home until almost 1:30 am!
Sadly, I didn't take enough photos and so few have actual people in them. I also forget to take pictures of our delicious buffet of desserts and appetizers. Next time I'll make a list! :)

We had such a positive response and everyone was so excited (and we had so many more ideas!) that Wendy and I are going ahead and planning another one for March. We can hardly wait!

Happy St. Lucia's Day

The 13th was St. Lucia's Day. No, we aren't Catholic, and we aren't even celebrating Advent this year (much as I would love to.) But, this day has always had a special charm all it's own for me ever since I was a little girl, old enough to read the Kirsten books from American Girl. She was my doll, living in a period of history that I loved very much. I even got to dress up one year, with the help of my best friend who happened to be visiting us that week, and deliver cinnamon rolls and coffee to both of our sets of parents in bed. It is a good memory, though thankfully, the pictures have been buried for the time being. :)

When I woke up Monday and realized the date, I knew I wanted to do something special, albeit small, just for Olivia and I and Rose. So, I set about making up a quick recipe of sweet bread turned into a "special" St. Lucia's Day ring. I did a little google search and was totally inspired by this lady's post, even though it's from last year. We didn't do too much, some paper dolls, a cinnamon roll ring eaten by candle light (for lunch) and a little prayer. But seriously, it was so calm and peaceful. Something I haven't experienced much of this month sadly. It was just perfect.

An accidental happy mistake.
Heart shaped rolls.

It was a perfect day of quiet peacefulness in the morning
even though we accomplished a lot.
And then an afternoon spent running errands, but still at peace.
So amazing how a little thing, like a decision to have a peace-filled day,
can make all the difference.
I hope each one of you can find a quiet moment in your day -
in your week- to have the same.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Beginning to look like Christmas

Saturday morning we picked up our Christmas tree. Our live Christmas tree. We haven't had a live tree in over 4 years so this has been quite the experience for both of our girls and a refresher for me. :)
I had pulled out the boxes of decorations on Monday and so we had several big mixing bowls sitting around, full of un-wrapped ornaments. I think that was more temptation for the girls than if I has set out big bowls full of candy! Our feather tree was decorated and undecorated and redecorated umpteen times a day. Nerve wracking for this mommy.

After we unloaded the tree we stood it up on the porch until Mike and I could get our "tree-stand" ready. (It had been full of flowers all summer.) When I turned around I found Rosie decorating the bottom limbs of tree! She was very excited to get started.
We finally got the tree situated inside and Daddy escaped to the garage leaving the lights and decorating to the people who enjoy it the most. Several hours later we were down to just the balls and Daddy was all finished outside, so he came in and held the bowl of ornaments for us and tried to take pictures. (I probably won't be posting any of those! lol)

I had decided to stray from my usual silver and blue decorating this year as I have spent the past 2 years collecting vintage ornaments. Our tree this year is much smaller than our typical artificial tree so my collection was just the perfect amount along with a bag full of colorful aluminum light reflectors.

Our living room looks quite different and I'm struggling a bit to get the whole look to be cohesive but it's slowly coming together. I am very excited about something different though. 8 years of the same-ness is enough for me. Gotta mix it up a bit every once in a while. :)

Christmas music is being played on constant rotation on the record player and both computers upstairs and down. The Christmas books are generally spread all over the living room floor and the Christmas movies stacked up by the VCR and DVD players. Candles are burning and even the weather has turned down right cold here. We've pulled out piles of quilts and have a stack of fire logs by the fireplace. It's definitely starting to look (and feel) like Christmas here at our house.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30 Days of Greatfulness, Day 30

Day 30

Wow. I can't believe how quickly this month has gone past and it's the last day of November!
In October we had some disappointing news which made Mike and I really have to take a step back from all of our hopes and plans that we've been working so hard on for the past 18+ months. It was difficult and sad (although a bit of a relief) and I was having a slight tendency towards the mediocre and seeing the negative, so I decided to do these greatful posts because I felt like I needed the reminder, daily, that there is at least one thing in every day to be greatful to God for. I am so blessed, yet I forget. Lord, help me to remember.
Some days were fun and easy, and others were most difficult, but such a good exercise for my mind and soul to come into alignment with my spirit. I'm almost wish the month was a bit longer or that I would commit to another month. :) I hope some of you have enjoyed these posts and I hope that next year I will remember to do it again.
And without further ado, Today I am greatful for:

my husband ~ we are far from perfect but I've been reminded over and over again this month just how thankful I am to be married to this man. I'm ever so greatful for his grace to me every single day for the past 8 1/2 years. I'm greatful for his desire to know more, be more, and live better. It's a desire we've both had and it has, thankfully, been something we grown in together.
I'm greatful for every day that he gets up early and goes to a job that he doesn't necessarily love to provide for me and our little ones. I'm thankful for the smiles, hugs and kisses he has for each one of us every time he comes home. And I'm so thankful that he holds my hand, still, everywhere we go together.

Olivia ~ My bright shining star. She is my biggest challenge and yet, I think she will be my biggest accomplishment. She stretches me daily to be a better mom, a better person, to feel deeply, to see delight in every little thing, to pray unceasingly, to keep myself humble, to laugh at the rediculous, to be gentle, oh so gentle with little things like "feelings," and to be affectionate when I would rather not be, to step out of my comfort zone. Life hasn't been the same since she entered my very young world and I am very very deeply greatful to have her as my daughter.

Sadie-Rose ~ our sweet baby girl. I'm thankful for her easy-going spirit and gentleness. I love how she wants to "do it herself" and yet will still ask for help upon occasion "mommy, pweas hep me nooowww." I'm greatful for her giggles that are as infections as can be and have anyone in earshot giggling too. I'm thankful for the love she quietly but oh so fiercely has for her daddy, her sister, her mommy, and doggy. I'm greatful for her politeness that flows easily and generally without prompting. I'm thankful for all the snuggles and cuddles I've enjoyed from her for the past 3 years. I'm greatful for her sense of humor and her quest to be as big a girl as she thinks her big sister is ( and then some.) I'm very thankful for the happiness that she brought to our little family of three that she changed to four.

Baby #3 ~ I am very greatful for the blessing of carrying and growing you inside my womb. I thankful for the unexpected surprise that you were and still are. I'm greatful for all the thumps and bumps, rollicking and partying that you do in there. It reminds me to be thankful that you are growing and healthy and strong. Each one of us is very eagerly looking forward to your arrival and anticipating holding you in our arms. I'm thankful that God is giving me another child to grow and who will grow me as well.

a month of thankful/greatful's to look back on and remember.

Monday, November 29, 2010

30 Days of Greatfulness, Day 29

Today I am greatful for:
spiced waffle batter that we froze before we left and got out to thaw the night before
hot cocoa (mommy's laced with coffee)
Sadie getting to open one last birthday gift that arrived while we were gone
said gifts being so entertaining that they lasted all morning
a nice long chat with my father in-law
getting everything unpacked and put away
Olivia's delight that is almost equal to my own when I showed her the new thrifted pyrex
all the Christmas posts on Tumblr
cleaning off the china cupboard to make room for the Christmas village about to appear there
Olivia really "getting" her math lesson
the total mischievousness of of Sadie-Rose
her daddy's mischievousness that matches hers
an easy dinner
early-to-bed family members that allow mommy to do some last minute cyber monday shopping

30 Days of Greatfulness, Day 28

Today I am greatful for:
having packed everything the day before
my mom fixing and feeding the girls breakfast, brushing their hair, and putting their shoes on
a sweater for another frosting morning
5 more discs of Sense and Sensibility
children who didn't get car sick and throw up on the way home
children taking naps
my mom thoughtfully making us sandwiches to take
tea in the thermos
apples and oranges
and then baby wipes
a silly baby who turned right-side-up and let us know by getting the hiccups (daddy got to feel your head while you had them)
no contractions all day long
finally arriving home
sleeping in my own bed :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

30 Days of Greatfulness, Day 27


Day 27,
Today I am greatful for:
another gorgeous frost covered morning
doing up all the dirty laundry so I wouldn't have to do it at home
listening to the girls playing with toys of my moms, of mine, and of my sisters
sorting through tubs of Olivia's clothes for Sadie-Rose
sorting through even more tubs for all of our newborn clothes and diapers
remembering such special moments with each outfit I pulled out
a new movie to keep the girls occupied while I was sorting
Mike getting belts replaced on the van before our drive home
afternoon snacks with just mom, dad, Mike, and I
chatting with my parent's Mennonite neighbor for an hour or so about food allergies and health concerns
watching her boys and my girls interact
my oldest deciding to keep me humble
my youngest for remembering her manners
both of them for being themselves no matter who they are around
a wish for a blessed and peaceful birth
mom's homemade enchiladas
salsa with fresh cilantro out of their greenhouse
an early bedtime for the 1st night in over a week

30 Days of Greatfulness, Day 26


Day 26,
Today I am greatful for:
not having to roll out of bed at 3:30 am to hit the Black Friday deals like my mom, dad, brother, sister, and husband all did
sleeping in and then snuggling with Rose in bed for half an hour
seeing the teenagers utter silliness because they had all been up for 24 hours straight
secret telling with Mike about Christmas presents for the girls
the beautiful-ness of a frosty morning
naps in the morning for everyone (except Olivia)
pie for lunch
with chili on the side
thrift store shopping with no kids
scoring a cute dress for each of us girls at a consignment shop
sweet finds of pyrex at the flea market
Rose's utter delight that I was finally home hours later
fresh milk and warm cookies from my parents neighbors
watching Rose open her birthday gifts from my parents and seeing her concentration on "doing it herself" with the lacing cards
her showing off to every single family member when she finished each one
bubble baths for little girls so mommy and daddy can have a moment of peace
non-swearing, but still entertaining, movies in the evening
snuggling with Mike and Rose (and my large belly) in a full size bed (it made for some cozy moments)

30 Days of Greatfulness, Day 25

Day 25,
Today I am greatful for:
spending time with my husband, girls, mom and dad, and brother and sister
cooking with my mom
sitting around the table all together
Sadie-Rose sleeping through our entire meal
our country's history
reminiscing with my family about the past 20 years worth of Thanksgivings
lovely weather
coconut cream pie
chatting with my brother late into the night after everyone else had gone to bed

30 Days of Greatfulness, Day 24


And today
we baked.

Day 24,
Today I am greatful for:
a grandpa who take grandgirls out to do chores with him
fresh greens from out of the greenhouse
guineas cackling outside our window at 6:30
baking with my mom
fresh chocolate cheesecake for the morrow
stacks of Christmas magazines to read through
new rain boots for both of the girls (horses for one, polka dots for the other)
spades to dig in the garden with
Sadie-Rose's delight in collecting eggs
beautiful warm weather for the kids to play outside in and the guys to work on cars in
an evening of movie watching and relaxing

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

30 Days of Greatfulness, Day 23


Day 23,
Today I am greatful for:
a safe drive to TN
a normal 12 hour drive that only took us 9.
tea in a thermos
good weather
11.5 hours of Sense and Sensibility on CD
headphones, books on tapes, and portable DVD players for the kids
seeing family that we hadn't seen since July
dinner in the crockpot when we arrived
leftover cupcakes and chocolate cheesecake

30 Days of Greatfulness, Day 22

Day 22,
Today I am greatful for:
an easy packing job
silly kiddos who wouldn't eat cupcakes for breakfast (they decided they wanted oatmeal instead)
pandora radio
getting the house all picked up and our bags packed in about 11 hours (yes, that's quick for us!)
a husband who runs the vacuum for me
earl grey tea to keep me awake in the afternoon
knowing that tomorrow night we will be at my parents
the most gorgeous full moon hanging in the sky

We are headed to my parents house for the rest of the week and my internet will be slow (they live in the country and still only have dial up internet service) so my postings for the rest of the week may be sporadic and possibly pictureless. But, I'm going to try and keep up because there will definitely be a lot of greatfulness in the next 5 days. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

30 Days of Greatfulness, Day 21

Today my greatful list is long. So very long.
Three years ago tonight, a very special beautiful sweet little baby was gently born into this world. Her birth was the most peaceful event, so much better than I had ever dreamed of. And her birth into our family changed separately, each one of us and together, our family unit. She was, and continues to be, a precious soul and a joy. And it's so fitting that she would be born just hours before Thanksgiving day began. Along with my marriage and my first born, she is one of the "things" I will always be most thankful for.

(just minutes after she was born)

So today, I'm thankful for the past:
her beautiful birth
the peace it brought
my great midwife and her awesome assistant
my great supportive husband
my precious older daughter, who watched in awe and wonder
our family and close friends who were praying for us and then
all the support, love, and visits that came afterward
amazing friends who brought delicious meal after delicious meal for 3 weeks
a most lovely little bundle in my arms
(I will never forget Mike and I lying in bed at 2am, taking pictures of her because we just couldn't believe how perfect she was.)

(early morning pictures)

Today I'm also most greatful for the present:
good friends who celebrated with us yesterday (they were there in the beginning and are still with us today)
the blossoming child that Sadie-Rose is right now
playing hooky from church to spend a morning of relaxed family time
making spiced waffles and whipped cream with Mike and Rose
while Olivia hid out, working on a "top-secret" project of her own making
lots of requests for "snuggles on the couch" from Rose
leftover cupcakes
sunshine and warm weather
Sadie-Rose wearing her red polka dotted "3" birthday shirt and piggy tales all day
seeing my girls play and laugh together all day
the joy that she brings to each of us

(playing princess dress-up this morning with her birthday gifts from the Wyatt's.)

And I'm also greatful for the future:
the person that Sadie is becoming
the role I have as her mother
the potential of all that God has for her
the blessings that she will have


Sadie-Rose Joy
She has lived up to her name in ever sense. She is her daddy (and I's) princess, she is a beatuiful flowering presence in our life, and she is a joy each and every day.

Happy Birthday baby girl! You are so very loved, by so many people.

The cake recipe mention yesterday can be found here.
No modification or alterations, although I didn't use cake flour, just AP.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

30 Days of Greatfulness, Day 20

Day 20,
Today I'm greatful for:
making up with the husband (even though the reason for making up = not so fun)
a new cake recipe that turned out perfect and delicious
lots and lots of pillowy, creamy, tangy cream cheese frosting
28 lbs. of fresh deer meat in our freezer
Rose's absolute enthusiasm to go run errands with her daddy, all by herself
2 hours of uninterrupted working time while Mike and Sadie Rose were gone
Sadie-Rose playing with a friend and sharing her new birthday toy so sweetly with him
Olivia's concern and watchfulness over her little sister
both kids going to bed at a decent time so Daddy and Mommy can spend time together
working on Christmas cards
finishing my word blocks (pictures next week, I promise!)
Christmas presents coming in the mail
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