Friday, April 29, 2011

New Curtains

I decided our dining room needed some Pottery Barn-ish curtains, but not at the Pottery Barn price. So, I went to one store, bought everything I needed and had them hung within 20 minutes. My husband came in and instantly loved them. Don't they look great?!?



Oh wait. Maybe it wasn't quite that simple. Here's the real story: I did want Pottery Barn-ish curtains at a cheap price, so I scoured the internet and then dragged two toddlers to Target, Walmart and Bed Bath and Beyond. Let me tell you how fun that was. No luck! All the curtains I wanted weren't long enough for our windows. Then, at Lowe's, I happened upon canvas painter's drop cloths. Perfect! Rustic looking and just long enough for our windows. Happy dance!!! I brought them home (along with the cute curtain rods I found at Target) and started to hang them. This is where I officially gave up at curtain hanging. I seem to not have enough upper body strength to keep the darn screws straight as I'm screwing them into the walls, the result being loose, wonky curtain rods. And that's when it all went downhill. : )



My husband hung the first curtain rod for me and started putting up the curtain panels. He was less than thrilled that we were actually hanging painter's drop cloths on our walls. I comforted myself by thinking that he just wasn't grateful for the wonderfully creative and thrifty wife he has. Ha! Then the next disaster hit. Some of the drop cloths had seams horizontally right near the middle and some had seams that ran vertically. Ok, shake it off. It will just be another wonderfully rustic-chic part of our curtains. My hubby wasn't convinced.

Sorry Ladies. He's taken!


Next disaster: When I measured for the curtain rods, I measured the actual window and not the additional width I would want for the curtains to hang BESIDE the windows. Oops. Now, our curtain rod was stretched to the max and sagging in the middle. Beautiful! All the hardware was hung and we were now looking at a total $ loss on that rod. But, I had a brilliant idea! I would go to Michaels and pick up a dowel rod to slip inside the rods and support that sagging middle. It would be soooo easy. Wrong again! If you (or my mother) could see me with my ever so slightly too fat dowel rod, trying to shave some of the wood off the side with a giant saw, you would lock me up. I was holding the dowel between my knees and with my hand right under the saw (there was no other way to hold it!), I was sawing away. I could see my future in the emergency room with a sawed hand, so I stopped. Then, I had another brilliant thought. I would just hammer that sucker right into the curtain rod. Yes! So, I started hammering and it actually started to work. When the hammer stopped moving it, I went into the garage and got the mallet. I am not joking. The mallet actually had an axe on the other side.



 This is where I went completely nutty. I perched up on a kitchen stool to get more leverage and whacked away with the mallet until my arm gave out. Victory! It was in far enough and would perfectly support my curtain rod. Then I lifted the rod up and noticed the end.





Smashed to oblivion. Darn it!!! Back to Target for another, longer, curtain rod. Kicking myself the whole way for the wasted money. Now see? This is DIY reality.

Cute, Cute Wall Hook DIY

I found this very smart DIY Wall Hook on Shanty 2 Chic's blog site. So lovely!

http://www.shanty-2-chic.com/2011/04/mason-jar-key-hook.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+shanty-2-chic%2FWwSe+%28Shanty2Chic%29



And here is my version.




Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fun Faux Coral at Pottery Barn

Once again, I have been drooling over the Pottery Barn catalog. They have some faux coral for displaying that is very summery and fun. I was trying to figure out how I could cast some myself using plaster of paris. But, how to make the molds? Then, I came across a blog that blew me away. Buy some cheap faux coral from the pet section at Wal-Mart and spray paint it white. Duh!

Here is the link:

www.thestoriesofa2z.com



This is Pottery Barn's Version




This is The Stories of A to Z Version


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Still Finding Beauty in a Messy House

I've decided to do a picture assignment for myself. I want to capture the beauty and the blessings in the messes. I am hoping some of you might want to share a photo or a thought about where you see the beauty in your messy house. I want to clarify that these pictures don't represent the worst my house has ever looked, nor do they represent the disgusting things about motherhood such as being up to your elbows in poop. Why? Because I'm confident that no one wants to see that! Here are my first three.

Outside Fun



The Heart of Our Home


Life is Like Laundry........Loads of Fun
(I totally stole that quote and I'm not sure that laundry really is loads of fun, but I am thankful that we have so many nice clothes!)


More to come.....

Sisters

Through my girls I am constantly learning about how sisters interact. My sister is 10 years older than me, so she was more like another mom. We didn't fight over things. She just took care of me. My girls, on the other hand, are often arguing and fighting. I love to watch how they relate to each other and the moments (however brief) of true bonding and sisterhood.










Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Rocking Chair Poem

I have been wanting to share my rocking chair poem for a while. I wrote it for my girls and it is pretty sappy, but I was trying to capture the sweetness of rocking my babies.

Sweet Baby Girl

We're rocking in our yellow chair
I'm stroking your soft, fuzzy hair
Warm bellies touching
Noses nuzzling

We gaze into each other's eyes
I'm humming you a lullaby
And you let out a sleepy sigh
My sweet baby girl

Your little body curls into mine
We fit together by design
Blue eyes filled with love
Brown eyes filled with love

Perfect ears and tiny teeth
I lay soft kisses on your cheek
The room is filled with quiet peace
My sweet baby girl

My love for you overflows my heart
It has right from the very start
It reaches to the moon and back
My sweet baby girl




Monday, April 25, 2011

Squeaky Clean

Tonight we were giving the girls a bath. Elle said, "I have to go pee pee!" Then, she sat there a few seconds and said, "Now I don't have to go anymore." Uh oh. Everyone out of the tub.



A Destination and A Compass

More from the 7 Habits Book:

Suppose you went to a construction site and asked the workers what they were building. "We have no idea, " one replies. Then you ask what the blueprint shows. The foreman says, "We have no blueprint. We feel that if we build with great skill and craftsmanship, in the end we will have a beautiful building."
Obviously faulty thinking, but this is exactly what most of us do within our family structure. We may read books on child rearing and do our very best, but without a final plan, we may all be headed in different directions. You need to have a family vision and write down your family mission statement. It will give you a clear, shared vision of the destination you as a family want to go. As you compare your actions with your mission statement, you will see if you are off course.

How to create your family mission statement:

Explore what your family is all about. Get everyone's feelings and ideas on the table. Ask "What kind of family do we really want to be?" "What kind of home would you like to invite your friends to?" "What makes you want to come home?" "What embarrasses you about our family?" "What is the purpose of our family?" "How do we want to speak to each other?" "What are our responsibilities as family members?" "How can we contribute to society as a family?" Etc, etc. Make sure everyone has a chance to give input and is really listened to. Restate their ideas to make sure you really understand them. Have everyone write down their top 5 values and then eliminate them one at a time until they are down to one. This is the hardest part of the process, but will force family members to identify what is most important to them.

Write down your family mission statement. It is extremely important to get it down on paper. This is your rough draft. Family members will need to look at it, think about it, live with it, discuss it, and make changes. Work with it until everyone comes to agreement.

Use your mission statement to stay on track. This is not some "to do" to check off your list. It's a literal constitution for your family life. Creating the family mission statement enables you to keep those promises and commitments constantly before you so they are written on your heart and mind.

Three "Watch Outs"


Don't announce it. Don't just make the mission statement yourself and announce it to your family. Everyone has to feel ownership in it or they won't buy into it. It's like asking someone when they last washed a rental car. If it isn't yours, you don't value it or take care of it.

Don't rush it. The process is as important as the product.

Don't ignore it.  The mission statement should become the very fabric of your lives. This should become a habit and not a one time event.



Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter


You poured out all your blood



You died upon the cross


You are my Jesus who loves me


You are beautiful my sweet, sweet song


And I know my redeemer lives!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

No Shame In Elise's Game

I love how babies just let 'er rip anytime, anywhere. Elise can rip some that would make a trucker proud! Then, she just looks around and tells anyone in a ten foot radius, "I poo poo!"


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Lunch-Time To Step It Up

I have never had to make Easter lunch before. We always go to my mom's or my mother in law's. This year, we're in Tulsa and I am going to have to step up to the plate! Ha ha. Good pun. : ) I am no Martha Stewart, but I do really enjoy cooking and consider it a hobby. One that I usually don't have much time for because I'm cooking with a baby on my hip and a toddler hanging on my leg. This is my chance to go full out! I have been scouring the Food Network in search of easy, yet yummy dishes to make the meal extra special.

Here is what I'm planning:

Brie wrapped in puff pastry. I LOVE this stuff!
Oven roasted asparagus
Oven roasted red potatoes with rosemary and garlic
Honey glazed carrots
Fig and orange glazed ham
Banana pudding

Yummmmmmm!!!

This is what Jason and I will be eating. My girls will pick and complain and I'll end up making them microwaved chicken nuggets with canned corn. : )

All of these recipes sound chic, but are actually pretty quick and easy to make. Email me if you want one of the recipes.

Let me know what you're planning for your Easter lunch!!!

The Beauty in a Messy House

Today, I was walking through the house and wondering, "Can I see the beauty in my messy house?" I have never been a neat freak by any means, but the constant cycles of picking up messes have worn me out. I now, more than any other time in my life, feel anxiety when I walk through messy rooms. I want to scream, "I just cleaned that room! What happened?!?" But, today God is quietly reminding me of the life in those messes. They represent my beautiful, vibrant little girls with their creative minds and energetic spirits. And they represent a goal of our family which is to have fun: I see crayons and paper, bouncy balls, and dandelions picked for me from the yard. Maybe I can see the beauty in my messy house.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Great Easter Lesson

I came across a cute Easter lesson today and wanted to share it.

You get 5 plastic eggs and fill one with a heart, the next with a thorny branch (I used one from our barberry bush), one with a cross (I made one out of twigs), one with a rock, and the last with a piece of cloth.

You tell them about how much God loved us and sent His only son while opening the heart egg. The thorns represent the crown of thorns placed on Jesus's head. Explain the cross. The rock represents the one rolled in front of Jesus's tomb. And the piece of cloth represents the grave clothes left behind when Jesus was raised from the dead.

It was so simple and my girls loved it. To finish it off, I printed off coloring pages that had John 3:16 on them.


Pottery Barn

I am a Pottery Barn fanatic! I am convinced that if my house looks as good as the catalog pictures, then my children will never spill another thing and we will all live in peace and harmony. Ha! I love to scour their catalogs and see what I can find/create for much less. In one, I saw the cutest flowered wreath mobile that wasn't even for sale. I decided I could do that myself.

Here is Pottery Barn's version:



And here is mine:





You could make your own wreath. I bought mine at Hobby Lobby when they were 50% off. Then, you just add the ribbon.



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Polly Incident

I've never been impressed with my Dyson until today and..........the Polly incident. Dum, dum, dummmm!

Poor unsuspecting Polly Pocket was hanging out under the kitchen table in her pink, polka dot party frock, when all of a sudden, disaster struck!




I have a new respect for the power of my Dyson's brush and let me tell you, Elle has a healthy respect for it too. After "the incident", she was scurrying around, picking up every toy in sight. Ha!


Monday, April 18, 2011

Stuffed Easter Egg

This idea came from the Disney craft magazine. I modified mine a little bit.

What you'll need:

A dozen large eggs
Cupcake liners
Small trinkets or toys
Glitter, confetti, or decorative gift bag shredding
Hot glue

Take the raw eggs and poke a hole in the bottom with a pin. Using nail scissors, cut the bottom out of the egg and dump out the inside. Rinse under running water and put them on a paper towel to dry overnight. If you want to dye the eggs, do it before poking the hole and cutting out the bottom.

Fill the egg with some glitter, confetti, or gift bag shredding and a small toy or trinket. Hot glue the egg to the cupcake liner to cover the hole. I added more gift bag shredding to surround the egg.

I plan on hiding these eggs with the plastic ones out in the yard on Easter morning. The girls will get to smash their eggs to find the prizes inside.





Being Whole and The Love Bank

More from 7 Habits:

Today's tidbit from the book is about building the love banks of your family members. You have an emotional account with each family member. You make withdrawals by being reactive and put in deposits by being proactive. If you have a high balance with a family member, then there is a high level of trust. Communication is open and if you make a mistake, the emotional reserves will compensate for it. But, if the account is low or overdrawn, then there is no trust and it feels like you're walking on minefields. You're always on your guard and you have to measure every word. Remember that love is a verb. No matter what the situation, there are always things you can do that will make relationships better.

Ways to make deposits:

Being kind. In relationships, the little things ARE the big things. Little kindnesses go a long way toward building trust and unconditional love. Small notes, unexpected acts of service, kind words, showing recognition, etc. Research shows that humans need a minimum of 12 hugs a day.

Apologizing. If your security is based on your image or your position on being right, then apologizing is like draining all the juice from your ego. The sooner we learn to apologize, the better.

Being loyal to those not present. What happens when family members are not loyal to one another, when they criticize and gossip about others behind their backs? What does it do to the relationship, to the culture of the family? They make huge withdrawals not only from the person spoken about, but from the person spoken too. How can they trust that you won't do the same to them?

Making and keeping promises. This is one of the best ways to build trust. Say what you'll do and do what you say.

Forgiving. You will always be the victim until you forgive. When you truly forgive, you open the channels through which trust and unconditional love can flow. You also remove a major obstacle that keeps others from changing because when you don't forgive, you put yourself between people and their own conscience. You get in the way.

My two cents: You need to be whole before you can do these things. You have to continually ask God to fill you up. Spend time with Him and His word and promises, letting Him heal you and fill you up so you can truly walk in love, which is really just an overflow of His love through you.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter Lily Craft

I found a cute Easter/spring craft for the girls to do and wanted to pass it along. I love that their little hands make up the flowers!

Trace your child's hand three times on colored paper. I used scrapbook paper, but you could also use construction paper. Cut them out and curl each finger around a pencil. Glue the palm edges together.

Glue each flower to a drinking straw, preferably green. If you have pipe cleaners, cut off a 1 inch piece, fold in half and stick into top of straw for the stamen.

Cut leaf shapes out of your paper and make a hold in the center, then poke your straw through.

Now, you can put your flowers in a vase or a glass, or if you have some little pots (like we did), you could hot glue them in that. Voila!



These are Elise's poor flowers! Shredded.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sweetie?

I've been noticing a recent change in my status. All of a sudden at fast food restaurants, young men (early twenties) are calling me sweetie. This is totally freaking me out! In my mind, I'm thinking you only call children sweetie, or extremely old people can be called sweetie. Hopefully I don't fit in either category. Jason says maybe they're into cougars. Gross! Is this a new trendy thing and I just don't know about it? What is going on?!?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stickers

Elle wanted to put some alphabet stickers on my shirt..........


Ummmmmm. Not what I had in mind.

The culprit!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Make Your Own Detangling Spray

With three girls, we go through hair products like crazy! I found a way to make our own detangling spray and wanted to share it.

You take an empty spray bottle, fill it 1/4 full of hair conditioner (any kind) and the rest with water. Shake it.

Make sure you shake it before you use it each time. That's it! So easy.


l   

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Circle of Influence vs. The Circle of Concern

More from the 7 Habits Book:

Remember the serenity prayer? "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." There are two circles that encompass your life. The circle of concern contains all the things that you may be concerned about. The circle of influence is a smaller circle. It contains the things you can actually do something about. The tendency is to spend a lot of energy and focus on the circle of concern. The problem is, the energy you are focusing on those concerns is often negative energy/negative thoughts. The key is to put your focus and your energy in a positive way on your circle of influence. Why waste precious energy on worrying about things you cannot change? Instead, learn to recognize your thoughts and language. If they sound accusing, blaming, reacting, then you are in the circle of concern. When your thoughts and language become proactive involving steps you can take to improve the situation, then you'll know you're back in the circle of influence.

Lisa's two cents: In our Bible study, the speaker was talking about our amazing, God-given imagination. Instead of spending time imagining the worst case scenario (a habit I am eliminating), let your imagination run wild with the best case scenario. What if God totally turned your problem around for you? What if you were completely healed? What if your best days are yet to come? What if you were filled with life and health? What if your soul was satisfied? All of those things are possible with God, so start imagining what your life would look like with God in the equation!



Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kids' Rainy Day Crafts

This morning at my mom's group, we made kits full of crafts to pull out on a rainy/boring day. I thought it was a great idea to have these on hand and it was actually fun making them!

We made colored salt by mixing 1/2 cup salt with a few drops of food coloring in a baggie. Shake it all together and you are done. You can let the kids make a design on paper with glue and then sprinkle the colored salt on. Very cute! I took some of our more simple coloring pages out and let them trace the lines with glue and sprinkle on the colored salt.

We also made Gak by mixing a cup of glue with a few drops of food coloring. You add liquid clothes starch a little at a time and mix/knead it until it no longer sticks to your hands. Very messy, but fun.

We put 2 Tbs. alcohol in a baggie with a couple of drops of food coloring, added some dry penne pasta, and shook it up to dye the pasta. Then, put it on a paper plate to dry. Cut some string and you have the makings for a pasta necklace.

We also put in a printed color matching game. You can find printable activity or coloring pages online.  Print some off to keep in your kit.

When we got home, I also had the girls help me make some Kool-Aid playdough to keep in our kit. Here is the recipe:

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
3 Tbs. oil
1 pkg Kool-Aid in desired flavor/color
1 cup boiling water

Mix the first 4 ingredients together in a bowl. Add the boiling water and stir together. If it's still tacky, knead in some flour a little at a time until you get a smooth consistency. Now you have pretty, fruity smelling playdough! The kids may try to eat it because it smells so good, but the high salt content will turn them off and it is non-toxic.


Toys in the trash!

Lately, I have been in one of those moods were I am soooooo tired of stepping on or over small, random toys in our house. There seems to be at least one of said toys every 5 feet or so. Bathrooms are no exception! So (don't read this part mom!) I have been tossing them in the trash. I know this is wasteful, but I can't seem to help myself. As I throw them away, a youtube parody has been playing in my head. To get the full picture, you can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/user/schmoyoho#p/a/u/0/9QS0q3mGPGg

In my version I say, "McDonald's toy-winning!" "Plastic Goat-winning!" "Barbie shoes-winning!" "Winning here, winning there. Winning, winning everywhere."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How To Do A Max and Ruby Party

If you want to do a Max and Ruby birthday, then you will have to get creative. No one sells the party decorations and there are very few resources on the net to help with ideas. I decided to post pics of Elle's party last weekend to pass along the few ideas I did copy or come up with. Be prepared for a lot of printing, cutting, and pasting. : )

The pink and white striped "tablecloth" was a sheet we already had. The center is gathered with a clothespin decorated with ribbon.

We bought some fancy lemonade and then glued our home made "Ruby's Lemonade" labels on.

You can go to Rosemary Wells' website to print off this super cute birthday banner. I bought some pink polka dot ribbon and taped the banner pieces on.

We bought these ice cream waffle bowls at Wal-Mart and I dipped the edges in melted milk chocolate chips and then rolled them in sprinkles. We had a full fledged sundae bar with caramel, fudge and cherries.

The garden lanterns were from Dollar Tree. They even have a battery powered light in them. I set up a mini tea party complete with the bear reading a Max and Ruby book. If you don't have one of these kiddie bistro tables, you could just set the tea party on a fancy cloth napkin right on the big table.

The Max and Ruby puppet theatre box can be found on Nick Jr.'s website. You can print off the decorated papers and it gives step by step instructions on how to glue them to the shoebox. I just did boxed cake mix and canned frosting with a cute cupcake wrapper. You need to buy plain/cheap wrappers to actually bake the cupcakes in and then put them in the cute wrappers after they cool off. If you try to bake them in the cute wrappers, it will fade them and waste your money. I made the cupcake decorations by using wavy scissors to cut the larger circle out of scrapbook paper, then regular scissors to cut out a smaller, coordinating circle and the Max and Ruby characters were printed off Rosemary Wells' website and glued to the center. Then I hot glued a popsicle stick to the back. You could also use wooden stirrers.

I used yellow foam board to make the house. Then, I cut out colored construction paper for the details. Both the Max and Ruby name and the characters were printed off on the computer and cut it out. I did glue the characters to poster board before cutting them out to give them stability to stand on their own.

My pretty birthday girl! Can't believe she is already 3!

This was the party favor we sent home with everyone. : )