Friday, March 29, 2013

He is no longer here...

What an amazing time of remembrance and celebration is upon us! 

He is no longer in the grave for he has risen.

Mat 28:1  Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.
Mat 28:2  And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.
Mat 28:3  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
Mat 28:4  And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.
Mat 28:5  But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.
Mat 28:6  He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.
Mat 28:7  Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you."
Mat 28:8  So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Mat 28:9  And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.
Mat 28:10  Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me."
Mat 28:11  While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place.
Mat 28:12  And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers
Mat 28:13  and said, "Tell people, 'His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.'Mat 28:14  And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble."Mat 28:15  So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.Mat 28:16  Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.Mat 28:17  And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.Mat 28:18  And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Mat 28:19  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,Mat 28:20  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Thankful! Little more do I have to give this great savior than my gratitude and humble heart. But I am so very thankful.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easy Mirror Update DiY

This mirror hangs in the dining room. I like to have it there so I can do I drive-by before I head out the back door. It has been this dark wood color for all its life but this weekend I decided it needed a new coat. Don’t we all like to be freshened up every now and then?

First, I cleaned it off well. Then I used some yellow acrylic paint around some of the detail. 

After that almost dried I got some white interior paint and put on a coat of it. I didn't want it to be stark white so not letting the yellow dry completely allowed some of it to bleed through. I didn't sand any but I made sure not to cover too well with the white.


I contemplated doing a stark white and may still add another coat but for now I like this look.

Easy and updated! Happy Thursday!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tribute To The Queen

Today, the woman that I know as queen, left this earth in peace. This beautiful lady is my grandma. To tell you the truth, I don't really remember exactly what started her title and reign as queen in our family, but I do remember all of us teasing about it and her happily accepting the title and role. From that point on, she was known as "the Queen" and/or "Queenie" and according to her, I was known as princess.
She quickly accumulated all sort of "queenly" gifts because everything pretty, sparkly, royal, and especially adorning a crown, reminded us of her.

I was so very blessed to live right across the street from my grandma and grandpa for almost my entire childhood. There have been many, many times over the years that I have talked negatively of living in that small town growing up, but today, I realized that if I had not lived there, I would not have all of the precious memories that I have with my queen. It's good to be reminded of the things that really matter.

If I wasn't following her around the house, I was following her around the yard and flowerbeds. If you couldn't find me in her lap in her favorite chair and her rubbing my back or playing with my hair, then you could find me rummaging through her box of fabric and her jars of buttons. If I wasn't sitting at her table eating her yummy fried eggs and toast with jam, then I was probably sifting through her closet looking at her clothes and shoes.  She was a stylish lady; always looking her best and presenting herself as just that, a lady.

And if it was 5:30 in the evening, then you could most certainly find me sitting in the living room munching on cheese and crackers and kipper snacks for the daily snack which I always invited myself to!  We also watched The Wheel of Fortune together during snack time. Both my grandma and grandpa could've been on that show and walked away with lots of money!

If it was Wednesday, there was a season in which you would always find me at the laundry mat with my grandma helping her sort and wash and fold clothes with a trip to the ice cream parlor for two rootbeer floats afterward. 

She taught me to sew a pillow, to play Rummy and Kings Corner, to play the knuckle song and Silent Night on the piano, to always laugh at yourself, to walk like a lady, that you are only as old as you feel and to enjoy life to the fullest, no matter what.

She made the best fried chicken in the world, the sweetest sugar cookies, and the most comforting grill cheese sandwich accompanied by the warmest mug of tomato soup.  

She made me laugh so much and I thought she was so funny that I called her my crazy grandma. Apparently, I would bring my little friends across the street and knock on her door and when she answered, I would introduce her as "my crazy grandma." Then, I would ask her to do something crazy! I was proud of her; I wanted everyone to meet her. I am still proud of her.
Whenever anyone would leave her house, she would stand at the top of the driveway and do a little dance as you pulled away. She did this for as long as I can remember. We would all smile and laugh and wave "happy hands" back at her and I would watch out my window until she was no longer in sight. 
I can still see her dancing.

She might have told an inappropriate joke or two, or three, or four as well. I remember one time in particular. I think I was in junior high and we had moved away at that time. She came to visit and stay with us and as she was whispering her joke in my ear, my dad walked into the kitchen and immediately could tell she was up to something. It was so funny, not the joke (I don't remember that).

I watched her every move. I listened. I soaked her in; her smile, her laugh, the way she would cut her eyes and crunch her nose and the way she could bring fun and joy into any room. 

I held her hand and studied her wrinkles; they were beautiful. I loved listening to her play the piano and sing. I can still remember the smell of her perfume and her voice saying, "I love you always."

I asked questions....about everything she did and she was always so gracious to listen and answer. 
I wanted to be with her every chance I got. I asked to come over all of the time and I LOVED the times that I would get to sleep over!

Once when I was older (in college), a few of my close girlfriends and I loaded up for a small road trip and headed to grandma's house. She stayed up late with us playing cards (Canasta!) and laughing and being her silly, fun self. We tried on all of her old hats and took fun pictures. She looked through old photos with us and told us stories.
She would often be ready for another game when the rest of us were ready for sleep!
There are so many wonderful things to remember and say about her. I am so incredibly thankful for the precious time I had with her. She taught me so much more than she probably ever realized.
I love this woman so dearly and she will forever live in my heart and my memories.

You reigned well my queen.

Spring Break Fun

While we were off last week I and my little family unit got to escape for a few days. We ran up to Branson Missouri and spent a couple days at an indoor water park. Keylee loves water. We thought it would be fun to let her have some water fun even though our weather outside isn’t quite cooperating yet. She had a blast and we chased her all over that place. 

The main playhouse was pretty fun. The next pic is Keylee leading her daddy through it.

Every 30 minutes or so a bell sounds and the giant bucket on top of the playhouse dumps gallons of water. We never jumped into the waterfall but every time the bell rang Keylee stopped to watch. After it was over she would turn to one of us and say "it's gonna be a little while till it happens again." Love that kid!

Of course there is always a lazy river. 

The kiddie play area was a hit and she went down the slide about 25 times on the last day. 

Shortly before we were going to head out she was taking another trip up the ramp to slide down again but she took off too fast and fell. That fall took it out of her and we were finished. Look at this face:
Poor sweet thing. I just want to eat her up. Of course she was not happy I was taking her pictures at all.
In spite of her spill at the end she had a good time and we are still talking about it. We are so fortunate to be able to do fun things like this. Love making memories with our girl. 

Did you have any fun spring break adventures? Share them with us.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ninja Birthday Party

So, my first born is now 8 yrs old and we had a super fun time celebrating him over the weekend. I always let my kiddos have input as to what kind of party they would like to have and then I take it from there and try to surprise them with the details.
They get so excited about birthdays and parties, making it even more fun for me to plan them!
Stone Man decided he wanted to have a Ninja party this year so I started searching the net for ideas and inspiration right away.
 I found a free download online for this fun ninja invite and then just made a few adjustments. I apologize because I cannot seem to find that site now!
I printed these on plain white printer paper in black and white, took a red marker to fill in the little star on the ninja's forehead and grabbed some of my red washi tape to seal them.
We stamped a Chinese character on the back of the envelope and used my wax seal to finish it off. I love my wax seal and had actually forgotten that I had it!
A black flat sheet and a red plastic table cloth covered the table. A pair of chopsticks rested on every child's plate and paper lanterns hung from above. We purchased the lanterns from Amazon in packs of 3. They are great because you can fold them flat again when you are done and use them again later.
However, I quite like them above my dining room table, even with the rest of the decor taken down. They may camp out there for a while, because they are fun!
We had strawberry cake (as requested by the birthday boy), icecream, sushi candy, and rice crackers.
I had so much fun making the sushi candy! I have made some like these before, but on a smaller scale just for my kids.
I got inspired all over again here and here. The kids LOVED it!
I made rice crispy bars as the base for all of the sushi; swedish fish on top and wrapped with a fruit roll up. The other sushi are made to be more like rolls. I simply cut a small square of the rice crispy bars, molded them with my hands into a circular shape, topped them with a dab of white icing, added a small piece of marshmallow that I cut and dyed with red food coloring to look like crab, sprinkled with shredded coconut and added some orange gel icing for the fish roe. Yeah, that's A LOT of sugar people! But that's how we do birthday's around here; they are a treat!
 I love to label food and drinks at parties with fun little cards. I just used white card stock, a stamp, sharpie, and black stamp pad to make them look a bit aged.
And our ninja birthday cake. I got the idea for this here. They did this same thing on cupcakes so I thought it would work for a cake too, and it did!
The slanted eyes are black licorice. 
These were hanging on the wall behind the table. I drew these out using paper from a large roll that I have. I wanted them to look like scrolls so the paper on the roll was perfect for that.
After drawing out my design, I grabbed my paints and went to work on the red and black scroll. I used a large mixing bowl turned upside down to trace a perfect circle and a ruler to draw the straight lines for the rest.
I searched online for Chinese characters and settled on this one meaning "happy." I grabbed my fine tip sharpie, and my laptop and free handed it.
On the other side of the table, I hung these super fun chinese takeout box lights over the doors. Daspri loaned these to us for the party and she has had them for a while so I am not sure if you can still find these or not.
However, there are lots of different lights available online that would go well with this style.

After everyone filled up on sweets and presents were opened, we sent the ninjas outside with their ninja swords.

I found this idea here.
The swords are made from foam pipe covers and electrical tape! You can find this foam in a long piece at your local hardware store (Lowe's, Home Depot). I paid .97 for each one. Then I simply cut them with an exacto knife and added electrical tape to one end.
Each pipe cover made 3 swords. They were super easy to make, affordable and well worth it. The kids loved them.
And let me say that they held up way better than I thought they would. Those swords were used in many ninja fights in the backyard and not one of them broke! And no one was injured because they are just foam. Perfect!
I also made ninja head bands for the kiddos too. I mean, you kind of have to have these. ;)
Again, very simple and affordable.

I bought some stretchy black knit fabric and cut it into long strips. I could have easily stopped there and they would've still been really fun, but I thought they needed a little something more.
So, I bought a package of iron-on stars too.
Each child left the party with a sword, headband, pair of chopsticks and a little thank you note.

The party was a huge success. Everyone seemed to have a great time and the birthday boy felt very loved!
Mission accomplished. :)

Related links:
Paper Lanterns

Friday, March 22, 2013

Birthdays & Ninjas

Today, my first born turns 8 yrs old. That is just plain crazy and shouldn't be allowed to happen! I know every parent says this, but seriously, I don't know how he is already 8! It has gone by way too fast.
But man oh man, have we enjoyed life with him and watching him grow up. He has supplied this family with many smiles, belly laughs, crazy dancing, mad ninja skills, ridiculous jokes and loads of joy.

Today, we are celebrating with all his favorite foods; cinnamon rolls for breakfast, pigs in a blanket for lunch, and out to eat Chinese food for dinner.

Tomorrow, we celebrate Ninja style with friends and family.
My mom always made birthdays super special in our home. I enjoy doing the same for my children. Birthdays are a big deal around here. They are that one day of the year that we enjoy celebrating the special birthday boy/girl and really focusing on them.

Check back on Monday to see our Ninja Birthday Party!

Have a happy Friday!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Crazy Refreshing & Peaceful

So, this may seem like an odd title, but to me, it is very fitting. Let me explain.

We got to go spend the weekend with some friends. They used to live right down the road from our house and we would get together a couple of times a week; the kids would play and their mom and I would drink coffee and chat amidst the craziness.  Almost a year ago, they moved away due to a job opportunity.  We have missed them a lot.

We finally got to get away and go see them. They are a family of 5 with three little boys and we are a family of 6. Do you see where this is going yet?
That's 7 crazy excited little ones all bunking together for the weekend.
It was crazy at times, but the good kind of crazy; refreshing. We played, laughed A LOT, slept very little, drank large quantities of coffee, battled it out in many games of Catan, had some family worship time together, and even managed to work in some craft time too.

Crazy refreshing. 
Life is crazy sometimes, well, most times. It's crazy busy; crazy full; crazy fun; crazy awesome! But it's also crazy refreshing & peaceful too.
Peace does not mean a physically quiet and tranquil place. It might sometimes, but that's not true peace to me.
While the kids were running and playing around us, there was no quiet, but I felt peaceful.

We were created to need fellowship with one another. I love living life with the people that God has placed in our lives.
Living life together, encouraging one another, loving one another, sharing a meal or a cup of coffee together, raising children together; this is where you find life.

We are taking a small break this week and living life together; with our family and friends. We'll be back to blogging next week (on Monday) and ready to share some fun things with you!
Be on the look out for a Ninja Birthday party and the intro to a new series all about COLOR!

Hope you have a crazy refreshing week!

Friday, March 15, 2013

I Heart Skeleton Keys-New T&R pieces!

It's Friday- yay!!! I know I am home everyday so some would think that Friday would not be so exciting, but it is. Friday means that we are about to enjoy two days of no school and fun time with daddy; together!

Also, exciting about today is that I finished and delivered more new Teapots and Robots pieces to Branch Out. I am so thankful for this wonderful creative outlet and for the two sweet ladies that have given it to me.

A little sneak peak. ;)

 Check out Branch Out in person and online. You can also find my little shop, Teapots & Robots here.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

DiY Makeup Brush Cleaning

I’ve learned a lot about makeup over the last decade or so (that makes me sound old).  One of the best things I learned in the last few years is that brushes are my friend. They make everything go on a bit smoother and can really help add that shading and shadowing we all like. But, what I’ve not been very good at is cleaning those lovely tools.

So, I set out to give my brushes a good cleaning and some new life. Lo and behold they needed the dip a lot worse than I thought. I’m a little hesitant to show you the pic of the water after my friends took a dip but I think you should see what you’re up against if you aren’t cleaning your brushes. A little makeup residue and probably a bit of bacteria.  

It is really very simple. You can buy a brush cleaning product or you can simply grab some baby wash. Since I have little bit at home I stole borrowed a tablespoon of her baby wash and filled up a jar with warm water to make a good suds bath.

Wipe any excess makeup off on a paper towel first.

Then give each brush a good dip and swirl, running them across the bottom of the glass/bowl to release all the makeup. Leave it in the water and grab the next one. As you can see, my friends needed a good bath.

Once they have all been dipped and swirled rinse them in cold water. Reshape each one and lay them on a towel slightly angled.

Once they dry they are soft and have reclaimed they former glorious shapes and smell quite nice as well.

Your face will thank you!!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Teaching Your Children To Love

I love opportunities that allow my children to show love to others; to think outside of themselves and think of someone else first.

"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." -Philippians 2:3-7

Sometimes these opportunities seem to just arise. But most times, you have to be looking for them. Just like everything else, it comes back to where your heart lies. When your heart is to love others, you will see that there are always countless ways to show and share love.

I am not always the best at this. One of the many things that having children has taught me, is that I can be really selfish.
However, my heart really is to love as He loves me and to help cultivate that love in my children; to be an example to them, and seize any opportunity that they can give love themselves.
We use My Father's World school curriculum and our Bible lesson recently was about the Bread of life.
One of the suggested activities was to make a simple loaf of bread and take it to someone. When I shared this with my oldest son, he was so excited to not only make the bread but to share it. He immediately knew who wanted to take it to, one of our neighbors, a sweet elderly woman.
This opportunity was presented to us. We had a choice to do it or not do it. But it isn't just the act of doing it.
.."God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:7
We had such a great time making this bread together. It blesses my heart so much to watch my children grow in love for others.
It is God that transforms our hearts but I am the one He has chosen to be their example right now. Oh, how I am so thankful that He does not expect me to do this on my own. I would surely fail.
Just in case you are ever tempted to think that my house always looks nice....  ;)
This is real life folks; we're living it and I hope to always convey that.
Our bread is done!
After letting it cool a bit, we packaged it in this bakery lined bag and added our bible verse that Stone Man colored during school.

"...I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." -John 6:35

To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.
-author unknown

It feels good to be loved...spread some around!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

DiY Bracelet Wrap

I have a sweet neighbor that creates goodies too. She buys bags of broken pieces and recycles or reuses the parts she can and then passes the rest along. A little while ago she was so sweet to bring me two bags of pieces to look through. One of the bags was full of bracelets. YAY! Most of them were still intact but missing a stone or something like that. So I shuffled through all the goodies and sorted everything and grabbed a few of these bracelets to wrap them up.

I wanted to make a 3 piece set so I got some yarn, craft yarn, and craft string in complementing colors (all I had on-hand).

Each one was wrapped using these different materials and some hot glue. Fun and quick project and happened to be free…! You can always wrap an old bracelet you have and don’t really care for anymore or grab a tape roll and go to town (see tutorial).