Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Acts of Kindness {A New Christmas Tradition}

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We are trying something new this Christmas season. A kindness project that I hope will develop into a meaningful tradition. Inspired by the book The Last Straw by Paula Palangi, I've challenged my little family to show secret acts of kindness to another family member each week leading up to Christmas.
Monday evening we drew names and for the coming week we'll each show acts of kindness. When we do, we get to place a piece of straw into baby Jesus' cradle. The goal is to create a soft bed for baby Jesus to sleep on Christmas eve.
The idea was met with enthusiasm and everyone has already shown loving acts of kindness. I'm excited to cultivate more love in our family with this simple tradition.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Family Room {Progress!}

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Wall number two is up!
Below is a little glimpse into what all has to happen to the boards before they go up. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Simple Pumpkin Tic-Tac-Toe

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This simple activity was a BIG hit at our annual Pumpkin Carving Party and best of all it was very simple to put together. All you need is 10 miniature pumpkins (5 white and 5 orange) and orange duck tape. This is sure to become a family tradition. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Our First Sweet Potato Harvest

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Remember the crazy sweet potato idea we had back in May? Well, that one sweet potato multiplied and this week (five months later) we harvested our first batch of sweet potatoes!
 We started by cutting the vines away from the top of the soil.
Once cut, everything rolled back like a big blanket.
 Next came the digging. We decided because the area was so small, we'd dig everything up by hand.
 Once the potatoes were out they were tossed on the ground around the garden.
Some of the tubers were long and snake like. This made the girls giggle.
We came away with a wagon load. I think Steven was expecting more potatoes. But 20+ good size potatoes from one isn't bad in my opinion. Now we wait six more weeks for the potatoes to cure and the put them to the REAL test, our taste.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Family Room {The Walls}

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We finished the ceiling in the family room in January, but since then, life has taken over and we recently decided it was time to make the final push! So we've removed all of the old trim and painted the last coat of paint on the ceiling the week of October 5. We've decided to keep one wall the original wooden plank walls, so we covered that wall in plastic to keep from getting paint on it.
Once the ceiling was painted I cleaned the wall using hot water and vinegar. Six buckets of water and four kitchen sponges later, the wall is clean, and has a coat of clear satin urethane.
While brainstorming ideas for wall coverings for the other three walls, I came across this home featured in Southern Living. I immediately fell in love with the shiplap, pine-plank walls in the entryway of the home. I knew it was what we needed for the family room.
We chose to start with the french door wall. Here is the progress we've made! 
 Boards before they are hung.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blood Moon {2014 Lunar Eclipse}

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 Most of my favorite memories don't involve large amounts of money or even much preparation, most often it's a simple investment of time and focused attention. I'm hoping Marin feels this way about the early morning we drug her out of bed to see the lunar eclipse of 2014. And, while it was more important that the little girls sleep, than see the blood moon, they did get to enjoy our Blood Moon pancakes. I love it when homeschooling fades into family time.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Year for Pecans

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 We have quite a few pecan trees in our yard, but this year, for whatever reason, we have a bumper crop of pecans! Autumn days, filled with cooler weather, call to us and we've spent many a morning hunting pecans. The girls love it so much we've likened it to Easter egg hunting in the fall.
Nut hunting anyone? Doesn't have quite the ring.
 Adalyn is our resident pecan cracker. Her tool of choice? A child's size hammer.
 Here is the clan hunting pecans on a Sunday afternoon. Hello autumn. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thrilled About A Fence

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 We had a new wooden fence put up all along the back line of our property. The girls are more than thrilled about the new found freedom and we're excited about the privacy it provides. Circle A Fence Company did a wonderful job.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fishing Baby Shower {The Main Event}

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Here are photos from the baby girl fishing shower that I coordinated for a couple at our church. The parents-to-be love to fish. The colors were bright pink, orange and shades of blue and grey. The party decorations were based on the invitation design. My favorite part about the decorations were the floating fish. At one point in the evening they were actually traveling around the room! Too fun!
I created this "guest book page" and framed it (putting the glass behind it for the event). Guests wrote messages inside the little fish. The top says "Blessings for ______". Download your own copy here.
The fish were made following the "Koinobori-Japanese Flying Carp DIY"
tutorial from Squirrelly Minds
The cake design was inspired by the invitation design and was baked and created by Barbara Watts.
I created the water garland using crepe paper streamers. I cut into the streamer about 3/4 of the way in on one side while it was still rolled. Then as I unrolled the streamer I twisted it. I gathered the pieces together and tied them with blue ribbon at the corners and in the middle.
Filled little metal buckets with Swedish Fish and Gummy Worm candies.
I've created a template of the fish (download here) so that you can make your own. It's best to buy colored paper stock that is double sided because the fish spin and move when hanging from the balloons. 
Church members were asked to bring "fish theme" related food items.
Here are two super creative ideas!

Fishing Baby Shower {The Invitation}

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Who says fishing is just for boys? According to some, REEL girls fish.
Above is an invitation design I created for a baby girl fishing themed shower.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Felt Fox Tail and Ears {Free Pattern}

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For some reason my oldest LOVES foxes. Books about foxes, pictures of foxes and of course the "What Does the Fox Say?" song. She begged and begged for a fox costume. Above is the final product and below is the pattern we created. If you have a fox lover in your home, here is a free pattern to assist you in making your own felt fox pattern. A few tips: Sew the white piece on the front side of the tail before sewing the two tail pieces together. Elastic is a super easy way for kids to dress themselves in costumes. The black portion of the ears should be attached so that it peeks out above the top of the ear. Glue it down and attach the white portion of the ears before sewing the ears together. Hot gluing the ears to the headband before sewing them together helps hold things in place. These ears are similar to the cat ears we created one year for Halloween. We followed this tutorial. Perhaps it will help you. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

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Easy Refrigerator Pickles

3 Small Cucumbers
1/2 large yellow onion
1 cup Vinegar
1 cup Sugar
2 tsp celery Seed

Wash cucumbers, slice into thin circles.
Cut onion into thin slivers
Mix 1 cup vinegar with 1 cup sugar and stir until dissolved.
Place cucumber slices and onion into jars
Add celery seed to vinegar sugar mix.
Pour liquid over cucumbers and onion.
Seal and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 months.

I've really enjoyed having a summer garden and picking small handfuls of freshness each evening. We love cucumbers, but were having a hard time keeping up with the cucumber vines! These pickles are delicious on chicken salad sandwiches and are so easy to make.


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