Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Busy Bag Swap

I'm fairly new to this whole "busy bag" craze. Heard of it?

Here's a quick summary...

Busy Bags are basically a simple educational/learning activity for small children (ages 1-6 or 7) that will keep them busy for short periods of time when they otherwise might be antsy. All the different parts and pieces of the activity usually fit into a gallon size zippered bag… so that’s why they’re called “Busy Bags”.
Original content from Simple Organized Living

So what's a busy bag swap?

Basically, a bunch of mamas who all want A LOT of different busy bags but don't want to make them all! Kind of like a cookie swap or a meal swap, etc... Each person makes the SAME busy bag for the number of people that are participating in the swap. Make sense?

Well, I just got back from my swap tonight and BOY am I excited! I should also mention our target age range was from 18 months to 3 years old. And I gotta give a shout out to my friend Mary for organizing this swap...she did such a great job.

Check out all these fun activities that will entertain my kids for hours and hours and HOURS!!!

1. "I spy" bottle. Match the item in the bottle to the picture on the card. Great for car rides.

2. Colored pasta beads for sorting and making a necklace.

3. Caterpillar color matching and learning about patterns.

4. Clothesline with foam clothes.

5. Life size board game. (Hard to picture but the directions look really fun!)

6. Color match the clothespins to the teddy bears.

7. Build a face. (I made this one)

8. Build a cupcake.

9. Plastic sheets to create fun things using playdough.

10. Build a rainbow.

You can be as creative or simple as you like!

So put your boring crayons and coloring books away and have your own busy bag will be so glad you did. (So will your kids). 


Monday, November 26, 2012

Fireplace {whitewash makeover}

Do you ever get a really good idea for a project and then put it off?

For like TWO YEARS? 
(purely hypothetical of course)

You have all the supplies you need sitting around...then after about two years (let's say) you put the kids to bed one night and decide it's finally time to do it?

And after seeing this great blog post on exactly how to do it, you think to yourself, "I could do that in about an hour!"

So you quickly change into some grungy paint-stained clothes and get to work.

START TIME: 9:07pm


I used leftover white paint we used to paint the basement walls. 

Filled a plastic cup equal parts paint and water. Stir well.

I then cleaned the bricks with a damp rag and let it dry.

Took a large paint brush and painted about 4 bricks at a time, followed by quickly wiping the excess with a rag. 

One coat was enough for the whitewash look I wanted.


END TIME: 10:11pm

Whitewashed fireplace makeover complete.

Commence the happy dance. 



Saturday, November 24, 2012

Our turkey feast...

I generally enjoy cooking a yummy, healthy, flavorful meal. However the motivation factor drastically decreased the moment I birthed children. Coupled with the fact that I usually eat with the kids alone for dinner while the hubby is hard at work in the evenings. Mac n cheese and PB&J are just SO much easier sometimes, ya know?

Anyway, this post is totally a "Bragging About My Turkey Dinner" post, b/c I don't cook on a regular basis these days. In fact, realistically maybe once a week. Maybe. 

So after all the work I put into making this afternoon a success, it's important I document it...

I am tuckered out (not gonna lie) but I will say I had this giddy feeling all day knowing my family was enjoying every single bite. And I have to give my sweet sisters Lauren and Katelyn and my Mama for helping in the kitchen and Terry, Greg and Dave for helping clean up the "aftermath". I couldn't have done it without them.

Hope your Thanksgiving was blessed!

Now, it's time for CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!



Friday, November 23, 2012

A couple things...

{1} Michigan weather is cray-cray! In years past, Thanksgiving Day around these parts usually involves snow, sleet, or ice (take your pick). But YESTERDAY was amaze-balls! After wolfing down some yummy food with the in-laws, we ran around outside playing duck-duck-goose, hide-and-seek, and tag until our cheeks turned red! I mean it was a little windy but still! Sixty degrees at the end of November?? It reminded me of my childhood growing up in CA. Where we would go for family walks after our big turkey feast.

{2} Speaking of turkey, we are hosting my side of the family tomorrow. And I'm attempting to pull off my very first traditional turkey dinner. My high school bud Jenny posted the most delicious sounding recipe, so we are giving it a go this year! Here's Kensie helping me prep this morning...

ice, peppercorns, and chicken broth (to name a few) covering our 11.5 lb turkey in a 5 gallon bucket
(it won't look so weird after you read the recipe HERE.)

{3} Speaking of Kensie, boy does she have some news. SHE WENT PEE ON THE POTTY this morning for the first time! We're still taking baby steps but this is HUGE for her. Read my previous post HERE so get the full story on why.

{4}Projects are actually happening around here these days. Hard to believe right? I'll post more on them later but here's a sneek peek of one...

In case you're wondering, this is the BEFORE pic. Come back on Monday to see the AFTER!

{5} It's officially the Christmas season!!!!!!! I get just a little geeked about the holidays. Especially when it comes to decorating. I love to transform the entire house into a wonderland of lights, ornaments, nativity scenes, garland galore(!) and trees of all shapes and sizes.

Don't mind my hunky man under the tree there. He was readjusting a branch that Mason sat on b/c apparently tree branches are also benches. Oh Mason...

Be sure to stop by next week. On December 1st, I'll be having a "Holiday Open House" (cyber-style). You won't want to miss this year's Christmas home tour. Just a few more finishing touches...

Thanks for staying :tuned in my friends!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Mini lanterns and Wicker chairs

I've always wanted to hang a chandelier over our dining table but the ceiling is not wired for a light fixture in this room. And I stopped bothering asking Greg to figure out how to do it. 

Then I saw this idea. Betchya can't guess from where...

Anyway, this past summer when my neighbor and I had our Hoarders Sale, I bought these cute mini lanterns from her for 5 bucks total. I know I know. The point of the sale was to GET RID of crap but I walked home with a couple things. Oh well...aren't they so cute?!

So during naptime today I finally got the itch to make my Pinterest dream into a reality. I ran outside quick to grab a branch from the front yard. Greg recently trimmed a ton of trees around our property so I had lots to choose from.

I hung the branch with some fishing wire . Once I got it the right height I used twine to hang each lantern, one at a time, at varying lengths. It only took me about 30 minutes from start to finish.

I love how it appears to be floating.



I also found two wicker chairs from Pier 1, so we can now seat EIGHT comfortably.

And just in time for Thanksgiving! We are hosting this year (for my side of the family), and I can't wait see everyone!


Linking up HERE.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Being relate-able

In case you were wondering, my pity party is over since my last post. Contentment is a tricky thing for me sometimes. In the larger scheme of life, I actually feel quite happily content. And I honestly wouldn't change a thing. It's just easy to become discontent when I stop appreciating all the things I love about my life. I'm still workin' on it....

So, what's with all the "Debbie Downer" posts??

I want to be relate-able. There's something so freeing when I tell someone I've messed up. When I let people know I don't have the slightest clue how to raise our kids. When I pray with my closest friends about a tough situation that I have no idea how to handle. When I spend too much money shopping online and blow my cover wide open to my husband. 

Honesty is FREEING.

I haven't always felt this way. I used to think only showing my strengths and accomplishments was what people cared about. Like that's what would "win" people over. Then I discovered the truth all throughout God's Word. 

My conclusion is this. Listen closely.....

God thrives on using people in their weaknesses. There's not a single person in the Bible who had it "all together". Yet, God thought their life was important enough to write about in His Word. Why? Because he knew people like me could relate to them. He knew that I could identify with people who continue to "mess up" in life. He loved them fully and completely despite their earthly failures.

That being said, I would love to share even more here on the blog about difficult situations in my real life. Unfortunately due to the circumstances that's just not possible. But I can tell you God can and IS using them for good. He is moving and working in real and powerful ways.

So I will continue to sprinkle these kind of posts in between all the other fun stuff I usually enjoy blogging about....decorating, house projects, party planning, funny kid stories, etc...just so you know who I really am. They will be little reminders now and then that I am just an ordinary girl with an extraordinary God who continues to be glorified through every part of my life. That's really the whole point of life anyways, isn't it? Something I'm still striving to do on a daily basis.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oh, hey!

It's been a while, I know. I haven't forgotten about you. Promise.

In fact, I've had tons of imaginary posts written up in my head that just never made it to the computer. They were quite brilliant, actually.

I was gonna tell you all about how the kids have been growing up lately and saying funny things and doing naughty things and almost killing each other on a daily basis and how I wish they could just obey the first time.

I was gonna spend a whole post complaining about how much I despise COLD weather and why Jesus needs to come back as a result. Like ASAP.

I was gonna whine about how much I miss my husband these days and how it's SO exhausting and draining being a stay at home (practically single) mom. Blah blah...

I was gonna gripe about all the "half-projects" I have going on and how there's ZERO motivation to finish them.

I was gonna post all my favorite fashion trends for this fall and winter and how I absolutely have to have every single one of them.

I was even gonna tell you I'm throwing in the towel on this whole "blogging" gig. How I want to write about deeper things but always wind up taking the "easy way out" by sticking closer to the surface.

Wait, what?

Did you hear that??

Ah's called discontentment.


n.1.The state of being discontenteduneasinessinquietude.

discontentment - a longing for something better than the present situation


There's nothing wrong with working hard in each area of our lives. But if we're always longing for that "something better" in the future, we will be missing what God wants to teach us in the present. I need to be more content with my present.

I think we all do.

Perfect timing for Thanksgiving, no?