Monday, December 11, 2017

Snowman Trio

Sometimes life works out the way you expect it will. Most of the time, though, I think it surprises us. It surprises me at least. God likes to laugh at my plans. But ultimately, His plans work out in the end.

Our theme this month for the Blog With Friends challenge is "Celebrate." I'll admit that when I came up with a project idea, I was going to do it whether or not it fit the theme. I figured I'd just retrofit my project to the theme after I was done.

I wanted to make three snowman. I do things in threes because it's aesthetically pleasing. Also, because I have three kids and that way no one whines about being left out.

I bought my materials and set them on the kitchen/cacth-all table and then proceeded to have an incredibly busy weekend where I couldn't get any spare time. That was God laughing at my plans!

It got to Sunday night and I realized that if I was going to have a picture of my project by Monday morning, that I was going to have to just get it done. The boys were busy doing other things, so I asked Frances if she wanted to help. She's inherited my love of crafting so she was very eager to get started.

We went downstairs and raided my craft boxes. This stuff will likely be the last stuff to get unpacked because a) there's so much and b) I have no idea where to put it! We grabbed fabric, ribbon, buttons, string, Scrabble tiles, and anything else that caught our fancy. We loaded it all upstairs on to the dining room table and started planning.

LOL! Just kidding. We didn't plan anything, we just jumped right in and started cutting and gluing. We had no end result in mind, and that's where the celebration comes in: Frances and I just spent two hours together chatting, trying out things, and bouncing ideas off one another.

If you have a teenager, I don't think I have to tell you that unscripted one-on-one time is always a cause for celebration! It seems like it's been such a long time since she and I were just able to hang out together. There was no pressure to discuss homework or cleaning her room. There weren't rules I was trying to enforce, or even life lessons I was trying to impart. It was just simple crafting time together with my favorite daughter. And the snowmen came out pretty cute too!

If you'd like to recreate this project, here's a few more specifics for you. You'll need:

  • Styrofoam balls in various sizes. I was aiming for one big and two small. You could also do three of the same size, or small, medium, large.
  • Hot glue
  • Various notions (fabric scraps, yarns or string, buttons, etc.)
  • Toothpicks
  • A pool noodle cut in half for the base
 We used toothpicks to stick our snowmen together and then we dug through all our notions until we were inspired. Frances enjoyed sorting through my button collection, so we used buttons to make the facial features. Orange toothpicks became the noses. I used the sleeve of an old turtleneck to make the penguin hat and tied it with a yellow ribbon. I used another scrap of red fabric and some pillow stuffing to create the other hat. The snowman in the middle has raffia braids and a scarf made from some scrap knitting I had done at some point.

We cut a pool noodle in half and covered it with red fabric to have something for the snowmen to sit on. Then we took some old Scrabble times and spelled out "Let it Snow" to display in front.

Our snowman trio now sits on the mantle in the living room to dress up to room a bit. And every time I see it, I hope it reminds me to plan some more craft afternoons with my best gal.

Want some other ideas to help you celebrate? Check these out:

 Karen of Baking in a Tornado has these Brunch Scramble Rolls

Tamara of Part-time Working Hockey Mom has some great Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Jules of Bergham Chronicles has 5 Fun Ways to Celebrate a Birthday

Kia of Think in English has What to Honor in an ESL/EFL Classroom and How to Do It

Dawn of Spatulas on Parade has a Bottle on a Shelf project for your mantel

Lydia of Cluttered Genius has Christmas Painted Bricks

Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments has some cute ways to Celebrate Relationships

What are you celebrating today?

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Best and Worst of 2017

I cannot believe it is December! Where did this year go? To be fair, I think I feel this way every December though.

While this year compares in no way to last year, we are still picking up the pieces from 2016. There were still a good many changes that happened, so here's a quick recap:

Jan: We started out the year across town, renting from a woman on a mission trip. I was also on a find us a permanent place to call home. We had a place picked out, inspection done and offer made. The sellers changed their minds at the last minute and decided not to sell. That was a big blow to recover from. In the end, we found a place to live (though not a permanent one) but I'll admit to still being a little mad about this one.

Feb: I had a birthday party planned for Ken as he turned 40. He took this opportunity to get sicker than he's been the whole time I've known him and actually take 2 sick days from work! Anything to get out of a party!!

Mar: We signed a lease on our new place and got started on the moving in. We spent much of the month going between two houses. It was stressful, but ultimately all our stuff ended up in the same place and we are still working on unpacking and sorting.

Apr: This was the big moving month. I'm thankful to my parents for keeping track of the kids over Spring Break so we could make things as smooth for them as possible. We transitioned to sleeping in the new house after Easter, but didn't get everything moved out of the old place until the end of the month. It was bonkers trying to figure out where things were for a while, but we've found all the important stuff by now! We also had Ben's birthday party in the new place and it was nice having room for everyone to gather.

May: Ummm...I don't know what happened in May. My Facebook digging didn't turn up anything and we all know if it isn't on Facebook, it didn't really happen...

Strangely enough, this is the only photo I have in my "May" folder on my computer...
June: School let out and summer started. Henry turned 10. The kids had a bunch of camps, as usual. Frances had four overnight camps over the course of the summer which was a bit odd. I accidentally had a brief thought about how it was getting us ready for when she leaves for good and it made those moments she was gone a bit more sad than they would have been. She's really been growing up lately. I started counseling to deal with some overwhelm and anxiety I had been feeling for a while in regards to my miscarriage and all the moving stuff.

July: Summer camps continued. We really enjoyed using our new backyard and discovering our proximity to the indoor pool. Ken had enough time off that we enjoyed some family hikes. Ken finally!! got a new vehicle. We bought him a Jeep Liberty to replace his 20 year old, falling apart pick up truck. It's been really nice having space for the whole family in either vehicle!

Aug: We enjoyed the summer (albeit with a lot of rain and some basement floods) some more. We had a week off for the county fair and we got to experience the solar eclipse. When school started, we started a momentous year! Frances' last year in middle school and Henry's last year in elementary school. Starting next year, we'll have three kids in three different schools.

Sept: We got back into the swing of things with school and extra-curriculars: soccer, violin, dance, leadership, etc. I actually started ballet lessons for myself and really enjoyed them.Benjamin started his First Reconciliation classes at church.

Oct: We celebrated Frances' 14th birthday. She went to a girls' coding conference and got a tablet of her very own. That, of course, led to her own Facebook account, but so far she's not been too bad about it. I had two dragons and a unicorn for Halloween and we went Trick-or-Treating in our new neighborhood. Turned out to be a lot more walking for not as much candy, but it's not like the kids are suffering from a sugar deficiency.

Nov: I took on social media responsibilities for my church. We celebrated Thanksgiving at my Father-in-Law's house and tried out his new boat. I applied for a new job (and didn't get it, but that's okay because I got a raise in my current position anyway).

Dec: So far, so good. We're getting ready for our first Christmas in this new house. I'm not sure where all the decorations go, but we're getting it figured out.

All in all, it was a pretty regular year. Things seem a bit more settled now than the previous year. My anxiety levels have gone down considerably. The kids are growing up and dealing with the issues that come along with that. I keep thinking that at some point parenting will get a bit easier, but we haven't hit that point yet. Or maybe it's easier in some ways and more difficult in others. My hope for 2018 is that these upwards trends will continue and we will all stay healthy.

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 10 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado
Cognitive Script
The Blogging 911
The Bergham Chronicles
Southern Belle Charm
Bookworm in the Kitchen
Never Ever Give Up Hope
Part-Time Working Hockey Mom

My subject is "What was your favorite moment of 2017? What was your least favorite moment of 2017? What one hope do you have for 2018?" It was submitted by

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Stable Cat's Christmas

To abide by FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received this book from WorthyKids/Ideals for free in exchange for an honest review. 

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is unpacking all of the seasonal books we have. My kids are getting older and all reading chapter books at this point, but even the board books gets gasps of excitement when we unpack them every year. I really enjoy adding to our collection too, so I was excited to be given an opportunity to review a Christmas book for my readers.

The Stable Cat's Christmas tells the story of the barn cat who lived in the barn where the baby Jesus was born. All the other animals had gifts to bring to the newborn king, but the cat did not know what to offer. The donkey advised him to look inside his heart. "You have a gift-you only need to find it." And of course the cat does discover his gift and gladly offers his warmth to the newborn Jesus.
I initially had trouble finding this book to review because Benjamin had absconded with it. He had been sleeping with it in his bed for about a week before I found it when I changed his sheets. That was one point in its favor. Then I had Frances read it to her brothers before bedtime and afterwards they all ran off to find Oscar because he has stripes like the cat in the story. That was another point in its favor. When Henry left my room that night he gave me a hug and thanked me for letting them read "such a sweet story." And that, my friends, means this book scored a perfect rating with my family and I think it will with yours!

You can purchase a copy through Amazon or enter to win one below:
The Stable Cat's Christmas

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Listening to a new CD in the car and I think to myself, "I'm pretty sure I know this song." The next one comes on and that seems familiar too. Then I hear one I'm pretty sure I've never heard before. It prompts me to look back at the CD case in the console. "Alpha/Omega" Well I guess that makes sense then!

Christian rock band Kutless has just released a new album featuring a mix of classic and new  worship originals and covers. It's great to sing along to a well known song from my past and then mix it up with a new one. I've had these 10 songs on repeat for a week or two and we are still enjoying them.

You can buy or stream the album here. I also have one to give away for a lucky reader! Enter below:
Kutless Alpha/Omega Album
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