Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Camp Clara

It's been a while since I've checked in around these parts.
Funny how life can be so sweetly busy that you neglect certain areas of your life.
I'm hoping to connect here more often
(I've said that before haven't I?)

But I am HERE TODAY and I have a super fun (and last minute) party to share with you.

Our sweet Clara turned 10 last week.

We don't do 'friend/theme' parties every year, but you better believe that turning double digits is such an occasion that we do!

We have been delightfully busy with company and fixing up our new house (what???  more on that later)
so I was quite surprised when I realized I had about three days to whip Clara's party together.
That's when Pinterest and super gracious friends who understand your last-minuteness, come in handy.

Clara decided on a camping theme- and it was SO FUN to plan!

 As with most of our kid gatherings, crafts were involved.
Since we had the camping theme, I tried to stick to natural craft supplies- which was also super cheap and fun to gather!

We had a few fun crafts planned:
  • rock painting
  • tree stump tick-tack-toe
  • stick weaving
  • stick stars

The kids had a blast and were so creative!

 (crafting in pj's- yes please!)

 I had SO MUCH FUN decorating the cake and was inspired by my dear friend Alicia Hutchinson who had a camp themed party a few years ago.
Thankfully she was visiting a few days before the shin-dig, so she told me just what to do.

The BRILLIANT thing about a camping party, is all those sweet giggly girls are all "sleeping" outside.

For a fun gift to take home, 
they each made their own jar of trail mix.

I think Maggie's was mostly chocolate.

They also took home a fun flashlight

And some treats of course!

It was such a fun party and Clara was so thankful!

 Love that girl!

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Quick St. Patrick's Day Gift

My girls and I love to give gifts!
We're not Irish, but we'll take any holiday 
to bless the people we love.
This is what we're gifting our beloved teachers at our homeschool co-op this month.

I came across this fun idea via Pinterest.
You can check out the brilliant gal who came up with the idea here.

But I had to switch it up when I 
came across these beauties at Target

I am a sucker for mason jars- aren't these just the cutest size?
And hello- GREEN lids!

After filling our adorable jars with rainbow seeds.
aka- Skittles
we used  2 1/4 and 1 1/4 size punches 
to decorate the lid with fun paper. 

Then to jazz it up a bit,
we put it in a cellophane bag with a few bricks of gold
aka- Hershey Nuggets.

We wrote our note of thanks on fun paper, then
tied it up with lace and ribbon!

Now I'm off to throw in some corned beef in the crock pot!
Don't forget to wear green tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dear 39 Year Old Self,

     Today is the first day of the last year in your 30's.  Wow. Not sure how that happened.  And because you know how fast these years have flown by, you really need to pay attention to this little pep talk.  Ready?
  1. Instead of examining wrinkles under the magnified side of your mirror (YIKES!), appreciate and cherish all the laughs, cries, and smiles that have put them there.  Go buy some anti-wrinkle cream and get over it.
  2. Instead of critiquing your body and pinching the extra squish on your hips, flex and feel proud about your muscles.  Stop comparing yourself to those adorable young 20 year olds.  You've carried, birthed and nursed 4 babies- be thankful for your health and that you've been blessed with a healthy body.
  3. You know that shirt you keep trying on but hate the way it grabs at all the wrong places- toss that puppy and go buy a shirt (or 5,  hey- it's your birthday) that you feel comfortable and confident in.
  4. Instead of feeling shy and insecure about how gooby you are- EMBRACE it!  You are exactly the way God designed you to be- your outrageously loud laugh and occasional snort and all.
  5.  Instead of feeling inadequate- remember that you are here for a reason and a purpose and do not be afraid to be who you are.  Share what's on your heart.   And chase after those bazillion dreams.
  6. Instead of saying yes to the countless good things in your life, save that time for your family and only say yes to the best things.
  7. Be bold in your faith- boast about all God is doing in your life.

Yes, it's tempting to set a bunch of goals or a bucket list- but be realistic.  Eat a few less cinnamon bears and a few more carrots.  Maybe cut the coffee back to 3 cups a day and drink more water. Try Sushi for the first time. Climb a killer mountain with your husband.  Wake up at the crack of dawn to watch the sun rise from the top of Mount Aeneas.  Embrace every single minute with your beautiful girls.  Let the dust bunnies hang out in the corners a little longer and go play with your family!

Now go eat another piece of cake and be thankful for the AMAZING life you've been given.

Your 39 year old self

Monday, March 2, 2015

Momma Craft Night

I'm writing this post with such a FULL heart.

On Friday I had a group of friends over for an evening of crafting, fellowship, and chocolate.
God put this idea on my heart a few months ago.
But fear and insecurity kept me from following through.

In January, I spent quite a bit of time praying about JOY in my life.
And again this idea of having friends over 
for a craft night came up.
So I finally followed through and I am SO GLAD I did!
I prayed all week that God would use this night to bless my fellow homeschooling momma friends,
but He truly used this night to bless me.

Here's what we made:

We used fun paper to cover notebooks and clipboards.
All you need is:

  • Fun paper
  • composition books
  • clip boards (Goodwill and Walmart is where I bought ours on the cheap)
  • Mod Podge
  • foam brushes
  • scissors
  • Cute adornments- ribbon, washi tape, . . .doilies(of course)
  • chocolate
It was so fun to watch these ladies create!
Each journal turned out so unique!
These are the two I made.

 I will say, no one else appreciated the doily as much as I do.
Hee hee.

The clip boards were just as fun.
I plan on using mine for clipping up memory verses on our wall.

It was such a great night.
I am so thankful for each gal who came.
It was a night filled with sweet conversations and lots of giggles.

I can hardly wait for our next gathering at the end of this month!

I would love to encourage you to step out and do something that has been lingering on your heart for a while.

You will be blessed!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Learning Well: An Essentials Course For Homeschooling


I am incredibly excited to share about this e-course my inspiring friend Alicia has put together!
I am so blessed to call Alicia my friend.
She has been such a cheerleader and support for me.
She has a HUGE heart and passion for homeschooling.
We have spent hours chatting about school 
and she always inspires me.
I feel so honored and blessed to be a small part of her series.
She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the many facets of schooling our kiddoes at home.

Please go HERE and read all about her inspiring course.
Then go HERE to register.


Can't wait to take this course and learn right along with you!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Quick and Easy Last Minute Valentine Gift

I love Valentine's Day.
And St. Patrick's Day.
Cinco de Mayo.
Groundhog's Day.

I love any reason to decorate, bake treats and give a gift.

The girls are SO INCREDIBLY blessed to be taught by a list of amazing teachers every Tuesday.
Each month we try to give them a little gift to encourage and say thank you.
Because there are about 10 people, we have to keep our gifts fairly inexpensive.
But I'm a true believer that no matter how little the gift, 
it truly is the thought that counts.
Just something to let that person know you're thinking of them.

And cute packaging helps too.

This is what we created for our February gift

 I'm a sucker for cute bags.
I probably bought these 6 months ago knowing that we could use them for a gift.
Target end-caps are a great place to find cute bags on clearance.
I have a whole box of many different kinds and they come in quite handy!

We started with good ol' popcorn.
(raise your hand if you feed your family popcorn for dinner once a week)

Then we made some deeeeeeeeelicious caramel and drizzled it all over.

Baked it for about an hour.

 Filled cellophane bags.

Then made them all cute and ready to deliver!

It doesn't take a lot of time or need to cost a lot of money to let someone know you're thinking of them.

Here's the yummy recipe we used.
It's my Amazing Aunt Mary's.
(she's an incredible cook)

1/2 cup popcorn kernals, freshly popped
2 cups whole almonds
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250.  Generously butter a large baking pan.  mix popcorn and almonds in prepared pan and stick it in the oven while you make the caramel.

Combine sugar, butter, and corn syrup in saucepan.  Whisk over med-low heat until butter is melted and sugar dissolved.  Attach candy thermometer to side of pan, increase heat to high, and boil without stirring until thermometer reaches 255 F. (about 4 minutes).  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, and baking soda. (it will bubble up a bit)  Pour over the popcorn and gently stir until coated.  Bake for about an 1 hour 20 minutes- stirring every 20 minutes or so.  cool completely in pan.

You may want to double the recipe because it will be munched fast!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

10 on 10: February '15

It's the 10th!

And I actually remembered to take pictures for Rebekah's fun monthly photo challenge.
Well, actually I took them on the 9th, knowing that we would be at our homeschool hybrid all day today. 

Here's a glimpse into our day, 
seeking beauty in the ordinary moments.

Morning glow
 My sweet friend challenged me to memorize scripture.
So I'm workin' on it.

Breakfast grub

 Two cuties learning about the bald eagle.

 Preppin' to make some caramel corn

 A happy spot in the living room.

 History projects done! 

 Now this truly is a beautiful scene.
Library books returning to the library ON TIME.

Lovey dovey bunting on the window.

Getting ready for a little gift crafting.

I love this photo challenge.
Such a blessing to slow down and be thankful for the little gifts of the day.