Monday, December 9, 2013

Old Skis Find a New Home for Christmas

Yes, that's real snow at the bottom from our Dec. 8th snowfall
The radio is playing "Let it Snow" and "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" so what better decoration for the porch than a set of skis?  My husband had this old pair sitting in the attic for years.  Finally, this year we pulled them down.  I love an old sled draped in holly that I occasionally see on front lawns.  So why not a pair of skis?!  They have lived a good life on the slopes, so this week we gave them a Second Chance as a decoration.  And when the snow fell yesterday, it just completed the Christmas look!
They add color to the porch in the day, and they're lighted at night by the Bethlehem Star hanging nearby.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Tribute: "A Mom, the Ultimate Tough Mudder"

[In honor of Mother's Day, and my wonderful husband who supports me in all my "second chance endeavors", I'm posting his tribute rather than a project.  My husband, Kyle, who is a fan and participant in mud races (and now my kids too!) composed this wonderful essay on motherhood.  So to thank him, and to thank all the Moms out there for all you do, enjoy reading!]

A Mom: The Ultimate Tough Mudder

Mother’s Day 2013

1st Stage of Obstacles
Obstacle # 1 – Pregnancy
The first obstacle a Mom encounters is 9-months of pregnancy. During this period she has to deal with her body changing in so many different ways. From weight gain, general pains, feet hurting, back aching and the list goes on and on. This obstacle can even cause permanent changes. You often hear Moms say “My body will never be the same.”  

Obstacle #2 – The Unknown Race…….
When a Mom enters labor, she doesn’t know whether she just entered a 5K or a Marathon. The delivery of this precious gift of life can either be quick like a 5K, or drawn out like a Marathon.

Obstacle #3 – The Short Rest Period
After the anticipated little one has entered the world, a Mom is given only two maybe three days if she is lucky to rest at the hospital and recover. The delivery of this little one might have been dramatic, exhausting, and sometimes an overwhelming emotional experience. However after this short rest, she is on her way to the next obstacle.

Obstacle #4 – Learning by Trial and Error
There is not a detailed ”instruction booklet” for a Mom. Therefore a Mom is forced to learn on- the-go.  So from their experiences, they learn the best way for doing things, and the best way not to do things. This is a never ending obstacle things are always changing as kids grow and Moms are presented with new challenges.

Obstacle #5 – Dealing with the Dirty
All the changing of diapers and dealing especially with “messy one.” 

Obstacle #6 Sick, But Still Going
Moms may feel horrible and sick, but they continue on and do what needs to be done. “Moms never get sick days.” This applies to all stages of being a Mom.

2nd Stage of Obstacles
Obstacle #7 Play-Date Anxiety

Who ever knew the complexity of arranging a play date for your kids and all the unknowns? Will the kids play well together? Do the Moms have things in common to talk about? What if you or the other Mom decides they are not interested in getting together for another play date? This is similar to not getting a “call back” after a first date. There seems to be so much pressure for things to go right on the first play date or there might not be a second.

Obstacle #8 Stuck on Default
Kids always seem to call for “Mom”, whether it’s regarding a question they have or calling for help. They will even call for Mom when Dad is in the exact same room they are calling from.  For kids the “default setting” is calling for Mom!

Obstacle # 9 – Around the Learning Curve
Moms seem to be the go-to person when it comes to helping with homework. Moms for the most part seem to be the ones to check-over homework or the tutor when the kids don’t understand something. Again Dad may be capable in helping but the default seems to be Mom.

Obstacle # 10 Neighborhood Politics
If your kids have friends in the neighborhood, a Mom must skillfully master the underlying politics of the neighborhood. The good ole days of kids working out their own issues between each other seem to be gone.  It now takes a “council of Moms” to first decide what happened, then which kid is to blame, and finally which kid is to apologize for what they may or may not have done.  Just like in politics, a Mom has to decipher which Moms you can work with and think on the same page. Which Moms you might not always agree with, but you can “reach across the aisle.”

3rd Stage of Obstacles
Obstacle # 11 Never Ending Adventure

Obstacle # 11 is for all the obstacles a Mom encounters which are not mentioned above, and for all the unknown obstacles which still lie ahead.

There is never a Finish Line when you are running the race of being a Mom.  This is a race like no other and the energy is derived from unconditional love which is an everlasting energy source.  This energy is specially given to Moms and it cannot be packaged in an energy drink.  Moms are built in a special way and are able to endure for however long it takes. That’s why a Mom is “The Ultimate Tough Mudder!”

So on this Mother’s Day, I want to thank you for all you have done and do on a daily basis. I appreciate everything you do as a Mom and a Wife!! You are loved very much by me and our two boys!!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

French Provincial Facelift

The wonderful thing about quality furniture is that you really can pass it down through the generations.  My original french provincial bedroom furniture had already undergone a makeover to become my preteen's dresser and nightstand.  However, now my younger son who shares a room with him, needed a nightstand to match.  So off to the local thrift store I went and happened upon an almost identical match!

The moulding was a little different than the other, but that was insignificant since the moulding is always the first thing to go!  So I unscrewed the moulding (it's that simple!) and pryed off the little frenchy thing at the bottom.  A little primer and I was on my way.

Notice how there's Frog Tape on the top of the night stand?  My sister is a fan of retro formica/laminate.  She thinks it's the best thing out there for durability and withstanding stains.  She might be right.  It's not my style, but I decided to keep the top since this was going to be a nightstand for a 7 year old.  A little durability was the extra bonus I needed in this night table.  I also decided to match the night table to his dresser which was a dark wood, rather than the dark blue furniture of my other son.  And here's the final product.  As much as I wanted to buy new hardware, my son wanted to keep the original drawer pulls.

And a view of the top!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Homemade Bible Valentines (with Conversations Hearts)

While scanning Pinterest this year for homemade Valentine ideas, I came upon a "pin" for "God's Conversations Hearts".  What a great idea!  I pinned it and planned to go back later to make them (later is today).  However, like many links on Pinterest, you're left with the original pin that no longer takes you to a real link.  Either the link has gone bad, it's no longer found, or it's a "suspicious" link.  I haven't yet figured out what makes it bad, but either way, I had this great Valentine idea that led to nowhere on the Internet except a message saying this link could no longer be found.  So I can not take credit for the verses and the idea, but I present to you a simple Valentine that can be done with a few scrapbooking supplies at home.

First, I copied out the words and reprinted them on to white cardstock.  For an easy image to copy and paste, see below.  I then used some scissors I had from eons ago that make the scalloped edging.  After they were cut out, and pink cardstock cut for behind, I laid out my supplies.
Just a few supplies laying around the house

The red sheer bags I had picked up for pennies at a local Beadfest event and finally was using them for something other than earrings. So far, the only thing I've purchased are the Conversation Hearts.  Once the verses are taped on to the pink cardstock, simply fill the pouches or baggies, and attach them to the card.  Simple!  Happy Valentine's Day!

use the image to make your own

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Build Your Own Gemstone Sifter

Mining sifter created by my talented husband
When my son wanted to have a gemstone mining party for his birthday, we had the task of creating a mining site in our backyard.  After purchasing the gemstone sluice bags at Cherry Crest Farm for $5 each (an awesome place to play, and much cheaper than ordering them online) we just needed a way to sift out the gems.  So I went out and bought the baby swimming pools on clearance, while my husband got to work with some rough plans we found online.

Kyle building 6 sifting boxes
We decided on one box per two kids.  Each kid would have a buddy to hold the sluice bag as well as the ziploc to put in the gems he found.  When the gemstone bag was empty, they could switch turns of being the sifter and the holder.  Each kid got his own gemstone bag to sift.

The following items needed to build the sifting box can probably be found in your leftover wood scraps.   
  • 1x4's for the walls of the box
  • 1x2's for the bottom edge to protect fingers from the wire
  • 1/4" wire mesh for the bottom
  • screws
  • extra 1x2's for the handles

When you put it all together, you have a mining party!  Fill the pools with water and let them rest the sifting boxes on top of the water.  It's not running water to take away the dirt, but the dirt falls right to the bottom of the pool revealing the gems anyway! 

Although there were many fun cakes on the web for a gemstone party, my son also has a love of Minecraft.  Being that the game is based on building and mining, it seemed a fun way to compliment the gemstone mining.  So ta da....Minecraft cupcakes!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Repurposed Pasta Sauce Jars

Take a close look at your store-bought pasta sauce jars and you'll find that many of them are common Atlas Mason jars.  I purposefully buy Classico because they not only make delicious sauce, but you get a true Atlas Jar in the end.  Of course glass is recycleable, but with so many brands of food switching to plastic, I enjoy the feel of a nice heavy glass jar.  For that reason, I started running mine through the dishwasher to resuse later. 

[On an important side note, the regular canning jar screw-type lids fit these jars!  So ditch the tomato-smelling metal lid and use it open, or with a new canning jar lid.]  Now on to the craft!

What happened this week was that my New Year's Resolution collieded with my crafting personality.  And voila, I have a new motivational craft made out of leftover pasta sauch jars!  While scanning Pinterest, I found a perfect use for the jars that mixes with a personal goal...Motivational Marbles!  So I decided to make my own set to motivate me to eat healthier and lose weight.  Here's all you need to create your own motivational marbles glass duo.

2 Glass Jars, Glasses, or Vases
Glass marbles from any craft store
Paint pens in your choice of colors

[Update:  Since adding my jars to the kitchen counter, I've unknowingly added built-in accountability from my 6-year-old.  This morning he was excited to see 3 glass marbles added to the Pounds Lost jar.  Later in the day, he asked why I hadn't lost any more pounds since the morning.  At least he's watching and I wouldn't want to dissappoint!]