Monday, January 19, 2015

Eclectic Vintage Baby Shower

A few friends and I threw a baby shower for our sweet friend Kristen.  It was so much fun to put this one together!  I have to say a HUGE thanks to my mom for all the antique and vintage doo-dads.  I asked her if I could go shopping in her house for all the prettys and she said yes.  I did go hog wild and it was fu-un! :)

 The framed pictures and paper roses and flowers on the table, the silhouettes on the wall and the button strand hanging from the light fixture are all courtesy of fellow hostess Eun H.  Eun volunteered her house and let me rearrange her furniture. :)  Thanks, Eun! Thanks to Carrera for the punch and sodas!  Yummy!
 I was really excited to be able to do a fabric strip garland.  Took a while, but I think it turned out well.  I got the fabric at Hobby Lobby.  I also found the corrugated metal initial letters at HL.  I just painted them, wiped off some spots to give it a vintage feel and then painted some little love birds and vines on them.  I then tied on some ribbon and hemp twine so they could be hung up.

 The cakes were chai tea latte.  I used jello molds to bake them for a vintage looked and then thinned out the icing to glaze the smaller ones.  The taller, more ornate one, got the powdered sugar treatment. :)

 Eun had the idea to surround the cake with oranges and blueberries.  It looked awesome!

 Aren't those mason jars with the baby's breath in them fantastic?  Fellow hostess Lucy did those along with the paper chain garland hanging from the ceiling and the pinwheels!  Thank you, Lucy!

Of course I had to do a was necessary, I promise!  (Is there a support group for chalkboard addicts?)

 I had a good time shopping for the prizes and favors.
 Thanks to my mom for donating the pear chutney in the jars!  I just topped them off with fabric and pennants and twine.  I found some cheerwine and cherry limeade in old skool bottles at HEB and then put old fashioned candy in a goody bag and tied it with a paper straw around the neck.  Voila! prizes.

 The favors were old fashioned candy in favor cups wrapped in a goody bag.  Done and done.

 This is the already-a-mommy mum/corsage. :)  This took while, but I'm happy with the results.

 Eun provided this fabulous veggie tray...that we were totally sampling for an hour before the shower...;)

 Hummus and pita chips, yum!  Thanks, Rosy!

 Lucy did a fantastic job on the diaper cake!  Isn't it gorgeous?! Love!

And here are the two beauties we celebrated!  It was really laid back and so fun, more along the lines of a girls' night.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Modern Chevron, Stripes and Polka Dots Baby Shower

I had the privilege of putting together a really fun baby shower for our friend Lucy.  It was fresh and fun and thoroughly modern.  Lots of clean lines.  LOVE!

The cupcakes, wrappers and toppers were made by Laury and Kristen.  You ladies rock!  This was my first time making a diaper cake and I had a blast...I'm thinking it won't be my last. ;)  I found those tissue pom garlands at Hobby Lobby...have I mentioned how much I love that place!  I also got the fabric for the pennant banner there. :)

 Thanks to Rosy and Carrera for the yummy finger foods!

 The prizes were buckets of candy, nail polish and other little fun things.

 Laury and Kristen made the awesome chandelier.

Thanks to carrera for the delicious oreo pops!  Yum!

And of course, we cannot forget the absolutely necessary chalkboard.  #chalkboardlove

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Even more to update about

Just so I don't forget to include this, I want to mention that both the girls have really been into fixing hair lately.  Mostly it has been Ailey that really has the fascination with Brea following along because she wants to do what her big sister is doing. ;)  Ailey has been more concerned with her hair looking nice and she has consistently worked on my hair.  Right now, they are each brushing and "fixing" one side of my head of hair each.  Its very interesting trying to type in the process. :)

Okay, on to more happenings in this household.  We basically had a lot of things transition and shift around the same time within the last three months.  Its been a very interesting and challenging time.  Lots of good has come out of it all, for sure, but some of it had the pain of a birthing process.   For a while now we have been a part of a house church located in Round Rock.  It has been completely AMAZING!  We pretty much got adopted and adopted them right back.  They are fantastic peeps and I am soooo blessed to call them family AND friends.  The fellowship and relationship is so rewarding and compelling and it feels like home.  In addition to being part of that, I was also going to a church also located in Round Rock.  Round Rock is a good hour away, so were doing a bunch of driving on Sundays. ;)  The other church, True Life Fellowship, is also completely wonderful!  The atmosphere that they have invited there is also like coming home, but in a larger setting.  God is doing amazing things in both places and being a part of both families has been such a good thing.

Recently Sam shared a desire for a closer place to go and build relationships.  I told him that if he could find something similar with like hearted peeps, I was all in.  I believe Daddy God has a heart to see his kiddos all be like hearted despite having different purposes and callings in life.  I have a dream of sorts that someday, no matter where on earth a family of believers happens to be located, that anyone that is part of the larger family of believers or someone who has never met Jesus can walk into that place and it feels like coming home.  So, he had been introduced to a church through some different people over the course of several years, but it hadn't worked out to visit and this seemed like it was the right time.  We walked in and by the end of it all, it felt like coming home.  We are loving where God is leading and the amazing things He is doing and it is just exciting on a whole new level we didn't even know was possible!  While we won't be able to go to True Life very often, we will still be going to house church on a regular basis.  The cool thing is, I believe we are supposed to be connected to each one of these families for specific reasons and God is making a way for it to happen.

Something else that has been in the works since the beginning of last fall is the process of me going back to college.  I found out that my education benefits had been changed and that I had 5 more years than I had previously.  Much of the framework has been done.  I still have a bit more to get turned in and then will have to wait until registration for the fall semester.  The biggest question was what was the best option for the kids.  There is a Christian school not too far from our house and not too far from the college and seemed like the perfect answer.  In pursuing this option, I knew it would be a bit of an uphill battle because we were so far behind this year in home school.  We started out at a great pace at the beginning of the year, but between holidays and sickness from Thanksgiving on, we were limping along on into March. It felt for a long time that our days were chaotic and ruling us instead of orderly and time being used wisely.  This was also around the time when I got fed up with being tired all the time.

There were two things we had to do before the kids could be enrolled in the school.  We had to come in for a family interview and then there would be a follow up evaluation to place the boys in the appropriate grades.  The girls were no problem because Ailey would be starting Kindergarten and Brea would be in pre-K.  The family interview went well and though I noticed some personality differences, I wasn't overly concerned about anything at that point.  Rather than being concerned with my kids being able to do the learning part of being in a school, I was way more concerned with how they would handle having to sit in a classroom and behave in a very structured system since that really hasn't been their homeschool experience.  They've always done well in their co-op classes and at AWANA and VBS, but I was still a little concerned about that transition.

When we came back for the evaluation, I again informed the person we were meeting with that we were way behind and that we were in the process of catching up.  There was also a rather large difference in curriculum and the way the information is presented.  It all just went downhill from there.  There was definite personality conflict with the evaluator with both the boys and lots of irritation with the boys not being able to do the things she was presenting.  While I did listen to the whole process, I was outside the room and did not interfere.  I wanted to see how the boys would do with someone else instructing them.  Since, I had not had any sort of reference pertaining to dealing with a Christian private school and the whole process, I didn't know what should be normal procedure and what should be a warning flag.

After the evaluation was done, I went in and spoke to the evaluator by myself and it was the first time any sort of irritation and disdain has been aimed at me for homeschooling and not doing it someone else's way.  It was a very surreal situation.  After the person explained to me that the boys were no where near where the kids in the school were, being at least a year to a year and a half ahead of public school kids, that she could not place them in the school.  The girls were still welcome, but the boys would not be.  I asked about tutoring, reminding this person about us being behind in our schedule, as I thought there might be a curriculum presentation difference as well and if we could have someone get the boys familiar with their curriculum it might make a big difference.  That was shot right down with a short statement of, "We don't do tutoring."  It was suggested we might try sylvan learning center, though this person had no experience with them or how they operate.  I was nearly in desperation mode with trying to find some way to make it still work out.  I came home trying not to cry and be completely discouraged and got online and looked up the curriculum they use to see if it would be feasible to maybe switch over to it at the point.  There was also no guarantee that there would be openings in the school for them if we went back in the summer to re-evaluate.  Honestly, I was a bit beside myself and asking God if I had gotten it wrong about me going back to school.

I felt immediate peace about that and then decided to get some advice from someone who had home schooled and then put their kiddo into Christian private school.  I called my sis-in-law and asked her what she did to get her kiddo ready for that kind of transition.  I ended up explaining what had just happened and instead of giving me a plan of action dealing with curriculum, she informed me that she was very concerned that the evaluator (who also holds a position of authority in the administration as well as being a teacher there) responded to the kids with irritation and impatience as well as being unwilling to work with me at all with any other options.  She said that the school her kids go to wanted her kids there and wanted their family to be a part of the school and they were willing to go to great lengths to support the transition of getting them to where they needed to be.  There are teachers who tutor in the summer months for extra money and there were book lending options to get familiarized with the curriculum and several more things that really made me ponder everything about my experience.  After that, I felt a lot better and instead of wallowing in discouragement and self-pity I decided that things needed to change as far as the way I operated on a daily basis and that though the school I was aiming at for my kids to attend might be completely fantastic for other families, it was just not a good fit for ours.  It was God giving me a definitive no for that place.

Several things happened over the next few days.  I asked God to give me creative ideas of what to do about the kids and school.  I also downloaded an app called Daily Routine and put our entire home school schedule complete with alarms when each subject starts and when it is time for breaks including meal prep and meal time.  I also made a commitment to get myself out of bed an hour earlier with the goal of shifting that to an even earlier time at a later date to begin to mimic how the schedule will be in the fall.  This is also right about the time that I changed how we are eating so I also downloaded a meal planner and am steadily working on incorporating that into daily life.  The routine app has been a wonderful thing!  Because I was able to compartmentalize our day, I have been able to do double days of school and we have done about 7 weeks worth of school in the last 4.  We are almost where we should be and should be done with school mid-June.  Its a relief and I'm loving the orderliness of it all!

The kids are learning a ton and retaining it and for the most part, aside from disliking how regimented it is ;p, they are thriving.  So good.  The most ironic thing is that a good chunk of the things that they didn't know at the evaluation because they hadn't been introduced to it yet in our curriculum was in fact introduced within the next couple of weeks. :)

God also very much answered my plea and gave me the idea of having someone come in and sub for me 2 mornings each week while I have to be in class, so we will still be homeschooling.  We have someone who is praying about taking the job.  It would be a very good fit for our family, but we want to make sure it is a good fit for her as well.  I just know as soon as that was an option, all the craziness just calmed down and there was peace again.  Putting the kids in school would have had new challenges for us and been a lot of work in its own way.  Home schooling while I'm going to school will have its own challenges as well, but we really think its the way to go for our family.

Another idea was putting them in a Christian school that is much farther away.  I called to find out more info and shared what had happened in my earlier experience with the other school.  She said they test using the Stanford Achievement Test and that they do have teachers who tutor in their off months.  She also asked if we would be willing to have the kids repeat their current grade.  At first, my pride took hold and I didn't even want to consider it, but almost immediately I squashed that down because I want what is best for the kids.  Sam and I talked about it and he didn't have a problem with that option.  In the end, I felt I could really get us caught up and it wouldn't even be an issue. While we don't think putting them into this school is right for this next year, it is still an option for future ones if it is a good fit for our family.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lots of Things to update about

Wow!  I have been so busy and while there have been plenty of things to write about, I just flat out haven't had the time!  Since this day has been designated a "catch-up and clean-up" day, I'm allotting some time to sit down and do this.  So for the sake of time, I'm gonna just jump right on in.

First, I have been in the process of organizing the kitchen.  I put dollar store baskets in the fridge and freezer to make sense of the complete chaos that was going on in there and it has been a blessing!  I found a different size basket when I went to the store to outfit my freezer and I am going to get more of that kind and switch them out.  I will try and do a post of pics to show all the stuff I've been doing, just in case it sparks piggy back ideas for anyone needing them. ;)  I also rearranged our pantry and it is much more user friendly!  The cabinets are slowly being uncluttered as well and its a beautiful thing.

Second, about three plus months ago, something clicked in me and I decided I was tired of being tired and physically weak.  Before kids, I was very self motivated about exercising, but since my pregnancies were so dramatic, that wasn't an option for me.  So for the last decade plus a bit, I've been in a complete different set of circumstances with my body.  With no pregnancies or breastfeeding on the horizon, it was just time for me to get my rear in gear.  Because I deal with plenty of joint issues throughout my body, I know better than to just go full speed ahead right away.  I finally cleaned out the garage enough around the area where the elliptical was serving as a catchall and started using it 6 days a week starting out at 5 minutes and working my way up to 25/30 mins each day over the course of about 4 weeks.  After each session, I started doing a pilates stretching routine which has been tremendously helpful keeping my muscles from getting too big, too fast and causing problems with my joints.  Its also good for joint decompression.  Win-win!

My initial goal in starting to build up my strength was not focusing on losing any weight.  As a matter of fact, I didn't change anything about how I was eating for about 2 months.  I just wanted to build muscle mass and strengthen my joints so that I would have better endurance and be more agile.  In doing that, though, I started losing inches.  I knew that would be a by-product of what I was doing, but I also didn't want to lose weight or inches too quickly.  I want the saggy-baggy, extra skin hanging around from pregnancies past to go back down, too and I've got to give my body time to accomplish that. ;)  So far, so good on that front.

Around a month ago, I felt like I needed to give my body a boost and wanted to start a clean eating and high protein regimen.  Plenty of the recipes I use are considered Paleo or Primal.  While I don't believe in the whole cave man philosophy, I do find the data about how the body digests or the trouble it has with digesting certain foods and the absorption of vitamins and minerals and balancing blood sugar levels so there are no highs and lows resulting in crashes, very compelling.  So far, without having done something along the lines of a Whole 30 stint, I have become aware that my body doesn't do well with regular potatoes in pretty much any form and wheat.  I was not happy about the wheat because I loves me some fiber and I have an unhealthy love obsession with bread. :/  I found that coconut flour is super duper high in fiber and doesn't have the gluten and blood sugar issues that wheat seems to have, so I honestly haven't really felt a loss.  As a result of eating this way, I have tons more energy and I feel so much better! An added bonus has been loss of poundage and more inches.  Again, win-win.  Yay!

Another fun side thing has been the accumulation of new work out gear.  It is very nice to have clothing that is made to sweat in and actually fits me!  I also recently got new running shoes since my last pair was nearly a decade old and part of the sole finally just fell off and a watch that has a timer and a heart rate monitor as well as some other nice features.  I am soooo amazed at how much lighter the new shoes are compared to my old ones!  Same brand + different technology = huge difference! They are for the purpose of training to run a 5k.  In all the years past when I was running, I never, EVER wanted to run any sort of race.  Traditionally, I have abhorred running.  I did it because I had to.  I much prefer fitness classes, machines and dancing.  I don't get the runner's high, I have a knee that is problematic with high impact activity and its just never been fun for me.  Recently, a friend proposed the idea of training for a 5k together and it was more of a let's-see-if-we-can-do-this sort of a thing.  I pondered it and was intrigued with the idea of whether I could do it or not.  It was yet another way I could tweak something.  (I have found as I get older that I have a knack for tweaking things - it can be in totally unrelated areas of interest, too. ;)  So, after I felt that I had built up sufficient strength in my legs and back, I started jogging.  I've been doing that for the past few weeks focusing mainly on my breathing and posture.  I got an 8-week training schedule from a site about running a 5k and have put myself on that schedule.  I hope to map out a good route soon so that I can start focusing more on distance as well as time.  I would like a pedometer at some point, but for now I'm good.  I'll just drive it and then run it. ;)  It looks like June or July will be 5k time and there are several to choose from in this area, so I'm actually looking forward to it.

Since this is already long, I'm gonna have to continue on in another post for tomorrow.


Last night, Ailey heard Sam in the bathroom with the hair clippers and she came in and told me she heard Daddy mowing his head. :)  Just now, she came up to me and said, "Did you get ice yet?"  I asked her what she was talking about and Zekey interpreted for me and said, "She means Frozen, the movie."  Haha!  That girl!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Braden Logic

My 9-year-old-soon-to-be-10-year-old son, Braden just took a shower.  After he got out and dressed, he came up to me and gave me a hug and I got a whiff of his hair.  Gross!  Had.not.been.washed.  So I asked him if he washed his hair and he said yes.  I clarified, "Did you shampoo your hair?"  The truth was revealed, but he had good kid reasoning in progress.  He said no, but he had stayed in there under the water for a long time.  Obviously, the water cleaned him for him so he didn't have to bother actually using any sort of cleaning media.  I told him to get back in the shower and shampoo his hair and while he was on his way I asked him if he's bothered to wash his body with soap.  Looking appropriately guilty he confessed he had not.  REALLY?!?!?!  Double EW!  Apparently, we need to focus more attention on developing his problem solving and reasoning skills.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

I know!  Three posts in less than four month-spaced increments...nobody freak out.  We all just need to stay really calm and read on.  Yes, yes I did just type that.

The hearts in the pots are the extent of my Valentine's decorations this year.  It is better than the previous year that had a whole lotta nada.

Now I must share my roadside find.  Can you believe someone threw out that mid century modern shelf/curio cabinet?!?!?!  Admittedly is was broken on one side, but I showed it some drilling, wood glue and dowel rod love and then put the same on the other side so it would look the same and it is good as new!  I love me some trash to treasure!  It is supposed to have sliding glass doors on the front, but only one of the pieces of glass was still intact.  I may or may not try and get another made and reinstall them.  I also may just use that brown board stuff hanging out against the wall to the left there (can't remember what its called right now) and make 2 door panels with recessed pulls...or I may just leave it open like this...  I don't know yet.  It is completely awesome regardless and I am loving it!  When I get our bedroom sorted out, I'll take pics in there to show what I did with the entryway table I built back in the summer.  I feel like my Heavenly Daddy just gives me a kiss and says, here ya's a gift for you, when my path intersects with fun finds like this.  I know it seems like an odd gift to some, but its along the same lines as Sam giving me power tools and gadgets as gifts.  I'm just that kind of woman.

I decided to split up the kids into separate rooms again.  It seems to be working better.  I found a full-sized bed for the girls room.  I was going to try and find a set of bunk beds for them, but realistically, they wouldn't sleep in them.  They would end up on the floor.  Plus, we really need something for when people come to visit and stay the night.  So far the full size has worked very well...once they actually go to sleep.  I'm having lots of fun putting both of the rooms together.  Today, I am in the process of putting together a paper chandelier for the girls/guest room.  This is my inspiration:

Its so, so pretty!  I really love how she pulled all of the elements together in her nursery. I have plenty of paper pom-poms from previous birthdays, but I wanted to add a few of these:
(the link for this is , but the blog is no longer there...)

So, this is my version:

I was finally able to use up quite a bit of scrap book paper I've collected over the years.  I'm hoping I get to finish out the whole thing today some time, but well, it may run over into tomorrow's activities.

I still have a bedspread/quilt to either buy or make for the bed.  I decided on the fabric for the curtains, but still have to go buy it and sew them up.  I still haven't decided on a rug, but I've got a couple to choose from in my stash and if those don't work, then I'll be on the look out for a new one.  Then, I'll deal with the walls and what to put on them.  No biggie, right?!

Last night, when the girls finally went to sleep, I got some sleeping pics of them.  I attempted to do the same with the boys, but there was no light at all in their room.  Then we had a bit of an impromptu photo shoot.

I would just like to point out that not one time did I use an emoticon in this post....not once!  It was a struggle, but I proved it is possible.  In future, I will probably overcompensate for this post with random, ill-placed smiley/frowny/disturbed faces in other'll make me feel better.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Basketball fun

Ugh!  I've been such a slacker about usual.  Well, its on my radar again, although there are no guarantees on consistency.  We are working on getting our house in sell-condition.  Everything else is taking a back burner for now.  I've got plenty to update on, just not enough time to get it done.  Eh...its the way it goes. :)

So, I'll let you in on our Saturday mornings of late.  Braden decided he wanted to play Upwards Basketball as his Christmas present, so he has been playing on Saturday mornings and also going to practice during the week.  This is the first team sport he has been involved with.  Its pretty neat to see him learn to work on a team and to improve his understanding of how to play the game.

After the first game and much expectation from Ailey about being a cheerleader (she wasn't old enough this time ;), I decided the other kids needed cheer shirts and accessories.  So, off to Hobby Lobby I went and brought home the necessities.  Here is what I came up with:

Ailey kept asking for pom-poms, so with the help of ideas resulting from a google search, some plastic table cloths, metallic "tissue" paper and some electrical tape, VIOLA!, pom-poms! :)  I made a pennant for Zekes because he needed something to wave, though he had a pretty good time shaking the girls' pom-poms, too. ;)  All the shirts got some glitter paint treatment because, let's be honest, boys need bling, too.
They had a really great time cheering for Braden at his game and rockin' their new gear.

Also, I am, apparently,  a rather vocal supporter of my son's team.  GO RED RAIDERS!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Remembering Moses on his birthday

Yesterday was our sweet Moses' birthday.  Its very hard to believe it has been a whole year since he died.  I thought a lot about him and am still thinking a lot about him.  I wonder what adventures he is on with Daddy God in heaven.  I ask God often to give him hugs and kisses for me and 2 tell him that I love him.  There is a sweetness that comes along with the sorrow and tears now.  For me, that's a good thing.  We didn't do anything as far as celebrating his birthday yesterday because its still so much of a memorial situation.  I would like for us to celebrate him in a special way in future years, though I don't know what that looks like yet.  So for now, since I can't honestly say happy birthday, I'm going to just say, "Sweet remembrances, precious Moses."

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Creativity is strong with this one..

Braden is constantly coming up with alternative uses for things.  This is the latest use for the monster truck with the long-since-disappeared battery:

He also likes to include all his siblings in trying out his ideas. ;)