Saturday, November 30, 2013

Small Business Saturday

Black Friday is over (as well as Black Thursday evening…what????) and every one got their crazy deals from all the BIG companies. But today is another great day to shop. This time…shop LOCAL!


SmallBizSat
Today is Small Business Saturday. The day to buy from local businesses or work at home individuals and support what they do. It’s a great way to get unique gifts that will mean something special to the one you gift to. Some of these small businesses sell homemade items (like me!) and some of them sell direct sale items. Either way you are supporting and individual directly and helping them grow their business and helping them provide for their family.

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Here are a few ‘local’ businesses I think you should check out…

First is my own storenvy shop where you can find beautiful jewelry and hair accessories. I make all my items by hand and with love and promise that they will put a smile on your face. You can shop my storenvy shop here or click on “SHOP” in the tabs on the top of my blog.

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Etsy is a great place to find fun items as well…anything from clip art to clothing to web design!

Check out a couple shops I love…

Designed Lovely
YarnIt
https://www.etsy.com/shop/ChamelsCreations

http://babybottomsboutique.storenvy.com/

https://www.etsy.com/shop/wakemeupdesigns


So on this Small Business Saturday I hope you take a moment to shop some local, home based businesses online or stroll your neighborhood for those adorable local shops and support them today!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Favorites–4th Edition

Good morning and happy day after Thanksgiving! I’m not a black Friday shopper so to me this is just a wonderful Friday to sit in my pjs all day and do a whole lot of nothing! :)

Here are a few of my favorites this week….enjoy!

This bit by Jimmy Fallon has now become one of my favorites! 

Untitled-1 1. Fun exchange being hosted by my friend Rebecca over at XOXORebecca! It’s like a gift exchange but with nail polish…fun right?! Want in on the fun…sign up here! 2. Looking for a chic and unique gift for the fashionista in your life? Look at these beautiful handbags from Initials Inc. Jennifer Jones is even having a Black Friday sale right now! She’s offering  15% off ALL Signature Collection Bags and 10% off ALL Get a Grip & Get a Big Grips. Contact Jenn directly with your black Friday order by emailing her at sassypurseparty AT yahoo DOT com. 3. Look at this ADORABLE Scentsy warmer! Not only is it perfect for the holidays but it’s also a great way for the kids to count down till the big day! There are also so many scents to choose from…one of my favorites right now is Honey Pear Cider. Makes the whole house smell SO yummy! Want to order one for yourself or a friend? Check out Nicole’s site for all the great deals for the holidays!
That Friday Blog HopFridayFavorites copy
     

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Traditions

Growing up I’m sure you (like I) learned the ‘basics’ about Thanksgiving…but here are some things you might not have known.


  • The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days. (Sounds good to me! Maybe we should change how we do things now…move to a three day feast!)
  • Mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, popcorn, milk, corn on the cob, and cranberries were not foods present on the first Thanksgiving's feast table. (No potatoes or pumpkin pie?!)
  • Lobster, rabbit, chicken, fish, squashes, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, maple syrup and honey, radishes, cabbage, carrots, eggs, and goat cheese are thought to have made up the first Thanksgiving feast. (Maybe we should change our menu! Lobster?! YUM!)
  • The pilgrims didn't use forks; they ate with spoons, knives, and their fingers. (Please don’t tell my boys this…they will insist on eating with their fingers.)  

    Since that first Thanksgiving each family has developed their own traditions for this day of thanks. Growing up we had a small family. Just my mom, my brother and me. I remember a few Thanksgivings spent at the homes of my mom’s friends. (Unfortunately our family lived too far away for visiting.) We didn’t really have any big traditions other than those related to food. Turkey, of course, and my mom’s yummo corn casserole were a must as well as the standard mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy. YUM! 


    Since I’ve been married we’ve gone to my mom-in-laws for dinner. I will never forget my first Thanksgiving with them. I was SO pumped for turkey and the usual side dishes! As we sat down to eat I looked around…where was the turkey? Hmmm. Maybe it was finishing up in the oven. Maybe it was in the kitchen waiting to be carved. Soon the whole clan was gathered at the table and my mom-in-law finally sat down…the universal sign for “everything is out and ready…time to eat!” But guess what….still no turkey. Instead where the turkey would be shining in all it’s buttery, brown glory there was an imposter! A ham! What had happened? Surely this was Thanksgiving not Christmas! I must have been easy to read because the next Thanksgiving (and all the ones thereafter) there has been turkey for me. Even though they had their own tradition of ham on turkey day (I guess no one liked turkey) they were willing to change it just a bit to accommodate their ‘new’ family. I love them for that.
    Now, 12 years later (wow…twelve!?) there are more that enjoy turkey than just me (my boys love it) but we still have ham too. I also always make sure to bring my beloved green been casserole as well. I really should make that corn casserole my mom always made…maybe we’ll have that for Christmas dinner. 

  • Point is, no matter what your traditions are or how you celebrate it’s all good. As long as you feel blessed by those around you and are thankful and thoughtful of your blessings then you’ve had a wonderful Thanksgiving day. And remember, don’t just count your blessings tomorrow, but count them every day. For each day is a blessing.
    Give Thanks

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    It’s never too late to work toward your dreams…

    In January I posted about resolutions. More specifically I shared at how awful I am at keeping them. So instead I decided to set goals for my year. Now that it’s November and 2014 is staring me in the face saying “I’m coming!” I realize that I sort of even suck at working toward my goals. Ugh. I still don’t drink enough water...heck, I hardly drink ANY water. I still waste time but now I find other ways, cough**crafting**cough. And I still don’t have a book. Sigh.

    I will admit…writing a book is something I really want to do but it’s also something I’m terrified of. Doubt rings in my head, “Who’d want to read something you wrote.” “What makes you think you have enough interesting things to share to fill up an entire book?” “How on earth do you plan on finding time to write an entire book?” “Do you realize all that’s involved in the whole process? Writing, editing, finding a way to publish it, finding funds to publish it.” My head is really good at making me think I cannot do things. I deal with self doubt a lot unfortunately. When it comes to things like being a mom I tend to be able to fight that doubt a little better but when it comes to stuff like writing a book. Well, that doubt is not so easy to fight.

    DOUBT

    Let me tell you something though. I have found a new determination and some amazing and encouraging friends. So what if there’s only a month left of 2013 and I’m just starting to work on my book. Even baby steps are steps in the right direction. I still fight the doubt and get overwhelmed easily. I’m still not 100% sure what direction my book is going to go. I’d love to share our JA journey but wonder if I have enough ‘experience’ to share. Maybe it will be a parenting type book. Sharing stories of motherhood and blessings it brings. My friends keep telling me, “Write an outline. Get all your thoughts organized.” And I’m trying..I’m really trying. My biggest problem is that I am so not an organized person and when I write I tend to be more stream-of-conscious rather than straight forward. Who knows though. I may end up with 150 different Word documents but at least I’ll have words down. Maybe then I can work on the organization part. Maybe I can work at this in a backward way.

    Anyway, you’re probably wondering where on earth this post is going. I wanted to encourage you to never give up on a dream no matter how big it is and no matter where you are in life. There is a reason it’s in your heart. God placed it there for a purpose. If you continue to work toward it, even baby steps at at time, you will eventually achieve what you set out to do. I may not have my book in 2013 but I will have it started. Maybe in 2014 my dream will be reality…maybe not. But no matter what, I refuse to give into the whispers of doubt in my head and I refuse to give up!

    Dreams

    Monday, November 25, 2013

    It’s the little things…

    Today we did something out of the ordinary. No, not something grand and elaborate…just something different. This morning the boys and I sat snuggled on the couch eating popcorn while we watched The Wizard of Oz. To some this may not seem like a big deal but to the boys it was. I mean, we had popcorn…for breakfast!

    keep-calm-and-watch-wizard-of-oz-4

    It’s the little things like this that I’m so thankful for. Since we cyber school we have the ability to do school at whatever time works best for us. It also let’s us play hooky for the morning to watch a moving together all snuggled on the couch. Moments like that are moments that the boys will remember. Memories they will hopefully treasure some day.

    I am so very thankful that God has made it possible for me to stay home with my boys. Yes there are days that I want to run away screaming but then there are also mornings like today. Mornings that remind my why I am bless. I am also thankful for the blessing of cyber school. It allows me to school the boys in the comfort of our own home and gives us the ability to have a very flexible schedule. People often ask us why we choose this way to school but I’ll save that for another post.

    For now I’ll just leave you with this. Seize the little things when they present themselves. Live on the edge and be spontaneous every once in a while. You never what kind of awesome memories you’ll make!

    Little Things

    Sunday, November 24, 2013

    Make Thanksgiving Fun

    Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks and spend time with those we love. Sometimes this means an intimate dinner but sometimes it means a large gathering of friends and family. Why not do a few little extra things to make the day a little more fun? Here are some ideas…

    Hoosier Homemade posted this adorable idea for a kids table:

    Kids-Table-HoosierHomemade

    You can even set out these cute coloring pages from PaperGlitter to keep the kids entertained while they wait for their food.

    paperglitter thanksgiving free printable coloring page

    While the older kids often run off to play a game of football why not create this fun game for the younger ones…Turkey Bowling!

    Thanksgiving-Turkey-Bowl

    Looking for some appetizer ideas? 

    This cheese ball from Handmade in the Heartland is sure to be a big hit!

    Cheeseball-Decorated-as-Turkey

    The kids will certainly love this adorable veggie cup…you could even put a small amount of dip in the bottom so they are good to go!

    Veggies-cup-turkey

    Trick your guests into thinking they are having dessert first with these cute cheese snacks.

    Pumpkin Pie Cheese bite_closeup

    I hope these ideas have inspired you to think a little outside of the box to add a touch of fun to your Thanksgiving day festivities! For more inspiration you can check out more great pins on Pinterest.

    Saturday, November 23, 2013

    Meet the Rogers Family–An Adoption Story in Honor of National Adoption Month

    Did you know that November is National Adoption month? Adoption is a beautiful thing. I love hearing stories from families who have been called to adopt. Stories hope and endless love but also worry and frustration. It’s often a long journey full of more emotions that one could keep track of. But there are so many children out there with out a home…without a family. God has a home for each one of those kiddos and it’s amazing to see how He works to place them in their forever home.
      
    AdoptionQuote

    Today, in honor of November being national adoption month, I’d like to share the Rogers’ story with you. I met Wendi through the homeschool co-op we are part of. I soon learned more about her family and their story of adoption. Truly a beautiful, God thing. I hope that reading their story will move you to find a way to help all the children in need of a home. To read more about the Rogers you can check out her blog where she also has links to ways you can help bring Cade home.
    RogersFamily
    This is the Rogers’ story as told by Wendi…

    July 2010, we went on a mission trip to the City of Children in Baja, Mexico. My husband, Kenny and I came home feeling we needed to do more. But what? We already had four kids. We drove a minivan which was about full. So from the day we came home…we kept wondering. We thought we should adopt domestically. Why not? So many kids available right here? Well we were turned down everywhere we looked. Unless we wanted to wait a long time for a child not even born yet. We knew our child was already waiting.

    So after having one door after another shut in our face…we decided to look internationally. We looked at rainbowkids.com. We found a precious little girl on December 9th. She was listed with CHSFS. I started calling her social worker…and calling and calling and begging. I just knew she was mine! I knew it. February 21st, we received her file and on February 22nd, we said yes. She was 2 1/2 years old and had two severe diagnosis. Both untrue.We received our travel call on May 26th. The entire time we were in South Korea getting our sweet Mia Grace, we knew we had another daughter..we were just waiting for God to reveal who she was.

    Seven weeks of begging for yet another little girl file….and the same CHSFS social worker sends me a surprise file. She was almost 4 years old. She has Neurofibromatosis type 1(which she has) and many others diagnosis’ which she doesn’t have. She was so beautiful and we knew she was our missing daughter. She was 11 months older than Mia but we didn’t mind. We received travel call for Avah Noelle on May 21st, 2012, five days shy of Mia’s travel call.

    We met Avah on May 24th. She ran into our arms and said, “Let’s go to America!” She is a total joy. In the same hour of meeting Avah, a little boy toddled straight into a wall. And was screaming….crying…he was hurt. He was lying on his back …just wailing. No one was going to get him. Kenny and I could not take our eyes off of him. A few minutes of crying and our Korean social worker went and brought him to me. She showed me his scar from a previous surgery and told me he needed a liver. I looked at her and said, “I want him.” I knew it. I just did. He looked back into my eyes….and touched my face. A total and complete GOD moment. The Korean social worker told  me he was on our US adoption agency list. I was in disbelief I had never seen him before. But it was true…he was there just waiting. I waited for every door to shut. Every single door opened. Our insurance pays 100% of transplants….we live near the best liver hospital on the East Coast…and the biggest obstacle…Korea approved us. We have six children so it is unbelievable we are approved. Praise GOD!! We are currently working on paperwork and hope to travel this summer. ‘Robert Cade HyunSoo was three years old in January.

    Funds….God has allowed us to adopt Avah and Mia DEBT free. We are however short about $12,000 for Cade’s adoption. We know God will provide. We will be having some online auctions to help fund, apply for grants and of course a donation can be made on our PayPal button on the right side.



    Friday, November 22, 2013

    Friday Favorites–3rd Edition

    It’s that time again…time to share my Friday Favorites! Enjoy! I hope you’ll consider linking up with me and sharing YOUR Friday Favorites too! xo

    SUPER love this woman right here…Kate is a warrior in every sense of the word and a fierce friend. I love her to pieces to the moon and back. She is finishing up her TENTH month of chemo and currently kicking breast cancers behind! She would love have the chance to meet Justin Timberlake when he’s in town in three weeks…hopefully someone can pull some strings to make this happen!

    Kate to JT

    This site for some awesome Thanksgiving coloring pages for the kiddos. I also happen to love most everything else she shares as well. Great homeschooling resource.

    This set of bright and colorful markers. Yes, I’m weird and have a thing for office supplies.

    This awesome giveaway…only FOUR days left to enter!

    This announcement that Fallon and Timberlake will be doing SNL together on December 21. Set the DVR!!

    Timberlake-and-Fallon-do-SNL-December-21
    FridayFavorites copy




    Thursday, November 21, 2013

    Amazing Love

    When you become a mother you learn what unconditional love truly is. You learn that the love you have for your child is unlike any other love you’ve ever experienced. It’s pure, deep, and absolutely amazing. Your love for your child is a strong bond that can never be broken. No matter what it is that they may do that love never falters.

    Your love is a driving force…it moves you to do whatever it takes to make your child safe. If your baby is sick, you fight to make him/her better. It gives you hope and courage to do things you never thought you’d do and it pushes you out of your comfort zone to encourage others to do the same for their children.

    Your love is a comfort zone for your child. A place of peace and rest. A security blanket in a sense. Your child always knows that in your arms they are protected and secure. It reassures them that everything will be ok and that you will never, ever leave them.

    The love between a mother and her child is beyond expression. The depths are unimaginable…the widths are immeasurable…it truly is infinite.

    What’s more amazing? Take that love that you feel in your heart for your child and multiply it a million times over…maybe even more. That is the love that God has for you…amazing love…indescribable and unchangeable love. No matter what we do or how far we stray away from Him, He is always there loving us…just as we do for our own children. Beautiful, perfect, unending love is the love our Father has for us.

    "If you had any idea how much God desires you… your heart would explode. You can’t possibly imagine how vast God’s love is, or how relentless it is. Nothing can alter it. Nothing can stand against it. God’s love for you is simply beyond your imagination. Your sad little sins cannot even touch it. He has prepared a place for you in His house, and He calls you by name. He aches for you, and desires to abide with you, beyond all longing you have ever felt, or will ever feel." -Unka Glen

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    What happened to Thanksgiving?

    If you were to tell time by department store displays alone you’d swear that Thanksgiving didn’t exist. Before Halloween is even over they are already sneaking in the Christmas décor. The big inflatable lawn displays are up in the garden department at WallyWorld, Halloween costumes are on clearance, and they are filtering the twinkling sound of Christmas music through the loud speakers. What the heck?! What about Thanksgiving?!

    Thanksgiving

    You know, that awesome holiday where you have the perfect excuse to stuff your belly as full as you want with all kinds of yummy food. And there’s more to the holiday than food of course. It’s supposed to be a day where we give thanks for all the blessings in our life. A day to spend with the people we love where we slow down and enjoy the little things in life.

    Instead it seems to just be a day to rush about and plan your Black Friday plan. I mean, I’m all for a good deal on something but why does the shopping have to start ON Thanksgiving. Not only is that just plain crazy, but, hello…what about all the people who are having to work the stores on Thanksgiving…or even at 1 am the day after? They don’t get to enjoy a lazy day at home with their loved ones. They have to rush through their turkey dinner then go to work at some unholy hour while still in a turkey stupor so some one can get a great deal on a new TV. (Ok, sorry…got up on a soap box there…stepping down now. For a funny rant on this check out this past weekends SNL skit with Mr. Sr.)

    Why can’t we just enjoy Thanksgiving. Why can’t the Christmas décor come out the following Monday? Do you know that the stores aren’t even putting out Thanksgiving themed crafts and such? Yes, you might find an end cap of paper plates and napkins but that’s about it. No cute little pilgrim and turkey crafts for the kids to make. No informative books on Thanksgiving (although that’s a blog for another day…the true Thanksgiving story).

    Thanksgiving1

    Don’t get me wrong…I love Christmas. Truly I do…just wait till you see my Elf on the Shelf posts. (Bwahahahaha!) But I’m just not one to have my decorations up early. Too often with the kids I want to just slow time down a little. Enjoy every moment. Stop rushing things. Time goes fast enough on it’s own. Why hurry past one of the best holidays that we are fortunate enough to celebrate here in the US?

    I know my post won’t change the way of the world. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if things get worse and they start putting out the Christmas stuff WITH the Halloween items. But I do know that I’m not alone in thinking this so I just wanted to share my thoughts. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter what I think but the beauty of blogging is that I can share my opinions with you. :)
    So on that note, I will wish you a Happy Thanksgiving for the next week and a half and I promise that not a single Christmas themed post will cross my blog until after the 29th. Cross my heart. xx Now, make sure you get your turkey on this year and enjoy every little blessed Thanksgiving moment with your family!

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    The Many Faces of Juvenile Arthritis–Megan’s Story

    In the US alone there are over 300,000 children living with Juvenile Arthritis with many more being diagnosed each day. Every day I read another story about a kiddo being diagnosed at a very young age. Our own Monkey was diagnosed at 2 1/2….I thought that was young until I read Megan’s story.

    I met Megan’s mom, Melanie, in one of the JA support groups I’m part of on Facebook. (Don’t laugh…these support groups have been such a wonderful source of encouragement and information.) She and I connected immediately because of our babies being so young with her Megan being diagnosed before she was even 2. I feel so blessed to have been connected with her and have a friend who knows exactly what we’re going through with Monkey.

    Today, I’m sharing Megan’s story with you written by her mom, Melanie. I hope that Megan inspires you because this little spitfire is something else! She’s brave and beautiful and is going to do great things! Meet Megan….

    1

    Megan was about 18 months old and still not walking.  We did a PT evaluation and did a few sessions of PT and she was unwilling to walk, but would pull herself up to stand and play with a toy, she just refused to actually take a step independently.  She would walk holding our hands, but never seemed to enjoy it, which was strange for a toddler.  We got her special walking shoes and tried to encourage walking. I went to take her shoes off later that evening to give her a bath, and her ankles were swollen and bruised.  I panicked and took her to the pediatrician the very next morning.  I had also noticed that she had stopped crawling and would only walk around on her knees, upright.  She also acted like her hands were hurting very badly when we would clean them off after meals, etc.  The MA who came to take vitals asked if anyone in our family had Rheumatoid Arthritis or other autoimmune diseases.  I said no, and never gave it another thought.  The pedi sent us directly to Nationwide Childrens for labs and X-rays.  We did a CBC, and profile, plus a Lyme's test and Rheumatoid Factor.  The CBC and profile came back immediately, everything was normal.  The Lymes and RF also came back negative, and the X-rays were clear.  Over the next few days, the swelling and bruising got worse, so I took her back in on that Wednesday, and our Pedi did a phone consult with Dr. Higgins, a Rheumatologist at Nationwide Children's here in Columbus.  She suggested we run a ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate).  This test for inflammation in the blood stream, which indicates inflammation somewhere, even when you can't see it.  This came back very high, and we started on Naproxen (Aleve) immediately and set up a consult with Dr. Higgins two weeks later.   She also had us run an ANA (Antinuclear antibodies) which came back positive.  That means Megan is at risk for several types of autoimmune diseases, and puts her at higher risk of uveitis.

    Megan had zero range of motion in her left wrist, limited ROM in her right wrist, zero ROM in her left ankle, plus had two swollen fingers and one swollen toe.  One week later, her left knee swelled up over night and that's the first time I absolutely lost it over this.  I carried her into our bedroom and bawled my eyes out for an hour.  This was suddenly very real.  Dr. Higgins recommended a round of steroid injections into her affected joints for the following week, and recommended we start on Methotrexate (an immune-suppressant drug that's used for chemo therapy) and Enbrel (a biologic drug).  Our insurance approved the joint injections, but none of  the meds since Megan "wasn't old enough to have JIA".  We started the MTX anyway and just paid out of pocket (it's not expensive).  It SUCKED giving her shots every week at home, but we wanted to get started with something ASAP.  The joint injections were miracle workers.  The swelling went down within a week in her wrists and within two weeks in her knee and ankles.  She started walking just before Christmas last year, and it was the BEST GIFT EVER!  Two weeks after she started walking, her ankles swelled again.  We were told to continue on the MTX for at least 12 weeks before we decided it wasn't working anymore.  I was devastated.  The joint injections had worked so well right away, and were supposed to provide relief for 6-12 months, not 6 weeks!  Around the end of January, we hit 10 weeks of failed MTX and Dr. Higgins did an appeal for the Enbrel  and our insurance company finally approved it.  We started the Enbrel just before her 2nd birthday and it also worked right away.  She was in good shape from February to April, when all the swelling came back in her ankles and knee with a vengeance.  

    At that point, we determined that the Enbrel was not working any more and started the process of requesting another drug from the insurance company.  We asked for Orencia, and they declined.  They suggested Actemra, then took over a month to approve their own suggestion.  We went from April to August on NOTHING (besides MTX which we knew wasn't working).  She was swollen and in pain every single day and night.  I was giving her Naproxen and Tylenol to the max, then we got bad labs back in May….the drugs were damaging her kidneys and liver…..wonderful.  So we dropped the pain meds (Naproxen), much to my dismay and just started giving her ridiculous amounts of Tylenol to get by.  It was the worst summer of my life.  Finally in August, the insurance company approved the Actemra, and that's what we're on now (with MTX….they keep that on board because it helps the body to not reject the biologic drugs).  Knock on wood, it's been our miracle drug.  She's pain free, running, climbing stairs, playing, etc.  She's finally sleeping through the night and we haven't done Tylenol in over two months!  

    It's a roller coaster, and I'm just waiting for the next loop….it always comes.  

    So, at this point, we do methotrexate weekly at home (we just started giving it orally instead of injections….yahoo!), Actemra via IV infusion in the hospital once a month, and Eye checks every three months.  Megan has polyarticular JIA (so many joints, both wrists, both knees now, both ankles, fingers, toes, and possibly neck) and ANA positive, so she's at VERY high risk for uveitis.  We see the Rheumatologist every 3 months if all is well, much more often if we are having issues.  For the first time in over a year, I'm feeling okay with all of this.  She's doing well, she's feeling well, but I KNOW that can change in an instant.  It's been a rough year, but I've found support online and our friends and family have been wonderful.  

    I hope our story helps you understand some of the process. It's very important to find a Rheumatologist who is going to be aggressive with your child’s treatment.  The longer they go in pain and with swelling, the more likely it is that permanent damage is being done.  From April to August of this year, we were constantly swollen and painful, but luckily, X-rays showed no damage to her baby joints.  I'm thankful we found this so early and so quickly, but it stinks that she's not able to have a normal childhood.  

    Below are some photos of Megan’s first infusion treatment. She’s such a brave, sweet girl.

    2Prep work for the IV line. 

    3Brave girl ready for her first infusion.

    megan IVStill smiling in spite of it all! A true and beautiful JA Warrior!







    Monday, November 18, 2013

    Easy DIY Turkey Wall/Mantel Decor

    The holiday season is quickly approaching and while some already have their Christmas trees up I am determined to celebrate each holiday with appropriate décor. I’ve had some fall themed things up on the mantle for a couple of weeks but nothing really screamed Thanksgiving. I needed to remedy that! Off to Pinterest I went where I found inspiration to create this little guy….

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    Cute, isn’t he?! He’s also really easy to make. Here’s what you’ll need:


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    ~Embroidery hoop any size. (Check the thrift stores for these…you can often find them for as cheap as $0.10!)

    ~Fabric that is larger than your hoop. A fat quarter is perfect for this if you don’t want to deal with fabric on a bolt.

    ~ Glue gun (best investment EVER for any crafter).

    ~Fall colored felt. You can buy these in sheets at most craft stores.

    First thing you want to do is put your fabric in your hoop then tighten it. Once it’s tight and the fabric is pulled taught you can trim the fabric leaving a little bit of excess around the outside of the hoop. (It’s a good idea to use pinking shears for this so the fabric doesn’t fray.)

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    Next you’ll need to cut out his head, eyes, beak and gobbler (that’s what I call it lol) out of felt. Once you have all the pieces cut use your hot glue to glue it all together.

    _MG_2665

    After his face is secure take your different colors of felt and cut out some feathers. You can make as many or as few as you like. You can also cut out little details in the top to make them look more feathery. While you’re cutting be sure to cut out some little feet too.

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    Glue the feathers along the back however you like. I wanted mine a little off to the side rather than straight on so my little guys face and feet are off to the left and his feathers off to the right. Sort of like he’s walking off to the left. If you want your turkey head on then just center the face and feathers with the top of the hoop and the feet with the bottom. I also glued popsicle sticks onto the back of my feathers so they stand up straight. After you are finished gluing you’re little guy is ready to hang wherever you like! 

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    Sunday, November 17, 2013

    Living in a smart phone world…

    The world is different than it used to be. I know, I know…times change, it happens, it’s the way things are…doesn’t mean I have to totally be in love with it. I am so thankful for the many advances in technology. Facebook has been a great way for me to keep in touch with far away friends and it has also lead me to many wonderful new ones. (My friend Kim even posted about how Facebook has helped her get through some difficult times.) Email and Skype have allowed me to stay connected to my family that is scattered across the states. Blogging has allowed me an outlet and a way to share our story with an infinite number of people. But then there’s the smart phone.

    Ah the smart phone. I know the idea behind it is conceptually a great one but it has morphed into something more…something dangerous. Now instead of having a cell phone for emergency purposes people have cell phones that function better than their home computer never leaving them disconnected from the cyber world. Everywhere we go I see people with their phones in their hand. They aren’t even talking…their just staring at it like they are in a trance. It’s like the phone manufacturers made the them with a material that bonded with human skin on contact. Even the new commercial for AT&T shows that the people who just got their new iPhone can’t continue on with their daily tasks because they are so entranced by their new phone.

    Recently we went out to dinner and a young couple sat near us both with their large smart phones in hand. They sat down and rather than putting the phones away they sat them right on the table next to their plates. After they ordered both of them proceeded to pick up their phones and do whatever it was they were doing on their phone not speaking a word to each other. So sad. This seem to be more the norm. Phones are never out of reach…ever. Then there are the kids with smart phones. That’s a whole different post.

    You’re probably wondering what on earth brought about this post. This morning as I was scrolling through Facebook and saw this video….

    Living in a cell phone world….

    I know that not EVERY person with a smart phone is like this but I’m sure it’s easy to get sucked in and become distracted by them. Some days I admit that I think to myself it would be nice to have one so I’d have a way to take photos and post them without having to connect to the computer. Then I smack myself in the head and realize how much I don’t need one. I want to live in the moment and not live it through my phone. Yes, capturing those moments is sometimes fun…remember I often carry my camera around with me constantly snapping photos…but there’s a line that needs to be drawn. So many people are missing so much of what is happening right in front of them because they only see the world through the small screen of their smart phone. Please, I beg you, put the phone down for a day. Take a step back and see the world for all that it is. YOUR world…not the entire universe. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve been missing.

    (Disclaimer….I am not condemning any of you with smart phones. Heck, some of my good friends have smart phones. I’ve even been tempted by their lure as well. I’m just sharing my opinions on the subject. They are just that…my opinions…not judgments. xo)

    Saturday, November 16, 2013

    Chopped–Celebrity Holiday Bash is Great for Juvenile Arthritis!

    I was SO excited to see this really amazing announcement on Thursday by The Juvenile Arthritis Association:

    “Juvenile arthritis will receive the biggest nationally televised awareness push it has ever seen when actress Teri Hatcher competes on Food Network’s award-winning cooking competition show Chopped to benefit the Juvenile Arthritis Association.”

    Teri-Hatcher-competes-on-chopped-for-Juvenile-Arthritis

    How cool is this?! SOOOO cool is how cool! I’m sure some of you are wondering why on earth I am crazy excited about this. Let me tell you. Not to many people know about Juvenile Arthritis. Families have struggled to raise awareness and even though over 300,000 kids in the US alone are living with JA there are still so many who have never even heard of the disease. I know you’re probably thinking, “Why does it matter if people know?”  (You can be honest, it’s ok.) It matters because the more people that know the more people there may be who want to help these kiddos. The more people that know the more hearts there will be that are moved which will possibly lead to more donations toward research, better treatment options AND possibly a cure! The more people that know the more support these families will get. Do you know how comforting it would have been when we got Monkey’s diagnosis for someone to say, “Hey! I’ve heard of that! My aunt’s cousin has a friend who is married to this guy who’s daughter has it. Let me get you their info so you can talk to them about it.” See, support. Being led to talk to some one about what your going through or just even knowing that someone else has been there. Often you aren’t looking for answers, just the shoulder of someone who’s been in your shoes and has gone through the roller coaster of emotions you are experiencing. You see, even if Teri doesn’t win (which of course I really hope she does!) our kiddos are still going to gain so much from this. This show will be viewed by potentially millions of people nationwide! In just a matter of an hour all of those people will learn about Juvenile Arthritis. That alone is a win in my opinion!

    So I hope that even if you aren’t quite as excited as I am about this that you’ll consider watching the Celebrity Holiday Bash edition of Food Network’s Chopped at 10 pm/9c on Sunday, December 1st. If your really don’t watch those kind of shows why not DVR it so you can at least fast forward through and see what Teri is doing for our kids…kids just like our sweet Monkey..who are braving the challenges of Juvenile Arthritis every day.

    I don’t know if Teri Hatcher would ever read my blog but I’m putting this out there anyway….Teri, I want to personally thank you for all the work you have done to raise awareness for all the JA kids. Thank you for your hard work and for fighting to make a difference. It truly means so very much. xo

    Friday, November 15, 2013

    Friday Favorites–2nd Edition

    It’s Friday again…can I get a “Wooot woot!” And you know what Friday means, right? Time for Friday Favorites. Just a short and sweet post about some of the things I love right now whether they are things I own, things I’ve seen that I want to own or even music that I’ve been jammin’ to. I’d love it you’d join me in these fun posts and think about doing a Friday Favorites post of your own to link up with me.

    I’m addicted to in love with Dr. Pepper. No matter how hard I try I cannot resist. I need to print this and hang it somewhere in my house.

    Dr Pepper

    My phone. Normally my phone never rings but this week it’s been a wonderful connection to a wonderful friend. I’ve enjoyed hearing it ring and seeing her name pop up. I’ve loved that we can hang up and one of us ends up calling the other again only 10 minutes later. Love my Kate….she’s become the sister I never had.

    These salty caramel oat bars. Honestly, you HAVE to make this recipe! It will be your family’s new favorite cookie! SO yum!

    I have my eye on these boots….don’t they look so warm and cozy?!

    This fantastic giveaway for a $200 Target gift card! If you  haven't entered yet what are you waiting for?!

    The Voice! Awesome show! Here are two songs from recent shows that are so good! (Well, in my opinion.)

    Christina Aguilera and A Great Big World “Say Something”

    And oh my goodness this young man has such a beautiful voice!

    Matthew Schuler “Hallelujah”
    FridayFavorites copy