Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Story of a Wreath

Once upon a time, there were some old Christmas balls, that didn't belong on the tree. Instead of throwing them away, I decided that I'd make a wreath, for free! 

I beckoned my husband dearest and asked him for a shape. This shape, for the wreath, he made from wire and tape. 
 I wound it with red paper, because it might show through. I wouldn't want to see it, and I'm guessing, neither would you.
 Ball after ball, I glued and glued. It actually went pretty fast and I was in a good mood.

 I took a little break and took pictures of my reflection in the ball.

 I like that the pictures are deceiving and make me look tall (and small!). 
 About an hour later the wreath was complete. I found a home for it and thought that it looked neat. 
This morning my wreath fell to the ground and shattered in hundreds of pieces. I cleaned up glass for a very long time, in all our tiny creases. I'm sad my wreath is no longer with us but, at least I had a story to share. I still will not be walking around, with my feet bare.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Capturing the Glow of Christmas Lights-DIY

In between a few projects this evening, I decided to do a little research to see what exactly I need to do, to get a  beautiful picture of our Christmas tree. I've seen photographs that show how beautifully the tree is glowing. I wanted to be able to capture that but, all my experimental efforts were failing. The lights were out in our house so, I had to keep using my flash. The flash was lighting the tree up and taking away the "glow" effect. Then I tried holding my camera really still and adjusting the shutter speed. Blurry pictures were the result. 

To google I headed. Is it just me or does google usually have all the answers? I entered "manual camera setting Nikon for Christmas tree picture" into the magic little box. Within 3 seconds, I was reading the exact answer I needed. 

Turns out I was on the right track with turning my shutter speed all the way down. I just didn't know that when your shutter speed is at the lowest setting, you need to have your camera sitting on either a tri-pod or another completely still surface. 

I have a Nikon Camera so, I turned my camera's dial onto "S". Next, I adjusted the shutter speed to my lowest setting, 30". I kept the flash closed (off) I had all the lights off, and I set the camera on our dining room table, in full view of the Christmas tree. I held my breath, pushed the button to take the picture and then took my hands off. 30 seconds went by and then taaaa daaa!!! It worked!!!

I got excited and went outside to try my new little trick with Jeremiah's Christmas lights. This time I rested the camera on our deck. Again it worked! 
So, set your shutter speed on the lowest number, keep the flash off, steady the camera on a tri-pod or other completely still surface and capture the glow!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

This morning we dressed up in our cold-weather gear and headed out to the tree farm. 

 Judah, Paisley (and myself), loved this pony. I think I want one.....

We searched and searched for the perfect tree for us. 
Finally we found the one that looked like it was meant for us. Jeremiah and Judah cut it down. 

 While they were sawing away, I played around with my camera and took a few pictures of the trees and holly around us. 
 Below is the tip of a tree branch.

 All the walking and fresh air put Paisley to sleep. Now she is fighting her afternoon nap....I should have known better. :) 

Here's a picture of my guys carrying our tree LAST year......
 Here they are this year........Judah looks taller and skinnier. 


Friday, November 25, 2011

A Few Photos from our Thanksgiving

Before our Thanksgiving meal yesterday, we decided to take a few pictures of the kids.
 We don't have hardly any pictures of all four of them together and even though it's a little challenging to get great pictures of 2 two year olds and 2 one year olds, we tried. 
 They wiggled. 
 They giggled.
 They acted how little kids do. 
They looked away. 
They wanted to play. 
 I think a few of the pictures turned out well, don't you?
My mom and Paisley had a special moment that Sally caught on camera. 
 Judah and Noah ate their dinner at the "kids table" for the first time this year and they actually did really well. My carpet survived and I was impressed with them! 
 Today I've been trying to take all of our fall decorations down so, we can start getting the house all decorated for Christmas. I've been super tired today though and Paisley is a little under the weather so, I've haven't been too successful so far. Honestly, not successful at all. I've. Got. Nothing. Done.  Hopefully I'll get my rear in gear later today. If not, there's always tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cooking with Daddy

Step One:  Daddy steps outside, picks a bunch of Rosemary and Lemon Thyme and washes it. Pretty normal. 
Step Two: Judah helps break previously mentioned herbs, into a bowl. Still, pretty normal.
Step Three: Judah stirs fresh herbs with a.....knife sharpener? Not sure this is normal. 
I guess that's what happens when you're cooking with Daddy.
*****No children were harmed during the preparation of our Thanksgiving meal. My husband is actually very careful and safe with our kids. Also, he obviously lets them be creative. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Favorite MOPS and No Chocolate-Turkey Cupcake Left Behind

I'm pretty sure that today was one of my favorite MOPS ever. One might ask, "How could today have been your favorite MOPS? Your son was hysterical when you dropped him off and ten minutes later you were also crying, to the point of washing all your makeup off." Well, there are many reasons that MOPS was great today and I'll share just a few with you. 

First of all, when my heart was sad for my hysterically crying son (mentioned above), my mentor stopped and prayed with me. She literally held my hand and we prayed for him, his teachers and also for me. So often people say "I'll pray for you". "I'm praying". "I'll keep you in my prayers". It often seems like more of an expression, rather than a verb. I love when someone doesn't just say that they're going to pray for you but, they do it, right there. 

Secondly, our devotional time was filled with prayer. There was a time for "popcorn praying" and anyone could pray out, if they felt led to do so, and thank God for various things, even the things that don't seem like blessings. 

Third, after MOPS, when I picked up Judah, he had a huge smile on his face. He said "Look Mommy! I'm not crying anymore!!" He, his teacher and I clapped for him. It was great to see how he recovered from  being so sad. 

Tonight I'm preparing for Thanksgiving to be at our home. I'm making The Pioneer Woman's Peanut Butter Pie and instead of making a homemade Oreo crust, I'm making a crust out of cupcakes that I messed up. I don't know why I feel compelled to share my oh-so-humbling stories but, I do......So, here we go. 

Yesterday I made Brownie Cupcakes that I was going to give the ladies at my table for a little "Happy Thanksgiving" treat. For a Thanksgiving theme, I decided to decorate them like turkeys. Well, long story short, they tasted amazing but, they DID NOT look like turkeys. If someone with a really great imagination and a really good explanation looked at them, they might have been able to see how they were supposed to be turkeys. I did not, however, feel like giving ever girl at my table a wonderful explanation of the strange cupcake sitting in her spot. 

So, tonight I played the Turkey Cupcake recovery game. I'm sure you've heard of "No Child Left Behind". Well, I say....No Turkey Cupcake (that tastes good) Left Behind.
I took them all out of their wrappers, warmed them up in the microwave to soften them a little, smashed them up and then formed them into a delicious pie crust. Peanut Butter Pie in a brownie crust? Oh yes! I think that will do!

Brownie cupcakes, in a bowl, after I took all the decorations off the top of them. 
 In case you're wondering what the red and green speckles are, they are tiny bits of frosting that were "supposed" to be the turkey's eyes and mouth.
If any ladies from my table read this, please know that I had very good intentions to give you a these turkey cupcakes. However, I just couldn't do it. I think your children could have made them look more like turkey's than I did. I'm smiling to myself and counting it as a learning experience. 

For the rest of tonight, I plan on making a centerpiece for our table and maybe a Thankful sign for our living room. Tomorrow and Thursday my husband is off work and I'm looking forward to having some much needed family time. 


Monday, November 21, 2011

Motivation, Oh Motivation, Where have you gone?

Do you even have one of those days where you feel like all you've done is tread water? That is how our morning was, we survived, we had some fun, we got tired and we didn't really get anything done. After I got my kids down for their naps, I looked at the list that I'd written out at 8am. Nothing was crossed off and honestly, sometimes that's to be expected. Reality is, I have a two year old and a one year old. 

As I looked at my list, I felt my motivation creep out the door. I think my motivation ran very, very far away. I wanted to sit down. What I really wanted to do was sail off into the world of Pinterest and look at pictures of cute and inspiring creations. Seriously, I love that site. It makes me want to craft, create and there are just way too many cute ideas! 

I almost opened up facebook and posted a question to see how others get motivated when they just want to be lazy? Instead, I decided that would be stupid and I got busy. As I was putting my house back together, I jotted down a list of a few things that help bring my motivation back, when it seems to have gone missing.

1. Out of Sight Out of Mind. When the laundry is still in the dryer or papers that need to be dealt with are hidden away, I'm less likely to deal with them. I brought all my clean laundry that needed to be folded and put away and I plopped it into the middle of our dining room table. Out of sight, out of mind can work the opposite way.....  In Sight, In Mind??? I don't know. Bottom  line, put the things you need to deal with in front of your eyes and then deal with them.

2. Be Realistic. Monday's are my day to vacuum and mop. We are hosting Thanksgiving here on Thursday so, I crossed vacuuming off my list for today and added it to my list for Wednesday. I'd rather have freshly cleaned floors for Thanksgiving and not vacuum today. 

3. Fresh Air. Before I got started on the things I needed to do, I walked out to the mail box. When I came inside, I cracked the window in our living room. The air outside is chilly but, fresh air is energizing and I need all the energy I can get.

4. Music. I turned our TV onto the 80's station and rocked out. Upbeat music is a sure motivator for me.

5. Fix Yourself Up. This afternoon, I actually put some lipstick and mascara on before I put away our laundry. I know that may sound crazy but, fixing my hair and putting on a little makeup really helps me to get more done.

6. Mind Over Matter. I've noticed that sometimes I spend more time thinking about something that I need to do than the amount of time that it would take for me to get it done. It's better for me to do less thinking and more "doing".  

7. Confess Thankfulness. When all else fails and my attitude really stinks, it helps me to thank God for the things that I'm thankful for, while I do things I wish I wasn't doing. Example: "Thank you, Jesus that I have children to make messes. Thank you, Jesus that I have a toilet that gets dirty. Thank you, Jesus that we have clothes that need to be washed. Thank you, Jesus that we have food to make dinner." Saying those things out loud sometimes help put my attitude back in check.

So, when your motivation has been misplaced, what do you do to bring it back? I always remember a quote that my friend Cami shared at MOPS:
There is enough time today to do everything God wants you to do. 
And last, since I can't do a post without any pictures, I thought I'd share just a couple cute things I saw on Pinterest that I want to make. How fun are these??!!
Hand print trees with the kids hand prints. 
Hot cocoa sticks.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to my Ham Sandwich of a Nephew

I've often referred to my youngest nephew as my Ham Sandwich. I'm not sure exactly why....maybe it's because he's always been a big boy or maybe it's because he's usually smiling. He's laid back, cute and I love him. Having a sister has always (well, for the most part) been great but, it got even better when we had our oldest boys, 36 days apart and then our youngest kids came along 18 days apart. How thankful I am for my family and that my kids have close cousins!

My sister is super creative and did a great job decorating for his party, baking delicious cupcakes and coming up with cute and creative snacks.
Dark Chocolate and strawberry cupcakes with white chocolate ganache. All homemade, none the less. It's true, my sister has skills. 

Happy Birthday, sweet nephew. You are so loved! 


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