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Changing Views

25 Jun

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A little over a week ago I made the kids go outside, still in their pajamas, and run around in the back yard while I frantically snapped pictures.  They thought their dad and I had lost our minds, and I am sure they really thought we had gone off the deep end when Jason and I just stood behind our house, Jason shaking his head and me crying.

When Jason came home a few months ago and told me that all of the timber on the land adjoining ours had been sold, I didn’t think too much about it.  You know, it was one of those things that just wasn’t going to happen.  But two weeks ago, they moved the saw in, and the next morning we were awaked by the sounds of trees being cut down: a sharp squeal of a saw followed by a crash.

I know not everyone understands this, but losing these trees has been so sad for us.  We spend a lot of time outside, and the canopy of trees around us that has been forming for the past 100 years or so is one of the best things about living where we do.  It is hard to explain to the kids that even they, in their lifetimes, won’t see that view out of our kitchen window.

So, one by one the trees have been coming down, and every day there is another chunk of sky or torn-up ground visible through the thin line of trees left on our property line.  Jason and I joked about chaining ourselves to one of the trees in protest, but we both know that there is nothing to do but get over it.

So, in my effort to get over it, I am trying to cheer up my kitchen window.  I spend a lot (I mean, a ridiculous amount of time) looking out of this window, because it is where I stand when I cook or wash dishes.  I love to look out that window, but the view isn’t quite what it once was. Plus, I have really been neglecting the window and window sill.  It was really quite pitiful!

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Bad, right?  My poor lipstick plant definitely needs to be repotted in a bigger pot, and Maddie’s rock that we brought her from Mexico (sounds ridiculous, but she loves that thing) needs to find a new home.  Plus, the window is just plain dirty.  Definitely neglected.

So, I moved the plant to the back deck (Don’t worry-I am going to save it!) and gave Maddie her rock to relocate (She’s been rolling it around in her stroller all afternoon), and got to cleaning.  That in itself made a huge difference.

Before we built our house, we had to tear down some really old houses that were here.  The people who lived here threw their trash out in the woods, so every time it rains now, glass and other things rise to the top.  We find all sorts of old glass bottles and keep most of them.

I got some of my favorite bottles that we have found and used them to hold some different plants from the yard.  Turned out really pretty, I think!

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So, even though the view out my kitchen window is changing, I still plan to enjoy being at my sink and looking out of the window.  I do spend half of my life there, after all, so might as well do everything I can to make it pleasant!

 

 

Turning Christmas Trees into Summer Trees

24 Apr

I had to have Maddie in Cary for a dentist appointment at 8:00 this morning, which was totally CRAZY for us. I can’t remember the last time I was dressed and out and about that early in the morning, and I didn’t like it one bit! When my alarm went off before 6, Jason said, “Do you remember when you used to get up at 5:30 every morning to go to work?” I do, and I don’t miss it!

The pediatric dentist was amazing, and Maddie acted just as she predicted.  Yesterday, I asked her if she was going to be a good girl at the dentist.  She responded, “After I’m bad.”  I thought at the time that was pretty funny, but that is exactly what she did this morning!  At least she follows through….

One plus side to going to Cary this morning was that we got to go to Target.  We live a little ways from any good stores, so going to Target is pretty eventful for us.  I was finally able to buy some supplies to do something I have been wanting to do for awhile (since the beginning of January, actually).

When we took down our decorations after Christmas, Charlie got pretty depressed.  He was upset it was over, he missed Martin (our Elf on the Shelf), and he didn’t want me to take down our decorations.  I agreed to leave the little trees in his and Maddie’s rooms, and we decided after a few weeks that we would transform them into Valentine’s trees, then Easter trees, then summer trees.

Valentine’s Day and Easter are now over, and the kids still have Christmas trees in their rooms.

Christmas trees-minus some ornaments because the kids have been slowly been picking them off and playing with or breaking them.

Christmas trees-minus some ornaments because the kids have been slowly been picking them off and playing with or breaking them.

 

I found several bags of summer-themed foam stickers in the $1 section of Target.  I peeled the backs off of 2 matching stickers, then stuck them back-t0-back around a pipe cleaner.  They made really cute ornaments!

I found several bags of summer-themed foam stickers in the $1 section of Target. I peeled the backs off of 2 matching stickers, then stuck them back-to-back around a pipe cleaner. They made really cute ornaments!

 

This is the finished sunshine ornament.  I wrapped the pipe cleaner around a branch, then twisted the ends of the pipe cleaner into little curls.

This is the finished sunshine ornament. I wrapped the pipe cleaner around a branch, then twisted the ends of the pipe cleaner into little curls.

 

Charlie working on a snail for Maddie's tree.

Charlie working on a snail for Maddie’s tree.

 

...and his masterpiece!

…and his masterpiece!

 

We used pinwheels (also found in Target's $1 section) for our tree toppers.  I just removed the sticks and the wheels fit perfectly on the tops of the trees.

We used pinwheels (also found in Target’s $1 section) for our tree toppers. I just removed the sticks and the wheels fit perfectly on the tops of the trees.

 

A little frog ornament for Charlie's tree.

A little frog ornament for Charlie’s tree.

 

And a football ornament for Charlie's tree.  These were actually on his Christmas tree, but he wanted to keep them for his summer tree, too.

And a football ornament for Charlie’s tree. These were actually on his Christmas tree, but he wanted to keep them for his summer tree, too.

 

Maddie and her finished tree!  I found some great globe lights in Target, and we wrapped some yellow streamers around the tree as a finishing touch.

Maddie and her finished tree! I found some great globe lights in Target, and we wrapped some yellow streamers around the tree as a finishing touch.

 

...and here's Charlie with his tree.  A little burlap around the bottom covers the cords.

…and here’s Charlie with his tree. We hung some balls on his tree, too. A little burlap around the bottom covers the cords.

 

I am so glad we finally got this done.  The kids love them, and I can finally check “take down Christmas decorations” off my to-do list!

Mod Podge Easter Eggs

9 Apr

If you remember, last year the kids and I dyed Easter eggs the old-fashioned way, and I promised myself that this year we would try something new.  Today, we made these gorgeous Easter eggs using Mod Podge and scraps of magazine paper.

All you need are some old magazines, scissors, sponges or paint brushes, Mod Podge, and some eggs.  I had these white plastic eggs, but you could use any plastic eggs or even real eggs.

All you need are some old magazines, scissors, sponges or paint brushes, Mod Podge, and some eggs. I had these white plastic eggs, but you could use any plastic eggs or even real eggs.

 

Cut colorful paper out of your magazine into small squares and triangles, then "paint" the paper scraps onto the eggs with the Mod Podge.

Cut colorful paper out of your magazine into small squares and triangles, then “paint” the paper scraps onto the eggs with the Mod Podge.

 

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Some of our finished eggs.

Some of our finished eggs.

 

I love how they turned out.  The Mod Podge makes them shiny.  I would advise that you use plastic eggs so you can save them to use for decorations next year.

I love how they turned out. The Mod Podge makes them shiny. I would advise that you use plastic eggs so you can save them to use for decorations next year.

 

Even though we had a great time making these and I think they are just beautiful, I do think we will also spend a morning dying eggs.  The kids love it, and it’s just a tradition that I want to keep alive!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 10 – Key Fob Wristlet Tutorial

9 Mar

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Welcome back to the 31 Days Unplugged challenge!  I know that with the amount of social media you have cut out of your day, you probably have some extra time that you are trying to fill.  One of my goals with this challenge is to give you some ideas of how to spend your time productively and creatively in order to live abundantly for God.

I am so thankful to Kerri Waller for guest-posting on Mommy in Bonlee today.  Kerri is a wife and mother of 3 who plans weddings, attends college, blogs, and creates websites, so she knows quite a bit about time management! This is an awesome DIY from her to get your creative juices flowing.

If you are interested in purchasing one of these cute key fobs instead of making it, you can check out Kerri’s Etsy shop or send her an e-mail at kerri@mintforever.com. (Pssssttt…there’s a giveaway at the end!!!)

Hi everyone! My name is Kerri and I blog over at Kerri Waller Blog (original, I know). I am guest posting today for the 31 Days Unplugged and I’d like to share a tutorial with you all to make fun key fob wristlets!

These key fob wristlets are the perfect addition for your keys especially if you’re a mom and have your hands full and aren’t carrying a bag with you. They make perfect gifts for family, friends, teachers (teacher appreciation week!), colleagues, etc. You can personalize them to any interest or hobby by choosing the specific ribbon. SO! Here it is:

Supplies

You’ll want to measure and cut about 11″ of ribbon and cotton webbing. This ensures it’s long enough, after folding in half, to still fit on your arm.

Put the sewing pins in the middle of the ribbon. I used about three of them from one end to the other.

Sew one side of the ribbon and webbing from one end to the other end.

Then you can take the pins out and sew the other side of the ribbon and webbing.

After you have sewed both sides and trimmed the excess thread, fold it in half and press.

Take the key fob hardware and put it over the open end of the fob. Use the key fob press to squeeze the hardware together as tight as you possibly can get it. I actually don’t have a key fob press, so I use pliers. :p It works!

And you’re done! You can use any ribbon and color cotton webbing that you want. The possibilities are absolutely endless!

Win a Custom Key Fob Wristlet!

Click here to enter to win your very own custom key fob wristlet from Kerri!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 5 – What to do with all that time?

4 Mar

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Welcome back!  We are on day 5 of the 31 Days Unplugged challenge.  At this point, we have unplugged from all forms of social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) during the day.  We are still using these things after the sun goes down, but we are dedicating our days to God and enjoying the abundant life he has promised to us.

If you’re like me, you are finding yourself with some extra time on your hands.  By cutting down on time in front of the computer or staring mindlessly at my cell phone, I have lots of time to do other things, even some things I have been putting off by saying I just didn’t have time to get to it.

Throughout the month, I (and some great guest-bloggers) am going to be giving you some inspiration for things to do to fill up the time that you will inevitably find throughout your day.

Challenge #4-Do something you have been putting off for awhile.  This could be cleaning or organizing, calling someone, writing thank you notes, ironing clothes, whatever it is you have been procrastinating.  You know, the thing you think about every day, but never seem to get done?

I have been wanting to organize my jewelry box for weeks, ever since I got a wonderful new (to me) jewelry box that was my grandma’s.  I have been keeping my jewelry stuffed in a drawer in our bedroom, and it was so messy that I could hardly open the drawer, and a lot of my jewelry was turning into a tangled mess.  I didn’t even want to wear any of my jewelry because it was such a hassle to get to it!

This is my messy drawer full of jewelry...

This is my messy drawer full of jewelry…

...and my beautiful, organized jewelry box!

…and my beautiful, organized jewelry box!

I feel so great having this done, and all I had to do was take 15 minutes I would have otherwise wasted scrolling through Facebook.

Ephesians 5: 15-16 says “So be careful how you live.  Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.”

So let’s spend our new found-time wisely!

Cute Little Valentines

10 Feb

The kids and I spent the morning working on some Valentines to give to their friends at Bible Study tomorrow.  Maddie was so happy to get into her makeup to make these sweet Valentines!

We just cut a wavy border around some construction paper, added a cute message, then the Madster got to put on her lipstick and give out some kisses!  I love them so much, I don't know if I can give them away!

We just cut a wavy border around some construction paper, added a cute message, then the Madster got to put on her lipstick and give out some kisses! I love them so much, I don’t know if I can give them away!

 

Maddie was glad to put on some lipstick.

Maddie was glad to put on some lipstick.

 

Full disclosure: these are the Valentines Charlie and Maddie will be handing out to their friends.  We don't have enough time or lipstick to make that many, plus I just couldn't get Charlie to put on the lipstick!

Full disclosure: these are the Valentines Charlie and Maddie will be handing out to their friends. We don’t have enough time or lipstick to make that many, plus I just couldn’t get Charlie to put on the lipstick!

We made some nice homemade Valentines last year, but didn’t get around to that this year!

If you are making last minute Valentines and you have a little girl willing to do it, these are quick, easy, and precious!

 

Chocolate Marshmallow Hearts

7 Feb

The kids and I made these wonderful, sweet white chocolate marshmallow hearts for a special Valentine’s Day treat.  They are so good and so easy to make!

Start with these cute strawberry-flavored marshmallow hearts.

Start with these cute strawberry-flavored marshmallow hearts. (Note the tiny hand reaching in to steal a marshmallow!)

Melt white chocolate chips then drizzle the melted chocolate over the marshmallows.

Melt white chocolate chips then drizzle the melted chocolate over the marshmallows.

My assistant, Charlie, sprinkled red sugar over the hearts.

My assistant, Charlie, sprinkled red sugar over the hearts.

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Aren’t they too cute?  These would be perfect for any Valentine’s party you are going to, and are fun to make with the kids.

DIY Chevron Wreath

9 Jan

I have been working on cleaning out and selling all of my wreath-making supplies (decided to do away with the business) and found the gray chevron fabric that I used to make this wreath for my mom last fall.  At the time, I had intended to make one for myself, too, but I never got around to it.  Well, today I finally did!  And I love it!  It will be great until the spring, or even longer.

I decided to re-post the original blog for you in case anyone was interested in making one of their own.

 

 

Is anyone else obsessed with chevron like me?  I just love it.  I found some grey chevron scrapbook paper the other day that I just love, and my new yellow chevron pillows are being delivered tomorrow.  I can’t wait!

Mama asked me to make a gray chevron wreath to match her new paint colors, so we went to Hobby Lobby today and got the fabric, and I made it tonight after I put the kids to bed.  It turned out just beautifully and I thought I would give a quick DIY on it.

Gray Chevron Wreath with Flower Embellishment

Supplies Needed:

Glue Gun and Glue Sticks

Straw Wreath Form (I used a 15″ Form)

1 Yard of Gray Chevron Fabric 

Silk Flowers of Your Choice

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1. Cut the fabric into strips about 6 inches wide.  Make your cut in the direction of the arrows in the chevron pattern.

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2. Cut those strips into pieces that are 10 inches in length.

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3. Take each fabric strip and fold over one edge.  Secure it with the hot glue gun.

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4. Begin gluing the strips of fabric to the straw wreath form.  Secure one edge to the back of the form with the hot glue gun.

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5. Pull the fabric tightly around the form and secure the end of the fabric to the straw form using the hot glue gun.

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6. Continue adding strips of fabric, overlapping the side of the fabric that is folded over onto the fabric on the form so the frayed edge of the fabric isn’t showing.  For a more uniform look, line up the pattern of the chevron on the front of the wreath.

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You will need to fold over the fabric a bit to keep it tight around the form.
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Halfway there!

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7. For the last piece of fabric, fold over both sides so the frayed edges are not showing, then secure it to the wreath the same as the other pieces.

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All done!

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8. Use the hot glue gun to add the flowers of your choice.

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And all done!

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Isn’t it pretty?  I can’t wait until Mama sees it.  And luckily, I have enough fabric left to make one for myself!

Why I am Loving our Christmas Tree

10 Dec

My Christmas decorations have totally changed this year, for a couple of different reasons.  First of all, we had our house painted this summer.  Our walls went from browns and yellows to blues and grays, and our furniture went from reds, greens, and golds, to blue and white.  Secondly, I really wanted to make the decorations more kid-friendly, and the kids have been making a lot of ornaments that I wanted to put on the tree.

So, even though our tree is very different from what we have had in the past, I LOVE it!

Eddie, the kids' grandpa, found a train set that we put around the tree.

Eddie, the kids’ grandpa, found a train set that we put around the tree.

 

This is a snowman made out of an egg carton-we painted the carton white, added some buttons and sequin eyes, and a strip of fabric for the scarf.  I just sat them in the tree.

This is a snowman made out of an egg carton-we painted the carton white, added some buttons and sequin eyes, and a strip of fabric for the scarf. I just sat them in the tree.

 

This is one of my favorite ornaments.  The kids dipped their fingers in white paint then made snowmen with their fingertips.  I used paint pens to add the snowman's embellishments, then wrote the kids' names and the year on the bottom of the ornament.  We have made tons of these-what a great gift.  I got this idea from Pinterest, but can't get back to the original source, so if it is your's please let me know so I can give you credit for this awesome idea!

This is one of my favorite ornaments. The kids dipped their fingers in white paint then made snowmen with their fingertips. I used paint pens to add the snowman’s embellishments, then wrote the kids’ names and the year on the bottom of the ornament. We have made tons of these-what a great gift. I got this idea from Pinterest, but can’t get back to the original source, so if it is your’s please let me know so I can give you credit for this awesome idea!

 

I made a couple of ornaments myself by mod podging strips of fabric to a  glass ball.

I made a couple of ornaments myself by mod podging strips of fabric to a glass ball.

 

One really special thing about our tree this year is that we have some ornaments from Jason's Grandma Olline, who passed away last year.  I love this one.

One really special thing about our tree this year is that we have some ornaments from Jason’s Grandma Olline, who passed away last year. I love this one.

 

This is a super-old ornament from Olline's tree.  I had to hang it very high so the kids couldn't get to it!

This is a super-old ornament from Olline’s tree. I had to hang it very high so the kids couldn’t get to it!

 

I love how our decorations and all of our Christmas traditions are evolving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Advent Calendar for Us Procrastinators…

30 Nov

I had really extravagant plans for an advent calendar this year.  Last year, I used one that was given to us, and it was a little over the kids’ heads and was kind of hard to put together every day.  It fell to the wayside a few days into it, I am sorry to say!

This year I had plans to make my own advent calendar using a plan put together by someone my sister-in-law goes to church with.  It was very intricate and she obviously put a lot of time and energy into planning it.  She had a calendar that included spending one day every week on a craft, one on baking, etc.  It was really awesome, but would require a lot of time on my part, also.

I woke up this morning in a panic when I realized that today was the last day of November, and I would have to make an advent calendar TODAY so we can start TOMORROW!  I pulled up the plan I was going to follow and saw right away that it just wasn’t going to work.  Not only did I not have time to get it all together, I just don’t have the time in my daily schedule it was going to require.  I wanted to go to Hobby Lobby to get some finishing touches for our tree, anyway, so I decided to see what they had in the line of advent calendars.

Honestly, I was just looking for a ready-made one with a piece of candy inside each little door…

But I am so much happier with what I ended up with.  If you sit down and just do it, it will honestly take less than half an hour to put together, so if you, like me, realized at the last minute that you have waited too long to plan your advent activity for your kids, you can throw this together pretty quickly.

I bought a cardboard advent set at Hobby Lobby.  You can use little gift boxes or bags, a cork board marked off like a calendar, a fabric pocket advent calendar, a shoe organizer, or anything else you can get your hands on.

Then I went through my old scrapbook supplies (I had to blow the dust off of that stuff!) and found numbers to put on each drawer (you will need 25 total.) You could print some pretty numbers from the Internet and glue them onto the drawers or whatever you are using, or you could just write them on there.

This is what I ended up with. I used paint pens to add some decoration, but nothing fancy. Martin, our elf, is helping me out.

 

I added this verse to the top-the whole meaning of Christmas!

I added this verse to the top-the whole meaning of Christmas!

I definitely wanted to include scripture in our advent calendar, but needed to keep it simple for a 2 and 4 year old to understand.  I found a great printable at Happy Home Fairy, one of my favorite blogs.  I really liked her advent verses, because they are so short and simple, perfect for Charlie and Maddie.

I printed her verses, cut them out, and glued them to some wintry-looking scrapbook paper.  They were so cute and fit perfectly in the drawers.  You don’t have to glue them to any other paper, but it made them a little less flimsy so they can be used again next year.

Cute!

Cute!

I put each of the cards into its corresponding box, then thought about what could be added to each box.  The easy answer: candy!

Candy, for our busy days.

Candy, for our busy days.

 

So, we are really busy tomorrow.  We have Sunday School and church, then have to go to Raleigh for Addison’s first birthday party, then have to be back at church for Christmas play practice.  For days like that, candy is definitely going in our calendar.

For other days when we have more time, I have some really great ideas.  What I love about this calendar is that you can change what you have in the drawers from day-to-day, so if I realize the night before that we can’t do something or we will have the time to do something more involved, I can easily change it up.

Here are some other ideas:

1. Stickers to decorate a glass ornament to give to someone

2. $1 to spend at the Dollar Store on a present for a grandparent

3. $5 to spend at Wal-Mart on a present to put in the Toys for Tots box at the front of the store

4. Change to put in the Salvation Army bucket

5. A few chocolate chips-then make cookies to deliver to people

6. A couple of crackers-then make soup to deliver to people

7. Small ornaments to put on their trees (Charlie and Maddie each have tiny trees in their rooms)

One suggestion from the original advent calendar I was going to attempt was to put in copies (shrunk, of course) of the covers of books we are going to read that day.  That would be really fun to do, and you could do the same for movies you are going to watch.

I have a couple of dollars stuck in our drawer for Thursday, so we can swing by the Dollar Tree after story time to pick up some little gifts for someone special.

I have a couple of dollars stuck in our drawer for Thursday, so we can swing by the Dollar Tree after story time to pick up some little gifts for someone special.

 

Some cute little ornaments for Maddie's Christmas tree

Some cute little ornaments for Maddie’s Christmas tree

 

I am looking forward to starting this with the kids tomorrow.  Hopefully, if you are a procrastinator sometimes like me, you can take this basic idea and make it your own!