diy day.

This has become one of my favorite days; it’s the perfect opportunity to get together with girlfriends,  chat, eat yummy breakfast foods, and the kiddos get to play together. Plus we all leave with seasonal or home crafts for our house — what’s better than that?! This was the third time we’ve done a DIY day and at the end of this particular Saturday one of the girls said, “I think we are getting better at this” and we all agreed.  She meant that we are getting better at picking crafts that are easy to have staged (some/most of the prep work is already done so all we have to do is put them together) and we are getting craftier and better and what we are putting together.  You can read about our Christmas DIY day here. So far we’ve done a fall DIY day, Christmas DIY and this one was spring/home crafts.

Here’s how it works:

Three or four other girls and I (five is the most we’ve done and I wouldn’t suggest having more than that if you want to be finished with all five crafts by noon-1:00ish) each pick a craft we want to do and then bring enough for the other girls to make our particular craft. Ideally our craft would be finished for an example and then we’d be able to help while the others made our craft.  For example, my project was wooden blocks that were going to say Spring, Summer, Lucky and have stars/stripes on each side. Since I already had the blocks cut down to size I brought six for each girl, white and cream spray paint so they could decide what color to to do theirs, sandpaper to sand them down and make them distressed, and vinyl letters cut with my cricut.  At the last minute I had issues with my cricut mat (I didn’t have one!) so my project wasn’t staged as much as it could have been and took a little longer cutting the letters all that morning while we were there.  The vinyl is awesome though and you are able to lift it up and restick it until it’s in the right place. Today while I was at Michaels I found a few other embellishments to add to them to make them a little more springy/summery. I love how they turned out! (I have one block that’s a little shorter than all the others – all the other girls’ blocks are the same size – mine are just rustic – the word we used to describe the imperfections and character our homemade items have.)

Spray painting the blocks.

The other projects we did this particular day were:

Wanted/Lost Socks Sign:

Isn’t this the cutest? I’ve seen these go across on Pinterest and was excited to actually get to make one! My friend Melissa already had these awesome pieces of wood cut to size and in various stains to choose from.  Then we choose scrapbook paper and cut it to the size we wanted; mod-podged it onto the wood; then used the cricut and cut out vinyl letters (don’t mind mine they aren’t straight – I can’t mess with them anymore or it’s going to screw up the paper! I am not the most patient crafter and this gets me in trouble as you can see.) and finally hot glued the clothes pins on.  She even had the little hanging thing to hammer into the back so it’s ready to hang in the laundry room. Although I have way more than five socks that are missing their mate this is so cute in a laundry room. You probably can’t tell in the picture but there is a perfect little ledge on the top where a picture frame could rest as well –  just another way this will add charm to my laundry room.

Cutting the paper for the board while the Cricut does what it does best.

Days Until Sign:

This was another wooden sign project that we will be able to use year round.  My friend Mitzi had the signs all cut and her letters all cut from her cricut (she was more prepared than I). We put the letters down on the sign where we wanted them and then used chalkboard spray paint and did two coats.  After they were dry we peeled the letters off and had a perfect chalkboard sign that can be personalized  to whatever event you want to countdown for. The paint did leak a little under the vinyl but we decided it gave it that “rustic” look we were so fond of.  She also had small vinyl pink flowers we could add if we wanted to make it more spring themed and then you could peel them off when that season was over. Simple, fun, and finished in about 30 minutes — my kind of craft!

The boards with the letters all laid out ready to be stuck on where we want them.

For all three of the craft days we’ve done we have had one of our Moms or a babysitter there to help with the kids just because it can get a little crazy and that way we can work on what we came to work on and someone else can help keep the kiddos busy. We also usually bring a yummy breakfast item to share (usually a found recipe on Pinterest) and there’s plenty of coffee to get us through the morning.

Such cuties with their new friend Karissa who was so great with them!

This has been such a fun tradition to start and I look forward to when our girls are big enough to join in too. If you need some more ideas or information about having your own DIY day don’t hesitate to ask!


st. patrick’s day burlap banner

I don’t normally put up a lot of decorations for St. Patrick’s day but thanks to Pinterest and Etsy there’s tons of inspiration to add some St. Patrick’s day inspired decorations for this holiday.  When I saw this banner on Etsy I knew I could make a version of it. I love how simple and cute it is.

St Patricks Day Banner Decoration Green Burlap perfect for photo prop or party decor

For my version you’ll need:

  • Burlap – I did 7 pennants – you could do more or less depending on how big/little you want yours.
  • Shamrocks – I used the pack of foam, glitter shamrocks I found at Michael’s and alternated the colors between light/dark green. You’l need 2 packs if you do 7.
  • Hot Glue
  • Twine, Ribbon, Yarn – Whatever you want to string the pennants on.
  • Hole Punch or Scissors – Or a better idea might be to just try to string it through. I ran into some issues with the hole being too close to the edge and the burlap falling apart.


*Learn from my mistakes: The hole punch might not have been the best way to do this. I had a little trouble with the burlap fraying and my hole disappearing. Looking back at the pictures from Etsy I’m not sure if she punched a hole or just tried threading it through the burlap – I did notice that it was much more in the center than the outsides of the triangle. From far away mine looks fine and up close it’s more rustic looking where they are fraying and not perfectly straight; I still love it.

I used those little Command hooks to hang it up on our fireplace – they work great! Since I didn’t like how the little white sticker/hook looked I used shamrock stickers (also from Michael’s) to cover them up.

Stay tuned for a few more St. Patrick’s themed crafts and ideas. We will be making leprechaun traps this weekend and trying to catch those sneaky leprechauns all week. Stay posted!

i love you message board

I’m confident enough to admit that I listen to Dr. Laura.  Actually, I love listening to her. I think it’s her brutal honesty and outspokenness that I love; probably because those aren’t my strongest qualities I admire them in someone else.  Yes, she’s pretty traditional in her values and I don’t always agree with her answers but for the most part I do and I usually walk away with something to think about.  I bought her book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, after hearing her talk about it and then hearing a few other girlfriends talk about it. Let me summarize the book for you:  1. Don’t nag.  2.  Be your husband’s girlfriend.  Sometimes these are easier said than done but I think they are valid points.  Sometimes it’s hard to feel “girlfriendish” dressed in workout gear, un-showered, snot wiped on my shirt from runny noses, and a messy house stressing me out, but I am trying.  Life gets in the way, work gets in the way, two kids get in the way and I will admit I haven’t been the best girlfriend lately and I want him to know how much I love him and appreciate him. So, I am upping the cheese factor in honor of Valentine’s Day and made this super sweet “I Love You Because” message board to remind the hubby of all the little things I love about him – from the obvious (how hard he works for us) to the not so obvious (watching him let the girls do his hair – complete with hair clips and hairspray).  Hopefully, he’ll catch onto the idea and I’ll see some notes from him too!

I take no credit for the idea of this; I wish I was crafty like that but I don’t have that gene.  However I can look at a picture and follow directions and get pretty darn close. Here is the link to the original. If you don’t want to make your own she does have an Etsy store where she sells it or if you like mine I will make you one!   If you want to type out your own font you can but I also am including the one that I made on Microsoft Word. All you’ll need to do is download it and then print it on whatever scrapbook paper you choose.

What you need:

  • 8×10 frame
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Download this file: iloveyoubecause and open in Word.
  • Felt/Fabric Roses to decorate frame if you want (I can do a tutorial next week if anyone’s interested in fabric roses  – these are my favorite!) I used something similar to a burlap for these.
  • Dry-Erase Pen

Print out the sign on whatever paper you’d like and put in your frame. Decorate the frame with felt/fabric roses then write a note to your loved one with a dry erase marker and don’t forget to change it often!

email accounts for kids

Happy Friday! I hope you have all had a positive first week of January!

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Personally it has felt so good to get back to the gym — going on four days this week (planning on number five tomorrow) and a week of healthy eating. It makes such a difference in how I feel and the energy I have during the day.  I saw this quote going around Pinterest and thought it was so appropriate for New Year’s Resolutions and people that are trying to “get in shape” this year. After a week of hard workouts I really want to go try on a pair of jeans that have been in the dark, back corner of my closet and be pleasantly surprised when they slide right on. Wrong. That’s not how it works and this quote is a good reminder that it takes time, dedication, and it should not be about the quick, instant result and instead about an all over healthy lifestyle (not a diet!). So, for all of you that want instant results (like me) remember that it doesn’t work like that and give yourself time to do it the right way.  And, remember my Lean & Mean class at Orland Rec starts this Monday at 5:15 p.m.! I’m really excited to try to teach adults that actually want to move and be challenged rather than whiny, bitchy teenage girls who would come into my office with every excuse in the book as to why the couldn’t dress down (my all time favorite was the girl who said her pants were too tight so she couldn’t dress down since she couldn’t take them off. Seriously?)

I hope you aren’t tired of ways to record/document your life and the childhood of your little ones — because I learned of another way from my girlfriend, Denai. They are a two girl family too and I love our playdates and watching the girls play — someday when we are fighting and arguing with our two teenage daughters each I know we will appreciate having someone else who’s raising two girls and all the good and bad that goes with that.
While I was there her almost 4 month old rolled over for the first time when she’d laid her down for a nap. Later that morning Denai said, “I need to email Aida.” Aida is daughter. I believe I said, “Wait, what?” She then proceeded to open up both girls’ email accounts and show me all the little notes to the girls she’d written recording milestones they’d hit, a sweet picture she’d taken with her phone, or a funny/scary story to remember the joys of 3 year olds.
I fell in love with the idea immediately. What a fun and easy way to document their childhood without getting out the baby book or recording it on a calendar or handwritten in a journal like I’d been doing since I was pregnant and slowly been writing less and less. I even thought that when I was working full time this would’ve been a fun way to still be connected to the girls and drop them notes when I was really missing or thinking of them. Denai said she didn’t think she’d show them all the emails until they were older and then they’d have a bunch of emails, written as notes from Mom, Dad or other family members since she’d shared the address with family members.
With the easy accesibility of phones and email there is no excuse to not email a funny quote they said (like tonight when Norah seriously said, “because that’s how I roll” when discussing her impressive bowel movements.”) or a cute picture of two 3 year olds playing dress -up.

So, there are now two new gmail accounts in both girls’ names for Luke and I to start writing to and filling their inbox with love from Mom and Dad.

a photo a day & easy journaling

As 2011 is coming to and end and we are moving on to 2012 I wanted to share two ideas I have for journaling and photographing my way through 2012.  These both will be positve, “feel good” ways to capture big and small moments in the coming year and in years to come. Both ideas come from my favorite website, Pinterest.

Pinned ImageIf you click on the above image it will take you to the website with ideas and information about taking 1 picture a day for an entire year. I like that it will make me capture the every day, mundane parts of life rather than only capturing dance recitals, birthday parties and other events. I love taking pictures with my iPhone and it’s usually close enough to to snap a quick picture of the girls being silly, playing dress up, or on a walk outside; some of my favorite pictures of the girls are from my phone.  I try to send at least one pictures a day to Luke so he can see what the girls are up to and hopefully make him smile.  But to use my iPhone would be too easy.  So, to add a challenge to myself I’m going to use our Nikon D300, manually. I am embarrassed to admit that we have this amazing camera and I still use it like it’s a point and shoot in the automatic setting. We took a photography class after Norah was born and I was starting to get a grasp of aperture,  ISO setting, shutter speed and all that other stuff when the class ended along with my using the camera and what I had newly learned.  I love going on walks with the girls, grabbing the camera and capturing them playing or the beautiful nature around us, I’m  just not confident in the manual setting. So, I will be lugging around our big camera and using it manually to take 1 picture a day for an entire year. Tedious? Yes. But at the end of 2012 I will hopefully  have a beautiful progression of pictures (hopefully from ok to great) of our year with two busy, crazy, fun, little girls, our growing cattle business and soon to be walnut orchard — big stuff in 2012 for us!

I found these great photography tutorials on The Pioneer Woman’s website that I’m sure will be helpful.  That, and a batch of her homemade cinnamon rolls.

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I love this idea! I love that as we get more and more years recorded we will be able to go back and read what we were doing 3, 5,  10 years ago and see what big milestones the girls went through in those times.  If you click on the picture it will take you to the tutorial where you can read more about making one for yourself. I think I will be using scrapbooking paper in between the months and possibly just handwriting the date at the top unless I can track a stamp like that down between now and Sunday. It will hopefully have a permanent spot in the kitchen where it’ll be a reminder to jot down our event for the day and not get too behind on filling it out. The author even admits that the first year is the hardest but the reward will come in the years to come.


Happy 2012!