Friday, February 12, 2016

Lego Valentines and a free printable

Whew!  What a week!  The kids are still alive and I got Valentines done before this morning, so I call that a win (I did forget to sign up for something for the class party though. . . shhhh. . . mom fail!).  I might start doing a happy dance when the weekend starts because I am so done with this week.  But, back to Valentines. . .

Last year we did heart shaped crayons which was a HUGE hit with the kiddos.  They had fun making them and giving them out.  So, when I found the mold for Lego guys at the Lego store we knew at once what Valentines we were going to do.  I mean, there might be a chance we do these EVERY year from now on because my boys LOVE Legos.  I really don't mind, because they are just so easy. 

This year, it took a little bit more time and organization because the mold only held 8 mini figures rather than the 24 hearts that last year's made.  Also, Ethan wanted them to be all solid colors rather than the marbley look of last year's.  So, on Monday (we didn't have school that day), we took an hour and unwrapped all colors we needed and bagged them up by color.  That way, I could do a couple of batches throughout the week with minimal effort.  It worked. . . I had to force myself to stop!  This year we made enough to give each kid 3 mini figure crayons.

You can find my tutorial for making crayons here.

Then, we perused pinterest for the best lego valentine saying we could find and made our own printable.  These fit perfectly in a 4x6 cello bag. I had mine printed on card stock from Office Depot.  We just folded over the back and sealed it with some washi tape. 

You can print out your own here.

Happy Valentine's Day!  

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Weston is 5: Airplane Party Activities

Everywhere we go, Weston informs everybody that he is 5 now and then asks me if he's going to be 6.  He might be in a bit of a hurry to grow up.  Part of me just wants to keep  him this age forever.  It's so much fun!  This year, Weston got to invite a couple of friends along with his usual stream of friends and family.  But, not matter how many kids, I love having pre-planned activities for the kids to do so they don't get bored while the parents are all having fun standing around talking.  

Since this party was an airplane party, I found lots of super fun activities that were low cost and a ton of fun for both kids and adults!   We were so lucky because we woke up to a rainy morning, but thankfully it was a beautiful (and cold) afternoon.  The kids didn't mind being outside either!  Also, a big thanks to El Nino for making our grass green again!

Paper Airplane making station 
The kids made paper airplanes and decorated them.  Then we flew them to see whose went the farthest.   

Foam Gliders
The kids built foam gliders and we flew them around the back yard and tried to land them in hula hoop targets.

Pin the Propeller on the Airplane
We tortured our kid guests by blind folding them, spinning them around a few times, and having them tape their propeller onto to a drawn airplane (Big thanks to my husband for his artistic skills!).  I was able to find the propellers to print out here for free.

We also had bubbles, play dough, and areo props for the kids to play with. 

The kids had a blast! 

Check out the rest of Weston's airplane party here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Weston is 5: Airplane Birthday

I honestly am in denial that I am doing this post and that Weston really didn't turn 5 this month.  Seriously, how can this be?  Wasn't this just yesterday?  And didn't I just throw this party?  But really, I have loved all the stages of these kids so far and I am so excited to see this next phase of life pan out.  Weston is such a great kid and loves airplanes, cars, trains, legos, action figures, and video games.  He can beat me at the Disney Infinity with no help from dad (but let's be honest. . . I never really had a chance!).  This kid is so full of life and joy that you can't help but smile when you are around him!

Because Weston has had a huge interest in airplanes and both the Disney movies, we decided an airplane themed party would be perfect for him.  I had to be super organized in my planning because we planned our annual Winter vacation for the week before his party.  I had everything laid out and ready to go because we got home 2 days before the party.  We even contemplated staying an extra day. . . seriously what were we thinking?  We might just be a tad crazy! 

I bought a lot of stuff from Target because I loved how it fit with the color scheme of blue, turquoise, and green.  I bought some digital images and made all the signs myself. 

This party was a ton of fun to put together!  I loved stepping out of my normal design ideas and trying something new.  

Tune in tomorrow to check out some of the activities and games!

Images: Jessica Sawyer Design

Banner:  I followed this tutorial and used the mint medley card stock from JoAnns. It was pretty easy, but ended up using a hot glue gun for party of the letters and only burned myself once. . . I call that a success!

Menu:  Cinnamon Bun popcorn, pretzels, spinach dip and sourdough, veggies and dip, chips and salsa, Devil's Food cupcakes, bacon wrapped sausages, trail mix, and airplane ham sandwiches, rice krispy treats, and red vines

Streamer Banner, Ball banner, table cloths and plates: Spritz for Target

Friday, February 05, 2016

A call to create

Last month, this little blog space celebrated it's 7th birthday!  That got me to thinking about this blog lately and why I started it.  I remember being a new mom and needing an outlet and trying out this blog thing.  I wanted to be able to share recipes with friends and encourage other moms around me to find their creative side.

Now, 7 years later I still love coming and sharing bit and pieces of my life with my readers.  Creativity is something that I have a passion for and is something that many kept telling me I wouldn't have time for once my oldest was born.  Contrary to what people told me, I found that not only was there time for it, but there was a need for it.

I subtitled my blog "Finding creativity in the midst of motherhood" because I wanted to encourage moms that it is possible to be creative even when we are covered in spit up and changing blow out diapers all day. Even when it seems impossible.

Several weeks ago, when I was listening to the Jamie Ivey podcast they were talking about another blogger (I am so sorry, I forgot who it was) who said we were made to create. I couldn't agree with that more!

As a Christian, I believe I was created by a creative God who created us in His image.  If this is the case, we are all creative in some way, not necessarily in the same way (because we are all uniquely made).   I know so many people who love the idea of creative things, but don't feel like they have a creative bone in their body.  They would much rather pay someone else to be creative for them. For the longest time, a dear sweet friend of mine always told me she couldn't cook and would always joke that she should just pay me to bake for her.  Now, most of her posts are of her doing the unthinkable.  She stepped out of her comfort zone and into her kitchen and now that's the place that she finds refreshment and satisfaction.

Friends (because I we're all friends around here), creating something is not necessarily creating something etsy-worthy but filling a God given desire to make something beautiful.  We can create on a semi daily basis by
:: making food for our family that isn't throwing a corn dog on a plate (which is funny, because that's exactly what my kids are having tonight because it's Bible Study night!).
:: taking pictures
:: arranging/decorating your house
:: Sending someone a card
:: journaling
:: painting
:: sewing
:: knitting
:: coloring

The list can go on for miles, but this year I want to encourage you to find what drives your creativity.  Find out what gets you creative and then feel that satisfaction of finishing something that you are proud of.
Discover joy in creativity.
And explore the beauty of imperfection.  Being creative is never perfect and often our best comes out of our disasters.  

There is joy to be found in creativity.  It is not something to be feared or ignored.  Let's grow closer to our creator by finding our creative side!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Tuesday thoughts (because Monday came and went)

Today is one of those days I just want to crawl back into bed.  Not because it was a bad day, but because today came WAY too early!  The reality of being back to our normal schedule came too early when our oldest woke up 2 hours early with a sore throat.  I do not do early very well.  I especially don't do early when my son is in a funk and wants to extend our vacation (if only. . . ).  But, we survived and I now I am trying to find my groove again.

Here's some things that caught my eye this past week:

:: Besides being incredibly excited for Netflix's Fuller House, this announcement also got me super excited!

:: I love mom videos. . . this one was no exception!

:: This article

:: I am finding this election year disheartening, but this made me laugh!

:: Have you checked out the Jamie Ivey podcast yet?  Seriously, I could totally be real friends with these people!  I listened to this one the other day and now I want to read her books!

:: I am very seriously contemplating starting my own sourdough starter.  Any advice?

:: My lemon tree is overflowing with lemons so this month I plan on making lots of lemon things, including some lemon curd!

:: And x files. . . have you watched it?  I never did, but I married a fan and in the past 10 years, I have watched SO MANY episodes that I am super excited about watching them.  So far, so good.  Oh, and they are funny.  It's weird.   Fox Mulder and Scully got silly!  

And, now I am going to go watch Life in Pieces and go to bed.  Tomorrow will be here before we know it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The year I learned to say no.

Before I was a mom, I was a teacher.  I kept busy, not committing myself to different things because teaching took up a lot of my free time.  I loved it. Then, I became a mom and made the surprisingly easy decision to quit my job and stay at home.  The year Ethan was born was incredibly peaceful.  It was a fun year and really quiet.  I think the only commitment I made was to join a MOPS group (so thankful for my sweet friends who encouraged me to sign up!). There was something about this year that I look back now and realize that I crave that peace. The time.

Something happened after Ethan turned one that changed.  Things were easier since he was napping less and so I began to say yes to things that had always been a no.  I taught Sunday School, worked in the nursery, joined a Bible study, eventually became the coordinator of Mops.  I even tried to be a P31 super woman by starting a pampered chef business.   I absolutely loved doing each and every one of these things, but over time I became tired and sometimes resentful that there was no rest.  No margin.

I wanted more.

I needed more.

There had to be more.  Nobody was getting my best, especially not my husband and my kids.  So, I did something that some thought was pretty drastic.  I stepped down from EVERYTHING.  For entire year, my only commitments were Bible Study on Tuesday, our life group, and my family.  I also enlisted the help of my wonderful mother in law to watch Weston every now and then so I could go and do things for me.  I realized that in all this doing I was forgetting about myself.  I know that sounds selfish, but I firmly believe that we have to take care of ourselves to be our best at anything.  

It was also a hard year.  I had to get used to NOT doing and NOT being.  When I was asked to do things, my first instinct was always, "sure."  I had to fight that instinct to say yes.  There were a lot of things I would have loved to say yes to, but knew in my heart that I couldn't.  Not this year.  Not now.  I needed to practice the art of saying no.

Saying no meant saying no to some fun nights of fellowship, and while I missed it, I really didn't.  I missed the fellowship with my mom friends, but realized I longed for deeper friendships with other moms.  Something I often missed out on because I was leading something and too busy to fully connect.

As the year of saying no ended, I knew I had to stop saying yes to so many things.  I had to set boundaries for my time and commitments.  I had to be selfish with my time for the sake of my family and for my mental well being.  By saying no, we had more quality time to spend together as a family.  I also became more intentional seeking out friendships, making coffee dates with new friends.  I also found I had become more consistent with my quiet times.  I ended that year, closer to God, closer to my family, and much more content.  Sometimes, we don't need more in our lives, we just need to slow down and allow ourselves some margin and rest.

I don't think that we were ever meant to be such busy people.  I know that as women, we want to do it all.  I honestly, don't think we were created to do it all.  Last summer, at a Bible study leaders training, we talked about the different generations in the room, and one common observation from the wiser generations was that our generation is constantly doing things.  We excel at multi tasking.  We want to accomplish everything.  This is incredibly true and saddening.

Psalm 46, calls us to "Be still and know He is God."  I found that it is really hard to do this when we are constantly going and doing.  We are so busy, it's hard to shut off.  When we are so busy constantly saying yes, we are missing out on the quiet moments where we can hear God.  Our times with God become rushed and impersonal. . . just getting the job done.  When I started saying no, I became hungry for His word. 

I also learned that sometimes God has someone else in mind and if we constantly say yes, then someone else may miss out on an opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and try something new.  And if no one else can do it, maybe it's not supposed to happen.  We don't have to do it all.  We aren't meant to do it all.  We can't feel guilty for saying no.

In 2016, I encourage you to slow down and commit to being less busy.  Let's not be tired, overworked moms that want to do it all, but moms that want more time. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday Meanderings

Happy Monday!  My son went back to school today and Weston and I started back with pre-k stuff at home and it sure is quiet.  Much of our vacation, it was raining and beautiful, but the kiddos have been so stir crazy the past few days.  While sleeping in was wonderful, I am ready for routine back.  Bring on the spring semester! 

Over vacation, my husband took my by one of the new ice cream stores in Fresno.  It's nowhere near where we live, but we were downtown for a party and even though we had eaten, I made sure to save room for this raspberry sorbet.  It was quite tasty.  The foodie in me just squealed with joy that I got to go!  Usually, I am not a fan of sorbets because they are way too sweet and I want something that pairs with chocolate syrup. . . and maybe some caramel.  This sorbet was not overly sweet and the berries were so fresh! 

So, while I dream about this beautiful sorbet

Here are some things that have caught my eye lately:

 :: Star Wars fever is very strong in our house.  I haven't seen it, but I feel like I have because my 7 year old and husband cannot stop talking about it.  The Force Awakens world for the Infinity 3.0 arrived on Saturday and I really am not sure who was more excited.. . my husband or my sons.  ha ha!    This video is pretty funny though! 

  :: Do you have a Duvet cover on your bed?  We do and seriously, why does it have to be such a pain to take it apart?  A friend shared this on FB the other day and all I could say was GENIUS!!! Definitely life changing!

 :: I am so excited for the Fuller House to start airing on Netflix next month!  I was a HUGE Full House fan and have very fond memories camping out in front of the TV on Friday nights to watch all 4 shows that made up the TGIF line up.   This blog post was pretty much awesome! 

:: Cotton and Steel fabrics are having a lawnquilt contest and I really want to do it, but I don't think I can fit it in this year.  But check out their new lawns! 

:: This book just came in the mail and I can't wait to start reading it!  The pictures are beautiful!  Plus, now that the Christams decorations are put away and my house is quiet, I really am feeling the need to start redecorating again. . . it's looking a little sad. 

:: I am looking forward to starting back up with Bible Study in a week, but I've already started reading the book and it is so good.  Lisa TerKeurst is an amazing writer and has always been up there as one of my favorites.  So, I am looking forward to digging in! 


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