Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcome 2011!

Happy New Year to you all! It's almost midnight here and I'm pretty surprised I'm still awake. We had some fun plans for the evening but I'm still not feeling that great so we stayed home and put Elora to bed on time.
We've been watching shows and I've been cutting out pieces for a new project that I'm really excited about! I have lots of goals for the new year and one of them is to sew more things to stock my Etsy shop with. I'm working on some prototypes (in Elora's size of course) of things I'd like to sell. Hoping to make most of my stuff available in sizes 1-5 and I really want to add some boy stuff. So, that's what I have on the docket for the new year.
I'm making goals instead of resolutions for 2011 and I feel like I should really write them's a rough draft:
Make Corey breakfast before work each morning
Send a note of encouragement to at least one person a month
(you have to start somewhere, y'know!)
Spend more time outside
Only get online when Elora is sleeping or with someone else
Share more of my projects on my blog (at least one per week)
Manage my Etsy shop better
Be prepared for birthdays, our anniversary, and Christmas
(I've really lost it since becoming a mom!)
And, that's all I can think of right now. So, what are some of your goals for the new year?

In a few minutes it will be officially 2011 and then I can go to

Happy New Year to all, and to all a good night!

And the winner is....

according to
the winner of the $25 gift card to CSN Stores is....
commenter #13, CACEY!
Congratulations, Cacey. I'll be emailing you soon with the details!

To those of you who didn't win, keep following the blog because I think I'll be doing another giveaway at the end of January. It's so fun and exciting to give something away!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

First Ever GIVEAWAY! CSN Stores-Now Closed

I am so excited to be able to offer the very first giveaway on my blog! This is quite a momentous occasion. And it's a really cool prize.

The fabulous folks at CSN have generously offered to give one of my readers a $25 gift card in the form of a promotional code that can be used on any product at any one of their 200+ sites. They have pretty much anything you could ever want for your home and life. Everything from kitchen and bath supplies to baby goods and modern bedding. I have been looking for a new look for our bedroom and love this one
Inhabit Rhythm Cotton Bedding Collection in Chocolate

With over 200 sites to shop on, it might be a tough decision, but I know you could find something fabulous with the $25! So, to enter the giveaway, please do just that, cruise some of the sites and tell me what you'd get with the money. And leave a comment telling me what you'd buy. That's it!

But, you can get more entires by:
following my blog and leaving a comment letting me know (1 extra entry)
telling someone else about the giveaway either on your blog (1 extra entry)
or sharing a link to the giveaway on Facebook (1 extra entry)
just leave a comment for each extra entry, you can have up to 4 entries!

The giveaway will close Thursday, December 30th at midnight and the winner will be announced on Friday. Good Luck!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hope You Had a Happy Christmas

Wow, that was fast. Christmas came and left in a whirlwind. Hope yours was fabulous...ours was absolutely wonderful :)

We had a fun Christmas morning at home, then headed off to my parents' for dinner and "prizes" as my grandma always calls them. Good times were had by all and I think I may have had a little too much fun as I am now feeling quite sick. Oh well.

I'm looking forward to the new year and my very first giveaway on my blog...look for it tomorrow :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Last Minute Christmas - Nativity Scene

This will be the 5th Christmas since Corey and I have been married. And ever since our first Christmas together, I've been wanting a nativity scene. But a lot of the ones I've seen are really expensive and I don't love the figures. A lot of the sets I've seen make Mary and Joseph look very fancy and wealthy, and they make Jesus look like a baby angel or something. I just don't like a lot of the sets I've seen and I haven't ever really loved the prices on them!

A couple of years ago I saw the Willow Tree nativity set and loved it! But I sort of felt like it's so popular and I didn't want to get something that so many other people had. I know, I'm being ridiculous about this whole thing! So, I kept seeing it at a local department store and the Christian bookstore, but it was so expensive! I kept putting it out of my mind. But this year, with our new place and a piece of furniture just longing for some Christmas decor, I went for it. I bought the set on Amazon for about half what I had seen it sold for elsewhere. I ordered it and it came this week. I immediately opened it and set it up.

What I love about this set is that it's more like a representation and a reminder than a reenactment. We do not know what the whole scene was like, what their faces looked like, or anything like that; I love that this set is so simple and just represents the birth of Christ without all the distractions of facial expressions and features and glowing halos.

I love, love, love it. But, it needs a stable (or a cave, rather, since most biblical historians think it was likely a cave rather than what we think of as a stable). So, that's our project today. It's stormy outside and we have most of the day to just hang out at home. I'm excited. I have in mind something I made when I was younger as an ornament. Now it's time to make that same thing on a larger scale. Time for paper mache!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Last Minute Christmas - Granola

(Updated with recipe in post)
I haven't ever participated in any "link ups" or "blog parties" or anything like that. I'm so new to all of this that I hardly even know if those are real terms or if I am just making them up. But I love Skip to My Lou and every Monday, the theme is Made by You. So, I thought I'd contribute and "link up" one of my favorite things to make and one of my husband's favorite things to eat.

When I needed a last minute gift (I wasn't able to sew the gifts I intended to give because, as it turns out, sewing isn't a top priority when you're moving) I thought a jar of homemade granola would be fabulous! This is my version of a recipe from a friend that she revised from a local organization that focuses on really healthy and natural living. I love this recipe because, unlike other granola recipes I've seen, it has no oil. It's so good, and at Christmas I like to spice it up with some nutmeg and cinnamon and it's so yummy.

So here's how you do it:
Mix oats, dried cranberries, coconut, and raw nuts of your choice in a really big bowl.
In a microwaveable container, add dates and water, then microwave for about a minute.
Pour warm dates and water into the blender and add bananas.
Puree until smooth, add honey and spices and puree again (if you have the same blender as me, I suggest you don't do this while your child is sleeping...this is the noisiest blender ever! Sorry for the interruption, back to the regularly scheduled recipe).
Pour wet mixture over your dry mixture and mix thoroughly, making sure that there are no dry spots. I do this with my hands because it's much easier than trying to do it with a spoon.

Spread over cookie sheets and pop them in the oven.
Stir every 30 minutes until completely dry and golden delicious. Usually about 5-6 hours.

Then find all those empty jars you've been saving for some reason, paint the lids silver, fill the jars with granola, add some festive ribbons and tags, and give them to everyone you love.

Here's the recipe:

Granola Recipe by Bonnie at The Pretty Bitty Blog

4 Cups Oats
2 Cups Dried Cranberries
2 Cups Coconut Flakes
2 Cups Chopped Almonds
2 Cups Chopped Pecans
Mix in a large bowl

1 Cup Chopped Dates
1 Cup Warm Water
Microwave together for 1 minute

2 Very Ripe Bananas

Add dates and water mixture to a blender, add bananas, puree until smooth

1 Cup Honey

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon (Optional)

½ Teaspoon Nutmeg (Optional)

Add to banana and date puree, blend until completely incorporated

Add wet mixture to dry mixture and mix it until everything is moistened. Divide the mixture over two cookie sheets, using your hands form "clumps" of the mixture. Cook at 150 to 200, stirring every 30 minutes until crisp and completely dry, about 5-6 hours. Store granola in an air tight container.

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Last Minute" Christmas - Hope Wreath

I've seen a lot of posts on some of my favorite crafty blogs about last minute Christmas decor. And each time I see them, I think, "is it really last minute? Christmas isn't for another...." And then I realize, Christmas is 2 weeks away. It seems like each year I am less and less prepared for Christmas. But, I am not going to freak out about it.

I really have been thinking about Christmas a lot these last few weeks, just not the normal hustle and bustle type of stuff. I've been thinking about why we even have Christmas. Why do we celebrate and worry so much about getting everything right so we can really get in to the "spirit" of the holiday?

Being a Christian, I usually do think about why we celebrate Christmas, but this year it has been especially at the forefront of my mind. I think it all started when I heard "Joy to the World" on the radio. I starting thinking about why we would say "joy to the world the Lord has come". Many people view Jesus as a "good teacher". If the Lord's coming was just to teach us about love and being kind then He didn't really need to come. He could have just had more prophets write more books telling us how to love one another. So, we do not have joy because a "good teacher" came to earth.

So why the joy? Why would "heaven and nature sing" about His birth? Why would we celebrate His birth any more than the birth of another great leader or teacher? We don't spend all this effort preparing for Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, we don't celebrate our great presidents' birthdays with more than a day off for government employees. So, why all this celebration around the birth of Jesus? Why should our hearts be full of joy at Christmas time?

Our hearts should be joyful because we are sinners, enemies of God in our hearts deserving of death, but God sent us a Savior! He made a way for us to be reconciled to Him and that is why we sing of joy. We were destined for hell but God sent Jesus to be our sin bearer. Jesus was born, lived a sinless life, died and suffered the wrath of God on our behalf, and rose in victory over death. We sing of joy because we can now have joy if we trust in Christ for our salvation. We have hope because He rose to prove that His death on the cross conquered death for those who would trust completely in Him for salvation. It is a joy to know that nothing I do can qualify or disqualify me for heaven. Salvation is full in Christ. We can not add to or take away from what He has done. Joy to the world, indeed.

So, since we understand this, we have great hope. And that is why I wanted this wreath to be on my front door. It is my "last minute" Christmas decor because I am more excited than ever about the hope we have in Christ that we focus on at Christmas time.

If you want to make your own, I don't have a tutorial, but here's how I did it...
I had an old frame that I got from my grandma and I painted it white. I suggest spray paint, but I couldn't find mine so I used acrylic paint. Let it dry completely (don't make the same mistake I did).
I got the ornament that says "hope" at Walmart for $1 and hot glued the string to the backside of the frame, making sure it was centered in the frame.
To be sure the ornament hung correctly after I put the ribbon on, I had to bring two strips of ribbon through the frame so that there could be ribbon on both sides of the ornament and the ornament could hang freely between them (hope that makes sense).
I really like this look and plan to make more and play around different frames and colors and ribbons and things. Lots of fun!