Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!
2009 was amazing, I can't wait to see what 2010 has in store!

Monday's 10 Things

Here's what I'm most thankful for, right now!
1. A week full of making Christmas memories.
2. Seeing our little girl having so much fun soaking it all up.
3. Safe travels in not so great Michigan weather over the holidays.
4. Claire telling me I'm a "good maker" when she tasted the dessert I made for Christmas dinner.
5. My new ice cream maker and hopefully lots of fun summer memories with it.
6. A husband who always comes up with creative gift ideas.
7. Awesome progress made here during Eric's week off from work.
8. Staying in bed until 8:00 multiple days this week. What a treat!
9. Beautiful snow falling outside right now, maybe we can get out and play in it?
10. Wrapping up 2009, it was a great year!
What are you most thankful for today?

Fresh Start Sunday

"The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you."

-Frederick Buechner

Merry Christmas!

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
he is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:11 (NIV)

Favorite Things: Day 31

Day 31: Blogging for Bliss by Tara FreyI just received this book from a good friend as a Christmas gift and I am in LOVE with it! Can you believe it, an entire book about people who are not only crafty, but they blog about it too?!?!? Each page is full of eye candy, and let me tell you, there are TONS of crafty blogs featured in the book that I never even knew existed! I've got my work cut out for me seeing what each one is all about!


I've had a lot of fun sharing my favorite things with you, here's a recap:

Day 1 - Kitchen Aid Stand Mixers
Day 2 - Pilot Pens
Day 3 - Bath & Body Works Deep Cleansing Hand Gel
Day 4 - Retro Scooter Print from CB78
Day 5 - Ceramic Egg Crate from Anthropologie
Day 6 - Elsa Peretti Letter Pendant from Tiffany's
Day 7 - Oregon Chai
Day 8 - Clorox Wipes
Day 9 - Gussy Wallets
Day 10 - Martha Stewart Kitchen Collection
Day 11 - Modern Recipe Cards from Cicada Studio
Day 12 - Lovely Perfume by Sarah Jessica Parker
Day 13 - Creamy Tomato Soup from Panera Bread
Day 14 - Ribba Frames from IKEA
Day 15 - Schoolhouse Electric
Day 16 - Late Harvest Riesling from Peninsula Cellars
Day 17 - Rings Glasses from Crate & Barrel
Day 18 - Nikon D3000 Camera
Day 19 - Desk Calendar from Ruff House Art
Day 20 - Arbonne Cosmetics
Day 21 - Better Homes & Gardens and This Old House Magazine
Day 22 - Tiffany Bead Earrings
Day 23 - Diet Coke
Day 24 - Mad Men on AMC
Day 25 - Pretty Smitten on Etsy
Day 26 - Picnik
Day 27 - iPhone
Day 28 - Sarah Jane Studios on Etsy
Day 29 - The Sing-Off
Day 30 - Chrysanthemum Hair Pins
Day 31 - Blogging for Bliss by Tara Frey

Favorite Things: Day 30

Day 30: Chrysanthemum Hair Pins from Oh Hello Friend on EtsyHow sweet are these little hair pins? I've seen this mums popping up all over Etsy on pins and rings, and I can't get enough of them, they are so sweet! The colors offered by Oh Hello Friend are my favorites!

Favorite Things: Day 29

Day 29: The Sing-Off
Oh yeah, we'll be watching the Sing Off finale tonight at our house.
We quickly became hooked on the show last week.
The singers are a.m.a.z.i.n.g.
Even if you didn't watch last week,
you should definitely tune in tonight.
Not sure yet who I want to win,
but here's my two favorite performances so far:
The Beelzebubs singing Sweet Caroline and Nota singing Down.

Monday's 10 Things

Here's what I'm most thankful for, right now!
1. An entire Saturday spent working on a tile back splash with my dad.
2. Eric's off from work this week!
3. A Saturday night spent with awesome neighbors.
4. A great concert at church this weekend,
and a two year old who loves to sing with all she's got.
5. My ninth Christmas spent with Eric.
6. Our first year spending Christmas day at home with just our family.
7. The meal Eric is preparing for us on Christmas Day.
I can already tell you how yummy it's going to be!
8. An exciting new opportunity, (I'll share with you later!)
9. The sacrifices made by Mary, all to bring a Saviour to us.
10. Grace, salvation and hope, all given to us through Jesus.
What are you most thankful for today?

Favorite Things: Day 28

Day 28: Sarah Jane Studios on Etsy
I've yet to make a purchase from Sarah Jane, but it's not for lack of loving just about everything in the shop.
Here's a few of my favorites.
Summer Tea Party Print

Just Right card
(my absolute favorite, look at that cardinal!)

Fresh Start Sunday

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Favorite Things: Day 27

Day 27: iPhone
I've had my iPhone for just over a year now, and I have to admit, when I first got it, I thought it was more phone than what I needed. After a year of using it though, I don't know what I would do without it!
Ironically enough, my favorite app is called Baby Flash Cards. It's exactly what the name says it is, flash cards for babies. And let me tell you, it works GREAT in the checkout lane at the grocery store. You know, at that point where your child has had it and wants nothing to do with sitting in a cart...or being quiet...or cooperating? When that's the state we find ourselves in, I pull out my iPhone and let Claire go to town on flash cards, it works every time!

Favorite Things: Day 26

Day 26: Picnik
Once upon a time, I bought myself Photoshop. I tried to make it work, but it was all just too much for what I was looking for. Oh, if only I had first discovered Picnik. I could have saved myself a lot of money, and a lot of frustration!
I have to admit though, ever since discovering Picnik, I'm guilty of wanting to add text and special effects to every single picture I take. Right now, I'm especially loving the Christmas fonts. Most of all though, I love both how user-friendly it is, and how many options it offers, even in the free version.

Wool Felt Gift Bows

I wanted to top off my gifts this year with a little something special and found this tutorial over at How About Orange for how to make gift bows out of magazine paper. I opted to use wool felt instead, and I adore how the bows are turning out!(Sorry Abi, all your gifts are being exploited for my blogging purposes!)
I used red thread to stitch all of my layers together which worked well, but I think next time around I'll just pull out my hot glue gun and give that a try. I'm guessing it will help the assembly of the bows go much faster.
And the best part, if the gift recipient really wants, they can reuse the bow on either another package, or maybe as a pin on a purse or bag!

Favorite Things: Day 25

Day 25: Pretty Smitten on Etsy
I recently won this print from a blog giveaway and it arrived in the mail today. It's so sweet and is going to be perfect in the big girl bedroom of a certain two year old girl I know.
The Pretty Smitten shop is well worth checking out, it's full of sweet personalized paper products. Here's a few of my favorites!

Claire's Wrapping Paper

We finally got to wrap our first gift with the Christmas wrapping paper that Claire made and I LOVE how it turned out!
I finished the gift off with some red baker's twine and a "To/From" stamp that I picked up in the dollar bin at Michael's. (Gotta love those dollar bins!)We will certainly be making more wrapping paper for future holidays and birthdays!

Favorite Things: Day 24

Day 24: Mad MenThis is my guilty-pleasure TV each week. I love everything about the show from the characters, to the wardrobes, to the social commentary. The writing is amazing, and without fail, the end of one episode leaves me so anxious to see what the next week's episode will bring.
There's a lot about the female characters that I would necessarily try to model myself after. At the same time though, each female in the show has something about them that I admire, from Betty's style to Joan's sass, and Peggy's confidence.
Mad Men is on AMC on Sunday nights, check it out.

Holiday Kid's Table

Maybe it was just me, but it always felt like being demoted a bit to have to sit at the kid's table at holiday parties. It was always just a small card table, stuck at the end of the pretty adult dining table.
Tonight is our Bible Study Christmas dinner at our house and I wanted to create a special little table for Claire and her two little friends who will be over. Claire is most excited about having a party with her friends!
I made the tablecloth using red and white stripe fabric with red ric-rac sewn around the edges. I also finished off the edges with bright green stitching. A jar of red bells and a vase filled with candy canes made up the centerpiece.
My only mistake, setting it up the night before and thinking Claire would leave it alone all day, yeah, right! I'm sure I'll be re-setting the table many more times before tonight finally gets here!

Favorite Things: Day 23

Day 23: Diet Coke
Yup, I'm an addict. I drink one can of this liquid goodness a day. I've had my moments of thinking that I should quit, but then I tell myself that there's worse things that I could be addicted to, right?!? Back in my working days, my co-workers would all laugh when mid-morning, all across the office everyone could hear me cracking open my Diet Coke. And ah, that first sip, it's the best!

Favorite Things: Day 22

I tend to like to keep things simple, which probably explains why most days you'll find me wearing the same pair of earrings. To be honest, I have no idea what earrings I wore before these! They're just the right size and are perfect for whatever you're needing, dressy or casual.
And seriously, who doesn't love to receive one of these...

Colored Pencil Roll

We've made the decision with my side of the family to not exchange gifts this year. I still wanted to do a little something for our nieces and nephew though and decided I wouldn't be stretching the rules too much if I made them gifts.
First up was a gift for my niece. She's at the age where I believe she's considered a "tween" which translates that I had NO CLUE what she would like for Christmas! She does love art though, so I'm running with that and made her this colored pencil holder.
I used lots of Paula Prass Summer Soiree fabrics which hopefully will be cool enough for a girl her age.
I also added a layer of fleece to the inside to make it a little more sturdy.One gift down, four more to go!

Monday's 10 Things

Here's what I'm most thankful for, right now!
1. Project 320 is THIS WEEK!
2. Just about everything on my monster to-do list got done this weekend.
3. A husband who was willing to help with whatever I asked him to do off the list!
4. 27 families who will have beautiful family portraits in time for Christmas.
5. An upcoming play date to decorate Christmas cookies with two 2 year olds. Are we nuts?!?
6. Being a stay-at-home mom when it means not having to get out of the house on freezing, snowy days.
7. Eric taking the week of Christmas off from work. Yippee!
8. Our kitchen here is almost done.
9. This upcoming weekend, I finally get to learn how to tile.
10. My Grandma, who passed away 3 years ago this week. She had so many qualities about her that I strive to model myself after.
What are you most thankful for today?

Favorite Things: Day 21

Day 21: Better Homes & Gardens & This Old House magazines
Once upon a time, I had subscriptions to lots of different magazines, but I found myself reading them less and less, (maybe because I've been reading blogs more and more???) So I've trimmed down my collection to just these two, primarily because these are the ones that I get most excited about when I see them in my mailbox. I get so inspired every time I look through these, and it's not uncommon for lots of pages to be ripped out by the time I'm done with one!


I helped my brother-in-law Brian this weekend with his Help-Portrait event. He, along with two other photographers, spent the day taking pictures of families that may not otherwise be able to afford professional family pictures. In total, 27 families were helped, and it was very rewarding for me to be a part of it.

Here were some highlights for me:

*A recently divorced mom photographed with her two teenage boys. She told me they have never had family pictures done.*

*A family that lived in a refugee camp for years and recently immigrated here. They didn't speak any English and were completely stoic for the camera (think American Gothic)*

*A single mom photographed with her little boy. It was so obvious how much she adored him*

I think some of us with cameras or the means to afford family photos assume that everyone has walls full of family pictures, but that's just not the case. If you would like to help, check out the Help Portrait site for details.

Fresh Start Sunday

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Ephesians 3:20 (The Message)
Please visit Project 320, this week!

Favorite Things: Day 20

This is definitely one of my "wish list" items. I have a relative who sells Arbonne and recently sent me some samples to try it out. She sent me products from the NutriMin C RE9 line and I can honestly tell you that these were by far the best products I have ever tried. This stuff is amazing and my skin felt so smooth and clean after just one week of use. Of course, the price reflects the quality of the product which is why this is still one of my "wish list" items!

Favorite Picture of the Week

We've been couped up inside all week due to lots of snow and freezing temperatures and this mumma is running out of ideas to keep things fresh and fun around here!
We found ourselves talking about and drawing lots of pictures of islands, palm trees and the ocean today. At least we can think warm thoughts, even if it's only 15 degrees outside, right?!?

Making A List...

I really want to be able to coast into the week of Christmas without feeling swamped or overwhelmed, so my goal is to have everything done for Christmas by the end of this weekend. I don't know about you, but once my mind starts racing about all the things I want to accomplish, I have to make a list. It's one part keeping me on track, one part enjoying the satisfaction of crossing something off!
Now, I need to stop blogging about all thing things I need to do...
and actually go DO them!
Wish me luck!
(and see, I really do only use these pens!)

Favorite Things: Day 19

Day 19: Ruff House Art Desk CalendarEvery year I search Etsy for a desktop calendar, and here's the one I picked for 2010, the Retro Mod Calendar from Ruff House Art.
A little tip, I also love giving these as gifts, they're especially perfect for gift exchanges!

Favorite Things: Day 18

I've been eyeing one of these for months. I really, really, really (emphasis on REALLY) wanted one, but for some reason was struggling to do it. I think it was the cost. But, I knew that the pictures I was getting with my point and shoot just weren't cutting it anymore. With a busy two year old, I needed a camera that worked fast.
Lucky for me, Claire made the decision for me. While holding my old point-and-shoot camera, she managed to drop it on a brick pathway and bent the zoom. I brought the camera in to discover that repairing it would cost more than buying a new one.
So, I took advantage of the Black Friday deals, and picked up this Nikon, and I LOVE it! I still have a lot of reading and researching to do to make sure I'm fully utilizing it, but I can already tell such a difference in my picture quality.
Me, feeling like a rock star with my new camera
And this Saturday, I'm taking this camera for a real test drive. My photographer brother-in-law Brian is hosting a Help-Portrait day. His goal, with the help of a few other area photographers, is to take family photos of 30 families in our area who could not otherwise afford professional pictures. All for free to them. How cool is that? He's asked that I join him that day to take pictures of the photographers in action. Taking photos of photographers, now that's not intimidating!

Favorite Things: Day 17

Let's be real, I could have put the entire Crate and Barrel store in my Favorite Things because I love everything they offer, but since I had to pick just one item, I chose these glasses.
I spotted these glasses online and instantly wanted to order the juice glasses and pitcher to make a set, but with prices like .95 for the juice glass to 1.50 for the 12 and 16 ounce glasses, I found myself ordering all three sizes!
Right now my set is waiting in a box in my basement. Once our kitchen here is done, they'll find their permanent home on open shelves. The retro look of the glasses is going to be perfect in our new kitchen!

Favorite Things: Day 16

I'm a fruity, sweet wine kind of girl. No, not Arbor Mist fruity and sweet, but Pinot Grigio or Riesling kind of sweet.
While up in Northern Michigan a few weeks ago, I discovered this Late Harvest Riesling and LOVED it. We picked up a bottle to bring home and I wish I had bought more to keep on hand. We were attending a dinner last week where we needed to bring a bottle of wine. Eric suggested we bring the wine we had picked up and I said no, I didn't want to share! Is that bad???

Favorite Things: Day 15

If you're looking for new kitchen or bath light fixtures, definitely consider Schoolhouse Electric. I appreciate this company because they not only make their products by hand, but they use the same processes to make their products now as they did decades ago. Their products are amazing, and knowing company's commitment to preserving a piece of history only adds to their charm.
I've been eyeing their fixtures for years, and just this weekend ordered one for our new kitchen here. Eek! I can hardly stand the wait until it arrives!

Monday's 10 Things

Here's what I'm most thankful for, right now!
1. My little girl, singing her loudest to "Breathe of Heaven" during the special music in church today. Oh to have no inhibitions and just belt out what you're feeling. Made this mumma tear up!
2. A really good sermon in church this weekend. Using Mary as an example, our pastor described to us the process of going from anxiety, to acceptance, to adoration. (There, a 45 minute sermon in one sentence!)
3. The Christmas tea is this week. I've enjoyed putting my table together, but it's time for the event to just get here already!
4. My house can be restored to order now that everything for the tea is out of here!
5. Amazing progress this weekend on our kitchen here. It's actually resembling a kitchen again!
6. A new babysitter who Claire loves. After we got home, Claire told us she "loved her new friend".
7. A really enjoyable time at our MOPS Christmas party.
8. Claire's love of the snow. We're going to be playing outside lots this winter.
9. We made a major dent in our Christmas shopping this weekend, only a few more things to pick up.
10. A fun Friday night of decorating our Christmas tree (even if we lost power before we got to plug in the lights!)
What are you most thankful for today?

Favorite Things: Day 14

I have bought way too many of these frames, but with prices like $2.99 for a 5x7 frame to $14.99 for an 11x16 frame, you just can't go wrong, especially when creating an entire collection of frames.
Right now, I have a whole collection of our family pictures from the beach this summer in these frames, lining the back of our wet bar. This wasn't the location I was intending for these frames, but I really like how they look here!

Fresh Start Sunday

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31

Picture of the Week

Favorite Things: Day 13

It was a very sad day for me this summer when Panera stopped offering their Creamy Tomato soup, and a very happy day for me this Fall when they brought it back! Yum!
I have to admit, I am curious about the new Macaroni and Cheese they're offering now. I just never want to order it in place of the tomato soup just in case I don't like it as much! Has anyone tried it that would like to share their review of it???

Favorite Things: Day 12

I'm a perfume girl, but I never want to be the girl whose perfume announces her presence before she does. That's why I like this perfume by Sarah Jessica Parker. It's powdery (is that a word?) and sweet, but certainly isn't going to knock your socks off. Next time you walk past the perfume counter in a department store, try it out!