Friday, February 11, 2011

Doilie Love

Lily and I are invited to a wonderful Mother/Daughter Valentine's Party tomorrow.
We came up with this idea for sweet Valentines to share with 12 other little girls.


They were so simple to make.


Just take a doilie...any size will do.
We used an 8 inch size round doilie and it was perfect.
Wrap it into a cone and secure with double sided tape.

For the inside, measure a piece of card stock to fit, and just make another little cone to slip in.
Attach a ribbon to the inside of the doily with tape, so it won't show.
The little hearts on the front are a freebie from Simple as That   .
{I am also linking up there.}


She has the most fantastic taste...thanks Rebecca!!

Now, fill it up with sweet treats.


Lily actually came up with the idea for the heart topper pencils.
Aren't they darling?


We used pink foam and felt. 
Just cut out a desired heart and make two slits for the pencil to pop through!


I also used the package of doilies to make a simple garland.
I think I paid $1 for a package of 32. I thought I may as well use them up.
Just fold the doilies over and secure with a little tape. I taped the ribbon to the inside so the doilies would not slip.


Isn't this a fun time of the year?




~Julia

I am sharing HERE.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Heart Melts

For the last week or so I have been showered with love from my children...

Lily's {age 7} sweet cards.

I am so in love with them.

Jack, who is three, wrote MOM for the first time on his Valentine to me.
Can you see it?
I am so giddy over his little handwriting:).


Even Tim has been creating Valentine masterpieces:).


My heart just melts.

Lily and I are invited to a Mother/Daughter Valentine Tea and are working on a few fun gifts to share.


I'll post in the next few days about her darling Valentines.

Have a lovely day!

~Julia

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Don't Wait to Be Content...


Do you ever find yourself saying things like: 

" When we have more money...then I know I will be happier."
"I am not going to do anything to the house until we add on, or move to something bigger and better.'
"Boy, if I had this or that my life would be perfect."

Why do we do things like that?


I think it is human nature to want what we don't have, to think that there are greener pastures over the fence.
I am totally guilty of that mentality and it takes diligence and perseverance to overcome it sometimes.
We all want more in life. 
But do you know what? 
God wants more for us in life, too!
He wants us to be content...thankful for all that we have.
That doesn't mean that we have to stop dreaming. 
Dream big, but ENJOY your life now.
 The Lord has wonderful, purposeful plans for you, but if you are not content the door isn't open for that potential to shine through.



So you don't want to decorate and make you home the haven you crave because it isn't perfect...
do it anyway.
 Add those elements and touches that make you happy.
Make it gorgeous just the way it is.
 Don't let a little discontentment stop you.
Be thankful you have a home to bless your sweet family and others who enter.
Use the gifts and creative nature God gave you.


Maybe there is not enough money to go around.
 Maybe you are unemployed.
 Maybe you are losing your house...or are temporarily homeless.
Let those things EMPOWER you.
God IS your strength and He will give you the drive to succeed.

We were in tough spot at one time and I am so very thankful we went through it and came out victorious.
God never left us.
He provided and gave us the courage to work hard and to be brave in the midst of trial.

It wasn't overnight.
If I could change one thing about that period, I would have quit wallowing in self despair, and I would have LIVED. 
Lived in spite of no money by giving of myself to others.
Focused more on the little things in my life and giving MOST to my husband and children.
Praying continuously....that is where the strength is.
I would have worked even harder.




I want to encourage you to gather every morsel of bravery and LIVE this year.
Make your life what you want it to be and take a risk.
Step out and just do it in faith.
Happiness is being content, thankful, dreaming big, and living that dream right where you are today.
That is my goal this year for our family.
To become more.
To do more with what we have, and not long so much for what we don't have.

What are your dreams?
I pray that you trust God and leap into an adventurous life!

~Julia

Monday, February 7, 2011

Fingerprint Heart Cookies


I did a little baking over the weekend in anticipation of Valentine's Day.
When I saw this recipe in Martha Stewart Living, I knew I had to try it!
The recipe starts with a simple peanut butter cookie to which you make a little heart shape with your fingertips.
You bake, add jam, and then bake again. The whole process took a little time, but was oh so easy.


I had a full kitchen of taste testers who promptly obliged.
We had rave reviews!

Peanut Butter and Jam Heart Cookies

Makes about two dozen.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1/3 cup raspberry jam {I used strawberry}
* I also added 1 tsp. vanilla

1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Beat butter, {vanilla}, and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in peanut butter, then egg. Reduce speed to low, and beat in flour mixture until dough forms. If dough is too sticky, refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes. 

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls {about 2 TBS. each}. Arrange on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 1/2 in. apart. Press into 1 3/4 inch rounds. Press hearts in center using your fingertips. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

3. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, and reshape hearts using your fingertips or the handle of a wooden spoon. Fill indentation with a generous 1/2 tsp. jam to form a heart. Bake until cookies are firm, 6-7 minutes more. 
Can be stored at room temperature for two days.

* I actually put them on a plate, froze them individually, and then put the cookies in Ziplock bags with wax paper in between layers. It worked really well....and they will be fresh and ready to go on Valentine's Day.

Have a lovely day!

~Julia

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bedroom Re-Do...

Lily and Jack decided they were ready for a little bedroom re-do...or maybe I should call it an "up-do."
We put the bunks up, and so far Jack has not been tempted to pretend the top is a trampoline.
Whew!


They have so much more room to play, which is a wonderful thing in a small house.
Most days, there are race car tracks, baby clothes, and legos strewn about.
I love that they have their own space to create and use their imaginations!


Can you tell I don't iron my sheets...haha.


Lily loves flowers...Jack loves cars.
We try to include a little of both to make them happy campers.
I also added the table and antique white chair as a place to color and create art projects.
It is great for tea parties, too:).


Lily actually embroidered the beautiful little bunny picture.
I was so excited to frame it and hang it in their room


If you would like to read about how we put the room together for about $200 {including beds, mattresses, and bedding} you can click here.


 Here is a before picture:



 

We changed the wall color from "Butter Cream" to Dutch Boy's "White Oak" and I really like the subtle contrast. The wainscoting is Dutch Boy's "Whipped White."
I have tried so many whites and this one has been perfect!



Beside spending $40 on two gallons of paint, the room re-do was free.
The darling table and chairs were gifts. 
My Mom found the antique white chair at a yard sale for $1. 


We just love to switch things up and the kids feel like it is a whole new room.




Have a wonderful weekend!

~Julia



A Few Valentine Favorites...

I thought I would share a few Valentine favorites I have bumped into this week.
I am so in love with all of the darling, simple ideas!!


Aren't these just sweet? Best of all, they are free at One Charming Party.  


How About Orange   shows you how to make this adorable fabric Valentine's heart garland.


How easy and perfectly wonderful is this? 


Girl. Inspired  made these cute ice cream cone cakes. They would be perfect for a Valentine's party!


Moms by Heart  has these darling free printables.

Saltinecaramelhearts12

I made Saltine caramels for Christmas this year and they were absolutely delish!
I love Yesterday on Tuesday's  take on the recipe.


Simple as That    {one of my favorite sites} has these adorable free printable cards.

Have a lovely weekend!!

~Julia

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Free Printable Calendar

I just had to share this!


IMG_9241

Emily at Jones and Company was generous enough to offer this free printable. 
I just adore her style and she has the most wonderful selection of paper goods in her shop!
Her blog is one of my favorites:).
I am so excited to use it as things have been crazy around here. Just seeing my week at a glance will help me feel so much more peaceful:).
You can visit her HERE to print out your copy.

Thanks Emily!

~Julia



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Home Keeping Journal

Goodness, this has taken me so long to get to...do you ever procrastinate?
Well, I'm pretty sure I am the Queen Bee of procrastination!
So, with no further adieu, I will tell you all about my Home Keeping Journal.
I have used it for a few years now and it really is a great tool.


I never worked in the corporate world.
 I have my BA in Elementary Education and was 7 months pregnant with our first baby by the time I was finished student teaching! The kids loved it...and so did I. 
Becoming a Mother was the greatest moment in my life, next to marrying Darren!
 This is my calling...and I love it with a passion.
 I think it is one of the most important jobs you will ever do, and I am lucky enough to be able to do it full time. 
Darren works hard to keep it that way.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Any job requires organization, so when I found this idea I knew I had struck upon something good.
My friend Monica introduced me to the Fly Lady. 
Have you visited her site before?
 Wowzers, does she have every fantastic idea plus some!! 
I started my Home Keeping Journal the instant I read about it. She calls it a Control Journal.  
It has helped tremendously.
 I love knowing that all of my information is in one binder and I can take it with me.

Here is how I have my journal organized.
You can personalize your own to your specific needs.
{This idea may just be too much for some of you. That is OK!}

I have a three ring binder with divider tabs and my routines are listed and in page protectors.

Before Bed Routine:
 I have reminders about meds, kids brushing their teeth, making lunches, etc. 

Morning Routine:
Exercise, prayer, getting kids up at a good time.

Afternoon Routine:
Chores, school, errands.

After School:
Dinner prep, chores, bed time, etc.

Basic Weekly Plan:
My complete weekly household chore list.

Deep Cleaning:
My Spring cleaning list.

Meal Plans:
I keep a weekly and monthly list of meals here.

Important Contact Information:
If I ever leave the kids, I pull this out for the babysitter.

Insurance Information:
Just in case I ever lose it!

Birth Certificates:
Yes, I keep copies of them here.

Evacuation Plan:
We go over this with the kids periodically.

My Diabetes Records:
This is where I post my blood sugar levels.


I don't use my journal everyday.
 For the most part, I cover the bases.
 But, on those days when I am in a fog....I am sure you know what I mean if you are a Mom...this journal is a life saver.
I like to strive for the best, and I think this helps me to go from being a good Mom to a great Mom.
I do feel more in control having a plan.
 I like this because it isn't rigid, just an easy routine. 
I can look and see where I am at with deep cleaning the house or check on dinners for the week.
 Everything I need is in one place.
 I even keep a list of my New Year's Resolutions in the front...just to remind myself of the goals!
You could add things like a weekly or monthly calendar, kids activities, or a tab for classes your are attending.
Have fun and make it you own!
Click HERE to visit the Fly Lady. She walks you through each step.

Have a wonderful day!

~Julia
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