Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On our way...

Hey everyone!

About 18 months ago, while I was out for a run, I was listening to a song by Tim Hughes entitled "God of Justice".

It goes like this...

"Jesus, You have called us
Freely we've received
Now freely we will give

We must go, live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken, we must go
Stepping forward, keep us from just singing
Move us into action, we must go."

I was convicted.  "We must go."  Powerful words.

My husband had been on a mission trip to the little town of El Zonte, El Salvador 6 months earlier.  He loved it!  And as I was running, I was thinking of all my amazing friends who have answered Christ's call to "go" in places like China, Uganda, Korea, and even in their own backyards.

I knew God was speaking to me and changing my safe and comfortable loving heart.  I knew that this little town in El Salvador would be a place where my family could "go."  In those few moments I made a commitment to challenge myself, and even challenge my very privileged children to step out for an awesome adventure.

Well, tomorrow is that day (18 months in the making), we will step out.  We will fly 6 hours south and be in a totally different world.

We have prepared ourselves, and while a bit nervous, we are excited to share in this adventure with an amazing team of people.

Here is a link (here) if you want to read more about our journey to this point.

So I will be away for a bit.  Hopefully Mollie is taking some time off as well.

I can't wait to tell you all about our adventure in a couple weeks.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Homemade Christmas

I love homemade Christmas ornaments.

I know some people reserve their kids ornaments for a second tree.

Not me.  I say the more bead candy canes, or clothespin reindeer the better.

So I was so happy when my fabulous sister in law decided to make ornaments with my kids one Saturday morning.  She is a teacher and had made them in her class.

Super simple, they are just applesauce and LOTS of cinnamon.

You mix them together until you get a dough.  Roll it out.  Cut out with your Christmas cookie cutters (make sure you make a hole with a toothpick at the top for hanging) and let them dry.  That's it.

We let ours dry for a couple weeks (well, we just didn't get to decorating them for a couple weeks). 

Last night we got out the glitter pens and started added the personal touches.  So fun!
Here is little man's jeweled (read globbed glitter) candy cane.
And big man's ornament and gingerbread man with the head broken off (oops).
Head fixed and very sparkly! 
"Jeweled" candy cane.
And middle man's little stocking.

This was so fun for them, and super easy.  I am all for easy and fun memory making.  I hope you are all finding simple ways to fully soak in the joy and wonder of this season!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Homemade cards

Every day we are doing a special activity in our house to 
celebrate Christmas.  Each day my kids have a 
slip of paper waiting for them, telling them
what fun thing we are going to do that day.
It can be as simple as watching a 
special Christmas movie (Charlie Brown is our fav)
or more complex like making cookies.

Today's activity was making Christmas cards for friends.
Sometimes this is like pulling teeth.

My kids are not fans of writing.
So I took a cue from the latest Family Fun issue and
we made stampers with the kids signatures on them
to cut down a bit on the "work".
We made fingerprint Christmas light cards...
And then they wrote "Merry Christmas" on the inside
and stamped their names...
The stampers were super easy to make.

They each wrote their name on a piece of paper with
DARK pencil.
Then we placed the paper face down on a block of
wood and rubbed the back of the paper HARD with a coin.
It left the pencil marking of their name, only backwards.
Then I took puffy paint and went over their names.
Once the paint dried, I went over it with a little sand paper to make
it nice and even.  (For 1, I had to apply another layer of puffy paint
to get it just right)
Add some fun stamp ink and you are ready to go.

I love that it is actually their signatures.

So fun and easy for them!

I hope that you all can find some time each day
to fully appreciate this season.
Only 5 days left 'till Christmas.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Cards

by Mollie

 Today is a short post because lets be honest... its the week before Christmas! This mama is BUSY!

 So we get Christmas Cards, look at them, then what?!?

 I found this pin on Pinterest...

And I have done it in my own kitchen.  I didn't take a picture yet, but I have been LOVING getting an opportunity to look at my cards every day.  I love the photos from my friends and family and the opportunity to pray for them as I look at their smiling faces while I cook.

Another pin I found on Pinterest...

  I did this with last years Christmas cards.  Only I did Christmas ribbon instead of the rings and I have been leaving them on our ottoman tray.  It has been so fun to enjoy last years cards and look through them.  Zoie has been going through them almost daily and can now recognize most of our friends and family by name and photo.

 Hope you guys have your presents wrapped and under the tree! I have a couple more to get then a MAJOR wrapping session.  I have a feeling some hot cocoa and One Tree Hill on DVD are in my future while I wrap away.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Uh oh... What did I commit to?

by Mollie

  I just signed Ronnie and I up for our first 5K.  You know that sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know something bad is going to happen? That's what I have going on right now.

  A couple friends of mine just ran their first 5K (yey Sara & Cindy!)  and I am going to join them on the next one.  Its 9 weeks away, which means I need to get my tookus off the couch NOW and get to the gym.

  We are going to be running in the Frozen Food Foundation 5K by Green Giant. I'm really excited AND really nervous.

  I am writing this here on the blog post so that I have some accountability.  The World Wide Web is acting as my exercise plan (hehe)  I figure if i announce that I am doing this I actually have to do this!

Source: facebook.com via Ashlee on Pinterest

 Makes me laugh everytime..

ok.  Off to the gym.. Gotta get running!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Its Time for Another...

by Mollie

 what I WISH I wore Wednesday...

 Sponsored by: The fact that I haven't done laundry in awhile and yoga pants have become my BEST friend!

Yes please!!  i LOVE the contrast in textures.  The chunky sweater with sparkles and the comfortable jeans.  I would TOTALLY wear this. AND I have almost everything in my closet.

Source: polyvore.com via Mollie on Pinterest

i LOVE this! It looks cozy and yet comfortable at the same time.  I only have brown boots, but I may be copying this outfit really soon.  I might add a bright scarf instead of the bag.  I LOVE my diaper bag (It's Coach... I convinced Ronnie it was an investment)  but I miss my purses!!

Source: polyvore.com via Mollie on Pinterest

  I like the simplicity of this outfit.  Again, I have everything in my closet.  Maybe my challenge next week will be to re-create these 3 pinterest outfits.  Wanna join me? I'll add a link up next week if anyone is feeling brave and wants to try and recreate a pinterest outfit and link it up.

Hope you have a great and stylish week!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A simple touch

Mollie's post yesterday totally resonated with me.

Sometimes we make our lives so complicated.  And at the holidays in particular, I tend to bite off more than I can chew.

Do you?

This year I decided to live, and decorate, simply.  Usually I have lighted garlands hanging from my banister and on my mantle.  I completely passed them over this year.  They take forever to set up, and are a constant "don't touch that" kind of decoration.

So, how to fill the void.  I do want to decorate to celebrate all the beauty of the season.

One thing I came up with was a polka dot garland that I saw at Queen Bee.  This was one of those things that I thought "I can make that", but then I ACTUALLY did.  I love the simple pop of color it adds...
It was so easy to make.  I just cut out different size dots from colored felt and then ran them through my sewing machine to make a chain.
So fun, cute, and simple.  Just the kind of touch I was looking for this Christmas.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Better than Christmas

by Mollie

 I know what you are thinking.. better than Christmas?!? Say WHAT?!?!

  Ronnie and I have been really convicted lately about living life simply and generously.  Pastor Doug has been doing a sermon series about living generously and it has really hit home for us. We are in the process of cleaning out our garage (nightmare!) to get rid of things that we aren't using and donating them to people in need.  We are trying to be more conscious about the way we spend our time and try to be generous and helpful, etc...

 Our church got the privilege of hosting the Watoto choir yesterday and these kids touched my heart in a new way.  If you haven't seen Watoto children's choir you need to NOW!  (link to their calendar)

  These kids are from Uganda and they are orphans.  They have been abandoned by either one or both of their parents because of war or disease.  A man named Gary Skinner started Watoto Village for these orphans and has created a very successful ministry.  Watoto exists to provide a home, food, and family for these kids as well as teach them valuable life skills to raise up the next generation of leaders in Africa.  They are PASSIONATE about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and these kids SHINE with the love of God.


  Ok. So now back to my story.  Watoto Choir #50 was at our church yesterday morning.  I had seen them before and was SO excited to have Zoie there to see it too.  When they were singing and praising God, I was thinking about their stories.  Here I am, sitting in my warm comfortable church with food in my belly cuddling my little girl.  These kids don't have their parents or the comforts of America yet they are praising God joyfully with every fiber of their being! It was right then and there I decided to go sponser one of those kiddos.  I marched myself and Zoie over to the table and asked if we could sponser a little girl (because I wanted someone Zoie could relate to).  The lady at the table rifled through the stack and found the perfect little girl, Hellen.  HERE'S THE BEST PART!!!! Hellen was apart of the choir that was singing on stage! Not only do I get to sponser this sweet girl, but I get to meet her and hug her?!? Get out!!!

Uploaded by Photobucket Mobile for BlackBerry

  She is 8 yrs old and wants to be a teacher (melt my heart)!  I feel so privileged that I got to actually meet her and squeeze her.  I also bought a doll that the Watoto choir sells and Zoie quickly named her Hellen.  She is going to be the perfect reminder for us to pray for Hellen.

  This was seriously the best day.  We get to help someone who needs our help, spread God's Word, teach our daughters the importance of generosity, and to top it off the Chargers won! (jk).

  To find out more about Watoto or to sponser a child yourself click HERE.  I hope you do.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Christmas Steal

Last week I posted on some past Christmas cards that I had crafted.

This year, I said, I was taking it easy and ordering them online for the first time.

I had everything planned out.  Picked out the family photo, uploaded it, did all the captions, priced it out, and then showed it to my husband.  When his jaw dropped to the floor (because of the cost), I knew I was in trouble.  I was so bummed.  I thought I would never find anything as great as what I had.  My husband set out to prove me wrong.

Enter zazzle.

At one point, we had discussed the idea of sending out a postcard to save on postage.  I thought it was a good idea, but couldn't find a style I liked.  In comparison, the other cards I had designed were square (which I loved) that would require extra postage.

My husband got on zazzle and spent the better part of his morning trying to create something I would be happy with.  Not an easy thing to do once I have my mind set on something.  (Do you know the song "Whatever Lola Wants"?  I think that song was written about me, unfortunately.)

After a bit, he found a "save the date" postcard that he started tweeking.  As I watched, I started to soften a bit.  Not exactly what I had in mind, but the design was simple and the colors were nice.  In other words, it didn't SCREAM Christmas which is what I generally try to avoid.  Instead of straight red and green, I tend to find different hues and shade variations and designs which aren't typically Christmasy.

He fought hard for this one, and I fought back.

Is it a matte finish?
What is the paper weight?
Can they have rounded corners?
How do we know the colors are as true as they appear on the screen?

But in the end, he won.  I gave in.  And, secretly, I waited for them to come in the mail so I could show him how different they were than what I really wanted.

And yesterday, they came.  We opened the box tentatively, both with something to prove.

I am pleased to say that HE nailed it.  They are great!!!  Totally different than what I thought I wanted, but fantastic none the less.  I have to say that it feels so great to just get them in the mail and know that I don't have to do anything to them!  I might end up rounding the corners just because I'm crazy like that, but we'll see.

So, do you wanna see?  Here we go...
I really wanted a vintage country feel to match my boots and my Grandma's quilt we are sitting on.  The colors are just right and the paper is super thick!  The only thing I can say is that there is not an option on matte or glossy.  I'm not a big fan of glossy, but these are subdued in their glossiness which I can handle.

So pleased!  And the best part... for 100 postcards it cost us only $27.00!!!

Zazzle is doing a promo where you get 75% off.  Yes, 75%!  Just enter LOVEPEACEJOY at checkout (on orders of 75 or more).  You can't argue with those savings!  It's a steal.

At this point you may be wondering if zazzle has paid me for this endorsement.  They haven't.  I am just very pleasantly surprised, and kinda trying to get back into my husbands good graces after being such a pill about it all.

So, if you still need cards, check them out.  I think you have until the 15th to guarantee delivery before Christmas.

Now I just need to address them all.  Ugh!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What i Wore Wednesday

by Mollie
  I got to go hang out with some girlfriends the other night.  My friend, Cindy, hosted a Moms Night In for some of the mommies in Zoie's preschool class.  It was so nice to be able to chat and hang out with the girls without lots of lovable rugrats around.

Headband: Love Stitched
Shirt/Cape (What do you call that?) Target
Jeans: Gap Outlet
Boots: Payless.

I am LOVING the colder weather.  Finally breaking out my sweaters and jackets.  Although I am in the process of cleaning out my closet and donating A LOT of clothes.  Ronnie and I are working on living more simply, but more on that later. :)

Hope you have a great Wednesday!


In case you were wondering...

As you may have read already, Ubuntu Boutique is hitting San Diego (Poway) this Friday.

We are so excited to share some great charities with you and offer some fantastic vendors.

What vendors you may ask?

Well, in case you were wondering, here is the lineup...

JoyfulJoyful  will be there with all of her great banners, pennants, and new mini banners with stands.

Erika from Uniquely E Jewelry will be there with her beautiful one of a kind jewelry.

Sweet Funky Vintage will be there (but only from 9-12) with their super cute childrens clothing.

Dot & Army will be there (from 5-9) with their great upcycled and vintage home goods.

Hope And Heritage will be there with their handmade items for baby and home.

We will also have vendors selling coffee, handmade ornaments, and paper bead necklaces made from women in Uganda.

We are so excited about our vendors!!!  It is going to be a great boutique, for many great causes.  Come check us out if you're in the area.  We'd love to say "hi."

I'm off to get ready.  Happy Tuesday everyone!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Want to do some charity?

by  Mollie

  Come out to the Ubuntu Boutique on Friday!

in case you can't read the small print it says:

Ubuntu (oo-BOON-too)

kindness, compassion, humanity.  It is an ethnic philosophy focusing on people's allegiances and relations with each other.

the word has its origin in the Bantu languages of southern Africa.  Ubuntu is seen as a classical African concept.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.  Ecclesiastes 4:12

We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world.  When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity. 

A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that ones from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished where others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed. 

Its The essence of being human.  Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can't exist as a human being in isolation.  it speaks about our interconnectness.  you can't be human all by yourself, and when you have that quality - Ubuntu- you are known for your generosity. 

   Hope to see you there!

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Happy Little Accident

by Mollie

  I am in the middle of putting up everything for the holiday season in my home.  I had just put up the Christmas paper in my frames over my couch and I knocked the bottom fame and this happened.

Well really just the bottom row fell over and I did the rest.  Its just a nice change up from the normal and I think I'm going to leave it for the holiday season!

 My sunshine smiley girl...

Pennie attacking her new toy

 I have some more Christmas decorations (via Pinterest) that I am working on and can't wait to share with you.  Hopefully I'll get a lot done this weekend and have something to show you next week.

BTW.  Today (Friday) is the LAST DAY for our Cyber Monday sale.  Visit our shop, pick up some Christmas gifts for your loved ones, and type in the code CYBERMONDAY for 15% off your entire order! (that's a steal!!)

  Hope you have a fantastic weekend!!

*If you attend GVC, click HERE for the events this weekend in Kids Ministry!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday

by Mollie

      This is almost becoming habit now. Scary thought.

Day #1.  Dont ask me what I am doing in this picture.  I got a new tripod and have been playing around with it.  I get kind of awkward posing by myself as seen in this photo. 

So I got one of my favorite people to pose with! Miss Pennie Rose!  

On her: hand me downs from a sweet friend with girls the same age difference as mine. Zoie had on the matching outfit but was napping.  From Children's Place
Infinity Scarf & Tank: Target
Sweater: Marshalls (notice the stripes & floral?!? I kind of love it now!)
Jeans: Gap Outlet.  
Not Pictured: my new black Toms! i LOVE LOVE LOVE them.  

Zoie just got her pink sparkly Toms in the mail.  When she opened the box she said: "Oh my goodness! I can not believe it! They are SO fancy!" She has since refused to take them off. I had to sneak back in her room to take them off last night after she fell asleep.  Girl loves accessories...

Day #2: Thanksgiving.

Posing in my childhood bedroom at my parents house.  

Side note: Does anyone else feel awkward having their husband sleep in their childhood bed? I was NEVER allowed to have boys in my room so it still just feels weird. 

Necklace: Vintage.  Borrowed from my big cousin (SISTER) who lives around the corner.  Ahh..the perks of going home, getting to raid her closet. :)
Shirt: Target

Skirt: Stacy Lynn  Just got from Queen Bee! I promised myself that if it was still there when the market was over and in my size then I could get it and with 10 minutes left of the market it was still there!!  
Tights & Boots: Target

The weather is supposed to change around here pretty soon.  I am thrilled! I can get out my heavy sweaters and adorable jackets that I get to wear twice a year in San Diego! 

Hope you all have a great week!


christmas card countdown...

O.K., it's that time of year.

The cards start rolling in.  Mollie and I would love to hear any creative ways you display them.  I just tuck them into a couple fabric ribbon boards by our breakfast table.  I love that we see them all the time and that they stay up year round.

My display may be simple, but I tend to go a little overboard with the actual making of our Christmas cards.  This year I am keeping it simple.  For the first time, I am actually ordering them online and I am pretty jazzed about it!  Oh, all the time I will save (if only my husband and I could decide on which photo and design).

I thought I would show a couple of our cards from the past.  Maybe it will give you an idea or two.

This is the first one I made, circa 2005 (yikes!)...

 It looked like a little present, but then you folded down the "box" to find the greeting.
This card was fun, but time consuming.  2006 we ordered Costco.  2007 a friend did them for us (I had just had a baby).

Then came 2008...
 I refer to this as "the joy project".  This was the year I was introduced to the Cricut machine.  I did not have one, but my friend Courtney did :)
 Having 3 little ones, made it the perfect fit!
You flipped open the inside for the family photo and greeting.

The next year, I took it a bit easier with this card...
Fun paper with a simple band for the greeting.  This was one of my favorites.  I still have it on our refrigerator.

And then there was last year.  I WAY overdid it, but when I put my mind to something...
 My friend Courtney made us these great pennants (again the j-o-y thing worked out great), and we headed over to a local barn for these great shots.  I mounted the photo on fun patterned paper that matched the pennants in the picture and cut them out on the Cricut as large tags.
 I cut out each boys little head shot and glued them to craft paper for extra support.  Then I attached them to the card with a simple key ring.  The neat part is that these little "key rings" have turned into little prayer photos for some fantastic friends and family.  They remember to pray for my little guys when they see them.  Gotta LOVE that!  I printed up a simple greeting on the back, and there you have it.
Can you see why I am excited to order them online this year?

It has always been worth it, but this year I need a break.

I hope all your Christmas cards are coming along well!  I know I can't wait to start receiving them (assuming I'm on your list :).

Happy Tuesday everyone!
(BTW, all photos are from the amazingly talented Cindy Kyle.  I am so thankful for her never ending patience and willingness to follow us wherever we may drag her.)