Thursday, December 31, 2009

One Little Word

For the past several years, scrapbook celebrity Ali Edwards has posted a challenge for the New Year--pick a word (or let it pick you) that will be your theme, goal, or definition for the New Year. (You can read more about it in her One Little Word post) I've decided that my word for 2010 is:

1 : enjoying health and vigor of body, mind, or spirit
2 : evincing health
3 : conducive to health

I need to start making some changes in my life and the life of my family that will be good for us--healthy.

* healthy body
* healthy spirit
* healthy emotions and handling emotions
* healthy relationships
* healthy finances
* healthy time-mangement
* healthy expectations of myself and others
* healthy environment

My goal is to start implementing small changes that will be doable for me and my family. I've got many thoughts swirling around in my head about my goals, which may become future blog posts--or not. We'll see. For now I'm meditating on the following verses and asking God for a plan, because I know that if I try to do any changes on my own I"ll fail.

Proverbs 3: 5-8

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.

8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.

So what will your one little word be?


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Printable Gift Tags

Today was going to be gift-wrapping day until I realized the only tape I have in the house is duct tape. Where oh where have all my tape rolls gone!

I have though, printed out our gift tags. Usually I'm a lazy wrapper and just write the recipient's name on the package, but this year my oldest DD is helping me and wants everything to look nice :) We picked Ali Edwards' tags for this year (she's not paying me to endorse any of her products--lol! I realize I just posted yesterday about her brushes---I have just enjoyed using her digital products lately)

This download comes as a PDF file and as PNG files. What this means is that if you don't have a photo-editing software program, you can still print these tags out using Adobe Acrobat Reader. Or if you do have a digital scrapbooking program, you can customize them, add papers, elements, etc.

If you print the tags as-is, they are 2 inches. I actually printed mine at 75% so that it would fit my 1 1/4" circle punch.
The first thing we made with our tags were hot chocolate wrappers. They are nice as a fill-in gift in stockings or gift baskets. Here's how we made them:

1. Cut cardstock 4" wide and 11"long.
2. Fold the bottom up about 2 1/2" - 3" -- depending on the height of your hot chocolate package.
3. Fold the top down so that a portion of it tucks in the bottom fold.
4. Staple the bottom corners.
5. Adhere the circle tag onto a bigger circle. Outline with glue and sprinkle with glitter.
6. Once the tag is dry, place adhesive on the bottom half of the tag and center on the bottom fold
7. Tie ribbon around the top to finish the wrapper off.

Now hot chocolate isn't the only thing you can put in these wrappers. Dry soup mixes, M&M packs, Pop Rocks and other relatively flat packaged items can be made festive with these wrappers.
printable gift tagsHere we just used the tags as intended---as gift tags. Once again I reduced the size a bit before printing and then matted the tag on red. Super easy!

Here are some more printable gift tags. If you print them out onto cardstock and run through a Xyron Xyron 900, you'll have your own gift tag stickers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow Day

snowballWell the first snow of the season has hit our area. Three out of five of my kids enthusiastically put on their snow gear and headed outside as soon as they saw the snow. It was good packing snow, so they started making a snowman. What fun they had!

snowy dayOf course, with the cold weather here, I've pulled out the hot chocolate. Little DD3 is wearing some on her face.

snow dayWhat a wonderful December day!
Hand-drawn quotes and sayings are from Ali Edwards. I've always wondered if she would have ever thought that her handwriting would be seen in so many places! I love using her quote brushes on my layouts and photos. It just seems to add a personal touch---and her handwriting is way cooler than mine ;) I did have my own handwriting turned into a font though. I still believe that occasionally I should journal in my own handwriting--even if technically it's typing ;)

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Digital Quick Albums-Works for Me!

Works For Me
No matter how much I plan ahead, I never seem to have enough time to get everything done before all the deals and free-shipping offers expire---except for this year. I was able to complete an entire 20pg. album plus cover all in one afternoon and it looks like I worked so hard on it--lol! Designer Digitals has a couple new quick page Christmas albums in the store. My album used pages from this set:

Quick Pages for Digital ScrapbookingYou can use these pages with any graphics program that allows you to use PNG files. I used Adobe Photoshop Elements. All you have to do is add a picture and some journaling, save as a JPEG and your page is done! See the following article for more step-by-step instructions on using digital quick-pages.

Digital Quick PageI did create two pages to compliment the album just because I found I wanted to use more horizontal photos than vertical. Using the same papers and format, I created the page above to add in the book.

After finishing all the pages, I uploaded my photos to Shutterfly and created an 8x8 album. I just got them in the mail today and they look great! Quick, easy and meaningful! This works for me!

For more Works For Me ideas check out the posts @ We Are THAT Family

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Imagine Christmas

CrossThis past weekend my family attended an event called "Imagine Christmas." It was put on by my parent's church. All around the church there were different stations. There was a spectacular music presentation by a choir, orchestra and dancers. There were small ensembles serenading visitors with Christmas carols. There were cookies and hot chocolate, cake walks, games, and crafts. There was a live nativity scene -- which my 3yr. old totally loved the animals. At one station, there were opportunities for families to come together and talk about the real reason for Christmas.

From the manger to the cross, Jesus was God's gift to us. Here families were encouraged to write a thank-you note to God.

In the same room they had several sand tables with wooden nativity sets. There was a script next to it where the parents could read the Christmas story to their children and the kids would add the next piece in the story.

My younger two loved this. I probably should donate a bag of sand to the church since my two ended up spilling about that much on the floor--lol.

There was also one whole wall covered with paper where kids could draw what they thought Bethlehem looked like.
Here's my son's drawing---The Three Wise men coming to bring their gifts to Jesus.

The whole night was a celebration of Jesus. Many of these ideas can be done on a smaller scale at home.

This evening reminded me that I had these nativity images on my computer. I originally used them for our Nativity I Spy bottles. You could print them to make a memory match game or for retelling the story.

Nativity Cards
For more Making Christmas Meaningful Ideas check out all our past posts: Making Christmas Meaningful


Saturday, December 12, 2009


I took this photo of my 3yr. old this week. While I was working on this page, I couldn't think about what journaling to add. So I did a Google search for snowflake poems and came across this poem at Executive Homemaker. I thought it went beautifully with this photo.
Simply Stripes NO 1 by Katie Pertiet
Wintery Overlays by Katie Pertiet
Christmas ScriptTease Overlay 1 Anna Aspens
Stitched by Anna Borders Blue Ice Anna Aspnes
Jack Frost Kit by Katie Pertiet
Crystallized Flourished No. 04 Brush-and-Stamps by Katie Pertiet


Friday, December 11, 2009

Homemade Scrubs and Celebrations

brown sugar scrubThis month I added a bunch of new blogs to my blog reader. One blog was Bake at 350. She recently posted how she made her own sugar scrubs. They looked wonderful and it didn't look too hard to make. So two of my friends and I got together to this week to mix up a couple of batches. We used the recipes from C&H Sugar. Well at least we started with the recipes from there but the process kind ended up having a mind of it's own. Apparently I make sugar scrubs the same way I cook---I kind of wing it, adding what I think it needs. I made the spicy brown sugar scrub but added more cinnamon, pumpkin spices and a couple drops of Vit. E because I read somewhere that it helps extend the shelf life a bit. I don't know if it's true or not, but Vit. E drops are good for your skin so I figured it wouldn't hurt.

My girlfriends started out making the white sugar scrub but added grapefruit essential oil, vanilla and orange zest. They used olive oil --- which if you use olive oil make sure you use a very light oil. Otherwise the olive oil scent can be a little overpowering. Boy it was fun! I can't wait to try some other essential oils in the mix. I found these Ball Elite Platinum Wide Mouth Half Pt (8oz) Jars on the bottom shelf @ Target. I took the last box. Apparently it is hard to find jars at this time of the year. Next year I'll be on the look-out in the summer.
This week at our homeschool co-op I shared the Trinity Snowman poem. I had been looking for a snowman prop to help illustrate the story while telling. Apparently penguins are the "in" decoration this year. After going to at least 5 stores, my girlfriend found this cute light-up snowman at Walgreens. It's small and light enough that when we go to the local nursing home next week we'll bring it when we share the poem there.
While at co-op the kids worked on the Christmas cards for the nursing home residents. They colored the card and glued onto cardstock. Then they glued the Trinity snowman poem to the inside of the card. They added ribbon around the side for a finishing touch. I forgot to take a picture of the finished version. They turned out cute. Especially the ones that were pasted upside down by the little toddlers. So precious!

Since this was the last co-op session for the semester, we had a little award ceremony. The kids had been learning about instruments and even had to come up with their own instrument to share with the group. The teacher awarded each participant with a music note or instrument ornaments. For science this semester the kids worked on the first half of Exploring Creation With Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day Each child got a homemade dolphin ornament. Then our Bible memory challenge was John 15:1-8. I was so proud of the kids because almost every one of the kids could say the whole passage. It is so awesome to see the kids hiding God's word in their hearts!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

So much to blog but not enough time

We've been busy around here---lots of pictures on my camera waiting to be uploaded. Tomorrow our homeschool co-op will be making Christmas cards for a local nursing home. I inherited a bunch of already folded blue cardstock (big blessing!) so I made a snowman cover and poem to cut out and place on the front and inside of the cardstock. I"ll have some pictures to post later. I decided someone else might find it useful as well. You can print it, fold in half and glue together to be a bookmark or poem card, or you can cut apart and create a card like we did.


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Monday, December 7, 2009

Sweet Dreams

This week's theme on I ♥ Faces is "sweet dreams". I haven't had time to participate in awhile, but when I saw the topic I remembered this photo of my 3yr. old dd this past summer. She had wore herself out playing outside all day but would not fall asleep. Finally she asked to swing and it didn't take long for her to finally fall asleep. I wish this still worked--lol. She could use a nap right now.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Some More Christmas Coloring....

I ran across Karla Dornacher's artwork last year when I was looking for Christian-themed Christmas graphics. She has a cute, whimsical style. Recently she posted two adorable Christmas coloring pages on her blog. She also has a free Christmas tag download. Karla shows how you can dress up these tags and turn them into ornaments. Gorgeous!

Oh and the cookie recipe book give-away has ended and the winner of this wonderful cookbook is Jo!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

There is a Time for Everything...

Fall Digital Scrapbook PageThis is one of my favorite recent photos of my youngest DD. It felt good to finally scrap a page. A couple of ladies invited me to scrap while they worked on quilts today. It was nice to be able to get out of the house and have some time to talk with other adults without children around. I'm loving these new Bible verse brushes from Ali Edwards. I can't wait to use more on my pages. I love pairing scripture with my favorite photos. If I can round up enough of my pages, I think I'll go ahead and make a Shutterfly book.

Starr Weems de Graffenried from featured some of my Bible crafts and ideas in an article this past week. Thanks Starr for letting me share!

And speaking of sharing, I just want to point out a couple of recent printables I've uploaded on my side-bar. These go along with a recent article I wrote on Squidoo--Snowman Party with a Christian twist. This would be a great idea to use for Sunday School, small groups, co-op class or even at home. It's another way to keep Christ in Christmas. With a snowman party, you could even wait until January to throw it! I explain the party in detail in the article, but here are a couple of printables that you could use even if you don't throw a party.




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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Free Christmas Around the World Unit

Christmas Around the World
I meant to mention this earlier, but I wanted to remind everyone that there is a free Christmas Around the World unit available at Homeschool Share. It is huge! We will only be spending a week on it as an overview, but you could spend the whole month learning about how other countries celebrate (or don't celebrate) Christmas. I wanted to point two things out that might get over-looked with all the information.

1. Each country has a coloring page. This was done so that toddlers/preschoolers could have something on their level to make their own Christmas Around the World Book. The pages could also be used as country divider pages in a unit notebook.

Cover Sheet
Argentina Coloring Page
Australia Coloring Page
England Coloring Page
Ethiopia Coloring Page
France Coloring Page
Israel Coloring Page
Mexico Coloring Page
Philipinnes Coloring Page
Sweden Coloring Page
Switzerland Coloring Page

2. Christmas Around the World File Folder Game (Unit Review)
File Folder Game
Game Cards 1
Game Cards 2
Game Cards 3
Game Cards 4


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Reese's Fudge - Guest Post

Today my 11yr. old daughter is posting for me. One of her assignments this week was to write a "how to..." article. Since she loves to cook, she picked out a new recipe to try. She took all the photos, uploaded everything and did the whole post herself. It was a win-win situation for me. I got to eat chocolate and have a new blog post posted :)

Reese's Fudge

What you will need is:
one can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
1 bag of Reese peanut butter chips
1 bag of Nestle chocolate chips
8 inch pan
small bowl
wax paper

Line the 8 inch pan with wax paper.

In the small bowl, microwave peanut butter chips mixed with 2/3 cup of condensed milk and a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla on high for 1-1 1/2 min. Spread evenly over wax paper in pan.

Repeat with chocolate chips the instructions above. Spread evenly over peanut butter mixture.

Refrigerate until firm. Then cut into squares and serve. Refrigerate leftovers.

-- P.S. They tasted so good there were no leftovers!

Don't forget to add your favorite Christmas recipes in the recipe McLinky. When you do, you could win a custom cookie recipe book!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's More Blessed to Give...

Today was the first day that we removed a link off our Advent Chain. The theme for today was sharing. The verses read were John 3:1-21. God shared his son with us even though he knew we'd hurt him and turn our backs on him. God shared his son as a gift to us with no strings attached. We can either accept his gift or reject it. Christmas reminds us of this precious gift offered to us. A gift. Given. Waiting to be received. What an example our Heavenly Father sets for us!

During this holiday season and beyond, I want to provide some intentional opportunities for my children and my family to give back and serve others. I want God to open my eyes to the needs around and how I can fill them. Here are some ideas:

christmas caroling

1. Visit a nursing home. (Make it a monthly activity!) For the past couple of years we have visited several nursing homes with our homeschool co-op. We sing and recite verses that we've memorized and hand out cards. You can also:
- play board games with the residents
- paint fingernails
- listen
- put on a concert
- pray

2. Drop In & Decorate. I love this idea!
"Drop In & Decorate is a simple concept: bake some cookies, invite friends or family (or neighbors, or co-workers) to stop in and help decorate, then donate your cookies to a local food pantry, emergency shelter, senior center, lunch program, or other community agency. (Or, sell your cookies at a bake sale, and donate the proceeds to a community agency.) ~Drop In &"

3. Volunteer at a local food bank/soup kitchen.

4. Make cards for local charities to hand out.

5. Shovel snow for a neighbor (if your part of the world has snow).

6. Shop for an Angel Tree child. The Salvation Army hosts Angel Trees in various communities. You pick an ornament off the tree with the name and item needed and shop for that child. This is a great activity for children to do. Have you child pick the ornament and shop for the gift.

7. Donate a toy for Toys for Tots.

8. Purchase an extra box of Angel Food and give it to someone in need. (Orders need to be in early Dec.)

9. Visit a friend or neighbor that you haven't seen in awhile.

10. Shop for canned goods and other non-perishable food and donate it to a local food-bank.

11. Host (or help out) a Birthday Party for Jesus or Snowman Christmas Party for your neighborhood.

12. Donate to a local Animal Shelter. Families with Purpose has a neat Dog Days of Summer activity for summer, but could be done anytime.

Other links to check out:

Kids with Purpose
Volunteering at Christmas

live the gospel