Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye and Hello

Goodbye 2010, hello 2011!!  It's (almost) time to begin a brand new year.  I love the anticipation of a fresh start, while also cherishing the precious moments I had this past year.

Since I just started blogging in September 2010, I don't have a lot of our past year documented, or at least not online in blogland, I should say.  My goal this year is to take at least one picture every single day and to make treasured memories with my sweet family every single month.

This year is set to be full of some big, exciting changes for our family.  I pray that everything falls into place easily and without a lot of stress.  I know that God is in control.  What peace that brings to my heart, especially during times of change.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
                                                                                                    ~Philippians 4:6

As always, I plan to take life one day at a time.  I'm really excited to see what's in store.  I know the Lord has good things planned for us!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." 
                                                                                                     ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Show & Tell: Canvas Family Tree

I've been wanting a personalized canvas family tree for a while now, but they can get really expensive so I've been hesitant to have one made.  Being that I'm the crafty type, I thought I would try and make one myself.

I used these two as my inspiration:

This one is from  I had no idea you could even get something like this from Walmart.  It is actually not very expensive, but I'm not totally sold on the overall appearance.  Anyway, I like the rustic hearts and stars.  The shape is very simple but cute.

I found a tutorial for this one HERE.  I really like the muted greens and blue contrasted with the dark tree trunk.  The family monogram in the center of the tree is great too.

So combining my favorite elements of  both canvases, this is my creation...

I went with a more simplistic design like the first picture, plus I used hearts and stars.  I incorporated the family monogram like the second picture and used the soft blue and green with a dark trunk.

I used a micron pen to write the name and year of birth of each family member on a leaf.  (This is just for our little family of 4)  I wrote our last name and the year our family was established in the center of the tree.

I jazzed it up with these 3d bird and butterfly stickers.  I had everything on hand except for these, so the cost was minimal.

I started by painting the canvas with blue and green acrylic paints.  I tried oil paints first, but they were going to take way too long to dry.  The acrylics dried super fast.

I cut out the hearts, stars, leaves, and tree trunk from textured card stock and then Mod Podged them on.  (Note: This craft would have been so much easier if I owned one of THESE.  I am definitely going to add this to my wish list!)

I'm thinking I might add some more leaves to make the tree a little fuller.  And I might have gotten a little carried away with the stickers.  What can I say, I love butterflies and birds.  :-)  What do you think?

It was super easy to do plus it is even more special since I made it myself.

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

It's the very last Wednesday of 2010.  Wow, it seems like the year has flown by!  After a wonderful Christmas, I'm excited to begin a new year!  Head on over to Jamie's blog to check out what everyone else is loving.

I'm LOVING that 2011 is almost here!  It always feels like a fresh start and marks a new chapter in the book of life.  I'm eager to see what the new year will bring!

I'm LOVING this new foyer table my husband bought me for Christmas.  We don't have much of a foyer, just a small tiled area to walk into, but this fits perfectly and makes it feel like an actual entry.

I'm LOVING that my 6-year old daughter sat and watched The Sound of Music in its entirety this weekend and loved it.  It's long been one of my favorites, and I've been eager to share it with her.  She's been singing all week!  Maybe we'll try My Fair Lady next. :)

Honorable Heels by Clarks.  I'm about to begin student teaching and will be on my feet all day, so I'm trying to find a way to continue wearing high heels without ending up in these. ;)  These are supposed to be really comfortable, and I love the color.

Crocs Crocband Flat Plaid.  Continuing with the comfortable shoe theme, these are really cute!  I'm not usually a fan of croc shoes but these look totally different.  These would be great for spring.

Burt's Bee Lip Balm.  It has been incredibly dry here in Amarillo and with that comes dried-out, chapped lips.  This is the best lip balm I've found.  I really need to stock up because I think it's going to be a long winter.

Tori Amos Winter (full)
Uploaded by krishna01. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

I'm LOVING this song by Tori Amos.  It's been around for a LONG time, and I think I love it more with each passing year.  It's an absolutely beautiful song (weird video, though), in my opinion.  Since we are just beginning winter, it seems appropriate.

Happy Wednesday!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas: The Recap

We had a GREAT Christmas this year!  I truly feel like this has been the best Christmas we've ever had.  Not just with gifts, but just soaking up everything the season has to offer.  We have done so many fun, holiday things this year and the Christmas spirit just enveloped our home!  I'm a little sad that it's over, but I'm looking forward to the new year (and another week of Christmas break!).
I didn't get a ton of pictures from Christmas Eve or Christmas Day because my hubby filmed most of it.  Here's a short recap of the weekend.

Christmas Eve was wonderful!  See my post  about our day for a full run-down.

We woke up to find our elf Charlie sitting between the gifts that my kids got to open on Christmas Eve (one each). 

Part of the spread from our Christmas Eve appetizer party.  It's amazing how stuffed you can get eating snack-y type foods!

Wyatt being Wyatt.  I'm not sure!

Cookies for Santa!  We also left a tall glass of chocolate milk, some carrots for the reindeer, and a picture that Abby drew, but somehow I failed to take a picture of it.

Christmas Day was great too!  The only problem was that the kids got up WAY, WAY too early.  We tried (in vain) to make them go back to bed several times, but we ended up opening gifts at 5:00AM.  (No naps during the day either)


For Abby....

and for Wyatt!

Again, I didn't get a lot of pics since Casey was filming.  I don't want to post the video since I was not looking my finest. ;)

We enjoyed a yummy breakfast casserole and fruit salad after the gift opening.  Since it was just our little family on Christmas Day, we were able to really relax and enjoy the day.  I made a roast with all the fixins for lunch and an apple pie for dessert. 

Here are some of the gifts we each got.  I know gifts are definitely not the most important thing, but it's always fun to see what others got. :)  (This was actually not everything we got, especially the kids, but I wanted to showcase some of the favorites...all this would have been more than enough though.)

Abby:  a few of her favorite gifts.  She really wanted a Nintendo DS, but we just didn't feel like she was completely ready for such an expensive electronic yet.  We got her a VTech game system last year and she didn't take very good care of it.  I could see her leaving the DS lying around and Wyatt scribbling all over it with a black Sharpie.  Or throwing it in the toilet.  Maybe for her birthday this summer. 

Wyatt:  I think his absolute favorite gift is the Wonder Pets Schoolhouse.  He has not put it down since he got it!

My stuff.  I love everything I got! 

Hubby's stuff:  We both got memberships to Planet Fitness, so we are ready to get in shape!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas too!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A New Look

As much as I loved my Christmas blog layout, I couldn't wait for a fresh look!  I debated on whether to purchase a custom blog layout but decided to just use a freebie since I like to change things up often.  I may get something customized in the future.  Until then, I really like the one I'm using now from Leelou Blogs

I'll be posting a Christmas recap post very soon.  2011 is fast approaching, and I'm so excited to see what the Lord has in store for our family!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

I can't believe that Christmas Day is tomorrow.  It's flown by!  I thought I would post one more post before I take a short break from blogging. 

I love Christmas Eve at our house!  It is such a fun, relaxing time with just our little family filled with so many traditions.  We start out the morning allowing the kids to open one gift.  We save the rest of the gifts for Christmas morning. 

Here they are opening their gifts this morning:

After the gift opening, I always have breakfast prepared.  This year it's homemade cinnamon rolls.

We always have an appetizer/snack party for dinner.  I'll be busy today getting the food ready for this evening.  Here is this year's menu:
*Sausage Balls
*Artichoke Spinach Bites
*Lil Smokies in BBQ sauce
*Chips & Dips
*Relish Tray
*Cheese, Summer Sausages, & Crackers
*Lemon Bars
*Christmas Punch

Of course we have Christmas music blasting in the background.  We also make "Magic Reindeer Dust".  This will help illuminate the path for Santa's reindeer to land! ;)  There are tons of different recipes online for this, but here is the one we use.

Magic Reindeer Dust
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup sugar
Red & Green sprinkles or edible glitter

Mix together and sprinkle on your lawn before going to bed on Christmas Eve! 

(Note: Some recipes call for actual craft glitter, but since it can be harmful to animals, I stick with edible glitter or sprinkles.)

We made our cookies for Santa yesterday.  We switch up which kind we make each year and this year we made this recipe (it is an adaptation of a recipe from Bakerella.  I made a few of these jars for small gifts this year, so I thought it only made sense to make one for us to use as well.



I think Santa will like these! 

After the kids have their bath, they get into their Christmas pajamas and we read "The Night Before Christmas" in front of the tree.  I have a feeling Wyatt will be running around like a maniac instead of sitting quietly and listening to the story, but I'll still read it anyway.  :)

We try and have family Bible studies often (my goal for 2011 is every evening), and we will have one this evening as well.   At Christmas, we explain to our children that the Bible does not tell us when Jesus was born, and in fact, is silent about instruction in observing the birth of Christ.  However, this is the time when most people reflect on His birth, and we pray that a seed will be planted in the hearts of those whom are seeking.  More importantly, we talk to them about how it was His death on the cross that saves us.  Hallelujah!  We celebrate Jesus EVERYDAY in this house.  God is good everyday of the year!

Finally, before going to bed, we have to track Santa!  Our local news stations track him during the weather segment.  We also visit this website for a more detailed, global view of Santa's journey.  It's amazing how fast the kids (well, Abby) go to sleep after seeing this!

Wonderful times and precious memories!  I'm going to be a little sad when my kids stop believing.  I have a feeling Abby will be catching on soon.  Until then, we try and make it magical!

Wishing each one of you a peaceful, joyous Christmas with your families and a healthy, prosperous new year!

See you in a few days!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm linking up with Jamie for WILW.  Be sure and check out her cute blog!  Here are a few things I'm loving this week...

Of course, I'm LOVING that Christmas is almost here!  I love everything about the Christmas season: baking, decorating, wrapping gifts, Christmas music and movies, etc...  We have so many fun family traditions coming up and I'm so looking forward to them.  Christmas is just magical when you have little kids!

I'm LOVING these necklaces I ordered from Sam Moon.  I'll be able to wear them with so many different outfits and they were super inexpensive.

Bella Paisley Pillow Covers from Pottery Barn.  LOVE these!  Such pretty color combinations.

Transform Your Mind tee shirt by Wild Olive.  I saw these on The Pioneer Woman a few days ago and knew I had to have one.  Romans 12:2 just happens to be my favorite Bible verse, but there are lots of other verses and designs.  This one, unfortunately, is currently out of stock, but I've opted to be notified when they are replenished so I can order one.  Check them out!

Gold Canyon Candles in Sleigh Ride and Cozy Christmas.  I've been burning these constantly here lately, and they both smell wonderful!  I used to be a big fan of Yankee candles until I tried Gold Canyon.  They truly are better, in my humble opinion.  (I promise I don't sell them...just a consumer!)

I'm LOVING all the sweet, encouraging, and funny comments I get from my blog readers.  I started this blog a few months ago to document the everyday life of my family and it has turned into so much more.  I love reading your blogs too and being inspired!  I'm so glad that I decided to start blogging!

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Sweet Surprise!

Earlier today I got the happy news that I won a giveaway hosted by Megan at in this wonderful life.  I'm so excited!

Here is what I won:

(Photo taken from Megan's blog)

Clockwise from top left: Nice & Naughty kitchen towels; crystal mistletoe arrangement; ornament place card holders; cute Christmas socks

It is such a nice surprise to win all of these festive things right before Christmas.  Thanks so much Megan!

If you haven't seen her blog already, go check it out!  She is such an inspirational person.  Plus, she has the cutest little Boston Terrier named Elton! 

Weekend in Review

We have had a wonderful, busy weekend!  I just finished up my very last class needed to complete my Post-Bac teacher certification and am now just waiting until student teaching begins in early February.  Once that that is finished, I will be a fully certified teacher in the state of Texas!  Whoo-hoo!  I'm SO glad that Abby has a nice long break from school...we can just relax and enjoy the rest of the year!

Friday: We woke up to snow!  Not a whole lot but enough to cover the ground, plus it was wet so the roads were not icy and slick.  Abby's school held a holiday sing-a-long where the kids sang and performed different Christmas carols.  Wyatt and I went to see Abby and had so much fun!  Since it was a half-day anyway, we pulled Abby out a few minutes early and went to have lunch and run by Wal-Mart.  

After Casey got home from work, he took Abby to the movies for a "Daddy-Daughter Day".  They went to see this movie:

Abby has been begging to go see this movie for weeks now.  They came back wearing their 3D glasses and complaining of bellyaches from all the popcorn!  Wyatt and I stayed home.  He took a much needed nap, and I finished up wrapping a few gifts.  I made my nephew Trey some soft baby blocks and they turned out so cute.  Did I take a picture? No, of course not.  But they look similiar to this with different fabrics:

After dinner, we had a family Bible study focusing on the birth of Christ.  Abby loves the story and always has a million questions.  "What do angels look like"?  "What exactly are magi"?  "Can we still see the star they followed to find Jesus"?  It's really refreshing to read through the stories of the Bible with a childlike perspective. 

Saturday: We went to Perryton to celebrate an early Christmas with my family since my brother had his twin girls this weekend.  My mom made a delicious meal of pulled pork sandwiches, chips  & dips, summer sausages, cheeses, crackers, and lot of homemade cookies.  After eating, we exchanged gifts.  I'm sorry to say that I didn't get many pictures.  After about the fifth or sixth picture I took, my camera displayed a message saying, "Out of Memory".  I have got to figure my camera out soon. 

My sister Lauren and my sweet nephew Trey.  He started running a fever shortly before we arrived and was just feeling miserable the whole time.  Bless his sweet little heart.  He is the absolute most precious little guy you could hope to meet.

My sweet girl Abby.  She is the oldest cousin and just adores all her "babies". 

Wyatt slept some of the way from Amarillo to Perryton and was looking a little disheveled in this picture!  He wanted to play with my nieces' toys the entire time.  Notice the pretty princess chair he insisted on sitting in. ;)

I am so sad to say that I was not able to get any pictures of my sweet twin nieces Addison and Ashlynn before my camera stopped taking pictures (of course I was able to figure out what was wrong with it after we were back home).  This picture is an older one of them.

These are the cutest, sassiest two-year old girls you could ever meet.  They went around and around with Wyatt over toys today.  There was even a showdown over who got what chair at the kids' table.  Wyatt was not being much of a gentleman with his cousins today, but they did not back down!

Poor Addison broke out in a rash while we were there (yes, seriously, another cousin sick).  I am praying that my two do not end up with anything right before Christmas.  I feel like we have already had more than our fair share of illness this year.

I hate that I was not able to get pictures of the gift exchange.  All the little cousins opened all their gifts at once and it was an absolute frenzy.  Wrapping paper everywhere.  My mom and I had to sort through it all to make sure that actual gifts were not lost in the mix!

My parents spoiled us and we all went away with some wonderful gifts.  My sister and her family recently moved into a new little rent house so I was able to take a tour of it.  She's still not set up, but she is working on it.  Even though Perryton is only 2 hours away, I rarely get to visit.  Usually, my family comes to Amarillo since it's bigger and has much more to offer.  But I have to say, there is nothing like visiting your hometown for a dose of nostalgia!

Sunday: Since we got home really late Saturday night, we missed Bible class and instead just showed up for worship services.  I hate missing Bible class, but we were all so exhausted.  We spent the rest of the day cleaning the house, finding homes for all of our new gifts, and just relaxing.  I bought a few gifts from a local Christian bookstore a few days ago, and I picked up a new Bible study for me.  I've mentioned on here more than once how much I admire Casandra Martin.  She is a wonderful Christian woman and author of my absolute favorite Bible study series, Women Opening the Word.  She has a fantastic website and blog, so check it out!  Here is the book I got...

ABCs of a Godly Heart.  I cannot wait to start this study.  It is a walk through the book of Psalms.

After evening worship services, we went for our "official" Christmas light looking extravaganza.  I had originally scheduled for us to go on Friday night but we ended up getting really busy plus since it had snowed during the day, we didn't want to chance frozen slick spots on the streets.

I love looking at Christmas lights.  We always stop and get a hot cocoa first (chocolate milk for Wyatt) and then the fun begins.  There are some really festive neighborhoods in Amarillo that we never miss.  Great times and great memories!

After a busy weekend, I am hoping to have a relaxing week.  We have some fun things planned this week.  Christmas is just days away! 

Happy Monday!