Wednesday, November 28, 2012

fall party decor

some friends and i threw an awesome (yes, i'm biased) blessings shower for someone special.
we had a grand time planning, prepping, and prettifying everything!
and isn't it just more fun as women to go all out with decorating?
if you're a man, your idea of decorating simply means putting your dirty socks that were lying on the floor into the hamper.
but... as a woman...
oh, the possibilities are endless!
i love being a woman for this reason and i'm so thankful God has blessed us ladies with a heart for making things pretty.
i think we all have that innately in us.
some like to make pretty food...
others like to make pretty decor...
others like to make pretty hair... pretty make up... pretty clothes...
and the list goes on.
we as women love to take something ordinary and make it pleasing to the eye.
and i know that when we are happy doing these things for ourselves and others, it makes God happy too!

i know christmas is kickin' around the corner, but i need to share these photos.
first off, i'm sharing these photos because it'll be a keepsake for me.
seeing my house all nice and tidy and clean.
and cute and pretty to boot!
unlike how it is 90% of the time.
so that's my selfish reason for posting these photos.
next, it's to share with you some easy and cheap ways to decorate.
(keep in mind that many of these ideas can be changed depending on the season...
you just need to change the color scheme!)
tissue paper poufs! 
so simple... so cute... so inexpensive!
there's a ton of tutorials on youtube.

paper bunting.
cut triangles... sew together... hang.
easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

jars, jars and more jars... with candles.
plus glitter paper circle punched and fake leaves.
oh, and those sweet little pumpkins.
seriously cute!
i can't resist when i see them in the grocery store.
throw in a couple of little birds already kickin' around my house = a great little coffee table centerpiece.

more adorable pumpkins.
let's all pause while we go, "awwwwwwwww" in a squeaky baby voice.

yes, we ate raclette.
it was awesome.
shrimp, beef tenderloin, asparagus, potatoes, mushroom and lotsa CHEESE!!!

and, of course, the beautiful women i shared the night with!
can you see our awesome pinterest creations?
we all have monogrammed glitter wine glasses!
also so simple.
we used modge podge, martha stewart fine glitter and paint brushes to apply.
worked like a charm.
but beware... handwash only!  ;)

so this is my little encouragement to be girly...
and make things pretty in your life.
embrace your being a woman!!
because that's who God made you!

Friday, November 16, 2012


been a while since i've done one of these.
thought it was about time again.
i'm still always taking lots of pictures.

here we go...
my beautiful girl!
she has the sweetest little face...
but don't let that adorable smile fool you.
she can be quite the little mischief maker!
her favorite thing to do?
sing, dance... and play guitar.
her greatest goal in life?
to become a pop star.
no lie.
oh my... calico critters?
i think they were created for mamas like me.
they are so fun... so detailed.
i just love to set up baby h's house.
you know... set it up just right.
please tell me i'm not the only mom that enjoys these little things?
read this... and it hit me like a ton of bricks.
need to be reminded of this often.
not that marriage can't bring you happiness... but that's not the purpose of it.
thank you Jesus for the lessons i learn all the time.
thankful to have an amazing husband to share the journey with...
even if we like to duke it out once in a while. ;)
horrible picture but can't help but share!
big k sang in a little gr.3 choir at the peace concert last week.
i was so proud of her.
watching her sing her little heart out.
at the end, they got to join 5 other 'adult' choirs and sing all together.
it was touching and super cool!
maybe she'll actually enjoying singing like i do!!
day off from school = playtime with friends!!
got together with my pal, charmaine.
our kids are all the same age.
it makes for good times.
a playmate for all!
the kids had a blast and us mamas had good convo.
what could be better?
here's a sweet pic of our two babies... being babies!
taught big k one of my very favorite games!
this was like nostalgia full force.
master mind is the master game.
i LOVE it and it was so fun to introduce her to the game.
she totally caught on and i envision many matches in the future.
a great little note from my middle daughter.
if you can take a wild guess... i received this AFTER some discipline one day.
talk about a knife to the chest, huh?
i baked... i BAKED!
hallelujah... I BAKED!!!!
(this is a cause for celebration because it doesn't happen to often)
i think after 20 years it was time to retire my old knee pads.
they did me good through junior high, high school, college and many years of ladies league.
i feel like a new woman with the new knee pads.
how exciting!
let's just hope these new ones last at least half as long as the other ones. ;)
spring roll making with one of my longest known friends!
filled with peppers, cucs, carrots, mint, lettuce, peanut sauce and fried tofu.
yes, these are the yummies i get to enjoy when i'm with my vegan friend.
thanks J!!!
i love cooking and eating with you... and i love that my house was quiet without my children!!
there are some bonuses to them not eating this stuff.
ha ha!
wham... bam!
the very next day i saw my other longest known friend!!!
how can i get so blessed?
she made me eggs benedict... fresh fruit... great coffee!
so spoiled!
and we got to chit chat and catch up for at least 4 hours.
does it get any better?
oh baby of mine... you make me laugh.
you can rock those big sunnies like no bodies business, girl!
keep being marvellous you!
before school "crafting" of sorts.
orbeez... kids love them.
they're colorful, squishy and weird.
of course my girls love them.
thanks auntie mel for the fun!!
now i find the random squishy ball while i sweep every day.
oh, hugs with friends!
so special!
my daughter is learning from me.
i AM a hugger.
got to babysit a friend's two kids last night.
so there was hugging, playing, dancing and more going on.
good times!
plus, i got me some baby snuggles.
i mean, c'mon.... what could be better?
(for me, anyway)

this weekend calls for fun...
headed to twilight tonight!
i'm a teeny bopper and i'm willing to admit it.
will i shed a tear to see the series come to a close?
we shall see.
i promise to document if i do.
then doing some shopping (christmas stuff)... football watching and church.
oh... and wearing sweat pants whenever i can.
sounds like a swell plan to me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

sometimes you just gotta let loose!

let's face it, motherhood is draining...
and exhausting...
and pretty much seeps the selfishness out of you (and not always in a good way).
so you gotta be able to let loose once in a while...
sometimes with your kids is great...
but even better, without your children!
it's good for us to get out and express ourselves on our own.
as individuals.
i am SO lucky to be on an amazing club volleyball team.
from october to april we play almost every monday night.
i've been playing and helping to organize this team for over 10 years now.
(please don't judge my old age)
and we call ourselves NEON.
don't ask... just go along with it!
anyway, NEON is a bright spot in my busy week that i look forward to.
yes, i love to play volleyball.
it's my favorite sport to participate in and has been since grade 8!
but besides the fun i have ON the court, it's the people, more specifically women, that make it great!
i love these ladies!
they teach me almost every monday why it's important for me to get out and have fun.
away from my kids.
it helps me to remember that i'm ME!
and having these women to connect with on a regular basis is life giving.
and let's face it... a whole heck of a lot of fun!
when our games end early we often decide to go out for drinks.
we usually hit up the local "tavern", if you will, and set up for more laughs and connecting.
this monday we had a grand old time, as usual.
and something hilarious happened.
mondays, as you could probably assume, aren't particularly lively nights at the local watering hole.
the VLT's and pool tables have a few "regulars" but that's about it.
it's quiet... and we like it that way.
but this monday they were cranking out the old tunes, like it was going out of style.
did they know a bunch of 30 somethings were going to show up?
i have no idea.
but it was like re-living high school and my late teenage years listening to the music.
after eating two plates of nachos and drinking down our beers, we decided to hit up the dance floor.
all cautions were thrown to the wind and team NEON took to the dance floor.
this dance floor was currently being used to store some tables, but that didn't stop us.
we found some space and set to work on our moves.
it clearly wasn't a "dancing" night but that didn't matter.
us girls had a great time shaking our booties and laughing and having fun.
it was awesome!
and it was just what this mama needed.
a time to be me, with my friends after playing one of my favorite games.
who knew dancing to some 90's dance tunes could breath so much life into me?
us girls think we'll have to add the dancing to our regular monday nights.
sometimes those impromptu fun times are the best aren't they?
they create some of the best memories stored in our minds to be taken out on a particularly heavy day.
i'm blessed by all of these women and next time we're together i'll definitely let them know.
what do you do to let loose?

Monday, November 5, 2012

my challenge...

ok, i haven't shared yet on my blog about my personal challenge.
some of you, in real life, know about my challenge.
others, do not.
that's ok.
honestly, it's not something i feel the need to broadcast.
maybe that's why i haven't felt the need to put it up on the blog yet.
but i've been feeling like i need to share.
maybe it'll help someone.
maybe it'll get people to think.
and maybe, i'll just get called an idiot.
(yes, i've gotten looks like this when i've shared my plan)
regardless, here's the deal with "my challenge".
just over three months ago i made a decision to try and stop spending useless money.
basically to stop buying the things i want... and focus more on the things i need.
not necessarily monetary stuff either.
it all started with a discussion that big m and i had regarding a possible trip in spring.
we were invited to spend some time in california with my in laws.
sounds awesome, doesn't it?!
believe me... it is... here's some picture of us spending time there almost 3 years ago.
(feel free to travel with me down my feel good memory lane)

anyway, so we were invited again.
i was pumped!
so were the girls, obviously.
big m... well, he's the money man in the house.
he likes budgets and savings and penny pinching... and, i like to spend, ahem.
well, he thought that we might not be able to financially swing a trip like this.
the thing is, we were planning to visit my parents in texas next fall...
so that would mean 2 big trips in one year.
which also... truth be told... makes me think, "aw yeah!!  think about the amazing SHOPPING!!"
i will totally admit that i'm a shopaholic.
i LIVE to shop!
that wasn't a typo.
yes, i do LOVE to shop also... but honestly, i LIVE to shop too!
it sounds so dumb but shopping totally gets my blood pumpin'!
it's so fun... exhilarating!
c'mon girls... tell me i'm not alone here!
and man, the thrill of a deal!
don't even get me started.
i know not everyone likes this aspect of shopping, but my mama taught me well...
and we love a good sales rack score!
now, i'm getting off topic here.
ok, so when big m told me he was thinking we wouldn't get to do the california trip, i was BUMMED!
so my wheels started turning.
what if we went on this trip and i decided to do absolutely no shopping?
what if we just went to hang out?
to relax by the pool.
to find random parks and playgrounds.
to go hiking.
to basically do things that wouldn't cost lots of money.
hitting up the outlet mall?
cruising into all the fun boutiques?
although these are high on my typical priority list... they are gonna be a no-go for me this year.
big m contemplated my plan.
actually, he totally thought i couldn't do it.
but i promised!!
and he said, "ok."
and then it got my wheels turning again.
i could challenge myself to not spend any money in palm springs...
to go a couple of weeks without shopping.
that can't be THAT hard, can it?
but can i stretch myself even more?
can i?
so that's where "my challenge" came in.
i thought more and more about my personal spending habits.
i thought of all the times i've bought things for no good reason.
"look, it's on sale... i NEED it!" cha-ching
"look, it's soooo cute... i NEED it!" cha-ching
"look, the last one, it's in my size, i can't leave it... i NEED it!" cha-ching
"look, it's fall clothes.  my old stuff is boring... i NEED it!" cha-ching
yeah, i can justify a lot when i shop.
because it IS fun.
it does make me feel good.
seeing something new and pretty in my wardrobe is exciting.
seeing a new something in my home makes my eyes smile.
but does it last?
no, i can tell you it doesn't.
in a couple weeks or months i realize that that new top or that new bowl doesn't bring me any more satisfaction.
it's just stuff.
and i just felt like i needed to give myself a break from the spending.
i needed to figure out why i spend the way i do...
and try to change it.
and the easiest way to figure that out?
stop spending all together.
specifically... stop spending 'til june 2013.
(very random date, yes... but i figured i would attempt to stop spending for an entire school year.)
ok, ok, ok.
i'm not totally stopping all spending.
let's be clear here.
i'm just not spending on any unnecessary items for myself or my girls.
because that's where i have a problem.
i'm still buying food and groceries... toiletries... etc.
and my girls needed a few extra items for school... like new jeans.
AND... i knew i needed to buy at least one, maybe two pairs of new running shoes within that time frame.
i just need to stop buying all that extra stuff.
you know, the random tshirt, sweater, boots, houseware stuff, etc.
so i'm three months in now and let me tell you, it has NOT been easy.
it's been brutally hard.
i have to make a conscious choice almost daily not to spend.
i never knew how hard it was to see those dang emails from gap, old navy, anthropologie, lulu lemon, j.crew, among many others.
they entice me... they try to sink their teeth into me... tempting me with sales and deals.
it's incredibly difficult.

TODAY ONLY, 10/17 | 30% OFF* your purchase

Take an extra 25% off all sale clothing!

frig, those emails are sooo hard to resist!
it might sound dumb, but i really feel like this whole thing has been God ordained.
some people may be thinking, "what the heck does God have to do with it?"
well, in my opinion, everything.
in church we're going through matthew 5-7, bit by bit.
if you're not familiar with the text, it's Jesus' famous "sermon on the mount".
all the sermons in this series that our church is calling "salt & light living" have been very eye opening for me.
and, believe it or not, a lot of these sermons have been dealing with money.
here's a few verses that have knocked me upside down, in a good way:

"don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or - worse! - stolen by burglars.  stockpile treasures in heaven..." matt 6:19

"you can't worship God and money both." matt 6:24

"there is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body..." matt 6:25

"what i'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving." matt 6:31

yeah, that last one is a doozy!
definitely felt that one deep in my heart.
i really feel like i need to learn to be a better steward of my money.
i need to learn that my money isn't actually my money, but God's money.
just like my children.
they're His too.
and this is a very tough lesson for me to swallow.
i also need to realize that i don't need all the stuff that i think i do.
like i said before, it's a temporary feeling of happiness.
it's not true joy.
only true joy comes from God.
not from possessions or material items.
people survive on just the essentials and are probably just as happy, if not happier, than me.
why can't i do the same?
if i'm freeing up money from my own personal spending habits, maybe God can use that money for something else...
and i'm trusting He will lead and direct me in those ways.
you need to know that this is what God is convicting ME of.
it's not for everyone.
others may not feel they have the same issues as i do...
again, it's MY convictions... not anyone else's.
i'm just choosing to share my weaknesses and convictions with you all. (or ya'll, for you southerners)
maybe it'll help...
maybe it won't.
but i feel like i need to share.
and please, please don't think i'm sharing this because i want to say i'm better than you if you don't do the same.
it's soo the opposite.
honestly, i want to share because i want to show you my struggles too.
that this is NOT easy for me.
it really isn't.
and i'm tempted over and over again.
it sounds sorta pathetic, i know... but this is very hard... and humbling.
but i want to come on here and be honest with you.
i want to share when i've had a particular tough moment and i've stumbled (b/c i will, i HAVE!)...
and when i've been able to defeat those lies stirring in my heart and mind.
satan can use all sorts of strongholds in our lives to whisper sins and bury himself into our very being.
so there is my challenge...
no unnecessary spending on myself or my girls 'til june of 2013.
reading it makes me freaked out.
it's out there... i can't take it back, as much as there's a big part of me that wants to.
i want to share lots of thoughts and feelings i've been having through this process.
at least now you'll have a reference for my ramblings from this point forward.  ;)
not today though... this post is PLENTY long enough.
thanks for letting me share!

(hope you enjoyed the photo dump... all those pics are relevant because they're taken WHILE shopping!)