Thursday, December 8, 2011

Simple Evergreen Wreath

I love decorating for Christmas.  We got a nice noble fir Christmas tree.  I have been having fun with the branches you cut off the bottom of the tree to put it in the Christmas tree stand.  Making a wreath is one of the easiest things you can do in floral design.

To make this wreath you will need:

round wire frame
24 gauge floral wire
wire cutters
bow/ ribbon

To start take the branches from your tree and cut off small pieces (about 4-5 inches long).

See how one branch can give lots of material for the wreath?

Take the wire frame and attach the wire and then take several pieces of evergreen and form a small clump.  Make sure all the ends are facing the same way...

Take the clump and attach it to the wire frame by wrapping around the stem part 2 times.

  Continue adding small clumps of evergreen as you work around the wreath.

  Make sure to alternate where you places these bunches  (i.e. one in the middle, one on the outside, one on the inside)

  Work your way around the wreath until you come to the beginning.  After you tie off the wire add a bow or any kind of fun decorations.  This wreath smells so good and I love getting a whiff of the tree smell when I come to the front door...

Friday, December 2, 2011

The True Meaning of Christmas Charlie Brown style...

It is so easy during the Christmas season to get caught up in the frenzied pace of buying/making gifts and lose sight of the real reason we have Christmas.  Just stop. Pause.  Dwell on the fact that the Son of God left heaven to be born as a baby in a world marred by sin, suffering and selfishness.  His life and death has brought us a chance to become children of a holy God.  I love the Charlie Brown Christmas movie's explanation.  Scripture says it all...

Focus on the true meaning of Christmas and the joy that can be ours...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Breathing in Fall

I love fall.  I love the cooler temperatures, leaves changing color, pumpkins, baking bread, rain.

I have been reading this book that has me taking pictures of random things and enjoying clouds...
It is a great book.  This book has caused me to look for the gifts that God gives me all throughout my day.  If you want to be challenged to have a attitude of gratitude read this book.  It has really made an impact on my perspective.  Notice the little things that God gives you all day long that whisper or shout His love for each one of us...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall Silk Wreath

I love having wreaths on my front door year round.  I don't glue the flowers in the wreath so I can use the same wreath and just switch out the flowers.  It is much easier to store a small plastic bag of flowers in my closet than 3 wreaths.  I never buy silk flowers that are sold as individual stems.  It is much cheaper to buy silk flowers in bunches.  I bought these silk flowers after season for 80% off.

  Here is what you need:
1 grape vine wreath
1 bunch of silk flowers
1 pair of wire cutters
glue (if you choose to make this permanent)

The trick that I use to get the most out of a bunch of silk flowers can be summed up as use it all.  Most people cut the flowers off the top and throw the rest away.
What usable material do you see?  I see three separate pieces I can use in this project.  I can get one flower and two leaf pieces out of this stem.

After I make my flowers into a "bigger" pile of flowers I add the leaves to the wreath. 

 I think so many people get frustrated with flower arranging because they try to make everything perfectly symmetrical and even.  God doesn't make plants, flowers or trees that way so why should we?  I like my projects to look like they were just collected out of a garden... not taken from a Martha Stewart magazine.
Next you need to add the big/main/dominant flowers to your arrangement.

Starting to look better?  I leave the filler leaves and little dainty pieces until last.  These pieces kind of fill in the gaps and make it go from a Walmart looking wreath to something a little more.

Silk flowers are fun because they don't need water.  Making things with silk flowers is so simple and it really adds life to a room or a door...
Check out some great crafting ideas at tipjunky
all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours {10/11}

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Desk Makeover

I have needed a desk for my craft/sewing habit for a while now.  It is so important to have a space where I can set up my sewing machine and then leave it out to work on projects.  I found this beauty at a yard sale for $20.
I saw the potential and went for it.  My hubby has a jig saw and a router.... hmmm. He is out of town for work...  I have never attempted something like this before.    This project was a little intimidating. It was really quite easy once I just jumped into it. I just cut the top off the desk with the jig saw and used the router to round the new edges.
Still not too exciting?  I added some bright & cheery paint and a couple of new nobs and presto!

The new mommy craft zone still makes me smile. Things can definitely change with a little elbow grease and some imagination...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hold my Hand

My 3 year-old did something the other day that has really got me thinking.  We were in the front yard when a car across the street revved it's engine really loud.  She jumped and came running right to me and grabbed my hand.  Once she was with momma it didn't seem so scary. 
This simple action has stuck with me.  When the noises of life scare me do I run to my Heavenly Father?  Do I just stand there shaking in my boots or do I go to the Creator & Sustainer?  Jesus said "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand."  John 10:28

Thursday, August 4, 2011


It is so easy to tell our kids they are having a bad attitude.  It is so hard to say "I'm sorry I said _____,  mommy is having a bad attitude..."  My dad gave me a paper years ago that has been such a challenge on the topic of attitude.  Sometimes I just feel like yelling "ARRRGH!"  like a character from the Charlie Brown cartoon character.  Here is the whole paper.  Reflect and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ranch Chicken Salad

On hot days the thought of slaving over the stove is extremely unappealing..  (It is only in the 90's here and I'm melting...)  This salad is sooo simple and the perfect lunch on a hot day.
Chicken Ranch Salad
1/2 cooked chicken breast sliced
Mexican cheese
Ranch dressing

My Great Aunt Barbara makes the best ranch dressing.  Here is her recipe with a couple of changes...

1/2 cup of Buttermilk
1/2 cup of Mayonnaise
1/4 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp Italian Seasonings
1/2 tsp of Mrs. Dash
1/4 cup of cilantro

In a small bowl mix all the above ingredients with a fork.  Do not over mix.  Pour into a air-tight container & enjoy.
all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours {8/1}

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cleaning Research Project

I am not a clean/neat freak.  I am one of those people who is house cleaning challenged. My three tornadoes don't "help" the whole clean house concept but I can't blame it all on them.  I did some research and bought some stuff for my cleaning research project.

For quite a while I have wanted to teach my 2 little men to clean on and around the toilet since most of that mess is theirs.  I just couldn't bring myself to hand them a bottle of bleach cleaner and a paper towel.  It can't be good to have bleach on their skin.  I didn't want to buy the "fancy" environmentally friendly cleaners.  Who can afford those?  I went online and began researching home-made recipes for household cleaners.  There are alot of recipes out there...  I am still experimenting with making a multi-purpose cleaner that I like.  The fun thing about making your own cleaner is it is cheap and you can decide what scent to use.  I tried a antibacterial bathroom cleaner recipe today on the sinks and my tub/shower.  It worked great and the best part is after I was done cleaning I didn't smell like bleach!  I smelled like peppermint... a great improvement.  This recipe can be found here (
I also bought a book

This book is kind of small but I has alot of good information and recipes.  I am going to have fun trying these.  The good news is to try a cleaner requires cleaning something. (Deep huh?) 
 Here is to a cleaner and better smelling home!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Quick & Simple Oriental Chicken Salad

About a month ago my mother-in-law got me hooked on a chicken salad from Costco.  It got me thinking.  Here is my "home-made" version of the oriental chicken salad.
What you need:
1 cooked chicken breast
1 romaine lettuce heart
sliced almonds
chow mien noodles
Asian Toasted Sesame salad dressing
(This is the dressing I used.)
This salad is perfect when you need something quick for dinner.  Chop up the lettuce and then place chicken, chow mien noodles and almonds on top.  Done!  Can it get any easier?

Monday, May 23, 2011

This Is The Life!

Yesterday my 6 year-old son said something that has gotten me thinking...  It was the end of a day that started with church and ended with pizza for dinner.  Between those two things was tree climbing, caterpillar catching, hide and seek, riding in the truck with daddy.  My little man turned to me and said "Mom, this is the life."  He had such a look of contentment when he said it.  It warmed my heart to hear it.  We weren't at Disneyland or anything I would consider exciting.  He was just happy with where he was at the moment.  The more I thought about his statement the more convicted I was.  When I say the same thing is it with a sarcastic or complaining voice?  My son has no idea what the "plan" is for next month or next year.  He doesn't care he knows that his father will take care or him.  Why do I spend so much time worrying or planning for the future instead of trusting my Heavenly Father and simply saying "this is the life!"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Photo Editing Website

I found this website a few weeks ago and have been hooked ever since. is a site that all of us who are not professional photographers can use to fix & crop pictures.  It has a auto-fix button and you can play with contrast, color saturation or rotating & fixing red-eye.  I love being able to fix my pictures!
Here is a sample I played with:

fun changes

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fatherly Words of Wisdom

This common sight can be so irritating at times.  Empty toilet paper rolls make me hear my dad saying "How long does it take?"  My dad had several moments of creative parenting.  I can remember him calling me to the bathroom and then asking me how long I thought it takes to change out the empty TP roll.  (It takes less than 3 seconds.)  So many tasks  in life can be annoying so we put them off for later.  Once you realize how quickly a simple task can be accomplished don't put it off.  Changing out an empty roll takes a couple of seconds, being irritated about the empty roll can last much longer...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Frugal Gardening

Spring is in full swing in Big Sky country.  Plants are flying out of the home improvement stores and Walmart.  It is really hard to to not  envy people that have carts full of plants and yard stuff.  I never really thought of myself as cheap until I started dragging my feet at the thought of spending $5 on a plant.  We are currently renting and it seems pointless to fix up someone else's yard.  I have started paying attention to the plants in my yard.  When we first moved here we mowed plants that looked like these:
They look like weeds right?  Well after paying a little better attention I discovered that they are day lilies and a peonies bush.   Something that I love about gardening is that plants are very portable.  Sounds a little funny?  If you plant something and it isn't happy in the current location you can always move it... if you don't kill it first.  I am trying to do gardening with minimal cost this year.  I have transplanted some of the day lilies and plan on doing more in the new few weeks with the lilies and some flower seeds. 

Sometimes there are wonderful things right under your nose if you pay attention :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I know this is a little late but better than never right?  Last weekend was mother's day.  I was able to spend it with my mom.  This is kinda a big deal considering she lives 1200 miles away.  At church on Sunday the pastor asked us to share a story about our mom.  It got me thinking.  This week I have come up with all sorts of memories that give me an even greater appreciation for my mom now that I am a mom.  There are so many things you see differently 25 years later...

My mom is one of the most giving and creative people I know.  I would like to think that my willingness to try new things comes from her "can-do" attitude.  I have to laugh when I think about some things that she did for me when I was growing up.  I hated all those home-made clothes when I was growing up.  There was nothing more embarrassing than wearing clothes that had been "added onto" to make them long enough to be modest.  Now I wish I had the ability to sew things for my kids.  My mom made my brother & me a play house that we could even walk around inside.  It had a window and a door and everything.  It was made out of scrap lumber from my dad's sawmill.  It cost her nothing to make it but time.  We spent countless hours playing in it. Need a tepee to play in?  No problem mom made one of those too!  I can remember eating home-made fruit roll-ups, canned  fruit, bread and pizza.  I'm now thinking about learning to can food and trying to make fruit leather...
Mother's day may be over but think about what your mom has done for you and let her know year-round.
Thank you mom for all the things you have done for me.  The memories will fade and grow fuzzy over the years but the love behind all those actions is eternal.  I love you!

Friday, April 1, 2011


Cheerios.  To some people it is just a breakfast cereal but  to me Cheerios are a symbol of motherhood.  This food is a mandatory pantry item.  My daughter has a bowl of Cheerios before eating whatever I am making for her brothers.  One of the first sounds I hear on Saturday morning is my 2 year-old daughter getting this cereal out of the pantry.  I wait a minute and a bowl and a box of round wonderfulness will appear at my side of the bed with a hungry kiddo attached to it.  Once that bowl is filled and on the dinner table I am guaranteed at least 10 extra minutes of laziness.
Ever stop and consider all the places you have found Cheerios in your house, purse, car, etc.?   Kids may not leave tacks like most wild animals but this kid "track" makes me smile.  I am eternally grateful to the wonderful person that came up with Cheerios!
 When the kids are small this magic finger food provides hours of concentration and entertainment.  I am enjoying the Cheerio stage of life.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Children's Books

My kids love to read/look at books.  Reading is a habit that I love to encourage as much as possible.  It is so much fun to have one or all of my children come sit in my lap or snuggle next to me to see the pictures.  My Aunt Jocelyn is an amazing resource on children's books. She has given the kids books for years for Christmas and birthdays.  It has been fun to see what books she picks and my kids have loved them. I wanted to share with you some of her favorites.  (Thank you Jocelyn!)  I plan on checking the library and for all of these.


Alphabet Book by P.D. Eastman -- just a basic simple abc book with an alliterative phrase for each letter. I began enjoying this book with my kids when they were very young. It was a fun way to introduce them to the alphabet and they were soon "reading" the book to me!

Jamberry by Bruce Degen -- A delightful preschool book with delicious language and cute illustrations.

A Hole is to Dig by Ruth Krauss -- clever and sweet

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood -- written in an "interactive" (the character and reader are engaged with each other) style, this was definitely one of my kid's most favorites.... not too many words and great illustrations (watch the mouse's facial expressions)

The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone -- another "interactive" style book... silly fun (Sesame Street Characters)

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes -- We love most of this author's books. His illustrations are so endearing and the characters a sweet and spunky

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood -- Another amazing book by Don and Audrey Wood. This husband and wife both write and illustrate and this particular book is so clever. The illustrations, while dark in hue, are fascinating.

Chickens Aren't the Only Ones by Ruth Heller -- This author/illustrator has written many many many educational books and each is done in rhyme. Her illustrations are bright, bold and beautiful. This is the first book of hers that I discovered and I think it is great (since reading it I have never forgotten the meaning of "oviparous")!

Color by Ruth Heller -- I have always been so thankful that God did not create the world in black and white. What a wonderful gift He gave us when he created color. That's probably one of the reasons I love this second book by Ruth Heller. So well done!

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston -- I read this sweet story to my kids every Christmas and never made it through the book without getting choked up (my kids actually got a kick out of that).

When I was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant -- Written in a very similar style to the story above. I obviously have a weakness for these nostalgic stories with wonderful illustrations.

Hunting the White Cow by Tres Seymour -- OK, this is the last one in this same genre. Love the illustrations... definitely lends itself to fun voices by the reader!

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas -- a fun and clever twist on the classic

Heidi by Johanna Spyri -- this is a classic I enjoyed reading to my class each year. It has adventure, suspense, endearing characters, animals... what more could you want? But the thing I like best is that it is the story of a sweet girl sharing God's love with her bitter hardened grandfather.


An A to Z Treasure Hunt by Alice Melvin -- I can't wait to spend an afternoon with Annabelle adventuring through this one!

Good Egg by Barney Saltzberg -- Such a fun preschool book!

Do Your ABC's Little Brown Bear by Jonathon London -- Can you tell that I have a thing for alphabet books?

Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller -- the most fun book about manners and kindness that I have ever seen!

Hope you enjoy all of these as much as I have!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Simple Sticker Book

We have a problem in this house with stickers. My kids love to get stickers and love to put them on clothes, books, furniture, car seats... everywhere.  I made my 2 year old her own "special" book to put all her stickers in.  We are currently potty training and the stickers are the rewards.  There are alot of stickers "floating" around this house.  These books are quick and simple.

Materials needed:
paper lunch bags
scrap book paper
1" book rings (I got these at Office Depot)
paper cutter or sciccors
hole punch

Cut the scrapbooking paper to be the same size as the paper bag.  Glue one piece of paper to front and one on the back.  ( pretty complex instructions huh?)  Once glue dries cut the paper bag in half.

Punch 2 holes in one end.  Make as many pages as you want.  Bind the pages together with the book rings.  Embelish/decorate (this is the fun part).  This project is simple and I love using pretty scrapbooking paper.

Hopefully our stickers will find their way to this book...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Paper Topiary

Spring is finally here!  I want to put flowers, birds nests and butterflies everywhere but the hubby might no go for that.  I had some paper roses laying around and a glue gun idea hit me and this is the finished product.

The canvas cost $2 and the rest is just stuff from my crafting stash.  It made me smile to be walking around in my back yard looking for just the "right" stick for my paper tree.  To see how to make the roses check out my Valentine's Heart post.  I took some curvy scrap booking scissors and cut out the flowers.  It gave the "petals" a little more texture.  The black "border" is just 3 pieces of ribbon.  For the butterfly I just found this pattern and cut it out of scrap booking paper.  Glue guns are the best therapy.  Enjoying spring!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


There is nothing sweeter to a small child than the sight of a huge puddle.  The murky water can provide hours of entertainment unless mom catches you first...  I am one of those moms who buys rain boots for just such an occassion.  My kids may get completely filthy but the smiles under the dirt are worth it every time.

Today I was watching my 2 year old "enjoying" a huge puddle in the driveway.  This may not seem much to some of you but here in Montana we haven't had much puddle weather... just ice.  It got me thinking about how we react to the puddles in our lives.  Sometimes God lets it rain in our lives.  It feels like everything is pouring down on us.  Once the rain stops we are left standing in a huge puddle.  My immediate reaction is to complain about the rain/puddle/present location.  I can picture God watching and nudging me say "come on, enjoy where you are".  I look at the dirty water and ask "enjoy what exactly?"

The longer I live the more convinced I am that He wants us to just enjoy life right where we are.  Splash around.  Don't just be proud of the fact that you are still standing after the rain storm.  God is with you always even in the storm.  Slosh around in the murky water. Thrive!  Do somthing silly or spontaneous.  Silliness is easier when you have small kids but anyone can have fun.  Life is to short not to enjoy every day!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Husband Journal

A husband journal is not a book where you keep every little thing that your husband has ever done to drive you crazy.  I know the title of this post is a little goofy but hear me out.  I have a notebook that I bought before I got married.  In this journal I write letters to my hubby.  I write on Valentine's Day, our anniversary or any other day I just want to let him know how much I love him.  Remember how receiving those little love notes made you feel special when you were dating?   

Here are 2 verses "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:25  and " A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11  Writing a note can seem kind of "small"  but our words of encouragement can be so powerful. 

Most of us have a empty journal or notebook laying around that could be used for blessing our spouse.  I have found that I am blessed when I write to my hubby.  If you take a few minutes to sit down and write out a list of why you love your spouse or a few things he has done lately that really made you feel special it changes your attitude.  It can make you grateful for the person God has given you.  Just writing it down reminds me of all the things Travis does for me.  I leave the journal on his pillow when it has a new entry for him to read.  It is fun to see his surprise when he sees it.  We have been married for 10 years but it only gets sweeter as the years go by...