Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Baby-Friendly Advent

Though Levi is only 9 months old, we are planning to celebrate advent with him and emphasize Christ's birth.
And yes, we fully understand that this is more for Mommy & Daddy than Levi.
: )

Last year, after Christmas at Target I got this advent calendar on mega clearance.

 I perused the internet for some ideas to and liked the whole "daily advent activity" idea.
However, most weren't very "9 month old baby boy" friendly.
So, I took some ideas I found, some family traditions and made up some of my own.

I also wanted a bible verse each day to show the true and glorifying story of Christmas.
So here is our calendar:

I'm so excited to celebrate this season with my little family of 3.
And hoping to keep the true meaning of this season.
Happy Advent!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap

Levi's First Thanksgiving!

First of all....with both Mr. Free and I as teachers...our schedule is awesome.
Can't beat it.
We had off Wed- Sunday of Thanksgiving week and enjoying every.single.second. of it.

We slept in.
It was awesome.

Then piddled around the house, slowly decorating for Christmas.
Mr. Free hung the lights and I worked on the inside.
We are keeping it on the simpler side this year due to a mobile child.
Makes a big difference.
No more glass ornaments in a glass bowl on the coffee table!
No no!

Then we wrapped a few presents

And went to my Mom's for Thanksgiving dinner!
After the yummy and oh-so-filling dinner, we went to see Christmas fireworks.
Levi slept through it. Haha

Thanksgiving morning we watched the parade a bit, and I made my kinda-famous garlic bread stuffing (recipe to come soon)

 We went to Mr. Free's Nana's for Thanksgiving lunch and the cousins had fun playing.

 And Levi decided to show off his new standing skills.

That night we went to Christmas in the Park to see Christmas lights.
Levi loved them!
 Friday and Saturday were filled with Christmas shopping and I'm almost done!
We had a very full, fun Thanksgiving.
And I am so.stinkin. excited for Levi's first Christmas!

We are going to be doing the Advent season with Levi, and I'll be posting how we plan to do it within the next couple of days!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

22 Things I'm Thankful For

Since it's that time of year to reflect on ways that we are so richly blessed.  Here we go.

1. My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Without him, I am nothing. 

2. My amazing husband. He is my best friend. He is the funniest man on earth. He is adventurous. He loves people. And I love him.

3. My son. I am so thrilled to be able to write that this year! With the hardships we have had, having him here with us this Thanksgiving is such a true blessing. Being a mom is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.

4. My family. My mom raised my sister and I by herself after my dad passed away. She did an amazing job and I am so grateful. My sister is hilarious and the best aunt ever. I am blessed with many loving grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

5. My in-laws. I've known them since I was a little kid, and even got my sister-in-laws hand-me-downs when I was little. I have the best in-laws in the world and I love seeing them with Levi. 

6. Our friends. Mr. Free and I are very social and our friends are like family to us. We love them so very much!

7. Our church. Our church is like an extension of our family. They have known us since we were little and truly care and pray for us. It is a blessing to serve with them!

8. Modern medicine. I wouldn't be alive here today without it. And my son wouldn't be here today. And as annoying as it is.... I truly am grateful.

9. Our home. It may be a little shoebox, but a lot of love has gone into it. And being able to purchase it from my grandpa was a huge blessing. 

10. My job. I absolutely love teaching music. And I am so thrilled to be able to teach half-time. That means mornings are spend un-rushed and enjoying my son. And each afternoon I have the privilege of teaching the next generation how to be musicians!

11. Mr. Free's job. When we first were married, he had just finished the Fire Academy to be a Firefighter. I was supportive and wanted him to do what he wanted. But, when he decided to go into Art Education...I was thrilled! We can truly understand each other at the end of the day, we always have funny stories about our kids, and the schedule! I love all the family time we have!

12. Our babysitter. Tiffani is a true Godsend! She loves Levi so so much! I was dreading having anyone watch my sweet boy, but being with her I am completely at ease. And seeing Levi play with her daughter is one of the sweetest things!
13. My sewing machine. It's sure had a workout lately. It's allowed me to channel my creative juices and at the same time contribute to our budget a bit. 

14. This blog. It's been a great outlet over the years, and it's fun to look back at old posts and see how God has worked in our lives!

15. Our pets. They are crazy and naughty, but we sure love them. They were our first "kids" and we are excited for Levi to interact with them more and more!
16.  Caffeine. Never have I needed it more than after becoming a mom. I am thankful for Diet Coke and Starbucks : )

17. Date night. Sunday nights after Levi is in bed, Mr. Free and I heat up a frozen pizza and watch a movie. It's nothing fancy, but I look forward to it every week!

18. Books. I love books about being a godly woman, wife and mother. I am thankful for others wisdom in helping my husband and son as well as running our home.

19. Pinterest. Seriously. I have learned so much. It's made me a better teacher, baker, cook, decorator, etc.....

20. Cookie butter. Seriously. This stuff is my crack.

21. Having "just enough". We have never had plenty, we have never gone without. The Lord has provided us in each season of life to pay our bills. For that I am incredibly grateful.

22. Hardships. I've had a few trying times in my life, and as much as I wouldn't wish them upon anyone, I am thankful to have that experience. These life challenges have opened up relationships and ministry opportunities I wouldn't otherwise have. And taught me just how precious life is.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Semi-Homemade Christmas: 2 more projects

I've got two more projects accomplished as part of my Semi-Homemade Christmas.

The first, was stockings for our family.

We used to have generic, store-bought stocking.
But this year?
We needed Mama-made stockings.
The top stocking is Levi's, middle is Mr. Free's and the bottom is mine.
Of course, Mama's has ruffles and fabric on hers.

Unfortunately, I got way too excited and didn't take any pics of how I made them.
Sorry : (
But....they are available in my Etsy store if you'd like to buy handmade stockings!

Also, this morning I whipped up a toy for Levi.

It is a large, 7 inch plush cube covered in ribbons. 
You can follow her tutorial if you'd like.
It's really easy and adorable!
I love how this toy turned out! It is made from scraps of my fabric fabrics! And Levi loves ribbons!
Can't wait to give it to him for Christmas!

Anyone else hand making gifts or decorations this Christmas? If you are...please share your ideas! I'd love to hear them!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Semi-Homemade Christmas: DIY wooden rocking horse

I am so excited about this project!
I've had this idea for awhile, but finally got my supplies purchased and the time to get it done!
This rocking horse is Levi's "big" present from Santa.

If you don't remember....I'm trying to do a "Semi-Homemade Christmas".
I'm thrilled that Levi's little horse was lovingly made by his Mama.

So, here's what you need:
Wooden Rocking Horse (available at both Michael's and JoAnn...but Michael's is cheaper!)
Coordinating scrapbook paper (at least 4 sheets)
Modge Podge
2 brushes
Coordinating Ribbons
Staple gun

Here's the play-by-play
I purchased this sweet, unfinished wooden rocking horse at Michael's.
It is normally $30, but I had a 50% off coupon....bringing it to $15.
Always have a coupon.

Next I found this paint sample we had. It's a perfect gray-blue color.
It was in the mis-tint section at Lowe's for $1.
It is Valspar's Winter Flannel.

I did one coat on it and let it dry.
I was going to do two coats, but I kind of liked how the grain showed through.

Then I got my scrapbook paper ready.
Can I just say, it is hard to find cute boy scrapbook paper?
I went with the transportation paper with coordinating stripes and houndstooth.
His playroom is transportation themed, so I thought it would go.
I purchased the scrapbook paper at JoAnn for $2.

Once the horse is dry, get your Mod Podge ready.
Thankfully, Mr. Free had some in his art stash.
The blessings of being married to an art teacher...

Figure out where you'd like the scrapbook paper on your horse.
Then lay the paper down and trace along the outline of the area.

Then, apply a layer of Mod Podge in that spot.
Put the cut paper down on it and apply a thin coat of Mod Podge on top.
Let it dry.

Here's the areas I went with...

I then cut out the letters for his name.
Love things that are personalized.

I just free-handed it, so it isn't perfect.
You could find a font you like, print it off then trace around it for a more "finished" look.
With the letters, do just like you did before.
A thin layer of Mod Podge below the letters, then a thin layer over top.

Now onto the mane...
I decided to do a ribbon mane instead of yarn.
I picked these 4 colors. 
I liked the varying widths as well.
Cost $8 at JoAnn.

 I cut them varying lengths and with different decorative cuts on the ends.
Then, I just staple-gunned them onto the horse.

Once the Mod Podge was dry, I took a brown paint pen and outlined Levi's name.
The light blue houndstooth faded into the other paper too much for me.

I let everything dry.

Then...for one last decoration, Mr. Horsey got a bandana.

 All finished!!!

Some details


The grand total was: $25

I absolutely love it and cannot wait to put it under the tree!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Baby and Toddler-Friendly Felt Christmas Tree

Yes, I'm talking Christmas.
Because I'm so stinkin' excited.
This year I'm doing several of Levi's gifts from scratch, as well as decorations for our home.

My first project is a Felt Christmas Tree for Levi (and all the other precious little ones the come to our home!)

Levi is into everything, and loves rearranging I thought this would be perfect!

Here's what you need:
Cutting mat
Large sheet of green felt
Christmas-y felt
Fabric pencil or pen
Rotary cutter (optional)

I got the felts from Michaels.
The big green felt (36" x 36") is regularly 3.99
The pack of Christmas felt contains 12 sheets and was 4.99
I used a 50% off coupon + my 15% off Teacher discount (love the teacher discount!!!)
So the entire project cost me about $6!

Here we go:
(warning: blurry photos ahead. sorry.)

First.... fold your green felt in half.
Then, trace half a Christmas tree.
(I free-handed it)

 Rotary cut along the lines you lovingly drew
(you can use scissors too...obviously)

Unfold it....voila! A Christmas tree!
Attach it to the wall with double-sided tape

For the ornaments, I forgot to take pics...whoops.
Basically, just trace around something round onto the felt and cut out.

The great thing about felt? It sticks to felt!
All you have to do is push the ornaments onto the tree and they stick!

And I let Levi test it out...
 He liked it!'s not staying up.... I'm not that crazy...

This year,
I'm doing a semi-homemade Christmas.

I'd love to do everything by hand and with love, but let's be real.... 
No woman who has a small child can do everything handmade.

But...I am vowing to do a semi-homemade Christmas.

Want to join me?

So there it is! Project Numero Uno for my...

Monday, November 5, 2012


Hope deferred makes the heart sick, 
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12

I am so stinkin' happy.
I feel so incredibly blessed.

The verse above was a particularly touching verse during the dark time I struggled to be a mom.
 I prayed and prayed that my longing would be fulfilled.
 And here he is.
Being a mama has made me so incredibly joyful.
I love our little family of three.

I've been madly in love with my husband for many many years.
He is the most loving, hilarious, godly, good-looking man ever.
And seeing him as the Daddy to my son makes my love for him grow deeper.
I'm so happy to have the job of my dreams.
That I can be "mostly home" with my baby boy and bless our home and keep it.

I'm so happy to be creating beautiful things from beautiful fabrics.
 And that my little Etsy shop is up, running and thriving!

I'm thankful to have pictures of a chubby, blue eyed baby boy in our home.
And my husband's art on the walls.
Just remembering how dark and depressing life was two years ago...
My heart is just so full of joy at the blessings God has poured out on us.
I'm happy.