Thursday, December 1, 2011

Organization: The Board


So when I made this board I hadn’t intended to blog it, but after a request from a friend here it is:

 Supplies: old Corkboard or bulletin board
an old sheet or a couple of old white t-shirts
Staple Gun
Ribbon – 1/2 inch for the border, 1/4 inch for the interior sections and lattice
1 sheet of felt, or bulk felt cut to size
container (cut in half)
Freezer paper (for stencils)
cardstock or construction paper
magazine photos of household chores
thumb tacks – I used both flat tacks and knobby ones
paint/paint brushes
the glass from three old 4x6 frames
Planning:The first step is really to decide what you want. I needed 4 things:
1) a place to organize my weekly chores
2) a place for meal planning
3) a place for bills/mail that needs to be read
4) a place for notes and lists that usually clutter up my fridge

Cover the Cork Board:First, lay your sheet right side down on a flat surface. Place the cork board face down on the sheet. Measure about 4 inches out on each side and cut. Cover your cork board with your old sheet. Stretch and secure it to the back using your stapler or staple gun. Be sure to roll the rough edges under before stapling so the back isn’t crazy looking. Glue ribbon around the edges to create a nice border.
Measure:Marking only along the very edge of the board with chalk or a white sewing pencil, measure out the difference sections you want. For mine I used the following measurements:
4 inches for the date of the week letter
5 inches for the chore cards
4 inches for the meal planning
the rest of the board for everything else.
Weekly chore cards:Using freezer paper and your cricut, slice, or other machine (or an exacto blade) cut your day letters. Mine were 2 1/2 inches tall. I cut a couple of letters in scrap paper first to make sure I had the sizing and spacing right before cutting the freezer paper.
Lay your freezer paper stencils on your sheet covered cork board and iron them on. Be careful with the spacing! Paint and let dry. Seal with the iron after they’re completely dry.
Cut 2x2 squares of paper and again using your cricut cut your chore words out (mine are 1/2 inch tall). Pop the letters out and glue on pictures of the chores if you want. I thought this made them look cuter and since cuteness was my goal… yeah. Then cover each square with shelving paper so they won’t tear. If you don’t have a cutting machine you can just write the chores on the cards or decorate however you want.
Meal Planning:Glue ribbons on the board to separate this section from the top and bottom sections. Using flat thumb tacks attach your glass to the board. Three pieces from 4x6 frames were perfect for my board. Use like a dry erase board. Be careful when cleaning so you don’t stain the sheet or the ribbon.
Bills:Take your container and cut it in half. Paint if necessary. (I used an old plastic laundry booster container and needed to cover up the label.) Use your imagination to attach them vertically on one side of your board. I wrapped a ribbon around the middle under the lip of mine and then stapled the ribbon to the board. I used hot glue to attach the corners, but that came up so best to stick with staples or maybe super glue.
Lists/Notes:Take the sheet of felt and staple to the board on the other side from the bills area. Hot glue ribbons in a lattice formation so you won’t have to use thumb tacks if you don’t want to. Then hot glue ribbon around the edge to cover up the ends of the lattice ribbons.
Happy Organizing!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ornaments: Oranges

This was a great DIY craft inspired by my mother-in-law Deb. She’s always coming up with really beautiful, handy ways to decorate. I saw these on her tree a couple of years back and decided to try to make some this year. My husband was excited to try too since he had enjoyed his mom’s trees for so many years.
Basic instructions:

1) Slice oranges in 1/4 inch even slices horizontally so you get a nice star pattern. This is easiest if your oranges are fresh, but if you’re using old ones because you don’t want to eat them.. its ok, it still works. 

2) arrange on a cookie sheet at bake at 150 for approximately 4 hours. Flipping them half way through will help with even drying of the slices. Depending on your oven, the thickness of your slices, and the relative humidity of your house this may take more or less time. It took me about 6 hours to get my thicker slices dried out enough.

3) Tie a ribbon

4) And hang on a tree, or garland. I hung mine on my garland to spice it up some. The Oranges look SOO pretty with the twinkle lights on.

  And there you have it, Dried Orange slices for ornaments. This is perfect if you don’t have a lot of money to buy ornaments or if you’re just starting out as a family and don’t have lots of eclectic memories in your ornament collections

Cards cards and more cards

Another thing I love about Christmas are all the beautiful photocards I get in the mail. For those of you who take the time to send them THANKS!! I love getting your notes, your pictures, and your updates. It’s the only time of the year that I really get to relish in how much your kids are growing and how beautiful all your families are!

I just ordered our cards for this year and I was so excited because had a coupon for 50% off! Sweet deal… but only for two more days. If you have a card that you’ve made and are waiting for a deal this one is great!  Use the code CYBER50.

Happy Card Making!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ornaments: Angels

Have you put up your Christmas tree yet? We have a standing tradition of putting up our tree the day after Thanksgiving. It keeps us from going out shopping (yuck) on the busiest shopping day of the year and helps us spend some time as a family on a really nice long weekend.

Needless to say, I love pretty ornaments. I especially love angels. In fact, I collect the Willow Tree yearly dated ornament series and have since it started (I was very fortunate that they started the series when I the year I got married and wanted to start collecting ornaments.) This is this year’s Willow Tree ornament:image_thumb

Here are the other ones I have:


I’m not usually a collector of things. But this is one thing that I really love to collect. It chronicles all the Christmas’s we’ve been married and helps me to remember all the wonderful years we’ve been together.

Ok, enough cheese for one day. Hope you had a great thanksgiving and that you’re enjoying some family time together!

Give. Thanks. charity: water.

Thank you all so much for participating in my charity: water campaign! It was a long and very successful 3 months!

We started by asking people to give to charity: water for my 28th Birthday back in August. Since then we've learned a lot about the water crisis in Northern Ethiopia, charity: water's plan to help solve it, and how ordinary people like us can help. We sold things on craigslist and asked you to do the same. I gave away some hair clips on, gave away some baby pants on, and have sold some of both on my etsy site! Thanks to everyone who made the giveaways possible and to those of you who entered! We asked you to give - and you did! Thank you so much.

Now that its Thanksgiving I find myself thinking back on the last three months with a lot of thanks in my heart. I'm so thankful for you - for bringing mercy to those who are thirsty, for bringing hope to the people in Tigray, Ethiopia. I'm thankful that you care about giving hope and life where there used to be despair and sickness. I'm thankful for your generosity to give towards this campaign - you are big hearted and full of kindness for people you don't even know. Its really gratifying to be a part of something so much larger than myself. The TWO rigs that charity: water is purchasing (Yes! They met the 1.2 million dollar goal!) are going to help so many people - so many more than I could help just by myself. 

I know that this campaign is really just a small dent in the global water crisis. It's not really enough to solve the big problem. I also know that the water crisis isn't the only problem facing people in our world. People around the world - heck, even in our own city - are hungry, searching, hopeless, homeless, lost, and struggling. I recently watched a very serious short video about the sex trafficking industry and it broke my heart because I know it happens here in the US too. And so again I find myself so thankful for you because you see these problems too. I'm thankful to God for giving each of you the compassion in your hearts that moved you to give to my charity: water campaign so that together we can do a small part to impact our world.

Honestly its hard for me to focus on one need when I see that there are so many needs and that the world is so big. Its funny thinking back on my life and seeing how this compassion in my heart has grown from when I was a little girl. My mom used to pray with me each night before I went to bed and I used to pray night after night for the poor people of the world. "Dear Jesus," I would say, "Please help the poor people. Amen." I keep praying that prayer - its a little more involved now, but it still has the same heart - and I'm going to keep finding worthy causes to support. So keep an eye out, this won't be the last time you hear from me!

Thank you again for your generosity and kindness and for giving toward this campaign!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rosemary Bread

So it seems that I’m terrible at taking pictures of my own work… but why repeat someone else’s? (The picture below is not mine, but one of the ones posted with the recipe.) We had this AMAZING bread a couple weeks ago along with my friend Emilie’s DOUBLEY AMAZING Pumpkin Soup. For everyone who doesn’t follow me on Pinterest, can’t find the link I posted to FB, or just doesn’t want to look it up, here’s the link:


Happy Bread making!

Cholera outbreak among refugees.


Just looking at this picture makes my heart sick. As the drought in Northern Africa gets worse and Somalian refugees continue to make their way to Dadaab camp in Kenya, which is home to over 400,000, camp conditions are declining as well.

The article I read on the BBC said that the UN has clean water for these people to drink – but flooding of roads and safety issues for workers (2 were abducted last week) is keeping them from getting supplies to all parts of the camp. Already 1 person has died from a cholera outbreak and 60 more people are suffering from the disease.

Sometimes its hard for me to understand why one would resort to drinking this muddy, disease filled water when it is clear that there are clean water resources somewhere close by.

I know that part of the water problem isn’t just water itself, but its also hygiene education. Education about how disease spreads and what diseases are waterborne.

I love that charity: water doesn’t just drill wells and run away. They have a lasting relationship with the towns where wells are dug. They provide hygiene education, sanitation clinics, and hand washing classes. And they’re not just building wells either.

Two years ago, I gave up my birthday for charity: water and the money I raised (along with a bunch of other campaigns) built toilets and a hand washing station for a school in Northern Ethiopia.

The situation in Dadaab camp makes me so sad. So I thought I would tell you about it so you would know. Waterborne diseases are not just a myth. They are real.

Twelve days left on my charity: water campaign. Have you given yet?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Purposeful Giveaways!

Want free ruffle butt pants for your sweet little princess? I’m giving away some of my custom sized (nb-18mo) upcycled t-shirt pants over at Kelly Raudenbush’s blog!!

You have till Sunday to enter to to win… but I would go now and get your entry in early…then enter again by letting everyone know why you’re thankful for clean water!

We’re working hard to meet our goal of raising 5K for charity: water Just 17 days to go on our campaign! Make sure you get your Christmas orders in early!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall Textures and Patterns

We took a 1/2 hour jaunt to a local park, and here are some images we captured along the way. David is really getting into photography and is bringing me back to my love of fun shapes, colors, and the adventure it takes to find just the right shot.


Training for a 5K


We started last week, as promised. Here’s the log:

Week 1
Day 1: 29 minutes, 1.15 miles
Day 2: 15 minutes, .93 miles
Day 3: 25 minutes, 1.64 mile

We’re only able to get in 3 days each week. But I’m hopeful that we’ll be ready by the time the campaign is over and the race is on!

As a former distance swimmer is humbling to have to start from 0. I used to be able to run a 5k for warm-up – before a 2.5 hour long swim practice. I know. I was crazzzzy.

I’ll take some pictures when we go on Wednesday to prove to you how we’re all getting bundled up in the dark, in the cold, out of our cozy little house, to train, in the dark, in the cold, before work.

Thanks again to those of you who donated over the weekend! 19 days to go on the campaign!

Happy trails!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Meal of the Week 10: General’s Chicken!

It didn’t turn out exactly like the website said… but that’s my fault. I didn’t have rice wine and I didn’t have dried red chilis. But it was dinner and it was yummy!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Meal of the Week 9: French Onion Soup

I’ve never been a huge fan of French Onion Soup – but I’m beginning to think its just because I haven’t been exposed to it. We mixed a couple of really fabulous recipes together last night to make this A-MAZ-ING soup. Here’s what we ended up putting in it:
2 Yellow Onions, peeled and sliced
2 T Butter
3 Cups Beef Broth
3 Cups Chicken Broth
1/2 C dry white wine
Splash of Red wine
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Dash of Pepper
1 Bay leaf
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Parsley
2 lb loaf of French bread
1/4 lb of swiss cheese, shredded
In a large sauce pan on Medium Heat, brown two sliced onions covered in butter.  Once onions are golden brown, stir in Beef broth and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Stir in White and red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Add bay leaf, thyme, and parsley. Allow the broth to simmer for 10-20 minutes. DSC_0536

15 minutes before serving: slice French bread. DSC_0524
Toast on one side for 5 minutes. Spoon broth/onion mixture into a broiler safe bowl. Place toast on top and cover in shredded Swiss cheese. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is just brown. Serve immediately.
Serve as a main dish with a side salad. Or serve as a side dish with Roast Turkey, Ham, or Beef garnished with asparagas.
Happy Eats!

Monday, October 31, 2011

A brief hiatus and new fundraising goals!

Excuse my brief abdication of my blogging goals. I had a birthday party to plan, parents in town, and lots of fun to be had. There was no time for blogging. Check out my family blog for updates and stories from the last two weeks of fun!

My charity: water campaign continues – with some new goals!! As promised we have matched every dollar given so far. And, as expected, my husband’s employer is going to match every dollar that we gave. This means that if you gave already your money has been tripled!!

With one more month to go and our original goal far exceeded I’ve set a new goal and I hope that you’ll help us reach it!

We’re going for the big 5K. And if we make it, David and I are going to run a 5K with jingle bells on.

Here’s how it’s going to go:

We started to train for the 5K today. (A worthy couch-to-5K program has been enlisted for this cause)

If you already gave, then I’m going to put your name and the number of meters you’ve sponsored on a bell that I’ll wear while I run the 5K. (Remember that because of all the matching awesomeness going on, if you give $5 you’re actually sponsoring $15meters!! If you give between now and the end of my campaign I’ll create a new bell for you that I’ll wear.

I would love to look absolutely ridiculous while running this 5K – please help cover me in jingle bells!!!

After the 5K is over, I’ll send you the bell with your name on it and you can hang it on your door, Christmas tree, banister, fireplace, ribbon necklace, or favorite holiday towel (or wherever else you’d like to hang it) so you can remember all the good that will come from your donation. 

I’m also still selling bows and custom baby pants on etsy for the cause so check that out too! If you buy a bow or a pair of pants the jingle bell rule still applies! So you can buy Christmas presents for your little ones, support a great cause, and you’ll get a bell.

The awesomeness just keeps getting awesomer. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tell me, should I stay here? Or do I need to move?

Well friends, we’re about half way through our campaign for charity: water and I’m remembering why I’m doing this. Change. Its inevitable and its not always easy. The most recent changes in my life have been hard – but good. Hence the reason I’ve called our campaign “Celebrating Changes.” Want to hear the whole story? Sure, you say, you’ve got nothing better to read, right?

Last year my husband and I were faced with some pretty tough choices. He knew he was going to lose his job and needed to find a new one. I had just found I was pregnant with our first child. The only job choice that presented was across the country - we had to decide if we were going to stay in NC with family and no job or move to Seattle with a job and no family or friends.

I remember buying a bunch of Third Day albums at Winter Jam in Greensboro and for the next two months straight listening to them on my way to work. The music really changed my life – I was having trouble trusting that God would take care of me and my family throughout all the changes that were going on. The line from the chorus of Revelation, "Give me a Revelation/Show me what to do/I've been trying to find my way/I haven't got a clue/Tell me should I stay here?/Or do I need to move?" was literally my prayer for months. It was only a two mile commute for me from home to the school where I taught, but I would sit in my car in the parking lot finishing the song and asking God for guidance every day. I know its cheesy, but its true.

We did end up moving. Our baby girl was born last October and turns 1 in a little over a week. We found a new church, reconnected with old friends, made new friends and praise God that He has been faithful to provide for us.

I realized that despite all these hard changes I still worry for very little. I have a safe home over my head, clothes on my body, food in my belly, and water at the tap. I am clean, fed, and warm every day of my life. Not everyone has that luxury.

Back at Winter Jam we decided to make a difference in the lives of three little kids by sponsoring them through Holt International – that’s a big part of the mission of the Winter Jam concert series for anyone who hasn’t been before. (There’s one in Tacoma in a couple weeks for any of you local Seattlites)

The yearning in my heart has always been to make a difference in the lives of other people – whether it was my students, these three kids we support through Holt International, or the people living in Northern Ethiopia who will get water through my charity: water campaign.

Change is inevitable, Please help me make change a good thing for people who need water.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

charity: water fundraiser update


First of all, I want to say

 Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! to everyone who has donated to the campaign or helped us publicize it so far - we're doing great!!! We set our goal at $1500 and we're already over 60% of the way there!!! Thank you again!!!

If you haven't donated yet, but you want to, go here: <>

We still have another 6 weeks to go and another $600 to raise so I wanted to let you know about our plan.

I've written a couple of the local newspapers in Seattle so see if they'll do a story on charity: water. I haven't heard back, but I'm hopeful. This year's September campaign is going to make a big dent in the water crisis and I want to get the word out to as many people as possible. Please let me know if you'd be willing to contact your local paper for me to see if they will run a story for us. I have a press release and a press kit I can send you if you're interested. The Seattle papers have already run several stories in the last month or so on a little girl named Rachel who's legacy has raised over $1.26 million. While my measly $1500 is a far cry from a million, I'm hoping that my cause centric city will keep running stories on the water crisis anyways. Check out a national news spot on Rachel's story here - <>

I'm also selling hand crafted hair bows, headbands, and custom baby clothes on etsy to help raise money. You can check out my etsy page here: <>

I'm particularly excited about the baby clothes because I'm using old t-shirts to make them and man are they cute (and environmentally friendly (-: !!!)


If you have a daughter, son, grandaughter, grandson, niece, nephew, goddaughter or godson who wears pants and want to buy them a christmas present that will bring clean water to someone else, then please let me know!! I'm custom making each item to your specs to make sure they're a perfect fit.

In bloggy news, I've had my cause featured on a couple of great blogs -

I know that some of you are working on getting your companies to match your donations. Thank you for doubling, tripling, and quadrupling our efforts!! And Please, please, please, make sure that if they are sending a check to charity: water that they are putting my campaign's URL ( on the memo line of the check. Otherwise it won't show up in my campaign!!!

Finally, in November I'm doing a virtual auction. If you can't give to my campaign financially but want to help in some way this might be the perfect fit for you! Do you have a skill? Are you an artist? A crafter? A musician? Do you have vintage items in your closet or attic that are taking up space? Are you planning on making some one of a kind christmas items, jewelry, or decoration? Let me know and I'll put your item in our virtual auction!! (More details will be on my blog in the next couple of weeks).
It would be really fabulous if we could totally blow my $1500 goal out of the water :-) (no pun intended....) Thank you again for all your gifts, your notes of encouragement, and for keep up with our hairbrained ideas!!