Monday, October 27, 2008

Homemade With Love - 2008

Updated to add: I'm not trying to sound vain, but please link back to this post in your own Homemade with Love post! Thank you.

Sorry for the delay -- as usual, I had problems with Blogger! I hope Mister Linky is working. Let me know if you experience any glitches. Also, please forgive some of the poor photos. You win some, you loose some, and I really had to pick my battles!

Once again, I present you with my annual Homemade with Love Gift Idea Exchange! Each year, I try to come up with new ideas to share with you, and again this year, I am so excited to share with you some new homemade gift ideas. I'm also excited to see all the creative ideas YOU have to share! But first, let me just say that while some of you may think I'm ubber creative -- I'm not. I'm somewhat creative, but there are so many crafty chicks out there, I can't stand it!

After surfing a gazillion blogs and craft websites, I was left with so many ideas this year, but because I'm preparing for a craft show that is coming up in two weeks, I can only share a handful of them today. I promise to continue posting pictures and links to tutorials and websites as I complete each project I'm preparing for the craft show. For the projects I feature today, you can go to the links I provide you to other blogs, or to my "Extra Kisses of Sunshine" web site to see details, links and instructions (including cost information).

This year, I've got a mixture of ideas and medium. Some require higher skills than others, while some are simple enough for even the non-crafter to make. Regardless of your crafting skill level, I'm confident that everyone will leave with at least one idea you'll be able to implement and make your Christmas gift giving more homemade. Also, the sweetest form of flattery is that someone copies something you made, and I've taken a few ideas this year from other much more talented women than myself, and I'll link you directly to their tutorials, not only because it is their original idea, but because they say it so well!

If you have a Homemade with Love idea to share, post it (along with instructions or recipes) on your blog today, then come back and add your name and the link to your post on the Mister Linky, along with your gift idea next to your name (i.e.: GiBee: No-Sew Poncho). And don't forget... please link directly to your post, not your home page. Also, please link back to my original Homemade With Love post.

Reminder: You can CLICK HERE for cost, directions and materials needed for each of these crafts (or links to tutorials). I'll provide the link again at the end of this post.

This is the scripture I based my Homemade With Love idea around:

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
(1 Peter 4:10)
And, really ... that's what a homemade gift is -- not something that is perfectly made and coordinated, but rather, a little bit of God's grace, like a piece of your heart, that you've taken the time to share with another person.

Again ... please remember that not all of these ideas are original, and if you see your idea here and I didn't give you credit (because I just didn't remember where I saw it, but I truly did try to be careful), please email me privately off line and I'll rectify the situation.

Now, without further delay, here we go!

Christmas Gift Idea #1: Hand Decorated Platter -- This gift idea requires a very basic skill level, and can be personalized for the recipient. I got this idea from a gift shop I visited in North Carolina (but can't remember the name). Basically, I took a plain white plate that can be purchased at any dollar store, Target, WalMart, etc. I decorated it with permanent sharpie pens, and baked it for 20 minutes on 350 degrees to set the color. You can decorate any white platter, mug, bowl, serving bowls -- anything that is white. This is also a great idea for children to create for their grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, teachers, etc. CLICK HERE for directions.

Christmas Gift Idea #2: No-sew Girls Fleece Poncho -- Cute, cute, cute! What little girl wouldn't love cuddling up to this adorable poncho? This project requires basic crafting skills -- if you can cut and tie knots, you can make this! If you can hold a needle and thread in your hand, you can embellish the raw neckline. By the way ... it is important to note at this time that I really did come up with this idea all on my lonesome! CLICK HERE for directions.

Christmas Gift Idea #3: Sassy t-shirt -- There's nothing better than a comfy t-shirt... unless, of course, it has a little bling on it!!! Trust me when I say... this project is super easy, and the only tools this project requires is an iron! No crafting skills required. CLICK HERE for directions.

Christmas Gift Idea #4: Grace Violet Chic Stationary Set -- I couldn't let another year pass without creating something with my favorite gunky stuff... Mod Podge!! I love how easy this was, and with such a wide selection of scrapbooking papers, even the ugliest pad of paper can be made to look chic! I got this clever idea from Grace Violet (click directions), and Etsy. Basic crafting skills are needed for this project, but once you get the main principles, you can pretty much run with the ideas! CLICK HERE for directions.

Christmas Gift Idea #5: Gourmet Salt Grinder --Anyone can make this cool gift, and any gourmet foodie will love receiving it. A simple salt grinder with some gourmet salt that you mix together in your own kitchen with items you probably already have in your spice cabinet. No crafting skills are needed for this project. CLICK HERE for directions.

Christmas Gift Idea #6: Cute 2-year Planner -- You can put together a cute planner for very little money, and it would make a cute stocking stuffer, or gift for coworkers. I ordered all the supplies from the internet, used scrapbook paper, and voila... a cute planner. Basic crafting skills are needed for this project. CLICK HERE for directions.

Christmas Gift Idea #7: Adorable Hair Accessories -- Little girls love to fix their hair, and this little project would make an adorable stocking stuffer or gift at a very low cost. No crafting skills are needed for the hair clips, but basic sewing skills are needed for the headbands. You can slip on over to Grace Violet HERE to get instructions on one of the cute hair clips. CLICK HERE for headband directions.

Christmas Gift Idea #8: Skip To My Lou Travel Tissue Holder -- Loooove it! This is an awesome stocking stuffer, gift for a shut-in, or a gift for a co-worker. I made these as thank you gifts for group leaders and coordinators for our women's retreat last weekend, and a couple for door prizes. It was so easy, and I had them made in no time flat! I'll also be giving a few away at work for Christmas. Go to Skip To My Lou for directions or CLICK HERE for directions.

Christmas Gift Idea #9: Fabric Coffee Cup Sleeve -- Everyone has "Going Green" on the mind, and this is a great way to start -- you know all those cardboard coffee cup sleeves we get? The ones that are made of recycled material, but are no longer recyclable? Well, replace them with one of these Fabric Coffee Cup Sleeves!! No more waste, and it is washable. I made them from 100% cotton on one side, and fleece on the other, so they provide a bit of insulation. They are so cute, but sadly, I'm not sure what happened to all pictures I took, so I've borrowed a picture from Etsy, and I'll take some more and re-post them later this week. CLICK HERE for directions.

Christmas Gift Idea #10: Peanut Butter Chocolate Nut Clusters -- OHMYWORD -- sinful. I had these clusters at a women's retreat at the beginning of the month, and begged the poor lady for the recipe... which she recited off the top of her head. This is a cute and simple gift idea for co-workers, neighbors, kids at church, teachers... you get the idea! Simple, cheap, yummy. Love it. CLICK HERE for directions.

Christmas Gift Idea #11: Tulip Bulb Thank You -- Make this simple little package for the teacher your child loves... a Sunday school teacher... a boy scout or girl scout leader, or the special coach in your kids life. It is inexpensive, adorable, and says "Thank You" in a special way. Add a little card that thanks them for planting knowledge and wisdom in your child's heart and mind, or thanks them for encouraging your child to bloom or blossom. CLICK HERE for directions.

Christmas Gift Idea #12:
Personalized Picture Vase -- This is an adorable gift for grandparents. Using an inexpensive square vase, you can personalize it with a picture of your child, seal it with a couple coats of poly, and have a unique gift under the tree for grandma and grandpa. Sorry I didn't have flowers to make a nice arrangement -- just use your imagination! CLICK HERE for directions.

If you didn't get the message, you can CLICK HERE for directions, more pictures, recipes, vendors, complete project cost breakdown, supply lists, etc.

Now it's your turn!! What special Homemade With Love gift do you have to share? It can be easy, or difficult... sewn, or baked... cut and glued... colored or painted. There's no limit to your creativity, so share it all with us! And, please link back to this original post!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Find #6: Sewing Treasures

Good morning, good morning, good morning!!!

This fine Friday morning, I bring you two sewing gadgets. One I have used as late as last night and love it. The other one will be in my cart this weekend (Joann's Fabrics), because it will give me a new dimension to trim and biased tape.

Gadget #1: Wrights SideWinder Portable Bobbin Winder -- DUDE!! I LOVE THIS GADGET. Why? Because I can quickly wind a bobbin without using my sewing machine. Hunter, my wonderful, amazing, energetic 3 year old... well, he broke my sewing machine, and the spool of thread sits precariously on the machine, so winding bobbins in not an option right now... but with this SideWinder Portable Bobbin Winder, I can wind a bobbin at the touch of a button, and the portable Bobbin Winder quickly and easily fills my bobbins without having to use the sewing machine. It runs on two AA batteries or with a power cord, and it is very small and compact, measuring only 3"H x 5"W x 3"D. It has a built-in carrying handle and two spindles for storing extra bobbins (bobbins not included), and works with either "L" size bobbins or "M" size bobbins and has an automatic shutoff when the bobbins are full. Love it, love it, love it. Even if my sewing machine weren't broken, I would still love it. This would make an awesome gift for an avid seamstress, and it sells for $35 at Joann's (it is even on sale now for $26), but you can get it cheaper with your 40% off coupon, or even online at different quilting stores.

Gadget #2: Clover Bias Tape Maker -- This gadget allows you to make your own bias tape for banding, trimming, and so much more. It is so cool, and this is one product I can't wait to get my hands on! It is cheap, cheap, cheap, and would make a great stocking stuffer. I think I'm going to get the 2" one this weekend so I can try my hand at custom matching bands to some Christmas gifts I'm making out of Heather Bailey fabrics -- I'm almost giddy with excitement. If you can picture it, every time I think of my lovely HB fabrics, I raise my fists to the side of my head, and shake them in excitement. I know. It's a sickness that my husband rolls his eyes at. I also want to use this tape maker to try my hand at making a custom quilt. They run anywhere from $4 to $11 at Joann's.

An online tutorial on how to use the Bias Tape Maker can be found HERE.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Holiday Cooking -- Blogger Style

Oh, yay! Oh, yeah! It's the holidays! Get your groove on!

Okay -- please forgive my lame and very non-rhythmic attempt to ... ummm ... do the -- cabbage patch thingie ...


Overwhelmed with Joy's annual "Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style" recipe exchange is right around the corner!

Mark your calendars, ladies and gents, because November 7 is the day to post your special holiday recipe, recipes or reci-recipes -- how ever many you want to post! And I have a new one to share -- nanny, nanny boo boo! [Ehem!!! I'm just SO excited!]

ANYWAY -- to help spread the word, Overwhelmed is hosting a giving away! She will give one set of 20 personalized recipe cards to one lucky winner! She is designing these recipe cards, and they will have your first and last name on each one (possibly Christmas themed). Too fun!!! And if you've seen her other designs, you'll appreciate how cute they will be!

All you have to do is: publish a post about Overwhelmed's upcoming "Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style" recipe exchange on your blog (as IF I needed any extra incentive other than my love to cook!) and then stop back at her blog and leave her a comment with a link directing her to that post. If you do that, she'll toss your name in the drawing for the free personalized recipe cards. How fun is that????

So get posting, get cooking, and get ready for the mega-fun "Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style" recipe exchange!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Finds #5: Not-so-Silly USB-driven Computer Gadgets

Good morning, good morning, good morning!!! This morning, I bring you some funny computer gadgets that totally made me think of my sister-in-law, Sunshine. She is always freezing cold. Her husband claims she has snake blood in her, and while some of these gadgets sound silly, I'm thinking there may be some validity in many of them! I'll let you decide!

Gadget #1: USB Oscillating Desk Fan -- okay, this one was TOTALLY made for me! I constantly have a fan running at work, because the air gets so stagnant and still. I love that it runs from a USB port rather than electrical hook up, because as I type this, I'm looking down at my desk and I see a power strip with 6 things plugged into it, and it looks ugly, and down right un-safe! Anyway, this fan has four levels, it oscillates, and it only costs $15.95!

Gadget #2: USB Heating Blanket -- This is the perfect gift for the blogger, web surfer, or computer hog that is perpetually COLD -- like my SIL, Sunshine. Get it? Perpetually cold? Perpetual Kid sells it? Never mind. Anyway ... this 38" x 18" fuzzy blanket wraps around you, or can be draped over your legs. A heating pad inside the blanket keeps you nice and toasty, and can be removed to wash the blanket. Gotta love it! It even has a button closure to keep it around your shoulders! The blanket doesn't come with a cheap price tag, but it sounds like it might be worth it! It costs: $34.99

Gadget #3: Flexible Silicone Illuminated Keyboard -- BINGO!!! I'm SOOOO totally thinking of getting this for my husband who likes to check his fishing sites at night, in bed. And there are times when I would love to have the light off so I can sleep, and this might really come in handy!!! It is a flexible, full sized keyboard that is silent -- and indestructible (give Hunter 5 minutes with it!). It can be rolled up, it is washable, portable, water-resistant, it comes in several colors, and the EL illumination can be turned on or off. It costs: $26.99.

Gadget #4: USB Heated Gloves -- You didn't think I'd list the USB Heating Blanket, and NOT THE GLOVES, did you??? How silly! Anyway, these gloves would come in handy for me, because I sit right under an air conditioning vent, and in the summers, I go home with BLUE fingers -- honest to goodness! These gloves are great for cold hands that need to type, as well as cold hands that need to play video games! Each glove has a separate USB cord, and have a warming pad inside them. They have open-end design (cut off fingers) with a flap that can be put over the finger tips, and they are made of wool. They have 2 heating levels, and they work with any USB port, PC, Mac, Playstation 2 or Xbox 360. I can think of a lot of people that could use these! Including my snake blood sister in law. It Cost: $24.99.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oops!! It did it again!!

Soooooo -- remember when I posted last year about THIS ??????

Yeah -- well -- guess what we had last night?

Another full moon.

And pandemonium ensued in the kids class last night at church. UUUHH-GEEN.

So does anyone have any advice on how I could possibly, you know -- CONTROL MY CHILD in a classroom setting???? He wasn't doing terrible things -- just throwing crayons, dumping popcorn on the floor, crawling under the table (which is only like 2 feet off the floor), screaming, crying when I corrected him, running around the table, talking over the teacher ... you know ... things a parent wants their wonderful, well behaved angel of a child to NOT DO.

Hunter was spanked twice, put in time out twice, scolded every other minute, and threatened to go to the nursery one thousand times. In fact, he threw an awful temper tantrum when I actually took him into the nursery, and I just couldn't subject the poor woman who was working the nursery to Hunter.

Every child... every single one of them... was spoken to by the teacher or myself. The kids were whining, crying, talking over the teacher (we NEVER did this in class), they wouldn't listen, several didn't want to cooperate at all... needless to say ... we had some serious behavioral issues, and my son was right in the middle of it. AND THREE BOYS WERE OUT SICK LAST NIGHT!!! Oiy Vey! And all of these kids are good kids ... loving kids ... but last night? Craay-zee.

And -- Miss C -- please don't quit teaching! We'll figure it all out!!! You're doing an awesome job with the kids, so please don't carry the burden on your shoulders that you have done something wrong, because you haven't. Persevere and hold on!

Sooooooooooo..... Having said all THAT, I'm thinking there may be some truth to the full-moon-theory.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

WFMW: Removable Bumper Stickers

Works for me Wednesday is hosted by Shannon over at Rocks in my Dryer! Head on over for other valuable tips!

Ok -- I must admit that I have this "THING" against putting bumper stickers on my car.

Some might say it is because I like to keep my car a pristine, snow-driven white and don't want to destroy it with bumper stickers pasted all over it... until you get up close enough to see how filthy my car really is, in which case, I would become a liar in your eyes.

Others might say it is because I am a type A personality and am a raving fanatic about cleanliness and orderliness ... until you look inside my car, at which time, my liar status would also be confirmed.

Personally, I just think it is one of those quirky ticks I have -- the NOBUMPERSTICKERSONTHECAR tick...

But because I feel it is my civic duty to REMIND EVERYONE TO VOTE FOR MCCAIN... I wanted to put a McCain/Palin bumper sticker on my car. Our neighbor gave us two, and my husband, without a moment of hesitation, peeled it and slapped it on his truck. Me, on the other hand ... well, I thanked her for it, walked inside the house, set it on the dining room table, all with a nervous twitch in my eye, and my shoulder jerking violently at the thought of my husband being so bumper-sticker-careless.

Instead, I did what I used to do while I was in college a gazillion years ago, and had to have a new parking sticker on my car every year. I got a page of magnetic paper from the craft store, applied the bumper sticker to THAT, cut it out, and THEN I applied it to my car.

I got a "ProMAG" brand (Paint a Mag) magnetic sheet from Michael's for $2.99. They sell it in sheets, rolls, etc. You want a flat sheet that you can apply the whole sticker to (not magnetic strips or circles).

Now, I can remove the sticker whenever I want (like if I ever sell the car overmydeadbody), and not have a sticky, yucky mess to deal with.

So, if your child is on the honor roll at The Best Elementary School, but the next year ... he fails second grade... you can take that bumper sticker right off. Easy peasy!

If you ask me (and my nervous twitchy eye), bumper stickers and magnetic sheets work for me!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sigh -- Another Tear Jerker...


I saw this video at Especially Heather. She paired it perfectly with the scripture below. You're going to need tissues.

Please watch the entire video -- to the end.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

-Psalm 139:13-16

God is amazing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cardboard Testimonies

Edited to add: We watched this right after the sermon, and the congregation was quiet as each person reflected on their own thoughts... but I just wanted to jump up, pump both fists in the air, and give a Holy Shout-out for so many of the people sharing their testimony ... The Meth Addict, the Woman with MS, the Couple that had 3 stillborn babies ... How about you???
These past few weeks, my Pastor has been teaching on Stewardship. Yesterday, he shared a video with the congregation that left me blubbering like an idiot.

I encourage you to take a moment and watch the video... and be sure you try to read each sign -- I'm sure your own testimony will be shared at some point!

So, what does your cardboard testimony look like??

This is what my cardboard testimony would look like:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Finds #4: Cool iPod Accessories

Good morning to all my 5 loyal readers! Today, I have some really cool iPod gadgets that you may or may not already have or know about, but would be a most excellent item to add to the teenager's Christmas list or stocking! Have I mentioned that these gadgets are WAY cool?

If you DO happen to own one of these gadgets, please jump out of lurkdom and tell me what you REALLY think about it! Thanks!

Item #1: The Portable Turbo Charge for your iPod -- Hate when you're out on the road, and your iPod goes dead? Then the Portable Turbo Charge is for you! It re-charges your battery on one AA battery while you're out and about, and the battery compartment also accepts rechargeable batteries. A cool investment for a teenager (or adult) that can't be without their tunes! It also works on the iPhone. $20 at Brookstone, but can be found cheaper throughout the internet.

Item #2: The HMDX Speaker-on-the-Go -- This is a handy little carrying case for the people who are on the go but want to share their music with everyone around them. The iPod (or other MP3 players) plugs into the microphone jack and then the sounds go to the speakers, which have a high quality sound. It is powered by 2 AA batteries. You can pick one up at Amazon for $9.99, or better yet, shop around for a cheaper one in stores near you! A great stocking stuffer!!

Item #3: The Otter Box Armor for your iPod -- Are you, or someone you know, especially hard on your hand-held electronics? Then you need an Otter Box. It is a clear (or colored) case that goes on your iPod (I have one on my phone) that protects the electronic item from damage in the event of that accidental drop. Not that I have EVER, EVER, EVER dropped my phone. Ever. The Otter Armor offers waterproof, crushproof, sandproof, dustproof and drop-proof protection, and the ipod is fully functional while in the case -- can anyone say... "Oops! My iPod went through the washer!" Click HERE to get more information on sizes, prices, and features. They also sell cases for iPhones, hand held PDAs, Blackberries ... you get the picture!

Item #4: Belkin RockStar Splitter for iPods -- Teens can now easily share their downloaded tunes with their friends with the Belkin RockStar Splitter for iPods. It allows 5 people to plug into your iPod and jam out with you. This is such a cool splitter -- WAY better than the regular ol' 2-way splitter, and even way, WAY better than sharing ear buds (yuck!). Circuit City carries it for $19.99, and you can save an additional 10% when you use this coupon code L4AVVS5AHQ at checkout, OR, you can get it at Amazon for $14.95 (eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25 ). Sweet!!!

Hope you enjoyed these Friday Finds!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

What the LDS Church Teaches

I will NEVER claim to be an expert in this area... and I have many friends, coworkers and readers that are LDS Mormons whom I respect a great deal, as they have outstanding morals, values, and work ethics. I know that I don't believe the same way they do, nor do I read the same Bible as they do, but I certainly do respect them.

I have long desired to get a better understanding of their faith: the basis of and the background of it. Surprisingly, I came across this series while visiting a blog (can't remember which one, because I've spent so much time here that I've lost track of how I clicked in), but the author of this blog has begun a series on what the LDS church teaches, what the Bible says, and what her personal opinions and conclusions are.

While I don't know her personally, she is a professed born-again Christian, her writtings support this, and she is followed by many women that I personally know, admire and respect highly with regards to their Christian walk and faith in Jesus Christ. She is someone that I'd like to get to know on a more intimate basis... and I must say that she certainly has bravely dug in with both sleeves rolled up, where few dare to tread! And I'm enjoying her series tremendously. I have walked away from her series with a few "Aha!" moments, a few "Oh!" moments, some questions, and some clarifications, and I look forward to her continued posts.

I'm pointing you to this blog so that you can also read her series and come away with your own conclusions. As with most blogs, you need to start at the bottom and work your way up. I know it is long, but I hope you have a moment to pull it up and dig in!

What the LDS Church Teaches Series by Her Children Arise and Call Her Blessed

And as always, if you leave a comment, please feel free to be open ... but be sure it is family friendly and civil!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

An Invitation to Homemade With Love

You are all cordially invited to join us for a special carnival... my annual Homemade with Love.

What: An exchange of homemade gifting ideas for Christmas
When: October 27, all day long

Brainstorm your greatest homemade gift ideas, write up a quick tutorial on how to make your creation, add a picture or two, and then come back to my homepage and add your link to the Mr. Linky I'll have... easy peasy!

I can't wait to share all the ideas I've picked up from surfing the internet, but even more, I can't wait to see all the wonderful ideas you have!

So round up your thinking caps, and start creating! You can bake something, cook something, craft something, sew something, put together a basket of something... where ever your brain takes you, please make it family friendly! Thanks!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Happy Birthday, my little man!

Dearest Hunter -- yesterday, you turned three. Despite all the warnings I received from family and friends, I still can't believe the time has flown so quickly! You have become such an independent little man, quick to respond "I do it all myself!" We're still praying that you'll soon be able to go potty all yourself...

All your life, you have been daddy's little boy -- always quick to help him, shadowing his every move. It is so cute to watch you try to hammer behind daddy, or use a screw driver. It isn't so cute to see your letter "H" drawn on my couch, or crayon scribbled on our front door, or the wall, or the hardwood floor. It is, however, simply adorable to watch you drive your own little tractor right behind Daddy's big "trackie" while helping cut the grass. It is so sweet -- even yesterday -- when you taught yourself how to drive your trackie while standing up -- backwards. I'm pretty sure it's just the beginning of many daring feats you'll have throughout your lifetime, and while I'm pretty certain that it isn't true that children cause their parent's hair to turn gray, you sure are giving it a good run for its money!

You've never been too overly affectionate or cuddly, which honestly, has worried this poor old mamas heart, because I'm a big-time cuddler -- until recently. Several months ago, you began to cuddle with me in the evenings before bedtime (as we watched "Dora Dora Dora" -- one of your favorite shows). And the snuggling melted into cuddles when Daddy and I would tuck you into bed, after we pray. It simply melts my heart when I sing little chorus songs to you and you sign right along with me -- Jesus Loves Me, Zaccheus, The B-I-B-L-E, Jingle Bells --- sigh --- even in the summer you love Jingle Bells. And I'm a melted puddle when you say to us, "luh-lu" -- we love you to, little one! The innocence of a child never ceases to amaze me.

You are so determined, and strong, and quite agile and sprightly ... so much so, that I can't keep up with you! Good thing your daddy is super fast! And son, you just crack us up left and right... and if we can get beyond the whole "NO!" phase, I think we'll be doing just great!

So, I hope you enjoyed your "happy to you" and all your presents. And as we went to bed last night, exhausted after a fun family gathering, I prayed that God would lead your heart, and fill your belly with a burning desire to be a man of God -- implementing all your energy, talent, and charm in ways that will honor Him. I pray that He continues giving us the wisdom to parent you and love you, and hold on to every fleeting moment we can.

"Happy to you" Hunter! We love you!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Finds #3: Battery Stuff

Today, I have three cool things that I thought were quite practical for parents that are beginning to purchase battery-operated Christmas gifts.

I hate when my batteries: a) die and I don't have another one on hand, and b) they are scattered all over creation and rolling on the bottom of the drawer, making them difficult to find.

So I'd like to share with you a few gadgets that would help keep our earth greener, and for those of us that keep a ton of spare batteries on hand, a solution that will help keep us organized:

1. The Duracell AA/AAA Mini Charger: Batteries are toxic, and are all over our landfills. These palm-sized chargers plug right into any outlet, and recharge AA or AAA rechargeable batteries hundreds of times, saving our landfills of additional toxic waste. It is a totally green choice for the holidays!! The charger is palm-sized, and affordable at under $15 in most places, and under $10 if you look real hard (or click on the link I provided you!!). It comes in hot pink, electric blue, lime green or jet black, with two rechargeable AA batteries.

2. Duracell Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries: Duracell has a new feature out -- juiced up rechargeable batteries!! Now you don't have to wait 6-8 hours for your rechargeables to charge before you can use them. Plus, they hold power for up to 365 days without use. Your batteries are always ready for use even if you haven't touched them for a while, and are ready for use when leaving the store. Yes, they are $12.99 for a four-pack, but they will last forever, and are a great accompaniment to the Mini Charger!

3. Multi Battery Storage Container: Oh, that I were independently wealthy and could spend it all in the Container store... But alas, reality brings my day dream to a screeching halt. But it doesn't mean I have to throw all my organizational dreams out the window... this little product is on my list for my next pay check... a battery organizer ... and the Container Store has them priced affordably, enabling you to store all your commonly used batteries in one convenient place. They are plastic containers with removable trays that hold AAA, AA, C, and D batteries. Or, if you have a lot of same-sized batteries, you might prefer to organize them in their own individual boxes. Always have a battery on hand, and always know where it is for under $7. Even rechargeable batteries need a place to live!

Thursday, October 02, 2008


First of all ... I want to start off with a reflective question for you... At this very moment -- 2:40 p.m., EST, on Thursday, October 2... I wonder how Sarah Palin is feeling? TRULY feeling? Do you think she's scared? Nervous? Sick? At peace? Father, Lord, I pray that you steady her, boost her confidence, and place the right words and answers in her mouth. Bring her favor in the eyes of America. Help her deliver clearly, kindly, peacefully, and confidently the answers to tonights tough questions, and place your recall in her mind. Amen.

Onto other things... I finally received my fabrics from Heather Bailey last week -- and they are, in one word, GORGEOUS! I can't wait to begin making things with them. The quality is so wonderful - heavy cotton - not flimsy. And the colors are crisp and beautiful.

I will be making little gifts for my younger nieces with these fabrics. Can't WAIT! I'll probably be posting some of the pics on my Homemade with Love on October 27, but the I'll post the rest as I complete the projects.

So, have you been working on your Homemade with Love gift ideas to post on October 27th? All you need is a picture of the finished product and a brief tutorial / instructions. That's all! Easy Peasy!

Anyway, I know you can't see them very well here, and can't appreciate the quality as in person, but as a teaser, here is a picture of my loot, followed by a stack of fabrics I got at the fabric store -- which are lovely too -- but pale in comparison: