Monday, April 30, 2012

What I Wore Wedding Edition

Love this idea of showing off pics of our wedding attire!

James and I were married nearly 6 years ago at my parent's Bed and Breakfast  in the mountains.
The setting was GORGEOUS.
Check out their site if you are needing a little vacay…let's be honest…you do!

We had $8,000 to budget our entire wedding on.
I was actually shocked when my parents told me that.
I didn't think we'd even come close to needing that much money.
A little naive right?

My original plan was to wear my Mom's wedding dress, which her Mom had worn. 
It was lace, gorgeous, and the perfect fit. The only problem was that the lace was worn, torn, and discolored. I was devastated. I had wanted that to be my "something old". 
So then the hunting began.

{Aren't I the best model ever?}
I've had to turn down so many bridal magazines to be their model

So with a budget like that I was really trying to look for an inexpensive dress.
My mom, sister, and I looked and looked and looked. Store, after store, after store.
I felt truly beautiful in every dress, just like a dream.
When I put the final dress on I knew I loved it.
It was a staggering $900 (without alterations) and I was ready to walk away.
My Mom told me to get it. She said it was perfect…and convinced me to take the plunge ; )
As a special addition my Mom handmade my veil (to my bridezilla specifications)…it was lovely. 

I obviously couldn't take a "real" wedding pic
epic fail at the sexy pic

When James and I were engaged I was working at a Jewelry store (score!). 
So I was able to get my jewelry custom made, and at cost!
I love my simple gold and pearl drop accessories. They are timeless and easy to still wear.

Can you see those shoes!?!?
I wish I had more reason to wear them today.
They were $100. Ridiculous.
But I have a size 5 shoe and it's nearly impossible to find really gorgeous grown up shoes. And these were perfect (of course).

I'm kind of  really old fashioned, and that translated into my love of this sheer lace back. It dips to my lower back and continued into my gorgeous train. I had it bustled out instead of in, so that it was on display during the reception.

What a day….what a dress…what a man.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Photo Bombing and Firsts

 My boys are obsessed with the webcam on our Mac. 
Every time I jump on the computer they are jumping on my lap. 

I was trying to get a picture of this necklace I made {as a reference for length}.

Josiah stuck his head into the frame. 

Just at that perfect moment. 

I'm glad he did. It's so cute! And he gave me a reason to embrace the camera

In other news….Josiah is now riding his "pedal bike" exclusively.
This is what he learned to ride a bike on.

This photo is from March of last year. Jo was going CRAZY on his Strider (notice it has no training wheels or pedals). The goal of this bike is to teach them balance first. It worked great! 
He probably could have been riding a "real" bike 6 months ago if we had one that fit him!

This is the first time Josiah hopped on his "new pedal bike". He was so proud of himself. And we were so proud of him too! We take walks to the park and he's off and away. He's like a boy now…where did my little guy go? 
And here she is….

Standing up on her own.

On April 16th she took her first 2 steps and broke my heart. My baby is growing up.
It's been a bittersweet past couple of weeks.
I want my kids to grow, but I want them to stay dependent on me (except for wiping their own booty).
These little "firsts" are what makes being a parent so much fun.
I'm so glad for modern technology so we can capture every single moment!

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Thrifty Cleaning Products

I'm mentioned it here before...

I'm cheap. Like…really cheap.

James and I live on one income (a teacher's salary at that).

So consequently, I am always looking for ways to cut down on our bills.

Cleaning products may be inexpensive, but making my own is a really easy way to save a few bucks.

I purchased these bottles for $.98 each at Wal-Mart.
I purchased this curtain rod at Wal-Mart for $.98 also.
I keep them hung above my laundry room sink.

So here's what I keep in the bottles.


1/8 cup fabric softener
2 Tbs baking soda
Hot Water

Pour fabric softener into bottle. Add baking soda and fill to top with hot water. Give it a shake.
Sweet smelling sheets for cheap…I'm in!

Disinfectant Spray:

1 1/2 cups *vinegar
1 1/2 cup water

Easy right? I use this just like a lysol spray. Kids smear poop  (not my kids) sneeze on a toy…out comes this stuff. 
But here's a trick. I put orange peels in my vinegar to sweeten the smell. All you need to do is collect some orange peels, add them to some white vinegar and let them sit for a week or so.

No nasty smelling vinegar!

*Please note that using vinegar on countertops such as marble and granite can dull the stone. So I use just hot water and dish soap to clean my granite.*

All Purpose Spray:

2 Tbs ammonia
2 cups rubbing alcohol
5-8 drops dish detergent
Hot Water to fill rest of the bottle

Mix them all together in the bottle. I use this to clean the bathrooms with.

Window Cleaner:

2 cups of warm water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
1 Tbs corn starch

Put all ingredients together and shake well. You'll have to shake before each time you use it as well. The cornstarch settles to the bottom.

This works. Really well.
I use it on my smutchy (this is my blog….I can say what I want) glass table top. It is pretty streak free and gets off dried oatmeal.

Fruit and Vegetable Wash:

2-3 drops dish detergent
Warm water

Mix together in a spray bottle. Spray produce and rinse when ready to eat.

Floor Cleaner.

1/2 cup vinegar (use the orange vinegar)
1 gallon water

I use a Bona spray mop for my floors. I just refill the cartridge with this mixture.

Fruit and Vegetable Wash

Warm Water
Few Drops Dish Detergent

Pour water and dish detergent into bottle and shake.

I use this to clean off all of my fruits and veggies before we eat them. The produce washes can be so expensive! But I'm all up for an easy and effective way to clean my produce!

But there is one thing I will never skimp on.
Carpet Stain Remover

Blue Magic
This is the best carpet cleaner ever.

Have you ever cleaned a stain from your carpet and noticed it makes the strands in your carpet clamp together? This stuff will actually fluff your carpet. It's gotten blood, wine, vomit, and even paint (yes paint) out of my carpet.

It's about $3.50 a can at Wal-Mart (wow…noticing I shop there a bit too much)

Another great thing about these bottles (minus the carpet stain remover) is that they are toxic free. They aren't harmful for my family.

So…get out there and save some cash, clean your home, and keep it safe!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Letter to Josiah

Dear Josiah,

You are amazing. You are 4 years and 7 months old and truly, truly amazing. It must be hard for you; being the first born. I am learning everything about motherhood through you. I am so grateful that you were first. You are very forgiving. I have made so many mistakes with you, and you forgive me unconditionally. You love everybody without abandon. Even those who are cruel to you. In your eyes everybody is your friend, everybody is a playmate, and everybody is wonderful.

You have a joy that surpasses all of my understanding. You are sweet, compassionate, loving, generous, and kind. You have the best sense of humor, and can always bring a smile to my face. You love to dance, make silly faces, and tell jokes. It hurts you when we don't understand your joke. You desire to make everybody happy.

You are so compliant, and I am so thankful for that. You are such an obedient boy. I know that this will serve as a wonderful tool for you as you grow. You are going to be a loving, compassionate, man of God.  You aim to please the Lord. You will serve Him in ways that will bless others. You will have a heart for the needy. You will fight for the weak and oppressed. You will stand up for those who cannot do it for themselves. You will be a beacon of light for this world. You have such a sensitive spirit, and this will only grow in you. Your heart will be able to see things that most of the world would pass by.

You ask the most intelligent questions. You are four years old and already you have questioned your Daddy and me about things that make us scratch our heads. You have asked things like "Why did Jesus pray to God if He is God?". Oh Josiah, if you only knew what kind of a question that really was. I wish I saw the world through your eyes. This world needs more people like you.

I am so honored to be your Mommy. And your siblings are so lucky to have a brother like you to teach them, stick up for them, and love on them. You are incredible!

 I love to to Heaven and back {and you would say…"I love you all the way to Heaven and all the way up and around and around and back and around and back…that's a lot of love!"}



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

To Cut or Not To Cut

So I usually only cut my hair about once a year. 

Because I'm cheap.

So this pic was taken a couple of years ago right after I chopped all my hair off.

This is how long my hair is now. It's desperately needing a cut for trim.
But I can't decide if I should chop it all off again…or just go for a few inches.

(sorry for the early morning webcam pic and sweats)

So what do you think? Short or Long?

pleated poppy

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

On Marriage, Love, and Respect

I love James.

Like…a lot.

I've said it before, he's a man of God. He works hard to provide for our family. He's generous, compassionate, and full of grace. I'm so blessed to be married to him.

But what I am most amazed by is his desire to make our marriage a priority.

Don't get me wrong here…we argue…we disagree…we bicker….and yes, we even fight {gasp}.

But we made a vow, a commitment to the Lord; to love, honor, and respect each other.
For better or worse.

I love this photo…look at him…he's so focused on the symbol of our future. 
And he looks happy.

The best wedding gift we received was this book.

The author speaks of the importance of love and respect in a marriage. 
A woman desires unconditional love from her husband. 
A man needs to feel respected from his wife.  

Think about it…
When you have argued with your spouse, did you feel loved? Did you show him that you respected him?
If you are anything like me,  you did not show him how much you respected him.

I cannot even begin to go through all of the details of this book with you. 
So I say buy it, get it from the library, or borrow it from a friend. 
Just read it. 
Read it together. 

Here are some of the practical ways I try to show James I respect him:
I listen to him. I hear what he says. 
I validate his opinion.
I listen to the desires of his heart, and I strive to make them my desires as well.
I trust him with financial decisions.
I trust him with family decisions.
I trust him with decisions about our faith.

Please don't get me wrong…I am not close to being perfect with these things. I fail daily at expressing how I much I respect him. 
But I know how important it is to him, and to our marriage.

He tries equally hard to show me how loved I am.
He wakes up with the boys, allowing me a few precious moments of sleep.
He listens to me whine about my day, without judgement.
He showers me with words of encouragement.

We made a commitment to make our marriage work. And this is a daily thing we must work on. 
I love him; he loves me, and we want to have a good marriage for our kids to see. 
I want them to have a strong marriage. 

That starts with us.

five days five ways  feature friday free for all

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring Wreath with Tutorial

Okay remember this tutorial?

My velcro wreath.

I finally got around to changing it up for spring (don't judge…I'm a busy lady, ya know!)

Well here's what I've changed up and a tutorial on these adorable spring flowers.

Spring Flowers

The first thing you want to do is make a flower pattern. I just cut out 3 hearts (small, medium, and large) for my petals. Traced them onto a piece of construction paper and snipped away.

 Your flowers don't have to be perfect (obviously).

Next, trace your pattern onto your felt. And do some more snipping.

Make sure that you cut inside your line. You don't want any marker on the edge of your flower. Especially is you are using a light color felt.

Next you want to sew your petals together. You take one of the "hearts", pinch it together and sew a few little stitches at the bottom of the petal. Make sure it's secure, or it will pull apart easily.

Repeat this step will all of your petals.
This takes forever. Be warned.  You'll need patience to make this flower!

This is what your three layers should look like. Your's will vary depending on where you add your little stitch to the petal. The lower you stitch to the center the more open your flower will appear. Mine looks pretty closed in this particular flower.

Stack your layers together and stitch together through the center.

I then made a leaf using the same large flower pattern. And just added it to the bottom of the flower. It's done the same way as the flowers are done.

To make the center of my flower I used embroidery floss.

I wrapped it around a fork 5-6 times, tied it together in the center. Pulled it off of the fork and snipped the loops.

Pinch together and use hot glue to stick that little guy in.

Your flower!

Be creative with your colors. It's really fun to play around with different colors and patterns.

My last step to complete my flower was to glue the top half of a square of velcro to the back of my flower. Then I can add it to my wreath!

So here's my new wreath.

I added these numbers using a hot glue gun. And I used a lot of glue to make them very secure. 
They are just unfinished wood numbers from Hobby Lobby. I painted them, let them dry, and added them to the wreath.

I sure do like this! And I love the versatility the velcro gives me. 
A wreath for every season!

I Heart Nap TimeThe DIY Dreamer