Love Story

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Making Bean Bags

Let the 1st birthday related posts begin! We are going pretty low key when it comes to presents, seeing as he is only turning 1 and his brothers already own 75% of the toys on this planet. I did want one of his gifts to be homemade. I have been so good about doing that for my niece and for other friends and family but not so much with my own boys. So I decided to make him some bean bags...nice and easy but lots of fun for a 1 year old!


What you need:
~ Fabric
~ Beans. I used small white beans (no really, that's the name on the bag!) and it took about 7 1/2 cups worth.
~ Something to cut with
~ Something to sew with

Let's get started:
You'll want to start by cutting squares out of the fabric(s) of your choice. I wanted 10 bean bags made from 5 different colored pieces of fabric so I cut 4 5inx5in squares out of each piece of fabric for a total of 20 squares. I used a rotary cutter just because it made cutting nice and easy but good ol' fashion scissors work just as well:


I decided to make my bean bags a different color on each side so I matched up my color combinations and begin pinning squares together (the right side of the fabrics should be touching):

Now to begin sewing. You could easily do this project by hand but it is of course much faster if you have a sewing machine. You are going to want to sew along 3 sides of your square, leaving one side open so you can fill them:


Flip your square right side out and fill it with beans. I used 3/4 a cup, you can adjust that based on how full you want your beanbags:





You ready to finish 'er up? Fold down the open side and pin it shut. Then sew across the top and voila...you have yourself a beanbag!





I love this project because it took minimal time and very few materials. I am hoping that Isaiah loves them as much as I do!

Aren't they pretty?

If you are wanting something a little more elaborate, check out these counting bean bags.

This project was featured over at The Happy Housewife, Attempting Aloha, and Play Pennies:




Friday, April 29, 2011

If I knew I could, I would...

It's a very early 5 Minute Friday this week. Go figure that the one night Isaiah slept through the night in weeks is when the other boys got up at 5:30. The life of a mom!

Anyway, you know the drill by now. This week's topic is: If I knew I could, I would...

GO!

If I knew that I could change the world, I would. I would get up every day and live it like it was the most important day of my life. I wouldn't hold back. I wouldn't give anything less than my best. I would know I had a purpose and live like it mattered.

If I knew that I could change a life, I would. I would pour my heart in soul into that person. I would make them feel loved and special. I would give them all of my heart and use all of my resources. I would know that I had a purpose and love like it mattered.

If I knew that I could change myself, I would. I would change the negative thoughts that keep me down and only let the positive ones sit in my head. I would take care of my mind and body. I would live like Jesus and be a light. I would know that I had a purpose and live like I mattered.

I know that I can change the world. I know that I can change a life. I know that I can change myself. If I know I can, I will.

STOP!

Want to join in the fun? Head on over to The Gypsy Mama to link up:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Holding back

Do you ever find yourself holding back? What about when it comes to an area in your life where you could be blessed....do you ever hold back then?

As I sat down earlier this evening to read my study for women's group tomorrow, I found myself blessed and filled up by the contents of Ruth. Yet it forced me to stop and really evaluate myself and the way I have been doing things. Take this study for instance - every week when I read through my study book and the Bible I gain so much from it. In fact, it is usually spilling out of me which is why I have to come immediately here to share it. Yet week after week when the initial blessing I receive from the word "wears off", I go right back to choosing laziness. I could be reading every night taking it in a little at a time and really letting it wash over me, spill into my day and my week. But instead I put it off, sometimes cramming it all in the night before. Do you think I am able to really soak that all in the same way I would had I spread it out over the week? I doubt it. I am holding myself back from receiving the full blessing I could be getting out of this study.

Every time I skip my devotional time, don't go to church, don't participate in one of my small groups, I miss the chance to be blessed. What about those times I feel the urge to call someone I haven't talked to in awhile just to check on them but brush it off? When that tug to help out a stranger who looks like they are struggling nags at me but I just assume some one else will do it? Or when that overwhelming urge to stop whatever I am doing to pray over someone hits but I don't act on it because I am intimidated or embarrassed? In these instances I am not only missing out on the blessings God wants to pour out on me, but also holding back the other person from receiving a blessing from God through me.

I don't want to miss any piece of what God has to give me. And I certainly don't want to get in the way of another person's opportunity to be blessed. My prayer today is that I give God every thing I have, every piece of my life. That I never hold back. I am so thankful that He never holds back when it comes to loving me and showing me grace and mercy. He gave his all, gave the life of his son so that we could know him and receive his blessings. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) What a gift!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

11 months old

Isaiah is 11 months old today. That is right, one month from now we will be celebrating his first birthday. So hard to believe that that much time has passed!

What's he up to these days?
-He loves food and wants to eat whatever we are eating. Especially if he can feed it to himself.
-He is in the process of getting his 7th and 8th teeth.
-He is finally crawling instead of scooting and boy can he move! Isaiah loves to try to keep up with his big brothers and get involved in whatever fun they are having.
-He sits himself up well now. He is often in this position clapping his hands, giggling and playing with whatever toy he has gotten his hands on.

-And of course he is moving along furniture as practice for the walking I am sure he will be doing soon.  Our littlest man is getting so big! We fall more and more in love every day:)

Stay tuned as I am sure this month will be full of posts about his upcoming birthday party. I will give you a hint...the theme is dinosaurs!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The hardest love

5 Minute Friday is upon us again. This week as we approach Easter it seems fitting to just write...to not hold back anything but just let what is within flow out. So here we go, the topic is The Hard Love:

You look down at the world that you created in seven days and while not surprised at the mess they have made, your heart is saddened. Why have your children chose the hard path? Why have they chose sin and living in the flesh when they could have it all if they just followed you? There is only one solution. One that you have known for all of time but that you have saved for this perfect moment. You send your son, your flesh and blood, to walk this Earth. To remind us of what it is all supposed to look like. To be grace and mercy. To give of himself until the very end. To sacrifice it all so that we can be saved. On that final day he walked the Earth he had to carry his own cross. The same cross that we would nail his hands and feet to until he took his final breath.

Talk about the hardest love. To love something so much that you give the ultimate sacrifice. Your own life. The life of your child. He did that. God did that for us. How could we ever deserve that kind of love? The truth is we don't. But he gives it anyway. So even though sometimes it feels hard to try to follow in the footsteps of that man who walked the earth over 2000 years ago, I will do it. I will gladly to it because I want to be a part of that kind of love. The hardest love.


Want to read other amazing thoughts on the hard love and maybe contribute your own? Head on over to The Gypsy Mama:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes - Getting Married

This week Jordan and Nathan weigh in on the idea of getting married. I can't wait to hear how their views will change in the next 10 - 20 years!

video

Monday, April 18, 2011

A season of humbling

I talked a little bit last week about the study on Ruth that I am doing with my women's small group. We have moved on to chapter two where we are looking at the depth of Boaz's generosity toward Ruth, especially considering her current station. As a widow and a Moabite she is considered the lowest of low in Israel. Yet Boaz took it upon himself to show her grace and kindness after seeing how selfless she was when it came to helping her mother-in-law, Naomi.

Throughout all of this Ruth is completely humbled, even stating in chapter 2 verse 13 that she had less standing than a servant girl and was therefore unworthy of his excessive kindness. This season of Ruth's life, from an outside perspective, looks like rock bottom. Widowed, away from her home land, partnered with a bitter mother-in-law, working by the sweat of her brow, and a foreigner. But those of us who have read the book of Ruth in it's entirety know that God is just setting Ruth up for amazing blessings. All of which stemmed from her willingness to trust and follow God even when things looked like they couldn't get any worse.

Kelly Minter, author of this particular study, talks about how she thinks that maybe the Lord took Ruth on such a humbling journey because He knew the heights to which he would one day bring her. She continues on saying that nothing prepares us for enormous blessing and impact like a season of humbling. Lets look at Jesus, the ultimate example of humbleness. He who was created from the very nature of God but took on the appearance of man and humbled himself by becoming a servant (Phillipians 2:6-8)...not too far off from where Ruth was sitting when we last checked in on her! Because he was willing to serve others before self, God exalted him to the highest place. Talk about enormous blessings!

If you are in a season of humbling and feeling like less than a servant, I encourage you to dive into scripture and see what God has to say about those who are humble. Look at Matthew 23:11-12, James 4:6,10 and 1 Peter 5:5-6 and be lifted up. Read the story of Ruth and be encouraged by the fact that God values the meek and low in spirit. If you allow yourself to be humble in His name, He will lift you up. What a blessing!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Distance

It's 5 Minute Fridays over at The Gypsy Mama again. I glanced at the topic earlier in the day but didn't have time to sit down and write. I know, it's only 5 minutes, but that was what my morning looked like!

Now that I have a little more time I am ready for my 5 minutes of writing without thinking, without editing. This week's topic: Distance.

Go!

What do I think of when I hear the word distance?
-The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. (You would think I had just left math class!)
-Distance makes the heart grow fonder. (I don't know if this is true or not...seems like it's one of those things people say obligatorily when you are being forced into a long-distance relationship)).
-The lyric's to Cake's song "Going the Distance" pops into my head. (Thanks college roomy for your never ending stream of Cake playing during road trips!)

While you have now seen the random, inner-workings of my mind, I am no closer to a topic to write about for 5 minutes! Mostly distance makes me think of being apart from people I love. Right now that would apply to my parents who live two states away and who I can't just pop over and see at any given moment. That just depresses me. So I think I will leave you circling on my first thoughts instead.

All I can say is that I hope for all of your sake that the topic next week elicits something more meaningful on my end!

Time's Up!
Want to join in the fun? Head on over and link up at The Gypsy Mama:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes - House Rules

I am going to play around with a new idea here. I am thinking about starting a series called Out of the Mouths of Babes which will feature the little ones in my life discussing different topics on camera. I think that it is so funny and enlightening to listen to kids' point of view on things! Hoping you think so too. If this is something you all enjoy I will probably make it a weekly post. I am thinking that it could possibly expand into some of you contributing videos of your little ones sounding off on hot topics. I don't know...we'll play around with it.

Anyway, this video is a little shaky as Isaiah was playing the up down game with mommy while I tried to run the video camera. I will try to do it sans baby dance next time:) Here is Nathan (4) and Jordan (3) talking about house rules:

video

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Using the scraps

It's another bamboo project! Are you ready? So far we have used bamboo place mats to create a wall hanging and a utensil holder. I still have 2 more place mats to go but I wanted to first use the scraps from the last project. Remember how I cut off part of the mat to make it fit the tin?


I knew that this scrap could be put to use so insert Idea #2 1/2: a headband.

Materials are simple: Scrap from the bamboo mat, scissors, ribbon, hot glue gun, buttons.

First I trimmed down the scrap to make a narrower strip of bamboo:

Then I cut two equal sized pieces of ribbon and thread them through each end of the bamboo strip:


I used hot glue to secure the ribbon to the bamboo (do this on each side of the ribbon):


Finally I created a flower out of buttons and secured them to the bamboo using hot glue:


And there you have it, a headband! Cute, huh? Only one problem, it was too wide and stiff to sit comfortably. But no fear, I found another use. I tied it around a plain glass canister to jazz it up a bit:

Wouldn't that make for a cute candy jar? Or something to hold a little girl's hair bows in. You could also put a candle in it and make it a centerpiece. The possibilities are endless!

Now that I have fully used the green mat I can start brainstorming ideas for the last two place mats. In the meantime, my wall hanging is being featured on another blog today so come check it out:

Monday, April 11, 2011

The importance of hard work

In the past few months God has been hitting me time and time again with the message of hard work and why it is so important. Yet again tonight in my newest study, this topic came up. As I am diving deep into the book of Ruth, the author of my study is picking apart the relevance of basically every verse in this book. Today we looked at her work ethic. Boy was that convicting! This young woman who has not only lost her husband but has been completely uprooted from her family and her home to go to a land where she is deemed an outcast, still lifts her chin up and does what she is called to do. Not just for herself but for the sake of her widowed mother in law as well. She really sets an example of how to conduct ourselves during times of hardship.

So as I am reading verse after verse in various parts of the Bible about how much God values hard work it got me thinking. It made me realize how far off from God's plan we really are. From the beginning of time, man was created to work. Adam himself was made to work in the garden. This was even before Adam and Eve sinned which tells us that God sees work not as a punishment, but as a blessing.

Now I don't know about you, but I often think of work as anything but a blessing. It is a pain, it means sacrifice, it means doing what I am supposed to over what I want to. Where is the blessing in that? But the more I try and look at it from God's point of view, the more I see what he means. The sheer willingness to work hard opens the door for God to provide for us. Look at Ruth. She was willing to get up at dawn to find a field where she could glean the leftovers all day. This is hard, roll-up your sleeves, sweat producing work. And it isn't prideful. Those leftovers were intentionally untouched for the purpose of allowing the poor to retrieve them. Despite all of that, she did it. And God blessed her by putting Boaz in her path who later turned things around for both Ruth and Naomi.

Hard work also keeps us from being idle. You have heard the saying, "Idle hands are the devil's playground." How true is that? I know that as a kid the dumbest things I did came from having too much time on my hands. Of course this applies to adulthood as well. When we are idle we are usually filling our time with things other than that of the Lord. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. - 1 Timothy 5:13.

I know that in my life this is an area that I continually feel called to change. I don't work outside the house but I still have a job. Taking care of my husband, my kids and my home is my work. And big work it is! I should be pouring myself into it each day and I hate to have to admit that more times than not I am just doing what I need to do to get by. The bare minimum. Oh what shame I feel in admitting that. But there is also freedom in the truth. I know that I am not alone in this. As you read this you may be thinking that you could write this same thing. But you want to know the good news? This doesn't have to be your truth. You have a choice and so do I. The choice as I see it is to keep living day to day, fighting all the good things God has in store for me and as a result feeling both guilty and unfulfilled OR to change the way I look at my life and my purpose. To see the blessing in serving my family and working hard in my home.  To know that God only wants what is best for me and that he is just waiting to bless me in even greater ways when I choose to be obedient. When I look at it that way, the choice seems like a no-brainer!

I am going to end this by doing something I rarely do here. But as I type this I feel like someone will read it who will understand, who will feel like I do and want to make a change. So I ask, if that is you, will you pray for me? Pray that I make the choice to be obedient to God's calling in my life to work hard and to find the blessing in that work. And in return I will be praying for you. I may not know you by name but God does so I will lift you up all the same. God Bless!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Re-Purposing a Bamboo Place Mat (Part 2)

If you missed my first post on re-purposing the bamboo place mats that I found at Target for only $2.50, you can catch up here. Isn't this wall hanging cute?


It took me a few nights to come up with my next project but once it came to me I was able to whip it out in no time. Idea #2: Utensil Holder.

I recently did some rearranging in my kitchen so I think my mind was naturally drawn to that room. I spent some time just looking around and trying to picture what I could do with the next place mat when my eyes settled on our utensil holder. I thought about a post I recently saw over at Homework that included wrapping a bamboo place mat around a vase and thought I could do something similar in creating a utensil holder. After trying a few different containers, I remembered an old rectangular shaped tin that used to hold tea. I had been hanging onto it convinced that I could use it for something and what do you know...this was that something!

Let me break it down for you:
- Materials were simple. A bamboo place mat, scissors, ribbon, tin (you could use almost any shaped container but the rectangle worked great), and hot glue gun.

- I first tested this out using the place mat in it's entirety but it was way too tall to be functional so I cut it down a bit so that it extended about an inch over the top of the tin.

- I then began attaching the place mat to the tin by hot gluing one side of the tin and then placing it on the mat and rolling it. I continued gluing and rolling until the entire tin was covered. This process was quick and seemed to hold well.




- You could easily end right here and have a perfectly functional and fun utensil holder. But I decided to add a little more color by tying on some red ribbon. First I glued a strip on the back, then I wrapped it around to the front and tied a knot. From here I wrapped the pieces around each side and glued them in place on the back.




 I am thinking about making a piece to hang off the ribbon...maybe a circle that says STIR on it. I don't know, I'll have to play around with that a little. Anyway, here's the finished project as it sits in my kitchen. This morning my three year old son walked into the kitchen and said, "Mommy, what is that present doing on the counter?" I guess it does kind of look like a present!

I hope you all are finding this series interesting. I still have two place mats left as well as the scraps from this trimmed place mat and I am really enjoying coming up with new uses for them. You never know what you'll see next!

If you met me...

It's 5 Minute Fridays at The Gypsy Mama again. Friday's are quickly becoming one of my favorite blogging days. I don't have to think, I don't have to spend a lot of time. Someone tells me what to write, I set the timer and then let it all out. I guess I partly like it because it is easy. But even more so, because it forces me to let go and to just be me. To be okay with whatever comes out. That feels good!

Anyway, back to the task at hand. Today's topic "If you met me...."

GO!

If you met me...
- You would think that you are seeing someone who hasn't put herself first in awhile and you would be right.
- You wouldn't know that I am silly and witty and like to have fun...probably not the first time we meet anyways. That's because I can be shy at first. But if you kept coming around you would know that I let go!
- You would see that not everything is perfect. And that sometimes that makes me insecure. But that mostly I am learning to let go and be happy with what I have and what I am capable of.
- I would hope that you can tell right away that I have a heart for others. That if you were to ask me for something or mention a need, that no matter how long we had known each other I would give it to you if I could.
- It would quickly become obvious that I am a mom of 3 boys. Whether it is because they are with me, one attached at the hip and the other two running circles around me or because I can't help but bring them up in every conversation. And then when you learned their ages you would shake your head and tell me that I have my hands full. At least that's what most people do.
- You might notice my deep brown eyes. The ones that came from my mom and dad and that I have passed down to two of my three boys. The eyes that I used to wish and pray would magically turn blue. But upen the realization that they really are one of my best features and that blue eyes or brown really holds no weight in who I am, I have learned to love them just the way they are.

STOP!

Want to join in? Head on over and link up!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

When you find something you love....

...you have to pass it along! At least that's what I like to do. Lately I have been spending a lot more time on other people's blogs and I keep finding myself thinking, I have to pass this along.Whether it is something that touches my heart, makes me laugh, gives me inspiration in my crafting or cooking, or teaches me how to stretch my dollar, it's just too good to keep all to myself! Now I could probably write a list of 50 or more blogs that I love, but that would just be overwhelming in one sitting. Plus my list is constantly changing. So I think for now I will share 5. And then I will make an effort to do this on a more regular basis.

So grab a cup of tea, sit down and get ready for some good reading. If you find something here that you adore as well, I would love for you to share that with me. And maybe, must maybe, you'll want to pass it along too.

I just found this blog yesterday and it is actually what sparked me to write this post. I love her honesty, her insight and the love she has for God that is just pouring out of her writing. Check out what Gina has to say at Chats With An "Old Lady".

I think this has been my lucky week in Blog Land...this is another blog I just became acquainted with in the last week and have been continually blessed since then by her writing. Get to know Rachel over at Finding Joy and I promise you will be glad you did.

I think that what I enjoy most about reading Homestead Revival is that it inspires me to be more and to expand my view on how things can be. Lately I have felt a pulling to become increasingly self-sufficient and to go back to a more basic way of living. Amy is about a thousand steps ahead of me and has some great tips for getting closer to where I want to be.

Playing House is a great blog for those of you with preschoolers and toddlers. There is a ton of inspiration for creating educationally themed activities for your little ones. There are other great posts as well but I have been especially impressed by what she is creating to enhance her daughter's daily learning at home.

Here's an oldie but a goodie: Though it may be madness, yet there is a method in it is a blog I have been following for sometime now and have mentioned several times before. But I thought it deserved a place on the list as it is always a good read. Jennie is easy to relate to and her stories about being a mom will resonate with all moms.

Go show these ladies some love, I promise you won't be disappointed. And feel free to let me know about some of your favorite blogs. Maybe they will pop up on my list next time!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Re-Purposing a Bamboo Place Mat (Part 1)

As those of you have been reading for awhile know, I love to browse the dollar section at Target. You just never know what you will find there. Case in point, my most recent purchase:


Those are 4 brightly colored bamboo place mats that I got for $2.50. Now I knew upon purchasing them that I wouldn't use them for their intended purpose. They may be cute on the table at Easter, but I saw a deeper potential. What exactly, I didn't know at the time, but I was sure it would come to me.

Enter idea number 1: A wall hanging. I saw that bright pink place mat, thought of my newly born niece and her upcoming baby shower, and knew I could come up with something.

Using stuff I had amongst my craft stash (minus the buttons which I purchased at the same time as the place mats for $1.00), I got to work:


First I took my string and slid it between the slats and then tied a knot on each side to create a way to hang my project when it was finished:


Then I played around with the layout. At first I was just going to use my niece's first name but when I realized how much open space it would leave I took the opportunity to include her beautiful middle name as well:



After getting it just the way I wanted I warmed up the hot glue gun and got to work. First adding buttons to the flowers to give them a special touch and then gluing on each letter:



And in know time at all I had whipped up a wall hanging that I am sure will brighten up her nursery even more then it brightened up my wall:


Now I still have 3 more place mats left over so keep checking back because you never know what I will do with them!

Excited to be featured on Homework! Check it out:

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