Tuesday, January 31, 2012

{family} love mail

At our last MOPS meeting, one mom shared her idea of putting Valentine's Day love mail mailboxes up in their home. She has one for each family member, and it's a place for them to tuck away love notes, kind words, pictures, or even little treats for each other. 

I loved the idea and Dylan and Ella are at great ages because they enjoy writing notes and drawing pictures. It also seemed like a fun way to spread the love during this (sometimes) dreary, cold season. And what kid doesn't love the idea of their own personal, little mailbox (complete with a flag to raise!)?

I've been keeping my eyes open for little mailboxes and I was excited to find these little guys at Target yesterday for (get ready) $1 each!

Today I pulled out some extra black vinyl I had leftover from a previous project and cut out names and heart shapes using my friend's Cricut (decorating with stickers or even a Sharpie would work as well).

{And yes, I am still obsessed with my fabric wrapped balls}

I stumbled upon these free printable love mail cards, and we're in business. I can hardly wait for the kids to get off the bus this afternoon and start sending some love!

Linking to:
Today's Creative Blogblah2beautifulIt's Overflowing52 MantelsCherished Bliss

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Winter Rush

It was approximately 11 months ago that I signed up for my first race.

Six races later and I'm totally hooked.

There are several criteria I use to decide which races to sign up for:

1) It's something new - a new distance to conquer (5K...10K...15K...25K) or a new concept to experience (adventure racing, anyone?)

2) There's a really good giveaway (think: long-sleeve dri-fit shirts, finisher medals) or a cool sounding after-party (burgers in the park? chocolate fondue? yum.)

3) There's a good opportunity for pants-peeing-type-hysterics (i.e. losing your shoe in a mud pit; sledding down a STEEP hill at what feels like 80 mph to the finish line.)

4) It's a chance to say yes, when in my former life, I would have said no.

(And it should be noted that I will never sign-up alone. I prefer to have a partner-in-crime. Or two. Or three.)

Today's race fit the bill.

New concept: an adventure race incorporating natural {snowy} elements. [Bonus points for being a first inaugural event.]

Light at the end of the tunnel: finisher medals all around + coffee at a hip coffee joint downtown.

Hijinks and hysterics? Check. With course elements like Field of Angels, Over the River and Through the Woods, Mt. Everest, and the Nantucket Sleigh Ride, how could we lose?

Saying yes to a great workout and time well spent with girlfriends? It's a no-brainer.

Thank you, Theresa, Sara & Lisa, for spending your snowy Saturday with me. What a rush!

{more on today's race here}

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One Word 365 {focus}

Aside from its chilly temps, I love January for many reasons. The holiday bustle is over. We enjoy (and then get to recover from) an amazing, yearly vacation tradition. My calendar is refreshingly uncluttered. The kids go back to school (just sayin').

Mostly, I think, I love the fresh start it symbolizes.

Last year, I jumped with both feet in to the new years' resolution game and I made a pretty good go of it. I started with an ambitious list {11 for 2011} and I was able to make progress on a lot of my goals. At the start of Year 32 in August, I also compiled another list...and in the past year there was also a summertime to do list, a list of fitness goals and a Christmas Break to do list.

I'm pretty sure the last thing I need in my life right now is another list.

I stumbled across this site a couple of weeks ago and found this idea refreshing: One Word 365. Choose one word for 2012. One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live or what you want to achieve by the end of the year.

It took a couple of weeks for the word to formulate in my head. I have a lot of different ideas about what 2012 could be and my hopes for the year cover a broad spectrum of concrete, specific goals and more intangible, harder to measure values.

The word I found the speaks to all my different desires for 2012:


My prayer these last few days when I feel distracted or unmotivated or overwhelmed...focus.

The trait that is going to help me reach my 25K goal...focus.

The best way to invest in those nearest and dearest to me without being overwhelmed by the thousands of needs all around me...focus.

My greatest hope for finishing off some of the items on my many lists {most importantly, this one}...focus.

And what do when my big kids arrive home from school breathless with stories and arms full of papers or when my two year old tells me another in-depth story in her precious just-on-the-cusp-of-a-language-break-through babble...focus.

For the next 300-and-some days (and beyond), I want to take a deep breath, re-prioritize, put my words into action, and enjoy the things (and we all know that the best things in life aren't things) that matter to me most.

In the words of this extraordinary pin, "we would do well to slow down a little, focus on the significant and truly see the things that matter the most."

{Inspired? Link up your One Word for 2012 blog post here}

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Craft Night {fabric balls}

I was up way too late last night finishing up our monthly edition of craft night {previous nights here: #1 #2 #3}.

The theme for the month was Just Do It...the goal was to bring a project that was on your 2012 Crafting To Do list (thanks to Pinterest, it seems everyone has a backlog of crafty projects).

We compiled our ideas on our group JUST DO IT January pinboard and brought our favorite picks to the table.

With snacks and drinks in hand, we worked on everything from sewing to scrapbooking to stenciling, jewelry making {bird nest + tree of life pendants}, a butterfly wall collage for a new baby girl, wood blocks for a new baby (boy?), felt hearts, coasters to gift away, and my pick of the night, fabric wrapped balls.

After a few hours of serious crafting, I am thrilled with how my fabric wrapped balls turned out. I was really starting to doubt my plan before I got going. I used the directions from Landee See, Landee Do and they worked great but I'm a details girl so I'll add a couple of side notes to her instructions.

{Fabric Wrapped Balls}

  • Styrofoam balls - These were more expensive than I anticipated. It cost me about $20 to fill this bowl (full price). I recommend waiting for a half off sale or taking your mom with you to the craft store so you can use extra coupons like I did (thanks, Mom!). I bought three sizes: large (5"), medium (4") and small (3").
  • Fabric - You don't need much. I definitely overbought in the fabric department. For example, for the three green and blue polka dot balls in the picture above (two medium, one small), I used less than 1/4 of a yard. And make sure you pick something fun! {My new decorating philosophy: surround yourself with things you love}
  • Dressmaker pins.
  • Rotary cutting mat & cutter + sewing scissors - 24 hours ago I had no idea rotary mats even existed. I asked one of my favorite crafting friends how to cut fabric in a straight line because I knew it was going to be an issue and she saved the day. I also used a yardstick so I had a straight edge to cut against.

  1. Cut your fabric into strips. For the large balls, I would cut your fabric into 1"-1 1/4" wide strips, for the medium balls, try 3/4"-1", and for the small you need 1/2"-3/4" strips. The length will depend on the size of your ball - you can start wrapping and then trim the fabric to the correct length.
  2. Wrap your fabric around the ball once so there's enough for a little bit of overlap. Cut fabric to the correct length if necessary. Pin.
  3. Turn the ball and repeat the wrapping in an asterisks-like pattern, ending in the same place each time so your pins all end up in the same area (you will end up with only one pin showing this way).
  4. For the final strip of fabric, I folded the end over before I pinned just to give it a little bit of a more finished look.
  5. Place in bowl or vase. Enjoy.

Thanks to Pinterest, craft nights are popping up everywhere. 
Have you hosted or attended a craft night recently?
{Please share the details!} 
Do you have a perfect craft night project to share? 
{Projects that are fairly simple and can be completed in a couple of hours -or- projects that are extra fun as a group effort?} 
Here's a chance for you to link up...

Thirty Hand Made DaysThe Southern Product Queen52 Mantels

Sunday, January 1, 2012

NYE 2011 {Kid Edition}

Since having kids, our New Year's Eve plan has been
to get the kids down to bed as quickly and early as possible
so we can enjoy some grown-up time before the ball drops. 

This year we took a different approach.
Since our kids (+ friends) are getting older
(ages two to seven years old, plus a 10 day old sweet baby girl)
we thought they might get a kick out of enjoying some festivities
before 2011 drew to a close. 

(And really, as usual, most of the credit should go to Pinterest.)

Our plan included:

kid-friendly food... 
and of course a healthy assortment of fruits and veggies.

...and drinks
{kid "wine" + plastic dollar store wine glasses}

craft time...

The kids did a great job on these and we were impressed that the craft held their attention for a good 30 minutes. 

They came up with some great goals for 2012, 
including learning to ride a bike without training wheels (Ella, age 5) 
and learning to Rollerblade (Gibson, age 7). 
The littlest ones in the group are hoping to stop screaming (Mady, age 2) 
and go potty in the big boy potty (Ty, age 2 1/2)
...OK, maybe those last two are their Mom and Dad's goals.

daddy wrestling...

...and party games

Happy New Year!
How did you ring in 2012?

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