Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our Christmas Miracle...

On Christmas Eve our family had a miracle take place! I still don't even know how to talk about it. We are all still in awe and speechless.

We were home, and someone rang our doorbell... a man I don't know. He handed me an envelope and said it was from someone who cared about us. He left, and I came inside. Gil and I opened it, and found inside ten $50 bills! I just broke down and cried. We were so thankful and overwhelmed. We have no idea where it could have come from, or who could have known how much it was needed.

The past few years have been hard... the last few months, sometimes even harder. We feel like things are getting better, we just have to get through the next few months. This unexpected gift was a ray of light and hope, a hug from the Lord, and just what our aching souls needed. We gathered our family and praised Him together, asking that those who provided would be blessed a thousand-fold. It was so amazing how the Lord showed His great love for us. We are grateful, thankful, and so very blessed.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
~1John 3:1

Happy Birthday!

Today we celebrate Zac's 14th birthday! We are so proud of our wonderful, responsible, smart, and caring young man!!! We love you, Zac!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas!

{Beautiful Photography by Cindy Gongon...
card designed by me using StoryBook Creator Plus and the Holiday-Traditional artwork}

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cute Snowman Game!

As one of the room moms in Jacob's class, I'm helping plan the snowman-themed "winter celebration" in his class tomorrow. I have the responsibility of bringing in the "Put the Buttons on the Snowman" game. I had so much fun putting this together, that I thought I would share. It will be fun for the kids in class... and a great way to keep the houseful of kids I'll have at home next week occupied!

This could be done as a fun activity for kids to play with, or as a game. So here are the supplies I gathered for the snowman and the game. I made two snowmen, so we can have two games running simultaneously. I used posterboard for the snowman, post-it notes for the items to "pin" on {can I just say that post-it notes are one of my most favorite things ever?!!}, scissors, marker, white printer paper, and some dark paper to make a hat. The painter's tape will hold the snowman on the wall, and the bandanas are for the kids to wear as blindfolds during the game. Here we go!

First, with one piece of posterboard, I made the snowman's body. You could totally adapt this and make your entire snowman on one piece of posterboard, or several pieces of printer paper. I wanted a big snowman! I also didn't worry about being perfect. A lumpy snowman is ok with me!

I found my largest lid to trace for a his head.

He is looking good!

I used my marker to put in a whimsical outline, and make the eyes and mouth. Now if you wanted to make this as an activity, rather than a game with blindfolds, you could opt to not draw the eyes and mouth, but make them the same way I made the other decorations.

And here come the post-it notes! Aren't they so fun? I have a great selection of 4x4 notes, so I used an assortment to cut into 4" circles.

I then outlined them, and added the button detail.

More post-its to make....

...carrot noses!!! Since this game has to endure 22 students plus siblings, I am making lots of extras!

Isn't he cute???! Hmmm.... he's missing something, though...

I cut a hat out of a piece of dark paper, colored in some cheery cheeks, and added another button. I think he's adorable!

Finally, I put sets of the buttons and noses on sheets of printer paper, ready for the "Put the Buttons on the Snowman" game. Like I said, I made a bunch of sets... the kids will have their choice of button colors. And, if anything needs to be replaced before we are done playing, we are well-stocked! I'll use the painter's tape to attach the body, head, and hat to the classroom wall. I can't wait for tomorrow! So, do you think you might want to make your own snowman?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Beautiful Tables

So yesterday, I shared about my table at our church's annual Christmas Tea. Today I am going to show off some of the other gorgeous tables I really enjoyed.

This is my friend Jenny's adorable table! It was just over-the-top in cuteness!!! She and her mom decorated it together. They did a great job!! When I arrived around noon on Friday to set up my table, Jenny just happened to be there, too. You can see in the background that many tables were not yet decorated.

Doesn't this table just scream fun? Jacob loved Miss Jenny's table! All those treats sure were tempting!!

This table is stylish and classy, just like my friend Melanie! {I'm pretty sure this is one of the two tables she decorated.} I love the mix of modern and traditional elements.

I couldn't resist zooming in on these fabulous details! I love the birds... and all the beautiful ornaments. Somehow, I managed not to get any pictures of Melanie's other gorgeous table. But this one makes me happy.

I love how this table puts the focus on the reason for the Season. Such a beautiful Nativity!

This table was decorated with apples, and the banner around the tree in the centerpiece says, "The Apple of His Eye". Those cups and saucers are one of my favorite china patterns, too!

I have used my pink and green "Desert Rose" dishes to decorate a tea table for four years. I am always drawn to any other table using pink to decorate for Christmas. Here is one that is very sweet. I later learned that my good friend Missy decorated this table! Her sister made the gorgeous centerpiece.

And I like this pink table, too. Abbie called this the "lemonade table" because the water glasses look like they are drinking pink lemonade!

I love all the traditional Christmas-y tables a lot. This one is quite elegant.

I like this one, too! Makes me want to make my own forest of trees... I later found out that it was decorated by the mother of my friend Jeanette! I just love all the gold and red, and of course, the trees.

This table is very traditional, and very pretty. Look at the little gifts waiting for each guest. Next year, I need to zoom in on all the favors at each table.

It is amazing how many different centerpieces adorn the tables. When I decorated my first table in 2007, I had no idea what to do about a centerpiece. Well, there is no shortage of ideas in this room!

I had to take a picture of this table because I just love cardinals!!! I lived my whole life without ever seeing one, except in pictures. Then we moved to North Carolina and they are everywhere. I just love them! This table is wonderfully done, too.

This table is just, wow! I love seeing the unexpected. I am still tickled by the individual bottles of sparkling cider. It is all the little touches that each woman brings to her table that makes this event so fun! The background of this photo shows the sea of tables... this is such an amazing event!

Jacob, who was helping me decorate my table, was very excited to tell me that we even had an "I Spy" table! Of course, I had no idea what in the world he was talking about. Then he showed me this amazing centerpiece. I just have to talk more about it in another post! {Update: after I went to Bible study on the Thursday following the tea, I learned that one of my sweet ladies, Mary, decorated this table and made this family heirloom!!! It was so fun to learn that fact!}

I thought this table was particularly dramatic. The table linens looked like silk, and the colors were smoky shades of purple and lavendar. My photography does not do it justice!

It is always fun to see different interpretations of Christmas decor. I love what Sandy did here! Again, so unexpected. I wish I could have a photo of every table. I did not even get to see all of the 80 tables decorated. But that just makes me look forward to next year's event all the more!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Tea!

One of my favorite things since moving to Charlotte is the annual Ladies Christmas Tea at our church. The first year I attended, I was in total awe.... Eighty tables for eight each creatively set for a tea party. Now, for the 4th year in a row, I have been blessed to decorate a table!

Poor Jacob has had another infection in his salivary gland (we are awaiting a referral to see a specialist), so he was with me on Friday when I set up my table. Jacob was a very good helper!

Here is my table, ready for today! Once we had my table set, Jacob and I went around and admired all the other pretty tables.

We had a surprise invitation for Abbie to also attend the tea! It was fun to get dressed up and go together. Last year she got to help me set up my table, but has never attended.

Abbie sat with her Joslyn friend at a table with no adults. I think she enjoyed her first experience at the Christmas Tea!

We ate yummy, yummy food! The assortment of treats is always fun. And we enjoyed beautiful music and a wonderful speaker. I especially appreciated the message of hope that she shared.

The highlight of the day, of course, is the fabulous fellowship with good friends. It was great to spend the afternoon with Lori, Noelle and Robin! The annual tea is truly one of my favorite Christmas traditions!!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

{A traditional page using Jacob's word art he brought home from school this week.}

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
~Colossians 3:16-17

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Great Fall Season of Sports!

Today we ended a great season of flag football and soccer! It was a glorious fall day... warm, sunny, and beautiful. Jacob had his last flag football game this morning. And Abbie played two games this afternoon.

No more weekly practices...

No more Saturday games....

I have been SO proud of Zac this season because he has had his first job! Each Saturday he has been a referee for 2-3 games, earning pretty good money for a 13 year old.

{Card I made for the coach}

We love Jacob's flag football coach. He has done such a great job with the boys. Jacob really enjoyed flag football. It really clicked with him, more than soccer ever has. At first I wondered about running plays with 7 and 8 year olds. But for Jacob, it really worked. He liked knowing he had a job and what he needed to do. In contrast, soccer was too random. He can't wait to play flag football again in the spring!

Abbie had a great season in soccer. She is a good player and sure plays hard. We love her coach, too, and were glad she got to play another season with him. We aren't sure where she will be in the spring, so we really enjoyed this season. Coach Pete had me make these cards up to give out to all the girls. I love being able to do stuff like this!

And then the parents surprised him with this 16x20 poster! It was really fun to make, especially since I had access to such gorgeous photos, courtesy of one of the dads from the team. Needless to say, Coach Pete was blown away with his gift!!!

As a mom, I'm looking forward to the break that the end of the season brings. But at the same time, it was a lot of fun and it is sad that it's over!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A giveaway and my Open House is coming!

I just LOVE fall! Here in North Carolina, we have had sunny skies, warm days, crisp nights, and brilliant, brilliant colors with all the changing leaves. It is a rich, magnificent time of year, especially as we begin to prepare for Thanksgiving!

I have mentioned many times how much I love Paper Album Kits! Well, here is an exclusive Give Thanks Paper Album Kit that you can only get by visiting my friend Nicki's blog! I have the pleasure of sponsoring a giveaway over there starting today --- leave a comment on her blog and you might be the one who is blessed with this gorgeous little kit when she draws a name on Monday! You will just love Nicki's heart for the Lord, her transparency, and her love for her family.

And if you are visiting me from Nicki's blog, welcome! I love visitors!!!

I hope you will consider attending my Open House next week! I can't wait to show off all the fun ideas for fast, easy, and meaningful gifts. I will also be unveiling my Winter Schedule with workshops, Faithbooking Classes, Mommy & Me Classes, and more! I'd love to do a fun and inspiring Photo Solutions Party with you, too... you get credit towards photo processing, photo gifts, or free products -- your friends get a night out, photo-taking tips, and easy ways to enjoy their pictures now.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to go visit Nicki and enter to win the gorgeous Give Thanks Paper Album Kit!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Celebrating your Star!

I am in the process of working on an end-of-season coach gift and remembered this picture I wanted to share. One of my awesome customers has kids who are athletes. Last spring, her daughter's softball team had a perfect 17-0 season!!! To celebrate, Susan made her daughter this gorgeous poster! I happened to be at Susan's home a while back and was able to see it in person and take a photo {that in no way does this 20x30 poster justice}!
Isn't this such a cool idea?! It is a natural for celebrating a coach or an athlete... but would also be great for a teacher, a dancer, a cheerleader, a pet lover, a horse rider, a special couple, a grad, a dad.... well, you get the picture! What a terrific gift for a hard-to-please teen. It is so easy to get started because you can go here to pick out free designs, upload some photos, drop them in, and order! {If you need a consultant ID for your CM Digital Center account, you can use mine: 24915986.}

I am also able to make custom posters for you in a variety of sizes. You send me the photos and I send you the finished product ready for hanging or framing. What fun project would you like to display?
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