Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - Is it Over Already?

I honestly can't believe that 2013 is just around the corner.  This past year has been so chocked full that I feel like I can barely believe its coming to an end - although I really am eager in anticipation to see what kind of year 2013 will be.  In thinking of this last year I can honestly say that this has been a year of transition for us.  We experienced lots of changes and have been learning how to adjust our family, ourselves and our lives to the new things.  Through this process of change I can say that I have learned a lot - especially a lot about God - maybe even more so than if things would have just been super easy.  So here is just a little look back on 2012 from this here blog and also a little personal perspective.

1.  Our big house project:  Painting the Exterior.  Ok, I think this is kind of funny because our huge project for this year (that took up a huge chuck of time) was dedicated to painting and revamping our house exterior.  The funny part is that I have never showed you a final look.  I shared the process of choosing colors, how we had lots of help, our newly painted doors, our painted shed, new lighting and the beginning of new landscaping but never did I share a painting of the house post.  That is definitely a new blog post resolution that I will work on soon!

2.  Another big project for us inside our house was working on our laundry room, bathroom and closet area (all connected in the back of our house).  I'm still working on the organization of that space as we have little space to work with so I want it to be maximized to its potential.  That is definitely an area that will see more attention again this year.
3.  I got super crafty this year - I painted silhouettes, made roman shades, pillow covers, jewelry, paint chip art and went crazy this christmas hand making ornaments and making square wreaths.  Getting crafty always helps keeps me in check, as I wrote about in this post.

4.  We had a big transition in our life this year when it came to Justin's job and student ministry.  Honestly, we look at student ministry as more of a part of our life than our job - it just wouldn't work for us any other way.  I got to start hosting girls ministry events and hosting a small group each week - both things that I have really loved doing.  This year has been difficult to juggle for me at times since I now have a two year old - who requires a lot of my attention.  I love being a mom and I love that I get to spend so much time with Silas.  It does however make it different for me when it comes to working with the youth group.  Some of the things I used to do just have to be on hold right now.  But, then I get the weekly moments with my small group as well as many other things that I still do with Justin so it has been really good.  It just took some time to figure out how to make it all work.  I'm sure that we will adjust and grow each year as our family situations change and our student ministry changes.  But over it all God is still the same and knowing that strengthens my faith.

5.  I believe this year that God has stretched us - and through that we have been taught things that we would not have learned if we had been left the same.  The greatness of God has been evident and proven over and over to us this year.  The tenderness and loving embrace of God's word and presence of the Holy Spirit has been evident - many times leaning on God's wisdom and strength to walk us through different situations.  For me, the word Faith has been brought forth many times - God has wanted me to strengthen my faith and learn how to fully trust Him in every little detail.  I pray for an increase in faith daily and God is still showing me how faithful He is.  Justin and I have definitely grown this year spiritually and I believe closer as a couple as life has changed and shifted.  God is always molding and shaping us - pruning us when we need to grow.  I'm thankful for all of that.

6.  This year I have done a lot of praying about this blog - about what it needs to be, where God wants it to go and honestly if I even wanted to continue.  As odd as it might sound I finally feel at peace with it and am excited about the direction its going.  This blog has meant a lot to me - I've put a lot of time, sweat and emotion into it (as many other bloggers would totally agree with when it comes to their own blogs).  For me it has been an outlet of sorts and also just something that I truly enjoy doing.  I'm so thankful for all of you that have been on this journey with me and continue to come back.  You guys are the best and I can't wait to see where this blog goes in 2013!

Hope you all have a wonderful New Year!  We are on our way to Atlanta for the Passion Conference and we can't wait!  I'll be sharing with you soon!!

PS - I have finally updated my project page with all of our projects, events and crafts!  Everything should be easier to find now, yay!

Linking Up Here!

Covered in Grace

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our Christmas

Its been such a nice week enjoying Christmas with our family.  Justin, Silas and I are so blessed to have a big, loving family - on all sides and all around.  Its definitely something we were aware of this year and did not want to take the time we had together for granted.

We were able to spend lots of time with Justin's family (most of which who live in Tennessee) this year.  We have totally missed them and loved being able to talk, laugh and catch up over the past several days.  Justin has six brothers and one sister plus we have lots of nieces and nephews and sister and brother in laws- so its a big crowd!  We love it though.  We are pooped but enjoyed every minute.  This is also the one time of year that all of my cousins and aunts and uncles get together and catch up - I look forward to it every year and enjoyed it so much!  I was able to snap a few family shots with my family  that included my grandparents (Silas' great-grandparents).  So glad we finally got that chance to get those.

Silas has a little cousin, Maddux - they are about 7 weeks apart in age.  We love seeing them together, especially since they live in different States.  Isn't this so precious?  I love it.

Christmas is even more fun when you have a kid who starts to understand what is going on.  It was so fun to see his face on Christmas morning!   I love this shot of Silas right when he came out and saw his big train set.

He's been busy playing ever since!  

Well we are in the middle of taking down all the things we put up (we are one of those families - once Christmas is over everything comes down immediately) and gearing up for our next big thing.  Next week we are taking our College students to Atlanta for the Passion Conference - such a great experience.  I'll be sharing it with you while we are there!  

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and can't wait to catch up with you!  Thanks for stopping by today!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Easy Gift Wrapping Ideas

Is this considered last minute?  What if you aren't finished shopping either?  Well, I think its just the right time to do some lovely gift wrapping.  I have always loved wrapping gifts, I know its not everyone's thing but I love taking time to make things pretty.  This year I wanted to keep it simple and a little rustic so let me share what I've been doing.

Let's start with gift tags first.  I love making my own, they add so much to a gift and really are easy to make.  I grabbed a little pack of christmas papers at my local craft store and then used some other paper things I already had to make mine this year.  I didn't print anything off and each and every one is different and unique.

Here are the supplies you'll need:

Christmas Papers
Hole Punch
Glue Stick
Craft Punch (if you have one)

I simply made a tag stencil and cut all of my tag shapes out and then used my paper and punches to decorate them.  A little hole punch and they are ready!

Ok, on to paper.  My favorite thing I found this year for wrapping was at the dollar store (surprise, surprise).  They have a great little postal section at the dollar tree that includes brown paper rolls for mailing - but its so perfect for wrapping gifts.

I also found some paper at Target that I liked - it had the colors I was looking for and I liked that it looks kind of like a sweater so it kept it all rustic looking.

I wanted to keep the packaging simple but pretty so I decided to use yarn, twine and bakers twine for my trimmings.  Those are all things I already had so I didn't have to spend money on bows that always fall off and never want to stick.  

I didn't have to spend very much to wrap and I love how everything turned out - simple.

Are any of you wrapping lovers like me?  What kind of things do you do to make your gift wrapping special?

Have a great Thursday!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Its a Country Christmas

The Christmas crafting has slowed down here and the Christmas gatherings have gone into full swing. We kicked off the weekend Friday night with a party here for our Seniors in youth group, we ended the weekend Sunday night with a cookie exchange with my girls community group and in between we hosted a Christmas cookie exchange with my mom and sister - which we dubbed A Country Christmas after showing up dressed like we were on our way to Remington Grill (which we do love coincidently).  I promise we didn't plan it.

Really though, for us our family gathering on Saturday was more about spending time with each other than christmas cookies or decorations.  

Although, there were a ton of Christmas cookies to share.

So after my sister and I proudly sported our plaid flannel Justin had to get in on the fashion statement and wore his too.  We were a flannel loving family that day, he even found Silas' matching plaid shirt.  Justin would like me to mention that he is growing his beard back for all of those wondering - big news being announced here on the blog today, big news.

We laughed so much taking these pictures and it was so nice to have a down day of just relaxing and eating cookies and playing sporcle quizzes (one of Justin's favorite things).  Seriously though, its a great activity/game to do with kids when you are all together.  Its just a site full of quizzes and trivia and you can pretty much find a quiz on anything.  We did several Christmasy ones and also had fun with my niece playing the disney movie ones.  I would just like to say that my team dominated the Christmas Song category.

We finished the day by our fire pit in the back, its really just a table with a fire pit but it was nice - the perfect ending to a Country Christmas.

I have a little bit more to share about our other cookie exchange this weekend as well as some ideas for wrapping so stay tuned!

Do you guys have any Christmas gatherings in the near future?  I'd love to know all the fun details!  Share with me!

Hope you all are having a great Tuesday! Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

DIY Boxwood Square Wreath

This was one of those projects that I got excited about - but first some backstory.  One day I went browsing around West Elm and saw a square boxwood wreath that I just loved.  I passed by it several times debating on whether or not I really wanted it.  Then I checked the price to confirm that I really didn't need it.  That baby was $59 - for a little square wreath.  After thinking a few days on it I realized that I could totally make one myself.  So here's is my easy diy boxwood square wreath that cost me......$12 to make!!!  Now you can feel my excitement.  It was also super easy!

So my first step was to make a trip to the craft store.  The closest one to my house is AC Moore, so that's where I went.  Before I could even get into the store there was a huge bin sitting outside the door with boxwood garland - on sale for 50% off.  I couldn't believe how easy this was.  So I grabbed two boxwood garlands for $6 a piece and I was good to go.

Next I needed a square frame so I grabbed a diaper box and cut out four equal pieces to assemble my wreath frame.

It was as easy as hot glueing them together.

After I had my frame I decided the best way to make my wreath was to pull off all of the little boxwood  stems off of the garland.  Silas loved this part and he was a great help with this project.  

Then I simply glued and glued and glued.  Not going to lie, it was a little tedious at times - not hard just monotonous.  I first wanted to achieve a base of boxwood so I slathered a bunch of hot glue on the cardboard frame and laid down my boxwood on the glue.  I did this until I had a good base.

You can see in this picture below what I'm talking about with the base.  Then I took little pieces at a time and glued and filled in until I had a nice full wreath of boxwood.

It took me a few hours -  probably about 3 hours total.  I didn't do it all in one day and at one sitting.  I did a little at a time when I had a few minutes.  There was a point when I thought I would never get all the holes filled in but then it all of sudden seemed to be finished.

I love it and I love that it cost me way less to make.  I think I will totally leave it out after Christmas too.  This is definitely a year round wreath.

Don't you just love those projects where you make something you totally love for way less than you could have bought?  Share with me your success stories!!  I would love to know!

Hope you guys are having a wonderful Thursday!

Linking Up Here:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our Christmas Mantel (Kind Of)

Yesterday I showed you my easy diy burlap and ribbon banner along with our little painted shutter so today I just have our little "mantel" all put together to share.  Its really not a mantel, its the top of an antique cabinet but its as close to a mantel that we have.  I love decorating for Christmas and checking out other people's christmas decorations, its just fun to me.  I even love going into those all year long Christmas shops - they are the best, I could spend hours in there looking at all of the ornaments and things.  So here's a little sample of our Christmas decorating going on in our house this year.

Besides my diy banner I also used the reindeer silhouettes I made earlier to bring in the gold, red and black colors.

I love this little Santa Claus we have up here - my cousin handmade it for me years ago.  I've always loved the diy aspect of this little guy, he's all handmade down to his little clothes.  

There's something so pretty about twinkling lights at night.  I love this view from the kitchen.

I love the traditional Christmas colors but I also love it when people do something different and decorate with turquoise, hot pink or all white.  What a fun time of year!

So are you guys more traditional when it comes to your christmas decorating or do you like to try different things?  Share with me!