Thursday, June 26, 2014

Simple Summer | Hot Dogs at the State Park

This summer I've committed to less. We're still busy. Everything I do I am prone to throw myself in 110%. So even the very few commitments this summer make time full. But this summer I'm being intentional about small simple evenings with great delight. Evenings that will mark this summer as the one we did family together time, simply. Already in the week and a half of summer we have had much of that. And I am so grateful.

Sunday night on a whim, after a very, very busy morning (though intensely rewarding) working with kids, we decided to head out to the state park to roast hot dogs. We called my brother to see if he wanted to meet us there. We stopped on the way at the corner store to get a Discover Pass and hot dogs.

Then we went to the park and the kids played. Uncle showed up shortly after we arrived and he brought his camera.

These are some of his amazing photos. Love, love, love that he likes to photograph his nephew and neices.


And these are mine. Far less perfect, especially displayed in the same post as his, but beautiful to me, just the same, because they are my children and it was a delightful evening of being family.

 This is the man that I love, more than any other.

This is my favorite because only Uncle can get such silliness out of these three.

May your summer evenings be filled with delightful God-given simple family time.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Teacher and Bus Driver Appreciation | Free Printable

There are a lot of good teachers out there. This year we have been on the receiving end of a lot of love from our kids' teachers. We are so blessed. Each teacher was different, with different strengths and in each case the teachers seemed to be perfectly matched to our kids. A God thing. No question.

We also have an awesome bus driver. Seriously. I had no idea how important a good bus driver is until I stood at the bus stop for the first time with Daniel as a kindergartener. It took us half the year to warm up to even riding the bus! So I seriously appreciate our bus driver as much as our kids' teachers!

I have been intentionally cutting back in the creativity department these days. I just don't have a lot of extra in me. I put Pinterest to good use and rounded up some good ideas that worked for what I bought. (I almost always do gift cards for the teachers. I figure a teacher can only have so many mugs. Right? But you can buy toilet paper at Target if that's what you need. Just saying.)

The Target card printable I found here. My son was SUPER impressed with this. Honestly, so was I.

I got the Starbucks idea here. But they didn't have the right size for the gift card I got at QFC, so I designed my own. Mercy said Mr. W. drinks coffee all the time, so she thought Starbucks was a good choice.

The Subway one I did up. You can download it here for FREE. Honestly, I don't know if our bus driver likes Subway, but I have a hard time giving a guy a Target card and I've never seen him drinking coffee. So Subway it was.

Happy Summer! It's finally here!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Maybe Three Decades

It's had been at least twenty years for sure, but I really think it's been three decades since I had been on a bike.

Eric has been talking about me getting a bike for the last two years. I kept putting him off. I've not really had any desire to ride a bike and I didn't think he needed one more thing to store in the garage. In the last month my heart started to soften.

There's a reason. In 2013 I decided to get on the running bandwagon. I got a treadmill and I was working out five to six days a week. Halfway through the year I started to feel really uncomfortable about the amount of time I spent on the treadmill. An hour six days a week is kind of a lot. Because our treadmill is so loud and we have a small house, it's too noisy to do when the kids are sleeping. The kids started asking if I was working out again. I started to cut back on the time on the treadmill, limiting to the time that all three kids were in school. At the same time I was starting a new job and a new volunteer position, which kept me busy most of the days that my kindergartener was in school. Working out on that beloved treadmill dwindled to almost nothing. And I'll be honest, it was easy to stop. I really detest sweating and physical exertion. No sweet high for me.

It was about that time that my posting here became less and less frequent, as well.

I gained twenty-five pounds. It shocked me. I know that most of you are going, "Duh. I could see that coming." I didn't. It came on fast. I didn't expect it because I had never really worked out faithfully in my whole life prior to this last year. After a couple of people asked me if I was pregnant I decided it was not okay. I also went through a significant health scare after my first mammogram.

I cut out pop. (A huge deal, if you know me.) The weight isn't just falling off, like I think it should by giving up such a staple in my diet. (I still have ONE pop, ONE time a week. Don't judge me.) I know activity is key. I'm not willing to commitment to the daily hour on the treadmill while the kids are home this Summer. Fall may be a different story (Gracie will be in first grade and at school every day then).

So, I said yes to my husband about getting a bike. Last night we went on a bike ride, all five of us. I got the cheapest ladies bike at Wal-mart (still a bit pricey for my level of commitment). But it is adorable, vintage style, cantaloupe and powder blue. A high school girl out on a walk with a boy told me I had the coolest bike. This forty year old middle-aged momma felt pretty flattered by that.

So family bike rides this Summer? Yes, please! And I do not fool myself into thinking that this is really all that much exercise. Eric took the front and I followed up in the rear, staying behind with Gracie, who is pedaling her hardest, but those 16" bike wheels require a lot of action to go the distance.

It's true what they say, it didn't matter that I hadn't been on one in thirty years.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Project Life | Week 14 and 15

Project Life Week 14

The biggest dilemma I ran into when going so long without working on Project Life, I discovered I can go days and days without taking a single picture and the few I took really aren't that great. Two of these photos I took when the girls sat down to work on Project Life with me and I realized I hadn't take photos all week. But I muddled through.

Project Life Week 15

This week the photos I took fit on one page. But the kids had gone to their grandparents' house for a couple of nights, so my mother-in-law blessed me with LOTS of photos. I didn't use all of them, but I did use a bunch. So after a lot of single page spreads, I did a four page spread for Week 15.

I went back to my comfort zone in designing cards for inserting. I'll just be honest, I really struggle to use the pre-packaged stuff. No judgement, but it throws my creativity for me. I actually loved how these four pages turned out. Lots more journaling and I do love that.

I used a glitter filler card on this page. It reminded me the look of gravel. I repeated that glitter on the right side in the little pockets (see below).

And now Project Life is feeling a little less overwhelming. Now I think I'm just five weeks behind. I already have the photos inserted for weeks 16 and 17. I just need to go back in and do the embellishing and journaling, etc.

Once I am all caught up, I'm going to go back to offering some freebies. So my loyal Freebie Followers, don't give up on me just yet.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Project Life | March {Weeks 10-13}

It was a Monday morning. I'd gotten the older two on the bus, to start the last month of school. The youngest was still sleeping. I sat down at the computer and sorted out my photos by weeks. I didn't really want to count how many weeks I was behind, but my sequential mind needed to know how far back I was going. Eleven weeks. Could I do anything of any quality if I was really eleven weeks behind? I needed to give it a try.

You know it's bad when you can post a month at a time. Yep, I've fallen behind on Project Life. And this willful girl is refusing to admit defeat. I am not giving up. I am living proof AGAIN that you CAN get caught up on Project Life.

Week 10 was really fun to put together. I spent the most time on it. It was a special week, Eric turned 40!

Left Side

Left side: Detail 

Right Side

Right Side: MOD Pizza sticker detail

Right Side: Ticket stub detail

This was my first time ever for an insert. I took the cover of the program for the play we'd gone to see the weekend of Eric's birthday and I sewed it together with all of the cards and notes and drawings the kids had made for Eric's birthday. I have always struggled to know which of those things to keep. This seemed to work really well and I will likely do it again, at least for milestone birthdays (like 40).

Week 11

I loved the colors this week and I loved the layout. What I didn't love was that I printed my photos on my printer and I just didn't love how dull they ended up being. But when you're behind, you just have to let perfection go. At least I do, or nothing would ever get done!

Week 12

My least favorite layout to date. But again, with the perfection. Sometimes you just have to move on, which was the case with this layout.

Week 13

I liked this layout except for the fact that it reminded me too much of one I had done recently. I do love a couple of details that I have on this page.

My grandpa had his 92 birthday this week. A big deal.

I included a letter that my grandma wrote to him and read to all of us at the party. It was incredibly honoring and I wanted to include it. I folded it up and tucked it in the sleeve, only showing part of it. But it's sewn in such a way that it can be pulled out and unfolded to read and then refolded and tucked back in.

So that was a month...