Monday, December 15, 2014

Holly Jolly Happenings...(+ free printable!)

(Get this free printable here!)

The most wonderful time of year is upon us and while I'd love to be back in the blogging saddle more consistently right now, I've been busy with many other things and intentionally spending more time with my family. As you can tell from this and this, my world has been turned upside down since August. Blogging is still a passion of mine, and my plan is to get back to it more often starting in January.

To catch you up, here's what's been going on lately:

1. We are finishing up our first semester ever of homeschooling. My girls are in 6th, 3rd and 1st grade and these last few months have taught me a few things.

  • I'm stronger than I thought I was. Doesn't the song say, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger?" While I hate the song, I think it might have a little truth to it. The jury's still out. I'll keep you posted, but if you don't hear from me again, forget everything I just said.
  • Never say "NEVER". After 38 years of life, I should know better. I have said for years I would never homeschool. The fact is while I do not love everything about it, I like a whole lot about it. However, there are days when I have to remind myself exactly what it is that I like and hope that the next day will be better.
2. Our days in this apartment are numbered and for that I am so thankful! We are building a house and hope to move in next Spring. So, in the meantime, we are learning to share our personal space and looking forward to having a little more of our own space in the near future. It will be worth it! We decorated very simply this year with one of our small trees adorned with the girls' keepsake ornaments, new stockings (because we can't find our old ones - 3/4ths of our belongings are still in boxes), and a lighted wreath above the mantel. On the bright side, it will be easy taking it all down.

3. With my husband's new job (hence the reason we moved to Kentucky), we have more time together as a family. It's been such a blessing! We have explored so many fun places in just this short time of living here. Some of our favorites have been the Cincinnati Art Museum, The Cincinnati History Museum, and the Creation Museum. (Do you detect a theme?) Stay tuned for my review of all of our favorite places in case you plan to visit Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati anytime in the future.

4. I have begun a new adventure in the world of essential oils! I started using essential oils several months ago and have been amazed at how they help me and my family to stay healthy or heal from different things. I plan to post periodically about the oils I love and use most, but if you'd like more info in the meantime, check out my website!  I'm a believer in the power of these natural oils and benefit greatly from using them. Do you use them? If so, what are your favorites and what do you use them for? I'd love to know!

That's about all for now! I'll be back soon, but until next time.... Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Check out my Pinterest boards for lots of Christmas inspiration!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Experiences...

Hey People! Remember me? Yeah, I'm sorry it's been so long since normal blogging has occurred.  We are finally starting to feel like normal people again after our big move {read: life-altering experience}. Since moving to Kentucky, we've been experiencing lots of 'new' stuff. Prior to moving here, we had never even been to this area except for a brief, whirlwind weekend when Hubs and I came to find a temporary home to live in. Every weekend is a new adventure as we explore our new home. I have to say, it's full of so many fun things to do! My husband's schedule allows for a 3 day weekend every weekend {after 7 years of being on call for 24/7} so we spend nearly every Friday and Saturday exploring the Cincinnati area. I had no idea how much history there is here!! We are really loving it here. {Keep in mind, winter hasn't come yet.....hopefully, I'll still love it after Winter.}

Another new for us is living in an apartment. While apartment life is less-than-glamorous, it is kind of nice to have very little cleaning to do. The downside is that we are living among stacks of boxes and cannot find anything. The plus-side is that we will only live here until Spring. Thankfully, our house sold very quickly in South Carolina and we've already begun the building process of our new house. We are so excited to move into our new house! {My pinterest boards pretty much prove how excited I am!} It's been over 12 years since the Hubs and I lived in an apartment and this is a first for our kids. Needless to say, it is very much different than living in a house and presents unique challenges like keeping the noise-level to a minimum.....with 3 kids....on the 3rd floor....  I never realized how loud we were when walking up the stairs or just casually through the house. Someone should have told us we sounded like a stampede! We are learning to be a little more quiet, so that is a good thing, I guess.

Probably the biggest 'new' thing in our lives is homeschooling. I still cannot believe that homeschooling is a part of my life. I specifically remember saying {more than once} I would never homeschool. It's not because I had anything against homeschooling in particular, it just wasn't what God had for our family until now. We were very fortunate to live in an area of South Carolina that had good public schools {we had already tried out christian school, too} and we had very good experiences in our schools there. There are obvious advantages to all three types of schooling, but for this year, we are thankful to be homeschooling. There are moments when I want to pull my hair out, but mostly we all enjoy it. I absolutely love the flexibility. It has been such a stress relief to me not to have to run to and from two different schools doing carline and packing lunches, doing homework all evening, etc. With all the change that happened in our lives in late August/early September, homeschooling has been a blessing allowing us to adjust slowly into our new setting here. As always, we'll take it year by year and decide what's best for each child each year. We're moving into a good school district, so who knows what our future holds!

One thing I keep hearing about is the winter weather. As soon as people hear we are from South Carolina, they seem almost too happy to tell us about last year's horrible record-breaking winter and then they ask us how we are going to survive it. I happened to love SC's mild winters (if one can love a winter) as I'm not a big fan of freezing to death. I don't like to be cold and I don't like to wear winter coats. I'm pretty sure I only wore my wool coat maybe two times last winter. However, I'm pretty sure I will survive my first Kentucky winter. I just won't go anywhere until Spring. ;) Hubs grew up in Massachusetts so he will be fine. I'm praying Kentucky will have an unusually mild winter - who cares what the farmer's almanac says? We did buy our kids their very first pairs of snow pants/coats, though, just in case.

So, that's what we have been doing around here lately. I'll be back to blogging a little more regularly soon. Sewing in this apartment is not exactly 'fun', so I may not get my sewing machine out until I have a proper place set up in my new house. Have I mentioned how excited I am about that?!?

Happy Hump Day to all of you! How are you preparing for your winter?? Any winter survival tips for this southern girl are greatly appreciated.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Coming Out of a Whirlwind...

As you may have seen in my last post, my family and I recently relocated to Kentucky! This is partly why I've been absent from the blogging world for a little more than a month. In some ways it feels much longer than a month, but in other ways, I still can't believe I live in Kentucky already. This post may be more interesting to personal friends and family, but I thought I'd tell you a bit about our life for the last month. If you aren't really interested, feel free to skip this post until I can find my thread and start sewing again!
My husband and I had been praying for a new job for him for close to two years. His past job was very demanding and downright stressful for quite a few months. There were some extremely challenging and emotionally draining weeks and months there and times when our girls hardly got to see their dad. Family dinners were very rare and even going to church as a family was difficult without being disrupted by work. Needless to say, we really wanted a change in jobs. To make a long story short, we prayed fervently for almost two years about it. During that time, we learned many valuable lessons about Who God is. I have known for a very long time that God is faithful, but I grew to appreciate Him so much more during those challenging times. He loves, He forgives, He is always with me, His grace really is sufficient for every need and His timing is perfect.
Fast forward to July of this year. My husband had been putting in resumes all over the country and some even international (without my knowing!!) so when he started getting calls back from these places, I was a little nervous. He had a job offer in Maine previous to this that we had turned down. It was just way too far from 'home' and Winter hadn't exactly been nice there last year - who am I kidding?!? They still had snow on the ground in April when he received the offer. No, thank you! Then, he had an opportunity to go to Turkey. ?? Even further from home. So, we kept looking. In July, he had a few interviews all in different states. One was ruled out pretty quickly. It finally came down to the last two. One in NC, one in KY. So, we prayed more specifically and he went back for final interviews. We really didn't know which way to go. Through a series of events, we decided to choose KY. We were thrilled about it! This was an answer to a few very specific requests that we had prayed and hoped for for a long time. He accepted the job July 31st. And that's when the CRAZY began!
As soon as he accepted, he gave his two week notice at work. By August 4th, we had a realtor to help us sell our house, a moving company was lined up to give us a quote on moving our earthly belongings and I was hosting my 2nd sewing camp at my house. On the second day of sewing camp, the mover came to walk through the house during my sewing camp with 9 girls, including my own 3. That night, our realtor came to take pics of our house for the MLS. Meanwhile, I was cleaning and packing up personal belongings. August 8, my husband and I left for Kentucky to search for a temporary place to live. We had essentially one day to figure it out because he had to be back to work that Monday. On our way out of town, we sold my husband's vehicle because it wouldn't have made it to KY from SC. He had listed it on Craigslist and just a few hours later, it sold! So, we drove to this very unfamiliar city to try to find housing that we could move into 2 weeks later. We did find an apartment to lease short-term (which was harder than we anticipated!). By this time, we had also decided on a moving company and had already had a few showings on our house. We got back to SC and had to get our 'stuff' packed that we didn't want the movers to pack. We also had more important things to do like meeting up with all our friends for last-minute play dates and face-to-face chats since it would be awhile before we'd get back together. I'm SO thankful for those times. Leaving friends behind is so hard for the whole family, but being able to spend time with them was a real blessing.
On Friday, August 15th, the packers came and packed up everything that wasn't nailed down. There were boxes everywhere!! And we were still having a lot of showings on our house - sometimes even double showings!
August 17th was our last day at our beloved church. It was an emotional day for me personally, but also a very encouraging and hope-filled send off. Our sweet college class friends had a pancake breakfast and sweet time of prayer for us on our last Sunday morning together. That was a highlight of the day even though I had cried off half of my makeup by the end of it. Our pastor met us first thing when we walked into church that morning and gave us some encouraging words and a good perspective on moving and having to leave behind our church body. I knew it would be difficult to leave the church body we have grown to love so much over many years and it is still hard to be away from them. That has been the hardest part of this whole move. On Sunday night, our closest friends had a fellowship for us with homemade ice cream and some other yummy snacks and I took too many selfies with my friends and plastered them all over Instagram like only a true friend would do. It was a wonderful day. Many tears were shed over having to say goodbye, but that's what happens when God gives you the blessing of friendship. My, how blessed we are!
On Tuesday, August 19th, the movers showed up bright and early and began loading all of our earthly belongings onto a big truck. I had my doubts that it would all fit, but it did. About 7 hours later, they drove off with all of our possessions, minus those we were moving ourselves. It was kind of sad. We spent the rest of the day and night cleaning like crazy.

Wednesday morning came and we had to drive to TN (our halfway point which happens to be where my family lives), but once we got to TN, my husband had arranged to look at some cars for sale in that area. (Yes, en route to our final destination - as if there wasn't enough crazy going on!!) We did that and then got to stop at my parents' house for lunch which was worth the trip! We spent a short time there and then drove on toward my sister's house, but not before looking at a few more cars.

Thursday morning, we got up and drove to KY. It was a beautiful trip and we were able to get the keys to our apartment in the afternoon. It was a little nuts, but since our furniture and stuff wasn't getting here until Saturday, we had time to explore our new city for a couple of days.....and, again, look at cars. {Sigh.} That night, we received an offer on our house!! And by Friday morning, we had a contract. {We close this month!!!!}
Finally, Saturday came and so did our furniture. It took awhile to unload, and I felt sorry for the guys having to haul boxes and furniture up three flights of stairs. We were exhausted by day's end, but so excited to meet up with our close friends from home that were on their way home from Michigan that day. We met up with them at our local Steak N Shake for a short time (too short!!), but it was great to be able to see familiar faces again. Especially their's - we've been friends for 15+ years!

All of that took place in 3 weeks time. My husband has been on the job now for almost 3 weeks. We did finally find him a reliable vehicle and we have managed to settle in to our temporary apartment as much as we are going to. I still haven't found my silverware or my cereal bowls, but I bought some cheap replacements!
Fall has come to Northern Kentucky. Or I guess I should say Fall weather! The leaves haven't changed yet, but the weather sure is cooler. It's time for this South Carolina girl to go buy some warmer clothes!

.....and that's what we've been up to. And might be the reason I haven't blogged lately.... I'll be back soon!

Oh, and I forgot to mention one little if our lives hadn't been turned upside down enough, we decided to start homeschooling our girls for the first time this year. Something I said I'd never do. Never say never?? Yeah, lesson learned. More on that later!
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Monday, August 11, 2014


The last 12 days have been a whirlwind of excitement around here! In these past 12 days, my husband accepted a job in Northern Kentucky, we got our house ready and listed our house for sale, sold one of our vehicles, traveled to Kentucky to find temporary housing, and have gone to some doctor appointments to get us ready for school, etc. in Kentucky.

This is our last full week in our home and our wonderful city so needless to say, this week is very busy with finishing up doctor's appointments and getting everything ready for the movers to come next week. I am ready to get settled in our new place and get into a routine.

Blogging will be set aside until I can get internet connections, etc. I'm guessing it will be a couple weeks until I can get back to the blog, but I'll be looking forward to it!!

Prayers appreciated!
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Friday, August 8, 2014

Shared Bedroom Makeover Reveal {Finally!}

I wasn't sure if this post was ever going to make it, but I'm finally able to show the AFTER post of this shared girls' bedroom makeover!

I finished the whole room back in June, but wasn't ready to show the pics because I hadn't decided what to hang above the girls' beds. I couldn't quite decide. And then I forgot to post the after pics until now. So, here's what the before looked like - during the painting process:
And here's the AFTER!

I'm so happy with how it turned out! The blue was a very welcome change for my girls. And the white bedding, I'm happy to say, is still bright white with no stains, etc. (some of you were worried it might not be a good idea in a kids bedroom - I say Go For It!!) Even after the kids being home all summer long and spending lots of time playing in their room, I know I made the right choice! It brightens up a room perfectly.

So, what do you think??

Read more about this makeover in these posts below:
How to Cover a Lampshade with Fabric

Shared Girls' Room Makeover {the BEFORE}

Shared Girls' Room Update

Hoop Art 5 Ways

Thanks for stopping by!
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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Grand Opening Announcement!

Yesterday was the official Grand Opening of my new favorite online jewelry boutique! I cannot tell y'all how long I've been waiting for this day. For a couple of years now, my sister-in-law, has been dreaming and planning for this big day. I've been so excited to watch this dream of hers become a reality and yesterday was that day!!
AmeliaLawrence is an online boutique of elegant, handmade jewelry. I've seen some of these pieces in person and have watched in amazement as she creates these gorgeous unique accessories. It's not really fair to call them accessories, though. I feel that each piece is the main event and the clothing worn with them just helps add to these one-of-a-kind beauties. Amy searches all over the world for just the right elements to put into each piece. She finds inspiration in vintage items that tell a story and makes them new again. You have to check out all of her pieces online - I guarantee you'll have a favorite. Or two. Or ten.

Here are a few of my very favorite pieces... {in no particular order - I can't narrow it down to just one!!}

Amy's vision behind this dream came from what she describes here: "having opportunities to travel parts of the world, has opened my eyes to style, color, textures and the truth that all women want something unique; to be fashionably different from the lady walking beside them." 

Read more about AmeliaLawrence and how it came to be here.

Go check out! I know you will not be disappointed. Bookmark her page or Pin the items you love to Pinterest so you can go back often to see new inventory! And don't forget to tell your friends about this lovely new online boutique.

Oh! I almost forgot - you've got to see her beautifully subtle earring collection, too!! I have two of the first pairs of earrings she began making and am complimented every time I wear them.

If you love what you see, tell her Amy sent you! {Yes, we have the same name!}

Happy Shopping!
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Home Economics

This is a repost from last October when I blogged for thirty-one days about Home Economics. Thought it would be fun to repost!

Welcome to my first 31 Days series! More may be added in the future, but this year I'm posting every day for the 31 days in October  2013 on Home Economics.
There will be a host of topics covered here which will all be very practical. I have a B.S. degree in Home Economics and spent four years studying it, so posting for 31 days should be pretty fun with a broad range of interesting and helpful ideas and resources! Each day beginning October 1st a new link will be added here to this page. {Scroll down to see links to each day!}
Ways to follow me on this journey: Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, subscribe by email in the sidebar, subscribe to my feed in the sidebar, add me to your home screen of your mobile device hereI hope you'll join me here every day in October! I'm excited to share this journey with you!

Day One: The Family Dinner {+ free printable}
Day Two: How to Budget Meals {+ free printable}
Day Three: Never Forget an Item on Your Grocery List {+ free printables}
Day Four: How to Plan a Party or Other Themed Event {+ free printable}
Day Five: The Key Ingredient to the Recipe for Success
Day Six: Sewing Kit Essentials
Day Seven: How to Read a Sewing Pattern
Day Eight: How to Cut Out a Pattern
Day Nine: How to Sew Without a Pattern
Day Ten: Sewing Tutorials for Beginners
Day Eleven: Sew Many Gifts Tutorial Roundup
Day Twelve: Home Management: How to Delegate {+ free printables}
Day Thirteen: Home Management Binder Roundup {free printables}
Day Fourteen: The Well-Managed Home: Time Management {+ free printables}
Day Fifteen: The Well-Managed Home: The Laundry Room {+ free printables}
Day Sixteen: The Well-Managed Home: The Kitchen
Day Seventeen: The Well-Managaed Home: The Linen Closet
Day Eighteen: How to Be a Hostess with the Mostest {+ free printables}
Day Nineteen: How to Entertain on a Budget: Food Edition {+ free printables}
Day Twenty: How to Write an Invitation {+ free printables}
Day Twenty-One: 5 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet {Welcoming Guests}
Day Twenty-Two: How to Say Thank You
Day Twenty-Three: Hostess Gift Roundup
Day Twenty-Four: How to Clean your Cabinets ONCE & NEVER Do it Again!
Day Twenty-Five: The Easiest Way to Clean a Ceiling Fan
Day Twenty-Six: The BEST Window Cleaning Tricks Around {Or so they say}
Day Twenty-Seven: 5 Benefits of a Clean Home
Day Twenty-Eight: No-Sew Ruffled Hipster
Day Twenty-Nine: Ruffled T-Shirt Makeover {Sew Easy}
Day Thirty: Who's With Me? {Fabric Stashers}
Day Thirth-One: Day 31

Go back and check out other bloggers from this 31 Day Challenge here. And stay tuned! This October I plan to do another 31 Day series - topic to be determined.

As always, thank you for stopping by!
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