Craft-Ease: Rolled Paper Christmas Tree {Zero Dollar Project}

Picnik craft collage
During this time of year, along with pretty much anyone else I am sure, I feel as if money is flying out of my wallet as quickly as leftover pumpkin pie from the refrigerator. I do make a holiday budget and I am proud to say that I stick to it (because I have to). But never the less money doesn’t stick around in the ol’ bank account for too long in the month of December. Time seems to be at a premium too. So what could be better for the Christmas season that a quick and FREE craft?! Answer: not much.

All you need is an old picture frame you are not using, (If you are like me you have a whole shelf full in your linen/craft/junk closet), some leftover pieces of scrapbook paper or cardstock and some hot glue. I also used a little brad for the star on top of my tree.

I feel a little silly doing a “tutorial” for this project since it is pretty straight forward. All you do it cut the scrapbook paper into strips, roll and glue the edges. Then glue them to another piece of paper to resemble a tree and glue a brad, or bell, or any other embellishment that you have on top (think FREE). And voila! A new piece of Christmas décor in less than ten minutes!

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I was busy over Thanksgiving weekend spending time with family but squeezed in some time to make this and some other crafts. This one fit wonderfully into my time and money budget. What I also love about this project is the versatility. Depending on the frame and paper you choose you can have a tree personalized to match your taste and décor! Fun!

Linking up at these fun parties!

Winter “mantle”

Growing up my mom would read us a book called “Warm in Winter” by Erica Silverman. It is a wonderful book about two friends: Rabbit and Badger. Rabbit spends the entirety of the book trying to convince Badger that you really can be warm in winter. I remember sitting on the couch before bed curled up with my mom and sisters under the afghan my great- grandmother had made and listening to my mom read to us. The fire was crackling in the fireplace and and despite the wind howling and snow falling outside the window I had no doubt that you really could be warm in winter. That feeling has stuck with me. Winter has always been one of my favorite seasons, partially because I love the holidays, but also because I love the idea of being cozy and warm with the ones I love in the midst of a cold, winter storm. There are some cold winter nights I still wish I was sitting with my mom and sisters next to my parents’ wood burning stove and reading this beautiful book. My mom still has it and I just bought my own copy to read with Hayleigh and Braxton.

It was the idea of winter warmth that inspired my winter “mantle”, really wall shelves. I wanted to bring in the beauty of winter but make our living room feel cozy at the same time. I didn’t want to make it about Christmas because, as with my wreath, I plan to leave it up all winter. Don’t worry, there are lots of other Christmas decorations which are either up or in the process of going up as well!


I converted the frame I used for my Fall shelves to be a “Let it snow” winter frame. I punched snowflakes out of a paper doily and used alpha stickers. I also used some bulb ornaments resembling snow balls. I found the beautiful white tree (in the above picture) at Hobby Lobby for $5 and I just love it.


The frame contains a collage I made on Picnik, nothing professional but it does the trick. The lantern I found at Savers and thought it fit my “theme” well. As finishing touches I dusted some pinecones with spray paint and used some Spanish moss to make a nest for my book page bird ornament.


For the third shelf I used a tea pot that I also found at Savers for $2. It was a lovely shade of pink so I spray painted it with metallic spray paint. I brought in a little nature by hot gluing some sticks to a glass candle holder. I re-used one of my stockings from my stocking-wrapped pumpkins to wrap another candle holder. The idea was to make it resemble a sweater.

I really enjoy the warm in winter feel that the shelves give to our living room!


Here they are one more time because I am a little obsessed.


These took up a bit more time that I had budgeted over the Holiday weekend so I am a bit behind on other Christmas decorating but hopefully I can catch up on that (and neglected procrastinated school work) this week! Happy (almost) winter!

Linking up at these fun parties!


I am super excited to say that my winter wreath was featured over at Craft-o-maniac for the Saturday Spotlight Talent Show! Whoa, that was a lot of links in one sentence! Thanks to Jenn for having a blog I really enjoy reading and being inspired by! I am so surprised and honored to be featured there! Check it out if you get a chance. There are some other beautiful and creative wreaths there as well as Jenn’s fun projects.

Turkey Corn Chowder

Isn’t it funny how different tastes and smells can bring a little bit of the past into our present in such an almost tangible way? When I was sick I remember my mom used to make this soup for me sometimes. The smell of it still provides such a sense of comfort and warmth for me. It is also perfect to make with Thanksgiving leftovers so I thought I would share the recipe.
Turkey Corn Chowder (serves 4)
2T butter or margarine
1t onion
1 medium potato (chopped)
1/2c celery (diced)
1c creamed corn
1c hot turkey stock
1c cooked turkey (cubed or shredded)
salt and pepper
1/8t paprika
1/8t ginger
1/2 c hot milk
1/2c hot half and half
2t parsley

Sauté onion until tender. Add potato, celery, corn, broth, and turkey. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Add spices, milk and half and half. Heat thoroughly. 

Yum!! Perfect for this time of year! Enjoy!

Thanksgiving and 3/4s way to a year!

Don’t you just love my kids’ spirit of thankfulness and cooperation in this picture?! Nice. I had to laugh when this was the best we could muster. This year we headed to my grandma’s house for Thanksgiving. We switch off years between my family and Peter’s family. It was really fun this year because there are lots of kids running around. There are six great -grandchildren now, five of them under three years old, so it makes for a busy house! It’s great to watch all the kids playing together. It reminds me of growing up visiting my grandma’s tiny house full of kids and toys. I know it brightens my grandma’s life to watch all the kids playing. Braxton has been drawn to her and loves to sit with her and touch her face. Hayleigh, on the other hand has always been a little leery, but this time we didn’t do any prompting or coaxing and Hayleigh talked to my grandma more than ever. She also spontaneously gave her a big hug which floored my grandma and almost brought her to tears. Leave it to Hayleigh to do things in her own time, as usual. Anyway, it was a hot day in the little house with the oven on all day and lots of people around, but it was nice. It was Thanksgiving and we have lots to be thankful for. Hopefully, I can keep this spirit of gratitude all year long.
It was also Braxton’s 9 month birthday! In some ways it feels like he has been around for so much longer than that and in other ways I still feel like he still should be a little baby. I am finding the passage of time a little easier to tolerate with him than with Hayleigh. I think that is because I know what fun lays ahead in the toddler years, not that I am not enjoying this stage as well. His personality is emerging more and more everyday. He is very chill and likes to take it all in. He loves people and has become more attached to me the older he has gotten. He is getting more mobile by the day as well and has already had more bruises on his little head than I think Hayleigh has ever gotten! Oh well. He is a boy I guess. And a pretty cute and happy one, I must say.
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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with family, friends, good food and lots to be thankful for.


I am thankful for a husband who says I look beautiful even when I am wearing the same dirty sweatpants I wore yesterday and haven’t showered today.
I am thankful for 2 toothed grins greeting me whenever I walk into a room
for the way “MOOOMMMMYYY” sounds between giggles.
I am thankful for parents that live two minutes away and in-laws that live across town.
I am thankful for pink and orange and purple sunsets.
for my husband’s work ethic.
I am thankful for being able to worship free from persecution, intimidation and fear.
for a house that gives me safety, comfortably, privacy and projects. 
for a reliable car.
for kissable cheeks.
I am thankful for my freedom in Christ.
for the ability to pray.
that I am still a work in progress.
I am thankful that the medical bills we have are from Braxton’s birth and not from anyone’s severe health problems.
for endless Berenstain Bear books.
for impromptu Disney princess dance sessions.
for drooly, hiccupy, contagious laughs.
\for my husband’s strong shoulders and tender heart.
I am thankful for over-eager family members who are crazy about our kids and babysit on a moments’ notice.
for friends who I can confide in and have fun with.
for ice-cream.
I am thankful for a husband who never wavers in his devotion to his family.
I am thankful for a grandmother who is still alive and part of my kids’ lives.
for the gift of language and the art of crafting words.
for the internet which connects me with so many people, ideas and a wealth of information, as well as enables me to go to school.
I am thankful for the Word of God in print at my fingertips.
for a cozy hoodie on a chilly day.
I am thankful for crunchy play dough found under the table days after the play dough was last put away.
for the sound of my daughter’s voice as she prays or sings to Jesus.
For a husband who drives home from work to kill especially ugly, creepy bugs. (yuuuup.)
I am thankful for a thermostat that I can adjust to make sure the temperature in my house is just to my liking.
for a supermarket whose aisles and shelves contain everything I could ever need or want to stock my pantry.
for my down comforter.
I am thankful for memories captured in photographs.
for parents who raised me to never doubt their love or the path I should take in this world.
that I have never known the meaning of real physical hunger.
I am thankful to be called a child of God.
for two pairs of saucer-like baby blues twinkling up at me.
that I live in a place that has four seasons.
I am thankful that God in His time turns heartache, disillusionment and despair into joy, wisdom and peace.
I am thankful that my husband’s hand is the only boys’ hand I ever held, and the only one I allowed to hold my heart.
for movie nights.
for walks in the park.
I am thankful that I see in color.
for the bond of sisterhood that holds together three sisters as different as three people can be.
for lazy mornings.
for the gift of laughter.
for the cleansing nature of tears.
I am thankful for my husband’s job.
for answers to prayer.
for a God who sees the end from the beginning.

I am rich.

Saw it {Loved it} Sunday #5

Happy Sunday before Thanksgiving! What are your plans for the holiday? (I mean besides stuffing your face full of way too much food totally regretting it, vowing you will never do it again, and then stuffing your face full of dessert an hour later.) I love to hear about other people’s family traditions. I think it is one of the best part of the holiday season. Wherever you are celebrating, (we will be at my grandma’s house this year), you may have the opportunity to appreciate some beautiful holiday tablescapes. Maybe you are hosting (yikes!), so the décor is up to you. my opinion it isn’t as important how the table is decorated as who is around it, but I am secretly jealous of a gorgeous harvest table. Here are a few tasteful and beautiful, yet relatively simple table scape ideas you may want to tackle this week! If you are featured please feel free to grab a button from the side bar!
I am in love with this idea from Janel at Hating Martha. These are double sided chalkboard place mats! What an awesome idea and perfect for those of us young and old to write down what we are thankful for. I really am glad to have found Janel’s blog also because her entire premise is being real about imperfections in creating and in life. How refreshing!
This tablescape from Debbie at Confessions of a Plate Addict caught my eye because it is simple and elegant, plus I am a sucker for white pumpkins. I really enjoy that the décor is beautiful and not overpowering. I don’t like when the centerpiece distracts from good conversation. This table oozes peace and happiness, perfect for Thanksgiving!
This rustic tablescape from Kelly at Eclectically Vintage is made using thrift store finds. I love the thought of old trinkets reminding us of memories when we are around the table with family and friends. What a great way to get good conversation going and remind us of what we are thankful for.
Christina from I gotta create made these sweet napkin rings that double as place settings! They are made from paper towel/toilet paper tubes. These seem perfect for those on a budget or working last minute this week to prepare. This is something even the kids could help with as well! Great idea!
Amanda from Serenity Now shared her ideas for a Thrifty thanksgiving tablescape. I love the elegance mixed with elements of nature. I think my favorite parts are the pumpkin and the gorgeous floral plates. I love how it all came together.

I am loving all these ideas. Thanks to everyone who creates and shares so that I can feel inspired! I am looking forward to Thanksgiving more than maybe ever before this year and am trying so hard to focus on what really matters most. I have so much to be thankful for! Hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday!

Printables and Holiday Cards (C and Me Designs)

I am so proud of my friend Erin, who just opened her Etsy shop this week! She is such a beautiful, talented person, and her work really shows that! She specializes in customizable, personalized printable wall art, invitations and cards. All the work is emailed to you ready to print so you avoid shipping costs (and waiting times) and you can print as many as you want! Prices are also very reasonable. Check out her shop here. Here is just a little taste of some of the great things she has for sale.
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She also is in the process of creating and adding invitations and holiday cards!
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Winter Wreath

I know, I know some people may think it is a bit early to have a “winter'” wreath up. Thanksgiving hasn’t even come and gone yet. Maybe I am over zealous. In reality, I have lots of projects in mind which I would love to do, but it seems I am missing one supply for each one, except this wreath. So guess what project was the lucky one that got completed?! I needed to get out of my rut! I purposely didn't make it too "Christmas-y" with the intent of keeping it up all winter, which around where I live will be until nearly April.
I used a wreath form, a package of potpourri fillers from Hobby Lobby, and some extra pinecones from our yard which I spray painted. Oh yeah, a the world’s ransom of hot glue. It might be hanging up a bit early, but I am enjoying the end result! (As I look at these pictures I am noticing the gap begging for a pinecone. Don’t worry. I fixed it.)

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I love my cheerful giver

Allow me to take a moment to “brag” about my sweet girl. Really I more praising God for the way He created her. This past weekend we put together a shoe box for Samaritan’s Purse. For anyone who doesn’t know they deliver shoe boxes full of gifts (toys, toiletries etc.) to children in third world countries who don’t receive Christmas gifts. They also share with them the message of God’s love and the Christmas story.
I had talked to Hayleigh about the importance of giving and that we give to other people because God has given so much to us. I told her we were going to get some Christmas presents for a little girl who didn’t have much money and didn’t get toys and things at Christmas. She was very enthusiastic about it. So, we were off for a date to get the stuff. I was a little leery taking her to the toy section that she may want to “give” a few gifts to herself. But, I was so wrong! She ran through the store saying “The girl would LOVE this!” and “I want to give the girl THIS, Mommy!” When we got to the check out she put the stuff up on the counter and beamed telling the cashier that these were presents for a little girl who lived far, far away. On the car ride home she was talking about talking about how happy the girl would be with her presents and that she would “probably jump up and down and smile too.” I explained again that we have so much and that this little girl doesn’t have a house like we have and clothes and food like we have. From the back seat I heard quiet sniffles, followed by sobbing (Hayleigh doesn’t do anything half way). I thought to myself, “okay, it has kicked in. She realized none of these toys are for her.” But again, she proved me wrong. Between sobs I heard my precious girl say “Mommy, the girl is so sad. I want to give her my bed so she can have a warm bed to sleep in”. Then it was my turn to cry.
I was dumbfounded at the generosity and selflessness of my not yet three year old. God has clearly given her such a heart for other people. It puts me to shame. Sometimes as a parent we teach and challenge our children, and sometimes they do the same for us. This was one of those instances where I was humbled and blessed by the little person God made my daughter to be. Right then and there I vowed that this Christmas I would put more of an effort than ever on focusing on Christ and giving to others. As I drove the rest of the way home fighting back tears and thanking God for the sensitive and caring heart He has given Hayleigh, I prayed that I would be able to follow her example in being a cheerful giver this season. Really, I want to follow the example of Christ while He was here on earth. I have read through the Gospels time and time again, and know what God did for me that first Christmas thousands of years ago, in sending His son in the flesh. I guess it just took another gift from Heaven sent in the flesh (Hayleigh), for me to be reminded of the attitude with which I am supposed to give.

Pumpkin Pie Cake

I have been pretty unproductive on the craft side of things this past week or so. Blame it on inspiration overload which tends to paralyze me, and needy kids, who of coarse come first. I have a lot of projects either half done or still in the planning stages in my mind. Maybe one of these days I will actually get them done. Until then, here is a one of my favorite fall dessert recipes. It is so easy to make. I made it today and it literally took me about 10 minutes, but it tastes oh-so-yummy! That is my kind of dessert!

Pumpkin Pie Cake
3 eggs
15oz can pumpkin
12oz can evaporated milk
1TB vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 box yellow cake mix
1 1/4 cup butter or margarine
Combine the first seven ingredients. Pour into a ungreased 13x9 pan. Sprinkle cake mix over the top. Melt butter or margarine and drizzle over cake mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Serves 20-24.

This is one of the most moist and sweet recipes I have ever had. I really recommend using a non-greased pan because otherwise it gets too moist and falls apart. It still tastes yummy but it isn’t so pretty. It tastes great with cool whip or whipped cream, but my preference it to eat them as is. I am taking them to our small group from church tonight. It is too dangerous to have these around the house!

My world in pictures

Last month we had some family photos done. We just got the CD in the mail on Saturday. We had seen less than half on facebook already, but I was still chomping at the bit to see the rest. I seriously stalked my mailbox. I even went out there (our mailbox is across the street) on Veteran's Day and was sorely disappointed when I remembered it was a Federal Holiday so there was no mail. (I mean no offense and only the deepest respect and appreciation to veterans; I am just an impatient person.) When they came I did a little dance and rushed the computer to look at them over and over, about 500 times. We plan to make it a yearly tradition to document the changes in our family. Peter and I agree it is something completely worth investing in. Here are a few of our favorites!
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Family Portraits--7Family Portraits--12

Family Portraits-5237Family Portraits--17
Family Portraits--27
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Family Portraits--9
Family Portraits--10Family Portraits--3
                Family Portraits--2              Family Portraits--5 (2)
Family Portraits--23
Family Portraits--24
Family Portraits--29Family Portraits-5315
Family Portraits-5367Family Portraits-5383
            Family Portraits-5377                      Family Portraits--30
Family Portraits-5361
Okay, so that was more than a few. I am a little over eager. I can’t wait to create a gallery wall of some of these. Of coarse this would require actually picking a few favorites. 

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