Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Art for a Playroom

Over Thanksgiving break, I cleaned out closets and the playroom. My kids have outgrown playing with these wooden blocks, so we made a piece of art!

We chose words that applied to Christmas.

I had the canvas from another project and covered it with some linen fabric left over from my dining room project (I'll post soon!) This was a great project to do with my five-year old daughter. While we arranged and glued, she practiced her spelling and sounded out the letters.

Supplies: various blocks, canvas, fabric to cover (optional), staple gun, and a hot glue gun.

This idea was inspired by one I saw in a magazine. No cost...just a little bit of time with my kids and we created some Christmas art! I'll write their ages on the back and will pull it out each Christmas to remember the little hands that played with these blocks!

 Thanks for stopping by!

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Grandmother's Dresser Refinished

This dresser belonged to my mother-in-law when she was a little girl.
 She gave it to Rob and me when we were first married, almost twenty years ago.  When we moved to our current home, we gave it to Rob's brother. 
I sanded and painted the dresser with Sherwin Williams 'Creamy' paint.  It is now going to be used in my niece's room.  I did a little staging before we took it over on Thanksgiving Day!  These are some little shoes both my daughters wore.
 Vintage coat hanger...
...and some vintage-looking paper to line the drawers.
I found the scented paper at Tuesday, so cute and has a baby powder scent.
I replaced the big, round wooden knobs with these from Hobby Lobby for a sweet, girly touch.

Thanks for stopping by!
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If I Had my Child to Raise Over Again...

If I had my child to raise over again
I'd build self-esteem first and the house later
I'd finger paint more and point the finger less
I would do less correcting and more connecting
I'd take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes
I would care to know less and know to care more
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites
I'd stop playing serious and seriously play
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars
I'd do more hugging and less tugging
I'd see the oak tree in the acorn more often
I would be firm less often and affirm much more
I'd model less about the love of power
And more about the power of love.

~Diane Loomans

My goal this season is to 'be still' and to enjoy the mystery and wonder of the Christmas season through my children's eyes.  I pray that they will be able to see Him through all the decorations and busy schedules and 'know that He is God.'

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
~Psalm 46:10 

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ten Ways to Give Thanks

Research shows people who practice gratitude feel more joy and connectedness, cope better with stress and experience less illness and depression.  Here are some ways to develop a heart of gratitude:

1.   Give a fall bouquet of flowers to someone you appreciate.

2.  Pen a thank-you note to someone who doesn't expect it, like the bus driver, your babysitter, or your child's teacher.

3.  Start a gratitude journal.  List three things you're grateful for each day.  Gratitude journals focus on what's right instead of what's wrong.

4.  Tell your spouse "thank you for working so hard for our family" or "thank you for taking care of the household."  Show appreciation for the things that can often be taken for granted.

5.  Set a 'grateful' example to your children.  Say "thank you" when they help with table-setting or clean up.  Acknowledge and show appreciation for the little things they do, as well as, the big things.

6.  Bake a 'thankful pie' using a favorite family recipe.  Savor the bounty and give thanks for your family and for fond memories.  Remember loved ones by sharing old photos and telling stories to your children.

7.  Take a walk through the woods and notice the color of the leaves, the cooler air and God's magnificent creation.  Be thankful that God shares His creation with us and gives the beauty of different seasons.

8.  Remember difficult times, like frustrations, failures and losses and give thanks to the Lord for how He has brought you through with resiliency and renewal.  

9.  Rake leaves into a pile.  Run and jump with your family and be grateful for good health and silly, spontaneous fun!

10.  Write a letter of thanks to each of your children.  Explain how they've changed your life and how much each means to you.  Give the notes now, and then tuck them into their baby books.

Some ideas contributed by Heidi Luedtke, PhD.

I have not done all of these, but think this list is a good place to start!  What are some other ways you give thanks?

Happy and warm Thanksgiving to all of you!
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Simple

My sister, niece and nephew are coming over for Thanksgiving.  I am so excited to spend the evening with them!  I loved the Thanksgiving leaves for our 'Thankful Tree', so I decided to put a leaf at each place setting with a bark pencil. 
Now, everyone can write what they are thankful for, and we can add these to our tree. Tip: Write the year on the back and file as a keepsake. These will be fun to read when my kids are grown!
I was inspired over at Kim's Savvy Southern Style to make this centerpiece with items I had in other displays.  Our sweet friend Jesse brought me some turnips, sweet potatoes and these beans from his garden.  He comes to fish for his supper and always brings me something...we have become good friends! (I wrote about Jesse here.)
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Where else do I get inspiration? Pinterest, of course.
I was so excited to see the tree branch 'antlers' in the picture above!  I had made a small plaque for my porch out of some branches my son found.  I digress...
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Here is another beautiful and simple table setting.  That bittersweet just makes it!
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So simple, yet so adorable...Martha Stewart, of course!

Bark pencils: TJMaxx
Brown & Cream towels used as napkins:  Tuesday Morning
Bamboo looking flatware:  Homegoods
Rattan placemats: World Market

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thankfulness, a Gift, a Tree and the Best Birthday Present

I was determined to make a 'Thankful Tree' this year for my children.  The idea is to put out some 'leaves' and have the children write what they are thankful for each day leading up to Thanksgiving.
 I used a jumbo leaf hole punch for the smaller leaves, and a friend cut some extra-large leaves for me at school using a Cri-cut.
We have really enjoyed this project of counting our blessings, so I made extra leaves for friends and put some simmering potpourri from Michael's in a little bag... 
 ...from Pottery Barn Kids.  Attach a little note to your friends telling why you are thankful for them!
Today, I count my blessings for the gift of children. (I hung this leaf on the tree!)
My birthday was last week, and I received the best gift any mom could ever ask for...lots of hugs and sweet, sweet notes.  I am sharing this one from my son, because he has such a heart of gratitude. Mason has had some difficulties in his little life of eight years, but the beauty has been seeing him come through strife with a deeper faith!
Lest you think I will get a big head from his words, I know that I fail miserably at all the sweet things he says. Actually, I struggle to keep on top of the laundry and to read my Bible everyday, but don't tell him! 
Here is my laundry room...usually, it is 'Mt. Everest!'  I am thankful for a washer and a dryer and do not take this luxury lightly!  (I hung that on the tree, too!)  I confess that I do tend to grumble about laundry (note that it is the first thing he comments about!) but somehow, those sweet words of kindness from a child, make folding and washing a little bit easier! 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

Teach your children to have hearts of gratitude.  Our society seems to have an entitlement mentality which doesn't nurture thankful hearts.  Be watchful and careful with all the things you give to your children, teaching them always to give thanks.  During prayer, I give thanks and remind the children that everything we have comes from the Lord.  I will often include thankfulness for our 'eyes to see, ears to hear, noses to smell, mouths to eat and hands to feel.'  I thank the Lord each night for their daddy's job, reminding them how hard he works for all of us.  I really believe that if they see parents with thankful hearts, they will humbly give thanks, as well.  Praise Him and give thanks always!

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Last of Fall

I love the colors of fall, and it doesn't seem that we get to enjoy them for very long.  As soon as Halloween is over, Christmas is everywhere!  I am not complaining, because I love Christmas, too.
Before I do the big makeover for the holidays, here is the last of fall...
Fall is so simple and the rust, green and brown colors are my favorite.  Can you tell?  Most of my house is decorated in earth tones!
Simple tabletop displays add a little more color to our living room.
The marble compote belonged to my sweet, sweet granny.  I used the white pumpkins left over from Halloween with the Bittersweet and some walnut colored moss to fill it. 
As soon as it is cool enough to make a fire, we bring the fire logs in!  Nothing else screams 'cozy' quite like a warm fire!
I found these plates a few years ago and love the colors...perfect for this space with the browns and greens.
My parents purchased the birds on the mantel in England, while my dad was stationed there.  They were a gift to my grandparents.  Again, I love the earthy colors.

Nothing seems to scream 'fall' like some square dancin' in a barn!
Some friends invited us to a banquet at the Dairy Barn in Fort Mill, SC.  It is a beautiful, old building and the perfect place for square dancing.  We watched on the sidelines, but the children were dying to give it a try!  How fun!
I hope you are able to enjoy the last of fall and Thanksgiving, before all the Christmas festivities begin!


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