Monday, December 31, 2012

Top Posts of 2012

As this year comes to a close I thought it would be fun to look back on some of my absolute favorite posts and some of YOUR favorite posts.

I have shared a lot about my life on this little blog, I have opened my home and my heart to each one of you. I have struggled and cried, and you have been there right along with me. I love this place. I know that I haven't been around much. I am struggling with finding my voice again - I am struggling with sharing and over-sharing. There are so many things that I want to talk about, but I am scared to talk about. That vulnerability thing is tricky. It's one of the many ways that people get to know you, to see the real you - but it also opens up that door for criticism and rejection. I'm not kidding when I say that I don't want to care what people think, but the truth is - I do care what people think. So its hard.

I guess you can say, a resolution for this new year is, to open up more. Not be so guarded.

Anyways, let's end this year with a bang.

Here is my top 10 of 2012

Thank you for your sweet comments and emails. It truly does mean the world to me, to know that you liked one of my DIYs or that a momma hood story really moved you. It's also nice to know that we're not all going though this alone! 

Happy New Year! 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I'm glad It's Over

Does it look like Toys R Us threw up in your living room? Because it does in mine.

I'm not going to lie, I am glad its over. I love Christmas, don't get me wrong. I was the one crafting Christmas decor in November, but I'm so tired.

Its like that feeling of needing a vacation, after your vacation. Except for the fact that toddlers know nothing about sleeping in or relaxing. Two toddlers now mean, go, go, go. And all I want to do is nap, nap, nap.

We had a great holiday and the boys were so cute. Oliver had a Star Wars Christmas. Most of his presents were Star Wars related. I hope he doesn't wake up next month and decide he hates Star Wars.

Landon didn't really care what was happening. He was too busy going after Oatmeal's Kong toy and trying to eat the wrapping paper. Next year he'll get it and then we will have two that are excited and we will be even more tired!

"Know" the elf enjoyed his time here in our lovely house and is now on his way back at the North Pole a.k.a on top of my microwave inside a basket covered in coupons, because I forgot to put him away Christmas eve. Whatever, he's taking a little vacation before he heads back to the North Pole to make some toys, he deserves it after all the shenanigans he pulled while he was here.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and got everything you wanted. We had a wonderful few days and now the snow is here so we will be out playing in that! Oliver asks daily to make a snowman, after we get over our colds we will be out in it!!

Remember Henry from last year?! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Hard One To Write....

Not all anniversaries are happy ones.

Christmas 1984

Today makes 4 years since my father passed away. 4 years since I have seen him or talked to him. I can't even remember what his voice sounds like anymore. It hurts, the pain never really goes away but it does get easier to manage.

But not today. Today it hurts like it did 4 years ago. Today it feels hard to breathe and all the things that are happening around me, I wish they would just stop. Its three days before Christmas and all the music, the lights, the laughter, the joy and the excitement should just stop - just for today. But it doesn't work that way, the world doesn't end just because some thing in my life ended. The world keeps on turning, people keep moving and kids keep laughing.

So today, I will hold onto that even though I want to cry my eyes out in my bed. I want to call for my Daddy and yell at him for leaving me far too soon. I want to introduce him to my children - the grand-babies that he never got to meet and show him my house - that he never got to see.

Life is unfair at times and it is so very messy, but if we're not vulnerable and open we can't connect. If we hid behind 'perfect' and 'i'm okay' relationships fail and trust is lost. Because we aren't perfect and sometimes we aren't okay.

Today, I am not okay.....

Friday, December 21, 2012

When You Ask A Two Year Old A Question.....

....when you ask a two year old a question you may not get the straightest of answers.....

The other night I lost my glasses. The last place I remembered them being was on the coffee table. Anything on the coffee table is up for grabs when the children are awake. Landon likes to take my glasses and try to eat them. Oliver is usually good at watching out for such things, but the other night - someone missed something and my glasses ended up - missing.

Frantically, I started looking in the couch cushions and under the table. I had Ryan looking under the chair and behind the furniture. Then we asked Oliver if he knew where my glasses were. He said they were in the tree. Yes, he said they were in the Christmas tree!

So Ryan and I believed him and started looking though the branches and behind ornaments. Maybe they fell to the bottom, we thought. So we moved the tree skirt but there was nothing. So I had the bright idea to ask Oliver where exactly in the tree he put my glasses. He points to a spot in the front. Again, we're reaching in the branches for these glasses, always coming up empty handed.

This time Ryan decides to ask Oliver where the glasses where. He said they were in his new basketball toy thing. There is a little hole that the ball can fall though and it's possible that someone stuck the glasses down in the hole. Of course it's small, child size so Ryan can't actually see in the hole or put his hand in there. He attempts to take it apart. Of course, it's a child's toy so need all the tools ever made. While Ryan was out looking for a screwdriver to pry open the basketball toy, I was still looking though the branches of the Christmas tree.

This time, I was prepared with my headlamp. No, not a flashlight because here, flashlights are toys and are either missing or the batteries were dead. So headlamp it was.

Again, I asked Oliver where my glasses were. And again, he told me in the tree. I asked him to show me exactly where he stuck them and he told me in the ornament. I knew it was far fetched to believe him that they were actually in the tree, but we had looked everywhere. And I was certain the last place I had them was on the coffee table.

Ryan walks in from the kitchen, with my glasses on his face. Apparently, I wore them into the kitchen and took them off. I don't remember putting my glasses on or wearing them into the kitchen. I sure don't remember taking them off out there either. Momma brain at its finest I suppose.

I can't stop laughing over this. I can only imagine what Oliver was thinking while Ryan and I are trying to take apart toys and dismantle Christmas trees.

From our family to yours
Be Merry 

Merry Christmas! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Handmade Christmas

I love making gifts for other people. There is something special about crafting the item myself. Of course, I also love shopping but this post is about homemade. With Christmas right around the corner, I decided to make a list of my top tutorials.

Chalkboard Paint Coasters. 

These are super easy to make. Give them to your friend, or neighbor with a cute mug filled with hot cocoa.

Fabric Mod Podge - Baby Tie Onesie. 

Obviously you don't need to use this just for baby stuff. Fabric Mod Podge is awesome, cut something out of fabric - mod podge it on a shirt/canvas bag/pants - instant gift! The possibilities are endless.

Dressed up Burner Cover.

All these items can be found at most dollar stores. Great gift for those on a budget.

Glitter Trees.

I love giving Christmas decorations as gifts. My grandma loves little things like this and its really simple to make.

Headband Holder.

Have a little girl in your life? Make her one of these headband holders from a oatmeal container. Then
check out these 25 headband tutorials and make one of your own!

Fold Over Elastic Hair Ties.

I've seen these everywhere, and I've also need them being sold for ridiculous amounts of money. Trust me, they cost pennies to make and about 3 minutes of your time.

And my favorite

Fabric Covered Diaper Box. 

Obviously, you're not going to give someone just a box. But if you have a bunch of little gifts why not put them all in a fabric covered box that your recipient can keep?!

Friday, December 14, 2012

monsters in the closet

oliver has been afraid of the monsters in his closet for a few months now. they come out when we leave his room. lurk in the corner, and in the shadows of the night. he wakes up and cries for us to help him. to save him. to keep him safe from the monsters.

i wish there were monsters in his closet. i wish that i could come in and chase them away whenever he asked. i wished that i could cover him in a blanket, kiss him on his soft sweet smelling forehead and protect him forever.

but i can't.

because monsters don't live in the closet. they live among us. they are bombing buildings. they are shooting up movie theaters, malls and college campuses. and today an elementary school.

my heart is so heavy tonight. i'm trying to make sense of this senseless act. but i can't, because i have no idea why someone would want to hurt innocent children. so tonight i write and i pray. for the sweet little babies that could of been mine. for the families of the adults that were lost.. I pray for Newtown.

i look at all the toys thrown about the living room. i havent had the urge to clean them up. let them lay there. my kids where here, making a mess - playing and having fun. there will be time to clean another day, but today is not it. today is a time to cherish what i have. i have them and they are here. i try to think about how those parents must be feeling, but my brain just shuts down. its like it can't even go to that place, that place without children. i just want to go up and watch them sleep. crawl into their bed and count their breaths.

this is just my thoughts, as a mother who wants to keep her babies safe from monsters, and i don't know if i can - because these monsters are real, and they are much scarier than the ones hiding in oliver's closet.

hug your babies tight. tell them you love them more time than you can count. read that story just one more time. and if you don't have children, call your parents and tell them you love them, because after today, they need to hear it more than ever.

Meeting The Big Guy

We took the boys to meet Santa last weekend. Oliver was all about meeting Santa Claus in real life and couldn't wait to get there. The night before, all he talked about was meeting Santa. I told him that Santa was going to ask what he wanted for Christmas, and that he didn't have to be shy, he just had to tell him what he wanted. 

We even practiced a little bit. As crazy and wild as Oliver is, he does get nervous and shy at first. Especially when people are talking directly to him and asking him questions. I asked him what he wanted for Christmas and he would say some Star Wars thing. We decided that would work and now all we had to do was wait until it was time to go. 

We went to Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart (if you're local - go here its all FREE!!) They had two real reindeer, we stopped to see them first and Oliver was confused on why the reindeer where there and if they were the same ones that were in our yard a few weeks before. If you're wondering the same, no they weren't - the ones in our yard were just regular deer!! While we were walking over to the train that Santa was in, he asked me which one was Rudolph. 

Luckily we didn't have to wait long. And one of Oliver's classmates was there. Oliver was a little confused as to why Josh was there visiting Santa and not at school. I told him that Josh didn't live at school and that he was coming to meet Santa - just like he was.

We waited for the people in front of us to take their pictures and while we were waiting we practiced one more time what Oliver was going to say. He had it perfect, he wasn't nervous and said he wouldn't be shy. So our time comes, Ryan walks Oliver up to Santa, while I sit Landon down on Santa's lap. Santa asks what his name is, and Oliver just stands there - locking eyes with Santa Claus. So Santa asks about his little brother, "What's your little brothers name?" Again, Oliver just stands there, staring at Santa. No movement - I don't even think he blinks. Finally Ryan and I speak up and tell Santa their names. Now Santa asks the big question, the one we have been practicing for, "So Oliver, tell me what you would like for Christmas!" And he yells is "Death Star" over and over. Poor Santa probably has no idea about Star Wars and Death Stars. So then Santa gives Oliver and Landon a candy cane and a  little bag of toys. Oliver opens his bag and yells one more time in Santa's face, "Death Star!"

The boys got their picture taken and we were on our way. Overall, it was a great time. Oliver loved the train and the reindeer and was completely amazed by Santa. Landon on the other hand, wasn't impressed!! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Coffee Talk #14

I think this is number 14. I don't know - I skipped a few. Oops.

1. What is your winter "must haves?" (feel free to show off something from Polyvore)

winter favorites

winter favorites by lynz1011 featuring eos

I love layering! I can't stand winter coats, so once it gets cold I'm all about the layers. Gloves, hats, scarves are fun. Warm boots, comfy sweaters and hoodies. And of course COFFEE.

2. What is on your Christmas wish list this year?! 

The only thing I really wanted was an automatic car starter. We don't have a garage and my car is out in the cold all day long. Its a pain in the ass having to go out in the snow to start it and warm it up. Especially with the littles. Being able to start it from the house and have it warm up before I get the kids out there would be wonderful!! Thanks to a Groupon - I totally got a great deal on one! Merry Christmas to me!! :) 

3. What is your favorite holiday coffee/tea/alcoholic beverage? 
I'm simple. I just really love regular coffee with the International Delight Salted Caramel Mocha creamer. I could literally drink that stuff right out of the bottle. And if we're talking about alcohol this one winery around here had a warm wine - it's freaking delicious. 

4. Top 3 must have holiday desserts. 
I love Cut Out cookies. They are by far my absolute favorite!! 

5. What time do you get up to open presents from Santa? Do you clean up right away, or do you leave it there in a huge pile until its the night before trash day? 
I am like a child. I seriously cannot sleep on Christmas Eve. I wake up like every hour and look at the clock. I'm usually up for good at 5. I've been known to wake Ryan up that early - and last year we woke Oliver up because we were both so excited!! I really can't wait until Christmas. We clean up right away - I can't handle a mess.   

6. What's your New Years Resolution? 
Oh you know the usual, go to the gym more. yadda, yadda. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

I spent all last night wrapping presents. I really love this time of the year. It makes me happy to see the people I love so happy. Oliver is now starting to get Christmas. Seeing his face as we began decorating for the house was priceless.

Each piece needed to be explained. At one point he even asked why I was hanging socks from the stairs. The innocence of him warms my heart. I hope that he doesn't grow up too fast, and that life is kind to him. Precious he is.

Decorating the tree was by far Oliver's favorite. Even Landon got in on it. He's still so very little, but he seems to sense whenever anyone got excited over something - he would get excited too.

We have a fake tree, that was fun trying to explain to a 2 year old, why our tree was in the basement and that we have to actually put it together. But he helped. We let him stay up past his bedtime and he even got a new special Star Wars ornament to hang on the tree. He held onto those little ornaments and waited ever so patiently for us to put the tree together. Then put the lights on and the ribbon. He kept asking if it was time for his ornaments.

There was a lot of waiting involved, but once it was time his eyes got big at all the lights and the boxes full of ornaments. Some as old as Ryan and me. Each one with a story. Some handmade, some store bought and from 1984 or 1979. Some with words like "Baby's First Christmas 2010" or "Our First Home" or "Great Grandson Landon." Some are falling apart but they hold such a special meaning that we wouldn't dare to throw them away. Some made out of noodles that one of us made in elementary school. There are so many memories on our tree. Ornaments we bought in Disney World on our Honeymoon. Or the special ones from my grandparents. I wanted Oliver to know all of it. And he sat and listened. Picked out the branches to put those priceless ornaments on.

 And once we were done, we turned the lights off and just sat. Sat and watched the tree. Took in the moment.

Oliver gets it now. He wanted to sit and just look at the tree all night. We promised it would still be up in the morning and all the days following.  Both of the boys have been so wonderful with the tree. As curious as they are, they don't really touch it - unless its to steal a candy cane from one of the branches.

Seeing everything through their eyes, is like experiencing Christmas for the first time.

Enter the Giveaway!! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Visitor

A few years ago, thanks to blogland - I discovered The Elf on the Shelf. I wanted one then and there, but it was silly because it was just Ryan, me and a little baby Oliver. So I held off, a 10 month old baby has no clue whats going on with anything, he sure wouldn't know what the deal was with a silly elf.

This year, was the magical year. Oliver, almost 3 is all about Christmas. And all about following the rules so he doesn't end up on the naughty list.

Enter "Knows"

First night - hanging toilet paper from the light
I could not wait until the day after Thanksgiving to introduce "Knows" to the kids. Oliver at the first meeting was a little curious. He thought he was funny hanging from toilet paper from the dining room lamp, but he still wasn't about naming him. Hence the name "Know." Whenever we asked him what he wanted his name to be, he would just say "No!" Ryan had the better idea to change the spelling to "Know!" because he know's everything.


Eating Oliver's left over Halloween candy 

Wishing Landon a happy 1st birthday 
Moving on, now his name is "Knows" as Oliver loves to call him. He has become a part of our family.
Every morning now, the first thing Oliver asks is "Where's Knows?" I'm having a great time finding funny things for him to do and tricks to pull.

Keeping it classy

Mess makin'

Hangin' with the Peanuts.

So far, the favorite has been being tied up by Oliver's Star Wars guys.

Captured by the Star Wars guys
Some may think he's silly, and that is okay. But we're a silly family and the holidays can be hard and stressful. And I know I tend to get a little down around this time of the year, so to see the joy and happiness on mostly Oliver's face when he finds "Knows" driving his truck or eating ice cream while sitting in our freezer - it makes me happy. It's the little things, that's what this time of year should be about. These little moments that will stay with them forever.

Driving the big yellow truck

Sneaking a bite of Landon's birthday cupcake

just sitting in the freezer - eating some ice cream

I know I am missing a few days, the best thing about toddlers is they don't even really realize if Knows has been sitting in the same spot for 4 days. Next year, I'll have to up my game, but this year we're just having fun!

If you're interested in Knows and all his shenanigans - you can follow along on Instagram.  

Come enter the GIVEAWAY!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Snowmen Ornaments - with Chelsea [and a giveaway]

Hi! I'm Chelsea, the blogger behind the Big, Beautiful & Broke blog! I'm super excited to be hanging out on Lindsay's side bar this month and even more excited that she's letting me take the blog over today!!

My husband and I love crafts and DIY projects. With the winter months looming here in Michigan, I figured I'd share a fun winter craft with you guys!

Snowmen Ornaments

What You'll Need:
Pre-cut wooden circles of various sizes.
Pre-cut wooden ovals
White, Black and Orange Acrylic Paint
Paint brush
Small Make-up brush
Fabric remnants
Glue gun

This project is fairly easy. The wooden pieces I purchased pre-cut from JoAnn's. Next I painted the circles white and the ovals orange. I had my husband drill small holes in the tops of the circles prior to painting them white.

After the orange and white paint dried, I added the black flecks of paint. To do this, all you do is dip the brush in the paint and flick the bristles. This gives you the little specks.
Glue the orange ovals onto the white circles. Next, I put a tiny bit of blush on the cheeks to give them a nice rosy color. 

Take a small piece of fabric to make the scarf and use the glue gun to attach to the snowman. I cheated and used a sharpie to make the eyes.
I used jewelry wire to make the hanging loop, but you can use anything you want (string or ornament hangers).

That's it!! A cute, fun snowman project!! 

Good luck and Happy Crafting!


Um, Seriously - how cute are these snowmen?! 
Thank you so much Chelsea!! 

But before you go, Chelsea is offering 2 months of ad space on her blog, Big, Beautiful & Broke!!! Enter the giveaway below to receive a premium spot for 2 months!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dear Motherhood

Motherhood, you have changed me.  You have given me the ability to love someone else more than I love myself. You have showed me what true, unconditional love is, and what it means to be courageous. How pushing though can be one of the hardest things, but the end result is worth more than gold. 

Motherhood, you have brought out a strength in me, I never knew existed. It was there all along. Under the self-doubt and fear. You have showed me a fierceness that the shy, reserved girl from long ago would never believe was there.

Somedays I think of that girl. Young and carefree. Selfish and irresponsible. Oh, how I'd love to tell her how it all turns out. But she will see, eventually. 

I have been tested in ways I never knew possible. I have loved more than I ever though I could, and the amount of love that I love is on a level I never knew existed. 

Motherhood, you have broke me down and saved me. You have made me question every decision I have ever made and left me exposed. You have thrown all my insecurities out on the table and gave me the courage to own them and change them, not only for myself - but for them. Those two little boys, who hang on to my every word and every action. 

You have forced me to face those fears and when I break down and wonder am I strong enough to survive it all, I know deep in my heart that I can answer with a yes. 

Every time I can answer with a yes. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Step by Step: Glitter Christmas Tree Picks

When I first saw these Glittery Tree Picks on Allison's Blog, I knew I needed to make them. I have seen glitter Christmas tree picks in the store, but I never bought them. It wasn't until I found them on her blog that I realized how easy they were to make. 

They are really easy to make. All you need are a few simple supplies and some time. 

Styrofoam balls in two different sizes
Mod Podge
A foam brush
Glitter in your choice colors
Fabric covered floral wire 
Green floral wrap tape (I don't think that's what its really called - but its found in the floral section along with the floral wire) 
tooth picks

Sick the Styrofoam ball on a tooth pick and cover it in Mod Podge. Then cover it in glitter. 
Keep doing this until all the balls are covered. 

Let them dry. Its easier if you sick them in something, like I stuck them in this Styrofoam tree thing. 

In the meantime, get your floral wire and wrap ready. I used three pieces of wire and then wrapped the bottoms together with the wrap tape stuff. 

When everything is dry you can start putting the Styrofoam balls onto the wire. I alternated them by color and size. Three balls on each wire worked perfectly. 

Use the ball on the very top to protect the wire. (so don't push the wire all the way though the top ball) 

As you can see, I have mine in a vase on my window - but Allison did use her in the tree. Both look really pretty. I plan on making more for our Christmas Tree!!  


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