Ideas for Easter

I can’t believe it’s spring already, or that Easter is on Sunday!

In the past, we’ve celebrated Easter by having an Easter Egg hunt in the backyard, and gone to church but we’ve never done any of the fun Easter-y things with the kids like dyeing eggs or an Resurrection garden.
This year, we’re making some changes.

~First of all, we are keeping the focus on Christ’s death and resurrection-after all, Christianity would be useless without it!

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“For Christ died for sins, once for all– the righteous (Jesus)  for the unrighteous (us) , to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body, but made alive by the Spirit” 1 Peter 3:18

“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23,24

No bunnies.

~We are dyeing Easter eggs as a symbol of Jesus’ tomb- Eggs hold life and the cracking of the egg symbolizes the opening of the tomb to release new life into the world just as Jesus conquered death so that we might have new life as His children, free from the death that sin brings.

We’re using natural dyes for the eggs to avoid any chemicals. I’m excited to see how they turn out!

Click here to learn how to dye eggs using things you may have at home!

~We’re not giving the kids any candy- we’ve been trying to cut back on sugar and anything genetically modified, which is pretty much any candy. Maybe we’ll make cookies with honey or maple syrup or muffins or something as a treat instead.

~For Easter baskets, we’re giving each child an umbrella (no spiritual significance there, it just rains a lot here and they’ve been wanting those cute frog and ladybug umbrellas that open up and have eyes/antennae on top). I made a skirt for Ellie and am going to make some pants for Ethan to wear to church Easter morning, and we’ll put a few smaller things in the basket as well. I’d like to buy a children’s Bible for each of them but I don’t know if we’ll have time to do that. (we’d have to order it online or drive over an hour to get to a store that has Bibles.)

For some great Easter basket ideas, check out this website– or just visit the dollar store. You’ll find tons of non-candy items available.

For Christ-based Easter coloring pages, go here. There are some good ones on there!

I hope you have a lovely Easter! He is Risen!

Winter Fun

Well, it’s almost Christmas and we’re really enjoying all the fun that comes with the holidays!

Yesterday we made sugar cookies and decorated them with homemade frosting in blackberry and orange flavors, as well as regular icing and green icing.

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Last night my brother Brian and family friend Chris came over and we played games late into the night.

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Me and Scotty, my youngest brother

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Look at that concentration!

Then, this morning, we woke up to snowflakes falling from the sky!!

Of course it didn’t stick around, but the kids had fun anyway while it lasted.

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Ethan “Snowplowing”.

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The view out our back door.

The snow was long gone before this afternoon, but we sure enjoyed it while it was here! Maybe we’ll get more soon.
Has it snowed yet where you live??

I hope we get at least a few good snows this year. We’ll see!

Christmas Tree Hunting

On Sunday, we went on an adventure that I’ve been waiting for since I realized we were moving back to Washington with my parents: The Christmas Tree Hunt.

For as far back as I can remember every year we’ve bundled up in coats and hats and gloves and wool and gone traipsing around out in the woods, getting soaked with the drizzle that is inevitably falling from the sky, looking for that perfect Christmas tree.

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My brother, Scotty and Eliana

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Handsome Hubby

Now, a wild-harvested Christmas tree looks nothing like the big, bushy trees you find in the local tree lot but they have their own Charlie-Brown charm to them. The fun of debating over which tree to saw down and which one will actually fit inside the house far outweighs the fact that you will indeed get cold and wet. Those sneaky trees always look smaller out in the woods, then you get the tree home and realize…it’s WAY too tall. That’s when you break out the saw.  ; )

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Daddy with the tree!

We found the perfect tree fairly quickly and came back home to make spiced apple cider and warm up in front of the wood stove. Then, after realizing that we had little rodent intruders in the attic that chewed through every single strand of lights that we have, Mom and Dad had to make a trip to the hardware store. Darn mice.

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We finally got the tree up and decorated, just in time for the lights to sparkle through the window out into the night.
There’s something so beautiful and full of wonder about Christmas trees, don’t you think? I just love sitting and looking at the lights and the ornaments reflecting the pretty colors, it’s so nice and relaxing and cozy.

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I hope you’re having fun getting ready for Christmas! We sure are. 🙂

DIY Advent Calendar

It’s almost December and I’ve been thinking about Christmas a lot; wanting to make our Christmas more meaningful this year and be really purposeful about focusing on Jesus’ birth instead of what presents we’re going to get or the goodies we’ll eat or events we’ll go to.

I thought a good way to make sure we spend at least a few minutes every day thinking about Jesus and talking about him and how he came to earth to save us from our sins is to make an Advent Calendar. We’ve never done an advent calendar before, but we are going to this year!

Advent simply means, “coming” and to celebrate Advent is to celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world; opening a door or envelope or present each day for the 24 days preceding Christmas.

There are a lot of advent calendars and there are so many options of what you can do, it’s almost overwhelming!

I decided to go with a simple felt calendar, that we can use year after year without having to go to a lot of work making it.
I also used printables from some other fabulous blogs for the numbers, the Bible verses to go into the pockets and an activity to do each day. (more on that in a second.)

Wanna make your own Simple Advent Calendar?

Of course, feel free to adapt your felt to whatever color scheme that matches your home/decorating for Christmas.

I figured red and gray and white is pretty Christmasy.
Let’s do it!

You need:

1- 14″ wide x 18″ tall rectangle of white felt

5 -11″wide x 3″ tall strips of coordinating felt (for pockets)

1- 1″ wide x 18″ long strip of white felt for the hanger

Sewing Machine

Coordinating thread

Scissors

25 clothespins

Printables  for the day numbers, bible verses and/or fun activities

Or you can just make your own little cards if you’re so inclined. I’m not, so I just googled around til I found what I wanted.

I got my day numbers from  Shanty-2-Chic, the Bible verses from Happy Home Fairy, and the fun activities from  Plum Adorable.  Pinterest has a TON of free printables too, if you can’t find just what you’re looking for.

Now that you have all your supplies, let’s make the calendar.

Take your white felt and line up your colored strips so that all 5 fit evenly spaced on the rectangle. I took some white felt  and sewed 2 smaller pieces together to make a nice rectangle. I only had scraps of felt and thankfully I had enough to piece together a big enough shape to hold the strips of maroon and gray felt for the pockets.

The felt kind of sticks to itself, so you may not even need to pin anything if you handle it carefully!

Sew down the ends of all the strips- just one big long stitch through all five, ending just past the bottom of the last strip. Do this on both sides.

Then, sew along the bottoms of all of the strips.

DON’T sew the tops!!! You’ll close up your pockets. ONLY sew the bottoms.

Once you have your bottoms sewed, go ahead and make 5 evenly spaced pockets on each row. Mark with pins.

Sew slowly and carefully, making sure it’s in a straight line, all the way down across all the strips, just like you did on the edges. As you can see, mine is not perfectly straight. That’s okay. I did cut the felt around the edges to be a little more even after I took this picture. Thankfully felt doesn’t unravel, so you don’t have to worry about hemming anything!

Finally, take your skinny white strip of felt and sew the ends down on the top corners of the calendar to create a way to hang it up.

Good. The main part of the calendar is done!!

If you want, you could applique numbers onto the strips before you sew them on the calendar….but I thought of that after I’d already sewed the strips on. So I just used clothespins with numbers glued on them for the days leading up to Christmas.

Cut out your numbers, and glue them to the clothespins, cut out your Bible verses and your activities and place one verse and one activity in each pocket, clip the clothespins on the pockets and then hang up your Advent Calendar!

I’m so excited to start using it in a few days!

 

 

Shared at Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways

Happy 4th!

I hope you’re all having a lovely fourth of July; we’re just kickin’ back and chilling..er trying to stay cool in the 100 + degree temps here in Tennessee.

Last night we did a few fireworks, and tonight we’re going to do a few more and we may venture out to the big fireworks show downtown if we want to brave the crowds and the heat. We’ll see.
We hit up a local thrift store today that was having a half off everything sale and got some great things that I’ll show you tomorrow or Friday. I have a few projects to make out of some of them that I’m really excited about!
Tonight, we’re looking forward to great dinner of pork tacos, watermelon and grilled corn on the cob. Yum!
Here are a few pictures from last night.
We put little flags on either side of our front porch for some festive flair. 🙂
Do you remember these from when you were a kid? They are still just as much fun.
Ethan LOVED making them pop!
We tried using matches….but really you just need a lighter to light these bad boys. So we went and got one.
“Pre-firework” testing…gotta make sure they work, right? 😉
My patriotic outfit today 🙂
Sparklers!  
Eliana was kind of afraid of the sparklers, but she managed to still do a few of them.
Jammies and sparklers- what fun!
Tanks fighting each other- another childhood favorite.
My fine man, about to light a rocket.
Double rocket launch!! Yeah!!
Hope you all have a safe, wonderful holiday. 🙂

Food Waste Friday: I Surprised Myself!

FoodWasteFriday

Guess What??

This week I have…

No Food Waste!!


I’m SO excited- it’s been quite a while. 🙂

Hooray!!!

I hope all of you in the States have a lovely Memorial Day Weekend- Hubby has Memorial Day off for the first time in FIVE years. (His new job is soooooooooooooooo much better than the last one!!) We’re looking forward to working outside and going to a potluck with some friends.

Thanks to all of those who have given their lives for our country’s freedom, and for the families who have lost loved ones in battle or service for our country; we are forever grateful for their sacrifice.
🙂

This post is shared at The Frugal Girl, who is the brains behind all of this food waste declaration. 🙂 And her blog is just plain awesome.

It’s been too long!

Hi! It’s been almost a week since I’ve written- Christmas just begs to be stretched out for a week or so, instead of being only a single day, so we’ve been busy eating chocolate, relaxing, and when we’re tired of relaxing, we’ve been cleaning and decluttering and organizing for the new year.
More on that tomorrow!

I’ll do a more lengthy post tomorrow, although not a Food Waste Friday one, because I didn’t take pictures or account for it this week! (Sadly, there was a lot of waste though, since I didn’t really care if we wasted food or not. oops.)

For now, here is a cute picture or three. This is what became of the gingerbread houses. 🙂

Gingerbread Houses – A New Tradition!

Hi and Merry Christmas Eve!
I hope you all are having a wonderful time relaxing with family, eating yummy food and hopefully remembering the reason we celebrate-  it’s Jesus’ birth!

Today we began a new tradition for our family- the first one that we’ve started that didn’t come from either of our families, I think.
We made gingerbread houses.

Actually, they are graham cracker houses, since I didn’t think about how much work it would be to make all of the real gingerbread and cut it into the right shapes. I also didn’t want to buy a pre-made kit, so we decided to do graham cracker houses.

Let me tell you, it’s a lot more work that I thought it would be! But it was so worth it. 🙂
I put the kid’s houses together,

then once the icing had hardened a bit (after about 5-10 min.) they got to decorate them with whatever candy they wanted to. We had sixlets, chocolate covered raisins, peach gummy rings, sweet tarts, peppermints and sprinkles.

Eliana had lots of fun sprinkling the sprinkles…everywhere except onto her house. 🙂

They had SO much fun.
We all did!
It’s gonna be fun to see how the gingerbread houses turn out every year- I’m already looking forward to taking pictures of next year’s houses.

Tim working on his house

My house

More sprinkles

The kid’s houses- Eliana’s is in the foreground, Ethan’s in the background

The finished products!

How cute is she??

Yep, pretty cute.

Love that smile!

After we were all done, our living room floor was completely covered in graham cracker crumbs, sprinkles and icing, along with the other candy that we had. Totally worth it. 🙂 Messiness is always worth it when fun is involved!

Ethan helped out by mopping the floor after I swept everything up.

What a great start to Christmas!!
I hope you all have a very merry Christmas, see you next week!

Sweater Sleeves Made into Hand Warmers

Wow, it’s almost Christmas.
I’m trying really hard not to jump headlong into the frenzied last minute shopping that is going on at every store around town, but when you have to wait til last minute to shop because you don’t have any money until then, well it’s hard not to get a little frazzled.

I decided to make some gifts this year though, and honestly I wish I’d have started earlier so I could make homemade gifts for everyone.
As it is, I made a few here and there and am mostly satisfied with the result.

I had a cute wool sweater that shrunk the first time I washed it, and have been saving it to make something out of for a while.
I needed a gift for my husbands’ little sister, (hopefully she doesn’t read this!!) and thought that hand warmers would be a cool, simple gift to make.

So, I hopped on Pinterest (the source of most of my ‘inspiration’ these days) and found this:

source

Then, I simply followed the instructions on the tutorial, and ended up with these!
(notice how much nicer her photo is? someday, maybe I’ll take pretty photos..:)

I added a few cute flowers for extra embellishment.

I like them so much, I’m going to make myself some next time I have a minute to sew.
They’ll keep my hands nice and toasty warm, and sister’s hands too.

Hooray for easy, quick sewing projects!!
And for “little helpers”! 🙂