The Journey to Thankfulness

My kids cry.  A lot.  They cry when they wake up and it's too cold to wear their favorite sundresses.  They cry when I give them the blue bowls at breakfast instead of the purple ones.  The curly haired child cries that her hair isn't straight.  The straight haired child cries that her hair isn't curly.  I'll spare you a longer list, but I could go on for days.

It's part of being a toddler/preschooler right?  It is...and I'm actually not trying to complain about these tantrums of sorts.  I am incredibly grateful for the two little people who I have the privilege of spending my days with. I love watching them grow and seeing the world through their eyes.  

Yet as a parent--especially with Thanksgiving just around the corner--I feel the importance of somehow imparting them with a greater appreciation of the world.  The desire to show them that yes, most of the things that they cry about on a daily basis are really indeed nothing to cry about it. 

I remember once when my littlest one was just beginning to walk.  There she was trying so hard to toddle along, grinning ear to ear, when my older daughter threw herself on the ground kicking and screaming over the fact that *gasp* I'd ask her to please use the potty before we headed out to play at the park.  

In a moment of parental guilt and self doubt I was flooded with guilt about how my baby child was for sure going to be ruined for life growing up in an environment of such negativity and well, loud screaming of the the 3 year old (and let's face it, sometimes Mommy) variety. And yes, it was in one these moments that I realized that parenting was a whole lot harder than I ever imagined it to be.

So yes, I've tried all sorts of things to try to make my kids appreciate the things they have.  Lots of discussions and activities. Sometimes it just never seemed to get through to them though.

Until the first week of public school, that is.  My older daughter came home remarking, "Hey mom!  Guess what we say in our class?"  She explained to me how whenever something doesn't go as planned, or a kid gets upset about something trivial, the teacher says "Oh well." and the whole class responds "That's life!" 

So we started using the saying in our own day to day life.  Maybe all I needed was for an adored teacher to pass on this special message to my kid, or maybe it really is magic, but all I can say is "Thank you, thank you, thank you dear teacher."  Somehow you've gotten through to my five year old (and my now three year old) in ways that I've failed for years.  A tantrum can begin and sometimes be stopped mid cry by these simple words.  And no, it doesn't always work, but it's better, oh so better.  

So yes, this thanksgiving I'm thankful for so many things:  family, friends, health, food, life.  I'm also  thankful though for my daughter's teacher who somehow got through to her in a way that I'd failed to.

The leaves/acorns are from a nature walk we took this week.  I love the fall color here!  Recognize my pictures of the kids?  It's the same picture that I try to take every year--same place same time of year.  It's so fun to see the kids grow as time passes!


Easy Pillowcase Tutorial

I often head to JoAnn's fabrics on Black Friday for what is there cheapest flannel prices of the year.  Yep, some are less than $2 a yard!  And while I have mixed feelings about shopping on such a busy shopping day, it's usually a great day for me to shop.  Someone's usually available to watch the kids, and I can escape for a few hours to get a head start on some on my Christmas presents (both to buy and make!)  Since I rarely get to the store right as it opens, I usually head right to the fabric ticket counter to get a number.  THEN I pick out my fabric.  So much better than waiting to get a number after I've picked my fabric!  

Today I'm going to show you what I made with some of my fabric that I purchased last year...a pillowcase!  You'll only need a yard, which makes it not only an easy project but also a cheap one too.  Keep reading for the full tutorial:


Chalkboard Gift Tags at the Nest!

Hi all! Are you getting excited about Christmas?  My kids are constantly asking if we can start decorating, and make presents!  My latest contributor post at the Nest is super easy to make and perfect for the kids to help with...in fact, they kind of are a gift in themselves!  Check out my tutorial for these "Chalkboard" gift tags at a Nest for all Seasons!  Enjoy!


A Family Portrait

So I've been wanting to do this for a while and I finally got around to it with the kids.  I thought it'd be fun to make a family portrait out of food to hang in the kitchen somewhere, and I thought the kids would get a kick out of using food as an art medium.  It was so much fun!!

I couldn't believe how long it kept the kids' attention...they LOVED it! We just used bread for the face and then all sorts of miscellaneous food for all the facial details.  In fact, the kids didn't even want to just stick to faces.  Ellie's head has arms (out of her ears...so funny!) and Lu made herself as a whole princess.

When they finished their faces they took apart all of the pieces and assembled them into more creations for even more fun.

Now I just have to figure out where to hang our family portrait!  This one's a keeper!


30 Gifts to Make for Kids

Those of you who've followed my blog for a while know that I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with making things for my kids.  Since it's getting to be Christmas time, I thought it might be useful to put all of my tutorials in one place.  The links to each of the projects shown above can be found by the corresponding number below.

26.  Book buddy

I'll go ahead and put the link to this post on my sidebar too, so that it's easier to find all of these tutorials.  Thank you so much to all of you who follow this little blog of mine!


We survived pool fill-in...

I promised to share a bit of what's going on with our home addition (which you can read about here and here), so today I thought I'd share what happened after we turned our pool into one last big awesome art project.  Let's just say it's a whole lot of messy and not a whole lot of pretty, but I think it will be fun to follow the whole transformation of our house over time, even if it means some not so pretty blog posts.

On the day that pool fill in began, I ran out for a few hours and came back to a yard I almost didn't recognize.  Getting the bobcat into the backyard was messy business, and I'm sad to say that many of my plants didn't survive.  The plus side though is that I now have the freedom to landscape our yard however I'd like!  The bobcat began by poking holes in the bottom of the pool (for drainage) and then destroying the sides of the pool.  According to code in our area, some of the pool pieces could be left in the pool, but the rest had to be removed and lugged out.

Curious about more details?  Keep reading for more about the process as well as what our yard looks like now...


Thankful Wine Charms

This post is sponsored by Vagabond House.   I was provided some of the materials for this post, but the opinions are my own.

I'm super excited about today's post. 

Have you ever heard about Vagabond House?  When Amy from a Nest for all Seasons contacted me about doing a sponsored post for Vagabond House, I'd never heard of them before.  I looked them up, and I couldn't believe how GORGEOUS their products are! Vagabond House specializes in handcrafted pewter tableware, and after being able to see their products in real life, I can honestly say that their products are heirloom quality. There are so many beautiful items to choose from too!

Each of the Nest contributors were given some items from different Vagabond house collections. Vagabond house sent me some beautiful products from their Harvest Collection: this lovely autumn vine cheese board, this leaf pewter handle cheese knife, and these lovely corn napkin rings. Aren't they stunning?

Could they be more perfect for Thanksgiving or a fall get together?  I live in an area know for it's wineries, so when I think of fall the first thing that comes to mind is the harvesting of grapes and the beautiful colors of grapevine leaves changing colors.

I figured what better way to compliment Vagabond's beautiful Harvest line than some "Thankful"wine charms:

I made two types of wine charms.  For the first, I set of charms listing things that I was thankful for. Perfect for Thanksgiving, right? The second set I used buttons to make circular charms stamped with assorted shapes such as bees and flowers.   Don't the charms look like they could be real metal?  They aren't!  That's right, these faux metal charms are super easy to make and you only need a few things.  Want to make your own wine charms?  Keep reading for the full tutorial.


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