Saturday, December 25, 2010

... we wish you a Merry Christmas, and a broken leg too...

I haven't written a post in quite some time, but I have excuses, trust me! Not only have we been busy with the constant running around that is inevitable this season, but ever since Thanksgiving, life has been exceptionally crazy. We spent the day giving thanks in Virginia with my side of the family at my sisters house. By the time we came back home to Delaware from there, we had about three weeks to catch up on life, and we ran out of time. Before we knew it, we were spending nights up Christmas shopping, wrapping presents and cleaning the house. We stole some time to get our Christmas tree, but didn't get a chance to light it until a week later. And even then, we only got to enjoy it for about two nights since we were soon off to NYC. Bummer, huh?

NYC was wonderful, as always, until about 5:30 pm on Tuesday night. The day before was spent at the filming of The Nate Show. It was an awesome experience, and we just love his show. We went back to my sister-in-laws place in Manhattan to relax for the night playing games. Tuesday was supposed to be our night out on the town. We planned to go ice skating, see the tree in Rockefeller Center, go tour the windows at Macy's, and have a wonderful magical time.

We got as far as ice skating. Specifically, two times around the rink, when our fun stopped us right in our tracks. Some anonymous girl, who will never realize what her short attention span caused us, slammed into Chad when she was staring behind her at her boyfriend, and knocked Chad over onto the ice. We thought his ankle was dislocated, and then perhaps broken. Once the ambulance went screaming through the packed streets of NYC at Christmastime and we arrived at the hospital, we learned Chad had actually broken his LEG and tore two ligaments in his ankle and needs surgery.

I know, Merry Christmas, right?

Everything happens for a reason. I believe that God is always trying to teach us something that will enable us to become more like the loving people He desires us to be. And while most would think this accident couldn't have come at a worse time, it actually had perfect timing. And really, because of medical insurance and work purposes, this actually couldn't have come at a BETTER time. He is so good at that, isn't he? Reason one to thank God in all circumstances.

While my husband sleeps quietly beside me, I am reminded that HE IS STILL HERE WITH ME. This could have been much worse if he hit his head, but He didn't, because God protected him and helped break his fall. I just learned of a murder suicide that happened recently in a friends neighborhood, and I can't imagine what those families are going through. I'm sure they would give anything for their loved one to have a broken leg and still be living rather than not, so who are we to complain? I am blessed with another evening, another CHRISTMAS, to spend with my husband. Reason two to thank God in all circumstances.

For the next week or two we will be staying at my brother-in-law's house in Pennsylvania. We have a warm bed, food on the table, and laughter and joy that surrounds us here. The basement is packed with nieces and nephews, having fun and doing what nieces and nephews do. And while the soft light of the Christmas tree stands between us and the frigid outdoors, I can't help but dwell on Christ, and what He gave, so He can be the One to stand between us and the pain of the world. Reason three to thank God in all circumstances.

Perhaps our Christmas this year will be more of a challenge than a time of rest, more about serving others than being served ourself,  or perhaps things won't go exactly how we wanted them to... I will be comforted in knowing that my Christmas this year is starting to resemble the entire life of who this season is all about, and maybe all our Christmas's should start looking a little more like that each year.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

PS- Pictures of our adventures coming soon. : )

Friday, December 3, 2010

Project: DIY birch branch candle holder

I'm not going to lie... I think this craft is fabulous. I have just been stopping to stare at mine because I love it so much! I hope you love it as well.

To make this craft, you only need a few things that most everyone has in their house ( or outside) already.

 (or you can use paper towel or toilet paper rolls)

-a working printer-

-candles in holders-

-evergreen firs-

-scissors and an exacto knife-
 (if you don't have an exacto knife you can use the scissors or a regular steak knife but it will make the job more tricky and a little bit dangerous!)

-a stapler-
 (could be replaced with hot glue if you don't have a stapler)

One great thing about this project is that it is customizable. You can easily make the birch branch candle holder any size you want, as well as altering the size of the cut outs if you have big or small candles.

Let me show you how to do it! (It's super easy, really...)

1. Gather together all your supplies, including the birch paper. What birch paper you ask? Go online (I'm assuming you have the internet since you are reading my blog : ) and find FREE clip art birch paper pattern. Any pattern you like. (Don't want birch? You could just use a typical tree branch pattern as well.) Print that off on regular computer paper.

Take your cardboard, and cut out a piece about 7.5 x 10 inches, making sure that the cardboard is 2. aligned with the ribbing on it. Essentially, you want the ribbing to go with the length of the final object. Also, make sure the cardboard is cut so it is a bit smaller than the birch paper dimensions. Bend and loosen each rib of the cardboard so you can easily roll it. Once you roll it, overlap one edge onto the other about an inch and staple. This allows for a flat base on the bottom so it doesn't roll.

3. Lay the cardboard flat, and line up the candles in front. I chose to use three standard size votive candles in holders (you can get a pack of 12 candles at the dollar store, as well as a pack of 12 votive holders). Once I lined them up where I want them to sit in the cardboard holder, I marked lines on the top of the cardboard and then later placed the votive holders over the lines and traced a circle. I did this for all three candles, and then used an exacto knife to cut out the wholes. Don't worry about being neat and tidy! If you accidentally cut a little deep no worries. The imperfections will be covered with the birch paper. (Note: this entire step can be done however you choose. If it is easier for you to take measurements and use a ruler to mark where to cut the holes, then that is just fine. For me, I don't mind imperfections or having the holes a few millimeters off... it would never be noticeable. )
Now you need to put your candles in the slots allotted for them. Next, take your birch paper,  4.
 position it appropriately on top of the candles so it wraps around to the botton of the cardboard and it where you will want it permanantly in the end. Tape the sides down so the paper stays put. Take a pencil, and trace the ridges of the candles. This can be a little tricky, since you can't see the candles. Just feel and trace. Again, it doesn't need to be perfect.

5. Untape the paper, and trace over the circles you traced when the paper was covering the candles. This just makes the circle a little more circular, and easier to cut nicely. Once you've done that for each hole, wrap the paper around the cardboard and staple it. Now you are ready to put the firs in. Position them wherever you like, especially focusing on covering up any imperfections. Once you've done that, place the candles in their spots, and light them! Your family will see them over the holidays and be surpised they were homeade! Just like my last project, this would make a wonderful gift!

-curve the excess paper sticking over the ends to give it a little more of a realistic look-
-add a little silver or white glitter to glam it up-
-before stapling the paper, spray paint the inside white so the brown cardboard doesn't show-


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Project: Magazine Christmas Trees!

This project is fun, easy, CHEAP, and simple enough to do with your kids!

Ok, ladies (or guys)... I KNOW you have a stash of magazines laying around somewhere... and you can now put them to use. This is usually a Christmas decoration... but I can't help but think how cute they would look all year 'round in different colors. I found this project on Martha Stewart... it's a classic, traditional project people have done for decades, but Martha had never done one! I thought that was amazing, personally. lol Because I've been pressed for time lately, I'm blogging this somewhat unfinished. I plan to make several more, and completely finish the little details, but for now this will do. : ) (Also, I didn't have glitter... so sad.). I'm going to go through step by step (I did mine a little different), but here is the original video, explaining how to do it. The original didn't include feathers or sprigs, BUT I think it adds something special... ok, let's start.

Start by breaking the spine of the magazine. Don't be too rough, because you don't want the pages tearing away from the spine.

Keep the cover and back on the magaine. Start with the cover, taking the top right corner and folding it down to the left towards the spine, as the picture shows.

Then, take that piece and fold it once more towards the spine.

What you have left should somewhat resemble a tie.

Do this with every page of the magaine. Little magazines, tall magazines, and everything in between will work great with this project, because they create all different size trees.Once you've applied step one to every page you will see the "bottom of the tie" forms a little triangle. Flip the "tie" over, and fold the triangle up to form a
straigt line on the bottom. Once you've done this with each page, the object will stand up flat and straight, and the shape of the tree will be completed.  

Next, spray paint the tree whatever color you choose. Find some sprigs from an evergreen tree, and spray paint those as well. Both will need multiple coats. Make sure you let each coat dry completely. Once you've painted the tree, if you desire to put glitter on, you can either sprinkle it on when the paint is still wet, or once the paint is dry, you can spray adhesive on and sprinkle the glitter on that way.

Then, attach the sprigs to the tree with hot glue, and aff some feathers on the bottom so they stick out and cause a soft, snowy effect, and use for a table centerpiece, or Christmas decoration. Make a few trees with you children and give them as gifts! These really turn out wonderful, and I am adoring mine set up on the television stand surrounded by candles! Enjoy!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Aw, shucks!

(My lovely husband and I, on our honeymoon in the Caribbean.)
So, I just had to blog about this, because it warmed my heart, and this is the time of year for warming hearts, isn't it?

As I was working on a craft (to be blogged about tomorrow or Wednesday), I noticed Chad (my lovely hubby) had been working on his own along side of me! Okay, I know, I know, adorable right? I mean, he didn't even SAY anything. I didn't even NOTICE for a while. But one minute, I looked over to see what he was doing, and he was a few minutes into his own version of the craft... I loved it! But, that's not even the good part...

So we were watching a special tonight on t.v. about Disney World, and how it get's transformed into a magical Christmas dream-land, full of lights and ornaments and everything beautiful, and as I was feeling all special and warm and happy, Chad handed me something he printed off the computer (I was totally unaware that he had been working on something else on the computer... (through all of this, I've realized I'm very oblivious to what is going on around me). But anyways, this is what I was handed:

Um, ok, can I say butterflies in my stomach?! Silly of me, maybe... but irresistibly cute of him? Yes! This is what it says:

"You're invited!"

(...and then on the inside...)

"To enjoy a special night out with the man you love.
When: Tomorrow Night, 11/30
Where: SHHH... It's A Surprise

Do you accept?

Yes (check box)
No (check box)"

And then he wrote with a pen "I LOVE YOU! LOVE, ME" (which is what we tell each other all the time). He even added a note on the back that said "Made especially for you by: Your Husband"...

Oh my gosh, I almost died. I checked yes, of course, and scribbled "YES!" three times next to it, and then he told me to dress nice! AW! I cannot WAIT!

It's the little things, people... the little things.
Have a wonderful, magical night, and I encourage you- do something little for someone you love- you never know how much it may mean to them!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Project: DIY hurricane vases for $2 each!

I'm not sure about you, but I have a serious obsession with hurricane vases. There are so many possibilities for decor when you own these vases, but the problem is they are SO expensive. I was contemplating using these for the centerpieces of my wedding back in August, but even finding them thrift they were running $8-$10 bucks each... not that bad until you consider needing them  for 25 tables. No, thanks. So, for
under $2  each, you can make your own! And don't worry about going out to buy expensive fillers for them... just use what you have around your house.
I used sea shells I collected over time, sand from a craft project, and dried bouquet filler. I wanted to do a fall or Christmas theme, but
this will do for now.

What you need:

-candle holder, vase-
(Take a trip to your local dollar tree and pick up whatever style candle holders and vases you want, making sure the top of the candle holder is flat, and the bottom of the vase is flat)

-gorilla glue-
(I just used a tiny bit, so I suggest getting the little squeeze tube, not the big container, unless you do a lot of crafts. Even still, a little gorilla glue goes a long way)

-text book, game, something heavy-
(make sure it is something that can lay flat)

So, here goes:

Step One:

Flip the vase upside down. Take the candle holder and coat the top (the end the candle would stick into) with glue.

   Step Two:

Immediately turn the glued side upside down and position it in the middle of the bottom face of the vase. Position it as perfectly centered as possible, but if you move it around too many times, I suggest starting over and add more glue.

  Step Three:

At this point the entire vase structure should be upside down. Place a heavy book or game on top, balancing it carefully. Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes or until dry.

Step Four:

Fill with candles, seashells, sand, or anything else you would like. For Christmas, try filling with pine cones, dried leaves, dried berries, or even ornaments, and surround it with a wreath as your table centerpiece. Then set it up in a place where people will see it, and let the compliments come flooding in!


Project: Custom headbands...

Want to learn how to custom make your own headbands, for very little money, with no limitations on the style? It is SO easy, and I will show you how to do it. There's nothing complicated about this, and you definitely don't have to be creative or talented, because it is so simple. This first post will show you how to make a headband with a flower blooming off the side of it.

What you will need:

(you can get this from the dollar store, a pack of three actually, in ALL different shapes and sizes)

(if you have nice material scissors that's great, if not, regular scissors should work)

-hot glue/hot glue gun-
(I think this is the best way to go. You can try material glue, but it needs to dry fast and STRONG)

-a (fake) flower-
(go to Goodwill, the dollar store, Wal-mart, anywhere really. I got a bouquet of the white flowers I use for 50 cents! You can't beat that...)


Ok, let's start...

:::::Step One:::::

Start pulling apart the layers of your flower. If you don't have any layers to your flower, skip to Step Two.

Pull off any rubber, metal, plastic, material fasteners that keep the layers together. You want nothing other than the material layers of the flower so that when we glue it to the headband, we won't be dealing with a bulge in any area that would interfere with the flower sitting flat on the band. Once all the fasteners are out, glue each layer back together with hot glue in the arrangement you would like.

:::::Step Two:::::

Take the newly assembled flower and poke a hole through the middle (if it doesn't already have one). You can do this easily by hammering a nail stright through the center and into a piece of wood.

Then, take the ribbon and loop it through the center. Flip the flower over so the bottom is facing up. Tie a knot, flip the flower over, and pull the ribbon tight so the knot on the bottom is flush with the flower. This will allow you to tie a knot as close and as tight on the front of the flower as possible. Turn the flower around again, remove the knot on the bottom, cut the ribbon leaving a 1/4 of an inch left, and glue the remaining ribbon to the bottom of the flower. If you want to be extra neat and tidy, cut out a circle of ribbon and place over the glued ribbon to give it a nice appearance. It is the bottom of the flower, so it isn't a big deal, unless you are OCD like me. : ) Next, turn the flower around once more, and do the same (cut the remaining ribbon, and neatly glue the remining over the side of the knot). LASTLY (yay!), glue the flower wherever you wish on your headband, and wear it with a killer outfit. THE END!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010


So, my lovely hubby has been home for over a week from work now. His doctor ordered a time of rest. It is bittersweet, because my not having a job makes for endless opportunites to spend with my husband… all day long! I love it! But at the same time, when it's a beautiful day outside, I find myself left to stare at my man passed out on the living room floor from exhaustion… not only does his pain tire him out, but every one of his medications proposes a side effect of drowsiness. So, I am making best of our time together, even if it may not be ideal!
We have been able to enjoy the outdoors a lot since he has been home. The fall leave were BEGGING for me, and the sunshine pushed me over the edge. I just HAD to go to the park. : ) Here are some pictures from our little field trip out of the apartment…

It was such a beautiful day, and we weren’t the only ones taking shots of the breath-taking scenery. Still, Chad wanted to take a nap. He had a rough day physically, so we brought the quilt my nona made for me and he attempted to take a little rest (the big white arrow is pointing at him).
All in all, it was a wonderful time. I love sitting in the sunlight, listening to the trees rustle their leaves, and enjoying the beautiful creation God made for us.

A few days later, on our way home from one of Chad’s doctors appointments, we decided to make a spontaneous trip to the beach! I love the beach, and although you may be thinking “But it’s NOVEMBER!” don’t worry… it was a little warmer than 50 degrees out, and the sun was setting, and we weren’t planning on swimming. Although it was a little chilly, we could not pass up taking a few shots of the view… enjoy!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

My husband is my SUPERMAN...

A little picture I made for us... : )
To an aching, ouching, ooohing society full of pains and ailments, fybromyalgia is not a new monster. This disorder attacks one’s, well… everything! From constant fatigue to an all-over aching body, a person suffering from FM has the hardest time doing even the most simple of tasks- like rising every morning. It is a constant struggle, and it seems impossible to get one’s body to cooperate. FM is largely considered and labeled a woman’s disorder, and while the current ratio of cases of FM in men and women is 9:1 (women holding the majority), there are many men who suffer daily with fibromyalgia who get overlooked…

…and I married one of them. If you have or know someone close to you that has fibromyalgia, you may have an idea what it is like living with a sufferer of the disorder. My
husband, Chad, is no exception from the common symptoms, and actually has it much worse than most. FM for my husband is said to exist due to the fact that he has Systemic Lupus, which is a whole other story. Combined with secondary (to the Lupus) epilepsy, and something mysteriously wrong with his ankle, Chad is a medical mutt. And I am the dog-owner! Taking care of his needs can be challenging sometimes… just being honest. But is it worth it? Of course… I LOVE dogs, afterall.  But seriously, I’ve never met someone with so many reasons to complain that never complains! I would be a rotten person to be unwilling to serve him.

This is what a typical day looks like for us newlyweds- yes, we are newlyweds. My husband is 27, and I am 21, and yet sometimes I feel like I married an 80 year old! (I guess it’s a good thing I ADORE the elderly!) As the morning rolls around, and it’s time to wake up, I’m up in a flash. I tear open the blinds to absorb the sunlight, take it in with a deep breath, grab my cell phone off the charger, and whip around to embrace my husband and the exciting day we have ahead of us… but all I embrace when I spin around is the sound the let’s me know my husband fell back asleep… loud snoring.

Insert sigh.

Over the next 15-30 minutes, my husband sets his snooze a few times, get’s up, lays back down, gets up again, goes to the bathroom, lays down on the living room floor, stretches, lays down for a little more… and then sits. For a long time. Silently. I mean, I’m literally there wagging my tail like a puppy just brought home from a pet store and I can’t WAIT to play! But my husband is just fighting with the task of being able to take a breath without feeling pain, and to clear the clouds from his brain (please excuse the unintentional rhyme).

It is
HARD. As a wife, I sometimes feel neglected, forgotten, unwanted, and like a fly on the wall. He is trapped in his own little world, and I feel like I don’t even make the tiniest bit of pretty music to cheer him up. But I’ve been learning. And if you are in my position, I hope you are learning too. But to be learning, you must be TEACHABLE. Do research on whatever your loved one is struggling with. Try your hardest to communicate with them, to understand them. It is NOT as easy as it looks, but it wouldn’t be a big sacrifice if it was easy. And sacrificing is necessary when you are trying to love someone that is suffering, no matter what the disorder or disease or illness.

If you are in this position, think about how to meet your loved ones needs first, and not your own. You have a lot more power to control your comfort and happiness, but for them, they are using all the power left within them to control the pain and just get through each day. Keep that in mind!