DIYP #32 Valentine’s Ideas

Okay, prepare for the longest Valentine’s Do It Yourself  Project post ever! Since it’s just two short weeks away, I thought I’d cram a lot into one post.

I don’t go overboard with Valentine’s decor, but I do enjoy adding a few touches to my predominately red house.

I love sticking seasonal items under jars:
My versatile wire tree:
The best part of Valentine’s is the candy! I love decorating with it too. 
I’ve found the best way to keep the kids out of the candy is to make sure it tastes like candles:
I saw a really cute idea at Christmas that I didn’t have a chance to try. It was a wreath made from silver cookie cutters (the old fashioned kind). I found a large bag of plastic Valentine’s Day cookie cutters and thought I’d give it a try. 
Since I was winging it here, I created a shape with the cookie cutters.
I tied them together with some small white ribbon I had:

A heart-shaped wreath may have been ambitious. I found that less is more, so that it will keep it’s shape.

I added some wide ribbon and a bow and I’m pleased with my $5 Valentine’s Day wreath:

I found these adorable Valentine’s gift bags at Hobby Lobby (set of 10 for 1.99) and then they were an extra 30% off.  
I love old fashioned valentine’s. I really only needed a couple of bags for some teacher gifts. I couldn’t not use the others. 
5 ideas for re-purposing Valentine sacks:
Frame It 

This took 5 seconds with an old frame.
Dress up Dishes

I cut circles and pasted them into the center of the plates for a splash of red.
Make your own Valentine’s Cards
I love homemade valentine’s. I made this one for you. It says, “Do we click? Your my type.”
Decoupage It
My daughter (who might be more crafty than me and I mean that in a positive way) wanted to decorate this green wreath I got at the Dollar Store for her teacher’s door.

We just tore the paper into pieces and painted on Modge Podge with a paint brush. We’re going to add a big red bow as soon as it dries!
Gift Bag
I used a leftover cookie cutter and tied it onto the bag. Cute, huh?

It’s In the Bag!

There is some serious Kate Spade handbag love out there.
I didn’t know so many people needed a new purse.
Brings a tear to my eye.
I hate to see this giveaway come to an end.
I was getting used to all the begging. I will miss the groveling, the bargaining, the offers for a kidney. (I will be writing that name down. Just in case).
Before I make one lady very happy, I wanted to remind y’all about the S.W.A.K. carnival. It’s what helped me make the decision to give this bag away. I wanted to bring exposure to a carnival about honoring our hubbies. 
Please save the date and link up your post on Feb. 11. As a bonus, I have 16 door prizes (valued over $500) to give away for participants. If you want to donate something, please email me. 
And since the last 4 sentences have sounded like yada yada yada yada, I’ll just announce the winner:
Randomly chosen by Mr. Random Generator:

I Believe

I had something silly planned for today.
And maybe I’ll post it later.
Instead, I just wanted to talk. Is that okay?
For the last couple of days, I’ve followed links on Twitter.
And they led me to blogs dedicated to children. Very sick children.
I don’t know what it is about these kind of posts that make my world standstill. It’s as if nothing else matters in that moment. I am compelled to know. Sometimes I am afraid to read. Sometimes I can’t see because of the tears. 
At the same time, I want to run away immediately. I want to distract myself from learning of an ill child. I don’t want to think of them missing their childhood and I don’t want to put myself in their place. I don’t want to imagine my child in their child’s place.
But I have to read and find out the how, the when and the where.
It’s the why I struggle with the most.  Why do innocent babies and rosy cheeked toddlers and active children get cancer? Why do children suffer and babies struggle before they take their first breath? Why are some born with the heavy burden of a disease that cannot be cured? Why are my children healthy and theirs aren’t? 
I don’t know.
I don’t understand.
I believe God.
I believe He can heal.
Please read this post if you doubt it.
And although His healing may not always leave these sweet children in the arms of their parents, He does heal.
Last night, I couldn’t stop thinking about Cora, a tiny baby with Stage IV cancer or of Tuesday, a darling twin daughter who is fighting for her life. I whispered a prayer for Abby, a precious girl and of Parker, who is a strong fighter.  I thought of Kayleigh who is nearly 7 months old and hasn’t left the hospital and of Harper who is winning the battle to go home.
So many.
I believe God.
This post isn’t for Christians. It’s not just for people who go to church, who are religious or spiritual. 
It’s for you.  You are supposed to read this. 
If it was your child and you were desperate, wouldn’t you try praying?
I wrote down their names in a notebook. Will you join me in praying for them? Will you read their stories, touch the face of their children and ask God?
I can’t help but think of the Mother’s of these babies.  I’m asking for them.
Do you believe?
It’s a beautiful thing to care about others.
*UPDATE* Thank you for praying with me today and every day that you think about one of these children. Please read this comment from Parker’s mom. I think it balances out the sadness that we feel:
“I can’t speak for every family who has a child who is ill, or has special needs, or both. I can only speak for me and my family.

Parker is a total joy. He is faith in action. Each day this kid wakes up, smiles and faces the day with a determination that is humbling.

Parker is a master teacher. He is here not because he needed us, but because we needed him. Because of Parker our family has learned eternal truths that I don’t think we ever could have learned in any other way. 

I would hope that when reading Parker’s story, people wouldn’t feel sad. I would hope instead that they would feel uplifted, inspired and armed with the knowledge that all life is worth living.

Through the love, support and prayers of others we are uplifted more than you can imagine.

Parker is a living testimony to the power of prayer. I am so blessed to be his mother.

I wouldn’t trade this kid for anything.

My insurance company on the other hand is a totally different matter.”

(I know there are many other sick children who need our prayers, please leave their names/links in the comments and add them to Mr. Linky below. This is the one time I use Mr. Linky that I’d like to see empty.)

Dog*Gone It {Sincerely ‘Fro Me to You}

Once upon a time we were dog people. 
That was before Alice and Ike (the cats who let us live here).
After being married a few months, some friends (I use that term loosely) gifted (again, various meanings) a one year old male dog. He was a full-blooded Golden Retriever. He was huge, strong, and wild. He was a beautiful monster. 
A year passed and since we couldn’t scratch the baby itch due to infertility, we got a female Golden Retriever puppy.
And so we had two large untrained dogs living in our home.

Good times.
But we loved them.
For years.
But do you know what happens to a male and female dog who are supposed to be just friends?
They live in sin.
Only they keep it an absolute secret from their naive and ignorant owners. (No wonder it took us 6 years to have our first child!) 
Because um, yeah, about 48 hours before my dog’s water broke on my carpet, I thought her tummy looked funny.
Just call me intuitive. 
We are the kind of people the Humane Society warns about.
Irresponsible pet owners.
I did have the sense to take my dog to the vet, where her pregnancy (duh!) and immediate delivery were diagnosed. Only we were especially lucky because she had medical complications.
Yes, our dog had an emergency C-section.
And we became the proud parents of some pretty cute, albeit messy and stinky puppies (7!)
(While our dog recovered in labor and delivery, my hubby whipped up this nifty dog playpen because our Albuquerque winter was harsh).
It turned out okay in the end, the puppy sales covered all the unexpected costs and left us with enough money to buy a microwave. 
We also put an end to irresponsible breeding (the dogs, not us).
(P.S. The ‘Fro will be put on hold Feb. 12 for the S.W.A.K. carnival. But that’s okay, right? Because I know all of my faithful ‘fro friends are participating!!)

This Is As Close to Hugging a Tree As I Will Get

At the risk of sounding flaky, I’m going to tell y’all something:
I’m pretty sure I’ve made a tree happy somewhere.
My toddler has skin issues. She has eczema and this time of year is so hard on her. The prescription she uses doesn’t help much during a bad flare up. Last week was really tough and her Mother’s Day Out teacher actually called me, voicing her concern.
Feeling sorry for my girl (and fearing my Tuesdays might be in jeopardy), I knew I had to do something.
And so I Googled.
I read and read and kept seeing the words, “tea tree oil.” I called GNC and bought my first bottle of essential oil.
Y’all. It’s like a miracle potion. Her skin has improved by 90%. 
As many of you know, we also had another little problem at the same time. More than 100 of you confessed to your own experiences or lent some handy advice or unsubscribed to me. Whatever. But all of you convinced me that I wasn’t dirty. (thankyou)
I was amazed to read so many suggest a few drops of “tea tree oil” in the shampoo bottle.
Again, it did the trick.
My kids smell like a giant melaleuca tree, but their skin and hair is healthy.  And I feel sorta bad for all my essential-oil mockery over the years, especially since at one point I kissed the bottle and praised God for it.
So, my tip? This stuff works. Here’s where you can buy it and here’ s what it helps cure.
Now, tell me, what other oils are out there and what do you use them for?
Not that I want to know or anything, I’m just asking for a friend. 

Check out Works for Me Wednesday for more great tips.

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

I like my comfort zone.
It’s nice and well, comfortable. And I try to keep it nearby.
But I will be leaving it for a few short days (the first weekend of February) and that makes me very uncomfortable.
im_going_yall Badges
Um, yes, that would be a real live blogging conference. With people. In real life.
All by myself. Without knowing another person face-to-face.
Comfort zone? Completely obliterated.
I have a couple of really good friends (yes, I’m talking about you, Cheryl & Jen) and we take a girl’s weekend trip every year.  I emailed them and suggested they attend the conference with me. They don’t have a blog, but both of my creative friends need one and I thought this would be the perfect start!
{See how nice and thoughtful I am to think of them?}
Except I wasn’t banking on the fact that these girls know me very well.
They saw my desperate plan and said, “We love you and we think that you should go alone. This will be good for you. You need to get out of your comfort zone. This will help you grow.”
So, now I have two openings for real life friends.
Oh, I kid.
As much as I hate to admit it, those girls are right! Just getting on that plane and actually showing up will be huge for me. Not to mention taking this introverted body and meeting other people I read in the real world.
I feel faint.
So, I need your advice. What’s the best two cents you can give me? I’m seriously nervous about the whole thing. And I’m resisting the urge for a full body makeover. {Can you get those on clearance?}
How often do you leave your comfort zone and do you take your favorite blankie?
Secondly, what does one wear to a blogging cocktail party? Is it the same thing I would wear to a sweet tea party?
And finally, would y’all pray that when I enter the plane, there are no birds in sight?
Because if I so much as see a feather, I might just get back in my car and spend the weekend in the fetal position.

And This is Where I Give Away Something Really BIG!

*Update* I’ve closed this contest down and am busy cleaning up the comments and will announce the winner today! 
I’m going to forego all the funny business and skip to the biggest giveaway I’ve ever done on this blog o mine.
Through an unplanned turn of events, my hubby’s company awarded him some shopping points and we got this in the mail: 

A beautiful pink Kate Spade Hobo Handbag, valued at $245.
And it’s just not his color.
Since I’m still toting the beautiful purse my hubby gave me last Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d give this one away!
{And let me add, this is a gorgeous purse. It’s big (13″ tall, 13″ wide) and roomy, with pockets and zippers. It’s a great shade of pink for the Spring with an adorable black and white polka dotted interior. I better stop or I will want to keep it).

So, if you’d like to win this designer purse that comes with a protective bag and lots of class, do the following: 

How to Enter 
Please leave a comment for EACH of the following for multiple entries (i.e. 2 entries, 2 comments). This will keep it fair! BUT YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE MORE THAN 5 ENTRIES TOTAL
Leave a comment=one entry
Twitter it with an @wearethatfamily or Stumble this post= additional entry
Subscribe to my blog=third entry 
Add one of the following buttons to your blog=fourth entry
Join the S.W.A.K. challenge/carnival=fifth entry (you can leave a comment on that post to let me know). FYI: Just for linking up a post honoring your hubby, you will be eligible for more than $500 in door prizes Feb. 11-13!


or a smaller one


(To apply button, copy code and paste it into HTML element on your blog)
P.S. If you are a regular reader, odds are you’ve done many or all of the above for entries, and that’s awesome. Just let me know in the comments!

Kate Spade Clinton Street Flat Serena Handbag in Magenta

Dotted with vintage boutiques and cozy restaurants, New York‘s Clinton Street is the essence of the city’s creative spirit. Embodying this vitality is the Flat Serena Handbag from Kate Spade’s Clinton Street Collection. Smart in structure and iconic in style, this oxford nylon bag trimmed in patent calfskin leather works with so many attire choices. Handbag also features zipper closure, interior pockets, 14K gold-plated hardware, 100% cotton-twill lining, 8-1/4″ handle drop, and Kate Spade leather license plate signature. 

Retail $245
Please visit the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival for hundreds of other giveaways this week!
US Shipping Only.
Comments will close on Friday morning and I will announce a winner that day.

The Couch Isn’t the Only Thing Floating

We’ve lived in our little corner of Suburbia for 5 years. 

During that time, we have renovated most of our house. We’ve replaced the flooring, painted every room, reconfigured the floor plan and survived a kitchen makeover.
And we are still married and not completely broke. 
But I’ve never moved my couch.  It’s been against the one solid wall in our living room since we moved in. 
The other day on Twitter, I read The Nester’s tweet that she rearranged her furniture and moved her couch. I responded with couch-moving envy.
I’m pretty sure she nearly fell out of her nest when she learned that I hadn’t moved my sofa in 5 years! (And I won’t go into detail about the items found under the couch. Let’s just put it this way: I should be ashamed and pictures will not follow).
So, with her encouragement and while my kids dug a hole to China in the backyard, I did it. 
I moved my sofa to the center of the room (termed: floating), facing 
the fireplace:
I grouped the chairs together and put the lamp table between them, next to the fireplace:

I used our table with toy bins as a sofa-table and put it behind the couch. 
I love the way this little corner feels now:
Here’s a view from the second-story landing:
How about you? Are you a mad-furniture-mover? Or are you boring like me?
We do most of our living in our family room (former formal living room):

Don’t ask me how long that couch has been on the wall….
Hope you enjoyed my little living room tour! Check out Kelly’s Korner for more.