DIYP-Beaded Utensils

  • Stainless steel serving utensil w/hole in the top
  • 20-gauge silver craft wire
  • various beads of choice.  I like glass beads.
  • Wire cutters or heavy duty kitchen scissors to cut wire
  • Jewelry pliers

Detailed instructions here
(I use my beaded spoon to stir my sweet tea. For Christmas, I’m giving my Mom and Mother-in-law the Life pitcher and this platter. 

I LOVE this line from Dayspring so much! It makes me happy to use it and to give it. And, it’s on sale right now. The Life Collection is 15% off, just in time for holiday shopping!)
Here are some gift ideas I love (for kids):
Kid’s Meals -such a creative idea
Handmade Ornaments-I love these!
P.S. Come back later today for the PERFECT gift idea from your kids-for that hard to buy for person (Yes, Mom, I’m talking about you-but don’t come back and see what you might be getting for Christmas!) Oh, and I’m giving TWO of them away!

The Lost & The Found

I stood on the crowded concrete walk looking for my oldest two in the throngs of children bursting through the school doors. Spotted, their eyes find mine and ask the same question that comes each day, “Can we stay and play?”
I nod my head, they drop backpacks at my feet, grab their baby sister’s hand and run to the swings. I find a spot to sit and visit with other mothers.
It doesn’t take long for my toddler to find a mud puddle from the rains that soaked the ground the day before. I collect her shoes and tug her resistant hand. It’s time for homework and time to stir dinner in the crock pot.
My oldest helps with the youngest and I search the playing field for my son. I don’t see him. I ask his sisters. They look too, calling and looking.
Searching. Looking. Pacing.

He is not there.
I try to slow the heart that beats faster with that very thought.
I ask around and pick up my pace, trying to remember if his shirt is yellow or orange. The crowd has thinned, but my voice is thick.
I call his name. I search and grab my phone. Others are hunting him too.
And then I look into the future of a life without my son. I pray that thought away….
Suddenly, he stumbles towards me from a forbidden wooded area that surrounds the elementary school. I can tell by his trembling lip and his older sister’s stern face, he knew my heart was in my throat.
“I’m sorry, Mom,” he cried. This is my sensitive one. With just a look, he crumbles. I hugged him close, taking in the scent of this one-day man. Tears formed and I blinked them away.
He continued to apologize until we got home. I accept it over and over. “Let’s talk about this. What happened? You know that you aren’t supposed to go into the woods. I thought you were lost.”
Wiping his nose on his sleeve, “I didn’t know I was lost. Some friends asked me to come with them to help collect pine needles. I knew I shouldn’t. I gave into temptation,” he said as he hugged me tight, willing my forgiveness. I hid my smile and my tears in his hair.
“You are forgiven. But you disobeyed.” I doled out a consequence (a small one since he had already punished himself so severely).
Later as I recounted the event, I saw it differently. I was the lost. Searching for something unimportant in a place I shouldn’t be. Trying to do things on my own, pleasing the people around me, giving into temptation.
But He was searching for me. He was calling my name. Even now, when I stumble off the path, neglect the Word, seek fortune, and altogether, fail. He rallies a search party, shines His light into the darkness of my selfishness and draws me near.
He leaves the 99 for the one.
To find me.
Luke 15:4
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”

WFMW: Create a Gift Wrapping Center

You could create this anywhere, but I love that it’s above a counter in her laundry room:

  • She uses paper towel hangers to hold spools of curling ribbon
  • A long towel rack holds tissue paper
  • A wooden hat rack is the perfect place to hang ribbon
  • An unused vase holds bows
  • The double plate stand is a catchall for tape and cards

Thank you for joining me for WFMW! {You can read the guidelines here.}

Have a Works-For-Me Wednesday tip you’d like to share? I’d love for you to join us! Please note that the links will close at 9 pm CST tonight, in order to keep away the spammers!

Was your link deleted? Click here.

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  1. Smockity Frocks – Kids Dress Themselves
  2. The Diaper Diaries (Medicine Cabinet)
  3. Julie From Inmates
  4. It Feels Like Chaos (chores)
  5. 3 Ways to Use a PHOTO FRAME @ MooreMinutes
  6. Mom Tried It (Leafy Labyrinth)
  7. Raise Them Up (Great Student Gift Idea)
  8. Erin @ Closing Time (fun lunch)
  9. Weird Unsocialized HSers (lunch trays)
  10. HoosierHomemade (Blogging Schedule)
  11. Muses of Megret (Visual online shopping tip)
  12. Heavenly Homemaker (EASY way to cook a turkey!)
  13. Sarah @ Short Stop (9 KITCHEN TOOLS I LOVE!)
  14. This Side of Eternity (Free Cookbooks!!!)
  15. Blogger Tips
  16. Green Baby Guide (Choosing a Diaper System)
  17. THE SHABBY CHIC COTTAGE {Christmas in 10 minutes}
  18. Surviving a road trip (Unintended housewife)
  19. Wii Mommies : Breaking My Addiction to Carbs / Sugar
  20. Hannah @ Mulberry Spot – closet office
  21. Bean there done that – aunt mommy aka lorena bee
  22. Faith Food and Family (Easy Meatloaf & Cabbage)
  23. Mom Squad : Easy Apple Desserts!
  24. FishMama @ LifeasMOM (Planning a Holiday Dinner)
  25. Amy @ Finer Things (Water Trick)
  26. ElizabethG (Green and Frugal Gift Giving)
  27. rachel @ springpad (static – free hair!)
  28. The Cozy Country Home (A Funny Works For Me)
  29. Moms In Need of Mercy (Recording Birth Day Stories)
  31. The Importance of Weekly Planning (FREE form)
  32. The *Perfect* Holiday Appetizer~ EZ Shrimp Platter
  33. Songberries / Lazy way to scrub / Big Contest!
  34. The Mama Bird (Best Childrens Bible!)
  35. Half – Pint House : Thank You Note Postcards
  36. So Wonderful So Marvelous {House Sitter Tips}
  37. Tanya (Science birthday party)
  38. Clutter Free Gift Ideas @PolkaSpotFarm
  39. Starting Dreadlocks (Christine)
  40. Do you smell that?
  41. Lee @ foodieplus4 (frozen chai tea smoothie)
  42. Dinner gift basket & giveaway
  43. Many Little Blessings (Using Large Wall Portraits)
  44. SICK KIDS? Best Throw – Up Clean – Up Tips here!
  45. Miller Mix (re – using old crayons)
  46. A pretty and organized closet!!
  47. NerdFamily Food (seeding pomegranates)
  48. Odd Mom (Keeping organized with index cards)
  49. Mrs. Wright Gone Wrongs Handmade Holidays (Men)
  50. Your Baby Can Read Alternative
  51. Mama Bird Babbles (easy way to clean microwave)
  52. Monica @ DailyDwelling (Bible study tools)
  53. How to Have Fun & Teach about Veterans Day
  54. When all I have are w
    eeds (mombrud)
  55. PepperScraps **To Do Lists – Remember the Milk**
  56. Bainbridge (Breadsticks)
  57. Se7en More HomeSchool Questions…
  58. Autism friendly movie theatres
  59. How to Become the Best Single Parent
  60. Micha @Aint Mimi (Theme Night Menu Planning)
  61. e – Mom (13 Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving)
  62. Adventure Mom Janna – Spanking Wisdom
  63. Grateful for Grace (great cookware)
  64. New England Mom – Im NEW + Charity Auction
  65. Rachel (Sharing the money savin love!)
  66. Sandra @ A Lot of Savings (Smoothie Ingredient yum)
  67. Kim @justbeingamum (Eat An Apple Today)
  68. Stop and Smell the Chocolates (Brining a turkey)
  69. Beginning Meet End – Music Lessons = Secure Future
  70. Sunnymama (puzzle storage)
  71. Prudent & Practical (Grandmas Pistachio Bread)
  72. Stephanie (Sticking To An Exercise Routine)
  73. Mommies Coffee Break (Take A Nap)
  74. Lazy Couponing / Great Coupon Site
  75. NeverBored – Parenting Idea
  76. Tracey @ Girls to Grow (Time Management)
  77. Organizing Your Way (Cord Clutter)
  78. Organizing Your Way (Home Management Printables)
  79. Organizing Your Way (Storing Plastic Grocery Bags)
  80. Organizing Your Way (Organizing Socks)
  81. Because I Must (simple bath for kids)
  82. Trixie @ FarmHomeLife (Stress Free Holiday Idea)
  83. Girls in White Dresses (earn money online)
  84. Kristi_runwatch (God moments treasurebox)
  85. Jodi (furniture shopping on a budget)
  86. Brilliant Moms (Veterans Day)
  87. A Busy Mom of Two (kids themed birthday party)
  88. Shanty2Chic~ Thrifty Christmas Gifts!
  89. Shanty2Chic~ Thrifty Christmas Centerpiece
  90. Make visiting your favorite blogs a piece of cake!
  91. Cardamoms Pod – 9 kids (BEST TIP FOR SCHEDULES)
  92. Valencia (dating your husband)
  93. Jolanthe {Homeopathic Medicines & Coupons!!}
  94. Kate @ A Simple Walk (capturing Disney moments)
  95. Cure Acne Naturally – Melissa @Cellulite Investgatn
  96. Donielle @ Naturally Knocked Up (Kicking a Cold)
  97. PensieveRobin {Cultivating year round thanks!}
  98. DIY Meal Planning Magnets @ The Red Chair Blog
  99. Unfinished Mom (Tools for Kitchen)
  100. (Baileys Leaf) A Girls Guide – Car Winterization
  101. Bobbie (dusting slippers)
  102. The Prudent Pantry (Decorative Butter)
  103. Fancy Frugalista! (Free Shampoo)
  104. Heather @NotaDIYLife (Keep a toddler entertained)
  105. SWAP SAVERS (Games)
  106. Bake at 350 {Cookies for Giving}
  107. RedemptionUnlimi ted (Max Money Nooks 4 Christmas!)
  108. The Packet Queen (Im New! Making My Own Cheese!)
  1. Indiana Shannon (compassion in action this season)
  2. Retrieving Wayward Balloons (Aunt LoLo)
  3. Kristen (saving recipes on springpad)
  4. Amy Lynne @ Moms Balance (Veterans Day)
  5. Rachel@T&E; : The Scientific Method and Cooking
  6. Tina K. Keeping The Sabbath
  7. Christmas Out – giving Challenge
  8. cleaning a Kleen Kanteen (Kansas Mom)
  9. Cheryl@SomewhatC runchy (best Split Pea Soup EVER)
  10. haleywynn (ten pairs of shoes)
  11. Jean Stockdale – Thick Hair
  12. Katie @ Favorites and things (ribbon holder)
  13. Roots of Simplicity (Using Kids to Compact Leaves)
  14. Amanda@TrentTrib e (Thanksgiving Recipe : OatmealPie)
  15. Brandi (How to properly eat a pomegranate)
  16. (Dee) Clean Smelling Kitchen Hands
  17. Michelle (Frugal Online Shopping)
  18. Cents to Get Debt Free (DISCOUNT GROCER)
  19. LFinnDesigns (Loose Change for Gift Cards)
  20. Getting toddlers to take bad tasting medicine
  21. Liz @ Frugally Blonde (Emergency Meals)
  22. Titus 2 Homemaker (helping children purge artwork)
  23. Organizing Tips (Prepare Your Heart 4 the Holidays)
  24. TidyMom (Cookies=Smiles)
  25. Cara @ Health Home & Happiness (Better Jello)
  26. Life Of A Crafty SAHM – WFMW
  27. Jenny @ The Zepf Life (Homemade Baby Wipes)
  28. Jenna @ Newlyweds
  29. Trash to Treasure – curbside armoire + free paint!
  30. Keeping Thanksgiving present (Coping101)
  31. Mominin (Organize that Junk Drawer!)
  32. Save $ on Groceries
  33. Penny Raine ~ working out at home
  34. Just Mom – Super Easy Caramel Pecan Pie
  35. Free & Cheap Photo Gift Ideas
  36. Inexpensive gift ideas
  37. The Five of Us {Finding a Good Book to Read}
  38. 10 FAVE things!!!!
  39. april – donating
  40. Lifestyle Logic – Dining Out for Less
  41. Cheerios Underfoot – Cheap Easy Cool Gifts to Make
  42. Such The Spot (10 Holiday Hostess Gift Ideas)
  43. MamaHall (no – roll pencil)
  44. Common Cents Mom (Remembering)
  45. Audra – My 13 month old cleans my kitchen!
  46. Fabulous Fall Decor to Celebrate the Holidays
  47. Learning the Frugal Life (Budgeting Tips)
  48. Leaving Excess (Mantra For Uncertain Times)
  49. Jenny@Just Jennifer
  50. Dena Dyer at Mother Inferior : Finding Me Time
  51. Johnlyn (helping SAHMs do their job)
  52. Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker (hem pants)
  53. Phyllis (Strawberry Cheesecake Bars)
  54. flexible dreams (customized crayon box)
  55. Organize & Decorate Everything (Thanksgiving)
  56. My Heart My Home (iGoogle)
  57. Effectively eliminating CHAOS!!
  58. Missy @ missysthrifty
  59. EMBELLISH your DESSERTS in 1 EASY step!!
  60. Amy Andrews (8 Great Blogging Tips)
  61. candle dressing
  62. Abbi (honoring veterans)
  63. Kacie (Sense to Save) Shoe tip
  64. Camian Academy (Young Scientists Club Kits)
  65. Decorated Donut Holes for Fall (Angie Pangie)
  66. Printable Letter Tracing Cards (Activity Mom)
  67. Johnlyn (Routines Help Save Time)
  68. Buffaloes & Butterfly Wings – Kids doing laundry
  69. (Making Chores Easier)
  70. Re – purpose leftover tile A2 the Byrds nest
  71. Allyson (Painting with Q – tips)
  72. Fitting Seafood into Your Diet
  73. MothersHideaway – Keeping Baby Warm
  74. Mommy Monsters Chocolate Milk Tip
  75. Pam @BeyondJustMom (Favorite Thanksgiving Advice)
  76. Counting Sprinkles (UP + Snow White : $5 together)
  77. Eden (Seat Belt drills)
  78. Taylor@Household Mgmt 101 (Diaper Bag Checklist)
  79. Mother Hen (Free Stuff)
  80. Tara @ Feels Like Home (homemade cranberry sauce)
  81. Initial Letter Picture…Makes An Easy Gift!
  82. Kathleen (turning around a bad attitude!)
  83. Jena@Married to the Farm (Freezing Homemade Bread)
  84. Free 2 Be Frugal (Not Paying for Books)
  85. The Meanest Momma (DIY Piggy Bank)
  86. Jessica and Bathroom Organizing
  87. Cricket @ HPFP (Store Loyalty)
  88. staci @teaching money to kids (stocking up)
  89. Heather @ Green Baby Green Mama (baby eczema)
  90. EnviroBecca (layered bedding)
  91. TheGainesGang {Shabby Chic Christmas}
  92. PeacefulHome (homeschool help in big family)
  93. Keeping Organized – SavingMommyMoney
  94. Ladybug Chronicles (Candle Holders)
  95. Annie Kate (Microwaving a Pumpkin)
  96. Shelley @ MAHM (planning for new holiday recipes)
  97. Heidi Cogdill (Smelly Towels – Use Vinegar)
  98. Make a FREE Christmas Notebook!
  99. Thanksgiving Hostess Gift by Sandra
  100. Gia (Sick Days)
  101. Adorkable Me : : : On Receipt Filing
  102. TwoHeartsTogethe r (Fall Fashion Favs)
  103. GroovieMom (Stop Night Coughs)
  104. Burlap GIVE THANKS cards @ Posh Pieces
  105. Saving and Giving (Grab a Roll of Quarters!)
  106. Use Old Newspapers To Keep Weeds From Your Garden
  107. Amyswandering (Martha Stewarts Holiday Calendar)
  108. My Frugal Lifestyle {Scentsy Emergency Candles}
  109. CouponomicStimul usPackage – I Love Freezer Cooking

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Make a Difference in a Child’s Life Today

Sponsor a child through Compassion International.
She needs your help.
Click here to sponsor a precious child today. 
A group of bloggers are in El Salvador right now, click to follow their journey.
P.S. Have you ordered your Christmas cards yet? If not, DaySpring is offering my readers a coupon for 15% off your purchase with this coupon code: CHILDREN15. The BEST part is that 6% of the sale goes to COMPASSION automatically! Offer expires Dec. 7,2009.

Handmade Quilted ‘His & Hers’ Stockings {Giveaway}

*UPDATED with WINNER* Congrats to Brandi of AutumnFawn!
Don’t forget you can order up until December 15th, here.
One of my sweet readers, Jennifer, has a unique talent: quilting!
She makes gorgeous quilted blankets and many other family heirlooms.
(And she doesn’t even use a glue gun. Go figure).
Today, she is offering one lucky reader a SET of QUILTED STOCKINGS just in time for Christmas!

Aren’t they beautiful? ($46 value for the set)
You can check out her quilt gallery here.  Leave a comment HERE telling me what you love and that will be your entry for the stockings.
I think these would make an awesome Christmas gift for that special couple in your life (or for your family)!
If you’d like to order a set of these one-of-a-kind stockings today or until Dec. 15th, you can do that here. And there’s a discount if you order more than one set.

Disclosure: Please read my giveaway policy.

My New Normal

Just an average day…
Unfortunately, my Cortisone shot stopped working. 
The next option in avoiding surgery: a home traction device to relieve pressure from the ruined disc . I do this 4 times a day, 10 minutes at a time. 
(And while I’m strapped down, I pray my toddler doesn’t jump in the middle of me and my dog doesn’t make me smell her breath.)
Because. Well, you know.
Oh, and of course, it’s completely natural for my daughter to soak her sore toe in epson salt beside my head.
I thinking our normal might be a little weird. 
What do you think?

How to Host a Family Night

If you don’t have regularly scheduled family nights on your calendar, you should (because I’m bossy and I said so).

It doesn’t take a ton of planning and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money!

Research has proven that having regular family meals together makes a huge difference in your children’s lives. So, a whole night once or twice a month or every Friday, dedicated to the family can only help.

An excerpt from Time Magazine about family meals:

“Studies show that the more often families eat together, the less likely kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders and consider suicide, and the more likely they are to do well in school, delay having sex, eat their vegetables, learn big words and know which fork to use. “If it were just about food, we would squirt it into their mouths with a tube,” says Robin Fox, an anthropologist who teaches at Rutgers University in New Jersey, about the mysterious way that family dinner engraves our souls. “A meal is about civilizing children. It’s about teaching them to be a member of their culture.”

Here’s how we spent Friday night in 4 Easy Steps:

1. We picked a theme: Dogs

2. We fixed Hot Dogs with Homemade Chili Dog Sauce and ate them outside.

Don’t forget the paper towels!

3. We took our dog to a local dog park (and played on the playground next door a little).

4. We came home to watch Disney’s Shaggy Dog.

Planning Time: about 10 minutes
Costs: Zero Dollars (I keep stuff for hot dogs in the freezer for last minute meals).

Homemade Hot Dog Chili Sauce

2 pounds lean ground beef
2 cups water
/2 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
dash of paprika
crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Directions: Crumble ground beef into large pan on medium heat. Stir in water, and mash ground beef thoroughly with a potato masher. Stir in tomato sauce, ketchup, salt, pepper, sugar, and chili powder; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, 30 minutes, until the sauce reaches a medium consistency. Get ready for a delicious mess!

Get your calendars out, okay? Don’t make me get bossy.

This post was sponsored by Viva Towels. For fun, fork-free recipes – including videos – and snappy entertaining ideas, get over to the VIVA® Diva Café

Excuse to Show You More Pictures {Winner Announced}


the photo shoot

And, I’m going to have a hard time trying to decide which picture I’m going to put in this great Christmas frame from the  DaySpring-Danielson Design Studio. I get to try one out and they are offering all of you buy one item, get the other half off, just in time for Christmas. Just enter the code HALF OFF.

If you didn’t win, don’t forget to take advantage of Lucky HorseShoe Photography 15% off offer!