Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Road Trip!

Hi friends!

By the time most of you read this, we will be on the road. We're driving from Chicago to Upstate New York tomorrow, and leaving in the wee hours of the morning.

When we lived in Phoenix we traveled with Abbey all the time. Matt worked for US Airways, and we used the heck out of our flight benefits! I miss those...
I was a rock star at traveling with a baby/toddler. However, since we've been back in Chicago we haven't traveled nearly as much. A few trips to Grand Rapids, that's about it. So, when I found out that we were taking a 13 hour road trip, I started hunting for ways to keep Abbey busy in the car!

I've asked around, and found some great ideas! If you have any travel plans soon, you are going to LOVE these!

Jenni from The Good Long Road shared these busy bags on my facebook page:

The Iowa Farmer's Wife has a great list of 50 travel tips and activities. She also has an entire Pinterest board devoted to travel ideas, so check that out! I wish I had found it weeks ago!

I am totally loving this activity box from Play Dr Mom!

When I get back I will be sharing with you what we did in the car, what worked, and what didn't! I've also got a couple great product reviews coming, so keep an eye out for those!

Do you have more travel ideas? Link up in the comments!

Keep us in your prayers as we travel!

Be blessed.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Bean Bags

Hi friends!

So, the award for most unoriginal blog post goes to me today. These weren't my idea. Not even a little bit. However, I believe they're a classic toy, and classics should be shared!

This is a perfect project if you are a new sewer. Straight seams, minimal cutting, instant gratification! This is totally a naptime project. Or, in my case, a PopPop took the tiny child to Home Depot and Steak n Shake project. Ha!

I had some leftover fat quarters from a project. I loved the patterns and colors, but didn't have enough of any of them to make anything substantial. Until I remembered bean bags! Woohoo for stash busting!

These could not be any easier. You probably don't even need a tutorial but, just in case, I'm going to give you one anyway!

I started out by cutting 4.5 x 4.5 inch squares from my fabric.

These then get stitched together, right sides facing, leaving about 2/3 of one side open. This will let you turn your bean bag, and fill it.

Fill up your bags. I used rice, but you can use whatever you have on hand. If you use something food based, like rice or beans, these aren't washable. No one wants sprouting bean bags! However, if you use the plastic pellets you can get at craft stores, then these should go in the wash with no problem.

I filled my bags about 1/2-2/3 full. Any more than that and you won't be able to sew around the edges.

Now you close up the bags. There are a few different ways you can do this. If you want, you can hand stitch the opening closed and be done. I chose to pin it closed, and sew a top stitch seam around the entire bean bag.

I've had enough bean bags bust open on me that I thought this way was better. More seams = more strength. At least in my head.

Aren't they pretty?

At first Abbey looked at them like "what am I supposed to do with these things?", but now she loves them. She loves to "build tall towers" and balance them on different parts of her body. There are all sorts of fun ways to play with bean bags!

Here's a fun one:

Line up a few plates and use them as target practice. Have kids aim for a specific plate, or set them out at different distances. There are a million ways to adjust this game for your kids.

Have fun!

Be blessed!


I'm linking up. Come play!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July Sponsor Love!

Hi friends!

If you typically read this blog in a reader, you may not have noticed that I was blessed to ad some sponsors this month! I was so excited to take that step! All of this month's sponsors have been ad swaps (they have my ad on their blog), so it has been great getting this little ol' blog out there into the big ol' blogiverse!

In case you hadn't had a chance to click on their lovely ads and visit them, I want to highlight them for you today! Go check them out, you'll love them!

From Rebecca

I started my bag company three years ago, but never meant for it to get so big!  I just wanted to make a diaper bag for myself as I welcomed my first little boy into the world.  After showing the bag off on Facebook to my friends, the business took off and never stopped.
You can read our mission and see the full story {written by my hubby} here.
Better Life Bags has two purposes. 
  1. Involve my customers in the design process.  Each bag is designed by you!  I have basic styles that are customized further by your choice of fabric and add-on options.  Each bag is unique and essentially one of a kind!
  2. Give back to those in need.  I loan 10% of every purchase to low income entrepreneurs in developing countries through Kiva.  We’ve been able to loan over $2,000 over the past 3 years to the people you see here.  Incredible.

From Sarah
Hi! I'm Sarah So...if you have been reading my blog for any length of time now you will know that I am no means a "professional writer" or any kind of fancy face in the blogging community. If you are new to reading my blog then WELCOME, I am glad that you are here. 
The short version: Why I blog? To catalogue and organize my creative processes. 
It seems that I always have something going on, dinner parties, DIY projects, graphic design work, church activities, community events, new recipes I want to try...my mind is always working! There is not much that I enjoy more then being able to be creative. 
This blog is a place to share ideas, be inspired and (try) to inspire others, no more...no less. 
I love to meet new people and make new friends. I'd love to hear from you, and again thanks for checking me out. 

Side note: Sarah just opened up a new Esty shop full of gorgeous re-done furniture and home decor goodies. RUN over there! 

From Katie:
I am living the dream here in suburbia with my handsome husband Matt and our beautiful kids, Dylan (7), Ella (5) and Mady (2). Life isn't always perfect, but at least we have each other.

Katie has a great linky party every month called Living the Width which she calls "a monthly mash-up of posts centered around intentional living, new experiences, celebrations, community, pushing the limits, glimpses of glory, and aha moments." It just went live today, so go link up your goodies!

From Go To Patterns:

Go To Patterns are designed to be just that—your go to patterns.

Each pattern is designed with function and fashion in mind as well as your pocketbook! You’ll use these again and again.
I am crazy about these patterns! The Go To Signature Dress is so incredibly versatile! I'm dying to get my hands on it! 

From Faith
My name is Faith, and this is my life! I am a college student, teacher, writer, kid's ministry director, crafter, cook, and wife to my hubby Jimmy. I stay busy! Phew! It's hard to sum up all of me in one post! I hope as you read through my blog you will get to know me even better! I write about everything from cooking, crafts, dates,and God, to Holidays, giveaways, friends and so much more. I hope you enjoy following me through life and leave me some lovely comments along the way!

From Rachel:
I’m Rachel, wife to an amazing man (who also happens to be a pastor) and mommy to 2 adorable boys. I spend most of my time helping my hubby with church ministries and chasing after my busy little guys. I started seriously blogging in the fall of 2009, and moved to my new online home here at Operation: Simple Life in June 2012.  I hope that my readers can find this to be a place of encouragement and joy as I continue to share!

Rachel has some fantastic ideas about keeping life simple. I know I need all the ideas I can get!

From Laura:
My promise to you…I guarantee I will be honest and authentic. I will post something at least twice a week that pertains to all different areas in my life as well as yours.  I’ll share my inspirations, my hard times, family memories, cooking, exercise, ways to become better at being you and connect with your life purpose, and of course me!

Redomestication has articles on everything from recipes to fashion! Everything is accessible, approachable, and lots of fun. It's a great place to get lost for and hour or five!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mommy Mondays: The Dream House

Hi friends!

So, apparently when I said "later today", I meant waaaayy later today! Hey, it's still Monday, right? It's all good!

I haven't mentioned it in a while, but Matt, Abbey and I live with my parents (and my brother and sister). We've been here for about a year now, and honestly, it's been fantastic! We've been able to pay down a lot of debt, and being around family after so long is wonderful. We're starting the process of looking for a rental, but it may take us a while to find something. I would love it if you would pray for our housing! Finding something that meets our needs and fits our budget is going to need a serious miracle!

We had to short sell our home in Phoenix, so it's going to be a while until we get to buy again. No worries! This just gives me plenty of time to dream! I thought it might be fun to lay out my dream home for you all here. Each week I'll give you a different area of the home, and all my grand visions for it. Sound like fun? I think so!

So here we go....

Where better to start than the home itself?

I am a serious fan of Craftsman style homes.

                                                                             Source: google.com via Lacy on Pinterest
Seriously. Love!

I mean, just look at that front porch!

                                                                                                                                     Source: google.com via Mandy on Pinterest                       

They're just begging for things like big giant swings...

                                                                     Source: houseofturquoise.com via Heather on Pinterest
And delicious lemonade!

                                                                          Source: ourbestbites.com via Adila on Pinterest

Honestly, I think I would take a small craftsman style home over a larger version of just about anything else!

What does your dream home look like?

Be blessed!


Sorry friends!

Hey, remember that time I disappeared from blog-land for a week without telling anyone??

Yeah...sorry about that!

For a variety of reasons (some legit, some lazy) a break was called for this past week. I've missed you all like crazy, though, so I'm back and ready to go! I've got some great new stuff for you, including a new Mommy Mondays series starting later today, some bragging about the fab sponsors I've had this month, and something fun and simple for your little ones!

Be blessed!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Let's do it!

My  friend Amy wrote this a week ago. She doesn't have a blog to share it on, so I'm thrilled to be sharing it here. Please, take time to read it, and pass it on. This is a problem that is easily fixed, and can impact millions of lives world wide.
Thanks for listening!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Did you know that the Macy’s fireworks display was estimated to have cost over 5 million dollars?
And here are some figures from 2 other major cities from an article 2 years ago. No doubt the costs
have risen since then.

Article in Daily Finance by Johnathan Berr 7/10

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says the festival's expenses have been cut from roughly $3
million to about $2.1 million now, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

Boston spares no expense on its annual fireworks show. David Mugar, who organizes the
event, says the 37th annual July 4 shindig will cost $2.5 million. Included in that price tag, will be
performances by the Boston Pops and country crooner Toby Keith. "[It's] a colorful way to see your
money go up in smoke," jokes Mugar.

Average size towns are estimated to put on shows ranging from $10- 20,000 annually. Did you
know that a well for an entire village costs $10,000 and can change the lives of 1,500 to 3,000
people and the gift of a well can last up to 20-30 years. Here are some more facts from the Hope 4
Kids International website.

75% of all deaths in remote villages is caused by a lack of clean drinking water. 300 million people
in Africa almost half of the total population- do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. Poor
water quality continues to pose a major threat to human health. A significant amount of disease
could be prevented, especially in developing countries, through better availability of a safe water
supply. The effects of these conditions are mostly concentrated on children who are unable to fight
off these diseases.

These girls walk 5k every day, just for clean water (source)

Dysentery, a diarrheal disease caused by polluted water, alone is responsible for the deaths of
1.8 million people every year and killing 5,000 children every day. This specific condition causes
dehydration which then becomes the killer. Other water-related diseases are malaria, measles,
cholera, typhoid fever, and bilharzia. All preventable!

The Well/Borehole in Kawale/Sence, south of Lilongwe.
A new well in Malawi (source)

Here is the really staggering part. Are you ready? It would only take $20 billion to provide clean
water to EVERY single person in the WORLD that does not have it. I can’t even really do the math
on how many lives that will save. May be you can’t wrap your brain around that number. Once
we get into the billions, it can be a little difficult to grasp. For some added perspective: in 2011, we
spent $46 billion just on black Friday. Just in this country. In 1 day, we spent more than double what
is needed to give water to the world. Let that sink in for a minute.

Sale Sale

So, this is not really about fireworks. Fireworks are breathtaking, bring unity to a nation normally
divided, bring families together to celebrate, instill patriotism and gratitude for our troops and our
freedoms. They just happen to be a timely and costly example of many of our country’s priorities
and a good way to show contrast and bring perspective to some high dollar expenditures. And
this isn’t just about awareness for the significance of clean water. I could make the same point
that instead of fireworks, we could feed our nation’s homeless for weeks or any number of critical
legitimate needs. It’s about doing Kingdom work. It’s about the basics of what this country was
founded on – equality, sharing, freedom, cooperative efforts. We have a responsibility to love our
neighbors, to think of others more than ourselves and to share all that we have been blessed with.

Believe me, I am speaking to myself just as much as to any of you.

The bottom line is that we need to stop just doing what everyone else is doing or expects us to do
and ask the Lord what he would like us to do with the resources he has given us. The blessings
and abundance he has poured out on us is truly enough to go around, but there is very little sharing
going on in our world at large. What does this mean for you? Only you and the Lord can answer

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Want to get involved? Here are some great options:

Like Amy said, this isn't just about water. There are hundreds of ways you can get involved, both internationally and locally. The challenge is to do it! Whatever you feel God is putting on your heart...do it!

Be blessed!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Our Week In Pictures

Hey friends!

It's that time again...Our Week in Pictures! 

This week has been pretty low key, which has been nice after vacation. 

My little Merida got a pretty dress. Think I can make cheap polyester last until Halloween?

I'm desperately trying to get back on track with my clean eating after a disastrous vacation!

I started Soul Detox, and it is rocking. my. world!

We've been doing a LOT of watering lately. Like that grass? Yeah, it's cute. The assistant gardener however...stinkin' adorable!

Someone got her face painted for the first time! She came to visit me at work so I could see (and so my mom could bring me the lunch I left on the counter. awwww!)

Weeks that end in play dates at the toddler park are always good!

Umm...what happened?! Seriously. I'm fairly certain she did nothing but stretch over the past year. She's wearing the same pair of shorts in both pictures!

It rained!!!

aaaand then it stopped. Really fast. boo.

I'm linking up with Jeannett! Have you seen her new peanut, Owen? He's adorable!
life rearranged

Be blessed!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

And we were all yellow

Hi friends.

If you had asked me a few years ago, I never would have told you that I was a fan of the color yellow. I'm more of a cool color gal myself. However, with yellow being all. over. the place like it has been lately, I'm pretty smitten. Apparently I just needed to see it used the right way. That or I'm just a sucker for a good trend. It could go either way, really.

So, when I saw that the Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop for the month was about the color yellow, I headed over to my trusty Pinterest boards. Here's the goodies I found:

From my style board:

I love the pops of color in this one. Yellow looks great with khaki!

Source: polyvore.com via Heather on Pinterest

And I'm definitely going to need a yellow cardigan for fall!

I have yellow shoes. I need to wear them more often. Love the yellow with the grey cardi! Apparently I have a thing for yellows and neutrals!

From the home decor board:

Yellow makes such a great accent color! I'm amazed at how many color schemes it works in. I love using it as an unexpected splash of fun in a room.

Like this cute shared nursery/bedroom.

And I'm pretty sure I need a yellow decorative table like Jen's.

How amazing is this pocket door?!

And this may be my new favorite color combination. New living room here I come!                                                        

There, now don't you feel all sunshiney and happy after this post? I do!

I even wore yellow today. Fun!

I'm linking up with Maggie!                                                                                                                                     

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

Be blessed!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

She Reads Truth

Hi friends!!

Have you discovered She Reads Truth yet?

She Reads Truth is what happens when bible study and social networking become BFFs. Through YouVersion, people all over the world are doing devotionals, and tweeting and instagraming them! It is so much fun reading and seeing what other people are getting out of their quiet time. Plus, you know I'm a big fan of accountability! You don't have to have a fancy phone to play along. You can participate through email, too!

The great thing about this plan, is that you don't have to be on the same schedule as everyone else. I just started the first reading plan, Soul Detox a few days ago, and am going through it with my friend Aimee. I got to see the author of Soul Detox speak at the Orange Conference, and let me tell you...his book is rocking my world as much as his talk did!

Rumor has it the girls at She Reads Truth are announcing a new reading plan tomorrow. Now would be a great time to jump in! You won't regret it, I promise!!

Be blessed!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Our Week in Pictures: Vacation Edition!

Hi friends!

Wow! It's been a really long time since I've done one of these! I promise, I'm not about to bombard you with a month's worth of Instagram. Just the last week or so!

So, here it is. Our Week (and a half) in Pictures: Vacation Edition!

We took our feisty red-head to see the movie about a feisty red-head. It was fantastic, if you're wondering.

We had a little pre-vacation GNO with my friend Emilie.

Beach vacations require pretty toes. It's the law.

Stocking up on snacks for the trip. God bless Trader Joe's and their mini carts!

How cute is this house?! For real.

This could be my favorite thing in life.

Some storms rolled in and did a whole lot of...nothing! We need RAIN!

[insert lame blogger moment]
We had Matt's 10 year HS reunion, and I got exactly 1 IG pic...that's too dark to see. Lame.

This is what toddlers look like after days spent playing with new friends. This was about 2 minutes after we got into the car.

Homework on vacation: lame
FINISHED homework on vacation: less lame

Running errands with my Sis-in-law

All dressed up and patriotic-like. 
p.s. I think everyone who owns this skirt, wore it on Wednesday! I know Chrissy did!

Also a favorite thing to do. Are we noticing a pattern?

We made some fireworks of the paint variety

and the pipe-cleaner variety!

long, late afternoon, good-thing-because-the-fireworks-will-keep-you-up-til-11 naps were taken

The best thing about not being the driver? Back seat scrapbooking. Woot!

Ugh...post vacation laundry. Where's the laundry fairy when you need her?

Next on WIWW: Monkey towels and ladybug boots. It's the next big thing.

My little Merida

OK, that's all the fun! If you're on Instagram and want to follow me go right ahead! @heather_kate

Be blessed!


I'm linking up with Jeannett (who's having a baby on Wednesday! woohoo!)

life rearranged

Like it? Share it!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...