Thursday, September 23, 2010

Its the Thought That Counts

I like to make my own greeting cards.  I guess it started out when I was a child.  I would always be making my mother cards or for any of the other members in my 8 person family.  Its all about resources, right?  What 7 year old has money for Hallmark?  Back then, it was markers and glitter.  Now, I'm only slightly more sophisticated, but I just can't bring myself to give a store bought card very often.  It feels... as if I'm not actually putting effort or care into it, because making cards has just become how I do it.  Its ingrained.  Maybe its the over abundance of praise my mother lavished upon my feeble efforts as a child that convinced me that making my own cards somehow meant more. 

But what really re-inspired my card making as an adult was this amazing card my friend made for the birth of my daughter, Caiden. I just loved it! It relighted the fire of inspiration for me and excited me to think that homemade cards can be un-frumpy and actually one of a kind... Dare I say, special?  (Interesting side note: my friend has gone on to create her own invitation company that has been very successful over the last year or so... Check out Typologie & Co. here and leave some love....)

{Inspiration via Amber pre-Typologie & Co.}

Don't get me wrong, I only hold these standards for myself.  I adore all of the carefully bought cards I have received.  My dad is particularly clever at picking out store cards for me.  He always hits the spot.  So don't go getting self conscious about your card giving habits!

I just thought I would share a little of what I've been making in hopes that it gives you craft-ies (I just made up another word! boom!) out there a little inspiration or something.  And also to highlight a few tools that I feel make the process more easier, more pleasant, and/or more awesome.

Here's what I've been making lately:

{simple, vintage, cute, and painless to make when I'm organized}


1) Card stock (duh)

2) Patterned papers

3) Old books with cool art you don't mind cutting up

4) Fiskars paper trimmer!!!! (This has been huge for me.  I finally got one. I can't believe I didn't realize the value of this sooner. Every card maker should have one.  Straight lines are awesome and give a more polished look.)

5) Scalloped edge blade for the paper trimmer (adds variety, visual interest, and cuteness)

6) Elmer's spray glue (This will make your life a million times easier. Virtually no drying time.)

7) Metallic jelly pens

Have any must-have items to share with me?  Let me know in the comments.

Lots 'o love!

P.S. Speaking of making vs. buying cards: if you're looking for original and awesome, but don't have time to make your own, you must check out KiddinsDesigns.  Jessica from Kiddins is a super talented artist/illustrator friend of mine who, along with designing fabrics, recently launched some greeting cards over on etsy.  Head on over and check it out!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wacky Wednesday: Crazy Outfit

At first I said no to the socks.  But she was so stoked about them and she's just so darn cute that I felt I had no choice but to let her wear pink and red together.  Her outfit of choice has oddly grown on me.  Something about it is just so "Caiden." It feels right.  Because every time I look at her, I want to smile and grab her and kiss her and the outfit just accentuates the inclination.  It brightened my day for sure, yesterday, so I thought I would in turn brighten yours.  Wednesdays can be hard. <3  Love!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Life is Short

It seems like just yesterday, my daughter looked like this (the one on the right).  She was quiet, squawky, and crawling around.  But in a little less than two weeks my baby will be turning three! How can this be?

Now, my (almost) three year old is chatty, spirited, happy-go-lucky, and running and dancing around like crazy.

"Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." James 4:13,14

"As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.  But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children's children, To such as keep His covenant to do them. The LORD has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all." Psalm 103:15-19

"because "All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the LORD endures forever." Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you." I Peter 1:24,25

Monday, September 20, 2010

Best Job On Earth

The best job on earth has got to be that of being a mom.  Of course it's tough, I'm not gonna lie.  But aren't challenges what we all thrive on?  Who wants a boring job anyway?  Nobody who has ever had one, I suspect.

I know that it is not possible or profitable for everyone to have this job, but here are some reasons why I personally enjoy it.

Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Mom:

1) There are so many opportunities to be used by God and watch the Holy Spirit working through me.  So many times, my kids will do something or ask something that I have no idea how to handle or answer.  As I pray and obediently "train up [my children] in the way they should go" I find the Lord consistently giving me answers and wisdom and direction that wasn't there before.  It is incredible to experience the Lord in this way. To see His faithfulness, His wisdom, His power.  Truly awesome!  I often think of what Jesus told His disciples although it is a slightly different context: "[...],do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say." Luke 12:11,12

2) I laugh--a lot.  I have never laughed so much in my life as I have since being a parent.  I die laughing...every day.  There are things they say and things they do that are hilarious.  Some of them I share with you here.  But there are many, many more things that are probably much more hilarious, that I dare not share in this space.  They're more like family heirlooms.  And they're ours and we get to cherish them.  How cool is that?

3) I get to hang at home with my kids instead of slaving in an office somewhere for somebody else.  Instead, I get to invest in my own children.  I get to instill love, values, and truth into them every day.

4) I get to make my own schedule.  Enough said.

5) I get to (somewhat) unashamedly buy macaroni and cheese and no one cares, because after all, I have kids!

6) It gives me more of a sense of purpose in even the little things in life, like eating on time and at the table. Having a routine, playing the piano often, reading books, playing games, doing puzzles, loving my husband.  I have little people watching, scrutinizing, and questioning my every move. It is so fulfilling as you see your hard work pay off as they grow. Keeps me on my toes and and has grown my inner person and stretched me more than anything else ever has.

7) It gives me a good reason to go to the library on a regular basis.  I love the library!

8) Everything is more fun when you have little buddies with you! (except maybe when they're screaming)

9) I get to show them things I love and share things with them and watch them enjoy them, too.
10) Keeps me from being selfish and we all know that selfishness never makes you happy!

So, there you have, my top ten reasons why I love being a mom right now.  (Or at least, ten I can think of at the moment!) There are many, many more reasons to love this job, but that will do for now.  I am so thankful to the Lord for giving me this job and very blessed.

I love my kids!

Friday, September 17, 2010

I Love Boats

Don't know why. Just do. I love oceans and these green-gray-blue colors that come with it.  I love that we can say that God's love for us is deeper than any ocean.  It gets me every time.

The talented David Escalante snapped this photograph with my camera while we were at the Aquarium.

Sickness is back. Pray for us.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

His Kindness Overwhelms Me

The Lord is so faithful!

Very few people probably remember this post.  It is far back in the archives of  But that is the same kind of season we are currently in.  Actually, its a season we have been in for the past year.  But I want to give a shout out to the Maker of the universe for His unfailing love and unending mercy and favor that He has bestowed upon me.  These past 2 weeks alone, we have been dumped and dumped upon with generosity from God's people.  The provision is overwhelming in that the gifts are entirely needed and completely humbling and incredibly selfless and generous and intuitive.  I almost have no words. 

Not only has the Lord been providing for physical needs, but He has been overwhelming me with His presence and His peace.  It is indescribable.  A normal look inside my brain would reveal constant turmoil and striving and stressing, wondering if I'm doing enough, condemnation, etc.  But over the last two days, the Lord has gifted me with His indescribable peace that is completely unmerited. I have done nothing to be able to rest in His love and grace. I don't deserve it, but yet here I am.  Standing and not crushed, alive and not dead, at peace instead of turmoil, loved instead of judged.

"Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.

He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,
Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind,
Who makes His angels spirits,
His ministers a flame of fire.

You who laid the foundations of the earth,
So that it should not be moved forever,
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they fled;
At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.
They went up over the mountains;
They went down into the valleys,
to the place which You founded for them.
You have set a boundary that they may not pass over.
That they may not return to cover the earth.

He sends the springs into the valleys;
They flow among the hills.
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
By them the birds of the heavens have their home;
They sing among the branches.
He waters the hills from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.
He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the service of man,
That he may bring forth food from the earth.
And wine that makes glad the heart of man,
Oil to make his face shine,
And bread which strengthens man's heart.
The trees of the LORD are full of sap,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
Where the birds make their nests;
The stork has her home in the fir trees.
The high hills are for the wild goats;
The cliffs are a refuge for the rock badgers.

He appointed the moon for seasons;
The sun knows its going down.
You make darkness, and it is night,
In which all the beasts of the forest creep about.
The young lions roar after their prey,
And seek their food from God.
when the sun rises, they gather together
And lie down in their dens.
Man goes out to his work
And to his labor until the evening.

O LORD, how manifold are You works!
In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions--
This great and wide sea,
In which are innumerable teeming things,
Living things both small and great.
There the ships sail about;
There is that Leviathan
Which You have made to play there.

These all wait for You,
That You may give them their food in due season.
What You give them they gather in;
You open Your hand, they are filled with good.
You hide Your face, they are troubled;
You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the earth.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
May the LORD rejoice in His works.
He looks on the earth, and it trembles;
He touches the hills, and they smoke.

I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being
May my meditation be sweet to Him;
I will be glad in the LORD,
May sinners be consumed from the earth,
And the wicked be no more.

Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Praise the Lord"
Psalm 104

That is the God I serve who lets me know Him and who loves me--ME!  He loves you, too.  Praise His name forever!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Finished Silhoutte Project

A looong time ago, I started this project for my dad. I made silhouettes of me and my five siblings. At least that was the idea.  But at the time, I didn't have access to profiles of my two older siblings, so my dad has been patiently waiting for the past... year! or more for the final two (sorry, Dad!).  I finally got around to finishing them and thought, "That wasn't too bad. I'm on a roll, so why don't I do Elliott and Caiden?" So I did.  Its a fun little project and I recommend trying it.  Its easy-peasy.  Check out the tutorial I used here. Happy silhouette-ing!



Thursday, September 9, 2010


Yay for surprises!  David's parents surprised us with a visit over this last weekend.  Split second decision and they were all piled into their suburban by 8pm and drove the 8 hour drive from southern California to our house.  Now that's love!

It was actually a very beautiful thing, because it was a direct answer to one of Elliott's prayers.  Elliott has been having an earnest desire to hear from the Lord and has been asking lots and lots of questions.  He misses his grandparents fiercely and prays with tears, almost every night, about how much he misses them and asking to see them soon.  Saturday morning he awoke to find his grandparents sleeping in his house!  What a wonderful and loving God we have who hears a little five year old boys' bedtime request and sees fit to answer it.

We got to give them a small tour of San Francisco while they were here--show them a few of our favorite spots.  We took them to Fort Point which is an incredible historical monument underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, Blue Bottle Coffee which is ridiculously good, the Aquarium of the Bay which is really cool, and a little drive through the city and along the wharf. We love San Francisco and feel so blessed to live near it!

{VERY windy!}

My sweetie pie took most of these photos. Thanks, Sweetie Pie (you know who you are *wink*).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Summer Snapshot

Dave's been messing around with my camera and found a way to hack it and record video if it is connected to his computer.  So he's been trying his hand at cinematography.  Here's a small compilation of some of our summer moments... Courtesy of David Escalante. (Thanks, babe.)

Summer Snapshot from David Escalante on Vimeo.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Birthday, Smirthday

Along with the coming of autumn comes many of my family's birthdays: my 3 brothers, a sister, my husband, my daughter, my mother, my father, my mother in law, my sister in law, and a few friends, too. Whew! So, I'm thinking 'birthday' these days.

And if there is a solution for parental gifts, I haven't discovered it, yet. If you have, give me a hoot and a holler. You know the run down: they're old enough to buy whatever they want for themselves and chances are, if they haven't yet purchased it, it is because they cannot afford it and chances are, I cannot either!

My mom's birthday is September 11, poor lady. I'm trying to think ahead here and decided to pull out a trusty standby I discovered quite a few years ago. Its name is this, "Sweet Spiced Pecans." My mom was all about pecans when I was young. I clearly remember her loving pecan "turtles", pecan praline ice cream, caramel corn with candied pecans, etc. So, this is right up her alley. There's only so many photos of yourself and your family you can send as gifts before you start feeling conceited, am I right? So, nuts it is!

Here's the recipe. This makes a nice Christmas gift, but they're also just really delicious and great for get togethers or little snacks.

Now, here's to hoping I actually mail this sucker in time for my mom's birthday...! Love you, Mom! Hap! Ee birthday!

Sweet Spiced Pecans
{Recipe found in a Container Store holiday flyer about 7 or 8 years ago}

Quantity: 2-1/2 cups

Storing: Store in airtight containers in a cool place for up to 1 month.

1 egg white
2 Tbl water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 salt
2-1/2 cups pecans

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Beat egg white and water until foamy.
Add sugar, spices, and salt. Let stand until sugar dissovles, about 15 minutes.
Stir in nuts and mix well. Spread evenly on large foil-lined
(or parchment paper or silpat sheet works better) baking pan or cookie sheet.
Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Break up when cool and store.