Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Honoring the Fallen

My heart has been heavy these last few days. As some of you may know, I live just outside of Prescott where the Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters were from. I know this story has impacted our nation, but it has especially affected me because it is so close to home. One of our best friends is a firefighter and although I am thankful to say he was not up here when tragedy struck, it still shook me to know he 'could' have been.

My husband knew one of the firefighters and I have many friends who knew or went to school with some of those men. And even though I personally did not know them, I am deeply saddened by their sacrifice. I have been very distracted this week, so I haven't gotten the posts up I had planned. I cannot seem to escape all that is going on here. My personal Facebook page is flooded with outpourings of support and heart-wrenching stories about the families. Our local news is filled with images of the fire and the men's faces.

I will be the first to admit I am not very religious, but this whole tragedy has humbled me and I have been praying. 

Praying for the wives, children, parents, families, girlfriends, and friends of the firefighters to find strength.
Praying for the lone survivor of the Hotshot crew to find peace about losing his 'brothers'.

Praying for rain to come and the winds to calm so the remaining firefighters can safely contain the fire.

Praying for the 250 families that lost their homes to this fire.

Praying for our state of Arizona during this scary wildfire season.

Praying for the families of firefighters everywhere that were so vividly reminded about how dangerous the job of these men and women can be.

I am blessed and grateful to live in a community that is able to come together in a time of tragedy and show such a great outpouring of love to honor the brave men that died on Sunday. Last night our community had a candlelight vigil to honor the fallen men. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, but thousands of people from the community banded together to show support for the families and honor those brave men.

Thank you for allowing me to share my heart with you. Words cannot really express all the things I am feeling. On my personal Facebook page last night I shared that I would love to give each and every one of the wives, children, girlfriends, parents, brothers, and sisters of those brave men a huge hug.

We honor those 19 men for their courage, bravery, and selflessness in order to keep the rest of us safe.

Friday, June 21, 2013

We Love Otter Pops and Otter Art

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Jel Sert. All opinions are 100% mine.

True story. When I was pregnant with my son, I was so sick. I had terrible 'morning' sickness. But you couldn't really call it morning sickness. It should have been called morning until night (and sometimes while you are trying to sleep sickness). I had an awful time keeping anything down. For a while, Otter Pops were the only thing that I could keep down. Something about the sugar and the cold, I guess.

So, needless to say, I have a certain fondness for Otter Pops. (I used to joke with my husband that my son was going to come out as an ice-cube!) My kids definitely love Otter Pops, too. My daughter's favorite is Alexander the Grape (mine, too!) and my sons is Louie-Bloo Raspberry.

Summer is the perfect time for a cold treat. We love to go out on the porch in the afternoon to have a little snack. I love that Otter Pops are self-contained in their own wrapper. Regular popsicles on a stick always end up dripping in a sticky mess all over the floor, and all over hands and clothes!

In honor of our love for Otter Pops, the kids decorated their very own otter coloring pages I found online.

I got out a bunch of art supplies and let them be creative!

Quick, impromptu art projects are a huge sanity saver for me over the summer months with both kids at home all day. I think the kids spent almost a full half-hour on their masterpieces! Aren't they cute? (My daughter is a fan of the HUGE google eyes!)

otter art collage

Monday, December 17, 2012

Heartbreak . . .

This morning as I hugged and kissed my son and put him on his school bus, tears welled up in my eyes. Tears for the families who should be putting their kids on the school bus this morning and can't. Tears for the families that will have to put their kids back on the bus and send them to school after such a tragedy has occurred. Tears for my own son knowing there is no way I can protect him and keep him completely safe.

In the wake of Friday's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, I have been trying to compose my thoughts and feelings to share with you. The struggle comes in that there are absolutely no words. No words to describe how horrific the whole situation is. No words to express how completely heartbroken I am for those families involved.

I spent Friday watching the news, but mostly getting my information online so I wouldn't have to expose my kids to the tragedy. I had to spend the rest of the weekend with the news turned off because I simply could not watch it anymore.

I cannot begin to imagine what the families of those who lost their lives are going through. You expect to send your child to school and for them to return home safe. Those sweet children got up Friday morning, expecting it to be like any other day. Ready for the weekend to spend time with their families. Excited for Christmas to be here so soon. And all of that was taken from them. From their families. Twenty-six families will be spending the holidays with a huge hole in their hearts. How can they pick up the pieces and move on? I honestly do not know. All I know is it is devastatingly heart wrenching to even think about.

There is nothing anyone can do or say to help ease the grief those families must be feeling. All we can do is offer our empathy, love, and prayers.

I want to share the United Way page for Newtown in case you are looking for a tangible way to help. You can find the information for making a donation to help the victims. United Way of Western Connecticut

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Earrings and a Handmade Card

I have been going through my digital picture files on my computer and getting them all organized (finally). I have been coming across pictures of projects I had planned on blogging about, but haven't gotten around to yet. For the next few weeks, you will be seeing some of these posts.  And at the end, I will share a post with how I organize all those pictures on my computer. So a win, win for everyone, right? ;)

Last year for my sister-in-law's birthday, I handmade some earrings and a card for her birthday.

The earrings were made from silver findings and green glass beads. I really love the way they turned out. (And I am sure they look beautiful on her!)

If you have been scared to create earrings, don't be! These were very simple to make. To create each earring, I used a silver headpin, two green glass beads in two different sizes, a silver spacer bead, and a silver fishhook ear wire. 

Start by stringing your beads onto the headpin. You will create a simple loop at the top of your headpin. Then, just attach the loop you just made to the loop on the fish hook ear wire. 

Here is a great online tutorial on how to make the simple loop: Making a Simple Loop

I got the idea for making this simple card from one of my favorite blogs, Little Lovelies.

To create the card, I cut a basic card shape from kraft card stock. Using my clear stamps, I stamped a birthday hat image three times onto the card as well as 'Happy Birthday'. I then stamped the birthday hat shape onto three different types of patterned paper. I cut out each hat shape and glued them over the stamped image on the card!

I hope this inspires you to make something handmade the next time you are giving a gift. I know, I always love to receive things someone took the time and care to make him/herself! Have you made any handmade gifts lately?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer Fun 2012

Summer break has officially started for us. I am slowly coming up with ideas to keep the kids busy (and Mommy from going crazy from repeated - "I'm bored" - requests).

I created a list of fun activities we can do as a family throughout the summer. Some are pre-planned activities I know we are doing and others are activities to do when we don't have any plans. These particular activities will likely be done on the weekends when Dad is home with us.

Our list of activities:
  • fishing
  • camping
  • local pool
  • zoo
  • baseball game
  • bubbles
  • sprinklers
  • summer movies (our local theater has inexpensive summer kid's movies)
  • homemade ice cream 
  • go on a hike
  • picnic
  • pink jeep tour
  • library program (our children's library has a summer reading program with a lot of fun local guests to entertain and educate the kids)
  • tabletop s' mores
  • pool party
  • mini golf
  • summer concert
  • water balloon fight
  • garden
  • playdates
  • chalk
  • fly a kite
Being a craft blogger, I had the overwhelming urge to go all out and make something with card stock and embellishments and basically just over-do it. But, this time, I just needed to keep it simple. I used a large piece of kid's art paper and different colored markers. Anyone can do this in about 10 minutes. It helps to include the kids in coming up with some ideas of fun things they would like to do.

We have already checked one item off the list - camping, and tomorrow we get to cross off another - pink jeep tour in Sedona.