Merry Christmas!

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!
I'll be back soon with some good stuff. :)



5 Free Printable Gift Tags

Christmas is right around the corner! Ten days away! Yikes! I desperately need to get all of my gifts made. And wrapped. This year, I'm hoping to get some basic kraft paper wrapping and just use some fun gift tags for color. Hopefully next year I will know enough about graphic design and such to create my own, but for now, I found a few different designs I am contemplating using and I thought I would share them with you!

Love vs. Design - Holiday Gift Tags

Kelli Murray - Free Printable Christmas Gift Tags

Caroline Johansson - Free Printable Christmas Gift Tags

Sharon Rowan - Dangly Gift Tags

Love vs. Design - Feather Gift Tags

Do you have any favorite gift tags you like to use? If so, leave a link in the comments! And how are you wrapping gifts this year? Trying anything new?



Life & Home Decorating Wish List Inception

It's that time of year in which everyone starts sharing everything their little hearts desire. So here is my twist on that trend. This isn't necessarily a Christmas wish list (although I wouldn't complain if I received any of these items...). In fact, this is essentially a wish list in a wish list. A wish list INCEPTION, if you will. :)

So here we go for the first, more "grand picture" wish list. I'm at that point in my life where I'm ready to put down roots somewhere (see previous blog entry for further proof). So, my dream life plan, or a bit of a "life wish list", goes something like this:

1. Husband gets a full time job. Hopefully within the next six months or so, we will find out whether that is where we currently live or if we are going to relocate to find this stability.

2. Buy a house. I'm fine with renting somewhere a little bit bigger, but it is so hard to find a rental that will actually let you have pets, and I have gone too long without a dog. Plus, the monthly cost of renting vs. owning is about the same. 

3. Sell a bunch of our stuff online or at a garage sale. Since we are poor, we have pretty much taken anything we can get for free or cheap. It is all fine for right now, but my taste is always evolving. And I would love to get a little bit of money for the stuff I already have so that I can invest in some more quality pieces. 

4. Invest in some more quality pieces. :) This would be over time of course, and collected from various places. I've had a difficult time really decorating anywhere we have lived so far because I know we won't be there for a very long time. Instead, I've been saving up some ideas for our eventual "permanent" home. 

I've been collecting a few home decorating wish list items from my favorite sites on a secret board on Pinterest. So here are a few of the types of items that I would love to invest in! So, here we go with the second, more materialistic wish list. :)

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

What are the home decor items that you are drooling over? And where are your favorite places to shop? I feel like I go to the same places over and over. I need some variety in my life! :) Leave your suggestions in the comments!



A Very Vintage Christmas Centerpiece

This last Saturday was the women's tea and cookie exchange at my church. I volunteered to decorate a table and had a lot of fun with it! They said to go simple (although some people did not seem to get that message) so I did. I picked a fairly neutral palette for the centerpiece. The only color was in the cups, and even most of those were fairly subdued. Anyway, I was pretty proud of it, so I awkwardly busted out my DSLR and snapped a few photos of it while everyone else was getting ready. 

Quick Tree Tutorial:
I made the trees after seeing a few different versions floating around on Pinterest. I wanted to use what I already had on hand, so I made the cones by simply rolling card stock into the shape I wanted and taping it. Then, I took felt and cut it into about 3 inch by 11 inch strips. Then I folded those strips in half and cut slits almost to the top of the folded strip, leaving about 1/2 inch uncut. Then I wrapped the strip around the tree, cut off what I didn't need, and hot glued it all down. Then I just kept repeating with each layer until the top. Pretty basic stuff. :)

Sorry that I didn't take any step by step pictures, but I hadn't even read any of the tutorials I had seen on Pinterest, so I was winging it the whole time. I wasn't even 100% sure it was going to come out well. :)

Also, in case you were wondering, I made this recipe for the exchange and they were delicious! If you like almond flavoring, definitely give these a try. :)



Quarter-Life Crisis: Baby Fever

Hello! In case you didn't know, I recently actually got a normal job where I work 15 hours a week. I realize that it isn't a lot, but I work 11-2 every weekday, so it does take a chunk out of my "productive hours." So everything is pushed back a bit. I have a stack of things I need to photograph for my shop, yet daylight hours end at about 4 every day. Bleh. 

Anyway, my job is at a Child Development Center here in McMinnville and I work with 3 and 4 year-olds each day. This, plus what feels like a constant stream of pregnancy announcements appearing on my Facebook wall, have given me a pretty big case of baby fever. I find myself always going to the "Kids" category on Pinterest, checking on my favorite "Mommy Blogs," and slowing down whenever I walk past the baby section at department stores. 

I realize that my husband and I are not quite in a place in our lives where starting a family is a good choice. Since Justin is only working as an intern right now, we have no idea where we will be living or what we'll be doing in a year. So until we have some stability, we are waiting. And my logical side does outweigh my emotional side in this matter. No worries.

But I have mentioned this struggle to a few other people, most of them with children of their own. Many have been understanding and have offered to pray with or for me in this area, but some have been full of advice that I wasn't looking for. I usually just smile and nod and claim that I understand, but honestly, this type of response just kind of makes me angry. 

The type of advice or comments that I am talking about often sound like this:

  • "You'll wish you were without kids again when you are totally sleep deprived."
  • "My husband and I always wish we would have waited longer to have kids!"
  • "You can never take a trip or even go out to dinner without it being a big deal after kids."
  • "Enjoy your childless years while you can because kids stick around for at least 18 years!"
  • "Parenting is really hard and you want to make sure you have a steady marriage first."
  • "Just spend some time with my kid, then you won't want one anymore!"

None of these comments are given with the wrong intentions. And I understand that they all have some truth behind them. But it seems like a lot of people act like parenting is this secret club in which everyone just wishes they didn't have kids. 

I realize that children make everything more difficult. I'm not one of those girls that just wants a baby because they are cute a cuddly. I want a child because the desire to create, raise, and guide another human being is innate. It has been one of the only things I have ever wanted to do with my life. Ever since I can remember, the only consistent goal in my life has been to be a mother. 

I have been working with kids in some aspect or another since Middle School. I have changed poo explosion diapers, been peed on by little boys, rocked a crying baby for hours while chasing a two-year-old, been on the verge of tears because a tantrum seems to go on forever, put up with back talking and deliberate disobedience from children more times than I can count. I realize that experiencing all of this doesn't make me a parent, but it has to count for something. It has to matter at least a little because, even after all of these things, I still long to be a parent. 

So, often when I receive advice like the ones above, I have the urge to tell them that I understand at least a little bit of what I would be getting myself into, but that would, of course, be rude. I want to tell them that I know being a parent is not all sunshine and daisies. That it is more poop, pee, spit up, and crying than I can even imagine. But I don't tell them. 

Instead, I thrive on articles like this one. It seems that her experience is exactly like what I am preparing myself for. The downs are there, and they are real. But the ups are so much better and that children are worth all of the pain you might go through. 

Anyway, those are just some thoughts from a 23-year-old childless woman. If you know someone like me who is longing for motherhood and you are a parent yourself, just consider my words. Before you offer up your "terrible" kid as the baby fever antidote, get to know why they long for this and what they expect from parenthood. Then you can give them the encouragement and guidance that they need rather than the deterrent advice. 



It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas....

Around the blogosphere, that is. Here is a quick little round up of some Christmas goodness from excellent blogs. :)

And if you have a blog, comment with links to your Christmas-y posts! Christmas is my favorite time of year and I can't get enough of it!



Thanksgiving In Review

Thanksgiving this year was just lovely. :) Justin and I drove down to Newport to visit my parents for the latter half of the week. On the day of Thanksgiving, my grandparents also came as well as some family friends and we just had lots of food and lots of fun. There was some exciting Trivial Pursuit action (which the girls dominated), adorable little girl phrases (from the 3-year-old of the family friends), more pie than should be allowed in one place, and a bacon covered turkey, of course. See all of this fun for yourself!

From my family to yours, Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving!



Sponsor Swap for December!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! My little photo review should be up tomorrow morning. :) But right now, I want to put out a quick sponsor swap call for the month of December! I have been pretty bad about jumping on this in the past few months, but I really want to promote as many people as possible this month! So, if you are at all interested, please check out my Sponsor page for more information! 

Swaps are free, so there is no reason not to do it! :)



Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you are able to spend time with family, friends, and everything/everyone else that you are blessed to have in your life!



5 Movies That Instill Thankfulness

I was so hoping to do some more Thanksgiving themed posts. In fact, I had a DIY planned for last week, but I never made it to the store to get what I needed. And then this weekend, my husband's parents showed up for a short-notice visit. It was so great to see them and family definitely comes before blog. But I did miss out on a few timely posts. Oh well. Moving on. :)

Anyway, Justin and I love watching movies. Our entertainment budget is not huge, so we spend a lot of time on Netflix and watching DVDs we already own. When thinking about what to post for Thanksgiving, I thought about movies I love that remind us to be grateful for what we have. So here is a short list of movies that you may not think about watching this time of year but are great for encouraging the simple act of thankfulness.

What it makes me thankful for: The fact that even though I'm not a millionaire, I'm honestly not missing out on life. This movie reminds me that the simple joys of family life can be greater than all of the successes in the world. Due to both my own and my husband's career choices, we will probably never have disposable money, but we have what we need: love. 

What it makes me thankful for: The fact that, really, my life is pretty good. The conclusion that I come to is similar to that of The Family Man, in that I am so blessed to have what I need. I have a roof over my head to keep me dry from the nasty rain in Oregon, I have enough food, I have a job, and I have an awesomely supportive husband and family. 

What it makes me thankful for: This one may be a little obvious, but this movie always makes me thankful for the freedom we have in this country. Our freedom came (and still comes) at a high cost and I can't even imagine living in a country where I couldn't express my opinions and worship my God. 

What it makes me thankful for: My personal freedom. If you don't know the premise of this movie, then this may not make sense (so go watch it!). But after viewing this movie, I am always grateful for the fact that when I screw up, the whole world (or usually even very many people) don't see it. I also have the freedom to choose who my friends are, where I work, where I travel, who I marry, and so many other decisions that we simply take for granted. Yes, the movie is a bit far-fetched, but it can easily remind you of the blessings of simply getting to make your own decisions.  

What it makes me thankful for: Music. Plain and simple. And the power that music can have in our lives. When I am challenged to think a bit "outside the box" in regards to things I am thankful for, music is always the first thing that comes to mind. If I could have any specific talent other than what I already have, it would be to sing because I love music so much. Since my talents lie elsewhere, I am currently just an avid listener and fan. But nothing gets my emotions going like a good song. 

Do you have any movies that make you grateful for something? If so, I would love to hear! The great thing about these movies is that thankfulness is not limited to this time of year. So whenever you need a little reminder of where your priorities should lie, I recommend popping one of these in the DVD player. :)

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