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. 

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