Thursday, April 29, 2010


Just a quick note to say how very thankful I am for my family, my blessings, and another (relatively :) normal day.

I found out via Facebook earlier this afternoon that my former boss's son (only in his late 20's) passed away on Monday.  I am heartbroken, and have visions of an 8x10 photo that sat proudly on her office shelf depicting two shirtless little boys in dressed only in swim trunks, arms wrapped tightly around each other, sporting goofy, little boy grins, in an 80's photography studio-type setting.  I often gazed at that photo, and pondered the passing of time....and the strength of maternal love.  I don't know why that particular photo made such an impression on me, but it did.

Now, thinking back on that picture, that most likely still sits prominently displayed in that little office, I realize how quickly life goes by, and how we need to savor each and every moment.  Each and every sweet, special, (albeit sticky :), baby hug, and every opportunity to kiss a boo-boo, or kiss a freshly-shampooed little head as we tuck our little ones into bed each and every night.  I'm so very thankful for my blessings tonight, and I hugged them extra-tight as I pulled their covers up, and tucked them into bed.  I believe with all my heart that Jesus holds them (and us) in the palm of His hand, and that each and every day we spend together is a gift, and a blessing.

Hold yours close tonight, too....



Wednesday, April 28, 2010


My girl has a horrible ear infection, so I have not had time to write the promised tutorial...I will, I will, I promise!!!

But, you CAN ENTER MY GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Simply leave a comment, and you will automatically be entered to win a custom-made, statement bib necklace, similar to the one pictured here!  We'll randomly choose the winner one week from today, so enter by TUESDAY, May 4th!!!

Have a blessed Wednesday evening, and I'll get to creating that tutorial SOON...really, really soon!!!!! ;)



Monday, April 26, 2010

Since I Made One....I Just HAD to Make More...

And, they are sooo fun and easy to make...I am loooooving them!  So, I have two announcements to make regarding these bib necklaces:
1) If you don't like to be crafty, and don't enjoy making things yourself, but do enjoy making a statement, and would like to have one of these to compliment your spring wardrobe....stay tuned for a GIVEAWAY...coming very soon! ;)
2) If you ARE crafty, and want to make your own bib necklace, I will be writing and posting a'll love making them, too!

Hope you are having a blessed and fabulous Monday!!! ;)


Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Just HAD to Have (Make) One....

Have you seen the fabric flower bib necklaces that are all over the place right now?  I first saw one in the late fall and was sooo smitten!  Since then, I've seen them everywhere and have completely fallen for them!

Being the crafty mama that I am, I decided it might better fit within the limits of my new frugal life style if I attempted to make one myself, instead of buying one from my favorite, I did! 

I used torn fabric to make the rosettes, added a pearl to the center, and finished it off with grosgrain ribbon.  I can't wait to try different textiles and color pallets to make these....

I'm over-flowing with ideas right stay tuned! ;)



Friday, April 23, 2010

You Can't Put a Price on Beauty....


One tip I learned from the Focus on the Family broadcast (blogged about here), is that processed "snack" foods are eating up a large part of our grocery bill each week.  One idea shared, was to make a batch of cookie dough, freeze part of it, and bake as needed.  It's much more cost effective, and saves your family from the "hazards" of processed foods! 

So, this morning the kids and I made a batch of playdough, (btw, red playdough looks really, really gross when using gel coloring while making ;) and while they played away (and sufficiently messed up the kitchen even more than it already was ;), I started the cookies.  Of course, once they got wind of what I was doing, they wanted to help.  So, we made a double batch of my very favorite chocolate chip cookies!  My friend Jessica, over at The Entertaining Kitchen first introduced me to these.  You can find the recipe, here (I think they were originally from Martha Stewart, but Jess made a few of her own improvisations).  They are soooo good....soooo not healthy, but the crispiest, butteriest, perfect combination of sweet/salty, cookies evah! :)

Now I'm on the hunt for some really yummy, really healthy cookies--maybe with flaxseeds and cranberries, or something! ;)  Any suggestions?????

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Back to the Land of the Living....(sort of...)

Ya know when you feel like you might just poke your eyes out because you're that tired.  Well, the past three days have kind of felt like that for me.  Little man was really sick...he felt so bad that he required me to lay next to him two nights in a row, as he hallucinated, took off his pj's, put back on his pj's, needed water, needed to throw up....etc., etc.  Last night I was just.plain.exhausted.  I was so excited to finally go to bed, but I knew that my dreams of sleeping all night would soon be foiled...and I was correct in my thinking.

At midnight-ish, baby girl woke up sobbing, burning with fever, pointing to the fan on her ceiling and repeating, "ahn-ahn".  Poor, poor thing. I laid down with her, stripping her of blankets, and getting her more Motrin.  She was up and down throughout the night, as was her big brother, and once again, when my phone sounded it's alarm at 6:32 this morning, I kinda wanted to throw it out the window.....but, I got up, and started to get ready for work.

This was the second morning this week that I had to leave my sick child to go to work.  It really, really doesn't feel good to say goodbye to them when they are not feeling well...even if they are with grandma. :(  Plus, I was really, really tired. I prayed for them as I drove into work.  For restoration of health, for a good morning.  It always calms my heart and soul so much when I entrust my children back to the One who made them, and "knit them together in my womb." (from Psalm 139). 

Back in February, my husband and I had made the decision that I would take the summer off from teaching.  It was a leap of faith (especially for him), but I really felt that this was the direction the Lord was telling me to go. I started my bow business this winter, and I've never really had a chance to give it the attention it needs to really grow!  Besides, I want to spend time with my kiddos--I want to have the liberty to play all day outside, hit the pool, the zoo, go on walks, and just be!  I had made this decison, and then, I was asked to consider teaching classes just one day here in town.  I said I would...mostly out of fear and guilt.

But after the week I've had, and after a lot of prayer, I had a conversation with my work today (who are wonderful Christian women, which is awesome), and explained that although I couldn't give them a definite reason as to why (except for the fact that I wanted to spend more time with my kiddos) after praying, I really felt that I should NOT teach this summer.  Sooooo understanding, they took my name off the schedule and said that I need to follow what the Lord was telling me, and that my family comes first.  I'm so thankful for this!  I'm soooo relieved to have made this decision.  I have a new lease on life (even though my eyes are heavy, and my brain is tired).  I'm ready to give this whole frugality thing a try and see if we really can make it on one income this summer.  I am trusting the Lord completely to provide, and show us where to cut corners....I'll keep you posted!

But first....I'm (Lord willing) going to catch up on some sleep! ;)

Many, many blessings!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Crafty and Frugal Idea!

I saw these adorable banners on etsy this winter, they were made on balsa wood squares, and hand-painted.  On etsy, they were going for around $30 per banner.  I decided to try my hand at one.  Okay, so it's not on balsa wood, and it may not be *quite* as cool as the ones on etsy, works!  I used heavy cardstock with a "sheen" cut in half, and acrylic paint.  just added the ribbon, and voila...a banner ready to hang!  I may attempt it on balsa wood this summer...just wanted to try it first and see how it looked!  Mine cost approximately $4 to make!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crafty Mama = Frugal Mama???


A word I don't particularly like, and am not particularly good at.....

That being said, let me describe my night/morning in a nutshell.  We put the kiddos to be last night, and settled in for a little relaxation and adult conversation (a.k.a. TV and computer time ;), when my sweet boy (4 1/2) starts calling incessantly for me.  This is sort of typical.  He doesn't like to go to bed, and always needs another snack, drink of water, hug, kiss, etc., etc.! ;)  Last night, however, was different.  This time, he was really upset.  He cried, wanted me to lay with him, and pleaded for me to stay with him.  So, I was not too surprised when he ventured into our room around midnight, burning with fever and begging for water.  Poor baby!

After a long night of curling up next to a little body that was firey as a furnace one minute, then shivering from head to toe the next, I definitely was not too rested this morning.  I hate it when my kiddos are sick, and my little man, especially, tends to get everything that comes down the pike!  This was one of my mornings to teach, and even though my awesome husband is at home today, (meaning I wasn't even leaving the kids with grandparents, or taking them out of the house for that matter), I could still sense my little guy's apprehension as I gave him a dose of motrin and kissed his warm cheek.  He tried to be stoic, fighting back tears, but when I asked him what was wrong he sobbed, "I don't want you to leeee-ave, mommy.."  So then of course, I was fighting back the tears, explaining to him that it would just be for the morning, and that daddy would take wonderful care of him.  Sometimes though, ya just need your mom...I still feel that way!

As I drove home from my classes today, I happened to catch a broadcast on Focus on the Family about frugality, and practical tips for families who might need to scale down, or adjust to living on one income.  You can listen online, here.  It may only be good for today, so if you need to find it in the future, look up "Frugal Living in a Tough Economy, Parts I and II."  Wow!  This was so inspiring!  The broadcast offered so many tips on cutting back--especially at the grocery store (which I swear is where 50% of our monthly income goes to!), and talked directly to moms who may want to be able to stay at home full-time with their children.

I'm inspired!  I think I can be crafty and frugal at the same time, and I am going to see HOW MUCH I CAN SAVE at the store each week!  As I told you before, my heart is in my home with my kiddos and husband.  As much as I adore my job (and I do adore it), I really dislike the fact that I have to leave my babies when they are sick, or sometimes miss field trips at school, or have to get them out of the house some mornings when they'd be much happier to hang in their pj's!  I know I am blessed in the fact that I have a job that I love, and that we are able to survive on me working very part-time....but, I'm going to start this new frugal living thing....and I'm going to see how much I can cut out of our budget, in hopes that I can find a way to spend even more time with my kiddos, and not miss a single moment!  Let's see if I can be crafty AND frugal! ;)



Monday, April 19, 2010

Follow Me!!!

Come, follow me!  The "follow me" button is along the right side of my it, and come along for the ride! ;)

And, the Finale...(Grab your Coffee.... ;)

***********If you haven't read Parts I and II, scroll all the way down to the bottom....**************
*******************And, this time, really grab that coffee :)********************************

After touring the art gallery, and loving what I saw.  I prayed.  I journaled.  And, I asked for the confidence and strength I would need to talk to my current boss (who was also had played a very maternal part in my life, for the past four years).  I will never forget the drive into work that morning...overcome with anxiety, yet KNOWING that the Lord was there beside me, holding my hand all the way, and that I COULD do this, because I was listening to Him...He had opened the proverbial door for me, and it was my job to follow His lead.

I did it.  I told her exactly what had happened.  I told her that she would be getting a phone call from the museum to check my references.  She listened, and she cried.  But she was (and is ) a wonderful person, one who though was admittedly sad to be losing her dependable assistant, picked up the phone when my eventual new boss called, and gave me a glowing reccommendation (I later learned through tears).  I started my new job as a Gallery Curator just a few weeks later.

Life as a curator was pretty nice.  I had control over which shows we would bring in, worked with some amazing people, met fabulous artists, planned events and art openings.  Really, an amazing the time I called it "a dream come true."  And though I enjoyed going to work everyday in such an aesthetically pleasing space, surrounded by gorgeous works of art and really cool people, something still tugged at my heartstrings.  My baby.  Now nine months old, it had become admittedly easier to leave him, and though I had scaled back my hours and time away quite a bit, my phone still rang with questions when I was at home with him, and I often had to be out late, "schmoozing" with artists, working an opening, or supervising a gallery event.  Though my priority was my family, and I made that clear, I still had a job to do, and had to be available and give it my "all" while I was there.

My first winter in the gallery, we brought in a show with an incredible maritime artist, one who was very highly regarded in the art world, and who's brilliantly detailed oil paintings sold for a cool 50 grand (on average).  The biggest show in the gallery to date, it gave me the opportunity to hob-nob with the local celebrities and really work on my ability to "sell" the work.  I have my BFA in Art History, with a concentration in painting, so I have a good background of knowledge in terms of composition, line, medium, material, and quality of work...but could I SELL it....totally different can of worms!  I found out I could sell the work, and I had the opportunity to learn from people who had been in the business for years, as we partnered with another gallery who had a long history of promoting wonderful artists and had found great success!  I was in my element.

Still reeling from the success of the maritime show, it came time to close it, and ship all of the art work back to the East Coast. I had help from the other gallery, as it was a very tedious and pain-staking job...which I still had little experience with.  After all was shipped out, I found myself home with my baby boy one Monday afternoon (we were closed Mondays).  It was a cold, gray winter's day, and there seemed nothing better to do than to snuggle up with my sweet toddler, and nap the afternoon away.  Just as I was beginning to fall asleep, my cell phone rang.  Startled, and debating whether or not I should expend the effort to get out of bed and see who was calling, I gave in, and got there just in time to see a missed call from a number I didn't recognize.  I immediately checked my voice mail, and a panicked voice on the other end, (with an unmistakeable East Coast accent), was calling to inquire about an original painting which was MISSING from our shipment, as well a reproduction that had arrived DAMAGED.

My heart stopped. The tears started.   Almost immediately, the cool, collected, hob-nobbing art curator vanished, and out came the insecure, tired, harried mama, who longed to just pull the covers up tight around her head and enjoy a slumber-filled afternoon with her baby boy.  I was devestated. It turns out that even though I was working with the established local gallery to de-install this show, the descision to ship back ground insted of air was not a good one.  We were a small-town gallery, under the umbrella of a non-profit museum.  We did earn some revenue from sales, but typically speaking our funding came from grants and large donations from community members.  The expense to ship air would have blown our budget completely, which is why our team (which also consisted of employees from the other gallery) decided to ship ground.  But, guess who's name was on the packaging....mine (and our gallery's).  Solely.  I cried, and cried, and cried.

The Lord used this moment to prepare my heart, I believe.  It took weeks to resolve this issue.  Weeks of me worrying, and stressing.  Not only were we talking about money, but about an original work of art that was irreplaceable.  Painted in the 50's...  The idea of that kept me up at night much more than the idea of the financial loss.  Thank the Lord, it was eventually found.  The gallery did have to pay for the broken piece to be fixed, but the original painting was returned to it's rightful home, unharmed.  I was so very grateful. 

It was during this time that I can markedly say I had the chance to really consider my life, and my priorities.  I had been sucked into the dream.  I began wondering if I could move up in the art world, eventually working in a high-profile gallery.  Maybe I still can (later in life), but those weeks of anxiety and stress made me come to realize that at this time in my life, my primary focus needs to be my children (and my family in general).  This season of life is so short, and while it's awesome to learn new things and advance my career, that's not where my heart was or is.  It's at home, with my family.

I continued to work in the gallery, but made a real point of keeping work at work, and family time at home.  Almost to a fault (or so my employer might have thought).  During my second summer of working there, I took that second positive pregnancy test, and found out that baby girl was on her way.  Once again, I became all-consumed with my pregnancy.  I dreamed of baby number two, and what it would be like to mother two children!  Though I may not have been as obsessed as I'd been the first go-around, I still joined online support groups, and was very baby-focused! ;)  About six months into my pregnancy, right around Christmastime, I was called into the director's office.  I knew money had become tighter due to the economy, and that change was in the air.  I'd heard rumors, and witnessed the letting go of my dear friend and counter-part, who was the art educator in the studio attached to the gallery.

I was told in that meeting that I could work through March, or until the end of my pregnancy. The Gallery as I knew it would exist no longer.  They were merging the gallery with the museum, and would no longer have a need for an art curator. There it was in black and white.  It wasn't my decision.  A door had closed.  I loved this job, but I admittedly had worried about how I would return to work again with an infant at home.  As well as who would run the gallery while I was on maternity leave.  It was scary, none-the-less, to think about being unemployed.  We owned a house with a mortgage.  Our mortgage was based on both of our incomes, and my income paid for a lot of our extras...even the groceries!

I wasn't the only one who was stressed.  My poor husband was reeeeally stressed.  Usually, the financial burden falls on his shoulders and he worried about how we would pay the mortgage, and whether or not we would be able to make it work.  The Lord works in mysterious ways, though, and He was working behind the scenes, as usual.  His hand is in everything, and I have learned over the years, that when we step back and put our trust in Him, life becomes much easier! ;)

Because of this door closing, I spent five glorious months home with my new baby girl, and my two and a half year old son.  It was the most amazingly beautiful spring I can ever remember.  I know it was gorgeous, as others attest to this too, but I think another will never compare because I enjoyed each and every day to the fullest.  We took daily walks around the neighborhood, we often walked the bike path into town and observed the newness of spring.  The magnolias were simply spectacular, and the crabapples were as pink as a sunset.  The smell in the air was sweet and my soul was at peace.  The Lord had given me a true renewal in spirit, and I was soooo thankful for every moment.  This is a time in my life that I will always, always cherish.  Maybe the most wonderful time to date.  Not stressful, as I assumed it would be, but incredibly peaceful, as I let the Lord take control.

As the summer wore on, it became apparent that I would need to bring in somewhat of an income.  What is amazing to me (to this day), is that we were able to continue to scale back, and back, and adjust our budget to meet our needs.  The Lord always provided.  On a whim, I wrote a letter.  My son and I had attended early childhood music education classes since he was a toddler, and we adored them.  I had seen him blossom and grow in class, right before my very eyes.  I always thought introspectively, how fun it would be to teach these classes.  So, I emailed the office staff of the company who's classes we attended.  Immediately, they forwarded my letter to the founder and director, who was out of town teaching summer classes at a university. I didn't put much stake in this letter, and I figured it was such a long-shot, that I probably needed to continue to look for a part-time job in other places.

One afternoon in July, my phone rang.  It was the director, and we hit it off right away.  We decided to meet that weekend in her home--she would fly home for a quick visit, and we could have a formal interview that Saturday afternoon.  She is an amazing woman, and I was struck with this right away upon meeting her.  She asked me how I found out that they were hiring.  I looked at her in disbelief and said, "I didn't know you were looking for instructors, I just prayed, and wrote a letter on a whim, when I felt the timing was right!"  We looked at each other and decided in that moment that this must have been a "God thing", and laughed about how awesome our God is!  I was hired that day, and have been teaching music classes (very) part-time ever since.

There is still more to this story.  The Lord still has work to do, and I am continuing on this journey.  I've started a small business making hair accessories for little girls.  Once again, an idea that came directly from the Lord, I believe.  I'm asking you to join me on this journey, as I see where this new craftiness can take me!!!!  Thanks for staying with me this far!  Ha! ;)  God surely has blessed us, and I am so thankful for the journey He's taken us on and can't wait to see where we go....

More to come!!!

xoxoxo and have a blessed Monday!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

And...Part II

So, 30 hours a week wasn't gonna fly.....I had an infant who was up every two hours, was delving in the world of co-sleeping (again, we'll save that for another post ;), went through major surgery with a three month old, and was barely, just barely holding it together. I'm pretty sure nothing could have truly prepared me for the changes that I experienced after childbirth--physically, mentally, and emotionally. But, God is good, and God had a plan. He always has a plan. My sweet husband was offered a job that was closer to our hometown, and we decided to do something I swore I never would.....move back! *gasp* Once again, it's amazing what you will do for your child! Moving meant being closer to grandparents...which was awesome in a plethora of ways.

I came back to our hometown for the afternoon one sunny day in April--I think I attended a Bible Study my mom was teaching--and on a total whim made an appointment with an old family friend who happened to be the director of a large education and science museum in the neighboring city. The museum was a non-profit, and since we would be moving back I thought maybe sometime, far down the road, if an opening ever popped up there, I might have an "in". I got the grand tour, and loved what I saw. Last but not least, we stepped into the complex's art gallery. A space that was used for both educational and commercial purposes. They were in the middle of an installation and I held my breath as I observed the gleaming wood floors, white walls, gorgeously abstract canvases scattered strategically about the room. Natural light flooded from the almost floor to ceiling windows. Amazing. Really and truly beautiful.

After the tour, we said our goodbye's in the director's office. She assured me that she'd let me know of any job openings that might come up in the future. And then, she paused, as she glanced at something on her desk. "You know," she said, "our art curator did just give us her resignation, but we're only going to fill the position with a part-time staff person." I held my breath, as she continued. "The position is for 25 hours a week....(insert salary figure)...and we need to fill it soon, like in the next two weeks." Our move date was right in-line with the start date of the new position. It seemed too good to be true! "I want to apply!" I said, probably too emphatically. I had already given her my resume, and she was excited! "Of course," she said, "I'll need to check your references". I assured her that I would speak with my current boss the next day...(gulp).

This was one instance of a door blatantly opening in front of me, so much so, that I don't think I could have missed it if I tried!

To be continued......

My Journey Thus Far (pour yourself a drink and make a bathroom stop)! ;)

Hello, hello!!!! And thank you for stopping by my blog! This is a new venture....not blogging, per se, I've blogged about my family for years...but writing about crafting, and motherhood...about MY journey through motherhood, and how I hope to spend more time with my kiddos through my crafting....really, I do! But first, I need to tell you a little bit about my journey thus far.

Before I was a mother, I was, well, Liz. A friend, a wife, a daughter, a teacher, a singer, an artist, and a passionate worker employed in the non-profits arts insdustry. I was busy, busy, busy, and at times it seemed I lived and breathed my work. Then came that positive pregnancy test, and my world literally flip-flopped, upside down. Instead of writing, researching, recruiting, and recording, I'd close the door to my little 10x10 window-less office, and talk to my on-line pregnancy support group (wow those things are amazing! I made friends who are still near and dear to my heart, today...another subject all together ;). I'd sit for hours looking up pregnancy symptoms, reading about my baby's development thus far, and scan over thousands of baby names. I know my fellow mom friends can day you are all consumed with your job, social life, weekend plans, and your dear husband, and then the idea of that sweet, pink, shiny new baby takes over, and causes everything else to become hazy and fade into the background (poor husband :).

Although I had kind of *ahem* put my job responsibilities on the back burner (so ashamed to admit that), I still planned to KEEP my job after said baby was born. At the time my income was almost half of OUR income, and we didn't see anyway around me planning to return to work after a brief maternity leave. We did budget so that I could cut my hours down to 30 per week, figuring on working three (looooong) 10 hour days (with lots of breaks for pumping throughout those 10 hours). It seemed to be the ideal situation! Baby boy would stay at our home with my mother one day, Daddy would stay home with him another day, and he would go to my in-laws house one day....perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!! And, it would have been perfect, except those crazy maternal instincts kicked in.
Nothing, not even the excruciating pain due to labor and delivery, prepared me for the stress and anxiety of leaving my infant baby all day. I cried and cried the first day I returned to work. I holed myself in my office with pictures of my sweet baby boy placed prominently on my desk, and attempted to work. I worked through tears. I felt crazy! What was wrong with me? I'd sat in this office a thousand times before, why could I not do it any more???? Post-partum? Maybe a little, but those ties to my baby were strong, my friends, and still are....

There is more to the story, and I will tell it........really, really soon!!! ;)