Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bye Bye 2012!

We are at the end of another year; does that take you by surprise as much as it does me?  I don't do New Year's resolutions, but I always look forward with great anticipation to what the next year may bring.  This year is no different. 

We have a lot of financial goals this year.  Now that we are both working we have plans to attack our debt like nobody's business.  I cannot wait to get going on that. Oh the freedom that having no debt will bring us!  Paying off our debt and buying a house are definitely the next "big things" we want to accomplish.  Perhaps it's a little ironic to some that those two goals go hand in hand.  Even though I am a Dave Ramsey fan, I am not a 100% follower.  We believe it's best not to have debt, but we are OK with a mortgage (one we can comfortably afford mind you).  It doesn't make sense to us to throw so much money away each month for rent when we could purchase a foreclosure home and have our mortgage be less than our rent.  Owning our home would build up equity, and would give me more options for making money while also being home with our children.  So, those are the two biggies that we have.

I have goals for other things, too.  Craft projects to make, housekeeping "to do"'s to accomplish, relationships to be intentional about.  I'm excited about my list (as I always am about lists), but at the same time I have such a faith in the plans God has for me.  He may take my goals and plans and bless them and I accomplish all of them.  Or, He could throw wrenches in the plans and rearrange them and erase them and replace them to His little heart's content.  Somehow it is amazingly peaceful to me to have plans but be open to them changing completely.  Sometimes I wonder who's weirder, me or God.  Or if it's the combination of the two of us that's so nutty.

Friday, December 28, 2012

DIY Crayons

This is a great craft/gift if you have lots of broken crayons lying around your house.  As I had none of those, I snagged a big bag of misc. crayons at a yard sale for cheap.

Unwrapping all those crayons was a bear.  I had so much crayon under my fingernails and my poor fingers were all red and swollen.  What kind of glue to they use on that crayon paper?  My stars, you could use that to repair automobiles and small planes it's so good!

Anywho, one the paper was off I broke them up into smaller pieces and separated them by color.  Now, there are several ways you can do this next part.  One, you could put them straight into an old muffin tin that you don't intend on using anymore (I grabbed this one for .50 at Goodwill).  Then just pop it into your oven on super low for a few minutes until the crayons are melted. 

As you can see, I used two colors in each tin.  I swirled them around with a toothpick when I got them out of the oven.  If you do this, you get a nice swirly crayons.  I melted them on low in the oven for just a few minutes.  No science to it; just check them every few minutes and once the pieces are all melted you're good to go.  I let the tins cool and then put them in the freezer for 10 minutes.  This makes them easy to slide right out of the tin.

I also had a plastic candy mold in the shape of Christmas trees that I wanted to use to make crayons; but as it was plastic, I couldn't put it in the oven.  So, instead I put the crayon pieces in old cans I had washed out, and created a double boiler by putting an inch or so of water in my electric skillet and setting the cans in it.  (My skillet can hold water; some don't because the lip isn't high enough so just use a pot on the stove instead).

Once they were melted I poured the crayons into the mold, let them cool, and voila!  Christmas crayons!

Easy peasy!  The bigger crayons are great for smaller kids too because they are easier to hold on to.  Happy coloring!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What's the one talent you wish you had?

Two things came to mind:

1.  Cute handwriting.

My husband often remarks that normally in a marriage at least one person has good handwriting.  Not in ours.  Mine is awful!

How I wish my penmanship looked like this:

Marta Writes
or perhaps this:

Becky Higgins
or this:

from here

2.  Athleticism.  I was absent the day God gave that out.  I love the idea of being athletic.  I think I could have really gotten into the intensity of a sport.  Alas, I have no natural skill in that area.

I wish I could do things like this:

photo credit

Alas, I am doomed to a life of looking like this:

What Actually Happens

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Right now...

... I am sipping on a Mocha Madness smoothie from Tropical Smoothie Cafe.  Half price, full of caffeine; a great way to start this long day

... I am in love with Lifehouse's "Between the Raindrops".  It's my current song crush-

... I am blown away that December is trucking right along; how did it get to be December already? 

... am busy making my "2013 Goals" list.  I don't do resolutions.  I do goals and lists.  2013 is going to be an interesting year for us I think.  Some changes maybe?  We'll see. allergies have waged war against me.  I keep getting freaked out that I am coming down with the flu, but am pretty sure it's just my allergies I am feeling (at least that's what I hope it is!).  The flu is spreading like wildfire here lately, which makes me thankful I'm not working with kids any more--their germs + my (lack of) immune system = not a good time for me.

... am loving that I have enough lamps in my office now that I can leave the fluorescent lights off completely.  Hopefully, doing away with that little migraine trigger will do me a world of good!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I'm sewing!

My friend Rachel got a new sewing machine last spring, and as she 1.  is a sweetheart, and 2.  knew that I had been wanting one, she gave her old sewing machine to me.  Yay!  It has sat for quite some time unused because we have limited space to do crafts in our tiny house, and I was months behind in my scrapbook and then made some gifts for friends, etc, etc.  I knew I wanted to have a good chuck of time to play around with it before I got it out, but finally, the time has come! 

I pulled her out a couple weeks ago, learned how to thread it, made some bobbins, and started sewing away.  She is older than I am I think, and definitely has her quirks.  I am so excited to learn how to sew!  My mom was a fantastic seamstress; she made me the best dress up clothes and Halloween costumes.  I don't know that I am that ambitious with my sewing skills, but I want to be able to make some basic things for myself and my family.  I have discovered that being good at sewing is a matter of a lot of practice, and a lot of mistakes.  I had seen this tutorial on how to practice sewing, so I sat down on a recent day off and practices for a couple of hours (man, how time flies when you're sewing!). 

Here I made straight lines with a ruler and practiced sewing straight (sometimes my stitches look like those of a drunkard);


I discovered that back stitching is my new nemesis.   My fabric keeps getting eaten, as if a small little fabric eating dragon resides in the bellows of my machine.  That will take some practice.  I have a vast array of sewing projects on my Pinterest board that I cannot wait to try out, especially all the ones for cute skirts and maxi dresses.  Hopefully this new little hobby will be something I can keep practicing and get better at.  Only time will tell!