DIY Wedding Reception Decor

wedding blog pic

My lovely friend recently got married, and I was privileged to coordinate the decorations for the reception.  The funny part of this story is that I wasn’t fully aware I was doing all of the decorations until 2&1/2 weeks before the ceremony!  Panic ensued, followed by many deep breaths…and then a plan.  The reception was in a church multi-purpose gymnasium, so I knew it was a huge and not-so-beautiful space to begin with.  I thought I would share how we pulled it all together for roughly $60!  That’s right-$60 for table coverings, decor, centerpieces, candles, banners, etc. It came together quickly and it was absolutely beautiful.

Centerpiece  Each centerpiece had six tissue poms hung  from twigs and they were stabilized in antique, quart-sized jars.

centerpiece close-up   Small hearts were cut out of the pages of an old book, and hung with twine.  The hearts added just the right finishing touch to the centerpieces.centerpiece jarcenterpiece with jars I used clear and teal pint sized jars, wrapping them with scrap-book paper.  I cut hearts out of the paper.  "floating candle" jars A small amount of water was placed in the jars, and  floating candles were added to the jars.  The heart cut-outs were lovely, allowing the candles to softly glow.jar closeup I made three buntings with scrap-book paper and old book pages.bunting for the gift tableI layered the different papers and book pages, and then wove the ribbon through holes in the top of the bunting.
closeup of buntingthirteen

The bunting for the Bride and Groom’s table was stenciled with “Mr. & Mrs.”

Mr and Mrs bunting
cake table bunting twelve

reception My friend was so beautiful!  I just had to have a quick pic taken of us!

friends

wedding blog pic

Speaking Truth & Speaking it With Love

It’s been a busy spring at our home, so my blog has been a bit quiet (reflecting the HUGE truth that my home and family have NOT been quiet).  But I have been so moved by a story in the big bad world of reality, that I’ve come out of my little “mom hibernation” to share an inspirational story with you.

Image

Have you seen these guys?  If you have turned on the t.v. today, searched the web, snuck in a little facebook time, or even read the news, you probably couldn’t miss them.  Until late last night, I’d never heard of them.  Their public name is “The Benham Brothers”, David and Jason Benham.  They are twin brothers, who were getting ready to debut a new show on HGTV.  I am a huge HGTV watcher.  I’ve been tuning into pretty much everything they produce for 17 years!  I’m sure I would have loved their show… But apparently that won’t be happening.  It turns out that being real-estate/property flippers is pretty far down on the list of who they actually are.  The brothers are Christians, family men, Christian speakers……and somewhere down the line comes the property flipper/well-known guys on tv.   Back in 2012 one of the brothers led a prayer rally during the presidential elections.  He was appealing to Christians to stand for what was right in America.  Some of his remarks are now being spread, out-side of the context of the prayer rally, and it was offensive to some…so now fast-forward to early May 2014.  Their show has been cancelled.

But it’s not the cancellation of their show that’s on my heart this morning, it’s what they have done and said AFTER their show was cancelled.  I watched footage of their CNN interview, and let me tell you -I’M A FAN!  Talk about love-these guys exemplify it!  It would be hard to have the attitude they had-complete kindness for HGTV.  They said they have NO hard feelings for HGTV, no hard feelings toward anyone.  Kindness. Forgiveness. Love for their fellow man-it was ALL there!  Yes, they took their stands.  Yes, they preached the truth in the proper confines of a prayer meeting in 2012. Yes, they still stand for truth, but it is kindness and love that is spilling from them.  Wow!  This quote really hit me, “If our faith costs us a television show, then so be it”.  And that’s not all…they are going to keep their commitment to the 6 families that they had committed to help through their show.  Now remember, the show is cancelled, so it’s now their own money & time that they will be using to keep that commitment.

I’m so encouraged this morning by the honor, integrity, and strength to stand in love that has been exemplified by this story.  I hope to hear more from these two.  In fact, I’d love to be able to watch their show, but if not-I’ve been encouraged to stand in the love of Christ.  Christ laid down his life for the lost.  He could tell us, first hand, that the lost don’t always respond kindly, and that there is sometimes a high price to pay for standing.

I would encourage you to support the Benham Brothers by contacting HGTV.  You can do so on this link: http://www.hgtv.com/contact-us/package/index.html  But please, please, please do it in love, and with a kind heart & kind words.  Truth must always be accompanied by LOVE & love is patient, love is kind…it does not dishonor others…it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs…it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres… (ICor.13)

Here’s to hoping that your day is filled with Truth and Love!

Want to see more of these guys & their great message?  Go to this link & watch…

DIY: The Last Minute Bunting

1

This past weekend my little girl celebrated her birthday with her friends.  Her theme was friendship & hearts.  I threw together this cute little bunting in a matter of minutes, using scrap-book paper and hearts that I cut from the pages of an old book.  It turned out delightfully cute, so I thought I would share it with you!  It can be done in any color scheme or shape, so I hope you enjoy experimenting!  Please share with me your results-I would love to see what you come up with!

3245bunting and cupcakes

This cute little heart bunting was the perfect back-drop for the party, and we are going to use it over her window treatment in her room-because it was too cute to toss!

My Sweet Valentines…

Well, it rolled around quickly, the last year our youngest son will distribute Valentines or make a Valentine box..sniff, sniff. So bring on the crazy Mommy! Payton picked out the Army theme, and we found great printables off of Pinterest. Then I rounded up a small green army, found camo fabric for the box, raided the mostly quiet-these-days toy chest & this Mama went to work. The result is a super happy  boy! Next year he will be one of those grown up middle school boys-but today he is still my little boy. And then there is the sweet little sister-no worries-many more Valentine parties ahead for sweet little Delaney! “Wild About You” is the theme we went with, and we found the cutest little printable Valentines on Pinterest. We completed those little babies with “wild” animals & a lovely, sparkly, pink, wild Valentine box. It really helps to have all of those hair-bow supplies at a time like this!

So here’s the result…so much cuteness!
Delaney with box 1

Notice that Delaney dressed in her “wild” theme as well..Mommy & daughter really get into their themes!delaneys box 2

Delaneys box 3

delaneys box 4

delaneys box 5

Here’s a link to the blog that is offering this super cute FREE printable:

http://www.sarahmstyle.ca/2014/01/freebies-i-am-wild-about-you-valentine.html

Delaneys box 6

payton with box

My littlest man!
paytons box 3

Here’s a link to the blog that is offering this adorable FREE printable:

http://eventstocelebrate.net/2014/01/free-printable-valentine-army/

paytons box 4

paytons box1

paytons box2

A Little Girl’s Fairy-Tale & Dress Up Photo Session

color bride shotWith three big brothers, little Delaney is pretty good at waiting her turn.  Finally I had some spare moments to spend on my precious daughter (who will out-grow dressing up sooner than I can blink my eyes) and my amateur hobby of photography.  The results were just precious, and I had to share them!

snazzysassycolor mirror closeupwider color brideblack and whitecute picmore brideblack and wadorable color mirrorfavorite shot from above

black and white close upfancy dressupblack and white mirror close upmore fancy dress upDelaney bridelovely color in woodsThis was such a special and memorable photography session…little girls don’t stay little forever!

It’s a Calling…Bringing Up Boys

brothers black and whiteI didn’t realize what was happening when they handed me my first precious little baby boy.  And I still didn’t realize it when they handed me my second little son, but wen the third little boy was lying in my arms, I knew I was well on  my way to a unique place.  Mothering multiple sons is a special calling, and without even realizing it, it was a calling that God had placed on my life.  In just a span of thirty-four months, I went from being just a young wife to wife and a mother of three sons…surrounded by “male-ness”.  Not a word, you say…Oh believe me, “male-ness” IS a word-it’s very well understood by the other ladies in this special club I belong to.  What a shift from the days of growing up an only child.  One little girl…and homeschooled at that!  I grew up loving quiet things, pretty things, and cats…so why on earth would I be chosen to raise a pack of loud, testosterone filled, crazy BOYS?  Well, I actually believe my whole life was a preparation for this journey.  I longed for siblings, but not just any siblings-I longed for brothers-brothers that I would never have. When we began to have little boys, fourteen years ago, I was thrilled as each little boy was born! But it was still shocking.  Here are some of the tid-bits I have learned on this journey-much of it is from wise, experienced women who have paved the way for grown up girly-girls like me, as well as experts along the way like Dr. Dobson.

1. It’s natural for boys to be competitive. 

Everything is a race, a competition, a game.  In mothering these men-in-training, we will be ahead of this game, if we work with this natural bend and not against it.  This is where fighting comes in, which must, of course, be managed.  Some boy competitions need adult intervention, and some just need adult supervision.  It’s never alright for a brother to be insulted or bullied, and of-course, those are the moments for intervention.  Good competition is SO healthy for these boys, and can really be used as a great motivational tool!  Many times I have been able to use their competitive side to motivate my sons to strive for greatness.

2. Most boys are born with a healthy amount of natural aggression.

Oh boy, this is where the moms of girls are gasping, and perhaps even moms of just one little boy…but this is actually true & healthy…so let me explain…

All boys will eventually grow into men.  Men will have responsibilities and duties that are “Provider and Protector” based.  I am so thankful for my godly husband.  He would lay down his life for this family.  He rises before the sun is up, and works, most days until it has set again.  That does not just develope one day- it is a life-time in the making. Little boys are born with a very un-fettered sense of adventure.  The pushing, the shouting, the fighting, the building, the competing, the hunting…it’s all part of the strong male nature that will someday be necessary for the strength and leadership that is required of an adult male.  I often say, “Mothering boys is not for wimps!”, and this is SO true!  There is a fine-line to walk here.  One must realize that this is in their nature, but it must be TRAINED! Oh the humiliation I felt when my three year old son intentionally pee-peed on the bathroom wall of a local mega-church! He may have been only three, but we took him home and punished him.  In-fact, we took it so seriously, that we did not move forward, until we knew that he understood how unacceptable this was.  He did not respond well, and most of the next day he spent in various methods of punishment, but by 5:00pm on that Monday night, we had reached a break-through.  He got it, and we moved forward. Harsh?  No. Appropriate.  Boys are born with a natural aggression, but they have no idea how to use this appropriately.  They must not be shamed in their maleness, but disciplined and lovingly shaped, so that they will use this strength as a positive and not run over those around them and use it as a negative.

3.Boys aren’t pretty..This is not for wimps, folks!

This statement may not be true if you have only one boy, but mothers of multiple boys understand this in a unique way.  Because, let’s be honest, it’s like the sleepover that never ends!  The intense male energy of several boys…together…all of the time, is something that not everyone could endure.  If you have been chosen for this journey, there is a reason!  God thinks you can do it!  And there will be some crazy moments that you just need to chill out and laugh…

cup in a cup holder

I know someone just gasped..well, then this post just isn’t for you.  But it absolutely cracked me up!  I was all dressed up for church yesterday, and I was backing the car out of the garage, when I spotted this.  A cup…in a cup holder!  I know you “boy mammas” just laughed your heads off.

But seriously, you just can’t sweat the small stuff.  Discipline when discipline is needed. Comfort when comfort is needed.  Train when training is needed.  And LOVE all of the time!

jill and her boys

Please don’t leave without leaving me a note!

Free Family Resource

I wanted to share this great freebie from Focus on the Family.

This month they are giving away a FREE DOWNLOADABLE activity to help you share your faith with your children!  You can’t beat that!  Free Family Resource.  I hope you will check this out.  It’s so important to share our faith with our kiddos, and it’s also important to answer their tough questions.  This month Focus on the Family featured some excellent discussion reguarding this important topic.  Hope you enjoy!

Is There a Happily Ever After?

It’s that time of year again-our anniversary! Woo hoo! Sixteen years! But early on in our marriage there were some very dark days. Last year I shared our testimony, and I want to share it again. If you are in need of help in your marriage and would like resources, feel free to ask. I hope this is a blessing to you!

javawithjill

Fifteen years ago tonight was a very busy night.  Decorating, eating steak cooked to perfection, enjoying my friends and family,practicing walking down the aisle of the church, spending one last night as “Jill Tracy”.  The very next day I would be marrying the most wonderful man in the world!

The next two and a half years were fabulous…more decorating, first an apartment, then a cute little duplex, and then a baby’s room.  Beautiful Brayden entered our lives, and we were off to the things fairy tales were made of…and then it happened…LIFE hit us like a grenade explosion in the middle of a quiet, sun-lit garden. One entire year of horrid…and horrid it was!  You’ve seen it, when horrid explodes all over a marriage, but what happens next is what separates the weak from the strong.

Wouldn’t it just be easier to walk away and start over fresh? Well now, just remember…

View original post 374 more words

A Land Where Accidents Don’t Exist/ Living in a Society Without Mercy

mercy blog pic of farm
Little Joe. A name I’ve grown familiar with, but whom I’ve never met-never could meet.  Joe is my father’s older brother, who never got the opportunity to be “older”.  A couple of months before my father was born, Joe was tragically killed, in what was undeniably an accident.  Now in their seventy’s, Joe’s living siblings still talk about him…reminisce…wonder “what if”…

This family was a hard-working farm family, who’s children learned to toil from sun-up to sun-down from the mature age of seven.  As an older teen was called away to help the father in the field, the little siblings were momentarily unattended.  That’s the moment that it happened-that regretful moment that cannot be gotten back. Joe wandered away and fell into a milk depository on the farm, and sadly his little life was lost-but not forgotten.

In recent years, Joe’s name has come up many times.  Each time that I hear it I am struck with a nagging feeling, and it has caused me to reflect on the society in which Joe died and the stark contrast to the society we live in today. Undeniably, Joe’s death was an accident. Period.  No one would ever suggest otherwise.  But similar events in recent times, have met with very different endings, because we now live in a society that cannot accept anything as an accident.  In fact, our society demands blood, punishment, an eye for an eye. The world we are now engaged in, refuses to look into a tragedy and extend mercy.  Mercy, it would seem, simply does not exist-or at least it’s rarely thought to be appropriate to administer it. But is an unmerciful approach correct, simply because it’s what we are becoming accustomed to in the land we now live?

Let’s look at a similar situation with incredibly different results.  I remember a dad charged with the death of his son, just a few short years ago, because of a tragic situation.  The dad, a minister, went to the church where he served, with his toddler son in the back-seat, strapped into his car-seat.  He arrived at the church, and in the habit of going to the church alone, he went into the church-completely forgetting his little boy.  Unfortunately, his little boy died a terrible death. It must have been an unimaginable pain for that family to bear. Apparently it wasn’t considered enough pain by the local prosecutor’s office, because soon that dad (who had no criminal history and was a wonderful husband and father by all accounts) was brought up on criminal charges. No mercy. No wrong unpunished. No death un-avenged. No such thing as accidents…immediately my mind went to little Joe and his family all those years ago. How different that innocent tragedy would have been had it happened today. Is it appropriate to force the letter of the law into a tragic situation that is not criminal in nature? I would humbly suggest it is not appropriate or even beneficial to the family or our society at large.

I can’t help but think of recent criminal cases. Because sometimes events occur that are not accidental in nature. Sometimes intentionally or unintentionally a law is broken, and pain is unloaded on someone who didn’t deserve to be hurt. When this type of pain occurs, we want justice!  Or do we? Is what we are truly after really something more like…revenge? Is it really justice that we are seeking? Or are we truly seeking blood, are we secretly feeding an inner hate? As Christians, it is important to look at what our inner motivation is, but also to explore the idea of mercy. Jesus administered mercy. Remember the woman at the well? Living in sin, clearly an adulterous woman with a very tangled web of immorality, this woman was forgiven by Jesus. His followers were fine with her being forgiven, but then Jesus did something unimaginable to them…he ACCEPTED her! Accepted her as a believer, accepted her as a follower, accepted her as a (gasp!) friend. And what about that scrawny little man hiding in a tree? That annoying, tax-collector Zaccheas. Jesus also forgave and be-friended him-even going to his home! And then there is the big one…DAVID, the man after God’s own heart. Wait! He was a murderer! He was an adulterer! He was an egotistical law breaker! But God had mercy on David. God forgave him, and inserted David into the blood line of his own son, Jesus! But is it realistic to accept mercy in modern, criminal cases? Is it appropriate to administer mercy or allow a convicted criminal to walk, having served less than the law would allow, or to welcome with open arms someone who previously has lived a criminal existence? Let’s look at some modern examples.

Chuck Colson, special counsel to Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal, was imprisoned in 1974, and served seven months in a federal prison. He came out of prison a changed man. He became a Christian, devoted his life to ministry and founded a prison ministry that is still in existence today. Though he has now gone to his heavenly home, his ministry to hundreds of thousands of Americans, incarcerated and free alike, show that a tainted past is not an effective means of measuring one’s ability to serve or make a difference in our society. Imagine if he had never been given a second chance.

Troy Hartman, a Pastor at a successful church in the mid-west, has impacted thousands of young lives. But several years earlier, Troy was a young college student, living a pretty non-committed existence, when he drove under the influence of alcohol, crashing his Ford Explorer and killing his best friend, Matthew Jones.  Just days after this tragedy, Matthew’s mother spoke to Troy and told him that she loved him and she forgave him!  Matthew’s family welcomed Troy at the funeral with opened arms. What a lovely picture of forgiveness!  But wait!  There’s more…she told him to forgive himself, and that God could bring good from the tragic death of her son.  To this day, the families remain in close, family-like contact.  THIS is what mercy looks like.  THIS is what forgiveness looks like.

A merciful response to life’s low-points is my challenge to you and to myself.  It’s so easy to pass judgement.  It’s so natural to want revenge, but God has shown us in His word the example of mercy.  Unmerited favor.  Undeserved kindness and forgiveness.  Little Joe’s death is my personal reminder that in the big picture of life, tragedy and mistakes are inevitable.  His legacy lives on, paving the way for a priceless lesson in extending mercy to our fellow man.

Photography by Lynda Magley
References:TroyHartman.com/ Wikipedia:Charles Colson

Grow With Me TuTu Outfit Tutorial

another spliced picOk, so in our town you’ve just GOT to be a Comet fan. Marionville Comets-that’s right folks-my kids are Comets. So, when a friend recently had a baby (and that baby has 4 siblings who are already playing sports) I just had to make her her first Marionville Comet outfit. So out came the sewing machine…ha ha! Just kidding! This is a delightful NO SEW tutorial! Get ready to have some fun…

tulle

I purchased a roll of tulle.  I used a beautiful, silver color.  I’ve made tutu’s before with tulle, and my previous experience is why I will NEVER buy it in large quantities and cut it into strips… let’s face it, moms like me do not have 6 hrs. of spare time to make a silly tutu!  This nice little spool made my job short and sweet!  I cut it into 14″ pieces.  This is adjustable, based on how big of a child you are making this for.  I am making a “grow with me tutu”, designed to fit a new-born to one year old.

tying tutu

I attached the tulle to a simple crocheted headband (Comet blue of course), by tying it.  I simply slipped a folded strip through a hole, and slipped the end of the tulle through the folded center.  You could also knot it, if you prefer.  I did not go through every hole-I went approximately every-other.

just tutu

Oh the cuteness!  I can’t stand it!!! This tutu can be worn by a newborn-3 month old as a skirt.  Later, leggings can be added for an older baby.  The waist is very stretchy, so even a cute little chubby tummy can fit into it!

back of bow

I attatched the bow with a clip-style barrette, so it can be removed to be laundered. The tutu should be washed separately in cold water & hung to dry.

just bow and tutu

comet outfit spliced maybe 1

I embellished the onesie with a smaller bow, which I attatched to the onesie with a safety-pin.  I attached the pin to the bow by hot-gluing a ribbon over it & onto the bow, the same way you would attach a barrette to the back of a hair-bow.  Sooooo easy!  And now, the bow is removable, and can be attached to larger onesie’s or t-shirts, as the baby grows! It also can be removed when the onesie is laundered.

three bows pic

The hair-bow was made to coordinate, and attached to a crocheted headband by a barrette.  It also is removable, so as the child grows, it can be removed and worn separate from the headband.

full outfit pic number 1

Go Comets!