Friday, August 13, 2010

Freebie Fun on Friday

I ran across several "freebies" today while online and wanted to share them with you all. Please note that I'm sure this is just a marketing ploy by many to get your information, but at least you'll be getting something in return!

Free "business" cards from Starbucks. These are kinda silly, but they would be a great "gag" gift, perfect stocking stuffers:

Free upgrade to "prime status" membership at for college students (requires valid college e-mail address). Gets you FREE 2 day shipping on your orders!

Free customizable office supplies and gifts from Please note that "shipping and processing" fees apply. Choose from coffee mugs, business cards, invitations, address stamp, calenders, magnets and more!

Jamie from C.R.A.F.T has really cute free printable "inspirational quotes" that would be perfect for cards, framing or gift giving:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The First 10 Years

Ten years ago today, my life changed direction permanently. I said "I do", in a church on a opressively hot day in August. I was 24, young and super stressed out from a DIY wedding. Our ceremony was at 5, followed by a dinner reception outdoors. It was balmy, warm and joyous. We ate, drank, danced some and celebrated our commitment.

We honeymooned in Mendocino. We walked on the beach, ate lunches at quaint little spots, watched sunsets, and freaked out. Wow, did I just really make a huge mistake? Forever is...F O R E V E R. I love him, but did I make the right decision? Two days of worry from a post wedding recovery later and I knew that we would do this together.

Two and a half years of work. Lots of conversations about money, children, family, priorities. Many dinners in our little apartment in the "ghetto". God kept us safe there, and built the cornerstones of our union. We had so much fun there, laughter and "'re it".

Jackson was born, and our world changed forever. Sleep deprivation, stress of a new kind, the weight of the world on your shoulders. Our thought process shifted from "you and I" to "us and the baby". Work would prove somewhat tumultuous, but you weathered the storm and came out better on the other side.

Two years later, Peyton was born. Our girl, our little pink princess. Tears of thanksgiving, it's a girl, which is a big deal considering your family history of boys. Sweet pictures and meaningful memories. Juggling two kids, meeting multiple needs. More stress, more joy, the two intermingled in our family.

Two years (and a few months later) Mason was born. You and I added more mortar to our marriage with this birth. We were a team, working side by side to bring him into this world. Hours of walking the hospital floor to gently coax him out, and it worked! "What a lucky child, to have two great parents working like a team" the midwife said. She was right, our ability to be "two as one" really was perfected in those hours. I couldn't see then but I do know now what a gift that time was.

Now we find ourselves with three kids, 10 years of marriage under our belts and the future. We don't know what tomorrow will bring, but we know what we've learned so far. I cannot begin to explain the impact you have made on my life. Challenging me to forgive, look beyond, look inside, pray for wisdom, walk closer with God, parent with purpose. All are gifts you gave me ten years ago when you told me "I do". Thank you for your love, thank you for your sacrifices, and thank you for our family. I love you, happy tenth anniversary honey.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

DIY Sheet Shade Structure

We celebrated my in-laws 40th wedding anniversary last summer. We decided to have the party at our house, well in our backyard anyway. Our backyard has almost NO shade at all. And since we were having the party in August, that would not do.

We priced shade structures...yikes. Very expensive, not in our budget. So we decided to improvise and make our own. My wonderfully smart Momma gave me the idea to make one with PVC pipes and sheets. This is what we came up with, not perfect but it definitely helped. Let me explain what we did.
First we went shopping. We bought 10' sections of 1" diameter PVC pipe. Then we bought 3' (I'm pretty sure they were that long) plastic coated metal garden spikes. We hit IKEA for cheap flat bedsheets, we bought them queen sized. Then I bought a grommet kit from the fabric store.

We drilled small holes at the top of each section of the PVC pipe, four total on each top. We just used a regular drill, but we did notch out each area we were going to drill with an awl to help the drill bit get started. It went quickly, as the pipe was really easy to drill through.

I then set to work applying grommets to each of the four corners of the sheets. This proved the most labor intensive, but if you want to reuse and wash your sheets (like we did) then I wouldn't skip this step. If you are using old sheets or fabric that you don't plan to reuse again then I'd say you could skip this step and just cut holes directly into the sheet/fabric.

We then drove the metal garden spikes into the ground, leaving about a foot or so exposed. This wasn't too hard, but we did use a mallet and that helped alot. I wouldn't recommend trying to use just a hammer as you need some extra heft. We then slipped the PVC pipes over the spikes, making sure the ends with the holes are on top. Then up on the ladder to string the sheets to the tops of the poles, and I just used plain 'ol heavy duty cotton twine.

As you can see, it's not perfect but it's definitely a solution that worked for us. Had I to do it over again, I would have set the structure up the day before to see where the sun was going to hit during the time we'd be outside. We ended up setting up the tables not quite right (as you can see) and the table fronts were exposed in some places. I also would have had sheets come down the sides in the front, to somewhat close off the area and help provide extra shade. However all and all it worked and we had several comments on our industriousness.

Please click on "Linky Parties I Love" on the right to see where I'll be sharing my idea. Thanks!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Swimming Pools and Sunsets

So the last few weeks have been eventful, as we've been enjoying our summer. My Hubby took a little over two weeks off of work and we had lots of fun! We went to birthday parties, park days, the state fair, took lots of rides and even had an overnight "hotel camping" trip. Here are a few photos from our adventures.

Me taking lots of "action" shots from the car. I have a great little point and shoot!

Number two enjoying the hotel swimming pool. We forgot the kids life vests and bought arm floaties from Wal-Mart, they worked great!

Number one in the hotel pool. The pool wasn't chlorinated but was a salt water pool instead, that was the first time the kids had swam in one.

Daddy and number three in the pool. He had fun with his floatie, it was great for him to kick back and "chillax" in.

We took lots of "night rides". Here's a shot of some tall grass on the side of the road, just before the sun went to bed for the night.

This is a cool shot, I like the perspective and how the car's radio antenna split the photo in half.

Pretty shot of the horizon. The star in the photo was the only one we saw the entire evening.

Sweet Hubby did lots of driving. He's such a trooper, putting up with his crazy wife half hanging out of the car to get all these pictures. Hope you all are enjoying the remaining summer days we have left, make some memories!