Monday, December 12, 2011

A year in pictures

Starting January 1, I'm starting a project called A Year in Pictures.  Photography is really one of my favorite hobbies.
I love to take pictures.
I love to look at pictures.
I love to scrapbook pictures.
I love pictures.
Of anything, anyone, anywhere.
I'm really excited to start this project, I just hope I actually do take a picture each day intentionally for this project.  Oh, I'm not worried that I won't take 365 pictures.  Trust me I've taken more than that in a single day.  I just want to be intentional about the pictures I take and the stories I tell with them. 
I haven't quite decided what the story will be yet, but when I do, I will let you all know.
I've thought of doing a different theme each month, but I tend to get bored with that kind of thing.
So then I was thinking of making this project about something other than photographs of people.  Shooting only non human subjects: cars, animals, cups, food, plants, you get the idea. 
Again, I will probably get bored with that.  So for now there is no theme, but there is a story to tell.
I want each picture to have meaning.  If I take a picture of the stove I want it to be because I cooked an amazing meal.
If I take a picture of my bathroom I want it to be because I had an epiphany in there.  Oh come on, you know you do your best thinking on the toilet or in the shower too!
So I want this project to have intentionality behind it because I want it to mean something.  I don't want 365 random photos at the end of the year.  I usually have something like that anyway LOL
So if there is something you would like to see in this project let me know, I will try to make it happen and stay tuned, I'm sure there are bound to be some interesting photos coming your way via SingleMom4God!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

To write a Christmas letter or not to...

That is the question.  I've only ever done one Christmas letter, it was 3 years ago for Nate's first Christmas.  There were a lot of changes going on that year: Nate was born, I moved to Iowa from Chicago, I started a new job, blah blah blah....

I was thinking of doing another one this year, like an every 3 year kinda thing LOL, but I heard some DJ's this morning talking about Christmas letters and I kind of feel dumb for sending one.  The 2 male DJ's suggested that most Christmas letters are to brag about your kids and the amazing things they are doing.  And they are right, except I don't see it as bragging.  I see it as catching all of my dear friends and family up on my interesting and imaginative son. And of course including little tidbits about myself as well!

The female DJ had a different take on them.  She really enjoys getting Christmas letters.  She said that she puts them up on her refrigerator and reads them over and over again.  She really enjoys hearing about other families and what is going on with them throughout the year.  This is when one of the male DJ's said, "That's what Facebook is for."

Maybe he has a point.  Maybe Christmas letters are becoming a thing of the past, just like snail mail.  Shoot we don't even have next day delivery from the Postal Service beginning next year. And who can blame them?  With the way the internet and email has taken over, no one uses postal mail for anything anymore.  We don't really need to.  Contracts that previously needed to be mailed or delivered via courier can now be emailed and accepted with an electronic signature.  Birthday cards can now be sent via email as an ecard.  Bills can be emailed and paid online.

However, the one thing that should never be done online is a Christmas card. At least in my opinion anyway.  Just like a love letter, a Christmas card should be sent through the mail.  I just think it is more personal.  But maybe this doesn't hold true for the Christmas letter. Maybe it really is ok to allow everything you update your status with on Facebook be enough.

I did like what one of the male DJ's had to say.  Instead of just sending a letter that details or outlines your family's life for the past year, he and his family find something that God used or did in their lives and create a devotional out of it.  They ask everyone they send it to, to find a way to do the devotional together as a family and see how it could apply to each of their lives. 

So if you are one of the many receiving a Christmas card from me this year, you may or may not find a Christmas letter enclosed, but if you do, know this...I wrote it with my heart because I wanted to include you in the many things that happen throughout our year.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Crafting

Did you know Christmas is less than 3 weeks away???  Are you prepared? I am...sort of.  Are your Christmas cards in the mail? My cards are addressed but not yet in the mail, maybe I will get to that tomorrow.  Are your gifts all purchased?  Are they wrapped and under the tree?  Do you have a tree yet?  It's so much to take in this time of year.  I have almost all of my Christmas shopping completed.  I still have the jumbo box of Crayola crayons to purchase, you know the one with the sharpener in the back, cuz that's the one every kid wants, and an Isabelle Bloom to buy (for those of you not from the QC, Isabelle Bloom's are statues made out of cement, one is enough for some people, but apparently not my mom), and a couple of cd's or movies.  Everything else is purchased... 
Everything else being materials for gifts I'm making.
Did I go crazy this year?  I think I must have because I decided I wanted to give mostly homemade gifts.  Fabulous idea, but I forgot to schedule the time to make these gifts into my life.  While I have been blessed to get quite a few of them actually completed, the majority are only partially finished.  And a couple are still just ideas floating around in my head, the materials are purchased, but I haven't even begun to create them into the masterpiece they are meant to be.
I honestly love the idea of giving all homemade gifts, but I need to remember to schedule them in my day.  I have time scheduled to go to the gym, to work, to spend time in the Bible, I even have quiet time scheduled.  I'm a planner, I like to see things written down on paper, so I not only have my calendar in my phone but I carry a paper planner as well.  OCD? Quite possibly.

So what am I making you ask?

Well let me tell you...

First I'm making coasters out of tile I got at Lowe's with each family's initial on them.  Quite simple and easy to do.  Of course I lost the list of families I was going to make them for, so...I am also giving them to Nate's teachers.  Originally this is why I was looking for ideas, original gifts for teachers, not just the World's Best Teacher coffee mug.  But I liked them so much and they are so cheap to produce that I decided to make them for quite a few families, but as I mentioned above, I lost the list and only remember 10, including the teachers. Hmmm...

Second I'm making homemade beef jerky.  I have made 2 batches so far, and I'm going to mix up another batch of marinade this afternoon to get 2 more batches done.  The fun thing with this one is I found out you can make beef jerky from ground beef! So I will be trying that as well this Christmas.  I will let you know how it turns out.

Third, I'm making "Family Night In" gift bags that have microwave popcorn, homemade jerky, cocoa, and marshmallows in them.  Not so much homemade, but put together.  I was going to include a gift card to Redbox, but have yet to find such a thing.  Considering one to Family Video as well.

Fourth, I'm trying my hand at making fudge.  I am not sure how this will turn out, so it is starting as dessert for a dinner party I'm attending Friday night.  If it's a hit, I will make some more and add it to the Family Night In bags, if it's not we'll chalk it up to a nice try :)

Fifth, I'm making Nate a fleece blanket with John Deere on one side and Iowa Hawkeyes on the other.  His two favorites at the moment.  This is another one that I have the two pieces of fleece, I just haven't cut and tied them yet.  However, that is going to be a little tricky with Nate around all the time ;)  I'll have to ship him to his favorite Great Aunt's house for a few days!

Sixth, I have made some beautiful button trees. Click here to see a pic of what I used as a template.  I made 4 of these, 2 with buttons and brown trees, 1 black tree with marbles that you can use in fish tanks and flower vases, and 1 black tree with crystals and rhinestones.

Seventh, I have 8x8 canvases that I have painted one each of blue, green, purple, and pink.  I am going to put Nate's handprints and footprints on them in coordinating colors.  These are almost done, I just have to get the prints on them.

Wow, I think that is everything.  Once I get them all finished I will post each project with step by step instructions on how to do them yourself.  I'm having so much fun making them I think I should go into business for myself!  Just add it to the to do list: Create own company!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday nights

It's Sunday night, Nate and I are settled in at a friend's house (I'm house/cat sitting while they enjoy Jamaica) watching Curious George 2.  I thoroughly enjoy this time every Sunday night.  We don't always watch a movie, sometimes we color, play games, what ever we feel like doing, tonight we felt like chillin out and watching a movie.  And I love it.  This is my favorite day of the week, my favorite time of the day, my favorite.
Nate is only going to be little for a couple more years, and who knows how many Sunday evenings I have left with him before he decides he is too cool to hang with mom.  But I'm going to enjoy them while I can. (He is currently sitting to my left, holding my ear while he appears completely engrossed in George. He also looks like he is going to pass out any moment from complete exhaustion, he's been up since 5am!)  So from now on after 5pm is mommy and Nate time on Sunday nights.  It always has been, but I haven't always been good about making sure we take advantage of it.  I would plan things with my friends, he would be at a family member's house or a friends.  But going forward I'm going to do the best I can to make sure we spend Sunday evenings together, as a family.  Life is so busy already, we need to slow down and enjoy it while we can.
For example, this coming week, the only night we are home is Monday night, and that is only because the cable guy is coming to install internet, otherwise we would probably have something scheduled.  Tuesday night is the last night of a class I'm taking at church, Wednesday is my week to serve at youth group, Thursday night we have a play date at Chik Fil A with a boy from school (I will let you know how that goes, I'm a little hesitant on this one), Friday I'm having dinner with a friend and our lead pastor, Saturday I have an Avon event during the day and a Christmas party that night.  Then it's Sunday again and other than church we have nothing planned.  Thank God! 
Why do we do this to ourselves?  Do we think we are going to miss out if we aren't constantly on the go?  I have no idea, but I'm going to start scheduling family time with Nate so we don't miss each other.  Some might think it is sad that I have to schedule time with my son, but I look at it as a non negotiable.  Most work schedules are non negotiable.  For some sports schedules are non negotiable.  Others piano lesson schedules are non negotiable.  Well for me my Nate time is non negotiable.  So if you want to hang, let me just give you a run down of my schedule so you can fit me in ;)
Sunday - Family day
Monday - Work in the evening
Tuesday - Life group
Wednesday - Youth group (4 weeks on 2 weeks off, check with me)
Thursday - Work in the evening
Friday - available
Saturday - available
So you can see life is pretty full in our household, and that's only a brief look at what we have going on, that doesn't include play dates, sports, etc...
I have to run because I want to snuggle with the cutest 4 year old I know.  Enjoy your Sunday night.