Missing them

They weren't suppose to leave us.  They were to be with us forever.  Never to give up.  Never to waiver.  It never occurred to me there would be a time without them.  That just wasn't suppose to happen.  But time had different plans and here we are broken hearted.

It has been about 5 months since the last one passed and everyday is still a bit of a struggle.  To some it might be silly but to us, it was a part of us gone.  The idea of moving on is just as hard as remembering when they left.

But the architect has 
been crying out in loneliness, wanting his companions back.  So we have begun to look.  I feel like I am cheating on them, like I am turning my back.  But they are not here and he is.  Perhaps he is the catalyst we need to know that it is time.  Life does go on -- but in a different way.  There is a season and a reason for everything.  So we continue to look, pray, and hope -- that the right one will find its' way home and that our hearts will be open to love another again.  And that the cat will be OK with it. 

Holiday Baking Vengence

It was the first thing I saw when I arrived at my MIL's house-- Marie Calender sitting right in front of me.  Her pretty little computer made up face taking a steamy pumpkin pie right out of the oven -- ON A BOX!  Pie does not come in a box (unless you are pregnant craving sweets and your husband runs to the store at 9 p.m.).  Pie comes from the heart.  Especially on Thanksgiving Day - pie is sacred.  

                                                                             Source: walmart.com via Stephanie on Pinterest

Now, I have to give Grandmom a little credit.  She did deliver on her promise to bring pumpkin pie.  A pie that I wanted so badly to make from scratch.  A pie that would rival the apple pie that I was carrying.  A pie that I wanted to top with homemade whipped cream and eat until my eyes bulged out.  Didn't happen.  I don't eat boxed pie on Thanksgiving.  And to tell you the truth the more I saw the box, the angrier I became.  

I was so upset about the pie that I could not get it off my mind.  So Sunday night, I baked -- I baked with a vengeance.  Little did I know that God was watching me, waiting to remind me to do everything out of love.   

I set the pie in the oven not realizing that cheese had melted all over the bottom from the Thanksgiving Mac n Cheese.  The house begin to fill with smoke very quickly - like 4 alarm fire smoke.  We had to open all the windows in the middle of a rain storm.  Determined, I took the pie out of the oven, wiped the entire thing down, and started again.  Still smoke, but after a bit it cleared.  In about an hour - it was done and I was happy.  I put the pie on the porch to clear while I fed the family. 

At 9 p.m. I made the whipped cream, cut myself a pie of the beloved pie.  I bit in with delight, only to spit it out.  I was so fixated on the pie making that I forgot to put sugar!  

So no pie later, a house that smells like melted cheese, but a lesson well learned.  Yes Lord, I hear you.  Bake from the heart - a loving heart.  Got it.  


Camp Sleep is for Wimps


does not know a 2 year old,
doesn't happen with blustery winds,
is interrupted when it rains,
stinks when the air matress has a small hole in it,
stops when Candian geese decide to visit,
and becomes a luxury when tent camping.


we unplugged,
threw rocks in the lake,
ate hotdogs,
roasted marshmellows,
jumped puddle rocks,
made forts,
sat and talked,
played with nothing but nature,

and realized we can sleep other nights.



HOnored, Humbled, Loved, Happy,, Choosen, Peaceful, Excited;
Saying I’m thankful just isn’t enough................there is so much more!  

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body..  And be thankful." 
Colossians 3:15 


Thankful but Forgetful

*The last year I have been sewing a lot and I am thankful.

*Money from sales has pitched in on the things for my family and I am thankful.

*My business has exploded over during a tight budget year and I am thankful. 

*There are new relationships built with the ladies at the craft store and I am thankful.

*Seeing you all use/wear your items give me a smile and I am thankful.

*Meeting new people has been a blessing and I am thankful.

*Filling a creative need has been awesome and I am thankful.

*In the last three months I have worked crazy hours and I am thankful.

*Orders you place have paid for Christmas and I am thankful. 

But then I come to Christmas and I stop.  Why did the last many weeks become such a frenzy for my little Proverbs 31 business?  It is just a season to endure or did I loose the meaning of something wonderful God has given me in the mix?  I have been a mad women trying to keep up with orders.  I continually think about ways to drum up new business.  There have been many trips to the store and just as many late nights sewing.  One could say that I have been tied too tight - literally in thread.  

I have taken something beautiful that God has given me and tried to turn it into a hectic/stressful/rushed existence.  All in the name of buying my child the latest electronic gadget, the greatest lego set, or the perfect superhero set.  Do those things replace the 25+ hours a week that I sit in front of my sewing machine?  

I have missed moments that will never return.  Found myself with no patience at the end of the day.  I even began craving oreo cookies (I dislike oreos).  They have watched more TV in the last few weeks then they have seen their mom.  Where is Proverbs 31 in that?  Do I want my kids to think that following God means you have to be in a tissy all the time?  I don't think that really shows them how to take care of their "gifts".  

So this Christmas, my kids will not go without but they will go with less.  In exchange they will get more - more of the mom they deserve. 

*I love what I do and I am thankful.
*Because what I love what I do so much, I will be slowing down a bit and for that realization I am forever thankful.


The Perfect Boys Christmas Gift

I am sure that I am not alone in the fact that my kids have everything.  Certain amounts of three of everything.  They have way too much.

It is for this reason that I always wonder what to get their friends at parties and holidays?  Do kids really need anything?  Maybe what they need is simple.

I present to you, just that -- simple.  The fort kit.  The perfect present.  Easy to make.  Able to afford.  You can do it too!

Fort Kit
- 1 full size sheet
- 1 pillowcase
- 1 piece of cording
- 1 container of light sticks
- 1 set of clamps of clothes pins (I use plastic clamps from Walmart enough to make two sets)

You will need some basic sewing skills for this item.  First, I laid out the sheet and clamps.  Using the pillow case, I cut a little off to make it a kid friendly sized bag.  Next I took the pillowcase and put it on the embroidery machine to personalize it a little.  You can do this with puff paint or even a sharpie.  Use the already made tunneling to put a piece of rope thru the top of the bag and make a drawstring.  Lastly, I made up a quick tag on Word to let the gift recipient know what fun they were about to have.


This project can be made for a boy with colors included in pictures.  Or maybe for brothers and sisters?  Or the princess could build a castle from pink sheets and pink painted clothes pins?  The possibilities are endless.

My total investment on this project was 25.00 (which is enough supplies to complete 2 kits).


My van smells

Supposedly, my van smells.  But here are the facts - this week it doesn't.  I took all the old milk cups out. 

It just seems to rub people, little people, the wrong way.  Maybe it is the 180,000 miles on it.  Perhaps it is the fact that you have to open the door yourself.  It could be that the CD player doesn't work.  Did I mention that fact that it doesn't have a state of the art DVD player (or even a DVD player) either.  Possibly the dent in the back right bumper could rub 8 year olds the wrong way.  The fact that the right hand cup holder is broken could probably really erk a person who sits in the back.  Who knows?  

Source: google.com via Karyn on Pinterest

Wished I cared about the state of my transportation but it is just not a high priority on the list.  To tell you the truth - it is a car.  It gets me from point A to point B and serves its' purpose just fine.   I am fortunate to have it.   Besides, did I tell  you that .....................

What makes me the most upset is that our world is raising our kids.  Mom driving a brand new minivan is much more important than being debt free and guaranteeing our financial future.  You see kids just don't get it, not unless they are taught to. 


I'm a Pinterest Turkey

I can do a lot of things.  I can sew just about anything anyone asks me too.  I have been known to get nasty with a glue gun.  I'm a pretty good saleswoman when it comes to getting my way.  I can wash clothes like crazy (putting them up is a different story).  I can knit.  I can crochet.  I can do homework.  I can understand economics (love economics).  I can fix things (thanks Dad!).  I can remember the weirdest things.  I can do a lot of things.  Some of those things I can even do well.

I CAN NOT bake.  Nope - not a chance.  Well, I mean sure I can bake things but perhaps it is better to say I can not decorate.  There was a time in my life where I could.  I once made a chocolate ganache cake with a hand rolled fondant ruffle edge.  But that was before the babies.  I had 4 hours to make that cake -- and believe me I needed every minute.

                                                            Source: housewivesofriverton.blogspot.com via Kimberly on Pinterest

So comes today.  I find this cute Pinterest Turkey Rice Crispy Treat tutorial.  Easy enough to make for the  leader's class -- so wrong.  I stink like the princess's diapers.  I will let the pictures say for themselves.  

This is my first attempt at the turkey.  

Guess which one is mine and which one is the architect's?  
Yup - FAIL (on my part)

 So then I had the great idea to make "cake pops".  Except ALL the sticks are still in the bowl - 

Then I realized that I was in Rice Crispy Hell and I started clawing my way out.  FAIL

I guess I need to face the truth and know that Martha Stewart will never be calling.  I will never make that coveted TV apperance.  Now, if someone could only tell me, if I can't bake then why do I look like I do?.......hmmmmmm. 

Yes, there are four

"You are crazy," 
said the over teased, over frosted hair wearing 50+ year old woman who wore the same outfit that day as she did 30 years ago.

"I bet you're busy." 
said the check out girl at Kroger who just finished telling me how she works two full time jobs. 

said the little old, but still with it, man at church.

"You know how that happens, right?" 
said the kind receptionist at the pediatrician's office.

I always answer, "yes."  Then I let out a little snicker, shrug my shoulders and go on my merry little way. Did I really ask them to begin with?  Was I looking for an opinion?  Do I care what they think?  Would I change my life in anyway to avoid the constant snide remarks -- I don't think so.  

They are mine, on loan from God.  He is an amazing Lord to trust someone like me with such a precious gift.  I don't think I do my best everyday, but I will continue to try me hardest as long as I have the job.  

So thank you interesting people of the South for letting me know what you think of my career choice - your compassion is amazing (sarcasm).  But.........

There are just some days you can leave your opinion at home. Because no matter what you say, or how hard the job may be that day --- I choose to give you the extra grace that I being a mom of four has taught me to have. 


Really Blog

I read alot about how to write blog content.
I read alot about when to blog.
I read alot about what to blog.
I read alot about why I should blog.
Sometimes I feel like the teacher from The Peanuts comic is wa, wa, wa, wa in my ear.

So why would someone continue to spend time writing away when I don't have a set goal,,,, or do I?

When I started blogging a few months ago, I thought I would mimic those cute little blogs I read.  You know the ones chalked full of tutorials about crafts.  The kind of blog you read every Tuesday to discover what Suzie Q has done to her daughter's bedroom.  Or maybe the blog that you follow a specific story time in someone's life.  I gave it a team try, but I am not that writer.

I'm not even sure if I am really writer but I do know that I am a woman, with a blog, with a goal.  That simple little goal - to keep the place R-E-A-L.  That is it.  No sugar coat, no overly dramatic interpretations (well, occasionally), no Martha Stewart want-to-be's.  My life is incredibility ordinary.  It is blogging that helped me realize how extraordinary that ordinary actually is.  That sharing normal might enable someone to feel extraordinary too.

So read away all eight people who have joined the club.  I promise to wow you with the perils of raising four children, sewing on the side, the occasional cooking fiasco, pretending I am a marathon runner in training, being a Yankee in the south, my love of politico, and life.  Hold on to your seat - it is real, not Velveeta.



Growing up in scouts my husband got to know an amazing couple - the Howards.  Mr. Ray and Ms. Anne were magnetic.  You never met anyone who didn't love the Howards.  Their house was a safe place, a welcoming place, a haven of creativity and love.  They were a saving grace to my husband.

I only got to know the Howards when I met Michael in 1996.  I loved going to their house.  It was a mismash of things collected over the years.  And while those things came from different places -- they all seemed to work together.

They had the most relaxing screened porch off the side of their house.  The porch featured an amazing fountain that continued gurgling thru gentle conversations.  It was made from a claw foot path tub with a down spout and goldfish inside.  It was perfectly imperfect.

Source: recyclart.org via La on Pinterest

I remember one hot afternoon relaxing on that porch when I noticed a cast iron bed in the middle of the flowers outside.  Mr. Ray, calmly acknowledged the bed with a , "why wouldn't a bed be in a flower bed."  Suddenly, that made sense.

While the Howards had a creative knack for making sense out of insensible things, there was something else that continually brought people back to their cottage in the pines.  It was a simple attraction that most of us forget to display in our everyday lifes.  It was respect.

Mr. Howard once told us that if you don't have respect for people they won't know that they important, that they are loved.  People can disagree but as long as respect stands tall their is still an opportunity to build important relationships.

(picture of Mr. Ray and Ms. Anne in Boy Scouts years ago)

Mr. Ray and Ms. Anne are not here with us anymore but in just a few short years, I learned so much from the Howards.  I thank God everyday for the Howards and wished the world had more people like them.


Well Ruffle my Scarf

I saw a scarf in a store during the summer.  I wanted it.  It wanted my entire clothing budget for the month.  We parted ways, never to meet again.  Or would we? 

Thank God for tutorials, intuition, and the ability to sew.  I love my ruffle scarf!  It is pretty wrapped around my shoulders.  Delightful tied in a knot in the front.  Or perfect thrown over one shoulder with a flower pin.  

Do you love my ruffled scarf too?  

It is made from a medium weight jersey knit.  It has tons of bouncy ruffles -- three rows to be exact.  The ruffle scarf of your dreams is 45 inches long by 15 inches wide, has finished seams and completely machine washable.  

Then visit the shop and get your today!  It is the Christmas gift you will love to give. 

All scarves are 3 for 50 if at least two of the same color are purchased.    


Surprise, I'm Two!

I grabbed a handful of pregnancy tests for the CVS counter that day in March.  There was a 24 hour chance I could be.  I really wasn't planning another baby.  Heck, it took me 3 years to get pregnant with he first. 

 I took the tests, saw faint blue lines, called my friend Kara, called my friend Megan -- could I be pregnant, again?  I really couldn't believe it.  Just a few weeks before I had gone to the dr. to undergo more testing to find out why I my body wasn't working right.  I didn't even need the results from the doc -- God told me it was.  

Two weeks before we knew aa baby was coming, God told us to put our house on the market.  We loved our neighborhood but knew in our hearts it was time to go.  It was weird timing that we listed the house, found out #4 was coming, and sold the house a couple of weeks later.....hmmmmm.......

We never found out the sex of baby 4.  We kept it a secret from even ourselves.  There is something special about not knowing.   Baby four let us know from the beginning she was going to be a force to be reckoned with.  A strong child, with a will, with a way, with a heart, with passion.  We choose her name based on those qualities - and boy does it fit!

So today she is two!

Wow, did that go by so quick.

In her short life, we have moved, lost a job, lost our dogs, faced a few hurdles.  I feel like most of her life has been spent in the car picking up older siblings.  But all the while, she has reminded us to love, to hug, to slowdown, to smile, to rock, to cuddle, and to never take no for an answer.

We love Princess P - she is infectious.  Thank you God for the wonderful surprise of my baby girl!


Family Fall Day in all HIS Glory

There are six of us here.  That is alot of people.  And while I try to keep the kids scheduled life to a minimum, it seems to be as they get older we spend less time as a group of six.  Sure we eat dinner together every night but after that, we all shoot off to different worlds.

So God gave us this beautiful day last Sunday.  

We has also allowed us to live near a gorgeous mountain with the most perfect 
hiking trails.  

So Mikey Boy and I decided our family's worship would be in the woods - - together!  It would be quiet, serene, peaceful, as close to God as we could get.  I was soooooo excited!  

Then, the princess screamed like a banshee the first two miles unless we ran with her on our back (in the backpack).

The architect argued with the leader about how many actual civil war ditches he saw, how many leaves were on the trees, how many trees had fallen in the woods, how much more he knew about hunting than the leader, how he knows how blue the sky is.......
well, you get the idea.  

The leader - well, he is the shortest so his legs were tired quicker, but generally he was happy.  He talked and talked about what he wanted to be when he grew up.  He was dreaming and I found that Glorious.  

Then the Artist, the sweet artist.  She growled at us the first half, upset she would miss social hour at church.  But after we turned the 2 mile mark she two seemed to enjoy what God had given her -- a beautiful place to live and a family. (that is a real smile!)

So while the morning started off hard, we fought to stay together -- to stay on course, as a family of 6.  And in the end, it was worth it because I got to go home with this memory


Shop Update - Stocking Stuffers

A great Monday for a shop update! 
Lots of wonderful items for Stocking Stuffers in the Nina Bina Etsy Store
Buy three of anything and it ships for free.
Local friends - drop off is always available.  

Ruffled Headbands - no two are alike.
Features a flexible/comfy metal headband and the perfect ruffle.  8 each with 2.50 shipping.  Buy three and free shipping.  These are perfect for mom and daughter.  
Find Headbands here

Also added to the shop - the perfect purse case.  Great as a little wallet, camera case for your purse camera, or to hide girly things in your bag.  Also 8 each with free shipping if you buy three.  Camera Cases found here.

All items shipped with wrapping inside the package.  That way you are all set for the holiday season.  Happy Ruffly Shopping my friends! 

Thankful Fair

Saturday was wonderful. 
Really, really wonderful.  
For so many reasons.......

I got to spend the last few weeks "binge" sewing things 
I love to make.

Putting some extra cash in my pocket didn't even matter.  Knowing that people liked what I made and were taking it home to enjoy mattered the most.  It was a little validation - it felt good.

I got to meet some amazing artists, moms, and vendors.  Each had amazing stories of why they create.  Some I will share in the upcoming weeks.   

But the most amazing thing about Saturday was Love.  Amazing Love.  It was about every twenty minutes that friends stopped by my booth to offer encouragement, a hug, and even a healthy snack.  It was amazing.  My heart was so full.  I hope that those who stopped by know that I love them too! Saying thank you to that group of gals would never covered my appreciation.  

So now the fair is over, I am onto Christmas - my favorite time of year.  In the next few days, I will be listing some of the post fair goodies in the Etsy Store.  There are some great ideas for teacher gifts.  I would love to have you visit.  

And thank you again for the notes, the snacks, the prayers, and for being you!  


Instafriday (without on Iphone 4)

I seriously would love to own an Iphone.  Really, really love to.  I mean I LOVE my mac - it is like my best friend, so an Ipone would be like a mini best friend in my pocket.  But the budget is calling and the Iphone is out.  :(  Bummer!  

Alot of blogs I follow link up for a party called "Instafriday".  You need an Iphone app to participate.  A beautiful app that creates the most romantic pictures.   But alas, my mac and I sit here alone longing to make an instagram.  Instead of spending my time being sad I thought, "why not create Instaweek with words."  Afterall, I have been told I have a way with them sometimes (BIG WINK HERE;)

So here you go, what I have learned this week, with pictures (probably not my own) and words......Enjoy

The architect has decided that just in case there is a war or he needs to go hunting he is only wearing camo for now on.  This is alternated with a blue shirt for workout days, and a orange shirt for non-workout days.  One, What?  Two, I had no idea he works out?  Have you seen the physique on this kid? 

You know your kids go to a great public school when the artist has a fourth grade concert and her insanely talented music teacher chooses Simon and Garfunkel for the kids to sing - LOVE IT!

At bible study club at the same school I had the opportunity to hold a 6 year old boy who came to live with his aunt after his mom passed away a month ago - what a wonderful time and a sweet boy.  I also learned at the same function that Jesus doesn't like it when you give your friends wedgies - (this from Mason -6).

The leader is just that.  While waiting for the concert to start - he has a group of 5 completing covert operations while girls came up to him to get a hug - seriously?

The princess (almost 2) is talking more and more each day.  This week she has learned to say the word "car" except it sounds more like s#it.  She decided to say "car" over and over again, as loud as she could, whenever we were in public this week.  

The most important thing - never assume anything, always ask and hope for a truthful answer.  I saw this lesson every day this week. 

So excuse me while I conquer the Mt Everest of laundry calling my name for the last 4 weeks.