Saturday, December 26, 2015

Baby Hat & Booties

With a few Christmas "parties" in the books I can start to share a few more of my DiyDecember projects!

With baby Maggie joining the family this year I was excited to dig out my crochet hooks and yarn!  I had to "re-learn" a little bit so hopefully it won't be so long before I pick them up again!

Thankfully a baby hat is a pretty simple project.  I did a very basic round pattern of double crochets.

The flower is a five petal "daisy"...

-1- Chain 5, join with sl-st
-2- Ch 4, 3 Tc, Ch 4 all in first chain of foundation ring
-3- Repeat step 2 in each of the remaining 4 chains to form 5 petals.
-4- Tie off, add button if desired

The booties were a first for me, but I finally found a simple and quick pattern, modified it just a little, and they turned out pretty cute I think.  They can be tall or folded down!

 ch: chain, sl st: slip stitch, sc, single crochet, hdc: half double crochet, dc: double crochet, hdctog: half double crochet decrease, dctog: double crochet decrease, 

Foundation: Chain 9
Round 1:      2 hdc into 3rd chain from hook (skip 2 chains), 1 hdc in each of next 5 chain, 6 hdc into last chain,  (working down other side of chain): 1 hdc into each of next 5, 3 hdc in last chain, sl st into chain 2 (the 2 you skipped)

Round 2:   ch 3, 1 dc into first stitch, 2 dc each into next 2 stitches, 1 dc into each of the next 5, 2 dc each into the next 6, 1 dc each into the next 5, 2 dc each into the last 3 stitches. sl st into chain 3.

Round 3:   ch 2, 1 hdc in each stitch back-loop only (34-including ch 2)

Round 4:   ch 2, 1 hdc each into next 8 stitches, 8 hdctog, 1 hdc each next 9 stitches, sl st into chain 2

Round 5:   ch 2, 8 hdc each into next 8 stitches, 4 dctog, 1 hdc each next 9 stitches, sl st into chain 2

Round 6:   ch 1, 1 sc into each stitch all the way around. sl st into 1st sc (22)

Round 7:   ch 1, 1 hdc into each stitch all the way around.  sl st into 1st hdc (22)

Round 8:   ch 1, 1 dc into each stitch all the way around. sl st into 1st hdc (22)

 --- Repeat rounds 7 & 8 until desired cuff height--- 

There is more to come!!!   Merry Christmas

PS : I'll try to improve my photography effort

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Homemade Eggnog

My husband loves eggs and custards,

I don't do custards,
...don't even like the word,
Custard , doesn't sound edible to me!

Anyways, he also loves eggnog, which I can stand a little of! I still remember the first time I ever tried it, I was in a mall with my mom and grandma where one of the vendors was handing out samples. Grandma insisted that I try it.  Funny thing is I don't remember what my original reaction to it was!     

This year I thought I would try making some after he finished off the 2 - 1/2 gallons I had bought.

There were soooo many different versions, using all different addition to the main milk, eggs, vanilla! 

Here is one that I found and slightly adapted...

Non-Alcoholic Eggnog Recipe

3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 teas vanilla

1. Whisk together milk, cream, sugar, and eggs in medium-sized nonreactive saucepan.

2. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
(be sure not to cook too hot **see below**, and when whisking be sure to keep from sticking to bottom)

3. Mix in nutmeg to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (If it gets too thick with refrigeration, thin with milk)

This is a super simple recipe for excellent homemade eggnog.  I do have a suggestion that might keep you from thinking you failed and dumping it all out...

Control your gag reflex before you read on...

After we refrigerated it and decided it was time to give it a try, there was some, well...
There were small chunks in it...

Totally gross I know.  

Although I did not let it boil, I assumed I did probably over cook it or get it too hot and caused the eggs to begin to set.  

So instead of dumping it down the drain, I just poured it through some cheese cloth, and...

What!? Did you think you would see a festive, perfectly garnished class of nog!? Sorry!!! It didn't last that long!!!

Hope you enjoy!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Fun & Eternal; What to pack in your shoe-box and why

As I mentioned before, November was crazy and exciting.

Sometimes I look at our calendar and think, "we over did it," "we should have said no," or "when will things slow down?"

But when I am passionate about something, I want to be involved in it.

Last year while packing our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, I was so surprised to discover how many people from our church and community didn't know anything about this amazing ministry.  So the last week before collection week we scrambled to tell people about it and were so greatful that our little church packed over 40 boxes!

Over the last year Brett and I felt God calling us deeper into the ministry, so we signed up as year-round volunteers and became a new relay center, or drop-off location!  We had no idea what this year would be like since there are still so many people in our little community that aren't aware of the difference Samaritan's Purse is making around the world, but mostly that THEY (YOU) can be apart of it!

This November I am thrilled to say that our church more than doubled the number of boxes they packed and we had 250 boxes dropped off, mostly from first time packers.  Now I know that if we are comparing, this doesn't sound like a lot, but y'all, we were ecstatic and can't wait to see what God does next year!!!

And take a look at some of the help I had...

Also we will be attending the processing center in Dallas again this year, it was a huge blessing last year and I cannot wait!!!

Soooo, maybe you aren't familiar with the difference you can make with just a shoe box!!!

Here are some ideas to put in your shoe-box, but I am also going to tell you Why they are important, you might notice this list is a little different than a typical kids "wish list!"


School Supplies: notebooks, pens, pencils (don't forget sharpener & erasers), crayons, calculators, safety scissors (yes you can send them), glue sticks (NOT bottled liquid)

For many kids, having school supplies is a requirement to go to school.  If the family does not have money to purchase school supplies, often that means the kids are not allowed to go to school.  Receiving school supplies gives a lot of children the opportunity to attend school that they might not otherwise have!

Hygiene Items: washcloth, bar soap (no liquid), toothbrush, toothpaste, combs/hairbrush, plastic mirror*, chapstick

Many of the shoe-box recipients live in orphanages, where EVERYTHING is shared.  Simply having their own washcloth can mean everything to a child!  Most people in poverty still appreciate cleanliness, they likely just lack the necessary tools. 

*Don't send breakable glass. Although we see a mirror in multiple rooms of every building, a lot of other countries do not have mirrors so prevalent; and having a camera or getting your picture taken cost money.  It is not unlikely that someone in poverty has never seen themselves or know what they look like! 

Trade Tools: (10-14 age) hammer, nails, (no knives) duct tape, compass, flashlight, sewing kit, fat-quarters, crochet hooks/knitting needles, yarn

In many circumstances, some of the financial responsibility falls to the children of the family.  Giving them the tools to learn safe, ethical trades, will help prevent them from falling into slavery traps, & set them up to earn a living for a lifetime!

Clothing: hats/gloves, shoes**, socks, simple outfit 

Something we so easily take for granted! For impoverished children, the clothes they do have are usually already worn out and have been thrown out by someone else.  They won't have many and what they do have will be hand-washed, which wears them out much faster.  Having shoes can prevent foot injuries that would likely become infected.

**a pair of tennis shoes or boots would obviously take up an entire shoe-box, think of other options such as flip-flops, crocs, water-shoes, canvas slip-ons etc.

Other: water bottle, lifestraw 

Clean water is hard to come by in many areas around the world, having a water bottle can allow the child to take more than a single drink, hydration is very important to health! 

Fun stuff: small knick-nack toys, hard candy (no chocolate), hair accessories, coloring book

Every kid needs to feel like a kid!!!

WOW item: stuffed animal, soccer ball, ball cap, doll, musical instrument, 

Any larger item that will immediately catch the child's attention when the box is opened!

Personal Notes: pictures of yourself, letters, about me coloring page, name and address

A personal note to a child is the heart of the box, tell them they are loved, show them someone on the other side of the world is thinking of them! In some cases the children may be able to write back.

DO NOT Send: liquid, weapons, war related items, nail polish, glass or breakable items, high value jewelry or other items, used items, food, medicine, aerosol cans.

Liquid or breakable items, as well as melted candy can damage other gifts in the box and other shoe-boxes, high value items can put the child in danger.


Pray while you are making selections for your box, somewhere, the child that will receive your shoe-box, is praying for a specific item.  Pray over your box and the child that will receive it.

I hope this has been helpful, it sure has got me excited all over again! If you like to plan ahead, Samaritan's Purse has a calendar for purchasing items year round!!!

Click Here for more ideas!!!
Here are a few pictures from our family packing party...

Can you tell what the guys have been doing!?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Late December kickoff...

 It's that time of year...things are CRAZY busy!!!
Update: They are getting so big...

Here are a few of them during the last "photo shoot," Precious!!! 

In addition to a couple extra fur babies to take care of, November was consumed with Operation Christmas Child!  Brett and I were first time coordinators for a new drop-off relay center...I will fill you in in the details in a separate post! 

It's so hard to believe Christmas is just a few weeks away! If anyone knows me very well, you know my heart is made of ribbon, & fabric, & glue, & paint, and it's just basically Hobby Lobby all bottled up! I'm so full of ideas and projects, yet my schedule says "ain't got time for that!"  I LOVE giving gifts that I have created, I feel like there is a little piece of me in it! (If you have ever used a hot glue gun you know there probably, literally is!)

 Sooooo, I'm going to try and give you a little bit of #DiyDecember15 , the impending season honoring the greatest Gift of all has got me itching to gift my little heart out! The sink is full of dirty dishes but I'm on the couch with a hook in my hand and yarn in my lap! The clutter needs controlled, but my kitchen table is a sewing & cricut table.  So stick around and let me show you what I'll be tieing bows around in a few weeks (besides the balls of cuteness above)!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Holes made Whole: 2 become 3, or 4

If you would have asked us in May what November and December looked like for us we would have spoke briefly of turkey and Christmas parties, followed by an anxious, exciting, nervous conversation about "nesting" and preparing our lives for our family to become 3 around the 17th of December!

But just a month later it would have been a totally different conversation.


Before we ever got married Brett and I talked of adopting and other ways to "care for the orphans."  Brett brought up fostering a couple times but selfishly my heart said no! I didn't think I could handle caring for a child that could at anytime be stripped away from us.  Loving a child as your own for a week or up to year and at any unexpected moment they be removed from our lives.  I wasn't prepared to test my heart in that way.

After we got married and understood the possibility of infertility, my heart was content with that, broken, but content. I knew adopting was an option. 

During a conversation with a particular friend about her health and ability to safely carry a baby, I had even made statements like, "as heart breaking as infertility is, I can't imagine how much more challenging it would be to get pregnant and loose the baby."

So months later when I found myself in the midst of that exact trial, I questioned God, "why would He take a heart content with absence, and tear it with loss?"

Eventually, He would answer that question for me...

My heart was also selfishly content with disobeying a very important commandment... to care for orphans

I was only willing to do this on my own terms, within my own comfort-zone.

My number one reason for not wanting to foster was because those children could be taken from me at anytime.  Through miscarriage, God showed me that even "my own" children, are not my own, and can still be taken from us at anytime.  Children are a blessing, despite how they come to us, and every child deserves a loving home that points them in the direction of our perfect Heavenly Father.  We can not let fear, or loss of control keep us from God's will for our lives.  It was not God's plan for us to miscarry, He did not cause the death of our child.  But, He did allow it, and He used it to bring us to a place of huge blessing!!!

So in May, when we told you how anxious, nervous, and excited we would be with preparation, we were right, it just looks a little different than we thought...

The process has begun for Brett and I to be foster parents! The first couple rounds of paper work & our first walk-through have been done! Our Christmas list has been made, and we are preparing to love on kids who may not know what that looks like, and hopefully point them in the direction of the One perfect Love we all need a little bit more of!!!

So pray for us as we prepare our hearts and home!