Saturday, February 27, 2010


It's a yucky gray Saturday, but I was able to catch a few pictures yesterday when it was a sunshine day. My little Sunshine loves to have her picture taken.
Still working on my skills. Most of the time I am set in no flash. I try messing with Manuel settings. Sometimes I get lucky, most of the time not.
I've been scouring a little town for cool shoot areas. I found this rusted door yesterday in front of an old antique store. I love the texture.
Do you remember being almost four years old? Some days I wish I could freeze her just like this. She is just so much fun right now. But I also look forward to seeing her this time next year. I love all my boys so much, and I'm so glad I have a girl too!:)
I think one girl is just enough for me...
I hope your weekend is full of sunshine...even if it's dreary outside there is much joy to be found.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Something bold...

Two or three weeks ago Steve Brown preached at our church. He comes every few months and I love to hear him speak. This particular day I jotted the quotes below in my notebook. It's not exactly something he said, but what I got out of that particular sermon.
I couldn't stop thinking about it. I wanted it to be something that would live in our house for our children to see every day. For ME to see every day. So I got a scrap piece of wood out of the garage, painted it black, and printed the words out on my computer. I traced them onto the wood and painted them white. I know they are a little crooked, but that's okay. It's a big piece of wood and I love the boldness of it.
I hung it in the dining room. If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you probably notice that I moved my furniture again. I move my dining room furniture it seems every 6 months. My husband loves it! haha
It's back where its supposed to be now...:)
I still have my Valentine banner up. I love it and the colors so for now it's staying...:)
I am desperate to change out that brass light fixture from 1982 to an updated one. Maybe with a little tax money we can accomplish that...
My mother-in-law bought us this dining room set about 6 years ago when we moved into this house. I have wanted to paint it 10 different times but chickened out every time. I think one of these days I will redo the seat cushions with a fun fabric though.
I don't collect dishes so my collection of Willow Tree Angels lives in my curio. It used to be twice as big but I sold half of them on Ebay a couple of years ago. I kept my very favorite ones. I have some precious family pictures and doo-dads that were my fathers.
On the top is my antique birdcage, and my only fake plant. I have it on that clear box until I can thrift something cooler.
I forgot to take pictures of the other artwork on the opposite walls, but this one is my favorite. Rachel does a really sweet job on these.
One day I'd like to quilt some runners for the different seasons for my table. The plants are there because we get some good light in that room. But here's the kicker. We NEVER eat in that room. Maybe once or twice a year. What about you? Do you use your dining room a lot?

(oh, and thanks for all the book suggestions! I have them all written down and we will try them all!:)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Easy Presents for Kids Parties, a Yummy Dinner, and Family Reading

If you have little kids like me, then they probably get invited to a lot of birthday parties. I always encourage my kids to make their friends a gift.
I know it's a lot easier to go to Target and drop $15 or $20, but I just happen to think that hand-made gifts are special.
This is a really easy and fun project to make for kids birthday parties. Banners to hang in the friends room! For this one, Ashton picked out the papers that his friend liked and I cut the triangles out for him. We printed her name out on the computer and used pop-dots to adhere them.
He decorated each triangle from the banner differently. For the one below, he found the cupcakes in a coloring book and after coloring them with crayons he cut and glued them on. He also used buttons, glitter, a picture of Hannah Montana, and some pretty ribbon. With a little bit of guidance, any child can make one of these. It can be customized to each individual childs interests and likes so easily.
On another note, I am totally addicted to this cookbook. I use it at least once or twice a week. Tonite I made the Marlboro Man steak sandwiches and made this cornbread. YUUUUUUUUM!! Oh yeah, it's not the healthiest dinner, so I made sure to make a big salad too:)
Lastly, we started reading together as a family a couple of weeks ago. We are a big reading house...I myself am an avid reader and I encourage reading of all kinds with my kids. I personally think that if you are a good reader, you will be a curious and good student. But that's another post for another time.
We started reading a chapter book out loud every night before bed. I am trying to pick books that will keep the attention of a very wide range...3 1/2, 5, and almost 10. That in itself is a bit of a challenge. We read this one last week:
It is set in 1912 and it's about a Jewish family with five daughters growing up in New York. I loved all the lessons the book presented and all the kids enjoyed it.
Tonite we started Ramona Quimby, Age 8. These were my favorites growing up. They are so funny and well-written, and so far the kids like this one as well.
Do you have any suggestions for family reading? I would love to continue this tradition and need some more books that would be appropriate for my wide age range!
Thanks friends. I hope you had a lovely weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Reinventing Yourself

I like that in our lives we are allowed time for re-invention.
That on a whim we can change a look and change perceptions.
That as we mature and grow our desires change.
I like that I am becoming a little more comfortable in my skin.
That I can hear God's voice a tiny bit more clear than I could.
I love that I am learning how to be a more intentional mother and wife.
I love that I can make mistakes and wake up the next day and try again.
I love the exploration of it all.

Lent and stuff

My husband and I both decided yesterday morning that we would give up refined sugars for Lent. So no cookies, cupcakes, cake, pie, candy until Easter. We agreed we would both use creamer in the morning with our coffee, but that was it.

On a somewhat related note, I've decided to start subbing once a week. Before I became a SAHM, I was an elementary school art teacher. I really enjoyed that job but wanted to be home for the kids when they were little. Going back to work outside the home, (even though it's on a very part-time basis) was not an easy decision. But it will help supplement our income a little and the little ones love to spend the day with their Grandparents.
When Ava and Jax came in the room yesterday dressed like this it pained me slightly to realize once again how quickly kids grow up. How the silly moments like this are so fleeting...and I realized that before I can blink my eyes they will all be in school and they won't need me quite as much.
So for Lent I have also decided to play more. To let go of the housework and the art that I love to sneak in during the day and get down on my hands and knees and PLAY more with them. Every day. Barbies. Blocks. Cars. Mommy and Baby. Zoo. Building Forts. Reading More. Playing Food. All those things that they love to do that I don't do enough with them. For the next 40 days every day. I know some of you already do that, but it slips away from me so easily.
Have a wonderful Thursday!:)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lots to share...

Are you ready for lots of pictures? We've been busy around here at the Grace household...

I don't show many pictures of my step-son on my blog. He is a tad camera shy and would probably kill me for posting this. But he turned twenty this week and we celebrated with a coconut cream pie and the cheesiest candle ever! Can you believe we didn't have any real birthday candles? Anyway, Happy Birthday Carson!!
We dropped off the baby on Sunday at my mother-in-laws and took the kids to play putt-putt. Such a simple thing really, but we had so much fun. The kids love when we go on "special" outings.
Ashton had his own putting style: hit, stop the ball, hit, stop the ball...very amusing.

Logan is the competitive one and kept score the whole time...

He also took lots of pictures. I love that! Now when we look back it will actually look like I was there sometimes. Am I the only Mom that's always behind the lens?

It was such a beautiful day. Chilly for a February day in Florida, but full of clear and bright sunshine!
Now on to an exciting family announcement...
We have had a new member join our family.

Long story short:
We've been wanting to get the kids a puppy. We met Henry last week because our neighbors were fostering him. Now, my husband is much more of a big-dog person. But I brought him over to visit...
and he hasn't left since:)

We think he is a chihuaha-greyhound mix. He is almost four and completely house and crate trained. He is great with the kids. He has fit perfectly into our family.

And no matter how good of friends we may be, you are not allowed to make fun of his sweater, his snaggle tooth, or his buggy eyes. I happen to think they are quite endearing:)

Last but not least, I have been painting. I can't wait to show you...soon I promise!
Happy Wednesday friends.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Up Early

I got up extra early to finish my homework for Bible Study, and I even have time for a quick blog post before all the kids come running in for breakfast. I was able to finish up week three in this quilt along. Here is my quilt top.

This is a fun quilt along. It's very easy. If you are a beginner quilter and have been looking for an easy tutorial, I would highly suggest it.
I'm going to take the plunge and machine quilt this one at home on my machine. I hope it turns out well. Of course I'll let you know either way!:)

Have a nice President's Day...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day! We've kind of had a Valentines Week around here, between classroom parties and card-making, love is in the air!:)
Fresh flowers are always appropriate...
I thought of this centerpiece at the very last minute. I just filled this glass vase with large sweethearts and put a small candle on top. I wish I had thought of it earlier!
I made my family a sweet dinner last night. Thai ribs, homemade mac n cheese, and steamed broccoli. It went over very well. The ribs are absolutely delicious.
Thai-Style Ribs
3 1/2 lbs of pork baby back ribs, racks cut in half
1 can of frozen organe-pineapple frozen juice concentrate (thawed)
3/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c creamy peanut butter
1/4 c minced fresh cilantro
2 tbls minced fresh ginger
1 pressed garlic clove
2 tsp sugar
  • Place ribs in a large shallow dish or zip-top freezer bag
  • Combine juice concentrate and next 6 ingredients in a small bowl with a wire whisk. Reserve 3/4 c mixture in refrigerator for dipping. Pour remaining mixture evenly over ribs; cover and seal. Chill for 8 hours
  • Remove ribs from marinade, discarding marinade. Place 1 rack of ribs on the bottom of your slow cooker, stand remaining ribs around the edge of slow cooker. Cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 hours.
  • Heat reserved sauce and serve with ribs.
  • (My husband ended putting them on the grill for a little while after they were done.)


Of course, Valentine Day cupcakes for dessert.

We went to church this morning and this afternoon we are surprising the kids with a trip to play putt-putt. I'm excited!

I hope your day is full of fun and love. Happy Valentines Day!

xo, Chrissie

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Q and A

When I asked you the other day if you had any questions for me, I think maybe I was being a little pretentious. I wasn't sure if I was embarrassed or amused that nobody left any!:) I decided that it was a good lesson in humility. I'm still going to answer some repeat questions I've received in the past couple of weeks though.
Q: What exactly are the cloth pads you've been talking about?
A: Cloth pads are for your period and are made out of flannel. I got the pattern from Amanda Soule's book, Handmade Home. I actually used a layer of towel in them as well. You launder them just like you would cloth diapers.
I would have to say they are not for everyone, but I find them extremely comfortable and they are much better for the environment.
Q: Can you give me any advice on blog designing?
A: I wish I could, but I really know nothing about it. The Design Girl did my custom blog design for me, and I think she did a great job. She used digital scrapbooking images along with a couple pieces of my original artwork to create my header and blog button.
Q: I saw these on your photo blog. What are they?
I made these on Sunday for our Superbowl Party. They are chocolate rice krispy treats shaped like footballs and decorated with white icing. They were so easy and tooooo good!

Q: What kind of sewing machine do you use?
A: I own a Janome Memory Craft 9500. I do like my machine, but I also wish I had done a lot more research before I bought it. This is an expensive machine that really has a lot of bells and whistles for embroidery. I'm not even into machine embroidery, so I never use that part. I've had it for almost five years now, and I am very comfortable with it. Someday I hope to sell or trade it for a machine that is more of a quilters sewing machine.

Now, I have a question for you guys. I want to make a seat cushion for my piano seat. The problem is that it has hinges to store sheet music in. Does anyone know of a good tutorial for making seat cushions from scratch?
I figured if anyone knew, it would be one of you:)

Happy Wednesday Friends!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's raining hearts!

Missy Moo is absolutely loving Valentines Day this year. Her energy is quite contagious, and I've been dreaming up lots of fun surprizes for this weekend.
We made her this shirt for the big pre-school Valentines shin-dig today. She told me exactly what she wanted and I brought it to fruition. I mostly used this method, and hand embroidered the letters on.
She wanted lots of pictures this morning of her Valentines shirt...:)
Her gifts to her classmates? Princess in the Frog cards (although she's never seen the movie), bubbles, a hershey kiss, and at the last minute, heart pencils. She's had these bags made for almost two weeks. Carries them around and has even been sleeping with them!
I love that she is so excited about giving all her friends something she really put her heart into. She even wrote all their names and signed them with hers.

Thanks to Ava, it's raining hearts over here!