Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DIY Felt Christmas Pillow

 This is a really easy pillow to make with very little sewing. It is made with felt, which will not fray. I love the way it turned out and cost me under $10 to make!
(I had some of the supplies laying around the house.)

- 1/2 yard cream felt fabric (at least 38" wide)
-16" pillow insert (that's just the size I already had on hand)
-White thread
-Green felt leaves (I found mine at target in their Christmas decor, but you could cut your own)
-White pom poms (you can find bags of them loose at the craft store, I just had some on a strand so that's what I used)
-Hot glue gun and glue sticks


I made a simple envelope back pillow case and because I used felt I only had to sew along each side and didn't need to worry about hemming the other sides. 

First you will need to calculate what size to cut your fabric based on the size of your pillow. For the length you will double the size and add 6. My pillow was 16" square. These are my calculations:

16 + 16 + 6 = 38"length

For the width you will take the pillow size and add .5"

16 + .5 = 16.5" wide

Cut your fabric to your size. Mine was 38" x 16.5". 

Next lay your pillow on your fabric with the right side of the fabric facing up. Fold the fabric around the pillow, overlapping it to create an envelope back. Pin along the sides where the fabric overlaps and then slide your pillow out.

Now pin along both sides and sew. When you are done sewing each side, turn the pillow case right side out. 

Arrange your felt leaves in the shape of a wreath and using a hot glue gun, glue it in place.

I wanted a neutral colored pillow, so I covered the red berries on the original garland with the white pom poms using the hot glue gun. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

7 Books to Help Strengthen Your Marriage

Marriage is hard and takes a lot of work. Lots of forgiveness, grace, selflessness, sacrifice, and love. These are some books that I have found extremely encouraging along the way! Add them to your reading list and ask your spouse to join you in reading some of them. 

1. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas - What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?

2. Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas -How God uses wives to shape the souls of their Husbands

3. Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll - The truth about sex, friendship, and life together

4. From Anger to Intimacy by Dr. Gary Smalley and Mr. Ted Cunningham - How forgiveness can transform your marriage

5. The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller - Facing the complexities of commitment with the wisdom of God.

6. The Five Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman -How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate

7. Just How Married do You Want to Be? by Jim and Sarah Sumner - Practicing oneness in marriage

Dear Vines Giveaway

A good friend of mine has started her own business making these beautiful bracelets, and she would like to offer one to one of you for FREE! Please visit Dear Vines HERE to shop and read below to find out how to enter to win one! 
 Visit Dear Vines on Facebook or Instagram 
to find a promocode for 25% off through the end of the year!

Dear Vines also offers mini vines for little girls.
And a mens line will be coming soon!


Visit me on instagram HERE to ENTER!
To enter the giveaway you must follow @thedearvines on Instagram
and repost the giveaway with hashtag #dearvinesgiveaway

If you would like additional chances to win follow Dear Vines on Facebook HERE and SHARE the giveaway for another entry, make sure to comment below letting me know you did! 

Giveaway ENDS December 14th at 12am.
Winner will be chosen using

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Make Your Own SNOW

Came across this fun winter activity at Growing a Jeweled Rose, along with lots of other great kids activities! You can make your own snow with items you most likely already have at home. My boys loved it, especially the part where you make them foam and grow by spraying them with vinegar! 

 You will need:
-Shaving cream
-Baking soda
-Vinegar, in a spray bottle
-Glitter (optional)
-Sensory tubs

 Place the baking soda in the tub.

Add some shaving cream and mix it together. The "snow" should start sticking together.

Spray your snowballs with vinegar and watch them foam!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christmas Jar

We've officially begun decorating for Christmas at our house! We are not hosting Thanksgiving this year and I couldn't wait any longer...especially after finding some fun Christmas decor at Sweet Salvage this weekend! I found these amazing gold glittered vintage ornaments there. They are from the 50's. I just LOVE them! The jar I bought at Design Lab in downtown Mesa and have been rotating what I place inside of it with each season. I collected pine cones from our yard and you can find details below with how I covered them it white shimmery glitter.

 I love these battery powered LED lights! Perfect for lighting up a jar! I simply used 3M tape to stick the battery pack to the lid of the jar. You can find them at Target and Michael's, however they are cheaper at Michael's especially if you use a coupon! I also used a strand to wrap around some antlers.

To make your own shimmery pine cones and Christmas Jar, here is what you'll need:
-1 large glass jar with a lid
-1 strand of battery powered LED lights
-3M tape
-Pine cones
-Tacky spray
-White glitter (I used a martha stewart brand)

Set your pine cones in a box and spray with the tacky spray. Sprinkle with glitter. Spray another coat of tacky spray overtop of the glitter. Let dry. Using 3M tape stick your battery pack to the lid of your jar. Once your pine cones have dried, fill your jar with ornaments and pine cones. Wrap the LED lights through your pine cones and ornaments.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How to Save Your i Phone From Water Damage

A couple weeks ago my i phone was thrown into the toilet... by my one year old. I saw the whole thing coming when she grabbed my phone and made a dash for my bathroom! In my head I just knew if the lid was up it was going in the toilet. Sure enough as I chased in after her there is was at the bottom of the toilet. I frantically started grabbing at it and it took me a minute or two to get it out because it was wedged in the hole of the toilet! You can read below exactly what I did when I got it out, because somehow it turned back on 24 hours later in full working condition!

-Power off your phone as quickly as possible.
-Remove the case and any protective screen covers. 
-Wipe the phone dry and use a q-tip to absorb any water in the plugs.
-Fill a plastic ziploc bag with rice and place your phone inside. 
-Seal the bag and make sure your phone is surrounded by rice.
-Wait...this is the hard part! Wait 24 to 36 hours before turning your phone back on. And before you turn it on make sure you see no sign of any moisture. If you do put it back in the rice and wait longer!

I do not have the best patience so my phone showed no signs of moisture after 24 I turned it back on. It worked! If I had the self control it might have been best to wait 36 hours...just to play it safe...but I didn't. I wasn't sure if the bag of rice trick would work, but it did! So thankful that we didn't have to replace my phone!

Another thing you can do is check your phone for water damage by checking for the “Liquid Contact Indicator” locations as shown in the image above from Apple. If your phone is showing red it is indicating water damage. This would also affect your warranty. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Amy's Fall Themed Baby Shower

This weekend I worked with a few friends to throw our friend Amy a baby shower. She is expecting her second little girl, Autumn anytime now! Amy is due with Autumn on Thanksgiving, so we thought a Fall themed shower would be perfect! We had the shower outside and the weather was beautiful! We served soups and salad for lunch and pies for dessert. As favors everyone took home a homemade pear butter. You can read and see more details below!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Piper's 1st Birthday

 Can't believe our sweet baby girl is already ONE! The year has flown by, and I think I say that every year when the kids have a birthday. We were planning to have a small dinner party for Piper's birthday with family and close friends. However, the plans changed when Hudson came down with the stomach flu that morning. It was a bummer we didn't get to celebrate with friends and family, and eat all of the food that had been bought and prepared. However, Piper didn't know the difference! I did still take some pictures that I wanted to share. It was fun to plan a party with pink this year! 

 I made mini carrot cake cupcakes and a pink ruffled cake. You can find a tutorial for the pink ruffled cake HERE. I used striped paper straws and yellow tissue paper to make little candles for each cupcake. Also perfect for the birthday girl's cake!

 Made a yummy apple cider sangria, recipe HERE.
Perfect adult drink for a Fall party!

We went with the "mini" theme for her 1st birthday.
These mini crab apples were perfect! Found them at Fry's.
We also made mini meatball sandwiches for dinner.

 Put together a large veggie bowl full of "mini" cucumbers, peppers, carrots, and tomatoes.
I filled the bottom of the bowl with grocery bags and paper towels to keep the veggies up higher in the bowl. I was inspired by the veggie bowl served at True Food!

For the centerpieces I decorated with gold mason jars, pink and peach florals, white and gold pumpkins, and succulents.

I bought the sweet handmade crown for Piper to wear on Etsy from Tilly Tilda.

 Made this tissue paper tassel garland. You can find a tutorial HERE.

I bought some pretty tissue poms from Petite Party Studio in down town Gilbert. I plan on reusing these by hanging them in Piper's room.

For party favors I made homemade play dough (recipe HERE) in three colors. I placed three rolled balls of each color in small mason jars and sprinkled with gold glitter. I used a free printable from Tomkat Studio, HERE.

Happy 1st Birthday sweet Piper!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Toasted Pecans

I was in the mood for a nice fall dinner tonight and loved how it turned out. However, it was absolute chaos while making and eating it... I think at one point all three kids were crying at the same time. The worst is when you work really hard getting dinner made and then it doesn't even turn out. So, even though it was pretty crazy tonight, I was still pleasantly surprised that I didn't destroy it during the many interruptions. 

I never did get to take a picture of the whole meal finished. I found this AMAZING recipe for a Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Onion from Inspired Taste. I will be making it again, and this dinner would be great for a Fall dinner party. The pork tenderloin is rubbed with dijon mustard and fresh thyme, served over sautéed apples and onion. It is full of flavor, and the pork tenderloin is so tender and delicious! I served it over a colorful multigrain rice, I like to buy the frozen bags of rice at Trader Joe's. They take three minutes to cook in the microwave and I never have to clean an extra pot. 
Along side the pork tenderloin I made this roasted butternut squash. It added beautiful color to the plate and the toasted pecans on top added a great flavor and texture. A bit of brown sugar created a sweet glaze that coated the squash. You can find the recipe for the squash below and follow the link above for the pork tenderloin recipe, you won't be disappointed!

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Toasted Pecans


-1 butternut squash, cubed
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-2 tablespoons brown sugar
-Salt and Pepper
-1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel your butternut squash and slice it lengthwise down the center. Scoop out the seeds and strings. Cut the squash into 1/2" to 1" cubes. Place in a baking dish and toss with the olive oil and brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the over for 30-35 minutes. Meanwhile, place your pecans in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and chop. When the butternut squash is done remove from the oven and add pecans. Toss well to cover the squash and pecans with the glaze that was created from the brown sugar. Serve warm.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Halloween Decor

My boys get really excited for Halloween, so I have fun decorating the house with them. Hudson loves when we bring out the Halloween bin! Each year we add a few new items to it. I have found great Halloween decorations at the dollar store, Target, thrift stores, and some are homemade. You can find more details below.

I decorated the entry table with cobwebs, old books, white pumpkins, and some other Halloween decor we've collected over the the last year. The Happy Halloween banner I made with my sister using burlap, stencils, black paint, black ribbon, and a glue gun. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Banana Muffins

My boys love to bake with me and this is a recipe that we make together quite a bit. They love to mash the bananas, crack the eggs, and line the muffin tins with muffin liners. Sometimes we will even put dark chocolate chips in them, which makes them more like dessert than a snack or breakfast! I top them with oats and walnuts or you can find a yummy mascarpone cream frosting recipe here. The recipe comes from one of my favorites, Giada De Laurentiis. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Turkey and Orzo Stuffed Peppers

Now that the weather is starting to cool off a bit, I am enjoying making some Fall and Winter meals again. This is a great dinner to make ahead of time and keep in the fridge until ready to bake. It is also a dinner that I will often make for friends in need of a meal. Once it is prepped it is easy to transfer to bake. The recipe makes quite a bit, so if you won't be eating all of it in one night, I will often freeze the stuffing. When you are ready to use, let it thaw, stuff some peppers, and bake as directed below.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Organizing the Laundry Room on a Budget

I have been working to get different spaces of the our new house more organized this last month. We have plans to eventually add custom cabinets and a sink in the laundry room to the left of the washer and dryer, but for now I just needed to get the space functional. I spend way too much time in there for it to be a mess. I used some affordable organizers to help, you can find the details below. 

1. Wall Shelving: Creates a safe holding place for cleaning supplies, fabric softener, bleach, lint rollers, and more that is out of reach of little hands.

2. Mason Jar: Having a designated place for collecting items from pockets before going in the wash keeps those small items from piling up and cluttering the space. The jar can be emptied as it fills.

3. Iron Hanger: Keeping your ironing board in place and the iron and cord tucked away makes the space much tidier. 

4. Broom Holder: Holds mops, brooms, broom pans, and dusters in place. Keeps them from falling all over and also makes them much easier to grab when needed.

5. Glass Jars: I love the look of detergents stored in large glass jars. You can also get creative with creating a cute label for the jar. I used a vinyl chalkboard label. 

6. Small Basket or Tin: To hold fabric sheets.

7. Cabinet: Hidden storage is great for hiding away smaller items in the drawer and larger below. I store two laundry baskets stacked in the cabinet. Great for grabbing when I am unloading the dryer.

8. Hamper: It is nice to have a place to toss dirty clothes and rags, instead of on the floor.

9. Light: Letting in some natural light by opening blinds can really make the space feel cleaner and brighter.

10. Inspirational Verses or Quotes: There is something to having a bible verse or favorite quote written out and in front of you to read on a daily basis. Especially when it is in a space where you spend a lot of time. Decorate your walls with something that will encourage and inspire you throughout your day!

For those of you who are interested, I thought I would include a before and after picture of the laundry room when we bought the house to now. 

Even though we haven't finished the space exactly how we want it to has come a very long way! We completely demoed what was already in place, including some walls! Put up new drywall, flat textured walls, new paint, new windows, new lighting, and new flooring. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Kids Command Center

Since moving into our new house, one of the things I knew I needed to create was a command center for the kids. My oldest thrives on a structured routine with lots of positive reinforcements. If I don't have a space to organize all of that it becomes much harder for me to create that kind of environment for him. We use this space for behavior charts, chores, a weekly calendar, other school calendars, the kids art work, and also a space for the boys to "cool off". The space it mostly used for Hudson, who is five, but as Max and Piper get older we can incorporate more for them as well. You can find more details about the space and how I created it below.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

DIY Sign with Reclaimed Wood

I have been making quite a few Halloween crafts this week, and this one could be customized for any holiday or just as a year round sign to display in your home. My in-laws brought me a whole bunch of reclaimed wood that they found, and I love the white washed boards that I used for this project. I was actually able to make this sign using all items I already had at home. Here is what you'll need:

-A piece of reclaimed wood, size will depend on what you plan to put on it
-Paint, I used a Folk Art black acrylic paint
-Stencil or cut your own using silhouette machine and cardstock
-Sponge brush