Chocolate Bar Destiny Themed Valentines

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Destiny Valentines TutorialMy oldest son wanted to have Destiny themed Valentines this year (second year in a row) but specifically wanted to include the Oryx character.

As Valentines Day is seriously overrated for boys in 4th grade in my opinion, I told him “sure” and we went to work.

We found the two photos used for this candy bar wrap here:

Liveblog: Destiny’s ‘The Taken King’ Court of Oryx Reveal Stream

and the Destiny logo can be found here.

Destiny Valentines PhotoI used excel as the program of choice to add words and print out the photos.  I was able to fit two sets of candy bar wrappers on one page, and I had to print with ‘narrow margins’ to get the photos the largest size possible.

Here you can see the two sets of candy wrappers printed on one page. My son is cutting them out.

Here you can see the two sets of candy wrappers printed on one page. My son is cutting them out.

 

 

The photo was also extremely dark, so I had to use a really good printer to get the prints to come out correctly, and I would also recommend changing the color of the words, as the color really blended into the photo, which was the look my son was going for.

I haven’t been successful with attaching pdf files to this blog, but here it is if you want to download it and print it on your own.  The only thing I ask is that if you mention it on social media or another blog, please give me credit by linking it back to here. =)

Oryx Valentines-Final

My son is using my Fiskars Trimmer to cut the white card stock paper I printed the candy wrappers on, and used Scotch Scrapbooker’s Glue because I couldn’t put my hands on a glue stick quickly.  Believe me, I would rather him use a simple glue stick, but I had to go to the store to buy more after taking these photos!

Have your child write the name on the candy wrapper Valentine prior to bending and gluing it together.

Have your child write the name on the candy wrapper Valentine prior to bending and gluing it together.

Fold the candy wrapper at the white lines prior to gluing it around the candy bar.

Fold the candy wrapper at the white lines prior to gluing it around the candy bar.

Wrap the folded candy wrapper around the candy bar of choice prior to gluing it together. We find that it keeps the wrapper on the bar longer-to make it to the Valentine's party.

Wrap the folded candy wrapper around the candy bar of choice prior to gluing it together. We find that it keeps the wrapper on the bar longer-to make it to the Valentine’s party.

I think the best thing about this Valentine is that my son is happy with it.  Many times I think I ‘force’ him to do things for class, and this type of Valentine is EXACTLY what he wanted, so he’s really not complaining about “having to do something” he doesn’t really want to do.  All the boys and girls get exactly the same thing, and yet no body has any hurt feelings that he or she doesn’t get something cool.

I hope this post helps someone!  Have a great Valentine’s week coming up and may you be blessed this week!

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Picture Perfect Valentines

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My youngest son's Valentine's for his class....

My youngest son’s Valentines for his class….

My daughter and my youngest son both wanted specific type of Valentines for their friends at school.

Being the crafty mommy that I am, I used a program called Pixlr and found photos online to use for her and his Valentines this year, and so far, it has been a huge success!

Similar to an Instructable I published here, I used photos I found online to write words on, print out at my local Walgreens Print shop, had my children sign their names to the cards, stick on a candy on it and “Whew!” All done.

I got the BB-8 with Kylo Ren photo from here: Game Informer dot com site.

My daughter wanted to make separate cards for the boys and girls.

We got the Monster High photo here: Oh My Fiesta in English – Monster High Link

The Minion photo came from the same website, but at this link: Oh My Fiesta in English – Minion Link

Again, I use a free program called Pixlr to add words to the photos, but it can also be done on Microsoft PowerPoint, and even in most standard Paint programs.  Pixlr allows you to add all kinds of other enhancements if you need a program to make memes and such….

Monster High Valentine Minion Valentine BB-8 Valentine

Here are my full-resolution cards for your use, and the only thing I ask is to give me credit on your website if you use them.  I printed them into a 4 x 6 version from our local Walgreens Photo Center, so the cost was minimal for my daughter’s 30-person class and my son’s 15-child class.

My children are usually good sports about signing the cards.

TFA Valentine-writing nameMy youngest son is turning five, so he was unable to use the hole punch without my help lining it up, but my six year old daughter was able to do that part by herself.

Minion Valentine-hole punchingThe only other thing we did was place one of the Cherry Tootsie Pops on each card, and for the BB-8 ones, my son placed a piece of tape on the back of the card to tape the stick down.

TFA Valentine-adding a lollipopAfter placing the lollipops, the envelope stuffing seemed to take the longest time, and of course, was the most boring.  Because all the cards are the same, I placed the cards into Ziploc bags labeled boy and girl for my daughter.

MH Valentine-Lollipop addedHomemade Valentines can still look cool and be special with just a little work.  And now that my children are old enough, I don’t hardly have to do any of the work!

Thanks for reading.  I hope I can get my oldest son’s Valentines up for everyone to see and use.



Heart Wreath with Felt Flowers

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Heart WreathValentine’s Day is around the corner!

My children and I have been busy getting ready for the holiday to make it both special – and cool.

This first project for Valentines Day is all for me, and it’s been sitting in my craft stash for at least two years….

My latest creation is once again, not by my own idea, but utilizing a crochet pattern and flower patterns I found off of Ravelry.  The wreath pattern I fell in love with is called Ruffle Wreath, by Kit’s Crafts Blog.  Thank you for your links and inspiration!

Materials Used

1Heart WreathIn an effort to use things I’ve already had in my home, I didn’t spend an extra dime on this project.  <BONUS!>

So – The pattern to create the first round for the wreath is the most difficult.

You can find the pattern here: Simple Statement Wreath by Good Knits.

I used TWO STRANDS of yarn for this and the first part of her pattern is what is really used to get around the heart.

3Heart WreathYou can see that the point on the bottom of the heart really doesn’t get covered up, until I purposely glued yarn to it after I was done crocheting.

The ruffle part of the pattern comes from here:

Ruffle Wreath by Kit’s Crafts

There are three rounds to this pattern, and I have a photo for each finished round below.

This is the end of the initial row, of getting the yarn around the heart wreath.

This is the end of the single crochet row, the first round of the ruffle pattern.

This is the end of the first round (Round 1) of the "Ruffle Pattern" by Kit's Crafts.

This is the end of the second round (Round 2) of the “Ruffle Pattern” by Kit’s Crafts.

This is the end of the third round of the pattern, the ruffle row.

This is the end of the third round of the pattern, the ruffle row.

After the crocheting is complete, I made some felt flowers to accent the wreath.

The rosettes were made from Little Things Bring Smiles blog.

Using a CD, I cut a circle from the piece of felt, and then cut a spiral into it. Starting from the center of a spiral with a bit of glue, I wound the felt up to make a rosette.

Using a CD, I cut a circle from the piece of felt, and then cut a spiral into it. Starting from the center of a spiral with a bit of glue, I wound the felt up to make a rosette.

Flowers2a Rosette

My first rosette.

Flowers 3 Small Rosett

This is a smaller rosette made with the outside ring left from the original felt circle.

Flowers - Rosettes together

Here are all three rosettes together.

The next flower I made is called the “S flower”and it had directions from The Fickle Pickle Blog.

I traced six circles from the bottom of a mug with about a 2″ diameter circle onto the felt.

S Flower Circles2Each circle gets glued as shown below, by first folding in half, adding glue and folding in about a third, turn the piece over as shown in step 4, and adding more glue before folding the last third of the felt “S” as shown in step 6.

Making an "S Flower." I ended up only using five of the “S” shapes to create my flower, gluing the pieces to a seventh circle and adding a pink button to the center of the flower at the end.

S-Flower Glue S Flower TogetherThe final type of flower I used on this piece had directions on the Kit’s Craft’s Blog.  She calls it an 8-petal flower.

8-petal flowerEssentially, I took eight (8) felt circles and sewed the folded tips of them together.  If I were to do it again, I would sew the button onto the flower PRIOR to gluing the felt circle on the bottom.

8-petal flower-buttonThe glue obviously (but not at the time) made it difficult to sew the button through all the layers of the flower and the circle on the bottom.

I could have easily just glued the button to the felt flower I suppose, but oh well!  So many ways to do it.

I struggled with the “leaves.” I really wanted to use existing materials, so I tried various colors of pink and grey yarn to make the small pom poms and nothing looked good.

I looked at the original post on Kit’s Crafts blog and she had a beautiful color of olive green for her felt leaves.  I wanted to use pom poms, so I made olive green pom poms and as soon as I made one, I knew I had to make the five I wanted to place on the wreath.

My mother in law helped arrange the flowers and the pom poms on the wreath and I was finally able to glue all the pieces down.

Here is the arrangement of flowers before the pom poms were glued down.

Here is the arrangement of flowers before the pom poms were glued down.

10Heart WreathAnother project done!  Here’s the link on Ravelry.  Let’s be friends there too!  Thanks for reading this.

Tune in for the Valentines I did with and for the kiddos!


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January 2016 Run Goal Update

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January Goals-RunningRunning in January in Central California when you’re not used to cold can be challenging.

I can’t wear a complete head-covering over my nose because I usually run with my glasses and they fog up while I breathe.

But oh well.  I still make it work and I’m trying to train for my first half marathon that’s occurring in April.

I downloaded a twelve week running plan that I’m currently trying to stay on track with.  I got it off of Pinterest from a post from Livy Loves to Run. January Goals-Run Plan

I also printed out a few calendar pages to write my actual running miles onto.  It feels very satisfying to see my progress and my capabilities on a written sheet.

Many times after I run, I still can’t believe I ran that far.

Yes, I did it, and yes, I was there and my legs might be sore, but until I put the number on the paper, something inside my head finally convinces myself that I actually ran those miles.

The fourth week of the schedule started for me on January 30th, when I ran 9-miles.

So how did I do?

The overall goal was to run at least 12-miles each week.

January Running CalendarFrom my personal calendar, I wrote down the total miles run per day.  I ran at least four times a week and did some cross-training on at least one day a week.

My running totals:

  • Week of January 3: 11 miles
  • Week of January 10: 19.65 miles
  • Week of January 17: 20.75 miles
  • Week of January 24: 30.5 miles

My longest one day run this past month was 9 miles.

My personal total amount of miles run for the month was 85.1 miles.  That’s just running and keeping track of it as shown in the calendar above.

I’ve been walking with a co-worker on a regular basis during the week days at work and trying to take the stairs some.  I have seven flights to climb to the floor I work on so it’s quite a workout just to do it once.

January Goals-Run w-my loveAnd lastly, my husband and I passed the 100-mile run/walk marked on January 12th for our “team” that we are attempting to run/walk 2016 miles in 2016.

I ran and walked a total of 165 miles this month and passed my own 100-mile run/walk mark on January 20th.

It’s amazing what one can do when one is focused, intentional and trying!

My prayer for you is that you will be inspired.

Be reminded that you can do anything through the Lord.

Anything.

Have a great week and get out there!


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Fasting as a Church -Notes on My Experience

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This is the Last Meal I had before starting my fast for 24-hours.

This is the Last Meal I had before starting my fast for 24-hours.

“I used to fast with my mom.”

That’s what I quietly told my husband during church when the preacher talked about fasting the first time in January.

He nodded politely at me when I said it, as he does when he’s trying to concentrate on the sermon.

‘…But I really did fast with my mom.’  I thought. She’s the one who taught me how to do it, but I really didn’t focus on anything or concentrate on anything when we did it.  I just learned to pray, usually about something specific that we had a need for.

Just in case I haven’t made myself clear, when I state “fast” I mean that we skipped a meal, or two, or purposely not eat for a few days.

When I was younger and would fast, it would usually be for something I needed.  Or something that was concerning me.

◊ ◊ ◊ 

The preacher of our church asked us to fast for 24-hours as part of a “Spiritual Arsenal” series he was teaching on during the month of January.

A link to his blog post about the subject and his thoughts are here:

Jason Locke’s Blog: Spiritual Arsenal #4: Fasting

A link to his sermon about the subject is here:

College Church of Christ Sermon – Spiritual Arsenal, 4: Fasting

Essentially what we were to do was to fast for 24-hours, and during the sermon he asked us to fast on a normal work day, either Thursday, January 28th, or Friday, January 29th.  He asked that we consider it worship while we fast, and listen to what the Lord is telling us during that time.  We had a hashtag created for photos (#ccofcfasts) taken during the time and afterwards, and the preacher asked that we break the fast with fellow members (family and friends) and discuss questions about our experience.

Here were his questions:

(1) What was it like to go without food for 24 hours? Was it easy?
(2) Share about a moment when you were tempted to cheat-or cheated.
(3) When you felt hungry, did you pause to pray & listen to God? What was that like?
(4) What thoughts or feelings came to mind as you prayed & reflected?
(5) Do you feel encouraged?
(6) Is this something you’d do again?


My experience….

My husband and I decided on Thursday as our day of fast, and we started after dinner on Wednesday at 630 PM.  This meant that we weren’t going to eat anything until after 630 PM on Thursday.  I considered my running schedule while picking this day, as I wanted to eat the night before running, and eat after my run, and I run on Friday mornings.  See my half-marathon training plan if you want to know more about this.

A photo of the “last meal” (on Wednesday) is shown above, and I had picked pork chops, green beans and brown rice.  I also ensured to have a bit of almond butter as that is my current substitute for dessert.

That evening, although I wasn’t’ hungry, I was consciously aware that I wanted a snack, preferably peanut butter.  I intentionally did not get up to get it, but I found myself acknowledging my craving, yet not being hungry.

I was running late in the morning so skipping breakfast was really easy the next day!

But come 10 AM, break time at work and my time I usually have a snack, I heard my stomach audibly growl.  I took the time to fill my coffee cup, drink some water, write some notes down about this experience and pray.

My husband checked in on me, and here’s how our conversation went:

Conversation for break

The prayer I wrote down in my notes was “Lord, what is it that you want me to focus my prayer on?”

I kept busy during my hunger pangs.

At lunch, I sent my husband this text and as always, he has a quick wit and made me LOL!

Lunch Conversation with hubby

So during lunch, I typed up this blog post, while listening to Jason’s sermon about Fasting.

During the sermon he states the following things that hit me across the head like a brick thrown at me (and I am paraphrasing) –

God tends to show us a real need where we are needy.

The work of the Lord is the real need.

God can speak to us when we are needy.

Did you get hit across the head too?

Jason also goes into how sometimes we don’t like being quiet and needy (and not busy). Sometimes – we’re too scared to find out the problems we have inside.

My confession – I stayed busy.  I admit it.

I was scared what the Lord would tell me.

◊ ◊ ◊

I got through the rest of the day, asking the Lord what to pray for.

As my stomach systematically reminded me that I haven’t eaten since the night before, I closed my eyes and put my head on the back of my chair in my office to focus and pray.

My answers came in waves as I prayed, and I wrote them down in the order I got the thoughts about what and who to pray for.

Pray for Sebastian (my new supervisor);

Jim (his supervisor).

It’s not about me.

My friends.

Being thankful.

Giving Him glory.

After work, I left with a co-worker and we walked together to the parking structure I park in.  During that time, we somehow got into the conversation of how I was surprised how I liked my forced hour-long lunch.  My exercise now consisted of running in the morning even though I couldn’t go to a personal trainer anymore, and I enjoyed the time in the morning with my children that I didn’t have before because I left so early with my previous schedule.  I told him that other than the complaints everyone else has about the work environment, I really couldn’t complain about the change for me.

I said “Good bye”to my co-worker and walked to the car in the parking structure.

When I got settled into the seat of my car, ready to go …

It hit me.

That’s what The Lord was trying to tell me.

Pray for those supervisors and the work environment.

It’s not about me.

Be thankful He’s in charge.

Give Him the glory for knowing what’s best for me and my family.

Everything in the last hour and a half or so before I was ‘scheduled’ to start eating again was what I was I needed to hear/feel/pray for.  I felt the clarity of my situation and what He has done for me really set in.  What I told my co-worker was what I needed to hear.

The meal after the fastbreaking the fastMy husband cooked tri-tip beef cuts in the smoker and we ate a delicious meal after thanking the Lord for it.

As far as the questions, I think I answered some of them in this post.

Would I do this again?

Yes. But – My longer answer is this – I really like doing things like this with other believers.  That’s the part that made this special to me.  Other people I knew were praying during their hunger pangs and not eating at the same time I was.

I felt very encouraged by the preachers personal posts on Facebook, and several others who were going through the fast on the same day we were.

I was also encouraged the next day when we saw many of our personal friends at a house gathering to discuss what happened to us.  Hearing their stories made me feel like we are were all bonded through this and I don’t have the vocabulary to describe how that feels.

It’s just awesome.

I hope this post encourages you to try something new for the Lord, even if it’s not fasting.  Worship can come in many different shapes, sizes and forms, and this was definitely a time to get closer to Him and listen during those tiny times of peace and reflection.  I can’t believe when it “occurred” to me in such a small window of time and after I had to hear myself explain it to someone else.

But that’s just me.

I’d love to hear your story!


My Prayer for January

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Dear Lord,

The thing about being a follower of Christ is that seems so easy is to rely on you.

Yet, the thing that can be hardest for me, a follower of Christ, is to rely on you.

May this year, I rely more on you and not myself.

My January prayerIn a recent sermon, the preacher used a passage (shown in the photo) that I was unfamiliar with because it doesn’t seem to be applicable to me today.

But I was wrong.

I’ve been relying on me too long and it’s not working.

I want to give it all to you Lord.

I’ve been in the church my entire life so I would think it would be easy to consistently renew my mind, but, nah.

I have been and I will be working on getting out of my own way and to put more intentional focus on You, my precious Savior.

The key for me to understanding 1 Corinthians 14:14-17 was this:

My spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful….  I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit but I will also sing with my understanding.

Whoa.

I get it now.  Some people don’t understand what I’m saying when I praise you, the Holy Lord for everything.

I “get” that you provide for me, everything.

I “get” that it’s your possessions I’m taking care of the short while I’m here.

I “get” that your Son is to be glorified in everything.

I understand now and I feel blessed.

It is my prayer that someday I will speak in a tongue that someone else understands.  That someone else will be able to understand how much you, the Lord loves them and only wants the best for them.

Thank you for providing that wisdom my Lord to Jason to pass along to me.

In your Holy and precious name I pray,

Amen.


Our Trip to Ensenada, Mexico

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Trip-Us with the ShipEarly in January, my husband and I were able to take a trip to Ensenada on a Carnival Cruise ship.

The trip was awesome, and here are some highlights as well as a few things I learned about to plan the next cruise for our family.


FYI: We purchased the $50 per person per day option for drinks, usually called totally inclusive.  My husband and I figured that if we were able to drink five (5) drinks a day, that would make the purchase easily justifiable.  Mental note for those who purchase this plan – you can only drink 15 drinks a day, and the drink cannot cost more than $10.00.  This was easily do-able.

I’ll just let you know that we were able to meet that small goal.  Hee, hee.  Don’t be judge-y. We were without children you know.
Expedia.ca: All-Inclusive Packages for $999 with Expedia!

Trip-Queen MaryThe cruise left from Long Beach, California.  We took a photo in front of the Queen Mary, a ship that is permanently docked and is available for both dinner and nightly stays.  I’m not interested in the whole “being haunted” thing, so I probably won’t be making a vacation to stay on that ship anytime soon.

This is the Long Beach, CA skyline behind my husband. DeAndrasCrafts.com

My husband is standing at the very back of the ship in front of the Long Beach skyline as we left the port.

We picked a room with a king-sized bed and a window, and we discussed at length how we don’t know how people can pick rooms without windows.  It’s less expensive though, and we could see how being on the ship is exciting enough.  Other than sleeping or napping, you really don’t spend a whole-lot-of-time in your room.

The team of crew members treat you like royalty, and I personally love the small touches that cruises offer such as ‘all you can eat food’ at any time of the day.  It’s an extremely gluttonous experience if you haven’t experienced anything like that.  They also place extra towels on your bed each evening in the shape of animals.  The frog was my favorite on this trip.

Trip-Towel FrogThe first full day was spent in Ensenada, Mexico, and in the morning before we docked, I ran around the walking/jogging track as we came into port.

Note for any future joggers/walkers: If you use an app on your phone, the app may or may not take into consideration the movement of the ship.

This is my selfie as the ship parked into the Ensenada port.

This is my selfie as the ship parked into the Ensenada port.  I was bummed that I didn’t get to see the enormous Mexican flag that ~usually~ flies on the pole behind me.

According to the run tracking app on my phone, I was able to do the first mile in 4.32 minutes.  As I know that is not possible for me EVER, I knew the app didn’t take the speed of the ship moving into its calculation.  This also made it difficult to judge how far I actually ran that morning.  If I had to guess, it was probably about three miles, but I didn’t count the laps around the track.  The track has a distance marked on the deck as 1/11th of a mile around.  It takes 11 trips around the track to go a one-mile distance.

The shipped docked around 8:30 AM or so and cruisers were able to get off the boat for excursions and local shopping/touring.

We easily purchased a excursion that morning for a 10 AM departing time, to go see something called “La Bufadora” and wine tasting at an Ensenada winery.

This is my second (or maybe third, I can’t recall) trip to Ensenada, Mexico, and it was my husband’s third or fourth.  We had both been on mission trips to Ensenada, but separately and thus this vacation was our first trip to this city together.  Neither one of us had experienced “La Bufadora” and it was a spectacular site that was worth seeing at least once in a lifetime.

My husband is standing in front of La Bufadora in Ensenada, Mexico.

My husband is standing in front of La Bufadora in Ensenada, Mexico.

The cruise-ship provided tour guide said that there were only three locations of this type of phenomena in the world, and Ensenada is one of the three.

For me, one of the coolest things I experienced was seeing a rainbow in the occasional water spray after the water shot up from where the ocean meets the rock formation.

I wish I got video.  It was quite beautiful, loud, and breathtaking when the splashes occurred.

A rainbow formed in the spray at La Bufadora.

A rainbow formed in the spray at La Bufadora.

The drive from the ship to the spot where La Bufadora is located is about 35 to 40 minutes on a chartered bus that was part of the excursion purchase.

The tour guide told us all his favorite spots along the shops at La Bufadora, and we were one of the first visitors of the day there.  From the dirt parking lot where the bus parked, there is about a quarter-mile walk to the rock formation of La Bufadora where you walk in between local shops of clothing, purses, jewelry, souvenirs, and food of every kind imaginable.

If you haven’t been to Mexico before and you’re reading this to find out more about it, let me be the first to warn you about Mexican sales personnel.

They are VERY PUSHY.

And sometimes, just sometimes, if you know enough Spanish, you can tell they are not very nice when you politely say “no thanks.”

It’s just a hard day’s work for them and that’s how I like to look at it.

Also – The rumors about Mexican water are true – be very careful about drinking anything with ice in it as well, as that includes free samples of Pina Colada mix that the vendors push on you as you pass by.

Very few things are regulated in Mexico like they are in western countries, and water cleanliness is not a priority to them.

There were also people performing dances and singing for us, such as this fine gentlemen to allowed us to take a selfie with him.

Trip-With at LocalWe make sure we pack plenty of one-dollar bills for tips before we leave for any vacation, and this vacation was no exception.  We gave him a couple of bucks as he was not only serenading us, but let us take a photo.

I purchased a clam shell the size of my head from a local vendor that was filled with crab meat, clam meat, seasoning, and shrimp on top.  There’s no way to tell if something is undercooked while there, but I didn’t get sick so I highly recommend it.

We ate lunch at the taco shop closest to the parking lot.  (This was also something that was recommended by our guide and worth every bite.)

Before we left we paid the 50-cent fee (each) to use the bathroom at the taco shop.  Don’t forget about the water coming out of the faucet in the bathroom to wash your hands.  It’s still a good idea to wash your hands, but ensure that you pack a small container of hand sanitizer to use AFTER you wash your hands with Mexican water.

The trip back was relaxing and I took a short nap on my husband’s shoulder in the bus.

There was nothing special about the wine tasting at the San Tomas winery, although it’s always interesting to hear history of places and the wine tasting room had plenty of history in itself.  The wine we tasted was … well … it was … sweet, but it was not our preferred type of wine.  I’ll just leave that comment for your own judgement.

That evening was our “elegant” dinner on the ship, and the waiters and waitresses sand the song “Celebration” to us which was quite a treat.

We finished off the evening with a “Diva’s” song and dance tribute, and then a comedy show.  The day itself was exhausting, so it was easy to get some sleep the second night.

The second full day is on the sea, and we didn’t plan out much except to eat and play a few “what’s that tune” games.

We walked around before the games started to take photos on the ship and that’s where my Selfie Stick came in handy.

The cruise ships exhaust ports are in the background, along with one of the water slides.

The cruise ships exhaust ports are in the background, along with one of the water slides.

My husband and I talked about bringing the kiddos on a cruise like this, and for now, we’ve convinced ourselves that it would be possible.

First, it would have to be warmer, as the pool and the water slides would be a big seller for our children.  “Warmer” as in a daytime temperature of 75-degrees or higher.

Second, I think we would take grandma, or a friend to help be a sitter, as we would want to purchase three rooms and have the children in the middle.  Even though we are adults, our experience with trying to sleep during the third night reminded us that we are older adults and do not care for the young adults waking us up at midnight, 2 and 5 in the morning with his/her conversations and antics.  It was clear that one of our neighbors had a friend for the last evening, and I literally tried sleeping with my fingers in my ears.  It doesn’t work well at all.

The walls in between cabins are seemingly paper-thin.

Note for next time: Bring earplugs.

Lastly, we figured that the children would have to get off the boat for an excursion of some kind.  The bus ride was just the right length for us, but 40-minutes might have been too long for our kiddos.  Perhaps something closer or more exciting would have to be planned out for them.

Maybe after a three day cruise with the kids we could take it up a notch and go on a four or five day cruise.

All I know is that I like going on cruises.

I like them immensely.

This is my third one in my lifetime and I hope to go on many in the future.

Thanks for reading!

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On My Hook – Temperature Scarf

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Jan 20-Scarf Pattern-Day 16A couple years ago, crafting personality Vicki Howell posted that she completed a temperature scarf.  I searched high and low for a link and I couldn’t find one!  Instead, I found the link to Yarnspirations 2013 Temperature Scarf forum, if you want to read more about it.

At that time, I thought “How cool is that?”  But I knew that I didn’t have time to start one as my life was really complicated back then.

One could say that my life hasn’t gotten any less complicated, but I have plenty of yarn and I really want to do projects that are both meaningful and fun.  This seems like something I would really enjoy, and at the end of the year, I would know that this scarf would be one of my projects from the Year of Twelves.

Virtually all of the temperature scarf patterns I found were for knitting, but the idea would be the same for a crocheter like me.

Temp Scarf HighsI looked up a couple different temperature/yarn matrices, but in the Central Valley of California where I live, it hardly ever gets colder than a high of 30-degrees.

This led me of course to come up with my own temperature/yarn table, and I present to you the process I used to start, and hopefully finish throughout the year, my crochet temperature scarf.


Temperature Scarf by DeAndrasCrafts

Photo only for Temperature Scarf Colors, high temps of 30-degrees and higher.

Photo only for Temperature Scarf Colors, high temps of 30-degrees and higher.

Notes:

  • This Temperature Chart was created for places that don’t get lower than 30-degree F
  • I specifically used this chart in the Central Valley of CA
  • I used the high temperature of each day
  • I get my temperature history from weatherunderground.com under the “History” tab of my city
  • If you choose to use this chart, please tag it on public social media as #DCTemperatureScarf
  • See my progress on Instagram by searching for #DsTemperatureScarf2016
  • Please link up with me on Ravelry if you do one!

Last Note: This chart was created for personal use only.  That means don’t profit from the sale of the chart itself because it’s free.  Please use it to CREATE things from it and if you are able to sell the things you make, more power to you!

Temp Scarf YarnI picked yarn straight from my yarn stash.  That was the point.  I keep it all in one bag, with very simple labels wrapped around them.

I modified Vickie Howell’s Color Card Scarf Pattern for crochet.  (My photos, her basic pattern from the website link.)

Gauge: Gauge is not necessarily important but I am a loose-stitch crocheter.  I wanted a 6″ wide scarf so adjust the chain at the beginning of the scarf than what she stated in her blog post if you want it smaller or larger by three stitches.  She used a size I hook.

I used a Size H hook

Pattern is written for U.S. terms, acrylic (4-ply) yarn

Modified Single Crochet (mod sc) stitch:

Start with a single loop on the hook, pull a loop into the st indicated (2 loops on hook,) yo and pull through both loops.

See the photos for help if needed. Jan 20-Scarf Pattern-mod sc1 Jan 20-Scarf Pattern-mod sc2

The pattern describes “FRONT LOOP” as the front loop of the previous (or bottom) row to the row you are working.

Subsequently, the “BACK LOOP” is the back loop of the previous row.

Directions

Ch 24. Sc in 2nd ch from hook and to end. Turn (23 sts.)

Row 1: Ch1 (counts as sc in front loop), mod sc in FRONT LOOP of next st, *mod sc in BACK LOOPS of next 2 sts, mod sc in FRONT LOOPS of next 2 sts; rep from * until last 3 sts, mod sc in FRONT LOOPS of next 2 sts, mod sc in BACK LOOP of last st.

 Do not finish off or change color of next row UNLESS the temperature changed per the table for the next day-row.

Row 2: Rep Row 1.

Rows 3-366: Repeat last two rows, changing colors as necessary for each day of temperature change on the chart.

Finish off.

Chain 24.

Chain 24.

Two rows (two days of colors) complete.

Two rows (two days of colors) complete.

Pattern of scarf up to end of day 7.

Pattern of scarf up to end of day 7.

Temperature Scarf Pattern - Up to Day 11

Temperature Scarf Pattern – Up to Day 11 for high temperatures.


Miscellaneous Notes

I started out with eleven rows (first 11 days of the year) and picked up the piece about every few days to catch up.

I carried the previous ends into the next row to minimize loose ends to weave.

I hope to update the scarf on a monthly basis in a blog post and on Ravelry.

Cheers to your crocheting goals for the year.  I hope I can keep this up!

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Breaking Down My Goals – Financial

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D w-Total Money Makeover BookSimply put – saving money is hard for anyone.  Including us.

This is the last post on “Breaking Down My Goals” for the Twelve Goals of Twelve that I’ve set forth for the year.


In the financial area, and because I’m trying to be open and honest with my children (and anyone else who reads this blog,) we should be able to save $12,000 by the end of December.

We are intending for that amount to be earmarked for purchasing a new-to-us vehicle in the latter part of 2017.

I don’t intend on giving a month-to-month blog post devoted to this goal.  I’ll probably just let you all know if we complete it by the end of the year.

There’s no plan for this other than continuing on doing our budget every month per the Dave Ramsey plan guidance he sets forth in his book, The Total Money Makeover.

We’ve been following that financial peace plan for about six years now, and it has brought my husband and I peace of mind like no other.

Our story is like anyone else: Six years ago we were in debt up to our eyeballs, we had car and home loans to pay, and we couldn’t save two nickels together even if we wanted to.

It wasn’t until we learned through the Total Money Makeover book how to control our money so it wouldn’t control us that we learned what the definition of maturity is in the financial world – Children do what feels good.  Adults have a plan.

I highly recommend reading that book or attending a Financial Peace Course in your area.

I’m preparing two class sessions for church based off the book now and I hope to get my thoughts out on this blog too.

Have a great week and may your financial dreams of this year come true!

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A Letter to My Mother

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IMG_6279[1]Dear mom,

It’s been a year since your passing.

I believe you’ve been able to see all the goings-on with your family as they bring joy, and I know there’s no tears in heaven.

Life without you has been very different, and you are very much missed.

My children all have photos of you in his/her respective rooms, something that they asked me to do after you passed, and although I wasn’t ready to look at your beautiful face in those photos, they wanted to do it everyday.

When I tuck them in bed each night it is I who am blessed to be able to look at those photos and recall the wisdom you passed onto me with your love – your unconditional love that I took for granted all the years I got to spend with you.

Thank you for teaching me everything I needed to know to “make it” in this world.

I won’t ever be able to demonstrate love like you and I can only hope to strive to be half the person you were with that gift you had.

There are bits and pieces of memories that flood back to me now and then, and even though I may shed a tear because I am no longer able to share more memories with you, the blessings I receive of memories bring me nothing but smiles, joy and hope.

I praise the Lord that somehow through Him you have been able to whisper things to me, including the fact that you are proud of me that I run and am taking care of myself.

Please continue to plead with the Lord to work on softening my father’s heart, as it has been through so much in the past year.

Thank you for continually praying for me and my brother when you were here.  I have no doubt that it was because of those prayers that I am able to write this letter to you today, and share with my family the wisdom, grace, and love that the Lord blesses me with that you passed onto me.

I will be forever grateful to the Lord that he chose you to be my mother, knowing that only you were the one that could pray for me and watch me do the things that I had to do (including mistakes) in order to be the person I am today.

I know I’ll be seeing you in the future, and as you prayed the same sentiments before me, I continue to pray your prayer that the long life ahead of me be filled with Christ-centered thoughts, love, hope and peace.

I love you and miss you,

D’Andra


Here is my mom’s tribute on You Tube.