Breaking Down My Goals – Family, Part II

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Part II of my ‘Family’ area of goal-tackling is to cover my who, what, when, how, where and why of a, a-hem, ~ frightening ~ goal:

  • Complete 12 Home Improvement Projects of Any Kind

I’m almost positive this goal would not ‘frighten’ most people.

Let me tell you why I’m scared of this:

Last year, I spent the better part of two months painting my craft room and my husband installed DIY shelves after the painting portion was complete.

The results were glorious.Before & After of my craft room

Facebook and Instagram were my choices of writing “notes to my children” instead of this blog last year, thus the process of both painting the room and making the shelves didn’t get documented much.

What I do remember is how awful it was to paint a room by myself.

And on top of that, it forced me to organize my own junk.

Ugh.

I know, I know.  Don’t judge me for having so.many.things.  You would too if you’ve lived 39-years on this planet and was a craft hoarder.

The painting and shelf making happened in the months of May and June.

In October, my husband and I decided to stop putting off a home-improvement project we’ve put off long enough – replacing the carpet in our home.

If you’ve ever changed carpet in your home, then you may be able to relate to what a frickin’ nightmare it is to pack everything up as if you’re moving.

I have no idea how we got through my husband’s office.  He had dust off those shelves from years and years of dusting-neglect.

But – things were boxed up, the carpet guys came in, put the carpet into the house over the course of four days and moved a bunch of boxes back into the rooms they started in.

For the most part, that’s where the boxes stayed until January 1, 2016.  (Okay, maybe December 31st.)

I wish I could write that I threw up my hands in disgust and said “Today’s the day!  I’m going to get through these boxes no matter if the house is on fire!”

But, I never said that.  ….And don’t even have a tiny-bit of issues with it either.

The times I have written in this blog go over the time and time again where I have neglected housework to get the important things done.

Like having babies… and doing crafts with my children… and hanging out with my mom when she was alive.

You know, important stuff like that.

My house is a complete mess right now, and I’m okay with it.

It won’t stay that way and it won’t be because I wrote that this year I’m going to clean it and get through all my stuff.

No….  Papers to Go Through-Area Things to Go Through

It won’t stay that way Papers to Go Through on Counterbecause eventually, year after year, my children grow up, we get closer by getting them to help me do things around the house, and I’m able to get through the years of pile up of stuff, papers, and craft supplies that cover the floors, sit in boxes and basically take over certain areas of the house.

So this year, my goal is to tackle 12 home improvement projects of any kind.

I have a list that my husband and I started, and I’m sure we will add to it throughout the year.

Here’s a few items for you to feel better about yourselves and your probable cleaner-than-me house status.

  • Clean-up and find a better way to organize my youngest son’s closet.
  • Take down, clean and rearrange the stuff above the stove and counters in the kitchen.
  • Get through the past several years of paperwork piled up on counters, bags, and in boxes.  I would estimate that about 90-percent of these piles are children’s artwork and things brought home from school.  I actually have a really good way to organize it now, but there was a time when I didn’t have a good way to organize it, and these piles are just carried over year after year.  I know some can relate….
  • Complete the projects and find homes for the stuff in the boxes in my craft room.
  • Organize the boxes in our bedroom.
  • Get the garage organized more to be able to put one vehicle in it.

And if all that get’s accomplished, my husband wants to consider painting the interior walls of the house.  As much as I’m reluctant to do this, I think the reluctance comes from having to pack up things again.  After the craft room nightmare of not knowing how long the prep was going to take a full-time working mom, we are both on board with hiring someone this time.  I do know that if we do this, I want to start in the kitchen/dining area.

Some of the things I listed may only take anywhere from 15-minutes to a few hours.

That’s not the point.

The point is that I DON’T WANT TO DO IT.  I don’t just want to throw it out either, but it’s so hard to convince myself that I’m spending time on something important.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know it is.

Oh boo-hoo-hoo, right?  Be upset with me or don’t understand me if you will, but hey, at least I’m honest about it.

As always, thanks for reading.

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Breaking Down My Goals – Family, Part I

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Family Christmas Photo 2015This year I plan on being more intentional with planning things out with my family.

Not just my immediate family of adorable mini-me’s that my husband and I have created, but with my brother and his family, with my uncles, aunts, cousins and their families, and with my dad.

The three goals I’m listing in this area are:

  • Plant/maintain 12 different types of plants this year

  • Plan 12 intentional events with the family

  • Complete 12 home improvement projects (of any kind)

As I’m trying to improve the length of each blog post, this post only discusses the top two goals, and I’ll get to the third one in a subsequent post.


How I plan to plant and maintain twelve different types of plants

This is my barely surviving oregano plant.

This is my barely surviving oregano plant.

My dying peppermint plant still has a few green leaves on it!

My dying peppermint plant still has a few green leaves on it!

This is my dill (herb) plant. It was dying inside the house and seems to be thriving outside!

This is my dill (herb) plant. It was dying inside the house and seems to be thriving outside!

This is our five year old blackberry bush.

This is our five year old blackberry bush.

The strawberry patch is in full swing in our raised garden.

The strawberry patch is in full swing in our raised garden.

This is my pot of my mother's daffodil bulbs.

This is my pot of my mother’s daffodil bulbs.

This photo was taken in January 2016 of my blueberry bush. It's the one in the center of the photo with the remaining red leaves.

This photo was taken in January 2016 of my blueberry bush. It’s the one in the center of the photo with the remaining red leaves.

There have been many plants come and go into my home and garden.

You can see the photos I’ve placed in this post show various stages of plants, both edible and ornamental.

One of my favorite things to grow however is aloe vera. Aloe Vera succulents

My Aloe plants have thrived at this home for over ten years.  I hope to eventually turn them into a small side business for my oldest, who has asked in the past, but not followed through, on how to make money selling things.  I set up an Etsy shop that I haven’t opened, mainly out of fear that I won’t meet customer expectations.  I don’t have “extra free time” to run an Etsy shop.

My son however, might have that time.  It’s just getting him to commit to doing it with me!

But I digress.

This year, I really want to get to know my plants better.  I’ve been able to grow them and keep them alive, but I really don’t “know” how to take care of my plants.  This is really what the “maintaining” part of my goal is about.

In this post alone, I show eight of my garden plants.

My husband and I have agreed that this year, we’re going to add pumpkins and zucchini, and grow tomato plants again this year.

My indoor plants include Easter lily’s and common house plants, all of which I don’t even know the name of, but I will find them out this year!  All in all, I think I’ll have well over twelve different types of garden/house plants that I both plant and maintain this year.  I can’t believe I’ve never tried adding up the different types until now.

How I want to plan twelve intentional events with the family

If you didn’t already know (or for some reason couldn’t tell) – I’m pretty obsessive-compulsive about having things scheduled out.  In my defense, my husband is too.

In an original discussion we had talking about goals for the year, we wrote down a few important things we want to do with our three children.

One of the things that I’m going to try to do this year is put myself out there for my brother and his family.  His triplets are older now and I have been able to take care of all three of them plus my three in the past, so hopefully my brother and his wife can get a much-needed break.

The last time the triplets came to visit was memorable!

The last time the triplets came to visit was memorable!

I also hope that I can help organize a few more of my extended families functions too.

We have plans to go see an uncle, aunt and their children in Oregon, and help organize an event or two with my nearby cousins and their families.

Our children have been begging us to go to the snow this year, so we’re going to try to plan that first.  I’ll keep you posted on how we do!

Stay tuned for the next blog post on another ‘Family’ oriented goal, trying to complete twelve home improvement projects!

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Goals for 2016 – My year of Twelve’s

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2016 Goals - My Year of 12'sI know, I know, you’re thinking “Twelve’s? What’s that all about?  It’s two-thousand and SIXTEEN!”

It just hit me one day in late December.

I announced to myself in my head “This year I’m going to do 12 of each thing!

“What does that mean exactly?” I had to ask myself.


Last year, I tried to read twelve books throughout the year.  I only got to eleven but that “12” number really stuck with me.

I remember when I first met my husband – he and I couldn’t believe that our favorite number was 12. Meaning, individually, but shared.  (You know, those dumb little things you talk about when you’re 18-years old and dating.)

One could say that the number twelve just has meaning to me.

There’s 12-months in a year, so why not set up twelve tangible goals?

I based this list off of a prompt from Rachel Cruze’s website: Seven Areas to Focus your Goals.

One night in late December, my husband and I sat down together after the kids went to bed and brainstormed our yearly goals.  Truth be told – up to that point in our marriage, I don’t think we’ve ever done this.  Sure we talked about things we wanted in life, but we never came up with goals.

We talked about everything from the garden, the children, financial goals, certain areas of life that are more important than other and certain areas of life that need to take priority.  It was awesome.

Out of that brainstorming session, I gathered my thoughts into the groups listed on Rachel Cruze’s site.

  1. Intellectual
  2. Physical
  3. Spiritual
  4. Family
  5. Social
  6. Career
  7. Financially

DeAndrasCrafts Goals for 2016

  • Read 12 books this year.

  • Run 12 – miles a week until the half-marathon.  Then walk/run 12-miles a week thereafter.

  • Lose 12 pounds.

  • Publish 12 blog posts a month.

  • Plant/maintain 12 different types of plants this year.

  • Drink 12 cups of water a day.

  • Save $12,000 this year.

  • Plan 12 intentional events with the family.

  • Write out 12 prayers based on the bible.

  • Tackle 12 crocheting projects, either started or new.

  • Create 12 handmade gifts.

  • Complete 12 home improvement projects (of any kind.)

The key to this list for me is to remember that small accomplishments are big ones.  For example: Twelve cups of water a day may not seem difficult, but I don’t track my intake of water.  I want to change that habit and KNOW how much water I’ve consumed in a day.

Over the course of the next month, I’ll be writing about HOW I intend on tackling this list.  My-actual-doing-things.

It sounds impossible, I know!  But this year, I’m making things Intentional, and for the purpose of giving the Lord all the glory for the talents and gifts he’s given me.

I hope you’ve come up with your list of goals.  It’s not too late to start.  Whenever you read this.

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Week Fifty of Fun and Crazy

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It’s been a busy week.

Busy in the nicest sense of the word.

You have to remember something about me though – I am the tree-up after Thanksgiving, mamma of three little people, Christmas card sending, Pinterest freak of woman who loves the precious moments that don’t always get recorded.

But, with that said, here’s what we were up to this week –

Making Ninjabread cookies may become a new tradition in our house for Christmas.

Making Ninjabread cookies may become a new tradition in our house for Christmas.

Sunday was a typical “funday” for us.  After church we made some Ninjabread cookies.  I made the frosting with too much water, so the “white” did not show up but it was made out of powdered sugar, so it was still sweet.  I finished addressing all of the Christmas cards, and my husband and I finished up the monthly calendar.

Monday night was the first of the two Christmas musicals we are attending for our children this year.  My baby E had been working hard to get his moves right for the precious performance, and there’s nothing like children singing to brighten your week up.

Our youngest son is in the center of the sea of children.

Our youngest son is in the center of the sea of children.

On Tuesday I got the news that I was “officially” moving from Construction to Design.  I will be in the Special Projects section of the Engineering Dept. I work at, and it was partially a relief (because the waiting game is over) and partially sad, as I leave a season of my life that was exceptional.

I keep moving forward, as Walt Disney himself said. (I got that from the movie Meet the Robinsons.)

With that said, I was assigned a project relatively quickly to perform inspection on-site at a project at Millerton Lake. The only description I will give for right now is that I am blessed to have a job.  We’ll see how it plays out.

I’ve been told by many that this transition will probably turn out to be for the best.  I totally get that on a logical, brain-functioning level.  But my heart is still healing from the pain of being transitioned by forces that I cannot control.

Unfortunately, this is the government in action for you.

It affects people and you don’t even know.

I understand that some don’t care about me or my family because they’re too wrapped up in their own lives, but I also want people to know that I am a person with a life and commitments that make it so that I can produce three functioning members of society that will hopefully one day be paying taxes, helpful citizens of the community and dare I say, make a difference in the world, even if it’s in the lives of only a few.

Still – I’ll bet you don’t normally get a view like this for your job. Wed121015-Week50

But I digress.

Thursday and Friday both seemed to fly by.

My husband and I did our calendar planning for upcoming events and knew that Saturday was going to be a long day.

It didn’t disappoint though!

We had been planning a Star Wars Episodes IV – VI marathon for several weeks now at the church we attend.

As everyone knows, the new Force Awakens movie is going to start showing on December 18, 2015. No, we don’t have tickets for the first day but we are planning on going the first week it’s open.

We started out Saturday taking a photo in front of our tree, and yes, that’s a Darth Vader mask adorning the top of the Christmas tree.  I call this “the Force is with us” Christmas season.

You do not have permission to use this photo for anything.

You do not have permission to use this photo for anything.

I knew watching three movies back to back for anyone would be difficult, but I was glad we had twenty or so people who stuck it out the whole time we were at church to watch all three movies.Marathon at Church 2015

The main idea was to be together, and that’s what our family did.

I did have a brief argument with my husband about staying at the church for almost eight-hours, but we worked it out as we always do.

I’m terrible, I know, but I loved it!  I’ve never watched all three movies back to back like this before.

Sure, I’ve ran them back to back at our home, but I’ve never been able to watch them back to back.  There’s a huge difference there.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing the new movie more than ever, and the thing I’m looking forward to the most are the things that make Star Wars enjoyable – good triumphs over evil, unexpected plot twists, and not knowing what’s going to happen next.  Let’s hope they keep those main things in the storyline.

See you soon,

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Craftsy


The Changing of the Times of Life

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The Changes of the Times of LifeAfter I wrote this post, I realized that it might speak to others as it did to me while I wrote it.  Be assured that I wrote this blog post to myself, to get things off my chest, but if it speaks to you, more power to you as well.


“I am who I am.”

The Lord said this to Moses in Exodus 3:14 (NIV).

I’ve been reflecting on this for the last few days.

Moses asked the Lord what he was supposed to tell the Israelite’s when they questioned him about who he spoke to on the mountain.

How was Moses supposed to tell people who haven’t heard the Lord’s call that he was sent by the Lord himself?

I can’t even imagine what that must have felt like.


As you can potentially theorize, I have been questioning who I am lately.

The Lord never questions who He is.  He’s the Lord.  I get that.

I understand and know I am child of His.  I understand that I was placed on this planet to serve Him.

But what about the in-between?

I figured out today that what I have been questioning about myself lately is not “who” but “what.”

What is it that makes up the person that I am?

That, is where I am struggling.

Aside from the truth that I know I am a child of the almighty king and that will never change –

I challenged myself to come up with a general list of things that I enjoy doing and of things that are important to me, that I can refer back to the next time I question what makes up this woman whom the Lord blesses on a daily basis.

  • I am a wife.
  • I am a mom.
  • I am an Engineer.
  • I am a crocheter.
  • I am a crafter/maker.
  • I am a sister.
  • I am a daughter, niece, aunty, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law.
  • I am a sister-in-Christ.

I typed those up just as they came to me.  My therapist would probably tell me that I prioritize my life by this list.

It seems simple right?

But I have been questioning lately what SHOULD BE on that list.

Here’s the things I thought of next –

  • I am a runner.
  • I am blogger.

The second list is more telling of the things I want to be better at.

The first list makes me nervous.  It forces me to analyze what I have been prioritizing in my life.  My husband and I are “those people” who most friends don’t know how we do it all.

Quite frankly, I don’t know how we do it all except that we have more than our share of people who help us daily.

So what does all this mean to me and why am I posting such a random blog post about myself and my life?

Because of the title of this blog post –

The Changing of the Times of Life

My mom passed away this year.

I began a journey of self-discipline and pushing myself to complete running a half-marathon before I turn forty next year.

My “day job” description will be changing soon.

My children are growing up…. And the list could go on and on.

Supervisors have come and gone at work and rules have been set up as well as ideologies that I don’t necessarily agree with.  As I spend about sixty percent (60%) of the waking hours of my day getting ready for work, driving to work and at work itself, it leaves approximately seven (7!) waking hours for everything else.

Work is a big part of my day.

Exercise and meal prep is a big part of my day.

Reading to my children, getting the next day prepped and hanging out with my husband (to do whatever grownups get to do together) are a big part of my day/evenings.

As I write this, I’ve convinced myself that it’s no wonder why I feel like I’m just-barely-making-it on a daily basis.

But is it really any different for anyone else?

I’ve made the choice to be in a high-stress job, that comes with the income and benefits as well as potential job ideologies that I don’t agree with.  I know I can get another job and am choosing not too.

I’ve made the choice to live a healthy lifestyle (especially compared to how I used to eat) and to do meal prep and include exercise.

I choose to read to my children in the evenings rather than sit and crochet/craft or blog, and I choose to be with and talk with my husband about life after my children go to bed.

I choose to sleep for at least seven hours.

I watch one show a week for one hour a week and try to crochet when I get the chance literally midst making dinners, prepping lunches and cleaning up the tornadoes that happen with toys and clothes on a daily basis in my home.

I may not be in control of everything I’m involved in, but I’m in control of some things and this post is to help me remember what those things are despite the changing of the times in my life.

I also am who I am.  I know because of the Lord I can handle it.

Whew.  Glad I got that off my chest.

Onward!


How Hawaii has changed me….

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Hawaii SunsetWhat is it about going on vacation that can change how you look at things?

How do you explain something to someone if they haven’t experienced it?

I’m going to attempt to do just that.

Hopefully at the end of this post I have described how going on vacation to Hawaii made me a better person.

Did it have to be Hawaii?  The answer is of course “no,” but it’s my experience and this is my blog and maybe somewhere in my words you can feel the undeniable reality that I have experienced by going on a vacation of a lifetime.


One of the hardest things I struggled with on this trip was trying to deal with the obvious entitlement issues my children displayed.

There were multiple meltdowns by the oldest, who has an empathy gene that I can’t even fathom and at times, can’t deal with, which leads to lots of crying for a boy at the age of nine because his mom doesn’t know what to do for him except try to ‘hug-it-out’ and talk about it.

My youngest was surprisingly the easiest to deal with, and I suppose at four years old he really had no choices but to go along with whatever mom and dad were doing.

And then there’s my little girl, who is, well, a little girly-girl.  She cries almost every time she doesn’t get her way, and that happened often when plans were made without her consent and she didn’t like what we were doing including going out to posh restaurants with menus that had to rival any French establishment.  Thank God they had white rice for her at those amazing places to eat.

In the end, my children literally told me that their favorite things about the trip were things we could have experienced closer to home, (visiting family, going to the beach and swimming in the pool) and although that was disappointing, I can’t expect a child (or perhaps my children) to understand how amazing and wonderful this trip was or what a privilege it was.

With all that said, the poor-raised child inside of me was screaming with joy almost the entire trip.

My uncle made reference to that when other friends came and said multiple times D’Andra “has a joy that’s always there no matter what we’re doing.  I love hanging out with her.”

Those words will stick with me forever.  It’s a compliment my mother received throughout her life and as far as I’m concerned, I’m doing something right if someone else can see that in me.

We went on this trip with my husband’s uncle, aunt and children, who have kids similar in age as ours, but who have completely different personalities.  I won’t go into details, but I’ll just remind you that I recognize more now than ever how entitled my children seem to be.  We’re going to start working on that.

The next thing that really changed me was how I felt about mid-vacation about my place of employment.

Notable author Jon Acuff wrote a book called “Do Over” and I follow his blog posts.  One of his recent Facebook posts stuck with me as the caption in the meme said:

Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/authorjonacuff

In my bosses defense, it wasn’t him that I’ve heard this from.  (I’ve just heard it before by other ‘in charge’ people.)

In fact, as he is new to the specific governmental agency I work for, he said he makes less money here (than his last governmental agency job) and has way more work.

When he said that statement out loud to his employees, I thought to myself, “How is that supposed to motivate us?”

I’m just going to come out and say it: Some people are not meant to be in charge.  Take that statement for what it is (or read into it more) but it’s just the truth about the reality I live in, and lately I have been very disappointed in decisions made by people in charge.

BUT –

And that’s a really big but….

Hawaii changed me from being “disappointed.”

I stood on one of the many beaches we visited, looking at some of the most beautiful water I have ever seen (only Cancun, Mexico rivals it in beauty so far,) and I realized that this trip would not have been possible if I had given up on the job when things started going downhill.

And I’ve considered it going downhill for years now so that’s saying a lot.

I prayed on that beach in Hawaii as I watched the sun set.

I prayed for my children, my bosses, I was thankful for my mother and the Lord spoke to me on that beach as I prayed.

Whether or not you believe in that sort of thing, I do and I heard His whisper loud and clear: I will take care of you.

I gave any and all self-proclaimed “control” of the insane job situation to the Lord that day.

Yes, finally.

It’s one thing to say you’re going to do it, but it’s another thing completely to actually feel it leaving your shoulders and neck and back and heart.

I go back to work on Monday after taking my kiddos to their first day of school for the new year.  I’m looking forward to the day.  Very much.  Which includes going back to work.

I haven’t said that in a while.

Come check out some of our pics from Hawaii by following me on Instagram, or just searching for the hashtag: #BSinHawaii.

Mahalo!

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Week thirty-one of fun & crazy

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Bo on the Go!

We start out with last Sunday, when we had the triplet cousins over the house for the weekend.

That day, I found out my brother’s suburban that he left me to take the triplets to the church LOCKED when all the doors were closed and the keys were in the ignition.  The car was ON, running with AC, so don’t think I’m a bad auntie, but it was a terrifying 20-minutes waiting for triple A to show up. The triplets seemed fine.  I almost vomited.

My brother picked up his kids, and let me know that he keeps a key hidden under the vehicle because he’s done it before too….

That would have been nice to know BEFORE SUNDAY!

Anyway, the entire weekend was great being with them, and they watched Bo on the Go from Netflix.  (How can one NOT have Netflix nowdays?)

My big one moved up in swim class!

My oldest moved up in swim class this week!

 Monday’s are swim class for my two oldest.  The biggest of the little people got moved up to another class, which also means I had to change the time.  Oh well, at least he knows how to swim.  They have this neat ritual where the swimmers who move up in their levels get a medal and ring big bells.  It’s all very exciting and a good way to celebrate in a 30-second time frame.

My shadow at one of my project sites.

My shadow at one of my project sites.

I took this photo on one of the roads we were chip sealing.  I put this photo on Instagram, where I go into detail about how my job is probably going to change.  It was hard at first to grasp this possibility, but as the week went on, people were praying for me, and I kept analyzing it and mulling over the possibilities, I’m ready for a big <secret> meeting next week that will be a change in my life, no matter what the powers that be tell us.

I am a realist you know.  This is as real as it gets.

To my children: Jobs don’t stay still.  You need to acknowledge that people who run businesses and are in management can do what they need to survive and thrive.

I just hope it’s the right thing to do.  That’s where I’m struggling.  I don’t trust the management where I’m at.  I don’t leave though because the job is a good one, and I don’t need the drama of changing things, unless I can’t handle the people that I work with.  So far, that’s been a blessing.  The people that surround me are reasonable and decent.  Management, eh, that’s just a different story all together.

 HWYQUEEN

I think one of the coolest things about working in the field is to meet very interesting people.  The owner of this license plate is a female traffic control person, who stands at the beginning or end of a project and helps direct traffic.  She stands almost all day in the hot sun, and I can’t even imagine the stories she would have to tell of her adventures as a female in a male dominated industry and she’s not even an Engineer!  At least I get to go home every night.  On this project, she and her fellow crew members live in hotels during the week, something I DO NOT ENVY at all.

It truly makes me feel blessed.

My oldest left us for the first time ever with his grandma to go see his cousins.  I only have the one photo that was sent to me from grandma.  These are the times though that I know he won’t forget.

Breakfast with the cousins away from mom & dad. =)

Breakfast with the cousins away from mom & dad. =)

Beautiful tomatoes from our garden!

Beautiful tomatoes from our garden!

These beauties came off our Roma tomato plant in our urban garden from our backyard.  I planted our seeds late for our San Marzano plants, but this was a purchased organic plant from the store.

We made my mom’s recipe of salsa, which I haven’t made in over a year, at least.

This is another one of those things I hope to post on the blog someday, but until then, here’s photos of some of the ingredients.

salsa ingredients

Opened up the new watermelon knife this week!

Opened up the new watermelon knife this week!

I finally opened up my new watermelon knife I received as a prize from Instructables for winning a contest last year.  (Don’t judge me for not opening it.)

 

Cutting the watermelon with a watermelon knife is incredibly easy.

Cutting the watermelon with a watermelon knife is incredibly easy.

I tried making watermelon jelly, again, and it still came out runny.  I will get this recipe right before the end of the summer!

I give props to the makers of watermelon knives.  You don’t know how nice it is to have one, until you have one.

As for the jelly, well, I’m still working on it.  The recipe seems so easy, yet I can’t get it to stay solid for the life of me and I think it’s all about the reduction of it.

The last thing we did for the week was go to my uncle’s house for a family get-together.  Like my husband reminded me, we will not regret spending time with family.  He’s so wise.  Even if there’s ten-million other things to do.

Family time fun.

Having fun with the family is time we will not regret.

Keep it real friends!


How We Made Our Fairy Garden

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DIY Fairy Garden for moms & daughtersOn my best days, I do crafts with my children.

Some crafts, as we all know, require patience, time, and a certain amount of creativity – but this is especially true when working with children.

My daughter is five years old as I write this blog post.  She and I spent some time together planning, finding pieces for and putting together the Fairy Garden pictured in this blog post.

As with most things, she had asked me weeks ago to create a fairy garden with her and in my kind-of “oh I hope she forgets about it” attitude, she continued to ask me to make one with her and in a slow work week, it finally happened.

My first stop (as with most projects) is Pinterest.

I think on a Wednesday evening, I sat her down at my computer and typed in “fairy garden.”

I ended up pinning a link from Homedit: Magical Fairy Garden Designs.

On Thursday we went to the craft store and picked out various odds and ends for the fairies to have as part of the little garden area.  The store I took her too had a huge clearance on Spring items, so the most expensive thing was the birdhouse she picked out for the fairies to live in.

She painted the birdhouse with her favorite colors and of course, “colors that the fairies like” as she told me.  I have glitter paint from a previous project, and she added that over the dried colors over the next couple days.

Painting the fairy house At some point in the week I took my daughter to the local garden/hardware store and purchased a small six-pack of Scottish Moss.  I re-used an 12-inch diameter pot that I had been keeping around and we already had the soil.

Moss & Pot

We started the process by adding the painted fairy house to the dirt area first.

place the large objects

Next we placed the moss around the house.

remove the mossplace moss

My daughter used her fingers to dig up a spot for the moss prior to placing it.

The next step was to place the odds and ends we found at the craft store.

The fence was placed first, around the house.

The fence was placed first, around the house.

My daughter placed the other accessories for the fairy garden in various places, including an ice chest (my favorite) and a lantern.

My daughter placed the other accessories for the fairy garden in various places, including an ice chest (my favorite) and a lantern.

I think the best thing about my daughter placing all the accessories was that her idea of what a home would look like came shining through.  She didn’t want bugs or butterflies per-Se, but she liked the ladybugs on the teeter-totter. She also liked the ice chest and picked out a ceramic fairy so that the “real fairies” know it’s safe to go in there.

I needed to do this with her.

~~~ I just didn’t know I needed to do this with her until after it was complete. ~~~

Fairy House Close-UpWe added the sign that fairies were welcome into the moss so it could stand up on it’s own.

I am so thankful that I took the time to create the garden with her.  She’s five.  It’s a hard thing for me to remember in my late 30’s what it’s like to be with my mom, let alone remember when I was five what it was like to be told “No, sorry honey. We can’t afford to do that” or “I don’t have the time.”

I made the time to do this with her and I’m so glad I did.

Blessings to those who read this.  I hope you can make your own. 😉


Week twenty-eight of Fun and Crazy

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Crafting with my friends in my newly finished craft room.

Crafting with my friends in my newly finished craft room.

Oh what a wonderful week it’s been.

It’s a been a while since I posted on this blog and I think I finally figured out why.

I’m a person who “does things.” Out of the five love languages, mine is “actions” and to me, I am really happy and have joy when I have accomplished something, made something, and something got done that may not have if I didn’t put the effort into it.

A blog is an interesting mix of “doing things” but not seeing (or touching, or feeling) the results of it.  I try not to be obsessed over it anyway.  Sure there are ways to see traffic to the site, look to see if people bought anything from affiliate links, and how many people engage your content, but the tangible result is difficult to feel the love that I pour out into the pages.

But -Here I am.  Posting for my children because they are my ‘Why’ I do things that I do anyway.


My theme for the week: I learned quite a bit about myself and my life.

  • I learned it’s really hard to work from the house.  My husband works out of the house and as many times as I have been secretly jealous of him, It’s difficult to do on summer break when my kids are home.  I tried it this week, and let’s just say, it’s hard for me to get anything productive done.
  • I learned my daughter’s love language this week.  It’s ‘touch.’ I have no doubt now if I did before.  She hangs on my husband and I like we’re monkey bars.  She tried kissing me on my arm and even though she’s my daughter it totally gave me the willies.  Ya, now I know.
  • I learned that my husband is an amazing meat-cooker.  He won a meat contest over at Instructables for the best rib recipe and I am excited about getting shipped meat from Pat La Frieda Meat Purveyors.  We’re kind of nervous about the meat being shipped to California from New Jersey, but here’s hoping it’ll make and I’ll keep you posted.
  • On Sunday the 5th, I re-learned how to jog in my neighborhood.  My personal trainer told me to try jogging for 30-second bursts, walking a bit, and the jog again for 30-more seconds.  In the beginning of my first mile, when I tried to run, it felt like my feet were lead.  I jogged and walked for a total of 45-minutes, for a distance of 3.2 miles.  It was difficult on my lungs, my legs felt like jello when I got home, but at the same time, I did it and it felt great.

So many things happened this week, as they usually do.

My husband cooked a tri-tip in the Traeger smoker overnight.  It was surprisingly good.  It was covered in sage and a few other spices, as we are on a low-carb eating plan right now.

pre-smoked tri-tip on the Traeger

Pre-smoked tri-tip on the Traeger

overnight smoked tri-tip

Overnight smoked tri-tip with sage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My kiddos had a great week making crafts, going to swim lessons, and we went on a spur-of the moment trip up the hill to try out the Jeep. (More on that below.)

DeAndrasCrafts Kids Making crafts

DeAndrasCrafts Kids making crazy glove people crafts.I lost another pound, bringing my total for the past 14-weeks to 23 pounds lost.

On Thursday, I had a few of my friends over to make some mosaic necklaces.  I hope to get that up on the blog soon!

My princess painted her fairy house for her fairy garden.  We finished that on Sunday and you can see the result here: How We Made Our Fairy Garden.Mosaic Necklace w Card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ended up going on a four-wheeling trip with some friends on Saturday.  A spur of the moment trip for us is anything planned in a week.  We went up a run called Bald Mountain and you can see Shaver Lake from the top of the run as shown in one of the photos.  It was awesome and feel free to follow me on Instagram to see the longer captions of some of the photos below.

The kids (my three plus one extra) played on rocks as the vehicles got unloaded from trailers.

The kids (my three plus one extra) played on rocks as the vehicles got unloaded from trailers.

 

As the Jeep sits in the background, my oldest shows me the difference between deciduous trees and coniferous trees.

As the Jeep sits in the background, my oldest shows me the difference between deciduous trees and coniferous trees.

You can see I'm wearing one of the pendents I made at the party! We took this selfie as the first time breaking the Jeep in for our family.

You can see I’m wearing one of the pendents I made at the party! We took this selfie as the first time breaking the Jeep in for our family.

On the Bald Mountain Run, there is an area people stop to see if they're vehicle will get up V-rock.

On the Bald Mountain Run, there is an area people stop to see if they’re vehicle will get up V-rock.

The top of Bald Mountain 4-wheeling run is an amazing view!  Shaver Lake is in the background.

The top of Bald Mountain 4-wheeling run is an amazing view! Shaver Lake is in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here’s the thing about our weekly round-ups – it’s the best memories.  That’s what I want my kiddos to remember when they’ve grown.  If there’s one thing I learned from my mother passing away, it’s that I remember <almost> all the good things.  You don’t think of that when you have to go through the bad stuff, but when you have good things in life, I really believe you have to remember them.

Maybe the hard stuff teaches us, but the good stuff is what needs to be remembered.

My hope is that when my children are old enough to read this blog, they realize how fun their childhood was.  How special little events were (and are as they are happening.)

A certain amount of family togetherness happens that’s hard to describe quite frankly, when you don’t have TV or the internet to rely on.  I’ve talked about this before when going camping, and going 4-wheeling is just about the same thing.  It also opens their world to new people that they wouldn’t have another opportunity to come in contact with unless they share a common thing like 4-wheeling.  All this stuff is learned somewhere, right?

I hope everyone has a great week coming up and as always, thanks for reading!

I get all my jeans and my children’s jeans from Old Navy.


My Bucket List

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bucket list pic 3-2015You know those blog posts that start off with “When I was a little girl…?”

This is one of those blog posts so get ready –

When I was a little girl, I would dream of marrying a rich man.

No kidding.  I knew I would work, I knew I wanted to be a mom of two boys, I knew God and my mom loved me. (And yes, that means I really wasn’t sure about my dad or my brother, but that’s another story.)

I would tell my mom that he would be tall and handsome, and he would be wealthy so I wouldn’t have to worry about money ever again.

Those truly innocent dreams of my 5 through 9 year old self were a reflection of how I envisioned my life to be easier, not to have to worry like my mother, and to have a man who loved me and took care of me.

The last one in that list was an actual thing that I could see my mom struggling with. My father didn’t spend quality time with us the way fathers are supposed to, and I am the classic-text-book case of not having a father that loved his wife, did not take care of his family and was only there part-time because of selfishness and insecurities.

I could have written that textbook of the problems that come from not having a father around, but, as I’ve stated in previous posts, he’s gotten better the older he gets and will do almost anything he can for his grandchildren.

To quickly finish the story, my husband is the man of my dreams.

He and I got married young (19 and 20 years old,) and we first lived in a one bedroom studio apartment with second-hand furniture, a 16-inch black and white television, and a card table that we used to eat on.  Those were some of the greatest memories of my entire life.  I remember eating lots of potatoes, because I am not a great cook and because they were so inexpensive and I remember the love we felt back then between us because we didn’t have anything else.

My husband and I both graduated college, got good jobs, have purchased homes and he does well selling rubber stamps on remarks.rubbermarks.com.  Please feel free to check them out for custom rubber stamps of pretty much anything you could imagine.  We are very proud of that website and they are having a give-away this week with ten (10) ways to enter! Update: The giveaway is over, but check them out anyway! 😉

Remarks GiveawaySo that intro brings you to where I am at now.  When I was little, my bucket list consisted of marrying an amazing man, owning a home, having children and serving the Lord.

What happens when you do all that?

What happens when you try to plan?

What’s next…..


This entire subject is a bit difficult to talk about for me.
At the end of her life, I would often ask my mom the question: “What did you expect?” and that question would come when she and I were at an impasse of how I had to take time off from work to take her to a doctor’s appointment, or to the store late in the evening when I wanted to be at home with all three of my kids and my husband.  I would usually ask her that question after she told me that she was “sorry” I had to take her places.

She never actually answered that question.

I kind of wish she did.  I would have been blessed by the answer to know if she planned to marry another man, if she wanted to get back together with my father, or if she really thought her children would always take care of her.

I would tell her often, “This is the way it’s supposed to be” and I would tell her that because I believed it, and I knew if she heard me say it, it was going to make her feel a little bit better about her need for someone to take care of her.

<Big sigh.> I miss that woman but I’m glad she’s free.

Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.

Psalm 40:4-5

The bible tells me that the Lord has plans for us, and I truly believe that.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalms is my favorite book of the bible because of its wisdom BUT it also has a ton of warnings.

Psalm 94:11New International Version (NIV)

The Lord knows all human plans;
he knows that they are futile.

I think one of the hardest things to do as I have gotten older is to begin dreaming again.

Many times as a believer I’ve been challenged with the choice to do one thing for myself or do something for someone else in need and one of the greatest examples of this for any parent is usually things you do for your children.

And those are the moments for me that the Lord whispers in my ear that he is my parent too.  He wants me to feel the love of a parent sacrificing everything and anything so that I can enjoy this life.  I now know, and feel that it’s okay to dream again.

I’ve gotten better at dreaming and my screen shot above is my proof.  I started a bucket list on my cell phone. (I can’t get the credit for doing it as it was a friends idea first.) 

There’s a few more ideas in my head, including seeing a volcano and lava flow in real life, which our family hopes to accomplish in August in Hawaii.  I also want to start a Pinterest board with my bucket list items, including ones we accomplish.

My understanding of “bucket lists” is to think of things you really want to do before you leave this earth.  There’s a tinge of excitement that I have when I see this list, but with all the cautiousness of a well-trained Christian woman who knows that our time is short and we do not know when the Lord will take it from us.

I’m not writing this blog post for other people to read and have some profound moment of clarity.  I’m writing it for myself and my children, so that they know that if I make it to retirement age and beyond, I did everything I can to 1. serve the Lord, 2. take care of them, and 3. enjoy the life I’ve been given.  Three things my mom taught me and personally lived.

I believe there is a balance and I know the Lord wants us to enjoy his creation (lava flows), what others have done through his/her talents (Michelangelo’s art), and being a steward of the money we earn that is really His to begin with (hence, giving, giving, giving.)

With however much time I have left on this earth I want to live it to the fullest.  I pray and hope continuously that my family and I get the chance to do the things that please the Lord, as He is what it’s all really about anyway.

Is there anything on your bucket list?

Do you or did you have a hard time making a bucket list too?

Have a great week and continue to be and feel blessed friends.