Making Prizes & Gift Baskets to Raise Money for Camp

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One of my more underused talents is crocheting.

I say “underused” because I found myself this year realizing that I don’t donate enough of my creations to further society, as I counted up the amount of hats I made last year that were all for me and my children, and was almost disgusted with myself.  It seems silly as I type it out, but it was quite the revelation that I came to this year that I don’t donate items and I even know why.

If I had to guess “why” – I have an overwhelming sense that my item won’t be ‘loved’ or that the individual who receives it won’t know how long it took to make, or won’t appreciate the work.

In other words, I’m concerned about myself.

Psh.  What am I thinking?

I have begun using up small amounts of yarn to create Peyton Hearts, as I describe in a blog post titled On My Hook – Peyton’s Heart Project.

I’m also telling myself that I don’t care what happens to my items, as I’m using a Lord given talent to get rid of my yarn hoard, and without any of my own doing, I hope that the things I create are going to further the kingdom in some way.

So – I’m tasking my self this year to make 12-crocheted items, and gift 12-homemade things, as part of My Year of Twelves goals, and in that task, I am willing to cross-over the crocheted items, if they are given as gifts.

This post is about the items I intend on making for giving to a non-profit camp that my husband and I are involved with.  They have a yearly golf tournament and asked members of the board (which includes my husband) to give prizes, gift cards, or other donated items as giveaways for the golfers and attendees.

Now, my husband and I don’t golf.  I will admit, I have a certain perception of what a ‘golfer’ at one of these functions will probably look like.

But, when my husband suggested that his wife crochet a few items, the other board members (about nine in all) were all for me creating and preparing items for the March tournament date.

So here’s my plan on what I will be making for the give-aways for this charity.

Coffee Gift Basket – Two coffee cozies and cups and two 1/2-pound bags of home-roasted coffee.

Whirly Pop Roasted CoffeeMy husband roasts our own coffee at home occasionally, and it can be a labor of love to roast the coffee beans.

I made up my new go-to pattern for the simple coffee cozies and bought two $2 re-usable cups from Starbucks to put them around.  I’ll try to post the coffee cozy pattern on an separate post.

Plant and Crocheted Plant Hanger Gift-Hanging Basket

The plant is one that I rooted from my existing Golden Pothos.  I’m also thinking about including the device/components that could hang the plant, but I haven’t decided that yet.  Not including the yarn cost, this one cost us $15 for the 10″pot.

The yarn is called Red heart Cordial.  I ordered it from the JoAnn’s website last year and have yet to do the hangers I planned making from it.

The pattern is from Vicki Howell’s blog.  She uses t-shirt yarn, but I found this cordial-type yarn works up beautifully and is just as strong and stretchy.  Again, if I have time, I’ll post the photos to make this quick gift.

A Couple Crocheted Hats

The pattern I used to create the pink hat (already made) is from here: Girl on Fire Beanie by Wichecrafts.

If I have time, the hat I want to create will be similar to this: Koala Earflap Hat.  I have the yarn type to make this hat, but I’m unsure at the moment if I’m willing to pay the $5 for the pattern, or come up with one myself that is similar.  I think it would make a great giveaway gift to the grandparent of a little one….

Scrubby & Dishcloths

Gift-Flower ScrubberI know, I know – I kind of think they’re cheesy too but they’re trendy right now.  REALLY!  And who doesn’t need dishcloths and a cute scrubber.  I made the flower pattern up in my head for the scrubber, and I’m sure free dishcloth patterns are plentiful over at Free Crochet Patterns.  I already have the cotton yarn, so it’s just a matter of making them!

If I really want to get creative, maybe I’ll include an apron for the soap bottle too!

I know there are ten-million other things I could create from yarn.  These are things that I think are both cool to get and for the most part, useful.

Hopefully they will be appreciated…but that’s not why I’m making them now!

Have a great week!  I’ll keep you posted on what gets finished.



Breaking Down My Goals – Social/Blog

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Out of all the goals I made this year, the most challenging will be in this area – Social/Blog.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote out and put out for the whole world to see my Year of Twelves – meaning twelve goals of twelve things each.

I’ve gone over eight goals so far in the areas of Intellectual, Physical, Spiritual and Family.

For the Social/Blog area of my life, I intend on completing the following goals for the year:

  • Publish 12 blog posts a month.

  • Tackle 12 crocheting projects, either started or new.

  • Create 12 handmade gifts.

Notes on Posting My Blog Posts

  • Probably the most difficult and time consuming thing I will do this year is post twelve blog posts a month.  I posted a total of seventeen blog posts for the entire year in 2015, with four drafted but not completed.  This is a big change from the previous year.
  • Much of my projected posts for the year will be on events on my life, as I repeat once again, that I write this blog for my children, that they are able to remember how awesome their lives were.
  • I really want to throw in more photos and links of crocheting projects I’m both working on and have completed.

    This is a coffee cozy for a co-worker. The last thing to do for this gift is add his name.

    This is a coffee cozy for a co-worker. The last thing to do for this gift is add his name.

  • I’m going to focus on shortening my posts and writing more of them, rather than try to squeeze in so many ideas into one post.
  • And lastly, I’m not going to concern myself with the advertising as much as I have been in the past.  If I write a blog post and don’t get to include an advertisement at the bottom or within the text, I’m still going to push “schedule.”  (And potentially update it later if I have time. 😉 )

Tackling Twelve Crocheting Projects

The best thing about this goal is that I have a reason to crochet.

I would love to be able to use the excuse to people who see me crocheting something, “Oh, yes. I’m crocheting because it’s a resolution to get this project done.”

Here’s just a few things of what I have in the works right now:

  • A coffee cozy for a patient co-worker.  (I promised him I would make him one last year.)
  • A tiger for my youngest son out of the book “Edward’s Menagerie” by Kerry Lord. Edward's Menagerie Book
  • And an Elsa-hair hat (Frozen inspired) for my daughter.  There is this great pattern from Hopeful Honey that I hope to complete very soon.

This doesn’t even get into the stand-by projects that I have laying around.  There’s still three different afghans I haven’t completed that are sitting in bags in the garage.

Oh and I really wanted to get a “temperature scarf” started for 2016.  You know, because of how cool that would be.  I found a great chart through Pinterest, which led me to Cindy Kuo Designs in Ravelry.  She has a knitting pattern, but I would just do a single crochet line for each day.

As I write this, I’m starting to realize that I might have a problem….

Bah – Everyone needs a hobby right? 😉

Create Twelve Handmade Gifts

There may be some cross-over between the crocheting goal of 12-things and this goal.

I’m also going to include gifts to my children, or at least projects that I’ve declared I wanted to do for them for a while now.

This is most of the small toys collected over the past year or so. I'm hoping to get them and some yarn pompoms on wreaths for my kiddos.

This is most of the small toys collected over the past year or so. I’m hoping to get them and some yarn pompoms on wreaths for my kiddos.

I know I pinned a project a while back ago that I have all the materials for and just haven’t done – creating wreaths out of old, small toys they don’t play with anymore.  If I can accomplish this, that’s three things down and more “stuff” moved around or even gone through and gotten rid of for the home.

Win, win, win.

There’s also this really great project I’ve been putting off for years for my grandmother-in-law.  Once again, I have the majority of the components to make it, but the time consuming part of going through photos hasn’t been completed yet.  Hopefully this is the year I get that picture wreath done.

If there’s anything I’ve learned for the past thirty-nine years of my life, it’s that I have way to many projects to do and not enough time.  I’m hoping by writing out my intentions for many of these projects, I’ll be able to finish them, not only to give things away, but to get rid of so much stuff just waiting to be let go of in my home.

May you have a crafty rest-of-the-week!

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My 2015 Goals Wrap-Up

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2015 Goals Wrap-UpOn December 31, 2014, I wrote a relatively short blog post on my 2015 goals.

Here on December 30, 2015, I’m writing my notes-to-self about the success of my goals.

My 2015 Goals:

My one word is: gifts.

What I really want in 2015 is: go to Hawaii.

What I really need in 2015 is: to organize and simplify my stuff.

What I will share in 2015 is: my talents and gifts.

In 2015 I will succeed at: reading 12 books.

So how did I do?

In August I gave a brief recap in this blog post: August Goals.

The first goal: Go to Hawaii.

  • Check.

The second goal: Organize and simplify my stuff.

  • Not checked off and we’re going to move on from this one….  It’s being added as a more trackable goal in 2016.

The third goal: Share my talents and gifts.

  • This one is hard to put into a check/not checked category.
  • Over the course of the year, I think I did pretty well with using my talents and gifts although I admit that I used up most of my superpower when my mom passed away.  My brother and I threw her a fantastic memorial service, what I believe of “just like she would have wanted” and that time of my life took a toll on my capabilities.
  • My husband and I felt like we survived throughout this past year more than thrived, and again, that’s something I want to change in 2016.  Stuff got done, vacations were taken, children had birthday parties, no body got seriously hurt, and that in itself, takes talent.

The fourth goal, and what I thought was going to be the hardest: read twelve books.

In my previous blog post to this one, I described the eleven (11) books I read throughout the year.  So I didn’t hit the twelve (12) number, but I also didn’t include the five or so small books in that total that I read with my daughter from the Fashion Fairies Series.  They’re cute for her age, but really, I just couldn’t bring myself to count them as part of the total.

I’ve got big dreams for this next year.  Stay tuned for more goals/dreams/aspirations for 2016 and I hope you will join me!

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August Goals

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Welcome to my first post about goals since January.

I re-read that post and am pretty happy with this update!

Here are the goals listed in the January post:

My one word is:

gifts.

What I really want in 2015 is:

go to Hawaii.

What I really need in 2015 is:

to organize and simplify my stuff.

What I will share in 2015 is:

my talents and gifts.

In 2015 I will succeed at:

reading 12 books.

Here’s my update:

My gifts as a mother who loves her children and uses Pinterest to cook is still going strong.  I also started a garden after my mother passed and it’s feeding us and our friends plenty of tomatoes and a few carrots.

Carrots & August GoalsMy gift of compromising for the sake of others “feelings” is also going strong.

My gift of crocheting is being underutilized right now, but I sent one blanket to a charity and got rid of some yarn in the process.  That’s a solid win in my opinion.  I still want to get some U.F.O.’s done though.  That needs to finish up the rest of the year for sure.

I can report that I have organized my craft room!  Simplified?  Bah!  At least I can say that I don’t go to the craft store every week like I have in other years.  Another win!

Finally, my main concern in the January post was about reading twelve books.

With this blog post, I’m summing up the books I’ve read this year, and yes, I know I have some work to do for this goal.

With my nine year old child, we completed together the following books from The Chronicles of Narnia Series – “The Boy and the Horse,” “Prince Caspian,” “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” and “The Silver Chair,” all written by C.S. Lewis.

My oldest and I read the first two books last year, starting with “The Magician’s Nephew” and then “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”  (I’m not counting those for the year’s count, of course.)

The entire Narnia Series is amazing.  I have been not only engaged, but have cried with my son, been able to explain things that I as the parent need to explain, and have a new found appreciation for books that have been on my own list to read, but had no idea how beautifully well written they could have ever been.

My favorite out of the entire series has been Prince Caspian, as the book has a depth of love, trust, faith and hope that abounds through the pages.  We are currently reading the last of the seven books, titled The Last Battle.  The entire series has been magical, and I look forward to re-reading them to my two younger ones when they get older.

Another book I count as read this year, again with my oldest, is titled The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes. 
A very simple, realistic type book, my oldest was probably a year too old to have this book read to him, but it was certainly a fun book to read because it was such a sweet, normal-child type of book.  The book reminded me that it’s in the daily life that we really have adventures.  We, as a people in general, don’t look at them that way though.  We think that getting a babysitter or going out to dinner couldn’t possibly an adventure, but in reality, it’s how we look at the experience as how exciting and fun it really can be.  My oldest was able to take an AR test (something our school system uses to get children to read more) and got 100% passing after we finished the book.  An awesome bonus.

My total of books read all the way through with my nine-year old is five (5).

FIVE BOOKS! YAY!  While that may not seem like much to others, I am truly excited to be able to report that.  We’ll be kicking out the last Narnia Series book probably within the month, and have to agree on what to read next.  I’m leaning toward the Roald Dahl Collection, but we MIGHT give the Lord of the Rings Series a try next.  I’ll talk about it with him as his next school year starts in late August and I think he’ll get more out of the Roald Dahl books than the Lord of the Rings in fourth grade.

I’ve been working on a book for over a year now as it takes space up in my crochet bag to read at swim lessons and other waiting rooms of the sort.  I have Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze’s Smart Money Smart Kids book that I’m just over three-quarters of the way read.  The book reads pretty quickly, but I’ve crammed other important books into it’s place over the past eight months of the year.  I looked back to when I reported first reading this book, and I’m slightly embarrassed to say it was the first week of this year.  Oh well, that just tells me that I have some more reading to do.

One of the books that has been crammed into my crochet bag was given to me by my trainer, titled Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally, by Dr. Kelly Starrett with T. J. Murphy. 
While looking at the book (when writing this blog post,) I gave witness to the fact that if I just put in about one more hour of reading on it, I’ll be done with it and can utilize the exercises in the book to help me run.

Goal No. 1 for August: Finish reading the book, Ready to Run.

Lastly, just this last Sunday prior to this post, our teaching minister challenged the congregation to read one or more books as a “book club” for the entire church body.  I picked up two books that day, one titled Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? by Brian D. McLaren.  I haven’t opened that book as of this blog post, but the title intrigues me and I certainly want to learn more about it’s tag line of “Christian identity in a multi-faith world.”

The second book I picked up was recommended by one of my friends, and reads more like a novel than a “church” book.  It’s titled Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, by Nadia Bolz-Weber, and this book is not for the new Christ follower.

I’ve been a believer in Christ my entire life.  The author of the book Pastrix has a surprisingly similar upbringing in the Church of Christ, as I did, but that’s where the similarities end.  She has a funny, explicit, and often sad way of looking at things, but then again, don’t we all….

As I write this post, I am almost done reading the book Pastrix.  I picked it up on and it’s Wednesday.  I will finish it by next Sunday.  It’s that good.  It’s that well written.  And then I’m going to read it again and highlight all the points I agree with and may bring up in a future book club discussion.

Goal No. 2 for August: Finish the book, Pastrix.

Goal No. 3 for August: Begin the book Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?

Goal No. 4 for August: Continue to pray for good weather and safe passage to and from Hawaii.

I won’t be sharing when we’re leaving, but this is the month to get the one “goal” I listed as “what I really wanted” this year crossed off the list.

And finally, Goal No. 5 for August: Post at least five blog posts this month.

I feel like I’m cheating on this one a little, because I’ve already written two, (that’s including this one!) but it’s still a mighty goal for a full-time working mommy who does this for fun!

As always, I know I’ll get many things accomplished along the way this month and keep trying to complete projects.  But at least I’ve spelled them out!  Keep learning friends.  I hope you can check out many of the books I’ve been enjoying this year!


Word of the Year – 2015

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Word of the YearAbout the same time last year, I posted my word of the year (it was pro-active.)

The year went well with that as my “focus” word or the word that I wanted to use to remind myself what my purpose was and what I was trying to accomplish for the year, up until I hurt my knee in June.  That incident threw my whole world out of control.

And I’m all about control.

This year I’m changing my focus seemingly completely.  I prayed about my “purpose word” for this year and one word seemed to stick out of all the rest that were swimming around in my head.

I wanted to take the control out of the word for this year.  I want it to be about what the Lord wants for me.

I want it to be what the Lord has blessed me with and how I can use those blessings, aka gifts, to glorify him and to serve him better.

I also want to bless others with gifts.  Not just the physical kind, but the “presence” kind.

My time is very valuable to me.  I want to be intentional about giving it as a gift, even when I don’t think I can squeeze it into my busy schedule.

I hope to blog about my giving.  It’s all about being blessed and being able to bless others.

I picked Proverbs 18:16 as my verse of the year. Word-year-verse(NIV version)

Have you picked a verse or word of the year?

What do you want to accomplish next year?  What kind of purpose do you feel compelled or lead to do for the year?  Can you sum it up in one word?

I hope you try to pick one word too and please, feel free to share it with me!


Christmas Gifts for My Kiddos

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Believe me when I say, I am all about the home made gifts.  I love to crochet and I try to make gifts throughout the year for my family and friends that they can use and cherish as the handmade items they are.

However –

We also save money all year long to purchase gifts for our niece and nephews, as well as gifts for our children. We put money aside every month just for Christmas and it’s related expenses that inevitably come with having three children and a large tribe of people that invite us to white elephant gift parties.

For the most part, our children receive one gift from mom and dad, and those gifts are usually the “big” gifts.  We’ve given our children bikes, a Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler (a family gift) and our oldest received the Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection set one year, a $75 value when we purchased it years ago.  You get the idea right?

 My children usually know what they want.  We don’t write Santa a list, but I do take them to either Target or Toys-R-Us to get a solid idea, and my children have wish lists on Amazon for family to pick a gift that they really want.  It works for us and I am a realist.

Want to know my viewpoint on Santa?  Read it here: Our Christmas Countdown – Part 1

I get the whole idea that your presence is the present, but believe me when I say, my children love to get gifts for Christmas.

Real Kids - Real Wish Lists

 With that said, I bring to you my children’s top things they want this year.  I’ve been asked before by other grandparents what they can give their grandchildren.  This post is an extension to those questions, as I know there are probably others who want to get gifts that real kids want, not just suggestions made by adults on random gift-giving lists.

I’ll give you some toy/gadget ideas, but I also let you know what books my kids are into as well as movies for other ideas.


The rowdy 3-year old.

The rowdy 3-year old.

Our youngest is the dancer of the family.  He hears a song and begins to dance like no one is watching.

It’s awesome!

On his wish list this year is stuff mostly from movies and shows he’s watched recently enough to be burned into his memory.  There are also bigger things, that he probably won’t get, but I’d thought I list them anyway.

(Links will take you to Amazon.com, but many of the items can be found at Walmart.com, Target, some at Walgreens or other common American retailers.)

For the most part, he would like vehicles and things that make noises.  He also likes to watch movies over and over again and even though we try to read to him, he still has the attention span of a 3-year old, so he will sit for about 10-minutes tops.

(1) Buzz Lightyear (from the Toy Story Movies)

(2) Lightning McQueen R/C Racer (from the Cars Movies)

(3) Red, Pull-Back Fire Truck, who is the fire engine from the Cars Movies

Red, the fire engine from the Cars movies

Zoomer Dino – Available at Toys-R-Us or Amazon

(4) What he has asked for specifically, but will probably not receive: A Zoomer Dino

(5) He also wanted a Nerf gun (specifically a zombie blaster Nerf gun), but I think it was primarily because we told him he couldn’t have a Fart Blaster (from the Despicable Me movies.)

Books: Pretty much anything that makes noise or does something.  While at Toys-R-Us, he asked for this one: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Lights On, Lights Off!

Blue-Ray’s/DVD’s/Movies: We own many movies including both Despicable Me titles (he loves the purple minions!) and both Cars movies, which are two of his favorite series.  This year, we have Planes: Fire and Rescue and Monster’s University on his wish list.

Princess Pic-watermarkedOur princess usually gets what she wants because she’s the only girl on one side of the family, and the oldest girl on the other.  All of the grandmother’s love to shop for clothes for her and she loves beautiful dresses, Hello Kitty everything, and just like all other five-year old girls in America, is obsessed with Frozen. She has all the clothes she needs, enjoys crafts she can do by herself, colorful items and loves boots just like me.

The No. 1 thing she wants this year: Hello Kitty Stereo Boom Box

 (2)Pillow Pets® Glow Pets Rainbow Unicorn

(3) Disney Frozen, Toddler Dolls Gift Set

(4) A learning item that she was interested in was the Magformers Inspire 30 piece set

(5) The thing she asked for but probably won’t be getting this year: Hello Kitty Drum Set.

Books: Anything with strong girls in it is what she clearly has been wanting to read about and aloud to.  She can’t quite read chapter books, but we have been reading Junie B. Jones books together and she asked for Pinkalicious: Teeny Tiny Pinky Library books.  The other set of books on her wish list are Whatever After 5 Book Set Pack. Those books are the kind to be read together with a parent, so life topics can be discussed in the home.

 Blue-Ray’s/DVD’s/Movies: We surprisingly don’t own many of the Disney “older” movies that I am familar with that she has watched on Netflix or we rented.  Those movies include Mary Poppins, Fantasia, and Beauty and the Beast.

Lastly, there’s our oldest – A nine-year old boy who thinks he knows everything and is amazed when he learns something new.

RJ Pic-WatermarkedRight now, my oldest is into video games, specifically Mine Craft, Terraria and all things Lego.

He’s asked for an Ipad Mini for his birthday, and has saved and spent all his money on one.  With that said, the first thing he asked for was Itunes gift cards.

(2) Nerf Zombie Strike Sling Fire Blaster

(3) His present from his parents (don’t tell him if you know him please!) is a Disney Infinity 2.0 Marvel Super Heroes Video Game Starter Pack – PlayStation 3.  We own a PS3 so if you get this for someone or your own child, ensure it’s for the gaming system the child owns.  He would also be happy with additional Infinity Characters.

From the movie Big Hero 6, a rocket fist and mask is on the wish list for the 9 year old.


(4) From the new movie, Big Hero 6, he’s asked for a Big Hero 6 Baymax Rocket Fist and Mask

(5) Combining two of the things he’s into right now, any one of the Lego Minecraft Set (s) are also on his list.

 Books: He’s really into the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Series.  It’s definitely meant for older children, but I’ve read and watched the movies and it’s nothing he can’t ask us questions about and thankfully, he has. I have been reading The Complete Adventures of the Borrowers to him for the past year, and we are almost done with the final book.  He has surprisingly enjoyed the classic stories, and as mentioned before, we have been able to talk about various things that happen in the book that don’t happen anymore because of when the book was originally written.

 Blue-Ray’s/DVD’s/Movies: On his wish list this year was Madagascar 3, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy.  I watched the Guardians movie with him in the theater and I think I’m getting it for Christmas, but you get the idea….

Anyway, I hope this list helps someone!  Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and remember the reason of the season this year!