Running in Disneyland – A New Bucket List Item

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Darth Vader Bucket from DisneylandIf you know me personally, and have known me long enough, you know that I am a Star Wars fanatic.

Meaning, more than just a fan and probably more obsessed with Star Wars than most people on the planet and certainly, probably more than you.

Before children, and before I used to have the daily “necessity” chores of cooking, cleaning, running, getting things prepared the night before, etc., I would come home from work (and even before that, college classes,) plug the VHS tape of Star Wars, (later of course the Star Wars Trilogy DVD’s) and watch it (or run it in the background) until I would go to sleep.

My loving husband has put up with this obsession for over 20-years, and has succumbed to the loving & supportive role of bringing balance to my insatiable appetite for the latest thing in Star Wars.  If it weren’t for him, I would be going to comic-cons fully dressed in a cosplay outfit of my own creation, and happily spending money on the latest Star Wars toy, comic book – whatever.

But alas, reality does set in, and although #coffeeismylovelanguage, my heart truly loves to hear “Let’s watch Star Wars mommy!”

When George Lucas sold the Star Wars franchise to the Disney machine, my heart broke.

I know, it sounds stupid.

It wasn’t shocking or anything, because Lucas had made it clear that he didn’t only want to be known for Star Wars, wanted to run his company, his way and was getting yelled at and ridiculed for the Episode 1-3 movies.  He also had stated that he didn’t want to make any more Star Wars movies, so I knew there was a possibility that the books were going to be the only way to find more about the Universe and it’s hero’s.

But, it was a bit scary because the mouse I had grown to despise from my youth (I have many issues) had now entered my life in a completely unfamiliar way.

I had to become a Disney fan in order to maintain my love of Star Wars as I did before.

I knew the new movies that were planned were going to be good.

But I also knew that Disney’s mission statement includes making money, and I have always had issues with that on a deep, emotional level, tied to my mother and being poor when I was young and all kinds of relatively insignificant things to the majority of the population, except to me.

But ~

I had to get over it.

Companies change and companies will do almost anything to make money.

I had to put all my personal issues aside, so that I could become a Star Wars Disney fan.

I’m looking forward to the new Star Wars land opening up.

LA Times put up a great article about the new Star Wars land in Disneyland.

Here’s an slightly interactive map of the new Star Wars land in Disneyland too.

I’m looking forward to the next movie – Rogue One and the next installment of the Star Wars series, Episode 8.  It will be dark, amazing, and I will buy movies, and merchandise, and I will run in the half marathon offered at Disneyland with the Star Wars theme.

Oh yes, I will run.  And I have paid for the privilege to run inside Disneyland in January 2017.  In fact, I’m looking forward to it.

The training plan offered by runDisney is 20-weeks long for an “experienced” runner (hah!) like myself.  But the real kick-in-the-pants part of their training plan, is that the longest run is 17-miles.

Seventeen miles.

SEVENTEEN MILES!

I know I can do it you guys.

And because I’m a glutton for punishment, I signed up for the 6.25 mile race on Saturday and the 13.1 mile race on Sunday.  It’s called the Rebel Challenge and you get an extra medal for running both races.

Yup.

Why in the Lord’s holy name,” you may be thinking….

I’m doing it for the medals. #medaljunkie

I’m going to try to do it for the satisfaction of getting it done. #Ds40Before40

I’m doing it because I believe I can. #DreamingofDisneyRuns

It’s Star Wars.  It’s running through Disneyland.  It sounds so cool.  And I added it to my bucket list to check off.

There, I said it and wrote it down.  It’s a goal now, with a date and a plan and everything.

I leave you with this – the heart pounding “Celebration” trailer for Rogue One – the new movie in the Star Wars Universe that is coming out in December 2016.  To say I am “looking forward to it” is a complete and total understatement.  I have no words to describe how this clip makes me feel, other than, I feel like I’m a kid again ready to watch the next Star Wars movie in a theater.

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10 Character Coffee Cozy Patterns I’m Obsessed With

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Coffee Cozy Front In a previous blog post, I mentioned that I was making coffee cozies for a giveaway for one of our favorite camps we attend yearly.

Well, I also promised a pattern, which I really haven’t written down, but as always, intend to someday!

In the mean time, I wanted to showcase ten Character Coffee Cozy patterns I hope to make someday because of cuteness and because I can.  You know, that kind of thing.

I crochet (not knit!) so keep that in mind as you peruse this list. 

I am so obsessed with coffee cozies!  It has to be the simplicity of them but the overall cuteness of just having something handmade around something so important, like coffee.  (Hee hee….)

In all cases, I’ve put links to the patterns and given credit to the makers.  Please do not claim these patterns are your own and even better, if you make them, link up to Ravelry where I found them to show off YOUR amazing work.


Hello Kitty by Fancy That Notion

Hello Kitty free Coffee Cozy PatternShow off your work on Ravelry

SpongeBob Mug Cozy by Abandoned Llama SpongeBob Coffee Mug Cozy

Mickey Inspired Coffee Cozy by Wild and Wanderful

Mickey Mouse CozyShow off your work on Ravelry

Turtle Power Mug Cozy by Schmutzerella’s Crafts

turtle powerShow off your work on Ravelry

Owl Coffee Cozy by My Creative Nook

OwlCozy1Show off your work on Ravelry

Online Crochet Class

Sock Monkey Inspired Coffee Cozy by Yarnspirations

monkeys_mediumShow off your work on Ravelry

One for the latest craze: Poke’ Ball Coffee Cup Cozy Pattern by The Enchanted Lady Bug pokemon-pokeball-cozy-1

The Enchanted Lady Bug Blog is a must follow if you love Coffee Cozies like I do!  Make sure you check out her website where she has a Princess Leia Coffee Cozy and a Monster’s Inc. “Mike” Coffee Cozy.

Share your work on Ravelry

Minion Coffee Cozy Pattern by Weekend Pursuits

Minion from Weekend PursuitsShow off your work on Ravelry

 And then –  there are two more patterns that are not free, or are not available….

<Insert audience saying: “AWWWWWWE.”>

This adorable Angry Birds Coffee Cozy is just too perfect for certain people in my life.  I couldn’t find the pattern anywhere, and found the photo on Pinterest. full_2_18562_AngryBirdsCoffeeCozy_1

Have you seen The Angry Birds Movie yet?  I took my children to it and was surprisingly satisfied with it’s entertainment!

And finally, I absolutely love this (Jack Skellington themed) Nightmare Skull Coffee Cozy by Aunt Janet’s Designs on Craftsy.  It’s for sale for $4.99, and is truly a work of art.

Nightmare Skull Pattern for Sale

As always, I hope that this post gives you inspiration and please come follow my Coffee Cozy Obsession Board on Pinterest! If you found this post, I’m going to jump out on a limb and say that you like coffee cozies too, right? 😉

Have a great week filled with coffee and cute things!




Bucket List Check – Half Marathon Before 40

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DeAndrasCrafts finishes her halfUp until recently, I hadn’t had a bucket list.

Like, up to ~ last year ~ recently.

I knew I wanted to accomplish things, and many of those things had consisted of items most female Americans want like purchasing a house, marrying a great man, and having children.

But to say that I knew “what else” I wanted to do with my life ~ those moments of clarity didn’t come until my mother got really sick.  (Feel free to read the “Bucket List” post.  That’ll tell you more.)

But I digress.

I checked off one of my bucket list items recently and that was to run a half marathon before I turned 40-years old.

Done. DeAndrasCrafts Finished

Checked.

What’s next, right?


Well, let me tell you, if you haven’t read this blog before and you don’t know me personally, I’ve been training for running this race for 12-weeks. Feel free to read up on my running plan here: January Run Goal Update.

I’ve been waking up early to get run time in.  {See the hastag: #DsHalfMarathon on Instagram for my training progress in photos.}

I’ve been seemingly (at least it felt like I was) putting off everything else until I got this race done.  Blog posts, namely….

And now….

Now I’m writing a blog post to remind myself what I had to do to get this far.

I guess this blog post should be titled

Things people never tell you when you prepare to run a half marathon.

1. Be in the phase of learning again.

This is one of those things that is very telling of how you understand life.  It doesn’t matter how you learn, i.e. reading/writing (visual), audiotory, or tactile, “learning” the ins and outs about running is key to running and enjoying it.  Without learning about it, you may hit the wall hard, and not be able to recover from it.  Just remember this: If you don’t like something about it and don’t learn what to do to change it, there’s nothing that can help you.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

I spent the past 12-weeks teaching myself how to endure over 2-1/2 hours of running. Of how to eat.  Of how to step on my feet as I run.  I even had a time where I ran for the first time for 13.1 miles, just to get a feel for how it was going to be.

2.  Learn to wake up really early.

The moon is 'setting' on one of my early morning runs.

The moon is ‘setting’ on one of my early morning runs.

Whether you like it or not, running in the morning is way better than running at night.  Unless you don’t have a full-time job (I do) and can run during the day (I cannot) then running in the morning was so much easier than I anticipated.  I’ve done it both ways and learning to run in the morning is not only extremely efficient, but gets my day started, almost before I’ve truly woken up.

3.  Learn to go to the bathroom, really early.

This is something no-one may ever tell you.  It’s not “taboo” per-se, but nobody likes to talk about it either.  Being in the middle of a “long” run and having to go to the bathroom, like REALLY GO TO THE BATHROOM, is not only horrible, but could have been a deal breaker for me.  I mean like, I could have been traumatized by results of having to go number 2 if I didn’t learn how to do this.

4.  Your toes will look hideous.

Here are my bandaged up feet before the half marathon. Definitely something nobody told me about before I trained for a half.

Here are my bandaged up feet before the half marathon. Definitely something nobody told me about before I trained for a half.

Again, not something people normally share with you when you’re a runner.  I love me some pedicures, but after I began running, pedicures became a true necessity.  To pamper my feet and give myself some grace when it came to comfortable shoes was very new to me.  Flip flops now hurt to wear.  My callouses are starting to be noticeable.  I’ve given up “cute feet” for runners feet, and I’m okay with it.

5.  You may or may not lose weight.

I’m still working on this one.  Before I began training for the half marathon, I was running up to 6 miles and losing weight pretty steadily, about a 1/4-pound every week.  When I started doing my high mileage runs (7-miles or more at one time), I had to eat more (see the learning comment above) and I gained about three pounds back.  Mentally, this was difficult to take in at first.  I really wanted to see my high–mileage runs be a benefit to my weight loss, but that just wasn’t the case for me, and again, that’s okay.  I finished a half marathon and will be working on getting into a smaller size in the future.

6.  The mental game is real.

IMG_7184[1]Oh my goodness can I attest to this.

No one ever told me how hard it would be to convince my brain that I could push through the 9th-mile, let alone the 11th.  The best way to describe this (for me) was at the first half marathon race I ran, I hit the wall at mile nine.  You can see my splits and just know that my mind told my body I couldn’t do it anymore.  I wanted to quit.  I wanted to stop running and just walk.  I did stop running and just walk several times in the last four miles.  But I still finished, and will be working on getting under two and half hours for the next one….

7.  Finishing a half marathon is much like having a baby.

In my humble opinion, of course, this is probably the best way to describe running a half marathon and here’s why: I’m not sure I want to do it again. 

I got my moment of glory after I finished the race.

I “gave birth” (if you will) to my goal and not only were my expectations met, but they were exceeded by the challenge I was looking for and the pride that I wanted to feel after it was all done.

I’m not quite looking forward to the next one, yet.  (You probably understand this if you have at least one child.)  I’ve done it, and I’m not ready to commit to training for another half marathon.  I haven’t signed up for one, yet, and I haven’t really said that I want to do it again, yet.

I’ll be nursing my love of running for exercise for a while and maybe in the future consider “going for another one” – another half marathon, that is.

I’m sure I could add at least five more things to this list.  But, I’ll spare you the crazy and just let you know that I am so glad I did it!

I’m on day two of recovery and have a short run scheduled for myself tomorrow.  I need to learn to stretch better prior to and after a long run.

This "One Tough Mother" medal is also a wine cork! How cool is that! Click on the link to find out how you can get one!

This “One Tough Mother” medal is also a wine cork! How cool is that! Click on the link to find out how you can get one!

My next virtual race scheduled for late April is the One Tough Mother Run by Virtual Strides.  I’m dedicating this mother’s day themed virtual race to my mom.  I know she would be so proud of me!

I just signed up for another virtual 10K (6.25 miles) race today for the end of May.  Sheesh.  Who am I and what have I done with the old D’Andra?

Thanks for reading!
Virtual Strides


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.

Name for Blog Posts  


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!


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.


Week One Round-Up of Fun & Crazy

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Round Up Week 1

Our #scarfie photo only took four tries to get right! I made the kids scarves and am wearing one I made for myself too.

Week one for me “ends” on Saturday, January 3, 2015.

And it has been a really rough start to the new year.

My mom went to the hospital on the first day of the new year with pain in her legs and was unable to walk around herself.  She needed an extra dialysis, which is becoming a more frequent need in her ability to function.

My father, her estranged husband who is a better grandfather than he ever was as a father, has been helping me out while I take care of my children and try to continue to keep a job and be a wife/mom/daughter/sister, etc. and this is during his own recovery from open heart surgery in November.

Some could say “crazy” is my middle name.  This week proved that I can tackle crazy like a boss.

Here’s the weekly round up of fun and crazy in the life of DeAndrasCrafts.com:

Monday - December 29 - Thank you!

Monday – December 29 – Thank you!

On Monday, I went to work and didn’t notice until almost 1015 AM that I had the “Thank You” sticker my youngest son put on me from the local supermarket.

I sent the photo to the left to my husband and told him I felt like a true mommy today!

He told me to own the sticker like a boss and continue to wear it.  I did for a while, but chickened out around lunch and took it off.

Tuesday and Wednesday (December 30 & 31) were great.  I worked out in the field on those days, something I didn’t think I was going to be doing much since going back into the office a couple of weeks ago.

I took off part of the day on the 31st so my husband could go to the doctor.  He was diagnosed with a slew of ailments, one of which was bronchitis, and was put on antibiotics with icky side-effects.  He also took it like a boss.

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My daughter's Hello Kitty head is finished - direction are from the Book Hello Kitty Crochet by Mei Li Lee

My daughter’s Hello Kitty head is finished – direction are from the Book Hello Kitty Crochet by Mei Li Lee

In the afternoon of the 31st, I began working on my daughter’s Hello Kitty crocheted stuffed animal from the Hello Kitty crochet book I got for Christmas.  The pattern is definitely for a seasoned crochet-er and I’m going to have to purchase pink brads for the cheeks and some pink tulle.  I almost can’t believe I don’t have any pink tulle (for the ballerina dress, page 16) lying around….

We stayed up with the two oldest until 9 PM on the 31st, and I rang in the new year in tired mommy and daddy fashion of staying up until about 10 PM and going to bed.  My husband was in bed before I was and the only reason I stayed up was to read a chapter of Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze’s book, “Smart Money Smart Kids.”

I’m trying to read twelve (12) books this year as part of my goals, and I chose this one as the first one to complete because I’ve had it for a while and it is SO IMPORTANT!

Thursday was the day my mom went into the hospital.  She ended up getting additional dialysis, and that made her feel much better.  My father was instrumental in getting her over there, and helping me out on Friday evening when she got out.

The first of the new year wasn’t fun in our house as we are still dealing with pink eye that my youngest son brought home with him last week around Christmas.  It’s been difficult to say what the worst thing has been about the experience of pink eye – it’s either the giving-your-child-eye-drops or the fact that it doesn’t seem to go away!  Ugh.

This is my "Do Over" plan for the next 10 days.  I am planning on reconnecting with my family through writing, journaling and blogging.  #DoOverBook by Jon Acuff

This is my “Do Over” plan for the next 10 days. I am planning on reconnecting with my family through writing, journaling and blogging. #DoOverBook by Jon Acuff

The evening of Thursday, January 1, 2015 I began a 10-day challenge from the author Jon Acuff.

You can read more about this here: 10-day Do Over Challenge

So far, so good in my “Doing Over.” As I write this post I am three days into the challenge and I’ve got a game plan for blogging about our family’s weekly events, good or bad.  I’ve also started an enormous list of “To Do’s” that I plan on organizing and separating by month, by need, by want and by importance.  My Type A brain is so excited about getting organized and hopefully in the process a little more simplified (hitting those 2015 goals!)

On Friday, the two oldest and I learned how to finger knit.  I think the hardest part for me was watching and listening to my 3 (almost 4-year old) complain that he wasn’t doing it.  After working with my five year old daughter, I’ve determined that finger knitting is definitely for children ages (mature) 5 years old and up (at least in my family.)

We used Lion Brand Homespun yarn. – Click on the link to look at it on Amazon.

RUW1-Finger KnittingThe 9-year old was able to catch onto the pattern of wrapping the yarn around the fingers easily, something the 5-year old wasn’t able to grasp as easily and I had to watch her wrap the yarn around her fingers so she wouldn’t miss a loop.  We watch a video by Fiber Flux on You Tube, and although the oldest admitted it was cool to learn, he was done after about 15-minutes or so.  The five year old spent a little more time with it, but she too was done after 20-minutes.  We were all trying to keep our hands to ourselves (so the pink eye could stop being spread around) and I was hoping this was going to take more time up during the day.

Oh well.

I was blessed Saturday morning by my children not getting out of bed until 7 AM.  My coffee was hot and I turned on the fireplace to blog by the fire.  It was a day of taking down the Christmas tree and putting all the Christmas stuff away.  It seems bittersweet but like we tell our children, it’s all about making Christmas a special time of year.

For next week: I am hoping and praying for normalcy to resume in our household once again next week.  It was a productive week though, despite the unfortunate interruptions of having to get my mom from the hospital and dealing with a sick husband and pink-eyed kiddos. I’m hoping to start my goal board this week and get the kids excited about doing life together.


10 Things to try to save those fresh garden tomatoes

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10Things to Save TomatoesI am so excited about our first crop of tomatoes grown in our tiny backyard garden.

We’ve had non-fruitful strawberry plants so far but the tomatoes…  I looked at these plants the other day and told myself “Yikes!” What are we going to do with all of those tomatoes?

Here’s our little progession of growth. Just planted tomatoes - March 15th

May 7th tomato growth

May 16th tomato growth May 23rd tomato growth

June 25th - our first harvest of tomatoes

The coolest thing about having home grown, backyard tomatoes is to eat them with the knowledge that they were untainted with pesticides and are as fresh as they could possibly be off the vine.

I don’t want them to go to waste!

We will be giving them away to family and friends, as well as sharing plenty of salsa at the summer time potlucks, but there’s just so many tomatoes coming off these six plants!

Here are the ten things I plan on doing with these tomatoes.

1.  Enjoying one with a salad or as a side EVERY DAY. 

The health benefits to eating a salad everyday are indescribable so I will choose to use those delicious fruits to get my salad into my daily diet.  But the days where I’m just lazy and cut it up and eat it straight are more likely.

2.  Cook with the fresh tomatoes where I can in “everyday meals.” 

You know the type – where you cook some chicken and veggies, and decide to throw in a cut up tomato – because you can.

Tomatoes are a power food.  Cooked tomatoes release lycopene and from what my trainer tells me and what I read around the net, it’s something my body can do amazing things with.

Instructables has a great resource for Easy Tomato Recipes that I will be checking out in the near future too.

3.  Make fresh salsa.

One of the blessings of having my mother around still is that she makes this terrific pico-de-gallo type of salsa, with hand chopped tomatoes, green onions, red onions, jalepenos, cilantro, lemon juice and salt.  Seven ingredients that can last about four-five days in the fridge and can be served on anything from eggs to tacos to eating straight from the bowl.  (Seriously, we’ve done it.)

4.  Learn to make dried tomatoes.

I found this set of instructions that not only look easy, but sun-dried tomatoes are one of my favorite things to eat.  Oh yeah, they can be used in recipes too.

5.  Make my own sauces.  For my house, I will probably learn how to make spaghetti sauce first.

An apparently time-consuming process, I found a great resource on Food.com to make my own spaghetti sauce that I want to try.  My guess is that I will have 12 cups of tomatoes at some point, and it will be worth the 2 to 3 hours to learn to make this sauce.

6.  Make and freeze tomato soup.

The resources are incredibly abundant on the subject but I found these recipes I am going to have to read more about later.

Pinterest Search Results for tomato soup

Tomato Soup Search on Instructables

7.  Make tomato jam.

I have never even heard of this until I started searching Pinterest.  The Garnish with Lemon blog has a recipe for Sweet and Tangy Tomato Jam that sounds so good, I may have to try to make it before anything else on this list.  Maybe.

8.  Buy some bacon.  Make BLT’s.

Bacon is one of those foods that everything goes with.  [EVERYTHING!]

If I knew it weren’t so bad for my health, I would eat it every day.  Along with my tomatoes.  (I’m not kidding.)

I have to do this at least once this summer, just to say I did it.  Oh and I skip the bread and use whole wheat tortillas.  It’s part of the life style change we’ve adopted now.

9.  Make some freezer meals to throw in the crock pot.

Why haven’t I done this already you ask?  Because I’m blessed to have the most amazing husband in the world that cooks as long as I clean.  (And I’m not very good at that anyway.)  It’s awesome.

But, he’s not always home and eating out shouldn’t really be an option when he’s gone.  I found this blog with recipes of meals the mom has tried and tested, straight from the freezer into the crockpot.  Sounds like a win-win to me.  I will be replacing all the “canned” tomatoes with my fresh version of course but the freezer part will stay the same.  I’m sure Pinterest will be a great resource as well.

10.  Learn to can tomatoes.

Do I need a new Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker to can?  Maybe, but probably not.

Here are the resources I found:

Instructables Guide to Canning Tomatoes

How To Preserve Tomatoes by Mom Prepares

Plus, I get to learn a new life skill.  That’s a bonus right there.

Cheers and happy-full-bellies to you this summer!