Memories of the Table

“They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God.”

Acts 2:46, The Message

After living with my parents for 6 months, my husband and I finally found a place to rent and call home! We don’t get to move in until July, but we are so excited that we keep dreaming of ways to make it ours.

Now that our space will allow it, we wanted to get a bigger kitchen table- Bigger to have more loved ones around, to throw more dinner parties at, to fill with boisterous laughter, tears of sincerity, and meaningful conversation.

A table to nourish the bellies and hearts of others.

Memories

We found a table in the liquidation section of a local furniture store, bargained down to a whopping’ $50 bucks! Once Tap had sanded it down we were ready to paint!

We spent our Memorial Day painting together. Beginning the table with memories and love… We listened to a sermon on Spiritual Gifts, and discussed new ways we could use ours. We painted as visitors came and watched in the shade. Neighbors visited and complimented our handiwork. Then we celebrated our team work with some hard-earned ice-cream.

I can already think back at other special memories that took place at a table…

We would stay up late in college studying and writing term papers there.

The Waffle Club would sit around that table laughing over telephone pictionary games gone awry.

At a table, we ate breakfast and shared our engagement story with our family.

We’ve had friends, families, pastors, bikers, musicians, teenagers, students, workers… all at our table.

I can’t wait to see what other memories will pop up at this table! …Especially as we begin to eat and break bread there.

What project could you and your husband do together to create teamwork and memories? What sweet moments have you shared at a table?

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Do Over Challenge

New Year Resolutions are hard to keep.  Sometimes they are just too big to grasp, and too overwhelming to start.  This year I decided to get some help;  I leaned on Jon Acuff’s “Do Over” challenge, and it was Goldy Locks’ just right for me.

Each day you read ONE page, just one, then answer a few questions… The words encourage and inspire, while the questions help you focus and put yourself in gear.  Then you spend 10 minutes doing what you want to do over.  You do this for 10 days, meaning you’ve only spent 100 minutes.  So if it doesn’t work for you, it didn’t hurt.  If it does, it’ll gain momentum and snowball forward throughout your year.

For my first “Do Over,” I decided to spend 10 minutes a day drawing or painting.  I had always loved making things as a kid.  Craft kits were always on my wish list and paper and pencils were always packed for vacation.  Whether it was drawing, scrapbooking, crafting, I loved to create.  But as I grew, life got more and more busy, and the things I wanted to do were replaced with things I had to do.

So I wanted a Do Over.  This time I was putting a priority on something I love.  I was and still am worried that I lost the nack for it, but I’m “kicking fear to the curb” and doing it anyway.  It’s scary to show my work, it’s vulnerable, and I know it’s not perfect… but I’m not going to stop chasing my dream just to look “cool.”  So here it is… here are some of the things 100 minutes brought me.

dooverart

I enjoyed this challenge so much, I’m going to do it again.  This time I’m inviting you to join me. 10 minutes for 10 days, chase your dream.

 

How To: PineCone Elves

pineconeelf

What You Need:

  • Hot Glue Gun & Sticks
  • Pinecones
  • Small Jingle Bells
  • Felt
  • Sewing Needle
  • Finetip Sharpie Marker Pen
  • 3/4 inch Round Wooden Bead
  • Clear Monofilament String or Fishing Wire
  • Scissors

Everything You Need

Steps

  1. Cut hat and scarves from felt
  2. Wrap hat around bead head
  3. Mark where felt overlaps, hot glue together
  4. Glue hat onto bead
  5. Glue jingle bell to the tip of the hat
  6. Glue bead to pinecone body
  7. Glue Scarf to back, & criss cross the scarf & glue again
  8. Draw face on bead
  9. Sew Clear thread through top of hat, tie knot
  10. Hang, and enjoy

 

Christmas Shopping on a Budget

My husband and I are still in the stage of life where we love to give gifts, but we have to keep them in a budget.  With three sisters and two brothers of my own combined with Tappy’s three brothers and a sister… AND! if you want to count them: all of the significant others, eleven nieces and nephews, and so on and so forth… It simply adds up!  However, we love them all so much and think of them often, it can be hard not to get them something.  Here are a few ideas of how to do this while maintaining a budget.

Help find the “perfect gift” for other shoppers.

As my husband and I are shopping, we see items that would be perfect for him or her, but are out of our budget.  So I found a fun little loop-hole.  Anytime this happens, I text other family members who are still on the hunt and offer to pick up these items for them to give this Holiday season.  I have made myself a Christmas Elf parading as a shopping assistant.  That way I can think of others, find the “perfect” gift, without spending a dime… of my own.

* if you do this, try the Cash App! It is an easy and quick way to be reimbursed.

Make Something.

Another way we have kept our gifts in a budget is by making gifts.  In the past we have made Sharpie Mugs, Christmas ornaments, Sugar Scrubs (only 4 ingredients!), Roasted Pecans, and hand-knit scarves. There are tons of crafty ideas on pinterest!  The key is to make something that is still desirable or practical.

ModPodge Ornament of Memories

ModPodge Ornament of Memories

Tapscott Tested and Approved

Old Fashioned Roasted Pecans

The Cozy Old Farmhouse – DIY Sharpie Mug

The cheapest ingredients for a scrub!

Stephanie Lynn’s Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub

Get Creative, see your budget as a fun challenge.

For those who are competitive, I know you will rise to the occasion!  Set a budget, whether it be under $5 or $20.  Then race to find the best deal or most unique present within your limits. Most individuals who value gifts as a way they feel loved and appreciated, don’t actually care about the price.  They care that you have picked up on something about them and remembered it.  For example, seeing that they always carry “extra” gum in their purse, or how they never seem to have socks without holes, or how they could really use a new ice-scraper.

Be attentive. Prove that you listen, you notice, and you care.

Wrap it Up for a King.

I am a firm believer that any present, big or small, can feel special if it is wrapped properly.  Putting in that extra effort to present your gift in a magical way, will make your loved ones feel extra special.  For example, I tied twine around each scarf and tied a bow through a button to give it an extra touch of love.

Check out other great wrapping ideas here, on my pinterest board for gift wrap.

To conclude, here are my 4 tips:

  1. Help find the “perfect gift” for other shoppers.
  2. Make Something.
  3. Get Creative, see your budget as a fun challenge.
  4. Wrap it Up for a King.

Trunk or Treat!

Last Friday night, our church had their annual Trunk or Treat.  Have you ever been to one? It is a lot of fun! And a lot easier than the real trick or treating thing.

Cars line up in a parking lot with all of their trunks facing in.  Each car is decorated and ready to pass out candy to all of the kids.  It’s a great way for kids to dress up, get candy, and play with their friends in a safe and worry-free environment.

Last year, Tap and I were the Mad Hatter and Alice.  We try to have our trunk match our characters, so we had the Cheshire Cat smiling through our back window, and had the candy sprawled out on a table set for an Unbirthday Tea Party.  It was freezing cold, though, and most of the kids were too young to know who we were.

This year, we wanted to be characters all of the kids would recognize.  I took a basic one-day sewing class at a local Jo-Anne’s and have been sewing up a costume slowly since.  Tap rigged his together from pinterest and here we are!

FrozenTrunkOlaf and Elsa! From Frozen!

All the kids knew exactly who we were! And we had a lot of fun passing out icey-looking rock candy from our snowy little trunk.

My sweet husband put a lot of time into making our snowflakes. It was so sweet to see the little one’s eyes get big when they recognized who we were.  Later on, my “sister,” Anna, joined us with her man Christoph.  haha. In other words, unbeknownst to us, another couple came dressed with their family and just so happened to complete the set! FrozenGroupIt was a lot of fun.  Candy, Hot Cider, Pumpkin Decorating, and a Costume Contest.  What a great and wholesome way to celebrate!

Frozentrunk

Disney Wonder 101

Ahoy!  Tappy and I just got back from a 5-night cruise on the Disney Wonder, where we stopped in Cozumel Mexico and Disney’s private island Castaway Key!  This was Tap’s first time on a cruise, and my third time on the Wonder.  If you are new to the experience keep reading!  If you are not, maybe I’ll have a few new tips, tricks, and insights for you as we give you an overview of Disney Cruises, and more specifically the Wonder!

Disney Wonder 2014

Most Helpful Tips

The Online Check-In allows you to go through the check-in process virtually.  Checking-in is mandatory before boarding any Disney Cruise, and doing it online cuts your time down immensely.  At the end you must print and sign the final Check-In forms that will be required at port.  This allows you to skip huge lines at the port, and choose your boarding time!  My family was able to do the online check-in 90 days before we boarded, and we were able to board the boat at the earliest time slot: 11am, getting us extra hours of fun on the cruise!

  • Fly into your Port City early.

Flights can be unreliable.  Just to be on the safe side, plan to arrive at your port location a day in advance in case of a postponed flight, missed plane, etc.  You’d hate to miss your cruise!  These extra days will also alleviate anxiety and stress prior to the cruise.. where the ultimate goal is relaxation.

  • Do not waste money on an outside stateroom.

Unless you are incredibly introverted, and need your own space to rejuvenate, do not waste money on an outside stateroom.  The Disney Wonder is spacious and has many beautiful and relaxing locations where you can hide away.  Most of your time will be spent on deck, in restaurants, and at parties.  When you only use your room to sleep, why pay the extra money?  If you need some quiet space go to: The Cove, the Outlook Deck, and Deck 4 for a lounge chair facing the ocean.

  • Research all excursions, even those not listed on the Disney Cruise Website.

My husband and I were interested in several excursions, but after looking deeper realized some of them required hours of transportation to and from the event.  Others required that you paid for an additional meal, and did not have free access to transportation to get back to the boat earlier.  These were deal breakers for us, instead we were able to rent Mopeds in Cozumel for $35 and see the entire island at our own pace and interest!

  • Make goals, priorities, and boundaries before boarding the ship.

How much time will you spend on family activities versus spouse activities?  Will you stick to your diet while on the cruise?  Do you plan on working out to burn the extra calories you are consuming?  The Disney cruise is wonderful for families, but it also offers a great variety for families to get independent time as well.  There are so many great planned activities and areas for all ages, take advantage of it!  There are also great all-family activities, like: movies, deck parties, dinner time, etc.

Every night you will get a paper copy of the “Navigator” for the following day.  This will have ALL events for ALL ages listed as well as theatre and movie times, classes, tours, character meet and greets, and more.  You can fold this into a three panel brochure, or you can carry it in your phone with the Disney Cruise Line App.  The App will allow you to narrow down your search for particular age groups or event types, as well as give you access to a boat map.

  • Live in every moment!

Before you know it, the cruise will be over.  Don’t get caught up in silly drama, fights, or the little things that don’t go right.  Focus on the smiles, the laughter, the magical moments, and the unbelievable adventures….

  • Check your receipts before tipping!

Gratuity is expected on certain services: massages, alcoholic beverages, and specialty coffees.  Most always, the gratuity is already included and noted on the receipt.  If the receipt says “Additional Gratuity,” you have already been charged for an 18% tip.  If the service was excellent, feel free to add a little something.  Also, tips are expected at the end of the cruise for your Stateroom Service and Dinner hosts.  Be sure to budget for these highly encouraged tips!

  • Get the Sea-Sickness patch and apply it early.

Getting the Most out of your Cruise

  • Decorate your doors and include a Dry Erase Board.

Disney Cruise DoorMy awesome niece, Kallie, put a lot of work into making everyone’s doors adorable.  She printed and laminated different heads to go around everyone’s door number, added mickey heads with every individuals names, made dry erase boards, and Last name initials that hung on everyone’s Fish.  We were able to find our rooms at a short glance, and leave messages and personal itineraries on our boards.  When making these, be careful to add strong magnets, as the doors are very weak!

 

  • Order Multiple Entrees.

All of your food is already included in the price! You don’t have to worry about racking up a bill, or not liking an adventurous meal.  If you have small tummies, like Tap and I, have everyone order something different and share!  Then order your favorite for yourself.  Also, if you fall in love with a particular dessert at another restaurant, you may still request it! Your servers will go above and beyond to make your trip magical!

  • Have other guests take your pictures.

The Cruise will take wonderful photos of your family, but they are pretty costly! Save money by asking others to take your photos.  Don’t feel ashamed! They’ll probably ask you to return the favor.

  • “Link” Cabins with other family members and friends.

Everyone in our group, all 24 of us, were “linked.” This meant dinners were spent either at the same table or in a close proximity to one another.  Most of our rooms were even on the same floor so that we could keep in the loop and invite eachother to different activities.  This is great for the family-oriented types!

  • Wait to see movies that will be on the Cruise.

We called ahead to find out what movies would be playing on our cruise.  They informed us that Frozen, Bears, Captain America, and The Muppets Most Wanted would all be playing in the Buena Vista Theatre.  We decided to save our money and time by not seeing most of these movies until we boarded the ship!  That way we were able to experience brand new movies without paying $8.50/$12.50 a ticket!

 

Why the Disney Wonder?

  • Disney pays the highest attention to details and service that simply result in a magical experience.

Disney knows customer service, and the will go above and beyond to make your trip extra special to keep the Disney “magic” alive.  Our stateroom host knew us by name before we had ever been introduced, and always kept our bed made and room tidy.  He was always in the halls ready to accommodate, and was always making sure we were comfortable.  Our dinner servers knew our names and our drink preference after the first night, and continued to wait on us for every dinner meal.

  • Disney Cruise Lines are family friendly with entertainment for ALL ages.
  • Keeping things “Disney” is great for the moderately conservative families, couples, or individuals.

My husband and I are Christian.  Our ideal entertainment is not casinos, getting drunk, and dirty dancing.  We like to keep it classy and creative, which Disney knows how to do!  Even in the “adult only” sections we were able to have a fantastic time without compromising our comfort, modesty, or morals.

  • The Wonder is an older boat with very committed and experienced staff.
  • The Wonder is a smaller boat, with slightly bigger staterooms, and is less crowded than the newer boats.

Cubicle Life Pt 2 : Cubicle Decor

When I first learned that I would be working in a cubicle, I was a little hesitant.  High grey walls, eerie quiet, the seldom visitor- but when I went to work I was happy to find that our cubicles are much more like little families.  Every department is set apart with a couple tall walls, and half walls in between each individual in the department.  There is a constant opening for questions, chit-chat, and the occasional dropping of eaves.  The space is open, rather than claustrophobic, and you can see everyone’s heads by just looking up.  It is a much more social environment than offices, and certainly my perception of cubicles- in this way, I have been blessed!

One drawback of cubicles that still remained, though, was it’s drab appearance.  Various shades of grey, and a constant clutter of tacky thumb tacks, post-it notes, and a dozen “must have” documents stuck to the walls.  After a few weeks, I decided to de-clutter my workaholic organized mess, and flare up my cookie cutter box.

Here is a small sample of what I was working with… I forgot to take several “Before” shots, but I assure you it came standard with several documents tacked all over the walls.

Before Cubicle

After doing a little shopping and pre-setup, my husband came in and helped me put up my decorations.

Cubicle After 1Cubicle After 2Cubicle After 4

This remodel was inexpensive, home-y, and inspiring!  I printed off google images and pinterest quotes free at home, cut them out and simply mounted them on cardstock.  Then I bought a little bit of ribbon and fabric.  I used a wide ribbon as a border on my high wall, held up by tacks on each end.  Then I found that the grey cork-ish boards came off the walls, so I wrapped fabric around them, tapped it on the back side (not to do any permanent damage) and then created a french board with ribbon and tacks.  I then took photo favorites and scattered them throughout the design.  Overall, the remodel cost $15 (fabric, ribbon, cardstock, and photos).

If you want to create a wallpaper feel to your cubicle, you could also take a fabric of your choice and measure it to the size of the wall you are covering.  Pre-hem and sew the edges to give it a clean-cut look and tack it down.

I hope you can make a home out of your office! After all, we do spend 40 hours a week there!

Valentine Cards for 2013

 

My parents used to run several Hallmark stores in our area.  All growing up, Valentine’s Day was a big day for us to pick out the cards that said just the right thing for each sibling.  We would swap them at the dinner table and read the encouraging & loving words, that were sometimes too hard to say the other 364 days of the year.

Since they sold their last store a few years ago, we started making our own cards.  Card making has become an even more valuable tradition!  All the ladies get together in every free moment we have for a whole week, sharing products and ideas, and making memories together.  It is so rewarding to create something, know that it’s from the heart, and delivered to build each other up.

For anyone who makes their own Valentine’s, I thought I would post a sampling of mine this year to inspire you!  For a lot of them, I used the same basic structure, but used different papers, twine, and images.

Valentine1 IMG_2226Valentine2 IMG_2228 IMG_2229 IMG_2232 IMG_2249 IMG_2251 IMG_2252 IMG_2253 IMG_2254 IMG_2255 IMG_2256 IMG_2257 IMG_2258 IMG_2260 IMG_2261

 

 

A Mad Bridal Shower

Amie & I in our Tea Party dresses!The Hoinacki Girls (Katie, Kallie, & Nicole) hosted a quaint Bridal Shower for me.  With a small guest list of close family members and a few friends, it was a perfect way to warm up to being the new bride.

They decided to have a little fun with the theme and asked all attendants to wear a hat for the great tea party!  Surprisingly everyone showed up in a hat and elegant outfit!  It was so much fun!

Check out the cute Tea Party table and all the food!  We had very scrumptious desserts including lemon cloud mini cakes, reese’s cookies, and cheesecake!

Wonderland Snack CloseUp

The Mad Tea Party TableThe Wonderland Snacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course it wouldn’t be an Alice & Wonderland party without some games too!  For the first game, they blindfolded me and had me guess various kitchen appliances by merely touching them with my feet!  After successfully guessing each one, we moved onto the next game where we decided to challenge the guests!  I carried a tray holding several different items from the Kitchen.  After walking around the room and giving all of the guests the opportunity to look at the tray, I left the room and Katie began to quiz them.  However, instead of asking questions about the tray she asked questions about me!  No one had expected it!  What’s on Emilie’s toe?  Are her nails painted?  What colour dress does she have on?  It was pretty funny!

Katie, Kallie, and My Mom!Aunt Anna & Marilyn

What adorable Wrapping!

We then ended the evening with some lovely croquet and badmitten.  However, we were short flamingos, so we had to use the normal mallet.

Croquet!The Ladies

Thank you everyone for making it such a fun celebration!