Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Little Christmas Cheer

Sorry to leave you hanging...but I want to spread a little Christmas cheer this week before I tell more of our story.

We've really been enjoying the celebration of advent in our house of curls.

Operation Christmas Child
Decorating our Christmas tree

Cookie Party with sweet friends

Decorating cookies with LOTS of sugar sprinkles

Making a Christmas tree with GLITTER overload

Gift making for the Grandparents...shhh, don't tell

Making a Gingerbread girl with Daddy (and potty training...note the tears...)


The girlies are super excited about Christmas this year, which makes it so much fun for all of us to talk about the birth of Jesus and the joy of giving to others. My oldest curly girlie has been daily cleaning out her room so that she can give some of her own toys away to little girls who don't have toys. This has been a sweet blessing to my heart to see her genuinely want to give. She is also anticipating giving a few small homemade gifts to some of her closest friends.

For her classmates, we decided to make reindeer food. This is such an easy craft and something both curly girlies can fully participate in and do with their own precious hands.

To make the reindeer food, you will need:

oats, granulated sugar, sugar crystals, plastic baggies, cardstock, Christmas stickers, ribbon, and
2 curly little elves to help :)

Type out the following poem on white cardstock:

Magic Reindeer Food
Sprinkle on the lawn Christmas Eve night,
The moon will make it sparkle so bright.
As Santa's reindeer fly and roam,
This food will guide them to your home.

I cut out the poems using crafty pattern scissors, oldest curly girlie put a sticker on each, and I punched a hole.

Next, comes the fun part! Mix together 1 cup oats and 1/4 cup sugar.

Add 2-3 tbsp. sugar crystals.

This will make about 3-4 baggies. Pour into baggies.

Add more sugar crystals to each individual baggie to give bolder color.

Wrap ribbon around the top of the baggie and tie onto the poem.

My curly girlies had a blast making this and my oldest is very excited about giving these to all her school friends to enjoy on Christmas Eve.

In our house of curls, we are truly thankful for the Christmas season and the blessing that we have to celebrate the birth of our great Savior, Jesus Christ. My prayer for you, as it is for my own family, is that you will understand just how much our Gracious God loves you. So much so, that He sent His only Son to be born on this earth that He might one day die on a cross for our sins. Wow, what an Amazing Gift we have been given and what a joy to celebrate Him this season!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Forever changed

I've been trying for about three weeks to write a "perfect" detailed little post with eloquent words that explains what my family has been going through these past eleven weeks. But, I can't. So, I'm just going to start at the beginning....

On September 20, 2010, our house of curls was forever changed. Doug got up really early and left for Montgomery, AL to film a training video. I took Elie to school, had coffee with some preschool moms, and then ended up at a good friend's home for lunch with the girlies. On the way home, I got a phone call that I will never forget. It was the chaplain from Baptist Hospital in Montgomery telling me that my husband was in a terrible accident at work and I needed to get there as soon as possible. I hung up the phone and immediately started calling Doug's cell phone, over and over, just hoping he would answer, even though I knew he wouldn't. I left him a really long message and typed him text. As I hung up the phone, my mind was racing and I was praying for the Lord to help me stay calm for my precious little girlies sitting in the back seat. I took a deep breath and I spotted a friend of ours (Terrell) running down the sidewalk. I rolled down the window and started yelling at him to get in the car with me. Thinking back, I know it was the Lord rescuing me and taking care of me in a very scary and needy moment. To this day, He continues to take care of our family and you will see His gracious and loving hand weaving throughout our story.

Once we got to Terrell's house, his wonderful wife Jane met us at the door and immediately began to take care of so many details. We thought about who could drive me to Montgomery and my sweet friend Hannah came to mind. Little did we know, the Lord was already preparing her for our upcoming journey. Read her story here.

Hours later (and in record time) Hannah and I found ourselves pulling into the Baptist Hospital parking lot. I'm really not sure how we made it there so quickly, but I do know the Lord got us there safely and without fear or tremendous worry. We got to the ER waiting area where we waited and waited and waited...lost a Swiss Army knife from our key chain to the rude security guy and then finally were given directions to where we needed to be.

Now at this point in the day, I still have NO idea what happened to my husband. I only know he was hurt in a work accident. To be completely honest, I don't even know if he is alive. As you can imagine, I am quite anxious to see my husband and get some answers.

We finally found our way to the surgical waiting area where we met three employees of Doug's company. I honestly thought my husband was dead when I met them because they all had a look of horror and couldn't say anything; they just sat in the chairs staring at us. Hannah and I did learn that Doug was just beginning surgery and that he in fact, was alive, but they really didn't know many details.

These are the horrible details - now of course, writing this eleven weeks later I'm not sure what they told me then and what I found out from Doug throughout this entire process but this is the gist: Doug was run over by a forklift. He was hit from behind and never heard it coming. He was first hit in the back of the head and he fell to the ground. The driver reversed, went forward to try and get off of him, and then ran off screaming. His left leg was severely damaged and the fork lift stayed on top of the leg for at least half an hour. He was conscious throughout the whole trauma and when he arrived at the hospital by ambulance. Again, another picture of the Lord's hand taking care of our family. He was definitely with Doug in those moments of pure horror and need. What an amazing Savior we serve!

Sorry to leave you hanging, but I gotta go to bed. I'll be posting more....soon.

I will leave you with these verses that the Lord used during those first few hard weeks and continues to use now to comfort both Doug and I.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Birthday Cake

For my youngest girlie's 2nd birthday, I made a cute flip-flop cake.

I used this simple recipe to make a 9X13 sheet cake.

1 box white cake mix
5.9 oz instant vanilla pudding
1 cup sour cream (light)
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup water

Mix all ingredients together with a hand mixer.

This is where the cake becomes fun! I wanted to make a rainbow cake, so I divided the cake batter into 3 different bowls. I added different colored gel dye to each bowl of batter.

Layer the colored cake batter into the cake pan. (sorry - forgot to take pics)
Bake for 40-45 minutes.

When cake is cut open, you will find a rainbow of colors! Use as many different colors as you would like. Use this method to make cupcakes too!

To assemble the flip-flop cake, I made two 9X13 rainbow cakes. I made a template by tracing around my husband's flip-flop. Don't worry, I made sure NOT to touch the cake with the side that touched the shoe!! Once the cake had cooled, I flipped it over and cut out the shape of a flip-flop. I made both a right foot and a left foot and I placed the cakes onto a baking sheet.

Next, I made some yummy cream cheese frosting.

Cream cheese frosting:

1 8-oz package light cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar

Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla with an electric mixer until it is light and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating well, until it reaches a consistency that will spread easily. This will frost two 13X9 cakes.

Once the frosting is ready, separate it into two different bowls. Using the gel dye, color a small amount green and color the rest pink. Give the cake a thin layer of frosting, which will seal in all the crumbs.

Frost the top and side of both cakes and then let chill for 30 minutes.

Now it's time to decorate the cake. First, using a big pancake spatula, transfer the cake to the serving plate or cake board. Start by frosting the sides of the cake and don't worry if it smears into the frosting on the top. Now frost the top of the cake.

I bought some Wilton decorating icing at the grocery store and I used it to pipe around the border of the flip-flops.

To decorate the sides, I used gobstopper candy pieces.

To create the thong straps of the flip-flops, I used colored twizzlers.

Lastly, I added a silk flower between the straps. (I recommend cooling cake in the fridge until time for the party, especially if you are going to have the cake outside...ours melted a little bit in the heat.)

It's complete - a rainbow flip-flop cake for my favorite little birthday girl!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bow Flip Flops

Yes, summertime is coming to an end, so it seems a little late for a tutorial on making flip flops, but if you live in the south, it really doesn't get cold for a while, so keep on wearing those flip flops! Plus, you can find plain flip flops for very cheap right now at places like Old Navy and Target, so go ahead and buy a few for next summer!

This tutorial is for a Boutique bow flip-flop. The possibilities are endless with this project because you can use a number of colors and ribbon patterns, creating your own unique style.

one pair plain flip flops
2 pieces 7/8 inch grossgrain ribbon cut to 20 inches
2 pieces 3/8 inch grossgrain ribbon in coordinating colors cut to 13 inches
stick pins
coordinating thread
Fray Check (can find at JoAnns or Michaels)

The first step is to make two basic boutique hair bows using the 7/8 inch ribbon.

A. Fold one end of your ribbon over to the 3 1/2 inch mark.

B. Fold the ribbon back over so that the edge of the loop is on the 4 inch mark.

C. Continue wrapping the ribbon back over to make a large loop, making sure that the end of your ribbon is sitting on top of the loop.

D. Push the stick pin into the very middle of the loop. Separate the loops. You should see 3 different layers on each side of the stick pin, 2 loops and 1 straight piece ("tail" as I like to call it). Your loops should be forming an "X" shape.

E. Continue to spread the loops until you get the shape that you want. I prefer to have the "tail" on the right side of the bow.

F. Take your needle and thread it with the coordinating thread. Weave the needle in and out through the center of the bow. Remove the pin and pull the thread as tight as you can. This will create a "pinched" look in the center of the bow. This part can be frustrating. You may have to practice a couple of times before you create the pinched look - just be patient with it and don't give up.

G. Once you have created the look that you want, wrap the thread around the center a few times. Push the needle through the center to secure the bow. Tie the thread off on the bottom side of the bow and cut thread. Make sure bow looks centered.

You have now completed the first step of making the bow. Don't forget to make two because you have two flip flops.

You are now going to attach the bows to the thongs of the flip flops.

A. Take the 3/8 inch ribbon and wrap it around both sides of the flip flop thong two times. Make sure ribbon on the left side of the thong is wrapped upward and ribbon on the right side of the thong is wrapped around downward. This is to enable stability of the bow.

B. Tie the ribbon in a knot in the center of the thong.

C. Place your bow in the center and with the 3/8 inch ribbon, tie a knot around the bow. Tie a second knot. Make sure bow is secure. If the bow does not feel secure, make sure you have the ribbon securely wrapped around both sides of the thong (repeat step A).

D. Trim the edges of the bow and the ribbons with scissors. Apply Fray Check to all edges to prevent fraying.

You now have a new pair of DIY flip flops for your darling little daughter or a sweet friend.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Flip-flop party

In celebration of youngest curly girlie's second birthday, we had a flip-flop party at our local YMCA swimming pool.

If your children have summer birthdays, I highly recommend having a swimming party. It doesn't require very much work because the children just swim, which is exactly what my girlies and their friends prefer to be doing in the summertime heat.

The kids had a great time splashing each other, swimming, and playing in the fun fountains.

We even had our newest friend attend the party - sweet baby boy!

In keeping with the water theme, we served SUBMARINE sandwiches from my hubby's favorite new sandwich shop, Jimmy John's. I made some SEASHELL pasta salad and a fun snack mix, consisting of goldfish (representing fish), multi-grain cheerios (representing life preserver rings), and Captain Crunch cereal (representing beach balls and floats). We also had one of my favorite candies, Swedish fish. I served everything in sand buckets with shovels as the serving spoons.

I don't think our birthday girl ever got out of the water...

...except to eat birthday cake, of course!!

I made a very simple flip-flop birthday cake. It was fun to make and I thought it turned out pretty cute! The birthday girl loved it and ate it up!!

For the party favors, my Mom made each of the kids a crayon roll with her monogramming machine and I made each child a pair of flip-flops. The older boys got pirate button flip-flops and the younger boys got frogs. The two teenage girls got ribbon tied flip-flops and the younger girls all got flip-flops with bows.

I'll be posting a tutorial for all of these favors, the birthday cake, and the simple invitations in the next few days.

Thanks to all of our sweet family and friends who came to celebrate little curly girlie's second birthday!