31 Dec 2009

A Good Mom

Sometimes, a good mom is the one who seizes the opportunity to use her energy most efficiently.  Someone who occasionally bypasses the “teaching moment” regarding her child not crumbling an entire sugar cookie onto his lap, and instead opts to conserve her sanity with a Dirt Devil.

  Picnik collage

Luckily Jayce thought it was hilarious.

24 Dec 2009

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas from our family to yours.


Chris, Erin and Jayce

22 Dec 2009

A Pre-Review


This past June, Chris’ book was officially released.  We’ve been waiting for it to be reviewed, and a pre-review appeared this weekend on the personal blog of the reviewer.  It is by Rafael Rodriguez, who is reviewing it for the Biblical Theology Bulletin.  Chris was in Seminary with Rafael, and I was eager to see what he had to say. 

First, I cannot resist posting an interesting side-story about Chris and Rafael.  Before Chris and Rafael knew one another, Chris was an undergrad and took a class that Rafael was the TA for.  As Rafael was grading the research papers from the class, he came across Chris’ paper.  The paper was so good that he pulled it out to show the professor who was teaching the class. This actually was not a compliment-it was so good that he was concerned that Chris had cheated.  It was particularly good for a basketball player, as I understand. :)  The teacher called Chris into his office, and upon discussion regarding his topic and the paper, realized that Chris had not plagiarized, understood very acutely what he was discussing in his paper, and was in fact a very sharp student.  That professor took an interest in Chris after that point, and came to be, along with his wife, some of our very best friends.  We still laugh about this, and I couldn’t help but share it.

Anyway, back to the review.  Rafael gives a very mini-synopsis of what he has read and what is to come, but it is already fairly complimentary, saying among other things, “After the last book I reviewed, it's a breath of fresh air to read a well-written, concise, and clear argument. On top of that, Chris is one of the most insightful NT critics I've met personally. Needless to say, I'm enjoying the book.” 

If you are interested in reading the rest of his thoughts on the book check here, or to see the book itself, check here.  I have previously stated that shameless bragging on my husband and kid are to be expected on my own personal blog.  And since I am a wife, though I care about his summary of Chris’ work, I looked for the “It’s great” or “It’s crap” statements, and was not surprised to find the former.

21 Dec 2009

Cheater Pillow

I have been seeing lots of lovely pillows popping up everywhere this holiday season as gift suggestions, and I am always jealous because they are so adorable, but fall into that category of stuff that I just can’t mess with because I don’t have a sewing machine. (Other “stuff that I can’t mess with” are projects that require power tools, a printer, an assumption that there is spare wood lying around, etc. I am happy for these limitations because they reduce the number of projects I can obsess with completing. But I digress.) Luckily, I recently thought of a loophole for my pillow dilemma, and was able to make this fabulous pillow with no sewing involved!


I had a large pillow sham that I wasn’t using, and this summer I cut up several pieces and framed them for some cheap art for our bedroom. The top half of the pillow sham was still intact, so I grabbed my handy stamp and fabric paint, and stamped a pattern across the top when I was stamping my burlap last week.



I trimmed the edges so that they were straight, and then turned to my old friend, HeatnBond. I bonded (I don’t really know what you call this), about 3/4 of the way across my pillow with this stuff, waited for it to cool and then flipped it and stuffed it.


I then bonded the last portion of the pillow. It was not easy to iron this part, especially while holding back the stuffing to make sure that it wouldn’t melt. But I still maintain that it was faster and easier (for me, anyway) then sewing.


This just left the very end openings,


which I, uh, sewed shut.


and they looked just fine.


The pillow had this decorative ruffled edge, which still shows on three sides, and since I closed up the bottom of the pillow, I didn’t need to worry about replicating this for uniformity or anything. Perfect.

2009_12_21_5150 2009_12_21_5148


I haven’t been able to work on the blocks any more since I’ve been trying to finish up a few Christmas presents over the last week. Luckily I will be able to show them off next week, I can’t wait to give them away!

I’m linking up to Girl Creative, Metamorphasis Monday, Make it for Monday, A Soft Place to Land, Today's Creative Blog and Show and Tell.

20 Dec 2009

Lights & Santa






These are from our recent trip to Peoria’s Festival of Lights.  Jayce was fine with Santa, didn’t love him, didn’t hate him.  But he loved the lights.

16 Dec 2009

Sometimes We Take Christmas Pictures

One of the reasons I was itching to get my hands on a better camera this time last year was so that I could take Christmas-y pictures of Jayce. My other camera literally would not let me do what I wanted, since it couldn’t focus unless I was 3+ feet away, and not using a flash with a wiggly 7 month old made for super blurry shots. But this year I have my camera, have been learning about it for almost a year now, and sometimes my pictures look like this.



Sometimes I get the lighting and the softness perfectly.



And sometimes I catch the personality, curiosity, and cheek plumpness dead on.



Merry Christmas from our little model, who ate more glitter while I was taking these photos than I care to admit.

15 Dec 2009

Beautiful Burlap & Tree Trimmings


Last week one of my friends got a fresh live tree. She was telling a bunch of us about it and mentioned that they had trimmed a ton off the bottom of the tree, so if anyone wanted any fresh branches to let her know. I was first in line. We have a fake tree at home, which I like, and I really like not having all the hassles that come with a live tree, but I really miss that fresh scent. This was the perfect opportunity for me to have my cake and eat it too.


She brought over a garbage bag full of tree trimmings, and I pulled out every container that could possibly hold them. Jayce even helped a little.2009_12_09_4670

The long branches went in tall vases, the medium branches in medium vases. The stuffable pieces went in stuffable containers, the curved branches in bowls, and the flat pieces in flat things. I kept the tiny clippings and threw those into a bowl as well.

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Then I spread the clippings, and that fresh scent, all around the house.


Even though I like minimalistic decor, some of the containers seemed a little plain, so I went to what have become my go-to items: twine, berries, and burlap. But even this wasn’t quite enough, so I decided to spruce up my burlap with a little paint. I had a foam stamp from a project that I started and never finished months ago, and pulled that out with some fabric paint. I wasn’t sure how it would work on the burlap, but it was great: a good balance of classy and kind of worn-looking. I stamped a pattern on the burlap, and then flipped it over and blindly cut out pieces in the shapes that I wanted, so that the placement of the design would be a little bit random. Then I wrapped the scraps around the containers.



I put the fabric paint onto an old Cool Whip lid, which worked as a perfect stamp pad. This ended up being even more helpful than I had originally planned when naptime ended a little earlier than I’d expected and I wasn’t quite finished. I just put the stamp inside and closed the top to keep everything from drying up, and I picked up right where I left off a little later.


I liked the pattern so much that I stamped it onto this table runner that I made, and used the scraps on a few shelves to give them a little something extra.

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I am working on a few other things but they are/might be Christmas presents, so I will post them later. One of them involves this little pile of wood which I can’t wait to dive into, as soon as I finish addressing Christmas cards. Or maybe a little before.


I’m linking up to A Soft Place to Land, Today’s Creative Blog, Show and Tell, Somewhat Simple, Shabby Chic, Thrifty Thursday, Frugal Friday and Creative Cats.

14 Dec 2009

It’s A Girl!

We were so excited to find out this weekend that we’ll have a little niece this spring! 


Congrats Matt & Melanie!  We can’t wait to meet her!

11 Dec 2009

Favorite Time of the Day


I just read an article in which various writers discussed the most meaningful part of their days. As I was reading these, I couldn’t help but think about my own favorite part, which only took me a second, it’s when Chris comes home from work.


As the night goes on we inevitably fall into our various routines: dinner, cleanup, bath, and bedtime. But for that first half hour or so, it's all excitement. Jayce's manner of greeting Chris when he walks in has evolved over the months, but there is always running, grinning and giggling. Then there is about 10-30 minutes of playing various games. No matter what game is the newest and greatest, there is always chasing, tickling, and laughing. Often they play horsey. In the summer there was swinging and a wagon ride down the street.


I am often tempted to spend this time being productive. I could work on dinner, make a quick trip to the gym, check my email, or finish up the laundry. But instead, I willingly allow myself to get sucked into game time. That way, I can get in on "I'm gonna get you," spend time chasing and being chased by the "horsey," and be another spotter for "Stand on the bed and fall down face forward."


When I was coaching, I got to be the person who came home. As I was driving home I looked forward to "Hide under the covers from mom, and giggle constantly while she looks for me." It is a good game.


I think that what is most prominent about this time of the day is the heightened excitement of us all being reunited. We've been looking forward to it, and once it happens, we all get caught up in celebrating. It's not just dad coming home, or mom, but the celebration of us all being together as a family. It's my favorite time.


10 Dec 2009

Winter Wonder

Jayce discovered something fun this morning.  Can you tell what it was?

Picnik collage

Really, what is more exciting than discovering that you can fog up the window, and then write on it with your finger? 

Picnik collage1 This is the closest that we have come to playing in the cold this week.  It is freezing here.  I hope this game is still fun in a few months when we all have cabin fever.


8 Dec 2009

Non-Committal Decor

First off, I’ll start with my version of what everyone seems to have going on this year. Ta da! Ornament wreath!


I must confess that I have decorating commitment issues, and therefore couldn’t figure out what to do with this baby once it was finished. There is no light on our front door so you couldn’t really see the wreath, and I liked it too much to not let it shine. So I found this old picture on sale at a thrift store ($5), punched out the ugly picture, and hung my wreath in the cool old frame. I did NOTHING to the frame itself, It was already distressed and ready to go, so I was pretty pleased.


Last year we had all bare white walls, so I took the red approach, as in, decorating with red bows, poinsettias and berries. But this year since our main room is green, red stuff everywhere almost seems a bit too obvious (Look, a Christmas Room! Green walls and red stuff!!), and I’m just not into it. I don’t want to get rid of everything but I don’t really have a lot that I like either, so I’ve been modifying things, temporarily, into decor that I do like.

Here are a few of the easys. Twine, berries and flowers around my candles. I don’t have to buy Christmas candles, and they can go back to being the candles from my wedding once the season is over.


Tree slipcovers. I bought these fun glittery trees from the dollar store, but just can’t seem to find a place for them as is. So I wrapped them in a scrap of burlap, and only hot glued the very edges so I that I can reuse the burlap as well. A little ornament on top and I’m done.Picnik collage1

Also, remember Slinky Tree? 2009_12_03_4576

I sat down with him and my glue gun for one minute and decided that it was not worth a whole naptime to glue that baby back together. I was unwilling to surrender one of my foam cones either, so I simply spray painted both brown, threaded the twine onto the cone, and stuck berries into the gaps in the foam by their stems instead of gluing them. Since this tree was sturdier than the others, I took advantage and hung one of my favorite ornaments from it as well. Also, yes, I spray painted the ornament hook brown as well. Don’t judge me.2009_12_08_4649

Then I put them all together on a Dollar Store platter in what is now one of my favorite little displays.2009_12_08_4663

I’m linking to a Soft Place to Land, Today’s Creative Blog, Show and Tell, Thrifty Thursday, Transformation Thursday, Somewhat Simple, Creative Cats, DIY Showoff, Metamorphasis Monday and Make it for Monday.

And a teaser for next week, also repurposed.



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