February Traditions + a DIY Heart Garland

DIY heart garland

Happy February! Does it feel like winter in your neck of the woods? We’ve had amazingly sunny, warm days, but there’s FINALLY some rain in the forecast. Hoping for the “atmospheric river” the meteorologists keep predicting.

Even in the warm weather, I’m still pretending it’s winter, and I’ll be keeping the winter white decorations up for a little bit longer.

Door Valentines

The first day of February snuck up on me again. Last year, I decorated the kids’ bedroom doors with hearts for Valentine’s – a new one attached each day with a little note, telling them all the different things I love about them. It was a huge hit, so I was planning to do it again this year. And while I did win the “Happy February!” competition, I forgot about the hearts until Husband headed down the hall to get them out of bed. I ran around looking for pink paper to cut out hearts and attach them before they noticed. They seem to love it even more this year than last.

Valentine hearts book

(Side note: They’ve kept the hearts from last year up on their doors all year, so I had to scramble to get the old hearts off before attaching the new ones. I saved them all in a little “Valentine’s Hearts” book for each of them – the epitome of Cheesy Mom moments, but they love flipping through them and “reading” their hearts.)

Also on the first day of February, I decided do some Valentine’s projects for the house. At the kids’ insistence, we added sparkly heart stickers to the tiny snow garland on the mantle and a giant heart doily to the mirror. Then I got out my latest dollar store purchase to make a garland.

heart garland supplies

I found a pack of 30 heart shaped doilies for – you guessed it – a dollar. I wanted to make some 3D hearts to hang on string along the windows at the back of the house.

heart doily

I started by folding the hearts in half.

folded heart doilies

For each hanging heart, I folded three hearts.

DIY heart garland assembly

I spread glue along one outside half of the folded heart.

DIY heart garland

Then I placed a second heart on top of it, lining up the edges and the perforations.

assembling doilies

I repeated with the third heart, and then glued the final open half heart to the other side.

DIY heart garland doilies

folded heart doilies (2)

This is how the heart looks from the bottom with all the sides glued.

DIY heart garland

I made a bunch of these and strung them on white string.

DIY heart garland

That’s it. A quick, easy – and SUPER cheap – Valentine’s project.

Do you have Valentine’s traditions? Husband’s birthday is Valentine’s Day, so historically, it’s usually been more of a birthday celebration. But since we’ve had kids, we’re always looking for fun traditions and little rituals to add to our family – like Valentine hearts on the bedroom doors, but also simple things like hot chocolate on Saturday mornings and Pizza Fridays. (Some that I remember from growing up were popcorn on Friday nights while watching Dallas and Falcon Crest, biscuits and gravy on Christmas morning, and, of course, Saturday morning garage sales with my Dad. And I’ve mentioned before that birthdays were HUGE in my family.) I’d love to hear what kind of traditions – big and small – you have.

Five Things Friday (+ a few more)

Happy Friday!

january mantleWell, hello there, friends. Apparently I decided to take most of January off. I wish, around January 2nd, I had said, “Hey, you know what? I should totally take the month of January off!” And then you would have imagined me sitting by the fire, lounging, reading books, working puzzles.

I did end up taking most of January off from the blog, but it wasn’t quite like that.  I’ve been wanting to be here, and I’ve been saving up LOADS of good stuff to share on Fridays, but I just haven’t felt like I had the time. I know, in reality, the time could have been found. But I’ve been working on our preschool’s Bunco fundraiser. There is SO MUCH to do. Don’t get me wrong, it is SUPER fun, and I love it, but I felt like I couldn’t take time to do some sewing or blogging or anything else because I still haven’t gotten to the end of my to-do list. (I DID decorate the mantle for January, so I’m including some photos here before I change it all next week for Valentine’s Day.)

snow garland

january  mantle booksBut, one day this week, I got a few things off the list that have been nagging me for weeks, so I treated myself to a little sewing time. (It ended up being a lot of sewing time – I’m still not finished – but it felt so good to work on a project just for me that I went back to my to-do list with more energy and excitement. And I got a lot more done. Win-win!) I’m hoping to finish up my sewing project this weekend and get it posted next week, but really, it’s Bunco month, so all bets are off.

So, aside from donations and dice and all things fundraising, here are a few things on my mind this week month:

black + white potty

1. The Potty Perspective.

You know who has this gratitude thing down? Kids.

On Monday, we got two new toilets. (You can see one of them in the photo above in all its new potty glory. Pay no attention to the wall behind said potty – it’s going to be getting a repair and paint job very soon.) If we’re Facebook friends, you know that the giant box the toilet came in was as exciting – nay, MORE exciting – than getting a new toilet. It’s the only thing the two kids have played with for the last 4 days.

And yet, the new toilet has made an impression. Every time BG goes potty – or walks by the potty – she exclaims, “Hey! We got a new potty!” It is just as new and thrilling as it was on Monday. Every single time. Seventeen times already today. She is thrilled with having a new potty.

It’s made me stop this week and think, what if we approached more things in life with those kind of eyes? What if every time we got something new, we really noticed its newness instead of just moving on to the next new thing? What would our spending habits look like if we appreciated everything to the degree a three-year-old does? Would we always be in search of the next great thing, or would we take time to celebrate the little things as if they were big?

I know. It’s just a potty. Read on, I’ve got more exciting things. Like….


2. Kale.

I’m buying it by the pound and using it in everything – soup, quiche, omelets. I know, I know, you say, we’re all eating kale. But are you massaging it? I learned about this a few weeks ago as I was throwing together a kale salad. It made a huge difference in taste. And then, just a few days later, my friend served the best kale chips I’ve ever had. Secret? Massaging with a tiny bit of olive oil. Perfect.

3. Closing Time.

I’m sure you’ve seen this – it’s been all over Facebook. I watched it a couple of weeks ago, and it made me smile. Then, as I am wont to do, I went down the rabbit hole, googling the lead singer, Dan Wilson. Click on that link and scroll down to see the songs he’s written. Amazing. And such a variety of songs, too. I’ve been totally inspired by him this week.

children's books

4. What your favorite children’s book series says about you.

The Baby-sitters Club was my favorite. And that description is pretty spot on. Have you seen this blog about Claudia Kishi? Fantastic. (And this made me laugh. Language warning.)

5. Made me think.

…and a few more things:

1. Have you seen this Instagram? Hilarious. (And here’s a quirky one that also cracks me up.)

2. These maps and charts are pretty cool.

3. Have you seen this? I know, they are dolls. But they are incredible. It made me think about how unique our perspectives are and how we all have something that sets us apart, makes us unique, some “art” that we can contribute in some way. We might not be classical painters or gifted musicians. You might open up the kitchen cabinets and throw together a fantastic meal. You might spin amazing stories to your children before bedtime. You might been a keen observer who shares beautiful words of encouragement that can change the course of someone’s day. I am someone who finds beauty and possibility in things that other might pass by. We all have a gift, something to share that can inspire, bring nourishment, share love.


4. And finally, drink to your health.

I poured a glass of wine the other night and said, “Here’s my exercise for the day!

Husband: What are you talking about?

Me: Haven’t you been reading my blog?

Husband: (blank stare)

Me: A glass of red wine is as good for you as 30 minutes of exercise.

Husband: (rolls eyes)

Me: You should totally be reading my blog.

Here’s another great finding from the world of science. You’re welcome.

Happy Weekend! I’ve got Moms’ Night Out and a birthday party on the calendar. And, of course, the Super Bowl. Let’s be honest, I really just learned the names of the teams playing this week. I’ll be watching for the commercials. What are you up to this weekend? Will you watch the game? Are you a die-hard fan for either team? I’d love to hear, and thanks for reading!




2015: One Little Word

Happy New Year!

We have just spent the weekend recovering and catching up from the holidays. We spent two weeks in Tennessee with our families, and it was awesome! Sharing meals and games and gifts and time together is a great way to end the old year and ring in the new.

And, while we were there, Husband and I took an End-of-the-Year Getaway – something I hope becomes a yearly tradition. We booked a night at The Martha Washington Inn, just across the border in Abingdon, Virginia.

me at the martha

Abingdon in a charming little town that was fun to explore, even in freezing temperatures, and the inn, even lovelier. The history of The Martha is fascinating, and the halls of the inn are adorned with many relics from its earlier days – old photos, students’ letters, programs from performances at the college. In addition to wandering the halls, enjoying great meals, taking a dip in the saltwater pool, and relaxing at the spa, we also took some time to set goals for our year. There were a lot of little ones (drink more water!) and a few bigger ones, and I’m excited about all of them. (I’m an ENFP, so I found this to be pretty funny and also true.)

So as I started thinking about my One Little Word for this year (see past years here and here), I wanted it to reflect the goals we set and the plans we made.

For some reason, the first word that popped into my head was “refine”. Not at all what I was expecting – in fact, I even looked up past years to try to get other ideas. I thought I might just choose “practice, because it feels like an easy one. But then I looked up the definition of refine (italics mine):

re·fine /rəˈfīn/ verb

  1. remove impurities or unwanted elements from (a substance), typically as part of an industrial process.
  2. improve (something) by making small changes, in particular make (an idea, theory or method) more subtle and accurate.

In my journal, I wrote that I want to:

  • reset priorities
  • clear out the junk (not just physical stuff, but that’s part of it)
  • create processes that simplify
  • focus on our goals
  • redefine purposes
  • make choices that line up with these priorities and purposes

These feel a lot like refining to me – clearing out the unwanted elements and making small changes to make our lives a more accurate reflection of our goals. So there it is. Not the most glamorous word for the year, but it seems like a good fit.


What about you? Do you choose a word for your year or set other goals or resolutions? I would love to hear if you do and what your approach is. (I didn’t do it for years – one year, when asked at the checkout if I had any resolutions, I said, “Eat more chocolate!”) Whatever your plans for the new year, I hope 2015 is full of peace and joy for you. Looking forward to diving into the year!


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