Friday, March 30, 2012

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 40.

Take One: My son is on the left with his raspberry icecream. His best friend, on the right (chocolate lover).
Goodbye delicate spring buds opening to show the world their beauty.
Goodbye chirp-chirps from birds that built a nest right outside our bedroom window.
Goodbye taking deep breaths of spring that is in the air - hmmmm.
Goodbye first mowing of the year and grateful it wasn't me pushing the lawnmower - thanks Super Hubby!
Goodbye getting in those last-minute playdates in this, the last week of spring break - yummy treats and good times with great friends.
Take Two: My son's icecream had chocolate chunks - yuck (to him, can you imagine?). Settled for a rootbeer float.

Hello finishing up a great project that is as precious as the person who requested it.
Hello to lawn fertilizer and pruning shears helping us get an early start to spring clean-up.
Hello pancake breakfasts and maple syrup.
Hello continuing research and readiness for my son's May birthday party (told you we go all out).
Hello working on acceptance.

Pile of wood shavings as part of party prep. Any ideas? Not LEGO, not Star Wars.
The lesson I learned this week is that acceptance is hard when it goes in the opposite direction of what you were hoping. We all have dreams and sometimes those dreams are not meant to become a dream come true. You pray for direction, you ask for guidance, but the path is not the one you would have chosen if the flesh had its way. So, when disappointment reigns, you cannot wallow in the outcome. Instead, you have to leave the self-pity party, never to return, and accept the life that has been forged. When we ask for answers, we must be prepared for guidance that takes us down a path we would otherwise not choose to go down. Acceptance and moving on from disappointment is true faith.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reality Bites

Do you know one of the things I love about Spring Break? My son finally gets to see what I REALLY do while he's in school...

I'm afraid this reality hit him hard.

What do your kids think you do while they're "slaving" away at school?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What I Made Wednesday {Kid-Made Board Game}

OK, I'll admit it. I'm copping out on this one. I didn't exactly make this week's project, but my son did. It's such a great project during Spring Break when the "bored" side of kids begins to surface. I am so proud to say this homemade game board was completely my son's idea. I, of course, obliged as I'm just a pushover for creativity and imagination.

What You'll Need
White foam core board
Scissors or paper cutter
Pencil or pen
Game markers (my son used his Go-Go's)
Any kind of game board prop or embellishment

What You'll Do
You'll have to figure out what kind of game board you want to design. Ask your kids what kind of theme they want to focus on then build the game idea from there. My son wanted his game board to be an ongoing, epic game. His premise was taking the players through time travel, one board at a time. His first board, Egyptian times, his second board, Medieval times, his third board, Roman times, and his final board is the Tech, or Future, board. Each game ends with a time machine taking the players to the next era.

Have your child draw the board squares with marker, then mark certain squares with special tasks. For instance, whenever a player lands on a skull square, they have to start back at the beginning (pretty risky). Some squares require the player to take an action card.

Create the action cards relating to the theme of your board. Cut small, business card-sized cards from the cardstock. My son's action cards included wrestling a crocodile in Egypt, but losing a turn. For his Medieval board, players may fight dragons and if they roll an even number, they advance 2 spaces. Get it? It's whatever the kids come up with. It is so much fun to watch their creativity and imagination put to task.

What You'll Need to Know to Finish
Have your child color in the entire board with markers and be sure to encourage game board props and embellishments. For the Egyptian board, my son made a pyramid out of a thin foam sheet, and for the Medieval board he placed a dragon in the board's center. He plans to make a gold cross for the Roman board and the Tech board will be donning old computer chips and motherboards as my son raids Super Hubby's office.

The most important part of this project is at the very end. You must play the game with your child. You'll see how proud your child will be in creating something all their own and sharing it with you as you play their game while making memories that will last longer than a Monopoly car game-piece.

This is such a great Spring Break boredom-buster project! I'd love to hear your kids' game board ideas so be sure to share in Comments.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Guest Post at The Taylor House

Beautiful LOVD readers, I want to introduce you to a bloggy pal that exudes warmth and charm, Chrissy Taylor. She has the sweetest little blog, The Taylor House, and she asked lil' ol' me to guest post today. Sooo, if you're looking for my words, head on over to The Taylor House and that's where you'll find today's post. Just click here to be connected. 
 While there, look around and get to know Chrissy. She's a sweetheart of a gal and very talented with knitting needles, as I experienced in this post!

Oh, and if I can have your vote, I'd sooo appreciate it! Just click the picture below and that's it. You don't have to do anything else but click. Thank you!
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LOVD tidings!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Gratitude Journal Monday

Spring time has certainly arrived. Delicate buds on trees push their way through the hardened branches with a determination that cannot be stopped. You, too, are that bud, coming out of hibernation and awakening from your deep winter's slumber to finally emerge into the world and live the life you were born to live. Yet, the Cherry Blossom knows what it is supposed to be; it knows the role it plays in this world. Do you? Perhaps if you knew who you were supposed to be, you, too, would be just as determined to push your way to destiny. The Cherry Blossom will never try to be a rose, no matter how strongly it covets the crimson red bud. The Cherry Blossom can and will only be what it was born to be. I hope you realize the same. It took me well into adulthood to grasp this concept and some days, I still struggle to just be me. I forget sometimes, but remind myself that being anything but who I am is just too exhausting. The Cherry Blossom blooms its beauty without much of a struggle. It shouldn't take much more effort to be one's self. Being anybody else robs you of the unique plan for your life.

During this time of renewal and revival I think about the ways I can inject that same rebirth into my own life, without losing who I am meant to be. Beginning this Gratitude Journal has truly awoken my authentic spirit, and it can do the same for you. Not sure about the deeper benefits a Gratitude Journal can have in your life? Click here to see my beginnings.

In this journey of discovery and grace, mine continues here, every Monday. I'm so happy you could join me and welcome.

186. I am thankful for the unusual summer-like weather we had during the first week of spring break. 78 degrees in Cleveland, in the middle of March? Unheard of, but I'm not questioning, I'm just enjoying!

187. I am grateful my son has reached a level of maturity where he is able to play with the younger neighbor kids and take on more of a "big brother" role.

188.I am grateful Super Hubby is unwavering when it comes to his expectations of professionals and if he's not satisfied with their service or knowledge, he'll stand his ground and not be afraid to tell them so.

189. I am grateful we have another week of Spring Break to do all the things we wish we had gotten around to doing last week, but never did; it's like a second chance.

190. I am thankful for the peace and quiet night time brings so welcomed whispers of guidance can be heard more clearly.

What will the week bring? You cannot control the events to come, but you can control your attitude when reacting to the upcoming events. Happy Monday!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 39.

Goodbye wide-eyes staring down dragons, unicorns, griffins, and more at an awesome new exhibit at the Natural History Museum: Mythical Creatures.
Goodbye yummy indulgence enjoying white pizza with broccoli and calamari as an appetizer.
Water balloon aftermath
Goodbye summer weather and water balloon battles.
Goodbye spending spring break with so many family and friends who shine brighter than the sunshine that has shone all this week.
Goodbye taking measures to explore some new opportunities that might prove the wait was all worth it.

Hello LEGO Star Wars event that is so cool, it occurs before the store even opens up for business in the morning.
Hello bowling birthday party and wondering what kind of gift would be as super cool as the birthday boy.
Hello planning and prepping for my own son's birthday party and hoping it'll be the best ever.
Hello exploring favorable options and dreaming of the possibilities.
Hello Grandma and Grandpa staying for only a quick visit, but making the best of our time together.

Short and sweet: the lesson I learned this week is no schedules and weather temperatures in Cleveland hotter than Honolulu in the middle of March can make for a very strange week.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Super Woman Revisited

The day I wrote this post, I received this book in the mail later that same day because I'm participating in an online, virtual book club. After reading only one chapter, it inspired today's post. You can get your copy here!
I had no intention of going deeper with this post, but after some reflection and a gentle nudging of the heart, I thought we should take a closer look. If you read the post, you'll see wonderful comments from readers commending my organizational skills and my multi-tasking abilities. But friends, it's not what you do, it's how you see yourself. I never mentioned how long those neatly folded clothes sat in the laundry basket before being put away, now did I? Read the post if you haven't already, then come back and continue reading this one, because I've got a secret to share.

Super Woman is YOU, too! And, you've got to start saying it before you're able to believe it. Too bold you say? Absolutely not! And no one, not anyone, deserves the title more than you! If you don't own it, if you don't say you are Super Woman, then who will tell it to you? Who's going to pat you on the back today for a job well done? Who's going to give you a standing ovation for getting dinner on the table despite the day's chaos and calamities? Who's going to whisper into your ear, "Great going, today," as you lift your feet off the floor for another night's rest? Who? If not you, then who?

Get it? You need to do it, you need to say it. It's about time you see yourself, not for all of your overblown, exaggerated faults and weaknesses, but instead for your understated, watered-down brilliance, wonderfulness, and amazingness. We need to turn those around.

You are Super Woman. I don't care what you didn't get done today or the mistakes you've made that you think will stop the world from spinning. Regardless of all that, YOU ARE AMAZING. Say it, don't be embarrassed. If you don't say it, trust me, no one else will. And, the more you say it, the more you believe it and start to live it.

Sing it from the hilltops, Fraulein Maria, because YOU ARE AMAZING! YOU ARE SUPER WOMAN!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What I Made Wednesday {Melted Crayon Art}

I've wanted to do this project for a looonngg time with my son and Spring Break afforded us the perfect opportunity and time. There's so many elements he can easily help do during this project and the results are absolutely stunning.

What You'll Need
Artist canvas (white), any size but I used a 16" by 20"
Black spray paint
Bucket or some type of prop
Blue painter's tape
Crayola crayons, 64 count (don't go cheap on me here; Rose Art crayons are too oily, aren't as vibrant)
Hot glue gun and glue stick
X-acto knife
Small glass
Alphabet cut-outs (change of plan, I ended up using white not black)
Small paint brush
Mod Podge (not pictured)

What You'll Do
If weather permits, and trust me it's been permitting around here lots, go outside to spray paint the entire canvas. Turning the canvas black was an idea I had, but many beautiful Melted Crayon Art projects have turned out just as nice just keeping the canvas white, so it's your choice. Skip this part if you want to keep your canvas white.
Prop your canvas on an overturned bucket. This helps get the sides painted easily.
Next, align your crayons in the order of color grade, in any sequence that suits you. I used 56 crayons.
Unless you want crayon wax underneath your fingers, it's best to peel away the wrapper by scoring the paper with an X-acto knife. Pick a good length to help begin the peel but DON'T peel all the paper off. You need about an inch or two of paper to apply the hot glue without entirely melting the crayon. You may get some glue still on the crayon from the wrapper. That's OK, just get all the paper off.

My son and I decided we wanted to have wording on our canvas. I wanted to go with, "I never met a color I didn't like." But, he thought it was too wordy and came up with, "I dream in color." I loved it!!! So, if you're adding words to your canvas, you'll have to cover that area with painter's tape to protect the surface and keep it free from melted wax. No matter how much you adhere the tape to the canvas surface, there will be some wax that will glide underneath. That's the benefit of painting the canvas black; much less noticeable!
Apply the hot glue to the paper wrapper only and lay down your crayons at the top of your canvas in the
proper sequence with the crayon's tip pointing down.
Take a small juice glass and prop your canvas on top of it, angling the canvas with the top side closest to the glass and the bottom canvas touching the floor. Do yourself a favor and lay down newspaper underneath the canvas all around, even the sides!
I started with the small juice glass but ended up pivoting the canvas up higher to get the flow I wanted in certain areas, at certain times of melting stage.
Set your hairdryer to high and start applying heat to your crayons where there is no wrapper. I worked in sections. It will take awhile but your crayons will begin to "sweat" or glisten. Once this happens, get ready because the flowing wax starts going and it's incredible to see. IF YOU HAVE TO, lower your hairdryer setting to keep from blowing the wax all over the place. Once the crayons start to melt, it kind of happens on its own. You can manipulate the flow by pivoting the canvas or blowing the wax in the direction you want it to go. Just don't over do it and be patient. Let gravity and science do its job! Move to melting the next section until you are happy with your results.
Right before you are ready to peel off the blue tape, give the wax on the tape a hit of warmth from the hairdryer to get it soft. You don't want to pull off your wax lines with the tape! Once the tape is off, you might have a wax line that is slightly off the canvas. Just use your hairdryer to melt it down a bit more. Next, take your letters and loosely place them on your canvas.
My son decided to take the word "COLOR" and actually color the letters (did I mention he is brilliant)!

Apply your letters using Mod Podge. First, apply the glue to the canvas. Then, once the letters are down, thinly coat the letters on top using Mod Podge.

What You'll Need to Know to Finish

To help camouflage the color variation of Mod Podged black and the rest of the black on the canvas, I painted the Mod Podge in the entire area where it was taped. Don't worry about the white glue color, it dries clear.
Now, all you have to do is apply the proper hardware to mount your canvas. I haven't decided yet whether I want it to hang from a rainbow ribbon or just mount it to the wall flush? I hope you liked this project. It was so fun, great to do with the kids, and yields stunning results!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

No She Didn't

I was filling out the grueling, unending, online forms for my son's summer camp class for this year. By the time I got to filling in the parent information screen, I came across the field that asked for Mother's Occupation. First, I typed "Homemaker" - delete. Then, I typed "School Volunteer" - delete. Next, I typed "Blogger, Jewelry-Maker, College Consultant, Retired Engineer" - delete, delete, delete, delete.

I looked around and was surrounded by a clean floor, a cleared table, a pan soaking from tonight's home-cooked meal, an iron warming up and at the ready for Super Hubby's dress shirts, laundry neatly stacked waiting to be put away, paid bills awaiting their postal stamp ready to be sent, and car keys laid on the table to a minivan that drives to more extra-curriculars than events at the Olympic games. My eyes concentrated back to the Occupation field and I typed the only job I knew to describe it all. And yes, not changing a thing, I hit send!

My printed copy.

And you are, too!!! Happy Spring, friends!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Gratitude Journal Monday

Spring is the season of renewal and rebirth. It's a gift of opportunity that is laid before you but the next move is yours. So what will you do in this spirit of rejuvenation? May I gently make a suggestion that will carry you through the rest of your life, season after changing season? Begin your own Gratitude Journal, click here for help. An attitude of gratitude may very well be the secret to true happiness. I hope you seriously think about discovering this truth for yourself and perhaps, one day, you'll be happy you stumbled upon this little post. It could be the key to your own life's awakening and your replenishment of soul and spirit.

181. I am grateful for the color green.

182. I am grateful for the tenacity and determination my son displays while in the same situations I've experienced as a kid, but I crumbled under the pressure. He is so much stronger in spirit than I ever was at his age and I am thankful for that.

183. I am grateful we're on spring break and the next two weeks are promising great weather, good times, relaxation, and fun.

184. I am grateful my beautiful LOVD readers are understanding as my posts will be later, and shorter during these next two weeks of bliss and concentrated family time:-)

185. I am grateful we live in a community that has one of the best libraries around. You never realize it until you visit other libraries and think, "Wow, we truly have a treasure in our city!"

If you'd like to begin now, leave a comment declaring thanks for something in your life you could not begin to want to live without.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 38.

Goodbye thunderstorms rumbling through the night.
Goodbye shorts and short-sleeved shirts in the middle of winter in Ohio.
Goodbye sweet friend lunch-date at yummy Peppermint Thai.
Goodbye knowing where my talents stop and when to ask others to let theirs shine.
Goodbye precious words from you supporting and encouraging my efforts in opening my Etsy shop.

Hello finally making that maple syrup run and owning some more of that liquid gold.
Hello sunshine and outdoor fun, playing in the 70 degree sun.
Hello 17-day spring break that is massively well-deserved for my hardworking kid.
Hello crafts and cuddles and reading and cuddles and playing and cuddles and...
Hello winding down the tax preparations and almost being free for another year.

This week for my lesson learned, I was reminded that simple is best and tradition is better. My son decided on his birthday party theme this year and my husband and I got a little overzealous, shall we say, in the prospects of party planning. We put our hearts and souls into each birthday party we host and this year, celebrating a decade, is to be no exception. But this year, we've increased the number of kids in attendance and were worried our home just wasn't large enough to accommodate everyone comfortably. We found a venue that would be absolutely perfect. When we mentioned this idea to our son he gently stated the following: "I've been having my birthday party at my house for the last 9 years. Why would I want to have it some place else this year and break with tradition? I'm most comfortable at home and that's where I'd like to have the party, sorry." Well, thanks son, for reminding us whose birthday party we're planning; certainly not our own. We got caught up in the possibilities of the venue and lost perspective of the day's significance. Thanks for the reminder.

Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day and a beautiful weekend!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bless This House

Right before the first day of spring, as nature renews its spirit and strength, so goes the renewal of spirit and strength in our home. Every year we invite our priest over to our home and perform a "House Blessing" ceremony, or "Service of the Blessing of Water".

The best analogy I have for describing this ceremony is an orange being juiced. The fruit is the home, and the bad vibes of the home, the fears, the anxiety, are squeezed out while leaving the skin in tact. The ceremony is meant to ask for God's blessings for those living in the home. As the home is blessed with the Holy Water brought by the priest, family life is again given opportunity for redemption of sin by the grace of God. It's also meant as a request (ask and you shall receive) to the Almighty that He will send His holy angels to protect, save, watch, visit and safeguard the family members.

The Father visits each room of the home, sprinkling the Holy Water using a bundled bouquet of wheat. The Father brings with him a myriad of props for this special service and I wish I took pictures of the beautiful ornamentation of each item used during the ceremony, as they are hundreds of years old. Unfortunately, I couldn't very well whip out my camera as he was conducting the ceremony and excuse myself from praying while he chanted verses. Could you imagine: "Father, I'm sorry, could you please hold that shot right there as you were coming down my stairs. My first photo was a bit blurry. Go back to the top of the stairs and try again, please." Not gonna happen.

Do you have any ceremonial traditions you do each year to help pave a clearer path to your Spirit?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What I Made Wednesday {LOVD's Team Spirit Line} A Sneak Peek

For this week's What I Made Wednesday, I wanted to share with you a line of jewelry that will soon be hitting LOVD's Etsy Shop (yes, it's still coming, soon): the Team Spirit line. I handcrafted these items to donate to a local school for their silent auction fundraiser. If you're interested in having me create a one-of-a-kind piece representing your school and your child's activities, just e-mail me! I also offer the items as a school-wide promotion, donating 10% of the total sales back to the school.

Sideline Spirit Bracelet
The Sideline Spirit Bracelet is a unique way to support your student and their activities throughout their school career while cheering them on from afar. I interweave each starter bracelet using non-tarnishing, enamel-baked, USA-made, copper jump rings. I also hand stamp a sterling silver washer pendant with the school's team name. The bracelet is accompanied by a non-tarnishing, swivel, lobster-clasp and the bracelet measures 8 inches in length, which includes a 1.5-inch extension for adjustment.

Additional sterling silver blanks can be custom stamped with any activity imaginable and may be added as charms to the bracelet. Upon graduation, your bracelet becomes a lovely heirloom piece representing your child's stellar school career. Various font choices are available for the pendant.

School Spirit Glass Pendant Necklace
Showing your school spirit has never been more stylish than with this exclusively designed, handmade glass pendant necklace. The background repeats the school's team name and overlays the school's initial in the foreground. Your pendant is customized to match your school's color scheme. The pendant is 7/8-inch-square glass and hangs from a coordinating bail, attached to a fun, stretchy bungee cord necklace.

Locker Lingo Magnet
Whether hanging inside a locker or on a refrigerator door at home, this handcrafted magnet is exclusively designed to represent your school's motto, mantra, mascot, or battle cry, even graduating year! Whichever you choose, your custom design is set behind thick glass measuring 2-inches square and uses a PowerMagnet to ensure optimum strength.

Thank you for supporting LOVD and handmade. I still haven't had time to work out all the Etsy shop opening details, but stick with me, it's coming soon!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Winner, Winner, Chicken (McNuggets) Dinner

Immense appreciation goes out to all who took the time to participate in the McDonald's Giveaway from last Thursday. Thank you!!!

 Comment #4: Amy, who said, "My fave is the Shamrock shake too."
MARCH 8, 2012 6:24 AM

Congratulations, Amy, looks like the luck of the shake worked for you! Go ahead and send me an e-mail with your mailing address and I'll get out the goods ASAP. Thanks for participating, everybody!

And, thank you to McDonald's for such a generous grab bag. Winner was chosen using, a computer-generated random number selector.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gratitude Journal Monday

The alarm starts buzzing at 5:00 am. It's the time I get up to blog the day's post. I figure I have until 6:15 am to get it all written, photos edited and all, and still get in the shower and wake up my son by 7:00 am. But, thanks to Day Light Saving, today's 5:00 am is really like 4:00 am.

I snooze the alarm once, twice, three times until I finally get up. All the while I'm not going back to sleep, I'm thinking. I'm thinking that getting up to write today's Gratitude Journal entries is not a favor I'm doing for somebody else, I'm doing it for me. So I tell myself, "Stop seeing this as an obligation. I'm the one who benefits." I look at the clock, 5:25 am. Time to get up to write this post: not because I have to, but because I want to. How about you? Not sure what a Gratitude Journal is all about? Click here and find out.

176. I am grateful my son decided his birthday party theme for this year - it's going to be tons of fun to plan! What do you think it is?

177. I am grateful my son still wants me to play imagination games with him. Yesterday in his room we were crew mates on a ship sailing uncharted waters seeking our fortunes, fighting a giant octopus, and scally-wagging the high seas.

178. I am grateful for my neighbor's good, kind heart. She borrowed a cheap, plastic Tupperware apple slicer from me and accidentally broke it. She felt so bad she bought me a Pampered Chef, stainless steel, heavy-duty apple slicer to replace it. I told her it wasn't necessary to replace but she did, so her guilt was my gain and I'm thankful for my new, beautiful slicer that's so much better than my old one.

179. I am grateful I'm becoming comfortable at being myself more and more everyday.

180. I am thankful for all of you who entered to win the McDonald's giveaway. The winner will be announced tomorrow so there's still time for more entries!!! So many ways to win great prizes!

Have a terrific Monday!

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