Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Maddie's Elephant Sew Day

I wanted to share about an amazing Saturday I was honored to be a part of. Many of you are familiar with this already BUT I wanted to share about the story behind this post to give opportunity for more people to get involved in making a difference in the lives of families going through very difficult times.

February 3rd is quickly approaching...It is a day I will never forget and a day that has forever changed so many aspects of my life. 5 year old Madeline Musto was diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem tumor and 5 days later on February 8th, 2012 Madeline went home to heaven. (you can read her story and about her diagnoses DIPG here http://www.maddiesmark.org/maddies-story/) If you aren't already please join me in praying over the next several weeks for this wonderful family as this difficult anniversary of their loss approaches.

In her honor Matt & Erin started a foundation, Maddie's Mark...here is the purpose (from their site):

Maddie’s Mark Foundation is our family’s way of showing the world our Madeline. It is our way of carrying on her legacy for as long as we live and beyond. Our hope is for people to enjoy all the good the world has to offer, to enjoy their 'best days ever'. The goals of the foundation are a reflection of Madeline’s spirit and outlook on life. All support and donations will be going toward these goals:
  1. Maddie’s Mark provides ‘best days ever for children suffering from major illness, and provides support for their families;
  2. Maddie’s Mark actively encourages child enrichment, through financial grants to improve public and private entertainment, educational and athletic facilities for children - including schools, parks, playgrounds, and theatres; and,
  3. We honor Madeline’s legacy and love of learning through a scholarship program, to provide meaningful and significant financial assistance to remarkable young women.
You can read more about the foundation and how you can help by going to http://www.maddiesmark.org . They have done a variety of fundraisers from a golf tournament, 5K, and a variety of children and family events!!!

One of the ongoing fundraisers is Maddie's Elephants which was started by 2 friends of mine Heather Torn and Wendy Matusic. You can check out Maddie's Elephants here: http://maddieselephants.blogspot.com/ . On the site you can read about why they chose an elephant for this fundraiser! The elephants are available on their site for $20 and I believe they have already sold over 1000 elephants. Many of these elephants have been sewn by these 2 ladies BUT they also have teams of quilters, mom groups and friends all over the place who have had days of creating a whole chunk of "The Herd". 

Heather asked a few months back if we could host a sewing day at Sonrise and day came this past Saturday. It was a wonderful day of sewing, stuffing, cutting and turning. 50 Women (and a few children) came out from all over the surrounding communities to donate their time and talents. I don't know the exact number of elephants BUT it was in the neighborhood of 70 completely finished (25 of which sold that day), another 25 plus that just needed their bottoms sewn and another whole lot that are partially finished!!! 

It was not only a day of successful sewing but a wonderful day with friends and making new friends. I totally forgot my camera (until my husband dropped it near the end....at which point I still forgot to take pics until everyone was gone) I did get a few of a pile of about 40 elephants BUT my friend Sarah shared a few of hers so I could share some from the day with you. 

If you are looking for something for your kiddos or grand kids for Valentines day why not hop onto  http://maddieselephants.blogspot.com/ and order a special Valentine Elephant that is not only cute and cozy BUT the proceeds also go towards the goals and efforts of Maddie's Mark! (Valentine's Elephants must be ordered by February 1st)

Also if you are somewhat local and would like to join us for the next sewing day later this year, leave a comment here or shoot me a facebook message and i will make sure to keep you posted when the time comes (NO SEWING SKILLS REQUIRED)

Thanks to everyone who came out to help or donated supplies. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of something much bigger than me...Is there something you are a part of in your community that is about helping/serving others OR maybe you can spend some time thinking/praying about how you can get involved in 2013 in something of this nature! We can't do everything BUT we can all do something....

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

MY "ONE THING" (2 really)

Happy New Years everyone!!! We rung in the new years with some awesome friends...new and old.... played some super fun games and midnight came quickly! So much to be thankful for in 2012 and looking forward to all God has for us in 2013!

So we all know statistics show most people don't follow through on resolutions for their first month and by Valentines Day most have left it behind them....So here I am at the beginning of January looking to grow and change.

Last Sunday Lyle preached and talked about what "ONE THING" will you work on, change in, get rid of, etc. in your life...For me there was no question...I wanted to work in 2013 on my scripture memory. God's Word is what I live my life by...it is where I have learned about my salvation, it is where i find principles for raising my children, it is the map by which Lyle leads our family....AND I know I need to not only know what it says BUT I need to have it imprinted upon my heart. So....tonight we begin Beth Moore's bible study called "James- Mercy Triumphs". I have heard from 4-5 women from different churches and backgrounds that it is awesome and that it is the best study Beth Moore has ever written. I got my book the other day and started into it...It is so good....She has 5 tiers you can choose from depending on your time, desire, etc.

1. Just watch the videos
2. Watch videos, do the 5 days of homework study through the week (each takes about 20 minutes)
3. Watch videos, do homework, Write out the book of James as you go through it
4. Watch videos, do homework, write out book of James, Do the digging deeper sections of homework
5. Watch videos, do homework, write out book of James, Do the digging deeper section, AND MEMORIZE THE ENTIRE BOOK OF JAMES!!!!

So in the intro she suggests you settle on which tier you will commit to. I circled 4. THEN, after you circle it she suggests you go one step further....YIKES... that left me with #5 AND just a day after i committed to inscribing Gods Word on my heart in 2013...I didn't think that would mean memorizing an entire book.....OK GOD... I GET IT...I AM NOW MEMORIZING THE ENTIRE BOOK OF JAMES. One chapter a month for the next 5 months. I almost have verses 1-7 down....ONLY 101 to go...You can pray for me that I stick to it...I am committed to not being that statistic that quits!

I also decided to do a home "ONE THING" I did it last year as well. It's called 40 bags in 40 days. That means each day for 40 days I choose an area of my house (My closet, the pantry, the dining room, Kitchen cupboards, Bathroom cabinets, junk drawer, etc.). There is no bag size restrictions...it could be a walmart/grocery bag OR a gigantic trash bag. I did this last year and at the end of the 40 days I was missing nothing and felt so much less overwhelmed and  way less cluttered!

What might your "ONE THING" be in 2013? Let go of food, drink, an addiction, a grudge, A show that is only filling your mind with garbage. Maybe more exercise, more time in Gods Word, attend church on a regular basis, keeping your home cleaner, choosing to spend more time with your kids, family dinner each night, changing how you treat your spouse....the list really keeps going and going. I challenge you to think of committing to "ONE THING" in your spiritual life and "ONE THING" in your home life! Shouldn't we all be growing and changing? You may not have commit to something January 1st BUT why not commit to something now? Feel free to comment or email me about your "ONE THING". I will commit to you to pray for you and your "ONE THING" in 2013.

Happy 2013 and I look forward to what God has in store for each of us in this new year!

Liv is sitting here with me and she said she wanted to blog too! Her message to you today is "I LOVE YOU, I LIKE YOU, I HOPE YOU HAVE A GOOD DAY" - Olivia Hartwell

Monday, December 17, 2012

Make It Monday!!! -No Sew Burlap Tree Skirt

So the other night after my kids went to bed I got ambitious...I started cleaning up my craft corner (which had gotten wildly out of control while preparing for craft4life)....THEN my giant roll of Burlap started calling my name. I had pinned several burlap tree skirts over the last year and had wanted to make one for our second tree BUT our internet was down so I couldn't look up any tutorials. I figured it couldn't be that hard AND the road runner guy wasn't coming until Monday so I was going to wing it! (He came today and apparently a squirrel had chewed through the wires and they were full of water.) So....anyway....Internet is back and here I am sharing my Burlap adventure.


I cut out a circle the size i wanted my tree skirt.
I cut into the middle of it (you can see the cut in the top middle of the pic.)
I then cut a circle in the middle for the stump of the tree.
You will notice I didn't bother ironing because I knew it would be covered! (an i detest ironing)

I drew a free hand circle with a sharpie about 5-6 inches in from the outside edge to act as a guide to where I was going to start gluing the burlap on!

I then cut strips of burlap about 8-10 inches wide. I hot glued about 2 inches onto my sharpie line and then folded it over on itself just a 1/2 inch to create a pleat. Then i glued down a little more and created my next pleat! I continued all the way around the tree skirt.

After the first circle I did my next layer (overlapping it over the first layer so the glued edge was covered)

This is it with 2 layers...I was about to start layer 3! (I ended up doing 4 layers BUT my last layer strips were only 4-5 inches wide and you can see that in the picture below)

Now I used my scissors to create a hole for the Twine to go through to tie it in place under the tree! I made 3 holes down the slit...You can see the ties in the next picture...

I cut 1 foot of twine, put it through the holes and Ba Bam....I love it! 

It took about an hour while I watched a Christmas Hallmark movie and it was worth every minute!!!

Here it is under the tree!

Ta da!

Now this week I have big plans to make Fabric Lined Burlap stockings!!! We will see what time allows and if i like them i may share!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

craft4life part 2

Well....Saturday has come and gone! It was so much fun. We had 45 women and fabric was flying...We did 10 crafts (well we ran out of time and took some home)....If you didn't get a chance to read a few posts down about about craft4life and operation baby rescue scroll down and read more about it. We raised about $2400 (still waiting on a final number as we have a little more coming in)....Way to go ladies. That is 2 babies rescued and given a chance at life!
My friend MaryAnn Shared about our event on her blog... She is our MOPS Community Connector and attended craft4life! Check it out here  http://albhudsonvalleymops.blogspot.com/2012/12/operation-baby-rescue-and-craft4life.html

Here are a few items we made with their inspiration sites...
                                                                 Christmas Card...

Birthday Calendar...Designed by me...

Paperclip earrings... inspiration from here.

Wreath was a craft at the CRAFT 4 LOVE event I went to a month back at Temple Baptist. BUT the Rosettes for wreath were from here.

Family Rules board. This was designed by me...

T-shirt scarf inspiration was from here. Flower for scarf from here. (We made these flowers at the LOVE 146 event at Temple Baptist and I loved them!!! Women made scarfs with all different twists (braids, cut and tie, etc...) I should have taken pics of them!


Major thanks to Bagels and bakes for donating Bagels and Cream Cheese for Breakfast. Also to The Villa who donated our delicious lunch! Our raffle bags had items from Alabu (all natural lip balm). They have been friends with lyles family since he was young. His mom suggested I contact her when i was about to make an attempt at homemade soap...Their website is www.alabu.com
They also contained Maddies Mark bracelets. You can check out Maddies Mark and their amazing foundation at www.maddiesmark.org AND if you have nothing going on Saturday, January 19th from 9-3 you can join us at Sonrise to make elephants for Maddies Mark. We are going to try to help them get ahead. Over 1000 elephants have already been sold!!! We need people who can sew, stuff, trace, cut, iron....Basically we need EVERYONE!!! If you have questions about this let me know!
A sweet family friend Marie Tollison donated a tray of homemade scrumptious chocolates from her sons chocolate shop park ave. confections for dessert. www.parkavenueconfectionary.com

Major thanks to Sonrise for letting us craft 4 life!!!

Then came our raffle/silent auction/giveaway items AND I must say..I was blown away. I put the word out there and things started flowing in. Here are a few pics....not all by far...I'm going to try to not miss any but fogive me if I do...
Painting- Jon Campbell of Rotterdam
Sterling Silver neacklace with Sacandaga Stone- Amber Liegeot
Lots of Jewelry- Amber Liegoet
Several Signs- Jessica Jewett etsy site: www.etsy.com/shop/DivineDesigns311
Totes- Heather Torn etsy site coming in January...
2 Umbrellas- Maddies Mark www.maddiesmark.org
Quilted Bibs- Elizabeth Chambers
Lots of crochet hats with flowers- Elizabeth French
Simply Zofia- Headbands, flowers, Hand painted Painted signs & blocks, ornaments etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/simplyzofia
Leather Wrap Bracelets- Becky Coburn Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/milovat
Bath Apron- Natalie Cutting- (Her Etsy site is for personalized cards and invites)
Pillowcase Dress & Onesie dress- Nicki Pittman
A variety of stockings & sewn goods- Gladys
Prinatables, Burnt Edge flower pins, buntings- Me
Hand made Cards- Marie Tollison
Scarf- sally Hart
Hats, Mittens, purse- Johanna Vansteeg
Scarf- Nicola MacNeil
Partylite item, snowmen items- Veronica Liegeot
Scentsy Bundle- Roxanne Irvin
Waxing service- Jennie Lea
Massage- Lorinda Kimball (Complete Renewal by Lorinda)
A variety of items- Lyndsay Synowski
Maddies Elephants- Benefitting Maddies Mark http://maddieselephants.blogspot.com/

Here are a few pics....I have to get the others from my phone...

We also had ornaments and t-shirts for sale: There are still some available. 
They are $3 for ornaments (made by myself, My mom & Heather Torn) and $10 for t-shirts

I am just so grateful to everyone who made this day a success. So much love went into giving the gift of life...from women who prepped, donated supplies, manned a post, set up, cleaned up AND especially to each women who attended. Thank you again and let me know if you have any questions about Operation Baby Rescue!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Fun

Sorry it has been a few weeks. With prep for craft4life I haven't had the time to post. It was awesome AND I will do a post on craft4life tomorrow or Wednesday.

In the mean time I wanted to share some of the new traditions happening in our household. Usually leading up to Christmas we are totally focused on our kids....What we would like to give to them and trying to help shift their focus and ours to others. We, to be honest, don't usually spend a ton of time thinking about what to get each other....we usually discuss one thing we want and buy it together prior to Christmas  This year we had made plans to go to Weekend to Remember, a marriage conference family life puts on across the country. It was phenomenal and if you've never been you definitely should. I may share more about that conference in the coming weeks. You can check it out here. Anyway for the Saturday night date night they recommend couples plan it in advance (dinner reservations, bring gifts for each other, etc) So....I started thinking about what I could give him and remembered something i pinned last year on Pinterest. It was a Christmas Spouse countdown. It looked like this.
You can go to a tutorial by the dating divas here. (p.s. The dating divas are awesome and have amazing ideas of things you can do/make for your hunny... ) I can't say enough... how important dating your husband is. If you have spent much time with Lyle or I you know that we are passionate about seeing marriages not just last... but thrive! Anyway....I did mine a little different. I used free digital scrap booking stuff from here. They have tons of free downloads. You can't use them for things you are going to sell or make money off of BUT you can use them for personal use! I digitally scrapped the inside and outside. Printed and folded the cards and then wrote handwritten notes in each card. There are 24 days leading up to Christmas so I did 2/3  (16 cards) are things I love about him, qualities I admire, etc. The remaining 8 are half (4)acts of service (a massage, doing something for him that I hate doing....like ironing his clothes...lol) and half (4) are date nights focused around things he loves to do..some are at home and some are going out..Last night for instance was a Daddy concert. He brought home his guitar and he played while we all sang and listened. The kiddos loved it! I can't write these all out now as he will read this (love you babe) and I don't want him to know before he opens the card. I glittered some clothes pins and clipped the cards onto a ribbon. NOW each morning he opens a card and reads it....if it is a date or act of service he can look forward to it for the rest of the day! It was an inexpensive gift that I really love and would recommend for any wife (or husband.....how thoughtful your wife would think you were to do something like this)...It is a great way to show the one you love during this season that they are an important part of your life and thank them for who they are! It is something I will definitely do again next year!

Another tradition we have added to our home this year is Elf on the shelf. For starters...Our kids don't believe in Santa. They know that Santa is a fiction character that brings joy to people during the Christmas season BUT that Christmas is about Jesus birth. We talk about how it's Jesus birthday but He doesn't want gifts from us...He just wants us to love Him....We talk about how it is a season to show others his love too and a way of doing that is giving each other gifts. We talk about how Santa is a fiction story of gift giving and that kids think the gifts come from Santa BUT it is really just a fun way for parents to bring Christmas joy to their kids. All that to say....that hasn't stopped our kids from asking Santa for things for Christmas and they still run around the house as soon as they wake up to see where our crazy elf is even though we've told them he's pretend. For those friends who are now thinking...great....you're kids are going to ruin Santa for my kids...we have also told them they are in on the Santa secret BUT they can't tell other kids. It is their own parents job to let their kids in on the secret some day not Austin and Livs. Austin giggles and looks at us when he hears another kid saying something about Santa.
Ok so.....A few years back my Friend Mandi Cheslock and her husband were on this crazy adventure where they traveled the country for his job and lived in the trailer they they pulled around with them. They got to experience some really cool things and around Christmas that year she broke out the elf on the shelf. He was crazy and silly and it looked so fun. A few months back i ordered ours online so we were all ready for December. We read our kids the book AND talked about what was real and what wasn't THEN...IT STARTED.... Let me introduce you to BUSTER!!!!

Improving our family Photos...

Racing with the toys...Buster Won!

Bath time....

What are you doing Buster....

He didn't think our decorations were acceptable...

Buster was doing Austins Quiet time..

Buster was trying to get up to visit the Angel Austin made...
I think that Lyle and I have had more fun each night when the kids go to bed coming up with something new than they have when they find him. We have had a blast...So whether you believe in Santa or don't let me say that an elf is just a super fun thing for your kids but even more for you...I love it!
So...those are just some fun family things...BUT what about others....We have several projects that our family is a part of this Christmas to show Gods love to those around us and I will write about that later this week. Maybe you can get involved too....Come back to find out more.
I am also going to share about one of our favorite Christmas Day Traditions to share with our kiddos about the true meaning of Christmas!
What are your super fun family traditions?