Tuesday, May 31, 2011

52 First Dates: Week Fifty-One

So how was your time with another couple?  Memorial Day weekend seemed like the perfect time for this date so I hope you all got a chance to relax and encourage each other in stronger and healthier marriages.

Are you ready for this week's challenge?

Your challenge this week is to recreate your proposal.  Go back to the site, try to choose the same time of day, what you ate, how you go there, etc.  How thorough can you be in remembering and recreating the same feel of that moment?

You might have to get creative on this one.  It doesn't have to be exactly the same.  Maybe you've moved or you were engaged in Hawaii.  Don't feel any pressure to buy airline tickets.  Although what a great excuse for a vacation.  Just have fun with this date and not only remember that moment, but create a new one as well.  Remember these dates are all about creating last connections and memories.

So let us know how your dates are going.  Have you done anything fun and creative lately?  How is dating your spouse improving your marriage?

*Linked to Weekend Bloggy Reading

I've Been Featured (w/ other Great Ideas)

I received an email about featuring my 4th of July Sparklers at One Sweet Party.  Hop on over there and see all the great ideas she's compiled for a Summer BBQ.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Adopt Without Debt {Review}

You can't be around the frugal blog community for long before you start hearing things like "living debt-free," Dave Ramsey seminars, and living within your means.  Debt-free living is catching on and creating more freedom than previously believed.  And in today's society, nothing could be more timely than the message that over spending doesn't happiness.

But what about some of the bigger expenses in life?  Home, car, education...  And what about some of those God-sized dreams that fall into your lap?  Is it really possible to Adopt Without Debt?

(Image Credit: Amazon)

In her book entitled just that, Julie Gumm proved that it's not only possible, she's actually done it.  Gumm shares with her readers how she and her husband committed to the debt free lifestyle and have never looked back.  Paying off their debt and home though a series of events and choices,  they reaped the benefits and thrived within their means.  But when it came to two overseas adoptions, could they stick to their principles and still bring home their children?

Written in a reader friendly manner, Adopt without Debt explores the possibilities for adoption capturing your heart, not your wallet.  The book covers many creative ways in loosening up money to cover adoption.  From budgets to grants to fundraising, Gumm shares with her readers both her experience and the experience of 25 other families.  Whether you're looking for creative fundraising ideas or just some encouragement in your adoption journey, Adopt without Debt is well-worth the read.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Adopt without Debt for review.  All opinions are mine.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Made by Me Monday

Hey Creative2xmom gang,

How was your weekend?  For those of you with a four day weekend, I hope you're enjoying your Memorial Day.  Did you travel or stay home with the family?

Our weekend was broke up.  We went down to my in-law's on Friday for my sister-in-law's high school graduation.  Yes, high school.  Crazy!  I have a seventeen year old sister-in-law.  So for the past ten years I've been around for major milestones in her life.  And now her high school graduation.  

A long day of driving and we arrived in time for a BBQ celebrating her and a close friend.  The kids ran around with cousins and family.  Hubby and I caught up with good family friends and distant relatives.  But the highlight of the evening was graduation itself.  The kids were antsy, but once they discovered the megaphones and cow bell, ... well, it was all a party from there.  Lydia got ahold of the cow bell and ended up cheering for every graduate that crossed that stage.

We spent Saturday with family, took the kids bowling.  Church on Sunday and sleeping in for the holiday.  I promised the kids waffles this morning and their bouncing out of their seats waiting for them.  It's been a full weekend, but it's been fun.  I can hardly believe summer's nearly on us.  We tested out a new dessert recipe this last week.  It was incredible.  This Pear and Berry Crisp from Martha Stewart is super yummy.  It's a summer twist on the berry crisp that's perfect for a summer BBQ.  Hope you like it as much as we did.

Our Menu this week:
Monday: BBQ burgers, roasted corn salad, potato salad, and dessert
Tuesday: On the go
Wednesday: Grilled Veggie Sandwiches, pea salad
Thursday: Lentil Tacos, spanish rice
Friday: Shrimp stirfry, green salad
Saturday: Homemade veggie pizza, green salad
Sunday: Spaghetti, green salad, homemade bread

Projects this week:
Journaling on 10 scrapbook pages
Scrap December photos
Fancy Flip-Flops

Posts coming up this week:
52 First Dates
Family Update
New Summer Photo Challenge
And more!

Should we get started partying?  Write a blog post highlighting your project with a link back here so that others can join in on the fun.  Then link up below to the blog post itself.  You can post more than one project; just add more than one link.  So let's get started!
*Linked to these Parties
*Linked to Menu Monday

Lee's To Do List

Hum... I wanna Wow! my next overnight company with this Good Morning Blueberry Cake (@ How Does She).

These Easy Peasy Wall Art pieces (@Gus and Lula) look like a fun summer project.  I'd love to make some with my kids.

Who knew there were 10 Things to Make in a Springform Pan (@ Feels Like Home)?  Stuffed pizza sounds yummy!

This Handkerchief Skirt (@ The Family Scientista) is so cute and would be perfect summer.

Has anyone tried making their own Homemade Dishwasher Soap (@ Sweet Country Life)?  How did it work out for you?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dayspring Beloved Frame {Review}

When I started the 52 First Dates challenge, I never thought it would grow into a passion.  Dates nights sounded cliche and impossible.  Dating my husband just sounded... corny... after 10 years.

Since then the Lord has spoken to my heart.  Softly at first, steady and louder as time went on.  The need for change in marriages has become a constant heart beat in my life.  One that challenges my own marriage and hopefully spills into the marriages around me.

And while our marriage is far from perfect, it's in the striving that our marriage is beautiful.

If I could reach each of you, one thing I would do is to hold your face, look into your eyes, and speak these words, "Cherish your spouse."

Cherish them.

Make them feel special.

Spend time each day praying for them.

Take a moment to SHOW your love.

Cherish, savor, celebrate.

That's what this Beloved Frame from Dayspring is all about: Celebrating your life and commitment together.

"This is my Beloved and this is my Friend."

At the end of day, I hope my spouse and I can say this about each other.  It's just one of those simple things that catches my eyes in the right moment.  Frustration, anger, small annoyances... all melt in the moment of remembering that he is my beloved.

Modern, sleek, heart felt, and inspiring... I love it!

For this and other beautiful gifts, check out the Dayspring Store.
*Disclaimer: Dayspring provided this frame for me to review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Well-Stocked Craft Cupboard

With summer looming, I've been jotting down ideas to share with the kids over the next three months.  One of the biggest sanity savers in our house is Art.  Finger paints, glue, staples, markers... if art can be created from it, my kids will consume it.  Just this afternoon, we spent a hour creating on the back patio.  It was great!

These are just a few of the items that help us keep our sanity:

*School glue, glue sticks
*Staples, tape
*Paint: washable poster, finger paint, water color,
*Paint brushes in a variety of sizes
*Construction paper
*Cotton balls
*Roll paper, posters
*Chenille pipe cleaners
*Wooden pieces: people, beads,
*Plastic beads

And keep an eye out for unusual objects that you otherwise wouldn't use.  Recently I purchased a package of colored zip ties from the Dollar Store for another project.  My kids could the leftovers and couldn't wait to put them to good use.  We created stairs, a fan, a Mario obstacle course, and numerous other imaginative pieces.  Who knew?

So before summer hits, make sure you have a craft cupboard set up.  Who knows where your child's imagination will take them?
*Linked to these Parties
Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

52 First Dates: Week Forty-Nine

Where you able to squeeze in a picnic last week? picnics are so much fun. It's a wonderful way to step back from everything and just be together.  What did you do?

Are you ready for this week's challenge?

This is going to be a fun one.  How would you like to revisit high school?  I don't know about you, but my husband I went to different high schools.  It's really a good thing.  We really weren't ready for each other back then.  Still it would have been fun to see what he was like.  So here's the game plan:

*Menu: Brainstorm ideas like pizza, juice boxes, veggie sticks, fruit cups, ice cream cups, pudding cups... what other ideas can we come up with?

*Yearbooks: You know we all still have them laying around.  Who did your spouse hang out with in high school?

*Dress: Where you a jock?  Brain?  Preppy?  Can you show some school spirit?

*Wanna make this a group date?  Have some friends over and spread the love.

So what do you think?  Are you ready for a flashback? Have fun dating!

Homemade Swaparoo Package... Yeah!

Remember the Homemade Swap I was a part of in April?  Well, we're linking up our pictures this week.  I'm so excited.  I can't wait to show with you the pretty package that showed up in my mailbox last week.

I was paired up with Janna from Happiness is a Journey.  Her ideas were so creative and fun.  They added a great touch of spring to our home.

Even the packaging was fun:

I love the black and white tissue paper.

Then ... the good stuff:

 Have I mentioned a time or one hundred how much I LOVE tote bags?

Love this sign.  Great reminder with little ones in the house.

And I can't wait to hang the Welcome Sign outside my door.

Thank you so much Janna.  And thank you so much to Living the Goddess Life and My So Called Chaos for hosting this swap.

To see more fun packages, check out this link:  Homemade Swaparoo Results.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Frame the Clouds {Review & Giveaway}

(Image Credit: Amazon)

Recently I was browsing a post at Incourage and came across a song list by an artist named Christa Wells.  I was struck by the deep vulnerability of her music and knew that I had to contact her.  Through our dialogue she offered to send me a CD to review.  I couldn't have been more ecstatic.  But in the back of my mind, I can't wondering who was this Christa and why hadn't I heard of her?

Turns out, most of us probably have heard her music.  Haven worked and written for artists like Natalie Grant and Sheryl Crow, Christa Wells is no new comer to the music scene.  Still it wasn't until 2009 that Wells released her first solo album entitled Frame the Clouds.  Since then she's also released a second album called How Emptiness Sings.

Well's music is lyrical, deep, harmonious, and rich.  It speaks of a life deeply lived, experienced and embraced.  "On the Mountain" resonates with those moments we all find ourselves striving through this life.  We may be standing in front of that mountain, but we still grasp the hope of reaching the top one day.

Frame the Clouds is my go-to album these days where I'm relaxing in the evening or trying to calm the carpool crowd.  It goes on the road with us and gets popped in for afternoon rest time.  Christa Wells is sure to be on the music scene for years to come.  And with a depth like hers, we can all be lucky to hear what's next.

One last surprise...

Christa also sent a CD for giveaway.  Wanna win one?

Here's what you do:

Mandatory Entry--
*Follow Creative2xmom and leave a comment letting me know which track you like from the sample on Amazon.

Additional Entries--
*Follow Creative2xmom on Facebook
*Leave a link on Made by Me Monday

Giveaway entries close next Monday May 23rd at midnight.  Good luck!
*Linked to:

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Made by Me Monday

Hey Gang,
I'm gonna make this one quick this morning.  I'm running a little late as I was gone this weekend and got in much later last night then I had planned.  So now it's a Monday morning.  And we all know how Monday mornings are.  They certainly have a way of catching up with us: unpacking, planning a menu and grocery list, getting kids off to school, etc.  Mondays I hit the ground, already feeling like I'm far behind.

Anyways, I spent a fun weekend with some girlfriends out of town.  One friend invited us all up to her place for the weekend, and we spent the time crafting, eating, and talking.  It was a lot of fun.  A little eventful though as my car broke down on the way home.  But all the drama aside, we had a wonderful time and eventually made it home safe.

My friend even created a silhouette project that we worked on, and I spent some time journaling in my scrapbooks.
It was a bit ambitious taking two albums, but I did get journaling done on over 20 pages.  I had some back in the fall of 2008 that weren't journaled so it was about time.  

Here's our menu for the week:
Monday: potluck dish???
Tuesday: Pea soup
Wednesday: Taco Soup
Thursday: Baked Potato Bar
Friday: Spinach Calazone
Sunday: Small Group BBQ

Doesn't look like a very thorough list huh?  Wish me luck getting groceries this morning.  :-)

Projects I have going this week:
Finish journaling in family album, working on graduation gift, fix car!  :-(

Posts to look forward to this week:
A review and giveaway, creating a craft cupboard, 52 first dates, homemade swaparoo results and so much more!

Should we get started partying?  Write a blog post highlighting your project with a link back here so that others can join in on the fun.  Then link up below to the blog post itself.  You can post more than one project; just add more than one link.  So let's get started!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lee's To Do List

A group of these Handmade Bookmarks (@Skip to My Lou) would be a cute addition to any graduates gift.

For a beautiful addition to your spring door, try this frugal Butterfly Wreath (@ Bump Smitten).  Who knew paper bags could be so beautiful?

Has anyone tried Kale Chips (@ Dine and Dish)?  I'd be anxious to see if anyone's kids like them.  Have you tried them?

Tis the season for 40 Tempting Homemade Ice Cream Recipes (@ Tip Nut).  I'm getting anxious to try several of these over the summer.

Speaking of summer, I love these Cola Bottle Hummingbird Feeders (@ Margarita Stewart).  They would be so much fun to help the kids learn about nature.

One last wedding idea for this week, these Faux Flower Wedding Kissing Balls (@ Dollar Store Crafts) would be a stunning and beautiful addition to any summer wedding.  They are really beautiful!

Friday, May 13, 2011


I'm sorry guys!  I had a post ready for today and it's disappeared.  Plus now I'm going out of town for the weekend don't have time to rewrite it.  Sorry!  I'll work on getting it back up next week.  Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

We Love You!

Thanks for putting up with this crazy bunch another year!

For the LONG evening talks with chaos in the background...

For the  kisses on scrapped knees...

And all the snuggles!

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spring Wreath

I love being able to create new items for our home that create a sense of comfort and welcome.  Home decor for me isn't just about looking nice, but also creating ... "home."  Still creating can some times get pricey.  So on this week's Made by Me Monday, I promised a price breakdown of the latest wreath I've been working.

Grapevine Wreath Form-- $1
Daisy Flower Garland-- $1
Misc Flower Stems-- on hand
3 pack butterflies-- $1

Total: $4

Being creative doesn't have to mean spending a lot.  It's really more about using your imagination, being resourceful, and being "home."  

Hope this inspires you to look in unlikely places and use what you have.

What are you creating these days?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

52 First Dates: Week Forty-Eight

How was your date last week?  Did you do something active with your spouse?

Here comes this week's challenge:

The weather is finally getting nice here and we're enjoying more and more time outdoors.  So this week we're going to pack up a picnic and have some time alone with our spouses.  What is it about picnics and finger food that just seem so fun and intimate?  Not sure, but let's go with it.  This can be as complicated as a full-blown picnic in the park or as simple as finger snacks in the backyard.  That way you can adapt it to babysitter or not, any budget, and still get the feeling of having a romantic picnic outdoors.

Personally we'll probably do something at home after the kids go to bed, but how fun is that?  Maybe a little star gazing too?

Let us know how your dating life is going and what you're learning about your spouse.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Book Club Announcement!

Hey gang,

It's been awhile since we read a book together.  And as much as I've loved the past couple of books I've read, I miss having our book club to discuss together.  Honestly, I get so much more out of these books when we read together.  So I'm excited to announce our next book club book:

Practicing Hospitality 
by Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock

This is a book we've read in the past, but it's been two years since I've picked it up and I'd love to read it with you again.  So pick up a copy 'cause we'll have our first post up June 16th.  That gives you about a month and a half to get your hands on one and get excited for joining our Summer Book Club!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Made by Me Monday

Hey y'all,

How was your weekend?  Did you enjoy your Mother's Day?

We had one super busy day and one more relaxing day.  My husband was gone at a pastor's conference all last week, but thankfully made it home early one Friday so we had lots of Daddy time then settled in for our traditional Family Movie Night on Friday.  I made homemade pizza and popcorn before sitting down to watch Little House on the Prairie.  A relaxing spot in our weekend.

Hubby and I had foster care class all day Saturday so the kids were at a friend's.  Then we picked them up and hustled over to another friend's for dinner and a birthday party.  But the time we got home Saturday, we were ready to drop.

Sunday was full, but still.  After we got home from church, I took a long nap and tried to catch up on some reading.  The kids helped their dad make dinner and we decompressed a little before the week starts all over again.

Despite the crazy week, I do have a project to share with you.  I've been working on this wreath in bits and pieces of time, but it's really very easy and economical.  I'll post a cost breakdown for you later this week.

Our menu this week:
Monday: Kids at a friend's while we're in class
Tuesday: Eggplant Lasagne, green salad, french bread
Wednesday: Taco salad
Thursday: Homemade veggie pizza, green salad
Friday-Saturday: Girl's weekend
Sunday: Leftovers or spaghetti

Other kitchen chores:
Sourdough starter--I neglected mine and have to start over
Pear and berry crisp

Should we get started partying?  Write a blog post highlighting your project with a link back here so that others can join in on the fun.  Then link up below to the blog post itself.  You can post more than one project; just add more than one link.  So let's get started!

Lee's To Do List

Love this article about What is a Waste Free Lunch Program (@ Waste Free Lunch).  Really shows what a little extra time can do to save money and be green.

Ever wondered what to have on hand for natural medicine?  Check out How to Build your Apothecary (@ Kitchen Stewardship).  It's broke down very well for beginners.

Great tip for bloggers of any duration: Commenting 101: Why Should I Bother (@ Serenity Now).  Remembering that blogging is all about relationships.

Here's another one from Kitchen Stewardship: How Exercise Can Enhance your love of Food, Family and Frugality.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sea Glass Pendant

A few months ago, I found these cute little pendants at Can't Stop Making Things and I knew I had to make them.  They are super easy to make.  Plus think of how customizable they are.  With graduation and wedding season on us, they would make beautiful gifts.  Or wine glass charms.  Party favors... the list goes on and on.

Did I mention that these pendants were made with material found at the dollar store?  Doesn't get much better than that!

Wire cutters
Bag of beach glass ($1)
24 gauge wire ($1)
16 gauge wire ($1)
Metal charms (optional $1)
Gel Super Glue
Needle nose pliers

I had several of these items on hand and opted to only use the 24 gauge wire I already had.  Plus, there tons of glass in those little bags, perfect for completing this project and having more for later.

Hope you have as much making these as I did.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Celebrating Moms

Most of the time we don't think about how tough it is to be a mom until we become one.  And then suddenly the past 20 or 25 years all make sense.  We understand why our own moms would stay up lately making cupcakes for a school party.  Or maybe we didn't even realize that they did and now we know how much of their own lives were consumed by ours.

It seems that have kids puts so much in perspective.  We come to see how our own mothers must have struggled with balance, time commitments, and the dreaded Mommy guilt.  In spite of our best laid plans to parent to a prescribed standard, we realize that every mom, including our own, is just winging it and praying for the best.

Parenthood becomes less about balance and more about priorities.  We realize that we can't have it all and that's ok because we CAN have the best that God has for us.  Like bedtime kisses.  Stories told in hushed whispers.  Beloved stuffed animals and cuddly blankets.  Forts built under tables.  Running through sprinklers.  ABC songs and Curious George story books.

We realize the times we took our mothers for granted.  The scraped knees that needed to be kissed meant an interrupted phone call.  The cookies in our lunch meant time baking instead of sleeping.  The sports played meant hours sacrificed that could have been spent in personal pursuits.  And all the while, we breezed through life, never giving a second thought that she'd come through.

Maybe for some of us this wasn't the case.  Maybe our "moms" were the next door neighbor who took us in when Mom was working late.  Maybe she was the softball coach who could always give us a ride when Mom was elsewhere.  Maybe the Mom who could be most trusted is the older friend who mentors us through the rocky days of Motherhood without leaving us feeling like we've burdened her as well.

I come from a legacy of moms who are bright, strong, giving, and nurturing.  For all the days that I fall short in parenting my own children, I thank God that they are surrounded by these women who will support them, teach them, love them.

To all the Moms, especially those in my life, thank you for the hours spent in giving.  For the tiresome nights in a thankless job.  May you be encouraged to know that what you do does make a difference.

Happy Mother's Day!

*Linked to Writer's Workshop  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

52 First Dates: Week Forty-Seven

How was your date last week?  Which one did you pick?  Did you relive a favorite or try something new?

Are you ready for this week's challenge?

The weather is getting nicer in most parts of the country.  It's a little bit warmer and the sun is peeking out a little more.  Why not be outdoors together?  You can walk.  You can hike.  You can pack a picnic lunch or go to an outdoor flea market.  The point is to be outdoors together.  Get some sunshine.  You'll be surprised how it will lighten your mood and heighten your senses.  Laugh!  Sometimes just getting outside is all you need to give you a fresh perspective.

I would personally love to get out and walk the neighborhood with my husband.  We try to take walks when it's nicer.  The kids can run ahead.  We still have to keep a good eye on them, but we get a chance to talk.  We both feel refreshed when we're done and we've had a chance to reconnect.

How will you fulfill the challenge this week?

Flip-Flop Swap

Hey gang,

Can you believe summer's just around the corner?  We just had Easter and there's still a chill in the air.  But I know it won't be long before it starts to warm up around here and we'll be sporting flip-flops and painted toes.  It's already May in my part of the country and we are dreaming of shorts and sunscreen.

How about some fun?  Are you ready for a Flip-Flop Swap?  I've been thinking there's nothing like a new pair of flip-flops to get me ready for summer and what better way to make new bloggy friends in the process.

So how does it work?  Would you like to receive a new pair of flip-flops delivered to your door?  Would you like to meet a new bloggy friend?  Would you like to share something fun about where you live?  What if you could do all of the above right here at Creative2xmom?

Ok, here's what you have to do...

1. Send me an email including your full address, blog address, email, and flip-flop size.  Email me by May 10th!  Before you sign up, please carefully consider whether you have the time and resources to fulfill your swap.  Limited to the first 20 participants.  Sorry, no international swappers.

2. On May 11th, you'll receive an email from me with your FFS partner's information.  Be sure to check your partner's blog, learn more about them, and reach out to say hi.

3. Mail your partner's package by May 25th.  Also include a postcard in your package that explains a little bit about where you live and what makes it unique.  Don't spend more than $10 on your package.

4. Blog about the flip-flops you receive and link up on June 8th.  Show us a creative shot of your new footwear.

So what do you think?  Easy, fun, new friends, new footwear... what's not to love?  Let's get started signing up and spreading the word.  Tweet, blog, facebook... the more we spread the word, the more bloggers can join, the more friends we make.  Don't just sit there; send me an email!  Can't wait to see all your creativity.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Made by Me Monday

So ... how was everyone's weekend?  It's been a couple of weeks since we did Made by Me Monday so I need to catch up on what everyone's been up to.  How have your last two weeks been?  Did you have a good holiday and spring break?

Last week, we spent a few days of spring break at my mom's then came back and spent the weekend here at home.  Between Easter and a cousin's birthday this weekend, my kids have spent a ton of time with family lately.  And we've made lots of good memories.  Plus take WAY TOO MANY photos.  When they're this cute, you just can't help it.

And they had a great time playing with cousins.  

So here we start a new week and see the end of spring break.  It's going to be an interesting adjustment for poor Lydia.  After a week and a half of having her brother at home, she might be a little lonely.  We'll have to plan some girl time.  Here's a peek of what our week looks like:

Our menu:
Wednesday: Spaghetti or Leftovers
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Sunday: Mama's Choice, homemade pear and berry crisp

Organize and journal scrapbook pages
Painting canvas
Lots of fun posts comin' up!

Oops!  I almost forgot to show you what I've been working on.  Stay tuned for this project later in the week.

Should we get started partying?  Write a blog post highlighting your project with a link back here so that others can join in on the fun.  Then link up below to the blog post itself.  You can post more than one project; just add more than one link.  So let's get started!

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