Monday, April 30, 2012

Sponsor Feature: Debbie Does Creations

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Today I want to introduce you to Debbie, from Debbie Does Creations. She is not only a wonderful crafter, she is one of the sweetest bloggers! Check out her blog for amazing creations, tip and tutorials! {She also throws a great party....Toot Your Horn Tuesday!}

Debbie Does Creations

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 Hello there! I want to thank Jill for allowing me to sponsor her wonderful blog :) My name is Debbie and Debbie Does Creations is home to me. I have been married for 14 1/2 years and have two wonderful boys, ages 6 and 1. I love to create, especially holiday crafts. Some of my favorite holiday crafts that I have shared on my blog are: Fabric Covered Egg Topiaries: I share a tutorial and lessons learned. I absolutely loved how these turned out.


My tulle Easter wreath and ribbon and tulle Easter wreath were a hit on Pinterest! These tutorials are so easy to follow and you could change it up to fit the holiday you are creating for! Memorial Day/4th of July is coming up. Red, white and blue would be perfect!

  My muffin tin advent calendar was a huge hit with the neighbors! My glitter Christmas trees were probably one of my favorite things ever. Probably because it included glitter ;) I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little bit better and what I love to create. I encourage you not to miss a thing and have me delivered right to your inbox by clicking the link below.

  Subscribe to Debbie Does Creations

Thanks so much Debbie for coming by and sharing these AMAZING projects with us! Now head on over and check out all that Debbie has to offer!!

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

May Ad!!

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It's hard to believe that we are nearing the end of April! It has been a crazy month for me, so I want to apologize to my wonderful swap ladies! I wasn't able to do all that I had planned because of moving {which has consumed all of my time}. I hope you'll forgive me! BUT, looking ahead, I have BIG plans for May and I would {love} it if you would continue our swap! Some swaps are already planned for next month, so just disregard that part ;-)!

Looking to swap buttons for May? I would love the opportunity to get to know you and help grow your blog, and mine!! I want to let you know that I will be having my 1 YEAR BLOG ANNIVERSARY!! Yea! It has been such a wonderful journey full of ups, and {some} downs, a ton of learning, meeting wonderful people, and joining a community of people that {well} just gets me! We all put a lot of time and energy into our blogs, and we deserve to CELEBRATE!!  What I have planned is a group giveaway, and I would love ALL who would like to be included to contact me!! If you would like to be included in the giveaway without a swap, I'm ok with that too :-)! I am planning it for the 3rd week in May, and I will give the details in a follow up email. And to thank you all for being such a great support during this year! To say {a big} THANK YOU, I would like to offer free advertising for May! Contact me if you are interested :-) I hope you all can make it!!

I also wanted to let you know some exciting news from Franchesca, who blogs over at Small Bird Studios {one of the most heart touching blogs around}!  She will be launching her online magazine, Still Standing Magazine, May 5th!! The magazine was created to bring together anyone who has lost a child or has been faced with infertility. It's a place to find support and to find inspiration to embrace life in the face of loss or infertility. You can find Still Standing Magazine on Facebook, on their website,  as well as on twitter, so please check it out!! Show your support for all of her hard work as well as all of the wonderful contributors to the magazine that share their {very intimate} stories!!

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Speak Ellie!

We have all crossed paths with someone, at one time or another, that we just know is special. Somebody that we want to be like, not out of jealousy, but the type of person we strive to be....the kind of person you hope to raise your child to be, or the kind of person you hope your child crosses paths with. I instantly felt that way when I me Ellie Coburn, creator of Speak Now. Ellie is only 16, is an amazing writer, a beautiful person {inside and out}, compassionate, and inspiring! She does inspire me, and she is on a mission! God put Ellie on this earth to change it! He hasn't given her a life without heartache and tragedy, as she lost her father just 2 1/2 years ago, but He knew that she would be a mentor to so many young girls (and older young girls, hehe). The one that would give young girls the strength to Speak Now. The following is from the Speak Now site......

Speak Now is an organization geared towards giving voice back to young women. 
Located in lovely southern California, Speak Now gives voice to young women by participating in various localized events, is involved nationally in donation drives, and raises awareness about teenage based issues that go unresolved in most circumstances. 

Launched in February 2012, Speak Now's focused goal is allowing young women their absolute right to view themselves as absolutely fabulous. We believe that a healthy young woman views herself as unique, beautiful, and important. It is our mission to make each woman feel that they are worth it. We believe in woman empowerment, equalization, and the abolishment of rejection and negative judgement in high school aged teens and young adults. 

-We Believe-
We believe in strong willed young women. We believe in believers, dreamers and creators. We believe in the absolute impossible. In perseverance, and in hope. We believe that each young person has the reserved right to their own body and mind. We believe that each day holds the absolute possibility that something extraordinary will happen. We believe that each individual can thrive. We believe in advocation and education about the issues that society has created in young people. We believe in spreading awareness and taking a stand for all those who feel outspoken. We believe that you are worth the change we see in the world.
Come soar with us. 
"You are some kind of wonderful. Never forget that you hold the power to change the world. Change on your terms and entrust your life with the morals you see fit for your lifestyle. I speak to YOU when I say that you are absolutely beautiful. Use integrity, humor, and perseverance to run through this world with the absolute confidence that you are doing the very best that you are able. Live and let go. Let no one and nothing tell you otherwise because there are better days on the horizon and there is more sunshine in your pocket then you could ever dream imaginable."

-Ellie Anne Coburn-
Creator of Speak Now 

"giving voice to young women who remain silent in fear of rejection."

I had my own struggles with self image and self worth growing up, made up through my own mind. It wasn't that I wasn't popular, or that I wasn't accepted. I just didn't accept myself. Now that I have 2 daughters of my own, it is so important to me that I instill in them that they are worth it,  that they know they are beautiful, that what they say matters, and that God made them perfect. I teach them to respect, and never to make fun....always be the one that accepts, and to try to help the ones that are bullied.
I have a young teen niece that lost her mother last year. I have always been so close to her, and I love her like she is my own daughter. I have watched the affects of her loss, and the ways that she has tried to fill that {and other} voids in her life. She is a little girl lost. Speak Now was created for my niece. It was created for every girl out there that doesn't feel like they have a voice, or their voice doesn't matter, or that they don't matter. Every girls' story may be a little (or a lot) different but there is a common bond. Through Speak Now, these girls can find resources {anonymously), realize that they are worth it, that they do matter, and know that they have a voice! And their voices are heard!!

I hope that you will check out Speak Now, meet Ellie, show support in anyway you can to help raise awareness for the millions of girls that struggle with this....and follow her along for some exciting things that are coming up in the near future!!
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The Versatile Blogger Award!

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A great big THANK YOU to Debbie from Debbie Does Creations (She's SO great...head over and say Hi!) for nominating my blog for the Versatile Blogger Award.  Thanks you so much Debbie for thinking of me!!
The Versatile Blogger Award is a great way to introduce different bloggers to each other and to promote quality blogs that awardees and their readers may not have discovered otherwise. Click on the link to find out more 
If nominated, you have been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award.  Here are the instructions for the lucky participants:
  1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.
  2. In the same post, add The Versatile Blogger Award.
  3. In the same post, thank the blogger that nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
  4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
  5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
  6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.
Now, on to the nominees…I have met so many amazing bloggers, here are a few of my favorites in no particular order:
  1. Franchesca at Small Bird Studios
  2. Rachel at Lines Across My Face
  3. Rushelle at Digging Deeper
  4. Jen at At Home In The Northwest
  5. Samantha at Reinvented In Seattle
  6. Marilyn at Pulp Sushi
  7. Leigh-Ellen at Little Waterlily in a Big Pond
  8. Jodi at 365 Alphabet Photography  
  9. Jenny at Days of Chalk and Chocolate
  10. Courtney at Baxtron {Life}
  11. Ellie at  Speak Now
  12. Andie at Crayon Freckles
  13. Kristine at The Foley Fam-Unedited
  14. Dana at The Crafted Niche
  15. Nickelle at Novae Clothing
Seven Random Things About Me
  1. I'm such an outgoing girl, but I get SO anxious when I have to do new things or meet new'd never guess that about me if you know me.
  2. I am a HUGE perfectionist when it come to things I do {really, it's a problem} but I have a very imperfect life.
  3. I'm kinda a reality tv nut....although since I started my blog I don't watch as much tv!
  4. I LOVE a house clean....although since I started my blog, I don't clean as much ;-)
  5. I can't burp {I mean, that's random, right??}
  6. I was a nail technician before I became a SAHM
  7. My husband and I owned a comedy club about a year ago
Now go show these girls some love. Check out their blogs. I have loved following along with them! Thanks again Debbie!!

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Photo Editing Options....

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I have sat at this computer every day this week, began to write my post on all of the reasons I have been MIA, but I just seem to run out of time before I finish the post. The short story is that we are in the process of moving and I have spent everyday going back and forth from place to place. I drop the kids off at school in the morning, go to the old house to do more packing and cleaning (not to mention there isn't internet there anymore), get the kids off the bus after school and drive back to the new house. Then I spend the evening unloading the car and organizing, {I don't do dinner}but the dishes always have my name on them, {kids} bath time, and then bedtime (unfortunately not mine). That in itself has been consuming every second of my day. Then I had some mishaps {bruises and burns...hmmm} in the past week, and pure exhaustion at the end of the day. I either can't seem to sit still long enough, or stay away late enough,  so I'll write more about all of that in the next post or two. Another reason, is that my computer broke a few weeks ago, and I didn't get a new one till this week, and {man} I have a lot of catching up to do!! What I thought I would talk about today, with the close of Picnik, is all of the {free}options we still have!!

1) Google+ Creative Kit: Google+ Creative Kit is powered by Picnik. It has the look of Picnik, although I have found that it doesn't include all of the editing options that Picnik did. In fact, it is lacking quite a bit. Another thing that I have found is that it will not "save a copy", even though it gives that option. You are only able to "replace the original". Saying that, you can still produce a well edited picture in my opinion. Here is a before and after of a picture I edited using Google+ Creative Kit {I will show the same picture for each option} To use Google+ Creative Kit, log into your Google+ account and click on a picture. At the top left, you'll see Creative Kit.


2) PicMonkey:  I started experimenting with PicMonkey yesterday, and I really like it right away! It's super easy to use, and maybe named different, has a lot of the same features and effects of Picnik. It was created by 2 former Picnik engineers, so there are similarities. At this time, you can't upload from facebook, or any other site, just your computer and you also can't save to PicMonkey, but that's not a deal breaker for me, and at this time it's is all free. Like Picnik, there will be a cost for some of their features.

BeFunky: It's really a toss up if this is my favorite, or PicMonkey. I think that it depends on what you are wanting to do. I found that BeFunky has SO many great effects and great editing tools. If PicMonkey did 1/2 of what BeFunky did and BeFunky just has a few more would be perfect! It's free package include plenty for great editing, and lots of fun features. It has a couple of premium packages, the lowest cost being about $2 a month (if you pay for the year). The things that {I} feel are missing, are probably in their premium package! I really like their variety of {free} effects, but I don't feel like there is a great variety of fonts, or things such as labels, shapes, and things like that besides using speech bubbles. Other than that, it's a lot of fun and also allows you to upload from other websites and as long as you register (that's free) you can save your photos to their gallery and share.

Photobucket: I have used Photobucket to for image hosting, but never for editing. It also is free, and I'm sure if I would play with it a little more, I would find that it does the things I need or want. I think I would have to actually use a photo that needs more, to really see what it does and how easy it is. But it was easy to  have fun with this photo.

So that is just to name a few, and here are some other things I was able to do with these sites....

If you wondered about the burns I mentioned at the beginning her is a little Instagram that site too!! only takes about 10 seconds for a lawn mower to get HOT! Don't try to lower the lawn mower once you have started mowing (it was probably just the mower I was using!)

Day 2: not looking as bad as it felt....

Day 4: looking bad and feeling bad....

Then, 2 days in a row, I fell down the stairs {not even the same stairs!} I'll spare you the pictures of those bruises ;-)

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope this will help you explore your options in photo editing!

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Sponsor Feature....At Home in the Northwest

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Today I would love to introduce to you, Jen from At Home in the Northwest! I found Jens' site when I first saw this picture:

An Indoor Jungle Gym!!! My kids would SO love this!! So I had to introduce myself and let her know how much I {heart} her jungle gym :-) She has been great getting know, and now I'd love for you guys to get to know her too!!

My name is Jen. I'm a wife and a mom with a passion for creating and decorating. As a child, my bedroom furniture was constantly on the move. And as an adult, over 10 years of working in buying offices and retail has provided me with knowledge to further my love and understanding of decorating. When I first discovered blogging, I was hooked. I wanted to write a blog. I dreamt up a name. I 'claimed it' on blogger. And there it sat. Untouched. For two years. I'd often write posts in my head, but spent my time reading everyone else's blogs. My husband was finally able to encourage me enough...I took the plunge and started writing. This blog allows me to share bargain craft ideas, like my $7 personalized doormat to something more complex, like my shelf tutorial. Blogging has also allowed me to do some interior design, which is more than I could have ever hoped for. Hop over and visit! My hope is that you enjoy what you see and that you leave feeling inspired.

Thank you Jen, so much, for stopping by today!!

Head on over to, At Home in the Northwestand check out her lovely home and her wonderful tutorials! her some love!!
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

And So A New Chapter Begins......

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I've been wanting to post about this for some time, but have been waiting for the right time. I'm still not sure if this is the right time but I....ok, so, I'm not great at keeping things in. My husband is more a private kinda guy, and me on the other hand, obviously I'm more of a "sharer". For the past {however many} months, things haven't been so easy for our family. Like many families today, we have been dealing with our share of struggles. Trying to keep it together and pretend that everything is all ok, has been more than too much to handle at times. Usually, things happen for a reason. Sometimes you know what that reason is right away,  other'll realize what the reason is, in good time. What I do know, is God has a plan for us. 

It's very easy {that's really not the right word} to call it quits with your spouse when life gets hard. That song "Love, will keeps us together"....yeah, not really. Everything else can tear you apart. Probably from my title, your thinking that the "everything else" has gotten the best of us. 
Well, I'm happy to say that love has kept us together. We do love each other. We have been together for 12 years and have 3 beautiful children. WE are ready to get our "happy" back! So we have made some plans for our {very near} future, that I believe are the changes we need to give HOPE to our future and our family. 
We have been {unhappily} renting our house for the past 7 months or so, and for so many reason, have never felt more that a house is not a HOME. THIS is our "Temporary home, it's not where we belong, just windows and rooms that we're passing through" and we are ready to make a house a home. 
So, back to when I said, things sometimes happen for a reason.... My mother~in~law has had her condo on the market, and no luck with selling. She has had LOTS of people looking, but for one reason or another, it hasn't sold. She no longer lives there, in fact, she lives out of town with my sister~in~law, and she has decided to give us the opportunity to buy it. When I talked to her on the phone, she said to me, "THIS is God's plan! He has a plan for us all....and maybe the reason it hasn't sold, is so that you can give your kids a home they can call their own." 
It's not a big place, it only has 2 bedrooms, but the potential is great! We will be building a 3rd bedroom in the basement and plans for lots of,  you know what that means....DIY PROJECTS!! Yea! I'm over the moon thinking of all I want to do to the place!! So I will take you along our journey of making OUR house, our HOME. So it begins....PACKING!

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter..WHAT'S that??

John 3:16-17"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.
John 3:16-17
I have to warn you...when I started to upload my pictures tonight, I fully intended on sharing our Easter egg fun!! But I felt the need to tell you a story little about myself. Ever since I was a child, I have always loved Easter. I'm not sure if it was the chocolate bunnies, or the stale peeps that my grandmother always brought me and my 2 brothers. All I knew, was that I loved it because I LOVE CHOCOLATE!! Um, that's good enough right?? The one {very important} detail that I never knew, was WHAT it meant! I grew up in a Jewish home, and I was never really taught the meaning of Christian holidays. I was just told that we don't celebrate them.  In all honesty, I wasn't taught the meaning of ANY of the holidays {not even the Jewish ones}! I just knew that on Passover, we were going to have a lot of company, a lot of food, a long Seder, a good amount of us kids getting into trouble because we were bored {which didn't change much as adults!}, and that one of us LUCKY kids was gonna get a dollar for finding the hidden matzah...WHOO HOO!! When I started junior high, I switched school districts, and {there} I had a good mixture of Jewish and Christian friends.  As a lot of my friends, and even my twin brother, were getting bar/bat mitzvahed  I just wanted to show up for the party. I didn't feel a connection. I wanted to, but just didn't. When high school started, I didn't need to FEEL Jewish, just saying your Jewish meant I got to stay home from school on the high holidays! I began to go to a youth group with some of my friends. I,  for the first time in my life, felt the connection that I needed and was missing. I would go to church with my friends any chance that I could. I wanted to know so badly HOW my friends knew that they believed in Jesus, and HOW they had such strong faith....and WHY I didn't even know what made me Jewish! I'll fast forward through my {not so proud} young adult years, to when I met my husband. He was the first adult, that wasn't one of my friends parents ;-), that went to church, had a strong faith, and believed what he believed "Because that's what the bible says!" I remember we would talk for hours about God, Jesus, the Bible, the differences in the beliefs of Judaism and Christianity, and so on and so on. He was raised in a strong Christian home, and it was never questioned. My 2 brothers have NEVER questioned being Jewish. Maybe I wasn't listening in Sunday School!! Anyway, I started my journey with God, when I met my husband, almost 12 years ago. I had SO much I wanted to learn, and SO many questions. I questioned  faith, which proved at times to be hard for my husband to understand when HIS faith was so strong. I remember a time as a kid praying to Jesus, {I didn't even know how to pray} because I thought that's what I should do {since my Christian friends seemed to KNOW God could hear THEM}. I made the decision before my son was born, to become a born again Christian. I asked my mom and dad {and any other family member that would listen} "Why are YOU Jewish??" "Is it because your parents' told you that you are?" "What do you believe?" "WHY do you believe what you believe" "Why don't you believe that Jesus is the Savior?" My questions went on and on. And none of the answers were what I was looking for. I'm not sure any of them truly knew why or what they believed....just that they are Jewish. That just wasn't enough for me. I knew that when I found myself saying, "I believe it because it's what the Bible says".... I was a true Christ follower. I still always have questions, and still struggle at times with faith, but what I DON'T question is....Jesus was the Son of God, He died on the cross for our sins, and that through Christ, I will have Eternal Life. My family doesn't agree with me {and that's OK} but they do respect my decision. They know that is wasn't overnight and that is wasn't for my husband.  One thing that I loved growing up was the traditions of the holidays we had as a family....the thing I know now that I was missing in all of that was...the meaning of our traditions! My husband and I now have our own traditions for our family. The kids love the Easter bunny, love dying eggs, love the candy {who doesn't!}, love the food and family, and most of all....we ALL know what we are celebrating!! 
Do you and your family have special traditions?? I'd love to hear them!! Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful Easter!!

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