Monday, May 30, 2011

Framed Monograms

It is project time; both projects were gifts that I made for friends.

I Love making gifts for others.  I also like finding ways to make great gifts inexpensively.  I don’t think you have to have a lot of money to give something beautiful.

My friend Becky recently had a birthday.  A small group of girls took her out to lunch, and I wanted to bring her a little something extra to help celebrate her special day.

I had a frame from Michaels that I picked up for $1.  I used some scrapbook paper, ribbon and flower embellishments that I had on hand.

Frame for Becky

I love how the ribbon says Families are Forever.  It was my inspiration.  It matched the colors in her living room perfectly. 

I made her monogram in Photoshop and printed it out on linen paper.

Frame for Becky 2 

It was an inexpensive gift; but also a thoughtful one.

I also made this fun gift for my friend Amanda.  I hosted a baby shower for her in my home a few months ago, and I wanted her gift to be really special.

Gift for Mason

I found this frame at Hobby Lobby.  It matches her baby furniture perfectly.  I was inspired by Pottery Barn art, and new the baby’s monogram would be the perfect modern touch.

I love how it turned out.  I want one for my house.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Simple Things

Tess sunglasses

Mom’s sunglasses; entertainment during brother’s baseball game.

Linking to:


Friday, May 27, 2011

{Glimpse} Brothers

I finally sat down and worked on a little project. 

Me Project2

Well, not really sat down.  I stood up and worked on a project.

Me projects

I haven’t done a project in quite some time.  It has been on my list for a long time.

I wanted a banner for my boy’s room. 

I wanted to add a little something special to their curtains.

I also wanted to remind them of the bond they share.

It was FREE to me.  I had all of the supplies.

Banner 1 cr

I made it out of a map of Arkansas that I had floating around.   Once I got the flags cut out, I put them on some brown cardstock to make it a little sturdier. 

I used a stamp set I had to spell out the word Brother, and an orange colored pencil to color it in. I attached the letters with pop dots so they are 3D.

Banner 2 CR

I attached the flags together with some metal brads and brown string.

I gave it a little added touch by making it look aged with a brown ink pad.

A project that I put off for months and it only took me 45 minutes.

Doesn’t it look so great in their room?

Isaac play

I need to make time for little projects.  They make me happy.

I even used the banner in my latest photo shoot.


Our boys are great friends.  Jex is such a good example to Isaac.  This banner is more then just a fun decoration.  It represents them.  The word brother is such an important word to be hanging up in their room.  A word that I want them to remember, honor and respect.

Brothers bw

Banner 3 cr

On the last flag I attached the words: “Brother take me by the hand, and show me the way.”

boys hands

I hope that Jex does just that. 

As I made the banner, I also thought of our older brother; Jesus.  How many times he has taken me by the hand and shown me the way.

And that is just a glimpse.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

18 months… a little bit ago

I have been meaning to sit down and record some of my favorite things about Tess for a while now.   I planned to do it at the 18 month mark.  That required documenting it not only with words, but also pictures.  I don’t know how many days I laid in bed thinking about a photo shoot with her.  Then the next day would pass with out the time, and another night of dreaming of a toddler photo shoot.

Finally a free afternoon rolled around and I took advantage of it.

She has been 18 months since April 22nd.  I know she is really 19 months, but I am not willing to move on.  I can’t admit it.  I am in complete denial. That means we are getting closer to the age of two.

It reminds me of that book The monster at the end of the book.  Grover ties the pages together, and loads them down with bricks.  That way no one can get any closer to the monster at the end of the book.  I would like to tie her down, or invent a pill that would prevent her from growing any more.

I love little toddlers.  She is so much fun.

tessa 8

At her 18 month check-up she weighed 22 pounds.  She says a few words.  Her vocabulary is smaller then our other kids, but I think she has too many people speaking for her.

Her favorite word is Mama; and Mama, and Mama. Which she follows me around the house saying almost constantly.

She communicates by using words, and sign language.

Tessa 5

She is most content when she is on my lap, or sitting right by me.

She rarely sits and plays by herself.  She mostly follows me around, and will play with Isaac on occasion.

She is the most snuggly child that we have.  She is also very sensitive, and can get her heart broken very easily.

Tessa 7

Tessa Mae loves when her dad gets home from work.  She will run into his arms with the most adorable giggle.

Tessa hates shoes, and will remove them almost immediately upon arriving home.

She can swing for hours, and holds her own on the trampoline.

Tessa 3

She jibber jabbers and thinks she is telling you the most interesting story.

She understands most of what you say and will shake her head “yes” or “no” in response to most questions.

Tessa insists on snuggling with Stella when she wakes up in the morning.  She climbs in bed with her and wraps her little arms around her neck.  She will lay with her for five minutes or more.

Tess 2 copy

Her favorite food is Mac and Cheese.  She laughs the whole time you are making it, and can eat two packages at a time.

Tessa almost always has a smile on her face; except when she is nervous that someone is going to take her away from my side.

Words she can say: night-night, mama, hot, stuck, Tessa, da-da, pa-pa, ball, no way, oh wow, cheese

Words she can sign: more, please, cereal, apple, banana, cracker, hungry, milk, help, all done

Tessa 4

Mae Mae is the center of our home.  She is light of our life, and we are so thankful that we have her.

Oh Tessa Mae: please stop growing.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


You all know how I feel about music, and taking the time to shake it.  We love to have dance parties at our house.  Stella has been taking dance with a company for 2 years now.  She recently had her recital.

Isn’t she pretty.

Stella 2  Stella 4

There is nothing I love more than seeing how the music and dancing makes her feel.

Stella 1  Stella 5

She always has a smile on her face when she performs.

Maddie and Stella  girls

We are fortunate to have 3 other girls from church who dance in Stella’s company.  Unfortunately they are all on different teams.  It is so fun to be able to watch all of them perform.

…and the mommies of the four girls.


I couldn’t help get one last squeeze before she went up on stage.

Stella and I

I also attempted to snap a photo of the girls on her team.  We were in the crazy dressing room.

Stella's group

OK Grandma:  Here is a clip of her dance.  This is on the night of rehearsal.  I wasn’t allowed to film on the night of the recital.  I don’t know why they have them dancing with a pink background; it makes their skin look awful.  Enjoy Mom!! I apologize that it is a little shaky.  Tess was trying to help me.

Here is the link if the video won’t play:

(the girl who ends the dance and is the only one left on the stage is Stella)

I am proud of Stella and how hard she worked to be a great dancer.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Glimpse {on Motherhood}

It has been extremely hard for me not to think about Motherhood and Mother’s this past week.  I had a beautiful Mother’s Day.  I couldn’t help but think about my own mom. I often think about her, and what it was like when we were young.  I wonder if she had the same struggles as me when we were young.  I wonder if she worried like I do.  I wonder, wonder, wonder.

In the midst of my own personal trial, I wonder some more.  …and then I call her.  She tells me that she did.  She recounted stories from my childhood of times when she felt overwhelmed, or pressured.  None of these memories come to the surface for me, and if they do I don’t recall her struggling.(I don’t remember her complaining)  Which was a good reminder to me that children never really see the whole picture; of that I am grateful. 

After talking to my mom, it dawned on me that my blog will be a small glimpse into my life.  What I write will be a way for our children to know more about who I am as a person and a mother.  It will show them who I was in 2011, what we were doing as a family, our struggles and accomplishments.

So… I went back to my blog.  I re-read previous posts and I realized there was a time in my blogging that I shared more and gave more.  It was a couple years ago.  I was in such a good place.  I wrote about my thoughts and struggles.  I shared personal revelation and self discoveries.  I kept a current account of what was happening with the kids.  I was even better about posting a few little projects I had worked on.  My blog made me happy.  Some how in the midst of having four children I lost that.  Along the way, I lost a part of me.

As I read on, I read my “What I have learned” series.  I am so thankful that I took the time to write all that down.  It has helped me through some of the struggles that I face now; and then it dawned on me that it may help my daughters someday.

So… in honor of reclaiming me and what makes me happy I am taking back this blog.  I am making time for it again.  I will post about our family and all that happens in this crazy family of six.  I will also be posting a new weekly post called Glimpse.  It will be similar to “What I have learned.”; because it will include my thoughts on life and life’s lessons.  It will be a glimpse in to who I am.

Glimpse will record some of the topics we may have discussed at the dinner table, how I felt about a certain subject, or what I was wearing in 2011. Glimpse will allow our kids to get a glimpse of what is rolling around in this all too crazy brain of mine.  It may also be a glimpse of what our home looked like; or a project I did.  It will help remind them of some of the foods I made.  All in all; I hope it helps them reflect on their childhood and how much I love them.

Along with Glimpse; I will still just post the average everyday things we do as a family.  Glimpse will really be more of a way to share me.  In a world, where mothers are so busy.  In a world where we

often times get lost in the shuffle of doing for everyone else. I am reclaiming me. Glimpse is my method for sharing who I am, reminding myself of all that I have that is good, and leaving my legacy.  I hope along the way it becomes something you enjoy reading as well.

After my conversation with my mother this morning, I remembered a line from one of my favorite songs,

 “Things are never what they appear to be, so many different pieces make up the whole of me. So hold me in your hands, and take me as I am.” Mindy Gledhill

I thought about how we can never really understand anyone’s life.  Nothing is never as it appears.  Just as it appeared to me as a child that my mom had it all together, and unless I ask her I can never fully understand what her life was like at my age. 

I think it would be wonderful if you would all join me in sharing just a little bit more and giving your family, children and friends a deeper glimpse in to your world.

And that is just a


into mine.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Way to Go!!



Bike 6 with may



Bike 5



Bike 2



Bike 4


to ride her

Bike 3 wrd



bike 1

That guy running along side of her sure means a lot to both of us!!

Scrapbook Pages:

Stella bike 1 copy

Stella bike 2 copy

Friday, May 6, 2011

Easter Sunday

Typically, I am on the ball and the Easter Bunny comes on Saturday morning. (I like to keep the Worldly Easter and the Sabbath Easter separate) I had to email the Bunny this year because Saturday was just a little to crazy for us.  I knew I wanted the kids to enjoy their baskets.  Our Saturday on Easter Weekend was really full with photography, golf, birthday parties, and baseball.  It was too much for the Easter Bunny to come also.  Thankfully, he received my email and it worked for him to come on Sunday this year.

Isaac was the first one up.  I was already in the kitchen, when he walked out and said, “where is that thing from the egg man?”  I laughed and laughed.  The Easter bunny typically just brings treats for the kids.  I love that Easter bunny.  I love consumable gifts.  He is one smart bunny.

My littlepeeps

After they sugared themselves up for breakfast, we got all dolled up for church.  I typically put a lot of effort in to what the girls will wear for Easter.  I usually just get a new tie or something for the boys.  I never have enough money for everyone to get something new.  This year, Krysta passed on a dress from Kaylee, and Tess wore one that I had for Stella.  That meant I could put a little more effort in to the boys.  I knew I had to get these vests when I saw them.  Luckily, they went on sale, and then a day later I got a 40% off coupon in my inbox.  I love a good deal.  Don’t they look handsome?

Easter 2011

Church was wonderful.  We had a spirit-filled Sunday.  I was able to talk the primary(children’s church) about the Resurrection and what it means for us.  I reminded the kids that it is sad that Jesus died, but the good news is that he lives.  He was resurrected.  Isaac’s teacher taught the same thing again once he went to his Sunbeam class.  On our way home from church he told us the whole story.  This is it in Isaac’s words:

“Mom, Jesus died.  The soldiers put him on a cross.  I am going to die someday too, but I don’t have to die like Jesus did on a cross.”  I said “I know, that is so sad, but what is the good news of the whole story?”  Isaac said, “he lives.”  I was so happy to know that he understood why we celebrate Easter. I am always so thankful to those who help us teach our children gospel principles.  One of the primary children asked me why we eat candy on Easter if we are celebrating the resurrection.  One of the primary teachers responded, “because the resurrection is so sweet.”  And it is; I am grateful that the Savior died for me so that I may live with him again.

After church, we quickly changed and headed out to Hot Springs.  Our friends the Baileys and Andersons invited us out to their parents house for Easter dinner and an egg hunt.  I told Pam and Marji that there mom must be crazy to invite our family, and add 6 more to their Easter celebration.  I know it isn’t easy to include a large family like ours, but it was really sweet.

Dinner was awesome.  It all tasted so delicious.  It is nice when a meal comes together when every one brings something to share.

The kids couldn’t wait to get to the hunt.  The daddy’s hid all the eggs, and then we let them go for it.  The little kids hunted first, and then the older ones.  It was fun watching the older kids race around the yard looking for eggs. 

the hunt

the race

We had such a nice Easter.  It was so wonderful to be included with the DeVaux family. 

The hunters

Easter Scrapbook pages

Easter 2011 1 copy

Easter 2011 2 copy

Keep going; one more Easter post.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

{Easter Eggs}

Now that I finally have my Photography blog up and running(thank you for all your support, btw), and my Project 365 blog done; I can finally catch up on the happenings of J and A and Co.

I always feel overwhelmed Easter Weekend.  There are so many little Easter traditions, and for some reason I always felt like I had to cram them all in.  Last year, I told myself that I was not going to do that again and somehow; I actually remembered.

We started a new tradition, and set aside some time to color Easter Eggs after church the Sunday before Easter.  It made all the difference in the world.


We were able to enjoy it.  The kids took their time because we didn’t have the tradition of egg finding to get to.  We were just able to take it easy.  They didn’t ever get wound up thinking about what we were going to do next.  Hyperactive children, and colored dye just don’t go well together.  I am proud to say it was one of our less stressful egg dying experiences. I didn’t even have to break out the stain remover this year.

kids eggs

Tessa even thought it was really fun.  She had no clue what we were doing, but she is always willing to go right along with her siblings.

stella eggs tess eggs

jex eggs ike eggs

This year I hard-boiled some eggs, and I blew the yolk out  of some.  We were able to save the eggs that were hollow, and we will use them in our decorating next year.  I think the kids will enjoy seeing them when I pull them out in 2012.

eggs 1  jex egg 1

mom egg with stellla

I hope you had a great Easter, and that you were able to uphold your family traditions.

green egg

{More Easter Pictures to come}

2011 Easter Egg Scrapbook Pages

Easter 1 copy

Easter 2 copy

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