2021 Memory Pics So Far

Happy Friday everyone!! I’m subbing today and have a little free time…not enough time really to write but thought I’d share some pics from this year so far!

Taya’s finest method of begging..it works too!! I always cave, she’s so irresistible!
I’m absolutely blown away by this eye drawing my 5th grade son did, thought I’d share it with y’all.
Me showing up to the nursing home back in January to do hair…crazy times, thankfully it was only that one week that my attire was that dramatic.
Papa’s cows
Church service snuggles
Love this❤️
Who says kayaking isn’t a year round thing in Nebraska?
Sunset in March
Don’t question my parenting skills…actually this happened when Mc was with my best friend spending time on their farm.😉
More of this gal…can’t get enough of her cuteness!!!
Soccer…game day!!
Farm life at Papa’s house
Easter Sunday 2021
Track day for Paige
Late Spring snow today

That’s it!! Time for lunch now!! Have a blessed weekend everyone!!

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. -Psalm 31:24

Random Christmas Faves and a DIY for Candle Making

Hey!!! Goodness do I miss blogging on a regular basis — and reading other’s blogs as well! Subbing in the schools has been crazy busy lately. I love it BUT I miss my normal routine, so I’ve made it a goal to get a post out…even if it means currently writing at 3:45 A.M. I’m gonna include a few of my own random holiday favorites plus a DIY on candle making today. I wish I was publishing this post two weeks ago but it is what it is…better late than never!!

Just for the record you’ll see a lot of Amazon links in this post, I don’t get commission from any purchases made LOL..I wish though!

Random Christmas Faves:

1. Delicious Gluten-free Gingerbread Cookies! This recipe is absolutely amazing. I’ve been using it for a few years now and then I make a non gluten-free version for those in my family who don’t have to eat gluten-free (it’s more cost-effective this way because gf flour is pricey) and let me tell you — my family actually prefers the gluten-free over the regular.

Soft and Chewy Gluten-free Gingerbread Men recipe

2. Checkered Christmas Tree Skirt. It was time for me to update our Christmas tree skirt and I knew I wanted something simple and timeless. I feel like black and red checkered is a Christmas time staple so I couldn’t go wrong with this choice. Even Max and Eli seem to appreciate it!!

Checkered tree skirt on Amazon

3. Christmas Music! I love to listen to Christmas music and anything from Pentatonix, the Home Alone sound track, to Michael Buble is good for me!

Mary Did You Know?

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

4. Christmas (tree) Light Dimmer. We typically keep our tree lights on all day and all night. The kids like the lights to serve as a nightlight but since our Christmas tree sits right outside their bedroom doors they complained about how bright it was so I ordered (from Amazon) this nifty light dimmer. Works like a “dream!”

Christmas Light Dimmer

5. Video Projector and Screen. If you’re looking for a last minute Christmas gift for the family this might be the thing for you! The kids have been asking for a tv projector this year. They want to be able to watch a movie outback when the weather warms up again or set up a “theater” in the living room (where we don’t have a tv) and because of the versatility I caved. Kind of excited about this gift personally!!

**There’s a $20 off coupon right now on the projector so you can get it for 60 bucks and the screen for another 30ish on Amazon..add a bag of popcorn as stocking stuffers and you have a super cool family gift all for under a hundred dollars!

Megawise Video Projector

Projector Screen

Okay the last part of this post I’ll show how to make your own candles and I’m also going to include the fact that I’ll never make them again, too messy! I’m actually not even a fan of candles. When essential oils stepped into my house, I threw out every one of my candles because the oils are a safer, cleaner option. Nevertheless I happened to have leftover beeswax in my house from some soap and lotion projects my girls had been doing and since I don’t like things going to waste I figured I’d put the beeswax toward candle making and use them as Christmas gifts. This idea of candle making was close to the worst craft experience I’ve had, the first was the time I stapled into my finger with a finish nailer while making pallet-board Christmas trees.

Anyway here’s what you’ll need:

Beeswax pellets

Candle wicks

Coconut oil

A saucepan filled half full of water

An empty large soup can

Hot pads

A spoon that you don’t mind tossing afterwards

Mason jars/tea cups

Hot glue gun and glue

Pencil

**A pound and a half of beeswax pellets made 8 small candles.

Instructions: First use a glue gun to glue the end of the candle wick (on the metal piece) to the bottom of the tea cup or jar in the middle.

Next you’ll want to crease the soup can rim to create a spout and then fill it half full of beeswax. Put the can into the pan of water with the burner set on medium heat and give a little stir every so often.

**Be sure the water in the pan is a little higher than the wax in the soup can.

Once the wax has completely melted into liquid form (using hotpads) you can remove the can from the stovetop, set it on a hot pad or cutting board, add in a tablespoon of coconut oil and stir well. **At this point you could add essential oils but you’ll need about 20-30 drops to even notice the smell; I’m cheap so I went without. You’ll want to work quickly because the wax sets up pretty fast.

After you’ve mixed, it’s time to pour the wax into the jars or tea cups. **Try to avoid pouring onto the wick or the sides of your jar, see photo below.

Now you can roll the wick around a pencil and allow the pencil to rest on top of your jar or cup.

Leave it this way for about 12 hours, remove the pencil and cut the wick nearly an inch from the wax. That’s all there is to it!

**You can continue the process of the directions above using the same soup can and spoon until your wax is all used up or you run out of jars or tea cups.

Seriously the most satisfying part of this whole deal for me was watching how quick the wax hardens, otherwise I’ll resort to Yankee (candles) from here on out for gifting!!😅

Here’s the final product:

As always if you end up giving this DIY a try I’d like to hear about it in the comments.

Have an amazing week!

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” —John 8:12

August DIY Patio Benches

Okay so I really had to convince myself that these benches were what I was going to post for my monthly DIY and after 29 days I finally caved. I have some fall decor DIYs whipped up and apparently I’m getting some Autumn fever so I just about featured one of those instead but decided next month would be more timely for a craft like that. The good news is when September hits I can post the DIY early in the month since it’s ready and I won’t do my regular Procrastinator-Alicia style…like I’m doing now!

August’ DIY project is so super simple I could probably just post pics with no words and y’all could put it together. But for the sake of “writing” a blog I won’t.

These DIY benches will make for a great way to sit outdoors and enjoy the cool crisp Fall mornings (right around the corner) while sipping a steamy cup of coffee, gather friends and family during an evening of BBQ and entertainment, or even to stretch out on for an afternoon catnap…I’ve actually done that last one a time or two.

Here’s what you’ll need for this sweet little patio transformation…and I apologize ahead of time for the horrible pictures, the sun has been shining bright which I’m thankful for but the lighting is pretty harsh in the photos:

Two 3×12 wood planks (at your preferred length, ours measure 4 foot on one and 6 foot on the other)

8 to 12 cinder blocks (8 for the benches, 4 more if you decide to do the planter)

Sander/ 60 grit sand paper

One rag for wiping dust

Two cotton rags for staining and sealing (cotton t-shirt works well)

Wood stain (your choice of color)

Polyurethane (I prefer this over polyacrylic which tends to yellow over time)

First off sand the planks so they’re smooth, the last thing you want is risking splinters when you put these benches to use later!

Wipe the dust off from using the sander and prop your planks up against something that won’t matter if it gets stain on it (scrap wood works well).

Wearing gloves wipe the stain onto the wood plank using gentle, even strokes and applying it in the direction of the wood grain.

**Side note #1: If you do end up with stain or polyurethane on you, you can use a rag and mineral spirits to remove the stickiness.

You’ll want to apply one layer of stain and allow about an hour of dry time afterwards, then add another coat and finally a third coat after an hour of dry time in between.

Wait at least 24 hours before applying the polyurethane.

Just the same process as the stain you’ll want to wipe the polyurethane (aka sealer) across the plank, again in the same direction as the wood grain. This is an important step to do as it helps aid in protecting your wood pieces from inevitable weathering.

Three coats is a good rule of thumb with at least an hour dry time in between; my husband would actually tell you to lightly sand and wipe down in between the three coats of sealer once they’re dry but I’m not going to get that finicky since this is an outdoor project. I will mention that sealing is something you’ll probably want to repeat once a year (a bit of sanding first, followed by a few coats of sealer).

Lastly you’ll want to stack up the blocks (two high) and position them the correct distance apart (the length of the plank apart) use a tape measure if needed. You could line them up evenly with the edge of the board meeting the edge of the cinder block (like we did, see next photo below) or you could do overhang.

**Side-note #2: Kittens aren’t a necessary requirement for this project…more on her and her brother in a future post…

I mentioned the extra 4 blocks in the items needed list and that’s if you want to do a planter. I’ll just include pictures to show you how that looks — pretty self explanatory (visually). The soil in those planters does not go all the way down to the patio concrete because we have the bottom cinder blocks turned the opposite way which you can see in the photos below.

***On the planter the bottom two cinder blocks have the holes facing outward but the top layer of two blocks are facing upward which gives the option to create the planter.

And here’s the final finished project!!

What I love about this “patio furniture” is the fact that it’s super cost effective, durable, and low maintenance. Literally this “patio furniture” cost me around $20 to make after paying for the stain and sealer. Nate picked up the planks from his job as they were no longer needed and the cinder blocks came from his folks’ place.

Perhaps one day, if I’m feeling extra ambitious, I’ll sew a rectangle cushion to set on top of each bench, but for now I’m just going to rely on the God given one I alre…….nevermind I’ll hold that thought…

…Speaking of Him I’ll leave you with an encouraging verse and well blessings!!

2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we live by faith, not by sight.”

That word, faith, is where the true Christian meets authenticity in their relationship with Jesus. That word changes my life in a beautiful way everyday!

Take care y’all! And as usual let me know if you end up creating this DIY!

Happy Father’s Day & June’s DIY Craft

I realized (this morning) we’re going into the last full week of June and I hadn’t yet posted a DIY for the month, so I’m using the kid’s Father’s Day gift to their dad as my DIY because I may not have time to put anything else together for a June DIY.

Had I been more organized I would’ve posted this idea weeks ago so mamas could help their kiddos put it together to use as a Father’s Day gift BUT there’s no rule saying you can’t give him a gift like this any day of the year!!

So without delay here we go…

Kid’s Personalized Photo Message

ITEMS NEEDED:

Kiddos feet (or hands)

Washable Markers

Camera

Grassy area (to make for an easy background)

Picture Frame (if desired)Simply choose a nice area in your backyard or at a park and position your kiddos in the way you want them sitting for the photo…if kids are using hands, they’ll need to lay on their tummies…if using their feet they can sit on their bottoms with their legs straight out. EXAMPLES BELOW.

Side note: DO NOT write on feet until your children are sitting how you want them for the picture otherwise the washable marker will smear or smudge.

Once you have kiddos where you want them write the words ‘WE LOVE DAD’ across feet or hands. Depending on how many you have to work with you’ll need to spread the lettering out accordingly…if you’re the size of a “Dugger family,” no worries you can change it up a bit and add an extra message to cover all those feet or hands….maybe even write out Dr. Seuss’ The Foot Book story across them…I don’t know??

Say Cheese! Have them smile and then snap a few pictures. Afterwards you can use a wet rag to wipe the lettering away that way Dad doesn’t see the evidence.

Normally I would’ve just did a quick print at Walmart to put in a frame, but due to COVID the photo machines are off limits. So this year (since this was a last minute idea) I just had my oldest daughter send a digital copy to her dad’s phone (this morning) via text messaging.

If you do choose to print your photo you can always do so online through Walmart, Snapfish, Shutterfly, or a number of other photo printing shops. Many of these online resources offer great savings deals when ordering!!

My nieces were visiting from out of town yesterday so we did pictures for their dad too!We’ve done this gift before for Father’s Day maybe six years ago so here’s a then and now —plus a screenshot pic of the text message the kids sent their dad this morning since we didn’t print the photo out this year.

THEN:NOW:

The photo from when they were younger is placed in a frame and sits on a nightstand next to Nathan’s side of the bed. We may update it with the newer pic…some day…maybe…Soooo although this is super last minute for a Father’s Day gift you can use this DIY idea any time of the year. And you can alter the words to fit the person or occasion and however many hands or feet you have to work with! Plus if you don’t print it it’s one less thing you need to find a place for.

Enjoy! And as always let me know if you decide to do this DIY!!

Happy Father’s Day Dads!!

  • Psalm 103:13: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”
  • Proverbs 23:24: “The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.”
  • 1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Love and miss this guy so much!! (P.J.W. 1962-2001)

…If you were blessed with a “good one” be sure and wish him a Happy Father’s Day (and even if he wasn’t maybe you should anyway…) Some haven’t had the experience of a “good one” and if not, rest in the assurance that your Heavenly Father loves you absolutely unconditionally!!!! He is, without a doubt, a “Good One!”….the Best One, in fact!

Learning in the Garden

Nate and I decided to plant our vegetable garden (this year) in large containers on our patio outback. This is definitely a means of rookie gardening for us.A few weeks ago when we transferred our plants from their indoor starter containers into the outdoor ones they weren’t looking too hot. I was like ‘ahh great here we go again killing off another season of veggies’…because when we’ve planted directly into the ground in past years that’s typically how we roll so I was bracing myself that this year’s gardening “experiment” would be no exception. But with my doubt, Nathan reminded me, “just give it time, it has to adjust to new soil.”

…And I think he’s right because over the past week these plants have really began to grow. They look good!It makes me think of someone new to the Christian faith; a life without Christ compared to a seasoned life with, should look dramatically different. Therefore those beginning stages can have kind of an ebb and flow effect as a new believer adjusts and learns fresh ideas, almost like a culture shock. Continue reading “Learning in the Garden”

Living on His Plans

When people talk about how they can’t wait for life to return to “normal”, I mentally stand on the other side thinking: ‘but I’m not 100% okay with the old kind of normal, the pre-covid normal…What changes do I want to see made within my family for our “future normal”…What is it that I want to grasp as a spiritually beneficial takeaway from this unique time?’…Because I don’t want to revert back to my Alicia’s world, impatient, on the go self when things do return to “normal”…my true colors usually show up best with a well thought out detailed itinerary…that’s part of my control girl flaw.

I’m trying to figure out how to mesh this current lifestyle (the things I’ve learned during my coronavirus-downtime) with what’s to come when life eventually does return to “fast-paced normal”…and the idea of loosening my firm grip on ‘itinerary-style-planning’ definitely needs to be part of a wiser planning method for myself.

We’ve all seen firsthand now how things can dramatically change in a matter of day to day living.

I have to laugh in spite of myself — back in late February, before I even knew the word coronavirus existed, I had sat down at my kitchen table and counted through my calendar all the days that I had marked down to substitute teach, and there were many. And in my eyes I was seeing dollar signs and the amount of money that I’d be able to tuck into savings to put towards a trip our family has/had scheduled this summer. In the midst of counting sub days I literally thought of how foolish it seemed because subconsciously I knew something could come up and any of those days could be taken from me, none of them were necessarily ever guaranteed to stay locked in. Sure enough every single one of them was canceled out through the end of the school year due to the virus. Continue reading “Living on His Plans”

The Wild Joy of Mothering and Prayer

Yesterday morning as I worked through my independent Bible study at the kitchen counter, I could hear the voices of my children connecting together — grouped up in my youngest daughter’s room the three of them laughed in between small talk and LEGO building.

Like music to my ears (hearing them bond) I shot up a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness to the One who encourages loving relationships. I thanked God for the laughter, for zero arguing and that the Holy Spirit would flood that room with joy. I closed with a blessed feeling of Amen.

No joke within seconds my boy comes storming out of his sister’s bedroom — head down, arms crossed tightly to his chest and feet stomping madly as he made a beeline straight for his basement bedroom.

Yup I’ve seen this move a thousand and one times before…

“Dude! Please get back here so we can talk about this situation, and when you come right away it shows me respect!” I pleaded.

With that, he turns around before hitting the steps and marches straight over to where I sat on the kitchen stool waiting.

“What in the world happened?…I just finished offering up a prayer of thanksgiving that y’all were getting along so well and I even boldly requested that Satan stay the heck out of that room, so how did things turn south so suddenly?” I spouted out calmly but rationally.

Our eyes met and a sly smile spread across my son’s playful face immediately, followed by — “I was just kidding mom, we’re fine!”

Goodness! Isn’t mothering full of surprises? Continue reading “The Wild Joy of Mothering and Prayer”

A Finished She Shed part 2

Last Fall I posted A She Shed in the Making part 1 where I shared that Nathan had this brilliant idea to build me a she shed as a fifteenth anniversary gift! I’m pretty sure by the time we hit up the building material store he was wishing he’d have never entertained the idea…but alas six months later the she shed is pleasantly finished! When my husband started it at the end of last year the weather turned pretty cold so he made sure he got it buttoned up on the outside and the inside waited until warmer days over the past month. I’ll share photos and let them do the talking.

Also if you’ve hit up this post due to a tag-link and are in the midst of planning or building a she shed then WELCOME!! Let us know if you have any questions or need hints on how to go about this or that. We have quite a few cost saver tips too!

Continue reading “A Finished She Shed part 2”

May Day Baskets!…DIY #4 project

I can’t even believe myself right now, it’s the middle of April and I’m actually getting my DIY post out before the end of the month. Woot! Woot!

This month we’re going to work through a DIY that will be for the benefit of next month—May Day Baskets!!

Anyone remember those?

I felt like I needed to do some research and provide just a bit of background info on these little “forgotten” about gems and here’s what I found out:

According to NPR.org May Day Baskets used to be quite a thing with a history clear back to the ancient European pagan festival of spring known as Beltane. When the continent became more Christianized some of the more rowdy aspects of the celebration faded out with May Baskets managing to remain.

Interesting right?

In the 19th and 20th centuries May Day Baskets made their appearance in the United States signifying and celebrating the welcoming of Spring time. A person would collect goodies in a basket and then secretly deliver them to a neighbor’s door on May 1 as a special treat.

In some communities May Baskets provided a chance to show romantic interest. The giver would place the basket at the door, knock and run off…however if the receiver was able to catch the “basket-hanger” it was a chance to steal a kiss from him or her.

In more recent decades, for whatever reason, May Day Baskets have lost their luster.

I’ve joked in years past that May Baskets should be a thing again because maybe when they faded out is when the world got so messed up and maybe if they made a come-back the world would be a little bit brighter…super far stretch from reality but we could try!!

Here’s what you’ll need if you’re interested: Continue reading “May Day Baskets!…DIY #4 project”

Hope Through Unity

Several years ago my oldest daughter and I had the opportunity to travel to Acuña, Mexico with my husband’s aunt and uncle. We were joining up with men, women, and children of all ages from all over America as part of a missionary group with an organization by the name of Casas Por Cristo (Houses for Christ). Their main goal is to share Jesus’ love by blessing and serving a family in need through a house building project in one of their designated building-locations.

When we all arrived in Acuña we had a large group of around 100 volunteers with a gymnasium that served as our gathering hub for sleep, food, cold showers, and devotions. We were split into even groups on the first day so a total of five homes would be built in Acuña over a four day period.Our team of twenty-ish made an immediate connection with the same like-minded purpose — to mesh work and Jesus’ love through building a house for a sweet Hispanic family…and goodness the family was precious.

The father and son worked on what would become their new home right along side our team, while the mother and grandmother made it a priority to fill us up everyday on authentic local dishes and Mexican hot cocoa and donuts. Side note: If you’ve never had Mexican hot cocoa you’re missing out! It’s actually available in Walmart stores so make sure to treat yourself!As we came to the end of our mission trip, with the house nearly completed, there was a moment where we all gathered for a dedication ceremony.

David, our Casas Por Christo team leader, translated what the Hispanic father wanted so desperately for our team to know. Continue reading “Hope Through Unity”