Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Recap!

Dear friends,
 Thank you so much for following along with Shaped by Grace and my family this year! Blogging has been such a blessing and encouragement in our lives! Thank you!
 This past couple weeks I haven’t spent much time writing posts, but I HAVE spent much time with my boys. What have we been up to? Well, I’m so glad you asked! ;o)
 First we got our photos taken by a good friend that is also a freelance photographer! I haven’t had real family photos taken of us in a couple years and I’m so glad we did them this year! The photographer was David from David Vevia Photography – he did a wonderful job!! Below are just a few fun shots from our day!



All these photos ended up on our Christmas card (which I posted on Facebook.)
We also enjoyed Christmas parties, looking at Christmas lights around our neighborhood and even a snow play area at our church! (A fun treat for this southern CA family!)


And then - it was Christmas!! (With school break starting on December 22nd – it seems like Christmas came REALLY  fast this year! Did it seem that way to you?)

We had a very relaxing and fun day, as can be seen by my sweet boys’ smiles. xo

We have a few traditions we look forward to as well – including reading the Christmas story, opening ONE gift on Christmas Eve and then watching a Christmas movie! (Usually it’s “A Christmas Carol” but this year it was “The Holiday.” Maybe that’s because after the kids were in bed it was just us girls watching the movie!)
Christmas morning, one of the coolest gifts was this vintage viewfinder! Do you remember those toys when you were a kid? This one had words for my boys to read on the little cards and then it lit up on the inside to view the pictures! It was pretty cool – and in addition to entertaining them for quite a while, it was a very special gift from their grandpa.

And every year, the ‘best’ or most special gift to my boys comes in this box:


The gift is always something for them to share. The first year this box held a puppy! It’s hard to top a puppy, but over the years it has held a variety of special gifts and this year – it contained a coveted video game. (My how times have changed!) I wonder what it will hide next year… How about you – do you have any special traditions like this for Christmas?

Thanks so much for reading! I hope your family enjoyed the holiday as much as we did! God bless!

no place like home for the holidays chalkboard printable
{Printable from Nest of Posies}

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

{WIWW} #momfails

#momfail: (verb) the act of being unsuccessful in achieving one's goals as a mom.

Here are some examples.
These may or may not be from my own life experiences. #cough

My child's first taste of sugar will be of his 1st birthday cake. Sugar will only be on special occasions/holidays after that.

Child #1 - success!!
Child #2 is born.:
#1 son: "Mom can I have a piece of this cake?"
ME (I mean random mom): "Sure, but give a piece to your brother too or he'll cry."

My child will only eat homemade food, no fast food.

Mom: "You only have 30 minutes between school and practice. If we drive thru and you eat in the car, we'll make it!"
(or is it?) The child got fed AND made it to practice.... hmmm, may have to rethink this one...

My children will be intelligent hard workers in school. They will work diligently and without complaint.

Teacher: "You're lucky your child is so cute and charming, because they just CANNOT sit still."

I will have valuable, deep, meaningful conversations with my children daily. I will make every moment a teachable moment and teach them to grow their minds by asking challenging questions.

This one's a work in progress...

Trev: What is that on your head, mom?
ME: It's a scarf.
Trev: Oh, it looks like a bird's nest with your head poking through it.
ME: Um, thanks...


Me: It's actually an infinity scarf.
Trev: What's an infinity?
ME: It means it has no end. It just keeps going and going!
Trev: Oh.

Crocheted Infinity Scarf: Target

Trev: I love you.
Me: I love you more.
Trev: I love you a google!
Me: I love you INFINITY!
Trev: I love you a google TIMES infinity...

That one ended in a tie.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mason Jar Candy Dispenser

Have you ever had one of those projects that you really wanted to try, that once you started was more of a challenge than you thought and you weren’t sure you could pull it off? Well, that’s what this project was for me!
I hope that when you DID try it and it WORKED you just jumped for joy and did a happy dance around your house – because that’s also what I did!! This whole week I have had wood parts, mason jars, a craft saw and sandpaper all over my house and my boys kept asking – WHAT was I making? I kept it a surprise until I finished it {and got it to work} before I finally revealed to them that it was a candy dispenser! And here she is:


The story behind this project:

I went to a friend’s house and saw this super cool candy dispenser made from a mason jar. You pulled the knob and candy slid down the ramp from the mason jar! She said it was her roommates and she didn’t know where she got it. It looked homemade. I took one look at it and said ‘I HAVE TO MAKE THIS!’ and then took about a bazillion pictures. I thought it would be such a fun gift to make for my boys and would be something cool and unique to have around my house. After one day, I can tell you- it already is! I'm so glad I took the time to make it!
The directions to make this project are somewhat extensive, so I’ll share them in a future post. For now, I thought you’d like to get a glimpse of how it works:

MasonJarCandyDispenser 017

MasonJarCandyDispenser 016

MasonJarCandyDispenser 018

My boys are already enjoying the benefits of this project! {hee hee}


The jar and dispenser is perfect for m&m’s, skittles and other such small treats. Holiday candy will never be in an open dish in our house again! What do you think? What candy would YOU put in your mason jar candy dispenser?

I'm sharing this project at some of my favorite places!

Monday, December 3, 2012

S’mores Fudge

Happy Holidays!
THREE exciting things are happening RIGHT NOW!
1. The winner of the Thankful for YOU giveaway is announced – read to the end of this post to find out if it’s you! {Yay!}
2. There’s still time to enter the giveaway going on at Delightful Deets with TONS of awesome prize packages! and
3. Remember yesterday how I shared my White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge? Well we saved the best fudge for last!! I promised to share my boys’ favorite fudge recipe – and this is IT!

To make S’mores Fudge you will need:
  • one bag of chocolate chips
  • 10 oz. container of chocolate frosting
  • Enough graham crackers to line the bottom of your fudge pan. Between 4-8 {I wanted really thick fudge, so I used a 6x9 inch – approx.- pan and about 3 whole graham crackers.}
  • Marshmallows on top – to taste
  1. First, line the bottom of your pan with foil or butter. {mostly on the sides, since the graham crackers won’t stick to the bottom of your pan!}
2. Then, pour the fudge mix on top of the graham crackers. For the full recipe on how to make the fudge click here. Remember to substitute chocolate chips and chocolate frosting!
3. Top with lots of marshmallows!! The more the merrier!

4. Then place in the refrigerator for about an hour until the fudge is set.
~Another option is to mix the marshmallows in with the fudge
and even crumble graham crackers in the mix! Yum! ~
Either way, you’re sure to have success! Get ready to wrap this tasty treat up as gifts and share with family or friends! Although, I know it’s pretty tempting to want to eat it all yourself {cough not that I would know anything about that} so I highly recommend making TWO batches!! Enjoy!


Have you made fudge this season? Which combination is your favorite?

And of course – our lucky winner of a Jute Growth Chart AND $10 iTunes gift card is… 
{drum roll please}…


Congrats Chelsea! I’ve sent you an email with all the details!! Woo hoo! Happy Holidays!

I'm sharing this recipe at Tip Junkie and some of my favorite places!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

Christmas season is officially under way and one of my favorite things to do over the holidays is bake! I love seeing all YOUR creative recipes, re-making family favorites and trying new recipes for family and friends. This year I have been experimenting with fudge!

I used a new version of an old recipe and the result was this White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge! {Just the title had me drooling!}

This recipe is so easy I know you’ll want to make every possible version! And to make it EVEN easier to save, I made this recipe card: just right click on the image, save and print! 

What also makes this recipe so cool is it's endless variations:

You can use ANY can of cake frosting flavor you like and ANY flavor of chocolate chips! One of our family favorites: chocolate frosting with peanut butter chips! YUM! (PS: I’ve heard that using caramel chips don’t set/harden the fudge, but I’ve never tried that version myself.) This year we finally branched out and tried white chips and cream cheese frosting! I'm so glad I had some friends willing to taste test for me,{tough job, I know} and so far this fudge has been a big hit!


Oh – and if you need something to cross off your Christmas list, these wrap up into perfect little gifts. (I got the treat bags at Target!)


I’ll be packing up fudge this year for co-workers, neighbors, friends and family! 

All of the fudge versions are delicious, but there is something about the white chocolate peppermint fudge that is so festive! I hope you get a chance to make it!


Tomorrow, come back to see the fudge recipe my kids deem as THEIR absolute favorite! Are you trying new recipes this year or sticking to tried and true family favorites?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giveaway Packages from Delightful Deets!

I'm so excited today to be able to share with you this AWESOME giveaway going on over at my friend Jen's blog Delightful Deets! She is just as sweet in real life as she appears on her blog and when she hit 1000 fans {woo hoo!} I jumped at the chance to be a part of her celebration! Here is her post and all the ways to enter are below!! So, without further ado --- here's Delightful Deets!
Take it away Jen.....

I don't want to get super sappy on you, but just want to say a huge THANK YOU to my sweet followers and to the amazing friends I've met through this journey! Your nice comments make my day. I love my little space in blogland and to express my thanks I have found some incredibly generous people to participate in my celebration of reaching 1000 followers on this blog and on facebook!
Seriously, you need to visit each and every one of them!
Over $575 in prizes, 5 packages means 5 winners!
Good luck, bring on the party!
Open to the US and Canada
Package 1

Package 2

Package 3

Package 4

A good friend of mine, Lora Knight, recently opened up her own studio! I'm so proud of her and am excited for her! If you live in the LA area, or are in Southern California and are willing to drive up, enter for this prize!
Receive a free headshot/mini session

See, told you total awesomeness!

Want more freebies? Then pop over quick to enter to win a Jute Growth Chart AND a $10 iTunes gift card right here on my blog! Entering is easy -- especially if you already entered above!!! Lots of fun here this week! Good luck!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

CranApple Crunch

I love baking and one of my favorite desserts growing up was a cherry crunch my mom used to make. Over the years the recipe has morphed and changed into a variety of flavors depending on the season and my mood, {but really, nothing beats the recipe my mom used to make!!} Maybe it’s because she poured so much love into it.

Well, here is my seasonal take on mama’s recipe – and yes, I added extra love just for you:


You will need:
  • 1 box of your favorite yellow cake mix
  • 1 10 oz. can of whole cranberries in sauce (or make your own with fresh cranberries)
  • 1 14oz. can of apple pie filling.
  • 1 – 1 1/2 sticks of butter

CranberryBlog 001

  1. Pour the apples in the bottom of a 9x13 pan and spread evenly
  2. Pour the cranberries on top on the apples and carefully spread evenly
  3. Pour the yellow cake mix evenly (do you see a trend here?) on top of the cranapple mixture. Don’t press too hard, just gently spread across the top!
  4. Pour the butter evenly on top of the yellow cake mix. I used one stick but wished I used two.
  5. Spread the butter (you guessed it – EVENLY) over the yellow cake mix.
  6. (OPTIONAL: pour cake mix into a bowl, then add butter and mix to a crumble, then pour on top of your fruit.) Believe it or not, both methods work!
BAKE at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven until the top is a golden brown:


Let cool and enjoy!!


Do you have a favorite family recipe you make over the holidays? Let me know in the comments! Happy Thanksgiving!

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for your chance to win a jute growth chart 
and a $10 iTunes gift card!! Enter here!

I’m sharing this recipe here and at the Get Your Chef On Link party with Four Marrs and One Venus and White Lights on Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

{What I Wore} Shoes

Some say moms wear many hats,

The way I see it, I wear many shoes…
Life is a journey, and you need a good pair of shoes to walk the path.
I remember, ‘back in the day’ where I wore my jazz shoes longer in a day than I did my regular shoes...

I remember school times of Keds and jelly shoes and summertimes of no shoes at all...
And I remember when these boots, were made for more than just walking...


And when these shoes went to the party more than they went to work…

These days my shoes wear thin with many steps.

Where some days my feet seem too small to fill the soles.

There are days, like today, where more than my feet feel small.
Where the kids are sick,
Where I am sick and
My time is not my own.
Where I know God did not design parenting to be alone.
Where I wish I could have moments of freedom whenever I wanted or needed.
To kick off my shoes,
To be free to hang out with my friends whenever and however long I would like.
With no worries of schedules,
play times,
and out grown shoes,
Where I feel the awareness of how even a short break makes me a better, refreshed mom
and yet
these fleeting thoughts still carry self-inflicted guilt for needing time away,
without sacrificing their needs.
Or their time.
Because in life,
they really ask so little,
and love SO much.

And I remember that some days filling their needs means I get to wear my flip flops…

And I remember that activities planned means we get to wear our hiking boots…

{Sports Chalet} 

{And it’s an even better day when plans mean I can don my snowboarding boots -- 
but they’re new and I don’t have a picture of those yet.}

And remind myself, that there are many times when we DO get to kick off our shoes and enjoy days like this


And those days make up for when I have to put my big girl boots on, and get ready for the road ahead…

{Boots: Target}
{Ruffled Socks: Urban Outfitters and then I sewed on the buttons}

Because the journey is long… the road often hard,
And ironically, what matters is not always what’s on our feet, but in our hands… 


Linking up here

Join my current reader appreciation giveaway to win an iTunes gift card here

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thankful for YOU Giveaway!

Hello friends! I’m so glad you’re here!

Exciting things have been happening here at Shaped by Grace lately – I went to a blog social,


we had a fun Halloween,


we battled being sick. (That was NOT the fun part. Thankful for veggies and chicken noodle soup!)


and somewhere in all that, I ran a half marathon!!

Halfmarathon Collage

Times have been good! And I’m thankful to all of you who have been along for the ride or are new here and just joining this journey. In September my blog Facebook page turned one!! And very close to that time we celebrated 800 readers!! Wow!! I am truly amazed and blessed to have each one of you here!

As Shaped by Grace continues to grow I thought it only appropriate that I celebrate YOU my readers with a growth chart giveaway!  You may remember the jute growth chart I made for my little nephew. Well, I loved it so much I made one for my boys AND I made another one for YOU!





Your growth chart will be 6 1/2 feet long and will come ready to hang! {Pins and tags included!}
This growth chart would be perfect if you have little ones OR would make a great Christmas gift!!



I have one extra little treat for you! Since Christmas IS coming up – here’s your chance to load up your iTunes with holiday music and win a $10 iTunes gift card!!

I’m so excited to offer these wonderful gifts for you!! Good luck to all of you who enter and thank you so much for being here!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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