Tuesday, January 31, 2012

All You Need Is Love

What does Valentine's Day mean to you? How are you celebrating Valentine's Day this year? Here at Shaped by Grace we are decorating our house, getting Valentine's cards ready for our classmates, my wreath got a little makeover {Coming soon!}, and making treats. But all that aside, I think what makes Valentine's Day the most meaningful is having someone special to share it with. I am blessed to have so many special people to love in my life. Valentine's Day is a reminder to take an extra moment and tell those around me how much I care about them. My boys get lots of love all year round, but I love an excuse to shower even more kisses and creative love on them!

I've also been blessed to have some love over here on blog land recently! Thank you SO much to all my followers - old and new! I appreciate each and every one of you!! I am closing in on 200 fans and am already planning a very special giveaway - just for YOU! My lovely friends! :) But as a little early appreciation, I thought you'd enjoy this free printable! {Free for followers of this blog!} Just right click and save! Every time I hear this song and see this printable, it reminds me of all the love in my life. Enjoy! And thanks for the love! xoxo


Linking up to tatertots and jello; Too Much Time on My Hands; At the Picket Fence
The DIY Dreamer

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The One With the Momtrum


If you know me personally you’ll know that I’m generally a soft spoken person. I have a quiet voice. Every Principal that has come into my classroom has even mentioned that I have a soft, sweet voice that has a calming effect on the students.

And as I smile angelically, I’m thinking “this guy has never seen me at home,” and thank goodness, because I didn’t know how LOUD I could get until I had children.

Lost in a store? Everyone will know your name before we leave.

Ready to jump off that tall play structure? Yep – enter choir class 101 where my vocal projection training gets put to good use. (And for the record, when I had one child, I was ready there waiting to catch. Once I had two kids, they never seemed to go in the same direction!)

So, yeah, I’ve yelled a few things. And when their safety’s in mind, I don’t care. It’s those other times that bother me.

Enter the past week or so:

I had a sick child. No one likes that. But this guy had a 24 hour bug that I can only be thankful wasn’t a minute longer because it was horrible. I picked up more puke that day than I have in the past 6 years. Poor guy. I felt sorry for him.

Sick child was feeling better and decided to make a snack. I am all about being self-sufficient, but it comes with a trade-off. That day, the trade-off was grabbing the snack out of the pantry and knocking over a glass bottle of 100% pure organic maple syrup. Yes, full bottle, broken glass, and maple syrup. All. Over. My. Floor.

Not to be outdone, little person #2 decided to make cereal for breakfast. Let me tell you, when you hear “Oh no,” it’s already too late.

Still having faith in raising self-sufficient young men, I allow my son to pour a small amount of Sprite as a treat with dinner later on. Needless to say, Sprite is also very sticky no matter how hard you try to scrub and wipe it off your dining room table and burlap table runner.

Up until then, I had maintained the internal mantra of “I love my kids, I love my kids, I love my kids” and graciously helped and said “It was just an accident, no worries. Just clean it up.”
But the kicker, and not so proud mom moment came later that night. It was bedtime and I was DONE. Tired, exhausted, sleepy and my house still smelled like Sprite.

Suddenly I hear whistling and Lincoln Logs tapping and banging upstairs where two children should be sleeping soundly. That was it. Up I went. So fast that quiet, soft spoken, super mom was left on the couch and loud mega mom threw what can only be called, a “Momtrum.”

I said {ahem, loudly} something to the effect of, “That’s enough! Those Lincoln logs are MINE!” I grabbed a handful dramatically, threw them down, and picked up the Lincoln Log tub and stormed out. {Again, dramatically. It adds to the effect.}

Needless to say, no more was heard from the peanut gallery the rest of the night. I went downstairs and I found quiet, soft spoken super mom still on the couch. I instantly regretted my actions; so together we went up and apologized for throwing the Lincoln Logs and a Momtrum at the same time. Thankfully the kidlets were very forgiving and said, “Mom, you’re allowed to yell once in a millennium. It’s okay.” {Um, people, it’s not a lot, but it’s more than once in a millennium unfortunately, but I don’t have time to worry about my child’s math skills. I’m still thinking about the Lincoln Logs.} So I say thanks and we hug it out and even laugh a little bit about my silly Momtrum.

And so, the Lincoln Logs have somewhat become an inside joke in the house. In fact, this was the scene walking upstairs to bed the next night:


Thanks guys. The stifled laughter in the background was very reassuring. Next time when I get upset I’ll throw chocolate.

And so, I decided to give moments like this a name: Mom + Tantrum = “Momtrum." And just in case you’re wondering ---when your husband does it, it’s called a MANtrum.

I guess we’ve all been there. Right? Well, to make myself feel better, today I’m asking you - have you ever had a Momtrum moment too?


Sunday, January 22, 2012

10 Day You Challenge: 6 Places

Do you like to travel? I do! I have been fortunate to travel to several places throughout the course of my life, some of which have made a permanent impression on my soul. This list includes a few of those places, and a couple on my list that I hope to see soon!!

Let’s start with the bucket list! One of my goals is to visit all of the travelable continents! {Sorry Antarctica.) So far I have landed on 4 of the 6. I hope to someday add:

1. Machu Picchu, Peru. Or anywhere in South America! Machu Picchu, however, is at the top of my list!! And - I expect it to look just as magical as this picture with the perfect green grass and dreamy clouds!

Machu Picchu (Peru)

2. Australia! Again, preferably Sydney, Australia, but anywhere would do. I’ve never been to the island continent and would love to say I’ve been to the land down under!


3. Malawi, Africa. I have been to this beautiful place before. I have touched its soil and loved its people. Whether or not I go back, it will always hold a special place in my heart. If you would like to learn a little bit more about why it is so special to me, please visit my “girl on a mission” page!



{This was a barber shop we passed on one of our walks.}


4. Mexico. I have also been blessed to be a part of a couple house building trips in Mexico. These were great experiences and why it puts Mexico on my list of one of my 6 favorite place.




5. New York City, New York. I have been there a couple times to see friends, but what draws me there now is my sister and her family. Remember when I designed this nursery room? Well it was for her and this little guy!


I miss them so much and would love to go to New York to visit them! I’m hoping to plan a trip in the summer, but wouldn’t it be beautiful to go in the fall and see trees like this? {We don’t get too many seasonal colors here in So Cal.}


6. This last place is my favorite of all. Because I love adventure; I love being outdoors, and traveling and experiencing new cultures. But, the positive to all of that is I have a really great place to return to. And every journey reminds me that


Thanks for reading about some of my favorite places! How about you? What places are on your list?


10 Day You Challenge:
10 Secrets
9 Loves
8 Fears
7 Wants

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chocolate {Nutella} Cookies


Ever since I made my Chocolate Peppermint Mug Cakes, I have been on a Nutella kick! I keep craving Nutella, and keep thinking of another recipe I could use it in and last night it came to me – cookies!! {After all, who doesn’t like cookies?}

If you have Nutella at home then you have almost all the ingredients!! Whaaat? That’s right – there are only 3 ingredients in these yummy cookies!

Here is what you need:

-1 cup Nutella
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix all ingredients together until it creates a brownie like batter:



3. Roll into 1 1/2” – 2” balls and set at least 2” apart on a cookie sheet.


4. PRESS DOWN WITH A FORK criss cross style. {Oops!! Forgot to take a picture of that part! AND bake for 9-11 minutes, depending on your oven.

5. Remove from heat and let cool.

6. Enjoy! {Sprinkles optional!}


I'm always in the mood for chocolate, and now Nutella! What types of treats do you enjoy this time of year?

Linking up here
and at Today's Creative Blog

Monday, January 16, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

I’ve always wanted to use that blog title and now I can! Woot woot! This has been an exciting couple weeks here at Shaped by Grace! If you follow me on Facebook then you may recognize these pictures from some of the recent giveaways going on in blog and Facebook land!

Do you enter giveaways? If you don’t, you should really give it a try! When I first started blogging I thought “I’ll never win.” Or “It must be hard to enter – what do I do?” NOW, however, I sing a different tune! Because, yes, giveaways are all over the place – but they are SO EASY to enter! Some are as simple as leaving one comment on a Facebook page or blog post! And someone has to win – so why not you?

I wanted to give a special thank you to the following ladies for offering up giveaways of their lovely creations! I am so excited to not only share these prizes but share some pretty cool women as well. If you haven’t heard of any of these websites, I suggest you hurry on over and check them out!

One of the first prizes I won was this headband from JandM’s Eye Candy!

Actually, I won credit to shop at her store – and let me tell you, I had such a hard time deciding what to buy! Kristine makes some of the most beautiful headbands, clips and necklaces. It makes me wish I had a little girl to spoil with all her shop’s eye candy! And it IS eye candy! I got several compliments on it the first day I wore this headband! :) I chose yellow because I love the color but don’t have a lot of yellow accessories! I love it!


Yellow is quickly becoming my new favorite color! Aaand this headband goes perfect wiiiith, prize number 2!

Next, I won this SHINE ON t-shirt giveaway from the lovely Ashley at The Shine Project.


What Ashley is doing to change the world will amaze you. She and her blog are so inspiring! Check her out!


I wore this shirt at the Breakfast Together Outreach we serve at on Sunday mornings. I love that no matter when I wear it, I’ll remember to let my light SHINE! Thank you Ashley for being an inspiration in my life. xoxo

And finally…

I JUST found out that I won a jewelry giveaway from Rebecca at The Crafted Sparrow!

The Crafted Sparrow

I got to pick a flower Cabachon ring and a set of earrings! I think I’m going to go with yellow again. It will complete the outfit above. ;o) And I have entered several giveaways for a ring like this and never won! So, I am so excited to not only win one, but win won from Rebecca!! She is also a woman of faith and is a joy to work with! I also know she makes quality jewelry because I won a necklace from her shop a few months ago!! :o)

etsy product photos 101_picnik

I feel so fortunate to have been the recipient of these awesome prizes! I wanted to be sure I sent a special thank you to each of these ladies for sharing their creativity with all of us! Be sure to stop by their pages and say hi! I am so blessed to know you girls! Thanks again ladies!

If you haven’t thought of entering a giveaway – you really should! Have you won a giveaway before or are you having a giveaway right now? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to check out the site and share in your joy too! Have a great week! God Bless! xo


Sunday, January 15, 2012

10 Day YOU Challenge: 7 Wants

1. I want it to be summer! It has been one of the best school years so far, but I am already looking forward to time off work, more time with my kids, hot days, some traveling, my toes in the sand… sigh

2. I want a full time maid and a full time personal chef in my house! {Other than me!} Some days I am just tired. Can anyone else relate?

3. I want my boys to love the Lord, love others and grow up to be men of character that people respect. {Now, is that too much to ask? I think not.} :)

4. I want Google to keep GFC and for technology not to outrun me! {Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out SOMEONE comes along and changes it all! When you know who that someone is, will you please let me know?} ;-)

Follow {Shaped By Grace}

5. I want to be a better friend. To not just have virtual relationships with them, but actually take the time to send a note, call them and visit them!

6. I want to hold your hand. ;o)

7. I want the world to be a better place because I lived in it. 


Now it's you’re turn! What do YOU want? xo


Monday, January 9, 2012

Clothing Swap Party


A few months before I was immersed in blog land, I threw a clothing swap party with some friends. What is a clothing swap party? Well, I’m so glad you asked!!
It is where you clean out your closet, gather all the clothes, purses, belts, shoes, etc. that you no longer wear and bring them to a swap party! At the swap party you get to exchange each item of clothing for something new {to you} that your friends brought that THEY no longer wear and want to swap! You and your friends score some new items and all left over clothes were donated to charity. It’s a win win!!

Here are some pictures of our fun night! 


I scored those cute ballet slippers {above}! They are so comfortable! I also made these signs and glued them onto those little stands I got from Michaels for $1! I added some ribbon and rhinestones {on the sides} for a little girly glam.


{Ugh! I’m bummed some of these came out so blurry! I only had a phone camera at the time so these are my only pictures of the event!} 
We actually had a ton of jewelry! My friend was a consultant for Cookie Lee and brought some pieces to share and even raffled off a piece of jewelry just for fun!!

These belts and scarves hung from what used to be an over the door towel rack.


I also had a double clothing rack {purchased from Target} to hang up all the clothes.


I used my stairway landing as an additional area to try on clothes. The white drapery is actually my white lace shower curtain hung on hooks! I had other spaces for trying on clothes as well and another full length mirror in the living room for people to look at and try on clothes!


{Can you tell what I made this pom pom out of? A few of these were hung around my living room just for some added fun!}



Swap ‘Til you Drop!


As each guest came in they received a recyclable shopping bag to take home their new clothes in and a little goodie bag which included a pen and a list pad to write down some of the items they liked as they ‘shopped’!


Other than getting to scope out our friend’s wardrobes, our favorite part was shopping and trying on all the clothes, shoes and jewelry!


Here’s the general concept for how a swap party works:
For every item of clothing brought, you receive a ticket. Each ticket, in turn, could be exchanged for another item of clothing. As guests arrived, they wrote their name on a list. We used that list as the order in which we took turns choosing clothing swap items. Guests were given some time to shop and try on clothes before the actual shopping portion took place.

And the shopping was SO much fun! It was so neat to see my friends encouraging each other and hearing “That looks SO good on you! Here – try it with this top!” and so on. Sometimes we felt like the girls in that book “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” Even thought we were all different heights and sizes, the clothes just seemed to work out! And because we had belts, scarves, shoes and purses anyone of ANY size and height could join the party!!

What was also cool was that most people wanted to GET RID OF clothes – SO they may have brought in 30 items of clothing but only wanted to take 5 home! That meant some people got to take extras if they wanted and it also meant that we had a bunch left over! {**Give your friends PLENTY of notice you’re planning a swap party so they have time to save clothes! I recommend at least 6-8 weeks, more if you can, so there are plenty of clothes!}

All extra clothes were donated to charity! {I put that in the invite so guests would know ahead of  time where we were donating.}


Ready for your own swap party? Right click the image below to print out your own directions for swap party fun!


Thanks so much for reading! Let me know if you plan your own swap party!


Linking up to:
Home Stories AtoZ; The Gunny Sack; tatertots and jello; Homemaker in Heels;Tip Junkie;Today's Creative Blog; C.R.A.F.T.
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