Tuesday, July 30, 2013

i love making gifts!

I would like to start this post off by thanking everyone for their positive feedback to my last debbie downer post.  It really means a lot to me that you took the time to let me know that you support us on our journey. Thank you!
One of the guidelines to our challenge, is that instead of buying, we are going to give handmade gifts to friends and family.  I LOVE THIS!  I just love losing myself in making a gift for someone... especially when it involves using supplies I already have in my craft hoard.
This last month I have made 3 gifts (although I only have pics of 2...of course).

Gift one::
pic from www.thriftyandthriving.com
A mini marshmallow shooter for my nephew Isaiah.  I whipped up a little tote bag to carry all of the pieces in as well.  I have to say that it was super easy to make, cost a total of $8.00, and was a huge hit with the adult uncles.

Gift two::

A surprise room makeover for Ava.  I wish I had taken a before shot.... I have really been slacking on picture taking this month!  We painted her room April Blush, which she was dead set on.  We were able to find the shelving unit from Kijiji for $50 which included the baskets and magazine holders... super score!  I pieced the duvet cover together from my stash of fabic.... I think it looks adorable and it was really easy to whip up.  My grandmother generously donated an amazing light fixture (one i remember looking up at as a child) which makes an amazing bubble-like shadow on the wall.  Lastly, I hung a Sari I had over the window and Ava calls it a canopy.  It is not the Sears catalogue canopy bed of my childhood dreams but hey, the room is not mine!  Ava loves this room and keeps it super clean.  This was a gift well worth the effort and sweat... it was painted during the dreadful heat wave.

Gift three::
A Nancy Drew detective kit that Ava and I worked on for an 8 year old friend of ours.  We had so much fun putting this together.  We freezer paper stencilled the tote bag, collected detective essentials and made up a few fun envelopes and charts.  I know our friend loved receiving this and since the party, Ava is demanding one of her own.  She is running around the house creating and solving mysteries.  Knocking things over and then accusing random people of doing it.  Would you believe that she discovered that Ruby (our dog) was the culprit using up all of our Band-aids?  Thank goodness we have her around! 

Sunday, July 28, 2013


I can learn a lot from Ava about balance!

You may (or may not) have noticed that I haven't posted in this space for about a month.  Oh, you might say to yourself, "it's summer and she is probably out having fun with the kids at the pool or busy doing something creative with the kids".  NOT SO! Well, not completely so. While yes, I have been at the pool or being creative with my babes, it has been in such small increments that I don't even think it counts.  
I have been busy with the busyness of "making do".  In the last month I have taken our simple family challenge and kicked it up to crazy and unrealistic proportions.  

For the last month I have been trying to::

keep the house clean...while trying to constantly de-clutter,
keep groceries to a minimum.... i.e. be creative and make do with what we have,
throw a birthday party and re-docorate Ava's room within the confines of our challenge,
help out at the farm 2x/week,
be a mindful and present parent,
find free and fun activities for us to do as a family,
blog (it fell right off the list but i thought about it a lot),
cook ALL meals (it started to look like a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches),
keep convenience foods (crackers, chips, granola bars) to a minimum,
be fun and spontaneous,
have dinner parties and friends over to hang out,
try new activities with the family,
keep up with sewing and ongoing projects...new dress and duvet cover for Ava's birthday,
keep calm despite the increased bickering and horrid attitudes of Ava and Anthony,
keep Rao life fresh and exciting,
be a model of gratitude and appreciation for my family 

This weekend my list came crumbling down on me.  
The kind of landslide that left me in a heaping, crying, flailing mess on the couch (leaving Sri dumbfounded!).  Feeling like I was failing at every aspect of my life.  Feeling sorry for myself.  Guilty that I have dragged my kids into this insanity.  Angry at "our challenge" and angry with myself for turning it into this ridiculous and unattainable list of rules.  How did "hey, lets try to live more simply and live off of what we already have instead of buying more" turn into me running around like crazy to try and create a modern Little House on the Prairie life  while trying to juggle everything else.  

I need to sit down with my family and redefine the guidelines of this challenge.  I need to simplify the challenge to simplify within my own mind and not be so black and white about it all.   Any suggestions?  I would be happy to hear your opinion about how to make this process a little more enjoyable.