I intended this to be a different post entirely.
The title was supposed to be:

Adios Azucar  (goodbye sugar).

I am giving it up for Lent.  
Even though I am not Catholic I think that there is such beauty in prayer and sacrifice.

But instead the title is just: 

Adios (goodbye).

you can find this print here

Because things in my life are a little unbalanced.
My husband needs me.
My kids need me.
Sleep needs me.

So I am taking a little break.
I know the world will keep spinning.
I hope you will come back.

I won't be gone long.  
Just long enough to play catch up.
Regain peace.

Blessings to all,

The girls are yelling.
spending some quality time it the naughty chair.
wreaking havoc.
making my blood pressure soar.
it is almost bedtime.

because I really love them.
even on nights like this.
i was away this weekend on a women's retreat.
it was fun to come home.
to appreciate the noise, the mess, the hugs, the love.

we stayed in a charming vintage room.
if you say "charming vintage" it sounds nicer than "creepy, stinky and drafty".
you might think that perhaps it had two closets, right?
wait for it.
a shower.
in a closet. 
with no light.
but tonight I would love that claustrophobic shower.
I would enter the darkness, turn the water to boiling and shut the door.
bye bye.
mama needs a break.

I can't believe the interest in Tamra!
Now if I lived across the street from Dave Matthews I would get it.
But Tamra?

I don't have any juicy gossip or scandalous stories.

They lived in a cute, small 3 bedroom house.
They were really busy, yet friendly.
She came to Jason quite often asking for advice about her teenage son.
(She knew he was a youth pastor.)

But I mostly remember her appearing lonely.
She spent most days sitting on her front step in her velour sweatsuits.
Talking on the phone.

I don't know where her kids were.

I didn't really make an effort to get to know her.
I can make excuses for that...
I was busy with my friends...

Maybe she was intimidating.
But she was nothing like she is on T.V. now.
Not sure if they edit her to look that way, or that the money and fame have changed her.

But each day, Lucy sleeps in the crib that they gave us.
I was pregnant with Joy and their daughter had just outgrown it.

So I remember her as being generous.
Not the person she is every Tuesday night.
Because the Tuesday night Tamra is sad.

Remember Kindyl?
I just wanted to brag about her today.
She is twelve!
She paints!
She has made each one of my girls a canvas for their rooms.

White starfish.  My favorite.  It was so sweet that she did this for Joy.  
It was 100% her idea.

She painted this for Halley when she was only eight.  
They brought it to us in the hospital and I hung it up.  
All of the nurses gushed over it.

Lucy is my surfer girl and she painted this to match her bedding.  
It also is the same color as my real surfboard.  Brilliant.

She painted this yesterday for Janey to match the bedding I am making.  
She even added bling.  I can't handle it.

I vote that she opens an Etsy shop!

Thanks Kindyl!
My girls and I adore your amazing creations!

I am not Michelle Duggar.
I wish I had her energy.  
Her organization.  
Her peace in the midst of the chaos that 18 kids bring.
Her hair... not so much.
But I don't get how her kids are so GOOD!  How can there be not a single naughty one in the bunch.  Not even a teenager filled with drama and angst.
Either they have it all together and I need to learn a lot from them, 
perhaps it is written in their contract that the not so "perfect" moments are left miraculously out in post production.  Makes me wonder.  Am I too cynical?  Is it possible to have 18 wonderfully obedient, loving and well behaved children?
Because I work really hard and sometimes can't pull it off with three.

Then there is Tamra.
Who lived across the street from me, before she was "Real".  
Actually it was when she was "Real".  
But that is another post in itself.
I think the contracts of the  "Real" Housewives of Orange County include:
Jeweled tank tops
Massive alcohol
Plastic surgery
Messing up your children

So if TLC or Bravo wants to do a reality show, 
featuring me, about the
{Real} Real Housewives of Orange County  
this is what I want in my contract:
A craft room
Someone to go grocery shopping
A hairstylist armed with bleach and a flatiron
A drywaller to fix our walls
A shopping allowance at Land of Nod, Pottery Barn Kids, 
Mini Boden and Pumpkin Patch

Would that be too much to ask?

I would let them show my kids being crazy.  My house being messy.  The imperfections.  
Just as long as my hair is smooth, shiny and straight. 
I am a simple girl.

Seems you all know my kiddos better than my own family!

Here are the answers to the "Guess the Baby" game:

1.  Lucy (looking crazy)
2.  Janey (looking content)
3.  Halley (looking mad)

The pictures pretty much capture their personalities at that stage.  
I loved seeing them all together and comparing.
Thanks for playing along.

I found this silly quiz over at All That is Good.  She runs a fun post called "Making Friends Mondays" as a way to get to know other bloggers.

Since I totally bailed on Facebook, be my blog friend instead and learn a bit more about me.  Like how I don't play by the rules.

1. jog or walk: walk
2. coffee or tea: iced coffee and iced tea
3. pepsi or coca cola: Diet Pepsi  (my love.  my hate.  my struggle.)
4. flats or heels: flip flops 
5. fries or onion rings: salty, salty fries 
6. cats or dogs: dogs
7. skim or whole: nope.  yuck.
8. small purses or large: giant
9. van or suv: never thought I would say van, but I heart mine 4ever and ever
10. winter or summer: winter
11. one piece bathing suit or two: one with boardshorts
12. sit down restaurant or fast food: sit down without the kids, drive thru with them, unless there is a play place.
13. McDonalds or Burger King: In-n-Out
14. White Gold or Yellow: platnium (aren't I fancy?)
15. Fish or Chicken: Chicken
16. Edward or Jacob: Dave Matthews.
17. Pizza or Burger: yes please, one of each.
18. apple or orange: fuji apple
19. Spend or save: spend at Target or on Etsy
20. 1 story or 2 story house: one (no stairs to vacuum.)

P.S.  I added some fun new headbands to the shop.
Even a PURPLE one if you can believe it!

I love to drive.


I always have.
It calms me,
and I get to spend time with my boyfriend.

Dave Matthews.

We have been together since 1994.
When he opened for Phish.
That Michael Phelps thing was just a silly fling.

But I am rarely alone anymore.  

Usually it is the girls and 
Jack Johnson
worship music
or if I am feeling really, really nice,
the Disney Princess CD's.
(Thanks Aunt Amy... really.  Thanks.)

But I was alone today.
With Dave.
(Janey too, but she was asleep, so it was as if I was alone.)
It was raining and he was singing.  
Just for me.


I looked to the left of me.
The moment with my love, 

By whom?

Edward Cullen?
Wearing purple?
Eating a banana?
On a popsicle stick?
Dipped in ketchup?

Worse, much worse.

This lady.

Wearing this.
On a way to a party.
To make children cry.

I will never forgive you Princess Pipsqueak.

It might be months until I have another rendevous with Dave.

Meet the McClenahans.
They are walking a road that no one should have to walk.

Their sweet daughter lost her brave yet quick battle to cancer last week.
Just shy of her first birthday.

Although I have never met this amazing family, their story,
their pain,
their faith,
inspired me to do something.
Anything to help.
When the situation is helpless.
When there are no words.

So I went to my sewing machine.
My comfort.
I sewed.
And sewed.
I thought I could make a few flower pins and headbands and give the
proceeds to the playground they are building in her honor.

What I didn't expect was the overwhelming response.
The amount of people who wanted to help.
To create something.
In Cora's honor.

So we banded together.
An army of moms.
Of crafters.

To serve a cause bigger than ourselves.
To use our talents in a small way to make a big difference.

Today is the launch of The Cora Playground Etsy project.
Over fifty shops donating their time, their love, their creations.
To help a sweet family who many of us have never met,
but have changed our lives and our hearts forever.

Please take a look here to see the listings.
Know that your purchase will send love to Kansas.
It will help build a legacy.
A playground for generations of children to enjoy.
A legacy for a beautiful girl who's time on earth was too short.

Somehow I got a 6 week old who sleeps through the night.  
However, I sadly do not.

I am so grateful for my Barista.

My mind is swirling with ideas for pretty, messy flowers and 
The Cora Playground Etsy launch that begins tomorrow.
If there was a fire and I could only grab two things, 
(besides the kids, obviously) 
I would probably fetch the Mac and the Barista.  
Love those machines.

I sold out of the original pink messy flower.  
Silly me had to pick a fabric that is out of print.  
So while I search for some more, I found this sweet design.  
It is available in the shop and I will be listing it as both a pin and a hair clip.  

Thanks again to all of you who have made this 
project a success before it even officially starts!
I simply cannot wait to see what God is going to 
do with all of the generous sellers who are using 
their talents for a cause greater than themselves.

Hooray for Denise who snagged a Etsy Treasury 
(a compilation of featured items)!

Look at the beautiful handmade love for Cora.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have this Treasury on Etsy's front page?

You can help by taking a quick second to pop over, 
sign in, view it here and then leave a comment.

A big thanks again to all of the sellers and shoppers who are supporting this movement.

The blogging and Etsy community continues to amaze me!

The talented Daydreams by Design and sara & abraham put their hearts and talents together to create and donate this beautiful blog button.

It links directly to all items that are being sold on 
Etsy to raise funds for The Cora Playground.

Please add this button to your blog.  
Just copy and paste the text below the button on my sidebar
(I believe the error is fixed.) 
Lets spread the word, support and love!

There are already quite a few sellers listing items 
with more being listed everyday.

Enjoy shopping and supporting sweet Cora.

I am going back to school tonight.
Sort of.

I am taking a Photoshop class and am beyond excited.

But, it has been a long time since college.

Adult onset A.D.D. (if there is such a thing) has kicked in.

Though I cannot wait to learn how to pretty up my pictures.

Hooray for Lulu's new bangs.  The Donald Trump style is gone.

Hooray for IHOP's endless pancakes and coffee.  Needs no explanation.

Hooray that I resisted buying this 4 1/2 pound bag of chocolate chips.
I am quitting Toffee Crack cold turkey.
My addiction was getting out of control.

P.S. There is still time to get in on The Cora Playground Etsy launch.
Email me if you want to be included.

Now glory be to God! By his mighty 
power at work within us, he is able to 
accomplish infinitely more than we 
would ever dare to ask or hope. 
Ephesians 3:20

I try to live my life by this verse.
Knowing that all good in me is from the Lord.

What started as a small idea has grown
exponentially bigger than I could 
have ever dared to ask or hope.

But now I need your help.

I am not an organizer, so I am using this term loosely.
But it is my hearts desire organize a grand group of 
crafty Etsyians in listing items to benefit Cora's Playground.

Pray about how God can use you in this.
Absolutely anything.  Big or little.  

Just click the "Write Me" tab on my sidebar.

Let's see what the Lord can do to use us in 
honoring sweet Cora Paige.

All day I was thinking of Cora and her family.

My heart is broken.

I wish I could fly to Kansas and give them a hug.
I need to do something.
Something to honor her life.

Her memory.

I went straight to my sewing machine, got out my favorite fabric.  
The one I haven't been able to cut.  
The one I have yet to find a worthy project for.

Until now.

Her family is building a playground in her honor.

You can help by purchasing a messy flower pin or headband.

100% of the proceeds will go to the Cora's Playground fund.

Remember her and share her story while you wear it.

Sweet little Cora went to be with Jesus today.

Nothing can explain it.
No words can bring understanding.

But God can comfort and
someday redeem the pain.

I got out my tear-stained book
and thought of her new life in Heaven.

Cancer free.

But to her family on earth,
I am so sorry.
You are in my thoughts and prayers.

(click on each picture to enlarge)
Mommy, please don't cry... a beautiful angel carried me here!

I met Jesus today, Mommy!  He cradled me in His big, strong arms.  
He made me feel so happy inside.

Mommy, please don't cry... when I fall it doesn't hurt!  There are no tears in heaven.

When it's time to rest, angels tuck us in.  I never get scared Mommy,
There is no darkness here!  Jesus is the light of Heaven.

Someday, Mommy, we will hold each other tight!  Then you will cradle me in your arms,
and stroke my hair... and once again our hearts will beat together.

Mommy, please don't cry...
I'll wait right here for you.

Proof that things need to change around here, 
as I was writing this, Jason walked by and asked 

"is it my birthday?"

One of his languages of love is the absence of clutter and chaos.

Most of my life is built upon clutter and chaos.

So, inspired by this post from Crystal, a brilliant comment from Angie (get a blog so I can link to you!) and this font from Stephanie, I typed up a little inspiration for daily change.  I printed it out and am displaying it so I can see it everyday. 

I will attempt to finish and put away whatever I am working on before succumbing to my craft A.D.D. and starting something else.

I will clean or wash something.  Pretty easy, since Janey is a non-stop destroyer of all clothing, blankets and burp cloths.

I will sort my crazy piles and stacks to control the clutter.

I will plan better so I can cook everyday.  It is something that I really love to do, I just don't like constantly running to the grocery store.

I will make a list of necessary but un-fun tasks and try little by little to muddle through them.

I will continue to make something everyday, because that is what makes me so happy.

I will write an email, a text, an thank you card, an encouragement note or a blog post.

Now I know that this is an ambitious undertaking.
I will not succeed 100% everyday.
But something is better than nothing.

My house will be more peaceful, I will sleep better and my husband won't know what hit him.

Halley went through a major tutu phase and didn't understand why she couldn't wear one to school.  I got a little creative and satisfied her need for a tutu and the school's need for kids to wear normal clothes.

If you have been sewing for a while this will be crazy easy.

If you are new to sewing, it might look scary.  When I figured out how to do it I was new to sewing too.  You will learn a few new skills, like sewing on tulle (surprisingly easy), gathering (much easier to gather tulle than fabric) and sewing on knits (I have a trick to make it easier.)

I promise that when you are finished, you will not only be proud of what you have made, look really fancy, but you will be smitten and addicted to the Tutu T-shirt!

Here is what you will need:

2 1/2 yards each of two different colors of tulle
A t-shirt (I love the Cherokee perfect t's from Target.)
Coordinating thread
A rotary cutter, ruler and self healing mat, or scissors and a really steady hand.

{There will be enough tulle left over to make two more t's.}

On this Tutu T-shirt I am using red for the top shorter layer and pink underneath.

Cut the top, shorter layer 12 inches wide by 90 inches long. 
(The 90 inches is why you need 2 1/2 yards.)

Cut the bottom, longer layer 14 inches by 90 inches.

Fold each layer in half, separately.
Stack them on top of each other with the raw edges lining up.  The folded edges will be staggered on the bottom.  Pin the two layers together near the raw edges.

Using a basting stitch 
(the longest stitch on your machine and the least amount of tension) 
sew the entire length of the tulle near the raw edges.  
Do not backstitch on either end and leave lots of thread hanging on each side.

Pull one of the  threads and begin gathering the tulle.  
It will start to look like a tutu.  
When it seems about the right width to go around the t-shirt move on to the next step.

Starting in the middle of the back of the t-shirt start pinning the tulle.  
The shorter top layer of tulle should be the one laying on top of the t-shirt.

Continue pinning it as close to the bottom of the shirt, all of the way around.

Overlap it when you return to the middle of the back of the shirt. 

Place the shirt under your needle and foot.  
Return the stitch length and tension to normal.  
I like to use a medium size zig zag stitch.  
It makes it easier to catch the layers of tulle, as well as helps the t-shirt stretch.  
Backstitch at the beginning and end.

This is what mines looks like.  
Don't worry that it is a little messy.  
It will be covered by the rest of the skirt.

Here is the underneath of the finished product.  
You can carefully trim any wayward tulle if it is driving you crazy.

Hooray!!!  Look what you made!!! It wasn't so bad was it?

I couldn't leave Janey out right?
I made a few changes to make her a little onesie.
I cut just one piece of tulle 8 inches by 90 inches.
I gathered it a bit more than the bigger girls' shirts.
Then I pinned it starting in the back of the onesie.

Continue pinning it all of the way around.  Overlapping at the beginning.

Same zig zag stitch, trying my best to keep it straight without the benefit of a t-shirt seam.

She is going to be so dang cute come Valentine's Day!!!!

Lulu, who will only agree to model for me if there are smarties involved, 
looks pretty cute herself.

Showing off the back of the Tutu T-shirt and Messy Flower Headband.

I would love to see your Tutu T-shirt creations!!!
What else can you sew that is girly, yet so versatile, practical and under $10?

Happy tutu-ing!

(Feel like doing a little applique on your tutu t-shirt?  
Here is a great tutorial to get you started.)