So this is super simple.
If you can use scissors, you can totally figure it out.
Indulge me though.  I am the kind of person that likes to figure things out, AND really likes when other people figure things out for me.

I made one for the Favorite Things Party, and one last year for Christmas (but I couldn't find it this year, so I ended up making a map garland instead.  Next year the map one will inevitably go missing and something else will take it's place.)

Shall we begin?
You need:
Cardstock (you know from that one time that you used to scrapbook..)
Paper cutter
Hole punch
Twine, yarn, or braided unicorn mane
Pencil with a good eraser

Figure out how many letters you need, choose the number of pieces of paper accordingly.
Cut each piece of paper into a 4x6 inch rectangle

Lay out the rectangles in a color order that makes you the least crazy.

Turn over each paper and write the corresponding letter on the top.

Sketch out each letter BACKWARDS on the back of each paper.
You can totally do this on the front, but my letters always end up a hot mess until I finally settle on how I want them to look.  When it is on the back, you don't have to erase.

HOWEVER, there is no chance in the world that I can make an non-hideous backwards S, so I lightly draw the S on the front of the paper, and gently erase the crazy parts.

I like the handmade, a bit sloppy, a little crazy, look of the letters.  I don't bother with cutting out the insides of letters (like R, O, A) because that is annoying.  Crafting shouldn't be annoying. If you are an OCD perfectionist, this might not be the garland for you.  Or it might be forced therapy to help you CHILL OUT a bit...

Cut out.
String on the twine (unicorn mane, etc.)

Hang up.
Then end.

You know that Drew is one of my favorite people, right?
We have so much stinking fun together, and working with her is a straight up dream.
She is an amazing teacher, and I have been patiently asking (or more like totally, obnoxiously, relentlessly, begging and demanding) her to host a workshop in her swoon worthy studio.  
She has a way of sharing her vast knowledge and remarkable skills in a generous and approachable way.  She can teach like you wouldn't believe.  The first time we met, I got to see her in action as she led a mentoring session.  The care, encouragement, and training was so effortless and seamless, it seemed as if you were just chatting with an old friend.  An old friend that somehow magically shows you how to master all of the weird settings on your big old camera, and begin to take the photos you never thought you would be able to take.
So to shut me up and stop the incessant nagging, she came up with the most lovely of ideas.  
Camp Mom*Tog!

I knowwww.  Intro to photography + photography related crafts + cupcakes.
The dreamiest of days.

Will you come to camp with us?

{In Drew's words.  Because she says it all so perfectly}
We will be meeting at my studio in beautiful Downtown Fullerton, California.  The workshop will last from 12 - 5ish (we will go later if need be) with the photography instruction lasting 2 hours and crafting instruction lasting another 2 hours.  We will have a one hour break in between to eat cupcakes and mingle and ask any questions you may have.  In order to keep Camp Mom*tog small and intimate there will be a maximum of 12 attendees and groups will be broken down to 6 in order to get the one on one attention from each instructor.
The Intro to Photography course is for those moms who own a DSLR camera (the type of camera where you can change the lens) and who want to learn how to take control of their camera and shoot on manual.  I will be explaining aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and how they all relate to one another.  We will be reviewing different types of lighting situations.  And, lastly, we will go out on a photo safari with a couple of real kid models to put what we've learned into practice and earn your photography badge.  This photography course is aimed at busy moms who are not planning on starting a photography business, but rather want to learn how to shoot the best images straight from their camera without having to spend tons of extra time editing them in Photoshop.
To earn your arts and crafts badge, Julie will be instructing you on a fun photography related project that can either be used as props in your shoots or to display your beautiful pictures in your home.  Julie knows that any good day involves power tools, fabric, and paint, and this day at camp will have you working with all three.  And if you're scared of glue guns, like I am, she can help you get over that fear!
The cost to register for Camp Mom*tog is $350 and is due in full at registration in order to hold your spot.  If for some reason you are unable to attend camp, you may transfer your spot to another camper.
Are you ready to register?  Click here to register via Paypal.  Once your payment is received you will be sent a registration sheet.
We are so genuinely excited to meet and work with you at camp!

My favorite modern hymn.
The reason for my everything.
Why I have breath in my lungs, and hope for tomorrow.

{free printable available here}

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

How cute were we?  All young and dumb and clueless about pretty much everything.
Two kids focused on silly things like guest lists and registering for plates.
Basically planning our wedding, (a.k.a. an epic four hour party complete with In-N-Out.)
Not really thinking about planning our FOREVER.
Our pastor did his best to prepare us.  I just don't think we really, REALLY, listened.  How could you when you are young and dumb and super excited for your honeymoon and new house?

Life doesn't prepare you for life.

Thankfully we were serious about this FOREVER thing.  Even if we didn't know how we would get there.
Or that it would involve work.
Lots and lots of work.
Which, when you think about it, is ridiculous.  To be good at anything, you need put in time, effort, commitment, dedication, and hard work.

This marriage thing?  It's the best kind of work.

As we march toward our fifteenth anniversary, I can truly, honestly say that I both LOVE and LIKE Jason so much more than I ever thought I could when I was that giddy girl in a white dress promising him forever.  This past year has grown us in ways we were wholly unprepared for.  Through the chaos that is our million little children, finances, transitions, facing the unknown, and now a job change, we have made a choice to invest in each other.  
Invest in doing the hard work.
Little getaways.  Date days. 
Praying for each other.  Loving each other.  Serving each other.  
When it is easy.  When it is hard. 

Those plates that we registered for?  They came crashing down.
That four hour party? It was amazing.
It doesn't compare with what we have now.

(Even though the dumb Civil Wars broke up, the lyrics are still true.)

Some good books to help you do the hard work:
Sacred Marriage

Read some recent marriage posts here.

My three little girls.
Best friends.
A beauty parlor birthday celebration.
Donuts, hot cocoa, nail polish, curling irons, and crazy eye shadow.

A simple, girlie, dreamy day.

They are a gift.  I never want to forget them like this.
Nor do I want to fear for the rapidly approaching teenage years.
Even though the world wants me to.

{framing this little moment with Shauna.}

P.S.  There are still a few countdown signs left in the shop.
Grab one before they are gone until Fall.

So.  I am a girl mom trying to learn how to be a boy mom.
I have no idea what I am doing.  
I don't know if Shane (a.k.a. THE BEAST) acts the way he acts because he is a boy, or because he is Shane.
What I do know is I have no idea what I am doing.
What I do know is there is a giant hole in the children's toy market and I want it filled.
Meet Pink Baby (part of Fisher Price's Little Mommy line.)
My kids are very creative with naming their dolls.
The one with blue pajamas?  It's Blue Baby.
The other one with pink pajamas?  She's Other Pink Baby.
Anyway, Pink, Blue, and Other Pink babies are so lovely, perfectly sized, perfectly washable, perfectly totable, perfectly cuddly.  Perfectly cozy.

Know what I want?  
Fisher Price to make baby superheroes.
Yes.  Just like Pink, Blue, and Other Pink.  
But instead of pajamas, costumes.
Instead of little beanies, masks.
Instead of pacifiers and bottles, weapons and shields.
I don't think that I am the only one who wants these to exist.  Nor do I think it is a just a boy mom request.  I know quite the number of super hero loving girls.  Three happen to live in my house.

It shouldn't be that complicated either.  Fisher Price already has licensing deals with DC Comics.  Case in point, the Little People Super Friends that are always within reach of this little beast.

Given I am more a Marvel Comics girl, I wish that a baby Wolverine would somehow exist.  I don't want to get too greedy and I suppose I can settle for Batman.

Know anyone at Fisher Price?  BEG THEM.  Please.  I will be first in line.

1.  Notice anything new, clean, cute, and happy around here?  I have been in a bit of a strange place with this little blog.  I needed something to change. After my repeated (and quite dramatic) threats to burn the whole thing down, Katy kindly came out of blog design retirement to work her magic. While it can't fold my laundry, or give me any more room in the narrowing margins of my life, it sure does make me smile.  I still have some work to do on my end, getting all the tutorials & recipes in one place, etc....  I sort of can't wait.

2.  Photos of St. Patrick's Day food aren't that pretty.  At all.  Sorry ancestors.  My instagram feed was sort of creepy last night.

3.  My thumb.  The baby beast chipped my bone.  It hurts every single second of every single day.  I get to see an orthopedist.  Yippeeee. In the most sarcastic tone imaginable.  On the bright side- I don't have IBS.  But I have a case of being a giant dork when I am bored waiting in the exam room with nothing to read.

4.  To continue in my injury saga, I stole my kid's new skateboard, and rode it around the kitchen cleaning, doing dishes, and basically being stupid.  Because if they can't ride a skateboard in the house, I can, right?  Let me tell you, it was SO FUN.  Until I kicked it out from under me and landed on my elbow.  Hard.  Like the kind of hurt that you lay on the ground and think that you may never ever get up again. That kind.  So I have a useless left hand, and a tweaked elbow.  Don't try this at home.  Seriously.

5.  I am soothing my woes with Thousand Mountain Jasmine tea from Teavana.  Addicted.  (Thanks Lena!)

6.  I absolutely dread taking off my eye makeup each night.  DREAD.  It's horrible.  My eyes are crazy sensitive.  I'd rather change bunk bed sheets.  And I hate changing bunk bed sheets.  Then only thing that makes it semi-tolerable is this makeup remover from Kiehl's.  It is worth every single penny.  Best of all it keeps me from having crazy red raccoon eyes.

7.  The baby boy isn't walking yet.  HE IS RUNNING.  All over the place.  I need a skateboard to keep up with him.  Boys are crazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzy.

8.  These enchiladas are on the menu tonight, but with green sauce.  If it's a good night, only two of my kids will cry.  I have a feeling it will be three.  DRAMA.
9.  Ball is releasing anniversary versions of their gorgeous BLUE MASON JARS!!!!  When I found out, I got all giddy and shaky.  Then I got sad because they are a million dollars.  BUT THEY ARE BLUE!!!!!  Sigh.

10.  We were given the Awkward Family Photos board game for Christmas and just played it for the first time last night.  So funny.  SO AWKWARD.  The kind of night that your stomach hurts from laughing.  That or too many cupcakes.  Or maybe both.

11.  Remember that one time when I made signs?  Well, the saw is getting dusted off again for a batch of Days Until signs.  It will be the one time that I make them until the Fall.  Perfect for counting down the days until summer.  Maybe until Fast & Furious 6 or Wolverine (67 and 130 days respectively).
A limited amount of pre-orders open on Wednesday and they will ship by April 12th.

The other day in the car Halley asked me if I had heard of St. Baldrick's (I hadn't), and proceeded to tell me about a boy in her class that is shaving his head for kids with cancer, and how nice he was to want to do that.  Then the conversation turned to Jessie and her Joy Jars, which turned to talking about heaven, and what their sister might be doing right then.

Then, how things always seem to work, which I just love, later on that day Jeannett asked me if I would make a printable to help raise money for St. Baldrick's

OF COURSE.  God uses the boy in my daughter's class to stir my heart for something that is right around the corner


I had an idea in the back of my mind, and that little request was just the little nudge that pushed me into my computer chair, headphones on, Kings Kaleidoscope blasting, rainbow designing.

Vanessa is the brave mama of Brock who has fought cancer.
Her story and his strength ruined me.
Her heart to help fund childhood cancer research inspires me.

On March 24th Vanessa, along with other mamas, is SHAVING HER HEAD.
All with the common goal of equipping St. Baldrick's in their research efforts to treat and end childhood cancer.

This video...  please, pretty please, watch it to see what St. Baldrick's is up against.
What they hope to do.

I can think of way too many kids who have faced cancer, battled and won, or battled and been called home.
Too many.
I am so thankful for this opportunity to help in some small way.
This happy sign made by Salty Bison, that I scooped up at Queen Bee Market last year (be jealous), greets me as I make toast each morning.  It might be my most favorite thing in our entire kitchen.  The quote is so true.  Sometimes it takes a little rain to make a rainbow. Sometimes it takes storm upon storm upon relentless storm.
I used the quote to make this printable (because lets be honest, I am NOT sharing my sign.  Ever.  It is my precious.)
Half of the sales from this print will go to St. Baldrick's as Vanessa and her team as they bravely march toward their goal.

Join me in prayer and support of these mamas as they fight along side their children and St. Baldrick's to end childhood cancer.

To rainbows after the rain....

So ya.
I have logged into Pinterest maybe once this month.
I pinned one thing.
It's been a crazy month.
Besides, Pinterest is ROUGH when you are trying to avoid sugar, and time and money is scarce for fun projects.  It's all too tempting.

Sometimes real life can be just as awesome as Pinterest.

Case in point, I took this photo while at the CUTEST STORE IN THE UNIVERSE Oh Hello Friend, and knew that I had to straight up copy it in my life.

Best part?  I totally had the pipes in my garage (somewhere) from the surfboard rack in our old house.  Our current house came with one already built in the garage, which was a cool side effect of the previous owner being a part time shaper.

Anyway, here is the old rack, with the pipes:

I miss that old house.  It was a really fun season of life there.  There is always something special and sweet about the home that you brought your babies home to.

I found a pull down Africa on Ebay with intentions of marking where the wells our church and Project 320 have sponsored, as well as where Hope for Sudan is feeding people.
I love this map.
I love globe lights.
I do not love the fact that our upstairs has some crazy electrical issues, or that the ceiling light in the guest room is currently, permanently dead, and especially the major drywall surgery that will be involved to fix it. Surgery that is not, and will maybe never be, in the budget.

So, I dug through the garage, almost gave up, until finally in a flustered mess, found the pipes.  Then I bought globe lights at Target.

Climbed a ladder.
Screwed the flanges to the wall, strung the lights, ignored the gigantic laundry pile, and called it a day.
Never mind that a guest is coming tomorrow to sleep in said laundry strewn bed...   The lights will distract her, right?

Lighting issue solved for $12.50.  Pretty dang cute too.
No electrician required.

I am one happy girl.

Pin that.

Linking up this cheaty project here:

1.  It's Cora's fifth birthday and there is a beautiful celebration going on here.  Help fill the Joyful Life Libraries up with books, and maybe win a taken out of retirement Pretty. Messy. Flower, and print, plus so many other wonderful prizes.

2.  This meal.  Make it tonight.  You won't be sorry.

3.  The thirty pound sack of sugar named Shane that I haul around all day long, tried to escape my grip to get the big red "ball" at Target, and tweaked my thumb.  Know what you need your thumb for?  ALL THE THINGS.  So that has been super fun.

4.  There was a time when I made creme brulee.  A lot.  Oh the good old days.  Now the ramekins mock me from the cupboard with their fancy frivolity.  I showed them a thing or two when they became holders of store bought cookie dough (GASP!) and baked up a whole mess of pizookies.

5.  I know technically Dan Stevens (a.k.a. Matthew Crawley a.k.a. Dead To Me) "fulfilled his contract" blah blah blah.  Lets be honest here: fulfilling a contract is a nice way of saying HE QUIT.  Because he did.

6.  Want to know what is one of my bizarre favorite things?  When I am baking and need exactly the amount of eggs that are left in the carton.  Then when I crack them, I can put the shells right back in.  If there is just one or two extra I am super bummed.

7.  I was super honored to be able to make a few things for the Mightee Kids booth at the Oscars gifting suite.  I KNOW.  The company is amazing, they give back with every purchase, help us as parents teach our kids about the world, and I am so excited that such a deserving company was able to be represented there.

8.  Remember when I was all runner-y?  Ya.  That sort of fell apart last month.  The first month since last June when the challenge started, that I didn't make the goal.  By "didn't make" I mean, I fell laughably short. (For full disclosure, I finished a mere 13.71 miles out of the 48 mile mark. Ouch.)  Back at it tomorrow. Fifty miles is the challenge this month.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME MARTA?????  Dang girl.

9.  I legit stopped biting my nails!!!  For an entire month now.  It's a crazy big deal.  Nail polish is fun.  Waiting for nail polish to dry is not.

 10.  Did you see Drew's Valentine mini-sessions?  I cannot even handle the cuteness or how she makes every little moment magical.

11.  Toffee crack.  It's back in my life after a long, long breakup.  All the more reason that I need to get myself running tomorrow.