Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thankful on Thanksgiving

Yes, I know it's Sunday. I just couldn't miss the last installment of Thankfulness Thursdays with Ashley at Domestic Fashionista. We were out of town for the holiday and the trip didn't exactly go what you would call smoothly. Taking a time out to blog about being thankful was pretty much out of the question so I had to delay my post a little.

Over the past sixteen weeks, I've shared my gratitude for my husband.

For my children.

For my parents, parents-in-law, and my sister.

For the beautiful place we call home.

For my Bible study.

For my closest girlfriends.

I've expressed my gratitude for a number of other people and things as well, all which amount to a very blessed life.

It's easy to forget all these things in the midst of a sleepless "vacation" on the day when you are supposed to be most thankful, internally feeling the pressure to be your very best mom-self in front of the surrounding family and the kids are sick and misbehaving and difficult and you mostly just want to be alone and have a complete breakdown, but you can't because it's Thanksgiving. It's possible that there are moments when you look at those around you and think "I love you so much I would walk through fire for you, but I wouldn't mind sitting at that table over there right now." But the truth is that even that very unthankful statement reminds you just how gloriously grateful you are to be where you are with the people who matter so very much to you.

While that small sentiment won't give you back the hours of sleep you've lost or wipe the snotty noses or prevent the tantrums, it will help you remember that although you may feel like the worst mom in the world, you are overjoyed that you are the mom to these two wild hooligans that you love to pieces. And even though you feel like the worst wife in the world, it will remind you that you are over the moon for this man and you would never ever want to be anyone else's wife. So it is with these small, but ever so large statements in mind, that I celebrate Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Grab A Sweeter Still Button

I'm excited to announce that you can now snag your very own Sweeter Still button (see it there on the sidebar?!?). I put this together using PicMonkey and I'm pretty darn happy with how it all turned out. 
If you feel like being fantastic today, then you can grab my button and display it wherever it is that you choose to display blog buttons :) If you do, please leave me a comment so I can be filled with gratitude and gush over you obnoxiously!

DIY Chalkboard Welcome Sign

If there's one thing I've learned from all the amazing blogs out there, it's that often you can make something more easily than you think for less money than it takes to buy it. It might take a little more time than just grabbing it off the shelf, but in the long run, you are saving money and I personally take a lot of pride in my DIY projects. I look through catalogs, magazines, blogs and of course Pinterest to find inspiration and a lot of instructions on how to do things on my own.

After Halloween, I stopped into Michael's and found this little beauty for $1.89. You can see the upside down price tag showing it was originally $8.99. It's not hideous, but I wouldn't spend nine bucks on it. But for $1.89, I saw this with a different purpose in mind.
All I did was cover it with a coat of black chalkboard paint. I did brush a second coat on a couple spots where the brighter color was still showing through, but that's it. So easy! Then I picked up some cool chalkboard pens at Michael's using a coupon and voila... a new chalkboard sign. I like that the pens make the white a little bolder and they still wipe off with a wet cloth.
I hung the sign above some family pictures on a little wall near our front door. I like that I can change up the message and I love that it cost me $6, including the small can of chalkboard paint that will be used for other future projects I'm sure.
The full wall gives a better idea of the proportions of the display. The front door is to the left of this wall and the garage door is to the right. The photos and the chalkboard sign feel like a nice welcome to our home.

Linking up to...

Becoming Martha

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Kid's Crafts Packs

My kids have been acting a little annoying restless lately. They're a little harder to entertain. They're a little more sassy. And the telltale sign... they are driving their mama CRAZY.

I think it started over fall break, when we didn't have as much to do as usual and I didn't do enough in advance to ward off the boredom. Since then, I have been flat exhausted. Our little man is waking up several times each night and I'm not sure why. It could be teething. It could be separation anxiety. Whatever it is, it's keeping me up all night every night, or at least that's how it feels.

The result is an overtired, not-so-patient mama who doesn't have a lot of tolerance for umm anything. Enter Pinterest and some awesome craft ideas for kiddos from some very crafty folks.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sweeter Still's Latest Feature

A big thank you to the fabulous ladies who host the Friday night Happy Hour link party!! Taryn at Design, Dining & Diapers, Lucy at Craftberry Bush and Jaime from Crafty Scrappy Happy are all super talented and full of inspiration. And last week they featured Sweeter Still in their post-party roundup of 10 Thanksgiving Decor Ideas!

My post-Halloween/pre-Christmas fall porch (aka Thanksgiving) setup was featured and I'm so honored! I also included a tutorial of the Ballard Designs knock-off white wooden planter that I've been using on our front stoop since summer. Check out my post and be sure to visit the Happy Hour link party tonight and join in!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankfulness Thursdays/ Week Sixteen

It's our second to last Thankfulness Thursday and next week is the big one :) Be sure to check out Ashley's post today at Domestic Fashionista! She was the one who started this weekly day of giving thanks and I think I only missed one week. It's been a great way to focus on what we have instead of what we need, want or wish.

Today I'm thankful to have the opportunity to help others, even in small ways.

We're participating in Operation Christmas Child for the first time this year. I took the kids shopping last night after an early dinner. I chose to fill a box for a girl, age 2-4 because I felt that would be the best way to help my daughter to understand the purpose of OCC. It was easy as pie for her to pick out treats for someone her age and opened her eyes, if only for a moment, to the fact that not everyone gets toys and books as freely as she does.

After a long week of debating several times whether we should pack all her toys into a giant box to help her appreciate their value and the necessity of clean-up time, it was a nice break to see her choosing toys, games and treats for someone beside herself. She didn't throw "even one single tantrum" as she proudly told her daddy, which might give you some insight into our week. I explained once at the beginning of the trip (and once in the book aisle) that this was not a shopping trip for us and that was all she needed. To drive the point home, I made sure not to pick up anything for myself or for the house so that truly all we purchased was for our OCC box.

Tonight we'll be packing up the box to deliver to the church and I hope it will be another good conversation about how blessed we are and why we help others who have less than us. I'm very thankful for how much we have and I pray that I won't take that for granted.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankfulness Thursdays/ Week Fifteen

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner (I think I write that every week haha)! As we gear up for the holiday season, it's easy to focus on all the things on our to-do list. Inspired by Ashley from Domestic Fashionista, each Thursday for the past fourteen weeks, I've shared something or someone for whom I'm thankful as a small way to remember what this season is really all about. Be sure to check out Ashley's post today and you can link up your own too!

Today I'm thankful for our country.

We have our problems to be sure. We are a flawed society full of issues. But on Tuesday, I was reminded that in spite of all the complaints about our government, our leaders, and our political system, we still have so much more than so many other countries and we shouldn't take that for granted. Each election, we take our kids with us when we vote. Even if they don't understand the process or the reasons behind it, we feel it's important for them to see voting in action.

Our daughter asked us why people were waiting in line at our polling place and it was such a great opening to introduce the concept of freedom to our young child. This year I tried to emphasize that no matter who wins or loses, the fact that we have a choice and a say in the matter is the important part. In a heated presidential race like the one that just concluded, it seems that a lot of people forget this. They are so focused on whether their guy wins that they lose a sense of what this country is about... unity. When I was watching the election coverage on Tuesday, I prayed that whoever wins would focus less on taking sides and more on working for the common good.

As we move forward from election night, let's try to be thankful that we are a country with so much freedom.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fall Porch Decor & A Little Tutorial

Halloween is over and most of the stores are jam-packed full of Christmas decor now, but I'm not quite ready to roll out the garland and ornaments quite yet. Fall decor feels more appropriate for the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Yesterday I showed off our fun Halloween set-up; I'm still patting myself on the back for coming up with the pirate ship idea :)

After Halloween, I ditched the skeleton and brought our front doorstep back to regular fall status. We had a couple smaller pumpkins leftover so I left them for now. With just a few simple and inexpensive items, we now have a lovely and welcoming front stoop.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Post Halloween

Even with a self-imposed time out this weekend, I didn't want to skip a post sharing our fun Halloween decor. I don't do much inside the house since the kids are still pretty young, but this year I took on the outdoor responsibilities. With the help of my sister who was visiting for the week, my plan worked out pretty well if I do say so myself (plus we got a lot of compliments from trick-or-treaters!)

The only sad part is that the day was so busy that we took only a few pictures so it's hard to see it all in action. But at least these give you the idea. We don't usually put up our Halloween stuff outside until the day before or the day of and usually the hubs takes charge, using a wide array of random Halloween decorations. This year with mama running the show, I decided we needed a theme!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

31 Days In Review

It's finally November and I made it through my 31 Days to a More Organized Life series. True, I only posted 26 out of 31 days but I'm calling it a win. Posting 26 times in one month feels like a big accomplishment, especially a month that turned out to be busier than expected and riddled with sickness.

I shared how I organize the drawers in our renovated kitchen and our alternative to a traditional pantry.
I offered tips on packing for your family and preparing your home before a trip and restoring order after a vacation.
I confessed my sad meal-planning skills and shared my efforts to improve here, here and here.
It's been a busy month and I'm so happy that so many people chose to follow along with the series. I do have a few more organization-focused posts planned, but I need to take a few days off this week to regroup. Check here for the full list of topics from the series!

I hope you'll continue to join me here at Sweeter Still as we move into the holidays! Be back on Monday!

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