Camera/Photo/Photobooth Themed Birthday Party

The camera banner {above} and the number 17 {below} were both made using old copies of Digital Photo magazine.

For the banner:

  • Cut the magazine pages into triangles
  • Sponged on some beige paint
  • Inked up some bubble wrap and stamped it with hot pink
  • Used a camera stamp with the same hot pink ink
  • Hot glued a pink curling ribbon to the top

For the numbers:

  • tore the magazine pages into strips
  • decorated the pages the same as the banner
  • Mod Podged/decoupaged the strips onto the cardboard 1 & 7 {bought at Hobby Lobby}
  • Added another coat of Mod Podge {matte finish} to the outside to seal

This wreath did not turn out as well as I would have liked.  But this is how I made it:

  1. I bought some foam core board at the dollar store
  2. Using a craft knife I cut out the wreath
  3. I used a small plate and a large plate as my circle templates
  4. I wrapped the wreath with some yarn
  5. Printed out these adorable cameras from Designer Clip Art onto scrapbook paper
  6. Punched out circles from the paper & adhered them to the circle part of the camera with pop out adhesive
  7. Hot glued the cameras onto the wreath
  8. Added some flower embellishments
  9. Tied some tulle to the top of the wreath to make the bow/flower
  10. Hot glued a chipboard letter onto the bottom with one strand of yarn

We printed out the mustaches from Design House Digital & The Project Girl’s Disguise Kit.  Taped the mustaches onto skewers.

Party favors were these cute little cameras.  When you look inside, you see animals as you click.  We also bought small albums ($1 ea.) to give {that is the glitter book you see to the left of the jar.}

I have to give a HUGE shout out to the ladies at Paper Heart Camera.  They gave the BEST tutorial on how to make this photo booth back drop using pipe.  I decided to do this on the day of the party {Friday} and whipped it out that afternoon.  It is super EASY to make…even sawed the pipe myself.  Used some curtains I bought for super cheap at Potter Barn Outlet several years ago.  The only thing I did different was made mine 10 feet tall instead of 7 feet.  Well, the wind blew it down, so we took the top 5′ section off and used the bottom 5′ section only.

We bought the stick on mustaches at Hobby Lobby, but the girls mainly used the ones we printed out and put on sticks.

I wish I could say I made the cake, but I did not.  My friend who is a professional cake baker made this one {she has made several of the cakes I’ve featured on here.}


We had so much fun.  I tried not to think about this probably being her last friend birthday party we’ll ever have at our house. :(

It’s been a long day of photo editing.  If I forgot something, feel free to ask a question.  I have a feeling I forgot to explain something.  Going out to dinner with the family now since today is my Daughter’s actual Birthday.

Happy 17th Birthday to our first born,

A Mom Makes A Home

I’m continuing my list of one thousand gifts…not of gifts I want, but gifts I have.

I am writing them down, one to one thousand.

22. Grateful my internet was repaired!

23. New music!  Loving the group Tanlines.  Listening to their album Mixed Emotions right now.  I heart their All Of Me song…great beat and makes me feel happy.

24. Time spent with my Mom & oldest Daughter on Saturday.

25. The beautiful handmade quilted bed runner my Mom gave me as an early {3 weeks} Birthday gift.

26. Time doing crafty stuff in my craft room. It’s been neglected lately and craft therapy is wonderful.  The creative side of me was having withdrawals.

27. Kids back in school brings some much needed uninterrupted time for me.  Let’s face it, who likes to listen to their kids quarrel all the time? Not me!

{good thing they’re so cute! ;)}

28. Opportunity to learn & grow spiritually by giving a talk and teaching a lesson at church yesterday.  With that being said, glad it is over…double duty is exhausting. 😉

29. Youngest saw this new art plaque I bought and said out loud, “This is true.”  The little things like this make my heart melt.

Check out that awesome price!

30. When my husband calls me beautiful.

31. Having far away friends come for a weekend visit.

32. Listened to another awesome fantasy book: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead.  It’s part of the Bloodlines series.  Just finished it & can’t wait for the next one!

Joining:

 

 

 

 

Gifts Bring Joy,

The Healing Powers of Hope

Why do we have books?

We have books to learn, right?

It definitely depends on the book.

My Story

Scriptures aside, for many years the only books I ever cracked open were nonfiction books.  Still, the category of nonfiction is broad and can include many different types of books.  The books I used to read on a regular basis were considered Self Help.  For the first 14 years of my married life I immersed myself in reading about Organizing, Family, Parenting, Marriage, Home Improvement, etc.  However, included in the nonfiction category are also books that present facts about subjects, like real people, places, and events. Biographies, autobiographies, newspaper and magazine articles, personal and persuasive essays, histories, and textbooks are considered nonfiction writing.

source

It was in 2008 where I had my first taste of fiction books.  I realized how these books offered me a way of ‘escaping’ my reality for a short time.  Up until that time, I used television and movies to facilitate my ‘escape.’  So for the last 4 years {again Scriptures aside} I have read 110 books.  Out of the 110 only 4 were nonfiction.  You might say I have made up for lost time, huh?  Let me remind you, several were read by way of audio book format. {You can read more about how I do that here.}  Audio books have made even the most menacing tasks tolerable and sometimes actually enjoyable.

Enough with the history…

Her Story

Instagram photo I took

I shared with you last month how I ordered Stephanie Nielson’s book Heaven Is Here I received this book on June 28th.  I began reading the book on July 24th.  You see, even though Stephanie is my hero…even though I wanted to find out more about what happened in her tragic accident…this book, her book, is a true account of her life.  There would be no escaping reality by reading her book.  Sure, it’s not my reality, yet it is of someone I highly admire and look up to.

I feel it important to relay to you I have never met Stephanie Nielson.  I did not read her blog NieNie Dialogues before her tragic plane crash. {note: she had 200,000 faithful & devoted readers before the accident}  I was introduced to Stephanie and her family when the news hit about her and Christian’s {Stephanie’s husband} accident.  A good friend of mine {thank you Emily} told me about what happened. {I’m not a news watcher.}  My friend thought I might be interested because Stephanie is a blogger and a member of our Church {not our local congregation.}  Not only that, her blog readers were instrumental in saying prayers and raising money to help the Nielsons.

Since the Nielson’s accident I have read her blog, watched her videos and listened to a radio show {interview with Stephanie & Christian} about what happened.  I really don’t want to sound like a broken record and go on and on about how inspiring she has been for me.  The point I’m trying to make here is this 1) Nonfiction hasn’t been my thing lately 2) I knew it would be difficult to read the details of someone I admire share her experience of being burned over 80% of her body.  Thus the reason it took me a while to actually open the book and begin reading.

Once I began reading I thought to myself, “Shan, why did you wait?”  It shouldn’t have surprised me how easy it is to read Stephanie’s story.  There is a reason she has 5 & a half million visitors a day {mentioned in their interview recorded a couple of years after the accident.}  She is a good writer.

The first section of her book/memoir is called Part One and is 11 chapters.  These chapters are about Stephanie’s life before the accident.  More importantly, the strong bonds of the family she came from and the one she has created with Christian.  As I read Part One I learned more about her personality.  There were many instances where I saw, in a way, a younger version of myself.  She talked about how she had short hair and didn’t care if boys don’t like her because her hair was short.  She wanted them to like her for who she is on the inside, not just on the outside.  Plus, like me, she is a hopeless romantic.  This was a surprise.  Just as reading about her and Christian’s courtship was a pleasant surprise in the book.  Their love story is like a fairy tale.  And it definitely does not end after they are married.  They are very much deeply in love, even today.

It was chapters 7-11 that affected me in a way I never saw coming.  These chapters are the Nielson’s happily ever after.  It is the story of how their family came to be.  It is stunningly beautiful.  Their family life is also like a fairy tale to me.

My Story

Source

In walked the comparison monster. {insert creepy music}  I began to compare my family life now, the one my husband & I have created together to the Nielson’s family life.

I know.  I know.  Comparison is not good.  Besides, a wise person once said, “Never compare someone’s middle with your beginning.”  In this case it would be the opposite.  Never compare someone’s beginning with your middle.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am extremely happy for the Nielsons.  I’m not jealous.  I just wish our family now is a fairy tale family like theirs.

“What?!” you might exclaim.  “The name of your blog is Family Brings Joy.  Doesn’t this mean your family is perfect and happy all the time?”

I wish I could say a resounding “YES!” to that question, but I can’t.  Life doesn’t work that way.

Right now our family dynamic is somewhat tumultuous:

Much Younger Me

I have always dreamed and fantasized of what it would be like when I had my own teenaged Daughter.  It was going to be awesome.  We would have so much fun together all the time.  We would be close.

I hate it when people would tell me how awful it is raising teenagers.  {Especially when my kids were colic babies}  I was determined to prove them wrong.  How could they be so negative?  Don’t they know we young parents don’t want to hear things are going to get bad with our kids.  We don’t want to hear about how they will want to ‘break away’ from the family to express their individuality and all that nonsense.  When we are in the thick of things, we want hope for the future.  Because each stage of our parenthood has a degree of difficulty.  We weren’t given a manual when they were born.  We learn as we go.  Most of the time we do what was modeled in our own families as we were growing up.  Anyway, turns out raising a teenaged Daughter hasn’t resulted in the way I dreamed it would.  And honestly, people telling me that her behavior is normal {hate that word} or not out of the ordinary does not help how I feel.

Raising a Son has been like learning a foreign language.  He’s almost 14 and very smart.  It amazes me all the trivia he has stored in his mind.  However, he lacks optimism and zeal for life.  I’m trying to put a positive spin on him being obstinate, oppositional and defiant.  He gives me the most gray hairs and knots in my muscles.

My youngest Daughter {9} works diligently at trying to make me happy.  Bless her heart.  Because of the older two, I accept her willingness to obey and her cheerful optimism about life.  I do it gladly and somewhat greedily knowing there might come a day that it will end {I still hope not.}  Her smiles and love notes are some times the only things that get me through the day.

My husband has a very demanding career where he puts in a lot of hours.  In addition, he puts in a lot of hours serving as Bishop of our local Church congregation.  One of his hobbies is running.  He currently is training for his 3rd marathon.  Are you seeing where 1+1+1= very little time with the family & I?

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Now put all these people together, including me with all my imperfectness, in the same room.  It is not your fairy tale family.  There is a lot of arguing among the siblings.  The volume of the voices are at a level I do not like.  It does not matter what I do, it doesn’t seem to help.  As parents, my husband & I get emotionally drained refereeing.  I’ve worked diligently at teaching my children values.  I’m not sure you would believe that if you were around them very long.  I’m too tired to share all the ways we have tried to make a change.  Just trust me, there are MANY.

I started thinking, “surely there has been a time in our family where we were happy.”  Sure enough there is and it was when my kids were younger.  I remember my Son running to me, giving me a tight squeeze in the middle of the day and saying, “I love you, Mommy.”  I remember giggles and play-dates with friends.  I remember fun family reunions and vacations.

But, I wish we could still be happy while the kids are older.  Isn’t it possible?

Then comes the light bulb moment…more like a reminder.  We all have trials.  Every family has trials.  Every person has trials.  They are all different.

 

Her Story

Let’s go back to Stephanie.  I have not finished reading her book.  I’m at chapter 18 now.  It is Part Two where she explains what happened in the plane crash and horrendous aftermath.

I wrote the following on my personal Facebook page on July 26th:

I’m stopped at Chapter 15 for tonight. I can’t read anymore. It’s so heart wrenching. I hope I’ll be able to fall asleep after crying. I’m so grateful to know Stephanie’s progress since their accident. Oh my goodness what she went through…

Stephanie’s honesty about her days upon waking from her medical induced coma is difficult for me to read.  It makes me incredibly sad.  My heart feels for her.  This trial she endured {and continues to endure} is something I can not comprehend.  It is difficult to read her words without crying and sometimes sobbing.  This is why I can only read a little at a time right now.

My Story

Look at what I learned about myself while reading only half of this book?

Is it possible that my unhappy family right now, this huge trial for me {I know this might seem like a big stretch} could be likened to the Nielson’s tragic accident?  I mean no offense to anyone, especially not to the Nielsons.  I have not suffered the same physical agonizing pain as they have from being burned on 40-80% of my body.  I definitely don’t want to belittle what they have gone through.  {Don’t worry, I’m not asking for monetary support of any kind. Prayers are always helpful, though.} On the other hand, I have deep emotional ‘burns.’  I believe our Family can be together forever, beyond this life.  Family is very important to me. {Hopefully that is evident in this blog.}  It is agony to not feel unified in our family.  {Stephanie & Christian’s families played a crucial role in their recovery.}  Many times, being the Mother, I feel it is my fault.  This starts the cruel shame wheel that plays, “You’re a failure.” on repeat.  I then go over and over in my mind what I could have done to prevent this.  It’s sometimes easier to think it’s something I have done, so I can feel I have control and be able to make a positive change.  I can control me, not them.  Maybe I’ve been escaping too much to my fiction books and need to dust off those nonfiction ones again?

So is there hope?

Source

Conclusion

Heaven Is Here‘s sub title is: An incredible story of hope, triumph, and everyday joy It is completely that.  Even though I haven’t finished her book yet, I know how this story in Stephanie’s chapter of life ‘ends.’  She is alive and well.  She just had their 5th child!  She is as beautiful as ever.  She is an inspiration…one of the most positive people I know.  Every time I see a photo she posts on Instagram I am grinning ear to ear for her.  If Stephanie can overcome being burned on 80% of her body.  I can overcome this trial in my life.  She gives me HOPE.

Last but not least, I HOPE after baring this burden, you will not give up on visiting this humble abode of a blog.  This is real life…I believe in families…I still believe families can bring Joy.

Disclaimer:  Once again, I have not been paid by anyone, including the Nielsons, to write this post.

Hope is powerful,

Anniversary Gifts Made With Love

Who remembers the post entitled, “Love The One Your With?”

It was my 18th Wedding Anniversary post where I unveiled my master plan of showering my husband with gifts on every hour {from 9:18 AM – 4:18PM.}  I believe it was a huge success!  {Click on the title above to see more.}

Here he is with all the gifts before he opens his first one at 9:18 AM.

I used a small border stamp and wrote the time on the inside of each gift.

Above he is holding the 10:18 AM gift.

Remember, all of the gifts I gave him were homemade in some fashion except one.  Pinterest was my friend.  I found this idea in my Creative Ideas board.  It’s one of the first pins I pinned.  Framed here is everyone’s birthday in our family except the one in the middle {in white} is our anniversary date.  I planned to make one on my computer along with some of the other gifts I made.  Fortunately, the talented Andrea at A. Steed’s.Life has a list generator/form which made this project super easy {Thank you Andrea!}  I think I paid about $9 for the downloaded graphic.  After a day of making gifts, it was worth every penny to not have to make it from scratch.  I had the frames already. {which I had bought previously at Hobby Lobby}  It was as simple as download and print…voila!

You might remember why I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on these gifts…I mentioned a trip.  It’s been 7 years since we have been on a trip WITHOUT our kids.  Our anniversary gift to each other was an all-inclusive beach vacation.  Thanks to 2 of the 3 kids having camps this week and my Mom & Step Dad are watching the third…we are on that trip right now! {Believe it or not I scheduled this week’s posts before I left.}

So in celebration of our anniversary trip, I thought I would share some of the gifts I made DH for our anniversary.  I’ll make it a ‘series’ and title it Anniversary Gifts Made With Love.

Day 2: Couples Poster

Day 3: Framed With Love

Day 4: Music For Your Love

Day 5: Last 3 Gifts

Love the one your with,

Inspiration for Moms

I am an avid user of Instagram.  I love connecting with people through photographs.

Yesterday, I ran across one of Stephanie Nielson’s Instagram photos.  {If you don’t know who she is watch the video below.}

Anyway, I noticed some of the comments written under her photo.  Many people were referring to her blog post on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.  I made a mental note to go check out her post later.  This morning I woke up thinking about her and reading that post.  Now, after doing a load of laundry, doing a wii dance workout with my youngest, showering, having lunch and making my bed…I was in the middle of making my bed when I was reminded of visiting her site to see what happened.

With tears streaming down my face I share with you this video.  Stephanie is my hero.


I just ordered Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy and look forward to the spiritual strength Stephanie exudes.

Disclaimer: I am sharing this because Stephanie inspires me, not because she or anyone paid me to write this.  Just to make that clear. 😉

Find every day JOY,

Confessions of an Organizationally Challenged Blogger

I’m BACK!  Vacation was filled with lazy days and adventurous days.  I look forward to sharing more about that with you soon.

Where to begin…

I’ve spent the morning playing catch up to emails and trying to organize my posts for the week.

I printed this beautiful blog planner page via the talented Three Little Monkeys Studio.

Source: threelittlemonkeysstudio.com via Shan@ on Pinterest

Here’s what mine looks like:

Yep, nothing written on it yet.

I decided I needed to write down post ideas on a blank sheet of paper first before adding them to this pretty paper.

Done.  Now I have a huge list of post content ideas based on what we’ve been doing and photos I’ve taken.  So why haven’t I transferred them to the planner page?  Why does it make my brain hurt to choose.  It’s not a difficult task, yet I feel like it is.

You see, normally I decide what I’m going to write about either the day before or the same day I publish a post.  It’s not always productive, but it’s how I roll {there are RARE occasions I plan ahead, not many.}  This is why you didn’t see any posts last week while we were on vacation.  This is why my posts have decreased since my kids have been home from school for summer vacation.

Maybe it’s just difficult transitioning from vacation mode?  Maybe it’s because of my ADD {most definitely!}  Maybe it’s because my left heel is hurting again and I’m icing it off and on {this makes me feel like an old hag}?  Maybe it’s because every where I look there is clutter and I can’t think.  I don’t know…sigh.

ENOUGH Shan! {sorry!}

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE…yes, I do have positive karma happening here on this little blog that could {You know like The Little Engine That Could, hope you get that one ;)}  Anyway, a certain post {AKA Family Laundry Room} has been receiving a lot of attention lately thanks to Pinterest.  I’m as pleased as punch!  {Ok, who came up with that saying?}  In other words, I’m tickled pink! {that one too? lol}  Thank you my fellow Pinterest lovers for sharing this space. HUGS!

It’s funny…I published the Family Laundry Room post back in October and had 4 comments about it.  Remember, comments can be like money for a blogger.  I don’t know about every blogger, but for me, I sometimes take the amount of comments I receive as a reflection of what people think of the post or in this case the space.  Not sure I should have typed that.  I have a funny feeling I might receive some strong feedback from people about it.  Let me say this…no matter how many {encouraging & uplifting} comments I receive, what matters is 1. I documented a special room in my house 2. I completed a project 3. I like the space 4. It Might help inspire others.

 BACK TO THE GOOD NEWS

a well known blog I absolutely ADORE and frequent is featuring Family Brings Joy’s Family Laundry Room

tomorrow, June 19, 2012 on her site!

{squeal!}

I spent time answering questions for her this morning.

I am speaking of the organization extraordinaire Jennifer at I Heart Organizing!

IHeart Organizing

Welcome to my new readers who found me via Pinterest.  Welcome to all new readers via whatever way you happened upon this site.  Make sure you join us on Family Brings Joy’s Facebook page.  More importantly, THANK YOU to my tried and true readers/friends who visit me on a regular basis.  Thank you for your support no matter how I go about blogging and who don’t stop visiting when I go on vacation. 😉  YOU’RE THE BEST!

Blogging Brings Me Joy,