Christmas Card Time

Christmas Tree Card Holder familybringsjoy.comI absolutely LOVE giving and receiving Christmas cards.  It was a relief to watch my youngest push the envelopes into the mail box this afternoon.  There are always so many things on our Christmas To Do lists.  It’s nice to have that crossed off my list.  I have been busy preparing our home for a Christmas party which will be held this weekend in our home.  It’s a little difficult to do when you have crews coming in and out of your house.  We decided to have the carpet taken off our stairs and master bedroom.  Wood flooring is being installed and now I’m losing brain cells as I type this.  The odor from this floor stain is toxic.  I’m hoping this smell will be a distant memory before the party.

Speaking of Christmas cards…are you one of the over 2 million people who have viewed the following video Christmas Card?  This family has taken it to the max!  Sorry, it’s the fumes making me talk as if I’m living in the 80’s again.  If you haven’t seen this family’s video Christmas card, well you must!  I’ve already watched it twice and my youngest is singing the song after she only saw half of it!

I was impressed. No wonder he’s leaving his anchor job! They are a match made in heaven…cute family!

Move over What Does The Fox Say,

One Adventurous Family

Big Blue Bus Tour from Amy Earle on Vimeo.

Oh my goodness.  THIS IS SO COOL!

Look at what my friend and her family are doing. “Our family is on an adventure! We’re spending the next six months living and traveling on an old school bus!”

I found Amy on Vimeo back in January 2012.  You can see that initial post I wrote about her and video here.   I fell in love with her family.   The above video has made me do that all over again.

Since meeting her online, I’ve had the opportunity of taking one of her photography classes online.  Not only is Amy a great photographer, but she is a great teacher as well.  I am not surprised she is offering free photography workshops…she is a sweetheart!  If you live in the west area where Amy and her family are traveling, I highly recommend you take one of her FREE photography workshops.  Go visit this amazing family and feel of their warmth and strength.  You can find out more about Amy’s Big Blue Bus Tour by clicking here.

Amy Earle"s big blue bus tour

Disclaimer: I was not paid by Amy Earle to write this post.

Happy Tuesday,

Friday’s Five Random Things From Haven

Have selfies before and after black and white familybringsjoy.comI’m back from Haven (blog) Conference.  {It’s actually been a couple of weeks.}  It’s time to share my experience.

1. I love Atlanta!

Even though I’ve been blessed to travel around the world, this was my first time to Georgia.  Their peaches are the juiciest and sweetest!  The conference was held in what is called the Buckhead area.  I walked around this area and was pleased with the cleanliness and close proximity to many great shops and restaurants.  The people there exude southern hospitality with smiles on their faces.

2. Made some awesome friends.

Remember this photo I shared on my pre-Haven post?

haven link up photo black and white

Well, 2 of these girls became some of my best friends.  And yes, they are just as beautiful in person as they are in their photos.  What matters more is how beautiful they are on the inside.  Katie and Mimi are both from Washington.  It was so much fun to visit their sites after getting to know them in person.  It’s quite different meeting a blogger before seeing their site rather than meeting a blogger after you’ve been to their site.  It’s much more personal and I am very impressed with both of them and their expertise in the field of DIY and home decor.  I might have been a little intimidated if I had been to their site before hand.  They are super sweet and down to earth.  I plan on staying in touch with them and hope to learn from these blogging pros in the future.  Make sure you visit my new friends at their sites: Katie’s is Creatively Living and Mimi’s is Blue Roof Cabin.

Right away I met Candace and we hit it off!  We stuck together like glue and enjoyed meeting Katie and Mimi at the welcome reception on Thursday.  Even though Candace is a new blogger, she has a background in communications as a reporter.  This means she is a writing pro {she won an Emmy!} and she is quickly catching onto the blogging world.  Her blog is beautifully filled with many creative ideas.  See photos below of my new friends and I.  Visit Candace’s site at Vintage News Junkie

Haven Friends2 familybringsjoy.com

3. Love meeting bloggers in person.

I was able to meet some of my favorite bloggers!

Here I am below with first Carrie from Making Lemonade and Jen from I Heart Organizing

Black and White Famous Bloggers and I familybringsjoy.com

4. Learn from the best.

The workshops were filled with valuable information.

  1. Jen (the one I’m pictured with above) did a wonderful workshop on organizing.
  2. One of the painting experts from chalk paint company Annie Sloan let us do some hands on painting.  It was a blast!
  3. Ana White , furniture DIY guru and blogger, was the opening speaker for the conference.  She’s pretty amazing.
  4. Whitney and Ashley, sisters from Shanty 2 Chic, helped me feel at home being they’re from Texas.  They taught us how to build a spice rack with power tools.
  5. Candace is using an air hammer (I think that’s what it’s called) for the first time at Shanty 2 Chic’s workshop.

Haven Workshops collage familybringsjoy.com

Here I am being silly at the cocktail party.

Haven Cocktail Selfies familybringsjoy.com

5. Bloggers who Instagram are awesome!

The bloggers who came up to me and said, “I wanted to meet you.  I follow you on Instagram.”  Bless YOU.  That totally made my day!

This post needed a little bit of colored photos too! 😉

Haven random photos collage familybringsjoy.com

Time to catch up on laundry before taking my youngest to her dentist appointment.

Color your world today my friends.  Be creative and live life with Joy!

Conferences bring joy,

Oh What Do You Do In The Summertime?

This summer has been especially busy!  I was talking to the family about my upcoming blog conference {It’s called Haven, see button on sidebar.}  My son said, “you’re going to a blog conference for a blog you don’t write on anymore.”  Hmmmmm…it looks like my boy might be visiting here more than I thought.  This was my answer, “it’s because I put my family first in the summer time.”  For once there was silence from him.

It is difficult to spend time writing and editing photos during the summer while the kids are home.  As a matter of fact, my youngest is currently pouting because I asked her to please wear her headphones while she watches a show on her iPod.  It’s difficult for this ADD mom to have noise in the background while writing.  It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about.  In fact, I have so many things I would like to write about.  Sometimes that is just as overwhelming as having nothing to write about.

One reason I haven’t had time to write is because I’m running again.  Let me tell you, this is the first summer out of all of my adult years (about 10) I’ve been running I’ve actually RUN.  I usually take the summer off from running.  If you live in the south, then you understand why.  It’s SO STINKING HOT!  Problem is, I get out of shape and gain weight over the summer.  Then it’s that much harder to start running again in the fall.  I promised myself after all the effort I’ve put into losing 10 pounds I needed to bite the bullet and run this summer.  It’s the only way I will keep my weight in check.

My son goes to a training program every morning at 6:30am.  After I drop him off, I go to our local walking/jogging track.  I will admit, I only run the first mile without stopping to walk.  The next 2 miles are a run/walk combination interspersed with water breaks.  It’s still between the 80’s and 90’s early in the morning.  My kids told me recently they thought I had lost weight since the beginning of the summer.  I was surprised they noticed and said so.

friendship brings joy familybringsjoy.comSo in between taking the kids to their various camps, conferences and our vacation…I made a new friend this summer.  She and her family moved here from a major city in the west.  I’ve been trying to keep her from going stir crazy in this small little town of ours.  She’s been going through Target withdrawals.  {been there. done that.}  I remember her calling me and asking me if there was a craft store here.  Oh how I wish!  I shared with her how I buy my crafting supplies.  We have spent a lot of fun time together already.  I realized while putting this little collage together of iPhone photos, we have done a LOT of swimming together. {which is why I’m always in my swim suit in the photos.}  She brings her littles over to swim in our pool.  The first time they came over her 2 boys wouldn’t even get in the pool.  They played around the pool.  The second time they came over they stood on the steps of the pool.  Now, with their swim vests securely fastened, they swim around and do great!  It’s been wonderful to see their progress and the huge grins on their faces.  Fortunately, her sweet baby girl adores the water.  I’m pretty sure she will be swimming in no time!  I enjoy seeing my kids take her little ones under their wing and act as big sisters and brothers to them.  We have enjoyed having friends in our home again.  It’s been such a long time since we’ve had close friends.  If you’ve read my blog for a while, you might have seen me whine about not having good friends here.  So if you were one of my readers who has been praying for me, you’re prayers have been answered.  And I thank you so much for doing so.  Friends definitely bring JOY and make life happier.

One of the things I love about K is her infectious positive attitude.  She always has a smile on her face and is very complimentary.  And she does this despite the lack of sleep she receives from having a baby who isn’t sleeping through the night yet.  We share a lot of things in common.  We have fun talking about Instagram, crafts, blogging {she has a private blog}, mom stuff, books and our faith.  K likes to take photos as much as I do! 😉  I also want to tell her husband HAPPY BIRTHDAY today!

Summer is coming to a close.  Only 3 more weeks until school begins here.  7 more weeks until I take my oldest to college.  I leave to go to Atlanta for Haven Conference in a week!  Look for an introduction post to the lovely home bloggers who will be attending this conference in the next day or 2.  I can’t wait to get back to blogging on a more regular basis when the kids are back in school.  Next month I will celebrate Family Brings Joy’s 5 year anniversary!  I’m planning on some fun stuff to offer and share with you.

I truly hope your family’s summer has been filled with special times together.  Feel free to share what y’all have been doing on here in the comments section.  I love to hear what families are doing.  Thanks so much for reading Family Brings Joy.  YOU are AWESOME! :)

Oh and sweet C…thank you for motivating me to sit down and write another post.  It is a HUGE compliment for you to tell me you read my blog.  Love you.

Friends bring joy,

Remembering Christ This Christmas By Lighting ‘Em Up!

Tuesday our church’s women’s group had a Christmas party.  One of the women {who comes from a talented family of poets} read aloud a beautiful, heartfelt poem she wrote.  We were all extremely touched by this poem.  I received permission from her to share this with you.

A Birthday Wish

It’s my birthday party
Another year has passed.
The celebration grows each year
Yet I’m thought of less and less.

Just like you, I look forward
In an eager way,
To many birthday greetings
On my special day.

I do not ask for much
Wrapping paper, there’s no need.
All I want for my birthday, is
Please remember me.

I don’t need a cake
With adornments on a table,
Acceptance is what’s wanted
From the babe born in a stable.

No special song required
For me to have a smile.
Just acknowledge my existence
And talk with me awhile.

The decorations are breath taking
The lights, the star, the tree.
While merry you are making…
Please remember me.

I love the beauty of the carols
Of this special season
But “Silent Night” is my favorite.
Do you know the reason?

It’s not the shopping and the spending
It’s the kindness and charity,
That should be taught within your home
And to your family.

Gaye Willard {click on photo to go to artist’s site}

The white beard, the red coat,
Around the world in a blink.
MY beard is white, MY robe is red,
Perhaps there is a link?

Yes…St. Nick is my servant
A faithful one, is he
Symbolizing all that’s good
But please remember me.

It may be my birthday
But I gave the gift to you,
Eternal life through my sacrifice
When your earthly life is through.

Yes, it is my birthday
And I hope your gift will be
The only birthday wish I make:
Please remember me.

Written by Dana L. Dugan
Dec. 8, 2011

Isn’t this poem phenomenal?

I highlighted a stanza because I’ve been working on this in our family.  Have you heard of Booing?  Booing is a sweet service activity we have done as a family in October for Halloween {you can see what we did by clicking here.}  We put together little baskets of goodies and secretly left them on doorsteps of friends.

One Mom has taken this Booing idea to the month of December for Christmas and calls it Light ‘Em Up!  Families Light Up The Community With Kindness.  Courtney from Lil Light O’ Mine started this last year with her family and shared it on her blog.  Fortunately, many others, like me, were blown away with the idea of teaching our kids kindness and charity in a fun way during the Christmas season.  Courtney is very organized and has 100 ideas on what families can do, check lists and labels {all FREE} to help your family Light ‘Em Up!

Monday night we read over the ideas and did our first Light ‘Em Up.  It was simple…Christmas container with Christmas shaped sugar cookies we made.  I printed out the very cute labels and we were ready to share some Christmas JOY with someone.  My goal is for our family to do this at least once a week, but I plan on putting the big candy canes with the labels wrapped around them in my purse.  This way the kids can hand them out to whomever they feel inclined to surprise wherever we are.

I hope by doing these random acts of kindness our kids will catch the vision of service.  It really is the best gift we can give our Savior besides remembering Him.  We are His hands.

The Christ{mas} spirit is contagious,

Its A Craft Weekend Extradonaire Including A Canvas Wrap Giveaway!

Hey there!

You’re just in time to go on a trip with me.

This isn’t any ordinary trip.  This is a trip to Whatever Craft Weekend in Newton, Kansas.  A fun filled weekend filled with crafting, friending, antiquing and eating for us big girls.

1.) With my audiobook, music, suitcase and a full tank of gas…I was ready to go!  GPS and I had a few go arounds, it wanted to take the scenic route while I wanted to stay on the highway.  Grrrr…but I won. 😉

2.) I was greeted by the above big beautiful front porch.  And look at my bed all cutesy with a gift by my pillow.  The spoiling has begun!  I shared a room with 3 other sweet girls.

3.) The following collage is a small glimpse of the inside of Meg’s Craft House.  For me it was like walking into a live dollhouse for us grown women.  Meg has it decorated spectacularly with every detail special and filled with all the things crafters love.  The formal living room and dining room was converted to the main craft area of the house.  This room has several tables: one section of tables for crafting, one section of tables with sewing machines and one section of tables for cutting fabric with mats & rotary cutters galore.

4.) My favorite components of her decor are COLOR, lots of art with quotes, lots of globes & maps and last but not least lots of bunting/banners.  It is very homey feeling.

5.) Below is a collage of all of us girls having a blast…

6.) Do you see the photo right above this which shows all of the magazines?  Those cubbies contain SWAG {stuff we all get…free} for each of us.  Thank you to all of the generous companies for your gifts.  Yes, the next photo has a big time video camera in it.  Lauren, aka my roomie, was being interviewed.  Other girls were interviewed as well by a Wichita news station.  They are doing a news story on Meg & Kimberlee…the 2 genius master minds of Whatever Craft Weekend.  I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

7.) Friday night we made adorable aprons which you will see in photos towards the end of this post.  I sewed…and sewed and sewed…not my favorite thing but I persevered and have a colorful apron to show for it.  On a downer note my eye turned blood red Friday night before retiring to bed. {Hence me having to wear my glasses the rest of the trip.  I normally wear contacts}

8.) Saturday morning we loaded Meg’s gigantic van and drove to an antique store and barn.  Side note: WINDIEST DAY EVER!

9.)  At the antique store I found a globe!  I’ve been looking for one and new ones are priced more than what I want to spend.  I also bought a huge whisk and some antique yard sticks.  I have a craft in mind for the yard sticks.  Total spent was around $30.  I also walked down the street to a thrift store.  This is where I got the best deals {which is what I LOVE…if I’m going to buy something used, it better be a good deal ;).}  I found several small shelves under a $1 that I plan to revive with spray paint.  I also found a small hard suitcase {$1} that I will use as a photo prop.  When not in use it will be helpful in storing craft supplies.  The last few items I got there were a small cork board, a canvas print {that I plan on painting over,} and a small shutter {YIPEE, been looking for those!}  Total spent was $7.  Our last stop was at a huge barn {technically 2 shown above} filled from top to bottom and many items outside.  I scored an old window frame, wire basket, large shutter and a type set drawer!  All of these things I have been looking for and only cost me $46!  I’ll have to show photos of these finds in a future post because I need a break from editing photos.  I took almost 300 photos during this trip.

10.) It was time for a stop at SONIC before heading back to the craft house.  You should have seen the LONG list of things Meg ordered for us.  2 of the girls had never been to Sonic before.  Bless their souls…us Southern gals love Sonic.

11.) Above is a small sampling of the phenomenal food made for us by ‘chef’ Kimberlee.  The second photo showing the pumpkins was the very cute centerpiece on the table.  The food was so delicious.  Talk about spoiling…Meg & Kim made us promise NOT to clear our place from the table.  We would be scolded if we cleared our place.  I almost did it a few times. lol!

12.) Here’s the deal…4 crafts were taught on Saturday night.  I only did 2.  Sometimes it takes a while to get those creative juices flowing.  I made the flower you see on my apron and decorated the JOY letters.  Cutting out the t-shirt fabric for the flower took a long time.  And while hot gluing the letters with sweater material sounds super easy, well it took longer than I would have liked.  It was kind of like putting together a puzzle.  I wanted it to be white because I like to decorate with white.  In addition, I could have it up year round.  The embellishments I made are removable {tied on, not glued} in case I want to have the letters plain or add different color in the future besides the blue & yellow.

13.) Sunday morning we ate a grand breakfast, packed up our things and had a fun photo shoot.  Below you will see me with Kimberlee {on the left} and Meg {on the right}…  both beautiful women inside and out making a difference in women’s lives.  Tickled pink I could meet and spend time with them.  You can read more about this weekend and see her photos on Meg’s blog here.

With all this creative excitement going on I am thrilled to host a GIVEAWAY courtesy of Printcopia.

One lucky random reader will receive a FREE 8×10 CANVAS from Printcopia.  Time to look through those digital photos and pick out one you want to feature on your wall…canvas style!  The nice people at Printcopia contacted me about doing a review and giveaway.  First check out my Printcopia 8×10 canvas:

I am very happy to report a pleasant experience with ordering this bad boy above.  Printcopia’s website is very user friendly and I was shocked at how quickly I was able to upload my photo and check out.  Time is money!

I chose a photo I took of the kiddos this summer on the beach at Puerto Rico.  Love the JOY shown on their faces while at my favorite place on earth…the beach!  I found a perfect place for my canvas.  I placed it on top of a couple of blocks in the middle of this ledge in our playroom.  This ledge is hanging above our television.  On the right of the canvas is a print I got for my 40th Birthday from our Disney Cruise.  On the left of the canvas is a cork board I covered with old jeans and my kids photo pins.

Below shows the shelf at an angle.

Here’s a close up of the canvas:

I am extremely satisfied with the quality of this canvas wrap.  As a matter of fact, I’m taking advantage of their Veteran’s Day promotion today.  It’s the last day.  You can order a 11×14 canvas for only $28 with FREE SHIPPING!  Talk about an AMAZING DEAL!  They would make great Christmas gifts too!  Time for me to print out some of our Blue Lily photographs.

Printcopia offers framed prints, acrylic framed prints, panoramic prints and regular photo printing.

Thank you Printcopia for this wonderful opportunity for my readers.

How to enter the giveaway:

  • Simple and easy…leave me a comment in regards to something about this post.  That’s all!
  • Increase your chances to win by liking Family Brings Joy’s Facebook page, following Family Brings Joy on Twitter, liking Printcopia’s Facebook page, following Printcopia’s Twitter and tweeting this giveaway. {These are all OPTIONAL, not mandatory.}
  • Printcopia only ships to continental U.S.  Sorry my overseas friends.

Rafflecopter makes it easy to do all of the above.  It is safe and secure.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apology: I was planning on adding all of my new craft friends’ blogs to this post, but I have run out of time.  This post was very time consuming {but hopefully worth it.}  I promise to have those in a future post.  Maybe even a blog hop if I can get it together.

Headed to visit my Mom for our Breaking Dawn Part 2 celebration.  We’ll be seeing the movie on Saturday…so excited!!!  Time to get out of my pj’s…lol.  One last thing, I found out today that my oldest Daughter was nominated to be Band Queen.  3 other lovely girls will compete for the title.  Pleased as punch for her.  Looks like we’ll be going dress shopping!

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE!

Be CREATIVE,