Large Wood Heart for My Front Door

Last week I looked at our undecorated entry way and thought to myself, “I need a heart.”

No, I’m not quoting from the Tin Man (Wizard of Oz)…lol 😉

I envisioned in my mind a simple big rustic wooden heart to go on my front door for Valentine’s Day.

Normally, when I get something in my head like this, the first thing I do is go searching online for it.  Invariably, every time I spend way too much time looking for ‘it’ and never find it.  So instead, I decided to make one!
2 Beginnings of Wood Heart

4. I painted and added a little of Annie Sloan’s Dark (Brown) wax to give dimension and have a subtle rustic look to it.

keys to add texture

To add to the rustic look I took keys and banged them on the painted heart.

I decided to sand the heart again after I got my frustrations out by throwing the keys over & over on the heart.  I wanted a little of the original light wood to show through around the edges.  I ran into a slight hiccup when I decided to sand over the top of the heart as well.  I explained and showed on the following videos {very amateur videos} what happened and how I was to remedy the problem without repainting it all over again:


Next part of making wood heart

Final Wood Heart on door

My Son says it’s “tacky.”  What do you think?

I heart Valentine’s Day,

I’m Joining this Movement

This is wonderful…

As I watched the above, it reminded me of the following phenomenal video…

Source: via Shan@ on Pinterest

Important pondering,

A JOYful Christmas Mantel

I hope everyone had a safe and lovely Christmas!Christmas Mantel 1

One of my favorite sayings is “Better late than never.”

Christmas time requires more than what we normally do on a day to day basis.  I apologize for not being able to post these photos before Christmas.

Welcome to our home for Christmas 2012…

Christmas Stockings

I got a wild hair and decided to make some new Christmas stockings this year.  I almost bought some burlap stockings but decided denim was more me.

I couldn’t find any online I liked so why not make them?

Kid's Christmas Stockings familybringsjoy

I took my pattern off our old stockings on size.  I figured out how to do a cuff based on the old ones as well, but decided to make them all different.  The red gingham ones are the boys.  The white cuffed ones are the girls.  It took me longer to blanket stitch the loop hangers than it did for me to make all 5 stockings.  I still think it was worth it, though. 😉  I bought the letters/ornaments at Pottery Barn to place on the kid’s packages.  I decided they looked cute on the stockings and wished I would have bought one for me and the mr.  {Thus the 2 stockings without initials on them}

Nativity 2

I was so excited to find this unique nativity at a holiday bazaar I went to with my Mom.  It’s made out of metal and came with the pretty background.  You can find one of these at


I channeled a little creativity by covering up some Styrofoam trees {below}.  I used denim scraps left over from making the stockings to ruffle around one of the trees.  It was as simple as using pins and hot glue.  I covered the large tree by wrapping it with red yarn.  The smallest tree was decorated by using kraft wrapping paper.  I used my circle punch and pinned the circles on the tree.


The wreath below was also purchased at the Ever Thine Home booth I spoke of earlier.  I love how the leaves are made out of hymns.

JOY with wreath

The JOY letters are the ones I decorated with sweater material at Whatever Craft Weekend.  I changed the embellishments to be more Christmas like.  Thanks to A Cottage Life I used her mini bunting she gave as swag for Whatever Craft Weekend on the O.  On the J I used the same red yarn I used to wrap around the tree and a couple of cute pins JCPenney’s was handing out this year for the Y.  I saved the old window frame I bought at the barn while at Whatever Craft Weekend just for this Christmas mantel.

JOY letters

At the last minute I decided to make the lighted garland.  I added red and white tulle to a battery operated led light strand…just tied them on.  I tied a few snowflake ornaments {12 for $1 at Dollar Tree} to complete the look.

Christmas Mantel 3

Christmas Mantel 4

So glad you stopped by! 🙂

Let there be JOY,

Writing From My Heart

writing from the heart familybringsjoy.comThis morning I woke early to help my oldest finish gifts for her friends.  She wanted to make them Oreo balls.  We stayed up late last night dipping them in chocolate.  We bought cute little Christmas tree jars to put the Oreo balls in.  It was my privilege to place them into the jars this morning after they hardened overnight in the fridge.  They turned out beautifully.  Carefully, I placed the 8 jars in a bag filled with shredded paper to cushion and protect them.

It was time for my Daughter to leave for early morning seminary, which is a 50 minute scripture class she goes to at 6:45 AM Monday through Friday before school.  We loaded her trunk with the goodies and she was off.  I trod back into the house to find the goodie box I filled for her photography class.  She was asked to bring some goodies for the Christmas ‘party’ they were having today at her special photography course she takes at the local vocational technical school in the afternoons.  We made a double batch of the Oreo balls so half went into the jars and the other half was for her class.  I also noticed she left her lunch.  Fortunately, her seminary class meets in a home nearby, so I pulled on my jacket and took them to her.  Yes, I was still in my PJ’s, but there was no time to change. 😉

I’m back at the house and now it’s time to get my youngest Daughter up and ready for school.  While she’s dressing I finish placing the last minute touches to her teacher’s gifts.  After packing those up, wonderful Hubby {Thank you!} takes our 2 youngest kids to school.

So here I am still in my PJ’s sipping on my protein shake while I type up this post.

Before I prayed this morning I was mentally tallying all the things that need to be done.  It was yesterday I realized we only had a week before Christmas.  Ya see, I’m not a calendar kind of person, never have been.  I like to take things day by day.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a calendar and I write my appointments on it.  But unless I write a check {I don’t do that very often,} I don’t really know what the date is.  I know what day it is, like I know today is Wednesday, but I have to look at the calendar to see it’s the 19th.  I’m a domestic servant, goddess, diva engineer, why do I need to know the date?  I’m certain it has more to do with my ADD than anything else.  Anyway, like usual, I don’t have everything done I wanted to have done by now.  This prompts the overwhelming monster and I begin to feel my shoulders hardening and rising to my ears.  I begin to start the shame wheel and nothing good comes by doing that.  So I took a deep breath and began to pray…

As I prayed I counted my blessings and thanked my Heavenly Father for each one.  One by one I began to feel the tension and stress melt away.  Most of my concerns are trivial in the grand scheme of things.  Instead of the shame wheel and ‘bad me’ recording I was hearing before I prayed, God began to show me in my mind the things I have accomplished.  He made me see the tasks I have done and know they do matter.  On top of that, He made me feel as though I can accomplish what’s left on my list, if not today, in plenty of time before Christmas.  Oh how grateful I am for His tender mercies.  Nobody knows me like He does.  Nobody understands what it’s like to be me besides my Savior and Creator.

Writing from my heart,

Spreading Holiday Cheer to Our Nation’s Troops

For many of us, Winter Break is either upon us or only a few days away, and for moms, that means frantically finding ways of entertaining our kids so that they aren’t overcome by boredom. While sleeping in a little and a few lazy days will get you through the first few days of Winter Break, getting your kids to express their creativity while giving to others can easily keep them entertained in a meaningful way.

One group, in particular, that can use our additional support during the holidays are those that protect and serve us all year round – our Armed Forces. So if you are looking for ways to get your kids in the spirit of giving during the holiday season, consider having them complete a few of the following inexpensive, military-themed crafts for the perfect holiday care package or gifts for loved ones:

Holiday Greeting Cards for Troops
Troops will say time and time again that one of their favorite things to receive while stationed abroad are handwritten cards from kids. All you need are some markers, crayons, and construction paper and you can turn your kids loose. Let them create as many holiday cards as they desire as long as they are wishing our Heroes a Happy Holidays and thanking them for their service. To have them delivered, you can simply drop them off at the post office or stop by a local military support organization or VA and they will make sure they get delivered.
writing santa 11.30.09 [334]
Blankets for Wounded Warriors
If you’ve got older kids, another fun and inexpensive project for them is making blankets for Wounded Warriors. Many VA treatment centers love receiving these blankets, and the Wounded Warriors that get them are always grateful. To start, contact your local VA to see if they have any specifications for the blankets needed, and then take the kids to the local fabric store to pick out fun fabrics. The blankets can be as intricate as you would like, and your kids will love trying out a new skill.

Wreaths for Local Troops
A more unique way to say “Thank you for your service” is by making wreaths for your local soldiers. If you’ve got younger kids, consider making the wreaths out of construction paper, and then allowing them to decorate them with glitter pens and construction paper ornaments, or check out this tutorial on how to make an Army wreath. Your local soldiers will love the time taken to create them, and they can easily be hung around the local VA without worry for patient health.

However, if you’ve got a few more extra funds or older kids, consider decorating real wreaths for local soldiers outside of the VA. Local Christmas tree farms are more than willing to donate extra boughs for a good cause, and with a few inexpensive bows, strands of garland, and ornaments, you can have a lovely wreath to give as a “thank you” for the local soldiers within your own community.
Christmas in Kuwait 3
Stocking Care Packages
Soldiers serving overseas unfortunately miss out on many of the holiday goodies that we take for granted, and in great abundance, over the holidays. If you are looking for a more extravagant way to give this holiday season, consider creating stocking care packages for troops abroad. Stockings can be purchased for as little as $1 at the local discount store, your kids can decorate them, and then you can stuff them with candy canes (decorated as reindeer, of course!) and other holiday goodies troops may miss out on.

Most care packages cost under $22 to create, and if you drop them off with a local military support organization, they will deliver them for free or at a nominal cost. Just be sure to check out care package guidelines prior to creation to make sure you are sending acceptable items.

Deck the Halls
Now if you are looking to keep a few of your holiday crafts at home, consider decorating your home with a bit more patriotic flare. There is no reason why the American flag has to come down in order to hang up Christmas lights. To get the kids involved, see if there aren’t crafty ways that you can incorporate a little red, white, and blue into your traditional red and greens.

One easy way to do so is simply making a giant-sized holiday card to place in your lawn. At the local hardware store, pre-cut plywood can be cheaply purchased and after a quick coat of white paint, your kids can paint “thank you for your service” and decorate it as they see fit.

The holidays are full of fun craft ideas that can leave your home full of holiday cheer. However, if you can take that holiday cheer outside the home, there really isn’t a better feeling that is more in tune with the holiday spirit. So if you are looking for a few great ways to entertain your kids while also doing something great for those who serve in our community, consider sending holiday cheer to our troops stateside and overseas.

Adrienne May is a military spouse, mother of three and featured author for Military Spouse Central, a network dedicated to providing tips and advice to a community of over 100,000 military families. Follow her on Google+ or tweet her @AdrienneMay.


This has been a special guest post by Adrienne May from Military Spouse Central.  I am extremely thrilled to share this wonderful article with you today.  Thank you so much Adrienne for sharing this with us.  I love all the ideas on ways we can spread the Christmas cheer and spirit to the courageous people who have volunteered to guard our country.  I look forward to choosing some of these projects with my family.  I have a special soft heart for the military.  Many of my family members have served in the military and I am extremely grateful for all those who are serving currently to protect America.

Which idea did you like the best? or Which one do you think your family might do?  I love hearing your feedback in comments.

You will NOT want to miss tomorrow’s Christmas post.  I have a feeling you will be sharing it with everyone, especially your spouse!  Until then have a beautiful day. 🙂

Let them know it’s Christmas time,

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,