Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kitchen Chair Project

This year we decided to host our first Christmas party with some friends!  We were excited but there was one problem.  Not enough seating.  Our table only sits 6 people and we had invited 10 for a sit down dinner.  I knew I could buy a card table from Target to extend our table but what do about chairs?  Lucky me, as I was driving home one day I saw that someone had set on the side of the street four kitchen dining chairs!  They did not look good and when I asked my husband to throw them in the truck he looked at me like I was crazy!  But he knows me and he went along with it.  I saw something that I liked about the chairs, the etching and cut out of the wood. It was really unique and pretty.  The chairs were painted a dirty orange-yellow-cream with some antiquing paint that looked as bad as it sounds.  The chair seats were covered with old fashioned floral prints from the 80's.  No bueno!!  But I had a vision.

 First thing we did was go to JoAnne's Fabrics and pick out new fabric for the chair seats.  We have a beautiful navy and tan rug in our kitchen area so we found a print that was a deep blue with very small white dots.  I liked the blue color but I also like that if the kids spill drinks or food on them it won't be too noticeable.

 Then we went to Lowe's and picked up white primer and spray paint to repaint all of the wood of the chairs.  I have to admit that my husband was the one who did most of the work from here on out.  I was busy cooking and cleaning and shopping for our party!  He did a great job!  He first painted all of the chairs with two coats, one primer and one paint.  He took the chair seats off, cut the fabric, and then stapled the new fabric over the old.  We figured it would give the seats a bit more cushioning.  My husband also did some reinforcing of a few of the chairs so they weren't so squeaky and lose.

They turned out amazing!  They look like something out of a designer furniture store but they cost us less than $50 for all four!   Oh and our party turned out great!!  We ended up with only 6 guests so we didn't need the chairs after all but we used them and put our older ones away.  This was one of my favorite projects so far!  What do YOU think?? :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

December: 25th Day of Giving

                                                            MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!
For today's giving we are sharing gifts with family.  I can't believe we have made it through these 25 days of giving!  It has blessed my family so much  to do the things we did this month and I feel like my kids got a sense of what the true meaning of Christmas is.  It's not about what you get, but what you give and the heart with which you give.  It is also about Jesus, who gave us the greatest gift of all!  He came to earth as a tiny baby and lived and died so that we could have a relationship with HIM!  The best gift in the world.

From my family to yours, May you have a very Merry Christmas, may the Peace of God be in your hearts, and may the Love of friends and family make this a day you will cherish always.

December: 24th Day of Giving

Today we went over to the Dollar Store and hid 5 one dollar bills in the toy section for those last minute shoppers to find and be blessed by!  My daughter had so much fun finding places to put the money.

Friday, December 23, 2011

December: 23rd Day of Giving

Today was really fun!  We went down to the Fire Station and took them some cookies in tins and wished them a Merry Christmas.  They were super nice and let the kids take turns sitting in the fire truck. We got some cute pictures and the firefighters seemed genuinely grateful for the goodies.

Afterwards we still had two small bags of cookies so I just prayed that God would lead us to who needed to be blessed with them today.  The first bag we gave away at the Lakeshore Learning store.  We gave it to the lady checking us out and she was so happy it was super sweet.  After that we were driving home and I saw an older lady with three young children waiting at the bus stop.  We pulled over and my daughter ran up to them and gave them the cookies and wished them a Merry Christmas.  You should have seen the lady's face.  She was in shock and so grateful.  I couldn't believe how big her smile was, you could tell it meant a lot to her.  What a blessing!  My daughter came back and said to me, "Mom, that felt really good."  Ahh, she is getting it!  Giving makes you feel good inside!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December: 22nd Day of Giving

Today we baked a TON of cookies and put together gift bags to give to our neighbors.  We are going to be giving to the neighbors we don't know as well.  The kids are so excited!!  Who doesn't love Christmas cookies? :)

December: 21st Day of Giving

Today we took a friend and her kiddos out for lunch at Chick Fil A.  It was fun because we got to hang out with them too :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December: 20th Day of Giving

Today I took my kids to Target to pick out presents for their Uncles and Grandparents.  My daughter especially is old enough now to understand the importance of giving presents as well as the JOY of watching someone open something you picked out for them.  She did a surprisingly great job with her choices and I can't wait until Christmas day to see her face light up when they open their gifts!

December: 19th Day of Giving

Today we made the LONG drive home from the inlaws.  I think we were in the car almost 10 hours!  So what better way to give than at a Drive Thru.  We went to In'N'Out for lunch and paid for the car behind us's meal.  It was so fun!!  They waved and had these big goofy smiles on their faces like they couldn't believe what we had done!  It was really cool to bless someone we didn't know.  As we drove away we prayed for them.

December: 18th Day of Giving

Today we bought our kids grandparents breakfast.  We are so happy to be up here visiting them and love to show them how much we love them.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

December: 17th Day of Giving

Today we are celebrating Christmas with my husband's family and our giving involves the giving of gifts to our extended family that we love.  It has been a really fun day so far!  Family is such a huge blessing and we don't take it lightly.  There are many people without families so it's important to hold yours close and  not take them for granted. 

December: 16th Day of Giving

Today for our Day of Giving we picked out something to buy from the World Vision catalog.  You can buy goats, sheep, supplies, wells and so forth for the poorest of the poor and really make a difference.  Sometimes that part of the world seems so unreal to us here in the states.  Especially to our kids here.  This is a good way to be connected to those who can use our help far, far away. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December: 14th and 15th Days of Giving

Because this week has been pretty chaotic with cooking, cleaning, packing, wrapping, giving, and playing I somehow missed a day.  But we did something extra nice for our neighbor Barbara to make up for it.  About a month ago Barbara lost her parrot, Pepe, when it flew out the door when the gardeners were there.  She has been and still is devastated at the loss of this bird that she loved so much.  So when we were at Target the other day and my daughter saw a small pillow pet that was a parrot, she immediately wanted to get it for Barbara.  Today we took the gift to Barbara and she was so overwhelmed by the gift that she cried! It was so sweet.  She really is the sweetest lady and I'm thankful my kids had this opportunity to bless her. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December: 13th Day of Giving

Today we did a few different things.  First this morning when we went to get gas in the car a man was walking around asking if people liked Christian music.  I told him I did and he offered me a CD he created with music that he wrote and sang.  He asked for any donation I could spare to help him as he is trying to provide for his family.  I don't carry cash but I found as much spare change as I could in my car and purse and gave him all of it.  Surprisingly he seemed grateful.  I prayed for him as we left.

Also today is my daughter's last day of school so we picked out a special gift for her to give her to thank her for all her loving work she has done this past semester.  Haylie has been so blessed to have such a sweet teacher!

Lastly, Jen (my neighbor) and I took our MOPS table leader out for lunch today to tell her (show her) how much we appreciate everything she has done for our table this semester.  She really goes above and beyond to make each meeting special and show how much she cares.  It was fun to do something nice for her as well.

December: 12th Day of Giving!

Today for our day of giving we headed on over to the local public library!  The kids gave homemade and store bought cookies and ornaments to the librarians that work there.  They were very surprised and grateful for the kindness.  We stayed and played in the kids section a little while as well.  Our kids don't exactly understand the idea of the work "quiet."  It was fun and once again fun to bless someone!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December: 11th Day of Giving

Today my daughter and I took a trip over to Target to pick out some gifts for friends and family.  We decided that our good deed of the day would be to do something nice for the guy who was checking out our purchases.  We walked up and I told him it was his lucky day.  I explained how we were doing 25 days of giving and today we wanted to give him something, we wanted to buy him either a candy bar or a pack of gum.  He mumbled and said he wasn't sure he could accept.  I told him that if he didn't accept my daughter would miss out on the opportunity to bless him.  He said he couldn't argue with that, picked out an Almond Joy, and said thank you.  He then talked about how he believed in karma and that he thought it was really cool what we are doing.  On our way home we prayed for him.  We prayed God would bless him and his family and his holidays.  It was such a small thing but felt so great to hopefully make his day a little bit better :)

December: 10th Day of Giving

Today our gift was that we threw a Christmas dinner party for a few friends.  We really appreciate the people in our life that love us unconditionally and support us through life's ups and downs.  It's important to take time, in some way, to show them how much you appreciate them.  This year we offered our friends a kids-free evening with good food and fellowship.  There were some friends who couldn't make it and some we couldn't invite due to space but nonetheless we appreciate all of our friends and the love and care they have given us the past year.

Friday, December 9, 2011

December: 9th Day of Giving

Today the kids and I spent a couple hours going through their toys and clothes to pick things to donate to the homeless.  We ended up with two boxes and one large bag of things!  Not only is it great to donate to a great cause, it is great to clean up their rooms of toys that are not being played with and just making a mess.  I won't say that it was easy for the kids to let go of their toys, they definitely struggled with some of them, but I think it is a good lesson.  Tonight as a family we drove to a church and donated all of the items.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December: 8th Day of Giving!

Today we picked a charity that we feel passion about and made an online donation.  Some of you may know and some of you may not know, but our daughter is adopted and we are in the process of adopting our son.  Adoption is a huge passion for my husband and I and we would have adopted whether or not we could have biological children.  For me it started when I visited an orphanage in the Ukraine while on a mission trip about 10 years ago.  Just seeing those sweet faces and giving them love was enough to change my heart forever.

So today we sent a donation to a great organization called "Portion for Orphans."  Their goal is to raise awareness about orphans all over the world and improve the quality of care given to orphans.  This is the website if  you are interested in learning more: http://www.portionfororphans.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December: 7th Day of Giving

Today we had our MOPS (Mothers of Pre Schoolers) group and a mom wrote on our facebook page asking for a ride to and from the meeting.  I volunteered right away.  Sometimes it is the small things like this that will teach our kids the best lessons.  To see a need and fill it without thinking of themselves.  More often than not it turns out to be a blessing back at you.  Like today, I got to know another mom in our group a little bit more and it was really nice.  Giving a ride may be a small act of kindness but it is impacting for the person you are helping and makes their day better which is what this whole thing is about anyways!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December: 6th Day of Giving

Today we went to the local police station and delivered cookies and thanked them for their service to our community.  The kids got to meet a couple police officers and they were really kind to let the kids pose for a picture with them.  Our police officers protect and serve our community, often at the risk of their own lives, and we want to teach our kids to respect them and be grateful for what they do.

Monday, December 5, 2011

December: 5th Day of Giving

Today was our day to visit a Convalescent Home to spread love to some "white and grey haired people" as my daughter likes to say.  We took some homemade and store bought cookies and spread some Christmas cheer.  We called ahead of time and the director said we could come in around 3:00.  About 15 of the residents were positioned in a circle in the room near a large beautiful Christmas tree.  The kids were really shy at first but you should have seen the people there light up when they came around.  They were all very kind and loving to our kids and just kept saying how adorable they were.  I asked one of the ladies if they had visitors come do this very often and she said that people come once in a while but not often enough.  When we were going to leave my daughter went around and gave every single person in the room a huge hug and a Merry Christmas.  All of them told her that they wanted her to come back again and visit.  One lady even asked me if she could keep her.  It was so wonderful and I felt overcome with emotion, to see my sweet daughter loving on others and giving them the gift of her kindness.  We will definitely be going back again soon!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December: 4th Day of Giving

Today for our day of giving we helped out a neighbor.  Her husband is in the military and is on assignment across the country and will hopefully be back before Christmas.  She is home alone with her two kiddos and trying to maintain the Christmas traditions for them.  A couple days ago we saw her struggling to hang some Christmas lights and immediately told her that we (as in my husband) would do it for her.  So my awesome hubs got up there today and hung her lights for her.  It's always great to see your spouse getting into the spirit of giving as a good example to our kiddos.

The kids got together and also delivered a few Christmas goodies (muffins, candy, and a homemade ornament) to a couple other neighbors.  They had fun and got to be a blessing to others!

December: 3rd Day of Giving

Today for our day of giving we drove up to my parents house and helped them buy a tree, decorate their tree, decorate their home, and put up their Christmas lights!  It was a very fun day of giving!  We are so blessed to have family that lives within driving distance and we want our kids to be thankful for that gift.

Friday, December 2, 2011

December: 2nd Day of Giving

Today we are sending Christmas cards, pictures, and letters to a person in the military.  Yesterday we worked on this project and got our "package" ready.  Today it will be mailed in order to make it there before Christmas.

My cousin Austin just began basic training so we sent him some letters and pictures and my neighbor Jen found a soldier in Afghanistan and she is going to send a care package to him today.

We prayed together for Austin and our unknown Afghanistan soldier.  I had to do a lot of explaining to my 5 year old about what the words military, war, and soldier mean but she seems to be grasping it okay now.

Tomorrow I will be out of town but I will post on Sunday what we do for days 3 and 4.  The best thing so far was when my daughter woke up this morning the first thing she asked me was, "Who are we going to give to today?"  Love it!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December: 1st Day of Giving

Happy December!!!  It is my favorite month of the year and I am so excited to start our month of giving to teach our kids that Christmas isn't just about what you get but what you can give as well!!!

Did I mention that my neighbor Jen and her kiddos are going to be doing the 25 days of giving with us this year!  It will be so fun to do it with her.  She is so creative and has had some great ideas for things to do!

Today is day 1 and today we are giving a gift to our mailman, well actually mail-lady.  Yesterday the kids and I made chocolate krinkle cookies, we wrapped them in tissue paper and put them in a Christmas tin.  This morning we put it in the mailbox with a card thanking her for all she does.  We hope it blessed her day!

My daughter and I are also going to be praying every day for each person we decide to bless that day.  I want to impart in her the importance and value of prayer, that we can pray for everyone, not just the people we know.  She is so excited!  So am I! Can't wait for tomorrow :)