Friday, November 30, 2012

building a sense of community: say hello to local entreprenettes

one of the things i wanted to accomplish with Craft Explosion this year
was to provide a greater sense of community
women meeting other women that they may have passed at the grocery store or at the school,
but never had a chance to chat with
we had many attendees this year who met lots of new neighbors
so happy to see that!!

another way i hoped to achieve this idea of community
was to give many of these amazing women who are small business owners an opportunity to share their companies with the local ladies
three of them took me up on this idea and provided business cards with discounts which were added to the goodie bags for the craft explosion attendees

i wanted to introduce these lovely entreprenettes to you all as well
they have extended their discounts
and have added some delightful giveaways just for my readers

may i introduce these fine specimens from the ranks of work-at-home moms...
Sherrie of Domestic Days
Valerie of 2Troublemakers
Renae of Bloom Tanning

visit each post to meet them and partake of their discounts and enter the giveaways

{if you are interested in being featured as a local entreprenette please email me}

domestic days: discount and giveaways

local entreprenette #1

say hello to Sherrie...
I met her at our now mutual friend's lovely Crafternoon: full of buntings, vintage lace, and her bestie, yarn.  She taught me how to do this complicated twisty dealy that turned into a lovely necklace.    She has a warm heart and would drop anything and drive over windy hills just to come to your rescue.
I later met Tyler, and he and Sherrie became some of my square dance partners.  He won me over instantly with his twinkling eyes and humble nature.

i am happy to have Sherrie {pronounced sure-ree} introduce their shop

Domestic Days is a husband and wife team. Wifey, Sherrie, does all the crafting, sewing, crocheting, anything really to add a little handmade to your day.  Hubby, Tyler, does all the digital design. So whether you need an invitation, thank you card, gift, or a little something to brighten your own day, we can create it!

We have been married 5 years. We met while on a missions trip in Scotland. We have 3 kids. Tyler studied graphic design. I learned to crochet from great grandma when i was 12.  I first learned to hand sew when i was 7 & then started sewing with my mom on a machine when was in my 20s. Aside from doing arts & crafts we love to travel, go to Disney, & play board games. :)  We also volunteer with a group that supports emancipated foster youth.

{sidenote from me:  i once came upon them playing a board game and found Tyler holding a plunger high in the air.  an image i will not soon forget}

a few of my favorite things in her shop:

you can read more about her crafting and mothering adventures on her blog of the same name

Sherrie has extended the discount that she gave the Craft Explosion attendees to all of you.
Upon checking out of their delightful shop Domestic Days, enter the code: CXP12 for 10% off of your purchase.

I am also hosting a DOMESTIC DAYS GIVEAWAY

one lucky Sweet Dreams are Made of These fan will win a Domestic Days crocheted wreath in your choice of available color - $25 value

*This giveaway will close at midnight on Monday December 10th PST
*This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only
* The winner will be chosen using Rafflecopter and will have 48 hours to respond to the winner notification email. After 48 hours another winner will be chosen.

pregnancy must be a lucky charm;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dreamy mistletoe partner 2012

it has been a treat for me to watch the line graph in my stats report erupt this month with some sizable seismographic activity
oh the power of Pinterest
my little Holiday Family Feud Game from last year has reached 69,500+ views with 900 new views today
that is mind boggling to me

welcome to Sweet Dreams are Made of These, all you Pinterest lovers

thank you everyone for stopping by
pull up a chair, stay a spell
and come back soon

as i have been thinking about the universality of classic games like Family Feud
i have been envisioning families and friends around the world gathering in homes, dorms, churches,
all playing 'the feud'
alliances being formed
rivalries heating up
men vs women games destined for newly exiled sofa sleeping occupants
voices crying out,
'good answer, good answer'
'awww that's what i was going to say'
or in the infamous words of my sister, 'this game is a sham'
all in the name of triumph and victory
all apart of that cheery and bright holiday spirit

thoughts also came of the short shelf-life of some celebrity crushes {and marriages for that matter}
those who were once our dream mistletoe date
have been tossed aside to make room for the latest pair of lips

i thought it would be fun to see the differences in responses to #10
this year

so please add your current dream mistletoe date below.
would love to know if your answer has changed from last year or remained the same
{those of you who put your spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend, awwww... i'm sure you scored points but you don't count}
i, for one, have held onto mine
well, not literally, but he's still just as dreamy now as last year
neal caffrey... matt bomer

so please confess comment away...

**to see the complete set of answers for all of the Holiday Family Feud Questions click here

{sidenote: my mother, the grammar guru, pointed out that i have made a significant error in ending my 'question' with 'with'.  sorry mom, if correct grammar is what you're looking for, you have come to the wrong site:)  thanks for helping to put me through college though.}

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

i can't do it, please help me so i don't have to

i am at a stand still
and i can't make myself do what i know that i should to move forward
at least its the only option that i can find
but i don't like it, not one bit
in fact i just can't do it

if you ask my husband he will tell you how much i hold on to things
letters from dear friends from year's past
essays written in college on gothic architecture
tiny newborn hospital hats from each of our children
beautifully vibrant fabric waiting for just the right project {if i can bear to cut it}

holding on to things brings me security in who i am and who i have been
important memories are brought to life with just a glance of an object
oh how i am afraid of forgetting things
things about my life
things about the life of my children
things about my daddy

it has come to this
once upon a time i installed Intense Debate to use a comment enhancer called Commentluv
they have since updated and have proclaimed that updating on Blogger wouldn't be a problem
well its been nothing but problems
exhibit A
if you are looking at my blog on the homepage you will see below this post {or the current top post} a jumble of comment links
if you look at the direct link for the post everything is fine and dandy
it makes commenting from the homepage a mess
no reader wants to try and search for a place to comment,
am i right?
i have emailed, filled out contact forms, and posted on forums
and have not heard back from anyone official
one kind blogger quickly jumped to my aid, Melissa from the incredible edible blog Serving Seconds, and shared that she had experienced something similar

her solution
to uninstall Intense Debate and sadly lose all of the comments on your blog
and then intall Disqus
since there is not a setting in the new dashboard of Blogger that will turn your comments back on

i just can't do it
i am brought to tears
lose my comments off my blog?
the comments that you have shared with me that have significantly helped to carry me through these past difficult years
stories you have shared of your inspiration from my father, from Abigail, from my husband
words of confidence and faith in me
testimonies of truth
parenting advice
words of hope, empathy, joy, encouragement, humor

how could i possibly delete all of those?
oh please, someone,
tell me that there is another way

i have such plans for my blog to grow this coming year
ideas fill my head as i drift off at night
topics to discuss, projects to create, favorites to share
my notepad is full
commenting is essential for growth
i am encouraged by so many of you to write
and keep writing
and i want to
but how could i do it when part of what has gotten me to this point in my writing has been deleted
your comments, your sweet comments

please, someone,
tell me that there is another way

i am elated to update that within minutes of my post
my knight in techie armor came to the rescue
and in a mere hour and a half my cherished comments were preserved
it may take some time to turn them all back on,
but i was empowered with the knowledge on how to keep it that way
thanks to my longtime friend jeff for hastening to my aid
and to his dear wife beth who was watching a boring show which freed up his time

print Crossroads by Alex Wijnen available for purchase here

Thursday, November 22, 2012

his labor of love: a Thanksgiving offering

at first glance our kitchen looked like any other kitchen the morning of Thanksgiving
ingredients being measured
batters being mixed
ovens pre-heating
refrigerators being packed to the brim
fingers licking delicious remains in shiny bowls

all in preparation for a family gathering this afternoon
so then why was I brought to tears of absolute gratitude this morning over such a typical scene?

this morning my list of blessings ran through my mind
small and important

vibrant colors
my children playing and laughing together
living next door to my mom
Spotify music accompanying me wherever i go
friends who rally around me and lift me up
family who have stood shoulder to shoulder with me these past difficult months
5th grade math answer keys
Mrs. Meyer's orange clove scented dish soap
children who tenderly hug me when I cry
a father who left a legacy of service
a mother who lives each day full of strength and grace
my testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ
my knowledge that Heavenly Father does care about my daily life
my knowledge that I will see my Daddy again

all of which, and so many more, bring my varying levels of happiness to which I am immensely grateful this Thanksgiving Day

which brings me to this morning
if you would have looked more closely at the scene that unfolded as Thanksgiving dishes were being prepared,
you would have seen a man, my dear husband,
grasping onto the counter for support as he mixed the cranberry mousse
limping as he brought ingredients to and from the refrigerator
wincing in pain as he stood to knead the bread
all the while loudly singing out gospel music because he said that it helps him forget the pain

i ache
i cry
my spirits fading, i'm buried alive

i fail
i fell
just when i fear i'm losing it all
i reached the edge of what i know
He reaches out and i let go

He is my light
He is my strength
He is the anchor of the hope that i can truly change
He magnifies what i can give
with every step and every breath
i worship Him
He is the only way and I know He lives

hearing his testimony of his faith in the Savior Jesus Christ sung out so loudly and with certain declaration
moved me to tears
tears of gratitude
for this absolutely incredible man that i am married to
a man of unwavering faith and eternal perspective
a man who gets up each and every day after a sleepless night due to incomprehensible pain, puts a smile on his face, pleasant words in his mouth, puts one foot in front of the other as he gingerly descends down the stairs, and then gets to work... all for us
tears of ache
as i watch him struggle so desperately to be able to perform something he takes such pleasure in
he had for years taken great pride and satisfaction in the heavenly delectable meals he had happily labored in preparing for others
tears of longing
that he would feel fulfilled in his grand desire to be able to contribute in a meaningful way

this bread that he made this morning though stunningly beautiful, aromatically delightful and mouth-wateringly delicious
means so much more to me than a delight to my taste buds
with each bite i will think of his offering, this labor of love
his declaration that Jesus will magnify what he can give
and that with every strained step he worships Him

i am thankful
most humbly thankful for him, my awe inspiring husband this blessed day

{to read more about our journey with Multiple Sclerosis click here or on the label in the right column}

Monday, November 12, 2012

a daddy's girl

today i cried in Target as i spied this simple pair of angel wings in the ...can't believe its getting close to...Christmas section
i recognized that it may be a very difficult holiday season
i had previously walked down an aisle and saw some golf items and immediately thought,
Daddy is so hard to shop for, I wonder if he'd like any of these
my heart sank as i caught my own thoughts.
i miss him sooo much,
it aches how much i miss him

as i am sure you know, as you probably have been unable to avoid knowing,
that i am hosting my Craft Explosion event in a few days
my goal was to have the garage cleaned out before then
much to the delight of my hubby
i haven't given up yet, but there may be some last minute shoving into the corners of the house

i am forcing myself to sort through boxes that have remained sealed from human eyes for the past decade or more
college notebooks and papers kept on the off chance i would need them...if i needed to use my teaching degree perhaps

in one such notebook i came across two versions of the same paper for my English 311 class in May of 1999
its funny because in reading the remarks from the professor, she says, 'how can you avoid the sentimentality of your subject matter?'
well, i guess that is just nearly impossible for me to do
my writing is rather sentimental
it comes from sentiment
that is what drives me to sit and write

this portion is from my rough draft
written by a 21 year old me


The zesty tang of a peanut sauce, the nose tingly aroma of an unrecognizable substance, and the consistent slurp of long noodles.  This combination of newly found savors kept my mouth exhilarated and found my fork greeting my parted lips again and again.  A typical fish aquarium was at my right.  This was definitely one of the best dates I had ever been on.  Being only fourteen I had not been on very many, but daddy always made time for each of us.  It was my turn, one on one daddy-daugher time, enjoying Daddy's favorite food-the kind that awakens your taste buds from a long sleep: Thai.

Although Daddy was busy fulfilling his various church callings and working, I always knew his family came first.  During volleyball season in high school I would look out into the sea of faces and spot a black three-piece suit carrying a cellular phone there to support me.  And when pumpkin time arrived, our twinkle toes gracefully stumbled across the daddy-daugher dance floor.

I think I have always been a daddy's girl, maybe not any more than a mommy's girl, but definitely a daddy's girl.  At the age of twenty-one by lips still form the word "daddy" instead of "father", "Dad" or even "Russell" and I have to be reminded that I am a little too big to sit on Daddy's lap.  My mommy told me that when I was a baby, the embrace of my father's arms was the only thing that could put me to sleep.  As each year continues to pass, some adding voices to the chorus, feet run, arms reach out, and voices cry "Daddy's home".


at the age of 34 my lips still form the word "daddy" and my feet can not wait to run into his arms again,
for Daddy is truly home

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Pretty Sock Exchange

i love meeting new people,
its one of my favorite hobbies:)

i also have been known to love 'house socks', Mike calls them
you know, those cozy patterned socks that you love,
that usually remain at home, but occasionally make it out in public hiding in boots or under pants
but really socks that pretty shouldn't be censored
and need a chance to shine

so put those two loves together {new friends + pretty socks} and you have

i have been honored to meet Amanda of Oh My Little Dears through my fabulous, well-loved friend Leslie of My Happily Ever After.  {i am hoping that if stars align, Leslie and i will be meeting her in person this February in a snow-coverd Minneapolis}

Amanda is hosting The Pretty Sock Exchange
here are the pretty little details in her own pretty little words:

Details: This pretty sock exchange is a fun way to meet other bloggers and to brighten up each others sock drawer. You will be paired with 1 swap partner. Find a pretty pair of socks and exchange!! And don't forget about the package itself!! It's always fun getting pretty mail!!! 

Dates: Sign ups will close on Nov. 9th or the FIRST 50 signups!!!  Swap partners will be issued by November 9th and please have your package sent by November 17th to avoid the craziness of  Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays!!!

so if you'd like to help brighten up someone else's sock drawer and yours in the process,
and make a new pen pal {such a lost art},
then leap on over to Amanda's blog and enter her exchange
your feet will thank you


read about Amanda's heart warming birthday event here and you'll fall for her instantly


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