February 29, 2012

How We Document Life

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Creating memories and capturing them are a huge part of The Worley House! A camera is never to far away from my hand, and I'm always looking for the best ways to preserve those memories for my family. One of the ways that we document life here is through photo books each year.

I used to be an avid scrap booker and always printed off my pictures. But, in an effort to save time and money I've gone digital in the last 5 years and now make photo books for my family.

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These are great to look back on every year, we keep them on a shelf under our coffee table. They are a great conversational piece for when guests come over. They are a great way for my to show off my sweet little family.

I made an album for Ava of her first year, and now I'm finishing up my second book for her. I hope to one day give them to her when she's 18 or married so she can take her memories with her.

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I use Shutterfly to make and print my books. I've used other sites as well in the years but I've found {in my opinion} that I prefer Shutterfly to some of the others. They have great layouts, pre made designs, lots of embellishments that you can use, and anyone can make a book with their site tools. I also really love Shutterfly for their prices and discounts. I always let my book sit in my "cart" until a 40% or half off code arrives in my email. Then I purchase my books for a cheaper price.

Here's a preview of some of the layouts I've created in Shutterfly;

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I also use Picnik & FotoFlexer sometimes to create collages and upload them into my books. They add a little something extra to my books.

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I always keep and extra copy of the year's Christmas card, Another thing that I do is add the years Christmas card to the inside of our book, you can see this on the right. I just tape them to the inside of the book so that we can remember that year's card.

There are some really great options for documenting life, this is just one option that really works great for me and my family. I hope that it inspires you to dust off those pictures and put them in an album for your family to remember.

For a great article I found on creating layouts for your family albums, I recommend this one. Another great source for creating albums & documenting life is from Becky Higgins using her Project Life, Check it out here.

How do you document life? I'd love to hear them in the comments.

{I also want to mention I am in no way affiliated with the links & sites mentioned above, I truly love their products that's all.}

February 28, 2012

My Mommy Morning

Last week was a hard week, mostly because Ava was sick. Last Monday, Hubby had the day off and he took Ava to the doctor because Sunday afternoon she got a 102.6 fever! Yikes! Come to find out baby girl had a double ear infection. So for three days we fought the fever, and everything else that comes with your baby being sick.

I ended up taking Thursday off work to be at home with her since she was still sick. But, by the end of the week I was beat. Friday afternoon I decided that I needed a day. Some me time. You know what I mean?

It's been a long time since I've run errands just me, or gotten my hair done and enjoyed a relaxing day. I don't get that much anymore. And it's ok, because I love being with my family. But, every now and then you need some time for yourself I think. To do something for you. I think it keeps me sane, and in turn makes me a better wife and mother.

I couldn't take a whole day, so I decided I was just going to take the morning hours. Grab coffee and do whatever else my heart desired for a whole morning.

Friday afternoon while Ava napped I baked muffins for Ava and Orion to have while I was gone Saturday morning.

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Saturday morning I grabbed coffee and headed to the Dollar Store, I love that place. So many fun things there. I was on the hunt for a few things for Ava's birthday party and a few other things.

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I always buy coloring books and crayons there. They are cheap. And with a dog who eats half the crayons and the way Ava goes through a coloring book it's a great solution.

After that it was off to the salon where I spent the rest of my morning. Being pampered, getting foiled up!

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By the time my hair was done it was already noon and I stopped by the grocery store before heading home. Feeling glad that I was able to get away and make time for myself even just for a few hours.

What have you done lately for yourself? How do you like to spend a morning, day or hour kid free?

February 27, 2012

Sausage & Potato Soup

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This is a little soup recipe paying homage to my German roots. It's a hearty soup, and a great comfort food. I make it all in 1 stock pot, and it's super easy. Here's how you can make it for your family. 

What you'll need:
1 qt/ 32oz. of chicken stock
4 medium size potatoes chopped in cubes
1 Kilbasa Sausage sliced
1 cup carrots chopped
8 oz. shredded cabbage {I buy the pre shredded stuff in a bag, makes it easier}
4 cups water
1 tablespoon seasoning salt
salt & pepper to taste {I add this in towards then end after I've tasted it, since there will be salt from the sausage & seasoning already.}
Parsley

Here's what you'll do:
Use your stock pot and on medium heat fry all the sliced sausage, just getting a golden sear on both sides. Once cooked add in your stock and water, then add the potatoes, carrots and cabbage. Stir and add in the seasoning salt. Bring all ingrediants to a boil and cook on medium heat till the potatoes and carrots are tender. 

Spoon full your bowls and add some parsley on top to garish. 

Blog Roll Monday: Moriah Makes



Blog Roll Monday is a weekly feature where I high light one of the blogs on my reading list, and tell you why you should be reading it too!

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I've been following Moriah's blogging journey from the beginning. Formally known as Josiah's Nest. Moriah and I went to church together when we used to live in Minneapolis, and I've loved keeping in touch with her through her blog! She is a wife, Momma of 2, handmade shop owner and has a passion for sharing with others! You can find out more about her here. 

One of the things I love about Moriah's blog is her desire to share with your women who are passionate about what they do! She has a series every Tuesday called 'Pursuing Her Passion' where she high lights other women and how they are using their God given talents to impact their world! You can check out the entire series here.

Besides being really cute and very funny, she also has a handmade shop with lots of little goodies for yourself, babies and friends! I have 1 of her necklaces and I love it! It's always a fave of mine and I get so many compliments when I wear it. Check out her shop here.

Can't say enough awesome things about this lady! So go check out her blog today, her babies are cute too!

February 23, 2012

{DIY} Zebra Print Cupcake Toppers

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I'm back with another fun birthday party post! I've bought several cupcake toppers like this from various Etsy shops and loved them. I decided this year to try and make my own, they are so easy and they are a great way to get rid of all that scrapbook paper I've got sitting around! Here's how to start making your own:

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Here's what you'll do:
I like to choose two paper colors for contrast, but you could always just do 1 color. This is just a method you can switch this up anyway you like. 
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I knew I wanted to make 24 cupcake toppers. I used the scallop punch to punch out 24 zebra print circles from the zebra paper. Then I used the circle punch to punch out 24 from the turquoise paper. Once you have them all punched out, set them aside for the next step.

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I used some small foam squares to "glue" them together. Plus it added a nice 3D effect that I liked. If you can't find these or don't have any you can just glue the two circles one on top of each other. When you're done all of them will look like the last picture. Now, you're ready to glue on your lollipop sticks. 

I used my hot glue gun to glue on the sticks to the back. Just use a small dab of glue and attach the stick to the back. Keep repeating this step until they are all glue on. They will end up looking like this:

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Now you're ready to put them on top of your cupcakes!

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Aren't they cute?! I can't wait to add these to her party decor! If you don't feel like making your own lucky for you I made a few extras and I'm selling them in the shop!  

Happy Cupcake Topper Making! 

Shop Update:: New Prints

I've been creating a lot lately for the shop!

Here are some of my new faves:

Source: etsy.com via Andrea on Pinterest


Source: etsy.com via Andrea on Pinterest


Source: etsy.com via Andrea on Pinterest


Plus, a little discount for YOU!

Use code: CYBER30 for 30% off your purchase! 

There's also lots of other fun stuff in the shop too, including these fun cupcake toppers! Go here to get your shop on! 

February 21, 2012

Pretty On Pinterest:: Kate Middleton

Or this post should just be called; Obsessed with Kate & her style.

I had a board on Pinterest called "Royal Wedding Love."

Which should show be called "Kate Middleton Love."

See what I mean?

Exhibit A:










Exhibit B;

They are fashionable together.







Classy.

Graceful always.

Love.

What do you think? Are you as smitten with Kate as I am?

February 20, 2012

Blog Roll Monday: 4 Men 1 Lady



Blog Roll Monday is a weekly feature where I high light one of the blogs on my reading list and tell you why you should be reading them too!
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I started reading Michelle's blog probably about six months ago, I quickly fell in love with her home when I saw this image on her blog:


Drooling right?! Yeah me too!

She is a Momma to three little boys! Her house is all boys all the time with her Hubby included that's why her blog is named 4 men 1 lady! Perfect right?!

They used to live in AZ, and moved back to UT where their family is from not to long ago. I love the tour of her Arizona home, you can check it out entirely here. Not only does she have a drool worthy home she's quite crafty and a great little party planner. Check out her son's blessing party!

Check out all her crafty projects here.

Stop by her blog today and see how her family is progressing on renovating their Utah home and say hello!

February 18, 2012

{DIY} Paper Lined Envelopes

Do you love the look of a paper lined envelope? Me too! I feel like it's a little extra something when your guest opens it. So special. I was on the hunt for some specific lined envelopes for Ava's upcoming birthday party, and was a bit bummed at the price tag for them. So I decided to try and line my own envelopes, turns out it's pretty easy and only cost me $1 to make 20 lined envelopes! Yes, you heard that right! I thought I'd share this idea with all of you, so you too can make your own lined envelopes for special events. You can see more of Ava's party inspiration by going here.

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Here's what you'll need:
Envelopes in any size and amount {mine we're size 5.5x6 in and there were 20}
Paper of any color or design {the amount will depend on how many envelopes you'll be lining}

JoAnn's was having a special 4 sheets for a buck the day I went, so I took a chance and just got 4 sheets for my 20 envelopes. You can always go back if you don't get enough and don't forget to use your coupons!

Here's what I did, I used the top flap of the envelope and traced around it to make a pattern for 1, and then cut it out and used it as a pattern to trace and cut the other 19. I made sure to place it inside the envelope first making sure it fit before cutting them all out.

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Then using an Elmer's tape runner glue the pieces of paper into the envelopes. The paper doesn't need to go all the way into the envelope since your invitation will be cover the inside. It just needs to "peek" out a bit.

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Press each piece of paper firmly inside, and fold the flap over again pressing firmly to make sure everything is glued down before sealing them with your invite inside.

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Keep repeating this process till all your envelopes are done, and you'll be left with beautifully lined envelopes! Your guests will think you spent a lot of money on them. And, then when you tell them you did it yourself their be so impressed, right?!

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February 15, 2012

Simple Supper with #LaRomanella

It's no secret that this busy working Mama loves to cook! But, more so than anything I need options and things that are easy for me to fit into our lives. I love to cook, but if it's super complicated and requires things that aren't normally in my pantry then it's a no-go for this mama!

I went to Smart & Final to do my shopping, using their LaRomanella brand I searched all the wonderful options they had in the store before deciding on what to make for our meal. I decided that pasta was going to for sure be on the menu.

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I was pleasantly surprised by all the Organic pasta options they had in the store all for under $2, that's a great price for a pound of pasta!


Although I am not Italian, I love a good amount of pasta and bread! We love a good spaghetti night in our home. I'm a really big fan of adding some fresh ingredients and spices into my store bought sauce and making it really yummy!

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All my ingredients ready to go!


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First I chopped up my onion and my LaRomanella roasted red peppers. I used 1 small onion and 1 red pepper.

Then I threw them in with the 1 pound of ground turkey, started browning it and stirred all the ingredients together till they were cooked through. 

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I added LaRomanella Garlic pasta sauce to my meat mixture and let it cook through. 

While my turkey was browning, I started boiling my pasta noodles. I choose the LaRomanella Organic Penne Pasta and cooked them just under aldente. 

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After it was cooked, I added the pasta to a 9x13 inch baking pan and poured the meat mixture over the top of my noodles.

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Topped it with cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese, equal parts. And let it cook at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until cheese was melted.

I paired it with a simple spinach salad for my family's meal!

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Here's what you'll need to make this:
1 lb. ground turkey
1 small onion
1 LaRomanella roasted red pepper
1 jar LaRomanella Garlic Pasta Sauce
1 lb. LaRomanella Penne Organic Pasta
Mozzarella, cheddar & Parmesan cheese

To see more of my shopping experience with Smart & Final visit my Google+ page here. 

Smart & Final has some awesome promotions for you as well, if you purchase La Romanella items from Smart & Final, you can go to www.smartandfinal.com/LaRomanella2012 enter the code on the receipt from their purchase of La Romanella products and be entered to win some of these amazing prizes (and let me tell you, I am *so* excited about the grand prize!): Grand Prize: Weekend trip for 2 to an Italian-inspired resort in Las Vegas (readers can enter by purchasing La Romanella products and entering code found on receipt) 8 $50 SmartCash cards (readers can enter by voting for their favorite La Romanella recipe each week) and (8) La Romanella Gift Baskets worth over $50 (2 per week given away)

Plus, visitors to the www.smartandfinal.com/LaRomanella2012 site will be able to vote for their favorite La Romanella blogger recipe. The blogger recipe with the most votes each week will win a $100 SmartCash card, so make sure your followers head on over and vote for your recipe!

This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #collectivebias #CBias All opinions are 100% my own. As always I do not endorse products professionally that I wouldn't personally.

February 14, 2012

Have The Sweetest Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day friends! I think Valentine's Day is just another great and fun way to show the people you love some extra love today! I agree that we should be sharing and loving them the other 364 days a year but today is just a fun day to make it extra special, don't you think?!

Ava's daycare is having a Valentine party! Each child was asked to bring Valentine's for the class. So my mind got to dreaming and my fingers when to Pinterest where I found this, it's so cute I had to put my own spin on it. I knew I wanted to use this idea and her free printable tags, but wanted to put my own spin on it.

Instead I used clear bags I already had on had, filled them with gold fish crackers and then topped them with simple pink construction paper and added the tags. They came out really cute.

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You can print off the free tags here.



I hope that you all have the sweetest day! May the love of Jesus overwhelm you today!

Happy Valentine's Day!

xo!
Sharing today with:


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I know a lot of you are looking for an alternative to Picnik when it closes down in April and I think I found a great one. I used FotoFlexer to edit the above photo and it's pretty similar to Picnik.com Check it out here and see for yourself. It's a great alternative for those who are scared or intimidated by Photoshop.

February 13, 2012

Blog Roll Monday: Bring the Rain by Angie Smith



A new blog served up fresh every Monday! I tell you why I love it, and why you should be reading it too!

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I don't know how or when I first stumbled upon Angie's blog but I am so glad that I did. Angie Smith is the wife to Todd Smith lead singer of the Christian music group Selah. Theirs is a beautiful story of redemption, God's grace, mercy and love!

Her blog started as a way to bring memory to and tell the story of their daughter Audrey. A beautiful story. Their story and hope is inspiring. Their love for the Lord is amazing.

Today they use the story and tragic loss of their daughter to bring a message of God's hope and love.

I love when I see people using their platform to do so much good. To bring honor to the Lord. To bring hope. Angie's blog is that and so much more.

I could easily sit here and tell you all the reasons that I love it, and why you should to but today instead I just invite you to jump on over to her blog read their story from the beginning.

Be changed.

And know that Jesus loves you. He came for you, he died for you!

Happy Monday Friends!

February 10, 2012

Ava's 2nd Birthday Party Inspiration: Our Little Jitterbug

My baby girl turns 2 next month, and I can hardly believe it! We're in full swing planning her party! I wanted to share with you the inspiration behind her 2nd birthday party. Over the next few weeks I'll be sharing some craft & DIY ideas that's I've been using to complete her party look.

I love a good party, and a good theme to go with! I really like to have themes that are personal and "fit" people's personalities. When thinking about Ava's 2nd birthday I thought about the things that she likes and what she's into that would reflect her personality at this age. One of the things she really loves is music. She has since she was in the womb. I can remember putting music on while I was pregnant and she would kick like crazy, she was also a night owl and would come alive when it was time for me to sleep kicking like crazy. It was then that we started calling her "Jitterbug." Since she was always kicking and so active.

This nickname has stuck with her even after birth, she was an active baby and now is an active toddler. She loves music and loves to dance and move around when ever it's playing. We often have nightly dance parties around these parts! When I saw these invites from Cake Events I knew that I had to incorporate a music theme into her birthday somehow.




And Our Little Jitterbug party was born! I'm really excited for her birthday party, to celebrate her and have family in town with us! Here's some other party inspiration I'm throwing around:


Source: google.com via Andrea on Pinterest





You can see all the inspiration for her party here on my Pinterest board for her party!

Are you planning any fun parties soon? I'd love to hear about them, tell me in the comments below!

Happy Friday, have a great weekend friends! 

February 8, 2012

Still.

It's been quiet here. But, it's been loud and chaotic in my home, in my life. I've been going through some things in my personal life. Under attack, and feeling a little less than inspired.

My faith has been challenged.

My patience has been tested.

My emotions have been torn in every which way.

I am reminded in this time to be still.




I am reminded that I need to take a step back. Take care of my family, breathe and trust in the Lord.

It may be quiet the next couple days around here. I need some time for my family. Some time with me and the Lord to think, fast and pray.

I pray that you all are having a wonderful week, and that the Lord is blessing you immeasurably!

February 6, 2012

4 years of writing and sharing today.........

Four years ago today, I wrote my first post on this little blog here, not knowing where it would take me but just knowing that I was inspired to share and to write. Over the last few years this little blog has turned into more than I ever could have imagined. It's really become a place of creativity, a place to share my thoughts about marriage, creativity, friends, relationships, parenthood and motherhood. A place to connect with others, and a place where I have found unexpected friendships.

So grateful for all that this space has become in my life. But, more than anything this space has become a ministry for me.

I am so honored and challenged by the many readers who take the time to read each word, comment or write emails and tell me how encouraged they are by what was written. It's challenged me to really make sure everything is purposeful, that it has a place and meaning here on the blog.

I am humbled that YOU take the time to read and share your thoughts. Thank you for being apart of this blog with me.

A few months ago I saw this saying on Julie's blog, and it really stuck me that "this" is the reason I blog.


Source: joyshope.com via Andrea on Pinterest


It's an awesome humbling feeling to know that every little word I write just may help someone, bring them encouragement, make them think and inspire them in their own lives.

It's also a challenge to myself and such a JOY!

So today, even though I don't have some super awesome giveaway celebrating this 4 years of blogging I do hope that in some small way you're inspired to live your every day life the best possible way you can!

I want to say thank you for reading, and going along this journey with me.

I'm excited about the next year, and all that God will do through this blog. Through what is both written and shared!

I hope you have a blessed day and that your cup is over flowing today.........

Joyfully,

Andrea

Blog Roll Monday: The Lens Loves



A new blog I love served up fresh every Monday! I tell you why I love it and why you should be reading it too!

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The Lens Loves was created by the awesome DrewB of DrewB Photography & Mom*tog! A site where you can go to find the very best in lifestyle photography. Drew figured there were tons of sites out there for inspiration for your wedding, but not enough for your family session, maternity, or newborns! So she took matters into her own hands a created a space where families can go for inspiration and find a photographer in their area.

They feature real photographers from all over the U.S on their site and even have a handy locator where you can find a photographer in your area. 

It's a site that one day I aspire to be featured on as a photographer! They have lots of awesome eye candy there to inspire you for your next family shoot! Go here, to visit their site!

Enjoy!

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