Monday, December 27, 2010

better late than never...

May your holiday season be filled with peace, joy and family!
Merry Christmas from The Wilsons!
David, Sarah, Asher and Jonas

Monday, December 13, 2010

snow day

What should you do with two little boys when you are snowed in? Read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Spend as much time getting dressed in your snow pants, boots, coats, hats and gloves as you did spending time playing outside in the snow (it was only a high of 19 degrees today and then windchill was nine degrees...brrrrrr!)! Invite your friends from the neighborhood (who's preschool's were closed today) over for a playdate. Warm up spiced apple cider for your mailman and then miss him by a few minutes (we were terribly sad about this one and hoping we will catch him tomorrow). Spend time coloring pictures and completing a book of mazes. Go around your house and make "rug," "floor," "couch" snow angels because you forgot to when you were outside and it's just too cold to go out again and do the real thing. Sit on the floor and sing Christmas songs you learned in music class. Play chase around the house when your daddy comes home a few minutes early to surprise us!!

That's at least what we did on our snowy day! What did you do with yours?
(Sorry for no pictures of this day. We are still without a camera and are making mental and written pictures of these special moments. :))

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

camera problems

This is a picture similar to my camera that is no longer working. Could this be worse timing? So now I am frantically trying to research what kind of camera to get, SLR or point-and-shoot? Should I go with a Canon or a Nikon? Oh, the questions are endless. If you have a camera that you love and would recommend to me, it would really help me out!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

count down to christmas

So this is NOT my advent calendar above but the one that I got the idea from. You can go here to learn how to make your own from Jolly Allsorts blog...if you dare!! :) I would show you a picture of mine but my camera is not working. :( How can this be with the first day of December tomorrow. I may need one of my nearby friends to stop by daily and take pictures of our happenings until I can get mine fixed. OR, maybe I should change our first activity to "go buy a new camera." ha!! Well here is our final list that we hope to attempt this advent season. Would love to hear how you count down to Christmas! Special thanks to Carrie and Rachel for your ideas.

12/1 Read the Nativity story

12/2 Buy present for Angel Tree.

12/3 Watch Christmas movie of choice.

12/4 Go to Breakfast with Santa.

12/5 Make gingerbread house.

12/6 Make Christmas cookies.

12/7 Give cookies to trash men.

12/8 Make jingle bells and sing song.

12/9 Read a special Christmas book.

12/10 Give cookies to firemen.

12/11 Watch Christmas movie of choice.

12/12 Walk through Bethlehem.

12/13 Give cookies to mailman.

12/14 Take dinner to a needy family.

12/15 Donate winter coats.

12/16 Deliver gifts to Contributor vendors

12/17 Give cookies to policemen.

12/18 Clean out toys.

12/19 Learn a Christmas song

12/20 Go see Christmas train display

12/21 Watch Christmas movie of choice

12/22 Make a donation to non-profit of choice

12/23 Write letter to Santa.

12/24 Set out cookies for Santa.

12/25 Make donation to Heifer International.

Monday, November 29, 2010

If you are looking for a unique look at Advent this Christmas season, the Martha O'Bryan Center has created a weekly look into some of their families' lives and sharing their stories. Go here to learn more.

Hoping to post my finalized count down to Christmas activities tomorrow!! Please feel free to share any more ideas you may have for our family.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

christmas books

We are pulling out the Christmas decorations and along with that some of our favorite Christmas books. The Jolly Christmas Postman was one of my childhood books that my mom just passed down to my kids. They have loved opening the letters inside and feeling as though they are the "Jolly Postman." Do you have any favorite Christmas books that you like to read?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

advent sneak peak

Here is a quick sneak peak of the advent calendar that I have been working on since LAST Christmas. I think it should be ready for December 1 of this year if I can get 5 more red buttons. The ones I went with were not what I had in mind but I gave up on it just to complete this already too long of a project. I still would like to solicit some of your help for this calendar. While I will go with the fun, traditional theme of filling each day with a special chocolate candy for us to enjoy, I also found a cute idea of including an activity for our family to do each day. Here is a sampling of things that I have come up with so far but would love any other ideas!!

-Give cookies to our trash men, mailman and local firemen and police men.
-Take dinner to a family in need.
-Make homemade decorations for the tree.
-Make cut-out sugar cookies and ice.
-Buy presents for an Angel Tree child.
-Make a gingerbread house.

Friday, November 26, 2010

first book

The boys (especially Asher) love to do imaginative play and turn our couches into every type of vehicle possible (fire trucks, ambulances, excavators, dump get the picture). On this day, they were pretending to be construction men on a crane and had been "moving" all the pillows behind them.

Since Asher's little mind was coming up with such an ongoing story, we decided to turn it into a small book. I had him tell me the title, Crane, and then he helped spell it by telling me the letter that came next after I would give him the sound of that letter.

He then colored this picture of a crane.

This is the story he came up with and I wrote it down word for word.

We should have the downloadable version up any day now for your Kindle! :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy thanksgiving!

take one

take two

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!! May you take time today to remember all the things you are thankful for and would love to hear what those things are from you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

music for preschoolers

Wednesday is music class day for my boys. We enjoy this sweet time together of making music with percussion instruments and singing fun songs. Today included a Thanksgiving song list. Above are a few of the instruments that they enjoy playing. If you are interested in finding these for your own home, you can go here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

keb' mo'

Keb' Mo' was one of the performers last night at TOKENS. This was one of the songs that he sang and has become one of my favorites...hope you enjoy!!

hospitality on the streets

Last night I was privileged to go to the Tokens Show at The Ryman. The night focused on "The Welcome Table" and living out hospitality. Hospitality comes easy when it's welcoming those who are just like us. It's not as easy to welcome the stranger. Daily, I try to find opportunities to demonstrate hospitality to people the world might quickly pass by. One great way to do this is to buy The Nashville Contributor from a street vendor. I can find ways in just those small moments to connect with someone who lives differently than myself. What is difficult for me is trying to decide which vendor to buy my paper from since I can see up to four or five vendors in a 1 mile radius. I try to change up who I buy from and often find myself with several copies of the same paper. Two of my good friends, Andrew and Lindsey Krinks, have written several articles in The Contributor. I hope the next time you see a vendor that you will use this time to demonstrate hospitality in a paper and learn one thing about the vendor!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

mr. potato head

The boys have been having a lot of fun playing with their Mr. Potato Head....maybe a little too much fun!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

friday night fun!

Sure wish we were going to be in town this Friday night to enjoy this! If you go, let me know!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

share the gift of HOPE

This Christmas make a difference with the presents you choose to give! You can not only find a great gift for your friends or family but you can be spreading the gift of HOPE around the world this Christmas. Above is a picture of Elena. She has been orphaned and sexually violated because of the wars of Congo. She currently lives in Dina Center orphanage in Goma, Congo. Sponsored by eXile international. My friend, Bethany Haley, started eXile International and took this picture of Elena and shared her story with me. I am going to be hosting an open house on December 3rd from 7-9pm that will have jewelry from eXile International, as well as from KEZA and from my Ida's Modern Heirlooms. If you are interested in coming, leave a comment with your email and I will send you an invite!

Even if you can't make it to my open house, I would love for you to consider any of these great options for those on your Christmas list this year (my sister-in-law Angie past many of these on to me)!!

The Hunger Site (has a great selection of gifts for male, female and even kids and you choose on what you want to support from hunger, children's health, breast cancer, etc.)
Bongo Java (both local and fair trade AND great coffee!!)
Fair Indigo (again great for the whole family)
Ten Thousand Villages
Handcrafting Justice
TOMS shoes
Other great options include gifts from non-profits gift catalogs. Check these out...
Heifer International
World Vision
Samaritan's Purse
You can also check out Cool People Care every Friday when they recommend "Gifts of Impact" to remind us all that "Christmas is not your birthday."
Would love to hear any great ideas you may have for how to spread HOPE this Christmas!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

red button

So, I am trying to finish up my advent calendar (that actually was started last year pre-Christmas) but I can't seem to finish it because of this one little item....a red button!! Actually, I need 25 red buttons that look like this one. I have searched the internet for hours and am done with it!! I have been to Joann's who had 18 of green and red but the greens didn't match and well, I need 25 NOT 18!! This is getting ridiculous and I have spent so much time on this that I have to see it completed. So, if you are out there and know where I can get this button (I will even take a Christmas green at this point), please help me!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010


I loved this idea of recycled craft jars from the Playful Learning Blog.
To recreate this idea, first paint the lids to match with a low voc wall paint (or any leftover paint from previous projects). Then use masking tape to mark off your rectangle on the jar. You will then apply 2-3 coats of chalkboard paint, allowing it to dry 5 minutes between each coat. While the last coat is drying, remove the masking tape. You can use a razor blade to clean up your edges, if desired. Then you can write on your labels.
Would love to hear any craft ideas you have with reusable items in your home!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


My mom made these matching aprons for Asher, Jonas and me. They have already loved wearing them. We each have a chef's hat on the front with our names' written on them. Now we just need to bake something.....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

birthday cards

One of the things I look most forward to on my birthday are David's homemade cards. I think he should quit his daytime job and go into card making. Below from left to right are cards from Asher, David and Jonas.

Inside of Asher's card...

Inside of Jonas' card...

Inside of David's card...

He does a great job of capturing the boys' personalities and what they really might say if they were writing the cards.
Love these boys and love my husband!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

batman & batman

Asher and Jonas were so excited when they realized we had hand-me-down batman pajamas in both their sizes!! It is excitement every night when they go on. What are your favorite pajamas?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

book club

The Glass Castle cover

My summer book reading list has continued on into the fall. Once I find good authors, it's hard for me to stop reading. I have been rapidly reading through Jodi Picoult novels. So far, I have read Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, The Tenth Circle, Handle with Care, Perfect Match, The Pact, and these last two are probably my favorites so far, Plain Truth and Harvesting the Heart. If anyone wants to start a Jodi Picoult book club, I'm in!!

I currently am reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I typically would not pick up an autobiography, but it came highly recommended from my mother-in-law and there has yet to be a book that she has passed on to me that I have not liked! This book is a quick page turner and reads very much like a fiction novel. I constantly have to remind myself that it is a TRUE story, which is hard to believe once you read her daunting childhood tales yet discover the most resilient children beneath it all. This is a must read (and another great one for a book club)!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I said that I wasn't going to be a legalist about posting so that is why I missed posting yesterday. I had a fever come over me out of nowhere. And today, I am trying to get back to feeling normal. Looking forward to a good night's rest and hopefully a healthy tomorrow. I don't do well with sitting around doing nothing, especially on my birthday. :( I hope to be back to posting about normal life things tomorrow!!

Monday, November 8, 2010


It's not always easy to let your kids grow up, but there is something special about seeing them growing into their own independence. Since we have been preschooling at home verses at a "school" I have been trying to find ways to incorporate learning in our every day routine. I have found two blogs here and here to be helpful in finding ideas. Asher has really been wanting to do things for himself or things to help me around the house. We started with him working on getting dressed by himself and have now moved on to other areas. Jonas, currently, wants to do everything that Asher does so we are trying to find ways to allow him to be independent as well.

Some of Asher's tasks include putting the silverware away, setting the table, washing his breakfast dishes (yes, we do have a dishwasher, but he loves to do this so why not let him...I am hoping his wife one day will thank me for these things!), helping with most baking tasks (stirring, measuring, dumping), sweeping and dusting. Of course, these are jobs that we do when we have PLENTY of time to complete! The boys especially enjoy pouring their own juice in the morning. I found a small glass pitcher and these two small mugs at a yard sale. They love it!

Encourage your toddler/preschooler to work along side of you and you will find that they thrive with this newfound independence and role in your home! Would love to hear any ways that you have your kids help around the house.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

orphan sunday 2010

This Sunday we recognized Orphan Sunday at our church. My friend, Carrie McLean, made the display above for our lobby. She is incredibly talented and I just loved her vision for this. I hope that many were inspired today to hear the cry of the orphan (or the 163 million orphans in the world per UNICEF) and take action. We used today to start the kick-off for Orphan Awareness month by putting together a burlap bag for every household that included an action/awareness calendar and a picture of an orphan. At the end of the month, everyone will return their bags filled with the money they collected over the month for each action day and that money will hopefully be enough to build a home for orphans in the Village of Hope that was created for displaced child soldiers in Uganda. My friend, Bethany, works with eXile International who is sponsoring many of these children and she has been able to use her counseling skills to help many of these children overcome their horrific past as a child soldier.

This is the video we showed today.

Orphan Sunday from Greg Buzek on Vimeo.

Would love to hear how you feel impacted to help an orphan.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

hootenanny cakes

My friend, Emily, was having quite a birthday celebration for her daughter and husband today. So she was in need of some cakes (yes, plural) and asked me if I would make them. We had several ideas but finally came up with the perfect design for a "hootenanny." We wanted the design to capture that it was for both father and daughter. Of course, we had to start with a smash cake for the first birthday!

You can see in this last photo glimpses of all three cakes. We ended up with a strawberry smash cake for Sophie, a strawberry sheet cake and a two-tiered chocolate cake. That's a LOT of cake! I really enjoyed making these cakes. This was my first time to decorate with fondant to this extent. I dabbled with fondant on Jonas' birthday cake but not to this level. I plan to build on this fun, new found skill!

Friday, November 5, 2010

free for life international

A friend of mine just sent me a photo of this flyer. I have never heard of Free for Life International, but after doing a quick search, I learned a little more about this organization and how it got started from simply watching CBS's "48 Hours Mystery." It's amazing to me how one simple event can be so life-changing and for the good of others. I have a deep passion for helping girls sold into sexual trafficking. Our first connection to this extreme issue was through International Justice Mission. I would love to go to this event but even if I don't make it, I hope that simply learning more about this organization will spur me to continue to take action against such horrific events that are happening every day. If you would like to learn more about this event, go here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


It's that time of year again for National Blog Posting Month. I am going to try and post evey day this month. I already missed the first but I posted several on the second (so maybe that makes up for it). Also, it appears that I missed yesterday but what mistakenly happened was I picked a post that I never finished and completed it but forgot that once it's been saved, Blogger posts it on the day you saved it, not the day you published it. ARGGGH!! One of my many complaints about Blogger BUT it's free so I will keep other comments to myself. :) So here is yesterday's...dessert place setting.

Would love for you to join me in this challenge this month. So, let me know in the comments and post a link to your blog. THANKS!

Here are a few of my friends who will be joining me...

(The picture of Asher has nothing to do with this post but wanted something to make the post more eye appealing and doesn't that face just make you crack up! :))

plan city at discovery center

This picture captures two things that our boys love these days. The first being Plan City toys!! We love them and plan to continue to add to our collection for birthday and Christmas presents. Plan toys are socially and environmentally responsible and safe (no toxic chemicals!!). So if you are needing some creative ideas for Christmas presents, check these toys out. They are available through Amazon and locally, you can find them at Phillips Toy Mart (another one of our favs).

The second great thing about this picture is where it was taken---The Discovery Center in Murfreesboro. It's a bit of a jaunt for us to travel there but worth the extra effort for all the amazing activities they have for these children. We also love the old time firetruck that you can climb on and the donated firemen's hats, boots, coats and pants! Other favorites things include the mini excavator, trains, car garage station and Tiny Tot Town. If you live anywhere near Murfreesboro, you need to check it out (and invite us to come along!!).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


For Halloween, we went to our church's trunk-or-treat. This is the way to do it if you want to maximize your candy volume while minimizing your distance traveled. It is even better when you have two little ones who are still a bit shy and who don't have the patience to go very far.

Our nephew and neices...

"Calling all units, calling all units..." Fire Chief Jonas

Costumes down to a minimum`````

The boys enjoying their candy on the way home.

Now we can put the costumes away and get ready for Turkey Day!!

trick-or-treating at david's work

One of our favorite Halloween traditions is trick-or-treating at David's work. All of the secretaries set out candy for the kids to trick-or-treat. It's a very calm environment as you can imagine. Do any of you have fun traditions for Halloween?