Previous month:
September 2011
Next month:
November 2011

4 entries from October 2011

On Having a Surprise Baby (& a Chance to Help Mamas Across the World)

Now that our 3rd child is eleven years old, and he's a healthy, happy thing whom everyone knows we adore, I'm going to be honest about something:  We weren't very excited he was coming.  

 You see, he was a surprise baby.  We were in a terrible jam, running a fun but failing little garden center on the side of a busy road with traffic that never bothered to stop, toting around a two-year-old and keeping up with a four-year-old.  In the middle of all that mess, we found out we were expecting our 3rd baby, due just three weeks after Christmas. 

All children are welcome in our house.  Any child would be.  But it was such poor timing - I was so focused on robbing Peter to pay Paul to feed ourselves and keep the house - that I'll admit my maternal instincts didn't kick in with this pregnancy.  For eight-and-a-half months I was not thrilled.

Until the day I found out...Continue reading my post on the ABC News/UN Foundation Million Moms Challenge site.  

Over there, we are helping mothers who do not have beautiful outcomes like so many of us do, simply because we are blessed to live in developed countries.  Please go to that post to leave a comment and sign up for the challenge! I'd appreciate your support in this, and so would the sweet mommies across the globe who need our help (and your encouraging stories!).

p.s. Updated 11am Friday: Comments here are closed because we need you to go to that post to comment.  It will help us (moms) reach a million moms across the globe who need our help. Thanks for helping!  

Subscribe to Just Pure Lovely here


10 Holiday Planning Tips for Creative Gals

It's October and although it doesn't seem like the holiday season, it is for crafters.  To help motivate myself (and maybe you, too), I thought I'd write up a post of 10 Holiday Planning Tips for Creative Gals


...& No Freaking Out

1.  Create a Mind Map of what you like to do.  I had our 14yo gal work on one last weekend, since she needs to do some fundraising for her upcoming ballet trips (NYC!).  She simply wrote, "Ballet" in the middle, then drew lines and circles out from there with every single idea that came to mind:  beading, crocheting, drawing.  No editing allowed!  Your mindmap may also be jotted onto paper, but if you'd like to create a simple and quick mindmap from the computer, just put random words into Wordle

2.  Write down your Who Gets What Wish List.  You probably will not be able to complete every project on this list and that's okay.  But write down what you'd create for who (whom?), as if life was an easy road to maneuver.  

3.  Prioritize the Who Gets What List.  If you could only get projects done for three people, who would get them?  How about one?  Who gets the one project that will get done?  This project is your top priority.  I usually choose three people, for three types of projects:  brainless, bit-of-thinking, and mind-consuming. 

4.  Have a brainless project to do.  Or, an easy project.  The brainless project is for those times when you are waiting for the washer to turn off, because you're pretty sure it'll only be a minute, but it sometimes takes a few.  It's for the times when you're at the dentist's office and you know you'll be interrupted by the receptionist at any random second, if not by your child who keeps asking questions.  Great brainless projects:  knitting in stockinette stitch (I'm making a scrap blanket that is always on the needles, ready for any brainless moment), an embroidery project of a drawing, sketching, crocheting a potholder.  

5.  Have a 'bit of thinking' project to do.  This project requires a bit more concentration, so you'll pick it up when you anticipate having a solid half hour or so to work on it.  This project is great during the baby's nap which may or may not be long, and it's great while lasagna is in the oven (45 minutes!).  Good bit-of-thinking projects:  beading on a string, following a crochet pattern, writing down a few thoughts, working from a sewing pattern. 

6.  Do mind-consuming projects when you can be alone.  You probably already have this figured out, but it's amazing how many times I must remind myself to not plan on doing a mind-boggling project when the kids are running about.  It usually takes spilled beads or glued fingers to rememember, "Oh, yeah, mind-consuming projects are for the times when I'm alone."  If your life allows you no time alone, first:  thank God for such a full, fun life, then:  don't do mind-consuming projects.  You still have the brainless and bit-of-thinking projects to do, and they're fun, too. Mind-consuming projects:  anything with flame, hot glue, and more than one sharp object. 

7. Watch those sales ads now.  If we watch the local craft stores' sales ads that come in the mail or through email, we can save a lot on the materials we need for projects.  Start looking now, wait, and you'll find that whatever you need will go on sale within the next month or so.  

8.  Purchase some crafty supplies online.  I purchased gorgeous red velvet online one year for a fraction of the price I'd have paid in the store.  It was used as a Christmas tree skirt for a long time, and later as Red Riding Hood's cape.  I also purchase oils, bath product ingredients, dried herbs online.  These items are much cheaper online, and very hard to find locally. 

9.  Know when you just need to buy.  Young mommies and young brides need to listen to me on this:  life is just a bunch of phases.  Whatever phase you're in, you can know one thing for sure:  it will pass.  If your life is all babies & toddlers, go ahead and start a craft project (because I know you must), but don't set any timeline expectations.  It's okay if you never finish it -- you'll look at that unfinished project one day and it will remind you of cozy, crazy baby days.  If you do finish it, wonderful!  But don't feel guilty about purchasing - instead of creating - something. I think personalized holiday cards are one of the easiest custom gifts to make.   There are many places to create holiday cards. Try this company:  Storkie Christmas cards.  Here are a few of their designs: 


10.  And finally, when you cannot think of what to do - either because you have too many ideas or too few - a problem I run into rather often! - there is always inspiration to be found on Pinterest.  

What would you add to this list?  I love being inspired by you, so please share!


I wrote this blog post while participating in the Storkie holiday blogging program. I received compensation for my participation. All opinions are 100% mine. 

On Courage to Be (Me)

In my 39-and-a-bit years on this earth, I've learned something:  I am the only me.  You are the only you.  Duh, right?  But most of us are not being ourselves.  We're adapting to what we think others want us to be, and we're doing what we think we should do.  This seems especially easy for mothers, as we lose ourselves in the busyness of child raising.  

If you are not you, nobody else will fill that gap.  You are the only you in the wide, wide world, and if you do not do that thing, that calling, that purpose you were put on this earth to do, there is someone who is missing out.  I will miss out.  Your child, your friend, your will miss out.  

I've been thinking over something I read in a book about a year ago: 

"A person who loves himself [is] someone who realizes that you can only give away what you have, and so you damned well better work at getting something. You want to be the most educated, the most brilliant, the most exciting, the most versatile, the most creative individual in the world, because then you can give it away; and the only reason you have anything is to give it away." 

He goes on to say, 

"And so my responsibility to me is to make myself enormous, full of knowledge, full of love, full of understanding, full of experience, full of everything so that I can give it to you and then you can take it and build from there."  - Leo Buscaglia

If you do not do what you are meant to do, there will be an empty space on the library shelf, there will be a frame without a painting, there will be a child without that happy memory, there will be a husband who wonders what he did. 

I'd love your advice on how we can find the courage to make ourselves "enormous" - full of who we really are - while also doing this enormous mommy job.  In your busy everyday life, how do you strive for balance?

By replying you will be entered to win one of two prizes! First Prize: $150 to a Local Spa, plus $50 Gift Certificate to the Cerra Boutique .Second Prize: One of Five $100 Gift Certificates to the Cerra Boutique.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cerra. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Contest Rules.

On Turning 14 (& Sewing an Infinity Dress)

Our ballerina turned 14 recently! Right before she turned 14, she sewed an infinity dress. Have you seen those? They're dresses that can be worn this way and that way, thanks to two very (very) long strips of fabric that may be folded or wrapped in different ways.

image from

Our gal used a purchased pattern because I had a hard time finding a pattern online. But now that there's Pinterest, the patterns are easy to find! You'll notice our version is a bit more "decent" than some versions. Our girl is, after all, just 14. We didn't want the dress wide open down to her belly button.

image from

She used a t-shirt-type fabric (you can tell I know nothing about fabric names!) from Hancock Fabrics on the clearance rack for just 99 cents a yard. The dress takes about 5 yards so our cost was only about $6 with the pattern.

I must have taken too many pictures...

image from

Here's a view of the back. There are many ways to tie this dress; this is only one way:

image from
And here is the front, tied the same way:

image from


Isn't 14 such a sweet age? Happy birthday, baby girl!