DIY Sharpie pen plate


Homemade Christmas presents! ūüėÄ ¬†I kept seeing awesome tutorials on Pinterest for making mugs or plates using Sharpie pens and baking them in the oven.

I finally gave it a shot!

I got all the supplies at The Dollar Tree….plates and some permanent markers.

Then I let the Wingman have at it.  He was much more fascinated with taking the cap on and off the markers, but every now and then he would give the plate a swipe with the marker.

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After he decorated them all, I put it in the cold oven, then turned it to 450. ¬†Once the oven was completely heated, I set the timer for 45 minutes. ¬†It only lasted about 30 minutes I think, though, because there was a horrible smell (I’m wondering if it was the stickers that I had forgotten to take off the bottom of the plate?? ¬†ūüė¶ ). ¬†I then turned off the oven and let the plates remain inside until completely cool.

The colors definitely faded a lot in the process. ¬†I don’t know if it’s because I used cheap markers or if that is typical.


One of the finished products

All in all it was fun and pretty simple!  I would definitely try this again with some other awesome designs.  Pinterest has some great design ideas!


Tips for Traveling with a One Year Old

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I recently was flying by myself with the Wingman. ¬†Traveling with children can be pretty unpredictable. ¬†I was pretty nervous about it, and could just see us being “those people” who make the flight miserable for everyone.

I did my best not to worry about it, though I will say that I stuffed my backpack full of anything and everything that the Wingman might enjoy.

  • Snacks. ¬†I had an old Puffs container with Cheerios and the Wingman loves taking the lid on and off. ¬†He enjoys that more than he enjoys eating the Cheerios, so it was a two-for-one…snack and a game! ūüėČ ¬†Fishy crackers in a Munchkin snack catcher (again, two-for-one as he loves eating them and also spent a lot of time trying to reach in and get them out).
  • Dollar Store. ¬†I went to the Dollar Tree and scoured the aisles for things that might be interesting to him. ¬†I ended up with a pair of sunglasses, measuring cups, and duct tape. ¬†The first two were huge hits and the duct tape was enjoyable but not quite as mesmerizing. ¬†I would take pieces of the tape and stick them on the tray in front of us. ¬†He had fun pulling it off and sticking it back on.
  • Anything in our house. ¬†I found an old wallet, a dinosaur toy he was given for his birthday, this Fisher Price flashlight (also a birthday present), two birthday cards that played music, etc.
  • And as a last resort, I downloaded some apps on my tablet. ¬†His two favorites were Baby Toy (especially the screen with all the animals) and Ballon Popping (Yes, the balloon is misspelled…no idea if that’s on purpose. lol).
  • Books. ¬†I packed a lift-the-flap book, a touch and feel book, and several “regular” books.
  • Change of clothes. ¬†Wingman pretty much never needs a change of clothes during the day, so I didn’t think that we would need it. ¬†But…..I am sure glad that I packed it because we did end up needing a change in the airport!
  • Gate check. ¬†It is so simple to gate check items. ¬†I kept our stroller with us in the airport and took it right to the gate with us. ¬†Then when we got off the plane it was immediately ready for us.
  • And of course diapers and wipes. ¬†Way more than I thought I would need.
  • When the steward/ess comes to take a drink order, ask for an empty cup. ¬†This can provide some much-needed entertainment!

And I kept thinking that if all else fails, my tricks go out the window, and the baby doesn’t like anything I brought….it would¬†only be for a few hours. ¬†It will only be a few hours out of our trip.

He ended up doing really well! ¬†We didn’t end up being “those people” although I’m not quite sure how considering the fact that Wingman was so exhausted and of course he wouldn’t fall asleep until 5 minutes before we began the descent. ¬†But somehow we made it!

What are your tips for traveling with young children?


Foam Shape Puzzle Busy Bag

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When I made my 101 in 1001 list, I decided I wanted to make a busy bag for the Wingman.  When my sister suggested doing a busy bag swap, I was so excited!

My sisters and I each made three sets of two different busy bags.  One set we kept for our own kids and the others we mailed to each other.

After scouring the internet, I finally decided on the two that I wanted to do.  This post was my first inspiration and what made me decide to make foam shape puzzles.

Supplies needed:

  1. Construction paper
  2. Foamie sheets or self-adhesive foam shapes
  3. Scissors
  4. Pen
  5. Elmer’s glue

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I couldn’t find self-adhesive foam shapes, so I just bought a pack of half sheets. ¬†I definitely understand why the lady in my tutorial recommended the self-adhesives, though!! ¬†It was painstakingly time consuming trying to trace and cut out these shapes.

Being the uncreative person I am, I based most of my patterns off of the ones shared at Tot School.  When I ran a Google image search, I came across this post at Vista Woman.  I love her patterns as well!

I was able to get two puzzles out of each sheet of construction paper. ¬†If I had it to do over again, I think that I would purchase full sheets of foam (unless I can locate self-adhesives…then I would definitely do those!!) and use full sheets of construction paper. ¬†Some of my foam puzzle pieces ended up being quite small and I can imagine they might be easily lost.

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Here are my final puzzles!  I folded them in half, which served to help me to keep the patterns  only on one half.  Plus it makes for more compact storage.

Wingman is still a ways away from being able to understand how to do this project.  But I am excited for when he is able to!!



Tugging Box


While Googling and Pinteresting for activities to do with a one year old I came across an idea of making a tugging box!  I followed this tutorial and it was super easy.

I had a shoe box from several months ago when I bought some heels.  Ribbon was left over from our wedding.  At Walmart I purchased three sheets of felt (23 cents each) and a package of pipe cleaners (97 cents).  So it was very inexpensive.

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All my supplies

I used a pair of scissors to poke holes into the box. ¬†I wasn’t sure how many to do, but I just poked a decent amount, figuring I could add more if necessary.

After I made the holes, I simply threaded the items through two holes.  Some of them, like the shorter pipe cleaners, were placed close together.  Since the ribbon was longer, I threaded it through holes on opposite sides of the box.

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In order to further encourage hand-eye coordination, holes were left empty on top so the Wingman can stick pipe cleaners in there if he wants.

It took probably a total of 10 minutes to make.  Super easy.

I made it late at night.  While I contemplated waking the Wingman up to try it out, I managed to wait until morning.  I was so excited to see what he would do!

He was definitely intrigued. ¬†He loved pulling on the various pieces. ¬†He has yet to notice that when he pulls on one end, the other end gets shorter. ¬†But we’ll get there. ¬†For now he just enjoys pulling on them.


Definitely a success!!


DIY “Guitar”

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When I saw a blog post mentioning this idea, I had flashbacks to similarly playing when I was young.  I knew I had to try it for the Wingman!

Total cost?  $1.00.  The Dollar Tree had a bag full of rubber bands of various sizes.  I sorted through it and found the biggest ones, which I then put over our loaf pan.

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Yay!!  Now to see how it passes the baby test.


At first he wasn’t too interested and he started to play with his dinosaur toy. ¬†Daddy gave it a couple “twangs” and the Wingman¬†looked up with a big smile. ¬†Now he was interested!!


He never quite got the hang of twanging it himself, but he enjoyed pulling off rubber bands and banging the loaf pan on the ground. ¬†Definitely a toy that will need supervision, since the rubber bands are quite easy to pull off. ¬†While the first go at it wasn’t super successful as far as “music”, he enjoyed it and I know he will keep having fun exploring it.


Baby toys – The Necessities

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There are so. many. options. for things to purchase for your baby. ¬†So many ideas on what is appropriate and necessary for baby to play with. ¬†So the question is….what do you REALLY need for baby?


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During the first year of the Wingmans life, we did buy him some toys. ¬†He had a couple stuffed animals, a couple toys that had the big rings for babies just learning to grip, some books, etc. ¬†He had an exersaucer and when he was 10 months old I won a wooden block set in an online giveaway. ¬†A friend gave us this fun dinosaur toy hand-me-down that has different slots to put some balls, which then bounce down stairs, swing a pendulum, or roll down a slide. ¬†It’s pretty fun and I am very thankful it was gifted to us, because it¬†sells for $80 brand new!

But his favorite toys were not toys at all. ¬†His favorite toys have been…

  • Water. ¬†He loves to touch and splash in water, whether it’s in the kiddie pool, the bath, or a bowl I fill for him.
  • Water bottles. ¬†He loves to crinkle them and shake the water around.
  • A spatula. ¬†I don’t know why this is so fascinating, but he loves it.
  • A shaker. ¬†A friend got a small clear medicine bottle, filled it maybe a quarter of the way with beads, and glued the lid shut. ¬†Wingman loves it!!!
  • An envelope. ¬†You know those envelopes that come with the clear window to see the address through? ¬†Wingman had so much fun with this, crinkling it and turning it. ¬†It doesn’t even need the clear, crinkly window….he likes to play in general with the mail. ¬†We often give him the junk mail to play with.
  • Anything outdoors. ¬†He loves grass, wood chips, rocks, etc. ¬†Just be careful of course with what goes in the mouth.
  • Tissue boxes. ¬†If we let him, he would pull tissues out all day. ¬†This only happened once though. ūüėČ ¬†I have plans to make him a tugging box like this one.
  • A bottle brush and nipple brush. ¬†He loves the textures on it.

It really is true that sometimes the best toys aren’t even toys. ¬†Personally, I think that not only does it save money, but it can develop the child’s imagination and cognitive skills better than a lot of marketed toys. ¬†I have been really surprised to see how so many non-toys hold his interest a lot more than some of the developmental toys we have bought him.

Of course there have been manufactured toys that have helped him in reaching milestones or working on hand-eye coordination.  This stacking train, for instance, and this Sit-to-Stand Walker.  So I definitely give manufactured toys their place, too!

What did or do your babies play with?


Guest Post: True meaning of a SAHM


Today I have a guest post from my sister, Melinda.  She is an
amazing Mom of two.  I appreciate her sharing this and I

am sure many of us can relate.  I hope you are encouraged!


As I held my six-week-old son, I found myself frustrated. I was stuck holding a fussy baby while there was so much else I needed to do. Rather than holding him, I could have been busy reading, writing, working on business related projects, cleaning, or enjoying time to myself. Who knew how long I’d have to hold and rock this baby until he fell asleep? Who knew how long I would be distracted from other tasks while I comforted this little one?

In the first weeks of my son’s life, I found myself thinking similar thoughts countless times. Motherhood was distracting me from my real job. It kept me from working, and I would get stressed that I wouldn’t make business deadlines. Laundry piled up, and I felt like I would never be on top of it again. The apartment was in complete disarray. There was so much that I needed to take care of, but my son kept me from doing it.

Then one day when he was six-weeks-old, I caught myself as these rushed thoughts ran through my head.

He was my real job.

The laundry, the cleaning, the work‚ÄĒit could all wait. I am a stay-at-home mother, not a stay-at-home housecleaner or stay-at-home launderer. My primary job is to care for my children, and in this particular case, my primary job was to hold my son until he relaxed and fell asleep.

I find it so easy to get distracted. I want to be able to do it all. I want the laundry clean, folded and put away. I want the apartment spic and span. I want time to focus on me. But all those desires are distracting. My child needs me. He is the job I have chosen. He is the one that I must choose on a daily basis to dedicate my time to.

He is my real job.

When I think of motherhood as my primary job, my primary focus, I want to slow down. I want to enjoy the cuddles with a six-week-old baby, knowing that he won’t be this little for long. Yes, the laundry piles up, and the apartment could use some attention. But the laundry will always be waiting.

My son needs me.

Linking up to Titus 2sday


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Disney Planes Birthday Party


Birthday parties these days can get crazy expensive. ¬†What with it being¬†the Wingman’s first birthday, I wanted to do something special, but didn’t want to go overboard. ¬†For one thing, he wouldn’t remember it anyway. ¬†For another thing….funds are not unlimited here. ūüôā

I am pretty pleased with the results!

Since I am not a very crafty/artistic person, pretty much all of my ideas came from Pinterest.

Based off of this post, we created a runway on one of the tables.  The Pilot did a great job creating it with a plain black plastic tablecloth from The Dollar Tree and some masking tape.


Inside the basket I put some party favors. ¬†Walmart had a package of 36 favors for $10….score! ¬†The disc shooter was the favorite, but the mini frisbee got some use too.


For $12 we got a kiddie pool from Walmart.  This was quite the hit!  Our little Wingman loves the water and he had so much fun splashing away.  A friend loaned us their water table as well.  Birthday Express (which has 6% cash back on ebates) had a Planes balloon bouquet for $12.  It came with six cloud balloons, and four mylar baloons.  There were two Dusty Crophopper mylar baloons and two red star mylar baloons.


This is one of my personal favorites.  I found this on Pinterest and sent it to my Mom.

“Do you think we can pull this off for the party?”

“Sure, we can! ¬†It will either turn out great or be an entry on Pinterest Fails.”

I am so pleased with how it turned out!  My Mom and Grandmommy did an excellent job!

For additional snacks, we got peanuts and individual snack pouches of pretzels, which were supposed to be reminiscent of airline snacks. ¬†I wanted to somehow incorporate Cheerios, since those are the Wingman’s favorite thing to eat. ¬†He adored these little frozen banana snacks!

Since cakes can be quite expensive, we ended up getting a sheet cake from the local grocery store as well as a single serve slice of cake for the Wingman, which we decorated ourselves.

While it wasn’t an elaborate party, it was lots of fun planning the details. ¬†And the Wingman had a blast. ¬†I can’t believe he has already had his first birthday!!


One Year of This Incredible Love


Last week our sweet son turned one.  It is so crazy to realize that we no longer have a little baby.  We have a toddler!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over one year since I was posting pregnancy updates. One year since we made the announcement that¬†our son was born.

365 days since our lives were forever changed.

12 months of figuring out our new normal.

52 weeks of sleeplessness, tears, joy and love.  So much love.

It is through being a Mom that I have learned so much¬†about so many things. ¬†Things like prayer¬†and the nature of God.¬† Several times I just looked at the Wingman¬†and my heart literally swelled with love. ¬†Is this the love You have for Your children, Lord? ¬†The kind of love that doesn’t change and never leaves? ¬†“Yes,” He whispers to my soul.

During this past year I have taken hundreds of pictures and videos. ¬†I don’t want any moment to escape our memories!! ¬†And yet the past 12 months have just sped by and now here I am….a mom to a toddler. ¬†Where did my baby go??

One year!! ¬†One year of that precious smile and that adorable giggle. ¬†One year of watching him “wrestle” with Daddy and chase each other around the house. ¬†One year of seeing¬†him examine a new object, with a look of pure concentration on his face.

I am beyond thankful for the privilege of being the Wingman’s Mom.

Dear Wingman,
You are now one year old.  It has

been such a joy watching you during this year,
as you have learned how to smile,
how to hold things, how to crawl,
and how to walk.  You are so precious to us and words
cannot even describe how much we love you.  We are praying
that you will continue to grow up healthy and strong.  We pray
that you will grow to love the Lord and serve Him.  You are 
created in His image and He has incredible plans for you.  
We can’t wait to see where He ends up taking you! ¬†
Daddy and Mommy


On Being Real and Transparent about Motherhood


There seem to be two types of mothers.  I am about to generalize here, so bear with me.

The first type of mother LOVES motherhood.  After seeing her Facebook or having a conversation with her, you come away realizing her kids are always happy, her house is always clean, her husband delights in her as a wife and a Mom, and her heart is constantly overflowing with love and joy and peace.  The sun is always shining, the rainbow is always overhead.  Her Facebook is loaded with pictures of smiling children, calm outings, and beautiful family adventures.  When someone talks about a difficult day they have as a mom, this first type of mom thinks fondly of her perfect children.

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The second type of mother does NOT like motherhood. ¬†After seeing her Facebook or having a conversation with her, you may come away realizing her kids are always crying and giving her attitude, she is always exhausted, her house is a wreck, her husband never helps, she’s tired of picking up toys, and her baby has colic. ¬†Her Facebook is loaded with her venting about her difficult days or terrible nights of sleep. ¬†When someone talks about looking forward to being a Mom or the good day they had, this type of mom will shake her head and say, “You just wait.”

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Obviously I added dramatic effect, but I bet almost all of us can think of a mom or two in each of those camps.

To be honest, I understand both sides.  There are some Moms who have beautiful, rosy days of motherhood.  There are some children who tend to be angelic.  But even those Moms have bad days.  No child is perfect.  No Mom is perfect.

How do you balance the two?

I still ponder that question. ¬†I think that it is so important to be real and authentic. ¬†Pretending that everything is rainbows and butterflies does no good. ¬†It does nothing to prepare new mothers for reality. ¬†Sometimes it even sets up new Moms to feel as if they can’t admit their struggles. ¬†It does nothing for building the community of Christ. ¬†It does nothing to develop realness and authenticity of living. ¬†Being constantly down also does no good. ¬†It does nothing to prepare new mothers for the excitement. ¬†It doesn’t encourage or build up anyone. ¬†It can drive wedges between people. ¬†It can make people dislike or even dread being around you.

Balance is important. ¬†As a new Mom myself, I have so appreciated the people who are real. ¬†The people who are transparent. ¬†The people who say, “Hey, today was really rough because my son was screaming for 3 hours straight.” ¬†But then in their very next Facebook status they post a Mom and baby selfie, both smiling, along with the caption, “My heart is so full ‚̧ <3”

Real life motherhood has ups and downs. ¬†When you embrace both and are unafraid to be vulnerable, great things can happen. ¬†I strongly believe that it is often in those times of vulnerability and authenticity that God does great things. ¬†Other Moms will be encouraged. ¬†Perhaps God will prompt someone to come to you for advice, counsel, or prayers. ¬†Maybe an older Mom will come to you and say, “Hey, I’ve been there. ¬†Have you thought about trying this?” or even just, “I am praying for you! ¬†You can do this and you are a great Mom!”

I am still figuring out how to balance these things.  I know that I never want to gossip about my children or share their sins or disobedience.  But I want to be real.  I need help, encouragement, and advice.  I want our kids to see that Mommy is human too.  Even Mommy has rough days.  It is beautiful when the body of Christ can come together in order to support and encourage.

And on the flip side….if you are a Mom, look for the opportunities to encourage other Moms. ¬†I’ll give you a tip: No Mom’s life is perfect. ¬†All kids can be pills and all Moms have bad days. ¬†If a Mom comes to you needing to talk or vent or share a story, please be encouraging. ¬†Saying, “welcome to motherhood” does nothing to build community or encourage. ¬†Many times it can drive those hurting Moms away. ¬†Reach out to other Moms, encourage them and let them know that they are doing an awesome job. ¬†Remind them of the calling God has brought to them and how He will give continual grace and strength.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….being a Mom has been the greatest and most difficult thing I have ever done. ¬†I love it. ¬†But it’s hard. ¬†Let’s nurture the body of Christ and do this Mom thing together!


Linking up today with Hearts for Home, Share With Me, Grace at Home, and Thriving Thursday!