DIY {Do It Yourself} Friday: Fabric Coasters

Hi all, Amy here…

My mom has a bunch of amazing French Country fabric coasters that she has had for probably 15 years. I believe she purchased them at Pierre Duex {which is going out of business?!?! Seriously that store was such a HUGE part of my childhood, so sad} and I have always loved them. In fact, every kid that comes over to my parents loves to play with them, stack them, toss them. ha. We find them all over the house…my neices and nephews used to have the best time with those things.

I have been thinking that they would be so easy to make. This year for Christmas, I am going to make little baskets for my sisters/sisters in laws and put a bunch of fun handmade items in it. I thought these fabric coasters, in colors that match their homes, would be awesome! I started to search online, and sure enough, while playing on pinterest one night, I found a tutorial for them! {surprise, surprise..seriously you can find ANYTHING on pinterest!}

Here’s my spin on them…and I have to admit, Sarah did most of this! :)

Materials needed: Fabric, felt {or batting}, thread

Cut your fabric into long rectangles and then fold into squares, inside out. Our measurement was 4 1/2″ wide x 10″ long. be sure to cut your felt pieces a bit smaller, as you will see shortly. Unfortunately, we just eye balled our felt squares so we have no measurement here… sorry!

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Meet Lily: Our Waldorf Doll Adventure

I have a horrible addiction as of late: I have been so into Waldorf Dolls for Evy. I can’t tell you when or how I found them, but they have been popping up around the internet and on etsy and I have to tell you, at first I wasn’t sure how I felt about them….with their wild hair and almost expressionless faces. But the more I saw them, and the more I researched the philosophy behind them, I got hooked. So I began to search around for the just the right doll for Evy and I found Melissa of MinahBoneca Dolls. She had a custom slot available, so I snagged it for a 15″ dollie. And then this weekend this showed up….

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Changes Again…

…We are moving.
I never imagined in my wildest dreams that this year would be filled with so much change. But it has, and it’s worked out just fine. It seems so crazy to me that just a few short months ago Brandon spoke with Pastor Haney regarding his feelings towards our ministry shift. I feel like it has been eons ago. Somehow change makes you feel that way, I guess.
I have never felt the way I did about anything in my life as I felt when we stepped down as youth pastors {HERE and HERE}. Maybe you have to know me, but I am a VERY planned out person, one who likes to know her next step before its taken. As I am sure you know, when walking by faith, you can’t always be planned. And you would think this would freak me out…but it has done the exact opposite. I have not worried one bit. Even my bank account balance {which ALWAYS has the ability to stress me out} can’t shake me. I have complete faith and confidence that we are doing the right thing and our fate is in the hands of the Almighty.
SUCH an amazing feeling.
When we decided that we would take this HUGE step of faith in our lives, we told God that where ever or whatever HE wanted us to do we would do. This meant that every offer that came across our laps we would prayerfully consider. And there have been many, believe it or not. One offer that has been coming up for quite a while {years maybe} has been my parents asking us to move to Santa Rosa. With my dad’s health issues, they really wanted us closer to them. In fact, all my siblings have been asking us to come. But with Brandon working full time at the church, it just never fit into the cards.
When we stepped down from the youth, it was brought up again. My dad really wanted my help and they felt, with Brandon traveling so much, that I needed help as well. Knowing the prices of homes and cost of living in Santa Rosa, we pretty much felt that it would be impossible for us to move there, especially at this time when our income is inconsistent. My dad and siblings persisted so I told them if they could find a house that was similar to ours {such as size and niceness} and fit into our budget, we would consider it. Since the time we stepped down, my dad’s realtor {thanks Harry, you are amazing!!} sent us several listings a week that were in our price range as suggestions. It was rather depressing, actually. We have a lovely home here in Stockton. For the price of what we could afford here, we would get a 2 bedroom, one bath duplex style home that was in dire need of remodel {in other words still stuck in the 1970s}. To give up our beloved home for that just didn’t feel right for some reason. We are perfectly happy here….so I began to think that moving to Santa Rosa just wasn’t in the cards for us. Yet when we prayed about it we never felt a door slam or a definite “no”, so we didn’t cross it off the list immediately.
What we did do, however, was talk to God about our needs. As a family, we were perfectly content to stay in Stockton and base out of here. We love it here, this is our home and we, quite frankly, didn’t want to leave it. Also, we feel strongly that Brandon was supposed to evangelize for the next year or two, but with several offers on the table, we felt God nudge us to do something….we felt to write down all of our desires in a home. We spent some time and created our perfect “dream home” on paper. And then we prayed and told the Lord that if He brought this home in our laps at an affordable price then this would be our sign to move, regardless of where it was located, Santa Rosa or Timbuktu. We felt complete confidence that this would be our sign of the right home/city/etc and help guide us when all these job offers came our way. We also consulted many of our elders and asked them to pray with us, to help us approach the next couple years with a level head, a right heart and the mind of Christ.
I felt complete peace with this. For some reason this really anchored me and help me stay focused. I started to prep Jake for school starting in Stockton in September feeling we would be here at least another year and I carried on with my life, thinking such a house would NEVER surface for the price we could afford. Anywhere. ha.
And then this house came up….
My realtor was one of the first realtors to view this house. And good thing, as it was a foreclosure and WAY underpriced. I mean almost half it’s worth underpriced. The bank was just trying to dump it basically. My realtor told me, we MUST come see this one. MUST. It was in our price range {but shouldn’t have been} and would go very, very quickly.
When we looked at the specs, we couldn’t believe it. On paper it looked almost identical to our “dream house”. When we viewed it in person, I stood in front of the house and cried. It was our “dream house”. I wandered around the yard for about 10 minutes just crying. Seriously God?!? Are you really this able?
And He is. Long story short, there were five offers made on this house in the first week. The bank took ours. Gave us a quick close and even paid all the fees on the house. Being the skeptical person I was, I haven’t blogged about it in case I might jinx it. But it’s really real. We got the keys last week.
People keep asking me how I feel about all this. To be honest? Shocked, happy, scared, sad….I feel everything. We love Stockton so very much. This has been a happy home for us. Our Jerusalem if you will. Brandon’s family is here. We love our church family. Just so much about Stockton {believe it or not} is special to us. Then on the flip side, in Santa Rosa we have a gorgeous new home only 7 minutes from my parents and siblings. The Santa Rosa church where we will be attending is AMAZING. I have my family to help me while Brandon is gone, I will no longer have to pay for day care. And a huge added bonus:
A studio for Evy’s Tree. The third car garage was already converted into a work space. Although it needs A LOT of work, its like someone knew Evy’s Tree would be moving in here. No more tripping over hoodies all the time since they are right in the middle of the house. So like my God, yes? :)
There are so many other wonderful God things with this move…I will slowly blog about them over the next month or so…but I just have to say, this whole thing is so God ordained. Boy, does it feel good to be in His will!
And before I close, I just want to say a huge THANK YOU publicly to my parents, who have made this whole move possible. Seriously, we would NEVER be able to do without them. And to my siblings, especially my brother Brad who has been beyond helpful, even from abroad. And lastly, I want to say thank you to my painter Tom and his foreman Manolo:
Let me say I am a horrible paint picker. HORRIBLE. I like white, but did you know there are about a million whites?!?! Right. So poor Manolo spent about 2 hours yesterday painting and repainting whites on the wall so I can find just the right one. Ha. Oh boy.
Anyway, in closing, please pray for us. Although this is a total God thing, moving is considered one of the top three stressful things you can ever do, and we are feeling the stress. I feel like I am losing my mind with all this going back and forth to Santa Rosa and Stockton and run Evy’s Tree at the same time. Bless Jen and Sarah’s heart, they are such troopers and are AMAZINGLY helpful. I love you guys, thank you for putting up with me during all this time.
And to my friends, thanks for being so patient with me. And in case you didn’t know we were moving and just now found out, now you know why I am such a scattered person at the moment. ha.
Much love to you all. Thank you in advance for all your love, support and prayers.

Food Friday: Chicken Noodle Soup

So I’m doing a Food Friday… on a Friday. I know, I know, major miracle, ha.
Anyway, I made this soup for Jake this past weekend, as he had a little fever and wasn’t feeling well, and who doesn’t love Chicken soup when sick? 
So I have been so surprised over the years when people tell me they have never been successful at making chicken soup…or soup in general. After talking to people, I realized what they were missing: a good starting base. God only knows how I know that, thank my ever talented mother, I guess. ha. 
Anyway, I have found the key to chicken soup {or any soup for that matter} is this:
I start every soup with the above…
1 whole onion {I prefer yellow, but used white in this one}
2-3 cloves of garlic
olive oil
kosher salt
cracked pepper
Thyme{for chicken broth based soups}
Coarsely chop the onions and the garlic, put into the stockpot and liberally add thyme, salt and pepper. I don’t ever measure, but it will look something like this
Saute the mixture on medium high heat until translucent like below. I would say its about 5 or so minutes.

At this point I add my veggies, usually carrots, celery and squash. Sometimes I add the celery to the beginning mixture, but I got sidetracked. Anyway, saute them all for a few minutes.
Then add your broth. I use about 2 boxes at first and usually end up adding another box and a half or so.
Sometimes I add pasta. My favorite is bow tie, but I was out, so I used egg. Often I forget the pasta and add chopped red potatoes.
Let the above come to a boil on high heat for about 10- 15 mins. Once everything is cooked, I decided to 
add some red swiss chard that I found at the farmers market, so I chopped that up too. I figured Jake could use the vitamins. :) I cooked it for an extra 5 minutes or so, boiling at high heat.
Once everything is cooked, I add my chicken. Many people can cook their chicken with their broth, but I usually just steam mine in my steamer with seasonings and then cut it up. Something about cooking the chicken in the broth creeps me out for some reason. ha. 
And here you go… I add some fresh squeezed lemon and parmesan. My family loves it like this. 

And of course, we have to have some french bread with butter. It’s a MUST, in my opinion, with soup. My little sicky is so happy.

While I was cooking I realized I lost track of Evy. I looked around for her and found her in her kitchen cooking soup too. SO CUTE!

Anyway, that’s it! Once you understand that onion base thing, I feel you can make ANY soup. Often I will change up the broths and use veggie and add veggies, tomatoes and cannelloni beans. Really, the options are endless, you can throw anything in a pot of soup if you understand the onion base.
Anyone else do it this way? 
Happy Friday everyone!!

DIY {Do It Yourself} Friday: Homemade Playdough

Hi all, Amy here….I’m sure many of you have memories of making homemade playdough as a kid. I have some very vivid ones. When we lived in Menlo Park, outside of San Francisco, my mom had a very good friend, who we will call Mrs S. Her husband was Dutch and they had a handful of kids {I think 5 or 6?}. I also went to kindergarten with their oldest son {who was probably my first crush ever, ha!} and we spent a lot of time over at their house.

One of my favorite times there was making homemade playdough with Mrs. S. She had a huge stockpot and we would spend all day over there, mixing, dyeing, kneading and in the end we would all walk away with about four or five ziploc bags of playdough in a rainbow of colors. What I loved the most about this playdough was the smell. Oh my word, it smelled heavenly. I knew we weren’t supposed eat it, but I remember sincerely wishing I could, as it reminded me of pizza dough for some reason. ha.

Anyway, I have been wanting to make playdough with my kids for a while now. I have been seeing recipes pop up on pinterest, and I a week or so ago, I found one that sounded about right to what we did as a kid {HERE}. This labor day, on a whim, I decided to try it with my kids. We were all still in our PJ’s, which I thought would be perfect to a messy project. As I started to prep it, I realized I did not have as much salt as it required…so I hunted around and found this recipe, which I had the ingredients for.

  • white flour – 1 cup
  • salt – 2 tbsp
  • cream of tartar – 2 tbsp
  • cooking oil – 2 tbsp
  • warm water – 1 cup
  • Jello – 1 3oz pack
We used Strawberry Jello, and mixed everything up, just like they said. The kiddos were SUPER excited. Please ignore poor Evy’s hair…sheesh, she looks like a ragamuffin. ha.

Yesterday in Pictures: September 7, 2011

Yesterday was my older brother’s birthday! I won’t say how old he is, but I will say he is inching much closer to being a very old man {hehe}. Love you Jeffrey!

Our day in pictures yesterday:

Sarah cut out all the Sophie orders and today will be working on cutting out another size run to list. Stay tuned for a Monday or Tuesday listing. Here are a few work in progress….

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What We Wore Wednesday

Good morning everyone! Amy here and happy Wednesday to you all!! Just want to share a couple darling pictures of YOU wearing Evy’s Tree. But before I share the pictures with you, I just want to express a HUGE thank you to you all for loving Evy’s Tree as much as you do. It’s just so nice to see so many of you wearing our products with a smile on your face. It brings us a GIANT amount of joy…so thank you everyone!! xoxo

And without further adieu…

Shelby in her holiday Red Simple….

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Today in Pictures: September 6, 2011

Just thought it would be fun to document the Evy’s Tree Life around here every now and then. :)

First, our dinner. You can find the recipe here. This is a huge staple in our home.

My first attempt at freezing pasta. Hope it turns out ok. Anyone out there pasta freezers? Can you spare some tips?
Barefoot Contessa’s Blueberry Muffins. Watch for a Food Friday on them in the next couple of weeks over at my family blog.My kiddos. Completely enraptured with Rio before bedtime. They absolutely love this movie. Especially the part where and Jaime Foxx {sorry don’t know their names in the movie} sing, “I wanna party”. My kids start jumping around like mexican jumping beans, so I just play that part over and over to wear them out. I know, sorry, I’m a desperate mom. ha

So how was your day?