DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces

DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces |

You guys…

I’ve been working on a tutorial, but it isn’t done, and I just couldn’t wait any longer to share a photo of one of these necklaces!

Consider this a sneak peek because I just can’t help myself.

In July, our family celebrated the birthdays of my mom and my husband’s grandma. This year we found ourselves at a bit of a loss of what to give. Neither of them really need anything, nor do they really desire more ‘stuff’.

While they appreciate ALL gifts, personal gifts (especially those involving grandchildren or great-grandchildren) often elicit the most joyful response. You know, the face-lights-up-with-delight kind of response.

Over the past few months, I’ve been slowly collecting supplies to make photo pendant necklaces. I wasn’t sure when I’d make them or who to give them to, but it was something I really wanted to try. Taking my time to buy supplies, I was able to buy everything on sale or with a coupon. As it turned out, I finally had all the supplies in hand, just days before our birthday celebrations.

Perfect timing to make some personalized gifts.

The process was easy and gave a stunning result – even for a beginner like me.

However, I was disappointed to see that when I strung two or three pendants on once chain, they overlapped. It looked good, but it was not what I had in mind.

DIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces |

Digging through supplies for a solution, I was delighted to find a forgotten bag of mixed glass beads from my last trip to Art Scraps Reuse Store (St. Paul, MN). After some searching, I found this ball chain necklace at Hobby Lobby (50% off on sale for just $1 – can’t beat that). It was just thin enough to string a few mis-matched beads between the pendants.

DIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces |

I love how the beads give enough space for the pendants to lay flat. And, because my beads are all different, they make each necklace unique…but you’ll have to read the tutorial later this week to see the rest of them :).

The first two gifts turned out so well, I made another for myself and have been on a bit of a photo pendant gift-making binge…it is going to be so fun to give them away!

Happy Monday everyone!


This post was shared on The Shabby Nest Frugal Friday link party.

frugal friday

One Simple Rule For Whining

One Simple Rule For Whining |

Although whining still occurs at our house when children are tired, hungry or bored, one simple rule has been the most effective in turning things around.

Whining does not get us what we want.

Whining for food? Not getting any. At least not yet.

Whining to go outside? Staying inside, for now.

Bored and whining? I don’t think I can help you right now.

Whatever they are whining for, they will hear the same response from me – whining does not get us what we want. They can continue to whine, but it will not produce the desired result. And they may end up having to continue whining in their room.

The message is clear – they’ll have to find another way.

But what does a child do with this? Most likely they will get frustrated because they don’t know another way. So along with the rule comes a lot of grace and a willingness to teach some problem solving skills.

They need to learn to solve their problems without whining. If it was natural to do so, they’d already be doing it.

First acknowledge how they are feeling. Obviously if they are whining, they have a problem of some kind. Sometimes they don’t even know what the problem is. Help them name it. Many times, naming it is enough to make them recognize what they need so they can ask for it.

Next, try asking questions to help them figure out a solution. Does the way they are talking sound kind? Is there another way they could be talking? Is there something they need or want? Do they need help with something? Have they tried asking for it?

I often find myself saying to our kids, “Lets start with asking for it”.  And parents, I think we need to be generous here – when you can say yes, SAY YES.

While it isn’t fool-proof, most whining can be rephrased as a polite question.

Turn that whine into a polite question explaining what you need or want to do? I’d like to help you. Lets talk about it.

Suddenly whining for food becomes – I’m hungry. Can I have a snack?

Whining to go outside becomes – I really want to go outside. Can we?

Bored and whining becomes – I can’t find anything to do. Can you play with me?

Before going any further, I think we need to step back as parents and determine if we contributed to their whining. Yes, you read that right. Parenting is a big job. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I’m so busy or distracted that I neglect to make our children feel heard. No wonder they turn to whining! At least it provokes a response, albeit a negative one. Have they already asked you for want they want? Were you really listening to them or have you been distracted with something else? Did you ask them to wait longer than is appropriate for their age? Is there a physical need – sleep, food, water – that needs to be met? If we’ve contributed to the problem, we may need to remedy our response before we ask them to remedy theirs.

Although sometimes it would be easier to give in to the whine…remember, consistency is king. Every time we give into a whiny request, we demonstrate that whining does get them what they want. At least, it does sometimes.

Which means it’s still worth trying.

So…Do. Not. Give. In.

Start showing them that whining does not get them the result they want –  and then help them find another way.

I am THAT Allergy Mama – Ice Cream Truck Ignorance Is Bliss


As our son was standing at the window yesterday I heard him exclaim, “Mom! There’s a short moving van driving in circles. And it plays MUSIC!

Over and over, it drove by our house, announced by its cheery songs.

It triggered memories of childhood joy upon picking a treat from a similar mobile merry-maker. What child isn’t excited to hear the ice cream truck? Longing to share such summer joy with our children, I briefly considered running barefoot to flag him down.

I placed my hand on the door knob only to be stopped by a mind filled by an urgent stream of questions.

Food allergies sometimes throw a monkey-wrench in spontaneity.

How many of those treats contain nuts? How many are cross-contaminated? How many have original manufacturer labeling? Does the driver know these answers?  If not, is it OK for me to make a phone call to a manufacturer while he waits for me to buy a popsicle for $1?

What if I blow our son’s mind by telling him the ‘van’ is an ice cream truck and then have to him he can’t eat anything on it?


I just couldn’t take the chance of squashing his joy. Going home and giving him the band aid of a ‘safe’ popsicle from our freezer just wouldn’t have been good enough.

Suddenly it was a relief that he doesn’t know what that so-called ‘musical moving van’ is really up to.

Today I didn’t have to explain to him why we could not buy those treats. It was a blessing that he did not see excited children lining up enjoy ice-cold goodness.

This ice cream truck innocence will not last forever. The odds of the truck rolling through our neighborhood again without delighted children spilling-the-beans seems slim. I’m sure next time we won’t be so lucky and our son will discover its true purpose.

I know his eyes will widen with wonder and eager delight – it is very important to me that I not have to tell him we can’t eat anything on it because we already avoid so much.

SO, I decided to be prepared before the its inevitable return. Planning ahead is an allergy mama’s most powerful and necessary tool – joyful childhood memories depend on it. As our children marveled at the music, I scribbled down the name of the company and its phone number (helpfully displayed on the side of the truck). I found the business online will call them in the morning to pepper someone other than the ice cream truck driver with allergy-related questions.

Assuming something is safe (nut-free), I cannot wait to introduce our children to the ice cream truck. And yes, I’m prepared to deal with crying when the truck goes by and we decide not to participate for reasons other than food allergies (already had a treat, no cash, haven’t eaten dinner yet).

Today, our children’s ice cream truck ignorance was bliss for me.

Next time, equipped with allergen info, the revelation of the ice cream truck’s true identity will be bliss for our children.

A Couples Wedding Shower

A Couples Wedding Shower |

It was our pleasure to host a couples wedding shower in honor of our nephew Brandon and his bride-to-be, Lauren.

Our nephew grew up and graduated high school in MN but has since moved out-of-state. Lauren had never come to MN with Brandon to see where he spent his childhood, nor had she met some of his family and friends who live here. They were able to fit in just one short visit before the wedding – it was the perfect, and only chance to throw a wedding shower.

Since the couple came in late Friday and left on Sunday, Saturday was the only day available to throw a shower. We chose brunch so they could make the most of their only full day in town. Having the shower in the morning left the rest of the day open for the couple to explore his old stomping grounds.

This post includes the special touches to ‘shower’ the couple. I’ll follow-up in another post with the food we served for brunch.

For more shower ideas, check out another couples wedding shower we threw last year- A Laid-back Open House Couples Shower.


DIY Network Shower Invitation Template |

The shower invitation was modified from this free invitation template from the DIY network. All text can be modified so it could easily be used for any type of event! Who would have expected to find free invitation templates on the DIY Network site? There are a few other options available – in fact, I almost picked this free Nautical template instead.

Date Night Idea Card

Date Night Idea Card |

A stamped note card was included in each invitation for guests to write date night ideas for the bride and groom. Guests came up with all kinds of creative ideas.

His & Hers – 10 Favorite Moments Together

His and Her Favorite 10 Moments

Before Brandon and Lauren arrived, we asked each of them to email 10 of their favorite moments together. Originally, I planned to display two short lists using a chalkboard or poster. BUT, they sent beautifully written paragraphs that told their story with genuine affection and honesty. Condensing their moments into a short list would have taken away the emotion and love their words conveyed. Instead of changing them, each paragraph was printed and posted on the wall for guests to read as they mingled.

DIY “We Do” Wedding Shower Photo Banner

DIY WE DO Wedding Shower Photo Banner

Every bride-and-groom-to-be needs a banner in their honor – that is just the way it is! We asked the couple to send us some of their favorite photos. Text and photos were printed on cardstock in black and white. The text flags were cut and lined with patterned tape. The same tape was used to decorate clothes pins. It was quick and easy – just peel and stick! I actually used the other side of the patterned paper decorated clothes pins used to hang the You Are My Sunshine photo banner. The flags and photos were strung using twine across our kitchen.

Coffee Station Photo Banner

Coffee Station Photo Banner |

I found this free printable about love and coffee (I lightened the exposure so it could be printed without draining our ink cartridges) to hang by the coffee station. Like the “We Do” banner, it was strung with twine alongside two more black and white photos using clothes pins.

Gift Table

Wedding Shower Cards Garland and Gift Table

Two banners were made for gifts – one hung on the gift table, and one hung above it for cards. Guests used a clothes pins to clip their cards to the twine and left their gifts and date night cards on the table.

I Have Found The One…Sign

I Have Found The One Whom My Soul Loves |

I love this verse from Song of Solomon, especially for a wedding shower. This photo (changed to black and white using Pic Monkey) was printed on cardstock and applied to an 8×10 canvas using Modge Podge. The sign was placed on the gift table in the entryway for the shower and will be hung in our bedroom.

Open WIDE Your Mouth

Psalm 8110

Picture a child, head thrown back, mouth open as wide as it can go, with a smile curling up the corners. Then picture this wide open mouth as it is filled with water. So much water, that it cannot contain it. So it overflows, spills out and runs down a giggling chin.

I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. ~Psalm 81: 10 (NIV)

This verse always brings a smile to my face. A sweet picture of a gift given by the God who has proven Himself faithful, powerful and generous.

Do you ever long to fill your children like this? With food, experiences, or simply your love?

I do.

But I also long for them to be filled with even more important things. Eternal things.

It gives me great joy to consider how in the same way, my Father in heaven longs to fill me. To fill you. To fill our children.

His children.

And what does He want to fill us with?

For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. ~Psalm 107:9  (NIV)

Good things.

His word.

His spirit and it’s fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

These are the things I long for more of – things worthy of our longing. Such blessings our Father longs to bestow upon us and promises to us – if only we would come humbly before Him, obey and receive.

It is my expectant prayer that as I pursue God in His word and in prayer, that He will fill me with His good things and work through me for His glory. I also pray our children will see the Holy Spirit’s fruit overflowing from ME, and long for the same in their own hearts.

To willingly and expectantly open their mouths.

I cannot make them open their mouths, just as God does not make me open mine.

But I pray they will.

Today my mouth is open and ready to receive ALL that God has for me.


Is yours?

The Pledge, The Whole Pledge, And Nothing But The Pledge


The Fourth of July is a time to reflect on our country.

I am grateful to be a citizen of this great nation.

Regardless of our differences.

Regardless of our struggles.

We are privileged to live here.

Today we celebrate our independence with barbeques, family and friends, and spectacular fireworks.

We are FREE to do so.

We are immeasurably blessed.

This morning our son got excited about his flag T-shirt and started to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

It made me proud to hear him recite the words.

That pledge has been in my brain, memorized since I was just his age.

And, when I say the Pledge, I mean the FULL one with no words removed.

I thought it fitting to simply end this post these simple, yet fitting words.

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

7 Tricks To Curb Car-Ride Complaining

7 tricks

We’ve all experienced frustration as we hop in the car after a day of fun in the sun when a tired child opens their mouth and complaining spills out.

We know the feeling of exasperation that EVEN after we spent the entire day engaged in making them happy, they respond with complaining instead of contentment.

About true things.

About silly things.

About nothing.

While frustrating, it is understandable that children are prone to complaining. Adults complain too – when they’re tired, or hot, or hungry, or thirsty, or bored, or when there is no good reason for it at all.

Of course our children are going to struggle with it too.

I do. More than I’d like to admit.

The problem is, complaining is infectious. It can create a vicious cycle that goes something like this:

Our family has a fun day. Everyone is tired. It takes just one complaint to send our family down the complaining rabbit hole. We request the complaining stop. They complain some more. We become frustrated. Scolding a tired child to stop complaining generates more complaining, and potentially tears. We find ourselves complaining about THEIR complaining and maybe even asking if we need to ‘pull this car over’.

It takes awareness and effort to stop the complaining cycle and to redirect. As parents, we need to recognize and prepare for the very real chance that our child WILL be a stick-in-the-mud at some point this summer.

Or…gasp…that it might be US who allow that first complaint to escape our lips.

Complaining happens.

Tired people, enclosed spaces and boredom make the car a place with high potential for complaining. We need a game-plan to curb the complaining, without threatening to pull the car over to the curb!

Whether the complaining is ours or theirs, we need to stop it in its tracks so we have the chance to finish fun days well.

7 Tricks To Curb Car-Ride Complaining


Yes, you! Children emulate their parents. A complaining parent will have a complaining child. If we want our children to stop complaining, we need to lead by example. Listen to your own words during the day. What are you complaining about? The weather? Your relationships? Your clothes? Your child’s complaining? Whatever it is – STOP IT. It is better to be silent than to demonstrate complaining to your children.

2. Apologize

No one is perfect. Even the most purposeful and grateful mama is going to complain. Pay attention! When you catch yourself complaining, stop AND THEN talk to your children about it. Tell them you’re sorry for having a bad attitude. CHOOSE to stop and demonstrate moving on with a positive attitude. Give them a real-life example to emulate.

3. Demonstrate Gratitude

Actively try to replace complaining words and thoughts with gratitude. Let your children hear you giving thanks and praise to God and others MORE than they hear anything else. Be sure to thank your spouse, children and others generously. Encourage children to thank each other. Try focusing on gratitude while walking to the car and during those first moments IN the car. It can set the tone for the whole ride home!

4. Reminisce

Stop car-ride complaining by sharing your favorite moments of the day. As you talk about the fun you had, children can begin to think about the fun they had. Be engaged and listen attentively as they share their favorite moments. If you can, extend their story by asking leading questions (What about when…? How did you feel when…? Wasn’t it fun when…?). The longer they spend recalling the best of the day, the longer their mind is off of anything that leads to complaining.

5. Praise Them

Instead of demanding that a child stop complaining, redirect them with praise. Tell them how they made you proud that day. What did they do today that was kind, helpful, gentle, loving or patient? What did they do that was new, challenging, or out of their comfort zone today? While a child may have trouble shifting from complaining to joy simply by being instructed to do so, praising what they do well can help them see their circumstances from a different perspective. Help them make the leap by lifting them up. Extend the praise by going around, addressing each child in the car and encourage each child to lift their siblings up as well.

6. Planned Distractions

An over-tired child has trouble with transitions. When getting ready for a long, fun day, think about what will help your child transition at the end of the day. If you are pushing nap time back or skipping nap time altogether, consider bringing your child’s comfort blanket or toy. If an activity involves changing the normal meal schedule, bring extra snacks and drinks. If a long drive is required, throw in a few toys, kids CDs or books to keep them busy and focused on something other than complaining. If you haven’t planned ahead, engage your family in a game of I-Spy, sing a song, or start counting SOMETHING (trucks, red cars, blue cars, planes, birds, cows).

7. Pray Together

Pray when you get in the car, BEFORE anyone has had the chance to complain. Thank God for the fun day, for memories made, for each family member, and ask Him to help your family finish the day with grateful hearts. Prayer can effectively and powerfully set the tone for every one in the car. 

How do you curb car-ride complaining?

If you’re hopping in the car after a public meltdown, check out these tips as well! 7 DO’s and DON’Ts after your Child’s Public Meltdown