Thursday, December 31, 2009

a new better header

so did you notice anything new around here?  why yes, my observant friend, i do have a new header!  i was using freebies from template sites to start but once i switched my template to stretch minima {so i could have giant pictures} there were no free headers that would expand to fill the space.  i was helpless with no hope of finding my way to a large custom header until...sarah entered my life. 

sarah has a blog called {clover lane} that is inventive, creative, yummy & so much fun to read.  she has a post on her blog about how to create your own header using picasa.  what a dream come true!  a free, yes FREE way to create a custom header that perfectly fits you, your style & your blog.  if you are in need of an awesome tool such as this check out here tutorial HERE.  you will not be disappointed.

here is sarah's december version.  i know, i know, it's about a billion times better than mine but she's like a pro @ this, has mad photography skills & precious babies - i can't compete with that.  anywho...check out her & her banner makin' tutorial.  i'm so glad i did! 

be prepared for the many headers to come from {with grace & lace}...when i made this current one i was so excited to get started on it but felt terrible with a headache from you know where so i didn't give it the time & attention it deserved.  i can't wait to go a second round with it in a few weeks & really get creative.

let sarah & i know if you use this little trick, i'd love to see what you come up with! 

additionally, HAPPY NEW YEAR'S EVE dear friends!  i hope you get to spend the day with someone or someone(s) you love.  i'm going to be cleaning the whole house.  benny {the master painter} painted half our house in the last two days so everything we own is in the center of all our rooms.  AND all the christmas decorations have come down too {well down to the center of each room with all our other junk at least}.  it looks kind of sad & empty without all of our festivensess.  next up...valentine's day!

"so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
1 corinthians 10:31
--all kinds of bloggy love--

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

for the kiddos...

if you have little ones you may like this!  

they measure 13" X 13" X 26" - they are so small and so cute.  what a fun way to have a children's play table out in the mix of all your sophisticated home decor & not have it look like playskool threw up in your living room.  or if you're like my family, you alway have a 'kids table' set up for meals.  your babes would feel like little adults in these precious, bite-sized, leather, parson's chairs from kirkland's; you can find more details {here}. 

i was there last night trying to scrounge up on the discounted christmas leftovers & just giggled over these cute little things, they were on sale for $24 or so.  they are only available in the stores i believe so, if you're interested & live in the lexington area, the fayette mall location still has some.

to all the momma's out there...hope you like these!

bronze god

that post title makes   me chuckle because in high school ben once went on a cruise for spring break with his fam, got burnt like alobster...{the terrible hurting sunburn that later peels like crazy} but by the time he returned to school he was the darkest shade of tan ever. our quasi-gay teacher called him a "bronze god" -- hysterical.

so on to the real reason for the post...

something horrific is happening. i am fading into see-through pale. i think this began sometime in october, it's now december. imagine what i'm going to be like when march rolls around? shreeeeekkkkk! ugh. i love being tan. i know that it is superficial and silly, i know that it has no eternal significance or weight and yet...i wish i could be tan so badly. maybe you are thinking... "jen, ever heard of a tanning bed?" my response: "why yes but i have put a ban on fake-n-bakin' for the past 3 years or so." DANG IT!

through my high school years & up into college i was an avid tanning bed attendant. i was never one of those jamacians in the middle of winter {i don't think} but i always had some color. my skin never looked see-through purple because ew...who wants purple skin. i know what my mom would say, "many people with fair skin are very beautiful." agreed, there are beautiful pale people out there but i am NOT one of them. i feel about 1,000 times better once i get some color on me!

since the ban continues i'm going to dream of being here...

sit me down right about here...

& let me soak up some of this! bring it on clear blue sky & warm sunny sun..

i am currently in the process of figuring out how to end my dilema & i think there is only one solution and it certainly isn't immediate.  i'm going to go on spring break with benny.  it's the only way to kill this digusting paleness that is taking over my body.  if you've got any suggestions on where we should for spring break on a budget that would be fantastic.

does anyone else feel my pale pain?  if you naturally have a dark complexion, don't respond.

Monday, December 28, 2009

yay for a giveaway...lucky lucky jen jen

lucky little jen jen strikes again!  benny strolled in once again with a handful of mail & a particularly special treat for moi.

.first came this.

next, a sparkly card that would hint at my sparkles to come...

and then...and then...and then...mmmm...a gorgeous little necklace.  beautiful golden chain & three navy gems.  if that doesn't sound like me, i don't know what is.

it's one of those pieces that you can wear with anything, you can wear it heels and feel dressed up or throw it on with an oxford & just feel a little bit more dainty.

how did one girl get so lucky?  well, that's a good question. 
i follow this amazing designer named camila at high-heeled foot in the door and she had 12 days of amazing giveaways...i entered & entered & entered each day {i'm persistent when it comes to fantastic & free prizes} and what do you know...random chooser loves me!

you really must check this girl out, she's sweet, funny & has impeccable taste.  warning: she will fill your head with beautiful, creative & inspirational ideas that you just won't be able to get rid of.

i won my precious gem from jess at jess l.c.  thank you so much for giving such fantastic gifts!  click {here} to find out more about her & peruse her store full of goodies!  maybe you have a little christmas money you're looking to burn.  treat yourself or someone you love with something sweet from jess!

thanks camila & jess for dressing me up right!

that's amore monday

in honor of the past two weeks, today i'd like to give a shout out to 'the-get-together'.  oh, how i adore a good hangout with family & friends.  since we just happened to have a holiday {i lil something i like to call christmas} i had the priviledge of seeing all kinds of kin & dear friends.  i took some shots to document our time together & thought you might like to come along for the ride. 

our christmas celebration with my lexington family went undocumented, i think momma steph may have taken some shots so maybe i can steal from her since i forgot to play photographer that night.  you did get to see some post-christmas gift shots {here}.

<3 here's benny & i <3

grandma margaret & jim {who are now sitting toasty in florida...jealous? yes!}

our puppy red dog.  he's getting real old.

this is my little nephew, colby cheese.  isn't he precious?  he {contrary to red} is very young & has a bunch of energy.

here's my big brother, paul looking like a bank robber so that he go climb mt. rainier & my sister-in-love, greta who got some sweet running gloves.

and here's sister, molly & her hubby, david, the newlyweds...aww.

there was quite a mess to be picked up after present opening was complete.

more family time!  hooray!

now off to chicago.  we travelled up north for a few fun filled days with benny's family.  he comes from a gigantic familia too so we got to see so many wonderful people.  the trip up was nice, the weather was mild, we had ben's little {but giant} brother as a passenger, snacks & good music.  it was an excellent road trip.  we arrived about 2 pm to D&D, grandma ada's itailan deli & store.  i'm a bit lost trying to work in an italian deli, i can't pronounce most of the food in the store & know very little about food preparation but we spent the afternoon there despite my lack of helpfulness, we visited & helped where we could. 

that evening we were sent back to grandma's house to clean fish, shrimp & squid for the annual fish fry that would commence on christmas eve.  now if you don't know me well you may not know that i am pretty picky with what i'll eat & even pickier on what i will touch.  raw meat gives me the willies so the thought of cleaning an octopus is pretty much nausiating. but the sweet little damiani's found me something i could handle - pre-cleaned, frozen seafood. perfect for me {sort of}.  the table next to me was surrounded by youngin's who had just been taught the proper way to clean squid.  i heard many "i just pulled out an eyeball" & "how can i get the beak out?" statements.  this did not make me want to join them.

i actually did end up having plenty to munch on during christmas eve {i'm sure you were worried i would wither away...not} but i stuffed my face with yummy bread, cocktail shrimp, fried shrimp & calimari too!   here is something i didn't touch but thought you might be interested to see.  yes, this is a bowl full of snails that have been cooked in spaghetti sauce & then strained out.  and again, you're not seeing things, that is an octopus on top.

two of the cutest little cousins in the world.  i just want to squeeze their little cheeks!

.best friends.

eventually we made our way back home to good ol' kentucky.  the drive home was a little more terrifying eventful.  right before we left a mild blizzard stirred up & the roads were slick as can be.  {close your ears, mom}.  there were cars in ditches all over the place & we passed a few that were flipped over as well, i think the super strong winds we were having had something to do with it.  but not to fear, we took our time & went very slowly until we got into better circumstances & 6 hours later, safely arrived at home sweet home.

and last night we got one of the most precious treats of all - a visit from baby silas!  woo hoo.  he LOVES coming to his aunt & uncle's house to play {that's us}.  he even put on his hoodie because he likes us so much.

i should have flipped these vertically {sorry} tilt your head friends!  isn't he a DOLL?  he is still super duper tiny & makes the most awesome faces.

that's the teeny tiny-ness i was talking about.  look how small he looks when you hold him up.  oh my goodness!  momma ang is looking awfully pretty too don't cha think!?

"i'm so excited i may projectile vomit on auntie jen!!!"

.making funny faces with his poppa.
{my camera needs baby red eye detector}

clinton, you look like a natural. do you have something to tell us?

that's all for that's amore monday & for my adventure story telling for the day as well.  i hope each of you had the opportunity to attend a 'get together' that warmed your heart & brought you joy. 

-with love from our home-

Saturday, December 26, 2009

a crafty little christmas

so it seems that this year has been one for crafty inspiration which just so happened to creep into christmas presents as well.  i gave some crafts & got some crafts - i thought you might be excited to sneak a peek.  {these crafts differ from our homemade goodies from girl's christmas, that you may have seen {here}.  here we go...

i received lots of girly jewels from stella bella boutique who is run by my bestie, rach.  my family knew how much i loved all her pieces so they loaded me up.  each is homemade & dainty as can be.  i can't wait to wear them all...but i should probably only do one at a time.

i have a big ol' family so i wanted to do something sweet, creative & thoughtful that wouldn't break the bank.  my hope was to make something that would help serve as a memory maker instead of just more 'stuff' {although i know sometimes stuff is fun}.  one of my favorite things to do is get all bundled up with my hubby & drink hot chocolate so, i made a basket full of goodies so that each couple could do just that.  

here's what i gathered for this project:
fleece blanket -- old navy
set of mugs -- walmart {bought individually}
mason jars -- only at one kroger in town {it's the wrong season for canning}
hot cocoa mix -- swiss miss {bought the super family size}
mini chocolate chips -- nestle's mini semi-sweet chips
mini marshmellows
fabric -- anything you have lying around, i bought a remnant at wally world for $0.16.
baskets -- walmart on sale for $2.88 a piece
pinking shears & ribbon dressed up the baskets

here's a close-up of the jar.  i think they are so sweet.

and i decided to make some monogrammed labels for everyone {see below}.  since many had the same last name {we're family duh} i also wrote the 'to' & 'from' on the back side {see a glimpse above}.  the labels i found {here} on  i actually have it bookmarked because i think you could basically use these for anything.  print them on different colored card stock to dress them up, use them to make place cards on a table scape, make fun garland that spells a phrase, print on sticker paper & make real labels - anything!  in this case i think it makes any package seem more personal as well!  one side note about those labels - she says to use a 3" round paper punch, i don't have one, couldn't find one & probably wouldn't have paid to have one if i did find it so what i recommend is just cut around the edges, simple as that, it really takes very little time.

my nana also got to crafting and made this beautimous ornament for benny & i.  she knows all kinds of tricks for sewing, and knitting, and crocheting, and cooking {i could keep going but will stop for your sake}.  i think it is very happy living on our tree!

i had to throw in this precious ornament since i was taking close-ups of the tree.  my momma steph made this for us last year, our first christmas together.  i L-O-V-E it.  

on the topic of momma steph, she made me these crocheted hangers!  how adorable are those!?  and she can just crank 'em out, i see an etsy store in her future.  as soon as we have a little babe i'll need about 40 of these please!

.that little flower is my fave.

on to my last craft.  i really went out on a limb for this one.  i am no seamstress but have been desperately wanting to get into it.  i thought christmas was a good place to start so i made momma steph an apron.  i started out thinking i would follow {this pattern}.  i bought all the fabric & materials as if that was what i was making but ended up not really following any of the steps she lays out.  it is far from perfect but i tried right?

i finally finished up laaaaate one night & took a shot of someone {me, since i was the only one around at 2 am} so you could see it on a person.  i apologize for messy me & all the mess surrounding my feet.

i'll share my steps with you soon & give some advice on all the things i learned on this little adventure.

here's a shot not on a person, sorry for my finger, the pile of thread & scraps, the iron, the towel & my toes, my photography skills were really lacking at this point.

welp, this is belated but merry christmas all!  hope you enjoyed fun, joyous, memorable times with your family & friends.  please feel free to attach any links of crafty creations you gave or received this holiday, i'd love to see them.

wishing you every happiness-
jen jen

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

adventure approaches

in less than 24 hours 
...i will be on my way here...

{with this handsome fella}

.to celebrate a man who was born to die so that we might have life & have it to the full.
{john 10:10}

"for to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,

& the government will be on his shoulders.

& he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
isaiah 9:6 
i'm unsure what blogging will look like over the next week or so {you will probably be so busy you won't even miss me} but regardless i may or may not be around for a bit.  don't worry i won't drop this fabulous habit, no no no, i will return - sooner or later - and i will have so many exciting goodies to share with you when i post once again!
merry christmas my dear friends, family & blogland.  i am very thankful for this creative outlet & for your encouragement, thoughts & suggestions through it.  it has been a blast thus far & i'm sure will only continue.

Monday, December 21, 2009

that's amore monday

well hello there friends & a big ol' merry christmas to you! only 4-ish days until the big day! what a delight. we celebrated 3 family christmases this past weekend {& 4 in the past week} since we will be out of town {in chicago} from mid-week on this week.  we will be visiting benny's family.

it was beyond great to spend the weekend with some of my closest family.  that time really is precious isn't it?  what a blessing to have a life filled with so many wonderful people who are so encouraging, loving & selfless.  goodness, i am thankful.

as i am sure you will hear me say about eight-thousand times in the next two weeks, i am aware that christmas is not about presents, its not about what we get or even what we give really.  my continual hope it to point people to the cross but along the way i do get to give {& get} some really neat things & i am just so excited by these little treats that i simply must share them with you all.  in light of god's grace & the perfect gift of His son, Jesus, i know these things are trivial but lets celebrate Christ & enjoy the little things that put a smile on our face, shall we?

over this past week ben & i were flooded with gobs of goodies.  we come from extremely generous families that just love to give.  they each have really great hearts.   so that leaves me with a gillion great finds that i can't wait to share with Y-O-U!  so today for that's amore monday, that is exactly what i'm going to do...share a sweet gift with ya'll!

santa stopped by my mom & pop's house in louisville a few days early because he knew that we'd be out of town on the day of, since he's so smart, in my stocking i recieved this little gem.   it is an eddie bauer down ice scraper mitt - which can be found {here}.  mine is the first one on the top, the black & white plaid with faux fur accent.  i love it!

since lexington has recently been converted to a winter wonderland, & everyday when i wake up i see about an inch of flurries on my windshield this contraption will be incredibly useful!  i'm thinking i may rely on it during our adventure too.  i hear that sometimes it snows in chicago.

it is not only useful but soooooo cute!  i wish i had a close up of mine to show you but no one wanted to give me one on google {dang it google}!  this is the style my sister, molly, has {i think}.  still adorable!   while you're freezing your tail off & clinching all the muscles in your body as you scrape away this might actually put a smile on your face, can you imagine? what a stylish way to keep your hand warm! 

thank you mom, santa & eddie bauer!
.that is that's amore monday.
stay posted on more fantastic christmas treats.  i don't mean to brag but my fam & friends are just the best gift givers, i gotta show 'em off!!