Wednesday, December 14, 2011


It's underway! Day three of Project 320{2011}, and we are already nearly 20% of the way to funding Well number FOUR, through charity: water!

This year there are several awesome prize bundles up for grabs, each raffle hosted by individual bloggers. Check out the Linky below this post to start shopping... OR add your own link to the party! The P320 blog has all the details.

Remember that each $10 donation to our campaign earns one entry to your raffle of choice... and, yeah, that small $10 equals ten YEARS of clean water for just one person.

I don't have a bundle to raffle off this year. Instead, I made a small contribution to each of the P320 girls' bundles. Yep, go visit Erin, Heather G., Marta, and Mel for a great chance at winning two items of your choice from my shop... among tons of other amazingness!

I have lots of brand new headbands and little boys' bowties to be listed in the shop this week!

But winning one of the bundles isn't the only way to end up with some fun stuff! I was inspired by Julie's new incentive idea...

That is such a mind-boggling statistic. Somewhere in our small world there is a mom of four innocent BABIES- just like ME- who will lose them today, thanks to contaminated water... times a thousand. Disgusting.

If you donate $40, you will save four lives- lives no different than my 4 'C's.
And I want to support your generosity by happily offering your choice of my special Project 320 aqua scalloped bowtie or headband!

So if you have donated $40 or more this week, in addition to your 4 raffle entries (to ANY of the raffles), please come back and visit me- leave a comment below with your email address.

Also, the P320 bowties and headbands will be listed in my shop as well, and I will donate to our campaign $10 of each item purchased. You know, just in case you're looking for a last-minute gift that totally gives back!

THANK YOU for your support, yet another year!

Now glory be to God!
By his mighty power at work within us,
He is able to accomplish infinitely more
than we would ever dare to ask or hope.
Ephesians 3:20

Saturday, December 10, 2011

lives CHANGED.

Wow. If this isn't taking advantage of fresh, clean water, I don't know what is!

Monday the P320 girls and I- with your help- launch year three. What started out as a small idea, a dream in our hearts, an impossible goal, suddenly became more than possible.

Together we have BUILT THREE WELLS.

YOU helped give three communities access to clean water.

To life.
To hope.
To a future.

Let's do it again!
Want to get involved?

Visit the 320 blog and be sure to check back here on Monday!

And let's make a lot more of THIS happen...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday: 25% off!

Hop on over to CMhandmade today, for 25% off all headbands and bowties- perfect for the holidays, your family photo shoot, or just for fun!
{Just enter coupon code CYBERMONDAY25 at checkout.}
Support handmade this Cyber Monday! Happy shopping!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

happy days: handwritten tuesday

Tuesday's activity happens to go hand-in-hand with getting some happiness in the mail to Kevin's grandma, who has sadly had a really rough year health-wise. She is possibly the sweetest grandma in the world, and is the first to get handmade cards in the mail for all of us- never missing a single occasion. Grams is also the genius behind the best ever apple crisp.

We hope we could brighten her day with a little GOBBLE GOBBLE. And if have a chance to say an extra prayer for Grams and her brave husband, our family would be so grateful!

Monday, November 7, 2011

happy days: cookie monday!

Are you playing along? Day one of the Happy Day Project focused on surprising your neighbors with a treat! Since I have already done cookies in a mason jar for our neighbors, we created cute take-out containers for four families... full of brownie-dipped Oreos.

Surely, everyone has seen some version of these delightfully amazing cookies by now, but here's a recap:

You'll need:
-box of brownie mix + whatever it calls for (have you tried TJ's truffle brownie mix?!)
-box of Oreos (makes about 24)

-Preheat oven to 350.
-Grease or paper-line 2 muffin tins.
-Prepare brownie mix according to instructions (you may want to add a splash of milk if it is really thick).
-Coat each Oreo with brownie batter & place one per muffin cup.

-Bake about 12 minutes...
That's it!

You will definitely make somebody's day with this recipe up your sleeve! I only hope your baking assistant is as cute as mine!

Next up for the Happy Day Project... a good old handwritten note. See you tomorrow!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

and speaking of kindness...

Today is the big reveal of Jeannett & Julie's Happy Day Project,
inspired by another random acts of kindess story, very similar to the one I shared yesterday!

Here is a sneak peek of what's on the agenda for next week...
I can't wait to get involved, and I hope you'll join me!
Spread the word!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

thanks, kindly!

Thanks and kindness, I think they go hand-in-hand. What better way to express gratitude than to be kind? Beginning yesterday, we are trying out a new praise-based reward system: Caught in Kindness. Specifically, we are working on sharing in your siblings' joy (less competition, more encouragement for one another) and respect for grown-ups (less back-talk, more serving with enthusiasm). The goal is to be caught being GOOD, and to fill up those envelopes with redeemable tickets. We'll see how it goes.

Instead, be KIND to eachother, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:32

Also... a few great Thankgiving-inspired ideas worth checking out:

I just sent my family members the sign-up sheet for Blessed to Bless bags, as part of our Thanksgiving celebration. My favorite new tradition, thanks to Leslie!

Rachel started 'Thankful on Paper' last November. Love it!

This blogger celebrated her birthday by delivering Random Acts of Kindness all day. I'm thinking one per day, all of November.

And yes, just like eating turkey shouldn't be limited to November, we should obviously be practicing these acts all year... but Thanksgiving month is just too convenient a way to get our kids inspired and excited to bless others.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween week

Hello, November! I love October, but after a solid week of scrambling to finish costumes... a preschool party... a grown-up party... our annual family harvest dinner... an elementary school parade... and an overabundance of crap candy... I am so ready to put the Halloween decorations away! Festivities included appearances by Bert & Mary, Rapunzel, Mustard & Ketchup, a spooky bat, an adorable shark (and his poor victim), and the Giustino girls as the cutest ever peacock & ladybug! Camden and Leila are old pros at trick-or-treating now and pretty much wish they could go without us... which Chloe actually DID do for the first time this year! Will this be the last year we have all four kids in costumes?! *tear!*

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall tastes so good!

If you don't have a Trader Joe's, I am so sorry! Looking through my pantry, it is clear that I'm a seasonal food fan. And Trader Joe's SPOILS us in the Fall! Here are just a few treats you'll find in our house this month... Amanda even told me this morning she sent Bobby to work with a TJ's pumpkin cheesecake from the frozen aisle. Must've missed that one! What are your Fall must-haves?

The other day on Pinterest, I saw a 'Favorite Things' party idea: Each guest picks a favorite product ($6 or under) and brings five of them to the party. In a nutshell, everyone draws names and ends up going home with five awesome little things. So fun! Trader Joe's seasonal goodies would be perfect for this- during any season! My mom hosts an ornament exchange every December, but I think a favorite things exchange would be a cool alternative one year.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

iso & aperture & shutter speed... oh my!

Last month I finally took the plunge and clicked my DSLR onto 'M'(anual)! Thanks to Ashley Ann's AWESOME online SnapShop, I actually understand what each of those terms above mean! It is so enlightening!

Learning to shoot in manual is definitely like learning a foreign language. Yesterday Chloe asked me if it is hard to learn to drive a car, and I explained that it was really a just matter of mastering a combination of several components, and that with practice it eventually becomes second nature... I thought to myself that photography is very similar. Composition plus the right camera settings is a lot to master in the short window you have to point and shoot, trying to capture every day moments. But just like with any new skill, Ashley emphasizes the importance of practice, practice, PRACTICE!

I still have a long way to go, and of course I already have a lenses wish list. Here's a little peek at my first "practice" session since the SnapShop... so go easy on me. Who better to practice on than a very cooperative and cute newborn?!

After taking these on Saturday, Kayla regretted not being in any of the shots, so we threw together a last-minute family shoot on Sunday! Another day to snuggle my new niece? No argument. We arrived at this field with about ten minutes of sunlight left.

Stella says, "Who is the crazy lady with the camera in my face every day of my week-long life?"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


On Tuesday we welcomed our niece, baby Stella into the world.
She is the cutest little bundle of squishiness.
Despite all the teasing from our family, Stella is NOT making me wish for another baby of my own...
Instead I am already busy planning future slumber parties, shopping sprees, and plenty of fun auntie time. I can't wait!

Children are God's best gift. -Psalm 127:3