Sunday, December 29, 2013

My 2013 Wrap-Up

Hi y'all! 2014 is just around the corner! It's hard to believe that it's about to be 2014. Is it just me or does that seem like such a futuristic number? Where are the hover-boards and flying cars??

I've got big plans for 2014, both for the blog, and for my life. I'm bringing back 14 in 2014 for the 3rd time so that should be exciting (I just do so much better when I have a list), and I'll reveal the list for that soon. The blog is getting a makeover and that will be revealed later this week. (SO EXCITED!!!) Big things are happening but first, let's give 2013 a well-deserved send off. 

2013 Wrap-Up

Julius turned 2 in January. This picture is from when we first got him in October 2011.

In May, I started college again at DeVry University, took 3 classes, made the Dean's List, then had to quit after the summer because we had a lot of stuff going on with Luke and I wasn't going to get to take the classes for free anymore. 

Also in May, this little guy was born and came to live with us. He will be ours forever sometime next year. 

Luke Dow at 2 1/2 weeks old. 

Luke coming to us meant I became a momma to three boys. Heaven help me! ;) 

Also in May, McCrae turned 1. It looks like he is enjoying his smash cake in this picture. Let me assure you he was crying for the icing to be off his hands in just a few seconds after this picture was taken. 

In June, Julius became ours officially. Such an exciting day!! 

In August, Joey and I *finally* went on our honeymoon (7 years late). 

We had an awesome time para-sailing...

... and riding on boats...

... unfortunately our honeymoon came to a crashing end. 

Thankfully, we were okay, but definitely not the best way to end a vacation. 

After our vacation we came home and finally closed on selling our house!!! Woo-hoo!!

Also in August we realized something was more wrong with Luke's eyes than them just being crossed. This started a long series of doctor's appointments and tests that are still not complete. 

As of now we've learned that Luke is completely blind. But he's still the best thing that's happened to us this year. 

It's definitely been a crazy year. Lots of ups and downs. 

But with the end of the year here, I can only be thankful for each experience, each laugh, each tear, and each person that has made this year what it has been.

Luke, the happiest baby I've ever met. 

McCrae, the quiet one with a big sense of adventure. 

Julius, the one who does everything to the max. 

I am so excited about what 2014 will hold for us and see how much these sweet boys grow and change this year. I'm looking forward to another wonderful year with my sweet husband. And I'm also looking forward to see how much I change this next year. If anyone wants to join me for 14 in 2014, start getting your list together! I'll be revealing my list next week. 

Happy New Year & May God Bless you in 2014!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from ours to yours...

Hi y'all! I hope you are having a most wonderfully cheery day. Thanks to everyone for reading my blog, for your constant support and encouragement in this blogging adventure. Merry Christmas to you and yours!



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DIY : Stamped Wooden Dessert Spoons

Hi y'all! The Christmas rush is in full swing and that's apparent every time I go to Lubbock and see people going crazy trying to get their final party supplies and last minute gifts. People are getting mad-crazy out there y'all!

We just had our last Christmas party this past weekend and now we're looking forward to having a couple of Christmases with my family so that will be fun. Putting together the Youth Christmas Party every year is fun, but also challenging. It has to be fun for the kids, but not too crazy since parents are also attending. Last year for the dessert table we did decorate your own cupcakes. Which the kids loved, but was pretty messy. This year I decided to try something different by doing individual desserts. This really isn't much of a DIY since it's a pretty self-explanatory, but it was a fun idea and I think everyone, kids & adults, really liked it. It didn't hurt that the dessert was super yummy too. 

What you need:

Some cute wooden spoons, a stamp set, and an ink pad. That's all you need and you can stamp whatever you'd like. :) I put them in my Peppermint Mocha Delight and called it good. Easy, peasy!

And now that we have those formalities out of the way, I have a little surprise for you. My blog design is coming right along beautifully and if you're following me on Facebook or Twitter, you might have noticed that I said I would share some hints about the beauty that's coming. So here it is... Hint #1:


Pinterest   (clipped to

Does that give you any kind of a hint? More hints will be released on my Facebook and Twitter pages so make sure you are following me to see what's in store. :) 

And with that, how's everyone doing? Are you ready for Christmas or do you still have a few last-minute errands to run?


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Good things ahead...

Hi y'all! First off, I'm very excited to announce that some big changes are coming to the blog in the new year! HOORAY!!! I've hired a professional designer to give my blog a whole new look (I can hardly wait to see what all she does!), and I'm working on a revamp of the content as well. Some of my old posts will not be coming back. Some will be coming back, just a little differently. And some posts are getting a big revamp and will be coming back better than ever. Things you can expect from Live Delightfully in 2014: 

  • A whole new look! I'm seriously so excited about this!!!!!
  • More DIYs. Because seriously, I'm a crafter.
  • Another year of meeting goals... that's right, 14 in 2014 is happening y'all! Who's with me??
  • More stories on parenting. Since I'm so the professional. *rolls eyes*
  • And... that's about all I'm going to tell you right now. Just know that I'm hoping 2014 is Live Delightfully's best. year. ever!

Y'all should know by now that I'm a huge fan of Jane Austen and yes, Pride & Prejudice is one of my favorite "me-time" choices. You know, when you just need to close the door to the bedroom, keep out the kids and husband, and spend some time with Mr. Darcy. Whether that be the BBC version or the Kiera Knightley version, I don't care because I adore both! 

There are three cases of the flu in our county and two of them are in my house. McCrae and Joey both came down with the flu last weekend and I've been playing nurse a lot this last week. I'm tired and need some me-time, so maybe later this week I'll shut everyone out and hang out with my old friends, the Bennets, the Bingleys, and of course Mr. Darcy. ;) And in honor of that, here's a little treat for ya:


This week, with all the stress and hustle & bustle of the holiday season, I hope you find time just for you and do whatever it is that makes you feel happy and at peace. 


Friday, November 29, 2013

It's Christmas Card Time! {a review}

Hi y'all! I hope you have recovered from your day of feasting! We had a wonderful day starting with Joey, Joey's brother, Joey's brother's wife and I participating in a 5K in Amarillo. We ran as much as we could, but we still ended up walking a chunk of it. I'd forgotten how terrible it was to run outside in the cold. I think I'll stick with the treadmill in a warm gym thankyouverymuch. haha. We came home, napped/rested, feasted, rested, exchanged Christmas presents, played games... it was such a grand day!

{ Picture courtesy of George }

However you spent your day yesterday, I hope it was wonderful and filled with love and thanksgiving for all the blessings in your life. And although I absolutely love Thanksgiving and everything it means (family & food), with it being behind us now it's time to dive headfirst into the Christmas season. And with that, means time to get busy working on Christmas cards. 

I know Christmas is one of the times when I tend to not procrastinate as much (I shop for gifts year round) and Christmas cards is definitely one of those things where if you wait a bit too long, you will definitely be working against the clock. Luckily, I found a great website, Tiny Prints, that can help you get Christmas Cards checked off your list in no time. With thousands of design options, personalizations, and customizations it's the perfect place to order cards showcasing your lovely family. I was recently invited to write a blog post high-lighting some of my favorite designs but with SOOO many choices, I had the hardest time trying to narrow it down. But, to keep this as short as possible and still providing all of my lovely readers a good feel for Tiny Prints, I've broken them down into 3 major categories.  

Multi-Picture Cards

I like to share pictures of us throughout the year on our Christmas cards so I'm a fan of the multi-picture cards. 

Having so many different colors will help when you aren't sure if the color of your outfits will clash with the color of your cards. 

I love the background "sweater" look. 

These darling scalloped edges are available on many different card designs. 

I love the chalkboard look of this card. 

Super sweet!

Glittery Cards

I love the sparkle and shine of these cards. 

For those that want a little sparkle with their holiday card. 

Isn't this just lovely and happy?

You can order nearly any card design with different edges. Rounded corners, scalloped edges like the "peace" card above, and in brackets like this card. It just gives it such an elegant look doesn't it?

Another of the edge options can be seen here. 

I love the pretty doodles on this card. 

Tri-Fold Cards

After browsing through the tri-fold cards, I definitely want to order tri-fold cards next Christmas. They're just so glamorous and full of pictures! I love them!

I adore all these darling trees!

So pretty!!

For the families that love The Beatles... or just love. ;)

How merry and Christmas-y!

This is a great card if you want to include a LOT of pictures. 

Well, those are some of my favorites. But you really need to visit the Tiny Prints website and see all of the gorgeous design options. And right now you can get FREE SHIPPING by entering code FS13 at checkout. Woo-Hoo! 

Creating your Christmas card is really easy. Just choose your design, upload your photos, and order! Easy peasy! It may be the easiest thing to check off your Holiday To-Do List!

I hope you're having a wonderful day!



{Note: While I was invited to write a review of Tiny Prints cards, I was not paid to do so or financially compensated in any way.}

Thursday, November 28, 2013

On this thanks-filled day...

For the past few years I've been participating in the month of thanks posts on Facebook. But this year I didn't. I wasn't trying to take a stand or rebel. And it's not for a lack of gratitude. I'm not sure why I didn't participate this year, I just didn't. But this year, I think I feel more gratitude than I have when I did participate in the posts. This year I feel different. This year I feel content. A deep contentment that sinks down into the marrow of your bones and settles soothingly into the crevices of your soul. 

At first I wasn't sure where this contentment was coming from. But after more deep thinking and soul searching I think I understand. This year I survived a car wreck that could have been so much worse than it actually was. I always knew how quickly life could change, but knowing how quickly my children could be left without a mother reminded me of how lucky I am for each day with them. I couldn't control anything with the car wreck, but I am thankful for the things I can't control. They reminded me of how much I should be grateful for each and every thing because it can be gone so quickly. 

This year we took another precious baby into our family. It was chaotic and hectic and definitely require a lot of juggling, patience and lots and lots of prayer. But having Luke as part of our family makes us more complete. I can't control how other people live their lives, but I am thankful for the things I can't control. They remind me that I should be grateful for the family that raised me, and the family of my own that I now have. 

Also, this year, with Luke we discovered he was blind. Most of the time I stay positive about how he is still going to live a great life with his blindness. But every now and then I tear up thinking about the things he won't get to see. I just have to remind myself that he will see and experience things, just differently. I can't control Luke's blindness, but I am thankful for the things I can't control. They remind me that I am blessed to be able to see for Luke, and even more blessed that I get to be his Momma and let him teach me how he sees. 

It may seem strange to be thankful for all of these things that I can't control. But each of these things teach me so much about life and myself. And each of these experiences has reminded me to be grateful for so many things in my life. And even though I haven't posted every day in November about those things I'm grateful for, I am still very grateful for them. And this overwhelming gratitude has brought with it such deep contentment, that I am over-flowing with thanksgiving. 

So today, and throughout the end of this year and beginning of next, I wish you the ability to see good in the things you can't control, let them remind you of all the things to be grateful for, and for you to have deep-rooted contentment in your soul. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!



Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Goodies

Hi y'all! Happy Monday! I know, I know... for most that's an oxymoron, but come on. It's Thanksgiving week! What if just this one week we are grateful for Monday instead of grumbling at it's beginning of work week signaling. Maybe it's different for me this week since I've taken this week off so that means no work for me until NEXT Monday *fist bump*! Maybe it's different for me since I'm going to watch Catching Fire tonight *double fist bump*. Maybe it's because I can feel a cold coming on and it's driving me crazy. No. I'm not fist-bumping that one. But maybe, maybe since it is the week of Thanksgiving, and maybe since we're all thinking about various things we're thankful for, we can be thankful for this Monday. Because, if nothing else, we made it. Whaddya think? No? Yes? Maybe?

Well... while you mull over in your head the perplexities and ironies of being thankful for a Monday, let me just carry on with this post... ;)

The past couple of years I have participated (sometimes poorly) in the month of thankful posts that happen every November. You know, the ones on Facebook where people post what they are thankful for that day. I don't know why I didn't participate this year. I wasn't trying to be rebellious or take some sort of stand, I just didn't participate. But this week, with the anticipation of my mother-in-love's delicious mashed-potatoes and yummy ham, and sharing lots of jokes and laughter with my bro & sis-in-love, and watching Julius's face light up when we tell him it's time to open presents all looming in front of me, I can't help but be absolutely swept up in all things thanksgiving. So... this week I will be bringing to you a few posts full of giving thanks. Some more serious, some more materialistic. Today we will be leaning towards the ladder of the two. ;) 

Here is a collection of lovely goodies that would be sure to brighten your home or table (or pup) this Thanksgiving. Perhaps you still have time to order some of these items. Or perhaps they will inspire you to make something of your own to take to your parents', in-law's, or to jazz up your own home. 

giving thanks

Just lovely! I always put up my Christmas tree after Halloween, but when it comes to the actual week of Thanksgiving, I tend to regret it and wish I still had my fall/Thanksgiving decor still up. At least in places. Haha. But the weekend after Thanksgiving when I'm all relaxed and chill and people are scrambling to get up their Christmas decorations so their children stop pestering them and when I'm not taking my Christmas decor down less than a month after going through all the work of putting it all out, I remember why I put out my decorations early. 

But still, I just adore these lovely and simple decor pieces. And that bow tie! What a fun way to get your pet in the Thanksgiving spirit! And if that "Be Thankful" print gives you warm fuzzies like it does me, let me just make your day by telling you that it's a digital print. That's right. You can purchase the item, receive it instantly, and print it out at home to put in a frame and have a quick and easy (but beautiful) handmade decor. 

Tomorrow we are somehow going to load up the clothing, toys, Christmas gifts, pack-n-play, etc. needed for a 5 day/4 night trip to my husband's parents with us and our 3 children. I'm not sure how all of that will be accomplished, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to go, a way to get there, and people to take with me. 



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

DIY : Painted Cards

Hi y'all! All last week I was looking forward to the weekend because I had all these crafty projects I wanted to do/finish and I knew I didn't have anything else planned for the weekend. Then I realized Joey would be gone Friday night and most of Saturday because he was speaking at a retreat in NM. At first I was bummed, but then I thought it over and realized I could still get some stuff done while the kids were napping or playing by themselves AND there was one project on my list that I could actually do with the kids. Win, win, win all around! 

I've seen several projects on Pinterest that use washi tape and paint to create works of art for home decor, gifts, etc. I wanted to create something that I could send to our kids' grandparents so they could have a fun little work of art from our kiddos. You know, since our refrigerator is absolutely covered in crafts from Julius's Wee Care ("school") and from Julius and McCrae's church projects, I thought it would be fun to share the wealth with the grandparents. Besides, what grandparent doesn't love a fun gift from their grandchild every now and then? But, the thing is, I didn't want to do big canvases for these projects, I wanted something much smaller and easier to ship. And voila! I decided to have them paint greeting cards so we could easily ship them AND they would be a smaller project that the kids could handle. And thus, our Saturday project was born!

I chose to attempt do this project with my kids, but this is one you can do by yourself if your kids aren't old enough or if momma just needs some time to get crafty and quiet her nerves. Because I totally understand both of those. Julius did really well with this project and he will be 3 in January. McCrae did not do very well at all and he's 18 months. If that helps guide you on deciding who to include in this project. 

What you need:
Cards & Envelopes
Painter's Tape
Washi Tape
Paint brush

Step One : 
Place your washi tape on the cards to create a "winter"/"Christmas" pattern. 

I have to admit, the tree pattern was more difficult than the snowflake. It required more thinking, cutting, and strategy. It looks great, but if you're in a hurry or don't want to think much, just go for the carefree snowflake. 

Step Two : 
Once you have your washi tape pattern on your cards, tape them to the painting area with painter's tape. This serves two purposes: 1) to keep the cards from moving (especially if you're painting with your little one and 2) it keeps you from painting the back of the card. 

If you're painting with your little one(s), put one of your old t-shirts over them to protect them from the paint. 

The paint can be any colors and you can just paint all one color, or do several colors for an ombre effect. 

Step Three : 

Paint all over the white part of the front of the card. 

Just look at the use of color!!

Trying out the two-handed technique. Like a boss!

Pondering the perplexities of too many brush strokes and not enough. 

All kidding aside, I put the paint on his paint brush, guided him so he covered all of the white areas, and helped with a little shading here and there, but the rest of it he did himself and totally loved. In fact, he's asked several times since then to paint again. Definitely going to have to come up with some more painting projects for him to do.

I tried to let McCrae do the green ones. It didn't work out. He got mad, didn't want to do it, got paint on his hand and the cover shirt, so I hurriedly painted the green cards, so I could take McCrae back in and get him cleaned up.

Step Four : 

When the cards are dry, remove the washi tape and marvel at the beauty and simplicity of your new cards. Really, if you wanted to get crazy, you could have your kids help you make lots of these cards and this year for Christmas you can send out hand-painted Christmas cards. Wouldn't you just be the envy of moms everywhere. lol. 

Didn't they turn out great? I love them! 

Plus, Julius had fun participating, when I showed him the results he said they were "beautiful", he's now very interested in painting and crafting, and I can't wait to ship these off to all the grandparents. I'm sure they will love them!

Have fun!