useful + pretty right to your mailbox

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Each month, Paper Works comes to your mailbox (either the one outside your house or the one on your computer) and it’s like a special surprise gift full of all sorts of useful + pretty paper goods.

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I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that this new collection for March is some of the loveliest designs yet.

Included in the bundle are calendars + daily planners:

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meal-planning + shopping lists:

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and sweet little note cards to inspire real-handwritten-note-sending:

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That art print up top also comes with the set as well as these four scripture memory cards:

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For a complete list and all the details for how you can get paper works in your mailbox (you will love it!)

>> CLICK HERE <<

And just because I love this set so much, I’m giving away a printed bundle to one lucky-duck lady!

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Click the image to enter!

OR

Click here to give yourself a gift each month by signing up for Paper Works today!

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when you don’t know what your thing is

do-your-thing

It’s a message I keep getting over and over and over:

Be who you were created to be.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Walk confidently in the gifts God has given you.

Shine your light.

Twirl.

At If:gathering a few weeks ago (it was so, so amazing. Truly one of the best weekends of friendship, great food, deep conversations and God whispering to each one of us), I left feeling affirmed to carry on and just do my thing.

I came home ready and motivated and even doodled this saying as a reminder.

And then I had a moment of crisis: What exactly IS my thing?

Maybe you can relate. Maybe you’ve taken positive steps in overcoming comparison, have learned to accept yourself, ready to step into the great roles the Lord has for you … but you just have no idea what that looks like. You don’t know what your passion or gifting or talents – your thing – is.

I get you, darling.

I’m there too.

I spent some time brainstorming, reading articles about ‘how to find your calling’, reflected on times I’ve felt most alive and I’m slowing figuring out who I am and what I love. Just a few glimmers of awareness feels really great and hopeful and reassuring.

So if you see the photo above and feel excited to embrace your passions/talents/calling

or

you see the photo and wonder if you even have any passions/talents/calling

BE ENCOURAGED TODAY.

You have a purpose, great value, a unique ability and through intentionally reflecting, dreaming, talking with people who know and love you best, it will be made clear to you.

I truly believe that.

And maybe the best part of all, is that your thing looks different than mine and there is no need to feel intimidated or inadequate or puffed up when we look at each other. We get to live out our unique talents, seeing the beauty within each of us and sharing them with one another.

And so, my friends, let’s continue on this journey of doing our thing.

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a special day at the american girl doll store

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Audrey turned 5 last week. Every parent throughout history has asked the same question when their baby turns a year older: how did that go so fast? And you can add me into that group. She is our baby and the fact that she just turned five only reiterates the fact that she’s no longer a baby.

I will say that I love the ages of our kids right now (11, 9, 7, 5). They are independent, but not pushing too many limits, able to buckle themselves in the car and generally fun to be around.  We’re sitting in a sweet spot and doing our best to enjoy these days.

Okay, but that’s not what I was going to talk about today.

For Audrey’s birthday, we went shopping for her first American Girl doll. We’ve waited until she was old enough to care for a special doll and a little more interested. A few of her friends have these dolls and her cousins are crazy for all things American Girl, so she was ready and excited to pick out her special birthday gift.

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Did you know you can reserve a personal shopper to show you around and help you pick a doll? It was the best thing ever.  My mom and cutie niece Hadley (who is only 2 months younger than Audrey, but so much tinier!) met us at the American Girl Doll store and we took about an hour shopping around. Our sweet personal shopper, Briana, walked us from doll to doll giving little snippets about each of them and helped Audrey pick out her top three.

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Once she had her top three dolls chosen, they were set out and Briana helped her make her final decision (with just a little bit of input from my mom who was really hoping she would choose a certain one). It was so much easier having someone guide the decisions and be quick with the process.

And her final decision was: Grace! The girl of the year.

audrey's-final-pick

Grace likes baking and has a cute puppy named BonBon and Audrey was sold.

I really love the way the company shows different girls, their histories and stories. Plus, the clothes and accessories are so fun.

After Grace joined our family, we had a little lunch at the American Girl Doll bistro.

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The food was less than fabulous, but the experience was sweet and the girls loved having a birthday luncheon with their dolls.

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I adore having boys, but it sure was fun having a special day with our girl.

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And also? The American Girl Doll store bathroom tile is really cute.

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we mounted an ipad in the kitchen (and love it)

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I posted this photo on instagram late last week:

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I have a new dinner solution that I can’t wait to share with you! – but that’s not what got most attention in the photo. Instead, there were lots of questions about the ipad mounted in the background.

I have to admit that this was 100% Ryan’s idea. He is good at ideas. I wasn’t so sure about drilling into the beadboard and maybe don’t love how it looks, but sometimes function trumps form.

ipad-mounted-in-the-kitchen

And in this case, it is super functional. Now that the ipad is in the kitchen, it gets used all the time. I use it for recipes, looking up things when they pop into my mind while washing dishes, perusing pinterest, playing music on our wireless sound system.

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We used this articulating wall mount with this mounting bracket.

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Pop the ipad into this ipad mounting case and it attaches to the mounting bracket.

A couple of great things about this setup:

1. It is not bulky. When the wall mount is folded flat against the wall, it’s very low profile.

2. The ipad can be tilted up or down, mounted vertically or horizontally and the arm pulls in and out for whatever angle you prefer.

3. Having an ipad off the counter, but still within reach is super convenient. We had no idea how much we would use it.

So there you go, my instagram question-askers. That’s how we mounted the ipad.

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EARLIER THIS WEEK …

answers-to-questions   painting-front-door pom-garland-small

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diy pom pom garland (two ways)

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I made these pom pom garlands around Christmas and wasn’t going to do a how-to because I thought they were just for christmas season. And then I couldn’t bear to take them down with all of the other holiday decorations, so I just casually draped them on the kitchen chalkboard.

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And you know what? I decided pom pom garland is for all seasons. So here you go – a tutorial for how to make these year-round-put-them-anywhere-make-a-bunch-because-you’ll-love-them pom pom garlands.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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chunky yarn (about 3 rolls) / pom pom makers (2 sizes) / embroidery thread / upholstery needle / scissors

TO MAKE THE POM POMS

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wrap the yarn round and round the first side / then the second

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trim the center yarn / cut a piece of yarn

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tie yarn through center of pom maker / pull apart

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trim long pieces of yarn and fluff

TO MAKE SMALL POM POM GARLAND

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cut yarn to desired length

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thread needle and knot the end / stitch through center of pom and through yarn

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you can stitch a few times back and forth to make sure the pom is secure

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in between poms, run the needle through the center of the yarn, then stitch on the next pom

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Then hang anywhere and everywhere!

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TO MAKE THE LARGE POM POM GARLAND

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make large poms using this pom maker

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cut three long pieces of yarn (in desired finished length) / tie knot in top and tape to tabletop to hold

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loosely braid yarn / knot the end

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run the needle through the center of the pom

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stitch onto braided yarn (a few stitches to hold securely)

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in between poms, run the needle through the center of the braid. Then stitch on poms in desired spacing.

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small-and-large-pom-garlands-shelf

enjoy!

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