Archive | April, 2012


Ryan and I just made it home from our stay in Maui.

10 days

5 other couples {some of our closest friends}

0 children

It was delightful.

In honor of our beautiful vacation and the island we called home for the past week and a half, I’m dubbing this HAWAII WEEK. Each day I’ll share a little something from our Maui experience.

:: photos of our trip

:: our favorites of the island

:: food we ate {yum}

:: fashion

:: and the highlight moment of our vacation {at least for me}

Stay tuned …

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what kind of family are you?

This is my big sister and her out-of-control-beautiful family:

She has always been my best friend {along with my little sister and bff K.C.} and I admire so many things about her.

My sister and brother-in-law are fun, outgoing, inclusive, fashionable, photogenic, lovers of the Lord. They are the best hosts, they have the perfect combination of honesty and silliness and are servants, through and through.

They also have two really great {and adorable} kids:

Out of all the wonderful qualities they have, my very favorite thing is what they have taught their children.

If you ask my niece {6 yrs} about her family, she will say {in her sweet, high-pitched voice}:

This is their family motto. It is what they are all about. It is what they want to be known for.

They want people to think of their family and automatically say, “Those Olason’s. They sure are a kind and generous family”.

I’m not sure why, but it sort of makes me cry.

Probably mainly because it is so true of them. They are kind. And they are very generous. Each one of them.

Since my sister was a young girl her dream was finding an orphaned baby in a dumpster. Sort of weird, but that is her heart. She wanted to care for a baby who needed it. They always invite friends to our family holidays who do not have a place to go, they open their home often to families who need a place to stay, they are generous with their stuff … the list goes on. Their motto is not just a cute saying; it is truly how they live.

It makes me think – what is our family motto? What are we all about? What do we want to be known for?

When all is said and done, what will people say about our family?

It is a great question to think about and one I ask you today as well …

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little pink toesies

It is a right of passage for every mommy of a daughter …

and one I’ve been waiting for for a long time.

Painting the toes of my baby girl.

It’s such a silly thing to be excited about, but I really have been looking forward to this moment in motherhood.

A few minutes with just me and my girl.  Being girls together.

Just the two of us. And our hot pink toes.

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hello, May

Isn’t May a great month? It feels fresh and bright … and it is the month of Mother’s Day and the birthdays of my mom and mother-in-law, aunt and two nieces. Lots of ladies to love in the month of May.

Each month, I create a new set of papergoods to use as organization, inspiration and gift-giving for JDC | monthly.  It is always a fun challenge to come up with something seasonal, without being too obvious; something pretty, but still universal; and always something a bit unique.  This month’s collection may be my very favorite of all with the curly calligraphy and watercolored flowers.  Feminine, whimsical and perfect for May.

Included in the May Collection is {from left to right}:

note cards . shopping list . houseduties chart . weekly calendar . monthly calendar . bordered paper . scripture memory cards . dinnertime calendar . do not worry art print . chore chart . mailing labels . grocery list

Each month, we also do a simple project. This time around, we’re making May Day paper cones.

What neighbor would not be delighted to receive this sweet gift on their door on May 1st?!

When you become a JDC | Monthly member, you will receive a new collection of printable paper goods on the 22nd of each month {so you have plenty time to get yourself organized before the new month begins}.  You can print as many of each item as you need – many of the items included make great gifts, too.

Upon signing up, you will have instant access to all of the pdf files. Download and print, or save them to your computer for a rainy day.

JDC | monthly members will also receive 50% off all printables in the shop.


Click the button below to receive JDC | monthly via email for $9.99 {first month is free}.


As a free gift to you, please enjoy the May calendar from the collection.

Simply click the image below, open with Adobe Reader, print and you have a cheerful calendar ready to go.



JDC | Monthly details:

When you join JDC | Monthly, you will receive the link to the monthly collection immediately after signing up. Billing is done on a 30 day cycle {so if you join on the 15th, you will be billed the following month on the 15th}. On the 22nd of each month, you will receive an email with the link to download the collection of pdfs, as well as the project tutorial.

If you decide JDC | monthly is not for you, you are free to cancel at any time.

Questions? Please feel free to email me at

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on the hour

It’s InstaFriday at life rearranged and this week I decided to play a little game. I was curious what my day actually looks like from hour to hour and so instead of sharing the past week with you, I thought I’d show you a day in the life of Emily. Exciting stuff, I tell ya.

I snapped a photo each hour {the timer app came in handy!} with brief explanations below.

6:30 – wake unusually early. Lay in bed and think. Pray for my sugar daddy who was having surgery that morning {it went well}. Checked email on my phone {i heart you, iphone}.

7:30 – work out video with my friend Cathy Syphers on Fitness TV.

8:30 – older boys off to school

9:30 – carpool little boys to preschool

10:30 – toddler story time at the library with Audrey’s besties

11:30 – sip a latte, listen to hokey pokey over and over and over while we wait for preschool to get out

12:30 – lunch time

1:30 – little miss down for a nap, playdate for No. 3

2:30 – work

3:30 – after-school snack

4:30 – piano practice

5:30 – hair appointment

6:30 – looking good under the dryer

7:30 – new highlights! Summery and fresh.

8:30 – book time with the boys

9:30 – back to work

10:30 – still working

11:30 – ahhhhh. bedtime.

And that was my day. Not completely typical since I get my hair done about once a year, but mostly true-to-life.

This was a fun experiment. I highly recommend it. Made me think about where I spend my time, reminds me of what a good life I have and proves that my days are long and constant. No wonder I love my bed so much.

*** A few notes to add ***

1. yes, I eat breakfast & dinner – just not on the half hour, I guess. So no photos.

2. yes I have a husband and I like to hang out with him. He was at the fire station this day, so there was no hanging out.

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new name prints

One of the easiest ways to add a personal touch to any room in your house is with artwork. But if you are anything like me, collecting ‘real’ art is a bit out of my league.

And that is where art prints come in.

A pop of color, a special quote, something pretty … an art print is a great {and inexpensive} option for putting meaningful art in your home.

I have created a new collection of name prints that look very cute in a child’s room or play space.  They are fresh, bright and playful {for the kids} with just a touch of simplicity and modern-ness {for you}.

There are several {super cute} styles to choose from. Simply choose your favorite, let us know what name you would like on it, then we’ll customize, ship and its ready to be displayed.

If you have a baby shower or child’s birthday party to attend this spring, a name print makes a delightful gift for a mommy-to-be or birthday boy or girl. Give one as is, or put it in a frame {maybe with a cute patterned paper as the mat} and you have a personalized, unique and thoughtful gift.

So here are the new designs:

Can you tell I have had fun designing?

Do you have a favorite?

{mine is that sweet burlap horse with a wreath of roses on her neck}.

You can shop for name prints here.

and don’t forget … FREE shipping when you purchase any two prints!

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the april giveaway is now live

1. birdie necklace from Lisa Leonard Designs 2. butterfly tea towel from world market 3. graphic candle 4. go artprint {from my shop} 5. floral soap dish from West Elm {discontinued} 6. caldrea soap & lotion 7. three fat-quarters of cotton fabric from Armommy 8. navy Diana wrap from Evy’s Tree.

Couple of items to highlight:

This Lisa Leonard necklace is charming, whimsical and dainty all at once. And the back is just as cute.

You can see more of Lisa’s great work at …

My good friend Rae has just opened a fabric shop on her site offering stylish fabrics in small pieces {perfect for simple sewing and craft projects}.

And she has just launched a new series of video tutorials for darling projects you can make at home.

So much inspiration in one adorable place …

Amy from Evy’s Tree is the talented lady behind many cute sweatshirt re-designs.

This wrap is one of her creations and is light enough weight for spring days, but just the right thickness to bundle up on colder evenings.

You can see more of Amy’s work here …

So do you want a chance to win the April Giveaway?

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put a penny in it

A few weeks ago I posted this picture of my haphazard tulips.

A reader suggested dropping in a penny the next time I bought a bunch to keep them from drooping.

And so I did.

Well, what do you know, I now have tall tulips.

I did a bit of research and found that the penny trick may make tulips stand tall, but it also results in a shorter life span. Experts suggest the best way to keep cut tulips looking pretty is good, old-fashioned clean water.

It may be a myth, but it sure worked for me.

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new year resolutions {update}

It’s been three months {1/4 of the year} since we all set our goals for the new year. Since I am more of a reflect-on-the-past-type-of-girl than a plan-for-the-future-type-of-girl {what does that say about me?!} I thought it would be fun to take a few moments to see how we’re doing with our 2012 resolutions. We’ll start with mine, but I’d love to hear how you are doing with yours, too.

To recap, here were my resolutions:

1. eat well & exercise

2. wear a bikini in hawaii and look decent in it

3. say yes to my kids

4. close office doors at 3:30 everyday

5. take ballet

{You can read the full resolution post here}

And now for the update:

1. Surprisingly, I’ve done well with this one. Ryan has tried his best over the last few years to get me to give up crackers, sugar, processed foods in general and I have been fighting the whole way. But I’m giving in a little and like the results. I’ll write a food post soon because I have lots more to say about my issues with giving up Oreos.  And Ritz. And …

2. Probably the main reason the food & exercise thing is going well for me is because of goal #2. We leave for Maui in just a few days and I’ve been working, working, working on getting this body bikini-ready. To tell you the truth, I am still super self-conscious, but I’ll will be sporting a bikini nevertheless.

We’re going with five other couples {without kids!} and I’m hoping I’ll get there and forget about the wrinkly skin on my tummy and just enjoy our vacation.

3. Still working on saying yes to the kids more. Although if you could have seen how much candy was consumed on Easter you would think I never say no.

4. The close-the-office-doors rule has been a really good one for our family. Sometimes boundaries are the best way to give freedom and this one has done it for me. It allows me to work when I need to work and be a mom when I need to be a mom.

5. And ballet.

I have been doing this video in preparation for Maui:

I love it and highly recommend it to anyone who likes ballet and wants a good toning video. But I will warn you that you may not be able to walk down stairs when you finish. You can purchase a copy here.

The video has been great, but what my goal really said was that I wanted to take a ballet class.

So just this week, I gathered all the courage I could muster and took an adult class at a local studio.

Yep, that’s me. Pink tights and all.

It was fun and it was way too advanced for me. I looked like a fish out of water. But I checked it off my list and I’m glad I did.

So, now it is your turn:

How are you doing with your resolutions?

Have you reached any goals? Are you on the way? Anything great come of your resolutions?

Have you let them go all together?

Please share …

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painted house numbers

This is what our front door looked like Saturday morning:

and a few hours later:

The sun was out, the kids were happily bouncing on the neighbors’ trampoline and I had the itch for a quick project.

So I painted house numbers on our front door.

Of course I could have ordered vinyl stickers, but that would require designing and ordering them and when inspiration strikes, you just have to go with it. Plus, this method is free.

Here’s how to paint numbers on your front door {or anywhere, for that matter}.

What you’ll need:

:: numbers {download my template below or design and print your own with a font and size of your choice}

:: chalk

:: sharp pencil

:: paint & thin brush

:: tape and scissors

STEP ONE: rub chalk on the backside of your numbers along the outline of the number

Chalk is great if you are transferring to a dark surface so you can see the outlines. If you are painting on a light surface you can do the same transfer technique with pencil lead or graphite paper from the art store

STEP TWO: tape the numbers in place

STEP THREE: trace over the outline of each number using a sharp pencil.

When you pull off the paper, you will have chalk outlines transferred to your door

STEP FOUR: paint the numbers

I used a thin brush {#3} and leftover latex paint and did three quick coats.

Fun, right?

If you would like to do a similar project, I have created a template for the numbers for you.


Ah, sweet Spring. I love how you inspire new house projects.

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weekly wrap-up

Let’s start this week’s Instagram snapshots with this pretty image.

One of the best parts of living where we do is the abundance of daffodils – which makes them very cheap. And that makes this girl very happy.

After church last weekend, the kids and I spent the afternoon at my happy place.

No. 2 gave modeling a try:


and I couldn’t help taking a photo of the Trophy Cupcakes window display.

Pretty, pretty confetti.

Afterward, we had dinner with Ryan’s family and did a little wii dancing.

Even great-grandma got in on the action. Fun times.

Remember how I mentioned wanting a white watch in this post? Well look what my sweet husband ordered for me.

I should mention wanting things more often …

It is fun watching a friendship form between No. 3 & No. 4. Because their big brothers are often away at school, they spend most of their days together.

As much as I moan about how tiring this phase of parenting is, I will miss the days of putting puzzles together at the library with little ones. This is a really sweet time in our lives that I don’t want to forget.

You know what else I don’t want to forget? That Easter is more than just about this madness:

My bible study girls decided to watch The Passion of the Christ this week. It was my first time.

There were lots and lots of tears. A little hyperventilating, maybe. It is seriously such a hard movie to watch. I’ve been holding out because I knew it would take me down an emotional path that would wipe me out. And it did.

But it is such a good depiction of what we hinge our entire faith on – the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  I wish I could comprehend what He did and make it tangible in my every day life. I get so distracted and go about my day keeping Him to the side. I wish I didn’t do that.

This week I’ve been reading the story of His last few days on earth from the perspective of each of the gospel writers, and in a few different versions.  It is not a happy story. There are terrible characters who do unfathomable things to a man who is innocent of all accusations – and yet He takes it. Not because He is weak. Not because He didn’t have the power to come down from the cross. But because He did it knowing it would save us.

 You and me.

I don’t understand it, I’ll be honest. But I love it. And am so grateful.

The last words Jesus offered on the cross are my favorite:

It is finished. Even death couldn’t hold Him down.

May you have fun at the Easter egg hunt, enjoy the Peeps {I’m a fan} and Cadbury Creme Eggs {also a fan} and know that you are treasured by the God of the universe.

Happy Easter!

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legos are everywhere {and our way of containing them}

If you have school-aged boys, perhaps you’ll identify with this one …

Legos are overtaking my house.

We’ve got ninjas on the coffee table

a knight protecting the entry table

randoms on the tv room chair

this awesome dude parked on my desk

They even hang out in the bathtub {deadliest catch, anyone?}.

For my own sanity, I ask that the boys keep most of the legos upstairs. The ones that are left downstairs go in this drawer in the living room. It helps having a place for the stragglers rather than walking them upstairs.

My kids are builders {and keepers of their creations} so most surfaces in their room are covered with all sorts of ships, speeders, robots, weapons and battle scenes.

Their floor is usually covered with them too.

The legos-everywhere part drives me crazy. Have you ever stepped on a lego with bare feet?!

At the same time, I love that I have such creative boys and want to encourage them with this imaginative pastime.

We’ve done our best to equip them with an organization system to keep things under control and it seems to be working pretty well.

These three sets of storage drawers {from Target} are perfect for color-sorting legos.

Each boy gets one drawer to hold their special things – you know, blue light sabers, Anakin’s hair, the monkey from the pirate ship.  The rule in our house is that they are not allowed to open their brothers’ drawers. We figure everyone needs their own place to keep their special things.  This has worked out great for us and has avoided lots of fights over who’s legos are who’s.

We also have this big bin that has not been sorted. It is helpful for when we need to do quick pick-ups and they can just toss the pieces in here. Every once in a while we do a little sorting {mildly therapeutic, I will say}.

So that is how we organize our legos. Someday I’d like to create cubbies for all of the creations to be stored in so that the dresser and bookshelves and floor can be cleared.

Do you have a system for organizing/storing legos?

The moms in the legos-are-taking-over-club would gladly take your suggestions!

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giveaway winner and a {free} spring art print

The March giveaway was a good one {if I do say so myself}.

Lots of cheerful yellow to bring us into this new spring season. You all had some great responses to finish the sentence: The best part of the beginning of spring is …

Thanks so much for sharing your answers, spreading the word about the giveaway and entering for a chance to win.

This month’s giveaway winner is:

Congratulations! Please send me a note with your address and I’ll ship out your package of goodies.

I do wish I could send everyone a nice package in the mail {how fun would that be?!!} but as a consolation, how about a free spring art print?

This print is an 8 x 10 and a fun way to add some spring color to your home.  Simply download the pdf file, open with Adobe Reader and print on nice white cardstock {see my favorites here}.


Thanks again for reading the blog, entering the giveaway and sharing us with your friends!

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