Monday, December 30, 2013

Good Morning!

Today, I want to share with I wake up every morning.  
I know it isn't DIY, but I wanted to welcome you to my little corner of the world and tell you a little about who I am.  

First, I have to tell you the story behind my mornings, so bare with me for a few minutes.
Some of you know that we are 'empty nesters' and with that comes so much freedom, but also some sadness. 
 It is a bitter-sweet moment in a mom's life when all her kids have left the nest...that's what we raise them for, right?  
This summer we were gearing up for Madi (our baby) to fly the coop.  She chose to go to baking school in LaMesa, CA., which is about 840 miles away.  This was a very hard transition...I mean, she is my baby and she is so far away.  
But I would have it NO other way...this is her dream and as a mom I want her to spread her wings and soar (even if it is so far away)!

With all of this said, I want to tell you about my dear friend...Deb.  
She is amazing and she knew exactly what this mom needed!  
Deb is someone that I look up to as a mom, friend, and person.  
One day we were texting and I don't really remember the text, but the only thing I remember about it, was her asking me if I was reading Jesus Calling by Sara Young.  I hadn't heard of that little devotion book before, but I knew I had to have it.  
So a few days had passed and I couldn't remember what she said the name of the book was.  I text her and asked her, she told me...'don't go buy it, I've got you covered'!  
See what I mean...this lady is amazing!

Oh, I almost forgot what I was writing mornings!
My mornings go something like this:  
alarm goes off at 4:00 am every weekday morning (yes, I know it's crazy that somebody chooses to get up that early when they don't have to!), stumble out of bed, start my coffee (if I have forgotten to turn on the auto control), turn on the light to my reading area and wait for my coffee.  This is my time, my alone time with my Lord and Savior and I enjoy every minute of it, even on those days that I am exhausted!  When the coffee beeps, I pour my cup and start my devotion.  It's like having coffee with your best friend every day of the's great!  

I have 2 devotion books I read daily.  
The first one I read is Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyer, my sweet daughter-in-law gave me this for my birthday last year.  I have to has been a whole year since I started that devotion book and I love it!  It has taught me about the Love of Jesus and how to love Him, others, and myself.  It is a work in progress (loving as He loves), but I have been working on it and I can tell there is change in my heart.  
Thank you, Kate for this book!

The second one I read is Jesus Calling by Sara Young.  This little devotion book is awe inspiring and I couldn't imagine waking up without it.  Since I started this book in the summer, I still have a ways to go with it (since it is a 365 day devotional) and I am excited to see how this book changes my life even more than it already has.
Thank you, Deb for this book!
So if you are in need of a way to jump start your day, I recommend both of these books. 
 Trust me, you will love them both!
Have a blessed day!

Friday, December 27, 2013

How We Spent Christmas

This year it was my family's year to spend Christmas with the Gastineau clan. Unfortunately, Julie and her family had to stay in Colorado, but we made it through without them...sob, sob!
So today, I would like to get personal and share with you all how we celebrated Christmas!
It's Gastineau family tradition to open one gift on Christmas Eve, so my daughter Eliana opened her sticker earrings!  As you can see, she was so excited. She loves wearing earrings...not sure how she got to be a "girly-girl," but it's pretty cute!!!

After we slept, some only for a few hours, we woke up to stuffed stockings and unopened presents that Santa left!

Santa left Eliana a 'pink' Razor scooter. I emphasize on the 'pink' because, again, she is a girly-girl and LOVES pink!  She didn't have any trouble getting the hang of it...even on carpet!

Next it was time to open the stockings...this is where the $1 bin at Target comes in handy!

The best part of Christmas morning was when my father-in-law came down the hall and around the corner into the living room wearing this Santa hat that lit up, played music and moved back and forth to shake the jingle bell on top! We could hear it coming and when he got into the living room he started dancing around! It was hilarious! Everyone was laughing and the little ones loved it too. 

As you can see, Eliana couldn't wait to dance with her Papa! He's got some moves and now I see where my husband gets them!

We had a great day for all of us! We were able to watch the little ones play as the older ones visited!  And boy did we eat!
I think we are a pretty good looking family....

...Don't you?!

 Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

~ Kerri Gastineau

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
It's hard to believe that Christmas is already here.  As I promised I am sharing my Christmas decor with you today.  I am sorry I was so late with it, but to be honest with you...Christmas snuck up on me!  Here are just a few shots of my Christmas trees and a few of my favorite things.
I have this tree in the entry way.  It has mostly homemade ornaments on it.  This is the first year I have put a tree here.  At first, I wasn't sure if I liked it.  I do have to say...I ended up loving it there.  
This tree my 'Starbucks' tree...yes, you read that correctly, I said 'Starbucks' tree!  I have to confess, I steal the new gift cards that come out at Starbucks.  They are so hard to resist...they are all so cute!  
My son and husband punched holes in the corner and I added wire to hang them.  The other ornaments are the yearly cup ornaments they have at Starbucks and NO, I don't steal those, but I do wait until they are half off!

Here is the tree we have in our living room.  It is very simple and yes, it has antlers in it!  You might be a red neck...if you have antlers in your Christmas tree.  
We used to have this adorable gift shop in town and that is where I got the snowflakes, pine cones and reindeer I have on this tree (it closed a few years back).  
I got the burlap snowflake ribbon at Michael's this year.  
The G at the top was purchased at Hobby Lobby and I painted it and used glitter on it.  I spray painted some of the hydrangeas I dried this year.

  This collage has a few of my favorite Christmas decorations.  I fell in love with that gingerbread person and had to have it (I have had him for a few years)!  Isn't it adorable?  The Santa in the upper right photo sits on a bench that my grandpa made...I have sat that bench under the tree since we have lived in this house.
Kerri made the JOY sign in the bottom right photo.  
I absolutely love snowmen...can you tell?  These are just a few of my snowmen.  
I made the baseball snowman last  year, it sits on a spring that I got from Cindy Jo at the barn sale (have I mentioned I love that place?). The bottom right photo is the entry way.

This last photo represents the reason my family celebrates Christmas...the birth of Jesus Christ.  This past Christmas season I have been reading Bible verses from this Advent calendar.  WOW...that's all I can say about Mary!  As I sat and read the daily verses I cried.  I could not imagine the joy and pain that she felt, knowing that she gave birth to the King of Kings and that one day He was going to die on the cross for our sins! As a mom, I could never imagine giving up one of my own children for somebody else's sins (let alone my own).  So as I write this post, I sit here and cry...trying to wrap my head around this miracle, simply because I don't deserve this love that Jesus has for me.  All I can say is THANK YOU Jesus for your love and forgiveness (that I don't deserve).
As you spend time with your family and friends today, remember the TRUE meaning of Christmas...JESUS!  
After all, He is the REASON for the SEASON.  
Have a BLESSED day and enjoy this time with your family and friends.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Easy Elf Of The Shelf Ideas For Kids

Everyone I know is doing Elf on The Shelf this year!  It's all over Pinterest and in the stores. We received our elf last year, but this was the first year she actually came into our home!
We received the movie along with the Elf, so we had our daughter watch the movie to get the idea of what was coming.
Then there was a knock on the door....It was her Elf!
We opened the book and my husband read the story.
 We read that we needed to name her and after a little thought, we came up with Molly!  How perfect!
So, now came the work...for me! I had to come up with ideas as to where Molly will be every morning.  There are so many great ideas all over the internet, but I found them to be too advance for my 3-year old, so I knew I would have to come up with some of my own or embellish some of the ideas I found.
Every morning, Molly had a letter for my daughter, which helped hone in the 'good behavior' aspect! You can do this too, if need be, but it was one more step I had to do every night.  If you do decide to write a letter to your child from your elf, keep it short and sweet! We all know they have a very small attention span anyway!
So, for my ideas...
If you're like me and have a young child and need something quick, easy and fun for your Elf, here some great ideas: 
1. Elf coloring
2. Elf playing with the laptop (you can use and electronic toy of your child's)
3. Elf playing the piano 
4. Elf hanging from the television
5. Elf hanging out with your child's toys 
6. Elf posing by the family photos
7. Elf swinging
8. Elf sitting on the Christmas tree
9. Elf taking a bath in marshmallows

10. Elf fishing for goldfish
11.Elf reading the Christmas story to the Nativity scene
12. Elf guarding the "Good Job" marbles (any reinforcement strategy will work)

13. Elf taking a nap on boxes of tissue
14. Elf sipping on some marshmallows (sorry I don't have a picture showing the marshmallows)

Don't stress out trying to figure out what to do with your elf each night! Keep it easy and doable for your child and yourself!
Merry Christmas
~ Kerri

Friday, December 20, 2013

Last Minute Gifts

Today I was going to share my Christmas decor with you, but I have been so busy with school things that I haven't  had time to take pictures.  I will share them with you next week (on Christmas day)...I know it will be too late to use some of my ideas, but there is always next year!
So instead of my Christmas decor, I am sharing with you 2 quick and easy gifts:
and a 

Supplies Needed for the Jingle Bell Frame:
Picture frame
Scrapbook paper
Jingle Bells

I got the cute little Santa jingle bell at Hobby Lobby, they were 5 for $1.00 (of course that was half price).  The other jingle bells were also bought at Hobby Lobby...I don't remember how much they were.  The picture frame was bought at the Dollar store for a different project; the frames didn't work for what I bought them for, so they have been sitting in the stock pile for over a year.

How to Make:
Print 'Jingle all the Way' on a piece of scrapbook paper (I made sure it would print at the bottom of the page, so the bells wouldn't cover it).  Put it in the frame.  
Tie ribbon (I used baker's twine) through the jingle bells and gather them together at the top. 
I tied the baker's twine to the hook on the back of the frame. Then hot glue a cute bow on the top.
How easy is that? 

Now onto the Clipboard gift...
Supplies needed for Clipboard:
Small clipboard (Walmart $1.27) 
Chalkboard spray paint (Rust-Oleum) 
'Scrabble' letter
Ribbon of any kind

This is super easy:
Tape off the part you don't want painted (I covered the top of the clipboard). 
 Spray it with the spray paint.  Let it dry.  Take off the tape and paper.  Hot glue a scrabble letter (I used the 1st letter of their last name) on the bottom corner.  Hot glue ribbon of any kind to hide the paint line, you have to fold approximately an inch around to the back and glue it there as well. 
I think this may have been easier than the 1st craft...what do you think?

Hopefully you don't need any last minute gifts to put together. 
But if you do...these are SUPER easy and SUPER cute to boot!  
Don't forget to stop and remember what this season is all about. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Easy Christmas Decor

Christmas is a week away...if you didn't already know that!  Are you ready?! Well, no need to stress out if you aren' can do a lot in 7 days!  Believe me!
Today I want to share with you some of my Christmas décor, and if that's one thing you still haven't tackled, I hope I can bring some inspiration and ideas to you!
Here is our little Christmas tree. In case you missed the post about my 'Christmas Tree For Small Places', click here.
We don't have a fire place, so I always hang our stockings on the television console.

To see my post on how to make these fabulous 'Personalized Stocking Holders', click here.
Also, be sure to check out how to make these stockings by clicking here.

I always decorate the top of the piano...this year, I added the 'NOEL'. So simple!

I just bought the 'N', 'E', and 'L' at JoAnn's in different font and painted them (I actually only painted the 'N' and distressed the 'L'. The 'E' looked fine, so I left it alone!) I had the small wreath already, so all I had to do was add some white garland to it....easy!!!

Of course you have to add garland and lights where ever you can!

For my outdoor décor, I grabbed some free boughs from where we got our tree and laid them along the same crates I used in my outdoor Thanksgiving Décor. Then I added some ribbon and garland as well as my lantern stuffed with pine cones and berries.  I made this JOY sign the same way I made the NOEL sign...I purchased the 'J' and 'Y' and glued them to a piece of wood we had laying around. Then, I added garland to the other small wreath I already had and nailed in onto the wood - added some ribbon and voila!
And of course, it wouldn't be complete without a wreath. Add some pine cones, bells and top it off with some burlap and call it a day!

These are all so easy to do and the beauty is you can do them quickly! I hope you can pull some inspiration from here and finish any last minute décor you may have!

Merry Christmas!
~ Kerri

Monday, December 16, 2013

Snow Day Craft

A couple of weeks ago I woke up to this:
An even better part of waking up to this, was the phone call I received from my teammate (telling me that there was NO school)!  That is music to a teacher's ears.  
I just have to was a well needed day off (even though we were just off for a week at Thanksgiving time).  Besides, it gave me an excuse to craft and this is what I made.
This has to be one of the easiest crafts I have made in awhile.  I had the (painted) wood from another project that Tabatha (aka...Best Friend) and I made last year, so I didn't even have to prepare it.  
What you need:
Wood or Tag 
1/4 inch or 1/2 inch Pom-Poms
Stamps & Ink
Jingle bell
Small tag (if you are using wood)
How to make:
Cut the ribbon (1/2 inch)
Glue the ribbon to the bottom of wood
Glue a row of 4 Pom-Poms 
Glue 2 rows of 3 Pom-Poms
Glue 2 rows of 2 Pom-Poms
Glue one at the top
Tie a bow with twine & glue it to the top of the tree
Stamp the tag with Joy or Noel
Glue tag at the top of the wood
Glue a loop of twine to the back (to hang it)

Here is a picture of one that I made with a tag (they were party favors for my Annual Cookie Exchange...I was so caught up in all of the excitement, I forgot to take pictures).
This is such a simple craft, so what are you waiting for...get to the craft store and make some for family and friends for Christmas.
Happy Creating this Christmas season!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Muslin Star Ornament

While surfing the internet, I saw this super cute ornament and thought it would be an ideal gift to give to my daughter's teachers for Christmas. I didn't see a tutorial, but it looked pretty easy to make, so I made one up.

Today I would like to share that tutorial with you!

Here is what you will need...
- Muslin material
- Star cut out to trace
- Ruler (not pictured)
- Chalk pen (not pictured)
- Rotary cutter (not pictured)
- Scissors
- Burlap
- Spray adhesive
- Jute/Twine
- Hot glue gun
- Jingle bells

Here is what to do...
Fold your muslin material in half and lay flat. Take your star cut out and trace it on the muslin material using your chalk pen. This way you are cutting 2 pieces at once.
Tip: I used my chalk pen because it brushed right off and doesn't leave a mark!
(believe it or not, there is one already traced above the cut out.)
I only had yellow chalk pen, which made it difficult to see, so if you have a blue or green one...use it!!

Next, take your rotary cutter and cut out your stars using your ruler to make sure the lines are straight.

Now, pull out your sewing machine and sew the two star pieces together. I chose to make a 1/8" seem.
Be sure to leave an opening so you can stuff it with the batting.

Next, stuff your star with batting. Be sure to stuff the whole thing, meaning, take your finger and stuff the batting into all 4 of the sewn corners of the star. Place some extra batting onto the unsewn 5th corner so it's not limp when you sew it shut. 

Now sew your star shut. Be sure to take your time on this step because it can be tricky lining up your seem while working around the puff that the batting created.

Now it time to cut out your burlap star.
I took the same star cut out and trimmed it 7/8" all around. I chose 7/8" because I measured my muslin star and figured about how far in I wanted the burlap star to sit.
Tip: I applied a little double-sided tape on the back of the star cut out in order to keep the star still on the burlap while cutting.
Then using the same materials I used to cut out the star on the muslin material, I cut my burlap stars.

Now for the sticky part...Take your spray adhesive (I used Elmer's) and spray your burlap star - then apply it to the muslin star. Press lightly and hold for about 10 seconds and then let it set for about 10 minutes.

Once the adhesive is dry, plug in your hot glue gun. While your gun is heating up start cutting your twine/jute.

Next, put a little dab of hot glue on one tip of the star and attach your jute/twine. Then add a little more glue on top of the jute/twine where the ends meet and add your jingle bell.

Once it's all dried, you can hang it!

Easy Peasy!
I can't wait to give these to my daughter's teachers!
Happy Creating ~ Kerri
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