I love to have fun with paper, food, paint, music and events and just being creative in all of it. However, I don't feel the need to be a perfectionist nor a professional in any of my creations. I wish I could have a blog JUST about the art of cooking, photography, sewing, art, mothering, jewelry making, card making, dancing, gardening, deep spiritual thoughts, decorating, poetry, party planning, baking.... and the list goes on but I can't. I don't think I was created with the ability to focus on one task. I like all of these hobbies layed out before me and the freedom to pick whatever I choose depending on the mood or time I have.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Recycled Snowman Tin Can Party Organizers

This recycled Snowman Craft is perfect to make ahead and use to place forks, spoons, straws for a party. Or fill them up with new pencils and pens for your child's teacher.

We used it for our Neighborhood Tree Decorating Party. Our neighborhood has a tree decorating party for all the kids every year. They decorate the GIANT Pine tree located in the neighborhood park.  Each child is asked to bring a recycled ornament to add to the tree. This was our first time doing this so I had no idea that we were decorating a GIANT Christmas tree and that we would ride a crane up to hand our ornament. It was a lot of fun for the boys and even more fun to see it hanging everytime we go by.

You can follow along via: TwitterPinterest or Facebook and our readers preferred way via email.

Told you it was huge. The crane is over to the left.

You will need:
  • empty canned goods
  • spray paint
  • foam: orange and black
  • ribbon
  • hot glue
1. Spray paint your empty and cleaned out tins.

2. Add the face. Cut out nose from orange foam and a hat from the black foam.

3. Place ribbon around the bottom for the scarf and glue.

Other post you may enjoy:
Christmas Party Games
Handmade Stocking Stuffer Gifts

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Paper Bag Crafts

You can follow along via: TwitterPinterest or Facebook and our readers preferred way via email.

Paper Bags are so wonderful and versatile. I especially love using them for crafting.

This post is now stored at our new website Inspired by Familia here

Friday, December 7, 2012

Frosty the Snowman Party Treat in 5 Minutes

I am fascinated by snowmen crafts, ornaments and figurines. But who can pass up an adorable Frosty the snowman treat at a holiday party?

This is perfect to make for a party of one, your little one or for a holiday gathering. If you can find white chocolate dipped cookies already covered that is even better. This is what I use and this party treat is whipped up in less then 5 minutes.

You will need baby food jar, punch or milk, ribbon, chocolate covered cookie, chocolate morsels for the face and candy corn for the nose or any other kind of soft orange candy.

I use corn syrup as my edible "glue" when making fun treats. Add a dab of it on  your mouth, nose and eyes. Then cut out a hat from black construction paper and tape on to the back of a straw. Fill your jars up with your drink and tie ribbon around it. Place the straw behind the cookie to hold it up.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Ornament Craft: Easy Peppermint Candy

You can follow along via: TwitterPinterest or Facebook and our readers preferred way via email.

You can get this fun and easy Christmas Kids Craft at our new website Inspired by Familia!  For the details on this easy kid craft go here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

3 Ingredient Rich & Creamy Hot Chocolate: Homemade Gift Idea

You can follow along via: TwitterPinterest or Facebook and our readers preferred way via email.
This was a big hit when we gifted these to my sons teachers.  It's easy to make and it's super yummy! The packaging was also really easy, see below for instructions.

My husband loves rich hot chocolate. I prefer my hot drinks in form of coffee or tea but when I had a taste of this I seriously wanted more in a large christmas mug.

So what's in my yummy 3 Ingredient Rich & Creamy Hot Chocolate: Sweet Condensed Milk, Low-fat milk and chocolate chips.  See recipe here.  When you see how easy this is to make you will want to whip up some Hot Chocolate Baskets to everyone: neighbors, school staff, teachers....

For the packaging I cut out a heart from newspaper. I used bakers twine and wrapped it around a juice bottle and added some bling bling with the LOVE sticker.  Fill your bottle with some hot chocolate yumminess and your set. 

You can also make a basket out of this by adding a mug and some homemade chocolate dipped marshmallows that they can stir into the hot chocolate.  If you're making this for yourself fill up a mug with this hot deliciousness and top with cool whip and crushed candy canes!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving: Last Minute Turkey Ideas

Looking for some Thanksgiving Turkey Ideas?  These are all super simple and fun, especially if you have a little crafter who needs some thing to do over Thankgiving break.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a Melissa & Doug toy from their top 20 List!

1. Cute Turkey Sandwich- This adorable sandwich was featured in the Celebrate Fall Issue contributed by Meet the Dubiens.
2. Turkey: Paper Bag Treats - Perfect for the kids or if you're a teacher for your class. It was stuffed with this deliciously healthy caramel popcorn ball.  
3.Turkey Fruit Display- Looking for ways to get some healthy food in your feast! This will get everyone's attention.
4. Pine Cone Turkey- So easy and fun, you can find this at Spanglish Baby. You can also use paper for the feathers and write what you're thankful for.
There are so many great and easy activities to make this Thanksgiving break fly by!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

Many of you know that apart from this blog I am the founding editor of Inspired by Family Magazine.  Today is our 1 year anniversary so we want to share with you the fun.
A year ago today I kicked off our e-zine on my birthday! (Keep reading for the fabulous giveaway)

Seriously, I had no idea what I was getting into when I kicked off our e-zine but God gave me the courage to move forward and so I did. Twelve months later, I am so thankful that I did. This journey has stretched me beyond belief. I have crossed paths with many beautiful and creative bloggers. It has blessed me to read your comments on how something you saw here encouraged you.

I have also had many challenges along the way. Computer problems that have made me want to throw my laptop out the window with frustration (I am not computer savvy). I have had the challenge to learn how to juggle life: family time, me time, God time and writing time. Learning how to rejoice with other bloggers in their accomplishments and not to be overcome with envy. Learning about working with brands and get noticed by them. Trying to figure out all the social networks out there, which there are too many for this old lady to keep up with. Also, trying to figure out magazine page layouts, photography, website design and so much more. All of this has stretched me in ways beyond my imagination and I have grown in leaps and bounds as a person, a mother, a wife, a friend, a counselor, a missionary, an entrepeneur, a photographer....

So I am thankful for this journey I have embarked on and I am mostly thankful that I don't walk it alone! I encourage you to dream and live out your hearts passion that honor your family, God and yourself. Sometimes our dreams are put on hold because the phase of life we are in and the responsibilities we have but whatever you do, don't let that keep you from dreaming. Instead baby step towards your dream and find small ways for your creative outlets. You can stop by and read it in full over here.

Now onto the celebrations!

To celebrate our 1 year anniversary, I want to share TWO things with you:

1. Our Holiday Issue: The Spirit of Christmas. It's our online flip-page magazine and it's filled with recipes, kid crafts, home decor, fashion tips, inspirational articles, Holiday gift guide, handmade gifts and so much more. The handmade gift items above are featured here. All FREE for your viewing pleasure, Winter Issue.
2. Giveaway! Our fabulous Melissa & Doug Giveaway! You can choose from any of their top 20 toys if you win. Stop by here and peruse their wonderful collection. You can also stop by their Facebook page and enter to win daily.

How you can enter to win!

On November 27th we will announce the winner. Please leave a legit email so we can contact you. The email from us will say: Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty . You must have a U.S. shipping address to qualify.

Click here to go to the a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thanksgiving Activity: Thankful Pumpkin

Starting at the end of October we have this family tradition in our home.  We talk about what were thankful for that day and then I write one of those things down, that we each share on our pumpkin.  Last year we used 2 pumpkins one with COUNT YOUR BLESSING written on it and the other smaller one had our thankful comments on it. We start  from the center and then we go around it with our thankful things until it's completely covered with our blessings.  I just used a black sharpie.

This year I am going to get a bigger pumpkin and I may just write both the thankful comments the Count Your Blessings on the one pumpkin.

Message in a Tree is from BHG
Tree of Thanks
Show your guests that you're thankful for them this fall with a tabletop tree full of leaves and personal messages. Arrange twigs vertically in an urn and anchor the arrangement with decorative rocks. Write short messages on decorative paper, punch a hole in one corner of each piece, and tie the notes to the twigs using skinny ribbon. Fill in spaces with colorful faux leaves, found at a crafts store. For added fun, sprinkle blank cards and writing utensils on the table for guests to write their own messages to add to the tree. You can even change this around a bit so that its not for a Thanksgiving meal but for the month for your family each writing messages for each other through out the month!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Be Intentional.

My hopes!
Call my parents.
Make that tent in our living room that I have been wanting to do for weeks to sit under with my kids to have our "it's my world" story time.
Get back to praying in the morning with my husband before we get out of bed to start our day.
Write my friend a note and let her know how  much I appreciate her.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

DIY Halloween Favors: Pumpkin, Bat, Ghost Pencil Toppers

These are a wonderful class treats for my boys classmates! It's a great alternative to Halloween candy treats and not to mention practical.  This would also make a great craft for a Halloween party!
You will need: pencils, styrofoam balls, orange and black craft paint, googly eyes, green pipe cleaner, black foam craft paper, sharpie, white crepe paper or fabric.
Insert your pencil through the foam just enough to give it a steady grip.  If you have older kids you can paint it on the pencil but if it's younger kids I would put it on a stick and have them paint it. 
For the Bat:
Glue googly eyes and on the black foam draw & cut out some bat wings.  Glue those to the back. 
For the Pumpkin:
Using a sharpie draw the face and then at the top make a little hole for the green pipe cleaner to go in and glue to secure.
For the Ghost:
I would use white fabric just to ensure that it will last longer. Crepe paper is sturdy but it will tear. Place fabric over plain styrofoam ball. Once you have figure out placement glue the fabric to the inside.  Using a sharpie draw face on fabric.
Let's keep in touch via Twitter, Google + or Facebook!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Living Life: Childlike Wonder

As moms we are constantly going.
Cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, blogging :), playing, running errands, excercising, grocery shopping, decorating and finding ways to teach our children values, morals and life. There is no end to our wonderful work.

I am relearning the art of finding wonder and fulfillment in the little things in my day.
I love the awe and delight that is captured in my son's face in this picture. 
I long for that but sometimes life gets in the way. The busyness of life blurs my vision and in a blink of an eye, I miss the moment.

Oh, to experience that childlike wonder again.

To stop and enjoy the little things in life:
  • When my son shows me for the 50th time his cool kick.
  • When my baby hands me the little pieces of outdoors that he finds, only his little eyes can see. Sometimes it's even his boogers and in his sweet little baby voice he says "here." Don't worry I won't be staring at his boogers with awe and amazement.
  • To sit in and listen to their giggles and playful chatter.
  • To bend down with my 2 year old and watch the ants go by with amazement.
  • To stop and listen to the birds chirping outside my window.
  • To just sit and play.
  • To be okay with the mess and just enjoy watching my sons revel in it.  (that's a hard one)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Halloween Favors: Pumpkin Play Dough

Aren't these adorable!

Well they are super easy to make. Get the recipe for the pumpkin play dough and the details for this party favor here at Inspired by Familia.

For more Halloween Fun:
Kid Friendly Halloween Party Ideas
No-Sew Captain Hook Costume
DIY Trick or Treat Bags
DIY Halloween Card Creations

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Free E-Book Finds For Kids

I love that 4 letter F word, FREE! I am a sucker for freebie deals. Once I stood in a Chipotle Free Burrito day line that had at least 100 people in front of me just so that I could get a free burrito and of course to feed the hungry by donating a canned good. I am sure that was the main reason we were all standing in line to feed the hungry, ahem. 

I hate keeping these great finds to myself.  I discovered No Twiddle Twaddle a blog where Bethany shares free Kid E-books and other great deals on a daily basis with her readers.  I checked out her list and downloaded these great deals (check out her website for all of the deals):

The Bible Tells Me So by Paul J Loth
Rocket Boy Zooming in Space by Joy Findlay
Count the Fruit by Joy Findlay
Adventures of the Little Red Fox by JL Toscano
The Thursday Surpise (A Story about kids and autism) by Ryan Ennis
Big Book of All Time Favorite Bible Stories by V. Gilbert Beers
Rocket Boy Zooms to Mercury by Joy Findlay
Rocket Boy Goes to the Moon by Joy Findlay
Rocket Boy Visits Venus by Joy Findlay
Heart Strings by John Millwater
How to Draw Cartoons by Brian Platt

All of these were showing up as FREE! There are more free books on her list that I didn't get. Make sure that it says $0.00 on otherwise it's not free.
These are the 2 list I used but she has more list to view on her website: List 1 and List 2

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fruit Inspired Cool Summer Treats!

Looking for some Cool Summer Treats?
Well since they are fruit inspired we can go ahead and put them in the healthy category, right?
All of these have been featured in the digital online magazine below.
 Just click HERE   or click on the magazine cover below!

1. Apple Pie in an Apple Cup doesn't that look amazing! It's also no bake!

2. Nutella Fudge Pops- Bananas & chocolate check out this simple but  yummy recipe.

3. Watermelon (faux) cups- Healthy and simple!

4. Peanut Butter & Banana Bites- frozen and yummy!

5. Watermelon (faux) Yogurt Pops- Another healthy and yummy treat.

6. Mini Banana Splits- This treat will get lots of wows but it's so simple! 

After viewing our online digital publication stop by on Facebook using Rafflecopter or below and tell us what article or tip you enjoyed! Every comment counts as a drawing for one of the FABULOUS prizes below!

The Hollie Rogue is giving away one of their beautiful vintage necklaces and Fadeless Memories is giving away one of their priceless heirlooms carved prints. They take your special photograph an individually carve into acrylic so they last a lifetime

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 15, 2012

Simple Summer Creative Ideas

My motto for this summer is "A Simple Summer".
We have packed our Summer online digital publication with simple and creative ideas, recipes, kid crafts, tips and tricks... to simplify your summer! No need to subscribe & it's free! Just click HERE then choose CLICK TO READ button to unlock a treasure full of ideas to simplify your summer!

Tell us here on Facebook using Rafflecopter or here at our website what article or tip you enjoyed! Every comment counts as a drawing for one of the prizes below!

The Hollie Rogue is giving away one of their beautiful vintage necklaces and Fadeless Memories is giving away one of their priceless heirlooms carved prints. They take your special photograph an individually carve into acrylic so they last a lifetime

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Made with Love!

Photo Challenge #4 Made with Love! He had no idea that he was making me something!

Mateo getting his Picasso groove on!
He has no idea how excited his artsy fartsy momma is watching him!
Funny thing was that he only had a tiny smear of paint on him (not counting his tongue that probably had fuschia paint on it b/c he tried sucking the paint brush). Later when I went to change I realized I was the messy one in this project my clothes was full of paint.
Inspired by Family Magazine

Friday, May 4, 2012

Just Can't Get Enough!

This photo challenge may turn me into an out of control crazy camera clicking mama! Day # 5 Just Can't Get Enough! He is just so stickin adorable even when he makes a huge mess.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Book That Changed My Life

I am so glad that I get to participate in this Book Carnaval with a bloggy friend Anne from Modern Mrs. Darcy. She started a book carnival on The Book That Changed My Life so hop on over and share your book.

Other then the Bible, and I am not just saying this because I am a missionary and that's what I should say but the Bible has totally rocked and changed my world. The other book that has challenged me is The Pursuit of God. I first got my hands on this book when I was in college and since then I have read this book countless times, at least 20 times if not more.  I would mentor young girls using this book and loved every minute of it. 

Back when I was a silly college girl I used to say that I wanted to marry A.W. Tozer. The problem was I had a crush on a dead author :). When he talks about God, it makes you salivate. Yes, truly hunger for more of His presence and for His truth in my life. That was a turn on, but in all seriousnes Tozer did bring me to a place of thirst for my Lord.

At some point in college, I had something awful happen to me.  At the time, I was a grad student and I was offered a job to work as a live in assistant for an elderly lady.  I had lived in a home for senior citizens as a activities coordinator so this seemed simple enough, just one elderly woman.  In return for my work, I would get free room and board.  My responsibilities were easy, to spend the night so she was not alone and to help her in the mornings.  A couple of months into this the lady went bonkers on me.  She came into my room with a written note.  An awful note stating how I was this horrible person and I wasn't doing my job and I was taking advantage of the situation.  A few minutes later she walked back into the room and asked me to leave immediately.  I packed  my bags and left.  The problem was I had no where to go, my family lived 24hrs away.  I got in my car and bawled.  Her accusations were unfounded and she treated with such dispespect and the worst of it was I had NO where to go.   

I was once again reading, The Pursuit of God. The chapter I was on happened to be talking about God dividing up the inheritance for the tribes and he gets to Aaron and he says "I am your portion." Numbers 18:20  I remember reading this in the back porch of a friends house and immediately I just got on my knees.  When a woman loses her home and the bed she lies on loses all sense of security.  I felt like everything was stripped from me and here was God saying "Mari, I am your portion. Trust me." 

Soon after, the wife of the Dean of Men of my school offered me her son's room, who was away on a mission.  The elderly lady later contacted me and apologized and offered me the job again and shared that she was on medication for depression among other things.  Don't worry, I didn't take the job.

Invincible! Makes Me Go Hmmmm

I love how kids think they are invincible and maybe sometimes adults. My 16 month old really is trying to climb the wall from our patio. This is day #8 of our Mommy Moments Photo Challenge!
"Ha, I will just climb this wall and show you mom for trying to block my path with the door." I am pretty sure he was thinking that.

I am glad to report, this little guy didn't make it over the wall. He came to terms with his invincibility and found something else to climb.

Hmmmm, I wonder where he gets it from. Here I am trying to be invincible. I am having a pillow fight, trying to whip my mans butt off the balance beam.
Inspired by Family Magazine

Thursday, April 19, 2012

12 Days of Capturing Motherhood Through My Lens

I have enjoyed the Photo Challenge and finding creative ways to capture my day. 

Day #1 is to capture Where/What/How I spend my day?

This was a hard one because living in another country my days vary. Some days I spend my day trying to flag down a gas truck so that we can have hot water I am sure you would of loved seeing a picture of that. Other days I spend it playing with my little man, working on the computer, catching up with friends, ministry, excerising with friends, bible studies, meetings and did I say meetings, cooking crafting...
Yesterday I spent my day trying to find a hair salon. I was on the road for about 5 minutes and all of the sudden I see my baby through my rear view mirror (he still faces the other way so I should never see  his cute little face in the rear view mirror). He is standing up with a huge smile of accomplishment on his face.  I pull over immediately not noticing that it's a very busy street. I jump in the back seat to buckle him up AGAIN he is of course screaming, crying and putting up a fight.  Finally, I won he is safely buckled! Though I must add in this country most people don't ever buckle up their kids, I have seen newborns in the arms of their mom on a motorcyle. Well, I try to open the back door and I can't. Of course, I can't it's on child lock and the windows are on child lock, ugghhhh some times being safe parents is annoying.  I get my big butt up and jump over to the front seat, did it! I look over to the left to put on my seat belt and I notice two people standing there watching me. They were probably standing there the whole time. I am sure they were fully entertained especially the part where I crawled over to the front seat.

I wasn't going to let this burst my bubble of excitement to get my "feel like a princess haircut." I don't get out much and I especially don't get professional haircuts often so at this point I was determined to get what I fully deserve, pampered by a professional stylist.  Which by the way, get this haircuts here are as cheap as $5. I know and I still don't do this very often.

Anyways, the rest of my trip went like this: missed turned, got lost, all one ways streets so I have to start over again, got lost again, found place, no parking spots, all one way streets so I have to start over again, going home with out a haircut.  I know sad but true.

This is how I felt driving back home in 45min traffic without a haircut.  

 My little man climbed up here in the morning and wanted his breakfast served at the table like everyone else not in his high chair.
My day is usually spent playing with my little man on the floor, a cup of tea in my hand and clicking away on my laptop.

He has been quite moody lately he goes from this cute little smile to this cute little sad face.

By the way I did finally get my haircut! And just in case your wondering, yes, I did feel like a princess afterwards.
Inspired by Family Magazine