Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Boy, have I been neglectful!  I haven't written anything in my blog since, well, April.  I thought, since I have something on my mind, and I'm playing security guard while Ada attempts to nap assistance-free, I'll whip something up!
SO, my topic of choice is something that's really been weighing on me for the last couple years.  It's Christmas, and more specifically, gift giving.  Let me start by saying that I realize this might not be a popular topic with some, and some more might find it slightly offensive.  Nonetheless, I feel some things should be said and should be addressed.  I hope not to rub anyone the wrong way!

I remember Christmastime of my childhood very fondly.  I think it was one of the few times I can remember when my family moved and interacted as unit.  Some Christmas Eves were spent at my Grandma Hindersheid's house, where we all got to see our cousins and relatives on my dad's side.  It was a fun tradition, and I can honestly say that I'm happily indifferent to the gifts that were exchanged--the main focus was togetherness.  It was the same with the Smith side of the family, who all journeyed to be together on Christmas Day.  I can't remember a single gift I received that trumps my memories of playing, eating and laughing together.

Fastforward 10-20 years later, I'm now creating traditions and memories with my own family.  There are a few things we do differently.  We go to church (I apparently made that impossible for my mom when I was a kid), we don't play up Santa too much, and we (ok, Luke) don't feel greatly obligated to attend every family gathering we're invited to.  He prefers to focus on our own, immediate family.  I can respect that, I'm just maybe a little scared to stray away from our extended family gettogethers.

In becoming the main purchasor of Christmas gifts, the season of giving has morphed slightly into something surprising for me.  What I'm feeling sometimes instead of happy, lovey feelings while shopping, is obligation, dread, and an empty wallet.  It's not that way when buying for EVERYONE, some people are a joy to buy for.  But every year, there are a couple of people on my list who leave me scratching my head.  I know that it's my own fault for feeling like I HAVE to get something for those people, but it can be an awkward moment at a gathering when they've gotten something for you (which may or may not make any sense to give you in the first place) and you haven't gotten something for them.
In my observation, the presence of these people on your Christmas list often results in the purchase of an odd or generic gift.  The gift itself doesn't likely hold any sentimental or thoughtful qualities, but it does say, "I love you enough to have spent $17.32 on you this year."

I know that if I'm going to irritate anyone, it's here.

Why on earth are we getting these kinds of gifts for people? What purpose does it serve?  Did they really need that "thing?"  Did they want to hug you afterward?  Did they feel more loved because you thought so long and hard about what to give them?  Not likely, people!  You got them a basket of cheese and crackers and hard salami (ok, I aknowledge that for some people, like my husband, they WOULD consider this a good gift)!
Buying or making a Christmas gift should be a willing, joyful act.  But in this culture of materialism, instead it can become about taking on seasonal debt. 

I sent an email last year and I think the year before, with a couple of suggestions for each of the people in our family.  In no way whatsoever did I expect any of us to receive a gift, and I was sure to include that thought in the email.  I felt a little conflicted sending the email in the first place, since it could be taken that way.  My intentions were good--I was simply trying to provide some clutter-free gift ideas that would be cherished, valued, and purposeful in our cozy little house.  (Believe me, we can only handle so many gimmicky, million-pieced toys in our house.)  I suggested a membership to the Children's Museum, tickets to the movie theater, a gift certificate to the bowling alley, etc.

Anyway, I recently was forwarded an email where the main gist was "stop supporting China's production and profit from imported goods!  Buy local!  Support your own community's businesses!"  And I agree!  I especially liked that many of the gift suggestions (ie hire a maid, pay to have a car detailed, etc.) were clutter-free gifts.  Now, THIS email was well received.  I find myself scratching my head a little bit.  What was so different in the motive behind the China-free Christmas and my junk-free ideas?

Every year I hear people say, "we won't have as much money this year, with the economy being bad and all, " and "I have to get a gift for this person, but I have NO idea what to get," or more importantly, "it's hard to teach my kids about the true meaning of Christmas when we're surrounded by tons of meaningless STUFF."

Gift giving can be absolutely wonderful.  When you've gotten something for someone you love who truly loves and appreciates your thoughtfulness and your gift--that's priceless.  It could be as simple as a bottle of wine or a box of Cheeze-its (a personal favorite of mine).  It could be lavish, like gift certificate for a massage or a new gun.

But dare I say, that if you're in the section of Walmart where they sell the pre-made gift baskets of cheese and salami, Christmas themed teddy bears (you know those things BREED, don't you?), and nasty tasting boxes of chocolates, you're in the wrong place.  Walk away as fast as possible.

Let's have the courage to let go of the obligation that surrounds gift giving this year.  Let's skip the express Christmas gift aisle.  Let's go heavy on the time and love, and light on the "stuff."  Who's with me?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Interview with Mama Holker

Mariah needed to interview me for a school paper, and offered some really good questions that I hope to answer with eloquence and honesty.  Ha!  Well, here goes!
"What made you decide to start homeschooling?" 
"Somehow, kindergarten registration for my daughter really snuck up on me.  Though I fully intended to send her to school (at 3 years of age, I longed for the school bus to come for OUR house), instead of a feeling of excitement, I began picturing what this new phase of our lives would look like.  Now, I went to public school, so I know full well what THAT lifestyle is like, and I'm not just speculating here.  Jump out of bed, rush to brush their teeth and hair, rush to get dressed, shove down breakfast, throw on coat, forget backpack, run back for backpack, run back to school bus stop--and that's all before 7:00am!  It's my opinion that we do WAY too much rushing to begin with and we're teaching our kids to do the same.  Then it's, come home from school, exhausted and starving, eat snack, start homework, do chores (or NOT!), eat dinner (many families don't eat together), get back to homework, fall asleep on books, then repeat!  NO THANK YOU.  Forgive me if I'd like our day to look a little more like this:
1.  Wake up, 7 am, get dressed, make bed, tidy room, brush teeth and hair.
2.  Come down, eat breakfast (made by mom, half the time), clear dishes.
3.  Do morning chores (Empty dishwasher, etc.)
4.  Prayer, begin school.
5.  Finish up school, go outside, play, dig, climb, move.
6.  Come in for lunch, eat together, talk together, clean up.
7.  Lay down for nap or quiet time, read a book.
8.  Wake up, go outside, play, participate in extracurricular activities.
9.  Come in for dinner and help out.
10.  Eat dinner, as a family, clean up, play with dad.
11.  Take baths, jammies on, story time, prayer, lights out.
Granted, not everything goes how you plan it, but this is the kind of life I am striving to provide for my family. 
That's what made me want to homeschool.  Since then my reasons FOR homeschooling have multiplied and matured."

"Is it difficult to be a homeschooler and business woman?" 
"Of course!  Isn't everything in life a challenge, though?  There have been many, many times, as you know when I've had loads of work to get done, but Ada insists on sitting on top of me or insists on touching my wet paint.  And when Celia asks if she can get out beads to play with.  There are a lot of forces working against me getting my work done sometimes, but as I understand it, many people play the role of babysitter in their workplaces, too.  Owning my own business allows me to express myself, my abilities, and my visions in a way that washing my kitchen floor never will.  Probably one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling while owning your own business is that your kids will see firsthand what it takes.  We all have unique talents and gifts--homeschooling moms get to pour those into our children.  I think that's pretty darn cool."

"How do you think being a stay at home mom will positively or negatively affect your children?"
"Though my children may not realize until they're much older, with children of their own, their Mama gave up and sacrificed, willingly, her freedom and her former identity to pour her love and energy into her family.  I want to be the kind of mom who makes fresh cookies and lets them nibble on the cookie dough.  I want to be the kind of mom who cuddles and kisses my babies when they need it most.  I want to be the kind of mom who teaches and prepares my kids for the real world.  They'll know how to cook for themselves and their families, they'll know God, they'll know responsibility and the true meaning of consequences.  But probably the most important part of my sacrifice is that my children will KNOW me and I will KNOW them.
I hope that there won't be an negative effect on my kids--haha, who knows, though.  I remember someone saying once, 'we should be careful how we parent--someday our kids will talk about us to their pychiatrist.'"

"What would you like skeptics of stay at home moms to know?"
"Oh, I try not to worry about this one TOO much, so naturally, I do.  I'd like them to know that though we don't have to wear pantyhose or heels or climb the corporate ladder in them, our work is no less real.  Our work involves spit up, vomit bowls, and endless piles of laundry some days.  Most of us stay at home moms don't stay at home with our kids because we didn't have anything else to do.  We don't have a 'Yaaa...working didn't really work out for me.   I guess I'm just not cut out for it,' kind of an attitude.  I know plenty of capable, articulate, competent women who gave up their professional lives to stay at home.  I can't say that I've ever heard any of them say that their new lives at home is easy.  Its tough stuff.  We often give up the luxuries of frequent haircuts, fancy dining out, cute little cars and $60 jeans to live off one income.  I truly believe that our sacrifices are the most worthwhile in life."

"Why did you decide to be a SAHM?"
"Ooh, for us it was the big 'income vs. daycare' argument.  At my highest pay, I made $9 an hour.  Daycare costs would have eaten that up and then some.  We would have had a few bucks to rub together after all that, and someone else would have been raising our baby.  We waved that goodbye and haven't looked back since.  I feel extremely fortunate to have a husband who provides for our family and values my hard work at home."

"Your daughter Celia is very smart.  Do you think you staying home all day with her had an impact on that?  Would she have been so advanced if you had sent her straight to day care?"
"Celia is very bright.  I think she would have shown her gifts and talents in any setting.  It'd be awfully confident of me to say that she's bright because of my time and effort.  Do I think that my time and effort had an impact on her developing those gifts?  Possibly.  As a little girl, she would ask me a question in typical 2 year old language (ok, maybe not typical--the girl talked fluently at two), and I'd repeat it back to her in it's correct form.  I thought of it as a non-intrusive way of letting her hear how it should be phrased without saying, 'oh, Celia, you're always saying that wrong.  It SHOULD be...'
My hope is that my time and effort does help her to become the best person she can be."

"How would you like to encourage other SAHMs?"
"I would like to put the power back in their hands.  I'd like to remove all their self doubts and lift them up.  We CAN raise our children, and though the going might (and will) get tough at times, you'll be hard pressed to find a cause more worth the work.  Our effort to raise our families and bring them up as God would want us to, has tremendous value.  That value shouldn't be diminished by words or attitudes, by anyone."

"What do you do when you have had enough of your kids?" 
"Haha, that's an awesome question.  I pray for nap time to come early, and wait with bated breath for my husband to come home.  Sometimes, though, I'll send them outside or have them play in their room.  Twenty four hours a day is a long time to spend with someone--with anyone.  Sometimes Mama has to have a time out for a few minutes to regain a cool head."

Well, that's all folks.  Just wanted to get it down in writing.  No response needed.  Have a glorious April day!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How we turned into raw milk drinking, homeschooling Christians.

Whew!  I have to apologize ahead of time if you think we're crazy--we are.  It's cool with me.  Just wanted to get that out of the way.
Let's start with Christianity.  There was a time, not so long ago when I cringed (and that is putting it quite lightly) at the sight or sound of the word.  I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes, too.  I looked at Christians as weak minded, misguided, and annoying.  My journey to Christianity has been very messy.
Firstly, I absolutely HATED church when I was a kid.  In fact, I unknowingly made my mom quit going.  I guess I was a huge pain in the butt.  Nothing about church was relevant to me, and I didn't appreciate being forced to sit through a BORING service.  I also didn't like getting sent to the basement of the church to hang out with the old, smelly lady for Sunday school, either.
When I became a young and awkward preteen, I rebelled.  I was mad about pretty much everything in my life, and I was pretty sure that if there was indeed a God, he wasn't nice.  So, enter "athiest" phase.  I named my cat "Satan" (and boy did she have a disposition to fit!).  I spoke confidently against those who believed.  I can remember one girl who really, I mean really got on my nerves.  She got an A on another one of her tests at school, and I overheard her saying that she had prayed for help before the test and that she was so glad that He was with her.  Blah blah blah.  I thought to myself, "Um, hello?  Who studied for that test?  I'm pretty sure God doesn't give a hoot about your 9th grade English test."
It's interesting how God works, though, isn't it?  Oddly enough, after being tricked into going to a bible summer camp, guess who was my roommate?  Yep, Miss "God helped me ace my test."  Great.  Let me tell you, though, that those bible camps pack a potent dose of persuasion!  I remember asking God for a sign that He existed.  Let's just say I had the you-know-what scared out of me that night.
Anyway, fast forward through some very rough late teenage years, where I smoked a LOT of weed, drank a lot and kissed a lot of Irish boys.  (Anna, that one's for you!)
A year or so after dating Luke, we got the surprise of a lifetime.  We were going to be parents.  Wait, what?  Ya.  I planned our wedding in less than three months.  Beat that. 
I can say that for me, having a baby changed EVERYTHING.  I completely cleaned up my act, and I met my new responsibility head on.  If I wasn't good at anything else in my life, I wanted to be at the very least, a good mom.  But something about becoming a mother and feeling as if this baby of mine was a gift really softened my heart toward God.  It happened gradually.  It was amazing!
When a mailer came to our house, I read, "10 things I hate about church."  Aha!  That's awesome!  If there's a church out there that can talk about how insufferable church is, I'm so in.  The rest is really history.  Westbridge church has been pivotal in shaping our relationship with God.  I came with my doubts and cynical attitude and was met with understanding and friendship.

It'd be impossible for me to tell you why we are doing things the way we are without including the role God has played in it.  Would I homeschool if I hadn't come to know Him?  Nope.  Would I be striving to be a mom with intent and determination?  I don't think so.  Everything good we're doing or trying to do is related to Him, and I'm not ashamed.

We drink raw milk because I believe (based on LOTS of research as always) it's better for us.  We don't use fluoride because I believe it's not good for us.  We're homeschooling because I believe that it's good for us.  We got rid of our TV and sold our Wii because I think we'll be better for it.  Am I finished?  I don't think so!  If these things make us crazy, then so be it.  If believing in Him makes me crazy, then I'll die a crazy lady.  I'm cool with that.
These are my words of love.

P.S.  For the record, I think Miss "God helped me ace my test" is awesome.  She had it figured out long before I did!  I'm only sorry that I was such a twit to her!


I've been a craftin' again!  This time, for a friend of mine from church.  She bought a handmade door plaque from me for her daughter, back at Christmastime, and asked me to make another for her niece.  I had SO much fun making them that they're my new favorite thing!  What do you guys think?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Frumpy (NOT!) Wreath

So, I got this idea from MaryJanes and Galoshes blog.  It's a paper bag wreath.  When describing it to someone, it's impossible not to make it sound terribly frumpy, even if you add a "but it's super cute, trust me," to the end of your explanation.  Haha.  And since I've always been a "I'll show you," kind of girl, without further adieu, here it is!
I love how "springy" it looks, don't you?  What do your spring wreaths look like?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Just for Kids

Face it.  Most of our children have cuter rooms than we do.  There's just something about making a sweet little haven for our kidlets to live in.  (Hmmm, maybe it's just me.  I have two girls)  Anyway, I LOVE making signs for kids.  Especially when I get to use glitter.  Keep that in mind.  If you order a sign with glitter, it'll get done REALLY, REALLY fast.  :o) 
Here are a few signs I've done already!

Family name signs

Here are a few of the CUSTOM family name signs I've created so far. 
 A big thanks to everyone who has supported Love,Painted!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Recycling isn't a bore at all!

Hey girls!  Here's a craft tutorial comin' straight 'atcha!

So for this tutorial, we're going to start out with a CHEAP picture/art frame, and make it into a way to display your favorite quotes.  It's easy as pie, and I'm going to show you!

Here's the frame I started with.  I think I paid $2 for it?  The art isn't really to my taste, shall we say, so I'm going to rip it out!  Here we go.

First, you're going to turn the frame over and remove the art.  You'll likely find that your picture is secured by hundreds of staples.   We're going to rip those some of the staples out with a pair of pliers.  If you pull the staples out of two sides, and bend the rest upward, you'll be able to remove the picture and have the staples there to secure the glass in place later.
Please be VERY careful when working near the glass in the frame.  It's not tempered, will shatter, and WILL cut you, since the edges aren't polished.  Very, very careful.  Ok?
Now we're going to paint.  I chose a vintage white for the base, and a dark brown for the antiquing later.

Go ahead and paint your frame white.  It's going to take two coats of white, so please be patient and wait for the first to dry all the way.  (Waiting is SO hard, isn't it?)

After your two coats of white are dry, take a little dixie cup or something of the like and mix a little brown paint with some water--about 50/50.  With a flat artist paintbrush, you're going to carefully run the paintbrush down along the edge of the frame, where it's recessed.  You'll find that the paint naturally settles there, but if you miss, just wipe away with a clean, slightly damp rag.  This should leave a little brown in the cracks and imperfections, but leave the white fairly unscathed.  Here's a link to a video that shows this process REALLY well.


SO, after that's done, CAREFULLY, and I mean this, CAREFULLY wash your glass if it's dirty, and then place back in the frame.  This is where those staples you left in are going to come in handy.  All you have to do is bend them gently back toward your glass.  They'll hold it right in place.  

Note:  It's important to make sure your glass is securely fixed to your frame.  It's going to be hanging on the wall, and if that glass drops out, someone is going to have a VERY nasty cut!  If you think I'm being too cautious, I'm simply trying to save you the injury I sustained from such mistakes.  :o)

You can use some hot glue, too, if you like.  

Alright, now for the fun part.  Take your decal with your favorite saying, and carefully position it to apply on the glass.  Once you're ready, remove the backing, and apply to the glass.  Sweep the whole thing over with a credit card or something of the like to make sure your decal is adhered well to the glass.  Then carefully remove your transfer tape by pulling back at a 45 degree angle.  

Then you've got it!  A super cute frame made by YOU!  Happy crafting, girls!