Category Archives: Noelle Claire

Noelle’s Frozen Birthday Party


As I was planning for Cate’s party, I remembered the last time we had any sort of celebration was a year ago, Noellie’s 4th. She has a summer birthday, but since I knew the boys were coming early (I didn’t know how early!) we had a surprise birthday party for her in May.



I think one of the highlights of my life was throwing a surprise party for Noelle. It was SO fun planning secretly, then quickly decorating during her afternoon room/rest time, letting Anna help with everything– and Anna was so sweet, so great, not a hint of jealousy that her younger sister was getting a surprise party.


Like almost any other little girl in America a year ago, Noelle was obsessed with Frozen. : ) So coming up with a party idea wasn’t difficult at all!

frozen3At the end of her rest time, I helped her get dressed… a year ago she dressed up as Elsa everyday, complete with a cape and dress and braid. So I helped her get dressed, and I won’t forget how fun it was to walk her downstairs to a roomful of people who loved her, the Frozen soundtrack playing, presents, and ‘Frozen’ treats. She had NO idea!



I could not have done this party without my parents! Seriously. I was (unbeknownst to me) just a few week away from delivering, on partial bedrest, VERY pregnant, VERY tired, with very little energy! My dad drew Noelle’s favorite part of the movie — the ice palace — on the chalkboard. He also painted Anna and Elsa peg dolls. My mom made most of the desserts, handled the punch, and made the ice candy to go on the cake (see here, here, and here for inspiration!) Thanks so much, Mom & Dad. : ) frozen5 frozen6 frozen7 frozen8



Cupcake Liner Award Badges

Cupcake Liner Badges

Last week the girls and I made a simple little craft — cupcake liner badges! Fun + festive. They’ve been playing giving each other imaginary awards for all sorts of non-existent contests: the waffle contest (who eats their waffles the fastest), the sock contest (who puts on their socks the fastest), etc., etc.  They would take play coins and tape them to themselves — which is fun & imaginative! But I thought we could try our hand at award badges so they could have something more “real” to use.

Here’s what my Pinterest feed looked like for a few days while I gathered ideas — so much inspiration!

cupcake liner bedges

I only used what cupcake liners I had. Polka dotted & striped liners would have been beautiful! But this is all we had so we made it work. : )


We just flipped the cupcake liners inside out, layered them, then the top layers because all my liners were the same size. Then the girls added a spot of glue between each layer. I helped cut out cardstock paper for the tails, and then remembered I had a bag of scrap ribbons for the last one. Then we added a heart or flower or circle on the top. Simple!


(Does anyone else let their kids wear pj’s straight through the month of January??)

IMG_1665   badges5


I then taped part of a large safety pin to the back so we could pin them to their clothes.




Secret Watercolor Messages for Your Kids

watercolor messages

With a house full of little ones, and monotonous gray January days, I have tried to find simple, fun activities for me & the crew to do. We are in the midst of a watercolor craze over here, and I wanted to give my oldest — who is a bit of a reluctant reader — a fun way to practice reading. We have done this for several days, and it still hasn’t gotten old!


This is simple + fun! All you need is: paper (I have used both watercolor paper & mixed media paper), a white crayon, watercolors (+ brush & water cup), and an eager little painter. : )

secret message


Write your message in white crayon on your paper. I have written mostly sweet notes.

anna painting



I have also hidden a special treat somewhere in the house and written its location on the paper. Then I told them they must paint the paper & read the secret message to find their treat.

watercolors4watercolor2 watercolor3

(Anna read Noelle’s for her. Noelle’s my little crafter/painter/artist girl, so she couldn’t bear to pass up a chance to paint something!)








Noelle’s 2nd Year Mini


In the summer, I whipped up a couple simple minibooks; simple mostly because I had the paper + the pictures already in hand! I found all the sweet pictures of the girls’ “first year” photos leftover from birthday party decorations. I didn’t want to keep them in a drawer forever! The girls love love love their baby photos! And while I have kept up a baby book for each of them, and we make a yearly photo album with My Publisher with all our favorite photos, I wanted to make these specifically for them. I’ve already shared Cate’s First Year Mini and Noelle’s First Year Mini. Here’s Noelle’s 2nd year photos. Year 2 of a baby’s life is so fun! They continue to change so much!!





Again, very simple! Photos + labels + simple embellishments.


Girls’ Room Inspiration


A few weeks ago we painted the big girls’ room. When we moved in, it looked like this…


I will show a very rough progress photo tomorrow or next week! I thought I’d share some inspiration photos for their eventual room. The main inspiration for the girls’ room is — surprise! — their old room.



Oh how I love the girls’ old room– light & airy! It was always my favorite room in our old house. So we ended up painting the room the exact same colors in this house.

Here are some lovely, inspiring photos: (click the photo to go to the source)


life made lovely


from home and harmony


The inside of the girls’ rather-large closet is pink. I would love to add some gold polka dots to it like this:


young house love

Now, bed inspiration. When we moved out of our old house, the girls were both in toddler beds. One of the first purchases we made for our new house were twin-sized mattresses + box springs. We still need to get them headboards & a nice comforter/quilt/duvet.

Here are my initial inspiration photos for what I would love! love! love! for their room:



This is one of the most beautiful headboards! Goodness! Rust’s woodworking skills aren’t quite up for that. : ) I wish we could have something custom-made like this! I never realized how much I was drawn to arched headboards, but I love them!



This room is another of my favorite inspiration photos! Lovely lovely lovely!

Since having two custom headboards built isn’t an option, I have been searching and searching online for arched paneled beds in white. My favorite one is $800 each — and since we’re buying two! — that is not going to happen. : ) But it’s still pretty.

paula deen kid gals paneled bed - $800

Paula Deen Kids Gals Paneled Bed

Last, I’ll share one of my favorite bedroom photos, among some of the first things I pinned on Pinterest nearly 2 years ago! The blog it was originally posted to is no longer active, so I have no clue the source of this lovely, lovely room!


While I am not a yellow-walls kind of gal, I really love butter/mustard yellow-especially on beds! While I don’t think the girls will end up with yellow quilts or coverlets for their bedspread, I still keep coming back to this image to inspire me to create the same light, cozy feel in their room. I am keeping this option open for Cate’s room someday.

For the girls’ bedspreads, I will probably end up with something light & airy, solid with not a long going on.

A long, long time ago when I was pregnant with Anna, I saw some bedding from Serena & Lily — called “Gracie”. Sadly, it’s been discontinued! It was what I always imagined for the Anna’s room.

gracie bed

However, I love these quilts from Serena & Lily, but I’m having a hard time talking Rust into them! : )



And, lastly, just for fun, here’s two beautiful quilts that are super fun & colorful! I don’t think something this colorful will end up in the girls’ room, but there’s something about these that just keep drawing my eye!

The Tahla Quilt from anthropologie.


pink and yellow girls room

This gorgeous bedroom is from Black And White and Loved All Over. Isn’t it beautiful?

Okay, so this ended up being all over the place! Tomorrow or Monday I’ll share our very small progress on the girls’ room + our huge list of to-do’s for that room!

Currently Mini


I love crafting + minibook-making + minibook-filling + photography + on and on and on. Life right now, however, doesn’t allow for large chunks of time to create + make. So there is often a huge — huge! — lag between ideas of projects & the actual implementation of them. This minibook is a perfect example!


Early in 2013, I had an idea for doing a minibook of little things about our family — current faves, interests, mannerisms, quirks, etc. In the spring, made the base of the minibook & spent a few days scrawling down little notes here and there about each person in the family.

The base is a piece of sturdy, but not thick, cardboard, with a Tim Holtz binder mechanism attached. It’s painted a lovely turquoise color, using one of small tubes of acrylic paint. Paper is bright & cheerful, a line from Glitz called Cashmere Dame. (This paper is an older line, so it’s a little hard to find!) Alpha stickers are also old, from The Girl’s Paperie. I also stuck in some of Echo Park’s “Memos” journal cards I found at Hobb Lobb.


By the time I selected, edited, and then ordered prints for all the pictures, it was summer! Nearly 5-6 months later! This is the way most of my minibook projects are. I may have an idea and scribble it down; a few months later, I may finally make an empty mini; and then a few months after that, I finally develop pictures; and then, then, then, a few months later–I finally work on it.


So even though I am just now showing this, now, in the fall, this all reflects on “currents” from the spring of 2013. : )


Anyway, I really loved working on this mini!







This will be a fun minibook to look back on in about five years or so. I bet I won’t have time to make minibooks then, let alone keep track of all our “currents”! Who knows!



Noelle’s 3rd Birthday Party!


In late June we had a small third birthday for sweet Noelle! She’s our typical reserved child, but this year Noellie surprised us by wanting a birthday party–which she loved! Her favorite thing lately has been cupcakes (her great-grandparents had given her a set of cupcake pajamas this past Christmas; she is a little obsessed with them and now cupcakes…) so we have a simple ‘decorate-your-own-cupcake’ party!


We had her party the same week we put our house up for sale — so no fun pompom, streamers, or bunting on the ceiling! I was a little sad. In fact, because we were so busy ‘staging’ the house & decluttering and cleaning, we kept the party pretty simple! It really worked that it was a cupcake decorating party–it saved me so much time! Ha!


This party is a little more colorful than the typical soft, neutral color palettes I am drawn to! The paper used for the pinwheels & name banner was from an on-sale October Afternoon collection called Woodland Park. Pretty cute!



Rust even made fun of me because I added leftover paper to the store-bought icing containers! : )


For a game (which the girls played before the party, but we didn’t really during), we had a simple beanbag toss into a ‘cupcake oven’ — which Anna helped me paint. : )


Info: easy cheeseburger sliders | pinwheel tutorial | painted mason jars | cupcake bunting | paper: October Afternoon’s Woodland Park

And two sweet pictures of my birthday girl!!


Noelle’s First Year Minibook


As part of the decluttering & organizing that has been my life the past four months (since we were preparing to list our house), I found all the month-by-month pictures of the girls I’ve used at each of their first and second birthday parties. They were sitting in a drawer I have that’s filled with cards, notes, letters, that friends + family have given me over the years. I loved these pictures of the girls! I didn’t want to hide them away in a drawer. In the past month, I’ve done Noelle’s first year, Noelle’s second year, and Cate’s first year. I have everything ready to go for Anna’s first and second years.

Here’s Noelle’s first year in pictures — a super simple minibook to put together! My beloved pictures of Noellie + my favorite paper (some of the first paper I bought & have been hoarding–My Mind’s Eye’s Bohemia line circa 2007!) + coordinating labels + letter stickers + leftover embellishments from my fall 2012 minibook.




I really am happy with the way it turned out! It was a satisfying project — paper I loved, pictures that were fun to work with, and a pretty straightforward and simple minibook!

A glimpse of where crafting happens…

We live in a small, cozy house — as in, no extravagant craft room for us! But I love that our kitchen table is also our crafting table, our learning table, our games table…

This is what it looks when there’s a craft project in the works…


I LOVE it when the girls join me for art projects of their own. Noellie could color & draw for hours, while Anna likes a variety of different things — here, she’s stamping & coloring in her stamps. : )


When I showed him this picture, Rust was quick to point out that my mess is twice as large as the girls’!

Vday Chalkboard + Vday Thoughts


Rust & I have never gone crazy over Valentine’s Day for various reasons. We’ve never done anything fancy, and the first Valentine’s after we had gotten engaged, we began the tradition of just staying in & enjoying take-out pizza. In a sense, we kind of “skip” Valentine’s Day every year. The day is just not a big deal. Yet this year was the first year I awakened to the fact that even if I don’t feel like I need an over-commercialized day to be a time for me to be validated & affirmed that I am loved & remembered, I have three little hearts who are constantly looking to be filled up with love & delight. I have three very big, very precious love tanks in need of filling! And while Rust & I seek to do this daily, through our care & nurture of our little girls, why not GO BIG on Valentine’s Day? Especially since Anna was brimming with excitement over pink & hearts & little cards & sweets?

So, my goals for this Valentine’s Day became:

  • Share with them God’s deep, incredible, steadfast, overflowing love for them.
  • Share with them that we treasure, love, and delight in them, because they are our precious daughters and because God gave them to us.
  • Help them see that they have so much love to give to those around them, and that we can love freely, because God freely loves us; and that by loving others, we not only impart God’s love, but we also express our love for God.

chalkcollage-wm IMG_0820-wm

So we made pink cupcakes with red sprinkles for ourselves & for friends and family. We cut out hearts & colored them for others & delivered them around our neighborhood. We had a pj day because the girls love their jammies. We talked about verses from the Bible of God’s amazing love (on the chalkboard above). We appreciated the sweet Valentine’s cards & treats & gifts from friends & family. Rust surprised the girls with heart balloons (Anna’s favorite!). And we followed an inspiring mom‘s example and did a little experiment to illustrate God’s love pouring over us. (She has other great ideas I can’t wait to try in the years to come!) (She is one of my favorite bloggers!!)






I’m so thankful my girls’ infectious excitement helped change my ho-hum attitude about Valentine’s Day. I’m thankful they spent the day in eager anticipation for what was next. I overheard Anna say to Noelle, “I just LOVE Valentine’s Day!” I do, too, now, little girl, thanks to you!