DIY the catch-all wall

4 Mar

In an effort to reduce clutter/organize AND be frugal, my darling husband and I created what we like to call “the catch-all wall.” This entire project took approximately 2-3 hours (in spurts, of course!) and cost $26. And we love the way it turned out! It houses my purse(s), scarves, the kid’s backpacks, hats, capes, etc. We hung the bottom plank just high enough so the kids could independently hang their own items, which they love. We also have two huge wicker baskets under the planks for shoes. (Of course, regardless of how hard I try to keep our home and life organized, I ALWAYS have at least one child crying and complaining that they can’t find a shoe, and it is ALWAYS when we are running late. And I ALWAYS find it in the most ridiculous hiding place! Examples: play kitchen microwave, lego container, outside under barbeque, underwear drawer, inside a pillowcase. I’m not joking.) Anyway, here are pictures. I’d love to hear what you think!





DIY: Upcycled Christmas Card Prayer Book

24 Jan


I LOVE Christmas. I didn’t always, but it’s become my very favorite holiday! And my favorite part about Christmas? The CARDS!!! It’s so fun to check the mail everyday and find a beautiful sentiment from a dear friend or family member. Especially these days…people sure do get fancy shmancy with their card-sending…oh, myself included! I love making my card every year. It’s a great opportunity to get creative, and even better…a perfect excuse for a photo shoot! In fact, most of the cards I recieved this year included beautiful, amazing family portraits! Gah! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed each and every one of them. So with all this being said, I just can’t bear to just throw all the cards away once Christmas has come and gone. I can’t do it. So this year I finally figured out the most AWESOME way to reuse those special cards and photographs! Turn them into a prayer book for The Homeschool Room. I want so badly for my children to be rooted and grounded in the power of prayer. Heck, I need this book for myself! The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing” and it’s a really good thought…but in all honesty, how often do you find yourself telling someone “I’ll pray for you!” and you pray that day, maybe once or twice, and then you simply forget? I do it all the time. There’s alot going on in this little brain of mine! Well, I don’t want to forget anymore. Prayer is powerful, because the One whom we pray to is all-powerful! He can do anything! Here are some more scripture references about prayer:
-Psalm 17:6 I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray.
-Psalm 120:1 I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.
-Matthew 21:22 You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.
-Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
-Luke 6:28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.
Luke 18:13 But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.

(I love that last one because it reminds me of how lost and destitute I am, but that God still welcomes me to “come boldly to the throne of grace!”)

30 minute DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Prayer Book:
(Did I succeed in giving this tutorial a terribly obnoxious name? Great!)

Supplies you’ll need:
all your photo christmas cards
9×12 construction paper, any color
1 piece scrapbook paper (completely unnecessary, but adds a nice touch!)
tape or a glue stick
hole punch
2 book rings
one or more tape/glue happy children

1. Cut your construction paper in half so you have a good stack of 6×9 paper
2. Hole punch the top corners.
3. Cut your scrapbook paper to size, hole punch it, and sandwich the construction paper with it.
4. Cut out all of those lovely photos!
5. Have your child tape or glue one photo on each paper. I did front and back to cut down on bulk. 😉
6. Send a group email or FB message asking what your friends and family need prayer for and write that on their page. (Unless you already know what they need prayer for! What a great opportunity to regularly pray for those friends and family who are still not saved!)
Jacob really enjoyed helping me out with this, and I can’t wait to teach him (and learn a little bit myself!) more about how important it is to pray.

The Homeschool Room

10 Jan

Since I’ve had quite a few friends inquire about what we do with the boys as far as homeschooling, I thought it would be fun to share the story of how it all went down, as well as some newbie tips and pictures of our Homeschool Room, where all the magic happens!

First of all, I NEVER planned to homeschool. In fact, I would say I was downright against the idea of it! What about socialization? What about me time? How could I be expected to teach them about things I don’t even understand? Like electricity (true story, I just don’t get it! my brain literally hurts just trying to grasp the very idea of it)… and geometry…and world history…and…and…the list goes on. Yeah, not my thing. At all.

But then something happened. God whispered His idea for our family into my ear. And…I immediately disagreed. “You got the wrong Mama, Lord.  I can’t do that. Got THREE boys. Count ’em. One, two, three. That would take a lot of my energy, a lot of my time, and  a lot of space! Which we don’t have. Right?” (This is the point where I stop and say THANK YOU JESUS for being so patient, loving, and kind with me! It is Jesus who stuck by my side and gently encouraged me to move forward, one baby step at a time, and at times He was the only one giving me the encouragement I so badly needed…which makes this homeschooling adventure all the more special to me!) Anyway,the idea seemed crazy at first. But God spoke to me, and I knew I would be a fool not to listen! And from that point on, God led me to discover some of the most wonderful truths about the world of homeschooling. He completely changed my heart about it! After a few months of praying, reading books, researching curriculum (and state laws), and being encouraged by a fiercely passionate and faithful entourage of amazing women from my church (as well as my awesome sis in-law Nicole Mayo!),  my husband and I agreed to commit to the idea for one school year.  We started in September 2012 and things are going surprisingly well! We are really enjoying our school time more than I even imagined we would. Which is a very pleasant surprise to me. I mean, I really really love my boys…but I gotta say, they are a handful. (They are also a van full, a stroller full, a couch full, a bed full, a tub full. Hahaa!) We have amazing days where I feel like the most blessed mama out there…and then we have some days where it takes everything out of me just to get them to SIT DOWN and LISTEN!!! For crying out LOUD!! But that’s where God comes in, where I need to rely on Him and let Him be present with us. It’s the crazy, horrible days that remind me which well I am to draw my water from, and for that reason I am very grateful for them. But only in hindsight, I’ll admit that much. 😉

TIPS from the Mayo Crew:

~Melissa and Doug educational materials are the BOMB. We keep an eye out for these at Children’s Orchard, Marshalls, and even yard sales. They are made well and my kids enjoy every item we have, especially those wooden interlocking puzzles.  Amazon has also had some great deals on Melissa and Doug brand toys, so if you think you might homeschool someday, these are a great investment.

~I let my boys wear whatever they want to school, because let’s face it…you’re only young once. Looking cool can wait! Most of the time Jacob is in his underwear, Josiah is wearing a cape or costume of some sort, and Owen is still in his jammies. (And a perk to homeschooling is that I am usually teaching in my robe! Which I love. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have quite the housecoat collection!)

~Do school early. At this point, we usually spend about 1-1.5 hours per day in the school room, and our goal is to start no later than 9:00 a.m. I find that their brains (as well as mine) work best right after breakfast. Also, if you include scripture memorization as part of your routine, do that first! It’s so important to me that our boys learn to start their day with Jesus, and while I am still not very good at that (I’m an iPhoneaholic, so I usually curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee and my phone first thing…I’m not proud of it, just being honest!) at least I know that our school day will start off with priorities straight.

~Get messy! Some of the best days we’ve had this year have included times where I just gave them a bottle of glue or paint, some paper, and a pair of scissors. They come up with some of the most amazing little pieces of art. Someday I will devote an entire blog post to simple art projects, because it’s probably my favorite part of school!

Finally, here is our school room. I wish I had better pictures, but my big camera is useless in this tiny room! Anyway, if you have any questions regarding anything you see, please ask! I’d love to share. (P.S. The paint color on the beadboard is way more awesome in person…it’s a bright aqua that manages to both soothe and invigorate me while we are spending time in there. Such a blessing to get it right, because it could have gone horribly wrong!)

school room

And a few more random pictures I found on my phone! Just for fun.

Owen's awesome outfit           a mobile Jacob made           538           feathers

owen's cute behind           teamwork           watch out!           the new whiteboard

bored jojo           making feathers for thxgiving           sir Jacob does math           streaker at school!

Thanks for reading!


Favorite Photographs of 2012

2 Jan

Last year marked a year of growth for me as a photographer. I’ve been a shutterbug for about 6 years now, and I finally feel like my style is emerging! I love photographs that are crisp, clear, detailed, emotional, colorful, interesting, and fun. I got stuck in a rut for a while taking pictures of people who didn’t want their picture taken (do I need to mention names here? haha!) so I decided to stop pointing the lens at my children and I started begging friends, especially pregnant ones, to meet me down at Los Rios Historic District for some “skill building” photo shoots. It has been so much fun!  I would love to share some of my favorites from 2012, so I’ve narrowed them down to about 60 or so…which I guess is a lot, but it’s only about 10% of what I actually wanted to share! Please enjoy, and if you too are a shutterbug, I would love your feedback! It’s the best way to grow, and I look forward to growing even more this year. Please click on the link below to watch a little slideshow!

Happy New Year!

2 Jan

Hi friends and family! I have a confession. I’ve tried to start this blog on three other occasions. Somehow I always find myself slightly busy and unable to follow through, but my hope is that THIS TIME will be THE TIME. Ha! I want to do this not only to remember this amazing time in my life, but to share my heart and my life with the people I love. So…may the Lord bless you today, January 1st, 2013!!??? (sorry, still in shock over here)…and tomorrow…and always!

Be on the lookout for these exciting upcoming posts:

-My favorite photographs of 2012

-The Homeschool Room

-Living life surrounded by farts, burps, bugs, spiders, dirt, weapons, superheroes, and Mario Bros