Monday, December 29, 2014

Tips for the overpacker

After posting on instagram the above picture and bragging about the amount of clothing I fit into a very small amount of space a few asked for tips; ask and you shall receive! 

My name is Emily and I am an over packer. I also like a challenge. I am off to The Netherlands for three weeks and our packing space is limited. Our professor told us that we would be better off to not wash our clothes often. It is common there to re-wear your clothes often, which I would totally be fine with if I did not A) Always spill/stain my and B) Sweat...a lot (gross, I know- but it's TRUE) To avoid appearing overly high maintenance I had to pack efficiently for optimal space in the small amount of luggage we are allowed. Challenge accepted.    

Before you start:

*Know how much space you have. I have a carry on sized suitcase that I am checking, a back pack an a purse.

Side note: If your goal is to avoid checking a bag- then skip the back pack step and fit it all in your carry on (oh and good luck!) 

*Make a list of everything and anything you will need. Down to every pair of underwear and roll of 
Chapstick. If you want to maximize space there is no room for last minute additions! Write it all down!

*Plan it all out. Plan every outfit socks, underwear and undershirtincluded. Know that you have enough outfit combinations that you will actually wear. If you have access to laundry- re-wear and mix/match. Lay out what other non-Clothing items too (important documents, laptops, Chargers, etc) Have everything planned and laid out and then organize it by which bag will hold which items.

Now it's time to pack! 


*Roll your clothes to save space. I always roll EVERYTHING except bulky sweaters and sweatshirts. 

*start with the essentials* Pack the important outfits, underwear, sock cosmetics you need etc first. That way- if you run out of space you do not have to unpack everything to take out something you don't need. 

*Pack your underwear/socks in your shoes to save space*

*Lay your shoes on the bottom of your suitcase and pack around them.

*Limit yourself to 2 pairs of shoes.* I'm traveling in the winter so I'm wearing my black boots and packing my brown ones. If you can- pack flats or flip flops (you get more options this way)

*After your shoes pack solid items* i.e. blow dryers, cosmetic bags, jewelry bags, etc creatively pack rolled clothes around the solid items and then shove any extra socks/underwear around the edges.*

*Lay sweaters or thick un-rollable items on top* 

*Pack undershirts, shorts Etc rolled in the front packet or around the edges*

*If you still have room pack non-essentials on top or around edges (scarves, etc)*

*I made sure all of my cosmetics fit into one easy bag and packed around that*

Back pack

I'm checking my carry on- so I have extra space in my back pack. My pack back has 12 outfits in it. 

*roll everything- lay it across the bottom and continue to stack up.* I fit as much as I could into back pack. Bonus points because it's extra light and will be way to carry.

Note: If you wanted to pack just in your back pack, pack halfway up and add in your cosmetic bag and you're good to go!


I saved this for last- that way anything left over, extra or deemed non essential may still have hope to tag along in your travels 

*All fragile, important or necessary documents items should be in your purse or carry-on bag*

*Folder with important documents, passport, trip itinerary, birth certificate, etc*

*Books, Journals, things for the flight, etc*

*Laptop, cell phone, camera, etc*

*All of your chargers and electronic accessories*

*EMPTY water bottle (until you go through security)*

*Wallet, Credit Cards, ID, etc) 

*Make sure there is nothing sharp, all liquids and medications are packed according to TSA regulations*

A few extra tips

*Be sure to have at least one full outfit in your carry on in the event they lose your checked bag*

*Make sure to weigh your checked luggage BEFORE you go to the airport. That is the worst time to realize your bag is over weight*

*Do not put anything in your checked bag you are not willing to go without. Including ID, wallet, keys, medications*

*Wear your bulkiest outfit on your flight there and back- it will save space in your luggage*

*If you have more than one thick sweater or jacket that will not fit; wear one and carry one over your arm. No one will notice and it will save space*

Monday, December 22, 2014

Little Models

Spent some time with my little friends today who were more than willing to pose for me as my photographer friend gave me a crash course on how to use my camera. My 4 year old friend was much more willing to pose and even graced us with a few outfit changes. Bear was much less willing to be photographed, she even ran off crying at one point. At least she humored me with one silly face! Oh and even the big kids snuck in a few shots! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry (almost) Christmas!

We celebrated Christmas today with my dad and step mom because they are going to be in North Carolina for the Holiday. The one thing I asked for was a camera. I am doing a lot of travelling and wanted a nicer camera. Santa came through for me! Here are my first attempts at figuring this thing out.

Some are better than others and I actually have no idea what I am doing. So basically I am still taking crappy pictures in a better resolution...  If you are a photographer do not be offended by the not so great state of my 'photography'. Also, I was the only one around so I mastered the art of selfies on my new camera and that is all that matters, right? I am super excited about my camera though and you will get to see  plenty of pictures from my upcoming trip to Europe! 

Any tips and tricks from veteran Cannon Rebel users?? 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Letter to the Kids I Nanny for,

Oh sweet little ones, there have been a lot of you. Another little hand I have held pops into my head each line I write. You are so special. You are a handful. You are sticky and you have ruined me for life.

I would be lying if I did not admit that there have been days so long, you had me swearing I never want children. Those days do not last though because you are cute. Which I am convinced is God's way of protecting you from being kicked out of your home because you can be really annoying. I would not crawl behind couches and under beds searching endlessly for your special, cannot sleep without 'gway ell-fent' that actually turned out to be a brown hippo if you were not so cute. You guys are grueling and exhausting, so count your cute little blessing that you have big brown puppy dog eyes.

You little tornados should be passed out in High Schools everywhere. Keeping you alive should be a prerequisite for passing any sex ed course. You have certainly given me a crash course for life with little humans.Through you I have learned a great deal about life, love and how to get spit up out of just about anything.

I could write a book on the lessons you teach and ruthlessly test on with no warning. In fact, just the other night I learned that "Can I sleep with you, Emmy?" translates directly to "Can I sleep in the middle of your bed, kick you all night and wake you up at 5:50 am to tell you I'm bored but I'm cute so you will always say yes"Again, your cuteness saves you. 

The first lesson I learned after living under the same roof of little children; peeing without an audience is a luxury. Locking the door will not stop you. Asking politely for you to wait might as well be spoken in Spanish. I have learned that I will save us all a lot of trouble and crying if I just open the fruit snacks, tie your shoes and then resume peeing.

You are gross, just so you know. You stink and stick you hands in your underwear and refuse to bathe. 
You have covered me with poop, you have spit up in my hair but I forgave you because your eyes melts me and you hugs change me. You taught me that all of the hugs, cuddles and giggles make up ten fold for the poop, slobber and tears.

You have shown me how fast time flies and that the mopping and the dishes and the crumbs can wait. I am learning that when given the choice always choose to dance in the kitchen, to read another story and cuddle in bed over mopping, cleaning and sweeping. Motherhood is mostly finding socks between couch cushions and washing spoons, anyway. There will always be dishes to do but there will not always be little boys who want to play Ninja Turtles. You grow up fast. You will not remember the sticky counters or finger prints on the fridge. You will remember the music and the silly dancing through the halls. You will remember that extra story and the cuddles that fill you with comfort until mommy returns.

You have taught me that kids will always ruin my plans and have no care for your preparation. No matter how ready I am the moment you arise WWIII will break out. No matter what I do the 20 minutes before leaving the house will always be the most chaotic of the day. Someone will always lose their backpack, have to pee or suddenly stop believing in shoes and absolutely refuse to put them on.

You proved to me that there is something in this earth that I would give up precious sleep for. There is something that will get me out of bed on my day off, and that something is your sweet hugs and little voice saying "I missed you!" I would give up sleep to hold you when you're feverish and scared and just out of mommy's reach. I have woken up early to secretly slip a special note into your lunch. I have stayed up late praying your adoption goes through. I love sleep but your little voices, hugs and kisses are sweet enough for me to give it up. But if you wake up before 5 am, please watch TV quietly while I finish my coffee.

Speaking of giving up things I never thought I would. Food. All you had to say was, "can I hab a wittle?" and I gave you my entire bowl of ice cream. Little one, if you were about two feet taller you would lose those little fingers you keep reaching onto my plate with but again, your cuteness has pulled you through. You have taught me that cookies taste better when you share them with those big brown begging eyes. Except sometimes they don't and sometimes I shove cookies into my mouth in the pantry when you are not looking.

You have shown me the nuances of taking care of little kids and I have come out alive, with plenty of stories. But above all, I am utterly amazed at how much a little tiny body can have me completely wrapped around their little fingers. I never knew how much love my heart could hold. You have taught me about love and patience but most importantly you have taught me that the tiniest hands in the world can hold my entire heart in themKeep shining, continue being goofy and keep those adults in your life on your toes.

You are so special. You are a handful. You have changed me, molded me and stretched me. You are sticky and you have ruined me for life. 

Thank you, sweet little one. 

Tips on how to prepare for finals all semester

I know, I know- this title sounds awful. Finals week is as stressful as is- why would I want to think about it ALL SEMESTER?!? But this is different, this post is an attempt to ease your anxiety all semester by providing you with my tried and true study tips. They have proven to save me at least 14 all-nighters and countless hours of stress-induced panic attacks at the thought of finals. Take it from me, I had a crash and burn first semester of college. (2.18 GPA... ouch) I pulled A LOT of all nighters and failed my fair share of exams. Throughout the last 6 semesters I have slowly but surely developed habits that ease the anxiety of the dreaded final exam. These are the top five things I recommend for staying organized and on top of your game all semester. Some of these take extra time but you will thank yourself when an exam rolls around! 

1. Find out first thing whether the final is comprehensive. This is a game changer in how you prepare throughout the semester. You will have to be on your a-game with studying all semester and retaining information from exam to exam. If the final is not comprehensive, then the pressure is off a little. However, you still want to be on your a-game for each and every exam. If you do well on the first few exams- you are allowed some leeway for the last exam. Which will also allow for you to pour extra energy into particularly  challenging classes or ones that have comprehensive finals.

2. Revise, Revise, Revise. I take all of my notes on loose leaf paper and re-copy/revise them after each class into a spiral bound notebook. I have one for each class. This way, I have the each lecture neatly written, in order in one place. Revise while the lecture is fresh in your mind- that way you can fill in any gaps. 

3. Flash Cards. I know, I know, flash cards are old school but I still swear by them. I write all of the main terms and paperclip them to the appropriate section in the revised notes notebook. 

4. Utilize the study guide. If your professor is kind enough to provide you with a study guide- utilize it. There are a million ways you can use it. Make flash cards, or gather the ones you've already made for each of the terms. Make sure you understand and can explain all of the concepts. Write everything down- it is a million times more effective than reading it. Have a friend or roommate quiz you off of the study guide. Put it in a plastic bag and study it in the shower. Sleep with it and hope you learn the material through osmosis. Whatever you do, utilize the study guide!

5. GET SLEEP, DRINK SOMETHING BESIDES COFFEE AND EAT REAL FOOD. This is the most pressing piece of advice I can give you. All-nighters do not work. Your body needs water and ramen noodles are not brain food. Get some sleep, drink water and eat an apple. 

These are my favorite and proven to work for me study tips. But of course, everyone is different, so: What are the study tips you swear by? 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

God in the Moments

The question was posed to us by a typically inquisitive professor. Known by her students to be laid back and frequently play devils advocate. She often poses thought provoking conversation starters. This particular one was met with uncomfortable fidgeting and snickers from the room full of 20 something undergrads.

"What is the meaning of life?" 

We attempted half-hardheartedly to defend our thoughts on life and why we are all here. Our professor wrote the answers on the board- filling it with words such as happiness, success and security.Then on another board, slightly different words as Christ-likeness, discomfort, service. We became intertwined in a conversation of questions. When we will achieve happiness, what is our goal, what is our final destination? 

A friend from the back offered the question "What's the point?" in reference to school. Our professor seconded the question in a stronger more vivacious tone, as if each word was its own sentence; "What. is. the POINT?" I stayed out of the conversation until that point and interjected with an "AMEN"

As I reflected on the conversation, I began to realize our language seems to be so pointed at the assumption that we have a final destination. That we have a certain point or goal in which our lives will be deemed successful or complete once we reach it.

As I have continue this journey into adulthood I have realized that “What am I going to do with my life?” Is a much less important question than “What am I doing with my life right now?”

My next big goal is graduation. In May 2016, after a long, hard 5 years, I will finally graduate. When I think about the day I will walk across the stage and receive my diploma, I actually get chills. The thought of reaching that goal fills me with joy, gratitude and pride. But not because of the piece of paper I am receiving or even that the moment itself is so significant.

The significance lies somewhere else, in the years; the tears, the pain. The moments of almost giving up and the moments of bravely deciding not to. It is in the growing and stretching and molding. It is the friends I met and the ones I have lost. The lessons and the mistakes, it was the travelling and searching. The moments that asked questions and the moments that answered them. When I think about the significance of graduation, it is not the act of graduating but rather the hundreds of names, memories and feelings that come flooding back. It is the realization that I am an entirely different person going out than I was coming in; and that is a beautiful thing.

I have found that life is much less about the destination than it is about the journey. Life is not about reaching the milestones but about the miles it takes to get there. The feeling of success is not reaching a certain point but rather a collection of moments, people and feelings that make reaching that point feel so significant.

God is not only standing at a finish line or waiting in the day just after graduation to use me. No, God is also in the moments. He is in the snow falls and coffee dates. He is in the moments of pain and the moments of growth. He is there in the car rides and morning jogs. He is in every day and every interaction. When invited in, He is intimately involved in your minutes, hours and days. He is with you just as much as you walk to class as he is walking across the stage at graduation. God fills the moments and the memories just as much, if not more than the destination.

As the days become busy and I lose sight of the right now in the hope for tomorrow, I have to ask myself: Am I living the moments or using the days as a means to an end? 

Monday, December 15, 2014


I am on Instagram now! Hop on over and follow me: eforemilyh

Gracias :) 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Somewhere along the way this life became beautiful

There was pain, no doubt. Boredom? Of course. Frustration? Everyday. Anger? Sorrow? Discomfort? Hopelessness? Yes, yes, yes and yes.

But somewhere between the hugs and hand shakes. After all the tears or as a result of the tears, maybe. Somehow as the minutes ticked into hours and the hours into days, As calendar pages turned and the number at the end of the year went up, things changed.

Somehow, sometime, somewhere along the way- This life became unmistakably beautiful. Looking ahead, there was no map and the roads were dark. I did not know the way but I went. I went and I was not alone.
He was the lamp unto my path and the light unto my feet.
I did not understand then why we took this turn or missed that one. I could not see enough to know where the road led, who was up there and what must be left behind for good. Looking ahead, it was foreign. But looking back- Oh, it is quite the view.

In some ways the pain makes sense and the frustration was used to my benefit. My mistakes were used as lessons. The boredom urged me to do more and the discomfort challenged me to step out.  It all fits. Like a puzzle. It all works together to paint a bigger picture. I have reconciled with the ugly and come to terms with the broken. Where I have been makes where I am now that much more of a testament to God's unrelenting Grace. Despite it all, this life, by the Glory of God, became beautiful.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Twas the week before finals

It is the week before finals and I am playing the fun game of "Let's see how many places I can study my eyes out and permanently scar me from ever wanting to study there again"

So far I am at four and the week has not even begun. I see Starbucks, the library and the floor of my apartment at 3 am with chocolate and tears being added to the list!

Monday, December 8, 2014

6 Bible Verses for Times of Stress and Uncertainty

It is finals week so what is better than bible verses about stress? Procrastinate a little and explore these verses. These are a few of my favorite verses that I have posted around and that I have memorized. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
{Philippians 4:6}

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
{Proverbs 3:5-6}

So be truly glad.There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.
{1 Peter 1:6}

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
{2 Corinthians 12:10}

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
{Deuteronomy 31:8}

Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.
{Isaiah 60:20}

Friday, December 5, 2014

Your body is so much more than its size.

I find it inexplicably ironic that the female body, the very body that sustains and births every human on earth, is the body that gets the most unwarranted criticism for not meeting an ideal that only exists within the limits of photoshop. Recently, I passively sat in on a conversation about female body size and shape. Pear shaped bodies, hour glass shaped bodies, diamond shaped bodies. An array of  obejct comparisons, all of which offended me and none of which perfectly summed up my body type.

Screw that. You know what shape my body is? It's body shaped. It is a unique shape with its own twists, turns and crevices. Some parts are squishy, some parts are not, it has beautiful parts and weird parts but regardless of what societal standards say about it; it is my body and so far it has done a phenomenal job of keeping me alive.

I have finally come to a point where I have a healthy relationship with my body. Where I can look in the mirror and not be automatically drawn to the 'flaws'. There is so much more power and importance in what my body does than what shape it is. I now look at my body and see a vessel for a wonderful and powerful mind. I see an amazing. miraculous thing with arms and legs and different parts that work just as I need them too.

My body has two legs, that are perfectly- leg shaped. They are the same two legs that 5 year old me used to tip-toe down the stairs on Christmas morning. They are the same legs which hung me upside down by on monkey bars in grade school. They are the legs I use as a I fall to my knees in prayer during the dark times and the legs I use to dance through the kitchen in the good times. I care very little about toned caffs and thigh gaps. I have two legs that can walk, run, hop, skip jump and dance. That in itself is more than a lot of people can say.

My body has hips and boy to hips get a whole lot of heat. Forget if they are too wide, not wide enough, curvy, straight or have a layer of fat over them. I love my hips. They are the perfect spot for a baby and mine have held many. They are perfect to sway the same baby in a figure 8 as they fall asleep. They are the same hips I used to swing a hula hoop around and around. They are the hips I used to bump friend as a greeting. It is between my hips that I may one day grow the body of my child and that in itself is astounding.

Arms, arms are another part that do not get proper credit. The same arms I used to wrap around my mother's neck as she carried me up to bed many times throughout childhood. They are the same arms I used to throw a ball and my first punch. They can move furniture and stir cookie dough, they can give thumbs up and high-fives. It is in my arms that I have held newborn babies and my hands that have held theirs as they learn to walk. With my arms I give "it's been too long, I miss you" and "Sob onto my shoulder, I'm here for you" hugs.  My arms are perfect for so many things-- perfectly toned is not one of them but I do not care one bit.

The body is breathtakingly intricate. My body as a female, has the ability to literally grow an entire human being. To form the spine and finger nails, the hair, the eyes and the little lives of a child inside of myself. THEN as if that was not enough- I can sustain their life and provide nourishment to a child ENTIRELY WITH MY OWN BODY.

My body is working hard every single second to keep me alive and I do not even have to ask it too. It just pumps blood and reminds me to breath normally while being called fat or ugly. My body deserves to do its job without being told it's fat, ugly, worthless and unfit according to a unattainable standard.

Our bodies are breathtakingly complex and intricate. They work in ways even the most educated scientists and doctors have yet to fully comprehend. We know how amazing it is that we are even alive and what do we do in response? We starve, and manipulate, squeeze and dye and pluck, degrade, and abuse our bodies to fit a standard that everyone despises anyway.

Screw all of that. Screw what you were told is beautiful. Forget the magazines and models and the fad diet commercials. Be nice to your body. Move it, appreciate it, feed it good foods and let it do its keeping you alive thing.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas wish list

My Christmas wishlist is short. There is not much I can think of that I need but if I had to pick I'd say:

1) A new backpack. I love my Vera Bradly laptop back pack. I've had it for two years but it's falling apart. I have another year and a half of back pack years- so I need a new one. 

2) I want a Cannon Rebel T5 soooooo badly and one of Santa's helpers confirmed that my wishes may come true. I love to take pictures and right now I am using my iPhone for all of my pictures. I am going to the Netherlands in January, Florida in March and Honduras in July- I would like a nice camera for some nice pictures.

3) An Erin Condren planner, pleeeease. I LOVE planners and anything organization- I like to mix it up and get a new brand each time the year runs out. This next time I am going to try the Erin Condren life planner. It's expensive but I have heard good things. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Networking in College: 5 tips on how to begin

"I need experience to get a job but I need a job to get experience." How can you break the cycle? How can you build a resume and professional connections that grad schools or future employers want? I have been told I have an impressive resume, not because of grades or academic achievements but I have secured A LOT of relevant experience and a large number of professional recommendations. The college years are full of resources and easy opportunities to build experience, following are the ways I utilized those resources to build connections and network.

1) Get a work study. Not a 'warm body' work study where you sit at the gym desk and check id's as students come in. Find a professor you like, in your desired field or in your department and ask if they need a student worker. This will get your foot in the door and your face known. It will provide a relationship with a professional and a possible recommendation in the future. The earlier you start asking the better. The professor's that are pleasant to work get nabbed quick and I've heard they typically like younger students; they keep you longer and will not have to retrain for a few years.

2) Get to know your Academic advisor. Your advisor is your academic support for four years, they are there to help you. Show initiative. Ask to get lunch or meet with them. Ask questions about their area of interest, their professional development and for their advice. This is another professional connection and a connection within the school- make the most of it.

3) Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer. Find organizations of interest close to your school and send them an e-mail asking about volunteer opportunities. Tell them your future goals and how they align with the goals of the organization or what you hope to get our of your experience. Volunteer as much and as often as possible.

4) Find a church. Churches are GREAT places to build professional and personal relationships as well as get experience. Churches are typically open to volunteers and often love to have college interns. Churches are a supportive environment and when you show initiative and show promise in a certain area they are willing and able to give you freedom to grow and build on that skill. 

5) Get an internship. Even if it is not required, find a business or organization you are interested in. Research their company and goals. Send them an e-mail telling them who you are, why you are interested and that you are inquiring about any possible internships. I did this twice and was offered both internships.

I feel different.

I have not written much concerning my trip to Honduras. It was the best week of my life. I was stretched and changed. I saw God in an entirely new light, I had not idea so much could happen in 10 days. But I cannot write about it, I cannot form the words I want to say. I cannot pin point it but I am different now. Something has changed, I have struggled and wrestled and fought with the words but they will not come out. I feel different. I look at life differently, I look at the church differently, I see international missions differently. I honestly cannot tell you what happened exactly but somewhere between taking off in Dulles airport on July 18th, 2014 and landing in the very same airport on July 26th 2014- Something was different, something inside of me had radically changed.

My heart was stretched and pulled and broken in so many ways I could never undo them nor do I want too. My heart is so radically different and I am trying desperately to untangle the webs of change that I have not yet been able to discern. As I untangle the knots and sift through the thoughts that flood me whenever someone asks me to tell them about the trip, I feel uncomfortable.

Uncomfortable. Guilty. Uneasy. Frustrated. 

These are the emotions that overtake me. When I think about what I saw, the children I held in my arms, the way so many people live with so much less than what I have. It makes me uncomfortable. When I walk out of my room in the morning with 3 pairs of boots asking my roommate to select the shade of brown that goes best with my outfit, I feel guilty. When I throw away food that went bad before I could get to it, I feel uneasy. And when I look around at the church I worship in, I feel frustrated.

It is not just my church frustrates me, it is the American Church or maybe the first world church. The fog machine and light show church. The broadway level worship productions. The committees that fight over budgets and propose capital campaigns for new pews and refinished stain glass windows. The churches that have so much and are still unhappy.

I do see things wrong in the church here, I do think we are not doing enough. I see overindulgence in unnecessary luxuries in the church while others are suffering to even have enough food. However, sometimes I wonder if the problem or the source of discomfort lies not with the church, but within myself.

Maybe it is a change in heart or calling. I never felt called to international mission, I had no interests and I am honestly not sure why I signed up but since the day we arrived, I made plans to go back.

Perhaps this time, this uneasiness, this period of spiritual anxiety is an urging from God to continue to pursue international missions, to go back to the place that changed me.

It is possible the discomfort I am experiencing here is to push me further from what was once my comfort zone and closer to the place I have seen God the most. The things I once clung to, now make me frustrated and guilty and maybe that is a sign.

I am working through the uneasiness, I am praying about the frustration and I am yearning for discernment. I just know that I feel different and I am not so sure I ever want to feel 'normal' again.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Tree Craft

A staple characteristic of any nanny/babysitter is creativity or a pinterest account... or both. I have any different families, different ages and different kids. So I found a cute idea and adapted it for each kiddo. We made CHRISTMAS TREES!! Now that Thanksgiving is over, we can do Christmas crafts galore! This one is SUPER easy, minimal mess and frame-able.

 First, I cut out a tree from green construction paper and put it on a scrap piece without gluing it.  

This ten pack of Crayola washable paints are my favorite to use, it's the most vibrant. 

For my 6 year old friend, I gave her Q tips and let her go to town.

 For my 2 year old buddy, I let him finger paint the tree.  

(Finger Painted on left, Q tip on right)

For T I added the green/red dots around the edge for his big sister I let her do it. They turned out super cute and were SUPER easy! 

Then I let T go to town on the finger painting because mess are the BEST! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Where is home?

I took my first breath in Ohio, my first steps right there in Cleveland.

My first day of school was in Nashville. I lost my first tooth in a Kindergarten classroom in the south. I got my first stitches in a hospital there too. I built sand castles by a lake in Tennessee.

I learned to ride my bike along an alley in Pennsylvania. There is a stone house on a corner there where my father still lives, which long after my parents divorced was still  known as ,"the House".

I learned to drive in parking lots and interstates stretched from North Carolina all the way up to a an island in Maine. I crashed my first car on a bridge in Williamsport and flattened my first tire on a curb up the road.

I've been been burnt by the sun in Florida, Maine and every state in between.

I have held babies in Honduras, demolished houses in Detroit and scrubbed walls in New Orleans.

I've been white water rafting in Colorado and horse back riding too.

I have had food tours through Pittsburgh and seen the lights in the Big Apple.

I go to school in south Central PA and could be anywhere for grad school.

If I could be eating cheesecake in Pittsburgh with my best friend, holding babies in Honduras, taking classes at Messiah, going to church in Williamsport, sitting in the sun in Florida and hugging family in Ohio simultaneously-- then I might for once feel as though all of my heart was all in once place.

Instead, little parts of my life have been speckled throughout the country. I never could point to a place on a map or show you where I was 'born and raised'. Pages of my story have been written in more zip codes, cities, states and countries than I could tell you. There are very few states that do not have someone I love within their borders and very few places you can talk about where I couldn't tell you I have family there.

As I get ready to travel more, see more and taste more of this world-- I know I will be sprinkling more parts of my heart across this globe. I used to get sad whenever I left a place I loved. Sometimes between goodbye hugs I would mentally make plans to pack up and stay there for ever. I know now that you never truly leave the places and the people you love. You are apart of their story and they are apart of yours. You hear their name or see that spot on the map and your heart feels warm, happy or sometimes sad and sometimes heavy. It is a signal from your heart that an old familiar piece of itself is bouncing around in those streets or made a home in the memories of that person.

I have lost to ability to ever feel totally at home, to ever feel like one whole piece but that is just the price you pay for travelling, for seeing the world, and for loving people in every zip code and continent under the sun.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Break

Thankful for...

My siblings 


Time with friends


And this beautiful view

Just to name a few.