Family Thanksgiving Photo Story

Yesterday I realized that today was going to be the last day of November and I had not posted about our Thanksgiving yet! 

I want to try something new. Instead of writing a bunch of boring stuff that most of you don't want to read anyway, how about I just share a TON of sweet family pictures with you. 
I think that sounds nice. 

Let's call it a "photo story", first of its kind here on Grassroot Elegance. 

On Thanksgiving Day Kyle and I woke up and drove 2 and a half hours to my parent's house. We had a really simple day with just my Mom, Dad, and brother Hayes. Friday, Mom and I did a little bit of Christmas decorating, made giant snowflake wreaths (more about them tomorrow), and played around on Pinterest. Saturday we had a post Thanksgiving feast with all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and even a few of my great aunts and uncles. We had a wonderful time together with my Arkansas family. 

Here are the highlights. 

Me and Mom

My Sweet Daddy
Making Giant Snowflake Wreaths
Kyle and Dad playing checkers.
My Great Uncle Raze. I think he has the coolest old country name ever. None of my grandparents are living, and I never met my Mom's dad. Since Uncle Raze is his brother, I guess he's kind of like the next best thing to me. Love him. 
My Mom and her twin brothers, my ornery uncles.
Love this picture of my Mom.

Happy Thanksgiving 2011! Hope you enjoyed some sweet time with your family. 


Laundry Day

Today is Laundry Day. 

Welcome to my new laundry room. 

Let's play a game I like to call "Good News, Bad News".
Here we go. 

Good News: I can do multiple loads of laundry at a time. 
Bad News: I can only do as many load of laundry as there are available washers and dryers. 

Good News: It smells clean and fresh here. 
Bad News: The floors and tables are sticky. 

Good News: Use of the washers and dryers is free. 
Bad News: Driving to get to them is a bummer. 

Good News: I have wireless internet while I'm here. 
Bad News: It's on a non-secure network. 

Good News: There are ceiling fans to help keep things cool.
Bad News: Ceiling fans + no heat in the building = I am cold.

Okay, okay. It's really not that bad. It is chilly, and the place is dirty, but the washers and dryers are clean. And that is where my clothes go. And I don't have to pay to do my laundry like was my fear when we moved into Family Housing. 

I'm choosing to stay positive. I'm choosing to see the blessings. 

One last "Good News, Bad News". This time with the "Bad News" first. 

Bad News: I have to sit here and wait for my laundry to finish. 
Good News: I have time to prepare my Thanksgiving post for tomorrow! Just in time for the last day of November! 


We Moved

I've been a little absent around here. I apologize. I've got a good reason. 

Tonight, I've got big news. 

We moved. 

I know for most people moving isn't a big deal. It's not a major setback, not a fork in the road, not a hitch in their plans, not a kink in their cord. But it is a big deal for me. Moving means your favorite belongings being displaced for a time, not knowing where things are for a while, having to clean stuff out, getting rid of things you really love but could honestly do without, and sacrificing time and energy to make it happen. 

And this is no ordinary move for us. While we are not packing a U-Haul and driving thousands of miles across the country, the feelings are similar I think. We are moving out of a brand-new, 3-year old, 1,300 square foot house, into a worn, 20 year old (at least), 700 square foot apartment. This means an organization over haul, hard decisions about parting with things, and to be honest, considerable sacrifice. 

But why would we be so willing to give up dark, beautifully polished granite, counter tops, tall spacious ceilings complete with crown moldings, big windows with gorgeous window crowns, poured white marble vanities, large textured ceramic tile floors, and deep plush carpet? Especially a tiny apartment with peel and stick tile floor, walls decorated with toddler marker scribbles, wood grain Formica counter tops, a stove that is straight out of the 70's, dingy white walls, and no washer and dryer? 

Hold your breath. 

The apartment is free. 

No, I'm not joking. No, we're not being scammed. No, it's not government housing or something extreme like that. We are moving to a family housing apartment complex that is provided by the University of Central Arkansas, the university where Kyle is completing an undergraduate degree in Economics. Kyle is a student in the Honors College which entitles him to a full scholarship including tuition, fees, a book stipend, a cafeteria meal plan, and room and board. 
What a rich blessing!

When considering moving into family housing, Kyle and I did the math. If we stayed in our house for the 2 1/2  to 3 years it is going to take Kyle to complete his degree, we would be spending $30,000 to $36,000 just to live in our house! Now, we will be required to pay just a little over $500 a month during the summer months of June and July to live in family housing. That means that in one year in family housing we would spend around $1,000 for our apartment. One thousand dollars is what we spend now per month for our mortgage payment! 

To us the answer was simple: We have got to move. 

Once we sell the house, we won't have any debt. We drive two completely paid for vehicles. We don't have any credit card debt what so ever. The only monthly expenses we will have will be our monthly utility bill which includes internet service, car insurance, gas, cell phone expenses, insurance, and groceries. 
How wonderful is that?

None of this happened over night. I will be sharing the journey that has taken us to our newest destination in the upcoming weeks. 

I do want to let you know that God is so good, all the time. 

For now, I've got to go unpack some more boxes. 


Busy, Busy, Busy

I haven't forgotten about you! Life has been on hold for the past few days. I am running on very few hours of sleep, getting up very early and slipping into bed way too late. 

Thanks for being patient with me. I can't wait to share with you what all of the commotion is about. There are big changes going on in our life I tell you, big changes. 

Come back tomorrow to find out what we've been up to that has been keeping us busy, busy, busy. 


DIY Week: One Square Yard Wrap

As DIY Week comes to a close, I have one last simply easy-peasy DIY to share with you. 

One Square Yard Wrap Tutorial from Pinterest via www.theseams.blogspot.com
This DIY comes from Behind The Seams, and is most likely one of the easiest things you will ever make for yourself. 

Go check it out, spend 15 minutes making this awesome and oh so gorgeous wrap for yourself! 


DIY Week: DIY Rugs

I have had such a great time sharing my new favorite DIY ideas with you this week! 

My newest obsession is DIY rugs. I love them in all colors, shapes, and sizes, but my favorites are ones that are crocheted, round, and large enough to fill up a living room. 

Searching everywhere for a tutorial, I have been greatly disappointed only to find images of ones that people have created, no how-to guide... at least for one like I am wanting to make. 

I've decided that I am going to have to come up with one on my own and post it, so keep your eyes peeled and get excited for a BIG tutorial on how to make a round crocheted rug, Whitney style. :)

Today I wanted to share with you my inspiration board for my future DIY crochet rug. 
Here we go. 

Braided Rag Rug from Pinterest via www.flickr.com 
Big Stitch Alpaca Rugs from Pinterest via www.purlbee.com
Crocheted Rug from Sheets from Pinterest via www.creativejewishmom.com
Doily Rug from Pinterest via www.etsy.com 
Doily Rugs from Pinterest via www.heine.de 
T-Shirt Rugs from Pinterest via www.modishblog.com
And there you have it! I have a whole Pinterest board devoted to my new love for DIY Rugs if you want to check out others that I have found.
Personally, I think that I am leaning towards going with the sheets idea.

Reasons why I think crocheting with sheets is going to work for me:
1. Sheets will give me gobs and gobs of material to work with. Since I am wanting to make a large rug, I am going to need gobs and gobs instead of here a little and there a little.
2. Sheets are SUPER cheap at Goodwill. $1 or $2 will buy a queen sized flat sheet. Name your color.
3. I already have some sheets that I was going to donate to Goodwill. Double bonus points for already having some of the materials.

I can't wait to get started!
I'm going to be honest though. It could be a few weeks before I am able to get the ball rolling and my crochet needle looping, so be patient with me.

P.S. I have BIG news about exciting things that are happening in our life right now. I am chomping at the bits to tell you, but you will have to wait until Sunday when Grace & Gratitude rolls around again.... 

I'm so horrible at keeping secrets.


DIY Week: Ribbon Paper Clip Bookmarks

Today's DIY project inspiration comes from something I pinned on Pinterest several months ago. 

Jumbo Paper Clip Bookmarks from Pinterest via alterdtoperfection.blogspot.com

How cute are these bookmarks! They are made out of jumbo giant paper clips. 

As a teacher you would think I would be a book worm. 

Shhh.... I'll tell you a secret. 

I finished The Energy Bus today. Really great book. 

It was the first book that I have read cover to cover since I was in high school. 
I didn't even read that much in college unless it was a text book, and a professor was forcing me. 

I wish I was an avid reader, and I think that these super cute bookmarks might have talked me into becoming one. These tiny ones are my creations. 

They were so easy to make and I love how they peek out of the top of the book. 

I just cut the ribbon and tied them on. Too easy. 
And now I have an excuse to read more!

Now that I've finished The Energy Bus I am looking for other good books to read. 
Anyone have any recommendations? 


DIY Week: Fabric Wrapped Hangers

{This is a post that I made about a month ago before life got crazy and DIY WEEK was postponed. Just wanted to let you know in case it looked familiar!}

Tonight I tried my hand at making these super cute, super easy fabric wrapped hangers that I shared with you on Saturday's Pin Peek

Fabric Wrapped Hangers & Bracelets from Pinterest via corrieberrypie.blogspot.com
This DIY project comes from Corrieberry Pie. She has an awesome tutorial there for you to follow. Would you believe that all you need is a hanger, fabric, and masking tape? That's right. I said masking tape. 
I know. I couldn't believe it either. Too easy. 

Here is what my completed hanger looks like. 

I absolutely LOVE how it turned out. I will definitely be making more of these. Wouldn't these make great Christmas presents? I love making ordinary everyday things pretty. Giving them a touch of "special" seems to make everyday extraordinary. 

Go check out Corrieberry Pie and her awesome idea for fabric wrapped hangers, and then make your own! 


DIY Week: Leather Button Bracelet

{Go HERE to learn more about what DIY WEEK is all about.}

About a week ago, my friend Kara pinned this on Pinterest: 

Leather Button Bracelets from Pinterest via sodapop-design.blogspot.com

And I fell in love. 

When Kara pinned these adorable bracelets, I thought that they were attached to a tutorial. 
Turns out that they are not. 
So I tried to come up with a little homemade version of my own. 

Here is what I came up with. 

Here is what I did. 

I made a loop at one end of some leather rope that I picked up at Hobby Lobby. 
Just use some brown thread to wrap around the leather to secure the loop. Your loop will need to be big enough for the button you choose to go through it, but not too big or it will slip out of the loop and your bracelet will fall off. Tie the brown thread in a knot and clip off the extra strings. 

Next, measure how long you want you want the leather rope to be. I knew that I wanted my bracelet to have enough leather rope to go around my arm at least three times. Cut the leather rope. On the end opposite the loop, thread your button. I chose a button that had one single hole on the back. If you choose a button with two or more holes, you may have to get crafty when you are attaching it. 

 Use the same technique of wrapping brown thread around the leather roping to secure the button in place. Tie the thread in a knot and trim the extra strings. 

Wrap the bracelet around your wrist, push the button through the loop, and there you have it! 
A simply cute bracelet that was easy and quick to make! 

Don't you love it! 

Come back tomorrow for more DIY WEEK goodness. 


Grace & Gratitude: Let Him Carry You

        Tonight I have much to say and not very many words to use. It is times like these that I wish I had the vocabulary of my husband. He seems to have the words to describe everything in such a way that it speaks to your soul. 
Maybe I should have him start writing Grace & Gratitude. :)

This week my message is simple. 

Let Him carry you. 

Life's little struggles seemed to show up in every form this past week in my life. I was feeling all sorts of mixed emotions about decisions we are making that I feel like will make an everlasting effect on our family. 
Beginning to feel discouraged, and to be honest, a little depressed, I turned to my Heavenly Father early in the week in prayer, asking Him to carry me though the hardships I was facing. 
I would be misleading you if I did not let you know that the hardships I am talking about are minor things when you think about the grand scheme of life. But you know how all of the little things add up, wear on you, and eventually entrap you in a cage that you seem to have lost the key to. 

That's were I was this week. 

I remember reading a verse of scripture a few weeks ago that was very encouraging to me. As I revisited it, I felt comforted. 

Tonight, I have started and deleted this post at least half a dozen times. It has taken me all evening to realize that even though I didn't fully recognize it at the time, Christ carried me several times this week. I felt His love through the Holy Spirit really more times than I can recall.
Knowing that He is there for me and loves me gives me a kind of strength that I cannot find anywhere else. 

Today I read a talk from the October 2011 General Conference. You can find a link to the entire talk HERE. I wanted to share a little bit of it with you. 

"Another way Satan deceives is through discouragement. He attempts to focus our sight on our own insignificance until we begin to doubt that we have much worth. He tells us that we are too small for anyone to take notice, that we are forgotten-- especially by God."

"Brothers and sisters, the most powerful Being in the universe is the Father of your spirit. He knows you. He loves you with a perfect love."

"God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season-- He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him."

-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

What a powerful promise given to us. 
He knows me. He remembers me. I matter to Him.

Today I am grateful for the relationship that I have with my Heavenly Father. I am grateful for Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, who comforteth me. 

If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it is my sincere prayer for you to make it an urgent goal in your life to gain this precious relationship. My relationship with Heavenly Father, and His son Jesus Christ has changed my life, and continues to shape me into a better person, the person they know I can become. 
If you need a listening ear, or advice on where to start feel free to email me at grassrootelegance@gmail.com, or go HERE or HERE to learn more about Heavenly Father's love for you.