Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

A few details about our Christmas Card...
I started with my two favorite images, then added text using the free website PicMonkey.  Next, I uploaded to Mpix (my favorite photo printing website) under their DIY cards section- making sure the photos went off the crop guidelines so there wouldn't be white space.  Mpix shipped them quick and saved us some money... especially with their Black Friday 25% off deal!  We have used them several times and love the quality of their signature paper & the lustre on the pearl paper.  Just an idea for your Christmas cards next year or any birth announcments/invitations coming up!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

NYC-Brooklyn Christmas Trip

Patrick and I had an amazing visit to New York spending time with his sister Rebecca.  These are the few photos I took with my real camera- the rest were on instagram from our trip :) - since it was rainy or super cold most of the days it wasn't easy to lug my camera around.  We walked all over this beautiful city, ate the most delicious food, enjoyed every day seeing Rebecca's home and favorite places... we even got to meet up with some dear friends for sight-seeing, UL game and a Les Miserables!

A few of our favorites:
Juliana's Pizza
Henry Public
Chobani Soho
Patsy's Italian
Dominique Ansel's Bakery 
Beygl Park Slope
Shake Shack- and their hot chocolate :)
and way too many other places we ate at in between meals :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Winter Favorites

1- Cozy Ear Flap Beanie handmade by Millesime Baby
2- Organic Healing Balm from The Honest Co.
3- Infinity Scarf (Toddler & Women) by Everyday Pitter Patter
4- Adorable Bow Accessories from LuLuLuvs- Made in Brooklyn
5- Thieves in the Diffuser from Young Living

What are your winter essentials or favorite accessories this season?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wait, didn't John Ryman just turn 2?!

 John Ryman turns THREE this week!
Here are a few flashback pictures from last year's 2nd birthday...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Baby Gift Guide- Christmas 2014

For the adventurous creative:
Little Sapling Toys has the cutest wooden camera ever!
But be sure to check out their personalized ornaments, toy cars & more...
My new favorite are the wooden baby teethers that can be personalized &
created in the shape of your state.  Adorable baby gift :)
For the little entertainer:
These cute bells & tambourine were from the $1 section at Target!
You could find a mix of musical instruments as a fun gift for a little one...
Just be sure to package them all in a cute box or basket
so that mom or dad can hide them neatly away when their ears get tired :)
 I also see a lot of Melissa & Doug at TJMaxx & their
beginner band set and musical toys are great!

For the tiny fashionista:
New comfy moccasins paired with a personalized shirt! 
Wild Explorers has the cutest styles of baby moccs- I'm loving the metallics...
This #fancy shirt is perfect- Little Goose Shop has so many adorable personalized options
and of course why not top off the gift with an
Everyday Pitter Patter Reversible baby scarf ;)

And for the little animal lover:
Nothing could be more perfect than a print from Sharon Montrose's
The Animal Print Shop... Actually I want some of these for Christmas!
Vera has the fawn in her nursery (actually used to be in JR's)
and I would love to have a collage one day in JR's room
except I don't know how I could choose.  They are all so amazing!
Hop on over to her shop and you'll spend too long looking at all of the animals
from the Little Darlings section to the Cougar close-up & Longhorn Steer...

Monday, December 1, 2014

December "Give" Family- The Maurers

So excited for you all to hear from Jen Maurer and her precious family...

Shawn is from northeast Ohio and I [Jen] am from southeast Indiana, and the two of us met in college in Kentucky. We were married in 2005 and spent five years ministering in Winston-Salem, NC before moving to Texas in 2010 where Shawn currently serves as the Lead Student Pastor of Compass Christian Church. Adoption and fostering has been on both of our hearts since we were dating, and we both knew that it would one day be something we'd pursue. God spoke to each of us separately and distinctly about a year ago, and we realized that the time to begin this part of our journey was now. Shawn's degree and experiences in student ministry combined with my degree and experiences in Counseling/Psychology have culminated in us hearts that break for the most vulnerable in our society - children in the foster care system. We feel called to walk through the pain, hurt, neglect, abuse, and prayerfully - healing with the children God has prepared for us. 

Our family will be officially licensed on December 4th, which was an arduous process unto itself! However, I think the most challenging aspect of our preparation so far has been working with our boys to understand what is about to happen. Our six year old [Jude] understands why children would be put in foster care and understands that our family can help, love, and serve those children, but also seems to think that all a child would need is a week or so of kind words and they'll be "good as new." Helping him see that the healing process is long, slow, and often even unseen has been challenging. Our four year old son [Cohen] is excited about the prospect of having a foster brother or sister, although we're still working to help him understand that his new sibling will require significant patience, gentleness, kindness, and selflessness. That's a hard lesson for many adults to get...much less a 4 year old! 

One of our greatest concerns in entering this process was our need for a support system. Our families live across the country, and we knew we'd need help, support, and understanding to parent our foster children [as well as Jude and Cohen] well. As we took our first steps in paperwork and training, Shawn and I began praying earnestly for a support system. I can remember crying on my knees, pleading with God and telling Him we couldn't do it alone. Within the hour, my phone began blowing up with friends offering their help and support - friends who were willing to be certified to babysit our foster children, friends who were happy to watch Jude and Cohen so we could make all of our training sessions, and friends who were offering encouragement and prayers. I've seen God provide over and over in many ways at each junction of our journey. Just when I get overwhelmed and think I'm not going to be able to make it through the next step, He reminds me of His faithfulness and everlasting love. 

We're not exactly sure when we'll get the call for a placement, but it's looking like we'll have a placement by Christmas. I can't help but think about Joseph in the days after Mary's labor. He was looking at a sweet boy. A sweet boy who wasn't biologically connected to him. During Mary's pregnancy, I wonder if he questioned if he'd be able to love that baby. I wonder if he thought he'd have a hard time raising a child he didn't help make, or worried about feeling resentful. But I think as he looked at Jesus' tiny fingers, any worries he'd had surely vanished. God called Joseph to adopt and raise His son, and Joseph submitted to that call. And the world will never be the same. 

My favorite quote, my battle cry, my anthem is from Derek Loux. "My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him." 
Our family blog: 
jenny.erally :
{speaking before i think since 1981}
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All profit from the December Give Scarf will go directly to the Maurer family to help fund their foster care and adoption process.  Thank you so much for your generosity.  Stock up on Christmas gifts, tell your friends and help us share with the Maurers!  Here is this month's Give Scarf:

Women's Gift Guide- Christmas 2014

For the One who Brightens your day:
Gorgeous Jewelry in lots of styles from Lucy Mint Boutique
For the Entertainer... Hospitable Friend:
Lovely Linens from KitchFarmhouse
with their vintage napkin rings or handmade aprons
For the Decorator or Organizer:
The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith
Packaged & tied up with a few crafting accessories :)
 For the One who has Everything:
A unique handmade infinity scarf from Everyday Pitter Patter
Sure fit & plenty styles to choose from :)
 For the Loyal Friend & Coffee Lover:
A mug from Lettered Life and
coffee beans from your local coffee shop
or a new favorite of ours is from Brick&MortarCoffee online!
And be sure to check these shops for special Cyber Monday Discount Codes!!
What are your favorites gifts to give (or receive)... favorite shops?