Archive for 2012

Sandy Hook Memorial Fund

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Years ago, I found a group of women. We connected with each other quickly and supported each other through engagements, marriages, children, divorces, health issues, miscarriages, and anything else that comes up in 10+ years of being a circle of friends. Unfortunately, one of our special group is suffering a terrible loss as her nephew, James, was a victim in the Sandy Hook school tragedy.

She describes James as loving brother to his older sister, a thoughtful and considerate boy who loved math, recess, and his dad's omelets.  In his honor, her family has established a memorial fund. They are considering using the funds to build a baseball field in their community. They feel James would love to have his friends run around on "his" field.  If you are inclined to help by donating, I thought I would leave the information here for you.

James R. Mattioli Memorial Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street
Newtown, CT 06470

Thank you and God bless you and your families.


Christmas House Tour (Warning--Insane Amount of Pictures)

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Welcome!  I'm so excited to finally have some Christmas pictures to share with you.  Let's go in, shall we?  I sound like a fancy lady, don't I?  Shall we venture inside my abode and partake in some holiday revelry and cheer?  Why I think we shall! 

A Little Glimpse Inside Our Weekend

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We have been getting our Christmas on here. We baked and decorated cookies (chocolate!) and went to Sesame Place for their Christmas events. That was a bit of a nightmare mostly because it was so incredibly crowded that it took some of the fun out. We couldn't get into any of the shows and it was a 30 minute wait (at least) for each ride. Ellie was completely unimpressed and Molly enjoyed the rides she was able to get on.   Here are some pictures of our weekend!  Not all are edited, sorry.

Ellie likes sprinkles, ya think?

We also gave the girls a Christmas present. We give them an ornament every year so they will be able to trim their own trees someday with some heirlooms. We gave Ellie a gold rocking horse because she loves ponies and I chose a white reindeer for Molly. She loves Rudolph and I liked this guy's red nose.

Let's see...what else can I talk about?  Oh yes, Robert Sabuda. Are you familiar with him?  He's a paper artist and creates the most amazing pop up books. I scored a few at a yard sale in the summer still in their plastic.  They make lovely keepsakes for children and my girls enjoy looking at all the details in the pop ups.

There are my musings!


Christmas/Winter Wreath

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I wanted to have a wreath that would be appropriate for Christmas but would also take me through most of winter, including Valentine's Day. I think I did it!  What do you think?

Amazing Christmas Decor

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 Hi Friends!
Can you believe I am still not decorated for Christmas??  We have our tree up and I'm slowly getting things together but I still have to buy some wreaths for the windows and roping for the banister.  So to get me in the mood I've been admiring all the Christmas decor eye candy that's out and about. Here are some of my favorites. I encourage you to please pin from the original source, not my blog. Thank you!!


Vintage Crates on Casters (Closet Organization)

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In the spirit of being a full disclosure blogger, I'd like to show you what has been lurking in our front closet. The closet that I insisted our new house have so that we don't have shoes and coats laying about. The closet I knew would help us stay neat and organized.  So here it is. And this is after we had tidied it up.

Giveaway! Signs by Andrea Custom Art!

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Yesterday I showed you the artwork I designed using the Custom Family Rules design service by Signs By Andrea.  It was so fun and so easy to do! I had a blast trying all different combinations of colors, fonts, and wording. I used some of the rules Andrea provides and I also wrote some of my own.

The service is beyond easy and user friendly which I appreciate.  The finished design is emailed to you in different formats depending on how you plan on using your design. You can send it to a printing service to be processed or you can print it out yourself. I did both because I couldn't wait until my print came from the printer!

Now this is the best part. Andrea has generously offered 1 Free Custom Family Rules Download to one reader!  What a fun way to add something new to your decor! And for free! Bonus!


 Go to the Custom Family Rules Artwork builder and build your own custom family rules.  Comment here telling which design is your favorite. (1 entry)
Become a follower of Days of Chalk and Chocolate (1 entry)
Follow Signs by Andrea on Facebook (1 entry)
and finally, blog, tweet, pin, or FB about this giveaway for another entry!

I'll announce a random winner on December 10th!  

Thank you, Signs By Andrea, for participating in the giveaway!


Creating Custom Art: Signs by Andrea

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I love love love all the typography art that is so popular now and I especially love the ones that inspire us.  I  adore the idea of having something in our home that describes how we like to live and reminds us of our values as a family.  That's why I was so excited when Andrea from Signs by Andrea contacted me, wondering if I'd like to try out her downloadable custom family rules art service. Would I?  Oh yeah!

This is what  I came up with. I had so much fun creating it using the easy process on the Signs by Andrea website because I could choose my background color, font, font color, and the rules I wanted. Andrea has prewritten rule options I could use or I could write my own. I used both methods and I am so happy with how it turned out.  It was so easy! 

Once the rules are completed you receive it as a file which you can print out or send to a printing service. I sent mine to Shutterfly to get printed in a large size but I couldn't wait and printed it out using my printer so I could hang it up right away.

I already decided that I'm going to use Signs by Andrea again when I go back to teaching in a classroom. So many of these rules are applicable there too!

Check back tomorrow when YOU have the chance to win a Free Custom Family Rules Download!! 


8 Glittery Christmas Inspirations

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I am so excited to usher in the holidays and I know you all feel the same!  It's a joyous time of year and I love the feeling of hope and welcoming of the babe, Jesus.  And yes, I love the glitz of the season too!  During this season let's be grateful for all that matters in our lives like family, friends, good health, glitter, Mod Podge, and book pages.

Here are some glittery, sparkle filled holiday and winter projects to inspire you to add some glitz to your celebration!

All Thing Beautiful created this gorgeous mantel full of icy decorations. I love the elegance of her mantel.  So beautiful!

A Pumpkin and a Princess used German glass glitter to create a pear ornament that shimmers and glimmers. That glitter is amazing, isn't it?

Those glass trees at Walmart are a hit and I'm seeing all sorts of great ideas to give them some sparkle.  Mom 4 Real used glitter and...well visit her and find out what she used to get the glitter to adhere!  Brilliant!

She's Kinda Crafty made these lovely napkins using a product I've never used before!  I will keep my eye out now though because the effect is so pretty!

Aren't these glitter pine cones so striking?  Blissfully Ever After didn't just use glitter to get these to have a look similar to Pottery Barn's!   So clever!

Pitter and Glink put her glue gun to work to make these sparkly snowflake ornaments. I love a decoration I can leave up for the whole season too!

Seaside Interiors shows us how blue, white, and silver create a festive Christmas filled home! 

Blue Roof Cabin gave her holiday mantel some sparkle!  The whole thing just seems to glow!  Love it!

Mercury glass adds the sparkle on Eclectically Vintage mantel!  Who doesn't love mercury glass?  No one!

Do you use glitter in your holiday decorating?  I have to add a bit more to mine this year!


Cranberry Bliss Bars (Recipe Review)

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I have been pinning cranberry bliss everything lately and decided to finally put some of the recipes to the test. I made the classic Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bar Copycat recipe from Todd Wilbur's Top Secret Recipes. They make a very pretty bar cookie and they would lovely at a cookie exchange or on a dessert table for the holidays!  Plus they have cranberries which make them healthy. HA HA HA HA!!!

Red Plaid Runner (Christmas Decor)

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I'm all into tartans and plaids this year for our Christmas decor. I usually don't go for that but for some reason I am finding myself excited about trying something out of my box.  I decided a red plaid table runner would be an easy way to incorporate more plaid without having to chuck everything I already own!  Isn't it pretty?

It started off like this though!

 I saw this tablecloth at HomeGoods the other day for a measly $7.  I liked the plaid but it was a tad too much of it for my taste.  Making it into a table runner was so easy too.

I started with a 70 inch table cloth. I measured and cut a strip that was about 18 inches wide which allowed for 1/2 inch hems.

Fold over 1/2 inch on the raw long side. Iron. Fold over again. Iron. Sew. I only had one raw side because I kept the factory seam on the other.   I also hemmed my short sides even though the ruffles would go on those ends. You don't have to do this but I didn't want any unraveling from an unfinished edge if I put it in the washer.

Set aside your runner. Take your leftover fabric and fold it hem to hem.   Measure the length you want your ruffle. I just eye balled mine.  Also, you'll want to double the width so you have enough fabric to make a pretty ruffle. Then cut your ruffle strips keeping the factory edge. This way you don't need to do a hem on the bottom of the ruffle.

Make your ruffles by basting a stitch at the raw edge and pulling the bottom thread to gather. Right sides together, sew a ruffle onto each end and you're done!  Plus, I still have lots of fabric left to make some napkins!

I also tried a new paint finish on my kitchen table base tonight. I think it came out ok but I'll have to see it in the light. Keep your fingers crossed!


Chocolate Truffle Pie (Dessert Recipe)

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I hope you all had a beautiful and joyful Thanksgiving!  Ours was perfect. My sister cooked a delicious traditional meal and I made this amazing chocolate truffle pie for dessert!  It was a hit and I would make it again in a heart beat!  It's a Deen Brother's recipe and the first I've tried. It was easy and scrumptious!

Guest Post: Have a Puritan Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving!  Today I have a guest blogger for you!  Maddy is going to give us a little history on the holiday and some suggestions on how to give your day a little authentic flair!

Have a Puritan Thanksgiving


Maddy Olson blogs on a variety of subjects that are deep topics and can change lives. Writing about the Costume Supercenter is a very rewarding way to express her creativity and she absolutely loves it! Having four children of her own has allowed her to use the imagination she was gifted with and share that with you.


We have all heard the story a million times about how the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock and settled in, farming their land being shown how by the Native Americans. Then, when the harvest came about that year, they all celebrate together and had turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy. Right? Well, not exactly. There are small truths in how we have been taught, yet some inaccuracies in there too. Do you think that maybe getting back to our early American roots might be a great adventure? It can be done.

The first American Thanksgiving that is talked about did have the Native Americans as a part of the celebration. It was written that they brought five deer and the pilgrim men went out hunting fowl. It is really debated if there was really a turkey on the table, but there were plenty of other birds to feed the group. If you want to celebrate the early Thanksgiving legend dinner, a variety of poultry, venison, corn dishes, and native berries would be present on the table. Think about going camping out in the wild. What would you really have access to? Not much. The corn that they were taught to grow made up the majority of foods. There were no potatoes yet, no apples, and little sugar so there were few pastries, it is believed.

Not quite as appealing?

The Thanksgiving holiday was not an annual affair until the mid 1800’s when President Lincoln signed it as a national holiday. That is one consistency in all the reading I have done. Many other leaders had tried to make it a collaborative celebration, but they failed or left it up to each individual state or territory to figure out. Sometimes, there were many celebrations. Like when a people would overcome illness, tragedy, or drought. It was a religious time to thank God for his blessings. But even if you are not religious by nature, you can still observe the holiday and be thankful for all the positive things in your life.

If you want to step back in time, and want some tasty food that were true recipes of old, here are some ideas:

·         Back in the 1700s and 1800s, people didn’t mail their family an invitation to Thanksgiving Dinner, generally. The family would know to gather together or would start their own traditions as a young family. However, to share your sincerity in your invitation, hand-write a small handwritten note asking them to join you. Be sure to explain the wearing of costumes at this party!

·         Yes, I said costumes. Have everyone come as a Puritan or a Pilgrim and Native Americans are fun too! Have the adults and the kids get involved and make it a year to remember.

·         You don’t have to have the most beautiful table or dishes or even d├ęcor. The early celebrations were nothing fancy, not until the late 1800s was presentation even thought of really. To be able to celebrate life, food, and God, was all they thought of. So, push aside your fears of not living up to standards you feel you might lack and simply gather and share wonderful food from another time in history.

·         And for the part most famous for making the holiday special, the food. This year, use the recipes to forge an authentic early American Thanksgiving dinner. Have the traditional turkey present, but fill the table with other period details like Hasty Pudding and stewed pumpkin or “pompions”, as they used to call them. Or even cook up some very early foods that might have been at that first party in the brand new country. Decorate with bowls of jams in all colors.

 Exploring the world that we have evolved from could prove to be an amazing adventure. Gather for a day, not the original three, and strip off the evidence of today’s society. Bring it home, simple and satisfying. Light a fire in the fireplace and retire to have a sing-a-long in the evening. Whatever you do, make it count. Family and life are too important to not celebrate!

DIY Mercury Glass Tree

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I was browsing in Walmart the other day and found a large glass Christmas tree jar. The top comes off so I guess you can fill it with cookies or whatever. I filled it with creativity and made it into a DIY mercury glass Christmas tree! 

The tree cost me $3.97!  I plan on getting a few of the medium and small sizes too and using them on the mantel at Christmas.

I used the same method to mercury glass it as I did on my candle stick except I sprayed the inside of the container instead of the outside. Basically it's just a little mirror finish spray paint, a little vinegar, a paper towel, and that's it! 

I put a little LED tea light inside to make it glow and added some greens (courtesy of Hurricane Sandy) and some silk flowers I made.  Oh and the pine cones were from the 1000's Ellie filled my purse with during Molly's soccer game. Startin' em young.  Pretty soon Ellie will have her own blog:  Days of Poop and Tantrums.

So run out to Walmart and make some too!  Then blog about it and show me!


Check out these great blogs! I link up to them too...join in the linky love!

Crib Skirt Tutorial (sewing project)

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Yesterday I showed you the new crib bedding I made for Ellie's bed and I promised you a tutorial or two on how I did it.  Today I'll show you how I made the crib skirt. It was easy and I love how it came out. I also know this method can be used on any size bed.

Sewing Project: Crib Duvet Cover and Crib Skirt

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The crib set I bought when the girls were babies is blue and Ellie's room is pink now. GASP!  So I found some lovely companion fabrics at a fancy fabric store and they were on super sale. I was inspired to make a duvet cover for a small down blanket we had and a matching crib skirt. I have never done either and I'm so so happy with how they turned out!

Bedroom Makeover You'll Love

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Hi friends. I've been doing all sorts of things and Jim is working overtime so I haven't been on the computer a whole heckuva lot. I miss you all!  We're hoping to get another computer soon but until then I may be scarce around these parts. Jim works in the liquor industry and the time between now and New Year's Eve is the busiest season for them all. He has a gajillion websites to get live and he's working his little fingers to the bone! 

What have I been doing?  Painting the trim in my foyer and trying to decide on a color for the foyer, up the stairs, and the upstairs hallway. It's quite a bit of wall and we want something light and neutral but not gray. Jim is a little over the whole gray trend (gasp-faint-"Where are my smelling salts?" ) So I was browsing around Benjamin Moore's Facebook page while Jim was eating lunch and lo and behold I find one of my favorite bloggers being featured!  Woo hoo!

Taryn who blogs at Design, Dining & Diapers recently made over her master bedroom for a whopping $175 and it came out so beautifully!!  Here's a little glimpse of her loveliness.

An Introduction: Papa is a Preacher

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Hi friends! I'm excited to introduce you to my new blog friend, Larissa, who is guest blogging today!  I'm a firm believer (and I know you are too!) that we should be helping out our younger or newbie bloggers! Thanks!

I'm Larissa. I'm a Preacher's daughter, a sister, a friend, a blogger at Papa is a Preacher, and a homeschooler who's finishing up high school, you can read 'bout that here. I'm trying my best to finish school early so I can pursue my degree in Communications. I talk a lot, so I thought I'd better learn how to communicate with others so all my talking doesn't go to waste.
This, is me:

I've been called, silly, punk, nerd, dork, weird, and I unfortunately can't prove these terms wrong. I sing horribly, but I sing anyways. I bake, I write, I photograph, I travel, I love animals, I love Vintage, I move around a lot, and then I blog all about it. I love God. My Blog has no intention to push religion down your throat, but to show you that if you're not best friends with God yet, you're missing out. I hate misspellings, especially when I find it in my writing. I'm a grammar freak, and Literature lover. I mimic foreign accents, and pretend to be British.

This is Victor, also known as the Kid, Pooruruco, or anything else that comes to my mind:

 He's my little Brother. This kid is seriously amazing. If I had to chose a preteen to admire, this would be the one. He's a little smarty-pants genius, who's the reason I started this blog. To document his "witty" saying, which then evolved into blog posts about our daily life. He's incredibly patient with his older sister who nags on him in huge amounts. He knows it's because she loves him to death. I always push him to the furthest I believe he can go, he doesn't complain, but complies. He's loving, gentle, unbearably annoying, and irreplaceable. I can't stand him anymore than I can live without him. He loves Legos, Science experiments, games, and swimming.

This is the Preacher, also known as my father, also known as Eli T.:

He's a minister for our church, he's a preacher, a father, a husband, a role model, my mentor, my friend, my daddy. He's also the Secretary for our church Headquarters, which means he has a lot of responsibility, and occasionally travels for his job. This man is amazing. I admire/love him to death. Yes, he's still my hero and forever will be. Amen. Oh, and face it. He's just way handsome! He likes to cook, to spend time with his family, and to read and study. You can read more about him here.

This is the Preacher's wife, also known as my mother, also known as Lazara T.:
 This woman too is amazing. She's my mother, but we're more like best friends, except when she's lecturing me about going over the speed limit, then she's quite mother-ish. We watch reruns of Sullivan entertainment series then cry and share a tissue box. She's my constant companion, she's sweet, caring, and I admire her more than words can say. She loves tulips, reading, crafts, and cooking. You can read more about her here.

These are the main protagonists of the blog Papa is a Preacher.We're quite a weird lot, but we love each other, have faith in God, and we're pretty sure the more you read, the more you'll like us! Stick around!
P.S. Make my day by following and/or commenting!