The first weekend of October, we took a family trip to a nearby farm to pick our own pumpkins. Of course, Dylan wanted the biggest pumpkin he could find! He could barely lift it. With a little help from his dad, we got it back to the hayride and eventually home. He’s so proud to have the biggest pumpkin on our front porch.

Biggest Pumpkin

Supplies: Happy Halloween & A Spooky Tale kits by Anita Designs; Give Thanks kit by Sara Schmutz; Destination Adventure freebie by Robyn Meierotto.

2paws Designs: Biggest Pumpkin templateI’m sharing the template I created to make this page. It features 11 layers including a scallop edged background mask. The template is free for personal use only.

Click here to download the Biggest Pumpkin template

Enjoy!

Have you missed one of my previous digital freebies? Click HERE to find them. And, don’t forget to subscribe to my feeds so you won’t miss future freebies!

Fall tends to be my favorite time of the year (minus the days getting shorter – I do love those long summer days!). Besides the simple answers of my birthday and anniversary plus now Baby Girl’s birthday, here are a few other fall favorites …

Changing of colors and playing in the leaves.

The NC State Fair (something I’m missing this year – far too pregnant to waddle around there! ;) )

NCStateFair2013-Midway

Enjoying the fireplace on cool evenings.

Pumpkin patches and hayrides.

Lining my front steps with pumpkin mums.

Pumpkin cupcakes! (Psst – these are the easy 1 box of spice cake mix, 1 can of pumpkin and 2 eggs version. Bake, cool and top with cream cheese frosting & a candy corn if desired)

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Candy Corn toppers

Our friends’ annual Halloween party.

Honeycrisp apples.

What are you favorite things about fall?

Limb Differences Aren't Scary: MonstersThe world of blogging has introduced me to a lot of interesting and inspiring people I might have otherwise not met. Case in point – Jen Reeves of Born Just Right. I came across her blog a few months ago and amazingly bumped into her in person at the Type-A Conference in Atlanta in late September. Literally.

I was at the DisneySide party wearing the Mike Wazowski shirt I made for Trent a couple years ago and spotted someone across the room dressed as Sully. Well, naturally, I had to say hi. Much to my pleasant surprise, it was Jen! And she was as nice in person as I expected so I was more than happy to share about this great raffle she’s hosting to help raise money for kids to attend Camp No Limits. Because, just like Mike & Sully aren’t scary, neither are limb differences.

Before we get to the raffle details, read Jen’s story …

My eight-year-old daughter, Jordan, was born with one hand and that has led to Born Just Right‘s focus on telling stories about how everyone is just right. We offer support from the parenting side of limb differences. But I’m lucky to periodically have guest writers who offer the adult perspective as well. From time to time, Jordan even offers her kid views.

Limb Differences Aren't ScaryEach year, we focus on raising funds for Camp No Limits. It is a limb difference family camp that originated in Maine but also holds camps in Idaho, California, Missouri, Maryland and Florida. It allows kids of all ages and their families attend a four-day camp that supports the whole family. Limb difference kids learn life skills, exercises to stay strong, and work on activities they may have never had the chance to learn before. They also get the chance to talk about what it’s like to be different and work with counselors and mentors. It’s so special to watch my daughter, Jordan, evolve from a tiny camper who started attended when she was three-years-old into an eight-year-old who confidently leads younger children through Pilates exercises and life skills like zipping and snaps. The camp also offers support to siblings and parents. Everyone leaves camp feeling empowered and supported.

It’s so special, Born Just Right has raised more than $10,000 in the last few years and we want to keep it going. It takes $500 for each person to attend camp. Our local family resources program pays for Jordan and I to attend so we are very lucky to be able to focus on fundraising for others.

This year, I’m doing it a little differently. October is an awesome opportunity to prove how limb differences aren’t scary. A limb difference does not make anyone a monster. (Unless they choose to be one!) There’s a special lesson kids learn in the limb difference world when they spend time together at Camp No Limits. Campers learn that being different teaches you how everyone is different. We all have our own challenges. There are all kinds of different ways to overcome those challenges. Camp No Limits is special and we have a chance to be able to send more kids to camp for 2015.

As part of Born Just Right‘s fundraising this year, they are hosting a raffle. Here is a look at some of the great prizes donated:

To take part in the raffle, visit Born Just Right’s Camp No Limits fundraising site and donate a minimum of $5 (get an extra entry for each additional $5 donated). Then return here and submit your entry via Rafflecopter. Click the number of appropriate entries and add your name to equal your donation total (i.e., if you donate $75, click and add your name to both the $25 and $50 buttons).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Raffle closes on October 31, 2014 so hurry and make that donation today. And share! Please share the word on this great fundraising event via your favorite social media. You can use the buttons below to do so with a simple click or two.

Thanks!

Each year we have a family theme for costumes to wear to a friend’s annual Halloween party. Last year, we decided to have a little fun based on the tv movie – Sharknado! Simply, Dylan was the shark, I got to be the Sharknado and Trent was a victim. It was simple, silly & fun.

Sharknado Halloween 2013

This year? We’re all going to be Minions. And there might be 4 of us …

Does your family dress up for Halloween?

Supplies: Happy Halloween kit by Anita Designs; In Good Company collaboration kit from Pixels & Co; Real Simple Grunge Frames by Jen Allyson; Road to Success kit by Karen Funk.

Next week is the due date for our Baby Girl. Our fourth pregnancy. Our rainbow baby. I’m overjoyed we are getting that opportunity to finally expand our family and hold her in our arms, but I also carry with me daily the two little angels we’ll never meet in this lifetime.

Pregnancy & Infant Loss: Wave of Light

I’ll be lighting a candle tonight as part of the Pregnancy & Infant Loss Wave of Light and remembering & thanking my little angels.

Yes. Thanking them.

Those two angels taught me a lot. Their short times in our life impacted me for a lifetime. I was already grateful and appreciative of Dylan, but those little ones helped open my eyes further to really embrace each moment. Each day. Each smile. Each hug. Each “I love you.” Because those things truly are gifts and we never know when will be the last one.

I am far from perfect, but I am definitely a better mother following their loss.

On evenings where I want a little more time for myself to do what I want, I take a step back and re embrace the bedtime routine. Yes, it can get to be just that – routine – and seem like a chore, but it shouldn’t be. I’m so fortunate that he still wants me to help him after his bath, read to him before bed and snuggle up for prayer time each night. Between maturing and a new baby set to arrive soon, these things will change. I want to embrace, enjoy and be present for these special moments with him.

I have also approached this pregnancy differently. Yes, I struggled a bit in the beginning to find the excitement that had been so natural in the past. I was scared of losing again. But as the weeks progressed, I slowly learned to find that excitement, that happiness and to enjoy & be grateful for moments that I might not have otherwise. Morning sickness? So much worse this time, but worth it for a healthy baby. Sore hips now? You bet. And I’ll take that too for a while if it means giving her a chance to grow bigger & stronger. Heartburn? Definitely and also worth it. These are all short term and she’s worth every bit of it.

So, thank you, my angels, for opening my eyes to these things and so much more. Regardless the days that pass or how life changes, you are always in my heart. Always remembered and inspiring me to make the best of all the blessings around me. Through your loss, and the guidance of God, I am a better mother today than I otherwise might have been.

Yes, I’ve definitely been nesting over the last few weeks! Of course, after sewing several infant car seat covers for friends in the past, I had to make one for our own little one.

Hummingbird Infant Car Seat Cover

I found a beautiful patterned fabric with hummingbirds and flowers and paired it with a pink/white flannel:

Hummingbird Infant Car Seat Cover: Fabrics

A closer look at the ties:

Hummingbird Infant Car Seat Cover: ties

It’s washed, neatly folded and waiting with the car seat in the car to bring our little girl home very soon!

Supplies: 1-1/3 yd each fabric; Coats & Clark thread; velcro.

The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

I’m working to wrap up projects before our family expands and I’m distracted with snuggling a newborn. That included finishing Dylan’s Preschool 4s Class Photo Book. It ended up better & bigger than the Preschool 3s book I shared last year. I started with the same template on Shutterfly but changed the cover design.

Preschool Fours Photo Book: Front Cover

Here is a peek at a few of the pages:

Preschool Fours Photo Book: Halloween

Halloween art projects and the fun class hallway decor

 

Preschool Fours Photo Book: Graduation

Last year of preschool has to include Preschool Graduation and a page devoted to his sweet drawing in response to “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

 

Preschool Fours Photo Book: Art Collage

One of the many collage spreads for those extra bits of art we didn’t have a date or theme for.

On the back I used a simple 9 photo design to showcase a few extra photos – most were taken by the school and sent to us via email:

Preschool Fours Photo Book: Back Cover

Pre-baby, I’m a bit ahead on his kindergarten photo book. I’ve been trying to scan or photograph paperwork/artwork as it is sent home. Typically his teacher sends it all home on Fridays. Since all I know are the weeks I’m getting it (no other dates included) I’m mainly focusing right now on labeling the images with the quarter they were completed in. I plan to organize the book by quarter to help show how his artwork, handwriting, etc improves as the year progresses. And, a huge plus – his class is using a Shutterfly share site which will make it easy for me to grab photos from various special events and field trips to include.

Want more tips on how to easily create an annual school photo book for your child’s artwork, photographs, etc? Check out my original post here.

Do you create photo books of your kids’ artwork? Share a link. I’d love to see!

I can’t go to Target without browsing the clearance sections. Can’t. I don’t always buy something, but have to look and see just in case. This past weekend was no exception. While Dylan and I were shopping, I slowed down to look at every clearance end cap we saw and down one full aisle. The latter is where I spotted several frames marked down 50-70% off including one that immediately caught my eye for a Halloween project. I wasn’t even sure what we would make. Just that it had the right “look” for Halloween and, at $3.88, the perfect price too.

DIY Framed Halloween Art

After we got home, I dug around in my stash of crafty supplies and ended up with some leftover burlap from Dylan’s Four-esta Birthday party last year and a set of Jolee’s Boutique Halloween Stickers (affiliate link) from ??? – I have no idea how long they have been in my scrapbooking stash. (Photo also shows a scrap piece of scrapbooking paper I thought I might use, but didn’t.)

Framed Halloween Art: Supplies

I pulled out the filler cardboard from inside the frame and wrapped one piece with the burlap. Taping it on the back with masking tape to secure it in place.

Framed Halloween Art: Tape Burlap

Then I removed the glass and put the burlap covered cardboard into the frame so we could place the stickers.

Framed Halloween Art: Sticker Placement

Once we liked the placement, I pressed them down firmer. Then pulled the scene out of the frame so I could put the glass back in. Returned the scene and Dylan helped me fasten the back into place.

New Halloween art done in under 10 minutes and less that $5. All around win and it looks pretty cool sitting on our mantel with the new glass pumpkin I found at Home Goods last month.

Framed Halloween Art - mantel display

Have you made any Halloween decor items for your home?

A few favorite past Halloween projects: Beware of Pirates sign, Pumpkin Mums, and Ghost Footprint Plaque.

Linking up with Do Tell Tuesday Link Party.

In the past month, I’ve lost count how many times I have been asked, “aren’t you ready to have this baby here and be over pregnancy?” or something along those lines as people have eyed my ever growing belly.

Pregnancy: 37 WeeksNo.

I’m approaching 38 weeks in a few days and I can still honestly say that.

No. No, I am not quite ready.

Yes, I’ve had insane morning sickness this pregnancy, my hips are sore, I run to the bathroom more times a day than I can count and I practically snack on antacids some days due to heartburn.

Yes, we have the house and preparation pretty much ready (ie, car seat is installed, plenty of diapers, clothes are washed, etc.).

Yes, we are all 3 excited to meet her and looking forward to her arrival.

But I don’t want to rush it.

She needs another week and a half to be full term. This matters. I want her to be as strong & healthy as possible.

This is it. My last pregnancy. I want to enjoy every last little moment of feeling her kicks and even those painful hiccups! I want to savor the last little bit of knowing exactly where she is, that she’s completely safe, secure and every need met.

I want to enjoy the last little bit of our family being just 3. It’s going to change (in a good way) but I still want to enjoy this moment while it’s here.

Life goes fast.

I’m still trying to figure out how I’m mom to a kindergartener. Wasn’t I just bringing him home from the hospital??

So, yes, I am excited and looking forward to meeting her, but give us just a teeny bit more time. And then someone find the pause button so I can savor every bit of the moments to follow. I don’t want to miss a thing.

FTC Disclosure Statement: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

It’s no secret, I love making photo books and have shared them in a number of past posts. Another thing I love? Instagram. I find I have a ridiculous amount of photos there as well which is why I like that Blurb has an easy way to take those photos and create a book. Simply visit the site and connect your Instagram account to begin selecting photos.

Each page of the Instagram photo books features a single photo to allow the focus to stay on your shot. It also makes it easy to create – you just have to select the photos. No stressing over text or other details. When completed, you get a 7×7 book. Make one for yourself or make it as a gift (psst Christmas is only 12 weeks away!).

Ready to make your own? Blurb is currently offering discounts on photo books – 20% off (use promo code OCT20%) or 25% off for new customers (use promo code OCT25%). Just don’t wait because these deals end October 31st.

See my previous reviews of Blurb products here: Custom Planner and Designer Collection Photo Book.