Category Archives: Projects

Sew Much Rejoicing

Over the past few months I have been busy opening and running my very own Etsy shop! It’s been incredibly fulfilling making rice bags, aprons, burp cloths,  and baby toys. Most nights of the week after I put Samuel down for the night, you can find me at my kitchen table sewing away. It’s very relaxing for me and energizing too! I get such satisfaction when I finish a project. I get even more satisfaction when the item sells in my shop!

I’ve been making rice bags for friends and family for years. I use mine every single day. Heat always feels good on my back, neck and shoulders when i’m in the middle of a flare from my Fibromyalgia. You can find them scattered all around my house. I spend so much time feeling yucky that when I know I can help someone feel better, I jump on it. Rice bags have played such a big part in me ministering to people. It’s kind of silly when I think about it, but rice bags are really important to me and my life and it’s so exciting to be able to share them with people in my Etsy shop.

Right now I have four different kinds of rice bags in my shop. Here is a little preview!

 

This rice bag is my classic rice bag. It’s the first kind I started making and the kind I use the most for my neck, shoulders and back. There are lots of colors and patterns to choose from.

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These little guys are what I call boo boo buddies and Samuel just recently started calling Owie Ice. 🙂 They are great for those inevitable bumps littles get throughout the day. These are used all day long with Samuel. He knows when he falls down he needs to run to the freezer and grab one for his boo boo…. and he gets lots of boo boos!  They are also great to pop in the microwave and use for hand warmers in your jacket pockets. I made Mike some when he was teaching P.E. outside and he had to stand out in the frigid temperature (ok…so it never really gets THAT cold here, but I know Mike appreciated them!) For those of you who live in a place with snow, these would be great to have for your kids’ pockets too when they go out to play!
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I am so excited about these nursing rice bags! Probably because my sister just gave birth to my niece and I was able to help with the pain that comes along with nursing. They are the perfect shape and the center circle does not have rice so your extra sensitive areas are protected from the heat or cold. IMG_8500

 

This last rice bag is my newest project. It’s a little smaller than my original one and would be great to use for your lower back or even menstrual cramps. It’s also the perfect size to use on your head straight from the freezer if you have a headache. I’ve also used it when my sinuses were really stuffed up. The heat was soothing and started getting the snot flowing (TMI??).IMG_8637

 

The last thing I have in my shop is probably my favorite! Samuel and my niece Callie both wanted to be super heroes and asked if I would make them capes and masks. The kids loved them and Samuel even wants a super hero birthday party, so I’ll be making Mike an adult sized cape and mask in just a couple weeks. 

I also had some baby toys, burp cloths and aprons in my shop, but they didn’t sell as well, so I pulled them. But I can always do custom orders if people want them! Lately I’ve been thinking of adding some cute monogram tote bags and crayon roll-ups. I would love for you to check out my shop, tell me what you think and if you love something, buy if for your self or a friend or family member to make their life easier! I am so blessed to be able to share my shop and my heart with you!

Here is the link to my shop! SewMuchRejoicing  If you wouldn’t mind, after browsing my shop, come back to my blog and comment on this post and tell me what you think- things I can improve on (lighting in my pictures is definitely one of them! I use my island counter in my kitchen and depending on what time of day I take the picture, the shade of my items and counter vary), what things you would like to see, what patterns and colors make you happy! I appreciate any feed back you have for me!

Thanks and I’m praying for blessings on your day!

 

 

“You Have Hair!”

I have always been very self conscious about my hair, or lack thereof.  My hair has been thinning for a very long time. See this post —-> https://stacylevitsky.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/hair-loss/ to read more about it. You can also check out my no ‘poo experiment here —-> https://stacylevitsky.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/no-poo-experiement/, another attempt at fixing my hair problem. I’ve been contemplating a hair piece for a while; I have a friend who wears one (for different reasons than me) and you would never know! She contacted me after she read my post on my thinning hair and actually came over and let me try some of her hair pieces and wigs on. I ordered a hair piece that night and found out a few days later it was on back order (popular piece, I guess!) and was notified that it would take over two months to get to me. After waiting a little over one month, I cancelled the order. I guess I was nervous. It cost a good amount of money and I just kept thinking about all of the other things that we needed that I could use the money on.

Fast forward to about two weeks ago. I ended up having to wash my hair after trying the no ‘poo method for about a month. Again, I was so self conscious about how I looked. I contemplated buying a very expensive hair product system that is supposed to help with thinning hair. The cost of that was also high, so I figured I might as well re-order the hair piece.

It came in the mail yesterday.

I was so nervous. I’m not sure why, but I had butterflies in my stomach all day. I guess I was nervous that I would look ridiculous or that the color wouldn’t match or that I would hate it and I wasted money. When I first put it on, I felt ridiculous. I am not used to seeing myself with hair. It was shocking. It was also heavy like a hat. I didn’t know if I could get used to that feeling. It clips in in four different places and it felt secure, but I started to worry that it would blow off in the wind. I was worried it looked fake. It looked fake to me. But I’m used to seeing my scalp all the time.

I sent a picture to my sister. She loved it. I sent a picture to my mom. She loved it. My hubby came home and he said I looked different – but a good different. He said, “You have hair!” LOL!

I wore it around the house all evening and a couple of times I even forgot I had it on. The heavy feeling went away for the most part. This morning I needed to run to Target for a few things and decided to try it out. I felt nervous since it was windy, but it held firm. I called my sister on my way there and told her I was feeling nervous. She assured me that it looked great and that I just needed to be confident. And you know what?

I felt confident and I looked great!

I only noticed I had it on twice in Target. We were there for an hour or so. When I went to pick up my prescription, the pharmacist didn’t look at my scalp once! Most people have a hard time keeping eye contact. Most people’s eyes will wander up to my hair line. They don’t mean to, but I notice.

When I got home I looked in the mirror and I felt great. I even got a little teary-eyed. This is absolutely life-changing. My hair loss has been one thing that really holds me back. Now I don’t have to think about it any more. I contemplated posting my pictures, because it’s kind of embarrassing. Ok, really embarrassing; like don’t-want-to-leave-the-house-sometimes embarrassing. But, there may be someone who finds my blog who feels the same was I do, who needs to know they are not alone. And if someone doesn’t want to be my friend, or thinks differently of me because of this, then that’s their problem. So here you go! The before and after!

IMG_3608[1]For anyone interested in purchasing this hair piece, here is the link.  http://www.wowwigs.com/frontline.html

Grandpa’s Golf Themed Birthday Party

At the beginning of March, my Grandpa turned 80 years old! I was born the day after his 50th birthday 30 years ago. He and I have celebrated many birthdays together and I was blessed to be able to help throw this party for him. He loves to golf so we went with a golf theme and it was super fun! Here are a few  bunch of pictures from his awesome party!

I think the sugar cookies were my favorite part! IMG_2694[1]

The food table. I made the banner out of scrapbook paper and printed the letters off the computer.IMG_2752[1]

I didn’t make the cake, but it looked amazing and tasted even better!IMG_2755[1]

The centerpieces – Those are donut holes. 🙂IMG_2756[1]My sister and I.IMG_2762[1]

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The Birthday Boy – 80 years young!
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My little munchkin. 🙂 IMG_2764[1]

No ‘Poo – Week 4

This week was extremely difficult for me. My scalp started itching like CRAZY and I started seeing dandruff (which I have never had in my life!). I reduced the amount of baking soda I was using and that made my hair very oily. The next time I cleansed I used more vinegar to help with the dryness of my scalp; this too made my hair super oily. After about 5 days of intense itching and flakes all over the place, I broke down and shampooed my hair. It felt so good to have the lather back! And my hair smelled amazing. I am now back to washing my hair with shampoo every day or every other day. And I’m ok with that. I am glad I tried the no ‘poo thing and it may be something that I try again in the future, but the baking soda dried out my scalp too much and I can’t do that again! TOO itchy!! Eek! Anyway, here are the last photos on my no ‘poo journey.

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As you can see, it also made my hairline break out. 😦

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I hope that my experience will be helpful to you when you are deciding whether to go no ‘poo or not. Some people swear by it and other just can’t make it work. For now, I’ll take the lather and yummy-smelling hair – even if I have to wash it everyday.

No ‘Poo- Week 3

Here we are at week three of my no ‘poo experiment. This week I bought some tangerine essential oil to add to my apple cider vinegar rinse. It makes the bathroom smell really great, but I have not noticed my hair smelling any differently. But my hair definitely doesn’t smell like vinegar when it dries. My hubby is thankful for that!

I am still cleaning my hair every three days, but day two I have been able to wear my hair down and not clipped back and in a pony tail. My hair feels soft, but does seem I tangle easily, though I think it tangled easily before too. Day three my hair is really greasy and I still have to wear it up. On day four it needs to be washed badly! See bottom picture! 🙂

I have upped the amount of baking soda I use in my squirt bottle filled with water, more like 2 tablespoons in 1 cup of water now because my roots still seemed too oily after only one day. For the apple cinder vinegar rinse, I only pour it on my hair from about my ears down, avoiding my scalp. That also seems to help with the oiliness.

Here are some new pictures.

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And just in case you were wondering, this is what my hair looks like on day 4, right before I wash it! 🙂 20130312-082453.jpg

No ‘Poo- Week 2

So this is my second week of my no ‘poo experiment  Last week was weird for sure. My scalp was itchy and I have never gone more than one day between washing my hair before. I “washed” my hair last Wednesday, then Saturday, then today (Tuesday). Close enough to a whole week.

My hair was greeeeeasy! I knew it would be, so I wore it up most of the time and then the last day before washing it, I wore a hat! Today after I washed it my scalp was not as itchy and it feels thicker. I’m not sure if that’s because there is some oil left on it or what. I’m not sure of it looks any different. My hair is super thin in the front, as you can see from the pictures so I usually wear it pinned back, but for all the pictures I’ll be taking I’ll leave it down.

I think the amount of baking soda and water I am using (1 tablespoon to 1 cup) and vinegar and water (again 1 tablespoon to 1 cup) is working out great. I curled my hair in Sunday, the day after I washed it and the curls stayed with no hair spray all day! It was awesome! I felt self conscious at church because it felt greasy, but I don’t think anyone thought that it looks greasy (I’ve been asking my sister everyday how it looks!)

So here are my pictures from the beginning of week 2 of No ‘Poo.

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No ‘Poo Experiement

A few months back I read about this new movement of women discontinuing washing their hair with shampoo and conditioner and I was intrigued… Not enough though to try it though…until now. I have had hair issues for a really long time. I have very fine hair with oily roots and dry ends. I have to wash my hair every single day and it has been tricky finding a conditioner that moisturizers but that doesn’t weigh my already-limp hair down. I’ve found a few good ones, but I’m still not happy with my hair.

Enter “No ‘Poo.” I’ve read a dozen articles and blogs on this method of “washing” your hair with baking soda and water, then conditioning with vinegar and water. Today I took the plunge. I mixed half a tablespoon of baking soda with half a cup of warm water in a squirt bottle (the kind I use to dye my hair) and then I mixed one table spoon of vinegar with one cup of warm water (I did all of this in the shower).

I rinsed my hair with water and then applied the BS and water mixture to my roots only and scrubbed with my finger tips for a good minute or so, then left it on for another minute and rinsed it out. Then I poured the cup of vinegar water over my head and then rinsed that out.

Then I “washed” my face with my olive oil/brown sugar scrub. 🙂 I’ll post about that later!

The articles I’ve read say to “wash” your hair (with the BS and vinegar) every 3-7 days and that for the first few weeks your hair may freak out a little bit at it acclimates to this new system. They say that your body will eventually start to produce the correct amount of sebum and your hair will look awesome. I’m willing to jump right in and see what happens.

My hubby isn’t too keen on my hair not smelling good (although once my hair dried there was no vinegar smell at all), so I’ve looked up a few recipes for making the vinegar rinse smell good, maybe rosemary and mint or lavender. I may try these soon. I’ll keep you posted!

Here are the pictures of No ‘poo, day 1. My hair feels kind of dirty, my scalp was a bit itchy, but it had a good amount of volume. Over all, it didn’t look any worse than usual.

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Budgeting and The Envelope System

A few years ago, my husband and I went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. It completely changed the way we handled our money. I am convinced that if we had not started a budget and stuck to it, that we would not be where we are today. We have very little debt, we live below our means and put money into our savings account every month. The Lord has blessed us, and we have everything we need and most of what we want, and for the other things we want, we are saving to afford them.

Dave Ramsey recommends using his 7 baby steps. Step one is to get $1000 in the bank to start an emergency fund. It’s to only be used for unexpected evens in life you can’t plan for. This has come in handy for us when I have needed dental work and when my husband doesn’t get his salary in the summer since he’s a teacher. We have consistently kept this $1000 in the bank for about 4 years, except at the end of summer when we have used a chunk to pay our bills waiting for his first school pay check. Then I hustle and get the balance up to $1000 again.

The second baby step is what he calls the debt snowball. You make a list of your debts, excluding the house, in order. The smallest balance should be your number one priority. Don’t worry about interest rates unless two debts have similar payoffs. If that’s the case, then list the higher interest rate debt first. We are in the midst of doing this now. When we found out our son had a cat allergy at 6 months old, we knew we needed to replace the old carpet in our home. The balance on that card is finally below $1000! Praise God! The second credit card we have is for my emergency dental work. We didn’t have the $800 to pay for the work, but I was in so much pain, the credit card was the only option. Other than this debt, we have a car payment and a loan from my husband grandma for his college and the down payment for our home. We pay her $50 a month (and will probably do so for the rest of our lives!), so I don’t count that into the debt snow ball. Once the credit cards are paid off, we can up our payment to her. (Thank you Grandma!!!)

The third baby step is 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings. This step is to come after the debt snow ball. At one time, we had paid off all of our debt and started doing baby step 3. We will get back there soon!!

I can’t really comment on the last four steps because we aren’t there yet, but if you are, here is the link to Dave Ramsey’s website.

http://www.daveramsey.com/new/baby-steps/

The only way we were able to even get started on baby step 1 was to start a budget. We had never really budgeted before, we just tried to spend wisely and pray there was enough. The Lord always provided, but I hated the stress of managing our money that way. Enter: THE BUDGET. Now, I know some people are opposed to budgeting, thinking that it all works out on paper, but life happens and practically it doesn’t work in real life. I felt this way when we first started, but now I am a believer. The budget will work if you are consistent, plan well and have self control. We spend every penny we earn on paper before the month starts, so we know exactly where our money is going. We control our money, our money does not control us. It provides such peace of mind!

We use Dave Ramsey’s Monthly Cash Flow Plan for our budget. Here is the link: http://www.daveramsey.com/tools/budget-forms/

It’s incredibly simple to use (exactly what I need!) and I print out a new one every month and fill it out before we get paid. It’s great because you can figure out what you spend on gifts a year, and divide that into 12 months and know exactly how much to save each month. This is also really helpful with car repairs and licence and taxes.

The second tool we use to stay on budget is the envelope system.

I can not recommend this enough!!!  When we get paid I pull out cash to spend for the following categories:

  • Groceries
  • Out to Eat
  • Household Items
  • Baby Stuff
  • Clothing
  • Gifts
  • Hair Care/Beauty Items
  • Doctor Co-pays/Medications
  • Home Repairs
  • Car Repairs
  • Licence and Taxes (registration, smog, licence renewal)
  • Vacation
  • Blow Money (money my hubby and I can spend without having to check with the other person)

Now because we don’t bring home enough to fill all the envelopes at once, I split it into two withdrawals. I know that I pick up my monthly prescription toward the end of the month so that can come out of the 15th of the month, I know I won’t be using the licence and taxes money but twice a year, so that can come out of the 15th. I pull out 1/2 of the grocery money and 1/2 of the baby stuff month on the 1st. You will need to find out what works for you. Maybe you have enough at the beginning of the month to fill all of them. That’s awesome!

Now comes the hard part. I only spend the money in the envelopes; I don’t use my debit card (except for gas). Once the money is gone in a particular envelope, it is gone. It takes self control and discipline, but I can tell you, I don’t overspend. And that’s the point, right? Now if something comes up and my son needs something, but all the cash is gone from the baby stuff envelope, I might take money out of my hair care envelope. I don’t ever pull money from the car repairs envelope or home repair envelopes. Those are too important and something always comes up where I need that money. But I can give up dying my hair for another month (if you feel that’s impossible for you, maybe you can give up your weekly coffee run). The cool thing is that you are pulling from other envelopes and not your checking account. You still don’t overspend.

Now I can hear you asking, is it worth it? I can absolutely tell you that, yes, it’s worth sacrificing a little now for a bigger reward later. I don’t worry about money. I know that if there was an emergency, more than likely our emergency fund would cover it. I know that when I need new tires, the money is in the envelope. I also love when Christmas rolls around, I don’t have to stress about where we are going to get the money to buy gifts, it’s right there in the envelope!

If you don’t currently have a budget, I recommend instead of setting a budget right away, sit down at the computer and look at your checking account, print out the budget form and write down how much you are currently spending and fill it in that way. You will see if you are over spending and in which category. Then you can make the next month’s budget based off of the information you have and see where you can cut back.

I hope this helps! If you have any questions, feel free to comment and I’ll reply! 🙂

How To {easily} Make A Photo Collage Wall

I have wanted to change our wall art in our living room for some time. I scoured Pinterest for different collages and such, and since we got Samuel’s 1 year photos done, along with some family photos, I decided to use those and I am so excited about the results! I am not sure where I saw this method of hanging photos (probably Pinterest) but I thought I would give it a try.

What you will need:

Photos, frames, plaques, Large Letters, Plates – pretty much anything you want to hang on your walls (that can be hung with nails).

Nails

Hammer

Wax paper

Tape

Level – very important!!!! 🙂

Pencil or pen

So here’s how I did it:

I took some time laying out my photos and my big L and found a configuration I really like. I tried a few different ones and ended up going with the first one. I took pictures of each to show Mike and he agreed the first one was best.

Then I laid them out upside down. This took me a while trying to think backwards. LOL. But I did it! I also left the L the same way, but I caught it right before the next step. It helped to do it in the kitchen with the square tiles. I was able to see my spacing a little better. If you don’t have square tiles, you can still easily do it with a tape measure or just your eyes.

Next, I taped four long strips of wax paper together, making sure it was long and tall enough to cover all of the places I would need nails. Then I taped the wax paper to the frames in a few places so it wouldn’t slide. Make sure the top frame is level with the wax paper so when you hang it on the wall, it will be level.

Then I made an “x” everywhere there needed to be a nail.

After all of the “x”s were made, I untaped the wax paper from the frames and Mike helped me tape the wax paper onto the wall. This was the hardest part since we had to stand on the love seat to get it high enough and I kept making Mike move it and his arms were getting really tired! LOL! But, we eventually got it! 🙂 Make sure you use a level!!!

The next step is to hammer the nails into the wall where you have made the “x”s.

Once I did that, I ripped the wax paper off the walls and hung up my photos! It’s that easy!! As you can see I painted my L teal. I am going to add some more teal to the house. I really like it!

Early December Happenings

This past week has been filled to the brim with fun and exciting activities. Enjoy the photos below!

On Friday, Dec. 3rd, my mom and sister came over to help me decorate my house for Christmas.

After a couple of failed attempts (and a few tears!) at setting up the tree and securing it so Snickers would not knock it over, we found a plan the worked! The tree is tied to the chair (see the gold ribbons sticking out out of the right side??) and tied to the table it’s sitting on (cleverly concealed by the tree skirt). It’s been 5 days and so far, so good….but there’s still time for her to figure out how to destroy it!

Our Fire place. Next year we will have 3 stockings!!!!

The cedar chest Mike’s grandma gave us when we got married. Right now it houses games. Soon it will house baby toys!

Our Piano

 

 

Later that evening, my mom, sister and I attended Calvary Chapel Moreno Valley’s Ladies Christmas Celebration! It was a wonderful time of fellowship and food.

Me and Mom, ready to go!

My bestie Jessi and I

The stage

 

The next afternoon, Saturday, Dec. 4, my Aunt Diane hosted a Welcome Home party for her son and daughter-in-law, Terry and Sveta who returned safely from Afghanistan. They are both in the Army and were stationed there for quite a while! We are praising God for their safe home-coming!  We also celebrated my cousin Amber’s birthday.

 

Terry and his daughter Isabella

 

Amber, Steph and I (the 3 preggos!)

 

Cousins David and Andrea

 

Amber with her adorable daughter Teagan

 

Sveta, Kage and Me

 

Cousins Stacie and Daniel, and Uncle Jeff

 

Cousins Elizabeth, Serenity & Nicholas

I have A LOT of cousins!

 

 

On Monday, Dec. 6, my sister and brother-in-law, Steph and Judd, drove me out to Upland to pick up a crib I found on Craig’s list for the baby! Judd also had to go to El Monte and Buena Park to pick up some car parts, so we spent most of the day driving. And since we were so close to Knott’s Berry Farm, my pregnant self requested a quick stop to get a funnel cake! YUMMY!!!!! There was also a crazy bird man at the gas station I couldn’t help but snap a few pictures of too.  Below are the pictures from that adventure.

My crib, and Judd’s car parts

 

Judd and Steph

 

Funnel cake  before

 

Funnel cake after – it didn’t stand a chance!

 

The crazy bird man

 

Notice the bird on his head

 

I feel so incredibly blessed to have the family that I do! I am also so thankful to the Lord that my back has held out this long and that I have been able to do most of my normal activities lately. I can’t wait to see what the rest of December holds – not to mention the next year!!!