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Blog Spotlight: Emily


Ok! Here’s one last update on my kiddos. I’ve saved the oldest for last! Emily is almost 16 years old now and she is a super mix of sweetness, fun, and down-to-earth-ness!

EmmaIt has been a busy fall for her! She’s a sophomore in high school and just finished up the cross country season with her fellow teammates. She is still figure skating multiple times a week before and after school and is now rehearsing for the big Christmas program! All this while taking super hard classes and staying active with her close friends and church events. The other day she asked if she could join the outdoor club at school… um… “No!” was my answer. That child would do everything if she could. 🙂

 FullSizeRenderShe has a generous heart for others and she can laugh at herself. She is a great big sister to both Grace and Corban; loving them just the way they need it. Emily also teaches a 4th grade girl’s class with me on Sunday mornings at church and those little girls just love her… and I must say… I do too!

Blog-spotlight: Grace

Grace Elizabeth is my middle child who is always a light in any room she enters!
She is frequently described as “effervescent”! She is silly, chatty, and makes everyone laugh.IMG_0964

Grace is 11 years old now and is in a 6th grade Middle School program at her school. She is super jazzed about the brand new music class she is taking this year… Band! She signed up to be a percussionist where she is learning lots of new things while simultaneously contributing to her class with her existing piano expertise. She adores music!

IMG_1133In the afternoons, she keeps busy with her role as the laundry girl of the household, homework, piano practice and I often find her chatting on FaceTime with her sweet little cousins or other friends. She is super helpful and is always the first person to jump to action when she sees a little need she can fill.

One of Grace’s favorite things to do is grab a HUGE (at least I think it is) bowl of ice cream and plop herself down in front of the family iPad to watch a movie. She loves to draw (and is very good!), loves to sit in her ENO, loves it when her room is super clean, and all things “fluffy”. She is refusing to grow up and has continued to maintain this idea for some time now… she wants to stay a kid forever! 🙂 I think I can live with that!

Trucks, Basketball and more!

IMG_2262I thought it would be a good time to give an update on my son, Corban! He is 5 1/2 years old now and bursting with tons of never-ending, happy energy.

He started a new school this year and is loving his teachers and new friends there. As many of you know, he was born prematurely weighing in at 2 lbs. Since then, he has looked and developed at about 1 1/2 years behind his peers, but is otherwise healthy and happy! We have held him back one year in school and he seems to be fitting in nicely with his K4 classmates, on most days. 🙂 He receives speech and language therapy twice a week and is just about to pick up occupational therapy in our ongoing effort to help him catch up.

Corban still loves anything with wheels… cars, motorcycles, dirt bikes, trucks, etc. He can ride a bike without the help of training IMG_2241wheels like a pro all over the driveway! He can also spend quiet moments in his own little world just driving his toy cars all over the furniture and floors. He loves to sit with my husband watching “Daddy shows” which are usually all about cars or motorcycle races. He is outgoing and friendly and is usually upbeat and happy! He loves basketball and insists on playing basketball with a full height hoop. I just make sure he has his bike helmet on because he’ll just throw the ball as high as he possibly can, which is never close to the hoop, and it often falls right on top of him! He is one determined little guy!

IMG_0990Corban is my little afternoon buddy. He keeps every visit to the grocery store exciting and every car ride, to pick up the girls from their many activities, full of sweet songs and conversations. He’s my little back seat driver… he knows his way around town better than his sisters! For example, if I tell him we are going to the park and then if I take a different route than usual, he will immediately ask why we aren’t going to the park. Or if we pass a road that leads to a place we visited weeks ago, he’ll remember that place when we simply just pass that road again!

He still delights in the little things that are new to him and I’m so excited about enjoying the fall and holiday seasons that are upon us through his eyes!



Anniversary Celebration at the Grove Park Inn


Joey and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this week! 20 years is a long time, but it went by fast! It’s hard to believe it’s been that long, because we still feel like kids.

Our mothers have been dear friends since middle school. So, Joey and I have known each other a long time! I’ve had a huge crush on him since I was 5 years old that I’ve never been able to shake. 🙂 We lived in different towns during much of our childhood so we didn’t know each other. As kids, we were opposites… I was a “total dork” and he was “super cool” so that wouldn’t have worked out so well, anyway. We both grew up and changed quite a bit during our high school years though!

Joe (far left) and Amy (far right)

He attended my older sister’s wedding as a family friend and we immediately connected that night and within a few months we quickly fell in love. I was only 19 years old and Joey was almost 20 years old when we got married but when we knew God wanted us to be together as husband and wife, we didn’t want to waste any time dating, so we decided to get married right away!

We were in college at the time, so we just continued life and graduated together. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three fantastic kiddos, a few moves, and a few career changes. Through it all, Jesus has strengthened us with lots of tough times and lots of great times. I wouldn’t have wanted any other man to live life with!

To celebrate, this week we stole away one night to The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. It was just perfect! The weather was gorgeous, the food was delicious and the company was unmatched! We are so thankful to Jesus for giving us His patience, faithfulness and love so we could give it to each other for the last 20 years!

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Response to “The Seven Best Gratitude Quotes” by Melanie Greenberg PhD

We are always looking for any excuse to encourage gratitude! That’s why we were so excited to find this article about how just thinking about things you are grateful for can be beneficial to you.

Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, life coach and expert on life change. Greenberg published an article titled “The Seven Best Gratitude Quotes” in Psychology Today in November 2011. The article discusses some tactics to “develop a gratitude practice to open your heart and rewire your brain.” Here are some of our favorite things from the article!

1) Regularly expressing gratitude can soothe distress and broaden our thinking patterns so to develop a more expansive view of our lives.

2)  Gratitude is an emotion of connectedness, reminding us that we are part of a larger universe with all living things.

3) Meditate on the things that help you or give you pleasure in your life.

4) Keep a gratitude diary with images and writing that depict things that you are grateful for.

5) Gratitude can lead to feelings of love, appreciation, generosity and compassion which further open our hearts in more positive ways.

6) “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

7) “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” – William James

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Friday Amy Update: Back to School

blog 2It’s back to school week! Some of us are a bit more excited than others to see this week arrive but it is here none the less. We’ve been working hard gathering all our supplies, clothes and all the other school gear over the last few weeks. Now we can check everything off the lists!

The first to go back to school was Grace, my 6th grader. She goes to a small Christian school and they like to ease their students in so she went to school for a half day on Monday and Tuesday then her first full day of school was on Wednesday. She is excited about taking Band for the first time! She hopes she’ll be able to play the drums, but we’ll see what her teacher says about that.

Emily, my sophomore in high school, started with a full day on Tuesday. She is running Cross Country again this year and she had her first cross country meet on the very first day! Her class load is full of honors and AP classes this year. She’s a little nervous about all the work, but I’m confident she’ll do just as great as last year.

Corban’s first day of preschool was on Thursday. He will now be going to the same school as Grace. It will be nice to have at least two kids in the same school. Last year they all attended 3 different schools and it was a little complicated! Corban will go to school from 8:15-noon, everyday this year. He’ll be in a K4 class even though he’s 5 years old. We think he’ll fit in perfectly. 🙂

I am excited about getting my routine back.  I can’t wait to have the time to get my new fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas designs up on the site. I have a lot of ideas and sketches. Now, I just need to make them come alive! If you have have any design ideas… email us: help@!

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Children’s Party Ideas for Snacks

Kids these days seem to have way more allergies than ever before. If your child has food restrictions, you probably already know what to serve and how to adapt meals to get rid of the offensive ingredients. But what if you’re just having a birthday party and want everyone to feel welcome?  Here are some childrens party ideas for foods that everyone can enjoy without worrying about going home sick.

Gluten Free Birthday Party Foods

The birthday cake; it’s a rare treat for a kid with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten insensitivity.  Conservative estimates say that only 1% of the US population has full-blown celiac disease, but an even higher percentage has a non-celiac gluten intolerance, which can be part of Crohn’s disease or a stand-alone condition.  Basically, these kids can’t have anything with wheat flour in it and even white flour is made with wheat.

Ditching the cake is one idea, but most grocery stores now have a gluten-free section with birthday cake and frosting mixes just like the regular baking section.  Unfortunately, if you’re stirring with a wooden spoon that’s been used for regular recipes, the gluten can cross-contaminate the gluten free cake and cause a reaction in the most sensitive kids.

If you’re serving a child with very severe allergies, make sure their parents are aware that the cake wasn’t prepared in a gluten free kitchen. Some kids’ reactions are so bad that their parents would prefer to not take ANY chances.  Consider enlisting the help of the parents of extra-sensitive kids, to ensure that the cake is safe enough for them to eat. Some communities have gluten free bakeries that can whip up a cake with frosting and themed decorations just like any other bakery.

Birthday Party foods for Gluten Free and Dairy Free guests.

Here are a few snack ideas that are generally gluten free and dairy free.

  • Fruit kabobs
  • Corn tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole
  • A veggie tray (Hummus is a nice nondairy dip)
  • Nuts (that’s an entirely different allergy)
  • All-fruit popsicles
  • Fresh berries
  • Popcorn (avoid butter and caramel for dairy free kids)
  • Trail mix (be sure they’re labeled gluten free, oats sometimes carry gluten)
  • Olives and pickles

Feeding a bunch of kids was probably a lot easier 25 years ago and catering to the dietary needs of other people’s kids can be a drag. Imagine having dietary restrictions and always having to decline goodies and treats at parties? Serving up safe snacks for children is the ultimate act of hospitality. Being able to eat whatever you want is one of the joys of childhood and when you serve safe party snacks, everyone will have more fun.

Friday Amy Update: Introducing Pepe!

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On August 11, 2014 our family welcomed our new little dog, Pepe! He was my grandmother’s beloved pet and after she passed away a few weeks ago, we were honored to inherit him. Pepe is a Bichon Frise who was found on the side of the road a number of years ago. We think he is 10-12 years old.

My husband flew to Houston TX and back the very next day to bring Pepe home. My girls had NO idea he was coming. We wanted it to be a big surprise… and it was! They started laughing and squealing with delight. After a few minutes Grace said, “Do we get to keep him?” My husband quickly stated that he “just flew all the way to TX and back so yes, we are defintely keeping him.”

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My husband had a few dogs growing up but I never grew up with a dog or any pets, for that matter. I did have a bird for a year or so, but I’m not sure that counts. Let’s just say I’m not a big fan of pets in general. We bought a puppy a few years ago and it ended up being a terrible experience so we gave him back to the breeder. My girls have been begging us for a dog for years since then but we just weren’t ready. However, when this particular circumstance arose, we knew it would be a tremendous blessing to our kids and we think my grandmother, Meg, would be thrilled as well. Since we’ve been saying no for so long, you can see why my kids were so surprised!

We are sincerely enjoying him. He has not barked once since he’s been here! He’s obedient and happy to play or sleep. Pepe has only been with us a few days but so far he’s been a joy!

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Baby Shower Ideas: How to Encourage Thankfulness

Baby showers, as sweet as they can be, may come with a little bit of stress. As a host, you’ll probably feel pressure to ensure everyone feels welcome, well-fed/watered and comfortable. The mommy-to-be will most likely feel slightly self-conscious as all eyes in the room watch her open a plethora of gifts. Will she like everything? Will she say “thank you” enough? Will she need to use the restroom 800 times during the shower?

Here are a few pointers to make your job as a host a little easier:

Choose an easy, breezy theme

There’s no need to go all out with a shower highly customized to match a specific children’s book or the popular animal of the season (everyone remember the owl?). Keep decorations simple with a few vibrant accents, fresh flowers and balloons—all in colors the guest of honor will love, of course.

Make RSVPing a no-brainer

If you want to get an accurate head count, make it as easy as possible for guests to RSVP. It may not seem very personal, but you’d be surprised how many people would love to simply text a response to your mobile number or send a quick email. Think about including those as options on your invites.

Help Mommy-to-be:

Make saying “thank you” less of a chore for the guest of honor. Pre-order a set of thank you cards and put all of the envelopes out on an entry table that your guests will pass as they arrive. Have each guest write her own name and mailing address on an envelope and toss it in a decorative box or bowl. Ta-da! That’s all of the “thank you” cards addressed for Mommy-to-be.

We have a beautiful selection of thank you stationery—find a style to fit your shower colors.

Friday Amy Update: Richmond House

RichmondhouseOne of the first few designs that I drew for Amy Adele was of a little Cape Cod house drawn in memory of the sweet little house I grew up in. I call it the Richmond House. My house was located at 2938 Lawrence Drive in Falls Church, Virginia which is just outside the city of Washington, D.C. I lived in the same house from the day I came home from the hospital until the day I married! The memories I shared there with my parents and big sister, Kelly, are more than I could possibly remember.

It was a 3 story, 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1,300 square foot home built in 1948. My parents bought it from the original owners in 1973. All the houses in my neighborhood were built exactly the same but by the time I was a kid, it was neat to go to my neighbor’s houses to see how they had remodeled and changed the layouts by various owners over the years. My father finished off the attic so my sister and I would have our own rooms and a bathroom. When my sister came upstairs it opened right up into my room. There was no door or anything! But I had to walk through her room to use the bathroom so it was kind of fair. 🙂 She is nearly 6 years older than me so by the time I was in middle school she was off to college and I had the whole attic to myself, so I had no complaints.

Our kitchen was so small that I have yet to visit a home with a smaller one, but my mother made it work! We would host large family gatherings without a hitch! Our basement was so cold in the summer (and my room was so hot), that I think I spent most my summer days down there. My parents liked things neat on the main floor so my sister and I made all our tents, Little House on the Prairie scenes, puppet shows, and more either in our rooms or in the basement.

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My backyard was huge and I spent a lot of time out there swinging in our hammock, playing kickball with my family after dinner, and exploring the little creek that ran along the back end. Until the summer that I got poison ivy head to toe. Ugh!

Our street was pretty busy for our little neighborhood. The fire engine drivers liked to use our street as their shortcut so I got used to the sirens at all hours of the day, but our busy street was great for our lemonade stands! Our house was built on a corner lot so the quiet side street is where I learned to ride my bike and where I’d head off to when I walked to my elementary school. In “my day” I had to walk to school, but now there is a bus to pick up kids who live there!

My parents sold our house in 1997 and I’ll never forget the moment we pulled out of the driveway for the last time. I cried! It was almost like saying goodbye to a lifelong friend for the last time. My parents currently live near me in South Carolina. Some days I wish they had brought the house with them and we could still call it home.

We recently received word that our house was on the market again! We were thrilled to see it has been well loved and cared for. Take a look at it here!