Christmas 2013 at the Holden Home

Christmas 2013 in the Holden home.
My grand-daughter and son holding hands in front of the Christmas tree.
Definitely a beautiful moment. These two really love each other.
So I finally changed my colors this year. Purple, Turquoise and Silver.
I've been wanting to do this for quite some time, finally. I know they aren't traditional colors but I'm so in love with my tree.
In the below picture this is pretty true to the actual colors of the ornaments. I found it wasn't so easy trying to capture the purple of my ornaments.

Child Jean Apron Tutorial

I've been asked by quite a few people to post a tutorial on how to make this apron.
I finally got around to it since I decided to make one as a Christmas gift.

First thing I did was take the pockets off an old pair of jeans.
I happen to have a lot of old jeans that no longer fit me. ;)

Red Chevron Christmas Tree

I was selected to be part of the Christmas Craft Challenge over at May Arts Ribbon & I was given 4 different ribbons to create a craft out of.  These are the 4 ribbons that I chose...

I love creating Christmas Tree topiaries, so that's what I decided to make with the ribbon that I received.

Instructions to create this tree:

2013 Christmas Tree in the Alba Home

I used the same colors as I did last year because I really wanted to make a tree skirt to match it, but never got around to it last year.  Finally, I made it this year & it matches my tree nicely.

Here are my camera settings for this picture:
f-stop: f/22
exposure time: 20 seconds
ISO: 400
No flash
Shutter priority


While searching the internet for a lasagna recipe, I found this one & let me tell you, it is so yummy!
The recipe title is "World's Best Lasagna" & I had some friends who tried it tell me that they thought it really was the world's best recipe.  Now, it's the best recipe I've found so far.  That is, besides my Italian husband's family recipe, but that recipe is non-sharable.  Sorry. :)

100% original.

This is a youth driven campaign & I feel that this video speaks volumes!
Help our youth out by spreading the word & change your fb profile picture for just this week.

"100% Original-No Label Needed Campaign

Campaign Overview: We witness labeling everyday in our classrooms, schools, buses, online, in the media, etc. People are labeled for anything that makes them different than what their peers or society thinks they should be. These labels leave a lasting impression. It can have a significant impact on how that child acts and views themself and how others act towards and view them. 

Because of this, 1 out of every 10 kids will drop out or change schools. 3 million kids will stay home from school each month, that's 160,000 kids per day. For every 1 completed suicide, there are 100 attempts. Because of these statistics, Madison CARES has developed a campaign to help make our youth resilient, accepting and proud. This campaign take a positive spin on a negative issue. We realize that we can not do away with the bad, mean and hurt in the world, but we can help to build each other up so that when it does happen, we are so strong and confident in who we are that it will not resonate. 

It is time to make a change and we are starting here is Madison County. We are ready to turn these numbers around and show the nation that it can and is being done in our schools. 

To join the challenge visit or find Madison CARES on Facebook! 


Watch our video from last year:"

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How To Take GREAT Blog Pictures Indoors

I always have a hard time taking pictures for my blog because the only time I really have to take them is late at night when the kids are in bed, and of course the lighting stinks at night.  That is unless you have one of these...

Halloween Decorations

I thought I'd show you pictures of my Halloween decor before I put it all away today.

I'm always sad when it's time to put Halloween decorations away, but the great thing about this time of year is that I get to get new decorations out for Christmas.

Vampire Cape Tutorial

Cut out a collar template in whatever shape you want.  Make sure to measure how big you want the collar to be.

Summer Canning

I've been canning now for a few years.  Thanks to all my great friends for teaching me how now I can do it myself in my own home.  Here are a few pictures of what I canned this summer.

This was the first time I've ever canned peaches & they were a lot of work, but they are oh so good!!!
I will definitely be doing these again next year, but with some help.  These peaches are canned in a medium syrup & I'm sure that's what makes them extra yummy-sugar.  Click here for the peach canning instructions that I used.

Cupcake Bouquet Tutorial

A lady from work decided to pursue other career goals and I wanted to bring her cupcakes on her last day of work with us. I wanted a more personal and beautiful way of presenting them than just pretty cupcakes. So I decided to make a bouquet out of the cupcakes.

Fortunately, I had all the supplies I needed lying around my craft room. Which saved me a trip to the store. Yeah, no need to go shopping with a three year old. That just made my life a little bit easier. Now to bake the cupcakes and put it together without my son giving me too much trouble. Too bad it's not nap time. Time to multi-task.

Eye Patch Tutorial

My daughter was born with exotropia, so we've dealt with surgery, eye patches & glasses for 10 years now.  I figured since she has to patch her strong eye every day I should at least make her a cute eye patch instead of the black store bought ones.

For this patch I decided to use two different colors, so she could have a different color on the backside.  I used her dress up pirate patch as a template because it is smaller and fits her eye better.  She also doesn't like it when the eye patch hits her eye lashes, so I made this patch kind of cone shaped so it wouldn't rest on her eye.

For this project you will need:
-Cotton Fabric
-Pellon Fabric
-Patch Template

Journals and Journal Cards

A few weeks ago, I prepared a mini class for church about keeping journals.
I just thought I'd share the articles I used, here and here. Also some of the cute handouts that my niece created for me. You can download them here and here.

Project Life

Look what came in the mail today!!!!

I finally did it! 
I ordered Project Life supplies. 
We decided to get these for the girls for Christmas this year. Usually we create photo books through Shutterfly as a gift for each girl, but this year we decided that our 2 older girls would love to make their own. We figured that Project Life makes it really simple for even young ones to keep journals by providing prompts through their project life cards.  Doesn't that make it easy?  Especially for an 8 year old?  Without all the mess of glue, paper and embellishments? And if that's not enough, everything is really cute and coordinated!  I really think this will be a big hit and I can hardly wait for the girls to open them! :)

Fall Decorations

This time of year is so exciting to me! I love the change in the air and the onset of coziness. 
We've had some fall decorations out for about 2 weeks and decided we would share. 
When I told my girls, ages 8, 6 and 3, that we were going to bring out the fall decorations, they were just as excited as I was! We listened to some inspiring piano music and enjoyed placing beauty around the house.

So here they are...

Brownie Banana Cupcakes

Leave it to a teenager to be last minute with everything.

My daughter came home from school and said she needed to make something for church that evening and bring the recipe to share with all the girls.

I was planning on making banana bread but decided why not a brownie banana cupcake with brown sugar frosting. Sounds more fun than just banana bread, right? And maybe just a tad sweeter.

Thankfully, I had all the ingredients and the time to assist her in making this delicious cupcake.

Calzones with Roasted Tomato Marinara Sauce

This calzone recipe all started from this yummy Roasted Tomato Marinara Sauce I pinned on Pinterest.  My niece tried it out, told me how yummy it was & so I had to check it out.  She was right, it is soooo yummy!!

Samoas Cookie Bars

 What is your favorite girl scout cookie?
I'll give you a hint to which one mine is.
I bet you'll never guess . . . Nope, but you're getting close.
Give up?
Okay, okay, they are Samoas.

So instead of making actual cookies I decided to go with a bar. I do have to say, making shortbread cookie bars is not easy. Well, at least not for me.

Build a Foundation for a Shed

My husband and I have been wanting a shed forever & this year we finally got one.
We went back and forth on whether to build our own or just buy one, but in the end we decided to just purchase one because it was cheaper and faster, only because we're "pretend builders" as my son would say.  We would have built one if we had our contractor brother living nearby. ;)

Since we spent a lot of money on an A/C this year, we decided to get a less expensive shed and opted for this Arrow steel shed rather then a wood shed.  We purchased this one at Lowe's and you can find it here.

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

I've been obsessed with cupcakes lately and have been on pinterest and the internet looking for different recipes to test out.

I'm so lucky because I get to use the people at my work as "guinea pigs" for my creations. Or should I say, they are so lucky (wink, wink). Fortunately, someone had a birthday and chocolate just happened to be her favorite flavor (hmmm, imagine that).

Thus, feast your eyes on this...

I know, heavenly right? Oh, let me tell you, they were.

I should have gotten a picture of the inside but completely forgot once I sunk my teeth in this very rich, moist, chocolately, (I know it's not a word) divine treat.

Oh and warmed up just a bit, it's a chocolate molten lava cupcake. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it's complete bliss.

You can find the recipe here. I did change it up a tad bit. For the cupcakes I didn't use the freshly brewed coffee and for the frosting I added an additional cup of powdered sugar. Also, instead of baking the ganache with the cupcake, I baked the cupcake and let them cool. I then scooped out the center and added the ganache. That's it. Enjoy!

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I wanted a bookshelf for my living room, but I couldn't find one I liked so I decided to build one myself.

I added lettering to the top of the bookshelf to add some character and because it is, after all, our own little library.

Curved Retaining Wall

This week we were finally able to finish our little retaining wall in our front yard.
It is not filled with dirt or plants yet, but I can only do things one step at a time with a toddler in the house. :)

Very Hungry Caterpillar Baby Wipes Case

This is the baby wipes case I created for my cousin who is having a baby.
She wanted the Hungry Caterpillar theme, so I thought I'd make a wipes case to go along with her theme.

Tea Party Themed Birthday Party

My daughter turned 8 in June and she wanted a party with a tent.
This is what I came up with, plastic table cloths hung with tacks and fishing wire from our ceiling.

Each girl got her own place setting complete with her own picture frame to take home as a party favor.

Pantry Makeover

Last summer we decided to make some changes in the way we eat. We wanted to eat a lot more fresh fruits and veggies; make more food from scratch so we were weren't eating as much processed foods; add more variety to our grains; and we wanted to limit the refined sugar that we were taking in. There are many reasons we decided to do this, but overall, we just wanted to be healthier.
 I started spending more time in the kitchen and I wanted our healthy changes to be successful, so I decided to help myself by making my kitchen a place I wanted to be.  What better place to start with change then the pantry?  Sorry, but I don't have a before picture

Pirate Themed Birthday Party

I'm sure you've noticed changes to our blog.
The first change is the look of our blog.  We've redesigned it and hope it's more pleasing to the eye.
The second change is that we've added another sister to our blog. :)

Mashaide is the newest Creative Momma and today she's sharing a pirate themed birthday party she created for her son's 3rd birthday.  Check out our "About us" page to learn more about Mashaide. :)


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