Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wenzel/Barlow/Self/Monk Christmas Video

Money is tight.  Especially during the holidays.  We all know that.  Luckily, we only buy for the (5) kids in my family.  This year, I wanted to put together a short little video for an inexpensive, yet meaningful Christmas present for the family.  Trent has mad skills when it comes to editing...I think it's that "artsy" part of the brain.  Anywho, he kindly agreed to the idea (thankfully because I don't know how to work iMovie).  I started getting some shots during Thanksgiving and then we just figured out what else/who else we needed.  We all watched it together and cried, because pictures and video put to music = automatic waterworks.  

My favorite parts are:  seeing my parents with 5 healthy grandkids, Griffin pronouncing Santa as "Panta," asking the kids what they are thankful for, Elliot singing Silent Night, Blake on his "bike" coming around the corner, Caleb playing basketball (he's getting so big), Noah being Noah and saying he's thankful for God...and a toy.

Music for the video:  NEEDTOBREATHEWhite Fences and The Weepies, All That I Want...

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wine Cork Wreath

If you're like us, you save your wine corks.  We started saving like THREE YEARS ago, because I had plans to make a trivet or a cork board.  There are TONS of ideas on Pinterest, too.  I saw this wreath on the Today show and I heard angels sing.  (Not really, but I decided I wanted to make it).  If you don't partake of the wine, you can buy corks at craft stores or find some on ebay.  I love this idea because it can be for ALL seasons, just change the ribbon...that's my plan anyway.  Oh, and it was super cheap! Especially since I had the corks already.

You will need:
hot glue -- $2.49
foam or straw wreath (this one is 12") -- $6.99
ribbon (Christmas clearance) -- $1.49

Begin by gluing corks on the inside of the wreath like so.  I will tell you that I didn't count the total corkage I used, but I know it was over 150.  Also, make sure you have a protective surface beneath the wreath (towel, newspaper, whatever) so you don't get hot glue on your carpet or table.

Continue the gluing process all the way around the foam:

For the final ring, I chose to glue the corks like this.  You can absolutely keep with the same pattern as the rest.  I liked the look of this and it took a few less corks.  I put the different colored ones on the bottom, although they would look cool on top as well.  I decided to not put any corks on the back, so that it would hang flat against the door.

For the final step, randomly glue corks on the top of the wreath.  This will cover the foam that is visible through the layers of cork.  This step can go on and on.  Get it how you like it and call it a day.

I just love it.  And so does Trent.  Nothing says "Welcome" like a wreath make with wine corks, right?

Merry Christmas!  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent


Thanks to my friends Gaylene and Pinterest, I have started making my own dishwasher detergent.  It is super cheap and all natural and I thought I'd share with you.

You will need:
1 c. Borax
1 c. Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda) 
1/2 c. Kosher Salt
4 packets of lemonade (generic or name brand)

Mix ingredients together in a mixing bowl...

Put the mixture in a container and THAT'S IT! I used a pickle jar and painted the lid.  However, I recently acquired some FABULOUS mason jars and will be transferring the detergent.  It's pretty enough to keep out.

I use about 1 tablespoon per load.  You can also use white vinegar as a rinse agent as well.  There are several recipes that are all very similar.  Depending on your dishwasher (ours is super cheap-o), you might try different kinds.

Have fun, good luck, and CHEERS to being frugal.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Because a week in one place = lots of pictures.

Seriously, the people we meet...I have no words except they make me want to be a better person.  While in St. Marys, GA, we came back to the hotel and Maria, from Lighthouse FM, had stopped by and dropped these off:

We had been talking to her about our love of seashells and she gave us some of hers.  She included a note telling us where the best "shelling" was.  So sweet!

These are the Dawkins.  They live in the Clearwater Beach, FL area.  They are another family that has become our family.  

Trent had a lot of shows while in town, so these sweet ladies let us stay with them for 5 NIGHTS!  They feed us, spoil us, love us, and pray for us.  And we are thankful.

A welcome message, a goodie basket (the chocolate didn't last long), and Gracie...the cat that likes her stomach scratched.

@ SMILEY'S (part of Indian Rocks Baptist in Largo, FL) 

ROM -- Recreation Outreach Ministry.  Awards day, Closing Ceremonies, if you will.  Kids ages 5-14 plus parents and grandparents.  (Trent's singing, if you can't see...)

While in town, we helped with a local outreach.  This fine gentleman always handles the pickles. ALWAYS.  He wears a hat, as you can see, and we thought it was fabulous.  (This is when you read the hat).

The Beswethericks are another fantastic couple we have met while being on the road.  They are an amazing family with amazing hearts for God.  (And the pizza place they took us to was mouth-watering.  If you're ever in the area, go to Christino's).

We are beach bums at heart...get it?

I really like to do this with my towel.  Sometimes it backfires and I get sand all over me.  

I mean, we couldn't have planned this any better...a sailboat picture with a sunset.  I'm 31 and this was my first full sunset to witness.  < Gasp >

We are excited to be home, even if it is for a week.  Then we head to Arkansas and Texas.  I am READY to see family for the holidays!  Can you believe it's holiday season already?

Be Blessed.  Choose Joy.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia...Oh My

We left Nashville on Friday, October 21st (which happens to be my oldest nephew's birthday...just a little nugget of information for you) and headed to Columbia, SC.  We normally don't leave the day of a show, but we did this time.  It's only a 7 hour drive or so.  Those of you who have experienced "the road" or traveling in general, can relate that 7 hours isn't really that big of a deal.  Especially, if you have borrowed books in tow.  Thanks Papason and Gaylene!

(Guess which one is mine)

The show was at Watershed Books in Lexington, SC.  Very cool venue.  (Coffee shop meets bookstore meets artsy-fartsy).  PLUS, we got to stay with a sweet fan turned friend.  Kelly!  You. Are. Amazing.  Some of Trent's family (that I hadn't met yet) came out, too. It's always nice to meet fellow Monks. 

So, on the road, eating can really drive up your expenses. (Duh).  A lot of the time, host families and/or churches feed us very well, and we totally dig that and are extremely grateful.  When we're on our own, we usually partake in Subway...but that, my friends, adds up quickly, even when you're choosing $5 footlongs.  So this trip, we brought the cooler and sandwich fixin's.

Onto Jacksonville, FL / Journey Church and the Lamoureux's.

We meet the most amazing people through what we do.  People that believe in us, love us, and minister to us.  God has given us family all over.  People that we can count on for whatever, whenever.  This is such a sweet family and we are PROUD to call them friends!  They have beautiful voices and beautiful hearts.  And a very, very furry cat. (Another nugget of info for you). 

Oh, and they have two precious daughters that are our adopted nieces...

Georgia, oh Georgia (think Ray Charles)

Trent writing in our hotel room.  It really is a pretty sound and a neat (for lack of a better adjective) process to witness.  Me to him, "you should finish that song you're working on."  His response? A polite giggle. 

Apparently, I don't quite understand said process.  Either way, I like his guitar.  Can I get a what-what?

Mailing press kits and thank-you notes while on the road.  This was our first UPS experience while away from home, and I must say, we quite enjoyed it.  (BTW, we gladly welcome sponsorships...)

Radio interview @ the Lighthouse FM in St. Marys, GA.  Vickie...this woman is a SAINT.  A SAINT. And we love her.

My first time to wear headphones.  These suckers were monsters, as you can see, and I have a new found respect for radio personalities that wear them everyday.  On another note, I'd very much like to leave 'talking on the radio' for my husband.  I am not a fan.  It freaks me out.  I'm nervous I'll say something wrong, or not appropriate for Christian radio.

The Rock bible study @ Lighthouse FM.  It's a live, on-air bible study every week for area youth. We always have a great time and these kids are super sweet.  (Even if sometimes, I have to hold back my inner teacher...)

Until next time, be well and be blessed.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Our Story

I'm lucky enough to be married to my best friend. Cliche? Maybe. True? Most definitely. He is wise, kind, sweet, hilarious, giving, selfless, humble, and easy on the one in this world knows more about me than he does.  We met in August of 2008 after both of us went through some heartbreak and divorce. The attraction and connection was immediate and we got married in March 2010. We put our stuff in storage, I resigned from my teaching/coaching job and we hit the road. You're probably wondering "what does she mean by hit the road?"  Well, Trent is a singer/songwriter. A very talented singer/songwriter. A touring singer/songwriter.  So, by "hit the road," I mean we loaded up the 2005 Honda Pilot and traveled the country. Praying and living by faith, we went to churches, colleges, youth groups, and coffee shops so that his music could be shared.   

Rewind: Trent was part of the duo Monk and Neagle.  They had the #3 and #5 songs on the CCM radio charts.  To make the long story short, he began touring solo.  And during that time, is when I met him. He was hurting, heartbroken, and put-out with the music business. He quit. He quit music all together. Music is who he is. Music is what he does. It's a God given gift. Being the supportive girlfriend (we weren't married yet), I tried to understand. He began doing carpentry work. Then he enrolled in culinary school. The whole time I wanted him to be happy, but KNEW he wasn't finished. While this time in our lives was hard, it's where he gained some much needed perspective and it's where we grew as a couple. His heart was renewed and was reminded why he started music in the first place.  

Fast Forward: We toured. We prayed. We laughed. We cried. We prayed some more. We decided to move and settle down in Nashville, TN.  Isn't that where musicians are supposed to go? Even if the rest of the family is in Texas? Yes. (Try explaining that to my parents. That's another story for another day). We moved in a blizzard, almost ran out of gas, had a couch that wouldn't fit in our tiny cozy apartment, and sometimes wondered how we were going to pay bills.  Peace. It's one of the hardest things to describe. We know we're doing what we're supposed to do. And with that, comes peace and joy.  While living in Nashville, Trent has recently recorded a new album.  A much needed project. The songs are wonderful and need to be heard. With previous success PLUS a new record, you'd think this whole touring thing would be a piece of cake. It's not. This is a two person operation. We are the ones that email and call those churches, youth groups, coffee shops and colleges, and it breaks my heart for my dear husband when they don't get back to us. He allows himself just a moment of "what am I doing" "why aren't people responding" and then that's it.  He'll go back to writing music...soulful, acoustic-pop, with a message. A message that needs to be heard.

That's our story in a nutshell.  Stay tuned...