Welcome! My name is Nicole but my friends call me Coley, a cute little boy calls me Momma, and the love of my life calls me honey.
I’m a work at home Mom, birthmom, writer, and photographer, and crafter from the south. I’m a self described mamarazzi and girly girl who loves purses, painted fingernails, funky socks, polka dots, and anything teal.
My son, Noah, is my pride and joy. He's an adorable special needs 16 year old charmer!
Go to the "about me" page to learn more about me and my family!
One thing I am very grateful during this time of Thanksgiving is Noah's PCA (Personal Care Aide). If you follow me on Facebook, you may remember my frustrations with PCA's. We had aides who wouldn't show (and didn't call), aides that would come very late, aides that used offensive language aides that were lazy and didn't do what they were supposed to, and much more! I was beyond frustrated and had almost gotten to the point where I was ready to just not have an aide anymore because it had just become more hassle than it was worth.
Ultimately, I decided to switch to a different provider. When I chose our first provider, I had no clue what I was doing. I looked online for advice but didn't find anything helpful. I blindly chose my top 5 choices as instructed by Noah's service coordinator from a list of about 100 providers. When I decided to change to a different provider, I knew I would go about it differently this time. I had learned a lot and made up a list of 10 questions. I narrowed down the list of 100 providers to only those in my city and then I called all of those providers and asked my questions. There was one provider that I really liked after my phone interview with them. They were top choice and I prayed they'd have an opening for Noah. And they did!
Working with this provider has been as different as night and day compared to the first provider. In June, they called and said they had an aide they thought would be perfect for Noah named A. They told me a little bit about A including her age, which was 18. I was hesitant at first because that age is so close to Noah's but a friend who used to work with special needs young adults encouraged me to give it a try and so I did.
I am SO glad I did! A is absolutely wonderful with Noah. She's kind, loving, and patient yet firm and stern when he needs that. She goes to school for nursing during the day so our evening hours are perfect for her. The best part? Noah ADORES her! He thinks she is his girlfriend!
One thing this provider does is they do not let their aides work every weekend. So we have a second aide (who's name also starts with an A) who comes every other Saturday and then is our "fill in" aide should should A need to miss a day for some reason.
It's so nice to finally have PCAs in our home who seem to love what they do.
I have seen so many cute place cards and table settings for Thanksgiving all over the internet but they take up too much space for my table. Once I have food on the table and people at the table, it's pretty crowded so I wanted to come up with something that was still cute and decorative but didn't take up much room.
So, I decided to make a little pocket to hold the utensils. I used fall themed scrapbook paper and used the utensils as my guide for how big to make it. Then I secured it in the back with sticky strip.
I added a tag to each pocket with ribbon so the utensil holders would double as a place card. The tags are from the David Tutera Celebrate card line. I simply wrote "Thankful for" and each individual person's name on the tag. I added a little leaf to the bottom of each tag that I punched out using my leaf punch.
I just used a piece of cardstock as a place mat and punched a leaf out of each corner.
I like how it turned out. It's cute and doesn't take up any extra room!
I made my first t-shirt apron for myself awhile back. It's the teal and red one (that matches my kitchen!) pictured to the right that Noah's (former) PCA is so beautifully modeling.
Recently a friend asked me to make her one so I thought I'd take step by step photos to share it with you all. It's really not a hard project and it's pretty inexpensive but turns out so cute. It would make a perfect gift and an inexpensive group project for craft groups.
Ok, let's get started. You will need:
A T-Shirt (You could recycle an old tee or watch for the craft stores to put them on half off and snatch up a few like I did.)
Ribbon (works best with wide ribbon at the top.)
Embellishments (The sky is the limit here! Rosettes, appliques, flowers, rhinestones, paint stencils, etc.)
Cut off the t-shirt just below the armpits. Discard the top portion.
Fold over the top and pin it. I pin it mainly because it helps me make sure it is straight. Once it is all pinned, slowly take off the pins and glue down using the fabric glue. Then, so there isn't a messy edge showing, I fold it down once more and glue it down again.
Now you'll need to determine how much ribbon you'll need. I just loosely wrap the ribbon around my waist as a guide and use that. Once I cut the ribbon, I folded it in half to find the half way point and I also fold the apron in half to find the half way point in it. Then I start gluing the half way point of the ribbon down onto the halfway point of the apron. This way you'll have even pieces hanging from each end. Continue gluing it all across the apron.
Lastly, I heat seal the ends of the ribbon with a lighter to prevent fraying.
Now your done with apron part and you get to do the fun part; embellishing!
I chose to freezer paper stencil a cupcake on this apron. I just cut the cupcake out of freezer paper using my Silhouette machine and ironed it on. Then I painted it using acrylic paint mixed with textile medium. I painted the frosting chocolate and the cupcake liner pink. When it dried, I went back and added some pink dots for sprinkles and glued on a red rhinestone for the cherry. (Check out this link for an in depth tutorial on freezer paper stenciling.)
(Linking up to the crafty parties listed in my sidebar)
A friend had the below poem on her Facebook page. As I read it, I got misty eyed. It reminds me of my mantra, "I was made for this." I know in my heart that God made me for this and chose me for Noah.
If before you were born, I could have gone to Heaven and saw all the beautiful souls, I still would have chosen you... If God had told me, "This soul would one day need extra care and needs", I still would have chosen you. If God had told me, "This soul may make your heart bleed", I still would have chosen you. If God had told me, "This soul would make you question the depth of your faith", I still would have chosen you. If God had told me, "This soul would make tears flow from your eyes that could fill a river", I still would have chosen you. If God had told me, "This soul may one day make you witness overbearing suffering", I still would have chosen you. If God had told me, "All that you know to be normal would drastically change", I still would have chosen you. Of course, even though I would have chosen you, I know it was God who chose me for you.
My BFF is a crafty loving gal like me and also, like me she finds crafting is therapeutic and crafting a little bit can often ground and center after a stressful day. But she is a super busy working (outside the home) mom and wife. So for her birthday I decided to make her a "Crafty Kit."
My idea for the Crafty Kit was that I would come up with a couple of easy craft projects that she could do in about 10 minutes or less after a long day when she wanted to craft but didn't have a lot of time. I would include a sample for each project, supplies to make 5-6 of each project (like me she likes to give her creations away to friends, family, and co-workers), and instructions for each project.
I decided to package everything up in a cute tote bag (we have a friendship inside joke revolving around flamingos) that way everything would be in one place for her to easily grab when she was ready to craft.
I made a matching pin that says "Keep Calm and Craft On" using an acrylic podgeable so she immediately knows what the bag is all about.
Last year, on Thursdays during the month of November, I posted things I was thankful for. I'll be continuing that tradition again this year and this time I'll also be linking up to my friend Monica's blog, Daily Dwelling. So, if you are posting what you are thankful for on your blog, go link up!
I'm thankful for.....
1. Seizure meds! (Noah was having seizures and I had to give him his "rescue med" and I said a quick prayer as I was doing so because I'm so thankful that we have that to give him.