...the Life and Times of Karolyn Lewis.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

2011 Holiday House Tour

This year, I've done several new things, but it was all on the cheap.  I think I spent less than $40 this year on decorations and that's really good for me.  Really good.  

My favorite tree this year is what we call our Jesus Tree.  Normally, there are no presents under this tree, just a hay-filled manger and a burlap tree skirt.  This year I decide to use this tree as our present tree.  And I'm glad I did.  As we open presents this year, we'll sit around the tree that reminds us that Jesus was the greatest gift of all, and that we give because He gave.  

My favorite tree ever boasts a simple decor of pinecones, birds' nests, and birds.

It has a single star that sits close to the manger.  See it?

I've never wrapped presents this way before but I just LOVE them!!  

I wanted them to be simple and natural looking so I used earthy colors and textures.  For the main paper, I used a roll of craft paper I bought for the kids at Ikea.  It was less than $5 and will wrap a ton of presents.  I remembered that I had a roll of thin, brown paper that painters use to tape off trim.  It's sold with the painters tape (this kind does NOT have the adhesive on it; it's meant to be used with a roll of scotch tape and a gun looking thing). I embellished the packages with the brown paper and added twine and strips of canvas. The canvas is actually a painter's drop cloth left over from another project.  

And I'm dying over the stamped initials!!  

This is our white tree.  It has a few birds on it, some big snowballs, and fat white lights.  Before the season is over, it will be covered with TONS of that white flaky snow that sticks with ya til spring.  

This is the Kid Tree and Liliana is pointing to her favorite ornament!  Each year, the kids get a Hallmark ornament and we put them here.  It's a lot of fun pulling them out and remembering what each one was "into" at the time.  There's lots of Dora on this tree.  Lots of Dora.  And super heroes.  And High School Musical.  

Last year, Henry was in Ethiopia and we were waiting to go get him.  We bought this ornament and the kids each recorded something into it.  It was so special to hear their "last year" voices saying, "Merry Chritmas.  Come home soon.  We love you."  That precious message lasted about ten minutes this year.  Liliana tried to re-create it, but it just aint the same.  That was Henry's referral picture.  The first picture we ever saw of him!

This year a great friend made this ornament for Henry and we LOVE it!!  She also made one for Colombia and the USA to celebrate the other kiddos.  What a fun (and sweet) addition to our tree!

 Michal started a village collection a few years back and it's growing.  Truth be told, $30 of the $40 I spent on decorations was to add to her village.  It was part of her Christmas.  Kind of.  

Each year, we pull out the kids' pictures from Christmas Past and put them on the piano.  We're getting cramped, so next year they'll go somewhere else.  I love seeing my babies so little and chubby!

Isn't this the cutest?  My photographer said we could bring props.  She nearly fell out when I showed up with a Nativity.  I think she still has hay in her studio!  My super sonic niece and nephew joined in for this photo shoot.  

Even though there is nothing uniform or normal about our family, all of our stocking HAVE to be the SAME!!  No ifs, ands, or buts!  So this year I made my own stockings and they are fabulous, dontcha think?  I used a painter's drop cloth for the fabric-- a great way to get that grain sack look for really cheap.  

I'm in total envy of a friend who owns a Silhouette cutting machine.  She made these stencils for me and I drooled even more.  I need one of those babies BAD!  I used the cheapest acrylic craft paint that walmart sells for the stenciling (apple blossoms, maybe?) and they turned out sooo cute!! And they're big.  

Hopefully, I'll get 'round to stenciling mine and Lee's before next Christmas!  Actually, I'm thinking I may just leave all the decorations out and then next year it will be already done.  Then maybe I can get lights on more than just one piddly tree outside!  


Wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

As of late...

Looks like I won't be getting goats for Christmas after all...  Michal beat me to it!

Meet Ms. Brown (left) and Parker (right).

And Olive, our 3 week, old baby girl.

These are "fainting goats."  When they get scared or spooked, they faint.  And it's funny.  (Don't believe me?  Google it.)

Since they're new to the family, we've made every effort to make them feel safe and secure.  We were doing pretty well, until Michal "fainted" Parker on accident.  She tried to feel bad about it, but it was too darn funny.  I think that's the only faint so far, but I'm probably blissfully unaware.  

If little Olive survives, it'll be a miracle...

Liliana won't let her go!


My cousin and his wife are having a baby boy and I made him these adorable onesies.  You can find the tutorial (complete with templet) HERE!  I just LOVE these, I tell ya! 


In celebration of mediocrity, one of Liliana's art pieces is on display at her school.  I am extremely proud, if I do say so myself.  So is she...

Since this might possibly be the only piece of her art that is ever on display outside of our home, I had to take a few pictures and share it with the world.  Ahhh...

I'm not quite sure what it is, but it looks like a picture of Henry hang gliding. Or sitting on a bus.


And Zeb got a hair cut...

Yep, it's an extreme mohawk created by yours-truly.

He's 10 and it makes him happy.  Why do I allow such a monstrosity on my son's head?  


Henry's doing really well.  Everyone is always curious about his language.  It's amazing how fast he's picked up English.  I'm a little sad that he no longer remembers Sidama or Amharic, but this is typical.   He's growing and laughing and playing and learning just like any other kid.  This month will be 9 months that he's been home.  My heart just swells with pride when I look at him.  He's ours and we're his!  I love how this kid became such an integral part of "us."


I've just finished decorating the house for Christmas, and my next post will be a Holiday Home Tour!!  I can't wait to share with you what I've done around here.

And with Christmas in mind...  here's a super cute video the kids made last year for their homeschool project.  It starts kinda slow, but when Mary goes into labor, things pick up...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Checkin' it twice...

Dear Lee  Santa,  

A wonderful Thanksgiving has passed and it's time to bring on the holiday cheer!  And since it's officially Christmas (absolutely NO Christmas until after Thanksgiving, people!), let the shopping begin! 

Here is my list... safely placed where it can't be lost, stolen, or colored on.  I sure hope it helps.


Slap on a big red bow and call it a day!  Or don't, and just keep reading.  A girl can dream, right?


A set of African Pygmy Goats? What a great idea!! And since we're a farm family now, stocked with pigs and chickens, they'll feel right at home. 

I wish I had a user-friendly link from which to order this cutie (and a friend), but I do not. (sigh...)


And peafowl...  Every girl needs a couple of these beautiful birds.  I hear they're loud and obnoxious, so they'll fit in just fine 'round here.  Sorry, no handy link for the birds, either. 

Alright, moving along to presents that can be boxed, wrapped, and stowed safely under the ol' tree...  


I need this carry case for my sewing machine.  Then, I can take it with me wherever I wander and wherever I roam.  I'm thinking the best place to order it from is here.  I'm vascilating between the pink, lime, and black.  Err. Decisions, decisions... 


Or... you could treat me to a travel machine.  Then I could leave my Pfaff on its pedestal at home.  I do love my Pfaff, though; so it's iffy if I'd even like this machine or not.  Aww, shux, just buy the machine and the case, then I'll have the best of both worlds.  Anywho... this handy-dandy machine can be purchased here! Or you can go to Sears and buy it.


This book would make me smile.  Ahhh.... ideas to fuel my new obsession.  It can be ordered here!


And another book...  check it our here!

Just thought I'd help ya out, Santa Baby.  After all, Christmas, Anniversary and muhburrrday are all just around the corner...   And since these gifts range anywhere from... say... ten dollars to... forty thousand, I'm sure you'll have no problems choosing the perfect one for each occasion!

With much love,


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adoption? Me? UPDATE!!!

Henry has been home for almost 8 months and he is doing fabulous!!  His language is spot on... his enunciation superb.  He's turned into a normal, everyday Lewis kid.  

At a physical last week, we learned that he's gained 5 1/2 pounds and grown 4 1/2 inches since he's been home!!  He's landed dead center on the growth chart at the 50th percentile.  A year ago today, he was in less than the 3rd percentile; suffering from malnutrition.  Now, he's as healthy and smart as they come!  For this, we are truly thankful!

Everyone loves Henry... and how could we not?  He's a happy kid that likes to play and laugh and joke.  This morning he crawled in bed with me, burrowed under the covers and tickled my feet!  


If you missed Adoption? Me?, a post from earlier this year, take a second and read it.  Then meet me back here for an amazing update...

The lady that I met and prayed with in Dillard's is now Mama to a beautiful, healthy, newborn little boy.  He's the cutest thing ever!!  She and her husband adopted domestically and their process was less than a year long.  That, my friend, is miraculous!!  If you joined me in praying for her, I thank you.

I also mentioned a nine year old little boy named Matewos.  My husband and I had the extreme privilege of meeting him in Ethiopia in March of this year.  He has been matched with a family and will meet them for the first time in about 2 weeks!  I've made contact with his new Mom and they are so excited!  And why wouldn't they be?  He is an amazing young man.  If you called his name out in prayer, even just once, I thank you.

Today, I encourage you to:
Pray for the orphan.  Pray for the hungry.  Pray for the needy.  
Pray that God will bless couples trying to adopt with the resources they need.
Pray that God will lead you to take action in a cause for the destitute.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mac and Cheese

Several months back, thanks to my long-time friend Chuck C., I became the owner of a MacBook Pro.  He wasn't kidding when he said I'd love it.  I totally get the "I'm a Mac" thing.  I'll never own a PC again. After all, once you go Mac, you never go back.  Boom yow.  Score one for me in the cool department.  

Honestly, I wasn't trying to be cool.  I was trying to be smart.  Every really smart person I know owns a Mac.  Except for Cindy W.  She has a PC.  Her justification is that she works on Windows based programs as a computer-fixer-person for the state and it wouldn't make sense for her to own a Mac.  I think she's just trying to be difficult.  

Now that I think about it, Tara B. is pretty smart, too, and she doesn't have a Mac;  and I'm fairly certain Myleen L. is a genius and I don't know what she has.  Honestly, I don't know that many people who do own Macs.  And I know a LOT of people (526 according to the ol' Facebook profile).  So I should probably rephrase the "every really smart person I know has a Mac" to "I don't know a single card-carrying idiot who owns a Mac."

With the exception of myself. 

My Mac hasn't done a darn-tootin' thing for me in the smart department, but I'm totally ok with that.  Either you're born with it or you're not, right?  And the average people rule the world, so there.

Keeping with the theme...  a few days back, I bit the bullet and replaced my Blackberry with the new iPhone 4s.  The BB was dying a slow and sad death. My long time con-padre-in-commincation became completely incommunicado two days before the release of the 4s. Needless to say, it was a perfect time to bury the Blackberry (sniff, sniff).  

As we all know, weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

i love my iPhone!!!

If I could type that any louder or happier I would.  I love, love, love it!! 

So I made a super cool case to carry it in...  

I was right proud until I tried to slip my phone in it.  It didn't fit.  STINK!

I gave it to my mom.  Her iPhone fit perfectly.  Remember, I'm not claiming to be a genius.  But I am persistent. So I  tried again...

Round two is a dandy and I'm digging the detail a the top.  The clip is perfect for my purse or belt-loop.  And it's cute.  And I like cute.  

Speaking of cute...  Here's the pumpkin we carved this weekend...

And contrary to pop-culture, the L does NOT stand for Loser.  

I'm not a loser.  I'm a Mac.  Although a relatively cheesy one.  

Editors Note:  Karolyn is deeply and emotionally involved with the owner of a PC.  His name is Lee.  At times, their respective laptops sit side by side in perfect harmony.  No hating on the PC.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chicken make me wanna go "bawk, bawk."

I actually ate a Zaxby's one time because of that commercial.  Yup, the "bawk, bawk" commercial just reeled me in.  I liked the ad much better than the food.  Any-who...

Perched atop our chicken coop is this completely awesome, albeit rusted, rooster.  His name is Fred. 

A few years back, Lee had this chicken coop built for me in a shaded area near our house.  I designed it myself and it turned out almost like I had envisioned.  I'm hoping in the next few weeks that we'll tear the "run" down and rebuild it in an L-shape so we can enjoy our beautiful chicks.  

After sitting dormant for a few months (darn those pesky raccoons!) we have finally "re-chickenized" our coop.  Oh, the kids were soooo excited to hand pick their new chickens. We're starting small, but that's ok.  They each picked one.

 Zeb with Jessi; Henry with Super Diego;  Michal with Eleanor; and Liliana with Barbie. Henry's is the only rooster.

Everyone just loves the chickens, with the exception of our dog, Boney.  Or maybe he likes them a little too much (as in "For me??  Awww, you shouldn't have. Let's eat!").  Boney is a pit bull we rescued from starvation close to a year ago.  A few months back, I tried to give him away via facebook, and I didn't get the first response.  Not even a single "Like."  Whaaaa?  Who knew there were so many people out there who just don't want a bull dog?  

Probably the most excited about our chickens is Liliana.  She is just in Heaven with her sweet little chicken.  Thankfully, Barbie is nice and P.E.T.A. doesn't have a representative nearby.  

"How can that precious little girl ruffle anyone's feathers?"you ask.

"Mom, Barbie likes to stick her neck up like this...


Hold on, I just have to pull on it a little bit. 

Isn't she cute, mom?  She's so cute.  Like a little baby...

She likes me to hold her like a baby, Wock a bye baby, in the twee tops...

This little chicken just loves me, Mom.  Really, mom, it does.

Look, mom, she likes to stand on the house.  

Take a picture of her butt, mom.  Ha...  A chicken butt!"


We're hoping to increase our flock a little at a time and add in some guineas and goats.  You never know, we may one day land on the front cover of the local news as Farm Family of the Year!