Thank Heaven for The WordPress Community!


Thank you Danielle. This is wonderful! Thank you for being so thoughtful. We are incredibly grateful for your beautiful words and kindness. Again, thank you my friend. Our little warrior is fighting so hard! <3

Originally posted on On The Upcycle~:

Today, I put away the paint and the Mod Podge to speak from the heart.  When I began this humble little blog over a year ago, I really had no idea how wonderful the Word Press community would be!  You all have taught me so much, and although we have never met in the “real” world, your experiences and willingness to share, has helped me through some tough times.    As people we are all faced with different challenges every day and it really is all about the attitude we choose in order to get through it.  I am so grateful to anyone who stops by to read or leave a comment and if you have, you already know that I will gladly return the good will with a blog follow, and try my best to stop by all of these wonderful blogs to keep in touch.  I find myself snuggling…

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A Mother’s Letter: Capturing Moments In Time

©Portraits of Grace Photography, Maternity Photo Shoot via  #teamsavannahhope

All images © 2014 Portraits of Grace PhotographyMaternity Session

A Mother’s Letter

To my dearest Savannah,

For every breath you take, I breathe love into you

When you enter this world, please know it will be hard.  I will be there holding your finger, singing your brother’s favorite song, and comforting you will my soft voice.  You may be scared, but I am too.  Together, we can do anything.

It’s time.  It’s time to fight Savannah.

At first it may seem cold, even sterile and still, but I promise you, the world is beautiful. However challenging at first, the sun will shine on your face; we will walk together, play together, and laugh together one day.

However hard it will be to breathe, have faith knowing Mommy is here; I’m here taking every breath with you, every step.

I am terrified I will never get to see you smile, hear you say ‘Ma’ma,‘ or teach you all about life’s hidden treasures.

I have faith and hope that you will survive; you will beat the odds set before you; you will meet your big brother one day.

©Portraits of Grace Photography, Maternity Photo Shoot via  #teamsavannahhope

He is so excited to meet you.  Have you heard him singing to you, rubbing your back? He keeps saying, ‘I love you Savannah.’ He plays with your pink whale rattle every day.

The world is praying for you baby.  Please, God! Answer our prayers!

Just know, you are deeply loved by so many beautiful people.

Our journey together has changed me.  You have helped me appreciate every moment, however brief, and given me — all of us — a greater appreciation for life.  Thank you for opening my eyes to even more beauty and love.  You have made me a better mother, wife, and friend.

I pray that one day we can look back on all this and say how anything is possible, no matter what the odds.  We can do anything.  Just breath.

I love you. <3


©Portraits of Grace Photography, Maternity Photo Shoot via   #teamsavannahhope

Thank you for reading and joining us in Savannah’s Hope’s Journey.  We are so grateful for all your prayers and healing thoughts.  Please visit her community Facebook page Prayers for Savannah Hope.

To Jenni, Portraits of Grace Photography,

Thank you for capturing our story with such grace and elegance.  You have a gift.  We will cherish these moments forever my dear friend.

Capturing Moments in Time

©Portraits of Grace Photography, Maternity Photo Shoot via   #teamsavannahhope

©Portraits of Grace Photography, Maternity Photo Shoot via   #teamsavannahhope

A few black and white favorites from our maternity photo session…

©Portraits of Grace Photography, Maternity Photo Shoot via   #teamsavannahhope

©Portraits of Grace Photography, Maternity Photo Shoot via   #teamsavannahhope

 ©Portraits of Grace Photography, Maternity Photo Shoot via   #teamsavannahhope

“Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops… at all.”  -Emily Dickinson

All images © 2014 Portraits of Grace Photography.  All rights reserved. 

15 Recycled Crafts and Activities

recycled crafts and activities for kids

I’m thrilled to be teaming up with All Thing Kids this month for our series on using recycled materials for play.  We’re sharing a round-up of our most creative recycled crafts and activities for kids.  For even more fun activities, check out All Things Kids Pinterest Board.

15+ recycled crafts and activities for kids

Recycling materials for crafts and activities is a great way to conserve and reuse for play projects.  It was a hard choice, but our #1 go-to recycled material is Baby O’s containers. They’re perfect for caves, tunnels, bridges, slides, ramps, vases, and more. We’ve cut, glued, painted, connected, and even paper mached them for projects.  Toilet paper and egg cartons are strong contenders too.

Toilet Paper Roll Crafts & Activities

Alligator Affirmation Box

Our super cute alligator box uses recycled tissue boxes, egg cartons, take-out box, and toilet paper tubes.

recycled alligator affirmation box

Monster Truck Foil Painting Racetrack

Create a high-octane monster truck racetrack from cardboard, foil, and toilet paper tubes for messy painting fun!

Monster Truck Recycled Racetrack Baby O’s Container Craft & Activities

Paper Mache Cave and Tunnels

Does your little one love dinosaurs and caves? Our kid-made paper mache cave and tunnels uses baby O’s containers, recycled brown packing paper, coffee cans, and jars.

Brachiosaurus in paper mache tunnel

Antarctic Small World with Recycled Mini Slides

This a really inexpensive way to create mini slides and ice circles for sensory and small world play.  With just a few steps and baby O’s containers, you can create reusable mini slides too.

Antarctic Small World with Recycled Mini Slides

Arctic Small World

Brrr! Create an Arctic small world made entirely from recycled materials including wipes container, baby O’s containers, large juice bottle top and bottom, and caps.

Arctic Small World uses all recycled materials Monster Truck Sensory Bin

Our monster truck sensory bin uses recycled dirt, egg cartons, cardboard ramps, and baby O’s containers.  This easy to set-up sensory bin is great for dirt play and revs-up your child’s imagination on a budget!

Monster Truck Sensory Bin

Cereal Box & Paper Recycled Craft & Activities

Farm Small World & Recycled Barn Craft

It’s a sunny day on the farm! Our recycled barn craft and small world uses cereal boxes, old popsicle sticks, cardboard, toilet paper tubes, and paper towel tubes.

Farm Small World with Barn Craft by Crayon Box Chronicles

Snowy Paper Bag Tree Craft

Don’t throw out those used brown lunch bags just yet.  Instead, recycle them into a beautiful brown paper bag tree crafts for kids.

Brown paper bag tree craft for kids

Shredded Paper Sensory Bin

Save your old paper and recycle it into a shredded paper sensory bin.  Playing with paper is a great sensory play experience for kids.  We used baby O’s containers for tunnels too.

Shredded paper sensory bin Egg Carton Caterpillar

Creating an egg carton caterpillar is an easy and fun recycled craft for kids for story time.

Egg Carton Caterpillar Recycled Nature Crafts & Activities

Mini Stick Teepee & Homemade Drum Craft

DIY teepee uses recycled sticks, fabric, twine, and cardboard.   Nothing beats an easy-to-make homemade drum from recycled coffee cans and twine.

Native American Small World by Crayon Box Chronicles

Squirrel Pine Cone Craft

Create a saber-toothed squirrel from recycled pine cones, twig, branches, and pine leaves.  They make great holiday gifts too.

Saber-Toothed Squirrel Pine COne Craft by Crayon Box Chronicles Penguin Pine Cone Craft

Create an adorable royal penguin with recycled pine cones.

recycled penguin pine cone craft for kids Creative Recycled Activities & Art

Carpet Square Painting

Put those old carpet samples to good use—explore process art and create a textured sensory board for play.

Using old carpet samples to paint

DIY Fireman Air Tank

Create your own fireman air tank for dress-up play using recycled plastic bottles, tubing, cardboard, and old bag straps and clips.

DIY Fireman Air Tank for pretend play

Magnetic Attraction Painting (guest post at Blog Me Mom)

Create beautiful recycled metal art using wrenches, nuts, bolts, screws, washers, and old yarn.

Magnetic attraction painting art

Dinosaur Melted Crayon Art

Recycled those old crayon stubs into beautiful dinosaur art.

dinosaur melted crayon art

Playing with recycled materials is a great way to create meaningful play experiences for kids on a budget.

To keep up with all the fun, there’s an All Things Kids series tab at the top of our main blog page with links to all our series activities throughout the year.

Be sure to check out All Things Kids bloggers recycled posts:

10 Ways to Craft & Play Recycled Materials—FSPDT

Recycled Materials Crafts and Activities for Kids—Sugar Aunts

Recycled Crafts & Activities for Kids—Mamas Like Me

Toilet Paper Rolls Easter Eggs Prints—House of Burke

Cardboard Castles—Fun-A-Day

signature logo Are you following our kid crafts and activities on Pinterest? Crayon Box Chronicles Kid Crafts & Activities on Pinterest Connect with us on:  Facebook >> Twitter >> Goggle+ >> Subscribe by Email

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One Small Miracle Followed by One Big Question Mark

Savannah Hope's Journey

April 3, 2014

Today we celebrate one small miracle in Savannah Hope’s Journey. Today is our two-week benchmark for no resuscitation.  Moving forward, if she’s born while the balloon is still in-place, they will make every heroic effort to save her life.  Today is the most important day to date since her tracheal occlusion surgery.

We arrived at UCSF Fetal Treatment Center today at 1:00 pm for our weekly ultrasound and consolation.  Prior to going into surgery, I was informed that if Savannah is born within the first two weeks of the balloon being implanted, doctors would not make any heroic efforts to save her life.  Due to the severity of her condition, there wouldn’t have been enough time for the balloon to increase lung volume, therefore the risks become greater to me to perform an EXIT procedure.

Our weekly ultrasounds determine balloon placement, functionality, and measure LHR, lung-to-head ratio.  Last week, they thought they saw the balloon, so I was hopeful.  It was just too early to really see any significant change.  But, this week, our benchmark week, they should be able to see it functioning.  However, I was faced with yet another bump in our journey … where is the balloon?

After two and a half hours of scanning, the sonographer thought she saw the balloon. Next, the doctor scanned and scanned and couldn’t definitively say the balloon is in place. Today they really put it into perspective for me.  The balloon is only the size of an em dash (—) yup, that’s it.  It can rip, slip out through her nose, and be in-place, but deflated.  There are so many factors to take into consideration.

On a positive note, there is a small improvement in her lung growth.  They are comparing measurements and will be able to give me a new LHR reading tomorrow.  She’s growing beautifully weighing in at 3 lbs, 2 ounces.  All my fluid levels have resumed to normal and she’s very active.

So, what’s next? We’re having an emergency MRI tomorrow to try to see if they can determine if the balloon is functioning and properly positioned.  If they can’t determination placement tomorrow, we’ll still proceed as if it’s in place and continue to monitor growth until location can be confirmed. Could all these extreme measures really not work? That is a very strong possibility and our new reality.

NEXT ENTRY:  A Mother’s Letter

Savannah Hope Fundraiser Button

Join us at Prayers For Savannah Hope community Facebook page to share inspirational photos, positive thoughts, and prayers.  We are truly humbled and cannot thank you enough for joining us through our incredible journey.

Colored Hay Sensory Bin

colored hay sensory bin

I’m super excited to be participating in the 40 Days of Sensory Bin Fillers series from Sarah of Little Bins for Little Hands.  There’s been so many fun fillers shared already.  We’re contributing hay, otherwise known as natural wood excelsior.  Our colored hay sensory bin is full of bright, fun sensory play materials. Continue reading

How to Dye Hay

how to dye hay for sensory play

Today we’re demonstrating how to dye hay for sensory play and crafts.  It’s eco-friendly, inexpensive, and reusable.  Hay or natural wood excelsior is a filler generally used for decorating baskets or flower arrangements.  But, it’s also a wonderful non-food sensory material that sculpts, glues, and absorbs colors quickly and beautifully. Continue reading

Tracheal Occlusion Surgery: Inserting The Balloon

tracheal occlusion surgeryMarch 25, 2014

We arrived at UCSF Fetal Treatment Center at 8:30 am on Thursday, March 20, 2014. Today was the day.  Today we undergo balloon tracheal occlusion surgery.  According to UCSF doctors, this is a last measure for extreme CDH cases and for us, a chance at life. Continue reading

UCSF Fetal Treatment Diagnosis: Are We A Candidate for Tracheal Occlusion?

Savannah Hope's Journey

March 17, 2013

We arrived at UCSF Fetal Treatment Center on March 6, 2014 at 9:00 am.  Today was such an important day for us.  After receiving the life-threatening diagnosis from our ultrasound, we didn’t really have a lot of answers—mostly questions.  We knew the LHR, lung-to-head ratio was the most important factor in determining her current condition.  Ideally, we didn’t want to be a candidate, but we wanted a second opinion. Continue reading

Raspberry Foam Dough Bunnies

Raspberry Foam Dough Bunny Invitation to Create and Play

This post obtains affiliate links for your convenience.  

Today we’re creating raspberry foam dough bunnies using loose parts. Our invitation to create and play explores sensory, imaginative play, and build-a-bunny fun.  We’ve made snowman foam dough and shamrock foam dough in the past, but never scented. Can you tell we love foam dough play?! Continue reading