A Heart Devoted: Blog for Teen Girls

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I’m excited to share a new blog devoted to serving and growing teen and tween girls! Amanda, Ashlyn, Olivia and Riley (pseudonyms) of A Heart Devoted are teens themselves (13-17), and they are truly amazing young ladies with a heart for God and passion for serving others. I have the pleasure of knowing all four of these girls; two are my daughters, and two are friends of my daughters.

A Heart Devoted discusses subjects such as faith, family, friendship, dating, salvation, suffering, and more. Their goal is “to serve God, please Him, and encourage other girls to do the same.” From their Mission Statement page:

Who do we want to serve, and what will we do for them?

Our goal is to serve other young teen and tween girls no matter who, what, or where they are in life. We wish to use the Bible to guide them to live lives that glorify God and are full of purpose. We’ll share our own experiences and lessons we’ve learned, while encouraging them to love, teach, and serve the way Christ did: with a heart devoted to the Father.

Stop over to visit A Heart Devoted, and be encouraged!


Cutting My Gals’ (and My Own) Hair

girlsRecently, I shared how I cut the hair of all the men in my family. Ladies’ and girls’ hair is a bit more complex for me, and thankfully, I don’t have to do it nearly as often. A good haircut will last them a few months, with maybe a small trim here and there to keep bangs looking fresh. I’d like to share a few videos that have helped me to learn the art of cutting long hair on girls and ladies.

First, here are my three oldest girls: Writer (16), Cowgirl (13) and Strawberry (9). This picture was taken this morning, roughly a week after I cut their hair. I give them a good haircut (not counting trims) every two or three months.

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This is my mom (with Sonshine and Writer) about three weeks ago. She lives 1200 miles away, so I give her a haircut every time she visits us (every 4–6 months). She trims her bangs herself in between visits.grandma

My Mom and Cowgirl both have naturally curly hair. My favorite technique for these curly girls is the following video, because 1) the stylist explains everything she does in great detail, and 2) this method gives us the most consistent results. My mom has tame curls, and she likes a haircut that gives her bounce and body. Cowgirl has thick, wild curls that can be quite frizzy if we don’t layer (and heavily hydrate) her hair. For both of them, this method gives them just what they need along with well-defined curls!

Curly Hair Video:

Writer and Strawberry both have hair that can be straight or wavy: straight if they comb it right out of the shower, or wavy if they scrunch it while it’s still wet. Their hair is obedient and easy to cut whether we want to play up the smoothness or the waves. Lately, they have been enjoying the “flowing waves” look, and cutting more layers into their hair has been able to give them this.

The last two times I cut their hair, I used the same method shown above in the video for curly hair. I actually like it better than any other method we’ve used!

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Before trying the curly method on my wavy girls, I had been using the following video, which was also pretty, but more complex and never turned out quite the same way twice. (Be aware, the stylist uses one mild expletive in this video.)

Long, Wavy Hair Video

Cutting Bangs

Curly: I cut Cowgirl’s bangs exactly as shown in the first video (curly hair video).

Wavy: For Writer, Cowgirl, and myself, I usually cut bangs as shown in the second video (long, wavy hair video).

Occasionally, I use the following method on my straight/wavy girls. It is definitely the easiest technique I’ve found for side-swept bangs!

In between cuts, when bangs start acting up, I’ll give them a little trim this way:

Trimming Bangs Video

For Princess (two years old), I have to keep it super simple because she will only sit still for .49 milliseconds at a time! Thankfully, God has given me children that don’t start out with much hair, so haircuts are hardly needed until they are closer to three. I think I’ve cut Princess’ bangs twice in her life.

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I’ve never cut the back of her hair, and in two years, this is still all she has.

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For Princess’ bangs, I start out by using doing this:

Blunt Bangs Video

Then, if she’s willing to sit a few more seconds, I’ll cut some wispies into it as shown in the “Trimming Bangs” video above.

Cutting My Own Hair

I hesitate to share pictures of myself this time, because 1) I’m six months pregnant and not very confident in my appearance (just being honest), and 2) I don’t really like my hair right now. I wanted something “different,” so I cut my length AND layers quite a bit shorter than usual, and I’m not crazy about the effect. In a month or two, I think I will like it much better.

But, so you can see that an average woman like myself can manage to cut her hair in a way that looks semi-professional, I will humble myself and share.

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I have a hairtype that is in between straight and wavy: too frizzy to be straight, too lifeless to be wavy. If I REALLY scrunch it, I can occasionally manage some nice waves, but I will usually have to take a curling iron at least to the ends of my hair.

Following is the super-easy method I use to cut layers into my own hair. I would think it should work for most hair types.

Layering Your Own Hair

For my own bangs, I use the method shown above in the “long, wavy hair video” the most.

As most DIY haircutters will tell you, the tricky part  of cutting your own hair is getting it straight across the back. About five years ago, I found a very helpful video that solved that problem and saved my poor husband from my requests to just do a quick little cut straight across the back. My husband doesn’t share my love of haircutting or styling, and there was never any “just,” “straight,” or “quick” about it!

These days, after I finish cutting my layers, I use the method shown in the video below to straighten up the back. Here are the results:

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Cutting Your Own Hair Straight

Any other DIY hair stylists out there? Anyone who tackles their daughters’ hair? I’d love to hear your tips and experiences!


Cutting My Guys’ Hair

One of the ways I save money in our household is by being the family hairdresser. I first learned to cut hair as a new bride, by watching my mother-in-law cut my husband’s hair. I’ve had a few hiccups along the way, and my hubby has made an occasional visit to a barber when life has been too busy for me to do the job, but for twenty years I’ve been the main scissor-girl. I’ve come to truly enjoy the process almost as an artistic outlet, learning methods to cut the hair of not only my husband, but also all my children, my mother, and myself. Between those twelve people, God has given me quite a variety to work with!

Take these guys, for example:IMG_2006

Clockwise: Thick, wavy-haired Conductor; soft, obedient-haired Sonshine (if only he had the personality to match!); wispy, wild-headed Handsome.

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Curly, thick-haired Handyman; thick, straight-haired Iron Man; poker-straight, thick-haired Happy.

My husband’s hair is not crooked, I promise. It’s an awkward camera angle.

See? Much better here:

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For anyone out there who is interested in learning how to cut hair for the men in their lives, I’d like to share two videos. No, the videos are not mine; I don’t do that. I’ve tried before and I just feel too awkward talking to a camera. No… I’ll leave that to people who are both more skillful than I am, and comfortable demonstrating, and I’ll give them some linky love.

Today I’m focusing on the guys only, because I just cut their hair on Friday and have freshly trimmed men to model their fine heads of hair. :) I’ll save the girls for another day, because I haven’t cut their hair in about two months.

This first video demonstrates the basic method I use to cut my guys’ hair. In a nutshell, I start by trimming the basic “shape” that I want, from one ear, across the back, to the other ear, then trim it all up inside that shape. I save the front for last. I do two things differently than she does: 1) for the front, I comb forward rather than upward before cutting (because it suits my guys’ styles and faces better), and 2) I don’t use the razor on the sides (because it suits my skill level better!)

Handyman has curly hair, which took me quite a bit of getting used to. When I first realized that his hair had to be treated differently, I found the following video helpful. When his hair gets long, his curls look just like the man’s in the video. I used to watch this video every month as a refresher, just before cutting Handyman’s hair. I’m happy to say that I’m comfortable cutting his curls now, and I no longer need to do that. :)

Sometimes we go a little longer or shorter, trying new things here and there depending on the weather or our moods, but the essential technique is basically the same. I find it amazing how the same method can turn out so differently depending on the guy and the hairtype!

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Any other family hairdressers out there? Or anyone aspiring to be one? Please share your favorite tips and resources in the comments!


Recent Photos

The iPad has largely taken over as my default method of snapping photos. The ease of uploading to Instagram is so handy for sharing photos with family and friends who live far away (Grandmas~look at the sidebar on the right at any time to see our latest uploads!) However, I do still get my DSLR out from time to time. Today, I cleared off my camera card and decided to post a few photos worth remembering.

A Sunday afternoon at the Botanical Gardens

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Passover Seder

The kids asked if we could have a traditional Passover dinner this year. I’d only cooked lamb two times before in my life, but the children have a way of inspiring me. Due to scheduling conflicts, we were a day late, and held our informal seder on Good Friday. Close to dinner time, they dressed up in Bible costumes, and inspired me to toss on a few scarves myself!

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Passover actually has significant meaning for Christian families as well as Jewish families. We found several resources to be very useful as my husband took as through a Seder:

Chrysalis: Easy Christian Seder Supper: The primary guide we used for our seder.

Little Things Count: Seder Meal: A bit longer and scripted, but still shortened from a traditional seder.

CRI: Introduction to a Christian Seder: The most informative resource, which was helpful for my husband and me as we prepared to teach our children.

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Image00029 Image00027 Image00028 That’s all for now, folks!


Play Yard Repurposed

A few days ago, The Boy (my three year old little stinker son) got hold of a pair of scissors and surprised me with this:

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What you see is a pack and play which was a gift from my mother in law almost 17 years ago, and which has been used with nine children in this family.

Yeah, I was a little horrified. I took comfort in reminding myself that at least my little friend went for a mesh item rather than a leather one.

Once I got over the shock, I had to figure out what to do with it. Pieces with this kind of sentimental value don’t just get tossed out in the trash so easily. I did a little googling on how to repurpose an old pack and play, and as it turns out, upcycling play yards is all the rage these days on Pinterest. We were able to make a lovely tent/reading nook from ours.

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Good news for me, the process couldn’t be more simple! If you have an old pack and play with small (or extremely large) holes in the mesh, and you’d like to repurpose it into something your little ones will love, here’s what to do:

  1. Cut all of the mesh out of one side.
  2. Wrap a fitted crib sheet over the top (use a regular crib sheet; pack and play sheets will be too small).
  3. Add a pillow and blanket of coordinating colors.
  4. Find an adorable toddler and let her explore her new little nook.

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Easy peasy, and loads of fun!

So as it turns out, all was not lost. I suspect this new tent may get more use than the play yard did!