Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Beach with friends

Everyone is sleeping. I am up late, like always, reading a little, watching some videos, enjoying some time to be by myself and with God.

Sometimes I wish I could just lie down and fall asleep like a normal tired person can. But my mind needs to process the day, whether I want it to or not.

Today was spent at a relaxing beach, where I finally went in the ocean again after a rough tumble last summer. After coming back to our friends' beach house, we picked up some pizza then went to a bonfire with just my kids and that was nice, when Julia was where she was supposed to be.

Like I said, I need to process the day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pool day excitement!

Today was our first real pool day of this summer. I couldn't figure out why we hadn't gotten to the pool, until I realized we would get nothing done all morning and then I couldn't justify a pool trip when I had stuff to do. I decided if I was going to do nothing in the morning, that was the time to fit the pool in.

This one was pretty excited. Not that you can tell. It's her thinking face.

Joe was pretty stoked that I found the swim masks, and he looks crazy handsome in it.

He was pretty keen to "practice swimming" and there was this cute girl who was all kinds of keen to give him swimming lessons. She also latched on to me, which made me kind of sad, because I could tell her nanny was kind of dismissive with her. I did let the nanny know that she was a very good swimmer (after two lessons!) and that her mom might want to consider swim team next summer. So sweet girl and Joseph were playing, and all of the sudden Joe wanted to "show me something". Then he went underwater, and started swimming! Then the stupid whistle blew, so of course we stayed an hour longer so he could practice. So so proud of him!


In other news, I have no idea what I am doing for dinner. Yay.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Actually writing notes

This month, I am writing a note for someone each day. Not an email, or post it note, but a notecard.

Some might only get a drawing.


A bunch will get the the card I designed with a cool paper from Paper Source, with a note inside.


Some might get a haiku. Or a combination of all those things.

A written note is possibly my favorite thing ever. I have a stash of all the lovely notes I have received in recent years. When I felt like no one notices me, or I am sad, I can pull them out and remind myself in a tangible way, that people do notice me.

So I want to give the same gift to other people.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Big day!

Today Joseph asked Jesus into his heart! We did a little devotional time this morning, and afterwards he and I talked about what he learned at VBS last week, and what he thought about it all. He said he believed it all, so I asked if he wanted to pray and ask Jesus into his heart, and he did! So exciting! (the conversation was a little more complicated than that, but I am paraphrasing)

The migraine that showed me so much good.

Last Friday, I woke up at 5:30am with a migraine. I needed to be on stage at church for our VBS, which we call Kids Camp, at 9:30am. I took some Excedrine on an empty stomach and fired up a quick pray to God. "Lord, please let me make it through the skit. Amen."

I woke up 45 minutes later nauseated and I still had the migraine. I'm not normally an "up at 6:15" kind of gal, so I took advantage of the quiet, and opened my Bible. Eventually it is late enough to call a friend for urgent prayer. I get dressed, and head off to church with a bucket in the seat next to me.

I made it through the skit! I take another dose of medicine, this time with food, so it doesn't upset my stomach, and before I can turn around, there is an emergency. Now, I will sometimes joke that I really "shine" in a high, slippery, windy place because anyone who knows me, knows that is exactly where I do not shine. But a medical emergency? That is where I shine, and it has been since I was a teenager. It is the part I miss most about not being a CNA anymore. God graciously allows me to contact the dad, coordinate with my friend who was with the fainter, make sure ten kids got band aids in the meantime before the tunnel vision set in.

This is where I have to tell you how much I love my church. I hesitate to say this, because that's when things get shaken up. Over the past six years I have spent so many hours with the people at church that some of them are like family to me. It is a big church, but when I walk in, it feels cozy to me. I feel loved and taken care of by my church, and I, in turn, do not hesitate to love and care for others both within the church and outside. It is where I came to know Christ, where I was baptized, and I really just love RBC.

Everyone there was so kind and encouraging. I felt like I did very little at church this week, but they all wished me well and practically pushed me home to a dark room to recover. Somewhere around 12:30-1pm I begin to hear my cell phone going a little nuts. Word got out that I wasn't well and prayers were flooding my in box. I am lying on the couch, my eyes watering from pain, worshiping the loving God who put me in pain, so I could feel so much love. That is crazy love right there.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

I just can't get it together!

I haven't been feeling well for a couple of weeks. Daily migraines have made it difficult to plan anything; from dinner to lunches with friends. I've been out of communication with most people because I just don't want to let anybody down.

There are so many things I want to talk about, like Julia finishing eighth grade, or the Child Training Bible I've been working on, but my thoughts are so discombobulated.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Today I went running.

If you knew me, you would know this is huge. I actually did a walk/run, and I did good!

I have been having dreams about running for years, but so frequently in the past month that I can only assume I am supposed to do it. My run today didn't feel like my dreams; it was rainy, slippery, and I definitely had some issues with breathing and muscle fatigue. But I kept going. I ran until I couldn't breathe, walked until I could, then ran again.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Crafting Action! Easy, sparkly bracelets

I saw this video on YouTube last week, and I got the fever to make this bracelet:


Super awesome video from LaquerandLace, by the way. Very clear, and if you have any fabric, jewelry, or even yarn crafting experience, this shouldn't be too difficult at all.

A few notes:

  1. I made my bracelet shorter, especially for my first try
  2. I laid the crystal chain face down on my crafting surface, applied a dot of Gem-Tac to the back of each crystal, then laid the cording on top. I found this to be easier.
  3. If you are doing the shorter version, make the crystal chain shorter than your wrist circumference so it isn't too loose. I think my peachy one will look great stacked, but a little too large on its own.
And now for the pictures!

This is how the square knot technique she shows in the video turned out.

Side view of the wrapping technique

So fun, and so easy.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Peace, man.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Phillipians 4:6-7


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pinterest Party: Angry Birds Cake and Marshmallow Fondant


I have always wanted to be that mom who makes awesome cakes for the kids' birthdays, but I just never could get my artistic style to jibe with icing. I have also wanted to make fondant forever. If you have an Angry Birds obsessed child like I do, and search Pinterest for cake ideas, you can become both over and underwhelmed. There are some beautiful and complicated cakes that have been pinned that just aren't feasible for a first time cake decorator, like me. Then, there are some cakes that just miss the mark. I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for on Pinterest, but this pin came pretty close. I like a bold, graphic design style, and I needed a simple plan. I needed for the cake to just be a circle. I didn't want to mess around with making extra shapes, and I had an idea I needed to make sure would work. I found Joe's red Angry Bird, and held it so it was a circle when it looked at me, like this:


I realize this isn't a red Angry Bird. I couldn't find Joe's red Angry Bird, so I improvised a blue bird when writing this post. When I had a good idea of how the Angry Bird would translate, I drew this picture really quick on my iPad to get an idea of how the shapes would work:

Now for fondant. My frugal friend Penny and I went to Michael's where she talked me out of buying precolored fondant. I know it would have made this a bunch easier, but that fondant tastes gross. I made marshmallow fondant which tastes delicious. I used this webpage for my recipe, and she also has tons of helpful hints. I didn't take pictures because her pictures work! But I want to add that you can't really overestimate the need for greasing your workspace and hands. Seriously. Like think something crazy, and you aren't too far off.

If you are making a red Angry Bird, you need red (I used Wilton "No Taste Red"), black, golden yellow, white, and beige colored fondant. I used the Wilton concentrated paste, and wore food safe gloves. While I was able to pick up the red, black, and golden yellow paste, I was pretty sure that I could make the beige with the red, black, and yellow due to the excellent color theory taught to me in school. Once I mixed the red, yellow, and black fondants, I took two parts yellow to one part red fondant and mixed them with a pinch of black fondant. This made a brownish small ball that when mixed with a larger ball of white, made beige. Probably the proudest moment of the whole project for me, if I am honest. I got a little work out in with the coloring, and kneading that went with it, but it was pretty much like playing with playdoh.

I want you to know, that when I was halfway through this, I looked at Penny and said "Should have taken pictures." So I don't have pictures. Many apologies.

I rolled out a red circle using one full recipe of the marshmallow fondant to about 1/8 inch thickness, then in a harrowing moment, rolled it up and placed it on the cake (Which I totally and shamelessly ordered from the Safeway bakery), smoothing it with my hands over the top and sides. I trimmed the bottom, and tucked in the edges. Does any of this matter without pictures? I know not. Ok, the rest of the pieces I cut out, according to my sketch, and stuck them to the red fondant with a little water. Then I had a very dusty looking Angry Bird, because corn starch is an important part of the rolling out process. After some quick Googling, I decided to gently rub the cake down with a paper towel lightly greased with my other fondant making buddy, Crisco. This did the trick, but really vodka in a spray bottle would have been my first choice. I will prepare with that next time. Now, for the final result, a cake, which makes me unreasonably happy.


Friday, April 20, 2012


While reading an excellent book last night "The Best Question Ever" by Andy Stanley, I did a little side activity where I came to the conclusion that a little daily walk wouldn't be a bad thing. At first, I don't even think it will be particularly athletic. I used to love walking, and being outside, but I rarely do it now. It gets me moving, sure, but it also feeds my soul. On a day like today, I feel like the woods can be the best cathedral in the world.

Before I descended into the woods, I stopped by my friend Lynne's house, and took some pictures of her blooming azaleas. And her! I wasn't going to take a goofy picture of my friend, but I think I said something like "work those azaleas!" and then this magical moment happened.

The woods behind my house is in the neat, soft, green stage where all the leaves are new and haven't gotten that toughness they will need to get through a Virginia summer. I kept reaching out to touch things, enjoying the velvety texture of leaves, flowers, and ferns.

I was hit with the pleasant smell of verdant, earthy decay just as I walked around the bend to see this tree stump. It reminds me of playing in the woods around my house growing up.


When walking in the woods here, you often come across a little "fairy" patch like this, which looks like it couldn't possibly be a stone's throw from a bunch of houses.


Finally, a honeysuckle as I came from the forest path, up to the houses again. Also a childhood memory, because there were honeysuckles all around my kindergarten's playground.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012


We are all taking turns telling our testimonies in our shepherd group. I have written a PG, public consumption version, but I have some gritty, nasty stuff in my past that doesn't make ME look good, I was never harmed, abused, or unloved by anyone who mattered, but I was a rotten person in comparison. It is hard to write it out. I want to edit it, make myself look better.

I'm trying to figure out what is relevant. What is salacious. What is superfluous. I should have started a while back. I was thinking, that once it is all done, I want to videotape it, edit it, and just play that for everyone. Is that weird?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Felted Soaps

I am linking up to Leighann's Pinterest Party over at Living With Three Hobbits and a Giant. I often spend a good bit of my free time searching Pinterest and Etsy for peacock related things. When I came across these felted soaps on Etsy, I knew I had to make some.

Felted soaps can be used to clean pots, wash hands, or as your shower soap, depending on what soap you use, of course. The felted outside acts as a built in wash cloth, and also helps conserve soap. When they soap is all used up, you can use the pouch to make something else. I was thinking a coin purse would be a natural upcycle. You could make them color coded for kids, coordinated to your bathroom colors, or in an array of choices to give as gifts.

I have seen many variations in how they are made, and what the final result can look like. This video highlights a process to make them look like smoothed river rocks. Very cool, oui? I felt that video was the most helpful in explaining the wrapping and felting technique. The soaps I made after watching are much nicer, with a better felt. Thin wispy layers of roving is the key. As well as a gentle start to felting.

I chose to felt some round soap with bright colors, much like the first ones I saw on Etsy. As a sidenote, do you ever feel bad looking at Etsy as a way to get the creative juices flowing? Back to the point. I bought some round soaps from Whole Foods, in two scents, almond, and oatmeal. I bought the wool roving at Michael's, but in the future, I would be more likely to buy from the local yarn shop in the next town.

It took about 20 minutes for each soap from beginning to end, and I am so pleased with the result.

Round soaps
Fancy round soaps from Whole Foods

Little hotel soaps
Some little hotel soaps Kim has brought home from travel

Julia's soap
A bar of Lever2000 with Julia's favorite colors.

I can see myself making these for teacher gifts, and I think I will make a bunch to have on hand for other random gift occasions. Here is my problem now: I am obsessed with bar soap. Every store I go to, I check out the bar soaps to see what they offer. Big Lots has a surprisingly diverse selection from Cashmere Bouquet to Palmolive bar soap. Also, I kind of can't wait for the farmer's market to open so I can get some handmade soap to felt.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Little monsters

I love my little Joe. He is eight years old, sweet, gentle, loves animals, and snuggling. He is genuinely, and naturally funny, and he makes me laugh all the time. His face might be a special plasticine blend by God, because he makes the craziest faces. He has his Monkeyfriend, a stuffed monkey he has carried with him since he was born, and he does this subconscious thing where he taps Monkeyfriend against his head when he needs to calm down. Just to be clear, Monkeyfriend doesn't go to school. A lot of times, other boys his age do not "get" him because he is not aggressive at all.

But Joe has a little monster that lives within. A monster who doesn't see how blessed he is. Who complains because his set of toys isn't complete. The little monster asks for a toy every time we go to Target, and tries to manipulate when we say no. He always wants to win; the imaginary race to the door or being first controller when playing the Wii, it's not a pretty thing to watch.

The Little Monster has been active lately. He doesn't understand how getting one present this Christmas is so much better than many kids will receive in the town where we live, let alone the devastating poverty of the Third World. The Little Monster needs his eyes opened. It's time to arrange some service projects.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I didn't tell you all, because it is really sad

I have to change my little "About Me" bio over to the right.  My yarn stash has died a horrible death.  I opened up a couple of bins, and somehow a bug had gotten in and eaten through my yarn balls.  Whatever wasn't destroyed could harbor eggs, so it all had to go.  Stupid fiber loving bugs.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Year's, goal setting, and why I hate resolutions

But not necessarily  in that order. or maybe I will. I'm going to surprise you!

Happy New Year, ya'll! Only 11 days late! Our family rang in the New Year with another family we are close to, and had a great time.  Learned a new card game too, which is always appreciated.

Now down to nuts and bolts.  Brass tacks. The point. I don't like New Year's resolutions.  This idea that the beginning of a subjective calendar year is the only time for self reflection and assessment is kind of ludicrous.  This is why I like to make major life changes about three weeks after the New Year.  Last year I quit smoking, so I am coming up on one year.  Are there changes I would like to make in my life?  Of course, but I think I am going to go about this in a baby steps kind of way.

Last year I decided I wanted to try reading the Bible in one year, which I didn't do.  Somewhere around August, I accepted that it was going to take longer than a year, because I hadn't been consistant with it.  I am currently four months behind schedule, but honestly, if I read the Bible consistantly for a half hour to an hour a day, I could finish by February. Then will I start again? I am not sure. Our shepherd group is considering a read through, but I will not start with them.  I would pick up when I am done where they are currently.

Which leads me to another goal: Quiet time in the morning.  I could give you 50 different excuses as to why I "can't" do this.  But honestly, it's laziness.  I used to get up way before the rest of the family to get ready for work for two years. I got up at the very last minute, 6:40am, but that is earlier than I get up now.  What if I started off getting up at 6:40am, and then perhaps earlier as I get accustomed to it?

So here's another thing I could work on: use of electronics, tv, email etc., and the consequential constant multi-tasking I end up doing.  For example, it is 12:20am right now, and I am writing this blog post while also trying to watch a tv show with Kim.  First of all, WHY AM I NOT IN BED?  Second: why am I not spending this time completely with my husband, so we can discuss this show and both know what the other is talking about? Ok I stopped and watched the rest with him, because it was the part I wanted to see the most.  Sidenote: HBO kind of made me not hate the NY Rangers.  So, back to the point.  I would like to multi-task less, and therefore be more present in my own life.  I need to reevaluate the rate at which I consume media, the internet, and email related activities.  I wonder what is normal?  I think I will filter through wisdom.  The big Wisdom.  God's wisdom.

 And that is really the point, isn't it?