Friday, November 30, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pay It Forward

PAY IT FORWARD : handcrafted items

I will send a handmade item to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this "Pay it Forward" exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet (but it will probably be made of paper!) and you probably won't receive anything in '07 but it will definitely be within 365 days - I promise! In order to participate, though, you must pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog. So basically, if you comment, I’ll send you something crafty that I’ve made! Once you sign up, copy and paste the above paragraph on your blog, and three other lucky people will be recipients of your handmade work. I found this at Aged to Perfection and thought it was a great idea. So spread a little handmade cheer!!

(and please leave your email in the post so I can get in contact with you!)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

So did you all have a wonderful holiday? Ours was pretty quiet - my hubby was off for the week (needing to use up vacation time) so we took care of some things around the house and frankly just enjoyed some down time. Things have been going nonstop for the past several weeks, so we chose not to have anyone over or go anywhere. In fact, our Thanksgiving dinner consisted of meatball sandwiches. Don't worry, we had green bean casserole and olives to go with it :) And I actually did cook up a turkey on Saturday, so the freezer is now stocked with leftovers. So what else did we do? Read on! (And don't forget you can click on the picture for a larger view)

October was unseasonably warm, so the fall colors arrived later than usual. Aren't they beautiful? Of course changing leaves = falling leaves. I'm thinking that raking will be on the agenda for the coming weekend...

I am now concerned about our daughter's parenting skills, as I found her baby doll safely tucked in with a bottle. And an ice cream cone. :)

Hubby cleaned the garage - and had some pint sized help. Ty Pennington watch out!

Finished redoing one of the kitchen chairs. They're lovely but were getting quite rickety, so hubby sanded, stained, and tightened everything up and then I did the seat. Not too shabby for my first upholstery job!

And welcome to the "House of Wax!" A friend came over on Friday, and we cranked out all sorts of interesting creations (including a frog and a batch of orange candles that seriously smelled like Pledge). The kids had fun helping sort colors, and we now have some festive candles to burn over the holidays.

So that pretty much sums up the past week or so. I was also busy packaging up stamps as I posted a big sale list on a couple chat boards as part of my ongoing efforts to clean up. I sorted through more kids' clothes and passed on several bags worth to other families. We also had a bit of excitement last evening when our daughter decided to flush half a roll of toilet paper. Ah, the little joys of parenting...

This week's plan includes a bit more cleaning/organizing, and then we'll probably get the Christmas stuff out on Saturday. I'll be up at the church Friday evening helping to deck those halls, so I'm sure that will put me in the mood!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cranberry Pecan Spread

Just want to share the recipe for Cranberry Pecan Spread - it's great to put out for holiday gatherings with crackers. And if you happen to be hosting a brunch, how about serving it with some fresh bagels? Mmm Mmm Good.

Cranberry Pecan Spread

2 - 8 oz bricks cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 - 6 oz package dried, sweetened cranberries
3 Tb frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

Beat cream cheese until fluffy, then stir in remaining ingredients.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Raising kids, foolishness and grace

So earlier this week I loaded the kids up in the car to go check out the pictures we'd had taken last month. Frankly, I was already tired from all the general busyness, had the beginnings of a headache, and was worried because I knew I'd want to spend too much moolah. The pictures were every bit as adorable as I'd anticipated, and I had a hard time narrowing it down. It was also a time to get a bit misty; we did this same fundraiser two years ago and it was the first professional photographs we'd had done with the two kids together. How they've changed! Anyway, I gathered up the pictures, wrote out the check, oversaw a potty stop, herded the kids back to the car, and settled into the driver's seat with a big sigh. Seat belt securely fastened, I started driving back home where more tasks were waiting.

Now I do want to back track a little here to set the stage: our pastor has recently started preaching through I Corinthians, and in the opening chapters Paul writes extensively about worldly vs. Godly wisdom. He also speaks of God's grace.

So anyway, as I'm driving home, my Rich Mullins CD is playing and I'm singing along, enjoying the brief interlude. The kids are actually being quiet, simply looking out the windows and taking in the sights. "Let Mercy Lead" starts up. A very nice song, one I can remember listening to in college. I start singing the first few words, but suddenly I didn't want to sing anymore. Time to simply listen.

Aidan you're young
But Aidan you're growing fast
Me and your mom
And all the love we have
We can only take you so far
As far as we can
But you'll need something more to guide your heart
As you grow into a man

Let mercy lead
Let love be the strength in your legs
And in every footprint that you leave
There'll be a drop of grace
If we can reach
Beyond the wisdom of this age
Into the foolishness of God
That foolishness will save
Those who believe
Although their foolish hearts may break
They will find peace
And I'll meet you in that place
Where mercy leads

Aidan the day
Aidan the day will come
You'll run the race
That takes us way beyond
All our trials and all our failures
And all the good we dream of
But you can't see yet where it is you're heading
But one day you'll see the face of love

Let mercy lead
Let love be the strength in your legs
And in every footprint that you leave
There'll be a drop of grace
If we can reach
Beyond the wisdom of this age
Into the foolishness of God
That foolishness will save
Those who believe
Although their foolish hearts may break
They will find peace
And I'll meet you in that place
Where mercy leads

I don't know the exact story, but I vaguely remember hearing that he'd written this song for a nephew or a friend's son or something (he didn't have children of his own). But now I'm thinking of my own kids, and their growth as shown in the photographs lying next to me on the seat. And I'm being convicted by the simple words pouring from the speakers. How are we raising our kids? I know I've written about it often, but it's a subject dear to my heart. Are we teaching them the importance of mercy? Whose wisdom am I focusing on? Certainly knowledge is important, but "the foolishness of God" (I Cor 1:25) is absolutely vital. I'd love to know that each footprint - every muddy track as our son currently tears through life with his little sister desperately trying to keep up, and particularly as they grow larger and break new ground - will contain "a drop of grace." That they can share the truth with others, even if their hearts are broken in the process. For they will know the Healer and His peace.

Just a little reminder of what really matters, squeezed into a busy day. Don't you just love how the Lord meets us right where we are? So I wiped away a few tears (just like I'm doing again now) and continued on with the tasks at hand, praying that I'll do better. That I, too, can leave a trail of grace.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Funny

Catching Up

I know I've been much quieter than usual lately (after all, I do so enjoy talking to myself! :) but things are starting to settle down a bit. The past week or so has included: my MIL visiting for a few days, surprise Sweet Sixteen party for our niece, making 28 pans of lasagna with our MOPS group (my shoulder is still a teensy bit sore from stirring all that ricotta!!), excitement over lost keys, and a sell-off of some stamping supplies. Our weekend is already full of activities, but thankfully my hubby is off ALL next week and I think we're all looking forward to some quiet family time. Maybe we'll even take some time to chuzzle (a very silly game that my MIL has officially hooked us on. The kids were fighting over who got to sit on her lap and watch her play, which is when I snapped this pic)

Anyhoo, off to do laundry now and put away all the stamp stuff that didn't sell last night...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Some Silly Trivia
LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

I was surprised just how many people have my first name - it's the 828th most popular :)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday Funny

Howzabout some cheese today?

Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat says to the other, 'You stay here, I'll go on a head.'

The English Teacher felt odd after being fired: it was post-grammatic stress disorder.

The police barbershop quartet's favorite song is "Donuts make my brown eyes blue."

Vandalism is just a stone's throw away.

Some people really enjoy blowing air out of their lungs - I'm not a fan myself.

I couldn't figure out how to fasten my seatbelt. Then it clicked.

What is the difference between a nicely dressed man on a tricycle and a poorly dressed man on a bicycle? A tire.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Carrots, Eggs and Coffee Beans

(Just a little something I read on another blog a few months ago, and wanted to pass along...)

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft.

The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity ... boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter.

"When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Miscellaneous Ramblings

First off today is my hubby's 35th birthday. Happy birthday, hon! This picture was taken just a few years ago :)

Secondly, my MIL will be arriving in a few short hours. There's quite a bit more I wanted to get done - so why am I on the computer?!?

And the most exciting news of all: we did the poopy dance yesterday! Yes, our daughter is making progress in the potty training area. This is particularly thrilling to me as her brother was about 3 years, 9 months when we finally hit that milestone... and she won't be three until January. Removing diapers from the grocery list will be the ultimate thrill!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Holidays are coming!!

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just over two weeks away? And I know you've all been seeing the Christmas decorations at the stores. I swear they're put out the same time as the Halloween candy! Anyway, I try to purchase gifts throughout the year so that it doesn't drain our December budget. We do have a few more things to purchase, but I thought I'd pass on some of my favorite sites that have helped us stretch our dollars.
  • Silver Jewelry Club - a great place to pick up nice quality jewelry for bupkes; you pay just $5.99 shipping for each piece. The choices update each fifteen minutes, so I just click on it a few times a day or week (depending what I'm looking for). They offer a WIDE variety of styles, and I've purchased everything from a necklace for grandma to funky earrings for our teenage niece.
  • Fetch Book - just enter the ISBN of the book you're looking for, and they'll tell you where it's cheapest. Particularly helpful if you're looking for something that's out-of-print. Two years ago, I was hoping to find the complete "Thomas the Tank Engine" stories. It was going for over $40 on eBay, but I found it for around $12 (shipped!) through this site.
  • - it's now affiliated with eBay, but you can usually find better deals here. You can find music (wouldn't your brother love a CD of that album he used to listen to in high school?), books, and video games. Plus shipping is a set amount per item (and decreases if you purchase multiple items from a single seller), so you don't get gouged. I just purchased the eyetoy (which will be our kids' "big" gift for the year) along with five games for less than the suggested retail of the original package. Hint: shipping is media mail, so shop early to make sure you receive your package in time.
  • Budget 101 Gift Mixes - this site is a perfect source for ideas when you want to give a little something to neighbors, teachers, etc. but can only spend a few dollars.

Lastly, don't forget about the clearance aisles at the local stores! Why not pick up some halloween costumes to create a dress-up box? And I always seem to find fantastic deals at Target (read a bit more about that here). Seriously, people, you can find nice - and thoughtful - gifts without spending hundreds of dollars.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Friday Funny

OK, today's site isn't supposed to be funny - but I started laughing as soon as I saw it and just knew I had to share. Yes, I love crafts but this isn't something I'll be making anytime soon!! (But I must admit that there are some cool projects on the site)

Make Your Own...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Flying Things

Well, another Halloween has come and gone, and both our kids had a ball. We really don't "celebrate" per se, but I do put up some harvesty type decor and the kids dress up and make a brief tour of the neighborhood to gather candy. This year's costumes were purchased at a major discount last year, and I was quite relieved when they both fit. We had a little photo shoot in the backyard earlier today, as they both demonstrated their flying skills. Aren't they adorable?!?