Wednesday, March 31, 2010


 I think breaks are good for everyone, as they leave us all feeling refreshed and ready to tackle what is before us. Just some of the many adventures that we have taken this week as we return to schooling from Spring Break....

:: Nature study. Hanging this homemade bird feeder right in front of our school room window has been splendid for bird watching! I also picked up a copy of Critters of Illinois pocket guide to add to our study materials. The Husband actually read through the whole guide, exclaiming interesting tid-bits for me to hear. Nature fun for everyone. ::

:: We made these egg holders from Family Fun magazine, but unfortunately they wouldn't hold our decorated hard-boiled egg. I spontaneously decided to "blow" an egg so the kids could see how it was done & so we'd have an egg light enough for the holder. Craft and science. ::

:: Literary aids. Log house inspired by our read-aloud On the Banks of Plum Creek. That outer area of the house is the "lean-to". We're becoming huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fans! (I also rented one of the Little House TV series seasons from the library!) ::

:: Science ::

:: Oobleck ::

:: Liquid or solid? ::

:: Fun for fingers of all ages! ::

Do breaks leave you feeling refreshed?

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Parable

From today's English lesson:
Once a fox and a stork were good friends. The fox invited the stork to dinner. All they had to eat was soup. It was in flat dishes. The stork could put only the tip of his bill into the dish. The fox lapped his soup up quickly.

The next day the stork invited the fox to dinner. They had soup again. This time it was in a bottle. The stork could put his bill in and drink it, but the fox could only lick the outside of the bottle.
When asked what the moral of the story was, Tatiana proclaimed, "Hospitality!" It led into a really great conversation about considering and meeting the needs of others. A small joy in an otherwise ordinary day.

Friday, March 26, 2010


To be more purposeful with girlfriend get-togethers :: How Can I Help Someone Else When I Have So Much to Do at Home? :: Preschoolers and Peace

Sewing for spring :: Fabric Easter basket :: Moda Bakeshop

Who knew what felt could do?? :: Gulf Coast Cottage :: Etsy

Crafting for Him :: Easter garland :: the homespun heart

Keep resting on Sunday (I pretty much do exactly what this post says!) :: How Can Sunday Be Restful with Little Ones? :: Preschoolers and Peace

Hmmmmm :: Relevant Conference

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Winter Past

Many people are eagerly anticipating Spring. Small children, gardeners, warm-weather lovers, lanscapers, normal-people-who-enjoy-decent-weather. And I used to be one of those people, opening my windows on the first day when the temperatures rose above 50° F. I have come to realize though, that because of my grief, I actually enjoyed winter. Winter just seemed fitting during that season of my grief. Desolate. Frozen.  Icy and beautiful at times. A gloomy cocoon at others. I would look up at the gray-white blanket of low lying clouds and feel insulated. It was as if nature was giving me a nod and telling me it's okay to have a time of frigid slumber.

I never would have guessed in a million years that I would ever not want Spring to come, especially being prone to seasonal-affectiveness like I am. These last few weeks I have been mentally, emotionally, and spiritually preparing myself for Spring's arrival. I'm sure it's no coincidence that the most recent book I read had the following verse as it's theme:
For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over, it is gone:
The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing is come...
(Crazy how God can use something like a novel to reach our hearts, isn't it??) I'm not sure I'm going to be doing any singing, but it will be a time of reflection and remembering. The days when we first received Olivia's diagnosis are quickly approaching, as is the day of her birth. I remember many blue skies during those days. And those same blue skies are coming again. The earth will be celebrating. The laughter of children will float through my window on warm breezes. And I....I will be missing Olivia for one full year. I will be thawing out. I will find new ways to enjoy life. I will grow and I will grow something. And hopefully by the time next winter comes, I might not enjoy it as much.

Preparing for flowers,

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pieces of Me: Mug

As if you don't know me well enough, I will be doing a series on things that make me, me. Some serious, some silly. All uniquely moi. So without further ado....

...Meet my favorite mug.

Mug, meet my blog readers.

I received this from a friend for my birthday 2 years ago and have loved it ever since. I don't even think she knows how truly attached I am. I use it so often that sometimes it gets all stained inside and requires a good scrubbing. I love the color, the creative design, and the verse that says, "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. (Prov. 31:29)" I guess every time I use it I am reminded that the person that gave it to me loves me and feel the encouragement that the verse gives, like a little morning hug to go with my tea. Because as you will soon find out, I am not a coffee drinker.

My favorite mug does have a chip on the side of the rim, but it just adds to the cosy-ness of a favorite mug, dontcha think? If this mug should happen to meet an unfortunate demise at the hands of some careless carefree person, I will probably have to ask the original giver for a replacement. There's just something comforting about a lovely coffee mug.

Any one else have a favorite coffee (or tea!) mug?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Incredible, Jr.

This Incredibles suit has gotten more use and laughs than any other costume in our house. It is on its third child now. Sebastian has even created his own word for "Incredibles", since he is still working on his speech development. The word he made up? HI-YAH! (as if you were gonna Karate chop someone)

Incredibly smart, incredibly cute, incredibly strong tempered. I love my incredible son!

Friday, March 12, 2010


Wednesday started out like any other day, but ended up like no other. Right around the time that I was sitting down to have my quiet time, my husband called while en route to tell me that his sister was in the hospital and was expected to have emergency surgery later that day. I was worried, no doubt. My mind started to go there. You know, those dark recesses of your mind that hold the fears that you might not even want to admit to yourself, let alone talk about out loud.

At the same time, my eyes were reading through my devotional page....

I need not be afraid

God knows the fears and faith struggles that keep you awake in the night

he wants to bless us

beckons us to leave our fear behind

And the tears were pouring down, people. Because this is a sister-in-law like no other and I don't even want to imagine what my life would be like without her. This probably is sounding pretty dramatic; to the doctors I'm sure it was nothing more than a routine gallbladder removal. But to me, the fear was very real. Probably even more so because I no longer believe the lie that "everything's gonna be okay". I have erased that phrase from my vocabulary because that just isn't something we can be sure of, let alone promise someone else. I used to believe that I was good enough, blessed enough, loved-by-God enough that nothing terrible would ever happen to me. (Crazy, right?) Those things happen to other people. But now that I am other people, these kinds of situations shake me up real good.

In all His wisdom, God allowed this hospital to have Bible verses posted around the hospital that spoke to me throughout the day. His Words brought me the peace that I so desperately needed. The first one was Job 33:4 which I continually prayed over my patient :
The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
And the second one (Psalm 145:18), after she came out of surgery with flying colors, was posted right out side her room:
The LORD is near to all who call on him...

And I praised Him for hearing me and for it being in His will to answer how He did.

In the quiet late afternoon, I had some time to reflect on the day. I remembered arriving at the hospital, wanting to see my patient in pre-op, and the nurse asked me if I was a relative.

Yes, I'm her sister.

(And proud of it, too.)

A different nurse actually did ask if we really were sisters. And as we explained our relationship, she commented that those kind of sisters are really the best kind. Because we love one another and are true friends, even though we aren't obligated to by some sense of familial duty.

And during my little quiet time, the only thing that kept me from falling soundly asleep (like the patient) was the beep, beep, beeping of her pulse ox monitor. It might've been utterly annoying to some, but to me the sound was beautiful, reminding me that it belongs to a heart that beats so nearly to my own.

I am one lucky sister-(in-law).

Any one else blessed to have a wonderful sister-in-law?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Sew and Sew: Disney Style

It's been a really long while since my last edition of Sew & Sew. I have been doing more creating, especially lately, so I thought I'd share some of my latest projects, particularly the ones for our upcoming trip to Disney.

I picked some Disney-ish fabrics to make the each of the girls a dress. I prefer the idea of creating the 'look' of Disney, as opposed to using Disney print fabric. These two dresses only required about 4 yards total of fabric, purchased on sale of course! For Sienna's dress I used my "go-to" pattern when it comes to little girls dresses (New Look 6613). I have made probably a dozen dresses from this same pattern with 2 more planned.

 I didn't want the dresses to be exact duplicates of each other, so for Tatiana's dress I chose a slightly more grown-up pattern, which I have used once already (McCall's 5574). I love this style, particularly because of the middle bodice section which allows for lots of fabric mixing & matching. Neither of the patterns called for ruffles at the bottom, so I just measured around the bottom edge and multiplied by 1.5 to get the length (you can do x2 for a fuller ruffle).



:: frayed fabric flower from this tutorial. For lotsa fabric flower tutorials visit here ::


:: detail of Mickey heads added to the ends of the straps. I tried several different methods, but the winner was just to trace/draw a Mickey head on a double layer of fabric, then zig-zag stitch with a really short stitch length (as in applique) around the inside of the tracing, then cut away the extra fabric close to the stitching. ::


 :: appliqued Mickey head. I'm not that great at applique, but I'm improving. ::

An old pair of Target jeans get new life as Disney capris!



:: I had to open up the inside seam of the leg to put on the applique and then sew it back up again. I think they still need "something". Maybe a patchwork belt or something added to the back pockets? ::

:: And just because I couldn't resist. ::

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Amidst the Flames

"When most people say 'for better or for worse', they really only mean 'for better'."
- from the movie Fireproof

I've given a lot of thought over the years, but especially more so this last year, about what 'for better or for worse' really means. I think back to my premarital counseling and can distinctly remember one of the pastors trying to convey to us, the young couple in love, what the future might hold.

Will you still love him when he's balding and 30 pounds heavier?

Will you still love her when she's pregnant and cranky?

Will you still love him when he's in a bad mood?

Will you still love her when she's old and wrinkled?

If those are the most extreme difficulties that we have ever had to deal with, we would have an easy life. Probably not nearly as rich and rewarding, but definitely easy. I think the questions a pastor should ask an engaged couple should be more probing and probably a lot scarier:

Will you still love him when he is depressed and wants to give up on his faith?

Will you still love her when she has a miscarriage? Again.

Will you still love him when he gets addicted to viewing inappropriate websites?

Will you still love her when she has spent more money than you make in a year?

Will you still love him when he has had no job for months on end? When you don't know where the money will come from to care for your family?

Will you still love her when she has gotten herself emotionally involved with someone else?

Will you still love him when your marriage just seems hopeless to save it?

Will you still love her when you hear the words 'no heartbeat' and find yourselves standing in front of a tiny casket?

Will you still love each other when it seems like the very fabric of your marriage is coming apart at the seams?

Early on in our marriage, a pastor mentioned to us that when we had gotten married that he didn't think we stood "a snowball's chance in hell" of staying married for the long run. Amazing, huh?! I guess what this pastor didn't realize is that the trials that we would go through would make us stronger, that we would come out the other side battered and bruised, but still come out together.  And that just like the Bible story, there would be an extra person amidst those flames saving us from destruction.

"Fireproof doesn't mean a fire will never come, but that when it comes 
you'll be able to withstand it."
- from the movie Fireproof