Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oh how I love cute little "goodies"

So, I mentioned that I had won some pins in a blog contest last week. Well, I got them yesterday and they are so darn cute! Now, I need to get to work on the other scarves I want to make. Here are a couple pictures of the pins I got and some pictures of some other items from the pandacub Etsy shop that I just adore. You should check it out. The prices are great and the pieces are unique and fun. I love it!

My cute little pins!

I love the little details of this necklace!

Are these not adorable little magnets?! So much cuter than the random company magnets on my fridge.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tell me...

what is our ending? Will it be beautiful?

I have to say, I usually am not drawn to, a fan of, or all that moved by songs that girls sing. I have no idea why, but they just don't tend to really capture me and in all honesty, they sometimes annoy me. But this song is different. Is it because I can relate to it so well? I'm thinking that just may be it.

If I am to be truly honest with myself...and to everyone else, I am selfish at times. Even when I don't think I'm being selfish, a lot of the time, I am. That's a horrible thing to be. Unfortunately, it's such a prevalent human tendency and so easy to fall prey to. I certainly do, far too often. What a shame it is. When I think of the level of closeness that I am missing out on with God by being selfish and being consumed with "me", it makes me really re-evaluate where my priorities are and what I am giving up. Not just what I am giving up, but what I'm giving it up for. Really? I'm really more worried about these "things" than my time and relationship with the Lord? Of course not, but my actions a lot of the time sure seem to suggest that.

I pray that I will become more intentional when it comes to my alone time with the Lord and listening for His voice. I pray that I will learn to tune out the things around me that rob me of my time with Him and learn to focus on what truly matters. I also pray that my boys will see a good example in me of what it means to truly be in love with the Lord and put Him at the center of your life.

At the end of it all, I want to be in His arms.

Here is the video and the lyrics are below it for you to follow along if you'd like.

Oh, tragedy
Has taken so many
Love lost cause they all
Forgot who You were
And it scares me to think
That I would choose
My life over You
My selfish heart
Divides me from You
It tears us apart

So tell me
What is our ending?
Will it be beautiful
So beautiful?

Oh, why do I
Let myself let go
Of hands that painted the stars
And hold tears that fall?
And the pride of my heart
Makes me forget
It's not me but You
Who makes the heart beat
I'm lost without You
And dying from me

So tell me
What is our ending?
Will it be beautiful
So beautiful?
Will my life
Find me by Your side?
Your love is beautiful
So beautiful

At the end of it all
I wanna be in Your arms
At the end of it all
I wanna be in Your arms
At the end of it all
I wanna be in Your arms
At the end of it all
I wanna be in Your arms

So tell me
What is our ending?
Will it be beautiful
So beautiful?
Will my life
Find me by Your side?
Your love is beautiful
So beautiful

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's a wrap...

Or is it a scarf? Or is it both? You decide. So, here is my wrap/scarf that I mentioned I had made, as well as the 2 crochet flower brooches I made. I'm really happy with how it turned out and can't wait to get to wear it! My plan is to make a few more colors and I also just won 4 adorable little pins from a cute little Etsy shop named Pandacub that I plan on wearing on them! Oh how fun it is to play around and create things. It just makes me happy.

I've also added a picture at the bottom of the birthday card I made my little sister for her 22nd birthday. Nothing too exciting, but just something cute. ;-)

Here it is worn as a wrap with the pink flower brooch.

Here it is worn as a cowl with the white flower brooch.

Here it is just worn as a simple scarf.

Here's my little sis, Delyn's, birthday card.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Things from the past that induce giggles

I was thinking yesterday about some things my kids have said in the past that even when I think of them now, years later, I get giggling. In fact, Brian and I were laying in bed last night and I brought up something Gavin said when he was little and we were both laying there laughing.

We were sitting at dinner one night, when Gavin was about 4 and he was talking about that Riley had hit him. Then he said, in total seriousness "He beat me like a dog, like a a cat, like a kitty." It was so weird and random and we just cracked up. Just the tone he used and the look on his face were priceless.

Another of my absolute favorites was when Riley was around 3 years old. We were at the mall walking around and we had gotten a huge frozen Pepsi that we were all sharing. Riley was carrying it and drinking it and all of a sudden he looked at me with this confused, pained look on his face and said, "Mom, I have a stomachache in my eyelashes." He had what we call "brain freeze" and the only way he knew to describe it was as a stomach ache in his eyelashes! I love it! It was soooo darn cute!

Now for Asher, this kid has had some great ones too. One of my favorites though was when we took him for his interview for Young 4's and he had to complete all these different little things like sorting objects, finding different objects in a picture, etc. One thing they asked him to do was to draw a person. So, he began by drawing a big circle for a face and then took a red crayon and put this little red circle on it. When the lady asked him what it was, he said "It's the red dot on my dad's head." She said "Your dad has a red dot on his head?" wondering what kind of imagination this kid had. I started laughing and Brian was laughing too (though with a slight bit of embarrassment) because he really does have a little red dot on his head that he hates. It was so dang funny that Asher chose to pick that moment to draw a person with a red dot on their head. Ok, so it's probably funnier to Brian and I than it would be to anyone else, but in any case, it makes me giggle.

I just love to think about all the cute and funny little things that kids do and just the joy that they bring to life. I simply cannot imagine life without them. God has blessed me so greatly and I am so thankful for these sweet little boys that he has entrusted to my care.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...about Fall

Seeing as today is the first day of Fall, it only seemed fitting to share a few of my favorite things about the season. I really do love the change in seasons and living in Michigan allows me to experience them all. Fall is one of my absolute favorites for several reasons. Here's a little sampling of the things I love so much about it!

I love the colors of the changing leaves...

I love taking a trip to the apple orchard and cider mill...

Autumn decor is just so cozy and the smells of the "autumn" candles are divine...

Busting out my cute sweaters is something I love and since I'm now too small for most of them, I think I need to go shopping for more!!!

I love to keep my feet (which always seem to be cold) nice and toasty with cute little slippers.

I love taking naps on the couch while my husband watches the football games on Sunday afternoons.

My absolute most favorite thing about it though, is that it means that my most loved holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) are just around the corner. Just the thought of that gets me excited!

So, Happy Fall everyone!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Relaxing Sunday Creation

So, after I got home from church this morning (which was amazing, by the way) I did a little cleaning and grumbling to myself about how much I wished Brian wasn't at the Lions game. But then, I quit my being a crabby little brat and decided to have some coffee and sit and do something relaxing and creative. I found some crochet patterns yesterday that I wanted to try out and since I have the most ridiculous stash of yarn most people have probably ever seen...I thought I might as well try one of these new patterns out. I picked a pretty sage green color and got to work and within a couple hours, I had created these little cuties! I'm so happy with how they turned out and can't believe I actually got them right on the first try! Oh yeah, go me. ;-) Anyway though, it was a fun, relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon and get my mind off of missing my husband and end up with something cute and new out of it! I'd like for them to be a little thicker, but other than that, I think they turned out cute!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

And so it begins.

Tomorrow is the first Lion's home game of the season and that means I lose my husband for most of the day. He'll go with me to our ABF (Adult Bible Fellowship) in the morning and then he'll head down to Detroit for the game. I'll be kept busy by going to service after that, but then the boys and I will be heading home and that's when the day starts to drag. For some reason, whenever he is gone on a Sunday afternoon and evening, I just hate it! It's especially bad once it starts getting dark so early and when the weather is yucky and I worry about him driving. I'm glad he gets to go and have a great time doing something he loves and most of the time he is taking my 80 year old grandma to the game, so that is great for both of them, but I still don't like having him be gone when the next day is the start of another week. Ugh, I can't stand it. Plus, my house is a darn disaster, so tomorrow will be filled with cleaning (oooh, oooh my favorite thing ever! *insert eye roll here*). Yeah, so I'm complaining a little...I don't do it that much, so let me have my moment, will ya? ;-) Ok, football irritation purged. Phew, that feels better...sort of.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Homeschool Baking Fun!

I have discovered that Asher loves to cook, so I have added baking to our homeschool curriculum. Not only does he love to cook, but he has so much fun making something and then surprising his older brothers with it when they get home from school. I can tell it makes him feel really special and Gavin and Riley respond really well to it, so he feels like big stuff! Today, we made butter cookies because our letter for the week was B. (We made apple oat bread last week for the letter A). Asher had a great time, unfortunately I didn't think to get out the camera until all the ingredients were mixed and we had already balled the dough. Oh well though, at least I got some cute pictures of him making the fork marks in the cookies! Anyway, here is the recipe and some pictures of our baking fun!

Butter Cookies

1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup flour
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix ingredients, roll dough into balls, place on cookie sheet, press down with fork, sprinkle sugar on top and cook at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes.

This recipe yields 1 dozen cookies so it's great if you just want them around for a snack for the day and not a ton to sit there and tempt you to eat them!

Here's Asher pushing down on the cookies with a fork. (I think he pushed down a little too hard because our cookies came out pretty flat).

Here's what they looked like before going into the oven.

Asher with his finished cookies. (He loves to make silly faces in pictures and then look at them and giggle at himself, so that's what was going on here. LOL)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why, yes...I did make a wonderfully delicious batch of apple butter yesterday!

Ooooooh, I cannot describe to you how amazing my house smelled yesterday! It was a cooler day (very windy) and the warmth of the smell in my house had me all excited for the Fall season. What was that wonderful smell you speak of, you ask? Why, it was the smell of apple butter simmering away in my crockpot from 9:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night. It was absolutely wonderful and I can't wait to make it again!

I started with a very small batch because I wanted to make sure it would turn out good, rather than make a ton of something and figure out that no one in the house likes it. What prompted me to make it in the first place was when I saw something about making apple butter in a crock pot on someone's blog and it made me think of my Great Grandma Shock and how she would eat apple butter on toast every single morning. I never, ever had tried it and I cool would it be to make some myself?!

Now that I know that it does turn out incredibly well and incredibly yummy, I wanted to share it with whoever may read this, so you can try it too! Such a fun way to fill your home with a warm, comforting smell and end up with a super tasty treat that I know your kids will flip for (at least mine did) and you will look forward to treating yourself to. Let me tell ya, have it with a cup of coffee and it's downright blissful!

So, without further ado, here it is...the recipe and pictures of the process. Enjoy!

First I got out the ingredients:9 apples, sugar (use 2 cups), cinnamon (use 2 teaspoons), ground cloves (use 1/4 teaspoon) and salt (use 1/4 teaspoon).

Then, I peeled the apples, cored them and chopped them up. I threw them into the crockpot, along with the other ingredients and stirred it all up.

I cooked the mixture on high in the crockpot for 1 hour. I stirred it and then I turned it down to low for the remainder of the cooking time, stirring every hour. (This is what it looked like after that first hour of cooking.)

Here is a picture of the mixture half way through the cooking process. (About 7 hours in.)

Here is a picture at the end of the cooking process. (After cooking and being stirred each hour for 13 hours total and I also took a potato masher to it at the end to get out the few bigger chunks that were left.)

Here is a picture of it once I put it into the jars. You can put it into the jars while it's hot. (This amount of ingredients only gave me one and a half jars, so if you want a bigger quantity, you'll need to use more ingredients.)

Here is a picture of the apple butter in the jars this morning, after having been in the fridge.

Here is the consistency of the apple butter on a spreading knife.

It is nice and sweet, so you only need a thin layer of it on your toast or english muffin or whatever you decide to put it on. I found that having a little bit of butter on before you add the apple butter knocks down the sweetness a little and makes it delicious!

This really was incredibly easy and I know that if you decide to make it, you will be very happy you did! Happy cooking!

Monday, September 14, 2009

My New Hair

Well, it took some getting used to, but I am now really starting to like my new haircut and color. I was kind of worried about if it made my features look big or just didn't look right on me. Then, I went to church yesterday and my morning started off with an older man in my Bible Study who came up to me and said "I just wanted to tell you that your hair is gorgeous, very noticable." It was so sweet. And really, a man commented on my hair? Then as I was walking through the halls at church, people kept stopping me and telling me how cute my hair was. It made me feel so much better because I was starting to like it, but wasn't sure if it was just because I was getting used to it or if it actually looked decent on me. Anyway though, I can stop obsessing over it now (yes, if you know me, I obsess over completely pointless's something I'm working on) and embrace my new hairstyle. So, here it is! Oh, and there's a few pictures of Asher and I here too.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Those "New Love" Flutters

That's what I've been experiencing lately. This week, for some reason, I have those same feelings of excitement and butterflies when I merely think of Brian, that I had when we first started dating. It's like it's all new again and I look forward to every second I get to spend with him. I'm probably driving him nuts because I've given him so many hugs and kisses these past couple days, but I literally just have that "new love" feeling and giddyness. It's just the coolest that after being married for 10 years, you can feel for your husband like you did at the beginning, when everything was new and exciting and you looked forward to every single second you could spend with him. So, I just wanted to say that I love my husband more today than ever and I appreciate him so incredibly much. He treats me like a princess, makes me feel beautiful and special and makes me laugh like no one else can. He truly is my best friend and I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy my life with him.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Another Glorious Day

Yesterday was a little rough, but God is faithful and good and today has been absolutely wonderful, thus far. Asher and I had a great homeschool morning (yesterday was a bit of a struggle), I am getting used to seeing myself with my new haircut and color that I wasn't quite convinced I liked last night when I got home, I've gotten several things done around the house that I have neglected the past few days, etc. I'm just in a great mood and am loving the things God is doing in my life.

This is my favorite song right now that I thought I would share. It just makes me really think about what my Lord has done for me and makes my heart happy everytime I hear it and I hope it will do the same for you.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What an AWESOME day!!!!

I have had one of the best days of my life today! And to think that I was stressed out yesterday and feeling so overwhelmed, it's just nuts! Today was the first day of school for the two older boys and I was dreading pretty much everything about the day, but I was in for a wonderful surprise.

I woke up at 5:45 this morning, jumped in the shower, got myself all ready, made the boys some cheesy scrambled eggs and toast and woke them all up. They were so excited and kept thanking me for making them such a yummy breakfast. Asher was hilarious because he was completely confused as to why we were up when it was still dark outside. He thanked me for the eggs and toast, but told me he wanted to save the rest because he needed to go back and sleep some more. I explained to him that we didn't have time to sleep anymore because we had to take the older boys to school and he gave me a weird look and said "We have to drive in the dark?" It was so cute. We managed to get everyone out the door in completely pleasant moods with plenty of time to spare. (Surprise #1)

We got to the school and I dropped Gavin off at the doors he's supposed to go in at. He is on the safety patrol, so I have to have him at the school at 7:20 instead of the normal 7:42 when the first bell rings and everyone else is supposed to be there. I thought that was going to be horrible having to get there so much earlier and just sit around for 20 minutes until it was time for Riley to go in, but it actually means I'm there early enough to park right in front of the doors he has to go in, so when the weather is yucky, he will just walk right out of the van and into the school instead of having to cross the street and walk a ways to the doors. (Surprise #2)

When it was time, Asher and I went in with Riley to see his classroom and all that good stuff. Riley was the first one there and we were looking around to find his desk and see who was in his class. It turns out that he is sitting right next to a little boy that was in Good News Club with him last year who knows more about the Bible than I probably do. Riley was excited to get to sit next to him and I am so happy that he gets to sit next to another little boy who loves Jesus as much as he does! (Surprise #3)

Riley got all settled and Asher started telling me he was ready to go home and do his homeschool, so we said goodbye to Riley and headed home.

When we got home, I got all the stuff out and Asher and I worked together to make Apple Oat Bread as a surprise treat for the boys when they got home from their first day of school. He absolutely loved that just the two of us were making this together. He said "I'm a really good helper, Mom." and I told him he wasn't just a good helper, but an awesome one. Then, when we were pouring the liquid ingredients in with the dry ones he said "Oh, that looks refreshing." I seriously cracked up. He comes up with the most hilarious stuff!

Once we got our bread in the oven, we started working on his school work. We went over his things for the week: Letter-A, Number-0, Color-Red, Shape-Circle and his Bible verse. He did some writing and coloring and he was absolutely loving it, as was I. We used number and letter flashcards and he knew all of them and thought he was big stuff. It was such a great experience. We had gathered acorns at the park on Saturday and we made little faces on them. He thought that was the coolest, because they look like they are wearing little hats. At one point, he was tracing a bunch of circles and when he got part way through, he said "I'm going to need more stamina to finish making these." Seriously, where does he come up with this stuff?! Well, I actually know he got that from a video game where when your person gets tired you have to build their stamina back up, but it was hilarious that he used it in the right context. Man, I love that kid!

After all his school work was done, he went off to watch Little Einsteins and I sat down to do my devotions. I was praying aloud for about 15 minutes and I could just sense the presence of God so strongly. It was amazing. I sat for a while, silently, with my eyes closed and my hands lifted to Him. I then asked Him to please take all my anxieties from me and to not allow the enemy to make me feel overwhelmed and discouraged. I asked Him to help me be productive for Him. I then asked Him to speak to me through the Word and I sat quietly for a minute. Isaiah 46 came into my head and to be honest, I wasn't even sure if there was an Isaiah 46 until I opened the Bible and there it was. What I read made my eyes fill with tears and my heart just overflow with joy. In Isaiah 46:4 I read these words..."Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will cary you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." I know He spoke those words directly to me to let me know He heard my plea and that He would absolutely take my anxieties and keep me from being overwhelmed and discouraged. All I need to do is reach out to Him. I cannot even begin to tell you how I felt when I read that, but it was truly an amazing feeling and I feel closer to my Lord now than ever. (Surprise #4)

Today has been so filled with joy and surprises for me and it's not even 1:00 in the afternoon yet.

Tonight is my first night back with my urban youth girls for the Edge ministry I'm a part of. I look forward to seeing where God takes these girls this year and how He reveals Himself to them.

I know the surprises are just beginning and that God has many more in store for me. I am truly overjoyed and humbled to serve such a loving God. I praise Him for today and for all that is to come...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Feeling Creative...

Every once in a while, I get on a little kick and I just feel like creating something. So, I thought I would share some of the creative endeavors I'm exploring right now. These are just pictures I found on the internet to represent what I'm doing, not my actual projects, but I will post pictures of mine when they are finished. Anyway, here's what I'm up to!

I'm crocheting a wrap/scarf

I'm going to start making my Christmas cards

I'm going to attempt to make apple butter. Mmmmmmm!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Only 5 Days Left!!!

Of summer vacation, that is. I can't believe how fast it went by. I seriously think it seems to go by faster every year. I have mixed feelings on the whole back-to-school thing. In a way, it will be nice to have some quiet time around the house where I can get things done without interruption and it's much easier to go out and do things with only one child with me, instead of 3 (especially since the two oldest seem to think it's a good idea to bug the heck out of each other and consequently end up fighting when we're in stores for more than about 2 minutes). What I'm not looking forward to is the getting up at 6:00 a.m., having to go out in the morning to take the boys to school when it's chilly (and downright freezing in the winter) and miserable, having to wake Asher up from his nap to go get the boys in the afternoon, all the extra activities that start up once school is in session, etc. Life just seems to become twice as busy once school starts and yet, it becomes full of things I love too. I love watching Gavin play basketball, I love seeing Riley get all excited about how great he does on his spelling tests, I love that my Women's Bible Study starts back up, I love the urban youth ministry I volunteer at each week starting back up, I love that I get some alone time with Asher, I love that all my favorite holidays are on their way and I get to look forward to them...

So, as I said, I have very mixed feelings. While I'm trying to look at it as a new season with new opportunities, I still can't help but want to hold onto the more laid back feeling that summer vacation provides. What's a girl to do? I guess I should just enjoy these last 5 days of vacation to the fullest and deal with the next "season" when I get there.