Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bring It On!

My daughter had been home all of 41.5 hours, and she was back to serve at one of her favorite spots from her ministry trip LAST week.  You see, she came home -- but her heart was still with the kids of a local school, just 13 minutes from our home.  Yesterday, she went back to help with the free summer breakfast and lunch program -- the equivalent of the free lunch program that runs during the school year.  In between breakfast and lunch, the kids enjoy a VBS program, reading time, outside time, other miscellaneous activities, and even a little snack somewhere in between breakfast and lunch.

I dropped her off just after 8AM, and when I picked her up at 12:30, she was happier than a clam -- and exhausted. Good thing she had slept from 4PM Sunday until 6:30AM Monday morning!  And imagine, she came home and went back to bed yesterday afternoon.  This is my "oh no, I must not nap, or I won't sleep tonight" girl.  Just sayin'.

While she was sleeping, it occurred to me that I wanted to take a nap, too.  My thought was that when I woke up, I wanted school to have started.  We are sort of approaching the start of school at a fever pitch this year.  This has never before happened in our family history.  After homeschooling for years and years, we sent our son to public school last year.  He was very ready. Our daughter... not so much.  But this fall, it's her time to shine.  It's been a process, but she finally (of her own accord) said to me the other day, "I'm getting really excited for my first day of school!"

Hold on a minute please.  Mom is picking herself up and dusting herself off... (I nearly fainted dead away!) But, see?  God is good.  He urged us in the direction we should take, and even when the road seemed rocky, we stuck to our guns.  And now... the girl is excited, for crying out loud!


And, let it be said that this mama -- who always got a little nervous when she saw the "back-to-school" sales flyers -- is actually looking forward to grabbing those TWO lists of needed items, and hitting the stores.  C'mon already.  Let's get started.  Bring it on.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Difference Between Boys and Girls

Oh no, it's not what you're thinking.  Let me tell you what's been happening at our house within the last week or so.


1. Our daughter was packing up for a week-long ministry trip - which you know if you're a regular reader here.
2. Our son packed up for an overnight, and a day at a Renaissance Fair.

I didn't mention ANYthing to our daughter about packing.  However, she had her bags packed almost a week in advance.  Her exit was organized and unhurried.

Our son had SO MUCH LESS to pack, and I suggested ahead of time that he prepare since he was having a friend over beforehand.  To him, this meant grabbing a sleeping bag and his allergy meds.  So, when we were done eating dinner and I said, "Are you all packed?"  he looked at me with something close to panic, and said he had never THOUGHT about clothes!  Um, hello?  His exit was unorganized and LATE.

I thought my suggestion ahead of time might've been a "heads up," but alas, no.  Go figure.  Boys will be boys.


In other news, I am kind of crushin' on this blue bottle that my son brought home from the Renaissance Fair.  He's rather proud of it since he won it at a ax-throwing contest.  Um, yeah.  Apparently he can really hurl those babies AND actually hit the target.  Who knew?


I washed it out for him... and while it sat on the counter, I could almost envision it added to my collection of counter-goodies in the kitchen.  I'm just sayin'.  It reminds me of something else that I've admired lately.


AND ONE MORE THING...  Happy Birthday to my friend Donna.  Every time I see her she tells me that she reads my blog faithfully -- so I know she won't miss this birthday wish!  Have a lovely day!  I hope it's filled with all the things you enjoy most!




Friday, July 27, 2012

Somewhere Across Town...

This morning, I got a Facebook message from a high school friend who is involved in a ministry to the homeless and hurting downtown in our city.  This ministry is an emergency shelter for women and children in crisis situations.    Turns out, our daughter was helping out there last evening with her team!

As some plans have fallen through for the team, new plans have been made!  God is good.  They've been ministering in places that they didn't even know they'd be when the week began.

Even though they're just across town, internet connections have not been good -- and they have truly been too exhausted at the end of the day to post.  Because of this, we haven't received as many details as we thought we would through the week.  I'll be excited to pick our girl up tomorrow, and hear the details from her perspective.

Thanks to those of you who mentioned you've been lifting the team up in prayer this week!



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Say "Cheese!"

I love this photo of our girl that showed up on the ministry team blog late last night.
It's a great reminder that serving can be FUN!  Look at that smile.

Looks like she got to hang out with a great little artist!



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Like a Wave

Our daughter has been gone for two days, hard at work in the community.  We haven't heard specific details from her, but her leader is blogging daily, and things seem to be going well.  Last night was a much cooler night, and I was so thankful.  They are sleeping in the ministry building, which is an old church, and NOT air-conditioned.

I had a busy day yesterday, and when I got a moment of down-time, it came over me like a wave.  I really miss my girl.  I'm hoping that she might sneak one of her experiences into a blog story -- as the students are often asked to share.  (Or maybe I'll give her the chance to share HERE when she gets home!)


Today's another day.  Please pray for a little boy -- we'll call him "J".  Apparently he has connected with, and is following around one of the boys on the ministry team.  A leader mentioned that J has never connected with ANYone.  This is precious for both boys.  Please pray that much encouragement and love would be shared between the two of them this week, as J seems to come from a difficult family situation.

Thank you for your prayers!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Found: Love-y Note

Sunday night when I went to bed, the room was already dark -- as my sweet hubby had gotten there first.  As I adjusted blankets in the darkness, I heard what sounded like a piece of paper fluttering to the floor.  Instantly, I knew what it was.  A love note.

I mentioned yesterday that our daughter is on a week-long ministry trip across town.  It is her custom to leave love-y notes behind.  They are typically on our pillows.  When I moved to the hallway and turned on the light, this is what I read:


And the p.s.(not seen here)?  "I'll miss you!"  That's our girl.  She is almost always brave about trying the unknown, or going where she has not been before.  I'm so proud of her for that.  I was the girl who hung back and didn't try things... didn't go new places.  It wasn't because I didn't have opportunities.  It was because of my fear of the unknown.  Our kids didn't inherit that from me, and I'm so glad.  They have already (in their young lives) experienced so much more than I did at their ages.

There's one thing, though, that my daughter DID inherit from me -- my love of HOME.  As much as she likes to go and do things, she is never stir-crazy at home.  She genuinely loves being here.  I can't count the times she'd be working on her homeschooling, and out of nowhere she would say, "I love our home, Mom!"

A few weeks back, when our girl was anticipating this trip, we talked about "missing."  I casually mentioned that I think she's usually too busy to even MISS US on these trips.  "Oh no!" she said with a tear in her voice.  "I really DO miss you guys!"

Hmmmm, she hides it well.  But I guess her desire to go and serve is stronger than her desire to dwell on her personal "boo-hoos"

...which is why she is such a good servant.


Monday, July 23, 2012

A New Kind of Trust

Pittsburgh, the hills of North Carolina, Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia... our kids have taken summer ministry trips to these places.  We have willingly sent them off, and they have been more-than-willing participants!  Each year, our daughter (in particular) can hardly contain her joy at the thought of working with this team!  She is always SO EXCITED to go!


This year, the trip is a little different.  And I don't know what I was thinking... Somehow, I thought this one would be easier.  Afterall, we're just sending our girl to the other side of our fair city.  She will be minutes away at any given time.  Literally.  I guess I thought my heart would be at peace knowing that she is so close to home.

And for the record, my heart is at peace -- but, here's what I wasn't prepared for:

  • finding out that the ministry that the team will be associated with this week will be (basically) at the end of the street we USED to live on.  I have not spoken of it here, but the move to our current home had a lot to do with the fact that I spotted a drug deal going down in our very own driveway.  As the SAHM of a 2 and 6 year old, I no longer felt safe in my own home.  That's the neighborhood where our daughter will spend a good portion of her week.
  • reading (the morning after we dropped off our daughter) of a crime linked to the very street where our daughter will sleep each night this week.

Am I panicked?  Absolutely not.  However, I would be lying if I told you that I don't think about it a little. Obviously the ministry leaders are aware of the things that go on in the neighborhood.  Obviously, the team leaders are taking every precaution to care for our kids.  And obviously, Satan is using this as a scare tactic.

Well, my God is bigger than all of this.  He's the one who I am turning to with my doubts.  And he is the one who is encouraging my heart.

Don't tell God how big your problems* are.
Tell your problems* how big GOD is!

*substitute the word "worries."


Friday, July 20, 2012

Considering Overnight Events

After taking into consideration the events that unfolded in Colorado overnight, I have removed my most recent post about our family's midnight adventure.  The post was light-hearted, and our adventure was fine.  However, it seems inappropriate at this time.

I apologize to any readers who may have been offended by it.  I scheduled the post for just after midnight -- while we were still out, and I did not hear of the events in Colorado until after 9:30 this morning.

Please pray for the people of Colorado.

~Sally


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Walking the Same Road

Tuesday, a little after 3PM, my son went on a walk down to our local plaza with a friend.  When they're looking for a change of scenery, they head down there to the game-trading store, and to the thrift bakery for some goodies. He was home within an hour or so.  I keep tabs on the time, and know his usual routine.

On occasion, he and his sister have taken this walk and come home when it's starting to get dark.  We frown on that.  The walk up the hill is dark, and cars come up the hill and around these curves - drivers unaware, and not as watchful as they should be.  We encourage light-colored clothing when out for an evening walk so that if they are out at dusk, they will be seen.  We also remind them to walk against traffic -- so that they are walking defensively, seeing what is coming.

Tuesday, at approximately 9:30PM, a 16 year old boy [who lived one street over from us] took a walk on a different stretch of the same road.  Two blocks from his street, his life ended at the hands of a hit-and-run driver.

Though our son took the bus to school with this boy, I never had the opportunity to meet him or his family.  And yet, as a parent, my heart aches for them.

I couldn't help but think of all the warnings that my husband and I have given our kids, and how they've rolled their eyes at us. Today, things came into sharper focus when I explained that it's not them that we don't trust.  It's reckless drivers.

Today we talked about light-colored clothing, and where to walk, ...but in a different light, and with a new perspective.  And maybe, just maybe, my son and daughter felt... not so much over-protected by, but appreciative of our warnings.

Because today, we are praying for a family that lost a son.
Praying that a hit-and-run driver will come forward.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summertime

Hard to believe there's only a little over a month left before school starts for us.  It seems like it was just yesterday that I was preaching at the kids that we had to make a summer schedule.  I let them enjoy the first few weeks  -- sleeping in, crazy eating schedule, and pretty regular bedtimes.  But, they were out of whack, so to speak.  Their days were messed up.  So, we talked, and I encouraged them to set their alarms (a little later since it's summer), and have some kind of daily routine rather than being so random.  And that worked better for a handful of days until my son's very irregular work schedule kicked in.  And then -- all bets were off, and he started sleeping in again.

That's right about the time I decided that it wasn't worth the fuss.  It's SUMMER.  A brief respite of  11 weeks or so that is a break from our busy school-year routine.  If things are "different," "irregular," or "out of whack" -- well, so be it.


Originally, I was feeling a little guilt about (all of us) being at home after several busy summers of working at our church's day-camp.  But then I thought about all of those busy summer days when the kids so willingly adapted to the day-camp routine with me.  We got up early, and adapted to that school-like routine all summer long.  There were no complaints.  My son's day-camp experience even turned into a job for him as well.

Comparatively speaking, this summer feels pretty lazy.

But, I'll take it.  Next year, our son graduates, and who knows what that will mean, or what kind of summer we'll have.  So, I'm looking at this summer as a transitioning gift.  A gift between what was (our day-camp days) and what is to come - whatever that is!

Sleep in.  Eat late.  Have a nap.  Stay up late.

Mostly - appreciating the time with our kids!



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pinterest Board: Candles & such

UPDATE: I thought I was brilliant in "embedding" pins into my blog post.  However, as I look back over old posts, I realize that eventually, these images seem to disappear.  So, for example, this post was full of pictures and now it is empty.  So sorry about that.  I will keep the links up, but I'm removing the photo "blanks."

I am a self-proclaimed candle-freak.  I love candles.  A lot.  I burn them all year round, though admittedly -- more often in the fall and winter.  Of course, the good-smelling ones are best.  Currently, my favorite is a vanilla-spice pillar-candle from Michael's. It's a delicious scent that's not overwhelming.  Of course, I can't remember the brand -- but it's the one w/ a few rounds of waxed twine neatly wrapped around it.  Yum.  [um, the scent of the candle, not the twine.]

So, you know when I started out on Pinterest, I had to have a board for candles -- and it fascinated me to see all of the great ways people set up a candle display.  We're talking some really creative stuff.

As I looked over my Pinterest board, I noticed a trend... candles in all sorts of "vessels" surrounded by.... well... let's take a look.  Turns out there are all kinds of things you can surround your candles with, none of which cost big bucks.


~Cranberries~
(You can see my take on this HERE.)



~Candies~



~Beans and Seeds~
(HERE is my version...)



~Coffee Beans~




~Nuts~



~even Epsom Salts (or salt!)~



There's something for every season.
The options are endless, really.
What suggestions do you have?


Monday, July 16, 2012

What It IS, and Summer Traditions



So, tell me... did everyone else think this was too obvious?  Really?  I've never seen another one of these -- and this is an OLD one!  Linda took a guess over on Facebook, thinking it was a wire whip -- and it does look like a whipping or whisking kind of thing.  But Lauren was the first one to comment here on the blog, and got it right.  It is an egg separator!


As I mentioned, I found it in my grandma's kitchen drawer, and brought it home as a treasure several years ago.  It really is a helpful tool!  Those egg whites spiral right out of there without any help from the "operator."  I learned that it's important to dump the yolk right away, though, or that will start to spiral through as well.

I do actually use it from time to time -- like this weekend, when I was using only egg whites for a white cake recipe.


The birthday boy ordered white cake with lemon icing.  Doesn't that sound refreshing?  It was delicious!  It wasn't any big masterpiece recipe -- just a box and a can, but hey -- I didn't hear anyone complain!


I know -- I said BOY, and I should've said MAN.  I am still contemplating the conundrum of the passage of 18 years at warp speed.

In the name of teenage-boy (man) privacy, I don't share a lot of photos of my son... but today, he is officially overruled!  'Cuz I'm so darn proud of him -- and I wanted you to see his handsome, smilin' face!


Since his birthday is in July, we almost always have been able to celebrate outdoors -- which has also almost-always led to a casual game of baseball including cousins young and old.  Bigger kids help little kids, and even my nephew who is confined to a wheel chair "RUNS" the bases!  (And don't you ever tell him he ISN'T running!)

On Saturday, the weather was questionable, and we moved the party from outdoors to indoors.  At the last minute though, the sun came back out and the birthday boy said he really wanted to try the party outside.  So, he and his sister went to work preparing the patio.  It ended up being a comfortable evening with no rain, and we were so glad we moved back outside.  We were missing a few cousins this year for the baseball game, but still -- there was a game.  It's a tradition that everyone looks forward to, I think.


What did you do this weekend?


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Q: What Is It? 7.14

So, I had a particular project in mind today, and I thought of this useful tool.  I stumbled upon it years ago when we were cleaning out my grandma's house.  I thought it was so unique, so I brought it home to my house to live.


Any ideas?




What if I told you
it was found in a kitchen drawer?



Got a guess?
Leave a comment,
and stay tuned for the answer!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pinterest: Lemon Poppy-Seed Cake


I've been waiting for just the right opportunity to make this Lemon Poppyseed Cakecake, and guess what?  An opportunity didn't come up, so my daughter and I just decided we'd go for it anyway.  It's a super-simple recipe from McCormick (you know, the spice people.)

If (like me) you wouldn't typically have lemon extract or poppy-seeds on hand, you might be surprised to see their price.  I grabbed mine at a 50% off spice sale at our local grocery store.  It pays to watch for those sales! Apparently poppy seeds are little bits of GOLD.  Who knew?  LOL

Anyways, with all of my supplies finally on hand, we were ready to go for it.


Seriously, I think I've been dreaming of this recipe for so long that I actually thought I had a bundt pan. Apparently, however, I gave that to Goodwill a long time ago because it was just taking up space.  Well, phooey.  I DO, however, have an angel food cake pan - so we made do.  Honestly, it worked just fine -- but the shape was a little wonky -- at least when you see just a slice.  No worries.  I'm pretty sure it'll taste just as good!

We decided that we didn't want an entire cake sitting on the counter-top begging to be eaten.  So, we cut the cake in quarters, cut each quarter into four slices, and put the slices into squarish plastic freezer containers. We kept out four slices so that we'd have a treat tonight.  We don't usually do dessert -- just every now and then, so thawing those pieces from the freezer here and there will be perfect!

P.S.  The verdict?  DE-LI-cious!



I'm linkin up HERE.


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Posts I've recently enjoyed:


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hydrating :: Fruitfully Speaking

Have you been drinking your water?  It's important all the time, I know -- but never moreso, than in this heat. I really try to drink water throughout the day, but I must confess -- I go in spurts.  Several days on, several days... not so much -- until I am reminded again:  DRINK YOUR WATER!


I had strawberries on my mind when I saw Aunt Ruthie's post.  We'd purchased a whole flat of strawberries over the weekend in anticipation of a picnic get-together.  I had a few berries to spare, so I couldn't wait to try this!

I took these photos, and happily drank this concoction.  But, I can't take credit for the idea.  I'm just here to tell ya...  Aunt Ruthie sure knows what she's talkin' about!




I did a little strawberry-mashing (which Aunt Ruthie suggests) to get the strawberries to release more of their sweetness.  And then... I inverted a cupcake liner to keep the flies away, grabbed my Karen Kingsbury book, and I was off to the patio!

I was accused of "livin' the Pinterest life!" *wink*

Guilty as charged.  No regrets.


What about you?

Do you put fruit in your water?  What kind?  It sure is a great way to motivate you to drink [more] water!  Susie Davis says Empire Apples are great for flavoring water, too.  I wanted to try that too, but wasn't able to find Empire Apples - I think I used Gala.  They made for a deliciously subtle apple water.



Fruity water.  Try it.  You'll like it.


Linking to a Cool, Impromptu Linky Party at Hating Martha.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Your Opinion, Please

Around this time last year, I asked for your help in determining which photos I should enter into a local library photo contest.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see the project through last year.  This year, I truly hope to be able to participate.  A maximum of two photos can be submitted.

There are four categories, and photos can be submitted in black & white or color.
  • people
  • landscape/still life
  • animals
  • altered/Photoshopped

Want to take a look and help me choose some photos?  I sure would appreciate your input.  I know the photos aren't super-professional or anything.  They're just some shots that I'm particularly proud of, or really like on some gut level.  Photos will be submitted as is, minus my watermark.  Let me know what you think by leaving your comments.

P1270345

P5150418

4.22

P1010081

P1010258

P1210191

P1170021

P1010005

P5290750

P8240049

1.31

PA100375

P6060957

If you'd like to, you're invited to head on over to my Flickr page HERE.  Let me know if there are any other photos that catch your eye.  Feel free to leave comments there as well. Thanks, Friends!  ~Sally

Monday, July 9, 2012

Project Pinterest: Graduation Gift Idea

Need an idea for a graduation gift?  In thinking of our own son's graduation NEXT year, I've started pinning gift and party ideas on Pinterest.  I'm happy to say that one idea actually came in handy for this year.  Check it out!

If you go HERE, you can "purchase" a free printable that says (in various designs) "In case of emergency, break glass!"  It's a little humor for a new college student, and something they can hang on their dorm-room wall until it's needed.

All you have to do is purchase an inexpensive certificate frame at the dollar store, print the download, tape bills to the appropriate place on printed surface, place in frame, and wrap.

Bottom line is... it's a more interesting way to give money.  But, who knows?  Maybe it WILL actually get saved for an "emergency."

Thanks to Parties & Patterns for the idea!







linking with:



Friday, July 6, 2012

Ribbon-Tied Brag Book (Take Two)

Today, I'm linking up with the "Pin the Tail on the Bloggy" Pin Party, and I'd like to re-share a craft project of mine.  In fact, it was the first one I ever posted on my blog.  It's super easy, and an inexpensive way to make a cute gift for any time of the year!


I have one of these little Brag Books sitting out on a shelf, loaded with all the family pictures we get at the start of a new school year, and in Christmas cards.  But, it's also the perfect size to fit easily into a purse -- you know, so you can take it along, and "brag" to your friends about your cute kids (nieces, nephews, grandkids - you get the idea!)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The instructions for this are oh-so-easy.  Here we go...

Supplies needed:
1 pack badge holders - found at office supply stores.  (Horizontal or vertical doesn't matter, however, it would be easier to get photos into the wider opening of the horizontal holders.  The badge holders I found were rather rigid.)

Narrow ribbon.  You can mix & match, have a theme, or stick with one particular type of ribbon -- totally your choice.

Line up your badges.  Each badge has a pre-punched hole at the top.  (You may have to poke the plastic tab out.)  It doesn't matter which way they face.  However, I do make sure that the front and back are turned inward - meaning the slot where you slide the picture in is facing the inside.  This way, no pictures can slip out.

Cut your ribbon, leaving it long enough to tie a knot and have some leftover.  Slip it through the hole in each badge, and tie that knot!  Please note:  tying the knot tightly insures that the book's pages will stay lined up neatly -- however, it also makes it a little more difficult to slip photos in.  Try a happy medium.  Do this with several ribbons, until you like the look.  Remember, you can use one type of ribbon, or a happy rainbow of colors/styles -- your choice.

When you're done - it should look something like this.  Leave the ribbons a little on the long side so they "flop" a little.  Then, trim the ends at an angle, or in a "V" cut - as you prefer.



TaaDaa!  A sweet little wallet-sized, ribbon-tied brag book.
Just the perfect size to carry in your purse.
OR leave it out on a table at home.
So cute either way.


Fox Hollow Cottage
I'm linking up with "Pin The Tail on the BLOGGY."
Need more exposure for one of your favorite projects?
Head over to Fox Hollow Cottage or Debbiedoos to link up!


Also linking with: 


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