Thursday, May 27, 2010

Imagination is Child’s Play

There’s some irony in what I’m about to say….I find myself longing for the “good old days” more and more.  So in addition to the irony, let me add that by making that statement I really am officially over the hill.

Specifically what I miss is the way children used to play.  So much of what we did was based on imagination and the belief that we could do anything.

My brother and I spent hours – literally – playing with Legos.  The Lego from years ago was not like the fancy packages in the stores now and in fact, those packages would probably sneer at our antique bricks.  But since we were limited to squares and shapes instead of premade people, we built reindeer as our people.  Sometimes we’d build enough reindeer that we practically would have an army!  We also had trays made for Legos, so we would use those as the reindeer houses and build furniture on them.  And each family would interact with the other reindeer tray houses nearby.

The reindeer families would play, go to work, fight off the bad guys and live their lives.  And when we would finish our play we would take the structures apart so that we could start fresh the next day.

My concern is all the games and toys that take away so much of the imagination part of play.  We were out to eat dinner recently and saw a youngish boy sitting at the table with his family, his head down and thumbs moving feverishly on his electronic game.  Where is the interaction in the family?

Of course what got my thoughts headed this direction was my darling granddaughter Brooklyn.  She’ll be 3 in about 6 weeks and when we were recently in Oklahoma celebrating Mother’s Day I caught her playing and was able to video it.  Usually when she sees the camera she gets a case of the sillies and it doesn’t work.

She’s playing with some M&M plastic figures (buddies she calls them) that in a previous life were part of a string of lights to hang outside.  Mom had washed them and Brook had a grand time playing with them.  Watching her kind of bounce the “buddy” that was talking is what made me think back.  I so remember doing that – whichever reindeer we would be holding would be bounced when we would make it talk.

And I really am aware that there are some good things that come out of the electronic games and I’ll have a post on that soon.  Today was a combination full heart from watching Brooklyn play and remembering playing toys with my brother.

Life is good.   :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Semi-Shabby Chic Herb Planter

Seriously now, I want all of you to be very impressed with me on publishing this post.  Because this is a perfect example of how things don’t always go as planned.

I had an idea of a great shabby chic sort of pot to plant some herb seeds in.  Truly it was so pretty in my head.

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And this is what I ended up with.  I know, it’s not hideous, but it’s also nothing special.  What IS special is my dog Joe that I decided not to crop out of the picture.  :)

My idea was to paint a clay pot with a butter cream ceramcoat paint, then use a sharpie to write the name of different herbs across the pot.  Next I took some medium grade sandpaper and scuffed it up a bit to give it more of an aged appearance.  I topped it off with a jaunty bow and stood back to see.

I’m really kind of “meh” about the whole thing, but since it isn’t hideous I decided to go ahead and plant my parsley seeds.  Right now it’s living in the windowsill behind my kitchen sink so that I can keep an eye on it. 

I learned when I planted my wheatgrass seeds indoors that the best way to water seedlings is with a water sprayer.  The new potting soils don’t seem to absorb the water as much and it runs to the edge of the pot and soaks in there.  Since my seeds are scattered over the top I needed them to be wet also, so the sprayer works wonders.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Life, In Spite of Me – Kristen Jane Anderson with Tricia Goyer – and a Giveaway!

** This Giveaway is Now Closed**

Life Inspite of Me

After her fatal choice... extraordinary hope.
Why does my life have to be so painful?
What's wrong with me?
It's not going to get better.
It could all be over soon, and then I won't hurt anymore.

Kristen Anderson thought she had the picture perfect life until strokes of gray dimmed her outlook on life. Once a happy child, Kristen's world darkened after three friends and her grandmother died within two years. Still reeling from these losses, she was raped by a friend she thought she could trust. She soon spiraled into a depression that didn't seem to have a bottom.

One January night, the seventeen-year-old made a decision: She no longer wanted to deal with the emotional pain that smothered her. She lay down on a set of cold railroad tracks and waited-for a freight train to send her to heaven...and peace.

Fear coursed through me. I squeezed my eyes tighter.

It's going to be over now. The pain is going to end. I'll be in heaven soon.

As the train whistle blew, the vibration of my body stilled.

The sound stopped. The wind stopped. The train stopped.

Am I dead yet?

Amazingly, Kristen survived her suicide attempt... but the 33 freight cars that ran over her severed her legs. Now she not only had to deal with depression; she also had to face the physical pain and life without legs.

But Kristen's story didn't end there. After her darkest days Kristen discovered a real purpose for living. Now, in her compelling book Life, In Spite of Me, Kristen shares her journey from despair to hope.

Includes letters from Kristen that share messages she wishes someone would have told her-when she was depressed and struggling with loss, shame from sexual abuse, and suicidal thoughts.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-four books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions.  She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. For more info, please visit

MY REVIEW:I’ll be honest – what led me to review this book was the fact that I love Tricia Goyer as an author. But what kept me reading was the story itself.

The voice of this book is different than most - Kristen talks almost in a monotone and I believe that's part of what makes this book so impactful. By talking in this voice she's able to convey her fears and almost detachment.

The premise of the book makes it difficult to say that I loved it and can't wait for you to read it. Honestly though, I haven't stopped thinking about this book even after I finished reading it. There are some lessons to be learned here and that makes it a must read.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

While reading it I was trying to identify with Kristen and sometimes that can be difficult as a grandmother to relate to a teenage girl.  But all the pieces fell into place for me at the end of the book when I read the note from Jan Anderson, Kristen’s mom.  I could relate to her – her fear, helplessness and disbelief.

I sincerely hope that this book makes it way into church and school libraries everywhere.  What Kristen has to say and how she found her purpose – or rather, how God showed her her purpose – is something that all teens should read.

A GIVEAWAY!: And on that note – I have a copy of this book to offer to one lucky reader!  Simply leave a comment on this post and you will have a chance to win.  I’ll close this on Friday the 28th so that the book can get in the mail.

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a review copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review. If you'd like to see more reviews of this book, please visit the tour at Litfuse.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Brooklyn is a Finer Thing in My Life

Ahhh….Finer Things.  I love the idea of celebrating the Finer Things in life.  Even better is the fact that Finer Things are not the usual diamonds, fancy homes, etc.  The Finer Things in my life are the people, not the things.

I’d like to highlight one of the special people in my life – my granddaughter Brooklyn.  She’ll be 3 in a few short weeks and really is a joy to be around.

After going out to dinner the other night we went by the kids’ house to drop them off.  The instant we got out of the truck she spied the sprinkler in the neighbor’s yard and her eyes got big and her grin got bigger.

B Grinning at the Water copy

She would run close to the sprinkler, let a few drops hit her, then run back to us laughing.  What a delight – and a great reminder of when we were younger and would do the same thing.  She did manage to convince her grandpa to get close with her and her laughter rang out when she saw the drops of water on his jeans.

B Watering the Flowers copy

The close encounter with the sprinkler had her running to mommy to ask if she could water the plants.  Ah the things a two year must do – chores already!

B In The Garden copy

But with a grin like this there is no doubt at all in my mind that she enjoyed every minute of it!

My granddaughter Brooklyn is definitely one of the Finer things in my life.  :)


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thank You Card – And Decorated Gift Cookies


I found myself in need of a Thank You card recently and this is what I came up with, with the help of a friend.  It’s actually quite a bit different than what I normally do – not quite as girly or overtly pink (but I did sneak some in!).  Overall I’m very pleased with it though and it’s already in the mail!

Stampin Up supplies used:  Watercolor Trio stamp set, Textured Impressions Embossing Folder, all inks and cardstock

And now the reason for the thank you card!  Mother’s Day weekend of course was a wonderful time.  After church Keith, Brooklyn (granddaughter) and I went to brunch with my mom, his mom and dad, my brother and sister-in-law.  It’s so very special to me that both sides of our family get along so well and enjoy being together – a true blessing.

When we all got to the restaurant Michele, my sister-in-law, came inside carrying beautiful gift bags and gave one to me, my mom, mother-in-law and gave me one to take home to my daughter-in-law.

They were so cute!  She’d ordered some personalized cookies from a gal in town that does this from her home.  Each bag had a cookie with our name on it and the bag contained more mom cookies and a cute flower cookie.  Such a darling and thoughtful idea.


I’ve thought about this quite a bit and have decided I’m going to try my hand at cookies like this.  I don’t hope to become as good as this professional was, but what I have learned is that it’s ok – the impact of this gift was great and I’m going to assume that others would like to receive it as well.

Don’t you just love when somebody out of the blue gives you a gift that you love so much that you want to do the same for somebody else?


Monday, May 17, 2010

Cup and Saucer Bird Feeder

I saw this idea somewhere online and it stuck in the back of my head.  When I happened to be at Goodwill last week poking around this idea suddenly burst forth and demanded to have attention.  The one I saw online used a teacup and saucer, but the ones I saw were so tiny that I just didn’t see much point.  I wanted cute, but I also wanted function.

I finally found a little dessert bowl and plate.  The plate is somewhere between saucer and dinner plate to give you an idea of size.  And I get tickled to think that the bowl, plate and spoon cost all of $1.78 – the best kind of project!


I am *enormously* pleased with how this came out!  I’ll admit that I haven’t seen any birds on it yet, but it’s only been outside for about 12 hours, so I am still hopeful.

Here’s how I made it:


To help get the pieces to stick together better I used a Medium grade sandpaper.  I sanded the bottom of the bowl, the top of the plate where the bowl would sit, and the backside of the spoon.

I used 30 Minute Slow-Cure Epoxy simply because that is what Keith had on his work bench and it said that it worked on glass.


On the bottom of the plate I glued a 1/2” copper cap (.53 cents at Lowe’s) after sanding it.  I let it set overnight to be sure the epoxy was good and dry.


We used 1/2” copper pipe that Keith hammered into the ground.  I just placed the feeder on top of the pipe and since it’s a good tight fit that’s all I did.

I found some bird food at Lowe’s for the pretty birds – goldfinch, cardinal, chickadee – since I’m hoping to entice them to stay.  I’ve seen quite a few around, so we’ll see.

And that’s it!  A very inexpensive birdfeeder for me because we just happened to have a piece of copper pipe in the garage.  I spent $2.31 and if I had bought the copper pipe it would add another $7 to the project.  Not bad at all.

Met Monday MondayCuter

Something I Whipped Up marketyourselfcopy-1


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Singing

I make no secret about how much I love our church services and family time afterwards.  And really today was extra special because Lynne’ met us at church and we went for breakfast afterwards.  The reason it was so special is that we are now officially empty nest again – and I am so thrilled and proud that she still wants to meet us for church.  Nothing can make a mother’s heart sing more than having her children WANT to be in church.

Our worship songs today were also food to a weary soul.  Some of them I’ve already shared on the blog, but we sang a new to us song that I’ll share below.  The song is called The Stand by Hillsong and the version I found features Michael W. Smith at vocals.  His voice is so beautiful – I could listen to it all day.

May your week ahead be blessed.


Spiritual Sundays

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Honey Bun Cake

I’m finding that my tastes seem to be changing somewhat as time goes by.  Me, once the girl who knew that chocolate could solve any problem, is suddenly finding that vanilla is my flavor of choice.

I saw the recipe for this cake at Home Matters and knew right away that this would be something our family would enjoy.  And since I plan to take this to a friend gathering on Friday night, naturally I needed to do a test run first.

It was so good!  When we tasted it the cake was still slightly warm from the oven.  There is just the right amount of brown sugar and cinnamon to make it perfect.  We had a big glass of cold milk with it, but I really can’t wait for tomorrow morning to have a piece with a perfect cup of coffee.

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1 yellow cake mix with pudding
8 oz sour cream
4 eggs
2/3 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar

Combine these 5 ingredients and beat for two minutes. Pour half the batter into a 13x9 pan sprayed with Pam.

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 t cinnamon

Combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle half the sugar mixture over the batter. Top with remaining batter, then sprinkle remaining sugar mixture on top. Run through with a knife to create a swirl.

Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

4 T milk
1 cup powdered sugar

Mix milk and powdered sugar together to make a glaze. Pour over the top of the cake as soon as it is removed from the oven.


*I’m linking this post to the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life As Mom and Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.


cooking thursday3

Monday, May 10, 2010

Brooklyn and Church Yesterday

When I think about the Most Creative Mom contest it makes me think of two women who have a natural vein of creativity running within – my mother and mother-in-law.  I have seriously learned so much from both of these ladies and it’s great to see the things they create.

We got to see one of my mother-in-law’s newest creations at their church on Sunday.  She made two of these quilted wall hangings to hang in the hallway in the nursery area.  There are 60 little lambs with the name of each of the babies in the church, with of course a few extra for future lambs.  So precious!


Speaking of precious, I’m holding Miss Brooklyn in the photo, along with my mother-in-law.  Keith and I were so blessed to take Brooklyn with us up to Oklahoma for the weekend and she was able to spend time with both of her great-grandmas, her great-grandpa, and her aunt and uncle.



Here she is bright and early in the morning right before we left for church.  She did get the sillies while I was doing her hair, probably because it took me three times as long as her mama to do it!  It’s been a few years since I’ve done hair on an almost 3 year old.  :)

And this is what we did for a few minutes before service started yesterday morning – we let her run off a bit of her toddler energy!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Friday’s Fave Five #87

FFF spring

See the Friday’s Fave 5 is so comforting today.  After preparing for vacation, being on vacation, and then recovering from vacation it’s nice to have some good routine.  Go by and visit Susanne at Living to Tell The Story for other posts to read.

Since I still haven’t put any of the vacation photos on this blog I decided that today was the perfect day for it!  I give you – 5 things we did on our vacation:

1. The main event for our vacation was a UTV Rally in Moab, UT.  Really I can’t say enough about how gorgeous it is up there.  Constantly I was reminded of the Fingerprints of God song.


This is on the first day riding – we’re all pulled to the side waiting for the police escort to take us through town.  The orange RZR right behind ours is a customized loaner from HCRacing that friends of ours took out.  And look back behind us – just a glimpse of the amazing landscape up there.

And here’s a video of Keith taking our RZR up a rocky hill.  I climbed out so that I could get a video.  Notice all the ponchos – we got rained on a couple of times!


2. Arches National Park – We got to Moab a day early so that we could go to this park and I’m so glad we did.  Again, sometimes there truly are not words to describe the beauty that God has created for us.  Down at the bottom of the circle there were some people – which shows the magnificent size of these arches!



3. The Durango-Silverton Train


This is the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Train - and it's the one we were on.  Our car was the very last one, so when we would go around a corner a perfect photo op would occur.  We were in the parlor car and it was built in 1880 and beautiful inside and out.

In the winter they only run halfway, so we stopped out in the middle of nowhere instead of going all the way to Silverton.  What luck for us!  There's actually a pavilion there to eat lunch, but we opted instead to hike down to an awesome bridge (photos on other camera).  Coolest thing? The train stopped, it's quiet as can be as this spot isn't even accessible by anything but train - and it started snowing!  The snow only lasted long enough for it to seem magical, then it changed to sleet and rain.  Didn't slow us down a bit though.  :)

4. The Cliff Dwellers in Mesa Verde National Park


Mesa Verde National Park was amazing! This is something I've wanted to see for as long as I can remember and was not disappointed.  HOWEVER... the drive up there was terrifying! 20 miles of curvy mountain roads with drop offs that surely lead to certain death. One of the park rangers laughed with us and said the secret us for the rider to sit in back of the driver and it won't be so bad. She was right and the drive down was better. :)

5. Cross Ministries in Groom, TX

I still get chills and tears when I look through these pictures.  The cross itself is 19 stories high and is visible for miles before you get there.  They have 12 stations depicting Christ’s life after He was accused.  It was a sobering place to visit.




Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Most Creative Mom?

This is the funniest feeling post I think I’ve ever made to a blog.  My daughter-in-law told me to tell y’all that she demanded this post and I was still trying to decide whether to do it or not when I saw that the sneaky thing came in and left a comment with the link!   :)

Mother’s Day for me started on Sunday.  Lynne’ went to Scarborough Fair with some friends and when she came home I got an early gift – a darling crystal and silver angel holding a heart.  I’ll get a picture soon because it really is something I love.  She said when she saw it that it reminded her of me.  :)

Then today I had some lovely flowers on my desk at work from James and Loni!  It really is nice to look at your work computer screen, move your eyes just a tad and see these beautiful blooms and smell the sweet fragrance.

And then I went to my Facebook page and saw that Loni, my sweet daughter-in-law, had nominated me for Michael’s Most Creative Mom contest.  This is the part that feels funny to me and possibly because I’ve never been involved in anything like this before…if you are so inclined you can go to the link at Most Creative Mom and place a vote.  This link is inside of Facebook, so you must be a member there to vote.

But more important than the voting – go and read the sweet thoughts my daughter-in-law wrote.  Her words mean the world to me and winning or losing the contest does not matter – because I have the best family in the world.

Monday, May 03, 2010

DWTS – For the Last Time


One of my absolute favorite things to do with my daughter (24) is to sit on the couch while doing our crochet/knitting and watch Dancing With The Stars.  We started doing this at the beginning of the season and we enjoy so much watching all the dancing and commenting on the wonderful dancing outfits…and the not so wonderful ones.  It’s been a great time to be together.

Tonight was no exception, except that it was a tad bittersweet.  We’ve had the last year together and now Lynne’ is moving out with one of her friends.  The two girls spent the day Saturday looking at apartments and found one that they are giddy about, so she’ll be leaving. 

Really I know it’s the best thing for her, but I sure will miss her.

And tonight after she and her dad laughed at one of my comments I did point out that she won’t have as much fun watching this show with anybody else.  She agreed, still giggling.

Now for some show notes, straight from my daughter and I!

  • My classic “DOH” moment tonight was when Evan and Anna danced the Argentine Tango.  I said, foolishly, that dance really didn’t do anything for me….and they got a perfect score.  DOH!
  • We adore watching Niecy!  That girl would be the most fun to go to a lunch with and laugh.  And she has come so far in her dancing and looks so sure of herself.
  • Then when Pamela Anderson was doing the waltz I mentioned how much I loved her dress and how “flowey” it was as she danced.  Yes, more chuckles from the family on that one.  I promised my daughter that I would text her next week if I saw a great flowey dress.  ;)

Honestly it doesn’t matter what you’re doing as long as you’re doing it with somebody you love.  Maybe I’ll watch the show next week and shower my daughter with text messages?  Or maybe I’ll let her be and we’ll just chat about the show later.  :)

** An aside – the blanket she’s crocheting above is for one of her friends that is pregnant.  Isn’t it awesome?