Friday, June 26, 2009

Vacation Day 3

I loved spending the day with my sister yesterday. This is the one thing I hate about living so far away from family. I miss my sister. Its funny because we are polar opposites on just about everything except shopping. We both love to shop. Everything else we disagree on...yet we love each other and are best friends.

When we first pulled up to Sarah's house, we saw my father standing in her driveway. Wow! What a surprise. He came over for the day to build a sandbox for the kid's birthday. We all jumped right in to help.

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The cousins all loved each other. It was so neat to see them playing together. Chloe giggled and laughed all day long. Megan took Chloe under her motherly wing and dressed her in a few different dresses. If Chloe needed help, Megan was right there to offer her assistance. We peeked out the window at one point and saw them playing "bride". At first Chloe was the flower girl for Megan and then they decided to get married. It was so sweet.

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My littlest nephew is such a dear. He grinned and giggled at me and stole my heart away. He is such a sweet little baby. He is always hungry too.

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I must be off now. Its time to pack up for a weekend of camping with James family. I will hopefully have some fun pictures for you Sunday or Monday. Have a blessed weekend everyone!

Army Tank Cake

My sister's husband has been serving in Iraq for the past year. My nephew fell in love with tanks about the time his Daddy left. (He was previously the gunner on the tank...the guy who sat on top and shot the gun)

My sister and I planned for me to ice a tank cake for Alissa and Timothy's birthday. (they are 1 year, 4 days apart...Irish twins) Thank goodness Sarah's girlfriend ices cakes and provided me with all the gidgets and gadgets I've become attached to for my cake decorating addiction.

Here is the cake I came up with yesterday...

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Sarah baked two 9x13 sheet cakes. The bottom layer is strawberry cake and the top layer is Funfetti. Then we made a loaf chocolate cake for the top of the tank. We cut a circle of brownie for the hatch. Round Keebler fudge cookies are the wheels and the lid of the hatch. GI Joe's legs were removed so he sits inside the hatch. We use Bubble tape for the tracks. We left them pink because we used a bit of pink in the camo design. We wanted to girlify the cake a bit since its for both Alissa and Timothy. We crumbled the leftover brownie for dirt around the base of the tank. Sarah found some candy that looks like rocks in the bulk section of her grocery store so we used that to add some details to the tank.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vacation Day 2

I mentioned Warren's rocks yesterday and I think its time to show you exactly what I meant.

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Can you believe he made these out of concrete? I am amazed! Warren is teaching me all the ins and outs of creating these rocks and I am quite tempted to make a stab at it this summer.

Last night we had a delicious dinner at James sister's house of baked ziti and James mother's sauce. She used to cook sauce all day with chicken and sausage. Yum! James sister makes it to perfection.

Later in the evening we headed out onto the deck to enjoy the lovely weather they have here in the Inland Northwest. It wasn't long before James nephew challenged him to a race.

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James won. Of course, at that point everyone else had to get in on the action.

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Not much later and the motor bikes came out.

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Our brother-in-law took Chloe for a ride. She squealed and giggled the entire time.

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Chloe sure is enjoying her cousins on this trip. We are having such a great time. I will have pictures soon of the cake I made for my sister's children. They are having a birthday party Saturday which we will unfortunately have to miss since we will be camping with James whole family. I can't wait to show you this cake. Sarah has a friend who decorates cakes so she borrowed all the supplies from her which was nice so I didn't have to pay $15 for another piece of luggage on the plane. (most airlines charge $15 for your first bag anymore...ridiculous, if you ask me)

Anyways, I better run along. Sarah is finishing up putting her children to bed and then we have a few minutes to chat before James picks us up to return "home" for the night. Have a fabulous weekend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Holiday Greetings

I love that word...holiday. In England, holiday is used much differently than here in the states. Not only can you use it when talking about a holiday (ie Christmas, 4th of July...what have you) but you may also "go on holiday". So...we are on our summer holiday in Washington state. Whoo Hoo! I've been looking forward to this for some time.

We began our trip yesterday morning about 5:00am with an alarm clock. We were on the plane at 6:15am and flying across country at 6:40am.

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James brother Warren made the most awesome pizza for us last night. I doubt Digorno will ever be the same. We celebrated James nephew Jaydon's birthday last night with all his family and friends. I was so dog-tired though that I fell asleep with Chloe in our bedroom before the cake and ice cream part of the celebration. I was a little disappointed but I figured that was better than pictures of me sleeping sitting up in a kitchen chair. (which almost happened twice)

Today we took a little drive to the river and walked along it a ways looking for driftwood and rocks. Warren has been making rocks (I'll have to show you some one of these days) and he wanted some real rocks to set alongside his homemade rocks. Chloe loved wading in the river even though it was ice cold.

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We found a beautiful piece of wood which became the perfect bat for a bit of rock baseball.

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We are now off for dinner at James sister's house with more family fun and holiday relaxation. Have a fabulous Wednesday evening.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summertime Welcome Baskets

I recently took over the job of assembling welcome baskets for our Sunday School class. These baskets are gifted to visitors of our class the morning they attend. I am thrilled at the prospect of this task and having been given my very own creative license which means the sky is the limit with these bundles of delight. (I am still a little unsure if they really wanted to give me this creative license because, well, you know me...)

My very first attempt turned into a summertime theme. I am a theme kind of girl. I love themes and matchy-matchy and coordinated efforts and all that jazz. Here are some baskets I assembled yesterday.

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We will be adding in a pocket size New Testament and our Sunday School roster. I also wanted to include a few summertime tea bags. I am thinking Celestial Seasonings Strawberry tea might be a nice treat. I can't wait to come up with some fun baskets.

In other news...

I finally picked up my crochet hook yesterday. Yahoo! I haven't crocheted in a few months and my wrist held up pretty well, considering. I crocheted a whole two items. Yay! I feel quite a bit behind on my project to-do list and it felt so good to be able to cross two whole items off it yesterday.

First I made a little overalls using my Snips and Snails pattern for my girlfriend who had a wee little boy last week. Little Baby S came home from this hospital this week, praise the Lord, and he is doing well and being completely spoiled by his three older siblings. Anyways, I really needed to get this done for him.

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I also whipped up a little doll dress for this new baby's older sister who had a birthday about a month ago. She has a couple of dolls and no doll clothes and I just couldn't let that continue. Every baby doll needs clothes.

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The flower I just whipped up without a pattern. It is similar to the Irish Roses without the additional layers of petals. I will try to type up what I did and post it here eventually.

Today is scrapbooking day at another girlfriend's house. I must now be off to gather up my pictures and supplies. I hope to have a finished album by the end of the night to show you all. I am excited! Have a blessed Saturday and Sunday. Live to glorify God this weekend!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kreative Blogger Award

So, I've received this award twice now and its about time I did something with it, right? And goodness gracious but its PINK! Why have I not participated before? Seriously though. Sometimes I wonder about myself. I was awarded this fun award first by Ashlie and then by Sarah.

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Okay. Here come the rules...

1) List 7 things you love.

2) Link back to the person who gave you the award.

3) Pass it along to 7 other bloggers.

Random Things I Love:
1) sugar
2) intoxicatingly fragrant roses
3) chatting with Jesus
4) laughter
5) the sparkle of diamonds
6) pretty dresses
7) musicals

So, now for 7 bloggers to pass this along to. Let me see here...

1) Christine
2) Melanie
3) Mary
4) Sandi
5) Lea
6) Amy
7) Pamela

Have a fabulous day, all day long. God is good!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Never Ending Dress

And I feel as though I accomplished something today, even though this dress is STILL not finished. It looks good enough for the pictures though. I have only to hem the skirt portion and she will be completely completed.

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I cut this dress out with the intention that it was to be my thanksgiving dress last November. Needless to say, it has been laying in my workbasket ever since. About two weeks ago I pleaded with myself to finish it because I knew it would look great on me. Lo and behold, it took me quite a bit longer than planned. This dress has details. Lovely details, mind you, but each detail adds time onto the completion deadline.

You cannot see the details in the pictures. I am afraid that up close and personal, the fabric looks stunning. From a distance though...quite another matter. I don't like it at all. It looks like I am covered in polka dots, which I am not. My coral flowers disappear when you step back a few feet. Yuck! I want my coral flowers.

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Princess Chloe loves having her picture taken too. For some odd reason she believes that we just take random pictures of things. I have no idea where she could have gotten this bizarre idea from.

Have a fantastic day everyone.

Feeling Sort of Anne-ish

"It's so easy to be wicked without knowing it, isn't it? "
-Anne Shirley


Yes, yes it is.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Busy Bee Buzzing Happily About

I don't think I mentioned this on my blog here before so I shall mention it today. About 4 months ago we began attending a different church. The church we previously attended was not able to meet our family's spiritual needs so we decided to try out the church Chloe has been attending Awanas at for the past year. It has been wonderful. I didn't realize just how hungry I was for fellowship and nurturing until we began attending this new church every week.

The only downside to so much fellowship is that we are super busy now. This past week we took a hard look at our priorities as a family and have made plans on how to cut back on a lot of things. We want God to be our primary focus. Our marriage comes second and our parenting third.

~ We do not start our day without spending time with the Lord. (we get up together and have coffee and devotions)
~ We aim to slip under the covers by 9pm so we can talk and have "quality time" without being so tired we fall asleep while the other person is talking.
~ We focus on our bedtime routine (flyladying here) so our mornings progress much more smoothly. (the bedtime routine for me includes shining the sink, making James lunch, programming the coffee pot for the morning brew, brushing our teeth, prepping the launchpad - the place by the door for everything we need to take with us the next day, and laying out our clothes for the next day)
~ I read a scripture to Chloe at breakfast every day.

There were other things discussed, but you get my drift. One of the priorities I made for myself as a housewife/mother was that I will not leave my house a wreck. It is so easy to do, believe you me. When we get so super busy that we are coming and going constantly and Chloe has a few free minutes to remove every item from the cabinet before we head out the door again, it becomes so easy to just leave it on the floor thinking we will get to it tomorrow. But then tomorrow is just as busy, with the addition of another cupboard or toy box or basketful added to the pile on the floor and the mess consumes every available space. Its difficult to walk in the door to such a disaster zone.

Its not that I mind being busy. I have enjoyed the past week immensely. I helped my dear friend Karen paint her new house for two days. Another dear friend delivered a tiny new blessing and I was able to be with her for a few hours each day last week. (The dear baby boy graduates the NICU this week, hopefully) Today I am busy cleaning the house, washing the clothes, cooking lasagna for my friend (who had the baby) and heading to prayer group tonight. Chloe and I even had school today. Its been great. It does mean that I haven't had time for my hobbies or projects lately and I have missed them tremendously. I am hoping for some sewing time this week because I have some fabric for some cute shirts which I was hoping to take on our trip home next week. Yes...we are going home for two and a half weeks. Hooray!

Anyways, its time for this busy little bee to buzz happily off and make some chocolate brownies (to go with the lasagna) and a Lemon Pudding Cake (for prayer group.) Have a fabulous day everyone.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Drama on Life's Stage

The past six months have been a trying time for me, but a growing time. I have learned patience and trust. While it has been extremely hard for me to wait, not knowing what lies ahead on our immediate path, I have learned to trust God and to sit back and wait as patiently as possible for someone like myself.

So, our house has not sold. Six months ago we placed it on the market, anticipating a move this fall (and hoping for Germany). There were times we even questioned God. (not a very wise thing to do, I must say.) Why has it not sold? Why would a house go on the market for the same price as ours, on the same street and it sells in two weeks and we wouldn't even have a showing? (yes...we saw the inside of said house and ours was in much better condition...same identical house, just not as "updated") Trust! Its so hard to do when you can't see the road in front of you. But trust we must.

Yesterday we received news that James will be deploying VERY soon. I can't tell you where...or when...but when the time comes, you will know. After I received the phone call yesterday afternoon regarding this deployment, I could only thank God that I still had my house.

Yes, he has not even been back from Iraq for a year yet. I understand the shock some of you must be feeling. But please understand one thing. We asked for this deployment. He wants to go and is very excited about it. I have the honor and privilege of being married to a Godly man who would sacrifice everything so our country can remain free. We have the freedom to pray whenever we want. We have the freedom to say what we want. We have the freedom to go where we want, shop where we want, have as many children as we want. We sometimes don't understand all the freedom that we DO have. Or what a privilege we have to live in this country of running water whenever we want, electricity whenever we want, food whenever we want (even if it is too much).

Please don't feel sorry for us. We are in the military for this purpose. We believe in what we are doing and to feel sorry for us indicates that you don't really know or understand us.

Please, just support us. If you know us personally, maybe drop us a line. Call us on the phone to say hello. Write James a letter if you are so inclined. Think of what it would be like to live for 6 months without your dear loved one and what sorts of things you would appreciate. James will miss our next anniversary (our second one in a row that he will miss) and Thanksgiving AND Christmas. There will be times of loneliness. I WILL miss my husband. It WILL be hard. Support us and try to understand us, but please, whatever you do, don't feel sorry for us. For us...its worth it. Just to see our precious little girl's earnest face as she thanks Jesus for her friends and her church and her toys every night. That makes our sacrifice as a family worth it.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Monkey Cake

While I was quite pleased with my little fondant monkey, I have to be honest and say I am not pleased at all with the over all cake. It didn't turn out anything like what I had pictured in my head. The colors of green are all wrong. The leaf tip (number 67) didn't work right and a girlfriend recommended a different tip (number 351) for the leaves and I am not pleased with it. I have not mastered that tip yet and while it looked good on my practice board, once I transferred to the cake the skill was lost. The leaves just look like triangle blobs with points. Also, I am still struggling with getting the icing nice and smooth. I even tried the water on my spatula trick and that didn't work.

Anyways, I promised pictures of the cake so here it is. My only prayer is that the lady whom this cake is for will love it.

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Well now...I am off the spend the evening relaxing with the family. Its movie and popcorn night and possibly some hamburgers on the grill. Have a fabulous weekend.

Cheeky Monkey

I have decided I should have been a sculptor. Working with playdoh for the past 3 years has improved my skills dramatically, I must say. I almost didn't want to try my hand at fondant sculpting but figured if I could make things with playdoh, fondant couldn't be much harder, right?

Here is my very first attempt at fondant. I am pleased, if I must say so myself. First, the fondant I used was Wilton's pre-rolled stuff. I guess that means I don't make it myself? Hmmm...I should research that. It came pre-colored and in little rectangles.

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So soft and squishy and fun to work with. And the best part??? Its SUGAR! Much better than playdoh, in my opinion and much tastier as well. (because who hasn't sampled playdoh while sculpting, I ask you)

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I had a hard time getting her left ear to stay attached to her head. I need to research that as well. I tried a fondant paint brush and water but that didn't work so well. Also, as time progressed, my poor little monkey got shorter and fatter. Still cute but just a little more "settled" than I had imagined her to be. I gotta figure out how to keep the original shape of my fondant. Maybe I am supposed to make all the shapes separately and let them dry before I put them together? I don't know. There weren't any instructions with the Wilton package.

Anyways, I am still pleased with my little girl monkey and will have some pictures of the whole cake later. I need to start icing it now. Have a fabulous afternoon everyone. I shall talk at you later.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Adoption Quilt Project

We have been praying steadily for a week about where we should adopt from. I have always believed when the time came we would adopt an older child out of the foster care system. One of the things we prayed early on in our decision making process was that God would direct us and lead us to the child he has in mind for our home and love. Part of that leading includes James and I being of one heart and mind in each decision that comes along. We have prayed that we would be united in all this. Well, it only took two days of praying individually and together and we both felt that adopting through the state is not for us.

We have picked a Christian agency and we will be adopting through them. Also, we have chosen an age range of birth through 5. We feel that it would be best not to adopt a child older than Chloe.

With this new decision having been made, now comes the financial aspect of it. Adopting through a private agency is extremely more expensive than through the state. We are talking thousands of dollars more. We could get most of it back through the tax credit afterwards but we still need the money up front. How do we get that money?

Well, we have been toying with some ideas and one of the ideas I had was to sell things to raise the money. I have plenty of scraps and could make a couple of quilts. I don't know that they would be quality enough to sell, but we shall see. With this as my motivation, I sat down today and started working on some nine patches with those 2" squares I cut out last summer. (see...I told you I would use them eventually...)

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So, I don't know if this will work to raise money or not. I don't even know if people actually buy quilts. We shall see. And who really knows if this will be good enough to sell. It is completely made from scraps so there really isn't a rhyme or reason to the pattern or fabric. Any feedback anyone?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Fairyland Found

Imagine walking peacefully along when all of a sudden you step into the breathtaking world of fairyland. What would you do? Slow down a few paces? Stop and try to catch a glimpse of an elusive fairy? (maybe one in flight) Sit on a bench and gaze about this enchanted world for a few minutes?

I did all of that and more. I even photographed a bit of this fairyland just to show you all that it does, indeed exist.

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