Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Life Is In...


Everywhere I turn, it's boxes boxes boxes.

We already moved the kitchen table out.
The dining room table makes a superb catch all.
And it kept getting dumped on

Nekked walls and I are not great friends.
Just looks so sad.
My desk left shortly after. I am lying on my stomach on the floor right now typing.
I think my elbows have rug burn!

No more pretty things, or general function whatsoever, in our kitchen.
See Sneakers? He knows something's up and wanders around meowing all day long.

 I've had to lay out 5 days worth of clothes and stuff in Jonah's and Caleb's room.
 No more big bureau in the corner.
Looks so different!

This looks pretty tame.
Well, it did.
That bureau surface holds a lot of stuff!

The closets are nearly empty, too. But we still have the basement to sort through, and all the kitchen stuff.
I've been anxious and nervous all week, and now I'm exhausted. This part is just no fun at all! 
It's so hard saying goodbye to...home.
I knew Bill and I needed a little break, so my parents are coming over tomorrow night for one last meal together in this house, and then they're going to stay with the kids while we go out for a bit. I think I see Target in my near future, but out is out, so I'll take it.  =)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Easy Apple Applique Tee Shirt...Perfect for Back to School!

In the midst of packing, boxes scattered in every corner and against every wall in our house, piles and heaps of things waiting to be tossed, moved, or stored, I decide this to be the perfect time to start a new project.

My crafty whims are often times severely out of whack.

Maybe I just needed something fun and fast to occupy my mind for a little while, to make me feel accomplished while all else seems kinda disastrous.

I finished the skirt a few days ago, and I do love it, but those cheery red and white polka dots kept calling to me. Of course it didn't take long to think up the rest- an apple tee shirt for my up and coming adorable kindergartner. 

First, get yourself some Wonder Under. It will become your BFF real fast.
Next, I drew the shapes I needed- apple, stem and leaf- onto the W.U. and placed them alongside the WRONG side of fabric.
Notice, this is not the wrong side...oops! Had to toss this one and try again! 

Iron with dry heat, rough side of W.U. onto wrong side of fabric.
Trim shape.

Gently peel off paper backing - sometimes the sticky stuff gets a little messy, but you can easily push it to cover the parts you want convered

Lay out your design on the shirt.
I was thinking about spacing the pieces a little bit apart from each other, but alas, ended up with this- I love it!
Again, press with dry heat're done! Finished! Finito!
The Wonder Under will hold the shape in place, if you set it long enough under a hot enough temperature- make sure if you stop here.

Or, you can add some stitch details like I did:
I used a long straight stitch for the stem and leaf, and did a zig-zag around the apple.
Play around with the zig zag sizes on a scrap piece until you get just the right one- you may also have to adjust the tension a few times to avoid any puckering.
 Choose the least obvious starting point where you will backstitch, and carefully follow the lines.
I used a white bobbin thread, and changed the color for the top.
 I wanted the edges to fray just slightly around the leaf and stem. 
That's also why I cut the fabric shape just a tad larger than the W.U. piece.

Take your time going around those round edges.
And pivot pivot pivot. 
This ensures a more precise and neat applique edge.
Also, don't pull the tee shirt at all! Very important! Simply guide the needle around the design without pulling it.

Look! Even the inside is nice and neat!

Whoops, a headless shot of my pretty girl...she was beaming! I'll have to take another picture to prove it!

 Not too shabby, right?
I hope you'll try something fun and festive like this, too!
Thanks for reading.  =)

Linking up with:
Sew Many Ways

Friday, August 17, 2012

Savoring the Last of Summer

It literally dawned on me seconds ago as I was cutting fabric on the dining room table that tomorrow will be our last Saturday Big Breakfast in this house. 
I don't know how I feel about that.
So I've decided I'm just not going to think about it right now.

Yesterday was not a great day. I couldn't force myself to get in gear, and as a result, it left me with limited options. But we needed to get out of the house. 
And I'd already made a huge picnic lunch.
I mailed off an order at the post office and still didn't know what I was going to do with them. I wonder if anyone else ever goes through that.  It's brutal! Elf playing in the ice-cold car made things feel a little better.
Maybe it was good ol' Buddy who inspired me to take them to one of our favorite parks, but I wasn't holding out much hope because sometimes there is a really tough crowd there, and it just isn't much fun.
It turned out to be exactly what we needed. Everyone had a blast! I got a few chapters of the Hunger Games in, and Ryder was super excited to receive magnanimous amounts of attention. Win win!

Ryder was going berserk over the ducks in the pond! He sounded like he was going to have some sort of psychotic puppy break, ha!

Please somebody give me food! Pleeeeeaaaase!

Isn't the park pretty?
I used to take the boys here all.the.time when they were little.
Happy happy memories.

I forgot this big girl can swing all by herself.
The boys got themselves into a playground-wide game of tag and had so much fun!
I loved watching them play! (But I was also reading, holding an antsy pooch, and wearing a skirt so I didn't keep getting up to snap a picture. They moved so fast they would've been nothing but a blur anyway.)

We have had unique sleeping arrangements during the deliriously hot nights.
Here is Isabelle in the corner of Ethan's room- we rigged up a sheet in the back corner of the hall and left the boys' doors open so this whole area would get air-conditioned.

Another night, this time in J and C's room.
Reading time. How sweet!

These are my parents with my Dad's sister, Aunt Carlene- her husband is Uncle Harry, who lost his short battle with cancer this part June.
It was so nice to hear them laugh!
We all met up at the lake where my parents were camping.

My cousin Donna (Carlene and Harry's daughter) had come along with her 2 grandchildren, so all the kids got to play together. This doesn't happen often, so it was really special. I'm hoping we can change that, and it will happen a lot more!

I thought they looked a little family fleet out there- so neat!
It started to pour about a half hour after this- you can tell how gray it was in the pictures.
Caleb was sleeping over in the camper that night, and he said the rain pelting on the roof made it impossible to sleep. He was a cranky boy the next day!

One morning I surprised the youngest 3 by taking them out to McDonald's for breakfast.
Ethan was sleeping over at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and she'd told me he was going out for breakfast.
I had to be fair!
Okay, who else is in a state of panic at how expensive McD's has become? Yikes!
And the hot chocolate was nasty, eww.
I got a bacon egg & cheese biscuit- my Dad always got me those growing up, so it made me smile as I ate it.

I see this picture and I think maybe I should start wearing make up, ha.
Oh yes, Jonah is almost done with Phase One for the braces!
Now it will be Ethan's turn- he actually has more of an issue than just Jonah's crooked teeth.

This was around 6:35 one morning, in the dungeon.
Playing with things before they get packed away. Or tossed out. You decide.
Of course Caleb was in nothing but his little red drawers, so I made him wrap Mater Blankie around him for the picture.
I grew so disheartened by all the traffic on the blog that was directed at the few pics I had of them in their underwear, photos I thought were so cute and wanted to remember. I had to remove them all, and remove all text about skivvies, underpants, etc. Makes me cringe.
If you just googled boys in skivvies, then the joke's on you today, I guess.

This made me laugh out loud so much!
I made Isabelle try a ginormous blackberry in her Berry Kix (it was on super sale) and when she smiled it looked like she was missing some teeth!
She'd already swallowed a bit here so this picture doesn't do it justice, but it was hilarious!
She kept saying, "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids."
So she was a little confused. I didn't have the heart to correct her!

Hmm, I just realized that Ethan isn't represented in these photos.
He sleeps a lot. A LOT.
And reads multiple books in one day on his Nook. Who does that?
I am a slow reader, but I savor every word, plus I always get interrupted, takes a while longer for me.

We've got a ton of things to get done this weekend, and there's a huge party for my in-laws on Sunday, and I'm already having a hard enough time finishing up some sewing projects and getting everything ready for school, packing, preparing.... 
I noticed yesterday that I'm now sporting dark circles under my eyes.
It's not a great look for me.  =)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


No, I'm not referring to the lenses.
We sold our house this past weekend, and...we've got 10 days to vacate!
Remember that scene in Father of the Bride 2?
"He paid you $15,000 to be out of the house in 10 days?!?!?"
"I hope you took it, George!" said Brian's dad.

Yeah, that extra cash would be nice, but it didn't exactly happen that way. It's okay, though. 
We've felt God leading us in every way, and while we still don't have a permanent house to move into, we're marching forward in faith.
We do have a temporary place, and we're really thankful for that. I don't know how people move multiple times! It's crazy trying to get the timing of things to line up right!
I'm scared to death sometimes when I start to think of all the details that I don't have answers to.
But I have learned time and time again that God is bigger than my fears.

Truth be told, I'm having the hardest time dealing with chaos and mess in the house. I hate things out of place! 
But I hate packing things away, too, not knowing when I will see them again.
It's just stuff. I know.
But at the same time, it isn't.
It's processing, and memories, and wondering what the next place we call home will be. And when.
I wish this part was easier.
I wish transitions didn't shake you to your core quite so much.
I wish I had good pony tail hair. I have lazy curls that turn into a frizzy hot mess in this humidity, not the shiny, swingy hair I've always dreamed of.
Oops, that last "I wish" just slipped out on me.  =)

"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

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.
Psalm 91:2

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer Fun with Kids: Easy Backyard Water Olympics Games

The Olympics are awesome! I'm sad to see them go. 
I remember watching as a kid and that desire to excel at some sport would burn inside me...however, music is more my thing, so, that was a relatively short-lived dream, ha!
Now that I've got my own children, it's really fun to see them get excited just like I used to. 
For days and days, Jonah and Caleb just wanted to go practice laps at the pool and would beg me to record their times. I loved it!
I'd had some adventures planned, but unfortunately, everything for the past two weeks got thwarted by this lingering pneumonia. I'm thankful to be over the coughing fits for the most part, but I am sooooo tired. Feels like I ran a marathon and am still recovering.
One day we just had to get outside and do something. I was still too sick to drive us anywhere, so my options were severely limited. It was scorching hot, too, so water and/or ice became a necessity. This is what we came up with-
The First Annual Backyard Water Olympics 

First up: Ice Cube Table Hockey

Caleb jets his lip out when he is concentrating. Love that!
Next: The H2O Jump

I filled each cup with the same amount of water, and whoever jumped over the rope 10 times with the most remaining water in their cup won! It was so funny!
Then Mr. Smarty Pants figured out a trick...
 He did a "jig" instead of jumping with both feet- it was hilarious to watch!
And he won!
Third: The Spritzer
Everyone had an empty cup placed near them, a full cup, and a healthy set of lips!
Fire away kids!
Thoroughly disgusting (for someone who hates spit anyway) but completely hysterical!
And cool! Literally!
The object was to fill your cup the quickest. I think Caleb won this one!
**You can also partner up and do this activity with a spray bottle or squirt gun - the one holding the cup certainly isn't complaining on a hazy, hot summer day like this!**
Round 4: Spy Kids, Water Edition
I turned on the sprayer and they had to jump over it and roll under the stream without getting "hit"

Jonah rolled his way under & Ethan somersaulted under the spray- how Alias-like!
So cool! The boys really liked this part!
Of course I'm not mentioning the storm-offs when someone got mad, the screaming when someone else's foot got whacked by someone's head, etc etc etc. That's life with kids, I guess. They don't even remember that stuff- they just talk about how much fun it was! I think it ranks right up there with the frozen t-shirt contest!

Now we've got to start thinking about getting ready for school. I'd better get sewing for my adorable kindergartner!  =)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Birthday Party Recap & a Cake Recipe!

We all knew it must be getting time for Ethan's birthday party when the skies darkened and the lightning started flashing above.
Every.Single.Year. (Except for his 10th birthday.) Same story.
I'm noticing a trend.  =)

Now this is supposed to be a celebratory, happy little post, but I do have one teensy nugget of contention to share:
It is not cool to not RSVP.
Is it really that difficult, folks?
I mean, does the 30 seconds it takes to call, email, FB, text just seem too overwhelming?
My main issue isn't that it's hard to plan not knowing how many to expect, but mostly that it is SO disappointing for the guest of honor, who in this case, was constantly asking me if so and so was coming, and what could I tell him?
It was awful seeing the disappointment register on his face, but of course we did have a wonderful time with those who were able to come celebrate with us.
Moral of the story here - don't leave people hanging. It's no fun.
 It's okay. We had fun without you. Kidding, totally kidding, kinda...

Here are  few snapshots of the big day...

 13 candles in the shape of...13!
This is seriously the best chocolate cake in the universe...I've got the recipe below.
I spent many hours coloring in those 13 signs. We taped them all over the walls & they looked really fun and festive.

Here are some other shots of the decorations.
13 year old boys don't care much about themes and such, so we just made things look bright and cheery.

I've learned not to put the birthday kid in a spot that's difficult to take pictures of.
The far corner was optimal, so that seat got tons of balloons.
And I just tackle anyone who gets in my way now. Lesson learned.

I was running around and never got a good photo of the food table. Shame on me!
Looks kind of pitiful. There was more, I promise!
And it was so yummy!
My serving bowls are pretty, right?  =)
I've got another recipe to share for later, too- fresh salsa!

I still cannot believe that my firstborn son is now a teenager!
He is such a wonderful boy, and I'm very thankful to be his Mom!

Aunts and Uncles...and adorable baby cousins!
Thank you everybody!!
Okay, onto that fabulous cake...
Here's what you need
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour (we use unbleached)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
**The recipe I pinned is found here. I simply changed the sugar amounts.

 Here's what you do
  • Prepare 2- 9" round cake pans with shortening and flour
  • Preheat oven to 350 F degrees
  • In large bowl, combine all dry ingredients together
  • Next, add liquid ingredients except boiling water and mix on medium for 2-3 minutes
  • Add 1 cup boiling water and stir by hand until blended- it's the water that's magic! It makes the cake so fudge-y!
  • Pour even amounts of batter into pans; bake 30-35 minutes
  • Cool and decorate

That's it! Easy peasy! This is the fudgiest, yummiest, richest chocolate cake you will ever sink a fork into!

**The frosting is super easy too, but I have to admit I don't follow the directions to the letter here. I toss in a softened stick of butter, a splash of vanilla, about 1/2 - 3/4 cups cocoa powder, and massive amounts of confectioner's sugar, plus 1/4 cup milk. I play around with all this until I get the taste and consistency I want. I can't even tell you how good it all is! This is one of those cakes you must make and try for yourself!

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