Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Baby Boy is Brewing

....but not for me....I PROMISE!
Our dear friend Jenn is busy brewing up a new addition to their family.....
so off we headed to a Livermore tearoom to celebrate!

So first I ask you.....
How Southern can one gal get?
To know Cindy is to LOVE her Suuuthernn sass and charming accent-
top it off with THAT hat and we have a scene from Steel Magnolias!

Now to the lady of the hour....Ms. Jenn, looking lovely as ever in black...all signs of her 7+ month project hidden by the table....she is a stunning second time mommy!

Miss Alicia was our hostess with the mostess....dressing up the table and favors in a beautiful mint green and chocolate theme. So sweet!

I have to say, delightful company exluded, I was surprised at what a great time I I'm not really a 'tea' I figured that I'd feel like a bull in a china shop....BUT at Ms. August's Tearoom EVERYONE feels right at home!
Such hospitality! I highly recommend frequenting her place of business!

I even relaxed a little on the picture taking, as Cindy took over the paparazzi post....snapping creative little shots like this....
hmmm....I may have discovered my future assistant ;)
sorry, it's an 'after' shot of all the lemon curd, and frou frou cream we slathered on our scones. YUM! But I DO like the perspective Cindy!

We had such a beautiful and relaxing time being waited on....sans kids....laughing with the girls....

oooo, and I love spending time in prayer over new babies.....
it was an extra gift be able to bless Jenn and her family!
There was also an abundance of wrapped up blessings.....I think we covered all the itty bitty necessities a momma could need. And some that are NOT so necessary...but just for fun:
So after 3 rounds of tea, gifts, and favors, and more gifts....we got ready to pack it up.
And then the hats came out....and something about old fashioned hats brings out our serious side.
Or not!
There, that's more like it:
Amazing treats, fab conversation

and good friends....

Welcoming babies is SUCH a joy! Especially when we feel as pampered as the momma-to-be!
Thanks Alicia for a beautiful afternoon, we love you Jenn......and we can't wait to meet you Cash!

Monday, September 28, 2009

DIY: Baby Blocks

A dear friend is having a baby boy....and for her shower I broke out the creativity....
it's not an original idea...but the execution was one of a kind!
My saw wielding Papa chopped up a 2x4:

I gathered my paints.....

I applied one coat of baby blue before running to the Scrapbook store for the decor:

I cut the paper into semi-even squares.....each block needed 6 sides of course!
Though don't look too closely...even with a paper-cutter, my square sizes varied....BUT I'm not perfect, so why should my crafts be??

I chose the paper to go in the nursery which has light blue walls, dark blue curtains, and vibrant red accents. Another factor is the family's interest in boating. Of course, I couldn't go wrong with the standard boy theme of sports.

I spelled the baby's four letter name out on one side of each block.......
then I decided to add two more blocks for endcaps/and extra spelling fun!

See teaching/learning is NEVER far from a homeschooling momma's mind.......

You see, this little bundle of joy has a brother 5 years old than I figured the eldest son can practice reading/spelling while he plays with his brother.
The blocks will spell everything from dish, dash, cash, hits, kits, jacks, tacks, ticks, sick, and well, you get the idea.
The toughest part about this project was letting the Modge Podge dry before applying the next side...I'd glue four sides of the paper on.....then wait to do the other two sides. It turned into an all day project but those babies were ready withing 12 hours for their big debut! Oh, and that shower was beautiful!

Just a little something on top of the super cute outfit I was able to shop for.....brown cords, striped sweater and matching shoes of course <3>

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Proof is in the Pictures

I am impatient....aren't we all? Well, answer me darn it!
heh heh
And I make myself laugh....and to add to those lame attributes I REALLY don't bake.
In general, when I cook it's a dash here and a bit more there. That type of measuring doesn't tend to jive well with baking. Baking requires precise temperatures and exact amounts of ingredients.

So I surprised myself with the urge to make an old-fashioned apple cake that I found at PW's site. The Pioneer Woman is an adorable city girl-turned rancher's wife who keeps up a six-pronged blog that covers everything from photography to cooking, homeschooling and gardening. Attempting to do ANYTHING 'like' her is intimidating.
Especially when it's something that I lack any proper training in.
But I had the equipment and the ingredients make me I jumped on in!
This Apple Cake in an Iron Skillet is NOT for the faint of heart.

With 3 sticks of butter and sour cream to boot, it'll make your love handles shimmy just thinking about it! But chubby chasing thoughts aside, I had to try it. So over the course of 2 days I made it three times. Yes, I BAKED THREE TIMES in two days. I'll give you a second to close your mouths now. Thus, why I'm posting these pics, because I'm not sure I'll ever do it again ;)

The process isn't hard, but I never quite perfected it. The problem with my following a recipe numerous times, is that I start to get relaxed, or even lazy with the directions.
For instance, in my first attempt I carmelized those apples with precision. The kids loved the end product so I bought more ingredients and settled in to make two more for an upcoming dinner party. (I only bake out of I prefer dough and mushy sweets to cakey or bread goodies....sigh)
The second cake I let the apples cook too high for too long. I was rushing it.....knowing I had TWO to make that night. Ugh, that one went straight into the garbage....Boo to that!

Well, the last one, survived, but was a bit lighter than I was hoping, due to my cautious attempt at carmelizing those apples. There were no complaints when a sweet, dense slice was placed next to a creamy scoop of vanilla ice cream, but I knew I had done better.

It's a tricky process for me. Carmelizing the apples, pouring on the batter, baking it in the oven, and then inverting it onto a platter.
It was touch and go there a couple of times!
You can see where a smidge of the apple topping stuck in the pan. Bummer.

Then of course, the whole darn thing fell over on the ride to dinner. Nothing spilled thankfully, because those 3 sticks of butter held EVERYTHING in place.
Bah! Kinda like your thighs would stick in a swing at the park if you ate too much of this delicious cake!
Bad analogy. Sorry. But good cake. Don't forget to try it for yourself. Go here for the recipe....and for step-by-step pictures of how this SHOULD turn out.
I'm satisfied with my efforts. And now I'll go back to prepping my fool-proof Fried Rice, or Chili Verde Pork. They never take 3 attempts to get mediocre coloring!
Bless you mommas who actually enjoy baking.
Share the love, that's all I'm saying. Share the love!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Today is the day, our knight returns.

He keeps getting shipped off for 5-6 day stretches...and it's exhausting in every.way.possible.

Physically, mentally, spiritually, etc.

For him as well ;) we'll be happy to see him pour himself through that door today.
An exhausted, huggable, tower of a man.

We survived and mostly in one productive piece.
But we all need a break. Our brains hurt.
So my prayer is for a relaxing weekend. To enjoy the essence of having everyone together.
Ah, yes, together.
Like this brain, before we dissected it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I did not want to go to church today.

Have I started a post like that before? It's been awhile since I even wrote a Sunday Service Snippet....

I felt unworthy. I felt frustrated. I felt unloved. And struggling with all of those feelings, I didn't feel able to help lead worship. (It's much easier to NOT show up for church when you're not accountable to a ministry.....but today I was)

The facts were these, I was afraid. Afraid to represent someone I'm not. Afraid to come across as having it together when I don't.

It's so funny to me to be called to such a public ministry...where expectations are high, because you are 'seen' are expected to be friendly, and loving, outgoing and humble, pious and prayful....and rarely am I ANY of those things at the same time. And don't think I'm making this stuff up....I've had those things laid before me from one person or another over the year. Yes, I remember your words so distinctly....."You think you're perfect," "You don't really like to reach out do you?" "You are not genuine," "Your voice isn't that great." Etc. The 'voices' may have been human, but the effort was much to damaging to put on a person.

It's easy to point the finger at those who stand on stages. That light shines on both the good and the in general you try to hide the bad and make the good show first.

But today I felt ugly. Not in appearance, for those things are easy to spitshine....
but in form and substance. I wanted the congregation, to see me as I am; broken down, confused, hurt by words, jaded and mislead, on the verge of becoming a hermit. I didn't want the shoeshined version of me, if we can't be real then why show up? But how do you do that? I'm still human, and trust is hard to come by.

Then my hubby prayed over me.....I dutifully closed my eyes and carried on with our routine. still afraid of perceptions, but willing to be used.

Then I saw their faces, the faces of those whom I'm called to serve beside. Some of them I KNEW had uglies going on as well. Others hide their's behind smiles. Irregardless, we stood on that stage to use the various talents we have been given.

And the congregation sang. I could picture God showing up for each and every one of them....standing before us to be honored. Yes, we were ugly, but He saw through a veil of crimson, and we stood forgiven, and blameless. If He can forgive me of so much, then I can let go of the words that have marred my heart. I can look past the cynicism and trust again.

Pastor John taught from Matthew 8:23-26....focusing on the disciples in the midst of a huge storm. He made a great point. Sometimes those storms are caused on our own. Other times it is purely natural for those waves to rise. But either way, how do we respond?

With fear? Or with expectation? Jesus was asleep...staying out of it....possibly to see how the disciples would react. They panicked. Instead of just asking for help they commanded...."Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"

Which doesn't sound bad.....but Jesus said, "O you of Little Faith...Why are you so afraid?"

He rebuked them for Their FEAR. He KNOWS the ugliness we live with....He know the hurt that has been done to each of us. But He still expects us to turn to Him first. He will call us out for not resting in the knowledge that WE walk with the Creator of the universe.
The disciples had not acknowledged the possibility that this was in God's plan. They assumed the worst and gave up hope.

It's funny, as I type this I'm thinking about all of the others who lead ministry...and how often they may feel the same way I did today. I think discouragement is one of the enemy's greatest tools. It's not that I did anything amazing today. But I would have missed hearing God's truth. I would have missed the miracle that is pure worship. Unfettered by our plans, modulations, song order, etc. Today was as it should be.

I served not out of my own understanding. And God delivered as only He can, with purity of Spirit, and with more rewards than I could imagine.

I promise not to hole up in a ball and become a hermit. I will not let the words of other paralyze me into ineffectiveness. If God has a work to be done, and He can use me, then so be it.

I am grateful.....knowing that I showed up broken, sad, lonely, and confused, and God multiplied my reasons for rejoicing! I am loved. So are you by the way...

For our Savior had written in 1 John 4:18: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

And it was also said, "The only thing we have to fear, is Fear Itself."

Friday, September 11, 2009

One of my worst nightmares....

Sometimes I sleep in later than my kids....
Don't be jealous, it's a luxury I have homeschooling.
But if that happens, I'm not far behind them, and they dive right into their chores while I jump in the shower.

Well, such was the case this morning. When I awoke to blood-curling SCREAMS!
I truly know the definition of that word now!!

Natalia was screaming, a new scream, one I had never heard before, and she has an arsenal. Her 'give me back my toy' scream, her 'you just left me alone in this room' scream, her 'you hurt my feelings' scream, etc......
So normally I wouldn't jump and run just because she screamed, but this was different.

Her scream was punctuated by Ian yelling MOM!
That would have been bad enough. Waking to screams. Really, stop there and my heart is beating fast.
But as I arrived in the kitchen .5 seconds later, I realized my situation was worse. Now you may be thinking, there must be blood, who got hurt? No, I would probably handle that better.
This was a SPIDER!!
I'd hold a snake, a rat, gut a fish, many other things before I'd elect to touch a spider. And it was big, black, and ON MY 3 year-old!
She had old-fashioned pink pjs on....buttoned down the front, like a man's night shirt, with matching pants. The spider was on her pj shirt, and started racing around her body as she screamed!
Herein lies my issues with spiders....I know they are supposed to be MORE afraid of us, because we're bigger, but they outnumber me in the leg department. This makes them likely to run faster than I move when I'm frozen in fear. I further loathe the ones that have mastered the long jump! But this one, whose size rivaled a half-dollar coin.....didn't seem to want to jump off of her!

As my boys stood staring in amazement, and our doofish Weiner dog kept jumping on her to see what was wrong......I analyzed the situation. Where WAS the nearest shoe??
I found the SMALLEST flip flop...and tried smacking it OFF of her tummy, to which it proceeded to run down her leg.....and UP under her shirt! Aaaaaaah!!!

It took me two more swipes to get it onto the floor, and smashed onto the back of that purple shoe. Sweet girl, she is our dog lover, and I guess she had been hugging Dash, our Weiner Dog. So we think he brought the spider in from outside!

My oldest's analysis of the situation is that it was a female, because it's tummy was HUGE.....
Male, female, I don't care, I just want to put it's body outside as a warning......

"Beyond this threshold.....all eight legged creatures WILL be squished!"

I so want to go back to bed and start this day over again. My skin won't stop crawling!
Alas, we will jump back into school after this break......the boys have a book about Tarantulas they want to study!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Wedog Chronicles- Simple Joys....

A vast expanse

of park to explore

A picnic lunch

cotton candy galore

Rolling hills and

itchy grass

Mossy logs,

memories to last

Spinning 'round

animals found

Another ride

then back inside

Ecclesiastes 3:13-14
For every man, moreover, to eat and drink and enjoy the fruit of all his labor is a gift of God.
I recognized that whatever God does will endure forever; there is no adding to it, or taking from it. Thus has God done that he may be revered.
Praise God for simple family days to enjoy his creation...and the work of master 93 year old merry-go-rounds.

Friday, September 4, 2009

DIY: Feather Flourishes

Not sure what got into me....but I was needing a little umph.
Something new in my accessory grab bag.

And now that Natalia has long enough hair to style....I have to keep her 'up-to-date' as well!

So while I was out shopping for staples for my last project. I picked up a bag of barrettes and a couple bags of feathers.

The results were bountiful, varied and colorful!
You may have noticed.......but apparently this is the year of the feather. They're all over clothes, bags, and accessories. Case in point, this 'fascinator' from urban outfitters . That's a phrase for hat/hair pretties worn in the ya know ;)
Well, I didn't buy any peacock feathers, but here is a shot of one of my creations.
All it took was a $1.99 bag of feathers and a hot glue gun......and Wa-lah!
I produced over a dozen barrettes. I like how Megs pointed hers down.
It has a certain Great Gatsby edge to it.
The total cost for over a dozen barrettes was $7!
At this point, I've given away 3 and am keeping the rest for Natalia and I to share.
We have purple ones, red ones, turquoise, and yellow ones that are half this size.
Sorry, but I'll have to add pics of them later.....
They're not for I said, I only know 3 people who would branch out and actually wear them.

And not everyone agrees with their dad asked me if I had a bird in my hair.
Another woman made an Avian flu comment....nice!
Either way, I think they're gorgeous. And my model is pretty fantastic too (thanks Megan) I thought I'd share them and inspire you to create something pretty this weekend too!