Saturday, April 2, 2011

Days of Play: Easter Egg Art

Make it and Love It is a favorite DIY blog of mine.  There are tutorial for everything from clothing re-fabrications to home decoration projects.  You've seen other projects posted on this blog.

Anyhoo, I came across this fun and simple idea and thought, "Hmmm.... that would make Gramma Ginny's heart swoon!"  If you have a loved one you'd like to have the kids make a craft for (or if you want one for YOU, YOU, YOU) try this cute one!

Source: Make It and Love It
Click here to get step-by-step directions complete with photos.

Enjoy craft time with your kiddos!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fashion Friday: The Little Black Dress--from Day to Night

Okay, okay, I did a rant on disasterous LBDs a few weeks ago. In that, I told you that your LBD should be able to go from day to night with nothing but some accessory changes.  Today, I'm gonna prove it.

The base dress here is from Ann Taylor.  Lovely.  Sophisticated. Sexy (without being slutty).

Wearing your LBD casually:

Wearing your LBD to work:

Wearing your LBD for a night on the town

See you just can't do this with a skimpy, tight LBD. Be wise when you buy your LBD and get ready to work it!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Things I Love: Resurrection Eggs {Repost}

This is a favorite Easter tradition at my house so I had to share it (again!).

Family Life has this delightful tool to help teach children about Easter, Jesus and the Resurrection. They are called Resurrection Eggs.

The eggs come in a hard plastic egg carton.  Each egg has a different toy that represents part of the Easter story and a handy little book that tells scripture you can read to children to help explain the significance of the toy.

Every year before Easter I start hiding eggs.  Day 1, egg 1.  Day 2, eggs 1 and 2.  Day 3 eggs 1-3.  You get the picture.  With each new egg my children and I read the scriptures and discuss the meaning.  It is pretty cute to hear M.E.'s version of the tale.

Day 1--Donkey--Jesus rode a donkey into Jrsulm and people shout ShoHanna! (her pronunciations)
Day 2--Judas betrays Jesus for thirty monies.
Day 3--Jesus had one last supper with his friends.
Day 4--Jesus went to the garden to pray.

It is pretty great!

If you are interested I suggest looking into Family Life to get a set!  The set is under $15 and can be re-used every year (this is our 3rd year with our set and it isn't getting old at all!).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What I Think About--Gift Cards

Ever get a gift card and feel thrilled with it and the possibilities it held?

Ever get a gift card and feel let down--like you weren't worth the effort to find an actual gift?

Welcome to my schizophrenic feelings toward gift cards.

Not so long ago on my facebook page I posted this: "ah, gift cards. I mean, what a nice way to say, "here's $15--go find your own darn present!"

You should have seen the response!

Half the people loved gift cards because:
A. They were teachers and met their quota of baked goods, apples, and teddy bears four years ago so that $5 Starbucks card was akin to liquid gold.
B.  They usually buy stuff for others and gift cards force them to buy themselves something (I must learn this trick. I generally buy stuff for other people with my gift cards).

The other half hate gift cards because:
A. They are impersonal
B. It feels like you are swapping cash (One year at Christmas my husband and his older brother swapped $50 gift cards to Cabella's.  That made sense, right?).

I think that gift cards are okay when used in certain circumstances:

  1.  They've been asked for (I won't even get started on how greedy I feel it is to ask for cash or gift cards.  I saw a Baby Blues cartoon today about a little girl throwing a shopping party.  Her birthday guests would go shopping with her and buy exactly what she wanted--straight to the greed!  Oops, I said I wouldn't get started and then did.  My bad.  Sorry!)
  2. You don't know the person very well (distant relative, secretary, teacher).
  3. You honestly can't think of a good gift idea (finally an acceptable cop-out!).
  4. The person is in a position where you remember cash coming in handy (wedding, graduation, just moved).

There are circumstances when I think you should avoid gift cards:

  1. When you are in an intimate or close relationship with someone (in this instance, knowing what that person would want or what size to buy says a lot about your relationship).
  2. When it is a super-special day (your 5 year old would rather open a $1 gift that looks big than a gift card if she's anything like my kid!).

What I think about gift cards is they are a necessary evil--use them only when necessary.

Your thoughts?  Gift cards--yay or nay?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

If You Haven't Already Heard ...

about One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp then watch this video.  It might be the best six minutes of your day.

Now, let me implore you to not wait another day to order this book.  Click here to go to Amazon to buy a copy!

I've read the first chapter of this book.  That's it.  But I've read it three times and that should say something.  Like it is awesome.  Like I'm connecting to what it says.  Like I have some work to do.

Voskamp is challenging us to live fully right where we are--in the midst of stress and pain and uncertainty--to find beauty and grace and 1000 gifts in the way God delights in us no.matter.what.

I will caution you that Voskamp is incredibly poetic and uses analogies and metaphors that are lengthy and wordy and sometimes, down right confusing.  But reading and re-reading them to discover why she chose that word in this spot is exactly the kind of thing we SHOULD be doing with our Bibles (but it is sometimes easier in other works).  So practice with Voskamp and then turn your attention to Colossians with the same vigor!

If I didn't entice you to buy the book, then at least visit Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Difference Between Hearing and Listening

As I watch you move the lamp and climb onto the couch I tell you, "No, that's dangerous."

You look at me with a smile that says you heard me and choose to disregard.

I consider intervening and then wonder, for your own good, if I ought to let you learn the consequences of your actions.

I take that route.

The lamp falls and will forever lean to one side.

The remote controls go everywhere.

You slip, flip, and fall on to your head.

Loud wails.  Tears.  Red faced.  Something that looks like tears but is probably snot or drool.

I feel bad; yet at the same time I think, "Perhaps next time you'll listen to me."

And then it hits me.

Maybe God feels the EXACT. SAME. WAY.

Is He talking to me and I'm hearing but not listening?

I swear I haven't "heard" Him in weeks.  Or maybe it's been months now.

Has he stopped even bothering to try and talk to me because I don't listen, whether I hear Him or not?

What I'm feeling now, is this a consequence for hearing and not listening?  Do I feel separated because even worse then not listening, I've stopped even trying to hear?

May my red eyes and tear streaked face be a welcoming for You to hold me and comfort me and encourage me to listen ... next time.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Daniel Fast Menu {Week 1}

Sarah from Frontier Kitchen asked that I post my weekly diet for the Daniel Fast.  So, here's a recap of week 1.

Remember this is a vegan diet.  No animal products (dairy, eggs, meat, butter).  No sweeteners--natural or not (white sugar, cane sugar, molasses, honey, agave nectar, splenda, etc.).  No leavening (no bread or anything with yeast, baking powder, or baking sugar).

During his fast Daniel ate only fruits and vegetables.  However the original language was "foods from seeds, which is why the diet does include whole grains (whole wheat pasta, oat bran, etc.).

Finally, though we can use soy, almond, or coconut milk sparingly, we are not allowed to drink anything other than water.  No herbal teas, no juices, no soy milk to drink.  Just water.

Now that I've covered the bases, here what we ate (okay, not "we" as in kids just "we" as in Matt and I. The kids ate their general foods at breakfast and lunch but ate the same dinners).

Breakfast--Strawberry-banana smoothie with coconut milk
Snack--rice cake with natural peanut butter and bananas
Lunch--Vegetable soup
Snack--ants on a log
Dinner--black bean stirfry served over brown rice (This meal was more of a one-pan skillet dish than stir-fry.  It was filling and tasted okay but not my favorite.)


Breakfast--Hot oat bran with diced apples, raisins, and a dash of cinnamon and ground cloves
Snack--corn chips and salsa
Lunch--whole wheat pasta and marinara (fancy for spaghetti)
Snack--raw veggies and roasted red pepper and garlic hummus
Dinner--Greek stuffed peppers

Breakfast--potato and onion frittata
Snack--apple slices
Lunch--beans and rice in whole wheat tortillas
Snack--Triscuits (original) and hummus
Dinner--Vegan chili with homemade corn muffins


Breakfast--Blueberry and banana smoothie with soy milk
Snack--bananas, peanut butter, and raisins
Lunch--hummus and veggies, whole wheat tortilla wraps
Snack--mandarin orange
Dinner--Antipasto Pizza  (Okay, this pizza tasted good BUT the rice crust totally fell apart so it was more like a rice pizza casserole.  This week I'm going to follow marinara directions but put it on flat bread!)


Breakfast--Tofu breakfast scramble
Lunch--tomato basil soup (use vegetable broth, omit Parmesan, and use soy or rice milk)
Snack--veggies and garlic scape hummus
Dinner--chipotle black bean burger (omit onion soup mix) with organic corn tortillas, tomatoes, diced onion, and green pepper

Breakfast--Whole wheat shredded wheat, soy milk, banana
Snack--rice cake and PB with banana
Lunch--baked potatoes with homemade salsa
Snack--ants on a log
Dinner--spinach pesto over whole wheat pasta (omit Parmesan)

Breakfast--peanut butter and banana smoothie with coconut milk
Lunch--Greek salad
Snack--Triscuits and hummus
Dinner--Mexican black beans and brown rice (black beans, Rotel tomatoes, cilantro, brown rice and lime juice) in whole wheat tortillas

Some other things we ate:
Oatmeal raisin cookies (dense and filling)
Amy's Vegan soups
Organic store bought corn chips (I tried making my own with this recipe and we did NOT like them)
fruit salad
banana ice cream (only one ingredient!)

My Exercise Plan:
Monday/Thursday: 30 minutes on the elliptical, P90X Ab ripper
Tuesday/Friday: 45 minutes on elliptical
Saturday:  Elliptical for one hour and Elise Gulan's 10 minute ab workout Straight To The Core