It would have been fun to have celebrated that fact, but I only just remembered this evening.
And Paul is still working.
So I will silently celebrate a wonderful year in our house.
A house that has become our home.
I remember when we were waiting for the paper work to be final on the house - there were several issues with minor details and it seemed to take FOREVER to go through. In reality it was only a matter of weeks from when we first saw the house to when it was actually ours but it felt like months upon months of waiting. And now that we are in it the past year has just flown by.
We are so thankful for the beautiful house God provided for us.
These are some of the beauties growing in our backyard right now:
I stumbled upon The Gypsy Mama's blog today and love her most recent post of her favorite places in the world. Inspired to play along I spent the last hour happily looking through my digital library of pictures spanning the past 7 years and picked out some of my most favorite places.
With the weather warming up and dreams of picnics at the park and trips to the beach I was inspired to make the perfect beach blanket for us.
Perfect being water proof, not perfectly constructed!
Given my impatience and lack of sewing skills it isn't quite perfect but apart from not actually being a real shape, each corner looking different from the other, a tiny bit of puckering and the back lining showing up on the front side in a couple places it is perfect enough for its intended uses!
What I hate most about blankets is that if you (unknowingly) set them out on damp grass or sand it soaks right through the blanket and what should have been a cozy, dry place to sit is now damp and uncomfortable.
I think I have figured out a way around that.
I bought 4 large towels at the thrift store, washed them and then cut them up and patched them together.
I added a couple decorations to some of the squares, including our last name initial:
For the backing I bought the largest vinyl table cloth that the store had - I'm not sure what the inches were but it was to seat 8-10 people so it was quite large. I ended up losing about 2 feet of length from the tablecloth as I didn't have enough towels. I made sure to pick out a table cloth that coordinated with the towels I had bought.
The final step was to put the front side of the table cloth against the front side of the towels and sew around the edges, leaving a gap so I could turn it right side out and then sew the gap closed.
It took me almost 2 weeks to finish sewing around the edges because I kept putting it off as it is somewhat of a nuisance to have that much fabric following you as you sew. But I finished it today and am thrilled with my imperfect beach blanket.
From what I have read online the vinyl tablecloths can be washed in cold water and dried on the cool setting. I plan on washing in cold water and line drying when it needs to be cleaned.
Last evening I had the privilege of sitting in a classroom at a local high school and listen to 7 different seniors present their senior year projects to a panel of judges.
I was judge number 4.
I spent almost three hours with a piece of paper and pencil in front of me judging the kids based on their appearance, the frequency of the words "um", "ah" and "like..." in their speech, the depth of the research presented, the clarity in ideas, their conclusion and their ability to answer all our questions - amongst several other requirements. It was so much fun!
The variety of subjects covered was both interesting and enlightening. The students assigned to our room talked about Smokeless tobacco, Dress making, Pastel drawing, Fostering animals from a shelter, Ballroom dancing, Ophthalmology and Banking cord blood.When I was leaving I walked past a classroom where one guy was doing his presentation in a fireman uniform and another person waiting in the hallway was getting into a divers outfit. The diversity kept it fun!
It is hard to judge other people - I wanted so badly to give everyone perfect scores but not everyone deserved perfect scores and it was truly hard to dock points because they kept their eyes glued on the ceiling or because they couldn't intelligently answer questions related to their research.
And when the nervous ones walked in the room I wanted to give them each a hug and tell them I understood, that it really wasn't as bad as it might seem.
All of the highschools in the county do these senior projects and presentations and they rely on a panel of judges made up from people in the community to judge the presentations - though from what I saw last evening it looked like it was mainly parents and teachers serving as judges.
I would highly recommend you looking into your local high school and see if they have a similar program set up and if so jump at the chance to sit and listen to these students - I learned a few new things, enjoyed watching the various abilities of public speaking the students displayed and was all around entertained for the evening while helping out my community.
I had such a fun time I am planning on doing both evenings next year and have asked Paul to come do it too.
My sister has made quite the contribution to our waistlines meals and we have enjoyed almost all of her kitchen creations - the braised cucumber I could have lived without trying! But the rest have been great successes. By far my favorite of her recipes is this One Minute Bread. It is so easy and delicious! She has made it three times for us in the past week. Recipe taken from her blog.
2 cups warm water
1/4 tsp dry yeast
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
Mix the yeast and warm water in a medium sized bowl. I used a 12 cup bowl and it might have overflowed if I left it for the correct amount of time.
Add the flour and salt and mix with a spoon until well mixed.
Cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel and place somewhere safe for 8-12 hours. I left mine for 5 hours and it turned out nicely.
Preheat the oven to 375. The original website says 400 but the bottom of my bread slightly overcooked and I don't think the inside was as cooked as it could have been.
Gently pour the dough onto a floured or greased cookie sheet and sprinkle the top with dried oregano, basil, and rosemary or any other herbs you think would taste good.
Bake for about 25 minutes. If you lower the heat you may have to bake longer, I did mine for 25 minutes on a floured cookie sheet and some of it stuck.
She also made a delicious Olive Oil Dip for the bread too - it went so well with the bread I would recommend making it to go along with the bread!
Interested in GREEN SMOOTHIES? Check out my latest post on how we used them on our 4 day road trip for healthy, inexpensive meals and snacks.
I did something new, scary and thoroughly out of my element.
I submitted some of my photography to a store to be sold.
The last few months I have discovered some interesting things about myself, top among them being insecurities about my photography.
When I was in Charleston I spent an entire day taking pictures of things - the beach, the buildings - objects that were just there. I realized in taking all the pictures of things that I enjoyed it much more than I enjoy taking pictures of people because there was no risk of disappointing people with subpar photography.
I was pretty surprised to discover those hidden insecurities. But they are there. And they are real.
Since realizing my insecurities I have decided to do something about them - and thus, in part, my search to find a store that would carry my photography.
I feel very much out of my element - out of control. Vulnerable to other peoples criticism. Exposed.
It's hard to acknowledge my insecurities.
It is harder still to tackle them and decide to do something about it.
It feels - weird.
And I don't particularly like it.
And I hope the weird feeling passes quickly.
I shared that submitting my photography was in part to aid me in getting out of my comfort and "safe" zone - the other part of it is because Paul and I have started a year long challenge with each other. We've dubbed it "The $20 Bill Challenge" and I am so excited about it! I will share more in depth about it later this week.
But until then - I want to know:
How have you pushed yourself out of your "comfort zone"?
I have been enjoying this book Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours so much I went back to the thrift store to look for another copy to giveaway on my blog - and sure enough there was a second copy there! I have a slightly newer book which I think he's added a bit to, but the copy pictured above is the one I have to giveaway. Just so you know - the person who owned this book before highlighted and underlined some portions of the book. It's interesting to look through it as the person highlighted different portions of the book than I did! This is not a brand new copy of the book - I don't want anyone to be disappointed when they receive a well cared for second hand book!
While looking through the books I also found this one called Wonder Play. I had never heard of it before but glanced through it and liked what I saw. I'll be looking through it more in depth this week, but I am going to include it with the first book mentioned too as it looks like a fun idea book for infant through preschool age kids - if you have no use for this second book but are interested in winning the first one would you kindly leave a note in your comment that you only want the first book? If your name is drawn I will send you the first book and draw a second winner for just Wonder Play.
As always - I will mail this set of books world wide. Just leave a comment letting me know you'd like to win. I'll leave this open for one week and will announce the winner next Tuesday.
Can I share a secret? The influence I have over my children sometimes scares me. It's an influence I am honored to have, but sometimes the responsibility of it all is overwhelming.
The things I make priorities, the words I chose to say, the attitudes I have - they are all things echoed by my boys.
I found this trunk at the Thrift Store a couple weeks ago for $5.
The fact that it was wooden more than made up for it's less than desirable character motif and I knew it would be an easy project to repaint it - in fact it's sitting on my back porch now one coat away from completion.
The Sponge Bob design on it made for a humorous exchange with Judah, but at the same time shows the enormous influence I have on the way he thinks of things.
As I was loading the wooden trunk in the car Judah says to me;
"Mommy, what is that thing?"
-"It's a trunk Judah."
-"Oh. Well, who is on it?"
-"NO! It's someone. I saw it. Who is it?"
-"No one you need to know."
-"No, no! He's my friend. Who is he?"
-"His name is Sponge Bob. And he is not your friend."
-"Yes. He is my friend."
-"Judah, you didn't even know what his name was. He's not your friend."
"He is my friend. I like him. He's my friend."
-"Mommy, what are we doing with him?"
-"I am going to paint over it so it matches your bedroom."
-"NO, NO! You can't paint him. He's my friend."
-"Judah, mommy doesn't like Sponge Bob. Mommy doesn't want Sponge Bob to be your friend - and mommy is going to paint over him."
-"Ok mommy. He's not my friend."
And that was that. He even watched me paint over Sponge Bob and didn't say a word about his 20-second friend disappearing under a thick coat of Secret Passage colored paint.
I am reading through Dr. Leman's book right now and am really enjoying it. I read the above quote a couple of days ago and have had it on my mind ever since.
I have been thinking about what it means as a parent for my home to be a place where my children can fail and have so far come up with three things that I think are important in order for my home to be a place where the children can fail and learn from their failures.
1. My children need to see when I fail. Human beings are flawed, sinful beings. I make mistakes, fail to accomplish things, fail to have the right attitude. I certainly don't think parents need to tell their children all the ways they fail all the time but I also don't think parents should put on a persona of having it all right all the time either. My children need to know that I fail so that they can know it's ok that they fail too. They also need to see me exemplify how I learn from my failures so that they, too, can use their failures as a means to grow.
2. My children need to know what failure is. In order for a child to know he has failed he needs to know what is expected. There needs to be a standard. An absolute. And if it's not met - if they fail - the standard cannot be lowered to spare their feelings of failure. (Obviously if you set the standards unrealistically high then you would lower them, but that, I believe, is a different matter.)
I don't think any parent wants to see their child not do well at something, let alone have the child feel like they didn't do well at something, but if the standards we set out for our children continually get lowered because we don't want them to fail they will never learn from their failures. They will never get better.
3. My children need to know that they are loved when they fail. My love for my children is not based on their performance. I want them to do well. I want them to grow and to learn. But when they fail at something my love for them does not change. I do not expect them to fail, but I know that they will.
What do you think of the quote?
And what are your thoughts on creating a home where children can fail and learn from their failures?