Saturday, March 28, 2009

In loving memory...

My last post, last Saturday was about a homemade baby blanket for a new life coming into the world. This Saturday my post is about a 19 year old leaving this world. Only God knew that our lives would be shaken to the core on Monday evening.

We got the call that a dear sweet friend, Sarah, was killed in a car accident on Monday. Our week has been filled with sorrow, tears and praying for her parents, siblings and all of us who loved her. Through tears, her mother called yesterday to ask my husband and I to share something at the service as we were privileged to have Sarah in youth ministry. Five of us shared, although I'm positive that 500 could have shared as well. She was much loved.

Today was the memorial service. I've never seen so many people.

Here's what my husband and I shared:
We have known Sarah for many years. We are thankful for the time we had with her, although now it seems much too short. When we remember Sarah, we realize that God has given us a wonderful gift--a group of friends that He knit together to share in life's joys and sorrows. The well known philosopher, Aristotle said, "Friendships of this kind are likely to be rare; for such people are few." The T. family are such people.

Since Monday we've had a hole in our hearts--a Sarah sized hole. Sarah lived life to the fullest. It's been our joy to watch her grow and also to be a small part of that growth as her youth leaders. We watched as she blossomed from a sweet, timid girl into a strong, confident young woman. Sarah was kind, considerate and friendly to everyone she met. And although she was immensly gifted and talented, she was down to earth, humble and real.

She was intentional about her walk with the Lord. She sought to honor Him with her life, seeking out accountability and mentoring which spurred on her growth.

Sarah had a tremendously delightful sense of humor whether by word or facial expressions, you were sure to enjoy a good deal of laughter when with her.

Sarah is with our Savior whom she loved in word and deed. We long for the day, when like Sarah, we will see our Father face to face. From the words of Chris Tomlin,
There's a day that's drawing near/ when this darkness breaks to light/ And the shadows disappear/ And my faith shall be my eyes/ And I hear the cry of every longing heart sing, "Worthy is the Lamb"/We will rise when He calls our names/ no more sorrow/ no more pain/ we will rise on eagle's wings/ Before our God fall on our knees and rise.

I can't put into words the pain and sorrow I feel for her parents, our dear friends. I'm praying for God's comfort and peace for their aching hearts.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Baby Gift: Crocheted Edge Blanket

The baby gift is finished, just in the nick of time. The shower is this morning.
I got my inspiration here and here. My friend, Jackie, who is a wonderful seamstress and fiber artist, helped me sew the edge. She serged all the way around and then we made a small hem which we sewed around. I used a piece of flannel I already had; next time I'd love to peruse the baby flannel at the local fabric shop! Then I crocheted around using a pattern I found here at Crafty Chic.

The most time consuming part was the first row of crocheted edging. The second row went very fast--good thing because it was getting late and I was starting to see double. :~)

Okay, so now I'm off to the shower!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Refuge and My Fortress

Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;
Try my mind and my heart,
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth. Psalm 26:2-3

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, "My Refuge and my Fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Psalm 91:1-2

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Want to learn: Sewing

I wish I was a better seamstress. Did I say better? I should have said "I wish I was a seamstress!" When a person can sew, the sky is the limit. I have a baby shower to go to this Saturday and I would so love to take something crafty and homemade. Like one of these items for example:

A burp cloth tutorial from Sew Take a Hike or this diaper changing pad
Embroidered onesies from Pleasant View Schoolhouse.
Crocheted-Edge Blanket from SewChic (I could do this with a store bought blanket--which might be what I end up doing.)

There are so many cute baby gift ideas out there. I'd better stop looking before I border on envy. I'll try to post a picture of what I come up with. The shower is in 4 days, so I better get moving!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

T in Pictures

Well, Trenton was given a leather jacket from some friends. Although it is too big for him, he loves to wear it around the house. Marissa had this photo shoot with him--she didn't prompt him on how to stand. He did this on his own. I'm worried...

Here he is in the entertainment shelf...again unprompted

And here he is learning to knit with our dear friend and knitting teacher...Ms. Jackie. He really wanted to learn and bless her heart, she tried to show him. After he couldn't quite get it, he thought rolling the ball of yarn all over the living room sounded like more fun.

And lastly, to end this small show of Trenton in pictures, here he is drumming, first thing in the morning, still in pjs and with Bethany's colored pencils.

Never a dull moment!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Diary of Anne Frank

Our next book club book is The Diary of Anne Frank. I'm in the midst of reading it (again, I read it in high school) and Marissa is listening to the unabridged version on CD. Due to some visual processing problems Marissa has been experiencing, she has difficulty reading. It's been strange because she has always loved to read and knew how to read before I taught her. Anyway, we've altered our plans to include books on CD and mom reading more aloud.

Here are some of the free online resources I've found for discussing Anne Frank.

Good ole Cliff Notes.
Class Zone Novel Guides--includes Theme openers, cross curricular activities, and research assignments. One of the cross curricular ideas is to make the number six million meaningful to the class. Relate the genocide of six million people to something like people in the city of_____, times a football stadium would have to be filled up, etc. This is a good idea--even for me to 'see' the hugeness of it.
A lesson plan from Education World--good resource
Free Literature Resources from Webteaching (sign up free with your email address)

Okay, now I've got to go through these resources and narrow down what I want to do with the group. We only have 2 hours and it goes by fast. A good friend of mine is leading the "Miniature Literature Club" and they are reading Mrs. Katz and Tush. I've got to get this one from the library and start reading it with Bethany. Lit club is next Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday Linkage and Verbage

Excellent message on money, called Treasure vs Money by Tim Keller.
Very cute skirt that I'm hoping I can make for Bethany.

Can you smell spring in the air? I can--75 degree temperatures sure helped! :) Today was great! I nailed the kids down to their seats and made them finish their school work, then they headed outside to play. Yes, I said PLAY OUTSIDE!
They are still overcoming colds and coughs, but we are making it. I'm so looking forward to spring. Wonderful, warm, sunny spring.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Reason for God by Tim Keller

Our pastor preached on forgiveness last night. He referenced a book he'd recently read called The Reason for God by Tim Keller. I first heard of Tim Keller from my friend Melanie. He opened up the story of the Prodigal Son in a way that I'd never heard of before.

So, I'm really looking forward to reading this book.

Pastor reminded us that "when Jesus went to the cross, he went feeling and experiencing the pain and suffering our sin causes. He went to the cross in the most incredible act of embracing the pain and hurt..and forgiveness. We have a Savior Who sees every offense and says 'I forgive'."

From Luke 11: "And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us."

That is big. I pray that I am a continually forgiving person, for I have been forgiven much.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Phonics Fun

Today I came across a pack of picture cards that I'd made for beginning sounds. Bethany was home from church sick, so I thought she might like to play with them. I got out the letter tiles from our Scrabble game and she used those to finish the words. Each card has a picture, for example a picture of a boat, then underneath the picture it says _oat. She found the "b" and put it on the card. Also in the pack where two letter beginning sounds like "train" and "chain".

Easy to make and fun to use.

Here was the cutest part...Bethany was trying to sound out the "sh" sound. She was thinking really hard and then she said, "My brain knows what it is, but it won't push it out so my vocal chords can say it!"

Friday, March 6, 2009

What a Great Friday!

We had a great day today! It was a great way to finish up the week. I was watching a friend's two daughters, 5th grade and K. They brought their school work and let me tell you, having them here helped us stay on task SO much! At one point everyone was doing school work...even Trenton who was doing 'math'. :) It was a beautiful sight. And at break time, the kids all played so well together. I know I'm going on and on about it, but really I'm serious it was a good day. They (good days) don't happen like that very often, so I've got to relish in it!

Bethany and I are working on a maple syrup lapbook that I found at homeschoolshare. I borrowed the needed books from the library and we've been having a sweet time working on this study. The sweetness was enriched through a field trip yesterday to a maple sugar bush. Fantastic two-hour tour through the woods, and at the end, a tasty lick of the yummy syrup.

At meal times, the older girls pitched in and helped which was very fun. They made cherry delight for dessert and Parmesan Chicken sticks for dinner. *Recipes at the end. Clean-up times when fast and well too. It was all around a great day.

Today I started a training 'system' whereby the girls earn "screen time" through different means. I explained the idea to them (another friend of mine shared it with me). Basically, you make cards--I made mine on the computer. I put 15 minutes of Screen Time at the top and a picture of a tv/computer screen in the middle. My friend printed mine out and laminated them for me...thanks Angie! I have two different colors, one for each girl. They can earn screen time (computer, tv, etc.) by doing their chores and school well and by showing good character (Fruit of the Spirit qualities--love, joy, patience, peace, self-control, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness). The girls can't ask for the cards--I will reward as I see and hear. So, when the girls want to watch something or have computer time, they will give me a screen card for each 15 minutes. Their screen cards can also be taken away as a consequence for wrong-doing. This system is working very well. I could tell they were trying to do their best in every area. It was refreshing. I'm praying that it continues to go this well.

This evening my Hunny was dancing and playing with the kids. Everyone had a good time. Here are some pictures of our night. In the first picture, Trenton is pretending his stick horse is a guitar. We are listening to a Third Day song, and you know how we feel about Third Day!

In this picture, Bethany and Daddy are dancing together. He took turns dancing with us (I even had a turn!)

This last picture is of my strong men. Don't you love that little boy's face!

Well, thanks for listening to my tales of a great day. I could use many more of these kinds of days.

Parmesan Oven Fried Chicken Sticks
1/2 c. fine dry bread crumbs (I used a combination of bread crumbs and crushed croutons)
1/2 c. crushed saltines
1/3 c. grated Parmesan
2 T. dried Parsley
1/2 t. poultry seasoning
1/4 t. garlic salt or powder
1/2 t. pepper
12 chicken breast halves
1/2 c. Italian salad dressing

1. Combine first 6 ingredients; set aside.
2. Cut chicken into strips about 1/2 x 1/2 inch
3. Dip chicken in salad dressing; dredge in crumb mixture.

To Freeze: flash freeze by laying strips on a sprayed baking sheet and put in freezer until frozen. Then put them in a ziploc freezer bag.
To Eat: Pick out as many strips as you want to cook and bake on cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until cooked through.

Cherry Delight
note: this recipe is my Grandma's and it is so delicious. I warn you, once you make it and take it to a gathering, you will be asked to bring it everytime. Marissa wants it for every birthday (here and here). I'm surprised that I haven't given the recipe before now.

2 c. cinnamon graham crackers, crushed
1 stick butter, melted
3 T. powdered sugar
2 envelopes Dream whip
1 c. milk
1 c. sugar
2 packages cream cheese softened
2 t. vanilla
2 cans cherry pie filling

1. Mix crackers, butter, and powdered sugar. Press into 11x7 pan and set aside.
2. Mix dream whip with cold milk, beat until stiff
3. In another bowl, mix sugar, vanilla and cream cheese. Beat into dream whip mixture.
4. Pour into prepared crust pan.
5. Add cherry pie filling to top and refrigerate. 24 hours is best for firmness.

Sometimes we skip the cherry pie filling and crumble oreos or butterfinger candy bars on top.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How does that happen?

I'm not sure about you, but something happens to my kids over the course of the day and night. During the day, they can really test my patience. Seriously, they can be argumentative, ornery, mean to each other...need I go on?? Then as they change into their pajamas, something comes over them...a sort of sweetness and love that boggles my mind. They whisper sweet nothings in my ear, kiss and hug me and their daddy and even, even hug each other! Where are these children during the day? Can someone tell me?

So, I'm saying good night to my little guy, kneeling down by his bedside.
He says to me, "Momma, can you stay here with me until the sun comes up?"
That got me--right in the heart. I want that sweet boy to still be here when the sun comes up! :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Birthday Weekend Update

Marissa and I had a really good time away. Well, I suppose that isn't the entire truth...Marissa is actually fighting a nasty cold and had the icky cough and nose. We still had a good time hanging out at the hotel. The Creation Museum was neat too, she just didn't feel up to walking around a whole lot. We had free passes from a friend, so I didn't mind not staying too long.

Her dad and I got her a Jane Seymour necklace. I haven't gotten a good picture of her with the necklace, but when I do I'll post it. You can go here to see the whole Jane Seymour Open Hearts collection. We got Marissa the one with the trio hearts in sterling silver. It "symbolizes the love a family shares," quote taken from the website.

Sunday we had a family birthday dinner with taco salad and cherry delight. I didn't take any pictures of that either because she wasn't feeling up to it. In a couple weeks she is going to have a mother/daughter movie night with several friends and moms. Hopefully I'll get pictures then.

We had a good weekend and we are so thankful for our girl!