Friday, July 3, 2015

happy 4th!

happy 4th!

The 4th of July brings so many happy memories to my heart. It's one of those holidays that I feel the need to celebrate no matter what country I'm in. My American friends, as you begin your festive gatherings tomorrow, we'll have already enjoyed our barbecue and fireworks show. That's right. Fireworks are a must. You can read more about why my American roots go deep at times over at Petit Elefant. I hope you all have wonderful Independence Day celebrations!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

appreciate the differences

differences

Differences are everywhere. It's what makes us beautiful and unique. It's also what can be difficult. Join me over at Tommy Nelson as I share three ways we can teach our kids to appreciate the differences in all of God's creation!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

scary close {giveaway}

scary close

I just finished reading Donald Miller's newest book, Scary Close. He takes a very up close and personal look at relationships and intimacy. He's raw and real about his own life, his own mistakes and learnings that have led him to believe true intimacy is scary. Why? Because it takes a vulnerability to be the true you and let yourself really connect with others. It takes "dropping the act" to be known. That can be scary, but like the tagline on scaryclose.com says, "When you're good at relationships, you're good at life." Relationships are worth it.

I found Scary Close to be an enjoyable read packed with punches that caused me to stop and ponder. There's some incredible truths with a depth that can easily be missed if you don't pause and process. There were two main parts of the book that I found challenging as I examine my own life. The first was the chapter on the five kinds of manipulators. Ouch. He was spot on with describing them. It was when he mentioned that we're guilty of all of them at some point and that we need to work to keep them in check, that I realized I needed to be in tune to my words and actions. Manipulation destroys relationships, and I don't want to be the cause of destruction at any time.

The other thing that impacted me was when Don talked about his friend, Bob, and how, in the height of Don's relational difficulties, Bob told him that he was good at relationships. That's not how Don felt, but Bob was speaking to the potential, and you know what it made Don do? Rise up, and be good at relationships. I want to be someone that speaks to the potential in others.

After reading this book, I feel challenged to let myself be "scary close" to others. True intimacy is a blessing that should never be taken for granted. Even though it's vulnerable, it's worth it.

Two thumbs up, Don Miller. Thanks for your vulnerability as you revealed the deep parts of your heart and let us in on your learnings. Go read it, guys. Seriously.

Giveaway

Good news! I have one copy of Scary Close up for giveaway courtesy of Thomas Nelson! Giveaway is open to U.S. addresses only and ends Thursday, July 2nd at 11:59 PM CST. Enter through Rafflecopter below!

Entries

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Visit ScaryClose.com to download a free soundtrack! There's some awesome artists on there!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Scary Close from Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

curry and babies

Thailand1

Thailand2

Thai Green Curry

Joshua was conceived 14 years ago next month in a little bamboo hut in a refugee camp in Northern Thailand. TMI? Sorry, guys. That's probably way too much information for a Wednesday. However, if you want to read all about the adventure and the food that turned my stomach for NINE years, then head on over to Petit Elefant. There's even a curry recipe over there!

Monday, June 22, 2015

outdoor pallet coffee table {diy}

outdoor pallet table

Some of you got wind of my pallet project(s) on Instagram. It's slow going, but I've had the table done for a couple of weeks now, and I think it's high time I showed you! It's super simple, y'all, and as you've probably gotten used to, I have no photos of the process. I really tried. I even brought my camera out, but I get so carried away that I forget to pause and shoot.

This, however, is the most simplest of things to make. Really, it is. I've never made furniture except the occasional IKEA piece. I do believe if I can do it, anyone can.

Supply List


  • 2 pallets - any size, it just depends how big you want your table to be
  • hammer or crowbar
  • drill & screws
  • 4 wheels
  • primer & paint OR varnish to seal the wood
  • paint brushes


Instructions

1. Using a crowbar or hammer, start by taking all the top pieces of wood planks off of the piece that is going to serve as the top piece to your table. You can leave the two ends. You will also need to take off about every other plank from your second pallet. This step is totally optional, but I didn't want such huge gaps in between my planks of wood. This is, by far, the hardest, most time consuming step.

2. After you get your wood planks off, arrange them on the top piece, trying to make it as flush as possible. Mine still had a little gap after I added about four planks of wood.

3. After you get the planks arranged, drill them into the pallet. You've already made your top piece!

4. On the bottom side of your second piece, screw a wheel into each corner. This is also optional, but I wanted wheels to make it easier to move around and sweep the verandah.

wheel

5. After your wheels are screwed in, flip that second piece over and put the first piece on top of it. My pallets were so heavy that there was no need to screw the pieces together. VoilĂ ! Your table is finished!

6. Finish your table by sealing the wood. I chose to prime mine with wood primer and then paint it white, because that's what I had on hand.

outdoor pallet table

I'm making plans to start making the outdoor couch and chairs, so stay tuned for more amateur furniture making coming up soon!

Friday, June 19, 2015

gymnastics competition

gold medal

Last Friday Emma Grace had her Level 1 gymnastics competition. I've always loved watching the Winter Olympic gymnastics competitions on TV. While this was on a much smaller scale, the mats were all a buzz with activity...floor exercise, uneven bars, parallel bars, vault...it was great!

beam

My kids were started a new school this year. It was hard. They, fortunately, made friends quickly, but the homework load and the adjustment was almost too much for Emma Grace. The first two months she begged me twice a week to let her quit gymnastics. I told her no, that we weren't going to make any decisions like that for at least six months. She was adjusting, and I recognized that, but it was agonizing. Physically making your child go to something because you know it's probably the best for them is not an easy task.

wow!

I'm glad I didn't relent, though, because she's in an entirely different place now. She loves going to practice. She did so well at competition that she came home with a gold medal! I'm so proud of her for sticking it out when it was hard. I hope she's learned an important lesson about perseverance!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

a word on load shedding

LoadShedding

If you don't know what load shedding is, I'll tell ya. South Africa doesn't have enough power to run the country, so we have frequent power outages to compensate. It's easy to get frustrated with not having electricity, but I was recently challenged to see the upside of no power. Join me over at Petit Elefant as I share the positive side of load shedding.

Monday, June 15, 2015

colour party

color throw

color!

all coloured up

Several weeks ago, I thought, "Wouldn't it be great to have a colour party where we celebrate creativity, diversity, and the many different cultures that make up Ten Thousand Homes?" From there, we started planning a party full of colour with creative outlets galore.

happy hello!

so colourful nice hair

When I showed up to the party, casually late as always, I saw a sea of white. Instructions were followed to a tee. "Come as a blank canvas." Between the all-white and the coloured kool-aid that our US friends brought over, well, let's just say that I'm glad no one who didn't know us showed up. {Kooky...}

The biggest prep for this party was making the colour powder. It wasn't hard. I just only had so many trays for drying the stuff. I followed this recipe. Super easy! Oh, and it actually did wash out of clothes rather easy. Our other stations included...

twister and prize board

playing twister

  • A Twister game station with a prize punch board for the winners.
  • A painting station with a very cool art piece to paint on created by one of our staff.
painting station

painting

  • A writing station with a real typewriter. People always seem to find those old typewriters super fun.
  • A photo booth station with those cheap, plastic tablecloths as the backdrop.
  • A music station complete with a keyboard, drum, and guitar.
  • A colouring station with good, old fashioned colouring books.
  • A luminary station for creating some outdoor ambiance.

writing

Of course, there was dancing, games that involved silliness and shaving cream, glow sticks to adorn ourselves, and FOOD! Our friends from the US prepared a fantastic feast of kebabs, both fruit, veggie, and meat, rice, and banana pudding!

shaving cream game

We kept decor simple and colourful. Balloons, streamers, buntings, cupcake paper garlands, and polka dot garlands.

love him

me and my boy

So fun. So easy. Lots of laughs. Lots of smiles. That's what it's all about!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

sorry i'm not sorry {giveaway}

sorry i'm not sorry


This book, Sorry I'm Not Sorry, is the third in a series of books about bullying by Nancy Rue. One out of four students is bullied at school, and 85% of those situations never receive intervention. I love that the author has tackled this very important problem facing our children by writing a series of books told from three different perspectives. So Not Okay is told from the perspective of the bystander. You Can't Sit With Us is told from the perspective of the victim, and this last book in the trilogy, Sorry I'm Not Sorry is told from the perspective of the bully.

Kylie Steppe is the popular girl at school. Her pack of girls follows her lead in ruling the school and bullying the underdogs. However, her world she's created starts to crash in around her when she gets expelled from school for bullying and has to participate in mandatory counseling and volunteer at a camp for underprivileged kids.

Even though Kylie fights it every step of the way, deep rooted securities start surfacing as the inner thoughts she's trying to stuff keep presenting themselves. Kylie gets a wake up call when she reads her own hateful words in an email she's sent and when she becomes the victim of bullying on social media.

It's a must read along with the other two books in this series. I think everyone would identify with at least one character, the victim, the bystander, or the bully. Check out the flipbook for a sampling of this book!

Giveaway

I have one copy of Sorry I'm Not Sorry up for giveaway courtesy of Thomas Nelson. Giveaway is open to U.S. addresses only and ends Saturday, June 6th at 11:59 PM CST. Enter through Rafflecopter below!

Entries

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: I received a free copy of Sorry I'm Not Sorry from Tommy Nelson in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

trusting god

Faith

Trusting God is not always easy, and sometimes it's hard to remember, in the midst of difficult moments, to include our kids in the process. I'll never forget when we invited our kids into trusting God for a vehicle. The prayers got kind of crazy, but it was such a privilege to include them in it. I know we all came out richer having walked through it together. Read all about our experience of trusting God for big things as a family over at Tommy Nelson!

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