Thursday, September 30, 2010

Some Personal Time...

ivy leaf

Starting today I will be gone for the next 7 days for some personal retreat time.  I'm going off for a week, just me and God.  Leaving internet and cell phone (well, I'll have it for emergencies only) behind, I will be off the radar and plugging into whatever God might have for me.

It's a good thing we just had some birthdays around here and that I like to make homemade goodness for such special occasions, because I've stretched out all kinds of birthday and crafting posts for the next week!  Enjoy and I'll see you when I get back!

Name Update :: Thank you to BlissfulE for the name suggestion!  I was going to do a poll with all the suggestions but I only got suggestions from one person, and quite honestly, I love Believe, Love, Create so that's my Etsy shop name!  You'll be hearing and seeing more about it when I return!  And BlissfulE, email me with your print choice and I will get it shipped to you as my thank you. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Birthday To Half Of My Family!


I remember when I heard my due date for Emma Grace and thought, "I hope she gets her own birthday."  I thought it would be horrible to have to share your birthday with someone.  I now realize how silly that was because I absolutely love that Emma Grace and her daddy share a birthday!  And Emma Grace loves it, too.  I've only done one joint party for them in the past 6 years, but I think that will be changing as I see now that she sees part of the celebration is the bond that comes from sharing their special day!

birthday duo

So a big Happy Birthday to my sweet girl and my amazing husband!  I love you both!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some Awards...

So I've recently received a few blogger awards.  Sometimes it takes a lot of energy for me to come up with the fun things that come along with these awards.  But I do think it's fun to be able to highlight the great bloggers that have so nicely given me an award.  So here goes...

sugar doll award

Maria of Personalized Sketches and Sentiments gave me the Sugar Doll award.  The name reminds me of my grandpa calling me sugar when I was little!  Maria is an amazing artist, drawing pictures using names!  She currently has a giveaway going on.  You should check it out!


Arielle of Arielle's Journey to Health and Fitness gave me the Happy 101 award!  I've known Arielle since she was a young girl.  It's fun to now re-connect with her through the blogger world!  One of the many reasons I love blogging.


Jocelyn of Always Spread Love gave me the Cherry on Top Award.  Jocelyn has a special place in my heart because she was in the training school I led last year in Africa.  She is super creative.  One of my favorites...her Target dress!

So there are different rules for these awards...7 things about myself, 10 things I like, 3 interesting things about myself.  In order to not fry my brain (and make this super long), I'm going to combine all of the above into one list.  Here's to getting to know me a little better!

i love to travel and there's really not a place i wouldn't like to visit!

i've just recently realized one of my pet peeves is when i tell a telemarketer no and their voice goes from super chipper to a sunken, deflated sound of defeat.


i could live off of fresh, hot, homemade bread.  it's seriously my area of weakness!

my preferred source of exercise is biking (although i haven't been able to do it much) and my least favorite is running.

1950s bike

i have a hard time sitting still which is just one of many reasons this sabbatical is so good for me!

i used to be a huge list maker but somewhere along the way got away from that.  i've recently re-instituted making lists.  it has taken away so much stress from my day!


someday i would like to write a book.  what it would be about is still in the works!


earth personality

Instead of tagging/awarding people, I thought I would leave you with a fun quiz to do. What's Your Color Personality? from Real Simple.  I guess I'm an earth personality.  Not surprising since I like to wear earth tones.  What's yours?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Birthday Weekend

It was a busy weekend here at our house.  Loads of fun, though, as we celebrated the youngest girlie in our family.  I think I've bred a love for birthdays in her.  Last week she was planning her celebration.  It went something like this.  "We need to have a surprise party for mine and daddy's birthday (side note...they share a birthday).  We can go to the mall and come back.  Then everyone will be here and you yell, 'Surprise!'"  Although that was a perfect plan, it didn't quite happen like that.  We did give her one surprise along the way.  One that she's been talking about for months...getting her ears pierced! 

pierced ears

It's one of those things, though, that when the moment actually comes, there's hesitation and contemplation.  We almost didn't go through with it, but when we asked her for the last time if she wanted to get her ears pierced, she decided yes!  I thought two people doing it at the same time would be the best solution.  Maybe it was, however, one of the girls hesitated and pierced one ear too low!  We have to go back and get it redone.  Yea, that should be easy.  :)

licking a cone

We had a lovely party (small which was just perfect) to celebrate Emma G!  I just can't believe how fast my baby is growing up!  Of course, I will have loads of birthday posts coming up, but for now, my girl blowing out her SIX candles!

blowing out the candles

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ladies Night Out

Last week I met with our sabbatical coach.  With Jeremy being gone, she asked me if there was anything I wanted to do for "Jen" while he was away.  I didn't really know.  I mean I have 7 whole hours to myself while the kids are in school.  What did I really need to do for myself?

Later that day I checked email, and lo and behold, there was an email from one of the editors at Today's Mama asking if I wanted to go to a special screening for Secretariat!  I knew right away I was supposed to go.  Supposed to go, you might ask?  Well, here's the thing.  I don't get a babysitter, so I can get out when Jeremy's gone.  To me, it seems like an extra thing that I don't need to spend money on.  But this was an opportunity to get out with my friends because I had 10 tickets! 

ladies time

I'm so glad I didn't let the fact that Jeremy was gone hold me back from a ladies night out!  (Side note...when I texted Jeremy about going all he said was, "You should." Smile.)  The movie was great and the company was even greater.  You can read my review on Secretariat here.  It comes out October 8th.  It's definitely a must see family flick!


I'm taking the weekend off.  Jeremy comes back today, and we're celebrating a very special girl this weekend!  Have a good one, and I'll see you Monday!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm Proud Of...

You know those moments where your heart just swells with pride?  I've had several of those lately.  Enough to share with you here in a post!

joshua saying, "thank you!  i wish i could 
say that a million times but thank you!"
when i surprised the kids with a batch of freshly baked cookies
choc chip cookies

my little girl, without being asked, getting a
glass of orange juice for her sick daddy

emma grace getting scholar of the week in her class!
scholar of the week

joshua getting a brag at cat's meow for being 1 of 3
kids in his grade who made a 100 on 2 tests!
a 100!

my baby girl being so brave when she got 3 cavities filled,
not a proud mommy moment, though. 3 cavities!

hearing joshua read,
sitting and reading with him is really one of my favorite times of the day

hearing emma g teach a friend how to knit with the loom

and finally, emma g being asked to participate in a local art contest
she's one of four being picked!  see my post, fruits of my labor?

Have you had any proud moments lately?  Please share so we can all be proud of our kids together!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Texas Scarf

Not necessarily as in the great state of.  Actually as in University of Texas, Longhorns!  I have a friend who is a huge Longhorns fan and wanted a scarf to sport his UT pride.  I was very happy with the colors I found for this scarf.  And I love that it also looks like the colors of fall!  What do you think?

university of texas

yarn choice :: impeccable worsted from loops and threads in pumpkin, aran, and chocolate

It's hard to find a willing model in weather that still feels like summer, and it was not a moment where I was open to bribery, so I tried to model it myself.

ut scarf

I used a waffle pattern, and made the scarf to measure 8 inches wide and 90 inches long.  Now with cooler weather approaching and football season in full swing, it might be time to order your very own scarf!  Email me for pricing.  Different colors and styles available!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Need A Name!

First of all, let me say thank you for helping me out with the African animal voting!  I like to see what other people like!  We had a tie so you can now find the giraffe love print as well as the elephant family print in my shop!

giraffe love

elephant family

Speaking of a shop and about this name business.  I need some help from you, my lovely readers.  I am at a point now where I'm feeling like it's time to broaden the audience I am selling to.  So, I have decided to open an Etsy shop!  I love that one of the things Etsy is about is selling things that are handmade.

Here's where the help comes in.  The name.  This always seems to be the hardest part.  I want something that is catchy but not too long for people to remember.  Something that reflects me and my creative flare.  I want to make this fun and of course, your participation is GREATLY appreciated! 

So here's the the comments section, please give me any name suggestions you might have.  I will be taking the top 3, and then we'll be doing a little voting.  Here's where the giveaway comes in.  The winner will receive an 8X10 print of their choice from my current shop and the runners up will receive a 5X7 of their choice.  This is open to anyone!  I will be taking name suggestions for one week, until the 28th.  Then I'll put the poll up to begin voting!  Is all that clear as mud?  Please let me know if you have questions.  I am looking forward to hearing what you come up with and for starting this new venture!

Monday, September 20, 2010


It was a weekend with just me and the kids.  I think we had plenty of fun together!

saturday morning donut time!

eating a donut

a very fun art project that i can't reveal too much about just yet!


i made another batch of pesto for the freezer
this time dragging out the food much better than the blender for this.

pesto ingredients

the kids kept themselves very entertained with activities for their cool club rangers troop!
with each completed activity they made badges...i love creativity at work!

cool club rangers

that gave me the chance to fill a knitting order!

texas longhorns scarf

by 7 pm sunday night, 30 minutes shy of bedtime, 
this is how i found miss emma on the couch

fast asleep

Guess that's evidence of a great weekend!  How was yours?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Peach Jam

peach jam and granola

A couple of weekends ago, I made a batch of peach jam.  My local Sprout's had peaches for 49 cents a lb. so it was the perfect time to try it!  The ingredient list...

12 medium peaches
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup agave nectar
1 pkg. (1.59 oz) instant fruit pectin

I used this cool technique for peeling the skin off the peaches.  Once that was done I sliced them and put them in the blender along with the lemon juice and agave for a light blend.  Then I poured the mixture into a bowl and stirred in the pectin.  The verdict is that I love the taste.  It is simply delicious.  The consistency, however, turned out more like a dessert topping than a jam to use on bread.  I am going to use up this batch as a topping to my granola, yogurt breakfast.  Once it's gone I'll re-try the ratios to see if I can more of a jam consistency.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sporting The Skinny Jean

sporting the skinny jean

I've always thought skinny jeans were a modern version of the 80's tight rolled fad.  I remember trying so hard to roll my jeans so they were super tight.  My mother probably thought I was crazy, but I thought I was on the path to cool.  I haven't touched the now popular skinny jeans.  With certain parts of my body a little rounder than they used to be, I'm pretty sure that they will not flatter me in any way.  I do believe little Miss Emma G is looking quite fashionable in them, though!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Art of Bread Making

It may seem as though this post interrupts the flow of the previous posts this week.  On the contrary, I think it actually fits right a weird sort of way.  Or maybe it's just the fact that I absolutely love homemade bread, so I'm trying to fit it in.  Whatever it might be, you're going to hear about the art of bread making today.

bread dough

I used to be so intimidated by the thought of making homemade bread.  I assumed that, to make a proper loaf, you needed a bread machine.  Moving to a foreign land where a bread machine was not at my fingertips changed all of that.  Forcing me to make bread with my very own hands has become both therapeutic and rewarding.  In the middle of trying to achieve balance, getting the right amount of rest, and remembering to breathe, there's nothing like the stretching, punching, and kneading of dough that can relax you.  And if that doesn't work, a hot slice of fresh bread lathered in butter should do the trick.

bread rising

I recently discovered some bread cookbooks by Peter Reinhardt.  I'd heard of him here and there through friends and other bloggers, but it wasn't until recently that I actually ordered one of his books for myself.  His techniques seem so spot on that I can't believe I haven't stumbled upon them before.  I really believe the stretching, folding, and refrigeration really add to a perfect loaf of perfectly risen bread.

homemade sliced bread

So far I've only made the 100% whole wheat sandwich loaf but also on my list are the bagels, english muffins, ciabatta, 100% whole grain pizza dough, rye and seed crackers, and croissants!  I think I seriously need to have a bread making party in order to make all of that!  Relax...breathe...a little at a time, Jen...

In case you're interested the cookbook in the picture is Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day.  If you're a bread maker or wanting to be one, it's a fabulous book to add to your cooking library.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Art of Breathing

Do you ever feel like chaos is surrounding you?  Do you ever have days where it feels like your kids are testing every possible inch available?  I don't know about you, but I usually get so caught up in the frustration of it that I forget to take the time to breathe.  And pray. 

purple prickly flower

Right now I'm single parenting it for a few days.  Jeremy's not away a whole lot, but it's been enough that, by now, I've come to expect that it throws the kids a little out of sorts.  Their reaction is usually testing me in some way.  I always ask myself, "How can they test even the routine that we've been in for months now?"  But they manage to do it.  It used to make me so incredibly frustrated, and sometimes still does actually.

The other day I had, not a testing moment, but a scary moment when I couldn't find Joshua.  I won't go into all the details, but it made my heart skip a beat.  Literally.  Praise God that he was found and ok.  I took a moment to pause, breathe, and pray before I had a little talk with him.  Looking back I'm amazed at how that little act suppressed the frustration and cleared my mind to speak out of a heart of love.

just breathe

One of the definitions of art is a skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice.  Breathing in the midst of a frustrating situation is definitely something I need practice on.  These little situations just help me to perfect this art of breathing...

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