Monday, January 31, 2011

Valentine's Par-Tea!

Oh, what fun we had at Madi's Valentine Tea Party!  God blessed us with a bright, warm, sunshiney day and the hours we spent together with these sweet, lovely girls were filled with laughter, smiles, and lots of love!

My parents dropped by right before the party with something special...the aprons I'd had my eye on!  What a fun surprise for my little hostess and me to wear!

We set out a teacup fountain one of the girls had given us as a gift awhile ago.  It was so pretty and the sound so peaceful - truly a thoughtful gift that added atmosphere to our afternoon.

We had chicken salad and meatballs for lunch, and of course special drinks and lots of sweet treats to choose from.

I think the teenage girls' favorite thing was the coffee punch!!  We have this at all of our ladies events at church, and it is a definite treat!  Madi had a teacup of hot cocoa with heart shaped marshmallows.

Another favorite from the party was when we decorated frames as a craft project.  The girls had the best time making these!  We decided to need to have more craft time together soon!

From the food and crafts to the Cupid Shuffle and hula hoops, the laughter and fun and music around the piano, the ring pops and lollipops and all things sweet....

It was Valentine's Par-Tea to remember!


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Letters

A beautiful idea taken from a blog I enjoy reading...

This wonderful gal writes a short letter to her husband and daughters every Sunday.  What a rich treasure she has given to her family by doing this!  She encouraged others to join in, and though I don't know if I will write every single Sunday or not, and don't know if I'll write to each family member each week or not, I think it is an excellent idea to intentionally stop to write to those we love.  I'm sure there will be times these letters will make me laugh, times they will make me cry, and times they will make me do both.

But my loved ones will know of the pieces of my heart that they touched.  

So here we go...

Dear Madi,

God has blessed us with the most beautiful weather the past few days, the kind where this Maryland girl knows that sometimes He just plain spoils us down here in the winter!  We had a house full of teenage girls yesterday for a Valentine's tea party, and you had the time of your life!  That dimple was deep and those big eyes were sparkling.  I love your loving spirit and your zest for life.  You have a genuine passion for people and inner kindness that I hope you never lose.  I loved when our tea party went out into the sunshine to hula hoop!  You've been doing a lot of that these days, and are getting better by the minute.

I think you are also getting taller by the minute, and I realize you are growing right before my eyes.  The sand is falling fast my love, but I am so enjoying this season of life with you.  In today's afternoon sunshine and breezes we went outside again and worked on your rollerblading, as we did yesterday after your party.  You are also getting better at that by the minute!  I think you are awesome at trying new things and working hard to learn.  I am grateful to be by your side as you discover and grow.

Sometimes when we are having heart to hearts and I tell you how much I love you, you hug me and in a quiet voice say, "You love us, but God loves us even more." I am amazed by your insight. Tonight when you prayed towards the end you said, "And Lord, I just love you so much.  I just love you." I am touched by your tenderness.

I pray you stay so tender towards the One who loves you most.



Dear Trev,

You have been a bit of a handful these days!!  And I can't blame it on the cough syrup anymore either!  I know you are testing the waters a bit more as you get older, but even when we have those moments I still know what a sweet heart you have.  (Oh, and losing the Wii seems to be a punishment that makes you shape up fast!) You are such a special kid, you just have this way of lighting up a room and making someone's day!

And you are a goofball, who despite my best efforts loves junk food.  You told me that today in Sunday School you talked about food and had to draw your favorite.  You said you drew doughnuts, which was no surprise to me!  But Miss Debbie told me tonight that you also drew chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate ice cream.

We have some work to do...

But not only do you prefer sugar when allowed to indulge, you also dispense sugar - just tonight you showered me in countless hugs and kisses.  I held on a little tighter as I realized how tall you are getting. I am so grateful that you are open and warm and loving.  You will not understand until much later what that means to the people who receive your warmth and love.

You are a gift wrapped up in mischievous grins and belly laughs and questions like, "Can I pway a wittle Wii a wittle water?"

Thank you for being joy in my life.  Can't wait to spend some time in the sunshine with you tomorrow when Madi goes to school!

Best Friends Forever,


Dear Jimmy,

You know the unexpected twists and turns our journey has taken us on.  You know the mountains we've climbed, you know the puddles we've stepped in, you know the times we've made incredible new discoveries and times when it seemed something had surely been left off of the map.

I am grateful that we have been holding hands on the journey.  I am squeezing your hand tighter as the years go by, and learning to expect the unexpected and thank God for His good and perfect gifts.

 You are a gift.

Let's continue to be faithful together.  Let's keep turning every blessing He pours out back to praise.

Here's my hand,


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Beauty In The Day

Wednesday was a day spent at home, starting with teaching some music lessons followed by spending time at home with Trevor  and working around the house.  I stopped several times to notice the beauty in the day. Here is what I saw...

The simple glow of a votive candle in a jelly jar.

A four year old's morning masterpiece.

A fresh rose bouquet...$3.99 at Aldi.  Doesn't cost much to bring natural beauty into your home, and what life it adds to the table!

Produce to enjoy.  Nature's bounty, provision, and color.

A homemade cappuccino mix made by one friend in a Mary Poppins mug given to me by another friend.  At 31 I count true friends a rare and beautiful treasure.

A lovely and unique necklace and earring set given to me by mom this week.  The white wood gave me a sense of freshness, sunshine, and winter days with spring around the corner.

Books that my son and I shared in the green chair, some which made him giggle impossibly.  Belly laughs are music to my ears!

A five year old's paint palette bursting with color and possibility.

And her painting of a birthday party.  She loves birthdays, and is already planning for hers in April.  She wants this to go on the door.  I think that's a fine idea.

Most days if we look for it, there is beauty to be found.  What can you count as beautiful today?

Friday, January 28, 2011

More Signs That Valentine's Day Is A' Comin'!

I found these adorable little sparkly pink heart ornaments at Michael's - at six for $1.99 they were a great deal and pretty addition to my Valentine's Tree!

 It may seem like a little thing, but this tree brings me so much happiness...when the sunlight hits my windows in the afternoon there are little rainbows all over the tree that reflect onto my windows.  Those fun bursts of color just put a little more pep in my step and make me stop to look and reflect on the color and vibrance that love adds to life!

I also found some adorable wooden treasures at Michael's for 69 cents - with a glue gun and ribbon they also became ornaments for my tree, adding cheer and sparkle to my days.

I wanted to do something with actual Valentines, so I took some and cut the front panels off, punched a hole in them, strung ribbon through the holes, and hung them from the windows in my kitchen and my front window by the tree.  So extremely simple but a cheerful detail!

I love giving homemade goodies to people I love, and these take out cartons make for a perfect Valentine's season delivery! This little carton was filled with Oatmeal Scotchies for a friend who loves them as much as I do!

And nothing says Valentine's Day Is A'Comin' like a tray of freshly baked Cake Balls!!  I made these for Madi's tea party tomorrow...I just can't wait to shower that group of high school and college girls in love and have the treat of spending time together...and I thought these would be perfect for the occasion!  Don't worry, I taste tested them and they were just fine, no problems at all. :)

If you've never made Cake Balls, they are dreamy.  I gave them my first try this can check out this link, or go visit Bakerella online.  She is the queen bee of Cake Balls!

I hope you are enjoying the Valentine's Season as much as we are!!  More posts to come about the season of love!!

xoxo, jennifer

Jesus In Our Homes

This morning as I spent some coffee time with my Savior, I continued my study through Beth Moore's Jesus: 90 Days With The One And Only.

The time working through this study has been time well spent.

Today was no exception.  The passage was from Mark 1 where Jesus heals Simon's very ill mother-in-law from a threatening fever.  Beth talked about how verse 39 says Jesus "bent over her" - he didn't heal her from afar, but drew close to her.  He was involved with those he helped and healed.

Then she said this, which struck a chord within my heart...

"Our homes today are threatened by fevers of all sorts - far beyond the physiological: unresolved conflict, unforgiveness, unfaithfulness, compromising media communications, pornography, and more.  We need Jesus in our homes."

Oh friends, how we do.  We need him.  We need him desperately.  He is in our home.  I hope He is in yours.  I pray you have experienced the vibrant life he breathes into a heart and home.

In today's journal section, all I could write was this in regards to our family and our home...

You are welcome here, Lord Jesus.  

We welcome You here.

You Made My Day!

Tomorrow my daughter is hosting a Valentine's Tea Party for some older girls from our youth group that she loves.  Some of these girls have actually graduated and are in college now, and she is looking forward to seeing them again!  For the past two years she has hosted a Christmas Tea Party, but since we weren't able to do that this year we decided to do one for Valentine's Day, which I think is just perfect since we already started celebrating a few weeks ago!  Love is definitely worth celebrating in my book!

Yesterday I spent most of my day in the kitchen...and I did most of my baking for tomorrow.  Two of the recipes I made were for some of my favorite cookies.

Oatmeal Scotchies...

And Snickerdoodles.

Knowing how much my daughter enjoys Snickerdoodles, I made sure I got them finished before she got home from school.  They were still a little warm when she got home, and I had already set her snack tray in my room with a juice box, peach fruit cup, a string cheese, and one homemade Snickerdoodle.

You should have seen her face light up when she saw it!

A few minutes later I went in and we were talking about her day.  I asked if she liked the cookie and she said, "I'm saving it for after the healthy stuff."

Good plan. :)

I left her to her healthy stuff and went back to work in the kitchen.  A few minutes later she came in, gave me a huge hug, and said...

"I really wanted some homemade cookies and was going to ask you for some soon, but when I got home you already had made them and, well,   
you made my day!!"

This was followed by more hugs and kisses.  And some time practicing the hula hoop together.  And a huge smile on her sweet face.

Which made my day.

Griddle Love!

Want to put some love on the griddle?

All you need is a heart shaped pancake mold, your favorite pancake mix or recipe, and a little patience.

You will see little eyes light up when you serve them and smiles as they eat them and ask for another!  

If you make a big batch, you can put the rest in the freezer to warm up in the microwave for special homemade, but quick breakfasts.

You can tell your family you made these because you love them so much, and never want to stop looking for ways, big or small, to let them know how very much they are loved!

You see, sometimes  love comes off the griddle and is served with syrup on top and a side of hugs and kisses.  Often love is seen when we put a little time, effort, and detail into the everyday.  

Let's fill our homes with the evidence of love!