Saturday, March 31, 2012

He Is Risen Canvas

In between necessary chores, I did a little crafting last Saturday.  I reused a canvas that I had decorated at Christmastime and covered it with a scrap burlap, of which I had just enough to cover the canvas.

All I did was hot glue it to the back.

Then I used a stencil to paint the words He Is Risen onto the burlap.  It was the first time I used this stencil and I wasn't overly thrilled because the letters weren't all sized how I thought they should be and I had to tweek them a bit.  Oh well.  I guess that is what I get for using a cheap stencil.  (It will be fine for monogramming when I don't have to worry about scale, so I'm sure it will be used again.)

With a scrap of ribbon ruffled and adhered with some more hot glue,  I had a new Easter decoration with the message of the season made out of things I had around the house!  It's not perfect but it is homemade and hanging above my green chair, declaring a joyful truth!

We serve a risen Savior!  Jesus conquered the grave!

He is risen!  He is risen, indeed!


Gracious, this past week was a whirlwind.  Between standardized testing, school parties, field trips, Easter play rehearsals, lessons, and hostess-with-the-mostess service for our visiting family and friends, it was non-stop activity around here!  We had to say goodbye to our four house guests as they set off for Chicago this morning.  The kids had a blast with Grandpa and company, and were also in full motion all week between spending time with them and school and church activites.  This morning it was like the four of us stopped for the first time in a week and realized how worn out we all are!

So except for a few lessons that I taught this morning, we have spent this Saturday decompressing.  I've been letting the kids watch movies, play, and just relax.  For much of the day Madi dressed herself as a princess in pink, but a few minutes ago she put her pajamas back on and Trev quickly followed suit.  Good for them!  Tomorrow will be a full day from start to finish and tonight we need to do some prepping for everything, so this has been welcome down time.

Yesterday was Madi's much awaited field trip to Legoland.  We went with Trevor's class a few weeks ago and of course our Lego-loving boy thought it was amazing, but yesterday I took Madi with her class and even our Disney girl was smitten with this park!  It is a great place for kids to just have fun.  The two of us were there from opening to closing, and she played her little heart out on several playgrounds and rode a bunch of rides, including all four of the kiddie coasters which she loved.   We spent much of the day with some of our best friends which was really fun.  It was a warm day and we left sun-kissed and satisfied.  The two of us had the best time together, and I feel grateful that these field trips have now allowed our whole family to experience Legoland for the first time for $5 each.  That is a blessing!

At the end of the day, Madi saw a coffee mug with Trevor's name on it and just had to get it for him.  It was a good choice though, not just because he loves Legos.  Trevor has this thing where he likes for me to put his milk in a mug not a glass, and he pretends to have a cup of "coffee" with Mommy.  So this morning I served him his "coffee" in a personalized mug, a gift from his sister just perfect for him!

He also spent the morning building a new Lego set from Grandpa with Jimmy which made his day.  Legos have pretty much overtaken our house.  But that is okay...we have a five year old who is enjoying life to the max!  And that is a good thing, albeit a little messy.

So now Trev is off playing Legos since a movie about Joseph from the Bible just ended, and Madi has disappeared into her art corner in the playroom.  Jimmy is relaxing, and I think I'm going to linger in my green chair for a few more minutes as well.  This next week is both Easter and Madi's birthday (they fall on the same day this year) with more family coming to town, so it will be another full one.

 Please continue to pray for Madi as she practices for her role in the Easter play!  She is doing a fantastic job, but her part is central to the storyline with a lot of lines and she is very nervous.  I continue to pray for her, that she will remember everything she has practiced, and also that her nerves will disappear so she will enjoy this.  I am thankful she is willing at her young age to step out of her comfort zone to do something for God's glory.  Her role in the play displays the sincere faith of a child, and I see that in her real life too.  But we are going to have to pray her through stage fright and nerves!  I would be grateful for any prayers on her behalf.

We're going to run lines again a little later on tonight.

But not quite yet.

I think we're going to rest a little longer.

Because every once in a while, a few hours of decompressing is a good, good thing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

C'mon, Get Happy! (Or Mad If You Prefer)

Tonight is one of those nights where I would love to write, but I am

It has been a long day.

It actually started off great with monkey bread for breakfast around the table with our four house guests (we are happy for Jimmy's dad, sister, and two of their friends to be here for a visit) - but it was one of those days where I felt like I was finishing everything just in time.  You know how it is.  I finished a morning lesson just in time to write out some bills, just in time to pick up Trevor from Pre-K, just in time to...I'll spare you the details.  I did a lot of rushing.  I ate a lot of carbs.  And I am exhausted.

It's a crazy week at school too.  Madi has her first standardized testing, and she came home exhausted.  Trevor, who is oh-so-excited to have Grandpa here, woke up a good 45 minutes earlier than usual this morning so he was exhausted.  Thankfully, my mom was making dinner for us so when I headed her way after I taught my afternoon lessons, we were treated to a meal.  But exhausted kids mean trying behavior, and exhausted Mommies mean less than the usual amount of patience.

As we were about to head home, the kids were provoking each other and I had enough.  What they were doing was nothing bad, just normal kid stuff that tends to come out when they are tired.  It was out of character for them and so overly dramatic that it was somewhat amusing and my Mom was watching it sort of laughing, though trying not to.  I pulled Trevor to me and was getting on to him when he furrowed that brow and looked at me with those chocolate chip eyes and said,

"Mommy!!  You're getting mad, but Grammie's getting happy. I want you to laugh too."

And I admit, I had to try hard not to.  Mommy "getting mad" and Grammie "getting happy."  Bless him.  He does not like for anyone to be unhappy at all, especially with him!

I managed to get them home and in bed, but not after apologies for behavior (them) and apologies for impatience (me).  And snuggle time and bedtime prayers that remind me most days are not like this.

Though Momma said there'd be days like this.  But now she's a Grammie.  And not much bothers her.  Nope.  She just gets happy.

So just go ahead and leave the stress for the "mad" lady.  Really, it's fine.


Monday, March 26, 2012

To Love, Cherish, Honor, Protect

This morning my heart feels extra grateful for my husband.

I find myself thinking of the many things I admire about him, and thanking God for Him.

Don't be fooled into thinking we have a "perfect" marriage.  No such union exists because no such person exists.  On our wedding day, my dad told us while performing our ceremony that an enduring marriage is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person.  Like any other couple with an enduring marriage, we have to work out our kinks.  Sometimes I have flat out taken him for granted.  Sometimes he has taken me for granted.  Sometimes we have had to weather life's storms together and it has not been easy.  Life is tough.  Being a grown up is stinking hard sometimes.

But we went out on a date Saturday night and the subject of the tragedy of so many broken marriages out there came up.  We were reminded again of our love and resolve to be committed to each other.  Tears welled up in my eyes as I said to him, "The thing is, we just can't let life get the best of us."

Because sadly, life gets the best of so many people.  But with Christ, life can be abundant!  In Him, our foundation can remain strong when our world is shaken.  In His strength, we can strive to love each other with sacrificial, enduring love.

I am grateful this morning to not just have a working, co-existing relationship with my husband (though admittedly there are moments in marriage that it can seem like all you do is pay bills, struggle to make ends meet, clean up the same messes, etc).  I am grateful that our hearts are knit together.  That we are one.  That we enjoy each other.

I am thankful that my husband honors what I do for him, our children, and the ministry.  He believes my contribution is of great value, even when much of society does not.

I am thankful that he is a hands on dad, and willingly allows me the occasional break in routine for refreshment when an opportunity arises.  I don't have to worry about our kids when I am able to get away; they are in good hands.

And one of the things I am most grateful for is that he nourishes and guards my heart.  Over the past few years, I have seen him fiercely seek to protect the tenderness of my heart when others have sought to destroy it.  He has cherished me and protected me in a harsh world.

So this morning I take a moment to gratefully honor Jimmy.  To tell him thank you.  To thank God for giving us to each other to share life together.  To recall our vows and stand strong for marriage.  To humbly ask God for continued grace, protection, and blessings on our marriage. And to encourage you to do the same for yours.

Two imperfect people who made an unconditional commitment.  But who made it before a perfect God. He is who is able to keep life from getting the best of us.

We praise Him and give Him this and every day.

Hebrews 13:4a (NLT)  Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to each other in marriage...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Taste The Rainbow Cupcakes

Flashback: Last year the kids and I, along with our pal Caroline, made this rainbow of mini cupcakes with "gold" at the end for a St. Patrick's Day celebration.  

This past Tuesday, upon seeing my request on this blog, my mom made reubens for dinner as a delayed St. Patrick's Day meal.  She pretty much makes the best reubens ever.  I volunteered to bring dessert, and still wanted to go with the whole rainbow theme.  This year I went with an idea I saw here.  I followed the directions and made six different bowls of batter, which was a little time consuming and tricky to layer in the muffin tins, but I figured it was a fun experiment and was curious to how they would turn out!

They were actually quite lovely, so colorful and almost tie-dyed in appearance!

And on the inside there was indeed a rainbow!

Rainbows need white puffy clouds, so I whipped up some cream cheese frosting...

Then after our delicious reubens (I like mine extra juicy and loaded with sauerkraut)...

We tasted the rainbow!

They were scrumptious, and you can be sure Madi loved them!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Today Was A Good Day

I'm glad I can say that, because I admit I woke up feeling a cloud of discouragement threatening to loom.  Once the kids were off to school I got in the Word and in prayer and the cloud dissipated.  But it made me think about something that I believe I will share soon, because I think it is an issue many - if not all -  women share and deal with for the majority of their lives.  So look for that post in the near future!  You will know it when you read it.  And I hope it will connect us deeper at the heart and spur us on to continue well in all our many roles on this journey of life.

After my quiet time, I was off to the retirement home to teach the choir.  Their Easter concert will be here soon and I worked them very hard today! They did great, and are learning their songs so well.  It has been neat to work with the residents in this capacity and has taught me a lot.

After practice, Trevor and I had the unexpected treat to share a picnic lunch with some of the residents at a local lake and park!  We visited with them, and Trev caught up with a delightful silver haired lady he had bonded with at an Easter event last year.  She was tickled pink by his energy and conversation!  He played his little heart out at the playground and we left full and glad we went.

When we got home, Trev was treated to some time playing Indiana Jones on the Wii while I did some much needed housework and laundry.  I worked for quite some time, then we went to pick up Madi.

Once we were back home, the kids and I went outside with our scooters and bikes to burn some energy and enjoy the sunshine!  At first Madi and I were riding and Trev was scooting, but then he decided to practice some more on riding his bike without training wheels.  He had worked on this for a few minutes Monday evening, but not for too long.  Well, this afternoon that boy started riding fast and free!  A twelve year old neighborhood boy we had never met happened to ride over to play some basketball in the court and he was quite a friendly fellow.  Trev was doing great but on the verge of discouragement when the boy arrived and called out, "Hey man, you are doing awesome!"

Well, wouldn't you know Trev's eyes brightened and he sat up straighter and got a determined look on his face.  After that he rode like a champ.  All he needed was that affirmation from an older boy!   It was a great reminder of how far a timely word of encouragement can go.  He was riding and turning and even starting up by himself!

Now if we get just get him to use the brake instead of riding into the grass and jumping off like a wild man we will be in business.  Maybe tomorrow.

We were all hot and sweaty after our bike rides so I brought out some good ol' Flavor Ice popsicles!!  The kids and I sat on the porch chewing our ice and drinking the leftover juice out of the plastic tube, my favorite part when I was a kid and my neighbor's mom would bring out those icy treats to us in his backyard.  Sweet memories.

After cooling off with popsicles it was bathtime, then Trev went out with his Paw Paw to eat and spend time while Madi, Jimmy, and I were off to church to practice for the Easter play.  I fed Madi and we were out the door.  (I didn't eat my gourmet dinner of graham crackers and peanut butter and a brownie until I got back home later tonight. )

Rehearsal went well - Madi has a ton of lines in this play and it is a huge step for her.  I am proud of her for being willing to step out of her comfort zone to do this, and am praying hard that she will remember everything, not be too nervous, and enjoy it. I am going to be quite nervous for her, though I will try to hide it well!  I am thankful she is using her talents for Jesus at a young age, and hope and pray she always offers her all to Him.

Now we are home and the kids are long asleep and I am tired.  But today was a good day, and I wanted to thankfully reflect on that before my head hits the pillow and we start all over again tomorrow.

Rest well, friends.

I hope tomorrow is a good day.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I know my Spring Break tales are not in sequential order, but that is okay -  I am sharing as things come to mind and this moment was so funny and so precious that I keep remembering it!

Monday and Tuesday we spent long and magical family days at the Disney parks.  All four of us, all day long, and part of the days we met up with other family and friends.  So much fun!

 Wednesday morning Jimmy went back to work, and the kids and I didn't rush out the door.  We were taking it easy when I asked them what they wanted to do that day, and they said...Disney!  (Surprise, surprise.)  Even though it would be my fourth trip to the parks in six days and my muscles were definitely feeling it, I said sure thing!  Let's go!  They requested Epcot and I was happy to accommodate.  I love that place, especially during the Flower and Garden Festival.

One of the spots we visited was a place Trevor particularly enjoyed last year - Bambi's Butterfly Garden.  It is wondrous to watch the butterflies flit around and land on flowers, and Trev was thrilled that he touched two butterflies that day!  That would be one of the first things he would tell Daddy about the next morning.

On the way home that night, we ended up being stuck in traffic. To make the time go by, the kids and I were doing one of their favorite things - playing the initial game.  We take turns saying the initials of someone or something, give hints as needed, and everyone guesses what they stands for.  My kids can play this for hours.  Trust me.

That night we were going with a Disney theme as they often like to do.  It was my turn and my mind went back to Bambi's Butterfly Garden and I thought of a good, tough one.  Thumper, the adorable bunny from Bambi!  I told them it was a Disney character, that the initial was T, but that it was tricky.

On a side note, my little buddy Trev has almost all but mastered his L's (good for him but sort of sad for us).  For years they were W's and it was so endearing - plus anyone who knows Trevor knows he just has this way of talking and putting things that is precious beyond words and often hysterical.  But though he has his L's most of the time now, he still can't say his TH's.  They come out as F's.

So anyway, back to the game.  I am giving them hints and they are guessing and Madi finally exclaims, "Thumper!" I told her she was right, and Trev immediately countered passionately,

"Fumper??  That starts with F, not T."   

Madi and I died.  We sat there in that traffic and just cracked up.

Because Thumper (or should I say Fumper) does indeed start with F - in Trev's world.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Major Life Accomplishment

I have something to share with you.

You may want to sit down for this one.

Are you ready?  Okay here it is.  A major life accomplishment that happened just today.

I went into Target to get one thing.

And I left with...ONE THING.  (I told you that you probably wanted to be sitting down.)

Deodorant for my husband was the only thing in my cart at checkout and in my bag on the way out of the store.

I resisted those cute items in the value section that were calling my name as I walked in.

And I didn't even celebrate my accomplishment by stopping at Starbucks on the way out.

One small step for woman; one giant leap for womankind.

This is a day to be remembered.

I Missed The Cloche Party!

Marti at A Stroll Thru Life is always sharing ideas on ways to use cloches in decorating.  I enjoy participating in her blog parties on occasion, and always gain inspiration from the other participants who post.  When she said she was having another cloche party, it helped give me an idea for a spring vignette and I was looking forward to joining in on the fun!  However last week the kids and I were having too much fun in the sun on Spring Break for me to be anywhere close to a computer.  So I thought I'd share my little cloche vignette this week at Tabletop Tuesday.  Thanks Marti for the inspiration!

I used all items I already had on the baseball table I made over awhile back.  One of my spring birds now has a new nest!  She is nesting with some mini pastel eggs I found a couple years ago.

My bird teapot was brought out for the occasion, and I drew inspiration from 
2 Corinthians 5:17 for my phrase on my chalkboard vase.  So thankful Christ can make all things new in us, and the coming of spring always reminds me of that fresh start!  I've had the tile for over a decade, from back in my Southern Living days.

I nestled the cloche in an old hand-me-down egg wreath.

And I changed things around, moving the table next to my green chair so this fresh vignette is nearby to enjoy for the season.

Happy Spring!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Another Super Easy Homemade Project!!

One of these days I am going to take the sewing machine I got for Christmas out of the box and form a relationship with it.  We are going to get to know each other, fight our battles, work out our issues, and hopefully come out close friends!

But until then...there is always glue.

I wanted Madi and I to have matching shirts for one of our Disney Days on Spring Break and had two qualifications.  One, they couldn't involve sewing (yet).  Two, they had to be cheap.

So I went to Walmart for some plain t-shirts, used some household objects to trace some circles onto some black felt, and drew a bow on some red felt.  After a little cutting and fabric glue, I had two fun Minnie Mouse t-shirts for less than $10 total.

We ended up wearing them on what would be a very exciting thrill-ride-loving-girl was finally tall enough to try RockNRoller Coaster!!  If you have ever been on this, you know it is a fast and fun ride and my girl loved it! Rode it twice, once with Daddy, once with Mommy.  What a way to start the day!

Well, I Didn't Make Corned Beef And Cabbage Today

But I did make an easy-peasy St. Patrick's Day craft!  Thanks to an idea I received in a Disney Family email (I'm telling you, great resource!), I made Madi a shamrock clip for her hair.  All I did was use their template to trace the shamrocks onto felt, cut them out, add a little bling, and adhere everything to a small hair clip with hot glue.  Instant festive accessory!

But speaking of corned beef and cabbage....Mom, will you make your world famous Reuben Sandwiches sometime this week as a delayed St. Patricks Day celebration?  Please, pretty please?!  I'll bring dessert!

Greetings From The Spring Break Facilitator...

Well, hello there!

If you have noticed that I have been MIA around these here Coffee, Chaos, and Contentment parts and only popping in on facebook for a few minutes here and there, it is because for the past week I have taken on the role of Spring Break Facilitator and Director and let me tell you, it has been an exciting position!  We have been on the move and having a ball, with fabulous weather to boot!  

I have these napkins in my pantry that I've been saving for the perfect occasion....

And let me tell you, that is one true statement!  Since last Friday I have walked miles and miles and miles lugging kids and gear and pushing strollers around Disney.  Yesterday I trekked back and forth through sand holding pounds of beach gear (that was resistance training.)  We have been active and enjoying life, sunshine, and each other!  Whoever invented Spring Break had a good thing going on.  I love this extra time with my kids, and try to make it as fun for them as possible!

I actually started the fun last week.  I knew we would be enjoying Disney time over break, and wanted to add to the excitement and anticipation.  Trev had been anticipating Spring Break for weeks; he had been telling everyone from his best friends to perfect strangers that he was going to have "nine days off" (we include the weekends around here).  He was counting down to those days off.   I mean, Pre-K is a little stressful.  :)

Since Madi is such a Disney lover, I started building the anticipation with some after school magic.  She is a fan of crossword puzzles and similar games, so I printed off this word scramble from the Disney Family website (which is a great resource for ideas, by the way).  This fun activity was waiting for her Tuesday after school!

One night a few months ago, I rolled out a long piece of paper and left it for her, Trevor, and a Disney-loving babysitter to make a mural of the Disney parks.  She mentioned that she wanted to do that again, so I had everything waiting for her Wednesday after school.

Then on Friday, I checked her out of school early and took her on a Mommy/Daughter date to Epcot!!  The absolutely fantastic Flower and Garden Festival had started and we had an amazing time together!

I let her play to her heart's content at one of the super fun playgrounds set up for this wonderful event.

We explored the park, taking in all the beautiful flowers and topiaries and other lovely sights to be seen.

We watched adorable baby chicks and their momma cross the street...

Took notice of birds flying around and perching near us....

Ate dinner in Mexico...

Stopped by Paris...

Took in the beauty as day turned into dusk...

Then had a sweet ending to our date at one of our favorite spots.

We even came home with a souvenir of our fun day together.

I think one-on-one time is so important.  I count us blessed to be able to spend it at such a special place designed for parents to have fun with their children.  That was Walt Disney's dream for Disney World, and I have seen it come true in our own lives.  What a special date Madi and I had to kick off our Spring Break festivities!

And that was only just the beginning of the fun....