Sunday, December 23, 2012

scenes from the cabin

Another weekend before Christmas spent making memories, playing Scrabble, cousins, aunts, uncles, Mee Mee, Minnie Mouse slippers, lots of laughing, lots and lots of food, shopping, catching up, and Christmas wishes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

a weary world rejoices

I ignored the school shooting news on Friday.  That was something I couldn't listen to while my kids were still at school. I eventually gave in on Saturday and cried with the rest of the nation for those children, their parents, their friends, the teachers who acted so heroically.  I watched as their faces were displayed and names were read, and they looked just like Ben and the kids in his class.  I thought of the mothers, and the anguish they must feel that they couldn't have been with their child when their children must have been so scared.  I thought of the Christmas presents they had so carefully picked out, and the hole they will have in their hearts for the rest of their lives.  I ache for those mothers.  But, it is with a tight throat and slightly swollen face, I say there is hope.
I've been reading Max Lucado's No Wonder They Call Him Savior and the chapter I opened to on Saturday spoke directly to my thoughts that day.  I wish I could post the whole chapter, but that would be really long so what spoke to me most.... "Choosing not to be neatly categorized, life has opted to be a tossed salad of tragedies and triumphs, profanity and purity, despair and hope.  The bad is perplexingly close to the good.  The just is frighteningly near to the unfair. And life? Life is always a clock's tick away from death....God is not stumped by an evil world.  He doesn't gasp in amazement at the depth of our faith or the depth of our failures.  We can't surprise God with our cruelties.  He knows the condition of the world...and loves it just the same.  For just when we find a place where God would never be (like on the cross), we look again and there he is, in the flesh."
So this Christmas I'm remembering that God sent His Son to be here with us (with us!!), Emmanuel.  He felt the ache we feel.  He understands.  I can give my burdens to Him.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
Or the Message version...
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

***Also this is pretty cool.  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

no llama drama

Hallie and I are posting together.  She's pretty crazy about these pics of her and this celebrity!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

christmas crafty

We happened to all of the supplies for this ornament on hand, and it was something Hallie could do.  Plus it occupied her for about 30 mins. which is really fabulous!  Ben made an alien, and I have a really huge smile on my face when I look at it. Yeah, that's a notebook paper gun in his hand/foot.

oh martha! oh christmas!

My sister and I say that to each other when we're at a loss for words.  Oh Martha! Ohh Christmas!  And then we dissolve into giggles.  It's from the Grinch- poor guy.
Anyway, I went to this brunch with one of my friends and our lovely speaker was talking about simplifying Christmas and making room for Him during the season (as in Let every heart prepare him room and heaven and nature singgg)... Anyway, as we were saying our goodbyes and closing our doors I laughed and said something like "Don't worry about me.  No more making gingerbread houses or candy canes (that ended in a real disaster, the kitchen looked like a murder had occurred recently) from scratch".  Laugh laugh... fast forward a few weeks.  She calls me while I'm in the midst of candy chaos- toffee, caramels, peppermint bark and I was in the process of making homemade marshmallows.  She says, "Ang, I thought we talked about this."
It all started really innocently with my grandmother's recipe for brownies (also known as Maida Heatter's Palm Beach Brownies-they are amazing), and then I don't really know what happened.  So to help you guys out (and myself b/c this will serve as my reminder to not make candy again...ever) I will tell you that I am a horrible candy maker b/c I am not patient.  The apple cider caramels are yummy, but I boiled them for an hour (an HOUR!) while I stirred them and looked longingly at my children fast asleep wishing I was too.  So if you like fast results just buy some at the store.  I mean how much are toffee and caramels anyway??  I turned the temp. up too fast with the toffee and it wasn't right but still not bad. The marshmallows I did really like.  The were pretty easy and so fluffy and fabulous in our hot chocolate.  The peppermint bark we do really love, but I got unsweetened chocolate for some reason and added sugar and it was really grainy and not even sweet.  Anyway, I seem to have a knack for making something easy a bit more difficult.  If you are interested check out the recipes, but just so you know the way that each person describes them on their blog will make you want to make them.  You've been warned.
*I had to upload the photo of the caramel because it makes me laugh.  You are not imagining it. I somehow made it look like a hot dog.  I'm not a food photographer!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

light the park

madrigal singers, check
the most amazing cookie I've ever had, check
apple cider, check
an enormous light switch, check
enough holiday lights to make magic, check

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I'm sure many other bloggers have this exact name for a post right now, but following a day of reflecting on what we're thankful for what could be more appropriate? A thankful heart is a cure all and I even dare to say it's magic.  Gratitude is a gift.  On days where daily stresses, complaints, and worries threaten to invade your well-being gratitude comes to the rescue with a promise of peace.  Maybe it is part of being a mother and knowing every moment is precious and fleeting, but I offer thanks daily and constantly on most days.  Thanksgiving day is special though. I always get this cheesy, nostalgic thankfulness thinking of the pilgrims and more specifically for my 13th great grandfather, William Brewster, who braved a new life in a different world seeking religious freedom and a better hope for the future.  See I told you it was cheesy.  I think of him because it makes history more real not because I feel I have much of a connection to him.  I'm pretty sure he is the super great grandfather of many, many people - like Ashley Judd I recently found out.  But as a parent I can relate to the thoughts he must have had for wanting a better life for his family, and with the struggles they must have had surviving over here.  I think it's interesting that he named his children Love, Patience, Wrestling, and Fear (he also had Jonathan and an unnamed child who died).  I can imagine the grateful hearts they must have had when it looked like things were looking up when they had the Native Americans show them the ropes of surviving.  I have so much to be thankful for.  Since our basic needs are met day to day they are often over looked.  So today I'm especially thankful that I have a warm house, plenty of food, and that my family is healthy and we are together.
So remember how I was just talking about how I ooze with thankfulness every day? This was not so true of me 2 days before Thanksgiving Day.  Hallie had been sick, then I was sick, then Ben was sick and I was sick of being in the house.  Let's just say my attitude was not the best that day.  I thought we were all on the mend, but that night Ben started coughing and almost spasming so much that he was having trouble breathing.  He was crying and I was holding him with a heart squeezing with guilt before M took him to the E.R (with what turned out to be the flu and croup).  Yeah...  Somedays I do forget how precious our health is, and the enormous gift of having my children and being able to feed them and keep them warm and safe.  Our Thanksgiving plans changed a bit, but Ben is doing much better. We all ended up with full tummies and overflowing hearts. Thank you for letting me indulge myself with the sappy outpouring and while I'm at it I'm also thankful husband who is just straight up amazing, my family because they make crazy more fun, my supportive, encouraging, fabulous friends and always for my God who is always looking out for me.

So my kids just ran and got me to tell me there was a present for me under the tree.  It was Hallie (lol) lying as straight as she could with a huge smile on her face.  Yep, I'm blessed.  Oh, and I'm thankful I got to spend so much time with my brother this weekend!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

tricky treating

That's what it sounds like when Hallie says trick or treat, and then says again and again "mooore tricky treating". Hallie was Pocahontas but it got so cold and she has an ugly cough so at about 3 p.m. I decided to DIY us some Care Bear costumes.  The costumes make me laugh. A lot. :) She wouldn't wear the ears, and she rubbed off part of the nose so unless she was with me I don't think people knew what she was.  I haven't seen her this excited and happy since... well last week.  But she gave a big, excited HI to everyone that opened their doors (and also to a man wearing a hockey mask hiding in the bushes).  Well, except for this old man dressed as an alien. She was happily plodding along when she saw the alien and got this disturbed look and veered away quickly.  Ben was a baseball player and Natalie was a hippie.  Ben so was high on Halloween. He zipped from house to house so fast H and N eventually gave up with catching up with him.  Ris came with us (bless her). I know she got pretty chilly during our hour and a half mile walk in that black leotard.  :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

my kids make me laugh

Last night I was helping Ben with his homework while Natalie did Study Island homework on the computer.  So I hear from the other room, "Mom, can you help me with this? I don't really know what a comma splice is."  Then Ben looks at me and asks what she said and I said "comma splice".  So he looks at me carefully and holds out his hand straight and chops the air.  He says, "This is simple it's a slice. The common slice is when you just cut it right down the middle."

Then another day we are at the library and Hallie walks right up to the librarian and says "Hola!".  She just loves Dora, so I'm not surprised that she says things in Spanish but it cracks me up that she uses Spanish words more than English words.  One night M was even calling me from the kitchen saying, "Quick tell me how to say "close" in Spanish" b/c she wouldn't close the fridge.  Also, after having two kids that have been pretty shy I am amazed at how fearless Hallie is.  At the library story time she is practically sitting in the lap of the man reading the books, and she shouts with excitement at the turn of every page.  I have to keep picking her up and putting her back in her place on the rug while she shoots me this super annoyed look.  But when she not disrupting things I love to see her happy, outgoing personality shine through.  I took the girls to Sweet Frogs (froyo) a few weeks ago, and they had a giant Sweet Frog (well person in a Japanimation looking girl frog costume) standing outside.  She ran right up to it and gave it the biggest most loving hug like it was a long lost friend.  She also super loves Llama Llama books (as in Llama Llama Red Pajama).  So everything is Llama this and Llama that.  So I've found the best way to get her to cooperate with me is to have her pretend that she is Little Llama and I'm Mama Llama.
Natalie makes me laugh too, but her humor is becoming increasingly mature.  Not that she tells dirty jokes or something like that (ha), but she just keeps impressing me with how much she knows about the world around her.  I will only mention that she has a crush once and I won't tell his name.  She won't tell a soul at school (including him) that she has this crush, so she makes me laugh with the antics of keeping it a secret.
So besides being amused by my kids I'm looking forward to the holidays and DIYing.  We made ornaments (painted ornaments) this week I saw on Pinterest that turned out so pretty, and I made H a little canvas for me to put her Bible verse cards she gets at Sunday school every week.

Friday, October 19, 2012

the punkin' patch

Hallie has, out of the blue, been obsessed with the "puckin pach".  I have no idea where she heard about it, but it's all she can talk about.   Even more amazingly she says it clear as a bell while most of her other words are muddled so only those close to her understand.  So I've been pretty excited to see what she actually thought of the p.p., and the other kids were begging for a corn maze trip.  I was thinking of going yesterday even though it was pouring rain on and off, but due to a variety of circumstances I instead had a mani/pedi sponsored by Mav and Ris (my brother and his girlfriend).  So today readied with fall colored nails of deep apple red and raisin we set off for a farm farther away than I planned, but with way more fall fun than I imagined.

We had the most beautiful and perfect fall weather.  The kind that makes you want to singggg. :) Actually, Ris and I might have broken out into a little Pocahontas "Colors of the Wind" while the orange, red, and yellow leaves fell all around us.  Moving on... This farm had it all and all for one really good price, so they will be getting our business next year for sure.  The had a big corn maze, a kid corn maze, bouncing things, a petting zoo, slides, ice cream that looked like it came from heaven, a climbing hill, and best of all we were rewarded with a covered wagon hay ride to the pumpkin patch of all pumpkin patches.  It was beautiful, orange-colored sea of happiness for Hallie.  I mean I don't understand it, but the girl loves those little gourds.  I maybe possibly got a little too into the seasonal spirit and considered buying a pilgrim outfit they were selling there.  Ris thought I meant for Halloween but I said um no for Thanksgiving.  And then we both had a really good laugh because I had been serious about it for a minute.  So now after being seriously amped on fall fun my little ones are now snug in their beds with visions of pumpkins dancing in their heads, and I'm headed there too.  Happy Fall!

Monday, October 15, 2012

quick Monday diy

Looking for something to do today? Want something cheap, easy, and fun?  Look no further folks! :)
 I found a really cute necklace on Pinterest that was a complete fail, so I thought of doing this.  For my version I found some cute ribbon in the dollar ribbon section of Michael's (art store) and some wood beads at Hobby Lobby ($1.47 for pack of 8 big beads or 20 little beads), and I already had plenty of acrylic craft paint at home.  I had a wooden skewer that was fabulous for holding the little ditties (is that a word?) while I painted them and then I sprayed them with a clear sealer to finish.  Getting the ribbon through the bead also involved the skewer so don't throw that thing away!  I'm sure a needle or a thin pen or something would work well too. Okay- enjoy!

Friday, October 12, 2012

October art

I keep meaning to write down or post up cute little things my kids say or do.  I'll remember it one minute and the next the memory is swept up in the current of childhood.  I had this moment a few weeks ago where I went to check in on Hallie after she had fallen asleep.  She is in the same bed that used to be Natalie's and had on her hand me down pajamas, so for a brief moment I forgot who I was looking at.  It was like glimpsing into the past and getting Nati as a little bitty girl for just one more minute.  I love all the growing changes in my children. I love that I can go on a date with Natalie and enjoy talking with her.  I love that my growing children help me with chores whereas babies and toddlers seem to add more work to each task.  But those baby and toddler years are a blink.  So I am really trying to be intentional with all my time which means there is not a lot of creative time left for me.  Having said that, Hallie hasn't felt so well so we've had some down time at home this week. This left some time for me to be creative and finish up some painting projects.  I really wanted to find my own painting style this year friends. As you can see from these recent paintings I am no further along in finding my style than I was in January.  The top 2 are copied from something I pinned earlier this year, so the ideas are not mine but I made the paintings my own.  They are all so different, but they all make me happy!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

if you give a tween a party

If you give a tween a party she'll want to do something big to celebrate turning two digits.
When she decides she wants to spend the night at a hotel you have to look at different ones on the internet.  While she's looking she realizes she must have one with an indoor pool.

Then she thinks about what bathing suit and other things she'll need for a pool.
When she's looking through pool stuff she remembers her American girl doll has a bathing suit.  Since her doll has a suit she decides she wants all of her friends to bring their dolls.  Then she decides all the dolls will go on a trip together.
If the dolls are going on a trip they will need suitcases.

When you're at the store looking for tiny suitcases she realizes they could make a lot of other fun things for the dolls too.
Then on the week before the party you realize they might get bored, so they might want to do something else like paint their nails with starfish.
And while you are thinking of the party you realize you need cake, but you are tired of cake because you've already had 2 other cakes in the past week.  So you think of something inventive and chic like faux sushi. Then you realize you are not Martha Stewart and your sushi doesn't look that cool, so you buy some twinkies and candy fish so they can make different faux sushi.  But they don't want to make sushi they just want to eat the twinkies and candy fish.
Then they get sort of bored of playing with dolls and decide to put the new gifts to good use.  So they make scented body mist.  Then they play drawing games.  Then they judge X factor contestants, and then they are tired.
But when they wake up they want breakfast.  Then they see chocolate Belgian waffles.  Then the breakfast buffet supervisor tells them she has never seen a kid finish the entire waffle.  Natalie and Mary Beth see that as a challenge, and they take those waffles down.
Then they have chocolate waffle energy and decide to jump on the beds until they hear a knock at the door.

It's not an angry hotel neighbor but their missing friend, tired from her back to back Little Princess performances, finally arrives for a bit of fun. Then before you know it check-out time has arrived.
Then they are all so tired from the excitement, but when they are rested they will want to get together again.  And if they get together again they will all want to have...a party.