Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Royal Tea Party

Our hometown might be thousands of miles from Westminster Abbey, but that didn't mean we were going to miss out on the Royal Wedding Festivities. My family is English after all and my mother is always willing to host a traditional English Tea Party.

An invitation arrived in mail for Miss A and Miss M to come for a Royal Slumber Party followed by an early morning tea party to watch the wedding. Miss A had a day off of school for a teacher work day and, for the first time ever, I let Miss M skip school. I felt better when I heard that Barbara Walters told people to let their children stay home and not miss out on this historical event.

I remember vividly watching the Wedding of Charles and Diana. My family got up early for tea and crumpets and watched the fairy tale and pageantry. A neighborhood friend spent the night to watch the event with me and then our family took off for a vacation to Colorado after "the kiss."

Ten years later, I was in England with my grandmother when Charles and Diana were off on their 10th Anniversary trip. I fell in love with London and walked around Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and Victoria Station feeling very much at home. On the train ride to Oxford, I dreamed what it would be like to be a student at Oxford University. I was sure somewhere in my mind I was dreaming of marrying a Prince someday too.

When I was a small child, both my great grandmother and great great grandmother were alive. They were both very English and very proper. In fact, I believed my GG Grandmother was the Queen of England. Every time I saw her, she was sitting in a high backed chair in her home. She was tiny and royal looking and I was all of five or six so it made perfect sense.

Guess you could say I have English blood running through my veins. Thus, when the Royal Wedding of William and Catherine came about, I knew that this would be a memory that M and A would never forget. They loved every moment of the Wedding Tea Party. My mom went all out with scones, hats, gloves, and tiaras. It was every little girls dream.

Westminster Abbey seemed very close on Friday morning.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Honors Abound

Yesterday was a day of honors and accolades for Mr. C. First, he was pulled out of class early in the morning for a surprise celebration honoring all the eight graders who had maintained a 4.0 GPA for the entire year.

I wish I could say he gets his brilliance from me, but I only had a 4.0 one semester of my life and that was in college! My husband claims he never had a 4.0 but I'm thinking that might be a lie or due to the fact that he was a finance major and took super hard classes.

Of course, Mr. C was most trilled that not only did he get to miss class for the celebration, they also had yummy snacks. Gotta love how food motivates this child.

Following this ceremony, we joined Nana and Papa at the Rotary 8th Grade Honor Roll luncheon at a downtown hotel. C's teachers recommended him for this award based on the criteria of leadership, character, scholarship and presence. What a huge honor. It was amazing to be among almost 400 young leaders, what a testimony to the future of this country. Each speaker challenged those in attendance to live up to the gifts and blessings they had been given and share their gifts with their community and country.

Then it was back to the school for an ice cream cake reception for all the Rotary scholars. Their counselor had made a banner for them with all their names and listed of some of their accomplishments and community service projects from the past few years.

It was an exhausting yet exciting day for Mr. C and our family. C was honored for the type of young man he is both inside and outside of the classroom. We could not be prouder.

Our hope is that as Mr C will always use his God given talents and gifts to serve others and advance the cause of Christ in our community.

Great Job Mr. C !!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Eagle Scout Project Begins

Mr. C has started his Eagle Scout Project. After some behind the scenes work and meeting with the Principal and Playground Equipment Company, the final plans are now in place. Mr. C will be working to upgrade the primary playground at our Elementary School. Monday night, he received final approval from the PTA and a large percentage of the funding for the project.

Mr. C created an impressive Power Point presentation for the PTA and, with their support, he will be tearing out a set of rubber tires and a zip line and replacing them with a climbing wall and the wiggle walk play set. Miss A is so excited. This is her playground and she's pumped to think that next fall she'll be able to say that her brother put in the new playground.

Needless to say our summer has just gotten a little bit busier. Mr. C will be organizing this project for installation this summer so it is completed before he heads off to high school and the kids return for the fall. If you happen to have construction experience, expect a call from us!

It's hard to believe that it was just a few years ago that this young man was a Tiger Cub Scout wearing a bright orange t-shirt and earning belt loops. Today, he's already a Life Scout and has over 30 merit badges and is only one badge short of earning his Eagle. With this Eagle Scout project now in place, he should be able to complete all the requirements for this honor next year.

Mr C has already learned some life lessons in getting this project off the ground floor and I'm sure there will be lots of lessons learned along the way to final completion. He'll gain so much from this experience and I'm sure the man he will become will be forever molded by this project.

Now, we just need to figure out to move around TONS of pea gravel, remove a huge play structure, and dispose of decomposing rubber tires. In addition, he has to arrange for large construction/equipment pieces to make this job easier and the funds needed to accomplish all the destruction/assembly. Of key importance to C, we will also need to figure out how to feed the workers and a big sandwich from Blimpie's and Nana' Chocolate Chip cookies are already on his list of ideas.

I know this is just another step on the road to manhood, but looking back it's hard to believe that my cute little Cub Scout is just a distance memory and my new Eagle Scout is becoming a reality. Time Flies!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011

It was a glorious Easter. A celebration of great joy at the gift of the Resurrection.

Following a wonderful Easter Service, we had a chilly, but fun egg hunt in the yard. Thankfully, the "Bunny" waited until we were gone at Church to lay the eggs.

The girls looked adorable in their Easter dresses, even if Miss A thought wearing a white sweater was torture. Guess she wasn't' effected by the temps in the 40's. Yes, it is Spring in the Midwest.

Mr. C looked smashing in his dress pants, shirt and tie. I loved watching father teach son how to make a double Windsor knot. Good thing he has until October before he needs to wear one everyday for school. When did he become such a handsome young man!

We enjoyed a fabulous lunch with the "family" and even attempted to recreate a picture from 10 years ago when some of the participants were much smaller and younger and a few joined the picture for the first time. Miss A and Miss M so adore their cousins and are thrilled with any time with Miss N and Miss L.

It was a wonderful Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sunday's Comin'

It's Friday but Sunday's Comin'

Today is Good Friday. The day that Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice. Explaining to Miss A today why we call it Good, when its the day that Jesus died on the cross was challenging. She decided that it was a weird name to remember this day by. I explained that it's good because we know the rest of the story. We know the great news about Sunday. We believe in Easter. Glorious Resurrection Day. Evil Defeated. New Life in Christ. The real reason why this is such a "Good Friday."

When Mr. C was little, he learned the song, "God's Not Dead, No He is Alive" and, for weeks after Easter Sunday, he would sing it all the time. His little three year old voice proclaiming the message of the great news, He is Risen!

Sometimes it's easy to gloss over the Easter story, to only focus on the joy and ignore the agony and sorrow of Good Friday. Too often I live in the promise of Easter in my own little world of Christians and forget that many of the world doesn't know my Savior.

I don't want to get out my comfort zone and share the good news with others. I figure someone else will do it. Yesterday, I was convicted that people in my own little world are dying without knowing Jesus. I don't want to offend others. I don't want to be uncomfortable

Isn't that what Easter is all about, getting uncomfortable. How can I not realize that by failing to live my faith out loud in those uncomfortable moments, I'm offending Jesus. I'm not being authentic. My faith should not be like a piece of clothing that I put on and off. I can't be lukewarm.

This year I want to live out Easter everyday. I want to live in the joy of Easter and share that joy with others. Because today might be Friday, but Sunday's coming and I want to make sure everyone in my life celebrates that glorious truth. He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed! Happy Easter.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

You and Your Girl Simulcast: What A Day!

I've always wanted to go to a Vicki Courtney event with my daughter. As an avid fan of her books and blog, I knew that I would benefit so much from hearing Vicki's insight into mothering girls and I knew I could use some of her advice. It's not easy to raise a girl today and to bring one up to know and love God in today's culture takes extra prayers and encouragement.
Let's just say that the You and Your Girl Simulcast was just what I needed!

I'm so thankful that my church caught my vision and signed up to be a host site. Not only did it allow me to be at a Vicki Courtney event five minutes from home, it meant that I could share this day with some great women in our community. Two of my dear friends even brought a book table to the event. They didn't even mind giving up their Saturday to man the book table, even though they are mothers of just boys!

Vicki's messages really spoke to me. My listening guide is filled to the brim with my notes on her message on "Growing a Godly Daughter in a World that is Ungodly" and I loved the visual of being the gardener of our daughter's heart. I have the quote "expose our child's heart to the Son" written in my calendar so I make sure I'm making that a priority instead of just driving her to dance, softball etc.

The reminder that "girls who are delighted in, feel more delightful" was like a gentle nudge to always have fun with Miss M and Miss A and to tell them what a joy they are to me. I need to make sure that I'm showing them with my words, actions and deeds how much I enjoy them. I had never heard of "backdoor moments" before and the concept that to the degrees kids can predict me, they will dismiss me really resonated with me. I need to be looking for ways to impart values in daily life, not looking for those perfect moments to "teach or preach," but to be open to the backdoor moments.

More than anything, I was convicted that this summer I want to live out Philippians 4:8-9 and making sure that the "daily bread" is part of our families daily diet! If we are filling up our minds with whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, it will change how we live.

Vicki's final challenge to both mothers' and daughters was to fill our souls with things that build our faith and fast from those things that tear you away from Christ. She told us to create a list of "more of....less of.." challenges that we wanted to see in our lives. More of Christ, Less of Me etc.

My list is long. There are a lot of things that I need to get rid of in my life so that I have more of Christ in me. I'm still working through all these things, and listening to God's direction on what he wants me to do.

What a glorious, challenging and convicting message. What a great day.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Catching Up is it even possible

I've been playing catch up this week. Trying to get things back in order after a few weeks of hectic. Our church was a host site for Vicki Courtney's "You and Your Girl" simulcast last Saturday and I was one of the chairs for the event. It was a really convicting and encouraging event, but one that deserves its own post.

Add to the chaos was the fact that my husband was traveling for five days last week, and our spring busy season is upon us. I was behind in everything. Thankfully, a week of "normal" means that I've come out from under the mess of closet switching (winter to summer) and caught up with chores. In fact, I now have a list of things I want to accomplish before the kids get out of school for summer. According to Miss A, there are only 20 something or more, maybe less. I just know it's right around the corner or, in other words, too soon!

To hold myself accountable, I'm going to go ahead and list my plans for the next few weeks. My own little challenge is to be a be busy little momma before her chicks come back home. Granted a few of these things will require a little help to accomplish, but for the most part I can do them all. I just need to remind myself that I can't do them all in a week as I'll still have my real life jobs to get done. You know like laundry, making meals, car pooling, sports games to attend, and VBS registrations to work on.

Geez, I hope I can fit these in....

Main Floor:

Kitchen Stools and Table painted black.
Finish painting Family Room
Paint Hallway and Bathroom
Hang Miss A's Self Portrait
Dining Room Hutch (clean out cabinet, lots of junk inside)
Main Computer Backed Up;
Photos sent to two outside backups Laptop Backed Up:
Photos sent to Walgreen's


Recycle all those big cardboard boxes from electronics
Go through All of Miss M's old clothes, save only the best for Miss A
Go through sports equipment/shoes giveaway wrong sport/size
Kids Space decorations: look for artwork, create artwork etc


Bonus Room: go through boxes, books, giveaway/trash/keep Kid's closets:
reduce, reorganize and sort Scrapbook:

MUST GET CAUGHT UP in my scrapbook world its still 2008!

Wow! I pray that I accomplish these tasks. Please Lord give me super strength, wisdom and discernment. I want to have a fun summer with the kids and these steps will make that possible.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Funny Things I've Heard This Past Week

Mr C is our own little Yogi Berra. He's either stating things that are overtly obvious or he's mixing up his slogans and phrases in Malaprop form. Last week Mr. C told my husband "don't kick a blind horse in the face". Next thing you know, he'll be telling us a "Nickle ain't worth a dime anymore!"

After track practice last week, I asked Mr. C what was he working on. His response "running, you know putting one foot in front of the other and racing to the finish line." Really, and here I thought they would have been working on diving techniques!

Miss A has been attending a number of birthday parties for her little kindergarten friends. It's so fun to watch them greet each other with big hugs, laughs and squeals. According to P, the little girls even tried to hug on of the boys as he was leaving a party last week. He rushed out the door.

I told Miss A that I would be signing her out of school one day so we could catch C's track meet. His meet started about 1/2 an hour before elementary school would get out for the day. Miss A got all teary eyed and said "no way, I've missed too much school you can't sign me out." When I told her that it would only be for about 20 minutes she said, "I can't miss that time, it's the best time of the day, center time" Let's remember, it's Kindergarten. While she missed a few days for illness, I've not pulled her out for unnecessary reasons. But she stood her ground and refused. Somehow I think that if I'd offered the same out to the junior highers in my house, the answer would be drastically different.

Finally, Miss M is working on a paper for social studies on the Revolutionary War. She needed to put together an analogy comparing the British with the Colonists. M came up with idea of a peanut butter sandwich with the Brits as the bread and the colonists as peanut butter. The analogy was long and drawn out about dry bread, gooey peanut butter and the deeper it got the more confused I became. We finally scrapped the idea and started over after much laughter.

I love hearing these funny little thoughts and phrases come out my children's lips. They keep me on my toes and make me laugh. Can't get better than that.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Just in case you wondered: The Family Room Fabric Squares

We are still in process with our Family Room update. Unless you ask my husband. He will say that the two toned (old and new paint colors) on the wall behind the media center look fabulous. I say he's afraid to move the flat screen! We'll see who is right.

We have purchased and made a few new decorations for the walls and bookcase that I'm mighty proud to show you. The fabric squares are from IKEA, the frames at least. We purchased the wooden framing units and then bought fabric to wrap around the frames. I love what a unique piece of art this is and, because of how they are laid out, we can switch them around or take them down during the Christmas season and put up new ones. Glad I have a husband who is good at measuring and cutting because it takes some patience to get stripes going the right way!

I made the yarn balls in the basket. Using some leftover yarn, I just covered up some foam balls and added a few balls I had from Target. Of course, Miss A thinks she might practice some juggling with the balls too!

In the Kitchen, we have a chalkboard wall we framed out with a black frame found on clearance at Hobby Lobby. It will be perfect for writing notes or menu plans. The Salsa picture in the kitchen captures our love of homemade salsa, Ole!

We love the new drapes in the kitchen too, the color is perfect. The fact that my in laws are expert drapery hangers really came in handy. Love that I can close them up to hide all the fingerprints on the glass doors to the deck! Guess I could just wash them. Nah!

While there are still a few things I've love to do with our family and kitchen (granite counter tops, new flooring), the new color and art is perfect for right now. It's fresh, fun and soothing. I promise pictures once the whole thing is done. Think summer.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Track Season Begins

A new season of Track has begun and Mr. C is once again donning a uniform and lacing up his sneakers. Running is not his favorite form of exercise, but he's planning ahead for the fall and wants to be in great condition. Already, he's shaved minutes off his time in the mile.

This year he's running the 800 which allows him to run at a normal pace and then sprint the last few meters. According to Mr. C, it's perfect for a slow guy like him. I love his self deprecating humor.

I'll admit it I'm not a huge fan of track meets. They do not seem very organized. In fact, they seemed like chaos to me. You don't know what event is happening, there is no schedule so you don't know when your child's race will be and it's crazy loud. Today, the girls and I waited for almost two hours before we saw Mr. C's only event. Thankfully, it was a great afternoon in the sunshine.

I loved watching C giving it his best. While he might have mocked running the 800, he did it with gusto. The last 100 meters, when he was pulling in the rear of the pack, he gunned it. He went for it with full speed and passed two runners in the process. For a guy who doesn't like to run and who wanted to quit track again this year after missing practice last week with allergies, he did it. He gave it his best and crossed the finish line with a smile on his face. He told me the last few meters ,he didn't even feel his legs anymore.

Track meets might not be my "thing," but I'll go any day to watch my son give it his best. Too bad Charlie Sheen ruined the phrase Winning, because I think today C proved that "winning" comes in lots of different ways!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My spring "signature" crafting piece....

I've still got the crafting bug. Last week, I decided to turn the material I had originally purchased for the Family Room update and turn them into a springtime rag wreath for our front door.

Love it!

I'd been dreaming of buying a signature spring decoration for our front door and now I've made something that is perfect. I'm so glad I changed my mind on the fabric squares for the family room and went with totally different material. While I love the fabric I used for the wreath, it was all wrong for the family room, but just perfect for our white front door.

This project was also ideal for my limited crafting skills. All you really had to do was cut fabric and then tie it to a wreath frame. It was just like making those fun flip flops with fabric. I found the perfect wire wreath frame at Hobby Lobby, a four ring frame and ended up using three rings to get the fullness I wanted.

I'm excited to make one for the fall with Halloween and thanksgiving colors. Really, the possibilities are endless. Who knows, I could even make these for gifts. Well a girl can dream about crafting, can't she. If you'd like to see the full tutorial on how to make this visit Sassy Sanctuary at

Now, I just need to finish my huge knitted blanket project before summer hits and its too hot to knit!