Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Claire's set

This is for our sweet cousin's little girl.  We are so lucky to have such wonderful family.  Bryan and I are excited to get to watch Claire grow up.  Sorry I didn't take very good pictures or very many, but I ran out of time.

This was my brainstorming/designing phase.

The finished product:

Monday, August 19, 2013

I learned something new

So I learned something new today on the blog.  I followed a tutorial from Sew Many Ways and learned how to make all of the pictures on my blog easily pinable (Is pinable a verb?  well, now it is--the act of pinning something on pinterest.  So should it be pinnable? whatever...) 

Now, you should be able to scroll over any of the pictures on my blog and see the pin it button.  You can load it straight to you boards and enjoy.  I hope you think this is as cool as I do.  So now you can pin any of these great pictures... (I'm being sarcastic...)

But you should be able to do that on all of my older posts and any future ones too.  Let me know if you have any problems!  Happy Pinning! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Summer activities that didn't make the blog

So here are some of the things we did this summer that didn't get their own post...

Watermelon Salsa--Bryan made this, and it was AWESOME!!!  A little sweet, and little hot. 


A wonderfully sweet friend got married at the beginning of August, and she helped me make (She made it, and I supervised mostly) these bow ties for her future nephews to wear at the wedding.  Her wedding was beautiful!
At Disney World, we bought a package of 4 different puzzles.  The pictures are of Disney Thomas Kinkade paintings.  We finished the Lion King puzzle and mod-podge it together.  We are planning on framing it to hang in the guest room.  We still have Peter Pan, Jungle Book, and Pinocchio to put together.

My friend, Kacee wanted to get together and make a maxi tank top dress.  So we did that one day too.  She did most of this project too, and I just guided along.  It was a super fun day.  I am so grateful for her friendship as well as our small group!

We also finally finished caulking the shower in the bathroom... so now it doesn't leak.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

"Redeeming Love"

At the beginning of June, I finished Francis Rivers' book "Redeeming Love" and it was fantastic... Until the end.  I have had this book on my shelf for several years because multiple people told me I had to read it.  I bought it several years ago and with everything that has been going on, (aka: graduating college, starting my career, getting married, buying a house, adopting a puppy....) I hadn't had the time to read it.  Well, with summer starting, I moved it to the top of the must read stack.

I knew going into the book that it was a story that followed a parallel from the book of Hosea.  God told Hosea to marry a prostitute as a symbol of His love toward Israel.  Hosea took someone who was considered "unworthy" and showed unconditional love.  Hosea loved her when she wasn't worthy, he loved her when she was wrong, he even loved her when she left him to go back to prostitution.  Hosea's love for his unworthy wife has metaphorical meaning showing God's love to us, His love to me.

Spoiler alert if you haven't ready the book....

When I started reading the prologue, I thought about quitting because it was very dark.  A little girl named Sarah was exposed to emotional abuse as her mother was a mistress of a wealthy man in town who "wished she had never been born!"  Her mother was so obsessed with wanting her father's love that she was unaware of the ideas concerning "love" she was teaching her daughter.  When the father was ready to visit, the mother sent Sarah away with the housemaid who took her to a shack hotel by the sea.  The housemaid was in a unhealthy relationship with the bartender at the hotel who took her upstairs and scared Sarah outside in the hall while he had his way with the maid.  When the bartender broke up with the maid, the maid started spouting hateful "truths" about men and life (which are not truths at all). When the father was tired of paying for Sarah and her mother to live in a small cottage, they were sent out on the streets to find refuge.   Sarah's mother went back to her parents house (who were outstanding people in society) to ask forgiveness but they tossed her and their illegitimate grandchild out without even listening.  Sarah's mother ended up being a prostitute before she died in their shack off the docks from an illness.  Sarah was then sold by her mother's "boyfriend" to a man named Duke.   Duke was a wealthy and powerful man who was also pure evil.  He was a sick pedophile who changed her name to Angel when he took her virtue. 

All of that was in the prologue.  I really wanted to put down the book and never look back.  It was so dark, so hurtful, so twisted to what I know is truth.  I felt for this little girl.  Because of God's goodness, I have never been in any situation anything close to that.  I can only imagine it because of the book, but I really wanted no part of this story.  But then I started to think about God's redeeming love and I knew the story had the possibility to teach me something and I didn't want to miss out.

The book started off with Angel in a brothel in California.  You feel her misery.  You feel others judgment on her.  You feel the sick desires of the men who come to visit.  Angel is trapped in nightmare but thinks it is the only option.

Michael Hosea is in town delivering his crops to the market when he sees her walking down the street.  The Lord speaks to him and tells him this is the woman he is to marry.  He does not know that she is the most sought after prostitute in the city nor that she resides under the watchful eye of two evil and controlling people.  He finds out from the store manager her details and then thinks about how he can even get close to her. 

Michael ends up paying the brothel to go to her room and expects to take her out of there that night.  It doesn't go like he plans, and he ends up going back 3 more times before he storms off mad.  Angel then ticks off the wrong person who beats her almost to the point of death.  Michael returns to find her black and blue.  He races to find a pastor, brings him back to Angel to preform a ceremony.  Angel is half conscious and when asked if she takes Michael to be her husband she says "why not."

Michael takes Angel back to his farm in the valley and shows her the most precious love.  He shows her unconditional love.  He nurses her back to health.  He begins to teach her life skills like building a fire and others things.  It isn't easy.  Angel is not trusting, or understanding.  She is constantly looking for the catch or what it would cost her.  Michael continues to show her love.  It isn't easy and takes almost 350 pages, but she falls in love with him too.

Angel runs away from Michael 3 times throughout the book.  The first time she runs away to escape a situation that she can't seem to understand -- a man taking her in and loving her for no reason she knows of-- and returns to prostitution.  Michael's brother-in-law is the first when he demands a payment for the 30 mile ride back into town.  Angel returns to see things in the town have changed and has to take up a new residence in a room above the saloon.  Michael comes to take Angel back and finds her in the middle of a "job."  He still took her back, he showed her love.  He forgave her.

When she realized that she was starting to begin feeling love also, she ran away again.  But this time she was determined to not turn back to prostitution and didn't.  She found work a merchant who was also a friend of Michaels.  The merchant sent word to Michael and he came and got her again.

The third time she runs away it is because she cannot have children because of something Duke had the doctors do to her when she was in prostitution.  This time she runs away because she truly does love Michael and knows that he wants children and she can't give them to him.  At this point in the story, Angel thinks that this God Michael talks about and loves is just some lie that Michael believes.  If there were a God, how could He have let the things that happened to her happen?  Where is God in that?

There were other characters that played an important role throughout the story in teaching Angel how to love, the Altmans.  When Angel left, she had planned for the oldest daughter of that family to marry Michael when he "got over her" so that she could give him children.  Because of dramatic irony, we know that the older daughter actually wants the brother-in-law.  Angel's plan doesn't work, however this time, Michael will not go after her, knowing that God needs to save her soul and Angel has to come back on her own.

Angel runs away and ends up in a large town.  A still small voice leads her to a cafĂ© where she ends up getting hired as the cook.  She works hard for 6 months there before the place catches fire.  When the are out rummaging through the remains she goes for a drink of water only to hear the voice of the devil himself.  She stands up to see Duke. 

Duke forces her back to his establishment, a bar and casino type of a place that held a brothel upstairs.  He takes her upstairs and begins to mock her.  He doesn't lay a hand on her however, waiting to torment her more.  During this time she meets a girl called in to serve her named Cherry and can hear Dukes new little girl crying in the room next door.  Duke plans this big event to "display" Angel in front of the men in the saloon before putting her to work again.   Angel is terrified but keeps being comforted by this still small voice.  When she is shoved on stage, the men ask her to sing.  In a panic she starts to sing the only song that comes to her mind.  It was a song Michael had sung one time, she started singing "Rock of Ages."

That shut the men in the room up.  Angel panicked and quit singing.  One man sitting at the bar starts to sing the rest of the song.  When she goes off stage, Duke is furious.  As he raises his hand to hit her, the man that sang come up and threatens Duke with his life, promising to have him hung in the square if he touched her.  The man asks Angel if she would like to leave and she response with a yes and asks him to wait a minute.  Angel goes upstairs and gets the two little girls and takes them with her. 

At this point in the story, I have loved every minute of Gods redeeming love! The story is so fascinating and even with all of the dark and evil within the story, the overpowering theme of Gods ability to love us, to love me is uplifting and encouraging.  It is from here that I have a little judgment.  Now, who am I to judge a book?  No one!  I don't have any literary degrees and I have never written anything worth reading either.  But the ending of the book really frustrates me. 

This man takes Angel and the two little girls back to his home with his wife and daughter.  They provide refuge for these three.  The two little girls end up getting adopted by loving families.  Angel befriends this man's daughter and through her, that is how Angel comes to know the loving Savior of Christ.  Angel and the daughter start a ministry with funding from the father and others in town to serve as a refugee to prostitutes.  They take in prostitutes, give them a safe place to stay as well as teach them skills needed to find honest work.  The ministry has arrangements to help them find paying jobs around town once they have mastered the skills needed (cooking, sewing, reading, writing, etc.)

The idea of Angel starting this ministry is wonderful, and does show God's redeeming love.  However, the brother-in-law is the one that finds her and brings her back to Michael.  They immediately make up and then the story ends.  The Epilogue tells you that the ministry continues and does well, and then Angel and Michael have 4 children.  That's it.  There is no explanation as to how she has the children, when the information you know earlier is that it would be next to impossible fkr Angel to have children.

That is why I am displeased with the ending.... I never could have written story as well as this, however, I would have ended it differently.  I think that Angel should have been the one to adopt the two little girls and then when she returned to Michael, he could have adopted them as well.  Who would possibly know more about how to relate to these little ones than Angel and Michael?  Who could comfort and encourage more than them?  What is a better example and analogy to God's love for us than adoption? 

Ephesians 1:4-6 says "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves."

I am not saying that I think Angel shouldn't have had a baby.  I just think that the large family they established should have been through adoption and bloodline.  I was adopted into Christ family.  What a precious and true picture of love when you can love something that society tells you not to. 

The ending bothered me so much... that it took me all summer to write this and post it.  I finished the book two weeks into the summer...

If you stuck with me through this long post, what do you think?  If you have read the book or not, thoughts?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Reupholstery Re-do

With my parents moving into their new house, we have "adopted" some new things (and a lot of times we have "adopted" them right before they were put at the street or taken to Good Will.)  My dad had this chair in his bedroom at a writing desk that he had at the old house. 

Minutes before it went to Good Will, I saved it... and brought it to my house... to let it sit in our garage all summer.  I wanted to use this chair in my classroom, but at this point it was incredibly dirty and I didn't think I could clean it (and I wasn't crazy about the blue.)

I found some fabric at Joann's and bought 3 1/2 yards not knowing how much would be needed.

My mom came down to help me.  I figured that I had a DIY blog, the tools needed and my mom... we so we could knock this out in about 4 hours or so and I would have a great new seat for my classroom.

WRONG!  This was how far we got in the first 4 hours...  I'm not kidding...

This is what it looked like at the end of day one. 

This is the main thing I learned from this project: I don't like upholstery.  I will not take on another project like this unless it looks like it will be much easier (like reupholstering dining room chairs with the one seat cushions etc.)  But I will not be buy recliners from Good Will and turning them into something special... no way:
  -The fabric was more expensive that I would have liked (I'm cheap with fabric because I'm still not confident in what I'm doing.  What if I mess it up?  I would feel much better throwing away a $2 a yard fabric than a $20...) 
  -The staple gun is hard to use. 
  -We couldn't put it back together the way it was professionally assembled.
  -We weren't confident that it would stay as we were assembling it.
  -You need two people to be able to pull the fabric as needed.  It was a blast spending that much time with my mom, don't get me wrong, but if I bring too many more of these projects home... she'll quit answering my phone calls...
Luckily, we were able to finish the main parts of the chair in two days.  So a few days later my mom came back and we finished the "two person" job.  We still had the piping to do and the bottom pieces, but that was something I could do on my own.  The piping is the part directly touching the wood below.  It required a little bit of sewing, but not much.
This is what the piping looks like:

I also wanted to cover the bottom (because that is how it was previously) but I wasn't sure if I wanted to use the green fabric or if I wanted to spend more $$ and buy black fabric just for this project.  In talking a friend, Mrs. DiAnna, I obtained extra upholstery fabric that she had.  I probably would have used it if it were maroon, but it was perfect... black!

We cheated when it came to the back and bottom, we glued it instead of stapling it.  We thought about doing the tacks, but that would have been another 3 days work if you ask me...  so we glued the back on and let that dry for a couple of days.  Then I flipped the bottom over and glued that.  I did put a few staples in the bottom just for extra hold but not very many. 

I put the base back on, and...  Ta-da!

A perfect new chair for my classroom....  Go Knights!!
Special thanks to my mom... it wouldn't have happened without her.  And Mrs. DiAnna came in very handy too.  Love you both!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hadley's set

My mother-in-law ordered these for a mutual friend.  We are so excited about baby Hadley! Sorry the pictures came out kind of blurry... I was in a hurry. :)
To be honest, I made the bib and then took a break and when I went back to the burp clothes... I typed in Harley instead of Hadley.  So I got to do these twice!
All together and finished.
My father-in-law had also asked that I make some burp clothes for them to keep at their house.  As you know, they have 1 grandchild (the best nephew in the world!) and for so strange reason they think they will have more one day.... weird. :)  (No... not currently pregnant.)  So they wanted some cute burp cloths that were grandchildren neutral to keep at their house.  This is what I came up with...
My Father-in-law is the assistant fire chef at the plant he works at, and they live in Texas City (the TCHS Stingarees with school colors of orange and black)

I did have an oopsy on this project.  I made the bib and had it completely finished.  Then when I was designing the bibs...

The bib said Hadley... the burp cloths were going to say Harley.  Guess who got to do the burp cloths again!  Oh well, at least I didn't finish two bibs before I realized it!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Nutella Rice Krispy Treats

Um.  Hea. Ven. Ly.!   This Rice Krispy Treats are a new favorite at my house.  Bryan even in his own way made several comments asking about how easy these were for me to make (really, he was seeing if it was okay to ask me to make them all the time...)

Ingredients for the Rice Krispy Treats:
6 cups of Rice Krispy Cereal
1 small jar of Nutella (or about a cup)
1 bag of miniature Marshmallows
1/2 stick of butter

Chocolate Topping:  (not gonna lie... next time I will cut this part in half)
1 small jar of Nutella (or about a cup)
1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. flour

To make the Rice Krispy Treats:
- Prep a 13x9 pan with Pam or your choice of greasing agent.
- put the 6 cups of Rice Krispy's in a large bowl and place aside.
- On the stove, melt the butter and marshmallows together.  When you have it creamy, add the 
  Nutella. Stir until mixed well. 
- Add Chocolate sauce to the Rice Krispy's and mix.  (careful, it gets really sticky and delicious
-Place contents of the bowl in your pan that you have already prepped.  Spread out as evenly as

 - that does leave the very unfortunate part of having to clean out the bottom on the bowl... what a yummy treat!

To make the topping:
- combine the Nutella, chocolate chips and flour to a sauce pan (I used the same one from above...)
  and stir until melted and smooth.
- Pour over Rice Krispy's and smooth out.

- Let the treats sit for a few minutes to harden (I put mine in the fridge to hurry it along)
- Cut and serve!

These were so good... this was all that was left by the time I could take a picture... only 5... okay now 4 left!

So good!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Eli's birthday

How precious is my neighbor Eli?

Remember the bib and onesie set I made? Here they are in action! So precious!!! 

I hope you had a happy birthday Eli!  Thanks Paige and Jonathon for including me on his special day!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Layla's Set

This was an order from my sister-in-law.

Here are some of the prep pictures. :)

Here is the finished product:


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tex mex casserole

Another Pintrest recipe for tonight's dinner:
This is a Tex-Mex Casserole that was very yummy!
1 can 10.75 ounce Campbell's Healthy Request Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 can 10.75 ounce Campbell's Healthy Request Tomato Soup
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 lb ground turkey (you could use beef, but really you don't need to--you can't tell a difference) 
1 can Rotel Mild tomatoes
1 can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 can Sweet Corn, drained 
2 cups cooked penne pasta (the original said to use whole wheat... but I used what I had)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper  
Tony's and garlic salt to taste.
1 bag casserole cheese (you could use cheddar too) 
- Preheat oven to 350 and spray some Pam into a 13 x 9 baking dish and set aside.
- Brown you turkey meat, chopped onion and garlic
- Boil pasta and drain.
- In a bowl, whisk together tomato soup and 1/2 cup of water.  When mixed well, add to bowl of
  pasta and stir to coat the pasta.
- When the meat is cooked, rinse and add the cheddar cheese soup, Rotel, chili powder, cumin, salt, 
  pepper, Tony's and garlic salt.
- Rinse black beans and corn and place in a bowl (I rinsed out the bowl I used for the tomato soup
  and use that) add 1 tsp of chili powder and stir.
- In you already greased pan, place the pasta in the bottom, the meat combination next, the add the
  corn and beans and then top with some shredded cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes and serve (careful... it's hot!)