Sunday, January 30, 2011

5th Sunday

One Sunday per quarter (four Sundays a year), our church has a "5th Sunday" service. Well...it's not actually a service so much as it is a day of service. I have to admit, as a comfy pew sitter, I was a little skeptical about the idea at first..."you want me to get out of my seat? and get my hands dirty? Can't you schedule this on a different day of the week so that I can pretend to have a prior obligation?" No. That's the idea. We've all got 1.5 hours per week marked off for Sunday morning church services. 5th Sunday service gets us into the community where there's real need.

We want to be like Jesus...just without the dirt, but the red letters say: Whatever you do for "the least of these" (i.e., the forgotten, the downtrodden, the neglected, and the oppressed), you do for the Lord. (Matt 25:40).

Our project today was at the Coordinated Homeless Outreach Center (CHOC) in Norristown Pennsylvania. You want to know what hopelessness looks like? These are just a handful of the dozens and dozens of sleeping cots in the large room we were working in.

Our project was sorting donated supplies in the supply closet and organizing them for the outreach center. Here are a few people in our group after we finished up today - you can see more cots in the background:

And my personal favorite and proudest memory from today...

Sadie was offered a job putting together goodie bags for the residents, but there were so many kids doing it, that we decided to go back to our supply closet and keep organizing. She pushed around giant cardboard boxes full of disposable plates and bowls to their appropriate cabinets, she helped count sleeves of cups for inventory, she unloaded napkins into neat little stacks in the cabinets, she carried empty cardboard boxes to the trash to be broken down, and she stocked an entire shelf full of toilet paper because she wanted to "help people."

She didn't know who exactly she was helping (we saw a lot of homeless people in the center, but of course she can't tell a homeless man from a millionaire - oh to be three again), but she knew we were missing church so that others could benefit. And she contributed in the biggest way she knew how...

"The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together, and a little child will lead them." (Isaiah 11:6)

I don't know how much of an impact was made today, but I do know there was impact. I also don't know what your personal beliefs on an entire congregation "skipping church" are, but I do know that I am happy to be at a church where Christian principles are put into practice in a tangible way, and not just a church where we can nod comfortably at uncomfortable truths...in a warm building...with good music...and coffee and danishes.

Here's a good news article about 5th Sunday at Storehouse if you want to know more about it!

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Upcycled Owl Pillow!

I was inspired the other day to make an owl pillow by someone who was making fun of someone else who made an owl pillow. (Amazing where the inspiration bug can come from, isn't it?)


I have lots of fabric, but I also had a bag full of Sadie's old clothes, and I realized that a shirt is the perfect shape for an owl!! So I used these:

Drew a pattern and disassembled the ruffles:
(The horns fit into the shoulders and the scoop neck makes the top of the head - nifty, right?)

Laid out my design:

And stuffed her with pillow stuffing before sewing her all the way up! Look at my cute little monkey with her cute little owl :)

She named her "Owlie," of course!

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mug Rugs!

Remember when I went on a crafty rampage for the little facebook challenge I'm doing? Where I have to make things for 5 people this year (thank goodness it's still January) and mail it to them sometime before the end of the year?

I just got my first treat from the challenge in the mail from Debbie! Two FABULOUS mug rugs! What? You don't know what a mug rug is? Let Debbie educate you.

Now that you're appropriately educated - look how awesome these are!
(does she know me, or what?)

And here's the back - the BACK, people!

I am so in love with them that I made Eric go to the grocery store (in the snow) to buy cookies so that I could test them out...


And they work great! (And I definitely ate more than 2 cookies tonight).

Check out Debbie's photos of the project here!

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Top 10 Ways to Get Your House Clean QUICK

You wanna know how to get your house sparkly clean, right? Well, thank goodness I'm perfect, otherwise I might not be able to enlighten you with my Top 10 Ways to Get Your House Clean Quick:

(Just ignore her - she's bitter because I'm an expert.) Photo Credit

10. The Funky Smell - Nothin' says, "clean me now!" like a funky smell. Is it the dishes that have been sitting in the sink for (murmur, murmur, whisper, cough) [insert heinously long amount of time]? Is it the clothes that I accidentally left in the washer overnight...2 nights ago? I don't know - let's just clean the whole house.

9. Watch Hoarders - That's all I need to say.

8. The "Really Important Project" - Have someone task you with something you know you'll dread doing. A project for work, a favor for someone you don't like...I don't know, you're clever, you'll think of something. I find house-cleaning to be extremely procrastinatious because sometimes it sucks less than that other thing you need to do.

7. Fight Night - You know what makes me some women do dishes (really loudly), fold clothes (really loudly), clean bathrooms (really loudly), and generally buzz about the house like the cleaning fairy (really loudly)? Domestic disagreements. That's right, gals, pick a fight, get a clean house! *Poof* It's like friggin' magic!

6. Nesting - Want a spotless house? All you have to do is get pregnant...and wait about 7 months for the nesting instincts to kick in. Ready, set, go!

5. Babies - Nesting is certainly not to be outdone by what happens after the pregnancy. The baby! Babies are sweet, cute, and cuddly. They also like to put things in their mouth and crawl around on your dirty floors. You don't want to call Poison Control...so you clean!

4. Move - Like...change addresses. I'm super experienced with this one, having lived in 12 different places over the last 10 years. It's really easy, all you have to do is find a new place to live, make enough money to live there, pack up all your stuff, and there you have it! Clean house!

3. Break the Toilet - Or in my case (as happened tonight), break the hot water heater. If you want a clean house in a hurry, break something! Having to call a repairman will get your house clean quick because we all know that you don't want the plumber to think you're a slob.

2. Lose Something Small (but Important) - Here's my trick, "Sadie, can you please go hide mommy's wedding band somewhere I'll NEVER find it? Mommy's tired of the mess around here..." Hah - I'm only mostly joking about that.

1. Guests - And the number one way to guarantee a clean house in a hurry is to {drum-roll, please}: invite company over! The surest way to make sure that every corner of your house is clean is to call up a friend (but not your best friend, because, c'mon, you know you don't clean for her) and ask them to come over for dinner. And make sure dinner's in 45 minutes. Clean house, comin' right up!

My motto is: "There's no cleanliness like frantic, time sensitive, running-around-the-house-like-a-crazy-woman cleanliness." Well...that's not my motto, but it's pretty good, I might adopt it.

Oh - you wanted a real tip? This is the only thing that actually helps me when I can't find motivation in any of the above. Maybe you can use it too!

Happy Cleaning!

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Monday, January 24, 2011

My Addiction

I'm only telling you this because it's you. I can't tell this to just anyone.

If salsa were illegal (or dangerous to my health or the health of my family), I would need an intervention for the following reasons:
  • I buy four jars of it at a time at the store. If I get down to only one jar, I have heart palpitations and start freaking out like a mad woman become slightly agitated.
  • I invent reasons to "need" salsa in my food. "Oh, we're having Mexican spaghetti tonight, honey...don't mind the jalapeƱos!"
  • If people wouldn't judge me, I would just drink salsa. Or eat it with a spoon. Or suck it up with a straw. Or have it shot into my veins. {too much?}
  • When I am eating chips and salsa, I trick myself into thinking I don't have a problem by eating all but 1/4 of the jar, and then putting it into the fridge for next time. "Doob, why are there three 3/4 empty jars of salsa in the fridge?"
  • I'm pretty sure that my kid loves salsa because it's the only thing I really craved while I was pregnant...somehow the cravings never stopped...actually, I'm pretty sure I started "craving" salsa a few years before I got pregnant. Like when I was 12.
  • I have started buying Baked Tostitos Scoops chips because: a) they make me feel minutely healthier about going through 1/2 a bag in one sitting, and b) THEY'RE SHAPED LIKE A FRIGGIN' SCOOP! If I could use a shovel within the confines of salsa-eating etiquette, I would. Scoop chips are a passable alternative until shovel-shaped chips are invented.
  • I continually look at my husband (who is eying my salsa habit knowingly) and say, "I know...I have a problem."
  • I just "liked" my favorite brand of Salsa on facebook. (UGH - I have issues)
Tonight was the absolute last straw. We were out of chips, but we were not out of salsa. I made chicken, garlic butter rice, and broccoli for supper tonight, but what did I really want? Salsa...

*Author's Note* If you think you're going to judge me, please stop reading at the last line (or...maybe just pretend you didn't read any of this). If you are prepared to love me despite what I'm about to tell you, you may continue reading.

...{ahem} now that only my *real* friends are reading. I took the garlic butter rice (garlic butter...you got that, right?). Put it in a bowl by itself. Poured salsa over it. Mixed it with a small dollop of sour cream. And devoured it. It was disgustingly wonderful.

And now you know. Please - PUH-LEASE - whatever you do, do NOT intervene. Of all of the addictions in the world, I like mine the best.

If you want to know more about my problem (and about the thousands of Americans who apparently have the same problem as me), you can read about the life and times of my favorite-salsa-ever-in-the-whole-universe here.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Errant Thought roundup 24 - GUEST POST!

This Saturday is my BFF's birthday. She will officially be 29, which means we are entering our 23rd year of being best buddies. In celebration of her big day and in special honor of her last year as a "twenty-something," I asked her if she would do a guest post for the thought roundup...because what says, "Happy Birthday" and "I love you" more than asking your friend to take time out of their busy schedule to contribute to your blog?

Happy Birthday, Feather Leigh!!

Guest Post:

I love, I love, I hate, I hate
I like, I wish, for goodness sake
I hope, I hope, I pray, I pray
I will, I won't, and for today...

My Thought Roundup:

I love that I’ve had the same bff since first grade and that we are still best friends to this day…we are closer than many “real” sisters, and I thank God everyday for her and our friendship—she has a permanent place in my heart and in my family until the end of time. And p.s. I love that she writes this blog, so I can keep up with her life during this (better be brief) time that she lives so far away from me.

I love that I have a boyfriend that dropped everything that was going on at work one day to come pull my car out of the ice and snow when I was stuck. And did I mention another day he fixed a broken piece on my fence and changed out a light fixture in my house? I’m so blessed to have him and so thankful for how he takes care of me. It makes my parents really happy too!

I hate the word hate. It’s such a strong nasty word and emotion. My mom tried to teach me not to use the word hate when I was younger because it doesn’t sound nice and normally it’s not really even true when we use it. I’ve come to realize (like with most things my parents have taught me) she was right.

I hate both smoking and the f-word. I personally don’t think either is very becoming of a lady or a gentleman. And to my friends who may partake in either, I still love you, I just don’t like the action, okay?

I like how words I read or things I see remind me of old song lyrics. I really wanted to break into sir mix-a-lot’s one hit wonder for this category. “I like big…” you know the rest.

I wish that some of my favorite people lived closer to me. I’ve come to understand that part of growing up means people scatter…friends from school, friends from college, family, they all get spread out, and that’s just life. But it doesn’t make me like it anymore.

For goodness sake please use a filter, when you speak, when you post messages on facebook, really most of the time. I know, I’m a pretty honest person and I’m definitely one to speak my mind when something matters to me, but have some tact. And understand what TMI means…too much information. Is this post TMI? I hope not, I re-read it a million times to filter!

I hope my first errant though roundup isn’t a complete bust. I was really nervous about writing this, and excited, but more nervous I would write or say words I couldn’t take back…and that they might come across wrong or misunderstood.

I hope for the people I know that may be feeling hopeless right now. I hope that I can be a shining light of the hope I have in Christ, and that would help them to see and find that same hope…because it truly is the greatest Hope of all.

I pray for Katherine Hall. I don’t actually know her, but have friends that do and her husband actually works at my company. Katherine has terminal cancer. She and her husband Scott also have a beautiful four-year-old little girl. Katherine won’t be there to see her daughter go on her first date, go to prom, get married, etc. I can’t even imagine. My heart breaks for them. Some things we can never understand this side of Heaven.*

I pray that God will teach me and show me how to be content and live “in” each day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for planning and preparing, but I think I often spend so much time looking forward to the weekend, or something going on next week or next month, that I’m missing out on what is happening today.

I will embrace the age of 29. I don’t love the idea of being closer to 30, but I feel like 29 is going to be a great year for me! And I like odd numbers.

I won’t procrastinate anymore on volunteering for a local organization that has been on my heart for a few years now—Piedmont Women’s Center. It’s an organization that helps women with unplanned pregnancies—offering them hope, love and support.

And for today I will count my blessings…when I’m bored with my job, or feeling like I need to lose weight, or like I should dress better, or discouraged over something silly going on, I will remind myself what is important and how one girl could surely never deserve the blessings I’ve been given in this life.

*For more information on Katherine Hall, or to help her family by way of monetary donation or prayer, please visit: http://hallraiser.checkpointzero.com/


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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fabric Rosette Tutorial

I love the little rosettes that are on everything right now, and I just tried a project that was a total bust, so I had lots of leftover silk. So I made a few rosettes tonight.


I'm sure there are better ways to do this, but here's mine!

Step 1: Get a length of fabric (I used about 1 yd x 3")
I used gray for my first one.

Step 2: Fold in all of the unfinished edges (I'm too lazy to actually press and stitch this beforehand...thankfully, laziness pays on this project)

Step 3: Once you've folded in the unfinished edges, begin folding the length of fabric over itself in a vague circle pattern - stitch over each fold to hold it in place:



Step 4: Once you've made it all the way around the rosette several times and have a teeny tiny little hole left in the middle, poke the rest of the fabric down through the middle of the hole:

Step 5: Once you've done that, trim the remaining end off so that it doesn't show from under the rosette (I folded and stitched so that it wouldn't look unfinished on the bottom).

Once you've completed step 5, you should have a thread-filled little rosette:

Step 6: Trim the thread:

Step 7: Finish with beading or some other little embellishment in the center:

Super cute!

I've made 5 tonight - really easy project with really low time commitment. Awesome if you want to practice with a new sewing machine too! I'm going to use this one as a hair clip, but I could definitely see it on a headband, as a brooch, or as some bling for a little clutch...couldn't you?

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Retrospection

Do you ever wonder what you were doing "last year at this time?" or "x years ago today?" I do - all the time. In fact, it's how I measure time. Thinking about Eric having 2.5 years of school left makes me think about what we were doing 2.5 years ago.

2.5 years ago: July of 2008. Sadie was one year old. We had just tied up the loose ends from one of the hardest seasons in our marriage - a season of need and hope! Thinking about how recent that seems helps me to remember that the next 2.5 years are going to fly by with the same lightning speed as the last 2.5 years did.


In that spirit, I was looking back to last year to see what I was doing, and I found a post that at it's root is a tribute to my daughter - the one person in the world who has taught me the most about the character of God. I'm going to repost an excerpt of it here because I'm in love with the story, and I find it so applicable today...

The Accident
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sunday, January 17th, 2010

While I was there on Saturday, Diane told me that the thing that has brought her closest to God has been her relationship with her daughters. She said that when she feels love or hurt or any one of the millions of emotions you face as a mother, she thinks about God and how he must have, at so many times, felt the same way about her.

What a light bulb. What a revelation. What a divine appointment. Here’s why:

The night before, when we had been working on the Hearts and Band-aids project at Punkin and Uncle Ricky’s house, Sadie had a pee pee accident. Not a horrible one, but enough to cause me to have to go get panties out of the car and take her tights off from under her dress. No biggie, right? Frustrating, but seriously, no biggie.

Not TEN minutes later, Punkin, Uncle Ricky, and I were laughing at how silly she was walking around in my new red shoes (NEW being the operative word), when GUSHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I swear, it looked like the child’s water broke. There was pee EVERYWHERE. Including inside of my new red shoes. I just kind of looked at her…not sure how to feel or what to do next.Thankfully, Punkin grabbed a towel and snapped me back into reality long enough for me to realize that this kid needed to be stripped naked.

Out to the car I went, breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. Popped the trunk. Opened the suitcase. Pulled out another pair of panties and some pajamas for her to wear home. Shut the trunk. Walked back into the house…

This was the moment.

I stood against the wall with these clean clothes, ready to cry, thinking to myself, “I could just open up the front door and toss her in the yard for a bit. She could have all the accidents she wanted to out there, and then I could go get her later…once she’s potty trained, maybe.” But I didn’t toss her out into the yard.Instead, I looked at her – realizing she needed a little consolation and a reassuring voice. Repressing the urge to let the woodland creatures of Hickory finish potty training her, I bent down and I said, “You know what, it’s ok. It was an accident. Everybody has accidents sometimes. You just need to remember next time if you think you’re going to have an accident, come see me, and we’ll do our best to make sure you don’t, ok?”

It occurred to me while sitting in Diane’s chair. I wonder how many times I have done something, and God has wanted to just open up the front door and toss me out into the yard for a while?He never has, though. Instead, He bends down, and he says, “You know what, it’s ok. It was an accident. Everybody has accidents sometimes. You just need to remember next time if you think you’re going to have an accident, come see Me and we’ll do our best to make sure you don’t, ok?”

----

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Luke 11:10-12

-or-

“Which of you, if (her daughter) asks for (consolation) will (open up the front door and toss her in the front yard for a while)? Or, if (she) asks for (reassurance) will (ignore her and leave her potty training to the animals of Hickory)? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here's to enjoying your own little adventures, and to happy retrospection...

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wand Holder Project

Sadie *loves* making stuff. I have no idea where she gets that from. Regardless, I couldn't very well go to the craft store to pick up stuff for myself and not let her pick out something. And what, you might ask, did she pick out? Rhinestones.

That's right - a big ol' shiny bag of bling. She is so my kid. And what do you make with a bunch of rhinestones? Why, a bling-tastic wand holder, of course. Sadie has recently acquired a bunch of wands, and now they all have a sparkly new home!

Here's our quick how to:

First - we found a container

Then we gathered the rest of our ingredients (rhinestones + a bunch of ribbons, fabric, glue, etc., from my craft stash)

Then we (I) rinsed it out and dried it. After it was dry, Sadie peeled off the label

Once the container was totally naked, I took the fabric (that Sadie chose from my fabric stash, of course) and hot glued it around the container. Once that part was finished, I let Sadie Lou do the rest with Elmer's glue

And didn't she do a simply fabulous job?

Here's her new wand holder in action:

Can I tell you how difficult it is to watch her put all the rhinestones on one side of the container when the other side is clearly begging for a little love? But this was *her* project...and I think it looks gawgeous.

Not only did she get to make something useful for herself, but we had a little creative time. More creative time = less TV. Less TV = less chance that she's going to ask me for a cavity-inducing cereal...or a Polly Pocket.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ruffle Necklace!

I loved the ruffle necklace at Ruffles and Stuff, so much that I decided to try my hand at one tonight. I did mine quite a bit differently from the technique that she used in hers, but I'm really happy with how it turned out!

Quick Ruffle Necklace Tutorial:

Step 1: Gather Supplies

I used a length of chain, two types of beads, a ruffle (pre-made...I'm not Martha, but please feel free to make your own if you feel so inclined), clasps, eye pins, and jump rings.

Step 2: Clip your length of chain, place a jump ring on each end, and attach your clasp (using jewelry pliers) to the jump rings.
The jump rings are the two large rings (not links in the chain) attached to the clasp. The only jump rings I had were silver. C'est la vie.

Step 3: Attach your ruffle!

I didn't want the ruffle to look too "planned," so I sewed it on with simple whip stitches, but you can use the technique at PoppyChic if you would rather have more of a gathered look.

Step 4: Clip the chain anywhere you want to add beading.

I clipped one section at a time, putting the beading on in between clips so that I could gauge the length as I worked.

Step 5: Create a bead pattern on your eye pins.

Step 6: For each of these, you'll need to clip the end of the eye pin off leaving about 1/2" on the open end.

Step 7: Once you've clipped down to 1/2" (or so), hold the end with your pliers and roll it into a loop so that you can reattach it to your chain.

After you're done with all of your beading, you should have a lovely little addition to your jewelry collection!


Have fun!!

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