Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Like to Hike!


Sarah and I went hiking today. It has been awhile since I've been on a good hike, and this was a REALLY good one! Here are some snapshots of our adventure on the Ridge Trail along the Blue Ridge Mountains.

At the beginning of the hike, Ev dropped us off at the "Scenic Overlook" where there was a lone college guy sleeping in 
his car.
Sarah at the Summit! (She is powerful and free!)


Coming down off the mountain!
 


At our special spot - PSALM 19!



Aromatherapy!

Sarah and I went to an Introduction to Aromatherapy seminar yesterday. And it was AWESOME! We learned a lot about essential oils and how to mix them both for pleasure and relaxation and for therapeutic benefits. I purchased a few basic oils and a carrier oil and we were able to mix up one thing for free! There was also a lot about the things to look for and not to look for in ingredients. Basically, most of us slather chemicals, toxins, heavy metals, and plastics on our skin and hair most days - an interesting thing to think about.
Here are some highlights:
  • Essential Oils do not have a shelf life until they are mixed with a carrier oil like, sesame, apricot kernel, sunflower, sweet almond, etc. After mixing, you should use the product within 9-12 months. This is why if a product claims to be all natural/organic and has essential oils in it, you should also be able to tell when it was made and when it expires.
  • The best oils for decreasing agitation and increasing concentration are a mixture of lavendar and orange.
  • Essential oils are actually better for killing germs, bacteria and viruses than most household cleaners, antiseptics, and cold medicines. The best for killing germs in the air or your home is Cinnamon Oil, so you can mix a few drops with a couple tablespoons of water and put it in a diffuser (viruses are actually unable to live in cinnamon oil). Lemongrass is the best deodorizing oil and it is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, so it is good to use as a deodorant or insect repellent. The best ones for your skin are Patchouly and Tea Tree. Patchouly is an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal oil with properties that actually help with cell regeneration, and Tea Tree is strongly anti-bacterial and anti-fungal with anti-inflammatory and pain killing properties.
  • You can use essential oils in a number of different ways, including but not limited to - body oils, facial oils, scalp oils, therapeutic baths, direct inhalation, steam inhalation, compresses, diffusers, facial spritzers, and perfumes.
If you have specific needs and are wondering how essential oils might benefit you, just let me know and I can share some of these resources with you. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Radiant Folks!

My family is quite the bunch! Each unique, lovely, and beautiful in their individual ways. And as I watch them grow (my parents included) I am both amazed and befuddled at how truth shines through their lives, almost as constant parables to remind me through different situations about God's grace and love.
My parents were recently celebrated at their homeschool support group's spring program for 14 years of service through leadership. A lot of their leadership was driven by wanting to provide specific opportunities for their children and to serve other families with similar areas of need. These folks are definitely to of the greatest heroes in my life and for such a long time I wondered why they gave up so much of their dreams to dedicate an overabudance of time, energy, and love into their children. They could have still been phenomenal parents if they didn't. Then I thought about my relationship with my son, Elliot and how Evan and I's worlds were turned upside-down when he was born. It was then that I realized that they didn't necessarily give up on their dreams, their dreams might not even have changed, but a new dream took precedence. I shared some of these thoughts at their celebration and it inspired my sister to write a beautiful song for me on Mothers Day (she is also one through which radiance often makes a breath-taking appearance). And I wanted to share it here. Hopefully, we can get it recorded soon! :)

Elliot

Figs ®

She found her making pancakes as she walked through the kitchen door

And then she had a thought that she had never had before

Look at how beautiful and gracious she is

I bet you didn’t plan to spend your life like this

You could have done anything you wished

 And Mom said:

 Chorus:

Maybe I had other plans

But they don’t matter now

My dreams have changed over the years

I can’t explain to you how

But I have everything I ever wanted

It’s not investing in what, but in who

Baby, when I look at you

I see all my dreams come true

 Verse 2:

She found her father once again, paying bills, checkbook in hand

Amazed at the consistency and legacy of the man

Look at how loving and strong he is

I bet you didn’t plan to spend your life like this

You could have done anything you wished

And Dad said:

 Chorus

 Verse 3:

And as her husband sped through the lanes

She struggled through all the pain

Far from their minds were yesterday’s plans

When they held their surprise little boy in their hands

And she said:

Chorus II:

Maybe I had other plans

But they don’t matter now

My dreams have changed this very day

I can’t explain to you how

But now I have everything that I ever wanted

It’s not investing in what but in who

Elliot, when I look at you

I see all my dreams come true.


He's on the Move


This week Elliot has sprouted his first tooth and started crawling. He's taken a few crawling steps before, but yesterday he got the alternating arms and legs down and crawled a few feet. Today he crawled from the living room to the dining room to the music room. Then rested a bit before crawling into the bathroom and his bedroom. The poor guy is completely tuckered out!
Here's a video of his first escapades and a picture of him helping me clean the floor (I felt like I definitely needed to get down on his level with some baby-friendly cleaner and make sure all my floors are baby-friendly too!)

video

Super Cook to the Rescue


So...you don't really have time to run to the store or you have two days left before payday or you're just about to leave on vacation and don't to buy anything that will go bad while you're away. BUT you just can't seem to figure out how any of the random ingredients in your kitchen could possibly go together to make something tasty (and stone soup is just not an option for your family).
Never fear! Super Cook is here! That's right. Finally, the website we've all been waiting for. Just go to supercook.com and enter the ingredients that you have. They will do a search of their own website as well as all the other major recipe websites out there and give you a list of recipes that you can make with the ingredients that you have. You can even create your own account and keep a running list of all the items in your kitchen to see what fun recipes you might want to try next.
(Thanks to Ev for finding this for us!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Visual of the Weekend

Here are a few pictures of fun times we 
had over the weekend. 

On Joe's Boat! It was an absolutely gorgeous evening. I'm so glad that the weather is nicer and we can do things outside! The heavens DO declare the glory of God and the earth is such an awesome manifestation of His creative power.

The Zoo was on Saturday and Elliot stayed awake through the whole thing. How fun! The Fort Wayne Chilren's Zoo was ranked among the top 10 in the nation as one of the best zoos for kids. It is great! With peacocks roaming freely around, so many displays and rides, and am absolutely beautiful setting, how could it not be?!


Saturday, May 16, 2009

One Day at a Time


In addictions counseling, we have a well-known saying: "One Day at a Time." The idea is that if you thought about being free from an addiction or not struggling with it for the rest of your life, that's a little too daunting to handle, so you just take each day and say that you will be free for that day. 
I'm a long term thinker and planner, which in some situations is a great thing, but in others my laundry list of "to-dos" can become somewhat overwhelming. So I just have to take my own advice and take the day that I am in and make the most of it.
Today was a fabulous day. I cleaned the carpets in two rooms this morning while Ev finished up some work and sorted out a bunch of stuff in Elliot's room. Then Beth got here and we all went to the mall and got free Lush cosmetics, a free carousel ride, and a free pretzel!
Ev and I then went on a date. When we got out we realized we picked prom night to go to Biaggi's...bad idea. So we went to Panera, Von Maur, and DeBrands instead. It was really nice to have a couple hours together! 
I have a lot to do tomorrow and this coming week, but for right now, I'm just going to take it one day at a time. :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

DIY TEA SHELF!


From Design * Sponge! I'm very excited to make this. It will take me a little while to get everything that I need around, and it will be slightly different, but how cool!

GS Strategies

This weekend there are a bunch of garage sales happening in the Fort. I am definitely going to a few of them tomorrow to check on baby stuff for Elliot and see if I spot any other unique finds. However, I'm realizing that I will have some staunch competition, and strategy in my bargain-treasure hunting will be key. I am so glad that I had last weekend to prepare. It was something of a canvasing expedition for me, and I learned a lot. I am going to pass on my top two lessons to you, so that if you desire to, you can be a superb garage saler by learning vicariously through my experiences.

#1: It is perfectly exceptable garage sale etiquette to negotiate pricing!
Now, some of you might be thinking, "DUH!" But let me tell you. I am still in the process of learning how to do this. For some reason, I think that the price on the item is already reduced so it would be somewhat rude to ask the seller to go any lower. Not so! I have learned this valuable lesson from my friend Kayla. No price is set in stone unless there is a barcode on it....and even then, there may be some way to compromise. If I remember correctly, this girl haggled a street salesman in Denver over a period of three days to get a Coach purse down to an acceptable price for her. When going to garage sales, she'll find what she wants and name her price. If her price is the same as the sticker, then great, but usually it's not and she'll say, "Can you take this for 75 cents instead of $3?" Now here's the kicker. The seller can either counter offer, say yes, or say no. If they counter offer, the ball is back in your court. If they say yes, you pay your astoundingly reduced price and walk away with a smile on your face. But if they say no....you do NOT just pay the previously requested price anyway! Instead, you take a last courtesy glance around say, "Thanks anyway!" and leave. Believe me, you'll be glad you did. 

#2: While quite comical, the Amish have it down! - Go forth in numbers and make sure you have extra storage space!
I just learned this lesson last weekend. Heather and I were going out to a really nice housing association's garage sales in torrential winds for her birthday. There were three 15 passenger vans full of Amish individuals pulling large white trailers. The van would pull up to a corner, let ALL the people out. The 14 people would go out with military-like preparedness and determination and disperse down the street a few to each home with a garage sale. Now, I know you're wondering what that 15th person was doing. Well, he was driving the trailer-pulling-van slowly down the street to the other end so the troops could come and drop off any finds before they moved on to the next treasure trove. They were there scoping out the streets before several of the garage sales even opened up. I seriously had to stop the car and just laugh. Then I realized something, I was laughing while they were strategically taking all the cool stuff!
I rushed to get Heather and we came back to take them on. Unfortunately, they had hit up almost everything by the time we got back and we dwarfed in comparison to their numbers. So this weekend, I'm heading out early with a cleaned out SUV with plenty of storage space. I'm not sure I'll have the numbers needed to be a threatening force, but at least I'll have Elliot....he's a great decoy and distraction!

These are my top two. I am still quite the novice, so I'm sure I will have more after this weekend's adventure, and I would love to learn vicariously through your experience, so feel free to comment and leave any strategic tips you think could help.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cute and Easy Hanging Baskets


Check out this tutorial for making a cheap, easy and oh-so-cute hanging basket. Comments for uses on the forum range from collecting coupons to organizing office supplies to showing off flowers.

Friday, May 8, 2009

"Sand" Tray


When Elliot was about 2 months old I told Evan that we were going to get him a sand and water tray to keep in his room when he was about a year old. He protested because he thought it would be a mess, but I told him that he needed to read some literature about sand play and sand therapy with young children before we could come to some sort of compromise.
Well, this is the first week for Elliot without a bathseat or anything else restricting him during bath time and he LOVES playing in the water with toys and bubbles and everything. So I thought that maybe it was time to introduce some other things to play with. I've seen some people make mini-"sand" trays for their babies with dry oatmeal because you can easily vacuum it up, but we have a plethera of wheat berries and I thought that would work just as well. So we took two shallow tupperware containers and filled one with water and one with wheat berries and he loved playing with it. I also gave him a measuring cup and taught him how to fill it up and dump it out, which he was trying to do. Then he just started picking up handfuls of this wheat and dropping it into the water tray. What a smart kid! I just love him. Above are some pics from our play adventure.
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Free KFC! - Seriously Now?!


So I'm sure by now you've all heard that Oprah gave away a free KFC lunch to "everyone in America" (or something like that). You can go to this website and print out coupons for a free 2 piece grilled chicken with two individual sides and a biscuit. Upon first thought I was like, "Wow Oprah! How cool. I'm going to go get me some chicken!" 
The coupon is good until May 16th, so naturally I thought I had some time to plan my free lunch for the best day. Well, that was the wrong thought. My husband went out and got his as soon as he heard about it yesterday (we're different that way).  So many people have gone in to redeem their Free KFC Grilled Chicken lunches that riots have started, lines have formed out to streets, and more. 
Now most KFCs are no longer redeeming the free lunch coupons (three days after they were released). WHY?! Well, the KFC lady employee says that if they were to fulfill all the coupons that are coming in all the chickens IN THE WORLD would be dead. You heard me right....there would be no more chickens.....anywhere. PETA activist Oprah Winfrey just strategized a worldwide chicken massacre. Yep!.....Appauling isn't?! 
Thank goodness the KFC administrators are on top of things! The KFC president released a statement saying apologizing that they cannot redeem all the coupons at this time (check it out!), but you can get a raincheck. The redemption timeslots for the rainchecks will vary, but this will give the chickens enough time to breed and reproduce. To thank their customers for waiting KFC is also throwing in a free Pepsi.

:)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hunting for Houses and Churches!

Starting with churches...We've been looking for a church for about a year now, with obviously breaks for life transitions in between. We'd still like to visit one more, but we're thinking about settling ourselves down at Crossbridge Community Church. We've gone there about three times now and each time we are impressed by an additional aspect of the church's fellowship, worship, or ministry. They're working through a series right now on grace as we look at the book of Galatians. The only thing is...we don't want to miss a Sunday! :) So we don't know how soon we'll be visiting this one other church we were wanting to look at or if we will at all. 
Today one of the small groups hosted a small lunch called "Fusion," where newbies could come and meet some of the staff and members, ask questions and get connected. They are just a dynamic, Christ-loving group of people that really seem to have their priorities in the right place. Praise God! :)
On a slightly more interesting note, we went pretend house hunting today. Yes...that's right...PRETEND! We went to an open house on this amazing home that we simply will never be able to afford. It was SO fun!!! So we're probably going to do this more. You know, go on Sunday drives as a family and drive through nice neighborhoods until we find open houses and then walk through them and get the brochures and talk about what we would do with each room. 
Some might think this is an exercise in discontentment, but it's actually quite the opposite. We are so happy and content with our lives! And it's cool to pretend and find that even in our pretending to have cool stuff, it isn't the cool stuff that makes us happy and content.

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