Monday, January 26, 2009

My Rear's in Craft Gear

With my commitment to working on Christmas gifts each month, an upcoming sewing party and Valentine's Day on my mind, I desperately needed to get my rear in craft gear! And this was the perfect weekend for it! We didn't have a single thing to do! (Just for the record, we were home the whole week! That's the longest we've been home at one time since Christmas!)

Saturday morning, Casey, Braelyn and I all got a little crafty. We made heart-shaped bird feeders! So fun!
My accessorized ballerina princess...ready to show the birds some love.
Here it is out in our back yard. A lovey, yummy birdie snack! Sadly, since this picture was taken, both bird feeders have fallen apart. :(
The recipe is bird seed, flour and water and then you bake it for an hour. Any ideas how I could make them hold together a little better?

After went Braelyn went down for her nap, I ran up to Wal-mart (it's my only option) to pick up some fabric for a number of different projects I want to work on. As soon as I got home, I pulled out my dusty sewing machine (I haven't sewn since March!) and got straight to work. To get reacquainted with my sewing machine again, I just worked on something fun. Nothing to be given away, just something for myself that was easy and cheap.

Ta Da! I made the little tote bag from Jansdotter's Simple Sewing.As it is with all my sewing projects, you can't look too closely. There are some pretty obvious mistakes, but hey...that's what this project was for. From far away though, I'm rather proud of my little bag. I wish I had lined the brown fabric with interfacing. It's not quite thick enough. Is there anything I can do about that now? Would it be super tacky to iron the interfacing on now?
It bothers me that the fabric I like, usually isn't heavy enough. Does anyone else have this dilemma? I did experiment with the interfacing, so I'll probably start using that more, I guess.

To close out my low-key, crafty weekend, I finally finished ALL of my homemade recipe books! There were some questions about how I put it together, so I took a few more pics to demonstrate.

First, I picked out some photo albums (2 photo slots per page) and a collection of coordinating scrapbook paper. I typed out the recipes and printed them on postcards/index cards.
Then, I lined the back of all the cards with the scrapbook paper to make them a little stronger and to add some detail. Plus, my index cards were not the full 6" to fill the 4x6 photo slot. So this added the extra width. I glued the paper on with mod podge.
To add some detail to the front of the card and to cover up that missing half inch in the front, I added a tab along the edge. I used the same paper for the front and back.
To finish it up, I put a picture of each dish above each recipe (I love cookbooks with pictures!). Make sure you give yourself A LOT of time to work on the pictures before you have to give your recipe books away! For the 2 months leading up to Christmas I ONLY cooked things that I needed a picture of.
Hope this helps, Charli! Sorry it took me so long. Let me know if you decide to make these. With your grandmother's recipes, that would be such a special gift!

More crafting to come...

Alright gang, that wraps up my weekend, but before I go, I just have to post this picture of Casey and Braelyn...
bonding...Guitar Hero style.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Am About To....

Oh, how I've missed my troubled castaways!!!!!!!!!!

In just a few short hours, I will once again be lost and confused and wretched with anxiety. I can hardly wait! OH MY GOODNESS! AHHHHHHHHHH!!!

If you remember, over the summer, Casey and I watched the entire series for the second time. I was careful to take note of some of the loose ends. Some of the items that I demand answers to include:
2. What is up with Clair and Jack's dad? Are they dead or not? Oh yeah...and Charlie too?!
3. Of course...what is the black smoke monster?
4. Why is Walt so special? Why did the Others want him so badly? It seems that he has a special gift or something (i.e. before he was on the island, he got upset with his mom and stepdad and suddenly a bird fell dead on the patio)? It seems like he has more work to do with the Island.
5. What is John's connection with the Island?
6. How is Mr. Whitmore (Penny's dad) connected to Ben and the Island?
7. Why does the Island have magic/healing powers?

Am I forgetting anything?

Tonight I think we'll watch the recap (you must be prepared, you cannot just turn it on after months and months without refreshing your memory!) and then watch the premier, so we will be getting Lost late into the night. If you are a Lost fan you are welcome to come watch it with us! There are only 2 important rules:
1. Bring food

And FYI- I am officially unavailable for the next 17 Wednesday evenings. :)
And hey...I was just googling the number of episodes in the season and I saw that there's a 6th season. Is this true? I though this was the last season!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My First 'First' Recipe

To welcome back our college students and in honor of the new First Family, I made Michelle Obama's Apple Cobbler. Not bad, First Lady! Not bad!

I don't think I'll get points for presentation, but it tasted pretty darn good, if I do say so, myself. :)

Welcome back, Buccaneers!
And Happy Inauguration Day!

Monday, January 19, 2009

We Have Officially Begun....

Princess Potty Training!!!!
We started today around 4pm and made it through the whole evening with NO accidents!!!! Hooray!!!!

Wish us luck!
Potty training tips are welcome!!!! PLEASE!!!!

Anniversary Getaway - Part 2

As for the rest of our little anniversary getaway...

After Brasil's we decided to see what was going on in the museum district. We narrowed it down to the BodyWorlds (not BodyWorks) exhibition or an IMAX. Once we got in we learned that it costs $25 per person to see dead bodies with their skin off, which, if you say it like that doesn't sound that unreasonable, but we didn't feel like paying 50 bucks at the time, so we opted for an IMAX feature. We saw the Grand Canyon Adventure in 3D.

We looked awesome! And the movie wasn't bad either!
That evening we ate dinner at The Grove, the restaurant in/near Discovery Park.We really liked the atmosphere, but we were a little disappointed with the food. It wasn't just wasn't great. Nonetheless, Casey and I had a great time. We dressed up a bit, had great conversation and savored the uninterrupted moment.

It was a fabulous anniversary getaway! It was just what we needed.
Thanks Casey! I love you so much.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

To Ashley, Our Beautiful Prego Friend from Pennsylvania...

Today is your blog baby shower! Hug:::Kiss:::Kiss! :)

Congratulations, my friend! I am so happy that I can say those words to you! I praise our God for it! I wish that I could see you and laugh with you and give that little belly a pat in real life, but for now, we will use technology to our advantage and share this blessing with you from afar.

I apologize for posting my note so late. I'm just making it seem more realistic, cause if we were having an actual shower, I would undoubtedly be late. :) But really, I have been thinking all day about what to write. What would be encouraging? What would bless you? I've been thinking of myself two and a half years ago, when I was where you are now... and knowing what I know now, what would I say to myself? I would say this:

You don't have to be afraid. Do not let fear muddy this joyous season. God has not and will not run out of blessings for you. He has brought you through many a trial and you are always the better for it. The journey that you are about to embark on will undoubtedly challenge you to the limit; the most vulnerable segments of your soul will be tested and exposed. You will see what it is to die to yourself. It will be shocking and exhausting, but out of you will come the truest worship you have known. Rejoice at this! You will know Him more fully and need Him more honestly. His love for you is relentless, as it is for your child. You can trust Him...even with this!

Maybe this doesn't apply to you, but I remember so vividly that while I was so overwhelmed with excitement, my joy was interrupted by fear. Fear that I wouldn't be a good mother. Fear that I wouldn't like being a mother. Fear that my child wouldn't be healthy or pretty or smart or well behaved. (I'm being authentic here.) Fear that I wouldn't get my figure back. (I'm being really authentic here!) Amidst all my worry and doubt, God remained faithful. He has answered my prayers and for the things that have not gone according to my plan, He is refining my heart. He is always good.

Casey and I are so happy for you and Patrick. What phenomenal parents you will be! Benjamin will be so well loved, as you are so well loved by God and by your friends, both near and far. Thank you for sharing this journey with us. It is just beginning...and you are gonna love it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

These Days...The Lord has Made Them!

Geez! It's been a while hasn't it? Sorry. I've been wanting to blog, but a lot has been going on. Last week, Casey completed an I-term. He spent the week in Sugar Land and knocked out a 3 hour course. It also happened to be our anniversary so Braelyn and I joined him for a few of the days...nights, I should say. Once the 3 of us were back at home, a new project lay before us. Church. Saturday morning my mom came up to Brenham to watch Braelyn, while Casey and I first tackled the catastrophe in our own home office, and second, preparing the building at 1302 Washington for Sunday worship. That's right. Christ Church grew up a little this week. We are no longer tenants in someone else's building, we have a space of our own. (Not that space is anything in itself, but now we are a little freer to be available, to serve, to give and to grow.)

Before Christ Church:
And now:The Nursery:Sunday, January 11, 2009
Our 1st Sunday Morning Service:

It was such a beautiful day for us. I could not (I cannot!) stop thinking of my God as the Redeemer, the God who makes all things new and beautiful. There is still much to be done, but for now, the members of Christ Church can marvel at God's generosity, His provision, His kindness. We can rejoice that we are privileged enough to participate in the work of the Great Redeemer.

Monday morning, Casey and I packed our bags once more, for a mini anniversary get-away. (8 years by the way!) We dropped Braelyn at Nonnie's and Casey and I traveled all the way to H-Town! We're just taking 2 days to reconnect, recharge, and revisit some of our favorite places in Houston.
Here we are, at the Intercontinental Hotel. It is perfect! You should read what Casey has to say about it ;).
Yesterday, Casey pampered me with a little shopping. It was supposed to be a day for BOTH of us to update our wardrobes a bit, but somehow I ended up with all the shopping bags. He spoils me. Can I just say, in a moment of honesty and confession...I love shopping! I love how my new brick red scarf makes me feel lovely and how a pair of perfectly-fitting trouser jeans and my yellow shoes puts a little pep in my step. (Perfectly-fitting jeans are a rare luxury in my life. Just FYI- no less than 7 inches were removed from the length before I could qualify these as a pair of proper fitting jeans.) I digress. But 7 inches!

For the past few hours, Casey and I have been enjoying good books, good food and good drink at our favorite cafe, Brasil's.(Yes, I am STILL reading Portrait of a Lady! And, yes, that is Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover on the table. We Ceases are about to shape up our finances. More on that later.)

I think we're about to wrap up here. On the agenda for today...a little more shopping, possibly a museum (I'm thinking the MOFA or the BodyWorks exhibition), maybe walking around Discovery Park, for sure...more eating! :) I'll let you know what transpires. To be honest I don't really care. I am enjoying time with my husband. I am happy to be sharing the day with him. It is another beautiful day. What a God I serve!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

So This Was Christmas - Part 2

Christmas Day:

What kid doesn't love a wagon, let alone one that's called The Excursion!?!
Gasp! These are stunning!It was a merry Christmas for Casey, as well!After Christmas morning at Meme & Papa's and Christmas afternoon At Nonnie & Boppy's, we returned to Meme & Papa's for Christmas dinner. When we walked in, Braelyn found the first piece of carpet she could find and was D-O-N-E! She completely fell apart when we tried to move her. The only thing that could peel her Christmas overdosed body off the floor was a Barbie Princess movie. So, while my family ate a delicious Christmas meal, my daughter was in the other room watching the Barbie Princess Swan Lake movie. (Braelyn is head over heels for all things Barbie, Princess and pink!) I think she needed a good hour to just zone out! (I don't blame her! :)

After we ate, and after I managed to get Braelyn to eat a little something, we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. It was one of my favorite Christmas moments.Finally, to end the night, my family took a walk around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights and put some miles on that Excursion!I'm not sure why my brother doesn't have a shirt on. :)

A couple days after Christmas we returned to Brenham, and a couple days after that we had a fun little dinner party with some our our closest friends, a group I affectionately call the C-Squad (because all of our last names start with C).

My favorite pic of the night...Mary Evyn and Braelyn. Such sweet friends!
Before I close out my Christmas blogging, I thought I'd finish with a couple of my favorite Christmas things from this year.

My Christmas Card door:
And our completed Advent calendar. Although, my suspicions about a missing Joseph were correct. We have no Joseph. A shepherd is standing in. Braelyn and I had such a good time with this. She still asks if we can do the calendar, so I don't think she totally got the whole idea, but she understood that it was Jesus' birthday, that He is what we anticipate, He is what we celebrate. That makes me happy in my heart!

There. All done.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My First Attepmt at Homemade Christmas Gifts

So here's what I did.
It's a photo album turned recipe book. All the recipes that I love to cook and use regularly I typed onto cards. I tucked each recipe into the photo album with a picture of each dish above it. I had originally wanted to sew my gifts, but I just didn't feel confident enough nor did I give myself enough time to follow through with that endeavor. I can't quite remember how I got the recipe book idea, but I thought it was a fitting gift for me to give as cooking and sharing food with friends has become such an important element of our lives. With that in mind, I gave it the title, Share Your Food.

I made 8 of these little guys and thought I was done, but...I decided to do one more, and since I have to make one more...I figured I might as well make one for myself. So that makes 2...but I am excited to do it cause my recipes are in an awful mess!

(To my friend who has yet to receive her Christmas gift from me (you know who you are) sorry that I spoiled the surprise. I just didn't want to be posting about my Christmas gifts a month after Christmas. ;) I will have 2009 Christmas gifts to post about, am I right , Ladies?! :) For those interested in year-long Christmas prep...are you getting your ideas together? I think I know what I want to do, but I'm gonna give myself a few more days to decide,'s back to work! I would love to have a Christmas prep craft party! That would super fun and a great way to share ideas. Let me know!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Just One

This year I have just one New Year's Resolution:

To start working on/buying Christmas gifts this month! I figure if I work on at least one gift a month, I will be one happy girl come December. And how much more thoughtful and well made will my gifts be?! Huh?! I am determined.

I will post later in the month regarding my progress. :)

Anyone want to join me?