Wednesday, April 29, 2009


B ran in the house with big news! she had discovered a robin's nest in the lilac bush...and there are eggs! oh, i love such excitement over the discovery of beauty in God's creation. there is nothing that compares to the blue of a robin's egg. i am amazed every time see them.

mama robin watched with concern from the cherry tree as i photographed the nest. she returned shortly after i walked away and seemed satisfied that her babies were safe. she really is an attentive mother. i am in awe of her patience while sitting on that nest. and when the eggs hatch, mama never rests, but is constantly feeding those little peeping beaks! i know the feeling! :o)

B is keeping a bird notebook. she is anxious to add the robin with photos from our own special robins. i must say, she does a thorough job of researching; reading books from the library, finding pictures on line, carefully coloring the birds to be realistic. she really is a joy to teach!

for the past 6 years, or so, we have had a pair of robins nesting under our deck. it is in an ideal spot for us to observe and we watch for the building process to begin each spring. this year, i couldn't figure out why they weren't collecting straw and wool from the sheep pen for this years nest. they were hanging around in the maple tree next to the deck as usual. yesterday, the reason became clear: they are re-using last year's nest! i didn't know they ever did that, but there she was, sitting on that old nest. through the slats in the deck above we can peek into the nest. 3 eggs this year.

everyday gift: blue robin eggs

Friday, April 24, 2009

spinach and roasted red pepper hummus

this turned out so good! the original recipe called for a handful of fresh parsley. i didn't have any, so, instead i substituted a handful of fresh spinach. i also had half of a red pepper in the fridge so i decided to throw that in, too! i roasted in the oven very simply; just placed the pepper on a baking sheet and put it in a pre-heated oven (450*). when the skin began to blacken i took it out, cooled it and peeled the skin off.

spinach and roasted red pepper hummus

2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup onion
handful of fresh spinach
1/2 red bell pepper, roasted and cooled, peeled
2 cans cooked chick peas, rinsed and drained
6 tablespoons tahini
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
dash of cumin and cayenne pepper

place garlic, onion, spinach, and red pepper in the food processor and mince. add the chick peas, tahini, and lemon juice and process to a thick paste. season with salt cumin and cayenne pepper to taste. serve with corn tortilla chips, crackers, or use as a sandwich spread.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

another keeper adventure

here is the latest installment in the keeper adventures! the girls earned their rubber stamping badge with the help of janet. (thank you, janet! it was wonderful!) they had a great time and made some very nice cards. the keeper handbook has an entire section of badges which focus on Others, serving family, church, and community in special ways. although the rubber stamping badge does not officially fall into this category, i love the way the girls naturally thought of others as they made their cards. a little note to someone is a wonderful way of sharing love and encouragement.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.
I Thess. 5:11

i would also like to mention that O brought some very yummy brownies and lemonade as our treat! thank you! and to those who could not be with us, you were missed!!

working on her stamping (notice her finished weaving project. some of the girls brought their projects from the last meeting to show. very nice!)

cute pigtails!

janet demonstrating an embossing technique, it seems like magic!

on a side note, i want to share a silly story about the evening. before B and i left mark and the boys, they were trying to decide what to do since the girls were having their own special plans that night. they threatened to go to our favorite ice cream shop, for shakes. of course we convinced them to wait until we could go along, too...well, it just so happens that the ice cream shop is directly across the street from the coffee shop where the keepers were meeting. during our craft time we sat at tables near a large window, and who should come parading by with giant shakes and ice cream cones? very funny, guys! it had the desired effect as the girls moaned and hollered and shook their little fists at them through the window! but don't feel too sorry for us! janet's husband, jim popped in to make all sorts of iced frappuccinos, italian sodas, and smoothies for us. thanks, jim! you are so good to us! :o)
everyday gift: encouraging one another

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

running the race

track is one of the activities that has been keeping us running lately ...i know, i know, i have got to stop with those silly puns! ;o) the boys either have track or soccer practice almost every afternoon. i don't always enjoy having such a busy activity schedule, but it is great to see them outside, working those healthy bodies instead of idle in front of an electronic screen! i have been so pleased with the things that they are learning through their teams: discipline, hard work, aiming for a goal, winning with good sportsmanship, losing with the same grace, team work...such good life lessons!

here are a few pictures from their first track meet last week. i am not that great at action photography and my laptop does not have a good photo shop installed on it, so i can't crop them the way i would like, but here they are anyway! i was thankful for the beautiful weather, because i know how chilly and windy it can be during these spring sporting events.

S crossing the finish line

S receiving the baton

C running the mile

finishing the race strong!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

everyday gift: healthy kids!

Monday, April 20, 2009

B's green thumb

do you remember this? we hollowed out a dried gourd to make a drinking gourd and decided to plant the seeds. we knew that they were a little bit old and might not sprout, but decided to give it a try anyway. well several weeks passed and all we got were a few grass sprouts. B had such a good attitude and was just pleased that something green had come from her efforts. so she continued to care for and water her baby grass. and it is a good thing she did. had we given up on those cups of dirt we would have missed out on this:

the gourd seeds finally sprouted! i guess seeds are like people...they are just a little slower when they get older. :o)

we have a total of 3 sprouts so far. and i have a feeling that we will have a large gourd harvest this year. we might have to go into the gourd bird house business! one thing leads to another...

everyday gift: new sprouts

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

wordless wednesday

everyday gift: memories of our adventure to mt. rushmore and yellowstone ( august 2007)

Monday, April 13, 2009

i'm weaving again!

about 20 years ago i enrolled in a weaving class through the art department at the university of north texas. i was in love. i wanted to change my major to weaving, but changing my major a third time and further delaying my graduation was just not a good option. not to mention the limited career opportunities with such a degree. so i continued on the art education track which gave me a wonderful overview of many art processes, but limited me to beginning classes without developing a specialty. i taught art for several years at an elementary school and for one year at a high school. i am thankful for those experiences.

fast forward. i have been blessed with a lovely family and the gift of staying home as a wife, homemaker, mother, and teacher. i am thankful for the education classes which gave me strategies and confidence to teach my own kids at home. being at home full time now gives me the opportunity to pursue some of my personal interests and i am rekindling my love of weaving. my dear husband has indulged me with all of the equipment i need and a few evenings off for guild meetings. he even overlooks the clutter that my hobbies tend to create. (thank you, mark! love you!) i joined the local weaving and spinning guild, participating in a few workshops and classes. but this is my first project really on my own. it is a good feeling.

equipment list: *pattern from Weaver's Craft ; *handbook, Warping All By Yourself by cay garrett; *lee weaver on call to answer my questions, because, in reality, i really don't want to warp all by myself! ; *10-2 cotton ordered from halcyon yarn, colors to coordinate with the brown, green, and blue eggs of our chickens (and you thought i was kidding when i wanted to decorate my kitchen in those delicious colors!); *warping frame; *loom; *sley hook; *shuttles...

i forgot to document the measuring of the warp on the warping frame, but here is the warp ready to put on the loom, the cross which keeps the warp ends in order.

the warp chain

the warp has been sleyed through the reed and is ready for the next step, threading the heddles.

my excitement over finally getting the loom warped was dampened when i discovered one misplaced thread. one.renegade.thread. enough to drive a weaver crazy! but a friend from the weaving guild with her husband came to fix the problem. they tied a string heddle so we could get that one thread in the right place. it is so nice to have a more experienced weaver to help me get back into groove of weaving

lee ann and wayne, the loom doctors.

finally. my loom warped and ready to go.

it is so fun to throw the shuttle back and forth, and watch the fabric materialize...teehee.

everyday gift: the clack of the shuttle as i work at my craft

Thursday, April 9, 2009

the easter garden

God was the very first gardener.

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. Genesis 2:8-9a

in the beginning He gave us life in the garden. and when Jesus was raised from the dead to give us new life, eternal life, He did it in the garden again.

so we planted an easter garden. one that is green and lush and growing. with a path that leads to a tomb. this season we remember with a solemn heart that it was our sin that caused Jesus to die upon that cross. and rejoice that it was for sinners like us that he gave the extravagant and sacrificial gift of His life. and we worship the God who has had victory over death, once and for all, so that we can share in the resurrection and have eternal life.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. I Peter 1:3

the kids had a great time putting together our little garden.
i loved their enthusiasm and their team work.

each plant, each stone carefully placed

our friend "little b" putting water in the miniature pond

3 gardeners

the inspiration for this beautiful easter project came from ann voskamp at aholyexperience. have you had the chance to visit her blog? you will most certainly be blessed every time that you stop by. her thoughts on the easter garden are very touching. she is a gifted writer who puts such insight, emotion, and beauty into each and every post. i am so thankful for her words and inspiration.

everyday gift: new birth and living hope because of Jesus!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

wordless wednesday

(don't worry! i'm going to edit this picture when i get a minute and brighten it up a bit!)

everyday gift: hugs from grandparents

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

it was all a blur

B had her first sleep-over and it was all a blur! i tried to get some good pictures, but it was hard to focus on the moving targets.

B made these cute little cupcake pops for a treat. (thank you to heather p from the fiar boards who shared the idea!) they were a lot of fun to make (all 47 steps...jk.) and were very tasty! they were definately a hit.

if eight was great, nine is divine! happy birthday, B!

see what i mean about the blur?!

snuggled in sleeping bags, watching an AG movie

everyday gift: the giggles of girlfriends

Monday, April 6, 2009

a birthday cherry pie

a flashback picture of B picking cherries from grandpa's cherry tree

everyone at our house loves a cherry pie, but no matter how hard i tried, i could not make a fresh cherry pie that would not run all over the plate! it was always too juicy. until last summer, when i finally found the perfect recipe. not only does it make a pie filling that is thicker, but it is perfect for using up an abundant cherry harvest and freezing.

Cherry Pie Filling
8 cups tart cherries
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 T cornstarch
wash, drain, and pit cherries. combine sugar and cornstarch. stir into cherries and let stand about 30 minutes, until juices begin to flow. cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. ladle the pie filling into 1 quart freezer containers leaving 1/2" head space. cool at room temperature, not to exceed 2 hours, and freeze.
yield: 4 quarts
everyday gift: cherry pie

weaving with the keepers

the saturday of our keeper meeting came with a flurry...and i do mean that in both senses of the word! my day was a whirlwind: getting ready for our weaving project, running to soccer games, baking a pie, and cleaning house...when i discovered S running a high fever. yikes. the keeper girls were supposed to meet at our house, but i couldn't expose them to a fever, not even knowing yet, what was the cause. but i didn't want to cancel! the solution brought such a blessing. patty, a friend of a keeper mom, so kindly agreed to open her church up for our meeting. it was the perfect place with a nice large table to set up our weaving and cute little cafe tables to work and visit. and not only that, she showed such hospitality as she made a pot of coffee and served us while we were busy with our project. thank you, patty! you really blessed us with your servant's heart and loving spirit!

our group has undergone a change since last year. several of our original members have become busy with other activities and others have joined! so we are excited to welcome our newest members. this was our first meeting with the new members and i have to say we are really blessed with such incredible girls! we could see the buds of new friendships springing up even as the blooms continue with the older friendships. not to mention the fellowship of the moms who are like-minded in their desire to raise up girls who love the Lord.

B and A (and a thank you to A who made cookies for our snack with her mom! yummy!)

we began a project for the weaving badge using a simple cardboard loom. the girls put the warp on and choose colorful yarns to weave a little bookmark. beautiful work, girls!

A working hard with a little help

attentive girls ready to learn

moms helping daughters

E shows the beginning of her weaving

O is for orange

the girls did such a nice job beginning their projects. they will finish them at home and bring them back to the next meeting to show off their handiwork.

everyday gift: new friends joining keepers

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

wordless wednesday

everyday gift: a wake-up call