Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pikes Peak!

We're having a wonderful time with family and enjoying the beauty of Colorado! This morning, we rode the Cog Railway up Pikes Peak - I had been up to the top before, but had never ridden the train. It was spectacularly beautiful! Here are a few pictures of our trip!
Rachel and I on top of Pikes Peak!
Is this a classic or what? Look at the screaming baby!

Emily and Daddy looking at the beautiful scenery!


The train that we rode to the top!

A view from the train ride.

Sleepy baby after such a big morning!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Mitford Moment: Read Poetry Aloud

Yes, can't you just hear Father Tim reading Wordsworth aloud to himself, his huge dog or to company?! Here is one he reads in the book, just to get you started ~ let's try it - read it aloud!

"It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity;
The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the sea:
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder, everlastingly.
Dear child! Dear girl! That walkest with me here,
If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year;
And worship'st at the Temple's inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not."
~ William Wordsworth

My favorite poetry is the book of Psalms! Any other favorites out there?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Colorado, here we come!


We are on our way to one of my favorite places and to visit some of my favorite people! I have lots of Mitford Moments stored up to share during the weeks we are away and of course, will be sharing some of what we are up to!

More to come from 6,ooo feet elevation with a view of the beautiful Rocky Mountains!

Meanwhile, I will post our Family Night idea from this past Friday!

Family Night: Swimming!

After much searching, we finally found an affordable local pool that we could enjoy as a family! We actually ended up getting in free because we went one hour before they closed and the attendant was kind!

We had fun splashing and cooling off! Afterwards, we enjoyed Mexican food!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Garden Update

Since we're getting ready to be gone for a few weeks - I wanted to post an update of our garden. I am sure I will be shocked when we get home to see how much everything has grown!

Ears of Corn!

Finally, we have some cucumbers! Most are little bitty - but this one is about six inches long!

Tomatoes continuing to grow!

Roma Tomatoes

Two baby watermelons - one shown here in my hand.

Mitford Moments: Be Kind

The proprieter of the local bakery - Winnie Ivey - runs after Father Tim with a bag of napoleons she saved from yesterday. How thoughtful!

There is something special in remembering the likes of others and putting out a little extra effort to share something special with them.

kind: of a sympathetic or helpful nature; gentle, affectionate, loving

Let's purpose to be kind to someone today!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Knowing My Neighbors

Remember this challenge I posted for myself? Monday, I pulled all the small loaves of bread I'd been saving from the freezer - banana, oatmeal and poppy seed. I had seven small loaves.

Then, I wrote this poem:
A neighbor is someone who is friendly and kind
One who waves a "hello" passing by!

We want to be a friendly neighbor to you, so
We brought a small gift just to let you know!

Hope you enjoy and that it just makes your day
Brings a smile to your face and brightens your way!

From your neighbors at .........
Then, I printed it out and cut them out attaching to scraps of paper left from this project. I put a label on the back stating the kind of bread they were receiving.


Yesterday morning, I put all the loaves in a basket and loaded up the little ladies into our red wagon. Emily had fun placing the note and loaf of bread on each porch. We started out with the houses the farthest from ours. When we get home, I plan to cut some flowers and do another batch of breads to get to the next how ever many homes. Anyone else been reaching out to your neighbors? I'd love to hear your stories!

Wilting

Every h-o-t afternoon, these beautiful flowers get all droopy and sad looking. But each evening when the sun goes down - they look beautiful and refreshed. I have been thinking about the analogy this provides of our lives.

How often do I feel like I am wilting from the daily tasks and challenges of life? I really do feel like I am wilting in the heat - but more than just physically - life can cause me to wilt in other ways.

But, guess what? I have hope that I, too, can be refreshed like the flowers. I can trust that God will rejuvenate me when I go to His Word, enter His presence in prayer and just stay plugged in to the vine where I receive my nourishment.
"He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul." ~ Psalm 23:2-3

"Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." ~ Matthew 11:28

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing." ~ John 15:5
Lord, please give me a heart that remains in You ~ so I can draw from Your strength and nourishment. And, when I feel like I am wilting ~ to be refreshed by Your perfect care.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Blog-Style Baby Shower!


I am so excited to welcome back my sweet blog friend, Joy! I had this idea last fall when I found out she was expecting twins, but between a move and lots of sickness - we lost touch for a few months. So, now I get the chance to host this special event for her and I'm excited!

Joy and her husband are missionaries in Indonesia and I thought it would be so much fun to give her a baby shower! I know there are lots of you out there who love Joy and her blog - so here is our opportunity to bless the socks off of her and her family. While her sweet boys are now a few months old already, they are still new to all of us!

So, let the party begin! Here's what we'll do:

* You can write Joy a note of encouragement.
* You can contribute a monetary gift which I will use to purchase things she can use.
* Or, you can do the shopping yourself and send a gift to me and I will coordinate getting the items to her.

~ Just send me an e-mail if you are interested and I will let you know how to mail things to me. There is a link to my e-mail address in the sidebar under my photo.

Since we are mailing overseas - let's work on coming up with smaller items. Some ideas of things they can use are:

* Mylicon drops
* Infant Tylenol drops
* Size six month and up clothing - onesies and cool summer outfits. It is hot there - so remember - cool clothing!

Outback Night!





This past Saturday, two other couples came over and we had an "Outback Night"! We each brought our own meat to grill and I attempted the traditional brown bread. It turned out pretty well, though next time I would make it in small loaf pans so it would rise better instead of putting it on a cookie sheet as the recipe suggested. I made a platter of oven fries with cheese like you can order as an appetizer.

My friend, Charlotte, made the blooming onion and sauce to go with ~ yummy! She also made the blue cheese salad and yummy steamed green beans.

Melissa was in charge of our delicious desserts and made banana pudding and her signature "Ooey - Gooey Butter Cake" ~ I want to have a signature dish!

Everything was delicious and we enjoyed great fellowship. Not to mention, think about how much money we saved creating this ourselves at home instead of going out! We have lots of ideas about our next get together - my vote is Olive Garden night!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Ice Cream Sunday: Week Three

We really enjoyed this tasty treat last night! Ice Cream Dessert made with Blue Bunny Bunny Tracks ice cream! Yummy! We'll be enjoying this all week!

Next week: I'm planning to do some prepared ice cream treat since we'll be leaving the next morning for Colorado. I won't have as much time to prepare and want something that will keep while we're gone. I found a coupon for these yesterday and think it may be just the thing!

Family Night: Apple Theme

This week we had a little movie/food theme for our Family Night! We watched:

And, I made Apple Fritters:

Now, I will say a few things about these fritters. They were not our favorite - as we were expecting something sweeter. But, the recipe was easy to follow and I came up with a couple shortcuts of my own.

First of all - I mixed all the dry ingredients before we ate dinner. I set the egg and buttermilk out to warm to room temperature. I also prepared the apples and put them in a bowl of water with a lid over the top - they did not turn brown and my prep time when I was ready to fix was very minimal.

I do not have an apple corer (and honestly would rarely use such an item) so came up with this solution. Peel apple using a vegetable peeler.

Slice apples:

Use the center of a biscuit-cutter to press out the core:

Voila!

Enjoy your treat!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Peaceful Heart


Reading yesterday morning, I came across another verse that just kind of jumped off the page at me. I love it when that happens!

"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." ~ Proverbs 14:30

When my heart is at peace ~ I am content with where God has placed me. I am resting in His perfect love and guidance. I am trusting, leaning on Him and displaying faith in Him by not fretting.

I love this visual picture of my heart being at peace bringing life to the rest of my body. Isn't it true that when our hearts are right with God ~ we are at peace?

I like the picture of contentment. If envy causes such disturbance in our lives, contentment brings such peace. What a gift.

The Hebrew word used in this verse means calmness and composure. Hmmm, think about that.

Today, and every day, may I have a heart of peace. A calm and composed heart trusting my Savior.

Simply Ingenius

I received an e-mail from Kraft Foods yesterday about a new product available to people in certain states (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TX). This kit will feed three people for three days in case of a weather-related emergency. Everything is ready to eat and requires no electricity to prepare. As someone who needs to get my hurricane box of food ready - I just think this is a brilliant idea! I'm still thinking through if this is a good deal price-wise, but I am impressed with the idea behind it regardless!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My Favorite Notecards

After mentioning how I love to recycle magazines, some great questions were asked. So, here is everything you wanted to know about these notecards!

This is one of my all time favorite craft projects to do! An hour or two spent making cards and envelopes is really fun for me. I know that several of you have started making these too - so fun!

I start with plain 8.5" x 11" cardstock. I really like this brand from Michael's. They have a package of 50 sheets (which makes 100 cards) on sale periodically for $1.99 making it very inexpensive to make these cards! I have never tried the pre-cut paper, but my sister loves it - so whatever works best for you!

I slice the paper in half on a paper trimmer. Then, I fold each half in half again which makes your blank cards. Simply choose any photo you want to put on the front and attach with double-stick tape. I used to love using glue sticks - but have found the results with double-stick tape to be much better. Even though the tape is more expensive, I think it is worth it!

To make the envelope, select one full page photo from a magazine. Either take apart an envelope you already have that is the right size or print this template. Use template as a pattern and cut out the envelope. Fold side edges in first, then fold bottom flap up. Attach with double-stick tape. Fold top flap down - done!

To mail, tape back closed and use a label on the front for addressing. I love giving a stack of these for a gift, and you can see more of that in the related links below.

There is a step-by-step photo tutorial that I did a year ago, the links are below listed as Steps 1-4.

Enjoy!

Here are some previous posts about this very topic:
Homespun Wrapping
Gifts for Nursery Volunteers
Step One
Step Two
Step Three
Step Four
Christmas Cards

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gentleness

Yesterday afternoon, I came across this verse:
"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." ~ Philippians 4:5
I started pondering and thinking about what it means to be gentle. How is that evident to all those around me? And, I love that the next sentence reminds me that the Lord is near - and I want that to be obvious to those who spend time with me.

What comes to mind when I think of gentleness? I immediately think of something soft and delicate - like the flower pictured above. It speaks of gentleness to me. I think of "gentle" scents and even the gentle cycle on the washing machine - which handles our delicate clothing with care and a softer wash.

But, I wanted to know more about gentleness as a characteristic and spriritual discipline. So, I looked up some more verses that contain this word ~ gentleness. I learned that God showed Himself in the Old Testament through a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12). That a lamb is gentle. That Jesus was gentle riding on a colt into town. Wind can be gentle (Acts 27:13). A gentle answer can turn away anger (Proverbs 15:1). Described as the opposite of violence (1 Timothy 3:3).

I also looked up the Hebrew and/or Greek definitions for the words used in these verses. I learned that gentleness also means being considerate, tender, soft, meek and humble. My favorite definition is this:
praus = gentle, meek, the positive moral quality of dealing with people in a kind manner, with humility and consideration.
Overall, the themes I saw throughout all the verses were these:
* Jesus is our model (2 Corinthians 10:1 and Matthew 11:29) and gentleness is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23) - when He is in us and we walk with Him.
* Pursue gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11), put it on (Colossians 3:12) and choose it (Ephesians 4:2)!
* Let it fill me and make me beautiful from the inside out (1 Peter 3:4)!
* Gentleness should characterize how I treat others (Philippians 4:5) and how I mother my children (1 Thessalonians 2:7).
* Gentleness sets an example to those around me of my witness for Christ (1 Peter 3:15).
"...we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children." ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:7

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." ~ 1 Peter 3:3-4

"...pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness." ~ 1 Timothy 6:11
How would you describe gentleness? How do you evidence it in the lives of those around you? This is my goal today - to be gentle and kind in my treatment of all those around me.

Recycling Magazines

Dear Editors,

I always look forward to each issue of Country Living! After reading your July Editor's Journal, I thought I would share my favorite way to recycle magazines.

After I have removed all articles, ideas and recipies that I want to keep ~ I cut out photos to make notecards and envelopes. This card and envelope were both made with photos in the July issue.

I also cut out photos to decorate gift wrap. A pretty package or a stack of homemade notecards wrapped in wax paper and tied with twine is such a fun way to recycle.

Each issue is full of such lovely photos, it is a fun and beautiful way to reuse the pages. Any remaining pages can still be recycled.

Thank you for lots of great ideas and inspiration!

Monica Xxxxx

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Playground Memories

David caught this picture of me playing on the swings during our recent trip to Florida. So, it got me to thinking about what I liked to do during recess as a child. And, that was play on the swings and bars. But, I remember also offering to help the teacher during that time. I really would rather spend the time helping her than playing outside sometimes. Sometimes they let me help - and sometimes I played outside.

One memory that came back was "counts" for the swing. When all the swings were full, someone could come and stand by your occupied swing and say, "counts" ~ then they proceeded to count to some set number (I don't remember this part) and when they reached the amount, you had to get down and let someone else have a turn.

So, now I want to know - what did you enjoy about recess and playing on the playground when you were little?

Tomatoes!

Coming from a girl who does not like tomatoes, this is going to seem extremely funny to lots of you who know how MUCH I do not like tomatoes! I am so excited that the tomatoes in my garden are thriving though!

This plant is now taller than I am (5'0" in case you're wondering) and still seems to be growing!
Big Beef Tomatoes
Roma Tomatoes

Monday, June 11, 2007

Family Night: Bounce

This week for our family night, we went to the local miniature golf/fun park where they have a bounce castle. Emily loves these and we had a gift certificate - so it was free! She had a ball, thought it was very H-O-T so we did not stay a real long time.


After bouncing, ice cream seemed in order - we also had a gift card for this! Mmmmm, it tasted yummy! Baths were certainly the next item when we got home!


Rachel enjoyed eating fruit puffs and watching all the excitement!