Friday, July 29, 2011

Hand-Made Gifts

Things have been a wee bit tight around here recently, so it was time to get creative with gifts. Fortunately, finding things to make for this Peter Pan-obsessed boy wasn't too difficult. I had all the materials for a tipi and a Peter Pan outfit (which he'd been asking me to make for weeks) on hand except for some poles, which were affordable enough!

He's thrilled with the results-- I'm thankful to God for a momma who taught me enough about sewing to wing it! And a boy who is happy with handmade things!

The material for the tipi was so fun to assemble a mish-mash of vintage and new... all things I've purchased over the years from previous projects or because they were so super cheap I couldn't turn them down. ($2 for 3 yards of awesome vintage fabric is not something I pass up easily!) I think I like it even better than some of these tipis on etsy!

I had wool felt from a big sewing project I'd done years before, and the vest, is an old t-shirt of mine that I just took scissors to.

Jesse drilled holes in the poles and also made a button for Diego's pouch from slice of a tree limb so it would look more woodsy... thankful for a skilled husband who can help me with my projects, too!

And just to give you one last thing to look at, here's Diego's latest drawing:

Have a Fabulous Friday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tiger Lily and the Pirate

Can you believe that I didn't get a good picture of the birthday boy and me together during his party? Well, you know, he was very popular and I spent a good deal of time keeping on top of food and such. But my girl was not too busy for me! I'll share more Peter Pan Birthday party details soon, but for now, here's one to get us started!

Eliana, one day you will stop sticking your tongue out when someone decides to snap a picture. (I think.) And I will miss it. You are a character... and the best Tiger Lily ever! I love you!

(Joining up with Embrace the Camera today... go take a look!)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Have you ever had one of those brilliant ideas you were so excited to try that ended as a complete flop? That was me last night.

I had a head of cauliflower and was determined to get it into my kids without complaint. I found this recipe with rave reviews. I didn't have sherry on hand, but then again, when would I? Other than that, I felt like I was pretty good to go. A great rating and biscuit to dip into the soup would make it perfect, right? Right?...

First part of the directions went well. Then, I got to the put it in the blender part. Big mess. Everywhere. Apparently, hot foods expand when being blended. I went back to the recipe for any tips on blending soup. Nada. But I did see someone mention mashing it with their potato masher. Tried it, nope, the veggies were way too recognizable that way for the kids.

I found this link about blending warm foods... finally success after my huge mess was cleaned up.

Time to serve up the creamy goodness. It was good! Yeah! I could hardly wait for the kids to try it.

Try it? Please eat it. Please. I had to spoon feed my five year old to get it down him.

My three year old was a different matter. Spoonful, spoonful, spoonful, lots of bites of biscuit and drinks of milk between each spoonful. Lots of chants about not liking it. Lots of pleading for just three more bites and then you can be done. Bite one, down. Bite two, woah... what's that face? Not the gag reflex face, please no. Ok, take a drink quick and get it down. No? Too late? Most definitely too late.

After my second huge mess clean up of the night *sigh*, I would rate this a fail. I loved it. My husband tolerated it... let's just say my kids come by their aversion for veggies naturally. So, would I suggest you try this recipe if you come from a family of veggie lovers? Most definitely! Smooth and creamy and wonderful!

Would I suggest this recipe for a way to sneak veggies into your kids or hubby? Please spare yourself the time and use of way too many paper towels.

The End. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Getting ready for a party


I know I've been gone a lot this week, but life's been consumed with getting ready for Diego's birthday party this weekend. Originally, we were having a pirate party, but soon after I settled on that theme, Diego was introduced to Peter Pan... good thing we can still use pirate plates for a Peter Pan party!

Here's what I started out with for a invite:

This picture

became my sketch

which was scanned and then edited using pixlr and turned it into an invite.

Then my sketch was taken over by an almost 5-year-old with crayons.

And then he thought he'd venture out on his own using water colors.

I love that my boy takes such an interest in art. He's getting quite good and lucky for him he has many talented people in the family who can help him.

On another note: I made cake pops for the party. I'd read some bakerella and then I'd read this post by my friend Mindy and gave it a go.

Mindy had an extensive list of things she learned along the way to which I'll add two:

  • Make when the kids are napping so that you don't have to make them with kids underfoot.
  • One inch balls- not one and a half inch! I made them too big, even though I thought I'd made them small enough and my sister had to go back and remake them smaller. (Thanks, Elisabeth!) Fun times!
Good night and see you soon!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Five Years

How is it possible that this little one is five? When did that happen? Where has the time gone? How do I make these days slow down so I can breathe them in more fully?

I can't. As much as I want to put a brick on his head. It wouldn't work. And just as quickly as these five years have gone, so too will the next five. And the five after that until there's a young man looking at me through those same gorgeous dark eyes.

He is one of the three reasons that I'm no longer working. I seem to be impressed again and again with the truth that my kids are the mission God has given me for this season of my life. God knows I need daily reminders of this truth. Recently, I was reminded again through this post. Again through studying Nehemiah. And again while working on my porching and reminiscing about my foreign missions travels.

Deuteronomy 11:19 tell me I should teach God's Word to my kids "all the time--whether you're at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning." My kids are my highest calling. Ever. More than any work for the church I have done. More than my call to missions work in a foreign country. Those calls are high and honorable and full of God's work. But other than myself, there is no one for whom I will be held more accountable when I stand before my Heavenly Father. And I so desire God to look at my children's lives, to look at their love for Him and His Word and say, "Well done."

Today is the fifth anniversary of that calling. Five years of failures and triumphs. Five years of smiles and sadness. Five years of dirty diapers, wiping up spills, nursing, potty training, reading picture books, illness and coloring books. Five years of learning to be more dependent on God as I have little ones depend on me.

Thank you God, for this wonderful boy you have entrusted me with! Thank you for providing me with supernatural wisdom and strength when I am lacking, and for new mercies each morning when I fail! Give me the ability to raise Diego in the fear and knowledge of You!

Happy Birthday, Diego. You have blessed me with your presence, your smiles, your hugs and besos, your tricks, your silly dances, your funny sayings and your understanding of God's Word! You are an answer to prayer and a true treasure!

Love, Mami!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Bit of Everything

Last month, my oldest two spent two weeks with Mrs. Lisa doing swimming lessons. They love her and she is extremely patient with them. Eliana kept repeating: "No, thanks, I don't like this. I'm not good at this."

Diego floated on his back by himself for a few seconds!

I had tons of pictures of the kids swimming last summer, but most days the baby didn't cooperate. He did this day.

The only drawback to it is that she only offers two weeks each summer... boy! we wish we could get her for at least 6 weeks! Thanks, Lisa for your help. Now I guess it's up to me to teach 'em the rest of the summer.

I think we'll go tomorrow! We usually go to a pool not far from my sisters house... we walk to and from her house. And afterwards, we paint our toenails on her front porch while Diego watches a movie. I'm a messy painter, but I still have fun.

I have Eliana stretch out on her towel and stay still so the paint will dry... we're definitely in need of a new polish again because the fish are gone!

Speaking of paint, I recently painted all the children's chairs in my house! Lots of fun color, love it!

On days that we don't get to go to the pool (which has been way to often the past two weeks!) we've been trying to come up with indoor activities to stay cool-- so, we're back to tents again!

Little man has learned to pull himself to a stand inside the crib and now the pack-n-play. He climbs up and holds on the side crying because he's exhausted, but refuses to sleep because he's sure he's missing out on something wonderful. Silly boy! (What I wouldn't do for a nap!)

Thank you for all your sweet comments about our anniversary and story! We got to go on an actual date. (Thank you, Elisabeth and Paul!) It was so nice to go out and carry a conversation without being interrupted mid-sentence time and time again! And! we had the movie theater to ourselves! to make out in as much as we wanted... which was not that much because we wanted to see a movie and that doesn't happen often at all. A very lovely evening, *sigh* my how nice dates are... maybe we'll do it again for Jesse's birthday in October. You never know! ;)

Linking up again this week with Embrace the Camera! Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A New Place to Play

We were lucky enough to stumble upon a Groupon deal we couldn't pass up last winter... a family membership to Botanica. Just a few minutes from our home, it was great to hang out there this spring, but with the heat has come my reluctance to do anything outside that does not involve water. So, that was the end of our trips.

Until this past week, when we just had to get over there because they had finally opened up their Children's Garden. It was pretty fabulous... although heat nearing 110 kept our trip short, I'm seeing many trips as soon as the weather cools!

Take a look:

Okay, so maybe there were some water features... just not ones where it's socially acceptable for an adult to be completely drenched. So, while it was fun for the kids, it was a bit too hot for us! I am praying for cooler weather, although I know the chances of that aren't great.

What are you doing to stay cool? Have you been to Botanica's children's garden yet? If so, tell me what you think!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We met in Mexico

I came down to his parent's church to stay the summer and help YFC with their short-term missions trips.

He was there for a couple of weeks to help translate and lead construction on the church building.

I saw him leaning up against the church wall outside in the heat and dust waiting for the team to arrive.

He saw me getting off the fifteen passenger van with our first mission team for the summer.

I saw him checking me out.

He thought his sunglasses were darker than they were.

I broke my sandal at the lake.

He volunteered to take me shoe shopping.

I was left to hang out with four guys for a week when the first team left.

He made sure I was safe on our walk to the cliffs when the guys decided to visit the lake in the middle of the night.

I knew after that.

He kept me warm on our drive back from a day trip to San Antonio- then he knew.

I had to be back in Wichita for a week's worth of job training in the middle of the summer.

He volunteered to drive me back to the San Antonio airport with his brother-in-law before they headed off to Tennessee.

I missed my flight... his brother-in-law isn't the fastest driver ever.

He ended up driving me to Oklahoma City instead.

We had plenty of time to talk about things like:

He was worried about our age difference...  I was 22, he was almost 29.

I had a thing for older men.

He was getting over another girl.

I was ready for a serious relationship and wasn't willing to plunge into another "fun relationship" that was going no-where.

We parted ways at the Cracker Barrel... and met up two weeks later in North Carolina.

Those two weeks were torturous and just a taste of the year-long long-distance relationship we were about to embark on. But it was worth it! So glad I'm with you today, a decade later! I'm so thankful that God has brought us together and carried us through even when we've been disobedient wretches, He's sustained us and is growing us up in Him. Thank you, Jesse for being willing to put up my selfishness, stinky attitudes, and crazy emotions and loving me in spite of it all... Happy 8th Anniversary; I love you more than I can say!

And Happy 37th Anniversary, Momma and Daddy! Y Feliz Aniversario 52o a mis suegros, tambien!

Friday, July 8, 2011

From a Can?

While I was busy trying to figure out how to make churros for the Mexican-themed Fourth of July party at Jason and Wendy's, I paused in wonder and amazement as I read a comment under a recipe. Could it really be true? Was it really that easy? I googled it and sure enough! it popped right up! "boiled can of sweetened condensed milk" I went back to the original comment I read and boiled it for 90 minutes which wasn't long enough.

So, I began to research some more and then tried it again... this time with 3 cans (so I could take a couple to the party), I covered them with water, but the lid on (because they can explode if they're not completely immersed) and boiled 'em for 3 and a half hours.

And then I had it! Dulce de Leche! Beautiful caramel color!

And super good on churros!

And I bet it wouldn't be bad from the spoon either...

Yep, pretty luscious that way, too!

And now, I'm off to make an apple pie with the rest of the can, before I eat it all with a spoon!

Have a Fabulous Friday!

Disclaimer-- I've read that all you have to do to avoid explosion of a can is keep it completely covered and I didn't have any problems like that, but I'll probably try this technique next time!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Wedding Fiesta

For several years now, my childhood friend, Angie, has been working as a missionary in Mexico. I recently had a chance to fly down for her wedding but not everyone was able to make it... so this past weekend, we had a reception for her and her new husband, Pepe, here in town.

When I was asked to head up decorations for the party, I jumped at the chance... Angie and I had already had a chance to peruse reception ideas months earlier, so I had a general idea of what she'd like.

My mom and I have an extensive collection of vintage Mexican stuff, which was a great benefit, and kept the costs down. We kept all the decorations to $130 and all but $20 of that was spent on flowers... which was actually the most difficult part. We wanted to use zinnias because they come in a large variety of colors and are a Mexican flower, but when we started looking for flowers, we were having trouble finding a place that was affordable. (One of my favorite florist told me they'd have to get them from a European market and it'd be $2.50 a stem! "Uh, no thanks; I'll keep on looking." Finally, I had a friend say that we could come and cut her flowers from her back yard because she'd be out of town for the week-- thanks, Janet! and then we found a wonderful lady at the Old Town Farmer's Market who told us she'd give them to us for 50 cents a stem-- between those two sources, we had plenty of zinnias! For filler, we also ordered purple statice, rudbeckia, and feverfew from the Old Town florist and then ordered something called strawberry fields from another gal at a different farmer's market.

My momma was such a help! She loaded up her van twice with all the things we brought out for the party: child's chairs and tables, tablecloths, washtubs, and mexican clothing. And she also ran to both Farmer's Markets to pick up all the flowers while I ran down to Derby to cut more flowers. She helped me through the set up process and with making all the bouquets for the tables... between making the arrangements for everything ahead of time and running back and for for drop-offs and pick-ups, I'm sure she went thru at least a tank of gas! She was one busy lady! Thank you, Momma!

We layered table clothes, bright sheets, vintage Mexican tablecloths, and sarapes on the tables, used mason jars for the bouquets and these baby food jars for tea lights. We used these poms and papel picado flags to add more color.

Mexican sarapes were hung for backdrops... and we used a trunk filled with mexican clothing for our photo booth props!

We included a mirror at the photo booth, so people could check themselves out before snapping pics!

I love how all the photo booth photos turned out... it was so much fun!

It was such a beautiful evening for a wonderful couple. ¡Felicidades, Angie y Pepe!

(Thanks to Colby Turybury, Patty Johnson and my momma for the beautiful photos!)

Here's a picture of me and the little man... he was such a trooper all day; was perfectly content to sleep and play in other people's arms, giving me the chance to put it all together. But when things settled down, I was super ready to hold him again!

I'm joining up with Embrace the Camera (a challenge to actually get in front of the camera with your family--"oh! you mean the kids may eventually want to see pictures of me with them when they grow up?") this week!