Friday, March 20, 2009

Sabbath

I will be taking a week off to rest and worship, pray and be. If I come to mind, please lift my family up to the One who knows every hair on our head and has purposed our every minute of every day.

An Infestation of the Green Persuasion

Last week The Reader found this note, nearly taunting him to trap this leprechaun. First we tried a trap of Lucky Charms with a ladder to the top. Evidently the little elf was able to rock the box enough to knock it over and escape. He did leave some gold covered chocolate coins though.
Next we made this trap out of an old oatmeal box with a trap door on top. For bait we used more Lucky Charms mixed with green M & M's.


No luck. It appears as though he used his hat as a stool and climbed back out of the trap. He left more gold covered chocolate coins and a trail of shimmery shamrocks that ended in the middle of the room.


The next trap we set was a shiny colander with a traditional bait and stick contraption. Again the lad escaped us but left behind some Gold Nugget bubblegum.


Our final trap was a picture of another leprechaun in a jar of Lucky Charms sprinkled with gold glitter. You see above what a mess the leprechaun made of our table, what with shiny shamrocks and shamrock stickers, gold coins of all kinds, including some golden dollars! He left a note that said "Thanks for the snacks. I'll be back next year for more fun!"
The boys made a guess on about day 3 that Dad and Mom were the leprechaun to which I protested, "I am not now, nor have I ever been a leprechaun." But they continued to play along knowing that if they proclaimed us the leprechaun the game would be over.
Can someone please tell me why I am so devoutly opposed to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny but took this idea and ran with it?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Community Helper of the Month - The Library

Last month we took cookies to the hard working men at the street department. This month we chose the library workers. Recently our library was named a five-star library and those library employees deserve that award. I've frequented the libraries of all five cities I've lived in and this is by far the very best and the children's librarian is bar none.


Last week I checked out some books for the boys about libraries and spent some time reading them. In my opinion, the public library is the best benefit of a democratic society.

We thought star shaped cookies were very appropriate for the occasion. I love the look of royal icing, the smoothness and texture but I don't love the taste. Recently I picked up a copy of Hello, Cupcake! (at the library appropriately enough) and read their directions for a faux ganache (which Blogger is telling me is spelled wrong...big girls know how to spell heaven-in-draped-chocolate-form, can I get an amen?). You simply microwave canned frosting until it is the consistency of light whipped cream. So I thought I would try the same with cream cheese frosting to create a sort of glaze. It worked beautifully.

For the larger cookies I saved back some of the icing before melting and piped it around the outside shape. I then dusted with sanding sugar and let harden a few minutes. Then I spooned the melted icing into the middle and filled in all of the points with a spoon. I let this harden and then went back to pipe on the letters.

For the smaller cookies I just placed a cooling rack over a 9x13 and spooned melted icing over each. The Entertainer situated himself in the middle of the table and dusted each cookie with sanding sugar ever so gingerly.

I really liked the way they turned out and can't wait to try other cookie shapes with this same technique...I'm already thinking place cards for Easter dinner!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Going Through the Motions

Recently I was in a setting with several young people and any other time I would have been happy to let someone else do the talking. "Someone else" who is a better public speaker than me. "Someone else" who is more knowledgeable than me. "Someone else" whose voice doesn't get shaky and whose face doesn't turn 100 shades of red.


But "Someone else" was also waiting on someone else to speak up. To be the voice of Jesus. To correct the pc thinking and liberal teaching going on in our institutions of higher learning these days. "Someone else" was absent that day. Now, don't get me wrong, I am *NOT* "Someone else", I just noticed that "Someone else" was absent and felt He would want me to take His place.


When I said what needed to be said, an answer came back "I am a Christian too, I read the Bible, all that stuff but..."


All that stuff? What "stuff"?


Stuff is what I bring home from Target. Stuff is what I do all day to procrastinate doing my classwork. Stuff is excess. Stuff is *NOT* Jesus. Stuff is *NOT* the Bible.


Which led me to unpack this all some more. Have I just been going through the motions? I know for about 23 years of my life I did just go through the motions. I didn't know there was more. Until I met two incredible women who weren't just going through the motions. I looked at them and realized they meant what they said. They knew Someone I didn't.


It makes my eyes tighten with tears to remember that night sitting at my dear, dear friend's kitchen table and realizing - she GETS it. To her this is not a dress rehearsal, it's the actual performance. And I distinctly remember my other dear friend one late (laaaaate) night at a different kitchen table. I had comprehended the whole "actual performance" deal but I realized that night that I had never memorized the script. No one had ever told me about memorizing the script. But this friend, oh she knew the script so well. And she believed it too. She let it flow out of her mouth like sweet honey to my ears. And every. single. time. I call her, she oozes Jesus like you just wouldn't believe.


Since then I have wavered back and forth. A. Lot. I've forgotten that it is opening night with a sold out auditorium and folks, not only is this opening night but this is a one night only show. A single performance. There is an audience of One and nothing else matters. I show up for rehearsals diligently for a week or so and then something glittery and shiny catches my eye and I completely forget what it is I was practicing for. I forget my lines. I forget Who I am supposed to be performing for.


After I filled in for "Someone Else" the other day, I heard this song for the first time. I wept. Wept. It's from Matthew West called The Motions:


"This might hurt
It’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
I don’t care
If I break


At least I’ll be feeling something
‘Cause just ok
Is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life


I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions


No regrets
Not this time I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love
Make me whole

I think I’m finally feeling something

Take me all the way Take me all the way Take me all the way."


And how about you? If someone sat down at your kitchen table tonight, what would they remember 7 years later? I've sat down at a lot of kitchen tables with a lot of people. Lives change at the kitchen table. Mine did. And I am done going through the motions. "It might hurt, it's not safe but I don't care if I break."


"What if I had given EVERYTHING? Instead of going through the motions. No regrets. Not this time, I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind."

All Our Lives We've Longed for More

I have so much I want to say in this post and so little that I feel free to say. This post has been swirling around in my head for about a week so I thought that if I could just get it out I could unpack it and try to make it make sense to me.

I have Big Daddy Weave's song If We Let Jesus Live Through You and Me in my head right now. I tried to pull one part out that was more meaningful to me than another but I can't. Here are the lyrics in their entirety:

"I wish I was more of a man
Have you ever felt that way
And if I had to tell you the truth
I'm afraid I'd have to say
That after all I've done and failed to do
I feel like less than I was meant to be

What if I could fix myself
Maybe then I could get free
I could try to be somebody else
Who's much better off than me
But I need to remember this
That it's when I'm at my weakest I can clearly see

He made the lame walk and the dumb talk
He opened blinded eyes to see
That the sun rises on His time
Yet He knows our deepest desperate need
And the world waits while His heart aches
To realize the dream
I wonder what life would be like if we let Jesus live through you and me

What if you could see yourself thru another pair of eyes
What if you could hear the truth
Instead of old familiar lies
What if you could feel inside
The power of the hand that made the universe You'd realize

All our hearts they burn within us
All our lives we've longed for more
So let us lay our lives before the one who gave His life for us"

That's all I've got for now. I do have more to say about going through the motions but for now I've wrestled with myself so much that my brain is toast.

Anatomy of a Sunday Morning

Here is what I woke up to Sunday morning:


Table set for breakfast, donuts for whomever would like them. Mr. Steady's bowl of 1/2 bran flakes, 1/2 Life cereal at his placeLunch dishes, silverware, napkins and a bib for a certain 2 1/2 year old

wait for their turn at the table. The stack of Bibles to be carried out to the car.A jar to be returned to it's owner...never return an dish empty, even if it's just a few pieces of chocolate.Lots of things to take to a few different sisters at church, extra scrapbooking materials, extra homeschooling supplies, clean disposable containers for the church pantry.Partial collection of ingredients for Hashbrown Casserole, the remainder of the ingredients are perishable and were hanging out in the fridge. I assembled and turned the crockpot on before we left for worship. My oatmeal, all I need to add is the liquid and turn the burner on.

No, not every Sunday looks this calm or put together. This one just happened to fall into place. And it was very peaceful. A very blessed way to start the Lord's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

What's In Your Trash Bag?

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So I joined the 40 Trash Bag Challenge and I know all of my uber organized, non-messy, unslothful friends are thinking "Where in the world would I get enough stuff to fill up 40 trash bags?"


Well, let me help you with that. Here is the equivalent to two trash bags, full of plastic storage containers.

My corner cabinet was to the point where you opened it, threw whatever it was that you needed to put away in it and shut the door as fast as humanly possible to prevent an avalanche of colorful plastic coming at your head. So today I pulled it all out and only put back what I think we will use.

At first my greedy self started telling me why I needed each and every container, especially the pretty ones. And then I said "Self, when was the last time that you needed these containers so much that this cabinet was completely empty?" Self thought for a few minutes and said never so I started really getting gazelle-intense as Dave would say.

Would you believe that I put back less than 25% of what I pulled out of that cabinet? I've got a bag to go to Goodwill, a bag of disposables with lids to go to the church for leftovers from potlucks and such, a bag to return to my mother (yikes!), and then a bag of orphan lids and bottoms that I will hold onto for three months and if I haven't gone in to retrieve anything out of it I will Goodwill it as well.

Other bags that I have removed have contained lots of trash, several bags of clothes, two bags of toys and a couple of other Goodwill donations. I have only done the main floor so far. I know I could get at least two bags of boys clothes. And I won't even share with you how many bags I will get out of the basement. Let's just say a child could play down there for months and never get bored. I have GOT to make myself get down there over Spring Break.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

China Hutches

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Do you have a china cabinet or hutch? Ever wonder what people keep in those drawers? Wanna peek in mine? The larger top drawer houses most of the boys craft supplies: markers, crayons, scissors, glue, tape, and coloring books. Give your children their own rolls of Scotch tape. It's not that expensive and then they won't steal yours.

The drawer just below this houses my napkin addiction collection. I love pretty and fun napkins for all occasions. I like to buy them after each holiday for the next year. Tuck a special napkin into your family's brown bag lunches to make your loved ones feel extra special.

I also keep packages of pretty tissues on hand. No, not because I have an addiction. Ok, I do. But they are fun to give to a friend or tuck into a basket.

Also in this drawer I keep my collection of tiny bud vases, as well as upholstery tacks...you never know when you might need one. At what point in my life did upholstery tacks become a necessity? Off-limits-without-permission craft supplies like paint are also kept in the back of this drawer.


The two drawers on the right of the hutch hold playing cards and small puzzles in zip-top puzzles. But this is my favorite drawer - the gift drawer. From time to time I pick up items that I can stash away in my gift drawer. A book, a notepad, a video, or maybe a candle. I also keep a couple of generic gift bags and some tissue paper in this drawer for emergency gift wrapping. When the children come home with a request for a book exchange or a birthday party invitation I am prepared.
I was blessed with some extra time last weekend while all the boys were out of the house. The weather was gorgeous so I threw up the sashes (I've always wanted to say that) and set about freshening up a few spaces. I was incredibly blessed to inherit not only my grandmother's china dishes but also my great-grandmother's china dishes. My great-grandmother also collected green Depression Glass that came with her china set. I had all of the dishes up top but after seeing the pictures of Tina's china cabinet I had to move my dishes around. Some day I will be brave and literally freshen up the china cabinet and possibly even remove the doors but this day I only rearranged the contents. I don't have a before picture but this is much lighter and simpler looking.


Not only did I inherit the dishes, I inherited the entire dining room set. I can't help but wonder what my grandmother put in these drawers. My mom puts candles and cloth napkins in her drawers. Uh, her china cabinet drawers that is. Now it's your turn...what do you keep in your china hutch drawers? And if you don't have a china hutch, what would you put in the drawers if you had one?

Friday, March 13, 2009

If Your Name is Spring, Welcome In!

Less than three months ago this glass dome housed a candle and was embraced by a wreath of glistening berries and evergreens. It was cozy and warm to look at. But I am so done with cozy and warm. I want to put my flip flops on and open the windows.

Last summer The Entertainer and I took a walk on my dad's property and brought home several sheets of moss that we found. Amazingly, it stayed plush and green all winter with nary (and I mean nary) a drop of attention. So I put a layer of pebbles, then a layer of dirt and gave the moss a new home. Now this glass dome is fresh and GREEN!

Monday, March 9, 2009

It's Funny, Get It?

The Reader loves to read anything. I love for him to read most anything as well. But recently I love to hear him read riddle books. I picked up "Sheepish Riddles" by Katy Hall and Lisa Eisenberg on my most recent trip to the library for the boys. Here's how our nightly reading time sounds:

The Reader "Hey mom, where do sheep go to get a haircut?"
Mom "I don't know, where?"
The Reader "To the baa-baa shop. (Insert chuckle) Get it, the baa-baa, like bar-ber shop? Get it?"
Mom "Yes, I get it"
The Reader "What kind of birthday party do lambs like?"
Mom "I dunno, what?"
The Reader "Sheepovers! Get it? Sheep instead of sleep? (Practically falling on the floor laughing at this point)

If you have any reluctant readers, riddle books are great. The play into the child's natural humor and reading the riddles over and over give him great practice. It also introduces homophones like ewe and you or sheer and shear. Encourage them to memorize some to share with their friends at school. And if for no other reason it's just stinking cute to hear your children laughing at jokes.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

50 Things About Me

There are different versions of this floating around cyberspace. Copy and play along if you'd like!

1. Where were you 3 hours ago? At the post office
2. Who are you in love with? My husband and my boys
3. Have you ever eaten a crayon? As much as I love new pointy crayons I have never eaten one.
4. Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you? No - did I mention I have three boys?
5. When is the last time you went to the mall? Tuesday
6. Are you wearing socks right now? No
7. Do you have a car worth over $2,000? Yes
8. When was the last time you drove out of town? I guess that depends on your definition, according to my definition that would be a long, long time ago. Probably in the fall.
9. Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days? No
11. What are you wearing right now? Denim skirt, red long sleeved tee, black sweater
12. Do you wash your car or let the car wash do it? Usually the car wash
13. Last food that you ate? Nutter Butters
14. Where were you last week at this time? Getting dinner ready
15. You bought any clothing items in the last week? I bought two pairs of jeans for The Reader this week
16. When is the last time you ran? About a month ago
17. What's the last sporting event you watched? I have no idea
18. What is your favorite animal? Elephant or Giraffe
19. Your dream vacation? Africa, though the purpose of it wouldn't be a vacation
20. Last person's house you were in? My mom's
21. Worst injury you've ever had? Torn hamstring
22. Have you been in love? Yes!
23. Do you miss anyone right now? Yes
24. Last play you saw? Pinocchio
25. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex? ???
26. What are your plans for tonight? Eat dinner with my family and help with homework
27. Who is the last person you sent a MySpace message or comment? I don't have a MySpace account
28. Next trip you are going to take? Hard to say
29. Ever go to camp? Yes and I have wonderful memories
30. Were you an honor roll student in school? Usually
31. What do you want to know about the future? Nothing
32. Are you wearing any perfume or cologne? Nope
33. Are you due sometime this year for a doctor's visit? Nope, just had one
34. Where is your best friend? At home with their families
35. Who is your best friend? Mr. Steady, Marcella K, and Kenny D
36. Do you have a tan? Never, I wasn't blessed with much melanin
37. What are you listening to right now? Mr. Steady and The Entertainer's conversation as Mr. Steady is changing The Entertainer's diaper
38. Do you collect anything? Clutter
39. Who is the biggest gossiper you know? I gave up talking bad about people for Lent, ask me on April 13 - totally kidding!
40. Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over? 2001
41. Have you ever drank your soda from a straw? Um, yes
42. What does your last text message say? Don't have texting capabilities
43. Do you like hot sauce? No way.
44. Last time you took a shower? This morning
45. Do you need to do laundry? No, it's all caught up for this week
46. What is your heritage? German
47. Are you some one's best friend? Yes
48. Are you rich? I am so blessed you just wouldn't even believe me if I told you
49. What were you doing at 12AM last night? Sleeping!
50. Who was the last person to call you? A customer

Friday, March 6, 2009

Let There Be Light

When we moved into this house we inherited this light. It is obviously unattractive and hugs the ceiling like nobody's business. It wasn't that big of a deal until we flip flopped our playroom and dining rooms.
When Mr. Steady and I found a brass chandelier at the thrift store for $2.50 I knew it was my opportunity to bring some class to the dining room. Mr. Steady spray painted with a matte black, no primer, no sanding! It looks great. He switched out the chain and added a longer cord. Then you voted on the globes and we (finally) bought the frosted amber globes. Mr. Steady reluctantly happily hung the chandy 60" from the floor (because the Nester said so) and I have been thrilled with it. The only thing I would do differently again is look for a chandelier with matching suitable globes already in them. We had to buy globes a couple at a time because of the cost and if I found another light with matching globes for a little more, I would snatch it up. Globes cost anywhere from $7 for the basic to upwards of $20 for the fancy schmancy ones. Mine were somewhere on the lower end. So even if you pay $15 for a three lamp light you're still ahead of the game.




Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Star of the Week

The Thinker was the "Star of the Week" in his class at school last week. He filled out a book about himself and then took in pictures. I was invited to attend Tuesday as his teacher interviewed him and allowed the class to ask questions about his life. I was also invited to stay for lunch.

I know I have shared with you that I have been a little dismayed at The Thinker's grades lately (which I am happy to report are back on the rise). I overheard a conversation at lunch, in which I will not divulge details here, that just reassured me that God really is working on The Thinker's heart. And a godly heart and a bold, bold witness are so much more important than grades.

Thinker, I am so proud of the way you fearlessly share your faith in such a loving way. Never be afraid to lovingly guide your peers to Christ. I know God was smiling on you Tuesday! You are a star in my book - and in God's!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pay It Forward

UPDATED: Congratulations to Such_Savage, Chazya and Shannon! You win! Email me your snail mail address at coveredandpraying at sbcglobal dot com and I will get your gift out to you!
As a side note, I DO know where I got the graphic, it's a Suzy's Zoo, what I meant to say is that there is a Pay It Forward boom going on around the blogosphere and lots of bloggers are doing a giveaway for the first three commenters.


Stole this from another blog but can't tell you where. Not because I am stingy and don't want to share my source of blog fodder but because I literally cannot remember.
The first three commenters right here, right now will receive a gift from me. I can't tell you what it is (ok, now that IS because I don't want to share my source of blog fodder) but I will send it to you within the next week.