Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Exciting Events for our Family

 We have had a wonderful evening!

 Mara decided that she wanted to make the decision to become a Christain and follow Jesus for the rest of her life. This evening after church she was baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of her sin. I am so thrilled! This is such a huge, life directing decision and not one to make lightly. She didn't make it without much thought and study.  I hope to share pictures and more about this before to long!

  Also my older brother Peter and his family, which includes a 3 1/2 month old that we had not met before, came on a somewhat spur of the moment trip today. They live in Colorado and we don't get to see them often and are so happy they could come! My new niece is adorable and I plan on spending the next few days holding her as much as possible!

So.... Posting here might not happen very much these next few days but you can be sure that we are having a wonderful time! :-)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Another finished project!

I love making things. I have been that way for a very long time, as long as I can remember. Because of my enjoyment in making things, I tend to start a lot of projects. Many of them I complete but some of them....well sometimes they get forgotten and stuffed away and left useless for quite some time.

    One particular project was a coat. I started it when I was 15 or 16 during a time that we enjoyed visiting rendezvous - an event where people would act and dress in period (the ones we went to were set in the 1800s) clothing. I had fun making costumes for the guys in my family and I to wear to them. One book I had showed a fun pattern for a cape which I helped a friend to make and then I wanted to make one too. My Mom advised that having a coat connected to it would be much more practical in our cold MN winters and so I did that.

   Well I got most of it done but then had some troubles and basically just got tired of the project. I wasn't completely liking how it was turning out and I think my interests had drifted a bit. Anyway it got set aside and I worked on other things. I did pull it out to use it a couple of times for victorian strolls (a Christmas time event) in Albia, IA when we lived near there but I used it without buttons and a make shift hem.

   But finally, as of yesterday, it is done! I still might make some improvements on it but it is fully hemmed and has buttons and buttonholes. It feels so nice to finally finish this project!  It is a unique coat (and my family is not sure that they are that fond of it -though I think Megan said it was pretty) and I am not sure that I will wear it a lot but I enjoy unique clothing from time to time and I think I will enjoy having it as an option. The length makes it pretty warm (too warm for our current weather!).

Here is the back view. I made this out of a couple of old army blankets and I tried to dye it but that didn't work to well and you can still see that there are two different shades. Any suggestions?

With the hood up. It is a pretty unique hood and I can't imagine wearing it much.

 Now I am on to work on a hammock that has been sitting around and whatever else I can pull out of my desk and closet! Do you have old projects that need finishing sitting around? Maybe I am the only pack rat that keeps unfinished projects around for 16 or so years!

This is linked to:

A soft place to land

Sumo Sweet Stuff

We have oh so much to be thankful for!

 "But Godliness actually is a means of great gain,
when accompanied with contentment.
For we have brought nothing into the world,
so we cannot take anything out of it either.
And if we have food and covering,
with these we shall be content."
1 Timothy 6:6-8

On Saturday Mara and I headed off, picking up SuSan on the way, to a food packing event sponsered by a local Bible College. There we met up with some others from our church as well as many others from the community.
When we got there we had to fill out a little form, don some lovely "shower" caps and sanitize our hands. Then we sat down to recieve instruction and watch a little video the showed who the food was going to. We were packing small packets of rice mixed with seasoning, soy protien and dried veggies.
Mara had fun helping with the scooping and I got to help seal them up. It was a fun Saturday noon activity to take a little bit of our time to help just a tiny bit those who have nothing.

I wanted to share with you a couple of the videos we saw while we were there. It made me cry to see how people live in other places. They don't begin to have what they need. It also made me realize yet again how very, very blessed we are!


 When I see videos like this, when we recieve newsletters from Sudan African Mission that tell about babies being born out under trees in the dirt because there is no other place available and when we read stories of the true accounts of missionaries like the Morses in "Exodus to a Hidden Valley" (Which we are reading aloud at our house right now) we are all realizing over and over again just how blessed we are, that we need to be thankful and not complain and that we need to do all that we can to share with others.

   I am feeling a profound sense of gratitude today. I am abundantly blessed. Here are just a small sampling of the things that God has given to me and I am thanking Him for:

491. Never ever having to go hungry because there wasn't enough to eat.

492. An abundance of food and clothing.

493. Fresh, clean and good tasting water.

494. Health.

495. The country in which I live.

496. Knowing God's love my whole life.

497. Parents that have provided a wonderful example of how to live as a christian.

498. My Dad's 60th year! I am so glad to have such a wonderful Father who made it easy to love and trust my heavenly Father.

499. Piles of waffles to eat on a relaxing Saturday morning.

500. The fun of reading a book in one sitting on a lazy Saturday afternoon. (I don't think I have done that since Mara was a baby!)

501. Fun times making projects to enter in a wedding DIY contest and having beautiful models for my picture taking! :-)

502. Circus time is here again! Even though it was rather chilly watching. :-)

503. Grandpa's baby goats to enjoy.

504. Fun times in the oh so pretty weather getting our pictures taken by my talented sister Keren.

505. Family

506. Salvation.

What do you have to be thankful for?

"Oh give thanks to the Lord,
call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples.
Sing to Him,
sing praises to Him;
Speak of all His wonders."
Psalm 105: 1 & 2

holy experience

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Needed: God's help

"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit,
but with humility of mind let each of your regard one another as more important than himself;
do not merely look out for your own personal interests,
but also for the interests of others."
Philippians 2: 3 & 4

I wish I didn't need the reminder in the verse so much, but I do. Why do I find it so easy to be selfish, conceited and proud? It is hard to say. One thing I do know, Satan wants us to stumble and he will tempt us in any way that he can to try to get us to cave. That is why we need to be keeping our eyes on Jesus, get dressed in the armor that He provides (Ephesians 6:10-18) and stand firm. I am glad that I happened to read this verse this week to remind me yet again to keep working on these areas that I struggle in. On my own I will have trouble but I have a mighty God who has sent His Spirit to work in me if I just let Him.

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endure the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12: 1 & 2

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring is for skirts!

 I really really like Spring! I enjoy Winter too but there is just something about Spring that always makes me feel excited. The warmer weather lately (We actually started having Spring weather early this year though the last couple of days have been getting colder again) has been making me want to clean and organize AND wear lighter, brighter clothing.

    Skirts have been on my mind. I have some that I want to make for me (or re-make) but I haven't actually worked on any of those yet. Instead I made one for Mara that she wore to church on Sunday and then SuSan saw it and wondered if I would make one for her. I was happy to do it for her. She has been giving so many little gifts to me kids lately, it was fun to do something for her as well.

   The project was a nicely simple one. I went through my stash of old t-shirts to see what I had in pink (SuSan's favorite color) and came up with this combination:
I cut of the bottom of the striped t-shirt to use as the top of the skirt.
I left the hem in place and used it as it was. I did take the side seams in a bit though as there were slits on the side and it was a bit wider than needed.
Then I cut some of these gore shapes out of pink (dark and light) and the striped material as well as white which I ended up needing to add.
I sewed them together, alternating the colors.

Then I pinned the top of the flared part of the skirt underneath to top part of the skirt (the old shirt hem) and sewed them together. I used both a straight stitch and a zig zag stitch. Next I made a turned down the top of the skirt to make a casing to insert the elastic. After inserting the elastic I then hemmed the bottom (using the machine) and I was all done!

It is always fun to do a simple project like that. I was able to take it to SuSan at church that evening and she was quite pleased. She wore it to church on Wednesday night.
Here she is in her new skirt. She was really tired which is why I couldn't really get a smile.

 That is one of my frugal projects for the week. What have you been up to at your house?

For more frugal ideas I recommend visiting Frugal Friday at Life as MOM.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sewing for Mara

On Friday I was working at going through stuff and cleaning in my office and as I was going through a couple of boxes of old t-shirts that I had saved to use sometime I decided to get to work and use some of them right then.
I found one large old t-shirt in a medium blue and decided to make Mara some leggings as I had been wanting to do all winter. I grabbed a pair of her jeans, laid them on for a pattern and started cutting.
I had decided to use the hem of the t-shirt for the hem of these capri length leggings.
I would have loved to avoid side seams altogether but there where too many holes in the shirt that I was trying to avoid so that didn't work. I sewed up the side seams and noticed there was still a hole that didn't get missed. What to do?
How about a band of fabric to make a stripe? Works for me!

I then sewed up the seams in the front and back of the leggings and then the inseam. Next I put some elastic around the top and they were all done! But... what skirt would she wear them with? The stripe made them not quite so matchable.

Well I had all these t-shirts:
Maybe I should make a skirt too.

 So after a bit of cutting and figuring I did.

I had quite a bit of fun making it. It was quite simple using a couple of different navy blue t-shirts and the rest of the striped t-shirt.                                                                            

I decided to make a scarf too. I turned out a little funky but that's okay. I had lots of fun, Mara  likes it and the outfit didn't cost us a cent, was quite fast to make and used up some otherwise rejected old clothes.

This is linked to:


Monday, March 22, 2010

Showing gratitude

    "Therefore, since we recieve a kingdom which cannot be shaken,
let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an
acceptable service with reverence and awe;
for our God is a consuming fire."
Hebrews 12:28 & 29

So much to thank God for!
#451 The first bike ride of the season!

#452 Enjoying the warm weather with my girls.
#453 Being able to live in a place where we can experience all 4 seasons.
#454 The excitement of Spring!
#455 Fun times going geo-caching

#456 Laughter.

#457 Getting to see my children spend time with my parents.

#458 Sweet stuff the comes right out of the trees.

#459 The fun times of collecting maple sap and boiling it into syrup.

#460 Megan's sense of style!

#461 Aaron's smiles.

#462 Jonathan's energy.

#463 Mara's gentle and sensitive spirit.

#464 Sunday evening singing outside by a fire.

#465 Sweet little kids sitting on a log.

#466 Hotdogs and marshmellows roasted over a fire.

#467 Fun times with international students.

#468 The Holy Spirit's working.

#489 God's word that teaches.

#490 Love from my heavenly Father and from family and friends.

holy experience

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What does God want from us?

I recently read Isaiah chapter 58 and I found it some neat food for thought and motivating. I thought I would share it with you too. I hope it speaks to you as it is speaking to me.

Isaiah 58:1-12
"Cry loudly, do not hold back;
Raise your voice like a trumpet,
And declare to My people their transgression,
and to the house of Jacob their sins.

Yet they seek Me day by day, and delight to know My ways,
As a nation that has done righteousness,
and has not forsaken the ordinance of their God.

They ask Me for just decisions,
They delight in the nearness of God.

Why have we fasted and Thou dost not see?

Why have we humbled ourselves and Thou dost not notice?

Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire,
and drive hard all your workers
Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist.

You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.

Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself?

Is it for bowing one's head like a reed,
and for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?

Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the Lord?

Is this not the fast which I choose,
to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke,
And let the oppresses go free, and break every yoke?

Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house;
when you see the naked to cover him;
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth;
and your righteousness will go before you;
The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
You will cry, and He will say, "Here I am".
If you remove the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
and if you give yourself to the hungry,
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness,
and your gloom will become like midday.

And the Lord will continually guide you,
and satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

And those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
You will raise up the age-old foundations;
And you will be called the repairer of the breach,
The restorer of the streets in which to dwell."

I am going to let the scripture speak for itself. I would also love to hear your thoughts on this chapter!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Winner ~Announced late, as usual :-)

  Thanks to all who entered in the giveaway that I held for the photo poster. I wish I could give one to each of you!

  Mara had fun drawing a name (and then the rest of the kids drew a name too just for the fun of it) and the winner is Jackie who blogs at Blessings Overflowing (as well as 2 other blogs!).

  Thanks very much to UPrinting for sponsering this giveaway!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Time is Money

    Because we have chosen to live on one income so that I can stay home with the kids it has been my desire to use my time at home in a way that we don't have to spend as much money. Meaning that I will spend more time on something (because time I have and I don't always have money) in order to save some money. Some of those things I do for other reasons too such as baking and cooking from scratch -it saves money but it is also better for us. Gardening is another way. It takes a lot of time but it saves money and beyond that we get food that is way better for us and tastes better too PLUS I love doing it!

   Another way that time can be money is when we use our time to fix and repair things we already have instead of buying new. We have been working to do that lately quite a bit and I thought I would tell you about a few of them:

#1. This ceremic pot that I had broke. It wasn't in millions of pieces so I decided it probably could be mended.
A little washing and a little glue left it in quite a bit better shape. It isn't at all perfect but I can put the good side facing out and it will work. I probably saved about $5 on this project. That isn't much but over time things like that will add up.

#2. Some ugly old baskets. I like baskets and use them freguently with my floral design and just around the house. These baskets were well past their prime and not good for much of anything. The "white" one had been decorating for my daisy bathroom at one time and then used as a crayon holder and it was in bad shape!
With a little cleaning and a little spray paint they are looking much better and much more usable again! The saving here was very little as these are goodwill sort of baskets but I would much prefer fixing up something I have so that it can be used again rather than filling up the landfill and going out and buying something else.
#3. A collapsable clothes hamper. A lot of seams on it had come apart and part of the frame had popped out. This project I turned over to Jonathan. It took him around 1/2 hour (with some help from me) to get it sewn back together again.
It isn't perfect but it works! We didn't save a ton of money here either as I noticed that these were on sale this week at Walgreens for 2/ $3.50 but again I would much prefer to fix up what we have than going and getting something new. Also it was a good learning experience for Jonathan and he thought it was fun. So it was a win win situation and we saved $1.75 in the bargain and it took about the same time to fix it as it would have taken to drive to the store and back to get one.

Here are a few other ways that I like to spend a little time in order to save some money:
  • Cutting hair at home (actually this saves both time AND money!). My family might not have the greatest haircuts on earth but they work!
  • Making homemade presents. This usually takes quite a bit more time but it is worth it for me both because I save money and I like the concept of making instead of buying.
  • Mending clothes.
  • Doing much of our own building and fixing up around the house.
  • Treating stains in clothing.
  • Making my own things to decorate with.
This list just barely scratched the surface. I would love to hear some of your favorite ways to use your time instead of money! Please share.....

For more frugal ideas visit Life as MOM.


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