Sunday, January 23, 2022

WINTER BLUES PARTY...

 Here we are again in the dead of winter with more weeks of cold ahead of us than behind us!  I don't know about you, but this time of year is a bit of a struggle for me.  Too many gloomy or cold days and I find myself dragging.  Thankfully, I've been distracted because it was my turn to host a monthly event with my Heartfelt group!  It gave me the motivation to get all Christmas decorations put away and my home ready to entertain again!

 I decided on a WINTER BLUES theme, making it a positive thing with blue and snowflake decor!  I already had a lot of blue things so that helped. I requested that the guests wear blue to the party and be prepared to share a tip with everyone on what helps them avoid the winter blues.  We had comfort food (chicken pot pie, roasted sweet potatoes, salad and apple crisp with ice cream.  We had a craft as well, snowflake mason jar vases.  We had so much fun, even though the temperature was 20 degrees outside. 

 

A fun sign for winter!

Group photo

Making snowflake mason jar vases!

My dishes have a blue stripe and I already had the light denim placemats, in addition to the navy napkins.  I also have several pieces of blue glass from my mother.  
I gathered natural branches to put in my vases and they do look like winter!

I found the snowflake runner, confetti and decorations 
on clearance at Party City!

 
I found two snowman dishes at the local thrift store!  
They were perfect to hold molded snowflake candies!


I think next winter I will hold another WINTER BLUES party now that I have all the cute things!  


Saturday, January 1, 2022

LEARNING TO LOVE THE BIBLE...


Before 2021,  I was a Christian that knew a good amount of Bible and biblical concepts, having been raised in church.  Our family went 3 times a week; basically whenever the doors were open.  I was baptized for the remission of sins at age 14 and I loved growing up in the youth group and the many other families and mentors that surrounded me.  I went to a Christian college and took required Bible courses.  I married a Christian, with the good encouragement from my parents in my formative years.  Thankfully we've been together 38 years.  Even though there have been ups and downs, church was a big part of our shared life and has been a way to be in community with other Christians and serve all these years.  BUT I still felt inadequate about how to study the Bible, and when questions were asked in Bible class, I felt intimidated by others' knowledge.  For many years I focused on reading the children's Bible, with all the basic stories, to my kids at bedtime.  My faith was on auto-pilot.  I did do a small group Bible study for about 10 years that met during the school year, that was an intensive look at one book of the Bible each year, and learned a lot.  But I wouldn't say that I loved it.  

Last year a friend mentioned The Bible Recap to me, and then I saw an invite on Facebook to join a private group doing the The Bible Recap, and I joined in with them. The daily reading + podcast was a game changer for me in a lot of ways.  I have learned to LOVE the Bible!  I couldn't wait to see what the reading would be and what I might learn about God each morning!  And, I completed reading the Bible through in a year, like I've always wanted to do. I loved that each morning the host asks, "What was your God shot today?" Meaning, what did you learn about God?  I realized that for many, many years, I have looked at scripture as a self-improvement book and was looking for what the words meant to my life, instead of desiring to learn more about the Creator of our world! New perspective, that's what was the game changer.  Along with a great help in the daily habit of reading, listening, and checking in on the Facebook group.  

If you feel stuck about Bible study or just want to try something new to add meaning to your life, try The Bible Recap! 

May God bless you in 2022!





Monday, December 27, 2021

CHRISTMAS CRAFTING AND FAVORITE SPOTS IN MY HOME...

 This year we weren't doing Christmas with our kids until January 2, so I was a little slow to get motivated to make things!  I did make a couple of batches of gingerbread cookies and a cookie bowl as well.  I have made these since the kids were small but hadn't done it in a while.  I decided to test my skills again...  Finally on December 23 I got busy with the saw and paint after being inspired by a cute Santa I saw in a store...so here they are!

You shape the gingerbread dough over a foil wrapped bowl and bake.

Cooled and ready to fill with goodies!

I always cut out tiny holes with a cookie cutter before baking so I can thread pretty ribbon through it.

So cute!  I usually fill it with some other goodies as well and wrap it in cellophane paper.

Now on to wood crafting...I had some thin wood and cut it into triangles with DH's help.  He also drilled the holes.

I had fun painting them into Santas!  

No wrapping required

Next, a few of my favorite scenes in my home right now!

The tree, complete with an old wagon, toy car, and teddy bear.

My mantle this year

Entry

My kitchen tree

Merry Christmas to you and yours!




Thursday, December 2, 2021

STEPPING STONE CRAFT...

 I thought it was a shame to let our old pool tile go to waste when our pool was being remodeled this summer, so before they took the debris away, I scooped a couple of buckets of it.  I have always wanted to try making a mosaic type stepping stone so here was my chance.  There are lot of tutorials on Pinterest.  I tried this one and this one.  The first turned out the best for me.  For the molds I bought a plastic mold at Hobby Lobby and also got an old piece of Tupperware at a garage sale for $.50 that works great!

my molds


with texture lines

After cleaning up some of the tile pieces with muriatic acid (carefully!) and breaking off bits of the white mortar with pliers, I sorted all the pieces and laid out a few designs. The Hubs helped me mix the sand mortar to the right consistency (pancake dough) and then I quickly set in my broken tiles, piece by piece, tapping the sides to let the air  bubbles out of the cement.  It's always fun to pop out the finished product 2 days later.  Some looked a little rough in the middle so after some experience I made some stepping stones with texture lines to look that way on purpose. 




this one was the one where I put the pieces in upside down before the concrete pour - didn't work so wel

I'm planning on giving them away for Christmas to my family - we have a tradition with homemade gifts!  These cost me less than $20 and were a lot of fun.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

FEELING GROUPY...

 Looking for fun and feeling GROUPY!  :)

Sorry, that song popped into my mind just as I started this post!  We've committed to several new things lately, all small groups.  So all of a sudden The Hubs and I have a busy life again!  But we're excited about it.  We had gotten a little lazy with all the Covid precautions.

One group we started is a Q group (small group meeting) with some other families in our Bible class at church.  We have been meeting every Sunday evening at our home and so far, it's been really good.  We've had one dinner together and also had a fun "service" project - decorating a car for our church's Trunk or Treat and passing out candy to the little ones!  We had a lot of fun with a Jonah and the Whale theme.  

The Hubs and I were jellyfish!

Another group that I'm in is a new program for women at church called Heartfelt.  It is a mentoring-type group with several older women (ahem, that would be me) and several younger women.  We meet once a month, in one of the homes, and the older women serve dinner, have a devotional, and teach a skill or do some type of craft with the younger.  In September we met in my home and I showed them how I divide my aloe vera plants and re-pot them.  They all got to take home an aloe vera baby.  In October we made toilet roll pumpkins.  They sound funny but they're really easy and cute!

Toilet paper roll, batting, a fabric napkin,cinnamon sticks, and fake leaves...
What do you think of our pumpkins?

Finally, we started meeting with friends playing games once a month.  This month their kids had come for a visit from TN so we extended the invite to any of our kids that could come.  It feels good to have some fun things to do and look forward to...even though I'm an introvert.  I need organized things like this to get me out and have some things to do!  

Playing Fish bowl with long-time friends

How about you?  Have you returned to activities?  Do you like structured times of activity with others or are you more of a spur-of-the-moment kind of person?  I'm sure there's an Enneagram number for this but I'm not into all that.  :)





Wednesday, September 29, 2021

FAMILY VACATION TO LAKE POWELL HAPPENED AS PLANNED...

 Now that is saying something!  With Covid the past year and a half, so many things got postponed; our family vacation was one of them.  We had planned an Alaskan cruise with our adult kids and the ship we were scheduled to be on was one that was in the news with the beginning of Covid in 2020.  We waited patiently for Princess Cruises to cancel and got our money back.  Hopefully we will get to Alaska someday!  

Then our SIL got the chance to go with a friend to Lake Powell and they had a terrific time.  I had seen pictures of Lake Powell a long time ago in Family Fun magazine, probably 20 years ago.  I always wanted to go there and houseboat but it seemed an unreachable goal with young children, being so far away, and quite costly.

We decided to check it out.  We started planning and reserved a houseboat for fall 2021, which is shoulder season.  The water is still warm and the temperatures are still pretty hot, too!  Turned out to be a perfect time to go!  We decided to do 5 days on the boat and a couple in Page, Arizona.  It was my major research project for the last 9 months.  I learned all about different houseboats, that you also rent a speedboat, anchoring, which canyons to explore, that the marina at the half-way point was closed due to storm damage, what kind of meals work best when houseboating, what to pack, toys to rent, things to do on the way there and back, etc, etc, etc. Horseshoe Bend was on the way and Antelope Canyon tours opened up!  Woohoo!  Right up my alley!  

Here's a few of my favorite photos:


Horseshoe Bend - surreal!


Sunset at Wahweap marina with my son

The Hubs taking us out of the marina

We chose this area to stay in for the week - Gunsight is the name of this rock formation.


I dubbed this Coin Rock as it looks like a coin standing up (from a distance).

Entering Labyrinth Canyon

We all paddle boarded in!

Exploring the slot canyon!


We paddleboarded to the other side of the cove.

and we found a balanced rock!

The kids and their spouses playing games.

One of our dinners was a campfire dinner!

My son who loves to drive!

We boated up the lake and then hiked to see one of the world's largest natural bridges, Rainbow Bridge.

After that we found what they call the Toilet bowl!

The girls and myself in our cover-ups!

Man, I will miss this view each morning!

Family photo with the houseboat before we go.

In Page we took the Antelope Canyon tour - simply wonderful!

Our guide took some neat photos for us.

Coming out!

We also hiked a short trail in Page they call the "New Wave."

The last day there we drove and checked out Lee's Ferry, where the Grand Canyon begins!

It was truly amazing and had I known I would love Lake Powell so much,we might have stayed there a bit longer.  But we really had no idea, since it was our first time there and first time houseboating.  Favorite moments were singing for hours on the top deck, looking at the stars on Sunday night, exploring Labyrinth canyon together, playing games at night, paddle boarding and hiking, Rainbow bridge, quiet mornings on the top deck with The Hubs.  We did enjoy our activities and eating out at some different restaurants in Page, too.  If you have some experience with boats in your family (that is, someone confident enough to drive a 59 foot houseboat and anchor it, I would say, definitely GO!