Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ladies' Spring Brunch

It's been a long time since I've posted to this blog and we've had several different parties and get togethers among other exciting changes that have occurred since I last posted in November. I'm not even sure where to begin so I guess I'll just start with the most recent.

We did have my husband's coworkers come over for a cookout last week; but I didn't do anything spectacular decorating wise and it ended up raining so we had about 20 people in our house instead of outside. I was extremely worn out from all the preparations that I fear I was not the hostess I prefer to be.

In early May, I hosted a brunch for the ladies from our Missional Community from church. I've done this before and it's always been a lot of fun; but this spring brunch was planned without realizing it until after the invitations had been sent, for the Saturday of Mother's Day weekend. Many people were either traveling, had family in town, or had other plans. Poor planning on my part. In the end, two ladies came and well, we had a nice time chatting and eating. While we missed all the other ladies who were not able to come, it was a little easier to visit with the just the three of us and because my husband was out of town, my daughter was with me which opened the door to make it more of a small playdate as one of the other ladies has a child she brought with her as well.



Table set for the Ladies' Spring Brunch.

A banner made from scrapbook paper, self-adhesive glitter chipboard letters from Michaels.
Small clothes pins from Hobby Lobby and twine from WalMart.

Part of the reason I have been away from blogging so long is that truthfully, I got bored with it and the other part is that I found out shortly after our car accident last November that I was pregnant with our second child. I then spent the next 14 weeks feeling miserable due to morning sickness. So that's pretty much my excuse.

After having some time off, though, I think that my interest in blogging has picked up once again. More to share . . .

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Just an Update on Life and Such

I've been away from blogging for what seems like eternity. Life has been incredibly busy for us. Between taking on some contract work, volunteer opportunities, church activities, and family time it has been challenging to find free moments to write let alone do anything else I really enjoy in my downtime.

But it's now post-Thanksgiving and my husband is home entertaining our daughter while practicing trumpet so I thought I would take a few minutes to see what makes the world go round and to share a little about what has been going on here.

So two weeks ago we were in a car accident. We're all ok and very thankful to God for protecting us all as well as the driver of the other vehicle involved in our accident; but the process following the accident was quite burdensome at times and revealed a great need for patience.

Our car was totaled so we were faced with the unexpected need for a new vehicle. Santa brought us an early Christmas present when we found ourselves with a new Honda Pilot Friday.

But despite the disappointment of losing our car and being forced into buying a new one when we didn't expect it, we are (as I previously mentioned) extraordinarily grateful that we are all safe and not seriously injured.

So now that we have returned the rental we had for 15 days and have our own, new vehicle again . . .life seems to be returning to normal again.

I didn't host Thanksgiving this year. As much as I love hosting, I really wanted a break. We celebrated a Thanksgiving meal with my parents and then have really just enjoyed relaxing at home.

But I am back to hosting later this week when I have the spouses of my husband's unit over for a coffee social. I'm really looking forward to it. I'd been looking for coffee cups to buy in bulk. I have 11 cups of my own (one broke), but without knowing for certain how many people I am going to have yet, I was hoping to find more coffee cups. I had not found any online or at TJMaxx/Walmart/Target, but the other day while at my parent's house I discovered that my mom has 12 cups and dessert plates that I could use. Why I didn't think to ask her in the first place, I'm not sure. She used to host coffee socials at their home all the time when my dad was in the Air Force. So I am excited that I have plenty of cups should every spouse show up.

Aside from that, work is slowing down a bit now. I'm not sure if that is because of the time of year or if I've done all I can do at this point. I thought a couple of other opportunities were looming there, but I haven't heard a peep so I'm not getting my hopes up.

Stop.

Later in the week . . .


We started tiling our guest bathroom. Somehow I knew when the tile guy called and said that he was available this week to tile our bathroom that I should wait. Sometimes it is best to wait. Sometimes it is best to trust your instinct. Especially when you have company coming in on Monday. Too much, too close together. But pride got the better of me and I really just wanted to have that bathroom tiled so I could feel some satisfaction that we have FINALLY completed one project of many that we've talked about doing. So I said, yes, come on out. Tile our guest bath. And so yesterday, they came and about one hour into their work, the power went out.

In the whole house.

In the whole neighborhood.

In at least a 2 mile radius (I know this because my mother called me just as I was about to call the power company).

And it continued to stay out for about an hour after the tile guys decided that they would go and come back tomorrow (now today). So, of course, this means that they are here today laying the tile and will not be back until Monday to grout. And that means that I cannot put the stool back on until Tuesday. And my husband is incredibly busy all next week. So now, I need a Plan B because as much as I love my mother-in-law, I really think it would be more comfortable for everyone if she had her own bathroom to use especially since we have a bathroom for her to use. Well, I guess technically, we don't currently have one of her own to use.

I called the plumber my parents use to see how much it would cost to reset toilet. $170. Personally, I think it is worth it. I know my husband would want to save the money and do it himself, but he won't be able to get to it until the week after next. And really, now this is just showing how impatient I really can be because I want to spend the $170 for convenience; but it is also because I guess some things I believe are better to leave to the experts. I really hate envisioning a flooded bathroom . . .that proceeds to flood our kitchen below . . .

I'm trying to stay positive . . .I mean how exciting to have a newly tiled bathroom floor when it is all said and done! But I won't deny that I am frustrated and that I secretly want to try billing the power company for the hassle.

So I guess, I just need to swallow my pride and get over the fact that my bathroom will not be done by Monday.

And perhaps look at this as an opportunity for growth, as lessons learned in patience and thankfulness. And also in listening to that tiny voice in my head that I need to pay more attention to.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Black Thumb

It's pretty much common knowledge in my house that I have a black thumb. I love flowers and plants; but when it comes to their care I either do not do enough or too much and inevitably, my flowers die.

So this autumn, I invested $6 in mums knowing they probably wouldn't last.

I put them where they would get some full-sun; but when it came to watering, I delayed, delayed, delayed. And they wilted, wilted, wilted.

When my mother-in-law came last month, she spent some time cutting them back and assured me they could be saved.

It's been a long month waiting.

And waiting.

And waiting some more.

But with more frequent watering, plenty of sunlight, and a little recycling of used coffee grounds, a month later, I have my plant back.

My mum-in-law helped me save these yellow mums.


My life is a little like these mums. 


I have a tendency to get really focused on one thing. And leaving other integral and crucial parts of my life untouched.


When I lose focus, a part of me slowly starts to die, but as soon as I open myself up to receiving nourishment, the more important parts of my life come back into clear focus and I thrive again.


Like the mums pictured above, I know God has given a beauty and a loveliness to me; but also like these mums I have parts that have not yet bloomed. Parts that God is constantly working in me. Like a gardener delights in getting his hands in the dirt, planting a seed, and watching it grow, our God is slowly, carefully, and beautifully pruning me into what He desires me to be. And the best part is, He's willing to get His hands dirty with me. He loves me that much that He is with me every step of the way.


I'm thankful for grace.

Undeserving. Beautiful. Amazing. Grace.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hawaii

It's hard to believe that about this time last year I was busy preparing for our trip to Hawaii.

Several times in the last few months, my husband and I have made random comments about our desire to go back.

A personal photo from the beach at the
Hilton Waikoloa on the Big Island
(November 2010).

And next week, some friends of ours are moving there.

We are really sad to see them go; but so excited for them.

I mean, how can we not be excited for them? It's Hawaii. It's paradise. It's incredible.

And part of me is secretly hoping that it might be in our future, too. To live there.

So we invited our friends over tonight and I am so glad that we did. I had no idea that they were already living in temporary housing and that the last three nights they've been eating out.

We wanted to send them off with a little taste of Hawaii in Nebraska so we made Hawaiian Chicken with brown rice and cilantro, a Hawaiian fruit salad, and dinner rolls.
I searched high and low for King's Hawaiian Sweet Bread, but nobody carries it. I know I've seen it in Nebraska before so I am thinking that it must be a seasonal thing, for holidays and such. I also wanted to serve Mauna Loa Chocolate covered macadamia nuts, but they too must be seasonal offering. So we did brownies a la mode.

I don't think you can go wrong with brownies and ice cream.

But it was so much fun to visit with them one last time before they depart for their new home approximately 4,525 miles away. We're so thankful for their friendship and hopeful we'll see each other again some day!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Banana Crumb Muffins

Tonight is absolutely gorgeous. The weather is just right. And it is the fourth of October.

I wish I could bottle up tonight and keep it forever. It is that beautiful outside. Such a blessing.

Since giving up time wasters like cable TV and Facebook, I have accomplished so much more.

Don't get me wrong, I still have lots of projects that are in a "holding pattern."

But I have started writing letters to my daughter for her to read one day. In fact, I've enjoyed writing so much that I've started writing my friends, too.

I have read several books; but only one of them was the kind of good read that you get lost in. The kind you could spend hours reading all day. The kind that is so good you almost want to delay finishing it because you really do not want it to end.

I've started (and finished some) projects.

I've begun working on a small aviation-related project and have actually been paid. My business is close to earning it's first real dollar this year.

And I'm starting a new volunteer opportunity that I am super excited about. I still have some more training to do; but as soon as I am as good as done, I want tell all about it.

And I've been baking.

All the windows are open in the house. A pleasant breeze is coming in. And I just felt it was a baking night.

We had some very ripe bananas so I figured I should make good use of them. Banana bread is a favorite in our house; but I imagined something different.

This recipe has quickly become a new favorite!

Happy Fall!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Autumn has Arrived

Fall arrived early.

Don't remember summer ever saying good-bye.
                       - David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

Well, the welcome reprieve from the dog days of summer came early.

There is still lots and lots of green to be seen with small pockets of red and yellow peeping through the landscape.

But despite the green, I began extracting my fall decor from the hollows of our home. Especially, now that autumn has officially begun.

I finished my table several weeks ago; but only now have found the time to take a picture.

A $20 table from Hobby Lobby gets a face lift.
The original hardware were antique brass knobs. I found
 these knobs on clearance at Hobby Lobby for about $3.
Paint is SW6510 Loyal Blue by Sherwin-Williams


Truthfully, I don't love it.

But it is growing on me.

My chalkboard mirror project, you ask?

I plan to start that this week during Claire's nap time. And while the weather is still beautiful.

I am anxious to finish our dining room (really) as I am about to start on a new endeavor (more on that later) and it may mean hosting in our home. Something I, of course, love.

But I have all sorts of ideas for our dining room and I really desire to finally (after two years, almost three) pull it all together!

What ideas for fall decor do you have?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Unbirthday

My birthday is this next week.

It isn't a super significant birthday, but I guess it is my birthday. But aside from the fact I traditionally love birthdays, I'd really rather not think too much about it. Especially, since each year I get progressively closer to 40. And then it will be 50. And so on.

A terrible attitude to have, I know.

So I celebrated my unbirthday tonight.

Hit Village Point for a little shopping with one of my oldest and dearest friends and then off to Taste for a lovely dinner, some much needed wine to drown my aging sorrows away, and an entire slice of Chocolate Lava Cake to help my waist line.

Absolutely. Fabulous.

SO . . .

We hit all the usual suspects. LOFT, Ann Taylor, White House Black Market.

Lots and lots of beautiful clothes.

I even had a gift card burning in my pocket, but could not find anything I absolutely had to have.

The truth is I had received one of those silly catalogs in the mail from LOFT with a 20% coupon for me and one for a friend and I put it in the recycling bin because I thought "surely I will not be shopping there any time soon" only to receive a much appreciated gift card a couple of weeks later. And yes, I am one of those people who wants to maximize every dollar I can because I want to get the most bang for my buck, or in this case the gift card.

So I stopped in at Pier 1 and lo and behold do they have some beautiful things. As if I really need anything else for my house (I am running low on storage space in my little corner of our basement).

But I just had to point out a few of my favorite things there:

It was love at first site when I saw this Etched Metal Round Tray.
This Silver Lace Glass Charger had me at hello!

As for the charger, which is $25 bucks a pop, I wondered if it might be possible to turn something like that into a DIY project using clear glass charger size plates (do they exist???) or even a regular glass plate, adhering a stencil of some sort to the backside, and then spray painting looking glass spray paint to achieve this same look. Design on a dime? I hope so cause I love these puppies, but not even I am willing to spend $25 on a single charger.

I also love, love, love this table setting there.

Unbirthdays can be so much fun.

So thankful for a dear, dear friend to share it with, too!