Friday, December 31, 2010

5 Fun Things Friday

five fun things

Welcome to the first edition of 5 Fun Things Friday! Every Friday, I'll be sharing a handful of items that have caught my eye during the week.

1. Animoto.


Animoto is a free, web-based service that has received rave reviews. Use it to create one-of-a-kind photo/video montages. I can't wait to try it out myself!

2. Zazzle photo sculptures.


When our kids were little, I used to create photo sculpture magnets for the grandparents as gifts.

mr. vega action figure

In addition to a sculpture or two for myself ;) I love the three-dimensional look.


Right up my alley, can't wait to download it!


I'm a pushover for chunky ice cream and peppermint. For that reason, White Chocolate Ice Cream with Peppermint Pieces & Choco Chips is sitting in a virtual cart... waiting for me to commit.

Don't like their flavor offerings? You can even create your own!

5. duNord Family Camp.

du Nord

While the annual lottery has already taken place, a small number of openings still remain for the summer of 2011. I've heard AWESOME things about this place.

Happy Friday!

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

"...a sign of the promise of life restored and renewed."


We'd made big plans for Thursday. My husband planned to spend the day with his dad at the hospice home while I finished up our holiday shopping. (Nothing like leaving things until the last minute, I know.) After the kids arrived home from school, we were going to hit the Christmas Eve eve service at Hosanna! and end our day with dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings (the last holiday gift stop). Great plans but a wrench was tossed in right from the get-go when our youngest woke with Pink Eye (requiring a day home from school AND a trip to the doctor). Long story short, the boys and I ended up doing dinner and the service on our own while Tony made the most of the time with his dad.

Our boys were feeling a bit down. (We'd received news earlier that week that Grandpa likely wouldn't make it to the new year.) So after the service, we decided to stop in the prayer chapel. Two lovely ladies listened to the boys' concerns before praying with us. While the details are private, we did pray that God would let us know that Grandpa would be safe with Him once he passed away. We prayed for signs.

Little did we know, we would be heading immediately to the hospice home afterwards (there was an urgent voice mail waiting for us, telling us to come ASAP). It felt like God was preparing us for all that followed over the course of the next 72 hours.

There have been so many heavenly gestures... one of which, I'd like to share here. Let me preface it with what I'd been telling the boys to bring encouragement. We'd talked about Grandpa's soul being eternal - that though his body was sick and broken, his soul would live on. They were saddened to think he could die on Christmas, so we also talked about the birth of Christ representing NEW LIFE. That while Grandpa would be done with his time here on earth, we would share in the promise of that NEW LIFE with him in heaven someday.

Then this came in the mail yesterday:

the verse

A reminder... reassurance. What made it particularly special, is that our family has a tradition of purchasing remembrance ornaments and I'd already been looking for something special to remember Grandpa by.

bringing with it a sign...

It couldn't have been more perfect.

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a few things...

THIS was in yesterday's paper, with the full notice to follow Sunday. There will be a gathering of family and friends next Wednesday from 4:00 pm-8:00 pm and those who wish, may share stories/special memories beginning at 7:00 pm.

Due to everything taking place at this time, the January Faithbooking Crop (originally scheduled for next Saturday) has been cancelled.

For those of you who follow in Ali Edwards' annual One Word tradition, it's THAT TIME again. (And speaking of the new year, I'll be introducing a new weekly meme tomorrow.)

At some point, perhaps I'll share a little more about how we celebrated Christmas. For now, here are a couple of pics from Macy's 8th Floor display ("A Day in the Life of an Elf") and critters from our Christmas Eve eve service:

macy ren twin

macy meel behind

macy class



Be sure to stop back tomorrow to check out my new weekly bloggy feature :)

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

my father-in-law passed away this evening

Day 130/365:  a belated birthday and July 4th celebration all rolled into one

lunch w/lito

Surrounded by much love.

Day 156/365:  the fourth and final birthday blowout

He will be missed by many...

family love



Thanks for your continued prayers for the family.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

best gift you could give yourself


With everything that's been going on, I thought this book would be a great refresher on healthy boundaries. (If you have, or ever had, any type of addiction in the family, codependency is there as well. It can also be an issue for families dealing with chronically ill loved ones or a special needs child.) Codependent No More by Melody Beattie is an AWESOME book that I first read in my early twenties; it is a wonderful tool that will help you become aware of blurred lines - when your focus on someone (or something) else is taking you away from the focus that should be on yourself. It's about learning how to create healthy boundaries in the face of destructive choices being made by someone you love. To learn how to control what is in your control alone and to let go of the rest.

It goes hand in hand with my faith.

I finished ready Chapter 5 (Detachment) last night and wanted to share it here... knowing that some might struggle with the thought of just letting their loved one "go" when they are heading down a path that could destroy them. (Click HERE to read it for yourself. It begins on page 57 and ends on page 66.)

Learning to "let go" could be the best gift you give yourself this year.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

creating warmth from the inside out


As many of you know, my father-in-law was recently moved into a wonderfully warm and caring hospice residence. Needless to say, time is precious. Your prayers for him and my husband's family would be greatly appreciated.

With that being said, it's amazing how much comfort can be received from a home filled with the sounds and scents of Christmas. I can't even tell you how many decorated trees grace the hospice home nor the number of treats set out for visiting family and friends. The sense of peace that pervades is palpable.

I've thought a lot about that this holiday season, wanting very much to create a peaceful cocoon in my own home. So I've worked extra hard to keep the usual clutter at bay... kept the decorating simple but fun (perhaps keeping it simple is why it was FUN)... baked a little... we are also playing more holiday music than ever before (including my old records from childhood). Sights, scents, and sounds of the season.

To give the boys a visual reminder of our long awaited vacation (and something fun to focus on), I resurrected a set of animated figures that were given to my son as a baptism gift in December 1997.


We'll be setting sail on Disney's newest ship this spring, the Disney Dream. The trip was book more than a year in advance so the wait has been HUGE. Minnie and Mickey are tucked in the corner opposite our tree:


Here's the view from another direction:

kitchen/dining area

And the fireplace mantel, which didn't change much from last year:


Looking forward to live animals at the Christmas Eve service again this year (click HERE for a peek at last year), time with family, and the holiday break from school. Putting some thought into my blog for 2011 and will introduce a few new items for the new year. In case I don't have the chance to post again this week, have a very Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 17, 2010

third time is the charm

new doo day

With so much going on the last couple months, I not only lost a dental appointment but had to [re]schedule my hair appointment three times! To top it all off, the appointment was threatened again today by a sick kid AND a snow plow that boxed me into a client's driveway.

Life has been about as crazy as my hair.

I'm sure you heard about the snow. And the cave-in at the Metrodome. And the relocated Vikings vs. Giants game... which happened to be our looooooong anticipated Vikings game (for the kids and me, it would have been our first time attending).

For those of you who know me, I don't subscribe to coincidence. And as it turns out, there were some very big things taking place that day that needed my husband's last-minute attention.


I can't believe that Christmas is right around the corner. Bittersweet given many of the circumstances surrounding us. Taking it all one day at a time; savoring the little things... such as my son's sweet music program tonight. (I swear, Pippy is destined for the stage.)

sweet ren

My son, on the other hand - not so enthused :(

Last but not least, the scrapbooking/crafty inspiration I've been promising to share:
  1. One of the gals had a 3-ring binder of Allison Davis sketches she'd printed up from THIS AWESOME WEBSITE.
  2. Becky Higgins' website - you'll find a TON of Christmas inspiration as well on her blog.
  3. Tim Holtz' blog - his recent tag creations are AMAZING.
  4. Heard from a few gals that THIS PLACE has *the best* prices on Cricut cartridges.
  5. Close to My Heart Flip Flaps. The video below shows how to use them to create an "interactive" page in your scrapbook.

I also received a lot of cool feedback on some other items that I'll be sharing AFTER Christmas (don't want to spoil a few of the gifts we've purchased).

Almost forgot about a bit of encouragement I picked up at bible study this week. We've been studying the book of Revelation and this passage on Heaven spoke volumes to me. Thought it might to some of you as well:

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21:1-5 [emphasis mine]

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

for stacey


The braces I'd mentioned :)

Lots of stuff going on [still] this week and I just haven't had a second to post. Soon... real soon.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

perhaps you've heard...

during the blizzard

We've had a little snow.


We spent the day (like everyone else) clearing snow and baking and hanging out with the neighbors.

coconut balls

Now we're getting ready to dig ourselves out this -2° morning. Ouch.

I'll be back later with that fun post I promised to share a week ago!

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December Faithbooking Crop


kiss barn

Our next Faithbooking Crop is on Saturday, December 11 from 9:00 am-3:00 pm (**note our new end time**) in Rooms 10-11-12. (Park by Door #3 and head left down the hallway, the rooms are on the left side.) Your host this month will be: Jodie. As a reminder... when someone other than myself is hosting, you need to provide your own snacks as a group. (If you could bring something to share, that would be GREAT – if not, don’t sweat it!) Coffee will be provided this month. Extra scrapbooking supplies will not be on-hand so plan accordingly!

As a reminder for the monthly format:

- The crops are FREE!
- Each month features a scrapbooking devotion (and freebies!) to inspire and encourage you with your journaling.

If you would like a spot at the December Faithbooking Crop or can help with 7:30 am set-up, please let me know!

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Winter Weekend Scrapbooking Retreat 2010 - Day 3

memory lane

Before going any further, the recipes I'd promised...

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate Mix
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup coffee creamer
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 cups skim milk powder (I use carnation)
1 cup candy cane, crushed

1. In a large bowl measure and sift powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa, coffee creamer, salt and skim milk powder.
2. Break up and pulse in food processor until candy canes are very fine. It will be noisy!
3. Mix all together and store in air tight container until ready to serve.
4. To make hot chocolate, mix 1/3 cup hot chocolate mix in a cup of boiling water. Top with whipped cream!
5. About 14 candy canes or 175 gram box will yield one cup.

Monster Bars
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
4-1/2 cups oatmeal
2 cups chocolate chips
2 cups M & M’s

1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ F.
2. Cream the butter and sugars together.
3. Add eggs and peanut butter and mix.
4. Stir in vanilla, baking soda and oatmeal.
5. Stir in chocolate chips and M & M’s.
6. Put in an ungreased jellyroll pan.
7. Bake for 15 minutes. Do not over bake.

Caramel Puffcorn
1 bag Old Dutch Puffcorn
1 cup butter (not margarine)
1-1/4 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
2. Combine butter, brown sugar, and light corn syrup in a 2 quart sauce pan.
3. Cook on medium heat until mixture has melted.
4. Once mixture has melted add the baking soda. (Note: This will cause the mixture to foam)
5. In a large roaster pan pour Old Dutch Puffcorn and pour caramel mixture over the Old Dutch Puffcorn and stir until mixed.
6. Place in oven for 45 minutes, stirring at least every 10-15 minutes.
7. Remove from oven, pour on wax paper and break apart.
8. Let cool and ENJOY!

In addition to some great recipes, I've also received a ton of inspiration from the cropping ladies.

retreat collage

I'll share all with you in another post because I have some serious issues to address in this one.


To all the "friends" who made fun of me for that infamous "Would You Rather...?" game question - did you know:
  • Ostriches grow to be 8 feet tall and weigh anywhere from 140-230 lbs. Height, body weight and BMI decrease significantly in the elderly.
  • Ostrich hens lay 40-100 eggs per year, averaging 60 eggs per year. One egg is the equivilant of 20 hen eggs (6 inches long and approximately 9,000 calories). The elderly do not lay eggs.
  • Ostriches run up to 40 mph. The elderly - 2.8 mph.
  • Ostriches are nomadic, wandering where food is most readily available (meaning, they'll likely end up in your kitchen). The only "wandering" concerns with the elderly usually involve those with dementia.
  • Ostriches can cause serious injury and death with their kicks. I don't know one elderly person who can pack a punch like that.
  • And the most compelling reason, ostriches reproduce. The elderly do not. [Thank you for that one, Crystal!]
I met my Google Monster "sister" here this weekend. She was quick to help me find answers to all of my googling dilemmas. (As I'm sure you can tell, a very productive day.)

We're packing it up and heading home tomorrow so I'm not sure exactly when I'll be posting Day 4 (with all sorts of links to cool cropping things). It might need to wait until Monday. Until then...

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter Weekend Scrapbooking Retreat 2010 - Day 2


Snow. Buckets of it. Besides that, our age-old retreat weekend tradition of making fun of listening to Delilah has come to an end.


We did learn lots about the benefits of asparagus and watermelon today. And the new arrivals brought some killer treats... including a candy cane hot cocoa mix I have yet to sample. Then there are the tools and toys that ALWAYS catch my eye. One of the ladies made a gorgeous piece of wall art similar to THIS ONE.

I'm losing steam and still have a few things to take care of before calling it a night... I'll check in again tomorrow and will have a few recipes to share :)

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