Monday, November 15, 2010

Ways to use your old Halloween candy...

I talked with Em about healthy choices and all the Halloween candy she got this year...she was going to weigh off a few pounds of it and give it to the dentist but decided to donate it to the Gingerbread cause this year, instead.
Two years ago Jason's sister moved in with us for a bit. She and Em and I embarked on what has now become an annual tradition: The building of a masterpiece. You might remember our first creation. It was my favorite so far...since, of course, it was in honor of my sweet Noah's life.

Here's a peek at our second creation.
I enjoyed that one, too, as I have a jewelry business, bebe & boo, and enjoy being creative with new and vintage pieces.

This year, per Emily's request and design, we made Sacagawea's Indian village. Em LOVES Sacagawea!

Anyway, we started at about 8 o'clock at night with a river...
...added a little grass and a bank...

Em put some treasures in the river, as well as a small bridge.

Here's my favorite feature: the fire pit.
Here is the entrance to the village that Em and her Auntie created.

Here's Em's field, ripe for harvest.

They designed little dresses for Sacagawea's tribal members.

(Yes, that is our Christmas tree up in the background...Em quietly carried ALL the tubs up from the basement on Friday morning and placed them smack dab in the middle of the family room floor. I guess that was her subtle way of telling me she wanted me to decorate?!)
That would be a KitKat entrance to the tepee.

Here's Em's creativity at best...a Brave spearing a Swedish fish from Royal Icing River.
We used sugar cones as the bases to our pine trees.
And, as you can see, the actual Gingerbread is the siding on the tepees and the Braves and Little Indian Girls.

This wasn't the smoothest process. I had spaced that we were actually doing the Gingerbread, so, of course, forgot until about 8 pm that I had to make dough and let it sit for 2 hours before baking it. Let's just say, with Dad in Peru, Mom skipped bed time rules and my sweet girl was up until midnight! Yikes! She thought it was great! Here are some things I learned, though, so you don't have to replay my mistakes:

  • prepare your dough in advance
  • use real egg whites, from actual eggs you crack yourself OR use powdered eggs whites, for Royal Icing...DO NOT USE eggs whites that are in those refrigerated containers.
Yeah, that's pretty much it. I use my Joy cookbook that was a wedding gift 17+ years ago for my recipes...Gingerbread House and Royal Icing. I try to think outside the box when it comes to a food or snack that is around the's fun to see what you can come up with. And, your kids are NOT going to miss the Halloween candy, so use it up!

We don't actually eat our creations. In fact, we literally just put Noah's Ark in the dumpster last Friday morning. It's just fun to have them around for a while.

Oh, and I did not even lick my finger or taste test one piece of candy while doing this project because I am on a detox/, if you are trying to lose weight and think you can't do it, think again! I've lost 18 lbs and it wasn't even tempting!

The point is to be creative and have fun! And, you don't even have to be a kid to do it!

Go get your Gingerbread on!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pinch me!

These pictures were taken by Sara Lazio when Ryan was about 3 weeks old. He's already pushing 11 weeks! I just wanted to post these so you could see her great work and God's amazing creation!

He coos.
He smiles.
He looks at me.
He smells like a slice of Heaven.
He sneezes cute.
Heck, even when he toots, it's the most adorable thing in the world! Em wants to know why it isn't cute when she does it anymore...

And as I hold Ryan and nibble on his fingers, toes, ears, cheeks and nose, my heart is so full, so grateful he's different than Noah...and at the same time, because of Noah, I pray for the moms and dads out there that don't have teeny, tiny fingers and toes to nibble on this morning...and I pray for God's healing to take place in their hearts...and for His peace to replace despair...and for Hope in His will, and comfort in His arms to be all that you need today, and as the days ahead approach.

I just wanted you to know that your pain is on my heart and I am praying for you...I do not take my newborn for granted...I am so sorry for your loss.

Monday, November 08, 2010

One day at a time

The sixth chapter of Matthew is one of my staples.

I could read it every. single. day.

The five main topics it covers are: giving, praying, fasting, heart treasures, and worry.

One of my life motto's is to live one day at a time...not worrying about all the what if's? and unknowns. I HATE, ABHOR, GET SO CRANKY, when, in life, I or others, have gone off on rabbit trails about all the worst case scenarios that could possibly occur with such and such a situation. It's a waste of time to go only breeds discontent, anxiety, worry, crippling, disease...

With all of God's word, I really take these words of Jesus to heart. I figure, hey, He knows a heck of a lot more than me, has had a bit more life experience (even if He died when He was 33), sees a bigger picture, and knows the whole future, so trusting that He doesn't make this stuff up might just give me the advantage in this life. The advantage over an Enemy that hates my guts and wants to steal joy from me.

I'm pretty Literal. Black and White. Right and Wrong. Rule Follower. But that is for me, I'm not projecting it on you or you or her or him. I often have inner turmoil when I don't do something just so. It's my own imperfect pursuit of perfection and I realize it's not right. It has its disadvantages, but it also has advantages...

...for instance, when I read God's word, I take it literally. When I read it I don't have a million questions racing through my mind whether I think it is true or not, whether God was just pulling my leg when He wrote this, or whether there's a catch to everything I read. No, He said it.

No. God is Who HE says HE is. HE is not a liar. HE is not a man that HE could lie. HE is truth. The Ultimate Answer in the pursuit of truth. GOD is Truth.

So, when I read His word, I trust that He has given it to me as a gift, a sneak peek, preview, forewarning, or guide to living here on earth outside of His physical presence. I take it literally because, since I don't live in The Garden, it's the next best thing to walking alongside Him and learning all He wanted to show us originally.

So, back to Matthew 6, and doing one day at a time...reading the five lessons that Jesus touches on here, all of them are summed up in the final two verses, 6:33&34:

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Em and I have been tracing back to my Catholic heritage a bit. You see, in regular evangelical circles, you don't hear "The Our Father" all that often, though everyone knows it. Well, Em and I have been praying it, or a version of it, every day...because it does what verse 33 tells us to do.

When Jesus told us how to pray, it starts out blessing God's name...not listing the 50 million things that we want or that need fixing on this earth. God knows this...

Hello! News Flash: verse 8...for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

It's like putting the cart before the horse when we give God our grocery and "to-do" list before we seek Him, thank Him, and praise Him first.

It's a practical thing, but one I wanted to share. Trusting God and thanking Him, rather than worrying, is a practice I haven't perfected, but it's what I wanted to share because as humans we have a tendency to worry about all the what if's? The problem is, as much as we try, we can't control, or even begin to understand, all the outcomes or the processes.

But God does. And He is big. And if we can trust Him with the words,

"...your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven..."

...then literally taking one day at a time, though some may be easy and others excruciating, will become a new way of living life.

Random thoughts I just wanted to share...

Friday, November 05, 2010

So proud of her...

Over 8 years ago I met you, sweet girl...
I am awed by your creativity, your generosity, and your carefree spirit.
If I could hold this position forever I would...but I know you'll eventually spread your wings.

Em, it's been so fun doing homeschool with you...getting to know you more, learning your heart and your style. Please bear with me as I figure this out.
Above all else, I want this year to be a blessing to you, to your heart, to your confidence.
I want you to love God and learning more and more.
Thanks for letting me walk this journey with you.
I love you bigger than the Universe, Peanut.

*Photos by Sara Lazio, Denver Photographer

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

My cutie patooties!

In the history of my 38 years and 10 months...

I have never bought a Halloween costume...
...until October 30th, 2010. Emily changed her mind at the last minute of what she wanted to be. I hadn't technically made her a Halloween costume, per se. Last year in school she did a report on the American Revolution and I made her a Betsy Ross costume.

And by "I made" I mean, baby, I went all OCD style. At that time I informed Em that she was going to get two uses out of the costume, thus wearing it for Halloween. She was totally game. She thought that was great!

Then, I realized that I was being a bit neurotic. I told her she could be anything she wanted...but that because of the time frame, I wasn't going to be able to make her a costume. It left a pit in my stomach.

Now, I'm not judging you if you buy a costume. Many costumes at stores are actually great...even better than homemade. But for me it's fun to make up a costume from either thrift store finds, a pattern or from scratch. I enjoy it...and it's all I've ever known.

My mom always made our little sister even came over the day before Halloween and saw the package on the chair...She looked at me strange and said, "What is that?" She had never seen this in her 32 years and 2 months, either...

Anyway, Em drew up a bordered Rock Star and Pirate. But no matter what, for 3 days straight, all she talked about was she wanted a redhead wig...that HAD to be part of the costume.

So, there you go. Em was a pirate. Here's her blog on it... Go there to find out what we're going to do with her candy.

And here's my little baby bear. I did not make his costume...GAP did. When I was preggers with Ryan I went to the GAP just to check it out. I saw this outfit and it was all I could think about!

But now, this little handsome guy is all I can think about!

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Monday, November 01, 2010

Hair's the dealio...

Okay, remember this?

Those pictures were taken on January 12th, 2008, in memory of Noah's first year in Heaven. Many of YOU actually were in seats in salons in your own states around the country braving the shears, as well. That day donations of pony tails not only went to Locks of Love, but, the finances we raised went to Operation Smile, a non-profit that provides cleft palate surgery for children in third world countries.

I chose that charity because Noah never smiled...his nerves shut down too soon...

Imagine never being able to smile...


My little sister and I have started growing our hair out again...and this time, we have chosen a very special date to cut if all off...

August 2nd, 2011.

For those who are new, no, our son Ryan did not die on August 2nd. In fact he was born on August 28th and is doing splendidly at 2 months! (I'll post pictures soon.)

But our very dear friend, Ryan, did. He lived and died a hero.

Jason and I miss Ryan everyday. This is my way of remembering...

Dr. Ryan Arnold was an orthodontist...and a generous one, at that. He and his wife had even gone overseas to serve a third-world community, donating their time and expertise.

So, the financial contributions to the August 2nd, 2011, Locks of Love hair donation next year will go towards Operation Smile. Again, this just seems fitting.

So, here's what my sis and I looked like almost 3 years ago after our cuts...

OMW, look how little Em is!!

We all have long hair right now, so should even have some length left over after the 10-inch pony tails are donated.

Anyway...I'd like to invite you to join us on on this growing adventure!

How fun would it be to have salons all over the country, and world, swarming on August 2nd, 2011 with women and children donating their pony tails?! And, if you, in your neck of the woods want to organize the proceeds to go to another local non-profit, by all means! Do it!

The point is to get out there, ladies! Don't just go get a hair cut...go have fun and make a difference!

Either way, please comment and let us all know when, where, for whom you and your girlfriends will be donating your locks next year!

Get your grow on!