Thursday, February 28, 2013

Contemplate - Chats with God

Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear; all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

I can get really stressed out sometimes trying to find a "solution" to life's problems.  The "problems" I'm speaking about are just my own (being effective at work, getting the kids to eat right or brush their teeth, house repairs, etc).  I can't imagine what it would be like to worry about the bigger picture (world peace, climate change, terrorism, the economy).  As a lawyer, I tend to think that I can find solutions to life's problems if I try hard enough.  That, in turn, just makes me stress even more.

The other day I was listening to Selah on my IPod and heard "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," and the words quoted above.  It really struck a chord with me.  How much time do I spend laying my problems down and taking them to my friend Jesus?  Now He may not "solve" my problems the way I think He should - my kids won't suddenly start brushing their teeth - but I have found that just having the conversation and giving up my worries to Him has an immediate impact in reducing my stress.  It also reminds me that I am not (and don't have to be) in control of every aspect of my life.  I just wish I had the conversations with God more frequently. 

To quote an overused 70's phrase: "Let go and let God."


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Contemplate - Living in the Now

Tonight I was going through the photos on our Mac and managed to do a quick trip down memory lane with pictures of my kids.  Mackenzie is now 9 (10 in a couple of weeks) and Christian is 11 (almost 12) {sigh}.  While I looked at pictures from infancy to elementary school, I remembered the times when each one was taken and what I was thinking then.

By the time Mackenzie was 2 and Christian was 4, I remember thinking that they were such big kids and I missed their "babyness".  Now I look at pictures of them at those ages and wish I could reach back in time and smack myself.  Didn't I see how adorable they were?  I also think how "busy" I was (or at least I thought I was) when I was a SAHM.  Some of the cutest pictures were taken while I was trying to take pictures of items to sell on Ebay.  I had to stop and take pictures of them because they wanted to spend time with me.

Today I look at them and still catch myself thinking how their "childhood" is almost gone.  How ridiculous is that??  They still have plenty of "kid time" and I need to enjoy it NOW.  Sure, they were cute back then, but they are still cute now.  Mackenzie asks if we will pay for college, but she doesn't want to go more than a couple of miles away :)  Christian is still creeping into our room at night every once and again.  They are still so innocent and I'm trying to stay in the present to savor every minute.  I wish I had a device to record all the funny things they say.

You know, when you try to drive while constantly looking in the rear view mirror, you are bound to crash into something in front of you - the future.


Friday, February 22, 2013

I Don't Get It

There are always fads that are really cute when they spring out of nowhere.  I've seen more than a few in my day (leg warmers, tube tops, mohawks and mullets).  If you didn't recognize or remember any of these, don't worry about it - you didn't miss anything.

However, there are some fads I just don't get.  They really don't make sense to me and frankly, they look odd.  For purposes of this post, I'll limit the fads I don't get to these photography trends.  Photographers and girls who pose weird, don't hate me, just sayin'.

The Mustache (and all other goofy photo props):

If you've been locked in a closet for the past year or so, these little paper mustaches on sticks are used in front of your face to take "cute" pictures.  Maybe the idea is that "old time" look from tintype pictures?  I just don't get it.  Here's the mustache in action:

O.K., this is wrong on so many levels.  First of all, an apparently naked baby in a box (see my pet peeve about that below), coupled with a mustache on a pacifier and a big a** bow on the baby's head.  In the future, people will find these pictures in time capsules and wonder what kind of experiments we were doing on babies.  I don't get it.

The Baby in the . . . 

Anne Geddes is a famous photographer that originated this adorable idea of photographing babies in unique ways.  The theme of most of her photographs was to depict babies as part of nature (pea in a pod, flowers, angels, etc)  Here's one of her photos:

I will admit, her many pictures were very cute, especially when no one else had this very creative idea.  Recent photographers have taken this idea to mean you can get babies to sleep in the craziest places.  Please, leave the cute infant pictures in strange sleeping poses to Anne Geddes (who I think has also moved on from this idea).  Unfortunately, the Anne Geddes copies just keep coming:

I have no idea what you have to do to a baby to make him/her sleep in those weird positions (and places).  Speaking on behalf of your children-who-don't-want-to-see-this-picture-on-a-giant-video-screen-at-their-wedding-reception, don't do this.  It's unkind and I don't get it.

The "Pose"

I don't think photographers are to blame on this one.  Anyone who has seen a picture of high school (or older) girls will know exactly what I'm talking about.  Hand on hip, turned slightly sideways and left or right leg slightly bent at the knee.  It's so prevalent that every time I see a girl that age get her picture taken (for anything!) out comes "the pose."

I do understand that it's not a good idea for a woman to have her photo taken straight on, but I don't know what the hand, hip and bent leg are trying to say.  I don't get it.

Duck Face

Last, but definitely not least, is the ugliest look I've ever seen on a face.  Photographers, this one is certainly not on you, because most of these pictures are taken by the subject with a camera at arm's length.  Not being a hater here, but any person - man, woman or child - who thinks this is cool looking in a photo, has obviously not seen that photo. 

And that's a good one.  Please. Don't.

There are two things in common here - neither Angelina Jolie nor the duck are making the "duck face."  (Sorry for the sentence on the bottom - not nice to call Angelina Jolie or the duck by that term.)

Anyway, I don't get it.

If anyone would like to explain these things to me, please do so in the comments.  Otherwise, I will just remain blissfully ignorant.  


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Plans for the Wall of Fabric

Years ago, before I knew how to sew, I visited my sister who is an awesome seamstress.  I opened a double closet in the guest bedroom and it was full of fabric!  Wow, I had never seen anything like it.  Fast forward to today at my house:



Fabric Stash

And this isn't all of it.  Our local JoAnn Fabrics went out of business last month and everything was 75% off.  Unfortunately, you had to buy it by the bolt.  Pretty stuff, though, including quilter's fabric and Waverly.

Anyway, with my forty day computer silence underway, my plan is to make as many items as I can.  I know my limitations, so it probably won't make even the smallest dent in my stash, but if you're wondering how I'm getting my craft fix, here is just a small example:

Untitled  Untitled Untitled

Untitled Untitled Untitled

These are actually patterns for things for my daughter, but I'm also excited about making some pretty spring dresses for my Etsy store, Pretty Pretty Cindy.  After Easter, I'll come back to show some off.  In the meantime, if you're in the market for a girl's dress, drop by Pretty Pretty Cindy.

Happy sewing!


Monday, February 18, 2013

Spring Etsy Finds

Spring is just about here and it's time for more Etsy finds.  Oh, there are so many lovely things to see, but I can only share a few of my favorites.  If you want to find your own favorites, make sure to visit Etsy.  Better yet, go shopping there or buy an Etsy gift certificate to share with a friend.  Click on the picture to go through Pinterest where you can be more detail about the item and a link to it on Etsy.  Here's what I found:

Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

Just another place on the web where I can't get enough eye candy.  Enjoy.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

I can't be with you to describe Ash Wednesday, because I am observing another tradition of Lent - sacrifice by giving up something you love.  In this case, that's my blog.  So, here is the best presentation to describe Ash Wednesday and Lent:

Have a prayerful Quadragesima (Ash Wednesday and Lent).  See you after Easter.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day DIY Hearts

Being the "crafty" mom I am and having the "Craft Diva" for a daughter, I can't let a crafty holiday like Valentine's Day go by without making handmade valentines for her class.  They are such a great alternative to the little boxes of cartoon papers.

This year I found a cool idea from Pinterest:

These are actually Danish hearts that are traditionally made at Christmas.  In this example, they are made with felt, but in blog page describing this craft, there is also descriptions of the hearts being made from paper. Voila!  Perfect valentines!  Did I mention that these hearts open up to little baskets that can be used for candy, notes, etc?

Valentines day
Here's how I made mine:

I used pink and red (prints and solids) from my enormous stash of scrapbook paper (that almost never gets used).  I didn't use a card stock weight, but instead the thinner weight (something between copy paper and card stock).  I cut an oval about 4" wide and 10" long from heavier card stock for a template.  You can make it whatever size you want, but the way I created mine was to use a circle 4" in diameter and cut it in half to make the ends.  Then, make it the length you want.  The shorter the length, the smaller the heart and resulting interior "basket".

Using the template, you will need two ovals for each valentine.  I made a bunch because I have to make 30 for my daughter's class.


Take your two ovals and fold them in half together, print side out.  Then cut three cuts through both ovals, beginning at the fold and up to about 1" from the curve of the oval.  The spaces between the cuts will be the sections that are weaved together.  I tried being very exact about the width between each cut and making sure they were perfectly matched.  Don't bother.  If you fold the two ovals together and cut both from the fold, they will be fine.



Now you're ready to weave.  Hold the folded ovals at the top curves in either hand.  If you understand the idea of weaving in and out, you're halfway there.  The only difference here is that the papers must cross in the folds to create the in-out weave.



It's a little hard to do at first, but what I learned is that you shouldn't be afraid to bend the strips to get them weaved together.  They won't tear.  Also, do one strip at a time and keep pushing the weaved strips toward the curves.


UntitledWhen you get them all weaved, pull a little outward on all sides.  This will keep it from looking like you have strips sticking out the sides of your heart.  If done correctly, you should be able to open the top and see the basket weave.


Whatever kind of valentines your kids take to school, make it a fun and special day for them.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Birthday Musings

Today is my birthday.  My wonderful friends and family wished me an awesome, blessed, fabulous, fun, fantastic day.  Even the Illini gave me a big shocker gift in a win against Indiana.  But the best thing I received this year was a card from my husband.  It says:

Picture this:

You and I, years and years from now, 
cruising along some coastal highway with the top down,
stereo blasting, the wind whipping our hair.

Whatever we want to do, we do it.
No agenda, no schedule, nobody else to worry about.

We travel the country, buying silly T-shirts and sending postcards,
stopping at tiny roadside cafes in search of the world's best blueberry pie.

No hurry. No rush.
Relaxing in the comfort of a lifetime of companionship.

You and I . . .
lovers, friends, partners on this road of life.

I am blest, and I had an awesome, fabulous, fun, fantastic birthday.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Sugar Sugar

During a recent shopping trip, my daughter and I discovered utopia.


Utopia is It's Sugar, a new store that recently made its appearance in Arizona.  Many of you may be familiar with it, because there are locations in 17 other states and in several international locations.  We just call it utopia.

It's a feast for the eyes, with rows of loose candy in clear containers so you can buy whatever assortment you want by the pound.
You won't believe the selection - so many candies that we "older" people remember from our childhoods that you can't easily find: Lemonheads, Boston Baked Beans, sour gummy worms, orange slices, Spree and Sugar Daddy.  For me, the multiple chocolate covered stuff was intoxicating - raisins, every kind of nut, pretzels, cookie dough, cake batter.  Heck, they could covered about anything in chocolate and I would love it!

It's Sugar has an oversized candy collection that only exists in sugar dreams.  Look at the ones above.  Who knew there was a 1 pound Snickers bar??  This thing is huge!  You can also find the largest Reese Peanut Butter Cups, Twizzlers, Peeps and a giant sheet of Rice Krispies Treats.  Some of the fun ones, included a 5 pound gummy bear, the largest gummy worm and a box of Peeps that will send you into the most intense sugar high ever!

Mackenzie settled on the big gummy bear on a stick.  I think this thing weighed about half a pound. (Beware of those giant gummies - you need to wrap them or they will become rock hard!)

gummy bear

We also enjoyed the giant Hershey Chocolate sauce piggy banks.  A girl can dream, right?
chocolate sauce

As you can guess, there are lots of novelties (some of which are not appropriate for children). I was told by the nice saleslady that the stores in Las Vegas have some pretty naughty stuff. Here's a few magnets I loved (sorry for the marginal pictures).

Saving for a rich husbandorange juice
This place was so entertaining (and intoxicating), I'm definitely going to have a hard time staying away.

tootsie pop

Don't forget about Valentine's Day!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Surviving Super Bowl Sunday

It's Super Bowl Sunday.  You're not going to a party and you're not hosting one.  You know your husband will be checked out today and you're wondering what you will do with yourself (and maybe the kids).  Here's a few last minute (desperate) thoughts:

1.  Watch the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet (my personal favorite).  If you don't know what this is, you are really missing something fun on Super Bowl Sunday.  Here's what the Washington Post and L.A. Times say about it.  Your kids will LOVE this.

2.  Use your family as guinea pigs.  This is actually a reference to cooking, but not just any cooking.  Super Bowl is a great time to try out the recipes you've been afraid to try.  Your family (and maybe your football friends) will eat anything during the game so it's a win-win.

3.  Watch the Super Bowl commercials and halftime show.  Even if you don't like football, everyone loves the commercials.  They're usually the best/funniest commercials out this year.  I'm not sure I can say the same thing for the halftime show, but it's a spectacle, good or bad.

4.  Watch a chick flick.  I guarantee you will be able to get into the movie theater today.  Or, rent one and watch it on your other TV.

5.  Have a pajama party with the kids.  Play board games (yes, they make some even for little kids), watch videos together, eat junk food in sleeping bags on their bedroom floor.  You don't usually get a chance to do something like this, so have fun.

6.  Craft, sew, crochet, knit, scrapbook, BLOG - let your creative juices flow while the kids are in bed and your husband is otherwise occupied.  Most of us would give a kidney to have this kind of creative time.

If your husband insists that you watch the game with him or you otherwise must watch the game, pick a team and get excited.  Set up a series of gambling propositions (score at halftime, number of sacks for each quarterback, number of penalties) and see if that keeps you engaged.  Important to know - the San Francisco 49ers (gold and maroon) are playing the Baltimore Ravens (black and blue).

If you don't understand football, now is not the time to ask your husband to teach you - unless he really doesn't care about the outcome of the game and will look upon your request to learn as a bonding moment.  When I was a kid, I realized if I was going to get any attention from my dad or brothers on Sundays, I needed to understand football.  That doesn't mean I had to understand ALL of the nuances of football, but basically the idea of downs, punts, field goals and a few more.  Men love a woman who understands football, so it can be a valuable life skill.  (O.K., please don't send me nasty-grams about how sexist that sounded or co-dependent.  Just sayin'.)

Make sure you do something you enjoy today.  It's one of those few days when people stay put (wherever they are) for 3 hours.