Friday, December 31, 2010

O Canada, Canada, Canada ...

Our Christmas tree is enjoying it's last few days with us in our living room until next November when it will again be brought out for another season. I will admit, it did get gypped out of a few weeks this year due to the no-lifting regulation put on me after my belly button surgery on Nov. 2nd through Nov. 30th. But it did make it up this year and it was actually fun to put it up with ornaments EVEN being hung below the 2 year old height! (Thank you Nolan for being SO GOOD this year!) The boys were helpful! Nothing was broken in the process ... and it really looks nice.

It's nothing spectacular ... although it is a TALL tree thanks to a super-great sale I happened upon in August one year (ya it's artificial)... but it's nothing that Martha Stewart is going to write an article about ... but then again ... maybe she should. Our tree is adorned by a collection of ornaments from when I was little, things our children have made in Sunday School and school, mementos from places we've been ... or milestones in our lives like our honeymoon, our first year together, our first Christmas with our children etc.

Last year I posted about a special Tinsel Spider that I made when I was about 3 years old ... and yes, he's there again this year!

But this year I've chosen to post about another special ornament close to my heart.
And it means even more this year.

My father and his parents started traveling to Canada in the 1940's as a family on fishing trips. It was a bonding trip that not only brought them closer as a family, but also stretched the generations as my parents then took my sister and brother and I along WITH my grandparents EVERY first full week of June for our entire childhood. Yes, our family has a history with Nestor Falls, Canada and Helliar's Resort since the 1940's until 1999 when my father passed away. (My dad even took an annual fall trip with his work-buddies there which paved the easy way for Jeff's current fall hunting trips with the guys.) ... The trips to Canada brought me close to our family, close to the North country and fishing and boating and a whole different COUNTRY all at the same time!
I love Canada.

It has such a special place in my heart and when I think back to Nestor Falls I can't help but get a little teary eyed thinking of the smell of fresh moss on granite rocks ... water falls and walleye and crappie fishing, seeing people eat french fries with forks! and so many other little things ... that are big things perhaps only to me ... but especially to me.

Fast forward to this past year ... the year that I have been praying so much for a little boy at New Day.

What joy it has been to see his future unfolding to include his forever family ... who are Canadians!
What joy indeed!
I love this little ornament for my memories from childhood ... also now for those that are still being made.
Merry Christmas ... and a VERY Happy, Happy New Year!
And a very special New Year for Samuel and his Forever Family :-)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jennifer My Operation Giggle Girl

I am terrible at posting lately. Sorry!
It's been busy on several fronts ... I have also been busy sewing up a storm. (I have a new pot-holder project that I'll have to share sometime soon!!)

However, I did want to post about Operation Giggle and the JOY I have had bringing together a few girly things for a SWEET little one whom I wish I could expand our family officially to include. 
(Oh my goodness. Did I just type that outloud?)

No apologies about it though ... I stand firm in knowing that love is not divided but instead is multiplied when we let our hearts grow to include others. (Insert mental image from the movie, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, where The Grinch's heart grows 2 sizes when he finally "gets it!")

I wish I could say that the entire family helped pack this box of goodies ... but ... they didn't.
I do hope that a positive impact is being made on their hearts (even if it's slow) in seeing how great it is to share with others and that it doesn't take away from them to do so. It's small steps for now and I did enjoy preparing it and still have great joy that I am able to shower her with a few Christmas gifts this year and even more, to pray for her.
Perhaps her forever family will step forward soon and have her home by next Christmas?
It happened to my special little Operation Giggle Child last year (Samuel) and I am very much looking forward to his happy union with his forever parents soon in 2011! 


And also hopefully in the near future hearing good news for his sweet roommate and friend Jennifer, our Operation Giggle child this year. Maybe you would like to join with me as a prayer warrior for her?!
Maybe she is your daughter?

In case you are looking for some neat last minute girly gifts for the younger set (Jennifer just turned 2.) I highly recommend these great items that Jennifer will open on Christmas morning in China! (I've added the links to where I bought them, although it seems the prices have gone up on some of them and so you may want to price-shop for the best deal):


Manhattan Baby Travel Toy, Hunny Bunny by Manhattan Baby
Amazon.com     $9.99
LOVE THIS!! (It comes in several different styles)




(I bought a set of the next two things for Nolan ... so ... if these drive the Nannies at New Day crazy they can take comfort in knowing that I've also done it to myself as well!)
OUR PRICE :$2.99


OUR PRICE :$2.99


WOW Poppy's Pony Adventure
by WOW
Amazon.com Price:$24.30 
This is a WAY COOL line of toys that I blogged about last year. They do not need batteries as they are friction powered. Being made in England they are super-sturdy, the kind of thing you'll keep for years and let your grandchildren play with someday. There are MANY different sets.




Snap 'n Style Doll - Lihn by Fisher Price
Amazon.com-- $19.48

The clothes simply snap onto this doll making it super easy for little learning hands to not get frustrated. 



 I hope it's a beautiful and memorable Christmas for her! 
Operation Giggle is still looking for donations to fund the shipping of the donated gifts for all the children at New Day. Stop over and donate $1, $5, $10, $50+ --whatever your are led to give. It is a beautiful thought to think of how these small steps of kindness will impact the children and the people who care for them in seeing the kindness of Jesus at work!!

Also, although I did not buy them, I came across these way-cool blocks that would be really cool if you are interested in learning a few Chinese characters or keeping Chinese around in your toddler's world.
I found them originally at Childtrek.com (but they don't seem to have them anymore, although they have them in Hebrew and other languages.)

Amazon does carry them as do other sellers.
http://www.amazon.com/Uncle-Goose-Chinese-Character-Blocks/dp/B002YMB5JM



Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A New Tradition--Advent Conspiracy


I just had to share this link to The Advent Conspiracy... even if you've seen it before, it just really never gets old.


How did they sneak in to our Christmas journeys and find out exactly what goes on each year? Sadly, it must be the norm ... something happens between putting up the tree and all the stories about the humble birth of Christ, the baby in the manger that I carefully explain to the kids that is so special and then in the next breath it seems I end up yelling at them in a frantic dash to the mall for one last happy stocking stuffer ... Ug.


At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Christ, God giving His only son to us so that we could have forgiveness for our sins. 


It is the ultimate gift and the most selfless thing that has ever happened to this world. 
God sent His son to answer the need in our hearts....why not make part of Christmas about answering the needs in this world ... Could you imagine what would happen if churches/families across the US did this? God sent His son to answer the need in our hearts....why not make part of Christmas about answering the needs in this world...


HERE are some ideas:


•  Support a family who is adopting through a donation 
   (there are MANY families! Here's one and donations are tax-deductible!)
•  Donate to clean water projects
•  Mentor
•  Volunteer
•  Shop on Etsy and support FAMILIES (some who are raising funds for things like adoption!)
•  Make Homemade gifts that encourage RELATIONSHIPS
•  Shop the "slightly" used sections of the toy areas on Amazon or 
    ebay or Goodwill and then GIVE the money saved to a favorite 
    mission or cause


There are SO many needs ...
and how richly blessed we all are in ways that WE ALL can be a part of the solution.
Here's the direct link to see The Advent Conspiracy Video that's NOT cut off 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkTyPzRzuwc&feature=player_embedded





Think differently this Christmas ...
You can learn more about Advent Conspiracy Here! 
Start small ... Start big ... Just Start somewhere.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Nine More Days of GiveAways!

I hope you haven't been missin' out! Only 9 more days of giveaways!
But, that's nine beautiful chances at some wonderful gifts ... and nine incredible gift giving ideas for you!
Remember to visit Ni Hao Y'all's blog and join in on the fun!!

I promise, one of these days soon, will be Ruffled Feathers Day!

Ni Hao Y'all

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Picking Them Up With Both Hands-A Must Have Book for the Holidays!

Did you remember this book that will benefit The Rippee's Adoption?!

I just bought a copy and added the button to my sidebar that will take you to the order site!
Spread the word AND buy some as Christmas presents as well! What a cool  opportunity to read and share stories of orphans that will also benefit orphans!

Written by Caleb Phillips during the time he and his wife spent at a certain foster home in China,  it delivers real-life stories of real-life children who are waiting for parents to love and care for them.

The Philips are donating all of the profits from this project to orphan relief. The Rippee Family will be one benefactor as they adopt from China.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Snapshot--Ruffled Feathers Company

Last Saturday our church hosted a Country Craft and Bake Sale to help raise funds to cover the costs for flooding repair to their basement. I am pleased to have offered what I had to the fundraising efforts--some skirts that I made during the past few months.

I really do enjoy immensely making skirts (much to the dismay of my husband and three boys ... which hilariously gave me the name for my small little business, "Ruffled Feathers."--The skirts have definitely ruffled their feathers on an ongoing basis.)

And can you believe I sold 6 skirts, 3 orders and 2 tutus! Which I thought was pretty good considering I'm not a large operation at all ... (my entire pre-made inventory at the time was 16 skirts and 2 tutus.)

Here's a peek at my setup (click on any photo to see it larger):




I LOVE this photo ... do you see why?


Here he is again ... my little helper ... his BIG brothers went to a hockey game and he ... was stuck with mom selling skirts. Probably not his first choice ... but he made due. I just heart him SO much!

If you like any of these skirts please let me know, I still have a few of the pre-made ones ready to go. AND I have leftover fabric that I can make to order. Check them out here at Ruffledfeatherscompany.blogspot.com
IN FACT, remember to check out Nihaoyall as Ruffled Feathers will be one of the featured give-away items THIS WEEK in Stefanie's 30 days of Giveaways!



Ni Hao Y'all

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday--almost

Bid on this American Girl BittyBaby sweetheart, her dress AND a matching "Ruffled Feathers" little girl twirly girl skirt at Blessings A Hundred Fold. Silent Auction ends FRIDAY! (see the entire auction for great items)


Thursday, November 11, 2010

30 Days of GiveAways!

Okay, I was going to catch you all up on the state of my belly button and even include a photo of before and after ... but I'm not quite ready for that (or are you probably!)

Luckily in lieu of that I'm going to post on an exciting THIRTY Days of Give-Aways!

Stefanie at Ni Hao Y'all  is getting a jump start into the fast-approaching Christmas season. She's starting off right for all of us, with 30 days of giveaways!
HONEST!
You have GOT to head over and leave a comment to get entered for some sweet prizes.
AND ... I'm gonna let you in on a secret that there will be a "Ruffled Feathers Company" Skirt Day somewhere in there amidst all the other intensely cool prizes.
I cannot wait! I'm going to get linked up right now.



Ni Hao Y'all

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Button mended

My button is officially mended.

This is not a photo of my actual button ... but then again, I haven't really seen it beneath the gauze yet, maybe it will be like this?!

It did take a bit longer than anticipated for the entire process ... but I guess being put totally out kinda requires that. And boy do I really go OUT when I go OUT! I don't remember anything past the first (I kid you not) 60 seconds after the relaxation drug.

We'll see how tomorrow goes for pain. I'd like to think I have a high pain tolerance ... but day two might prove me wrong. It's really pretty minimal compared to having a baby ...
But I will say that going through all that and NOT leaving with a precious little baby was a bit of a bummer. (Not that I was expecting to leave with a baby as I was not pregnant ... it's just that's the only way I've ever gone to and left the hospital.)

Just thought I'd keep you all in the loop. Thanks for keeping me in your prayers!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Monster Tunes-Revisited

This is from a post from LAST year ... the kids are having SO much fun with it replaying it today, I thought you all might enjoy a trip down memory lane ... or fresh for the first time in case you haven't seen it before.
(If you want to make your own, you can go to the Jib Jab site and enter your own photos ... but be careful it will suck you in and you'll lose an afternoon quite easily.)

Make sure to pause the music at the bottom of the sidebar before you hit the play arrow.
This is a hoot!



Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

While the husband is away ...

While my husband was away from home for the last 9 days doing this in North Dakota:


We kept busy holding down the fort on the homefront going to school and hockey and even a few hours at Chucky Cheese's ... and also burning the midnight late hunting for things like this:

 and this:
and this: (American Girl almond-shaped-eye Bitty Baby)



And working on a sewing an outfit like this:

for her and her soon-to-be new loving "momma" in matcing styles for the BOTH of them, in fabrics like this:


To help raise money for a sweet adoption from China.

Check out all the cool items at The Silent Auction 
for Randy & Rita Rippee's Adoption Fund, this coming Wednesday, 
October 27th thru November 19th!!
I'm hoping to have time to hold down one more "fort" ... to add to the end of the auction by close.


No promises ... But keep checking back to see if I get it made! (Just an FYI, I did NOT make this fort, but found it online ... for lotsa moolah ... I WILL keep you all posted with my version when I get it made.)
It would be a way-cool-Christmas present!


Ni Hao Y'all

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Circle of Love


My Great Aunt Ruza was someone whom I wished I could have gotten to know better before she passed away. I think in our funky, quirky, artsy way, we would have had a lot of things in common. She was an opera singer out in Hollywood, California during the 40's, 50's and 60's.
And she was married to a book shop owner. Oh my goodness. I love books! So, put the two together artsy-music and books ... and you can quickly understand how I treasure the things that she left to me ... because they show interests that she had that I see reflected in myself ... which is bizarre since we met when I was probably about 2 years old and then only when we talked by phone occasionally on holidays or if I mailed her a cassette tape (remember those?) of me playing the piano. 
(That's me on Ruza's lap along with my sister Pam ... circa 1972)

I did spend an incredible wealth of time with her brother, my grandpa, however ... and I'm sure this is the link to the box that I treasure the most. And the little material things, yes, are just things and I do wish I had the stories to go with them. 
But I don't.
Just vague, foggy recollections of comments made here or there from Grandpa or Grandma or Dad and what they remembered about her trips or her interests. They have taken those stories with them to Heaven.
However ... that allows me to dream up the details ...
Imagining something perhaps greater than what reality might have actually given me.

This box, for instance, was something she got during her trip to China in the 1950's or early 1960's, probably well over a decade BEFORE I was even born! I absolutely heart these little Chinese Children holding hands joyfully encircling the well of treasure in the middle. And the interesting thing is ... my Aunt Ruza never had children ... in fact ... I don't think children interested her. (There's a stark difference between she and I!) But there was a part of her that was drawn to this and I'd like to believe that somehow she knew that someone special one day might find great delight in it ...


Now, I will admit, I am not giving up my little treasure box children ... they are cheerfully tucked on my shelf I view often right before bedtime ... but recently I was able to locate another one! I know! Crazy, eh?! And it will be auctioned off to the highest bidder starting Oct. 27th, 2010 at
I look at these children with linked arms and how can I not be reminded of how we all stand together and circle one another in love and encouragement.

Find treasures like this (minus the jewelry) at The Silent Auction which will be unfurled NEXT WEDNESDAY, October 27th and will run through November 19th.
Proceeds will benefit Randy & Rita Rippee's Adoption Fund.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Overshadowed in the Ordinary

On the way out of my driveway to church last Sunday ... God met me.

No, not as a person, or a feeling ... or in something that definitely would have said it was Him to just anybody ... but I know it was.

You see, Sunday was the first day of the "Pendant Sale" for The Rippee Family's Adoption (if you made a post and got the early shopper code that is.) And I'd like to say that I'm so full of confidence that I don't worry about things like if I'm doing a great job in fundraising for The Rippees or if their fundraising goal to pay for the  adoption of their daughter will be met. And deep down really, I do have faith that funds will come through ... and I know that this goes way beyond anything I myself could try to do.
... But I do worry.

Mainly about what I am doing ... or what I'm failing to do ... or what MORE should be done ...
But it's usually when I least expect it that this doubt and fear creeps in.

This happened to be the very case on Sunday morning as I loaded the kids in the car and headed to church. Of course I was right on time (as in not yet late, but it was pretty much Sunday School TIME, as in it was starting right then, and I was still in my garage.) Thankfully our church is not far away! I had just checked my email ONE LAST TIME to make sure no one had emailed to ask for the "special code" (James 1:27) because I knew I'd be away from my computer for a good while. But there wasn't anything new ... it was quite ... silent ... 
and that's when my doubt started to swirl down low ... as I buckled the kids in their seats ... and then that doubt and fear started to leave my stomach and make my chest kinda feel tight ... as I backed out of the driveway ... and then my eyes kinda started watering in disappointment in myself and fear of failing as I drove out of our long lane ...

... and then I turned onto the road, and was met by this:
 It was not the first time I have seen this very shadow from this telephone pole. The last time was when I was trying to decide if I should sponsor a sweet little girl in  Fujian Province with a cleft lip who needed surgery to repair it. THAT is another story that I really need to share in full sometime ...
But on this Sunday, at 9AM, when I should have already arrived at church here it was again. And I know that the sun changes angles through the seasons and at certain times, yes, the sun will cause a telephone pole to have a cross shaped shadow across the road.
But not all the time ... and even when it does, I'm not always there ... or not looking.
And it was at this VERY time on Sunday, I was driving ... under it ... and it passed over me.

 And I continued down the road as another shadow passed over me ...

 And another ... it was like a Father's calming hand

 Washing over me as I drove ... and the tears started flowing ...

 Melting away the fear and doubt that He was there and knew exactly what I was worrying about.

 And like the telephone posts and this long road, the cross that overshadows EVERYTHING continues on and on and on along with the road of life as it stretches out in front of us. (click on the photo to see it larger ... that road goes on and on ... up and down some hills ... just like life's dips and mountaintops.)


I was reminded this morning by a post at ThrowingArmsOpenWide about how God meets us where we are and sometimes reassures us in very immediate and ordinary ways. In fact, so ordinary it could be easily overlooked. But what a blessing when it isn't.
I  hope you see God today in something especially ordinary.
Because He cares for you so very deeply.



*In case you were wondering ... I went back on Tuesday and took these photos ... although ... it wasn't at exactly the same time ... it was about 10-20 minutes later than when I saw it 2 days before.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"HAPPY"--My New Fav Fabric Line



I LOVE etsy ... if you are not in the know about this cool website for all things handcrafted, you have GOT to check it out. There are so many talented individuals out there, like Sarah from Sarah's Treasure Box (from the pendant sale.) And just like treasure, I came across THIS cool etsy site and cool fabric the other day. 




I could not decide which fabric color/patterns to narrow my selection down to. I then decided to start with the green with black/white swirlies and red with black/white swirlies as an accent on my planned Christmas skirts ... but I'm REALLY hoping to WIN this giveaway and get some of the other patterns for FREE! Check it out! ... AND let me know your favorite color choices. Maybe they'll be in the newest skirt design to come soon! You cannot look at this fabric and not be ... HAPPY!
__________________________________

44TH STREET FABRIC BLOG GIVEAWAY FOR HAPPY FABRIC! WINNER ANNOUNCED 10/31!

Reds

 Oranges

 Aquas

 Greens

Purples

BUT the BEST part of finding this fabric at this etsy store? Even beyond knowing that they have a giveaway RIGHT now for the VERY fabric I have fallen in love with ... is that when I went to their BLOG I came across scripture posted on the sidebar:
"No eye has seen and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9"


Check out the next 44th Street Fabric and the Fabric Giveaway on their BLOG! The winner will receive SIX 1/2 YARD CUTS (TOTAL OF 3 YARDS) of their choice of Happy fabrics! I've put pics up of just a few of the Happy fabrics--they have the entire line! The winner will choose which patterns and colors he or she wants from the 24 Happy fabrics! I love it!

The family

The family