Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Joy!

With Jeff in charge of lights and sound at church, we again didn't get a family photo of us all dressed in our Easter Sunday best since he leaves before we're ready ... BUT ...
I did have the opportunity to snap us wearing our fav T-shirts after church. 

Jeff sporting a GREAT T-shirt for a wonderful adoption for The Rippee Family and me modeling the SO LOVED T-shirt for Ni Hao Yall's fundraiser

Have you checked out what you could win in the Share the Love giveaway? OR their BIG giveaway?
HURRY ... The So Loved Giveaway will end at midnight EST on Monday, May 2nd. (Winners announced one week later on Monday, May 9th)
And these T-Shirts are SO COOL! Mine arrived on Good Friday and it was very good.

Here are the boys in their ties (only Nolan's lasted past Sunrise Service and Sunrise Breakfast ... go figure. Isn't he the 2 year old?)

Then on to Grandma LaVerne's house for Sunday Ham Dinner and an egg hunt.

It was a wonderful day, although a bit chilly (don't let those crazy boys in shorts fool ya, it was not shorts weather!) 
Thank you Jesus for the gift of Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Bloomin' Bling

Yet another "bloom" to blog about:
Have you checked out A Beau Ideal? It has some very sweet blossoms for your hair! AND they have a drawing right now for a $25 gift card AND 20% of their sales through June will go to help the bow creater's sister go to Africa this summer on an incredible Mission Trip!

Now ... we don't have a huge call for hair bows in this house of all boys ... but ... there is me ... and I count. I was wondering, could I pull off a little bling on a clippie? I'd love to do a headband ... but they just don't work with my head shape and my thin hair.
BUT ...
She can transform these into clippies or headbands or broches! I'm thinking maybe, just maybe I am young enough to still clippie here or there? Oh yeah ... especially this summer if I wear my hair up! And Mother's Day coming up ... maybe my mom would like a forever flower brooch?

Now to decide on a color and style!
Check them ALL out here http://www.etsy.com/shop/abeauideal !

My Easter Dress

So I was "interviewing" fabric the other night--the process where I lay out different materials into combinations that I think might look good for dresses and skirts for my lil' girl skirt company, Ruffled Feathers, when something struck me.

Hmmm ... creativity.
It can be a good thing ... or a not so good thing. Sometimes I gotta admit that I don't reach that point where I can sit back and say, "and it was all very good" all the time!
Sometimes things don't quite work out.
But hey ... it's a dress or skirt. Not a big deal.

Well, this night I was struck with the notion of making a BIG GIRL skirt ... for myself ... for Easter. 

I found a photo of a simple skirt online that I liked and took my measurements (another humbling moment) and started sketching it out on paper.  I sewed it up, tried it on, made some alterations, pinning it up and taking it in and cutting it here and there ... then the magenta top that I thought looked great with it didn't really work out once ON me. 
Amazingly I found a really cute white sweater on 40% off at a local store (yes, someone was watching out for me as I had Nolan in tow, the other 2 boys waiting patiently for me in the car and 5 minutes to run in to the store in this very small town near where we live and glean their clearance rack before getting B to football practice! How could there be something in my size and in what I had envisioned?)

Okay ... I haven't actually tried it all on together ... but I'm hopeful. (Please ignore the black background ... the white sweater got lost in the carpet color without it ... not much time for a nice photo-shoot this morning. (Click on it if you'd like to see it larger ... it has a beautiful flower and ruffles.)
 Then out of the scraps I made some delightful matching bracelets ... I'm so excited.

I think I'll stick to making little girl skirts ... but ... if I had a little girl I would be REALLY tempted to make a Mommy and Me skirt set! Oh come on. I'd make a matching set ... what am I saying.
It would be really, really cute! The boys ... just couldn't talk 'em into it ... ( Shoot! ... if I would have chosen blue fabrics I could have made them matching ties. Maybe next year?)

(Check back and if it works out I'll post a photo of it on ... but ... we'll see.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wonderful Make-Ahead Mashers

These are the BEST mashed potatoes EVER! And they are so Easter-morning-friendly because you can make them the night before (or a couple nights before) and then turn on the Crock Pot before leaving for church ... or run home between SunRise Service and Regular service like I do. (Just don't drop the crock pot on the way to the car headed for Grandma's house like I did last year. Ug. Pieces of porcelain in your taters is not fun.)

I never take these anywhere without people begging me for the recipe. Once you make these, you will never want to make them any other way. My favorite way to cook these are in the crockpot but you can bake them in the oven as well. And the best part? Since you don't have all those dirty pans to do right after the meal, you can get on with that Easter Egg Hunt!

To Die for Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes Recipe
2¾ hours | 45 min prep
SERVES 8 -10

8 medium potatoes
1 cup sour cream
8 ounces chive & onion cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chives (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 pinch marjoram (optional)
1/2-1 cup thinly sliced green onion
bacon bit or 2 slices cooked crumpled bacon

Boil potatoes until tender.
Beat softened cream cheese and sour cream in mixing bowl.
Add hot potatoes and beat until smooth, adding small amounts of milk as needed.
Add butter, chives, salt, pepper and onion powder and beat until well-mixed.
Add garlic, green onions, and marjoram and beat until well-mixed.
Pour into either casserole dish or crockpot*.
Dot with additional butter and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake for 25 minutes in 350°F oven or cook on low in crockpot for 2-3 hours. If cooked in crockpot, add a few additional drops of butter and stir, just before serving.
Sprinkle with Bacon Bits or crumpled bacon just before serving.

Did I Mention: *These can be refrigerated overnight in either casserole dish or crockpot. If refrigerated overnight, let them sit out of the fridge for 30 minutes before baking.

OH!: And if there are leftovers, and you're sick of them for a bit, they freeze well in a ziplock bag for later!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Can we do ONE more sport?

Baseball M and W, football Th and Sat, soccer M, hockey Tues, track is it M or W? I forget ...
I kid you not.
I have 3 boys under the age of 8 and this is what fills my calendar, and keep in mind that Nolan is really not in the mix yet!

I wanted to start the boys on piano lessons already this year. But where did the year go and they've had one lesson. And tell me, when is that supposed to fit in?
But let me tell you. This mama is about to put her foot down and put a little bit of culture at the top of the list. I'm not sure how or when, but I'm gonna do it.

Here is the crew (plus one more) on the way from Soccer to Baseball practice last week. We had to borrow one more boy (Cooper) just 'cuz he's so cute and 'cuz you can never have enough boys. Right?!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Sparrow Fund

Did you hear the news?
Ruffled Feathers Skirt Company is donating 10% of all profits during the month of MAY to The Sparrow Fund!

If you've been on the fence on ordering something, now is the time to jump on in. YOU will be blessed with a beautiful skirt/dress and another family will benefit by having resources available to have a team of doctors review their potential child's medical file and to help them with their special needs adoption!
You can read more about it HERE!
Or visit

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Snapshot-Nolan-Pie

My Nolan-Pie
What a guy. I love him SO much!
The unusually warm weather last week inspired Nolan and I to dust off the jogging stroller, pump up the tires, load up a picnic and take a walk to the lake a mile a half down the road! 
(aka: earlier known in my life as my running loop ... oh my that is a distant memory that I would also like to revisit ... (sigh) but I digress.)
The menu: PBJ sandwich, chips, chocolate chex, a juicebox
(nobody said it had to be totally healthy, right?)

The picnic was so SUPER sunny (almost too much ... at least for photos where I'd like eyes to be open.) But it was SO worth every sunbeam and squint! We are SO sun-deprived here in the MidWest! 

We didn't actually make it all the way to the lake before we pulled off to a little spot near some lilac bushes near a field (that I'll have to post photos of when they bloom in a couple of weeks!) to break out the picnic to avoid Nolan falling asleep and missing it all. Whew! Good idea!

And what fun when we made our destination!
The food picked us both up and gave us LOTS of energy for throwing rocks ...

and throwing even more rocks ...

and stomping on the metal ramp that led up to the dock, making LOTS of noise that a certain two-year old LOVES! 
Up and back ... Up and back ... stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp!
(I LOVE the way this two year old runs with his legs whipping out like egg beaters as he literally takes flight into air.
Oh to be two!
And I love the way that he insists on wearing his fire helmet all the time ...
including in the car ... even if it means he has to wear it backwards to accommodate that darn LONG brim in the back not cooperating with his car seat.

Love you Nolan!
You are such a gift!
Sunday Snapshot

Friday, April 15, 2011

Baby Be Blessed Spring Sale

In addition to their Yay! Free Fridays every week, Baby Be Blessed Dolls has a Spring Sale going on.
Normally these hand-made dolls with Scripture verses on their tummies are $50 ... but now are on sale for $40!
Oh my! What a way to sweeten it so!

I love the "Hope" doll of course (second row, first one.)
But ... Grace is a close second. And Helen and Caroline ... they would have to make the tea party as well.
Yes, the house would be very crowded if we had girls instead of boys. HA!

Check it out and pass the word along--
Truly sweet!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

and then I saw their faces ...

I was planning of course to shop the LWB art auction ... but first I thought I'd see who it was that would be receiving the life saving gifts through this event this year. 

Oh my ...

That's when I felt my heart leave me--

Currently, they have 7 URGENT children and 17 non-urgent kids in need of funding on their website.
To fund their needs LWB needs $38,990 for the urgent children 
and over $52,000 for the non-urgent needs.

Here are a few lives YOU can help change just by shopping the Art Auction!
(You can view all that is written about them AND the other children benefiting from this year's art auction proceeds HERE.)
(be still my heart with this sugar-plum!)

(What a strapping young man! Makes me want to have 4 boys.)

(JUST when I thought it could not get sweeter!)

(Her orphanage will prepare her adoption file ONLY ONCE she receives surgery!)

(What a smooch-kin!)

LWB art auction runs through April 19th ending throughout that day and you can find it HERE.
Items will be added through the day on April 14th (so keep checking back!)

Love Without Boundaries Art Auction OPENS today!

It’s that time again - the Love Without Boundaries 8th Annual “Born in My Heart” Art Auction will be live on eBay April 14-19, 2011! The auction begins Thursday, PST April 14 at NOON and ends Tuesday, PST April 19.

Last year’s auction raised over $24,500 to provide much needed surgeries and medical treatment for 13 amazing children.
Did you catch that? Over Twenty-Four THOUSAND dollars! Amazing.
Please the LWB website at www.lovewithoutboundaries.com to read about those children who are waiting to be helped.


One item of note that you might like to bid on ... it's from Ruffled Feathers Company ...
And it's the LAST one of its kind as I'm am down to only small pieces of this fabric left in my stash.


Length of the skirt is 13" from waist to hem. (Equal to a size 4/5 in my size-chart, although it could be worn as a longer skirt by a smaller girl or as a shorter skirt by a taller girl when paired with leggings.) 

The elastic waist (unstretched) is 20 inches and is nicely generous in its stretch.

Empty Pot Twirly-girl skirt: 
This hand-tailored skirt is 100% prewashed cotton and made of gorgeous fabrics. I drew the name for this skirt from the children's story, "The Empty Pot." And like the story of the Chinese boy, Ping and his empty pot, these beautiful Asian Pots on the main fabric could surely bring a prize all on their own simply in their beauty and color!

The bottom fabric layer matches the colorful Asian Pots on the top layer with its coordinating flowers that are set on a field of black with a subtle "fingerprint" design meandering throughout. It's reminiscent of the patterns found in a zen garden! (And the same zen pattern is also found on the top layer but in a subtle off white tone.) The edges are smartly accented by a red-thread of piping. The overall design has an offset sassy side-split. 

Dress your princess while helping another sweetie receive a life-saving surgery!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday Wanna Be: So.Very.Big.

Heavy. Looming. Massive. Oppressive. Overwhelming. BIG.

That's what it feels like sometimes.
It's a really overused metaphor though isn't it?

But when I've been in the mountains and I not only SEE them for real, but feel them--feel them breathing over me like a wall hedging me in, well ... they become more real and not so much a saying.
Ever hear, "It's like moving a mountain."
It sounds so ridiculously impossible and beyond comprehension.
But again, seeing and feeling the mountains--I can see why it is such a popular saying.
They are heavy, and looming and massive and oppressive and overwhelming and BIG.

I'm from the midwest, where it's pretty flat.
Sure we have some rolling hills and even some beautiful cliffs and ravines around the rivers ... but there isn't that overwhelming presence like a mountain has. There are fields of corn and soy beans and areas of fields where you can literally see for miles. Storms don't often creep up on us--not that we don't have some big storms and tornados! But usually we see them brewing on the horizon and we can usually prepare in advance for them. But when I am in the mountains there is a presence hunkered over my shoulder peering in on me ... like a giant's shoulder and I'm like a cricket in a box just waiting. Waiting and waiting ... waiting for what? I don't know. For the rest of the giant to pop over the horizon and see BIG redefined? Waiting for the horizon to clear so I can breathe deeply again as I can see a familiar perspective again. Or waiting for the mountain to move.

But really ... for me ... I'm discovering that maybe I have a perspective problem.
And this has led to this Wordless Wednesday to not be so wordless.
Maybe instead of looking to see that mountain move outta my way--I should be looking at the Power and Might that created that mountain. The Power that put it there on purpose long before this time. And yet even then, He had me in mind--every last one of my breaths and days--all of my purposes and my wishes and dreams. The Power that could move it if He willed it ... but for now ... He has created and kept it there to protect me--to shelter me from what is on the other side.

If you've ever looked up at the snowy peeks of a mountain and have seen the wind blow skiffs of snow in sheets over the top safely far above your head where you peer up from the safe, calm, warm valley ... it's good to be reminded that sometimes mountains can be shelters--not there to keep us from things--but to keep us close and to protect us from things that we are not yet prepared to tackle.

And in time ...
if it be His will ...
He will lead us to a path through the loving arms of the mountain that hug and guide around every turn.

1My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
2for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you prosperity.
3Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.a
7Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
8This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
9Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
11My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,
12because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a fatherb the son he delights in.
13Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gains understanding,
14for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
15She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
16Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
18She is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
those who lay hold of her will be blessed.
19By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20by his knowledge the deeps were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.
         --Proverbs 3

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

NOW look what is blooming!

Look what has been blooming in the Ruffled Feathers workshop!
4 Apron dresses and 1 skirt all for special Easter dresses!
(click to see larger detail)
(in this grouping the smallest is a 3T and the largest is an 8/10 ... but I can create something for whatever size your little sugar-plum requires. )

The blue Amy Butler designed fabric dress is for a girl from Brayden's hockey team ... and I don't think he's believing that she wears dresses as he's only seen her in hockey gear or sweats before--HA!

I am SO anxious to have them try them on when they are delivered tomorrow. Oh my goodness. I'm anxious, nervous and excited all wrapped into one. Oh I hope they fit perfectly and that they love them! And I promised myself that I would actually follow through with an invoice on this order for once. I am SUCH a bad bad business person! Love to create, hate to charge. Not a good business model, eh?

Hop on over to Ruffled Feathers Company if you would like to see some of the newest fabrics that have just arrived!

**P.S. I can add buttons instead of the knot tie on the Apron dresses if you prefer as seen in the 2 smaller dresses.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A New Bloom!

Check out this NEWLY bloomed raffle for The Rippee Family's adoption!
They are currently LID for their sweet daughter ... and are so anxiously awaiting that LOA so they can finally show you their beautiful daughter's smile! They could really use your help and also spread the word!

Let me do a little shameless plugging here. They have some really cool prizes! (a'hem)

I've donated a skirt ...

Bridges and Blossoms Skirt

(This is the skirt on my 3T child ... so it looks VERY long and a bit big)


Size: 4T/6
(4T as a longer skirt, 6 as a shorter skirt)
Exact Measurements: 14.5" length (waist to hem)
20" waist (unstretched)--stretches to 25"

Skirt Description:
The main top layer of fabric on this skirt finds Asian fishing boats drifting across deep crimson seas. Amid green boughs and Spring blossoms there are also tea houses, arching bridges and wooden walking paths through peaceful water gardens. The bottom layer of fabric peeks out in contrast along the bottom edge and through a sassy side-split. Ancient Chinese characters flow freely, telling untold stories across a papyrus colored background.

This skirt would pair beautifully over leggings during cooler weather or for more tom-boyish play. It can be worn either longer in a more traditional manor or at shorter lengths over leggings or tights for growing girls to enjoy for several seasons of delight.

Friday, April 8, 2011

So Loved

There are several fund raisers that will be blooming VERY SOON for several adopting families. And I just love to read and share the stories of the families and the children who, although worlds apart, are being drawn together over miles and oceans, through tugs at the heart and listening ears to things not seen but sent through the Spirit. And I want to share them with you.

The first fundraiser is for TWO special little girls being adopted at the same time from two different places in China by one incredible and very big family with hearts SO BIG in fact that they just had to make room for one more! Talk about setting priorities and getting rid of excuses!

You may be familiar with Stefanie from Ni Hao Ya'll--she is big into adoption ... as in whole heart big ... as in inspire you big ... as  in I'm livin' for Christ big ...
They are bringing home not one ... but TWO sweethearts very soon. And this requires a bit of help from everyone if you can--however, it's not all one way. By donating and spreading the word, you get a chance at some INCREDIBLE prizes in two different ways!!! (we're talking uber-cool prizes too) ... AND for donating $35 you get this really cool T-shirt JUST FOR DONATING:

So Loved
SO, go here to check out the details! You may not be able or called to add to your family--but we're all called to help and visit orphans in their distress. What better way than to see them set into loving Christian families?!

(Stay tuned for the other 2 fundraisers that I mentioned coming soon!)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hope Hatched--Updated

Yesterday afternoon, just before sunset, Hope hatched!!

They caught the egg-breaking footage last night, which I saw on the news, but all I was able to see this morning was a family shot with Hope somewhere in the mix. (See the one upright chick and 2 fuzzy lumps and the piece of egg on the very right?)
Although my somewhat negative husband mentioned in reply to my excitement that Hope would probably be pecked to death by her siblings--oh my goodness!--I think that she will do quite fine and grow up to be the big chick of the nest.

I'm holding out for Hope.

If you want to follow the birdies, er', I mean, carnivorous eagles, you can find them here: http://www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles

Update!!--THIS JUST IN! "The Eaglets-3"

The family

The family