Friday, March 30, 2012

Easter project

30 years ago I was working at a Christian Preschool and after 5 years as the preschool cook and music teacher, I would work my last day the day before our son Shawn was born May 30th, 1982. I don't know why but just typing those words made me cry. I can't believe I've been a Mom for 30 years. Wow, this gratitude thing is working. I'm a mess. But a thankful mess.
Anyway, for the past couple years I've been working at the preschool at our church and I'm telling you, it's been a God-thing. Kids say the darndest things and teach me the darndest things. I love my job and I love my boss Kathy, who happens to be the preschool teacher and my dear friend.

A few weeks ago I emailed Kathy this image I found on Pinterest ~ proposing that I create my own version and we use it as a hands-on visual leading up to Good Friday and Easter. She was thrilled and gave me the go-ahead.

I knew I had everything I needed in my backyard, except for the shade grass seed, so I improvised and transplanted sprigs of grass rather than planting seeds. I didn't want this to cost me a penny and it didn't.

I found the perfect rock to cover the opening of the tomb, and because I was transporting this to and from the preschool, I chose plastic over a clay pot drainer. So glad I did because this already weighed a ton.

Emolyn loves keeping the plants moist by spritzing them often.

But she was a little distraught when she discovered that the posable Jesus that I had found in a toy box at the preschool didn't quite fit in the tomb. I may have to find a bigger clay pot.
But what a powerful visual in teaching kids about Christ's death and resurrection. And for us big kids too.
I love Easter. And my heart is full of thanks.

John 3:16 ~ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I'm sharing this Easter project at ~

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

attitude of gratitude

Lately it's become crystal clear to me that an attitude adjustment is in order. Like now. Yes, I tend to dwell on the negative... to perseverate on what isn't, rather than what is. 
I need to dwell more on these things ~

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  Phil. 4:8

My plan is to end each day reflecting on 10 things I am grateful for from that day ~
  • health ~ I am so grateful for my health.
  • love ~ letting Jesus love through me. Without Him, I can't.
  • my husband ~ he's such a good, supportive, hard-working man.
  • my story ~ I would not have wanted this particular chapter, but trusting it's important to the next one.
  • my family ~ their unconditional love astounds me.
  • book of James ~ thank you Beth Moore. Thank you God.
  • sunflowers ~ emolyn & I are planting sunflowers this afternoon.
  • Easter ~ letting Christ's death & resurrection renew my heart.
  • time ~ to creatively repurpose my favorite finds.
  • friends ~ reconnecting with old friends that we've dearly missed.

Ok, so that ought to get me started. It really is a powerful exercise in seeing the hand of God in the day to day of living life. I plan on posting my lists every once in a while and letting you in on how this is affecting my attitude. I think it's going to be a good thing.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    Petunia Pickle Bottom Bag

    The reality of my son Shawn & Nicole having 3 in diapers gave me great cause to research quality diaper bags. And it quickly became apparent that a backpack diaper bag was the way to go, especially with moms & dads 'wearing' their babies in slings. It only makes sense to balance the baby weight in the front with a diaper bag in the back.
    Now to find the most functional one... that stands on its own without tipping over... that is super cute and easy to clean. Meanwhile I'm linking several bags to Nicole through this whole process and getting her feedback. We agreed that the Petunia Pickle Bottom Backpack Diaper Bags were the best ~ but also rather expensive. So Nicole put it out there on facebook, asking her friends whether it was worth splurging on a quality diaper bag. They not only said yes, but a few recommended she check out Last Chance. So I told her I would do that for her.

    So Randy & I stopped at Last Chance on our way home from church last Sunday and here's where the story gets good.

    I head to the purse bins and it's crazy with people grabbing and flinging bags everywhere. I immediately see someone pick up a Pickle Bottom Diaper Bag and put it in their cart. I was stunned. This can't be happening... I miss it by mere seconds? And the last one no less. What's a girl to do? Well, after several minutes I mustered up the courage to approach her and ask if she was actually going to buy it and she kindly replied she wasn't sure, especially if it was over $40.00, but she'd call my cell if she changed her mind. Meanwhile I start walking around the store and see another Pickle Bottom Bag sitting on the floor next to a cute pregnant couple. I asked if they were buying the bag and they said they were. In fact they told me it was only $29.99. That's when I knew the other girl wouldn't be calling me, so I decided to just leave. WELL, as I was about to walk out of the store, the cute pregnant girl runs up to me and tells me they have decided not to buy the bag, and then she hands it to me. I'm stunned. She didn't have to do that, to find me... but she did. I almost hugged her I was so grateful. And my daughter-in-law Nicole was thrilled when I told her the story and that she is now the owner of a Petunia Pickle Bottom Backpack Diaper Bag (the very one pictured above) ~ originally $175.00 ~ for only $29.99!!!
    Isn't that the best story!

    Monday, March 19, 2012

    Twins Baby Shower

    The baby shower for the Thompson twins could not have been more special.
    Let me break it down for you. 

    Ok, so I thought I was a creative genius when a preschool Mom gave me a huge bag of boys clothes for the twins, and inside were several teeny tiny onesies. So I thought "gee, I'll make a banner for the baby shower with them." Well, a few days later I googled a few baby shower sites and saw that someone had stolen my idea. Oh but wait, she had no way of knowing I had thought of the idea first. ha! 

    It was a beautiful day, although as soon as the shower was over my husband and I had to put it all away because of a huge winter storm coming. We have not had measurable rain in 90 days and wouldn't you know, I would host a backyard baby shower and have to tear everything down right away. ha!

    See that flowered pump dispenser from the 70's ~
    I've had it since our wedding in 1979. And it keeps coffee hotter than hot for days.
    And of course my vintage Igloo cooler keeps lemonade colder than cold for days.

    I had the menu all planned ~ egg salad sandwiches w/ fresh dill, Miranda's yummy cucs 'n spread on crackers, Beckie's fruit salad and my miniature lemon cupcakes. But I ended up adding this biscuit recipe along with homemade lemon curd, Costco's fruit spread and fresh whipping cream, that morning. I had never made lemon curd before, but this microwavable recipe is so quick and easy. 

    After we ate, we all shared what we wrote out on 3x5 cards
    ~ what we know to be true about Nicole ~
    how we see her, how God sees her, using Bible verses, a story, words of affirmation ~
    encouraging her through those times when in her sleep deprivation, she can flip through the cards and remember what is true about her. I'm laminating each of the cards and putting them on an o-ring, so she can have it hanging handy in her bathroom, when she has a brief stolen moment to herself.

    What a beautiful, sacred time of loving Nicole through lots of tears and laughter.

     Emolyn was so sensitive to her Mama needing occasional hugs throughout the morning. What a tenderhearted little girl. And that's my lovely daughter Miranda with the cute clothes and cute hairstyle. So thankful that Nicole has become the sister Miranda never had.

    We ended our time together gathered around Nicole ~ praying for her and the health of her baby boys ~ that are due to be delivered in 6 weeks.
    We prayed for her & Shawn, for Emolyn (4) & Elsie (1), for God's provision...
    that they would continue to trust God with these precious little gifts.

    I can't tell you how much it meant to have these women share such wisdom and truth in my backyard. We not only showered Nicole with our heartfelt words, but with diapers and gift cards as they enter a season full of changes. Soon they will be moving out of their home of several years. Pray with me as they trust God in the day-to-day ~ letting others come along side in meeting their many practical needs. Thanks so much. Means the world to me.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    little elsie lane

    Elsie Lane ~ 17 months old ~ Mar. 2012
    Last Saturday we attended a wedding reception at our friends home in Waddell, Arizona. I remembered attending another wedding reception at their home exactly two years ago.
    Well, you can imagine my surprise & delight when days later I realized I had captured similar photos of my two granddaughters at each of those events.

    Emolyn Kate ~  24 months old ~ Feb. 2010
    Of course Elsie wasn't even born two years ago when Emolyn's Grandma Beckie was married in 2010 and Emolyn was the little flowergirl. But it was fun to see Elsie holding a similar dandelion puff just like her big sister did two years earlier.

    A lovely field of dandelion puffs make for little elsie photo ops.

    So thankful for this little girl. Her and her sister are becoming great friends and will be such a help to their Mommy when the twins arrive in 6 weeks.

    And speaking of the twins, Elsie loves to hug her baby brothers.

    Elsie was forever wanting to sit next to the bubbling fountain and dip her hand in the water.

    Doesn't she sorta look like Cindy Lou Who here?

    Elsie gives the best hugs and the sweetest pats on the back ~ especially to her big sister Emolyn ~ whom she adores and calls Emma. Sometimes my heart bursts with such overwhelming love for these girls. How ever will I contain my love for their little brothers when I meet them soon!

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    vintage galvanized goods

    I have been drawn to galvanized, industrial and vintage gardening goods ~ 
    for as long as I can remember.

    Vintage garden sprinklers being among my favorite finds.

    I recently found the yellow digger & red hoe. Paid a dollar for each.

    Vintage clothes pins and pulleys are a visual guilty pleasure for sure.

    More vintage lawn sprinklers and hose nozzles.

    Ok, I gotta come clean... no seriously, I finally spent an entire day deep-cleaning my backyard gardening bench and storage sheds for the first time since last summers freaky haboobs. Trust me, this 56 second time-lapse YouTube video will shock you. 
    I am not kidding, everything pictured on this post was covered in a thick layer of dirty, powdery dust. Even though I tried cleaning before, I learned the hard way that it can take weeks, if not months for that kind of dust storm to settle.
    And the best part of cleaning? Finding favorite finds that I forgot I had found! 
    Who knew I had four rake-heads ~ which I will proudly hang my vintage gardening tools on, once they are hung on my backyard wall. 
    And my motivation for taking on such a dirty job? My daughter Miranda and I are hosting a Twins Baby Shower in my backyard for my daughter-in-law Nicole this Saturday morning. 
    SO excited!

    I'm linking up with ~

    Wednesday, March 07, 2012

    vintage knitted pincushions

    Remember these? When I found each of them many years ago, I was transported back in time... to a simpler time... learning to sew and discovering the joys of knitted pincushions.

     The pins would often come through the bottom and stick you. Or you had a heck of a time trying to find the needles that were buried. Often times resulting in pain and blood.
    I must say, the plastic lid under the green one is quite the clever idea.

    So trust me, these are for decoration only... to beautifully display my stick pin collection.
    I know. I have way too many collections.
    Oooh, cute story ~ my 4 year old granddaughter told me the other day that she wanted to start a collection. Seriously. She even had to slow down saying the word collection because she had never said it before. So I asked what is she going to collect? She said pinecones. Of course I was thrilled and actually a little emotional. I mean, cute or what! Ok, so I'm not so sure how thrilled her parents are. ha!

    My mother-in-law gave me the knitted pincushion that her mother-in-law gave her many years ago. Mamaw Bean loved everything pink & blue, so naturally she would make herself a pink & blue pincushion. It is most likely well over 50 years old. And I simply adore it.
    But I don't use it :)
    Knitted pincushion tutorial found here.

    Linking my post with ~

    Monday, March 05, 2012

    flowers & faucets in Phoenix

    We came upon some lovely spring flowers while taking our granddaughters for a walk over the weekend. Love this time of year!

    I also came upon an estate sale on the way home from church on Sunday. I know, what could possibly be left on a Sunday at 1pm? Well ~ JUNK! My favorite kind of leftovers. For starters, vintage faucets. In fact, three very different kinds of faucets. I have been looking for an old faucet for Emolyn's vintage kitchen for the past year. I now have three to choose from!
    I also found vintage sprinklers & sprayers, various hooks, a set of numbers, a red hoe to hang on the wall, that galvanized bucket and last but certainly not least... a vintage shop light. Oh my goodness, look at the patina on that light.
    And check out what they're doing with those beauties ~ 

    Found here

    I also have plans to make this ~ now that I've found my 4th red faucet handle! YES!

    All in all, a wicked good weekend. Oh, I didn't tell you?
    I went to WICKED at Grady Gammage!
    My dear friend Kathy (the teacher I assist at the preschool) bought tickets for her and I to see WICKED! Oh my gosh, WHAT A THRILL! Such a superb cast. 
    My husband & I saw WICKED with our daughter Miranda three years ago while visiting her in London. I remember turning to my daughter at intermission, with tears pouring down my face (they had finished with "Defying Gravity") and I told her how proud I was that she took a chance, defied gravity and moved to London by herself to study for a semester. One of the most memorable moments of our entire trip. You can see that post HERE.
    This time I am sitting next to a faithful friend... one who has loved and accepted me through a very difficult season in my life. As I'm watching the musical this time, I am reminded of those in my life, who have made a difference for maybe a season, or for an entire lifetime... those precious divine contacts that because I knew them, I've been changed for good.

    Thursday, March 01, 2012

    Wisconsin Farmers Tribute

    I'm a farmer's daughter from Wisconsin. And my Dad was the most dedicated, hardworking farmer I have ever known. He would have been 86 last week. And I am missing him... this good and kind, respected man of character that always had a smile on his face.
    When I first heard Paul Harvey's "So God Made a Farmer" speech on a similar YouTube video, I knew that one day I would take photos of my Dad from all his years of farming and make a video using Paul Harvey's moving narration. He delivered this speech at a National FFA Convention in 1978. I'm telling you, no one does it better than Paul Harvey. You see, we grew up listening to him three times a day on the radio ~ his News and Comment and The Rest of the Story segments are long remembered in the Larson family, and a particulate favorite with my Dad, as he always had the radio on in the barn.
    And I also thought it rather ironic that my brother Ron, who would later purchase the farm from my Dad in 1988, graduated from high school in 1977 and made the decision to farm with my Dad around the time of this speech, which makes it all the more meaningful.
    My Dad never really "retired" from farming. Oh, he may have milked his last cow in 1988, but continued to farm in every sense of the word till his passing in 2009 at the age of 83.
    All the images in the video were taken on the farm where I grew up, by either myself or a family member over a span of 50 years. The 350 acre farm is located along Timber Creek in Jackson County near Osseo, Wisconsin.
    A big thank you to my husband Randy and son Shawn for helping me make this happen. I am so thankful to have my Dad's memory preserved in this way. I hope you enjoy it.
    Be sure to turn your volume up and you can also click the square box in the lower right corner to enlarge and fill your screen. Thanks again for watching!