Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tutorial for making flower balls and a florist bow

Flower balls (or pomanders, which is their formal name) are pretty fun. They can be used to carry in a wedding for flower girls and even the bride and they can be used for fun decorations.
They also are inexpensive and fairly simple to make.

Not long ago Keren, my kids and I had fun making some and Keren took picture so I could do a tutorial.

1 Step: Gather your supplies. You need a Styrofoam ball, flowers like button mums or daisies (and more than is in the picture), corsage pins, a knife (or something else to cut the flowers off the stems), ribbon for a handle and a bow, a pair of scissors and a hot glue gun is nice for attaching the ribbon.Step 2: Make the bow.
A. Pinch about 4 inches from the end of the ribbon in between your thumb and fingers. With your other hand pull the ribbon around to make a loop and then pinch the end of the loop with the start of the loop between your thumb and fingers.B. Now make a loop on the other side and bring the ribbon back to again pinch between your thumb and fingers. Make one more loop on each side (for a total of 4 loops) the same way.
C. Make the middle loop by flipping the ribbon over your thumb and squishing the ribbon between your thumb and fingers again. (this is a fairly short loop)
D. After making the middle loop make 2 more loops on each side like in step B. (There will be a total of 9 loops, 4 on each side and one in the middle.)
E. Make another loop similar to the middle loop but much longer. This will be cut in half at the bottom to make tails. Now take either a wire or a ribbon and thread it through the bottom loop and the middle loop and around the side loops and tie it tight in the back. This keeps your bow together. Now you can cut the bottom loop in half to make tails and you can also cut the bow off of the spool of ribbon (you can leave about 4 inches to create another tail). Your bow is done.
Step 3: Glue a ribbon loop and your bow to the top of a Styrofoam ball.Step 4: Get your flowers ready by cutting the heads off of the stems.
Step 5: Poke a corsage pin through the center of each flower and then pin it into the ball. carefully cover the whole ball by poking flowers in.
Step 6: Spray with Crowning Glory flower solution to make it last longer or even just water will help to keep it fresh longer.

It is all ready to be carried.

You can also make the pomanders without the bow and just attach a single ribbon that can be tied somewhere for decoration.

However you do it, I hope you have lots of fun!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Lately this verse has been going through my head, over and over again.....
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always,
to the very end of the age."
Matthew 28:19-20

and this one.....

"He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,
but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
Mark 16:15-16
This was the message that Jesus gave specifically to the eleven apostles but I think it still is something He wants us to follow today. It makes me think: "Am I really "going" and am I really taking the time to tell others about the good news and what Jesus told everyone to do?"
I want to do that more. I want evangelism to be a part of my life just like breathing and eating is. That is what has been convicting me lately, What about you?

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Home, home on the Range... This song was written by a Kansas Dr., Brewster Higley. He was probably talking about his native Kansas where "the skies are not cloudy all day."

Kansas is a state that I have actually lived in (We lived on Range Rd too so I thought the song especially fitting then). We just lived there for a year and a half when Mara was a baby and then moved when Jonathan was less than 2 weeks old. Though Kansas is not "home" to me and it isn't the landscape that I find the most beautiful it is still a very neat state and we did enjoy our time there.

The Landscape of Kansas is mostly low, rolling hills, with wooded river valleys in the eastern half. There is great evidence of the world wide flood in Kansas, as it has been a great place for finding fossils.

Kansas gets its name for Kansa which means "people of the south wind". There is indeed a lot of wind in Kansas, and it is not always a kind wind. There can be big storms, tornadoes and blizzards. While we lived there we did spend some time in the basement waiting for tornadoes to go by (and we were not far from where they hit causing loss of life.) but I had rather wanted to see one and I never did. I decided it might be better to stay safe!

Some of the state's biggest money makers are wheat, sorghum, airplane manufacturing (In Wichita, the town we lived in) and beef. There are also huge military bases which has added many jobs. There are also oil and natural gas wells and in Kansas is one of the few sources of Helium. (So you can be grateful for Kansas when you have floating balloons at your party!)

Kansas became a state on Jan. 29, 1861 and it is the 34th state. Its nickname is the Sunflower state. The capital is Topeka but its largest city is Wichita. Wichita is a nice city with a well made road system which makes it almost impossible to get lost and at least when we lived there (2000-2001) there was very little traffic problems.

Pizza Hut was started in Kansas in Wichita in 1958.

One of the foods we enjoyed while studying Kansas was apple fritters. Kansas is well known for growing wheat. A hardy strain of wheat was brought to Kansas by a group of Mennonites from Russia. It was well suited for Kansas soil and climate and worked out very well. Kansas is one of the USA's top producers of grain.

The picture above it of Whole Wheat Sticks a recipe from a Kansas wheat site.

A recipe that we made but I didn't get a picture of was Sunflower Popcorn Bars. We really enjoyed them. I did substitute molasses for corn syrup however which made it a bit healthier.

We also enjoyed Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Corn.

What do you love about Kansas?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Some recent reads

"Parenthood by Proxy ~Don't have them if you won't raise them" by Dr. Laura Schlessinger

I hesitate to say I enjoyed this book because in a lot of ways it made me very sad and frustrated with our current society. However I thought it was a good read because it reinforced in me again the important role I am playing by staying home with my kids. She includes many reports that show that while many in our government seem to think that early childhood education, more programs for children and more things of that sort will solve our problems, in reality that sort of thing is making kids worse. What kids need is their parents at home.

Here is a quote on being with peers that I found interesting:

"Parents today want their children to have the best opportunities to learn- so they enroll them in school programs almost from birth, put them in umpteen after-school lessons, or put them in day care so Mom and Dad can work for the goodies they believe are in their child's best interest. This seemingly well meaning behavior is destructive to the psychological health of youngsters.

The kids are busy, busy, busy, but they lack the closeness of a parent. Instead they are surrounded by other children and end up bonding with them. As the approval and attention of peers becomes more significant and powerful than that of adults, behavior problems inevitably appear. Studies show that the worst-behaved kids are those who spend the most time with other kids." (page 170)

The reports on Child care centers was chilling. Not really because the kids were abused, simply because they aren't loved in the way each child deserves to be. Love isn't simply holding and hugging and so forth either (though that is desperately needed) but truly loving a child means you train them and discipline them as needed as well. Busy day cares simply cannot do that to a lot of children nor does it work for those that are not parents to do much of that.

Reading the book made me feel very rich. Not because I have this great job that brings in lots of money but rather because we are able to make things work out so that I do not have to go out and leave my kids (One of the most important parts of our life) every day for the greater part of the day. In the book the comparison is made - If you had this very fancy car that you treasured would you park it in a garage each day to be used by various people all day who do not care for it the way you do? Of course not but yet millions of people are doing that with their kids.

I know I have known of parents that don't think they can do a good job of parenting in many areas and so are glad to have professionals to help them. The professionals may be better trained but they don't have what you have, You are their parent and they need you!

Have you read this book? I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

"We Like it Wild" by Bradford Angier

This is an old book with a copyright of 1963 but I enjoyed it quite a bit. It is a true story of a young couple from busy Boston going up to the wilds of Canada to experiment living away from civilization for a year. The experiment was Brad's idea because he realized that he was working at a job he didn't really enjoy, living in an environment he didn't like so that he could attain "success" which would include having enough money to be able to take vacations in the wilds of Canada. What I found to be the moral of the story is something I have generally thought and that is: Do what you love, don't look for what will make you the richest or most famous but rather something that you can enjoy each and every day.

In the book he explains a lot of the different things the did to live, from making a cabin, hunting, finding wild food and learning how to live in weather that is 63 degrees below zero.

Living out far from almost everybody is not what I dream about doing but it was fun to read about and I do share his love of living of the land, I just like to have more people around to fellowship with too.

"Fairy Island~ An enchanting tour of the homes of the little folk" by Laura C. Martin and Cameron Martin

We recently had this book checked out from the library for the second time. We thoroughly enjoy it! It is mostly a book of photographs of tiny fairy houses, gardens and accessories made out of all sorts of natural materials. There is a Farm house (complete with gardens, the cabbages are brussel sprouts and there are little tomatoes that I assume are wild cherries), a Sea House (full of fabulous stuff made out of shells and a rocking horse made from a Sea horse), A Japanese house and more.

We love looking through it and and oohing and aahing over the boots made of peanut shells, the cute little flower arrangements, the cups made from dried chili peppers and curtains made from kale leaves. There is a little bit of a story running through it as well and lots of botanical names of all the different plants used (so it makes it kind of educational!). This book has been lots of fun for the nature and fairy lovers in our family.

"To Root, to Toot, to Parachute ~ What is a Verb?" and "A Lime, a Mime, a Pool of Slime ~More about Nouns" by Brian P. Cleary

I recently found these at the Library and I think they are pretty neat. The thing is Parts of Speech are not my strong point. For some reason it doesn't seem to matter how much I study them, what they are goes out my head very quickly. At this point Mara (my 9 year old ) knows them better then I do. I am all about learning in fun ways however and who knows maybe if I read through these books enough it just might stick in my head. The only unfortunate thing is that the two books that I found at our library (the ones above) are about the only two parts of speech (Verbs and Nouns) that I can remember very well. But I figured that probably if these two had been written there were probably more out there too. Sure enough their are - lots of them. Somehow I hope to get the rest of them in our home too, whether it be through the Library or buying them.

The books are all in silly rhyming fashion, with lots of funny pictures so the kids found them very fun but they also very clearly get the message across that they are teaching about Nouns and what are proper nouns and so forth. I think if we read them several times even Megan (my 3 year old) would be picking things up.

The author has a neat looking website too with various learning games on it and resources.

What have you been reading lately? Do you have any great books to suggest? I would love to hear!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A rustic candle holder

I enjoyed trying out some ideas I recently found in a book from the library on decorating with nature.
For this candle holder you just gathered some twigs, tied them together with raffia in a tepee style. Then just sit a votive holder in the center. Thats it! I think it is rather fun and obviously very rustic. Add some pine cones for a fun woodsy touch.
The other candle holder that we tried and I really liked you can find pictures of in my post about saving electricity.

What projects have you been working on lately?

This is linked to Funky Junk Interiors' Saturday Night Special.

Monday, June 22, 2009

One BIG long post

This past 10 days or so have been pretty busy. There have been so many things that I thought, "oh, I want to blog about that" but as you possibly noticed I actually have been blogging less this week. So in order to share a little about the many fun things in our life I decided to do one big long post. So here goes.

Aren't the girls pretty?!

On the 12th we traveled down to the cities and stayed with my older sister Anna and her family. My parents and sister Keren were also there. We always have fun staying there, the kids have such fun playing with their cousins who are very close in age.

The reason of our trip was two fold. First of all we were heading south to attend the wedding of Bobby (he does go by Bob now but I still think of him as Bobby and he said it is okay for those of us resistant to change to call him that) and Sarah. Ken also had a Republican State Central meeting to attend.

Saturday was busy with picking up flowers from the wholesaler, putting them together (with family helping) and driving down to Rochester with my sister Keren. We had fun then hanging out with friends during pictures and last minute preparations.The Groom and his siblings

Bobby's family have been friends of ours for my whole lifetime and growing up they were a huge part of my life. We loved to go visit each other and go to camp together, you name it. I am still blessed to call them my friends.Dale and Linda (groom's parents)

Another big part of our lives lately has been T-ball and little league. This is the first year for our boys to play. Both they and Ken thought it would be really neat. I wasn't so sure that I was ready for all that baseball involves (basically all the time!) but it is working out and I am looking forward to getting to know the other parents better. I am also trying to get various things done while I watch. The boys are enjoying it quite a bit too so that is neat.

Aaron running home. He was the first runner home in their first game.
Jonathan, ready to bat. (Both boys ended up being #1)

Little Luke and I

Last Wednesday my sister Keren (and the little guy she cares for) and Pei Lin came over for a day. We had fun utilizing Keren's lovely new camera while getting some pictures for my business. I was wanting to get some nice pictures of some rental items I offer. Also I had some decorating ideas I wanted to try out.

We also had fun making a Thai dinner. (Pei Lin was head cook.)

A cute Megan and an outdoor scene we set up

A rustic table setting

Pei Lin hard at work (We really enjoyed the food and used recipes from Here)

Mango with sticky rice was very yummy! (and I didn't think I liked Mango before)

On Friday evenings we have started having casual volleyball games every week. (Hey, if anyone is in the area - we would love to have you join us!) Last week was our first week. It was raining when we first got there at 7, so we played round robin ping-pong for a little bit but soon the sun came out again and we were able to play several games of Volleyball.

Also along church lines Emily and I have been having lots of fun planning a new class series for Wednesday nights in July, August and September. We are calling it God's World Adventure Camp and are planning on teaching the kids so that they can learn more about who God is and the wonderful world He made and notice how God's creation points in so, so many ways to a wonderful designer! I am very excited about it and we are trying to tell lots of people about it.

Megan and Aaron playing in the water

On Father's Day we enjoyed a picnic at the park after church. We were with my parents and local siblings and other "adopted" siblings. It was enjoyable but rather buggy. Not really biting bugs just fish flies everywhere. The kids had fun playing in the water some.

Iris along our garden fence

Gardening has also been helping to keep us busy. There are ups and downs to gardening, I have been feeling a little discouraged over our veggie garden lately -with bad germination, etc. but I have really been enjoying all my perennial flowers. The Iris have been doing especially well this year and that always makes me happy!

How has your month been going?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Learning to use less electricity (50 ways)

This month it is our goal to see how little electricity we can use. I thought it would be a fun challenge as it would make us aware of how much we rely on it. It also would help us learn ways to cut back and do with less. I also thought it would be fun to see just how much money we might be able to save.

Currently I believe our Electric bill is around $150 a month. We get a statement each month that shows how much we used from the 19th of one month to the 19th of the next. It also shows how much was used the year previous. We are starting today to try to be extremely efficient and I will be reporting on various things we do and then when we get our statement I will share how well it actually went.

Here is a list of ways that we can save on electricity. I am putting the things we have already been regularly doing in GREEN, things that we have been working on but we want to improve at will be BLUE, things that we want to try will be TAN and things that can save on electricity but are not our style or I don't think we will be attempting for some time will be RED.


  1. When cooking with pots on the stove, keep lids on them. This conserves a lot of energy and so you use less. Also match the pan size to that of the burner.

  2. Keep the microwave clean (inside) to maximize efficiency. (This maybe should be blue, but I'll go with green!)

  3. Do all the baking on one day(each week). I have done this fairly well with my breads and desserts but for this month I want to only turn the oven on once a week total.

  4. Don't bother pre-heating the oven. For most things it is fine to stick the stuff in immediately.

  5. Use a crockpot instead of the oven. Microwaves are also more energy efficient.

  6. Use a solar oven. (We recently made one from boxes and have been doing a little experimenting but have quite a lot to learn still. )

  7. Turn off pots of food that have lids shortly before they are done cooking and let it finish cooking with the heat that is still there. Also turn off the oven slightly before the stuff is done baking.

  8. Cook outside over a campfire. We have grand plans for all sorts of cooking and baking.

  9. Unplug the toaster and other appliances when not in use.

  10. Become a raw food vegan and you won't have to cook anything! (this is not in our future.)

Other Kitchen Stuff

  1. Don't stand with the Fridge open while you contemplate what to make for supper.

  2. Thaw frozen foods in the fridge. It thaws much slower but it helps cool the fridge in the process.

  3. Keep fridge and freezer full. (Even with jugs of water or ice)

  4. Allow leftovers to cool before putting them in the fridge.

  5. Raise the thermostat on your fridge. (a lower number) It might not need to be as cool as you think. You don't want food to spoil though either.

  6. Clean the condenser coils on the back of the fridge.

  7. Defrost your freezer.

  8. Check the seals around the door to make sure they are nice and tight.

  9. Run only full loads in the dishwasher.

  10. Don't use the Dry Cycle on the dishwasher. (You can open the door to allow them to air dry.

Around the House

  1. Don't leave the TV going. Our general rule is that only Ken turns it on and that is generally just in the morning while he exercises and at night before bed.

  2. Lower your hotwater heaters temperature to 120 degrees.

  3. Try to use the Air conditioner as little as possible. It is always my goal to go all summer without it. (Though I wouldn't try it if I lived in some southern climates!)

  4. When it is hot see how warm you can manage and when it is cold see how much you can layer on instead of heating.

  5. Skip using electrical entertainment or music. Make your own instead.

  6. Change the filter on the air conditioner/furnace every month.

  7. Unplug things like CD players, lamps, etc when not in use.

  8. Turn off computer when you won't be using it for an hour or more. Even if you don't turn it all off, turn off the monitor.

  9. Flush your hot water heater every 6 months. He explains it here.


  1. Wash your clothes in warm or cold instead of hot and use a cold rinse.

  2. Skip out on ironing.

  3. Run only full loads of laundry.

  4. If you use the dryer use the Moisture sensing setting so that it will automatically go off when they are dry rather than just drying for a certain amount of time.

  5. Empty the lint trap on your dryer with every load.

  6. Rewear your clothes so you don't have to wash as often. Use towels over too.

  7. Line dry your clothes. I do this quite a bit but I want to do it more. I would like to get it so I only dry one load per week in the dryer which would be Ken's dress shirts so that I don't have to iron them.

  8. When you do use the dryer, run loads back to back so that the dryer is still hot.

In the Bathroom

  1. Skip using a blow dryer.

  2. While you are at it, skip the curling iron or straightener too.

  3. For baths, don't fill it full of hot water. A couple of inches works just fine for the kids.

  4. Take shorter showers. My normal shower is 6 minutes. This month my goal is to get down to 4 minutes or even less.

  5. Rinse off in cold water. I have heard it is good for your hair. I am sure it is invigorating for you too!


  1. Change to florescent bulbs. (We do still have a few that aren't, but most of them are.)

  2. Don't use high wattage bulbs where they aren't needed.

  3. Don't leave outdoor lights on unless someone needs them.

  4. Do without night lights. (this is just a personal preference as we don't feel the need for them.)

  5. Keep lights and fixtures clean so what you do use, is efficient.

  6. Turn the lights off and enjoy the natural lights from the windows.

  7. Spend time outdoors in the natural light.

  8. Enjoy supper by candlelight. (I am really enjoying the candles held up by pebbles in a clear vase. I saw the idea in a book and am loving it - you can see the pictures above.)

Do you have any ways that you like to save on electricity? I would love to hear them!!

For more Money saving tips visit Frugal Friday.

Here are some helpful links:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

~The drawing of Fairies~

Something we have enjoyed at our house lately is sitting down together and drawing. Mara really enjoys fairies and was enjoying dreaming up what fairies would look like if they were clothed in different flowers we have around here. She drew me into the imagining too and so we decided to sit down and draw some. Aaron decided to join us too and then later Megan and Jonathan got in on the fun as well.
We had a few books to look at for inspiration: Our Wildflower guide, a butterfly guide and a book about fairies. We also had a bouquet on our table and we went and picked various other flowers to look at more closely as well.
We would chose a specific flower for them to represent and then draw the fairy and the flower. Fairies need wings of course so we chose a specific butterfly wing for them to wear. A project that started simply in fun became a course in learning better to identify flowers and butterflies.

Drawing with your kids is really lots of fun! It is great for just sitting down relaxing and having fun and letting the creative juices flow. Kid's are great critics (simply put they usually think everything is wonderful and don't criticize at all) so you don't have to worry if you aren't the world's best artist. If you haven't drawn with you kids lately I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Working on the tree house

The major project going on at our place right now is the building of a tree house. It isn't done yet but it will be hopefully before too long.

Not long ago Ken got the wood siding for it and decided that the kids could be in charge of getting it ready. They got to chose the color and they unanimously voted for brown.

I found them some old clothes to wear but requested that they try to stay clean anyway. Well that worked for a little bit...

And no my kids aren't black. Normally they take after us in skin color.

Cleaning up was quite the process!
Thank-fully it is done now, we never realized just how complicated staining some boards was until Ken set the kids to work doing it! Projects are fun in what can be accomplished and what can be learned!


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