Sunday, November 29, 2009

In His steps

"For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God
a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.
For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated,
you endure it with patience?
But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it,
this finds favor with God.
For you have been called for this purpose,
since Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps."
1 Peter 2:19-21
This is something that I have read a couple times lately, and then when in North Carolina the sermon that I heard at church was on this subject too. It makes me think.... I don't feel like I have suffered much, I don't know that we need to seek suffering but I hope and pray that I am living the life that I should as a Christian. It is my whole desire that I should follow in HIS steps.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this verse!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving in North Carolina

We just returned today from a week long trip to North Carolina. We went to visit my sister and we also got to see Ken's sister. We had a very fun trip and tons of pictures! So beware of a very long post!!
We drove down to the Twin Cities on Friday night and stayed with the Davidson's who had kindly agreed to take us to the airport. Our flight left at 7 am and so we decided we should leave at 5 am (getting there around 5:30, leaving us an hour and 1/2 so which we figured would be fine being it was that early). Ken set the alarm on his cell phone for 4:30 and we went to bed. Getting up that early wasn't real easy but we did and were almost ready to go when I happened to look at a clock. It wasn't almost 5 am, it was almost 4 am. Ken's phone had not been changed for daylight savings time! We ended up leaving early anyway as we were pretty much ready. When we got there however we had to wait a while for the check in place to open as we were on the first flight of the day. Fortunately I had packed breakfast which we ate while we waited.

On arriving how fun it was to see cousins and my sister. We were also ready to explore this state we had never been to before.
Mara as the oldest was popular for story telling and other creative play ideas.

Lars and Aaron had a wonderful time playing on the huge pile of pine needles.
Even Jonathan got to do some entertaining by reading a book aloud.
On Monday we braved some moist weather and went to a park where we collected sweet gum seed balls and also found mistletoe. I had never seen that growing before. Holly was another plant I had never seen growing before.
While Martha and I took the kids to the park, Ken stood in line for around 4 hours to have his book signed by Sarah Palin. Ken likes to read while he flies and had bought that book to read on the trip and then it just so happened that she was in town. It was an interesting experience for him and amazing to all of us the hundreds of people that came out and stood outside in the rain to have their book signed. Hundreds had to be turned away as she had to leave for another appointment.

On Monday night Ken's sister Luann and her husband Brian arrived at Martha's house as well. It was a blessing to be able to see both sides of our family in one trip.

On Tuesday we all took off East towards the coast. I had fun looking at all the scenery along the way like cotton in the fields, southern swamps with interesting trees and Spanish moss. We drove to Wilmington where we could visit the USS North Carolina. We found that to be incredibly interesting!

Mara, manning a gun on deck.

Megan and Heidi on deck.
Jonathan focusing and seeing where the big guns are pointing. The was up inside the huge gun that was on deck.

Then we did some major exploring below decks. It was amazing how they fit everything on. Thankfully the had arrows for us to follow and some parts blocked off or we could have gotten hopelessly lost. This boat was used in World War 2 and had over 2,000 people working on it.

Everything was set up to serve the 2,000 plus men that were there. The amount of space devoted to food preparation was amazing. They had a bakery, a veggie fixing room (those people got higher pay than most- I am still trying to figure that out), a couple of rooms for doing dishes, a couple of regular kitchens and a butcher shop. Above is pictured the meat I found hanging there. Here is Aaron in one of the soup kettles. There were about 5 of them sitting together.

Uncle Brian, Mara, Molly and Megan enjoying "lunch" at one of the many tables.

After walking and walking and going up and down stairs for a long time we finally found some beds! These were hanging five high and were actually fairly comfortable.

We learned that privacy was certainly not a part of Navy life. The rooms for this sort of crew were packed (some officers did get their own (little) room) and in the bathroom any sense of modesty would have vanished completely. As you brushed your teeth you could either stare at the row of toilets (which had little walls in between each seat but no door and the seats were simply set on a trough so you would watch everything drain under you from those at the other end- I am sorry- that is gross but we found it interesting.) or if you used the other row of sinks you could look in at the showers.
Ken with some of the ammunition.

In the powder room. (And they weren't powdering their faces.)
Lars, Molly, Heidi and Aaron sit on one of the anchors. After exploring this I would really love to ask my Grandpa a bunch of questions about his Navy time in WW2. I think I would be able to picture it better.

After seeing the boat we drove to the coastline. We had hoped to go to South Carolina so that we could check one more state off the list but it got to late so that didn't happen. We did at least get to see the Atlantic Ocean which was a first for our kids.

Here are Brian and Luann.

Megan was feeling very badly that we didn't bring swimsuits.... she was quite happy when we let her go wading. It was chilly out but that didn't seem to bother her and Aaron (Nor Mara who tried it later). There were also quite a few surfers out which was fun to watch.
Kicking up some water.

It was beautiful being there at dusk.
Jonathan had fun building a sandcastle.
At home again and ready for bed, we quieted down with a story from Daddy/Uncle Ken.

Ken got in his first game of Candy land while we were there. (At the request of Heidi.)

On Thanksgiving day after the turkey and squash were put in the oven and breakfast was over, we enjoyed a morning walk.
It was quite fun to watch a 3 year old wearing cowboy boots skip along. It surely can make you smile!
On our walk we enjoyed looking at all the plants and natural stuff including these cactus.

We did some exploring and climbing through Kudzoo vine so we could gather stuff to decorate our Thanksgiving table with. I had fun making centerpieces with our foraged items.
The turkey turned out beautifully and Martha actually stuffed it. That is the first time we have actually had stuffing that was stuffed! :-)
Brian is an artist and had fun drawing pictures of the kids and also encouraging them in their drawing. The girls are all holding the pictures that Brian did of them and Jonathan is holding his self portrait.
We collected sweet gum seed pods to use for name tags. It was very fun to use the various items that are available in North Carolina that we don't have here in MN.
Martha had figured out how to make it a sit down dinner for all of us. Even though there were 6 adults and 11 children. It was a crowded table but very fun and yummy!

Martha and I had enjoyed baking the day before (and also another guest brought over some nutty brownies and fudge sauce) so we had a good variety of sweets to eat.

After the big Thanksgiving dinner we enjoyed a relaxing rest of the day which included visiting, playing games and talking with friends and family in other parts of the world via phone.

On Friday we decided to visit the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville. It is a very nice (and free!) museum. They had neat displays and theaters as well where we were able to learn a lot.

In this picture we were preparing to "jump" out of the plane. All the parachuting pictures and videos made me think that would be pretty neat to try. The kids thought it looked cool too.

Here they are part of some consultations over in Iraq (or maybe it was Afghanistan.

On Friday evening we went to A Dicken's Holiday in downtown Fayetteville. Their were people wandering around in the streets dressed up in Victorian clothing. Their were also lots of craft booths to browse in. We didn't really know what we were going to, we just thought it sounded kind of fun. It wasn't super exciting but we did have a good time.

The streets were all blocked off so you could walk all over on them. In the middle of one round about there was this neat looking building that was just like a porch underneath but you could climb up to a room upstairs. In the room they had various displays that told about the Victorian Era. That was interesting.
Downstairs Ken had read a plaque that told what the building was originally used for- It was a place for auctioning slaves. When he told me that my stomach just felt a little sick. To think that my family was standing in the place that other families at one time had been torn apart against their will to be sold like merchandise. It is so horrific to think about! I do think it important to realize what has happened in the past so we can be sure to work so stuff like that doesn't happen now.
After that we went back to Martha's and attempted to go to bed early as we had to fly out at 6 am. (and of course get their earlier than that.)
We had a great trip and many fun memories!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

May you be full of Gratitude, this day and always to our wonderful God and Father, our Creator and Provider!

"Enter His gates with Thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name!
Psalm 100:4

Sunday, November 22, 2009

An easy yoke and a light load

"Come to Me,
all who are weary and heavy-laden,
and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you,
and learn from Me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart;
and You shall find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy,
and My load is light."
Matthew 11:28-30
Isn't that such an awesome promise? We have a tendency to get tired, worn out, burdened but God is inviting us to come to Him, don't worry about the problems, give them to Him and find rest. When we do things His way He says He will give us an easy yoke to wear, a light load to carry. He will teach us the right way. I want that way, Don't you?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Handmade Christmas ~Week 3 {Make lovely gift baskets!}

Hello! Welcome to the 3 Week of a Handmade Christmas. The gift idea that I am going to share with you today is one I learned how to make fairly recently and really like! To me it is perfect in so many ways: 1. It uses for the most part materials that are free. 2. It is useful (a big plus in my book!). 3. It is a fairly quick project. 4. It is fun to make and 5. It looks nice. Baskets! Made from..... can you guess? ..... Paper grocery bags! They are sturdy and durable and would be fine to use as a gift all by themselves but it is also fun to use them to make gift baskets.
Gift baskets are a great gift for a host and hostess, parents or really whoever.

In my little sample basket I stuck homemade bread, homemade granola, jam, a flower and a bow. Everybody eats but many people don't take the time to make homemade baked goods but they enjoy them anyway. This sort of thing is especially nice for the person who "has everything".
Here are some other gift basket ideas:

But anyway, on to making a basket.....

What you need. 6 paper grocery bags that are all the same size, a good scissors, stapler, clothes pins and tacky/fast drying glue. You will also want a brown acrylic paint and a clear polyurethane. (you can also use a clear spray on finish but I used what I had)

Step 1. Carefully pull the back seam apart and then cut the bottom out. You will not use the bottom pieces.

Step 2. Take 3 of the bags and fold them in quarters and cut along the lines. (as shown above.)
This will give you 12 of these pieces. (You only need 11 of these.)

Step 3. Take each of those pieces and fold them in half lengthwise.
Step 4. (pictured above) fold each edge into the middle.

Step 5. Again fold the the outside edges into the middle.
Step 6. Fold along the middle line.
Step 7. Then run the strip along a sharp edge so that it is carefully creased. At this point you need to make sure all of your strips are exactly the same length and trim off any possibly differences.
Step 8. Now take the remaining 3 bags and cut them in half the long way. (fold them first to get a good line) You will have 6 long strips.
Step 9. You will need to cut the long strips a little shorter. To determine how short you need to measure the width of your short strip. To the width you need to add 1/8 - 1/4 inch and then times that by 22. Then add 1 inch to that number for overlapping. That will be how long you need your long strip to be. Mine ended up being 30 inches long but since bags can vary in size, the strip length will vary as well.
Step 10. Do steps 3-7 to five of the long strips.
Step 11. Form one long strip into a circle, overlapping one inch. In the overlap stick one of the short strips firmly up to the top. Staple in place.
Step 12. Leaving about 1/8- 1/4 inch space in between each strip, insert and staple in as shown above.
Step 13. Find the middle strip (number 6) and cross it over as shown and staple it in place next to the first strip.
Step 14. Do the same thing with the next 5 strips, until it looks like the picture above.
Step 15. Now with the 5 strips that are left loose you want to weave them across the bottom and staple them in the other side. The picture above shows the first strip being woven.
Here is the 2nd strip being woven. You need to make sure you are weaving them opposite of each other. For example with the first one I went over, under, over, under...., with the second one I went under, over, under, over.....

After that is completed you will have all the short strips stapled into the band, the bottom will be woven and the band should be filled up. (you have 1/8 - 1/4 inch spaces in between each strip but their shouldn't be any spaces bigger than that.)

Step 16. Now we are ready to weave the sides using the 4 long strips that you have folded. Take your first strip and start at the bottom making sure to weave opposite of the bottom weaving.
Step 17. You should have 1 inch of overlap once you have made it around the basket. Open up one end of the strip, put glue inside and then stick the other end of the strip in their. Press it tightly and then secure it (for now, until the glue dries) with a clothespin.
REPEAT steps 16 &17 with the other 3 strips. The picture above shows the gluing process. If possible I like to how those overlapping edges of the strips woven to the inside.

Step 18. Take you last unfolded long strip. Do steps 3 & 4 on it. (Where you fold it in half and then fold the outside on both sides into that half line. ) Then instead of folding it again completely in to the middle line (like step 5) you instead fold it in about 2/3 of the way to the middle line. As pictured above. Then fold it back in half (along you fold line) and crease it along the edge of your counter (Step 7).

Step 19. Now open it up again and fill the inside of the strip with glue and then place over the top band of the basket that you did all the stapling to and cover up that stapled band. (That is why this strip is made wider- so it can cover up all those staples and the underneath band completely.) Clothespin it so that it stays in place while the glue is drying.
The main portion of the basket is now finished!
Step 20. If you want handles you can make some more strips like the shorter ones but cut the ends so they are round. You could have one or two handles (for two you might need another bag)
Step 21. Then put glue inside them (like you did for the outside top band on the basket) and then just glue it together. Lay it aside. You will put this on after the painting and sealing is done.
Step 22. Take your acrylic paint and mix one part paint with 3 parts water. Paint the complete basket (inside and out- you might want to do one part and then come back later and do the other) and the handles. For acrylic paint you can choose whatever color you want but I prefer the rather reddish brown, but I am thinking it might be fun to try a different sort of color like blue sometime too.
Step 23. After it is completely dry do the same thing with the clear polyurethane. This makes it very sturdy and washable (not like in a sink full of water washable but with a rag or I guess even spraying it with water).
If you don't have handles you are now done!
Step 24. First drill holes (using a drill or just poke it with a nail) through the end of the handles and the side of the basket where you want to the handles to connect.
Step 25. Affix the rivets. You insert the rivets, position the top and hammer together.

And there is your basket! All ready to be given away or used by you.
Here is a picture with the handles up.
Now it is your turn! Please join me and share your handmade ideas!
To link up~

~Write a post about anything you are doing that is handmade for Christmas. (Gifts, decorations, food, etc.).
~In that post please link back to here.
~Then using MckLinky, add your link to the list. Please make sure it is linking to your specific post (not just your blog).
~Then have fun following the links to see other's great ideas!

Just a reminder, We will not be doing this next week as it is Thanksgiving. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and then come join me again for the 4th week of A Handmade Christmas on Dec. 3rd.

I am sorry this is late getting up. I am having a few troubles with it (actually with my lack in computor skills ) today.


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