“Ice Cream and Cake! Ice Cream and Cake!

 

you are specialA sea of balloons crashes into his bed. He opens his eyes and smiles at the crazy amount of colors that cover the carpet in his room. There is no denying what day it is, and he is not surprised by the display that brightly states: “Time to Celebrate You!” He’s not shocked because his mom does this every year on his birthday; he anticipates the familiar.

Celebrations of Life are meant to be extravagant. They can be simple or complex, cheap or expensive, long or short interactions… but however they play out , make them meaningful and rich in detail. the wish When those fleeting thoughts wander down the trail saying that a child will not remember all the details of a birthday… shout out “yep! that’s right.”  Then get back on course and remember that you are  celebrating the one,  so that they can store up an abundance of how special they are to someone.make a cakeIMG_8837

Each of us has a place in our hearts that stores up love, acceptance, and all the good self-esteem “stuff”  that others pour into our lives. Just like anything else, it becomes depleted at times. Birthday celebrations are a beautiful way to fill our loved ones hearts to overflow each year.

Here is a sampling of ideas (knowing you will begin to remember many of your own as you read mine). I don’t do all of them each year, but I do pick a few for my children and spouse so their hearts are replenished. Every family is unique. Seasons differ in our lives. A Celebration of Life each year reminds us that we have purpose, love, and an identity.

cakeTime to Make a Wish!

Birthday Balloons, a Special Plate, Birthday Breakfast, a Favorite Meal, a yummy Dessert to make a wish on, Gifts in all forms: small, big, bought, made, handwritten with love, a New Outfit, Family Album out for viewing, incorporating Extended Family, over-the-top Parties and quiet get-away Parties, playing Hooky for a day with a loved one, Surprise hugs, stories of affirmation, gathering of friends and family, a note tucked under a pillow or in a backpack.

Quantity Time is the icing, but Quality Time is the memorable cake.

There is no way to be a perfect parent, but there are a million ways to be a good one.   -Jill Churchill

special plate

 

Hints of hospitality

Throughout the year we have houseguests and like to welcome them in small ways so that they feel special.

hydrangea blossoms– Cutting some flowers from the garden and plunking them into an empty garden pot on an outdoor table

– Jotting a welcome note onto the dry erase board propped on the kitchen counter.

– Stacking some magazines on the guest’s bed

-Setting out a try of cold drinks

– Baking some cookies..and perhaps adding some bonus chocolate chips 🙂bonus chocolate chips

– Leaving a stack of freshly laundered towels and new body wash in the guest bathroom

– Providing an empty basket for their family to use as a catch-all for their traveling items

– Writing out our network name and WiFi password so it’s easily accessible

welcome sign in garden


hospitality = the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers

hello door and rainbow wreath

Hospitality is easily nurtured by including everyone in your family. Encourage your children to greet guests at the door and invite kids into their activities.

Set out some fidget toys or old-fashioned games to help get them started.

A family pet can be a great distraction to push through any awkward getting-to-know-you jitters.doggy welcomeSometimes hospitality is welcoming your own people back home after summer camp…welcome home goodie bag

Or perhaps your spouse knows you’ve had a long day and provides you with a fruity drink in a fun souvenir glass…then joins you for a few quiet moments.

boat drink

All of these little touches communicate “you are known” and “you are welcome here.” We are ambassadors of our families and can minister Christ’s love to others through simple gestures. So, put out that welcome mat and open your hearts for whoever may cross your threshold today!

welcome mat



“…seek to show hospitality.” Romans 12:13


If you are new to our site, Welcome! If you’re a continuing reader, notice we’ve made some changes to freshen up virtually for you. We’re still tweaking some of the format, so it may be a little messy — just like our houses when we’re in the midst of a good visit.

Nerf wars

When you hear the phrase “Nerf war” do you envision hoardes of kids running through your house and yard shooting orange darts all over creation?

Or…do you imagine all the times you’ve been frustrated by the growing piles of dart guns scattered all over your house and have the urge to declare war on all things Nerf?

(I once found a dart in my ice maker…Whaaaat? “Somebody” had to have the freezer door hanging wide open while another “somebody” blasted him with darts?!?)

pile of dart guns

boy with nerf dartsWe have a little bit of both going on over here. With some inspiration from an old Pinterest post, we put our heads together to create some neutral territory.

Step 1: Claim some unused pegboard and attach it to the back of closet door in the garage (thanks to my hubby for some carpentry assist)

Step 2: Gather all the Nerf dart paraphernalia, relish in all their glory (btw: one of us partook of this step more robustly than the other)

Step 3: Scavenger hunt all over the garage for pegboard hooks of various sizes (sorry, broom: your resting place is now on the floor)

Step 4: Puzzle through all the different dart gun shapes and hang them within easy reach of active boysboy with dart pegboardStep 5  – Kids: Call your buddies over to launch a Nerf war! Parents: bask in the fact that all the Nerf stuff is OUT of your house. Woohoo!

*Optional steps if you want to up your game:

  • Visit your local hardware store and get some dart-orange paint (Valspar 2010-2 “Island Orange” was our choice. We got a sample can for $3.)

  • Use painter’s tape to mark off a pattern

  • Let your kiddo paint away! Let paint dry and then do a second coat.

    boy painting pegboard

  • After paint is thoroughly dry, carefully pull off painter’s tape to reveal your kid’s design.

    Orange pegboard for nerf guns

  • Load up the pegboard with Nerf guns (and maybe a light saber or two)

Gear up:

Nerf gun pegboard

Get READY…

boys talking dart strategy

+++++ AIM +++++

geared up

boys and Nerf guns

Fire away! —————–>>>

boys geared up with Nerf guns

…and, good luck finding all the darts before the lawnmower gets them first! 🙂

 

 

Colors, and Glitter and Hydration, O My!

spiral bottles

 

I have been having so much fun playing with paint and glitter the last few months! These wreaths are made of water bottles.  I have hand-painted and spray painted to get the results I want. After paint, I douse them in glitter. (My hubby has shown great patience with the glitter, but did finally mention that the dogs were sparkly!!) 

more bottles

 After they dry, I cut the bottom off and then begin cutting around the bottle until I reach the top. It leaves a great ribbon effect that has a boing to it!

bottles

The really fun part comes when it’s time to put the wreath together. A simple metal form is all that’s needed as you begin to weave the spirals through it.                                                         

bottle assemblyThe possibilities are pretty much endless, the cost is minimal for the supplies, and my favorite thing about this wreath is that it does not attract bugs, spider webs, wasps nesting, etc. because those creepy crawlies don’t linger on plastic. Also a bonus that it is waterproof!

 

rainbow wreathesSuper fun and eye-catching! Also quite addictive to make…my garage walls are filling up with seasonal ones that my mind comes up with faster than I can paint! I have made these in all sorts of color combos for family, friends and a few sweet paying customers.                                                

rwb wreath

If you would like more info on these, don’t hesitate to send me a message; always happy to talk all things with glitter involved! If you love them as much as I do, but would like someone else to make it, then I’m your gal too! Happy Creative Day to Ya”ll!

Helping hands

Summer is in full swing and kids are all over the place, exploring and having a chance to wander a bit more than during the school year. Hands that have been crunching time on keyboards and lifting heavy backpacks are reaching out for some new things to do.

When mom-guilt pings about how much those hands can be on electronic devices, I pause to reflect on what their hands are grasping during those non-device hours.

Growing hands around here have been capturing frogs and releasing them into a neighborhood pond. frog visitorSweaty hands are helping with weekly yard chores of mowing and weeding…even the too-gross-for-mom removal of icky things from the yard (mice, moles, and doggie-doo). “Thank you, son.”baby turtlesCaring hands are feeding pets, brushing the dog, and transferring wriggly worms from the driveway to the backyard turtle habitat.



Embracing boyhood one summer day at a time.



Helpful hands are assisting me with meal prep and endless dishes. The noise level crescendos as cabinet doors bang and utensils clatter, dropping nearly into place as they are tossed casually on the table. Fingers swipe phones to change tunes or ask Syri random questions. Hands tap out rhythms and fingers poke playfully as we pass each other in the kitchen.

boy cleaning poolThroughout our parenting we’ve weaved “helping” into our family tapestry in daily routines and weekly chores. Each phase is a bit different and we’ve revamped schedules to better fit personality types. This summer they made their own chore schedule while I supplied encouraging parameters and crunchy snacks.

boy helping weed playgroundAs they’ve gotten bigger, we’ve expanded “helping” into community projects. It’s amazing how kids persevere on mundane tasks when they are alongside new friends in youth group and have ultimate frisbee at the end of their toil.

boy doing service projectI’m trying to catch them being natural helpers and offer a simple “thank you for ____.” My mom-brain keeps prompting them in ways big and small to see ways they can help others. I want to expand their hearts for serving. Eyes redirected to faces rather than tiny screens. Hands reaching out to open a door instead of clutched to a phone. It’s a process.


“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us.” Psalm 90:17


Today it may be picking up a piece of trash on a walk. Tomorrow may be helping a grandparent with a project. Someday it will be caring for their own family. I want their hands capable and their hearts ready, so we’re going to keep rocking the helper chores over here and maybe in the process catch a frog or two.

 

 

A Place to Dream

old playset

 

As I looked at a tired part of a swing set at a friend’s house that had been relegated to the back corner of the yard, a moment of inspiration hit me… Their daughter, who is in middle school, walked with me, and I heard the combination of grown-up banter mingled with sweet innocence of youth still on the outskirts of our conversation. Every age should have a place to dream their dreams; and at every age that place looks different. She no longer went out to swing from monkey bars anymore, but that set was not quite finished; repurposing is always fun!  We began to devise a plan and take this summertime to dream.

pails and twine   pinwheels  pails

 

She listed her favorite things: colors, twinkle lights, soft spots to linger, seashells, bunting, art supplies…

( the list itself was fun to dream!)

We kept the budget friendly, and made several things, which was more fun then buying them anyway!!

Let me show you what we created with a bit of dreams:

 

place to dream

oh so fun!

ribbon bunting

We made ribbon bunting with scrap pieces she had collected.                                                                             By tying them to some twine it made a whimsical addition to                                                                           string across the front entry.  

 

umbrella

She had a faded umbrella that was headed to the trash, but we saved it and placed it inside for a dreamy ceiling.

 

We suspended one piece of art in a window opening with twine to create an outdoor room.  enjoy moments

 

The time we spent putting this together was sweet in itself, but the opportunities for quiet moments, chats with her mom, a special place as friendships unite… such a treasure. A place to dream comes in every shape and size; the imagination is limitless! Take time this summer to set up a dream spot for a child, a loved one and absolutely for yourself! (Its more fun and less expensive than all those stress relievers out there.)

 

rainbow

daily life transformed by God into extraordinary tapestries

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