Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Women's Wellness Wednesdays: Abundance Soaps

We've had so, so much celebrating here in the month of April.
Several weeks ago was my husband's and my 20th wedding anniversary!!
{More on that in the days to come!}
We decided intentionally to splurge on ourselves this year
 and took an amazing trip back "to where it all started for us."
I grew up in Northwest Ohio and ultimately that's where we married.
We traveled back there and saw our first apartment and our first house
and visited with lots of friends and family. 
It was a blast.
But, as I mentioned, more on that later.

During one of my last visits to Northwest Ohio, my Mom mentioned
that a friend of mine who I knew from church youth group day's
now produced these wonderful homemade soaps.
I found some at my favorite spot on earth, Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio.
I picked up a couple and just fell in love!!!
These soaps are made from just the most delightful ingredients
and they lather up beautifully!!
When I was home again for our anniversary, I snagged a couple new scents.
I was delighted with the "Warm Apple Cake" because I used to go to
elementary school with the owner/operator of Johnston's Fruit Farms!!

I love seeing how Karin has grown into an amazing entrepreneur 
with amazing products that are "wildly popular"
all across the Northwest Ohio area!!
I love how she has run with this business
 and created an entire line of products that are
pure and natural and crafted from ingredients right out of her backyard!

You can buy some for yourself at her website:
Abundance Soaps

While you are looking around at all the great products she offers,
be sure to click on the "Our Story" link for how she got started and how
she came up with the name of her business!!
I LOVE it!!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Fun sewing project #6: Repurposed denim aprons

Last week, in the middle of celebrating birthdays and anniversaries,
we had another guest teacher come to our homeschool co-op sewing class
to teach us how to repurpose old denim into adorable aprons!!

The girls were introduced to several new techniques including 
the use of the rotary cutter and creating a ruffle.

We absolutely loved how these turned out.

This one was going to be finished at home once black grosgrain ribbon 
was purchased for the tie at the waist.
We hand-basted this feather trim to this apron and were delighted with the result!!

Thank Mrs. Nancy Lang for coming to teach us how to do this!!
This was so much fun!!

For a tutorial on how to do these at home,
click here.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Grant's 14th Birthday

Our family celebrates a lot of birthdays in the month of April.
Our oldest son turned 14 this year.
One thing I have noticed as my children are growing up is that they
aren't as high maintenance when it comes to celebrating their birthdays.
In fact, this guy really didn't want to do much at all.
My husband and I had just returned home from our anniversary trip two days before
his birthday, and a very dear friend of mine passed away rather suddenly only the day before.
My mind really wasn't able to plan an elaborate shin-dig for him, but he seemed rather relieved.

Historically, when our girls turn 11, I take them for a special overnight
to talk to them about "growing up," how their bodies will be changing,
and why those things are an inevitable part of our lives.
I give them a lot of important, sensitive information so I
take them away from listening ears of younger siblings.

This year, my husband and I felt that our oldest son was ready to handle
some of that information.
We really want to be the ones to give our children an understanding of God's
design for our bodies and relationships with the opposite gender before
their friends or the media give them a skewed view of Biblical marriage.
So, for Grant's birthday this year, he got a special overnight with his Dad.

They talked about the things they needed to and also spent some time
at a Texas Rangers baseball game.
Just Dad and his son.

Raising children with a Biblical worldview is no easy task.
Not in today's media crazed age.
It takes time and planning, but the end result is so worth it!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sweet Sixteen

Where has the time gone with this little precious?

 Our second born celebrated her 16th birthday this year!!
What?  WHAT?!?

She didn't really want a big birthday extravaganza like her sisters did this year,
so we kept it low key.
We had so very much going on this week that we just couldn't squeeze
another thing in.  So after school is out and things settle down for the summer,
we are planning on a little afternoon get-together with her friends to celebrate
this important life event!!
Happy birthday, sweet girl!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fun sewing project #5: Easy peasy skirt

In March, after my sewing class finished their burp cloths,
we took at trip to our local shelter for homeless, pregnant Moms and
donated our burp bloths and baby blankets.
You can read about that here.

The following weekend I came down with strep throat
and subsequently missed class the following Monday.
Our next class day was cancelled due to the fact that I was
on a couples retreat get-away with my husband,
and the following week was spring break!!

It wasn't until the last week in March that we were able to get back at our sewing machines,
and we had a delightful guest teacher come in to teach us how to make
easy, flared skirts.

We had such a great time with this project!!

Some of the new skills these girls explored included:

Learning to measure themselves for a garment
Cutting fabric using their measurements
Using a serger to finish edges
Making an elastic casing
Threading elastic using a bodkin
Machine stitching a hem

These girls worked diligently and were just delighted with their finished projects!!

 We were so blessed by the sweet teaching of Mrs. Costigan
and her example of a busy homeschooling Mom who uses her talents
and skills by training the next generation!!
Thank you, Mrs. Costigan!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Living Last Supper: The Performance

Performance night finally arrived.
So much had been done in preparation for this moment.
As I set the table with the earthware dishes carefully handcrafted out of clay
by an immensely talented man in our choir, I was reminded of the scripture verse,

"But now, O Lord, thou art our father;
we are the clay,
and thou our potter;
and we are all the work of thy hand."
Isaiah 64:8

We were about to watch the story of the Master Creator of the universe, of us,
sharing a last meal with His 12 friends, His inner circle, His core group of disciples.
After which He would ultimately lay down those same hands
 that fashioned us 
to be nailed to a cross in a fashion most brutal because He loves us.

They were all there.  Business men, married men, young men, middle-aged men.
Fishermen, brothers, former terrorist, and the one would be used of Satan to betray Him.

He would share refreshment, conversation, laughter with each man.....equally.
No man was better than another in His eyes.
He would tell them that the bread they were eating were symbolic of His body.
The cup.....a reminder of His blood.
What was He talking about?
Who would betray Him?
Jesus didn't exclude anyone even though He already knew the answer to that question.

In one of the most moving scenes, we were taken back to that moment when Jesus
invited these men to allow Him to do something they had never witnessed Him do before.
He washed their feet.
Some resisted, not understanding what He was showing them.

"Let this mind be in you, 
which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, 
and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:"
Philippians 2: 5-7

Even Judas.

Even me.

 How great his love,
How great His mercy,
to choose the path that leads to Calvary;
To drink the cup.....of pain and sorrow;
How great His love, how great His love for me.
How great His love,
How great the love of God the Father,
to choose a plan that sends His only Son
to live with us, to walk among us;
How great His love, 
how great His love for us.
How great His love,
how great His love,
that He should call us His children,
that He should give Jesus;
How great His love for us.

~Ruth Elaine Schram