Thursday, November 29, 2012

The best of all is, God is with us

These are some photos from a trip we took to see family earlier this year.  We stopped by their church, and this quote by John Wesley was on the wall:

I went a little crazy taking pictures of the church during our visit...because that's what I do.  :)

February 2012

The stained glass windows...

The lights...

Yes, the lights.  I like interesting light fixtures.

Does that make me strange?  (Don't answer that.)

Josiah played a few pieces on the piano...with permission.

And I took pictures of the piano.

 Grace (5 at the time) checked out the playground with my dad

and stabled her horse Johnny.

This Christmas, and all through the year, remember...

"The best of all is, God is with us."
John Wesley

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Here is a less "in your face" photo of Grace (6) sporting a new empty spot in her mouth.

Grace (6) reclining on our big puppy Bono

She lost her first tooth on Monday, and you can click over if you want to see more toothless photos--you know, the more "in your face" (but less furry) kind of photos.

This post is linked to 5 Minutes for Mom and Sarah Halstead at The Naptime Momtog for Wordless Wednesday, and to Ashley Sisk  for Wittle People Wednesday.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Tooth Fairy is Coming to Town

I was beginning to wonder if my girl would ever work one of her loose front teeth out.  Grace's two bottom front teeth have been loose for a while, and the two permanent teeth have already come in behind them...

and Grace has been reluctant to wiggle the baby teeth.  She has been so reluctant that she had started talking about how she was going to be like a shark, with more than one row of teeth.  Seriously.


...tonight, with much less drama than either Jason or I expected, Grace lost a tooth!

Grace (6)

And, as you can see here, she doesn't really have a gap because of the grown-up teeth hiding behind her baby teeth. 

Whoo hoo!  Way to go, Grace!

Now, do it again.   Soon.   Please.  :)

Product Review: Custom Vinyl Banner

I was recently contacted by a representative from about a product review.  I was offered the chance to receive a free vinyl banner or another product from their website, so I decided to design a simple outdoor banner to promote our church's yearly VBS--one that can be reused each year no matter what the theme.

The design process was extremely easy.  I decided to design the banner using one of the templates on rather than uploading a file, which was also an option for uploading the full design or a particular graphic element such as a logo.

During the design process, I had the choice of various templates for the banner.  I chose a rather plain one since I already had in mind the text layout I wanted and knew that I didn't want any images or designs with the text.  (I could have also started from scratch with a blank template.)  During the customization process, I chose two different fonts out of a total of 40 available fonts as well as the colors of the text and background.  A preview of what my banner would look like was always in sight, updated instantly as I made changes, and I could easily play around with the fonts of the two text lines to get the look I wanted.  I could have added clip art at this point, too, but I  wanted only text on this banner.

Here is a screen shot of a recreation of the design process.  :)

You can see the pop-up box for the color wheel in the bottom left quadrant of the screen shot where you can customize the color palette, and there is an eyedropper tool, too, to copy a specific color from elsewhere.

Because this was a product review, I was instructed to email the company representative my cart number so she could complete the transaction.  I was able to do this step within the design process, which is a great feature for someone who is designing a product but needs final approval or input from another person before placing the order.

Since I emailed the representative my cart number and then exited the website, I received a friendly email from asking if I needed any assistance with my order. In addition to the email order confirmation (November 13th), I received an email with installation instructions for the ready-to-hang banner (illustrated instructions with the best way to attach the banner to a pole, a fence, the side of a building, etc.).  I also received an email letting me know my banner had been shipped (November 16th), as well as an email letting me know that my banner had been delivered (November 20th). 

I have been very pleased with during the entire process.  The design process was very easy, and both production and shipping were fast.  Communication was excellent, and I appreciate the email letting me know the banner had been delivered because my address is very similar to--and frequently confused with--another address in my neighborhood.  The banner looks great!  It looks very durable and I think this will be a fantastic way to advertise VBS at our church for many years in a row.  I appreciate this opportunity to review a product and look forward to working with this company again in the future.

Want to see the finished product?

There are metal grommets on each of the four corners.

Banners can be for indoor or outdoor use; I chose the outdoor option.  I chose the standard 2x4 foot banner, although there were many options for the size of the banner. also has window graphics, stickers, magnetic signs for cars, car lettering, and several other graphic products.  Their website is well-organized with information provided on their various products.

Disclaimer:  In exchange for this product review, I received a custom vinyl banner from  All opinions expressed in this post are my own. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

This week's scavenger hunt items are:

  • Home/Thankful
  • In the kitchen
  • Couple
  • Bubbles
  • Trees


There is so much to be thankful for...

Photo taken July 2011

Thank You for the cross, Lord.
Thank You for the price You paid.
Bearing all my sin and shame, 
In love You came and gave amazing grace.

~Worthy Is the Lamb by Hillsong


Snickerdoodles fresh from the oven...Yum!

I'm including this next photo not for the shot but to share the idea:  this is my "double boiler."  I have a metal mixing bowl sitting on top of heated water in a pan that the mixing bowl will...float...inside.  This worked very well for keeping the chocolate melted!  (I dipped marshmallows in the chocolate, in case you are wondering.)  Just be careful of the steam escaping from the pan!  


These are a couple of mischievous boys.


Bubbles in a paper weight...


Um...yeah...this is where I went a little crazy.

Trees seemingly dwarfed by tall grass.

Click on the link below to see others' photographs or to join in the fun!  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Grace and Bono

Grace noticed me taking pictures of her with our puppy Bono

and asked me, "What are you going to call these pictures?"

Grace (6) with Bono (8 months)
I told her I was going to call them "Why we can't have a chihuahua."

Because, seriously, we can't have a chihuahua...

This post is linked to 5 Minutes for Mom and Sarah Halstead at The Naptime Momtog for Wordless Wednesday, and to Ashley Sisk  for Wittle People Wednesday.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

This week's scavenger hunt items are:
  1. Vision
  2. Strong
  3. Buttons
  4. Map
  5. Favorite Fruit


Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace. 

(Words & music by Hel­en H. Lem­mel, 1922)


Grace (6) would have you believe that our puppy Bono was so strong that he pinned her to the floor like this:

But I know Grace...she's a big goofball.  ;)  She pinned herself, and Bono is so laid back he just let her while he pretended to continue sleeping.


Grace convinced me to get three old handmade dolls out of the curio cabinet...

for a tea party.

My mom made all of these dolls at various stages of her life:  She made the blonde with braids (and the pajamas she is wearing) when she was a girl.  She made the Holly Hobby doll, complete with a matching dress and bonnet for me, for my birthday when I was 4 or 5 years old.  She made the newborn Cabbage Patch-like doll, with the green dress and bonnet, nearly 10 years later. And she would have been absolutely delighted to see Grace playing with them!

As soon as the word went out that there would be a tea party, more party-goers quickly arrived.

This doll

has button eyes.


How about a miniature glass globe?


Strawberries are my favorite fruit, but Shirley doesn't have strawberries in her fruit (and vegetable) bowl.

Click on the link below to see others' photographs or to join in next week's hunt!  

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Cemetery

During the 13 years we've lived here, I have driven past a certain cemetery nearly every week.  Each time, I've thought, "I should stop sometime to take a picture of that."  The afternoon sun hitting the trees along the road through the cemetery looks so pretty--especially in the fall.  Last Friday, I actually drove through the cemetery to get the shot...this shot.


And it only took me 13 years.

I love the look of this silhouette shot of the cemetery.  (Jason, however, thinks it looks a bit creepy.)

What do you think of cemeteries?  Do you think they are peaceful, creepy, or somewhere in between?

This post is linked to 5 Minutes for Mom and Sarah Halstead at The Naptime Momtog for Wordless Wednesday.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

This week's scavenger hunt items were
  1. Nature
  2. Vintage or Retro
  3. Whimsical
  4. Cooking
  5. Week's Best


I saw these birds on the top of ALDI after we had finished loading our groceries into the van. I waited for a few minutes, camera ready, to capture them in mid-air again as they were when I first spotted them.  (My guess is that they were being territorial and each trying to run the other bird off.  There was a lot of aggressive-looking hopping and charging going on.) 

The weather looked like it was getting a little wild on Wednesday.  There was only one huge clap of thunder and that was pretty much it, although the kids spotted what they thought was a little hail.  Whatever it was, it was short-lived.  


Look!  There's some nature on my retro dryer! 


My kids with an oversized puppy...'nough said.

Josiah (10) with Bono (7 mos.)

Grace (6) with Bono (7 mos.)


I tried great white northern beans in a chili recipe this week.  I am allergic to most kinds of beans, and have been trying to gather the nerve to try these beans to see if I reacted. 

Fortunately, I didn't notice a reaction, so now I have two types of beans I know I can eat (this, and baked beans).  Woo hoo!

Click on this link to see the recipe I modified from  My modifications:  I make this completely on the stove top rather than crock pot (mostly due to lack of planning, but also because I already have used the skillet so why not finish it there?).  I use 1 can of diced tomatoes rather than the tomato soup, I omit the red pepper flakes or else my kids would not/could not eat this, and I only use 1 can of beans. However, now that I know I can eat the great white northern beans, I may use 2 cans next time.  


The thing that tickles me about this farmland shot is that this picturesque scene is right next to a large car dealership and across from a bank, two restaurants, and a government building. 

Click on the link below to see others' photographs or to join in next week's hunt!  

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