Thursday, April 30

First Word??

Yesterday, Aaron, Evan and I were sitting on the floor playing - well, Aaron and I were playing and Evan was crawling all over us. He tried and tried with all his might to reach his brother, climbing over my two legs and a pillow to do it. He reached up and touched Aaron's face and said, clear as anything, "BUH-BAH!"

Aaron thought he was saying "brother" and was almost excited enough to produce lift off. It was pretty cute.

And, Evan has started kissing me, much like his brother did at this age. This is fun!!

Flying

Wow, this week is flying. I'm fighting a cold (again) and washing my hands fiendishly to do my best to make sure no one else gets this nastiness.

We've been enjoying our double stroller. 2 walks outside this week, and it would have been more but it was rainy on Tuesday and yesterday I was more ill than I am today. The more walks we take, the more movement we make, and the better we all feel. I need to take a picture with the kiddos in that stroller. Aaron loves being with his brother. They're so cute!

Evan is pulling himself up to standing with regularity now. Aaron came running on Tuesday - he was in his brother's room at the end of nap time, which he's not supposed to do - but he was yelling "EVAN'S STANDING UP IN HIS BED, MOM!" and so I went running and sure enough, he'd pulled himself up!





Evan's also beginning solids, which are still sporadic. He likes them just okay - but he sure likes the idea! He wants that spoon in his mouth so much - and then when it gets there he makes the funniest faces! So far we've tried avocado and sweet potato. Can you guess his favorites?

Aaron's grasp of alphabet recognition astounds us all. He's not even three yet! I think I'll be starting some more formal blocks of learning time this fall. He won't be going to preschool, but he does need to learn how to sit still and learn. At least, this momma thinks so!




He's also getting more imaginative with his play which is GREAT. I love my boys.

In other news, the ants are once again overtaking us. It must be that time of year. I have a great husband who helped me rid the kitchen of all the hidden and not so hidden crumbs last night. So hopefully all the little buggers have to eat is the POISON. I am so mean. But these are the big yucky black ants. Ew.

And here's the back view of my head/haircut. It is about an inch and a half longer in the front. The nice friend who cuts my hair for me said this last time, "Whew! You have a ton of hair! How hot does this get in the summer?" And I was hit with the lightning bolt of understanding - Ahh, this is why I dislike heat. I have a thick woolen blanket of hair on my head (which does come in handy come January!). I really am thankful for my hair.

Oh, and I want to try this project. I probably will once it gets un-rainy enough for me to iron outside. I'm a little concerned about toxic fumes.

Tuesday, April 28

business

There are 2 more items (for your toddler girl!) in the shop today! And if you have baby and toddler girls and live in Midland, I'd love a few models for some photos. Something tells me Aaron would protest the dress up session.

welling up

I couldn't be MORE happy for Stellan. Not even if I tried.

And this song has been on my mind this morning. Not sure why, but it is a goodie. There are several verses here that I had not heard before.

I Will Arise (Hart/Walker)

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and pow’r.

Refrain:
I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
Oh, there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy-laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.

View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies;
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?

Lo! th’ incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood:
Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.

So I was looking and looking and couldn't find a version on YouTube that was basic. So here is basic. Please excuse my gravely moments. I blame it on the elephant sitting on my chest.

Monday, April 27

Works of God Monday

My heart is overflowing with thankfulness. Here are a few reasons I'm praising God! (In no particular order)

1. We all got to go to church together, the second Sunday in a row. This is big news in the Muth house. Hasn't happened in quite a while. Woo hoo!

2. The music on Sunday morning was a wonderful blessing to me - the congregational singing. I love corporate worship! Yay for hymns of praise!

3. I got a haircut on Friday. No more ponytails. It's short and I will admit the feeling is weird - I can feel the breeze on my neck. The last time my hair was this short was, er, never. But I think it's all good. I do feel like a new woman.

4. My children gave me a blissfully uninterrupted night's sleep on Saturday night. Uninterrupted sleep is the most wonderful gift. And it's almost unheard of on Saturday nights, especially.

5. We opened and assembled our new stroller. The Baby Trend Double, which after much prayer and consideration, we purchased. I love it! LOVE IT! It's so nice to be able to put both kids in ONE stroller. Yay. And we are hoping it will last for years. Praise the Lord for provision!

6. I have hooks! In my bathroom! Upon which we hang our towels! There is a place for the damp towels! I am excited! I'm also excited that we found hooks in the regular hook section that were similar to the bathroom hooks and for $10 cheaper PER hook. You cannot tell me God doesn't care about my bathroom hooks. He does.

7. Garage sales! We got a huge bag of work clothes for Michael for $2 and I found an old school Fisher Price Circus train also for $2. All the animals, the conductor, and a clown! Woo Hoo for old Little People. (The new ones look funny to me - anyone else?)

8. A hilarious toddler, who calls wheat germ "sweet germs" and sternly says to his bandage covered finger, "Now stay on there, band-aid!" It's also a huge bonus that he can entertain his brother for car rides. YAY!

So, how has God provided for your family this week? What has He been teaching you? What are you thankful for? How did you watch God work this week? Take a little time to praise the Lord with your blog or leave a comment!

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up..." 1 Thess. 5:11

In the Mister Linky widget below, simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like.



Thursday, April 23

Amen, and amen.

I've been praying for Stellan. And I know a lot of you have been, too.

I was touched and convicted by this post today.

an excerpt:

"what brings me great comfort, even now, is that none of this surprises God. The fact that this morning has not gone well, by our earthly hopes and standards, does not mean that God is wringing His hands. This did not come out of the blue for Him. As my friend Ann likes to say, God is not on Plan B. This is still Plan A.

Indeed."

Wednesday, April 22

Aaron's Violin

Mom & Dad bought this cardboard violin for Aaron - and we make him treat it like a real violin. Aaron keeps asking for a real violin, HOWEVER he is TWO and that is not old enough to play the violin in the Muth house, for a variety of reasons. Here is Aaron with his pseudo-violin.

I think it is a little crazy how well he does. Scary crazy.

In fact, right now, he's watching a local middle school violin concert via our town's tv station, and playing along.

Earth Day

I look at today as a good reminder to be a good steward of what God has given us - and I found this article to be full of some practical ways to help with that task. I'm constantly looking for ways (that are attainable to us) to be better stewards of what God has given us. I'd LOVE a bunch of brand new, energy efficient appliances (like a new washer & dryer) but that is not going to happen right now, which I am okay with. But I can do some of the other things on this list.

I like this part of her opening statement:

"...I am into good stewardship. To me, being intentionally eco-friendly has more to do with celebrating God’s creativity, being wise with what He’s given us, and passing on those values to the next generation than it does with pressing some government agenda..."

So, happy stewardship-of-the-earth day! What changes have you made - or do you need to make - to be a better steward of what God has given us?

Tuesday, April 21

Goals and Aspirations

I want to be healthy, to have a healthful lifestyle with lots of movement and nutritious foods. And I want to teach my children the same. I think so far we are good with the teaching the kids part of my goal.

Last week I realized that I was addicted to sugary sweet food. At least every day, I was eating something sugary. I was able to rationalize it because I was still losing baby weight - still seeing progress! Slow and steady!

As if what I weigh is the most reliable indicator of health. Um, er, NO. I know sugary junk is unhealthy, it can make me into a pre-diabetic, it can wreck havok on my body in other ways too. I know it is bad for me, and I was still doing it. Like a smoker. Or an alchoholic. I was addicted.

So last week I gathered up all the chocolate chips and mini marshmallows and the box of Girl Scout Thin Mints I was saving for a rainy day, and a few other items and sent them away. I haven't had any sugary treats for (drumroll please) FOUR DAYS. It seems like forever. I am undoubtedly still in withdrawl.

It's not like I'm not eating any sugar, I'm just not eating the stuff with no nutritional value, like candy and brownies and cupcakes. I did have a latte a couple days ago, but I don't count that due to the protein in the skim milk. See how my logic works?

I am pleased to report that I do feel better. And I know it's probably not related, as it has only been four days, for pity's sake, but my second-largest pair of fat jeans are super-de-dooper baggy. I know because I'm wearing them (it's laundry day) and I have to keep hiking them up.

My pregnancy diet of adding protein is working to get rid of the post-pregnancy weight. I am a mere 8 pounds away from my pre-Aaron weight. Then I only have about 14 more to go before I'm back where I was when we got married. And that, my friends, will be a happy day indeed.

I like to break it down. It makes it so much more attainable. And it's horrible that I have 22 lbs to lose, I know. But It's better than the very embarrassing number I had to lose not so long ago.

Monday, April 20

Works of God Monday

We are so blessed to live here in the USA, even with all that is going on in the economy and the decisions of the governing bodies that we may not agree with.

This weekend, Michael and I constructed a makeshift play fort for Aaron out of some old doors that previously were a part of our garage storage area. It is definitely not anything spiffy, just an A-frame type lean-to. It's a little over 6 feet long and about 8 feet wide at the floor. He will have fun playing in it, I'm sure.

I was sitting inside, helping Michael with the construction, and I was struck with the facts - someone in the world would be so grateful for this structure as a main living quarters. For the whole family. And I was overcome with thankfulness to God for the house we have. I needed the reminder - I've been a little impatient with the slowness of our indoor renovations. I'm so thankful that God has provided for our housing needs in amazing ways. We have a great house for a fraction of what it would cost to rent a small apartment. Praise the Lord for His provision!

So, how has God provided for your family this week? What has He been teaching you? What are you thankful for? How did you watch God work this week? Take a little time to praise the Lord with your blog or leave a comment!

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up..." 1 Thess. 5:11

In the Mister Linky widget below, simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like.


Friday, April 17

Hee Hee Hee

Check this out and tell me who pops into your head as being the PERFECT recipient.

Thursday, April 16

ooh, fun! a sticker club!

Aaron got a note in the mail today. It was from his cousin, and it was inviting him to join in by sending one pack of stickers to one person and six letters to his friends. Anyone want to be a part? I can only imagine how excited Aaron will be to get stickers in the mail. There's a note in here to let the sender know if you can't do this in 7 days, so I have high hopes this will work.

If you would like to participate on behalf of your kiddo, send me an email or leave a comment with your email address and we'll send you one of the letters!

Wednesday, April 15

Ridiculous

Just Ridiculous. This should never be allowed to happen.

for the grandparents

video

I can't expect anyone else to watch 1 1/2 plus minutes of Aaron helping out, but I know the grandparents will get a kick out of it. This is his favorite chore. Woo hoo! (and you can see he's a little obsessive there at the end) Yes, he picked the outfit, and the sounds you hear in the background are ala the end of Curious George. Which tells you how much he loves this job.

Tuesday, April 14

blessings

Evan was snoozing on George. We moved him to his bed.







Aaron's been having the grumps. Last week, this was the best photo I could get of him. We're working on "sweet attitudes" around here.






Aaron wanted spiky hair - ?? We didn't leave the house, but he did look awfully cute.







I just laugh and laugh when I see this. If this is considered cruel & unusual, I might be in trouble. I love laughing at my kids. (and they love laughing at me, trust me. We are an equal opportunity household)

Monday, April 13

Works of God Monday


I'm so thankful for the work of God, especially seen this weekend as we celebrated the resurrection of Christ. This year was different than others, but no less encouraging. My tonsils are not quite as scary now, and I once again praise the Lord for modern medicine. Namely, antibiotics left over from last time when I was too forgetful to take the rest. Ha ha.

I'm so SO thankful for the grace of God to give me hope through His Word. I was thinking about 2 Corinthians 4 yesterday, especially this part of the passage:

"For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." (esv)

I am certainly a jar of clay, but that makes the message of the gospel even more precious to me! That God would shine in my heart and give me knowledge of Jesus Christ and all He has done for me - that floors me. It is amazing, and definitely a work of HIS grace!

**I almost forgot! I have sold 3 items I'd listed on Etsy! Praise the Lord!**

So, how has God provided for your family this week? What has He been teaching you? What are you thankful for? How did you watch God work this week? Take a little time to praise the Lord with your blog or leave a comment!


"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up..." 1 Thess. 5:11

In the Mister Linky widget below, simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like.


Great Hymns

If any of you are looking for a GREAT recording of some fantastic hymns, one of my favorites from my college days is this - St. Olaf Choir's Great Hymns of Faith and I can hardly believe the price you can get on it used. I think it starts at $4.25 (at least as of this morning). I can't say enough good things about it. Many thanks to Brett Habing for recommending it back in the day.

Here's a list of what's on the CD:

Holy God We Praise Thy Name
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Praise To The Lord
Rise Up, O Men Of God
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
Children Of The Heavenly Father
We Praise You, O God
From Heaven Above
O Day Full Of Grace
Thy Little Ones, Dear Lord
Beautiful Savior
Blessed Assurance
Abide With Me
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
Let Us Talents And Tongues Employ
Praise His Holy Name
Here I Am Lord
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

Some of these were totally foreign to me. None are boring. If you like choirs, this is definitely a quality recording! Check it out!

OOH, they have Volume 2!

Sunday, April 12

Once we were slaves

So it's not the Easter I was expecting. I am home - actually the whole family is home - and you guessed it, we are sick. I have the swollenest, nastiest tonsils you ever have seen. I used a bunch of home remedies but when I looked at them at 9 I dug out some amoxicillin that I had in the cupboard and don't even ask why/how etc. Too complicated. And I am at half mast today so my explanation wouldn't make much sense anyway.

I am really excited about celebrating Christ's resurrection. Last night I had to do a quick errand so I took my feverish self out and about. On the way I was listening to public radio and Prairie Home Companion was just starting. Garrison Keeler had a Jewish musical guest on who sang a traditional Passover song that made me cry - not because of its beauty, but because we as Christians can have the same refrain -

"Once we were slaves, now we are free people!"

How often do I remember that I was a slave to sin, that there was nothing NOTHING I could do to escape? How often do I live as someone who was purchased by Christ's blood and set free??

Today I am praising God for His grace shown in His death and resurrection. And I am praising Him for my freedom in Christ. If you haven't heard how you can be freed from the power of sin, today would be a good day to view this presentation that clearly explains how you can sing with us - "Once we were slaves, now we are free people!"

Friday, April 10

Book Giveaway Winner!!!

Congratulations to Richelle! You are the winner of a fresh crisp copy of Fatal Illusions. I've sent you a message! (The random integer generator at Random.org selected you)

I'm glad I got to host this giveaway and that so many of you participated! Now, if you want to read this book, and your name isn't Richelle, you can buy a copy here. Quite reasonably priced if you ask me. And now is also a very good time to contact your local library and request that they carry a copy. I need to do that today when I take Aaron to return his stack of books.

Thanks for entering!

Thursday, April 9

just so YOU know.

If, by any chance, your child happens to eat a banana for a mid-afternoon snack, and happens to wonder what it might feel like to have mushy, squooshy banana pulp in his ear, and tries it, do not be alarmed if said ear leaks banana-scented fluid for a couple days afterward.

Apparently it is totally normal.

Some photos from last Friday's adventure (unrelated to banana eating, mooshing, or stuffing) here.

Wednesday, April 8

stroller shopping

Ok, all you expert moms. I was going to buy a traditional double stroller back before Evan was born, but I'm super glad I did not. I'm now in the market for a sit and stand style stroller, and I'm trying to decide between the Sit N Stand by Baby Trend Plus or the Joovy Caboose.

The big reason I'm leaning more toward the BT model is that it can transform from a traditional double stroller to a sit n stand type stroller, and I'm trying to think ahead and get something that's versatile. I'm *hoping* this will be the very very very last stroller we buy.

SO, please give your input here, if you've had experience with either model. I can't find them in stores anywhere around here - so this would be an online, leap-of-faith purchase.

Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, April 7

Five Things

1. Commercials. Have you seen the Corn Refiners Association commercials? You know, the ones where they make people who don't use high fructose corn syrup look ignorant? Well, here's why you shouldn't believe them. Read the comments at the bottom of the page for info on HFCS.

Yeah, we still have things that have HFCS in them in our house. Namely, Pepsi. And perhaps Oreos. But I don't get annoyed by HFCS. I get annoyed when people LIE about the healthfulness of it. That is when I get annoyed. When people lie.

2. A squirrel chewed the ribbon that my bird feeder was hanging on so that he could munch on the seeds that scattered on the ground. Yes, there were chew marks. Yes, I totally blame the squirrel. I'm going to have to rig something sturdier, perhaps some wire.

3. Don't forget to enter the book giveaway. If you don't care for this genre, I'm sure you could give it to someone who would!

4. My baby slept! I only woke up ONE TIME last night. That, my friends, is incredible. I hear that Aaron woke up in the night too, but I have this incredible husband who heard him and got up with him. I'm not sure what is up with that kid. Maybe bad dreams, maybe it's the cold he's got. Who knows. On the bright side, our new bedtime strategy worked brilliantly.

5. I felt myself getting sick last night and downed 4 garlic capsules and an extra dose of my B complex with C added. I'll do the same this morning and report whether or not it worked. I'm hoping I can avoid being sick.

And today's a new day! I'm happy to be God's child and ready to tackle my to-do list! I have a mountain of laundry - and a few more dresses to finish up for my etsy shop. While I'm working, I'll be meditating on Psalm 105, remembering God's works and trying to "Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually"

Monday, April 6

Works of God Monday


God is always at work. Around here, it's mostly in my heart, which I am thankful for. VERY thankful for! It seems there are some pretty major lessons that I need to be learning, about how I can trust God for everything, and about how He is always faithful.

I'm what you might call a slow learner.

I'm grateful that God has been working in places other than my heart as well, and I am thinking specifically of a friend of mine from long ago and her family whose baby came early and is facing some challenges. Elijah's story is here, and I think in order to read it you need to sign up to be a part of carepages or something but it is worth the read.

So, how has God provided for your family this week? What has He been teaching you? What are you thankful for? How did you watch God work this week? Take a little time to praise the Lord with your blog or leave a comment!

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up..." 1 Thess. 5:11

Friday, April 3

Friday Interview and Book Giveaway!

Anybody else have a list of things to accomplish in your lifetime? On my short list is “become a published author” but I haven’t yet crossed that off my list – unless you count our church newsletter, which I do not. However, Adam Blumer has accomplished that goal, with his first novel just released on Tuesday! I’m sure some of you remember Adam from Northland, and his work in the Publications Department. He is now living in Northern Michigan, and is a freelance writer and editor. He’s been working for awhile now on his novel, Fatal Illusions, published by Kregel Publications. I’ve been reading his updates during the writing process, and am pretty excited that the book is finished - I can’t wait to read it!

I asked Adam a few questions about writing in general and his book, and here is what he had to say.

What was the biggest surprise in the process of writing your book – something no one told you when you were starting out?

How hard it is to write a full-length suspense novel like Fatal Illusions. I had been reading novels by secular suspense author Mary Higgins Clark and Christian suspense authors Terri Blackstock and Brandilyn Collins and thought, "I bet I can do this." I guess this thinking sprang from arrogance on my part because I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The novel was much more demanding than I ever dreamed and took three to four years of evenings and weekends to write and revise. So if you intend to head into a project like this, I recommend knowing what you're getting yourself into first.

My best advice? Plan every stage of the plot long before you try writing it. Yep, this planning will require a lot of time and work, but it's better to have the plot firmly developed before you try to write a story of this complexity. By the way, one renowned literary agent told me that Fatal Illusions was too complex and needed to be simplified, but Kregel thought the storyline was just fine. That's to show that there is some subjectivity in the publishing world. Just because one publisher (or, in this case, literary agent) doesn't think your novel is publishable, that doesn't mean no one else will. The bottom line is that God will open doors as He sees fit.

Another surpirse was how much time and work go into a novel between the contract signing and the finished product. I honestly thought an editor just made a few tweaks, and then the novel was ready for publication. Ha! I also never realized how airtight the timeline and plot need to be, especially in suspense. One of my editors actually checked flight times to be sure one of my characters could plausibly be at a certain location at a certain time. My eyes were opened to the importance of checking details, and I’ll never write another novel the same way again.

Do you have any hints for someone who wishes to start the process of getting published, or some things to avoid in the beginning?

I've written a whole article on this topic at my website here, but here are a few things to avoid: Avoid rushing. Writing a book and finding a publisher all take time. Even if you sign a contract to publish a novel, the process is going to take even more time. For example, I signed my contract in August 2007. I thought my novel would be out within one year, but my novel just came out. The process took considerably longer than I expected. Learn to be patient.

Another thing to avoid is thinking that your material is perfect and doesn't need to change. Going into the revisions, I had no idea what to expect. By the time the novel was printed, I had worked with four (if not more) different editors. Each brought a slightly different perspective to the novel. At this stage, the editor doesn't tell the author what to do. He or she kindly points out areas of the story that need to change and suggests possible solutions. Then the author chooses the best path and writes the changes, followed by a lot of back and forth.

It's definitely a collaborative effort that could never take place without experienced editors who know what makes a good story. Thanks to the dedicated editors who tirelessly worked with me on my project, my finished novel is much stronger than it was when I submitted it. The revisions stage is a humbling process but a necessary one. The author needs to be willing to change and grow.


If you could write a book about anything, in any genre, and were guaranteed that it would be a hit, what would you write?

I would write a fiction series on the lives of "famous" missionaries: Hudson Taylor, Adoniram Judson, Amy Carmichael, and others. I'm not sure why, but I haven't seen much fiction devoted to these heroes of the faith—and oh the stories their lives tell! Though I'm writing suspense right now, I've always loved history and would like to write historical fiction someday. I think our popular Christian culture has missed out on knowing more about these dedicated followers of Christ. I'd like to help educate believers while entertaining them.

Was there anything specific that inspired your storyline?

Frank Peretti's earliest supernatural thrillers taught me that Christian novels can do more than entertain. I wanted to write something not only suspenseful but also meaningful. My prayer is that the message will resonate with readers and maybe even challenge their spiritual thinking a little bit.

The novels of Mary Higgins Clark also inspired me. I studied the organization and plot lines of her novels and wondering if I could write something as good. I also like her shifting points of view and her short, numerous chapters. (Readers might notice a resemblance.)
Her novel You Belong To Me especially inspired me to try my own hand at a serial killer, "female in jeopardy" suspense tale. Because most Christian readers are women, I decided to make my main protagonist female—in fact, a pastor's wife, a protagonist you don't read about very often. Add to that my love of true crime and forensic science, and I was on my way.

A past experience also provided a creative springboard. A church voted to remove from membership a believer who was sincerely repentant of immorality. I began to play the "what if" game in my mind. What if the person who was disciplined got really ticked? What if he or she became mad enough to kill? I thought a church discipline scenario created an unusual motive for murder—hence one of the subplots in
Fatal Illusions.

I also read Ruth Brandon's
The Life and Many Deaths of Harry Houdini. This biography of the famous illusionist fascinated me and helped me develop the characterization of my serial killer. In fact, readers will discover an important plot clue connected to Houdini.

Can we hope to see more of your work in the future?

I'm currently working on the sequel to Fatal Illusions, so hopefully so. But no guarantees. Perhaps the Lord will return before I get the novel done. (The way the world is going right now, you have to wonder.) I've also written a young adult novel about a Christian family trapped in Nazi Germany at the outbreak of World War II. This novel is based on the true childhood story of Dr. Arthur Raske, if any of you knew him at Northland Baptist Bible College. Hopefully, that novel will be published someday too.


Wow - that novel based on Dr. Raske's life sounds fantastic - I hope it is published soon! Also fantastic is this bit of news – the publisher of Fatal Illusions has generously agreed to sponsor a giveaway! Those of you living in the US or Canada (or those of you who will be here soon*) can win a copy of Adam’s book. Just leave a comment, telling me why you want to win the book or tell me what your favorite genre is – I will select a winner next Friday morning!


*if you win, you must provide a US address where Kregel can mail the book
.

***This giveaway is now closed***

Thursday, April 2

chickadee feast




















Aaron helped me make this feeder and if he wasn't napping, I'm sure he'd be beside himself with happiness. This little chickadee really loves the feeder - he's been in and out and all around this morning. I report that much to my delight, a blue jay was thwarted from eating here and was relegated to the crumbs below. A squirrel sniffed around and gave up too. I am pleased.

Wanna make one yourself? Instructions here for a fancier one, or you can do what I did - cut 2 holes in the side of a plastic bottle and tie ribbon around the top. I'm not ever so crafty, am I? The holes are probably about the size of a half dollar, and I filled it with seeds up to the bottom of the holes. A half dollar. Hmm. When was the last time I saw one of those in circulation?

distractions

Our new birdfeeder, made ala Curious George with an empty bottle of this, a pair of scissors, and a little bit of plastic gift wrapping ribbon. That bottle's contents gave me smiles and so does it's new use.


Oh, yummy. Yummy, yummy.



What makes me so happy is that the openings seem to be too small for every bird except this - my favorite little chickadees. It's so fun to watch them munch away.







And here is what Aaron saw this morning through the lens of the camera. "Mommy, say CHEESE!" and I did.

it's lawn time

We've owned this house for a little over 3 years, and our yard - especially the grass part - is a mess. REALLY, a mess. So when the TruGreen people came to our house with an offer for a free estimate, well, we were happy to have them estimate away.

Honestly, if it was just our yard and would be forever, we wouldn't care one lick. I would be all hippie about it and just let the green weeds grow. I might even plant wildflowers in the front yard and roll out the hammock. Or I'd plow the whole thing up and plant tomatoes and watermelons. But we are on a (hopefully!) five year plan, and that only leaves 2 years left for yard rebuilding for resale. These Midland people are super particular about the lawn, and we want a decent chance at selling. The perfect house wouldn't be perfect without a nice lawn.

So we said yes to the chemicals and yes to the fertilizer, yes to the pest control and grub treatment. It was a lot more reasonable than we thought it would be. We really need some grass in the front yard, and by the end of the summer we are hoping to level out the back yard with some pretty large loads of topsoil, so we'll need grass there. They are only going to fertilize the front yard while we take care of the back.

We are going to wait until fall to seed, what with all our big plans to renovate the back yard. Then we will probably have TruGreen seed for us too. We'd had a highly recommended local company come estimate seeding and lawn care last year, but they wouldn't guarantee anything unless we had a sprinkler system installed. TruGreen guarantees the seeding as long as we water.

Wednesday, April 1

Finally, a play date

Yesterday we went over to my friend Michelle's house - our friendship goes waaaaay back! Our moms met in Elkhart, IN pretty much straight out of college and both ended up here. So Michelle and I friends from childhood, but we each have two kiddos - her oldest and Aaron are 6 weeks apart and her youngest and Evan are 4 months apart. It has made and will continue to make for fun times, commiserations, much laughter and possibly a desperate phone call or two!!

We've been trying to get together for TWO MONTHS and we planned it yesterday because we were hoping to get together before Sunday's germs kicked in and shut down the kiddos. Well, it was a good plan. Evan's got a few minor sniffles and Aaron was up multiple times in the night complaining of a sore ear. Thankfully, Aaron seems to be fine this morning - ate two huge bowls of oatmeal, just asked for another (!!!!!) and says his ear is fine. I'm not holding my breath for healthy kiddos for the duration of the week, but I sure am glad we got to get together!

I'd like to ask for a play date of sorts with you all. Would you please visit my Etsy shop and leave some comments here for me? Do I need to offer more sizes of the sundresses there or estimate the offered sizes more than just measurements? Are the prices ridiculous? Do I need models? I'd love it if you could give me some hints! I'm also thinking of some other projects to sell - cloth napkins, namely. I'd love any additional suggestions! Thanks - I know you all are brilliant and will give good advice! (and feel free to be anonymous and brutally honest!)