Friday, April 30, 2010

From Scraps to Finish

I've finally had enough spare time to begin AND complete a couple projects lately. Its always a bonus when completing follows beginning. All the scraps from leftover projects coupled with the bandannas Grandma gives me after Fluffy is groomed needed a home.

First, I made the word "Spring" by cutting the letters out of thin cardboard and using fabric glue to attach the fabric. If I do it again, I won't use such light fabric as I did for the P and I because the glue can be seen through the fabric in some spots.


This quilted potholder is for my Amish penpal, Anna. The only phrase I can think of that fully describes how I felt sewing something for an Amish woman who makes and sells her own quilts is as follows: I felt like an beginning violinist writing a masterpiece of a concerto for Antonio Vivaldi himself. In other words, I didn't feel up to the task. I'll just make sure she knows it was made with lots of love and won't tell her about quality moments I spent with the seam-ripper.

Other projects I still have to finish include finishing the sweater I'm knitting for little Marilena{I cannot wait to kiss her cheeks}and gifts for Addison and Braden's first birthday. {I can't believe they're almost one. WHERE does time go?} I'm thinking something along the lines of monogrammed shirts. I've never done anything like that before, but as Henrietta Washburn-Ives says in her southern drawl "you'll never know if you're any good at monogramming if you don't give it a try. You've just got step out in faith for that first letter and everything will be fine."

It's possible there is not, and never was, a Henrietta Washburn-Ives and that I just made the whole thing up. I just need a little reassurance from time to time even if it does come from a fictional woman in my head.

{Henrietta and I would like to wish you much success in all you creative endeavorers.}

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Down the Road and Beyond

For the first second third time in her short acting career, Elizabeth was a star stage. Her latest performance is narrator in the show Down the Road and Beyond. Last night was a VIF{very important families}only showing before they bring the show to elementary and middle schools.

This is Jack.
Not Jack of Jack and Jill,
Not Jack of Jack be nimble,
Not Jack of Jack
Spratt,
Just Jack.He's a bit greedy, a little lazy,a tad selfish, and a wee bit bossy. He couldn't care less and loves to announce that his motto is "I is who I is!"

Jack is startled yet delighted to discover that he has a Fairy Godmother. This Godmother is a seasoned professional has worked with celebrities such as Cinderella and the Princess of the princess and the pea. Jack thinks life could get no better and immediately begins campaigning for the free toys and three wishes he's heard all fairy Godmothers bring. Fairy Godmother knows better then to start handing out rewards without teaching a lesson first, so she sends him on a mission down the road and beyond.

He made a quick, life-threatening stop on Captain Hook's boat barely escaping walking the plank. Surely he had done enough to earn his toys and wishes, but His Fairy Godmother sent him off again.

Next was a visit with the Big Bad Wolf, Little Red Riding Hood and the cutest Little Pig you have EVER seen. His tail was so cute bonging along behind him as he walked. Not even helping Little Red earned Jack his toys so he went down the road again.

Poor Jack almost lost his life at the hands of the Queen of Hearts. Alice peeked out from behind the queen but could do nothing to help him. The NARRATOR rescued Jack by shouting "freeze!" and Jack skipped away.


Jack had a moment of rest when he visited the Emerald City and was entertained by the Lullaby League and Munchkins. This kid really got around.

During his candy break courtesy of the Lollipop Guild, who should appear...

...but the Wicked Witch of the West who had the gaul to impersonate the Fairy Godmother! She didn't fool me, but she did fool Jack who was not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Happily, Jack learned many valuable lessons on his travels. As all the characters came back to haunt him, he learned that he didn't want to live his life as a bit greedy, a little lazy, a tad selfish, and a wee bit bossy. He didn't even care that he didn't get free toys or three wishes.

The End.

Although I didn't write it, Elizabeth's narration ran throughout the play and got Jack out of many{if not all}tight spots. She did some ad libbing that was so her. I doubt she'll do it during the school shows because the kids probably won't get it, but we laughed alot. It was such a fun,fun night. Nothing like ending your day with smiles and laughter!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dad's Birthday Party*

* Oh, I'm creative in titling.

Dad's birthday party was a fabulous success. He was expecting us to just have his special supper that day and his real party when everyone{meaning both sets of newly-weds}could come.

We shattered his expectations.

Not only did Daniel and Erika come{Dad thought he was working late and couldn't come},but Erika's dad, heretoafter know as Mr. H, who was up for business came too. Mr. H came in before Daniel and Erika and Dad was completely shocked and confused to see him. Dad had absolutely no idea why he just showed up at our door and it took forever for him to get things straight! It was so fun to see Dad so excited, especially when Daniel and Erika came in.

I couldn't get a picture of Dad's face when Mr. H came in because it totally would have clued Dad off to the fact that something was about to happen had I been standing there with my camera waiting. It's not like I haven't seen him grilling supper before. Of course I have other pictures, but the birthday boy doesn't appear until the end because I forgot to take pictures of him.

She's such a peach!

Exactly 6 months married and as cute as ever.

:-)

We're really thrilled that a giant trampoline moved in next door. We were more than happy to welcome it into our lives.

This picture and the next are dedicated to Daniel{red shirt}and entitled What goes up must come down.

Even our fab sister-in-law joined in on the fun.

After dessert we played a ridiculous version of Pictionary called Passanova Pictionary. It is not for the faint of heart.

This was Mr H's rendering of the phrase "cry your eyes out". If he wasn't already a successful realtor, I'd suggest he become an artist. He has such a gift.

Aaron wanted to "inspire" Dad so he bought this little sign. Even though I've lived with him for over 15 years, I can't exactly put into words what the look on Aaron's face means. Its something along the lines of "I'm tired and goofy and really proud of myself...". I do know that being related to Andrew is also a large part where he gets The Look.

Not having much advance notice about Dad's party meant I was gift-less. After I recovered from the "I hate being gift-less at birthday parties" syndrome, I whipped up{literally-I did it in about 2 minutes}this topnotch little card letting him know I was getting him a gift certificate to the restaurant he requested. I stalled during the production of the card because half my brain was telling me "don't use a sticker with pink letters for guy! Are those words at the bottom purple 'cause they sure look like it! Don't you have any manly colored stickers that say the same thing?" The other part of my brain was saying "you'd better do this quick 'cause they're all waiting for you upstairs!" I tried to please both sides of my brain so I ended up with this. ; )

Happy birthday, Dad! I'm glad we have you to celebrate!


Saturday, April 24, 2010

To Big Daddy

~A birthday poem from my 3 month old self, circa August 1989~

Daddy
I'm jus' little
But I love you
BIG

Happy Birthday Big Daddy


poem source

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I went, I judged, I conquered

My view on debate and speech tournaments were altered the last three days in a good way. There’s still a little too much arguing, but the stress level wasn’t nearly as high as in other years. There was even a little more food than usual! All in all, it was quite successful for the following reasons:

1. I got to see my friend Lindsay for the first time in over a year. I have a story about Lindsay{“do you have a story about everything?” Yes, as a matter of fact, I just about do}. We met while campaigning on the Student Action Teams for a senator in Pennsylvania. We were like two pieces of Velcro right off the bat. Its amazing she’s still friends with me after the breakdown she witnessed me having on her hotel bed. It was not a pretty sight but you know what they say: those who campaign together stay together.
I was a little unsure how our reunion would after so long, but when the second thing she said to me on Sunday was “your ring matches your earrings!!”, I knew we would be fine. Without further adieu, the lovely Lindsay.

2. I judged a humorous round and survived. I was just as shocked as anybody. It was ridiculously easy to know who put in last place: the guy who's speech didn't make me laugh at all whatsoever. I didn't have the heart to tell him on the ballot that I didn't understand{let alone laugh at}his speech about a turtle talking to Achilles{talk about random}, so I very politely informed him that 'its probably a good story line but I was slightly confused.' I was more the slightly confused, but I didn't want to hurt his feelings.

3. Imagine my excitement when the boy who humorous speech I judged and absolutely loved{and completely understood} got first place! I really feel like I played a part in skyrocketing him to stardom.

4. I believe its safe to say I was close to becoming known as "the annoying sister who's always trying to take pictures of her brother."

He didn't make it very easy; I'm fortunate to have gotten this one.

5. This is my friend, Elizabeth, and I. The fingers behind my head belong to her sister, Rachel. She tried to justify her action by saying “but...but...I thought I was doing it to Elizabeth!” Sources say she knew just who she was “doing it to.” Good thing she’s cute!

6. Speech and debate people have their own special clap called the ‘Forensic clap’. To eliminate endless clapping during the announcements of who moves on to the next level, clapping is supposed to follow this pattern: name, clap, name, clap, and so on and so forth. At one point they were announcing who was moving up to the finales in Lincoln-Douglas debate. I was so excited because our friend Jonathan was in the running. I clearly forgot about the Forensic clap because I messed up. Below is a re-enactment of what happened.

Announcer- “Rachel”
Everyone else- clap
Announcer- “Jonathan”
Everyone else- clap
me- CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

Needless to say, I wanted to sink through the floor and never return. Unable to do that I simply hid behind Lindsay. My over-enthusiasm was worth it because he made it to the finals!

7. Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that our friend, Mr Jonathan the Tall, is the Lincoln-Douglas debate champion of the northeast. To think that this fellow home schooler comes not only from my state but from my neighborhood. Side note: I have yet another "I'm so nervous for you I could be your mother" story to add to my collection. The powers that be didn't announce the winners of the LD debate until the end of the awards ceremony. Right before we found out, I leaned forward and asked Jonathan's mother if she was nervous. She answered, and I quote "no, I'm just enjoying it all." End quote. Shocked, I replied{and I quote}"REALLY?! Because I'm really nervous!" It's possible I may have squealed at an unladylike volume when they finally said he was the winner.

My newest mission in life is coaching Aaron and Elizabeth into great public speakers who will wow the world with their duo speeches. Elizabeth asked me "what credentials" I have in this area but I chose to plead the fifth. I was too busy wondering the answer to that question myself.

Monday, April 19, 2010

If you are here...

I've always been of the mind that I don't blog just so I'll have hundreds of followers and tons comments on each post. I blog because I want to document my life in a way that's different from how I document it in my diary. But let's face it, I'm not the greatest when it comes to frequent diary-writing{but I am improving!}.

That being said, I love each time I get a comment because its so fun hearing what people have to say. It's exciting when I have a new follower because it makes me happy knowing that maybe I can bring a little happiness to you through my blog. I have made some wonderful "friends" through the blogging world that make me smile so I love trying to do the same.

So to you who have joined me in this little corner of the interweb, thank you. You don't have to be here but its awfully nice to have you. I feel this button is quite appropriate for this occasion:


***
{This button is also extremely relevant to my life}


Amen and amen.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My Performance is sure to be Debatable

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was so proud of Aaron for making it to the regional debate tournament. I also stated that debate tournaments are not my cup of tea. At all. Too much stress, too much arguing, and not enough food. I didn't bother saying that I never judge these events because someone who barely understands what's being said should not be put in a position of such power. Besides, I've never judged a debate{or speech for that matter}in my life.

Who do you think has been commandeered to judge at this debate and speech tournament due to lack of judges??

I''m praying that I only have to judge the speeches as they're much more interesting. I'm almost positive I wouldn't be able to handle the debates. The best speeches to judge would be the humorous; at lest I can rank according to who made me laugh the most.

I'm trying to think positive about the whole thing. Maybe I'll just love it and ask to do it again!{highly doubtful} Plus, I'll get to see some friends I haven't seen in a while! I hope they'll still associate with me now that I'm no longer in the same ranks as them. ;)

See full size image See full size image

***

In other news...while he was recently serving in Haiti, this picture of my friend Myles{the same one I thought I was going to marry}appeared in a news magazine. I stood just a little bit taller when I saw this. I was proud, oh yes I was.

{I no longer have the link for this picture so I'm unable to properly credit it.}

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Better Late then Never

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

I've had a multitude of thoughts about this blog party.

At first, I was going to do it but forgot. Then I thought it was too late but I wasn't going to let myself get too stressed about it. After all, there are alot of important things in life to get stressed about...like being out of Oreos. All that leads me to the main point of this paragraph{I know you're all glad to hear that}: lo and behold the party ends tomorrow! So here I am, bringing up the rear as guest #1,865.

If you want your jaw to drop as you exclaim "O,what a baby!" every single time you see a picture of him, visit them. If you like wearing cute high heels as you swirl your skirt{who doesn't?}, enter the fashion world of my real life friend Amanda. If you just need to smile, hop right over to Jenna's corner of the interworld.

If you ever have a minimum of four projects going at once, find joy in blowing dandelions, stay up late watching the World Series{Red Sox fans get extra credit}, make Oreo balls by special request, and find all the happiness you'll ever need in a baby's smile, I suggest you stick around here.

I don't have any sort of professional sounding mission statement for my blog{goodness knows there's not much professional about it}but who needs suits and ties and professionalism when you live with a whole bunch of people you love and spend your days living your life?

These are my people.

I love them to death.
{Regulars around here are quite familiar with this picture as it's appeared no less then 4 times already. I just can't stop myself from not posting it again. We'll have an updated family picture when Andrew and Debbie's wedding photographer is done with their pictures. I don't know why I felt I had to explain that.}

Here we have a never-before-seen picture of my bestest friend of ALL TIME, Katie and I.

"Living my life" is comprised, in a small part, of babysitting{hence the love of baby smiles}, making plans to kidnap permanently borrow all the cute children I come across, wishing I had $50 a week designated only to buying/giving to others, and being a matchmaker{my mom is always telling me "look what happened to Emma when she was a matchmaker!". I stand firm in the belief that I've been successful twice so I should be fine.} I'm also an excessive user commas, parentheses, italicizing, and exclamation marks!!! {In case you hadn't noticed!}. I love arts,crafts, photography, and volunteering. I'm trying to find a way to make a living out of volunteering. It seems to be an uphill battle. I can also{and be jealous about this one}hang a spoon from my nose.

That is definitely going to find its way onto the resume I hand my future husband! ; )

***
I am a big,big fan of giveaways. The things I like best from this delightful list are as follows:

The computer. Obviously.


US25~ A Thomas Jefferson Education

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring Shopping

Today was a very successful day in the grand scheme of errands. The girls of the family,along with Debbie, first went to Joanns. Oh,how I have missed that craft store. I hadn't been in so long I think I was suffering from withdrawal. I always go in with a purpose but by the time I make it to the first aisle, I'm all "but look at that!! I could make such a great______{fill in the blank}! And its on sale too!!" I think I've inherited the "I don't need it but since it's on sale I really should buy it" genes from my aunt. I'm proud to report that I didn't buy anything I didn't NEED. I picked up a purple scrapbook for Hannah's birthday party on Saturday and a cool 3-D sticker to put on the front. That's all. But don't think I wasn't tempted to buy just about everything else in the store.

At Walmart I bought this cute dress in dark blue. I'll have to wear a shirt underneath because they didn't have my size{unless I can sew it enough}but I just love it anyway. Summer dresses make me so happy! I also bought{gee,wasn't I Miss Spendy}headbands to decorate for the childrens hospital. I glued pretty flowers to a couple baby hats, but some of the little girls that are too big for the hats need a little pampering too!

I just got back from a cross-country walk with Katie. In no way was I going to let this beautiful day go by without being outside...even if I do feel sick! Oh allergies, do you have to make an appearance every year?

Last but certain not lest, today's BIG news is that our friend Stephanie had her baby girl last night! I have never before in my life been glad a baby is overdue, but in this case those extra 13 days gave me more time to knit her little baby sweater. I'm not done with it yet, but the end is {almost}in sight. I can't wait to meet her and COVER her with kisses!

Monday, April 12, 2010

A.S.L.* Night

* all the single ladies, not to be confused with American Sign Language

With great gusto{and much cleaning}I hosted this months single ladies get together. By the time Autumn and Joanna arrived{one hour later then I thought they were coming}our "party room", aka Andrew's old bedroom, was equipped with games and the all necessary snack--extra-buttery popcorn. According to a very old tradition, we first played a game of Scrabble. The 1st,2nd,and 3rd place winners have become very,very predictable by this time. Without fail Autumn wins every.single.time. Joanna holds her own at second and I always bring up the rear at third{also known as the loser}. Even the lucky Scrabble necklace I got for Christmas can't help me.{its made out of a Scrabble piece; on the other side you can see the Scrabble letter 'S'.}

I feel that Autumn must have some special powers because I can put down the extremely creative word cay only to receive 8 points, while she puts the terribly commonplace word table and gets 33 points.

The injustice of the situation is inconceivable.

I{I should say 'we' since Joanna never gets points like that either}quickly forgave her however and we included her in our "if we don't get married soon we'll get an apartment together" plans.

The poor girls were then subjected to watching me cut Andrew's hair after supper. This was NOT in the plans but somebody forgot about the strict instructions I gave him regarding haircuts happening between the hours of morning through early afternoon because my friends were coming over and we couldn't be interrupted. Needless to say, he showed up after hours and how could I say no to those puppy dog eyes?? In fact,I did say no at first but after numerous consultations with Mom, I changed my mind and did it anyways. Autumn and Joanna said they didn't mind, but I still felt bad. I made up for it by providing chocolates during the movie. It's worth noting that they found plenty of reason to poke fun at me during the hair cut. I think they were just jealous of my skilz.

Next in the order of business was movie time. We choose the Blind Side since Joanna hadn't seen it yet. Unfortunately there was something wrong with the sound on the tv because we had to sit{and I'm not exaggerating}16 inches away just to hear. It wasn't really the makings for a cozy movie time. After many efforts to correct the sound which included moving the tv closer to us so we could actually sit on the floor instead of our knees, Andrew and Joanna{who knew she was so tv-savvy!}came to our rescue. The wrong wires were plugged in. Go figure. After the movie we were talking about how our parents wait up for us when we come home late. I was thinking to myself that I hoped my mom wasn't going to wait up for me when I remembered I was at my own house. My brilliance is noteworthy.

I love spending time with all my single ladies! ♥

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Post-wedding Par-tay

On the of the rare sunny days 'round these parts, we hosted a party for those who couldn't make it to Andrew and Debbie's wedding due to it being held in a far-off state.

The desserts were delightful.

So delightful that some at my table felt they ate more far more than their fair share of these darling cupcakes. Who can blame them?

What wedding get-together is complete without the "How well do you really know the person you're going to spend the rest of your life with?" game. Elizabeth was the brains behind most of the questions which explains their uniqueness. For example" would he/she rather light up a room with a shooting star or a rainbow?" and "do he/she prefer tunnels or bridges?"
Those in our midst who remain single jumped at the opportunity to spend time in the sun by having an outdoor photo shoot after the game. Photo shoots are one of the things the Furnace Club loves doing best. Most club members weren't around so the shoot was small and intimate.


The sunglass gang. Oh yeah,we can smile. We just don't feel like it.

Someone{I just can't imagine who}politely asked for some real smiles. They kindly obliged. They do aim to please,that sunglass gang.

That same someone then lay down on the cement while wearing her very nice shirt all in the name of a good picture.
Hopefully the sun with still be shining tomorrow so we can continue our photo shoot. Hannah's birthday party is fast approaching and I want to make a Furnance Club scrapbook for her. : )

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Great Prom Dress Search

My fashion services were requested today by the lovely Marissa as she searched for the all-important


2010 Senior Prom dress

Seeing how I'm a homeschooled graduate who never actually went to any prom {tear,sigh,sniff},I was obviously the logical choice to help Marissa in her time of need. The one year I was this close to going to the homeschool prom, we were in Florida the day of the event. I was beyond disappointed. Andrew was going to take me and we would wear matching clothes and have our picture taken and look so cute. I don't know if I ever informed him of that, now that I think about it.

I picked Marissa up at school in my snazzy Swedish{?} sports car, also known as a red Volvo that has no working air conditioning, and we whisked ourselves off to the mall. She had done her research online so knew she which dresses she wanted to try right off the bat. I took a puffy,beaded white dress into the dressing room to try on while Marissa tried on hers. I don't know what possessed me to grab the size 9/10 because I can barely wear a size 4 without puffing myself out. {You're welcome for the weird picture that just appeared in your head.} Needless to say, it was way too big but I wouldn't trade the fun whushing sound I got from swinging myself around while wearing it. Side note: I love fancy dresses. I told Marissa maybe I should marry a politician so I could wear them all the time. Things in Marissa's dressing room were going much better because she loved, and consequently bought, the second dress she tried on!


We went to a second store just to make sure we didn't find a better dress{we didn't}, then it was off to find accessories and shoes. As I walked through the store carrying all our bags, I remarked that I felt like a husband who carries his wife's bags while she shops and spends all his money. She replied that she was being "a very good wife" because she was a "frugal shopper" who got both her dress and shoes on sale. I'll be sure to pass that information along to any and all prospective husbands.

I'm so proud of these inconspicuous and incognito mirror pictures.





"Are you taking my picture?"

When we got home we had a lovely snack of ice coffee{the first of the year!}and leftover chocolate and peanut butter eggs that Grandma and I made. Somebody had to eat them. All in all it was a very successful day.

Senior Prom 2010...here she comes!

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Plethora of Easter Pictures

Sherry Lane. The home of our Easter Extravaganza hosted by the newly wedded Daniel and Erika.

I went joined the CCE{Cutest Couple Ever}Saturday afternoon so I could help them prepare for Easter. For
6 1/2 hours Erika and I washed, scrubbed, cleaned, moved furniture,unpacked China, hung the table clothes held by skirt hangers from rafters to steam them{necessity is the mother of invention}, and baked. We felt like maids and had a fabulous time together.

All the hard work was worth it when everything was sparkling and decorated. I think the table almost looks like it could be featured in the best home and garden magazines.

We found these pretty eggs on our last minute run to Michaels. They added the perfect touch.

When the guests, aka our family, arrived after church, Daniel took us on a walk to the beaver dam. He may have built it up just a little too much as no beavers have lived there in years, much to the disappointment of the crowd.
The beaver-less dam. It looks so cozy, I don't know how those beavers could have left. Did they know we were coming?

Dressed in a fine Italian suit with a glass of fancy wine in hand, the Father relaxes in a posh recliner. He takes time from his busy schedule to photograph the following:

The newer newly-weds, Andrew and Debbie. Having two newly-wedded couples in the family has presented some difficulties. We have learned to differentiate the two couples as "newly" and "newer" weds. What will happen when I get married? Will we have the "newly", "newer", and "newest" ?

The 2010 edition of the annual Sarah and Molly Easter picture. She is such a little doll!

Grandma was so proud yesterday. Easter was the first holiday celebration held at the home of one of her grandchildren.

We branched out into the traditions of Erika's family by doing an outdoor egg hunt. We've also done them inside Grandma's house. Daniel and Brian were dispatched to hide the 48 eggs while the rest of us talked and distracted Molly and Zachary from peeking out the windows.

The host, holding what appears to be a ball of sunshine caught in a plastic bowl.

Elizabeth bravely searches through the underbrush.

Andrew was mighty proud of his egg-finding accomplishments.

Grandma's remake when seeing this picture: "Oh, I just look like such a happy little bunny with my Easter egg!!".


The smallest members of the family counting their wares.

Here we behold one of the few action shots of our meal. Any and all photographers were too busy serving and eating to document much more.


By some Easter miracle we were able to take a group picture before everyone went home. Besides the minor detail of some people{ahem Aaron and Andrew}already being out of their Easter finery, it only took three tries before almost everyone looked perfect. We missed the family that couldn't be there to celebrate with us, but we had a beautiful love and laughter filled day.