Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Looking for Spring

“Good-bye snow, cold, and ice!”
“So long, wardrobe of the last 5 months!”
We’re taking off those snow pants, heavy coats, and big klonky boots.
                        The Great Thaw has begun!
It’s not a pretty site when the snow starts to melt.
In fact, it’s downright disgusting!
Under all that beautiful white there was a hidden world of dog poop and trash.
Can you imagine . . . 
Was hiding THIS:

It’s the work of the sun, you know.
The sun has come closer to this part of our earth and its warmth is melting all that cold.
If there is to be new growth, then the cover has to go.  
What we see underneath, well, we have to face it. 
It was our work.  
We put it there.
The sun is slowing showing us reality.
And we have a choice.  
We could walk around the mess and pretend we don’t see it.
We could stay inside and avoid it.
We could make fake snow and cover it all back up again.
We could hire someone else to deal with it so we don’t have to.
Or, we could clean it all up.  
Pile it up and burn it.
Get the earth clean and ready to bloom.

 For a bit of Spring green, I’m ready to work!
Sometimes, if the ice is thick, it takes some sharp instruments and lots of muscle.  
But, most of the time, 
all it takes is time . . . 
and the sun . . . 
for the earth to throw off that cover and . . . 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Francine Rivers Giveaway!

Francine RIvers is one of my all-time favorite authors.  
Her books are rich and beautiful.

“Redeeming Love” is so good, it should be read by everyone.
Yes, everyone - man and woman.
If you haven’t read it yet, get yourself to a bookstore TODAY!  
Then, please drop me a note with your impressions  . . . and thanks!  : ) 
Rivers’ publisher, Tyndale, is having a special Francine Rivers’ Giveaway!  
To start with, until April 4th, you can download for FREE the ebook version of “Leota’s Garden!” 
I just downloaded it to my beloved Kindle!  
If that wasn’t enough, Tyndale is holding a drawing: 
  • the grand prize is an entire Francine Rivers Library!
  • other prizes include several of her books!
You can read about all the details and sign up for the drawing here.
And, if you haven’t read “Redeeming Love” yet, trust me, and go get your copy today!

Friday, March 18, 2011

They Draw and Cook

I just came upon one of the most fun sites ever!  
They Draw and Cook combines two of my favorites - illustrative art  and food!
Seriously, take a look at this:

and this . . . 

Artists from all over the world have submitted recipes.
Its like reading your favorite children’s picture book - with recipes helping to tell the story.
Can you believe this one?  Just wonderful!
And, you can print the recipes - with the art - FREE!
How fun would it be to try some of the recipes, find your favorites, then print out a little book as a gift for a friend?
This one caught my eye - I’ve certainly had these cooking moments! and I am so interested. . .  will it taste anything like a tortilla?! 

Some are just so clever . . . 
One of my favorite places on the site is the interactive world map.  You can click on all the arrows pointing out where an artist is located and get a quick glimpse at their design.
I found this artist in Russia!

I am having so much fun exploring They Draw and Cook!
Take a look around the site.
Then, please come back and let me know which recipes are your favorites!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My First Pinwheel Quilt!

My second doll quilt, and this one was so much fun!  
Sophia’s good friend, Polina, has a birthday in a couple of weeks so I thought I would make her a little quilt for her dolls.
This time I tried pinwheels - LOVED it!  
I found this wonderful tutorial and went straight to work.
Used lots of little scraps from my scrap sack.
If you look closely, you can see where I made a couple of “rookie” mistakes.  
I sure hope Polina’s doll isn’t a perfectionist!  
Well, what bed is complete with just a quilt?  
You need a pillow, of course, so I made one to match!
I just love these little IKEA hippos!  
Don’t you think they’ll be much better than counting sheep?

I think they make a lovely pair - hippos and pinwheels . . . 
After finishing Polina’s present, I had to surprise Sophia . . . 
. . . and make a pillow to go with her doll’s quilt! 

This fabric is also a cute one from IKEA.  
Wonder where the frog is taking that little cake?  

Sophia and Maria will find out soon enough . . . it’s almost nap time!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Tinkerbell Birthday Party

Sophia is 5 years old.  Amazing how time flies . . . 
Every year, since she was 3, we’ve had 2 parties - one is a dinner with her family, and the other, a themed party for friends.  
            3 year old party  - Princess theme, with a cardboard castle and Princess skirts.
            4 year old party -  Dora the Explorer, Treasure Hunt.
This year  - Tinkerbell Fairy Party
We spent the last week getting ready.
Sophi and I made lots of paper flowers from napkins - and toadstools from the cardboard part of a toilet paper roll!  
Anton stayed up late the night before making a special fairy tree and the Valley of the Fairies sign.

We got up early and spent at least a couple of hours decorating the cafe area at our church.
When the children began to arrive, they ran right past all our decorations  . . . 

 . . . to the big room, where they ran and danced with great JOY!   We laughed and Anton asked, “Did they even SEE the decorations?!”
After everyone arrived, we had them all come back in the cafe and Anton helped them “get into” the fairy world.  He told a wonderful story about how God gave us imagination - we can dream big dreams - even dream up whole worlds . . . and creatures . . . and languages . . . 
Then, he got them to talk a little about the world of fairies.  What did they look like?  Where did they live?  How did they get around? . . . 
Of course, all the children knew that fairies have wings!  So, if they were going to play in the fairy world at this party, they would need wings, too!

The girls got busy decorating their wings.  
I had cut them out from one piece of poster board, folded.  I superglued two pieces of elastic to the back so they could slip their arms through.  They worked great!  Sophi’s was the only one that came apart and I taped it back with no more problems.
The boys had a choice they could make wings or pirate eye-patches.  It was unanimous!
May I introduce those pesky pirates of fairy land:  
            Andrey, Roma, Yanik . . . 

                                                      . . . and Losha!
Our beautiful fairies:
                     Angelika, Polina, Masha, and Dasha!
After craft time, it was time to PLAY!
We had several games:  
     MAGIC WAND - played like hot potato - music played and when the music stopped,
                              the one left holding the wand was “out.”
     TINKERBELL BINGO - I made the cards on Picnik.
     LILY PAD RACE - there were 2 teams, each team got two lily pads (I made them from 
                                 green poster board) - one by one, each team member had to 
                                 cross the “pond” walking on only the 2 lily pads.  
                                 The boys’ team one this one all 3 times!  
      TINKERBELL MOVIE QUIZ - Anton had prepared questions and he just got the kids 
                                  to sit together in a group and for each correct answer, the kids 
                                  got a sticker.  They LOVED this game!
STICKERS - for winning, for participation, for just being . . . the children got lots of stickers they put on their wings or eye-patches. 

After working up a hunger playing, it was time for snacks!
I had so much fun putting together the food!

We had sandwiches cut out with acorn and apple shaped cookie-cutters and filled with kalbasa and cheese or tuna salad.
The mushrooms were made with stuffed hard-boiled eggs covered with tomatoes and dotted with mayo.
Snails were made from tortilla roll ups - the heads were grapes and the antennae, carrot sticks.
But, the very best snacks were the cup-cakes . . . 
There were rabbits and hedgehogs, mushrooms . . . 
There were ladybugs and butterflies!
All these magical little cakes were made by our dear friend and baker extraordinaire, Anya!  
Thank you, Anya!

It was all so good!
Thank you to all our friends for celebrating with us!
Our own little “Tinkerbell” sure had fun!
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