Wednesday, May 30, 2012

S'more Station (Imperfectly Pinterest)

I found an idea on Pinterest that totally makes up for all of the ridiculous, mommy-acheiver guilt. Using a small flower pot, aluminum foil, and charcoal, you can create a great little s'more station! The idea was originally posted here as a party idea, but our form is a little more kid friendly and much less fancy. We had s'mores for dessert on Memorial Day, and I completely mimicked the picture on the original post. I realized that filling the pot completely with charcoal made the flame too high, and it was better to light the little fire about an hour before you actually get to s'more making. The result is a perfect, well-contained pile of charcoal with just enough flame to make s'mores with a much smaller threat of burns. The girls and I enjoyed a mini-campout of sorts, making s'mores on our front porch, and it was even a school night!

DeLaynie loved this idea! She does not like s'mores, but she enjoyed eating half of a Hershey bar between frivolously roasting marshmallows.

She said that it was just like camping out. I have no intention of correcting her idea of camping.

Ella enjoys roasting the marshmallows as well, though she does have an unhealthy fear of burning her marshmallows.

Her favorite part, unlike DeLaynie, is the actual s'more at the end. She was completely chocolate covered and deliriously happy by the end of it!

For all of you marshmallow perfectionists, you can use a skewer as a spit with this method as well. It's a great method for roasting the ginormous marshmallows that are in stores these days.

For less than $10, I bought the flower pots, charcoal, and s'more materials, and these things are going to get some serious usage this summer! I love finding something that works!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Imperfectly Pinterest: Homemade Laundry Detergent

Peer pressure is highly overrated in my opinion. I never did anything that I didn't want to do. Honestly, the first time that I heard someone mention making her own laundry detergent, my initial reaction was to question her sanity.

Then came Pinterest. The ginormous guilt trip to which so many of us subscribe. I found a couple of recipes for both liquid and dry detergent, and it seemed to be a big deal. I made both. I prefer the powder version for whites and lights, but my HE machine makes me nervous when using cold water and powder detergent. You can find the liquid recipe that I used here, and the simpler powder detergent recipe here.

If you want to know why I decided to give it a whirl, I honestly don't know. I think it's my way of compensating for the fact that I do not coupon. If you were looking for a girl who decorates her laundry detergent container, you have come to the wrong place. Don't worry. I'm sure that the next time you stop by, I'll have cricut acrylic letters to label the antique glass jars in which I keep my housekeeping supplies. Because that would make me a better wife and mother.

A few hints:
  • Although you don't have to use Fels Naptha soap, I recommend it. I didn't use it for the first three attempts because I read that it can cause skin irritation. I read further to discover that the old formulation could cause skin irritation, but the new formulation does not. Using Fels Naptha does make a difference in that the clothes smell better. I also add sweet lemon essential oil, which blends well with the soap. It is more difficult to hand grate, though.
  • I set my machine on "Presoak". It doesn't use any more water, but it does take a few minutes longer. I've found that homemade detergent doesn't have as intense of a smell, but presoaking does help the scent stay longer.
  • Do NOT feel guilty if you decide to stick with the store-bought stuff. even if you do a ton of laundry, this will only save you a few dollars a week. Although it will make you feel better on that one day that you typically buy laundry detergent, it isn't that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. If you like making stuff, go for it. If that just isn't your thing, who cares?!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Power of Words

They were the most hurtful words that have ever been spoken about me, but they weren't said to me. When Edwin and I got engaged, there were some people who were unhappy about it. My friends and family were ecstatic, but Edwin's friends weren't as thrilled. His family was always supportive, but there were some very important people in his life who were unhappy about the situation.

On three occasions, different representatives from this group tried to dissuade him from marrying me. They went so far as to say that I would ruin his ministry. Honestly, I was only 19 and I was coming out of the darkest period of my life. It wasn't that they didn't have reason for concern, but what I couldn't understand is why they didn't trust Edwin's judgement. One of the people who was most adamantly against the marriage had never even met me, which meant that there were conversations taking place. My complete ineptness was a topic of conversation. Most of the people discussing the "problem" that was our engagement had met me a handful of times.

I believe that they thought that they were speaking words of discernment, but they were wrong. Their words did nothing to build up the Body of Christ (of which I am a part), but they did manage to break the heart and crush the spirit of a young, often times foolish, version of myself. Edwin saw something that they didn't see. He believed that God wasn't done with me. They believed that I would end his ministry, but he believed that I would grow it. Where they saw brokenness, he saw usefulness.

Although they failed at breaking up the most wonderful human relationship in our shared life, they were quite successful in tearing down my self-worth. For the first five years of our marriage, I believed that I owed Edwin. I rarely told him "no" on anything. I rarely gave my input on his ministry. I didn't get involved in church work. My spiritual walk was weaker because I felt so unworthy of my husband, and of God. It took God pursuing me for me to realize that I was not as undesirable to Him as Edwin's friends thought I was. I was not only not damaging, I was able to be beneficial, and I really believe that I am a benefit to Edwin's ministry at this point.

I remember in college, one of my professors actually bragged about an insult he made in high school. I was appalled, but everyone else in the class had a lovely story made up in which the girl that my professor crushed eventually became a beautiful, successful adult. I'm not sharing my story because I'm angry or bitter. I'm sharing my story because I have come to realize that most people use their words in terrible ways, and then excuse their behavior. Life doesn't work like a country music video or a teen movie. Words hurt. In my case, words left wounds that still haven't gone away. I still become very self-conscious whenever we go to Alabama. I feel like the whole state is watching, just waiting for me to mess up and destroy Edwin's life and ministry. Although God used those words to make me more aware of my own words and to encourage me to be a better pastor's wife, their actions are inexcusable.

To be human is to make an impact on other people. We aren't allowed to take a break and "just get it all out." It's a constant job, a duty that we have as Christians to strengthen each other to do a better job at serving Christ. We don't have the right to have bad discernment. Every word must be tested according to the Holy Spirit and Scripture. To ignore this truth is to deny the essence of relationship, that I can impact you, for good or bad, and you can impact me.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Unpredictable Life

Since I last blogged, a lot has happened. I've worked a part time job as a reservation agent. I then decided that I wasn't going to be able to work the required number of hours during the summer, and turned in my resignation to take effect on June 5th. Yesterday we received a call from foster care that a couple of boys needed a place to stay, so I turned in an immediate resignation, which my incredibly awesome company accepted with utmost kindness and respect.

The circumstances have changed drastically, but my heart has changed even more. Working 30 hours a week was the best thing I have ever done for my attitude toward mothering. Since having DeLaynie six years ago, the opportunities to really miss my children have been few and far-between. The experience of a daily routine that required me to stuff quality into the time available has helped me to value the time that I used to have, and will now have again.

Life is full of surprises. The caveat to foster care is that you never know what's coming next, but when do we really know what the future holds?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Birthday Week Ends with a 4!

The week of birthday madness ends at midnight. I wish that I could show the photos taken at the party, but my card reader is still somewhere in the universe where I cannot find it (and my keys, all of them, have joined it), and I keep forgetting to buy one when I'm in a store. I did take a couple of pics with my iPod of Ella playing with a birthday gift.

There's something downright disturbing about your baby turning four. She isn't a baby anymore. She isn't a toddler. She's a big kid. The good news is that she is a cuddly big kid.

3 and 4 are my favorite ages. I remember when DeLaynie was almost four, and I kept worrying that I preferred DeLaynie over Ella. Now that Ella is at that age, I find myself concerned that I prefer Ella. I suddenly realized that it wasn't the person that I prefer but the age. It's the time in a kid's life when she is independent enough to play alone and with other kids, but not so independent that a mom feels unnecessary. I felt much better with this realization.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Oh No, She Didn't!

Yes. Yes, she did. Today my daughter DeLaynie turned six years old, which is theoretically impossible because yesterday she was a 6 1/2 lb newborn. I keep telling her that she has to stop this whole "growing up" thing, but she is so stubborn that she flatly refuses to listen to her mother. I have a feeling that she is going to continue her rebellious streak right into adulthood.

DeLaynie and Ella will have their combined birthday party on Saturday. They are both anxious for it to get here. I'm anxious to complete the preparations. I'm just glad that their birthdays are close enough that we can celebrate them together. I know that the day will come when they are no longer okay with sharing a party, but I have every intention to ride this train to the very last stop.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

When I Listen to Michael Buble...

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, which included many romantic additions to my day. My husband began my morning with a cinnamelt from McDonald's, which doesn't sound like much until you take into consideration the fact that the trip to and from McDonald's is thirty minutes or more. I also received 3 Hershey's Cookies and Cream bars at the end of the day.

In between those treats, the Valentine's Day party at DeLaynie's school, and getting pulled over by Border Patrol for accidentally making a U-turn just before a check point (oops!), I went for a walk. Seeing as it was Valentine's Day, I chose Michael Buble's album, "Crazy Love: Hollywood Edition" as my walking accompaniment. Whenever I listen to Mr. Buble, I imagine what I would be doing if not a Christian. If not for Christ, I am absolutely positive that I would be a lounge singer, with loose ties to non-violent crime, and I would be wearing these shoes:
Product Image

And allow me to say, my rendition of "Baby (You've Got What it Takes)" would rock your world. Then, of course, I am reminded of the bazillions of reasons that I'm not a lounge singer. At the top of that list is the fact that I am, in fact, a Christian, and I think it would be pretty difficult to glorify Christ to the greatest measure if I were a lounge singer. (To all of you Christian lounge singers out there, allow me to encourage you to use your career to the glory of Christ, just as long as it doesn't lead you into sin, because I know just how common of a struggle that is.)

And that's what happens when I listen to Michael Buble.