Thursday, November 25, 2010

Advent Calendar Tutorial

Advent calendars have been around for about 200 years. They were first used by German Lutherans in the early 1800s. In fact, check out the article on Wikipedia.

Funny enough, the advent calendar I made was based on one I borrowed from my friend Cinthya's mother-in-law, who is Lutheran! I believe she told me she had gotten it from someone at church, but I cannot remember for sure.

I have put together a tutorial here. It is on Google
Docs. Let me know if you have trouble viewing or downloading it. I have included instructions on how to make the calendar, pictures of the symbols and the devotionals that go along with them. I hope you find it informative and easy to do. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Finally Did It!

I have had grand plans and ideas for blogging. I have had intentions of taking lots of pictures of my cute kids. But, there is something in the way--my belly. It is big. It is cumbersome. It is very limiting.

Quite frankly, I am ready for it to shrink. However, my boys need to stay snug a bit longer. On Thanksgiving Day, I will be 33 weeks. That is hard to believe. Christmas is just around the corner, and I have missed doing all the traditional baking and making from years past. You may recall how industrious I have been before--like last year with the tree skirt. Follow this link to read about that--

I haven't been completely uncreative this season. I did learn a little knitting, and I knitted two soft baby washcloths for Felix and Milo.

I also determined that I would make an advent calendar. I have tried to accomplish this for three years.

Well, I finally did it, and it matches my tree skirt. Here's proof!!!

It is based on a pattern my friend's mother-in-law has. She let me borrow her calendar, and I copied it, just with different colors. Dave did the lettering freehand (thank God I have an artistic husband!). There are advent symbols in each pocket. Those were fun to cut out! I hot glued safety pins on each symbol so they can be attached to the front of the pockets. Each day, there are devotionals to discuss the meaning of the symbol and to turn our eyes to Jesus, the reason we celebrate this wonderful holiday!

I will hopefully be able to post more pics as we put the symbols up. Maybe I can do the devos too. But hurray!!! I finally did it!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Birthweek 2010 Conclusion

Dave outdid himself. But I'm super thankful he did. I've been wanting one of these for several years now.

He got me a new camera--the Nikon D3000. It's perfect for me because it fits my skill level without being too extravagant (though it costs more than a point and shoot). I am so thankful and blessed, and I can't wait to learn my way around it. I'm thankful I'm familiar with manual settings because I intend to use them frequently.

I think now that I have a better camera, you will be seeing more pictures on my blog again. I quit for awhile because it was so hard with my old camera--the focus was janky, and the picture quality was not great. It was just not so nice. :)

And, no, I was not surprised about this I said before, he's not sneaky enough for this lady.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Husband Isn't Perfect...and neither is yours.

My husband, Dave, is a lot of things--an artist, a poet, task-oriented, tall, strong, funny, sweet, handsome, unsneaky, hard-working, kind, a good father, and a man who wants to be like Jesus.

But he's not perfect.

I could list his flaws here probably more quickly than I typed his strengths (mostly because we, as humans, tend to focus on the negative rather than the positive). Your spouse probably isn't too different from mine--full of good qualities but not perfect. This is NORMAL. My husband may be strong where yours is weak or weak where yours is strong. So, really, there is no use in comparing them, right?

Regardless of our spouse's strengths and weaknesses, we are called to love them, honor them, and respect them--even when they fail. I have been guilty of focusing on the negative too many times in my marriage. I know I'm not alone in this. It helps to know that the picture people paint of their spouse is not the FULL picture (either way!)--hopefully, we do a better job presenting them in their best light rather than displaying all of their flaws for the world to see.

So, in lieu of my husband's strengths, I want to share with you about my birthday. Early on in our marriage, my husband quickly figured out that I expected a thoughtful birthday--he didn't have to spend a bunch of money--he just had to be thoughtful. One year, he started a tradition. It is my favorite time of the year--not because it is about me (okay, maybe a little bit.), but because it shows me how thoughtful my husband can be. He started what he calls "Birthweek."

This year is Birthweek 2010. It has been a blast so far, and tomorrow, it will conclude on my birthday. He gives me a gift each day leading up to my birthday. They are usually small, inexpensive gifts, and then his final gift on my birthday is usually a bit more (but some years he has spent more than normal). Some years, he has even gotten creative in the discovery of the gifts--a scavenger hunt or a box he made with different compartments for each day. To help me remember this year, I am posting a log of his gifts from each day, and tomorrow I will post his final gift (which I think I know because he's not sneaky enough).

Day 1: My favorite candy--Junior Mints (this is always the Day 1 gift)

Day 2: Wifi in our house--(we live out in the sticks and it is hard to do a lot on our iPhones because we have such poor signals and no 3G--so this gift was really for both of us, but still very thoughtful!)
Day 3: Nasal spray (this is a funny one because I've had so many allergy issues with this pregnancy, so he actually got me a prescription nasal spray to help!)

Day 4: A spa pedicure for me and a friend (this was an awesome gift--especially since I can't reach my feet without hurting myself)

Day 5: Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo and Conditioner (he knows what I like!)

Day 6: Robert Ludlum's Bourne trilogy (the books--I've wanted to read them for several years. I love the movies, and I hear the books are even better...of course!)

Thank you, Dave, for being thoughtful, for listening to me talk, for paying attention to my likes and dislikes, for celebrating me all week long. I feel special and loved, and I love you even though you're not perfect. Thanks for loving me--even with all my thorns. You're a winner.

Look for tomorrow's post for my final gift!!!

(All pictures were not taken by me--all online images.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Need YOUR Expertise!

I am contemplating spending a day in the kitchen (hopefully with some friends) cooking and freezing meals to fill my freezer for the zombie days ahead. It's not really an apocalyptic thing, I just know that the friends delivering meals thing won't last forever. Sigh.

So, here's what I need from YOU:

  • Any food freezing tips
  • What kind of containers do you use?
  • Do you thaw food prior to cooking it or do you cook it frozen?
  • What about soups? How do you thaw/reheat those?
  • Is it better to have completely cooked a meal before freezing it or partially?
  • Anything else you can think of?
  • How long should a meal stay in the freezer?
  • Any special products that have made food freezing better for you?
I am not much of a food freezer. We typically eat leftovers for days if a meal made too much for us. I am hoping to start freezing those leftovers as well to add to our stores (plus I'm a little tired of leftovers!). I have cooked up ground meat and frozen that ahead of time as well as onions, peppers, that sort of thing.

Any advice in this department is appreciated!!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Quiet Life

It's cold. It is 28 degrees. I am wearing socks--this is monumental. Socks typically make my feet hot, and then my whole body overheats (even if I'm not pregnant). This has only been happening to me for a few years-kinda strange.

Our leaves have turned and are halfway gone. It's time to get warm and cozy and stay in the house--thankfully, I now enjoy this part of life.

There are a few new things with us:

  • I sprained my foot last weekend. It still hurts to walk on it, and there is still some swelling--not much, but enough that it makes my shoe too tight. There are some pretty purple and blue bruises on it as well. Festive.
  • Baby A (Felix) is now breech. He flipped. We are praying he flips back over or I will be having a c-section. I have heard some stories of twins with the first breech that turned out alright, but I've also heard otherwise. Bottom line: my doctor doesn't feel comfortable with it, and he is comfortable with breech deliveries--just not with the first twin. So, if you would, pray that Felix turns over. Either way, things will turn out alright, but it is hard to deal with the reality of it all. I'm getting there--slowly.
  • My emotions are out of control. Steer clear.
  • I wish my body wasn't so cumbersome right now; I would love to be taking walks in this fine weather. Instead, I just look out the window. When I walk, I feel like Godzilla or Frankenstein. In fact, we had to do some grocery shopping last night, and for the first time ever, I drove a motorized cart. It was great.
  • My life is quieter now than it has ever been in the friendship department. This isn't a bad thing, although it is an adjustment. I'm learning with this codependency thing how often I was turning to friends for fulfillment instead of Christ. I have by no means arrived, but I am catching myself about to pick up the phone, and then I will stop and take it to Him first. It isn't easy. I am thankful for my friends who have let me "get it all out," but I am even more thankful that they aren't assuming His place in my life.
  • I've purged my facebook a couple of times to either get rid of those I never talk to or those who try to fix me. It's been good so far. I am also being much more reserved in accepting friend requests from people that I don't really know that well or people that I don't think need to be seeing so much of what I say. :)
  • My husband has been working extremely long hours (especially for someone who is finished with his training!), and it is wearing on all of us. I am thankful that in a month or so, his nurse practitioner will return from maternity leave and lighten the load a little bit. We've had some disturbing news about his call schedule for the next year, and we're praying for God to send some relief. We need relief in so many areas...
  • We have decided to look for a different body of believers. Things were pretty crazy where we were at, and we didn't have peace about staying in that kind of environment. We felt things were not being handled in a Biblical manner, and we don't feel like it is a healthy place to be. We love the people we connected with and will continue to love them.
It is quiet, Dave is off for the first day in a few weeks, so I am going to go drink something decaf and hot next to him on the couch while he plays a game on his phone. ;)