December 31, 2009


Do you know how long it takes giant Chinese bamboo to grow as tall as a building? Some might answer it takes six weeks for bamboo to grow 90 feet, which is true. But they would be forgetting something.

Bamboo spends four years as a tiny plant, being watered and fertilized as its enormous root system is developing under the ground. Then in the fifth year, it shoots up to the sky, growing 90 feet in just six weeks. The plant must survive four years before it can grow at that rate.

On the other hand, do you know how long it takes an alfalfa seed to sprout and grow into one of the few known complete foods? About four days.

I can't really tie those two illustrations together except to say, I think I've been bamboo, but now I want to be a sprout.

The last two years for me have largely been about surviving. Not the cut-off-my-own-arm-with-a-pocket-knife kind of survival, but the survival of my spirit, the survival of my self, the survival of my soul. It hasn't been easy. Sometimes I felt like cutting off my own arm would have been easier, but I think we're finally coming to the other side of it, new and stronger and hopefully brighter.

{But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9}

Funny thing, though, in all the surviving, there was a lot of dying. So many things I had to come to terms with and let die, many things I had to completely surrender, many sacrifices (luckily, no appendages).

{Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18}

When you're in survival mode, you learn a lot about who you are and who you want to be, what you're made of, what you believe in and what is important to you. There's a stripping down of things to bare bones, to the very core, to the vulnerability of nakedness.

I've also witnessed miracles in a new way, both great and small, most all of them beyond my comprehension.

I experienced grace and mercy and heartache and joy, all in waves that brought me to my knees.

For all of this, I am thankful for my time of surviving.

{“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17}

I don't think I fully realized that I've been just surviving until recently. But I hope that seeing things from this perspective means I have, in fact, survived. I feel like I have. And so have decided the new year will be one of thriving.

{For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6}

Things may not go my way. I may not get what I want. I'm certain I will continue to struggle and face trials, learn and grow. And that's all okay.

I believe my life will have seasons of quiet ripening and seasons of surviving. But this January we are entering a season of thriving!

Will I look back on this post in a year, six months, even two weeks and think "good grief, that was that day I drank four cups of hot chocolate and got kind of crazy"? Ehn, maybe.

But for now, today, I'm going to be a little crazy and know God is faithful beyond my wildest imagination. I'm going to be brave, believe big and expect great things!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD... Jeremiah 29:11

Happy New Year, dear friends. Believe big. Be well.

December 22, 2009


Only four days until THE actual for-real Christmas Day!

Here's how I've been decking the halls.

first, gather supplies:

next, get a snack:

then, get warmed up by making this Jolly pillow:

after that, test your sewing skillz and patience by making this poinsettia pillow:

take a step back and think that poinsettia pillow turned out not half-bad

move on to making THESE:

THESE may be my favorite thing. They are so merry and bright. I couldn't stop making them (just ask Aaron) so I gave some to a few friends at work too. So fun to spread the Christmas Cheer!

Then move on to growing this little Christmas Tree forest for Santa:

I love that this little Santa statue is feeding an apple to a deer:

finally, ask ATB to hang the JOY plates Momma made for me:

Ummm, I might leave things looking like this until July.

December 21, 2009


Happy Winter Solstice!

On this shortest day of the year, the sun is at its lowest and weakest, a pivot point from which the light will grow stronger and brighter.

Following the time of dormancy, darkness and cold, the coming of lighter days is a time to rejoice.

Silent night, holy night. All was calm, all was bright around the virgin mother and her child, the Holy infant, so tender and mild, sleeping in Heavenly Peace.

Shepherds quaked at the sight of glories streaming from heaven above as Heavenly hosts sung Alleluia! Christ, the Saviour is born!

For He was the Son of God, and love's pure light shone radiant beams from His holy face, as the sun rose on the dawn of redeeming grace. Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

So I cried in the car on Saturday as Aaron and I were headed to Houston. I was serenading Aaron with Christmas songs... Jingle Bells was great, Joy the World was inspiring (I put my own little twist on it, if you can imagine) but I choked when I got to Drummer Boy... then totally lost it when I tried Silent Night.

It's said to be the most famous Christmas song. Isn't it beautiful?

I can picture that night... imagine, the entire world quiet, not even the hours-old infant is crying. Mary holding her child close, pondering His sweet face. Do the animals know they share their stable with a King?

And somewhere in a field, Shepherds are tending their flock, heavily cloaked against the cold, staff in hand quietly moving among their sheep, their breath showing warm in the night air. Maybe they've been wondering at the stillness of this particular night. Maybe even commented to one another that it seemed peculiar.

Then an Angel appears! It is good news, a child has been born, Immanuel, who would change the world.

For you see, until then, God had been in Heaven and we on Earth, separated by our inevitable sin. {Long lay the world in sin and error pining.}

But God didn't want to be separate from us.

So He sent his Son to walk among us, to live on Earth as we live, to teach us how to love, and ultimately die as we die. And for the ransom of Jesus' life, if we believe in Him, we are redeemed of our sin and no longer separated from God.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

December 20, 2009


So I was making Peppermint Bark this afternoon, and we had to call the fire department.

What?! Peppermint bark does not require fire!

I know, I know. It's the craziest thing! Let's just say it was a weed-eating mishap that caused the line on our propane tank to pop off and HISS propane into the air at an alarmingly loud decibel. Really loud. Like so loud our not-very-nearby neighbors could hear it. So loud I was pretty sure the air was going to explode or something.

And apparently, our propane company doesn't have an after-hours or emergency call number, so Aaron called 311, and they sent the fire department.

We heard the sirens headed our way... then they the wrong house. So Aaron got in the car and backed down our driveway at approximately 50 miles per hour. If you didn't already know, Aaron really likes to drive in reverse. And our driveway is really long, so there's room to get up to top speeds. I didn't see the need to fetch the fire truck at that speed in reverse, but, whatever.

So the firemen finally arrive, check it out, show us where the shut-off valve is (good to know), and all is well. Except we can't use the oven or stove and won't have hot water or heat until tomorrow when we can get the tank repaired.

All in all it was kind of fun. Our two-year-old neighbor Ethan had a blast walking around and around and around the firetruck. Then they came over after the hub-bub and Ethan helped me finish making the peppermint bark while we played his new favorite game.
Ethan: What's this?
Angela: Candy canes
Ethan:What's this?
Angela: Spatula
Ethan:What's this?
Angela: Light bulbs

I had grand plans tonight to make a lovely dinner, bake cookies and finish some gifts. Instead we made a fire in the fireplace, ordered a pizza and snuggled down on the couch under some warm blankets.

December 14, 2009


"Not now Arctic Puffin!" - Buddy the Elf

"If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now." - Clark Griswold

Aaron and I watched Elf and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation last weekend. I think I could spend a whole day with my vocabulary consisting solely of lines from those movies. That would be one hilarious day!

I also watched an old Christmas movie from 1947 called It Happened on 5th Avenue. It was pretty great. One of the main characters is the actor Charles Ruggles. He played the grandfather in the original Parent Trap. It made me think of this scene.

Grandfather: My dear, what are you doing?
Susan: Making a memory.
Grandfather: Making a memory?
Susan: All my life, when I'm quite grown-up I will always remember my grandfather and how he smelled of tobacco and peppermint.
Grandfather: Smelled of tobacco and peppermint. [starts chuckling] Well, I'll tell you what. I take the peppermint for my indigestion and as for the tobacco [looks around] that's to make your grandmother mad.
{Grandfather knew from the moment he saw her that Susan wasn't Sharon.}
{Grandads always know.}

In other news...

I enjoyed lunch yesterday with two Lovelies at Magnolia and I had blueberry pancakes... You like sugar, huh? Is there sugar in syrup? Yes. Then YES!

We've been decorating the house... Lotta sap in here! Mmmm... Looks great! Little full, lotta sap.

Enjoying non-stop Christmas music... The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

A few Christmas parties...It's just like Santa's workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms.

Some Christmas shopping...And make sure you get yourself something real nice.

Some cooking... Save the neck for me, Clark.... Oh it's just a little dry, it's fine...Here's the heart. oh oh and and I have to eat! So I can take my back pill.

Hope you're enjoying the Holidays!

"I just like to smile! Smiling's my favorite." - Buddy

December 10, 2009


The Generosity Experiment and Day 10 of The Generosity Experiment

One Family's Giving Tradition from Ann Voskamp @ a Holy Experience
"In our home, the gift-giving is solely for the Child on His birthday. And in giving to the least of these, we humbly give gifts to the Christ Child.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:14-16

December 07, 2009


And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
Christmas came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

This Christmas I'm trying:
Less money, more time.
Less stressing, more blessing.
Less wishing, more thanking.

"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."
1 Timothy 1:15-17

December 02, 2009


This post has no point, other than to tell you I love Heat Miser and think he is one of the most hilarious Christmas movie characters; a close, close second to Clark Griswold. Sometimes Aaron reminds me of Heat Miser - stubborn and hot-headed, but ultimately harmless. And I mean that in the nicest way.

And also to tell you I've decided that if I could have one super-power it would be that of Snow Miser, which is the ability to cause objects to burst into snowflakes with a touch.

See them in action in their movie, The Year Without a Santa Claus. It comes on t.v. next Tuesday, Dec. 8 on ABC Family as part of their 25-Days-of-Christmas.


Aaron discovered this chili while on a camping trip a few weeks ago and liked it so much he asked for the recipe. He had a pot ready for dinner when I got home one day last week, so I have no idea what all goes in it, but the main ingredients are baked beans and ground meat of your choice (Aaron used venison), and some honey. It was delicious and made me want to go outside and sit in a folding chair in the woods behind our house while I ate. The baked bean and honey flavors were so subtly sweet and smokey and yummy. And the heavy spoonfuls filled my belly good. Also, can I just say Ritz crackers are the bomb. I had forgotten how delectable their buttery flakiness is. I had a second bowl of Camp Chili just so I could eat more Ritzs.

We brought a cooler of leftovers home from Thanksgiving in Longview. Turkey...sweet potatoes...corn beans...dressing...and this Chicken Veggie soup. My mom packed it for us in case we got burned out on feast food. It's a simple soup, just chicken, broth and lots of earth grown goodness. I had a bowl for lunch two days in a row. It's been raining and cold here the past two days, so having this soup has been nice. Plus, my Momma made it, which is really the best part because it feels like getting a hug from her with every warm spoonful.

December 01, 2009


Check out my friends' (writing as Biscuit Lover and Noe) lovely blog Big Love in a Little Kitchen.

It's all about love in, around and coming out of their small kitchen.

*click*Big Love in a Little Kitchen*click*

There's a link in my sidebar too.

November 26, 2009


Last night we went around the table and said what we were thankful for.

Aaron: I'm thankful for my job.

Angela: I'm thankful for warm soup.

Sadie: I'm thankful for the sandy spot next to the driveway. It is the perfect place to lay in the sun.

Scoop: I'm thankful for grass squirrels treats blankets rawhide bugs lunch naps running morning bedtime trees birds porch couch neighbors car-rides walks leash smelling frogs licking moths jumping dogs deer rabbits baths (wait, not baths) vet ear-rubs mud creek chair garage ocean vacation sun windows noises barking back-door outside inside street field rock stick toy rope ball stories music stretching wagging yawning hugs {this is where I stopped listening. she went on for another five minutes, but I was busy enjoying my soup.}


November 25, 2009


Like a teenager in tantrum, selfish, unwilling, I scream I don't want to! Why? You just don't understand!

And He answers simply, Because I know best. I can see things you can't see. Because I love you.

Yet I storm off...prideful, hurt, ignoring, certain I can make my own decisions.

So I wallow...flounder...squander.

But He comes for me and knocks, again, on my door. Child, I am always here.

Still I wallow...flounder...squander...starve.

Then I turn towards home and look again for the bread of life.

Grace, Father running to me long before I'm at his feet begging forgiveness.

Grace, Father feeding me what I have not earned.

And I rest...trusting...grateful...fed.

November 20, 2009


Text messaging between Aaron and me yesterday at 7:15 a.m.

ATB: Have you heard?

No, what? (at home brushing my teeth, mind racing, oh no, what could it be? I have the news on, surely I would have seen some breaking story by now.)

ATB: About the bird bird bird. the bird is the word.

This is really funny if you've seen this episode of Family Guy and if you're Aaron Bussey.


November 19, 2009


photo source: Amanda SG

My Dad is in town for a meeting and took me to breakfast this morning.

I am thankful for a thousand things wrapped up in that hour.
{Not the least of which was the bacon.}

You learn to speak by speaking,
to study by studying,
to run by running,
to work by working;
and just so, you learn to love by loving.
- Saint Francis de Sales

November 17, 2009


Yes, that bowl has a nose.

This week's soup was French Onion. Oh la la and très délicieux and savoureux beaucoup!
Did you know I took French in high school and college?

In the spirit de cuisine français, I listened to Nouvelle Vague while I cooked. Except during the onion preparation, I paused the iPod and instead sang the song the French cook sings in The Little Mermaid, only I changed it to onions instead of fish - Les oignons, les oignons, Hee-hee-hee, HAW-HAW-HAW!

Englishly speaking, this has been the easiest soup to make so far.

I started out using a recipe I found online, but it called for five pounds of onions and I got tired of slicing onions after about two pounds worth. And I started to get anxious that I was losing my concentration and I DID NOT want a repeat of the onion-fainting incident. Hee-hee-hee, HAW-HAW-HAW!

So I went to my trusty Joy Of Cooking cookbook and found the recipe there that thankfully called for only two pounds of onions. Fantastique!

The recipes were very similar, so I incorporated ingredients and instructions from the online recipe into the book recipe, for instance adding a bit of brown sugar to the onions as they caramelized. I like it because my cook book now has notes written in the margin. I hope to some day have a cook book full of handwritten notes.

That's pretty much all you do for this soup. Slice onions, put in pot with butter. Watch as they magically produce sugars and colors and smells from deep within. Add a pinch of this and that, plus chicken stock. Simmer. Top with toasted bread and gruyère. Melt, et voilà!

At the last minute, Aaron suggested we invite our neighbors over to share the soup with us. I was a tad nervous because I had no idea how the soup was going to taste, so when I called to ask them to dinner I added that we might all end up eating chicken nuggets and green beans off their two-year-old's plate.

Ah, mais oui, ca c'est toujours delish!

November 16, 2009


This is a little Thanksgiving banner I made for my Momma.
(isn't her kitchen pretty?)

I chose for it to make the statement "Gives Thanks" rather than the directive "Give Thanks" because my Momma has always lead by example.
She's a show-not-tell kind a gal.

And she doesn't need a special holiday or month or season to be reminded to focus on blessings.
She always gives thanks.

November 13, 2009


My Mom invited me to go to the Texas Conference for Women with her in Houston last Thursday. It was a fun day together.

My Mom arrived in Austin Wednesday evening, and Aron took us to dinner. We lingered long over conversation, soup (imagine that!) and sandwiches. Aaron even snuck away and returned with a brownie for us all to share!

We took a shuttle bus from Austin to Houston - which was fun because we watched movies and watched the sun rise as we drove through Giddings (one of my new favorite places, by the way, since Aaron and I spent some time there on a recent roadtrip) and the rest of the foggy morning along Highway 290. Then as we got into Houston, at rush hour, we had fun peering down into commuters' cars from our perch in the big shuttle bus. It's a different perspective when you're up that high. Makes me wonder what all those people are thinking about, praying about, fretting about, and thankful for as they drive to wherever it is they're going.

The conference was pretty neat. Isabel Allende was a keynote speaker, and she held a book-signing after her talk. That was special because my Mom and I have swapped Allende's books and both enjoy her writing and stories. At the conference, Momma bought Allende's most recent book, The Sum of Our Days. It's Allende's memoir and I can't wait to read it! She's had an interesting and inspiring life overcoming great hardships and tragedy, but "by no means without humor, mirth and wisdom."

Suze Orman was also among the speakers we heard.

Seeing Suze Orman live was one of those things that's just interesting to experience. She is a smart lady and has some good advice for money management.

What I find fascinating, however, is that even though she is billed as this financial guru - what she is really good at is performing. I don't mean that in a bad way - I just mean, there are tons of other people as smart or smarter than Suze Orman, who will give you the same advice as Suze Orman. But only Suze Orman will give it to you standing on a stage in a hot-pink jacket with her polished, commanding appearance, practiced words and anecdotes, and a flurry of urgency.

To me, her success came not from her ability for money management - but from her ability to be a dynamic leader. I guess that's what makes many people successful - they are so naturally influential and motivational, they can't help but share their interest in a way that eventually makes them "famous" for it.

Anyway, I enjoyed hearing and seeing her speak. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some money I need to defer to my 401K.

November 11, 2009


Last weekend we spent a very lazy Sunday drizzling around the house.
Scratch that. We spent a very drizzly Sunday lazing around the house.

Aaron cleaned and shined his boots and kept the laundry piles moving.

I worked on a few sewing projects and wiped mud off the dogs' paws approximately 182 times.

We also put a big pot of Minestrone soup on to simmer.

It was so nice. We had the windows open, and there was a stretch of time where the only sounds were the quiet rain pattering outside in harmony with the knife chopping down through hearty root vegetables (no fingers this time!) and the soft sizzling of sausage and garlic and onions sautéing on the stove.

It was the perfect soup day.

Dinner was ready just in time for one of our favorite t.v. shows - America's Funniest Videos - so we ate our soup on the couch, giggling between bites at the antics of America's zaniest pets, clumsiest adults and adorablest children.

AFV is always the beginning of the end of Sunday for us. It kind of signifies the wind-down of the day and weekend. (Mad Men signifies the end, in case you were wondering.) In the Bussey house, whatever you're doing on Sunday, you better be done by 6:30 and ready for dinner and some hilarity.

The Minestrone soup turned out quite tasty. The author of the recipe notes that the soup is really better the second time around, after it's been chilled and reheated. Aaron and I concur after having leftovers on Monday. Next time, I might make it a day ahead just so we can have it reheated the first time around. And we'll invite the neighbors over for a bowl of Day Old Soup.

November 10, 2009


Before and After. dingdingdongdoong I would totally win on Wheel-of-Fortune.

I know, it's I Dream of Jeannie, so that would never really be a puzzle on WoF, but this would: Not The Point Break!

("Take my hand!" - that's mostly for Renee', and if you get it too - hooray!)

Now on to the real matter of this post a.k.a. something that makes sense...supposedly.

I made these granola bars to take on our camping trip a few weeks ago.

Actually, they are not so much bars as hunks. I've figured out that the things I make at home don't generally present as well as commercially made foods. But they sure do taste good!

That there is a hunk (2 hunks to be exact) of cranberry-almond-honey-oats-and-some-other-stuff goodness.

Very nutritious and delicious... and most importantly Fast and Easy.

They ended up being great for the camping weekend...and we had some to bring home and enjoy with coffee at an after-school snack...and at bedtime with Sleepytime tea...

I've been dreaming about granola hunks. Maybe it's time to whip up another batch.

November 09, 2009


The cool weather and early sun-setting have given me a hankerin' for warm soups simmering on the stove. Oooh cozy.

And I want to use the soup mug my Mom passed on to me. I bet that thing is as old as I am!

Aaron first requested his childhood favorite, Rattlesnake Stew, which I for some reason invariably pronounce Rattlestake Snew. It's one of those wonderfully savory snews to which you can add just about anything you wish and you don't have to measure ingredients. Swirly egg noodles are the namestake facnor. I think they are supposed to resemble rattlestake nails...kind of...maybe...not really. I'm pretty sure the snew got it's name simply because it came from a house full of rowdy boys. Arrgh arrgh arrgh. It might have been dubbed Butterfly Stew (which I can pronounce without issue) if it came from a house of little girls. Wait, that doesn't really work does it?

Next up, Creamy Corn Chowder with Cheese and Bacon, or as we call it, 4Cs&B. In the picture, you sadly can't see the awesomeness that is the chowder - although that topping of cheese looks yummy, eh - but it has corn, red potatoes, onions, garlic and bacon(!). The perfect chunkiness for a chowder if you ask me. It hit the spot. More 4Cs&B please!

On the menu next are Minestrone and French Onion soup. Mmmm mmmm good.

November 08, 2009


Aaron made this little door-hanger for me circa 1999, the year we started dating.

I found it in a box of keepsakes. It found its way on to a door-knob.

Proof Aaron has been privy to my nerdiness all along.
I think he kinda likes that about me.

I'm glad I never threw it away. It makes me smile.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven...a time to keep and a time to throw away...
Ecclesiastes 3

It's nice to know that in some seasons of life
I've held on to the right things.

November 06, 2009


at halcyon, hearing the cure, randomly thinking i'd like to remember what i looked like today

there was nothing in the world
that i ever wanted more
than to feel you deep in my heart
there was nothing in the world
that i ever wanted more
than to never feel the breaking apart
all my pictures of you

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6

November 05, 2009


Behold the November mobiles -- Fall(ing?) leaves and some fly(ing!) geese. By the way, I'm not going to call these 'mobiles' anymore, unless they are bats because then I can call them bat-mobiles. I henceforth dub thee Hangers.

To be honest, I'm not very razzle-dazzled by these Hangers. I wish I would have picked different paper in bolder colors. Oh well, now I know. It's kind of funny, though. I spent no less than 45 minutes in the scrap-booking store agonizing over the color, pattern, thickness, smell, taste, musical preferences and carpentry skills of each paper. Because, you know, this is a VIP (Very. Important. Project.) and I would NOT want to make the wrong choice in Hanger paper.

At one point, I was sitting on the floor surrounded by approximately eleven different sheets, trying to make a decision. I kept having to say "oh excuse me, am I in your way?"

Luckily, anyone who is in a store dedicated solely to scrap-booking totally gets why one would be sprawled on the floor seriously contemplating paper, and sweetly replies with something along the lines of "Oh honey, no, you're fine" as they politely step over me.

(Aaron wanted to be in this picture.)
(And please don't be alarmed by the flame-precariously-near-paper-obvious-fire-hazard. That paper is fire-retardant. Duh, like that wouldn't be a criteria for my VIP.)

By the way, sorry these pictures are so lame. I will attempt to do better with the December Hangers.

November 01, 2009


Sometimes I forget how much fun it is to create. I may have mentioned before that I have an issue with wanting to get to the end result of things and forget to pay attention or enjoy the process of getting there. Whether it be baking bread, drilling holes for cabinet hardware, sewing, my spiritual journey, a road trip....

Sometimes this desire to just see the finished product deters me from even starting. I think it's going to take too long, or be too hard, or I don't quite even know how I'm going to do it. But it always happens, that once I get going on a project I love the process, even when I mess it up. And seeing the end result, even when it's not what I imagined, is so much more rewarding for having been through the process.

Being crafty is one area where I'm learning to just jump on it, and enjoy the process. Plus, I figured out that I can satisfy my obsession with patterns and colors with seasonal crafts instead of painting my walls a different color or recovering chairs every few months. And crafting is my favorite way to feather my nest. It feels good to be surrounded by things made by Aaron or me or someone we know.

Earlier this month I crafted up these little bat-mobiles out of scrap-booking paper. Once I discovered how quick and easy it was to cut out each bat and string them up, there was a flurry of tracing-scissors-paper-fishingline-scissors-tracing-paper-fishingline and I ended up with several mobiles to give to friends!

Today, I finally started (and finished!) these framed dog silhouettes, which I've been wanting to do for a few months. I've had all the supplies for several weeks, but it was finding suitable pictures of the dogs from which to make silhouettes that was hanging me up. As it turns out, Scoop was easy. I easily found a picture of a German Shorthair Pointer online, print, cut-out, trace, and voilà.

Sadie was a bit more tricky since her breed is Brown Dog. So I sifted through all the pictures I have of her looking for one that would work. After two failed attempts using photos of her lying down ('cause she's our relaxed doggie) (but lying down didn't work because the silhouette always ended up looking like a cat or a big bat-lion) I found the perfect photo of her standing that shows off her curly-cue tail. She's standing elbow-deep in the ocean in the picture, so I had to fake the bottom part of her legs. I think they look kind of funky, but oh well. It doesn't have to be perfect.

You might also notice that Sadie's silhouette is kind of huge compared to Scoopie's. Oh well, it doesn't have to be perfect.

Oh, and did you see that the silhouettes are framed on top of the mat instead of fitting nicely in the 4x6 area? Oops. Oh well... it doesn't have to be perfect.

If you look really really close, you'll see that I even detailed Sadie's fluffy tail. Maybe no one else will ever see it, but I know it's there.

Anyway, I really love the way they turned out. Mostly because I think they are kind of funny and make me giggle a little bit.

I have a Thanksgiving mobile planned that I'm about to get started on. I don't have all the details worked out yet, but I'm excited to see where the process takes me!

I'm really liking this way of crafting. Just figuring it out as I go. And knowing that it doesn't have to be perfect to love it.

October 27, 2009


Aaron and I spent last weekend camping on Lake Whitney with family. We could not have asked for a more beautiful weekend to be outdoors.

This is how I prepare for a camping trip. Please do note my fancy chef hat, courtesy of Aaron.

This is how Aaron prepares for a camping trip. Also, please do note how Sadie prepares for a camping trip.

As you can see, we take great care of the very important camping preparations. As long as you have cookies and fishing gear, who needs a tent, sleeping bag, folding chairs, or deodorant? Not us! Oh, I'm kidding. We took folding chairs.

This was my first time camping in a camper. It was fun, and the best part was the symphony that happened when most everyone in the camper was sleeping. It was magical.

Some highlights from our weekend: Daryl drank a cup of straight Aunt Jemima syrup on a dare - except he would have done it anyway. Janet bargained with the kids to not talk about poop for at least 20 minutes… no such luck. Trisha wore her high-school letter jacket for the first time ever. Ronnie cooked the meat and was the hero. I got to shake the Bisquick Shake & Pour pancake batter. Aaron caught and cleaned a catfish. Jarod taught us all how to play the deceivingly complex game of Bag-O. S'mores!

We also held a funny face contest. Who was the winner? You be the judge.

A few more pics.

October 22, 2009


In honor of all the family time we've been having lately, I thought I
might visit my dear friend Pancake's cousin, Le Crêpe.

We had a nice lunch together. She was warm and a little cheesy, as
usual. She was vegged out today, which made for a nice, relaxing time.

Oh, and I love her fancy accent. Bon Appetit!

October 21, 2009


Aaron has an eye for seeing things from a unique perspective. Actually, he has two eyes. And he uses them both to observe and absorb the world around him.

He purposefully takes the time to look at things differently, more intimately so he can enjoy the detail, the unexpected and the wonder of his surroundings. He often spies creatures, anomalies and hidden treasures one might otherwise miss.

Because he looks at things this way, with his two eyes, I think he has captured some neat photographs over time.

This is a big difference in pictures taken by Aaron and me. You will rarely see a picture taken by me that doesn't have people in it. But Aaron, he is so good at slowing down to see, he can capture really interesting moments that don't include people.

I love his perspective. Here are a few from a recent visit to the botanical garden.

These next two are a couple of my other favorites.

And this is what happens when I sneak in to one of his photos.

To see more from Aaron's Perspective Click Here.