Saturday, April 30, 2011

Videos from Tuscaloosa

Murray went to Tusculoosa today to help with the clean up process at Wellon and Stephen's house.  Below are two short videos that he shot with his phone.

This video is taken from their driveway.  The first house in this video is not their house, it is their next door neighbor's house.  The house that you see after the red trailer is Wellon's house.  

This video is from the roof of Wellon and Stephen's house.

Friday, April 29, 2011

House Pictures

Here are a few pictures of our house.  Sometime in the next few days I will share our story.  We are all camped out at Murray's parents house.  The kids are having a blast!  
Here are a few pictures of the inside damage.  Honestly the inside does not look that bad.  However, the entire house has been affected.  The walls in the kitchen are 11/2 inches off! 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

God is Good

I am sure that most of you know, Alabama was hit by extreme severe weather twice yesterday. Yesterday morning Birmingham was hit and yesterday afternoon Tuscaloosa was hit. We are fine and Wellon and Stephen are fine. That is most important. Both of our houses had major damage. Looking back at our morning and hearing about Wellon and Stephen it is so clear that God had his hand over us. My computer is not working so I have no pictures to share with you and am limited to sharing stories. But, there is no doubt that God protected all of us. I will try to share more with you over the next few days. Praise the Lord we are all safe, unharmed and together.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tomorrow

First and most important, I finished the easter outfits!!!  No pictures yet, they are in the dryer right now.

This video captures life perfectly.  I hardly ever put videos here, but this video was so cute I just had to share it with you all.  As a little girl I loved the movie Annie.  Almost every time I got to rent a movie I always picked out Annie (I have no idea why we never bought it, I probably rented it 100 times).  I have been waiting and waiting for the day when Ella could watch Annie.  I tried several months ago and Ella did not make it past the beginning scene with Ms. Hannigan.  I know several little girls Ella's age who love Annie so I thought maybe I should try again.  We gave Ella the movie for her birthday.  To say she loves the movie would be an understatement!  All day long Miller and Ella act out Annie.  She sings the songs ALL THE TIME.  She now loves to help me make the bed because she gets to roll around in the sheets like Annie.  I was not home when Murray made this video.  Sara Wells woke up from her nap and started crying.  Ella asked if she could go in and get Sara Wells up.  This is what Murray walked in to.  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter Egg Hunt

I will admit, I have not been a good blogger lately.  I am working hard every night trying to finish up easter dresses.  My plan was to start early enough so that the week of easter I would be finished.  Did not quite make my deadline.  Hopefully I will be finished by Wednesday!  This post, however, could not wait until after easter because then it would be too late.  The kids and I made Easter Egg Hunt Cookies.  They had so much fun, I just had to share them with you.  I used my normal chocolate chip cookie recipe but used easter m&m's instead of chocolate chips.

After the batter was made, we added green food coloring to make the grass...
(I love this picture because you can see a chubby little hand watching the batter mix)

Then we hid the "easter eggs" in the grass.  The loved doing this!  Each egg had its perfect spot.  Sara Wells really loved this part.  She actually did hide some eggs, although she did more taking out and eating than hiding in the grass.  (Instead of placing the m&m's on all the cookies you could mix them in the batter.  I just could not find a big bag of m&m's, only the individual packages and I was afraid I did not have enough to mix in the batter.  I ended up having plenty, but the best part for the kids was 'hiding the eggs.')
The advantage of being the third child is that you get to enjoy the good things in life a lot earlier than your brother and sister.  Sara Wells experienced the pure joy of cookie dough!
All lined up and ready to bake!
This week we will be making Resurrection Cookies.  You can get the recipe here.  I would highly recommend these cookies to anyone with younger kids.  As you make the cookies, you tell your children the story of Jesus dying on the cross and rising again from the grave.  Ella and I made these cookies last year and she still talks about making them.  Every time we pass vinegar in the grocery store Ella tells me that vinegar is what the soldiers made Jesus drink.  These cookies are a very tangible way to bring the story to life for your children!

I wanted to leave you with this prayer.  I know that this week I should be preparing my heart and my children for Easter, but I tend to get caught up in the busyness of day to day life that never ends and somehow forget what the real important things are.  This prayer was the meditation in our worship service today and I thought you all might enjoy it as you prepare your hearts for Easter morning.

My Father, enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips, supply works that proclaim 'Love lustres at Calvary.'  There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on Thy Son, made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me; there the sword of Thy justice smote the man, Thy fellow; There Thy infinite attributes were magnified, and infinite atonement was made; there infinite punishment was due, and infinite punishment was endure.  Christ was all anguish that I might be joy, cast off that I might be brought in, trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend, surrendered to hell's worst that I might attain heaven's best.  O Father, who spared not Thine only Son that Thou mightiest spare me, all this transfer Thy love designed and accomplished; help me to adore Thee by lips and life.
Valley of Vision - Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Safely Home

I was going to say, if you are looking for a good book to read this is it.  But even if you are not looking for a book to read, you should read this book!  This book is probably top 2 in having the most influence on my walk with the Lord.  Every believer needs to read this book!  The main characters in the book are Harvard roommates who have reconnected 30 years later.  While at Harvard, Ben Felding led Li Quan to the Lord.  After graduation Li Quan returned to China as a Christian.  Ben entered the business world.  30 years later, a business opportunity took Ben to China where he ended up living with Li Quan and his family in their one room house for 6 weeks.  As Christians in the United States we do not really face persecution, this book is a great reminder of what is really going on in this world.  We must not get too comfortable in this world, IT IS NOT OUR HOME!  

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bringing in Spring

This week we officially brought in the spring!  Easter Bark (more to follow).  Strawberry Jelly.  And our Garden!
I had decided not to make strawberry jelly this year because Miller does not like jelly at all and Ella just decided that she no longer wants strawberry jelly, only blueberry.  But strawberries were $1.25 at the grocery store and I just could not resist.  So, Thursday morning we made strawberry jelly!  Miller and Ella remembered their jobs from last year, chopping the tops off ALL the strawberries.  They did a great job, however, Miller could not resist those big red strawberries.  Who can blame him?
Ella diligently cut off every top.
We made all the jelly with only one injury.  Somehow between last summer and Thursday I misplaced my jelly funnel.  I have a strange suspicion that after being used as a horn or who knows what it got placed deep within a toy box somewhere, but in my quick search around the house I could not find it.  If you do not have a jelly funnel and you want to make jelly you have to get one!  Since all my strawberries were already chopped and ready to be made into jelly, I decided I did not really need the funnel.  To prevent dripping jelly over the counter as I poured it into the jars, I decided I would just hold the jars.  Big mistake.  The first two went fine, no problem.  With my confidence up, I decided to pour a little bit faster since I did not know where the kids were and could only imagine what they were doing.  Big mistake!  I poured the steaming hot jelly all over my thumb.  I will definitely be getting a new funnel this week at the grocery store.  But we do have 5 beautiful jars of strawberry jelly and my blister is almost all the way healed.

This year we had a new helper to plant the garden.  It is amazing what these little ones pick up.  Sara Wells found her little hoe in the garage and knew exactly what to do.  She worked right beside Murray and Ella as they planted all of the vegetables.  We planted all the usual suspects this year, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, green beans, rosemary, basil (more basil jelly and pesto this summer!), thyme and okra.  If you remember last summer right as the okra started producing, the herd of deer (I know that is not what you call deer, but that is what we have in our woods!) ate the tall okra plants down to little nubs.  However, I love okra so much that I want to give it one more try.  Murray has rigged up a super duper deer net that will hopefully keep the deer out as the okra grows.  We will just have to wait and see.

I have been wanting to post about these spoons since Christmas, but I thought you would really be able to see how great the look when they were actually in the garden.  I found these awesome garden markers for Murray for Christmas this year at the Etsy shop Wooden Hive.  She has got the greatest things!  If you have a garden, an herb garden or know someone who does, you definitely need to check out this shop!  She is so fast and you can place custom orders to get exactly what you need for your garden.  
The days that we stay home can be kind of crazy and tend to get filled up with stuff (laundry, picking up the house and who knows what) unless I am very intentional.  I love to make and do things with the kids and they LOVE to make things, so I try to keep my eyes open for fun little projects to do with them the days that we are at home.  The hardest part is planning ahead and making sure that I have everything on hand.  We used to do our little projects during Sara Wells' morning nap.  Now that she is not taking a nap, things have gotten a little bit more complicated.  When I saw this Easter Bark the other day I knew it would be perfect for everyone.  I wish I remembered where I saw it so that I could give credit where credit was due, but I don't have a clue.  When I saw the directions, I knew it would be quick enough that Sara Wells would be ok sitting on the counter watching but have just the right ingredients to keep Ella and Miller excited.

Things you will need:
2 bags white chocolate chips
1 bag of Jelly Beans
cookie sheet
wax paper

1.  Pour the white chocolate into a microwave safe bowl (yes, Sara Wells actually poured the chips into the bowl!)
Glass bowls always work good for melting chocolate.  You could use a double broiler, which I usually do when melting chocolate, but the kids would not have been able to help with that part and actually I really liked doing it in the microwave better.
2.  Place the wax paper on the cookie sheet.  Then spread half of the jelly beans over the cookies sheet.
Sara Wells loved the jelly beans!  They kept her occupied for most of the time.
3.  Melt the chocolate at 30 second intervals, stirring in between.  You have to be very careful not to burn the chocolate!  There is no recovering burnt chocolate, you just have to scrap it and start over.
4.  Pour the chocolate over the jelly beans and spread evenly (as evenly as possible) over the cookie sheet.
Mine really needed to be spread thinner, but with three sets of hands trying to spread and eat the melted chocolate (see pic below) at the same time, I felt really good just to get it this spread out.  The kids did not seem to mind the thickness, but for me it was too much white chocolate and it was VERY difficult to break up.
5.  Spread the rest of the jelly beans across the chocolate.  It really helps if you push the jelly beans into the chocolate just a little bit.
6.  Put the cookies sheet in the fridge for about an hour so that it is nice and hard.  Then just break into small pieces.

We actually took half of it to the ladies at Murray's office.  One because we needed to get out.  Two, I really did not want that much candy in my house!  I could just hear all the whining that would accompany all the candy, "please Mommy, please I really want some more Easter Bark."  So, we had fun together, got a special treat and shared our special treat with others!   What a fun day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Ella!

Our Sweet Ella turns 5 today!  How did it happen?  Somehow our baby girl turned into a big five year old who brings so much joy, love and laughter to our family.  Ella we love you and are honored that the Lord chose us to be your parents!