Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Half Pints Giveaway... etc.

**THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED, COMMENTS ARE CLOSED, AND THE WINNER CHOSEN BY RANDOM DRAWING IS LITTLE FOR A LITTLE WHILE. PLEASE CONTACT SASHA AT LEMONADEMAKINMAMA@COMCAST.NET TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE.**
I feel like we need to start with the "etc." part of this post.  Didn't want to write this one.  Wish I had never told anyone anything and could lick my wounds in private... but that goes against everything I am and it's not likely to ever change.  So yeah.  Not Ohio bound after all.  I'm not going to lie, we are sad.  Really, really, really sad.  Happy to have a job in this economy, God always provides even when things shouldn't on paper, sure He has something better, life goes on, and yada, yada, yada... I know.

But this move finally made sense in my heart.  I had surrendered in every way I thought possible.  Last month, (before this was on the horizon) I even recycled an entire house's worth of cardboard boxes from our near-move three years ago.  That took a lot of faith, let me tell you.  (Because do you know how hard it is to scour your city for moving boxes, label them so carefully, pack a house, have it fall through in the final moments, unpack the house, break down every box, stack them neatly on a high shelf in your garage and then look at them every time you get in the car for the next couple of years?  I let them go.  It felt significant.)  I joked, "Okay so now that I surrendered my boxes... I bet we'll move." We laughed.  And then this opportunity showed up.  For seventeen years my man has been chirping in the background about the Cleveland area since that's where his company headquarters were.  For the first time in all those years I surrendered and got excited about moving far away.  Hopeful.  A fresh start.  Could taste it.  Not to be.

I am tired of asking for "no's."  I have prayed for my man to love what he does, love the commute, love the paycut, love all that he lost with this current transfer.  Prayed for it to mean something.  Prayed for it to eventually make sense.  Prayed for a contentment to settle over us as we struggle.  We feel deeply in our hearts that this isn't long-term and I've prayed for that feeling to go away if it's wrong.  Prayed that we would stop looking/feeling/acting/talking like flakes.  We didn't used to be flakes.

And yet I praise Him for all of the "no's."  All of them.  I've cried over every single one... but I thank him through the tears and I praise Him with a lead-weighted heart.  I worship Him in the "this makes no sense."  

I know that everything will be alright in the end... so if it's not alright... it's not yet the end.  As I wrestle with all of this early in the morning, it seems almost silly in light of what some are facing and losing on the East Coast with the storm.  As I share my heart, I don't mean to minimize other struggles in any way.  Please know that, and my deepest prayers are with you all over there being affected.   

I'm sorry to dump that on you when I'm scheduled to be hosting my first Fabulous Feature (and giveaway) but it was raw, fresh as of early this morning, and makes sense in my heart to turn this around now with a sweet ending.

Let's give something wonderful away.  Shall we?  Yes.
 One of my darling sidebar sponsors, Amber from Half Pint Prints is offering today's giveaway.  I have to tell you, I love her things and it's a joy to share her talent with you guys for my first Fabulous Feature!!  She makes the cutest holiday greeting cards you ever did see, announcements of every kind, birthday invitations and of course, darling prints.  Plus, she is a sweetie to work with (I can totally vouch for that) so you know you'll get attention to detail, customization, and that special personal touch that is missing in so many places.  I love that she gives the option of sending her prints on an e-file so you can print it right away!  Instant gratification.  Everything she comes up with is lovely.  And colorful.  And her patterns are trendy and fresh.
 I've got two of her prints scattered around my house as I write.  (This one is my all time favorite so far and cozies up next to our guest room bed.  It's a precious reminder and always makes me smile big.  Amber was really sweet and customized the color of the heart for me.  She's nice like that.)
Today, Amber is giving away the option of one of the above three prints in 8x10 size or a stack of 25 printed 5x7 cards in your choice-birthday invitations, announcements, or holiday greeting cards.

Tough choice, I know. 

In order to enter this giveaway please pop over (here) to Amber's little store and leave a comment on this post, letting us know what item is your very favorite!  (And yes you can Pin, tweet, Facebook, IG, or blog about this for an extra entry- just be sure to leave an additional comment HERE, letting me know.)

And if you need something of hers right now... she is also offering a 20% discount if you use the code LMM20 in her shop, when you check out, between now and Thanksgiving.  I told y'all she was a sweetie.

Happy Shopping!




Sunday, October 28, 2012

The post full of random stuff.

One of the funnest things about blogging, is documenting life as it passes... and looking back. 
 Two years ago, we visited this pumpkin farm. Over the weekend we braved the gray, rainy, cold and visited it once again.  As I went through the photographs I found myself taking a trip down memory lane, comparing life and changes to the trip we made here two years ago.  We don't home school anymore.  (At least not this year, but that's a year by year decision.) One thing that's still exactly the same... still in the same house!  LOL  (I had to add that for those of you who are longtime readers.)
 My Ava dosn't look that much different.... in fact, she still has bangs and two pigtails.  That cracked me up.  Unplanned.


 This little hoodlum won't let me cut his hair.  Drives me crazy... work in progress and not a hill I'm going to die on but I do love his hair nice and tidy like it was two years ago!  (grin)
 My kids fill a wheel barrel a little bit more this time around. 
 My brother and his wife came along... and this time they brought their baby girl too.  Uncles and Daddies are the most fun.  They say yes to everything.
 The animals still stole my heart, just like they did two years ago... but there were no baby pigs.  Sad.
 These two are still adorable little hoodlums. 

 We still cheered for a duck race...



 I still adore my man.  That never changes.
 Um.  Yeah... they got a lot taller.  I'm wearing a three inch heeled boot. 
 I'm also not a brunette anymore.  Funny how that changes. 
 This photo cracks me up because I'm standing in a heeled boot... on tip toes to take this photo next to my man.
 I also laughed out loud when I saw this. I feel like anyone who knows us would say that this photograph very much represents our family.  Ava's got a scarf falling off her shoulder, and JJ is standing there front and center with his apple.   Might have to make this one our Christmas card. Bwahahaha!
 Okay so the pumpkin farm photos are done. Now to some randoms- We're working hard on our budget these days... so when I fell hard for the faux fur pillow/throw trend out there I knew there was no way I was going to join it.  But then... I found a faux fur body pillow cover for under $10 at Target.  I bought one and used it to make two pillows.  I used both end pieces and tossed out a misc. chunk in the middle, which allowed me two perfect little furry pillows.  Thrifty and I like it.
 Also... you guys keep filling my inbox with questions on the ruffled knitted scarf.  I told you not to make me explain it.  LOL  I used a soft baby yarn that was gray and white.  That's all I know.  It was leftover from the hat that there is no way I can ever make again, OR explain.  (Plus I don't have the pattern.)  But the scarf is as follows and when she says "turn" she means flip those needles backwards (switching hands) and knit those 8 (or 6 or 4) stitches right back on to make the original 20.  I had never seen that before but it's awesome.

Any yarn (approx. 300 yards) 
Any needle (use whatever is recommended by yarn)
Gauge not important!!
Cast on 20 stitches
Row 1: k20
Row 2: k8, turn, k8
Row 3: k6, turn, k6
Row 4: k4, turn, k4
Repeat all four rows to desired length

 Also.  If you're looking for a yummy harvesty cake... look no further.  I made this cake from Pinterest, and the only tweaks I did were to use a GF cake mix, my own salted caramel sauce, and add the caramel step with the sweetened condensed step.  It was "almost better than anything." (grin)
I'm going to be doing a weekly Fabulous Feature post over the next several weeks, (with a giveaway or two in there) highlighting some of my sidebar sponsors, shops I love, etc. (watch for my next post) but before I do that, I did want to make a quick announcement.   I am going to be closing my little shop for most of December.  (Not sure the exact date but probably the second week.) I do have some more of these "eat drink and be merry" Christmas napkins coming soon. 
I mentioned this sweet new print that I've just added to my shop and wanted to show it.  I do believe it's my favorite. 

But then I say that about everything, don't I? 

How was your weekend?



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Insta-LOVE.

I can't help it. I'm addicted to Instagram.  It's handy and fun and well... instant.  I used to walk hunched over because I carried my big Canon in my purse all. the. time.  Though I still use it daily, I love having my phone handy for a quick moment capture.
 I've still been doing my #dailythankfuls on Instagram... and my Etsy store is a definite thankful.  I have a fun new print for the holidays in stock right now... absolutely LOVE it.  (11x14 in size, just slip it into a standard sized 11 x 14 frame and you're good to go!) And Yes... I had to drag all of this cute stuff onto my front porch to stage and photograph this sign for my shop, due to the drizzly weather.  I'm sure I give the neighbors a good laugh constantly.  Isn't this a fun collection of festivity though? It was so cute it almost pained me to put it all back, and at the very least I think I know what direction I want my Christmas decor to go now.  
 Don't you think I need one of these?  I would put "LMM" on the license plate. Ha!
 I had no idea zinnias would become one of my favorite planted flowers.  Bright and long lasting, they are still blooming in my garden!  I keep thinking I've got the last of them... but a few more pop up.  I am planting a ton more next year.
 Ah my neighborhood.  Always love this little spot.
 Last year Martha inspired Ava and I to make this.  I took it down when Lucy died because it was sad... and how funny is it that we have another black little girl dog to step right into Lucy's place in this project?  We rehung it and all smiled.  Smiling's our favorite.
 Sweet bloggy/Instagram buddy gave me this pattern for a ruffled scarf.  I'm pretty sure my knitting is forever changed.  I will never knit the same plain scarf again!  (Just don't ask me to explain it for you.)
 You would never know that this smiling-faced-cutie-pie-little person had caused so much trouble on this day would you?  I posted that I was seriously in need of a long nap... yeah... never did that that nap. Ha!
 I had leftover bay leaves from cooking... twisted them into a sweet little wreath... now I want more.  Many more.  Why didn't I plant a bay leaf bush in my yard??  Why?  I have a need for many bay leaf wreaths.... Did I mention that already?
 I know... you've seen it before.  In "real" photos...  Twas just so cute... had to show it again.  Sometimes my blog and Instagram walk hand-in-hand... sometimes they don't.  You just never know what you're gonna get. 
Sometimes I need the reminder..... don't we all?

Do you Instagram?  Give me a shout in comments so I know your Insta name... I love following you guys back I just don't always know who goes with what names out there!

Go forth and capture those little moments.  So very much to be thankful for and appreciate, isn't there? 



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spinnin' wheels.

 The rain, gray and drizzle has arrived in the Pacific Northwest.  It never really affected me until last year, but I can tell that I'm already over the "grainy season" (gray, rainy season) because I want to paint everything that moves a bright, happy, mustardy-yellow color.  (I'm resisting the urge to paint my kitchen island the color on the end of the paint strip.... but oh... what do you guys say??  It's only paint right? It would be rather fun... just not sure I'm that brave.  (I've also been considering a kind of dirty blue-green, or gray as an alternative.  Sheesh.  Gray?!  Like I don't have a enough of that outside? But that would be really cute too, wouldn't it?)

I finally had to break down and move that big long stripey rug that was under my kitchen sink because 1) it was too big for the area and I kept fearing a trip 2) It didn't lay flat on the corners which is enough to drive a person batty without the rain outside.  I was happy to score this little gold and white number from Target.  It's machine washable.  Hallelujah.

I have so many things in the back of my mind plan-wise currently that I don't even know where to start.  Does that ever happen to you? I'm painting on old dresser in my closet this bright yellow.  It might be the most fun project I've ever done.  Who knew.  But it's got the wheels rolling... because now I feel like I need to do something with my whole closet- like finish the trim and paint the walls in there to match my bedroom.  I have a feeling it's going to be a gorgeous finished product when it's done... but that's a project for another day.
 I've also got family photos on the brain.  I made a fun necklace with clearance beads but now I just have to figure out what everyone else is going to wear.  I'm dying for a good photo shoot.  I want to do a huge canvas print wall and rework and refresh my gallery wall space a bit.  We'll see how that goes.  It's in the works as I speak though... a few huge prints ordered already and waiting to be finished during non-garland making free time.  I'm a little excited about it.

And YES garlands are in production this week.... and even though all 100 are currently reserved, if you think you still want one, email me to get on the wait list because I have already had cancellations and movement on that list so you never know.  (lemonademakinmama@comcast.net)
 I know... you want to know about the interview Adrain had for the Ohio job.  See the bags?  Lack of sleep...  We are all fighting head/chest colds right now which I'm going to blame the bags on, rather than worry.  Ha!  Adrain did the interview Monday and it was a great interview... he was the most qualified candidate and was really well prepared etc, however he is convinced he didn't get it because there are 8 local guys also applying and the gal interviewing him seemed pretty keen on "knowing" the person she hires. We'll know for sure later this week... but in the meantime, we are trying to make peace with the probable disappointment of a "no."  And to the dozens of you who sent me emails on Monday letting us know you were praying for our family and Adrain's interview, I felt so overwhelmed by your love and support.  Thank you for being such an encouragement to us. I read them all to Adrain and he loves you guys too! It's fair to say that I was more excited/hopeful about this possibility than anything we've crossed paths with in the past three years, and my heart keeps praying for God to just surprise the heck out of us and say "YES."  (He does that sometimes....right?)
 Case in point- hoodlum puppy.  She was a total surprise.  (She starts puppy kindergarten next week.  And she had better learn something there too! Her head is mostly full of air.  But she sure is sweet and she does walk beside me like a champ with her little tail wagging happily.)

Claiming these words today as I try not to spin my wheels in life and all it's details and worries;

2 Samuel 7:27-29 (emphasis mine)
Lord Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you.’ So your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.”
 



Friday, October 19, 2012

As planned...

Have you ever noticed things don't often go as planned?  Or how you build it up to go in your head?  I get so easily put out when that happens... but sometimes that turns out to be such a good thing, doesn't it?  I don't know about you, but I get very caught up in the planning of the future.  And then of course I naturally worry about what I've planned, thinking about the things that might go wrong, cause problems, or become bumps in the road of life. 

The other day I was doing this very thing.  In fact, I have the bags under my eyes to prove the amount of sleep I lost planning/worrying about the future.   As many of you know from previous posts Adrain is about to interview for a job within his company that is located in Ohio.  (His interview had to be re-scheduled for Monday morning, so of course I have to wait that much longer. Obviously, I didn't plan that!)  I had been thinking about all the angles. Adrain getting the job.  Adrain not getting the job.  Moving with kids.  Moving with a puppy.  Moving in winter.  Moving over Christmas.  Driving over mountain passes.  Selling a house.  Having a house not sell.  Finances. 

It goes on. 

And on. 

We cracked open our brightly colored "Jesus Calling " for kids devotional (by Sarah Young) and the words poured out over the edges of my heart like a hot apple cider on a cold day. Titled "You are Valuable," it grabbed the attention of my tear ducts immediately.  Something about being told I'm precious when I'm in a rut of anxiety always makes me cry.  It read, "Worry is the result of imagining a future without Me in it... Sometimes you do have to think about the future.  The key is how you think about it. If you only think about the things you must do to plan to be prepared, then you will start to worry.... when you must plan ahead... don't spend very much time thinking about the future.  The more you think about it, the easier it is to start worrying.  And second, always include Me in your thoughts.  Don't just imagine what you will do, imagine what I will do.  You can trust me to take care of you- today and in the future.  Remember how valuable you are to Me." 

"Consider the ravens; they do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.  And how much more valuable you are than birds!"  Luke 12:24






 I can't tell you the number of times I have caught myself worrying about plans in the days following, and the thought that I was actually worrying because I was picturing a future without God in it.  Convicting.  
So today when this little guy had to stay home for a sick day with me and I had to toss out all my plans... I decided to share these words with you... you know, on the off chance that you're a planner/worrier like me.  He's got the future.  We can trust Him with it.





And to brighten your weekend, I want to leave you with these little pumpkin pie treats.  (Which my sick boy gobbled down in about two seconds.)

 JJ's Sick day pumpkin pies: 
Gluten Free Graham cracker crust: (substitute regular grahams for non-GF version)
1 1/2 cups s'moreable graham crackers
1/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
*Mix together and press down into 6, 4 oz  mason jars.

Filling:
2 large eggs,
15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
*Combine in a bowl until well mixed.  Ladle into mason jars evenly.  Bake 350 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack and top with pie crust leaves or whipped cream. 

Pie crust leaf garnish: 
Use whatever kind of pie crust you prefer- I use the Gluten Free Pantry's version.  Roll out and use use leaf cutters.  Lay on parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Bake at 350 for approx 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown.  (Baking time may vary depending on thickness of crust.)

Resources: 
Little pie crust leaf and acorn cutters can be found here. 
Brown Transferware plate, present from my man, found at an antique mall.
Tiny mason jars, here.
Bamboo utensils, here.