Monday, August 29, 2011

Words to Live By

When we chose our son's name, it was for no other reason than we both really liked the name Levi. Although we knew the name was biblical, neither of us looked up any passages that referenced the character. This morning while I was reading I ran across a passage, and it was too neat (to me) not to share with you.

Jesus Calls Levi and Eats With Sinners - Luke 5:27-32
27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
 29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
 31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

This past Mother's Day, we stood in front of the church and pledged to raise Levi "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). That is not something we will take lightly; it wasn't a meaningless routine, it was a very special day and a special pledge. That's why I like this passage, and here is my favorite part:

“Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

{Mother's Day Dedication}

It is our prayer that this is exactly the heart of our Levi one day. It will be a special passage to read to him, and tell him about his namesake from the Bible and why he is someone to admire. It is our prayer that our Levi shares the same willingness to follow Him. We may not have had a "good" or meaningful reason for choosing Levi's name, but little did we know God would give us one. His plans are always greater than ours.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chocolate Chip C O O K I E S

{This post is dedicated to Thomas Almighty and Aunt Al} 
{Fourth of July cookies (made with red, white, & blue m&ms) from earlier this year}
This is my most-requested food item...actually, it's about the only thing ever requested, but you get the point.
Here's the "secret" recipe, for you and the whole world to see:

4 1/2 C flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 C butter
1 C shortening (butter-flavored)
1 1/2 C brown sugar
1 1/2 C sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
3 1/2 C choc. chips
1 1/2 C finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, mix butter, shortening, sugars, and vanilla and beat until creamy. Add eggs. Beat in half the flour mixture until blended, then add the other half and blend. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
The "secret" is actually in the baking. I use Calphalon Baking sheets - not air bake cookie sheets or anything similar. I put small balls of the dough right on the baking sheet, far enough apart that they won't touch, and I bake for 9 1/2 minutes (note: my oven is gas - ovens obviously may vary).
After the cookies cool on the baking sheets for about 2 minutes, I scoop them up with a spatula and lay them out on wax or parchment paper to finish cooling.

I realize everyone knows how to bake chocolate chip cookies, but I just thought I'd share my way!

{That is a mini-spatula I use for cookies - in case you were thinking my baking sheets looked gigantic}

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Homemade Body Butter

I can't take credit for this recipe - other than it being on my blog and I have made it - it came from my Aunt Marr Lynn. She gave some of this to my mom as a gift a couple of years ago, and it has become a family favorite and a great little easy homemade gift!

You can find all the ingredients at Dollar General.

2 4oz containers of Vitamin E Skin Care Cream (or facial cream) - this conveniently comes in a 2pk at DG
1 7.5oz jar of Vasoline (Petroleum Jelly)
1 6.5oz bottle of Baby Oil Gel - or Aloe Vera with Baby Oil - unscented
1 11oz bottle of Baby Lotion (unscented, or any scent you prefer)
*You can use the name brands or you can get all generic. DG carries both.

Mix Vitamin E cream, petroleum jelly, and lotion until well combined. Add baby oil gel and mix until well combined. Put in a sealed container of your choice.

What I like to do (because it's my blog):
I like to put this in small mason jars because I think they're cute. One batch of this fills 3 jars perfectly. I like to use the regular pink baby lotion because I like the baby smell. The coco butter baby lotion comes in at a close second for me. You can also use unscented and add the scent of your favorite perfume or just leave it plain.

**This is body butter, so it's going to have a little more grease to it than your typical body lotion - it may not be the thing you wanna throw on in the car and then safely grip the steering wheel. It is perfect for everything else - especially dry hands or feet. Rub this miracle cream on your heals and sleep in some socks and you'll be amazed.

I apologize for the Iphone pictures. My point-and-shoot camera I've had for 10 years died today, which is actually a good thing because I am going to buy a decent camera now. But, because we don't have a money tree in the back yard, you might be stuck with Iphone pictures for a few posts.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Recipe For a Great Late Summer Morning...

{Nap at Granny & Papa's}

Plus this:
{Pool, lounge chair, glasses}

 Plus this.
{Favorite vintage (sorry parents) NSU cup with iced tea}

Sometimes our days get so busy and fill up with obligations and normal day-to-day activities...and it's nice to slow down every once in a while, even if it's just for an hour or two. This was my morning, and it was lovely.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Project Post 6 - Levi's Barnwood Shelf

If you'll recall from this previous post, we have a bunch of old barnwood that was salvaged from Tyler's Grandad's house (also the house Tyler's dad grew up in), which is what we made Levi's letters and Tobin's sign out of. Tyler also used the barnwood to make a shelf that runs the length of Levi's room. This was actually the first project we used the wood for, and we completed it about a year ago while we were making Levi's nursery.

Tyler built the actual shelf structure out of old rusted metal and rebar that he already had, and welded it together to create a truss-like stucture. My type-A-ish personality had to really practice some patience and let Tyler roll with the creativity on this one, because, to be honest, when he tried to explain to me what he was doing I thought it was pretty ridiculous. I couldn't be happier with the result. I am really glad our doctor was right that Levi was a boy, because once this thing was put in place, it became part of the stucture of the house, and I would have a hard time fitting it in with a girl nursery theme. The following pictures are ones I took during the shelf construction process, and then some after shots once the room was fully decorated.

The trees were used at our church baby shower. Our Sunday School class did a wonderful job throwing us a themed shower that matched Levi's nursery. I love our sweet church. Here are some flashback snapshots from that, so you can get an idea of how these trees were originally used.

I asked Tyler to make a cornice board for the window out of the wood as well. He put some metal on the corners to hide the raw joints and to make it flow with the shelf. The metal he put on the corners was from an old bed frame.

On the very right side of the shelf, there is an old wire crate (it's turquoise/green) that houses books. The books are national geographic pop-out books that were mine when I was little (my grandparents used to buy them for me every birthday and Christmas), and I will enjoy reading them with Levi. The crate is something we found in my grandpa's barn, which was something I rescued when they sold their farm (he left a bunch of stuff in the barn that he didn't want to move into town).

The wooden barrell-looking thing is a minnow trap that Tyler's Grandad made and gave to him. The lanterns are some that I collected from various places once I decided on a theme for the room.

And that completes the nursery mini-tour!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lunch {Play}Date

On Tuesday, my sister Allie sent me a text to see if the little one and I wanted to go to lunch at Harmony House (here and here) with her kiddos the sweet children she nannies. This was (technically) Levi's first play date and my first time to get to hang out with her kids (as we all refer to them). They are precious! I just thought I would share some snapshots from our good time.

Hunter is about a month older than Levi (almost 11 months) and Janna informed me that she was about to be 4. When I told her that 4 was "so old," she matter-of-factly said "yep, old like you!" without missing a beat. Hilarious:)

Nail Spotlight - Classic Red

I told you in this post about my love of keeping my nails manicured, and I'm back to share one of my favorite colors with you. Red is my favorite color in general, and while a lot of the time I keep my nails neutral, a great pop of red is necessary to change things up from time to time.

I've bought the same shade of "classic" red for about 10 years - luckily the company that makes it considers it part of their permanent collection (which you can view here) and promises never to discontinue it. It is called "Haute Red" and is made by Orly. You can buy it at Sally's, Ulta, or anywhere else that Orly is sold.
This red is my favorite because it is great for so many things. It is a great "cherry red" to wear in the summer, and it's also a great "Christmas red" to wear around the holidays. It has a slight tinge of orange - so it looks great with coral-type colors, and somehow, it also looks ok when you wear pink colors. It's just perfect for every thing you need a great red for!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Picture Worth....6,000 Words?

I just wanted to pop in and do a mini-project post. Mini-projects around here are defined as projects that can be done in between the time Levi goes to bed and I go to bed in a single week night.

I picked up this frame while we were in Canton - it's not a super, one-of-a-kind flea market jewel that I could never have found elsewhere, but we went down there to buy, so why not? (I really just said that for Tyler, he loves when I talk like that - especially when I deem something "such a good deal that we can't afford NOT to buy it")

I just did a "quick fill" of some of my favorite snapshots and I will probably switch them out as time goes on with some better photos. For now, I just wanted to get it on the wall - and fill up some of these empty walls we've had since we moved in.

We also started working on another project tonight - well, Tyler did, and we played outside a bit and pretended we were helping. More on that soon!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Easiest Salsa Ever

Do you have a can opener? That's about 50% of the tools you'll need to make this salsa. Ok, well, you'll need a just few more things.

Lineage: I got this recipe from my mom and dad, who got it from a family member of a family member who brought it over after my grandpa's funeral. Where it came from before that? No idea.

2 cans of Rotel (any variety)
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt (spice aisle at any grocery store)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Juice from 1 lime
Fresh cilantro (as much or little as you prefer)

Add all ingredients to blender or food processor and blend. Chill and serve.

Buen provecho!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Project Post 5 - Diaper Wreaths & Onesie Banner

Diaper Wreaths & Onesie Banner

This past Sunday, the gals in my Sunday School class and I threw a small baby shower for a dear friend in our class who recently had a baby boy. It was a diaper shower, so we wanted to incorporate diapers into the decorations, which is not only cute but also very functional!

My friend Shawna suggested making diaper cakes, and boy is she the queen of diaper cakes and showers:) If I can detour for a minute and travel back in time -- Shawna and her husband Jeff are our very good friends, and last summer after we found out the gender of our sweet baby boy, they threw us the best party either of us have ever been to, probably including our wedding. Here are a few snapshots of the event (which is definitely what it was: an event!).

Diaper Cake at the Gender Reveal Party

This wasn't just a shower; it was a "gender reveal" party. We found out we were having a boy on June 1st and this party was scheduled for June 18th. So, we waited 18 painfully long days (and it was painful, because everyone knew that we knew) before telling a soul the sex of the baby. Then, on that night after we had an awesome Mexican dinner complete with homemade fried ice cream, got to visit with our closest friends and family, and played some hilariously fun games, we revealed the gender during one of the games. The best part was that everyone was just expecting an "announcement" at the end of the party, but we not only surprised everyone with the gender, but surprised them by our spontaneous revelation as well (*note: why was this a big deal? Levi is the first grandchild in both of our families, so this was a pretty big deal to everyone). I could write a novel on this party alone, but I better wrap it up for fear of losing your attention.

My point here was that Shawna suggested diaper cakes, which she assembled for the shower according to the theme and colors we used (which coincided with the new baby's nursery), and I had a couple of Pinterinspired (did ya get that? Pinterest-inspired) decorations I wanted to try as well.

I came across these pictures on Pinterest, while browsing for decoration ideas.

From here, originally from here

From here, originally from here

These were my Pinspiration, and since then there have been many other diapers cakes and banners added that I've seen (and will try the next time I help give a shower).

Here's how my wreaths turned out. I will skip the play-by-play pictures since it's pretty self-explanitory. The materials needed are diapers (Pampers Swaddlers work best if you don't want color showing), tiny rubberbands, ribbon, and a hot glue gun. Oh, and I used a cake circle (found on the cake decorating aisle) made of foam board, and just cut a circle out of the center - as my wreath "form."

And here is the onesie banner. I used Gerber white onesies and iron-on letters to spell out baby Luke's name.

These were very simple decorations, which could've been made more extravagant if we had had more time, but I think they turned out great. Hopefully Tiffany and baby Luke felt very welcomed and loved!

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