Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Leading Men in the Love Stories of Our Lives

I love to read. I love to read Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte...two of my most favorites. One of my favorite books of all time is Jane Eyre. As I await springtime and try to make it through the gloomy days of January, February and many times March I try to choose books that are "Old Friends." These "old friends" bring me happiness, and help still my restless soul. I enter a world where life always ends happily, and strong people conquer all. I have been spending my reading moments this month with Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. Let's face it one of the reason's I love these books are the leading men. I love how all my favorite leading men are Mr.'s. Mr. Darcy(Pride and Prejudice), Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre), Mr. Knightly (Emma), Mr. Thornton (North and South) the two exceptions would be Captain Wentworth (Persuasion) and Gilbert Blythe (Anne of Green Gables). As I read these books as a younger woman, I found myself caught up in their words and visualizing them as perfect men. As I read these books now I see that they are men with flaws. They are strong willed, and proud, often they don't know how to say things correctly the first time..hello Mr. Darcy's first proposal. They really struggle to understand the women in their lives. And they often times say and do dumb and stupid things. They also rise however to the occasions placed before them and become the men they need to be. I think this is what Real Men are. Flawed at times and yet they rise to the occasions of life. My favorite leading man of all time is my own Mr. McAllister. He is most definitely a Real Man. He is flawed. He has never written a love letter like Captain Wentworth, but he does leave me notes on the backs of receipts or on scrap pieces of paper that say , "I Love you. And hope you have a good day." Or silly pun's that make me laugh. He doesn't always remember to whisper sweet nothings to me, but he always rises to the occasions that make him a leading man in our lives. Last night Mini B. started puking in the middle of the night, really the early morning. He ran to her room and was already holding her hair before I could get there. He lovingly rubbed her back and told her everything would be okay. While I helped her clean up he cleaned her entire bed and room which were literally covered in a horrible stench of vomit. He didn't complain or go back to bed. He took on the task and came to check on her and I with positive and caring affirmations. I can't imagine even the worthy Mr. Darcy doing that. We spent most of our evening in separate parts of the house. I comforting Mini B. and he trying to get Thing 2 back to bed, since he had woken up in the commotion of the sickness. Yet I felt so close to him, so loved and so blessed to be married to my own leading man....Mr. McAllister who always rises to the occasion,to show real love. I look at the world around us and realize that their definition of love is so different than the real stuff, which is really to go above what one wants...to be in the service of someone else. Real leading men are hard to come by. As I read about Mr. Rochester again and my beloved Jane I realize how real love seldom comes packaged in the perfect package. Some time it is wrapped in plain and simple wrapping and the gem lies waiting inside for us to discover. So here is to leading men. Real men, who look their best in pajama's holding their little girl's hair while she pukes. Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Some Luck and Spring

I have a few decorations up and thought I would share them with you. I didn't really have anything for St. Patty's day and so I made this little sign with green paper on my silhouette cutter. I taped the cut out of the clover to my vase. The bunny was my Nan's and the watch was my Great Grand father's.

I love fresh flowers. This yellow sunshine was $5 at the Grocery store and I have had them for two weeks now. I just have trimmed and changed there water every couple of days. They make me feel so happy.

We had a little Leprechaun visit the homestead and left us some of his gold. This is just a cookie cutter placed on top of gold chocolate coins. Perfect for adding a bit of Irish spark.

Bulbs are pushing through here at the homestead and glimpses of spring are on their way.
Have a lovely Thursday....the sunshine has just burst through all the rain. Ours is looking up.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mindy Gledhill - Whole Wide World (Official Music Video)

I love Mindy Gledhill's music. It is uplifting and soothing. Beautiful and thoughtful. It makes me smile and cry. I have her new CD and I seriously listen to it ALL the time. I wanted to share her newest video with you. I love the windmill's in the back ground. I'm pretty sure they are the one's at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon. We drive past them on our way to our beautiful Mt. Pleasant and they make me smile too. Plus I totally dig her glasses and am thinking I might be sporting something similar soon. Hope you enjoy this and are smiling at the end. Happy Monday.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Little Birdie Told Me Baby Shower

On Saturday we had a super fun Baby Shower for my sister in law. She loves birds so we did a Little Birdie Told me....for our theme. Our colors were pink, yellow and gray. My other sister in law B made his darling banner.
B also helped me with this beautiful table scape. She used clear parfait glasses with yellow and pink carnations. I sewed a grey table runner, with pink flowers on the ends. I found this darling ribbon with flowers on it at Walmart. So easy to add onto things. The nests were made by my sis AL and are no-bake cookies with yellow, white and pink Cadberry Mini Eggs in the center... we added the nests and some moss covered rocks I picked up at the Dollar Store.

We had a wonderful Pasta Spinach Salad...veggie tray with a Greek Cucumber dip, Mushroom Sausage tarts, and Zucchini boats with feta, and tomato mixture. It was so delicious.

AM made a super yummy pomegranate/grapefruit drink...it was so tasty. We used the cherry blossom sticks from the Japanese Dinner Party and cut out birds on my Silhouette machine and hot glued them to the sticks.
We filled vases with rocks, and moss and then added the sticks. I found the bird at Michael's for 40% off.

Finally for the shower gift we put all her items into a wreath that we made look like a nest. We found these cute chick bags at the Dollar Store and put the items inside. It was a fun way to giver her a gift.
It was a perfect way to welcome the newest little member of our family.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tangled Party

So I am very excited about this post. I am very fortunate to have amazingly creative sisters and my sister Alisa just threw her daughter Cora a fantastic Tangled Birthday party. Here at the Homestead our parties are usually ones on a budget and I loved all her creative ideas on a REAL WORLD budget.
She found these flowers and butterfly's at the Dollar Store. Some where from last year.

She made these darling hanging lanterns from scrapbook paper. She found the idea on the Disney Family Fun website. She doubled a length of thread to a glue dot on the inside and then just used some little bejeweled flowers on the outside.

The Birthday sign with Butterflies from the Dollar Store.

Wall Stickies were also from the Dollar Tree.

This banner was from Hobby Lobby on clearance for $2.50 it was so darling.

The favor bags had a Pascal party blower that she made with foam from Disney Website, mini Slinky's, little tube of bubbles, a couple bendy bands, a tangled notebook from Dollar Tree, a mini paint set (she got on Clearance at Walmart after Valentines day 4 for 50 cents.) and some watercolor paper sheets, little recorder (Valentines section at Target), and a little candy bar. They were so darling and so much fun for the kids.

The Pascal Party blower was darling.
My other sister Amelia decorated these adorable pascal cupcakes....idea also off Disney Website.

These were my favorite item...they are mini frying pan necklaces. She used baby food jar lids with modge podged tissue paper, then hot glued a pipe cleaner onto the back. She used ribbon and/or yarn to make them into necklaces. Idea also off the Disney Family Fun website. Such a cute idea.

The party table....

The lantern's up close.

She printed off this Wanted Poster and the kids had to draw on a nose for Flynn Rider. So fun.

For the boys she made Flynn Rider satchels. They were made out of felt and hung over their shoulders.

It was a great party full of fun and laughter. Just what a party should be.

For a link to the Disney Family Fun Website go here. Thanks Alisa for letting me post your darling party.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Invisible Mom

(Picture downloaded from Flicker-taken by Teresa Flanagan
it is of the Holy Name Cathedral - Chicago)

This is a very touching and sweet story I have heard several times. I don't know the source but a dear friend gave it to me last year and then another dear friend sent it to me today and I thought it would be a great thing to post. This is to ALL those who sometimes feel invisible as they go about doing Good Works.

The Invisible Mother
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?"

Obviously not, no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I"m invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please."

Some days I'm a crystal ball: "Where's my other sock?, Where's my phone?. What's for dinner?"

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when now one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour- the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
2)These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
3)The made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
4)The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. I twas almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does."

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My Mom gets up at four int he morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the lines for the table." That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, "You're going to live it there!"

As mother's, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be see if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

May you all have a wonderful day!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cherry Blossom Party

I did a dinner party with a Cherry Blossom Theme. The invite was paper fortune cookies...with the invite information inside as the fortune. So many great tutorials online. Then the paper cookies were served to my guests in takeout boxes with their names written on front in Japanese....I googled a website that converts English Letters to Japanese.

I am not a huge sushi fan...okay I've never dare try it. But I thought these candy Sushi were fun and easy. Just Google Candy Sushi for ideas and recipes. They are just Rice Crispy Treats and various candy. SOooooo Easy.

Chocolate Dipped Fortune cookies. I bought the fortune cookies and just dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkles.

This was our place setting. The cup was made by my fellow party planner and is a Japanese number. The take out boxes had Japanese Cherry Blossom lotion from Bath and Body Works. The place mat is from the dollar store. And we found the chopsticks and fans online.

I had very little money for decorations and so decided to make my own cherry blossom stems. I hot glued flowers on sticks. I picked up the sticks at Michael's 50 for 5.99 with my 40% off coupon. The flowers I had and just pulled off and glued on. The vase I found for $1.50 at DI

The decorations were simple...two Chinese lanterns and I cut out birds and flowers on my Silhouette and hung them on twine. They looked cute and simple.

You could easily do takeout for this meal, but I made Orange Chicken, Rice and bought frozen Vegetable Spring Rolls that I baked in the oven and put in Takeout boxes.

It was a fun and easy dinner party, with everything being pre-made or assembled and it was affordable too. I did the fortune cookies the night before and kept in fridge and the candy sushi the day of.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book Nook: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

This book was recommended to me by a dear friend. I finished last night and found this a beautiful read. It was truly bitter and sweet. The book flips back and forth between the years of 1986 and 1942-1945. It is full of interesting facts and heartfelt moments. The main characters Henry and Keiko will capture your heart and spin a tale of the conflicts inside America during WWII. It highlights the cultural differences between various groups and injustice between cultures, while painting a beautiful picture of loyalty, honor, service and love. I completely enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

Hope you are having a joy filled week.