Saturday, April 28, 2012

through a scanner darkly

don't say a word

It's the first Saturday in a good long while where I've had nothing to do. So this is what I do. 


I like how creepy it makes everything look.


K. I'm done. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

take a shower will ya

 This past weekend I hosted my very first baby shower. I was nervous. I spent the entire day Friday cooking and making sure I had everything ready. I spent the entire morning leading up to the shower running around my house checking off my to-do list and sweating with the knowledge that I had probably forgotten something important. Like cleaning the bathroom. Or frosting the cake.

Fortunately I didn't forget either of those things. In the case of the bathroom cleaning this was especially good considering that four males + one bathroom = Ick.

My house, under the best of circumstances, is kind of a nightmare to take pictures in. The lighting is bad. The wall color (a very muted gray-green) makes everything look washed out and bluish. My camera (not to mention my skillz) are not great either, but I can manage to get decent pictures outside on a sunny day. :) So when party day arrived, cloudy and with the humid rumble of thunder in the air, I knew that picture-taking was a lost cause. So just try to muscle your way past the visual gag reflex whilst perusing my pathetic pictures. Deal? Deal.

I really wanted to make some pretty decorations for this party. My friend Jenn is the kind of person who will do anything for you. In fact, she showed up to her own shower with her hands full of bags, which were full of things to give other people. That's just how she is. So I wanted to try and make her something special in return, knowing that she would appreciate any little detail I decided to include. At first my idea was goofy woodland cutesy stuff (think owls and garden gnomes), but as the decorations and food ideas evolved it became something a little different. Still woodsy but not exclusively so.

 I spread the table with deer skins that my husband tanned all by himself, and put out a few little cut logs as pedestals. The cake was made to look vaguely log-like, and I made meringue mushrooms to scatter around it.

I made antipasto skewers, chicken mushroom and rice soup, and chicken salad sandwiches for the savory side of things. Speaking of chicken salad, I used this recipe and it was sooooo good. Although I think I put in less mayonnaise, and I squeezed in the juice of a lime to brighten the flavor a bit. But still. Yummo. You should try it.

For sweets I made the log cake, and some s'mores on a stick (dip marshmallows in melted dark chocolate, then roll in graham cracker crumbs. You're welcome).

Aaaaand I made some hilariously lame looking toadstool cupcakes. That's them on the top. Eurgh, right? Hahaha. Oh well.

Note to self: mixing red food coloring into cream cheese frosting will never get you red frosting. Neither will adding various other colors into the mix in a desperate attempt to color-correct.

I wanted to make some nice little party favors for all the guests, so I whipped up some small jars of sugar scrub. I chose sugar scrub partially because I love sugar scrub for my hands (especially after a few hours of weeding my garden) and partially because I love any excuse to experiment with essential oil combinations.

Anyway, the party was nice. We didn't do any games. No awkward "mixers". People were not penalized for saying the word "baby" or crossing their legs. We just hung out and ate food and talked. The highlight of the party was seeing a group of women crowding into my kitchen to watch my husband make coffee in our coffee siphon thingy. I don't know why it was so fascinating, but I couldn't get over my usually quiet, stoic husband being the center of attention at a baby shower. My sister-in-law's mom got this picture on her iPhone.

But the absolute best part about the party was blessing Jenn. Love ya girl! Can't wait to meet baby Matthew!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Man, I can't wait for June. I wouldn't have thought those words would ever enter my thoughts or come out of my mouth (not in Florida, anyway) but there you have it. It's been back-to-back crazy ever since February and it doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon. But June is when we take a homeschool break, and that at least I can look forward to with some degree of certainty.


This past weekend we celebrated my oldest's ninth birthday, and a great time was had by all. I planned (and built, and planned some more) an adventure party which involved dirt, an obstacle course, bloodworms, and a lot of falling down.


You can read more about it over at The Grigoryevs, our family blog.

I also finished my friend's wedding dress. It was a relief to be finished (and to see the giddy smiles and hear the giggles that the finished product was met with). It also made me want to do MORE. I loved the whole process of making something pretty and special. I would love the chance to make one from scratch, rather than revamping an old one, if only because there were some slightly jerry-rigged bits that, as a perfectionist, made me feel a little twitchy. 

 In the interests of keeping things under wraps until the actual wedding has taken place, I don't want to show the whole thing. I felt bad that I put those other pictures up on the cat pee post--it didn't even cross my mind that a wedding dress needs to be a secret until the big day! Duh. But I can show you the little flowers I made to sit at her hip:

 I enjoyed using bits of the original dress in the embellishments. I used tulle from the petticoat we got rid of and some of the fabric-covered buttons from the jacket that came with the dress in these flowers. The groom is wearing a blue seersucker suit, so she wanted bits of blue in the flowers to reflect the color of his outfit. Fortunately I had a few blue beads in my collection of random things. 

I can't wait to show you the whole thing. !! I hope she gets good pictures for me to use, because between finishing the dress and throwing a b-day party (in the same day) I totally forgot to take a picture of the final product! Dang, I hate that. Still, it looks way better on her than it does on a hanger, so we'll keep our fingers crossed that I get a good pic of her wearing it after the fact.

This weekend I'm throwing my good friend Jenn a baby shower at my house. This is the first time I have ever done anything other than a Christmas or birthday party, so I'm pretty excited to use my girly ideas to make it pretty. Not too pretty, because she's having a boy, but still. Pretty. Fortunately, we're in agreement that there will be no lame, embarrassing games to play. No gross "guess the baby food" or "guess what candy bar I squished into this diaper" stuff.  And since this is her third baby, we're not doing presents--just food, praying for their family, and hanging out. Which means I get to focus on the prettiness. And the food. Eeeeee! Exciting.

And lastly, if you enjoy random things that kids say, you should read these posts. And yes, I gave my six and nine year-olds a bit of coffee yesterday. Try not to judge.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

the only guarantee

There are things in this life that we cling to. That we hold onto with frantic, grasping hands that only weaken as the years go by. These things, it would seem, are the essence of happiness and when they are taken from us we feel empty, betrayed, punished. Money, health, family, friends--it makes no difference. These things are not guaranteed. They are not promised to you. When you are born you are not assigned a contract along with your birth certificate, outlining all the things you can reasonably expect in your lifetime. A healthy, fun childhood. Freedom as a teenager to rebel a little, explore who you might be. The chance in your twenties to go to college, sow some wild oats, and start your career. 

You are not promised a fairy tale marriage.

You are not assured a cancer-free body.

It is not assumed that you will outlive your children. 

I've heard it said that the memories you make are the only things that last, but can you be sure that you will retain those memories when your mind is aged and failing?

So often we make the assumption that life will be good to us, and when it isn't, we kick and scream and beat out tiny human fists against the ground and rail against God. We scream at the sky our outraged "how could You do this to me?" We walk away from God, deny His existence, or allow our view of Him to diminish to the point where He is seen as nothing more than harsh tyrant bent on punishment and hellfire. Or worse--indifferent to our pain. Even we who believe are blind-sided by trials and rough seas, by illness and pay-cuts, by fights with spouses and kids who do things you never thought they would do.


Notice how there's a "but" there? It's there for a reason. You might not like the reason. The reason may rub you the wrong way, induce eye-rolling or anger, but it's still there: life is not these things. Life is a gift, given by God, so that we may know Him and love Him as He loves us. Every blessing added on top of life is icing on the cake. Every trial that comes and grieves us is a way He shows us that we need Him. That we're created to rely on Him solely. He's not an additive that makes life better so long as you follow all the rules--He IS life. And even though we are created to think and feel deeply, to question and quell doubts, our minds are totally limited. We have difficulty seeing the big picture in the midst of our petty trials of a bad day, a headache, that irritating person who just won't back off. How could we possibly know why God does anything? Why He denies or allows anything? How could we ever comprehend His big picture? And if we can't comprehend it, how could we allow grief and misery in our lives to cause us to question His love?

I don't know why this is weighing on my mind today. Maybe there's one person reading this blog who needs to know the love of God. Maybe there's someone who has turned their back on Him because He allowed suffering in their life, or their family's lives. Maybe I'm about to go through something hard and need the encouragement myself--who knows. All I know is that there is only one guarantee in life, and that is God. He is there, He will be there with you no matter what. If you want Him. If you seek Him. 

Seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice (for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you.
--Deuteronomy 4:29-31

God is love.
--I John 4:8

Love never fails.
--I Corinthians 13:8