Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Birthday Spot

Long ago our family discovered a delicious place called
Year after year it was THE place we would go for family birthdays.

Recently we revisited the magical hole-in-the-wall Mongolian restaurant (after a couple year hiatus) for my brother's birthday.
Luckily it's one of those places that has not changed anything in the past decade (or 2) so it was exactly how we all remembered it.

If you've never been to a Mongolian BBQ restaurant before let me fill you in on how it works.

This is the meat/veggie bar.
It is where masterpieces are created.

You get to choose from different kinds of meats and a smorgasbord of veggies as you assemble your perfect dish.

Then once you have the perfect combination and have carefully stacked it as high as it will possibly go,

you give it to the cook who BBQ's it in front of you.

Then once everything is cooked to perfection he gives you your hot, tasty dish to enjoy!

And if you are a master packer (i.e. can fit the maximum amount of food in your bowl before it goes on the BBQ) you will be rewarded by the cook with a plate instead of the usual bowl.
Look who got a plate this night.
Surprise, surprise.

Oh and the pocket bread.
Don't even get me started on the pocket bread.

It's perfect for stuffing your rice and meat/veggie goodness inside of.
Or eating plain.
Either way it is scrumptious.

I love birthday traditions!

Happy Birthday Jeff!

What are some new or old birthday traditions your family has?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Come back

Dear Babystyle,

Please come back.
I miss you

with your super cute halloween costumes
and cozy baby clothes.

It's just not the same without you.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sneak Peek

My hubby is awesome.
He made the coolest art for our kids room.
I'm so excited to show you the final product
but it's not quite done yet.

But for now I'll tease you with a sneak peek.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Heavy stuff

Our hearts have been heavy.
And not the kind of heaviness you can just shake off or forget about.
The kind of burden that just won't go away.

There are roughly 145 million orphans in the world.
I'm sure you have read or heard that statistic before.
I know I have.
And for a long time it was only that.
A number.
A statistic.
But lately it has been more than that.
It is a person.
A child.
Longing for love, a family, a home.

When I think about either of my kids being out on the street
or in an overcrowded orphanage my heart breaks.
I never want them to be without anything.
And yet my kids are nothing special.
They are children of God
just like e.v.e.r.y. orphan.
Loved. treasured. precious. children of God.

So if God loves them all the same
why don't I?

I saw the quote below on this blog while I was reading this post. Wow. I think it speaks for itself.
"Sometimes I would like to ask God why he allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world, when he could do something about it...but I'm afraid he might ask me the same question."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Felt Rose Hair Clips

In my world
anything can be turned into a hair clip or headband.
I saw this felt flower wreath and knew the flowers would make great hair clips
with the addition of a little bling of course.

Check out the tutorial here and make some felt roses of your own.
I'm pretty sure they would look cute attached to most anything.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I've been talking forever about teaching my friends how to sew.
I keep telling them that it's so easy and I am finally going to prove it to them.

Anyways, I've been brainstorming some good beginner projects for our first class.
I already had a couple ideas but I thought I'd look to google for some help
just in case there was something really cool I was missing.
I typed in "first time sewing projects"
and guess what came up first.

Just what I've always wanted (lol).

Some how that's not exactly what I had in mind.
At least it gave me a good laugh.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fall skirt

I love making skirts.
They are easy
and quick
and cute.
They also happen to be the only piece of clothing I can sew
(maybe that's why I like them so much).

In the spirit of fall I made this corduroy skirt for Mackenzie.
I think it will look really cute with a long sleeve shirt, knit tights and boots once the weather cools off a bit.
They are so easy to make I think there might be some more in my future.

Here and here are some similar skirt patterns.
Give them a try!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Meet Katie

If I could meet any blogger
or missionary
it would hands down

Last night my wish came true.

Katie has been inspirational to me in so many ways.
I first saw her blog a little over a year ago.
After reading a few posts I was in awe.
In awe of Katie who was willing and available to be used by God no matter what the cost.
In awe of the need, the brokenness, the hurt in Uganda and the world
and in awe of our God who is alive and active and moving.

Katie's ministry is to care for the orphans and the least of these in Uganda.
She loves them, feeds them, clothes them, and cares for them
ALL in Jesus' name.
She helps fill hungry bellies with food and hungry souls with the Gospel.
She is truly being the hands of feet of Jesus to those around her.

And if feeding 1,2oo children a day isn't enough to keep a girl busy
Katie also has 14 kids.
Read it again fourteen adopted kids.

Anyways, enough of me talking about Katie.
I'd like you to meet her for yourself.
Here's part of Katie's journey to where she is now told by Katie herself.

"It is my 16th Birthday and I am eating sushi at my favorite restaurant with my parents when I tell them that I would like to explore the possibility of taking a year in between high school and college to do mission work. This is unheard of in my family and they say they are not sure and will think about it. I am nervous, but somehow I know it is right. He changes their hearts.

I have just turned 18 and find an orphanage online. I beg my parents to let me visit over break, just three weeks. A month later I am on a plane. I am so excited. I am so scared of being, but I know He is going with me. I fall in love.

I graduate high school having made the commitment to teach Kindergarten for a year at a school in The Middle of Nowhere, Uganda. In August I get on the plane. I’m apprehensive and I cry most of the way because I miss my Mommy and my boyfriend. I am eager, but so uncertain. I trust Him. I teach 138 children how to speak English and to love Jesus.

It is October and I am just not sure I can do it anymore. I live in the smallest room I have ever seen in the back of a pastor’s house. I am more uncomfortable than I had bargained for. No one understands, not people here, not people at home. I am tired. But I am prideful and I am not going to quit. I don’t like this. But I know He has a plan. I learn, I grow, He is there.

It is December and God has spoken very clearly about opening a ministry that sponsors 40 of the orphaned children in the village where I am working. This involves moving into a different house, ALONE. It is big and I cannot imagine how God will fill it up. I am lonely and I am anxious. But I am still trusting. He fills the house, and we now have 400 children sponsored.

It is January and I am looking at a little girl, crushed under a brick wall with no one to care for her or her younger siblings. I offer to take the three home with me until we find them a better placement. I am not really sure what to do with them, but I know they are God’s children. They stay.

It is three days later and the littlest looks at me and calls me mommy. My heart might break in two. Something clicks. I am even more scared than I was the day I stepped on that plane, but I KNOW. Today I have 13.

I have to deliver a baby, give a boy stitches, pull a tooth, give and injection. I am petrified. But no one will do it if I do not. He is present, He holds my hand, they are all fine.

It is August and I must get on a plane back to America to go to college, as I have promised my father. I do not remember how to be a teenager or what it is to be normal Brentwood, Tennessee. I will have to leave my babies. I will have to make new friends. I am sad and I am terrified. He wraps His arms around me. He puts just the right people in just the right places, and they help me and they make me feel at home.

First semester is over and He speaks clearly to me that I cannot serve two masters. “Go HOME,” He says, “and stay.” I am uncertain, but I want to be obedient. He squeezes tighter. I am thankful.

I have to look at my loving parents who have given me everything and tell them that I will not go to college right now, because I feel God wants me to be in Uganda. I know how disappointed and how angry they will be. I am more scared than I was when I got on the plane and more scared than I was when I took my first children. But I know that this IS the Plan. They love me anyway.

It is February and my daughter’s biological father comes to take her away. My heart breaks in half, and I am not sure I will ever be able to get out of my bed again, let alone foster another child. I am more than devastated, but I want what is best for her, what He wants for her. She comes back and her biological father learns about Jesus.

It is March and a lame little girl is brought to my gate. She is undoubtedly mine, but I am still anxious. What if I can’t do it? I don’t know what to do with a special needs child, especially as my 13th child. I am criticized and ridiculed. I wonder. I trust and praise God for her sweet little life. She starts to walk.

I find myself in a village full of starving people that for some reason seem to want to kill me. God says to serve them anyway. I am not sure how it is going to work, or if it is safe. I can’t figure it out, but I know He can. 1,200 Karamajongs, the poorest of Uganda’s poor, are now served hot meals daily.

We keep taking in more children until there are 400 in our program. There is no way we will raise enough funds, but by now I have stopped worrying. He has always provided. Blessings rain from the sky, and all 400 children go to school.

I am 20 years old and have 13 children and 400 more who all depend on me for their care. Who are all learning to love Jesus and be responsible adults and looking up to me. The reality of it all can be a bit overwhelming at times. However, it is always pure joy. There is a common misconception that I am courageous. I will be the first to tell you that this is not actually true. Most of the time, I am not brave. I just believe in a God who will use me even though I am not. Most mornings, before I even get out of bed I am overwhelmed with His goodness, with His plan for my life; I stand in awe of the fact that He could entrust me with so much. Most days, I don’t have much of a plan. I don’t always know where this is going. I can’t see the end of the road, but here is the great part: Courage is not about knowing the path. It is about taking the first step. It is about Peter, getting out of the boat. I do not know my five year plan; even tomorrow will probably not go as I have planned. I am thrilled and I am terrified, in a good way. So some call it courage, some call it foolish, I call it Faith. I choose to get out of the boat. To take the next step. Sometimes I walk straight into His arms. More often, I get scared and look down and stumble. Sometimes I almost completely drown. And through it all, He never lets go of my hand."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sleeping on the job

Wesley fell asleep during lunch the other day.

It was so adorable and hilarious all at the same time.

Love my little man!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quite possibly my favorite smell ever.

Today my house smelt like fall.
Thanks to the wonderful people at Yankee Candles.

Their spiced pumpkin candle is quite possibly my favorite smell ever.
It's pure
cinnamon. pumpkin. cozy. fall. happiness.
I will probably be smelling it every day through November
and I'm totally not exaggerating.

Then once December hits I will switch to my second favorite smell ever.
Oh how I love the smells of the seasons.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Am I crazy?

I kind of want some of these.

Not because I like chickens.
In fact the thought of having to touch them freaks me out a bit.
And not because I want another pet.
Our dog is more than enough work.

Solely because I think it would be cool to have these babies.
fresh. eggs. daily.
Plus it might be good to teach my kids something about chores and responsibility.

Anyways, even if we did decide to get some chickens it probably wouldn't be until we move to New Zealand but I was wondering your thoughts.
Do any of you guys have chickens?
Is it worth it or should I just stick to buying my eggs at the store?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fall is coming

Fall is coming
and I'm excited.
Mainly because fall equals lots of yummy pumpkin goodies
{in my mind at least}.
And I love pumpkin. it.

Recently I tried this deliciousness.

They are out of this world good.
Mackenzie wakes up in the morning, walks into my room and begs me to make them.

If you haven't tried it
run to the store now and get yourself a box.

You won't regret it.
In fact I'm pretty sure you will be hooked to.

What's your favorite part of fall?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sequoia National Park

My least favorite part of school has always been trying to be concise.
Having to summarize a book or article has always been torture.
Let's just say I never had a problem hitting the word count for a paper.
I'm wordy and detail oriented.
Just ask my husband.
He always makes fun of me when I tell a story
because I like to give random (but totally important) details.

Anyways, that's kind of what this blog post is like.
I took a zillion pictures from Sequoia
and as I was trying to be selective in which to share
they all seemed important.
All 40 of them.
Sorry if you are not into details.

Look on the bright side
after you look at all the pictures from my trip to Sequoia National Park
you will either want to go yourself
or feel like you have already been there and can check it off your list.

Here we go...

This was the first camping trip Aaron and I had ever taken with the kids.
Instead of roughing it we decided to take my parents tent trailer.
It ended up working out awesome.

The kids did great in the car.
I was a little worried we would have 6 hours of screaming.
Because if that ever happened
it would be on a road trip.

Mackenzie was so excited to finally be camping.
Every day for the past week she woke up asking
"Are we going camping today?"

She also loved that camping=dirt.
Lots and lots of dirt.
Like a giant sand pit.
A not so smart mom brought buckets and shovels for the kids to play with.
Bad idea.

I think Mackenzie was clean for about 1 minute the entire trip.
I had to keep telling myself to let her get as dirty as she wanted and I could clean her off before bed.

Wesley loved camping too.
He's pretty much happy doing anything
as long as there is food involved.

The weather in Sequoia was beautiful
except it got pretty chilly at night.

Poor Wesley was dressed like the Michelin man every night.
In pink no less.
Sorry son.

Good thing he's such a mama's boy.
I think he'll forgive me.

Camping is fun no matter what
but it's even more fun when you go with friends.
Mackenzie was so excited her friend Emmy was there with her.

We had bacon, eggs, potatoes and toast every morning for breakfast.
I think we ate better camping then we do at home.

There is just something so magical about being surrounding by God's beautiful creation.

Mackenzie was so funny.
When we were driving through the park to our campsite Mackenzie kept saying,
"Mommy/Daddy, the trees are dirty!".
We couldn't figure out what she was talking about
and then we noticed some of the trees had moss on them.

My silly girl.

Love her.

The boys.

It's so hard to even comprehend how big the trees really are.

Our little family.
My best attempt at a family picture.
At least no one's crying :)


Me and my love

Wesley loved any time he was able to get down and run around.

General Sherman is the world's largest living organism.

friends :)

My boy

pretty girl


Most of the trip Wesley was in the backpack or Ergo.
Luckily he loves to be held
so he was in his element.

One day a deer came right into our campsite.
It was so cool!

My favorite part is camping is definitely hanging out around the campfire at night.
Oh and making smores.
Lots and lots of smores.

Love this picture of the kiddos.
They are so cute.

We also went to Hume Lake one day.

Mackenzie loved playing on a floating log with Daddy.

They were brave getting into the freezing cold water.

Wesley and I were not so brave.

We each put our feet in
and that was enough for us.

Family pic attempt number 2.

Looking at these pictures totally makes me want to go back.
There is nothing like being surrounded by trees and fresh mountain air.


this tree had the brightest green leaves.


Love this pic of Aaron.
He's such a good Daddy and hubby.
I'm so blessed.

Mountain meadows.

We found this really cool place a 1/2 mile or so hike in the forest from our campsite.
It had all these different pools to swim in.
If you like freezing cold water that is.

Aaron swam in them.
I stuck my feet in.

We had such an awesome camping adventure.
So much so that my hubby wants to go to Yellowstone next summer.
Drive to Yellowstone.
We live in California.
That's a long drive.
But I'm sure it is beautiful there.
My vote is for Yosemite.
We will see what happens.

How did you guys spend your Labor Day weekend?