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Monday, November 18, 2013

Love Songs: The "Married" Version

My fellow office-lady and I listen to the radio during the work day. When she's off work, I generally listen to Pandora online (the Hillsong station!) but she really likes listening to the local station- it is nice to get the local news and weather along with some tunes.

Have you ever noticed how many love songs there are? It's amazing. And so many of them are about falling in love- the first moments, seeing one another across a room and just "knowing..." all that twitterpation and butterflies in the tummy and blushing...

I've been in a relationship with Hunky Husband for... like, seven years. There isn't much blushing or sweaty palms going on anymore... it's hard to relate to some of these songs.

I've got a solution! Maybe they should include more marriage-minded lyrics in love songs. Some lend themselves very well to common marriage experiences! My suggestions are bolded in the lyrics, just for you.

"Little Things" by One Direction: 

"I wont let these little things
Slip out of my mouth
but if it's true
It's you
It's you
They add up to
I'm in love with you
And all these little things
Like when you pick your socks up off the bathroom floor
Without being asked" 

"I Will Wait" by Mumford and Sons:
"Well, I came home
Like a stone, and with rocks in my pockets
For you to find while doing laundry,
And I fell heavy into your arms
These days of dust
Which we've known
Will blow away with this new sun
Or when you finally get around to dusting, maybe
And I will wait, I will wait for you
To get out of the shower so I can get in
I will wait, I will wait for you
But you might just make us both late for church

"Why Can't I" by Liz Phair:

"Why can't I breathe, oh yeah it's because you farted
Maybe you shouldn't have eaten that last burrito
It was inevitable that you were gonna be gassy by bedtime
So tell me
Why can't I breathe, oh yeah it's because you farted"

Even some heartbreak-type love songs can be altered to fit a marriage situation!

"Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus

"I came in like a wrecking ball
I was in a hurry and that's why I left my shoes on the floooor
I didn't mean for you to almost to break the wall
When you tripped over my adorable new boots"
Okay, maybe some of these are a bit of a stretch.

Note: This post is meant to be silly- I mean no disrespect to the artists (okay, maybe toward Miley for the whole swinging naked on a wrecking ball thing) and even more so, I mean no disrespect to my husband or our marriage. Neither of us is perfect, and joking about those imperfections is one way to show one another grace.
(Even though my husband demonstrated very little physical grace when tripping over my adorable new boots). 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Carpet Shampooers: A Philosophical Take

Today, I used a carpet shampooer.

It's actually one of my most favorite things to do. Granted, it's time consuming and often kinda messy, but there's just something so... so wonderful about carpet shampooing.

I didn't actually use it to shampoo a carpet this time- we got a couch from a relative, and it had been sitting in storage (ie: an old hen house that Zeke's folks use as a storage building now) for a while, so I used the nifty upholstery attachment to get the couch good and clean. It needed it.

As I listened to the hum of the suction (ah, lovely), I got to thinking. What is it about carpet shampooers, anyway? And then I realized...

It's this!

Nasty, disturbing, and yucky, but also strangely satisfying.

It's the results! 

In fact, almost every aspect of the shampooer is about results. The upholstery attachment is clear, so you can see the water getting all sucked up. The retaining tank is also clear, so you can see the grossness you've collected already. Granted, these features do have practical applications as well, but I'll be honest. I love carpet shampooing for the very satisfying results. The knowledge that a difference is being made is what makes the hassle and the time all worth it. 

Aren't we like that with a lot of things? When I started thinking about it, I realized how my decisions are shaped by whether or not I'll see results.

How many times do we give up on something because we just aren't seeing results? 

Sure, maybe giving to the needy is important, but if I don't feel like I'm making a difference... if I don't see those smiling faces...

I know I need to be more gracious towards someone in my life who is difficult to love, but if she doesn't say thank you when I help her... if she continues to walk away from faith... if she still has that unlovely attitude...

Submitting to my husband's headship in the home is important, but if our marriage still doesn't seem to be improving despite my efforts...

We tend to equate results with success. When you see results- that's when you know that you've been successful. I study Chemistry, I get a good grade on the test. If I train for race, I run well. If I practice making a complicated recipe, it turns out delicious. Results. Success.

But is that the way God views it? 

At the end of the day, I'm inclined to believe that God sees our obedience as far more valuable than the results. After all, how many times do we work at something without success, only to find out that years later that we made a great impact? Who am I to say that another frustrating encounter with my sister is valueless, that tutoring a struggling kid (who never seemed to get anywhere) didn't result in something good in his life?

Before giving up on something we're called to because you don't feel like you're making a difference, remember this-

God defines success in obedience, not by how much I accomplish. He measures value not in results, but in attitude and willingness to answer His call. I may not see results right away, but He who began a good work in me will carry it to completion.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Worry about Yourself- Comparison and Jesus

Do you have a comparison problem?

I know I do. I compare myself to everyone and anyone.

She has much better fashion sense than I do. 
Her marriage seems so effortless and loving all the time. 
She has wonderful children.
Her home is always so clean. 

Yesterday was just another reminder of my comparison problem. My sister-in-law and her husband just built a gorgeous new home, on ten acres of beautiful property. We went to see the new house yesterday, and instead of being happy for her like I should have, the voice of "You're-Not-Good-Enough" was speaking too loudly in my ear for me to even enjoy her company.

Why don't I have a home of my own? Why can't I have "nice" things? Why don't we have sweet babies yet? Why doesn't my path look like that?

You know what Jesus says about that?

In John 21, the resurrected Jesus has just revealed Himself to Peter and the other disciples. He and Peter have a good heart-to-heart about the whole denying three times before the rooster crows thing. Jesus goes on to tell Peter,

"'Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.' (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, 'Follow me.'" (John 21:18 and 19, ESV)
Jesus has given Peter the awesome task of being the founder of the Church, of "feeding his sheep" and "tending his lambs," even to the horrible and painful martyrdom that will end Peter's time on earth. 

And how does Peter respond?
"Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them...When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, 'Lord, what about this man?' (John 21:20-21, ESV)
Oh, Peter. You are just like me.

Jesus has just given Peter a tremendous path in life, and Peter asks, "What about him?" 

We don't know what was going on in Peter's head, but my hunch is that he was saying to himself a lot of the things I say to myself.

His life seems... better. 

And isn't that what's at the core of all of our comparisons? Her life seems... better. Easier. Cleaner. More godly. More polished. Calmer. More exciting. More blessed. Better. 

How does Jesus reply to our (well, Peter's) question?

"Jesus said to him, 'If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!'" (John 21:22, ESV, emphasis my own).
"What's it to you? Worry about your own path! Focus on Me!"

What does it matter if my sister-in-law has a great new house?

So what if she's lost fifty pounds and looks great?

Who cares if my neighbor does the cutest projects with her kids?

What does it matter to me if that woman in church can totally pull off the dress that would make me look like a frump?

(All those things aren't necessarily bad- good for them! But...) That's not what I should be focusing on.

We know what our focus should be- Following Jesus. Plain and simple. Instead of worrying about how my life compares to the lives of those around me, I need to follow Jesus. The path he's given me may look a lot different than the path he's given other people, and that's okay

When I put my focus where it's supposed to be- on Christ alone- there is no more comparison problem. I just gotta worry about myself- Following Jesus, no matter where that path may lead.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Five Things Friday: Five Ways to Be a more Intentional Steward

As Christians, we've been called to be good stewards of what we've been given. And boy, we've been given so much as American Christians. We consume so much of the world's natural resources, and most of the time, we do it without batting an eye.

Lately, I've been trying to be more intentional in my stewardship of resources. The little changes I've made in my own lifestyle recently might not make very much of an impact, but every little bit does help. I've also noticed that these small things remind me of the many blessings in my life. Here are some practical ways I'm trying to consume less!

1. Use less electricity by...

Get used to being a little uncomfortable. Keep your home a little warmer in the summer and a little cooler in the winter. Sure, you may be a little sweaty or a little chilly. You can always bundle up or take off a layer.

Turn off the lights. I have trouble with this one. I like to come home at night to a lit up house... it feels more comforting. I've been more careful lately about turning off lights when I leave a room.

Rethink evening activities. If you're anything like me, your evenings include some electronic entertainment. Sometimes we'll even have the TV on while we're on our computers. Having even one no-screen night a week means you'll be consuming less electricity.

2. Conserve water by...

Take shorter showers. I like long luxurious showers, myself... but have you ever seen how much water is used while you're showering? It may not seem like much water, but try putting the plug in before you shower next time. It's amazing how quickly it adds (er, pools?) up. Challenge yourself to a three minute shower- it's kind of fun to race the clock.

Think about your laundry. If you keep that dial set to "Extra Large Load" even when you're just washing a couple things, you're probably wasting water. Take a couple extra seconds to adjust the size.

3. Reuse clothing by...

Thrifting and gifting. Before buying brand new things, consider going to a Goodwill or other thrift store. It doesn't make sense to consume more materials (and the energy to make them!) when you could find a used top or pair of jeans. When you're no longer using an item, give it away instead of throwing it out.

Take care of clothes we've got. Clothes that aren't taken care of simply don't last as long. Take care of the things you have so they last longer: it saves money, too. When things get torn or worn out, mend them instead of tossing them out... or repurpose if they're too far gone.

Lend and repurpose. Lend clothes! Especially when it comes to kid's clothes, sharing clothing with a friend or family member as your children grow out of items is a great idea. You can also consider repurposing. If you've got something that's stained or unusable, think of how else it could be used. Turn worn clothing items into rags, cut up torn jeans to make patches, make clothing into craft products or blankets... you get the idea.

4. Think about what you're eating by...

Consuming less protein. As the wife of a former cattle farmer, this one can be hard to enforce in my household... but there are plenty of countries in which people don't eat much protein at all. We're so blessed that a hamburger is only $3.00 at the local watering hole. I like to try to have one meal a week that's vegetarian- it's better for our health, too!

Grow your own food. Plant a garden or grow herbs in your kitchen- it'll probably save you some money, it's fun, and you're consuming something you've made yourself. And it's educational, too!

5. Be intentional with money by...

Budgeting. It's much easier to spend money on things we don't really need when we don't have a plan for our money. Budgeting gives us a plan for our money and helps us to be better stewards of it.

Tithing. Consider giving to your church or to a charity that you support. It doesn't have to be a hassle- Zeke and I tithe once a year. It puts our attitudes about money in the right place.

Prioritize the Four Walls.  Track your spending for a month or two and divide your spending into categories- entertainment, food, transportation, housing, clothing, eating out, and so on. Make a pie chart (!) or figure out the percentage you spend on each category. When making a budget, there are four "walls:" the four categories in which we should spend the most money.

 If you're not spending the majority of your money on Housing, Food, Transportation, and Clothing (in that order), you may want to reconsider your spending. Of course, there are exceptions (for us, Housing isn't an expense since it's included in our compensation from work), but as a general rule, if you're spending a higher percentage of money in other areas, you might be spending on "wants" instead of on "needs."

Any other ideas? How are you a good steward of what you've been blessed with?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ten Minute Tuesday: Dance it Out

I'm blurred cuz I dance so FAST!
How are you feeling today? Sluggish? Slow? Uninspired? Grouchy?

I’ve found that one of the best ten-minute solutions for my crabby, lazy, “blah” days is… you guessed it! A ten-minute dance party!

There’s just something about getting that heart rate up, shaking out all those negative feelings, and being (let’s admit it), pretty darn goofy that brings out the sunshine in my soul. Give it a shot! Dance by yourself, with your kids, your spouse, your turtle… okay, maybe not your turtle. Tucker isn’t a dance party fan.

Just go for it. Pick three or four songs, crank ‘em up, and dance it out!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Why Don't You Show Your Faces?

In the blogging world, especially in the case of family bloggers or bloggers who write about faith, transparency is important. The silly things, the hurting things, the personal things... that's what creates connections between the blogger and the readers. One way many bloggers connect with their readers is through pictures.

You may have noticed that, unlike many bloggers, I edit our faces out of pictures.

It's not because I don't want to let readers into my personal life, and it's not that I want to seem aloof or hoity-toitey (is that how to spell that? is that even a word?). To be honest, if it was up to me, I'd have my face posted up here without much thought.

I don't post pictures (or full names, or specific locations) because of Zeke.

When I began blogging on my super-over dramatic college blog I did post unedited pictures. I was excited and exuberant and completely and totally transparent. And I had absolutely no readers. So I started commenting on other blogs, making bloggy friends... and my readership grew slowly.

I called Zeke (we were just dating at the time) to tell him the wonderful news! People were reading my stuff!

He was much less excited. He was worried. He worried that my identity was in jeopardy, that my privacy was being compromised, that I was over-sharing. 

I told him that he was overreacting, and we didn't talk about it for awhile.

But honestly? It bugged me that he was uncomfortable with my blogging. I really enjoyed my new-found voice, my connections with people I'd never met. I didn't want to give that up. I also really enjoyed my relationship with my Hunky (not-yet-then) Husband, though, and as we got more and more serious about one another, I knew that I was going to have to change my blog or eventually, after marrying that guy, I would end up being disobedient and disrespectful towards him.

So I don't post pictures of our faces, because it makes my husband feel better about my blog and feel better about the fact that complete strangers have license to read all about our lives. That's why I don't show our faces. Maybe someday that will change, but for now, no faces.

I'm sorry if that makes you feel disconnected from me. That's not at all my intention.

Just think of me as mysterious... and thank you for being a part of my life, even though you don't see my face.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ten Minute Tuesday: Wake Up Winter Clothes!!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been holding out on the last few days of summer goodness by… well, by putting yourself at risk for pneumonia. Let’s be honest, Mid-Western ladies, it’s cold out there. Those cute tank tops, Capri pants, and sandals may represent the last stand of summer, but it’s time to put ‘em away. I know, I know, it was totally 55 degrees the other day, and that’s still pretty warm… frostbite isn’t that bad, after all… shivering all day burns calories!...

Take a deep breath. Just think- cozy sweaters. Cute jeans and boots. Peppermint mochas (or Pumpkin Spice Lattes, if you like those better). Mmm. See? Summer’s over, and that’s okay.

Let’s take ten minutes today to get our wardrobe ready for it!

“Ten minutes?” you say. “How is that possible?” Oh ladies, it’s possible.

Okay, if you’re trying to get everyone’s clothes switched over, it may take longer. Especially if you have lotsa kids. We’re just talking about your wardrobe, here. Because come on, yours is the one that probably gets neglected anyway, right?

Let’s do it.
Hello, my fuzzy sweater friends. I have missed you...

Dump the clothes in a central location. (For me, this is my bed). The first thing I do is take out all of my winter clothes that have been in storage throughout the summer. I put them all on my bed, and set the empty storage container on the floor.

I rock a lot of tie dye in the summer. I live at a Bible Camp.

Put away your summer clothing. Next, I go into my drawers and closet, and pull out anything that I know I won’t be wearing until next summer. There may be a couple of items that I keep out (like a couple t-shirts that look nice under cardigans, or t-shirts for knocking around the house). Fold the summer clothes, if needed, and put them directly into your storage container.

Don’t get sentimental. I have a hard time with this one. Clothes aren’t just clothes to me, they’re memories. Putting that top I wore that one romantic day at the beach with HH sends me into a flurry of daydreams. Don’t do that. Just get it done.

Take a couple extra seconds to try on winter clothes before putting them away. Before putting the winter clothes sitting on the bed away, I try on almost everything. This doesn’t have to take a long time- put it on, decide where it belongs, take it off.

That pair of jeans you can’t remember the last time you wore? Try ‘em on.  If they don’t fit anymore, make a quick decision about whether you want to keep them or donate them. Do it now. Putting clothing in your closet that you aren’t going to wear is a waste of space. You should now have a pile of “keep” clothes, and most likely, a pile of “donate” clothes.

Put away the clothes you’re keeping. In going through your dresser and closet and pulling out summer stuff, you’ll now have some extra space. Reorganize if necessary (for example, during the summer, I have tank tops separate from t-shirts. Now, I’ll put the ones I’ve kept out together in one drawer). Fold it and put it where it belongs. Fight the urge to just toss stuff wherever- do it right the first time, and you won’t have to mess with it later!

The remaining t-shirts.

Pick up the stragglers. I typically have a couple of left over summer items floating around in the laundry, or I’ll find a tank top or pair of shorts hiding behind the dryer or under a bed. As soon as you see these summertime stragglers, wash ‘em, fold ‘em, and stick them in your storage container.

Step back and gaze at your newly organized and restocked closet and dresser. Ah, a fresh start for Fall!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Maintenance Man Monday: Measure Twice

My darling husband is... well, sometimes he's a little... cautious.

He's one to measure twice.


Honestly? Sometimes it drives me crazy. He won't answer a question with a "yes" unless he's absolutely positive of something. "Probably" is one of his most-used terms.

Adrie (being all mushy): "Zeke, will you love me forever?"
Zeke: "Probably."

A: "Are your parents going to be here by lunch-time?"
Z (who just got off the phone with them): "Probably."

A: "Will the sun will rise in the East?"
Z: "Probably."

Okay, maybe the last one was a bit of an exaggeration. 

Zeke is also very cautious about his interactions with others. He tends to be reserved- doesn't express much, and doesn't share much of his opinions, at least not at first. In meetings (which I now get to be a part of since we work together), he typically doesn't say a thing until it's starting to wrap up.

These qualities extend to his work. Several of the summer staff members who worked on Zeke's maintenance crew this summer reported that Zeke is pretty "tough," and that it's hard to work under him. Why? It's not because he's unfriendly... it's because he wants things done intentionally and correctly. The way he would do it.

He's patient, and he's deliberate.

Me? I'm more of this frame of mind...


And it is, isn't it? It's much more fun to go ahead and speak without thinking, or do something just to get it done without making sure every step is completed. How often do we tell an untruth by saying "yes" when we aren't completely sure?

Even though it sometimes bugs me, maybe I can learn a lesson from Zeke about measuring twice....


Friday, October 11, 2013

Five Things Friday: 5 Things I Love about Fall

Ah, Fall. Or, "Ah, Autumn," depending on how fancy you're feeling. Today, I'm not feeling so fancy, so "Ah, Fall."

Now that we've solved that issue...

1. Apple cinnamon... everything. I love apple cinnamon. I really, really do. I like it so much that there was a sale on Apple Cinnamon instant oatmeal, and I got a ton. And then I got really sick of oatmeal.

Here's my new favorite apple cinnamon cookie recipe...

Little Wife's No Bake Apple Cinnamon Cookies

1 1/2 cup instant apple cinnamon oatmeal, uncooked
1 1/2 cup regular oatmeal or rice crispy cereal
5 Tbs peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter

Stir butter, sugar, and milk together in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, and then full boil for one to two minutes. Add the peanut butter, stir well to combine, then add the oatmeal (or oatmeal and cereal) and stir to coat well. Scoop out about a tablespoon and place on a greased cookie sheet. These may take a while for these cookies to set up- stick 'em in the fridge to set them up quicker. Yum!

2. Perfect weather. Summer in Iowa can be pretty hot and muggy, and of course, winter in Iowa is a lot like this...

Actually, this picture was taken in May. So yeah. Poor robin.

Fall is the best season here in Iowa- not too hot and muggy, and not frigidly cold. 

3. The tourists go home! We live in a very touristy area, and while I know it's great for our local economy, and even though I look forward to tourist season as soon as March rolls around, it's pretty wonderful to see the tourists go. Traffic is so much better in the Fall!

4. This. Just this. 

5.  Sweaters and scarves and warm socks and flannel! Fall is the start of comfy cozy season! Pulling out those flannel sheets and getting all snuggly in a big sweater... wonderful.

What are your favorite Fall things? (Or Autumn, if you're feeling fancy)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Look into my Real Life: The Upstairs Kitchen

Just a word of caution, here. Do you remember when I posted pictures of our previous Camp home? How nicely put away everything was, how clean and cozy everything looked? Lies. All lies.

What you didn’t see was the two (potentially three… it was a while ago) baskets of unfolded clean laundry that I kicked out of the way to take a “clean” picture. Or the fact that three seconds before snapping a picture of the bathroom, I threw towels from the floor into the hamper, followed by three of Zeke’s dirty socks (why three? Where was the other one?).

I feel like we do that a lot- myself included. We like our lives to look… uncluttered. Under control. Lovely. Even when life really isn’t that way, that’s the way we prefer to present ourselves.

Well, I’m gonna break myself of that habit, here! Yep! That’s right- I’m going to show you things the way they really are, in all their imperfect, messy, fantastic disarray. Because that, my friends, is how my life really is.

In the name of all things complete honesty, these pictures are “untouched,” “un-scooted-the-dirty-pots-and-pans-into-theother-room,” and “un-I-just-washed-the-floor-in-a-last-ditch-effort-to-make-myself-look-good.”

 This is my sink and my tiny kitchen table! I love this kitchen because of all the natural light it gets especially in the morning. The natural light is more than just aesthetically pleasing... it's essential because, even after 5 months of living in this house, I still can't remember where the light switch is. (It's on the wall outside of the kitchen. Yeah.) Notice the blue counter top.

 ... and notice these countertops! Cream colored, and then gray! Yes, I have three different counter tops. Anyway. This is my stove... which is new. And I love it. The old one was black and dangerous- this is a great improvement.
I also love my upstairs kitchen because there are a ton. of. cabinets. And check out that little curvy wood doorway. Awesome.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Upstairs kitchen wah? She’s got more than one kitchen?” To which I reply: Yes. I live at Camp, remember? That means that almost every building on site is, has been, or will be used for campers or retreat guests. Originally, my home was used to house two groups at one time- one group would stay upstairs, and one would stay downstairs. Hence, we have an upstairs kitchen and downstairs kitchen-ette thing.

My Italian grandmother would be so proud.

So there you have it- a truthful look at my kitchen!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ten Minute Tuesday: Ten Minutes in the Word

Today, I want to focus on my goal for these Ten Minute Tuesday posts. I like to take a little while on Tuesdays (ten minutes, to be precise) to do something different- out of the routine, not on the list of things to do- to make my household a happier, healthier place.

Many times, those ten minutes are spent doing a household task that typically gets neglected, like cleaning garbage cans or organizing an often-overlooked drawer. Those quick tasks do really make a difference; at least they do in my house!

Do you know what I’ve noticed, though? I’m beginning to realize that as women, as wives, and (for some of us) as mothers, so much of our worth is based on our external selves. We’re so focused on what we accomplish, on how our home looks (and smells!), the number of items checked off the list at the end of the day. But really, are those checked boxes all we’re worth? How easy it is for us to forget the value we have, value that comes by simply being children of God!

You may have a “standing date” with the Lord every morning in which you spend time in his Word. Truthfully, that’s one area in which I struggle. I’m pretty good at making time for prayer, and I’m also pretty good at never opening my Bible. If you’re great at reading the Word, that’s awesome- but I also know that no matter where you are in this discipline of faith, spending ten minutes extra today will be a blessing to you as much as to someone like me! We can all use a little time to remember that our true value lies in Him, not in how much we can get done in a day.

So instead of taking ten minutes today to wash curtains or clean out the entryway closet, take a little time to be with the One who made you!

Monday, October 7, 2013

You Know You Live at a Bible Camp When...

Let's get real... living at a Bible Camp is... unusual. The Camp life has it's perks, and it has it's quirks. 

- 95% of your co-workers/neighbors play guitar. 80% also play piano. And they just might start playing drums during a retreat, and you're really not surprised by it. ("She can play the harmonica? And the tuba? And the washboard? Of course she can.")

- Most of your co-workers are also your neighbors. And you watch their kids.

- Whenever you're concerned about something, you just tell any of your neighbor-co-workers, and they pray about it. Even if they're in the middle of something else. They're all like, "We should pray. Let's pray."

- You open your front door to find a Bible study taking place on your deck. Frequently.

- You are not concerned when 35 middle schoolers run screaming past your home while being chased by youth-pastor-types wielding tube socks filled with flour.

- When asked why your dishwasher doesn't work, why your light switches are in strange places, or why there are nine magic markers in your garden, you respond, "It's a Camp house!"

- Most of your neighbors have lived in your home at one time. Some board members will ask where you live on Camp, and then tell you they conceived their first son in your house 32 years ago.

Yeah, there's that.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Five Things Friday: Wonderfully Miscellaneous Edition

First Friday in October, everyone! We have officially made it to pumpkin spice candles, candy corn, and falling leaves! Which leads me to number one...

1. LEAVES. ARE. EVERYWHERE. This is my front yard. It doesn't seem like the leaves even changed color this year. It's like they had a conference and *poof!* On the ground.

Yes, I know... the picnic tables make my yard look a little like a scene from some classic summer camp movie.

 Camp- and therefore, my house- is surrounded by oak trees. So in addition to leaves, we've also got......

Acorns! And tons of them! They make a super satisfying crunch under the wheels of Hunky Husband's work golf cart.

2. Tucker Turtle. I haven't written a thing about my little butterball of grouchy greenness in a while, and I haven't written about his new roomies!

First, here's my guy. He was actually cooperating for pictures today! Rare. Very rare.

His red "ears." Hence the name "Red-Eared Slider."
 In these pictures, he's sunning on his new platform. Well, it's not actually that new... he's had this tank set-up since April. If we remember, April was busy over here, so I never wrote about it... until now.

Here's what his tank looks like now- complete with his fishy friends. Zeke's goldfish, which somehow survived seven years and five moves, now share a tank with Tuck. Tucker generally leaves them alone, but every once in awhile I'll find a little chunk of tail missing from a fish. The fish don't seem any worse for the wear (besides the tail trauma), and aren't afraid of him at all. I saw one of the fish take a food pellet from Tucker the other day- sucked it right out of Tuck's mouth.

To accommodate the fish, Zeke made Tucker a platform that sits on top of the tank. It has a ramp going up to it, and is enclosed on three sides with clear plexiglass. It took him about three weeks to get used to the new digs, but he's up there all the time now.

3. Skirts. I've started wearing skirts. I have an awesome Goodwill not too far away, and I found a couple of cute skirts. Now, that may not seem like a big deal, but I'm... well... I'm what you'd call... fashion-challenged. I've always been a jeans and t-shirt girl... and mostly t-shirts that are neutral colors and have very simple design. Skirts are way out of my fashion-docket.

Um, skirts rock! How did I not know about this? Definitely loving skirts.

4. Church! So, during the summer, my Hunky Husband and I typically go to the church service that's held here at Camp. It's really great to be a part of those services, but it's hard to make connections with new people when... well, the people at the worship service are the people who live here, who are the people we work with ... you get it. We started attending our "off-season" church again, and I'm really enjoying the fellowship. I even volunteered to make cookies for fellowship time!

I'm hoping (and trying not to put too much pressure on myself, but whatever) that some new friendships will start through involvement in church. It's wonderful to be part of a Camp family, but sometimes I feel like Camp people are the only people I see. It would be great to branch out a little.

5. It's almost the time of year for Butternut Squash Lasagna! And let's be honest, that's always a good time of year.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Little Wife's Guide To: How to Sew on a Button

I had a roommate in college who once popped a button off of her winter coat. And she had no idea what to do. And I realized- not everyone knows how to sew a button back on!

If you're one of those people, don't feel bad. I was lucky enough to have a mom who knew how, and she taught me. And today, I'm going to teach you!

 Now, I'm definitely not a button-sewing expert (by any means!) but this is my little tutorial on how to sew on a button. It may not produce the most glamorous button stitch-work out there, but it gets the job done- Little Wife style.

You're going to need a needle and thread. I like to use shorter needles for sewing buttons.

Step 1:

 First things first- you'll have to thread the needle. Dampening the end a little should help.

Step 2:
 When you're needle is threaded, cut off the end still attached to the spool. Put the ends together.

 Then, to tie a knot, I loop the threads around my index finger, then pinch and twist the thread.

Then I pull the knot to the end of the string. This doesn't have to be pretty. No one will see it! The two strings should now be tied together. I like to use this double-thread method because I think it holds more strongly- and then one stitch produces twice the thread hold!

Step 3:
Usually, the place where the button fell off will have a mark- either leftover threads or a whole or a worn spot. Find that and then, push your needle through the wrong side of the fabric. Pull the thread tight. Then choose a hole in the button and thread your needle through.

 Put the needle through the opposite hole in the button, and then through the fabric on the right side. Pull tight.

You've made your first stitch! Your button should look like this, and your needle is now on the wrong side of the fabric. Make sure your button is tight to the fabric before you move on.

Step 4:
 Put your needle through one of the holes you haven't yet used, and then through the opposite hole again.

Step 5:
Your button now looks criss-crossed, like this! Follow steps 3 and 4 several more times, until you feel that the button is secure.

 Step 6:
As you can see, my "no nail-biting goal" isn't going great...
 Now it's time to finish it up with a good knot. Push your needle through to the wrong side of the fabric.

 Then put your needle through the back side of some of the stitches you've made. If you hit a little fabric here, that's okay.

 Pull the needle through to make a loop. I usually hold on to the loop to make sure I don't pull it all the way through!

 Pull your needle through the middle of the loop, so it looks like the picture below.

 Then go under the middle thread to complete the knot.

Pull tight to secure the knot, and then clip the excess thread.

Ta da! Button sewn.

Look at you, you frontiersman! You pioneer woman! You independent, button-sewing tough guy.

And that's how you sew on a button!

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