Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Toolbox & Strawberries

In an attempt to focus more on projects than treasure hunting, a couple of weeks ago I planted a few herbs and strawberries in the wooden toolbox I found at yard sale this spring.

It's not exactly a creative or exciting project, but hey, I put a treasure to use. Baby steps, people.

I've already used the fresh thyme in baked chicken.

Put on some Simon & Garfunkle tunes to get you in the baking mood.
Take split breasts and peel back the skin.
Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
 Pile on freshly snipped basil, sage, rosemary & thyme.
Spread skin back on top and bake. 

This is the first year I started a bunch of herbs from seed (except the thyme). I'm sorta proud of myself but credit my hubby for urging and prodding me to do it all winter.

I wish I could say I harvested even one strawberry from my two meager plants. We had grand plans for making our own earth boxes this year but waited too long.  One of the strawberry plants didn't make it more than a day after this picture was taken. (From the looks of the first photo one might argue it had already died and I was hoping for a miracle comeback.) The other plant ended up with one small berry that mysteriously disappeared.

I cut my losses and went strawberry picking.

We spent one hot morning at what's usually the best pick-your-own farm around but I was disappointed in the crop. I had to try to hard to find good berries. We did manage to fill a whole tray but they weren't exactly the reddest, shiniest strawberries.

This Monday I ended up taking a day trip to Connecticut with the girls, my mother-in-law, and my grandmother-in-law to see the farm where Gram grew up and to get a tour of her old stomping grounds.  Lo and behold, the old homestead farm is currently a pick-your-own strawberry field! 

The blue house, red barns and farm land in the background are where Gram grew up.

So with a whole bowl of strawberries still in our fridge at home, we again indulged and basically filled the back of my van with bright red, shiny little berries from the old family farm land.

Coincidentally, my middle kid wore the right dress for the occasion. Her little sister couldn't keep her grubby little paws out of our harvest and was popping them in her mouth a mile a minute. I wish I'd taken a picture of her dress at the end of the day!

So what's your favorite recipe for using fresh strawberries?? PLEASE SHARE! Cuz I have a fridge full of berries and still haven't done a blessed thing with them except straight up eat'm. They're getting awfully close to joining the blueberries I picked last summer in the freezer... Bad Hailey.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tuesday Yardsale

I almost forgot about one yard sale I discovered toward the bottom of my street on the Tuesday after Memorial Day. This Tuesday yard sale was a first for me. It was HUGE. Really more like an estate sale. Mostly junk, but a few treasures to be found.

Vintage jewelry is always fun to poke through. This pretty gold chain with the amber and white beads set me back $1:

They were selling 100s of practically-new Christian music CDs for $0.50 each. My mother-in-law had recently mentioned several times how she'll miss the Christian Sirius radio station when her free year is up soon. So I filled up a whole basket for her to load onto the hard drive in her car.  I bought so many they even gave me a quantity discount. This isn't even all of them:
P.S. I've never listened to Hillsong.
I also scored quite a stack of books. Several theology books for hubs (is that better, Jamie?) and some chapter books for the kids. I never did take a pic of those, which have since scattered to their perspective temporary homes.
Little House on the Prairie was one book score in particular that I'm quite psyched about but my oldest daughter doesn't share my sentiments. Apparently I made her watch a few minutes of the show once, and it bored her to tears. Now I've ruined it for her. I brought the book on vacation with us in case we had time to read (which we didn't) but she found it and hid it in the back of one of the night stand drawers. I discovered it on my last sweep through the condo before we left for the airport. Little stinker!!! Well, its MY turn to pick the next book we read together and guess what I'M picking! Anyone else a sucker for Little House on the Prairie?  

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Blessing: Thanks, Dad

Within the past month I read a book called The Blessing by Gary Smalley & John Trent. It's nothing new - it's been around since 1986. I stumbled across it, and after reading the jacket I thought it sounded like something I might want to pass along to someone else. But I never do that unless I've read the book myself first.

So I started reading it with the intention of skimming through it just enough to know if it would be a good fit for my friend. I quickly realized it was a book I actually wanted to dig into myself. I read every word and loved it. I recommend it to everyone! Its a book about relationships, mostly between parents and children, but it applies to spouses and friends as well.

Smalley and Trent take a detailed look at the five elements of a blessing that parents should give to their children based on Biblical parenting models:

1. Meaningful Touch
2. Spoken Words
3. Expressing High Value
4. Picturing a Special Future
5. An Active Commitment

The book discusses how to check if your parents have given you this blessing and how to give it to your own children. If you missed out on receiving the blessing from your parents, the book discusses what to do about it and how its not too late to receive this blessing from your Father God.

Finally, Smalley and Trent talk about how to give the blessing to your spouse, friends, and parents - whether you've received the blessing from them or not. No matter what kind of relationship you have had with your parents and/or children, this book is filled with relevant application for everyone. Whether you have broken relationships that need healing or are just trying to build healthy ones, its a great tool for both.

The biggest impact the book had on me was the confirmation of how my parents have indeed blessed me with each of those Biblical elements and how they have modeled for me how to do the same for my children. It also left me feeling hopeful for people that I love that have missed out. It's not too late!

A couple of weeks ago my dad got laid off from his job. It was kind of a shocker to our whole family. I went to visit him the next evening and on his table were the boxes of his personal items from his office. I laughed as I pulled out frame after frame of our old school pictures from growing up. Then I pulled out one very special frame. One I'd given to my dad many years ago as a gift and had completely forgotten about. 

It obviously didn't take The Blessing book to make me realize I've been blessed by my dad. I've always known he is a godly, loving man.

With Father's Day approaching, I wanted to give my dad something special. To again show my thanks for being the blessing giver that he has always been. But there's nothing money can buy that can do that. Not even a bottle of birch beer, dark chocolate truffles and chocolate covered cherries from Atkins Farm. ;)

I just kept coming up empty with meaningful gift ideas. So instead I feebly attempted to put together some words of thanks to show him how he has blessed me and to commit to give this same blessing back to him. I share it here because I want to publically honor him.

To my dad, on after Father's Day.  :)

Dad, thank you for your meaningful touch. For the arm around my shoulder followed by a little squeeze when you are proud of me. For the kiss on my forehead every night after you tucked me in and prayed for me. And for the hugs you still initiate every time you see me.

Dad, thank you for always expressing to me in spoken words what is on your heart. For speaking the truth in love. For your gentle answers that turn away wrath.  And for diligently teaching me God's Word. Your spoken words have always been an encouragement.

Dad, thank you for always telling me that Jesus loves me and you do too. For encouraging me in my gifts and talents. And for using words like "precious," "important," and "special" to let me know I am of high value to you and to God.

Dad, thank you for always reminding me about my eternal future in heaven. For always being hopeful. And for never saying or doing anything that would stop me from pursuing my dreams or cause me to feel limited in my abilities or options here on earth.

And most of all - thank you, Dad, for your continuously active commitment to me. For working so hard during the week to provide for my needs and beyond. For delaying your home ownership for two decades to pay for my education. For dedicating your weekends to being with us kids growing up - taking us with you on errands and bringing us on outdoor adventures. For still being available whenever we need you and being actively committed to your grand children. Thank you for your persistence in modeling Christ-like love and sacrifice.

Dad, you truly have given me The Blessing. I'm so thankful to God for the model you and Mom have set for me so I can in turn give this type of blessing to my children. I pray I can return the blessing to you as well. Happy Belated Father's Day. I hope this was worth the wait!

Monday, June 3, 2013

To Treasure Hunt or to Create?

That is the question.
Tired of just seeing my treasures and not what I do with them?
Me too.
Two reasons:
1. I'm forever torn between more treasure hunting and creating/projects. Usually the urge to treasure hunt takes over. I should settle down.  I've got more things to paint than I can even count, sewing projects I haven't even bought fabric for, a growing collection of buttons yearning to be made into bracelets...  Just to name a few.
2. I'm learning a lesson in patience this year. But the end is almost in sight! Things are progressing.  We finally closed on the house we bought from my in-laws - the one we've been living in with them since October. And we're seeing daily progress on their new house across the driveway. Exciting times. Anticipation!
Anyone else always torn between treasure hunting and creating? Which do you usually prefer?

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