Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Big Giveaway!

If you are hopping over from the 5 Minutes for Mom's Ultimate Blog Party '11, WELCOME!  I am so glad you have stopped by, and this is the best time to visit, because I am hosting a BIG giveaway this week!  (Scroll down past the info. about me if you'd just like to enter the giveaway)

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

I am a huge fan of 5 Minutes for Mom and always enjoy their Ultimate Blog Party.  Recently I was honored to be a guest blogger for them and wrote an article entitled "Taking the Leap: Thinking About Starting a Photography Business?"

Here I enjoy blogging about my family, my faith, photography, home decorating, recipes and more.

I invite you into my messes.....

(Left: Micah, now age 5 / Right: Jaden, now age 3)
You can read about the food coloring incident here.

My parenting adventures

(The story behind this photo is here)

My cooking experiments

This dinner disaster was blogged about here.

My photography mishaps

My home decorating "hits" AND "misses"

And my walk with the Lord.
Photo courtesy Anne Elliott

So why should you follow this blog and all of it's messiness?  Because it is here that I hope you will be encouraged, laugh a little, and know that you are not alone.  AND.....

This week is The Big Giveaway!  There are two great items being given away this week.


Giveaway #1 - The Ultimate Blog Makeover!!! 


SH Blog Design is donating an extreme blog makeover where one winner will receive a custom header with coordinating background, font colors, 1-2 columns, post title image, sidebar image, custom signature, and a link button. The winner can choose any digital scrapbooking paper kit from SH Blog Design selection to use in the design.  

Visit the SH Blog Design website for samples. Even if you don't win this giveaway, Shannon offers affordable blog designs starting at $50.  She also designs custom invitations.  Thank you Shannon for donating this awesome prize!

Giveaway #2- Snippity Clip-Its!!!

Snippity Clip-Its offers fun, affordable, creative accessories for every little princess! This giveaway is for a bundle of goodies: a Busy Bee Headband and Buggin' Around Bee Clips (a $15 value)!   Become a Fan of Snippity Clip-Its on Facebook and leave Shannin some love!

Snippity Clip-Its is also having a Spring Blowout Sale, so visit their page today to see photos and place your order. Whether you are a mom, a grandma, an aunt or a friend, these make great gifts for little girls!  Thank you Shannin for your donation of this prize!

To enter this giveaway:

1) Become a follower of this blog and leave a comment letting me know which item you would like to win.

2) You can gain up to 2 additional entries by becoming a Facebook fan of Snippity Clip-Its and/or following the SH Blog Design blog, and then coming back here and leaving a comment letting me know you did so.

3) Tweet and/or Facebook this giveaway for up to 2 additional entries (and again, be sure to leave a comment letting me know you did so).

Feel free to copy and paste this tweet:  I just entered The Big Giveaway!  You can enter to at: @jmebowman @5MinutesforMom #UPB11

(In all you have 5 chances to enter, so your chances of winning are pretty high!)

This contest will run from April 1-April 8th.  Entries will close on midnight of April 8th. Winners will be announced on Saturday, April 9th.  Thank you for entering and good luck!

NOTE:  Be sure if you enter this giveaway that you have contact information connected to your account where I can reach you!  Or simply leave your email address in the comments.  Thanks!

Sisterly Love

My sister Lauren is amazing. Her birthday is tomorrow and I really wanted to give her some kind of a birthday tribute since I love her so much!

Lauren was born right before I turned 11 years old.  I remember my mom telling my brother and I that she was pregnant, and us responding with something like, "You can't!  You're too old!"  My mom was 31 when she had Lauren.  Hmmm...somehow that doesn't seem so old now.  At my current age (34), my mom already had an 14 year old, a 10 year old, and a 3 year old - crazy!

The night Lauren was born, I remember that my dad called our house in the middle of the night to tell us the news.  I was so excited that I dialed my middle school teacher and my school principal (at around 4am) to tell them the news!  I do remember talking to one of them and then feeling bad afterwards that I had woken them up.  Oh well.  :)  (In case you're wondering why I had their phone numbers, it was a small private school).

Lauren and I shared a room for awhile, when she was just a baby, and I would wake up when she woke up in the middle of the night.  (That's good birth control for a teenager, by the way - just stick them in a room with a crying baby in the middle of the night).  When we moved to a new house, I got my room back, but I always had a "motherly" role to her because I was so much older.  When she was in elementary school, I would pick her up and walk her home with me.

I know you're jealous of my braids here.

As a child, she annoyed me to death by trying to match every outfit that I wore as a teenager.  Looking back, it is funny, but at the time I was not so amused.

When I went to college, I missed her so much.  I would get letters from her telling me that she had cried herself to sleep at night because she missed me, but she didn't know that I cried because I missed her, too.

The older she has gotten, the closer we have become.  She is not only my sister but one of my closest friends. We have fun together, laugh together, and can completely be ourselves around each other.

Here are some fun facts about my "little" sister:

-She can do everything. Seriously. She is so talented.  Among her many talents are:  playing the piano, playing guitar (which she taught herself), singing, writing songs, playing any sport well, drawing and painting, photography, she rides horses, she has traveled all over the place, and the list goes ON and ON.  This girl is GIFTED.

-Every single time she calls me, she sings the theme song to "Sister Sister", that show in the early 90's.  Remember that song?  "Sista Sista!!!"  No joke- every time I pick up the phone that is the first thing that comes out of her mouth.

-She helps me out with the boys SO much.  Every time she comes over I find her cleaning my house; not because she thinks it's messy, but because she wants to help!  She babysits them and plays with them, knows how to put them to bed easily, and I know I can trust her 100% with them.

-She is crazy.  You know how she met her boyfriend/almost fiancee'?   This crazy girl was driving on the 405 freeway on Halloween night, going to a party, when a car full of guys pulls up next to her (on the freeway, going 70 mph, mind you).  They start laughing and flirting, and they held a sign up asking for her number. She used her hands and signaled to them what her number is.  The guys called her, and she invited them to the Halloween party she was on her way to.  CRAZY GIRL!  Turns out they were all Christian guys, and she stayed in touch with them after the party.  She then developed a friendship with one guy in particular, Phil, who about a year later became her boyfriend.  They now sing and write songs together, travel and do shows, and have a 3 song EP coming out in a few months.  Should they be on Ellen or what?!

They were made for each other!

-She is an amazing woman of God.  She loves Jesus, and loves sharing Him with other people.  She encourages me, prays for me, and challenges me.

-She has traveled all over the world and is friends with everybody she meets.  She is outgoing and people love her.

-She is beautiful!  Her blue eyes are killer and she has a smile that lights up a room.

I am honored and blessed that she was born.  I'm so thankful for her and just want to say Happy Birthday Lauren!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stay Tuned...

Be sure to visit my blog on Friday, April 1st for a chance to win a prize worth $150!  This contest will be coinciding with 5 Minutes for Mom's Ultimate Blog Party 2011.  Get your browser's ready!! :)

Ultimate Blog Party 2011
If you would like to donate a prize (of any amount or service), please contact me by Thursday, March 31st at 3pm.  You may email me at  This will provide some great exposure to your business and hopefully bring you some new clients!  

Monday, March 28, 2011

Meeting Celebrities (aka "Looking Like a Fool")

Today I read this post by Jon Acuff on the Stuff Christians Like blog, about meeting Michael W. Smith in an airplane. It made me laugh out loud, because I have a knack for meeting famous people and then looking like a total idiot.  Here are a few of the people I have had a pleasure meeting, along with a few stories of how I completely embarrassed myself:

- Kevin Costner.  Kevin was the first celebrity I remember meeting.  My family was on vacation in Mammoth and he and his family were sitting at the table next to us.  My dad and my dad's friend Joe leaned over and started talking to him, and he was very courteous to us.  We even got a picture with him after dinner.

- Bryan Duncan. As a teenager I was obsessed with Bryan Duncan and wrote him fan letters frequently.  I have a picture of me in Yosemite at around age 13 wearing a neon pink shirt that said "Bryan D!" I chased him down at Jesus Northwest as a young teenager and overwhelmed him with my valley-girl-esque banter:  "Bryan!  It's me, Jaimie!  Do you remember me???  I write you letters all the time and I have even gotten your postcards!  Do you need any backup singers?  I've been writing songs; do you want to see any of them?"  He was a nice guy.

-Dr. Phil and Robin Mcgraw.  About 7 years ago I was on the Dr. Phil show as part of a series called "Booty Camp."  I was on the show 3 times, and only got to meet him the second we were on the air and he was talking with me.  He had been rather harsh on the person before me, so during the commercial break I whispered, "Please be nice to me!"  He had a field day with that, and told everyone on air that I had said that during the break!  He was nice after all.  I also spent a whole day with Robin getting a makeover (with the other 3 girls chosen to be on the show). She is super sweet and I was too nervous to say much to her!

-Chuck Smith.  Chuck Smith is a pastor of a gigantic church in Costa Mesa.  I saw him in line at a coffee shop and said, "Hi Pastor Chuck!  You may not remember me, but my name is Jaimie and my dad used to work for you!"  He asked about my dad, said he remembered him, and then took a bite out of his ice cream cone.  There was an awkward silence and he probably saw me staring at his ice cream because he asked me, "Do you want a bite of my ice cream?"  (I was thinking, "Um, Chuck Smith just asked me if I want a bite of his ice cream!!!!")  Without even thinking, I replied, "Sure!" and he tilted it toward me.   The answer is YES, I took a bite like a total moron!  So embarrassing.

- Christy Nockels.  I stood in a long line at the MOPS convention to get a CD signed by Christy Nockels.  My palms got sweaty as I waited.  When it came to my turn, I had no idea what to say to her.  "Um, hi!  Does your mouth hurt from smiling so much?  Mine would!  I was wondering if you could sign this for my best friend?  She is your biggest fan.  I bought this CD for her."  (Not me, mind you, I'm not your biggest fan - I bought it for her because she is your biggest fan!).  I went on, "My husband is a worship leader, just like you! He writes songs too.  They haven't been published yet, but I just think it would be so fun to travel all over and do worship!"  Awkward silence.  Polite nods from Christy.  "Um, okay, nice meeting you!"  Yeah, I'm classy.  I know.

-Twila Paris.  Poor lady.  When I was about 16 I gave her a side hug and accidentally put my whole hand on her breast.  I violated Twila Paris!  I was mortified but she acted like she didn't notice.

When Martin and I met Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant, he asked me to snap a picture of them. I was so excited that I did it too fast, and got one shot when both of them were blinking.  We didn't realize it until the film was developed.  Another classic Jaimie moment!

So, if you're with me and we see a celebrity, just RUN.  I won't be offended.  In fact, make me run away with you so I won't further embarrass myself.  Leave me a comment and let me know if you've ever met a celebrity too!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Micah's Dentist Update

I know that is a thrilling title.  I'm sure you're thinking, "Micah's Dentist Update?! I have been waiting all week for this!" Not.  But this has been my entire week, and so I shall blog it.  

You probably read about Micah's dentist appointment in my last post.  If you didn't, you might want to start here.  

So, on Thursday morning I went to the pediatric dentist again to pick up Micah's x-rays for a 2nd opinion.  When I walked in, the receptionist said she needed to talk to me, and took me into the back office.  Something told me that couldn't be good.  Despite me feeling uneasy with the dentist, this lady was actually awesome.  She had been on the phone with my insurance company trying to figure out what exactly our co-payment was from the first visit on Tuesday, since the wording was confusing in the schedule of benefits. Turns out that because this dentist was a specialist, we owed about $450 more than what we paid on the first visit.  Ouch.  She apologize profusely and said that she would not charge me that, but would instead just charge me this one $90 fee I hadn't yet paid and call it even.  Done.  I wasn't happy with the extra $90, but it was way better than $450.  She was seriously the nicest lady ever.

That afternoon I went back to our primary dentist to get a 2nd opinion. She said she agreed with the pediatric dentist and said all the work needed to be done: 8 fillings, 1 mini-root canal, and a crown.   Ugh.  She said that we shouldn't even use that insurance, because it wouldn't help much, but rather just become a cash patient and ask for a discount wherever we wanted to go.

Today I took Micah to a 3rd dentist for a 3rd opinion.  It was a woman who we saw when he chipped his tooth at 2 years old. She has raving reviews and everyone around here takes their kids to her.  She spent at least 30 minutes with us and became Micah's best friend.  Seriously, he loved her.  First of all, she has posters of Prince Caspian (from the Chronicles of Narnia) all over her office; turns out he is her nephew.  Yeah, she treats all the stars around here ;)  (There were others as well).  

The dentist said to another little girl in the office, "We don't give shots here."  Micah whipped his head around to me and said, "Mommy!! She said they don't use shots here!!!"  (Now, you and I both know that she does, but the kids seriously don't think she does).  

Anyway, she told me that he does not need all of that work, and she is going to try to fix the tooth without a crown, and without having him going under general anesthesia.  She took him into another patient's room and had him observe her working on the girl, and he was fascinated.  The girl said, "That didn't hurt at all!"  which totally helped too :)  

In the end, she said she'd give us a discount and we wouldn't need at least $1200 worth of work that the first dentist prescribed.  We will still have to pay a hefty $2000 or so for the rest, but I know she is the best choice for him.  We also did pay $80 for today, but the 3rd consult was the charm.

Sometimes, it is just worth the money!  And now, ladies and gentlemen, we pray for the money to be provided by the Lord!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Love My Boy


(age 2)

When he was born, we were debating between names.  It was either going to be James, Nathan or Micah.  He came out and the nurse said, "He is vigorous!"  We took one look at him and knew that, although we loved the first two names, they were just too "soft" sounding for our vigorous boy.  Micah means, "Who is like God," or "Gift from God."  We chose his middle name, Nathaniel, meaning "God has given."  But I'll get back to that in a minute.

Micah's life started out with some complications.  The complications weren't huge (although he was), and although I hoped and prayed for a natural birth, I had to have a c-section.  He was born on June 24, 2005 at 9 lbs, 7 oz.

He had jaundice, and they took him away from me for 24 hours and put him in the nursery under the bilirubin lights.  I was heartbroken, to put it mildly, and sobbed heaving sobs, missing him as though he had been ripped from my arms.

He got sick a lot as a baby.  Numerous ear infections, 104-105 degree fevers, name it.  He was prescribed 12 antibiotics in one year, making him develop antibiotic resistance.  Blood tests could not determine why he was getting sick so much, and he was exclusively breastfed, meaning he should not have been sick very much at all.  But the rules didn't apply to our boy.

At 2 1/2 we could tell he was speech delayed, and went through a rigmarole of tests to figure out why.  A psychiatrist used the word "autistic," but we knew that in this case, she was wrong. She then downgraded it to "asperger's syndrome," but we knew that wasn't right either.  Many, many tears were shed.

After more illnesses, we took him to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist who diagnosed him with enlarged tonsils and adenoids, and said he'd had fluid in his ears for over a year, which had caused the speech delay.  Finally, some answers.  Then surgery.  The hardest day of our lives thus far.  He was so scared, that he fell asleep on Martin's shoulder as they took him back to the room for sedation.  Then he woke up on the table, screamed and reached for Martin, and Martin had to walk away.  Our hearts broke again.

Years passed, and he started getting better.  His speech improved.  He graduated speech therapy.  Finally things were getting easier. Then came Kindergarten.  What started out as a year of hope turned into a year of frustration, as he has faced numerous issues in his class environment.  Another struggle, another year of tears.

Today we went in for a routine dentist visit, with a new pediatric dentist who I found (after hours of reading reviews on the internet).  We have a lame HMO dental plan; pretty much the worst available, yet the reviews of her were mostly positive (except for one where she diagnosed a kid with 10 cavities who was later found to have none).  We had a negative experience today; she was not gentle, was rushed and he cried a little.  I sat in that chair watching him for an hour and a half, thinking, "Why can't something be easy for my boy, just for once?"  She came back with the x-rays: 8 cavities, one mini root-canal, and one crown needed.   Um, come again???  (I should specify that they are between the crowded molar teeth, so they are affecting 4 sets of the same top/bottom teeth - likely from not being able to floss well that far back)

We have worked hard to keep our boys away from sugar and juice, no milk at night before bed, brushing twice a day (by us) and flossing.  I was shocked and in tears.  She recommended that he be put under anesthesia for all the work to be done at once, which would be somewhere in the ballpark range of $1200 just for the anesthesia, not to mention all the work that needs to be done. Did I mention we don't charge things like this on credit cards?  Again, "why can't something be easy for my boy, just for once?"

( Micah's first dentist appointment at age 2)

I went online to research something and saw all the judgments against parents whose kids have cavities. Everyone blames the parents, which is sad.  In my family, everyone has soft teeth and it really does seem to have a genetic aspect.  So, I'm prepared for the judgments but disappointed too; in other words, I won't be posting about this on Facebook.  (Only here on my blog, where I know you all show only love, right???)

Tonight I'm thinking of all we've been through with Micah in his 5 short years.  It is in stark contrast to Jaden, who has hardly had any issues at all.  Yet Micah is strong, and so good for the doctors and the dentist, and we are so proud of him.  He did not complain at all today.  He said "thank you" to the dentist even after she made him cry.

Somehow, even before our boy was 10 minutes old, we could tell he was vigorous.  He is a fighter, and he is strong-willed, yet I see the benefits on days like this.  He would go through a lot and would need to be strong.  It hurts my heart to see him have to go through pain, yet he teaches me so much through it.  He is truly my "gift from God."

On another note, we have seen him grow leaps and bounds in the past month or so.  He has started reading and is flying through small books (of mostly 3-4 letter words, mind you, but still so exciting!).  He is coloring like a pro and we even see a little artist coming out of him.  He is one smart cookie.  I love my boy so much, and I hope one day things can be a little easier for him too.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Funnies

I'm warning you, most of the humor in my house these days has to do with the potty or farting.  Boys!  
Jaden loves to put new words to songs we listen to.  He heard the song on the radio by Chris Tomlin that says,
"Where You go, I'll go
Where You stay, I'll stay
Where You move, I'll move
I will follow You"

At breakfast today he sang,
"Where you pee, I'll pee,
Where you poop, I'll poop,
Where you fart, I'll fart,
I will pee on you"

Jaden is just obsessed with talking about pee, poop and farts.  He told Micah that he had a dream about farting, and Micah replied, "That sounds like a private parts dream, Jaden."  (We frequently tell them to stop talking about private parts).
I was at Costco with Jaden and we were eating in the food court.  He saw an older man eating by himself and said, "Mommy, look! That man is lonely!"  
Micah finished going to the bathroom and said, "These are the only things you can touch with your germs after going to the bathroom: the toilet flusher, your underwear, your pants, the soap, and the faucet. That's it."  I said, "Wow, Micah!  How did you know that?  Did Ms. S teach you that?"  He replied, "No, Mommy! I just knew that!"
Micah was taking a shower and I cautioned him to not get soap in his eyes or it would burn.  He asked, "Why?  Is it made out of heat?"

I told Jaden we were having pizza for dinner and he said, "YES!  Is it macaroni (pepperoni) or cheese?"
Micah told us numerous times that he did not want to go to school on St. Patrick's Day.  Finally I asked him, "Are you afraid that a leprechaun is going to be there?"  Through tears he said, "Yes!  And he's going to pinch me!"  We explained that leprechauns are not real and he didn't need to be afraid; plus, he'd be wearing green anyway.

After I picked him up, he said, "I told all the kids that leprechauns are not real, and that the green footprints in the room were just paint!"  :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Choosing Peace Over Fear

The past few nights I have been unable to get to sleep easily.  I was up late the night that the tsunami hit Japan, and watched it unfold live on national television.  I remember that I was gasping as I watched it happen, with my hand over my mouth.  In the past, we see national disasters on television after the fact, and that somehow seems to lessen the impact a tiny bit; yet watching it happen live, while people are being swept away, leaves an indelible mark on you.

I live in a city with a large population of Japanese residents, many of who have been personally affected.  We cannot get away from the news right now, even if we tried.  Online, on the radio, the television, the newspapers - it seems that each day the news gets worse, and we are being told to prepare for disaster.  Today on the news they actually used the word "apocalypse" as if that might be what we're facing.

My faith is what keeps me strong, what gives me hope.  I am challenged to remember this when surrounded by people who are scared and searching for answers.  Do I speak with fear in my voice, or with confidence and faith?

Last night as I lay in bed, I was imagining what would happen if an earthquake hit my house.  Where would we hide?  Where are our flashlights?  Would we be okay?  For a few minutes my mind started to spiral out of control, until I was reminded that I had a choice.  I have a choice to dwell on these fears or to choose peace.

Yes, we need to be prepared.  We need to have emergency supplies and have a plan ready.  Just today I went and stocked up on some water bottles and canned food.  At the same time though, we cannot let our fears dictate how we act or live.  We may have to choose to turn off the television and limit how much information overload we are subjecting ourselves to.  It is in times like these that we need peace more than we need information.  Peace is a choice; it is also a fruit of the Spirit.  God is wanting to develop peace in our lives if we let Him. That means trusting Him with the future, no matter how dim it may look.  Take some time to let His peace overcome you today.

Romans 8:5-13 
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.  9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A $10 Baby Shower Gift

Let's say you were invited to a baby shower, but you really don't have money for an expensive gift.  You think, "Maybe I just shouldn't go..."  Fear not, my friend!! I have a cute idea for you that a new mom will love, and it will only cost you $10 (or less)!

This is a "Labor Survival Kit" - or whatever cute name you want to call it.

I headed out to my local 99 cent store (you could also try The Dollar Tree), and picked up the following supplies:

-Cute bucket
-Cozy socks
-Jelly Beans
-Energy  Trail Mix
-Word Finds book (or any activity book)
-A small candle
-Tea bags
-A card

10 items for only $10

Now, I realize you have to be careful when shopping at these stores.  Some of the items can be tacky.  I personally do not buy their lotions, soaps or bath gels because they all smell old or funny to me.  A pregnant mom may also be sensitive to smells, so keep that in mind.

You can even use supplies from your own house to save even more money (or add items).  I had an unopened package of Black Cherry Tea that I included, along with a candle and a red organza bag to put it in.  I had some ribbon lying around that I used to wrap around the bucket.

This is a small gift that can be given on its own, or you can combine it with something else if you want.  I have been giving friends Diaper Cakes lately, and this is another side gift I include (stay tuned, I will be posting how to make a cute diaper cake later this week).

You can even make a funny version of this bucket.  Other ideas of items to include that might be on the more humorous side could include:

-Hemorroidal Cream
-Extra Strength Tylenol
-Ear Plugs
-A Pregnancy Test
-An ice pack
-A funny CD of music that can be played during labor (the 99 cent store has some hysterical titles)
-A "Big Hunk" bar for the husband
-Stool softener pills

What other ideas can you think of from the 99 cent store?  These gifts are sure to bring a little comfort or a little laughter to a new mom.  Now you have no excuse; head on out to that baby shower! :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Beach & I

I have never been a beach person.  Maybe it's because of my fair skin, which gets burnt to a crisp even in 73 degree weather.  Maybe it's because I am afraid of scaring the natives in my bathing suit.  Maybe it's because of the sand that gets in every crevice.  I don't have fond memories of the beach, because as a child I often left with sunburns that sent me to doctors' offices, even after applying SPF 75.  But the fact is, I live by the beach.

For the past year I have come to terms with the fact that everyone around me loves the beach, relishes living by it, and always wants to go.  I, on the other hand, would rather drive an hour up to the mountains to breathe in the crisp air and see nature at its finest.

However, the past few Thursday mornings I have had the opportunity to have some rare time to myself, and each Thursday I have found myself at the beach.  It is within 2 miles of my house, and the weather has been beautiful.  For $2, I can park there for however long I want, read a book or take a walk, and breathe in the sea salt air.

Last Thursday I stopped by my favorite cafe, The Yellow Vase, and picked up a cupcake (now you know why I don't wear bathing suits).  They were filming 90210 that day, and these two girls walked right by me.

Um, awesome!!  Seriously, everyone on that set was so beautiful. There I was with my crazy hair, no makeup on and my outfit from the floor of my bedroom - I felt really hot.  I fit right in.

Anyway, back to the beach.  My point is, that I think I am falling in love with the beach.  Not because of the sand in my pants, or the sunburn I might get, or all the interesting people there.  It is because when I am there I feel close to God.  Even if I am having a bad day, I can take a little drive, put .25 cents in the meter, roll down my window and hear the waves.  And it even gets better when I see something like this:

This photo was taken last week by my friend Heidi.  Every time I go down there I see dolphins. Today I walked a mile on the sand, while they swam the same direction the whole time.  My friend Melanie was there yesterday and they were doing flips in the air!  When I see the dolphins, it always reminds me of the glory of God.  Something about seeing His creation like that just speaks to my soul.

This week we also took a little trip to see the dead sardines.  You may have heard about this on the news - over 1.5 million sardines were found dead in Redondo Beach on Tuesday morning.  We had rough winds on Monday night, and the sardines made a wrong turn and ended up in the harbor (where it dead ends). There were so many of them that they suffocated to death.  It was really sad seeing them there, many with their mouths wide open like they were gasping for air.  I was expecting to see tiny sardines (like the ones in the cans), but these were all 6-8" long.  The boys loved it.  They were fascinated and asked so many questions.  I have never seen anything like it.

In talking with people about this event, numerous people have said, "It reminds me of the end of days."  Even people with no faith are saying thing like that.  Again, nature has a way of turning people to God, even in odd ways like this.

So, while you may not find me parked on the sand in my bathing suit with my beach umbrella, you may find me there...sitting in wonder and awe at God's handiwork.  It is amazing!

"Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying, 'To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!'"  Revelation 5: 13

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Turn a Shower Curtain into Window Curtains!

I am participating in  The Stories of A to Z's "Tutorial Tips Tuesday" party!

Today I saw a great post over at Make and Takes that teaches how to turn a bed sheet into a shower curtain.  It just so happens that last week I sewed (by myself) for the very first time, and turned two shower curtains into curtains for my bedroom!   I just  had to share how I did it (sew easy) so that you can do it yourself too :)

My mom came over last year and showed me how to use a sewing machine.  We sewed curtains for my kitchen, but she did most of the work since I was a bit overwhelmed.  This time, I wanted to try my hand at sewing curtains for my bedroom.  I have a new comforter and could not find curtains anywhere to match.  As usual, Target came to my rescue.  I was perusing down their shower curtain aisle, when I noticed a ton of shower curtains on clearance.  Immediately I saw that one of the shower curtains (a cloth one) matched my comforter almost perfectly!  I picked up two of them for only $4.98 each.

First I bought curtain clips and hung them up, but every time I opened the curtains, the metal-on-metal sound irritated me (high maintenance, perhaps?).  I returned the clips and decided to cut the curtains down and sew them myself.  A friend of mine let me borrow her machine, and with the manual in my lap at all times, I figured it out - miracle of all miracles.

I decided to cut 12" off of one side, and cut the holes off of the tops of the shower curtain, and hem the top by 6".  That way, I was keeping two of the original (nice) hems, and would only have to sew two sides of the curtain.  While I didn't take photos of the whole process, you can look a little closer here at the top hem:

As you can see I am NOT a straight-sewer.  Still need practice.  Thankfully you can't tell unless you're up really close.

Here is another view of one window.  My husband screwed in a curtain tie-back hook to the side of each window to hold the curtains back during the day.

This got me thinking about what else I could sew using clearance shower curtains from Target (I picked up 3 more curtains in different fabrics for only $2.50)!  I also purchased some cute cloth napkins on clearance that same day, sewed them together and covered my red pillows that were on the couch.



These were two easy projects that any beginner sewer could do.  While I'm not an expert, at least I can  now make curtains and pillow covers.   I'm so excited to do more!

Monday, March 7, 2011

March is Here!

March is here, and with it T-Ball season.  For the next 12 weeks, we have committed to practice and games every single weekend.  It is so fun for Micah, but such a commitment!  I have never seen Micah so excited about something, though.  He talks about it every day and counts down the days to practice and his games.  His first game was this past weekend; they don't keep score, but you can bet I overheard parents keeping score in the stands :)

Micah was chosen to say the opening pledge with his friend Jonathan, and they were nervous so they held hands while they did it... so cute!

He did great and had a blast.

Go Angels!