Friday, December 6, 2013

The Moon... A Link-Up Photo

One afternoon a couple weeks ago I noticed that the moon was out before the sun had gone down and the sky was still bright blue.  The moon seemed so out of place in the daylight but so beautiful.  For reasons unknown to me, I found its misplaced appearance captivating...


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Make it New Monday Link-Up 12/2/13

Remember to grab a Make it New Monday button located at the bottom of this post to include in your post.  Thanks so much!
This month I am showing how I up-cycled  a shrunken child's Christmas sweater into ornament sized pillows. The idea came from some sweater hearts that I saw on Pinterest.  It was a quite simple project, taking only an hour or so to complete.  I may make some hearts with the leftover fabric.

I found the sweater for $1.00 and had the thread and poly-fil on hand.  Inexpensive!
Cut apart sweater at seams.

Measure for seam allowance and cut to desired shape.  I will leave a bit more seam allowance next time.  Do and learn, right?

Pin well, and save scraps and buttons for another project.

Sew around edges with close stitches so that sweater doesn't unravel and leave a gap to turn right-side out after sewing.  Stuff and sew the opening closed, hiding stitches as well as you can.

Finished product on display!

My Not-so-Empty Nest

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Make It New Monday Link Up Reminder

Just a reminder that this coming Monday, December 2, 2013, is our very first...

Make It New Monday Link Up!
See the announcement for the series HERE for more details.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Season of Celebration

Since we are approaching (quickly!) a season of celebration, I'd like to introduce you to a friend who loves to celebrate.  So much so that she dedicated all of October to introducing us, the readers of her blog, to her understanding of what makes all celebration worthwhile and beautiful.

I don't want to say too much about her series because I really, REALLY want you to read it for yourself, but the words "Thus far the Lord has helped us" is a recurring theme throughout.  Seriously, her thoughts may completely change your perspective, renew your passion, or ease your burden.  Perhaps all of the above!

Cheryl (friend, neighbor, fellow Mama Coffee enthusiast, oh-so-lovely sister in Christ) You knocked it out of the park with this one! 

Thinking About Home presents...
(Click the link, folks!  You won't be disappointed!)

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Grand Slumber Party

It has been about 6 months since our son and daughter-in-law moved to their own home, taking our twin grandsons, Levi and Liam, with them.   

Well it was high time that the boys came for an over nighter!  Our son asked if we would babysit for an evening while he and his wife went out for a date, and since Grandpa wasn't working the next day, we offered to keep them all night.

They arrived shortly before dinner to give Mommy and Daddy time to set up the travel cribs before leaving for their baby-free night.  We also dragged out a few foam mattresses for the wrestling matches sure to come later in the evening.

Almost immediately we had to rearrange our newly placed end table to prevent our little daredevils from climbing up the steps on the outside of the railing.  No biggie.  I just moved it to where it would be much more safe to sit on. 

I'd rather spend my time enjoying their visit than scolding them. 

After dinner (baked chicken, buttered carrots, and spinach balls which I keep mistakenly calling sausage balls) was more playtime.

Levi and Liam are a hoot-and-a-half with all their antics and baby-pronounced words.  Saying "moh" while signing "more" which can either mean more or again, depending on the context.  And with those big eyes full of eager expectation... who can resist?

Playing.  Squealing.  Head bonks. Climbing. Laughing.  Pure joy.

Bath time.  It was so much easier before they were able to cooperate. 

Jammies on.  Hair Combed.  Teeth brushed.  More play.

Bed time.  Uh... or so we thought.  They were having NONE OF THAT.  Levi was up over the side of his crib in less time than it took me to type 'up over the side of his crib'.  It is a good thing we had those mattresses out on the floor.  We pushed them together and all laid down until the boys fell asleep.  Which isn't quite as uneventful as it sounds.  It took them almost 2.5 hours to close their eyes for the night. 

Some time around 1:00 a.m. Levi woke up crying so Grandpa and I abandoned our spots on the couches and slept for the rest of the night on the floor with the boys between us.

In the morning, somewhere around 5:30 I awoke to a little voice saying "Ahts.  Ahts."  Which in Levi-speak means "Watch.  Watch."  He was sitting up with Grandpa's watch held aloft to show the prized plaything.  Seconds later, Liam's eyes popped open.  Biiiiiig stretch and huge smile.  Two fuzzy-headed babies, fresh from sleep, and happy.

Diaper changes.  Milk.  Play.  Breakfast.  Clothes changed.  More play, but ready to go.

We'll be having a slumber party again!

A favorite spot... sitting in the window.
They love to play with our Wawa cups.  Liam's expression is similar to mine when my coffee is all gone.

If it fits, it's a hat.  Levi insisted Grandpa get in on the headgear action.
Flashlights are a must at a slumber party, right?

I wasn't going to include this picture because it was so dark but then I noticed that Liam photobombed it.  
Playing on the "new" coffee table that we recently found for $1.00 at a local thrift store.  Notice that the puppies are safely away behind the gate my husband built.

Morning milk is a must for these fuzzy headed, sleepy-eyed babies!

Foam shapes for sensory fun.  Keeping it somewhat contained in a travel crib.

This is pretty much what the entire living room looked like off and on the whole time.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ladies' Girdle, 1 owner, good condition, FREE or best offer

I should've known it wasn't going to be the best relationship before I even purchased it.

I had bought a pair of black slacks that, although not tight, were made of a fabric that was a bit too clingy for my comfort and decided that some sort of compression-type foundation garment was in order.  I've never owned one, never worn one, and had certainly never been instructed in any aspect of girdle ownership.  My mother, to my knowledge, never wore one (the woman was a twig and had no need for such things!) so I remained uneducated about them.

Imagine my surprise when I realized just how many choices there were!  Yikes!  I'm sure the people manning the security cameras at Khol's that day got a kick out of my facial expressions as I did my best to conceal my ignorance and perused my options.

I didn't even know what size to buy.  Do you  get one the size that you ARE or the size you want to be compressed into? 

I decided to split the difference.

After choosing one that looked like it would cause the least amount of injury should something unexpectedly snap loose, I headed to the dressing room.  I'll spare you the details and just say that I think that was the day that I had my first real hot flash.

With purchase in hand, I headed home, put the girdle in a dresser drawer and forgot about it.  I never did wear the pants.  Unfortunately I put on a few pounds and they became uncomfortably tight, so they are still hanging in my closet awaiting a loss.

Fast forward about a year or so.

I bought a dress.  Notice how the girdle comes into play when I buy things that I rarely wear?  That's another sign that it isn't going to work out!  It is a cute dress.  I actually bought it for my daughter but it was (way too) big for her so I decided to keep it for myself.

I wore the dress to church.  I don't know why.  I always wear jeans but figured I'd dress up a little this day.  A short black and white dress with over-the-calf black dress boots.  Cute, but the girdle (AND pantyhose) was needed to smooth things out a bit.

Between Sunday school and worship service I had to visit the ladies room.  BIG mistake.  Those stalls have zero clearance.

Again, to spare embarrassing you with details, I will just say that I left the bathroom feeling misaligned. 

Now any thinking person would've done an about-face and fixed what needed to be fixed.   I, however, went straight to my seat and THEN began to wonder "Is something tucked that shouldn't be?!?" 

As we stood to sing, my aunt gave me a quick once-over and assured me that I was tuck-free.

Services over, after-service chatting done, we headed to lunch with my aunt driving.  And I needed my freedom.  NEEDED!

By the time I was done, my hose and girdle were wadded up in the floorboard, my half slip was around my knees, my dress was up around my waist, and I had somehow engaged the extra traction feature on the truck!  I sure hope the good people at Google Earth had their cameras pointed away from Delaware...

Partially defeated, I gave up trying to rearrange myself and asked if, when we got to the restaurant, we could park in such a way that I could discreetly exit the vehicle and put myself to rights.  By the time we got there, the driver forgot... FORGOT?!?... and parked us right in front of the door.  Ugh!

Thankfully she moved and I was able to retain what dignity I had left. 

But I think my adventures with girdles are over.

Unless they develop baggy Spanx.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Chickens for Haiti 5K Run and Walk

It has been a while since I've done a 5K race so when this particular opportunity arose, I jumped at it.  I was the second person to register.  That's how fast I jumped!

Not only was this a great time for me to get back to walking for health and well-being, but it was a chance to contribute to a worthwhile cause.

Raising funds to build chicken houses in Haiti.

I knew the cause was legitimate (sometimes I wonder just how much of the money raised actually goes to the cause) because my cousin has been involved with missions in Haiti for 35-40 years and his business was a co-host of the race.  So I felt really confident about that aspect!

Not so much in the walking part.

As I said, it has been about 2 years since I walked in a 5K race.  I walk several miles a week on a regular basis, but not with much intensity so I've lost a lot of ground, so to speak.

Anyway, here are some pictures of our team...

Photo by Dan

Me being a goof with the guy who lead the pack.
  He's another cousin!

Photo by Becky

Photo by Dan

Another Post-race
photo by Dan

My time was 47 minutes, 12 seconds.  Not the 45 minute goal I had set for myself, but a big improvement from the 58 minutes of my first race.  It may not be an impressive time by racing standards but I am just thankful that I can walk without excruciating pain in my ankles now.

It is like my husband said... "5 years ago you couldn't walk from one room to another without pain.  Now you are doing a 5K race.  That's something to feel thankful for.  And proud of!"  And he is right. My progress can only be measured against my own beginning. 

I still have discomfort in my ankles most of the time and real pain on occasion, but it is so much of an improvement that I am more than grateful!

It was a beautiful day (a bit chilly at the start) and I am already planning to register for next year's race.

If for no other reason than to place and receive this as a reward...

Yes, folks, that is a tiny RUBBER CHICKEN on a lanyard!

My friend, Kristin, wrote about her experience of the day HERE in her blog.  Check it out.  I love her approach to goal setting!

Another friend, Jodi, wrote about her experience of the day HERE in her blog.  Check it out.  I love her attitude in overcoming an obstacle!

Here's a link to Christian Fellowship Mission if you'd like to learn more about the work going on in Haiti.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sandals or Steel-toed Boots?

There is a part of me that loves to have my proverbial toes stepped on, but only when I know that the stepper isn't aiming his stomp specifically at MY toes.  It is a perfect opportunity for me to do some self-evaluation without feeling as if I am being personally attacked.  It really is easier to see myself more clearly when emotions aren't fogging up the mirror!

Like when I read a book (particularly the Bible), watch a video, attend a lecture, or read a blog post that I just happen to stumble upon.  These are the perfect places for me to be completely vulnerable to what I need to hear.  "Lord, show me what I need to know!  Grow me up!"

Things get a little more sticky when someone who knows me decides that they also know what I need to learn.  And that's when I have the choice.  I can either slip on some sandals or lace up my steel-toed boots.

Now I will be up front with you.  Humility isn't my natural response. 
Can I be self-depreciating?  Yes.  Humble?  Eh. 

I'm pretty sure that my toes line up a bit too close to the edge of a ledge looming over a pit called Pride.  Not because I think that I am better than anyone else.  I don't.  And not because I thought I was doing a good job at hiding my faults.  I'm not that slick.

Chances are, if I am offended it is either because I am already aware of the problem and am in rebellion against repentance or the said stepper is seeking to cope with their own faults by amplifying mine in some way. 

Still, it is up to me to choose my footwear.  And I don't always choose wisely.  I don't even have much wisdom to share about accessing humility.

I do, however, know for sure...

When I wear my boots, I can easily convince myself that my feet are clean.

But Jesus washed feet.  Dirty, nasty, stinky, gnarly-nailed feet.  Feet that wore sandals. 

"Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!" --John 13:9.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Links to Past 31 Day Series

Links provided above pictures
in which I share my love of autumn
concerning change and renewal

Pardon My Dust, Please!


I'm making some changes to the layout of My Not-So-Empty Nest in preparation of my upcoming series "Make it NEW Monday".  It is an appropriate time, dontcha think?

If you are a new visitor to this blog... PLEASE come back again!  It is a mess right now but I promise it will be put to rights real soon!

If you are a regular guest... You know me!  I get a wild hair and have to start messin' with stuff!  One of these days I'll land on something that will be PERFECT for me.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Shhh! Be Verwy, Verwy Quiet...

One night I was pretty sure I heard it.  That old familiar scratching. <shudder!>

The next night I saw what I hoped was only imaginary... a dark FLASH! across the floor. <SHUDDER!>

The following evening as Hubby and I curled up under a blanket together to watch some TV, I definitely saw a small shape on the carpet where there shouldn't have been a small shape.  I leaned forward to get a better look and ZOOM! it sped away, under the sofa.

I felt an overwhelming need to bleach-scrub my house from top to bottom.

We had a mouse.
And the mouse had to go!

That very same evening, Hubby put out the traps.  2 downstairs, 1 upstairs.  There would have been more but some of them were no longer in working order after having been stored during the summer months.

Two mornings later and the mouse had been adequately dispatched.  And I felt not one twinge of guilt about participating in its demise.  Nasty creatures!

It put me in mind of a humorous moment that occurred this past summer...

As I mentioned, we store our mouse traps over the summer in the back corner of the pantry after they have been thoroughly washed and air dried, ready to be brought out for the killing season.  Which is any time a mouse enters my house.  But predominantly in fall and winter.

Hubby had scrubbed the little black traps and had set them lined up on the floor between the stove and cabinet, near the kitchen sink.  I was to put them away later on in the day.

My son dropped in for a quick visit and stood, leaning against the sink, while we chatted about one thing or another when he looked down to his left and saw a line of 6 mouse traps, did a double-take and immediately asked "Expecting a stampede?"

Monday, November 4, 2013

Make It New Monday... Announcing a New Series

Early last spring I began thinking of a series to do for the 31Day Blog Challenge in October but failed to follow through on in.  Read my confession HERE.

After making that confession I amended what I had already done as part of the original series and posted a 31Day series of quotes and scripture overlaid on pictures that I had taken.  I had, after all, completed about 2-thirds of them and I didn't want the time I had already spend to be for naught! The index for that series can be found HERE.

Now I'm staring at a collection of in-progress projects and wondering if they will fall by the wayside as so many past projects have.  I just don't want to let that happen! 

This blog was started to document the things I think and do in pursuit of contentment and joy in everyday living.  It is sort of an accountability thing.  An external motivation to keep the internal motivation from waning.

So here's the plan to keep me on track... On the first Monday of every month I will be posting pictures and tutorials of all sorts of made-over, re-purposed, and up-cycled projects, and inviting you to link up YOUR projects, too!!! 

Just about any project will do as long as long as it starts out like "this" and ends up like "that". Refashion a  t-shirt into a headband?  Link up!  Re-work a recipe to better meet your family's dietary needs?  Link up!  Turn a closet into a reading nook (or vice versa)?  Link up!  Make wall art out of drinking straws?  Link up! 

Ready! Aim! Spray Paint!!!!!  See you back here on December 2, 2013!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ladybug... A Link-up Photo

I do not like to be late.  Ever. 
And this morning was no exception.  I headed out the door to meet a friend for Mama Coffee with plenty of time, and to spare. 
But then I saw it... a ladybug clinging for dear life onto a twig of a plant that has poked itself out from under our deck.
I just HAD to go back inside to get my camera to photograph the tenacity of this little critter.  The wind, you see, was whipping this branch back and forth as if its sole purpose was to dislodge the bug. But she (?) wasn't budging!
It took me at least 10 minutes to get a halfway decent picture because of the wind.
I knew my friend would understand why I was late.  And she did.  And there was the bonus of her being so pleased that she arrived before I did!  I am a good friend like that.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 26... T.O. Chisholm

Growing up, my mother taught me to love hymns and I'd like to share one of those with you today. I regret that I could not find a audio/visual version to share.  But the lyrics are the most important part so you may wish to read them as if it were a poem. 
A New Creature by T.O. Chisholm
Verse 1:  Buried with Christ, my blessed Redeemer,
               Dead to the old life of folly and sin;
               Satan may call, the world may entreat me,
               There is no voice that answers within. 
Chorus:  Dead to the world, to voices that call me,
              Living anew, obedient but free;
              Dead to the joys that once did enthrall me—
              Yet ‘tis not I, Christ liveth in me. 
Verse 2:  Dead unto sin, alive through the Spirit,
              Risen with Him from the gloom of the grave,
              All things are new, and I am rejoicing
              In His great love, His power to save. 
Verse 3:  Sin hath no more its cruel dominion,
              Walking in newness of life I am free—
              Glorious life of Christ, my Redeemer,
              Which He so richly shareth with me.