To Pin and to Do

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I love pinterest.  I love looking at all the fabulous ideas that others have and that I can copy or do something similar.   One such idea is a 30 photography challenge.  The Husband bought me a nice camera a few summers back.  I have taken a class, which I highly recommend from HERE.  I took the Photo 101 coarse and it was fantastic.

I haven’t gotten out since and just taken photos for funsies (as my dear sis-in-law would say:)  This challenge is just what I needed.  So join me if you’d like.  You don’t have to have a super fantastic camera, just pick up what you have and start shooting.  Here’s the link:  30 Day Photography Challenge

 

Here’s my Day 1 Photo (Straight out of the Camera) SOC:

 

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Unfinished Business

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I am the queen of starting projects and NOT finishing them.  I have things that I started about 3 years ago and still they sit, taunting me.  We are up for a move in August and I don’t want any unfinished business to go with me.  I’m going to list out the things that need doing and will check them off with completed pics.  Hurray for making a list and checking things OFF!

1. Aprons for sister and me

2. Finish binding sampler quilt

3. Quilts for 2 of my nieces

4. Quilt for Sister

5. T-shirt make-overs (stained shirts)

6. Birthday Cards for family

7. Christmas Tablerunner

8. Scripture Case for Me

9. Tights to Leggings

 

I thinks that’s it.  If I come across any more I’ll add those as well.

 

How many projects do you have lurking in the craft cupboard?

Can you tell?

Whenever life gets really a tad overwhelming for me somethings needs to give.  Usually it’s whatever is low on the priority list.  Unfortunately or I guess fortunately this blog is the first thing to go.  With Christmas just passed and all that goes along with it, Husband went TDY for 2 weeks, and just life happening the blog just went by the wayside.

I’ve been thinking about my priorities and the commitments that I have.  My responsibilities at home, with the kids’ school and with Church take up a good chunk of time. I’ve realized that I do however have time to do the things I love when I put the Lord first.  My word for 2012 is PRIORITY.

One of the BEST talks I’ve heard about how to prioritize is from Julie B. Beck in the 2010 Women’s Conference at BYU.  Since reading and studying this talk I’ve learned just how much I can do when I make sure the Essentials and Necessary things are done.  When life tends to overwhelm me,  I can pinpoint it to my priorities out of order.  I’ll spend too much time reading, or crafting and not enough time making sure the things in my home are in order.  The essentials aren’t usually neglected– this has come through experiences that have taught me the importance of daily scripture study and intent praying.  When we ask, the Lord is there to help us- even to help us order our lives so that the most important things are accomplished.

What are some thing that have helped you prioritize your life?  How do you find the balance between the three categories, essential, necessary, and nice to do?  Have you struggled too?

Cover Up

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It’s been a while since I’ve sewn anything.  I’ve done a little bit of quilting, but not much sewing.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget in the business of life the small things that bring joy and pleasure.  A friend of mine is pregnant with her first little bundle of joy.  She really wanted a nursing cover, but boy are they expensive.  I knew I could whip one up and so I had a look around the internet for a good tutorial.  I found two that I liked- HERE and HERE.  The great thing about nursing covers is that they are a bunch of rectangles sewn together– a great beginner project.  By combining two tutorials I came up with mine.

Conkers

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Some call them buck-eyes or horse chestnuts, but here in England they are known by conkers.

When the wind starts to bite, the days are slowly shortening, the children’s laughter rings from the school yard, and the conkers start to fall, you know autumn is around the corner.

We love to break open the green shell and see inside beautiful brown marbling skin of this season’s conkers. Sister wants to collect them.  I use them for fall decorating.  The Brothers want to have a contest– drill a hole and string them up.  One player’s conker just hangs while the 2nd player tries to break it by swinging their conker. Mind your fingers though. The last one standing is the winner.

I’d much rather have some that are edible.  So here goes the recipe, I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.

Conkers (aka Buckeyes)

1 Cup Butter                                                 2 2/3 C powdered sugar

1 Cup Peanut Butter                                     12 Whole Graham Crackers finely crushed

2 Cups good quality milk chocolate chopped or chocolate chips

Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Crush the graham crackers in a zip top bag or pulse in a blender to measure 1 3/4 cups of crumbs.  In a mixing bowl combine the melted butter, crumbs, powdered sugar, and peanut butter.   Using a spoon, stir until well combined.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper, and roll tablespoon sized balls of mixture onto the prepared sheet.  Pop into the fridge for about 15-20 minutes.  Melt the chocolate in a medium sized microwavable bowl.  Dip the peanut butter balls in the chocolate and tap off the extra chocolate.  Place back on the baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate has set.

If you don’t want to go to all the fuss of rolling and dipping, press the peanut butter mixture into a 9 x 13 in pan.  Cover with melted chocolate and refrigerate.  Be sure to score the chocolate before it sets to prevent breakage.

The Last Hurrah…

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of summer.   Our dear friends the Marrotts will soon be leaving England.  I have loved seeing and spending time with friends I’ve known since college.  I had lost touch with Miranda soon after we both left school.  A month before we moved to England we reconnected.  Our children get on well and so do the husbands.  Miranda asked me to take some family photos for her and of coarse I said I would.  The two oldest boys have camera radar.  I tried to take some sneaky pics because they are camera shy, but was unsuccessful. Here are some of my favorites.

Run Baby Run

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In April 2010 a friend asked me if I’d be interested in running a marathon with her.  It was something I’d always wanted to do.  There was only one problem… I HATED to run. It wasn’t just a dislike or a something that might be tolerated.  It was pure hatred, unless there was a point to it.  I’ll runif I’m playing a sport.  Run for Soccer? Check. Run for Volleyball? Check.  Run in Softball? Yep you guessed it, Check.  I could see the point in running durning games.  I still hated running in practice you know, Indian drills and such.  I tolerated them only for the end result.  Playing in the games.  

I wasn’t sure how I would manage.  I hadn’t ran for about 11 years.  YIKES.  I now had a goal though, so my running had a purpose. The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer  is a great resource for those just beginning running.  Other’s have used the Couch to 5k Running Plan. At first I ran on the treadmill. The idea of running more than a few miles on one of those though sent me quickly out side.  I didn’t end up running the marathon, but that’s another post.

I stated slow.  So slow that others said to me that they could walk a mile in the time it took me to jog one. I stumbled on this image 

It didn’t matter that my mile was 15 min.  I was out running, and it felt so good.   Whether you a fast or slow, it doesn’t matter.  Get out, enjoy the movement of your body.  And who knows, you may find a new hobby and love in life.  I know I did.

Strip-rail Fencing

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When we first moved to England, the Relief Society had a quilt group going.  They offered a beginning quilting class.  I learned to sew in Uni, and had always wanted to learn to quilt.  My SIL made Brother 1 a beautiful baby quilt when he was born.  She used a long-arm machine and free-motion quilted dragonflies and swirls alternating on the blogs.  I was impressed and decided then that I would learn to quilt one day.  Well that day came when I found out about this class.  We created beautiful blocks using different techniques, and came away with a sampler quilt.  During this time I scoured the blogosphere and fell in love with the array of quilt blogs out there. One such blog is The Old Red Barn.  She offered a quilt along, and I purchased the fabric.  It’s taken me 2 years, but I finally finished the quilt. I AM IN LOVE. I finished it in Wales and it kept me cozy and warm in my bunk, and will continue to do so each night on my bed.

 

Wales

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Some friends of ours invited us to spend a few days in Wales.  We stayed in a little place run by the Royal Navy in the heart of Snowdonia National Park.  It’s for Royal Military families and Allied Forces.  It was more like a hostel with bunks for everyone, and was perfect for the hiking and exploring we got to do.  NorthernWales is breath-takingly beautiful.  

I don’t know about you, but often times I feel like I need a vacation after the vacation.  The stress of making sure the kids are behaving while sight-seeing just does me in.  Being out in nature and seeing and exploring was the BEST vacation we’ve had as a family.  My kids wanted to do more- go higher and further every day.  My sneakers were left at home, so I only had some flip-flops for shoes.  Not the best hiking shoes, but luckily I brought my Chacos and not my Clarks.

The day we arrived, we hiked the mountain directly behind us. We didn’t go too far up since we got their just after 2pm.  Under the rocks and boulders you could hear the water making its way down the mountain.  The Brothers went searching for it’s source with Husband.  They were thrilled when they found it.

Day two had us in Fairy Glen and Betws y Coed, a quaint village in the heart of Snowdonia.  Husband and Brother 1 had a rock skipping competition.  The Brother won by a landslide.  He’d been dying to learn how to skip rocks.  During our trip to Scotland, we explained in detail the science behind rock skipping.  Once he understood that, it all came together.  The most number of skips that I counted was 12.  The Glen was beautiful and serene.  I’m amazed by the creations around us just waiting for us to find them.

 

Our final day we went to the beach near Bangor.  By the time we filled up with petrol and found a toilet, it started to rain.  Big fat drops of cold rain came pummeling down.  So much for our day at the beach.  We headed back to the cars and the rain stopped.  So we decided to go down to thewater.  Another family caught 62 crabs off the pier and let them go when it began to rain.  We happend upon them and the kids loved seeing and catching the crabs.  Sister was scared to touch them because she thought they’d pinch her hands.  She wanted nothing to do with the creature.  Husband thought it was fun to have them pinch his hands because it didn’t really hurt.  He tried to coax Sister into holding one by saying they didn’t hurt.  Just after he said that the crab he was holding gave him a good, hard pinch. So much for trying to convince Sister!  The rain came again, so we headed to the cars to make our way home.  It was a great way to end the fabulous time in Wales.

Peace, Hope & Babies

Today I heard that someone was pregnant, and I cried.  The Husband and I have had been trying to get pregnant for the past 4 years.  It’s been hard every month, especially when I’ve been late.  Those months were extremely difficult.  The excitement.  Thinking of how I would tell Husband.  Then it all coming crashing down with one trip to the toilet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so incredibly grateful for the three wonderful children I have.  I just always thought I’d have a larger family, you know 5-6 kids.  With nothing happening for so long, we decided to take this to the Lord.  We fasted and prayed. And the answer came.  So sweet, so loving, but also so hard.  The conversion with God went something like this.  “Susannah you’re not going to have any more.”

But I don’t want to be done.

“I know, it’s for the best.”

How, how can that be?  I want to feel life again inside me.  Am I not good enough? And on and on I pled with God.  Finally came peace.  It’s still hard sometimes. But I know that He knows how I’m feeling and I trust that He knows what’s best for me.  Always the peace overtakes the pain, and I see how blessed I am.  Heavenly Father is so good to me.  He allows people to come into my life and lift me up just when I need them.  And I Hope.  I hope that I can in turn do the same for others- touch their hearts and lives just when they need it as well.