Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vintage Tray

I borrowed this sweet little dish from my husband's great aunt--JUST BECAUSE I wanted to bring it home and look at it a little while--



and to share it with friends.

Isn't that WONDERFUL?



Too cute, and folds up to boot! :)

Happy Thursday!

~april

A blessed mess or, Fiftieth part two

Monday morning, bright and early, my husband's aunt showed up to go with me to HER aunt's house to raid the dish cabinets--trust me, I had NO idea just what I was getting into. She showed up with a huge box of dishes, herself, and so the fun began. Things are really beginning to pile up in the front room for the party.

I was so blessed to spend a couple of hours with these two funny, strong women. I was told lots of family stories, and it was so much fun to see myself in their responses to some of these well-kept-and-loved objects. The objects are loved because of the events and people they remind us of, not because of any intrinsic value.
I am thankful for this anniversary party because it has given me the opportunity to spend time with people I haven't gotten to know yet--in fourteen years of marriage! I am ashamed of that fact, but thankful to have the chance NOW. Family is a treasure.

These are not good pictures, but they show the abundance! She just kept finding dishes. . .three punch bowls to choose from, lace tablecloths galore. . .

Aunt June's gorgeous milk glass platters and a huge grape pattern punch bowl she loaned me.


These candlesticks are my favorite, I think.


A fruit bowl that belonged to my husband's grandmother. She died before he was born.

More beautiful milk glass. This pitcher is HUGE. It will be gorgeous filled with roses!

Tumblers will serve as impromptu vases.

A unique relish tray with gold on the backside of it. Very pretty, if a bit unusual. Fits the family PERFECTLY. :)

One corner of the front room stash.

The other corner of the stash. There is still much to be done, and getting these items to the church will be quite a job in itself.


I'm getting excited!


~april

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I was SO mad!


Let me say up front that I am a chronic, die-hard label reader when it comes to food. It's a habit I began in the late Eighties(gasp!)when low-fat everything was THE way to eat and mayonnaise was the most disgusting thing on earth to me--I couldn't see the need to eat a spoonful of FAT on a sandwich. I have since come around. :-)

Add children to the mix. We had a few years of some pretty serious behavior issues with one of my kids--she knows who she is--where it was OBVIOUS that there wasn't a discipline problem so much as she simply seemed unable to control herself. It started around the age of seven. I did some reading and asking other moms, and came across some information about FOOD DYES.
(I won't get started here, really! BUT if you haven't checked it out, DO SO. You may be shocked at what you may be doing to your kids by feeding them neon green koolaid. I was.)

I started eliminating the dyes from her diet. We started with the obvious: red. That was easy enough. It's not quite as sneaky as others. Seeing a marked difference between her behavior ON super-colored sweets and OFF of them, I decided to pursue Yellow. OH BOY. This is where we hit pay dirt. After I had eliminated it from most of her diet(and the stuff is insidious; everything from Rice-a-Roni to "healthy" breakfast cereal contained Yellow 5&6), and then she would have LITTLE of it, BAM! We would be hit again with the tantrums and irrational behavior. NOT pretty. Scary, in fact.

That was six years ago. We have come a LONG way on our nutritional journey, but the lesson that keeps coming back to me is "read the label, all the way, every single time". Case in point:

Last year I decided that our next target food ingredient to eliminate for healthy eating would be high fructose corn syrup. I began to be more diligent. Learned how to make granola bars at home. Stopped buying some other snack foods, and realized the stuff is in EVERYTHING.
Remember the lesson:
READ THE LABEL.

Well, last week I was in a hurry in the grocery(summer grocery shopping with four kids has a whole different set of problems than winter shopping when other people's children are in school all day!). I was delighted to see the kids' favorite brand of pre-packaged granola bars sporting the label "NO High Fructose Corn Syrup". Honestly, it should have stopped me in my tracks, but I actually picked up the box, scanned about halfway down the label, and tossed the bars into my cart, murmuring something about "those will be handy to have on vacation."

Next scene, we arrive home and the granola bars sit on the counter a couple of days before I can begin puzzling over where to store them till we go on vacation. I happen to decide to REALLY look over the label and THIS is what I see:

WAYYYYY down at the almost-end of the list: sucralose.
My best friend calls it "poison". Seriously. Splenda has a caravan of health threats that travel with it. WHAT IS THIS STUFF DOING IN AN ESSENTIALLY KID'S FOOD????

I am furious. Frankly I would rather they be loaded with HFCS AND artificial colors than that stuff.
They are going BACK to Walmart. Quaker will be notified. This is senseless.
Moral of the story? Read the label. Every time. Food additives change so quickly it's nearly impossible to keep up. Another interesting and out-of-place ingredient I found in these granola bars was GLYCERIN. I am still not sure WHY this would be there. I intend to ask.

It is not possible to watch every single bite our kids eat, but I believe that being super diligent about what we regularly allow them to consume can help to bless them with positive eating skills and good health in the future. Garbage in equals garbage out at some point in their lives. The scary thing is that so many of the things going into foods now are fairly new to our food system. We simply don't know what the long-term effects may be.

So please read the labels. Let the companies know you don't appreciate CHEMICALS in your kids' food, NOR do you appreciate paying 30% more for a special label that claims "ORGANIC" or "ALL NATURAL". They CAN and WILL change if they hear from us enough. Good, nutritious, high-quality and non-threatening, truly NATURAL food should be readily affordable to everyone. Period.

Climbing off the soap box now.

~april




Monday, June 21, 2010

Fifty Year Celebration pt.1


I spent part of this evening working on the corsage my husband's mom will grace during their anniversary celebration in TWELVE DAYS. Fifty years represents a lot of forgiveness, grace, commitment, hard work, and trust in God and each other. I hope their celebration blesses them at least a smidgen of how they've blessed me in the fifteen years they've been in my life.
Pretty?

I hope she likes it!

~april






Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Three Cheers for the Red, White, and Blue



Hi everyone! It seems that Wednesday is the inspired morning--or possibly just the day that guilt over not posting for a week seems to hit. . .so happy Wednesday again! We have been BUSY, but I seem to not have time for living and blogging about what all we've done, so I will just go ahead with what hit me as fun this morning during my coffee time.

Last post I talked about my project--the rearranging and organizing of school items. Update on that: nothing has been done. NOTHING. The boxes and stacks are still sitting where I left them the last time inspiration struck. I am guessing I will get inspired and energized (though with this HEAT I am SO zapped lately!)and I will get it done SOON. Meanwhile life continues at its fast clip and one long summer day tends to blend into another. THAT is why we have holidays, right?(Ok, not really, but don't they help?)

This past Monday was one of my favorites. Flag Day. June 14. Also happens to be the "friendiversary" when we met our "besties"--but I digress. For the past several years I have awakened children on June 14 with an American flag waving, marching up the stairs and through the hallway, dragging them out of bed while LOUDLY singing "You're A Grand Ol' Flag". lol.
They moan at it, but love it. This year, however, I did NOT.
They missed it.
Kind of funny.
For two weeks they were whispering about "don't tell Mom what next Monday is" and such. I thought by skipping the tradition they would appreciate it more. I may STILL get them on the 4th, though!

Wanted to share the decorating I've done on my front porch for the summer patriotic season. Of course, we are patriotic year-round, but summer seems to lend itself especially well to red, white, and blue.

Fourth of July is my brother's birthday. Makes it extra-special! We love you, Coleman!

Up first, my front door. I love this bunting. It was a bit windy the day I took this picture, but I like the effect of it flowing in the breeze.


See the star on the door? I have an identical one on my kitchen door around the side of the porch. Somehow I managed to not get a picture taken of it, though.

Then there is the large wreath between the front windows:

I thought it dressed up nicely with the big red star. These stars have been inside, above the doors to the sunroom-on-the-north-side(as the kids laugh about it), since we moved into the house four years ago. Shifting them outdoors was a GREAT change!(And having left them where they were for so long was a great challenge to me, too!)

Finally, there is the cool blue of the little happy hydrangea. Lacecap. I LOVE this bush.


Doesn't that color make you take a slow deep breath and just relax instantly? Cool blue.

:-)

Happy summer decorating!


~april








Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wordy Wednesday


UGH! What a busy week! The kids--youngers--are in VBS at the church my father-in-law pastors. It is at NIGHT, so they are getting to bed wellllll after ten p.m. That means they are GRUMPY and tired during the day. . .ditto mom, then!

The pool filter pump died; waiting on that new one to come in--this happened last year too--we likely will NOT be using this pool setup again(don't tell the kids).

I've been up to my eyelashes in school book sorting. For the better part of two years I have stacked, re-stacked, moved and shuffled "school stuff" around three or four rooms in the house. Fed up finally, I am doing it RIGHT. The stacks will be vanquished and put "where they belong". Finding that WHERE is the dilemma that takes so long. Undoubtedly SOME of the stuff belongs on ebay--what benefit to keeping used-gently-but-not-quite-right-for-us Instructor's Guides, anyway?

At any rate, THIS will not continue to be the scene!
One thought: It is IMPOSSIBLE to have too many book cases!

And, did I mention it is HOT. Way too hot for this early in the year. Did someone forget to tell the weather that the first day of summer has not EVEN arrived yet? :-)

We have spotted some unique summer "wildlife", though.
This is the elusive PATRIOTIC bunting:



My, the things big sisters DO to little brothers!


We continue to bring in a few cucumbers and the cantaloupe vines have babies now. Our tomatoes are starting to produce ripe fruit. I am LOVING the heirloom yellow ones I have tasted(sorry no pictures!).

There is a fruit fly invasion in my kitchen. GROSS. How does a person get RID of them without RAID?

Oh! A new sweet baby boy picture:
Isn't he a happy little thing?
(Not to mention cute.)

Happy Winds-Day to all my piglet, pooh and eeyore friends! ;)

~april