Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Big Birthday Party. .and Some Other Stuff

Life has been busy. .as one would expect in our season of life. The great thing about our season. .is that is full of a diverse spectrum of life and lives.  Last weekend. .we enjoyed spending a few hours with family celebrating Grandmom Jackie's 81 years.
Her life has been complicated over the last few years by a progressive dementia. .and right before Thanksgiving, life in her own home came to a close. .and a new life with 24 hour/day care began. It was fun to treat her with a special birthday party in her new home.
Though, she couldn't quite remember that we were celebrating HER birthday. .she remained her social self. .visiting with us, and calling several of us by name. Our crew occupied a lot of chairs around the table. .and not everyone was able to make it.
Grandma Pat made the cake. .as usual!! We never mind that. She has remained active around the nursing home since Grandpa died in October. It does her heart good to keep busy. 
It's always good to see our two favorite K-State students!! My boys always enjoy hanging out with Courtney and Jared. .it's so amazing to me how everyone grows up so fast!
We haven't had a family photo for a few years now. .so they all obliged, and we got a good shot!! They are missing their brother, who lives out of state. Jill and Uncle Jay have been working hard to make life as simple and nice as possible for Grandad and Grandmom. And I'm glad they work so well together!!
Granny enjoys listening to "Miss Grace's" endless stories.
We decided on the way out the door, that it may be helpful to bring some things to keep the kids out of the hallway, causing ruckus. .The little guys enjoyed a rousing game of apples-to-apples. .
. .while the big ones played Pictureka. .
It got so lively at one point, that even Grandad had to go check it out!!
More than once, the rulebook was pulled out. .
Although Aunt Amy was getting stomped by the kids. .She was pretty sure that they weren't following ALL the rules. .HA!
I'm not sure that I have ever gotten a photo of these two in the same place. .my brother in law hates pictures as much as his brother and father. .but this time, he humored his bossy, outspoken SIL!!

In other family-related news. .The boys all performed in our county 4-H day. .an opportunity for them to perform talks, demonstrations, music, or readings.  I was pretty pleased. Tristan performed his humorous solo he has worked up for forensics. .He did well and scored a blue ribbon. His demonstration on making a chocolate cake in a mug with the microwave on the other hand. .wasn't very good at all. .though he still managed to score a blue ribbon. Only because the judge didn't know what he was SUPPOSED to be saying!! 

Grant did a demonstration on planting seeds. He has always been the nervous nelly of the bunch. .and has hated getting up in front of people more than his other siblings combined. .I blame that on his shy father. He has never had to perform in front of so many people at the same time he was being judged. .and he was instantly nervous. He gave me the worst time of any of them during his practices at home. .and I was really pleased with how he did. He remembered nearly everything he had practiced talking about. .and scored a blue ribbon, alternate top blue. .and the opportunity (or punishment. .if you hear him tell it) to perform it again in a few weeks at our regional meet. 

My little 9 year old impressed me the most though.  The one who would cry real tears when he was "forced" to practice the talk one more time. .proclaiming that he "hated the world!" The one that has never had an ounce of "people-fear" or "performance-fear" in his brain. He stood right up at the front of the room and rattled off to the judge everything she might need to know if she wanted to take up archery as a hobby.  He was awarded the top blue of all the kids age 7-10 giving talks and demonstrations that night. He will also get to do his talk again next month. On the way home we talked about the judge awarding him top blue because he had been able to memorize his information and practiced it enough to be able to get up and talk about it easily with the judge. He advised ME that he got top blue because "the judge didn't know ONE thing about archery. .and I taught her a lot. .she said so!" That reason worked for me too!

With the impending arrival of spring. .we will be back into athletic mode. Grant will be doing track and Tristan plans to try golf. His growth plate in the broken foot has closed, and the podiatrist intended to release him back to full activity last week, until he discovered that the foot has been hurting again over the last few weeks. So, instead of full activity. .he got released back into his walking boot. .which he gets to enjoy until prom. He may remove it to wear his tux and dance. .and then we're planning on a surgery the next week to clean the bone fragments out of the joint space and do some cartilage grafting. He will then get a non-removable cast. .and a set of crutches to use for another 4-6 weeks. Cha-ching!

Grant's drumline group will be performing in a drumline showdown in Wichita next month, which may turn into several performances this spring. .depending on how well they do. It won't be long until he will walk the aisle to get his 8th grade promotion "diploma." And we will have 2 kids capable of driving. 

Devin is getting tired of the excuse "Because they are older than you, that's why. ." And he hasn't bought into the fact that he will likely be able to get away with more things than they have anyway!! He is already counting down the days until baseball and summer camps start.

Cami?? She is who she is. .a diva one minute. .and a WWF (world wrestling federation) star the next. Soon will be screening time for next year's school based preschool program. .and I find myself dreaming a little more often about what I might find to do in those afternoons by myself next year!

Jeremy. .busy as always. His eye has healed well. .thanks to all the well-wishers!! Drag racing starts in less than a month. .and then he'll be gone. .gone. .GONE! :-) He and Grant have been working on Grant's old pickup all winter. .J has decided that it is not nearly as fun to be perfectionistic with someone else's junk!!

And me. .Well, you know if you come here every week!! I did make an important realization this week .a realization that was several months in the making.  For over 11 years, I have listened to women tell me about this disheartening phenomenon that occurs as one approaches middle age. The phenomenon demonstrated by the sudden inability to get one's jeans on anymore. .despite the fact that they haven't gained any weight. My standard response has always been (until now) that as women age, their weight re-distributes to the center of their body. .namely their hips and rears. I'm here to tell you. .That's CRAP!! There is a definite horizontal repositioning of the pelvic bones. .making them noticeably wider!! I grew out of my leftover high school jeans several children ago. .but NOW I am growing out of new jeans. I still workout 3-4 days weekly. .this isn't fat accumulation. .and it isn't big muscles either. .(Jeremy's version is that it is MUSCLE. .pushing out the FAT farther. .he can open his blackened eye. .now!!)  I SO totally understand NOW why there is a "misses" section AND a "women's" section. I am finally a WOMAN! Cami and I had a little modeling session a couple days ago. .and my pile of jeans that barely button. .was taller than my pile of jeans that I can effectively button. .without standing on my tiptoes, sucking in all my air, and making momentum with my fingers and the button. .all while doing a little ballerina hop. .just to make 'em shut. 

It's a phenomenon I tell ya. .a P-H-E-N-O-M-E-N-O-N!!
And I'm stickin' to it!!

Blessings to all!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Celebrating. . .

Exactly EIGHT weeks left until the average "frost-free" planting date around our country. .
April 15.
It was 8 weeks from yesterday. .so I spent a little quality time by myself in my greenhouse yesterday afternoon. I'll show ya what's up!
This little petunia came up from a volunteer seed in this pot where the earlier tomato plant froze out. It finally bloomed this week, just shy of Valentine's Day. I added some of the purple basil transplants in there to continue growing. 
The greenhouse is starting to get rather full. . .and I became a little concerned as to where all the seedlings would go later. .but decided to worry about it when the time comes. Ignorance is bliss you know!! 
In the corner by the door, I put the new cabbage transplants. The containers are deeper. .and the roots were needing that. I ran out of soil. .so I still have some to replant. I'm also toying with the idea of putting some raised beds on the south side of the greenhouse and putting cold frames over them. .not sure when or if THAT will happen. .but it would be a great place for those early spring veggies to be in when I need the space most for the flower seedlings. 
The cherry tomatoes are in full force now. We ate a large handful in our salad for lunch today!! They are still as delicious as the first ones. Seems that this plant may be the only cherry tomato. The other plants have tomatoes, but are now larger than these have been.  Next winter, will definitely see SEVERAL of these plants in there!
The seedlings are doing well. Most of the petunias germinated. They were "fusion" pellets. .and so now I think that there were several seeds in each pellet, as most of the plugs have 3-4 seedlings in them. The coleus haven't germinated yet. .and I'm not sure they will at this point.  If they don't. .that will officially be the last time they are sowed in this greenhouse!
The tomatoes have germinated well!! I left the cover on last week to protect against something nibbling the pepper sprouts. I thought it might be a mouse. .Because the lid went back on after the sprouts were up. .a few of the tomato seedlings rotted at the base and are history. 
I have decided that the nibbling-problem might be ants. You gardeners take a look at the seedling right in the middle of the picture. Directly in the plug in front is a stem with the leaves eaten off, the stem directly behind the middle plant, also was eaten, but appears to be sending up it's true leaves anyway. .the plant to the bottom left got part of it's leaves eaten. .WHAT?? I have had some ants in the greenhouse all winter, and they haven't bothered me. .so I didn't bother them. .until now. The white stuff all over the trays are grits. .The ants have been carrying them off. When they eat them. .it causes their stomachs to blow up and causes death. I feel like a horror movie in action!!
Jeremy taught me to set a honey trap. .which I also did late in the afternoon. This morning it was loaded with  ants. .blech!!  I have left the domes off the past week or so. .since I put out the first helping of grits. .and nothing else has really been eaten. .so I think the rodent choice is out. .and the ants have been eating the grits instead of the seedlings. .so hopefully all will be in order now!
Yesterday, I sowed some more flats of seeds. .I started some broccoli (only because one of the companies threw in some experimental seed to try). .2 varieties of cauliflower (yellow and purple!!). .I also sowed a couple flats of flowers including. .yellow coneflower, denver daisies, cherry brandy rudbeckia, carnations, columbine, salvia, marigold, chocolate flower, cleome and vitex.  Some of those have already been sown into the milk jugs outside. .but I think I mentioned that I was skeptical. .so I may have plants coming out of my EARS!! Really, can you EVER have too many flowers???
Speaking of the winter sowing. .One flat DID sprout!! HEE HAW!! However. .I have no idea what they are. .because SOMEHOW. .a dry erase marker made it into my greenhouse. .and I used that to mark the labels. . so the names. .promptly came right off in the humidity! Because of the issues I have had this year with vanishing varieties and no names. .I have now started a new habit to foster my obsessive compulsive traits. .
I have started sowing my seeds in alphabetical order. .and keeping a note on paper which varieties I planted. Genius, huh?? So when my tomatoes sprouted. .I could start on the tomato side. .and count each block of cells to determine which plant was which variety. .Soon, I'm sure I will be washing my hands 3 times before I can open the door to come back to the house. .Heaven help me!
Cami and I also worked on another experiment Saturday. .my silver falls plant is starting to look kinda punk, even after the fertilizer treatment. .so we made some cuttings. . 
to see if we could get them to root in time for spring container planting!! 
The only thing that made my afternoon more exciting. .was the fact that this kid followed me out to the greenhouse with my honey trap. .so I could listen to him do his humorous solo. He has been involved in forensics. .which seems to be working a lot better for the one-footed fellow than athletics has this year. .I did enjoy listening to his version of "the Pee Pipe" done with a nice southern drawl spiked with testosterone. 

I finally finished taking down the snowman deco. .and replacing them with spring. .
I cemented in the telescoping pole for the new purple martin house I was gifted for Christmas. .
And I have been researching some fruiting shrubs that will draw wildlife through the winter months around here. I am getting a plan together in my curled head. .and can't wait for the eruption of spring flowers and fauna!! 
Have a great week. .and thanks for stopping by!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sugar and Spice. .

I always wanted to be a mom. .
I always wanted to have a little girly-girl. .
Strike one. .
Strike two. .
Strike three. .
I. . .was. . .out. 
But God has plans for us all. .
And a sense of humor. .
So. .
Instead of the consultation with the gynecologist to discuss a permanent solution to pregnancy. .
I got to see my obstetrics doctor and plan for child #4.
And God blessed us with this little princess.
She is ALL girl. .with a little bit of tomboy thrown in.
Her dad takes her to daycare on my health department days. And he is always bossing her to hurry up.
This morning was no different.
When he came back into the house from starting vehicles we heard him shout. .
"Cama-lama!!! Are you ready???"
Then we heard a sweet, calm little voice from my bedroom, 
undoubtedly in front of the full length mirror, say
"I'm putting on my makeup. I'll be just a minute. .OK?"
And my big, tough hubby's gruff voice
MEEKLY said. .
"OK." And he sat down quietly at the kitchen table to wait.
And, so it begins!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Oh Strawberry, How I Love You!

Know what's about to be in season??
Strawberries!! One of our favorites. I'm always glad to get to February. .after a winter full of bananas, apples, and oranges. .it's nice to have another affordable fruit to enjoy!! Our grocery store has them on sale this week for about $1.25 a quart. I thought that I would celebrate and share one of our favorite springtime side dishes. . .
Honey Lime Fruit Toss!
Even though there is lime juice in the recipe, I have never used real limes in the salad before now. These huge mamas were 10 cents apiece last week too. .and Jeremy has been enjoying them in his water. But in a pinch. .
In fact. .after I had washed and cut up the strawberries. .I started to see that THE children had completely decimated my fruit supply. I generally use kiwi for the green fruit. .gone! My backup is usually green grapes (I had purchased both). .gone, GONE! My last resort was to use thinly sliced lime. Additionally. .as if that wasn't maddening enough. .The recipe takes a can of mandarin oranges. As I bent down and turned my lazy susan to the fruit section. .a flashback of 5 orange cans seen on the coffee table with forks extruding from them last week. .gave me a knot in my stomach. .and not surprisingly. .there were no oranges to be found either. .No worries though. .because sliced peaches are roughly the same color. .and I found 2 cans of those!
So today. .
I share with you a recipe that was completely remade Saturday with ingredients that I had on hand. .the original recipe is posted here. .but you'll observe only a few of the ingredients in my finished photo!!
You win some. .and you lose some. .
Although this loss was still pretty tasty!!
Hope you've got some fresh strawberries in a grocery store near you!!
Happy Valentines Day!!

Honey Lime Fruit Toss
20 oz can pineapple chunks, reserve juice
11 oz mandarin oranges, drained
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
2 medium firm bananas, ¼ inch slices
2-3 kiwi fruit, peeled, halved, and sliced
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp honey

Drain pineapple, reserving ¼ cup juice.  Set juice aside.  Combine the fruit in a large bowl.  In small bowl combine pineapple juice, lime juice and honey.  Pour over fruit and toss to coat.  I sometimes substitute green grapes for the kiwi fruit. Oh shoot. .sometimes I substitute all the fruit. .but DON'T substitute the juice. .that would just be wrong!

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Groundhog Said. .

6 more weeks of winter. .
I'm thinking. .
6 more weeks of THIS winter, such as it has been. .
won't be that bad!!
Here's a little gardening post to get us all excited about spring!
My little cherry tomatos made it!! I picked 2 yesterday (you can see several ripening behind the red one). I ate the first one. .and it took all the power I had in me to share the second little morsel with the love of my life.  I think I have mentioned before that I am not generally a fan of plain, raw tomato. But I wanted to sample this one because it is a different variety.  W-O-W!!! This was BY FAR. .the best, sweetest tomato that I have EVER tasted. .EVER! So, I am guessing that this is the variety "Sweet baby" tomato. I was glad to see an abundance of tomatos on this plant. .and two other plants with similar tomato clusters. I may not share any of the rest!
It won't be long now, until we get to sample this variety too. .it's not a huge tomato. .but one that could be sliced and shared. .or made into a great BLT. 
So far, these tomatoes that are good for our summer garden here in Kansas. .already have more tomatoes on them than the determinate varieties I have grown the last 2 years. I went the determinate route early on because those varieties were better suited to a cooler, shorter day climate. .one I thought would be something to think about in a winter greenhouse situation. I think I will get rid of those leftover seeds. .and just go this route from now on!! It seems to be working well!
Here's a look at the south side of my greenhouse. The empty pots once held the tomato plants that succumbed to the very cold nighttime temp we had in the greenhouse last fall. .before we had thought to turn on the outdoor wood-stove that heats both our house and the greenhouse. The chard is doing well. Difficult to see are the chives sitting in the midsection of one of the pots, a couple of small pepper plants, the tub of parsley sprouts, and a volunteer petunia. .now planted with some tiny purple basil sprouts. Also, are all the little trees I got from the Arbor day foundation. .3 of which have started leafing out. Then maybe I can tell what they are. .another long story!
The lettuce that Grant and I planted will be ready for harvest soon. The right side is a mild mesclun mix. .and the left pot has a lettuce mix. I think I will try planting some into the garden next month too. .I have never tried lettuce outside.
I LOVE chives. .and my outdoor clump just doesn't seem to grow very big or fast. I bought some seeds called Purly. .a stouter, slightly shorter variety. .that isn't supposed to flop over. I have been excited to see several of my pots germinate. .this one with several starts that I can transplant into their own pots. The pots directly behind the chive sprouts are the Italian flat leafed parsley that we transplanted a couple weeks ago.
And several cells of cabbage behind that. I need to go ahead and plant the cabbage, either into a cold frame in the garden. .or into bigger pots in the greenhouse. I may do both. .my experiment actually was. .to find out if the cabbage could be grown in a pot in the greenhouse in the winter. .I'm just a little slow getting on things!
I've not had great luck with peppers in the greenhouse so far. .but this looks like a good start to me. .if it will go ahead and get bigger. This winter, I ordered some seeds that are suited to greenhouse conditions that I will start next summer to have in for next winter. Trial and error. .it's the name of this game!
And the sweet potato vine seems to be doing well. I think I will take some more cuttings off of this plant, so that I will have several to plant in the spring. I have a couple pots of the lime green variety too, but they aren't as pretty as the red.
I enjoyed some time in the greenhouse Sunday while Cami napped. .and got several things done. I decided to go ahead and sow some seeds. The almanac said it was a good day. .and I wanted to get an early start this year. .so my plants are big by the time they can be planted. I found a mix of petunias called "blueberry lime" and they were pelleted. .meaning, they had a shell put around each seed, so they could easily be seen and planted. Petunia seeds are smaller than a poppy seed that you might have in your kitchen spice rack. I ordered 50 seeds. .figuring that even if only 8 of them germinated, I'd still be ahead cost-wise. Petunias actually aren't that hard to start yourself. .indoors!! I also ordered some "fusion" coleus seeds. .10 of those came pelleted. I have not been able to successfully start these in the past. .but then I used a seed packet from Walmart and the seeds weren't pelleted. I also recall that I probably covered them up a tiny bit. .and this packet said to leave them on top of the soil. .they need light to germinate. Here's hoping to some plants!!
You can see my two little greenhouse flats flanking the old cookie sheet with tiny basil starts. The other greenhouse flat was planted with 9 cells each of 5 different types of tomatos. The same ones I started last year. Looks like I will have enough seed to go back into my freezer to get some plants for summer 2013 before needing to order more seed. If I'm smart enough this summer, maybe I can harvest my own seeds. The varieties were 2 cherry tomatos. .one black, one regular; Brandywine. .an heirloom tomato. .a slicing tomato. .and a huge paste tomato. .great for salsa. I used the rest of the flat for peppers. .green to orange, green to red (at maturity), a large jalapeno, and some assorted bell pepper mix that I had.
While in my greenhouse, I fixed a couple more jugs of seeds in the hopes that as conditions of spring arrive, they may sprout their little selves in my jugs! I know others have had good luck. .but I've gotta admit. .I'm skeptical!! I have been dragging my greenhouse hose around the side to squirt in some water periodically. I've got several different flower varieties out there now. .including several varieties of agastache, denver daisies, cherry brandy rudbeckia, columbine, red oriental poppy, moonflower, some morning glory, Love lies bleeding and kiss me over the garden gate. .two that I haven't had good luck with before. .but also not realizing that their seed needs to be chilled, or stratified. Some of the seeds I have saved to start the way I know how. .in flats under lights!! With any good luck. .I'll have an abundance of little plants!
I was pretty excited to see my garlic bed. .a blogging buddy of mine sent me some cloves off her plants last fall. I noticed them about 6 weeks ago. .and it seemed like the cloves were heaving themselves out of the ground. I quickly realized. .but not until I had used my finger to shove some of them back down into the hole. .that what I thought was the clove. .was just the skin from the clove. .and the sprouts were emerging underneath. There were sprouts here and there. .but yesterday I noted that nearly all of the cloves have sprouted. I can hardly wait to see how this works. .growing garlic is another first around here! And a good thing for my herbalistic hubby. .who actually eats cloves of garlic for the health benefits. .until I ask him to go on vacation from them for a while when he gets a little too potent!
Here is my little heavenly bamboo (nandina) bush looking the best it has since I bought it about 5 years ago. I finally moved both bushes in May, from the north side of the house, to the edge of the driveway in a warmer, sunnier spot near the rock wall. They thrived through the drought and heat. .and with the little display of red leaves in still going on in February. .I can hardly wait until it has about 6 feet of growth on it. .It will be a great winter interest plant! Plants are just like people, in that, their lives are sustained given food and water and they exist. .but they don't thrive until their conditions are right!!
The larkspur are coming up all over this little bed. .and they have spread beyond into the other beds. .I may let a few of those stay. .and they will all stay in this bed for sure. They are such cheerful flowers. .and I sure like the pop of green growth this time of year!! Right behind the frilly larkspur, are the long leaves of a penstemon plant that my friend Pat shared with me. We don't know the name. .but it was a delightful pink color. .it was the only plant taken from her that actually bloomed despite the heat!! I notice that several starts off her daylilies are still alive. .so hoping for some cooler weather and good growth and blooms from them this summer!
And, last but not least, daffodil shoots coming up. I found some hyacinth shoots, and grape hyacinth shoots. .and even a small stand of tulips. With the 200 bulbs I planted last fall. .I am sure they are just a few of what is to come!! It's a great start anyway!!
To grow a garden shows your belief in tomorrow!!
We never know how many tomorrows we have left. .and if I only have a few. .someone will enjoy my garden in my memory. .even if it isn't me!!
Enjoy a blessed week full of God's great creations!! We're on the downhill slope until spring!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Living Pants UP!

In a Pants Down World. .catchy title. .
That's where we hung out with 24 junior and high school kids Friday through Saturday.  We had a TERRIFIC time!! 2 years ago. .that same title being advertised on the radio station got my attention as I drove to the health department in Oklahoma.  I heard it several times before I actually checked it out. I found out that it was a Christian based abstinence seminar for teens. 2 years ago, we had nearly 20 kids signed up to go. .and then we had to cancel the afternoon of the retreat, because of the weather. The snow had stopped the day before. .but the temps were so cold that the roads simply were not clearing off. .and very icy and dangerous. Talk about monumental disappointment for me!!
This year I was afraid to get my hopes up until the night before!! And by then. .I was so pumped up that I couldn't sleep! We hit the road with 24 kids and 6 adult sponsors, including me, by early afternoon last Friday. We had NO idea what we were signed up for!!
The kids got started with crazy games Friday night. .like blowing up balloons using their noses!!
. .and watching other kids perform "stupid human tricks." Nic, one of our own. .was able to put his entire fist in his mouth. .R-E-A-L-L-Y!! If you knew him. .you really wouldn't find it that hard to believe :-)
But after the first round of worship music, the nearly 400 person crowd wasn't prepared to witness what was in store for them next!
It started out as a video on the big screen.  It was a video about alcohol and accidents.  It was a video similar to many others. .the story of a tragic accident secondary to alcohol and the consequences of too much partying. This particular story involved an 18 year old young man that made a recovery nothing short of a miracle. The video guided us through the 3 year recovery process he had after jumping out of a moving vehicle while imitating a stunt from the movie "Jackass" He sustained a very significant head injury. The incredible part of HIS story. .was that, after the video, we watched as he meticulously walked himself up onto center stage using braces and canes. .and proceeded to talk to us, using broken speech, even unintelligible at times. .to tell us about how God has used him to help people!! You certainly could have heard a pin drop in the room. .and I'm sure there was more than one mortified look on someone's face as they watched and listened. .you see. .I think it is one thing to see it on the screen. .and quite another to see it standing in front of you!  If you are interested. .you can see his story presented in an 9 minute video on youtube. It's an incredible story. .made more incredible by the fact that Joe was actually standing in front of us, giving us his message about what Jesus had done in his life. .his second chance. .and his insistence that "drinking. .bad. .very bad" and "think. .think. .think!" He's also a native of our great state. .still living in Topeka.
As if that wasn't monumental enough for the kids to consider. .the next speaker. .the key speaker for the rest of the retreat. .was a sweet little southern guy named Jeffery Dean. A captivating speaker. .who was honest, realistic, down to earth, and fun to listen to! The kids seemed to understand what he was saying. .and he started with the basics. .like understanding how to define their belief system. And confirming the fact that each of us was designed with a unique, and individual purpose to our lives. After the sessions Friday night. .we were able to break out into smaller groups to discuss and consider the things that we heard. What a cool experience that was!!
We didn't actually know the girl to the right signing us the universal peace symbol!! Hence the looks of bewilderment on Sarah and Lindsay's faces!
After a short night, we found ourselves back in the main chapel for the meat of the retreat. .
After a few games. .including the kids watching as their sponsors figured out how many clothes pins they could clip on their faces in 90 seconds!!
I earned a plastic slinky for getting 17 pins stuck to mine. .Hindsight is 20/20. .cause I think, had I strategized a little different. .I could have rocked it!! The winner had 23!!
I was pretty amazed that this speaker (not a great photo of him, since I stole it from his website) could keep a crowd of rowdy teenagers engaged for over an hour at a time. .but he certainly did. .not once. .but THREE times during the course of the weekend!! 
Saturday, we also heard testimonies from a couple of women. The first was the "ideal" woman. .a young woman that had her life together. .knew what she expected from herself from a purity standpoint. .and made that happen. The second woman. .abused as a child, found herself pregnant from the abuse at age 13. .and was forced to have an abortion by her family. She continued living a life of sin and promiscuity. .but finally found Jesus after she was married with children. She also saw her husband come to trust Jesus as his savior. .and her children. .and currently works for the Pregnancy Crisis Center. .counseling pregnant women on their choices.
Much to the relief of the kids. .they didn't spend 2 days beating STD's down their throats. .or telling them NOT to have sex. .they showed them in verses, why they are to save sex until marriage. .but  more importantly, they demonstrated through the bible, how Satan tries to trick us by stealing our beautiful, unique qualities, by trying to confuse us and our thought process, and by trying to show us how to rationalize a loophole in our morals.  They drove home scripture to show the kids WHO they are in Christ. .and helped them learn how to take ownership of their decisions. A lot of spiritual movement happened within our kids and even within us, as leaders!
Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  
I certainly can't wait to see how these kids develop and what they turn out to be in the lives that God has planned for them!
Wishing everyone a very wonderful weekend. .we are hoping for one on our end. .the week has been full of incidents and accidents around this place!! Jeremy ended up in the Emergency room Saturday night before we got home after he gouged himself in the eye with a crowbar. .Thankfully, his eyeball wasn't stuck to the bar. .and his eye and vision are healing nicely!! As if that wasn't enough drama for the week. .I got to take Cami to a pediatric dentist today. .where she inherited a root canal and a silver crown on her back molar. The dentist feels like the stress of her RSV infection that kept her in the peds unit at the hospital for 5 days at 3 months of age, caused an abnormality in the developing tooth enamel.  And, as if THAT wasn't enough. .I was also told, and showed, that the child has an extra front permanent tooth. .WHAT??? I actually had 5 wisdom teeth myself. .so I shared this goofy genetic trait with her. .however. .in a year or two. .we will have to take her back. .knock her out and have them cut the tooth out. .and as soon as the permanent teeth come down, she will get braces to start lining them up, so the tooth won't stick straight out of her lip!! 
Calgon. .Anyone??? Sometimes when it rains. .it pours!! Which, thankfully, is happening right outside my window. .rain in February. .with thunderstorms. .how peculiar!!
Enjoy your weekend. .and thanks for stopping by!