Thursday, October 28, 2010

A bit of biography

Those of you who know me might know I spent about 4 ½ years in San Pedro Sula, Honduras at the Emanuel Children’s Home. (Honduras is a small country in central America, bordered by El Salvador and Guatemala.) I went for 2 months the summer of 1998 (after my freshman year of college) with 2 dear friends and loved it. My aunt and uncle were involved with the children’s home I went to and made connections for us to be able to go. Four years later (or so) I found out they were going for a three month stay to raise the roof (literally!!) on the orphanage. Low ceilings and no a.c. made that a HOT place for all those precious kids and so a massive remodeling project was planned. I decided to leave my job and go help out for 2 months (“and no more!”) During that time, I had several different jobs… translator, chauffer, grocery shopper,tour guide, big sister… I’m sure those that were along on those trips could add more, but my mind is blanking there.

Here's the after picture!  The entire roof is raised, but especially the courtyard in the center.

The view from the courtyard.  See that crazy guy way up there on the peak? Yep, that's my dad!
I did of course decide to return and continued to coordinate work groups, translate, and help with all their errands and other needs while they were there, as well as helping out with the children as I could, helping to set up a rewards system for behavior, planning and executing monthly “rewards trips”, celebrating birthdays, loving on those awesome kids, chauffering them to church, church activities, and music lessons, working on setting up and translating materials for a transition program for older youth transitioning out of the Home (unfortunately this was never implemented).

I loved so many things about being there; the children were amazing, I loved  the staff, the people at our church were great; I love the country; there are beautiful places to vacation (hmmm, topic for a later post?!), life is very laid-back.

Little peek at one of the most amazing places in Honduras...

Which brings me to the things that were difficult: I did not have a rough time assimilating, though one thing that was difficult was Honduran’s concept of time! I, of course, would be ready at the stated time; only to wait. And wait. And wait. Til everyone got there much later. Public transportation is slightly frightening (those drivers can squeeze through the tiniest opening!) and also the main method of transportation! Driving in Honduras will also get your heart rate going sometimes. And of course, the HEAT! You take a shower, get out and sweat. You leave the breeze of your fan and sweat. Heck, you sit in the breeze of your fan and sweat! I remember coming home to visit during what everyone else said was an awefully hot and humid summer. I thought it was great! When I can sit in the shade and not sweat, it’s not hot! And bill-paying! When I moved into my own place I realized what a crazy mess that is! It takes a ridiculous amount of time to pay bills at each individual office, and the bank. No online bill pay or checks in the mail there!

I did get used to all these things though; and it would not take much to convince me to move back for a time. My Honduran husband, interestingly enough, would have a much harder time moving “home”! He’s grown accustomed to large, nicely paved streets and drivers who actually obey most traffic laws, courteous no-questions-asked (or at least not many) customer service, etc.

I met my husband in Honduras as he worked with the worship team at church, teaching the younger youth to play instruments and forming the current worship team at the church today. He also spent time hanging out with the kids at the orphanage; I found out later, much of this was to meet and spend time with me! We married in Honduras at the children's Home, with more of my family present than I would have every expected, for which I am ever grateful! I’m so blessed to have family members who would travel to the poorest country in central America to share in our day.

My husband's neice and our lovely ladies and gents

My Daddy! and my Maid of Honor, my dear sister!

Our wedding was right around twilight, and our reception area was little with candles on the tables and Christmas lights!

I eventually did leave the Home, and taught elementary school for a time, and later taught English classes. But those children will forever have a special place in my heart. If you’d like to find out more about the home, receiving the monthly newsletter, becoming part of a work group on a trip, financially supporting a child or a staff member each month, or supporting the Home financially or prayerfully, please see their website. They continue to make amazing changes with the support of people like you!

The next post will share the reason for this long rambling biography as I share about my Diaper Drive and the wonderful women who have donated cloth diapers for the Home’s precious new babies!


I have ended up with a few books to share so I'll just do a quick run-down:

BoneMan's Daughters by Ted Dekker: Great book if you like the thrilling/chasing down the serial killer type book with a little more. If you are familiar with Dekker's style you know there's always some strange twistiness... These are not for the light of heart...

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: My big suggestion- if you like sci fi-ish books, but are tired of all the language and unnecessary violence in "adult books", take a look at the youth or young adult sections!  I LOVE reading "kids" books!  These authors have come up with some amazing ideas for books without all the unnecessary junk!  In this series (yes there's more than one, and I'm currently reading the second, Catching Fire), the author describes a country separated into 12 Districts who, due to an uprising that wiped out the 13th District, are required to participate in the Hunger Games, where one participate is chosen from each district to be put in an enclosed area to fight to the death.  The citizens are required to celebrate this terrible "game" their leaders put on to remind them of the leaders' control.  I feel I've really not done the best job at laying out this premise so if you love futuristic sci-fi different world type books, check it out online, at your library or somewhere! It was a great book and the author did a great job with this premise. I was a bit worried at how the actualy games would play out, but it was very tasteful and well thought.

The Dome by Stephen King: I'm wary of Stephen King's books as I tend to expect them to be just horror filled terrors!  This was another premise that I loved though, and I couldn't skip it. What might happen to a small town if an invisible dome suddenly closes it off from the rest of the world?  No one or thing (and almost no air or water) can make it in or out! I loved the ending, it was such an unexpected reason for the dome's existence. This is an adult book and does have language and violence. I was so put off by the absolute evil in several characters even before the added stress of the dome!  A review on Amazon's website called it a story about the "ugliness of human nature."  It was such an intriguing idea though and SO engaging (I listened to it almost non-stop it seemed!), I'm glad I read it and will be taking a peek at some of King's other books. I'm a bit curious now after looking at Amazon's listing... there's is called Under the Dome and I wonder if the audiobook I listened to was abridged?  It was 35 hours long so i'm not sure...I definitely don't feel like I missed something...

As always, let me know what your thoughts are if you've read any of these or if you have any comments or other reading suggestions!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Make your own Diswasher Detergent!

I recently found this recipe for dishwasher detergent from Flitterbugs. Now usually, I find a craft or a recipe online and it gets saved and stuck in a file til I finally find it a month or so later (many I've not even touched yet!). This one stayed front and center til I quickly got the stuff to try it out!  I LOVE saving money, so I was all for this one! It is super simple too and you can find everything at your local supermarket.  I don't have a picture but really wanted to share it!

I mixed all the following ingredients in a glass jar!  You'll need some white vinegar too, as a rinse agent.

1 cup Borax (this is a teal box called Mule Team Borax in the laundry soap aisle, I think)
1 cup washing soda (laundry aisle) or baking soda (I used baking soda since I couldn't seem to find the other)
1/2 cup Kosher salt
1/2 cup citric acid (she recommended "Fresh Fruit" Produce Protector in the canning aisle, I used 15 packets of lemon kool aid, also mostly citric acid!)

This makes about 3 cups of detergent and you only need 1 TABLESPOON per load!  Put a little vinegar in your rinse compartment to help dishes from looking cloudy. 
She also suggests washing once a month with a bought detergent to keep your pipes from getting clogged- apparently Borax can do that. It is also in store bought detergents but according to her, they include an ingredient to prevent the clogging.
I've been using this for over a week now and my dishes are just as clean as before! Give it a try and save some money too!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Love and Respect Booksneeze review

I recently joined and received my very first book to review!  The book I received was Love and Respect for a Lifetime by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

I was actually a little disappointed when I first received it.  I was expecting a full-sized book with lots of pages and words! It’s a small book, and as I started to read, almost seemed like a flippant little coffee table book with lots of pages with one or two sentences such as “A woman needs love like she needs air to breathe.  A man needs respect like he needs air to breathe.” But as I continued, the premise of the book (which is exactly that statement above!) made so much sense to me as I thought about my marriage and some of our arguments!  The author reminds us that the bible says, in Ephesians 5:33 (NIV): “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”  Sometimes we take that verse negatively and feel less as women because our job is to respect. As I read the book though, it was exciting to take it in another direction, to be reminded that God knows what we each need as men and women in a relationship and that He urges us to treat one another in that way! The author includes a chapter on both love and respect, and also on communicating love and respect.  The author continued to have pages with only a quote, or small story, but I actually very much like this style in this book.  The author has one main point and expounds upon it, giving some anecdotes as well as suggestions on how to put it into practice.  I think because it is short and succinct, it will be a great book to use as a couple! My husband is not a reader, in Spanish or English (his first language is Spanish), so a simple book that we can read together, translating as we go as needed is just what we need!  Especially when it seemed to be written just for us! It would be a great book for any couple to start out with.  And I love that I could pick it up occasionally and revisit and refresh myself with these ideas in a short amount of time. 

So overall, this was a fabulous book, with a great premise and is NOT, as I first feared, fluffy and superficial.  It’s a great book for a couple to read together and discuss, even when one or the other does not really enjoy reading.  My husband and I will be discussing this book together one day very soon, and I’m excited to see how it changes our relationship!

See the product page here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Runaround Bag

 .Here's my latest purse; this great Runaround Bag (designed by Anna Graham of Noodlehead). This designer has a great blog and does so many cool projects... I think I might have even been the first person to buy her  pattern!  I'm keeping this one, but hopefully I'll make some up soon to put on Etsy!
Great inside pockets! It's roomy enough for what you need but not so roomy you can't find anything!
It easily fits my wallet and diaper clutch with room for more!  Perfect for quick trips out.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mei Tei Baby Wrap!

With baby E taking longer than usual to walk and crawl, we've needed some other "modes of transportation!"

We use a sling (mine's from Hotslings, via Goodwill).
A better carry for a baby of this size is the hip carry (they sit in the sling as if you were carrying him on your hip, but carry baby's weight on your shoulders through the sling instead of your arms! E, unfortunately, still has some trouble keeping his head up, so this isn't so easy yet. Smaller babies can be cradled.
And my homemade Moby wrap was wonderful since it helped calm E when he was having his 4 hour screaming fits. (The link shows a good picture, but I've seen them made with tee-shirt type material, so you don't have to sew anything.)  I have also appreciated the mei tei (Yes, I have a lot of baby carriers!). this is the one I have been using...

Much thanks to my lovely friend who lent it to me, but its not quite appropriate for Eli!  She calls it the "Easter Egg" herself! I'd been eyeing up this tutorial for a loooong time, and since E is also not so great at supporting his head yet, I think the headrest is perfect for him! It can be worn on the front for a smaller baby or in back for a larger baby/toddler. I believe you can do a hip carry too, but I haven't figured that one out yet.

Here's how mine turned out:
With almost-3-year-old L!

See how that headrest helps him out?

I did not read my tutorial closely enough, thus the 10 lines of sewing along the waist belt...

This is the inside; I used soft, yummy Minkee fabric.

Here it is with the headrest/hood loose. It can just hang, or can be tied up over baby's head for a little hood while sleeping.
I'm pretty excited and am looking forward to really trying it out one of these days! It wasn't super difficult, other than sewing through all multiple layers (the waist band has fleece inside to cushion you while wearing). Online, a good mei tei can cost you around $80-90. Mine cost about $15-20 (that's a guess, I haven't looked at my reciepts well enough...).  But a HUGE savings over a purchased one! If you want to try making your own, click HERE. These directions were fabulous; I feel like a have a very sturdy, well constructed carrier. 

Large Fold-Over Clutch

Here's my first large fold-over clutch (designed by Keyka Lou Patterns)!
 Same fold-over style, but a larger size.
 It's large enough to be used as a purse; I added my wallet, checkbook, and Mary Kay compact.

 It's even large enough for a wipes case and a diaper if you want a different style of diaper clutch!
 And it still includes that little hidden pocket.
I think this one shows the size a bit better!

But I need a little help...

Button or no button?
 I will have to look for a larger button if I go for it, since I think this one is too small... Vote in the comments below or on the facebook page!

This will be going into my Etsy shop, hopefully before the BIG GIVEAWAY next week at Dance and Be Glad!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

E's getting stronger!

We and E's therapists are getting excited about his progress! He's getting much stronger!
 He's holding his cup on his own (sometimes!). He picked up drinking from this cup much more easily than his sister!

And just so L doesn't feel left out...

Don't ask me where she comes up with these things!