Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Simple Woman Daybook 68

FOR TODAY: July 31, 2011
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...sunshine.

I am thinking...sleep will be wonderful, concert was delightfully amazing, and why won't my computer turn on (I'm on the receptionist computer) it might be toast.

I am thankful for...Patrick and good music and plans coming together after falling apart.

From the kitchen...um...toast.

I am wearing...cute black heels, blue printed skirt, and black blouse.

I am creating...started knitting a Despicable Me minion Friday.

I am going...home to sleep.

I am reading...Sophie's World, The God Delusion, Stardust, Flatland, Love Wins, and Erasing God.

I am hoping...my puter isn't dead.

I am hearing...buzzing hum of the office.

Around the house...everything.

One of my favorite things...road trips and concerts. I saw U2 last night! It was joyful!

A picture to share...lack of my own computer means lack of pictures, sorry!

Friday, July 29, 2011

July 29's Friday Five + 5 + A Life Update

Details about the 31-day challenge is at the bottom of this post:
The Friday5 - Public Options:
  1. When did you last use a public restroom?
  2. Today
  3. When did you last ride public transportation?
  4. Six years ago
  5. How far away from your home is the nearest public housing?
  6. No idea...
  7. Which of your public utilities is the least reliable?
  8. Um...?
  9. What did you last view on public television or listen to on public radio?
  10. Is CBC public? If so listened to Q last week.
The Friday Five - Random:
(Pickles!) hee hee I don't think anyone who reads this will get that.
  1. What did you have for breakfast today?
  2. Tea
  3. What chore do you hate the most?
  4. The dishes
  5. Do you have a lucky piece? If yes, give details.
  6. No
  7. Describe one of the best laughs you have ever had.
  8. So back in college during the Semester of No Laughter, the friend who originated the "random pickles" thing and I went for supper at KFC. I had my usual including a bottle of orange juice. And I had a whole "how to drink orange juice from bottle" ritual.I first had to shaking the bottle take two or three times, remove cap, take one or two sips and then tightly secure the cap.

    On this day, in the midst of the Semester of No Laughter and I was so stressed out, I missed the last step: "securely" replace cap. The next time I picked up the bottle and shook the cap and orange juice went flying everywhere. EVERYWHERE. It was simple but it was hilarious and I couldn't stop laughing. This simple slap stick moment returned laughter to my life. So much so that for the next few years anytime friend said orange juice I would crack up all over again.
  9. What song always manages to cheer you up?
  10. One and Lonely by Superchick
A Life Update:
  1. I did not eat the chocolate frog while watching Harry Potter because I forgot the frog at home.

  2. I will see Best Friend and U2 tomorrow. I am not sure which I am more excited for but I think it's Best Friend!

  3. I have started walking with Kimberly three times a week at 6:30am well as close to 6:30am as I'm able to wake up. Kimberly has had to call me twice because I've slept through my alarm. But I'm walking again!

  4. While walking Kimberly and I talk about everything including my decluttering crisis. She suggested I look at FlyLady.net. After reading half the articles I've decided to give it a try starting with Beginner Baby Steps. What I like about it her method is:
    1) Their acronym for CHAOS -Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome
    2) The focus on creating new habits slowly over time
    3) The removal of pressure to be done in a month. I read something like "this isn't a sprint it took you time to get into this state it will take time to fix the problem.
    4) The continual reminders and encouragements that it is possible and not to be a perfectionist
    5) That when the basics are mastered or just become too mundane there are new challenges and weekly missions to keep me motivated.
    I am very hopeful that someday I will over come the CHAOS and FlyLady seems to have the best approach. I'm starting tonight by cleaning my sink. Anyone want to join me for the beginner challenge? It's only 31 days and the tasks are all very doable and I'd love the company.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thankful Thursday -Kim

I am thankful for...
Kim O'Connor
(next to me on the right)

I love Kim! She is one of my favourites! She's one of the girls. She is part of the reason I can't see myself living anywhere else. Kim has been one of my greatest ministry cheerleaders but also a trusted advisers who tells me when I am being silly. I love her wisdom and joy and sincerity and organization and compassion. I value our conversations, her willing to listen, and the practical advice that she give. I enjoy our trips (even if it's just to the store), and any time we're together like chatting over lunch, and mutual crafting/card making. And I adore game nights, and surprise invitations for dinner, and her friendship! It is Kim who got me hooked on Euro board games and card making. I also appreciate her willingness to listen to me ramble about subjects that she couldn't care about be I do.

I admire Kim; she has this great inner strength and grace. She is a majestic tall oak with deep roots...or something equally great. It's hard to explain. She is just...just...what's the best word? Wonderful, incredible, fantastic, amazing, delightful, awesome! Definitely awesome which is why I am so very thankful to know her and call her friend. Yay for Kim!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The First Adventures

I've had my first two adventures this year. The first was a day at the Clayground with my good friend Donna. The Clayground is a paint-it-yourself clay and ceramic shop. You buy a piece which includes the painting and firing. The paints are nontoxic, lead-free, and food, microwave, and dishwasher safe. It was an awesome birthday present. I made a plate:
Donna and me hard at work


The design
Painting done and ready to be fired

I've had the fired plate back more than a month; I just haven't take any pictures of it. If I remember I'll have finished pictures up for this coming Sunday's Simple Woman Daybook.

The second adventure was my first experience with paintball. After four hours I can't say it is my favourite way to spend an afternoon...it's not even in my top fifty ways to spend my time. But I went and tried it out and can cross it off my to try list. With that two adventures have been completed this year just two to go.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Visiting Hogwart

Going to see the new Harry Potter tonight! I'm very excited even though I've heard mixed reviews. Going reminded me of the family vacation back in February.

I shared a Seussian ryhem about the days in Universal but didn't talk about the Harry Potter section, which is funny because "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" was one of my absolutely favorite things!

The details were amazing. Walking around the shops you could almost believe you were in Hogsmeade.

And Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was an AMAZING RIDE! It was awesome and fun to wait in line for because of all the little details they had like talking pictures and the Sorting Hat singing about the ride.
We had butterbeer at the Three Brooms:
I have yet to eat my chocolate frog...I might do that tonight!

The Simple Woman Daybook 67

FOR TODAY: July 24, 2011
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...the early morning sky.

I am thinking...how quickly time seems to be passing.

I am thankful for...art and beauty and books that inspire.

From the kitchen...nothing exciting.

I am wearing...green pink shoes with new pink flowered skirt, white tank, and pink shirt.

I am creating...taking a break from projects this week to get ready for backyard clubs.

I am going...for dinner with a family from church and later tonight I'm seeing Harry Potter at the drive in.

I am reading...Sophie's World, The God Delusion, Stardust, Flatland, Love Wins, Erasing God, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

I am hoping...to be ready for the week.

I am hearing...buzzing hum of the computer.

Around the house...everything.

One of my favorite things...is a good book and beach days. I had my first true summer day (in five years) this week when the youth group had a beach day -so much fun!

A picture to share...my sandcastle:

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 22's Friday Five +5

Similes:
  1. What’s your best advice for someone who’s as drunk as a skunk?
  2. ...stop drinking
  3. What’s your best advice for someone who’s as busy as a bee?
  4. ...stop and smell the roses.
  5. What’s your best advice for someone who’s as nutty as a fruitcake?
  6. ...none for I doubt they would listen anyways
  7. What’s your best advice for someone who’s as sick as a dog?
  8. ...sleep.
  9. What’s your best advice for someone who’s as ugly as sin?
  10. ...not sure there is any "advice" for these situations.

This week's questions from The Friday Five aren't up yet so I am going back to their very first question from May 14th, 2004
  1. If you could live in any city in the world, where would you live and why?
  2. Osaka because I loved my year in Japan and would love to live there again.
  3. If you could speak any language fluently, what would it be?
  4. Japanese, it would make living in Osaka that much easier.
  5. When was the last time you rode a ferry and where did you go?
  6. May 27, 2011 to Grand Manan for Selinda and Jesse's wedding.
  7. What was the longest plane ride you've ever taken?
  8. The flight from Vancouver to Japan...I think.
  9. If you discovered a country, what would you name it?
  10. Eldamar

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thankful Thursday -The Girls

I am thankful for...
The Girls

I ran into a fellow Bethany grad yesterday. In the process of catching up I had a realization, "at this point in my life there is no where else I want to be." This is my home. I love where I am and still believe this is where God wants me. As I considered this I realized once again how blessed I am to have so many fantastic friends and connections. One of those friendships are the girls.

The "girls" are three women from my church who I get together with on a semi-regular bases for tea. I'm not sure when or how our little group formed. The picture above is from 2009 when we had a girl's getaway weekend full of shopping, chick flicks, and pedicures (my first ever). One day we were four woman who attended the same church the next had become three of my dearest friends EVER!

It is because of our morning tea time that Mondays became my favourite day of the week. My life is richer because our friendship.
Life isn't quiet the same, like somethings missing, when we have not been able to get together for awhile. Any problem seems manageable after time with the girls. Any joy is fuller once the girls know. They are fun, and compassionate, and sweet, and considerate, and helpful, a comforters, and creative, and supportive, and just wonderful! They are there to help in any way they can. They are the best of best qualities you would want in a friend. I love each one them dearly. It is good when ever one of us can see each other but there is something extra special when we are all four of us are together. And that is why I am very thankful for the girls!

Making Wonderland: Part 4

The Teabag Toss
After a visit with the Queen of Hearts and a game of flamingo croquet we went downstairs to the main room. We need to wait for the dessert to be ready so we started with a game of teabag toss. Each person was given a chance to toss three Red Rose tea bags into the large teacup. The teacup is a plant pot I found at Michaels.

We kept this game going till the chocolate was melted and it was time for the...

The Mad Tea Party
This was my favourite room. I loved everything about it! I love the colours and the use of teacups and teapots, and the bright unbirthday sign, the whimsical paper lanterns. I loved this room! So much so that I want to host another mad tea party just so I can reuse the decorations.
The centerpieces were different teapots and an assortment of teacups for children's tea sets. The large paper lanterns were mine. The other lanterns were created using ideas from the Tuesday Tutorial: Paper Lanterns pattern and these ribbon paper lanterns. The teacup pictures on the wall were bought at Michaels. The tablecloths, party cups, plates, and napkins are from the dollar store. We even had a Dormouse:Ladies from the church loaned me their china tea cups which were displayed on the dessert table (with my solemn promise that they would be safe and returned unbroken). Dessert was this beautiful cake made by one of the girls in my youth group

And chocolate fondue...yum!
Served with iced tea because you can't go to a tea party and not have tea.

When the strawberries were gone and everyone had had their fill of cake awards and prizes were given out. The first prizes were dress/costume related "best theme outfit" "finest thrifty threads" "tackiest outfit" and "people's choice." Followed by prizes for the different games. My favourite prize to award was the Cheshire cat I knit for "Pin the Smile on the Cheshire Cat"
And that was the night.
I'm already dreaming up ideas for next year's Frenchy Formal...
...I think it might be a masquerade

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Making Wonderland: Part 3

The Queen of Hearts' Court
After the salad we left the Wonderland Garden and moved upstairs to the church's lobby-fellowship hall for the main course -fondue. This was my least favourite space for these reasons:
  1. The space was very large so even with our decorations it seemed undecorated.
  2. The ceiling is high (and I'm short) so we didn't hang anything.
  3. I couldn't find all of the props I wanted so we had to improvise and the substitutions just weren't the same.
  4. We ran out of time setting up and this was the room that it was more noticeable. Somethings were left incomplete.
It still came together but it was less than I had originally envisioned and that made me sad. For the meal we had two fondue pots (both electric which I found to be easier and safer to work compared to other styles). One pot had Swiss cheese the other broth. We had trays of breads, veggies, and lunch meats to dip in two either pot. I liked the meal but not everyone did. The tastes were new and strange for some and not "youth-like". I need to remember not everyone is adventurous with food when planning next year's banquet menu.

The Queen of Hearts' Court's Decorations
We had made "card" sandwich boards for the servers to wear but when the meal was changed to self serve we didn't need waiters. The servers would have looked cute as cards. We did have five heart trees with white roses in various stages of being "painted red." I liked the idea, but you'll notice the trees lacked trunks. It's one of those details that got dropped when time ran out. I would also have liked to add more flowers but that didn't happen either.I did like how the tables turned out. We used red tablecloths, white napkins, and red plates, very fitting for the Red Queens court. I also liked the "painting the roses red" center pieces:
The Queen of Hearts' Court's Games
The first game was "Queen of Hearts Says" which is Simon Says with a different title. I was slightly surprised how well the game turned out. I wasn't expecting the group to really play but they did and that made it fun. The second game was indoor flamingo croquet:
I couldn't find real croquet mallets or even plastic flamingos in my area. I did find the items on Amazon but the plans were right in the middle of the postal strike and would never have arrived on time. We made the "cards" out of half sheets of poster board. The flamingo mallets were made out of pool noodles with post board flamingos hot glued together. It wasn't ideal but it worked and it was fun. If we were to play this again I would rethink how to make the cards stay up. They flopped over. I think I would also buy a real croquet set and paint the mallets into flamingos like this:
Or like this:
I found both those ideas reading Yvonne Byatt's Family Fun blog post "Alice in Wonderland/Mad Hatter Tea Party"

After all the fun we headed back down for the last course and my favourite room! The details will be up tomorrow till then:
I ate from the "tall" side of the mushroom...see I'm tall for once.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Making Wonderland: Part 2

Follow The White Rabbit
After everyone had arrived and the votes for best dress has been cast, the Wonderland trivia sheets had been filled out, and the puff pastry's had been munched (minus a few of the mushroom ones, it seems only another leader and myself like mushrooms, which is awesome because that means there were more for me and mushroom ones were yummy) it was time to follow the White Rabbit down the rabbit's hole....
The "rabbit hole" was a large table with garbage bags taped to the sides creating a dark tunnel affect with the bags at the entrance and exit where cut in strips to make "doors". The "tunnel" was in front of a classroom with has a split door. We kept the top closed and opened the bottom half of the door. So you had to crawl through the tunnel to enter "Wonderland Garden." But before you could enter you had a choice to make:Through out Alice's adventures her height changed based on what she ate or drank. To bring that detail into our evening I had two bottles to choose from. One would make you "bigger" the other would make you "smaller" but you didn't know which was which until after you had made your choice and crawled through the hole. To show your choice you took "drink me" token that matched the color of the bottle you picked.

Wonderland Garden
When you entered the room you discovered a table already set. Every other chair was a tiny preschool chair with small dishes set in front. We used the preschool craft tables. The other chairs adult size with larger plates in front of them. You had to sit in front of a plate that had a token with the same color as your "drink me" token. Green tokens read "you grew smaller" so they sat on large chairs which seemed enormous next to the preschool table and eat off big plates. Blue tokens read "you grew taller" so they had out grown the chairs and sat on the tiny kiddy chairs and had to use small dishes.To create a other-world-wonderlandly atmosphere we replaced all the florescent lights with black lights (courteous my youth pastor friend Tim Long). We had a few familiar Wonderland characters on the wall that illuminated well.The center pieces were my favourite. To go with the "talking flowers" Alice meets in the garden we glued googly eyes on fake flowers before making the arrangements:
In the garden we enjoyed our first course of garden salad. There was nothing special about the salad it was green had veggies and bacon in it. I enjoyed it. Many of the youth who are "allergic" to green food did not.

What I liked about this course was the drink. The day before we had made juice ice cubes. I used four different colour/flavours of concentrate and didn't add as much water as the can called for to make our ice cubes. Everyone was served clear pop and could add colourful ice cubes of their choice. As the ice melted the drinks taste changed. Different combination of ice cubes made for a different drink each time.

Wonderland Garden Games
The first garden game was "Pin the Smile on the Cheshire Cat"
It was "pin the tail on the donkey" with a few exceptions. 1) the participants weren't blindfolded 2) the location of the smile was unknown. Students had their taped smiles all around the room. The correct location was the tip of the cats tail. The girl who chose to give the cat a real smile won for by being closest to the tail. If I played the game again I would either say the location was on the poster or remove both exceptions.

The second game was the Blue Caterpillar Relay Race. The group was divided into two teams. Half the team stood on one side of the room the other half stood across from them on the other side. Each team was given a blue sleeping bag. On "go" the first player had to get into the sleeping bag then inch-worm across the room on their belly. Once he crossed the line the waiting teammate would climb in and return the sleeping bag to the "start". This continued till everyone had inched across the room.

When all the food was eaten and the games played we continued our journey upstairs to Red Queen Court....which will be described in tomorrow's post.

After Thought: this should have been included in yesterdays post: In the main room (where everyone was mingling) I had a youtube playlist project on a screen with all the songs from Disney's 1951 annimated movie including Very Merry Unbirthday and All in a Golden Afternoon:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Making Wonderland: Part 1

June 30th was the youth group's 2nd Annual Frenchys Formal Banquet with an Alice in Wonderland theme. This is how it came together and hopefully some ideas that could help if you wanted to host your own wonderland party.

The Idea
What is a "Frenchys Formal"? Another youth pastor shared the idea with me last year. It is a formal dinner or youth night in which everyone comes in their finest thrift shop finds....or tackiest it depends on the look you're going for. Frenchys is a chain of second-hand stores in our area. We had a "no admission without formal dress" rule. If someone "forgot" to dress up I provided a costume box. After a successful first Frenchys formal I knew I wanted to have another one. The outfits people found were awful and grand, the meal was hilarious, and everyone had had a blast. But how could I improve on a great night? By adding a theme....

I started thinking about themes for this years formal back in April. I started thinking about a little kids birthday party complete with cake and games like pin the tail on the donkey. The birthday theme into a unbirthday dinner which morphed into a full Alice In Wonderland banquet.

The Planning
With an idea I did what anyone would do...I googled. People are amazingly creative! You would not believe how many great Wonderland resources there are out there, maybe you would. I found hand crafted invitations on etsy, flamingo crochet sets on amazon, and a number of "how to host an Alice in Wonderland party" sites. It was crazy! I found these sites especially helpful:
With my head full of ideas I set the date, formed a budget, and created the invitations and posters. Then I started thinking out how the night would flow. I decided it would be a four course progressive dinner moving to four different rooms.

Welcome To Wonderland
The first area was our large room on the lower level. When you first entered the space there was this sign post:This time was about mingling and waiting for everyone to show up. We severed puff pastry hor'dourves from M&Ms. People took time oohed and ahhed over each others outfits (mostly just the girls did that). There was a Alice trivia quiz they filled out, ballots for them to vote for best dress, and picture taking. Then in was down the rabbit's hole....but you'll have to come back tomorrow to read about that:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Race Day

Today was the the 1st Annual New Hope Champion Derby! IT WAS AWESOME! The whole weekend has been a two day blast hosted by Kidsworld (my children's ministry) and the GEMS & Cadet clubs. Thank you to Michael & Colette Van Meekeren and Tony and Inge de Vries for making it happen!

Yesterday was Construction Day. Thirty young hopeful race car designers (and ten adults) took a block of pine tried to create the fast thing on four tiny wheels. After concepts were penciled onto wood they when outside to the "workshop." There was a tent set up with all sorts of band-saws, presses and sanders to bring the sketches to life (operated by adults only).Best quote:
"Pastor Liz, um...how are we going to cut the wood?"
"Did you see the saws and machines outside? [nods head] We'll be using those."
"Oh good, I was worried we would have to cut the wood with scissors."
It took me a while to settle on a design, I decided to go with a killer bunny which awakened an ancient fabled feud when Jackie made turtle -the tortoise and the hare. We're both competitive and she kept saying "you know how the stories goes" my weak reply was "this is a sprint with no time for naps."

All the cars


This morning the church congregation judged the best designs then after lunch was the big race. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! There were four categories under 6s, 7-9s, 10-13s, and 14+. I've never seen the kids so excited, maybe Christmas, but this actually felt bigger. After all the heats the "tortoise and the hare" raced. Jackie's turtle won three:But the Killer Rabbit took Second for best adult design so that's something :)

The Simple Woman Daybook 66

FOR TODAY: July 17, 2011
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...trees.

I am thinking...today is going to be full, will I actually get everything done on time? Giggling over a facebook status I just read "I wish Christians could disagree without name calling. But that's probably not going to happen Some people are just morons". And contemplating Francis Chan's Erasing Hell.

I am thankful for...the sun.

From the kitchen...nost meals were dinners at other peoples this week which was awesome!.

I am wearing...coralish pink shoes with new pink flowered dress. I'm a little worried about the outfit. It looks fine if I'm standing but not so great when sitting.

I am creating...a baby blanket and many other knit items.

I am going...to be racing my cub car "Killer Bunny" today in the 1st Annual GEMS & Cadets' New Hope Champion Derby.

I am reading...Sophie's World, The God Delusion, Stardust, Flatland, Love Wins, Erasing God, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

I am hoping...that my "hare" car doesn't lose to Jackie's "tortoise" car and I'm hoping to move furniture around the apartment this evening.

I am hearing...buzzing hum of the computer.

Around the house...everything.

One of my favorite things... making things.

A picture to share...cub car creations:
Killer Bunny


The Tortoise and the Hare: