Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fire!

This may come as a shock to some of you, as it did me, but did you know that fire hydrants are not all red?


I must admit I have noticed before that some have green tops, and other colors, but I never knew the significance behind it. I always figured they just ran out of red paint or red tops.

A couple weeks ago my friend was reading a book with her son, and found out the reason behind all the different color tops. I found it very fascinating, and have since then been studying all the fire hydrants as I drive by.

It's even turned into a game with me and my children. We all like to point out the different tops that we see. I have found the most common color to be green, and red to actually be one of the more uncommon.

The lid color is made different to allow firefighters to quickly know how fast the water flows out of the hydrant.

The blue lid signifies the fastest flow rate at 1500 gallons per minute, or higher.


The green lid signifies the next fastest flow rate between 1000 gallons per minute to 1499 gallons per minute.


The orange lid signifies a flow rate between 500 to 999 gallons per minute.


The red lid signifies the slowest flow rate under 500 gallons per minute.


-*Amendment*- I recently spotted a white topped fire hydrant and was especially interested to find out what it stands for.

A white or purple top indicates that the hydrant provides non-potable water. (You can't drink it)


If you're like me, you'll never look at a fire hydrant the same again!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Treasure Trove

"You don't have to read every day, just on the days that you eat."

I love this statement because I find it so true. Reading and writing are some of my favorite things in the world to do. I have been a big reader all my life. On any given day you can ask me what I'm reading and I will always have an answer for you. I will either be in the middle of a book, or I would have just completed a book that day. Sometimes I'm in the middle of 3 or 4 books. I have books for fun. I have books on parenting. I read books for self-help or spiritual matters. But my favorite is always fiction.

I love to dream.

I will read any kind of fiction. Romance. Suspense. Murder. Thriller. Historical. Spiritual. As long as it's appropriate reading, I will conquer it.

This weekend I went to the Bag Day Book Sale at our public library.


It was heaven here on earth! I felt like it was Christmas; I enjoyed it so much.

I wasn't sure what to expect at a used book sale from the library. To get in you must purchase at least one $5 brown paper bag. You can fill it to the top with as many books as you can. You can also purchase as many bags as you want. I was afraid that I wouldn't find anything and hoped they would give me my money back if that was the case.

Boy was I WRONG! I had a hard time tearing myself away from the sale. Ariel and I went as a "girl date" and we both came home overjoyed. We each bought a bag and searched through the many many books to find exactly what we wanted. I think what made it so fun was the fact that you didn't even have to worry about the price on the book. You just had to fit it in your bag. And the library was so generous too. They would help you repack your books in your bag just so you could get what you wanted.


After an hour and a half the books were starting to dwindle down a little. They still had lots, but the tables weren't as full as the beginning, and the people weren't as pushy either. I didn't take pictures until I had found all my books because you had to be a little aggressive to get a spot to search at. The place was packed! Ariel and I even waited in line 30 minutes before they opened the doors.



It was so much fun! I am counting the days until the next sale. Where else can you walk away with that many books for only $10? You could start a whole library yourself if you visit enough of these sales. The next one is June 18th, from 10am-4pm. I would really encourage you to check it out if you live in this area. If you do attend, make sure to get there either right on time, or a little early. I talked with a friend who went later in the day, and there wasn't anything good left.


I thought I would share some of the treasures me and my daughter found at the sale. She came home with tons of books! I was kind enough to fit some of hers into the sides of my bag.

There were actually two piles of books this size for her, but I only included one in my post.


Ariel found almost half of the Lemony Snickets A Series of Unfortunate Events.


She also was really pleased to find a few bird books and one book on endangered species.


I was a little choosier than Ariel and picked mostly donated books. This series is my only ones that used to be property of the library.


I've read this series before by Beverly Lewis and found it to be very good. I really enjoy her books on the Amish people. When I went to NY a couple years ago, I visited an Amish community with my grandparents. It was very fascinating to me to see the lifestyle they live up close and personal.


Both John Grisham and Mary Higgins Clark are two of my favorite secular authors. I love a good mystery and suspense book! I've read these before, but I have a very bad long term memory so books are always new to me again after a few months.


I really enjoy books by Frank E. Peretti, and it's been years since I read The Oath. I was excited to see these Left Behind books at the sale. I have the Left Behind series; however I've never read the prequels to it.


A long time ago I read the Prayer of Jabez and did a study on it. I thought it was really good and thought I'd pick this up to give to someone. I didn't have the Secrets of the Vine yet, so I was excited to see it there, and in like new condition even! If anyone is interested in the Prayer of Jabez, I'm saving it for you.


The last of my treasure books were all nonfiction. I've read some of them already and even own one of them. I was really interested in the Movie Nights book. It's from the same website PluggedIn that I go to for movie reviews. This book gives you movie suggestions to watch, and then has questions and things to discuss after the movie. It is most intriguing to me!


I can't wait to start reading all my new books. I have one more of the American Girl books that I've committed myself to reading, and them I'm off for some more adventure and intrigue.

If you haven't been to the Bag Day Book Sale at the Topeka Shawnee Country Public Library, I would strongly encourage you to go. It's like they're handing out the books for free with the low cost of $5 a bag. Maybe I'll see you there?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Come Awake!

"The glory of God has defeated the night! Our God is not dead, He's alive! He's alive!"




We always hunt for Easter eggs each year, sometimes, even more than once. This time we made the hunt last a little longer. We added a Bible verse to our eggs, and the kids all had to put the eggs in order. They didn't know what verse they were searching for, they just knew it had 25 eggs to it. Zech was too little to join in this game, so we hid orange eggs for him. He was thrilled as orange is his favorite color.


After the kids found most of their eggs, they dumped them out on the patio. We had a spot waiting for each egg. If they found more than one of a word, they had to put it back for the other kids to find.


If you follow my blog, all this should appear very familiar. We did a hunt similar to this a couple weeks ago, and searched for the words Jesus is Alive!

This time our verse that we were looking for was found in Luke chapter 24. We didn't include the entire thing, as that would have been too long to search for. The verse we found reads:








We didn't want to make it TOO difficult, so we had a Bible sitting on the patio table that each of the kids could use. All they needed to do was find the egg with the scripture reference on it first. After they looked it up, they had to close the Bible so the other kids couldn't sneak a peek too.


The kids really enjoyed hunting for eggs this way. It made it more of a challenge when they had a puzzle to figure out.


As everyone had a chance to finish their egg hunt, we heard a knock at the gate. The kids were very excited to see who was there! They thought it might be a girl that lives down the street coming to visit, however... they were wrong.


It was JESUS!

He told us "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20)


My favorite part was when Zechariah saw who it was. He was very excited and ran to be picked up by Jesus. He immediately showed him his elbow and said, "Jesus, look, my BOO BOO." I thought it was wonderful that he put it together, and knew exactly who Jesus is. We are always praying for him to heal our owies.


After Jesus was invited into our backyard, we had an object lesson to share with the kids. They each had a Easter gift wrapped in red paper. We asked if they knew what the red stood for, and explained that it was for blood. They knew that Jesus shed his blood for us.

We discussed with them further that Jesus dying on the cross was a gift for us. But it's up to us whether or not we accept it. And just like they must accept the present set before them, we must accept Jesus' gift of eternal life. Then we each took turns and shared about when we had asked Jesus to be in control of our lives.


When the presents were all opened, we gathered around in a circle. We had the song lyrics in our hands and sang along with a CD that was playing Christ is Risen by Matt Maher.

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, Come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again!
Come awake, Come awake
Come and rise up from the grave.


It's a very powerful song if you haven't heard it!

Before our time came to an end with Jesus, he led us in communion. This was a first for my children and done very age appropriately. It was simple and to the point, not formal or liturgical. I believe it was very meaningful to the kids.




The last thing I wanted to share with you is a video my brother put together for our Easter service that our pastor titled, Forgiveness. Easter is the celebration of the forgiveness that Christ's death on the cross created for us.

"If death got the upper hand through one man's wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?" Romans 5:17 (The Message)

video

Easter is not just about history, and something that happened years ago. It's about Jesus death providing the one sacrifice that would last forever. It's just as real today as it was years ago.

"What difference does it make in your life?"

Sunday, April 24, 2011

iheartfaces: Pets

This week's challenge is Pets.

I found this challenge to be especially sad.

Today was different than all other days, and was filled with grief and sadness. We all gathered in the backyard today on Easter to have a family BBQ. That means everyone, including the pets in our family.

My daughter has a girl parakeet, Valentine, and my father has a boy named Otto. The two birds have been in love with each other since day one. They get to celebrate birthdays and special occasions, holidays, and occasionally have sleepovers together.

This afternoon as we were gathered together celebrating the day and the life that God has given us through his son Jesus, our little bird, Otto, was tragically taken from us. It was an accident. There was a game of frisbee going on, and no one saw that he flew into the middle of it until it was too late. He was stepped on.

After almost 4 years together, Otto's life has ended. If you have pets of your own, you can imagine how upsetting this can be. The celebration was suddenly over, and our hearts were broken.

I am reminded of just how fragile life truly is. We are not guaranteed tomorrow.

Each night I read a special Veggie Tales devotion with my children. Today's was set up differently than normal. It was a challenge to memorize the verse Psalm 118:24 , "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." There was a note to parents to talk about the need to celebrate the gift of life. As I read this devotion I was reminded again that God always knows exactly what we are going through, and when we are going to go through it.

Right after the bird was found, we dyed our Easter eggs together. On the egg carton was the same verse, Psalm 118:24. I used that opportunity to talk with the kids about how we need to rejoice no matter what happens.

I do not believe it was a coincidence that the devotion was again bringing up the same verse in the Bible, and I was being encouraged to talk with my children about life being a gift. I know we often take it for granted.

Otto's life was a gift. We are so thankful for the time we had with him. He was a gentle bird. He liked to sing, and would never bite you. He was very special to us. We're all going to miss him.

As I was getting my children ready for bed, I found this verse in the Bible for them. "What's the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head!... You're worth more than a million canaries." Matthew 10:29 (The Message)

I found it especially encouraging to read the part that God cares about the birds even more than we do. If my children's hearts are breaking, how much more does God feel? Then it goes on to say, you are worth even more than a million little birds. He cares about our troubles and our pain. He's right there with us.


This is the last picture we have of Otto, taken minutes before the accident happened. I know we will always treasure it, and remember Otto in our hearts.


Valentine is the bird on the left, and Otto is on the right.


Friday, April 22, 2011

My Simple Skirt

I came across this tutorial for a simple skirt on one of my favorite blogs a few weeks ago. It looked so easy; I couldn't wait to make one!


I wanted to try it out on Ariel for Easter. She loves wearing skirts as they allow her more freedom to move around. If you know my daughter, she's very active! I'm especially pleased with how the owl skirt turned out. I think I'm still going to add some embellishments on the pink daisy skirt.

For my owl skirt, I added a few belt loops today and found some fun ribbon to match. I think it added a lot to the skirt!




Only a few days left until Easter Sunday, and my daughter is all set to go! It's going to be a busy weekend, and I can't wait to share with you the fun ideas we came up with to help us celebrate.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kids Say the Darndest Things

On Sunday after church, Gabriel came up to me very distraught. He accused his friend of stealing his DNA. After I questioned him a little, here’s the story I got.

Gabe was at the water fountain getting a drink when his friend walked up and refused to wait his turn. Gabe was really upset, and told him, “Don’t drink it! My DNA is all over it.”

The friend laughed, and said, “I’m going to take it.” Then he proceeded to drink from the water fountain.

Gabe was utterly crushed. I told him he had plenty of DNA left, but that still didn’t seem to help him feel any better. He was certain his friend stole it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An American Girl

You are never too old to play with dolls.

I've spent the past few days reliving my childhood, and the past day playing with my favorite doll. I love reminiscing and going back in time where things were simple and all that mattered was your own happiness.

The American Girl dolls and books were a big part of my life. I dreamt of owning my own doll for years before it became a reality. During my free time I would read all the books I could get my hands on. I loved getting caught up in the stories of each girl, and I imagined myself as her. During school recess my friends and I would rehearse plays and pretend we were the girls in the books. Each of my friends owned a different doll, and one day I planned to own Felicity. She was always my favorite.

It wasn't until I was 11 years old that I was finally able to purchase my American Girl doll. I believe she was even more special to me because she came from my own money, my own hard work.


I've saved her very carefully for all these years, hoping someday I would be able to pass her on to my own child. The funny thing about that, she was worth so much to me, that in the end I couldn't bring myself to give her away, even to my own daughter. I was afraid she would destroy her, and my treasure would be lost forever.

Yesterday I brought her out of hiding. Ariel knew she existed somewhere; she just never had any idea of the location. As we sat and watched a movie, I played with Felicity's hair. I brushed it out, and tried to make it shiny again. But alas, she was unfixable.

When the movie was over, I decided to Google and see what tips I could find on fixing up old dolls. This morning I headed to the beauty supply store and came home with a few items. I got a wig brush and some conditioner for wigs. Then I set to work...

Here's the before picture of her hair. You can see that I got the knots out, but her hair was lacking the shine and beauty she originally had.


I made sure to wrap her in a towel tightly and hung her hair over the sink. It was really important to keep the water off of the rest of her body, especially her face.


I bought a good deep conditioner for wig hair. I lathered it up really good, and let it set on Felicity's hair for about 20 minutes. I mostly put it on the ends and tried to keep it away from her scalp. I didn't want to have any trouble rinsing it out later. The ends are also the most dry and damaged part of her hair.



After rinsing the conditioner out, I made sure to brush it thoroughly. I used my new wig brush and was very careful to not pull any hairs out. I started at the bottom first and slowly worked my way up higher in the hair. By the end I could easily brush all the way from top to bottom.


Here's the after picture while the hair is still wet. You can see that the hair has a little bit more shine to it.


I wasn't completely happy with the results. I found the ends to still be frizzy, and damaged looking. I was disappointed and did some more searching to find a solution. I think this should only be used as a last resort, and I felt like I was at that point with my doll's hair.

I used a curling iron.

I made sure to put it on the lowest setting and I very carefully ironed the hair, and curled the ends. It made all the difference! The hair was still slightly damp, so I think this protected it from melting, and I never held the iron on it for more than a couple of seconds. The iron was cool enough that I could touch it and not be burned. If you were to look on the American Girl website, they would tell you NOT to do this, but I figured I had nothing to lose since the ends of the hair looked so damaged already. The low heat of the iron made the ends smooth again. They are not completely restored, but they do look beautiful. I'm not recommending to anyone that they should try this on their doll; I just wanted to share what worked for my Felicity.


I was very happy at the end of the day with how Felicity turned out. She seems like the new doll I bought years ago, and I didn't even need to send her to the American Girl hospital.


As I've remembered all the fun I used to have with Felicity, I decided to get out all my old books and read them through again. I did pass on the entire series to my daughter who has grown to love them too. She would like to save her money to purchase either the Kit doll or Molly doll someday.


I wanted to recommend the movies that brought my attention back to my childhood friend, Felicity. We checked all three of these movies out from the library and finished watching the last one yesterday evening. Each one is a very special story, and goes along well with the books. They all three have a bit of Christmas in them, a part to make you cry, and a part to make you happy. I enjoyed them so much! I told my husband as we were watching the last movie; I would have been in heaven if they would have made these movies when I was a child.


It's been a very memorable day as I spent it savoring my childhood. I believe it with all my heart when I say; you are never too old to play with dolls.

"We say that a girl with her doll anticipates the mother. It is more true, perhaps, that most mothers are still but children with playthings.” -Francis Herbert Bradley