Monday, July 30, 2012

Creating Keepsakes Convention

 I have subscribed to Creating Keepsakes magazine for more years than I care to count. Going to a Creating Keepsakes Convention has been something that I have wanted to do for quite a few years. It just never reached the top of the priority list. This year the convention was in Lancaster, just 3.5 hours away. Janell, Chrissy and I decided to make a weekend of it. We had so much fun!

Our first stop was to visit Janell and my Great Aunt and Uncle. We always eat at a little place called Squire Side when we visit them and ice cream is a must. Janell's dessert became the running joke of the weekend. She ordered a mini waffle sundae and it came with one topping. She ordered brownie. She expected a waffle cone bowl with one scoop of ice cream and brownie crumbles for the topping.
This is what she got:
We stayed in a lovely hotel with a bedroom and sitting room. Friday evening all three of us got situated with a project on the king size bed and watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Saturday was convention day. We registered for a mixed media class where we assembled a mini album. The room didn't open until a couple minutes after the start time of the class. We didn't even get to sit down before the teacher was off and running! It was fast paced, but we had a lovely album to take home.
After the class we started touring the vendor fair. There was sooo much to see. We soon realized that the trick was to look for the show specials. Each of us made some good purchases. We took a break for lunch where we bought Whoopie Pies at the Farmer's Market and ate lunch at a smoothie place. Yum! After lunch we did the 2nd half of the vendor fair, took a nap at the hotel and then went out to explore a bit.
That evening we settled ourselves in again with scrapbooking projects while watching the Olympics. We stayed up until midnight and Janell and I slept in. Janell beat me...she slept until 10!!

Then we had the distinct privilege of meeting Linda and Phil for lunch and seeing their home! The newlyweds seem quite happy and settled. I'm happy that I can picture them in their place now.

Driving home there were periods of quiet. I felt like I had used up all my words. A very rare occurrence! I had such a great time, but I was ready to see my hubby and kiddos.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

In HIS Mercy

Parenting has been brutal the last two weeks. It all happened at swimming lessons. The first two lessons went really well and then Aliza decided she was afraid and didn't participate any more. Rest assured I'm leaving out A LOT of details! I tried every tactic I could think of...reward, punishment, lecture, prayer. Nothing worked. In fact it only got worse. Both Monday and Wednesday I left the pool crying over Aliza's behavior, but also because of the way the teacher treated Aliza on Monday and me on Wednesday. I was embarrassed. I was humiliated. I questioned what I could have possibly done wrong over the course of Aliza's lifetime. And I prayed...and there were people praying for me and Jeremy.

By the time I went to bed last night or maybe it was during one of the times I was praying after being up with one of the children, I realized that God, in his mercy, allowed me to see Aliza in a different light so that we could become aware of a significant change we needed to make in her life.

We may be done with swimming lessons. I'm just not sure I have the courage to show up at the pool on Monday. Now my prayer is that I can remain consistent and steadfast in holding Aliza to our new expectations of her.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Going's On

  • My hubby got a brand new computer today. I won't see him for a while! It's one of those fancy Mac computers with a retina display. It is too thin for a built in CD drive. When we stopped at the Apple store so that he could touch one on display the sales guy said, that is the Ferrari of macbooks. Getting a new computer is more exciting than a new car around here!
  • I think God gave me tears today to soften my daughter's heart. 
  • My second child is as opinionated and strong willed as my first child. God, HELP ME!!!
  • Through my tears I said something like, "I'm trying to be a good Mommy" to Aliza. Then I said "And I want you...." she finished, "to be a good Mommy too.?" Yes, that's exactly what I want.
  • I'm working on becoming a sneaky chef, thanks to the Sneaky Chef Cookbook. I already have carrot puree and have more carrots waiting to be cooked. Tonight I also made cauliflower and zucchini puree which will be added to mashed potatoes tomorrow night. 
  • I'm sure thankful my Dad was available for a phone chat today. 
  • I've read a blog series about a couple who has fought long and hard to save their marriage. With the help of God, they are happily married today! It's an amazing testimony that has truly challenged me to "save" my marriage before it is on the verge of falling apart. 
  • I'm ordering 1st grade school materials! Is summer almost over already?
  • Anna was sitting on the edge of pool splashing during swimming lessons so the teacher picked her up and gave her a little lesson. The lesson included putting Anna completely under water which Anna was just fine with. A little surprised, but she didn't flinch and didn't look for me. Maybe I was just a little sad about that!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pinterest Challenge

Another pinterest challenge layout. This time I used white embellishments for a layout about my sister's bridal shower. We used our wedding dresses for decoration and then modeled our dresses. It was a fun day!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mission Accomplished

Josiah's friends, Aiden and Liam, came over last week. It was a long time since they were at our house and Josiah's hole quickly captured their interest. One of the boys asked me about this post and I said that I didn't need and that they could dig it out. That was just what they needed...a job! Those boys worked for the best part of an hour trying to dig out this post. All three of them had sweat dripping down their face. At one point, Josiah laid down right in the dirt and said he was pooped. (For once he used the word properly!) I love watching little boys work. 

 They attempted to use the crane to pull the post out. It was good thinking!

 They found the bottom of the cement! Elizabeth and I tried to help push it over or wiggle it out. It didn't work. That's as far as they got before it was time for Aiden and Liam to go home.
 This morning Jeremy and Josiah went back out and kept digging. The post went down a foot or so beyond the cement.
 Jeremy was finally able to lift it out. Josiah was proud to stand in the hole.
Mission accomplished!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


My word for the next while is consistency. I have some strong-willed behaviors to correct around here. Say a prayer for me that I will be wise, consistent, calm, tough, unmerciful (kidding??!!), loving, calm, firm, and calm. I'm on a mission and it won't be easy because quite often I want my kiddos to be happy and just have fun. Thankfully, God's strength is make perfect in our weakness and I'm relying on him for wisdom, insight, and strength moment by moment.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Shorebirds in Style

 One of Jeremy's clients has luxury suite box seats at the Shorebirds stadium here in town. They offered us as many tickets as we wanted for a game and we took them up on the offer! It was our family, Janell's family, Mom and Dad, Laura and Matt and Chrissy. The seats were outside, but inside the air conditioned suite was a kitchenette, sofa, TV, coloring books, crayons and a bathroom. It was a great way to watch a ball game. I was busy keeping track of kiddos outside. Janell and Jeff took up duty inside. The children were up and down and in and out constantly! I think we made some fun memories though.

Renee and Anna are best of friends.

Every time the music started Anna clapped along.

Just to prove we really had a suite! It was really hot. The air conditioning was very nice.

Sherman visited the suite to cool off. Aliza was excited to meet him. When he left the room, Aliza watched him leave and said, "Ahhh. He is a beauty!"

Josiah was not into Sherman.

Josiah was very much into the food. Ice cream and chicken strips and french fries.

After the game children can run the bases. Aliza decided that she wanted to do that until she got on the field. Jeremy bribed her with a drink (that she had been begging for) and she did it.

Running from 2nd to 3rd. I cheered for her and she heard me. Later she was adamant that I should NOT cheer for her next time.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pinterest Challenge

 I get a scrapbook kit every month. It makes me very happy when it arrives. This month Apron Strings is giving a pinterest challenge every day. She chooses something inspiring from pinterest and then you use that picture as inspiration for a page. Now, Lord knows, there is no possible way that I can complete a page a day so I'm trying to do one a week. That means I have to use the first challenge so that in my few rational moments before bedtime I can add a little more to the page. Last week I got 3/4 of the page done and this week I finished that page and did a layout for this week!

Here it is. The pinterest inspiration:

My page. I took the layout outside to take a picture and I believe my lens fogged up thanks to the humidity coming straight out of the air conditioning. Super simple page of our family at National Harbor earlier this spring.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Locks of Love

Aliza had her first professional hair cut. She insisted that she wanted her hair cut to the top of her neck, but Mommy had the final say. We cut about 6 inches off her hair and she was quite happy.

Then Aliza had to entertain herself while I donated my hair to Locks of Love. I donated 11 inches of hair! My hair is thick! Debbie had to separate it into two braids to cut it. I have always had long hair and I do get uneasy when it comes to drastically changing my hair style. I thought about this for a long time before I made the appointment!

Jeremy loves it. I think that he is secretly glad that my hair is too short for a ponytail now. I agree. It was time for something different. I'm glad the weight of long hair is off for a while. But I'll let it grow out long again. =)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What We are Up To

Picking blueberries. It was as crazy as the picture looks. The berries were small and took forever to even cover the bottom of the bucket. I froze only 6 cups today.

Josiah entertains himself during swimming lessons by hooking himself to the fence by his belt loop and seeing how far he can stretch the bungee cord. I laugh every time he does it.

This is the little boy that I babysit. Well, as you can see, we all babysit him. Anna is quite eager to give and promptly take away his pacifier.

Aliza has a new obsession. American Girl dolls. A new catalog arrived and she decided to use it to make collages for each doll that she desires.

Anna is the perfect size for the washtub.

Josiah picked an enormous zucchini at Grandma Karen's house.

Aliza's doll named Chocolate is doing Wii Fit.

Anna was saying Cheeeese! Our last day in WV the humidity finally broke and it wasn't too hot to be outside.

Friday, July 6, 2012


 We are sweating over here on the East Coast. All we have to do is open the door and the sweat starts pouring. Josiah can stand to play outside about 15 minutes before he comes in with bright red cheeks, damp hair and sweat running down his face.We didn't let a little heat keep up from enjoying 4th of July festivities.
We sweated through the parade. I held Anna through the whole thing. Holy HOT!!!

We sweated through the fireworks at 9:30pm. This was a first fireworks experience for the children. Aliza made sure there was drama through the entire show. She was sure a fire was going to start. No amount of assurance could persuade her fears. I think she may have secretly enjoyed it. Josiah enjoyed the show after Grandad held him. Josiah was trying so hard to understand how fireworks work. It was pretty comical to listen to the conversation between him and Grandad. Anna loved it. Every time she saw the lights she said, "Oh! Wow!"

Jeremy's car has been in the shop again this week. So yesterday we just plain sweated. No relief. Couldn't think of anything to entertain the kiddos. But today...I had an idea. It was a bit ghetto, but it entertained the children for a surprising amount of time. An old metal washtub filled with water. A big sandbox. Wallah! A beach in our backyard!
It is slightly, very slightly, as in less than 100* slightly cooler today. It was bearable in the shade and the water felt good. Yay for trying to have a happy day!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Harold M. Freed

 I hardly know where to start this evening. There are so many things from the last 24 hours swirling in my head.

Jeremy's grandfather passed away last Wednesday. My brother-in-law, Josh, had planned to fly in to see Pop that Wednesday. Josh was with Pop that morning, helped him with breakfast, had a good conversation with him and then headed to WV to see Jeremy and his parents. Soon after Jeremy and Josh arrived in WV, Karen received the call that Pop had passed away. The timing gives me goosebumps. Today the story was related to me that on that Wednesday Pop had told the nurses that he was going home. They said, "Mr. Freed, you have a lot of work to do to be able to go home." He said, "No, I'm going home (while he pointed his finger heavenward)." He did indeed go home that day.

 Last night was the viewing. Jeremy and I made the trip to PA alone. My Mom and Janell took care of our children. I'm so thankful that Jeremy and I could just be there for Karen and not have to worry about our children, well, acting like children! We sat through the entire 2 hour viewing. Yes, I love them a lot!! After the viewing we ate at Pop's favorite restaurant, Coopersburg Diner.

I have not been on the family side of a funeral for 12 years when Jeremy's grandmother passed away. It was very different to experience a funeral in my early 30's than it was when I was 20. Very different. I noticed that flowers were from the grandchildren and immediately asked how much we needed to pay for them. I noticed the role the funeral home staff played in the day. I made sure Van and Karen had water during the viewing. I was very aware that I still have 3 grandparents.

Now the matriarch and the patriarch of our Freed family are gone. We are left with their legacy and it is up to us to pass on the values that we want our children to have. I feel so blessed to have married in to a family that values faith and family relationships. Some families work to create a new legacy for their children and in other families we are left with a different but similar burden to instill in our children the importance of continuing what has already been lived.

What I'm trying to say is that I want to be sure that I maintain relationships with Jeremy's extended family. I feel like Jeremy's family has become an important part of who I am and where my children have come from. I also left the funeral with a renewed passion for passing on values like faith and family relationships to my children.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Red Velvet Cake with Red Beets

 Grandad's garden produced a bumper crop of red beets this year. That may have something to do with the amount he planted, but suffice to say, there were LOTS of red beets to use.

I did a quick search on Pinterest and found a recipe for red velvet cake that uses red beets instead of red dye. As you can see the cake is not a bright red, but I can testify that this red velvet cake is far superior to a store bought bright red, red velvet cake.

Here's the recipe from and they reference another site. This recipe has been passed around!

Red Velvet With Beets

(yields one 9″ round layer)
¾ c. pureed beets 
¼ c. milk
1 tsp. plain yogurt
½ tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 eggs
¾ c. flour
c. sugar (or Splenda)
½ c. dutch cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt

*I added 1/4 cup of lemon juice to bring out the red color. It did work and the cake did not have a lemon flavor. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together all of the dry ingredients and set aside. Blend the wet ingredients until uniform.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until combined.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center of the center comes out clean. (mine took closer to 25 min in a 9″ round). Cool before icing.

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 blocks cream cheese (8 oz each)
2 sticks unsalted butter
¼ tsp. salt
16 oz confectioners sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste!)
Cream together the cream cheese and butter at room temperature. Add the salt and sugar and whip until light and fluffy.  Stir in the vanilla. Frost your cooled cake and sprinkle sides with chopped pecans for garnish if desired.