Saturday, January 30, 2010

Your Nest

Birds nest with blue eggs You know, we as women seem to have a natural desire to make our nest (our home) extra special. It should a be place of refuge, safety, fun, peace, laughter, and plain beauty… matter the size of your “nest”. Some of you live in huge, very expensive homes, and others of you live in small spaces. It does not matter!

I just love nature. It reveals to us God’s amazing creativity! Living here in The Woodlands, we have gorgeous nature all around us. Especially the birds. I just love to watch birds. They are so focused and busy on gathering items to build their nest and provide for their bird families. They find sticks, leaves, down from their feathers, or even string that was accidentally dropped when I took out the trash.

As I think about the bird’s nest, I like to compare their nest to our own. We need to form our nest around things that are strong, for support….like the foundation of God’s love. Add in some “leaves for insulation” such as putting boundaries on your family (what type of TV or movies you allow your kids to watch, or friends you allow them to play with).

The birds may pick up some soft things like dandelion fuzz or those little pieces of cotton that blow in the wind from a Cottonwood Tree..this softens their nest. We should provide peace and a place of refuge for our families. Is your home “tightly wound” or are you so busy running from one event to another that everyone is on edge? What if we were to sit down as a family and talk about what things we really want to be involved in and what things are just “filler”? Hmmmm….we might start to see some noticeable changes that we could make to create more peace in our home.

Do you ever wonder why those cute little birds use a random piece of string or that brightly colored flower petal in their nest? It’s that “little bit of whimsy” for effect. LOL. Do you laugh a lot in your home? I think it blesses God’s heart when he hears us laugh and have fun together as a family. We enjoy playing games together. You can really learn a lot from each other by playing a good game of Sorry! together. Wow! I didn’t realize we were all so competitive!

Over the next few posts, I will share more ideas as to how you can create that warm nest for your family. I can’t wait to share!



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Anniversary Celebration

As I mentioned yesterday, my husband and I spent last weekend at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop, Texas, just outside of Austin.

Not only does the Resort have amazing accommodations, but they have such wonderful “extras”. Our stay there was full of “firsts” for my husband. He had his first pedicure (the “Man’s Pedicure”, of course"—that was my idea!) and then we had a couples massage. He said, “This will have to be an annual thing”. Yay, for me!! The Spa there is called Spa Django and it is beautiful. They pamper you more than any other spa that I have been to.

Spa signSpa


The food here and the atmosphere is beyond amazing. There are a few different restaurants, but we absolutely loved the

Firewheel Cafe.Buffet 1 Buffet 2

They offered an amazing buffet which included a full salad bar, various entree selections (herb roasted chicken, rice pilaf with pecans and cranberries, green beans almondine, seared salmon, and cut-to-your-liking Prime Rib). They even offered a seafood bar with crab legs, shrimp, etc…Delicious Entree(I’m not a seafood eater, but my husband said it was wonderful).

Tomato Basil Soup

My FAVORITE was the

Tomato Basil Soup!


Just when we thought we were finished, we made a trip to the DESSERT BAR! They had a little of everything! Dessert Table

Key Lime Cheesecake, Espresso Mousse, Chocolate Fondue, etc…

Full Dessert Table

After we were sufficiently STUFFED, our waitress brought the check. After seeing all of the amazing food, we fully expected the bill to be expensive. That was fine because we were celebrating our Anniversary. But…..the check arrived and…….Ticket It was only $51.24! We were shocked! Definitely another check in the “plus column” for this place!

Each night, they have campfires with s’mores all throughout the Resort. Adorable! I’m a sucker for that kind of stuff! Campfire Pit

I hope that you will put this amazing place on your “to-do” list for 2010. And for those of you who live in Central Texas, it’s right in your backyard. For us it was a short 2 1/2 hour drive. Well worth it!

Outside Sheller's

Windmill and Gate

Outside area



Monday, January 18, 2010

One Relaxing Weekend

Closeup by fireplace I am married to an amazingly thoughtful man. We celebrated 16 years of marriage on December 11th. He took me that night to a wonderful restaurant where we live. But, he had another surprise. He said we had reservations at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort for an entire weekend in January! Yippee!!

Great Hyatt SignThis past weekend, we spent three days there and it was so much fun and relaxing. It was so special because over the 16 years, we have not been very good about making special time for us. I would not recommend that for anyone, by the way. You need time for you and your relationship…it was there before the children and it will be there when you have an empty nest. Nurture it!

These next two days, I want to share more about this resort and maybe by the end, you’ll want to go there, too!! With your special someone or with your whole family!

Entrance 1 When we drove up, we felt like we had the place to ourselves! Winter is definitely the time to go here for relaxation. The summer is packed full of activities for families so it’s busy.

The setting is resort-like but with a rustic/natural feel.


Lodge 2 This is the main lodge! Isn’t it gorgeous??

Horse Barn

There’s horseback riding, golf, hayrides, arts & crafts for the kids, and much more. There’s something for everyone.

Lake from distance A lake that is so peaceful- with a touch of nostalgia. Feels a bit like you stepped back in time. You can tell that it’s winter, but in the spring and summer, I’m sure it’s absolutely lush and gorgeous! We’re already planning a return trip with our children in the summer. Can’t wait!

Check back tomorrow and find out more…..



Thursday, January 14, 2010

Last Minute School Project

Don't you just love it when your child comes home and proudly announces to the family that he or she "has a project due on Friday"... and it's Wednesday!!!! Okay, do you really think I would be cool, calm, and collected? Yeah, right.

Well, that happened to me last week. My 6th grader has to do these "PRI" projects where they read a book and then make something that represents either a scene or item in the book. Last time it was a diorama (thank goodness for the premade ones at my local get-everything-in-one-stop store). He said the book he read had a bowling scene in it .......and he wanted us to make a bowling cake! WHAT? Okay, after I came down off of the ledge, I said, "Sure, Sweetie, Mom can help you with that- no problem".

I immediately surfed the web and found a sample. Very cute. However, I really didn't get excited about shaving candles to look like bowling pins so we decided to come up with our own version.

I baked and iced the cake and my son did all of the other decorating. He made the lanes out of licorice, the lane markers out of chocolate chips, the balls were gumballs, and the ball-return and the pins were out of fondant (you know, that edible playdough--you can make anything out of that stuff!) He shaped everything! The name of the book was The Million Dollar Strike. He was so proud.....and so was I!

So, Son, it's not just Dad that can do those projects. It's not everyday that you get to make a project that you can actually eat! Look at him....we're so proud of him!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Easy Weeknight Recipe

I have to share this recipe!

Coca-Cola Pork Chops (or chicken)
6 pork chops or chicken breasts

salt and pepper to taste

1 c. bottled barbeque sauce

1 c. Coca-Cola (not diet)

1/4 C. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim fat from chops or chicken and place in baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix barbeque sauce and Coke. Pour over meat. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.

** I also put everything in the Crockpot and let it cook on low all day or on high for 4 hours.

This is a family favorite!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Golden Rule

Do you ever find it amazing how God teaches you things through your children? Well, I do.

Our family tries to have a devotional each night together. I will be the first to admit that we don't make it every single night, but we try. Last night, we were reading in our favorite family devotional book, Sticky Situations: 2 and a real-life story was brought back to my mind.

My daughter, when she was in second grade, had a girl in her class who was from another country. Because of the girl's culture, she would bring "different" types of foods in her lunch each day. They looked and smelled quite different from those foods that the other children in the class would bring so some of the children at the lunch table would make fun of her. Obviously, this made the girl very sad.

Last year, when I attended the Poetry Reading for my daughter's third grade class, the same little girl was there. She began reading a story of a little girl who went to lunch at school each day and was very sad because the other kids in her class made fun of the food she brought for lunch. She described vividly how that made her feel. As I sat there listening, my heart was touched by her sadness. The girl went on to say that she had a special friend in her class who had heard those other children make jokes about her food. One day, that friend announced to all at the table, "Please don't make fun of her food. How would you like it if someone made fun of you!" From that day on, the girl's school-day experience was different and that "as long as Ally Jayne is in my class, no one will bother me." I was absolutely blown away because Ally Jayne is my daughter! God used my sweet daughter to impact the life of someone in an amazing way.

Leviticus 19:33-34 reminds us that "if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him." Sometimes, we may see people around town who don't dress like we do, eat the things we eat, or even talk or act like us. We should always make sure we treat them the way we would want them to treat us. Isn't that the Golden Rule?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bursting into 2010

Happy New Year 2010!! Doesn't that sound futuristic?
Every year, I feel excited to start anew with my goals. I always plan to get completely organized (including the garage AND the attic), spend more time with my friends and family, and that, oh so dreaded, lose weight. Ugh! I always start off doing really well, but then, by about February, I slack off.
Last night, while watching fireworks in our neighborhood, an illustration came to me. God always talks to me in word pictures and I love it! Here it is....we are bursting into the New Year like a beautiful starburst from a spark. The "spark" is ending the old year feeling motivated to change some things. Then, when the New Year comes, we BURST forth with great excitement.
So, my goal for 2010 is to remain "on fire" with my goals and use the power of God with me to end 2010 still flying high like a beautiful starburst in the sky.