What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, April 29, 2011

Foto Friday Fun

In case you are new here~ let me give you the rundown.

Here on Renaissance, every Friday people are welcome to share their favorite photograph taken that week. It can be anything you want, but I always include a weekly photo challenge for those up to the task.

It is a great way to get yourself behind the camera, a great way to get feedback on your photos and a great way to get inspired. All skill levels welcome! So LINK UP to your Foto Friday post, grab the button and start snapping pictures!

Last week, as an optional challenge, I suggested people look out for great Easter shots. Here are two of my favorites from the week:

Now you know, I am not above bribing with Peeps.

Now let's see YOUR favorite photo of the week!

Looking for a challenge for this coming week? April SHOWERS bring May flowers. How about we try to capture some of them in pictures?

And the winners from LAST week are:

Bird photos can be quite challenging so a good one is always impressive.

Winner #2: A Nibnabit Life

I really loved this shadow play. It is a great idea played out beautifully.

Congratulations ladies and thanks to all who participated! Fridays are always great fun for me!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A glimpse into our Easter

I have sat here for an hour and a half (out of the two hours I have to blog during rest time) trying to put into words those in my heart left from Easter and yet they fumble and fuss and lack the profoundness that such an occasion merits.

He is Risen!

And out of the stench of death, despair and destruction is the pure sweetness of of all things made new.

My words desert my lips and instead want to lie upon my heart and continue to ponder the goodness of the Truth so instead I offer simple glimpses into our Easter festivities.....

The only thing I bought in the way of decorations was the bunch of hydrangea blooms. Everything else I scoured the house for-including the lilies and pussy willows that are now on week FIVE of looking nice!

I cut a bunch of vintage-looking hankies in half and made a bunting out of them. I love it so much I might keep it up until after my birthday. Would that be weird? hmmmm.

About a week before Easter I blew out a bunch of eggs and let them dry. I wrote 10 scripture verses, one for each person in attendance, rolled it up tightly and shoved it in the blowhole. Then I hotglued ribbon to the egg and a bit of glitter decoration and then hung it from the ceiling to be popped after dinner.

I don't have any fine china but I do have some monogrammed "N" glasses that always make an appearance on holiday/holy days. The children always feel very grown up to use them and none have broken...yet. I of course, love to fold cloth napkins too.

and I have found placecards not only add to the elegance and the beauty of the decor but are also QUITE helpful. When guests arrive I am busy enough getting the food to the table let alone directing people where to sit. I just glued glitter to some butterfly cutouts and glued them on to scrap paper.

The Easter apparel was not at all made by me this year, but very special to me nonetheless.

I got Corynn's dress and coat at an antique store. The dress was $8.00 and the (real wool) coat was $12.00. It was a splurge that could not be helped.

Said anitque store also provided me with an Easter bonnet to the tune of $3.00...

I got Andrews outfit at a yard sale for $1.00 and well, he has been wearing it all winter for church. So his outfit isn't special to me, but he is...plus, with his cowboy boots to go along with it he looks like quite the dapper southern oil tycoon which just makes me smile every.single.time.

(He picked all the daffodils for me at Eastertime to pretty up the kitchen. I love this boy.)

Recognize this, Nanci? Adele's dress was handmade with love last year when she was sadly too scrawny for it. But how THANKFUL I was for it two days before Easter when I didn't have anything "Easter special" for her. It was WAY more special than anything else I might have come up with.

And speaking of handmade with love....I just recently got the most amazing package for my Judahbear in the mail and I about died I loved it so much. THANK YOU Leah!

And now for the food:

I like to tier the buffet table by adding baskets or books under the tablecloth. It adds such elegance and makes the food more visible and accessible. (And yes, I need to add a picture to that frame. My brother-in-law made it for me, isn't he talented?!)

Here is some of the food we had:

Pictured below:

Challah (egg bread)
Gouda bites
Butterfly cupcakes
Devilled eggs

I made the butterflies for the cupcakes by melting white chocolate chips and adding a few drops of blue food coloring. I then put the warm chocolate into a ziploc bag, cut a small tip out of one corner and drew two unattached wings for each butterfly onto plastic wrap or wax paper. You can put a butterfly drawing under the plastic wrap to guide your drawing. Once firm, stick each wing into the frosting, standing up slightly so as to appear that the butterfly is about to take off.

We also had mashed potatoes and fruit salad but I guess they were camera shy.

I kept track of how many eggs I used this Easter since a goal was to get rid of a fair amount. Any guesses how many I used?

That was our glorious, wonderful, Easter. The one big disappointment was that our dear Gram couldn't come to share it with us as she had to be hospitalized that day.

I hope yours was a happy day too.

Might Easter be remembered and lived every day this year.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Foto Friday

Guess what today is?!?

Ready or not~ let's see your favorite photos of the week!

Last week, the challenge was WHITE, for those who wanted a good challenge.

I interpreted WHITE as purity and wanted to focus more on the feeling than the color. I thought an ethereal feel to the photograph would accomplish that so I purposely overexposed my photograph to try and create that feel. When I told Matt my plans he said....

"So basically, you are TRYING to take a crappy picture?"

Well. Sort of.

Here is what I came up with:

That black thing hiding (not very well) in my hand is my remote camera clicker the secret to many of the photographs that *I* am in.

And just to keep things real~ a good old-fashioned OUTTAKE---> getting hit with a droolbomb.

Now it is YOUR turn!

~~~~ And now for the winners from last week ~~~~~

Winner #1: Life in the A-Frame

This photo just screams PUNK ROCKER DOG to me and I can't help but crack up every.single.time. If a photo can do that, it is winner worthy in my book.

Winner #2: Out for an Adventure

The layers upon vibrant layers of this photo really make such a powerful impact. It is really beautiful.

Congratulations to you both and thanks to all who participated! It was REALLY hard to choose just TWO favorites from last week, which is a HAPPY predicament to be in!

Keep 'em coming!

Anyone who is looking for some photographic motivation~ this weeks' theme is a "Glimpse into Our Easter."

So share a picture of the grub, the decorations, the egg hunt, the Easter bonnets, the fancy clothes, the people you shared it with, or share in photographs what Easter means to you. I look forward to seeing (hopefully) lots of Easter glimpses. And as usual, it is not necessary to follow the challenge in order to participate in Foto Friday. Any photo favorite is welcome!

Sneak Peeks

I made a *very* last-minute, impromptu decision this week to host an Easter feast here at home.

Mainly so we could break Gram out of a hospital-like setting for the day and enjoy the holiday with her. (if all goes according to plan...) And slightly because we have our own HAM to eat. (!!!) And most especially because Easter calls for some serious celebrating! He is RISEN, indeed!

I put a ca-bash on the Easter dress sewing for two reasons:

1) I got this lovely vintage bit at an antique store for $8.00 and Corynn wants to wear it so WHY would I sew matching stuff for everyone if she isn't going to MATCH?!?


2) The fabric I have just seems MEANT to be paired with dark brown/dark red which are too....dark....for Easter time (at least to me.) so I am thinking they might be Thanksgiving dresses/new family photo dresses for the Christmas cards?

Reason number 3) I am a terrible procrastinator has absolutely NOTHING to do with it!!!

So a festive feast day seems just the ticket for some good old fashioned busyness and giving due hubbub to one of the most important celebration days on our calendar!

Here are just a few sneak peaks of what is in store:

With the exception of the hydrangea beauties (because one MUST have fresh flowers. Well, I use that as MY excuse!) I am working strictly on a have-on-hand basis. I kinda sorta think that that adds to the fun of it.

And since one thing we have PLENTY of is eggs~ they will be making an appearance both as decorations and in plenty of the food offerings. :-)

Do you have any Easter traditions/plans that I can steal borrow?


I am not 100% sure whether I prefer the black and white version or the color version of this photo.

I am 100% certain I didn't want to forget the day he fell asleep holding his toes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Homemade Vanilla Extract How-To

I don't know about you but I use a crazy amount of vanilla in a years time, so much so that those teeny little bottles with suck-it-up-crazy-prices are laughable. Or cryable.

So I don't suck up those prices any more.

Now, I make my own.

And you can too!

Even if you don't use a lot of vanilla, the cost benefits give you a great reason to try it out and homemade vanilla only gets BETTER with age, so take as much time using it up as you like!

All you need is:

glass jar(s)
vanilla beans
80 proof vodka

The ratio is 5 beans to 1 cup vodka, so if you are making LOTS just adjust your measurements accordingly.

Use a sharp knife to split your vanilla beans lengthwise to free up those itty bitty delicious bits of seed. Take a few sniffs, it is sublime.

Then just plunk your beans and funnel your vodka into your glass jar (I used some sadly empty syrup jars...sniff) and wait.

It takes about six months to be fully cured. At that point, you can strain out the beans if you would like.

If you start now, you can have an awesome homemade gift for the bakers on your Christmas list!

You will make their day and they will think you are

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Nests are popping up everywhere around here.

Some treats I made to share:

A treat I made for myself:

A treat Corynn made by herself:

Lovely nests, how I admire thee.

Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, [even] thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. Psalm 84:3