Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Art in my back yard

Last summer was a very dry year here in Texas.   So dry in fact that in Houston alone they are estimating that 66 million trees were lost.  We started noticing the dead trees towards the end of the summer, and I knew it would be bad.  But as they have started removing the dead trees, I have to admit it is shocking to see how many trees are relaly gone.  Our area is going to look so different and I can only hope that we don't have a repeat this summer.

A few weeks ago they removed several trees from the school that is across the street from our home.  Included was "the tree", the largest one that all the kids loved.  My youngest daughter Erin was so sad when it was removed, and she an her friends lamented its loss by reflecting on all the good times under and in it.  But when they cut it down, they left a sizable piece its trunk.  I assumed it was to make it easier to completely remove it, and this week as they cut down a few more trees we noticed some activity around the trunk.   Apparently we were not the only ones sad to see the tree go, because instead of just completely removing it someone had the wonderful idea to create something beautiful from its base.  Here is part of it's transformation into our school's mascot:

This is James D. Phillips.  He is an artist who has been doing tree sculptures for about 7 years.  He was at the school for several days.  It was so cool to watch him work.  Even the kids loved it.
And I totally love the finish project:
Now we have a beautiful piece of art to make sure we never forget "the tree".  A big thank you to whoever approved this project. 
And to James Phillips for sharing his talent with our community.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A great way to end a week

How do you end a birthday celebrations filled with balloons...
fun mother-daughter crafts...
 and a beautifully delicious cake?
 With cajun crawfish boil of course!
 Thanks to my beautiful Melissa for giving us a reason to party!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A new obsession...or two

Recently I may or may not have become slightly obsessed with Pinterest.    What is Pinterest?  According to the website, it is a Virtual Pinboard that lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.  What a great idea!  A place where you can go to be inspired by looking at pictures and projects and food.   The problem is that you can easily get lost browsing the pins of others and never have the time to actually try anything that you personally pin.  In other words, it is easy to become a Pinterest Addict.   And apparently I am not the only one to think this, because I quick google search lead me to these:

I have actually tried to break free of pinterest addiction by setting a few rules.  I can browse people's pins, but I can't become a drone and simply repin what I see.  Instead I have to limit most of my pins to things I discover on my own.  That way Pinterest truly is a log of things that inspire me.  I also have to actually make some of the things that I pin.  Which leads me to my second new obsession--green smoothies. 

A few weeks ago while on Pinterest, I saw a pin for Green Smoothies.  We are a family of breakfast skippers, so I thought this would be a great way to not only have something quick we can grab as we run our different directions, but also a great way to get more fruit and veges in our diet. 

And this time I didn't just pin the page, I actually made the smoothie. 

 I put some bananas,
frozen fruit,
 and a cup or two of water into my blender. 
Hit the smoothie button and watch it go...

 I know it doesn't look the most appetizing
(my husband told me it looks like baby poop)
But trust me, it's delicious! 

One pin down!  I'll let you know when I'm successful with another.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can it really be 25 years?

25 years ago today, my beautiful daughter Melissa was born. 

I truly have no idea how she went from this

to this
so quickly!

The years have flown by and today she is an incredibly talented, smart, loving, fun, stylish, sophisticated, amazing, and almost French woman. 
 I am proud to be her Mama and her friend.   

Happy birthday Melissa!

Monday, February 20, 2012

One of the best parts of Christmas

I know Christmas has been over for almost 2 months now, but last week I obsessed a bit about it and had to share that obsession here.

It started when I walked past my fridge and saw this:

This collection is made up of family and friends.  I love being able to see their beautiful faces every day as I walk through my kitchen.  Some days I pass by without even noticing them.  But other times I'll stop and stare, remembering people and places and happy times.  I also love that all of these pictures came to me thanks to these:

I love Christmas cards.  In fact, I think they are one of the best parts of Christmas.  I love seeing what kind of card each of my loved ones has chosen.  It's fun to see their personalities shine through.

This card came from friends who have spent the last several years living in Australia.  My brother Dan lives there too, and we had a goal to get to Australia and see both of them.  Unfortunately we were too slow and our friends have now moved on to another assignment.  The clock is ticking to get there before my brother returns to the states.  Hopefully we'll make it....but I digress....

This card came from one of my brother-in-laws.  This is the perfect card to represent him.  He loves to hunt and fish and be outdoorsy.
This card came from one of my closest college friends.  Today she is Mrs. Mayor of a city in northern Utah.  She has always been stylish and classy, even back when we were poor college students.  I think this card is perfect for her!

This card came from one of my most talented friends.  She is a mom, a full-time student, and a wonderful quilter.  She always has fresh flowers and branches incorporated in her decorating.  And I love that she picked this card.
My favorites Christmas cards are the religious ones.  

This one came from one of my most artistic friends.  Love the beauty of this card.  It definitely reminds me of her beautiful soul.  Love it!!!

If you've gotten a card from me you probably know this already, but I only send out Christmas cards that are about the true meaning of Christmas, which of course is the birth of our Savior.   This has been a tradition for our family since my husband and I were married.   Some years that has been difficult, and I must admit that if I didn't find a card that moved me, I simply didn't send out cards that year.  So if you've don't get a card from me at Christmas, just assume it's because I couldn't find the perfect nativity card.  I would never buy my cards and then not get around to mailing them.  Never.  Ever.  OK, maybe once or twice, but mostly it's because I didn't find that perfect card.  Really.

But back on topic...as I said earlier, I think Christmas cards are one of the best parts of Christmas.  But I have to admit that cards that include a family letter are better than those envelopes that just contain a card.

I love reading about the life and times of all my loved ones

And the truly best cards are those that include a family picture. 

 I love ones that chronicle growing families:

 and babies!

I love the pictures of families who have children serving on missions:
...and those who have had their missionaries return:

I love pictures that show personality (and new toys!)

 And I love that these Christmas pictures eventually end up on my fridge...
 where I can walk by them everyday, and sometimes stop and stare
--remembering people and places and happy times.

 Oh, and in case you are wondering....this is what the other side of my fridge looks like:
 You see, I also love magnets!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I love missionaries!

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (yes, I'm a Mormon), I believe I have a responsibility to share my knowledge of my Savior Jesus Christ and his restored gospel.  Although I personally struggle being a good missionary, my immediate family has a strong tradition of full-time missionary service.

My parents served a Mission to Hawaii before they had children. 
This is very unique as couples usually serve missions after their children are grown.  My parents were unable to have children (me and my 2 brothers are all adopted), so they were called as full-time missionaries during the early years of their marriage.  I have never heard of another couple who did this, but it turned out to be a huge blessing.  As I've mentioned before, my Mom struggled with serious health problems for most of her married life, so this truly was the only time they could have served together.  I really want to research this and see if I can find other examples of young couples serving as full-time missionaries.  If you know of any, please let me know.  

My in-laws served a mission to Puerto Rico.
They went on their mission right after they sent their youngest child off on his.  While they were gone we had our third child and moved to Houston.  WE missed them during these events, but were so proud that they chose to serve.  They have also served missions at home serving in the St. George Temple, the employment center and as missionaries to a Spanish Branch in where they were able to brush up on their Spanish and teach English. 

My husband Greg served a mission to Denmark.  
The Jensens are from Denmark, so Greg's serving here 
helped us create a love for Danish traditions.

My brother Kevin served in the Geneva Switzerland mission. 
He actually only had one day in Switzerland and spent
 the rest of his mission in France and the Reunion Islands
 off the coast of Africa.

My brother Dan served in Spain.

My son Joey served in Colorado in the Colorado Denver South mission

My oldest daughter Melissa served in Southern France in the France Toulouse Mission.
She actually opened her mission in the same city that Kevin opened his. 
How cool is that?

My nephew Nick served in the Mexico Guadalajara East mission.

And my daughter Rachel is currently serving in Toronto, Canada.
She wanted to go somewhere "not cold". 
The Lord obviously has a sense of humor!

This is my missionary heritage.  I love it and I look forward to the time when I can serve a mission with my husband.