church stuff

happy monday! it is hard to believe that tonight is our last training class for ecuador.  the training has been so many things... but most of all amazing. i have so much to share and so little time these days. 

i would like to share some things going on at our baptist church. few words and a lot of pictures!

women on mission.
even though women is in the name, wmu is for everyone. people usually find "their place" in a large church. wmu is "my place." i love all things related, especially girls in action and acteens.
i am in a few pictures. we have to create a photo album for ecudaor in cases when our translator is not present. looking through pictures i realized: one, i have very few hobbies outside work and home ;) two, i have many more about pictures of jeff.
last week we participated in sole hope
an amazing mission project.
i always love being surrounded  my favorite people. especially this one. suzanne and i teach ga's together. and crazy smart! look at her wasted fabric. there's like none!
a saturday picture with two more church favorites!
for my album ;)
this past weekend we were the host home for the DNOW high school girls. 
what an amazing, amazing group of girls!
we drove them to and from church activities. 
crazy fun was happening in the playroom! whip cream, a two hour game of Bible scategories.

we created some sweet frames to remember the weekends!

be my valentine

i love valentine's day! mainly because it is another reason to spread the love (and eat insane amounts of sugar!) our 4th and 5th grade girls in action shared the love at a local nursing home. have i mentioned that this is the brightest, sweetest group of girls? 

we are working on being able to "pray out loud" with others. (i struggle with this myself) the residents in this nursing home are so kind to lend a listening ear and allow the girls to practice. many residents were asleep this night, but several did listen. 

the girls begged all the way back to the church for ice cream and to visit on a saturday so all the residents would be awake.  we look for any excuse to visit these sweet friends!

our family celebrated the real valentine's day in a low key kind of way ~ my favorite kind!  i started my day off with a dozen roses final mini sessions. there is something so sweet about the color pink and children. boys and girls! the image below wasn't from a mini session, but isn't she beautiful?! this is my cousin's daughter, zania

 i had a goodie package delivered to bennett. a little bit of candy and food gift cards. i wish i had photographed the outside of the box. it was wrapped in lip duct tape and puffy kiss stickers. perfect for picking up from the campus post office ;)
we try to keep valentine thoughtfulness at a maxim and purchases to a minimum. it really is the thought that counts. my favorite gifts are always homemade. but mary claire did surprise me with an awesome new coffee mug ~ filled with chimes and chocolate! the only thing missing was an "s" on the end of cat ;)
again, it is a day and an excuse to eat lots and lots of sweets. except jeff. poor guy, still on a diet. mary claire's dipped strawberries

 after dinner out we baked a batch of cookies and jeff and iwatched the tv movie, "taken." it was pg-13 due to violence. mary claire was not supposed to be watching,  but walked in right as the girl was stolen from under her bed. hello nightmares! she saw one clip and refused to sleep upstairs.  spinning this horrifying clip to my advantage, "see what can happen if you do not listen to your parents?" (so bad! but better than saying she was being sold as a child slave ;)  jeff said the next movie was "monsters who sleep under children's beds in camden, south carolina." in case she wasn't traumatized enough. 

anyway, the cookie dough was fabulous!

rewind to before the traumatizing movie:
anna katherine enjoyed a fancy dinner out!
while the rest of the family enjoyed a not so fancy dinner in town. yes. we did go to waffle house. 

mary claire fell hook, line and sinker for the waffle house tv commercial. the commercial that promises a romantic dinner by candle light.  reservations required.  this was a hard sell for jeff, who immediately said no to candle light and waffles. but mary claire talked him into it. so waffle house it was.
our small town waffle house didn't provide candles. if you desired candlelight, you had to bring your own candle. hysterical ~ there was no talking jeff into bringing a candle. we would have to settle for the cell phone set on flashlight.
can you believe we were the only ones there... for the first few minutes? then we ran into our neighbors. so no one really eats at waffle house on valentine's day.
this is a very fancy late night drink for mary claire... 
diet coke with caffeine!
so we ate our greasy food and enjoyed the company as much as if we were at a five star restaurant. the guys in our family are hilarious!
we learned bennett has developed a taste for uncooked eggs.
i am still saying "no spit balls at the table!"
and finally: my forever valentine. 
styling in his double glasses!
i love this man to pieces!

Smoakin' Hot

i sure love these little guys!
my nieces and nephew.
the title above is a play on their last name ;)


liza was allowed to tag along on our winter break on one condition: she would work on her science fair project. she had chosen a topic on dog treats.  (right up mary claire's alley!) 
liza's wanted to see if dogs preferred processed or non-processed dog treats.  first up was to make dog treats from scratch. they found a simple recipe with five ingredients. 

 flour, cheese, ground beef, bananas and peanut butter.
sounds mighty tasty  for a people treat!

the day before anna katherine  found a bone shaped cookie cutter! 

 next stop: the store for processed dog treats. i had them compare the five ingredients in our homemade treat to the 20+ ingredients in the processed version.

 then we hit the streets of hendersonville. this is an artsy little town full of yuppies and well groomed pets. so it was intimidating at first. asking a stranger with a fancy pooch to allow your kids to feed their dog something homemade. we made our way down to a really fancy dog shop called wag. (what a hipster name! i imagine the cat version would be meow hiss.)

that's where we met a college professor and his ginormous terrier. science fair jackpot! he taught science at a nearby university!
 after explaining liza's project, he took control. (i had a zoom lens on my camera so i could not show how awesome the sight in this room was. or take time to set the camera on the proper settings.)

he gathered a crowd while explaining all the controlled and uncontrolled variables. so many little things that could change the outcome. he video taped it for himself. 

he even tried putting the three treats in front of the resident cat and making the dog pick. being a cat person, i loved this fearless cat! i wasn't surprised when this towering dog hesitated before approaching the cat.
 the result time and time again?
the homemade treat!

 the girls hit the street. 
they now had the courage to ask dog owners for their participation.

 love the look on this dog's face. he had just gobbled up the homemade treats and didn't look all to thrilled about the store bought bones.

 we had such a fun time helping with her experiment! mary claire participated with her own hypothesis! now the hard part... putting together all the charts and graphs with her mother!

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