Monday, February 29, 2016

February Projects

 My needles have been clicking, and it's been a fun month with new projects.

The finished Briony socks
A scarf for Dayna's teacher (ssshhhh...don't tell, it's still a surprise)
And a scarf I had put off finishing. It was a little scary to knit the whole thing, then intentionally drop stitches and unravel the whole thing in multiple places. But the finished product turned out really nice. The name of this one is "Dropped and Found."
And the project currently on my needles is the "Simple Skyp" sock with my birthday yarn from Alaska.

Viola Swamp

For Read Across America, staff and students were invited to dress like their favorite book character. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to come dressed as Viola Swamp, Miss Nelson's alter-ego in the book "Miss Nelson is Missing."

Fine Arts Festival - Cello

After her audition in the morning, Dayna and I went to tune her cello with the piano I would use in performance that night. It was there we learned our first lesson about tired cello strings. After a frantic trip to Lincoln for new strings, and a gracious visit with her cello instructor to restring the instrument for us, we were good to go again.

It turns out her cello performance was second from the end. The final performer was running late, coming straight from a basketball tournament. After she performed the piece she had prepared (Minuet No. 2), we filled time until the final performer could arrive. I'm so proud of her poise and preparation to play pieces she hadn't planned to perform (and my high school English teacher would be proud of my use of alliteration in that last sentence!)

2016 Fine Arts Festival - Piano

A new fire has been blazing in Dayna and her personal discipline where it comes to her music. She has been voluntarily getting up around 6:00 every morning to practice before breakfast. This drive paid off last weekend at the local Fine Arts Festival, where she took Best of Show for her piano and her cello performance.

Enjoy "Old Castile"

Young Authors

Fifth grade - the last year of elementary school. And Dayna has done it again! She was the class winner of the Young Author's contest at her school. Her goal was to win every year, and she came close, missing it in fourth grade (but winning another statewide writing contest that same year instead.)

She started writing her piece, which was 8 pages long, back in December when we were driving to Oregon. It's a beautiful chapter story about the Nativity, told through the eyes of the animals (cow, donkey, sheep, and camel.) I hope to get a copy of it soon and share!

A treat for the winners is a pizza party at school with a guest speaker. This year's speaker was a local 17-year-old who was first published several years ago. He's now written three novels. A special treat for Dayna was to see that he was also born with cleft lip and palate. I love when she has role models to whom she can relate.

Valentine's Day

Being a bit of a Daddy's girl myself, I love watching my girls with their Daddy on Valentine's Day. This year, because Dan and I were out of town, the girls stayed with our friends Matt and Tina. The Crafty Queen helped them make some sweet Valentines for us.

I love that I'm the best "cockasian" mom!

BSF Leaders' Retreat

Every 3-4 years, BSF leaders converge in different locations throughout the world for a leaders' retreat. This year was my third retreat, and Dan's first. What an absolute joy to spend Valentine's weekend with 2,700 other followers of Jesus along with my husband. We walked through the book of Colossians, and my head and heart are still spinning with what the Lord is trying to teach me. My biggest takeaway from the weekend was finding security in my identity in Christ. I have struggled for so long with what others think of me. Even letting the opinions of others poison my own perception of who I am. I haven't arrived, but it was freeing to know that I am not who others think I am. I'm not even who I think I am. I am God's chosen, beloved child. And the ramifications of that are something I'll be chewing on for years to come, I'm sure.

The staff of BSF made this great snapshot video of the weekend. Most impressive is how they managed to feed 2,700 people in one room in just over an hour.

With some of my co-leaders in the Lincoln, NE Day Women's class
And the silly selfie my husband left on a friend's camera

Chinese New Year 2016 - The Year of the Monkey

Another Chinese New Year has come and gone, and while we haven't experienced the world's windfall of prosperity, we're pretty content and blessed with the wealth of love and laughter in our home. The Families with Children from China party was once again a huge success - and Annie really enjoyed the Lion Dancers (with earplugs to drown out the cymbals and drums.) Both girls were absolutely lovely in their silks, and we all left well fed.

Winner Winner...

And what was I doing while the storms were raging? Discovering just how easy it is to use my pressure canner to can chicken and homemade chicken stock. Yum! Can't wait to get some more chicken on sale and really stock up my pantry. This made the most divine chicken and dumplings in a matter of minutes a few nights later.

Groundhog Day Blizzard

Once again, the groundhog couldn't see his shadow for all the snow that fell. It wasn't as big of a blizzard as anticipated, but it was enough for a few days off school, a cute little snowman (sorry, no picture) and a few runs downhill on the sleds. Even Mom and Dad got out and rode the sled runs a few times.