Sunday, August 30, 2009

Something of Which I Am Proud...

Just in case you were wondering, this post is not about my grandbaby, although I am extremely proud of him. :)

Families on Mission, Teaching Your Preschooler to Love, Share, and Care (New Hope Publishers) by Angie Quantrell

Check out this book. It's a great resource for families - filled with ideas for activities, games, and projects. Many of the activities are geared towards families with preschoolers and younger children. I am so excited to offer this book as a resource to families who want to teach their children how to be on mission - how to live their daily lives as an active, loving, giving, sharing testimony about Christ. I hope you will take a moment to check this out this book. It was my pleasure to write it for New Hope Publishers. Let me know what you think. :)

(Notice several other books in the image - the "I Can" Series published by Woman's Missionary Union, also written by yours truly.)

I Can Pray by Angie Quantrell

I Can Give by Angie Quantrell

I Can Do It! by Angie Quantrell

I Can Be More Like Jesus by Angie Quantrell

Monday, August 17, 2009

Quiltin' Nana

Have scraps. Will quilt.

This nana loves to quilt. Let me clarify that. I love to make BABY quilts. I've tried bigger ones, and the rows go all weird. I love sleeping with big, beautiful quilts that others have created. But the ones I make are for babies - les bebes. There is no way of telling how many quilts I have pieced over the years. The reports from new mommies confirm that babies love cotton, colorful, washable quilts. While I don't have time to do intricate, age-old quilt designs, I've found that patchwork patterns thrill new parents and their precious ones just as much. At least, that's what I tell myself as I give them as gifts. :)

This Quantrell nana's quest to quilt for queues of bebes began when the quantrell babies were very young (trying to see how many times I can use 'qu' in a sentence). I discovered a delightful patchwork quilt, with no less, and I am not exaggerating, close to two hundred tiny squares. The quilt was sized for a baby. Wise choice on the part of the seamstress, or she could well be still sewing on that quilt. Each quilt piece is about 1" x 2" long. I still have the quilt, but it is lost in storage with all of my other quilts. I loved how my babies stared intently at the colorful pieces as they lay on the quilt. I draped it over the back of the couch, the car seat, the crib...focal point deluxe. I especially enjoyed that I could throw the soiled (now honestly, babies never make a mess, do they, of one kind or another?) quilt in the wash. It always came out softer and more comfortable than before the soaking. It is easy to choose a theme and colors based on the sex of the baby or parents' interest or a large collection of a certain fabric color (justification to save every piece of fabric that passes through my fingers).

So, determined to recreate this piece of wonder, I made quilts for both of my babies. And then I started making quilts for other babies of friends, relatives, acquaintances, door prizes, shower gifts, auction pieces...I really would like to know how many I have made in all. My baby-baby is 18 1/2. Making quilts since she was 1 or 2, several, if not over a dozen, a year...that adds up to quite a few. My list this year is getting longer all the time. Quilting my way through it piece by piece.

I recently added embroidery to my grandbaby's quilt. We will never forget his birthday, weight, time and year of birth, or his name. With love, bebe, from the Quiltin' Quantrell.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Rock Hunting (and Washing)

One of my all-time favorite activities is rock hunting and washing. Simple yet entertaining. Opportunities for descriptive language learning are abundant. Get rock hunting!
1. Go rock hunting with your child. Let him or her invite a friend. Check fields, river sides, beaches, or anyplace rocks grow. Wink, wink. (Make sure you are allowed to hunt rocks.) Place dirty rocks in a canvas bag or cardboard box.
2. Fill a large tub with water. Provide old toothbrushes and bar soap. Let your child and his/her friend soak the rocks, brush soap off of the bar, and then scrub the rocks clean. If you are concerned about dirt and stains, make sure the children wear old clothes or cover up with one of your work shirts. The rock hunters will have a ball by themselves. Or, you can play along and throw in comments like: Which rock is heavier? Oh, that rock is shaped like a square. Which rock do you think looks like a ladybug? This rock is so smooth. That one is bumpy and lumpy...Encourage the children to decide what rocks resemble - the sillier, the more fun.
3. Let the rocks and kids dry in the sun. :)
4. If you want decorated rocks, place newspaper on a table, squirt acrylic paints on a paper plate, and put paintbrushes next to dry, clean rocks. Invite the artists to create their masterpiece rocks. For more permanent designs, when paint is dry, spray a coat of clear acrylic sealer over the top and let it dry. If you don't need permanence, arrange the rocks in the garden and the paint will eventually fade and flake off of the rocks.
5. Repeat steps as necessary.
Before you know it, you will have rock fiends of your own.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pocket Full of Rocks

I love rocks. Just ask anyone in my family. Also old barns, but that's not in this post (ok, one thing about barns - I dream of renovating and living in an old barn!).

Collecting, admiring, photographing, and arranging (rearranging) rocks are my thing. I'm the kid on the beach with her britches half way down due to the sheer number of rocks in her pockets. Well, IF we grew up near the beach, that would be me. There were no beaches in Arizona. So we had desert rocks. Rocks are way cooler, interesting, and more dangerous in desert climates. One never knows what is under a desert rock, of course, unless one looks, right? :) Tarantula? Scorpion? Snake? It's like Christmas each time I picked up a rock. Don't tell my mom. She doesn't like snakes or other poisonous things.

I think my rock fetish goes way back to grade school - in the desert. There is not much to do on a dirt playground. Just play with dirt and rocks. So we created elaborate homes, outlined with small rocks. From there, pretend families, friends, and neighbors developed from classmates and other recess kids. When the bell rang, the rocks stayed in place, ready for our next excursion out into the heat.

As an adult I still collect rocks. I have many times enlisted my family and friends to help me haul my favorite finds to the car, and from thence into the garden scheme. I remember one specific camping trip with a college buddy. Rock collecting involved a huge canvas sack, a river, deep water, wet shoes and shorts, and both of us tugging the laden bag to the car, full of prizes. What a friend.

Don't even get me thinking about how OLD the rocks are. My maiden name is Hill. After a certain age, family relatives with the same last name constantly heard the 'old as the hills' comment. I'm thinking rocks are older than hills, since many many hills are made out of rocks...I love old stuff.

I'm don't discriminate against size, color, shape, weight, or location when I am on the hunt. Occasionally, I will look for rocks with one qualifying item. Like at the beach, I look only for rocks with holes or rings of white around them. On mountains, I like rocks with character and lichen. At my sister's place, large and bumpy (and movable) are prerequisites. Over my lifetime, I guess I have gathered and displayed several tons of rocks. I think some of my husband's back issues MAY stem from his willingness to lift the hefty prizes for his stone addled wife. ;0 (See the photo? I want that rock.)

As a teacher and mother, one of my all time favorite activities is, yep, rock collecting and washing. My kids grew up loving to wash rocks using a big plastic tub, water, old toothbrushes, and bar soap. It's amazing how entertained young kids are when they have a stack of dirty river rocks. The rocks ended up either somewhere in the garden or painted and displayed on pieces of furniture. And talk about cheap gifts. Blob on some bright colors, seal with acrylic spray, and voila, a paperweight, napkin holder, objet d'art, birthday gift...

Rocks are such a natural part of landscaping. I use them in planters. I love the way succulents and rocks go together, and the way plants creep over rocks, softening the edges and making them melt into 'been like this forever.' I create ways to make paths, borders, designs, and focal points with rocks. I especially enjoy large rocks with natural dips and holes perfect for water spots. Which leads me to my next favorite pastime, gardening for insects. Insects love natural water holes...

I know I'm not the only one. Rock fiend forever.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Down by the River (or in a Park)

And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Acts 16:13

I LOVE this account. On the Sabbath, the men did not go to church or the temple, but out of the city and down to the riverside. Where, as God would have it, they happened upon women who were meeting in a spot where prayer usually occured. The men sat down and interacted with the women, joining them where they were and guiding them further along the path of search for Truth. Down by the river, men and women discussing Scripture and recent happenings in the region.

No bells, whistles, or trappings. The choir was absent, the temple walls gone, the music and musicians silent. No Sunday school, coffee fellowship, clocks, power points, hymnals, air conditioning, cushy pews, or sound systems. Just the Gospel and interested people. Small groups discussing real heart matters. Simply Jesus. Nothing else.

Relationships. Common interests. Discussion. Seeking. Contemplation. Prayer. And the Word of Jesus was heard and glorified.

Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshipped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." So she persuaded us. Acts 16:14-15

Did she meet only near the river outside of the city? No. She opened her home and welcomed others in. Something big happened in Lydia's life that day. She went from a small group to the Church - as in THE Church, made up of all believers throughout time. I would love to follow her life to see what else Lydia, a woman of influence and wealth (purple dye very costly to harvest and make, and cloth dyed purple was reserved for royalty and the rich), did the rest of her life after that meeting outside the city.

But it all began very simply. By the river. When God opened her heart.

Small start. Keep it simple.

Passwords Smashwords

Urrrgghhhhhh! I hate passwords! It has taken me 15 minutes to 'not remember' which email went to which password and then to not catch which password goes to which...I feel a slight bit bald in the temple area of my head. AFTER getting to the point where I was allowed to RESET the password (like I will remember the new one?) and finding the correct email address...I reset it, and could instantly log-in (only if the email and the password matched of course). Now, I'm not remotely interested in what I wanted to originally blog. I know we need passwords to keep out the bad computer guys (and nosy people), but seriously, is there an easier way that does not include implanting computer chips or tattooing numbers across my forehead? If that's the case, I will just continue to forget my passwords and make up new ones to forget on a regular basis. ha That'll show 'em.