July 27, 2011

The One with the Pens

Confession: I have a pen problem. (Yes, I know I just recently posted about another little issue I have. Bear with me, people. There's a more where these came from. And apparently I also have a problem with ending sentences with prepositions.) 

This morning, in the process of packing, I attempted to add my collection of pens from my desktop pen cup into my convenient and totally nerdy zippered pencil pouch in my desk drawer. Before long I realized there was no way a single pen was going to be added to that little pouch. It was busting at the seams. 

Thus began another project. (See? I told you one project leads to another.) I gathered the pens from my pen cup, the pens from my drawer organizer, and the pens from my pencil pouch and spread them out on the counter. I couldn't work through this messy pile without first creating some order, so I proceeded to separate the pens into categories. SBC pens. Church pens. SAU pens. Crappy pens. Pencils. Bulky pens. Pens with caps. Then, I went pen by pen and checked for writing quality. The ones that failed the test made it into the garbage. The ones I don't like using all that much because I'm also a pen snob are being left in the youth room. :) The rest were divided between the favorite-to-use-all-of-the-time-pen-cup and the reserve-pen-collection-pencil-pouch.


I discovered a few things about myself in this process. I have a pen addiction. (This wasn't a new revelation actually. I've known for at least 15 years about this issue.) I may owe some businesses a few pens; I'm apparently a pen thief

Lastly, does this make me a mini-hoarder? I sure hope not. Because today at Sam's Club I was drawn to this gorgeous package of pens like a bug to a light.  

entertained by my madness???
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July 24, 2011

The One with the Boxes of Blessings

I have been a busy little bee this past week. Packing boxes is more than just putting stuff into a box and taping it shut. For me it involves so many steps. Once I decide which cupboard or closet I want to tackle, I have to find the right size and heftiness of box. If items are fragile I must be prepared with sheets of paper or towels to wrap them in individually. Once I actually start pulling items out of drawers or off of shelves it almost always results in some sort of secondary cleaning or organizing process

For instance, you may remember the canning-jars-for-baking-supplies post. Those things just needed to be taken care so I could start off on the right foot when I fill my new pantry.  

OR how it took hours to pack up my beading supplies. I had left all of my jewelry creating items on a large tray table so I could easily access my crafting self when the mood strikes. Unfortunately, I had to spend a long while wrangling hundreds of microscopic beads into new plastic storage containers. Then, it took more time than you could imagine to perfectly fit all of the beading supplies and jewelry boxes into one of the drawers of my crafting (plastic) dresser.

Yesterday afternoon, I decided it was time to begin chipping away at the most daunting task ahead--packing the kitchen. *cue scary music* Dun. Dun. DUN! It's hard to pack a room full of items you use on a regular basis. I'm proud of my kitchen collection (and give a SHOUT OUT to everyone who's contributed to my wonderful array appliances/dishware/bakeware/gadgets.) I knew it needed to be done. And I figured between the business of packing, the last minute odds and ends jobs, and the high heat, I wouldn't be doing a whole lot of culinary creating in the next 7 days anyhow. 

Six boxes later, and it would appear I've only just begun. 

ALL of that to say, we are overwhelmingly blessed. And, Lord, I know these material items are worth nothing, but I thank you for putting them in our possession for the time being. I will continue to seek ways of serving you by serving (and feeding) your people. 

July 22, 2011

The One with the Cherry Dilemma

I have cherry issues. 

No, seriously. 
Allow me to elaborate.

I like the flavor of cherry pie, but not the consistency of the actual cherries in said pie. 

I could eat cup after cup of fresh Michigan cherries. I've done this. And I wouldn't necessarily recommend eating much more than a cup or two. Believe me. 

 Cherry Jolly Ranchers are my absolute favorite variety of this hard candy. In fact, it's the only flavor I ever choose. 

I really can't stand Cherry Coke. I have serious flavor issues with this. I also do not like Dr. Pepper. However, if I am in a "pop mood" and Cherry Coke or Dr. P are the only options, I'll have a few swigs. But only in emergency situations. 

Cherry 7 Up, however, is one of my favorite pops of all time. 

Of the 4 original Starburst flavors, cherry is my least favorite. 

But cherry Skittles are on the top of my list!

Cherry flavored cough syrup or cough drops make me want to gag. 

I would never ever choose a chocolate covered cherry from the truffle box, nor would I eat cherry-anything-ice cream (which is saying a lot!), and I always send my maraschino cherries from a sundae or milkshake over to my hsuband.

I believe I have exhausted my list of cherry likes and dislikes. As you can see, I have issues. My "cherry flavored world" is quite the dichotomy. And I don't think there's anything I can do about it. 

Just so you know.


Do you have any strange flavor loves/aversions?  

Like my craziness?

July 20, 2011

The One with the Mini War

If you've never encountered an Earwig consider yourself lucky. These insects are totally scary looking, albeit relatively harmless. Their pincers freak me out and I can't stand finding them scurrying across my kitchen counters. 

I have killed a handful of these lobster-esque insects in the past week and didn't think much of it. Besides being annoyed of course. But then Monday morning came. I decided to go downstairs to tackle packing the odds and ends in basement storage. I was not looking forward to this job because I prefer to stay out of the unfinished portion of our basement. Spiders and bugs of all sorts enjoy the cool damp location. But I put on my big girl shoes and headed down. 

As I was gathering up boxes and trying to find organization amongst the chaos I had created for myself, I noticed a few earwigs running hither and thither. For some reason I decided to look up at the small basement window that was covered with a rectangular of styrofoam (for whatever reason, I don't know.) 

And that's when I saw them--hundreds of earwigs perched side by side army style across the top half of the styrofoam. OH. MY. GOSH. 

To my surprise and yours, I didn't scream. I calmly went about my business because none of the bugs were moving. I gave a little blow in their direction and the breeze made them stir--assuring me the army was alive and well. 

I headed upstairs to inform my husband. 

"Kevin, we have a situation. There are tons and tons of earwigs on the basement window. I think we need to vacuum them up."

He didn't seem convinced, but he grabbed the vacuum cleaner--now looking officially like a Ghost Buster--and we went downstairs. Kevin was stunned at the mass of insects I had discovered. 

We (mostly HE) spent the next 20 minutes with the vacuum running, sucking up earwig after earwig. The second window was infested as well. 

Kevin left the vacuum running when we were done for fear of the bugs crawling out and seeking their revenge. The only solution was to BURN THEM. 

He put the vacuum bag in a cardboard box, doused it in lighter fluid, took it outside to a cement pad and set those bugs ablaze




July 18, 2011

The One with the Thing I WON'T Miss

I will definitely miss this house when we move. It's been a wonderful first home for us. Yes, we lived in a Detroit apartment for 5 months, but we didn't have time to make a home of it. This place, though, is where we've become a family--even just the two of us. :) We've learned how to be adults--how to pay bills and buy insurance and avoid yard work. We've learned the basics of true, beautiful marriage--how to fill one another with love and how to fight fairly. We've learned how to host loads of teenagers in our house, how to unclog a garbage disposal and how to save on utilities. We've laughed a lot, cried enough, shared dreams and frustrations, prayed together, made memories together, started traditions. Here. Our First Home

I love so many things about this house. It's huge, for one. It has a finished basement, tons of storage space, great sized bedrooms and closets, a 2 car attached garage, and a kitchen that I will forever love and miss. I've made many a delicious cookie in this kitchen. I've become a cook and baker in this kitchen. I embraced my passion for food creating in this kitchen. I will miss this kitchen

The one thing I won't miss? Cleaning three bathrooms. BLECH. I just had this lovely task this morning. And is way way way down on my list of things I remotely don't mind doing. But seriously, three bathrooms for 2 people is a bit much, don't you think? :) So even though we'll have to actually wait if someone's already using the bathroom, at least there will just be one toilet, sink, and tub to clean. And I'm ok with that.  


July 16, 2011

The One with the Teens Loving Jesus

Want to know the highlight from my week with our teens at Family Camp? The sunshine in my days? The time that made my heart happy

Every morning, after most of the teens had spent an early morning hour chatting and laughing and enjoying a bowl of cereal, it was time for personal quiet times. A half hour before the morning service, we sent the students off to find a quiet space to read their Bibles and pray and seek Jesus

It was a beautiful thing to behold. There was never a complaint, or even a sigh. They went with good attitudes, as if they were anticipating the Word from the Lord. 

They scattered to tents, to Cross Hill, to a sunny bench, to a chair around the non-existent fire. And as I did the dishes, while the sun streamed through the trees, I took note of the beauty of the moment. Watching as they turned pages, chose a passage, took out a pen, and soaked in the Scriptures. 

What a beautiful thing

I don't think we could have done anything better for our students during this week. Praying they will take this new habit with them into the "regular" routines. God is so good.

July 14, 2011

The One with Family Camp Photos

For the past 8 days and 7 nights, we have been at Somerset Beach Campground for our church conference's Family Camp. It's quite the epic experience that we plan on being a part of for years to come. Having been on many sides of Family Camp, we have an unique perspective of the week+ long event. Kevin has been to over 20 Family Camp's since he was a little guy, we have both worked the counseling and housekeeping end of things, and I worked in the office last summer. Oh, Family Camp (as Sara might say.) 

After bringing our students to volunteer (and have a bit of fun) at Family Camp last summer, they started begging and pleading with us to plan another trip for this July's event. We couldn't say no to their beautiful little pouty faces. :) 

Though we are beyond exhausted, so thankful to be home in air conditioning and with clean feet, the last week has been a time to to remember. Our teens did a tremendous job of working with the children's program every morning and evening, and they were mostly spot-on compliant with the RULES we had set out for them for their week under our authority. 

Boy, can I just say it's really difficult to be charged with the care of 15 teenagers for 8 days. Wow. What a responsibility. So many questions running through my head at all hours of the day.

Have they all eaten breakfast?  
Who hasn't showered?
How many people just left for that hike?
Where's ....?
What do we do when 6 girls' belongings get flooded during torrential downpours?
How do I deal with boy-crazy-girl-jealousy?
Who's turn is it to help with dishes?
Is it bedtime yet?! 

Keeping track of who's eaten, who's showered, who's in a bad mood, who's arguing, who's done their devotions, who's in bed on time, etc is a BIG job. 

But, honestly, these teens made it pretty easy on us!

Here's our week. In pictures. 


campfire meals.


worshipping with and working with hundreds of kids!

leading game time.
(that's me in the pick tshirt!)

meals together.

group photo!

trip to The Parlour! 
yay, ice cream!
The teens surprised us with a gift--an autograph dog on which they had all written personal messages and insides jokes. So special!


checking out the awesome gift
a perfect way to remember them (and this trip) by!


July 8, 2011

The One with the Camp Report

We've had absolutely gorgeous weather!
Fire-cooked pizza sandwiches are a big hit. 
Deer flies love me. 
I hate (hate HATE) Deer Flies. 
I would officially declare myself a youth worker and not-so-much a children's worker. 
Me + coming up with kids games = fail. 
Having my mom out at camp with us is super fun. 
Catching up with friends is great. 
Taking two showers a day is a necessity. 
It's hard impossible to keep 15 teens quiet before quiet hours are officially over at 8am. 
Watching all of the students having fun with one another, working well with kids, and being responsible for themselves is a blessing. 
Releasing my Type A tendency during this week of crazy-camping as I've come to call it, is a very good thing. 

Over and out.

July 5, 2011

The One with the Serious Campers

Packing for a camping trip takes a lot of preparation, planning, and forethought. 

Packing for an 8 day camping trip with 15 teenagers and 5 adults is just crazy talk

But ladies and gentlemen, that's exactly what we've been doing. For the past many months I've been keeping track of notes and thoughts on how to feed them, what to buy, and how much money we're going to need to charge individuals to cover the costs (of camping, food, ice, propane, a trip to the ice cream parlour, etc, etc.) 

You see, tomorrow afternoon marks the beginning of Family Camp--a phenomenon few can comprehend. All of the churches in our conference denomination are invited to flood the grounds of our conference-owned campground for an extended week of worship, fellowship, and fun. Having been on the camp staff side of things-- housekeeping and counseling and office--I know how insane it can be to host 1000 people all at once. I'll be thinking and praying for those working to make this thing happen. 

There's a morning service for the kids, for the teens, and for the adults run by conference pastors. There's hundreds and hundreds of people on the small beach all afternoon with lifeguards guarding like it's their job. Then, in the evening, there's a huge "camp meeting" (if you'd like to use the ol' time lingo) where everyone comes together for a worship service and many more drive in to participate. The evenings are filled with fireside gatherings and late night teen activities. 

This year, similar to last, we're taking our youth group out to participate in family camp. They'll spend their mornings and evenings working hard alongside our pastor and his wife who are heading up the kids' programs. Kevin is co-directing the teen-tent activities. And I'll be making sure everyone's fed and happy--as well as working where needed with my mom and another parent leader.

the group from last summer.

I think we're crazy. But I'm praying it's going to be crazy fun

At the very least, I'm becoming quickly adept at feeding a large groups. And hey! camping with our own kids (which will likely number much fewer than 15) in the future will *hopefully* seem like a breeze after taking 15 of "our" kids for such an extended trip. 


July 1, 2011

The One with the Monica-Packing

There's an episode of Friends where Monica is packing up her fine China--the kind only the Queen is worthy of eating on--and she enlists Joey and Phoebe's help in filling the boxes. (NOT a good idea.) She carefully details the process in which each precious piece of China is to be wrapped and nestled into the box. Every single plate, bowl, or saucer will be surrounded by a protective layer of packing paper.

I won't tell you the end result. It's too heartbreaking

I felt like Monica on Monday afternoon. (Side note: as I was telling Kevin how I "felt like Monica" he replied, "Don't you always?" ha.*cough* ha.) In the midst of packing for a week of Bible Quiz Nationals, I was trying to accomplish some house packing. Most likely I felt pressured into packing because so many people I had spoken to in the last week asked me, "Are you packed?" 

Of course I'm not packed! Should I be packed a full month before we move?! Am I behind schedule?! I didn't even realize there was a packing schedule that I had yet to know existed. The have-your-entire-house-packed-weeks-in-advance schedule.  

Obviously, the comments from random people--including our librarian--stressed me out. I guess I was behind. YIKES. Get a move on it, Mel! You've got a 2000 square foot house to get into boxes by July 31st and almost 3 full weeks between now and then are taken up with Quizzing and Family Camp. 

I had a few boxes packed with extra linens, all most of our books are boxed, as are cds, random decorations, Christmas stuff, and extra office supplies (you'd be surprised--or maybe you wouldn't--at the large quantity of "office supplies" I own.) 

All that to say, I decided to start packing all of my formal dishware and glassware. I figure, I probably shouldn't need that between now and 4 weeks from now, right? At least, I hope the Queen doesn't visit in the next couple days. 

It took me nearly 3 hours to finish this seemingly-small project. I took the staple-binding out of many old magazine and used each sheet to separate the dishes from each other. I wrapped bowls, side plates, cups, saucers, serving plates, and more and stacked them lovingly into 3 different sturdy boxes. 

Then I had to find a place for the 12 crystal goblets that are a family heirloom. I was pretty impressed with my set up, and I know my mom would be proud of me too. :) I took a small, yet tall box and stood six of the goblets on the bottom. I tore apart another box into short strips that I used as dividers between each goblet. Then I cut perfect-sized rectangle of cardboard to place on top of the first six goblets, creating a second layer for the last 6 goblets. It was perfect, people. 

No tinging from any of those boxes. I call that a success (with a side of anal retentive.)