Monday, April 23, 2012

Manual Mariposa

I know that is a strange title to a blog post, but I finally got a little brave and decided to try to take pictures using the manual setting on my camera. I have had my new Nikon D3100 for about a year now and have really loved it! I have mainly been using the auto setting, as well as some of what I call the 'dummy' settings (landscape, flower, portrait, etc.)

By adjusting the aperture and shutter speed, I was able to capture these images over the weekend at our Civil War event in Mariposa:

f/13, 1/200 seconds

f/20, 30 seconds

f/25, 1.3 seconds

f/6.3, 1/200 seconds

f/16, 1/20 seconds

f/9, 1/50 seconds

f/10, 1/30 seconds

f/25, 1/25 seconds

I should probably mention that these are straight out of the camera shots, nothing has been cropped and I don't use Photoshop.

As far as the event itself, it sure was a hot weekend. Just last week, we had torential downpours of rain and the weather decided to heat up quite a bit for our weekend. The hot weather makes it quite miserable while you are wearing wool uniform or many layers of women's clothing. The lack of accesible shade also makes it a little difficult to stay cool during the day.

However, the location is absolutely beautiful, just 30 minutes west of Yosemite. Since the location is pretty remote, the night time sky was amazing! With the new moon, the sky was filled with stars! We had a great time pointing out Venus, Mars, Saturn, Orion's Belt, and many other stars and constellations.

The end of a hot, camping weekend always makes us so thankful for clean, running, hot water and the comforts of our home. It is also a blessing to be away from all our technology and be able to have great face-to-face conversations with people who share the love for the history of our country.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Two letters in one day!

Monday was a great mail day! Two creamed colored envelopes came in the mail from two of our correspondent Compassion kids.

The first letter came from Victor in Ecuador. Here is what he wrote:

Dear Yvonne,
I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks for writing and telling me more about you. I am happy to hear from you. I have some flowers in the garden of my house and we also have fruit plants such as mango. I like to take care of them. My favorite verse is Proverbs 12:2 "A good man will obtain favor from the Lord, but He will condemn a man who devices evil." My family and I keep you and your family in our prayers. Please have my mom in your prayers and my studies too. How is your weather? I made a picture of my garden on the back. I close sending you hugs in Jesus Christ.

And here is a picture of his garden drawing:

I love all of the details he put into his garden drawing. And he even put a drawing of himself smiling!

The next letter is from Abner in Colombia. For a 9 year old, he wrote a long letter!

Dear Yvonne,
Greetings and bear hugs. I want to tell you that I traveled with my cousin Juan and my aunt Elisa on Christmas, we visited a town named Guaduas and there I saw colorful butterflies but not just that, there was also my favorite animal, the horse; there were many fruit and I've never been in a place that beautiful outside of Bogota. I want to tell you that my aunt and I were scared because of snake, black and long but my cousin was laughing because I was afraid. We ate lots of bananas and coconuts; I helped my aunt with the cooking. I love horses and my favorite horse is Canelo, he is brown and beautiful. I spent most of my Christmas time with my aunt, cousin and siblings and then I came back home and came back to school 2 days after that; I'm in 4th grade and I'm enjoying school with my friends. My favorite subject is English and my favorite verse is Psalms 8:3 "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?" I'd love you to pray for me that I can do well at school. Blessings and goodbye. Thanks for all the letters that are beautiful.

Abner told me in his last letter that his family has a parrot named Rebeca. I asked him if he would send me a drawing of Rebeca and here it is!

I pray that I can continue to be an encouragement to these boys as they continue to grow their relationship with God. I pray for their families and for their studies. I pray they will grow up and make a difference in their communities. Thank you Lord for allowing these boys to be a part of our lives!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Space Adventure!

Kelsey was able to join her American Heritage Girl unit for an afternoon last week at the Challenger Learning Center.

She paired up with her buddy Hannah to explore the museum before their space mission.

The girls were split up into two groups. One group started out in 'mission control', the other group was on the 'space shuttle'. Kelsey was in the group that started out in 'mission control'. She worked with her partner on the 'space shuttle' to give her instructions on how to assemble the probe.

About half way through the mission, the girls switched places and we ended up on the 'space shuttle'. Kelsey took over assembling the probe. They only had so much time to complete the mission.

By working together, the girls were able to complete their 'mission' and the probe was released to meet up with Haley's Comet.

We then went into another room for a presentation about all the planets. I love this 'picture' of the sun with all the planets lined up on it.

As we were leaving the museum, we got caught in a huge downpour. Once we started getting closer to home, the storm cleared up. It made for a beautiful cloud filled picture!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

So what else does Compassion do? Bite Back!

A lot of people know that Compassion International is a child sponsor program whose mission it is to release children from poverty in Jesus' name. But Compassion is so much more than this! I was thinking it might be nice to do some blog posts about some of the other things that Compassion does in the countries where they are working to help these children and their families be released from poverty.

Are you aware that people still die from malaria around the world? A person dies from malaria every 30 seconds and 3 out of every 4 of these deaths are children in Africa.This video does a great job of explaining how mosquito bites are still killing too many children around the world.

When Jordan Foxworthy (yes, the daughter of TV show's 'Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?' host, Jeff Foxworthy) went to Africa with her dad to visit their Compassion sponsored children, she came back as a changed young lady. (You can watch her video here. Scroll down to the third video.)  She worked with Compassion to start the Bite Back campaign to help provide insecticide-treated mosquito nets to children living in poverty. These nets help to protect the family while they are sleeping. This is the time when most mosquito bites occur.

Bite Back is a great way for teenagers and kids to become involved with Compassion. For just a $10 donation, a family will be provided with an insecticide-treated mosquito net to protect them from a mosquito bite which can lead to malaria.

Matthew was able to present Bite Back to our youth group and over the course of several weeks, they collected enough money to purchase 15 nets. You can make a donation today, or even better yet, order a presentation kit to share Bite Back with your church family. Help the fight to end malaria!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Craft table progress

After I posted yesterday about our Pinterest inspired IKEA trip, a friend of mine let me know that she had a bookcase she was willing to let me have. Yay! Well, this got me to thinking...should I try to use one of the bookcases I already had to make this craft table work?

After I picked up the bookcase from my friend, I started unloading everything off of the bookcases that needed to be moved and moving other things out of the room.  Here are a couple of before pictures:

One of the things that prompted trying to put this craft table project together was that card table in front of the 'closet'. I have been using it to rotary cut out material for my quilting projects and let's just say, it is not cutting it. :o) The table is just not tall enough and my back was not happy about it.

Of course when you clear out a whole bookcase of books and stuff, you end up with piles all over another room in your home:

Here is my version of the craft table project that I had pinned on Pinterest:

And here are a couple of after pictures of the progress so far in the whole room:

The table ends up being about 36 inches off the floor which makes it perfect for standing and rotary cutting out quilting pieces.

One of the things I always realize when I tackle this type of project is just how much stuff I have. Looks like it is time to do some clearing out and finding new homes for some things...but I am so thankful that I was able to pull off this whole re-do for just $5.99!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Our Pinterest inspired IKEA trip

Matthew has been working over with our friends the last couple of days.

Since Kelsey and I had to drive over to pick him up today, we decided to stop off here first.

I have been wanting something like this for our craft/school room and have pinned quite a few ideas on my 'Dreams for my home' board. When I saw that you could put this whole thing together for about $15, I knew this would work for my budget and my available time. So today, we purchased the $5.99 table top from IKEA. Hopefully, I can get the bookcases later on this week.

Before we arrived at home, I was excited to see that our favorite strawberry stand in town is now open! These will go really well with homemade buttermilk pancakes in the morning... yum!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Beautiful Girlhood

"Far away there in sunshine are my highest aspirations,
I may not reach them,
but I can look up and see their beauty,
believe in them and try to follow where they lead."
-Louisa May Alcott

Kelsey and I have been able to share some girl time together on Wednesday nights while Kevin is at Bible study and Matthew is at youth group. I thought this would be a good time for us to read through a devotional together and build on our good relationship as she enters into these next few years of her life.

I purchased the Beautiful Girlhood book at a homeschool swap some time ago and picked up the companion guide to go with it. We have gone through a few lessons already and have really been enjoying this time that we have together. Her life is so different than mine was as a young girl. I know that I am not perfect, but I want to be able to share with her that with faith in Jesus, she can grow up to be a confident young lady who is not afraid to be different from the 'world's' standards.

We have also been going through my craft board on Pinterest, searching for projects to work on together. On one of the blogs that I like to read, I found this simple Easter project. Kelsey thought this would be a great one to work on. We started them both last week and finished them up yesterday.

I really like the way they turned out!

Last night, we found another project to start on. We cut out all the felt and will be working on finishing them up over the next week.

Stay tuned to see how this one turns out!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pinterest, Instagram, and Baking

A friend of mine pinned a recipe on her baking board that sound so yummy. So I printed out the recipe and we decided to start baking after lunch.

Well, then I learned that Instagram was finally available for Android! I have been envious of Matthew having this app on his iPod, so I have been anxiously waiting to be able to use this app for a while now.

I had a chance to give this app a try yesterday during our baking session...

...letting the eggs and butter come to room temperature...

...cinnamon sugar biscotti!

Since I don't always have my camera with me, but I always have my phone with me, I am looking forward to playing around with the Intagram app and seeing what I can create. Let me know if you are on Instagram so I can follow you... :o)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Preparing for our special visitor

We are pretty excited around here as we will have a special visitor at the end of this month! Since Olive will be speaking at a nearby church in the morning, Compassion thought it would be great if she could visit our church also. We will be putting together a special Sunday evening service so Olive can share with us what it was like growing up as a Compassion sponsored child in Uganda.

Yesterday, I ran by the library to pick up a book that was on hold and thought I should pick up a book on Uganda also.

I had forgotten that Katie Davis (author of the book, Kisses from Katie) was currently living in Uganda ministering to young orphaned girls. I am looking forward to learning more about Uganda over the next few weeks and learning more about this young lady who has left her comfortable life to follow what she believes is God's plan for her.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Help children in poverty AND get a t-shirt!

Every 30 seconds, a child dies from malaria. Compassion's Malaria Intervention Fund exists to provide children in poverty with mosquito nets.

This week, Sevenly has a goal of raising $7000 to purchase 700 mosquito nets. There are two ways you can help.

Option 1: In the next seven days, sponsor a child using this link and you will receive a free t-shirt from Sevenly.

Option 2: Purchase a t-shirt from Sevenly and $7 will be donated to provide a life-saving mosquito net to children in Rwanda.

This opportunity ends precisely at 9:59 AM PST next Monday, April 9 and you must use the links provided in this post.

I picked the olive woman's t-shirt...which one did you choose to help children in Rwanda?