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I did manage to make a few homemade gifts this Christmas. Nothing spectacular, but fun, simple projects. I made two homemade ornaments from an idea from Pinterest. I took a friend’s wedding invitation, cut it into strips and curled them inside a clear ornament. Very simple and very elegant. For one of them I also put some cuttings from my Christmas tree inside to help fill the space. Unfortunately, I didn’t photograph them. :/ Court/Lena, if you have a picture of yours, send it my way! Courtney posted some photos of hers:

Rice Heating Pads with Poem

 

 

Another project: Bath salts and Heating pads. With the use of some essential oils, I made some fabulous smelling gifts! I found some cute colored glass bottles with cork stoppers at Hobby Lobby for the bath salts and I compiled some recipes from the internet and came up with these:

Soothing Lavender Oatmeal Bath Salts
1 cup of EPSOM SALT
½ cup of SEA SALT
¾ cup of finely pulverized OATMEAL
Several drops of LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL
Muscle Soothing Bath Salts
2 cups of EPSOM SALT
5 drops EUCALYPTUS OIL
15 drops LAVENDER OIL
Energizing Bath Salts
1 cup of EPSOM SALT
½ cup of SEA SALT
10 drops MINT OIL
5 drops ROSEMARY OIL
 

A friend also told me about an easy-to-make infinity scarf and t-shirt flower pin. I made one for my sister and sister-in-laws. I made three turquoise and two reddish/pink. You just dye a men’s 2x tshirt and cut/stretch it! I’ll include the link with instructions. http://rebekahgough.blogspot.com/2011/08/make-something-monday-ombre-infinity.html

Here are a couple of my final creations:

Probably my favorite thing to do this Christmas was making my own wrapping paper! I know it seems silly…to spend so much time and energy on something that will get ripped up and thrown away, but it really was fun! And I made some cute linoleum stamps that I will be able to use forever. I carved out two simple images, one of an elephant and one of a bird. I had a huge role of newsprint paper that Henry uses to draw with and my mom and I both had boxes of printmaking ink and rollers. I used red and green for the elephants and blue and white for the birds. Henry helped me roll out the ink in between stamping. It was actually a break-through moment for us because his “helping” actually helped! So it was a fun project. 

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Well, I’ve done this whole pregnancy thing before, but second time around it is completely different! I reacted differently when I learned about my pregnancy this time. The first time I was literally shaking with excitement and fear! This time, I’m happy, but calm. I was never sick when I was pregnant with Henry (aside from car sickness and not having room for food toward the end). Lesson learned this morning: Don’t drink orange juice and take vitamins on an empty stomach. I realized this as I was hunched over the commode while Henry was in his highchair demanding his malt-o-meal (one of his few words that is quite discernible). I also remember not being able to think about anything else but the fact that I was pregnant for at least the first several weeks. This time, I go days in a row completely forgetting I’m pregnant. I suppose having Henry to “entertain” me is probably the reason. Not to mention, we are packing up all our belongings because we’re moving into our own house in a week or two!

So, here it goes! A new adventure for the Kempf family.

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Cynicism

I started a post over three weeks ago. It was a bit of a rant. A complaint about the church and Christians in general. I still feel angry about some of the things I was upset about, but I have decided to keep it to myself for a while and try to work on my own flaws and offensive nature rather than target other Christians. I have a cynical spirit. I think a part of me has been unknowingly proud of it. In my subconscious, I think I tell myself It’s a realistic, intelligent approach to life. I’m not one of those annoying, gushy, emotional people. I’m strong and steady. My cynicism provides me with a barrier to protect me from feeling too much. Once you start opening yourself up to others and to God, you open yourself up to pain. I don’t know how to deal with pain because I’ve always prevented it by establishing my safe emotional distance.

Part of the reason I’ve been thinking about this is because I’ve been reading A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller. This line from the section entitled “Understanding Cynicism” resonated with me:

“To be cynical is to be distant. While offering a false intimacy of being “in the know,” cynicism actually destroys intimacy. It leads to a creeping bitterness that can deaden and even destroy the spirit.”

I’ve always known that cynicism was a huge ugly part of my personality (I always blamed that on my father…sorry, dad), but hearing it described as so I realized what a bigger role it plays in my life on every level.

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Kiva

So Leo found this wonderful organization that allows us to share our money with others who need it. I’m pretty excited about it. The name of the organization is Kiva and it allows you to provide loans to individuals in other countries to help them get businesses going. Leo and I are lending money to a fish seller, a tailor, and a farmer, among others. Check it out:

http://www.kiva.org/lender/kempf

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chicken

So Leo and I have jumped in and purchased eight baby chicks. They were hatched two weeks ago today. Right now they are living in a plastic tub with a heat lamp out in Leo’s shop. We kept putting off buying them until we read up more on what kinds to get and how to care for them, etc. One day I got sick of waiting and talking about it, so I just drove by the local Farm CoOp on the way home and picked some up! I took the last four Barred Rocks that they had (we had read that those are good egg-layers and friendly, entertaining chickens to watch) and I also got four Silver-laced Wyandottes (which I didn’t know anything about, but the farmers there told me they were similar to Barred Rocks in personality and egg-laying). I grabbed a waterer and a feeder and brought the little guys home.

When I walked in the door, one of the first things Leo asks is if I bought sexed chickens or unsexed. I realized I didn’t even ask if they were hens or roosters! So, we might end up with eight roosters. If so, I guess we’ll just eat chicken for a while and start all over again for the eggs. That’s what I get for impulsive shopping.

chickens
chickens

Leo has built an amazing portable chicken tractor for the little guys. It has chicken wire all around, including underneath, so raccoons and coyotes (and Olive) can’t dig under the coop and get them at night. There are nice nesting boxes for them to lay eggs in and a handy little door for me to open and grab the eggs through. It also has a side that lifts up for easy cleaning. Hopefully we won’t have to do too much cleaning since it is portable. That’s the whole idea: After they make a big mess, we just move the coop to another part of the yard. We’ll see how it goes! We’re definitely amateur chicken farmers!

chickencoop1chickencoop4

chickencoop3

Side panel that lifts up

chickencoop2

Nesting Boxes - Easy access to eggs

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At the end of January, we had an intense ice storm hit Mountain View and other parts of Arkansas and the south. The weight of the ice took down power lines, power poles, and lots and lots of trees. All of Mountain View was powerless for several days. We lost power on a Tuesday afternoon. We waited it out for a couples days. Spending our evenings playing cards and games by oil lamp light. By Thursday, we called the power company and the message said “They were still assessing the damage”. We really needed to bathe, so we decided to bail. We drove to Washington, MO on Thursday night. The trip heading north was pretty intense. The roads were down to one lane because of all the downed trees and we were constantly driving over power lines. The first town we found with electricity was in Missouri.
We’re pretty sure our power came back on Saturday and we returned on Monday. Several of the people I work with didn’t have power for 13 to 15 days. Talk about living the pioneer life! But these people can do it…of anybody in the world, they can do it!
Here are some photos I took the day after the storm on the drive into Mountain View:

ice-storm1ice3ice4ice5ice6ice2

It feels strange to be writing about this now, since last night we had a bonfire and I was wearing flipflops! And I’m sitting on my porch writing this right now in beautiful 70 degree weather. The weather changes so quickly. Last weekend we had snow!

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Valentine Chairs!

For Valentine’s Day, I bought myself some new chairs I found at an antique mall. I LOVE them! They were super cheap, and they are a little worn, but I don’t care. I love them…and Olive does too. She did a little model shoot for me in them, which I will now share with you!

Valentine ChairsValentine Chairs IIOlive Model Shoot IOlive model shot IIOlive model shoot III

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