Archive | October, 2010

Bless Your Husband: Learn Massage Techniques

15 Oct

Great Book!

Would you like to really bless (and surprise) your husband this upcoming weekend?  Plan to give him a massage.  Trust me he will absolutely love it.  🙂  I was introduced to massage therapy following a car accident and fell in love with it.  I decided a while back that I wanted to master the art of massage for the purpose of blessing my husband.  It’s really not that hard at all.  If you have ever had a professional massage make a list of some of the things that they did that you really enjoyed and just copy them.  If you have not then ask a friend who has to tell you all about the experience. 

Here are some tips:

  • A massage can either be given on the floor or on a bed.  (A massage table would work even better but they are still a little pricy for us.)  Place pillows or a folded towel under your husband’s head to support the neck.  Have on hand plenty of towels/sheets so that you can keep your husband covered up or he will get cold.  You might even want to place them in the dryer right before hand so they are nice and toasty.  🙂
  • Start burning one of your favorite candles before you begin the massage. 
  • Have relaxing music playing in the background-nature sounds are great.  I like to use Elijah’s Dex Baby Sound Sleeper.  You could also borrow a cd from the library or visit http://naturesoundsfor.me/ where you can customize your own blend of nature sounds. 
  • Use a thick quality massage lotion-I like cocoa butter.  You could also use massage oil but if you just have lotion (like us) it will work great. 
  • Once you are ready to begin your massage I recommend just starting on the back and then working your way down all of the extremities.  Then have your husband turn over to the other side.  Ask your husband what is preference is as you massage.
  • As you are massaging pray for your husband.  If you can’t think of what to pray for him about you could even keep a list that might include the following: faith, priorities, peace, temptation, affection, work, joy, finances, past, attitude, obedience, relationships, compassion, walk, fatherhood, being a good husband, trials, emotions, future, etc. 
  • For a great resource on becoming more proficient in massage techniques check out Nitya Lacroix’s book Learn Massage in a Weekend.   I picked this book up randomly at my local library and found it to be amazing.  It offers step by step instructions on how to massage and photographs which are very helpful.  I really enjoyed how the book had different sections telling step by step how to massage a particular area of the body rather than just saying massage the legs.  (Note: The woman in the book is wearing only a bathing suit and there are photographs of a man not wearing his shirt.) 

DIY Baby Bassinet Sheet and Mattress Makeover

12 Oct

Elijah only a couple of days old sleeping sweetly.

What can compare to the beauty of watching a newborn baby sleeping?  I remember just watching Elijah sleep when he was little (I still do) even though I should probably have used that time to catch up on sleep myself.  A young friend of mine will be having her baby in the next week or so but when I saw her mattress I thought-oh no we have to fix this! 

It's hard to see but here is a picture of the before mattress. No doubt it had seen better days.

Did you know that bassinet mattresses come in all sorts of sizes?  Unlike crib mattresses which are all the same bassinet mattresses can be any size.  Needless to say it can be quite hard to find a replacement mattress.  (It is also sometimes hard to find sheets that fit.)  I purchased a mattress that was close to the same size as the old one.

Using the old mattress as a template I traced the design onto the new mattress with a marker.

Next the somewhat scary part. Following the lines you made on the mattress cut away the excess but don't throw it away.

Remove the foam from inside the scrap piece. Then take the vinyl part and use it to cover up the side of the mattress. It lined up great for me!

You can either use a hot glue gun or some type of heavy duty glue which is what I used. I applied glue to the front and side sections first. Then I attached this piece to the mattress and then turned the mattress over and glued down the back section.

To make this look even nicer you could make a new cover for the mattress but I thought it was unnecessary.  Bassinett’s really don’t need mattress covers.  Instead I decided to make 2 bassinett sheets. 

How to Sew a Fitted Bassinet Sheet

  1. Measure the length, width, and thickness and write them down.  For this mattress the length was 30.5″ width was 14″ and thickness was 2″. 
  2. I found it helpful to actually draw a small diagram to help me visualize this (maybe it’s because I’m an ACT tutor and draw figures to explain things all the time).  Then you want to add 3″ to each side.  If you add 2″ it will not work so make sure to add 3.  So my measurements ended up being 24X 41.
  3. Cut your fabric the length of your rectangle mine was 24X41.  I used a warm flannel fabric for both sheets and did not worry about the grain lines.

My 24X41 square. Isn't this fabric darling-I hope my friend likes it!

Fold each corner in half with the right sides together. On the raw edge measure from the point 5" and mark it.

Now sew a seam across to the folded edge. Cut off the excess fabric.

Your corners should look something like this. Then finish the raw edges (I used a serger). Next apply 3/8" (or smaller) elastic using a triple zig zag stitch and you are finished!

The finished project! This was very easy to make and fast (even chasing around Eli).

My little helper. I was trying to get him to hold them but that didn't work so well for my active little guy.

Creative Ways to Spend More Time With God

5 Oct

 

“Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.”   Psalm 119:104

  • Set aside some time early in the morning to be alone with God.  I especially enjoy watching the sunrise or being near the window while I drink tea and read from the Word.  The night before make sure that all of your Bible Study supplies are in one place.  I have a Bible Study bag that includes: Study Bible, Pens, Prayer Journal, colored pencils, and a notebook.
  • Copy down a verse and carry it with you throughout the day.  If  you are a student it works great to clip it to your assignment book.  You could also use one side of an index card for the verse and the other side for your to-do list.  Then as you are crossing off items from your to-do list you can remind yourself of the verse.  This is a great way to continually be reminded of Scripture throughout the day.
  • Use the time you exercise!  I enjoy reading my Bible while on an elliptical machine/treadmill, meditating on Scripture, or going through a list of people/situations to pray for. 
  • Pray for people as you are driving or waiting somewhere.
  • Fill your home with Scripture!  I especially like having a Scripture above my kitchen sink-that way I can spend my time thinking about God instead of on how much I hate dishes. 🙂  I also love having one in my bathroom.  I use to joke in college that the cuter my hair looked the more Scripture I had memorized that day.
  • If you aren’t an early morning Bible Study kind of girl find another REGULAR time in your day to spend time with God.  I won’t lie before I had my first baby I remember feeling very unsympathetic to mothers who were in my Bible Study who would say that they just can’t get up early.  After having a newborn I totally understand the exhaustion thing.  (Sorry to all of those mothers I thought bad of.)  Right now it works best in my life to set aside the beginning of Elijah’s nap time as my Quiet Time.  (Whenever I get up early he always seems to wake up!) 
  • If you are a mom place an open Bible on your changing table.  As you go throughout your day read a quick verse as you are changing your small one and intentionally think about that verse for a few minutes as you go throughout your day.  (This idea comes from my former pastor Ryan Fullerton.) 🙂
  • Read Scripture to your children or to the children you babysit.  I would also highly recommend The Jesus Storybook. It is a children’s Bible but I think that every adult should read it as well! 
  • Invest in an audio Bible set.  I used my Christmas money last year to purchase the entire Bible on cd and it was a great investment.  Now I can spend my time cleaning or preparing dinner listening to God’s Word as it speaks to my heart. 

The important thing I think to remember is that God longs for you to spend time with Him.  What are some ways that you spend time with God?

Plan a Daddy Date Day

4 Oct

Daddy Date Day at the Zoo

In our home one of our favorite things is what we like to call a “Daddy Date Day.”  Before we had Elijah we just called this date day-a day that Brandon and I set aside to spend the whole day together doing things that we both love.  Now that Eli is here we like to include him.  Daddy Days can look different in each family.  The important thing to remember is just to plan a relaxing day that you can all spend time together talking and enjoying life.  Just to give you an idea here is what ours looked like on Saturday……

First we all slept in (till like 7:30 maybe) and then I made breakfast-scrambled eggs and blueberry muffins.  Then we hung out at home for a while reading, relaxing, playing, and headed to Louisville about an hour away from our house.  (We met in Louisville so it is one of our favorite places to go.)  Sometimes on a date day we will pack a picnic but this time Brandon surprised us with lunch at Olive Garden thanks to a gift card he had been saving for I don’t know how long.  Of course it was delicious and Elijah seemed to have fun.  He was greatly entertained by another baby at the next table. 

Browsing the Book Nook

Then we headed to one of our favorite bookstores-The Christian book Nook in Louisville.  (If you’ve never been you have to check it out they offer 30% ALL books and they have a lot of used books which are even cheaper.  A lot of the books we own have come from there.)  We bought a new Kay Arthur Bible Study, a couple of textbooks for school (for me), Faithful Women and their Extraordinary God, and some commentary for Brandon that’s really big.  (I don’t like big commentaries because they don’t fit in my purse and I can’t hold them in one hand and Eli in the other.)  🙂  I try to read Elijah somewhere between 5-10 books a day.  We have great hopes for him to be a reader one day! 

Louisville Zoo

Then we headed to the Louisville Zoo.  I absolutely love going to the zoo-I always have. I’ve been trying to take Brandon ever since we started dating and we finally made it.  (The sad thing is I use to live 15 minutes away from it.)  It was lots of fun even if it was a little cold out.  There were pumpkin decorations everywhere-made me want to go home and make a pumpkin pie (I didn’t.)

Enjoying the Lemurs

After hanging out for a while we headed home and spent the rest of the evening having dinner, reading, playing with Elijah, and talking.  We are so blessed thank you Lord! 

Note: Don’t think that a Daddy Date day has to cost lots of money.  It was a really special treat that we went to lunch and an activity.  Another of our favorite daddy date days or daddy date nights includes eating dinner at home and then walking 2 miles to the library.  After stuffing our library bag full we walk back and spend the evening playing/reading to Elijah, watching a free library movie, reading, going for a walk, or talking.  The important thing is just to spend time together.

Butternut Squash Soup

3 Oct

I was feeling adventuresome tonight and really in the mood for soup.  Last year I remember being at a friend’s house visiting while she was making Squash Soup and it smelled so good.  Rather than call her I decided to be adventuresome (this is really unlike me to just make up a soup recipe.)  🙂  Actually it was pretty good I think we will be making it again.  It’s a great way to eat more vegetables and seems so fitting on a fall day like today.

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1/2 of a large butternut squash peeled and cut into small chunks (remove seeds too)
  • 2 T butter (you could probably use less)
  • 1 large apple peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/8 t. ginger
  • 2 c. chicken broth I use homemade but you could just use 1 can
  • 1 c. water

Saute squash and apple in butter for 10 minutes.  Then add the rest of the ingredients.  Bring to a boil and simmer about 1 hour.  Then use an immersion blender or allow soup to cool and place in blender.  Serve with cream and croutons.

Falling Leaves: September at the Emerson Home

2 Oct

How sweet when a baby falls asleep on youI thought it would be neat to write a post at the end of each month summarizing some of the things our family has been up. September has been a busy month in our home. Along with his student ministry, Brandon helps with Upward every Saturday morning now for the next 2 months or so at our church. He has man night with Elijah ever Tuesday night while Amanda takes a theology class at Southern in Louisville. (After this semester she just has one more class and hopes to graduate in May.) J Since Elijah has learned to crawl Brandon often spends Tuesday evenings taking him for a long walk to the library 2 miles away.Enjoying a park swing

Over Labor Day weekend we were blessed to spend time with both of our families which was great!  Brandon’s parents, brothers, and sister-in-law all came to visit on Saturday which was lots of fun.  We love having guests in our home and hope that it is a place that they feel welcomed and at home.  On Monday we drove up and visited Amanda’s family for the day.  We watched her brother and sister show at their county horse show and spent time hanging out with the rest of her family.  Both Rebekah and Jacob did a great job showing.  Needless to say we were all really tired after the weekend was over (especially Elijah) but had so much fun.  Truly it is always a blessing when we can spend time with family.  

This picture does not even capture the true delight that Eli finds in his daddy

 Amanda had a rough week of sickness (still not sure exactly what it was-either a nasty cold/flu or strep) but ever thankful for the Lord’s grace.  See former post where she recounted things she was thankful for.  She finally finished studying the book of Colossians and is looking forward to diving into a study on an Old Testament book soon.  If you don’t know she is notorious for studying one chapter for weeks upon weeks which means that a book containing just four chapters will take her months. J  Brandon has been reminded of the greatness of God through his study of Isaiah along with reading through the entire New Testament at least once or twice. 

We continue slowly plugging along with our house as we try to make it more of “our home” while balancing the desire to be good stewards with the desire to make our home an inviting one.  There is still a long list of to-dos, but finally there are actually some pictures up on our walls and the boxes all unpacked (we think).  We are looking forward to having our roof replaced in the next week or so as well having some minor repairs done with a leak in the ceiling.  Oh the joys of being a grown up! 

 

Elijah has learned all sorts of tricks this month.  Not only has he mastered crawling but he can also “cruise” as he pulls himself up on furniture and takes a few steps.  It is cute to watch but boy has it made parenting harder.  Still we find Elijah to be such a joy to our hearts and are so thankful that God sent him to us.