Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jewelry Organizer-DIY

For some time now I have been wanting to make something to keep my earrings tidy and easy to find. I had found some great ideas on the internet and was just waiting for inspiration to finally strike to make my own. 
While in America I was given some sewing supplies that belonged to my Great-Grandmother. These things being dear since they belonged to her and vintage as well- I wanted to do more than just stash them. 
Yesterday I started toying with some ideas for my organizer and become so inspired that I decided to just plug ahead. This is what I have so far, and I am so in love with it that I just had to share it. 

The orange lace from my Great-Grandmother

The lace heart is leftover lace from my wedding dress.

The eyelet lace is perfect for a place to keep stud earrings.

Should you want to make one of your own these are the materials I used: 
  • Pegboard, or bulletin board
  • Hot glue gun
  • Cotton fabric to cover bulletin board
  • Lace of various kinds. 
  • Buttons for decorations ( haven't yet attatched these- they were also my Great-Grandma's). 
  • Any other pretty little decorations. 
  • Tacks

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Bakery-

Someday I dream of having my own cafe/bakery. Where people will eat my yummy sweets and the atmosphere will be so cozy and wonderful that it will be a favorite for everyone. But since my children are small and the dream is still only a dream I was delighted when this new bakery opened. I feel as if this new bakery is just as cute as any I would have hoped to have and that brings me joy. I take great pleasure in sitting here, and just enjoying the homey, coziness. Lovely! 

Tea with a friend.

Another evening at my favorite bakery with my man.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Common Courtesy

Yesterday I had to take my daughter to two doctors at the children's hospital. The first appointment was actually only to see the nurse and have patches of various food items put on her back to test for allergic reactions.

We have never done this before and so everything is new and confusing. In general I always slightly dread going to doctors here because 1. Everything is in another language and 2. People are just different in various cultures.

I was a little taken aback when as a nurse sped into the office I was waiting by and I tried to address her she completely ignored me and closed the door in my face. All I wanted to know was if I was waiting by the correct door. . .

When we finally did get into the office we were cared for by the same unfriendly nurse. Not once did she address my little daughter. Not once did she make any form of friendly conversation with us. She did her job and that was it.

I was again reminded that I do not live in my home country.

As I recounted this to my husband he reminded me how little people make here in Latvia. He said if I wanted politeness and friendly conversation than I could have paid for our visit. There are two ways of doing things here- the planned way- where you wait and all medical services are for free for kids. Or where you pay and schedule more to your convenience.

I was saddened by this conversation. I know it is true that these people make very little- but in my opinion as humans and fellow walkers of the earth we ought to be kind to one another and at least show common courtesy- especially at a children's hospital-where the child is afraid already.

A tear slipped down my cheek as I told my husband with emotion in my voice "Let's raise our children to be kind to others, and show courtesy no matter how much they are paid. "

Because in my humble opinion a good attitude should not have to be so shallow that it can be bought with money.

Note: Not all medical workers are like this. We have one of the most wonderful family doctors around for our kids. She goes above and beyond herself, even outside work hours. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Silk Painting in Wisconsin

   It was so much fun to teach these ladies a bit about silk painting and to see their fabulous scarves! 
 Brushing the salt off
 Helping a friend finish
Lovely scarves!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Straight Pin Adventure

Today I went to the local sewing shop to get some straight pins with balls on the end. I need these for my silk painting, to use as claws for the stretching of the silk.

However, they didn't have the kind with balls on the ends. So I was directed to the Universal Store. This store is a 3 story department store, with a little bit of everything. When you step into this store it as if you are stepping back in time. Nothing has changed in the way they do things it would appear in at least the last 30 years. We wonder how they survive with all the new malls and stores. Maybe older folks like feeling like things don't change.

All of the items in the store are behind the counter, beyond reach, and must be requested if you desire to look at them more closely. I remember how we found that so strange and cold when we came to live here for one year in 1996.

As I made my several store stops I was thinking how life is so much more complicated here- even just to get straight pins. There is no Wal-Mart to run to where you can find at least 3 kinds of straight pins and they are always in stock. I certainly got spoiled with our 2 months in America and the easy accessibility to Wal-Mart and any fancy I might have night or day being within reach.

At least I did find some pins- and can now get back into the business of silk painting. I have been so busy trying to get into a routine with cooking, cleaning, caring for the kids and doing homeschool that I haven't had time to paint. I have been yearning to do some painting and hope that soon I will again being able to take up my brush and let the color flow!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

His Protection

Do you ever stop to send up a prayer of thanks to the one who guards your steps?

As believers in God we sometimes see evidence of the amazing fingerprints He leaves on our lives.

The other day my husband informed me that yet again  God has guarded us. He said our back rear wheel on our car had nearly come off due to the screws being nearly out. He said if we had gone much further it would have fallen off. . .

Thanks Lord for guarding our paths.

Thanks for allowing my husband to find and fix this problem.

Thanks for one more day to live, breath and serve.

Thank you for life!

How have you been protected lately? 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Alphabet Recognition

After a two month pause in our preschool home-school program we are attempting to get back into the swing of things.

My 4 year old boy is having a horrible time remembering and telling the difference between some letters that are quite similar in appearance. Like, d and b. Or c and e.

I am feeling desperate to come up with some ideas to make remembering letters more fun and easy. There are days I feel I am not cut out for teaching home school because of my lack of patience.

I was searching online this evening for ideas of games and suggestions for learning to recognize letters.

Here are a few I want to try:

Any ideas, tips, games or links you can share to make learning letters fun for little boys? 

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Haven

Since arriving home a week ago the weather has continually been overcast, dreary and damp. 

I had forgotten how very depressing winter can be in Latvia. Somehow the sunshine of a Nebraskan winter led me to believe that it wouldn't be much different here. 

The dark, and the sickness at home has made me very sleepy. I have been taking 1-2 naps a day and went to bed at 8 p.m. last night. Thankfully, we seem to be getting slightly better- though today D is throwing up every time he eats anything. At least he does not have a high fever so far today. 

I keep wishing I could hibernate until spring, and only come out again when the sun decides to shine again here. 

But since that is impossible than I feel I would like nothing better than to stay tucked away in my little haven of home. Warm, and dry in our little pool of light and joy. I want to keep barred away all illness and fear. I want to bask in the sunshine of the smiles of my children and the favor of my God and the love of my husband.  


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Re-Entry Part 1

By now living in another country could come as no surprise, right? I have now lived here 7 years. But every time I make reentry into this land I find that things still surprise me or seem to smack me in the face with how just very different these two cultures I know really are.

Today was my first day „out” after having been 2 months in the states. Our technical pass had expired on our car which bounds us to home unless renewed. But to do that first I was supposed to go get the tires switched to the winter ones.

After wiling my way from the kids I went to get into the car. I was horrified to be greeted with mold growing here, there and everyone in our car. Mold on the seats, belts, flaps. Yuck, who could imagine what two months can do when live in a damp climate.

I drove to the place to get the tires switched- hoping no police would be out. I made it and waited 20 minutes in the cold garage while two men switched my tires. Brr.. . . I should have dressed warmer. I paced the floor of the garage trying to keep my toes warm.

Off to the next place to pay the road taxes and try to get at least a one month pass, in which we can drive and fix the list of things to be repaired on the car. Wow, $360.00 for 2 years of road taxes- and that is with our large family discount. Yikes!

I drove to the line waiting to have their cars inspected. Keeping my window open a tad to keep the windows from fogging over- our fans, vents, heat and the whole system stopped working before we left two months ago. The mold on the dash stinks and I open the door , hoping this mold isn’t dangerous. I wonder what we should do about the mold, if it can be cleaned, if it is harmful and when we will ever be able to get a different car. Brr. . . my feet are numb.

It is my turn to drive up and I am supposed to turn lights on and off, turn signāls, bright lights- oops, where are those? Two months is long enough to forget a lot about ones car. I feel like a ninny when I have to tell the guy I need help turning my brights on. He got in the car and did the rest of the tests.

We have a huge list of things to fix on the car and one month to do it, but at least we can drive to the store when need be. Walking would be a chore, and take so much more time.

I head to the store. I get all the things we need, it seems like a lot. But our basics are all out. This feels like we are just moving in, we need so many things. When I drive out to the car with the buggy I notice two men (beggars) walking near my car. I hope they will go away. I have never seen people begging by this store before.. One stands and watches while I unload my groceries. I try to avoid eye contact, hoping he will go away. Finally, I look at him, he is trying to show me a sign. I attempt to read it as he bounces it in front of me. He isn’t able to talk and wants me to give him money.

My husband has a policy that we never give money- nearly every beggar in Latvia wants the money for alcohol or cigarettes. My husband also wants people to learn to work- so he always offers people work when they ask for money. If a person is willing to work, he will pay them. Knowing this, I take a loaf of bread and offer him food. If a person is truly starving and in need, they will be grateful for food. We have often discussed this with friends since beggars are in abundance here. He takes the bread, but motions to the part of the cart where you have to put a coin in to use the cart. I can tell he is trying to get me to understand he wants the money when I return the cart.

I lock my car and head to return my cart, the other guy is standing in the overhang smoking. I assume his accomplice is going to wait until I get the money out and ask for it. So I turn around, prepared in my heart to give it if this is the only way to have him be satisfied and stop asking. But they are gone, gone on into the store with their bread.

And so goes my life in this world so very different from the American one I grew up in . . .