Sunday, April 29, 2007

fun in the city center

grayson's fish impression (with mommy's help)

grayson's mosaic

one of the reasons jamie and i are so excited about moving closer in to the city is that we'll be able to participate in more of what's going on in the city center. we're excited about the new urbanism and really hope things continue to grow and improve. we had a fun weekend in the city...the weather was just gorgeous. it was hot, but manageable, with the occasional breeze. on thursday, our friends paul and rebekah invited us to the ribbon cutting ceremony and unveiling of the newly remodeled Tutwiler Hotel and Restaurant Icon downtown. the historic hotel just underwent a 9 million dollar makeover and i must say it is posh! it's always been a pretty nice hotel, but it definitely needed a makeover. we were able to tour several guest rooms, including the balcony and presidential suites. if you are looking for a night away, without having to get away, this is the place! the halls are lined w/ beautiful sepia photography of old birmingham and several great pieces from the civil rights movement. the rooms all have large flat screen tv's, gorgeous bedding and furniture and lots of great features. most of all, we were excited about the opening of Icon, the hotel's restaurant. it's the new location for restaurant G...but with a new name.all 4 of us were huge fans of G when it was down at Federal Place, but the new location is great. very modern. we got to sample several yummy creations from chef geoff slate and it was a fun date night out in the city with friends. all you fellow foodies oughtta check it out on your next special occasion splurge! we're hoping they will continue their great Wednesday nights at the new location. if you are not wanting to splurge, they have half price appetizers and $5 martinis on Wed., plus great jazz from Good Fellas. you can't beat that!
sumner's big fish and little fish impression

then today after church we headed down to Linn Park with the boys for the Magic City Art Connection. what a fun afternoon. the boys loved all the fountains and even some of the art!
of course, we had to indulge in some yummy greek and middle eastern festival food. who could resist?

there were some really wonderful artists from our city and the southeast. it's a great way to support local artists and the boys even got to create some art of their own!
there were several stations where children could create art using various media such as fabric, tissue, clay, paper and paint. probably the most fun area was where families where making castles and tp's out of cardboard tubes and yarn! you wouldn't believe the things people came up with. the photos in this post are some of the artwork that the boys made today.

if you are looking for things to do in the city on the weekends, but aren't sure where to find out about everything....check out this great website:

it lists activities, festivals and goings-on under every category!

happy belated easter!

we should celebrate all year, right? here are a couple of photos from easter...a little late!
btw...i have no idea what's up w/ grayson's smile ;) up to his usual antics, i guess!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Finally figured it out!

So, I finally added some links for your perusal :)

Narrowly avoiding calling in the troops (aka Lauren)
to help me navigate my way through blogging basics, I have added some links for you at left.

A quick summary of some of the things you'll find...
cooking (contessa), shopping (mahar), local artistry (sorry, it's not a site full of nudes on canvas),
the best stationer in birmingham (LG Designs), local restaurant menus and virtual tours of their atmosphere! (b'ham menus/restaurants), great writing on social justice (burnside), the best site (IMHO) for helping the people of God develop discernment in engaging the culture (ransom)...

Friends' Blogs:
writings from some folks I dearly love...the rest of you out there need to join us :)

A collection of some of the books that have impacted me the most, have gotten me thinking in a different and refreshing way and that have opened my addition to some of the best fiction literature out there.
They are listed alphabetically, but I highly recommend reading Searching For God Knows What if you haven't already. It along with Blue Like Jazz have done more for my heart and soul in changing my perspective in this walk of faith than anything I've read in a long time.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. One of the best thinkers of all time and one of my favorite authors. Read this apologetic classic!
A few others on the list are:
Till We Have Faces is also by Lewis and is a page turning re-telling of the mythological story of Cupid and Psyche.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. This may very well be my favorite modern work of fiction. She is an amazing writer. This book will make you cry, laugh out loud and angry all at the same time. It is the story of of a Baptist missionary who takes his wife and four daughters to the 1950's congo. The daughters as well as the wife tell their story over the span of 30 years from each of their perspectives.

The Red Tent is a fictional extension of the biblical story of Jacob and his family. I could not put this book down. It is told from the perspective of his only daughter, Dinah. The author gives an illuminating look inside the culture and lives of these women in Canaan and Egypt.

The Working Poor still reading this along with the hubby. A synopsis from The Working Poor examines the "forgotten America" where "millions live in the shadow of prosperity, in the twilight between poverty and well-being." These are citizens for whom the American Dream is out of reach despite their willingness to work hard. Struggling to simply survive, they live so close to the edge of poverty that a minor obstacle, such as a car breakdown or a temporary illness, can lead to a downward financial spiral that can prove impossible to reverse.

Happy Reading Everyone!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Narnia Party!

Sumner's favorites stories are the Chronicles of Narnia, so we celebrated his fifth birthday at the park in the lion, the witch and the wardrobe style! Jamie and I decorated a refrigerator box from Lowe's as the wardrobe and each child entered the pavilion through it to receive either a crown (for the girls) or a sword (for the guys).

*Ginny, sadly, I couldn't con Jamie in to dressing up as Mr. Tumnus! Even with our prodding :) That would've been a picture! I do need a rating on my cardboard/glitter handiwork, though...does it measure up to my former homecoming glory?????

After entering the wardrobe, we played with bubbles, made Super Snow, played Freeze Tag with the White Witch's wand, and hunted for Turkish Delites (hidden in eggs around the field). Sumner had a big day and loved having his buddies there to celebrate with him.

"Peter" and "Edmund" greeting their guests

Carson and Sumner in a duel

pretty princesses...Olivia and Ellie

cake time

Austin and the winning swing

Sumner's turn at the pinata

Mr. Jason gives everyone a turn with the arrow launcher

Explaining the finer points of freeze tag to Sum, Carson, Austin and Jillian

Kailyn loved watching all the big kids at the party

an exhausted family :)

opening gifts with friends

Friday, April 06, 2007

baking photos

it takes great strength to stir this batter!

fun with the flour

can i have a turn?

the fruit of our labor

i couldn't resist posting photos of the boys baking. who knew superman could make such tasty treats?

Easter Baking

The other day we met some friends at the park for a playdate and one of the moms brought some awesome oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that her husband made! They were so yummy and it got me thinking that we hadn't made those in a while. The below recipe is probably the best recipe for these we've found. There are 757 reviews for it on allrecipes! Beware, though, the batter is so good, there may not be any left to cook them with! The past few weeks we've been so busy with birthday parties and house stuff since it's on the market that we haven't done many craft/baking activities together. So today we are making up for that with cookie baking and Easter egg dyeing! Another recipe we will be making Saturday night is Easter tomb cookies. This has become a favorite Easter tradition of ours to help illustrate the true meaning of Easter. It's a really great little activity (I must admit not the best tasting cookie ever, but a neat "experiment" and the result really brings it alive for the kids). I've included the instructions below. Happy Easter!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies



  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour-we always use whole wheat flour and my word! is it yummy!
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Easter Story Cookies

Begin this recipe on Saturday, the day before Easter.

1 cup whole pecans

1 teaspoon vinegar

3 egg whites

pinch salt

1 cup sugar

zipper baggie

wooden spoon or a wooden meat hammer

duct tape or packing tape


Preheat oven to 300*F.

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon or hammer to break them into small pieces.

Explain that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon of vinegar into the mixing bowl.

Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.

Add egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life.

Explain that Jesus gave his life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste. Then put your pinch of salt in the bowl.

Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus's followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27

So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing! Add 1 cup sugar to the bowl.

Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because he loves us. He wants us to know and belong to him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 10 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks form.

Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheets.

Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus's body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape to seal the oven door.

Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.

Leave the kitchen. If you've been making these cookies just before bedtime, GO TO BED!

Acknowledge that the kids are probably sad that they've worked hard to make these cookies, and now have to leave them in the oven overnight. Explain that Jesus' followers were in sad when Jesus died and the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Ask the kids to notice the cracked surface. Have them bite into the cookies. The cookies are hollow!

Explain that on the first Easter morning, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.