Rachel's random ramblings

I haven't taken any time to share any of Rachel's random ramblings lately, but they have been rattling around in my head. As they say, there is no time like the present! So welcome to the latest edition of Rachel's random ramblings.

I always wondered why there were lights in appliances. You know, the ones that are on the front of your vacuum cleaner or inside your microwave. They always say, you don't know what you have until you don't have it anymore. About four years ago, we got a new vacuum {a Dyson that I had to convince my husband that it was worth spending more money on than I did my first car} and I have just started missing the light on the front of my vacuum. Dyson doesn't make their vacuum's with lights on them. Shut your face that it's taken me four years to notice or care, but I suddenly miss the light on the front of my old Hoover. I hate walking into a room and having to turn the light on just to see the dirt on the floor. I miss my light. I'm thinking about strapping a head lamp on my Dyson.

Dear vacuum manufacturer, please put the light back on the front of my vacuum cleaner. I miss it. Kind of like this lady misses her hour from daylight savings time.

Rainbows and water

I woke up to rain.  A rain that I was quite thankful for because this land is thirsty for it. We are at the tail end of the rainy season.  One that hasn't been very rainy.  Crops are stunted, rows and rows of maize are brown and wilted. 
As I walked onto the tarmac in Zambia to board my plane I said a little prayer for Zambia.  I requested a window seat so that I could see this land with the beautiful red dirt get smaller and smaller as we flew higher and higher.  I took a picture out my window and looked right to see the smallest glimpse of a rainbow in the distant clouds.  A symbol of God's promise.

Cucumber Feta salad Recipe

I love a good salad.
One of my favorites right now is this Cucumber Feta Salad.
I have been making it at least once a week!
It's easy and super delicious.

Want to try it too?
Here is what you need:
1 or 2 cucumbers
3 tomatoes
1/2 purple onion

Start by peeling your cucumber, then chop it into quarters.

 Dice your tomatoes and your purple onion.
Combine the cucumber, tomato and onion in a bowl.

1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt

Mix all of the dressing ingredients together.
I use this pampered chef salad dressing mixing cup.
Then drizzle dressing over the cucumber mix.

Add in 1/2 cup of crumbled feta and 1/2 cup of olives.

Stir and enjoy!

Do you have a favorite salad?

A child's life

I've been thinking a lot about how very different the life of a child is in rural Zambia than one in America. In an area where nearly 45% of the people are under 18 it's easy to find yourself surrounded by children. I've met newborns and teenagers, babies learning to walk and children who can count their age on their fingers.

When I meet children who are the same age as my own three kids, I usually pay more attention to what those children are doing. I'm fairly certain that my 9, 12 and 16 year old children wouldn't be able to last a day in the village. My kids have it unbelievably easy.  They are responsible for very little.


Looking forward to the future

My oldest son is a junior in high school this year.  We've spent the year going to college fairs and planning for what his future will look like after graduation.  It's exciting to plan because I know he will do great things in life.

When I am around my son's friends, it's not uncommon for me to start asking them what they are planning on doing in the next few years.  I posed the same question to a group of girls that ranged in age from 14-16.  These girls may be the same age as my son and his friends, but that is where the similarities stop.  

The old water source that was shared with animals and often times dogs would die in the same water they would drink

The needs are so great

I've always dreamed of being a midwife in Africa.  I realized that since I pass out when my dog gets her vaccinations that it may just not be my God given calling but that doesn't stop me from being passionate about mothers and their babies.

Today I had the opportunity of observing an overworked nurse {she had at least 50 patients lined up before 9 am and before we left at least 25 more had arrived} while she did intake of patients.  There were only a few men, most were women having walked upwards of four hours to come to the clinic to be seen.

She saw a mother with a baby on her hip in for her STI {sexually transmitted infection} injection, a grandmother bringing in her five year old grandson for treatment of chicken pox, and a four month old with malaria. 

Bertha Himaanga, 28, was the only nurse we saw on site.  She worked quickly and listened well seeing patient after patient in the clinic.  One patient would walk out the door, and another would walk in.  


Welcome Home

Down a long dirt road we drove. Feeling every bump and ditch worn in by years of flooding and drought. If it's not one, it's another. This year, it's drought. We arrived at a home with the cleanest dirt I have ever seen. We stepped out of the van and were greeted by Edward who said "welcome home." His greeting will forever stick with me.

We were visiting Edward Kanyama and his wife Justina Michelo. Before we even sat down we had a lesson on how to tie the traditional skirt called a chitenge. A chitenge is basically a few yards of fabric wrapped around and tucked but carries with it the meaning of respect. We went around and introduced ourselves and the group of women would reply "twalumba" which means we are very grateful.

Photo by Jon Warren || World Vision 2014                                             


Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

I have been traveling for days. I left Seattle on Friday afternoon and I am just now touching the ground in Lusaka, Zambia. Africa is a long way away from home!  This song by Hillsong has been on repeat in my head for days.

I just love these lyrics and the truth. I'm crossing physical borders and entering into a foreign land, but so often I place borders on myself.  I'm on a journalists trip with people who are real actual writers.  People who get paid to write for magazines and newspapers. People who have deadlines and editors. I'm just a mom who decided to write a blog because her craft projects and ramblings were taking over the space where I was sharing family photos. I have complete faith in knowing that I am here, in Zambia with this group of people for a reason, though I would be lying if I didn't tell you that I placed the border around myself that felt like I wasn't good enough to be a part of this experience with these people, representing World Vision.

Preparing for Zambia

I find that the way that God speaks to me is through music.  I often find myself tearing up when I spend time listening and meditating on lyrics that I am singing.  This past Sunday we were singing Alive Again by Matt Maher and while I've sung the song before, the lyrics this week spoke to me in a much different way.

There is a line that says "you shattered my darkness, washed away my blindness, now I'm breathing in and breathing out, I'm alive again!"  I couldn't help but think about my upcoming trip to Zambia and the way that God has opened my eyes to poverty, sickness and the overwhelming needs of the children and families in Africa.  

It's easy for me to get comfortable in my home and forget the way that families struggle to have even the most basic necessities like clean water. I have clean water that springs out of a sprinkler in my yard for pete's sake! I can easily forget that nearly 1600 children under the age of five die every day because they have diarrhea from drinking dirty water.


Making a Dog Food Canister for Your Dog Treats with Custom Vinyl

Making a Dog Food Canister for Your Dog Treats with Custom Vinyl

Everything looks better and more organized in a nice container, don't you think?
Pet Food Canisters

I saw these canisters and knew I had to make something similar to store dog treats in.

I picked this canister up at Goodwill for $2.99.

A little Silhouette machine magic and there you go!

Now just add your favorite treats. 

How to Shop Goodwill Outlet. Tips to Make your First Experience Successful

Goodwill Outlet's are starting to pop up all over the place. {find a store near you} I have started going on a nearly weekly basis and I have found all kinds of treasures. Before you attempt your first trip, I have compiled a few things that you should know before you go.

This isn't your normal Goodwill store. You will have to dig. Bins are rolled out and filled to the Large bins are filled to the brim with anything from knives to teddy bears. Sometimes glass frames are put into the bins and then something heavy is loaded on top and before you know it, there is broken glass everywhere. In an attempt to dig to find that one thing you have to have but don't know what it is, you could have a close call with that broken piece of glass. Which is why tip number one is wear gloves.


Evidence of a parenting win

We were at a swim meet recently. My youngest son is nine and has joined the team just this year. We are still learning the ropes and figuring out what it looks like to participate in events. One thing we have learned is that they start ungodly early and are usually in locations that are at least an hour away from home. There is a fair amount of waiting usually while we are squeezed in bleachers with no regards to personal space.

On this particular morning warm ups had ended and there really wasn't anything to do for about an hour and a half. I had tucked my iPad into my bag since we all know that that's instant entertainment for boredom. I saw Owen wandering the poolside and fingered the iPad in my bag. I almost pulled it out and called him over but I thought I would give him a second to see what he would do.


Did you know you can buy glasses on line?

Four eyes. Spectator. Specacsaurus. Sir Specs-A-Lot. Goolysses S. Grant. Clark Kent. Lady Ga-goggles.  Call us what you will, three of the five of us in our family wear glasses.  My oldest son and I prefer to wear contacts the majority of the time, but even contact wearers need back up pairs of glasses.

I wear my glasses every night after I take out my contacts.  I also give my eyes a break on occasion and wear my glasses during the day.  And sometimes there are just days when you have eye issues and you can't wear contacts.  It's sort of inconvenient if you can't see, so it's nice to have glasses to fall back on.  

How to plant a bulb in a Ball jar

Our winter this year has been extremely mild.  I'm not complaining because we have seen far more sun in our normally dark dreary rainy season than we normally do.  

I'm pretty sure all this sun is to blame for my latest gardening itch.  Though I'm in no hurry to weed my gardens outside so I'm just going to pretend that it's still too cold to do that and stick to my indoor plants {indoor plants beware! I am sort of a black thumb!  You can read my confession about killing cacti here}.

When I found an Amaryllis bulb kit for $2.99 at the Grocery Outlet {love that place!} I decided to give it a go and try planting a bulb in a vintage Ball jar.


Custom gold foil neoprene laptop case tutorial

I've survived blogging for five years without feeling like I need a laptop, but the need has become real, and we ordered a chrome book for me to use for blogging just a few weeks ago.

I have several trips coming up for blogging in the next few months and it's getting harder and harder for me to keep up with blogging from my PC.  While I still very much prefer the old school ways of sitting in my den typing on my computer, I have started to get used to being portable.

My husband {with the consult of several computer guru's} questioned me on what I needed a laptop to do and then they decided on the best computer for me.  Because to be quite honest I walked into a store, started playing around with laptops and could have bought any of the the ones that were placed in front of me and been quite happy.  I'm thankful for people that know more than me and are willing to do the research because plainly, I just don't care.

My sweet husband also started clicking on accessories for me {a mini mouse that I have yet to use} and a black neoprene laptop case.  Not one for plain, I decided to fancy up my new laptop case with some custom gold foil geometric shapes and I'm here to share the tutorial with you.


Make up tips for your teen daughter and natural beauty for yourself

My daughter will be 13 next month. She will be entering into her teen years which had me starting to think about how I feel about make up.  Isabella started experimenting with mascara earlier this year. I guess I had my head buried in the sand because it hadn't even occurred to me that someone who is as beautiful as she is would even think about wanting to wear make up.  I remembered being younger than her though when I started sneaking my mom's make up from her bathroom.
I thought that instead of sneaking make up from my drawer that we would have an open discussion about it.  But first I had to question her to see why she wanted to start wearing make up in the first place.  At this age, some of it is just to fit in with your peers.  Your friends are doing it, you want to do it too.  And while that's not a great argument for most things, this time, with something as innocuous as make up, I let it fly.  
I've spent a lot of time in my kids schools.  I've seen middle school girls who I can tell sneak into the bathroom before school and put on a mask of make up. I also see high school girls who wear far too much make up and really could use a few tips. I don't want to prohibit my daughter from something that is quite harmless and I want to encourage her to wear make up in the way that it was intended...to enhance your natural beauty.

Sewing pillowcases for kids with cancer

That's it folks. Another Paula's Pillowcase Day in the books.  This year marks seven years of my friend Paula gathering her friends and her friends friends from near and far to spend a weekend cutting, sewing and wrapping up handmade fleece pillowcases for kids with cancer.

Paula's son was diagnosed nearly ten years ago with a rare form of cancer called Sarcoma. While he was in the hospital getting treatment they realized how uncomfortable the pillowcases were on bald Chemo heads.  A handmade pillowcase that was a gift from a friend became a treasured item and Paula's Pillowcase Project was born.


The days are long. How to beat the boredom this winter

It's not quite as dark in the morning any more. The sun is starting to come up before I leave the house to workout and it's staying out after the kids get home from school.  But we have been lucky this year.  The word on the streets is that Seattle is having their warmest winter on record.  It's been pretty amazing.  But I know not all of you have been so lucky.
The Midwest and East coast seem to keep getting pelted with snow and freezing temperatures.  I hear reports of the longest winter ever.  In case you fellow moms and dads need it, last year I wrote 15 kids activities to beat cabin fever

March free printable memory verse

It's hard to believe that we are several months into this new year. Every month I have been sharing with you a free printable memory verse that our family is working on.  This month, it's Psalm 61:2. 

This verse is a great reminder for those times when we get overwhelmed.  When things are not going our way or when our hearts are heavy.  The only place to look is up, to the rock, our God, who is far higher and who cares deeply for us. 

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