"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fall Decor

One day a few weeks ago when Charity I were zipping through Wal-mart, a roll of burlap with orange zig-zags caught my eye. After a few seconds of looking at it, I knew I wanted that burlap to come home with me. I had some vague ideas about canning jars and candles and burlap but I was not entirely sure how it would all shape up.

After a few weeks of thinking about it, I went to JoAnn's with a few ideas. Found the fall foliage was 75% off, and came home with a handful of foliage.

Once I pulled out extra mayonnaise jars and began to fiddle with every thing to see how it would all fit together, it was obvious that the burlap was wider than it needed to be. I experimented with folding it in half and cutting it with kitchen shears. That worked beautifully.

I measured roughly how long each strip need to be by wrapping it around a jar and then cutting it. Next, with my hot glue gun I carefully glued a bead of glue along the edges that overlapped. Then came the flowers! I snipped off smaller pieces from the spray with wire cutters.

 It took me some fiddling to figure out how what worked best, but quickly came to realize that tying the small bunch together with a short length of ribbon and then applying a thick bead of glue down along the "seam" of the burlap and gently pressing the bunch of flowers on, seemed to work the best.
The project did not take me long once I figured out every thing. The final touch is a tea light in the jar. I plan to add some of the glass florist beads for the candles to sit on, but it seemed to be fine without with my test candle. 

All done!


I think I will share some with Katya's teachers. ;-)

What fall decor projects have you done or are you doing?!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wintery Fun!

Yesterday started off with a up-down swing to the day. School is delayed for two hours due to the snow. OK, fine. Snuggle in bed a little longer. Ok, time to get up and get ready to go--whoops--no, school has been cancelled due to the road conditions.

So we started every thing at home off right with mugs of hot cocoa and fresh grapefruits.

Then Katya and Chad bundled up and went out to explore the great snowy outdoors.

They had a fantastic time together--can anyone say, "Snowballs?!"

Charity had violin students that braved the roads and came for lessons so that filled up a good chunk of the day, I helped Paul with a work project, plus did laundry. Kristina was busy helping and doing school.

And so by evening, all of us were tired, but not too tired for some of the family to want to play UNO together before heading to bed.

Katya is learning how to play UNO too and loves it.

She really enjoys the game, and can have a great and happy time with it--but she also takes it quite seriously as well!


We partially credit her school with this happy new development. While they are not doing UNO in her classroom, they are practicing some other social skill building games. I think that has put down a good foundation for Katya to be able to build on at home.

Today, even though it was bitterly cold, the roads are clear so Katya was happy to go to school again. But all of us  rather enjoyed the "snow day" yesterday.  It's good to have wintery fun.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Doctor Ben Carson--the Next President?

Of course we have been closely following Doctor Carson since he retired from his medical practice. So we were not surprised to find out today that he has announced that he has decided to run for President.

Should he win, it would feel very funny indeed to know that our President has not only shook our hands many times, but that he has operated on our child's brain!

Frankly, we wish him ALL the best! Having seen him even under pressure and stress in the hospital a few times, having heard what many, many people had to say about him from the cleaning ladies, to the cafeteria workers, to the nurses and other Doctors, we think he is the "real deal".

How very little did I dream when I read his book, "Gifted Hands" soon after it came out years ago that some day Dr Carson would be the Doctor who would save my child's life. And yet God planted the seed while I was reading that book . . . I remember calling my Mom up and saying, "Mom, if I ever had a child that needed serious brain surgery, I would want Dr Carson to be the one to do it."

Our family is truly grateful to Dr Carson for not only dreaming big, but putting his heart into his dreams so that God was able to prepare him and use him to save Katya's life not long before he retired. God's timing was impeccable.

And we are so grateful for that. Grateful for the chance at a healthy and relatively normal life for Katya that his willingness to take the risk of surgery gave her.