Friday, March 29, 2013

My Guys in Israel

The best thing about our trip was spending quality time with my son and husband.  
Also quality time with my adorable sister-in-law who joined us on this adventure and took this photo. 

We are standing in the Orson Hyde Park, 
just up the hill from the Garden of Gethsemane.
Notice Old Jerusalem city in the background.

To read more about this park go to:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Garden Tomb

The Garden Tomb is just outside the Old City walls of Jerusalem, not far from the Damascus Gate.  During our visit, Spring flowers were in bloom and peace and tranquility could be felt in this well preserved site. The spirit wrapped it's self around me and I was very moved by the feelings I had within The Garden Tomb.  With Easter this Sunday, please take a few  moments to reflect upon Christ's death and what it means to you.  I'm grateful for our older brother's sacrifice and hope I show this by the way I live my life. 

If you'd like to see or read more about this site go to: or read this article, it's very interesting:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Israel Eats

If you're 20 months old you might like to try eating your food this way while in Israel. 
                                     After playing at the park, Ella loved her tomato soup & grilled cheese sandwich.
More specifically, she loved playing with her food.
On a more serious note, we ate Armenian, Indonesian, Seafood, fresh hummus with pinenuts, freshly squeezed juices like pomegranate, lemonaid and pomegranate - orange juice, & Italian food plus wonderful meals prepared by Lorena and Rob.  Check-out Rob's pizza recipe here:
It was the best homemade pizza I have ever had.
Lorena made a spinach lasagne that was amazing and a shepard's pie that was equally as good.
I tried pureed carrot soup with ginger - seriously, wonderful.

Armenian Falafel Lunch
Lamb Shish-ka-bobs, hummus, cucumber & tomato salad
Seafood Stuffed Ravioli, cream sauce with tomato

Monday, March 25, 2013

Jaffa, Israel

Here's a glimps of the oldest port in the world, Jaffa:

Jaffa was were Peter resurrected the widow Tabitha.  He also had a vision at the house of Simon the Tanner where he sees "clean" and "unclean" animals being lowered from heaven and if I understand this correctly, means they are to teach all people about the gospel. You can't tour the home because a local family still lives there.  We thought their hand painted sign quite funny.

Jaffa was where Jonah fleed when he didn't want to go to Nineveh. He boarded a boat for Tarshish (near Greece) while on board, a huge storm arises & the sailors, realizing this is no ordinary storm, cast lots & learn that Jonah is to blame. Jonah admits he's at fault, tells them to throw him overboard & the storm will cease. They throw Jonah into the sea & he's saved by being swallowed by a large fish and gets to spend three days and three nights in it's body. Don't you just love this story?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Caesarea and Masada

Two places we visited that King Herod was responsible for designing were Caesarea & Messada. Both of these sites are so interesting. The portions of each of these sites that have survived for thousands of years make them a must see in Israel. I think it's interesting that King Herod most noted for his murder of all children two years and under after the wise men failed to tell him where Christ was had such of vision of design & development.  Below are photos of each place starting with Caesarea.

Now onto Masada which was an ancient fortification in the Southern part of Israel, way on top of an isolated rock plateau on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. Herod built palaces for himself on the mountain, with a swimming pool, bath house and exercise room complete with a sauna and a storage area for a ton of food. He even made an amazing water collection and storage area since this place is in the hot desert. This was built between 37 and 31 BC. The Siege of Masada by troops of the Roman Empire towards the end of the First Jewish–Roman War ended in the mass suicide of the 960 Jewish rebels and their families holed up there. Only 5 children and 2 women survived this mass murder.

The day we were there it was windy but fairly clear. Ella's mad because we wouldn't let her climb on the rock, poor little girl didn't understand the height we were at nor the drop-off from this plateau.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Once we finally got to Israel, our first spot we visited was Bethlehem which is in the West Bank.  This means we had to go thru several security check points but luckily, Rob has a nice license plate that shows he's a diplomat so we weren't harrased or inspected. 

My impressions of this city was that it was very dirty. We went to the Church of the Nativity where we waited with a lot of tourists to see Jesus' birthplace.  The first photo shows a wonderful mosaic of a sign announcing this as the Basilica of the Nativity.  It was made with tiny tiles & I loved the artistic simplicity. We waited in line to see the area where the manger once stood which is now enshrined in the grotto beneath the choir area of the church.  This choir area looked like it was being set-up for a wedding.  The stone stairs were slippery & smooth from so many people going down these steps. Once we got to the place this event happened, we were greated by a blackened, soot ceiling from years of candles burning.  The area believed to be the spot of his birth is marked by a silver star & had more candles burning. It was dark and gloomy and made me sad that such a place wasn't filled with light & warmth. 

Outside the church, Rob treated us to freshly squeezed orange, pomegranate juice.  It was devine!

Leaving the West Bank was interesting too.  We learned that drivers in Israel follow different rules than we do....they are so crazy.  We saw two accidents.  Rob pointed out how people will just stop on the freeway or in the street and back-up or drive between two lanes of traffic.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Men's Dress Shirt Make-over

 Before I left on our trip, one of Mike's dress shirt's sleeves shrunk so instead of donating it to charity, I made a dress for our 20 month old granddaughter.  I even made the little chick that fits snugly inside the egg shaped pocket.  

I made grass along the hem out of soft mint fabric that I had from another project and then I added a little olive green hand stitched embroidery to the grass.  I also added the same soft mint fabric to the sleeves.  I kept hoping this dress would fit my granddaughter and when we arrived in Israel, her Mom tried it on her and yes, all the measuring her mother did actually worked and the dress fit my adorable little one. 

I taught her that the chick says, 
"Cheep cheep, I love you." 

I was inspired by a contest that my nephew's wife, Catherine Griffith, was in called "Project Run and Play".  After looking at what all the contests made, I googled a few sites and found a site out of Austria that make play things on the dresses and I really liked that idea.  I LOVE DETAILS!

The best part of making this toddler dress was not having to make button holes...they were already there plus I used the bottom portion of the dress and didn't even have to hem it!

Little Visitors

Right before we left on our trip, Brittany and her two little ones came to our house for a visit.  Almost a year old, this little one loves her mommy and is such a petite little girl. 
Look close & you'll see her first tooth...
which finally made it's appearance while she was at our house.

"Look grandma, it's a mustache!" 
This 3 year old is so funny, he really has a great imagination.

He loves playing with his uncle's old Fisher Price action figures like the kayak,
submarine & the scuba diving man.
His grandmother gives the children their baths and usually lets him stay in for quite a while. 
He loves bath time.  His sister, not so much.

YEA!  Look at that smile.... we love our grandchildren!

Water coloring with the page I made for my Sunbeam class.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Traveling Adventures

Warm, sunny time playing in the Mediterranean Sea

 Old town, Jaffa - across from the ancient port.
Our Candrian 1/2 marathon runners all finished.  Lorena came in 12th place out of all the women.   
She's an amazing athlete.

Messada with the Dead Sea in the background.
The blurriness was from my lense being scratched - so sad!

Kite flying with on the beach.

This 20 month old little girl got our hawk kite up, it was pretty funny how she did it; just kept tugging on the kite string &amp. Look how intense her face is.  It was so cute to see the children after the kite started soaring higher and higher.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Paint with Water Fun for Anyone

Yesterday, the lesson for the Sunbeams was "I am thankful for water".  The art activity I put together was painting with water - PERFECT PROJECT.  I found a website that had the easiest recipe to make your own watercolor paints & here's this website (I've also added the recipe below):
Above is one of the pages we gave to our Sunbeams - 3 & 4 years old.
This adorable blog also told how to use these watercolors to make your own paint with water pages. What a wonderful idea - RIGHT?  After watching the children paint their hearts out, I learned you have to add a lot of dots or lines so the little ones can paint and paint away.
Here's how you do it: Simply paint a lot of thick dots onto a coloring page that's been printed onto cardstock.  Then let your page dry.  It is now ready for children with paint brushes and a little bit of water in a cup.
Suggestion - do not let the watercolors sit overnight as directed before you create your pages, a few of them will be too hard to use & then you'll have to add more water to soften them up. 

The result was super simple & inexpensive compared to buying a bunch of paint with water books...besides they are hard to find.

RECIPE: 3 T. baking soda
        3 T. corn starch
        3 T. white vinegar
        1 1/2 tsp corn syrup
        food coloring (about 6 drops per color)
Mix the first four ingredients in a bowl.  This will sizzle because of the baking soda & vinegar, so be prepared for it to rise.  Divide the mixture into small containers depending on how many colors you want. Let the colors settle for several hours.  If you want hard watercolor paint, let them sit overnight.

Another side note, we filled an empty jar with snow, put a lid on tight & the children loved watching it melt.  They liked passing the jar around too.

It was a really fun day teaching these little ones." >

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