Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Last Year's Easter Service

I am very excited for Easter this year! Easter has always been a special time of celebration and I look forward to it with anticipationg each year.

Last year our church put on a passion play called "God's Masterpiece." Saul and I were both in it. It was an amazing thing to be a part of. Saul was a Roman soldier and I was in the choir.

Saul is the handsome one on the right.

I'm in the bottom left corner of this crowd scene.

The play focused around the different aspects of the disciples. "The Last Supper" painting was portrayed several times throuhgout the presentation.

It was an amzing play to be a part of. The church is actually putting it on again this year, but because we are now working with a small church plant, we will be in the congregation instead of actually in the play. If anyone reading is in the Chicago area, I would definitely recommend going. You can get more information here.

Tomorrow I will share the exciting event that we will be participating in for Easter 2010. The rest of the week I would like to share about why Easter is such a special celebration.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Add a Personalized Header to Your Blog

There is just something about a personalized blog header that makes your blog a little bit more welcoming. After perusing the "blogosphere" I decided that I definitely needed a blog header.

Yesterday I wrote a post on how to add a blog template or blog "skin" to your blog. Today I am continuing the "series" with how to add a personalized header to your blog. I just did this over the weekend and am thoroughly enjoying my "new look." Again, this shouldn't take too long and doesn't cost a penny! Yeah!

  1. Find a website that offers blog headers. See this list for a few websites that have free blog templates as well as free blog headers. There are also several design companies that will design a custom header for you. Just search "blog header design" and plenty of companies will come up.
  2. Find a blog header that you like that matches the overall look of your blog. You can also use one of your own pictures, if it would work as a background picture.
  3. Save the header image on your computer. Most of the headers are formatted as an image file. Right click on the image and click "Save Image As," then save to an appropriate location on your computer.
  4. Open the image in a photo editing software. I did mine in Microsoft PowerPoint and it worked just fine.
  5. Customize the image. Do this by adding a picture to it, writing your blog name in it, etc.

    • Use a blank powerpoint template
    • Click "Insert"
    • Click "Picture"
    • Select the picture that you would like to use as your header
    • If you would like to add a personal picture to it, click "Insert" and "Picture" again and choose the picture that you would like to use.
    • Position your personal picture where you would like it in the blog header (resize, change the color, etc)
    • If you would like to add text, click "Insert," then "Textbox"
    • Size the textbox to where you would like to position the text. Change the text font, color, and size until you have what you want.
    • Select all of the images and text that you are using and group them (Click the first one, then hold down Ctrl and click each additional image or text box, then right click and select "Group"
    • Copy this group of images and paste it into either Paint or another imaging software where you can save the group as a single image
    • Click "Save As" and name your new header
    • I promise - this is the hardest part!
  6. Log into Blogger. Go to the blog that you would like to apply the header to.
  7. Click "Layout"
  8. Click "Edit" under "Header"
  9. Select "Image from your computer" and browse to find your customized image.
  10. Be sure to select the check box "Instead of title and description" if you would like the header to replace the text that is currently your header.
  11. Check the box "Shrink to fit." I recommend checking this box so that your header automatically fits to the page size. If you do not check this box, the header may position itself in some strange way.
  12. Click save.
  13. Go check out your new look!!! Hope you like it!

I am working to see if there is an easier way to do this, but this should get you started on a new look for now! Hope this has helped. Again, if anyone reading has tips, please share!


Monday, March 29, 2010

A New Look: How to Change the Look of Your Blog

When I started my blog about a month back, I really had no idea about blog skins, headers, and stuff like that. Now that I have been in the blogging world for a short amount of time, I am having fun finding so many new templates to play around with. Don't worry - this doesn't mean a new look every week (although it might be tempting).

If you have been blogging for awhile, you probably know all about this. But, for those of you who are newer to blogging or would like a step-by-step on changing your blog template, I thought I would write a short tutorial. I love that this doesn't take too much and didn't cost a dime.

  1. Find websites that offer blog templates/skins. (Blog skin means the look of your blog or your blog template.) I looked for websites that offered pre-made designs for free since I didn't have money to spend on blog design right now - especially with so few people reading at this point. Here are some of the sites that I came across:

    • - This is the site that my blogger skin and header came from! This site has a TON of CUTE designs and also a good amount of blog headers to customize and use. This site also has a bunch of other helpful information and tools for bloggers. I would definitely recommend paying them a visit
    • - Another site with cute designs to choose from. This site also has a few headers to choose from.
    • - This site has a lot of free skins to choose from. Most of them aren't my taste, but if you search I'm sure you could find something cute.

  2. Choose a design that fits your style. Honestly, I think this may be hardest part of all! There are so many cute ones to choose from. I think I applied three or four skins before settling on the one I'm using now.

  3. Apply the skin that you choose. Most of the sites come with directions, but in case they don't, here are a few steps. It is pretty easy and should just take a few minutes.

    • Find the html code for the blog skin and copy it
    • Log into Blogger and go to the blog that you want to apply the design to
    • Click "Layout"
    • Click "Add a Gadget"
    • Scroll down and click "HTML/Java Script"
    • Paste the html in the "Content" box
    • Click save
    There you go! Your blog should have a brand new look! Wasn't that easy!
If you have any questions, has a great FAQ section that is worth checking out. I didn't have any trouble, but in case you do, head on over there and that should help.

If anyone reading has any other good blog template resources or tips, please share in the comments section!

Tomorrow I'll be writing on adding a header to your blog.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lessons Learned from Sunday

I love my church. I feel like I say this often, but I really do! I love the teaching of God's Word, I love the fellowship, I love the worship. I just love church!

Today Pastor continued his message from Matthew 13 on bearing fruit for Christ. One of the things that Pastor said really stood out to me.

In life, we are all expected to meet "quotas." If doctors don't do a good job at diagnosing people, they won't have patients. If lawyers don't win cases, they won't have clients. If students don't succeed in their classes, they can't attend school. The list goes on and on. It is natural that we meet quotas in life.

Pastor posed the question about Christians not being expected to meet "quotas." He was not talking about doing a certain number of "good works" to meet a quota or anything like that, but just living a life for Christ in general.

It really made me step back and think. It is easy for me to float along in your Christian walk and in some ways, not expect much of myself for Christ. If this isn't ok in any other area of my life, why should it be ok in the most important area of my life. I should constantly be striving to do more for God.

Pastor gave several ways to produce spiritual fruit. They are as follows:
  1. Actively doing the will of God
  2. Living a holy life (right actions)
  3. A heart attitude that is like Jesus (right attitude and right reactions)
  4. Constructive speech
  5. Leading people to a relationship with God
  6. Loving actions that meet the needs of others
  7. Praise and thanksgiving to God
There is so much more that I could say about what I learned today from God's Word. I've just been mulling this all over in my heart and mind the rest of the day and thought I would share.

If you would be interested in hearing the sermon, it should be posted soon here as "We are Farmers (2)." It would definitely be well worth your time.

Hope you had a wonderful Sunday!


Friday, March 26, 2010

A Baking Fail

This blog post is linked up to Friday Fails with Myra at My Blessed Life. If you have any fails to share, feel free to link yours up on her Friday Fails page.

Last week we had some friends over from church for dinner. This couple is fairly new to our church and we had been trying to have them over for awhile, but it just hadn't worked out. It ended up falling into place at the last minute so I was scrambling for what to make for dinner. Thankfully I figured out the dinner portion and I had enough ingredients to do the apple cake from the recipe that I posted the other week.

I had just enough time after work to get dinner together and then put the apple cake in the oven while I got ready. I took a little taset of the batter from the bowl while cleaning up the dishes. While getting ready for them to come, my stomach started feeling a little funny. It was like I'd had some pop because my stomach almost felt fizzy, if that makes sense. But, I hadn't had anything but the little taste of apple cake batter. I started putting two and two together and wondered if there was any baking soda in the recipe.

I had to stop getting ready and check into this. The cake hadn't been in the oven too long and it just had tiny little air bubles on the top - no big deal. But, I looked at the recipe and instead of calling for baking SODA, it had called for baking POWDER. Unfortunately, I distinctly remember putting baking SODA in. Oops. I decided to let it keep baking and see what happened. About fifteen minutes later I took a peek and this is what I found.

Oops. I knew pretty quick that this wasn't going to be presentable. Here is a little better look after I took it out of the oven.

Thankfully, our guests were running about twenty minutes late and I had just enough ingredients to throw another batch together.

Definitely learned my lesson on this one. Has anyone else ever switched baking soda and baking powder? If so, I'd love to hear your story.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 19, 2010

An Electrical Fail

I am branching out and linking up to a blog carnival for the first time ever. This post is linked to Friday Fails with Myra at My Blessed Life. I have had several fails that I could put up, but I'll start with our electrical fail that happened last Friday.

Since moving into our townhome in December, my husband has replaced all of the electrical outlets in our home. All of the outlets were pretty new, but the person who did them installed all two prong outlets. How dumb, huh? We were tired of looking for the one or two three prong plugs in our home in order to plug in something with three prongs. Saul replaced all of the outlets but one in the kitchen within a month of moving in. On Friday evening he decided to tackle the last remaining outlet.

It was a tricky one and it took him some time. He displayed his flexibility by working in positions like this!

After about forty-five minutes he had it all put back together and everything was looking great! I went into the kitchen to admire his work and congratulate him on a job well done. While we were standing there in the kitchen, sparks started flying from the outlet with loud popping sounds!! Just then we lost power in the entire house! Yeah, not good!

We hadn't blown any breakers inside so we went outside to try to figure out which master breaker was ours. Now, nothing is labeled outside on the electrical meters/breakers, so we had no clue which of the four was ours. So, here we were, late at night and in the rain, trying to figure out which breaker to flip and hoping that it would be ours and not our neighbors. Thankfully, people were home in the other three townhomes in our building and they were all using electricity, so we were able to figure out which one was ours. = ) We flipped the breaker and our lights came right back on. Praise the Lord.

When we went back inside, this is what we found.

Praise the Lord that we were home when this all happened and that no fire started! We are very thankful that this fail didn't cause any permanent damage. A wire was pinched and that was what caused the sparks and power outage. Thankfully we were able to get everything back up and running within a day or two.

Thankful for electricity,

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Painting Experiment

Since buying a townhome in December we have been in the process of figuring out paint colors and beginning to decorate. Everything was white (except the bright yellow bathroom and the burnt orange kitchen cabinets!!), so we had a pretty clean slate to work with.

I think we have changed our minds a zillion times, and then some! We would think that we really liked something, but then we would bring it home and put it in natural lighting and would absolutely hate it.

We finally found some colors that we thought we liked and went to work painting our bedroom in January. We choose a nice warm caramel color that we thought would compliment our black furniture and dark red comforter set. We liked it at first, but now that it has been on the walls for about six weeks - we HATE it! Not at all the look that we were going for.

So, we are on the hunt for the perfect color for our bedroom again.

Meanwhile, we bought WAY too much of the accent wall color of paint for our living room (looong story about this!). So, we decided to experiment the other night and try mixing some nettle (from the living room) and white to see if we could come up with something that we liked.

Here's my sweet man mixing the paint.

And here are the three colors while we were still mixing. I forgot to take one of the final product.

I'll post pictures once we finally decide to paint our room so that you can see how it turns out. I'll be sure to include a before and after.

Do you have any bad paint stories to share?


Friday, March 12, 2010

Exercise Update

I am trying to keep myself somewhat accountable on exercising and weight loss. Nothing too big to report this week. We only exercised two times last week. I was excited because I was starting to feel a difference, but after not exercising very much last week, I am feeling just as flabby as before.

We have had a busy week this week, which has made it hard to exercise. But, we were able to exercise on Wednesday right after work. It felt good to get at it again, but I could definitely tell that I wasn't where I was last week in my endurance.

We went over to my parent's house earlier this week for dinner. Over dinner they were sharing with us that their employer is doing a health and wellness program where employees get points for doing different things (i.e. taking so many steps a day, drinking so much water, exercising for so long, etc.). They have only been doing it a few weeks and we can already tell that they are slimming down (NOT like my parents need to, they are already thin). My mom was sharing that if the employees are not at the "healthy weight" for their height and bone type, then they have to lose 2% of their body weight by the next weigh in.

Ugh. I was very discouraged to hear how far above the "healthy weight" I am. I was at the top of the healthy weight range when we got married and my goal was to get close to that. I'll be honest, right now that seems like a big feat. I guess I'll just have to take one step at a time - literally!

Happy exercising!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Crustless Apple Pie

The other night we had men's prayer meeting at our house. We usually have a small snack after prayer meeting and I felt like I had absolutely nothing in the house - no brownie mix, no chocolate chips, no anything! I had gone into the office instead of working from home that day, so I didn't have a lot of time to work on something.

On my forty-five minute drive home, which is exactly the reason I now work at home, I brainstormed, trying to think of something to make. I finally remembered that I had a few apples, but I definitely didn't have time to make a pie crust. That is when I came up with the idea for a crustless apple pie. I turned to my trusty search engine and found a recipe.

The final product was more like an apple cake, but it sure was delicious - and fairly healthy too! The following is my tweaked recipe.

Crustless Apple Pie - Prep time - 10 minutes; Cook time - 45 minutes
1 c. brown sugar
1 1/4 c. white sugar
3 eggs
3 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3 chopped apples (with skin on)
1 c. nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all of the ingredients except the apples and nuts. The batter will be stiff and even crumbly. Add the apples and nuts to the batter. The juice from the apples should make the batter easier to mix. Pour batter into a greased pie plate (it fits perfectly in a 9"). Bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Here is a picture of the batter. I forgot to snap a picture before we ate it. Maybe next time!

Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Trials, Joys, and a "Being Real" test

Right after I posted the blog on being real, I had a chance to really see if I was going to be real or not. I had written the "Being real" blog on Saturday and set it to run on Sunday morning.

Sunday was just a rough morning. We stayed up WAY too late on Saturday night and I woke up on Sunday morning exhausted. Then I got all worked up about something that wasn't really a big deal, but with being so tired, I ended up getting really upset about it. Honestly, I was ready to crawl back into bed, but I knew I couldn't and shouldn't do that.

Shortly after getting to church, the question came, "So, how are you Kathryne?" I had a choice to be real or fake. Thankfully, I had the guts to be honest and tell this lady that it had been a rough morning. I think the lady who asked me was shocked at my answer because she is so used to hearing "Good, great, etc." But, it gave me an opportunity to say that I want to be real, that I am not going to be dishonest about how I am really doing. We didn't talk at all about what was bothering me, but it led into a good conversation on just being real and transparent.

I am so glad that I went to church, even though I was emotional at church too. Pastor had a great sermon on trials. We have been doing a series from Ephesians and he had his message all planned out, but decided to change it late on Saturday night because he just felt like so many people in our small congregation could use a lesson on going through trials successfully. I am so glad he did, because it really challenged me. Here is a little synopsis:

1. Trials are to be responded to with joy. How?
a. Trials put God in an "obligated" position (Abraham)
b. Trials strengthen your faith in God (Abraham)
c. Trials are a pathway to promotion (Joseph, Jesus/Spurgeon)
d. Trials are a tremendous teacher (Peter)
e. On the other side of the trial is tremendous joy (Job)

2. Trials are seasonal.

3. Trials grieve the human spirit.

4. Trials are diverse.

5. Trials test the genuineness of our faith.

6. Trials are refining us for eternity
a. They make us more persistent (developing a "no quit" attitude)
b. They make us more perfect (Christ-like)
c. They make us more prayerful
d. They make us more stable

7. Trials are rewarded in eternity.

Here in the "G Home," we have had our share of small trials recently. For a few weeks straight it seemed like anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. To be honest, I will admit that I did not respond well to many of these trials. I was so convicted by the message because I had NOT been responding with joy to the different trials/temptations AT ALL. My sinful nature was really coming through.

I had some apologies to make that afternoon. I know that God uses trials to refine us, but I was really letting them frustrate me instead of refine me. I am so thankful for the Lord's forgiveness. He is so good.

And, because I haven't been very good at posting pictures like I wanted to be, I thought I would include one of my sweet husband and I that we took on a Saturday afternoon.