A Short Film: February Birthdays

My son-in-law and I both have February birthdays and we celebrated them together a couple of weeks ago at their home.  My two youngest daughters baked and decorated our birthday cakes!  The night before, my co-leader of our 4-H club led a lesson in cake decorating, so it was perfect timing for the girls to practice.  My son-in-law and daughter have been learning German for years now as his Mother is from Germany so Audrey had the idea to write "Happy Birthday" in German on his cake.  Nora decided a mug of coffee would be good on my cake...so right!

I didn't have a tripod with to get a group picture, so I had a picture taken with my granddaughters and then had the oldest, who is almost seven take a picture of the rest of us. The youngest was hiding in the legs and then ran out and I didn't even know it until I looked at the pictures, made me laugh!

February Birthdays 2019 from Jill Ruskamp on Vimeo.

If you want to begin to make your own little films these are my resources:
For music: Soundstripe 
With this link, you can get 20% off the first payment with Soundstripe Standard

The Software: Cyberlink PowerDirector I bought it before it became a subscription plan.  I have been really happy with it.  Fairly easy to use for the number of features it has.

A Secret Garden Tea Party...Six Months Ago!

Last August we celebrated this little one turning 3!

She had a sweet Secret Garden Tea Party!

I didn't take a lot of pictures and then I never got back to edit them.  By the way...what is it about little cucumber sandwiches that is so good?!  So simple and well, I ate a lot of them!

I checked out a book on flower arranging from the library and that's what reminded me about these pictures.  Spur of the moment, I had put together a woodland themed centerpiece for the birthday party.

I had the wood slabs, the logs, and the bark pieces just waiting for a project.  Of course when it got dismantled, I saved them all for another project someday.

I gathered not only the greens and flowers, but teacups and teapots from my dishes and it all was just so fun to make.

I think cups as vases are great any time.

This vine came from a plant that just kept on giving this summer and I brought it in this winter so it's still available to cut from.  I'll move it back outside in the spring.

It was actually a challenge to cut small enough leaves and buds as I was used to cutting big ones for big vases.

The paper cups my daughter made to stack up were really cute!

My kids and cheese:  It just goes poof.  Gone.

Pretty fancy. :)  And good. :)

It was all really adorable.  

 My daughter really enjoys decorating...pretty sure the next parties are already planned. :)


I hear that snow may be coming again tomorrow so I guess I better bury into the seed catalogs!

My Birthday Story

 Today is my birthday. I was born in 1964.  I was the seventh child of my family.  Bud and Vandelyn.  The sixth baby they had was Betty Christine and she was born prematurely, dying after living one day at one pound.  The practice at that time was to not let the mother hold such a fragile newborn and she died and was taken back to be buried without my Mom ever getting to hold her.  That was a pain that my Mom shared with me when I was an adult.  She didn't share verbally or physically much for emotions so it's safe to say, this was a great sorrow.  She died two years ago and about 3 years ago,  I thought to ask her about when I was born.  "Were you afraid to have me after losing Betty?"  She thought for awhile, leaving our conversation for a moment to retrieve a piece of her life,  then said, "Yes, I suppose so.  We didn't go buy anything until after you were born and stopped at the store on the way home from the hospital to buy bottles and diapers."

My folks were able to come and visit Jim and I (and my brother and sister in law living in the same town) regularly at the end of my Dad's life.  From my younger years, I knew from some vague conversation that the last three of us kids weren't "planned".    On one of their visits my Dad said to me, "You may have been a mistake, but I'm sure glad we had you."  Keep in mind that my Dad was a farmer and a bus driver, not a poet.  While not articulate about feelings, in his older years, he could really show you love with his actions and face.  These words were poignant and heartfelt.

Fast forward about 8 years.  Jim is gone and life has been really really hard.  Randy comes into my life and we get married. Along comes Audrey, a "mistake" as my Dad would have not so eloquently put it. I'd prefer to say a surprise gift from God.  Then another surprise Gift and I was pregnant again.  Not yet knowing who the gift was. But God knew who He had given us. It was my birthday.  I was about 4 weeks pregnant and you could say a bit scared and worried.  42 years old with five other kids, one only 7 months old.

So. Thirteen years ago, it's my birthday.  And I'm worried and scared.  My husband greets me with a "Happy Birthday!", wraps his arms around me and says "Thank you God for the day this woman was born." with all the sincerity and love that a person can express.  Because of his words, I remembered my Dad saying, "You may have been a mistake but I'm sure glad we had you." There in that moment, I knew that my baby may have been a surprise, but I was sure glad I was having this baby.  I remember crying and telling my husband after his beautiful words that someday someone could be hugging our child in pure gratitude for the day they were born.

Of course now we know who God was knitting in my womb, our little Nora.  The youngest of six.  Just like me the youngest of my family.

Mom and Dad are both gone.  My oldest brother also deceased.  My next brother just turned 67. 

My oldest child is 29.  then 27. then 24. then 19. then 13. then 12.

My oldest granddaughter is 6. then 3. then 2.

The picture being painted is so much bigger.  So much bigger than the fear allows a person to see.

The reality is...the reality is, that the gift of life is... so stinking much bigger than the fear.

And, I thank God for the day I was born.

A Gift Idea

I had a great idea for a gift for our youngest granddaughter back in November.  I wanted to make a matching memory game for her with photos of our family.  I thought and thought about how to have them printed so they would be sturdy.  When I pitched the idea to my older girls they told me that they were already offered as games to print online, ha! (Apparently, not an original idea of mine!) I went looking and there were a few printer sites to choose from.  I opted for Shutterfly and was really happy with the product. My plan for the pictures was to have a similar background and use a few simple props or do silly poses to make them fun.  My son wasn't there when we took all the pictures so I used one I had of him from a while back.  I loved that it worked out that there was one black background one.  

This was really a lot of fun to do!  Here are the photos I ended up using.

The games come in sets of 12 photos (24 cards) which worked out perfectly for our family!

It was a gift for the youngest, but they all love playing with it! ♥

I hope this gets you thinking about how you could take photos to make a gift for a little one in your life!

Actually, I kind of want to have these photos printed and on the wall for myself!

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