Sarah Rieke » Living. Loving. Pressing on.

Happy New Year dear friends and family!  As Josh and I look back over 2011 we marvel at the Lord’s providence in our lives.  If our lives were to have panned out as we had intended, we would have one less baby, Josh would have more schooling under his belt, and I would still be working.  It is amazing how the Lord had different plans for our family and how they truly are better than we could have imagined.  Here is a short summary of our 2011:

January 2011 had us experiencing parenthood with our sweet little two week old baby boy.  I was still recovering from labor and delivery and adjusting to massive sleep deprivation but thankfully Josh was able to take a month off from work to spend with Micah and me.  We had a great time as a family of three and spent lots of time snuggling.  Josh and I could not have imagined a more perfect little child.  

At the end of February Josh found out that Old Dominion University would be accepting applications for the Nursing Anesthesia program for 2011.  This was the program he had applied to in 2010 only to be told they would not be accepting a class for 2010 due to some accreditation issues.  Since this has been Josh’s career goal since he graduated high school, he decided to move forward with the application process.  At the end of March he received a call for an interview and was accepted into the program in late spring.    

Josh’s finished up working in the ICU Norfolk General at the end of July and had a month off before starting school in September.  That month was filled with lots of family time including many fun trips to the beach filled with lots of sand eating.  By Micah, in case you were wondering.  Micah also survived his first hurricane at the end of August.  We spent the weekend with Josh’s parents because we anticipated lots of flooding, electricity loss, and potential damage from tree limbs at our house.  It turned out that Josh’s family lost power and our house never did!  And praise the Lord that we had no significant damages done to our property.  

Josh started the CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) program at ODU in September.  He was (and is!) determined to do well in the program and began studying diligently from the start.  His results paid off and he has consistently received the top grades in his class, including acing a couple of tests and his hardest final.  We are so grateful to the Lord for allowing Josh to be so successful and see it as validation of choosing this career path.

We celebrated Micah’s first birthday on December 19th.  He was not a huge fan of being sung to or of his birthday cake, but he did get the present thing down pat.  He is such a blessing to Josh and I and we are so grateful to be his parents.  To date, he has a pretty large vocabulary and is adding to it daily.  His favorites include calling for mama, guck-guck-guck (yuck), and ball.   He can also point to all facial features when asked.  Micah loves his daily routine and especially enjoys making coffee with daddy in the morning.  He usually always informs daddy that “ca-ca, hot” (coffee, hot) while waving his little hand over the steaming mug.  And while walking mommy and daddy around the house is his favorite form of transportation, walking on his own is coming in at a close second.

To quote my husband, 2011 was one of the best years of his life.  And while we hope that 2012 brings about a similar sentiment we know that the Lord in in control no matter what, and for that we are so grateful.  

Family photos by Ginny at Gloria Photography.

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  • Darla - 2011 was actually one of the hardest years we've had, to date…robberies, almost getting sued twice, jobs going awry, to much work, too little time…but also one of the greatest too in many many ways. So great that God is in control and we can trust him with every detail. Here's to a super boring 2012 for the Bolger's, Haha!ReplyCancel

This past January some dear friends of ours, John and Lauren Casper, adopted a little boy from Ethiopia.  It is an amazing story and you can read all about it on Lauren’s blog.  The story is also captured so sweetly on the video below:

I have seen that video dozens of times and still cry!  Such a sweet, sweet moment.  And there is something even more exciting about this family … they are adopting again!  In the not-too-distant future there will be another video like this, another baby finding love in John and Lauren’s open arms.  

Right now they are still trying to raise money.  The sum: close to $30,000.  Their current fundraiser is called “Baskets of Love”.  It is a raffle where you can purchase a ticket for $5 and enter to win a tremendous basket full of goodies.  All the proceeds go towards adopting their second little love from Ethiopia and creating another moment like the one you just watched.

If you find it in your heart, please consider helping this wonderful family.  You can enter the contest here.  

I am so excited for John and Lauren to be parents again and for Mareto to be a big brother.  I am praying for them, and I hope you will too!

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  • Lauren - This made me cry… you are so sweet! Thank you for sharing our story and the links to our fund-raising efforts. Your friendship is such a blessing to us! We love you guys!! Thank you for praying… it means the world!ReplyCancel

Psalm 107:1 – Oh, Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever.

James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Thank you Lord for Your great mercies and the wonderful blessings You have given me.  I know they are all from You.  


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I recently saw this idea on Pinterest for a Thanksgiving Day centerpiece:

I loved the idea, but wanted something a little less colorful and smaller.  I read somewhere that centerpieces should always be low enough so you can see and talk to the people across from you.  Good point.  

I was inspired to use this creative idea to make these babies:

I really love how they turned out, and the total cost of the project was about $3.  I’ll show you how.

Here is the cast of characters: your favorite fall-colored scrapbook paper, 10 clean baby food jars, raffia, typed letters (I used Microsoft Word), and lollipop sticks.  Not pictured: dry beans, scotch tape, tape runner adhesive, and a hot glue gun.

You will need to print the letters out twice in order to make the centerpiece double sided.  Since people will be sitting on both sides of the table, you want it to be beautiful all around.

I cut the letters out using my 1″ square punch and then punched out the scrapbook paper using my scallop square punch.  You can find both at Michael’s, I’m sure, but my scallop punch is from stampin’ up, purchased through a friend.  

Adhere the letters to the scrapbook paper with your tape runner adhesive, or whatever you like to use for scrapbooking/paper crafting.  You will need to spell one side backwards.  In other words, a single lollipop stick will have “G” from “give” on one side and “S” from “thanks” on the other.    

I taped one letter to the lollipop stick and then hot glued the other one.  I had another plan but things literally fell apart.  The scotch tape/hot glue combination worked well.

I then hot glued the raffia around the rim of each baby food jar.  

The last step is to fill each jar with dry beans.  I used a combination of navy beans and chickpeas.  I also considered using popcorn kernels and uncooked rice, but I like the beans.

Here is a closeup:

I am so excited to use this as our Thanksgiving centerpiece.  Let me know if you’ve made anything crafty for the upcoming holiday!

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  • Lauren - adorable!!!! I love it – great job! πŸ™‚

    (ps – yours is way cuter than the one on pinterest!) πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • pj7 - Really cute, Yours are much more attractive than the the version of inspiration πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Darla - I LOVE THIS!!!! DO you have any more baby food jars to spare? I'm past that stage so I don't have any, but I'd love to try something similar if you don't mind. I was just thinking yesterday of what to make for the table decor, and was almost resigning myself to do the same as last year, but this would be perfect!!ReplyCancel

I saw this trick on food network a few years ago and think more people should know about it.  It’s an easy way to get all the tomato paste out of the can without using a spoon or spatula to scrape the sides.  

Step 1: open one end of the can the entire way

Step 2: flip the can over and open that lid, but leave a small tab still attached 

Step 3: hold the can on the side with the completely detached lid.  use your finger to push the lid through the can so the tomato paste can ooze out the other side.  

And you’re done!  Wasn’t that so much cleaner and easier?  

So there you go.  Happy cooking!  

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  • pj7 - G-ma Rieke has always done it that way! It is smart!ReplyCancel

  • Darla - I do this with cranberry jelly at Thanksgiving and stuff…one question though, why not take both tops off completely? What is the advantage of leaving one slightly attached?ReplyCancel

  • srieke - I think so it doesn't go into the pan with the sauce and then you have to fish it out. I have done it both ways and just prefer not sticking my fingers into my spaghetti sauce. πŸ™‚ReplyCancel