And the winner is…!


Today the orange hair, freckle face OS is home sick from school. He’s been battling a nasty virus for about five days now and having a rough time.

In between naps, coughing and headaches, I had Ike help me select the winner of my Think-Ets give-away. As I was preparing all of the names for the drawing, I thought how much I would like each of the people to win. Thanks for participating, I plan on doing more of these things again.

So here are the incredibly exciting results…the elderly and those with heart ailments, should please sit down before viewing…

KIM HANSEN IS THE BIG WINNER! SHE’S A USNA wife but still a super person!
Think-Ets party games edition, oh yeah!

It’s pretty cool that Kim won because her husband is a Navy grad. I believe her winning shows how magnanimous Army folks can truly be and the occasional harmony experienced between military branches. We could have picked another name but we didn’t and that says a lot about Ike and me, right?

This is a seriously eclectic collection of doodads. I want to hear how people use these at my next party! Think of the possibilities and all the stories even in your own life! Fun, fun, fun!

My own Think-Ets Party Games Edition arrived in the mail today I’m bringing it to Chicago for yet another graduation party we’ve got planned in the near future!  I’m already intrigued by the cool contents and I hope Kim Hansen and her family have many hours of fun playing with these!

I'm packing this to play with the younger members of my extended family. Please Lord, let me beat them all. Ayyymen

The creative folks also sent me a copy of Story Speller which I will also be packing to play with my younger cousins, nieces and nephew in the area hopefully while eating some Italian beef sandwiches with extra juice and sweet peppers!

I’m packing this to play with the younger members of my extended family. Please Lord, let me beat them all and help all my opponents not be jealous of all of my brains. Ayyymen

Congratulations Kim!

Dinner party fun and a cool give-away!


There are two little secrets resting on these tables…

I warned my family before the company came over on Saturday night. Don’t.Mess.With.My.Plans. 

They knew that I had strategically placed two small mesh pouches on the dining room tables and they were not to remove them no matter what.

Furthermore, they received instruction not to smirk or roll their eyes when I revealed the little mystery bags to our dinner guests either.

In other words, there was some fear and trembling up in the W-H home before our company arrived.

Just before we prayed and served dinner, I announced to our guests that we were going to play a little game during dinner. The Hubs and my middle OS Aaron and the orange hair, freckle face OS nodded attentively according to orders. 😉

The people around this table shared something about themselves using Think-Ets

I told our guests we were going to go around the room and play Think-Ets. The guests weren’t sure what that meant and I continued. Each guest would remove an item from the small bag, show it to everyone else and share something about themselves as it pertained to the little trinket they held in their fingers.

All these trinkets. Can you think of a story about yourself as you look at them?

Our middle OS got things started as he pulled a tiny bell from the bag. He shared a story about his childhood and waking up early thanks to our dog Toughie. May he rest in peace. Then it was Pastor Jerry’s turn and he spoke about a recent time at the beach. Throughout the night 12 people in total gave us a glimpse into their lives with the help of these Think-Ets. Some of the stories were touching, like when one of our guests told us about his absolutely out of control curly hair he proudly wore as a teenager (the multi-colored bead) and when one of the women told about how she recounted her dreams as a single woman and gave them to her husband as a wedding gift (the book). Things got personal as the Hubs shared about growing up in Guam and shelling in the middle of the night (the shell) and one of the pastors spoke about moving as a little boy when his parents divorced from the west to the deep south (the pig). My favorite was learning about the grandparents who owned a rock shop in Florida and would drive all the way to Colorado to buy rocks for the store (the polished rock). How cool is that!

I’ve played this game many times and it’s never boring. I like hearing other people’s stories.

This loquacious group would have kept the conversation going, I am sure of that. But thanks to the Think-Ets, we went deeper, funnier and sweeter than we would have done left to our own resources. A closeness was shared not only because we had enjoyed a nice meal together but because we were real. In no small way those little mesh bags filled with tiny trinkets moved us from mundane to meaningful.

The kids’ table had a loud and crazy time with the Think-Ets!

A crazy rain storm had been brewing outside all night. Lightning flashed into the dining room and guess what? We couldn’t have cared less. We were listening to each other and making friends.

This was the little doo-dad I picked. I’ve got to tell you what I shared, it was quite a surprise!

We went to church the next day and all the folks commented on the great night we had shared! They especially mentioned “the game.” See I was right, it was a GOOD idea!

We had such a sweet time of fellowship, I want to extend the opportunity to you. Leave a comment on this blog post and on Monday August 6th, I’ll select a winner and that lucky person will receive the brand new Think-ets Party Games Edition for you to try yourself!

Think-Ets Party Games Edition – woot woot!

Here’s what the winner will get: 15 miniature trinkets from around the world, Instruction Booklet with 10 different games to play and the absolutely wonderful burgundy mesh carrying pouch.

Sample Trinkets include: “Wine” Bottle, Purple Person, Woven Rug, War & Peace Book, Meerkat, Apple, Gold Ring, Hammer, House, and more. (Items may vary due to supply changes.)

If you leave a message on my blog on this post in particular, I’ll count it as one entry but you can also enter on my personal facebook page and My Awesome Olive Shoots facebook page as well. Feel free to share with friends. Tell me how you think you could enjoy these and I’ll randomly pick a winner. So easy!

I’m just thrilled to give you the chance to enjoy a special time with friends and look forward to hearing from you!

What to do when pastors are people


I might NOT be the world’s best sleeper but I am a pretty decent cook and I can throw a good dinner party so I got that going for me. Things are going well with me not using Ambien but I really want to have my sleep become an effortless aspect of my life and not something that requires much time and practice. One day I pray this will be so. Until then, I keep moving forward and looking for SAFE and NATURAL ways to get restful sleep. Keep sharing my friends, I really appreciate it!

Welcome to my home!

But back to two things I manage to do fairly well. Last night we hosted a dinner party and invited our pastors to join us. Gulp! That adds an additional measure of pressure, don’t you think? Sure they are just people but you really don’t want to do anything stupid when your pastor’s just arm’s length away from you, right?  Plus you want everything to taste good, for conversation to flow and for there to be a sweet fellowship among the guests. And you certainly don’t want your kids to embarrass you by discussing that less than stellar parenting moment you had during the week…so I’m wondering if based on all of their congregants’ insecurities, can pastors really have any social life at all? Hmmm…we need to change the paradigm and bless these folks.

Getting ready for company

For days I had been planning Saturday night’s dinner. I moved furniture, consulted with the family regarding the menu, bought groceries and made the chicken broth for the gumbo. I ironed napkins, wrote on our kitchen chalkboard and did one of my all-time favorite things, set the tables. Oh how I love to make a pretty table for my family and friends.

It wasn’t the easiest thing to put on the wall but definitely worth it.

A few days prior, the Hubs had placed a super cool decal on our dining room wall. It aptly expresses who we strive to be as a family. Here’s a link if you want one of these decals.

Water lily napkin fold with a dehydrated tomatillo husk in the middle, they are so pretty!

For this dinner, I did a super easy water-lily napkin fold technique and added some tomatillo husks that I had dehydrated to the center of the napkin. I have never cooked with tomatillos until a few weeks ago and I was simply smitten with the husks. They looked like little flowers to me. Yes, I felt like a fancy girl and it reminded me of playing with my doll house many years ago. A smattering of the husks dotted the tables. Privately I prayed the pastors and their wives would shriek with delight the moment they entered the room.

And while I’m not sure that happened, we had an absolutely lovely time.

Pastors and their wives can be super fun! Trust me, we know!

And we played Think-ets which became the highlight of the evening. With Think-ets we learned more about each other than we might have just in having simple table talk. Our conversations were personal, deep, hilarious and fascinating. I’ll tell you about Think-ets more in my next post.

We have been blessed to have many Jesus-loving pastors tending our family throughout the years but sadly we have never done anything like this before. It was time to offer hospitality to the people who have cared for us and we sought to bless them. If the thought of having your pastors or members of clergy over to your house invites fear and worry, do it anyway as a way of saying thanks. What to do when pastors are people? Easy. Love them, feed them, pray for them big time because they’re dealing with people like you and me and welcome them into your home. They deserve it and so do you.

We called this table the grown up table! It was a lovely time!