A Surprise Worth Anticipating

You know how yesterday was my roommate and her sister’s birthday? Well, today we threw a surprise birthday party for them. It was PERFECT. A bunch of us crowded into our little house and had a blast surprising Megan and Mandy.

Jeremy, Mandy’s husband, was in cahoots, and got the girls to the house without them even having a clue. He took them out to dinner, then stalled at various places until we had told him to arrive. He even made Megan chase the car around the parking lot, taking off right when she was reaching for the door. The girls were shocked to come into a dark house filled and have a bunch of friends pop out yelling “SURPRISE!”

I had the hardest job of convincing Megan that even though her friends didn’t hang out with her on her actual birthday, she was still loved and shouldn’t be lonely. To make her feel better we “planned” on watching one of the movies I gave her when she got home from dinner. I got her really looking forward to it, so the surprise was even more sweet.

It was a great evening of fellowship and so fun to actually pull off a great surprise.


~Amber Joy


Craving Avocado

I’ve been craving avocado, maybe because my stomach knows I’ll be in the Dominican Republic soon…

Due to my cravings, here are seven recipes I’ve pinned on my Cooking Board on Pinterest. (Again, if you’re not on Pinterest, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Follow me at http://pinterest.com/henambj/).

Baked Avocado Fries from More Design Please 

Corn Cakes with Tomato Avocado Relish from Annie’s Eats

Mozzarella, Tomato, and Avocado Salad from Ashley’s Cooking Adventures

Avocado Grilled Cheese from A Turtle’s Life for Me

Cucumber, Turkey, and Avocado Rolls from Caveman Gourmet

Avocado Spinach Egg Salad from We Are Not Martha

Black Bean, Avocado, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad from Skinny Taste

It all looks so delicious, doesn’t it??? I don’t know when avocados will be up to my standards in Virginia, but maybe I’ll get the chance to make one of these recipes in the DR. Yum, avocados.

Speaking of avocados… Lynchburg is getting a Chipotle this June! It made my afternoon 100x’s happier.

Speaking of happy… It’s my roommate and her twin sister’s birthday! Happy Birthday Megan (left) and Mandy (right)!

Oh, one more happy! Happy Thursday — tomorrow is FRIDAY!!!

~Amber Joy

Leap Day 2012

Happy leap day!

I spent today in class, just like every other Wednesday. I’m not even sure if anyone mentioned anything about today being the 29th. Therefore, I’m saying something now.

It’s leap day! This year we have a whole extra 24 hours to enjoy ourselves, and do God’s will.

We had a stormy day in Lynchburg, but as my Real Simply Daily Thought pointed out,

“A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition.” (William Arthur Ward)

I hope you took advantage of this extra day!

~Amber Joy


I have the best family ever. We are a close knit bunch.

Because of this, I would like to dedicate this post solely to my cousin Jodi because it’s her BIRTHDAY!

17 years ago she kicked me out of my position as the family baby, and I have no objections because she is wonderful!

Jo, new goal for this year — get more pictures together!

Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! I love you!

~Amber Joy

Dealing with an uncooperative student.

At Sylvan, we get a lot of students who are being forced to come by their parents or grandparents. Almost none of them initially want to or enjoy coming to Sylvan.

As an instructor, what is there to do when you get a student who just doesn’t seem willing to cooperate?

I have one simple trick up my sleeve – GET TO KNOW THE STUDENT. Seems to easy, right? It often is. If they don’t have any motivation in their work, give them a reason to be motivated by PERSONALLY CARING ABOUT THEM. This applies to students in all environments — not just Sylvan. It’s actually what got me through my student teaching when I had three classes of 36 fifth graders.

Once you move past the required material, and start showing how much you care about them, they’ll open right up. Plus, it’s always fun to have something more than study skills to talk about.

I hope you had a happy Monday!

~Amber Joy


The earth has been blessed with the presence of Marion Henry for 64 years, today. She is the world’s best mom, wife, sister, daughter… everything. I am so glad to be her daughter. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!

In other news, let’s talk about the weather. This time last week we were in the middle of a snowstorm. Today spring is in the air, and I feel buds and blooms are going to be popping up any second. Wild daffodils are blooming along the roads and the grass is returning to its familiar state of green. We actually hit 78 this past Friday and should be in the 60’s for the next week. Doesn’t the weather know it’s only the end of February?

Related to the weather, my car’s air-conditioning had stopped working late in the fall. With the weather getting warmer, I was considering getting it fixed. On Friday, when it was so stinkin’ hot, I prayed for the air-conditioning to heal itself AND IT DID!! God certainly knows how to provide.

Now I’m off to enjoy my evening at LifeGroup – we didn’t meet last week so I feel like we’ve been apart forever.

Have a wonderful evening!

~Amber Joy

Being a homemaker continued… or I really like sewing my own stuff.

I have sewn quilts, blankets, and my amazing purse, but I have never sewn clothes… Until today. I sewed my very first skirt!

Unfortunately, I really just made it up as I went, because I had the wrong kind of elastic for this tutorial – http://asmallsnippet.blogspot.com/2011/09/wanna-make-dress.html – and not enough fabric according to any of the tutorials. Therefore, I didn’t take any pictures, because I was focusing on not wasting my $15 of fabric. Yes, I splurged on fabric. I wanted a loud, but not crazy, print. I wanted bright colors, but nothing outside my color palette or comfort zone.

So, here’s the finished product:

Fortunately, I can retell my steps for those of you dying to recreate this project.

1) Get fabric of choice, preferably polyester or rayon. These fabrics don’t wrinkle like cotton, but are still washable. You’ll need 1 1/2 to 2 yards. Basically whatever wraps around your waist one and a half times. I made a high-waisted skirt so I just need 1 1/2. Also get elastic. I used 3/4 inch.

2) Keep fabric folded in half, like it is on the bolt. Cut 2 strips (since you have it folded in half, just make one cut) that will be two times wider than your elastic once sewn together.

3) Place the right sides together of the 2 strips and sew along both long edges. Turn right side out.

4) Measure your elastic by stretching it around where you would prefer the waist to be. Add one inch and cut.

4) Using a safety-pin, thread your elastic through the waistband, making sure to hang on the both ends otherwise you’ll waste a lot of time fishing it out. Sew each end of the elastic to the waistband, making sure to go over at least three times to secure it.

5) Turn the skirt body so the right sides are together. Sew the long edge (opposite the fold), and turn right side out.

6) Here comes the fun part…. Sew the sewn long edge of the skirt body to the waistband. The elastic will make it be scrunchy, but stretch it out to ensure the fabric lines up. It’ll work, I promise.

7) Turn the fabric right side in, and sew the remaining seam.

8) Put on and admire your handiwork!

The beauty of this project is there is not a hem. It makes for a great introduction to sewing my own apparel.

I’m considering tacking some pleats along the waistband, so it’ll lay exactly right each time I put it on.

I can’t wait to wear it! It’ll most likely make its debut in the Dominican Republic — my trip is just TWO WEEKS AWAY!

~Amber Joy