As I sit inside today, the day after Christmas , while Patrick is out helping people dig their cars out of the 9 + inches of snow we got the past 2-3 days I am reminded of how things are once again not happening as I planned. This is not the way I wanted to spend the past couple of days, but I'm grateful that our Christmas plans didn't get cancelled- unless you count the Christmas Eve Service at church- or rescheduled or postponed. We are lucky enough to have a family of 4-wheel drive trucks or cars. I've heard a lot of people complain though about how plans have changed and how it's just an unconventional Christmas, but recently a friend reminded me of a birth 2009 years ago that was also unconventional. It's not the way we would have planned the birth of a king, in a stable, in a strange land with no one around but the animals but it was God's Perfect Plan! Wow! I was suddenly reminded that if the King of Kings can come into the world in an unconventional way then surely I can't complain about an unconventional celebration of that birth. Truly, what a Blessed event and a wonderful thing to celebrate. It doesn't matter that it doesn't go according to our plans it truly does only matter that it has come and that we celebrate it for the miracle that it was! May the child of the Manger reveal Himself as the all mighty son of God to you this coming year! Blessings to you all this Christmas Season and 2010!
And when they saw the star, they were overjoyed! Matthew 2:10
The wise men, the Magi, the "three kings". ... an element in the Christmas Story, an important almost overlooked element in the story...
Contrary to people in this day, me included, the wise men weren't running to open presents under the tree, but instead walked- hundreds of miles just to stand in awe in the presence of the greatest Gift of all! When was the last time you stood in awe of something...anything?
The wise men's response was to worship and adore.They walked and walked miles and miles through deserts and the heat just to come worship a king and a child no less- to worship a child was just unheard of in that time! Wow! They gave gifts, one of which was myrrh. This was used to anoint the dead. What I didn't ever put together was that on this day, Jesus, the child accepted the myrrh, but as a man on the cross he refused it! Again it was used on Him when he was anointed with it and put in the tomb that he would leave 3 days later alive.
Why don't we worship like this? Where is our adoration? These men, these astrologers did what they did just to follow a star, a light in the sky. They didn't know all the details but they went anyways. They went despite selfish desires, despite fear, despite everything else that tends to get in the way to worship The King! They followed the light to the true Christmas Star. They focused on the end of their journey and didn't get distracted by the journey.
How do you respond to THE Christmas Star? Do you get distracted? What distracts you? What keeps you from worshipping the king? Is it fear? Is it complacancy? Is it selfishness? Whatever it is, this Christmas season and new year I challenge you to be on a mission, just like the Magi, to worship Christ, to focus on Him, not the star or other glitz that easily takes our attention but to focus on the Christ Child as the Star that will guide us to the Perfect life in Him! God is not meant to be a part of our lives, but our whole life! Please remember the true reason for the season and have a Merry CHRISTmas!
So, every once in a while the perfect dress just comes along and for Zoe last year this was IT. I picked it up at the Local Mommy and Me resale shop and I felt it was a little pricey, but hey, Christmas only comes around once a year so I splurged- $14 if I remember right! But it's been well worth it as I've also had it wear it this year too. I'm just going to be so sad to see it go! And go it will have to as she just keeps getting taller and taller no matter how I try to stop it! Here's a picture of Lexi in her little hand me down dress from her cousins Mindy and Stacy- so cute too! So, here's to the perfect dress- may you find yours this Christmas Season too!
And of course it's hard to not take pictures of the girls together and seperate in front of the tree this Christmas, so enjoy!
So, we love picking out our Christmas Tree at a local tree farm! They are soo wonderful and it was such fun and what a great day to do it this year. The day after Thanksgiving was soo warm! It was a little wrong to be picking out trees without coats and hats and gloves, but so much more enjoyable! I love how much the girls love picking it out too! What fun!
Our church does a big Women's ministry outreach every year at Christmas and I've been the food committee chair person for the past couple of years. Last year it was called a Sweet Celebration and was centered around all things Chocolate- including the chocolate fountain! We do an event for about 3 years and then do a new one! So, as our three years is up this year we did our new event. It was called LOL Christmas! Laugh Out Loud Christmas. We brought in a Christian Comedian and did a whole theme around it! Well, let me tell you! It was fun and the whimsical decorating theme was fantastic! So, here are some pictures from last Monday night! The food was a great success, such a success in fact that we ran out about 30 minutes after we opened the doors- which we opened about 15 minutes early. We planned for about 400-500 people and we ended up having about 640 attend! It was soo great that so many women attended and got to hear about God at this time of year! What a blessing to be a part of that! So, here are some of my pictures from it! Here's the food table, we served regular popcorn, M&M's, caramel popcorn, gorp, puppy chow, pretzels, hot tamales, and a white almond bark popcorn mix. It was a great success! The women that served with me were wonderful too! So, I hope all you fellow bloggers and blog readers I wish you all a Merry Christmas and May God Bless you Richly this CHRISTmas Season!
I'm involved in a mom's group at my church called Mom 2 Mom. It's kinda set up like MOPS but without all the expenses. It's a video series and I've learned so much from it! Today we had a speaker and she was wonderful! Sometimes God puts someone in your life at just the right time and today that was this women and the words of wisdom she had to share. So, please let me share with you some of her wisdom. I started with a 5x7 sheet of paper and by the end of the talk I was wishing I'd had more room to take more notes, she was that good! So, here are some points that I found very invaluable for me as a mom! They aren't in any order, but this time it's more the message then the placement of the points.
"Our God- Sovereign and Superior" Carol Totten
* Hold a crown over your child's head and help them grow into it! *Sometimes we spend a lot of our day pointing our fingers at our children when we should be spend that time praying for them. *God's Sovereignty should teach us contentment. He is in control and He is faithful! *I don't have to have all the answers, be able to fix everything, see the future.... He Does! *Don't take too much credit or too much blame for our kids! Remember whose they are!
And the most important I found today was this.... *Matthew:37-38 God calls us to love Him more then our kids and our husband! "He who loves and takes more pleasure in father or mother then in Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves and takes more pleasure in son or daughter then in me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [that is to cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and if need be in dying also] is not worthy of Me." Do we find ourselves honoring our children more then our Lord? What does that look like- honoring our Lord over our kids? Well, an example given was a pastor that told his children that if they married an unbeliever he would not attend their wedding as we are called to honor the Lord by not being unequally yoked. Wow! Now that's a stand, what a way to Honor our Lord! I challenge you to take a stand and honor your Lord in the every day things too! Such as stepping in when your child is being fairly disciplined by your spouse because you feel sorry for the child? Do you give in to those 2 year olds tantrums? this is not honoroing our Lord! We need to honor our Lord in everything in every way!
And as an added bonus here is a list of Shirley Rice's Practical Points of Child-Rearing 1. Depend on the Lord constantly for wisdom (especially prayer) 2. Expect obedience; it is not optoinal 3. Expect what is reasonable of the child (age appropriate) 4. Have only necesary rules 5. Do not Nag (this is both great for children and husbands) 6. Insist on courtesy 7. Teach the child to respect other people's property 8. Teach the child to respect legitimate authority 9. Be consistent 10. Teach the child to endure hardness; and how to work 11. Help them face their faults and failures 12. Do not be pressured into punishing a child unjustly because of the opinion of others 13. Present a united front with your husband 14. If you are losing control, stop and get quiet before the Lord
A few things that were said in our small group were very convicting and my prayer is that I can choose daily to honor my Lord! My other prayer is that maybe God can use this post today to impact other women out there! What a blessing!
So, every year at Thanksgiving we go to my cousins house and we get to ride horses! Zoe LOVES horses!! Now, growing up where I did horses were a way of life so I've found this kinda amusing being a mom of "city kids" where my kids see horses on tv and occasionally in parades or petting zoos! So, this is a real treat for the girls when we get to see my family and get to ride horses. Now Zoe's growing up so fast as the last couple of years she wouldn't get on the horse without me or Patrick and this year we talked about it beforehand and she decided she was going to ride the horse by herself and the amazing thing is she did! Granted it wasn't for long, but a few times she was left on her own without anyone beside her or the horse. It was pretty great! Plus she even trotted on Cowboy which was huge for her! Yeah! I'm soo proud of her and it's been soo fun! So, enjoy the pics and enjoy the video down below of Zoe trotting for the first time!!
This past weekend was very hectic! but in a good way! Of course we knew it was going to be a bit busy due to the holiday weekend, but we sure did pack it as full as our stomaches!!
So, Patrick was off Wednesday till today! Now this should be a good thing as its great that he's here to help with the girls and to just be around when I have errands to run. So, for that I'm thankful when he's home, but I got to be honest it's a struggle some days to have him around too! I have become set in my ways with my free time. I have a semi schedule that I like to semi follow and it's a challenge to do that with an extra person around, but with the mommy degree comes a minor in flexibility. So, Family dinner Wednesday night with Patrick's family, Thursday held dinner plans with my family and then Friday brought the annual Christmas Tree shopping experience and all the decorations and lights!
I love Christmas and this is such a great time for me... the lights, the decorations, the stockings, the tree, the ornaments, my snow buddy village, the music and of course the nativity sets! It's like Christmas threw up at our house. I just love it!! This was such a great year weather wise for it all! Though it does feel a little funny hanging Christmas lights in light jackets and decorating the tree with the windows open! You've got to love Kansas! I thought this year would be soo great with both the girls old enough to help me, well Lexi I might have been a little premature on allowing her to help... but luckily she only broke 1 ornament... so far : ) And really for the most part it was great! Just to see their little faces light up at each ornament I brought out was soo fun! My one splurge every year is a picture frame tree ornament with the year on it. So every year at Christmas those are my very favorite ornaments to put up. I love watching the girls grow up right before my very eyes and I'm sure that these will always be my favorite ornaments! but the best part of this time of year is all the beautiful memories that I get from it! So, here's to wishing every one a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
The following families are good friends of ours that recently asked me if I'd take their Christmas pictures this year. This is of course a great honor and yet again a good reminder why I prefer to shoot seniors! Kids are a challenge : ) Also, a good reminder that digital is not film photography and how much I do miss film! Oh well..
So, here's to a Merry Christmas from one little photographer to all the others out there!
So, I bought some homemade laundry soap at the Farmers Market over the summer and I love it! It wasn't any more expensive then the storebought stuff, but it was soo much better! I loved it and it got me to thinking... thankfully there is a world of information out there on the internet including so many recipes for homemade goods such as laundry soap, dishwashing detergent and liquid hand soap! So, I bookmarked a site that has many of these recipes for me to try Someday... well finally someday has come!
So, here are the ingredients....
Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
Ivory bar Soap
1/2 cup measuring cup
This is soo easy to make and I even recruited Zoe to help me "shave" the soap. Which she loved doing. So, you take a regular kitchen grater and grate your bar of soap... whatever kind of soap you choose. I chose Ivory b/c it's not too sented and not too expensive. There is an actual laundry bar soap- Fels-Naptha that you can also use.
I picked up all my soap making supplies at my local grocery store. I was not able to find them at Wal-Mart but only at Dillons. I have not checked at the Hy Vee yet, but I'm curious to see if they have it there. It's all relatively cheap in the grand scheme of things. It will be more up front, but not in the long run! Take for instance you buy at 76 oz box of Borax and only use about 4 oz. Wow! you'll get a lot of batches out of this one box!
Then you mix 1/2 cup of Borax, 1/2 cup of Washing Soda and the grated up bar of soap! Now, it says you should use a wooden spoon to mix to a fine powder, but I realized that it's soo much easier and faster to just use the utensils God gave you at the end of your arms! Mix till a fine powder- laundry detergent fineness. Then use 1 tblsp in each load. If you want you can add 1/4 cup of Baking soda to help deodorize more. It is not a necessity, but doesn't hurt. Another thing you can add is 2-4 drops of essential oil drops- lavender, peppermint oil, tea tree oil... I'm sure there are a lot of other options out there that I have yet to experience! I can't wait to though! This makes about 16 oz laundry detergent or 32 loads. I double up the batch but if you wanted to do seasonal smells then just do about 16 oz at a time.
Now if you really want to capitalize on the initial cost then make some Dishwashing Detergent at the same time. You make it with the ingredients you now have on hand... 1/2 cup borax, 1/2 cup washing soda, 1/4 cup kosher salt, and 2 oz or 1/4 cup citric acid. Now to find the citric acid....you can use 10-20 packets of lemon kool-aid- unsweetened or check your local health food store. Put it in a container and shake shake shake! Depending on if your water is hard or not you might need to use more or less citric acid. If you end up with a foggy film on your dishes then try adding more citric acid. I also use about 1/4 cup of white vinegar as a rinse agent instead of store bought jet dry. This makes about 32 oz. Use 1 tablespoon for each load.
So, now you can become little miss Suzy Soapmaker youself! Really, this is easy, it took me about 15-20 minutes to do each batch. I also think I'll give these out as Christmas gifts in jars that I can decorate really cute! Cheap and Practical for all! So, good luck and enjoy!
Here's my favorite photo from the past week! I just love seeing them in dresses and how cute they look! The amazing thing is that I just bought this dress for Zoe about 1 1/2 months ago and it's already too short! She's growing like a weed and I just don't even notice it till I go to put her in her 4T or in this case 5T dress. Why don't they make the dresses longer? Is this just my problem or do other people out there struggle finding the right length dresses? Is it really cute seeing a 4 year old's little bum hanging out? I mean, what a way to encourage immodosty for the rest of their lives! How sad! Ok, off my soap box!
Anyways.... Here's the photo finally! Dancing on the sofa after church!
I love reading. I think it really is my very favorite thing to do, so for the girls to have a love of it too would just make my whole little world complete!
So, we've been working on "reading" with Zoe and I've learned that Rote memorization is the first step. I've also learned that having Zoe have some books that she can "read" helps me have more free time when she "reads" to Lexi! I can't wait till she can read for real, but for now this is a great start and I'm soo excited for her...and me : )
Halloween... this is a tough holiday for us as we don't believe in celebrating it as such, but as a child who grew up also not celebrating but being part of a society where it's almost expected to this has been a challenge. Now it's a lot like Christmas... we don't do Santa, but every stranger that talks to our child will ask them what they want Santa to bring them, well, this is kinda the same thing... "what are you going to be for Halloween?" is a common question. So in the past, before Zoe was actually involved with other children her age on a regular basis we just did the no celebrating thing- we stay home and pass out candy and TRACTS to neighborhood kids while sitting around our fire pit drinking homemade hot chocolate, but this year since she is more involved and is learning about it at "school" we decided to not let her be the oddd person out- ya know the one I mean... the one that just sits there not in costume and not participating. This is a hard thing to ask of a 4 year old. She knows that Halloween is not something we celebrate but we celebrate Fall So..., today was Zoe's first Halloween Parade at preschool, or anywhere really! Since I find it silly to spend an inordinate amount of money for a costume we just let her wear her Dress Up dress and she went as Cinderella! What a great costume since she is in that Princess phase right now anyways! Yeah! She wore her little dress up shoes and even her wig (we picked it up brand new at a garage sale for 25 cents! Bargain!). Since Patrick is out of town this week we invited Grandpa to come see her parade and also for Lexi control so I could take the following pictures! And we've even done one of the ever growing in popularity, Trunk or Treats at our church...
It might be different when she's older, but for now if she wants to 'dress up' for a Fall party, why not? Happy Fall Ya'll!
So, I've just recently discovered http://www.greeblemonkey.com/. It's an online Photography contest open to anyone and everyone! This is my first entry ever and the theme is of course picked around the Thanksgiving holiday and it's "grateful". So, here is a picture of Lexi practicing her Thanksgiving eating... She's very Grateful for Corn! Wish me luck!
So, here's a quick follow up from our family photos we took the other night! It was surprisingly fun and we really lucked out that we finished 20 minutes before it started to pour down rain! The whole thing was great! I just love seeing our family in photos! Especially ones that look soo great! Don't worry though... we've saved the best for our Christmas cards, but here are my 3 favorites! Enjoy and have a Happy Fall, ya'll!!
My husband is funny! I mean, he's got great ideas- or at least he thinks so! His latest idea is to do a "theme" picture for our Christmas cards this year! Granted, this isn't a bad idea as he's right and every year we seem to do the same thing... get dressed up in our Sunday best and smile pretty! Now, as a mother with a lousy memory, this idea appeals to me as I love the girls' Sunday best clothes and I love having a formal picture of our family. I take plenty of not formal pictures throughout the year including those spur of the moment pictures we ask strangers to take of our family at different events! So, the idea of paying a professional photographer to take our family picture in costume is a little hard for me to swallow, but I love my husband and if this is his plan for Christmas cards then more power to him but this will also mean he will be in charge of said Christmas cards this year... not a bad trade now that I think about it!
So, the theme this Christmas is "Urban Cowboy". That's right... we'll be going to a local park that is full of historic buildings, barns, hay and other cowboyish things! The girls and I'll be in denim skirts/dresses and boots! Now, I grew up in boots and denim, so this is not fun for me, but despite my upbringing I have no boots anymore, so I'll be wearing my fashion boots with my denim skirt and plaid shirt! The girls though do both have boots, and what cute boots they are. None of us have cowboy hats though, so not sure how to do this theme up right, but we'll give it a try! I did buy Zoe a little party sheriff's hat... kinda corny and don't forget the handkerchiefs... we sure didn't! Now what to do with them? Hopefully I'll be able to post pictures from today's photo session later this week! We'll see! So, wish us luck and a hearty Yee Haw!
Here is one of the best pictures of the week! This is Lexi's 19 Month Photo! I admit that the second born child is not going to get EVERYTHING that the first child gets... ie. the homemade scrapbook, the photos every month on her actual month birthday, etc... It's been a challenge trying to keep up! In Zoe's scrapbook she has a picture for every month till she turned 2. Lexi, I'm lucky if I have a picture of her from each month! So, this is actually really close to the 6th! It was taken on the 7th! Yeah me!! This is her playing in her diaper box! This seems to be THE toy this week! The girls have fought over this box more then anything else lately, even though Zoe can barely fit in it.
Here is my photo of the week of Zoe! !
Here is the best picture of the girls I have together this week! They both got their face painted at the local Rev Up Your Engines! It was great fun!!
Anyways... Here's to wishing everyone a warm and toasty weekend!
So, I just noticed that it's been a long time since I last blogged and though a long time has passed, I'm afraid I still don't have much to blog about... so thanks for my good friend Amy and her blog for this idea! You are a good friend for letting me steal soo many ideas off your blog! I love it! Please feel free to check it out... My Front Porch Looking In...
The Last Dozen
1. Last movie you saw at the theater....
The Proposal- comes out to DVD on Oct. 13. I must admit it's my new favorite! If you haven't seen it- DO!!! I've already seen it twice!! It's a great girls night out movie or couples night in movie!! Fantastic!
2. Last place you went out to eat....
El Mezcal... Love their T-Th specials!!
3. Last game you played...
4. Last place You drove to...
Went to pick up Zoe from Preschool! Normally this is an easy task, but she was expecting Patrick to pick her up so lots of tears this time... whatever happened to that little girl that was thrilled to see me no matter what? I miss her...
5. Last thing you actually wrote down on paper...
Happy Birthday... in dot to dot for Zoe to trace for Grandpa's birthday card!
6. Last website you went to...
Facebook, of course!
7. Last person you actually picked up the ringing phone to talk to and not let go to voicemail- LOVE CALLER ID!
Patrick... on his way home from working late tonight!
8. Last thing you baked...
Chocolate cake mix cookies... best cookies ever!
1/2 cup oil
6 oz chocolate chips
1 cake mix- any flavor...
mix and bake at 375 for 10 minutes
9. Last time you actually took out the trash....
Hmm.. .that's a tough one as in our house it's Patrick's job... but I must admit for it not being my job I think I do it more then he does- hint hint honey!!
10. Last thing you read in your Bible....
In this Tools For Motherhood class we are supposed to memorize 1-2 Bible Verses a class and this last week was Proverbs 23:7... For as he thinks within himself so he is!
11. Last really fun thing you did with extended family...
We went to Gary's Pumpkin Patch with my dad and Lyn and Shyra... what a great time!! The Corn Maze is a blast... but I must admit probably not so much fun for Patrick as he walked the almost 2 miles all the while carrying Lexi!! But I enjoyed it!
12. Last Book you read...
I read a ton, but the last book was book #3 in a triliogy. The book was Enduring Love... I love to read! If you have any good suggestions pass them on to me!
Well, thanks for sitting through my Last Dozen. Hope you all have a great weekend... enjoy the rain!
So, I'm taking this great class at my church. It's called Tools For Motherhood. I've taken a quick day class overview of it, but this is a more in depth 7 week class that is just wonderful! It basically gives us stats of children and how they learn and how their little brains work. It's mainly geared toward mothers of preschoolers and teaches us how to use everyday items in just 10-15 minutes a day and give them a firm foundation for the schoolyears! We are soo indisposable to our children right now. It is soo true that we are indeed our childrens first and most important teacher! We give them their attention span, their respect for others using eye contact, their love of reading etc...
We learned that a childs attention span is 3 times their age! So I can't expect my 4 year old to sit through and pay attention to an hour long church service. It's been very good to know this info! I learned that in between the ages of 0-4 they will learn 50% of all they will learn in life! Wow! If that's not pressure I don't know what is! By the age of 8 they will learn 80% of all they'll ever learn in life! Wow! Who knew?
Anyways... along with this our teacher, Mary Duncan, gives us ideas of using everyday household items to teach our children through play. What a great way to learn.
This week our class was on Pre- Math skills. Now, really, can a 2-4 year old grasp the concept of multiplication? No, we all know that, but did you know that just by talking about things, i.e... when shopping at the store and just saying out loud how much something weighs and the price and then doing the math, this is laying a foundation later for those children. By doing something as simple as a 1 year old putting golf balls in a muffin tin and teaching one to one corrospondance also lays the foundation for great math skills during the school years. It's like reading to a baby. They don't necessarily understand it at all, but they are getting to hear the words and thus their little brains are developing. This is just wonderful. My favorite game that I took away from class this week was the simplest game ever and honestly most of her games are and I sure feel stupid that I didn't think of them myself, but this game is great for those days when you are trying to get your grocery shopping list done and you've got the ads spread out on the table and your child is, the dreaded word, "bored. So, you take a dice or even just shout out numbers and let them circle them in your ads. The first person to get say 5 or 10 of those numbers can win. It's obviously geared toward the 3-5 year olds, but wow! How easy. It keeps them occoupied and no longer "bored" and lets you still get stuff done.
There are soo many other games too. I like the one that teaches shapes and burns off that energy. Cut big shapes out of material ( we all have that old shirt that just has to go) and then on a block draw the shapes and take turns rolling and running to get the shape. The first person to get 2 matches or one of each shape wins! I mean, really how easy! Then I just put all the little pieces in a ziplock baggie to save for another time when I'm going insane with all the extra energy they seem to have that I never do! I can also make this game grow with the child by cutting the shapes out of different colored cloth so they can learn the colors and then the shapes later on! And when they know their shapes and colors then I'd write the shape word on the block for them to "read" and then go get their shape! The game that just keeps growing and growing.
So, next time you find yourself at a loss for what to do with those little ones yet you still have stuff to do and you've already let them lick the cookie dough utensils while you ate the cookies remember that there are a lot of ideas out there if you just get a little creative! Enjoy and happy weekend to all the "teachers" out there! Feel free to visit www.toolsformotherhood.com for more info and ideas for each age your child is now!
Ok, so I picked my little blue lipped girl up from Preschool. Here she is waiting patiently to be put in my car by Mr. Richards! So patient!
So I asked her how she liked it and she was soo excited about the snack... that's right, the snack- orange slices, blueberries, crackers and apple juice. Wow, as long as the food is good right?Thus the blue lips! Soo cute! So, there was circle time... boys had to sit on the blue circle and the girls got to sit on the yellow line. Then they listened to a story called Dog goes to School. Then they had craft time and she got to color a car that she made into a necklace- blue and purple on a red yarn necklace... see below! Again, what a great craft for her first day of preschool! Nice little nametags!
They sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and some other songs that she didn't know. And then got ready for their snack. Such fun! Washed hands with that yellow soap that you just squirt on and then one of the kids passed out the snacks.
I guess Zoe tried to understand one of the girls names but she couldn't, so we'll try again on Thursday. But she did enjoy playing with the sparkly ponies and the cabbage patch dolls during play time! Such fun!
So no matter how much she said she wouldn't like preschool, it sounds like she rather enjoyed it! And said "I guess I can go back again, I liked it a little bit, not a lot!"
My life is blessed! I've been married to the man of my dreams for 7 years though it feels like just yesterday! I love reading and taking pictures, but the best job I never imagined loving this much is staying at home with my two beautiful little girls!