Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Not sure why...

...but my girls have been wearing these hats for a few days. Just having fun.

I just found out why...they are pretending to be spies. Bet you didn't recognize them. =)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Memory Lane

I saw this on Christine's blog and thought it would be a fun little post. Feel free to tag yourself and join me in this memory lane exercise.

15 years ago I was a young bride. Just finished my first year of marriage to Chuck who I had met in college. We were living in NJ at the shore and I was trying to figure out where my place was in this world. I was working at the mall in retail and missing everything familiar. It was a big transition to adjust to life in a new state and try to find friends. It was a time that God used to draw me closer to Chuck as my best friend.

10 years ago I was living in CA and was recovering from my c-section and trying to adjust to motherhood for the first time. After years of waiting for a child, I was so grateful to have this season of life begin. Absolutely loving this little Tally that God had blessed me with.

5 years ago I was trying to decide if homeschooling was right for our family. Now a Mommy of 2 girls who are just 18 months apart. Deeply involved in our church and loving our ministry there. Praying that God would open the right doors for our family and Chuck's job. Loving this stage of life...

3 years ago I was trying to adjust again to life in a new state. Struggling with not finding a church that was a good fit for our family. Trying to figure out how to keep my family healthy. Just beginning milling my own wheat for making bread and serving my family healthy food. Also trying to find my grove in the homeschooling world.

1 year ago I was packing our home up and moving again. After months of 4 hours of commuting for Chuck, we finally were able to move closer to his job that had relocated. Honestly, not spending enough time in God's word (life was too busy with packing and moving). Desiring to do what's right and teaching that to my kids.

Today I am living in a different state as my husband (4 hours was nothing compared to 700 miles for commuting). Longing to have our family together under one roof. Loving homeschooling my girls and teaching them what is right and how to learn about God in His word. Daily in the Bible myself and soaking up every truth I read, and encouraging others to do the same. Waiting on a contract so we can move, yet again. And praying that God will allow our family to adopt if it is in His will.

Tomorrow I am going to teach my kids, read God's word and be grateful for the stage of life that I am in. Focusing on the blessings, on what I have and not on what I don't. Continue to simplify my life and spend time on what counts.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Finally, enjoying the out doors again

We have lived in our current state for 4 years. And one of my deepest goals in life is to be content in any place that I am in. Not longing for the next thing. Not peeking over the fence to see if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. For often once when you get on the other side, you realize it isn't grass at all, in fact it is just green weeds. All that to say, I have tried to focus on the positive things of living in a tropical environment. Being close to Disney is number one on the positive list.

We have had to adjust our activities since living here. Tristen does have health issues that limit how much time she can spend outside in the hot sun. She also just doesn't have the energy that an average kid has. (read about it HERE) These concerns plus a hot and humid climate equal lots of inside time in the summer. The past few days it has cooled down here. And by cool, I mean 89 during the day. If you start early enough in the day, the kids can play outside again. They have spent days playing on the play set (some kind of pretend play that includes acting out the Box Car Children books).

They have also been asking to go down to the neighborhood tennis courts to play together. I hate that our life is busy and I had to put this off for a few days. But we were able to hit the courts this morning and have fun (not to mention get a little exercise).

Friday, September 26, 2008


I am hopeful this morning. We are showing the house again to a family that saw it on Saturday. They seem pretty interested. Needless to say, I am hopeful. (now I am off to clean and pray)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Flip Flop Fleet

Before I dive into this post and explain the 50 pairs of flip flops that are in the picture, I want to back up to Sunday. The girls were part of a "commissioning" on Sunday in their SS classes for doing God's work. They were given the opportunity to show their desire to be used by God in any special job that He gives them to do. This week they had made a list of different ways that they could serve God (give gifts to needy families, visit the elderly in nursing homes, collect toys or shoes for orphans...all their ideas). I wanted to piggy back off of this idea of serving others. To encourage them, I told them we would find some way that they could be used to reach out to others.

OK, fast forward to last night, when I got a comment from someone new on a post and I figured I would track down the blog and see who it was. The blog I found was called Flip Flop Fleet (click HERE). The whole blog is dedicated to finding "friends" to collect (or buy) 50 pairs of shoes and donate them to needy children in Haiti or other needy locations. This sounded like something the girls would really enjoy. I wanted to jump right on the newness of wanting to serve so I pitched the idea this afternoon. They decided to use their own money (from their business ~ HERE) to buy the shoes. We headed out and found the deals at Target and Walgreens. (50-75 cents each pair)

We are a very ACTION oriented family. As I speak, the shoes are boxed up and ready to go. Less than 24 hours of finding this ministry. I am so proud of my girls for desiring to serve in any way and to sacrifice their own money. They have already asked if we can do more than 50 shoes. I love their hearts.

Swing by the Flip Flop Fleet blog to see if this is something you and your family might be interested in doing. (click HERE)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Do I wonder where they get it???

No, they get it from me. I may harp on them to clean up after they are done, but do I always clean up? In the spirit of keeping it real, I wanted to share what I saw the few days I had the sewing machine out. I know, I know...shocking. (gasp)

I usually am pretty good with putting my things away, but this is a good reminder for me to have some grace on my children.


I have to say the past week hasn't been the easiest week emotionally. And I hesitate to even say anything because to imply that we are kind of down, sends everyone my way to tell me it could be worse. (Yes, I know it could be worse, but that doesn't take away from the hard times we are having). I even feel guilty, because we have friends that are going through much harder things. We have been praying fervently for so many things. And waiting on God to answer, to hear our prayers.

I have been brought back to some verses about waiting on God. Clinging to the verses in Isiah 40 about waiting on the Lord and gaining strength.

28Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired
His understanding is inscrutable.
29He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
30Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
31Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

(emphasis mine)

The reality is, it's been 5 months of not having Chuck here. This weekend was his birthday and it was hard to be away and not together to celebrate. The closer we get into fall, the more I think the holidays are going to be hard. We have been praying for this house to sell and I don't want to give up hope. We have also been praying for Misty and a healing. She is currently in a coma and on life support.

I know the truth. I know that we serve a living GOD who does hear our prayers. Who does listen. I know that I desire His will and timing and not my own. I also know that by stepping out on faith, we are a target for the enemy and that God is refining us. Giving us the opportunity to grow and become more Christlike.

Like I said, I know the truth. It has just been a hard week emotionally. Sometimes the feelings need a little tending to.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

simply stated

I found this tonight in Tally's night time devotional book that she does. It says just how I feel tonight too. Simply waiting on God to answer.

Friday, September 19, 2008

sucked in by facebook

Oh, my, word!!! I have been sucked into facebook and it has eaten up my morning. BTW, feeling old among these hip young kids that are all about that site. But it is a "rabbit trailing dream", clicking from friend to friend. I passed it on to Chuck and with in a few hours he has oodles of friends. Man is he one popular guy. It took me awhile to learn how to add my maiden name (like I said, feeling old). But it was a blast to connect to old high school friends. LOVE it!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Busy with the sewing projects

I wanted to post some pictures of the sewing projects that I have been busy with the past week. I am not much of a seamstress, in fact I hardly know what I am doing. But as with anything new, I dive right in to try and figure it out.

It has been a treat having my mom's old machine to work with. When it works it is wonderful...when it acts up, well, it is then that I am ready to give up on it. I was able to figure out that it only likes plastic bobbins (not metal). I felt like a sewing machine whisperer. Trying to figure out why it was getting stuck and burping out the back side. But once I figured it out (thanks for the ideas Mom), it all went smoothly.

As I posted before, our first project was the dolly dresses for a friend. That motivated us to make more American Girl clothes. First up...I figured I would make my own pattern for a skirt. That's right, I said make my own pattern. Sometimes I wonder if I am a glutton for punishment. What make me think I can make my own pattern??? Am I crazy???

Here are a few step pictures for my own reference for then next time I feel like doing this.

The inspiration of this skirt was the skirt that Molly came in. We thought we would make these a little longer. Here is the side by side with the Molly skirt.

Here is Molly modeling her new skirt with the shirt that Tally designed with her new AG t-shirt gift set. We all thought the mitten design shirt was really cute. (Thanks to our very good friend "earthgirl" for the gift set.)

After all the skirts we had to make jammie pants. Tissy designed her shirt to go with cute plaid PJ pants. This was the first time I had made this pattern too (not my own this time, this one was a store bought pattern). The purple pair of pants were Tissy's choice. She picked out a remnant of matterial that matched pretty well.

A neighbor friend of ours gave us a bag of material that she didn't want anymore and we made a pair of jammie pants for Tally's doll too. We weren't sure what to do with the fabric (most of it is geared toward making baby things or doggy beds). The ABC fabric worked well for the jammie pants.

Then I thought I would try and make a new bag for my clothes pins. My old one didn't work all that well with the hanger (baby sized) it was on. Now it works better. Good way to use that doggie print material. I feel just like Aunt Millie in the Kit books (sorry if you are not familiar with the AG Kit stories), "waste not ~ want not". I didn't want to waste that new material.

So as you can see...we have been busy. I have been sewing like the wind (sorry ~ another vague reference ~ The 3 amigos if any one is still following this rabbit trailing post). {BTW, that last one was for you Chuck}

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How many activities do your kids do?

I was reading an article in a family magazine the other day and it said that your kids should be involved in 3 activities at a time. One artistic, on athletic and one social. Their idea was to limit each child to 3 activities at once.

I quickly realized that we swing pretty far on the other end of the staying busy spectrum. We have usually done one activity at a time. And at different times we have tried a variety of activities.

  • baton twirling
  • swimming
  • ballet
  • gymnastics
  • music class
  • reading club
  • cheerleading (Upward program)
  • Precepts class
  • co-op for homeschoolers
  • tennis
  • art classes
I think I would have a hard time doing 3 activities per child. I think that it is important to find a balance in life. But I do think that our busy society encourages families to do too much. I can pass up the urge to join something, just so we are not left out. I know that there are activities going on that we are "missing out" on, but we also value our time at home. We need time to do our school work, take care of our home and our pet and just be home together as a family. I do understand that we have some limitations due to Tristen's health. She just doesn't have the same amount of energy as some other kids and her health does cause us to have to say no to some things.

But I wondered if your family has a rule of thumb about how much you let your kids do. How many activities do your kids do and does it "frazzle" you out?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

homemade whole wheat tortillas

Chuck requested homemade whole wheat tortillas for his birthday this month. Since I have never made them before, I figured I needed to try a few batches to perfect my recipe (I tried this recipe HERE). I love learning new things, and this was the first time I have attempted fresh milled whole wheat tortillas (or any tortillas for that matter). {Fresh milled post HERE}I figured it wasn't worth getting the big Bosch mixer out for these. I just mixed them by hand.
I was interested in trying this recipe because it calls for flax meal (ground flax seed). Flax seed is great for heart health and also for asthma. Notice from the picture I also use "real salt" which hasn't been processed as much as regular salt.After mixing and letting the dough rest, you divide into balls and let them rest again.
Rolling out the tortillas. Getting a 10 inch round one wasn't really happening. I just embraced the "natural" look of these.

Cooking the tortillas on a dry skillet. Notice the picture on the left has the bubbles that let you know that they are ready to turn.
I served these tonight and they were pretty good for the first try. The girls always like their with cheese or peanut butter. I made a wrap with mine stuffed with chicken and cheese. It was great, not to mention filling. One tortilla really filled me up.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I never thought to look in the tub

This morning, the girls wanted me to find their neat hideout. I walked through the house and couldn't find them. I looked in the usual spots (closets, nooks, and such). I finally did my whoop (like a mama whooping crane) to call out to them ~ and they always respond with "whoop whoop whoop". I think I just demonstrated another family oddity ~ I bet not many of you whoop to your kids. Try it, it's kind of fun. When they whooped back to me I knew they were in the bathroom. Ta-daa. I looked behind the shower curtain and found their hide out. There they were reading and having fun. I never thought to look in the tub.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

homeschooling favorites

Not sure why the 2 scans are different sizes.
I wanted to share some more homeschooling favorites. I have been meaning to do these posts for about a month and somehow my life just seems busy and crazy (not how I like it). I have finally made my record log for the year. Instead of buying one, I have always made my own (I keep these in an opened binder on the shelf for each of the kids). This year, however, we are "stepping it up" with our school and I needed more boxes to record our work. So I had to adjust it.
Some of the books we have used with Noeo Physics ~ Zip, Zap, Zing, Zoom
We are finishing up our Noeo science program from last year (Noeo site HERE). My kids just love it and I hate that I often put it on the bottom of the list of things to get done. I am trying to make science, SS, and math a larger priority this year. We are learning about sound and movement right now and we are studying string and wind instruments. I love how this program tells me what pages to read and then it gives us the supplies for the experiments. The kids want to do every experiment that is offered. Sometimes my kitchen turns into a science lab.

We are also finishing up our Beautiful Feet geography program (HERE) from last year. Again, the girls enjoy it so much and they love making the maps.
This program has you read these books (also includes the book Paddle to the Sea ~I just couldn't find mine for the pic) by Holling and color and label maps and keep logs of what the kids learn (vocabulary words and such). The idea is to use living books to learn from.
Just a few of some of my homeschooling favorites. More to come on another post. Hope this is a resource for any of you out there.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What dear friends

The girls and I were invited to spend the night with some friends and their sweet little gal for her birthday. Oh, what fun we all had. How fun that I was included in the sleep over (we are a little bit of a drive from them). I just have to say, what a dear sweet family. I regret not spending more time with them when we lived just 10 min. away.

Here are the girls blowing out the candles on a "shared" birthday cake (Tally's b-day just a week ago). And also some shots of the the AG dolly dresses that we made for some gifts. Just part of the birthday festivities.

We could have stayed around their place all night and had a great time, but we went out bowling (bumpers, of course) and out to dinner. I am not sure who had more fun, the kids or the adults. We talked just as much as they did. There is something so special when you just gel with a family and you all get along. Those precious friendships that are such a blessing.

The girls enjoyed sleeping in a tent (in the bedroom of course ~so much easier than outside with the bugs and the heat). I am not sure how much sleep everyone got, for we have already had many tears this afternoon as a result of being tired. They are not the only ones who are tired, K-Sue and I stayed up til the wee hours of the morning talking up a storm. Connecting on so many different levels of friendship. From homeschooling to infertility to sharing about serving our sovereign Lord.

I was amazed to get a glimpse into K-Sue's talent for searching and organizing information. This gal has a talent for processing information. She is a huge resource of homeschooling sites (free of course) and oodles of links to places that I have never found. I am pleading and begging her to start a blog and share these great web sites that she has found. I just began to tap into her as a resource of knowledge. (Can you tell I am buttering you up? Please!!! Please start a blog and let us all partake in your info ~ You are like a walking "Google Gal").

OK, I just wanted to share what a blessing it is to have such dear friends. I feel so blessed to have crossed paths with such fantastic friends.