Saturday, May 26, 2012

Soul Nourishment #2

"Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul." -Psalm 66:16

"The society. . . . is more oriented to the work and play of adults than to the care and nurture of children." -Steve and Candice Watters

"The Christian life is about conforming our lives to the image of Christ; to mature beyond a lump of self-centered sinfulness to an icon of self-sacrificial sainthood.  What, in my view, is the most direct and intentional path to that end?  In a word, parenthood.  No other experience in life frees us from the downward spiral of a self-centered existence." - Steve and Candice Watters

Are You Mom Enough?
"God’s mathematics of grace: Mom (never enough) + God (infinitely enough) = Mom enough." - Rachel Pieh Jones

The Everyday Question of Motherhood
"At the center is one question: Will I sacrifice?" - Christine Hoover

10 Resolutions for Mental Health
"...a blessing to your soul, I offer them for your joy." - John Piper

Don't Give Up
"We all long for rest and refreshment. That’s a God-given longing that he promises to fulfill: 'I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish' (Jeremiah 31:25)." -Jon Bloom

Mark Driscoll sermon: The Respectful Wife 2/5/12

"Discipline doesn't begin with punishment, but with instruction." -Paul Washer

"God settles the solitary in a HOME; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land." -Psalm 68:6

"He gives the barren woman a HOME, making her the joyous mother of children.  Praise the Lord! -Psalm 113:9

"She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." -Proverbs 31:27

"And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.  She is loud and wayward; Her feet do not stay at HOME; now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait." -Proverbs 7:10-12

"Every wife has one thing in common: her husband is an imperfect man... I'm just encouraging you to make the daily spiritual choice of focusing on qualities for which you feel thankful... Guys rise to praise." -Gary Thomas

"What is the key element in spiritual warfare?  According to Scripture, it is human minds. (2 Corinthians 11:3, 10:3-5)  It is people's thought life that is the arena in which our spiritual battles are won or lost." -Andreas Kostenberger

Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World
Read this book this week - highly recommend! 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Soul Nourishment #1

    "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind." 
-Romans 12:2

     I would like to periodically (my goal is weekly) share the podcasts, blogposts, quotes, etc... that have been the most inspirational to me lately.  If you are busy and the house is loud at the moment, STOP!  I suggest waiting until you have put the kids to bed to read this one.  Settle down with a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever suits your fancy so that you are able to soak it all in.  Here's how I've been renewing my mind this week. . . .

"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.” -Thomas Moore
"When thanks to God becomes a habit, so joy in God becomes your life." -Ann Voskamp
"Of course, this side of heaven we will not do perfectly. Harsh words will be spoken, patience will wear thin. Frazzled mothers will act frazzled. And when this happens, our own sinfulness does not detract from the power of the gospel, it illustrates why we need it. Do not use your own mistakes as an excuse to wallow about what a bad mother you are. Repent, seek forgiveness, get it right, and move on. Believe. Be forgiven. Extend that forgiveness, that belief, that joy, to your children." - Rachel Jancovic
"Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work." - Rachel Jancovic

“If you cannot find time to pray, ask for forgiveness. Ask to be cleansed of the sin of having no time to pray …  It could be that Satan is pushing you into too much work so that you cannot take time to pray.” – Corrie Ten Boom

"As a mom, I want to be single-minded on the reality that if God entrusted these kids to me, I am the exact mom they need. And as the rightful holder of that position, I will believe not only in God but I will also believe that I have what it takes to raise these kids right. As long as I ask for God to help me each day, I can be the mom I need to be."   -Lysa TerKeurst
"The foremost challenge a woman faces is not to orchestrate her life or to plan her year but to order each day - allowing for sufficient rest, proper nourishment and exercise, and a quiet time spent with the Lord." - Emilie Barnes

Watching these videos by Sally Clarkson was such a blessing to me this week!  I can't wait to read her books!

I have been listening to Paul Washer's sermons while taking morning walks this week.  I highly recommend doing both.  After clicking the link to this site, scroll down to "Training Children 1 and 2" from 4/3/12.  Someone is translating into Chinese (may be, not sure) for him, so it takes a little longer, but so worth it!

"What does not satisfy when we find it was not the thing we were desiring." -C.S. Lewis

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." -Philippians 4:13

Finished reading this book: Give Them Grace

     Lastly, I have to share this Summer Family Activity Book that my accountability partner just shared with me.  It looks great and I can't wait to use it with my family this summer!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Monkey Birthday Party

     We like to celebrate at our house.  Especially the blessing of children!  For my children's birthday parties, I try to choose a theme that shows what they are in to at that point in their life, so that it will be special for them.  For Weston's 2nd birthday party we had a monkey themed party.  Or, as the birthday boy likes to describe it, he had an "Oo, oo, ah, ah" party. :)  I found the banner pictured above at the Dollar Tree for, yes, $1.  I made the 3-D letters of his name above the banner using lime green card stock and got the idea at  Warning:  This task took a long time!

     We purchased this Jump-o-lene Transparent Ring Bounce for my daughter's 2nd birthday, and now we blow it up for all birthday's and leave it up the entire month for hours of entertainment.

     The centerpieces were made from monkeys we had on hand and lots of bananas.  Note:  You can freeze bananas and use them later to make Chocolate Banana Bread.  I bought a yellow and lime green helium balloon set to tie on the small monkey.  The larger monkey sat on a lime green ball we already had and inside a lime green bucket we received from our realtor (packed with goodies) when we moved in our home.  I put some newspaper stuffing under the bananas.  Using some scraps of card stock left over from the 3-D name project, I hole punched some confetti to add on top of the yellow plastic table cover.  While shopping at Walmart for the Barrel of Monkeys game, they just happened to have a lime green game the day I was there and that just made this momma's day!  I hung a few from the bucket and the rest from the chandelier.

     Also hanging from light fixtures around the house were these monkeys found at the Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, $1.

     This monkey was given to Weston before he was born and hung by a plastic hanger on the column by the front door to welcome everyone as they entered.

     I made a balloon wreath for the front door that I plan on using for all of my kids' birthdays and just change out the number.  I found the tutorial here.  The wreath was attached using purple yarn and tape.

     I purchased a wreath on sale at JoAnn's for $3, balloons at Dollar Tree, and found the cheapest greenery picks at Walmart.  I wanted to make the "2" hanging in the middle, so at the last minute I went in my closet and grabbed a wire clothes hanger, cut it, put beads on it, bent it, and curled the sharp ends around the last beads on the end and under some of the others.  It's also attached to the wreath with purple yarn.

     We, of course, had a monkey cake.  So far I've made the birthday cakes for my children's five birthday parties because it is way cheaper and I'm sentimental that way.  This one was by far the easiest and quickest.  Instead of buying a pretty cardboard cake mat somewhere, I use a piece of cardboard cut to size and cover it with foil.  For this cake, I used two round cake pans - one for the face and used the other one to cut out the ear shapes and add height to the mouth area.  Chocolate cake mix seemed the best plan since the icing was also chocolate.  I chose not to use food dyes for the icing, but instead used chocolate fudge for the dark brown and a mixture of chocolate fudge and cream cheese icing for the tan color.  The easiest way to add the details on the ears, mouth, and eyes (if you don't have tips) is to cut a small edge off of a plastic sandwich bag and squeeze the icing through as you decorate.  I added chocolate chips to the eyes.  Inspiration for this design was found at coolest birthday cakes and the monkey hanging from the column pictured above.

The cake was eaten on these cute plates found here

     We played "monkey in the middle" and enjoyed using these finger puppets to do the finger play about monkeys swinging in the tree and teasing Mr. Alligator.

     Some other resources I would recommend would be plastic monkeys found at the Dollar Tree in the summer to put on the mailbox.  Unfortunately, they weren't available when we had the party in March.  I printed off some coloring pages, but we didn't have time to color them during the party.  If you aren't working with a budget, banana split dippin dots would be all the rage and kids love them!  Banana scratch and sniff stickers seemed so fun, but you've got to draw the line somewhere, you know!?!  We've been able to forego the invitations so far, but these were pretty cute.

     I spent a lot of time leading up to the party choosing pictures and video clips from Weston's first two years of life.  With a little help from the hubby, we made a "Celebrating The Life of John Weston Gaines" video that lasted about fifteen minutes for all of the guests to enjoy.  Weston kept pointing to the screen with a big smile on his face saying, "Bubby."  I hope to add the video soon - as soon as I figure out how.  Whenever someone asks Weston how old he is he tells them "2," and that he had an "Oo, oo, ah, ah" party.  

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Little Monkey!

Sports Week


     Last week I shared how the kids and I are going to focus on a theme each week this summer to learn by playing, reading, crafting, and having fun.  We enjoyed learning about butterflies last week and this week decided to focus on sports.  Because of the vastness of information and ideas on the internet (what did moms do before they had internet?), I had a hard time deciding whether to do one sport for a whole week, a different sport each day, or just mix all of the sports together and do some each day.  We mixed it all up, so I have posted our activities here in order of how we did them.

1.  First, we went to the dollar tree and purchased these balls (football and soccer) to play with and also found some magic towels (football and baseball).  The kids thought this was the most awesome science experiment ever!

balls from the Dollar Tree

2.  Next, we colored this football page 

3.  Using this lacing project idea, I used white card stock to draw a circle for a baseball, hole-punched the design of baseball threads on the sides, and gave each child some red yarn to thread through the holes to make their baseballs.  I put tape on the ends of the yarn to make them shoestring-like.

4.  We then learned the "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" song and used this source to sing along... Kididdles.  And listened to the national anthem here, since it is sung at many sporting events.

5.  Coloring this baseball picture was fun and it saved printer ink since we could color it on the computer.  We also colored this hockey picture, and golf picture.

6.  I used the football picture in #2 as a template to trace onto poster board and cut out four shapes.  The kids decorated their footballs, and then I assisted them in stapling the edges of two of the football shapes (each) together and they stuffed them with left over newspaper and completed stapling.

7.  It was so fun to print off these kids and dress them up as basketball players and soccer players!

8.  After storytime at the library, we chose books to go along with our sports theme to bring home and enjoy.

9.  I love how the blog "2 teaching mommies" always come up with these great preschool and toddler packs related to different themes.  We used parts of the football unit and baseball unit.

10.  My three year old is just getting in to coloring by number, so I printed this baseball coloring page for her and this basketball coloring page for my two year old son.

11.  No sports week is complete without actually playing the sports, so we went outside to enjoy some fun with balls.

12.  Gymnastics is one of my kids favorite sports and we have a fun mat they like to roll around on.

13.  I bought this bowling set at Toys R Us around Christmas for only $3.  We are missing some of the pins because they are pretty flimsy.  We set it up in the foyer and learned how to hold the ball and roll it into the pins.

14.  This idea is all over mom blogs, and I'm so glad because the kids thought it was so much fun.  We found fly swatters at Walmart for 98 cents each and had some balloons on hand to blow up for a game of tennis.

15.  And last, but certainly not least, dad had a softball game (church league) to play in so we enjoyed watching and cheering him on.

Dad's playing at 3rd base

     Weston gets his cast off next week, so the plan is to have "Doctor Week."  And just to give you a little teaser for what's coming up soon. . . .

stripes in Weston's bedroom

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sausage Balls

     This is going to be a short post because these are so quick and easy to make.  These are the sausage balls my mom made when I was growing up and my husband and children love them.  They are a Sunday morning favorite, because I can make them quickly on Saturday night and we can warm them up in the microwave before church the next morning.

1 lb sauage (Jimmy Dean sage is our favorite, but TN Pride was on sale this week)
2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups all purpose baking mix

1.  Put all ingredients in bowl and mix with hands.  (Yes, kind of gross, but necessary)
2.  Form balls with mixture and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
3.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Butterfly Week


     When Alivia was two I began using A Beka Book Curriculum, and having "school time."  We just completed the three year old curriculum and we are taking a break from that this summer before starting the four year old preschool curriculum this fall.  Now that Weston is two, I'm excited about him being able to do school work with us also.  Don't get me wrong, he's been doing it with us all along, just in his own way.  The picture above of the butterflies is a poster from A Beka Book.
     We usually begin in August and finish up some time in April, so this year I thought it would be fun to plan a theme for each week of the summer to learn about something together and have lots of fun in the process.  Last summer we were moving out of state and the summer before that I had a one year old and a newborn.  This summer no life-altering transitions seem to be taking place, so I have a little more time to plan things like this.  We used supplies from around the house that we already had on hand, but I would recommend the Dollar Store for most art and craft supplies.  Last week was "butterfly week" at our house and here are the things we enjoyed. . . .

Coffee Filter Butterflies 

coffee filters, markers, glitter

glue, markers, and pipe cleaner

pipe cleaner antennas and hang on window

Butterfly Snack

Trix cereal in a plastic bag with pipe cleaner antennae

   I think this one was thrown away already (oops), but it was a neat way to teach eggs - caterpillar - Chrysalis - Butterfly

decorate gauze

attach to construction paper with bandaids

decorate construction paper

decorate pasta and glue to construction paper

draw flowers and trees around butterflies

1.  Trace hands onto one color construction paper, cut out and attach to different color paper overlapping thumbs
2.  Glue on beads, color with markers, decorate with glitter
3.  Attach wiggly eyes and pipe cleaner antennae

They especially liked painting with some old glitter fingernail polish

Butterfly feeder

Butterflies like bright colors and over-ripe fruit, so for now we put an upside down frisbee with bananas out for them.  I hope to update soon with butterflies eating the bananas instead of just bugs, and we might make a prettier feeder.

     So, that was our week of butterfly fun.  I saw a commercial today for a Live Butterfly Garden that seemed to look like a great learning experience.  May be we will try it in the future.   Here's a family that tried it and enjoyed it at school time snippets.
     I tend to be an "all work - no play" type person by nature, but that does not make for a fun childhood experience.  Sure, meals have to be cooked, houses have to be cleaned, and there is always a never ending list of chores to be done, but I want to love my children by playing with them, so I try to be intentional about planning fun activities with my children.  Now that my kids are two and three they have a lot of fun doing projects together.  Since butterflies tend to be a little feminine, I'm thinking next week will be "sports week."