Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Birthday Girl

Hey friends!  Life has been good, just busy.  Isn't that the way it is for all of us? Blogging has been on the back-burner,  I just haven't had the motivation nor been able to find the time for some reason.  But I have a bazillion pictures and stories that I'd love to record.  So, here we go...

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A sweet little girl in our house turned 4 on July 13th and we celebrated with a super fun watercolor party.  I am terrible about coming up with fun parties and to be honest, I'm just not a big birthday party fan.  I know, it's a shame.  I found this idea on a blog called The Handmade Home, and loved it! Now Ashley from The Handmade Home is super duper talented and fun, two things I sometimes struggle with.  So I just totally copied her idea {she said it was okay}, and the party planning began!

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I bought some water colors and canvases from Michaels and tied a simple pink ribbon around each set.

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Then I painted some watercolor sheets to use as placemats.  I got some solid white paper cups from Wal-Mart and also painted stripes on them. Easy-peasy!

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I made a very simple {and cheap!} banner out of coffee filters by painting them and taping them over some ribbon that I strung from the light fixture above the table.

That gorgeous "4" was painted by my talented friend and that yummy cake was made by my granny with some help from a really cute little girl.  It was such a gift to be able to spend time with my granny and try to learn all of her baking tricks. We call Allie Beth 'Myrtis' {my granny's name} because she is seriously her twin.  I mean they are so much alike it is unreal.  And I truly wouldn't pick another person on this planet for her to be like. I am so, so blessed to still have my granny.  She is like the energizer bunny because she keeps going, and going, and going.  She has more energy than me and she's 82!! Such a joy!

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Gotta have that lipstick!

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We had pink Kool-Aid in some little glass bottles with blue and white chevron straws. So cute!

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It turned out to be a fun day and most of all my sweet "4" year old was happy!  I'm so thankful for her 'firecracker' spirit! She loves hard and keeps us all straight! But where oh where is the time going?!! Slow down sweet girl! Slow down!

More to come...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Somebody's watching us

We heard silly giggles behind us.  We knew exactly what it was.  They do it every time we hug and kiss.  We turned around to see and both were standing there with grins spread across their faces.  We held out our hands, "Come on!"  They ran to us, jumped up in our arms and we had one big happy group hug.  They love it.  We love it. 

Then the other day my 4 year old said something that was very inappropriate.  Not a curse word but a comment that was extremely ugly.  It stopped me in my tracks.  I turned to discipline her.  When I was done telling her not to ever say that again, and how Jesus wants us to be careful of every word we say, and that He says in the Bible that we should only speak words that are kind, she looked at me and said, "But Mama, you said that one time."  Whoa. She was right.  I had.

My point...they are listening.  More than we think.  They are watching.  Every.single.move.

And I often forget that what we say and do in our home is literally forming the lives of the little people who live here.

We want them to one day love their spouse.  To speak love and to show it.  To respect each other. To honor one another as long as they both shall live.   In sickness and in health.  For better or for worse. 

We want them to share.  To obey.  To be kind.  To love others.  To speak kindly.  To forgive. To see the needs of others.  To be generous.

We want them to have faith in God.  To depend on Him.  To trust Him.  To love Him more than anything else.

We want them to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with their God.

To pray without ceasing. 

To be joyful.  And to serve the Lord with gladness.  To be slow to anger.  Slow to speak.  And quick to listen.

To be content.  Humble.  Grateful.  To work hard.  To serve others.  And be responsible.

To be trustworthy and honest. To speak words of life.  Pleasant words.  Words that are sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

We want them to practice self-control.  Meekness.  Temperance.  Gentleness.  Goodness. 

We want them to have a relationship, not just practice the ritual.  To know that all that glitters is not gold.  And that our true worth does not come from worldly possessions.

That we are told to count it all joy when we experience trials in this life because suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does not disappoint.

But do we live it out? 

When we experience trials do we count it all joy?  When the air conditioner breaks and the car dies; when the bills stack up and we are short on funds; when our spouse irritates us and lets us down.  When we get tired and worn out with all the expectations.  All the hurry, noise, and busy.  When we get angry do we speak words that build up or tear down?

When we are frustrated and tired, do we extend mercy and grace to those around us?  Do we gossip and tear down others when we are hurt or disappointed in someone?  Do we love the unlovable in ways that they can see?

We say it over and over.   Day after day.  We can quote scripture. We can even teach them scripture.  And we should...

But how much more affective would it be if we actually LIVED what we said?
As the old saying goes, "so much more is caught than is taught".  I believe it. 


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Operation slash your snacks

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Around here, we snack.  And by we, I mean the little people.  We wake up wanting a snack.  We snack before breakfast.  After breakfast.  Before lunch.  After lunch.  Before we even get up from the supper table, somebody's asking if they can have a snack.  It's crazy.  I'm crazy.  I'm tired of answering the ongoing question, "Can I have a snack?!"

My dear, sweet little sister called me the other day with a fantastic idea.  She had seen the idea on Lemonade Makin' Mama and thought it would be great for this snack-crazed family.  And I couldn't agree more.

Welcome to 'Operation slash your Snacks'. 

We now have what we call our snack basket. 

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I took Sasha's idea and fixed it to fit this family. Thank you Sasha.  And Kimberly.

First of all, snacks before breakfast is over.  I mean we all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? 

So, I fix a basket of snacks at the beginning of each week.  Enough to last the kiddos for that week.  Every morning after breakfast, I set the snack basket out on the counter.  The kids are welcome to get a snack at any time during the day.  The best part is they know they do not have to ask me!   Even though the snacks are to last a week, they can chose to eat them all in 2 days or they can make them last the week.  Either way, when the basket is empty, the snacks are gone until the next week. I also like that because even at 6 and almost 4 they are learning to practice self-control and make their own decisions.  And I think we parents try to dictate our children's EVERY move and it's not a good thing.  They grow up to never be able to make a good decision on their own, therefore they follow.  Good or bad.  They follow.  Okay, enough of that rant.

You can see they are not real adventureous eaters.  Although they are venturing out a tad.  When I originally went shopping for our snack basket, I grabbed a buggy full of pre-packaged snacks.  But before I could get out of there, I had had a big change of heart and emptied pretty much all of it.  I am totally into the money saving right now, so I just couldn't justify it.  For instance, instead of the already made Rice Krispies I bought the stuff to make them and made about 4 times as many for the same price. I individually wrapped each square in that cuss-ed plastic wrap and put enough for the week in the basket and still had several left over for the next week.  They may not keep that well, and if not, I'll just make a smaller batch next time.  Either way, it's so much cheaper.   A fav right now is Jello pudding.  But it can get expensive.  Especially when Daddy eats 2 or 3 a day as well. So instead of buying them already packaged, I mixed up a big bowl of pudding and found some super handy little cups to put it in.  You'll see those later in the post.  I bought some little snack bags and bagged grapes and Whales. There's not many things that frustrate me more than an open box of Whales or chips or crackers strewn all over the house.  Not to mention the waste.  Remember, we're saving money, people.  Since they are bagged individually, the kids can put them back in the basket or frig if they don't want them all and finish them later. 

Of course this took some time in the kitchen, and I'll tell you.  I'm not a fan of being in the kitchen that much {although I'm coming around and starting to enjoy it more}, but I AM a fan of organization and less chaos.  Anything to lessen stress and chaos is good.  So it's worth it to me.

And another bonus is if you like to be on a budget, this is a good way to tangibly see where the money is going and how much is being spent/eaten in a weeks time.  It's like how Dave Ramsey says to use cash instead of the card as much as possible.  There's just something about being able to 'see' the money/food disappear.

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Jell-O is a perfect summer snack that is cheap and easy.  Two of my favorite words!  So I made up several boxes and put it in a pan and cut it into squares.  Of course they need a little help with this one.

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Here are the cutest, handiest little things ever.

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They are dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe.  And BPA free.  I love it!  We can re-use them over and over.  And I was very surprised at how sturdy they actually were.  You just have to make sure the lid is snapped down tightly.

As for drinks...oh my goodness.  We could drink a pond.  Daily.  These children around here are spoiled.  So water is not at the top of their list.  They prefer Capri Suns, sweet tea, kool-aid, Gatorade and the little girly could drink a milk cow dry.  But most of those are not necessarily healthy and are expensive.

I buy V8 Capri Suns and the smaller size Gatorades.  I make sweet tea daily because there is a much bigger love that lives here that drinks a gallon/day.  And the kiddos think it's the bomb dot com.  I think I know why...I put 1 1/2 cups of sugar in each gallon.  Yikes!!! But that's how they like it and that's why we have to have some boundaries.   I don't mind the Gatorade so much but truthfully it's full of sugar as well.  So, they are allowed to have one Gatorade or one Capri Sun per day.  Once that has been drank, they can have a glass of tea.  After that, it's water!  No exceptions!  {And for the little milk drinker, well, she can have several cups of that a day.}  This way I don't have little heads hanging in the frig ALL DAY LONG and I'm not finding empty, flat Capri Suns under every chair, bed, sitting on the counters, out at the swing set, on the trampoline, in the middle of the backyard, etc....  This also applies to friends.  Cause let me tell you, a group of those little devils can do away with several boxes of Capri Suns and Gatorades! 

The snacks come out after breakfast and are put back in the cabinet after 4 p.m.  As I mentioned before, my kids are not really big eaters.  So they have to have some limits.  And if I see that we are not eating our 'food', the snacks will be cut back. 

I don't want to be the snack Natzi and I want the kids to enjoy this.   I want them to have some freedom.  I mean it is summer and we should cut loose a little more during the summer.  I think.   But Mama still needs some organization and boundaries.  I just think that's with any part of life.  Boundaries are good.  It keeps us sane.  It helps us stay on track.  On budget.

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With most anything around here there are exceptions.   Especially when it comes to homemade ice cream!

Hope y'all are enjoying the sweet {hot} summertime!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My sweet boy

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When I saw that first + sign, there was no way I could imagine what that meant for my life.  I had no idea that he would change me in almost every single way.  I had no clue that he would grab hold of my heart with every single inch of himself and I would be smitten from the first moment I laid my eyes on him.

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When the ultrasound told us it was a boy, I knew my husband was so proud.  We all know about the father-son relationship.  But wow!  I was not prepared for the mother-son one and how this dark-haired, long-legged little boy would undo me. 

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He stands over half as tall as me.  His pants hem nor his Mama can keep up with him. 
He's got whatever it is that blows me away.  He makes my heart glow.  And I can't get enough.

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{He loves his blanket.  The same blanket that was given to me when I was pregnant with him.}

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{His 6th birthday.}

His heart is tender.  He sees the needs of others.  He is willing.  He is helpful.  He is quick to give.  He loves his Mama and he's always on my side.  Always.  He stands up for me and he is fierce about it.

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{He chose to celebrate with a day at the beach.}

He is the first to give me a hug.  And the first to say sweetly, "You look so pretty, Mama."  He is full of compliments and I appreciate them!

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He is gorgeous.  On the inside and out.  He is tall, dark and handsome.  His blue and sometimes hazel eyes are dangerous.  They melt me into a puddle.  And they will fill up with tears in an instant when he knows you are hurting.  He just knows.  And one day there will be a super lucky girl in this world.  And if she knows what's good for her, she'll love him with all her heart and treat him like gold.

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He is precious in my sight.  And he was fearfully and wonderfully made.  He loves Jesus and he's the biggest prayer warrior I know.  He prays for those in need and doesn't forget.  Ever.

I'm not sure there could be any better.  I know he's really not perfect, but he sure is close.  I think he's top notch.  And I'm super-duper thankful for him.  He's my sweet boy and I wouldn't trade him for the world!

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{Mother's Day 2013. I'm wearing the corsage he made for me.}

Unfortunately I haven't learned how to stop time, so my little man is growing up on me.  And this is my last summer with him before he goes off to 'big school'.  He doesn't know it, but it's tearing his Mama to pieces.  I'm not sure what we'll do around here.  I can tell you there will be tears.  Lots of tears.  But I also know he's ready.  And it's life.  I don't like it.   But I can rest in knowing that Jesus loves him more than I do.  How?  I can't fathom.  But I know He does.  And I know He'll be watching over His little creation.  And everyday, when that sweet boy arrives back home, His Mama and his little sister will be happy, happy, happy!

He is a gift.  The best there ever was.  My prayer for him is that above all he will always love Jesus and serve Him.  The rest is just blessings undeserved!

Long ago you came to me,
a miracle of firsts;
First smiles and teeth and baby steps,
a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away
and leave to me your past,
And I will be left thinking of
a lifetime of your lasts...
The last time that I held a bottle
to your baby lips,
The last time that I lifted you
and held you on my hip.
The last night when you woke up crying,
needing to be walked,
When last you crawled up with your blanket,
wanting to be rocked.
The last time when you ran to me,
still small enough to hold.
The last time that you said you'd marry
me when you grew old.
Precious, simple moments and
bright flashes from your past---
Would I have held on longer if
I'd known they were your last?
Our last adventure to the park,
your final midday nap,
The last time when you wore your favorite
faded baseball cap.
Your last few hours of kindergarten,
those last days of first grade.
Your last at bat in Little League,
last colored picture made.
I never said goodbye to all
your yesterdays long passed,
So what about tomorrow---
will I recognize your lasts?

Let me hold on longer, God,
to every precious last.....
     -----Karen Kingsbury


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A lesson learned from Toy Story

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Andy stopped by Bonnie's on his way to college to give her his most prized toys.   Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang deserved a loving new home where Andy was sure they would be played with with the best of care.  At one time they had been his best friends.

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We had watched the first two of them for the umpteenth time and were finishing up number 3.  As I sat with my babies, sobbing my eyes out over a dang cartoon, I was seeing a whole new meaning behind the story.  It was making 'real life' sense to me.  One day I would have an Andy and a Bonnie.  And my Andy would grow up and move to college.  Never needing those blasted toys again.  The ones I pick up 79 times a day.  Those guns that are full of sand.  Those trucks and bulldozers and backhoes.  Those legos that I know could inflict more pain than a stab wound when stepped on barefoot.   My little Bonnie will grow up too.  She won't be wanting those baby dolls and all their accessories.  Those books and  piles of 'business' stacked every where. Those bags of all kinds packed full of God only knows what all.  The ones we take to the ball park, the grocery store, school, the trampoline and the sandbox.  The ones we have a complete meltdown over if we leave behind even one. 

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All of those things that on most days make me want to pull my hair out and run screaming through the streets.  Those quirky little things that make them who they are.  The parts of them that make them unique.  Those are the things that make them little---just how I like it.

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I find myself so often huffing and puffing over the bags.  All the bags.  Calling her a bag lady.  Complaining about how she's such a hoarder.  Wondering who in the world will ever be able to live with her.  Rolling my eyes and laughing as she packs another plastic bag full of sand, quarters, and lipstick.

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Complaining that he's 5 {very near 6!} and still wants his blanket to go. every. where. we. go.
Arguing that he doesn't need to take the bulldozer and backhoe to town just to run errands. 

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Why do I care?  When something so small makes them so happy?  So secure. When they are delighted to make Mama happy by doing most anything she asks, why then do I hold back?  Why do I make something out of nothing?

Why do we try to change our children?   Why don't we trust that God knew what he was doing when he created them?  Why are we sometimes ashamed of who they are?  They are just exactly who God made them to be!  And who am I to want to change that?  Bags, blankets and all.  They were fearfully and wonderfully made.


Friday, April 5, 2013

When comparisons smash you like a truck

I'm not usually sure when it's going to strike.  It's kind of a sneaky little joker.  Creeping up in my heart.  In my thoughts.  Creating doubt, fear, bitterness, anger.  Making me question the goodness of God.  Doubting my role as a mother.  A wife.  Wondering if and when I'll ever get it all together and measure up.


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It's seems to be creeping around all over the world wide web.  The internet can be such an ugly monster, shouting in your face and letting you know how you fall short.  Never telling the truth.  Never showing the ugly in other's lives, just the good.  It's a for sure place to see all the "success" of everyone else.  But rarely ever the real-life. 

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Comparison is always a trap and it sucks the life right out of me. It's constantly nipping at my heels and barking out lies.

It tells me that my worth lies...

in how many children I have. 
in how well I manage my home.
in how good my housekeeping skills are.
in how well I dress.
in how skinny I am.
in how much money I do or don't make.
in how many titles I hold.
in how good I cook.
in how many days I attend church.
in how my children turn out.
in the success of my marriage.
in how well I can control my emotions.
in how I manage my time.

When the truth is my worth lies in who I amA child of the King.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

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Comparison makes me weak and weary.  Afraid to chase my dreams.  Too tired to hope.
It makes me doubt my calling.  It steals my joy.  It makes me feel less-than.

It even makes me sometimes wish things were different.  People were different.  I was different.  My life was different.  My children were different.  My husband was different.

It makes me forget that God has a perfect plan.  He knows my future and He holds it in His hands.  He is in control of tomorrow.  And I can have confidence in His loving plan.

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But for now He has given me the present.  I am blessed with the here and now.  He loves me because I am His and He is mine.  I've been bought with a price.  A very high price.  The highest price.

When I look away from what I wish I had, and look around at what I do have, I find a one-of-a-kind-life crafted just for me.

We are all unique.

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I write because I need to remember.  Otherwise I forget and fear takes chunks out of my dreams.

There's messy days and lovely days.  There's days full of arguments and fights.  There's days of sunshine and days of rain.  There's happy days and sad days.  There's stains on the carpet and stains on my heart.  There's days full of hope and days stolen by despair. 

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Regardless of what day I find myself in, my value never changes

He cares about my dreams and my desires.  He knows my heart.  My name is graven on His hands.  My name is written on His heart.

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This is my life.  And for now, I rejoice in today.

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