Saturday, November 28, 2009

Playing Catchup

Blogging has been really low on my priority list lately. Thought I'd play a little catch up while the kids are quiet, which has been really rare lately!

Our church had the annual "Harvest Festival" the Sunday before Halloween. Games to play, food to eat, and a really cool show by a ball handler. This year they chose a sports theme and it was really fun.

The Thursday before Halloween Gabby had her first school party. They all had so much fun dressing in their costumes and trick-or-treating from classroom to classroom.

And finally, Saturday was Halloween. Two more fall festivals and a little trick-or-treating at Grandmom's house. Gabby was a little surprised to find out the treats included more than just candy at Grandmom's.

Hope you had a fun Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

VPA Talent Show, Otherwise Known as "Tribute to High School Musical and Michael Jackson"

We had the pleasure of attending our nephews' school talent show last week. They go to a visual and performing arts' magnet school. The acts were great. Three or four "High School Musical" and three Michael Jacksons, with some "Wicked" thrown in for good measure. We think this one was one of the best, but we're bias. Introducing Parker as Michael Jackson. . .

Don't You Feel Safer. . .

knowing that these two are protecting the community? :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Back Home

Jason and I have spent the past few days at the D6 Conference in Frisco, TX. I have so much I want to share about this, but I am still processing all of it. God had His hand on this conference and it was amazing. Can't wait to sit with my notes and Bible and make more notes. For now, the bed is calling my name.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Introducing the Soccer Pro

Turns out it wasn't just teething. Bless her heart, she has some kind of infection that is affecting one of her ears and her throat. She has a cute little hoarse cry. Not to be confused with the horse cry that she usually has. That girl has a set of lungs! No worries, antibiotics prescribed and healing is taking place.

We had a very busy weekend. There was a baby shower at our house Sunday, of which I have no pictures because my camera was in the jeep, which left that afternoon with my husband and girls. I do, however, have a pretty clean house and sparkling bathrooms, thanks to my hubby!

Saturday was the first soccer game of the season. Of our lives, for that matter. I have a feeling we'll be doing this for awhile. As they were eating breakfast, Daddy promised her one dollar for each goal she made, thinking that would motivate her to get out there and play hard. It did, alright. The girl scored five goals! I told him this might be an expensive season. MeMaw's footing the bill this week, so we told her do really well and she could maybe buy a trampoline for the backyard with her earnings. :)

It was also a monumental day because it was the first day her hair has ever been braided. Ever. The child does not like having her hair fixed. She did, however, like having her hair out of the way. So there may be more braids in the future. Stay tuned.

They all had so much fun. I was impressed with how well the girls played together. I don't mean to brag (well, just a little!) but the referees told our coaches there was nothing in particular we needed to work on. The girls had the concept and did well! Pretty good for a four-and-five year old team!

Getting ready for the game:

Lining up (notice the cutie poking out):

I was hoping to have some of the video, but, alas, time has gotten away from me once again.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

We Interrupt This Blog. . . .

. . .for a teething bloggy break! Li'l Bit is cutting some serious molars (as if there were another kind) and I am doing all I can to get my house ready for a shower this weekend! I'm sure all two of you are sitting on the edge of your seats for the next riveting post and this is devastating. I'm sorry. :) In the meantime, have a "splashing" good weekend!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

We had a pretty relaxing long weekend. Saturday we took a little trip down the road, shopped and visited family. Gotta love Kohls!

While everyone was having parades and cookouts, this is what we did today:

Enjoying our hard work:

This evening we had our first soccer practice.

Oh, wait. That was just the shoe queen. She is loving all the new fall fashions. This is the right picture:

At the beginning of practice, the coach had them line on the middle line with their balls and kick it down to the goal. One of the girls just stood there. The whole practice. Yeah, you could tell she really wanted to be there.

Ellie got set up with her seat and really enjoyed the show.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Saturday Sharing

This post makes me both dread and have hope for the times that lie ahead for my sweet girls. We girls can be so mean. But we can rest that our real hope and comfort only comes from Jesus.

Here is a how-to for a really cute ribbon board. (Great for bows and barrettes!)

At last but certainly not least. . .this is great. Do yourself a favor and check out Tim's other stuff on You Tube.

Free Chicken!

This is super important! Well, at least in our little world it is!
Labor Day, September 7, 2009, wear your sports team logo and get a FREE Chick-Fil-A sandwich. 10:30 a.m. - close.
You can also register here for a chance to win stuff from Chick-Fil-A.

Eat Mor Chikin!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Financial Organization

When Kristen over at We Are That Family said the theme for this week's Works for Me Wednesday was going to be organizing, I just laughed. I'm not an organized person. I like organization. I even like organizing. It's just not the priority it should be.

So I thought. And then I thought. And thought some more. Finally I figured out that if one part of my life is organized, it's the financial part. 'Cause it has to be.

A few things that help me keep it organized:

1. We use Dave Ramsey's envelope system for our regular spending. This helps us not spend too much by using credit cards. I almost always end up spending more using them. We always pay off the card at the end of the month, but it's a mental thing. It feels like you're using real money when you spend cash, because you are.

2. We have a budget and we have a spreadsheet to track our spending. And although this summer we haven't been using it like we should, last spring it was great, and it will be great this fall! You can find some great tools at these sites:

Dave Ramsey
Christian Personal Finance
Crown Financial

3. We use ING savings accounts for the big stuff. There are a few expenses we have only once a year, like our life insurance, home insurance and taxes, and other things we might need a larger sum for, like medical bills or car repairs. We also keep our emergency fund there. Although we have lots of different categories, we only have three separate accounts. I set up a spreadsheet to keep track of the categories. For instance, we might have one lump sum in ING, but on my spreadsheet it's divided up into categories like house, medical, car, etc. That way we're earning more interest on the larger amount, but I know how much comes in and out of each category. That way, when that large bill comes we're not caught off guard. We've been preparing for it.

4. Keep records. I may not always do the best job on this, but all the papers are around here somewhere. My husband has come up with a binder system for our bills and large purchases. Here's a great list at that will give you some guidlines of how long to keep records.

Now off to work on the organization of everything else in the house. . .

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happy 15 months!

Ellie is now fifteen months! I can't believe how the time passes.
A few Ellie fun facts:

Favorite food: The child could exist on graham crackers and bananas. Seriously. She is not a picky eater, which is very good for mommy.

Favorite word: Well, the thing she says the best is "Bye, bye. MMMMMMMMWAHHHH." She says "Oh!" instead of "Uh oh". I love to hear her talk.

Favorite toy: Anything she can get her hands on. She is a toddler, after all. I'm once again entering the world of put something away, pull something out, put something away, pull something else out. Wouldn't trade it for anything.

We go to the doctor Monday so I don't have weight, etc.

Ellie is such a joy to have. She is so loving and playful. She, very unlike her sister, goes to sleep well for naps and bedtime. It's still weird to me that she just goes to sleep when I put her in bed. She is such a good baby and we are so thankful for her!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday Sharing

I spend way too much time that I should be doing other things reading other people's blogs. So I might as well share some of the goodies I find!

I must make this dress. I'm not much of a crafty person, although I long to be, but I think even I could do this one.

This series by Shaun Groves resonates with many. (There are nine parts)

I'm loving reading the posts over at (In)Courage. Many different women, many different circumstances, but all very strong and beautiful.

If you have little girls in your life, you wanna check out these paper dolls. So cute, and free!

Have a great weekend!

Edited to add: This will mess you up. In a good way.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

School Girl

My big girl started school yesterday. Well, it's preschool, and it will just be two days a week, but it's still school!

She was so excited. We have been talking about for weeks. She got a letter from the director a couple of weeks ago and listened to every word as I read it to her. We're excited because it's a Christian preschool. She'll be learning Bible verses there and at church during our AWANA program (which will be a whole 'nother post). Can't be a bad thing, having the Word of God poured out on her from other people!

It was doubly-exciting because one of her best friends is in her class too. Levi and she have been buddies pretty much since they met, and I'm sure they will be giving the teacher a run for her money! They're a mess when they get together!

After school we went out for ice cream. Always a good after-school treat!
I'm sorry to say this is the best picture I got:

The babies liked it too!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dunkin' Daddy

Yesterday we had on outreach picnic at a park in our church's neighborhood. Food, water slides, lots of fun. All the pastors got a turn in the dunk tank. Of course Gabby wanted a chance at getting Daddy all wet!

Three tries and no luck, so:

And with a little help from Ms. Hannah:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Museum Trip

We had a great time yesterday at a great museum. It is only a little over an hour from our house, and is a little treasure in the middle of Malden, Missouri. The girls had a blast with friends playing and experimenting!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dumpster Diving

Do you dumpster dive? This morning I witnessed some people "trashbag treasuring". We don't have dumpsters or even garbage cans in our city; we just set the trashbags by the side of the road. I know, high class.

I don't have a problem with people looking for treasures on the side of the road. I have been known to eye an item or two. It just got me to thinking about what we're throwing away. If our trash had been out yet they would have been in for a treat! Baby girl has been eating well lately!

Really, though, what do you throw away? Do you throw away items that are still usable? Do you throw away items that can be recycled? I believe that God wants us to be good stewards of what He has given us. We're a very affluent people, by the world's standards. Many things we toss would be precious to some abroad.

So I'm going to make a very conscious effort to be a better steward of what God has given us.

1. We will recycle all that we can. We already do a good bit of this, but considering we don't have recyling pickup in our area, (did ya' read the part about not even a trash can?) this takes a little more effort. We do have two recycling drop-offs. I'm going to look for other places I can take things they don't accept. For instance, you can trade in old cell phones with Swagbucks. You can print off a postage-paid mailing label, send it in, and receive swagbucks in return. If you aren't a member, please use my link on the bottom of the page, if you would be so kind!

2. Use something up until it's gone. Also already do this pretty well, but we can do better.

3. Buy second-hand, but only if the item is really needed. Love me some garage sales, but don't want to clutter my house with unnecessary items. Some items you probably don't want to buy second hand include toothbrushes, retainers and deodorant. I'm going to hope you already knew that.

4. Take care of what we have. Regular maintenance on many things will extend their life. For instance, cars run better with regular "checkups", and my husband swears that a vehicle runs better when it's clean.

5. Teach our children how to better take care of their stuff. Make sure that the next generation is aware that God gives us what we have and wants us to be good stewards.

So those are a few steps I'm going to make sure I'm following. Let me know if you ahve any other ideas!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The House That Cleans Itself

Housework. Ugh. I'm not a naturally organized person. Don't get me wrong, I like organization, even like to organize. But taking on the clutter of four people is a little overwhelming to me. That's where "The House That Cleans Itself" comes in handy.

Mindy Starns Clark and I are like souls when it comes to housekeeping. If you think that your clutter is unmanageable, get this book! It's an easy read, and the steps she outlines in her book will transform your home into a workable, livable space. She challenges you to really open your eyes to look at your house and it's problem areas. You divide your house into "zones" and tackle one at a time. And not just the clutter, but the little things that make a difference, like cleaning doors and repairing switch plates.

I'll share before and after photos after I work through my spaces. I've only just started, and I already feel better about my home!

For more Works for Me Wednesday, head over to We Are That Family!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Please Excuse the Mess

I'm working on changing up the look of the blog. Without too many interruptions, I should be finished soon! Sorry if you find a weird looking page when you visit!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday - Magic Nuudles

We have discovered a great creative activity that is not messy at all. My sister gave Gabby some "Magic Nuudles" for her birthday, and we are in love! These things are basically colored styrofoam peanuts, but they sure bring out the creativity! All you need is a wet sponge and the nuudles. They are very inexpensive (about $5). Look for them at Hobby Lobby or a like craft store.

Here's a sample of the flowers she figured out how to make:

I've bought all of our preschool VBS classes a box. Great activity for little hands!

Head over to We Are That Family for more Works for Me Wednesday!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sprinkler Fun

Dora can be a lot of fun. Especially when she spins around and shoots water.

Being the mean parents we are, we played a little trick on the baby.

This is what we got:


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Things Learned So Far This Summer, Before the First Official Day of Summer

So, I guess I'm becoming one of those bloggers that updates about once every month. I'm going to do better. Really I am. I feel that if I tell myself that enough, I'll really believe it. So I'll start with a little list.

Things I've Learned So Far This Summer, Even Though It's Not Really Summer Yet:

1. Ellie is a serious climber. So far, she's climbed to the top of the slide on our swing set, the shelf with the TV, the baker's rack, and last night, the couch. She used her little ride-on car for that last one. Scary.

2. If your local meteorologist says that your area is in a "Ring of Fire", you've been warned - it's going to be seriously hot. Like melt your face hot. Sweating at 6:15 a.m. hot. August in June hot.

3. Hearing the term "Ring of Fire" used for your area will prompt Johnny Cash's song to be played over and over in your head for a few days.

4. Even living in said "Ring of Fire", pool water can still be strangely cold.

5. If you come across warm spots in said cold pool water, they should be avoided, especially in the kiddie area.

6. Summer television re-runs are a blessing. This is our reminder to turn off the TV and go play with the kids. Just listen to music and play games and create things. This should carry over even when the new shows come back on. There's not really anything worth watching anyway. Well, maybe The Office and Chuck. :) That's why we have recorders.

7. Handy Manny and Mickey Mouse really are good teachers. My four-year-old will listen and retain their lessons about recycling. Never mind the recycling box we have in the garage and our trips to the recycling drop-off.

8. My oldest is really living up to her name, which provides both exhaustion and comic relief. It's amazing what they say!

That's it for right now. Now for the obligatory pictures.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Ellie!

Today marks Ellie's first birthday. We celebrated with a party with the family Monday. She was such a sweet little thing. She has been taking five and six steps here and there, but decided to really show off for the party. She walked all over the place! We had lots of fun, and she loved having so many of her favorite people in one spot! Gabby enjoyed helping with the decorations and picking out a gift for Ellie. She got her a gloworm. :) It's one of Ellie's favorite things now!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I just read this post by Shaun Groves on his blog, and it was one that made me stop and say, "Wow. . .right on. . . now what?". God has been challenging me lately about doing more. Being more. For Him. I'm not talking about just being busy. We're all busy enough. But are we busy with the meaningful things?

Okay, so I'm a mom. I'm a wife. I'm a daughter, sister, friend. Yes, my schedule is busy. Yes, I'm doing things that matter, although sometimes I wonder how much that pile of laundry really matters! But are we doing everything God wants us to do? Are we not just surrendered to Him, but listening to what He wants us to do? Trapped in His presence, unable to release until we hear a Word, that Word, and we know "That's It." "That's Him."

Do we let Him regularly evaluate our position with Him so we can be of upmost use for Him? What you are doing may be great. What you are doing may be exactly what God wants you to do. But please, oh please, don't stop listening. He's ever changing us for His glory. That others might see His glory. That others will feel His glory.

Don't you want to be part of it? Part of a radical uplifting of God's people to share Him with those who are in desperate need of Him? Ask Him to show you your part. He will. And watch out. Because it's going to be outstanding. Incredible. Miraculous.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

In honor of this special day. . .

If You Give A Mom A Muffin
Author Kathy Fictorie

If you give a mom a muffin,
She'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She'll pour herself some.
Her three-year-old will spill the coffee.
She'll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she'll find dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
She'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan for supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook ("101 Things To Do With a Pound of Hamburger").
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The check book is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two year old's diaper.
While she is changing the diaper, the phone will ring.
Her five-year-old will answer and hang up.
She'll remember she wants to phone a friend for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
And chances are...
If she has a cup of coffee,
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Making the Most of Online Rewards - Works for Me Wednesday

This my first time posting with Works for Me Wednesday. I've been reading great tips given by other bloggers for months, but am finally jumping in with them.

This week's theme Frugality. What works for me is using online reward programs for GIFTS. I earn points, cash, gifts cards, etc. with these programs. What works for me is that I typically wait to redeem when I need some gifts. I use them the most at Christmas. Here are the main ones I use and why:

The first is They send you emails with survey links(or download their messenger to get immediate notice of new surveys). I've completed quick surveys for five points, and I've received 300 points for some more involved, but they still don't take much time. For each 1000 points you earn, you can redeem them for prizes or CASH. I've earned about $150 so far with this.

The next, and the one I've earned the most with, is MyPoints. You can earn points for clicking on ads in emails, shopping through MyPoints, completing surveys, and signing up for trials. They did have a credit card program too, but it has been discontinued. I usually redeem points for gift cards at Christmas for gifts and to use myself to purchase gifts.

A new one to me is Swagbucks. Many people have had great success with this one, and I seem to be earning points fairly quickly. You can earn points for using their search engine, which has earned me at least one swagbuck a day, usually more. You can recycle old cell phones and such with them to earn points. All you have to do is enter what kind of phone you have and they provide you with a postage-paid label you print to mail the phone to them. You can also earn points shopping through the website, as well as by referrals. What I'm excited about with this one is that you can redeem for Amazon gift cards.

With all of these programs, you can earn points with referrals, so I'd really appreciate you asking for a link to join. Just leave a comment with your email address or email me and I'll get one to you.

This may not sound like a lot of extra money, but it really is in relation to the time put into it. And it sure helps out at Christmas, when money seems to be flying out the door much quicker! And that works for me. For more Works for Me Wednesday, check out the other posts at We Are That Family!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Miracle of Making a Difference

This past week I've been reading some blogs. No different from other weeks, except that I've focused on following Compassion's bloggers' trip to India. I can't begin to imagine how traveling to a third-world country could affect you, but I get a little taste through their posts.

These bloggers are traveling with one purpose - to make a difference in lives. They are writing about their experiences in order to further the work of Compassion, which is making a huge difference in families' lives all over the world.

Take a few minutes to read for yourself:

Compassion Bloggers

Oh, and if you stop by Shaun Groves' blog, one of the leaders on the trip, you can download his song, "Kingdom Coming" for free! (It's on a banner on the right side) Such a good song.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Miracle of Prayer

Amazed would be the word. I'm so excited about what God is teaching me and confirming to me through these Miracle Mondays. I had half this post written before going to our Sunday night service. At the end of the service, we put in action what God has put on my heart for this post. I am overjoyed and humbled by how God cares for each of us!

Now to the topic at hand. Next week is the National Day of Prayer. The mission of the National Day of Prayer Task Force is such:
The National Day of Prayer Task Force's mission is to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership in the seven centers of power: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.

This year marks the 58th year that it will be observed.

I am grateful for the freedom to pray, but I am most grateful for the ability to pray. See, prayer in itself is a miracle. One of my favorite parts of the Easter story is this:
50And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.

Do you know what the curtain (veil) being torn represented? Simply put, direct access to God. We have this miraculous gift of being to speak with our Creator any time we wish. We don't have to go through another human; we enter His presence through Jesus Christ. I just think that is amazing, and yet I fear we don't recognize, or sometimes just don't take advantage of that opportunity. Our Creator, the Creator of all living things, wants to talk with us. He wants us to share our feelings with Him, share our hurts, our triumphs. He wants to bless us through prayer if we will just let Him!

Prayer can do amazing things. Now, I'm not saying God's going to do everything you ask. And He may even provide His answer in a way you were not expecting. He certainly has in my life. But He wants to hear from us, and He wants to speak to us, if we'll be still enough to listen. God wants to teach us through prayer; He wants to widen our perspective. He wants to open our eyes to what He is doing around us and show us who we can touch and bless. We can only know these things if we are having daily, ongoing conversations with Him.

My sweet sister is definitely an example of what prayer can do. She has been through an incredibly hard journey the past year. I believe she would agree with me that she could have in no way withstood this situation without prayer. It has blessed me so to see the impact prayer has had on her, both those interceding on her behalf, as well as her own prayer time.

My heart was broken this weekend as we saw some neighbors this weekend. They have a real and desperate need for prayer for a situation. We would have never known had our paths not crossed. It has me wondering how often we share our needs with others. How many people do you come in contact with daily? How many of those people are you praying for? Each of us have prayer needs, some big, some small, depending on the timing. I think one of the ways we fail people is neglecting to pray for them. An essential part of the Christian faith is interceding for one another. Sharing each other's burdens.

Now for the fun part! Go to the comments section under this post, list a prayer request, and I will pray for you this week. You can leave your name or you can post it anonymously. It doesn't matter to me. God knows who you are. What matters is that you'll have one more person praying for that need this week. I'm serious about this -so please post some comments so I'll have some extra people to pray for this week!

Have a Miraculous Monday!

National Day of Prayer

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring, Beautiful Spring

I love Springtime! New life is breathed into God's beautiful creation. Everything is so colorful. It just energizes me! I had to take pictures of our beautiful azaleas by our front door.

I really wanted to get a picture of the girls by these beautiful flowers, but here's why that's not going to happen:

Posted by Picasa

Yep, with these beautiful flowers come a host of great big bumblebees. So maybe we'll take some pictures by all the dandelions. . .

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cutie Pies

I got a few cute pictures over the weekend. . . .

The girls in their new Princess bedroom at Grandmom's:

Having fun at dinner:

I'm pretty sure that molar back there is the reason we haven't been getting our beauty rest around here:

I never knew could be so exhausting: