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Aug 28, 2014

New Playmate


So, Connor has a new little playmate in the house. (And the big kids have a new doll to play with after school.) Like an all-day-4-days-a-week type of playmate that I'll be babysitting full-time in a couple weeks. Today was a trial-run, since her mom had to take an exam for work. The day couldn't have gone better.

Just look at this sweet face:



My days just got a little bit busier and a whole lot sweeter.

Aug 27, 2014

How to Pray


Since I'm already teaching my kids how to study the Bible (along with learning the new habit myself), I thought I'd also teach them how to pray using the old fashioned A.C.T.S. method. I typed up another quick how-to bookmark and posted it in the back of our journals. Such a great tool to remind us how to talk to God each day. Throughout our days every day. All day long.

Feel free to print and share.



If nothing else gets through in life, this is what I want my kids to remember. A mess of a mother teaching them to dig deep in the Word. Lay everything at the feet of their Heavenly Father. Trusting Him with all their might.

Aug 26, 2014

How to Study the Bible


I wanted to share a little different way to study your Bible, other than reading your favorite devotionals or a different chapter of the Bible every day. Sometimes you're busy and you don't have time to sit down with God. Or, you just don't feel like it. I get it.

But since I've become an adult and made time with God a priority - trying this whole method out - my days are sweeter. I'm more calm, more productive. I have purpose to my days. It's something I can't live without. And something I'm striving to teach my kids early on, so they'll have purpose to their days too.

I bought lined journals and colored ink pens for all of us from Target, printed up this quick how-to on studying the Bible the S.O.A.P. method way and taped them inside each journal. Now, it's a lot easier to dig into the Word and find something to apply to my life each day. I see and hear God speaking to me more. And I can look back and see how far I've come along the way.



Feel free to print and post in your journal or Bible too!

Aug 25, 2014

6 Ways to Resolve Conflict

With our oldest two (boy/girl, ages 12 and 6) sharing a room full-time, there's a lot of fighting and arguing these days. If space wasn't an issue, we'd move them over into separate rooms in a heartbeat and I know they'd be just fine. But, since that isn't an option right now, we're trying to help them out as much as we can. Help them take turns and have alone time as much as possible. Encourage independent play, hobbies and friends. But, the fact is - they are brother and sister and we want to value that relationship too. So, with the help of these easy 6 steps below posted in their room - along with some teaching and training on how to use them - I'm hoping those squabbles over Legos or "who's touching who" will get a little lighter around here. :) 
Maybe these will help in your home too!

Aug 22, 2014

The Talk


Last night was our first official "talk" with Jacob about the birds and the bees. You know, SEX.

We, of course, started this conversation years ago with the basic differences between boys and girls, what happens to your body as you get older...but last night was the start of a new beginning. A new dialogue that will be open and honest, ongoing and continuing through life. Questions and answers, wisdom passed down from our own experiences and mistakes that we've made in the past. Scot and I want to lay it all out for our kids when the time is right and when they are ready, so they'll be fully prepared for all they'll be bombarded with in life. So they can stand tall and strong, know what to do when the temptations come (for they surely will), and hopefully, make good choices as they navigate their way through life growing up. Always knowing there's a soft place to fall when they walk through the doors at home.

With the middle school years well underway, we knew it was time. Time for Jacob to learn what God says in the Bible about sex. Why it's to be shared between husband and wife only. The changes he'll experience through puberty. Pregnancy. Pornography and addiction. Homosexuality. Sexual diseases. Love and dating. With the help of the God's Design for Sex book series by Stan and Brenna Jones, we're slowly introducing these things to Jacob as we balance the tightrope between education and parenting, while treasuring childhood innocence for as long as it lasts.

Wish us luck on our new grace-filled adventure!

Aug 21, 2014

DIY // Silhouette Art


My first major DIY project - even before my mantel makeover, starburst clothespin wreath or burlap canvas family silhouette art - was making silhouettes of my kids. Something I had wanted to do for a very long time but never had enough gumption to create until now. The first project that gave me confidence and opened my eyes to the whole entire creative world of DIY in the first place.

I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for online, so I made everything up as I went (how I roll most of the time with craft projects). And I seriously love how they turned out. If my house ever goes up in flames, these are the first things I'm grabbing besides the kids!


Mine are all 12x12 size with beautiful shabby chic frames (an early birthday gift from my photographer/parents), but you could cut and make them whatever size, style, color combo you'd like. Here's a quick tutorial if you want to create silhouettes of your own.

What you will need:

- 8x10 B+W cardstock printed silhouette photo
- 12x12 paper for the background (I chose woodgrain scrapbook paper from Joann's)
- 12x12 black cardstock paper for the silhouette (or any color of your choice)
- Large and small scissors
- Foam mounting squares
- Nice frame for display


Instructions:

1. First off, place your subject in front of a light background and take a head and shoulders photo of them from the side. Take lots of pictures and vary the sides (left or right) to see which one you like best. For girls, try different hairstyles too. (In my first set of photos with Brooklyn, she wore her hair down and her silhouette looked like George Washington. Ha! Next time I put her hair up in a ponytail, which is pretty typical for her these days, and it looked just like her.)
2. Print off your favorite picture onto 8x10 cardstock paper. Carefully cut out the subject's head and shoulders. 
3. Using a pencil, trace the cardstock silhouette onto black cardstock paper. Carefully cut out the new silhouette with a small pair of scissors, making sure to add little features like cowlicks, ponytails, bows or eyelashes. 
4. Place foam mounting squares on the backside of the black silhouette and adhere to your background page.
5. For the finishing touches, write your child's name and age with a fine-point permanent marker under the silhouette. Place final piece in a beautiful frame to display, and your silhouette is complete. This would look great mounted onto a burlap or acrylic canvas too!


Something you will enjoy - and possibly even pass down in the family - for many years to come.

Aug 18, 2014

Jacob's 12th Birthday

Yesterday, Jacob turned 12. Twelve. years. old. Can't believe we have an-almost-teenager in the house. Jake always spends his birthday weekend at his dad's, so this year was no different. But, Scot and I had a couple things up our sleeves to make his birthday extra special this year. (Minus my cold, a busted hot water tank and no hot water or showers for 2 days...yuck.)

First off, we picked up Jake's friends Josh and Michael and surprised him when his plane arrived at the airport Sunday around 6pm.



We had quite the exciting crew waiting for him in the waiting room:

(The boys were trying to look as miserable as possible, and I think they won. Ha!)



We had red and blue decorations everywhere.


And a homemade sign by me and Brooklyn.


She made these funny letter people all by herself.


Our little party at home:







We blessed the meal, and the boys made a toast with their cool IBC root beers - the best root beer there is.


Then, it was time for pizza.



And a good ol' fashioned silly string fight in the front yard.






Jake opened presents.





Which included a note explaining the big birthday surprise that will be coming soon.


The Happy Birthday song was sung before cookie cake, cupcakes and ice cream were devoured.






The boys ended their night-before-school with a quick 30-minute video game.


And Jake's favorite candy bags for the boys to take home.


Love this precious son of mine. My first-born. The one who made me the mom I am today.

Here are 12 things I love and appreciate about Jake:

1. His easy-going, laid back personality.
2. He loves having fun.
3. He loves others well by giving words of affirmation and spending quality time together.
4. He has a big heart.
5. He looks for the needs of others.
6. His avid love for reading. He reads hundreds of pages in different books every week.
7. He isn't afraid to be different and stand apart from his peers.
8. He knows right from wrong and asks forgiveness when he's done wrong.
9. He offers help whenever needed.  
10. He loves our church family and looks forward to attending youth group and church every week.
11. He realizes the difference between money and earthly things and true joy that only comes from God. 
12. He fights with his sister but always makes it right.

He's definitely a keeper in our book - and a handsome one, at that! We love you, Jacob. Happy 12th Birthday!

Aug 13, 2014

First Day of School

Last Friday the 8th was Jake and Brooklyn's first day of school. We were so busy that week I didn't have time to make rainbow pancakes like last year, but we had a little devotion and prayer time over breakfast which was much more important anyway. Can't believe school days are here already!

Here's our new 7th grader:

 5'4" tall // 140 lbs. 
Sizes: Men's small shirts // 18 pants // 10.5 shoe

And our sweet-and-sassy 1st grader:

42 in. tall // approx. 45 lbs.
Sizes: Girls 6/6X // 12 shoe 


A not-so-cool picture for mom in front of the school - ha!:


This is Brooklyn's first year at another new school, so she was pretty nervous. She went to our zoned public school for kindergarten last year (and loved it) and then got accepted into Jake's magnet school, so we switched her. I had so many emotions running through my mind and heart that morning. I worried that she wouldn't find her class or the bathroom or know where to stand for dismissal. (We gave her a tour, but still.) I worried she might be lonely during lunch or recess because she was so shy. I worried she'd have a hard time making new friends, standing her ground with the mean kids...or a hard time adjusting to the magnet program in general.

But, this is what letting go in motherhood is all about. I had to let go, give her little life to the Lord, and trust that He loves her more and will take good care of her this year when I'm not around. I surrendered my kids to the Lord. And I know they're going to be just fine - mishaps, failures and all.



I miss the big kids so much, but this little dude captures a lot of my time these days. And I don't think either one of us are complaining.

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