Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Idea for 2011

I can teach my child has an awesome idea for the New Year called the Blessing Jar.  For the full story and how to make one, make sure to go to her site.  But it is a way to keep the focus on the blessings that God sends throughout the year.  This past year is full of blessings for my family with the birth and everything we went through with Sweetpea and for Buddy's growth as a two year old.  We've moved and God has blessed us in our new area.  I'd love to keep better track of the little blessings so when we get home, I plan on making a Blessing Jar for my family.  It will be a great thing to reflect upon at the end of next year! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bringing up Boys and Bringing up Girls

Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of WomenI recently finished reading Bringing up Girls by Dr. James Dobson and found it to be an interesting but challenging read.  Before having Sweetpea, I thought raising girls would be easier because I am a girl and I know girls.  With today's society and technology, the way I was raised is going to be completely different.  I remember having a family Juno email account and being so proud of that.  Dr. Dobson shows some scary statistics about girls and technology and the way they are using it at young ages.  He also brings out the point that every girl, no matter how old, longs to be loved and cared for like a princess.  No wonder Disney has cashed in on that love through the Disney Princesses series!  After I finished the book, I sat back and realized that I had learned about myself and the way that God has wired me to long to be cherished by Jon.  Dr. Dobson continually emphasized the importance of two parents in the lives of girls, but especially dads.  Fathers have the ability to nurture and encourage their daughters as they grow or they can crush their daughters and scar them for life.  Mothers are, of course, important too as they show their daughters how to be ladies.  I hope and pray that Sweetpea grows up to be a beautiful lady inside and out and finds an amazing Godly man to love and cherish her without compromise.

Bringing Up Boys  About two months ago, I read Bringing up Boys by Dr. James Dobson and this book amazed me at how differently boys and girls think.  The rough and tumble lifestyle that results in lots of stain remover and possibly ER visits is regular life for a boy.  Buddy is still young but I already see that daring side of looking before he leaps or climbing on top of everything.  He isn't afraid of crashing into a table as he runs around our living room.  Dr. Dobson helped me to see inside of a boy's brain, per say, and realize how they are wired.  God has designed men and women to be vastly different in the way we think and talk and it amazing to see the scientific research to back that up.  Just like in Bringing up Girls, Dr. Dobson shows the value of a two parent household and mainly the importance of a father in the life of a boy.  This book challenged me to think about how we are raising Buddy and how we want him to be a gentleman in a society that tells him that he doesn't have to be one.  

Overall, I recommend both of these books if you are looking for practical advice and knowledge of how your child works.  As a mother of both a little boy and a girl, it was eye opening to see how differently Buddy and Sweetpea are desgined by God to be!   

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Our Christmas gifts for grandparents and great grandparents this year was a homemade calendar.  With the New Year rapidly approaching, everyone needs new calendars.  I also wanted to make something with Buddy and Sweetpea's hand prints or foot prints for presents but didn't know what I wanted to create.  I ran across an idea for a hand print calendar and adapted it for us.  Each month has a verse that coordinates with the hand prints or foot prints and then Jon designed the family pictures and the calendar portion.  I am pretty sure that all recipients enjoyed...and that I am going to enjoy mine hanging in our kitchen!  Here is what we did...

January was a snowflake pattern on blue paper so the white paint would show up clearer and Psalm 51:7 was the scripture. 

Hearts for February and Jeremiah 29:13 was the coordinating scripture.

March is butterflies for new creations with 2 Corinthians 5:17.

April showers bring... so we made rain clouds.  I chose to use Sweetpea's foot because it was very hard to keep an 8 month old's fingers open to make a hand print with multiple colors.  Buddy, on the other hand, loved using two colors.  Isaiah 45:8

...May flowers!  Song of Solomon 2:12

June is probably my favorite.  Goldfishes with the "fishers of men" verse, Matthew 4:19

We used Buddy's hand to make the flag and Sweetpea's to make fireworks!  Psalm 119:45

We made a sun for August and the verse was Psalm 57:6.

September is another favorite.  Buddy's hand and arm made up the tree trunk and branches.  His finger prints were the apples.  Sweetpea's feet were the leaves.  Jon and I couldn't decide on one verse so we used Proverbs 7:2 and Isaiah 55:12.

Beautiful feet for October.  Romans 10:15

November, of course, is Thanksgiving turkeys.  Buddy again enjoyed the multiple colors for his fingers but we kept Sweetpea's a solid brown for ease of painting.  Psalm 136:1 and Psalm 100:4 are the verses we chose for thanksgiving but there are lots more to choose from. 
And finally, Christmas tree feet for December with Luke 2:11 and Isaiah 9:6.  I added the extra decorations to make the trees more "Christmasy". 

If you are looking at making your own calendar or something similar, here are a few links that I used to get ideas.  

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reading the Bible in 90 days

The Bible in 90 Days Participant's Guide: An Extraordinary Experience with the Word of GodSo confession time...I, as a youth pastor's wife, have never read the entire Bible.  Every year, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to read the Bible in a year.  What ends up happening is I'll do great for about a month and then miss a day.  I'll think "I'll catch up tomorrow, the readings aren't that long" then tomorrow turns into a week and then so forth.  I've read a lot of the books, all of the New Testament and most of the Old at different points but never in order.  I tend to get bogged down in the prophets and in the sections with names.
Then I saw on Mom's Toolbox site, a challenge to Read the Bible in 90 Days beginning January 3rd.  90 seems like a long time but it isn't really.  After thinking and praying about this for a while, I signed up.  I'm excited because it is a huge commitment (45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours of reading a day) but I am an avid reader, if you couldn't tell, and I think having longer readings will help.  I was also convicted at how I've easily spent 45 minutes reading other books for fun.  Why not read the Bible straight through like a novel?  It will definitely put things into context and be easier to keep up with where I am at in my readings.  Plus, if you sign up through Mom's Toolbox, you'll be put into an accountability group to check in every week on your progress.  Love it!

I challenge you as you are thinking about your New Year's Resolutions to sign up for Read the Bible in 90 Days.  And if you do, let me know and we'll have double accountability!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Our travels went very well!  Buddy loved the Snowman craft that I made for the flights.  Each flight he wanted to pull it out and make a different snowman!  Even the minibooks that I made for him were perfect for him though he did not want to color them at all. 
I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!  Enjoy the time with your family tomorrow and remember Isaiah 9:6, 'For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.  And the government will be upon His shoulder.  He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace'!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Praying for our Husbands

Something I've always wanted to do was to pray for Jon in a specific manner but I normally end up praying something like, "Lord, please be with Jon today with whatever he needs."  I came across a great idea on Better Life Bags to make a flip book to pray for my husband.   Rebecca has made 31 days of prayer cards and has a tutorial to make a neat homemade flip book.  Surprisingly it was really simple to make.  I made a few changes and used contact paper to cover my cards and temporarily have ribbon tying them onto the book.  Binder rings escaped me at the store so ribbon was a great stand-in.  Here is the final product! 

If you'd like to make one for your husband, go to Better Life Bags and either become a fan of the blog or like Better Life Bags on Facebook.  Send a message to Rebecca and she'll email you the cards.  They are gorgeous and have Bible verses to go along with the topic.  This is a perfect reminder to pray for our husbands in the New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bad Mommy Moment

Tonight I had one of those "I'm a bad mommy!" moments.  As we were leaving the store, I had Buddy climb into his car seat by himself while I buckled Sweetpea in hers then I was going to go around and buckle him in.  He's been doing this by himself for quite a while but, I guess, mainly in daylight.  As he climbed in tonight, he noticed that the lights were on above his seat and proceeded to try to touch them.  I saw what was going to happen before it did...he lost his balance and fell head first out of the seat onto the hard pavement.  My first instinct was to run but Sweetpea was only half buckled and I didn't want her to wiggle out too.  I grabbed her and we ran around the car to see Buddy sitting on the ground screaming holding his head.  No blood but I was thinking concussion.  I frantically called Jon, who was still inside the store checking out, and then Buddy calmed down.  We went home, got him some ice, and felt the huge goose egg that was forming.  Thank goodness that we didn't have to go to the E.R. but it sure did give me scare. 

Then the guilt set it.  "If only I had just buckled him in one handed, if only I had made him stand by me while I buckled Sweetpea, if only...if only..."  I felt like the worst mom ever.  The irony is Buddy bounced back a whole lot quicker than I did.  He sat with ice on his head while watching Curious George while I beat myself up mentally.  I know that I'm going to have a lot more of those moments of injuries or things that I feel like I could prevent.  Buddy learned a lesson tonight though and even these moments that scare me are teachable. 

I have to remind myself that I can worry about how I am going to fail or pick myself up, give Buddy a huge hug, and move on to the next day.  I have this mental idea that I could be a perfect mommy so when I fail, it makes me worry and fret for several days.  Philippians 4:6-7 is my go-to verse when I start to fret.  "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."   Tonight, I am turning over the anxiousness about Buddy falling and my failures and enjoying peace!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Treasuring God in Our Traditions

Treasuring God in Our TraditionsAfter blogging about wanting to have traditions that are God honoring, Jon came home from Lifeway with Noel Piper's book Treasuring God in our Traditions.  I was so excited and devoured this book in about two days. 

Noel Piper defines tradition and gives several reasons that establishing traditions is important.  In chapter four, she discussed how traditions can teach our children about God, about faith, and about our family.  Deuteronomy 11:18-19 says “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."  Using everyday traditions, we are reinforcing the way we think about God through even mundane tasks like going to bed at night or waking up in the morning. 

One tradition that Jon and I have started with Buddy and Sweetpea is to pray with them before they go to bed.  I don't say the same thing every time but there are certain phrases that if I miss, Buddy is quick to remind me.  For example, every time that we have rocked and prayed together, I would pray for God to "keep Buddy growing big and strong and smart and healthy!" and to "come to know Jesus at an early age as Savior".  The rest of our prayer changes with what we've experienced that day but those phrases are constant.  I hope Buddy and Sweetpea remember one day that Jon and I took the time to talk to God with them daily.
Noel Piper continues to discuss different ways to have traditions in big events like weddings, funerals, birthdays, and especially Christmas and Easter.  I really liked a lot of her ideas for Christmas and Easter and hope to incorporate a few into our family's celebration next year.  Even this past Sunday at church, my Sunday School class was discussing how to establish traditions for the Christmas season with children.  All of our desires was to make sure the focus was on the birth of Jesus.  All of the Christmas ideas in this book are ways to do just that. 
If you are looking for ideas and reasons to start God-centered traditions in your family, I highly recommend Treasuring God in our Traditions.  It isn't a hard read or even a long read but it definitely is thought provoking!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Last minute ideas

If you are looking for a few more ideas to do with your child for Christmas, here they are!

Adventures in Savings has a great gift idea or a fun twist on marshmallows!  Buddy loves marshmallows but I will probably wait until the new year to try this with him.  I love hearing him say "marsh-a- mo!" 

BabyCenter has two great ideas: 

A Gingerbread man out of felt makes a cute decoration on a tree or some garland. 

Reindeer Magnets would be adorable on your refrigerator or small gifts for a friend. 

Trillustrations has a Paper Christmas house that would make a pretty tiny decoration or she says that you can use it as a 3-D gift tag.  This would be fun for an older child to put together but younger children might have trouble with the size. 

Finally, for our travels, I am going to be making Buddy a fun Snowman dress-up craft.  I have a few circles of Velcro that will be perfect to keep the pieces from getting lost on the plane. 

Hope these ideas help you out this last week before Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Following in Daddy's Footprints

Because we are traveling for Christmas, we are having our family Christmas tomorrow.  Jon's present from Buddy and Sweetpea is a sign to hang in his office that we made together.  I used the Self Hardening Clay recipe to make a rectangle. 

Buddy's foot was painted blue and we pressed it lightly onto the rectangle.  I then painted Sweetpea's foot pink and also pressed lightly onto the surface.  As it was difficult keeping paint off of our floor, there are no pictures of this step!

I then touched it up a little by painting around the edges in red and painting "Following in Daddy's Footprints" in black.  The children's ages are painted in white on their footprint. 

The sign was clear coated in a sealant and wrapped to be opened underneath our Christmas tree!  I can't wait for Jon to open it tomorrow!  He'll be able to either use a plate stand to display it on his desk or use a ribbon to hang it on his office wall.  I love these crafts that immortalize this point in our children's lives!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thick Skin

Today, we took Jon a Sonic drink while he was at work and Buddy was really excited because he loves his Daddy.  When Buddy wasn't able to get out of the car and when he realized Daddy wasn't following us home, he said to me, "I don't want you, I want Daddy".  Not a huge deal and understandable since I am home all day with him.  Then in an atypical fashion, Buddy stated very matter-a-factly "I don't love you".  It pierced my heart at first until I realized that of course he does, he was just looking for my reaction.   He kept repeating over and over "I don't love you, I don't want you!"

I turned around as best I could while driving and said "Buddy you may not love Mommy right now but Mommy will always love you."  Even as I was getting him out of the car, Buddy was twisting and pulling away from me.  And it hit me, we do this to God all the time.  How can we as humans say He doesn't exist or that we don't love Him?  God is our Creator!  He sent Jesus to earth for the sole purpose to be our way to Heaven.  John 3:16 states "For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life". 

This gave me a small glimpse of how God must feel when people reject Him.  He loves us so completely even when we don't love Him in return.  It was a great reminder for me to just tell God tonight how much I love Him and how I am so grateful for Jesus.

Buddy did warm back up tonight though.  I went to a Women's Event at church and when I got home, he gave me a huge hug and kiss and told me "I love you Mommy!"  Sweetest words ever!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Card for a Soldier

A week or so ago, Jon's grandmother sent me the following email:
"When filling out your Christmas cards this year, take ONE CARD and SEND
it to this address:
A Recovering American Soldier
C/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001.
If we pass this on and everyone sends one card, think of how many cards
these soldiers could get to bring up their spirits.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!"
I saved it fully intending to send one quickly but I was cleaning out my inbox and came upon it again.  We got right to work when Buddy got up from his nap.  I found the Nativity Pop Up Card on and decided that would be perfect.  Before Buddy woke up, I printed and cut out the card template and gathered all of our supplies.

 Buddy helped me to apply the glitter glue to the star.  We put it out of sight to dry.

 Sweetpea decided she wanted to know what was happening on the table.

 Buddy didn't want to share his craft.

 Buddy finished coloring and gluing the card together.

After the star was dry, I glued it onto the wire and attached it onto the Nativity scene.  I hope that the soldier who receives our card knows how appreciative we are for the way they have served our country!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hidden Vegetables

Hidden Vegetables:
I was chopping up carrots for dinner and as I threw them into the taco meat, I thought "I am a sneaky mom!".  Before having children, I always told myself that I would never hide the vegetables in other foods but that my children would eat them.  Ha!  Buddy was a really good eater until around two years old and then he started balking at the vegetables on his plate.  Jon and I started trying to sneak them by him in with other bites but he eventually caught on to that trick.  Instead of having a huge battle at supper time over eating carrots, I started sneaking them into other dishes.  I still offer them to him on the plate but I'm not as worried about making sure he eats them because I know that the main dish has a serving of veggies for everyone. 

I don't blame Buddy though, I grew up in the South and discovered that the only way I truly enjoy to eat veggies is soaked in butter, dipped in ranch, or sprinkled liberally with salt.  Jon on the other hand just likes the taste of the vegetable by itself.  Sometimes, hiding the vegetables in our dishes is as much for me as for Buddy.  On the plus side, Buddy ate his entire soft taco tonight and had a full serving of peas and carrots without blinking an eye!

A few examples of where I hide veggies:
Lasagna, Spaghetti, or anything with a tomato sauce -- finely diced or pureed carrots
Enchiladas -- finely diced broccoli and carrots
Tacos -- finely diced carrots in the meat and pureed peas in the soft taco
Grilled cheese -- finely diced broccoli

We'll be traveling for Christmas and I've been working on finding Buddy a few small and light activities to pack in our carry-on and for layovers.  I found some great Minibooks over at that print on one sheet of paper and fold into a book.  (How to Fold Tutorial)  I printed them in black and white and plan on coloring them ahead of time or even allowing him to color as he reads on the plane.  If you choose, the books can be printed in color also.  Buddy just was not thrilled about coloring today. 

If you have any great ideas of you get your children to eat vegetables or activities for travel, I'd love to hear from you in the comment section!

Monday, December 13, 2010

For Unto us a Child is born

"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
 Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  - Isaiah 9:6 NKJV

This is our focal verse with J from now until December 26th.  I'm a little nervous because this is the longest verse he's attempted to memorize.  I thought about only doing the last section starting with "And His name will be called..." but I really want J to learn entire verses.  J really has an amazing memory and it may take him a little longer, but I think he can learn the full thing. 

To have a visual, we're going to use The Names of Jesus ornaments from  I've printed the names listed in the verse in black and white to let J color them the way he wants.  I'll cover them with contact paper and we'll hang them with ribbon onto our mantle.  When J memorized Galatians 5:22-23, it helped him to have the apple garland that we made from I Can Teach My Child

Helping J learn his Bible verses has challenged me because I have to know it before I can teach him.  This has shown me that I can memorize scripture easier than I thought when I set my mind to it!  And that I need to stop whining about how hard it is and just get to work.

On a side note, a friend suggested making the blog a little more personal by using nicknames for my kiddos.  At home, I call J "Buddy"  and H "Sweetpea" so from now on that is how I will be referring to them.  I like that better than just using the first letters of their names. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Family Driven Faith Pt. 2

Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk with God  I finally finished Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham this week.  Chapters seven through ten were just as good of a read as the rest of the book.  For me though, chapter nine almost made me stop reading.  It wasn't that Baucham was saying anything wrong but more because I am married to a youth pastor and am passionate about the function of the church.  But more on that in a minute...

Chapter seven focuses on how our homes should be God's territory.  Baucham illustrates ways to use all of our senses to make an impression of God on our children.  I like this as a teacher because in our education classes we were taught how to teach to different types of learners.  Some of our children learn primarily through hearing, some through doing, some through seeing, and so on.  Using their senses to engage them in learning about God works.  If it works in educating about math or reading, why wouldn't it work in teaching our faith in Christ?  Family Worship is set up by Baucham with seven steps to starting your own time of family worship.  He then lists seven blessings of family worship that I agree with wholeheartedly. 

Chapter eight is a reminder of how our families are being sacrificed for prosperity.  Prosperity in and of itself is not a bad thing but wealth and worldly success can quickly become an idol.  Our families need to be our number one priority, over activities and over our jobs.  The part that was most significant for me was the section on page 161 titled "Being a Wife and a Mother Is an Honorable Calling".  I am a stay at home mom and some days feel very insignificant.  Baucham reminded me of the impact that I can have on J and H through staying home and being their mom.  I have an impact on Jon by taking care of our household and by taking care of the "small" things like laundry and meals. 

Now for Chapters nine and ten.  In chapter nine, Baucham points out what he believes to be flaws in the contemporary model of church and in chapter ten he talks about radically departing from the norm.  I agree that there are flaws in the way church is done but there has to be a balance.  Yes, the parents are the primary disciple makers of their children but that does not negate the need for youth ministers or a student ministry.  In chapter nine, Baucham pretty clearly lines out his disagreement with youth ministry and all age segregation in the church.  But here is my main argument for youth ministry: not every student will have Christian parents or have Christian parents who are willing to disciple their families.   Baucham does state that that argument is probably the most compelling for him for having student ministries.   While I think our church should guide parents on how to disciple their children, I know reality is that most will be "too busy" or think that they do a good enough job.  This is where youth ministry is effective at discipling those who aren't being discipled and reinforcing Truth for those who are. 

While I agree with Baucham on most points, I think there has to be a balance in our church.  We do not need to be completely age-segregated but to do away with the nursery, for me at least, is not practical.  As a mother of a very wiggly and active 8 month old, I am grateful to have a nursery where the workers are allowing her to interact with other children and who are teaching her a short lesson, while I can fully participate in worship.  J is learning how to sit still in church and has done quite well in services at different points.  Soon he will be pulled into church mostly full-time with Jon and me.  I think there are points that having all ages together is great and edifying for our children but by having age specific times, we are allowing different depths to Bible Study. 

Overall Family Driven Faith is an really good book that has really challenged me to be more purposeful with J and H.  I agree that we should be "doing what it takes to raise sons and daughters who walk with God" and Jon and I strive to do just that in our household. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Baking Christmas Cookies

J and I made our Sugar Cookies today and we had a blast.  He loves to bake, especially measuring and dumping in flour and sugar.  Today he discovered a new love of baking...while my back was turned he reached in a grabbed a handful of the creamed butter and sugar.  I turned around when I heard "MMMM!" to see him starting to reach for more! 

We rolled out the cookies and used our new cookie cutters to make the Christmas cookie shapes.  J's favorite was the candy cane because to him it was simply the letter J!

After baking the cookies, we made our icing and finished the cookies. 

J's favorite part is obviously adding sprinkles. 

And of course, most of all, eating them!

When I was growing up, my mom and aunt would make these cookies for my siblings and cousins to decorate.  We probably ate more icing than what made it onto the cookies but we always a great family fun time together.  I have lots of wonderful memories of decorating cookies with my family!  This is a tradition that I continued with J last year and will continue into our future as a family.  It is a great time together and fun for all.  I can't wait for H to join us next year!

And if you'd like our recipe for sugar cookies, check out my Recipe page.