Monday, February 28, 2011

Week 8 of Reading the Bible in 90 Days

The Bible in 90 Days Participant's Guide: An Extraordinary Experience with the Word of God
This week I read through the rest of Isaiah and most of Jeremiah.  It has been another week of falling behind since Buddy, Sweetpea, and I are visiting family.  I couldn't seem to find a good time to read when I wasn't falling asleep.  It is hard to give up the chatting time to go read but finally I made myself stop and go try to catch up.  I am about a day and a half behind but am working diligently to keep on track.

I am struggling a little to read these books for understanding but am praying that even by just reading, that God will speak to my heart through His Word.  The story of Hezekiah is repeated in Isaiah and it strikes me again about how after Isaiah prophesizes about the coming exile to Babylon, Hezekiah's response is that at least it will be peaceful in his days (Isaiah 39:8).  Even though Isaiah's prophesy included the that some of his sons will be taken away to Babylon, his response was still "The word of the Lord which you have spoken to me is good!".  I do not understand how he could not be worried about his children's future after his death.  Hezekiah's short-sightedness saddens me that any parent could be so nonchalant about their child's future well-being.  I did enjoy reading Isaiah 61 since it is one of my favorite passages from Isaiah; I love the part about setting the captives free and giving beauty for ashes. 

I am still in the process of reading Jeremiah but read through Jeremiah 29:11 today.  Jeremiah 29:11 is a very quoted verse but I like it for a different reason than most.  "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord" is the part that I love.  I am a planner...a list maker...a make a 12 step process to achieve goals person and love that God has plans.  He has plans for me plans that I may not fully understand yet but He has things that He wants us to do.  Having plans means that He has taken the time to think about me and my life.  It also means that I need to take the time to pray before making decisions to keep in God's plan for me. 

Again, I challenge you to read God's Word and dive in to see what He has to say to you!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Homemade Baby Food

Since Sweetpea is almost a year old, my foray into the world of homemade baby food is almost to an end but if we have another baby, I will definitely be making baby food again.  Some people around me have not understood why I took the time to make Sweetpea's food when stores sell baby food conveniently packaged and ready to go.  The reason I decided to try out making homemade baby food was how expensive baby food has become, even since Buddy was a baby.  One very small, non-name brand jar will cost almost 50 cents so you can imagine how quickly it adds up, especially as your baby grows and eats more. 

I began by reading a lot of online articles about homemade baby food, talking to a few friends who made theirs, and collecting a lot of ideas.  Wholesome Baby Food is a website dedicated to sharing nutrition facts on foods and how to prepare your own baby food.  This website is the main site that I have used and have even made Sweetpea teething biscuits from a recipe on the site.  I took a few hours one Saturday and made Sweetpea enough food to last two months and was surprised at how easy it was.  This even introduced my family to butternut squash for the first time.  If you are thinking about making baby food for your child, here are a few of the pros and cons that I have discovered. 

1.  Homemade baby food is definitely less expensive than buying jars of baby food.  A bag of carrots is around $1 and made, for Sweetpea, over 10 servings.  If I were to buy 10 servings of jar carrots, it would cost around $5.
2.  Homemade baby food smells and looks so much better.  This was the reason I continued making Sweetpea's food because it is such a huge difference in the smell and look of the foods, especially the fruits.
3.  Homemade baby food introduces your baby to a wider variety.  Sweetpea loves mashed avocados but I never would have considered giving Buddy avocado because it did not come inside of a jar.

1.  Homemade baby food is not as convenient.  When we go for a day of shopping, I tend to grab a few of the jars because the homemade food will not keep all day without refrigeration. 
2.  Homemade baby food takes a lot of freezer space.  I freeze Sweetpea's food in ice cube trays and then store the cubes in plastic bags.  Our current freezer section is not very big and her food takes up a lot of room now that she has a lot of choices stored.

All in all, making my own baby food for the past few months has been a great experience and if you have an infant who is ready to start solid foods, I encourage you to at least try making the baby food yourself first!

Friday, February 25, 2011


Recently we went to our local bookstore as a family outing; it is a good excuse for Jon and I to get coffee and we both enjoy looking around.  Buddy loves the play area and Sweetpea and I normally read through some of the board books.  While we were there, I picked up the book Color-by-Penguins by Ed Heck and Sweetpea loved it.  I think we read it four times before having to leave so we definitely bought this book. 
I love the vivid colors and how the penquins are opposites. "One is neat, the other isn't".  It is just a fun book to read and introduce colors. 
Here are a few pictures of Sweetpea "reading" Color-by-Penguins on her own.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
I've been reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp with the Bloom Book Club now since the beginning of February.  A friend recommended that I sign up and I was thrilled to do so.  I love to read and thought a book club would be a perfect "excuse" to buy and read something new.  Little did I know that this book would have an influence in my daily life. 
As I started the book, I have to admit I almost stopped at the first chapter.  It was a little dark and sad and this book isn't written in a style that I prefer.  I think I am a "tell it like it is" person and Ann Voskamp writes in a way that you feel like you have to come to the conclusion yourself.  She writes beautifully and descriptively and I've come to enjoy her style as I've continued to read.  The Bloom Book Club has helped me to enjoy the book more because videos of Ann Voskamp's comments on each chapter are posted twice a week.  They are currently up to Chapter six of eleven chapters if you want to check it out!
The purpose of the book is to search for joy in life's simplest moments, even in a ring of shredded cheese.  She challenges you to start a list of one thousand gifts that God gives you and to find a heart of thankfulness in even the hardest situations.  This is "a dare to live fully right where you are".  If you want to know more, you can go to the website
I started my list of 1000 things the other day and was amazed at how immediately my outlook changed.  Instead of being frustrated by the small irritations, I tried to find anything to be thankful and realized that I was no longer frustrated.  Maybe the process to a truly grateful heart and living in each of life's precious moments is in giving thanks for every minute detail of our life.  Even in the things that we would consider inconsequential, God has blessed us and longs to know that we recognize His gifts to us.  Here is the beginning of my list:

1.  Listening to my children lightly snoring.
2.  Talking around the dinner table.
3.  Trying new recipes.
4.  A husband who juggles (literally).
5.  Sweet giggles.
6.  Happy babies, even at 6:00 a.m.
7.  Being able to stay at home.
8.  Sweet baby babbles.
9.  How drinking from a Coke glass brings memories.
10. The smell of freshly brewed coffee.

I challenge you to find a copy of One Thousand Gifts and read what Ann Voskamp has to say and dive into creating your own list of thankfulness.  I have finished her book with a deeper understanding of what eucharisteo truly means. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Tonight I was a little adventurous with supper and tried the Garlic Cheddar Biscuits from Gina's Skinny Recipes and they were amazing!  Mine do not look as pretty but the biscuits were definitely tasty.  I think I got a little anxious and pulled them out of the oven too early. 
Either way, if you like biscuits then you will love these.  My favorite part of trying this recipe, besides the taste, was how easy it was to prepare.  I was a little iffy about preparing the garlic parsley butter but it came together without a worry.  My only critique was that the parsley flakes kept falling off but that is not a deal breaker for me.  Also, these biscuits are relatively healthy as far as biscuits go thanks to using ingredients like Heart Smart Bisquick. 
If you are looking for something new and relatively healthy to try as a side for dinner, give the Garlic Cheddar Biscuits a try.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Week 7 of Reading the Bible in 90 Days

The Bible in 90 Days Participant's Guide: An Extraordinary Experience with the Word of God
It is hard to believe that seven weeks have passed and that I am now over halfway through reading the Bible.  Such an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment floods my heart as I look at the placement of my bookmark.  Even though this challenge has been tough at times, there is no way I would give up now.  I've come to far to let anything keep me from finishing God's Word completely in 90 days. 

This week was the end of Psalm and I loved how various praise songs kept popping into my head as I would read.  It was interesting to see the Bible verses that inspired the songs that we sing in church today.  Since we have a musical family, this was especially fun for me and I enjoyed having those songs stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

Proverbs is always a fun book to read but what stuck out to me as I was reading was how many times a contentious woman is mentioned.  Four times something that is better than a contentious woman (Proverbs 21:9, 21:19, 25:24, 27:15) is mentioned.  Whether it was dripping water or the wilderness, it was a reminder to me to make sure that I guard my heart against bitterness and anger.  I think women especially have trouble with bitterness because we dwell and stew over the littlest of grievances and I never want to have a contentious heart.  Proverbs 14:1 states "The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands."  I want to be the wise woman who builds up my husband and children and makes it a safe refuge from the world.  The book of Proverbs ends with the Proverbs 31 woman that every woman wishes she could be.  I struggle though with verse 15 because I am not a morning person; I am a "I need at least 1 cup of coffee before I can think clearly" person.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to rise while it is still dark with a joyful heart but I will keep trying.

This week I also read through Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon.  The theme for Ecclesiastes is that everything is meaningless and it is depressing to read until the very last two verses (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)  The book is summed up: "Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil."  Life is meaningless without fearing God and following His ways.  The idea that kept playing in my mind as I read through Song of Solomon was do not awaken desire until its time.  This book is a celebration of marital love but contains the admonition to wait until the time is proper to awaken love.  Society could take a lesson from that idea and I want to guard both Sweetpea and Buddy from being swept up in a culture that says it is okay to give away your heart over and over. 

The book of Isaiah was started yesterday and it has been a good read so far.  I think I say this every week but read God's Word!  Take the time to read every word, even if you can't do it in 90 days.  God's Word will not return void!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Family Bible Time

Family Bible Time...seems like an easy thing to do every day, but we don't do it as often as I would like.  Last night Buddy brought out his Beginner's Bible and asked Jon to read.  How could he refuse?  Sweetpea crawled over to join the story time and listened for a short while.
It was a great way for the kids to wind down and we put the kiddos to bed shortly there after.  But that night has me thinking.  I would like to start a new habit in our family.
Buddy and I read his Bible often but I think Daddy needs to be apart of reading as well.  Buddy and Sweetpea both look up to him so much and Daddy always makes things even more fun.  He adds voices and sound effects and even poorly practiced accents that Buddy just loves.  Raising our children to be Godly men and women should be our primary goal as parents.  What better way to do so than to read God's Word with them on a daily basis?  Reading God's special revelation needs to be part of our every day routine like brushing teeth, washing our face, or drinking our morning cup of coffee!  Even though Buddy and Sweetpea are both still very young, as parents we need to establish these priorities in their lives, so that the benefit from it and make wise choices to read and study God's word when they are older.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Leapfrog Fridge Phonics

LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Alphabet Set - Styles May Vary
Sweetpea loves our Leapfrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Alphabet Set and I love it too.  It was originally Buddy's but she has started to take it over. Every time we get near the refrigerator, she has to stop and at least pick up a letter magnet. 
I really like it because if you push the top button, it sings the alphabet song and the letters, when placed in the main section, sing a little song about the sounds each letter makes.  I love that it lists the long and short sounds for vowels, like E, and the hard and soft sounds for letters like C.  This Fridge Phonics Set is an easy way to work on letter recognition, letter sounds, and even skills like in and out, or on and off. 
Here are a few pictures of Sweetpea playing with the phonics set lately!
 Reaching for the letter N!

And another perk, this toy has kept both Buddy and Sweetpea occupied while I cook dinner. They are close enough that I can keep an eye on them easily but out of the way of preparations.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fingerpainting with Babies

I've seen a lot of blogs and articles about letting your baby paint for craft time but haven't had the chance to try it with Sweetpea.  She is not ready for real paint yet because everything still goes straight into her mouth so, instead, I let her paint with baby food.  Sweetpea had a blast and was completely covered by the end but the smile on her face was worth every second of clean up time.  Here are a few photos of our painting experience. 

If I were to do it again, I'd tape the paper down because she kept trying to eat the paper and it ended up all crinkly.  I just eventually threw it away and let her paint on the tray. 

Sweetpea had fun swirling it around and seeing how far she could sling it across the tray.

Having fun!

If you have a baby who wants to join in at craft time or maybe you just want to help them create, fingerpainting was really fun.  Depending on what foods they have been introduced to, lots of different colors can be used.  For older children, chocolate pudding would be really tasty! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day Wrap-Up

This Valentine's weekend was a dud at our house as I have had the flu and Sweetpea has had pink eye.  We are both on the mend but needed activities to keep Buddy entertained that could also be completed while I sat on the couch.  Instead of making cookies or treats like I had wanted, we made crafts and watched a lot of movies.  Jon did make yesterday special with beautiful flowers, special treats, and a nice dinner.

Buddy had a lot of fun making the Spiral Mobile from DLTK's Growing Together.  He chose the colors and wanted to make blue hearts.  I printed one page of hearts in the color design and one page on blue construction paper.  Buddy's favorite parts of this craft were using the hole punch and tying the strings on to the hearts.  Making the hearts 3D was a little over his head but all in all it was a great craft. 

We also made the Stained Glass Heart from DLTK's site as well.  This took more time since Buddy tore all the pieces of tissue paper.  While the pieces were not perfect squares, he was able to do this step by himself.  I think, too, that allowing him to tear and rip the tissue paper released some of the natural destructive nature of little boys in a productive manner.  Buddy tore a lot more tissue paper than we needed but I didn't want to stop him since he was having fun.  We did use contact paper since it was less messy than glue and he helped me cut out the heart shape in our construction paper. 

I know it is hard to tell with the sun shining through the window, but the construction paper is yellow.  I plan on leaving it up for a while since it makes our windows prettier in my opinion.  I also plan to adapt this craft for other holidays using various shapes. 

I hope you all had a great Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Week 6 of Reading the Bible in 90 Days

The Bible in 90 Days Participant's Guide: An Extraordinary Experience with the Word of God
I have finally caught up on my reading this week.  It took me a while because I got a little hung up trying to understand Job but I am on target again.  We've read through Esther, Job, and are, as of today, 108 chapters into Psalm. 

Esther is definitely one of my favorite books in the Bible because I love how God used her to save His chosen people from Haman.  "...for such a time as this", Esther was chosen to be the queen and had the courage to go before the king to reveal Haman for who he is.  I also love the irony when Haman thinks that the king wants to honor him but instead honors Mordecai.  It must have galled Haman to have to watch Mordecai be honored in the way he coveted. 

I have also enjoyed reading through Psalm and have to say that Psalm 13 still reverberates deep in my soul.  "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  I will sing the Lord's praise, for He has been good to me." Psalm 13: 5-6.  The psalm starts out asking how long will God forget and hide His face and ends so triumphantly.  I can't read this without thinking of the Shane and Shane Psalms CD and singing their version of this psalm.  The Psalms CD is an awesome CD that I highly recommend you check out if you've never heard it before.   I am looking forward to continuing to read through Psalm this next week!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine S'More Bites

I saw this recipe online tonight and could not resist passing it along.  I'd love to make these with Buddy but we'll see how the next few days around our house go.  But in case you have a little more time and are looking for a Valentine dessert, check out Crazy Domestic's Valentine S'More Bites.  Don't they look delicious! 

Our family loves s'mores and I think this is a pretty awesome Valentine's who can resist pink marshmallows?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Canceling Cable

We recently cancelled our subscription to cable, again.  Jon and I have subscribed to cable several times and eventually decide to cancel.  We've found that it is easy to watch too much television and water down family time.  Other downsides of having cable are the cost every month and a I felt like Jon and I were not talking enough.  So we came to the somewhat difficult conclusion of canceling again. 

It has been already great for our family.  We've eaten more meals around the table, Buddy has watched less cartoons in the morning, and Jon and I've spent more time talking (a plus for me, not so sure he is as thrilled!). 

I know that some people think that we are missing out by not subscribing any more but I know this is a positive for our family.  Television is such a time drainer and has so many negative aspects that I do not want Buddy or Sweetpea to be exposed to at their young age.  Now we are less likely to mindlessly waste time and are more in control of what our children are allowed to see.  I hope that by having this precedence set up before Buddy and Sweetpea are much older that this will be their normality.  It may go against the grain but I know this is already strengthening our family structure and I hope it will help us even be more focused on Christ!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Savoring the Spontaneous Moments

Buddy has discovered the button on our piano that plays the pre-loaded classical music and enjoys dance to it.  I've been savoring those moments of watching him dance hilariously around our living room.  I know these moments are special and I will treasure them!  Sweetpea and I even got into the action for a little while but she had more fun laughing at Buddy.  Here are a few of the pictures...he was moving so quickly that they are a little blurry but you can see how much fun he is having.

I think moms sometimes get caught up in the mundane chores of running a household and we miss these times too easily.  I know I've interrupted Jon playing with the kids and lots of laughter to say that it is bath time.  Shame on me for missing that moment and focusing on things that don't matter.  I want to grab onto the unexpected moments and soak in the smiles and laughter, not worry about what is coming up next.  Those are the times that make memories and are what our children will remember of us.  Do I want Buddy and Sweetpea to remember that I was a stickler for accomplishing things or do I want them to remember that I laughed and danced?  So as moms, let's shed our dignity and dance wildly to classical music with our babies, let's not squelch the laughter for chores, and let's savor the spontaneous!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentines Day Ideas

With Valentine's Day less than a week away, I wanted to share a few Valentine craft and treat ideas.  Some of these crafts I will be making with Buddy in the next few days.  Hope you enjoy!

A Sweet treat!  This would be a perfect gift to give away or just something fun to make with your child. 

 This is a fun hanging reminder of Valentine's Day and the hearts are even 3D.  Buddy and I will be making this soon. 

This is a simple activity to practice fine motor skills as children weave the ribbon or yarn through the pattern.  Buddy has never tried a lacing pattern before but I think he is ready to try it out.  If it frustrates him then we'll try again another day.
A cute heart project to make with tissue paper and contact paper.  This can be practice in scissor skills or fine motor skills by tearing the paper.

There are several choices of templates to make these angels.  I like the saying on them but you can also make them without it. 

This is more for adults or older children but it is such a cute and simple idea!  I bought fabric the other day and can't wait to make mine soon. 

Again, this craft is more for adults or older children but such a simple yet sweet decoration. 

If you have ideas of things to make or do for Valentine's Day, I'd love to hear about them!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine's Books

Cranberry ValentineBuddy and I have been reading several books for Valentine's Day and one of his favorites is Cranberry Valentine by Wende and Harry Devlin.  This is a cute story of Mr. Whiskers' first valentine and the lady in the green coat.  Mr. Whiskers has to solve the mystery of the valentines and decide what to do about them.  Will he hide or leave town?  And is the lady in the green coat the one sending the valentines?  This book is a fun read and Buddy laughs everytime at Mr. Whiskers.

Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me AloneAnother book that we have been reading is Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone by Frieda Wishinsky and Neal Layton.  This book doesn't necessarily have anything to do with Valentine's Day but it is a cute book where, as the title states, Jennifer won't leave the little boy alone.  The rhymes make the book flow and you hear how the main character, an unnamed boy, dreams of Jennifer moving away to the jungle, the moon, and other places.  When Jennifer really does move away, he is left feeling lonely and a little bereft.  How does he react when he finds that Jennifer is coming back?  Buddy really enjoyed picture reading this one after we had read it several times and it was funny to hear his interpretations. 

Buddy has not been too interested in other Valentine's books from the library but these two kept his attention.  He has asked to read them daily and can almost quote parts of  Cranberry Valentine.  I wish you happy reading!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Week 5 of Reading the Bible in 90 Days

The Bible in 90 Days Participant's Guide: An Extraordinary Experience with the Word of God
Week five of reading was an interesting week.  I thought I would use the time that Jon was out of town for a conference to read ahead but with the very unusual snow that we had this week, that plan went out the window.  Instead, I am currently a day behind in reading which is good because I was almost 3 days behind on Saturday.  Being behind really frustrates me since it is really hard to catch up with this much to read each day. 

Perserverance is something I'm not always the best at and thoughts of defeat sometimes overwhelm me.  Yesterday it hit me though that this can't be something that I give up on so easily.  This is God's Word and it should be important to continue even if I finish in 92, 93 or even 100 days.  I plan to pick up the pace and try to catch up by the end of next week.  If you are reading also, I pray that you press on through even the hard times and finish strong!